She’s baa-aack.

Remember Stephanie Seneff? When last Orac discussed her, she had been caught dumpster diving into the VAERS database in order to torture the data to make it confess a “link” between aluminum adjuvants in vaccines and acetaminophen and—you guessed it!—autism. It was a bad paper in a bad journal known as Entropy that I deconstructed in detail around two years ago. As I said at the time, I hadn’t seen a “review” article that long and that badly done since the even more horrible article by Helen Ratajczak entitled Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes–A review (which, not surprisingly, was cited approvingly by Seneff et al). Seneff, it turns out, is an MIT scientist, but she is not a scientist with any expertise in autism, epidemiology, or, for that matter, any relevant scientific discipline that would give her the background knowledge and skill set to take on analyzing the epidemiological literature regarding autism. Indeed, she is in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, and her web page there describes her thusly:

Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She received the B.S. degree in Biophysics in 1968, the M.S. and E.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1980, and the Ph.D degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1985, all from MIT. For over three decades, her research interests have always been at the intersection of biology and computation: developing a computational model for the human auditory system, understanding human language so as to develop algorithms and systems for human computer interactions, as well as applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to gene predictions. She has published over 170 refereed articles on these subjects, and has been invited to give keynote speeches at several international conferences. She has also supervised numerous Master’s and PhD theses at MIT. In 2012, Dr. Seneff was elected Fellow of the International Speech and Communication Association (ISCA).

In recent years, Dr. Seneff has focused her research interests back towards biology. She is concentrating mainly on the relationship between nutrition and health. Since 2011, she has written over a dozen papers (7 as first author) in various medical and health-related journals on topics such as modern day diseases (e.g., Alzheimer, autism, cardiovascular diseases), analysis and search of databases of drug side effects using NLP techniques, and the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health.

So what we have here is a computer scientist interested in artificial intelligence who thinks she can switch her expertise to medicine, biology, and epidemiology. Let’s just put it this way. An undergraduate degree in biophysics in 1968 does not qualify one to do this sort of research, and, as I discussed in her foray into autism and vaccine epidemiology, it really does show. Badly. The paper was so embarrassingly incompetent that I’m surprised any journal was willing to publish it.

Just before Christmas, a bunch of articles started making the rounds in the usual places citing a senior MIT scientist as proclaiming mind-numbingly ridiculous things like, Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT and, just the other day, MIT scientist links autism to Monsanto’s Roundup and predicts HALF of U.S. children will be autistic by 2025. Here’s how it’s been reported:

At a conference last Thursday, in a special panel discussion about GMOs, she took the audience by surprise when she declared, “At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic.” She noted that the side effects of autism closely mimic those of glyphosate toxicity, and presented data showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the use of Roundup on crops (and the creation of Roundup-ready GMO crop seeds) with rising rates of autism. Children with autism have biomarkers indicative of excessive glyphosate, including zinc and iron deficiency, low serum sulfate, seizures, and mitochondrial disorder.

A fellow panelist reported that after Dr. Seneff’s presentation, “All of the 70 or so people in attendance were squirming, likely because they now had serious misgivings about serving their kids, or themselves, anything with corn or soy, which are nearly all genetically modified and thus tainted with Roundup and its glyphosate.”

I must admit, when I clicked on the link to the “correlation,” I couldn’t stop laughing. It was one of the most hilarious examples of confusing correlation with causation that I’ve ever seen. Take a look:

gloysphate

As I’ve pointed out time and time again, if you look at two different variables that have shown an increase with time, you can almost always make it look as though there’s a correlation. Only occasionally does that correlation equal causation. It was that claim that the “autism epidemic” began (i.e., autism prevalence started increasing dramatically) beginning in the early to mid-1990s and that that correlated with an expansion of the vaccines in the vaccine schedule or, in the US, that it correlated with the addition of mercury-containing vaccines to the vaccine schedule. From these observations, it was claimed, that it had to be the vaccines, or the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal used at the time in some childhood vaccines, that was causing autism. Lots and lots of epidemiology since then has confirmed that there is no detectable link, epidemiology that I’ve written about time and time again, but that hasn’t stopped the antivaccine movement. What the increase in autism prevalence corresponds to is really the expansion of diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders that occurred in the early 1990s as well as increased screening for the condition, which, as I’ve pointed out, will always increase the prevalence of any condition.

One thing I like to do to demonstrate how correlation usually does not equal causation, particularly for looking at things like vaccines and autism, is to point out other things that have increased dramatically since the early 1990s or before. For example, in 1990 cell phone use was generally reserved for the few who could afford it, given the expense, who lived in cities where cell phone networks were available. In the 25 years since then, cell phone use has gone from uncommon to ubiquitous, where almost everyone has a cell phone, over half of which are smart phones. Why don’t cell phones cause autism? Obviously, it’s because babies don’t use cell phones, but there is a strong correlation between cell phone use in the population and autism. What about Internet use? Back in 1990, you accessed the online services using Compuserve or AOL. In the early 1990s, particularly after 1994 when Netscape was introduced, more and more people used the Internet. Why doesn’t Internet use cause autism?

Or, better yet, why doesn’t organic food cause autism:

19bm94ui3v59fpng

Obviously, this evidence is just as strong that organic food must be responsible for the autism “epidemic” as Seneff’s “evidence” that GMOs.

Actually, it’s not the GMOs per se that Seneff seems to be blaming here, but rather the glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup:

Dr. Seneff noted the ubiquity of glyphosate’s use. Because it is used on corn and soy, all soft drinks and candies sweetened with corn syrup and all chips and cereals that contain soy fillers have small amounts of glyphosate in them, as do our beef and poultry since cattle and chicken are fed GMO corn or soy. Wheat is often sprayed with Roundup just prior to being harvested, which means that all non-organic bread and wheat products would also be sources of glyphosate toxicity. The amount of glyphosate in each product may not be large, but the cumulative effect (especially with as much processed food as Americans eat) could be devastating. A recent study shows that pregnant women living near farms where pesticides are applied have a 60% increased risk of children having an autism spectrum disorder.

Note that I discussed that study before. It’s total crap.

In any case, glyphosate’s been widely used for decades and inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), which catalyzes the reaction of shikimate-3-phosphate (S3P) and phosphoenolpyruvate to form 5-enolpyruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate (ESP). Because EPSPS is found only in plants and microorganisms, theoretically glyphosate shouldn’t have any major effects in humans. However, because there are frequently what we refer to in the biz as “off-target effects” (i.e., effects of a drug or chemical that do not depend on its primary target), it’s important to look at the safety of this pesticide in humans, which has, of course, been done. As I discovered this morning, Steve Novella notes several reviews that have failed to find associations between glyphosate and adverse health outcomes or cancer. Keith Kloor has also pointed out the shoddy science and incoherent arguments Seneff has been making, as has Layla Katiraee at the Genetic Literacy Project. Similarly, Derek Lowe pointed out that Seneff’s 2013 paper, upon which most of this fear mongering was based, has no original research, cherry picks studies, and manages not even to consider disconfirming publications. As he put it, “Far more is known about glyphosate toxicology and pharmacokinetics than you could ever imagine by reading it [Seneff’s review article].”

In fact, if you look at the slides for Seneff’s talks (e.g., this one, available at her MIT web page), you’ll find a tour de force of confusing correlation with causation, complete with a version of the first graph above, plus similar graphs purporting to correlate glyphosate use with deaths from senile dementia (gee, you don’t think that deaths from senile dementia might be rising because the population is aging and dementia is usually a disease of the elderly, do you?), obesity, celiac disease, deaths due to intestinal infection, and kidney disease death rate. She even cites the horribly done “pig stomach” GMO study that I deconstructed a while ago.

But what about Seneff’s prediction that half of all children will be autistic by 2025, which is only ten years away? Well, take a look at this graph in her talk:

Taiwan_July2014

Yes, she just extrapolates from current trends, assuming they’ll continue indefinitely! It’s almost as stupid as Julian Whitaker’s mind-blowingly idiotic extrapolation that predicted that 100% of boys will be autistic by 2031, with 100% of all girls autistic by 2041. Almost. It’s pretty close, though.

The bottom line is that the crank magnetism is strong in Dr. Seneff. She’s antivaccine and anti-GMO. She is full of Dunning-Kruger, thinking that she can transfer her computer science and artificial intelligence knowledge to knowledge of epidemiology, biochemistry, and medicine. She can’t. Happy New Years.

Comments

  1. #1 Comrade Carter
    December 31, 2014

    I was born in 1959, my wife in 1957. As far as I can understand our childhoods were relatively normal, (she has asthma, I have nothing). Our son was born in 1993, he has ADHD and a gluten intolerance… So they tell me. In our time together my wife has been on the look-out for anything like Autism and gluten intolerance. And I have been very against it, but whatever. So, my son, is a Senior Analyst at Aisenberg, and he’s kept to gluten-free and takes his meds for Autism, but other than this, he’s plenty healthy and plenty pro-science, and my wife is the same… This stuff would break both of them up. The world won’t end, the numbers will settle down, we’ll find a way to deal with “autism” and the world will go on. Thanks a lot for the work you do!

  2. #2 P Delaney
    December 31, 2014

    Reminds me of the “Spurious Correlations” website: http://www.tylervigen.com/

  3. #3 squirrelelite
    December 31, 2014

    I’m currently in training to start a new job and my class has one of the “1 in 68”. He is self-described as autistic/Aspergers. He seems to be doing quite well in class, is married and has successfully worked in several other jobs.

    He is someone that 30 or 40 years ago I might have considered a bit odd, but not seriously impaired. But he doesn’t have nearly the problems coping that I remember in students in the special needs class at the school I used to work at. And many of them were not ASD.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    December 31, 2014

    Something else happened around the mid-nineties when diagnostic criteria were expanded:

    DSHEA and the spread of Emo groups.

    Think about it.

  5. #5 Denice Walter
    December 31, 2014

    @ squirrelelite:

    One of my cohorts has a former co-worker, age 75, and a relative, age 50, who would probably be classified as ASD if they were in school today altho’ I think there might be other issues as well. Also undiagnosed.

    It might be interesting for people to look at surveys like Simon Baron Cohen’s self test – it would de-mystify the concept of ASD because – like just about everything else- it’s a spectrum..

  6. #6 Don A in Pennsyltucky
    December 31, 2014

    Anyone who has made it through the number of degree programs at MIT as Dr. Seneff has, is quite capable of self-study in areas beyond those covered by her degrees. Mocking the lack of those credentials is boorish and adds nothing to the otherwise strong takedown.

  7. #7 JP
    December 31, 2014

    Oh boy, Stephanie Seneff is my favorite. I originally found this blog a couple months ago while debunking a viral and very stupid article that was blowing up on my Facebook feed. If you take a look at that article, you’ll notice that all the “sources” at the end link back only to this woman’s own site, Mercola’s wretched hive, and maybe a similar “source” or two – and this very stupid “study” by one Stephanie Seneff. (Orac might have linked to it in the post above, but I don’t mind doing it again. Seriously, folks, this thing is comedy gold.)

    Here’s her purported pathway by which glyphosate causes autism (and depression, Alzheimer’s disease, obestiy, etc., etc.): “exogenous semiotic entropy.” Nope, you read that right. “Exogenous semiotic entropy.” As far as I can tell, it’s a phrase that’s only occurred in this article and things discussing this article, and it makes no sense at all.

    “Exogenous semiotic entropy.” Man, it never gets old. Like riding in airplanes.

  8. #8 Tim
    December 31, 2014

    Because EPSPS is found only in plants and microorganisms, theoretically glyphosate shouldn’t have any major effects in humans. However, because there are frequently what we refer to in the biz as “off-target effects” (i.e., effects of a drug or chemical that do not depend on its primary target)

    My take from that would be that perhaps there should be a closer look at the effects upon the ‘gut biome’ as well as it’s effects upon the special structures and cells of the intestines in symbiosis with those type critters.

    Denice Walter,
    I’d not discount (yet) the introduction of fortified folic acid in 1998. I was looking at a box of cheerios recently and what I found interesting was that two of the fortified things in there were niacin (as niacinimide — not that great, sometimes) and ‘folate’ — 50% (as folic acid).

    What is most interesting to me is that the parenthetical description of both of these in the ingredients list was (and the bolding is just how it appeared on the box : ” A B vitamin ”

    Why not just list it as B9 and B3 in the RDA?? Why this conflation?? Well for me, it is that the whopping %50 is not something to think “great! I’m getting plenty” so much as it is something to be avoided like too much sodium.

  9. #9 Tim
    December 31, 2014

    ps. Happy new year.

  10. #10 lilady
    December 31, 2014

    So, do Seneff’s claims about those nasty GMOs causing ASDs, mean that vaccines aren’t causing ASDs?

    I know for a fact that the use of disposable diapers has caused the rising prevalence of ASD diagnoses.

  11. #11 Reuben
    http://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com
    December 31, 2014

    I wonder what Jake Crosby has to say about this? Didn’t his dad work on the marketing of RoundUp?

  12. #12 Mary M
    December 31, 2014

    Her partner in the mad correlation scheme did a paper in the same journal as the pig study. I love the negative values for glyphosate before GMOs.

    http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/abstracts/Swanson-et-al.html

    I could never figure out why Swanson wasn’t on the Seneff paper, as the work was hers as far as i could tell. But she’ll graph anything in those sweet excel diagrams….

  13. #13 Aunt Benjy
    NZ
    December 31, 2014

    If you look at this from another angle (and from outside the USA) New Zealand has very similar rates of Autism diagnoses as the US, as well as very strict laws about growing GM crops. No Roundup-ready varieties are grown here.

  14. #14 Chris Hickie
    December 31, 2014

    Isn’t “senior scientist” at MIT basically an aged lab tech anywhere else?

  15. #15 Reality
    Deep in a bunker at the HRT Research Centre
    December 31, 2014

    Seneff is as much a “scientist” as are the developers of Dragon Naturally Speaking – only she’s apparently a failure at creating a successful speech recognition software. I wonder what “science” is involved in that endeavour. It is more akin to language arts and logic.

    In any event, I wonder if this latest loon-drool from Seneff has any relation to the age old problem of Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker?

    One would think it a distinct possibility.

  16. #16 Mrs Woo
    December 31, 2014

    Twenty plus years ago I was in counseling with an educational psychologist. Very early in the sessions he wanted to do testing, including the most extensive IQ test. When the results came back, he told me that I was part of the one percent of the population that processed emotions and some stimuli very differently than everyone else, making me seem unfeeling, cold or distant to normal people. It isn’t that I don’t have emotions, I just don’t react like everyone else.

    Since this was long before expansion of ASDs/Asperger’s were around, I often wonder if I would be put on the spectrum now. I saw the article about RoundUp, etc., a few days ago, and, if it weren’t for its other scare-mongering, got this little grin about using it to show it isn’t vaccines, after all…

    it’s pesticides.

    Or is it cell phones? The increase in satellite television subscribers? The increase in televisions in bedrooms?

  17. #17 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned yet that the #CDCWhistleblowers are trying to get a hashtag trending on Twitter again. This time it’s under the hashtag #BreakABillion, because they’re trying to get a billion tweets by midnight in through the magic of sock puppetry multiple strategic accounts.

  18. #18 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    I thought I read that you could use the s tag to strike things through on this blog.

    sock puppetry should be read with a line through it in my previous post.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    December 31, 2014

    @ Mrs Woo:

    Why not try out an on-line test like the ASQ?
    Purely for curiosity: several of Orac’s minions have revealed their own scores on this and other tests.

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    December 31, 2014

    @ justthestats:

    I wonder if they realise how much a billions is?
    ( -btw- I did look at their effort……in a word:
    Yiiiiiii!)

  21. #21 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    @Denice Walter:
    My experience with antivaxers is that they often have a bad sense of order of magnitude, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them think of a billion as just an extra-large version of the number 1.

  22. #22 BA
    MA
    December 31, 2014

    Yes, Senior Scientist at MIT = not faculty, just a sycophant hanging on to the shred of expertise that saying you are at MIT comes with. MIT for all of its excellence in many areas, like Harvard, has this second society of associates of the university who are no more noteworthy than adjunct faculty at Bay State Community College.

  23. #23 shay
    December 31, 2014

    To be fair, I know some very competent people who are community college adjuncts (generally speaking they decided not to go the full-time academic route because of bad habits like eating regularly).

  24. #24 herr doktor bimler
    December 31, 2014

    “Exogenous semiotic entropy.”… it’s a phrase that’s only occurred in this article and things discussing this article, and it makes no sense at all.

    Presumably the phrase was coined as a pretext to publish the article in a journal nominally devoted to “Entropy” (I find myself wondering which journals had previously rejected it). They needn’t have bothered, since ‘Entropy’ is from the MDPI stable, i.e. it will publish anything and its peer-review process consists of waiting for the cheque to clear.

    Allow me to recycle a comment from two years ago:

    Anyway this particular paper appeared in a Special Issue with the splendidly inter-disciplinary title “Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality”. The description of the goals sets new standards for postmodern bafflegab.
    http://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy/special_issues/biosemiotic_entropy
    Seneff is a co-author of no fewer than five of seven papers in this Special Issue (5 published so far with two more on the way), so perhaps it would have been bettter to call it the Seneff Special Issue. The editor was one John W. Oller, Jr — a believer in the Autism Epidemic. Indeed, we find Oller & Oller appearing in the paper as Ref. 8, “Autism: The Diagnosis, Treatment, and Etiology of the Undeniable Epidemic”.
    The References list rewards close attention.
    Seven citations of papers in ‘Medical Hypotheses’… (including Cannell’s theory about “Autism and Vitamin D” — apparently it’s a form of rickets).
    My favourite, though, is Ref. 65: “Water dynamics at the root of metamorphosis in living organisms.” I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Published in a journal simply called Water.
    Yes, it’s another journal from the MDPI stable.

  25. #25 Paul
    Boulder, Colorado
    December 31, 2014

    Thanks for posting this! I also wrote about it a few days ago:
    http://mrdrscienceteacher.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/glyphosate-pseudoscience/

  26. #26 rs
    December 31, 2014

    #18: it’s pesticides. Or is it cell phones? The increase in satellite television subscribers? The increase in televisions in bedrooms?

    Harried mother relaxes watching sat tv in bed causing susceptibility to electromagnetic energy and advertising, then goes to the supermarket and, distracted by an incoming text or FB post, reaches for the glyphosate-laden package (as advertised on sat tv) rather than the crunchy package next to it, eats it, causing voices in her head telling her to vaccinate the kids, who promptly develop an ASD three months ago.

  27. #27 rs
    December 31, 2014

    Sorry, should have been #16, not #18, comment reference above in #25.

    #6: Don, with a pencil tucked away somewhere…

    Expertise and competence are of course not solely determined by degrees in the relevant field. Self-study can be sufficient in many cases. However she has shown the opposite with her demonstrated incompetence (or belligerent ignorance) by the shoddiness of her attempt the establishment of a relationship between ASDs and glyphosate.

  28. #28 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    Anyone who has made it through the number of degree programs at MIT as Dr. Seneff has, is quite capable of self-study in areas beyond those covered by her degrees.

    Maybe she should try some self-study in how to fit a curve before replacing the giant cartoon question mark with a specific value.

  29. #29 sadmar
    Round up the unusual suspects
    December 31, 2014

    Damn words. They just don’t stay in place.

    “Exogenous semiotic entropy.” Huh? What?

    Within the small domain of humans who use the word “semiotic”, the vast vast majority take it to mean ‘having to do with the derivation of meaning from signs’; “signs” in this usage being ‘physical things deployed for the derivation of meaning by others’ — a string of phonemes, the character arrangements in written text, graphic symbols, etc. etc. The most common use of this terminology is in Saussurean linguistics, which defines a ‘sign’ as the relationship between a physical thing — “the signifier” — and the meaning inscribed to it by the culture in question — “the signified” — with the process linking the two referred to as “signification”.

    Thus ‘semiotic entropy’ would seem to reference something like what Baudrillard calls “the implosion of meaning in the media”: the more signifiers proliferate the less signification occurs, as the signifieds get detached crashing into one another in all the chaos. JB refers to a “bombardment” of signifiers, and overload “in which signs lose their meaning and subside into exhausted fascination.”

    Seeing that Saneff has worked on AI and human language algorithms for computer interfaces, I imagined she might know this terminology and that ‘semiotic entropy’ would be a very real practical problem for developing such algorithms, not just a matter of ‘out there’ philosophizing. Which made its use in reference to a link between glysophate and physiological illnesses all the more WTF. (It’s not just autism, but gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s.)

    BUT…

    After considerable Googling, I discovered a few folks in medical fields use “semiotic” as “of, relating to, or resembling the symptoms of disease; symptomatic.” So, there you go. And Saneff is second-listed author on the paper to one Anthony Samsel, so the terminology use may be his, not hers.

    Of course, I have to suggest this confusion of “semiotic entropy” is an example of semiotic entropy. : -)

  30. #30 MarkN
    December 31, 2014

    I can agree with the spurious correlation problem (s). But, as to the increase in prevalence of autism, I feel there is not enough support to say that what we are seeing in the U.S. is solely attributable to expanding diagnostic criteria & awareness reporting for the spectrum disorder. It is difficult to say as we don’t have good comparable baselines to draw from other countries.

  31. #31 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 31, 2014

    @Don A in Pennsyltucky

    Anyone who has made it through the number of degree programs at MIT as Dr. Seneff has, is quite capable of self-study in areas beyond those covered by her degrees.

    True enough. Dr. Seneff’s work should be judged on its merits, or lack thereof, regardless of her academic credentials or university affiliation.

    Mocking the lack of those credentials is boorish and adds nothing to the otherwise strong takedown.

    I didn’t read Orac’s comments quite like that, but more as a response to the many, many people who do include Dr. Seneff’s title and employer in the discussion, e.g. “MIT Scientist Exposes Consequence of Monsanto’s Glyphosate & Aluminum Cocktail”.

  32. #32 sadmar
    Workin in a data mine, goin' down down down
    December 31, 2014

    Having lived in Iowa in pre-GMO times — where every other commercial on local TV posed the query “You do you incorporate atrazine with your grass herbicide before planting?” — I would have to imagine glysophate exposure is much higher in farm states (where they spray the stuff over every acre of arable land) than it would be in largely industrial areas. So I checked to see if the CDC had any break-down of autism prevalence by state. They only assembled data from 11 states, and here’s the incidence of autism diagnoses in those states for the White-Non-Hispanic population:

    NJ 22.7
    UT 19.1
    NC 18.9
    AZ 18.8
    GA 18.2
    AK 17.6
    MD 16.8
    MO 13.7
    CO 11.3
    WI 10.5
    AL 06.2

    The more agricultural states states are toward the bottom and the more industrialized states toward the top, which I’d guess would hold even with reporting anomalies considered…

    So it must be the vaccines after all!
    : -)

  33. #33 JP
    December 31, 2014

    @Sadmar:

    Yeah, I’ve done some reading in semiotics – in fact, I think one of the essay questions I answered for my qualifying exams was on Yuri Lotman, although I’ve pretty much tried to just block that whole experience out. Maybe that’s why “exongenous semiotic entropy” was so immediately and extremely funny to me.

    There’s also a clue in the title of the “special issue” of the journal: Something something biosemiotic something something. “Biosemiotics” is evidently actually a thing. So just using “semiotic” seems like probably a mistake, maybe. Only it’s, you know, in the abstract of the article.

  34. #34 sadmar
    Waay Off Topic: Holiday Entertainment for the non-pious
    December 31, 2014

    Did anyone see the “Sexy Jesus” calendar?
    http://www.saxby-brothers.com/sexy-jesus-calendar58

    You have to read the captions. (I had to capture the page so I could get individual .jpgs, and enlarge them to make the faint text legible.)
    “Jesus Jesused all things, from people to fruits.”
    “Come to Jesus. Eat my fish.”
    “And on Easter Day, the Jesus laid an egg.”
    “The journey across the sea was long, so Mr. Jesus layeth himself down.”
    “Silence bush! You have no power over me.”
    And, of course:
    “Turn the other cheek.”

    The ‘Sexy Jesus’ calendar is a promo for the London branch of a big-time international ad agency with major clients. The US branch did the Budweiser Super Bowl ad with the dog and the horse, and this spot named by USA Today as Best Ad of The Year.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmkwb2KfLW8
    The Brits seem to be, uhh, cheekier… It’s interesting that they’re apparently not worried ‘Sexy Jesus’ will alienate corporate clients.

    ••• Only top shops in the ad biz get tapped for something like the Dick’s spot. The whole Treehouse might be able to retire comfortably on the budget for that :60 — A-list director, DP, editor, CGI work and art direction (they can’t spread shoots out over a year, so all change of seasons and weather are almost certainly fake; all the leaves on the ground in the Fall shots would have been put there, and then cleaned up for the Summer shots, etc.) The Sky-Cam track-in 4th of July shot is on screen just 2 seconds, but imagine the time/expense of storyboarding, set decoration, casting 30+ performers, camera rig and lighting set-up (the lighting in the whole thing… OMG…) •••

  35. #35 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    @sadmar:
    From what you’ve said, I can sort of see how “exogenous semiotic entropy” could mean something like “epigenetic transcription disruption”, which if I remember correctly is her hypothesized mechanism for why glyphosate causes pretty much everything anyone has ever experienced that we don’t have a cure for yet.

  36. #36 JP
    December 31, 2014

    @Mrs. Woo:

    I had a look through the “special issue” of Entropy where every other article has Seneff listed as an author; as far as she’s concerned, it still is the vaccines. It’s just everything else, too. Glyphosate! Aluminum! Tylenol! Sulfates!

    Re: psych. tests: I participate in a lot of studies in the Psychology Dept., for fun and profit. I often wind up a freakish outlier in them one way or another. I remember one where you had to pay really hard attention to do this sort of boring task, which off-and-on being distracted by TV clips of shows from the 90s. (I had to take a vocabularly test afterward, too, for some reason.) I overheard them talking about me while I was lost trying to get out; evidently one’s attention is supposed to flag, but mine started out high and kept getting higher, until I was scoring 100% by the end of the study.

    I always want to find out more about the studies, but when I ask to be notified of the results and give them my email, they never follow up. There’s this one study I’m especially curious about, where I basically got paid $50 to watch porn and spit in a tube on a couple occasions.

  37. #37 JP
    December 31, 2014

    , which off-and-on being distracted by TV clips of shows from the 90s.

    While being distracted by clips from shows. At the end of that particular study, I also remember saying that it was fun, and being told I was the only person who’d every said that.

  38. #38 Mrs Woo
    December 31, 2014

    I took one or two a few years ago and came back with a strong likelihood. I did a search and took one at Asperger’s test.net and it gave me a score of 40 with 32-50 being high likelihood of Asperger’s or ASD.

    @JP – he said I didn’t miss anything in the parts of the IQ test usually used on emergency intakes – they wouldn’t have been able to score me. Then on the rote memory/sustained attention I tested well below average which let them score me. I like to joke that I am either an idiot savant or a retarded genius.

    Sometimes I wish that I had the curiosity that I do now thirty years ago.

  39. #40 Orac
    December 31, 2014

    Anyone who has made it through the number of degree programs at MIT as Dr. Seneff has, is quite capable of self-study in areas beyond those covered by her degrees. Mocking the lack of those credentials is boorish and adds nothing to the otherwise strong takedown.

    Except that Dr. Seneff has demonstrated that she is not capable of self-study in areas beyond those of her expertise, making mockery of her forays into antivaccine and anti-GMO pseudoscience entirely appropriate.

    Think about it this way. I’m a physician and have a degree in cellular physiology, which, when you boil it down, was mostly molecular biology and biochemistry. There was a pretty good helping of epidemiology and biostatistics along the way. This gives me a background such that I can shift into areas like examining the claimed links between vaccines and autism by expanding upon and brushing up on what I already know.

    Now, imagine that I wanted to become an expert in computer science and artificial intelligence; i.e., Dr. Seneff’s areas of expertise. I do not have the necessary background to be able to learn the basics of what I need to know to move on to tackle advanced programs through self-study, nor would I even consider trying. If I really wanted to become an expert in computer science and AI, I would have to take some formal training in it, and I don’t mean University of Google or reading a couple of books. To become an expert in a field unrelated to one’s own takes a ton of study and effort. Why do you think that Seneff could teach herself the relevant epidemiology, biochemistry, immunology, and neuroscience to be looking at whether vaccines or GMOs are linked to autism? Do you have so little respect for the relevant fields of expertise that you think that someone like Seneff can just “pick it up” on her own?

    I don’t have so little respect for Seneff’s field. She shouldn’t have so little respect for mine.

  40. #41 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    Oh, that kind of semiotics. I read the wikipedia article on it once, or at least tried to, and came away with the impression it was just a really longwinded way of saying that symbols are useful because they represent stuff. Like “Godel, Escher, Bach,” except much less interesting to read.

  41. #42 Panacea
    December 31, 2014

    Well, the scary thing is when you start throwing around a lot of scientific language around lay people who don’t understand it, they assume that the author(s) MUST know what they are talking about! And a skeptic who is not well versed in the field might struggle to debunk it.

    I’m a nurse, not an epidemiologist. My understanding of chemistry is basic. So when I look at research in this area, I have to rely on things like meta analyses conducted by reputable organizations like the Cochrane Review or look at the credentials of the authors and try and determine how valid what I’m reading is. I can only go so far, though.

    This is the problem most of the public has and why it’s so hard to get them to understand what the results of the real scientific studies really mean, and why it’s so easy for the flim flam artists to get away with their BS.

    Some red flags in the very stupid study JP kindly linked to, though, ought to alert any reasonable person to the woo right away. For example, in Seneff’s article the first author, a Mr. Samsel, is listed as an “Independent Scientist,” which to me means a guy who uses his Google Fu to find stuff on the web he agrees with. Seneff’s credentials don’t inspire confidence because she’s writing about a topic outside of her field. It would be like me writing an article telling surgeons how to properly insert a chest tube: I’d be laughed out of the room and rightly so.

    But three paragraphs into this I find this gem: “The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans . . . ” Use of the inflammatory dogma told me all I needed to know right there. This is not a genuine scientific study, but a polemic.

    Then there’s this: “Our systematic search
    of the literature has led us to the realization that many of the health problems that appear to be
    associated with a Western diet could be explained by biological disruptions that have already been
    attributed to glyphosate.”

    So what the authors are doing is conducting a study to validate a conclusion they’ve already reached. JP was right . . . the comedy just never stops. And we’re still on the first page, in the Introduction!

    This paper contorts itself in so many ways . . . jumping to all kinds of conclusions with zero evidence . . . man if I can see it, I don’t get why the editors of this magazine couldn’t see it!

  42. #43 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    OT: If anybody knows the American Loons folks, Mary Stewart Relfe had been more than harmless since well before the entry went in.

  43. #44 JP
    December 31, 2014

    @justthestats:

    Semiotics is actually pretty interesting when applied to language. I myself get a little bit leery of the current fad of “reading” everything as a text, though. (Which is how people manage to apply semiotics to literally everything.) I’m a pretty weird, old-fashioned grad student, though. I mean, I write about poetry, for Chrissakes.

  44. #45 justthestats
    December 31, 2014

    You would think that even a computer scientist would realize to be meaningful the number of children served by IDEA and glyphosate number should be scaled per capita. Even better would be if they also only used the glyphosate numbers for corn and wheat intended for human consumption.

    Or maybe population growth is caused by Roundup!

  45. #46 Dangerous Bacon
    December 31, 2014

    It certainly doesn’t take doctorate degrees to write lucidly and intelligently about GMOs. Keith Kloor does a fine job on that and other topics relating to the environment, and he has no advanced degrees in science (though he does have a Masters in Environmental Policy from New Jersey Institute of Technology*).

    On the other hand you can have impressive-sounding science or medical degrees and be incredibly ignorant in unrelated science/medical fields, no matter what “self-study” you’ve done (I could name a neurosurgeon or three who fall into this category).

    *it should not be assumed that I mentioned NJIT only to rag Orac about their basketball team upsetting the University of Michigan earlier this season. 😉

  46. #47 herr doktor bimler
    December 31, 2014

    Semiotics is actually pretty interesting when applied to language. I myself get a little bit leery of the current fad of “reading” everything as a text, though

    Here’s the editor’s explanation from the special issue of “Entropy”:

    The simplest and most informative linguistic messages are the kind found in ordinary true narratives. Such valid messages ― laden with pragmatic information ― provide the limiting antithesis of biosemiotic entropy. Generalizing from linguistic to biological systems, and taking account of some of the countless ways any complex arrangement of symbols can be rendered senseless, the thesis to be explored in this special issue is that the corruption of biological messages from genetics upward to epigenetics, proteins, cells, tissues, and the organs of viable organisms ― which can be described as biosemiotic entropy ― is, unsurprisingly, the proximate cause of disorders, diseases, and mortality. We invite contributions ― pro, con, or offering any plausible alternative ― to the idea that corrupted biological messages account for (but, of course, are not limited to) anaphylaxis, preeclampsia, sudden death syndrome, immune disorders, autism, and so forth. Empirical and theoretical articles are invited exploring pathways by which toxins, disease agents, and their interactions, and/or injuries from microwave, electromagnetic, radiological, or other energy sources can be shown to increase biosemiotic entropy. Empirically grounded arguments showing how cascading series of effects lead to certain injuries, diseases, and/or known disorders are preferred.

    IOW pure bafflegab. Stealing terms from the linguistic realm where they have meanings, in order to lend that sense of rigour to one’s vague hand-wavy analogies. Scientific mantle-snatching.

    We talk about cellular messaging and intra-organism communications but these are metaphors (there are no little cellular intelligences exchanging texts or narratives); to take the metaphor seriously is the fast-track to Intelligent Design and creationism.

    Seneff does not say anything additional about her thesis by dressing it up in terms of ‘biosemiology’ or ‘communication disorders’ or ‘corrupted communications’… the goal is just to make it seem more sciency.

  47. #48 alison
    sitting in the shade cos it's too hot in the sun
    December 31, 2014

    The bit that startled me is that Dr Seneff appears to need the computer to help her understand biology: “So basically what I do is I read papers and I process them with the computer to help me understand them and interpret them and generalize and build a story. So it’s really a matter of studying. Mostly what I do now is study, and then write. Trying to understand biology.”
    (http://www.alternet.org/food/meet-controversial-mit-scientist-who-claims-have-discovered-cause-gluten-sensitivty?page=0%2C1)
    Personally I would want to make sure that I understood biology before soundng off about it…

  48. #49 Mrs Woo
    December 31, 2014

    @Panacea –

    I was thinking about all of this while making dinner for the son and extra sons (always have to wonder how that happened). I wonder if people saw the way snake oil salesmen used to sell their wares (often with a whole bunch of impressive sounding words that either ended up meaningless or misused, if not outright lying) if they might draw parallels between them and today’s supplement/etc. salespeople.

  49. #50 Krebiozen
    December 31, 2014

    search of databases of drug side effects using NLP techniques

    WTF? Is there some usage of NLP I am unaware of?

    BTW, I’m an aging glorified lab tech myself; there’s nothing wrong with that. The difference is I’m not claiming that I know better than experts in their fields of expertise.

  50. #51 First Officer
    December 31, 2014

    I guess by 2060 or so, 2 in 1 children will be autistic.

  51. #52 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    Now, imagine that I wanted to become an expert in computer science and artificial intelligence; i.e., Dr. Seneff’s areas of expertise.

