Oncology Dietitian Exposes Fraud in CDC’s HPV Vaccine Effectiveness Study.

Story at-a-glance

  • An oncology dietitian has pointed out significant discrepancies in a new HPV vaccine effectiveness study that claims the vaccine’s effectiveness is “high”
  • Recent reductions in HPV infection prevalence among young women in the US cannot be said to be due to introduction of Gardasil vaccine in 2006 and use of HPV vaccines by pre-teen and teenage girls since then; the data clearly shows that unvaccinated girls had the best outcome
  • In 2007-2010, HPV prevalence dropped 27.3 percent in the unvaccinated girls, but only declined by 5.8 percent in the vaccinated group. In four out of five different measures, the unvaccinated girls had a lower incidence of HPV
  • According to Merck’s own research before Gardasil was licensed, if you’ve been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior to receiving Gardasil vaccine, you could increase your risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent.
  • Judicial Watch has received previously withheld documents from the DDHS, which reveal that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has awarded $5,877,710 to 49 victims for harm resulting from the HPV vaccine.
  • vaccine

There are currently two HPV vaccines on the market, but if there was any regard for sound scientific evidence, neither would be promoted as heavily as they are. The first, Gardasil, was licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. It is now recommended as a routine vaccination for girls and women between the ages of 9-26 in the US.

On October 25, 2011, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also voted to recommend giving the HPV vaccine to males between the ages of 11 and 21. The second HPV vaccine, Cervarix, was licensed in 2009.

Most recently, an oncology dietitian pointed out significant discrepancies2 in a new HPV vaccine effectiveness study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases3, which evaluated data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), 2003-2006 and 2007-2010.

The study pointed out that HPV vaccine uptake among young girls in the US has been low but concluded that:

“Within four years of vaccine introduction, the vaccine-type HPV prevalence decreased among females aged 14–19 years despite low vaccine uptake. The estimated vaccine effectiveness was high.”

Assessing the Overall Impact of the HPV Vaccine

In her article4, Sharlene Bidini, RD, CSO, points out that the study’s conclusion was based on 740 girls, of which only 358 were sexually active, and of those, only 111 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. In essence, the vast majority was unvaccinated, and nearly half were not at risk of HPV since they weren’t sexually active.

“If the study authors were trying to determine vaccine effectiveness, why did they include the girls who had not received a single HPV shot or did not report having sex?” she writes.

“Table 1 from the journal article compares 1,363 girls, aged 14-19, in the pre-vaccine era (2003-2006) to all 740 girls in the post-vaccine era (2007-2010) regardless of sexual history or immunization status.”

In the pre-vaccine era, an estimated 53 percent of sexually active girls between the ages of 14-19 had HPV. Between 2007 and 2010, the overall prevalence of HPV in the same demographic declined by just over 19 percent to an overall prevalence of nearly 43 percent.

As Bidini points out, this reduction in HPV prevalence can NOT be claimed to be due to the effectiveness of HPV vaccinations. On the contrary, the data clearly shows that it was the unvaccinated girls in this group that had the best outcome!

“In 2007-2010, the overall prevalence of HPV was 50 percent in the vaccinated girls (14-19 years), but only 38.6 percent in the unvaccinated girls of the same age.

Therefore, HPV prevalence dropped 27.3 percent in the unvaccinated girls, but only declined by 5.8 percent in the vaccinated group. In four out of five different measures, the unvaccinated girls had a lower incidence of HPV,” she writes.

Furthermore, in the single instance where unvaccinated girls had a 9.5 percent higher prevalence of HPV, a note stated that the relative standard error was greater than 30 percent, leading Bidini to suspect that “the confidence interval values must have been extremely wide. Therefore, this particular value is subject to too much variance and doesn’t have much value.”

Another fact hidden among the reported data was that among the 740 girls included in the post-vaccine era (2007-2010), the prevalence of high-risk, non-vaccine types of HPV also significantly declined, from just under 21 percent to just over 16 percent.

So, across the board, HPV of all types, whether included in the vaccine or not, declined. This points to a reduction in HPV prevalence that has nothing to do with vaccine coverage. Besides, vaccine uptake was very LOW to begin with.

All in all, one can conclude that there were serious design flaws involved in this study—whether intentional or not—leading the researchers to erroneously conclude that the vaccine effectiveness was “high.” Clearly the effectiveness of the vaccine was anything but high, since the unvaccinated group fared far better across the board.

