Ideologically motivated bad science, pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies irritate me. In fact, arguably, they are the very reason I started this blog. True, over time my focus has narrowed. I used to write a lot more about creationism, more general skeptical topics, Holocaust denial, 9/11 Trutherism, and the like, but these days I rarely write about topics that don’t have anything to do with medicine. Sometimes, it even seems that I’ve narrowed my focus to the point that all I write about is antivaccine nonsense. That doesn’t mean that I’ve lost interest; rather it’s that over time I’ve realized what my strengths are and tended to play to them. Even so I need a change of pace every now and then, and leave it to that quackery promoter to rule all quackery promoters, Mike Adams, to give me just the opportunity to write about a topic I rarely, if ever write about. I’m talking about “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs), baby, and Mike is in a fine lather about them, with multiple posts in the last few days with titles such as The GMO debate is over; GM crops must be immediately outlawed; Monsanto halted from threatening humanity and, just yesterday, The evil of Monsanto and GMOs explained: Bad technology, endless greed and the destruction of humanity.

Hyperbole much, Mikey?

Not to be outdone, that other quackery supporter vying with Mike Adams to be the quackery supporter to rule all quackery supporters, Joe Mercola, also weighed in over the weekend with a post entitled First-Ever Lifetime Feeding Study Finds Genetically Engineered Corn Causes Massive Tumors, Organ Damage, and Early Death. It also turns out that Mike Adams had pontificated about this very same study a couple of days before Mercola with a title equally ominous, Shock findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early. Whenever I see the cranks pile on a study like this, my curiosity is piqued. I noticed that Steve Novella had already discussed the study that had this not-so-dynamic duo in such a frothy lather. Of course, as you know, that a blogger as awesome as Steve Novella had covered a topic never stopped me from pontificating about the very same study before (well, actually, it has, but in this case it wasn’t enough). Besides, these sorts of studies are right up my alley, given that I’m a cancer researcher, and the study being touted as “smoking gun” evidence that GMOs are pure evil is such a steaming, stinking turd of a study that it actually irritated me more than the usual bit of bad science that I discuss on occasion.

Besides, there’s a lot in common between anti-GMO activists and antivaccine activists. Perhaps the most prominent similarity is philosophical. Both groups fetishize the naturalistic fallacy, otherwise known as the belief that if it’s “natural” it must be good (or at least better than anything man-made or “artificial”). In the case of antivaccine activists, the immune response caused by vaccines is somehow “unnatural” and therefore harmful and evil, even though the mechanisms by which the immune system responds to vaccines are the same or similar to how it responds to “natural” antigens. That’s the whole idea, to stimulate the immune system to think that you’ve had the disease without actually giving you the disease, thus stimulating long term immunity to the actual disease! In the case of anti-GMO activists, the same idea appears to prevail, namely that, because GMOS are somehow “unnatural,” they must be harmful and evil. That’s not to say that they might not have problems and issues that need to be dealt with, but the apocalyptic language used by many of the anti-GMO activists like Mike Adams and Joe Mercola is so far over-the-top that it is very much like the language of the antivaccine movement. In fact, not surprisingly, antivaccinationists are often anti-GMO as well, and vice-versa, an example of crank magnetism in action. Indeed, Joe Mercola himself is one of the biggest backers of California Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of GMO-based food, having donated $1.1 million so far.

This particular study was done by a group in France led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen with a history of opposition to GMOs. Also, as Steve pointed out, Séralini et al did not allow reporters to seek outside comment on their paper before its publication. If there’s a red flag that a study is ideologically motivated crap and that the authors know it’s ideologically motivated crap, I can’t think of one. Even if Séralini et al didn’t know their study was weak and were somehow afraid that the nefarious Monsanto scientists would plant negative sound bites into news stories about the study, I’m sorry, but trying to control initial news reports like this is just not how scientific results should be announced, period. It’s cowardice and an unseemly attempt at spin:

“For the first time ever, a GM organism and a herbicide have been evaluated for their long-term impact on health, and more thoroughly than by governments or the industry,” Séralini told AFP. “The results are alarming.”

Meanwhile, at his wretched hive of scum and quackery Mike Adams writes:

As a shocking new study has graphically shown, GMOs are the new thalidomide. When rats eat GM maize, they develop horrifying tumors. Seventy percent of females die prematurely, and virtually all of them suffer severe organ damage from consuming GMO. These are the scientific conclusions of the first truly “long-term” study ever conducted on GMO consumption in animals, and the findings are absolutely horrifying. (See pictures of rats with tumors, below.)

What this reveals is that genetic engineering turns FOOD into POISON.

Meanwhile, Mercola writes:

The research was considered so “hot” that the work was done under strict secrecy. According to a French article in Le Nouvel Observateur,2 the researchers used encrypted emails, phone conversations were banned, and they even launched a decoy study to prevent sabotage!

One wonders if they mixed up the “decoy” study with the real study, if the quality of the final published study is any indication. Let’s take a look. This study, by Séralini et al, was entitled Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Here’s the abstract:

The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.

Wow. Sounds really disturbing, doesn’t it? Certainly, at first glance it did to me, but something seemed fishy. Although some have pointed out that the rat strain used (albino Sprague-Dawley rats from Harlan Labs) have a high propensity for tumors to develop as it is, initially I didn’t really consider that as big a problem as some do. You want a certain baseline of tumor development, and it’s not entirely unreasonable to pick a strain that develops tumors at a rate that is frequent enough that it’s likely that the strain will be sensitive to carcinogens. On the other hand, if the baseline rate of developing tumors is high enough, there’s not much room to go up further, and it’s harder to detect effects that result in an increased incidence of tumors. The problem with this particular rat strain is that the rate might well reach that point, which is why the control group size is a really big problem.

Indeed, what seemed fishier to me were two things. First, there were only 20 rats in the control group. In actuality, in practice it was less than that, because the authors looked at both males and females; so there were 10 male controls and 10 female controls, which struck me as a rather small number for a study of this type. Then there were nine other groups, with twenty mice in each group, 10 males and ten females each, making for a very complicated experimental design. Indeed, I agree with Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University who supports labeling of genetically modified foods on a national scale, when she said, “It’s weirdly complicated and unclear on key issues: what the controls were fed, relative rates of tumors, why no dose relationship, what the mechanism might be. I can’t think of a biological reason why GMO corn should do this.”

“Weirdly complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I found the experimental design unnecessarily complicated to a ridiculous degree, with too few mice in each group. In fact, these were the groups (the number of animals in the group is in parentheses):

  1. Controls (20)
  2. 11% GMO (20)
  3. 22% GMO (20)
  4. 33% GMO (20)
  5. 11% GMO + R (20)
  6. 22% GMO + R (20)
  7. 33% GMO + R (20)
  8. R(A) (20)
  9. R(B) (20)
  10. R(C) (20)

The percentage means the percentage of GMO corn in the rat chow, specifically the Roundup resistant strain NK603, and “R” means that Roundup had been applied to the corn. R(A) through R(C) are different concentrations of Roundup in the rats’ drinking water. This is way too many groups to have a high likelihood of producing interpretable data, particularly with only 10 females and ten males in each group. In essence, there were 20 experimental groups with ten rats in each group. Most problematic is the small number in the control group. There’s an old study on this line of rats published in 1979 that looked at the spontaneous development of endocrine tumors. After two years, 86% of male and 72% of female rats had developed tumors of the sort described by Séralini et al. Note that the time period of this 1979 study was the same as that of Séralini et al, two years. In other words, the “treated” rats developed as many tumors as expected for this particular strain of rats allowed to live to their natural lifespanand in fact the control groups arguably had an unusually low incidence of tumors.

Elsewhere, biologist Andrew Kniss ran a simulation (for which he provides the code) based on this study and found:

Let’s assume that the Suzuki et al (1979) paper is correct, and 72% of female Sprague-Dawley rats develop tumors after 2 years, even if no treatments are applied. If we randomly choose 10,000 rats with a 72% chance that they will have a tumor after 2 years, we can be pretty certain that approximately 72% of the rats we selected will develop a tumor by the end of 2 years.

In our very large sample of 10,000 simulated rats, we found that 71.4% of them will develop tumors by the end of a 2 year study. That’s pretty close to 72%. But here is where sample size becomes so critically important. If we only select 10 female rats, the chances of finding exactly 72% of them with tumors is much less. In fact, there is a pretty good chance the percentage of 10 rats developing tumors could be MUCH different than the population mean of 72%. This is because there is a greater chance that our small sample of 10 will not be representative of the larger population.

In other words, large numbers matter. In a group of 10 mice, each with a 72% chance of developing tumors after two years, there’s a much higher chance that the number of rats in the control group that develop tumors will be a number other than 7 (72%). Also curious is that the rate of mortality didn’t appear to be related to the dose of GMO corn. The authors attribute this to the GMO corn being so nasty that it was a “threshold” effect, where the observed effect maxed out before the lowest percentage of GMO corn was even hit, which, if true, would imply that a followup study was warranted looking at, for instance, 0% GMO corn to 11% GMO corn. However, more modeling of the study revealed:

But here’s the important part: Simply by chance, if we draw 10 rats from a population in which 72% get tumors after 2 years, we have anywhere from 5 (“t2″) to 10 (“t1″) rats in a treatment group that will develop tumors. Simply due to chance; not due to treatments. If I did not know about this predisposition for developing tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats, and I were comparing these treatment groups, I might be inclined to say that there is indeed a difference between treatment 1 and treatment 2. Only 5 animals developed tumors in treatment 1, and all 10 animals developed tumors treatment 2; that seems pretty convincing. But again, in this case, it was purely due to chance.

It’s even worse than Dr. Kniss demonstrates.

What do I mean? The investigators measured numerous parameters in each group, some of them at multiple different time points. An experiment with this many groups and this many parameters measured this many times is virtually guaranteed to generate multiple “positive” results. How did they control for all these multiple comparisons? I’ve read the study a few times now, and I still can’t figure it out. An experiment with this many groups in which this many parameters are measured is guaranteed to produce “statistically significant” differences in a number of variables by random chance alone. Heck, in Figure 5, I counted 47 different parameters measured, and in some tables thirteen different parameters recorded curiously as percentage changes. Even worse, for the mortality data (arguably the most critical data), no confidence intervals are reported, and there appears to be no discussion of how the mortality data were analyzed, as Michael Grayer points out in an excellent takedown of the statistical analysis (or, more appropriately, lack of statistical analysis) in this paper. I would only add to this a couple of questions. First, why was there no power analysis reported to justify the number of mice per experimental group and the number of experimental groups chosen? What was the statistical power of this design to detect significant differences? This is some very basic stuff here. Second, who the heck was the statistician on this? He or she should be fired for gross incompetence.

And don’t even get me on the lack of blinding of observers to the identities of the experimental groups. That’s just single blinding, which is the absolute minimum that could be acceptable in an animal experiment. Double blinding would have been better. Apparently, the researchers used neither.

