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Montag, 30. Dezember 2013
Concerns and Conflicts regarding Genetically Modified Food and the Morning-after Pill
Dr. Edith Breburda
see also FIAMC, December 20113 Are we increasingly dependent on profit-driven research, and
thereby creating conflicts for concerned scientists?
The British world-renowned scientist on food safety, Dr.
Arpad Pusztai, lost his job when he warned about genetically modified (GMO) food. He certainly evoked
media attention in August 1998, having said of GM food, "If I had the
choice I would not eat it." He continued, "I find it’s very unfair to
use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs."
With this said, it is easy to imagine Pusztai was
ideologically opposed to GMO food. But this is not true. Instead he declared: "I’m strictly
science based. It is not an ideology for me. I am not a campaigner. I have
never belonged to any organization campaigning for or against it." He
confessed that he felt he had the duty to speak out, "just to inject some
caution into this business." He said, "Make no mistake, this is an
irreversible technology. It is no good
fifty years later to say: ‘We should have known.’" He further stated that
he still will not eat genetically engineered food and argued it is
insufficiently and very superficially tested. His
reasoning is that substances that have a slow acting effect would not be detected in
GMO food, because the present regulations do not require long-term safety
His research on “genetically modified potatoes,” which
were intended for the human food-chain, showed that rats developed immune
system defects and stunted growth after a period corresponding to 10 years of
human life. Pusztai, who worked at the UK’s leading food safety research lab,
the Rowett Institute, was suspended a few days after issuing a public warning
about GMO food. It was likely that his statement threatened to damage the then
ongoing multimillion PR campaign of the Biotech industry.
The Rowett Institute suggested that Pusztai was old (68),
senile, and confused. Not only was he suspended, he also was refused permission
to speak with the media to defend himself. Later on, twenty-four independent scientists
in different countries confirmed the correctness of Pusztai’s conclusions. The committee of researchers and physicians
further declared that Pusztai was perfectly clear-minded with no signs of
confusion or memory defects. However, the
Royal Society in the UK appointed a second review committee that concluded
Pusztai’s results were inconclusive and even flawed. Lancet, a world leading
scientific journal found the judgment: “a gesture of breathtaking impertinence”
(Lancet, Editorial, May 22, p1769, 1999).
The Rowett Institute was formerly a charitable and independent
institute, but the Thatcher government reduced funding and it has become
dependent on the industry for existence.
In 2012, a study by the French researcher Professor
Gilles-Eric Séralini, which claimed to show that GMO-containing
feed causes cancer in laboratory rats, has been heavily criticized. Shortly
after the publication of the paper: "Long-term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide
and a Roundup-tolerant Genetically Modified Maize," concerns have been
expressed to the Editor of the Food
and Chemical Toxicology Journal regarding the validity of the findings,
the proper use of animals, and even the possibility of fraud.
However, the paper was
immediately embraced by anti-GMO activists, GMO labeling advocates, and by
television personalities such as Dr. Oz. They argued that if the Séralini paper
was flawed, Monsanto publications are flawed as well. It was also argued that
those who are biased in favor of the GMO-food industry should see the need, at
least, for more rigor and greater transparency in connection with GMO-food
Finally on November 19, 2013,
the renowned Journal retracted Séralini's paper, with a long excuse of
editorial failure. "This paper should have never been published. It slipped
the cracks of peer review."
Séralini's did not back from his results and
maintain his conclusions. Never before was a paper withdrawn, even though the
results are correct, and no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation
of the data has been found.
Elsevier’s excuse was it would
not reach the quality threshold of publication for a scientific journal.
The reaction of the
scientific community was that retraction should be reserved for fraud and
serious error and not for a paper, that challenged GMOs.
Many concerned health
professionals, like Dr. Bernhoft, when interviewed by Dr. Oz about Dr. Séralini's
paper, attributed asthma, high cholesterol, allergies, autoimmunity, type-2
diabetes and a wide range of chronic illnesses to genetically modified foods.
