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World's Largest Medical Experiment

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the half-a-million-volunteers dept.

135

eldavojohn writes "Recently in the UK, a Biobank project has been rolled out to 'unpick' the genetic basis of diseases such as cancer on half a million volunteers. This is based on the success of a three-month pilot phase conducted on 3,800 participants. From the article: 'Over the next four years, blood and urine samples will be collected from volunteers aged 40 to 69, to help scientists unravel the genetic foundations of common diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and joint problems. If you live in the UK, agreeing to this survey may involve a little more than you would expect."

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135 comments

I thought (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957296)

that the US DOD invention of AIDS virus was the largest experiment....

Re:I thought (2, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957321)

It is called the HIV virus. AIDS can result from being infected with the HIV virus. And I don't think the military invented it. It's been recently shown to have definitely come from monkeys, probably in the 1930's.

Re:I thought (0)

twostar (675002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957358)

It's called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) virus?

Lemme make sure the department of redundancy department knows this...

Re:I thought (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957635)

I call it the "high-five". Kinda takes the string out, dontcha think?

The military did invent it. (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957360)

"AIDS can result from being infected with the HIV virus. And I don't think the military invented it. It's been recently shown to have definitely come from monkeys, probably in the 1930's."

Both are true [flakmag.com] : the military invented it and it came from monkeys. One on the same.

Re:The military did invent it. (3, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957425)

. . .the military invented it and it came from monkeys. One on the same.

I think some of the monkeys might tend to get upset at the suggestion that they evolved from the military.

KFG

Re:The military did invent it. (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957426)

You are saying the main culprits are the simians and theArmy... But krell, why do you then work so hard to give HIV back to the sailors in the Navy?

curse you (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957485)

Curse you for bringing by association that damnable "In the Navy" earworm.

Re:The military did invent it. (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957659)

Both are true Both are true [flakmag.com] : the military invented it and it came from monkeys. One on the same.

Don't make me go all Librarian [wikipedia.org] on your ass!

Kanye West (1)

agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957631)

You know what I'm saying. What's up player.

What they really need to get this rolling...... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957307)

Is a couple of scantilly clad nurses. Then they can collect DNA too.

Re:What they really need to get this rolling...... (5, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957347)

I think such a study would be seminal work in this area....

Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957319)

"If you live in the UK, agreeing to this survey may involve a little more than you would expect."

Like What?

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957675)

The UK government has made no small secret that it thinks having the DNA of every person on file to run through each time they stop your car/arrest you to fish for other crimes would be a jolly swell idea.

Re:Huh? (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957724)

Yeah but the headline is redundant because it is all UK volunteers. How many times does the /.'s stupid article comment backfire out of stupidity?

Re:Huh? (1)

MilwaukeeCharlie (911858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958719)

"If you live in the UK, agreeing to this survey may involve a little more than you would expect."

Like What?

How is this moderated Troll when someone (below) asks essentially the same question [slashdot.org] and it gets modified +5 Insightful?

I was puzzled as well by the summary's assertion. Glad I didn't ask...

But.. (-1, Flamebait)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957327)

We need people to die..

Why do you think cancer is around?.. it's a man made virus to decrease the huge population we are coming to, which ultimately causes more suffering than if we had cancer.
Smoking is good in a way, it gets the dumb people get out of the way because they've basically chosen to sacrifice their selves for other peoples enjoyment of a not-so-filled world.

We don't want the whole world to be like Japan or China, do we?


What's that?.... don't like my opinion?.. well, you try telling 50 million horny teens not to have sex.
Discipline and environment social behaviour is the answer, but it has gone passed that.

Re:But.. (2, Insightful)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957366)

Smoking i hardly a good way to control population, by the time smokers die they most likely already have children.

Re:But.. (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957379)

World of Warcraft on the other hand is pure genius!

Re:But.. (-1, Redundant)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957386)

Bingo, this is where HIV+ comes in.

You see, when most people are HIB positive, they rarely catch the aids virus, but people worry, they go to their doctors which basically trigger aids.
when you're checked for being HIV positive, it sometimes only accumulates to a normal cold, or small bug.

Cancer is what happens when... (4, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957452)

...a species that historically procreates before 30 years of age is kept alive until their 80s by improved hygiene and medicine. Your body was never designed to last as long as it usually does nowadays, and the systems break down. Cancer isn't a "manmade virus;" it's the end result of a lifetime's worth of minor genetic insults.