There’s another fishy thing about how the results are reported. Steve Novella noted this, too, but it’s more pervasive than he pointed out. In fact, never before in a scientific paper have I seen a line like, “”All data cannot be shown in one report and the most relevant are described here”—that is, until this paper. Steve wondered whether the authors were cherry picking the results they were presenting. I more than wonder. I strongly suspect. In particular, I noticed that Roundup and the GMO corn appeared to have the same detrimental effects.

Then there are the graphs. Oh, God, there are the graphs. I was half tempted to reproduce the graphs here, but in reality I found Figure 1 (which contains them) so confusing. It consists of six graphs, three for males, three for females, each graph consisting of four curves for different percentages of GMO corn in the rat chow. Not only that, each graph had a shaded area stated to represent the mean lifespan and beyond. But not only that, each graph had an inset graph representing “cause of death” for mice who died before the lifespan of the gray area. That’s basically a total of twelve different graphs, in which it’s hideously difficult to directly compare the experimental groups that I would want to compare to each other. It’s almost as though the authors were trying to make it hard to interpret the results of this study. However, considering that, in essence, this was a study of 20 different groups (two controls and eighteen experimental groups), the results are well nigh uninterpretable to the point of meaninglessness. Besides, Emily Willingham went to the trouble (and it was a lot of trouble, I bet) of graphing the data in a much more standard way that makes it easier to interpret. Guess what? The differences mostly disappear. She also speculates whether BPA was a confounding factor, although I’m not particularly convinced by her arguments for that. She is correct, however, in pointing out how crappy the statistical analyses were and deceiving the graphs were. In fact, if you want an idea of why Figure 1 is so deceptive, you can find it in, of all places, this Tweet.

Finally, there is a question of whether the control groups were exposed to GMO corn. Tim Worstall, a blogger at Forbes.com, looked into the issue of whether there is GMO corn in normal rat chow sold for use in feeding laboratory rats. He contacted Harlan, the company that supplied the rats for this study, and asked about GMO products used in rat chow. The company told him that “we do not exclude GM materials from rodent diets.” He also points out that, if the findings of this paper were accurate, because there is a difference in the use of GMO corn in the U.S. and Europe, we’d expect to see a massive change in the incidence of tumors in this mouse strain in the U.S. but less so in Europe. He has a point, but I think he overstates his argument. If the incidence of tumors in these mice is really 72-86% by two years, it could very well be difficult to detect a significant increase in a number that is already so high. On the other hand, his point that the control mice might well have been exposed to GMO corn is valid. Certainly, there is nothing in the paper that demonstrated that the control group’s feed was free of GMO corn.

The bottom line is that this study is about as bad as studies get. The editors of Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal in which this pitiful excuse for a study was published, ought to be ashamed. As it was so aptly put:

But it could more simply mean the GM maize and the herbicide had no measured effect, and that is why the dose made no difference. “They show that old rats get tumours and die,” says Mark Tester of the University of Adelaide, Australia. “That is all that can be concluded.”

Indeed. That is about all one can say about the study. Certainly we can’t say whether the GMO maize increased the propensity for tumors. It’s also interesting how the authors included so many photos of the rats and their tumors, photos that quacks like Mike Adams and Joe Mercola eagerly post on their websites, but failed to include photos of the control rats.

So why should we care? As I said before, I despise ideologically-motivated pseudoscience and bad science. It’s the same reason I come down so hard on antivaccine “researchers” like Andrew Wakefield, Mark and David Geier, and various other “researchers” who pump out bad studies that support the long-discredited hypothesis that vaccines cause autism or that vaccines cause a whole host of problems. This bad science has real implications. Already, Séralini’s risibly bad study has motivated the French government to order a probe into the results of the study, which could result in the suspension of this strain of genetically modified corn. Moreover, one can’t help but wonder a little bit about the timing of the release of this study, given that Proposal 37, which would require the labeling of GMO-based food, is a big issue in California right now, and a study like this might just influence the election.

When it comes to GMO, I don’t really have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, but brain dead studies like this one certainly prod me towards the view that much of the “science” behind anti-GMO activism just doesn’t hold water, and the easy acceptance of such nonsensical results as valid by “progressives” is just plain depressing. I mean, seriously. Even the worst depredations of pharma and Monsanto in terms of lousy studies don’t match this biased, incompetently performed and analyzed experiment. There might be valid reasons to be wary of the proliferation of GMO-based foods, such as concern over the control that large multinational corporations like Monsanto might exercise over the food supply, but the studies purporting to find horrific dangers of GMO-based food strike me as having the methodological rigor of a typical Andrew Wakefield or Mark Geier study. Perhaps that’s why I wasn’t too surprised when one of my readers pointed out that one of the authors of the study is also a homeopath and acupuncturist; so maybe the better comparison to make to this paper would be papers by homeopaths trying to show that homeopathy works. Either way, this is bad, bad science, and it’s sad to see how many people who should know better (but apparently do not) lap it up so credulously while applying much greater skepticism to science that doesn’t damn GMOs as pure poison.

Next up, I anticipate that someone, instead of calling me a “pharma shill,” will call me a “Monsanto shill.” It’s coming. You know it is. Just wait. Maybe I can generate a new revenue stream by adding all that filthy food industry lucre to all the filthy pharma lucre that antivaccinationists and quacks think I’m getting.

Comments

  1. #1 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 5, 2012

    Interesting letter, Judith. But when one side says “these are the actual flaws in the study” and the other side responds with little to no “this is why those flaws do not significantly affect the study” and instead mostly “don’t you know there’s Powerful Vested Interests trying to discredit us?” I tend to trust the former rather than the latter.

  2. #2 ChrisP
    October 5, 2012

    Judith Mercader, this is the same letter that Dave Hanley posted a couple of days before. He like you appealed to authority.

    What I am more interested in is what they have to say and what evidence they bring to back that up. Frankly, what they have to say is conspiracy theorising. They cite a number of papers that have not stood the test of time, because they were wrong. Quist and Chapela, Ewen and Pusztai, Paganelli, and the current paper. The criticism these papers have received in the scientific literature and news has been because their methods have been insufficiently robust to make the conclusions the authors have made.

    What the authors of the letter have not done is review the rather larger literature that has shown the opposite to what these poor quality papers have demonstrated.

    The second part of the letter is simply farce. The authors of the Seralini study went to great lengths to manipulate the media to ensure there would be no negative coverage of their research – even to the point of making media outlets sign embargoes on getting independent comment on the research. The authors of the letter (and their supporters) have simply swept this under the carpet.

  3. #3 gs
    china
    October 10, 2012

    hi if monsanto and nestle and gmo are such nice foods why does monsanto have to pay off scientists and basicly whole european union to sell their seeds why do they fight with everything they got corrrupting everybody so that are no labels in the food packages why they have proihibited that their seeds and gmo foods to be tested if my products where totally safe i would not care less yet monsanto pays million to buy ppl in right places and almost every gov before bein g paid made sure these frnaken foods where illegal before monsanto and nestle came in and quietly started buying european officlas to let their gmo crap into europe with an increase of gmo foods in europe came the usual increase in cancer cases a 3000% increase, thanks monsanto the pharma companys also love gmo foods too monsanto kill us slowly then pahrma companys try to fix us for triple the money, but hey mr science man turned reporter why dont u show us its safe and feed your kids with gmo for couple years show us you have your words where ur life is… if not stop being a monsanto criminal paid off tool and shut fuck up

  4. #4 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 10, 2012

    gs:

    if not stop being a monsanto criminal paid off tool and shut fuck up

    Who are you to tell someone how to think? Why should anyone obey you and limit their freedom of speech?

    And you are using a version of old tired Pharma Shill Gambit, and doing it quite badly.

  5. #5 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 10, 2012

    I have a comment in moderation.

    It has to do with gs attempting to quell Orac’s freedom of speech.

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    October 10, 2012

    Gs has an anger problem but I would probably be angry too if I had been deprived of capital letters and punctuation.

  7. #7 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 10, 2012

    GS:

    Your whole rant is wasted, because you are arguing against a straw man. You are railing against Orac saying “GMOs are safe,” but since he didn’t say that, you have wasted your time and ours fighting a figment of your imagination.

    Why don’t you try responding (with punctuation this time, if you please) to the points Orac actually made? That Seralini’s team which supposedly uncovered such damning data against GMOs had to use non-standard statistical techniques in order to get the “GMOs are bad” conclusion they desired? To use your own trope, if GMOs are so bad why couldn’t they have shown that without massaging the data?

    And if their analysis was sound, why did they have to take the extremely non-standard step of not letting journalists do their job? Journalists are not supposed to get all their information from one source; they’re supposed to reach out to other sources and ask “Hey, is this really what this other source makes it out to be?” But Seralini’s extremely non-standard embargo gambit forced journalists to either a) not report on the study at the time everyone else was doing so or b) report Seralini’s study uncritically in defiance of good journalistic practice. Why would that be necessary if Seralini’s group’s work was sound?

  8. #8 novalox
    October 10, 2012

    @gs

    Thank you for that excellent display of utter stupidity and idiocy. Your ignorance is noted, and your stupidity worthy of laughs.

  9. #9 Deadtrout
    October 13, 2012

    So rats were the wrong animal to choose for the study. Maybe there should be a group of healthy hun volunteers to eat nothing but GMO food and another group to eat all natural foods. Then in 5 years see which group is healthier.

  10. #10 Scottynuke
    October 13, 2012

    Almost, deadtrout, almost…

    What sorts of “healthy” will you measure?
    How will you keep the two groups as similar as possible, apart from the food source?
    And how will you ensure neither group deviates from their assigned food source?
    How large will each group be?

  11. #11 David B.
    U.S.
    October 15, 2012

    I disagree with Orac. Below is why.

  12. #12 ChrisP
    October 16, 2012

    David B., you disagree with Orac because of nothing?

    You might need a better argument that that.

  13. #13 Lindsey
    United States
    October 18, 2012

    Yes I love the idea deadtrout I think the author of this article, and everyone that agrees with him in this thread, would make splendid subjects for a new study. The author and his scientific followers should eat strictly GMO foods for 5 years. Can’t beat human beings in a study, and it wouldn’t be considered cruel to submit humans to only GMO diet because GMOs are safe right? Compare them with another group eating a strict organic diet for 5 years. Then I would love to see the results. Please, this needs to happen now.

  14. #14 ChrisP
    October 19, 2012

    Lindsey, such a proposal would never pass an ethics committee. Not because GM foods are unsafe, but because there is no viable hypothesis. However, you could do a retrospective study as most North Americans have been eating GM for 15 years and so far there is no evidence of harm.

  15. #15 Lindsey
    October 19, 2012

    ChrisP to say there is no evidence of harm is the understatement of the century. That is why prop37 is so important. Now companies will have to be more accountable, and people will be better able to trace their ailments if no other factors are present.

  16. #16 Beamup
    October 19, 2012

    @ Lindsey:

    Pretty nearly every living person has been eating strictly GMO foods for their entire life. There are very, very, very few foodstuffs which have not been the subject of extensive modification over hundreds, even thousands, of years.