Case Report of a Gardasil Death Confirms Presence of HPV DNA Fragments

Earlier this year, a lab scientist, who discovered HPV DNA fragments in the blood of a teenage girl who died after receiving the Gardasil vaccine, published a case report in the peer reviewed journal Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology5. The otherwise healthy girl died in her sleep six months after receiving her third and final dose of the HPV vaccine. A full autopsy revealed no cause of death.

Sin Hang Lee with the Milford Molecular Laboratory in Connecticut confirmed the presence of HPV-16 L1 gene DNA in the girl’s postmortem blood and spleen tissue. These DNA fragments are also found in the vaccine. The fragments were protected from degradation by binding firmly to the particulate aluminum adjuvant used in the vaccine.

“The significance of these HPV DNA fragments of a vaccine origin found in post-mortem materials is not clear and warrants further investigation,” he wrote.

Lee suggests the presence of HPV DNA fragments of vaccine origin might offer a plausible explanation for the high immunogenicity of Gardasil, meaning that the vaccine has the ability to provoke an exaggerated immune response. He points out that the rate of anaphylaxis in girls receiving Gardasil is far higher than normal—reportedly five to 20 times higher than any other school-based vaccination program!

HPV Vaccine Is Associated with Serious Health Risks, Including Sudden Death

Many women are not aware that the HPV vaccine Gardasil might actually increase your risk of cervical cancer. Initially, that information came straight from Merck and was presented to the FDA prior to approval6. According to Merck’s own research, if you have been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior to receipt of Gardasil vaccine, you could increase your risk of precancerous lesions, or worse, by 44.6 percent.

Other health problems associated with Gardasil vaccine include immune-based inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting that something is causing the immune system to overreact in a detrimental way—sometimes fatally.

  • Between June 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, there were 12,424 reported adverse events following Gardasil vaccination, including 32 deaths. The girls, who were on average 18 years old, died within two to 405 days after their last Gardasil injection
  • Between May 2009 and September 2010, 16 additional deaths after Gardasil vaccination were reported. For that timeframe, there were also 789 reports of “serious” Gardasil adverse reactions, including 213 cases of permanent disability and 25 diagnosed cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011, another 26 deaths were reported following HPV vaccination
  • As of May 13, 2013, VAERS had received 29,686 reports of adverse events following HPV vaccinations, including 136 reports of death,7, as well as 922 reports of disability, and 550 life-threatening adverse events

Lawsuit Reveals Payouts of Nearly $6 Million to HPV Vaccine-Damaged Victims

On February 28, 2013 the government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to obtain records from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) related to the HPV vaccine8. The lawsuit was filed in order to force the DHHS to comply with an earlier FOIA request, filed in November 2012, which had been ignored. As reported by WND.com9:

“Judicial Watch wants all records relating to the VICP, any documented injuries or deaths associated with HPV vaccines and all records of compensation paid to the claimants following injury or death allegedly associated with the HPV vaccines… The number of successful claims made under the VICP to victims of HPV will provide further information about any dangers of the vaccine, including the number of well-substantiated cases of adverse reactions.”

On March 20, Judicial Watch announced it had received the FOIA documents from the DDHS, which revealed that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has awarded $5,877,710 to 49 victims for harm resulting from the HPV vaccine. According to the press release10“On March 12, 2013, The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of HHS, provided Judicial Watch with documents revealing the following information:

  • Only 49 of the 200 claims filed have been compensated for injury or death caused from the (HPV) vaccine. Of the 49 compensated claims, 47 were for injury caused from the (HPV) vaccine. The additional 2 claims were for death caused due to the vaccine.
  • 92 (nearly half) of the total 200 claims filed are still pending. Of those pending claims, 87 of the claims against the (HPV) vaccine were filed for injury. The remaining 5 claims were filed for death.
  • 59 claims have been dismissed outright by VICP. The alleged victims were not compensated for their claims against the HPV vaccine. Of the claims dismissed, 57 were for injuries, 2 were for deaths allegedly caused by the HPV vaccine.
  • The amount awarded to the 49 claims compensated totaled 5,877,710.87 dollars. This amounts to approximately $120,000 per claim.

This new information from the government shows that the serious safety concerns about the use of Gardasil have been well-founded,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children.”

