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Monthly Archives: February 2008
This story was sent to me by a Blog Reader, Mr. Todd Barrish. Thanks Todd for the story! Hopefully we can raise awareness about this tragic disease. It may actually be more common that we think!
Their story was recently a featured on the front page of the titled, “Unspeakable loss, genetic puzzle” and can be found here – http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/15700892.html.
To give you a quick snapshot of the story, in September 2007 Lincoln B. Snyder (son of Craig Snyder and NiCole Robinson Snyder), died at 6 weeks old from the disease called Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD).
Lincoln is actually the 3rd child that Craig has lost to ACD. When Craig and his first wife lost Rebecca, their first child, they were told that ACD was a ‘mutation’ and they were safe to have a second child. And when Jonathan, their 2nd baby, died from ACD, the geneticists again offered their best theory: ACD must be a recessive condition, so both parents must carry the gene(s).
ACD has only been known to be very rare — with scarcely more than 114 cases documented in medical history — so, the thought that it could ever happen to Craig with someone else was completely out of the question. In fact, Craig and NiCole had one healthy daughter together name Shirley, which seemed to confirm this.
Then came Lincoln . Since Lincoln had ACD, his death has changed what scientists thought they knew about this disease. It now appears that ACD is caused by a dominant gene which only has to be carried by one parent. Therefore, many more children may be dying from it and we just don’t know it. The only way to diagnose ACD is to put lung tissue under a microscope. Since no autopsy is performed on most infants who die, many cases are certainly being misdiagnosed.
Craig and NiCole are now committed to unlocking part of the mystery of ACD and to finding the gene(s) that cause it. They have set up a Foundation with the potential to save other children, and all who love them, from the terrible suffering of this unspeakable disease.
I thought you may be interested in exploring this further, maybe taking a look at their plight. You can check out more info on this at www.3angelsfund.org.
World governments are focussing too much on fighting terrorism while obesity and other “lifestyle diseases” are killing millions more people, an international conference heard Monday.Overcoming deadly factors such as poor diet, smoking and a lack of exercise should take top priority in the fight against a growing epidemic of chronic disease, legal and health experts said.
Global terrorism was a real threat but posed far less risk than obesity, type two diabetes and smoking-related illnesses, US law professor Lawrence Gostin said at the Oxford Health Alliance Summit here.
“Ever since September 11 we’ve been lurching from one crisis to the next which has really frightened the public,” Gostin told AFP later.
“While we’ve been focussing so much attention on that we’ve had this silent epidemic of obesity that’s killing millions of people around the world and we’re devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money.”
The fifth annual conference of the Oxford Health Alliance — co-founded by Oxford University — has brought together world experts from academia, government, business, law, economics and urban planning to promote change.
Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world’s deaths, the meeting was told.
“It is true that new and re-emerging health threats such as SARS, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, terrorism, bioterrorism and climate change are dramatic and emotive,” said Stig Pramming, the Oxford group’s executive director.
“However, it is preventable chronic disease that will send health systems and economies to the wall.”
The conference is due to end Wednesday with a call on governments and big business among others to take action to avert the millions of premature deaths due to chronic disease.
Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium
Americann are having financial problems. Healthcare becoming less and less affordable. Many are you on the verge of losing their homes . The good news is we are safe from terrorists. Besides, there is a 1 in 9,300,000 million chance of being killed by one. It is unfortunate that many American families may become bankrupt, homeless and starving only to be one of the few protected from these evildoers.
———-The three trillion dollar war
By Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes
Feb 24, 2008, 10:42
The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have grown to staggering proportions
The Bush Administration was wrong about the benefits of the war and it was wrong about the costs of the war. The president and his advisers expected a quick, inexpensive conflict. Instead, we have a war that is costing more than anyone could have imagined.
The cost of direct US military operations – not even including long-term costs such as taking care of wounded veterans – already exceeds the cost of the 12-year war in Vietnam and is more than double the cost of the Korean War.
And, even in the best case scenario, these costs are projected to be almost ten times the cost of the first Gulf War, almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, and twice that of the First World War. The only war in our history which cost more was the Second World War, when 16.3 million U.S. troops fought in a campaign lasting four years, at a total cost (in 2007 dollars, after adjusting for inflation) of about $5 trillion (that’s $5 million million, or £2.5 million million). With virtually the entire armed forces committed to fighting the Germans and Japanese, the cost per troop (in today’s dollars) was less than $100,000 in 2007 dollars. By contrast, the Iraq war is costing upward of $400,000 per troop.