    I’m afraid you’re overestimating her expertise in the latter, as well. TINA was just another attempt at syntax-begets-semantics natural language processing, i.e., a complete dog.

    Her main deal was speech recognition.

  52. #53 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    I guess by 2060 or so, 2 in 1 children will be autistic.

    Sometime in 2026, actually.

  53. #54 Jay Gordon
    December 31, 2014

    Happy New Year to you all!

    All My Best,

    Jay

  54. #55 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    Does anybody have an illustration of Father Time taking his scythe to Baby New Year?

  55. #56 brian
    December 31, 2014

    @Jay Gordon

    Now that Andrew Wakefield has abandoned his libel suit against Deer et al., I wonder if you have had any second thoughts about your statement that “Any thoughts I ever had about wavering in my support of Andrew Wakefield have dissolved.”

    Were the radio and TV appearances worth it, Jay?

  56. #57 herr doktor bimler
    December 31, 2014

    to be meaningful the number of children served by IDEA and glyphosate number should be scaled per capita

    It’s never going to be meaningful because “the number of children served by IDEA” is necessarily 0 prior to the Act’s passage in 1990; it is not a meaningful proxy of actual autism incidence.

    When Seneff’s glyphosate thesis and her ‘evidence’ both lead to the conclusion that autism did not exist before 1990, you’d think she would reconsider.

  57. #58 Eric Lund
    December 31, 2014

    She received the B.S. degree in Biophysics in 1968

    There is a problem with that claim: there is no such department or program at MIT, and never has been. Her undergraduate degree turns out to have been in biology, not biophysics. Her other claimed degrees are accurately identified.

    Also, “senior research scientist” is usually a 100% soft money position. (MIT is not the only university with such positions.) Where is she getting funding to do this so-called research? Or has she “gone emeritus”? (If she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1968, she would be about 68 now, give or take a couple of years.)

    As for that poster upthread who mentioned “self-study”: I’d be more sympathetic to that notion if there were any evidence that she had actually done some self-study. But she is making undergraduate level mistakes in statistics, such as conflating correlation with causation. Not to mention extrapolating an exponential trend indefinitely, something which, as the old saying goes, only idiots and economists do. Seneff, to my knowledge, makes no claim to being an economist.

  58. #59 Narad
    December 31, 2014

    It’s never going to be meaningful because “the number of children served by IDEA” is necessarily 0 prior to the Act’s passage in 1990; it is not a meaningful proxy of actual autism incidence.

    It’s better than drawing a line and a question mark on the Weintraub figure.

  59. #60 MarkN
    December 31, 2014

    @ Sandmar #32 (& Orac, or anyone else for comment)

    Here’s how the overall picture looked to me from the 2013 CDC/NHSR study. Not broken down by state, nor relating to GMO conspiracy or any other quacknuttery. I believe they did an overall review between two periods to observe the effects of awareness reporting (the narrative is my wording in order to simplify the report for others in a genetics & cell-molecular discussion, but I figured some might like some stats):

    Comparing ages 2-13 for 2007 (1.16%, 1 in 86, s=91,642), to ages 6-17 for 2011-2012 (2.00%, 1 in 50, s=95,677), significance in increase attributes to males only, in diagnosis in 6-9 yrs and increased ASD awareness in ages 10-17 for mild case diagnosis after 2008; severe cases actually decreased (as pro-rata) 16.9% to 6.9% (cited). More than likely, that severe count holds steady at about 14% for the overall spectrum, did not actually decrease in true cases, and is more a reflection of increased awareness reporting for mild spectrum.

    However, arguing 1 in 86 or 1 in 50 seems like splitting hairs compared to something like 1 to 10 in 1,000 in other countries. Notably, Great Britain showed an increase in pervasive developmental disorders 1988-2001 in the order of 0.11 to 2.98 per 10,000 person-years, before vaccine introduction, and determined the increase was classification based by changes in diagnostic practice. Unfortunately as the ASD classification changes and broadens (maybe as it probably should have been in the first place), getting a comparable epidemiological baseline between countries becomes more difficult.

    (cited report from CDC/NHSR — Blumberg SJ, et al. 2013. Changes in prevalence of parent-reported autism spectrum disorder in school-aged U.S. children: 2007 to 2011-2012. Natl Health Stat Rpts 65:1-9.)

    Overall, I feel the evidence-based method is showing us 1 in 50 regardless of arguing causation. From the standpoint of providing primary care (or even specialized care), autism is a reality, and we may be seeing more than just increased awareness reporting, but that we can’t really effectively compare this to other countries. I argued genetic predisposition and that we don’t have a full understanding.

    I would offer that there is a value in developing artificial intelligent systems to run genetic algorithms. MIT can certainly play an effective role in medical science here. Granted, if all we get (as Orac points out) is predetermined bias and conspiracy, it won’t help us actually solve the problem.

    But, maybe in the favor of science — what would probably happen, if the AI modeling goes to true genetic algorithm, is that it will show the genome dysfunction that relate to the prenatal exposure window, the mutations relating to parents at conception, or some other mechanism that we hadn’t thought of.

  60. #61 Chadwick Jones
    December 31, 2014

    Well… I guess there’s always vinegar and blue dawn, because, ya know– they’re natural, or something.

  61. #62 DLC
    somewhere close to 2015
    December 31, 2014

    Well, you need to remember that there is also a positive correlation between Global Warming and Autism prevalence, and a negative correlation between the number of pirates as autism prevalence. But perhaps I need to research more.

  62. #63 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 31, 2014

    @Jay Gordon – and a happy and healthy new year to you and yours.

  63. #64 sadmar
    There's semiotic entropy, and then there's semiotic 'terrorism'
    December 31, 2014

    @ Orac, # 39

    Actually you haven’t written about semiotics, you’ve written about Lionel Milgrom. Funny, I was composing a long (you’re shocked) comment I didn’t send (you’re welcome) on an earlier thread, and in my wanderings addressed the misunderstandings of certain terms from the Humanities that skeptics tend to have due to those terms being appropriated by quack-slingers. I had written:

    No, [term X] is not what the quacks say it is. It’s yet another concept they’ve stolen from perfectly reputable social theorists and twisted into utter bullsh!t for their own nefarious ends, just like they steal and twist the language of legitimate medicine.

    And I was thinking EXACTLY of Lionel Milgrom, though I’d repressed his name and hadn’t bothered to look it up. And, IIRC, it wasn’t his mangling of “semiotics” that had caused my agita, but (natch) “postmodernism.”

    So let me state unequivocally: Lionel Milgrom is talking out of his ass. Whatever he says something means is NOT what it actually means to anyone outside his little land of homeopathic caca. It kind of resembles ‘the real thing’ enough sometimes to fool a noob or a fool in the field, but to any respectable scholar of that stuff, it’s laughable — to the point of sad tears, as apparently some people are getting very wrong ideas about the Humanities from this philosophical quack. I would like to put that asshole in a room with… I dunno, [fill in the blank with something even beyond Narad 🙂 ].

    Milgrom is a semiotic ‘terrorist’, setting meaning-destroying bombs in the discourses thinkers use trying to explain how meaning is produced and used in the world, and thus also a semiotics terrorist, since ‘semiotics’ is one of those discourses.

    Semiotic analysis affords a geometrical description of this entangled state as a patient-centered chiral tetrahedron. Reflecting this state in a practitioner-derived mirror-like “therapeutic state space” generates two notional patient-centered chiral tetrahedra: into one polyhedron called a stella octangula or stellated octahedron; in essence, a 3-dimensional Star of David. The practitioner helps in forming these notional semiotic polyhedra, but the patient is at their epicenters.

    “Wow. Just wow” Exponentially.That passage is even MORE BS than Orac thinks it is. Substitute any sbm term of your choice for “semiotic” in that passage — ‘epidemiological’ or ‘biochemical’ say — and it would make more sense than it does as semiotics. On their best days, a tag team of Baudrillard and Alan Sokol couldn’t have come up with that as parody.* But Milgrom’s apparently offering it straight.

    [As far as I can tell, which isn’t far, that Sergio Stagnaro dude’s “Biophysical Semeiotics” may just reference ‘relating to the symptoms of disease’. There may even be some etymological justification in that, witnessed by the excess ‘e’ after the ‘m’, as the root Greek word is “sēmeiōtikós” which translates roughly as ‘significant’.]

    Anyway, I feel responsible to attempt a little straightening out of what Milgrom has scatterd willy-nilly… But I’ll have to save that, as there was a wind storm here yesterday that shattered one of my living room windows, letting all the heat escape out the opening, and the pilot light in my furnace keeps blowing out from wind coming down the vent, and I gotta go do something about that so i don’t get hypothermia overnight…

    Happy New Year, all.

    ————–
    * Lest ye be confused by the reference to parody in regard to Baudrillard: JB is pulling at least one of the reader’s legs almost all of the time .He was doing a kind of ‘performance art’ riff on ‘theory’ to piss-off the poo-bahs in the field. He had a declasse background, had come up the hard way in academia, had a low status in the elite French intellectual circles, so he’d twit as many of their noses as possible at every opportunity His stuff has a very ‘meta-‘ component: there a certain purposeful and intentional mindfuckery in the way the component theses in any essay spin out of control and crash into one another. That is, the ‘senselessness’ makes sense, in a way…

  64. #65 DLC
    December 31, 2014

    Oh, and Happy New Year !

  65. #66 sadmar
    ARRRGH! Where's me parrot!
    December 31, 2014

    “A negative correlation between the number of pirates and autism prevalence.”

    Nope. Bit-torrent.

  66. #67 DLC
    Sailing the Wide Accountant Sea.
    January 1, 2015

    sadmar @65 :
    Well, between bit torrent and Wall Street, there’s always been a background noise of pirating.
    gyaaaar!

  67. #68 Chris Hickie
    January 1, 2015

    @Orac #40–are you not a box of blinky lights and therefore already an expert in computer science?

  68. #69 bob J.
    San jose, CA
    January 1, 2015

    a two hour talk by Dr. Seneff at AutismOne congruence. (I only made it two minutes in.)

  69. #70 Militant Agnostic
    January 1, 2015

    Could someone explain WTF “Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker” is supposed to mean?

    I can figure out Homologous and Recombinaltion is probably just a typo of Recombination, but what in name of Cthulu is “Tiniker”?

  70. #71 Narad
    January 1, 2015

    Could someone explain WTF “Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker” is supposed to mean?

    See the ERV summary.

  71. #72 Scottynuke
    January 1, 2015

    @ Narad #55 —

    Would this do?

    http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2014-12-30

    Happy New Year! 😀

  72. #73 kilnon
    January 1, 2015

    If the cause of autism cannot be precisely pinpointed because of the concidence factor, then it may be impossible to draw the connection between autism and its cause because it leaves room for doubt. So much for the reliability of the scientific method. Can you people, at least, try to see what’s going on or use some alien detection method or something.

  73. #74 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 1, 2015

    @Chris Hickie,

    are you not a box of blinky lights and therefore already an expert in computer science?

    Being a boxy of blinky lights no more makes one an expert at computer science than having a human brain makes one an expert on psychology or having a body makes one an expert on physiology. And some of the least competent veterinarians I’ve ever encountered were cows.

  74. #75 Peter Olins
    Colorado
    January 1, 2015

    Seneff has also jumped on the anti-gluten bandwagon, with the bizarre claim that glyphosate in the main cause of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. You have to admire the chutzpah.
    http://ultimateglutenfree.com/2014/02/does-glyphosate-cause-celiac-disease-actually-no/

  75. #76 Krebiozen
    January 1, 2015

    kilnon,

    If the cause of autism cannot be precisely pinpointed because of the concidence factor, then it may be impossible to draw the connection between autism and its cause because it leaves room for doubt. So much for the reliability of the scientific method.

    I’m not sure if you are joking, or if you simply don’t understand how science works. Orac is criticizing Seneff for drawing conclusions from correlations without any attempt to control for confounding factors, or anything else. Science does have a few other tricks up its many sleeves to find the causes of autism.

    Can you people, at least, try to see what’s going on or use some alien detection method or something.

    Are you are suggesting that someone do some research on the causes of autism? Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

    As for reverse-engineered alien technology for investigating the etiology of autism, that doesn’t officially exist so I advise you not to mention it, especially not here. Lord Draconis gets cranky.

  76. #77 herr doktor bimler
    January 1, 2015

    If the cause of autism cannot be precisely pinpointed because of the concidence factor, then it may be impossible to draw the connection between autism and its cause because it leaves room for doubt. So much for the reliability of the scientific method.

    Red herring, meet straw man… but I see you two have already been introduced.

  77. #78 lilady
    January 1, 2015

    Too bad that no one has looked into the genetic causes of autism (de novo gene mutations and chromosomal anomalies)…oh wait:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=autism+denovo+gene+mutations+chromosomal+anomalies

    P.S. Happy New Year to Orac and minions.

  78. #79 Kilnon
    January 1, 2015

    lilady wrote:

    [Too bad that no one has looked into the genetic causes of autism (de novo gene mutations and chromosomal anomalies)…oh wait:]

    The genetic link seems very strong. It’s hard to attribute it to a mere coincidence. Although vaccines and glyphasate, for instance, can act as environmental triggers that set off autism gene(s).

    herr doktor bimler wrote:

    [As for reverse-engineered alien technology for investigating the etiology of autism, that doesn’t officially exist so I advise you not to mention it, especially not here. Lord Draconis gets cranky.]

    You are allowed to make references to science fiction on science blogs.

  79. #80 Militant Agnostic
    January 1, 2015

    A walk in the great Gazoogle in search of Tiniker turns up blog posts ridiculing Helen Ratajczak, meme generators and people with the first name or surname of Tiniker. I am left with the conclusion that this is a either a neologism pulled from the author’s ass or a massive typo beyond the ability of auto-correct or experts in the field to decipher.

  80. #81 Denice Walter
    January 1, 2015

    Happy new year indeed.

    Here’s to ridiculing prevaricating woo-pushers, mercenary poseurs and investigative reporters who muck up cyberspace disseminating bs.

    Orac and his minions – always on the watch.
    We rule.

  81. #82 Narad
    January 1, 2015

    Anyway, regarding the IDEA data, I briefly started writing up a Seneff takedown a few months ago. One item left over is this plot, which should be correctly scaled by population on the right axis (although I’d have to double-check; the data were taken directly from the reports, not read off of one of Seneff’s graphs).

  82. #83 Narad
    January 1, 2015

    ^ “the data for the left axis were taken directly”

  83. #84 kilnon
    January 1, 2015

    Even if the cause of autism is genetic, the mutations can occur as a result of environmental triggers such as vaccines. And in the case of hereditory autism, the autism gene(s) expression can occur due these triggers as well. There is also this possibility…no worries…you can lead productive lives with autism.

  84. #85 Chris
    January 1, 2015

    Kilnon: ” the mutations can occur as a result of environmental triggers such as vaccines.”

    Citation needed. Also provide evidence that the vaccines as an “environment trigger” are worse than the actual disease pathogens, which are truly part of the environment.

  85. #86 herr doktor bimler
    January 1, 2015

    A walk in the great Gazoogle in search of Tiniker turns up blog posts ridiculing Helen Ratajczak

    The creator of the neologism was not Ratajczak herself, but Sharyl Attkisson pimping her story.
    That was before Attkisson left CBC, complaining that she was the victim of a vaccination / Benghazi conspiracy to undermine her credibility.

  86. #87 brian
    January 1, 2015

    @kilnon

    There’s nothing in your post that couldn’t be fixed by reading some introductory texts on genetics and developmental biology.

  87. #88 herr doktor bimler
    January 1, 2015

    the mutations can occur as a result of environmental triggers such as vaccine
    Thank you for this novel and challenging insight into the mechanisms of mutagenicity.

  88. #89 Badly Shaved Monkey
    January 1, 2015

    Being a boxy of blinky lights no more makes one an expert at computer science than having a human brain makes one an expert on psychology or having a body makes one an expert on physiology. And some of the least competent veterinarians I’ve ever encountered were cows.

    Made me smile.

  89. #90 lilady
    January 1, 2015

    Kilnon: ” the mutations can occur as a result of environmental triggers such as vaccines.

    Just as “valid” as my theory that the increase in ASD diagnoses is caused by the increase in disposable diapers use (for newborns up until the time the children are toilet trained).

  90. #91 sirhcton
    in a shiny new year
    January 1, 2015

    Apparently Ms. Seneff lacks reading comprehension; the admission page to the VAERS database (https://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index) includes a statement saying the user has read and understood it before going on to the database. The short version: don’t use the database for research – the reports have not been checked and any idiot can make one.

  91. #93 Panacea
    January 1, 2015

    @kilnon

    You said, “The genetic link seems very strong. It’s hard to attribute it to a mere coincidence. Although vaccines and glyphasate, for instance, can act as environmental triggers that set off autism gene(s).”

    What evidence do you have that vaccines or glyphasate do any such thing? In the case of vaccines there is a large body of evidence that shows this does NOT happen.

    In the case of glyphasate there is no evidence I am aware of that does. Dr. Seneff’s papers don’t actually provide any evidence of such a link; merely speculation that one may exist. She’s done no actual research to prove any of her claims.

  92. #94 kilnon
    January 1, 2015

    Establishing a real link between autism and any of those possibilities is the most challenging undertaking because the available evidence can be the evidence for something else, thus connecting evidence with the phenomenon may also be very difficult. There is also cause and effect in combination with a pattern to mess around with. And don’t forget to take into account the coincidence factor.

    If it keeps going on like this, there’ll be no end to this dillema.
    What a bunch of abusers

  93. #95 Chris
    January 1, 2015

    kilnon: “What a bunch of abusers”

    How is asking you for a citation for a claim you made “abuse”? Is asking you for the relative environment risk between vaccines and the diseases also abusive?

    kilnon, there is one thing that is said in the special ed. programs where my son went to school: “If you meet one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.”

    This reflects the great deal diversity among that population. It is most likely like cancer, there is no one disorder with one cause.

    For instance: my son also has a genetic heart disorder. When he was tested there were eighteen known genetic sequenced identified as causes. His genetic screening failed to find any of them. Now, his heart has a the physical anomaly, but whatever caused it has not been found.

    Autism is more diverse than that one heart condition, so it will be much more difficult to find all of the vast reasons.

  94. #96 Marjorie
    https://zogomedical.com
    January 1, 2015

    Autistic is a big problem in a human life.
    Just a little different from normal people, people with disabilities, but they are not lagging behind in any part of the normal human being.
    If you get a chance to say, people with disabilities can do much better, and we can not figure out.
    In such stimulating us really need to post more.
    Your article is very nice, the future of such stimulating looking forward to more posts from you.

  95. #97 Kilnon
    January 1, 2015

    What’s really important here is to find out if there is a connection between vaccines and autism. The cause of autism is obviously genetic, and doubting it just for the sake of argument is stupid. People can play this game just to be an asshole. One way to confirm this connection is to look for a pattern. Since there is cause and effect, then not long after administering a vaccine, the child should exhibit signs of autism. And this is precisely what many people report. If you ingest poisonous food, for example, and start exhibiting signs of food poisoning, then the food poisoning occurred as a result of ingesting poisonous food. There is no reason to believe that this issue should be more complicated than that. And considering the fact that autism is a genetic condition, the gene gets set off by the chemicals in the vaccine. The same can occur as a result of ingesting other chemicals in the food and even due to the exposure to chemicals in diapers. The evidence that exonerates vaccines simply means that not all people with genetic predisposition towards autism will develop this condition after receiving vaccines or exposure to toxic chemicals.

  96. #98 Lisa Bloomquist
    Lakewood, Colorado
    January 1, 2015

    “In any case, glyphosate’s been widely used for decades and inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), which catalyzes the reaction of shikimate-3-phosphate (S3P) and phosphoenolpyruvate to form 5-enolpyruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate (ESP). Because EPSPS is found only in plants and microorganisms, theoretically glyphosate shouldn’t have any major effects in humans.”

    Are you going to be another one of the idiots that completely neglects to recognize the importance of the microbiome? How many articles about the importance of the microbiome, and its connection to all the chronic diseases of modernity, including autism, need to come out before people stop saying idiotic things about drugs and other chemical toxins “not affecting humans” when they only affect bacteria? And did you forget that mitochondria are ancient bacteria? Did you even think about looking at them?

    Dr. Seneff’s argument is that autism is a 1-2 punch of microbiome obliteration followed by the introduction of neurotoxins. In case you missed the memo, a healthy microbiome is necessary for a healthy blood-brain barrier.

    What is the point of denying all potential causes of autism? Do you not want to get to the bottom of this devastating set of disorders?

    I hate shills. I probably hate you.

  97. #99 Vicki
    January 1, 2015

    Kilnon,

    What you apparently don’t know is that people have made many efforts to figure out whether there is a connection between vaccination and autism. Result: there isn’t.

    If you’re trying to figure out if something is true, you shouldn’t be looking for a pattern “to confirm this connection.” You should look for evidence that ti’s false. A good scientist isn’t a prosecuting attorney who needs to convince a jury, regardless of the facts; they want to know what’s actually true. False beliefs can lead to huge wastes of time and energy, if not worse: thinking vaccines are dangerous when they aren’t costs lives.

    If I eat potato salad, ham, and roast onions with cheese, and get sick, you don’t know that there was anything wrong with the potato salad. Maybe it was the ham. Maybe it was the onions. If I now tell you that was my dinner on December 1, and I just got sick today, you would conclude that none of those foods poisoned me. You might even ask whether I had been exposed to norovirus, rather than clinging to your food poisoning hypothesis.

    That’s the kind of connection people are claiming between vaccines and autism. (At best. Sometimes the vaccine was given after the child started showing signs of autism.)

  98. #100 Chris
    January 1, 2015

    Kilnon: “What’s really important here is to find out if there is a connection between vaccines and autism.”

    Why? Especially since there have been so many studies that have already shown no relationship between vaccine and autism (see Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence).

    And you also miss one very important bit: if a “vaccine” can be some kind of “environmental impact”, why would it be less than the actual disease. Think about: the disease causes stronger reactions than any vaccine. While you may get a tiny bit feverish after an MMR vaccine, that is much less than spending over a week with a high fever and rash.

    “And considering the fact that autism is a genetic condition, the gene gets set off by the chemicals in the vaccine.”

    Explain how this can be done. How does a vaccine change the genetics of every single cell in the body?

    By the way, rubella is one known cause of autism. It happens when a pregnant woman becomes infected and the disease causes changes in fetal development. This happens when there are lots fewer cells in the child and they getting lots of signals to change their makeup.

    “The same can occur as a result of ingesting other chemicals in the food and even due to the exposure to chemicals in diapers.”

    You really need explain how this can be done and provide supporting scientific citations to support that explanation. Because it kind of is counter to what is known in biology and genetics.

  99. #101 lilady
    January 1, 2015

    How about linking to studies, which use the scientific method, that prove vaccines cause autism, Kilnon?

  100. […] al diverse stukken over deze en andere ideeën van Seneff geschreven en zijn kritiek is niet mals. Zijn blog van oudjaarsdag sluit als volgt af (links toegevoegd door […]

  101. #103 Chris
    January 2, 2015

    Ms. Bloomquist: “What is the point of denying all potential causes of autism? Do you not want to get to the bottom of this devastating set of disorders?”

    Where is that stated? What part of Seneff’s analysis gives you confidence that she is on to something other than a wonky graph?

    Which particular flavor of autism do you find devastating? Does it include those who are high functioning, or just the small percentage that are non-communicative? Do you differentiate between those who cannot speak but can type a coherent narrative (like my son) and those who can neither speak nor type independently? Do you have an IQ cutoff? Because without you acknowledging the diversity of the diagnosis I doubt how much you actually know and understand it.

    Please do share your particular definition of which version of autism is devastating. Because, as I said: you meet one person with autism, you have met just one… not all of them.

  102. #104 Narad
    January 2, 2015

    Dr. Seneff’s argument is that autism is a 1-2 punch of microbiome obliteration followed by the introduction of neurotoxins.

    And, like her “1 in 2 by 2025” “prediction,” it’s all handwaving.

    By all freaking means, demonstrate where she has said anything whatever that is specific enough to explain what “1-2 punch of microbiome obliteration” is supposed to mean on anything resembling a meaningfully explanatory fashion.

    Sheesh, if you’re going to lay it out like that, there’s no reason even to go looking for the nonexistent publications that meet the description. It must be some sort of oral tradition into which you have admitted, so you should be able to provide the explanation yourself.

  103. #105 Narad
    January 2, 2015

    ^ Eh, screw the fixes, I’ll just highlight sentences 2 and 4 and tape them to the bathroom mirror.

  104. #106 brian
    January 2, 2015

    Lisa Bloomquist noted on line that “there are worse things in the world than what my vagina went through.” That illuminating revelation on the Hormones Matter site might help those of us who have never heard of her to understand her a bit better, although its not clear how she got from there to here excepting that she suggests that fluoroquinolone antibiotics somehow cause autism, despite that their prescription is contraindicated during pregnancy.

  105. #107 Beverly
    WA
    January 2, 2015

    Who is the author of this article?

  106. #108 lilady
    January 2, 2015

    Lisa Bloomquist is quite an expert on multiple medical topics, including vaccines and their link to the onset of autism:

    http://www.collective-evolution.com/author/floxiehope/

  107. #109 Narad
    January 2, 2015

    Lisa Bloomquist is quite an expert on multiple medical topics

    At least she’s scrupulous about evidentially grounding things before launching into incoherent screeds.

    rather than going further with a list with terms such as “topoisomerase interrupter” and “tubulin assembly,” I’ll point you toward this video

  108. #110 ChrisP
    January 2, 2015

    Who is the author of this article?

    One of the worst kept secrets on the internet Beverly. A hint, click on the link in the byline at the top of the page.

  109. #111 ChrisP
    January 2, 2015

    rather than going further with a list with terms such as “topoisomerase interrupter” and “tubulin assembly,” I’ll point you toward this video.

    I was really disappointed in this. I really wanted to read Lisa’s take on tubulin assembly, a topic that I have a lot of interest in given I play around with microtubule inhibitors.

    It could have been fascinating.

  110. #112 herr doktor bimler
    January 2, 2015

    Who is the author of this article?

    Who was the author of this comment?

  111. #113 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    Vicki wrote:

    [What you apparently don’t know is that people have made many efforts to figure out whether there is a connection between vaccination and autism. Result: there isn’t.]
    ____________________

    It’s because these people used the multiple interpretation method in order to be able to determine what’s going on. Multiple interpretation method leaves you with disconnected pieces of information, which to those people seem impossible to connect. Perhaps, these people should consider a different approach which will show them exactly what’s going on.

    From what I was able to gather on this blog, TOXINS of different kinds, whether it is the toxins in vaccines, diapers or food, or any other environmental toxins, can potentially set off autism in, at least, some people with the genetic predispostion. The evidence for that would be people’s reports of the observed by them pattern, which is not long after receiving a vaccine, a person starts exhibiting signs of autism…And vaccines do contain toxins. That’s a fact… Please note that this link is apparent to some people…

    If you’re desperately trying to vindicate a crime against humanity such as turning humans into autistic people, if you choose to look it that way, then the multiple interpretation approach is certainly your friend because it allows you to manipulate these disconnected pieces of information in your favor, and leave people with no definitive answers, thus keeping them in suspension, which only creates a reason for a never-ending debate.

    It’s also useful to remember that there is no need to open yourself up to certain possibilities.

  112. #114 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    If you use the multiple interpretation method in order to be able to see what’s going on with the coincidence factor, you’ll end up with disconnected pieces of information that will be difficult, if not impossible, to connect because you can always attribute the link between the cause and effect to coincidence. Therefore this:

    Vicki wrote:

    What you apparently don’t know is that people have made many efforts to figure out whether there is a connection between vaccination and autism. Result: there isn’t.What you apparently don’t know is that people have made many efforts to figure out whether there is a connection between vaccination and autism. Result: there isn’t.

  113. #115 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    January 2, 2015

    Re: “Coincidence factor”

    Inventing scientific terms now, are we?

  114. #116 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    @99

    [You should look for evidence that ti’s false.]

    And what evidence would that be, in either direction, whether you’re trying to prove that something is true or untrue? Do you even know yourself what kind of evidence would make you know with absolute certainty that there is or there is no connection between vaccines and autism? Plus, you do not really need to so desperately defend a certain position because you’ll fail to see really going on. But then again, you may not be after the truth, and in fact are after profit or have some agenda behind it or ulterior motives to cover up what could be considered a crime against humanity. Then this would explain why you want this connection to be proven false.

    @100

    [That’s the kind of connection people are claiming between vaccines and autism. (At best. Sometimes the vaccine was given after the child started showing signs of autism.)]

    This means that the child was either already born or developed autism before a vaccine was administered, in which case vaccine’s toxicity wouldn’t matter in terms of setting off autism.

    @99
    [If I eat potato salad, ham, and roast onions with cheese, and get sick, you don’t know that there was anything wrong with the potato salad. Maybe it was the ham. Maybe it was the onions.]

    You can test all the foods you’ve ingested to see, which one exhibits high levels of toxicity….. Vaccines show high levels of toxicity, high enough to set off autism among many other health issues. There is no reason to believe or assume that human biology can perfectly withstand toxins. There is also a link between toxic chemicals and cancer…But this is another matter, which should probably be taken into account as well when administering vaccines.

  115. #117 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    January 2, 2015

    “You can test all the foods you’ve ingested to see, which one exhibits high levels of toxicity….. Vaccines show high levels of toxicity, high enough to set off autism among many other health issues.

    That word, toxicity – you’re not using it right. I suggest you try again.

  116. #118 Krebiozen
    January 2, 2015

    Kilnon,

    [You should look for evidence that ti’s false.]
    And what evidence would that be, in either direction, whether you’re trying to prove that something is true or untrue?

    An association does not necessarily imply causation, but a lack of association, as we see in numerous studies looking at vaccination and autism, argues strongly against causation.

    Do you even know yourself what kind of evidence would make you know with absolute certainty that there is or there is no connection between vaccines and autism?

    Science doesn’t generally deal with absolute certainty, but if there was a connection, we would expect it to show up in the large epidemiological studies that have found no associations at all. We would also expect to find some sort of plausible mechanism. As it is, the things we know for certain cause autism, rubella and the use of drugs like valproate during pregnancy strongly suggest that autism develops during pregnancy, and only becomes noticeable later.

    Plus, you do not really need to so desperately defend a certain position because you’ll fail to see really going on.

    The only people I see desperately defending a position here are those who insist that vaccines cause autism when the evidence strongly suggests they do not.

    But then again, you may not be after the truth, and in fact are after profit or have some agenda behind it or ulterior motives to cover up what could be considered a crime against humanity. Then this would explain why you want this connection to be proven false.

    It’s not a matter of wanting it to be false, it’s a matter of it not being plausible, and the evidence not supporting it. Why are you so desperate for it to be true, when you have no reason to believe it is? Don’t you need some strong evidence before you accuse people of “crimes against humanity”? You appear to have none.

    [That’s the kind of connection people are claiming between vaccines and autism. (At best. Sometimes the vaccine was given after the child started showing signs of autism.)]
    This means that the child was either already born or developed autism before a vaccine was administered, in which case vaccine’s toxicity wouldn’t matter in terms of setting off autism.

    Autism often starts becoming noticeable at around 18 months, which is when a number of vaccines are given, so we can expect some children to start showing signs of autism after vaccination, purely by chance. In the autism omnibus cases, which were supposed to be the cases with the strongest evidence for vaccines causing autism, on close examination these children were found to have been showing signs of autism before vaccination.

    Vaccines show high levels of toxicity, high enough to set off autism among many other health issues.

    What do you mean by, “high levels of toxicity”? What toxins do vaccines contain at levels that could possibly cause autism or any health issues?

    There is no reason to believe or assume that human biology can perfectly withstand toxins.

    Which specific toxins did you have in mind? Aluminum, which we are constantly exposed to in air, water and food and which we excrete without any problems? Formaldehyde, which we produce and eliminate constantly in far larger amounts than is present in any vaccine? Mercury, which is present in a very few vaccines in lower amounts and in a less toxic form than in a tuna sandwich? The amounts of these toxins in vaccines is minuscule, far too little to cause health problems.

    There is also a link between toxic chemicals and cancer…But this is another matter, which should probably be taken into account as well when administering vaccines.

    What carcinogens are present in vaccines at levels that could possibly cause cancer? Please don’t say formaldehyde; an apple contains ten times more formaldehyde than any vaccine.

  117. #119 MarkN
    January 2, 2015

    When anyone tosses around the word toxins, water & oxygen themselves can be toxic. When you have meta-analysis that takes that big picture look with large sample sizes, and have that done multiple times by different studies, that’s enough.

    Science should move on and not continue to waste resources on this pointless debate.

  118. #120 Spectator
    January 2, 2015

    Re: Kilnon at about #97

    “What’s really important here is to find out if there is a connection between vaccines and autism. ”

    No, far more urgent is to investigate the obvious connection between autism and Pirates.

  119. #121 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    @118

    “An association does not necessarily imply causation, but a lack of association, as we see in numerous studies looking at vaccination and autism, argues strongly against causation.”

    The reason why some studies show no causation between vaccination and autism is because vaccination does not necessarily trigger or can trigger the autism gene(s) in everyone genetically predisposed to it. You might have genetic predisposition towards all sorts of diseases but it doesn’t mean that you’ll develop them as a result of environmental stressors, such as toxins in vaccines. Thus, a lack of association is not a guarantee of the absense of causation under other circumstances.

    [The only people I see desperately defending a position here are those who insist that vaccines cause autism when the evidence strongly suggests they do not.]

    What evidence strongly suggests that vaccines do not, at least, trigger genetic autism? I’d like to see that. And can this evidence be linked to the lack of causation? I am not sure if autism can be developed from scratch in a person with no autism encoded in their DNA since it’s a very complex disorder with several variations, which MUST have been subjected to, at least , thousands of years of natural selection followed by genetic mutations.

  120. #122 Lawrence
    January 2, 2015

    @Kilnon – all of those studies that show that vaccine uptake isn’t related to the onset of autism or other conditions (like asthma & auto-immune conditions, or diabetes).

    That’s why we can state that vaccines aren’t a cause.

  121. #123 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    January 2, 2015

    …and yet the studies, which have involved MILLIONS of children, cannot find a single link which suggests that receiving vaccines is in any way, shape or form associated with autism.

  122. #124 KayMarie
    January 2, 2015

    Don A in Pennsyltucky wrote
    “Anyone who has made it through the number of degree programs at MIT as Dr. Seneff has, is quite capable of self-study in areas beyond those covered by her degrees. Mocking the lack of those credentials is boorish and adds nothing to the otherwise strong takedown.”

    Sure, there are people who are polymaths and can master multiple fields and contribute usefully to all the areas of study they undertake. These are very few and far between and getting a degree doesn’t seem to help figure out who is a true multidisciplinary genius and who has an ego far bigger than their abilities.

    Historically most cranks, crackpots, gadflies and deniers have a degree in something other than the field they decided needed their unique perspective that somehow eluded those who have spent their life studying that field and have read the full depth and breadth of the literature.

    If anything, sometimes the skills needed to get a Ph.D. also make one even more prone to the self-delusions that every human brain is prone to. Hopefully one learns along the way that one is not infallible and learns the humility needed to listen to the data rather than impose one’s brain farts upon it.

  123. #125 Lawrence
    January 2, 2015

    I would never ask an immunologist or epidemiologist to design a voice-recognition program or a rocket, just like I would never ask a computer scientist to speak about GMOs.

