April 23, 2010
by Paul Joseph Watson
A Fox News hit piece against Jesse Ventura and the 9/11 truth movement written by former Washington D.C. prosecutor Jeffrey Scott Shapiro inadvertently reveals a shocking truth, that World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, who collected nearly $500 million dollars in insurance as a result of the collapse of Building 7, a 47-story structure that was not hit by a plane but collapsed within seven seconds on September 11, was on the phone to his insurance carrier attempting to convince them that the building should be brought down via controlled demolition.
Writing for Fox News, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro states, “I was working as a journalist for Gannett News at Ground Zero that day, and I remember very clearly what I saw and heard.”
“Shortly before the building collapsed, several NYPD officers and Con-Edison workers told me that Larry Silverstein, the property developer of One World Financial Center was on the phone with his insurance carrier to see if they would authorize the controlled demolition of the building – since its foundation was already unstable and expected to fall.”
In February of 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. Silverstein Properties’ estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. This building’s collapse alone resulted in a payout of nearly $500 million, based on the contention that it was an unforeseen accidental event.
“A controlled demolition would have minimized the damage caused by the building’s imminent collapse and potentially save lives. Many law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other journalists were aware of this possible option. There was no secret. There was no conspiracy,” writes Shapiro.
However, obviously aware of how it would impact his insurance claim, Larry Silverstein has consistently denied that there was ever a plan to intentionally demolish Building 7.
In June 2005, Silverstein told New York Post journalist Sam Smith that his infamous “pull it” comment, which has been cited as proof that Silverstein planned to take down the building with explosives, “meant something else”.
In January 2006, Silverstein’s spokesperson Dara McQuillan told the U.S. State Department that the “pull it” comment meant to withdraw firefighters from the building (despite the fact that there were no firefighters inside WTC 7 as we shall later cover). There was no mention whatsoever of any plan to demolish the building before it fell.
Shapiro’s faux pas has unwittingly let the cat out of the bag on the fact that Silverstein was aggressively pushing for the building to be intentionally demolished, a claim that he has always vociferously denied, presumably to safeguard against putting in doubt the massive insurance payout he received on the basis that the collapse was accidental.
For over five years since the infamous PBS documentary was aired in which Silverstein states that the decision was made to “pull” the building, a construction term for controlled demolition, debunkers have attempted to perform all kinds of mental gymnastics in fudging the meaning behind the WTC leaseholder’s comments.
“I remember getting a call from the fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse,” said Silverstein.
Debunkers attempted to claim that Silverstein meant to “pull” the firefighters from the building due to the danger the structure was in, and this explanation was also later claimed by Silverstein’s spokesman, however, both the FEMA report, the New York Times and even Popular Mechanics reported that there were no firefighting actions taken inside WTC 7.
“While I was talking with a fellow reporter and several NYPD officers, Building 7 suddenly collapsed, and before it hit the ground, not a single sound emanated from the tower area. There were no explosives; I would have heard them. In fact, I remember that in those few seconds, as the building sank to the ground that I was stunned by how quiet it was,” writes Shapiro in his Fox News hit piece.
Shapiro’s contention that the 47-story building simply collapsed into its own footprint within seven seconds without making a sound, a feat only ever witnessed in world history on 9/11 alone, is contradicted by numerous other first-hand eyewitnesses.
Contradicting Shapiro’s claim that the collapse of the building was quiet, NYPD officer Craig Bartmer stated that he clearly heard bombs tear down Building 7 as he ran away from its collapse.
“I walked around it (Building 7). I saw a hole. I didn’t see a hole bad enough to knock a building down, though. Yeah there was definitely fire in the building, but I didn’t hear any… I didn’t hear any creaking, or… I didn’t hear any indication that it was going to come down. And all of a sudden the radios exploded and everyone started screaming ‘get away, get away, get away from it!’… It was at that moment… I looked up, and it was nothing I would ever imagine seeing in my life. The thing started pealing in on itself… Somebody grabbed my shoulder and I started running, and the shit’s hitting the ground behind me, and the whole time you’re hearing “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” I think I know an explosion when I hear it… Yeah it had some damage to it, but nothing like what they’re saying… Nothing to account for what we saw… I am shocked at the story we’ve heard about it to be quite honest,” said Bartmer.
