Friday, 31 August 2012

Cordia curassavica (N. Jacquin) J. Roemer & J. A. Schultes, Family: Boraginaceae Synonyms: Cordia macrostachya (Jacquin) Roemer & Schultes, Varronia curassavica Jacq. Cordia curassavica has not had much research conducted on it but the research conducted is fairly recent. The plant is native to South and Central America and the Caribbean. Cordia curassavica essential oil derived from the aerial parts had activity against Aspergillus niger, Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium moniliforme (Hernandez et al., 2007). Four naphthoquinones from the roots of Cordia curassavica demonstrated activity against Cladosporium cucumerinum (Ioset et al., 2000) and against the larvae of Aedes aegypti (Ioset et al., 2000; Mohammed and Chadee, 2007) and may have insecticidal activity against plant pests. Chemical structures of cordiaquinones A and B, J and K are presented in Ioset et al., (2000). Other properties- A new drug derived from the oil extract of the plant species Cordia verbenacea was registered in 2004 and was developed entirely in Brazil. The active principle is alpha-humulene, an antiinflammatory compound. It is called Acheflan® ointment and spray and is used for the treatment of chronic tendinitis and muscle pains. Table 1. Composition of essential oil of Cordia curassavica (source Hernandez et al., 2007) Compounds % 4-Isopropyl-3,7-dimethyl-3a,3b,4,5,6,7-hexahydro-1-H-cyclopenten [1,3] cyclopropa [1,2] benzene 2.22 Cadina 4(5), 10(14) diene 7.93 Isocaryophyllene 2.39 beta-Selinene 3.79 Calamenene 3.72 4-Methyl,4-ethenyl-3-(1-methyl ethenyl)-1-(1-methyl methanol)cyclohexane 37.34 Spathulenol 11.25 5-(2,3-Dimethyltricyclo, 6-hept-3-y1)-2-methyl-2-penten-1-ol 2.48 beta-Eudesmol 19.21 Hexahydro-2,5,5-trimethyl-2H-2,4a-ethanonaphthalen-8(5H)-one 2.90 1-Methyl-, (3beta, 5alpha, 17beta)-androst-1-ene-3,17-diol 3.05 Plant description. An odorous shrub 1-3 m tall with many branches. The green ovate leaves are 5-10 cm long and rough on the upper surface but paler and hairy on the underside. The white flowers grow on erect spikes at the tips of the stems, and are followed by red fleshy fruits about 5 mm across with a single stony seed" (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 31 in The plant is spread by bird-dispersed seeds. The plants grow quickly in strong sunlight and can grow so thickly that no other vegetation can grow. A picture of the senescing inflorescence of Cordia curassavica by John Wood, Darwin Initiative Project 161/11/016 is available at: References Balbani AP, Silva DH, Montovani JC. Patents of drugs extracted from Brazilian medicinal plants. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2009 19(4):461-73. Hernandez T, Canales M, Teran B, Avila O, Duran A, Garcia AM, Hernandez H, Angeles-Lopez O, Fernandez-Araiza M, Avila G. Antimicrobial activity of the essential oil and extracts of Cordia curassavica (Boraginaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 111(1):137-41. Ioset JR, Marston A, Gupta MP, Hostettmann K. Antifungal and larvicidal cordiaquinones from the roots of Cordia curassavica. Phytochemistry. 2000 53(5):613-7. Michielin EM, Salvador AA, Riehl CA, Smânia A Jr, Smânia EF, Ferreira SR. Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of Cordia verbenacea extracts obtained by different methods. Bioresour Technol. 2009 100(24):6615-23. Mohammed A, Chadee DD. An evaluation of some Trinidadian plant extracts against larvae of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2007 23(2):172-6. Salazar-Aranda R, Pérez-López LA, López-Arroyo J, Alanís-Garza BA, Waksman de Torres N. Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Plants from Northeast of Mexico. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print] Swarbrick, J.T. 1997. Environmental weeds and exotic plants on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: a report to Parks Australia. 101 pp. plus appendix.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

science as an activity that should be more community-based /oriented, and this approach in turn leads to financial savings and improved allocation of resources (Cassel and Brennan 2007). Munro (2005) argues that observational studies have merit especially for personalized medicine and that better standards for them should be designed. Aronson (2003) points out that anecdotes are frequently published in compilations of the side effects of drugs and provide information of the potential adverse reactions or interactions, mechanisms, diagnostic techniques, or methods of management; anecdotes can generate or test hypotheses, and remind or educate; and, like trials, they can be subjected to systematic review, but of a different kind. Better standards for collecting anecdotes are needed and the participatory workshop approach might prove to be a useful standardized method for collecting this type of data. Animal science research Although ethnoveterinary medicine has great scientific potential, scientists need to choose their research projects based on career rewards – funding, papers and academic positions (what Janssen, 2002 calls the “context of pursuit”). Ethnoveterinary medicine needs to offer an equal opportunity for publication in high ranking journals as other studies. Journal editors form powerful network that concentrates intellectual energy on relatively specific and circumscribed problems. By publishing certain papers, these networks provide reputational credit and can shape decisions on what counts as useful and relevant work (Spear, 2004). What Janssen (2002) calls the “context of persuasion” since we will demonstrate to journal editors, peers, research students and funding agencies the relevance and validity of this workshop method which has significant differences from current standard methods. Bauer (2003) quotes other scientists who stated that “What makes discoveries really significant is “demonstrating them in a way that convinces the scientific and technical establishment” … “The important part of a scientific discovery in almost any aspect of science is the reception it receives.” The reliability of the published work of both participants has confirmed centuries of medicinal plant use by people across Europe and North America so it cannot be said to be at variance from accepted knowledge and thus needing extraordinary proof. In fact Germany has the highest rate of acceptance of herbal knowledge in the Western hemisphere. In 1998, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) program on Management of Social Transformations (MOST) and CIRAN (Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks) started collecting traditional practices that had proven effective in a particular context but that could also be effective in other contexts, if properly adapted and applied. Best practices from all over the world were selected and are presented as a portal in the on-line database at and Relevant Bibliographical References Aronson, J.k. 2003. Anecdotes as evidence. We need guidelines for reporting anecdotes of suspected adverse drug reactions. BMJ 326:1346. Atawodi SE, Ameh DA, Ibrahim S, et al. 2002. Indigenous knowledge system for treatment of trypanosomiasis in Kaduna state of Nigeria. J Ethnopharmacol 79:279-282. Bauer, Henry H. 2003. The Progress of Science and Implications for Science Studies and for Science Policy. Perspectives on Science 11 (2): 236-278. Berkhout, P., van Bruchem C. (eds.). Agricultural Economic Report 2010 of the Netherlands, 2010-054. Agric. Econ. Research Inst, the Hague. Bevan J, Lans C, Mathias M. (Eds). 2004. Alternative animal health care in British Columbia. A manual of traditional practices used by herbalists, veterinarians, farmers and animal caretakers. The Traditional Animal Health Care Collaborative. University of Victoria. Blanco E, Macía MJ, Morales R. 1999. Medicinal and veterinary plants of El Caurel (Galicia, northwest Spain). J Ethnopharmacol 65:113-124. Cassel, Christine K., Brennan, Troyen E. 2007. Managing Medical Resources. Return to the Commons? JAMA 297 (22): 2518-2520. Catley A. 1999. Methods on the Move. A Review of Veterinary Uses of Participatory Approaches and Methods Focussing on Experiences in Dryland Africa. London: International Institute for Environment and Development. Fink-Gremmels, J. 2005. Toxicology, pharmacology and future directions of JVPT: old and new Paradigms. J. Vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 28, 129–130. IIRR, 1994. Ethnoveterinary medicine in Asia: An information kit on traditional animal health care practices. 4 Vols. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite, Philippines. IIRR, 1996. Recording and using indigenous knowledge: A manual. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Cavite, Philippines. ITDG and IIRR, 1996. Ethnoveterinary medicine in Kenya: A field manual of traditional animal health care practices. Nairobi, Kenya: Intermediate Technology Development Group and Int. Inst. of Rural Reconstruction. Janssen, Michel. 2002. COI Stories: Explanation and Evidence in the History of Science. Perspectives on Science 10 (4): 457-522. Lans C, Turner N, Khan T, Brauer G. 2007. Ethnoveterinary medicines used to treat endoparasites and stomach problems in pigs and pets in British Columbia, Canada. Vet. Parasitology 148: 325–340. Lawrence, Peter. A. 2007. The Mismeasurement of Science. Current Biology 17 (15): r583. Martin, M., et al .2001. Ethnoveterinary Medicine. An Annotated Bibliography of Community Animal Healthcare. London, ITDG. Mathias E. 2004. Ethnoveterinary medicine: harnessing its potential. Vet Bull 74:27N–37N. Munro, A.J. 2005. Commentary. The conventional wisdom and the activities of the middle range. The British Journal of Radiology, 78: 381–383. Nuwanyakpa M, Toyang N, Django S, Ndi C, Wirmum C. Ethnoveterinary healing practices of Fulani pastoralists in Cameroon: combining the natural and the supernatural. Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor 2000;8:3–6. Spear, Joseph Howard. 2004. Cumulative Change in Scientific Production: Research Technologies and the Structuring of New Knowledge. Perspectives on Science 12 (1): 55-85. Van Asseldonk T. and Beijer H. 2005: Herbal folk remedies for animal health in the Netherlands. 257-63 in: Proceedings of the 4th International Congress of Ethnobotany ( ) 21-26 Aug 2005; ed. Z.F. Erzug, Istanbul 2006.