  124. #126 Krebiozen
    January 2, 2015

    Kilnon,

    The reason why some studies show no causation between vaccination and autism is because vaccination does not necessarily trigger or can trigger the autism gene(s) in everyone genetically predisposed to it.

    Studies looking at literally millions of children show no more cases of autism in those vaccinated than those not vaccinated. This rules out vaccines causing autism in anything but a tiny number of hypothetical children with a genetic predisposition. For example, Madsen’s 2002 study of MMR and autism in over half a million children in Denmark found a lower (though statistically insignificant) incidence of autism and other ASDs in vaccinated as compared to unvaccinated children. How is this possible if a significant number of those children had their autism triggered by MMR?

    You might have genetic predisposition towards all sorts of diseases but it doesn’t mean that you’ll develop them as a result of environmental stressors, such as toxins in vaccines. Thus, a lack of association is not a guarantee of the absense of causation under other circumstances.

    What “other circumstances”? If there is no difference in autism incidence whether children are or are not vaccinated, what are you worried about?

    What evidence strongly suggests that vaccines do not, at least, trigger genetic autism? I’d like to see that.

    Wouldn’t some of the 537,303 children in Madsen’s study have been genetically susceptible to vaccine-induced autism, if such a thing even exists? The absence of any association in this study argues strongly against MMR causing autism.

    And can this evidence be linked to the lack of causation?

    How can MMR cause autism in anyone when there is no difference in incidence of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children? The same goes for other vaccines that have been studied similarly. If there is causation you would expect to see correlation, and we don’t.

    I am not sure if autism can be developed from scratch in a person with no autism encoded in their DNA since it’s a very complex disorder with several variations, which MUST have been subjected to, at least , thousands of years of natural selection followed by genetic mutations.

    I don’t follow you. If there is a significant number of genetically susceptible children, they would show up in studies like Madsen’s. That strongly suggests that the number of genetically susceptible children is either zero, or is so small we cannot measure it. This means that vaccines cannot possibly be responsible for the increase in autism diagnoses we have seen over the past few decades.

  125. #127 Chris
    January 2, 2015

    Kilnon: “@100

    [That’s the kind of connection people are claiming between vaccines and autism. (At best. Sometimes the vaccine was given after the child started showing signs of autism.)]”

    That is not what I said. In fact, I noticed you are pointedly not responding to my questions. In comment #100 I said:

    Kilnon: “What’s really important here is to find out if there is a connection between vaccines and autism.”

    Why? Especially since there have been so many studies that have already shown no relationship between vaccine and autism (see Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence).

    Let me clarify that question: Why does it have to be vaccines?

    You seem to be doing lots of hand waving as a way to dismiss all of the dozens of studies on million of kids that show no association between autism and vaccines. And then say “What’s really important here is to find out if there is a connection between vaccines and autism.”

    Why is that? Why does it have to be vaccines?

    And, again, why are vaccines a greater environmental impact on a body more than the actual diseases?

    And this time instead of making up sciencey stuff, present some actual scientific citations.

  126. #128 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 2, 2015

    And what evidence would that be, in either direction, whether you’re trying to prove that something is true or untrue? Do you even know yourself what kind of evidence would make you know with absolute certainty that there is or there is no connection between vaccines and autism?

    The problem is that we do understand it, much better than you do. Your writing makes it clear that you misunderstand science on the most fundamental levels, and until you fix those misunderstandings, you simply will not be able to follow what’s going on in the real world concerning these matters.

    The first misunderstanding is that science is a process for trying to find the correct explanation for a phenomenon. Not for trying to make the explanation you want appear to be the correct one. If you’re going to do science, you have to follow the evidence where it leads, not try to assemble the subset of just that evidence which points in the direction you like.

    Second, you need to learn about the burden of proof. If someone witnesses A happen, then sees B happen a short time later, they may propose a hypothesis: “A must have caused B!” Does the mere existence of that hypothesis mean that the hypothesis is true, however? No. Does it mean we even regard it as true until further notice? No. If we did things that way, we’d have to regard as true every hypothesis that had not yet been refuted, even if all those hypotheses were mutually contradictory.

    This is where the “burden of proof” comes in. That new hypothesis can move up in the world; it can go from being “what someone, somewhere, speculated about how the world works” to “what scientifically-literate people accept as the truth about how the world works.” But it can’t and shouldn’t do that – should not be accepted as “our new, better understanding of how the world works” until and unless evidence actually proves that explanation to be better.

    Think about this very carefully. Suppose two people are asked “what causes a particular child who has a particular genetic makeup to develop autism, when another child with that same genetic makeup does not?” The first person shrugs his shoulders and says “We don’t know.” The second person says “It has to do with exposure to chemical X; when a child with a particular genetic propensity is exposed to X, it alters their gene expression to make them autistic.” Which is the better explanation? Many people would say that the second is obviously the better explanation, that the first is barely even an explanation. But those people are wrong; the explanation which is a better match for the evidence is the better explanation.

    Third. We are aided in our pursuit of science by something called “the law of large numbers”. This means that when you’re dealing with a large enough mass of random trials, you can actually be confident that the general trend which comes out of that mass of trials represents what’s really going on underneath. If you flipped a coin 10 times, and got 4 heads and 6 tails, you wouldn’t say “Damn! Who gave me this weighted coin??” But if you flipped that coin 10,000,000 times and got 4,000,000 heads to 6,000,000 tails, it would be virtually undeniable that the coin was not evenly weighted and that the chances of getting a heads on a flip were only 40%.

    Why is this relevant? Because given the huge numbers of children who are vaccinated every year, if it were true that something about vaccination caused children to develop autism who would otherwise not have, that would be very visible in the very large data sets on vaccination that have been collected and studied looking for exactly that sort of correlation. Not finding that correlation, in those huge data sets, pretty effectively demolishes the idea that the underlying causation hypothesized by some actually exists.

    To return to our coin analogy, if a coin had been flipped 10,000,000 times, and the balance of heads to tails was 50.00% to 50.00%, but someone was shouting “I know the reason the coin came up tails for me is because the coin is rigged!” would you be saying “Oh, yeah, wow, he actually saw the coin come up tails, so he must be right about why it did?”

    The way you speak about coincidence, it’s clear that you suffer from a common illusion. This illusion is “coincidence is never an adequate explanation, because coincidences don’t happen in real life.” Except they do, and people who actually understand probability understand that. If the chances are one in a thousand, but those chances are being taken several thousand times a day, then it’s going to happen several times a day, whatever “it” is.

    You claim that if parents see the first signs of autism in a child in a short period of time after a vaccination, that is enough to prove that the vaccination caused the autism. That claim is logically equivalent to this one: “If there is any other relationship between vaccines and autism than ‘vaccines cause autism’, including ‘vaccines and autism have absolutely no relationship’, then no child will ever have their first signs of autism noticed within the short period immediately following vaccination.” Surely you can see why that makes no sense; why it’s equivalent to demanding that of two things that have nothing to do with each other, one has to actually protect against the other.

    If you can’t, then let me offer this suggestion, in the same form and therefore just as logical: “If birthdays do not cause stepping in dog poop, then no one would ever step in dog poop on their birthday. If someone steps in dog poop and it is their birthday, it’s obvious that the birthday caused the stepping-in-dog-poop.”

    Plus, you do not really need to so desperately defend a certain position because you’ll fail to see really going on. But then again, you may not be after the truth, and in fact are after profit or have some agenda behind it or ulterior motives to cover up what could be considered a crime against humanity. Then this would explain why you want this connection to be proven false.

    I quoted this because it shows that you don’t grasp science and the honesty it requires. Where did you get the idea that part of science is making slanderous, utterly unfounded speculations about other people, simply because they don’t agree with you? If you truly believed you had the science on your side, you could keep arguing the science – could keep arguing what you believe to be the relevant facts and principles – but instead of sticking with the issues, you actually choose to accuse someone of deliberately hiding the truth about a purported “crime against humanity” for profit? Do you seriously think that’s acceptable behavior in the world of science? “Dr. Jones has presented a convincing scenario in which all the unexpected results from experiments 13-19 are explained by contamination of the glassware. However, instead of finding a reason why such contamination is not possible, I’m just going to pull out of my ass a lie about how Dr. Jones is in the pay of nefarious big corporations, and how he’s willingly suppressing MY brilliance that could benefit millions, all just so he can collect his filthy lucre.” Seriously, what would your mother think of you hurling around such astounding accusations, such horrible suggestions, made without the slightest shred of proof, simply so that you don’t have to think that maybe you don’t know more about science than actual scientists??

  127. #129 Chris
    January 2, 2015

    Kilnon: “But then again, you may not be after the truth, and in fact are after profit or have some agenda behind it or ulterior motives to cover up what could be considered a crime against humanity. Then this would explain why you want this connection to be proven false.”

    If you want to accuse someone doing something for “profit”, then you will have to pony up some real evidence.

    If you think vaccines were only created to produce profit, then you must give a financial analysis comparing the costs of the American pediatric vaccine schedule with the costs of treating the diseases they prevent. For instance, in the recent Wales measles outbreak about one in ten cases required hospital treatment (most often for measles pneumonia). You need to explain how that saved the NHS money.

    Use real citations, the following is an example of what is expected:
    Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009

    And, remember, I still want to know why you need to find a connection between vaccines and autism.

  128. #130 justthestats
    January 2, 2015

    But she is making undergraduate level mistakes in statistics, such as conflating correlation with causation. Not to mention extrapolating an exponential trend indefinitely, something which, as the old saying goes, only idiots and economists do. Seneff, to my knowledge, makes no claim to being an economist.

    I was under the impression that modern speech recognition heavily involves statistics. Maybe that’s why she’s not doing it anymore.

  129. #131 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 2, 2015

    The reason why some studies show no causation between vaccination and autism is because vaccination does not necessarily trigger or can trigger the autism gene(s) in everyone genetically predisposed to it. You might have genetic predisposition towards all sorts of diseases but it doesn’t mean that you’ll develop them as a result of environmental stressors, such as toxins in vaccines. Thus, a lack of association is not a guarantee of the absense of causation under other circumstances.

    Before I start explaining why this is wrong, let me start by observing that nearly every person I’ve ever encountered who expresses a belief that vaccines can cause autism, believes that the problem is widespread. Many of them actually tell us that if we’d just open our eyes, we’d see tons and tons of children who had become autistic right after vaccination and that would prove to us that vaccination was actually causing autism. We will call this the “naked eye” scenario, because it absolutely depends upon there being a very large population of children who would not have become autistic without vaccines, but who got vaccinated and as a result DID become autistic – and that population is so large that careful counting is not necessary, the huge size of this population is visible to the naked eye.

    So, with that in mind, the idea that epidemiological tests cannot detect an association between vaccines and autism because vaccination doesn’t always trigger a genetic predisposition is utterly wrong. You’ve already postulated a population of children in whom vaccines DID trigger that disposition, and you’ve postulated that population to be so huge that it can be observed with the naked eye. You simply can’t turn around and say “Well, see, of those who have the genetic vulnerability, only 1 in 100 actually have it triggered -” what difference does that make?? You’ve already asserted that the population who get that 1 in 100 triggering and become autistic form a huge population that can be detected by parents just looking around at their kids’ playgroups. How could such a group go undetected in epidemiological studies which are looking for exactly such a population? It’s not like the 99 children who had the genetic predisposition and got vaccinated but didn’t develop autism can stand in front of the 1 in 100 and hide them from view!

    Of course, some people try to rescue the hypothesis by saying “Oh, no, no, it’s not 1 in 100… it’s, it’s, 1 in 10,000. Oh, you mean epidemiological studies have successfully detected side effects that occur at a rate of 1 in 100,000? Then it’s rarer than that. Yeah, it’s …. it must be 1 in 1,000,000, then!”

    Fine, let’s change the hypothesis to “vaccines trigger autism in children with genetic predisposition, but no more than 1 in 1,000,000, if that’s what it takes to explain how it doesn’t show up in epidemiological studies looking for exactly that.” Fine; you know what you just did? You just proved that every person who believes in the “naked eye” hypothesis is deluded. You just proved that they cannot all be looking at children whose autism was triggered by vaccination; actual children meeting that description are much too rare, if they exist at all, and therefore the vast majority of such people are actually looking at children whose autism was not caused by vaccination, and mistakenly thinking “that’s a case of autism and it must have been caused by vaccines!”

    Of course, once you’ve concluded that most people who think they’re seeing a case of autism caused by vaccines are wrong, the obvious question becomes: why would we think that any of them are actually right? In an earlier comment, we observed that science is about fitting our hypothesis to the evidence, not fitting the evidence to our hypothesis. Now we’ve discovered that the evidence on which our whole case was built, the “naked eye” population, doesn’t exist. We cannot, not if we want to be honest, simply cast around for some evidence that fits in with the hypothesis that “vaccines trigger autism” and say “there! now I don’t have to change my conclusion, just because my original evidence disappeared!”

    Some would claim “well, how about the fact that so many of the kids who become autistic show the first signs within just a couple of days after vaccination? Surely that points to a connection!” Yes, indeed, it would be evidence for a connection … that is, if the people telling us that this is a “fact” weren’t the same people who earlier told us about the “naked eye” population, which turned out not to exist. The simple fact is that people’s perceptions are affected by what they want to see and what they expect to see; all actual studies which have attempted to answer the question “is there an unusually large number of autistic children whose autism only manifested shortly after vaccination, larger than we would expect from just the fact that children get their vaccinations at around the same age when autism manifests?” have gotten the answer “No”. So once again, those who cling to the “vaccines cause autism” hypothesis are trying to do so despite the evidence, not trying to follow the evidence to find out what’s actually going on.

  130. #132 herr doktor bimler
    January 2, 2015

    herr doktor bimler wrote:
    [As for reverse-engineered alien technology for investigating the etiology of autism, that doesn’t officially exist so I advise you not to mention it, especially not here. Lord Draconis gets cranky.]

    I am deeply flattered to be confused with Krebiozen.

  131. #133 Krebiozen
    January 2, 2015

    I missed this:

    You are allowed to make references to science fiction on science blogs.

    But not jokes, apparently.

    I am deeply flattered to be confused with Krebiozen.

    Aaw, shucks… [Blushes]

  132. […] Dr. Novella gives a quick rundown of what is wrong with her claims about glyphosate and autism, but Orac goes into great detail at Respectful Insolence, in his post Oh, no! GMOs are going to make everyone autistic! […]

  133. #135 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    @126

    [Studies looking at literally millions of children show no more cases of autism in those vaccinated than those not vaccinated. This rules out vaccines causing autism in anything but a tiny number of hypothetical children with a genetic predisposition.]

    This still means that there is a connection between autism and vaccines. The point is not how many children are effected, this number is irrelevant in this study, but can vaccines be the cause of the offset of autism. The children that develop autism before vaccination can be excluded from the pool of subjects in this study because autism being a genetic disorder can develop during gestation or set off by the the TOXINs in items other than vaccines.

    The group of subjects that interests us are the ones that report a correlation between vaccination and autism meaning that the pattern they observed, which is developing autism right after receiving a vaccine, seemed like the cause of autism to them. You can call it blind eyeing, but the fact that this connection was made by this people by means of blind eyeing does not exclude the possibility that it is true.

    @127

    [You seem to be doing lots of hand waving as a way to dismiss all of the dozens of studies on million of kids that show no association between autism and vaccines]

    Did these children receive vaccines? If they did not, then the reason why these kids have autism is because it is a genetic disorder. They were either born autistic or developed it later in life without the vaccines being the culprit. And the children , who did receive vaccines, and never developed autism as a result are just he lucky ones, who may or may not have a genetic predisposition towards autism. Keep in mind that a genetic disease may not necessarily be triggered by an environmental stressor. Thus, the question still remains, did the children who received vaccines and started showing signs of autism not long after, developed autism as a result of vaccination. Plus, statistical data alone is insufficient to establish the link.

    Even if autism can be triggered by vaccination in a small number of genetically predisposed children, it still means that vaccination can lead to the development of autism. It means that there is risk involved, and by administering a vaccine, the child may or may not develop it. It’s up to luck really.

    [If you want to accuse someone doing something for “profit”, then you will have to pony up some real evidence.]

    This would be a legal matter. I would leave it up to lawyers.

    If epidemiological tests cannot pinpoint the connection between autism and vaccination, then perhaps genetic tests can. Provided genetics is not science fiction, and it is indeed possible to locate a certain gene and link it to a particular disease, and if it’s indeed possible to tell if this gene is turned on or turned off or mutated, then by comparing this gene/set of genes before the vaccination and some time after, you should be able to get some clues. Although again, you can keep on playing this game, and intentionally look for other causes of autism, even if the gene mutation occurred after the vaccine was administered. You can also test a child for the presence of autism genes in their DNA before starting vaccination.

    You can also check to see if there is any correlation between vaccines and other health conditions such as mental illness and cancer, and so on. Because if vaccines can set off genetic disorders because of being toxic, then vaccines are a strong environmental stressor that come with side effects.

  134. #136 kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    Many scientific observations started with naked eying as in the case with evolution, for instance. There was no hypothesis first, it was an observation of what’s going on first , that was later supported by empirical evidence such as sceletal remains, and later genetic data, which became available long after Charles Darwin. Assuming that the observation that some time after administering a vaccine a child started developing signs of autism is invalid because of naked eying shows too much bias against this observation method.

  135. #137 Dangerous Bacon
    January 2, 2015

    Assuming that anything that occurs “some time” after an event is caused by that event shows too much bias against critical thinking.

  136. #138 Lawrence
    January 2, 2015

    Eyewitness testimony is considered to be pretty far down the list as far as reliability is concerned…..just ask all of those wrongfully-convicted people who were released to due scientific inquiry (like DNA testing) who were convicted due to eye-witness accounts.

    I’ll stick with science first.

  137. #139 Krebiozen
    January 2, 2015

    Assuming that the observation that some time after administering a vaccine a child started developing signs of autism is invalid because of naked eying shows too much bias against this observation method.

    Didn’t you understand any of what Antaeus and others have written?
    [Bangs head repeatedly on keyboard.]

  138. #140 Narad
    January 2, 2015

    And considering the fact that autism is a genetic condition, the gene gets set off by the chemicals in the vaccine.

    Define “the gene gets set off.”

  139. […] Oh, no! GMOs are going to make everyone autistic! – Respectful Insolence […]

  140. #142 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 2, 2015

    The other week I heard a rooster crow. Suddenly! with no warning it was Wednesday!

    Where is the investigation on the connection between roosters crowing and Wednesday?

  141. #143 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 2, 2015

    Kilnon:

    Many scientific observations started with naked eying as in the case with evolution, for instance.

    Operative word “started”.

    [I]t was an observation of what’s going on first , that was later supported by empirical evidence such as s[k]eletal remains, and later genetic data, which became available long after Charles Darwin.

    And in the case of the vaccine autism causation hypothesis, the later empirical evidence did not support the initial hypothesis. Multiple studies have been done, enough for a metaanalysis of over 10 million subjects. In a sample of that size, if vaccines were responsible for even a small percentage of autism cases, it would have been detected.

    Assuming that the observation that some time after administering a vaccine a child started developing signs of autism is invalid because of naked eying shows too much bias against this observation method.

    We’re not saying it’s invalid, we’re saying it’s insufficient. We’re saying that observations are a starting point, not an end point. We’re saying that since the later, better quality evidence refutes the causation hypothesis, that the observation can be chalked up to random chance, not to causation.

  142. #144 MrrKAT
    Finland, EU
    January 2, 2015

    Here fishermen+kids get more mercury than others. We’d see more autistic kids among those if mercury would be the cause. I haven’t seen.
    Antivaccers claim that vaccine mercury behaves differently than fish mercury .But fish mercury can be measured from toenails and hairs. And hairs are high up above the brain..

  143. #145 herr doktor bimler
    January 2, 2015

    the gene gets set off by the chemicals in the vaccine.

    The crucial chemical is presumably thiotimoline, which travels back in time and triggers the mystery genes during gestation so as to produce the neural-development features of autism.

  144. #146 MarkN
    January 2, 2015

    ha ha, nice chemical play, herr doktor

  145. #147 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 2, 2015

    Many scientific observations started with naked eying as in the case with evolution, for instance. There was no hypothesis first, it was an observation of what’s going on first , that was later supported by empirical evidence such as sceletal remains, and later genetic data, which became available long after Charles Darwin. Assuming that the observation that some time after administering a vaccine a child started developing signs of autism is invalid because of naked eying shows too much bias against this observation method.

    You speak as if there was a distinction between what we’ve been calling “naked eye” evidence and empirical evidence; there isn’t.

    “Naked eye” evidence is simply the subset of empirical evidence which purportedly can be correctly interpreted without the need for careful measurements, control groups, or any of the other practices that have become standard for science because they compensate for the flaws in our own perceptive systems.

    Some evidence actually does fall into the category of “naked eye” evidence. If you pour the liquid from a flask over what you know to be a steel ingot, and the steel bubbles and melts away, that’s damn strong evidence that whatever’s in that flask is corrosive as hell, and while charting the exact rate at which the steel melts might tell you even more, seeing steel melt before your eyes tells you a lot even if you make no attempt to measure the rate of the reaction.

    But any time you are trying to establish a comparative conclusion, naked eye evidence is not good enough. Why? Because our perceptual systems are just too easily fooled, particularly when we are emotionally involved, when we’ve decided we “know” already what the truth should be and we just want evidence to tell us we’re right; we have far too much leeway to say “oh, yeah, I’ll just skip measuring, because it’s so clear to my eyes that things happened the way that matches my idea of what should happen.”

    You make reference to evolution, saying that the similarities between widely different organisms were noted by “naked eye” observation, “naked eye” observations led to the evolution hypothesis as an explanation for the evidence, and the hypothesis was later confirmed by what we might call “hard” empirical data. That is correct.

    But you know what the key difference is between evolution, and the perception some people had that “wow, it seems like there’s way more autistic children than there used to be, and it seems like everyone says it only happened after they got vaccinated”? One of them was confirmed by hard empirical evidence. The other proved to have no reality at all. It turned out to be an illusion of perception, just like the “lucky streaks” a gambler perceives have no actual reality, just like N-rays turned out to have no reality, just like the surge at the full moon in emergency room and police station admissions many personnel in such institutions perceived for decades turned out not to exist in reality.

    The big “epidemic” of autism cases among the vaccinated that people thought they were seeing didn’t exist. Careful, scientifically rigorous investigation proved that, and you can’t unring that bell and say “I wanna go back to when the only observations were the amateur ones that fit with what I want to believe!” And you can’t say “I want single cases that fit with what I want to believe to be taken out of context, and treated as if the fact that they happened at all is highly significant and proves something!” because that just isn’t the way it works; that’s like saying you want only the correct predictions you make to be considered and all the failed predictions to be ignored and you want that filtered record of only the times you guessed right to be used to conclude you’re psychic. I don’t expect you to grasp this, since as we’ve noted the “coincidences don’t actually happen” delusion is widespread and strong among those who falsely believe that they know science better than the scientific community, but you can’t take a single incident and say “that’s not coincidence!” when in fact it is quite possible to be coincidence.

  146. #148 Kilnon
    January 2, 2015

    @142

    [We’re not saying it’s invalid, we’re saying it’s insufficient. We’re saying that observations are a starting point, not an end point. We’re saying that since the later, better quality evidence refutes the causation hypothesis, that the observation can be chalked up to random chance, not to causation.]

    There is always a possibility that if something occurred some time later after a certain event, did occur as a result of this event. And it is a valid argument. And this is the possibility I am trying to explore whereas you are adamantly trying to accuse me of defining the event as the actual cause. There is nothing in my comment that suggests that I was attempting to do that. You are putting words in my mouth and trying to convince me that I am an ardent supporter of the claim that vaccination causes autism while I am simply trying to see what’s going on. And I know that even though it’s insufficient to conclude that vaccination leads to the development of autism based on this observation, it could still be the case that after administering a vaccine a child might develop autism as a result of this vaccine.
    ———————————————————————

    If you ingest food that you are allegic to, and some time later exhibit signs of allergies, it CAN certainly be that the allergies occured as a result of the allergens in that food. If there were different kinds of foods on your plate, you can still find out which specific food caused the allegies as there are ways to do that. Usually people figure out right there and then what lead to the allergic reaction, even if they ingested several types of food. What is wrong with this picture? How come in the case of allergies the connection can be established pretty much instantaneously, and when it comes to autism, knowing that vaccines are highly toxic, connecting the dots is made to be pretty much next to impossible. And is there really a reason to believe that defining certain things as the cause of diseases should be more complicated in the case of autism, even if it’s genetic, than it is in the case of allergies, and why?

  147. #149 Narad
    January 2, 2015

    There is always a possibility that if something occurred some time later after a certain event, did occur as a result of this event.

    No, there is not.

    And it is a valid argument.

    That is not an “argument,” it’s the assertion of a trivial falsehood.

    And is there really a reason to believe that defining certain things as the cause of diseases should be more complicated in the case of autism, even if it’s genetic, than it is in the case of allergies, and why?

    You haven’t given an example determining the cause of allergies, you’ve given a barely coherent example of determining the offending substance in the case of an allergic reaction.

    The world is not compelled to be simple just because you are.

  148. #150 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 2, 2015

    @kilnon:

    There is always a possibility that if something occurred some time later after a certain event, did occur as a result of this event.

    Indeed. Which was what was suspected with vaccines and autism, but which has been shown to be coincidence.

    you are adamantly trying to accuse me of defining the event as the actual cause. There is nothing in my comment that suggests that I was attempting to do that.

    No?
    From your comment #79:

    Although vaccines and glyphasate, for instance, can act as environmental triggers that set off autism gene(s).

    #84:

    Even if the cause of autism is genetic, the mutations can occur as a result of environmental triggers such as vaccines.

    #97

    Since there is cause and effect, then not long after administering a vaccine, the child should exhibit signs of autism. And this is precisely what many people report.

    #113:

    From what I was able to gather on this blog, TOXINS of different kinds, whether it is the toxins in vaccines, diapers or food, or any other environmental toxins, can potentially set off autism in, at least, some people with the genetic predispostion.

    I hate to be a bromide, but if the item in question perambulates like an anatidaeid and vocalises like an anatidaeid etc.
    You are saying that there may be something to the vaccine causation hypothesis. We are telling you that it was looked at in a sample size of literally millions and nothing came up. Another commenter on an earlier thread mentioned the “susceptible subgroup” hypothesis which you have also put forward. Our answer to the earlier commenter is the same as to you. If vaccines did induce autism in a susceptible subgroup, it would have been detected. It wasn’t, so the hypothesis can be discarded.

  149. #151 Krebiozen
    January 2, 2015

    kilnon,

    knowing that vaccines are highly toxic,

    But we don’t know this. In fact we know that vaccines are so safe that we can’t be sure they cause serious adverse events even in one in a million doses, while the diseases they protect against cause death about 1,000 times more frequently. They are extraordinarily safe, when compared to, for example, supplemental calcium tablets that increase the risk of a heart attack by 30%.
    Your whole position appears to be based on you believing misinformation that you have come across on some anti-vaccine website, and have accepted uncritically, presumably because you have an emotional investment in the idea that vaccines are bad. And you accuse us of bias.

  150. #152 Denice Walter
    January 2, 2015

    Julian said
    ” if the item in question perambulates like an anatidaeid and vocalises like an anatidaeid”

    I loves it!

  151. #153 Chris
    January 2, 2015

    kilnon: “Did these children receive vaccines?”

    Are you illiterate? Did you not read anything of this link: Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence? The papers are there, and several are free to read online. They outline exactly how the population was selected and the study was conducted.

    Now, again for the third time: why does it have to be vaccines? Explain that to us.

    And, again, why are vaccines a greater environmental impact on a body more than the actual diseases?

    Also, explain with actual factual economic analysis why it would be cheaper to let kids get the diseases instead of preventing them.

    And this time use some actual PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support your statements instead of random hand waving.

  152. #154 Nick K
    Beijing
    January 2, 2015

    Antaeus Feldspar: Congratulations for taking the time to craft a very lucid and informative explanation of how science works. I suspect it will be wasted on Kilnon, however.

    Kilnon: http://depletedcranium.com/autism_and_mr_cht.jpg
    You’ll notice that the incidence of mental retardation has fallen over time at exactly the same rate that the incidence of autism has risen. How do you explain this, except as an artifact of the widening of diagnostic criteria of autism?

  153. #155 herr doktor bimler
    January 3, 2015

    “wow, it seems like there’s way more autistic children than there used to be”

    In particular, the number of neuro-atypical childern being diagnosed with autism has increased substantially since legislation started providing assistance for those children once they were classified and diagnosed.
    IS MYSTERY.

  154. #156 Militant Agnostic
    January 3, 2015

    I smell a Sea Lion.

  155. #157 herr doktor bimler
    January 3, 2015

    [Autism is] ia very complex disorder with several variations, which MUST have been subjected to, at least , thousands of years of natural selection followed by genetic mutations.

    A similar line of reasoning leads us to conclude that thalassemia and sickle-cell anemia could not have genetic causes (or natural selection would have eliminated them millennia ago), and must therefore be triggered by vaccines.

  156. #158 herr doktor bimler
    January 3, 2015

    I smell a Sea Lion.

    It is like a game of Whack-a-mole, but with only two holes, and a sea-lion head emerging from each hole.

    Sea-lion #1 is all “The rate of autism has increased, and so has the rate of vaccination, therefore vaccination causes autism!” So you whack that one back with the evidence for non-causation from actual vaccine / nonvaccine comparisons…

    Whereupon head #2 pokes out, arguing that “But you cannot exclude the possibility that some tiny proportion of children are vulnerable to autism, in such a way that vaccination is the stressor which triggers the condition!” You point out that there is no need to exclude that possibility, in the absence of any a priori reason to suspect vaccination of triggering autism in any cases…

    Which is the signal for Sea-lion #1 to reappear, presenting the increasing rate of autism as the reason to suspect vaccination, even if it isn’t.

    Repeat until bored.

  157. #159 Arguing Further
    January 3, 2015

    There were instances when vaccines did not work in preventing infections, and those vaccinated contracted the infections they were immunized against…. Can this mean that the reason why those, who did not get the infections against which they were immunized, can be attributed to mere coincidence since there is always a chance that the reason why vaccinated people did not contract the infections was due to their own immune system’s defenses? Or they simply got lucky by being able to avoid the viruses or the power of suggestion (the placebo effect), perhaps? What are the odds that vaccines are actually not only incapable of causing autism, they are not even designed to defend you against viruses, and are just a pure scam/sugar pill and only preys on the ignorance? How would a vaccine producer prove to a consumer, who has no means of testing the authenticity of vaccines, that vaccines help fight viruses? I hope you can prove to me, using the scientific method, that this is paranoia.

  158. #160 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 3, 2015

    @Arguing Further:

    Can this mean that the reason why those, who did not get the infections against which they were immunized, can be attributed to mere coincidence since there is always a chance that the reason why vaccinated people did not contract the infections was due to their own immune system’s defenses? Or they simply got lucky by being able to avoid the viruses or the power of suggestion (the placebo effect), perhaps?

    Exceptionally unlikely. After mass vaccination programs were introduced, the disease rates fell, in many cases by over 90%. The reason that some people get the diseases is that vaccines are not 100% effective. However, they are still very effective.

    What are the odds that vaccines are actually not only incapable of causing autism, they are not even designed to defend you against viruses, and are just a pure scam/sugar pill and only preys on the ignorance?

    Given the massive falls in infection rates in every disease we vaccinate against (including the extinction of smallpox), and the fact that vaccines are subjected to rigorous post-release analysis so that any ineffective vaccine would be detected and removed from the schedule, I’d say “nonexistent”.

    I hope you can prove to me, using the scientific method, that this is paranoia.

    Ah, you’re playing Devil’s Advocate. I hope I’ve shown you that such beliefs are indeed paranoia.

  159. #161 Chris
    January 3, 2015

    “There were instances when vaccines did not work in preventing infections, and those vaccinated contracted the infections they were immunized against”

    No one has claimed vaccines are perfect. For instance if you get pertussis, even after trying to cough up a lung for two months, your immunity can wane in as little time as five years. See:
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
    Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

    Also, if you manage to survive actually getting diphtheria and tetanus, you will still get them again. Since the diseases themselves provide no natural immunity.

    Plus it was very common when I was a kid to get mumps twice. The old wives’ tale was that it only happened on one side of the face. That is patently false, since I caught it a second time on both sides during the 1968 mumps epidemic.

    It is disingenuous to think any vaccine can give better immunity to the disease, especially if the immunity from actually getting sick is imperfect.

    “What are the odds that vaccines are actually not only incapable of causing autism, they are not even designed to defend you against viruses, and are just a pure scam/sugar pill and only preys on the ignorance?:

    Zero. While they are not perfect, they have managed to reduce the numbers. In the 1950s a child was had an almost 100% chance of getting measles by the time they were fifteen years old. Now that does not happen now, does it?

    Also see these studies (actually go into the file, and click on the links and read the papers!): Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

    “How would a vaccine producer prove to a consumer, who has no means of testing the authenticity of vaccines, that vaccines help fight viruses?”

    How about you actually reading the articles on this blog about vaccines? Or the ones at ScienceBasedMedicine? Or the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s HistoryOfVaccines webpage?

    Or go to the source of vaccine approval: Vaccine Product Approval Process.

    “I hope you can prove to me, using the scientific method, that this is paranoia.”

    For that you need to contact your primary health care provider and ask for a mental health evaluation referral .

  160. #162 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 3, 2015

    There were instances when vaccines did not work in preventing infections, and those vaccinated contracted the infections they were immunized against…. Can this mean that the reason why those, who did not get the infections against which they were immunized, can be attributed to mere coincidence since there is always a chance that the reason why vaccinated people did not contract the infections was due to their own immune system’s defenses?

    Yes and no.

    If we looked at any one single person who didn’t get sick, we could not say “Oh, the reason Bob didn’t get sick during the [disease] season is because he was vaccinated.” We simply don’t know if that’s the case; it’s possible that Bob’s immune system would have fought off the pathogen with no problem even if he hadn’t been vaccinated.

    But the situation changes when we look at larger populations, because of something called “the law of large numbers” (which I explained to Kilnon in comment 128. The law of large numbers means that the larger your number of random trials, the more the chance of getting an anomalous result (i.e., one that doesn’t match the underlying probability) by coincidence just utterly disappears.

    Which means that when we collect data from large populations showing that people who, like Bob, got vaccinated, only got sick 2% of the time when they were exposed, but people who weren’t vaccinated got sick 50% of the time when they were exposed, coincidence isn’t a viable explanation. There must be some factor explaining why the probability of an unvaxxed person contracting the disease is twenty-five times that of a vaccinated person.

    Or they simply got lucky by being able to avoid the viruses

    Again, that would be possible as an explanation for how a single person, or a handful of people, did not contract the disease. It could even be a plausible explanation for observed trends on the level of small populations; we’ve seen outbreaks in communities of Hasidic Jews, for example, who a) avoid contact with those outside the community, and b) eschew vaccination*. When someone within that community contracts the disease, certainly those who are outside the community are at much less risk of contracting the disease for the simple reason that they’re much less likely to have any contact with the carrier.

    But when we’re talking about data collected from multiple outbreaks over years and decades, the idea that the difference in infection rates between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can be explained by such factors is simply not reasonable.

