Category Archives: Human Experimentation

Mind controlled android robot: Interactive Digital Human group, working towards robotic “re-embodiment”

Mind controlled android robot

Published on Nov 12, 2012 by Diginfonews

Mind controlled android robot – Researchers at the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory and the CNRS-LIRMM Interactive Digital Human group, working towards robotic re-embodiment

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BCI Controlled Humanoid Robot

Agenda 21 – GMO Poison Documentary: Deteriorating health of Americans linked to Genetically Modified foods

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

Youtube | Nov 9, 2012  by DocumentaryFeast

Agenda 21 – GMO Poison (Full Documentary) (1/2)

Agenda 21 – GMO Poison (Documentary) (2/2)

iBrain can ‘read your mind’, upload it to computers | Apr 9, 2012

By Eric Pfeiffer


Dr. Philip Low wearing the "iBrain" (Misha Gravenor/

A team of California scientists have developed the world’s first portable brain scanner, and it may soon be able to “read a person’s mind,” playing a major role in facilitating medical breakthroughs.

“This is very exciting for us because it allows us to have a window into the brain. We’re building technology that will allow humanity to have access to the human brain for the first time,” said the project’s leader, Phillip Low.

KGTV reports that the device, created by San Diego-based NeuroVigil, and dubbed the iBrain, fits over a person’s head and measures unique neurological patterns connected to specific thought processes.

Low says the goal is to eventually have a large enough database of these brainwaves that a computer could essentially read a person’s thoughts out loud. One person who has already tried out the iBrain is famed physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking.

“We’d like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain,” said Low. This past summer, Low traveled to Cambridge, England, where he met with Hawking, who was asked to think “very hard” about completing various tasks while wearing the device.

NeuroVigil says the device could be used at home by individuals and worn during sleep. It comes equipped with a USB port for transferring the recorded data to a local computer.

Beyond so-called mind reading, the device has potential medical applications, such as enlisting the iBrain to help doctors prescribe the correct levels of medication based on a person’s brainwave responses.

“This is the first step to personalized medicine,” Low said.

“Super-Soldiers” Fight Disease With Bionic Implants | Mar 21, 2012

By Kate Knibbs

The U.S. military plans to implant soldiers with medical devices, making them harder to kill with diseases.

The military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced plans to create nanosensors that monitor soldiers’ health on the battlefield and keep doctors constantly abreast about potential health problems.

DARPA’s plan for nanosensors reflects a larger trend, as scientists are trying to harness technology to improve health care across the globe. Doctors are already quickly adopting mobile technology to improve patient care, carrying around iPads to better explain procedures and inventing smartphone apps to oversee drug users’ progress and watch for signs of stress in at-risk patients.

DARPA called the implants “a truly disruptive innovation,” highlighting how healthier soldiers would change the state of modern warfare because most medical evacuations occur due to ordinary illnesses and disease, not injuries. If the U.S. can lead the way in this kind of high-tech monitoring, it could give the military another leg up on adversaries still beset by everyday illness.

Nanotechnology continues to find a place in the medical field as well. Stanford University researchers are developing tiny robotic monitors that can diagnose illnesses, monitor vital stats and even deliver medicine into the bloodstream, similar to the devices that the military plans to create.

Poor Indians used as human guinea pigs by US drug companies

View from a hidden camera shows volunteers for a clinical drug trial in a waiting room of one of the companies that conducts the studies.

Drug trial outsourcing to foreign countries is rapidly becoming an attractive alternative for U.S. pharmaceutical companies looking to save millions of dollars, avoid regulatory scrutiny and tap into a seemingly endless supply of drug study participants. 

‘People keep falling sick’: How poor Indians are recruited for clinical drug trials

NBC News | Mar 2, 2012

By Tim Sandler

Few people in the slums of Ahmedabad, India, know more about the supply of human guinea pigs for clinical drug trials than Rajesh Nadia.

