Thursday, November 08, 2007

Are these useless b*stards worth feeding?

British bureaucracy goes very close to making some people sub-human

A woman told how two police community officers stood by while a man was attacked by three teenage girls. Ann Ward said she rushed to help the man while the officers did nothing. Mrs Ward, 59, a great-grandmother, said: "It was disgusting - any other men would have stepped in to help." She spotted the girls kicking and punching the 55-year-old man in Ravensbury Park near Morden. She said: "They asked him the time, then attacked him, hitting him across the back of the head with a stick." She added: "I shouted at him to keep hold of his bag and told him I was coming."

The girls ran off, and Mrs Ward said the PCSOs radioed for help but did not tackle them. Mrs Ward said: "They said they were there to report the crime to the police and take notes." A Met spokeswoman confirmed it was investigating a complaint. She said: "Two females were arrested. A third female handed herself in. They have all been bailed to return in December."

The two police community support officers were under investigation. Nicknamed plastic bobbies for their lack of training, the PCSOs were only a few hundred yards away when the incident happened. But instead of taking action, the duo chose to hide behind a tree, according to a witness. The officers said "they had the incident under surveillance", the witness added. The witness has now lodged a complaint with Scotland Yard claiming the support officers only radioed for help when they were asked why they had not taken any action. But the PCSOs claim they responded as soon as they were made aware of the incident.

Scotland Yard chiefs were so shocked by the claims they launched a 'Gold Command' meeting and put Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin in charge of the investigation. A senior officer said: "This could not be more embarrassing for the Met." "PCSOs might not have been able to arrest these girls but they could have at least prevented this man from being beaten up. "Instead, they are accused of hiding behind a tree. If this is found to be true, it really shows the ineffectiveness of PCSOs."

The embarrassing incident comes just weeks after it was revealed that two PCSOs looked on while a boy of 10 drowned in a lake. The support officers in that case claimed they were not adequately trained to rescue Jordon Lyon as he struggled for his life in Wigan in May. It also comes as new figures reveal the recruitment of every Metropolitan Police community support officer costs the taxpayer more than 1,300 pounds in marketing. Scotland Yard spent 3,311,164 pounds on advertising and marketing for PCSO positions last year. During that time it signed up 2,500 officers to work across the capital - a publicity cost of 1,324 each.

Increasing the numbers of PCSOs on the streets of London has been a priority of Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as part of the safer neighbourhoods programme. The role of the uniformed officers is intended to reassure communities by bolstering police numbers on the frontline. Some critics have highlighted how they do not carry the same powers of arrest as police officers and that their training is shorter. Last year's recruitment drive resulted in the number of PCSOs soaring from 2,308 on March 31 2006, to 3,682 a year later. The recruitment of PCSOs is part of a strategy to give every one of the 624 wards in London its own dedicated policing team.


Incompetent NHS hospital: British family demands transplant death inquiry

Grieving relatives of a woman who died in the hospital at the centre of an investigation into the high number of heart transplant patient deaths have expressed concerns about her treatment. Carol Smith, 50, is one of seven people who has died at the Papworth Hospital this year within 30 days of being given new hearts. Transplants at the hospital near Cambridge have been suspended while a review is launched into the deaths to look for common factors.

Last night, her family demanded a full inquiry into her death on May 14 and said they were considering taking legal action. They believe she was given two damaged hearts, that some of her treatment was rushed and that air was allowed to get into critical equipment. It has emerged that the Papworth was also criticised just months ago over the high number of deaths among lung transplant patients.

Mother of four Mrs Smith, who also had four grandchildren, suffered from a condition caused by an enlarged heart and underwent her first transplant on March 8. A problem developed with fluid on her new heart and surgeons conducted a second transplant on May 12. She never regained consciousness and died two days later. Her daughter Rachel Russell, a student nurse, told The Daily Telegraph: "We have still got unanswered questions and Papworth hasn't answered anything. I think the second transplant was rushed. We would consider legal action because we want to know what happened."