    * these being characteristics of these specific communities, not necessarily of Hasidic Jews in general.

    or the power of suggestion (the placebo effect), perhaps?

    Vaccinations work by teaching the immune system how to make antibodies against a particular pathogen, before the immune system encounters that pathogen in the wild. You can then actually do an antibody titer test and sample that person’s blood and find the actual antibodies. Sometimes you can even tell from the antibodies which specific strain they were exposed to.

    Even if we assumed, for the sake of argument, that someone’s body could produce antibodies just because it had been suggested to their mind that they were now healthier… how would the body know which antibodies it should make? If I’m getting a placebo solution injected into my arm, and I’ve merely been told that it’s actually an attenuated strain of measles, how is my body able to create the antibody appropriate to a strain of measles that in fact it’s never encountered? I can guarantee you it’s not because I have an idea what the makeup of that virus is as opposed to any other strain.

    The placebo effect is a plausible explanation in situations where the effect observed is subjective, e.g., when you suggest to someone that the “remedy” they are receiving will take away their pain, they will perceive themselves as being in less pain. It is also a plausible explanation when the effect can be produced through behavior, e.g., if someone gets a placebo and is told it will give them more energy, they’re more likely to go out and exercise more, and regular exercise gives you more energy.

    It isn’t a plausible explanation for why people who get vaccinated develop the antibodies they’re supposed to. And it doesn’t explain the results of placebo-controlled vaccine trials, where all groups are given the same expectations about what they’ve received but the group that gets the placebo doesn’t show the resistance to the disease of the group that got the actual vaccine.

    What are the odds that vaccines are actually not only incapable of causing autism, they are not even designed to defend you against viruses, and are just a pure scam/sugar pill and only preys on the ignorance?

    Considering that that “scam” would have had to start back in the time of Edward Jenner, a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, and have been carried on continuously since with no one spilling the beans over the centuries? Considering that such a “scam” would require that the scammers actually have some method to bring the most dreaded diseases of the world under control, and be employing it, but that instead of saying “here, we have this amazing protection; pay us and we’ll give it to you” they’re saying “here, we have this amazing protection (which we actually do); pay us and we’ll give you what we promised (except we will actually be giving you our scam pill instead; except except we’ll give you the actual protection too, so we’re actually giving you more than we would’ve if we weren’t running a scam of no apparent benefit to us” – zero. Seriously.

    How would a vaccine producer prove to a consumer, who has no means of testing the authenticity of vaccines, that vaccines help fight viruses? I hope you can prove to me, using the scientific method, that this is paranoia.

    Unfortunately, the scientific method can only deal with propositions that are falsifiable; i.e., evidence can exist which, if it is examined, shows the proposition to be false. Paranoid conspiracy theories (and the idea that everyone throughout the centuries who has produced vaccines was all in on a “scam” to make it look like vaccines work when they don’t is certainly a conspiracy theory) are generally not falsifiable, because no matter what evidence you show a True Believer, they will find some way to explain how that evidence fits it with what they want to believe.

    Show them the charts where the incidence rate of the disease suddenly plunges by 99% after the introduction of the vaccine and never goes anywhere near its previous peaks and they’ll say “Oh, it must be that better sanitation and nutrition reduced the rate of the disease” and never explain what magical advance in sanitation and nutrition happened in that time period. Or why that advance in sanitation and nutrition didn’t have any observable effect on any other disease in that year. Or they’ll simply say the data was faked by Big Pharma, even if they’re talking about data from the time of Edward Jenner when Big Pharma didn’t even exist.

    If you are interested in learning more about things like the law of large numbers, we can certainly help you with that. But, ultimately, whether it convinces you that vaccines provide protection against pathogens depends on whether you are willing to be convinced by the evidence. We have certainly met enough people who have said “the evidence could be A, B, or C; if it’s A, here’s why A means I’m right, if it’s B, here’s why B means I’m right, if it’s C, here’s why C means I’m right. I must be right, because if I encounter evidence that says I’m wrong, I won’t accept it as such.” I sincerely hope you’ll choose not to be such a person.

  161. #163 shay
    January 3, 2015

    According to a gentleman I met at the Red Cross this morning, drinking a half cup of cider vinegar each day is all you need to keep from getting the flu (or anything else).

    I’d rather get the shot.

  162. #164 Alain
    Hell
    January 3, 2015

    Her main deal was speech recognition.

    Who the f*ck goes through a biophysics bachelor only to end up doing speech recognition?!?!?!

    Alain

  163. #165 Narad
    January 3, 2015

    I’d like to mention to Kilnon/Arguing Further that cutesy, “thematic” pseudonym changes are simply irritating.

    Comment 148:

    There is always a possibility that if something occurred some time later after a certain event, did occur as a result of this event.

    (Studiously ignores #149)

    Comment 159:

    there is always a chance that the reason why vaccinated people did not contract the infections was due to their own immune system’s defenses

  164. #166 Alain
    January 3, 2015

    But, maybe in the favor of science — what would probably happen, if the AI modeling goes to true genetic algorithm, is that it will show the genome dysfunction that relate to the prenatal exposure window, the mutations relating to parents at conception, or some other mechanism that we hadn’t thought of.

    Mark,

    Have you investigated statistical learning algorithms in comparison to genetic algorithms? I’d like to have your input on this as it is exactly what I’m going to use in the HANA server at workplace to do first, beer recipes informatics (computational biochemistry and computational biology) and later, medical informatics.

    Alain

  165. #167 Alain
    January 3, 2015
  166. #168 Narad
    January 3, 2015

    Have you investigated statistical learning algorithms in comparison to genetic algorithms?

    A better question might be whether MarkN has the slightest idea what a GA is, but I’ve been sparing myself from the original entries.

  167. #169 Alain
    January 3, 2015

    So much for the reliability of the scientific method.

    Quick question, do you have anything better to propose? Something which would do a better job of eliminating all the biases and problem inherent of the human mind?

    On the same token, do you know how much of philosophical work who went into the scientific method? it’s counted in centuries.

    Alain

  168. #170 herr doktor bimler
    January 4, 2015

    And some of the least competent veterinarians I’ve ever encountered were cows.

    Two of our cats are deeply interested in small mammal anatomy, but they are careless about cleaning up after each dissection.

  169. #171 Alain
    Hell, again....
    January 4, 2015

    There is always a possibility that if something occurred some time later after a certain event, did occur as a result of this event.

    Kilnon, did you assess the possibility that you are ignorant?

    You don’t know simple math, you don’t know statistics, you don’t know the law of large numbers (out of 500 000+, 1% of them are autistics and yet, you want to argue about the one or two cases which would have been found out if vaccine cause autism in an incredibly small part of the spectrum. LOOK, what about the rest of autistics in that sample).

    HELL, there’s two autistics in a 500 000+ sample for which 5000 are autistics (2/5000), let’s treat them with chelation…and lupron, right?

    Do you have any fricken idea how ludicrous you sound?!?! the only peoples I’ve found more dangerous than you are the peoples declaring autistic peoples a scourge to get rid off because you f*cking feed on them if not on yourself.

    are you going to propose snake oil treatments done by psychopath to fix autistics peoples into becoming what?!?! at least, can you define the endpoint that you’d be satisfied with regard to autistics peoples? is it eugenics, is it social malleability or what?

    Frustrated in hell and a few peoples here are getting on my nerves.

  170. #172 Narad
    January 4, 2015

    You don’t know simple math

    Alain, you are recklessly ignoring the possibility that one’s morning choice of socks might have a specific or ensemble role in deciding the fate of a baseball game watched on television in the afternoon. (I presume that there’s some sort of decoherence time, so a change might be required before a night game; compare the “Rally Carp Cap.”)

  171. #173 Alain
    January 4, 2015

    Narad,

    Seriously? No, that’s why I chose to throw a flamethrower at the problem, if not a rocket. I know I’m being wrong about some (all?) of my conclusions but I will stand still and fire the rocket in order to surprise those in need of a friggen clue because at some point, one need to address the fridge scourge, which is not autistics peoples. Period.

  172. #174 Alain
    January 4, 2015

    Fridge === friggen (st*pid mac autoccorect).

  173. #175 Narad
    January 4, 2015

    Seriously?

    Antaeus has already pretty much pointed this out regarding “lucky streaks.”

    The assertion that “there is always a possibility,” etc., reduces not just to post hoc “luck,” but directly to “lucky” superstitions, as far as I can see.

  174. #176 Alain
    January 4, 2015

    More to the point,

    All of the SBM peoples, did you investigate the reasons why we’re encountering so many troll who think, based on baseless conclusions, want to argue about very finite points (such as how many autistics are vaccines injured relative to the rest of the autistic sample or population?).

    Second; we hear a lot about the story of dangerous autistic individuals who overpower their family (and even so, I do have one family member doing so) but what need to be stressed out is, is it the case of all families having an autistic individual or two (or more)…

    there is a lot of research going on and saying that (my words) autistics are a scourge (or at least a significant problem) to the society at large? Did you assess if it’s the case for most (all?) the autistics there is in a particular city, state or province, country maybe? I base this because the most commonly found finding is that autistics individuals have, primarily, a social disability. If we look at my most common experience, I have met a few peoples who are sexual abusers and I know this is the other extreme of a bellcurve but I know that putting behaviour on a bellcurve is wrong because the human brain is multidimensional so it can’t be accurately described by a bellcurve (more like a 3D plot like this one

    You all know that the human brain is full of biases and do think about it more like a 3D plot (like this) with a royal bunch of opposites on each corners and you can put as many as 64 corners on such a plot) and then, think about the abnormal behaviours given that data. Think about the normal range of behaviours displayed in all the peoples at the center of the bellcurve and one standard deviation from the center.

    Now think about the subset of peoples in my descriptions who do research and assess autistic peoples; are they eliminating all the biases there is in their minds or else, they are not able to?

    You’ll see some examples here in this thread.

    Alain

  175. #177 Alain
    January 4, 2015

    Narad,
    Much better 🙂 with that said, as you can assume from the last comment and a few others before, I am drunk so didn’t fully understand comment 172 but then, I still have 81 comments from my feedreader to go through which mean, I did not Assess what have been going on after the last 71 comments on a few (not one) thread(s) here.

    It’s ongoing but sometime, I feel the need to vent out…

    Alain

  176. #178 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 4, 2015

    I gave “Arguing Further” the benefit of the doubt that he/she was not Kilnon, despite the similarities in beliefs and writing style and despite the suggestive ‘nym.

    However, it didn’t occur to me until later that Kilnon might not be aware that sockpuppetting is one of a small number of offenses on this board that nearly always results in a ban. If indeed Arguing Further is Kilnon, changing their pseudonym to “argue further” without addressing the objections that have been already presented to their arguments, they need to stop immediately, pick one ‘nym and stick with it.

  177. #179 Orac
    January 4, 2015

    Arguing Father and Kilnon are almost certainly the same person. They post from the same IP address.

    Quite frankly, Kilnon is really clueless about how WordPress works. The reason every new comment by him goes to moderation automatically is because he uses a different Yahoo! e-mail address every time, usually a random gobbledygook of letters with “@yahoo.com” appended. This blog is set to send every first-time commenter into automatic moderation. If I approve a commenter’s first comment, after that the commenter can comment freely, without moderation, subject to some filters (such as filters for certain profanity).

    Because Kilnon changed his e-mail address every time he posted, every post of his was treated as being by a new, first-time commenter and was therefore put into moderation. After a while, I got tired of approving his posts for this reason and simply stopped doing it. His nonsense was making more work for me, and I simply decided that I wasn’t going to do it any more. Then he started popping up as “Arguing Father.” I didn’t immediately realize it was the same person and approved one of his comments. After that, I stopped.

    Here’s a message for Kilnon: After seeing that you’ve started trying to use a sock puppet, I have deleted all of your comments (around 11) currently hung up in moderation. If you want to comment any more, you can comment, but on these conditions: No sock puppets are allowed, and you will need to keep the same damned e-mail address. If you start up with the same BS you were doing before, I will simply delete with extreme prejudice your future posts that get hung up in moderation because you won’t keep a consistent e-mail address. Got it?

  178. #180 Chris
    January 4, 2015

    Alain: “Kilnon, did you assess the possibility that you are ignorant?”

    Well, according to Orac above, he is: “Quite frankly, Kilnon is really clueless about how WordPress works.”

  179. […] Oh, no! GMOs are going to make everyone autistic! – Respectful Insolence […]

  180. #182 Brian White
    Victoria Canada
    January 4, 2015

    There are about a hundred clostridial bacteria and some are linked with autism. (They produce various nerve poisons) If glyphosate ,used to dessicated wheat, barley and lentils before harvest (to get rid of green and make them dry quicker) makes it to the gut, and throws the Enterococcus into tailspin, then we actually are in trouble, and not just autistic children people, pretty much everybody. Clostridia are spore forming so really hard to get rid of, once there is overgrowth, they can use their toxins to keep other bacteria in check and they tend to retain dominance. Research paper on Elsevier “Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. on Clostridium botulinum”

  181. #183 Narad
    January 4, 2015

    Research paper on Elsevier “Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. on Clostridium botulinum”

    Cited by Seneff, natch (I do wonder what Beall’s comment was).

    Anyway, Brian, how long until 1 in 2 have botulism?

  182. #184 Narad
    January 4, 2015

    This is a good one from Stephanie: Sports-related concussions? Glyphosate.

  183. #185 Tim
    January 4, 2015

    http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/06/gulf-war-illness-tied-to-cipro-antibiotics/

    Thx, Lisa Bloomquist; I have personal cause to *feel* that Cipro is truely nasty.

    Now, I’d heard back in the day that Gulf War Syndrome may have been kicked off by some of the anthrax and experimental nerve gas prophylactics in the form of ‘pills’ which replaced the regular E. coli with strains that produced certain neurotoxins — Apparently, these new nerotoxins were supposed to occupy receptors that the whatever-it-was-supposed-to-be nerve gas would otherwise stick to but then be less affected; However, they were not then re-supplanted with natural strains but remained in the gut like a 7-year piece of poison gum.

    ^^ That’s what I always *assumed* it probably was. But, in the interest of full disclosure, I was never one to fall for the simple explanation, conventional speculation, nor (some would say) reason — After seeing your article, it may be a bit more plausible to me to suspect the Cipro played a role, especially given its’ deleterious effects on the gut microbiome.

  184. #186 ChrisP
    January 5, 2015

    You see Narad glyphosate is such a powerful chemical that there is nothing it cannot do. I should sprinkle some on my wheat bix in the morning.

    This paper is incredible (in the true sense of the word). Had I not seen this paper for real I would not have credited a journal with publishing it. But then this is a journal with advertising on its website.

  185. #187 Tim
    January 5, 2015

    ChrisP #185,

    What do you find *incredible* about that paper?? So there is some speculation on her part that it *may* be glyphosate {gotta look somewhere} but does that negate the proposed mechanisms of action/harm? — Can I get an “no studies to show” (that glyphosate exposure does not cascade in that manner) here, or what?

    I’m with Narad #184

    This is a good one from Stephanie:

    What was ya’lls’ beef with that lady, again?

  186. #188 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    There are about a hundred clostridial bacteria and some are linked with autism.

    Would you care to specify which ones, Barry? And by whom? And whether it was a replicated observation, or one which has since been abandoned while the researchers themselves moved on to some other bacteria?

  187. #189 Narad
    January 5, 2015

    The selective quoting from Bakhos et al. is shameless.

    “Thionetic Nutrition” omits the glyphosate angle entirely in their (ahem) “summary for medical professionals” (PDF).

  188. #190 Narad
    January 5, 2015

    If glyphosate ,used to dessicated [sic] wheat, barley and lentils before harvest (to get rid of green and make them dry quicker)

    Well, if Sarah Pope says it’s true, there’s no chance that it’s comically wrong, right?

  189. #191 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    “Depletion of certain rare minerals, overuse of sunscreen and/or overprotection from sun exposure, as well as overindulgence in heavily processed, nutrient deficient foods, further compromise the brain’s resilience.”

    Do not apply sunscreen directly to the cortex!

  190. #192 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    If glyphosate ,used to dessicated [sic] wheat, barley and lentils before harvest (to get rid of green and make them dry quicker)

    Let’s see if I’ve got this correct: US farmers are
    (1) Paying extra to sow genetically-engineered Roundup-Ready plants which are resistant to glyphosate; and
    (2) Paying extra for the larger doses of glyphosate required to kill those resistant plants before harvesting (the plants must die because reasons).

    Also (3) the genetic modification and the glyphosate reside are both the singe cause of all human illness.

    Have I missed anything?

  191. #193 Narad
    January 5, 2015

    You erred in point 1; the cited crops aren’t RR.

  192. #194 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 5, 2015

    What do you find *incredible* about that paper?? So there is some speculation on her part that it *may* be glyphosate {gotta look somewhere} but does that negate the proposed mechanisms of action/harm? — Can I get an “no studies to show” (that glyphosate exposure does not cascade in that manner) here, or what?

    As the lady sez in the commercials, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” Just because Seneff speculates something, such as “glyphosate cascades”, does not mean that glyphosate cascades or we should assume it does so, until someone has disproven her speculation. It does not mean mainstream science is bad and neglectful and wrong because they aren’t immediately devoting valuable research dollars to refuting a hypothesis published by someone with few qualifications in the subject matter in a bottom-feeding journal – with citations to some of the most notoriously retracted papers in recent history, no less.

  193. […] PS. Teorię o tym, ze glifosat powoduje autyzm została świetnie omówiona i obalona przez dwójkę doktorów nauk medycznych, którzy zajmują się rozprawianiem z różnego rodzaju mitami – dr Steven Novella (Glyphosate – The New Bogeyman) i dr David Gorski (Oh, no! GMOs are going to make everyone autistic!). […]

  194. #196 PhD_Doc
    Toronto
    January 5, 2015

    As a doctor of oncology, it doesn’t sound like your an autism expert either. However, you do sound like a big fan of GMO and other things most likely bad for people.

  195. #197 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 5, 2015

    …your an autism expert…

    Oh, the irony.

  196. #198 Dangerous Bacon
    January 5, 2015

    I have tried but failed to find PhD_Doc’s thesis: “GMOs And Other Things Most Likely Bad For People”.

    A link would be appreciated.

  197. #199 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 5, 2015

    PhD_Doc – Can you please provide data that shows that GMOs are most likely bad for people? Thanks.

  198. #200 Krebiozen
    January 5, 2015

    Brian White,

    If glyphosate ,used to dessicated wheat, barley and lentils before harvest (to get rid of green and make them dry quicker) makes it to the gut, and throws the Enterococcus into tailspin, then we actually are in trouble, and not just autistic children people, pretty much everybody.

    The concentrations of glyphosate that inhibited probiotic bacteria in this study were 0.075-0.6 mg/mL i.e. 75-600 mg/L, specifically 150 mg/L for Enterococcus. For glyphosate the maximum residue level (MRL) found in wheat was 6.5 mg/kg, in barley 20 mg/kg and in lentils 3.0 mg/kg.

    No foodstuffs contain high enough concentrations of glyphosate to kill even the most sensitive probiotic bacteria. Even if someone ate nothing but barley it would be impossible to get a high enough concentration of glyphosate in the gut to kill any bacteria.

    Since chronic toxicity studies have found no toxic effects in rats given 400 mg/kg body weight per day, or in dogs fed up to 500 mg/kg/day, and no signs of cancer in mice fed up to 4500 mg/kg/day I’m not concerned.

  199. #201 MarkN
    January 5, 2015

    As provided in numerous documentaries:

    Avada Kedavra linked to things mostly likely bad for people, and genetics.

  200. #202 justthestats
    January 5, 2015

    I’ve never heard of doctors having a hard time telling the symptoms of botulism poisoning apart from autism before. It’s almost like they are really different or something.

  201. #203 Tim
    scratching "Kilroy was here" and "that's what she said" upon the Georgia Guidstones
    January 5, 2015

    It does not mean mainstream science is bad and neglectful and wrong because they aren’t immediately devoting valuable research dollars to refuting a hypothesis published by someone with few qualifications in the subject matter in a bottom-feeding journal – with citations to some of the most notoriously retracted papers in recent history, no less.

    Point taken, Anteaus Feldspar. But were we talking about the DEA and Partnership for a Drug Free America, or Seneff? … Wait … What?? Agregeous policy has been set in stone yet there were “no studies to show” all along?

    Krebiozen #200,
    Maybe not ‘killed’ but what if their metabolism is being altered? What if some amino acids we rely on (such as tryptophan, tyrocine, or lycine ) are being pumped out in a more/less/altered fashion?? Perhaps it could all be a *Peak-E* afterall…

    It occurs to me again that some unscrupulous institutions/corporations may not wish to fund “any studies to show” if they had reason to suspect the above may be the case.

  202. #204 Khota
    MA
    January 5, 2015

    I am not a scientist, but I am an intelligent and analytical mother whose gut is telling me she is onto something and her findings (that you deem junk science) should be fully considered as we all seek to find the causes of food allergies, developmental disorders, gastrointestinal disease, and autism spectrum disorders.

    Your statement, “What the increase in autism prevalence corresponds to is really the expansion of diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders that occurred in the early 1990s as well as increased screening for the condition, which, as I’ve pointed out, will always increase the prevalence of any condition” really puts you on credibility watch in my book and makes me wonder who is writing your pay check. Monsanto?

    Again, while I am not a scientist, I question the motive behind your response to Ms. Senoff’s research. I will continue to write, share, talk to anyone who will listen, and advocate for children who I believe are being poisoned by big food, Monsanto, and a government who lacks the back bone to give up special interest funding in favor of protecting our health.

  203. #205 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    I have tried but failed to find PhD_Doc’s thesis: “GMOs And Other Things Most Likely Bad For People”.

    It was from the Derek Zoolander University For Kids That Can’t Write Good And Want To Do Other Things Good Too

  204. #206 Krebiozen
    January 5, 2015

    Tim,

    Maybe not ‘killed’ but what if their metabolism is being altered?

    The concentrations in the paper I cited were those that inhibited the growth of those organisms, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). I find it hard to see how a bacterium’s metabolism could be substantially altered without any effects on its growth, especially when glyphosate concentrations in the gut are going to be far lower than the MIC.

    What if some amino acids we rely on (such as tryptophan, tyrocine, or lycine ) are being pumped out in a more/less/altered fashion??

    Pumped out by what? I don’t think gut bacteria are a significant source of amino acids in humans, are they? How would this happen and what reason do we have to think it might? Long-term feeding of animals with vast amounts of glyphosate with no evidence of toxicity suggests that this either doesn’t happen, or has no serious consequences.

    Perhaps it could all be a *Peak-E* afterall…

    Sorry, I have no idea what you mean by this.

    It occurs to me again that some unscrupulous institutions/corporations may not wish to fund “any studies to show” if they had reason to suspect the above may be the case.

    There seems to be no shortage of people with the resources to produce increasingly desperate and dubious research that is clearly trying to show, by any means possible, that anything GMO-related is bad. A couple of years ago I was suspicious of GMOs and associated technology, but having looked at the research on the subject I have been shocked by the dishonesty of the anti-GMO movement. It reminds me very strongly of the anti-vaccine movement in that regard.

  205. #207 Gray Falcon
    January 5, 2015

    Khota: “” really puts you on credibility watch in my book and makes me wonder who is writing your pay check. Monsanto?” So, since you lack evidence, you turn immediately to libel?

  206. #208 Narad
    January 5, 2015

    Again, while I am not a scientist, I question the motive behind your response to Ms. Senoff’s [sic] research.

    What research? Starting from the premise that glyphosate is the cause of “the system-wide sulfate deficiency” that “is the key factor behind all modern diseases” and then pulling one Rube Goldberg–esque “example” after another out of one’s ass isn’t what the term is usually taken to mean.

  207. #209 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    I am an intelligent and analytical mother whose gut is telling me she is onto something

    Sadly, there is a contradiction between “relying on your gut” and “being intelligent and analytical”. Make up your mind, Khota, or your gut as the case may be.

    Your statement […] really puts you on credibility watch in my book

    Sounds like Khota’s credibility detector is triggered by anyone telling her anything that disagrees with her preconceptions.

  208. #210 Tim
    January 5, 2015

    This Peak-E, Krebiozen #206:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1906194/

    I find it hard to see how a bacterium’s metabolism could be substantially altered without any effects on its growth

    And yet, that is where *peak e* was first identified; GMO E. coli engineered to produce more l-tryptophan… The filters were insufficient to remove the exess — EMS syndrome.

    I also note many of the constituents of that syndrome seem similar to what Lisa Bloomquist has noted with Gulf War Illness possibly linked to Cipro.

  209. #211 Helianthus
    January 5, 2015

    @ Krebiozen

    A couple of years ago I was suspicious of GMOs and associated technology, but having looked at the research on the subject I have been shocked by the dishonesty of the anti-GMO movement.

    That mirrors my own experience. I was disappointed by the big firms going for the low-hanging fruit of herbicide resistance, but apart from this…
    Most real issues ascribed to GMOs are actually issues of our agrobusiness in general, including to some extent the organic agrobusiness. Remove GMOs, and the issues are still here – monocultures, soil erosion, deforestation, countryside urbanization… Well, I can accept the argument that the way GMOs are developed right now, we keep going in the same direction, without addressing these issues.

    On the other hand, the day some French green Luddites torn out the experimental field of a government lab, despite the extravagant precautions to ensure the non-dissemination of the tested plants, I definitively knew which camp to choose. I hate bullies.
    We have a number of small companies and government labs who preferred to shelf some ambitious GMO projects rather than die trying to develop them (a former lab of my boss included). Thanks to the greens, the monopoly of Monsanto has been fortified. Good job breaking it, heroes!

    Since chronic toxicity studies have found no toxic effects in rats given 400 mg/kg body weight per day

    Eh, in [bleep] Seralini’s [bleep]* study, the male rats receiving glyphosate died less than the control male rats.
    * use your choice of swearwords. Gosh I hate this guy.

    Speaking of big firms, from our low-imagination visitor:

    makes me wonder who is writing your pay check. Monsanto?

    Thanks the FSM there is Monsanto. That leaves the other Big Six free to do as they please.

    In the interest of full disclosure, one of these big six – but not Monsanto – is paying a colleague of mine to study how long and how deep their pesticides stay in plants.
    But if you think the petty cash they gave our lab is enough to buy our undying loyalty, insult our intelligence and dictate the results… You are seriously deluded. It’s just enough to pay for our time and the instruments’ use. Big corporations didn’t become and stay wealthy by overpaying their subcontractors.

    For my projects, my boss has secured funding from national or European Agencies/NGO which pay more and, more-or-less coincidentally, are also about studying the impact of pesticides on plants and animals. And they don’t look like they would cut our funds if we were to show that some product is harmful, quite the contrary.

  210. #212 herr doktor bimler
    January 5, 2015

    And yet, that is where *peak e* was first identified; GMO E. coli engineered to produce more l-tryptophan… The filters were insufficient to remove the exess — EMS syndrome.

    Dude, Showa Denko were using GMO Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, not E. coli. Then they decided that they didn’t need to filter out impurities.
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/trypto.html

  211. #213 ChrisP
    January 5, 2015

    Tim,

    What do you find *incredible* about that paper??

    Simply that it got published at all. There is a hole in the logic that you could drive the 5th Army through with no-body noticing. I know you are not at all interested in an answer, but it might be useful for some lurkers.

    To start off with the opening sentence: “While the number of reported sports-related concussions (SRCs) has been steadily rising over the past decade, prompting increased media and medical attention, the number of children participating in the top five organized team sports (OTS), over the same time period, has actually been declining.”

    This comes from the paper that Narad linked to above. The reasons are reasonably well documented: the decline is due to the top 5 organised team sports becoming more competitive and children who are not good at them choosing to undertake other sporting activities. The increase in reported concussions is primarily related to increased awareness of the need to seek medical help for concussion, particularly in children. There is also an impact of the top 5 organised team sports becoming more competitive. There are now larger and faster bodies making impacts harder.

    Instead of recognising there are perfectly valid explanations for the phenomenon, Seneff finds an entirely unrelated thing that has also been increasing: glyphosate used on corn and soy crops in the US and then writes a 23 page paper of unfounded speculation, with no original research. What is more, the speculation makes no biochemical or physiological sense. Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases are a class of enzymes, not a single entity and glyphosate would never inhibit any of these enzymes at the concentrations people would normally meet in the wild.

    I could go on, but that will do for now.

    And yet, that is where *peak e* was first identified; GMO E. coli engineered to produce more l-tryptophan… The filters were insufficient to remove the exess — EMS syndrome.

    I think you need to read this http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-20-gm-microbe-does-not-cause-ems/ it is as good a summary as I have seen. EMS was caused by consuming high doses of L-tryptophan. Peak E played no role.

  212. #214 ChrisP
    January 5, 2015

    Bugger, blockquote fail.

    But you will get my point.

  213. #215 Krebiozen
    January 5, 2015

    Tim,

    And yet, that is where *peak e* was first identified; GMO E. coli engineered to produce more l-tryptophan… The filters were insufficient to remove the exess — EMS syndrome.

    Oh, that “peak E”. I’m familiar with that incident, but I don’t see how it relates to the possible effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. As the good Herr Doktor pointed out, this was GM bacteria, not a probiotic species, in vats producing tryptophan that may not have been properly purified. It is also possible that EMS was due to excessive tryptophan ingestion, and had nothing to do with contamination of GMOs.

    I also note many of the constituents of that syndrome seem similar to what Lisa Bloomquist has noted with Gulf War Illness possibly linked to Cipro.

    That seems a stretch, at best.

  214. #216 brian
    January 5, 2015

    And yet, that is where *peak e* was first identified; GMO E. coli engineered to produce more l-tryptophan… The filters were insufficient to remove the exess — EMS syndrome.

    As I recall, the “peak E” was not synthesized by the genetically-modified bacilli. However, it could be created during the process of purification. Moreover, “peak E,” which was not detectable in the broth used to grow either the genetically-modified strain or its parent (non-modified) strain, could be isolated from ion exchange resins used to purify L-tryptophan from the broth of either strain as the resin concentrated both reactants (acetaldehyde and L-tryptophan.)

  215. #217 Tim
    approaching the duodenum with a flickering majic torch helment
    January 5, 2015

    Herr doktor bimler #212,
    I find this bit of inerest in your linked quackwatch article:

    There is not a single person in America who is tryptophan-deficient. Isolated amino acid deficiencies do not occur. People who have low blood tryptophan levels also have low blood levels of other essential amino acids as well, because these people are protein-deficient.

    Oreally? And what about alcoholics? People with diarrhea, people whose gut flora and fauna have been wiped out by some antibiotic such as Cipro? More to Krebiozen’s objection… Aren’t these very aforementioned amino acids produced by the gut bacteria (some solely) thus the “not a single” above?

    And let us throw in some others such as inositol for good measure. And others not listed as ‘essential’ or on RDI because we all just have our full-time little buddies to crap it out for us. Or not, such as the case may be.

    The shikimate pathway is a seven step metabolic route used by bacteria, fungi, algae, parasites, and plants for the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan). This pathway is not found in animals

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikimic_acid#Shikimate_pathway

    https://books.google.com/books?id=0wJUFr1TphYC&pg=PA108&lpg=PA108&dq=showa+denko+e.+coli&source=bl&ots=F_OzsoK3D6&sig=_0-mLSMRkrQsSI5aw-kVHsgPgZU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YCyrVPy6FoOSyAS94IDIAQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwBw

    As for Bacillus amyloliquefaciens vs. Escherichia coli, that was sloppy of me. I tend to offhandedly discount the difference between human and chicken shit when it serves the same purpose.

  216. #218 Tim
    January 5, 2015

    Moreover, “peak E,” which was not detectable in the broth used to grow either the genetically-modified strain or its parent (non-modified) strain, could be isolated

    As I understood it, the evidence got flushed before being analyzed.

    Showa Denko reportedly destroyed the GM bacterial stocks after the EMS cases began to emerge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Showa_Denko#Tryptophan_contamination
    ======================
    *excessive*, Krebiozen? In that it seems to be traced back to only one source? That does happen, such as the *capacitor plague* industrial espionage of cheap, bulk-bought electrolytics still afflicting me to this very day.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

    That seems a stretch, at best.

    Yea, you caught me doing my Oceaniac ‘morning jerks’.
    =========================

    Thx, ChrisP; I actually did hault my ingestion of 5-HTP awhile back over similar concerns — specifically, the occurences of intermittant disappearance of arterial pulse and wildly fluctuating BP.

    In 1989, the presence of a contaminant called Peak X was found in tryptophan supplement
    … Also found in 5-HTP. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/5hydroxytryptophan-5htp Well, sort of. Someone seems to have their Xs and Es conflated, but I’ve never been a spelling nazi. Very recently, I seem to have reproduced that effect by reintroducing a suspect (as in possibly tampered with/contaminated) nicotinamide riboside. <– So I'll probably lay off that and try the 5-HTP again in a few days.

  217. #219 Tim
    January 5, 2015

    ChrisP #213,

    ps. I read it that it was not the instances of concussion that have increased but an increase in damage/lack of signal that damage has stopped kinda hurtness.

  218. #220 ChrisP
    January 5, 2015

    Well, Tim the authors wrote concussion in the part of their paper I quoted, so I can only assume they meant concussion.

    Although reading some of the rest of the paper, I do get the impression words are being used in ways that normal people don’t.

    Frankly, it doesn’t matter because the authors provide zero evidence in their paper that glyphosate is associated with either event.

  219. #221 brian
    January 5, 2015

    As I understood it, the evidence got flushed before being analyzed. ,/BLOCKQUOTE>

    No. If that’s the best that you can do, you don’t understand it at all.

    As it happens, I understand how someone could be fascinated by amino acid biosynthesis in bacteria, since I worked for years in that area before moving to the study of intermediary metabolism and biosynthesis in eukaryotes. That background is sufficient to allow me to realize that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Bye.

  220. #222 Tim
    January 5, 2015

    I *thought* I understood some of it, brian —

    As I recall, the “peak E” was not synthesized by the genetically-modified bacilli. However, it could be created during the process of purification.

    While I have no background in this, I thought I may have the aptitude to pick a little of it up doing a course ‘audit’ here… Perhaps I overreached. I guess I’m still too pedantic to waste any more of your time. And yet, I’m left pondering if not altered ratios of enzymes/protiens/amino acids/ some new reactant differed between the Showa Denko broth vs. others. I’m left pondering if it has ever been reproduced.

  221. #223 ChrisP
    January 6, 2015

    Tim, it is clear you have no background in this. You seem to be fixated on peak e, otherwise known as 1,1′-ethylidenebis[tryptophan].

    The reality is that EMS occurred before the outbreak attributed to Showa Denko’s product

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.1780350308/pdf

    and afterwards

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848710/?report=classic

  222. […] Autism? Is it autism? It’s autism, isn’t it? Yes, yes it is: […]

  223. #225 Krebiozen
    January 6, 2015

    Tim,

    Oreally? And what about alcoholics? People with diarrhea, people whose gut flora and fauna have been wiped out by some antibiotic such as Cipro? More to Krebiozen’s objection… Aren’t these very aforementioned amino acids produced by the gut bacteria (some solely) thus the “not a single” above?

    Alcoholics and people with malabsorption tend to be generally malnourished, with protein deficiency – we see low total protein and albumin – so they will be short on amino acids generally. Humans get the vast majority of the amino acids they require from digesting proteins, not from bacteria synthesizing them in their guts, as far as I know.

