Mystery blind births in Bihar

How will this be covered? Probably some environmental toxin, but I’m interested to see how the reporting of this impacts the investigation:

Mystery blind births in Bihar
Giridhar Jha

Ajay Kumar from Bihiya, Parshuram from Shahpur, Shatrughan from Barhara and Arun Kumar from Piro, all villagers of Bhojpur district in Bihar, have one thing in common: their new-born babies are blind at birth. There are 16 other couples from different parts of this district whose infants are afflicted with the same congenital defect.

Bhojpur is in the grip of a mystery disease – 20 children have been born blind in the last three months.

Continue reading “Mystery blind births in Bihar”

Mystery blind births in Bihar

Doubts about GMO safety (Updated 1x)

A study that shows GMO maize isn’t safe; how will this play out in the media and how the FDA will address this?

Three Approved GMO’s Linked to Organ Damage

Friday 08 January 2010

In what is being described as the first ever and most comprehensive study of the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers have linked organ damage with consumption of Monsanto’s GM maize.

The Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) and Universities of Caen and Rouen studied Monsanto’s 90-day feeding trials data of insecticide-producing Mon 810, Mon 863 and Roundup® herbicide absorbing NK 603 varieties of GM maize.

The data “clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system,” reported Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen.

“Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMO’s, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data.”

Related Stories:

http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2228

http://gefreebc.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/gm-seeds-threaten-world-food-supply/

http://supermarketnews.com/viewpoints/stakeholders-gmo-debate-prepare-1207/index.html

Doubts about GMO safety (Updated 1x)

More Not-for-profit journalism

HuffPost starts investigative reporting fund
Mar. 30th, 2009 by Pia Christensen · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Health journalism

The Huffington Post is launching a fund that will support investigative reporting. The initial budget of $1.75 million is expected to pay for 10 staff journalists who will coordinate stories with freelancers.

Work that the journalists produce will be available for any publication or Web site to use at the same time it is posted on The Huffington Post, she said.

The first topic the journalists will be expected to delve into is the nation’s economy.

The Huffington Post skews liberal, but its founder promised that the work done by the investigative fund would be nonpartisan. The group would be discredited quickly if it puts out faulty information, said Nick Penniman, the fund’s executive director.

“We care about democracy, not Democrats,” he said.

More Not-for-profit journalism

Without chemistry, Life itself would be impossible…(Part II)

I really hated that old commercial, which was being widely played in the early to mid 80’s, so this post is a follow-up to that irritating, then-ubiquitous ad.  SNL did a great spoof of this; its probably on youtube now.  Well the chickens have come home to roost.  But where are the folks at that PR firm that thought up that original ad, taking care of their autistic grandchildren? Probably not–they are hiring that out to their live-in nannies, which they can surely afford:

New Study: Autism Linked to Environment

Research links soaring incidence of the mysterious neurological disorder to fetal and infant exposure to pesticides, viruses, household chemicals
By Marla Cone

California’s sevenfold increase in autism cannot be explained by changes in doctors’ diagnoses and most likely is due to environmental exposures, University of California scientists reported Thursday. The scientists who authored the new study advocate a nationwide shift in autism research to focus on potential factors in the environment that babies and fetuses are exposed to, including pesticides, viruses and chemicals in household products.
“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiology professor at University of California, Davis who led the study.

Further thoughts on developments such as this, obviously the first of many:

Continue reading “Without chemistry, Life itself would be impossible…(Part II)”

Without chemistry, Life itself would be impossible…(Part II)

Another Non-profit news entity

Here’s another example of the growing trend of the not-for-profit news entity, as I have been predicting here for a long time now.  In the post “Rumours of the death of newspapers have been greatly exaggerated,” for example. In the meantime, the momentum of the not-for-profit news providing sector continues to grow, despite silly rantings from libertarians that corporations need to be allowed to buy up and control all of the remaining newspapers. This is a story about the Center for California Health Care Journalism.  Note that this a partnership with the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California.   Such not-for-profits will be able to assist cash-strapped newspapers do the quality reporting they need to do.

