Genetic Engineering: From Monsanto to Frankenfish - NewsGrabs 16 March 2008
Health Supreme's NewsGrabs - a selection of contrary and underprivileged news in health and (mostly) related sectors. Find what trends you may have missed - watch out for the weekly News Grabs.
Here is this week's selection for you:
Genetic engineering, horizontal gene transfer, and the emergence of infectious diseases
Genetic engineering creates vast arrays of transgenic DNA that could spread, not only through cross-pollination with the same or related species, but also through the direct uptake of the transgenic DNA by cells of unrelated species, a process called horizontal gene transfer.
Monsanto's Last Desperate Attempt to Save its (genetically engineered) Bovine Growth Hormone
A new advocacy group closely tied to Monsanto has started a counteroffensive to stop the proliferation of milk that comes from cows that aren't treated with synthetic bovine growth hormone.
The group, called American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, or Afact, says it is a grass-roots organization that came together to defend members' right to use recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBST or rBGH, an artificial hormone that stimulates milk production. It is sold by Monsanto under the brand name Posilac.
Dairy farmers are indeed part of the organization. But Afact was organized in part by Monsanto and a Colorado consultant who lists Monsanto as a client...
MONSANTO WHISTLEBLOWER: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS MAY CAUSE DISEASE
In the summer of 1997, Kirk spoke with a Monsanto scientist who was doing some tests on Roundup Ready cotton. Using a “Western blot” analysis, the scientist was able to identify different proteins by their molecular weight. He told Kirk that the GM cotton not only contained the intended protein produced by the Roundup Ready gene, but also extra proteins that were not normally produced in the plant. These unknown proteins had been created during the gene insertion process.
The scientist dismissed these newly created proteins in the cotton plant as unimportant background noise, but Kirk wasn’t convinced. Proteins can have allergenic or toxic properties, but no one at Monsanto had done a safety assessment on them.
Labs Don't Have to Report 'Frankenfish' Escapes
Canada's rules for genetically modified fish are so lax that labs don't have to report escapes into the wild, says an audit released today. That means bigger, more adaptable fish engineered in labs could put the natural variety at a disadvantage when they compete against each other for food and territory, the audit by Canada's environment commissioner has found. And because scientists don't have to disclose what they create in their labs, it says, it's not known what sort of so-called `Frankenfish' might someday swim Canada's water systems.
Irate Brazilian Farm Women Storm Controversial Monsanto Genetic Engineering Facility
The group of activists protested the Brazilian government's decision last month to give clearance for two varieties of GMO corn for commercial use ... "The authorization of these varieties shows once more that (President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's) government favors agribusiness and big foreign companies, abandoning land reform and family farming," Via Campesina said in a statement.
Vitamin D 'cuts risk of diabetes'
Giving young children vitamin D supplements may reduce their risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life, research suggests. Children who took supplements were around 30% less likely to develop the condition than those who did not.
Studies have also found that type 1 diabetes is more common in countries where exposure to sunlight - which enables the body to manufacture vitamin D - is lower. For instance, a child in Finland was 400 times more likely to develop the disease than a child in Venezuela.
Video: Food Matters - Uncovering the sickness industry
The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. Our teachers point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive.
The film is scheduled for a global internet release by the end of April 2008.
Bolivia to defend coca leaf at UN
Bolivians call coca "the sacred leaf". They say it has been used by indigenous peoples for centuries to alleviate hunger and tiredness, for medicinal purposes and in religious rituals.
UN conventions list coca as a dangerous substance, along with cocaine and opium.
Last week, an annual report by the International Narcotics Control Board reminded Bolivia that coca leaves could legally be used for medical and scientific purposes only. Bolivia, and neighbouring Peru, should "abolish or prohibit activities... such as coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea", the report said.If you have ever been to Bolivia or Peru and appreciated tea from coca leaves which helps one to better stand the high altitudes of the Andean plateau, and have observed people offering coca leaves to patchamama in a religious gesture, you might appreciate what the Bolivians are upset about... Coca IS part of their culture.