The cause of her death was given as cardiac failure at an inquest held last week. David Morris, the South and West Cambridgeshire coroner, delivered a verdict that Mrs Smith "was already in a life threatening situation when a re-transplanted heart failed to respond spontaneously".

Her husband Gerry, 51, said: "The hospital made it seem over-simple and we felt let down." Mr Smith, from Canvey Island, Essex, said he was shocked to hear about the other deaths at Papworth. It also emerged that an external review of lung transplants at Papworth found "a significant problem" with airway complications. Six out of 28 patients died as a result of airway complications - a mortality rate of 28 per cent - between April 2005 and March 2006 with another two deaths in the following months.

Coroner David Morris raised concerns with the hospital in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph, after the deaths of three patients within six months following lung transplants with similar airway complications. A second letter, signed only "A very concerned patient advocate", alleged that there was a "very serious problem that has been happening for quite some time in Papworth Hospital".

The results of the inquiry by the Healthcare Commission into the heart transplant deaths will be sent to the Government by the end of next week. The Papworth said: "Heart transplants are inherently high risk, complex procedures performed on a relatively small number of patients and the number of operations likely to be affected is therefore small." Simon Roberts, the head of business development and marketing at Papworth hospital, said: "At this stage we are not prepared to comment on specific stories. A review is now underway and we need to allow this process to take place."


Another crooked opinion poll

No. It's not the AP again. This time it's the BBC -- which is not much of a surprise, sadly. Post below lifted from Monkey Tennis

The BBC is trumpeting the results of a poll it commissioned, which, it claims, shows that "most people are ready to make personal sacrifices to address climate change". Its report on the poll says:

Four out of five people indicated they were prepared to change their lifestyle – even in the US and China, the world's two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.


BBC environment reporter Matt McGrath says the poll suggests that in many countries people are more willing than their governments to contemplate serious changes to their lifestyles to combat global warming.

22,000 people in 21 countries were interviewed for the poll, and the figures given for the UK respondents were fairly representative of those for all countries, with more than 80 per cent agreeing that lifestyle changes were 'probably' or 'definitely' necessary.

Strange, then, that a separate poll conducted in Britain and reported on by Reuters a couple of days earlier produced very different findings:

Warnings about the effects of climate change have made most Britons aware of the crisis, but few are willing to make major changes to the way they live, a survey showed on Friday.


The survey, the sixth since 1986, found that six out of 10 people said they knew a lot or a fair amount about climate change and many were willing to do something to help.

But nearly half declared they would not make changes that impinged on their lifestyles and less than three in 10 said they had switched to using a more fuel-efficient car, cut car usage or taken fewer flights.

This doesn't quite square with "most people are ready to make personal sacrifices" does it? And here's a third poll on the same subject, reported in the same Reuters story:

A separate consumer survey found people over 50 – among the most climate-aware and affluent group – were deeply suspicious of any government move to raise green taxes, viewing it as a money-making mechanism.


The survey by Millennium, an agency specialising in marketing to the mature, found 84 percent believed the government was capitalising on climate fears to raise funds and also found little willingness among respondents to change lifestyles much – if at all – to benefit the environment.

Not only does the BBC's poll contradict two others taken at around the same time with regard to attitudes to 'climate change' in the UK, it also suggests there's been a dramatic change in opinion since the BBC reported on another independent poll back in July:

The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.


There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

But hang on a minute – here's yet another poll, which the BBC reported on in September, and which seems much more in tune with the findings of the BBC-commissioned poll we kicked off with – and funnily enough, it was also commissioned by the BBC:

Large majorities in many countries now believe human activity is causing global warming, a BBC World Service poll suggests.


An average of 79% of respondents to the BBC survey agreed that "human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change".

Nine out of 10 people said action was necessary, with two-thirds of people going further, saying "it is necessary to take major steps starting very soon".

Again, while people in various countries were interviewed for this poll, the results for the British respondents were about par for the course.

In case you're becoming confused – I know I am – here's a quick recap: we have three independent polls suggesting that Britons are either ambivalent or skeptical about whether climate change is a real problem, and highly skeptical about the motives of those who demand action; and we have two polls commissioned by the BBC which suggest that Britons, along with the rest of the world, are not only fully on board with the threat of climate change, but are prepared to endure tough measures to tackle the problem.