  17. #17 Lindsey
    October 19, 2012

    You can argue that beamup, but there are modifications, and then there are outright toxic changes that were made particularly in 1994 that affected not only people, but the ecological food chain, and the environment for the worse. Scientists like to sound so self righteous and smug, but in the end they can never, ever outsmart mother nature.

  18. #18 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 19, 2012

    Lindsey:

    outright toxic changes that were made particularly in 1994

    Citation needed.

  19. #19 Lindsey
    October 19, 2012

    Watch this…actually developed in 94..then introduced into food supply by 1996. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism

    “In agriculture, genetically engineered crops are created to possess several desirable traits, such as resistance to pests, herbicides, or harsh environmental conditions, improved product shelf life, increased nutritional value, or production of valuable goods such as drugs (pharming). Since the first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants in 1996, they have been modified to be tolerant to the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate, to be resistant to virus damage as in Ringspot virus-resistant GM papaya, grown in Hawaii, and to produce the Bt toxin, an insecticide that is documented as non-toxic to mammals.”

    Also interesting, watch this:

  20. #20 Lindsey
    October 19, 2012

    Now keep in mind, improved product shelf life is not necessarily a good thing. I would rather eat something living that lasts a few days than a virtually “plastic” vegetable that would last for weeks. Also, the BT toxin is indeed harmful as well : http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/BT_toxin.html The fact wiki got right was the introduction of gmo plants in 1996.

  21. #21 Narad
    October 19, 2012

    Scientists like to sound so self righteous and smug, but in the end they can never, ever outsmart mother nature.

    Ah, yes, the Chiffon gambit.

  22. #22 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 19, 2012

    You can argue that beamup, but there are modifications, and then there are outright toxic changes that were made particularly in 1994 that affected not only people, but the ecological food chain, and the environment for the worse.

    So you say, but – let’s be blunt here – what reason do we have to think you know what you’re talking about? You give no specifics as to which supposed effects on people and the environment and the food chain you’re referring to, much less give us evidence that justifies assigning blame to GM foods. As you’d know if you read the article, someone merely assertiing a connection cannot simply be taken at face value.

    Scientists like to sound so self righteous and smug,

    Are you familiar with the term ad hominem, Lindsey? Also, the expression “Pot, meet kettle”?

    but in the end they can never, ever outsmart mother nature.

    I’m sure there are places where that line knocks ’em dead, but here it just raises questions. Just what does “outsmart mother nature” mean? I mean, would you say that wiping out smallpox counts as outsmarting mother nature? It sure doesn’t seem to me like an example of mother nature outsmarting us. So what does that do to your theory that “[scientists] can never, ever outsmart mother nature” (i.e., achieve something useful)?

  23. #23 Lindsey
    October 19, 2012

    You saw all the links I posted and I give no specifics because you refuse to click on them? I think you should check out the movie Genetic Roulette–free on youtube and incredible. Behind all of this is intention. There is a difference when scientists develop a vaccine for small pox to help people get well, and developing “suicide seeds” (google it) like Monsanto does, then claiming they want to feed the world. Monsanto and Dow etc are motivated by pure profit, not well being. With the advent of GMOs and monocultures, there has been some serious environmental damage, just look at rapid decline of bee colonies for example: http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-of-the-bees-genetically-modified-crops-and-the-decline-of-bee-colonies-in-north-america/25950

    GMOs are also found to be toxic to other beneficial insects, a threat to soil ecosystems, risky for aquatic life, increased weed tolerance. You can read more here for your documentation pleasure: http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/environmental_and_health_impacts.html

  24. #24 Narad
    October 19, 2012

    There is a difference when scientists develop a vaccine for small pox to help people get well, and developing “suicide seeds” (google it) like Monsanto does, then claiming they want to feed the world.

    You’re attempting to refer to the “terminator gene,” which Monsanto doesn’t use and actually represents a form of protection for non-transgenic farmers?

  25. #25 Lindsey
    October 20, 2012

    Why yes, those fabulous terminator gene seeds that Monsanto does use and are rightfully banned from India http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/465969.stm

  26. #26 Narad
    October 20, 2012

    Why yes, those fabulous terminator gene seeds that Monsanto does use and are rightfully banned from India

    There are plenty of squirrels where I live already, thanks.

  27. #27 herr doktor bimler
    October 20, 2012

    Just what does “outsmart mother nature” mean?

    I work on the principle that anyone who conceptualises ‘nature’ in gendered terms as (a) a female and (b) one’s mother, is deeply enmeshed in culture-bound cliches and unlikely to be saying anything of interest.

  28. #28 Krebiozen
    October 20, 2012

    Lindsey,

    You saw all the links I posted and I give no specifics because you refuse to click on them?

    You really need to become more discriminating about your sources of information, and to develop your critical analysis skills. I suggest you do a bit more reading on this subject and try to find some accurate information (actually reading Orac’s blogpost above would be a start) instead of depending on extremely unreliable websites like ‘The Centre For Research On Globalization’ which was founded, and is edited and directed by Michel Chossudovsky, an pro-Milošević, anti-Semitic Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracy theory supporter. He has been described as one of “Canada’s nuttiest professors, those whose absurdity stands head and shoulders above their colleagues” and as a purveyor of “wild-eyed conspiracy theories”. Not a reliable source of information.

    GM Free Cymru is a pressure group opposing GM foods so they are hardly unbiased. They appear to have cherry-picked every bit of research they could find that could possibly be construed as supporting their position, while ignoring everything else. That’s not a good way to get at the truth.

    The movie you recommend is by Jeffrey M. Smith, a yogic flyer from the Natural Law Party who doesn’t appear to be very reliable either. Please read this rebuttal of Smith’s nonsense.

  29. #29 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 20, 2012

    Lindsey shows that one similarity to those who oppose GMOs with those who oppose vaccines is that they both think Youtube videos can be “citations.”

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    October 20, 2012

    @ Chris:
    @ Krebiozen:

    It seems that both Natural News and the Progressive Radio Network are promoting themselves as anti-GMO Central as well as fighting for the Californian ballot question ( re labelling). Both give Jeffrey Smith access to their alt media audiences, present many articles- self-penned and otherwise- plus PRN’s chief idiot claims to be criss-crossing the state to raise awareness and votes and releasing videos on the topic via his websites…

    Information indeed.

  31. #31 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 20, 2012

    You saw all the links I posted and I give no specifics because you refuse to click on them? I think you should check out the movie Genetic Roulette–free on youtube and incredible.

    If I gave the impression that a lack of specifics was the only thing keeping you from being credible, I apologize for misleading you. The fact that you don’t give specifics is just the first of many factors that make your claims unconvincing.

    Behind all of this is intention.

    This is another of those factors, the fact that you are approaching it with two untrue assumptions already in place: 1) that you know what the intentions are in other people’s minds, and 2) that intention is the determiner of one’s results. It would be nice if the world really was that easy, but unfortunately, it’s not.

  32. #32 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 20, 2012

    Ms. Walter, it is not a subject I go into much. I have attended a couple of talks by the biologist whose lab was firebombed because that particular brain trust thought he was using genetic engineering. He was not. He was breeding poplar trees the traditional way, but has switched to genetic engineering (and he has been moved to a brick building).

    I am presently listening to this Canadian radio show about GMO, and it is very interesting.

  33. #33 Krebiozen
    October 20, 2012

    the movie Genetic Roulette–free on youtube and incredible.

    I do agree that it’s incredible, literally. There’s nothing credible in it from beginning to end.

  34. #34 novalox
    October 20, 2012

    @lindsey

    Please, keep on posting. Your idiocy is quite amusing, and you seem like the perfect fool for a good laugh.

  35. #35 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 20, 2012

    Why yes, those fabulous terminator gene seeds that Monsanto does use and are rightfully banned from India http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/465969.stm

    Of course, if you follow that link, it shows that Monsanto denies using terminator gene seeds. In fact, here is what they have to say on the subject:

    Monsanto has never developed or commercialized a sterile seed product. Sharing many of the concerns of small landholder farmers, Monsanto made a commitment in 1999 not to commercialize sterile seed technology in food crops. We stand firmly by this commitment. We have no plans or research that would violate this commitment in any way.

    There are certainly some business practices that Monsanto can be rightfully criticized for. Terminator seeds is not one, and you make yourself look like an idiot when you make these claims.

  36. #36 Scottynuke
    October 20, 2012

    Oh, but Kevin, I’m sure lindsey would conclude Monsanto’s statement provides clear proof they’re already using terminator genes… *eye roll*

  37. #37 Lindsey
    October 20, 2012

    In a nutshell…what is the freakin point of GMOs? Why do you all try so hard to defend them? All GMO scientists have managed to do is increase profit share for Monsanto, Dow etc, nothing more. They have not made tastier food, they have not made more nutritious food, they have not solved world hunger, they have not alleviated problems from famine. Why not divert energy to curing diseases instead of messing with our food? Currently, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. If Monsanto etc really cared about “feeding the world” they would work on reliable and sustainable distribution systems on food that already exists rather than creating their own brand of frankenfood. Disagree with me all you like, but I want you to remember this conversation 20 years from now , when you realize supporting GMOs was akin to supporting DDT , Agent Orange (shoot and even radium was considered safe back in the day) in your daily meals.

  38. #38 Lindsey
    October 20, 2012

    Oh and you believe everything Monsanto says right? Because they NEVER lie about ANYTHING right? Like DDT was super safe? Bunch of jack asses

  39. #39 Scottynuke
    October 20, 2012

    @ Kevin — told ya!!

  40. #40 Scottynuke
    October 20, 2012

    Oh, and Lindsey —

    “they have not made more nutritious food”

    Try a little more reading, here’s one example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice

    An ongoing project, yes, but certainly not one driven by profit motives.

  41. #41 Scottynuke
    October 20, 2012

    Specifically, from the Wikipedia article:

    “Free licenses for developing countries were granted quickly due to the positive publicity that golden rice received, particularly in Time magazine in July 2000. Golden rice was said to be the first genetically modified crop that was unarguably beneficial. Monsanto Company was one of the first companies to grant free licences.

  42. #42 Narad
    October 20, 2012

    Oh and you believe everything Monsanto says right? Because they NEVER lie about ANYTHING right? Like DDT was super safe?

    You seem to have skipped the part where you explain what precisely the problem would be even were sterile-seed technology to be deployed. You do know what an F1 hybrid is, right?

    Bunch of jack asses

    Detassle my stalk, baby.

  43. #43 Lindsey
    October 20, 2012

    Oh yes, the “golden rice” is so awesome: “However, its failure to make it to market is due to its lack of ability to thrive in many real-world growing conditions.” Nice fictitious rice.
    As an aside for mr “itoldyousoscott” if Monsanto is not using terminator genes…explain the rash of suicides in India in 2002 after use of BT corn.
    To answer your question F1 hybrid can be a type of jack ass. And if you want to further argue the definition of a true jack ass, well then you’re a jack ass.