Blame Logan 5 (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957546)

"a species that historically procreates before 30 years of age is kept alive until their 80s by improved hygiene and medicine"

Things just really haven't been right since Logan 5 came along and destroyed Carrousel and the renewal process. They should have known better than to design a computer that destroys a city if you give it a confusing sentence.

Re:Cancer is what happens when... (3, Interesting)

ps_inkling (525251) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958068)

Our environment contains more substances today which cause cells to mutate: estrogen-like chemicals, fine soot particles, innumerous medicines, radioactive decay, socially acceptable behaviors like smoking. Additionally is the continued decay of the athmosphere's blocking of UV radiation (and basement-dweller sensitivity to the sun) and the "ozone layer" problems. Overuse of antibiotics has created "superbugs" we can't completely cure (tubercolosis, staph infections).

If our bodies were not meant to last this long, babies born of old males and young females should have more genetic problems than young males and females. If our sole purpose was to reproduce a few times and die "young" (before 35), then why do our cells have so many proteins dedicated to detecting and repairing chromosome damage? Shouldn't they deactivate after 35 years?

Why would nature keep old people around? How does nature select for old age genes if you reproduce when young? Some theories are that older people pass their life's knowledge to the next generation, without the next generation having to experience it themselves. Older people act as secondary caregivers, freeing the younger generation to do "useful stuff".

There's no reason to believe our bodies were made to wear out at 60 or 70. Eat less calories, more fruit and veggies high in anti-oxidant compounds, exercise (physical labor and mental), and there's no reason that our bodies couldn't last... longer. How much longer? One study [nih.gov] says maybe 120 years.

Re:Cancer is what happens when... (1)

Bob Uhl (30977) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958626)

Our environment contains more substances today which cause cells to mutate: estrogen-like chemicals, fine soot particles, innumerous medicines, radioactive decay, socially acceptable behaviors like smoking.
Ummm...we've been surrounded by soot since the invention of fire. And as for smoking being socially acceptable, what country do you live in? Here in the US of A, we're about two steps from smokers being branded with an 'S' on their foreheads. I'm stockpiling a 60-year supply of pipe tobacco just in case it's banned.

Re:Cancer is what happens when... (2, Interesting)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958718)

"If our bodies were not meant to last this long, babies born of old males and young females should have more genetic problems than young males and females." Actually, I saw a study the other day (whose details, I admit, escape me now) that showed some evidence that children born to older men do have a higher incidence of neurological developmental disorders. In addition to the problems associated with older women giving birth (Down's syndrome being the best known example). " If our sole purpose was to reproduce a few times and die "young" (before 35), then why do our cells have so many proteins dedicated to detecting and repairing chromosome damage? Shouldn't they deactivate after 35 years?" Only if you evolved a way to stop expressing those proteins past a certain age--and again, once you've procreated, evolution is through with you. Granted, nowadays it's possible to have children later in life, but for most of the natural history of the species, you squeezed out pups as soon as you were able. "There's no reason to believe our bodies were made to wear out at 60 or 70. Eat less calories, more fruit and veggies high in anti-oxidant compounds, exercise (physical labor and mental), and there's no reason that our bodies couldn't last... longer" The body isn't DESIGNED to wear out any more than it's designed to keep working. It's designed to make babies, and anything happening later is irrelevant. And of course, if you limit the amount of carcinogens you ingest and keep yourself fit you'll spare yourself undue wear and tear (both on your genetic material and on the physiological structure), leading to longer life. Admittedly, it's possible that the behavioral/societal benefits of increased longevity could drive the species towards greater life expectancy, and I have no idea what sort of time scale that would operate on, or how beneficial having grandpa around would have to be to make it work. It doesn't really affect my main point: cancer is a natural result of the body's genetic repair/control systems breaking down over time, rather than an unnatural plague as some paint it to be (barring, of course, cases of cancer due to toxic exposures, or radiation).

Fine (4, Funny)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957457)

We need people to die..

Fine. You first.

Re:But.. (3, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957498)

What are you smoking? Over population hasn't been a problem for years now. The new bogeyman is overconsumption; aka, SUVs, $3 gas, plastic+paper packaging, disposable diapers, etc.

Don't believe me? Look at the CIA factbook for Japan, US, and China:
Japan's [cia.gov] birthrate is lower than it's deathrate. It's fertility rate is only 1.4.
China's [cia.gov] birthrate is higher than it's deathrate for now, but it has a below 2.1 fertility rate. That means they too will have a smaller population in the future.
The US [cia.gov] also has a below 2.1 fertility rate (at 2.09), so it too will be seeing population decline were it not for immigrants.
See Overpopulation.com [overpopulation.com] for more about the fertility rate and population growth.