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The use of medicinal plants for specific viral and bacterial diseases in pets in British Columbia is addressed in this paper. In 2003 we conducted semi-structured interviews with 60 participants obtained using a purposive sample. Medicinal plants are used to treat a range of conditions. A draft manual prepared from the data was then evaluated by participants at a participatory workshop. The following plants are used instead of an antibiotic:Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng, Actaea racemosa L. var. racemosa, Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.), Hydrastis canadensis L., Ulmus fulva Michx. and Usnea longissima Ach. The following plants are used for infectious tracheobronchitis: Allium sativum L., Althaea officinalis L., Berberis aquifolium Pursh./ Mahonia aquifolium, Tussilago farfara L. and Verbascum thapsus L.,Calendula officinalis L.,Plantago major L., Stellaria media (L.) Cyrill., and Trifolium pratense . An unidentifed virus was treated with Crataegus oxycantha (Rosaceae) and Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench (Asteraceae). Campylobacter jejuni (dog show crud) is treated with Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench, Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt and Hydrastis canadensis L. Parvovirus was treated with Hydrastis canadensis L, Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.), Mentha piperita L., Origanum vulgare L., Symphytum officinale L., Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz-Bip. and Ulmus fulva Michx. The majority of the plants had antiviral and bacteriocidal activity against common pathogens, immunostimulation ability, antioxidant activity, and anti-inflammatory effects. Keywords: British Columbia, pets, infectious tracheobronchitis, parvovirus, medicinal plants 1. Introduction All over the world, people who keep livestock have developed their own ideas and techniques of treating and managing their animals in a sustainable way. Development project staff and organisations began to pay serious attention to community-based approaches to livestock healthcare and related management practices in the 1980s (Mathias, 2004). This interest was spurred partly by critics of intervention projects based in the social sciences. It also came from the realisation of field-based animal scientists and other project-based specialists that conventional, formal-sector resources and high-cost "high-tech" interventions had proven inadequate for meeting the basic animal healthcare needs of a great many of the world's low resource stockraisers (Alawa, 2002). This paper deals with some of the bacterial and viral conditions in pets that were treated with medicinal plants in British Columbia. Previous ethnoveterinary research has looked at anti-viral activity. For example six of the 17 plant extracts used by the Hausa and other tribes of Northern Nigeria for symptoms probably indicative of viral illness had antiviral activity (Kudi and Myint, 1999). Infectious tracheobronchitis (ITB) or kennel cough is one of the conditions discussed in this paper. It is an acute, highly contagious, global, respiratory disease in dogs affecting the larynx, trachea, bronchi, and occasionally the nasal mucosa and the lower respiratory tract. Dogs with the condition cough and show respiratory distress. Many agents play a role in ITB, such as canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasmas and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (Buonavoglia and Martella, 2007). Outbreaks of influenza A virus, initially misdiagnosed as ITB, were reported in the USA. New canine coronaviruses have been found in the respiratory tract of either symptomatic or asymptomatic dogs (Buonavoglia and Martella, 2007). Mammalian orthoreoviruses were found in dogs with pneumonia or enteritis, in association with either canine distemper virus or canine parvovirus type 2 (Buonavoglia and Martella, 2007). Zarnke et al., 2004 conducted a serological suvey in 1,122 wolves in Alaska and the Yukon from 1984–2000. Antibody prevalence for canine hepatitis virus (ICH) was .84% for all areas. Area-specific prevalences of antibodies ranged from 12% to 70% for canine parvovirus (CPV), from 0% to 41% for canine distemper virus (CDV), and from 4% to 21% for Francisella tularensis. The research participants claimed that ‘dog show crud’ mimics parvovirus but it gets worse if antibiotics are given. The signs are vomiting and diarrhoea. It is caused by an intestinal bacterium Campylobacter jejuni that is found in the soil on Vancouver Island. Campylobacter upsaliensis is a microorganism that is widespread on all continents and that is primarily isolated from the intestinal environment of dogs (Lentzsch et al., 2004). Its relevance as a pathogen that causes enteric diseases in animals is not clear, but it is recognized as a human pathogen. McMyne et al., (1982) conduted serotyping of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from sporadic cases and outbreaks in the human population in British Columbia and found geographical differences. Ninety-six Campylobacter upsaliensis strains that originated from Australia, Canada, and Europe (Germany) and that were isolated from humans, dogs, and cats were serotyped (Lentzsch et al., 2004). Very few of the strains were isolated from cats and only Campylobacter jejuni from humans.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Objective Research conducted in 2003/2004 documented and validated (in a non-experimental way) ethnoveterinary medicines used by small-scale, organic livestock farmers in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada . Design & Procedures Interviews were conducted with 60 participants who were organic farmers or holisitic medicinal/veterinary practitioners. A workshop was held with selected participants to discuss the plant-based treatments. This paper reports on the medicinal plants used for ear problems and skin problems in pets. Results The plants used for skin problems in pets are: Aesculus hippocastanum L., Aloe vera L., Arctium lappa L., Taraxacum officinale Weber, Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench and Calendula officinalis L., Cupressus sempervirens L. var. dupreziana (A. Camus) Silba, Equisetum palustre L., Galium aparine L., Hydrastis canadensis L., Hypericum perforatum L., Plantago major L., Thymus vulgaris L. and Rosmarinus officinalis L., Rumex crispus L., Stellaria media (L.) Vill., Symphytum officinalis L., Thuja occidentalis L., Trigonella foenum-graecum L., and Urtica dioica L. Fleas and flies are treated with: Artemisia vulgaris L., Citrus ×limon L., Juniperus communis L., Lavandula officinalis L., Melissa officinalis L,. and Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don. Ear problems are treated with: Achillea millefolium L., Calendula officinalis L., and Helichrysum angustifolium (Roth.) G.Don., Allium sativum L., Berberis aquifolium Pursh., Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Lobelia inflata L., Matricaria recutita L., Melaleuca alternifolia L., Origanum vulgare L., Ricinus communis L., Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L. M. Perry, Thymus vulgaris L., and Verbascum thapsus L. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance The development of holistic antiseptics and antimicrobial agents for the treatment of skin infections is increasingly important to deal with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The definition of region that I propose is developed from the UN University course discussion. The course definition states that a region is defined as the territory controlled by a regent and his regiment. This can be simply changed for clinical trials to state that the region is the territory controlled (covered) by the drug, pollutant, environmental factor, race etc., etc., and other sub-factors being investigated by the researcher. This further fits the UN University course outline example “that regions are not out there waiting to be discovered but are constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed through interactions between various actors [ ] on the basis of what is most appropriate for their commonly held goals.” I further agree that regions can overlap and must have a physical reality and some kind of boundary or limit. The examples I will use to demonstrate region are familiar to me and I am not trying to make a political statement by using them. Example 1. Major trade corridors in the Mekong region Avian influenza poses a significant risk to both avian and human health. It has been commonplace in the media for wild birds, free-range and backyard poultry to be blamed for spreading the virus. However an investigation by the NGO GRAIN indicates that the development of industrial poultry farms in Asia and the global poultry trade should be investigated for helping to spread the virus. (GRAIN, 2006. Fowl play: The poultry industry's central role in the bird flu crisis. ) The first map by WHO shows Avian influenza (H5N1) in Asia as of 29 September 2005. The second map shows the region that could be used in a research study – the region is major trade corridors in the Mekong. Another region in this example could be dispersion of industrial poultry farms in Asia by year. Example 2. Electromagnetic fields The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and the German and Austrian Governments held a jointly sponsored seminar in November 1996 on the biological effects of low-level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields. RF fields were defined as having frequencies in the range of 10 MHz to 300 GHz (Repacholi, 1998). Repacholi MH. 1998. Low-level exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: health effects and research needs. Bioelectromagnetics 19(1):1-19. The definition of region that could be used to identify any health hazards from Electromagnetic field exposure would be the specific technology that was used. For example if an Italian company was contracted to install power grids in an Eastern European country and an African country and they installed the same technology in both countries that specific technology is the region to be studied in a clinical trial and the temperature difference and differences in quality of medical care in the two countries would be sub-factors. So for example the health endpoints associated with ELF and/or RF include childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, genotoxic effects, neurological effects and neurodegenerative diseases, immune system deregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects (Hardell and Sage, 2008; Maslanyi et al., 2007) and these endpoints might not be reported to the health care system in the African country. Hardell L, Sage C. 2008. Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards. Biomed Pharmacother.62(2):104-9. Maslanyj MP, Mee TJ, Renew DC, Simpson J, Ansell P, Allen SG, Roman E. 2007. Investigation of the sources of residential power frequency magnetic field exposure in the UK Childhood Cancer Study. J Radiol Prot. 27(1):41-58. Erratum in: J Radiol Prot. 2007 Jun;27(2):207. Example 3. Industrial pollutants and fertility A clinical trial to establish the relationship between industrial pollutants and fertility could define region as the pollutant being investigated. For example a heavy metal like cadmium (Thompson and Bannigan, 2008) or lead (Whitfield et al., 2007), or a pesticide like atrazine (Bakke et al., 2009). Some studies are based on a geographical region (Bakke et al., 2009) but do not always take into account that a person might have been exposed on a farm during childhood but then moved to an urban area. This would be important in the studies conducted by Swan. Whitfield et al. (2007) claim that a sub-factor to be added to the region definition is genetic variation. Thompson J, Bannigan J.2008. Cadmium: toxic effects on the reproductive system and the embryo. Reprod Toxicol. 25(3):304-15. Whitfield JB, Dy V, McQuilty R, Zhu G, Montgomery GW, Ferreira MA, Duffy DL, Neale MC, Heijmans BT, Heath AC, Martin NG. Evidence of genetic effects on blood lead concentration. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Aug;115(8):1224-30. Bakke B, De Roos AJ, Barr DB, Stewart PA, Blair A, Freeman LB, Lynch CF, Allen RH, Alavanja MC, Vermeulen R. 2009. Exposure to atrazine and selected non-persistent pesticides among corn farmers during a growing season. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol.19(6):544-54. Swan SH. 2006. Semen quality in fertile US men in relation to geographical area and pesticide exposure. Int J Androl. 29(1):62-8; discussion 105-8. Swan SH, Kruse RL, Liu F, Barr DB, Drobnis EZ, Redmon JB, Wang C, Brazil C, Overstreet JW. 2003. Study for Future Families Research Group. Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 111(12):1478-84. Comment in: Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Oct;113(10):A652; author reply A652-3. Swan SH, Brazil C, Drobnis EZ, Liu F, Kruse RL, Hatch M, Redmon JB, Wang C, Overstreet JW. 2003. Study For Future Families Research Group. Geographic differences in semen quality of fertile U.S. males. Environ Health Perspect. 111(4):414-20.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Ethnoveterinary remedies used in British Columbia, Canada to treat cancer in pets by Cheryl Lans, taken from thnoveterinary medicines used for pets in British Columbia Permalink: Abstract Ethnoveterinary data for British Columbia was collected over a six-month period in 2003. This paper present the medicinal plants used for cancer in dogs and cats. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 participants obtained using a purposive sample. There are two case studies in the paper. Dog A was given Phytolacca decandra, Ganoderma lucidum, Lentinula edodes, Rumex acetosella leaf, Arctium lappa root, Ulmus fulva bark and Rheum palmatum root. This dog was also given six herbs for lymphatic drainage. Dog B was given Frangula purshiana bark, Zingiber officinale root, Glycyrrhiza glabra root, Ulmus fulva bark, Althea officinalis root, Rheum palmatum stem, Rumex crispus root and Plantago psyllium seeds. Trifolium pratense is used for tumours in the prostate. The following plants are also used to treat cancer: Artemisia annua, Taraxacum officinale and Rumex crispus. These treatments were said to prolong the lives of the dogs treated. Keywords: ethnoveterinary medicine; British Columbia; pets; cancer; tumours; medicinal plants; mushrooms 1. Introduction In this paper we present the medicinal remedies used to treat cancer in pets in British Columbia, the first paper of its kind. A ccording to Balunas and Kinghorn (2005) anticancer agents from plants currently in clinical use can be categorized into four main classes of compounds: vinca (or Catharanthus) alkaloids, epipodophyllotoxins, taxanes, and camptothecins. Vinblastine and vincristine, prescribed for the last four decades, were isolated from Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don (Apocynaceae) (formerly Vinca rosea L.). These vinca alkaloids and several of their semi-synthetic derivatives block mitosis with metaphase arrest by binding specifically to tubulin resulting in its depolymerization. The epipodophyllotoxins bind tubulin, causing breaks in the DNA strand during the G2 phase of the cell cycle by irreversibly inhibiting DNA topoisomerase II. Paclitaxel was originally identified from Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia Nutt. Taxaceae) and has been prescribed in North America since the 1990s. This compound can now be synthesized from base molecules in other Taxus spp. The taxanes, including paclitaxel and derivatives, act by binding tubulin without allowing depolymerization or interfering with tubulin assembly. Camptothecin was isolated from Camptotheca acuminata Decne. (Nyssaceae) but originally showed unacceptable myelosuppression (Balunas and Kinghorn, 2005). Interest in camptothecin was revived when it was found to act by selective inhibition of topoisomerase I, involved in cleavage and reassembly of DNA. The taxanes and the camptothecins alone accounted for about one-third of the global anticancer market, or more than 2.75 billion dollars in 2002 alone. Podophyllotoxin is a lignan that was isolated from the resin of Podophyllum peltatum L. (Berberidaceae), safer derivatives have since been maed, the first being etoposide. Many commonly used herbs have cancer-preventive properties; several of these herbs are dealt with in this paper. They include members of the Lamiaceae family (mint, sage, rosemary and thyme); spices of the Zingiberaceae family (turmeric and ginger (Zingiber officinale)); licorice root (Fabaceae) and herbs in the Apiaceae family (celery, dill and parsley) (Craig, 1999). These plants typically contain phytosterols, triterpenes, flavonoids, saponins, and carotenoids, which are cancer chemoprotective (Craig, 1999). Some also contain phenolic compounds (e.g. phenolic acids, flavonoids, quinones, coumarins, lignans, stilbenes, tannins), with significant antioxidant activity (Cai et al., 2004). Many dogs and cats with cancer are older animals. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is an inducible enzyme linked to tumor growth and angiogenesis. COX-2 is expressed in mammary tissues during tumorigenesis and its expression is associated with a poorer prognosis in bitches and queens (p=0.03 in dogs and p=0.002 in cats) with invasive mammary tumours. COX-2 overexpression in queens was significantly correlated to estrogen receptor (ER) negative status (Millanta et al., 2006; Langsenlehner et al., 2007). COX-2 immunoreactivity was not seen in healthy tissues, but it was detected in 96% of feline and 100% of canine invasive carcinomas (Millanta et al., 2006). Primary lung tumors are less common than metastatic lung lesions in dogs and cats. Adenocarcinomas account for 70% to 80% of primary pulmonary neoplasia in dogs and cats; less common carcinomas include squamous cell carcinomas and adenosquamous carcinomas (Langlais et al., 2006). Metastasis of primary lung tumors in dogs and cats can occur in other areas of the body.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

When I decided that the commodisation of knowledge was a good topic to write about it was immediately assumed that I meant commoditisation as illuminated by Long et al. Apparently these sociologists had a well known debate in the commodisation area but the focus was mainly on labour in agriculture, rather than knowledge per se. While I was in the process of searching minds rather than the apparently unknowing machines for references on the knowledge-commoditisation topic, the experience of being referred from one male professor to the other and then of being told by the last that the first was the one who knew, (which is why I went to him first), made me decide to focus on the genderisation and commoditisation of knowledge. For the last decade there has been an explosion of business and management science literature most of which claims quite boldly that knowledge/information is the latest resource, it is a commodity, it needs to be managed. When did knowledge become something that needed to be managed ? In addition the users of knowledge need to be defined so that 'market niches' and 'target groups' can be identified. In this way the 'knowledge generators and disseminators' can 'position' themselves correctly and profitably. The gap between instant information and profit has become very small, in fact many training institutes earn their living in this gap. Knowledge has become less of an action and more of a thing in itself - a commodity. The most prevalent action associated with knowledge in these times is the constant running to keep up with the latest research, the newest knowledge, so that the knowledge commodity does not become obsolete and unmarketable. Often this implies that the previous knowledge/theories are discarded as 'old news'. Usually it is the groups with the most power who can control which knowledge is 'new' and 'relevant' and thus disseminated. As a Trinidadian would put it "knowledge as a commodity...but that is stale news". Apparently science has not become a commodity; it always was. Commoditization has developed alongside the growth of the scientific community. It has been part and parcel of science as a professional -and thus autonomous -enterprise. Academics such as doctors and lawyers are shown below trading knowledge and professional expertise for resources, recognition and professional autonomy. What is 'real news' now is the scale of the intervention by government and industrial interests into research/learning institutes. Shiva (199 ) is concerned not only with the scale of the above mentioned intervention but also by the domination and subjugation of nature and women by patriarchal, reductionist, mechanical science and its arbitrary division of 'knowledge' and 'ignorance'. Fujimura (quoted in Leigh Star 1991) says she is interested in understanding why and how some human perspectives win over others in the construction of technologies and truths, why and how some human actors will go along with the will of other actors, and why and how some human actors resist being enrolled, in this essay I share that interest.