The army chief said the s from DMT's blog

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LONDON Durham Smythe Hat , March 5 (Xinhua) -- As the dust was settling after World War Two, a survey was launched involving thousands of newly born British babies that would have a lifelong impact.

Their parents signed them up for what would become the world's longest scientific survey of humans.

Throughout their lives, from infancy, to childhood, their teen years, and on to old age, they would be monitored by scientists.

They have been measured, weighed, given blood and skin samples and provided DNA, each having their lives probed in unprecedented detail for 70 years.

The data played a key role in the creation of the British NHS in 1948 by exposing inequalities and social divides, leading to better healthcare, and credited with saving thousands of lives.

This week hundreds of the so-called Douglas babes, named after scientist James Douglas who created the project, have been attending official parties to celebrate the 70th birthday of the National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD).

Douglas wanted to find out why Britain had alarmingly high death rates for babies. He recruited almost 14,000 babies for the project, all born over a few days in March 1946.

Around 3,000 of those who joined the program in 1946 is still contributing to essential fact-finding for health researchers.

Professor Diana Kuh, from Britain's Medical Research Council (MRC), the study's director, said: ""We have kept a close eye on all those who were originally in the study. Some of these people have died, and from that we have calculated that just over 80 percent of the cohort children are still alive.""

""They have been helping us for seven decades of their lives. Their contribution to our knowledge about human development and ageing is enormously valuable for science and policy,"" Kuh said.

Helen Pearson, who has published a book this week about the survey, said: ""Seventy years ago in March 1946, when NSHD study members were born, they became part of something truly extraordinary - a group of babies who would be watched by scientists more closely than any before. The NSHD is today the longest running study of human development in the world, and the envy of scientists everywhere.""

""The story of the British birth cohorts is one of a struggle for survival, and the heroes are both the lifelong study members and the remarkable scientists who have fought for the studies in which they passionately believed,"" he said.

Even in their old age the participants are delivering fascinating results for those monitoring their progress. A research team and the Institute of Neurology at London's UCL are to put the lives of 500 of the pensioners under the microscope.

Kuh says they will be given brain scans and a battery of cognitive and sensory tests, to be repeated in two years. The results, adds Kuh, might give clues to those most likely to suffer from dementia.

""The study is now at a crucial stage, following study members as they get older and providing vital information. Modern science will learn even more than before about healthy and unhealthy ageing, and this knowledge is very likely to lead to new possibilities for prevention.""

Related:

Britain's female solider in WWI remembered in new stamp collection

LONDON, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- She was the only British woman to bear arms during World War One in a deadly conflict involving hundreds of thousands of male combatants.

Reaching the rank of captain in the Serbian army, Flora Sandes remained in Belgrade after WWI and volunteered to fight the Nazis during the attack on Yugoslavia in April 1941.?

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LAGOS, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian troops has entered mop-up phase in fight against Boko Haram that would facilitate release of captives, including Chibok girls, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, said.

The army chief made the remark in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital late on Wednesday during a meeting with the state Elders Forum as part of measures adopted to consolidate on the gains recorded in counter-insurgency operation.

""We were given three major tasks and we have made efforts toward achieving two,"" he said.

""The first task is to defeat Boko Haram and I want to tell you that as at today Boko Haram has been defeated,"" he added.

""When I say defeat, it doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be hitches here and there. We have entered the mop up stage of our operation"", he said.

According to him, the mop up phase would facilitate the release of those held captive by the insurgents, including the Chibok girls.

Buratai told his audience that the second part of the first task is to rescue those who are held hostage at some marked locations by the insurgents.

The army chief said the second major task in the military's north-east operation was to facilitate the restoration of normalcy in affected areas and provision of relief materials to displaced persons.

He said the military had aided civil authorities in the return of displaced persons from Bama, Gwoza and other communities.

""The second task is to support the civil authorities in caring and protecting the Internally Displaced Persons and to help the civil authorities in restoring normalcy and rebuilding those areas that have been liberated,"" he said.

""It has already commenced in places like Bama, Gamboru Ngala, Baga, Mongonu and most of those areas are deserted because they are afraid that they could be attacked,"" he said.

He said some challenges initially encountered in the course of operation had been addressed, stressing that the operation was progressing according to projections.

Buratai acknowledged the support of the elders and urged them and the entire Borno people to be patient with the military particularly on measures initiated to tackle the insurgents.

He said measures such as the closure of markets and curfe

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