Re:But.. (2, Funny)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957750)

If people stop consuming they will go back to fucking.....

Re:But.. (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958398)

Just remember, a fertility rate of 2.1 (from what I remember) is needed to keep a population level. This keeps it level, instead of increasing, due to various things such as accidents/diseases/murder/other that kill people before they have kids and to account for people who do not have kids at all.

Hmm... Looking at the overpopulaiton website, it looks like the population of the world will stabilize somewhere between 2050 and 2100. Probably at what, 7-8 billion?

Weird Trend (1)

narftrek (549077) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958994)

This will sound trollish but I seriously noted a trend on the poster's overpopulation.com link. Anyone else whose looked here notice that almost all of the countries with highly above 2.1 stats are Muslim countries? Conversly, most of the countries with below average rates are the first world Christian nations. What's up with that? Was there some mandate for more kids or perhaps external factors such as banned contraceptives etc?

Any thoughts?

New Army slogan? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957514)

"We need people to die..."

I guess it beats that "Army of One" slogan.

Re:New Army slogan? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957697)

New? "He needed killin'" is still a valid affirmative defense in many of our charming southern states.

Re:New Army slogan? (1)

joey_knisch (804995) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958010)

I can see it now...

Wave after wave of geriatric soldiers charging, stumbling, and wheeling to their doom.

DeCODE (5, Informative)

tom8658 (899280) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957340)

Theres a project like this in Iceland called DeCODE [bioteach.ubc.ca] . They've been given a lot of power over the data collected, enough to make some people wary. It's a fair assumption that this project will face similar problems, although the measures governing DeCODE seem to protect the company much more than the individual. It will be interesting to see how Biobank handles this.

Sounds like a good idea... (4, Insightful)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957371)

If...

they properly inform people about the program and its uses before having them volunteer.

they are rigorous in protecting privacy. (No AOL fiasco.)

they closely monitor different companies are doing with the data - no cross-referencing with their own data to identify people, no reselling of the data, etc.

they allow patients to "opt-out" even after they have volunteered.

they provide it for free to interested, responsible paries. (Or at least cheap enough that major pharmaceutical companies aren't the only customers.)

they follow the ethical standards of the profession, and not the ethical standards of the mighty dollar (or pound).

Only a problem (2, Informative)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957384)

"they properly inform people about the program and its uses before having them volunteer."

Only for a problem that, when confronted by someone demanding blood / semen /urine samples, always decide to give first and ask questions later.

Re:Only a problem (3, Informative)

ConsumerOfMany (942944) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957746)

I don't know how it is in Europe, but for us (NY metro research facility) to even gather blood samples for randomized testing (say to establish a reference range for cholesterol) the amount of paperwork we go through for each donor is quite extensive. There is about a 10 page disclosure that we go through page by page, have them initial each point about what we are going to do with the sample, what there rights are about the storage of the sample, how long we keep it, who will see the data etc. After they sign it, we encourage a witness to be with them for signing we then sign and date in presence of a witness. They receive a copy in person, and mailed to the address they provide. All this for just a random blood sample, run totally unidentified. This all happens before we can take a sample. If they don't go through and sign, we don't take a sample.

Mind you, many people that respond to the ads for medical research studies aren't the most educated folks, or even care about what we do with the sample as long as they get the 15 bucks, But we try our best to inform them

WANTED: FINGERS (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957769)

"Mind you, many people that respond to the ads for medical research studies aren't the most educated folks, or even care about what we do with the sample as long as they get the 15 bucks, But we try our best to inform them"

Just place a classified advert in Craiglist or the Cleveland Picayune or some other paper, saying "WANTED: FINGERS. WE REMOVE. YOU PAY $16"....and don't be surprised if you get a few customers.

Re:Only a problem (1)

ConsumerOfMany (942944) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957850)

and note that before we can even be the one to sit down with a subject and go over the consent form, we need to "certified" by the IRB [irbservices.com] (institutional review board research ethics)

What? (4, Insightful)

imidan (559239) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957383)

If you live in the UK, agreeing to this survey may involve a little more than you would expect.
After reading TFA, I am still puzzled about this statement. What does it mean? The article doesn't even imply this vague disclaimer. Would the submitter care to enlighten us on how the survey involves more than we would expect?

Re:What? (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957491)

After reading TFA, I am still puzzled about this statement. What does it mean?
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the implication is that the government is likely to try to use your DNA against you sometime in the future.

