Friday, June 02, 2006

Week Ending June 2, 2006

U.N. Special Session on HIV/AIDS
The U.N. convened a special session focused on the single topic of HIV/AIDS. Sadly, despite serving as host country, the United States sent no high-level administration officials. The First Lady spoke, and in all fairness, did her best to tow the company line. More sobering remarks were delivered by U.N. Secretary General on the status of our global struggle with the pandemic. His assessment leans towards the need to be more aggressive in the battle, as the plague seems to be outpacing our efforts. Go to: for a review of the NY Times news piece.

Is Too Much Folic Acid Harmful to Babies
A recent study published in the journal Nature, has added more fuel to the controversy over Folic Acid supplements for expecting mothers. Deficiencies have been associated with spinal defects in developing fetuses, prompting the US to require supplementing all breads with Folic Acid. A research team in Houston has reported that elevated levels of Folic Acid in mice have been linked to excessive weight-gain. There are no reports of Folic Acid linked to weight-gain in humans. Already loosely linked to certain cancers, now the prospect of adding to the already epidemic obesity crisis is adding more scrutiny to the excessive use of Folic Acid. Perhaps this will widen the scope of research concerning the prolific use of mega-doses of vitamins in general. Go to:

Transgenic Goats Produce Human Drug
A US-based company has won approval to sell an anti-clotting drug, A Trypn, extracted from goat’s milk, in Europe. Human genes were spliced into the goat genes, and expressed in their milk. This is hailed as a break-through, as a single goat can produce nearly 100,000 times the amount of product extracted from a unit of blood plasma. Go to:

Medical Use for Cannabis in Mitigating Pain
Research reported in the journal Anesthesiology reports Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in Cannabis plants, has shown great promise in reducing pain following surgery. They are thought to complement the body’s natural pain management system. Side-effects of nausea and rapid heart rates were associated with higher doses. Cannabinoids could represent a new class of drug for post-operative pain management. Go to:

Earliest Evidence of Farming
A joint US-Israeli team has uncovered evidence that man has been farming figs for 11,400 years, which is about 6,000 earlier than first thought…predating even wheat and beans as the first cultivated crops. The team uncovered a species of fossilized figs in the Lower Jordanian Valley which appear to suggest they could have only resulted from human intervention. Go to:


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