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The PSU was started in 1981 as a veterinary and technical service provider and it is part of the Ministry of Agriculture Land and Marine Resources (MALMR). In 1981 the staff consisted of three animal health assistants (AHAs) and a veterinarian head of unit, (the only veterinarian willing to work with poultry at that time). The PSU was put in place based on the recommendations from a committee of poultry farmers who had complaints about vaccine efficiency. The PSU was initially run with three AHAs. The unit staff of 1995 consisted of eight AHAs, including two women, who were assigned to different districts in Trinidad. In 1994 the PSU staff made a total of 544 visits to 55 layer farms with a capacity of 477,500 layers and a total production of 3,583,983 dozen eggs (Table 18a). The PSU staff also made 2073 visits to 165 broiler farms with a production of 5,954,710 broilers (Table 18b). Table 18a. Layer farm surveillance 1994 No. farms visited Capacity '000 Total production Total visits Islandwide 55 477.5 3,583,983 544 Source: Annual Report 1994. Animal Health Sub-Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources. Table 18b. Broiler farm surveillance 1994 Districts No. farms visited Capacity '000 Total production Total visits St. George 13 165 122 60 Wallerfield 50 162.6 122 60 Caroni 33 557 1871.61 425 Victoria 40 710 2683 1006 St. Patrick 29 408.5 1205.1 557 Total 165 3610.5 5954.71 2073 Source Annual Report 1994. Animal Health Sub-Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources. The PSU deals with ducks, guinea fowls and turkeys on a very limited level. The majority of Trinidad and Tobago's chicken farmers are contract farmers who rear broilers in an all-in-all-out system for two large poultry processing plants or five integrators (Warner Grain Mills (WGM), Supermix, Nutrimix, Malabar Farms, Mastermix). These contract farmers have broiler capacities ranging from 5,000 to 90,000. The processing plants supply government institutions, supermarkets and hotels. In 1996 it was estimated that 350,000 chickens were consumed every week. There are also small independent broiler operations that supply live birds to small-scale roadside pluck shops where birds are kept in floor-systems until they are slaughtered and dressed for consumers on demand. There are fewer egg producers than broiler operators in the country. In 1996 it was expected that 2.5 million chicks would hatch from eggs set in August 1996. The chicken industry has been referred to as an assembly-type industry since all the inputs; corn, soya, equipment and the majority of the day-old chicks are imported from the USA. Annual consuption of poultry meat in Trinidad and Tobago in 1994 was 9 kg (24 kg/person) and the number of slaughtered broilers and culled layers was estimated at 16 million in 1995 and 1996 (Lambie et al., 2000). Poultry health is controlled by the PSU. Infectious Bursal Disease is under better control than in the past. Infectious Coryza and Fowl Cholera have been reduced due to better water sanitation. (Brown, 1999b). The PSU recommends Aloe vera for Cocibaccillosis. Coccidiosis has a negative influence on poultry production (Brown, 1999b). The PSU recommends management practices to control Newcastle Disease Virus such as minimising the stress on the immunological system. Salmonella species can influence poultry health, productivity and food safety (Brown, 1999b). Pox and yaws have declined due to better management practices. Vaccines are used for viral diseases such as Mareks, Pox, Gumboro, Avian Reovirus, Avian Cephalomylitis and Infectious Bronchitis. In recent years there has been a resurgence of Gumboro.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Forest Reserve where I spent several years of my childhood did indeed have many snakes since it was an oilfield placed in the middle of a forest which was cleared only for the necessary housing and equipment instillations. In that environment snakes were usually left alone to continue their journey and there were no stories from adults told to me about their character, so I had no negative feelings towards them or most other animals. My first memory of snakes was of a massive one killed when I was a baby. As a teenager a neighbour of mine confirmed that it was very large and that he had helped kill it. In another episode I crossed over one walking home from the bus-stop after school. Hearing the cries of my siblings I crossed over it again to find out what they were agitated about. I had not seen the head nor the tail because it was so long it stretched across the entire driveway. It stayed in the garden for another few hours digesting the bulge in its stomach before moving on. In another case a small landslip close to my house exposed some eggs which I took home and put in a box in my room. A few weeks later I went outside to see four small snakes hanging from the clothesline, and they stayed there for about an hour. I decided to put the un-hatched eggs back, even though I did not know what kind of eggs they were; but my main concern was whether they would still hatch after I had disturbed them twice. My brother and I often went into the forest with three brothers from a neighbouring family to look for things that they wanted, such as sucker fish ‘mamatetas’ (Hypostomus plecostomus) for their aquariums and specific butterflies for my brother’s collection. On these nature trips the snakes that we encountered the most often were ‘horsewhips’ Oxybelis aeneus, we were never attacked, nor did we kill them. For my doctorate I conducted participatory research with hunters (Lans et al., 2001). They did hot have any excuse for killing snakes except that they did not see why they should let them live. After several months when they knew me better they acknowledged that they had never been harmed and had no justification.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Ethnovet for poultry Seventeen medicinal plants are used to treat four categories of health problems common to poultry production. Two previously existing health problems (pox and yaws) were also treated with medicinal plants. Aloe vera, Kalanchoe pinnata, Citrus species and Momordica charantia were the main medicinal plants being used in the ‘modern’ poultry sector. The poultry sector is unique in having the Poultry Surveillance Unit (PSU), which offers technical and veterinary assistance to producers (Ministry of Food Production and Marine Exploitation, 1989). The PSU conducted preliminary on-farm investigation with the medicinal plants Aloe, Caraaili, Citrus and found no harmful effects, so the results were disseminated to farmers. The information on ethnoveterinary medicine for commercial poultry was originally collected in 1995 using the school essay method. Seven of the 78 essay/questionnaires described ethnoveterinary medicine for backyard poultry: the use of lime juice in ducks drinking water for respiratory illness; the use of a decoction of caraaili (Momordica charantia) leaves for sick chickens; and the yellow exudate of aloe leaf (Aloe vera) used to purge chickens. Three essays described 'pip' as a ' rash on the chickens tongue which could be removed by rubbing or scraping it with wood ashes'. One essay indicated that roasting cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale) in the open air was linked to chicken 'pox'. The researcher rechecked the collected information with the former PSU head throughout 1997 and 1998. One previously mis-identified plant (Renealmia alpinia) was collected and identified at the Herbarium. Nine of the hunters and women interviewed from 1996 – 2000 provided similar and new information on ethnoveterinary medicines used for poultry. In July 2000 a revisit was made to the PSU. At a meeting with all staff a written paper based on the extension methods used by the PSU was discussed. The opportunity was also taken to establish whether farmers still used the same medicinal plants and if any new plants were used. Results Only one plant had been introduced to poultry farmers by the PSU subsequent to the first research phase. The plant Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) was mentioned in a paper by Brown and Lans (1998). One PSU member saw the paper and passed the information on through the PSU network. 'Pip' was theorised as a systematic disease - the dehydrated tissue of the tongue shrivels and dies in some backyard situations with suboptimal management. In most cases the medicinal plants and/or extracts are administered via the drinking water which is changed daily. Only fresh plant parts are used. All intensive poultry operations have an open water system. Bell or trough-type automatic drinkers are gravity fed from overhead storage tanks. Tank sizes range from 45 to 1200 US gallons.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