Re:What? (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957803)

More importantly, all of the people who are in the UK that take part of this survey who don't live there won't have their DNA in the goverments database.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958069)

dude change yr name

Re:What? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958403)

dude change yr name

What? He is Beaver's brother, Penis Cleaver.

You didn't know they were twins playing one role, like the Olsen twins? ;)

Re:What? (0)

Randseed (132501) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958039)

I'll do you one better. Bear with me.

How many of us here played "Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom?" Okay, lots of us.

I can tell you right now that it is not outside the realm of possibility to engineer viruses that kill people who don't meet a certain genetic template. More to the point, if you have a gene for X, it kills you or sterilizes you. "Gene X" could be anything from skin color to blood type to a gene predisposing you to breast cancer or familial hyperlipidemia.

Re:What? (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958217)

I can tell you right now that it is not outside the realm of possibility to engineer viruses that kill people who don't meet a certain genetic template. More to the point, if you have a gene for X, it kills you or sterilizes you. "Gene X" could be anything from skin color to blood type to a gene predisposing you to breast cancer or familial hyperlipidemia.

This is certainly a frightening prospect. But the most frightening is a killer virus targeting skin color or other racial phenotype. The problem with doing this, ISTM, is that there simply is no genetically pure race. Say white supremacists create a gene that kills black people. They'll find they're killing a few of their own (how rich an irony that would be)! Because we're simply too genetically related to target "race" that specifically.

At least, I hope so.

Re:What? (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958636)

Say white supremacists create a gene that kills black people. They'll find they're killing a few of their own (how rich an irony that would be)! Because we're simply too genetically related to target "race" that specifically.
Too true. And don't forget that viruses are really good at mutating. What targets one race today may target another tomorrow. Hopefully nobody is stupid enough to use genetic-trait-targeted viruses against their "enemies".

Re:What? (2, Informative)

dr-suess-fan (210327) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957511)

If I'm not mistaken, the original comment looked to me like a rather obvious reference to the the eroding freedoms and big-brothering going on in the UK as of late

Re:What? (4, Funny)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957707)

Would the submitter care to enlighten us on how the survey involves more than we would expect?

NO! Then you would expect it!!!

Re:What? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958380)

NO! Then you would expect it!!!

[insert Python Spanish Inquisition joke here]

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957840)

Here's the participant info:

http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/about/participantinform ation.php [ukbiobank.ac.uk]

The only clause that raised a flag in my mind was the long-term access to medical records, even in the event you die or become mentally incompetent. Other than that, the terms seem downright sane for such a potentially Orwellian study.

The actual relevant website URL (3, Informative)

wherrera (235520) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957400)

Here's the link: Biobank (UK) http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/ [ukbiobank.ac.uk]

Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957404)

The problem with this is that all the volunteers won't see a penny, but the medical institutions that come up with a medical breakthrough as a result of the data obtained from the volunteers will make billions. They will patent the cure, market it and the volunteers get nothing.

In the best sense, surely any profitable outcome that arises out of data provided by these volunteers should be subject to some sort of profit sharing? Afterall, without the volunteers, it may not be possible for these pharmaceutical companies to develop the medicine.

(Not to mention the fact that the volunteers may find out stuff they'd rather not know.)

Follow through. (4, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957718)

Volunteers in medical studies often (nearly ALWAYS) recieve medical advice and consultation, possibly free medication, and follow-through care. It sounds like you do not want to volunteer -- please don't. Some people, however, feel that participating in a worthy endeavor is payment enough. If it leads to improved health care, great. If you are concerned about pharma companies making money, go into politics. These issues do not belong in science.

Re:Follow through. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958721)

go into politics. These issues do not belong in science.

How fucking stupid are you anyway? In the US, (heard of creation "science"?), you can't separate the two. If you're not constantly vigilant, the shit-eating politicians will quash your science.

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957722)

> ... and the volunteers get nothing
 

... other than a cure for their disease? Even if I had to pay for it, I'd be happy.

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (2, Insightful)

eipgam (945201) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957846)

I get your point, but since when has profit sharing or payment been a pre-requisite for volunteering?

What I'd rather see happen is the NHS get subsidised drugs that are developed as a result of this study.

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958040)

The volunteers won't get anything except better medical care (while in programs like this, superior health monitoring is a necessity, so if nothing else you get checked out by competent doctors on a regular basis).

They also get the benefit of cures down the road, and the satisfaction of helping others even if a cure for their particular disease doesn't come out of the study.

