Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dirty Dancing

GE Crop Study.  Four Hundred Pages & Four hundred Missed Rats

"Is everything a joke to you?" "Only the things that matter"

A long-awaited four hundred pages long GMO study-- was published this week by the National Academy of Sciences.   People overly impressed with titles or grandiose institutions are easily intimidated, in the same way as walking through the Vatican-- makes you feel too insignificant to challenge it, blinded by the imposing structure.But in science--unlike religion and politics,  titles and institutional gravitas aren't credible arguments.

Lets look beyond the massive appeal to authority and check the substance.  In this study, the NAS, which reports to the US Congress, is basing  human health conclusions on animal studies, most of which I am familiar with having read the literature on the subject for about five years.

Is it possible to read just one paragraph of a four hundred page study and draw a conclusion?

 Not usually. 

Typically, I recommend you don't  just read the headlines in the press, the title, don't settle for the abstract. My usual  habit is reading the entire text, studying the tables and figures, introduction through the discussion section. Read studies from stem to stern-- I normally do.

  But in this case, I'll show you why one paragraph was enough.

Why I didn't need to and didn't bother reading the rest. It wasn't because I am not accustomed to researching hundreds of pages of scientific documents on the subject--I've read the Veterinary Committee Notes on the FDA website on genetically modified salmon-over 600 pages.

Rather, I learned enough in just one short paragraph to formulate the conclusion that over four hundred pages of this document will be using more words than necessary to say far less than is needed about GMO impacts on animal and human health for  such an elite, prestigious institution.

National Academy of Sciences: Sway Me


How to  hear the violins- long before it begins:  Published scientific literature

 "Real arguments are often embedded within a very long discussion. Richard Whately, one of the greatest of the 19th century researchers into informal logic, wisely said, "A very long discussion is one of the most effective veils of Fallacy; ...a Fallacy, which when stated barely...would not deceive a child, may deceive half the world if diluted in a quarto volume."

This "study" on BILLIIONS OF BROILER CHICKENS is how The National Academy of Sciences became The National Academy of Alchemy- attempting  to turn chicken shit into diamonds.

"Additionally, long-term data on livestock health before and after the introduction of GE crops showed no adverse effects associated with GE crops."

 So, let's review the evidence 

If you want to hear the cacophony of what I  heard, click on the violins above for my interpretation. Separating the chaff of biased opinion from kernels of evidence-- the actual  livestock data-- will leave you with one table encompassing the entirety of it. It is here. <=This represents the "long term data" on 95% of the livestock -- the evidence used by the National Academy of Sciences to support the claim of long-term absence of harm to animals.

How do I know this?

 The  FSIS, USDA's  branch of veterinarians responsible for food safety, livestock inspection only collected meaningful livestock data for five years 1998-2002.

Here it is  -listing medical findings:  prevalence rates of various diseases and histopathology in livestock one must have to analyze livestock health.

There was no health related useful data before 1995 when GMOs were introduced.

 The FSIS did not collect samples covering the period before GMO introduction or since. 

 Thus,  this sentence:  "Additionally, long-term data on livestock health before and after the introduction of GE crops showed no adverse effects associated with GE crops" 
 even if livestock data could be extrapolated to other animals who aren't  livestock-pets, or humans- 
can not be backed up by evidence it is a blatant lie. 

If you click the violin link, you might  also notice a pattern-- hyping and spinning a study, fabricating a fictitious consensus to convince the skeptical public that GMOs are safe for animals and humans to eat. This campaign has been replaying in the Twittersphere for  the past few days. 

As hyperbolic as it sounds, it feels as though I am in the unenviable position of trying to save National Academy of Sciences from itself--becoming The National Academy of Alchemy--living in infamy for trying to turn chicken shit into diamonds.

But the integrity of the prestigious institution of science established by President Lincoln is as fragile as anyone else's.  Once a reputation is smashed, it's very hard to put the smithereens back again. And I already had the surreal experience once debating GMOs with a highly esteemed representative of NAS, who was beyond clueless here.

I assume that the NAS isn't a religious enterprise.  So, National Academy of Science supporters, if you want to tango on the science floor with me-- sway me!  Please post links to contradictory scientific evidence--data on livestock to support that bold claim.  Once you have done that, I will explain why the rest of the paragraph I highlighted is meaningless drivel, why it challenges common sense evaporating all the presumed elementary principles and norms in science.

A legitimate argument for scientists and critical thinkers is factual evidence-data.