WUR has for the past two decades used an approach called actor-oriented sociology. It essentially focuses on the analysis of strategic behaviour and on why people do not work together. Röling (2001) has pointed out that this approach has detracted from the social contract of Wageningen social sciences because it focuses on the reasons why people make selfish choices in social dilemmas while neglecting the conditions under which people make co-operative choices, and it also dissuades graduate students from undertaking participatory development, collective action and other projects that would lead to a sustainable environmentally-sound future. Although research chairs are increasingly working together there is no indication that they have embraced the particular participatory method that we want to demonstrate in this project. Lans et al. (2007) is a publication based on the results of this method that has been in the most downloaded paper category from its publication date to Fall 2010 however journal editors are still reluctant to publish participatory research based on this method. Casel and Brennan (2007) argued in their paper that the [US] health system would be better served by physician engagement in a medical commons, ideally with communities of consumers, and that this is arguably the only approach that will ensure proper allocation of health care resources. Lawrence (2007) published a letter in the journal Current Biology claiming that the current competitive structure of modern science is more suited to those who are prepared to show off and to exploit others while modest and less aggressive men and women are not given opportunities to flourish even though they are just as capable of conducting rigourous science. He claims that even though there are more female university students than in previous decades, they are pushed out due to the unnecessarily competitive nature of science and that science loses many original researchers as a result. He thinks that science would flourish in a more understanding and empathetic workplace. Casel, Christine K., Brennan, Troyen E. 2007. Managing Medical Resources. Return to the Commons? JAMA 297 (22): 2518-2520. Roling Niels. From Arena to Interaction: Blind Spot in Actor-Oriented Sociology. admin_en_Roling_long_conference (2).pdf Lans, C., Turner, N., Khan, T., Brauer, G., 2007. Ethnoveterinary medicines used to treat endoparasites and stomach problems in pigs and pets in British Columbia, Canada. Vet. Parasitol. 148, 325–340. Lawrence, Peter. A. 2007. The Mismeasurement of Science. Current Biology 17 (15): r583.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ethnoveterinary alternatives (based on medicinal plants) are necessary for small-scale livestock farmers who cannot use allopathic drugs or for those larger conventional farmers whose economic circumstances prevent the use of veterinary services for minor health problems of livestock. For example the average income of Dutch farmers in 2009 decreased to 5,500 euros per farm; its lowest point in twenty years (Berkhout and van Bruchem, 2010), they need cost-effective anthelmintics and other alternative plant-based medicines in order to provide the organic meat that consumers increasingly want. Even animal health professionals have recognized that veterinary expenditures represent a large part of animal production costs, and therefore their reduction or containment is essential for the maintenance or improvement of a farmer’s income (Chauvin et al., 2002). Another factor in support of ethnoveterinary medicines is that oil reserves (the source material for 20th century science and chemicals such as fenbendazole, albendazole etc.) have been depleted and future products derived from petrochemicals may be less available and ethnoveterinary alternatives could become valued replacements. Campbell (2002) notes that the world is now very close to peak oil and gas production, if we have not already passed it. It took the United States forty years to go from peak discovery to peak production, and twenty seven years for that movement in the North Sea. It is estimated that 60 Gb (billion barrels) of deep sea oil will only provide three years of world supply. Berkhout, P., van Bruchem C. (eds.). Agricultural Economic Report 2010 of the Netherlands. Report 2010-054. Agricultural Economics Research Institute, the Hague. Campbell, Colin. J. 2002. Petroleum and People. Population and Environment 24 (2): 193-207 Chauvin, C., Madec, F., Guittet, M., Sanders, P. Pharmaco-epidemiology and -economics should be developed more extensively in veterinary medicine. J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 25, 455–459.
Ethnoveterinary medicine for Newcastle Disease Five plants have been assessed for their activity against ND: Aloe secundiflora, Azadirachta indica, Cassia tora, Euphorbia ingens and a plant mixture containing Capsicum frutescens. Four species, Adansonia digitata, Allium sativum, Combretum micranthum and Mangifera indica, are antiviral, but have not been tested against ND. Amaranthus hybridicus, Combretum micranthum, Ficus gnaphalcapa and Tephrosia vogelii, are in the same genus as species with antiviral activity. 1. Plants used for Newcastle disease that have activity against this virus. Of the five species evaluated for their activity against ND, Aloe secundiflora, Azadirachta indica, Cassia tora and Euphorbia ingens have yielded promising results; however a study on the combination of Capsicum frutescens, Citrus limon and Opuntia vulgaris failed to demonstrate any clinical benefit in chickens infected with Newcastle disease. Aloe sp. a) Aloe secundiflora Aloe secundiflora decreased morbidity and mortality in experimentally infected chickens. Treatment with A. secundiflora at the time of infection resulted in a 21.6% decrease in mortality whereas pre-treatment for 2 weeks prior to infection resulted in a 31.6% reduction in mortality compared to untreated infected birds. Since farmers are aware of the seasonality of Newcastle disease, pre-treatment is a feasible practice. The extract used in the experiment was prepared in much the same way as villagers would and was composed of the inner gel, containing antiviral polysaccharides such as acemannan and the outer sap, containing the anthraquinone glycosides. The anthraquinone components in Aloe spp., (aloenin and aloin), are at least partly responsible for the anti-Newcastle disease virus activity. Enveloped viruses are sensitive to anthraquinones: influenza virus, pseudorabies virus and varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex virus type 1, herpes simplex virus type 2 are all impaired by various anthraquinones. b) Cassia tora Cassia tora contains significant quantities of anthraquinones and has activity against Newcastle disease virus. Related species with anti-Newcastle disease virus activity include Cassia auriculata and Cassia fistula. Cassia fistula Azadirachta indica c) Azadirachta indica Although it does possess activity against Newcastle disease virus, and foot and mouth disease virus, it is likely that Azadirachta indica’s anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties may better explain its usefulness against ND. Euphorbia ingens d) Euphorbia ingens In a small clinical trial, Euphorbia ingens branches were crushed and soaked in the chickens’ drinking water overnight. When this water was administered at the same time as the birds were infected with Newcastle disease, mortality was decreased by 38.4%. Pretreatment with Euphorbia ingens decreased mortality by 100%. Other Euphorbia species, or their chemical constituents, possess significant antiviral activity: E compositum, E. thymifolia and E. tirucalli against herpes simplex viruses, E. australis against human cytomegalovirus, E. compositum against respiratory syncytial virus and influenza and E. grantii and E. hirta against poliovirus and coxsackie virus. e) Capsicum sp. Capsicum spp. are widely used to treat a variety of diseases, often in combination with other plants. Capsaicin, one of the constituents of Capsicum, is thought to improve resistance to disease in poultry. Various combinations with Iboza multiflora, Lagenaria breviflora, Amaranthus hybridicus, Aloe secundiflora and Khaya senegalensis are used to control Newcastle disease in Africa. Although the combination with Citrus limon and Opuntia vulgaris was not effective in controlling ND in a clinical trial, further study is justified. Capsicum frutescens Opuntia vulgaris

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The role of plants as pest controls In nature certain birds like parakeets bring green leaves, including neem leaves (Azadirachta indica) that contain volatile compounds to their nests in the breeding season for the control of parasites that live outside their host. Studies by Smith in 1974 revealed that the crushed leaves of black sage had a strong aromatic odour similar to a pyrethrum extract. The 1974 study reported that grooming was effective in reducing the infection of cattle, but the action of the plant (repellent or toxic) was not known. Further research into different animal diseases conducted in 1995 and from 1996 to 2000 has revealed more research leads. The study conducted by Lans in 2001 revealed that black sage (Cordia curassavica) has been used to control ticks in the Caribbean since the 1800s or before. Other medicinal plants used to control parasites that live inside their host (endoparasites): - kojoroot (Petiveria alliacea), - caraaili (Momordica charantia), - neem (Azadirachta indica), - wild balisier (also called mardi gras) (Renealmia alpinia), - cedar (Cedrela odorata), - congo lala (Eclipta alba), - sweet-broom (Scoparia dulcis). Dried, powdered seeds of Manilkara zapota, Pouteria sapota and Mammea americana are used in cuts and wounds to control parasites that live on the outside of their hosts (ectoparasites) and prevent the infestation with the larvae of flies in animals. The seed paste (with coconut oil) is rubbed on animals to keep away flies and ectoparasites. The discharge from the cut stem of an already harvested banana plant (Musa species) is collected on a piece of cotton, which is then placed in a deep wound to kill the fly larvae that cause myiasis. The exudates-soaked cotton is also used in wounds to prevent infection.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Non-experimental validation of ethnoveterinary plants and indigenous knowledge used for backyard pigs and gamecocks in Trinidad and Tobago Abstract This paper documents ethnoveterinary medicines used for backyard pigs and gamecocks in Trinidad and Tobago. Fieldwork was conducted from 1996 to September 2000. Six plants are used for backyard pigs. Crushed leaves of immortelle (Erythrina pallida, E. micropteryx) are used to remove dead piglets from the uterus. Leaf decoctions of bois canôt (Cecropia peltata) and bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) are used for labour pains or leaves are fed as a post partum cleanser. Boiled green papaya fruit (Carica papaya) is fed to pigs to induce milk let down. The leaves and flowers of male papaya plants (Carica papaya) are fed to deworm pigs. Sour orange juice (Citrus aurantium) is given to pigs to produce lean meat and coffee grounds are used for scours. Eyebright and planten leaves (Plantago major) are used for eye injuries of gamecocks. Worm grass (Chenopodium ambrosioides) and cotton bush (Gossypium species) are used as anthelmintics. Aloe gel (Aloe vera) is used for internal injuries and the yellow sap from the cut Aloe vera leaf or the juice of Citrus limonia is used to purge the birds. The ethnomedicinal literature provides support for the ethnoveterinary uses of the plants and they could be assigned level two validity.