    I don’t believe we get any amino acids solely from gut bacteria. Vitamin B12 is made by gut bacteria, perhaps that’s what you are thinking of.

  224. #226 Tim
    January 6, 2015

    It is also possible that EMS was due to excessive tryptophan ingestion

    Ok. Thx Krebiozen #215. So from my limited understanding, I may substitute “5-HTP” for “tryptophan” when considering the implications and mechanisms in that paper** you linked? Based on this graphic, it *looks* to me (the step between seratonin to melatonin??) like that would be the case and I really, really, really wish ‘somebody’ would soothsay me into confidence that it is not the case:

    ^^ It is the serum seratonin that is *bad*, right??

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tryptophan_metabolism.png
    https://books.google.com/books?id=bmG4MOm7-yEC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&ots=aM0lDXZB-a&focus=viewport&dq=histamine-N-methyltransferase+5-htp

    Most of the words, I had to look up; But swollen salivary glands jumped out at me as well as some other pulmonary, agitation/anxiety, and skin stuff(pg 129 -131… now google books won’t let me view the pages again. For that matter, I don’t recall stumbling across Amino Acid Biosynthesis – Pathways, Regulation and Metabolic Engineering but now It won’t let me see that one either).

    Hell; I never trusted SlimFast anyways.

    **I could only view the abstract — Paywall. Same with ChrisP’s. I’d considered grabbing the stuff Aaron Swartz delivered, should I ever learn to do papers, but I don’t think he’d pulled them down to that recent before pulling out of everything altogether. Ya’lls’ input is greatly appreciated, but sometimes it is a chore to figure out the presenting of the proper questions {except for ‘brian’… Dude, tell Bruce Ivins “hidey ho” for me}.
    ======================
    Helianthus #211 says,

    Most real issues ascribed to GMOs are actually issues of our agrobusiness in general, including to some extent the organic agrobusiness. Remove GMOs, and the issues are still here – monocultures, soil erosion, deforestation, countryside urbanization

    Like the deforestation of Rainforest to pay off global debt through cattle speculation, for instance? Or the ubiquitous poisoning of everything in the name of code-enforced ‘beautiful lawns’.

    Yes. And Yes, sort of, Krebiozen #206:

    clearly trying to show, by any means possible, that anything GMO-related is bad

    It is not genetic engineering I loathe but rather the patenting (copyrighting and all that comes with that) of life and its’ processes that I detest. It is hard to trust, and especially when my working model of the world has hinged on cannabis prohibition and the machinations of “the global elite” all these years, the systemic workings of Big Agra or SBM or Big Oil.

    I’ll make no bones about wanting to see Monsanto destroyed:

    The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any Euroxpean[sp??] Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show…

    In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops. …

    … In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/03/wikileaks-us-eu-gm-crops

  225. #227 herr doktor bimler
    January 6, 2015

    Is there any amino acid absorption in the large intestine? I thought of it as a small-intestine specialty.

  226. #228 Krebiozen
    January 6, 2015

    HDB,

    Is there any amino acid absorption in the large intestine? I thought of it as a small-intestine specialty.

    Good point. Since water is absorbed in the large intestine, presumably any amino acids would passively follow, but the great majority would already have been absorbed. There are also bacteria in the small intestine, just not as many as in the large intestine. They synthesize biotin, Tim’s favorite folate and vitamin K, but not amino acids to any significant degree.

    Since carbohydrates and fats that make it as far as the large intestine generate sometimes spectacular symptoms, I would speculate that surviving proteins and amino acids would do something similar.

  227. #229 herr doktor bimler
    January 6, 2015

    Since water is absorbed in the large intestine, presumably any amino acids would passively follow

    That would require a leaky osmotic membrane, though. IIRC, amino-acid absorption in the small intestine is an active process (with molecular pumps across the cellular membranes).

    I would speculate that surviving proteins and amino acids would do something similar.
    Gut bacteria metabolise tryptophan into skatole. Too much remaining tryptophan is going to have odoriferous results.

  228. #230 Tim
    January 6, 2015

    Krebiozen #227, herr doctor bimler #228,

    I do seem a might confused. I guess I should have taken a clue from this:

    This was known as the “lysine contingency” and was supposed to prevent the cloned dinosaurs from surviving outside the park, forcing them to be dependent on lysine supplements provided by the park’s veterinary staff. In reality, most vertebrates cannot produce lysine (it is an essential amino acid).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysine#In_popular_culture

    And choline and inositol? I see we can manufacture inositol so I’d guess it doesn’t belong in the RDI/RDA but what of choline?; I don’t know where I got the idea these things were from the microbiome — Thx for the clarification as it might explain alot.

  229. #231 herr doktor bimler
    January 6, 2015

    A crash course at Google University taught me that horses *do* absorb amino acids through their large intestines — being reliant on their gut bacteria to produce those nutrients from their grassy diets, but not having ruminant stomachs to house those bacteria upstream from their small intestines. So evolution *can* accomplish that neat trick, and I suppose humans could acquire the capability too, given a bit of genetic engineering.

  230. #232 Wendy Greene
    California
    January 6, 2015

    This is all lies. Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a brilliant breath of fresh air. Her paper indicated in this slanderous and ignorant rant of yours is an impeccable masterpiece. You sir, are completely wrong and obviously ignorant. Dr. Seneff has nothing to gain to spread the lies like you do. You must have been paid to spew this venom. You value money and power over human life, and that will bite you in the butt. Retract your lies, and send Dr. Seneff an apology for you blatant ignorance.
    I will discredit you all over the place on the internet til you do what’s right, and spread the truth like Dr. Seneff and not your unwarranted malicious lies.

  231. #233 ChrisP
    January 7, 2015

    Wendy Greene, thanks for dropping by. Contrary to your assertions, all of the papers by Stephanie Seneff on health topics are unmitigated bilge.

    She cherry picks the papers ignoring a large body of research that does not agree with her thesis; cites papers that have been fully retracted because they are irredeemably flawed as if they were correct; misquote work; mistakes correlation for causation; and plain makes things up.

    And threats. Oh dear threats. The last resort of those that have no evidence to back them.

  232. #234 Narad
    January 7, 2015

    This is all lies. Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a brilliant breath of fresh air.

    OK, what functional form did she fit to which data to obtain her “1 in 2 by 2025” prediction? What goodness-of-fit measure was used? (I mean, that should be easy: it’s her thing.)

  233. #235 Narad
    January 7, 2015

    Then again, Wendy may well be too good to be true.

  234. #236 LouV
    January 7, 2015

    @Wendy Greene :
    Then I suppose you won’t have any problem pointing out what is “ignorant” and “slanderous” in this post ?

  235. #237 LouV
    France
    January 7, 2015

    @Khota
    (answering likely too late but whatever)
    Your statement, “What the increase in autism prevalence corresponds to is really the expansion of diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders that occurred in the early 1990s as well as increased screening for the condition, which, as I’ve pointed out, will always increase the prevalence of any condition” really puts you on credibility watch in my book and makes me wonder who is writing your pay check. Monsanto?
    What exactly in this statement is not credible ?
    I live in France ; most associations of parents of autistic people are constantly battling to ensure that professionals have an adequate knowledge of diagnosis criteria.
    Until 2012, our french diagnosis classification said that autism was a psychosis ; as a result we have a lot of difficulties establishing how many autistic adults we have in France, because a lot of them are filed under “psychotic” in institutions’ files.
    In 2005 we had a governmental diagnosis recommandation which emphasized that you have to use the international classification besides the french one, and that you have to TELL the parents what you think their child have (at the minimum, PDD-NOS).
    Yet we still have professionals who claim that even putting a clear NAME on what people suffer from is detrimental.
    So yes, unification of autism diagnosis is a very well known problem in the french autisphere. Therefore, the role of diagnosis criteria HAS to be adressed whenever we are discussing the evolution of autism prevalence.

    Why do you think otherwise ?

  236. #238 Emma Crew
    January 7, 2015

    I’m surprised anybody engaged Kilnon any further after reading @113 “turning humans into autistic people”
    … or at least called him/her/it out for that horrifically offensive suggestion that autistic people are not humans.

    That phrase should have been a give-away, no?

  237. #239 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 7, 2015

    I’m surprised anybody engaged Kilnon any further after reading @113 “turning humans into autistic people”
    … or at least called him/her/it out for that horrifically offensive suggestion that autistic people are not humans.

    That phrase should have been a give-away, no?

    Everyone has their specialties; I focused on Kilnon’s offenses against mathematics and logic mostly, and trusted that others would call as they saw fit.

    I’m a bit curious, though: why do you seem to take for granted that the right response to one who holds sufficiently offensive and ignorant beliefs is not to engage?

  238. #240 Emma Crew
    Seattle-ish
    January 7, 2015

    It’s not always the right response, for sure. The early engagement was good. But once someone shows they’ve drunk enough of the kool-aid to think autistics are something other than human, is any rational response going to make a difference? I don’t know. That might be despair talking after a long weekend with two sick kids, both on the spectrum. I’m just never sure where the line of “nothing more to do, this person is just going to be Wrong on the Internet” is and was pretty overwhelmed with fury at the suggestion that most of my family (older generations, too) is not quite human.

  239. #241 shay
    January 7, 2015

    I dunno — it’s fun to watch Kreb, Narad et al poke the bear.

  240. #242 Emma Crew
    Seattle-ish
    January 7, 2015

    True enough, I did enjoy the thread once my head un-exploded from rage.

  241. #243 Chris
    January 7, 2015

    Yeah, one of the highlights was when it was revealed that kilnon was his own sock puppet who changed to a different email address each time!

  242. […] excellent blog post about Seneff and her questionable research appeared in the ScienceBlogs blog Respectful Insolence […]

  243. #245 Tim
    January 8, 2015

    Tim’s favorite folate</blockquote
    Speaking of which, Krebiozen #228:

    The lifespan of those born in periods of solar maximum—interludes marked by powerful flares and geomagnetic storms—was “5.2 years shorter” on average than those born during a solar minimum

    http://phys.org/news/2015-01-sun-lifespan-birth.html

    … peak solar activity brings higher levels of ultraviolet radiation to Earth, and some evidence suggests that UV radiation may increase infant mortality by degrading folic acid levomefolic acid, or vitamin B9

    http://www.livescience.com/49345-uv-exposure-babies-lifespan.html

  244. #246 Brandon
    January 10, 2015

    This woman was featured on Thom Hartmann’s RT program last night.

    *facepalm* He couldn’t possibly have VETTED her beforehand?? And he seemed to give her a very softball interview, too…

  245. #247 Jesse
    California
    January 10, 2015

    Just a bunch of self-righteous nerds getting aroused at yet another very boring ad hominem attack on anyone not sharing their very special, very narrow view of the world. You should send your piece to Entropy. Then maybe some other micro community can publish their rebuttal based on demeaning your background and this blog.

    • #248 Orac
      January 10, 2015

      Please specify exactly what, in this blog post, is an ad hominem attack. I’ll wait.

  246. #249 Chris
    January 10, 2015

    Jesse, someone should use insults like “bunch of self-righteous nerds” and then claim to have civility, or any kind of argument.

    And to help you answer Orac’s question, read this first:
    http://www.skepticsfieldguide.net/2012/05/ad-hominem.html

  247. #250 Chris
    January 10, 2015

    Correction: “someone should not use insults “

  248. #251 Orac
    January 10, 2015

    Jesse, someone should use insults like “bunch of self-righteous nerds” and then claim to have civility, or any kind of argument.,

    Pointing this out is usually lost on people like Jess, who claim for themselves the right to fling insults hither, thither, and yon at people who write things that upset them but then clutch their pearls at “incivility” when they criticize people they disagree with. It’s so transparent that the intent is to try to impose an arbitrary level of “civility” on her opponent and using that to reject anything that doesn’t adhere to that level of civility, all while not adhering to civility herself.

  249. #252 Chris
    January 10, 2015

    So true.

    It is one reason why I decided to never use profanity online a very long time ago. Someone did once claim that I was so angry that I was cursing up a storm, until I challenged him to show me where.

  250. #253 Mitt
    January 10, 2015

    No, no; Jesse should be taken seriously because, at least, she’s not black.

  251. […] excellent blog post about Seneff and her questionable research appeared in the ScienceBlogs blog Respectful Insolence […]

  252. #255 Christina
    OK
    January 13, 2015

    What exactly are YOUR credentials Orac? I would like to know as I have a child with autism and need to know if I should take this article seriously or file it in the BS bin.

  253. […] to spot that this is clearly a textbook case of correlation not implying causation. As David Gorski notes in his comprehensive debunking, the similar illusory correlation between autism and organic food […]

  254. #257 Narad
    January 13, 2015

    What exactly are YOUR credentials Orac? I would like to know as I have a child with autism and need to know if I should take this article seriously or file it in the BS bin.

    Try clicking on the blue letters that read “Orac.”

  255. #258 Tim
    January 14, 2015

    Iron, manganese, cobalt, vitamin D, folate.

    I think the lady has a pretty good case. Especially when considering as a compounding/cascading mechanism the ‘synergy’ of the ‘inert’ ingredients. A *thousand times more toxic/effective* than just glyphosate alone means what? She exaggerated? Monsanto just puts those other things in there for shits and giggles? She is at liberty to say it because there are ‘no studies to show’?

    I don’t know alot about chemistry/biology but I do know that surfectants/detergants dissolve grease/fat/lipids. Every animal cell membrane is composed of lipids — If that were thinned, then… ?? ……. profit (for someone/something, I’m sure– even bankers know how to make away like bandits during a market crash).
    ————————
    You know, if I was a secret evil organization seeking to sickify and stupify and killify a populace softly, slowly, and divorce them of any retirement savings along the way otherwise by inducing chronic disease, I may then consider to adopt a two pronged attack whereby the natural metabolism and absorption of non-synthetic folate (levomefolic acid) is first impared and then give ’em the ol’ one-two by then mandating fortifying everything with a derpy oil derived molecule not known until 1943, synthetic ‘folic acid’, which is preferentially bio-available and downregulates the absorption of the dwindling supply of the former (I *believe* it is a cumulative poison in many who can’t correctly metabolize it and the elderly). Then, I would conflate the available information on the distinction between the real and the false to such an extent that the remnant, still sentient and inquisitive ‘health conscious’ end up poisoning themselves with it anyways.

    It do seem that there were several questionable developments rolled out fullon FDA-approved between 1996-1998, since all the *science was in* then.

    A Seneff interview for the fence-sitters that don’t yet realize the depth of her derp:

  256. #259 justthestats
    January 15, 2015

    @Tim
    Given that folic acid is the conjugate acid of folate, care to explain how you would be able to tell which was added to a buffered aqueous solution? Keep in mind that “buffered aqueous solution” describes most of the human body.

    We know the pharmacokinetics of folate/folic acid. It’s excreted quickly through the urine. It does not bioaccumulate, even for those who can’t metabolize it.

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that levomefolic acid is commonly found in the diet in that form. I’d be concerned about getting enough tetrahydrofolic acid if that was the only source of the vitamer I was getting.

  257. #260 Tim
    January 16, 2015

    I’ll do a cut’n’paste and defer to some pharma shills to supply the distinction, justthestats:

    The nutritional ingredient at issue in this litigation is a dietary ingredient called Folate, which is a B vitamin that helps the body make new cells. Folate is considered a critical supplement for prenatal health, and low folate intake is associated with various vascular, ocular, neurological and skeletal disorders, and may pose a serious risk to individuals with diabetes. While folate does not occur naturally in large quantities it can be found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, citrus fruits, and organ meats. Tetrahydrofolates are the predominant naturally occurring forms of folate, and in particular, the tetrahydrofolate 5–methyltetrahydrofolic acid (abbreviated as “5–MTHF”) is one of the predominant naturally occurring folate forms

    Merck was the first company to manufacture a pure and stable diastereoisomer of L–5–MTHF, a 6S Isomer Product, as a commercial source. Merck’s development of Metafolin was the culmination of decades of research and the investment of tens of millions of dollars. Metafolin is one of Merck’s most important products.

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1673961.html
    ——————-

    Also, concerns have been raised about the potentially untoward effects of unmetabolized synthetic folic acid with regard to cancer, depression, and cognitive impairment. With all these concerns, early data suggest supplementation with l-methylfolate rather than folic acid may mitigate these risks.

    http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218540/
    ———————————

    If enough folic acid is given orally, unaltered folic acid appears in the circulation, is taken up by cells, and is reduced by dihydrofolate reductase to tetrahydrofolate

    The bio-availability of natural folates is affected by the removal of the polyglutamate chain by the intestinal conjugase. This process is apparently not complete, thereby reducing the bio-availability of natural folates by as much as 25-50 percent. In contrast, synthetic folic acid appears to have a bio-availability of close to 100 percent. The low bio-availability and – more importantly – the poor chemical stability of the natural folates has a profound influence on the development of nutrient recommendations. This is particularly true if some of the dietary intake is in the synthetic form, folic acid, which is much more stable and bio-available. Food fortification of breakfast cereals, flour, etc. can add significant amounts of folic acid to the diet.

    Consumption of large amounts of folic acid might also pose other less well-defined risks. Certainly, consumption of milligram amounts of folic acid would be undesirable.

    fao (dot) org/docrep/004/y2809e/y2809e0a.htm
    ===================================

    In this case, at least, it would *appear* that the RDI on the box is a value not to be exceeded — like too much sodium.

    Like a Kurt Vonnegut Harrison Bergeron ‘Handicapper General’ is synthetic folic acid (not known to the human body until 1943) perhaps the life expectancy and quality equalizer. That is to say, that people with poor nutrition will no doubt have benifits (except for the 10% of the population that can’t process it correctly and the elderly), those with better diets will be detrimented/decremented.
    —————————–

    Please take special note that folic/folate is very conflated on wikipedia as well as just about everywhere else — One must therefore know to enter the query as ‘levomefolic acid’.

    There is this though:

    The UL for folate refers to only synthetic folate, as no health risks have been associated with high intake of folate from food sources

    On Vegemite and US confiscation thereof —

    In October 2006, the Australian press claimed that U.S. regulations requiring fortification of grain products were being interpreted as disallowing fortification in non-grain products, specifically Vegemite (an Australian yeast extract containing folate). The FDA later said the report was inaccurate, and no ban or other action was being taken against Vegemite

    ^^ Somewhat misleading as there is no reason to ‘fortify’ Vegemite as it is already the highest in natural folate.

    (the quotes are from wikipedia folate/folic acid)

  258. #261 Maria
    Russia
    January 18, 2015

    In our news this nonsense was distributed under the headline “Scientists: GMO in 2025 will make every second child in the United States autistic.” Initially (January 13) in this story in Yandex was listed 66 news now listed 60.

  259. #262 ann
    ca
    February 21, 2015

    Well, if you want to discredit Stephanie Seneff attempt to show correlation in the increasing number of GMO foods and autism, you should also point out that the correlation graph that you published of organics foods and autism is completely misleading… obviously there is no space for GMOS and organic foods to grow together in such rate…. unless people were eating a ton more foods now a days…. obviously the consumption of organic foods is a lot less then before…. the so labeled organic foods now a days is simply “food” for our grandparents generation (100% organic food)… so yep, organic “labeled” foods sales increased a lot…. but not organic food consumption
    For that I consider your useless and biased…. sorry, Respectful Insolence

  260. #263 Peter Listino
    Media, PA
    February 25, 2015

    Whoever you are ‘Orac,’ it is eminently clear that you are a pimp writer for the whore bio-tech companies and a fraud to any credibility of being an informed writer. Do your homework ‘Orac’ so instead of discrediting reputable scientists or even non-scientists who know the science through studying scientific literature and know that the bio-tech whores only released data up to the point of animal pre-pathogenesis, and accepting a check for the fraudulent journalism likely paid by the bio-tech corporations, you may report accurate science and truth for the people. Perhaps you might be better suited for scraping gum off of the floors in Bill Gates or Bono’s mansions where these PR spins on real science emanate.

  261. #264 CTGeneGuy
    February 25, 2015

    Oooo! A new guy post! Let me do this one…

    [sniffs #263 like a glass of wine, sips]…
    Strong shill gambit up front. Nice flavor. Overtones of astroturf accusation, with a hint of rabid Gates NWO at the finish. I’m going to guess naturopath, and loyal FoodBabe follower?
    86 points.

  262. #265 JGC
    February 25, 2015

    Now that you’ve got the forthing-at-the-mouth namecalling out of the way, Peter, I’m sure you’ll be willing to epxlian exactly where and why Orac’s criticism of Seneff’s argument is invalid.

    Show us where Seneff demonstrates a causal association, rather than merely notes a correlation.

    Explain how her prediction that half of all children will be autistic within 10 years derives from something more than simply extending current trendlines forward in time.

  263. #266 Sarah A
    February 25, 2015

    Whoever you are ‘Orac,’…

    Looks like someone failed RI’s unofficial intelligence test.

  264. #267 novalox
    February 25, 2015

    @peter

    Your laughable posting as well as your failure to figure out who Orac is says a lot about your lack of intelligence.

  265. #268 Brook
    February 25, 2015

    @CTGG 164

    Nicely played.

  266. #269 AdamG
    February 25, 2015

    I’m going to guess naturopath, and loyal FoodBabe follower?

    Oh, it’s much worse:

    “I am so proud of my professional acquaintance Gary Null PhD…”

  267. […] suggesting Justin Bieber’s music is appealing to people with taste. She makes all sorts of wacky and unfounded claims about herbicides, GMOs and Monsanto, so calling her an expert or citing her work should get you […]

  268. #271 ConcernedHuman
    February 27, 2015

    Hmmmm…. Regardless of who is correct here, I have no desire to eat GMQs or any food where poisons, unkind/unhealthy practices are used. I don’t need my immune system played with by the so-called human gods of the pharmaceutical world and I try to limit my EMF exposure. The jury is still out on all of these issues and I will not be their Guinea Pig, nor subject my children. This adult author is free put all of the crap she wants in his/her body. Its just too bad that there is no one out there advocating for the children who have no choice in what they are fed and exposed to. We play Russian-roulette with our children and then go crazy as a nation over random events. I just don’t get it…

  269. #272 JGC
    February 27, 2015

    The jury is still out on all of these issues and I will not be their Guinea Pig, nor subject my children.

    What issues exactly is the jury still out on?

    Consumption of GMO foods has been ongoing since primitive agrarian communities learned how to crossbreed and hybridize plants–surely you don’t think that the strains of corn, wheat and other grains we consume today are identical to their origina pre-agrarian society progenitors. Granted that the techniques we use to modify crops are much more advanced, but that simply allows for greater control and precision that previously, and to date there’s no evidence demonstrating that human consumption of GMO foodstuffs is harmful or otherwise engenders risk.

    I’m unaware that any “human gods” are playing with anyone’s immune system–could you be a bit more specific about what you mean by this statement?

    As for EMF exposure, why are you concerned with limiting your exposure–i.e., what evidence suggesst that you might possible receive too high of an exposure as the result of normal daily activities?

  270. #273 Narad
    February 27, 2015

    I have no desire to eat GMQs or any food where poisons, unkind/unhealthy practices are used.

    Good luck foraging.

  271. #274 herr doktor bimler
    February 27, 2015

    As for EMF exposure, why are you concerned with limiting your exposure–i.e., what evidence suggesst that you might possible receive too high of an exposure as the result of normal daily activities?

    There’s sunburn.

  272. #275 Learn to make a graph
    February 27, 2015

    Your graphs aren’t normalized for rate and percentage! Your incidence NUMBER and sales NUMBER are both automatically dependent on population. How about normalizing for incidence RATE, and PERCENTAGE of organically purchased food, THEN graph and look for a relationship. I don’t know what it will look like, but it surely won’t be anywhere as clean of a 1:1 relationship as you make it to be. This is an absolute case of lying with statistics.

    For a “science blog” your methods of debunking are horrible, and your professor would flunk you in a scientific analysis course. Go back to school and learn how to make a scientifically relevant graph, and how to properly convey data.

    I can’t believe how many people are so quickly overlooking that.

    If there’s one thing I hate more than anti-GMO people, it’s bad science (and improper statistical representations); even from a pro-GMO blog.

  273. #276 Tim
    February 27, 2015

    Consumption of GMO foods has been ongoing since primitive agrarian communities learned how to crossbreed and hybridize plants

    That’s misleading, JGC. It is more than *techniques* as these crops are ‘transgenic’ meaning some of the plants have had genes so disparate as to include those of animals/bacteria inserted.

    It seems when trying to modify for a particular effect by turning off and on gene encoding sometimes has repercussions far beyond the desired single effect. There are sometimes unintended consequences from plantstuffs now encorporated into our own cells if/when utilized.

    For one thing, not enough is known: research on the effects of specific genes has been limited—and tightly controlled by the industry.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/risks-of-genetic-engineering.html

    Those who profess trust in billions of years of evolution to account for what is here now should, perhaps, question why particular specific encoding for particular species was thus not originally programmed in by élan vital et al.

  274. #277 Steve
    USA
    March 2, 2015

    I am saddened to see so much intellectual capacity being squandered here …..
    I can only assume none of the witty bantering individuals on this site – home of an article I came to read for intelligent insight – have a moderate to severely autistic child ….
    The topic is not funny.
    Most commenters, as well as the author, seem to be intelligent thinkers ….. angry, hurtful, intelligent thinkers …..
    I am familiar with both sides of the argument and I thank you for the positive information I gained for consideration ….
    My issue is with the claim that the expansion of the autism criteria in the 1990s accounts for the rapid increase autism prevalence …. this does not ring true, based on the empirical data I have observed over the past 10 years and the extensive struggle I personally encountered to obtain a legitimate diagnosis for my son …..
    I ask, beg, and pray for the mental capital spent here to stop fighting against goodwilled individuals who are trying to identify what is happening and join the battle to find answers …
    Criticism is cheap …… so it cost me nothing to remind you …. you all can do better.

  275. #278 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 3, 2015

    Steve:

    I can only assume none of the witty bantering individuals on this site – home of an article I came to read for intelligent insight – have a moderate to severely autistic child

    And you would be wrong. In fact, quite a few commentators here have autistic children, autistic siblings, autistic spouses, are themselves autistic (I’m one) or two or more of the above.

    The topic is not funny.

    You’re right. Quackery and lies like “GMO’s cause autism” are indeed not funny. In fact, they’re actively harmful. That’s why we’re nailing them and the people making them.

    My issue is with the claim that the expansion of the autism criteria in the 1990s accounts for the rapid increase autism prevalence …. this does not ring true

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree, then. I believe that broadened criteria, increased awareness and diagnostic substitution (person labelled autistic who would previously have been diagnosed as r3tarded) are very good explanations for the increase in autism diagnoses.

    I ask, beg, and pray for the mental capital spent here to stop fighting against goodwilled individuals who are trying to identify what is happening and join the battle to find answers

    Sorry, but I’m now going to have to call you out. The individuals blaming autism on GMO’s and vaccines are not “goodwilled”. They are liars who are trying to use autism as a stick to beat something they dislike. They are not trying to help autistics one bit, they are trying to use them.

  276. #279 Adent
    March 3, 2015

    @Learn to make a graph #275
    Ähm, did you even read the article? If yes, are you able to read and understand? If yes again, how is it then that you blame Orac for showing graphs from other people?
    What I hate most is people complaining without reading and understanding what was written, so try again guy.

  277. #280 Helianthus
    March 3, 2015

    @Tim

    It seems when trying to modify for a particular effect by turning off and on gene encoding sometimes has repercussions far beyond the desired single effect.

    Yes.
    And this whole “shutting genes on or off” happens every time you crossbreed two or more varieties.
    See the genetic illnesses carried by a number of cat or dog special breeds.

    Did you know that a number of cereals are polyploids, i.e. carry more than 2 copies of each chromosome? I believe we can go up to 6 or 8 copies.

    You will have a hard time convincing me to be more worried about changing one gene than about mixing 6 to 12 copies of the whole genome.
    I’m all for testing new varieties of plants or animals before public release. But at some point, it’s not diligent caution anymore, but pure paranoia.

    Those who profess trust in billions of years of evolution to account for what is here now should, perhaps, question why particular specific encoding for particular species was thus not originally programmed in by élan vital et al.

    You fall for the determinism and the statu quo fallacies. For one, you ascribe a goal to evolution which is just you own bias (“there is a reason why plants don’t produce this particular molecule”), for two, evolution is still on-going. Most notably insects and bacteria, but not just them, have evolved news features to adapt themselves to our own environmental changes. I’m thinking resistance to pesticides or antibiotics, but also how some flies in Africa have learned to lay their eggs on clothes left out to dry, so that their maggots can burrow into our flesh. It’s not just behavioral change; genes had to be modified for the eggs and maggots to go along this new strategy.

    There was no need for plants to be resistant to glyphosate (or whatnot) before we started using it. However, resistant plants started appearing way before we created them. It was a low-hanging fruit, but creating glyphosate-resisting plants wasn’t that much unnatural. Big mother Nature was already doing it.

    Also, explain to me how having a cotton plant, used to make clothes, expressing an insecticide could be more detrimental than in organic farming, where similar molecules are spread on plants we are going to eat. Our exposure will be about the same, if not higher, with the organic ones.

    Is your comment meaning you would be more favorable to plant-to-plant gene transfer? If so, then please tell it to these f***ing m0r0ns of Greenpeace and the like. So far, all they succeeded to do was closing research in public labs and small companies, and as a result giving to Monsanto and the other big six a de facto monopoly on GMOs.

    Also, “élan vital” is not exactly part of the theory of evolution anymore. It just means the impetus to survive.

  278. #281 Narad
    March 3, 2015

    Those who profess trust in billions of years of evolution to account for what is here now should, perhaps, question why particular specific encoding for particular species was thus not originally programmed in by élan vital et al.

    This must have something to do with Max Tegmark, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  279. #282 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2015

    Did you know that a number of cereals are polyploids, i.e. carry more than 2 copies of each chromosome? I believe we can go up to 6 or 8 copies.

    Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale?

  280. #283 Narad
    March 3, 2015

    Your incidence NUMBER and sales NUMBER are both automatically dependent on population.

    Which, oddly, is a constant.

    How about normalizing for incidence RATE, and PERCENTAGE of organically purchased food

    “Organically purchased”? Wouldn’t your time be better spent trying to tell Stephanie Freaking Seneff how to so much as fit a fυcking curve to a data set or, say, not pretend that apples are kumquats are corncobs?

  281. #284 Narad
    March 3, 2015

    Did you know that a number of cereals are polyploids, i.e. carry more than 2 copies of each chromosome? I believe we can go up to 6 or 8 copies.

    That’s why colchicine is a cancer medicine.

    Oh, wait, wrong comment thread.

  282. #285 Alex
    March 4, 2015

    You all can rip her to shreds. I know she has a better idea of what she is talking about than any of you dom and when your children are born with autism, lets see where all your answers are. God knows we arent fit to screw with mother nature. Its already perfect.

  283. #286 Gray Falcon
    March 4, 2015

    Alex, have you ever seen a wild banana?

  284. #287 LW
    March 4, 2015

    “Alex, have you ever seen a wild banana?”

    Am I the only one who hears that in Peter Graves’ voice?

  285. #288 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 4, 2015

    Alex, given that a lot of people commenting here:
    Have autistic offspring; siblings; spouses; and/or parents;
    Are themselves autistic, or;
    Two or more of the above
    I’d say that it’s you who needs to get a clue.

  286. #289 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2015

    All things scabbed and ulcerous
    All pox both great and small
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous
    The Lord God made them all, Amen

    Monty Python – All Things Dull And Ugly

  287. #290 JGC
    March 4, 2015

    My issue is with the claim that the expansion of the autism criteria in the 1990s accounts for the rapid increase autism prevalence …. this does not ring true, based on the empirical data I have observed over the past 10 years and the extensive struggle I personally encountered to obtain a legitimate diagnosis for my son …..

    It may not ring true to you based on limited personal experience, steve, but that is what a substantial body of evidence indicates. For example, the recent study (January 2015) Explaining the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders: the proportion attributable to changes in reporting practices (PMID: 2536503) found that changes to reporting practices in Denmark accounted for as much as 60% of the observed increase in the prevalence of ASD’s in that nation.

    see also See PMID:16585296; PMID: 17975721; PMID:18384386 for a few more studies finding broadened diagnostic criteria, increased surveillance, etc., contributing to the observed increased prevalence of individuals with ASD diagnoses.

  288. #291 JGC
    March 4, 2015

    I know she has a better idea of what she is talking about than any of you dom and when your children are born with autism, lets see where all your answers are.

    But you don’t know she has even a good idea of what she’s talking about , let alone a better one than anyone pointing out where her analysis fails. You may believe this, but that isn’t at all the same thing.

    To know it you’d have to be able to provide credible and compelling evidence demonstrating that she is right, and that glyphosate exposure at levels acheivable by consuming GMO crops was causally associated with development of autism spectrum disorders.

    So–got any?

  289. #292 Matt
    March 5, 2015

    @ Krebiozen (or whomever else would care to clarify)

    Autism claims and questionable credentials aside, I’m curious to know more about a potential effect of glyphosate on gut bacteria.

    I looked at the study referenced which gives the various MICs of glyphosate on commensal gut bacteria. However- contrary to Krebiozen’s assertion that glyphosate residues are not high enough to be of concern- the authors of the study suggest otherwise…?

    I may be missing something obvious, but I still don’t see why the assertion that glyphosate residues on food could be harmful to gut bacteria. After all- the whole point of the spray is because it IS harmful to weeds, right? Why, then, would we assume that it wouldn’t be harmful to gut bacteria?

  290. #293 Leopold
    United States
    March 6, 2015

    There is one MAJOR cause for the increase in Autism diagnoses and it is so simple and obvious. Psychologists and psychiatrists use a manual called the DSM. This manual establishes the criteria used for diagnosing mental health ailments. And periodically, this book is UPDATED.

    Did you know that homosexuality was once considered a mental illness (according to the DSM)? And now it is not. So now we have this trend that shows that the “mental illness” of homosexuality has disappeared completely.

    Now we go look at what the DSM says about autism. The latest two versions of the DSM (DSM IV and DSM V) have GREATLY expanded the number of people who qualify for a diagnosis of autism (now called “autism spectrum”, and the other diagnoses like “Asperger’s Syndrom” no longer exist in DSM V). MOST of the people who currently qualify for a diagnosis of autism, would not have qualified under DSM III. Most.

    So that is what has caused an apparent explosion of autism. It’s not an explosion of autism we are seeing; but an explosion of diagnoses based on the vastly expanded criteria for autism.

    If we continued to use the DSM III, we would see hardly a blip as far as the number of people diagnosed with autism. There would be no increase. And therefore, absolutely no correlation would be possible.

  291. #294 Jorma J. Takala
    Washington, DC
    March 7, 2015

    I think you’re right! She has some good ideas though, but it’s incomplete!

    I however have some knowledge about how autism occurs and it’s pretty accurate. After sending some emails to Dr Paul Wang, VP of Research at Autism Speaks… he replied asking to see my theories on the cause of autism. So I detailed some more information in a few more emails and linked him to my 100+ articles on that topic (Autism) and more.

    wwwDOTireportDOTcnnDOTcom/people/jjtakala

    In the end…. autism is caused by allergy.

    100% of the entire human race is allergic to all of the FDA approved toxic chemical based additives.

    Allergic by way of the simply fact that the human body is very simply not compatible with any and all of those toxic chemicals.