EMT Indira Singh, a Senior Consultant for JP Morgan Chase in Information Technology and Risk Management, told the Pacifica show Guns and Butter, “After midday on 9/11 we had to evacuate that because they told us Building 7 was coming down. If you had been there, not being able to see very much just flames everywhere and smoke – it is entirely possible – I do believe that they brought Building 7 down because I heard that they were going to bring it down because it was unstable because of the collateral damage.”
The host asked Singh, “Did they actually use the word “brought down” and who was it that was telling you this?,” to which Singh responded, “The fire department. And they did use the words ‘we’re gonna have to bring it down’ and for us there observing the nature of the devastation it made total sense to us that this was indeed a possibility, given the subsequent controversy over it I don’t know.”
April 23, 2010
After last week’s episode of the Comedy Central series sparked a threat (and yes, it was certainly a threat) from a radical Islamic website, the network has cracked-down-for-their-own-good on creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone during last night’s continuation of the show’s storyline.
For those who missed the drama, the show’s 200th episode last week mocked the one “celebrity” that the series has been largely unable to depict, the Prophet Muhammad, who was hidden from view in a bear costume. A U.S.-based website RevolutionMuslim.com then warned Parker and Stone they could end up like Theo Van Gogh (the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered by Muslim extremists after depicting Muhammad on his show) and even posted the address of the show’s production office. The site has since been shut down.
Last night, “South Park” continued the controversial Muhammad storyline, but with a key difference: every instance of the words “Prophet Muhammad” was bleeped out, making the episode practically incomprehensible, especially to anybody who missed the previous week.
The character of Muhammad was once again also hidden from view, covered by a large block labeled “censored.”
A Comedy Central spokesperson confirmed it was the network’s decision to bleep the words.
The Muhammad content is also not available on the South Park Studios website.
A message on the site states: “We do not have network approval to stream our original version of the show. We will bring you a version of [episode] 201 as soon as we can.”
Ironically, “South Park” apparently shows an image of the Prophet Muhammad briefly in its opening credits that has gone largely unnoticed.
April 23, 2010
A US Air Force unmanned spacecraft has blasted off from Florida, amid a veil of secrecy about its military mission.
The robotic space plane, or X-37B, lifted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V rocket at 7:52 pm local time (2352 GMT) Thursday, according to video released by the military.
“The launch is a go,” Air Force spokeswoman Major Angie Blair told AFP.
The lift-off appeared to proceed as planned without major problems, judging by the commentary in the Air Force webcast.
Resembling a miniature space shuttle, the plane is 8.9 meters (29 feet) long and has a wing-span of 4.5 meters.
The reusable space vehicle has been years in the making and the military has offered only vague explanations as to its purpose or role in the American military’s arsenal.
The vehicle is designed to “provide an ‘on-orbit laboratory’ test environment to prove new technology and components before those technologies are committed to operational satellite programs,” the Air Force said in a recent release.
Officials said the X-37B would eventually return for a landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but did not say how long the inaugural mission would last.
“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back,” Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary for Air Force space programs, told reporters in a conference call this week.
Payton said the plane could stay in space for up to nine months.
Flight controllers plan to monitor the vehicle’s guidance, navigation and control systems, but the Air Force has declined to discuss what the plane is carrying in its payload or what experiments are scheduled.
Pentagon officials have sidestepped questions about possible military missions for the spacecraft, as well as the precise budget for its development — estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
The results of the test flight will inform “development programs that will provide capabilities for our warfighters in the future,” Payton said.
Industry analysts have speculated the Pentagon must have military capabilities in mind for the unmanned spacecraft or else would not have invested so much time and money in the effort.
