Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Fascism Creates Science-Biased Medicine in Federal Policies

Courtesy Mercola.com
Mercola | Feb 25, 2015 | Dr. Mercola
As stated in their mission statement, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting public health by assuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, biological products, medical devices, food, and more.1

It’s a tall order, no doubt, but the FDA makes many glaring omissions or, some might say, blatant oversights that put the public’s health at risk. Yet, the public is quite understanding and tolerant of the FDA’s mistakes and industry-friendly positions.

For instance, even as they continue to ignore the risks of antibiotics in animal feed, deceive you about mercury amalgams, and allow Americans to consume questionable foods that are banned in other countries

There is no major public uproar or demand for a (much-needed) overall of the agency. But it is hard to defend an agency that continually acts against the best interests of the public they’re entrusted to defend.

Now, due to the efforts of a professor and his students at the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism at New York University, we have yet another example of the FDA failing to warn Americans, in this case about grave concerns due to falsifications in published data.
FDA Uncovers Fraud, Incompetence, and Misconduct in Clinical Trials… Says Nothing
The FDA reviews several hundred clinical trial locations that conduct research on human participants each year in order to be sure they’re engaging in good clinical practice. But what happens when they find evidence of questionable procedures or practices?

In the most serious of cases, the FDA can classify it as “official action indicated,” or OAI. This is reserved for “severe” forms of clinical trial violations, including "objectionable conditions or practices" that warrant compulsory regulatory action, as opposed to "voluntary action indicated" for lesser violations.”2

Now, if a trial had been deemed OAI by the FDA, you might assume that you’d see evidence of that when reading the results of studies based on said data. But that would be a liberal assumption. Researchers conducted a review of FDA inspection reports between 1998 and 2013.

They found 60 clinical trials that had been classified as OAI, and these trials had been used for data in 78 published articles. Out of those 78 studies, only three included mentions of the violations found by the FDA!


And we’re not talking about small, innocent mistakes. The violations included fraud, incompetence, and misconduct. This means that anyone browsing a medical journal might be making decisions based on fraudulent published studies.

Studies that the FDA knows contain grave errors… but chose not to say anything about. While you might not personally read this misleading data, your doctor might. As the study’s lead researcher, Charles Seife, noted:3
Your physician makes decisions based upon what he knows from the peer-reviewed literature… If that literature is tainted in some way without the physician knowing, then the physician is making treatment decisions based upon bad data."
Read more..

Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm The Body and Mind

© Green Med Info
Green Med Info | Feb 27, 2015 | Kelly Brogan MD and Sayer Ji

A new study finds the chemical war against cholesterol using statin drugs was justified through statistical deception and the cover up of over 300 adverse health effects documented in the biomedical literature.

Better safe than sorry, right? This is the logic that defines the grasp that the pharmaceutical company has on our psyche. Perhaps your mother, father, brother, and boyfriend have been recommended cholesterol-lowering medication, just to help hedge their bets around a possible chest-clutching demise. In fact, recent guidelines have expanded the pool of potential statin medication recipients, so that there are very few of us who seem to be walking around with acceptable levels of artery clogging sludge.

But how is it that drug companies got a foothold? How have they convinced doctors that their patients need these medications, and need them now? They are banking (literally) on the fact that you haven't brushed up on statistics in a while.

It turns out that a common sleight of hand in the medical literature is the popularization of claims around "relative risk reduction" which can make an effect appear meaningful, when the "absolute risk reduction" reveals its insignificance.  In this way, 100 people are treated with statin medications to offer 1 person benefit, and the change from a 2% to a 1% heart attack rate is billed a 50% reduction rather than a 1% improvement, which is what it actually is.

Perhaps this would still qualify as better safe than sorry if these medications weren't some of the most toxic chemicals willfully ingested, with at least 300 adverse health effects evident in the published literature so far, with at least 28 distinct modes of toxicity, including:
Beyond the known fact that statin drugs deplete the body of two essential nutrients: coenzyme Q10 and selenium, they are also highly myotoxic and neurotoxic. Because the heart is one of the most nerve-saturated muscles in the human body, these two modes of toxicity combined represent a 'perfect storm' of cardiotoxicity – a highly ironic fact considering statin drugs are promoted as having 'life-saving' cardioprotective properties.

A powerful expert review by Diamond and Ravnskov decimates any plausible indication for these cholesterol-lowering agents, giving full consideration to the above mentioned side effects.