Most Americans have yet to feel these costs. The price in blood has been paid by our voluntary military and by hired contractors. The price in treasure has, in a sense, been financed entirely by borrowing. Taxes have not been raised to pay for it – in fact, taxes on the rich have actually fallen. Deficit spending gives the illusion that the laws of economics can be repealed, that we can have both guns and butter. But of course the laws are not repealed. The costs of the war are real even if they have been deferred, possibly to another generation.
On the eve of war, there were discussions of the likely costs. Larry Lindsey, President Bush’s economic adviser and head of the National Economic Council, suggested that they might reach $200 billion. But this estimate was dismissed as “baloney” by the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, suggested that postwar reconstruction could pay for itself through increased oil revenues. Mitch Daniels, the Office of Management and Budget director, and Secretary Rumsfeld estimated the costs in the range of $50 to $60 billion, a portion of which they believed would be financed by other countries. (Adjusting for inflation, in 2007 dollars, they were projecting costs of between $57 and $69 billion.) The tone of the entire administration was cavalier, as if the sums involved were minimal.
Even Lindsey, after noting that the war could cost $200 billion, went on to say: “The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.” In retrospect, Lindsey grossly underestimated both the costs of the war itself and the costs to the economy. Assuming that Congress approves the rest of the $200 billion war supplemental requested for fiscal year 2008, as this book goes to press Congress will have appropriated a total of over $845 billion for military operations, reconstruction, embassy costs, enhanced security at US bases, and foreign aid programmes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the fifth year of the war draws to a close, operating costs (spending on the war itself, what you might call “running expenses”) for 2008 are projected to exceed $12.5 billion a month for Iraq alone, up from $4.4 billion in 2003, and with Afghanistan the total is $16 billion a month. Sixteen billion dollars is equal to the annual budget of the United Nations, or of all but 13 of the US states. Even so, it does not include the $500 billion we already spend per year on the regular expenses of the Defence Department. Nor does it include other hidden expenditures, such as intelligence gathering, or funds mixed in with the budgets of other departments.
Because there are so many costs that the Administration does not count, the total cost of the war is higher than the official number. For example, government officials frequently talk about the lives of our soldiers as priceless. But from a cost perspective, these “priceless” lives show up on the Pentagon ledger simply as $500,000 – the amount paid out to survivors in death benefits and life insurance. After the war began, these were increased from $12,240 to $100,000 (death benefit) and from $250,000 to $400,000 (life insurance). Even these increased amounts are a fraction of what the survivors might have received had these individuals lost their lives in a senseless automobile accident. In areas such as health and safety regulation, the US Government values a life of a young man at the peak of his future earnings capacity in excess of
$7 million – far greater than the amount that the military pays in death benefits. Using this figure, the cost of the nearly 4,000 American troops killed in Iraq adds up to some $28 billion.
The costs to society are obviously far larger than the numbers that show up on the government’s budget. Another example of hidden costs is the understating of US military casualties. The Defence Department’s casualty statistics focus on casualties that result from hostile (combat) action – as determined by the military. Yet if a soldier is injured or dies in a night-time vehicle accident, this is officially dubbed “non combat related” – even though it may be too unsafe for soldiers to travel during daytime.
In fact, the Pentagon keeps two sets of books. The first is the official casualty list posted on the DOD website. The second, hard-to-find, set of data is available only on a different website and can be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. This data shows that the total number of soldiers who have been wounded, injured, or suffered from disease is double the number wounded in combat. Some will argue that a percentage of these non-combat injuries might have happened even if the soldiers were not in Iraq. Our new research shows that the majority of these injuries and illnesses can be tied directly to service in the war.
From the unhealthy brew of emergency funding, multiple sets of books, and chronic underestimates of the resources required to prosecute the war, we have attempted to identify how much we have been spending – and how much we will, in the end, likely have to spend. The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions. They are conceptually simple, even if occasionally technically complicated. A $3 trillion figure for the total cost strikes us as judicious, and probably errs on the low side. Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq.
From the beginning, the United Kingdom has played a pivotal role – strategic, military, and political – in the Iraq conflict. Militarily, the UK contributed 46,000 troops, 10 per cent of the total. Unsurprisingly, then, the British experience in Iraq has paralleled that of America: rising casualties, increasing operating costs, poor transparency over where the money is going, overstretched military resources, and scandals over the squalid conditions and inadequate medical care for some severely wounded veterans.
Before the war, Gordon Brown set aside £1 billion for war spending. As of late 2007, the UK had spent an estimated £7 billion in direct operating expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan (76 per cent of it in Iraq). This includes money from a supplemental “special reserve”, plus additional spending from the Ministry of Defence.
