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Old 11-07-2005, 05:16 PM   #1
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The National Children's Study

Greetings to all,

It is my aim to inform as many people as possible, those who may be unaware, of this longitudinal study, in the hope that there may be further investigation into this, and minimally, to sound an alarm regarding this genetic and environmental experiment.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced, on September 29, 2005, a planned study of 100,000 American children of African, Latino and Native descent, beginning with their parents, until the age of twenty one, called the National Children's Study. The entire study is scheduled to last for twenty five years until the year 2030.

This intrusive study seeks to enlist more than 100,000 future mothers and possible mothers, and in some cases their partners, in an effort to obtain the target goal of the number of children desired.

The stated reason for this study is an attempt to determine health disparities among children of African, Latino and Native descent in relation to their percentage within in the population of the US.

In addition to biological samples, among these being baby teeth, urine, blood, hair, breast milk and nail clippings, the plan is to analyze dust mites in the homes, the neighborhoods and environments where these children and their families reside. During discussions before initiating this study, it was suggested that siblings be enlisted also for comparative reasons. Preliminary results from this study, primarily related to pregnancy and birth, are expected by 2010.

At present, monitoring devices to be used for data collection and physical samples, with links to study centers, which in turn will be linked to a variety of on line equipment, such as laptops etc., are being investigated for placement in the homes of these children and families.

Additional environmental sensors will be installed in the neighborhoods of families participating in this study. This data will be gathered and archived, presumably for later examination. How will the issue of monitoring neighbors/the surrounding neighborhood and individuals, who are not participating in this study be addressed?

Estimates for recruiting participants could reach into the millions, over a twenty five year period, to allow for possible drop out of initial recruited subjects. Study centers will then disseminate information, via laptops, to clinics, hospitals and others.

None of the literature, that appears to be intended for public distribution, clearly identifies this study as a genetic study. The NIH news release, intended for the public at the web site of the same name, refers to the testing as identifying and finding correlations between environmental influences and "genetic constitution".

Any and all entities acting as recruiting agents, hospitals, universities, churches, day care centers etc., an intended and mostly unnamed group of recruiters, are being asked to devise their own means of collecting data and developing methods for testing during the length of this study. Data collected and analyzed by all researchers will be included in the study as well.

I am a mother of African descent and I am concerned about ever evolving genetic research, with an eye toward identifying genetic distinction between races, as was announced by the head of the Genographic Project when it was launched in April 2005. Any study like the National Children's Study, set to last for this extended period of time, a quarter of a century, looms ominously as a possible tool for nefarious uses.

The US government has issued patents, primarily to private firms and universities, for 20% of the human genes that have been identified, since the completion of the Human Genome Project, which began in 1990 and concluded with what was identified as a complete mapping of the human genome in 2003.

Will genetic material harvested from study participants be patented? Will participation in this or any related genetic studies imply relinquishing the right to one's genetic material? What alternative uses will be found for genetic material harvested from participants?

The Human Genome Project, the project that mapped the human genome, was managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the parent organization of the NICHD, the facilitator of the National Children's Study.

Another entity created by the NIH, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), gathered genetic researchers, in late 2001 through 2002, to discuss genetics and the role it plays in health and disease. In November 2004 in Mexico City, during oral presentations, it was revealed that another organization would be formed, as a result of the formulation of the National Children's Study in the US, this study formerly known as the Longitudinal Cohort Study of Environmental Effects on Child Health and Human Development, that would coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO), for the purposes of analyzing data retrieved on an international basis.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at the Genomics and Disease Prevention link at the site, states that, "the success of the Human Genome Project has led to increasingly rapid translation of genomic information into clinical applications".

Of course, there are less speculative, less complicated or nebulous issues of concern to be considered as well. Will any circumstances encountered within the homes of these children, circumstances determined unhealthy and that remain unaltered, through no fault of the parents, be determined to be grounds for removal of the children from their homes? Will information gathered, during the study or at a later date, be used for prosecution of individuals in the home?

With The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act, Senate Bill 1873, a pending bill that will create an entity called the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA), which will shield members of the advisory board, in the name of national security, as they rapidly approve vaccines and drugs without the usual oversight, I believe there is more than a little cause for alarm at a proposed twenty five year study targeting African, Latino and Native American children.

If or as environmental or genetic factors for bad health are allegedly discovered as a result of this study, it is a logical and feasible assumption that some form of trial vaccines or treatments may come into existence during a time span of twenty five years.

On September 29, 2005, the launching of this study and the awarding of contracts to the first six Vanguard Centers were announced by the NIH. A list of 97 intended future study locations may be found at the National Children's Study web site.

The Vanguard Centers, that will be utilized as the laboratories for this study, have been described as having, “community networks for identifying, recruiting and retaining eligible mothers and infants”, in addition to the capacity to handle “biological and environmental specimens.”

The goal is to open 40 Vanguard Centers nationwide. The first six study locations are:

Orange County, California

Duplin County, North Carolina

Queens County, New York

Salt Lake County, Utah

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Waukesha County, Wisconsin

On October 23, I sent an email to the National Institutes of Health, the parent organization of the NICHD, the managers of this study, inquiring if children of any other racial groups would be studied. I also asked, among other questions, if there would be any interfacing, by liaison organization or otherwise, with the current ongoing gene project, the one that seeks to find differences among the races. As of this date, November 7, I have not received a reply.

As an exercise in what if, I pondered a few questions related to a study child's surroundings. If the environment is thought to be or has the potential to be hazardous, what action will occur? Let's say, for illustrative purposes, the child and the family live down stream from some factory/plant that uses what are known to be, or during the course of the study, it is discovered there are, carcinogenic agents contaminating the environment.

What is the responsibility of the Study team? Will they allow this hazardous condition, which they may have documented by taking some of those environmental samples, to continue for the purpose of observing the types and number of cancers that occur in the area? The Tuskegee Experiment is the poster program for unethical experimentation on African American people where treatment of test subjects was withheld for forty years.

The Department of Energy, as I said earlier, one of the managers of the first genetic project, is the same agency responsible for enlisting African American children in a horrendous experiment, by inviting them to participate in a science club and then feeding the children irradiated oatmeal.

I hope this serves as an aid to inform our communities of this overtly racist attempt to open the door for experimentation on so called American children of African, Latino and Native descent and additionally to create a data base on them, from before the day they are born.

I have devoted considerable time to the issue of researching this children's study. Please contact me if you desire any additional information on this matter at:

[email protected]


Karen M. Hatter
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