Review of HPV Trials Conclude Effectiveness Is Still Unproven

Last year, a systematic review11 of pre- and post-licensure trials of the HPV vaccine by researchers at University of British Columbia showed that the vaccine’s effectiveness is not only overstated (through the use of selective reporting or “cherry picking” data) but also unproven. In the summary of the clinical trial review, the authors state it quite clearly:

“We carried out a systematic review of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure trials to assess the evidence of their effectiveness and safety. We found that HPV vaccine clinical trials design, and data interpretation of both efficacy and safety outcomes, were largely inadequate. Additionally, we note evidence of selective reporting of results from clinical trials (i.e., exclusion of vaccine efficacy figures related to study subgroups in which efficacy might be lower or even negative from peer-reviewed publications).

Given this, the widespread optimism regarding HPV vaccines long-term benefits appears to rest on a number of unproven assumptions (or such which are at odds with factual evidence) and significant misinterpretation of available data.

For example, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70% reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified.

Likewise, the notion that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile is only supported by highly flawed design of safety trials and is contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities).

We thus conclude that further reduction of cervical cancers might be best achieved by optimizing cervical screening (which carries no such risks) and targeting other factors of the disease rather than by the reliance on vaccines with questionable efficacy and safety profiles.” [Emphasis mine]

Talk to Your Kids about HPV and Gardasil

There are better ways to protect yourself or your young daughters against cancer than getting Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations, and it’s important you let your children know this. In more than 90 percent of HPV infections, HPV infection is cleared within two years on its own, so keeping your immune system strong is far more important than getting vaccinated.

In addition, HPV infection is spread through sexual contact and research12 has demonstrated that using condoms can reduce your risk of HPV infection by 70 percent, which is far more effective than the HPV vaccine. Because this infection is sexually transmitted, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced by lifestyle choices, including abstinence. In addition, there are high risk factors for chronic HPV infection including smoking, co-infection with herpes, Chlamydia or HIV and long-term birth control use. Women chronically infected with HPV for many years, who don’t get pre-cancerous cervical lesions promptly identified and treated, can develop cervical cancer and die.

So it is important to remember that, even if they get vaccinated, girls and women should get Pap test screening every few years for cervical changes that may indicate pre-cancerous lesions because there is little guarantee that either Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations will prevent cervical cancer. After Pap test screening became a routine part of health care for American women in the 1960’s, cervical cancer cases in the U.S. dropped 74 percent and continued Pap testing is recommended for women who receive HPV vaccines.

Why We Must Protect Vaccine Exemptions

There can be no doubt that we are in urgent need of a serious vaccine safety review in the US. Quality science is simply not being done. And very few vaccine recommendations, which prop up state vaccine mandates, stand on firm scientific ground. Your right to vaccine exemptions is also increasingly under threat.

I urge you to get involved in the monumentally important task of defending YOUR right to know and freedom to choose which vaccines you and your child will use. The non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), has been preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education for more than 30 years and is leading the advocacy effort in the states to protect vaccine exemptions. Supporting NVIC is one way you can help, in addition to signing up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal so you stay informed about threats to vaccine exemptions in your state and contact your state legislators to make your voice heard.

All across the United States, people are fighting for their right not to be injected with vaccines against their will. These threats come in a variety of guises like California bill AB49913, which permits minor children as young as 12 years old to be vaccinated with sexually transmitted disease vaccines like Gardasil without parental knowledge or parental consent! In light of the evidence that HPV vaccines have not been proven safe or effective, how wise is it to allow doctors to give a minor child Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations without informing and getting the consent of parents? How are parents supposed to monitor their children for signs of a vaccine reaction if they don’t even know their children have been given a vaccine? It’s nothing short of reprehensible.

I cannot stress enough how critical it is to get involved and stand up for your human right to exercise informed consent to vaccination and protect your legal right to obtain medical and non-medical vaccine exemptions. This does not mean you have to opt out of all vaccinations if you decide that you want to give one or more vaccines to your child. The point is, EVERYONE should have the right to evaluate the potential benefits and real risks of any pharmaceutical product, including vaccines, and opt out of any vaccine they decide is unnecessary or not in the best interest of their child’s health. Every child is different and has a unique personal and family medical history, which may include severe allergies or autoimmune and neurological disorders, that could increase the risks of vaccination.

