Event Title

Global Health Challenges

Location

Dining Room, Carnegie Institution for Science

Event Website

http://ipsonet.org/web/page/512/sectionid/375/pagelevel/2/interior.asp

Start Date

4-12-2023 11:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2023 12:00 PM

Description

Chair: David Merchant, Policy Studies Organization

Barbara Billauer
Pandemic Planning: Back to the Foundation.
Abstract: Pandemic preparation, of necessity, requires a certain degree of predicting the future, a sport or alchemy generally not amenable to the scientific method; requiring assumptions often chosen out of bias or ignorance, and at best based on limited knowledge. Preparation for the much anticipated pandemic flu was initiated about three years ago under two such assumptions: that the culprit would be a.) a ‘novel’ influenza virus and, b.) in the form of Avian Flu-H5N1. Billions of dollars were allocated for vaccines for this anticipated onslaught. And, although yet to materialize, some ‘pretenders’ to a job of Science Czar still consider that the now prevalent – but unanticipated – swine flu (H1N1) -- will yet “marry” or co-mingle with H5N1, again – without valid scientific plausibility to sustain this belief.
In planning for the unrealized Avian Flu attack (as well as in setting policy for bioterrorism in the forms of Anthrax or Smallpox, a return of SARs, an avalanche of extremely drug resistant TB and Staphlococcus, none of which has since materialized) -- current policy is predicated on mathematical modeling. Generally two models are run, one a worst-case scenario, one a moderate attack – but each using statistical methods. These statistical models, in turn use established epidemiological parameters that govern the significance of an epidemic – but employ values for each parameter arbitrarily chosen by the model’s creators, (whose financial, academic, or political biases are not disclosed), without rigorous scientific inquiry or review as to their biologic plausibility. The result: we have consistently a. over-planned for and, b. anticipated the wrong prevalent infectious culprit since 2001. Further, retro-justification of prior erroneous assumptions is prevalent. For example, to support the worst-case scenario model, one requirement is that the agent be “novel,” such that the population, as a whole, has yet to build up base-line immunity. Initial reports justifying the WHO pandemic alert were predicated on this assessment, i.e. that H1N1/swine flu is a novel agent. Nevertheless, ample evidence exists pointing to the contrary: The existence of genetic markers in animals is but one indicator that the current flu virus has been ongoing for anywhere from 2-10 years. This is confirmed by the variant and aberrant age-demographics of flu-onslaught during 2007 and 2008 seasons, and further corroborated by the fact that ample immunity has resulted after one dose of the newly developed vaccine, as opposed to two, as would be expected for a “novel” agent, i.e. the necessary predicate to support a pandemic declaration.
Isaac Asimov once said that one can predict the future based on a perfect understanding of history and psychology. This presentation suggests that, at least for predicting pandemics (whether natural or terrorist induced) and for ensuing planning and policy-setting, a better understand of biologyalong with relevant history would make for a better (i.e., more accurate and useful) future-predictor than the current practice of statistic modeling A historic analysis of six pandemics and severe epidemics during the last century will be used to demonstrate this thesis.

Hanan Al Shargi
Epigenetic Problems in the Aspect of Fundamental Science and Health Applications.
Abstract: Epigenetics is a life science field that has been receiving lots of attention recently. In simple terms, it is a study of organisms control beyond the regular genetic pathways where stable and heritable changes take place independent of DNA directions. Therefore, epigenetics bring in an additional level of control mechanism above and beyond DNA and its genes. Epigenetics concepts are not newly discovered, its mechanisms are known to be essential for coping with the biological complexity of multi-cellular organisms in the normal state. Epigenetics have also been debated for a long time in the context of heredity of acquired characteristics.
Epigenetics does not fall into the category of regular biomedical research, and thus poses a number of serious theoretical and practical problems. Without a proper analysis of these problems the conventional genetic engineering developments would be deficient.
The epigenetic influences are routinely attributed to molecular mechanisms such as DNA methylation, and chromatin and histone modifications. However, these straightforward mechanisms do not seem sufficiently efficacious. Further analysis suggests that there is an abundant amount of information that is passed on along with genetic information, which can survive outside of genetic material. The source of this epigenetic control remains to be mysterious to say the least. A more advanced model is considered which attributes epigenetic effects to the deeper notions of Universe non-locality and quantum entanglement. We will discuss several possibilities for experimental testing of these ideas.
In applications to healthcare practice, recent epigenetic research is uncovering more links between epigenetic modifications and a broad spectrum of health disorders. Abnormal epigenetic modifications are now the most well categorized change accompanying cancer diseases. These developments are exposing an unforeseen complexity in the way diseases develop and progress. These explorations may help put into perspective the actual role, which genes exert over biological form and function. Even more striking, epigenetic modifications are able to remain relatively stable and can transcend through successive generations, which forced some to go back and visit the basic question of the relation between the environment and heredity. It seems that epigenetics will be playing a major role in healthcare strategies, one that we cannot afford to ignore.