It has been modern day western pharmaceutical technology that made a drug out of the leaves, and banning the plant will not stop its "illegal" growing, more than banning the hemp plant has stopped its being grown or the banning of opium poppies has made the Afghanis less likely to grow them. All the so-called war on drugs has done is make a lot of little people into criminals, while protecting the drug running rackets run by the intelligence agencies of this world from competition.
The UN's war on drugs, far from effectively eradicating a growing drug culture, is making it safe for crooks inside the system to poison millions and to make tons of money while doing so.
Is a cup of tea the answer to everything -- even anthrax?
A study by an international team of researchers from Cardiff University and University of Maryland has revealed how the humble cup of tea could well be an antidote to Bacillus anthracis –more commonly know as anthrax.
Published in the March issue of the Society for Applied Microbiology's journal Microbiologist, Professor Baillie said: “Our research sought to determine if English Breakfast tea was more effective than a commercially available American medium roast coffee at killing anthrax. We found that special components in tea such as polyphenols have the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax quite considerably.”
The research also shows that the addition of whole milk to a standard cup of tea completely inhibited its antibacterial activity against anthrax.
Professor Baillie continued: “I would suggest that in the event that we are faced with a potential bio-terror attack, individuals may want to forgo their dash of milk at least until the situation is under control.
Energy drinks highly dangerous to teeth
The study examined the acidity levels of five popular beverages on the market. The results proved that popular “high energy” and sports drinks had the highest mean buffering capacity, resulting in the strongest potential for erosion of enamel.
Raymond Martin, DDS, MAGD, AGD spokesperson, says he treats more patients in their teens to 20s for tooth erosion. “They drink a great deal more sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks,” he says. “The results, if not treated early and if extensive, can lead to very severe dental issues that would require full mouth rehabilitation to correct.”
Hawaii Senate, House Consider Resolutions on Aspartame
A Resolution authored by Hawaii State Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, which requests the Department of Health and National Academy of Sciences to review existing reports and studies related to aspartame, by funding source, has been drafted and is to be considered by the Senate. The proposed resolution states that given the enormous amount of evidence that has been compiled concerning the neurodegenerative harm it can cause, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requested to rescind approval of aspartame immediately on a phase-out basis over six months to one year.
Silver Nanoparticles Deadly to Bacteria
In contrast to the usual methods of producing metal nanoparticles, which involve the use of toxic solvents and highly reactive chemical reducing agents, the paint is produced in a simple, cost-effective, and environmentally safe manner, because the nanoparticles are synthesized directly in the paint itself. The team's new method makes use of a natural, oxidative property of paint that occurs during drying.
To test the antibacterial properties of the paint, the team incubated E. coli bacteria overnight on a plain glass slide, a slide coated in normal paint, and a slide coated with the nanoparticle paint. They found that the paint embedded with silver particles killed all the bacteria in comparison to the control slides, a result that confirms that the nanoparticles are toxic to bacteria.
Nigeria Vows To Summon Pfizer’s Bill Steere
The complex litigation over the controversial Trovan clinical trials in Nigeria is proceeding at a snail’s pace, but the federal government isn’t backing down from its promise to pursue criminal charges against several former and current Pfizer personnel. And topping the list is Bill Steere, the former ceo who still sits on the board who, any day now, may receive a summons to appear in Nigeria.The story that is in court in Nigeria here very much reminds me of the (naturally fictional) account of illegal drug trials and greedy pharmaceutical companies described by John LeCarre in The Constant Gardener.
Novartis Sued Over Children’s OTC Medicines
A California mother filed what appears to be the first proposed class action lawsuit since the drugmaker recalled its Triaminic cough and cold medicines over fears that children may suffer overdoses. The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this week in federal court in Los Angeles, says several studies have shown deaths and serious injuries linked to over-the-counter remedies...