"Cause and effects is
hard to prove. However, when GMO foods are removed from the diet, the described
symptoms go away. Sometimes completely," said Dr. Bernhoft, past president
of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. He called Séralini's
's GMO rat feeding study of two years “hugely important”. The Spargue-Dawley
rat is the type of rodent used in every science experiment intended to study
cancer development. Séralini showed an increase of tumors after eating genetically modified
food in 80 percent of the rats that were fed GMO food. Most of the female rats
got breast cancer. The male rats developed inter-abdominal cancer and problems
with the kidneys, the liver and the pituitary, argued Dr. Bernhoft.
"If these claims are
true, why was the information so long ignored?" asked Dr. Oz.
"FDA's scientists urged
their superiors to conduct long-term studies 20 years ago. The FDA, however,
ignored them and was convinced no safety studies were necessary. Now we have
short-term animal feeding studies, designed to avoid finding problems. That
kind of investigation is called ‘tobacco science’, " explained Jeffrey
Smith, author of Genetic Roulette, at Dr. Oz Show, on October, 17, 2012.
caused even the Catholic Church in Germany to reconsider the ethics of the use
of the Pill in rape cases. Cardinal Meisner's decision that it would be
permissible in Catholic hospitals to administer the morning-after pill for
emergency contraception received world-wide media attention. Catholic teaching
forbids the use of the early abortive drugs mifepristone, because of its effect on
endometrial receptivity, which is to prevent implantation. The cardinal
received misleading scientific advise that a new option for women, who require
emergency contraception, is provided by Ulipristal acetate (UPA), a selective
progesterone receptor modulator. (Approved for Emergency Conception use in the
United States in August 2010 by the FDA). Cardinal Meisner was informed that the
drug has no effect on the endometrium, corpus luteum function or implantation
and is thus not abortifacient to already conceived embryos. The Hormonal method
would only prevent or delay ovulation.
Professor R. Ehmann, who took a deeper look into the
matter, wrote that the study presented to the Cardinal was anything but
objective. Even the pharmaceutical company that manufactures UPA admits that
their drug has post-fertilization-effects.
Professor Ehmann compares UPA with mifepristone in a
study from November 2013. The Standard drug thus far was levonorgestrel (LNG),
used within first 72 hours. Whereas, UPA is more effective when used between
72-120 hours, up to 5 days, after unprotected intercourse. The inhibiting
implantation is the only way to prevent pregnancy in such circumstances.
Scientific studies mainly focus on the inhibition or
delaying of ovulation and do not discuss post-fertilization effects. This
does not mean that there are none, suggested Prof. Ehmann. The effects of UPA depend
on the time when administered. UPA can delay follicular rupture when given
immediately before ovulation, in the advanced follicular phase. Even if LH
levels have already begun to rise ovulation will be prevented 79% of the time.
Therefore its effectiveness fails 21% of the time,
resulting in ovulation and fertilization.
At this point, the main effect of UPA is to delay the
endometrium maturation, its reduced thickness and overall disruption of
endometrial synchronization will result in a failure of the decidua to become
receptive to implantation of the embryo in its blastocyst stage on day 7,5-9
after conception, thereby denying the embryo the nutrients it needs to survive.
Ulipristal acetate has shown an embryo-lethal effect in rabbits and rats.
Prof. Ehmann summarizes that the way UPA works is very
similar to the biological effects of mifepristone (RU-486), an FDA approved drug to
end early pregnancy, and thus it is not permissible to be used by Catholic
Leading researchers in the area, James Trussell, Director
of Princeton's Office of Population Research and Dr. Elizabeth G. Raymond
stated in February 2013: "To make an informed choice, women must know that
emergency contraceptive pills… prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or
inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation
of a fertilized egg in the endometrium".
 Rudolf Ehmann: Zur Kontroverse
um Wirkungsmechanismen von Postkoitalpillen. F.I.A.M.C. November 2013
Craine P. B.:
World’s top authority on morning after pill says women must be told it may
cause abortions. 22. Feb. 2013Craine P. B.: World’s top authority on morning
after pill says women must be told it may cause abortions. 22. Feb. 2013