If you can't discuss the data, if you deny evidence- you are a denialist-- exactly the crime National Academy of Sciences just perpetrated on science--through erasure, disappearance of inconvenient studies and inconvenient data. [1,2]

Surely the NAS doesn't want to be remembered as an incompetent bunch of science illiterate jokers.


[1] Please add 400 rats together in all the tables in the standard rodent test conducted on the most prevalent GMO's in the food supply. HERE The Monsanto study that Van EEEnnnneeeennnnamaaam who is NOT an animal medical expert, nor has the integrity, competence or ethics to ever be completely erased!
[2] Since GMO Gremlins hacked the link to say "this blog post doesn't exist"- here is another link to help you do GMO Arithmetic. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

WSU Professor launders Monsanto's glyphosate 'science' amazingly proving breast feeding moms must eat organic food


Professor Michelle McGuire of Washington State University and her husband, Mark, of the University of Utah published a crucial study that could potentially influence EPA's regulation of glyphosate.[2]    After a citizen science project by Moms Across America detected glyphosate in urine as well as breast milk of three of ten women tested, Monsanto- unsurprisingly- went on an offensive glyphosate-defense campaign to dismiss the findings- not unlike tobacco scientists publishing junk science to manufacture doubt about carcinogenicity of tobacco. 

In fact Monsanto uses the identical laboratory established by Big Tobacco to this day --used by Michelle McGuire to "validate" this study.
If you scroll all the way to the bottom you'll find out about Covance previously called Hazelton--started by Big Tobacco. 

Emily Willingham refuted the "independence" of study concisely with her headline in Forbes:  Monsanto Linked Study Finds No Monsanto Linked Herbicide Glyphosate In Breast Milk 

Let's, please, suspend our well-founded disbelief & give authors benefit of doubt nevertheless- let's check the veracity of author's remaining claims to see if the study's conclusions are as "scientifically sound" as the author and others like Kevin Folta ( one of the anointed science experts and communicators) claims 

"McGuire and her colleagues: “our study provides strong evidence that glyphosate is not in human milk.”

This independent study used an appropriate, precise, and validated analytical method and arrived at a scientifically sound conclusion....." Civil Eats 

Were methods 1) Appropriate 2) Precise  &  3) Validated ? 

 But first, Monsanto's glyphosate laundering campaign in context.

Can you spot the spotlight fallacy?


Forty-One samples from Pullman & Moscow extrapolated to fifty states of the United States of A. 
Table 1. Characteristics of women participating in study
Caucasian -93% 
Average Age- 29 
Don't live on or near a farm -75%
Strictly or mainly organic consumer -42% 
College Educated -68%  
Since the biggest determiner of organic consumer seems to be the level of education,[7] researchers couldn't have hardly selected a more appropriate group of disproportionately educated women more likely to choose organic foods then in two Pacific Northwest College towns.
It would only be facetious to say that women were recruited in a Whole Foods parking lot-- mainly because there aren't any in Pullman Washington and Moscow Idaho.
For the sake of argument suppose milk was glyphosate free as the authors claim. It would support that a small number of  predominantly white educated mothers in two college towns in Pacific Northwest-- most likely to buy organic--didn't have detectable glyphosate levels in their breast milk.  Uneducated women were unlikely to be selected. Neither were Black, Hispanic, Asian and other non-Caucasian minorities, nor the segment of the population most at risk--farmers.
Does the study provide evidence to conclude glyphosate is absent in breast milk of women not represented in this sample- populations at highest risk of glyphosate exposure- farmers, farm laborers, poor, uneducated people?  Of course not! Not even in the cities of Pullman and Moscow, never mind the entire fifty states. 
So apart from the fact that a study of mere 41 samples is ludicrously statistically underpowered,  it was a  non-random unrepresentative sampleAnd since sampling bias wasn't accounted for and the sample size is statistically trivial --  failure to detect glyphosate could be a false negative, erroneously attributing the failure of detection to lack of bioaccumulation instead of the underpowered sample, technical difficulty and the biased method of sampling.
Although detection method used (HPLC- MS) [6] is precise, a study failing elementary statistical principles, suffering from selection biascan not draw sound scientific conclusions.
So, statistical methodology was not "appropriate" or "precise"  

Was HPLC-MS methodology  "validated"? 
This study describes isolation of glyphosate from milk using very sensitive and precise techniques: High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography in tandem with Mass Spectrometry, but  even if it wasn't  designed by Monsanto scientists with conflicts of interestit is  prone to technical, experimental and human error
Milk is a complex fluid (matrix) composed of  water, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and is thus it is more difficult to detect glyphosate in milk--which requires dilution--than in urine,  reducing the sensitivity of detection greter than ten fold. In fact, Michelle tacitly admits  her HPLC-MS glyphosate  detection method in  milk is ten times less sensitive than in urine, by not contesting it in the conversation below.