  44. #44 Narad
    October 20, 2012

    And if you want to further argue the definition of a true jack ass, well then you’re a jack ass.

    You’re not very good at this.

  45. #45 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 20, 2012

    Oh yes, the “golden rice” is so awesome: “However, its failure to make it to market is due to its lack of ability to thrive in many real-world growing conditions.” Nice fictitious rice.

    Gosh, I know that I believe every claim made without a citation by “Yay-food“. What, you mean you didn’t look in the version history and see that that sentence you quoted was inserted in the article by a user who is known by no other name and has made no other contributions? You might as well say “Golden Rice is fictitious rice” (I’m not sure you even know what that word means) “and my proof is that some guy on a street corner told me so.” In any case, your argument was clearly that the companies making GMOs were not intending to do anything except increase profits; when faced with evidence that that wasn’t so, you shifted the goalposts to “have the GMOs that have been made for the purpose of making people healthier and alleviating human suffering done so perfectly?”

    As an aside for mr “itoldyousoscott” if Monsanto is not using terminator genes…explain the rash of suicides in India in 2002 after use of BT corn.

    *facepalm* Tell me you’re not actually serious. Tell me you didn’t make an argument this stupid in seriousness. You did, didn’t you.

    Look, if you want to assert that there’s a connection between GMO food and suicides, you have to provide evidence for that assertion before anyone else has the obligation to rebutt it. I mean, seriously, don’t you have a clue about burden of proof? If you don’t, it’s no wonder you can’t make a sensible argument about GMOs.

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    October 20, 2012

    Oh and you believe everything Monsanto says right? Because they NEVER lie about ANYTHING right?

    Monsanto are not actively visiting ‘Respectful Insolence’ and leaving comments full of dishonest claims. Unless they are doing so under a pseudonym, posing as anti-GMO alarmists, in an attempt to discredit those alarmists and make them look like truth-averse hysterics.

  47. #47 herr doktor bimler
    October 20, 2012

    F1 hybrid can be a type of jack ass.
    Would it be pedantic to point out that asses and mules are not the same thing?

  48. #48 Narad
    October 21, 2012

    Would it be pedantic to point out that asses and mules are not the same thing?

    It could maybe use a Diophantine flourish.

  49. #49 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 21, 2012

    As an aside for mr “itoldyousoscott” if Monsanto is not using terminator genes…explain the rash of suicides in India in 2002 after use of BT corn.

    What “rash of suicides in India in 2002”? The suicide rate in India peaked in 1999 and quickly dropped until levelling out at ~10.5 from 2001-2006. source

    And as others have pointed out, why would a rash of suicides be indicative of a terminator gene being present?

  50. #50 Narad
    October 21, 2012

    It appears that the acutal “story” is Indian farmers and cotton, rather than corn, and it appears to be just as foolish either way.

  51. #51 herr doktor bimler
    October 21, 2012

    It could maybe use a Diophantine flourish.

    Introducing number theory strikes me as ambitious. It might be safer to start with elementary logic and check whether the Pons asinorum is a bridge too far.

  52. #52 Narad
    October 21, 2012

    It might be safer to start with elementary logic and check whether the Pons asinorum is a bridge too far.

    You’re simply trading number for group theory

  53. #53 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 21, 2012

    And as others have pointed out, why would a rash of suicides be indicative of a terminator gene being present?

    Seeds that include terminator genes are known by some as “suicide seeds”. People who consume the offspring of such seeds or inhale its pollen, presumably, would be infected by homologous recombinaltion tinikers. The plant “committed suicide” by producing sterile seeds; the new plant-human hybrids have the genetic drive to suicide amplified many fold.

    Or possibly the the plants take on a frightful karmic burden by not following the zeroth commandment (be fruitful and multiply) and the people who eat such plants inherit and concentrate that karma – causing them to desperately seek relief.

  54. #54 Krebiozen
    Fighting off transgenic triffids
    October 21, 2012

    Lindsey,

    In a nutshell…what is the freakin point of GMOs?

    If you really don’t know that you have no business commenting about them on a science blog. The point of them is to improve crop yields, to reduce the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides and to make food more nutritious, among many others.

    Why do you all try so hard to defend them?

    Why would anyone defend a technology that has massively increased yields, greatly reduced the use of toxic chemicals, promises other extraordinary benefits and that is extremely safe? I am interested in the truth, not fantasies invented by nutty anti-Semitic professors or yogic flying dance instructors. All you have linked to is misinformation and deliberate lies. Are you interested in the truth or just in confirming your prejudices? If GMOs are as safe and effective as it appears, people spreading superstitious lies about them are putting people’s lives and the future of the planet at risk.

    All GMO scientists have managed to do is increase profit share for Monsanto, Dow etc, nothing more. They have not made tastier food, they have not made more nutritious food, they have not solved world hunger, they have not alleviated problems from famine.

    Good grief! Please educate yourself about this. They certainly have made tastier and more nutritious foods, and they have massively increased yields. I am sure that GMOs will play an important role in eliminating world hunger in the face of climate change, unless Luddites like you have their way.

    Why not divert energy to curing diseases instead of messing with our food?

    You don’t think that a huge reduction in toxic pesticide and herbicide use, or producing more nutritious crops that resist viral infections reduces human disease?

    Currently, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. If Monsanto etc really cared about “feeding the world” they would work on reliable and sustainable distribution systems on food that already exists rather than creating their own brand of frankenfood.

    That is a ridiculous suggestion. Monsanto is a biotechnology company, not a food distribution company. I think that developing more nutritious, pest and disease resistant crops with higher yields, allowing people to feed themselves instead of depending on handouts from other parts of the planet is a very important step towards feeding the world.

    Disagree with me all you like,

    It’s not a matter of disagreeing with you when everything you have claimed so far is demonstrably untrue. Any argument about GMOs has to be based on scientific evidence. You have not provided any credible evidence at all, quite the opposite.

    but I want you to remember this conversation 20 years from now , when you realize supporting GMOs was akin to supporting DDT , Agent Orange (shoot and even radium was considered safe back in the day) in your daily meals.

    Ironically, GMOs have hugely reduced the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides – look at my link above – though that doesn’t stop some people from whining about them. In 20 years time I think we will look back on anti-GMO protesters the way we do at people who claimed that human beings would die if they traveled at speeds greater than 40 miles an hour, or those that denied the possibility of heavier than air flight while the Wright brothers were actually doing it.

    if Monsanto is not using terminator genes…explain the rash of suicides in India in 2002 after use of BT corn.

    You are joking, aren’t you? No? Oh dear…

  55. #55 Militant Agnostic
    October 21, 2012

    @Lindsay

    Also, the BT toxin is indeed harmful as well

    You had better stay away from Organic produce since organic farmers use BT for insect control.

  56. #56 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 21, 2012

    Lindsay is exhibiting the same intelligence of the guys who torched a university horticulture building because they thought one researcher was using genetic engineering, when he was actually using traditional breeding techniques (though had transgenic tissue samples that never left the laboratory). In the process they destroyed rare seeds going to be used to restore a damaged area and severely damaged several the library, which included some rare books and papers.

  57. #57 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    October 21, 2012

    Militant Agnostic, I sincerely doubt that Lindsey has ever tried to grow organic food. Or wandered into the the organic pest control part of a nursery or catalog: Natural Pest Control Thuricide – Bacillus Thuringiensis.

  58. #58 novalox
    October 21, 2012

    @lindsey

    Please keep posting. Show the world how truly ignorant and scientifically and morally bankrupt you are.

    Your idiotic ramblings are amusing, that’s for sure.

  59. #59 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    October 21, 2012

    “What is the freakin point of GMO’s”?

    Gee, to help feed as many as possible, with the use of as little pesticides as possible, thus lowering the amount of pesticides that we, the consumers, are exposed to?

    Because the crop yield is greater (less loss to pests) than ‘conventional’ farming, you can get more harvest from the same area of land, which allows us to not have to utilize every single square hectare of arable land left to us.

    This allows us to retain some of the natural habitat for other species (you know – the birds, etc).

    There’s a lot of ‘freakin’ point’ to using GMO’s.

    Remove your head from your posterior and you might see the light.

  60. #60 Lindsey
    October 22, 2012

    The BT used in the organic sense is different than the BT used by Monsanto.

    This: “Gee, to help feed as many as possible, with the use of as little pesticides as possible, thus lowering the amount of pesticides that we, the consumers, are exposed to?”
    Is a pipe dream. The fact is there are plenty of pesticides, both built into the seed and sprayed on top of the plants. This depletes the nutrients and organisms in our soil to a point where literally nothing can grow. Despite claims that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will lower the levels of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) used, quite the opposite has occurred, with 1.6 billion pounds of glyphosate (the active in ingredient in Roundup) being applied to American soil in 2007 alone. This is of great concern both because of the negative impacts of these chemicals on ecosystems and humans, and because there is the danger that increased chemical use will cause pests and weeds to develop resistance, requiring even more chemicals in order to manage them. There are more than 130 types of weeds spanning 40 U.S. states are now herbicide-resistant, and the superweeds are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, the situation is getting progressively worse.We need to think about what’s sustainable for the long-term, not what’s profitable in the short-term.

    And do not insult my intelligence, or make bullshit assumptions about me just because I disagree with all of your opinions. Insulting me only shows you don’t have the facts to support your unfounded claims

    Good luck to all of you, would love to make you all a smoothie of your favorite ingredients, DDT, Agent Orange, Round Up, Aspartame, rGBH, and PCBs and watch you enjoy every last drop. 🙂

  61. #61 ChrisP
    October 23, 2012

    Lindsey, you are simply failing to understand. It is you who haven’t provided any evidence to support your opinions. We are just laughing at you. When you have been asked for evidence, you have failed to provide any and go in for some grandiose goal-post moving.

    So maybe we should start with your last lot of claims:

    The BT used in the organic sense is different than the BT used by Monsanto.

    You are partly correct here. BT used in organic agriculture contains a whole lot of stuff that is not present in the BT used by Monsanto in their crops. Monsanto just use the insecticidal genes in their crops and leave the rest of the stuff out.

    This: “Gee, to help feed as many as possible, with the use of as little pesticides as possible, thus lowering the the amount of pesticides that we, the consumers, are exposed to?” Is a pipe dream.

    Citation needed.

    The fact is there are plenty of pesticides, both built into the seed and sprayed on top of the plants. This depletes the nutrients and organisms in our soil to a point where literally nothing can grow.

    Citation needed. What is the evidence that Bt genes in plants deplete nutrients?

    Despite claims that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will lower the levels of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) used, quite the opposite has occurred, with 1.6 billion pounds of glyphosate (the active in ingredient in Roundup) being applied to American soil in 2007 alone.

    I think you should read this paper The argument about pesticide amounts is quite complicated, but GM crops have on average led to a reduction.

    This is of great concern both because of the negative impacts of these chemicals on ecosystems and humans, and because there is the danger that increased chemical use will cause pests and weeds to develop resistance, requiring even more chemicals in order to manage them. There are more than 130 types of weeds spanning 40 U.S. states are now herbicide-resistant, and the superweeds are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, the situation is getting progressively worse. We need to think about what’s sustainable for the long-term, not what’s profitable in the short-term.