It is your parental right to make potentially life-altering health decisions for your own children. Why wouldn’t you want to keep that right—even if you want your child to receive most or all vaccinations currently available? Tomorrow there might be a vaccine youdon’t want your child to receive, but if you’ve failed to support strong informed consent protections in public health laws, which includes the legal right for all Americans to take medical and non-medical vaccine exemptions, you’ve given away your own freedom to choose in the future…

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors, employers or school officials for making independent vaccine choices.
  • NVIC Advocacy Portal: Sign up today to be a user of this free online privacy-protected network of concerned citizens all working to educate legislators to protect vaccine exemptions in public health policies and laws.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors polled in the past few years admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

Source: mercola.com

Dangers of Canola Oil.

Although canola oil is not a favorite oil with me for a number of reasons (none of which were listed in the article), the statement suggesting that because it is used as an industrial oil it is therefore not edible is not valid. Flax oil is also used as an industrial oil for paint and linoleum, etc. But when it is prepared as a food it is edible. Most oils have been used at one time or another as industrial products. In my opinion, one of the most edible oils is coconut oil, which is used for many industrial products, especially for soaps and cosmetics.

Olive oil apparently has been used to make soap for as long as it has been used as a food oil. Perhaps the most blatant error and comparison made by Mr. Lynn, though, is that regarding canola oil and mustard gas, which chemically has absolutely no relationship to mustard oil or any other mustard plant. Mustard gas is 2,2′-dichlorodiethyl sulfide and its preparation using ethylene and sulfur chloride is given in the Merck Index. It received its name because of the yellowish color of the gas and the sulfur odor.

Canola and regular rapeseed oils are extracted from the seeds of several of the brassica plants – the same family of plants from which we get vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and several other vegetables.

Of course, there is not much fat in these vegetables; but what fat there is in some of them, e.g., mustard greens, is as much as 29 percent erucic acid. Also, since glycosides (typical are stevioside and other flavonoids) are basically water soluble, I would not expect to find much of them in any oil. Those glucosinolates found in rapeseed meal after the oil has removed from the seeds are the same goiterogens that are found in the brassica vegetables. One problem with canola oil is that it has to be partially hydrogenated or refined before it is used commercially and consequently is a source of trans fatty acids; sometimes at very high levels.

Another problem is that it is too unsaturated to be used exclusively in the diet; some of the undesirable effects caused by feeding canola can be rectified if the diet is made higher in saturated fatty acids.

Source: mercola.com


Physical Punishment of Children Linked to Obesity, Arthritis in Adulthood.

Harsh physical punishment in childhood is associated with adverse physical health outcomes in adulthood, according to a cross-sectional study in Pediatrics.

Researchers surveyed over 30,000 U.S. adults about whether they had experienced harsh physical punishment (e.g., pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, or hitting) as children. After adjusting for education, family history of dysfunction and mental disorders, and other variables, adults who reported receiving harsh physical punishment as children were at increased risk for having arthritis (adjusted odds ratio, 1.25) and obesity (OR, 1.20). The risk for cardiovascular disease was of borderline significance. Past studies have found that childhood mistreatment is linked to dysregulation of the body’s stress response system.

For physicians advising parents about discipline, the authors write: “It is recommended that physical punishment not be used with children of any age.” They instead recommend “positive parenting approaches and nonphysical means of discipline.”

Source: Pediatrics

An Aspirin Every Other Day May Help Ward Off Colorectal Cancer in Women.

Low-dose aspirin taken every other day lowers the risk for colorectal cancer in middle-aged women, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine study.

Nearly 40,000 women aged 45 and older were randomized to take low-dose aspirin (100 mg) or placebo every other day for roughly 10 years; 84% were followed for an additional 7 years after treatment ended.

During the total follow-up, colorectal cancer risk was lower in the aspirin group (hazard ratio, 0.80), mostly owing to a reduction in proximal colon cancer, which emerged after 10 years. The incidence of total, lung, or breast cancer did not differ between the groups. Gastrointestinal bleeding and peptic ulcers occurred more often with aspirin.

An editorialist says that while aspirin may have a chemopreventive role in high-risk patients, the increase in bleeding and lack of effect on total cancer or all-cause mortality “should temper any recommendations for widespread use … in healthy middle-aged women.”

Death: How and When to Start a Conversation About It.

Hospitalized patients and their families complain about the quality of end-of-life care, and a review in the Canadian Medical Association Journal offers guidance on talking with patients and their families about their preferences and what to expect.