When Indian firms working for pharmaceutical companies need test subjects, they often turn to Nadia, who has carved a small niche for himself as a recruiter in the international drug-testing industry.

“Companies call me or send me text messages,” he told “Dateline NBC” correspondent Chris Hansen.

Self-confident and well-groomed with gelled hair and tight-fitting designer jeans, Nadia said he is paid about $12 for every recruit he brings to the three Indian research labs with whom he works. In a region of western Indian where the average worker earns 50 cents a day, that’s good money.

“I don’t feel guilty,” Nadia said. “I believe conducting these studies is a humanitarian effort. So many people benefit from (the) advancement of medicine.”

Drug trial outsourcing to foreign countries is rapidly becoming an attractive alternative for U.S. pharmaceutical companies looking to save millions of dollars, avoid regulatory scrutiny and tap into a seemingly endless supply of drug study participants.

But a year-long Dateline investigation into one of the preferred destinations for overseas drug trials, India, raises questions about lax regulatory oversight in these studies, the integrity of some of the companies contracted to run them and the reliability of the data they produce.

Whether the studies are for birth control, diabetes, migraines or high blood pressure, money often draws volunteers into Indian drug trials. And Nadia said that many of his desperately poor recruits are so eager to enroll that they disregard potential risks.

“They don’t regard the smaller side effects,” Nadia explained. “Sometimes, people feel weak or get body ache. They don’t care about these little things because they need the money.”

Dr. Chandra Gulhati, editor of the “Monthly Index of Medical Specialties,” an Indian medical journal, points out that luring test subjects with money violates India’s Drugs and Cosmetics Act.  The act allows some payment, but not enough to sway free will.

“It should never be so much that it works as an inducement,” Gulhati said.

In practice, however, the pay is often just that. Subjects can make up to $400, depending on the length of the study — far outstripping traditional earnings.

The financial incentives can lead to study volunteers enrolling in more than one study at a time.  That not only puts their lives in danger, but it also can skew the accuracy of test results that drug companies and regulators rely on to judge a drug’s safety.

Asked if he was aware of volunteers taking part in more than one study at a time or ignoring “wash-out” rules designed to allow their bodies to be clean of test drugs, Nadia didn’t hesitate. “It happens. Lots of people do that.”

“Sometimes the subjects have to log into the system through thumbprint readers and sometimes they get caught,” he said.  “But if (the companies) need the subjects desperately, they will ignore these things.”

‘People keep falling sick’

Parsottam Parmar is a social worker in Ahmedabad’s slums who advocates for higher wages and ongoing health care for drug-study participants. He is alarmed by what he is witnessing.

“People keep falling sick,” he said. “There are many instances where there are swellings in the limbs, loss of eyesight. Several deaths have occurred … It becomes a question of human rights — a big one at that.”

The Indian government reports that across the country more than 1,500 people have died in clinical trials since 2008, many participating in studies for Western pharmaceutical companies. Because official documentation of the deaths is frequently incomplete or non-existent, it is unclear how many people died from the same illnesses that initially qualified them for certain drug studies.

Gulhati, the editor of the Indian medical journal, said official inquiries into drug-trial deaths are rare.

“Unlike the Western countries where there is an audit of each death during [a] clinical trial, we don’t have a system like that at all,” he said. “So that is the biggest problem.”

The lack of oversight by Indian government officials, Gulhati added, has created a culture of impunity for drug research companies and the doctors who work for them.

He offered a recent example. In 2010, an Indian government investigation confirmed 10 deaths at drug trials sponsored by Western drug companies, including Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre. The facility was built to treat survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

Gas survivor patients and their families said some of the doctors who enrolled them never informed the patients that they were in drug studies nor did they pay them the requisite compensation. The hospital was paid more than $200,000 to conduct the studies, according to government records.

Gas survivor advocates also claimed that at least one of the 13 studies conducted between 2004 and 2008 appeared to be illegal in India at the time.