They plainly state:
"Overall, our goal in this review is to explain how the war on cholesterol has been fought by advocates that have used statistical deception to create the appearance that statins are wonder drugs, when the reality is that their trivial benefit is more than offset by their adverse effects."

The Cholesterol Meme


It's tempting to look the number one killer of Americans in the eye, and say, "WHO did this? Who is responsible?" It is also consistent with American perceptions of health and wellness to demonize a natural and vital part of our physiology rather than look at lifestyle factors including government subsidies of inflammatory food products.

Not only is low cholesterol a problem, but it puts an individual at risk for viral infection, cancer, and mental illness because of the vital role that lipids play in cell membrane integrity, hormone production, and immunity.
A broadly toxic xenobiotic chemical, statin medications have only been demonstrated to be of slight benefit by statistical manipulation. For example, Diamond and Raynskov elucidate that:
  • The JUPITER trial of Crestor vs placebo resulted in increased fatal heart attacks in the treatment group which were obscured by combing fatal and nonfatal infarctions.
  • In the ASCOT trial was used to generate PR copy boasting Lipitor's 36% reduction of heart attack risk, a figure arrived at through use of relative risk reduction from 3 to 2%.
  • The HPS study has 26% drop out rate prior to the beginning of the trial (which also demonstrated a 1% improvement with treatment), so that those with significant side effects were functionally excluded from the study.
While no study has ever shown any association between the degree of cholesterol lowering and beneficial outcomes described in terms of absolute risk reduction (likely because they would be perceived as insignificant), the adverse effects are not only always presented in these terms, but are also minimized through the technique of splitting common side effects up into multiple different categories to minimize the apparent incidence.

These side effects are real and common and include "increased rates of cancer, cataracts, diabetes, cognitive impairment and musculoskeletal disorders".  Their paper focuses on three primary adverse effects, all of which  are likely to land you in the "sorry to have thought I would be better safe than sorry" category.

Cancer

In at least four trials, statistically significant increases in cancer incidence was found, and handily dismissed by all authors as insignificant because they claimed "no known potential biological basis" is known.  This may be because the authors are still thinking of cancer as a genetic time bomb that has nothing to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, loss of lipid integrity, or environmental exposures.


With statistically significant increases in cancer incidence and deaths, in some trials, the minimal cardiovascular benefit is far eclipsed by the cancer mortality. In one of the only long-term trials, there was a doubling of the incidence of ductal and lobular breast cancer in women taking statins for more than ten years. One of many reasons that women should never be treated with these medications.

Myopathy


As one of the more well-known side effects of statins, muscle breakdown and associated pain, or myopathy has also been obscured in the literature.  Despite an incidence up to 40% in the first months of treatment, researchers only catalogue patients who had muscular symptoms in addition to elevations in a blood measure called creatine kinase (CK) at ten times normal for two measures (not 9.9, not 8, and not one measure).

In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of Pathology found that statin therapy induces ultrastructural damage in skeletal muscle in patients without myalgia," indicating that statin-associated muscle damage may be a universal, albeit mostly subclinical problem for the millions put on them.

Central Nervous System Dysfunction


Linked to suicide in men, depression including postpartum, and cognitive dysfunction, low cholesterol is not a desirable goal for the average psychiatric patient, aka half of the American population.