    Sadly, I don’t have space to educate you properly about this and I am fairly sure you would not be willing to listen in any case. The short answer is that weeds develop resistance to any practice that is used to manage them persistently. Weeds are resistant to grazing, to cultivation. Resistance to herbicides is no different and not any more worrying.

    Good luck to all of you, would love to make you all a smoothie of your favorite ingredients, DDT, Agent Orange, Round Up, Aspartame, rGBH, and PCBs and watch you enjoy every last drop.

    At this point I think you should meet Paracelsus

  62. #62 Militant Agnostic
    Near the bathroom chugging GoLytely
    October 23, 2012

    Who the hell uses Agent Orange, PCBs or DDT in agriculture?

    Reduced yields in the USA the are due to drought that is probably a result of AGW. Meanwhile, in Western Canada farmers harvested bumper crops due to large amounts of precipitation at the right time, also probably due to AGW. As for food distribution being more of a problem than food production – thank Norman Borlaug for food production not being the primary problem.

  63. #63 novalox
    October 23, 2012

    @lindsey

    Please keep posting the stupid. Your utter stupidity is good for a few laughs, and your ignorance of basic elementary school science speaks volumes about your intelligence.

    You seem like a good fool to keep around for a few laughs, so keep it up.

  64. #64 Krebiozen
    October 23, 2012

    Lindsey,

    And do not insult my intelligence, or make bullshit assumptions about me just because I disagree with all of your opinions. Insulting me only shows you don’t have the facts to support your unfounded claims.

    What unfounded claims are those, specifically? All you have provided is unfounded opinions based on idiotic nonsense (Michel Chossudovsky and Jeffrey Smith, for goodness sake!), and made yourself look extremely foolish in the process.

    There’s no shame in being taken in by plausible-sounding lies, but you should be ashamed of yourself for still trying to defend them when they have been exposed as lies. Look at the facts. This is a science blog and you are expected to support your arguments with evidence, as in well-referenced articles that cite peer-reviewed studies, not just bluster about how you are entitled to your opinions.

    You cannot seriously equate glyphosphate, which has been extremely well studied and used safely for 40 years, with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange"Agent Orange.

    Glyphosphate acts on an enzyme that only exists in plants and bacteria, so it has no effect on insects, mammals, amphibians or fish. It degrades quickly in the environment, does not bioaccumulate, is not an endocrine disruptor, and safety tests have found that detergent of the kind you wash your dishes with is more toxic than glyphosphate itself. Most studies have found no harmful effects on soil bacteria. How could a herbicide be much safer? I would have thought anyone concerned about the environment would be delighted by the development of herbicides like glyphosphate and GM crops that are pest resistant. The only reasons I can see that they are not is an irrational fear of technology.

    In contrast, Agent Orange causes birth defects and horrendous ecological damage. There is simply no comparison.

    GM crops have led to a huge decrease in the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides in areas they are used. European reluctance to adopt GM crops has led to an increase in toxic pesticide use and carbon dioxide emissions that have almost certainly had serious environmental consequences. I think it’s a terrible shame that people who think they are protecting the environment may have caused much more harm than good.

  65. #65 Krebiozen
    October 23, 2012

    My comment in moderation has a broken link, so I shall provide an unbroken one. Lindsey, compare and contrast glyphosphate and Agent Orange. Why would anyone prefer to use Agent Orange when glyphosphate is available? Why do you prefer toxic herbicides to Roundup?

  66. #66 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    October 23, 2012

    Lindsey says:

    “This depletes the nutrients and organisms in our soil to a point where literally nothing can grow”

    What is the mechanism by which the pesticide degrades the soil quality and the soil fauna? Please cite a reputable, peer reviewed journal.

    Glyphosate has an average half life of around 60 days in soil. The oral LC50 in rats is over 4g/kg – a concentration which is unobtainable by humans via ingestion of plants which have been sprayed with glyphosate – as only 30-60% of glyphosate is actually absorbed via the GI tract.

  67. #67 Bronze Dog
    October 23, 2012

    The short answer is that weeds develop resistance to any practice that is used to manage them persistently. Weeds are resistant to grazing, to cultivation. Resistance to herbicides is no different and not any more worrying.

    I once took a forestry class called Range Wildlife Management and Ecology, which covered the use of land for grazing livestock, which in turn discussed the evolution of grass. A lot of the grass “family” has evolved specifically to be less palatable to grazers, forming thick cell walls to make them harder to digest. In the evolutionary arms race, many grazers kept pace, forming divided stomachs and cud-chewing to specialize their digestion process for grasses. It’s still an advantage for the grass, since grazers generally prefer “succulent” herbaceous plants over grass, since they’re less work to eat, and probably more nourishing since they’re spending their resources on things other than extra cellulose.

    Incidentally, touching on another altie topic, this is why humans can’t get anything out of wheatgrass. Our digestive tracts aren’t nearly as specialized, so if a human eats wheatgrass, his system would just give it one quick pass and get nothing out of it. I doubt many people would be willing to try the way of the rabbit.

    Incidentally, humans did develop one method for improving digestion of certain foods that a lot of alties demean. It’s been a part of our history long enough and prevalent enough that it made our mouths smaller by reducing the burden of natural selection on chewing: Cooking.

  68. #68 Krebiozen
    October 23, 2012

    Bronze Dog,
    Good point about the evolutionary arms race. We can deal with a wide variety of toxins because we have evolved livers and other mechanisms to deal with the toxins plants have evolved to prevent us from eating them. GM crops are a continuation of that arms race. The only way we will stop plants and insects from adapting to our efforts to control them is by ceasing to attempt to cultivate them. Solent Green anyone?

  69. #69 Krebiozen
    October 23, 2012

    Lindsey, I have been pondering your last statement which disturbed me:

    Good luck to all of you, would love to make you all a smoothie of your favorite ingredients, DDT, Agent Orange, Round Up, Aspartame, rGBH, and PCBs and watch you enjoy every last drop.

    Writing that you would like to poison us and watch us die horribly is not a very nice, especially considering no one here has in any way denied the toxicity of DDT, Agent Orange or PCBs. You might want to consider getting some professional help. Sick fantasies like that are suggestive of a serious underlying problem.

  70. #70 herr doktor bimler
    October 23, 2012

    And do not insult my intelligence

    How about if I insult your stupidity? Is that better?

  71. #71 dogctor
    Long Beach, CA
    October 24, 2012

    And don’t even get me on the lack of blinding of observers to the identities of the experimental groups. That’s just single blinding, which is the absolute minimum that could be acceptable in an animal experiment. Double blinding would have been better. Apparently, the researchers used neither.

    Please post a citation to a Single BLINDED GMO trial.

    Just One.

    You aren’t scientists at all– you are simply rabid hypocrites.

  72. #72 dogctor
    Long Beach, CA
    October 24, 2012
  73. #73 ChrisP
    October 25, 2012

    So what exactly is the ‘lousy’ science in that paper?

  74. #74 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    Why don’t you apply the same critical thinking skills you did to the Seralini paper and analyze its statistical power; actually simple logic and arithmetic will do. And then check to see which test results are published and which strategic results are missing.
    I will be absolutely glad to help.

  75. #75 Bronze Dog
    October 25, 2012

    dogctor, what’s wrong with what people have already said about it in this comment thread?

  76. #76 Lawrence
    October 25, 2012

    Actually “dogctor” it is up to you to point out the “flaws” in that study. So, what are your issues?

  77. #77 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    For the sake of argument make the following assumption : 10 % of the population exposed to the corn suffers adverse effects: e.g. develops chronic nephropathy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis or hepatobiliary disease.

    The population of subjects with Life-long exposure to this corn are people, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, poultry, horses.

    The human population in the US Alone is: 314,634,030
    cattle: 34,500, 000,
    http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=cattle&graph=production

    pigs 117.100,000

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Pig-population-hitting-U-S-world-record-levels-3526257.php

    dogs 70,000,000

    cats 74,000,000

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-08-06/pet-ownership-down/56882786/1

    How many rats would it take to catch 10% of the affected people, cattle, pigs, dogs and cats ?

    Are 80 experimental rats sufficient to detect adverse effects in this population assuring us that the corn is safe?

  78. #78 Narad
    October 25, 2012

    And don’t even get me on the lack of blinding of observers to the identities of the experimental groups.

    “And”? This is your first comment on the subject.

  79. #79 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    @ Bronze Dog: What’s wrong with it is that you all avoided a discussion of the article referenced in the Seralini paper:

    Results of a 13 week SAFETY ASSURANCE STUDY with rats fed grain from
    glyphosate tolerant corn

  80. #80 JGC
    October 25, 2012

    What’s wrong with it is that you all avoided a discussion of the article referenced in the Seralini paper:

    Let me see if I understand correctly–the paper you cited is itself flawed because commentors on a blog site (this one) aren’t discussing the article referenced in Seralini’s paper?

    That’s really your argument?

  81. #81 Narad
    October 25, 2012

    Dr. Valikov, could you clear up whether you and Lindsey are the same person?

  82. #82 herr doktor bimler
    October 25, 2012

    @ Bronze Dog: What’s wrong with it is that you all avoided a discussion of the article referenced in the Seralini paper:

    So before anyone is allowed to point out shortcomings in the Seralini paper, they have to go through every paper in Seralini’s reference list, criticising them first? And every paper cited by anyone cited by Seralini?

    I don’t think so.

  83. #83 herr doktor bimler
    October 25, 2012

    “And”? This is your first comment on the subject.

    E. Valikov DVM is citing a passage from Orac’s original post there, but omitted quote marks or italics.

  84. #84 Narad
    October 25, 2012

    Oh, I see, thank you. I thus concede that my question was unfounded.

  85. #85 ChrisP
    October 25, 2012

    dogctor said:

    Why don’t you apply the same critical thinking skills you did to the Seralini paper and analyze its statistical power; actually simple logic and arithmetic will do.

    How has this any relevance to the fundamental flaws in the Seralini paper? Hammond et al. being lousy science doesn’t make Seralini’s paper any better. That is a logical fallacy.

    However, I have looked at the paper briefly and come to the following conclusions about the methods.

    1. The statistical methods are mostly fine. The authors use omnibus tests rather than multiple t-tests like Seralini does. There are too many omnibus tests, but the authors recognise this.

    2. Test subjects were much better managed than in Seralini’s paper. There were a total of 8 control groups of 20 rats each and 2 treatment groups of 20 rats each.

    3. Statistical power. As the authors were looking for a difference outside 2 standard deviations from the mean, 10 rats measured for the biochemical tests is plenty for statistical power.

    So once again, what exactly is the lousy science in this paper?

  86. #86 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    @ Herr doktor bimler. Thank you!. Is this how you italicize?