The Indian government later cited repeated violations of guidelines and regulations during the trials conducted between 2004 and 2008, but no penalties were issued to the hospital, doctors or the study sponsor.

In a warning letter to one company, India’s Drugs Controller General Dr. Surinder Singh wrote, “…you are hereby warned to be careful while conducting clinical trials to ensure that such deficiencies/discrepancies are not repeated in the future.”

The companies sponsoring the studies said that international standards and Indian laws were followed, though Astra Zeneca acknowledged errors in receiving proper consent from some patients. It said the problem was “promptly corrected.”

FDA faces ‘handicaps’ overseeing foreign trials

Although data from overseas studies is used help win FDA approval for drugs, the agency told Dateline in a statement that it faces “a number of handicaps in its inspections of foreign clinical sites, which are not technically under FDA jurisdiction under international law.”

In India, for example, the FDA said its inspectors are not legally permitted access to confidential records held by contract research firms that often do testing for Western pharmaceutical companies. It’s a law that would severely hamper any investigation into a patient’s death.

Satinath Sarangi, director of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, told Dateline that the incentive for drug companies to conduct research in India is obvious.

“You can do it cheaply, do it with no regulation, and even if there are violations, get away with it,” he said.

Following reports of unauthorized drug studies on children and mentally disabled patients, India’s health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told reporters last month that some companies running drug trials in India are not following regulations.

“Sometimes the companies don’t go by the laid-down procedures and it causes great harm to persons and individuals on which this test is carried out,” he said.

Even when deaths during drug trials raise questions, drug companies can eliminate those questions at little expense.

Last year, Azad, the Indian health minister, confirmed that 10 foreign drug companies paid an average of about $4,800 to relatives of 22 people who died during or after participating in drug trials in 2010. The amount is a small fraction of compensation paid for similar deaths in other countries, Gulhati said.

In the meantime, reports of illnesses and deaths linked to drug trials are doing little to deter a steady stream of willing volunteers. And Nadia sees no risk to his franchise.

“There is more supply than demand,” he said. “There’s nothing to feel bad (about). The subjects need the money, so they go. It’s as simple as that.”

Veteran victims of secret drug experiments abandoned by the government

Vets feel abandoned after secret drug experiments

CNN | Mar 1, 2012

By David S. Martin

(CNN) — The moment 18-year-old Army Pvt. Tim Josephs arrived at Edgewood Arsenal in 1968, he knew there was something different about the place.

“It just did not look like a military base, more like a hospital,” recalled Josephs, a Pittsburgh native. Josephs had volunteered for a two-month assignment at Edgewood, in Maryland, lured by three-day weekends closer to home.

“It was like a plum assignment,” Josephs said. “The idea was they would test new Army field jackets, clothing, weapons and things of that nature, but no mention of drugs or chemicals.”

But when he went to fill out paperwork the morning after his arrival, the base personnel were wearing white lab coats, and Josephs said he had second thoughts. An officer took him aside.

“He said, ‘You volunteered for this. You’re going to do it. If you don’t, you’re going to jail. You’re going to Vietnam either way — before or after,'” Josephs said recently.

From 1955 to 1975, military researchers at Edgewood were using not only animals but human subjects to test a witches’ brew of drugs and chemicals. They ranged from potentially lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ.

Read the secret (now unclassified) Army document revealing BZ tests on soldiers (PDF)

The military also tested tear gas, barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD.

In 1968, Tim Josephs was told he would be testing gas masks, boots and other clothing, he said.
In 1968, Tim Josephs was told he would be testing gas masks, boots and other clothing, he said.

Read the confidential (now unclassified) Army document uncovering LSD tests on volunteers (PDF)

This top secret Cold War research program initially looked for ways to defend against a chemical or biological attack by the Soviet Union, thought to be far ahead of the United States in “psycho-chemical” warfare. But the research expanded into offensive chemical weapons, including one that could, according to one Army film obtained by CNN, deliver a “veritable chemical ambush” against an enemy.