HPLC-MS  lowest level of detection (LOD)  in milk -1ppb

 while it was 10times lower  in urine- 0.1ppb

Analytical method was verified how?
If detection method developed for milk by Monsanto scientists were  accurate, and glyphosate was indeed not detectable in the milk--  the simplest verification method of  absence glyphosate in milk is assaying urine of babies nursing on sampled mothers. 
 Failure  of detection glyphosate in the urine of babies who nursed on the tested, and ostensibly negative-glyphosate  milk with a more sensitive detection method, would validate the milk methodology. 
Remember--glyphosate detection in urine is ten times as sensitive as in milk?
But urine detection test in babies wasn't done!
Instead, validation of the method of detection rests on the independence and legitimacy of an "outside accredited organization" 

Who is the accredited independent Organization that validated Michelle McGuire's methods? 

 The Accredited Independent Organization is none other than Covance Labs- a  contract research [5] organization (CRO) hired by tobacco companies, agrochemical, biotechnology, processed food industry to conduct animal toxicity testing for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products,  and toxins. 

Covance was associated with the Council for Tobacco Research and conducted animal testing for tobacco companies. Covance has a sordid history of chronic egregious animal abuse that includes "Striking, choking, screaming and cursing at "uncooperative," frightened and sick monkeys.Slamming the head of an escaped monkey against concrete. Injuries left untreated until they became necrotic. The Broken arm was untreated for 4 day.

Apart from the unbelievable cruelty and unforgivable inhumanity, this  "outside accredited organization"  was cited for lack of employee training and supervision, uncertified employees anesthetizing animals, knowingly using unhealthy animals in studies,  malaria-infected monkeys still used in studies for pharmaceutical and lying about the cause of death for three monkeys found dead in their cages, and intoxicated employees performing lab procedures on monkeys.[5]

This  is one reason any arguments Monsanto's surrogates raise about animal welfare ethics  ( as were raised against Seralini's famous staudy) as well as Alison Van E in arguing against animal feeding studies based on ethical concerns,  can be immediately dismissed.

This  profit- laboratory's  income is dependent on producing outcomes  paid for- otherwise its contracts and repeat business dry up. In fact, it admits to this being the case : " ...  a company with a customer base primarily made up of manufacturers rather than healthcare providers can help LabCorp mitigate reimbursement trends..." and “As a combined company, we will be well-positioned to respond to and benefit from the fundamental forces of change in our business, including payment for outcomes" [3]

  In other words, the McGuire study was  NOT verified

It would be accurate to say that the only thing a study this flawed proves is that Michelle McGuire et al failed to detect glyphosate in breast milk of 41 women from Pullman and Moscow- not a great Monsanto soundbite. 


Overwhelming Majority of Germans Is Contaminated With Glyphosate

"A worrying three-quarters of the German population have in fact been contaminated by the controversial herbicide, according to a study carried out by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The report analyzed glyphosate residue in urine, and it concluded that 75% of the target group displayed levels that were five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water. A third of the population even showed levels that were between ten and 42 times higher than what is normally permissible.
Glyphosate residue was recorded in 99.6% of the 2,009 people monitored by the study. 

The most significant values were found in children aged from zero to nine 

and adolescents aged 10 to 19, particularly those individuals raised on farms
Meat eaters also displayed higher levels of glyphosate contamination than vegetarians or vegans".

It's impossible to know the glyphosate burden in Americans who often eat grains sprayed with glyphosate for ripening or dessication a week before harvest. Until  truly independent researchers publish rigorous tests on breast milk of women representative of US populations and particularly farmers, it's reasonable to assume that glyphosate burden is higher in the United States producing vastly more glyphosate-resistant GMOs than Germany. [4]

What's at stake here?

Bottom Line: Considering the outrageous deception in just this one vignette in decades' long public disinformation campaigns -if you are breastfeeding, which all experts recognize as crucial to babies' wellbeing-- it's safest to stick to organic. 


[1] Michelle. If I am so childish why does the discussion section of your paper listing limitations of your study echo my criticism?
[2] Civil Eats. Is there glyphosate in breast milk? 
[3]  LabCorp's Covance Deal
[4] Greens Warn Breast Milk Unsafe
[5] Covance Labs- Tobacco Portal
[7] Who buys organics?


