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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vitamins 'could shorten lifespan'

Taking certain vitamin supplements may adversely affect people's lifespan, researchers have suggested.

Millions worldwide use antioxidant supplements such as vitamins A and E, and beta-carotene.

Looking at dozens of previous research studies, Copenhagen University researchers suggested these appeared to raise, not lower, the risk of death.

Beta-carotene produced an approximate 7% increased risk, vitamin E a 4% increase and vitamin A a 16% increase.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Richard and Judy quiz scrutinised

Channel 4 is investigating claims that viewers were asked to ring a £1-a-time quiz on its Richard and Judy show, even though callers had already been chosen.

E-mails leaked to the Mail on Sunday alleged that the You Say, We Pay contest was being promoted on-air even after a winner had been selected.

The competition was dropped from Friday's edition of the teatime show.

Channel 4 said "something had obviously gone awry", and added it was committed to acting "fairly and transparently".

"We reject any suggestion that we would knowingly mislead viewers in any way," a statement from the broadcaster said.

Combined with the furore over this year's Celebrity Big Brother, last year's 3000 complaints about Big Brother evictions and the Golden Ticket row it seems that Channel 4 are intent on a course of action that can only end badly.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Viagra used to save baby's life

Viagra has been used by doctors on Tyneside as a last resort to save the life of a premature baby.

Lewis Goodfellow was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1lb 8oz. One of his lungs had failed and not enough oxygen was able to get into his bloodstream.

Doctors at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary then tried Sildenafil, also known under the trade name of Viagra, and Lewis is now home with his parents.

The drug opened up tiny blood vessels in the baby's lungs.

Parents Jade Goodfellow and John Barclay, from Walker, Newcastle believe the drug - more usually associated with anti-impotence - saved his life.

At one point they were so concerned he would not survive that they began planning a funeral.

Alan Fenton, consultant neonatologist at the hospital, said: "The problem we see in premature babies with breathing difficulties is although we can blow oxygen into their lungs to help them, there isn't enough blood supply to various areas of the lungs to take the oxygen around the rest of the body.

"What Sildenafil does is open up the blood vessels so they can capture the oxygen and take it around the body."

Time for a bad pun: it's hard to conceive Viagra could be put to use in this way.

Monday, February 12, 2007

No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons

No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons

I've been sentenced for a D.U.I. offense. My 3rd one. When I first came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall white male, who unfortunately has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have got me raped so many times I have no more feelings physically. I have been raped by up to 5 black men and two white men at a time. I've had knifes at my head and throat. I had fought and been beat so hard that I didn't ever think I'd see straight again. One time when I refused to enter a cell, I was brutally attacked by staff and taken to segragation though I had only wanted to prevent the same and worse by not locking up with my cell mate. There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me that off the record, He suggests I find a man I would/could willingly have sex with to prevent these things from happening. I've requested protective custody only to be denied. It is not available here. He also said there was no where to run to, and it would be best for me to accept things . . . . I probably have AIDS now. I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares or thinking to hard on all this . . . . I've laid down without physical fight to be sodomized. To prevent so much damage in struggles, ripping and tearing. Though in not fighting, it caused my heart and spirit to be raped as well. Something I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for.

Letter from A.H. to Human Rights Watch, August 30, 1996. In this excerpt, as in other excerpts from prisoners' letters included in this report, the author's idiosyncracies of spelling and grammar have been retained. In addition, prisoners' names and other identifying facts have been withheld to protect their privacy.

Human Rights Watch

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anaesthetic linked to Alzheimer's

A commonly used anaesthetic could cause changes in the brain linked to Alzheimer's, a US study suggests.

The anaesthetic isoflurane is linked to cell death.

The researchers said the Journal of Neuroscience findings from cell tests suggested caution was needed regarding the anaesthetic's use for the elderly.

Alzheimer's experts said work was needed to check if similar effects occurred in patients, and anaesthetists urged caution over the study."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Microsoft's own antivirus fails to secure Vista

Microsoft's own antivirus software, Live OneCare, is unable to fully protect Vista users against viruses, and one of security firm McAfee's antivirus software packages also fails to protect users, according to independent research released Friday.

Security news Web site Virus Bulletin, backed by a team of security researchers based in Oxfordshire, U.K., tested 15 antivirus software packages used by businesses and designed specifically for Vista, Microsoft's newest operating system. The packages were released to businesses two months ago.

The researchers tested whether each of the antivirus products would stop a set of viruses known to be currently circulating. In order to be awarded a pass, the software had to detect all the viruses with no false positives.

But out of the 15, four failed: Microsoft Live OneCare 1.5; McAfee VirusScan Enterprise version 8.1i; G DATA AntiVirusKit 2007 v17.0.6353; and Norman VirusControl v5.90. The other 11, including software from CA, Fortinet, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Sophos and Symantec, detected all the viruses."

So much for Vista being a huge improvement on security.

Ghastly La Vista, baby.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rape prosecutions 'must improve'

Police and prosecutors are failing to implement measures to boost the rape conviction rate, watchdogs have warned.

The police and the Crown Prosecution Service watchdogs said more effort should be made to build stronger cases.

Their report says too many rape claims in England and Wales are wrongly dismissed as unfounded.

Only 5% of reported rapes end in a conviction. The director of public prosecutions says he is 'determined' to improve the way rape cases are handled.

BlogThis button is fixed!

BlogThis! is not yet supported in beta (it won't accept beta login information). This applies both to the original BlogThis! link as well as the Blogger button on the Google Toolbar.

It's FIXED! At last!

You can find the BlogThis button here. Just drag it and drop it onto your browser toolbar.

I found myself utterly lost without this little function - so much so, in fact, that I started another blog using Wordpress - Soapster.

In case you don't know, the BlogThis button is a little shortcut that enables you to blog directly from a page you are viewing - all you do is hit the shortcut and viola! A new window opens up all ready and waiting to accept your bloggy thoughts. Hit 'Publish' and that's your blog post made.

It's been missing ever since I switched over from Blogger to Blogger Beta (er, no longer Beta).