The space plane — manufactured by Boeing — began as a project of NASA in 1999, and was eventually handed over to the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
Once in space, the vehicle is powered by solar cells and lithium-ion batteries.
The Air Force has plans for a second X-37B, scheduled to launch in 2011.
April 23, 2010
by Daniel Wagner
Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system, an agency watchdog says.
The SEC’s inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
The memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed.
The staffers’ behavior violated government-wide ethics rules, it says.
It was written by SEC Inspector General David Kotz in response to a request from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
The memo was first reported Thursday evening by ABC News. It summarizes past inspector general probes and reports some shocking findings:
- A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.
- An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense, and received a 14-day suspension.
- Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
- The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.
California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said it was “disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation’s economy on the brink of collapse.”
He said in a statement that SEC officials “were preoccupied with other distractions” when they should have been overseeing the growing problems in the financial system.
April 23, 2010
by Bonnie Malkin
The otherwise healthy children, all aged under five, suffered fevers, vomiting and febrile convulsions after receiving the vaccination. More than 20 were admitted to hospital and at least one child is seriously ill.
Jim Bishop, the country’s chief medical officer, said that he was suspending vaccinations for under-five as a “precautionary measure”. He said that children who had received the vaccine in the last 24 hours should be monitored closely by their parents.
“Until we know more we’ve suggested that we don’t use that [seasonal flu vaccine] for the moment in children under five,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I’m advising all doctors today not to use it until we know a bit more.
“This may be part of the normal pattern once we see the whole picture, or it may be more than we would expect. “Therefore I just think it’s wise and precautionary not to use it in children under five.”
The Western Australia health department is investigating whether the reactions were caused by a particular type of vaccine or batch.
The manufacturer, CSL, said it was aware of the matter and was working closely with authorities.
As Australian heads into winter, the government aims to immunise two million people considered most a risk from influenza. The ban does not include swine flu vaccinations.
Professor Robert Booy, head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance, said the number of adverse reactions to the vaccine was concerning but that most people would benefit from the vaccine.
“Experience with influenza vaccines in children around Australia over the past months has demonstrated that the vaccines have been generally well tolerated.
“Experts in public health, paediatrics, vaccines, and vaccine production are looking very closely at this cluster in order to unravel what might be the cause.”
April 23, 2010
by Ewen Callaway
Genes may not be the only way cancer passes down the generations. Feeding pregnant rats a fatty diet puts both their daughters and granddaughters at greater risk of breast cancer.
Sonia de Assis of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC and colleagues had discovered that the daughters of pregnant rats fed an unhealthy diet are more likely to develop breast cancer. Now they have shown that even if these daughters eat healthily, their offspring are still at greater risk of disease.
Rats don’t normally develop breast cancer, so de Assis had to give the granddaughters a chemical that induces tumours.
This put all the granddaughters at increased risk. Crucially, however, rats with grandmothers who ate a fatty diet were even more at risk. Twenty weeks later, half the rats whose grandmothers ate a normal diet developed breast tumours, while 80 per cent of rats with two grandmothers fed a high fat diet got tumours and 68 per cent of the rats with just did one developed cancer.
April 23, 2010
by Evelyn Pringle
The United States has become the psychiatric drugging capital of the world for kids with children being medicated at a younger and younger age. Medicaid records in some states show infants less than a year old on drugs for mental disorders.
The use of powerful antipsychotics with privately insured children, aged 2 through 5 in the US, doubled between 1999 and 2007, according to a study of data on more than one million children with private health insurance in the January, 2010, “Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.”
The number of children in this age group diagnosed with bipolar disorder also doubled over the last decade, Reuters reported.
Of antipsychotic-treated children in the 2007 study sample, the most common diagnoses were pervasive developmental disorder or mental retardation (28.2%), ADHD (23.7%), and disruptive behavior disorder (12.9%).
The study reported that fewer than half of drug treated children received a mental health assessment (40.8%), a psychotherapy visit (41.4%), or a visit with a psychiatrist (42.6%) during the year of antipsychotic use.