    Petroleum based coal tar FD&C and D&C dyes, wood based coal tar flavorings like Vanillin (made by Monsanto), MSG and all the antioxidant preservatives like BHA, BHT, TBHQ, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Erthorbate and the worst of all Calcium Disodium EDTA. Made from formaldehyde, cyanide, lye and some other toxic chemicals.

    Everyone is allergic and no one is immune!

    Mine is perhaps the closest and most accurate of theories on the cause of autism and if I am wrong about that part…. I am at the least absolutely right about the rest!

    It can’t be disputed because the toxicity of those chemicals… speaks for itself!

  292. #295 Jorma J. Takala
    Washington, DC
    March 7, 2015

    Also….. This is the result of a 3 year old child falling and fracturing his skull, suffering a traumatic brain injury… I believe it is because of the elasticity of my three year old head/brain… that I was able to teach myself and learn all that I learned in understand how those additives do what they do to everyone.

    My therapist says I have done more for the field of psychiatry than all the medications ever produced.

    By identifying that all of the behavioral disorders up to and including autism are all caused by allergy!

    Thank you for reading!

  293. #296 Chris
    March 7, 2015

    Leopold: “Psychologists and psychiatrists use a manual called the DSM. This manual establishes the criteria used for diagnosing mental health ailments. And periodically, this book is UPDATED.”

    Very true.

    My son had a history of seizures for his first week, and later with a disease after his first birthday. So we were on the lookout for some development issues.

    He started speech therapy for lack of speech a few months after his second birthday. He saw a neurologist in 1991, who told me that he was definitely not autistic.

    Fast forward several years where he was in special ed. programs for seventeen years, from preschool to high school graduation. He never had an autism diagnosis, though the psychologist noted he would not receive one. Except with how that school’s autism program was set up he would have lost services.

    He has at least normal intelligence, but his behavior and despite ten years of speech therapy his speech is abnormal. He took seven years to get an AA degree at a community college, and no one will hire him.

    So to access social services to get him supported employment and help with independent living we need to get him a diagnosis. And yes, it is Autism Level 2, under both DSM IV and V. It may also be related to the genetics that caused his heart disorder.

    Ms. Takala, come back to us in twenty years to tell us about your progress. Until then, just post the PubMed indexed papers that you have published. You can start by acknowledging that formaldehyde is created by your cell metabolism and cyanide is quite common in certain plants (especially apricot pits, which some still try to sell as a cancer cure).

  294. #297 Chris
    March 7, 2015

    Pardon me, Mr. Takala. I just linked to your biography.

    You and my son have lots in common. Especially the living in a fantasy world part.

  295. #298 Krebiozen
    March 7, 2015

    Matt,

    I looked at the study referenced which gives the various MICs of glyphosate on commensal gut bacteria. However- contrary to Krebiozen’s assertion that glyphosate residues are not high enough to be of concern- the authors of the study suggest otherwise…?

    Did I make an error in my comment at #200? I repeat:

    The concentrations of glyphosate that inhibited probiotic bacteria in this study were 0.075-0.6 mg/mL i.e. 75-600 mg/L, specifically 150 mg/L for Enterococcus. For glyphosate the maximum residue level (MRL) found in wheat was 6.5 mg/kg, in barley 20 mg/kg and in lentils 3.0 mg/kg.

    I don’t understand how the authors of the study have come to the conclusion that this is of concern. How can glyphosate concentrations in the gut possibly reach levels that inhibit probiotic bacteria? How can eating barley that contains 20 mg/kg glyphosate lead to glyphosate concentrations of greater than 75 mg/L in the gut?

    I am suspicious that in that study all the MIC levels are stated as mg/mL, whereas the levels actually found in food are stated as mg/kg. This is potentially very misleading, as there is a 1,000-fold difference between these units of measurement.

    I may be missing something obvious, but I still don’t see why the assertion that glyphosate residues on food could be harmful to gut bacteria. After all- the whole point of the spray is because it IS harmful to weeds, right? Why, then, would we assume that it wouldn’t be harmful to gut bacteria?

    I don’t think anyone has assumed any such thing. Research has shown that the glyphosate residues in foods are too low to affect gut bacteria.

    I’m very bemused that there is all this concern about glyphosate, when it is so much safer than the herbicides it has replaced.

    Incidentally, I suggest you compare the toxicity of glyphosate to that of rotenone, which is permitted in organic farming. Rotenone has been linked to Parkinson’s and is extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish.

  296. #299 Martin Lass
    Sydney, Australia
    March 7, 2015

    Your comments about cause versus correlation are well founded. But your other arguments against Stephanie Seneff are bad science, resorting to character defamation and ridicule.

  297. #300 Orac
    March 7, 2015

    Seneff’s arguments are so awful and her science so incompetent that ridicule is entirely appropriate. Indeed, I would argue that ridicule is the most appropriate response to something as dumb as what Seneff published and said. Don’t like it? No one’s forcing to read it.

  298. #301 Chris
    March 7, 2015

    Martin Lass: “But your other arguments against Stephanie Seneff are bad science, resorting to character defamation and ridicule.”

    Please elaborate. Explain carefully how an electrical engineer has become as cognizant as someone with a medical degree and a PhD in biochemistry.

  299. #302 Denice Walter
    March 7, 2015

    @ Leopold:

    Around the time that the DSM IV arrived, two other interesting events occurred
    the US’s DSHEA rules came into effect AND
    the internet grew by leaps and bounds.

    So more children were diagnosed with ASDs, woo-meisters had an easier time selling their potions and the internet enabled the flow of mis-information. Now I’m not arguing causality..

  300. #303 ChrisP
    Australia
    March 8, 2015

    A recent paper from the UK shows that shows heritability of ASD is between 65 and 95%

    That really should put the “autism is environmental” argument to bed.

    But I doubt it will.

  301. #304 Narad
    March 8, 2015

    But your other arguments against Stephanie Seneff are bad science, resorting to character defamation and ridicule.

    I have no idea what you think the “character defamation” is. Ridicule, however, is one of the very few sane responses left once the dismay wears off. She’s running around “predicting” that one in two children will have an ASD diagnosis by 2025. This is prima facie stupid, as can be immediately apprehended by noticing that any method that spits out such a result will also tell you that everybody will be on the spectrum shortly afterward (about two years, IIRC).

    Astonishingly, it gets worse, as she skips that step entirely. No curve fitting, nothing.* She just idiotically pulls this out of her ass.

    Don’t even get me started on the “Let’s mine VAERS for word associations!” crap.

    Honestly, she’s just embarrassing herself. She fizzled in the AI world and, at this point, is just warming a chair. She’s plainly far at the bottom of the pole among CSAIL’s four Senior Research Scientist “Principal Investigators” – not a member of any research groups, nothing.

    * She also trots out her trademark spurious-correlation graphs with completely incommensurate data sets This really can only be put down to pure dishonesty, as she hasn’t always done that (why that one isn’t corrrected for fυcking population size admits the possibility a fair amount of stupidity, though).

  302. #305 Matt
    March 8, 2015

    Krebiozen,

    Did I make an error in my comment at #200? I repeat:

    The concentrations of glyphosate that inhibited probiotic bacteria in this study were 0.075-0.6 mg/mL i.e. 75-600 mg/L, specifically 150 mg/L for Enterococcus. For glyphosate the maximum residue level (MRL) found in wheat was 6.5 mg/kg, in barley 20 mg/kg and in lentils 3.0 mg/kg.

    No- I don’t think you made an error. Which is why I’m confused.

    I don’t understand how the authors of the study have come to the conclusion that this is of concern. How can glyphosate concentrations in the gut possibly reach levels that inhibit probiotic bacteria? How can eating barley that contains 20 mg/kg glyphosate lead to glyphosate concentrations of greater than 75 mg/L in the gut?

    I don’t understand it either. Thanks why I’m raising the question! There is a conundrum here… if the authors of that study are making such a grave error in the interpretation of their own data, then it kind of throws the whole study into question, yes?

    I am suspicious that in that study all the MIC levels are stated as mg/mL, whereas the levels actually found in food are stated as mg/kg. This is potentially very misleading, as there is a 1,000-fold difference between these units of measurement.

    Well not only that- but they aren’t even the same units. One is a measure of volume and the other is a measure of mass. That makes it difficult for me to wrap my mind around any meaningful comparison of the data sets.

    I don’t think anyone has assumed any such thing. Research has shown that the glyphosate residues in foods are too low to affect gut bacteria.

    It has? My Pubmed search of “glyphosate microbiome” turns up only 8 studies, and they appear to support the notion that glyphosate impacts bacteria.

    I mean… why WOULDN’T it? If the bacteria utilize the metabolic pathway that glyphosate inhibits then it sounds rather straightforward to me.

    Can you recommend a study that definitively proves that glyphosate DOESN’T affect gut bacteria?

    I’m very bemused that there is all this concern about glyphosate, when it is so much safer than the herbicides it has replaced.

    What is so perplexing about it? Safer doesn’t mean safe. Should we tolerate “minor” human rights violations today because they are less egregious than in times past? I don’t follow your line of thinking here.

    Besides- setting all the anti-Monsanto rhetoric aside it IS true that they have a pretty poor track record in terms of assuring us that their products are “safe” and then having to backpedal later after damage has been done.

    Incidentally, I suggest you compare the toxicity of glyphosate to that of rotenone, which is permitted in organic farming. Rotenone has been linked to Parkinson’s and is extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish.

    Rotenone is a pesticide- so we would expect it to be more toxic to other animals. Glyphosate is an herbicide… and possibly a bacterioside. That’s not a good comparison.

    If you were to ask me (which you didn’t) I think there is a whole host of things more concerning about the practices of “Big Ag” than which sprays they are using.

    Given what we know about biology in general- monoculture sounds like a really BAD idea to me, with potentially disastrous consequences.

    To speak of bemusement- I am utterly perplexed how any biologist could support such a practice in good conscience. We clearly need a better way to put food in mouths.

    And that’s not even getting into the political and economic implications of allowing private companies to “own” our food supply.

    It seems to me that there are too many otherwise intelligent people sticking their heads in the sand on the subject of GMOs. Even if glyphosate is utterly harmless, we’ve still got a whole host of serious problems with the way that “Big Ag” conducts business.

  303. #306 Krebiozen
    March 8, 2015

    Matt,

    I don’t understand it either. Thanks why I’m raising the question! There is a conundrum here… if the authors of that study are making such a grave error in the interpretation of their own data, then it kind of throws the whole study into question, yes?

    I’m reluctant to throw out accusations, but given some of the rabidly anti-GMO propaganda I have seen, I am suspicious that their biases have gotten the better of them.

    Are you suggesting that we should reject their findings merely because they suggest that glyphosate is safe and that they try to spin it to say the opposite?

    Well not only that- but they aren’t even the same units. One is a measure of volume and the other is a measure of mass. That makes it difficult for me to wrap my mind around any meaningful comparison of the data sets.

    If you consider that a mL of water weighs a gram, that allows you to make a rough comparison.

    “I don’t think anyone has assumed any such thing. Research has shown that the glyphosate residues in foods are too low to affect gut bacteria.”
    It has? My Pubmed search of “glyphosate microbiome” turns up only 8 studies, and they appear to support the notion that glyphosate impacts bacteria.

    Which studies show that glyphosate is left on foods in sufficient quantities to affect probiotic bacteria?

    I mean… why WOULDN’T it? If the bacteria utilize the metabolic pathway that glyphosate inhibits then it sounds rather straightforward to me.

    This is a case of the dose making the poison, isn’t it? There are many things we consume that kill bacteria, but not in sufficient quantities to adversely affect probiotic gut bacteria to any significant degree. Many herbs and spices contain potent antibacterial chemicals, like thymol, carvacrol and eugenol. We don’t worry about these affecting our gut bacteria, do we?

    Can you recommend a study that definitively proves that glyphosate DOESN’T affect gut bacteria?

    I think the study we are discussing goes a long way. Since you are the one suggesting that glyphosate does affect gut bacteria, how about you providing some evidence to show that gut concentrations in humans can reach high enough concentrations to do so?

    “I’m very bemused that there is all this concern about glyphosate, when it is so much safer than the herbicides it has replaced.”
    What is so perplexing about it? Safer doesn’t mean safe. Should we tolerate “minor” human rights violations today because they are less egregious than in times past? I don’t follow your line of thinking here.

    You are comparing glyphosate, which is extraordinarily safe, so safe that the detergents used in the Roundup formula are more toxic than glyphosate itself, to human rights abuses? Seriously? Where is the evidence that glyphosate is doing any harm at all anywhere? The only problem I can see it causing is herbicide resistant weeds, which are a problem with any herbicide. Isn’t replacing horribly toxic herbicides like paraquat a good thing?

    Besides- setting all the anti-Monsanto rhetoric aside it IS true that they have a pretty poor track record in terms of assuring us that their products are “safe” and then having to backpedal later after damage has been done.

    Do you have some examples of this egregious behavior? Which Monsanto products have proven to be dangerous?

    “Incidentally, I suggest you compare the toxicity of glyphosate to that of rotenone, which is permitted in organic farming. Rotenone has been linked to Parkinson’s and is extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish.”
    Rotenone is a pesticide- so we would expect it to be more toxic to other animals. Glyphosate is an herbicide… and possibly a bacterioside. That’s not a good comparison.

    Both are sprayed all over food crops. Does it matter why? Would you prefer to compare glyphosate and limonene, which is used as an organic herbicide? We know a great deal about glyphosate and its safety, but we don’t even know if limonene is carcinogenic in humans.

    If you were to ask me (which you didn’t) I think there is a whole host of things more concerning about the practices of “Big Ag” than which sprays they are using.
    Given what we know about biology in general- monoculture sounds like a really BAD idea to me, with potentially disastrous consequences.

    I agree about monoculture in general, though if we are going to feed 9 billion people it seems inevitable to some degree, but I don’t see what GMOs necessarily have to do with monoculture. Monsanto does seem to be making efforts to support sustainable agriculture. I think this should be encouraged and supported. We are going to need biotechnology to feed our planet, and I think we need better regulation and oversight of large corporations generally. I don’t think demonizing them is very helpful.

    To speak of bemusement- I am utterly perplexed how any biologist could support such a practice in good conscience. We clearly need a better way to put food in mouths.

    What practice? Using glyphosate? Or monoculture? If the former, since it has been so extensively tested and there is no convincing evidence of harm, I don’t see the problem. If the latter, I don’t see why the use of GMOs and glyphosate is incompatible with sustainable farming.

    And that’s not even getting into the political and economic implications of allowing private companies to “own” our food supply.
    It seems to me that there are too many otherwise intelligent people sticking their heads in the sand on the subject of GMOs.

    It sees to me that there are too many otherwise intelligent people making nonsensical claims about GMOs when there is no evidence at all that they have harmed a single person ever, despite billions of meals containing them having been consumed. What have I missed about GMOs while my head has been in the sand?

    Even if glyphosate is utterly harmless, we’ve still got a whole host of serious problems with the way that “Big Ag” conducts business.

    What problems, specifically? A few years ago I accepted the demonization of ‘Big Ag’ uncritically; it’s widely accepted by many people and I didn’t think about it much. However, after reading some comments here and doing a bit of research I discovered I had been deceived. Lots of things that many people believe about Monsanto, for example, are simply not true.

  304. #307 squirrelelite
    March 8, 2015

    @Krebiozen,

    I’ll just add one effect of glyphosate that seems to be making the rounds of the “environmentalist” petition drives lately.
    It is killing off the milkweed so there’s not enough milkweed left to feed the Monarch Butterflies!

    And then there’s the bit about it being OK for us to support bills requiring scare labeling about GMOs on food products, but it’s unfair of Monsanto to oppose those bills in the legislature or the courts.

  305. #308 Denice Walter
    March 8, 2015

    @ Narad:

    It appears that Seneff will present more than once at Autism One 2015 according to their website.

  306. #309 herr doktor bimler
    March 8, 2015

    * She also trots out her trademark spurious-correlation graphs with completely incommensurate data sets This really can only be put down to pure dishonesty

    When an author is arguing for one audience that “autism correlates perfectly with glyphosate use, therefore glyphosate causes autism”, and for a second audience that “autism correlates perfectly with aluminium in vaccines, therefore vaccines cause autism”, the issue of “honesty” doesn’t seem to apply.
    Not to mention the invocation of “acetaminophen exposure” as a third variable also involved in these perfect correlations.

  307. #310 Matt
    March 8, 2015

    Krebiozen,

    I’m reluctant to throw out accusations, but given some of the rabidly anti-GMO propaganda I have seen, I am suspicious that their biases have gotten the better of them.

    Are you suggesting that we should reject their findings merely because they suggest that glyphosate is safe and that they try to spin it to say the opposite?

    What I’m saying is that if we ARE going to give them the benefit of the doubt, then we should assume that their findings do somehow support their conclusions in a way that we don’t fully understand.

    If we are NOT going to give them the benefit of the doubt that their conclusions make sense- albeit in a way we don’t presently understand- then, yes, we should also question whether the data itself is reliable to begin with.

    Which studies show that glyphosate is left on foods in sufficient quantities to affect probiotic bacteria?

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the full text of this study, but here is one:

    The effect of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro.

    “The use of glyphosate modifies the environment which stresses the living microorganisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the real impact of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro. The presented results evidence that the highly pathogenic bacteria as Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum are highly resistant to glyphosate. However, most of beneficial bacteria as Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lactobacillus spp. were found to be moderate to highly susceptible. Also Campylobacter spp. were found to be susceptible to glyphosate. A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract microbiota by ingestion of glyphosate could disturb the normal gut bacterial community. Also, the toxicity of glyphosate to the most prevalent Enterococcus spp. could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in C. botulinum-mediated diseases by suppressing the antagonistic effect of these bacteria on clostridia.”

    This is a case of the dose making the poison, isn’t it? There are many things we consume that kill bacteria, but not in sufficient quantities to adversely affect probiotic gut bacteria to any significant degree.

    Of course- the dose always makes the poison. In this case- the dose is apparently enough to kill weeds, therefore I think it is reasonable to speculate that it would also kill bacteria.

    I’m not saying I know of any evidence that PROVES this. What I am saying is that it sounds reasonable to me. I suppose the underlying concern here is that nobody will take the question seriously because it is being put forth by the “wrong” people in the “wrong” way. Whether or not Seneff is a nutter publishing bad studies in questionable journals doesn’t mean that there ISN’T a valid question to investigate here.

    Up until a few years ago, people were snarking at the idea that food affected the microbiome AT ALL. The same line was given then: “Show us the evidence!” OK fair enough. But in the meantime… why get all snarky at the question? Sounds like a fair question to me.

    Incidentally- there are still many gastroenterologists out there telling their patients to “eat whatever they want” because it will have no effect on their digestive health one way or another.

    Incidentally- there are still many GPs and family docs prescribing antibiotics for what is most likely a viral infection because “well it can’t hurt.”

    I mean- if this is the case then it is NO WONDER that anti-science “nutters” can gain such a foothold in the public mind. If physicians don’t change their attitudes and practices when science contradicts them, why should anybody else?

    Many herbs and spices contain potent antibacterial chemicals, like thymol, carvacrol and eugenol. We don’t worry about these affecting our gut bacteria, do we?

    Maybe we should! Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re safe. Or maybe it’s the case that beneficial flora are tolerant to those agents, while pathogens are susceptible..?

    Too bad we don’t really know, eh? Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of money available to conduct high-quality studies of naturally-occurring agents. Plus- wouldn’t it be kind of embarrassing for science if we eventually learned that we could have avoided this superbug crisis if we would have realized sooner that the solution was right under our noses the whole time? Imagine… all the billions of dollars spent on antibiotics when oregano and thyme oil would have done a better job all along…

    I think the study we are discussing goes a long way. Since you are the one suggesting that glyphosate does affect gut bacteria, how about you providing some evidence to show that gut concentrations in humans can reach high enough concentrations to do so?

    I can’t find any evidence to support the idea. What I’m saying is that I think it is a reasonable question, and that we shouldn’t overlook it out of concern for being labeled anti-GMO nutters.

    You are comparing glyphosate, which is extraordinarily safe, so safe that the detergents used in the Roundup formula are more toxic than glyphosate itself, to human rights abuses? Seriously?

    No, of course not! I was making argumentum ad absurdum to your suggestion that, since glyphosate is “safer” than anything that came before it, we should just thank our lucky stars and not question our benevolent biotech guardian angels who graced us with this wonder of modern science. 😉 (I know you didn’t really say that BTW, just a little attempt at humor there.)

    Where is the evidence that glyphosate is doing any harm at all anywhere?

    Nah you have it backwards, methinks. The burden of evidence is/was on Monsanto to show that it DOESN’T harm gut bacteria. Especially since we know that many gut bacteria do- in fact- utilize the biochemical pathway that is targeted by glyphosate.

    Perhaps a more important question is… why wasn’t anybody asking this question 40 years ago? We knew about gut bacteria back then, right?

    The only problem I can see it causing is herbicide resistant weeds, which are a problem with any herbicide.

    Well of course that IS the main problem! Herbicide resistant weeds = more glyphosate = higher residues on foods. It’s the underlying THINKING that is the problem… it’s the strategy itself. It’s the same line of THINKING that has resulted in the superbug crisis.

    We need an entirely different approach to the problem. Just trying to frantically develop stronger and stronger herbicides/fungicides/pesticides/antimicrobials is just going to make the problem worse. It is pure insanity.

    After all- isn’t that the reason we have the majority of GMO crops in the first place? So that we can spray even MORE glyphosate on them, because it doesn’t work like it used to?

    If you ask me- I think we need to go back to the drawing board and consider entirely new ways to tackle this issue that is more in alignment with nature. For example, rather than simply killing weeds, why not grow something ELSE that crowds out the weeds?

    Same idea with pathogenic microbes… rather than trying to kill them with stronger and stronger drugs… why not crowd them out with friendly bugs? Oh wait.. I know why… because that method isn’t nearly as profitable due to intellectual property laws that hail from the distant past.

    Isn’t replacing horribly toxic herbicides like paraquat a good thing?

    Sure it is good relative to what we had before. But that doesn’t mean it is good unto itself. Look… where is this all leading? That is the true question here. And why are we so resistant to acknowledging that our strategy (KILL, KILL, KILL the “bad guys”) is actually just creating more of the problem that we are ostensibly trying to solve?

    I’m resisting the urge to draw parallels to other “plagues” of the modern age, because I don’t want to go off topic…

    Do you have some examples of this egregious behavior? Which Monsanto products have proven to be dangerous?

    Agent Orange…? Just for starters.

    Both are sprayed all over food crops. Does it matter why? Would you prefer to compare glyphosate and limonene, which is used as an organic herbicide? We know a great deal about glyphosate and its safety, but we don’t even know if limonene is carcinogenic in humans.

    I don’t think we should give a whit whether it is “natural” or not, except to the degree that intellectual property laws fuel a strong bias against doing any serious research on substances which cannot be patented.

    The question is… is it safe? Hey, maybe glyphosate is really just getting bad rap and being scapegoated here. But it seems like every month or so there is another thing that we were told was safe that isn’t.

    What was it last week? Emulsifiers? And the week before that? Caramel color? Why should the public feel assured about the safety of ANYTHING put in our food? It seems to me like something is going horribly wrong with our safety testing.

    Moreover- to my knowledge- NONE of these food additives or agricultural chemicals were EVER shown to be harmless to gut bacteria. Amirite?

    I agree about monoculture in general, though if we are going to feed 9 billion people it seems inevitable to some degree,

    Maybe to some degree, but I don’t think we are taking the problem seriously enough. Too much money behind doing what we are already doing. We have to stop putting profits ahead of sustainability. We are running out of time. Whether it’s 10 years or 100 years doesn’t really matter… we are running out of time and very few people are taking this problem seriously. And the ones that are are demonized as “nutters” and “anti-science” simply because they commit logical fallacies in their reasoning. Meanwhile we’re too busy scoffling and snarking at these “idiots” to come up with real solutions on our own.

    but I don’t see what GMOs necessarily have to do with monoculture.

    Well, GMOs don’t necessarily have to do with monoculture. That’s just the way things have gone down. There are probably a thousand different ways we could genetically engineer organisms such that we actually INCREASE diversity, adaptability, and resilience in the biome.

    We could just as well use biotech to support and enhance nature. But we choose not to. Instead, we have chosen to use biotech in order to create unsustainable conditions… to try to dominate and force nature to do things which it would never do on its own. Like grow endless fields of corn and soy. And when things start to go south the solution is always…. more biotech! It’s insane, and I think deep down you know that, and so does everybody else.

    It’s kind of like trying to “stimulate” a failing economy by printing more and more and more money. It doesn’t really work for more than a few months, but since the alternative would be to actually question our fundamental premises of how to run an economy, most people would rather stick their heads in the sand and “hope” that continued misapplication of a failed solution will somehow “magically” work out in our favor in the end. (Sorry, off topic.)

    Monsanto does seem to be making efforts to support sustainable agriculture. I think this should be encouraged and supported. We are going to need biotechnology to feed our planet, and I think we need better regulation and oversight of large corporations generally. I don’t think demonizing them is very helpful.

    I wholeheartedly agree. But let’s be honest… if anybody is out there “demonizing” Monsanto it is reactionary to them (and companies like them) being hailed as “saviors” for so long.

    What practice? Using glyphosate? Or monoculture? If the former, since it has been so extensively tested and there is no convincing evidence of harm, I don’t see the problem. If the latter, I don’t see why the use of GMOs and glyphosate is incompatible with sustainable farming.

    Monoculture. Glyphosate is incompatible with sustainable farming because it’s long term use results in stronger weeds, which in turn results in needing to use more glyphosate, which in turn results in genetically engineering crops to be able to tolerate more glyphosate.

    That is the antithesis of sustainability. Sure… perhaps there is a place for glyphosate as one of many agents that are systematically rotated in a fashion such that weeds do not become resistant. *shrug* Sure, why not? But that’s not how we’re using it.

    It sees to me that there are too many otherwise intelligent people making nonsensical claims about GMOs when there is no evidence at all that they have harmed a single person ever, despite billions of meals containing them having been consumed. What have I missed about GMOs while my head has been in the sand?

    Well, then we have just come full circle. I don’t believe it is nonsensical to ask the question if glyphosate (or any other agent entering our food supply) is harmful to gut bacteria. I believe the burden of proof is on the manufacturer to show that it IS safe, and not the other way around. And, I believe that the fact that nobody demanded they do this in the first place is, at best, a really unfortunate oversight, and at worst amounting to criminal negligence.

    I don’t know what you- specifically- have missed. Perhaps nothing for all I know. But as a society, I think we have missed a lot by falling for the notion that all of the world’s ills not only can be magically solved by oil, and its various derivatives.

    What problems, specifically? A few years ago I accepted the demonization of ‘Big Ag’ uncritically; it’s widely accepted by many people and I didn’t think about it much. However, after reading some comments here and doing a bit of research I discovered I had been deceived. Lots of things that many people believe about Monsanto, for example, are simply not true.

    I agree that spreading disinformation is not an appropriate tactic. But I sure hope you haven’t decided that you are going to just as uncritically believe whatever the Monsanto spin doctors put up on their PR page.

    Hey… maybe Monsanto has been unfairly maligned. But what I do know for sure is that every single company that has been caught red-handed doing some shady shenanigans swears up and down that they are innocent until the evidence becomes insurmountable.

    It’s the same playbook over and over again. Big Tobacco did it. Big Banking did it. Why not Big Ag? Why should we assume they are any different?

    Anyway… really the whole point I am trying to make is that I think we need to be careful not to commit the genetic fallacy and/or the fallacy fallacy here by focusing on Seneff’s shoddy “research” instead of considering if there is a valid question to be investigated about impact of glyphosate on gut bacteria in the first place.

    You say: “Show me the proof it is harmful to gut bacteria.”

    I say: “Show me the proof it is NOT harmful to gut bacteria.”

    We are at an impasse.

  308. #311 Matt
    March 8, 2015

    Limonene-

    http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0682.htm

    “d-Limonene is included on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Generally Recognized as Safe List and is approved for use by the FDA as a food additive (Opdyke, 1975).”

    *shrug* If we can’t trust the FDA’s stance on limonene… why should we trust their stance on anything else?

  309. #312 Dangerous Bacon
    March 8, 2015

    “Incidentally- there are still many gastroenterologists out there telling their patients to “eat whatever they want” because it will have no effect on their digestive health one way or another.”

    Not to be, um, snarky or anything – but can you cite _a single_ gastroenterologist who tells his/her patients to eat whatever they want?

  310. #313 ann
    March 8, 2015

    In this case- the dose is apparently enough to kill weeds, therefore I think it is reasonable to speculate that it would also kill bacteria.

    If you’re not talking about whatever bacteria are on the weeds when you spray them, it’s not the same dose.

    I’m not so sure it would be reasonable anyway, though. Bacteria were here long, long before weeds. And they’ll probably outlast us all. They can live in radioactive waste, ffs. Weeds are a lot easier to kill.

  311. #314 herr doktor bimler
    March 8, 2015

    * She also trots out her trademark spurious-correlation graphs with completely incommensurate data sets

    Narad links to a graph from a 2014 Seneff slide-show, where one line is a moving average of glyphosate use (to smooth out the unwanted year-by-year fluctuations) and the other is “number of 6-year-olds in the IDEA database”. The idea being that autism among six-year-olds is caused by exposure to glyphosate during the ages 3 to 6.
    This makes marginally more sense than another slide from the same show, the one included by Orac above, which plots the unsmoothed year-by-year use of glyphosate against the number of 6-to-21-year-olds served by IDEA… which purports to prove while one is aged 6 to 21, one’s risk of autism depends on one’s glyphosate exposure in the past year. It’s magic!

  312. #315 herr doktor bimler
    March 8, 2015

    …or to put it another way, and postulating that two-to-three is the peak age for diagnoses of autism;

    1. Seneff’s first diagram purports to show that the number of autism diagnoses, four years prior to any given data point, is caused by use of glyphosate in the four years *after* the diagnoses.

    2. Seneff’s second diagram purports to show that the total number of autism diagnoses, summed over a four-to-19-year band prior to any given data point, depends on use of glyphosate within that year itself.

    She must know how absurd that is even if her audience desn’t.

  313. #316 Vicki
    Puget Sound Lowlands, where the blackberries run wild
    March 9, 2015

    Matt @310:

    There’s no reason to assume that something that will kill weeds at a given dose will kill bacteria at the same dose, just as there’s no reason to assume that if something will kill weeds it will also kill mice, humans, or crayfish at the same dose. Mice, humans, and crayfish are all more closely related to weeds than bacteria are. “Weeds” is a pretty broad category*, but all weeds are plants, so they are all more closely related to each other than any of them are to your intestinal bacteria, or to the soil bacteria growing near the weeds.

    *Roses are a weed in wheat fields, though it’s possible that the midwestern farmers have gotten rid of them by now. Blackberries are a valuable crop in some places, but a weed to many of my neighbors.

  314. #317 JP
    March 9, 2015

    Yeah, I’ve been a bit confused by the whole “glyphosate kills plants, so maybe it kills good gut bacteria” argument. Bacteria are not even eukaryotes.

    Blackberries – in the PNW, at least, it depends on the type. Himalayan blackberries grow on big bushes, and they are non-native and basically weeds, but very prolific. At least in the mountains, where I grew up, there are also native blackberries, which grow on low, creeping vines, right along the ground.

    The Himalayan blackberries are great for making pies in late summer, though.

  315. #318 Narad
    March 9, 2015

    Not to mention the invocation of “acetaminophen exposure” as a third variable also involved in these perfect correlations.

    Something something Alzheimer disease something.

  316. #319 Krebiozen
    March 9, 2015

    Matt,

    What I’m saying is that if we ARE going to give them the benefit of the doubt, then we should assume that their findings do somehow support their conclusions in a way that we don’t fully understand.

    If we are NOT going to give them the benefit of the doubt that their conclusions make sense- albeit in a way we don’t presently understand- then, yes, we should also question whether the data itself is reliable to begin with.

    It seems fairly straightforward to me: the maximum measured concentration of glyphosate in wheat, barley and lentils is lower than the minimum concentration required to inhibit gut bacteria. Once those foods are mixed with other foods and gastric juices, the concentration will be far too low to inhibit gut bacteria.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the full text of this study, but here is one:

    That’s the same study I cited at #200 (there’s a link to the full text there). These bacteria may be susceptible to glyphosate, but not at the concentrations found in foodstuffs. Looking more closely I see they didn’t use pure glyphosate, they used Roundup, which also contains surfactants that improve wetting. It doesn’t surprise me that detergents kill bacteria, since they disrupt cell membranes – that’s how soap works. Personally I think that a herbicide that is less toxic than dish-washing liquid is a good thing.

    The only other study I can find that claims that glyphosate could have an adverse effect on probiotic bacteria is this one, which concludes that glyphosate alone doesn’t have these effects, it seems to be the surfactants in Roundup that do. Incidentally that study is authored by one of Seralini’s co-authors in that notoriously poor study of the toxicity of glyphosate in rats.

    Of course- the dose always makes the poison. In this case- the dose is apparently enough to kill weeds, therefore I think it is reasonable to speculate that it would also kill bacteria.

    I don’t understand. We know the minimum concentration required to inhibit probiotic bacteria. We know the maximum residual concentration found in wheat, barley and lentils. The latter is not high enough to do the former.

    I’m not saying I know of any evidence that PROVES this. What I am saying is that it sounds reasonable to me. I suppose the underlying concern here is that nobody will take the question seriously because it is being put forth by the “wrong” people in the “wrong” way. Whether or not Seneff is a nutter publishing bad studies in questionable journals doesn’t mean that there ISN’T a valid question to investigate here.

    Of course it is a valid question, but it has been investigated and answered.

    Incidentally- there are still many gastroenterologists out there telling their patients to “eat whatever they want” because it will have no effect on their digestive health one way or another.

    I find that very hard to believe. Do any reputable doctors tell their patients to “eat whatever they want”? Mine doesn’t.

    Incidentally- there are still many GPs and family docs prescribing antibiotics for what is most likely a viral infection because “well it can’t hurt.”

    I don’t see why you have jumped from what the evidence tells us about the toxicity of glyphosate to over-prescription of antibiotics. How is that relevant?

    “Many herbs and spices contain potent antibacterial chemicals, like thymol, carvacrol and eugenol. We don’t worry about these affecting our gut bacteria, do we?”
    Maybe we should! Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re safe. Or maybe it’s the case that beneficial flora are tolerant to those agents, while pathogens are susceptible..?

    My point was that we are exposed to chemicals that are far more potent antibacterials than glyphosate all the time. Thymol is lethal to lactobacillus at a concentration of 1 µg/mL i.e. 1 mg/L, making it 75 times more lethal than glyphosate. We don’t worry about this because the concentrations achievable in the gut are too low to affect our gut bacteria.

    Too bad we don’t really know, eh?

    We do know.

    Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of money available to conduct high-quality studies of naturally-occurring agents.

    Apart from the $125 million spent by NCCAM every year, you mean?

    Imagine… all the billions of dollars spent on antibiotics when oregano and thyme oil would have done a better job all along…

    We have known for a long time that these essential oils are far too toxic to be useful as anything but topical antibacterial agents. Even topically they are irritants and people often become sensitized to them.

    I can’t find any evidence to support the idea. What I’m saying is that I think it is a reasonable question, and that we shouldn’t overlook it out of concern for being labeled anti-GMO nutters.