What’s more, because of the superior moral connectivity of not-for-profit entities, they will be able to out maneuver the for-profit industries, and the not-for profits representing for-profits (for example industry associations, or corporate funded think tanks, or those think tanks which keep their funding secret.) I like especially the quote ‘the center is part of a growing trend of nonprofit…”  Within the next year or two we will see the realization grow that newspapers should be non-profits; this idea will rapidly gain traction if a major story is broken by such an entity.  There’s nothing that I can see that will reverse this trend. :

Project launches test of a new model for health journalism Date: 12/10/08

The Center for California Health Care Journalism is a new organization formed to report on health care issues that concern Californians. The center is supported by the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California and funded by the California HealthCare Foundation.” [Learn more about the center in this brochure (PDF).]

Looking into the future

The center is in the process of hiring two more people. Parks declined to name them because they’ve not yet been formally hired but he did say one has been a reporter at The Orange County Register and the other a reporter at the Sacramento Bee.

Parks said the Center is in talks with the Fresno Bee, the North County Times in Escondido, Calif., and a couple of papers in northern California to do projects.

As far as the goals of the center, Parks says “We are engaged in solutions-based journalism.” That amounts to reporting on issues and problems but also exploring solutions. “We hope these projects create a civil dialogue. …Part of the responsibility of journalists is to go out and examine the solutions.”

Parks sees radio as a medium in which the partnership model could be effective. “I think we would be able to do a lot on the public radio stations. I think we’d be able to do a lot on Spanish language radio.” He acknowledges that doing these kind of projects on television is a real challenge because of equipment and staffing needs, as well as time constraints.

The center is about two months into the six-month trial. Once the trial is over, Parks will report to the foundation for a review.

The center is part of a growing trend of nonprofit organizations actively reporting health stories. In recent months, the Kaiser Family Foundation announced plans for its own Kaiser Health News. The Kansas Health Institute – supported by foundations – employs writers and editors in its own news service, and the foundation-supported Web site Florida Health News collects stories and does some original health reporting.

Another Non-profit news entity

Coverage of Healthcare Reporting

A new blog (just started in November 2008) of the American Association of Healthcare Journalists looks to be an interesting resource for a concern of this blog, namely, the relative lack of quality reporting regarding healthcare issues:

Covering Health is a blog maintained by the Association of Health Care Journalists. It is intended to help keep journalists who report on health and health care issues informed about the latest news in the field, aware of noteworthy stories and reports, and able to connect with colleagues.

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. There are more than 1,100 members of AHCJ.

Along with its 501(c)3 educational arm – The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism – AHCJ offers training opportunities, fellowships, publications and Web resources for reporters covering all aspects of health care journalism, including medical research, public policy, consumer health, health law, clinical health, public health, ethics and the business of health care.

Coverage of Healthcare Reporting

The material is of a type that is often made public, however we have so far been unable to find reference to the report on cdc.gov or elsewhere on the internet or in the press.

A leaked Powerpoint presentation from wikileaks, showing that wikileaks is doing exactly what it should be doing: providing the raw information for good public health reporting, public health reporting that causes those in power to be asked a lot of difficult questions, so that things get fixed.  In this case the information is the dramatic rise in human rabies cases in China from 1996 (159 cases) to 2007 (3,300 cases).  It is sad to see China backslide, going so far backwards.  That’s why now, more than ever, China needs democracy.

The title of this post is the note the uploader of the leaked document added when she/he uploaded the file to wikileaks.

But, question, where is the public health reporting on this issue?  I understand it won’t happen in China, with their rather constrained press, but why not in Taiwan or Singapore?

rabies_explosion_china_chart1

rabies_explosion_china_map_19995

rabies_explosion_china_map_20073

The material is of a type that is often made public, however we have so far been unable to find reference to the report on cdc.gov or elsewhere on the internet or in the press.