A review conducted by researchers by the University of California, San Diego, has found a strong connection between exposure to specific chemicals and the Gulf War illness experienced by veterans. The symptoms are mood-cognition problems, fatigue and musculoskeletal symptoms. To be precise, this includes muscle and joint pain, memory problems, rashes, sleep issues and breathing trouble. Veterans of the Persian Gulf War have elevated rates of chronic multi-symptom health problems compared to those who were never deployed in the military or those who were deployed in other areas.
Up to one third of veterans were exposed to pesticides, nerve agents and other chemical exposures. “Convergent evidence now strongly links a class of chemicals — acetylcholinesterase inhibitors — to illness in Gulf War veterans,” Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California, San Diego, said.
To protect against exposure to nerve agents, veterans were given pills known as carbamate pyridostigmine bromide which contained acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which is an enzyme that regulates the vital neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Unfortunately, this backfired and the studies show that those who took the pill have worsened symptoms than those who did not.
“Across studies, significant positive relationships of acetylcholinesterase -related exposures to illness in GWV outnumber significant negative relationships more than chance would predict,” wrote Golomb. “The studies show a high consistency, with most showing a significant (typically strong) positive association. Few non-significant findings are present and virtually no inverse associations.”
Furthermore, it has been regrettable to note that some people have genetic variants that make them more vulnerable to such chemicals, and when exposed, these people are in more jeopardy of illness. “There is evidence that genetics have something to do with how a body handles exposure to these chemicals,” said Golomb. “Some people are genetically less able to withstand these toxins and evidence shows that these individuals have higher chance of suffering the effects of exposure.”
Administrator @ March 10, 2008
It has been found in American medical research studies that the most prescribed drug in the country, antidepressants, aren’t that entirely effective. According to researchers, they work as well as sugar pills and those who do improve are thought to only get better because of the placebo effect. “When you have samples of lower levels of depression, the benefits were very modest and even disappeared,” said Blair T. Johnsons, Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. “My theory is that human beings are very suggestible creatures. The patient who takes these drugs then might, in believing they feel better, start to act in a way that actually makes them feel better. Consequently you have almost as big an effect for placebo as you do for drugs.”
This has created a debate on what are the most appropriate and successful therapies for depression and has questioned whether or not clinical trials are actually successful in determining their effectiveness. Drugs are given almost freely in America compared to other western countries where a series of tests and other treatments are approached to help combat depression before the pills are recommended. Over 30 million prescriptions of antidepressants are filled out each year around the world yet it’s not recommended as the first resort to combat depression. Psychotherapy is one of the most effective ways to fight depression however accessing therapists and finding the time for sessions is difficult in this modern world.
Britain has done its share of research and has concluded the same result as The University of Connecticut in America – antidepressants are as successful as placebos and make only a small difference in serious depression. “Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit,” said lead researcher Professor Irving Kirsch of the University of Hull in Britain.
Administrator @ March 2, 2008
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As the USA watches the competition between Barack Obama, an Illinois senator, and Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, in their campaign to win the Democratic Party, one thing that remains certain is that history is taking place. Either way, America is clearly beginning to be open to dramatic changes and new outlooks with it’s acceptance of the possibility of a black man or a woman leading their country.
Despite appearing seemingly polite and reasonable with each other, the undermining comments that are slyly directed at each other have evidently shown that the race is on. The recent picture of Obama wearing traditional Somali clothing, which unfortunately and ignorantly reinforces the negative stereotype that Americans perceive with terrorism, has been blamed on the Clinton campaign. Obama’s spokesman issued a statement, ““On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election.”
The response on Clinton’s behalf regarding the accusation of circulating the photo was a straight-forward and blunt statement. “Enough. If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.”
The Clinton statement raises questions to Barack Obama’s defensive reaction. Why be ashamed and over protective by merely wearing traditional clothing of the country you’re visiting? Yet on the other hand, Clinton has been increasingly making indirect sneaky comments that are clearly meant for Obama and it could be forgiven about the assumption that her campaign was behind all this. “We have seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience or the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our nation. America has already taken that chance one time too many,” Clinton recently said in a speech in Washington.