The review suggests that such conversations about death should be thought of as a process rather than a single event; and if you would not be surprised that the patient died within the next year, it’s best to start that process. In doing so, the authors advise that family members be invited to the conversation.

The physician should be prepared to offer prognostic estimates (the authors provide links to helpful online estimators) while acknowledging uncertainty. As important, learn the patient’s values and record them clearly in the medical record.

The authors offer two seemingly less important, perhaps obvious points for these discussions: first, sit down, and second, make eye contact.

Source: CMAJ 

Yes, Smog-Eating Sidewalks Are a Real Thing.

Dutch scientists say their revolutionary concrete can cut urban air pollution by 45 percent.

The eco-makeover of urban surfaces continues. First came white roofs. Then so-called cool pavement. And now smog-eating concrete.


Yup, sidewalks with a taste for filthy air.

Eindhoven University of Technology scientists have installed air-purifying cement onto a city block in Hengelo, Netherlands, and published theresults, which found that it reduced nitrogen oxide air pollution up to 45 percent in ideal weather conditions. This is an average reduction of 19 percent each day.

The concrete, dubbed “photocatalytic,” is made with run-of-the-mill cement sprayed with a chemical—titanium oxide—that neutralizes air pollutants, the researchers’ abstract states.

“[The concrete] could be a very feasible solution for inner city areas where they have a problem with air pollution,” said researcher Jos Brouwers in 2010 to CNN, when the pavement was in its early stages.

So, what’s the world waiting for? Why aren’t urban jungles with smog problems—we’re especially looking at you, Beijing—not jackhammering every piece of old-school pavement and pouring the new stuff?

Well, like most public work projects, it all comes down to cost. Titanium dioxide pavement is simply more expensive than your grandfather’s cement.

But, with further product tinkering and price–reduction, air-scrubbing pavement could be the stomping ground of the future.


Secrecy ends for University of Waikato alumnus with Xbox One unveil.

A Canadian student who completed his Masters degree at the University of Waikato was recently able to tell his friends and family what he’s been doing for the last year and a half.

Since early 2012, all Mark Staveley’s family have known is that the software development engineer has been working for Microsoft somewhere on the company’s Seattle campus.


But on May 21, with the announcement of Microsoft’s Xbox One, he finally got to reveal he has been working as a senior software development test engineer on the new console.

“It’s been a really wild ride. I was proud to have the announcement go so well and to be able to share some of the excitement with my friends and family,” he says.

Lifetime opportunity

Working on something such as Xbox One is a once in a lifetime opportunity – “these will be coming into your living room” – and it’s an opportunity, he says, which likely would not have happened if he had never studied at Waikato University.

“It was one of those cocoon stages of my life,” he says.

“I came out of New Zealand a very different person. I have since taught at different universities, done research at world-class facilities, and finished a PhD. Throughout all of these things I have reflected on my time at Waikato and been thankful for how I was encouraged and pushed to excel. Professors in the Computer Science Department really made a tremendous impact on me and I’ve never looked back. Waikato has a really neat way of capturing that real Kiwi innovation and creative spirit,” he says.

Waikato University reflection

That innovative and creative spirit has proved invaluable in his work at Microsoft and Staveley still recalls how that was encouraged at the University of Waikato.

“I remember one assignment had a grading breakdown where 75% of the grade was obtained by simply doing the work and completing the assignment. However, in order to get the remaining 25% you had to come up with your own ways to extend the assignment and then do that work.  I had never encountered that before, it was really valuable. That ‘show us what you’ve got’ attitude is a great mindset. Now I’m at Microsoft we’re encountering computer challenges every day which have never been done before, we’re solving problems no one has ever solved before and that approach has been fantastic.”

Collaborative approach

He says the collaborative approach to research he was part of at the University of Waikato is also encouraged at Microsoft.

“It’s what I like about Microsoft, it’s a very collaborative engineering space. We’re told ‘don’t be afraid to work with your peers’. That kind of thinking is very contagious,” he says.

“I remember telling a friend, a professor at the University of Toronto, about the standards at Waikato and what we do and he said it sounded like the MIT of the South Pacific. That kind of description of Computer Science at Waikato really resonated with me.”

He says people such as Professor Ian Witten and Associate Professor Steve Jones had played key roles in his learning and “my hat goes off to them”.


Perhaps appropriately, Staveley says gaming also had a part in his career development.