It turns out that 25% of the total amount of cholesterol found in the human body is localized in the brain, most of it in the myelin sheath that coats and insulates the nerves:
 "It has been estimated that up to 70% of the brain cholesterol is associated with myelin. Because up to half of the white matter may be composed of myelin, it is unsurprising that the brain is the most cholesterol-rich organ in the body. The concentration of cholesterol in the brain, and particularly in myelin, is consistent with an essential function related to its membrane properties. "[i]
The cell membrane, specifically, is highly vulnerable to damage by statins:
"The cell membrane is an 8 nanometer thick magical pearly gate where information, nutrients, and cellular messengers are trafficked through protein gates supported of phospholipids and their polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cholesterol and saturated fat provide essential rigidity in balance with other membrane components. Without them, the membrane becomes a porous, dysfunctional swinging gate. In a self-preservational effort, cholesterol supports production of bile acids, integral to the breakdown and absorption of consumed essential dietary fats." Source
By extension, behavioral and cognitive adverse effects may be the manifestation of this fat-based interference.  Diamond and Ravnskov state:
A low serum cholesterol level has also been found to serve as a biological marker of major depression and suicidal behavior, whereas high cholesterol is protective [54–57]. In a study by Davison and Kaplan [58], the incidence of suicidal ideation among adults with mood disorders was more than 2.5-times greater in those taking statins. Moreover, several studies have shown that low cholesterol is associated with lower cognition and Alzheimer's disease and that high cholesterol is protective.
A review article called Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events Associated with Statins: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Prevention and Management discusses the state of the literature around the intersection between mental health and cholesterol control. Despite generally dismissing a strong signal for concerning psychiatric adverse events, the article seems to conclude the following:
  • Severe irritability, homicidal impulses, threats, road rage, depression and violence, paranoia, alienation, and antisocial behavior; cognitive and memory impairments; sleep disturbance; and sexual dysfunction have all been reported in case series and national registries of those taking statin medications.  Sound like the laundry list of rapidly spoken side effects at the end of a drug commercial? To anyone with a history of or current psychiatric symptoms, the role of these now ubiquitous medications should be appreciated.
  • The signal for lipophilic statins - simvastatin and atorvastatin - was stronger which makes mechanistic sense since these medications penetrate the brain and brain cholesterol deficiency has been implicated in bipolar, major depression, and schizophrenia.
Of course, none of these findings nor their suppression should be surprising because there is no pharmaceutical free lunch, and because Americans are so accustomed to interfacing with human health through the lens of a one pill-one ill model. We are yanking on that spider web and expecting only one thread to pull out.  This perspective would be less disturbing if it didn't serve as the foundation for medical practice, determined by boards such as the American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association , the majority of whom have extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry. An industry that has paid out 19.2 billion dollars for civil and criminal charges in the last 5 years alone.

So, the next time you hear of a doctor recommending a cholesterol-lowering intervention, tell him you'll take that 1% risk and spare yourself cancer, cognitive dysfunction, myopathy, and diabetes. And then go have a 3 egg omelette WITH the yolks.

Dr. Brogan is boarded in Psychiatry/Psychosomatic Medicine/Reproductive Psychiatry and Integrative Holistic Medicine, and practices Functional Medicine, a root-cause approach to illness as a manifestation of multiple-interrelated systems. After studying Cognitive Neuroscience at M.I.T., and receiving her M.D. from Cornell University, she completed her residency and fellowship at Bellevue/NYU. She is one of the nation’s only physicians with perinatal psychiatric training who takes a holistic evidence-based approach in the care of patients with a focus on environmental medicine and nutrition. She is also a mom of two, and an active supporter of women's birth experience. She is the Medical Director for Fearless Parent, and an advisory board member for GreenMedInfo.com. Visit her website.

Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, on the Board of Governors for the National Health Federation, and Fearless Parent, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.

Hundreds of Farmers Block Roads in Protest of Monsanto’s GMO Crops

© Courtesy Natural Society
Natural Society | Feb 27, 2015 | Christina Sarich

Poland's largest farmer uprising

Poland’s largest farmer uprising ever has occurred as convoys of tractors took to the roads recently in protest of GMO infiltration and land grabs by biotech and Big Ag corporations.

More than 150 farmers blocked roadways and held numerous demonstrations in order to bring attention to the important issue of food sovereignty in Poland. Their focus is a ban on GMOs and a restoration of small farmer’s rights after decades of oppressive health and safety regulations which take rights away from small farms and give them to mono-cropping, poisoning Big Ag mega-companies.

The farmers have been stalwart – refusing to call off their demonstrations until their demands are met. Rallies and demonstrations have littered the country – in over 50 locations. Hundreds are picketing government offices in addition to the road blockades.

In the largest organized farmer’s protest the country has likely ever seen, the farmers are demanding that legislators protect the small farmer from exploitation by monopolizing companies and refuse the sell off of their country’s land to these behemoths. As the farmers point out, once the land is sold, the Big Ag model can’t be stopped, and the land is forever lost.

Read: Record GMO Farmers Switching to NON-GMO Crops in 2015

Until government officials agree to talk with the farming unions, they have vowed to keep up their efforts. Edward Kosmal, chairman of the farmers protest committee for West-Pomeranian Region said:
We are ready for dialogue. We look forward to meeting with you, Prime Minister, and beginning a comprehensive government commitment to solving the problems of Polish agriculture. If you do not enter into a dialogue with the Union, we will be forced to step up our protests.”