“Antipsychotics, which are being widely and irresponsibly prescribed for American children–mostly as chemical restraints–are shown to be causing irreparable harm,” warned Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, in a February 26, 2010 InfoMail.
“These drugs have measurable severe hazardous effects on vital biological systems, including: cardiovascular adverse effects that result in shortening lives; metabolic adverse effects that induce diabetes and the metabolic syndrome,” she wrote. “Long-term use of antipsychotics has been shown to result in metabolic syndrome in 40% to 50% of patients.”
The lead researcher on the study above, Columbia University psychiatry professor Mark Olfson, told Reuters that about 1.5% of all privately insured children between the ages of 2 and 5, or one in 70, received some type of psychiatric drug in 2007, be it an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer, a stimulant or an antidepressant.
Psychiatric drugs bathe the brains of growing children with agents that threaten the normal development of the brain, according to Dr Peter Breggin, founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), and author of about 20 books, including “Medication Madness.”
The drugs themselves are causing severe disorders in millions of children in the US, he warns. “Substances like antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic drugs cause severe, and potentially permanent, biochemical imbalances.”
An American Phenomenon
A number of presentations at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May 2009, addressed the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, including one titled, “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Critical Look at an American Phenomenon,” at which Dr Peter Parry, a consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist, and senior lecturer at Flinders University in Australia, presented a survey on, “Australian and New Zealand’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists’ Views on Bipolar Disorder Prevalence and on Rates of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder in the USA.”
Dr Parry and his colleagues conducted a survey of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand. Of the 199 psychiatrists who responded to the survey, 90.5% thought pediatric bipolar disorder was overdiagnosed in the US.
In an October 1, 2009 article titled, “Medicating Our Children,” Dr Parry reports that since “the mid-1990s in the USA, some researchers have claimed that Paediatric Bipolar Disorder (PBD) frequently starts prior to puberty.”
One of PBD’s main proponents, Harvard University’s Professor Joseph Biederman, stating onset “is squarely in the preschooler age group,” he notes.
Parry explains that “PBD has been created by moving the diagnostic goalposts away from traditional concepts of bipolar disorder.”
“In children,” he says, “episodes were redefined to last hours instead of days or weeks and, instead of manic elation, severe anger in children sufficed as mania.”
“Unlike diagnoses like ADHD or depression, or simply accepting a child has serious emotional and behavioural problems in reaction to various stressors, PBD implies a lifelong severe mental illness requiring of strong psychiatric medication,” Parry warns.
“In the USA,” he says, “the public is furthermore exposed to direct pharmaceutical advertising that can feed the natural desire parents of distressed and aggressive children have for a quick solution by suggesting a simple medication fix.”
“The medicating of America’s children has become intensely controversial, highlighted by the tragic case of Rebecca Riley, a four-year-old Boston girl diagnosed at 28 months old with ADHD and PBD,” he points out.
On April 7, 2009, the author of the book, “Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness,” Christopher Lane, featured an interview on his Psychology Today blog, “Side Effects,” with journalist, Philip Dawdy, the creator of the popular website, Furious Seasons, and discussed the rising number of children being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“As for bipolar disorder in kids (meaning pre-teens and younger), it’s simply not an issue in the rest of the world,” Dawdy told Lane. “The bipolar child is a purely American phenomenon.”
“The pharma companies and the Harvard crew worked hand-in-hand to bring America a generation of ADHD kids and bipolar children, and their profound influence can be seen in the millions of children and teens who now carry lifetime diagnoses and take gobs of psychotropic drugs each day, often to their detriment,” he advised.
Lane asked for Dawdy’s opinion on a recent report in the St Petersburg Times that found 23 infants less than one-year-old had been prescribed antipsychotics in Florida in 2007, as well as the drug overdose death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley in Massachusetts. “How is it possible for psychiatrists to continue prescribing to infants in such numbers without more oversight?” Lane asked.
