News Briefs – September 11, 2012

Brix Hahn/Sun Star Reporter
September 11, 2012

Columbian drug lord shot dead

Drug lord Griselda Blanco was killed in her hometown of Medellin, Columbia at age 69. Blanco is best known for transporting tons of cocaine from Columbia to Miami in the 1970s and 1980s. She is assumed to be the mastermind behind dozens of murders in the United States and Columbia.  The U.S. believes that she was importing an average of 35,000 pounds of the drug annually, and was responsible for its distribution into Florida, New York and California. In 2004, Blanco was released from a U.S. prison after spending the last 19 years incarcerated for conspiring to manufacture, smuggle and distribute cocaine within the U.S. and ordering three murders, including that of a three-year-old boy. After she served her sentence Blanco was deported to Columbia where she spent lived a relatively quiet life. Blanco was the mother of four children and several grandchildren.

-CNN

Mother reunited with children

Purnima Halder gave away her three daughters because she was unable to feed them. Halder believed they deserved a better life than she could offer them, so she was advised to sell her daughters for 185 rupees ($3).  After being forced out of a home, Hadler relocated her family to a platform in a railroad station. She was penniless. In the station a woman approached Hadler and offered to raise her middle daughter. Hadler accepted the woman’s offer. The next day Hadler gave away her other two daughters.  In Hadler’s area of India many girls, as young as 12, are sold by their own parents and many end up in the sex trade. Despite rumors, it was determined that Hadler did not gained financially from giving her children away.  The family is now reunited and permitted to stay in their shelter for another six months.  Hadler is not yet convinced that this is the best situation for her daughters and still believes they deserve a life better than the one she can offer them.

-BBC

Biomarker may help beat depression

People who suffer from depression have also dealt the task of determining which antidepressants are best for them. A recent study has determined that blood tests can predict who will respond to what medicines. This is the first time there has been a test like this available in psychiatry.  Inflammation influences depression in many people.  In order to test if an anti-inflammatory could help control depression, the researchers brought in 60 people who had lived with severe depression for more than ten years and had not been affected by any past prescribed antidepressants. Half of the participants received the drug Infiximba, used to treat inflammatory bowl diseases, and the others received a placebo. The experiment did not work as expected, those with a high C-reactive protein level responded well to the drug, resulting in less sadness, fewer thoughts of suicide and far less anxiety. Based on this research, is it estimated that a biological drug like Inflixmab may be a more productive option compared to others such as aspirin.  There are no drugs similar to Infixmab currently on the market as an antidepressant. However the team of researchers believe that pharmaceutical companies will soon catch onto the test’s success rates.

-Scientific America

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