There's also a strong aversion in the medical community to coercive measures being used to get people involved in medical studies. Paying people off is a form of coercion (it will disproportionately tempt the poor to become involved in a process that may be dangerous to their lives). Many doctors will not participate in research in which the subjects are paid for this reason.

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958329)

Believe it or not, I prefer that they do not make a cash payment to volunteers in medical experiments. The reason is that by paying out money to do this, you're encouraging the poor to participate more than the rich. I suppose in this case the treatment is not very invasive so it's ok. But, just recently, I read about the Chinese study of HIV. They are paying Chinese citizens $300 to participate. Now, who do you think would take them up on this offer? The poor. It just sort of gives me the image of the guy on Nightcourt that used to get his blood taken to the point of nearly fainting every day because they paid him money. Paying out money for these types of studies could bring on professional volunteers for medical procedures and they might put money before their health. This is a slippery slope so I believe this study follows a better model. The volunteers probably wish to benefit society, but they probably also have their own health in mind when they volunteer. This is as it should be.

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958829)

The volunteers probably wish to benefit society, but they probably also have their own health in mind when they volunteer. This is as it should be.

Why do these questions always get resolved in the way that will benefit the party who stands to make billions on it? An immediate payment isn't required, just chit that will entitle the participant to get a large sum of money some day if the research pans out."But these chits could be bought and sold", you say. BFD -- how is this different from anything else in the US or the UK. Ever heard of "pollution credits"? The practice is already institutionalized.

Why is it OK for the pharma outfits to go to the rain forests to collwect knowledge of medicinal plants from natives, then stiff the natives when the profits start rolling in? Or worse, prevent the natives from future use of the "patented life form".

Re:Of course, the volunteers won't make a penny (3, Interesting)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958799)

Curing diseases isn't profitable. Treating symptoms with very expensive drugs is.
Depending on who the research group really is - if they are a pharm corporation they are in no way funded to find a "cure" for anything - but if they are truly independent they may be looking to cure something....

I work with a ton of medical researchers at the university where I work, and many of the research volunteers are doing it just for the sake of science. Yes, it is surprising, but there still are some folks out there motivated by other things than greed. As the earlier poster pointed out, they are compensated for travel time, given free medical treatment and/or drugs, etc. Some even get compensated for their time...

The largest experiment that we know about... (4, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957410)

What about all the fluoride in the water? It's a conspiracy... a secret experiment that's been conducted for a generation. Who knows what effects that has on us? It might be turning us all into communist spies. Perhaps we'll all wake up one day under the influence of a massive KGB mind control beam. Anything could happen! We must protect our precious bodily fluids at all costs!

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957466)

>What about all the fluoride in the water?

Most countries do not do this as it's been linked to stomach cancer.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957469)

What about all the fluoride in the water? It's a conspiracy... Perhaps we'll all wake up one day under the influence of a massive KGB mind control beam.

Don't worry, it's only transmitted through cell phones.

KFG

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957500)

Oh get a grip. we KNOW what flouride ion in the water does to you there are craploads of medical documents rolling all the way back ot the 1900's on it.

BTW, My city was used as the control for the origional flouride treatments in the early 1900's Only retarted morons are afraid of the Flouride in water. It's health benefits are only rivaled by clorinating water in making people live longer.

Flouride ions in water consumed by children make a drastic and dramatic change in the reduction of caries and decay in teeth, increasing the health of the general population significantly. Adults get no benefit from the ion and only huge doses like you find in toothpaste actually affect adult teeth.

BTW, way before you get poisoned by Flouride your theeth will mottle. I.E. turn brown from the excess flouride... ask many well water drinters from the southwest about flouride in the water, they have too much in many places from natural ground water.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957642)

...ask many well water drinters from the southwest about flouride in the water, they have too much in many places from natural ground water.

Side effects also include an unusual mental disorder, whose primary symptom involves an insatiable desire to mount large falling bombs while wearing a cowboy hat, whooping and hollering all the way to ground zero.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (2, Funny)

bdonalds (989355) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957682)

Please watch this movie [imdb.com] . We will all be better for it.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

everett (154868) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957695)

I can attest to this being from Franklin City, VA. You could always tell the natives (people that had grown up drinking the water there) by the brown stains on their teeth.

Although it could have something to do with the paper mill there too. Who knows.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958240)

You mean you have not seen Dr Strangelove yet?

No Floride and no cavities (1)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958540)

BTW, My city was used as the control for the origional flouride treatments in the early 1900's Only retarted morons are afraid of the Flouride in water.