“What’s gone on with antipsychotics prescribed to infants and toddlers is simply inexplicable to me,” Dawdy said. “The drugs are known to cause huge problems in adults, so why the heck would a doctor give them to little kids, especially infants? It boggles my small mind.”
“I’m no fan of bans or restrictions,” he told Lane, “but this does strike me as a situation where there needs to be a serious rethinking of what we are doing — and maybe there should be a ban on the use of these drugs in kids under, say, 6 years of age.”
An October 2007 report by the University of South Florida found the most common diagnosis for antipsychotic use with children in Florida’s Medicaid program, between July and December 2005, was ADHD. Roughly 54%, or 1,372 cases, involved prescriptions for children five and under and the total number of antipsychotic users in this young age group was 2,549, with all disorders combined, according to the report.
Increased Prescribing to Poor Children
Federally funded research published online in December, 2009, revealed that children covered by Medicaid were prescribed antipsychotics at a rate four time higher than children with private insurance. The data showed that more than 4% of children in Medicaid fee-for-service programs received antipsychotics, compared to less than 1% of privately insured youth. The study found Medicaid kids were more likely to receive antipsychotics for unapproved uses such as ADHD and conduct disorders than privately insured children.
The researchers examined records for children in seven states for the years 2001 and 2004, chosen as representative of the US Medicaid population. But more recent data through 2007 indicates that the disparity has remained, said Stephen Crystal, a Rutgers professor who led the study, according to the December 11, 2009, New York Times.
Antipsychotics were the top selling class of drugs in both 2008 and 2009. With sales of $14.6 billion in 2009, they brought in more than the $13.6 billion earned by both heart burn and cholesterol medications. Antidepressants ranked fourth with sales of $9.9 billion, according to data by IMS Health. In 2008, the drug makers took in $11.3 billion from antiseizure drugs and $4.8 billion from ADHD drugs.
In a new book titled, “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” Robert Whitaker reports that the number of children on government disability rolls due to severe mental illness has increased more than 35-fold since 1987.
The book explores the question of whether the epidemic rise in people disabled by mental illness, among all age groups in the US over the past 20 years, could have been fueled by a drug-based paradigm of care.
It also explores what is happening to children over the long-term who are placed on psychiatric drugs. “Once again, science tells a very clear story, and, as you might imagine, it is one that — when you think of the millions of children so affected — makes you want to weep,” Whitaker stated in a March 26, 2010, notice for the book’s release on the Beyond Meds Website.
April 23, 2010
by Jennifer Huget
“Help make the largest single donation to end breast cancer forever,” the campaign urges. The suggestion is that KFC will donate money — its goal is $8.5 million — to the charity at a rate of 50 cents for every special pink bucket of chicken sold over the next month.
But bear in mind that the “F” in KFC stands for “fried.” Here’s a line from the National Cancer Institute’s Web site:
“. . .studies have shown that an increased risk of developing colorectal, pancreatic, and breast cancer is associated with high intakes of well-done, fried, or barbequed meats.”
Beyond that, since obesity raises breast cancer risk, it’s worth looking at some numbers: According to the KFC Web site, an original-recipe fried chicken breast has 320 calories, 15 grams of total fat (including 3.5 grams of saturated fat); a thigh has 220 calories, 15 grams of total fat (4 of them saturated).
So, no, I don’t think that buying fried chicken by the bucket is a good way to fight breast cancer. Even the grilled-chicken option, though less caloric and fat-laden (a breast has 190 calories, 6 grams total fat and 1.5 grams saturated fat; the thigh has 150 calories, 9 grams total fat and 2.5 grams saturated fat), still fits into that “barbequed” category noted above.
So maybe you’re thinking, okay, I want to be supportive, so I’ll buy the bucket and chuck the chicken. No need. The fine print at the foot of the Web page points out that “KFC restaurant operators have contributed 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure for each Komen branded bucket purchased by the operators from April 5, 2010-May 9, 2010….Customer purchases of KFC buckets during the promotion will not directly increase the total contribution.” (It’s also noted that KFC has guaranteed the contribution will be at least $1million. Which really is very nice.)