Both BBC polls were conducted by GlobeScan and PIPA – The Program on International Policy Issues. And lest anyone be thinking that these must be independent organisations, with no axe to grind and no vested interest in the outcome of the polls they conduct, here's Globescan President Doug Miller commenting on the BBC's September poll:

…Miller said growing awareness of global warming had awoken people's self-interest.

"The impacts of erratic weather on their property, on their person, on their country is tangible and real to people across the world."

He said "the strength of the findings makes it difficult to imagine a more supportive public opinion environment for national leaders to commit to climate action".

Note that Miller isn't commenting on the findings of the poll, as a spokesman for Mori might, but is giving his personal opinion on the subject, making it clear that he regards global warming and its consequences as a given.

The 'Core Practice Areas' listed on GlobeScan's website include Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Community Affairs, and the site features a photo of the Earth taken from space. I think we get the message.

As for PIPA, the list of 'Recent Studies' displayed on its website tells you everything you need to know. When it's not producing anti-American, anti-war or pro-climate hysteria polls for the BBC, it's producing reports such as 'Less than Half of Pakistani Public Supports Attacking Al Qaeda, Cracking Down on Fundamentalists' (in collaboration with the US Institute of Peace), and 'Muslims Believe US Seeks to Undermine Islam'.

Far from employing politically neutral organisations to carry out its polls, the BBC is working with two groups which entirely share its soft-left, but potentially very dangerous, view of the world and its ills. Pollsters are, of course, masters in the art of manipulating both their subjects and their data to get the results they want – and in the unlikely event that the BBC doesn't get the results it wants, it's a master of twisting the facts to suit the narrative: witness the poll it commissioned which purported to show that most Iraqis thought the Surge had failed, the findings of which were released to coincide with the Petraeus/Crocker testimony to Congress.

It's possible that the findings of the BBC's polls are accurate, and that the independent polls mentioned above, along with others, are flawed, but it's a remarkable coincidence that the BBC is able to produce poll after poll which suggests that the whole world thinks exactly what its news reports tell them to.

FAT WOMEN GET MORE CANCER -- Or so they say again

The medical researchers are always trying to prove it and some British statisticians have come up with some statistical jiggery-pokery that seems to indicate it. Report and abstract below.

For a start, what is NOT mentioned is very interesting: That fat women get LESS breast cancer overall and that it is people of middling weight who live longest overall. The latter finding is what statisticians call a curvilinear relationship and should in the circumstances have been tested for in the study below. That seems not to have been done. I suspect that the effects were too weak to allow for it.

At any event, if fatties DO get more cancer, they must get less of other things in order to live longer. No mention of THAT, of course.

But I suspect that the whole report is nonsense, anyhow. In order to get some detectable effect, they somehow put their women into groups of ten --
"relative risk per 10 units". What was wrong with just listing average mass indices in victim versus non-victim groups? I think I know: Minuscule differences. Grouping your data is ALWAYS bad statistics. It throws away information. So the professional female statisticians who did this study were very lax to do so. Such laxity had to be motivated.

Women who are overweight are at a greater risk of contracting a wide range of cancers, a study has shown. The authors calculate that 6,000 cancers a year - 5 per cent of all cancers in women - can be attributed to being overweight or obese.

The effect is greatest in cancers of the oesophagus (gullet) and endometrium (lining of the womb), where the risks are more than doubled. But there are also significant increases in the risks of contracting kidney cancer, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, ovarian cancer, breast cancer in older women and colorectal cancer in younger ones.

The team, led by Gillian Reeves of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford, analysed data from the Million Women Study. This is the largest study of the cancer risk for women, funded by Cancer Research UK. It involved 1.2 million women who were aged between 50 and 64 when they joined the study between 1996 and 2001, and who were monitored for an average of more than five years.