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The rural population has limited access to land due to the rugged topography of many of the islands and inadequate land distribution. This has led to squatting becoming a dominant feature of the islands, and this “squatting culture” has had a socio-economic impact on rural societies. Rural in the Caribbean context refers to those areas of the society with relatively little commercial, industrial or official activities and with a strong agricultural base, or providing services to the urban areas. This contrasts with urban areas where economic wealth, political power and social services are concentrated. This imbalance between rural and urban areas is one of the factors that have given rise to rural-urban drift. Rural-urban drift is partly the result of the structural under-development that exists in the rural sector and the resulting inadequate rural livelihoods. Poverty and deprivation serve as “pushes” that encourage migration in search of what are perceived to be increased opportunities for economic advancement. Other factors are: 1. restricted access to land and productive resources, 2. limited employment opportunities, 3. low returns from self-employment activities, 4. inadequate skills training and low skill levels, 5. ageing farming population that is risk averse, 6. inefficient production technologies and marketing systems, resulting in low levels of productivity and subsistence-level production, 7. restricted access to credit to modernize the agricultural sector, 8. poorly developed infrastructure. Under-development is a complex phenomenon that has been the subject of much discourse. Underdevelopment has been attributed to social, economic and political factors that have influenced the human and physical resources of the society. Of importance to our discussion are the attitudes and lack of positive psychological dispositions of the rural population. Rural-urban migration is detrimental to the extent that young, better-educated people are the ones who leave. Some of these migrants prefer any type of job in the urban centres to being in the “country” and perceive that there are no opportunities for advancement in the “country”. Migration is also a reflection of the lack of entrepreneurship in the rural community and the failure of the education system to inculcate the spirit of enterprise needed to create opportunities wherever one happens to live. There is also a strong reluctance to form and maintain community groups that could then undertake initiatives that would enhance livelihood options.

Friday, 10 August 2012

General Stakati: Crowd sourced, open marketplace bidding, are you kidding me? That technology was developed by proper capitalist companies to drive down wages and eliminate unions by having everyone log on to do specific tasks as private contractors bidding against millions of other private individuals. Private Ensign: Nevertheless General that seems to be the way in which this group operates. High Commissioner Bottomley: Group? Have we even established that it is a proper group behind all of this? Your government has warrantless taps on practically everyone of importance how is it that you have not identified these people especially if they are in computer contact. I’m also concerned that this idea of an egalitarian, disperse group will prevent us from finding the diabolical tactician that is obviously leading these attacks. Private Ensign: The messages must be sent in a type of code. We can’t figure it out because the code is obviously understandable to an endless variety of people operating in the region and possibly in Western countries as well. Senator Breitbark: Surely we can force PayPal to divulge their client list; for all that one of my colleagues calls the internet a series of tubes I think even he knows that the payment systems are fairly standardized and easy to subpoena. Private Ensign: Basically a task is set out and a price is given for achieving it and so far these tasks have shifted our war for oil into a war for womens’ rights. We don’t think that the payment comes from the US however, but more likely from a country set up to protect offshore banks and high income earners hiding their revenue for tax purposes. Senator Breitbark: But how long do they intend to continue with this insanity? Private Ensign: Our intelligence suggests that when we withdraw our troops they will withdraw also. They do not expect the Gharahani women to continue to fight for their rights after our withdrawal so the idea seems to be that our country has to achieve something out of what they call a useless, groundless illegal war and having a temporary feminist struggle is a sufficient use in their minds for our tax dollars. Senator Breitbark: I’m not convinced in the slightest. What group willingly gives up power without being forced to do so? Political Science Professor Hubert George: The idea of subversion and a limited engagement may be the source of their effectiveness. It is said that the Takistan were brought up in single-sex refugee camps with limited education and skill development and their only knowledge is of war and of imposing their restricted viewpoint on everyone around them. An opposing force to the Takistan that operates politically as its opposite in all respects except weaponry is modeling an operation and a future that its participants can justify ethically, politically and as warfare. It is subversive in that it uses existing structures of the eilte – off-shore banking, crowd sourced computing etc. Senator Callum: Sorry to be cynical but aren’t our targets being met in the suddenly winnable war? Three of the top Takistan chieftains were killed in the past month. General Stakati: I am not shedding any crocodile tears over those Takistan chieftains and I am not even aggrieved that they may not have been killed by our personnel but only by our equipment. What we have to discover is who is behind these attacks, how powerful are they, what do they really want and why some of our personnel seem to have memory loss on specific occasions. Governor Chillibibi: I cannot have entire schools of boys being poisoned b y these drone attacks even if it happens enroute to a Takistan chieftain assassination. Senator Callum: I don’t remember any such concerns being expressed by you and your staff when the Takistan was poisoning girls’ schools and killing working women. Governor Chillibibi: Those particular attacks were in defense of Takistan culture and religion even if they did not please your Western ideals. Imani Shiala: Our religion is not anti-woman at all; the Takistani and the other useless so-called men in border countries are deliberately misreading the sacred texts. It is no wonder this group is calling them the small penis countries on their maps. Our holy leader never treated women with disrespect or claimed that men could only feel themselves fully human by demonizing and subordinating women. Governor Chillibibi: Are you claiming responsibility for these attacks for one of your ridiculous feminist groups. Feminism is a Western construct. Senator Callum: Feminist warfare seems like a contradiction in terms to me. General Stataki: Feminists are hardly behind a drone attack Governor. They were unmanned and the poison gas was dropped on specific crowds in specific locations which must have been programmed into the computer in advance, with advance knowledge of the speed of the aircraft and the route that it would be taking . Governor Chilibibi: And also the tear gas that dropped on the crowds when those twenty adulturesses were being stoned. How can they get the precise locations and timing? Private Ensign: Google Earth? Senator Callum: If you were using your soccer stadiums for athletics instead of barbarism those stonings of yours would be harder to pinpoint on a map and target. General Stakati: Is Ensign trying to be funny? Senator Callum: Not at all. We will be having congressional meetings on Panoramio and Google Street View later this week. Senator Callum: Once the satellites are launched the beneficiaries of the information they provide are not limited to the country doing the launches. Senator Callum: Stoning women is for barbarians and you did not even prove the cases against most of the women and the men involved had no charges brought against them. Governor Chillibibi: We cannot tolerate these attacks on our culture and religious beliefs. The students feel the loss of their schools as safe places keenly. Local leaders despite their protestations, are not all against the education of girls past the age of eight. Senator Callum: Even if we agreed to this plan we would need younger men as well. Not all feminists are going to fall for that older-man scenario and may prefer non-patriarchs. Imani Shiala: How many times do we have to say that these practices are not derived from our venerable religion at all. If you westerner Senator Callum would drill for you own oil or better yet move away from petroleum al together the inequality in our countries would decrease and these atrocities against women would decrease also. Pastor Iniqui: While I cannot condemn the attacks on those infidels overseas they have started to attack Christianity in the West. Imagine pushing through a law that says all members of anti-abortion groups have to adopt or fund orphanages without exception and further they are trying to remove the Old Testament from all religious teachings, from all political groups who style themselves as Christian political parties and even from the Bible itself. General Stakati: Settle down everyone, this is not the time or the place nor frankly are we qualified to settle religious disputes. While religion is part of the overall issue this