“This incapacitating agent would be dispersed by standard munitions, and the agent would enter the building through all nonprotected openings,” the film’s narrator boasts.

President Nixon ended research into offensive chemical weapons in 1969, and the military no longer uses human subjects in research on chemical agents, said a spokesman for Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, as the facility is known now.

Tests began for Josephs almost as soon as he arrived at Edgewood for a two-month assignment on January 1, 1968.

“Sometimes it was an injection. Other times it was a pill,” Josephs told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Josephs said he didn’t know what drugs he was getting. “A lot of chemicals were referred to as agent one or agent two.”

Some weeks, he would undergo one test; other weeks, more, Josephs said. And when he questioned the staff about whether he was in any danger, they reassured him: “There is nothing here that could ever harm you.”

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“They want to use young men as guinea pigs and throw them away,” said Josephs, now 63.
But Josephs, 63, believes the chemical agents he received during his two-month stint at Edgewood did harm him, triggering health problems that continue to plague him four decades later. Even when he talks about Edgewood, he said, “I get a tightness in my chest.”

Parkinson’s symptoms

Days before his Edgewood duty ended, in February 1968, Josephs was hospitalized for days with Parkinson’s-like tremors, symptoms he said have followed him on and off throughout his adult life.

From Edgewood, Josephs said he went to an Army installation in Georgia, where he experienced tremors so severe, he had to be admitted to the base hospital and given muscle relaxers. The Army then sent Josephs to Air Force bases in Thailand, in support of the war effort in Vietnam. He was told never to talk about his experiences at Edgewood and to forget about everything he ever did, said or heard at the Maryland base.

Josephs left he service when his three-year tour ended, and he began a career as a real estate agent. He married Michelle, a nurse, in 1977, but the couple decided not to have children, fearing his chemical exposure might somehow affect them.

In his mid-50s, Josephs was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that forced him to retire early. Medications cost $2,000 a month, which he was paying for out of pocket.

Josephs applied for veterans benefits based on chemical exposure at Edgewood. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs granted him partial benefits for his Parkinson’s for Agent Orange exposure during his time in Thailand, giving Josephs 40% disability. The letter granting him benefits made no mention of Edgewood.

Josephs says he now takes two dozen pills daily. His symptoms vary from day to day. Sometimes, he has trouble swallowing. Other times, he experiences numbness in his joints or or tremors. He says he tires easily.

He blames his time at Edgewood for all this, and he has joined a lawsuit on behalf of Edgewood veterans seeking medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Read the lawsuit complaint document (PDF)

… They gave him such high doses that he … in the vernacular, he flipped out.
Gordon Erspamer, lead attorney in suit against VA

Gordon Erspamer, lead attorney in the suit, has reviewed the partial Edgewood medical records that Josephs was able to obtain with the help of his wife. Erspamer said Josephs probably received an injection of sarin or another nerve gas, because the records show that he received the drug P2S on February 1, 1968, to treat “organophosphate poisoning.”

During experiments that began on February 19, 1968, Josephs experienced Parkinson’s-like tremors after receiving Prolixin, an antipsychotic medication, Erspamer said, prompting the Edgewood medical staff to give the young soldier Congentin and Artane, two drugs used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms.

Erspamer said he sees a connection between Josephs’ Parkinson’s disease and the drugs he received at Edgewood.

“Those substances affect the same region of the brain,” Erspamer said. “Tim clearly had adverse health effects because they gave him such high doses that he ranged from overdose with one substance to the antidote, back and forth, and he actually had to get … a very powerful antipsychotic drug because, in the vernacular, he flipped out.”

In addition to medical benefits, the lawsuit is asking that the Defense Department and Department of Veteran Affairs find all Edgewood veterans and provide them with details of the chemicals they received and their possible health effects.