Information provided by the women at the start of the study included their height and weight, There were more than 45,000 cases of cancer and 17,203 deaths. The data allowed correlations to be observed between body mass index and cancer risk. The report, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that greater weight increased the risk of ten of the 17 cancers studied. It was calculated that an increase of 10 in the BMI measure - from 25 to 35, say - increased the risk of all cancers combined by 12 per cent. It almost tripled the risk of endometrial cancer and more than doubled that of oesophageal cancer.

Dr Reeves said: "Based on our findings, we estimate that being overweight or obese accounts for around 6,000 out of a total 120,000 new cases of cancer each year among middle-aged and older women in the UK. "Our research also shows that being overweight has a much bigger impact on the risk of some cancers than others. Two thirds of the additional 6,000 cancers each year due to overweight or obesity would be cancers of the womb or breast."

In some cases, the effect depends on the age of the woman. For example, being overweight only increases the risk of breast cancer after the menopause and the risk of bowel cancer before the menopause.

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This research adds to the evidence regarding the impact of being overweight or obese on developing cancer and dying from the disease. While most people readily associate carrying extra weight with being a general health risk, many do not make a specific link with cancer. These findings need to be taken into consideration alongside the established strong relationships between body fatness and other common illnesses, such as diabetes and heart attacks."

The link between cancer and being overweight is not new, but this is among the strongest evidence yet gathered in support of it. The study does not address reasons for the link, but a strong possibility is that extra fat generates greater quantities of the hormones that feed cancer. Excess body fat is not simply padding but active tissue producing hormones, so someone who has more of it runs a higher risk of cancer than a person of normal weight. In addition, overweight people are less likely to have healthy lifestyles. A healthy diet and regular exercise are acknowledged as factors that lower the risk of all cancers.


Journal abstract:

Cancer incidence and mortality in relation to body mass index in the Million Women Study: cohort study

By Gillian K Reeves et al.

Objective: To examine the relation between body mass index (kg/m2) and cancer incidence and mortality.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Participants: 1.2 million UK women recruited into the Million Women Study, aged 50-64 during 1996-2001, and followed up, on average, for 5.4 years for cancer incidence and 7.0 years for cancer mortality.

Main outcome measures: Relative risks of incidence and mortality for all cancers, and for 17 specific types of cancer, according to body mass index, adjusted for age, geographical region, socioeconomic status, age at first birth, parity, smoking status, alcohol intake, physical activity, years since menopause, and use of hormone replacement therapy.

Results: 45 037 incident cancers and 17 203 deaths from cancer occurred over the follow-up period. Increasing body mass index was associated with an increased incidence of endometrial cancer (trend in relative risk per 10 units=2.89, 95% confidence interval 2.62 to 3.18), adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus (2.38, 1.59 to 3.56), kidney cancer (1.53, 1.27 to 1.84), leukaemia (1.50, 1.23 to 1.83), multiple myeloma (1.31, 1.04 to 1.65), pancreatic cancer (1.24, 1.03 to 1.48), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (1.17, 1.03 to 1.34), ovarian cancer (1.14, 1.03 to 1.27), all cancers combined (1.12, 1.09 to 1.14), breast cancer in postmenopausal women (1.40, 1.31 to 1.49) and colorectal cancer in premenopausal women (1.61, 1.05 to 2.48). In general, the relation between body mass index and mortality was similar to that for incidence. For colorectal cancer, malignant melanoma, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer, the effect of body mass index on risk differed significantly according to menopausal status.

Conclusions: Increasing body mass index is associated with a significant increase in the risk of cancer for 10 out of 17 specific types examined. Among postmenopausal women in the UK, 5% of all cancers (about 6000 annually) are attributable to being overweight or obese. For endometrial cancer and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus, body mass index represents a major modifiable risk factor; about half of all cases in postmenopausal women are attributable to overweight or obesity.

