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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,773

Journal Archives

Context is everything.

Antifluoridation Bad Science

Does Fluoride Make Your Kids Dumb?

Fluoridated Water Safe To Drink, Harmless To IQ; Will The Evidence Quiet Conspiracy Theorists?

Any more anti-fluoride routines to throw on the fire?

Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-Vaxxers


Politicians should stop pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners


Cherry picking, and failing to see the full consensus leads to wrong conclusions.

That's what Google often leads people to do, especially when their goal is to support a preconceived notion, and several important scientific concepts are not in their knowledge base. I used to buy into what you now buy into, but I challenged by preconceived notions. Studies on cells in a lab, tell us almost nothing, btw, though they are the prime feature of the fear mongering community. Of course, glyphosate is an herbicide, not a GMO, though it appears to be a fall back tool for the anti-GMO, when they have no actual arguments against GMOs.

Full reviews of the matter of glyphosate (and any topic) are far more valuable than cherry picking and cell only studies.

"Reviews on the safety of glyphosate and Roundup herbicide that have been conducted by several regulatory agencies and scientific institutions worldwide have concluded that there is no indication of any human health concern. ... This review was undertaken to produce a current and comprehensive safety evaluation and risk assessment for humans. .. It was concluded that, under present and expected conditions of use, Roundup herbicide does not pose a health risk to humans."

"These data demonstrated extremely low human exposures as a result of normal application practices. Furthermore, the estimated exposure concentrations in humans are >500-fold less than the oral reference dose for glyphosate of 2 mg/kg/d set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA 1993). In conclusion, the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations."

And another review of the literature that shows no correlation to disease and glyphosate:

And one should, of course, note that the EPA has looked at the full literature:

And an independent consortium of several universities shows that it's quite safe:

As for those lab tests:
Debunking pseudo science “lab testing” health risk claims about glyphosate (Roundup)

And just for kicks, this graph shows glyphosate toxicity compared to other common substances. It quiet enlightening.

Of course, if one want to cherry pick, one can find a study that shows glyphosate killing cancer cells, without killing healthy cells, in a lab setting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23983455

In other words, when you look at the whole of the literature, well, you find out that those who are spouting extreme hyperbole about glyphosate are not being accurate.

Study: Reward and Punishment in the Brain (And its relationship to depression)


"In a recent study, scientists looked at the brain with high resolution fMRI scanning while they showed subjects pictures. Following each picture was a painful electric shock, or a money reward, or no response, or a random response. Subjects quickly learned which pictures would be followed by which stimuli – positive, negative, neutral, or unpredictable.

Scientists do this sort of thing not because they like to torture people but to study the brain’s response. In this case they were particularly interested in a small deep structure called the habenula. What they found, for the first time in humans but consistent with prior animal research, is that the habenula would light up when subjects saw a picture that would be followed by a shock, and the activity in the habenula increased the more certain the subjects were that negative stimuli were following.

The researchers conclude that the habenula is a critical structure for the processing of negative stimuli, in fact it seems to be the hub of the neural network involved in learning to anticipate negative stimuli.


Specifically this helps us understand the neuroanatomical correlates of predicting negative outcomes. In animal research, hyperactivity in the habenula has been associated with depressive behavior. Further, deep brain stimulation of this structure has been used to treat depressive symptoms.



I just found this all the more interesting in light of recent events.

Take care.

EFSA rejects French move to ban GM crop in Europe


Science 1 - Political Silliness (well, I'm sure it's still in the lead) ...

Professor: What exactly is this mythical pristine alternative to GMOs that presents no risks?


Half Of Americans Believe In Medical Conspiracy Theories



Half of Americans subscribe to medical conspiracy theories, with more than one-third of people thinking that the Food and Drug Administration is deliberately keeping natural cures for cancer off the market because of pressure from drug companies, a survey finds.

Twenty percent of people said that cellphones cause cancer — and that large corporations are keeping health officials from doing anything about it. And another 20 percent think doctors and the government want to vaccinate children despite knowing that vaccines cause autism.


Oliver was studying political conspiracy theories when he realized that quite a few of them involved medical care, including vaccine avoidance and a vote rejecting water fluoridation in Portland, Ore.


Three other theories were each supported by 12 percent of people surveyed. They were that the CIA deliberately infected African-Americans with HIV, that genetically modified foods are a conspiracy to reduce population worldwide and that companies use water fluoridation to cover up pollution.


I know this has been discussed before, but it seems like these conspiracy theories keep popping up, again and again.


Another piece the debunks Shiva's usual deceptive claims.


Persistent Anti-GMO Myths by Steven Novella


"One persistent theme in my writing about scientific topics is that, to optimally serve our own interests, public discourse and decision-making on issues that are highly scientific should be informed by the best evidence and scientific analysis available, not on lies, myths, misconceptions, or raw ideology. I am therefore attracted to topics where I think the myth to fact ratio is particularly high.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) is one such issue. The propaganda machine seems to be way out in front of the more sober voices trying to correct the record and focus the discussion on reality. I also see GMO as the ideological flip side to global warming denial. In the latter case we seen industry and free-market ideologues sowing confusion and misinformation. They also do the ideology shuffle – a dance in which, whenever they are nailed by the facts on one point, they state that their objection is really based on some other point. They never really acknowledge the point, just side-step it.

Anti-GMO activists, in my experience, operate the same way. They have marshaled every possible point they can against GMO, whether or not they are true or valid. When one such point is exposed as a myth, they simply slide over to some other point as their “real” motivation for opposition, but never give any ground.


Like any new powerful technology, GMO needs to be studied, monitored, and regulated, which it is. I do not agree with arguments that it is inherently risky, even transgenic GMO, and so far the technology has proven extremely safe. Cries of Frankenfood and impending environmental disaster are little more than ideologically driven fearmongering.


Novella does a good job covering many of the usual anti-GMO attacks, as well. It's a good read.
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