Import Event to Google Calendar

 
Dec 4th, 11:00 AM Dec 4th, 12:00 PM

Global Health Challenges

Dining Room, Carnegie Institution for Science

Chair: David Merchant, Policy Studies Organization

Barbara Billauer
Pandemic Planning: Back to the Foundation.
Abstract: Pandemic preparation, of necessity, requires a certain degree of predicting the future, a sport or alchemy generally not amenable to the scientific method; requiring assumptions often chosen out of bias or ignorance, and at best based on limited knowledge. Preparation for the much anticipated pandemic flu was initiated about three years ago under two such assumptions: that the culprit would be a.) a ‘novel’ influenza virus and, b.) in the form of Avian Flu-H5N1. Billions of dollars were allocated for vaccines for this anticipated onslaught. And, although yet to materialize, some ‘pretenders’ to a job of Science Czar still consider that the now prevalent – but unanticipated – swine flu (H1N1) -- will yet “marry” or co-mingle with H5N1, again – without valid scientific plausibility to sustain this belief.
In planning for the unrealized Avian Flu attack (as well as in setting policy for bioterrorism in the forms of Anthrax or Smallpox, a return of SARs, an avalanche of extremely drug resistant TB and Staphlococcus, none of which has since materialized) -- current policy is predicated on mathematical modeling. Generally two models are run, one a worst-case scenario, one a moderate attack – but each using statistical methods. These statistical models, in turn use established epidemiological parameters that govern the significance of an epidemic – but employ values for each parameter arbitrarily chosen by the model’s creators, (whose financial, academic, or political biases are not disclosed), without rigorous scientific inquiry or review as to their biologic plausibility. The result: we have consistently a. over-planned for and, b. anticipated the wrong prevalent infectious culprit since 2001. Further, retro-justification of prior erroneous assumptions is prevalent. For example, to support the worst-case scenario model, one requirement is that the agent be “novel,” such that the population, as a whole, has yet to build up base-line immunity. Initial reports justifying the WHO pandemic alert were predicated on this assessment, i.e. that H1N1/swine flu is a novel agent. Nevertheless, ample evidence exists pointing to the contrary: The existence of genetic markers in animals is but one indicator that the current flu virus has been ongoing for anywhere from 2-10 years. This is confirmed by the variant and aberrant age-demographics of flu-onslaught during 2007 and 2008 seasons, and further corroborated by the fact that ample immunity has resulted after one dose of the newly developed vaccine, as opposed to two, as would be expected for a “novel” agent, i.e. the necessary predicate to support a pandemic declaration.
Isaac Asimov once said that one can predict the future based on a perfect understanding of history and psychology. This presentation suggests that, at least for predicting pandemics (whether natural or terrorist induced) and for ensuing planning and policy-setting, a better understand of biologyalong with relevant history would make for a better (i.e., more accurate and useful) future-predictor than the current practice of statistic modeling A historic analysis of six pandemics and severe epidemics during the last century will be used to demonstrate this thesis.

Hanan Al Shargi
Epigenetic Problems in the Aspect of Fundamental Science and Health Applications.
Abstract: Epigenetics is a life science field that has been receiving lots of attention recently. In simple terms, it is a study of organisms control beyond the regular genetic pathways where stable and heritable changes take place independent of DNA directions. Therefore, epigenetics bring in an additional level of control mechanism above and beyond DNA and its genes. Epigenetics concepts are not newly discovered, its mechanisms are known to be essential for coping with the biological complexity of multi-cellular organisms in the normal state. Epigenetics have also been debated for a long time in the context of heredity of acquired characteristics.
Epigenetics does not fall into the category of regular biomedical research, and thus poses a number of serious theoretical and practical problems. Without a proper analysis of these problems the conventional genetic engineering developments would be deficient.
The epigenetic influences are routinely attributed to molecular mechanisms such as DNA methylation, and chromatin and histone modifications. However, these straightforward mechanisms do not seem sufficiently efficacious. Further analysis suggests that there is an abundant amount of information that is passed on along with genetic information, which can survive outside of genetic material. The source of this epigenetic control remains to be mysterious to say the least. A more advanced model is considered which attributes epigenetic effects to the deeper notions of Universe non-locality and quantum entanglement. We will discuss several possibilities for experimental testing of these ideas.
In applications to healthcare practice, recent epigenetic research is uncovering more links between epigenetic modifications and a broad spectrum of health disorders. Abnormal epigenetic modifications are now the most well categorized change accompanying cancer diseases. These developments are exposing an unforeseen complexity in the way diseases develop and progress. These explorations may help put into perspective the actual role, which genes exert over biological form and function. Even more striking, epigenetic modifications are able to remain relatively stable and can transcend through successive generations, which forced some to go back and visit the basic question of the relation between the environment and heredity. It seems that epigenetics will be playing a major role in healthcare strategies, one that we cannot afford to ignore.

http://www.psocommons.org/dupont_summit/2009/schedule/3