BMJ 6 November 2007

Blood transfusion row in Britain

People are focusing on one case where refusal of a transfusion appears to have caused death. What they are NOT mentioning is that in MOST cases refusal of a transfusion has a BETTER outcome than accepting it. And the reason why is now fairly clear. Blood loses its oxygen-carrying capacity shortly after donation. So even WITH a transfusion the woman would probably have died

A Jehovah's witness died shortly after giving birth to twins because her faith prevented her from having a blood transfusion. Emma Gough, 22, began haemorrhaging but because her beliefs did not allow her to receive blood she slipped into unconsciousness and died. As she suffered severe blood loss and her life ebbed away, medical staff urged her husband, Anthony, and her parents, all of whom follow the same faith, to overrule her decision and allow a transfusion which could have saved her, but they refused.

She gave birth naturally and all appeared well as she cuddled her baby son and daughter, but she suddenly began to haemorrhage. Her condition was complicated by the fact she was anaemic.

Mrs Gough signed a form prior to giving birth making it clear she should not be given blood in the event of an emergency, which also confirmed she understood the risks of her decision. But it is understood her family were unhappy with the hospital because they felt Mrs Gough should have been given a Caesarean section but was left to give birth naturally.

Mr Gough, 24, a central heating engineer who has been left to bring up the children, said: "We are coping the best we can. There will be an inquest and issues will arise from that." Mrs Gough, who died on October 25th, was cremated at Telford Crematorium on Monday.

She and Mr Gough, who married in Barbados in December 2005, were devout Jehovah's witnesses, as were their families, and they all worshipped in Telford, attending the Kingdom Hill halls. Peter Welch, who was the couple's best man, said: "Everyone is devastated by what has happened. We can't believe she died after childbirth in this day and age, with all the technology there is. "What makes it even more sad is Emma had time to hold and start to bond with her twins before complications set in."

The couple, who lived in Dawley, Telford, have been together since they were teenagers and friends said Mrs Gough, who worked at the town centre's Next, was "ecstatic" to be having twins. Mrs Gough always dreamed of a Caribbean wedding and Mr Gough organised it as a surprise, the couple marrying in the grounds of the Tamarind Grove Hotel in front of 30 family members and friends.

Jehovah's witnesses insist that passages from the Bible ban them from taking blood. The collection, storage and transfusion of blood are all forbidden. A member of the Kingdom Hill congregation in Telford, Shrops, who asked not to be named, said: "The basis of the faith is that we follow commands from the scriptures and it is a scriptural command to abstain from blood. "It is one of a number of things contained in the Scriptures about things you can and cannot do. It is, of course, up to the individual to decide how strongly to follow these requirements. I accept that the faith will receive criticism over this. Some of our beliefs do attract criticism."

He denied Mrs Gough was being selfish by putting her own beliefs before the needs of her children, adding: "Children are always a priority. We respect life. We seek the best medical attention we can get but the requirement we have is that we do so without receiving blood. It is very sad and there is a lot of support for the family." ....

A spokesman for the Shrewsbury coroner said that the cause of death was recorded initially as complications of profound anaemia due to haemorrhage and complications of twin delivery. An inquest has been opened and adjourned and investigations are continuing.


A degree is no guarantee of full-time jobs or equal pay for women

A quarter of graduates do not have full-time jobs more than three years after getting their degrees, according to government figures. The Higher Education Statistics Agency, which examined the career progression of 24,000 people, also found that 20 per cent of those who were employed were not working in graduate occupations.

Women were more satisfied with their careers, although they were paid less than men in their first jobs. “There was a 1,000 pound difference in the average salaries of male and female graduates who had studied full-time, although a higher proportion of men were in higher-paid work,” the report said. “There was a larger gender difference among part-time graduates, where the average male salary was 3,133 higher than for females. Women were more likely to be working part-time than men at every level, regardless of their mode of study and qualification.” Graduates are normally questioned by the agency six months after leaving university, but this was its first follow-up survey, looking at their progress after 3½ years. Catherine Benfield, the project manager, said the gender gap statistics were fascinating. She said: “Women said they were more satisfied with their careers to date but when you look at salaries they are behind. Maybe they have lower expectations.”

While 89 per cent of graduates were in some kind of work – including voluntary and unpaid – only 74 per cent were in full-time paid employment. Five per cent were still studying full-time. Graduates in medicine, dentistry, education and agriculture had among the highest employment rates.


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