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 tests.

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[1].

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 research.
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[2].
Scientific manipulation 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 women[3].
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[4]".



[1] Edith Breburda (Author), William E. May (Preface): Promises of New Biotechnologies, ISBN-10: 0615548288, ISBN-13: 978-0615548289, Scivias Publisher 2011
[2] Edith Breburda: Globale Chemisierung,vernichten wir uns selbst. Kindle E-book, Scivias Verlag, Nov. 2013
[3] Rudolf Ehmann: Zur Kontroverse um Wirkungsmechanismen von Postkoitalpillen. F.I.A.M.C. November 2013
[4] 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

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