Friday, March 25, 2016

Monsanto Politics Part II. Death of Expertise


Microbiome Guardians

In Monsanto Politics Part I   called Microbiome Mayhem,  I wrote about Kavin Senapathy whose piece in Forbes was promoted on Twitter by Jonathan Eisen and Elizabeth Bik. All sarcasm aside, Jonathan's very first response to my comment signaled explicit GMO partisanship and favoritism of Kavin- Monsanto's messenger.  The one featured on Monsanto's blog.

The state of California where he resides thinks degrees are important or Jonathan would be performing surgery on you.

Jonathan's  argument, the pinnacle of absurdity is that it's arrogant of me, a licensed medical doctor, to dismiss Kavin's science illiterate medical advice.  At a minimum, entirely unequal in the eyes of regulatory agencies- if he wants to debate it, he needs to take it up with Federal and State licensing authorities who did not issue them a medical license, obviously with very good reason. 

A super quick lesson in Microbes

Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) is the lowest amount of drug to affect microbes. The most basic microbial test- a laboratory measurement of the activity of an antimicrobial agent against a microbe. 

Why is MIC of glyphosate important relative to GMOs? 
An MIC of glyphosate for a beneficial bacteria interpreted with glyphosate bodily fluid levels in animals or people- will inform whether glyphosate is present in quantities sufficient to cause  microbiome imbalance, and disease! 

  MIC is a test that tells us how much/ how little antibiotic is needed to kill bacteria. Medical doctors request it on an a daily basis to avoid using the wrong drug and to prevent antibiotic resistance, as well as unnecessary expenses and prolonged suffering if we blindly pick the wrong antibiotic to treat infections. 

I've been asking for this test from biotechnology advocates on social media for glyphosate for almost a year. 

Death of Expertise

 Tom Nichols wrote a great essay in the Federalist he called The Death of Expertise, which seems apropos here. Here's how Tom explains why Jonathan's claim-- isn't just wrong--it's downright dangerous!

"The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn things. Fundamentally, it's a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization."

"...collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.
By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialists in various fields.
 Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live" [...]

Eisen Quotes will be in blue. 

  Eisen, who calls himself a “Guardian of Microbial Diversity” :
(not megalomaniacal at all) 

-If people make claims about conspiracies of scientists and doctors hiding the truth, question what they are saying.
-If people don’t cite any scientific studies but instead cite anecdotes and testimonials and self-written books, question what they are saying.

But, didn't he just support a Monsanto blogger criticizing doctors? 

 I am not sure why Jonathan can't see that he contradicts himself, but he made my brain explode. Quick, where is the extra strength aspirin-my hypocrisy meter just blew a fuse. 


 Jonathan's  testimony on glyphosate to scientists:

Telling detail: " NO evidence of a direct effect of glyphosate on the human microbiome."

 Jonathan Eisen's Omissions

 "can't  cite ONE simple microbiological test (MIC) evaluating glyphosate's inhibition of even ONE! of numerous commensal microbes with crucial function in humans or animals", as I just clearly showed.

2."I have NO studies comparing the microbial diversity of animals or people relative to the different level of bodily fluid glyphosate levels, which no one is measuring"

Jonathan appears to be collaborating with weed scientists, among other well known GMO activists rather than medical or biosafety experts. 

In spite of the fact that many are alarmed about glyphosate's deleterious effects on animal and human health, this "guardian" of his own job, primarily,  who can't post a basic cheap microbiological test for even one single bacteria already concluded that it doesn't affect human microbes-while literally and figuratively poking around in weeds. 

If no one looks, harm can't be found- which is how this Monsanto preacher wants it. 

Jonathan Eisen's glyphosate research is in academic weeds  lightyears and galaxies away from microbiomes of animals and humans.

Microbiome Guardians.

Please check the science team  - glimpse the Guardians of Microbial diversity asking all the wrong questions looking in all the wrong places 


   While Elizabeth Bik cited her completely irrelevant, academic study on dolphins, whom I adore, but a fishing trip into their guts is about as useful as Jonathan's feigned research into weeds. If you check the database he posted you'll learn he is collaborating with a weed scientist, citing primarily studies on glyphosate's effects on fungi and soil--not humans or animals.

All are purely academic! 

When offered an opportunity neither Jonathan nor Elizabeth had any interest in considering microbiome questions with clinical implications to animals and people.   


“I personally think the microbiome of plants and animals including humans is critically important to understand and likely plays important roles in all sorts of important functions,” Eisen explains. ”
"Because it is really complicated, it is easy for scam artists to get involved and it is also easy for mistaken conclusions to be made by the well-intentioned. But the hype is so strong that everyone is converging on the area"  

Like Kavin and Monsanto? 
"Some of those converging on the area are doing phenomenally interesting and important work.  But it is REALLY REALLY early in the field and we just don’t know what is going on in most cases.” 

