Science

Big Money, Bad Medicine

"It's been pretty well established that publication bias is associated with industry funding," says Brown University epidemiologist Kay Dickersin, about drug companies squashing unfavorable research results. Yet the "overwhelming majority" of drug researchers receive industry funding, according to Canadian clinical pharmacist Muhammad Mamdani.

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Blame It On Your Genes

Secret documents reveal that British-American Tobacco has spent millions of pounds funding university research to back the controversial theory of "genetic predisposition," which argues that some people are more susceptible to lung cancer than others because they have "bad genes." The environmental group Gene Watch has obtained internal memos from BAT showing that research into "bad genes" was by far BAT's largest area of university funding in the early 1990s.

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Economic Protection Agency

"EPA decisions now have a consistent pattern: disregard for inconvenient facts, a tilt toward industry, and a penchant for secrecy," said longtime Environmental Protection Agency official Eric Schaeffer, who quit the agency in protest in 2002. He was responding to a new decision to exempt wood products plants from controls on emissions of formaldehyde, a chemical linked to cancer and leukemia.

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Is It Hot in Here, or Is It Just Me?

Professor Sir David King, the British government's chief scientist, warned that Antarctica could become the world's only habitable place by the year 2100. King said that the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were as high as they are now was 60 million years ago, during a period of rapid global warming, when "no ice was left on Earth.

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Big Pharma's Poison Pill

The British medical journal The Lancet published a review of "six published and six unpublished trials" studying antidepressant use by children that concluded that, in most cases, "the risks exceeded the benefits." More disturbingly, the review found evidence that pharmaceutical companies "had been aware of problems but did not reveal them." In a memo leaked last month from GlaxoSmithKline, the company w

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Thanks for the Opportunity

Leslie Green at Stapleton Communications has a bachelor's degree in Marketing Communications from California Polytechnic State University, which must be where she learned how to stonewall reporters while still sounding upbeat. A detailed new investigative report charges her client, AXT Inc., with poisoning its workers with gallium arsenide, a potent carcinogen used to make semiconductors.

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Silencing Science (Again)

"Two scientists from President Bush's top advisory board on cutting-edge medical research yesterday published a detailed criticism of the board's own reports, and said the board skewed scientific facts in service of a political and ideological cause," reports Gareth Cook. One of the scientists, Janet Rowley, is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. The other Elizabeth H. Blackburn, is a highly regarded biologist who was fired from the panel last Friday.

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