“I remember very fondly gaming tournaments in the Computer Science Department every Friday afternoon. A game would be loaded on the server – Quake and things like that – and away we’d go and I still remember hearing the yells of my supervisor down the hall every time I fired a missile at him. It’s nice to have that balance of work and play.”

As part of Microsoft’s Xbox One team, Staveley works as a senior software development engineer in test.

“I write software that simulates behavioural actions on various software systems,” he says.

“It simulates a month of a behaviour over an hour or weekend and finds performance problems or stress problems. It’s a really neat discipline and requires really creative thinking and problem solving.”

Involvement with the University of Waikato

Staveley has stayed involved with the University of Waikato through the Alumni Association and also through helping young students.

“They set up a mentoring programme so here I was on the east coast of Canada mentoring a Waikato third year student over Skype,” he says.

“That’s one of the nice ways of actually looking after people and making that contact. Waikato took very good care of me and gave me great tools and I know it’s somewhere I’m always welcome.”

And there’s a chance Staveley might be back at Waikato University one day.

“People at Microsoft can get sabbaticals and while I’m not senior enough, if I get to that stage, rest assured I’ll be on the phone to Waikato to see if they need a visiting lecturer from Microsoft. Waikato gave me a tremendous start and I will always be grateful. Plus I really miss mince and cheese pies.”



New wonder drug matches and kills all kinds of cancer — human testing starts 2014.

Stanford researchers are on track to begin human trials of a potentially potent new weapon against cancer, and would-be participants are flooding in following thePost’s initial report on the discovery.


The progress comes just two months after the groundbreaking study by Dr Irv Weissman, who developed an antibody that breaks down a cancer’s defense mechanisms in the body.

A protein called CD47 tells the body not to “eat” the cancer, but the antibody developed by Dr Weissman blocks CD47 and frees up immune cells called macrophages — which can then engulf the deadly cells.

The new research shows the miraculous macrophages effectively act as intelligence gatherers for the body, pointing out cancerous cells to cancer-fighting “killer T” cells.

The T cells then “learn” to hunt down and attack the cancer, the researchers claim.

“It was completely unexpected that CD8+ T (killer T) cells would be mobilized when macrophages engulfed the cancer cells in the presence of CD47-blocking antibodies,” said MD/PhD student Diane Tseng, who works with Dr. Weissman.

The clinical implications of the process could be profound in the war on cancer.

When macrophages present “killer T” cells with a patient’s cancer, the T cells become attuned to the unique molecular markers on the cancer.

This turns them into a personalized cancer vaccine.

“Because T cells are sensitized to attack a patient’s particular cancer, the administration of CD47-blocking antibodies in a sense could act as a personalized vaccination against that cancer,” Tseng said.

The team of researchers at Stanford plan on starting a small 10-100 person phase I clinical human trial of the cancer therapy in 2014.



Anti-malarial drug linked to Afghan massacre.

Soldier was taking mefloquine when he killed 16 civilians, report indicates.


in less than a month, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be sentenced for the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012.

His attorney, John Henry Browne, has not publicly disclosed whether he will use a mental health defense to fight for a parole-eligible sentence.

But an argument could be made that Bales, 40, was out of his mind:

■ He was treated for a traumatic brain injury resulting from a rollover accident in 2010 and possibly had post-traumatic stress disorder.

■ He admitted to using steroids, which can cause aggression and violence.

■ And new evidence suggests he was prescribed an anti-malaria drug known to cause hallucinations, aggression and psychotic behavior in some patients.

The Food and Drug Administration received notification in April 2012 from the maker of the anti-malarial drug Lariam, also manufactured under the generic name mefloquine, that a patient taking the medication “developed homicidal behavior and led to homicide killing 17 [sic] Afghans.”

The report, obtained July 5 by Military Times through a Freedom of Information Act request, states:

“It was reported that this patient was administered mefloquine in direct contradiction to U.S. military rules that mefloquine should not be given to soldiers who had suffered traumatic brain injury due to its propensity to cross blood-brain barriers inciting psychotic, homicidal or suicidal behavior.”

A spokesman for the manufacturer, Roche, said the company received an initial report March 29 from a pharmacist in the U.S. and was obligated to notify drug monitoring agencies worldwide by law.

An FDA adverse event report does not mean the medication caused any health problems; it indicates only that patients developed symptoms while using the product.

But the medically confirmed report does imply either that the source was someone involved with the patient’s medical care or that Roche received documentation verifying the information, said Dr. Remington Nevin, a leading researcher on mefloquine toxicity, who also filed a FOIA request for the information.