    @Narad. No. I just discovered this blog by following the link here : http://truth-out.org/news/item/12284-inside-the-controversy-over-a-french-gmo-study-and-the-monsanto-information-war
    I am not Lindsey.
    I’ve spent most of my time discussing this issue with Kevin on his blog : http://kfolta.blogspot.com/

    I posted another comment quite a long time ago, and it is still in moderation. I will return once it is posted.

    Point # 1, as Herr doktor pointed out is that the study cited is Not blinded, and neither are Any of the other studies on the subject. Lets see if this comment lives for hours in moderation 🙂

  87. #87 Krebiozen
    October 25, 2012

    Speaking of LOUSY SCIENCE

    Adding to what ChrisP has already written, that was a 90 day acute toxicity study done in accordance with OECD guidelines, and got exactly the results that you would expect, given that there is nothing in GM corn that is remotely likely to have any adverse effects on mammals. I don’t see any problem with it. If there was anything in this study that suggested any sort of damage, further studies would be indicated, there wasn’t and there weren’t. It wasn’t a long-term study trying to look for a tumor-inducing effect of GM corn against a high background level of tumors using a ludicrously small number of rats as Séralini et al.’s was.

    These are very different studies requiring different levels of statistical power to find what they are looking for. Hammond et al. used sufficient numbers to provide the required statistical power, Séralini et al. did not.

    BY the way, landing on a blog and immediately accusing everyone of being “rabid hypocrites” does not suggest you are looking for a rational discussion.

  88. #88 Narad
    October 25, 2012

    Lets see if this comment lives for hours in moderation

    If you include more than one link in a comment, you will wind up in the moderation queue, and that which releases the comments is traveling.

  89. #89 Krebiozen
    October 25, 2012

    Regarding blinding, I would be interested to now exactly how double blinding works in animal studies. Anyone?

  90. #90 Narad
    October 25, 2012

    ^ “more than two,” sorry. Freaking decaf.

  91. #91 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    Ok. Thanks for posting the comment. I guess I need to stick to two links.
    1. Regarding blinding: Double blinding is important with people to prevent the bias caused by the placebo effect. Single blinding of RESEARCHERS is the scientific standard instituted to prevent the bias of researchers. It is Very simple to do: the researchers themselves can Not know which group received which intervention. This standard is not followed in any of the safety assurance studies by Hammond et al. which essentially allows them to cherry pick the animals/ data they wish to place into whichever column they wish. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38695
    2. Medical standards of evaluating the accuracy and predictive value of any test: –in this case safety assurance test: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitivity_and_specificity
    The sensitivity of the feeding trials to adverse effects is Zero.

  92. #92 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    3. Crucial test which were not published without which conclusions can not be drawn at all
    a>Urinalysis.
    b> amylase, lipase, trypsin (ogen)
    c> bile acid test
    d> actual pathological descriptions of the organs to be contrasted with Conclusions published and credited to Anonymous Pathologists.
    e. No conclusions can be drawn about kidney/liver/ pancreatic inflammation/ dysfunction without a Baseline and several data points, which are absent. The article only cites limited abridged results (bilirubin–indicator of jaundice for example for as few as SIX rats) at the end of the experiment, which makes it Impossible to assess Trends.

  93. #93 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    What should have been done:
    baseline + several data points obtained every 3-4 weeks

    ALK. PHOSPHATASE 78 160 115 139 1-150 U/L
    ALT (SGPT) 54 40 33 26 5 – 107 U/L
    AST (SGOT) 28 26 20 5 – 55 U/L
    CK 73 137 83 10 – 200 U/L
    GGT 2 3 3 0 – 14 U/L
    AMYLASE 693 803 450 – 1240 U/L
    LIPASE 333 389 100 – 750 U/L
    ALBUMIN 3.3 3.6 3.2 3.4 2.5 – 4.0 g/dL
    TOTAL PROTEIN 6.8 7.1 6.4 7.0 5.1 – 7.8 g/dL
    GLOBULIN 3.5 3.5 3.2 3.6 2.1 – 4.5 g/dL
    TOTAL BILIRUBIN 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.0 – 0.4 mg/dL
    DIRECT BILIRUBIN 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 – 0.2 mg/dL
    BUN 9 15 17 13 7 – 27 mg/dL
    CREATININE 1.7 1.4 1.4 1.5 0.4 – 1.8 mg/dL
    CHOLESTEROL 293 241 224 112 – 328 mg/dL
    GLUCOSE 108 77 96 107 60 – 125 mg/dL
    CALCIUM 11.3 10.8 9.8 8.2 – 12.4 mg/dL
    PHOSPHORUS 4.9 4.1 3.8 2.1 – 6.3 mg/dL
    TCO2 (BICARBONATE) 18 21 16 17 – 24 mEq/L
    CHLORIDE 117 112 118 105 – 115 mEq/L
    POTASSIUM 3.9 4.3 4.1 4.0 – 5.6 mEq/L
    SODIUM 148 148 148 141 – 156 mEq/L
    A/G RATIO 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.6 – 1.6
    B/C RATIO 5.3 10.7 12.1 8.7
    INDIRECT BILIRUBIN 0.1 0.0 0.0 0 – 0.3 mg/dL
    TRIGLYCERIDE 90 57 20 – 150 mg/dL
    NA/K RATIO 38 34 36 27 – 40
    HEMOLYSIS INDEX ++ 1 + 8 + 12 + 17
    LIPEMIA INDEX N 2 N 9 N 13 N 18
    ANION GAP 17 19 18 12 – 24 mEq/L
    T4 2.0 3 1.2 11 0.9 20 1.0 – 4.7 ug/dL
    WBC 8.4 8.3 7.5 23.0 5.7 – 16.3 THOUS./uL
    RBC 7.95 7.68 6.67 5.77 5.5 – 8.5 MILLION/uL
    HGB 19.1 18.7 16.0 14.2 12 – 18 g/dL
    HCT 53.2 55.1 47.8 41.6 37 – 55 %
    MCV 67 72 72 72 60 – 77 fL
    MCH 24.0 24.3 24.0 24.6 19.5 – 26.0 pg
    MCHC 35.9 33.9 33.5 34.1 32 – 36 g/dL
    NEUTROPHIL SEG 65 67 69 94.0 60 – 77 %
    LYMPHOCYTES 22 23 17 3.0 12 – 30 %
    MONOCYTES 5 5 8 2.0 3 – 10 %
    EOSINOPHIL 8 5 6 1.0 2 – 10 %
    BASOPHIL 0 0 0 0.0 0 – 1 %
    AUTO PLATELET 135 4 165 138 14 168 164 – 510 THOUS./uL
    PLATELET COMMENTS 5 15
    REMARKS 6 10 16 19
    ABSOLUTE NEUTROPHIL SEG 5460 5561 5175 21620 3000 – 11500 /uL
    ABSOLUTE LYMPHOCYTE 1848 1909 1275 690 1000 – 4800 /uL
    ABSOLUTE MONOCYTE 420 415 600 460 150 – 1350 /uL
    ABSOLUTE EOSINOPHIL 672 415 450 230 100 – 1250 /uL
    ABSOLUTE BASOPHIL 0 0 0 0 – 100 /uL
    SPEC cPL 571 7 ug/L
    COLLECTION METHOD CYSTOCENTESIS NOT GIVEN NOT GIVEN
    COLOR YELLOW YELLOW YELLOW
    CLARITY CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR
    SPECIFIC GRAVITY 1.012 1.034 1.005
    GLUCOSE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE
    BILIRUBIN NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE
    KETONES NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE
    BLOOD TRACE NEGATIVE 1+
    PH 6.0 6.5 8.0
    PROTEIN NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE
    WBC 0-2 0-2 0-2 0 – 5 HPF
    RBC 0-2 0-2 6-10 0 – 5 HPF
    BACTERIA NONE SEEN NONE SEEN NONE SEEN HPF
    EPI CELL RARE (0-1) 1+ (1-2) 1+ (1-2) HPF
    MUCUS NONE SEEN NONE SEEN NONE SEEN
    CASTS NONE SEEN NONE SEEN NONE SEEN HPF
    CRYSTALS NONE SEEN NONE SEEN NONE SEEN HPF
    UROBILINOGEN NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL
    OTHER AMORPHOUS DEBRIS PRESENT AMORPHOUS DEBRIS PRESENT
    % RETICULOCYTE 0.5 %
    RETICULOCYTE 29 10 – 110 K/uL
    ADD-ON TEST 21
    SAMPLE/TEST INFO NEEDED 22

    Comments:

    1.
    Index of N,+,++ exhibits no significant effect on chemistry values.

    2.
    Index of N,+,++ exhibits no significant effect on chemistry values.

    or = 400 ug/L – Serum Spec cPL concentration is consistent with
    pancreatitis.

  94. #94 ChrisP
    October 25, 2012

    dogctor, another series of fallacies to deal with. If there are errors in the Hammond et al. approach, that does not make the Seralini paper any better. It is still junk science done for ideological reasons.

    It wasn’t really possible for Hammond et al. to cherry pick which rats were placed in which column, because the rats were not being placed into arbitrary categories. Issues with blinding are likely when decisions for example about euthanasia are being made, not in objective measures.

    If there is no significant difference between the treated and control groups. There is no significant difference. That is the conclusion that is drawn. There is no need to have more data points, because they will not suddenly create a significant difference where one did not exist.

    Before this goes any further, it is worth pointing out that Hammond et al. is what is called (loosely) a safety assurance study. The real safety studies are done with specific components that address specific hypotheses. Hammond et al. is essentially a fishing expedition to see if there was something that the better studies missed. This is made quite clear in the introduction. Whole food feeding studies are inappropriate for determining whether there is toxicity associated with a specific component of food.

    As for your second post, that suffers from the Nirvana fallacy.

  95. #95 dogctor
    October 25, 2012

    @ ChrisP
    It wasn’t really possible for Hammond et al. to cherry pick which rats were placed in which column, because the rats were not being placed into arbitrary categories.

    a. False: you have 320 animals in the control group and 80 experimental animals ingesting Ge corn.
    It is entirely possible to publish any data you want when you know which animal is in which group and data is published for 6-20. This cherry-picking makes any statistical conclusions invalid.
    b. In an inverse way from Seralini who used 40 rats in his control group and 160 in experimental–to uncover adverse effects, reversal of the sizes of the group, and reduction of the size of the experimental group and increase of a control group of 320 animals reduces the sensitivity of this flawed test ( even if rat data Could be used to extrapolate to safety in cats, dogs, cattle and people ) to Less than 0

    If there is no significant difference between the treated and control groups. There is no significant difference.
    Conclusions- Not supported by Data.

    Before this goes any further, it is worth pointing out that Hammond et al. is what is called (loosely) a safety assurance study. The real safety studies are done with specific components that address specific hypotheses. Hammond et al. is essentially a fishing expedition to see if there was something that the better studies missed.

    The DATA of the research paper needs to support the title of the article: Safety Assurance Study. The study does Not. These 90 day rodent trials are the regulatory studies used to demonstrate the safety of the food, per OECD ( the specifications of which, by the way, Seralini also satisfied).