There are 4 simple key demands the farmers would like to be heard:
  • Regulation of land grabs by primarily Western companies (translation – biotech and Big Ag) to prevent small farmers from losing their livelihoods.
  • The legalization of direct sale of produce and other foods from farms to the people. This cuts out the middle man and allows the higher quality produce of many farms to reach its customers directly. Poland currently has some of the most extreme policies of all of Europe in this regard, making it nearly impossible for small farmers to compete with big food companies who are notorious for selling us fake and highly processed foods.
  • Change inheritance laws so that families can rightly leave land under lease to their heirs.
  • BAN THE CULTIVATION OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS!
One farmer stated:
“We demand the introduction of legislation that will protect Polish land from exploitation by foreign capital! Agricultural land cannot be sold to commercial companies. It’s part of Polish territory. Once sold it will be lost.
An Intense Escalation of Events 

The farmer’s protests represent a dramatic increase in activist fervor that has been boiling to the surface for over a year, with marked unrest in the northern provinces.

These provinces are especially upset about not being able to sell their (mostly) organic produce, though uncertified. It is usually of higher quality than the food grown on modern industrial farms. Poland is one of the last places in Europe where ‘peasant’ farmers still use traditional agricultural methods, without the use of chemicals and very low mechanization, so the soil is healthier, and so are the plants grown there. The large majority of small farms are no larger than 5 hectares.

Industrial-bent foreign corporations are keen to expand their operations in Poland, and many small farmers see the increasingly ridiculous regulations as an attempt to force families off their land.

Furthermore, one of Poland’s biggest industrial producers, in the form of Smithfield (the world’s biggest pig producer which bought Poland’s Animex SA in 1999) is influencing the largely right-wing government. They own a string of 16 hog farms where conditions have been calledhorrendous, so you know they are not interested in protecting small farmer’sland rights or producing high-quality, no-GMO, organic food.

The triad of government and corporate interests in Poland along with EU pressure is causing the protests to reach a more fevered pitch.
These protests are touching the raw nerve of what’s wrong with the inhuman, neo-liberal and profit obsessed practices of today. Practices which ignore the real needs of farmers and consumers alike.”
Read: Brazil’s Farmers Rise up in Protest Against Big Ag’s Policies

Polish farmers are joined with millions of others who have been protesting against Monsanto, Cargill, and other biotech and Big Ag interests who have little concern for the quality of our food supply. Over 50 countries have marched against Monsanto, so the thousands marching in Poland are not alone. Almost all states in the US have marched against Monsanto and Big Ag, and Vermont recently staged a protest at the US Canadian border which involved more than 79 Vermont towns.


Hillary Martin, a farmer from Burlington, Vermont states the internationally-shared aims against these bullies clearly:
“We are here at the border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of corporate globalization. The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities, and force-fed us hazardous genetically engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world!”
You can read more about land grabs by multinationals at Pesticide Action Network, as well other sites. The actions of these companies keeps the world hungry and sick, not well fed. As the Global Policy Forum explains, unfair distribution of land, and unfair access to ownership explain much of the poverty and hunger in the world – NOT – as biotech would have us believe, the inability to grow enough food. Its all about distribution.

It is the one- percent-ers, owning most of the multinational companies, not rural farmers who commandeer the land. Even when small farmers do own land, they still suffer from inequality due to government regulations that favor these enormous companies.
The struggle for land reform, which would shift the balance of power in favor of marginalized landless farmers, has been going on for many decades. However the food and financial crises contribute to worsening the trend towards land concentration, in which governments, agro-industrial corporations and private investors buy up fertile land in poor countries, [largely to spread GMOs] depriving small farmers of their ability to grow their own food.”

Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Study Confirms Negative Impact of Fluoride on Thyroid Gland

© Dees Illustrations
The Anti Media | Feb 26, 2015 | Derrick Broze

A new study published in the BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has confirmed Fluoride’s negative effect on the thyroid gland and a possible connection to depression, weight gain, and other negative health effects.

