May 14, 2005
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Recruiters prey on ill to increase enlistment
University Wire; 5/9/2005; Gaia Veems
(The Daily Aztec) (U-WIRE) SAN DIEGO -- Uncle Sam wants you -- whether you're a mental patient, drug addict, high school dropout or felon.
That's right, military enlistment is down, and recruiters are doing whatever it takes to fill their quotas, and I mean whatever it takes. Anyone is good enough to sign up, not just the few and the proud. Just imagine the combat operations when schizophrenics and pill-poppers are manning the front lines.
The issue was brought to network television when "CBS News" featured a story May 2 about a 17-year-old student who recorded unethical recruiting behaviors. High school journalist David McSwane of Aruda, Colo., posed as a prospective Army recruit. He told recruiters he was a high school dropout and that he had no diploma. The Army recruiters told him to create a fake diploma from a non-existent school; they even told him the name of a fake school to use. McSwane bought a fake diploma for $200 and presented it to the recruiters.
McSwane proceeded to tell the recruiters he had an addiction to marijuana he just couldn't kick. The recruiters had a solution: They instructed him to purchase and put a "detox" solution mask THC in his system so he could pass the drug test. I know this is hard to believe, but McSwane tape recorded conversations between himself and the two recruiters and had one of his friends video tape a recruiting sergeant driving McSwane to a store to buy the detox; thus, the recruiters were caught red-handed.
This is not an isolated incident. Reports about military misconduct while searching for new enlistees have been popping up around the country. A May 5 article in The New York Times ("Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules") described how a 21-year-old man in Ohio with bipolar disorder was enlisted by recruiters and was ready to be shipped off to boot camp until his parents found out.
The young man was fresh out of a three-week stint in a psychiatric hospital when he signed up, and although his parents went to recruiting centers with proof of their son's criminal record and mental condition several times, the military would not release him.
Finally, the distraught parents had to appeal to their congressmen to have their son disqualified from enlistment. An investigation followed, but no one was penalized and the recruiters are still working their same jobs.
Additionally, the Army's own records document more than 320 "recruitment improprieties" last year alone -- recruiters also say for every impropriety discovered there are at least two more undiscovered, according to the article. And that's after the Army's already relaxed age and education requirements and strengthened incentives such as enlistment bonuses.
Recruiters have the power to let many things slide in order to keep people enlisting. People with criminal records, drug problems and physical or mental disabilities who feel they have no other options are being welcomed with open arms by military recruiters. While these people may still have much to offer society, the standards of our armed services should be higher.
Just imagine a person with mental illness being given a weapon. Or worse, climbing the ranks of the Army and being in charge of other young people. Picture ground combat situations in which people with recurring physical problems are expected to perform the tasks of a perfectly healthy soldier. I don't know about you, but I don't feel safe with the picture of that military in my mind.
Some of the values supposedly associated with the military are honor, respect and integrity -- those values have been compromised. The jobs these enlistees stand to face are heavy tasks, and the idea of extremely troubled young people in combat situations is a frightening one.
I can see why enlistment is down in the military and why it is so hard for them to enlist good recruits. After all, who wants to sign up for a war with no end in sight? However, it is inexcusable to prey on those in desperate situations who are certainly unprepared for the physical and mental stresses of combat. Honestly, "being all you can be" may not be good enough when you're more accustomed to jail cells or mental wards.
(C) 2005 The Daily Aztec via U-WIRE
Saegis Pharmaceuticals Receives $3.8 Million From the Stanley Medical Research Institute.
PR Newswire; 5/12/2005
Funds Support Clinical Trials of SGS518 for Use in Cognitive Impairment Associated With Schizophrenia
HALF MOON BAY, Calif., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Saegis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing medicines that protect and enhance the function of the human mind, today announced that The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) is providing Saegis with up to $3.8 million to continue funding human clinical trials of SGS518. Saegis is developing SGS518 as a treatment for the cognitive deficit that occurs in schizophrenia.
This is the second award that Saegis has received from SMRI for this promising therapeutic clinical development program. In January 2004, Saegis received a $2 million investment from The Stanley Medical Research Institute to support the initiation of the company's Phase I clinical study of SGS518. Earlier this year, Saegis announced positive results from the completed Phase I human clinical trial of the compound demonstrating that SGS518 was safe and well tolerated.
"The Stanley Medical Research Institute is the largest private provider of research support for schizophrenia in the United States," said Rodney Pearlman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Saegis Pharmaceuticals. "We are gratified to receive continued support from the Institute for the clinical development of SGS518. This funding recognizes the value of our development program and the compound's potential to treat cognitive impairment among the schizophrenic patient population -- a debilitating condition for which there are limited treatment options."
"We are impressed with Saegis' development capabilities and the potential of SGS518 to address the serious cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia," said Michael Knable, M.D., executive director of The Stanley Medical Research Institute. "We are pleased to provide Saegis this support in recognition for their development progress and clinical evidence demonstrated to date in this program."
SGS518 is a selective antagonist of the 5-Hydroxytryptamine-6 (5-HT6) serotonin receptor believed to act by enhancing transmission of chemicals in the brain. Preclinical evaluation of SGS518 has shown it to be effective in behavioral studies of learning and memory. Saegis is developing SGS518 in cooperation with Eli Lilly and Company as a treatment for the cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS). Schizophrenia affects an estimated two million people in the United States and a large proportion of these patients are believed to also suffer from cognitive impairment. While currently marketed drugs are often effective in treating the psychoses that characterizes schizophrenia, CIAS remains a significant unmet need, preventing controlled patients from leading normal lives.
About The Stanley Medical Research Institute
The Stanley Medical Research Institute is a nonprofit organization that supports research on the causes and treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), through research in their own laboratories and through support of researchers worldwide. Since 1989, when their research programs began, The Stanley Medical Research Institute has provided over $200 million to make this research possible. For more information, visit http://www.stanleyresearch.org/.
About Saegis Pharmaceuticals
Saegis Pharmaceuticals is a pioneer in the development of medicines that protect and enhance the function of the human mind. Saegis is building a portfolio of compounds for the treatment of neurological conditions that impact memory and cognition, including Alzheimer's disease, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mild cognitive impairment and Cognitive Impairment Associated with Schizophrenia (CIAS). With two Phase II clinical studies currently underway, Saegis' product pipeline is fueled by the discovery and identification of high-value leads leveraging comparative modeling technology of age-related cognitive decline, coupled with the strategic in-licensing and repositioning of promising clinical-stage compounds. Privately held, Saegis has received investment support from Versant Ventures, Technology Partners, Sofinnova Ventures (U.S.), Sofinnova Partners (Paris), Polaris Venture Partners, NeuroVentures, the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Novartis Pharma AG. For more information, visit http://www.saegispharma.com/.
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