Notice that the promotions are careful not to mention that any purchase is necessary. They simply say that “for every pink bucket” — not the sale of every bucket — fifty cents goes to Komen. So we consumers are off the hook, really.
A 10-piece bucket of KFC fried chicken (including the sides) costs about $20. If you’re really interested in supporting Komen for the Cure’s efforts, why not just mail them a check directly? Then take a moment to vote in today’s poll!
April 23, 2010
by Kate Holton and Georgina Prodhan
The Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (COSMOS) differs from previous attempts to examine links between cellphone use and diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders in that it will follow users’ behavior in real time.
Most other large-scale studies have centered around asking people already suffering from cancer or other diseases about their previous mobile-phone use. They have also been shorter, since cellphones have only been widely used for about a decade.
“One of the limitations of research to date is that when you ask people about their mobile phone use say five years ago there’s a lot of error,” said Jack Rowley, director of research and sustainability at industry body the GSM Association.
About 5 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide. To date, groups such as the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health have found no evidence that cellphone use harms health.
“Research to date has necessarily mainly focused on use in the short term, less than 10 years,” principal investigator Professor Paul Elliott of the School of Public Health at London’s Imperial College told a news conference.
“The COSMOS study will be looking at long-term use, 10, 20 or 30 years. And with long-term monitoring there will be time for diseases to develop,” he said.
The COSMOS study forms part of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Program (MTHR), a UK body funded by a variety of government and industry sources and run by independent experts, mostly university academics.
Professor Lawrie Challis from MTHR said: “Many cancers take 10, 15 years for the symptoms to appear. So we’ve got to address the question: Could there be something out there that we need to look at?”
The GSMA’s Rowley estimated that more than $100 million had been spent so far around the world on research into health risks from mobile phone usage.
Global spending on wireless equipment and services provided by companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in 2009, according to technology research firm iSuppli.
The COSMOS study is recruiting participants aged 18-69 in Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark through mobile carriers. It will use data from volunteers’ phone bills and health records as well as questionnaires.
Rowley, while welcoming the planned study, said organizers might have trouble finding enough volunteers, citing a previous attempt to carry out a similar study on a smaller scale in Germany in 2004, which foundered on privacy concerns.
In Britain, COSMOS is inviting 2.4 million mobile phone users to take part, through the country’s four top carriers: Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange. It hopes 90,000-100,000 will agree.
By late Thursday afternoon, 232 had signed up.
The study will examine all health developments and look for links to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as cancer.
It will also take account of how users carry their phone — for example in a trouser or chest pocket or in a bag — and whether they use hand-free kits.
A spokesman for Britain’s Health Protection Agency, an independent public body, said the study had the potential to give very reliable results.
“The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College is one of the best research centers in the world for this type of study,” he said.
COSMOS will announce its findings as it progresses.
April 23, 2010
A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia, researchers reported on Thursday.
The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii, usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said.
“This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people,” said Edmond Byrnes of Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study.
“The findings presented here document that the outbreak of C. gattii in Western North America is continuing to expand throughout this temperate region,” the researchers said in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000850.
“Our findings suggest further expansion into neighboring regions is likely to occur and aim to increase disease awareness in the region.”
The new strain appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed, they said.
“From 1999 through 2003, the cases were largely restricted to Vancouver Island,” the report reads.
“Between 2003 and 2006, the outbreak expanded into neighboring mainland British Columbia and then into Washington and Oregon from 2005 to 2009. Based on this historical trajectory of expansion, the outbreak may continue to expand into the neighboring region of Northern California, and possibly further.”
The spore-forming fungus can cause symptoms in people and animals two weeks or more after exposure. They include a cough that lasts for weeks, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, fever, nighttime sweats and weight loss.
It has also turned up in cats, dogs, an alpaca and a sheep.
Freezing can kill the fungus and climate change may be helping it spread, the researchers said.