    Furthermore, s a medical professional I strongly disagree that basic research can or should be used to prove safety of this novel food- the safety / lack of -can only be demonstrated through Statistically- Valid- Blinded- Comprehensive & Complete- Long Term Feeding Trials on rodents, cats, dogs, cattle, pigs and People.

    Feeding trials is where the rubber meets the road. It is the ONLY scientific method to actually demonstrate or refute the safety of this novel in practice rather than theory.

    Such do Not Exist.

  96. #96 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    docgtor, You must be reading a different paper:

    Following acclimation to laboratory conditions, animals were assigned to one of ten experimental groups (20/sex/group) by stratified randomization so that mean body weights did not differ significantly (P<0.05) among treatment groups.

    Do you understand how randomisation works? The animals were randomised at the start of the experiment before there was any knowledge about how any would develop.

    b. In an inverse way from Seralini who used 40 rats in his control group and 160 in experimental–to uncover adverse effects, reversal of the sizes of the group, and reduction of the size of the experimental group and increase of a control group of 320 animals reduces the sensitivity of this flawed test ( even if rat data Could be used to extrapolate to safety in cats, dogs, cattle and people ) to Less than 0

    This makes no sense at all. Too many treatment groups increases the risk of Type I errors dramatically. All decent scientists should know that.

    Conclusions- Not supported by Data.

    This makes no sense. If there is no significant difference in the data – the conclusion is that the data shows no significant difference. To state anything else is ludicrous.

    The DATA of the research paper needs to support the title of the article: Safety Assurance Study. The study does Not. These 90 day rodent trials are the regulatory studies used to demonstrate the safety of the food, per OECD ( the specifications of which, by the way, Seralini also satisfied).

    It is untrue that the data of a paper needs to support the title. The title can simply be what the study is about. Or it can be a re-statement of the hypothesis. It doesn’t have to be the conclusion. This paper is titled the results of a study because it is the results of the study.

    The EU is the only regulator currently who requires 90 day safety assurance feeding studies. Just because this regulator requires something, does not mean that type of study is actually appropriate for the job.

    Seralini did not satisfy the requirements of the OECD guidelines. The guidelines for chronic toxicity studies require 20 animals per sex per treatment. The guidelines Seralini stated were followed in the paper require 50 animals per sex per treatment. Seralini only had 10.

    Furthermore, s a medical professional I strongly disagree that basic research can or should be used to prove safety of this novel food- the safety / lack of -can only be demonstrated through Statistically- Valid- Blinded- Comprehensive & Complete- Long Term Feeding Trials on rodents, cats, dogs, cattle, pigs and People.

    Attempted argument from authority. I don’t find your so-called authority all that convincing. Rather than these rants, it is evidence you should be providing.

    I despair of your self described professionalism given that human feeding studies of this sort are unethical.

    Feeding trials is where the rubber meets the road. It is the ONLY scientific method to actually demonstrate or refute the safety of this novel in practice rather than theory.

    Clearly your scientific training is wanting. The scientific method first requires the development of a hypothesis.

  97. #97 Militant Agnostic
    October 26, 2012

    @ChrisP

    What better Sign of professionalism is there than RANDOM Capitalization? How else are we going to “actually demonstrate or refute the safety of this novel in practice of this novel”? How do we know Moby Dick is safe?

  98. #98 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    Militant Agnostic, I have always been impressed by others use of random Capitalization And wondered Whether I Could learn to Do the Same.

    And would that make me appear more intelligent.

  99. #99 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    October 26, 2012

    @ChrisP

    I was all set to type up a response to docgtor, but saw that you pretty much covered it all.

    Sigh. I have to start getting up earlier if I want to get a decent comment in.

  100. #100 Krebiozen
    October 26, 2012

    dogctor,

    For the sake of argument make the following assumption : 10 % of the population exposed to the corn suffers adverse effects: e.g. develops chronic nephropathy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis or hepatobiliary disease.

    I can accept that for the sake of argument, though I cannot think of a mechanism by which the glyphosate tolerant EPSPS enzyme in GM corn could possibly have any of these effects. Why do you then give us the absolute numbers of humans, pigs, dogs and cats in the US? These are completely irrelevant. The size of the population doesn’t matter, since you have told us that 10% are affected.

    Are 80 experimental rats sufficient to detect adverse effects in this population assuring us that the corn is safe?

    Since the study under discussion was designed to detect acute 90 day effects not lifetime effects, and 40 not 80 rats were fed GM corn, and since it seems unlikely that 90% of a population would be entirely unaffected while 10% develop “chronic nephropathy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis or hepatobiliary disease”, your question makes little sense. However, accepting it on its own terms, according to your assumptions above, 10% of these rats, i.e. 4 of them, will develop chronic nephropathy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis or hepatobiliary disease. So yes, this would be detected by a study of this size.

    What should have been done:

    Perhaps you should contact the OECD and explain to them that their published protocols for this kind of study are wrong. I’m sure they would be delighted to hear from you.

    baseline + several data points obtained every 3-4 weeks

    You then share with us a great mass of raw data that you have presumably simply invented – why? Unless I have missed something that seems a very odd thing to do.

    The statistical data they published summarised the sort of results you made up, since publishing it in full takes up huge amounts of room and is difficult to make sense of.

    By the way, what is the point of looking at trends in data that is statistically identical to the control data? If it’s normal it’s normal

    My speciality is clinical biochemistry in humans, so I am very familiar with most of the parameters measured on these rats but I can make little sense of anything you have written. You don’t appear to understand the design of clinical studies like this, or the statistics involved. As far as I can determine you are alleging fraud simply on the basis that you can’t believe that GM corn could be harmless.

  101. #101 Bronze Dog
    October 26, 2012

    Militant Agnostic, I have always been impressed by others use of random Capitalization And wondered Whether I Could learn to Do the Same.

    And would that make me appear more intelligent.

    I remember years back when every woo I met online thought inserting random ellipses made them sound thoughtful. Or that they were building up suspense. Or something.

  102. #102 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 26, 2012

    Single blinding of RESEARCHERS is the scientific standard instituted to prevent the bias of researchers. It is Very simple to do: the researchers themselves can Not know which group received which intervention. This standard is not followed in any of the safety assurance studies by Hammond et al. which essentially allows them to cherry pick the animals/ data they wish to place into whichever column they wish.

    What is your evidence that Hammond et al. didn’t use blinding? I certainly could have blinded that study as described in the paper.

  103. #103 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    I’ve got things to do today and can’t play here much.

    For now, W. Kevin Vicklund I would like to draw your attention to simple arithmetic. 80 experimental rats
    Bilirubin results published for 12.
    Urinalysis results are no published.

    Please look up a subject every first year medical student understands : https://www.google.com/search?q=bilirubenemia+bilirubinuria&rlz=1C1ARAB_enUS491US493&oq=bilirubenemia+bilirubinuria&sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  104. #105 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    So rather than address any of the points raised by their earlier claims, we get a version of the Gish Gallop.

  105. #106 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 26, 2012

    For now, W. Kevin Vicklund I would like to draw your attention

    Oh, good, I was wondering where I missed where they admitted to not using blinding.

    to simple arithmetic.

    How is simple arithmetic going to show that this study wasn’t blinded? You aren’t trying to change the subject, are you? Because if you are, it’s going to make me conclude that you don’t have any evidence…

    80 experimental rats

    20 rats/sex/group * 2 sexes * 2 experimental groups = 80 rats

    You are correct. Where are you going with this?

    Bilirubin results published for 12.

    For male rats, TBIL N=4-6 rats/experimental group * 2 experimental groups = 8-12 male experimental rats

    For female rats, TBIL N=7-8 rats/experimental group * 2 experimental groups = 14-16 female experimental rats

    (8-12 male experimental rats) + (14-16 female experimental rats) = 22-28 total experimental rats

    You are wrong. You have failed simple arithmetic. Your argument, whatever it may be, has just lost validity.

    Urinalysis results are no published.

    This is not uncommon, and the results are described. Page limits are often part of the limitation of a published article, though including the data as an online supplement would have been nice. Still, I don’t see how this is evidence that no blinding occurred.

    Please look up a subject every first year medical student understands : https://www.google.com/search?q=bilirubenemia+bilirubinuria&rlz=1C1ARAB_enUS491US493&oq=bilirubenemia+bilirubinuria&sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    Setting aside your inability to spell “bilirubinemia” (which indicates too much bilirubin in the blood), I fail to see how ‘educating’ me on bilirubin demonstrates that blinding wasn’t used in the Hammond et al. study.

    In light of your inability to advance even a hint of relevant evidence, plus your general incompetence, I must conclude that you were trying to change the subject because you have no evidence of your claim that blinding was not used in the study. Furthermore, the study authors noted several points at which blinding did or could have occurred (randomization of assignment to groups, off-site preparation of feed, etc.).

    tl:dr Red herring alert!

  106. #107 Krebiozen
    October 26, 2012

    I understand quite a lot about bilirubin in blood and urine, having spent half my adult life measuring it in humans, and these results and all the other results on these rats are clearly absolutely normal. There is not a hint of a whisper of anything abnormal here at all. Even where there are differences between different groups they are well within normal ranges for these rats.

    The study states, “There were no biologically meaningful differences in serum chemistry results,” and regarding urinalysis, “There were no differences between the control and treated groups that were considered to be test article related.” I suppose they could have added a huge mass of perfectly normal raw data as an addendum to their paper, but I doubt any journal would publish it. Why would they?

  107. #108 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    Randomization of rats by weight does Not= Blinding of Researchers.
    >Following acclimation to laboratory conditions, animals
    were assigned to one of ten experimental groups
    (20/sex/group) by stratified randomization so that mean
    body weights did not differ significantly (P<0.05)
    among treatment groups.Please copy and past a statement from the cited article quoting the method of blinding. the researchers to which food the rats were eating.<—–

    Just cause you know how to spell bilirubinuria does not mean that you have Any idea what it means.

    How many rats were diagnosed with bilirubinuria?

    TBIL N=4-6 rats/experimental group
    Which is it?

    Which Is it?

    4 rats or 6rats?