Researchers with the University of Kent in England examined thyroid activity for those in areas with fluoridated water and those without. The team examined 95 percent of the English population in 2012 and 2013 and found high rates of underactive thyroid were 30% more likely in areas with high fluoride concentration. An underactive thyroid can lead to depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles.
While the study confirms previous studies that showed fluoride interferes with the production of iodine for the thyroid, some experts believe the study is not conclusive. Prof David Coggon, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Southampton, believed the observations could have been caused by some other variable. “It is quite possible that the observed association is a consequence of other ways in which the areas with higher fluoride differ from the rest of the country,” he told the Telegraph. “There are substantially more rigorous epidemiological methods by which the research team could have tested their idea”.

In 2014, Public Health England released their own report concluding that fluoridation was a “safe and effective” way of improving dental care. Dr Sandra White, Director of Dental Public Health at Public Health England, stated that according to the agencies research they have found “no association with reduced thyroid function.”

Despite the reassurances, a quick search for studies on Fluoride and Thyroid activity turn up a number of studies that found possible dangers related to fluoride consumption. First, it is important to understand that Fluoride was prescribed as a drug to treat hyperthyroidism, or an over-active thyroid. Until the 1950’s doctors in Europe and South America used fluoride treatments from pharmaceutical company Merck. This was because the medical establishment knew of fluoride’s affect on the thyroid.

As the Fluoride Action Network has outlined, studies have shown since at least 1988 that exposure to fluoride leads to an increase in iodine deficiency in humans and animals. Iodine is essential for a proper functioning thyroid gland. A lack of adequate iodine intake during childhood can cause permanent brain damage.

In 2006, the National Research Council released the report “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards”. This report concluded with the following statement:

The effects of fluoride on various aspects of endocrine function should be examined further, particularly with respect to a possible role in the development of several diseases or mental states in the United States. Major areas for investigation include the following:

Thyroid disease (especially in light of decreasing iodine intake by the U.S. population).


Beyond the health effects themselves, there seems to be a growing conflict of interest between American health agencies and the publicly available data on dangers associated with Fluoride. Last year Ben Swann.com reported:

Over 2000 pages of emails released under a Freedom of Information Act request have uncovered an apparent conflict of interest between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) regarding water fluoridation. The emails also contain an admission by the CDC that those with kidney issues will likely be adversely affected by the substance.

From September 5th to the 8th the Fluoride Action Network held the 5th Citizens Conference on Fluoride in Washington D.C. At the conference, Dan Stockin, MPH, released the emails and declared that “These documents make it abundantly clear….. the ADA and CDC Oral Health Division are the tweedledum and tweedledee of fluoridation promotion. They work hand in hand (often at taxpayers’ expense) to spin the message in favor of fluoridation.”

The 2500 pages contained emails from 2011 between employees at the Oral Health Division of the CDC (the only division at the CDC that deals with fluoridation) and the ADA, as well as communications from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Nidel Lawfirm helped in the efforts to get the emails released. A statement from Nidel states that, “These documents raise questions about the objectivity of individuals within these agencies and indicate a need to get to the true motivations behind the lack of objectivity in these organizations.”

What is Fluoride?

The substances added to municipal water supplies known by the name fluoride are actually a combination of unpurified by-products of phosphate mining, namely hydrofluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. In the United States, thousands of tons of fluorosilicic acid is recovered from phosphoric acid plants and then used for water fluoridation. During this process the fluoride ion is created.

This process of taking waste from the phosphate industry and putting it into drinking water has long been criticized for its effects on human health, and that of the environment. It is well known that water fluoridation has led to dental fluorosis for millions of children. This discoloring of the teeth was called “cosmetically objectionable” by the Centers for Disease Control. Beyond the cosmetic effect, there have been a number of studies indicating health issues ranging from arthritisbrain problemsreduced thyroid or overactive  thyroidkidney problems and bone cancers.

While proponents of water fluoridation have long pointed to an apparent drop in tooth decay in fluoridated nations as proof of its validity, those claims have been proven wrong by the World Health Organization. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the fluoride in the water is directly related to better teeth quality, however, the WHO released its own study showing that tooth decay rates have dropped in all western nations, whether fluoridated or not.

The reasons for opposing water fluoridation include: fear of a variety of health concerns; the belief that it is force medicating the population without their approval; financial waste; and environmental concerns related to phosphate mines where the chemical is found.

The Fight Against Water Fluoridation

According to the Fluoride Action Network, 145 communities have rejected water fluoridation since 2010. The growing number of cities and towns questioning the safety and economic efficiency of  water fluoridation has been been sparked by community activism efforts around the world. These efforts have come as a response to a variety of studies looking at possible health dangers.