In 2009, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs issued a policy listing mefloquine as a third-choice malaria preventative, behind doxycycline and chloroquine.

The memo stated that in cases where a service member had a history of neurological or mental health disorder, mefloquine should be used with caution only in areas where the malaria strain is resistant to other medications.

In January 2012, just months before the Kandahar massacre, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, directed the Army, Navy and Air Force and the commander of the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical Command to provide his office with all data and policies related to mefloquine.

From 2010 to 2011, the military health system wrote 14,420 prescriptions for mefloquine, down from 55,766 from 2007 to 2009.

The drug remains popular for distribution among special operations forces because it is taken weekly rather than daily.

The FDA launched a review earlier this year to determine whether the drug needs a stronger warning label or more prescribing restrictions. That investigation is ongoing.

From 1996 to 2012, the FDA received 438 reports of adverse symptoms from 37 patients who took mefloquine or Lariam, according to a review of records conducted by Military Times.

Symptoms ranged from homicidal and suicidal ideation and psychosis to vomiting, nausea and dizziness.

Other factors that may play into Bales’ defense include discussion that he may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. But while research shows that PTSD often causes anxiety, irritability and impulsive aggression, it is not associated with premeditated aggression and violence.

A medication Bales has admitted to taking is stanazolol or Winstrol, an anabolic steroid used for building muscles. Steroids can cause violence and aggression in “a certain percentage of people,” according to Dr. Harrison Pope, director of the biological psychiatry laboratory at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

All steroids “are capable of producing these reactions in a small minority of people,” Pope said. But steroids are not associated with memory loss during a violent incident, Pope added.

Bales told the judge in his case, Col. Jeffery Nance, that he does not remember setting fire to several bodies during his rampage.

Bales’ sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 19. Browne, his attorney, was to notify the court by July 1 if he planned to call on mental health experts as part of Bales’ defense. Neither Browne nor the Army returned requests regarding whether that motion has been filed.

If Bales receives a sentence that includes the possibility of parole, he would be eligible after 10 years.

Scientists discover true function of appendix organ.

It has long been regarded as a potentially troublesome, redundant organ, but American researchers say they have discovered the true function of the appendix.


The researchers say it acts as a safe house for good bacteria, which can be used to effectively reboot the gut following a bout of dysentery or cholera.

The conventional wisdom is that the small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine is redundant and many people have their appendix removed and appear none the worse for it.

Scientists from the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina say following a severe bout of cholera or dysentery, which can purge the gut of bacteria essential for digestion, the reserve good bacteria emerge from the appendix to take up the role.

But Professor Bill Parker says the finding does not mean we should cling onto our appendices at all costs.

“It’s very important for people to understand that if their appendix gets inflamed, just because it has a function it does not mean they should try to keep it in,” he said.

“So it’s sort of a fun thing that we’ve found, but we don’t want it to cause any harm, we don’t want people to say, “oh, my appendix has a function”, so I’m not going to go to the doctor, I’m going to try to hang onto it.”

Attractive theory

Nicholas Vardaxis, an associate professor in the Department of Medical Sciences at RMIT University, says the theory put forward by the Duke University scientists makes sense.

“As an idea it’s an attractive one, that perhaps it would be a nice place for these little bacteria to localise in, a little cul-de-sac away from everything else,” he said.

“The thing is that if we observe what’s been happening through evolution, the higher on the evolutionary scale we are and the more omnivorous animals become, then the smaller and less important the appendix becomes and humans are a good example of that.

“The actual normal flora bacteria within the appendix, as well within our gut, are the same, so we’ve lost all of those specialised bacteria.

“So it doesn’t have that safe house type of function anymore, I don’t think.

“It’s a vestige of something that was there in previous incarnations, if you like.”

Koala appendix

Unlike the human, the koala is famous for having a very long appendix.

It is thought to aid digestion on a diet made up exclusively of eucalyptus leaves.

Professor Vardaxis says that is not likely to change any time soon.

“Unless of course we have a massive blight and we get the eucalypt on which the koala thrives dying, then we may find some mutant koalas out there perhaps that will start eating other things, and as they start to eat other things, then over generations and hundreds of thousands of years of time, then surely, yes, the koala’s appendix will shrink as well,” he said.

Professor Vardaxis says it is possible that at that point, koalas might be afflicted by appendicitis and have to have it taken out at times.