meeting was called solely to discuss tactics against this group. Or even whether we are going to bother with them at all. The war has less and less political cover for it and tactically no outside force has ever won a war in this region to my knowledge. General Molonic: Please, please let’s get back to tactics. What about a sugar trap? Surely even feminists will fall for a handsome military officer and start telling “pillow tales”. General Benay recently lost his wife. He is a handsome man, with sandy coloured hair greying at the temples. He knows how to use his good-looks to his best advances, and was very useful in chatting up the neglected wives of politicians that were brought within his sphere of influence. He never allowed these relationships to cross over into inappropriate conduct but he went far enough to learn some vital state secrets from many of those women. We have another single General who is not as handsome, but knows how to display what charms he has to best advantage. He has shown little interest in pursuing women to the point of matrimony and I strongly suspect him of being gay due to the number of times certain political aides have tried to seduce him. However what he lacks in looks he more than makes up for in charm. He is also singularly fond of attention, and it is amusing to see him trying to decide at dinners whether he mingle with us guys or stay with the women who stroke his ego. His voracious appetite, His sandy-colored hair and his gait give him a wolfish appearance, and my daughters who are voracious readers of bodice-ripping romances assure me that he is quite attractive despite the question marks over his heterosexuality. Japanese Commissioner: While you plan has some merit, our intelligence suggests that we are talking about a kamikaze group. Senator Callum: Give me a break! Those people do not exist anymore even in Japan, your government is not allowed to send troops and your country is no longer even involved peripherally in this war. Private Ensign; Nevertheless Sirs and Madam, Missuses, ahem, the agents pulling off these hits do seem to disappear among the dead and dying; however our own intelligence suggests that the attacks are undertaken as banzai attacks – only potentially suicidal, and it may be that the lowest bidder is not chosen but perhaps a bidder who is terminally injured or mentally -spent. Imani Shiala: If your country treated its returning soldiers better I am sure they would prefer to return to their families and un-repossessed houses than engage in these behaviors. General Stakati: Let’s not get sidetracked into discussing housing bubbles and banking crises. Even if Comissioner Hiroshiminin is right about the banzai nature of this group there must be army insiders involved. Japanese Commissioner: I can call around to our computer experts and give them clear and concise directives to track down the source of this crowd sourced network. Our country cannot send troops but we are quite versed in computer technology. After all there are many computer networks and they typically intersect at many points even though they have divergent interests. The directives given to this group are coded but the actions taken are not done for free so those transactions must be traceable.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Professor Outis Philalithopoulos was found dead in his home three days ago; the coroner’s report cited natural causes that were left unspecified. Unfortunately, all of the professor’s academic work has disappeared; the only trace left appears to be the following letter, which he sent to an admirer shortly before his death. The understandably concerned recipient of the letter has shared its contents with Naked Capitalism, and has insisted that her identity be protected. Dear * * *, Reading your generous letter was an unexpectedly encouraging experience. I rarely feel that others truly understand the purport of my theories, but when I see a high school student such as yourself navigate her way through the vilifications that surrounds my work, it makes me want to redouble my efforts to explain my ideas to a larger audience. How did you become the most courageous economics professor of our time? Really, you are far too kind. I never thought of myself as anyone out of the ordinary while working as a young PhD on technical questions in Public Choice theory. As you probably know, Public Choice is the pathbreaking theory that demystified the decisions of politicians, showing that they act rationally in order to maximize their own economic benefits. Soon after receiving tenure, it occurred to me that we were being profoundly inconsistent. While we had correctly criticized the previous mainstream view that politics involved benevolent efforts to serve the common good, we had failed to apply the same rigor to the community of academic economists. As a result, we were modeling both economic and political actors as self-interested utility-maximizing agents, while continuing to see economics professors as idealistic pursuers of truth. I decided to correct this oversight by developing my theory of Academic Choice, in which economists are theorized as rational agents who continually seek to maximize their future earnings potential. The way I would describe Academic Choice theory is that it is “the sociology of economists, without romance.” Is this right? What an insightful comment. As you say, Academic Choice theory is a descriptive project, with no normative orientation. We apply a critical approach in order to counterbalance pervasive earlier notions of economists as scientific heroes struggling against popular ignorance in order to serve the common good. What would you identify as the central insights of Academic Choice theory? The theory begins by identifying three principal ways in which economists try to maximize their utility. First, they receive salaries from universities, which can be increased if their course enrollment increases. Course enrollment is primarily driven by students with future careers in business and the financial sector, so an economist has an incentive to propound theories that CEOs and financial institutions find attractive. Even if adoption of these theories leads to substantial public costs, these costs will not be shouldered by the economist personally. Second, by developing such theories an economist can open the door to future wealth as a lobbyist or consultant. Third, the support of economists is critical to creating and maintaining special privileges for the financial services industry and for top corporate officers. By threatening to withdraw this support, economists can engage in rent-seeking. I call this last practice academic entrepreneurship. Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks? There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence: a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public. b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat. c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous. For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week. However, it is naturally more difficult to witness the negotiations in which specific threats were appeased with specific future payouts. This is a problem that also bedevils Public Choice theory, in which it is likewise difficult to show exactly how a particular politician is remunerated in exchange for threatening businesses with anti-business legislation. The theory assures us that such negotiations occur, although they are difficult to observe directly. Perhaps further theoretical advances will help us to close this gap. Isn’t it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups? How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I’m afraid I don’t understand this question. Is there a “behavioral” version of Academic Choice theory, in which the basic premises are enriched by the possibility that economists sometimes act irrationally? Great question. One of my students developed just such a theory – he postulated that economists sometimes do act benevolently, but they have access to limited information and are subject to cognitive biases. Under these assumptions, he proved that economists would produce theories that are flawed in similar ways to what is independently predicted by Academic Choice. However, while his dissertation was unquestionably a valuable contribution to the literature, I am personally convinced that the original Academic Choice theory is more empirically realistic. Studies have shown that many people do act irrationally, but not economists – to the extent possible, their decision-making conforms to the model of Homo economicus. If the theories of economists are harmful to the general welfare, why doesn’t someone try to persuade the public that these theories are mistaken? Collective action in this sense is infeasible. If we instead consider the efforts of a single individual, the cost in terms of time and effort of discrediting an economic theory is substantial, while the benefits are dispersed over many people and so are comparatively small. In any case, the efforts of one person are unlikely to be decisive in swinging the consensus of economists away from a given erroneous theory. It follows logically that the rational decision for an intellectual consumer is to be inactive on this front, and even to be ignorant of the flaws in economic theory. It might be thought that when economic theories are marred by particularly glaring problems, the public would notice. However, the consequence may simply be to select for economic theories that are particularly difficult for the public to evaluate, without implying any increase in the aggregate accuracy of such theories. Do you simply assume based on the theory that people are generally ignorant about mistakes in economic theories, or are there other reasons why you would think this? Public Choice scholar Bryan Caplan was able to prove empirically that democracy subsidizes irrational beliefs. He looked at one political issue after another and found that the views of voters are very different from the mainstream views of economists and are therefore obviously irrational. I would love to be able to prove that intellectual consumers are ignorant of biases in economic theories with an equal degree of rigor, but so far have not thought of a way. See, however, the