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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,773

Journal Archives

Reality Check: Who is Vandana Shiva and why is she saying such awful things about GMOs?


It's certainly not controlled by those who care about the science of the matter.

A Decade of EU Funded GMO Research

Don’t Believe the Hype – 10 Persistent Cancer Myths Debunked


"Google ‘cancer’ and you’ll be faced with millions of web pages. And the number of YouTube videos you find if you look up ‘cancer cure’ is similarly vast.

The problem is that much of the information out there is at best inaccurate, or at worst dangerously misleading. There are plenty of evidence-based, easy to understand pages about cancer, but there are just as many, if not more, pages spreading myths.

In this post, we want to set the record straight on 10 cancer myths we regularly encounter. Driven by the evidence, not by rhetoric or anecdote, we describe what the reality of research actually shows to be true.

Myth 1: Cancer is a man-made, modern disease
Myth 2: Superfoods prevent cancer
Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ diets cause cancer
Myth 4: Cancer has a sweet tooth
Myth 5: Cancer is a fungus – and sodium bicarbonate is the cure
Myth 6: There’s a miracle cancer cure…
Myth 7: …And Big Pharma are suppressing it
Myth 8: Cancer treatment kills more than it cures
Myth 9: We’ve made no progress in fighting cancer
Myth 10: Sharks don’t get cancer


Good stuff.

OHSU Scientist Pushes Forward With Stem Cell Research


This is an amazing interview with an amazing researcher. Please give it your time, and your high fives.

Thank you!

Colony Collapse Disorder: More Dead Bees, More Sloppy Science


Don’t overlook other causes in investigating bee deaths


Manmade Or Natural, Tasty Or Toxic, They're All Chemicals … By Dr. Mark Lorch

The terms 'chemical' and 'poison' have become interchangeable in the popular consciousness and as a result the whole subject of chemistry has become tainted with unpleasant connotations

"Chemicals are bad, right? Otherwise why would so many purveyors of all things healthy proudly proclaim their products to be "chemical-free" and why would phrases such as "it's chock full of chemicals" be so commonly used to imply something is unnatural and therefore inherently dangerous?

On one level these phrases are meaningless – after all, chemicals are everywhere, in everything. From the air that we breathe to the pills we pop, it's all chemicals. Conversely, many would argue (the Advertising Standards Agency included) that we all know perfectly well what "chemical-free" means and those who rail against the absurdity of the phrase are just being pedantic. Even the Oxford Dictionary defines a chemical as "a distinct compound or substance, especially one which has been artificially prepared or purified."

So "chemical-free" products are adhering to a recognised usage.

But pedantry and definition aren’t really the point. The point is that every time anti-chemical slogans are used people are being misinformed. The implication is always that the terms "chemical" and "poison" are interchangeable. This is a perception that permeates our subconscious to the extent that chemists themselves have been guilty of exactly the same lazy language.



Good stuff!

They may be part of the problem.

To date, the studies showing it are not without serious flaws, and they tend to be very small studies. We need to stay on top of all possible factors.

Here's an interesting overview:

Everyone calm down, there is no “bee-pocalypse”

All I Want for Mother’s Day is Non-labeled GMOs



As I’ve said, if you don’t understand transcription, translation, and protein synthesis and function at a high level at minimum, you don’t have sufficient understanding to justify an inherently anti-GM stance. While I won’t get deep enough to explain the minutiae of molecular biology, here is a briefing to start a layperson on genetic literacy: Essentially, proteins are the most basic functional components of living things. Proteins serve all purposes from structure, immunity, metabolic, nutritive, enzymatic functions, and more. They are macromolecules comprised of amino acid chains (polypeptides.) The sequence of amino acids in any protein determines its 3D structure. This sequence of amino acids is determined by codons, each codon coded for by 3 adjacent nucleotides. The DNA in a gene of any organism can be transcribed (into RNA), and translated (into proteins) in many varied permutations by alternative splicing of introns, allowing the functions of life to be carried out. This is a very abridged explanation, but there are some nice primers here and here.


Why shouldn’t GMOs be labeled?

1. Labeling regulations will hinder competition and growth among organizations like research institutions, universities, and private sector small and medium sized businesses, effectively clearing a nice, clean, path for large corporations like Monsanto. Contrary to popular belief, Monsanto is not the only player in the GMO game. Here is an incomplete list of organizations participating in R&D in the field. This list only includes institutions who actively work on GMO crops themselves. Other participants include sequencing laboratories (that help determine organisms’ genetic code or expressed genetic codes), experts in proteomics (study of protein structure and function), companies and individuals specializing in bioinformatics (analysis of large biological data), and more. Red tape is always easier for the rich to cut through and navigate. Anti-Monsanto types would be well-advised to reconsider their labeling stance.

2. Mandatory GMO labeling will hurt the environment. Labeling will increase stigma associated with a technology that people don’t understand, thus arbitrarily increasing demand for non-GMO foods. Non-GMO foods are harder on the environment in terms of water and energy needed for production.

3. Labels simply stating generally that a product contains or is a GMO do not make sense; they don’t actually inform the consumer. What type of labels do anti-GMO proponents want? If a label is to be meaningful, it would have to provide detailed information, including the genetic change, and the ultimate protein change achieved. Would the average consumer understand this? IMO, the answer is a resounding NO.


Research On Gluten Sensitivity Shows That It Probably Doesn't Exist

Researchers Who Provided Key Evidence For Gluten Sensitivity Have Now Thoroughly Shown That It Doesn't Exist

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/gluten-sensitivity-and-study-replication-2014-5#ixzz320LToCNu

"For a follow-up paper, 37 self-identified gluten-sensitive patients were tested. According to Real Clear Science's Newton Blog, here's how the experiment went:

Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn't messing around.

The subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on at any given time. In the end, all of the treatment diets — even the placebo diet — caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. It didn't matter if the diet contained gluten. (Read more about the study.)

"In contrast to our first study … we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten," Gibson wrote in the paper. A third, larger study published this month has confirmed the findings.



On edit: There is actually a much more thorough piece on the new study here: http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2014/05/gluten_sensitivity_may_not_exist.html

Seems like a little more research would be good, but this is very interesting from a placebo/nocebo context.

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