Army guinea pigs: Before and after Army guinea pigs: Before and after
Erspamer said the government has reached very few of the 7,000 or so Edgewood veterans, and the VA has turned down almost all Edgewood-related health claims. Court documents show that the Veterans Benefits Administration rejected 84 of 86 health claims related to chemical or biological exposure.

“The whole thing stinks, and if the American people knew about it, they would not tolerate it. This kind of behavior toward our veterans would not be allowed to happen,” Erspamer said.

Josephs has not received any health benefits related to his time as a human test subject at Edgewood.

“They’re hoping we die off, so you apply [for benefits], you get turned down,” Josephs said. “And it just goes on for years and years, and they just want to wear us down. They want to use young men as guinea pigs and throw them away.”

The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs declined face-to-face interviews with CNN, citing pending litigation. In a statement, the Defense Department said that it “has made it a priority to identify all service members exposed to chemical and biological substances … and the VA has contacted and offered free medical evaluations to thousands of veterans.”

[The VA] has made it a priority to identify all service members exposed to chemical and biological substances.
Department of Defense statement

Josephs received his letter from the VA in 2008, four decades after he arrived at the Maryland base.

“In order to best serve veterans and their families, VA continues to study the possibility of long-term health effects associated with in-service exposure to chemical and biological weapons,” the letter promised.

At the Army’s request, The Institute of Medicine, an independent nonprofit organization that is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, produced a three-volume report in the 1980s on the long-term health of Edgewood veterans. The IOM decided in the end there wasn’t enough information to reach “definitive conclusions.”

Josephs enlisted in the military fresh out of high school — at the height of the Vietnam War.

“I really felt a duty to my country to go and serve,” he said. “Things were different back then. You believed in your government. And you just wouldn’t think they would give you something that would harm you intentionally.”

The Army Wants You … to Be a Virtual Lab Rat

Illo: Electronic Arts

Wired | Feb 6, 2012

By Katie Drummond

American soldiers already prep for war using virtual worlds. One day, the Army hopes, you’ll join the GIs in a military-approved digital realm.

In the Army’s latest call for research proposals, the service is looking for ways to develop a “Virtual Laboratory of Aggregate Behavior,” or VLAB. Put simply, the program would yield a digital domain wherein hundreds or thousands of civilians could assemble and partake in “randomized controlled trial experiments” of the Army’s design.

But if you’re thinking Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 — think again.

The Army’s not looking to train civilians in the ways of war-fighting. Instead, they want a platform that can offer more robust testing for behavioral theories. For example, how a community is apt to react during a crisis, or how and why certain social networks end up coalescing while others fall apart. Right now, the Army’s solicitation complains, behavioral hypotheses often depend on small-scale tests of five or 10 people. Those tests are then extrapolated, via logic or computational models, to yield society-wide conclusions.

Of course, the military’s already been making efforts at better understanding the social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of conflict. The Pentagon’s Minerva program is still tapping scholars in an effort to bridge cultural divides. And the Army’s Human Terrain System, after a series of early missteps, is embedding social scientists into combat units.

But neither one of those initiatives has exactly been a groundbreaking success. That’s in part, the Army’s solicitation states, because “none of the programs [can] generalize findings from work on individuals or small groups to aggregates of societies.” Trying to get a bird’s eye view on an entire community, of course, is a tall order. Unless, perhaps, those community members have been turned into tiny, trackable, online avatars.

The Army’s virtual lab would be modeled on gameplay, though the experiments themselves don’t exactly sound action-packed. Players would partake in “a range of activities [based on] real world settings,” that’d include cooperation, coalition building and — ooh! — commerce.

The lab would let researchers test hypotheses about how groups behave, but it’d also let them “pre-test candidate courses of action.” From there, military leaders could glean some insight into how, if different courses of action were implemented in the real-world, a community might react.

