[Fwd: Our Children - Whose Guinea Pigs? Published in Amsterdam News]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 16:21:47 -0500


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Our Children - Whose Guinea Pigs? Published in Amsterdam News
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 11:21:50 EST
From: hrac4@juno.com (Chris J Brunson)
To: sci@efn.org

This article was published in the Amsterdam News on Saturday, November
12, 1998. The Amsterdam News is an African American Publication serving
the New York City and Metropolitan Region.

Our Children - Whose Guinea Pigs? 
By: Herb Boyd

Subtext: They said the experiments on young Black and Latino children in
Harlem are over, yet some contend the experiments continue

Body: In May of this year, the Amsterdam News was among several
newspapers that reported more than 100 New York City youth, most of them
African American and Latino, between the ages of 6 and 11, were being
used as guinea pigs to test the impact of a controversial drug,
advocates
charged.

	According to members of the Coalition Against the Violence
Initiative, these studies continue. To draw attention to the
controversy,
coalition members publicly demonstrate at any affair where any of the
doctors involved in the research are scheduled to appear, as they did
last Thursday when Dr. Daniel Pine spoke at a conference at the Penn
Hotel.

	"During the protest, two of our members were arrested," said
Frank Morales. "They were able to get inside and were standing in the
lobby when they were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. They
spent a night in jail."

	"Neither of the women arrested was allowed to see an attorney,"
said the Rev. John Vaughn, the minister of education and social justice
at Riverside Church. "Because of their pending court date on Dec. 8,
they
have declined to speak to the press."

	For several years, members of the coalition have been protesting
experiments on the brain chemistry of Black and Latino boys to see if
inborn and/or irreversible abnormalities in their serotonin levels (a
substance that transmits impulses in the brain) are responsible for
aggression, anxiety and violent behavior. The protesters contend that
the
studies were being conducted at the New York State Psychiatric Institute
(NYSPI), the department of psychology at Queens College and the Mt.
Sinai
School of Medicine.

	"These studies ignore the true sources of violence and anxiety in
the inner city, such as police brutality, poverty, racism, unemployment,
and inadequate schools," Cassandra Mele explained. A statement from the
coalition further notes, "These studies make no scientific sense: There
is no way to correlate levels of serotonin with complex behavior
patterns
so as to establish cause and effect. There were no control groups to
compare 'normal children' with study children to account for the stress
of the experiments. There was virtually no examination of environmental
factors."

	The protesters stated that the studies were unethical and
potentially harmful. "And by using fenfluramine, a drug that has been
outlawed by the FDA, they placed the children at risk with no benefits,"
said one of the more informed opponents of the studies who requested her
name not be used. "They are doing such studies as these all over the
place, and while they may have discontinued the use of fenfluramine,
they
are now using various hallucinogens.

	"It's the Tuskegee experiments all over again," she added, noting
the infamous government-sponsored syphilis study among Black men, in
which they were deliberately denied proper medical treatment. "What we
need is for one parent to come forward, and we would have the test case
to launch a class-action suit against the hospitals."

	"When we contacted Dr. Pine, he told us the studies were over,"
said James White, an attorney affiliated  with the coalition, "but we
are
not sure this is true."

	Dr. Daniel Neuspiel, a pediatrician at the Beth Israel Hospital,
expressed a similar doubt. "They may have completed this specific series
of studies but I am not convinced that they are completed over in every
phase. I would not be surprised if research continues along similar
lines
with the end purpose of blaming the victim."

	Neuspiel also inferred that the parents may have been coerced
into allowing their children to participate in the studies.

	Claudia Bial of the NYSPI's public relations department told the
Amsterdam News that Pine's report was old even when the media disclosed
it back in May. "He completed the study in 1995, and it was published in
the Archives of General Psychiatry in September 1997," she said. In the
study, entitled "Neuroendocrine Response to Fenfluramine Challenge in
Boys," Pine's purposes are not at odds with the protesters' description,
although he notes that fenfluramine "was given well before the
medication
was withdrawn from the market."

	Moreover, he added, "Families overwhelmingly reported that the
research experience was a positive one." For each of the experiments,
Pine reports that he was given parental consent, and the children could
withdraw at any point if they wished. "None did," he reported.

	"What bothered us, and the reason were are targeting Dr. Pine, is
that he has apparently completed his studies and gotten away with it.
All
of this, the use of various drugs in the studies, is connected with
large
profits for the pharmaceutical industry," Mele said. "It is so easy to
make these studies come out the way you want them to. According to
several reports I've seen, there are no biological markers for any
mental
illness."

	The coalition is planning further demonstrations and are
"demanding an end to racist medical research and experimentation... We
demade that Guiliani Administration make public all information
regarding
complicity of the Probation Department and the Board of Education in
providing children's names."

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