Connecticut Files Racketeering Lawsuit against Eli Lilly & Co
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a lawsuit against Eli Lilly for illegally marketing its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses, and concealing the drug's serious side effects, for more than a decade.
"The illegal marketing campaign exploited children and senior citizens -causing severe weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular problems," Blumenthal said. "This scheme involved payments to public officials, bogus educational events and ghostwritten promotional articles summarizing suspect studies. The drug was marketed for anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Disorder in children when it was never approved for any use in children and caused serious side effects."As we hear of the US prisons overflowing and coping with the highest percentage of prison population of any country on earth, and the US public getting used to live in a virtual Guantanamo, here is a counter-trend from a Nordic country. Norway has a maximum sentence of 21 years for any crime, no death penalty. They actually believe that if you treat a criminal in a humane way, there is a chance he integrates again into society. This video clip that reports on how Norway treats its prisoners was shot by Michael Moore, but was removed from the final cut of SICKO - too unreal, perhaps ...
Cases of whooping cough 'treble'
Babies, for whom whooping cough can be fatal, are immunised at two, three and four months, and again before they start school.
In 2003, there were just 386 cases in England but provisional figures suggest there were as many as 1,071 in 2007.
During this period, uptake of the jab remained steady over the last few years - around 93% or 94% coverage between 2003 and 2007.Yes, they call these cases 'blips'. But what do those figures say about the supposed effectiveness of the vaccinations?
MMR Vaccine Raises Risk of Blood Disorder
An analysis of data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, covering more than a million children who had received at least one MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccination, showed that the proportion of ITP (Immune thrombocytopenic purpura) cases attributable to MMR exposure among children less than two years old ranged from 76 percent to 86 percent.
UK: Autism Vaccine Connection in Court
Martin Walker, known for his classical work Dirty Medicine and more recently for Skewed and HRT: Licensed to Kill & Maim as well as a series of other works critical of the current paradigm of organized, pharma-dominated medicine gives a good overview of the pharma-inspired and government-run campaign against doctors who dare go against the system and recommend - God forbid - a return to single vaccinations instead of the currently used dangerous combination vaccines such as the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) shot or rather 'jab' as they say on that island across the Channel.
Jail for Belgians Who Reject Polio Shot
"It's a pretty extraordinary case," said Dr. Ross Upshur, director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. "The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?"
"It is up to individual countries to decide their own policies, but we do not feel that imprisonment would help," said Dr. David Heymann, WHO's top polio official.
Australia: Judge who spoke out against Ritalin kids gagged
Judge Conlon criticised the over-diagnosis of ADHD, the over-use of medication and its effect on children. An ADHD support group which supports the use of drugs like Ritalin complained to the commission that Judge Paul Conlon had got it wrong, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
At the time, the judge said he had huge concerns because of the "amazing tide" of cases coming before him involving people prescribed Ritalin as children who went on to commit violent crimes.
HIV 'hides from drugs for years'
... the NCI team used highly sensitive equipment to measure infection levels below this threshold. They found that the virus was still present at low levels in 77% of the patients. The research suggests that although potent antiretroviral therapy can suppress HIV infection to almost undetectable levels, it cannot eradicate the virus.When will these experts admit that HIV has never been properly isolated, that Aids is not an infective disease, and that their anti-retroviral cocktail does more damage to the immune system than the much talked-about virus, that cannot be isolated from patients and can therefore not cause what is ascribed to it?
Try UNRAVELING HIV/AIDS or any other posts on that blog for some of that information from a scientist who has spent much time analyzing the available data on this mysterious virus that hides for years...
Biofuels 'risk global starvation'
In his first important public speech since he was appointed, Professor Beddington described the potential impacts of food shortages as the “elephant in the room” and a problem which rivalled that of climate change. “It’s very hard to imagine how we can see the world growing enough crops to produce renewable energy and at the same time meet the enormous demand for food,” he told a conference on sustainability in London...
Pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, affecting wildlife
A vast array of pharmaceuticals—including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones—have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.
To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe. But the presence of so many prescription drugs—and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen—in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.
Pollution 'alters brain function'
"We can only speculate what these effects may mean for the chronic exposure to air pollution encountered in busy cities where the levels of such soot particles can be very high," said lead researcher Paul Borm.
"It is conceivable that the long-term effects of exposure to traffic nanoparticles may interfere with normal brain function and information processing. Further studies are necessary to explore this effect."
MRSA Superbug Infections Now Killing More Americans than AIDS
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a variant of a common bacteria species that normally causes easily-treated staph infections. While staph infections are not usually life-threatening, if untreated they can cause wounded flesh to necrotize (die), leading to painful and disfiguring abscesses. In severe cases, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body, such as joints, bones, lungs, blood or other vital organs.
"MRSA outbreaks are entirely the fault of the conventional medical community, which has actually encouraged the breeding of the bacteria through rampant overuse of antibiotics," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams.While the medical community certainly has its share of responsibility for the problem, it is agriculture, and a push by pharmaceutical companies to sell more antibiotics for "preventive" use in animal husbandry, that is to blame for the widespread presence of antibiotics in foods and even in drinking water, that acts to help bacteria mutate to become resistant to antibiotics. (See one of my earlier articles Google refuses to serve you: Bayer Lobbies For Animal Antibiotic - Disregards Human Health Concerns)
Beyond Progressive Malpractice: Taking Down Big Pharma
American consumers and employers will spend over two trillion dollars this year on health insurance, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical bills, yet we will remain-mentally and physically- among the unhealthiest people on Earth. Forty-eight percent of U.S. men and 38% of women can now look forward to getting cancer. Eight percent of our children suffer from serious food allergies, 17% are diagnosed with learning or behavior disabilities, and a third of low-income preschool kids are already overweight or obese. Heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, cancer, and obesity are spiraling out-of-control among all sectors of the population.
The problem is clear. The solution is obvious. The trillion-dollar life or death question is whether we can overcome our sectarian divisions and mobilize the grassroots power of the 150 million Americans who are sick and tired of living in a Sicko Nation...
Courts Finally Recognize that Spreading Sewage Sludge on Farmland is a Very Bad Idea
Sewage-Based Fertilizer Safety Doubted
It was a farm idea with a big payoff and supposedly no downside: ridding lakes and rivers of raw sewage and industrial pollution by converting it all into a free, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Then last week, a federal judge ordered the Agriculture Department to compensate a farmer whose land was poisoned by sludge from the waste treatment plant here. His cows had died by the hundreds...
Community Supported Agriculture: Grist Magazine on Joining a CSA
It costs money to run a farm. Farmers need cash to buy seeds, babies, fertilizer, compost; fix equipment, pay employees, pay the mortgage, etc., long before they will sell a single lettuce leaf or lamb. These investments are risky, in a way, because if there is a crop failure, the farmer can't recoup through sales, and risks going into debt or going broke. Community-supported agriculture is one solution to this inherent problem. In a CSA, consumers provide farmers with operating capital, in essence buying their food ahead of time and taking the risk of crop failure along with the grower.
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More information out there...
There is much I cannot cover but other sources for this kind of information exist and are active.
The Alternative Medicine Yahoo Group is a place where you can discuss and exchange information on what is happening in the world of natural health.
For the influence of electromagnetic waves from radio, mobile phones and other radio emitting devices, check out the emfrefugee group on Yahoo.
If you are interested in a different take on the news that isn't health centered but is certainly fun, check out Robin Good TV News.
Some more sites to keep up to date with the other side of world affairs, the stuff you won't necessarily find on your tv or in the papers:
... and remember:
"The individual is supreme and finds its way through intuition."
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Sunday March 16 2008
updated on Saturday December 25 2010
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