The special reserve comes on top of the UK’s regular defence budget. The British system is particularly opaque: funds from the special reserve are “drawn down” by the Ministry of Defence when required, without specific approval by Parliament. As a result, British citizens have little clarity about how much is actually being spent.
In addition, the social costs in the UK are similar to those in the US – families who leave jobs to care for wounded soldiers, and diminished quality of life for those thousands left with disabilities.
By the same token, there are macroeconomic costs to the UK as there have been to America, though the long-term costs may be less, for two reasons. First, Britain did not have the same policy of fiscal profligacy; and second, until 2005, the United Kingdom was a net oil exporter.
We have assumed that British forces in Iraq are reduced to 2,500 this year and remain at that level until 2010. We expect that British forces in Afghanistan will increase slightly, from 7,000 to 8,000 in 2008, and remain stable for three years. The House of Commons Defence Committee has recently found that despite the cut in troop levels, Iraq war costs will increase by 2 per cent this year and personnel costs will decrease by only 5 per cent. Meanwhile, the cost of military operations in Afghanistan is due to rise by 39 per cent. The estimates in our model may be significantly too low if these patterns continue.
Based on assumptions set out in our book, the budgetary cost to the UK of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2010 will total more than £18 billion. If we include the social costs, the total impact on the UK will exceed £20 billion.
© Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, 2008. Extracted from The Three Trillion Dollar War, to be published by Allen Lane on February 28 (£20). Copies can be ordered for £18 with free delivery from The Times BooksFirst 0870 1608080.
Joseph Stiglitz was chief economist at the World Bank and won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 2001. Linda Bilmes is a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The mysterious G spot – supposedly a route to female sexual satisfaction – can be located with ultrasound, claim Italian scientists. Some women say stimulating a certain part of the vagina triggers powerful orgasms, but medics have not been able to pin down the exact location.
Researchers told New Scientist magazine they found an area of thicker tissue among the women reporting orgasms.
But specialists warned there could be other reasons for this difference.
The existence of the G spot has remained controversial since the 1980s, when the term was coined as a way to explain why some women were able to achieve orgasm through vaginal stimulation, while others were not.Some specialists claim that the term has led to over-anxiety among women who cannot reach satisfaction this way, and their partners.
The latest research, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, was carried out the Dr Emmanuele Jannini at the University of L’Aquila, and involved just 20 women.
Ultrasound was used to measure the size and shape of the tissue beyond the “front” wall of the vagina, often suggested as the location of the G spot.
In the nine women who reported being able to achieve vaginal orgasm, the tissues between the vagina and the urethra – which carries urine out of the body – were on average thicker than in the 11 women who could not reach orgasm this way.
|It’s telling people that there is a single, best way to have sex, which isn’t the right thing to do
Dr Petra Boynton
University College London
Dr Jannini said: “For the first time, it is possible to determine by a simple, rapid and inexpensive method if a woman has got a G spot or not.”However, Dr Tim Spector, from St Thomas’ Hospital in London, told New Scientist that the thicker tissue might actually be part of the clitoris – another extremely sensitive area.Another suggestion was that, rather than being the cause of more orgasms, having these frequently might actually lead to better-developed musculature in this area.
Dr Petra Boynton, a sexual psychologist at University College London, said that an entire industry had grown up around the idea of a G spot, and it was unhelpful to label women unable to find theirs as “dysfunctional”.
She said: “We’re all different. Some women will have certain area within the vagina which will be very sensitive, and some won’t – but they won’t necessarily be in the area called the G spot.
“If a woman spends all her time worrying about whether she is normal, or has a G spot or not, she will focus on just one area, and ignore everything else.
“It’s telling people that there is a single, best way to have sex, which isn’t the right thing to do.”
Calls to put the DNA of every UK resident on a national database are impractical, the government has said. A senior police officer has argued for a universal register, after two killers were convicted on DNA evidence.
Sally Anne Bowman’s killer, Mark Dixie, and Suffolk serial murderer Steve Wright were both captured because their DNA was taken after unrelated offences.
But the Home Office said a mandatory database “would raise significant practical and ethical issues”.
The DNA database, which covers England and Wales, currently contains around 4.5m profiles – routinely taken from criminal suspects after most arrests.
It is already the largest of its kind in the world but is controversial.
Since 2004, the data of everyone arrested for a recordable offence – all but the most minor offences – has remained on the system regardless of their age, the seriousness of their alleged offence, and whether or not they were prosecuted….read rest of story