A recent study published in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry indicates that fluoride ions found in fluoridated water and toothpaste may lead to an increase in Urinary Stone Disease (USD). The study was conducted by chemists from Russia and Australia, led by Pavel Nesterenko at the University of Tasmania. The team studied 20 urinary stones from patients at a Russian hospital and discovered fluoride ions in 80% of the stones. This could be due to high levels of fluoride in patients urine, possibly from drinking water containing fluorides and ingesting fluoride toothpaste.

Another study published in the journal General Dentistry warns that infants are at risk of dental fluorosis due to overexposure from fluoride in commercially available infant foods. The researchers analyzed 360 different samples of 20 different foods ranging from fruits and vegetables, chicken, turkey, beef, and vegetarian dinners. All of the foods tested had detectable amounts of fluoride ranging from .007-4.13 micrograms of fluoride per gram of food. Chicken products had the highest concentrations of fluoride, followed by turkey. The New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF) reports that the fluoride levels were due to pesticides, fertilizers, soil, groundwater, and/or fluoridated water. The high levels found in the chicken and turkey can be attributed to “fluoride-saturated bone dust” involved in the process of mechanically separating the meat.

RELATED:

Monsanto Wants to Know Why People Doubt Science

© Prevent Disease
Counter Punch | Feb 26, 2015 | Colin Todhunter

Science in the Corporate Interest

On Twitter recently, someone asked the question “Why do people doubt science?” Accompanying the tweet was a link to an article in National Geographic that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), climate change, fluoridated water and various other phenomena are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are misinformed as a result of access to the ‘University of Google.’ The remedy, according what is said in the article, is for us all to rely on scientific evidence pertaining to these issues and adopt a ‘scientific method’ of thought and analysis and put irrational thought processes to one side.

Who tweeted the question and posted the link? None other than Robert T Fraley, Monsanto’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Before addressing that question, it is worth mentioning that science is not the giver of ‘absolute truth’. That in itself should allow us to develop a healthy sceptism towards the discipline. The ‘truth’ is a tricky thing to pin down. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can play the role of secular theology and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical paradigm is overwhelming. Then, at least according to Kuhn, the old faith gives way and a new ‘truth’ changes.

Philosopher Paul Feyerabend argued that science is not an ‘exact science’. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this.

But the answer to the question “Why do people doubt science” is not because they have read Kuhn, Feyerabend or some sociology journal. Neither is it because a bunch of ‘irrational’ activists have scared them witless about GM crops or some other issue. It is because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations to serve their own ends. It is because they regard these large corporations as largely unaccountable and their activities and products not properly regulated by governments.

That’s why so many doubt science – or more precisely the science corporations fund and promote to support their interests.

US sociologist Robert Merton highlighted the underlying norms of science as involving research that is not warped by vested interests, adheres to the common ownership of scientific discoveries (intellectual property) to promote collective collaboration and subjects findings to organised, rigorous critical scrutiny within the scientific community. The concept of originality was added by later writers in order to fully encapsulate the ethos of science: scientific claims must contribute something new to existing discourse. Based on this brief analysis, secrecy, dogma and vested interest have no place.

This is of course a highly idealised version of what science is or should be because in reality careers, reputations, commercial interests and funding issues all serve to undermine these norms.

But if we really want to look at the role of secrecy, dogma and vested interest in full flow, we could take a look at in the sector to which Robert T Fraley belongs.

Last year, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for “sound science” to underpin food trade between the US and the EU. However, he seems very selective in applying “sound science” to certain issues. Consumer rights groups in the US are pushing for the labelling of GMO foods, but Vilsack said that putting a label on a foodstuff containing a GM product “risks sending a wrong impression that this was a safety issue.”
Despite what Vilsack would have us believe, many scientific studies show that GMOs are indeed a big safety issue and what’s more are also having grave environmental, social and economic consequences (for example, see this and this).

By not wanting to respond to widespread consumer demands to know what they are eating and risk “sending a wrong impression,” Vislack is trying to prevent proper debate about issues that his corporate backers would find unpalatable: profits would collapse if consumers had the choice to reject the GMOs being fed to them. And ‘corporate backers’ must not be taken as a throwaway term here. Big agritech concerns have captured or at the very least seriously compromised key policy and regulatory bodies in the US (see this), Europe (see this), India (see this) and in fact on a global level (see here regarding control of the WTO).