It’s an interesting idea. But there are still plenty of uncertainties about how VLAB will work. For one, the Army doesn’t mention whether different labs would be populated by participants from different countries or regions. Obviously, that’d make a big difference in the lab’s results: A lab populated by Pakistanis is going to react differently to a scenario than a lab of Texans would. Even the decision-making processes of large groups, which the Army hopes to study, are starkly different around the world. The Army might want “generalizable…social theories of mass behavior,” but one theory can’t possibly be applied to groups worldwide.

Even if the Army’s not entirely sure how the labs will be populated, they’ve at least figured out who they’re hoping to omit. And Wired readers, you’d best take note. “Experienced gamers,” the Army warns, “May introduce types of nonsensical, deceptive or strategic participation not likely in real empirical settings.”

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds

Medevac troops from the American 451st air expeditionary wing look out from their Pavehawk helicopter while heading to pick up casualties in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian

Neuroscience breakthroughs could be harnessed by military and law enforcers, says Royal Society report

Guardian | Feb 6, 2012

by Ian Sample

Soldiers could have their minds plugged directly into weapons systems, undergo brain scans during recruitment and take courses of neural stimulation to boost their learning, if the armed forces embrace the latest developments in neuroscience to hone the performance of their troops.

These scenarios are described in a report into the military and law enforcement uses of neuroscience, published on Tuesday, which also highlights a raft of legal and ethical concerns that innovations in the field may bring.

The report by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, says that while the rapid advance of neuroscience is expected to benefit society and improve treatments for brain disease and mental illness, it also has substantial security applications that should be carefully analysed.

The report’s authors also anticipate new designer drugs that boost performance, make captives more talkative and make enemy troops fall asleep.


“Neuroscience will have more of an impact in the future,” said Rod Flower, chair of the report’s working group.

“People can see a lot of possibilities, but so far very few have made their way through to actual use.

“All leaps forward start out this way. You have a groundswell of ideas and suddenly you get a step change.”

The authors argue that while hostile uses of neuroscience and related technologies are ever more likely, scientists remain almost oblivious to the dual uses of their research.

The report calls for a fresh effort to educate neuroscientists about such uses of the work early in their careers.

Some techniques used widely in neuroscience are on the brink of being adopted by the military to improve the training of soldiers, pilots and other personnel.

A growing body of research suggests that passing weak electrical signals through the skull, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), can improve people’s performance in some tasks.

One study cited by the report described how US neuroscientists employed tDCS to improve people’s ability to spot roadside bombs, snipers and other hidden threats in a virtual reality training programme used by US troops bound for the Middle East.

“Those who had tDCS learned to spot the targets much quicker,” said Vince Clark, a cognitive neuroscientist and lead author on the study at the University of New Mexico. “Their accuracy increased twice as fast as those who had minimal brain stimulation. I was shocked that the effect was so large.”

Clark, whose wider research on tDCS could lead to radical therapies for those with dementia, psychiatric disorders and learning difficulties, admits to a tension in knowing that neuroscience will be used by the military.

“As a scientist I dislike that someone might be hurt by my work. I want to reduce suffering, to make the world a better place, but there are people in the world with different intentions, and I don’t know how to deal with that.

“If I stop my work, the people who might be helped won’t be helped. Almost any technology has a defence application.”

Research with tDCS is in its infancy, but work so far suggests it might help people by boosting their attention and memory. According to the Royal Society report, when used with brain imaging systems, tDCS “may prove to be the much sought-after tool to enhance learning in a military context”.

One of the report’s most striking scenarios involves the use of devices called brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to connect people’s brains directly to military technology, including drones and other weapons systems.

The work builds on research that has enabled people to control cursors and artificial limbs through BMIs that read their brain signals.

“Since the human brain can process images, such as targets, much faster than the subject is consciously aware of, a neurally interfaced weapons system could provide significant advantages over other system control methods in terms of speed and accuracy,” the report states.