I've always thought a resistance to floridation was unfounded, but my two brothers and I grew up in a town without it and none of us has ever had a single cavity. A few of my friends I grew up with also didn't have any. Certainly we weren't a cavity free town, but how does this compare to places with Floridation? Do no kids there get cavities?

Our hometown actually tried to floridate the water again in the late 1990's and they rejected it again. I didn't follow the debate then as I no longer lived there, so I don't know if conspiracy theories played a role in their decision to reject it.

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957624)

That's why I only drink rainwater and pure grain alcohol...

Re:The largest experiment that we know about... (1)

mmdog (34909) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957902)

You're only half-right. Flouride in the water is a requirement for the space based mind control lasers to work. Why do you think there is a debate over tin foil vs. aluminum foil as the best way to protect yourself?

Don't believe me? Then you're clearly wearing the wrong type of protection.

I thought the largest medical experiment... (0)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957451)

...was the introduction of the Big Mac.

Nah (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958028)

That's only a small part of the experiment. There are varying amounts of unpronounceable ingredients in lots of other things, too.

My guess is the experiment is to eventually get us to the point that embalming is no longer necessary. Morticians and coroners have already noticed that people now take longer to decay when they die and the speculation is that all of the preservatives and antibiotics in our food is the cause.

Cheers,
Dave

I thought the largest medical experiment...Life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958030)

Well let's see. Pesticides, smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, birth control pills. Oh there's plenty of expermentation going on. A lot of it willingly. As the population gets older the results should start popping up real soon. That's why you want to go into the medical field. A growth industry for failed experiments.

Why bother with volunteers? (2, Funny)

RubberBaron (990477) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957542)

...blood and urine samples will be collected from volunteers...

Just go down to any chav-infested town centre on a Friday or Saturday night. Plenty of blood and urine around then...

Re:Why bother with volunteers? (1)

eipgam (945201) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957870)

And vomit to boot! I'm not actually sure which I'd rather collect.

Re:Why bother with volunteers? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957983)

It's just that only a small fraction of that blood comes with a detailed medical history.

Dog / bark / tree / wrong (1, Troll)

ashley_moran (976590) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957544)

The longer we spend trying to find what is wrong with US, as opposed to what is wrong with the crap we eat, drink and breathe is the biggest killer of all. Somehow though, doctors are oblivious to the fact that the only animals that get cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc are us, and our domesticated pets (and livestock, etc). And so they don't find it unusual that the most sucessful primate in the world has more built-in flaws than a pre-alpha build of Windows. Hang on a second!!! Doesn't evolution select the MOST fit?

And it's worth bearing in mind that iatrogenic deaths (from misdiagnosis, drug side effects, etc) rival those of heart disease and cancer anyway. So even assuming that current lifestyle advice from doctors is NOT the cause of the health crisis we are in, what do we do? If this research highlights the genetic "faults" inherent in all of us, the pharmaceuticals will be in a race to create drugs or gene therapy to mask these alleged flaws. Again - hang on a second!!! If you get rats in your house, do you release rattlesnakes to eat them?

I once heard that increased cancer screening could actually increase deaths due to unnecessary surgery, or other treatments, on benign tumours. I used to think that was crazy. But just consider what could happen if you can walk into a doctor's surgery, put drop of blood on a probe and be told that you should consider a preventative [insert favourite body part here]-ectomy to remove the ticking timebomb inside you.

Re:Dog / bark / tree / wrong (0, Flamebait)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957616)

Somehow though, doctors are oblivious to the fact that the only animals that get cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc are us, and our domesticated pets . . .

The blind bastards haven't noticed the little people living under their beds either.

KFG

Re: None more wrong than you (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957691)


Somehow though, doctors are oblivious to the fact that the only animals that get cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc are us, and our domesticated pets (and livestock, etc).


Umm, No that is completely and totally incorrect. However "We and our Pets" are the only ones DIAGNOSED and TREATED for any of these conditions. The wild animals that suffer from these problems all DIE and are EATEN by predators or scavengers.

Why is it that some people will believe the MOST RIDICULOUS things without doing a single bit of research on their own or even applying any CRITICAL LOGIC ???

It's obvious that evolution is no longer selecting for additional intelligence! Or perhaps it's just the safety nannies preventing evolution...

Re:Dog / bark / tree / wrong (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957736)

Your post is so full of crap. Wild animals get cancer as well. I can only hope you're kidding, and the mods are just high as usual.

Re:Dog / bark / tree / wrong (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957755)

I don't know, I think this is a good thing. If people want to kill themselves let them. There are already tons of people working on diet and anti-cholesterol drugs and such to "help" those people.