" By and large, the scientific and medical communities seem to stress the importance of avoiding unnecessary antibiotics to protect our microbiomes and, importantly, to mitigate the real and alarming problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria, now thought to be one of the most pressing health problems in the world"

I agree [3]  After five years in the  GMO trenches, this GMO watcher has not seen Jonathan, his brother Michael Eisen @mbeisen,  or  Elizabeth Bik advocating to limit the use of the most prevalent agricultural antibiotic on the planet- glyphosate [5] -even though he admits how crucial antibiotic reduction is.  You didn't see him defending GMO advocate, Kavin, either. 

Microbe guardians can't cite a basic microbe test--the sensitivity of even ONE commensal beneficial microbe to glyphosate, a patented antibiotic. 

About other beneficial commensal microbes-- what's the minimum concentration of glyphosate that inhibits them?

 Don't ask! 

 With Jonathan and Elizabeth in command control, lost in the academic weeds, looking in all the wrong places- evidence of glyphosate's microbial harm will be lost by design.  Or Jonathan might be out of a job in the multimillion dollar Monsanto-funded  UC Davis genomics center [1]. 

Jonathan and Elizabeth  don't know and don't want to know, shielded by the walls they build to hide from clinicians like myself, whose patients suffer chronic illnesses and gut dysbiosis. As long as Jonathan is microbiome's "guardian" research into harm associated with Monanto's flagship product, glyphosate, will be blocked just like he is complicit in blocking this clinical expert. 

Clinically relevant research is politically unappealing given Jonathan's position within the academic hierarchy that Monsanto pays for.  

Meme gold

Literally a fictional prescription is the only kind any participants in this "debate" can write on a Toys R Us drug vial with a crayon. 

You see, regulatory agencies frown upon people like Yvette, Kavin, or even Jonathan and Elizabeth unlicensed to diagnose any disorders issuing prescriptions for diseases they aren't licensed to diagnose. 

They are all licensed to practice homeopathy but I prefer effective analgesics and their pill vial can't even contain a simple aspirin for a migraine these fine folks just gave me.  

And that's not an opinion--it's a simple statement of facts.[2]  

Exactly. Soil and weeds microbiome. Not animal and human!

Are these academics good scientists?  

I had worked with many PhDs before veterinary school whom I respect, and learned from many academics in veterinary school, and still do-  but Jonathan (and his brother Michael Eisen), and Elizabeth Bik's behavior prompted a question that's hasn't occurred to me before. 

Science is rooted in questioning assumptions and dogma, challenging authority even at the cost of social prestige, friendships, and status. An academic career rests on networking rather than ruffling feathers.  Does keeping friends and maintaining a social network, and a nexus of power supersede everything? Is promoting an obvious fraud like Kavin and misinforming the public scientific, ethical, righteous? 

Usually, when scientists work to solve complex problems they engage all experts from related disciplines, which is known as a multidisciplinary approach IF we are to prevent preventable diseases in the trenches.  Academics don't grasp that if they are to contribute Collaboration and engagement of experts from the medical community is needed.

 Those of us diagnosing and treating chronic diseases in animals and humans (greater than 90% of clinicians) are disengaged from the research community. We are too busy diagnosing and treating diseases for a living to publish.  "Publish or perish" model is only relevant to academics- not clinicians. There is absolutely no incentive for clinicians to publish. Bridging this gap is important. 

On social media in my interactions with some academics, I witness sophistry, sycophancy, dogmatism and an abhorrent lack of morality befitting the Catholic church when it was hiding unspeakable crimes against kids for decades.
These type of academic scientists beholden to prestige, politics, their jobs and power will never ask pertinent questions in science with the potential to improve animal and human lives.  
Worse, they will watch silently and cheer on gang molestation and  intellectual rape of those who do. 

 When you get seriously ill and hospitalized-possibly due to glyphosate's adverse effects being covered up, and when your world starts falling apart, all these experts will be there for you.

Don't forget the Babes- Food Babe,  Elizabeth Bik, Kavin Senapathy and the members of her green astroturf cult,  and Yvette, who aren't even licensed to give you an aspirin. 

 No worries!  

 [2] California Regulations and guidelines for medical practice. 

[3] Antibiotic Armageddon
[4] Bruce Chassy didn't disclose funding
[5] Glyphosate patent