The authors go on to stress the ethical and legal concerns that surround the use of BMIs by the military. Flower, a professor of pharmacology at the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and the London hospital, said: “If you are controlling a drone and you shoot the wrong target or bomb a wedding party, who is responsible for that action? Is it you or the BMI?

“There’s a blurring of the line between individual responsibility and the functioning of the machine. Where do you stop and the machine begin?”

Another tool expected to enter military use is the EEG (electroencephalogram), which uses a hairnet of electrodes to record brainwaves through the skull. Used with a system called “neurofeedback”, people can learn to control their brainwaves and improve their skills.

According to the report, the technique has been shown to improve training in golfers and archers.

The US military research organisation, Darpa, has already used EEG to help spot targets in satellite images that were missed by the person screening them. The EEG traces revealed that the brain sometimes noticed targets but failed to make them conscious thoughts. Staff used the EEG traces to select a group of images for closer inspection and improved their target detection threefold, the report notes.

Work on brain connectivity has already raised the prospect of using scans to select fast learners during recruitment drives.

Research last year by Scott Grafton at the University of California, Santa Barbara, drew on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to measure the flexibility of brain networks. They found that a person’s flexibility helped predict how quickly they would learn a new task.

Other studies suggest neuroscience could help distinguish risk-takers from more conservative decision-makers, and so help with assessments of whether they are better suited to peacekeeping missions or special forces, the report states.

“Informal assessment occurs routinely throughout the military community. The issue is whether adopting more formal techniques based on the results of research in neuroeconomics, neuropsychology and other neuroscience disciplines confers an advantage in decision-making.”

GMO Frankenfood II? Despite US Judge Ruling, USDA Deregulates Monsanto Roundup-Ready Crops | Jun 28, 2011

by Theodora Filis

Deregulation by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) means Roundup-Ready crops can now be grown commercially, endangering non-GMO alfalfa and sugar beet crops by transgenic contamination through the increased use of herbicides.

Under the Bush administration, the USDA approved Roundup-Ready sugar beet crops, produced and sold by Monsanto, without preparing a standard Environmental Impact Statement. Then, in January of 2008, the Center for Food Safety, along with several other organizations including the Organic Seed Alliance and the Sierra Club, filed a suit against the US government, insisting the USDA prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on Roundup-Ready Sugar Beets. The lawsuit asked the government to halt the production of the modified beets until further information regarding the crop’s safety was released.

In addition to citing obvious concerns regarding the safety of GM alfalfa and sugar beet crops, the suit points out that GM alfalfa and sugar beets have been contaminating nearby conventionally and organically grown plants. Despite a Federal Judge’s ruling the USDA deregulated GM alfalfa and sugar beet crops in the US.

Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready crops have been genetically engineered to permit direct, over the top, application of the Monsanto herbicide glyphosate, allowing farmers to drench both their crops and crop land with the herbicide to kill nearby weeds (and any other green thing the herbicide touches) without killing the crops. Roundup-Ready soybeans are heavily herbicide dependent because the Roundup-Ready System (RRS) is primarily a no till system.

Rather than the traditional tilling of the ground to control weeds the RRS relies on its herbicide to control them. No-till cropping systems are the most demanding with regards to weed control. The crop is seeded directly into un-tilled soil with no follow-up cultivation, therefore weed control depends entirely on herbicides.

In fact, the Roundup Ready System was specifically designed to require the exclusive use of Monsanto’s herbicide – currently in use in over 250 million GM acres worldwide.

A recent review by Earth Open Source, an organization that uses open-source collaboration to advance sustainable food production, suggests that industry regulators in Europe have known for years that glyphosate, originally introduced by Monsanto in 1976, causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the agricultural market used approx.180-185 million pounds of glyphosate between 2006 and 2007, and non-agricultural markets used approx. 8-11 million pounds between 2005 and 2007, according to the 2006-2007 Pesticide Industry Sales & Usage Report, published in February of 2011.