If Robert T Fraley wants to understand why people doubt science, he should consider what Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, says:
“The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science itself.” (see here)
Coming from the GMO biotech industry, or its political mouthpieces, the term “sound science” rings extremely hollow. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’ (see this), while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products [see this and this). It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India (see this), bribery in Indonesia (see this ) and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests [see this), as well as the distortion and the censorship of science (see this  and this).

With its aim to modify organisms to create patents that will secure ever greater control over seeds, markets and the food supply, the widely held suspicion is that the GMO agritech sector is only concerned with a certain type of science: that which supports these aims. Because if science is held in such high regard by these corporations, why isn’t Monsanto proud of its products? Why in the US doesn’t it label foods containing GMOs and throw open its science to public scrutiny, instead of veiling it with secrecy, restricting independent research on its products or resorting to unsavoury tactics?

If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests? The argument used to justify this is GM food is ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary food. But this is not based on scientific reason. Foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent (see this). Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GM sector that neatly serves to remove its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances. The attempt to replace processed-based regulation of GMOs in Europe with product-based regulation would result in serving a similar purpose (see this).

The reason why no labelling or testing has taken place in the US is not due to ‘sound science’ having been applied but comes down to the power and political influence of the GMO biotech sector and because a sound scientific approach has not been applied.

The sector cannot win the scientific debate (although its PR likes to tell the world it has) so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions (see this). Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart (see thisthis and this). In fact, in the second of those three links, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GM crops that have been planted thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity.

This is a harsh truth that the industry does not like to face.

People’s faith in science is being shaken on many levels, not least because big corporations have secured access to policy makers and governments and are increasingly funding research and setting research agendas.

“As Andrew Neighbour, former administrator at Washington University in St. Louis, who managed the university’s multiyear and multimillion dollar relationship with Monsanto, admits, “There’s no question that industry money comes with strings. It limits what you can do, when you can do it, who it has to be approved by”…  This raises the question: if Agribusiness giant Monsanto [in India] is funding the research, will Indian agricultural researchers pursue such lines of scientific inquiry as “How will this new rice or wheat variety impact the Indian farmer, or health of Indian public?” The reality is, Monsanto is funding the research not for the benefit of either Indian farmer or public, but for its profit. It is paying researchers to ask questions that it is most interested in having answered.” – ‘Monsanto, a Contemporary East India Company, and Corporate Knowledge in India‘.

Ultimately, it is not science itself that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a ‘don’t look, don’t find approach’ to studies and products (see thisthis  and this).

Or in the case of releasing GMOs onto the commercial market in the US, bypassing proper scientific procedures and engaging in doublespeak about ‘substantial equivalence’ then hypocritically calling for ‘sound science’ to inform debates.

The same corporate interests are moreover undermining the peer-review process itself and the ability of certain scientists to get published in journals – the benchmark of scientific credibility. In effect, powerful interests increasingly hold sway over funding, career progression as a scientist, journals and peer review (see this and this, which question the reliability of peer review in the area of GMOs).

Going back to the start of the piece, the question that should have been tweeted is: “Why do people doubt corporate-controlled or influenced science?” After that question, it would have been more revealing to have posted a link to this article here about the unscrupulous history of a certain company from St Louis. That history provides very good reason why so many doubt and challenge powerful corporations and the type of science they fund and promote (or attempt to suppress) and the type of world they seek to create (see this).
“Corporations as the dominant institution shaped by capitalist patriarchy thrive on eco-apartheid. They thrive on the Cartesian legacy of dualism which puts nature against humans. It defines nature as female and passively subjugated. Corporatocentrism is thus also androcentric – a patriarchal construction. The false universalism of man as conqueror and owner of the Earth has led to the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. It has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor.” –Vandana Shiva
Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

Dr. Michael Farley: No Medical Justification for Vaccines, Every Single Vaccine causes Brain Swelling in Infants

iHealthTube | Feb 27, 2015

Dr. Michael Farley makes you think about whether vaccines make sense or not. Find out whether or not the hepatitis B vaccine is really needed at birth. Also find out Dr. Farley's first-hand experience with the vaccine.


http://www.ihealthtube.com http://www.facebook.com/ihealthtube