Another comment she has made directly and aggressively was, “Shame on you, Barack Obama. It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That is what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio and let us have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.” His response was to say, “I am puzzled by the sudden change in tone, unless these were just brought to her attention. It makes me think that there is something tactical about her getting so exercised. The notion that somehow we are engaging in nefarious tactics, I think, is pretty hard to swallow”.
By March 4th 2008, the decisive vote in Ohio and Texas will mostly likely give insight into who’s likely to win the campaign. Clinton will need big victories since losing 11 straight contests to Obama. Her fear and insecurities are prominent as her derogatory comments continue to flow including saying that Obama “wavers from seeming to believe that mediation and meetings without preconditions can solve some of the world’s most intractable problems to advocating rash unilateral military action without cooperation among allies in the most sensitive region of the world.”
When Obama suggested meeting with intimidating leaders to the USA, she criticized his suggestion, “We simply cannot legitimize rogue regimes or weaken American prestige by impulsively agreeing to presidential level talks that have no preconditions. It may sound good … but it doesn’t meet the real world test of foreign policy.”
Although both campaigns appear to be using their money wisely, making good strategic calls and try hard to operate at their best to appeal to the public, it seems the initial assumption that the inexperienced Obama would not do as well as Clinton has been underestimated. His only weakness is not being as experienced as Clinton and the only reason why either would lose is the simple fact that neither are better than the other – they are just as good as each other.
Administrator @ February 25, 2008
WASHINGTON, February 1 – Senator John Kerry’s attempt to block the confirmation of Justice Alito were unsuccessful. Without any problems Alito became the new Justice on the Supreme Court, replacing Sandra Day O’Connor. The 58-42 vote in favor leaves nothing to chance.
The question now is how his confirmation will change the legal landscape. This year at least a half dozen cases will appear before the court which will very well prove whether Alito follows O’Connor’s line or sets out his own. In the prior composition Justice O’Connor and Justice Kennedy were always the swing votes on many hot issues. Now with O’Connor out of the way and a conservative Justice instead it is most likely that Kennedy is the only remaining swing vote. High on the list of important issues are always the abortion rights and more recently the treatment of terror suspects.
Although it is not likely that the core ruling of Roe vs. Wade will be altered it is possible that many other abortion rulings will swing the other way in light of the new Justice. On Roe vs. Wade the Supreme Court was divided in six against three. Former Chief Justice Rehnquist was on the minority side so his replacement with John Roberts will make no difference. O’Connor was on the majority side so a switch of votes by Alito will still leave a 5-4 score.
The first cases Alito will be working on are those of the treatment of terror suspects. More specific the rules that terror suspects have no right to challenge their detention before court. Because Roberts was already involved in this case in appeal he will not participate in this case which could mean that it ends up in a 4-4 tie.
Only time will tell what will change, let’s hope they decide for the good of the country.
Administrator @ February 1, 2006
WASHINGTON, January 29 – The long-lasting case of Jack Abramoff is one of bribery, felons, and quite possibly a political earthquake. So far the damage has been moderate but there is potential for so much more.
Today Republican lawmakers called on Bush to release any information on contact with Abramoff from the White House. Who met with him, who called him, what happened where. Full disclosure should be given to prevent any risk of allegations. Abramoff was a top-fundraiser on Bush’s re-election campaign and seeing his track record many will of course conclude that he had influence in the White House.
Bush himself does not care much about releasing this information. He is absolutely sure there was no foul play in the White House because of him and Bush did not even know him personally. Although Bush is in photos with him numerous times Bush still claims to not have met him on a personal level. The recorded visits of Abramoff to the White House are still confidential though, there is no indication who he met with and for what reason. Bush’s adviser is confident there will be no inquiry for such information since it is not relevant to the case, according to him.
Administrator @ January 29, 2006