response to your next question. The core claim of Academic Choice is that valid economic theories are an underprovided public good, due to a combination of academic entrepreneurship and rational public ignorance. Is this merely a prediction of the mathematical models, or is there real world evidence of this claim? Originally I did arrive at this result as a logical consequence of the theoretical model; however, the prediction has since been corroborated through empirical investigations. Consider the following seven propositions. All of them have been effectively promoted and publicized by academic economists: P1. (e.g. Greenspan) It is unnecessary to worry about deception in financial markets since market discipline will make sure that dishonest agents are permanently ostracized. P2. (Clarke) A person whose income is 100 times as large as that of another person has contributed exactly 100 times as much to the general welfare. P3. (First Welfare Theorem) Corporations, if left to themselves, will always provide employment to everyone and produce an economy featuring constant recession-free growth. P4. (Arrow-Debreu) A necessary condition for this ideal economy is the availability of arbitrarily complicated securities that reference cash flows in all times, in all places, and in all ways imaginable. P5. (Borrowing at the Risk-Free Rate) Economic institutions should be designed under the assumption that whenever a firm or bank tries to obtain a low interest loan, it succeeds. P6. (1997/2008) If a Third World country has a banking crisis, bedrock principles of economics dictate that its largest banks should be allowed to fail and be acquired by U.S. and European banks. However, if the U.S. has a banking crisis, bedrock principles of economics dictate that its largest banks should be saved through massive subsidies from the public. P7. (EMH, etc.) It is impossible for investment funds to beat the market. However, the current capital market system centered around funds trying to beat the market is this most perfect system conceivable by human beings. As a bright high school student like yourself can clearly see, the list consists entirely of statements that are obviously wrong, and several of them are internally inconsistent. If economists were simply confused, we would expect to find no pattern in these statements. Instead, as predicted by Academic Choice, statements P1-P7 all directly enable rent-seeking by certain influential minorities (financial sector employees and corporate executives). Moreover, P1-P7 have also helped to generate market discontinuities with significant public costs, among which the recent global financial crisis. Some of your critics have insinuated that the true aim of your research is to restore faith in the possibilities of democracy. How do you respond? I confess feeling rather hurt by this accusation. Let me explain to you, though, the reasons for this misunderstanding. A generation of Public Choice economists had proposed guidance by economic theories as an efficient alternative to the mistakes inherent in democratic processes, or in other words, to political market imperfections. Academic Choice suggests, however, that once one introduces “academic” market imperfections, we may need to confront the possibility that far from correcting political failures, the authority of economists may actually prove to be a source of further distortions in the economy, leading to what I call the “academic dissipation of value.” This much is correct. However, to make the leap to assuming that I intentionally created Academic Choice theory in order to favor democracy is malicious and unfair – it is just like claiming that the main goal of the founders of Public Choice was to discredit politics. What kinds of proposals could help to minimize value destruction by academic economists? You are quite right that from the point of view of the public this issue looms large. Even in most Western democracies, more than half of the total GDP is allocated according to principles promoted by agents subject to Academic Choice dynamics, i.e. economists. One simple remedy to the large negative externalities generated through their academic entrepreneurship could be to shrink the size of the sector of academic economists. Another approach is indicated by the game theoretic insight that winning strategies in competitive games usually involve a random element. Following this principle, ever since antiquity trials have been decided by juries who are chosen by lot. We should therefore strongly consider periodically repopulating economics departments with people selected at random. How are your personal relations with your economist colleagues? When I began to develop Academic Choice theory, I fully expected resistance from historians of science, since I knew they would see me as trespassing on their terrain. But I was heartbroken when I realized that colleagues in my own departments now regarded me with something akin to hatred. I tried to help them to see the elegance of my mathematical models and proofs, but their hostility continued unabated: no one would publish my articles, and even my most promising graduate students were refused jobs everywhere. I could not understand how my attempt to extend the reach of economic theory had led to this rancor, and my only solace was to remind myself that Howard Roark in The Fountainhead had also been misunderstood by colleagues who did not understand his individualistic dream of creating beauty. But nonetheless, I persevered, and one day it dawned on me that the reactions of my colleagues were actually a startling confirmation of Academic Choice theory. After all, economists are very familiar with the free rider problem, whereby individuals take advantage of group benefits without contributing anything. In order to guard against free riders, economists had instituted the tenure process and the journal review process. And since my theories could conceivably weaken the ability of economists to extract rent in the future, they had classed me as a free rider and were attempting to impose costs on me! Now that I have realized this, even the most malevolent stares of my colleagues are unable to disturb my sense of inner peace – for I realize that every attempt to disincentivize me from my chosen career path is yet another vindication of the explanatory potential of economic models. If economists are generally self-interested utility maximizers, how can one explain your own passion to pursue the truth at all costs? I confess that your question has forced me to reconsider many things. Indeed, after thinking about the financial outcomes associated with my career, it seems hard for me to avoid the conclusion that I myself constitute a refutation to Academic Choice! Trying to address this paradox has led to the humbling realization that I am a flawed example of Homo economicus. In fact, I suffer from a cognitive bias known as harmonization bias – i.e., my personal utility function is distorted by virtue of ascribing positive value to harmony between the real world and my economic theories. My initial reaction to this disturbing discovery was fear that the validity of Academic Choice could be compromised – what if other economists also suffer from harmonization bias? Thankfully, the disorder appears to be rare in the community, and so Academic Choice theory remains applicable to the real world. Would you recommend a research career in Academic Choice theory? There are certainly a few obstacles. You would have to resolutely conceal your interest in Academic Choice during your entire educational career, at least until you receive tenure. Once you reveal your true passion, you would have to accept both relative poverty and ceaseless acrimony on the part of your colleagues. Academic Choice is certainly not for everyone –at the very least, it is necessary to suffer from harmonization bias. In light of these considerations, I had begun to accept that the chances of ever finding another student willing to study Academic Choice were slim. Still, your brilliant and lively letter has led me to question my pessimism. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to see new faces in Academic Choice! The theory is full of beautiful unsolved problems that doubtless stand only in need of a fresh examination. Maybe harmonization bias is not as rare among people in general as it is among economists. Maybe I should try to offer a scholarship for younger students. What do you think? Good luck with your senior research report and all the best, Read more at

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


I want to conduct research on medicinal plants used for reproduction; including plant remedies that could potentially be used by patients with unexplained infertility or with fertility treatments.
I also want to trace the contributions of First Nations and American tribal knowledge to medicinal plant knowledge both in colonial medicine and in ethnoveterinary medicine.

What ! Need & What You Get

I have many papers, 11 of them on PubMed, 6 of which are open access and none of which were funded. The research funded ended when the data was collected. I need to pay for the research write up time and find funds for future research.
I can give you art collages, do slideshare presentations on a topic of your choice or put you in the acknowledgement section of my publications.
All funding obtained will be used for past and future research even if I don't raise all that I need.

The Impact

Two of my research participants have become co-authors on my published papers. All of the research participants in my British Columbia research got a manual of animal health remedies.
My papers are in the top 10 most downloaded category on more than one journal and have been in the top 25 hottest on Science Direct. They have many citations. Other people do the same kind of research but they do not validate it scientifically the way that I do. My validation process means that people can judge how useful the medicinal plants are even if they are never tested in clinical trials. If companies can't make a profit from the plants they don't test them in clinical trials because of the costs involved.
My research is usually participatory and people benefit at once and from the publications which are usually open access.