    I’m bemused that we are discussing a paper that has asked this question and answered it (though the authors were reluctant to accept the implications for some reason), but you are still complaining that no one takes the question seriously.

    No, of course not! I was making argumentum ad absurdum to your suggestion that, since glyphosate is “safer” than anything that came before it, we should just thank our lucky stars and not question our benevolent biotech guardian angels who graced us with this wonder of modern science. 😉 (I know you didn’t really say that BTW, just a little attempt at humor there.)

    What’s the alternative? Are we really going to feed the world by hand-weeding millions of acres of fields?

    “Where is the evidence that glyphosate is doing any harm at all anywhere?”
    Nah you have it backwards, methinks. The burden of evidence is/was on Monsanto to show that it DOESN’T harm gut bacteria. Especially since we know that many gut bacteria do- in fact- utilize the biochemical pathway that is targeted by glyphosate.

    I’m still bemused – the question has been asked, investigated and answered.

    “The only problem I can see it causing is herbicide resistant weeds, which are a problem with any herbicide.”
    Well of course that IS the main problem! Herbicide resistant weeds = more glyphosate = higher residues on foods.

    I don’t think it works like that. Once a weed is resistant to glyphosate a different herbicide is needed.

    It’s the underlying THINKING that is the problem… it’s the strategy itself. It’s the same line of THINKING that has resulted in the superbug crisis.

    I don’t follow that argument at all. Plants and bacteria will evolve to evade whatever we throw at them. Antibiotic resistance is largely caused by using the misuse of antibiotics. Surely using antibiotics safely, and developing sustainable farming methods that minimize the use of herbicides and pesticides is what we need. I see GMOs as powerful allies in this.

    We need an entirely different approach to the problem. Just trying to frantically develop stronger and stronger herbicides/fungicides/pesticides/antimicrobials is just going to make the problem worse. It is pure insanity.

    That isn’t what has been happening. What I see is the development of safer and safer herbicides/fungicides/pesticides/antimicrobials and better regulation of their use. What entirely different approach to the problem do you suggest?

    After all- isn’t that the reason we have the majority of GMO crops in the first place? So that we can spray even MORE glyphosate on them, because it doesn’t work like it used to?

    No, that isn’t why we have GM crops. Roundup ready crops are resistant to glyphosate, so they can be sprayed with Roundup and only the weeds are killed. If weeds become resistant to Roundup a different herbicide is required. Resistance has been happening since we first developed herbicides and has little to do with GMOs. Other GM crops have the gene to produce Bt toxin, so that they don’t have to be sprayed with pesticides. When you consider that organic crops are sprayed with Bt itself, which has poor evidence to support its safety, it seems to me that the GM crops are considerably safer, since they dramatically reduce pesticide use.

    If you ask me- I think we need to go back to the drawing board and consider entirely new ways to tackle this issue that is more in alignment with nature. For example, rather than simply killing weeds, why not grow something ELSE that crowds out the weeds?

    If something crowds out weeds, wouldn’t it crowd out the crop too? If we do find new ways to tackle this problem, I expect it will be biotechnology companies that discover them.

    Same idea with pathogenic microbes… rather than trying to kill them with stronger and stronger drugs… why not crowd them out with friendly bugs? Oh wait.. I know why… because that method isn’t nearly as profitable due to intellectual property laws that hail from the distant past.

    Do you really think that we could treat bacterial pneumonia or meningitis with probiotic bacteria? How would that work precisely? What makes you think that intellectual property laws have anything to do with this?

    Look… where is this all leading? That is the true question here. And why are we so resistant to acknowledging that our strategy (KILL, KILL, KILL the “bad guys”) is actually just creating more of the problem that we are ostensibly trying to solve?

    The biotechnology strategy isn’t “KILL, KILL, KILL”. Much work on GM crops is to improve drought resistance, to improve nutritional value and to improve resistance to pests so we don’t need to “KILL, KILL, KILL”. The use of GM crops has drastically reduced the use of toxic pesticides (herbicides are a class of pesticide), yet those concerned about the environment claim they are bad, for no clear reasons that I can see.

    “Do you have some examples of this egregious behavior? Which Monsanto products have proven to be dangerous?”
    Agent Orange…? Just for starters.

    Poor manufacturing standards led to contamination of Agent Orange with dioxins half a century ago, and it was only produced by Monsanto for the US Government. As a matter of fact the evidence for the toxicity of Agent Orange isn’t as strong as you might think. Which Monsanto products produced commercially have proven to be dangerous?

    “Both are sprayed all over food crops. Does it matter why? Would you prefer to compare glyphosate and limonene, which is used as an organic herbicide? We know a great deal about glyphosate and its safety, but we don’t even know if limonene is carcinogenic in humans.”
    I don’t think we should give a whit whether it is “natural” or not, except to the degree that intellectual property laws fuel a strong bias against doing any serious research on substances which cannot be patented.

    I’m not concerned about whether a substance is natural or not, I’m puzzled that the same people who are concerned about glyphosate, which has been studied to an extraordinary degree and proven to be safe, are apparently unconcerned that untested chemicals are liberally sprayed on crops that are sold as organic.

    What does intellectual property law have to do with testing a pesticide for safety before it is used on food crops? Shouldn’t all chemical used on crops be properly tested? Why should organic farming get a free pass?

    The question is… is it safe? Hey, maybe glyphosate is really just getting bad rap and being scapegoated here.

    I really do think that is the case.

    But it seems like every month or so there is another thing that we were told was safe that isn’t.
    What was it last week? Emulsifiers? And the week before that? Caramel color?

    Please don’t confuse hysterical media stories with science. Emulsifiers in large doses may have an effect on friendly bacteria in mice, but there is no evidence for this in humans, and caramel color in huge doses can cause cancer, again in mice. The FDA says that there is no evidence to change their classification of both as safe, and the European Food Safety Authority agrees.

    Why should the public feel assured about the safety of ANYTHING put in our food? It seems to me like something is going horribly wrong with our safety testing.

    It seems to me the complete opposite is true. As analytical techniques become more sensitive we can detect smaller and smaller concentrations of a wider range of chemicals. As more studies are done we understand the toxicity of chemicals in our food better, and regulations are brought in that reflect that. Our food, air and water is cleaner in the developed world than it has been for over a century, yet I still see people claiming that the opposite is true. It’s bizarre.

    Moreover- to my knowledge- NONE of these food additives or agricultural chemicals were EVER shown to be harmless to gut bacteria. Amirite?

    If they are not present in foods at a high enough concentration to affect gut bacteria, what does it matter?

    Too much money behind doing what we are already doing. We have to stop putting profits ahead of sustainability. We are running out of time. Whether it’s 10 years or 100 years doesn’t really matter… we are running out of time and very few people are taking this problem seriously.

    What problem are you referring to? The use of GM crops has resulted in an increase in yield and a net reduction of pesticide use. I honestly don’t understand why people see the development of this technology, which has had enormously beneficial effects on farming and the environment, as a bad thing.

    And the ones that are are demonized as “nutters” and “anti-science” simply because they commit logical fallacies in their reasoning. Meanwhile we’re too busy scoffling and snarking at these “idiots” to come up with real solutions on our own.

    Demonized simply because they are wrong? Is that a bad thing? As far as I can see biotechnology companies are the only ones coming up with any real solutions, and those tearing up their fields and making death threats are not helping things at all.

    I may continue, if time permits.

  317. #320 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    @Krebiozen – Thanks for your continued discussion. I do want to reply in more detail but other obligations overtake me at the moment. Just a couple quick things for now:

    1. Gastroenterologists DO still tell people to “eat whatever you want.” (And why would they have been saying such a ridiculous thing in the first place?) I’m not going to out anybody specifically because… well that’s kind of rude especially if they are not here to defend themselves. You all will have to take my word on it. Or not. But it is happening, and it is happening in a major metropolitan area.

    Some of what I have heard is second-hand, although I have no reason to believe that these individuals were lying to me. But I can tell you for sure that at least one gastroenterologist’s office- affiliated with a highly esteemed university medical system I might add- declared: “We don’t ‘believe’ that food affects digestive health.” As if it was the same thing as believing in the tooth fairy!

    2. Getting back to the fulcrum of our discussion- you are claiming that the study you cited proves that glyphosate is not harmful to gut bacteria in the typical concentrations present in the gut. However, the authors themselves concluded differently. This is a problem, and why I don’t believe this single study can be considered to lay the issue to rest.

    Maybe glyphosate is a red herring, and totally and completely safe. Maybe- as you suggest- it has something more to do with the detergents present in the spray. Maybe there is something going on with cumulative, additive, or .synergistic effects of glyphosate with some of the other thousands of other chemicals present in our food supply.

    But bottom line is… we can discredit Seneff all we want… but then another one will just pop up in her place. And another one. And another one.

    Seneff is like the weeds. The solution, in my opinion, is to crowd out the weeds with something else that utilizes the resources that the weeds would otherwise be growing on, to produce something else that is useful.

    Whether we are talking about actual weeds, or other invasive species, or dubious researchers and scaremongers, or pathogenic microbes, or terrorist leaders, or psychopaths, or predatory capitalists, or dictators and despots… the list goes on and on…

    In my (perhaps naive) opinion… yes that’s the solution.

    Thanks again for the discussion. I appreciate it!

  318. #321 squirrelelite
    March 9, 2015

    Thanks, Krebiozen.

    I always like your writing, but that one was exceptionally good.

    Agent Orange reminds me of the Ranch Hand study
    http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Veterans/AirForceHealthStudyResearchAssets.aspx
    which looked at the air crews involved in the spraying operations. They had the highest exposure and, from what I recall, no significant correlations were found.

  319. #322 Dangerous Bacon
    March 9, 2015

    Matt: “Gastroenterologists DO still tell people to “eat whatever you want.” And why would they have been saying such a ridiculous thing in the first place?) I’m not going to out anybody specifically because… well that’s kind of rude especially if they are not here to defend themselves. You all will have to take my word on it. Or not. But it is happening, and it is happening in a major metropolitan area.”

    “Some of what I have heard is second-hand, although I have no reason to believe that these individuals were lying to me. But I can tell you for sure that at least one gastroenterologist’s office- affiliated with a highly esteemed university medical system I might add- declared: “We don’t ‘believe’ that food affects digestive health.”

    So – you can’t point to a single verifiable example of a gastroenterologist telling patients to eat whatever they want, but we are just supposed to take your word for it. Sorry – but that confirms my impression that you are just making stuff up.

    “But bottom line is… we can discredit Seneff all we want… but then another one will just pop up in her place. And another one. And another one.”

    I have no doubt that despite Seneff’s discrediting herself there will be more pseudoscientific nonsense coming down the pipeline to debunk. So what? It’s just more victuals for the skeptical banquet. 🙂

  320. #323 JGC
    It isn't about discrediting Seneff: it's about rebuting her argument
    March 9, 2015

    If someone else pops up with the same or a different failed argument we’ll rebut that one as well.

    Rinse and repeat as necessary.

    Because everytime this is done, the people who are on the fence about vaccinating get to see another public demonstration that the anti-vax emperor has no clothes…

  321. #324 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    @Dangerous Bacon

    It really doesn’t matter to me if you believe me or not. I have no reason to make things up. And ultimately, there is no reason for you to give me any credibility other than giving me the benefit of the doubt that I am an honest person.

    Perhaps you are incredulous because you find it hard to believe that a physician would say such a ridiculous thing. Perhaps you place too much faith in physicians. For what it’s worth- these types of inane comments don’t appear to be emerging out of the mouths of physicians who graduated from medical school within the last 20 years or so.

    *shrug* Take it as you will. As for me, my main reason for interacting on this post is to figure out if there is any conclusive evidence that glyphosate residues on food negatively impact gut bacteria.

    Krebiozen asserts that a single study where the authors actually conclude that glyphosate may NOT be safe, corroborated with another data set that actually isn’t directly comparable somehow constitutes good science, and should lay the issue to rest.

    I don’t. That’s alright- we don’t all have to agree. But I think at the very least we can all admit that there are certainly more conclusive studies that could be done. It’s not that hard.

    At the end of the day- whether or not glyphosate is harmful to gut bacteria is probably relatively insignificant to the damage being wrought by persistent overuse of antibiotics by physicians who should- and do- know better, but keep doing it anyway.

    Based on what we know now about the microbiome, I think that we should be taking swift and decisive steps to do everything in our power to protect it. Wouldn’t you agree?

  322. #325 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    @JGC

    Why does everything have to come back to anti-vax? What does that have to do with anything we are discussing here?

    Look… people are crazy. Crazy people aren’t going to believe you no matter how compelling an argument you make to discredit their beliefs. It’s like trying to convince a religious nutter that Jesus is never coming back, or that Allah doesn’t in fact want people to blow up infidels.

    What’s the point? You’re fighting a battle that cannot be won.

    Anybody who has any modicum of common sense should be able to see the plainly obvious… all the millions and millions of vaccinated people walking around who don’t have autism are evidence enough. But these people don’t have common sense. Why waste your time and energy with them?

  323. #326 Dangerous Bacon
    March 9, 2015

    “It really doesn’t matter to me if you believe me or not.”

    it should, if you’re genuinely interested in advancing a line of argument. You claim to have “sure” knowledge of at least one university-affiliated gastroenterologist who encourages patients to eat whatever they want. Why not share that person’s identity, if it is real? Surely, if such an attitude is as pervasive as you claim, you should be able to link to at least one gastroenterologist’s website which makes that statement.

    But apparently we are just supposed to believe you, because we should know that you’d never fabricate a story to promote your views, seeing as you’re an anonymous Internet poster.

    “Based on what we know now about the microbiome, I think that we should be taking swift and decisive steps to do everything in our power to protect it. Wouldn’t you agree?”

    “The microbiome” is a vague entity. if you’re suggesting banning a particular herbicide or any other product because you think it might not be good for “the microbiome’, then you’d better define what you’re talking about and provide convincing evidence.

  324. #327 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    @Dangerous Bacon

    Oh for Pete’s sake… I already told you I don’t have any evidence to back it up. All I can tell you is based on what I’ve heard second-hand. Except in the case of the one individual I mentioned where it is first-hand experience.

    If you DID believe me… what difference would it make, anyway?

    And no- I’m not suggesting banning an herbicide. I didn’t say that anywhere. Look- forget about glyphosate.

    How about overuse of antibiotics? I keep mentioning it, but people seems to be skirting around the issue.

    Isn’t overuse of antibiotics a problem? Haven’t researchers been sounding the alarm on this for decades now? What has been done to put an end to this practice?

    Or is this group skeptical about that also?

  325. #328 Gray Falcon
    March 9, 2015

    The reason why nobody’s talking about the overuse of antibiotics is because this thread isn’t about antibiotics.

    And if evidence isn’t that important, then Matt, i heard from someone that you’re actually a warlock.

  326. #329 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    LOL- Oh but I AM a warlock! *oogie boogie*

    No need to jump in and make a false generalization from my words. I never said evidence isn’t important.

    Anyway… it is my bad for throwing things out there that inevitably spin off side discussions. We’re getting way off track.

    Does anybody have any additional input on the study that Krebiozen and I are discussing here?

  327. #330 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    March 9, 2015

    Matt:
    “Gastroenterologists DO still tell people to “eat whatever you want.””

    Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me. They assume you’re an intelligent adult and will not interpret that as “go home and stuff your face with Cheetos until your face and hands are permanently stained orange.” They’re telling you that they have no particular dietary restrictions for you; what you choose to eat at that point is your own business.

    Folks, seriously, why so skeptical? Is it a *bad* thing when a GI doc is honest with their patient about their lack of any food intolerances or allergies or bowel disorders?

    I honestly think we do not give our bodies enough credit. We’re ominvores, and we’ve evolved to thrive on an incredibly wide range of food sources. I do not think we are so fragile that a bit of GMO corn is gonna hurt us. Well, it will if that’s all we’re eating — a diet of 100% Fritos is probably not a good idea. But we’re grownups here, and by now we pretty much have zero excuse for not understanding that junk food is called that for a reason.

  328. #331 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 9, 2015

    I see a difference between these two statements:
    “Gastroenterologists DO still tell people to “eat whatever you want.” ”
    “But I can tell you for sure that at least one gastroenterologist’s office- affiliated with a highly esteemed university medical system I might add- declared: “We don’t ‘believe’ that food affects digestive health.””

    I am not a gastroenterologist, nor do I play one on TV. It would be interesting to understand the basis of the comment. It may well be true, given how they choose to define “food” and “digestive health”.

    Offhand, I’d have thought that the amount of fat and fiber one eats might have some impact on the digestive tract and, perhaps, on digestive health. But without more data about what’s meant, it’s hard to say if that relates.

    Of course, once we get past digestive health there’s a plethora of reasons to make choices on what and how much one eats. Some of those reasons include general health.

  329. #332 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    March 9, 2015

    Addendum:

    To clarify, I really think the problem is that a GI doc told Matt or his friend (he said some of this was second-hand) that specific foods don’t cause autism or rheumatoid arthritis or any of those things in otherwise normal people. And he took that as “GI docs think diet is unimportant.” Of course diet is important, and of course if you have one of a number of health conditions, you need to restrict your diet in certain very specific ways — but otherwise, it’s like Michael Pollan said: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

    Because indeed, there is no evidence that using glyphosphate on crops causes autism. We do not need to disprove every conceivable fear before we start using something. In general, due diligence is enough. We do not need to gain the wisdom of God Himself before declaring something GRAS.

  330. #333 MI Dawn
    March 9, 2015

    My gastroenterologist didn’t warn me about GMOs. She asked me about my diet, encouraged me to increase fruits and vegetables, and basically said I could eat what I wanted to. I don’t take that as thinking diet is unimportant. I took it rather that she figured I was an adult and would eat a healthy diet since that was my basis. I did hear her (thin walls) having quite a discussion with another patient on his/her diet as it was not as basically healthy as mine (at least from what I figured from her side of the conversation!)

  331. #334 Dangerous Bacon
    March 9, 2015

    It’s one heck of a leap from “There’s no evidence this particular food causes or exacerbates a disease” to “Go eat whatever you want”. It’s like equating “GMO foods don’t cause autism” with “GMO technology could not possibly cause any harm whatsoever”.

    I make my standard offer of a free kewpie doll to anyone who can link to a gastroenterologist saying “Eat anything you want” – or to a pro-biotechnology scientist claiming that no negative consequences of genetic modification are possible.

  332. #335 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    Calli:

    With respect to diet I don’t think the issue is so much that this or that food causes this or that disease in a direct sense. It’s more along the lines of that people- in general- chronically fail to meet the basic nutritional requirements for their bodies. Then- when disease pops up they go to the doc, get an Rx, and then continue on failing to give their body proper nutrition because nobody sat them down and told them that they cannot continue to subsist on Cheetos and Fritos and expect to regain their health.

    Let’s just take one nutrient- magnesium- for example:

    Magnesium – Fact Sheet for Health Professionals

    “Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.”

    “Dietary surveys of people in the United States consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts.”

    Groups at Risk of Magnesium Inadequacy

    People with gastrointestinal diseases
    People with type 2 diabetes
    People with alcohol dependence
    Older adults

    Interactions with Medications

    Bisphosphonates
    Antibiotics
    Diuretics
    Proton pump inhibitors

    In other words… most people do not get enough magnesium in their diet to begin with. Then on top of that, considering the groups at risk and the medication interactions… it looks like just about everybody is at risk of magnesium inadequacy.

    Yet… when something goes awry with one or more of the 300 enzyme systems in the body that require magnesium… most docs appear to be reaching for the prescription pad rather than first assessing magnesium status or referring out to a dietitian to assess magnesium intake.

    I wonder why that is…

  333. #336 Vicki
    March 9, 2015

    Matt–

    Are you assuming that nobody will follow your links?

    It says “When supplements were included, average total intakes of magnesium were 449 mg for men and 387 mg for women, well above EAR levels.”

    So the average American does get enough magnesium. If you as a medical professional know that your patient is already supplementing their intake of magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, and that most people who take supplements get more than enough magnesium, why would you assume that patient to be magnesium-deficient?

    Also, I don’t know about your doctor(s), but mine periodically take blood samples and check for a wide variety of things (some of which I had to look up, when I saw the most recent lab report). So it’s possible that the doctor isn’t “not assessing magnesium status” at that appointment. They may already have the answer to that question, just as the nurse has checked my blood pressure and temperature before I see the doctor.

  334. #337 Matt
    March 9, 2015

    Vicki-

    The sentence you pulled- when taken in context- says that among supplement users average total intakes- including the supplements were well above EAR.

    Here is another reference:

    Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults.

    “Caucasian men, African American men and Caucasian women who used vitamin, mineral or dietary supplements consumed significantly more magnesium in their diets than did those who did not. Substantial numbers of U.S. adults fail to consume adequate magnesium in their diets.”

    And how about your magnesium intake, Vicki? Go back to the article and look at Table 2. Then tell me… what percentage of days would you estimate that you get sufficient magnesium in your diet?

  335. #338 Narad
    March 9, 2015

    Based on what we know now about the microbiome, I think that we should be taking swift and decisive steps to do everything in our power to protect it. Wouldn’t you agree?

    *blink*

    All I’ve got for this one is case 12 of the Wu-men kuan. Plus, haven’t all of the troops been deployed to defend the Epi-Genome?

  336. #339 Narad
    March 9, 2015

    Let’s just take one nutrient- magnesium- for example

    No, let’s not. It has f*ck all to do with the subject at hand.

  337. #340 Narad
    March 9, 2015

    ^ I will soften my position if the digression is manganese, though, so long as it involves Dick Gregory.

    Prince and Dick on chemtrails… nah, I’m loudly drawing air through my teeth.

  338. #341 Militant Agnostic
    March 9, 2015

    It understandable that someone who is talking out of his ass would be very concerned about the health of their microbiome.

  339. #342 Vicki
    March 9, 2015

    Yes. If someone’s intake, including a supplement, is well over the necessary amount, that person is unlikely to have a deficiency. Or are you arguing that magnesium supplements are consistently worthless–in which case I think you have an argument with Big Supplement, for consumer fraud. But that’s not a GMO issue.

  340. #343 JP
    March 9, 2015

    Prince and Dick on chemtrails… nah, I’m loudly drawing air through my teeth.

    Oh, wow.

    G-d, Prince is beautiful, though. Here’s what I’m really dying to know: what does he wear when he goes out door-to-door?

  341. #344 JGC
    March 9, 2015

    What’s the point? You’re fighting a battle that cannot be won.

    Sure it can: It’s being won as we speak. You’re just mistaken about which battle we’re fighting–it isn’t to change the minds of people like Seneff or Dachel or John Stone, but to reach people who are on the fence who might otherwise be swayed by their false claims.

  342. #345 Matt
    March 10, 2015

    Sure it can: It’s being won as we speak.

    Oh really? Show me the evidence that it’s being won.

    If you haven’t noticed, here are some recent headlines:

    Historically low vaccination rates to blame for new measels outbreaks

    More parents are refusing to vaccinate their kids. Doctors say they want stricter laws.

    The Sickeningly Low Vaccination Rates at Silicon Valley Day Cares

    Sounds like you’re losing the battle to me. Which is why I suspect there is now a push to leverage the force of law in order to compel people to follow their doctors’ advice.

    I mean it would be more amusing if it weren’t so sad, and with potentially devastating consequences for public health. Ahhh the sweet smell of irony!

    A bunch of rational skeptics failing to question their basic premise of how to influence peoples’ decision-making process.

    NEWSFLASH! Shame and ridicule don’t actually compel people to make good choices for themselves.

    And if you think it does… then show me the evidence. Show me one single well-designed trial that shows that ridiculing people into making good decisions actually works.

    Otherwise- you all are just as bad as the cranks you are so fond of deriding here in this blog.

  343. #346 ann
    March 10, 2015

    Oh really? Show me the evidence that it’s being won.

    OK.

    (Reuters) – A large majority of Americans favor mandatory vaccinations of children, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday, apparently unswayed by some senior Republicans who have raised fears the medical shots could lead to autism.

    Seventy-eight percent of respondents in the online survey said all children should be vaccinated unless there is a direct health risk to them from vaccination.

    Only 13 percent opposed vaccinations.

    “The numbers are absolutely overwhelming in favor of vaccinations with a consistent minority in opposition,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clarke.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/24/us-usa-vaccines-poll-idUKKBN0LS15720150224

    There’s also this one, though:

    An 83% majority of the public says vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are safe for healthy children, while about one-in-ten (9%) think such vaccines are not safe. An additional 7% volunteer that they don’t know.

    Majorities across virtually every demographic and partisan group view the vaccines as safe.

    http://www.people-press.org/2015/02/09/83-percent-say-measles-vaccine-is-safe-for-healthy-children/

  344. #347 ann
    March 10, 2015

    NEWSFLASH! Shame and ridicule don’t actually compel people to make good choices for themselves.

    People can’t be compelled to make any kind of choices for themselves. It’s a contradiction in terms.

  345. #348 Helianthus
    March 10, 2015

    Shame and ridicule don’t actually compel people to make good choices for themselves.

    About making good choices, I don’t know.

    On the compel side, quite the contrary.
    Peer pressure and fear of losing face are quite strong motivators in human endeavors. People all over the world are literally willing to kill themselves or one another as an alternative to be publicly shamed or ostracized.
    See honor killings as an extreme example.
    I didn’t say shame and ridicule were always used to push for a good choice. Well, from the point of view of ones doing the shame, it’s the right decision.

    I would therefore agree that shaming and ridicule are tools to be used sparingly and cautiously, but not for the reasons you advanced.

    As shame and ridicule are very efficient at grabbing the attention of people, if these tools could be used to make people reconsider their position, so be it.

    Funny you should ask for articles about the efficiency of shame and ridicule, and ask for a more gently, reasoned approach. There has been a lot of research lately on trying to change someone’s opinion by providing facts, and the general conclusion is, it’s not working.
    So that leaves only the emotional approach to grab someone’s attention and maybe make him/her wonder if maybe, just maybe he/she is somewhat wrong.

  346. #349 Matt
    March 10, 2015

    @Ann

    The numbers you cited are in the context of falling vaccination rates. If vaccination rates were on the rise… we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.

    Also- I’ve seen some polls stating 17% of physicians have questions about vaccine safety. I found that surprising. I don’t have the article handy atm, but I recall the author spun that to say how physicians “overwhelmingly” are in favor of vaccines.

    In my mind I went… wow… 17%. That’s almost 1 in 5 that question vaccine safety. That’s a lot! Given how much evidence we have to show that vaccines are safe, and given how rigorous the training and credentialing of a physician is… I would expect something more like at least 95% of physicians.

  347. #350 Matt
    March 10, 2015

    @Helianthus

    On the compel side, quite the contrary.

    Hmm. I’m still not convinced. I would hardly say that honor killings are a good choice. It seems to me that shaming and ridicule are effective methods to compel people to make bad choices. Or perhaps choices that are good for somebody else. Or perhaps to get people to fall into line and cowtow for despotic regimes and such.

    But for good choices? I just don’t think so. At least in terms of my own experience (which I realize doesn’t constitute a rigorous study) it never worked for me.

    If somebody tried to shame or ridicule me into making a good decision- even if I knew it was a good decision- I would do the opposite just to spite them and show that I was “in charge.”

    Ironically- that didn’t stop me from trying to shame and ridicule (mostly ridicule) others into good decisions. I can’t even think of a single time that it worked!

    Funny you should ask for articles about the efficiency of shame and ridicule, and ask for a more gently, reasoned approach. There has been a lot of research lately on trying to change someone’s opinion by providing facts, and the general conclusion is, it’s not working.
    So that leaves only the emotional approach to grab someone’s attention and maybe make him/her wonder if maybe, just maybe he/she is somewhat wrong.

    I don’t think reason and emotion are mutually exclusive. I’m not surprised that research has found that reason alone doesn’t work. (And perhaps Orac should take note.)

    If I had to guess… I would speculate that one must use emotion to create a sense of rapport and trust… a feeling that one does actually have the other’s best interests at heart. Only THEN can one bring in the reason.

    Ultimately- isn’t that really the problem with medicine anyway? That physicians are so slammed and overworked that there is no time to establish good rapport with their patients.

    I mean- it’s easy to blame Jenny McCarthy and Internet nutters for why people don’t trust their doctors’ advice. But I think that’s a copout. I think physicians know deep down that it is their own damn fault that their patients don’t trust them. But they feel powerless to do anything about it.

    That’s my guess anyway…

  348. #351 Matt
    March 10, 2015

    @Vicki

    Yes. If someone’s intake, including a supplement, is well over the necessary amount, that person is unlikely to have a deficiency. Or are you arguing that magnesium supplements are consistently worthless–in which case I think you have an argument with Big Supplement, for consumer fraud. But that’s not a GMO issue.

    I’m afraid we’re talking past each other. And no it really has nothing to do with GMOs. So we are definitely off topic. (Sorry, Narad.)

    What I’m trying to say is… if you look at actual surveys of nutritional intake, like NHANES, you will find that a very large swath of people do not get sufficient nutrition from their food. By sufficient nutrition, I mean the DV as set by the IOM.

    Magnesium is just one example. If I recall correctly, vitamin E and zinc are two others that are commonly insufficient.

    The point is- it’s kind of absurd to expect the body to work correctly if we’re not even giving it the basic level of nutrition that science has shown it needs to work properly. I really don’t think that should be that contentious of a point.

    When I look at that table of magnesium-containing foods, for example… it appears to me that I only get on average about 75% of the recommended intake of magnesium.

    Almost every day I eat about a cup of either dark greens or beans, an ounce of nuts, one serving of whole grains, a banana, and about 8 ounces of animal protein.

    Add it up… that comes to 66%. Figure with all the rest of the foods I eat I am probably getting another 10% or so. So 76% total.

    And I am a healthy eater!

    So I think if we consider what the average American is really eating… I would guess at least 2/3 do not get sufficient magnesium on a daily basis. And indeed, that is consistent with what surveys find.

    And that’s just ONE essential nutrient! What about the other 21?

  349. #352 Krebiozen
    March 10, 2015

    Matt,
    I’m struggling to see your point, assuming you have one. I see no evidence that glyphosate is a concern. Some doctors over-prescribe antibiotics, give poor nutritional advice, and perhaps some are taken in by the BS that antivaxxers spout. I agree with that. We need to educate people better.

    As for:

    Magnesium is just one example. If I recall correctly, vitamin E and zinc are two others that are commonly insufficient.
    The point is- it’s kind of absurd to expect the body to work correctly if we’re not even giving it the basic level of nutrition that science has shown it needs to work properly. I really don’t think that should be that contentious of a point.

    If you think that anyone getting less than the recommended amount of magnesium (or zinc and vitamin E) is deficient, or that increasing their intake would necessarily be beneficial,you are mistaken. Deficiency is very rare, except in those who are very ill or malnourished for other reasons – that’s based on over two decades of measuring blood levels of those nutrients.

    Those RDIs are designed so that anyone getting those amounts cannot possibly be deficient, even if they have much higher requirements than usual. The average daily requirement, based on the amount “that allows an individual to maintain total body magnesium over time” is estimated for each group and 2 CV’s are added to that amount to give the RDI (this is an Australian site, but the same general method is used elsewhere).

  350. #353 Matt
    March 10, 2015

    Krebiozen,

    I’m totally confused as to why my point continues to elude you, although I appreciate you continuing to attempt to have a dialogue. Let me try to break it down for you.

    The question: Is there any evidence demonstrating that glyphosate residues present in food are not harmful to human gut bacteria?

    Your response: Yes. This study.

    Counterpoints:

    1. The study you cite doesn’t actually conclude that glyphosate levels are safe. Quite to the contrary, the authors concluded actually state, “In the present study, bifidobacteria showed to be highly sensitive [emphasis mine] to glyphosate which disturb the gut bacteria.”

    2. Furthermore, three other studies, here, here, and here also support the hypothesis that glyphosate residues are harmful to gut bacteria.

    So, therefore:

    1. We actually have NO evidence to support the hypothesis that glyphosate DOES NOT harm gut bacteria.

    2. We actually have THREE studies to support the hypothesis that glyphosate DOES harm gut bacteria.

    I hope that clears my point up for you.

    2. The study you cite was done in livestock, not humans.

  351. #354 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2015

    Matt,
    I still don’t understand your references to antibiotic over-prescription, poor dietary advice, doctors who buy antivax BS and magnesium deficiency. I see no relevance to what we are discussing at all.

    You still have this backwards: you are the one making the claim that glyphosate in foods has an adverse effect on gut bacteria, you need to support that claim, and not with a study that appears to get micrograms and milligrams confused – see the bottom of page 4 where it states an MIC of 0.075 µmol/mL for B. adolescentis, and Table 2 which states mg/mL – it should clearly be mg/mL if you look at the methods section. If I claim that glyphosate improves intelligence, is it up to you to disprove this?

    I am not disputing the fact that glyphosate in sufficient concentrations will affect gut bacteria. I am disputing claims that it will do so in the concentrations found in human food.
    The study I cited was not done in livestock, it was an in vitro study. The two other studies you cited, not three (you linked to one twice), are by the same authors as the one I cited. One found that glyphosate (not glyphosate residues) inhibits Enterococcus, the other that humic acid reduces the antibacterial effect of glyphosate. None of them show that glyphosate affects probiotic bacteria at all in the concentrations found in human foodstuffs. I’m skeptical that even livestock fed nothing but barley (which has the highest residue) would have high enough gut levels to affect probiotic bacteria.

    If glyphosate does adversely affect the balance of gut bacteria, why hasn’t that shown up in studies that have fed glyphosate to animals and human for long periods?

  352. #355 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2015

    Sorry about the italics fail – I’m in a rush.

  353. #356 Helianthus
    March 11, 2015

    @ Matt

    We mostly agree, except for one point I was trying to make, and you provided me with more fuel:

    I would speculate that one must use emotion to create a sense of rapport and trust… a feeling that one does actually have the other’s best interests at heart. Only THEN can one bring in the reason.

    Ridicule/shame on one hand, and establishing a feeling of trust on the other hand, are just social tools. Whichever is used doesn’t have any bearing on the goodness or the wrongness of the accompanying choice these tools are used to promote.
    Ethically, what should we be doing? Well, establishing trust seems better than shaming (at least, it’s less destructive).
    Except for one little detail: ever heard of emotional manipulation?
    Both shame and trust compel you to do a certain thing because you want to belong to a group.

    Ideally, a trusted relation should establish itself because both parts are good at their word; in our case, the patient will trust its physician because he/she is dedicated and accurate in his/her assessments. The other way round, first emotional trust and then “reason”, is the way of the con-man. It’s just subjugation to authority.
    In short, your ideal method may be better than shaming, both ethically and in efficiency, but walks a thin line between paternalism (trust me, I’m your guru) and sycophantism (I’m listening, what do you want?).

    Where we further disagree, is that you keep entertaining the idea that if only we were more gentle to people with a different opinion, maybe we would be able to sway them.
    People who are willing to learn? Sure. Least the teacher can do is be polite and patient.
    People who are wrong? More difficult. You first have to make them realize they are wrong. For some people (me included, sometimes), getting told they are wrong is already received as highly offending. They take it personally.
    It’s actually going to be impossible if part of their rationalization is that you are yourself deluded, crazy or plain dishonest.
    You are right that, ideally, human relationships and debates should have a measure of trust in them. But you will never manage to establish trust with true believers on the other side.