David Ehrenfield, Professor of Biology at Rutgers University said, “Genetic Engineering is often justified as a human technology, one that feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the truth. With very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering is to increase sales of chemicals and bio-engineered products to dependent farmers”. “In the United States, the widespread adoption of Roundup Ready crops combined with the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds has driven a more than 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate on major field crops from 1994 to 2005″.

GMOs effect the sustainability of our planet. The production of herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizers that go along with growing GMO crops requires a huge amount of energy. And this energy requires the burning of precious fuels that are rapidly being depleted.

Farm chemicals may also be largely responsible for the decimation of honey bees, deformed fish and frogs, and may prove to endanger more species as time goes forward – including humans.

In an interview with the True Food Foundation, Dr. David Suzuki, Canadian geneticist said, anyone who claims genetically engineered food is perfectly safe is “either unbelievably stupid, or deliberately lying,” adding: “The reality is, we don’t know. The experiments simply haven’t been done, and now we have become the guinea pigs…. I am most definitely not in favor of release of GMOs in the food stream and given that it’s too late, I favor complete labeling of GMO products.”

Scientists reject human experiments with genetically modified wheat

GM food products had been shown to be prone to having multiple effects, including damaging the health of animals

SMH | Jun 27, 2011

by Belinda Tasker

A group of prominent scientists and researchers from around the world has urged Australia not to go ahead with human trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat.

The CSIRO is carrying out a study of feeding GM wheat grown in the ACT to rats and pigs and could extend the trial to humans.

The modified wheat has been altered to lower its glycaemic index in an attempt to see if the grain could have health benefits such as improving blood glucose control and lowering cholesterol levels.


Genetic Modification Gone Wild: 10 Signs That Our World May Be Destined To Resemble A Really Bad Science Fiction Movie

But eight scientists and academics from Britain, the US, India, Argentina and Australia believe not enough studies have been done on the effects of GM wheat on animals to warrant human trials.

The CSIRO has dismissed their concerns, insisting no decision has been made on if or when human trials will begin.

In a letter to the CSIRO’s chief executive Megan Clark, the scientists expressed their “unequivocal denunciation” of the experiments.

“The use of human subjects for these GM feeding experiments is completely unacceptable,” the letter said.

“The experiments may be used to dispense with concerns about the health impacts of consuming GM plants, but will not in fact address the health risks GM plants raise.

“The feeding trials should not be conducted until long-term impact assessments have been undertaken and appropriate information released to enable the scientific community to determine the value of such research, as against the risks.”

Among the signatories were Dr Michael Antoniou, of the gene expression and therapy group at King’s College London School of Medicine, and Professor David Schubert, from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.

The scientists said they were concerned that the CSIRO had inadequately described the biological and biochemical make-up of the GM wheat being used in the trials.

They said that, based on previous research, GM food products had been shown to be prone to having multiple effects, including damaging the health of animals which had eaten them.

They believed the CSRIO’s animal feeding trials of up to 28 days were “completely inadequate” to assess such risks.

But CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan said animal trials of the GM wheat, which began in 2005, were still continuing.

“No decision has been made as yet to undertake human trials,” he told AAP.

“It’s still something that we are considering.”

Mr Morgan said many studies carried out in the past 15 years had shown GM foods had no detrimental impact on human health.

The CSIRO’s trials were trying to determine whether the new type of GM grain had health benefits for people with conditions such as colourectal cancer and diabetes, he said.

Greenpeace food campaigner Laura Kelly said GM experts recommended that long-term animal feeding studies of two years should be carried out before human testing to evaluate any carcinogenic, developmental, hormonal, neural and reproductive dysfunctions.

“This is the first generation of Australian children that will be exposed to GM in food for a lifetime,” she said.

“If Julia Gillard doesn’t stand up to foreign biotech companies, soon they’ll be eating it in their sandwiches and pasta, even though it has never been proven safe to eat.”