But what if you eat well and such? Something like this could be very important. You may think you are eating healthy, but what if you could take a test and find out that your diet needed more of X because that would reduce your risk of Y which is high because of genes A, B, and C?

Also, don't forget that it's easier to convince people to do something like eat healthy if you can point to a difinitive test and say "You have 3x the risk of heart disease even if you eat healthy, so imagine what your risk is the way you eat" than "Don't eat that it's bad for you."

Many people's diets and such are causing problems, but does that mean until we fix that we should ignore the other causes of those problems and the healthy eaters?

Re:Dog / bark / tree / wrong (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957775)

Mcdonalds makes its McRibs from ground up meth addicts. Am I the only one that thinks there is something wrong with that?

Re:Dog / bark / tree / wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958565)

insert favourite body part here

Ummm... but we only just met.

Non-UK residents... (3, Funny)

Goodgerster (904325) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957584)

Of course, if you live anywhere other than the UK, you'll find it involves far more than you'd expect.

Largest experiment ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957619)

... is actually the USA where most corn contains genetically modified versions
also known as frankenfoods. No one knows the long term consequences.

Re:Largest experiment ... (3, Informative)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957748)

Ah, the "frankenfood" arguement. The idea that genetic manipulation of foodcrops can create foods that will turn us all into gibbering zombies.

Apparantly, the parent poster doesn't realize that we've been doing this since time immemorial, through a process called "selective breeding". Different DNA in the corn doesn't make a difference once its in your system, all of it will still be broken down for individual sugars and proteins, etc. The DNA won't suddenly become hostile and start mutating you. Its still just corn. Genetically modified? Certainly. Just like any corn you could buy from anywhere, but this modification was done in a lab instead of through several generations of selective breeding. Also, its great with butter and salt!

Re:Largest experiment ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957946)

There is a difference between "selective breeding" that uses genetic strains already present in corn, and adding genes that are completely foreign to the organism. Selective breeding is aided by humans, but, at its most basic level, it does not override the selection mechanism in its most pristine form.

Also, on what do you base your claim that "Different DNA in the corn doesn't make a difference once it's in your system"? Last time I checked the only evidence we had was macroscopic: don't get sick when you eat it, and it must be fine. If health were just a simple matter of everything being "broken down for individual sugars and proteins" -- if that were all that mattered when food entered the body, and all the other waste, etc. components didn't matter -- then why does it matter what we eat at all?

It is easy to dismiss the argument against GM food by waving your hand and classifying all critics as over-imaginative, zombie-fearing loonies. I guess it's a convenient way of avoiding having to think too critically about the argument in order to form an enlightened and fair opinion.

Paranoia and junk science together at last (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958038)

It's easy to dismiss the argument against GM food because it is all based on ignorance and paranoia. You can only accept the whacky opposition if you LACK critical thinking.

Re:Largest experiment ... (3, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958266)

What I'm saying is, without an explicit mechanism for either our digestive systems to start reading the rapidly-decaying DNA floating outside its protective cell walls, or for that DNA to suddenly and spontaneously exhibit bacterial or viral infection vectors, there is no place where things can go wrong on a genetic level. The rest of the plant matter that we can't absorb at that stage of digestion is passed on for further break-down, or excreeted at the final stage. I'm sure you've seen those bits of corn that you couldn't digest, and they're no more dangerous now than before.

There's a great deal of unwarranted fear-mongering going on behind the anti-GM food movement. They're scared of change, and of the pace that change comes at. They yell and scream loudly about it, and stick to their "organic" foods (which is a rather misleading title in itself, as the title of "organic" technically means that it need only contain carbon to be accurate - there's no regulation on this label in most places). Meanwhile, they offer no evidence that anything is wrong, just a lot of FUD. If you wish to say that something is dangerous, that's fine. Give me proof that its dangerous, and I might start listening to you. No "maybe"s or "what if"s. Solid facts, statistically relevant samples, and long term studies. GM foods have been around for roughly 12 years, and in that time over 100 studies have been done and no health risks have been found. I'll source this if you want, although I'm certain you have access to Google too. Until you can show me a reason to be concerned, stop crying wolf. Meanwhile the benefits such as increased yields, decreased maintenance and pesticide reliance, decreased irrigation requirements, and many others are here, real, tested and shown.

Re:Largest experiment ... (1)

tutori (821667) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958504)

Unfortunately, all of our evidence that any food is safe is macroscopic. I haven't really kept up on to date with this, but I don't remember seeing any evidence that GM food was dangerous, it was simply the lack of evidence that it was safe.