    Serum chemistry mean valuesS.D. in male Sprague–Dawley rats following 13 weeks of exposure to Roundup Ready (RR) corn grain in the diet
    Parameter N 11% Control 33% Control 11% RR 33% RR N Reference Controls mean2 S.D.
    ALP (U/L) 10 81.818 75.913 83.814 77.910 60 86.034
    ALT (U/L) 10 39.56.9 39.67.8 40.96.9 39.24.3 60 44.216.4
    AST (U/L) 10 81.813 83.815 77.611 78.07.4 60 84.224.4
    GGT (U/L) 10 0.000.00 0.000.00 0.000.00 0.200.42 60 0.080.56
    BUN (mg/dl) 10 15.81.9 18.54.8 15.71.1 16.21.9 60 16.34.28
    CREA (mg/dl) 10 0.540.05 0.550.05 0.530.07 0.540.05 60 0.540.10
    TBIL(mg/dl) 4–6 0.200.00 0.200.00 0.200.00 0.200.00 36 0.200.04
    TP (g/dl) 10 6.590.25 6.770.52 6.770.34 6.710.37 60 6.760.68
    ALB (g/dl) 10 4.260.17 4.370.30 4.330.14 4.250.22 60 4.320.46
    A/G 10 1.840.19 1.840.19 1.790.14 1.740.19 60 1.790.34
    GLOB (g/dl) 10 2.330.22 2.400.31 2.440.23 2.460.26 60 2.440.44
    GLU (mg/dl) 10 20823 20936 21232 22743 60 20964
    CA (mg/dl) 10 11.20.48 11.60.41 11.30.32 11.40.33 60 11.41.16
    PHOS (mg/dl) 10 10.11.17 11.21.53 10.41.13 10.41.33 60 10.23.10
    NA (mmol/L) 10 1482.9 1492.9 1472.6 1482.6 60 1495.8
    CL(mmol/L ) 10 1011.9 1022.0 1002.0 1001.2 60 1026.0
    K (mmol/L) 10 7.271.4 7.681.6 7.581.9 7.521.0 60 7.312.72

    TBIL(mg/dl) 7–8 0.200.00 0.200.00 0.210.04 0.200.00 49 0.200.04

    Which is it : 7 or 8.

    Can you please show me the arithmetic that makes
    (4 to 6) * 2 + (7 to 8) * 2 =80 experimental rats

    Please explain how one calculates a standard deviation when the exact number of rats isn’t published?

  108. #109 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    Where in the article is there any data on bilirubinuria given that urinalysis data is Never Reported in any of the safety assurance studies?

    Please copy and paste it….cause I can Not find it

  109. #110 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    I now know how to make emoticons wearing glasses.

    Unfortunately, that is not what I meant.

    Can you please show me the arithmetic that makes
    (4 to 6) * 2 + (7 to 8) * 2 =80 experimental rats

  110. #111 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    (4 to 6) x 2 + (7 to 8) x2 equal 80

  111. #112 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    And finally, cause I’ve really gotta go– in spite of what a riot this has been— no ad hominem— no matter how cute or how elegant— will Ever synthesize Data that does Not Exist.

  112. #113 Narad
    October 26, 2012

    Just cause you know how to spell bilirubinuria does not mean that you have Any idea what it means.

    That’s a keeper.

  113. #114 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    dogctor, Your specific accusation about blinding was to do with “which essentially allows them to cherry pick the animals/ data they wish to place into whichever column they wish.”

    Randomization means this cannot happen.

    Just cause you know how to spell bilirubinuria does not mean that you have Any idea what it means.

    I know what it means, but there is no evidence that any of these rats suffered from such a condition. So I am still wondering where this is going. I suspect I know, but I will leave it up to you to attempt to enlighten the readers.

    How many rats were diagnosed with bilirubinuria?

    On the evidence before us, the answer is none.

    You then post: a table of values with no significant differences. OK, I get that, but why copy and paste it?

    Please explain how one calculates a standard deviation when the exact number of rats isn’t published?

    You calculate the standard deviation by taking the square root of the variance of the test sample. This is starting to get into teaching Grandmothers to suck eggs territory. Did you not do statistics as part of your professional training?

    Where in the article is there any data on bilirubinuria given that urinalysis data is Never Reported in any of the safety assurance studies?

    Why do you think bilirubinuria should have been diagnosed? What is the data that suggests this would be the case? The paper states there were no differences in urine chemistry other than urine P and K (and with these it was the male controls that were different, not the treated animals).

    And finally, cause I’ve really gotta go– in spite of what a riot this has been— no ad hominem— no matter how cute or how elegant— will Ever synthesize Data that does Not Exist.

    I have absolutely no idea what point you are trying to make here, but I am impressed by the random use of capitals.

  114. #115 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    Bah, humbug quote fail. Why can’t we have a preview function?

  115. #116 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    You calculate the standard deviation by taking the square root of the variance of the test sample

    Did you calculate the standard deviation for serum bilirubin for 22 rats, 24 rats, 26 rats … 28 rats?

    The paper states there were no differences in urine chemistry other than urine P and K (and with these it was the male controls that were different, not the treated animals).

    Oblige me and allow me to be the judge by forming my own Conclusion.
    Please point me to a source of all the DATA– for the ENTIRE 400 rats. I much prefer that to Ve$ted Opinons.

    The DATA needs to include the parameters measured plus a complete urinalysis, lipase, amylase, trypsin (ogen), bile acids –at the beginning of the experiment, middle of the experiment and end of the experiment. A link to the DATA would be much appreciated.

    Randomization means this cannot happen.
    You randomized the rats by weight. That is all.

    The test results including histopathology need to be reported for a sum of
    80 + 320= 400 rats.

    Thanks very much

  116. #117 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    The urinalysis results need to look like this for the experimental and control/ reference rats

    COLOR
    DARK YELLOW
    CLARITY
    TURBID
    SPECIFIC GRAVITY
    1.036
    GLUCOSE
    NEGATIVE
    BILIRUBIN
    3+
    HIGH
    KETONES
    NEGATIVE
    BLOOD
    3+
    HIGH
    PH
    6.5
    PROTEIN
    TRACE (<100 mg/dL) 1
    WBC
    0-2
    0 – 5 HPF
    RBC
    20-30
    0 – 5 HPF
    HIGH
    BACTERIA
    NONE SEEN
    HPF
    EPI CELL
    1+ (1-2)
    HPF
    MUCUS
    NONE SEEN
    CASTS
    NONE SEEN
    HPF
    CRYSTALS
    2+ BILIRUBIN (3-5)
    OTHER
    AMORPHOUS DEBRIS PRESENT
    UROBILINOGEN
    NORMAL

  117. #118 Narad
    October 26, 2012

    A link to the DATA would be much appreciated.

    Write to the authors. Journals are not in the business of republishing lab notebooks (although it wasn’t too long ago that this was considered to be the Next Big Thing).

  118. #119 dogctor
    October 26, 2012

    These days it is entirely too easy to put entire libraries online.

    I doubt that the authors will send it to me Norad, because

    Séralini’s team was forced to fight legal battles in court in order to secure Monsanto’s data for the comparative analysis, but once they did, they found that Monsanto somehow missed evidence that linked pesticide residue on the corn to toxic side effects. http://truth-out.org/news/item/12284-inside-the-controversy-over-a-french-gmo-study-and-the-monsanto-information-war

    In the absence of the DATA published Online–there is No Way that I can conclude that this corn is safe for my patients to ingest… a fact I learned anyways empirically by treating patients ( like the cat with cholangiohepatitis whose urinalysis I posted above) for twenty two years.

  119. #120 Narad
    October 26, 2012

    I doubt that the authors will send it to me Norad, because

    So, that Would be a no, i Will instead Point at some Thing else And make fun Of your Name?

  120. #121 Krebiozen
    October 26, 2012

    (4 to 6) x 2 + (7 to 8 x 2 equal 80

    It is an unusual way of putting it, but I understand it to mean 4 male rats on 11% RR and 6 males rats on 33% RR or vice versa, plus 7 female rats on 11% RR and 8 female rats on 33% RR or vice versa. That makes a total of 25 rats, not “Bilirubin results published for 12” as you stated earlier. I don’t know why bilirubin results were not reported for all the experimental rats, but it is possible there was not enough sample. You can squeeze a finite amount of blood out of a rat, and bilirubin does require a moderate volume of serum on Hitachi 717s, which I have used in the past. Since all the bilirubin results were absolutely normal, that doesn’t bother me particularly.

    Where in the article is there any data on bilirubinuria given that urinalysis data is Never Reported in any of the safety assurance studies?

    In your 22 years experience treating animals, did you ever come across a case of bilirubinuria in an animal that did not also have elevated serum bilirubin? I certainly saw Such A Thing in humans.

    By the way, the examples you give of how pathology results should be presented may be how animals’ clinical results are reported (which seems similar to how human results were reported 30 years or more ago) but that’s not how a statistical analysis of a number of animals should be reported in a research paper.

  121. #122 Krebiozen
    October 26, 2012

    See what happens when I try to be a smartass. “I certainly neversaw Such A Thing in humans.”

  122. #123 AdamG
    October 26, 2012

    a fact I learned anyways empirically by treating patients ( like the cat with cholangiohepatitis whose urinalysis I posted above) for twenty two years.

    I find it amusing that the commenter going nuts about ‘closed access’ data and ‘incorrectly blinded’ studies uses his own personal observations as evidence for his claim. If your own conclusions are based on unblinded clinical observations, how can you hold the authors to a different standard?

    I’m not sure I believe your clinical observations anyways…Show Me the DATA! In the absence of the DATA published Online–there is No Way that I can conclude that any of your cats actually had cholangiohepatitis.

  123. #124 ChrisP
    October 26, 2012

    dogctor wrote:

    Did you calculate the standard deviation for serum bilirubin for 22 rats, 24 rats, 26 rats … 28 rats?

    I am a little unsure if your ignorance is feigned or real. Just on the off chance that it is real, to obtain a mean you sum all the values in the set and divide by the number of values. If a mean can be calculated a standard deviation can be calculated. Those doing the statistical analysis would have had all the raw numbers and would know how many were in each set. It is not that hard.

    Oblige me and allow me to be the judge by forming my own Conclusion.
    Please point me to a source of all the DATA– for the ENTIRE 400 rats. I much prefer that to Ve$ted Opinons.

    The DATA needs to include the parameters measured plus a complete urinalysis, lipase, amylase, trypsin (ogen), bile acids –at the beginning of the experiment, middle of the experiment and end of the experiment. A link to the DATA would be much appreciated.

    Why does the data have to include all this? What is the hypothesis you want to test? What is the evidence that this hypothesis is plausible to test?

    You randomized the rats by weight. That is all.

    I didn’t have anything to do with the study.

    The description in the paper indicates the rats were first stratified by initial weight and then randomized to groups within each weight class, so every group got one of the smallest rats and one of the largest rats. This was before the study started. Therefore, it would not be a case of the authors deciding afterwards which group the rats were in.

    In the absence of the DATA published Online–there is No Way that I can conclude that this corn is safe for my patients to ingest…

    Random capitals and ellipses all in one sentence. It is probably a good place here to remind any readers who are sticking with this that you are a vet.

    I don’t suppose you insist that all the data of long-term feeding trials are published on line of all the animal diets before recommending them to your patient’s owners. This is called a double standard.

  124. #125 kyle kohler
    New York City
    November 23, 2012

    Good science, is good observation……so why are GMO’s the exception?

  125. #126 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    November 23, 2012

    Exception to what? Be specific.

  126. #127 ds
    December 19, 2012

    Some anti-vax seems to be also motivated by anti-abortion arguments or ulterior reasons, they seem to dislike the idea of vaccines that come from aborted fetal lines. I don’t recall seeing someone who seemed to think that abortion was like a production-line thing for such vaccines, they seem to get that it’s a cell line I guess, but this origin is unnaceptable.

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