Re:Largest experiment ... (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959043)

Nice straw man. I would say there is a significant difference between the selective breeding of cattle to improve milk production and the injection of bovine growth hormone (BGH) to achieve that end. For example, there is indication that BGH causes health problems in cows and results in more pus in milk. Personally, if I'm drinking milk, I'd rather it came from healthy animals and that the milk has a lower pus count.

Or let's take a more obvious human example: steriods. Steriods are natural. They are important to the functioning of the human body. Still, it doesn't mean it is a good idea to create synthetic varieties and inject them. You certainly would want to know a lot more about the benefits and risks before choosing that course of action, wouldn't you? I know I would.

Now, I think the thrust of the GM foods argument is that eating these foods is the equivalent of putting an unknown substance into your body and not knowing how it will effect it long term. Since GM foods are new, no one knows what the impact will be on people's bodies over the long haul. However, we do know that there are both advantages (disease resistant crops) and disadvantages (GM crops creating super-weeds that require stronger herbicides) to these crops in the short term.

I worry when people just claim something is safe without actually testing it via the scientific method. People said that BGH was completely safe when it came out too. However, saying it doesn't make it so. That's why we test things - especially if it could have major health impact on entire populations.

You could argue that GM foods are necessary to feed the growing population of the world. But that is different than just saying they are safe or that isn't any different from what humans have been doing for centuries. It is different. If we are going to use science to create them, we should also use science to make sure that they are safe.

Of course, we won't have the data to make a determination for decades. In the meantime, please stop pretending the question is settled. Use the good arguments available to you and argue that the benefits outweigh the risks. To argue that you are certain that there are no risks undermines your argument completely and makes people reading what you say question your judgment.

Humbug! (0)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957887)

Bah! I;ve been eeating it forrrr yeres and thyurs nething worong weth my cogggggggnitive skilz. l;akeurpewuj!

extensible web data (1)

cogno64 (970283) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957696)

more should be done to use the web to collect trial information. It costs 1/10th of a traditional trial; eventually the possibilty exists to create a new wellness mgmt system as we are doing on the brain, strictly voluntary, but providing tools allowing people to follow themselves over time - does it work? a few thousand people since 8/18 on this one. [cognitivelabs.com] with a clear opt-out.

Privacy and Security Safeguards ? What are those? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15957721)

Posting this anonymously 'cos of mod points.
This is the UK. The Government doesn't do privacy, at least when it comes to the citizens. They want the police to have an eternal DNA database on everyone in the country. This will almost certainly be part of it.
See the following page for more concerns.
http://www.spy.org.uk/spyblog/2006/08/uk_biobank_w here_are_the_privacy_and_security_safeguards.html [spy.org.uk]

-- 1984 was meant as a warning, not a howto.

Dementia (1)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957723)

But what happens when someone with Dementia forgets to give their blood or urine sample?

An interesting project... (2, Interesting)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15957807)

Just a pity that they don't follow the subjects for a longer period of time. Although one can certainly learn a lot by tracking people for 4 years, I wonder if it is long enough for certain diseases which are, sadly enough, far too common.

As a comparison:

The University Medical Center Groningen has initiated a large scientific study called LifeLines, which, will follow the developments in the health of as many as 165,000 people in the northern Netherlands during a period of at least 30 years. The LifeLines study will extend the knowledge of and insight into the origins of frequently occurring diseases, which will result in earlier and better intervention and prevention. LifeLines aims to assess how and why specific risk factors lead to different diseases in individuals. The UMCG is the first organization in the Netherlands to set up a medical biobank on this scale. The creation of LifeLines has been made possible partly thanks to a Kompass subsidy of 4.5 million from the three Northern Provinces.

Full Story [www.umcg.nl]

Interesting projects in general though, precisely because of their scope.

Largest CONTROLLED medical experiment (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958025)

Don't forget the unintentional "experiments" that tested things like:

Will the thinning of the ozone layer result in more cancer?
Will increased pollution cause health problems?
Will increasing the average air temperature over time have health consequences?
Will advertising cigarettes on television lead to more lung cancer?
Will not promoting condoms lead to an increase in HIV transmission?

and many more.

Yes, I know, technically those aren't "medical experiments" but we still have an opportunity to learn from them.

Bigger (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958725)

I thought the world's largest medical experiment was the Drug War, including the alcohol and tobacco businesses. Nearly a total success, too, lasting well over a half millennium.
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