    Shame and ridicule are perfectly appropriate if the other side is so entrenched, there is no conversation possible. Maybe you can shock a few and make them re-evaluate their choices. A few of the regulars here are in this case.

    tl;dr: to quote Ben Goodacre, you cannot reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

  354. #357 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    Krebiozen-

    Those other topics you bring up are side-topics and not directly relevant to the discussion at hand. That is my bad for spinning off tangents and adding to the confusion.

    I think perhaps you and I just have a different philosophy about how to approach this question. That’s alright- we don’t have to agree.

    For my part- I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of chemical manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are safe before allowing entry into the food supply.

    You ask:

    If glyphosate does adversely affect the balance of gut bacteria, why hasn’t that shown up in studies that have fed glyphosate to animals and human for long periods?

    The answer is- because none of those studies were actually looking for effects on gut bacteria. Specifically with respect to the last study you linked to, the endpoints that the study was looking at had to do with absorption, bioaccumulation, toxicity to ANIMAL cells, and carcinogenicity.

    None of that has ANYTHING to do with gut bacteria.

    So, therefore, to answer the question: Do we have any evidence to demonstrate that glyphosate residues present in our food supply are safe for gut bacteria?

    The answer is: No, we don’t.

    The closest thing we have are a few very recent in vitro studies on bacteria derived from livestock.

  355. #358 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    Helianthus-

    tl;dr: to quote Ben Goodacre, you cannot reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

    Precisely. So why bother? Just to beat our heads against the walls and make ourselves crazy? I mean- hey- if Orac and Friends really have nothing better to do with their lives (spend time with their families, travel and sightseeing, watching a sunset, enjoying a nice craft beer or fine wine, etc..) maybe that would make more sense.

    Or perhaps it is just me who is confused about the intent of this blog. Are we trying to change hearts and minds here? Or are we simply ranting and venting our frustrations?

  356. #359 JGC
    March 11, 2015

    So why bother? Just to beat our heads against the walls and make ourselves crazy?

    No, it’s to counter attempt by people who embrace such “false ideas they didn’t reason themselves into” to spread misinformation and deliberate falsehoods convincing others to share their delusion, and to oppose their attempts to negatively influence public health policies (e.g., by reducing the availability of non-medical vaccination exemptions they champion under the guise of “health freedom”).

    Same reason we address creationism, a sterling example a position not arrived at by reason: No one expects, after all, to change the minds of people like Hovind, Hamm, etc. and their followers. Still needs to be dealt with.

  357. #360 Militant Agnostic
    March 11, 2015

    Krebiozen

    You still have this backwards: you are the one making the claim that glyphosate in foods has an adverse effect on gut bacteria, you need to support that claim

    To be fair, someone who is talking out of their ass can’t be too careful about the health of their gut bacteria, so the precautionary principle may be in order for Matt

  358. #361 Helianthus
    March 11, 2015

    Or perhaps it is just me who is confused about the intent of this blog. Are we trying to change hearts and minds here? Or are we simply ranting and venting our frustrations?

    A bit of both, maybe.
    I would actually propose that there are as many reasons for people coming on this blog – or any other media outlet – as there are people.

    A lot of us come for a sense of community – meeting like-minded people and so on. And if you believe that the vaccination topic is the only common hobby, you are very mistaken. The degree of geekiness could be very strong at time. Other times the conversation drift into culinary wonders like rotten haddock or which beer is better with stuffed squirrel (OK, making up this last one, although sometimes some regulars went close).

    A number of us come for information, either as a complete stranger looking around the internet and stumbling here, or as a science-minded guy or lass looking for a island of sanity, or a curious reader looking for the latest crazy trend in alt-med.

    This sort of gathering could easily turn into an echo chamber. Hopefully, we mostly avoid it thanks to:
    First, Orac and a number of regulars are providing facts. Links to scientific studies, to historical archives and so on. Thus they provide a chance for curious readers, fence-sitters and the like to go consult some sources and make their own opinion.
    Second, Orac is very lenient on moderation. Any doubter is free to come and shake our beliefs with hard questions. Sometimes, they succeed. If you look around, you may find a few scorch marks from the latest flamewar.
    Usually, the regulars provide satisfying answers. With links to citations (I’m bad at this). The answers may not please the occasional visitor, but some newcomers stay around and add to the traffic of information.

    We may not be able to change the mind of the true believers. But we got to learn about vocal unscientific proponents (known your enemy and all that), and to refine and reassert our own position.
    And hopefully, the occasional confused individual will hear our host little voice among the tsunami of scientific nonsense which is inundating the internet and becomes a little less confused.

    If it wasn’t for sites like this one, I would have swallowed a number of alt-med/antivax stories hook, line and sinker. In part because I’m gullible, but also mostly because one cannot know or search everything about everything.
    You were speaking about developing trust to convince people. Because Orac, Krebiozen, Lilady and a few others have been writing accurately about scientific matters for many years now, I trust them.

  359. #362 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @JGC

    No, it’s to counter attempt by people who embrace such “false ideas they didn’t reason themselves into” to spread misinformation and deliberate falsehoods convincing others to share their delusion, and to oppose their attempts to negatively influence public health policies (e.g., by reducing the availability of non-medical vaccination exemptions they champion under the guise of “health freedom”).

    Alright. So if that’s the goal- is there any evidence to believe that this goal is being achieved via the methodologies employed here? Is this a “science-based” and/or “evidence-based” method to counter misinformation? Do we have any reason to believe it will work?

  360. #363 JGC
    March 11, 2015

    I’d say the poll numbers others have provided, the fact that we’re seeing legislation to tighten up or eliminate non-medical exemptions introduced in multiple states, and that the mainstream media is increasingly less prone to embrace “false balance” with respect to vaccine safety all are evidence that it’s working.

    Note also how anti-vax celebrities are treated in the media today as opposed to a decade ago (recall Bob Costa’s “Oh, come on, superman!’ reply to Bob Mahar, and the ruckus that arose when Jenny McCarthy joined The View).

  361. #364 Bronze Dog
    Nowhere, Tx
    March 11, 2015

    The problem with being Vulcan-like is that some people think it lends an air of legitimacy to the opposing viewpoint, treating it as an equal. It also creates an impression of non-urgency or irrelevance because obviously if it was important, the skeptic/scientist wouldn’t be calm and polite.

    Ridicule’s advantage is that it clearly doesn’t treat the opposing idea as an equal. It also tends to show passion and thus urgency and importance.

    Human beings are diverse creatures. Different people respond to different approaches. There is no “best” way to argue.

  362. #365 ann
    March 11, 2015

    @Krebiozen —

    I just meant that people who are acting under compulsion aren’t making choices. Because they’re acting under compulsion.

    I agree that when there’s a broad social consensus that it’s shameful and/or ridiculous to subscribe to harmful beliefs, it’ can be a very effective disincentive.

    Because obviously it can be. That’s just a fact. (It’s one of the reasons why there’s much less racial bigotry now then there was when I was a child, for example.)

    I really just meant that Matt wasn’t considering his terms.

  363. #366 ann
    March 11, 2015

    The numbers you cited are in the context of falling vaccination rates. If vaccination rates were on the rise… we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.

    Again, I urge you to consider your terms. Because…

    Between 1994 and 2004, the proportion of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving the combined series (4:3:1:3) vaccines increased from 69 to 83 percent. Since that time, however, there has been no progress,[6] with the 2011 rate at 82 percent. The proportion of children who received all of the vaccinations in the combined series 4:3:1:3:3:1, increased markedly in the early years of this decade, from 66 percent in 2002 to 77 percent in 2006; since then, progress on this rate has also stagnated. In 2010, the first year that the CDC tracked whether children were receiving the appropriate number of doses for the brand of Hib vaccine that they received, only 62 percent received the full 4:3:1:3* series, while only 59 percent received the full 4:3:1:3*:3:1 series. However, by 2011 these proportions had increased greatly, and by 2013 were 77 and 74 percent, respectively. (Figure 1)

    …they’re based on faulty assumptions.

    (http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=immunization#sthash.Tcn9Mcj5.dpuf)

    But those are longer-term trends. To return to the more immediate point of who the evidence says is winning the debate right now, at this moment:

    When it comes to preventing the spread of measles, a new CBS poll reveals a vast majority of Americans are on the pro vaccine side of the debate.

    Nearly nine in ten Americans think vaccines for measles are safe. The poll also found that two thirds of Americans think parents should be required to vaccinate their children and just about the same amount say children who are not vaccinated should not be allowed to attend public schools

    ^^It clearly and unambiguously says that the pro-vax side is, as far as I can see.

    (http://www.wifr.com/home/headlines/POLL-9-in-10-Americans-Think-Vaccines-Are-Safe-293049521.html)

    But if you have any rebuttal evidence, please share it.

    Also- I’ve seen some polls stating 17% of physicians have questions about vaccine safety. I found that surprising. I don’t have the article handy atm, but I recall the author spun that to say how physicians “overwhelmingly” are in favor of vaccines.

    First of all, once again: Terms. Was it a single article, or “some polls”?

    And second of all: I can’t find a single poll stating that 17% of physicians have questions about vaccine safety.

    So links would be good..You might be misremembering what you read.

  364. #367 ann
    March 11, 2015

    1. The study you cite doesn’t actually conclude that glyphosate levels are safe.

    It doesn’t conclude that all glyphosate levels are safe. But we’re not talking about all glyphosate levels. We’re talking about the level of glyphosate consumed by humans in the form of herbicide residue. With which this…

    Quite to the contrary, the authors concluded actually state, “In the present study, bifidobacteria showed to be highly sensitive [emphasis mine] to glyphosate which disturb the gut bacteria.”

    …has f*ck all to do.

    2. Furthermore, three other studies, here, here, and here also support the hypothesis that glyphosate residues are harmful to gut bacteria.

    Two.

    So, therefore:

    1. We actually have NO evidence to support the hypothesis that glyphosate DOES NOT harm gut bacteria.

    You have it backwards.

    We have studies demonstrating that the levels of glyphosate consumed by humans are not harmful to gut bacteria in animal and in vitro studies.

    So, therefore:

    We actually have NO evidence to support the hypothesis that glyphosate DOES harm human gut bacteria under the real objective conditions that exist — ie, AT THE LEVELS PRESENT.

    2. We actually have THREE studies to support the hypothesis that glyphosate DOES harm gut bacteria.

    I hope that clears my point up for you.

    You mean TWO studies, both of which only support the hypothesis that levels of glyphosate NOT PRESENT IN THE HUMAN FOOD SUPPLY harm gut bacteria.

    So no, it doesn’t clear up your point. What is it? .

    Furthermore:

    <blockquote.2. The study you cite was done in livestock, not humans.

    The studies you cite weren’t done on humans either. Why is that suddenly a disqualifier?

  365. #368 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @Ann

    I found the polls I was previously referring to. Yes- it does look like I was misremembering/conflating. It was a stat about scientist views on GMO foods… not physicians on vaxes. My apologies. Let’s just stick to the issue at hand.

    From the article: Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) scientists say it is generally safe to eat GM foods compared with 37% of the general public, a difference of 51 percentage points.

    So 12% of AAAS scientists polled say that it is “generally unsafe” to eat GMO foods. Given how clear-cut some others seem to feel the issue is, I’m curious to know: Why do more than 1 out of 10 scientists express doubt about GMO safety? Are there legitimate reasons to be concerned about safety of GMO foods? Are these 12% just fools or nutters?

    Regarding glyphosate specifically:

    We have studies demonstrating that the levels of glyphosate consumed by humans are not harmful to gut bacteria in animal and in vitro studies.

    What studies? The study Krebiozen linked to does not demonstrate the above statement.

  366. #369 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    What do you guys think of this article from the Genetic Literacy Project. This sounded like a fair assessment to me.

    The author concludes:

    Concern about subtle effects of GMO products on gut microorganisms is appropriate to pursue, which is why microbiology investigators are studying the issue. But like every other health issue, results from in vitro studies, do not constitute a reason for a sea change. What they do provide is a basis for expanded study.

  367. #370 JGC
    March 11, 2015

    So 12% of AAAS scientists polled say that it is “generally unsafe” to eat GMO foods.

    We don’t know that, though: we only know they didn’t say it was generally safe to eat GMO foods.

    It is, after all, quite possible to hold the opinion it hasn’t been shown to be either generally safe or generally unsafe.

  368. #371 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @JGC

    We don’t know that, though: we only know they didn’t say it was generally safe to eat GMO foods.

    According to the infographics in the article.. yes we do. Take a look for yourself. It’s the second one down. It shows 88% say “Generally Safe” and 11% say “Generally Unsafe.” (I don’t know what happened to the other 1%.)

    It is, after all, quite possible to hold the opinion it hasn’t been shown to be either generally safe or generally unsafe.

    Maybe that’s the other 1%.

  369. #372 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2015

    Matt,

    For my part- I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of chemical manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are safe before allowing entry into the food supply.

    Of course, but I think Monsanto took all reasonable precautions. We have to have a balance between safety and the benefits of a new product. Without glyphosate we would still be using far more toxic herbicides.

    Incidentally, I’m still amazed that a pesticide like rotenone, which has been linked to Parkinson’s, is permitted in organic farming. Where can I find rotenone residue levels for organic vegetables?

    You ask:
    If glyphosate does adversely affect the balance of gut bacteria, why hasn’t that shown up in studies that have fed glyphosate to animals and human for long periods?

    The answer is- because none of those studies were actually looking for effects on gut bacteria. Specifically with respect to the last study you linked to, the endpoints that the study was looking at had to do with absorption, bioaccumulation, toxicity to ANIMAL cells, and carcinogenicity.
    None of that has ANYTHING to do with gut bacteria.

    If glyphosate adversely affected gut bacteria, you would surely expect to see some effects on animal development, reproduction or vulnerability to disease when they are fed vast amounts for extended periods. We don’t see that. I see no reason at all to suspect glyphosate causes health problems; it has been in widespread use for 40 years without any health problems emerging.

    So, therefore, to answer the question: Do we have any evidence to demonstrate that glyphosate residues present in our food supply are safe for gut bacteria?
    The answer is: No, we don’t.

    We don’t have anything to suggest otherwise. The evidence clearly shows that the levels of glyphosate in foods are far too low to affect gut bacteria and feeding studies reveal no problems. I think it’s just silly to worry about a possible problem here when there is nothing to suggest any such thing.

    The closest thing we have are a few very recent in vitro studies on bacteria derived from livestock.

    What does it matter where they were derived from? Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus are all common human probiotic bacteria.The increase in Clostridium botulinum infection in cattle is thought, by the UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, to be caused by contamination of cattle feed with poultry carcasses, not suppression of probiotics by glyphosate as some have suggested.

  370. #373 JGC
    March 11, 2015

    Thanks for the additional detail, indicating 11% (rather than 12%) consider GMO’s to be generally unsafe.

    Now that we know the relative numbers of people holding opposing opinions, however, the obvious question is “How does it matter?” Poll results indicate only what relative numebrs of people beleive, and does nothing to argue that what they–as members of the majority or minority cohort–believe to be true actually is true.

  371. #374 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2015

    The study Krebiozen linked to does not demonstrate the above statement.

    I know I’m laboring the point, but I don’t understand what you base that on. The lowest concentration of glyphosate that inhibited probiotic bacteria in this study was 75 mg/L. The highest glyphosate residue level found in foodstuffs was 20 mg/kg, in barley. The maximum permitted level in any foodstuffs (soy beans) is 40 mg/kg. Remember that this is inhibition we are talking about, not lethal levels – lower levels than this have no effect on bacterial growth.

    Given that 30-36% of glyphosate is absorbed after ingestion and taking the effects of cooking, ingestion of other foods and dilution by digestive juices into account, it seems to me that it is impossible that concentrations high enough to affect gut bacteria could be achieved.

  372. #375 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @JGC

    Now that we know the relative numbers of people holding opposing opinions, however, the obvious question is “How does it matter?” Poll results indicate only what relative numebrs of people beleive, and does nothing to argue that what they–as members of the majority or minority cohort–believe to be true actually is true.

    I don’t know how it matters, or even if it matters. All I know is what the poll said. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer up any more detail.

    But actually- the more that I think about it- what of anything do polls have to do with science, anyway? Isn’t that a logical fallacy- appeal to majority?

    So “the majority” of scientists believe something. So the consensus currently says X, Y, or Z. So what? Does that really mean anything? Haven’t “the majority” of scientists believed all sorts of things that were shown to be wrong when new information was discovered?

  373. #376 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @Krebiozen

    I know I’m laboring the point, but I don’t understand what you base that on.

    Eh? It’s self-evident! The study simply doesn’t conclude that. You are taking two data sets- one from the study at hand, and another from the FAO- and extrapolating from them both together to draw your conclusion.

    Now… I believe your conclusion does make logical sense. Never argued against that. But the study- in and of itself- doesn’t show that.

  374. #377 ann
    March 11, 2015

    Let’s just stick to the issue at hand.

    Come on, now. You asked for evidence that the vaccination debate was being won by pro-vaxxers. I supplied some. It’s not like I was running some desperate evasion maneuver.

    The study Krebiozen linked to does not demonstrate the above statement.

    As he just explained: Yes, it does.

  375. #378 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    @Ann

    LOL- Oh man, I am getting really exasperated! I didn’t mean that you were being evasive. I meant let’s both stop talking about vaxes because it’s off topic and it’s getting too difficult to keep all the conversations straight. Just trying to streamline things.

    I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that a comments section of a blog post really isn’t conducive to having a conversation. 🙁

  376. #379 ann
    March 11, 2015

    Now… I believe your conclusion does make logical sense. Never argued against that. But the study- in and of itself- doesn’t show that.

    Please be serious.

    Also:

    But actually- the more that I think about it- what of anything do polls have to do with science, anyway? Isn’t that a logical fallacy- appeal to majority?

    So “the majority” of scientists believe something. So the consensus currently says X, Y, or Z. So what? Does that really mean anything? Haven’t “the majority” of scientists believed all sorts of things that were shown to be wrong when new information was discovered?

    Haven’t a minority of scientists persisted in believing all sorts of things that had no basis in reality whatsoever and were never shown to, despite the lack of evidence for their beliefs?

    Fine. Then you have no reason other than bias to think that in this instance it’s the majority and not the minority that’s mistaken..

    All of them might be wrong, ftm. But until the new information turns up, you’re stuck with the best scientific consensus available.

  377. #380 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    I’m going to make one last attempt to try to have this conversation from a different angle.

    Now- from what I understand- when the EPA, USDA, FDA, etc., do safety testing for chemicals that end up in our food supply, they look for things like direct toxicity, bioaccumulation, carcinogenicity, reproductive effects, etc., on animal cells. Right?

    The question is: Does any of this safety testing include assessing for harm to the microbiome?

  378. #381 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    The question is: Does any of this safety testing include assessing for harm to the microbiome?

    No. Why should it?

  379. #382 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    Mayo Clinic Microbiome Program

    “The number of human bacteria and their genetic material far outnumber human cells and genes, and we know that bacteria play an important role in maintaining health. When this population of bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to serious health problems.”

  380. #383 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    “The number of human bacteria and their genetic material far outnumber human cells and genes, and we know that bacteria play an important role in maintaining health. When this population of bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to serious health problems.”</blockquote?

    But where is the evidence that pesticide residues in food are disrupting this microbiome and leading to serious health problems?

  381. #384 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    Damn quote fail

  382. #385 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    But where is the evidence that pesticide residues in food are disrupting this microbiome and leading to serious health problems?

    Apparently, there isn’t any. But then again, it seems nobody was looking.

  383. #386 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2015

    Matt,
    I agree it would be nice if everything was tested for every conceivable potential effect on our health before we were exposed to it. However, we live in the real world where resources are finite and compromises have to be made. Giving varying doses of a newly developed herbicide to animals to see how it affects them over a lifetime seems a reasonable approach to me. Large lifetime doses of glyphosate have been given to various animals with no signs of any adverse effects except at doses of greater than 25,000 ppm in their diet. That’s equivalent to 25,000 mg/kg, more than 1,000 times the maximum residue found in foodstuffs. If this affected the microbiome, I would have expected it to have led to some measurable effects on health – if an animal’s probiotic bacteria were killed by glyphosate, wouldn’t pathogens take over and make the animal sick?

    There’s a useful summary of glyphosate safety research here that includes a table with the toxicity figures I quoted.

  384. #387 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    If this affected the microbiome, I would have expected it to have led to some measurable effects on health – if an animal’s probiotic bacteria were killed by glyphosate, wouldn’t pathogens take over and make the animal sick?

    That sounds like a reasonable assumption to me. But isn’t it true we having problems with infections in livestock? I was of the understanding that overuse of antibiotics in livestock is an issue of concern…?

  385. #388 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    Apparently, there isn’t any. But then again, it seems nobody was looking.

    And the reason that nobody is looking is that there is no reason to suppose that pesticide residues in food are disrupting the microbiome and leading to serious health problems that would not be otherwise identified by the required long-term feeding tests of animals and the post-market health observation studies.

  386. #389 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    I was of the understanding that overuse of antibiotics in livestock is an issue of concern

    The concern about overuse of antibiotics is the prophylactic use of antibiotics, which is done because they have growth promoting properties.

  387. #390 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    Burden of Gastrointestinal Disease in the United States

    Hospitalizations and mortality from Clostridium difficile infection have doubled in the last 10 years.

    Wouldn’t this be a reason to investigate if something present in our food is disrupting the microbiome? Say it’s not glyphosate. Maybe it’s something else. Or maybe it has to do with additive or synergistic effects of the thousands(?) of chemicals that are currently in our food supply.

    I don’t see why it is so unreasonable to think it may have something to do with chemicals present in the food, if not glyphosate specifically. *confused*

  388. #391 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    The concern about overuse of antibiotics is the prophylactic use of antibiotics, which is done because they have growth promoting properties.

    I see. Why would antibiotics have growth promoting properties?

  389. #392 ann
    March 11, 2015

    I see. Why would antibiotics have growth promoting properties?

    Let’s stick to the issue at hand.

    Wouldn’t this be a reason to investigate if something present in our food is disrupting the microbiome? Say it’s not glyphosate. Maybe it’s something else. Or maybe it has to do with additive or synergistic effects of the thousands(?) of chemicals that are currently in our food supply.

    I don’t see why it is so unreasonable to think it may have something to do with chemicals present in the food, if not glyphosate specifically. *confused*

    Please see above.

  390. #393 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    LOL- Oh Ann! I like your style… I think I’m starting to form an Internet crush on you… <3

  391. #394 Tim
    March 11, 2015

    You are comparing glyphosate, which is extraordinarily safe, so safe that the detergents used in the Roundup formula are more toxic than glyphosate itself

    Does anybody remember that first Batman movie with Jack Nicholson’s (The Joker) character declaring “She’s not smiling; She’s been using Brand-X…” — The premise was that the weapon worked synergistically amongst several ‘benign’ products.

    Smilex: I get a grin, again and again:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgCbegtw0JM

    Krebiozen, cell membrains are made of lipids. Detergents thin lipids…?…profit.

    Matt, carry on!

  392. #395 ChrisP
    March 11, 2015

    Wouldn’t this be a reason to investigate if something present in our food is disrupting the microbiome? Say it’s not glyphosate. Maybe it’s something else. Or maybe it has to do with additive or synergistic effects of the thousands(?) of chemicals that are currently in our food supply.

    The risk factors for C. difficile infection include: age, long-term treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, surgery of the GI tract, diseases of the GI tract including cancer, and the use of certain drugs for other conditions.

    In addition, C. difficile itself is changing. There are hypervirulent strains present causing outbreaks and evidence of resistance to metronidazole, the front line treatment, present.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082622

    All of these have been increasing in the US at the same time.

    So tell me again why it would be reasonable to think that chemicals in food are behind this?

  393. #396 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    So tell me again why it would be reasonable to think that chemicals in food are behind this?

    The existence all of those previously identified factors do not preclude the presence of other factors which have not yet been identified.

    Then again, there’s glyphosate…

  394. #398 Matt
    March 11, 2015

    Case studies: A hard look at GM crops

    Researchers, farmers, activists and GM seed companies all stridently promote their views, but the scientific data are often inconclusive or contradictory. Complicated truths have long been obscured by the fierce rhetoric.

    As late as 2004, the company was publicizing a multi-year study suggesting that rotating crops and chemicals does not help to avert resistance. When applied at Monsanto’s recommended doses, glyphosate killed weeds effectively, and “we know that dead weeds will not become resistant”, said Rick Cole, now Monsanto’s technical lead of weed management, in a trade-journal advertisement at the time. The study, published in 2007 (ref. 1), was criticized by scientists for using plots so small that the chances of resistance developing were very low, no matter what the practice.

    Tidy stories, in favour of or against GM crops, will always miss the bigger picture, which is nuanced, equivocal and undeniably messy. Transgenic crops will not solve all the agricultural challenges facing the developing or developed world, says Qaim: “It is not a silver bullet.” But vilification is not appropriate either. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

  395. #399 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    The existence all of those previously identified factors do not preclude the presence of other factors which have not yet been identified.

    No, but how important can such factors be when most of the increase can be attributed to known risk factors?

    Then again, there’s glyphosate…

    The amount of glyphosate present in food is a couple of orders of magnitude too low to cause any inhibition of intestinal flora, so unless you are thinking of drinking it …

  396. #400 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    The study, published in 2007 (ref. 1), was criticized by scientists for using plots so small that the chances of resistance developing were very low, no matter what the practice.

    I was one of those scientists.

    But what on earth has this to do with possible health effects of glyphosate?

  397. #401 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    I see that Matt is becoming enamored of random cut-and-paste link barfing.

  398. #402 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @Narad- You, on the other hand, have contributed absolutely nothing of relevance or value to the discussion. But that’s alright, because every good blog needs a resident troll to throw in irritating comments every time two other people actually converse.

    It’s alright. We all have our place in life. But while trolling can be entertaining, I am sorry to say that your skills leave a lot to be desired. But it’s not for lack of effort! So you just keep on trying there little guy and maybe one day you will grow up to be a fine troll. Heck… maybe you will get a real trolling job on television!

  399. #403 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @ChrisP

    Here’s what it has to do with glyphosate. Glyphosate is just one of many thousands of chemicals that have been approved for use in our food production.

    Consumers are being asked to trust that various agencies have done rigorous safety testing to make sure our food supply is safe.

    Apparently- none of the safety testing done on ANY of these chemicals included assessing for possible detrimental effects on the microbiome- which according to pretty much everything I have read on the subject over the last 10 years or so indicates that the microbiome is pretty darn important when it comes to health.

    As for glyphosate… as I have said earlier… maybe it is a total red herring. I certainly understand the argument that it is WAY better than whatever we had before. That’s all cool with me.

    But you.. back in post #381 asked: Why should safety testing include assessing for harm to the microbiome?

    Since you are a real scientist that actually works on things like this… how about you tell me… why shouldn’t safety testing assess for harm to the microbiome?

  400. #404 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    As an aside… you know what I think is super funny? It’s the Sponsored Ad box near the top of this page that is currently attempting to get me to click on a picture of some freaky looking corn with the caption, “Monsanto Tried To BAN This Video” *facepalm*

  401. #405 Krebiozen
    March 12, 2015

    Matt,

    Apparently- none of the safety testing done on ANY of these chemicals included assessing for possible detrimental effects on the microbiome- which according to pretty much everything I have read on the subject over the last 10 years or so indicates that the microbiome is pretty darn important when it comes to health.

    If these hypothetical detrimental effects on the microbiome have no measurable impact on the growth, reproduction, lifespan or other aspects of health of an animal even when dosed, every day of its life, with more than a thousand times more glyphosate than any human would be exposed to in food, does it really matter?

    The ads displayed are related to whatever you have searched for recently, so you do get some weirdly inappropriate ones from time to time. Unless you block them of course.

  402. #406 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    Krebiozen…. How exactly would we know that these hypothetical detrimental effects have no measurable impact… if nobody has ever measured them?

  403. #407 Dangerous Bacon
    March 12, 2015

    Maybe if glyphosate applicators/farm workers who come into contact with the stuff frequently had “microbiome-associated diseases” (whatever those might be), it would make sense to pour research funding into investigating the effects of minute amounts on the “microbiome” of consumers.

    It’s doesn’t make a lot of sense to wave your hands and shout about the need to Protect The Microbiome from glyphosate/ the Nasty GMOs unless you have some actual evidence to back up your stated fears.

  404. #408 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    Matt, perhaps you could explain what observations would be indicative of “harm to the micorbiome” occurring, and why theses would not be seen in tests assessing direct toxicity?

  405. #409 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @JGC

    From what I’ve read (and I’m [obviously] not a scientist) the microbiome not only plays an important role in the etiology of many GI diseases, but also can influence autoimmune disorders, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even psychiatric disorders… just to name a few.

    Therefore, an increase in the prevalence of any of these diseases could justify an investigation into the potential effects of these chemicals on the microbiome.

    Again- let me reiterate- glyphosate is just ONE of thousands of these chemical agents that have been declared safe for our food. It could be any one of them. Or all of them together.

    Direct toxicity tests are assessing effects on animal cells. That tells us nothing about effects on bacterial cells.

  406. #410 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    How do you propose we look for increasesd incidence of autoimmune disorders, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric disorders associated with the consumptions of produce grown using glyphosphate herbicides prior to licensing the use of glyphosphate as an herbicide? Describe the protocol.

    I’m particularly interested in your calculation of the sample size and trial duration required to detect statistically significant increases in the incidence of these diseases.

    (BTW, direct toxicity assessments also include exposing whole organisms to the compound at known doses,and conducting detailed necropsies there after.)

  407. #411 Vicki
    March 12, 2015

    Matt–

    What’s so (black) magical about glyphosate? Why is that your priority, when the food supply is full of other substances that also haven’t been tested as you advocate? Where is the experimental data to assure me that it’s safe for me to eat a carrot, or to consume pork that has been fed partly on acorns? Do you know whether shallots will have an effect on my microbiome, and whether that depends on whether I’m also eating salmon?

  408. #412 Krebiozen
    March 12, 2015

    Matt,

    Krebiozen…. How exactly would we know that these hypothetical detrimental effects have no measurable impact… if nobody has ever measured them?

    The health of experimental animals is monitored in multiple ways, including behavioral changes and the ability to run mazes etc. and their organs are closely examined after death to look for any signs of a problem. I would expect any “GI diseases, […] autoimmune disorders, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even psychiatric disorders” to be picked up easily. What kind of health problem has no effect on an animal’s reproductive capacity, lifespan, growth curve, organs or behavior?

    There’s a good summary and explanation of glyphosate safety studies on Monsanto’s website here which explains:

    In sub-chronic and chronic oral toxicity studies, groups of test animals are given various daily doses, from zero to thousands of milligrams per kilogram of their body weight. At the end of a designated exposure period, virtually every organ system and physiological parameter is examined to determine any differences between exposed and non-exposed test animals.

    The highest tested dose level that produces no observed adverse effects is 175 mg/kg/day in rabbits. This is divided by a safety factor of 100 to give the reference dose of 1.75 mg/kg/day in humans. In an average 70 kg adult that’s up to 122.5 mg of glyphosate per day. Unless someone regularly eats 3 kg (6.6 pounds) or 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) of barley every day, they are not going to get close to that reference dose which, remember, includes a safety factor of 100. Monsanto points out:

    In May 2013, EPA established new tolerances for residues of glyphosate. At that time, the agency concluded that even children 1-2 years old, the population receiving the greatest exposure, were exposed to no more than 13 percent of the allowable intake through food (U.S. EPA 2013).

    If children only get 13% of the RfD that’s 0.13% of the amount required to produce measurable changes in a rabbit.

    I know some substances can have effects on humans that aren’t picked up in some animals (Thalidomide springs to mind), but is there any substance that has adverse effects on humans in doses 1,000-fold lower than in a range of animals?

  409. #413 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    Trying to catch up with this conversation, so sorry if I missed a bit that I’m about to repeat, but to the general query of ‘why hasn’t glyphosate toxicity been tested on microbiota?’, I would argue that it has, indirectly. None of the animal feed/exposure studies have been conducted in germ-free or gnotobiotic animals, therefore, gut bacteria present in those subjects were exposed to the levels of glyphosate being tested.

    No, it’s not a direct test, but that’s probably for the best. The only reason we care about gut bacteria at all is because of their demonstrable impact on the health of the animal in whose guts they reside. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t really matter if glyphosate caused health problems through direct interaction with human cells or through a secondary reaction caused by adverse glyphosate impact on gut bacteria–the health problems to the host animal is what we care about.

    Happily, that does not appear to be the case, despite extensive long term testing.

  410. #414 Dangerous Bacon
    March 12, 2015

    “Again- let me reiterate- glyphosate is just ONE of thousands of these chemical agents that have been declared safe for our food. It could be any one of them. Or all of them together.”

    Or none of them have any significant clinical effect. Had you considered that possibility?

  411. #415 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @Vicki-

    Have you been reading the thread?

    The “magical” thing about glyphosate is that it inhibits a biochemical pathway that is utilized by gut microbes. However, as Krebiozen and others have been pointing out (somewhat convincingly to me I might add) it does not appear that glyphosate residues in food are coming close to the MIC for bacteria.

    Other than that- no there isn’t any reason to single out glyphosate as special among the thousands of other chemicals that are present in our food.

    The broader issue is if we should be considering the potential effects of these chemicals on the microbiome as part of our standard safety testing.

  412. #416 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    The broader issue is if we should be considering the potential effects of these chemicals on the microbiome as part of our standard safety testing.

    addressed in #413.

  413. #417 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @JGC

    Great question! How about a study like this one?

    Unfortunately- intellectual property laws bar somebody like me from accessing this research without first coughing up $40 to take a closer look at the study to see what exactly they did. But it looks like the researchers came up with a functional model for the human gut microbiome.

    Why not do a study just like this and use glyphosate instead of the chlorpyrifos?

  414. #418 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    Matt, McAffee intervenes and prevents me from tolling the link you provided. can you provide instead a PMID number or the titlle, pubication date and first author of the study?

  415. #419 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    That aside, I’m curious–how exactly can the author’s tell that their model of the human gut microbiome has developed a psychiatric disorder in response to exposure to chlorpyrifos or glyphosate?

  416. #420 herr doktor bimler
    March 12, 2015
  417. #421 herr doktor bimler
    March 12, 2015

    a Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem: the SHIME® and in rats. The SHIME® comprises six reactor vessels (stomach to colon).
    Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca machine was meant to be a joke.

  418. #422 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    Okay, so they’re looking at relative expression of populations of gut-associated bateria. Given that they’re dosing their reactor with a bucket load of chlorpirifos (1 mg a day for 30 days) and it’s already established that glyphosate exposure as the result of consuming produce where it’s been used as an herbicide is below the level at which we observe any effects, wouldn’t we predict we wouldn’t see any dysbiosis if we “do a study just like this and use glyphosate instead of the chlorpyrifos”?

  419. #423 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @JGC

    Sure- since the prevailing view is that current levels of glyphosate exposure from food is totally safe, then we would predict no dysbiosis.

    So given an ADI of 1.75 mg/kg, and an average body mass of 85 kg, then I would propose dosing the reactor with 150 mg glyphosate per day for 30 days.

  420. #424 Krebiozen
    March 12, 2015

    Matt,

    The “magical” thing about glyphosate is that it inhibits a biochemical pathway that is utilized by gut microbes.

    I don’t think so. I think the effects found in the Roundup studies we have discussed are due to the surfactants in the formula, not the glyphosate. Simple dish-washing liquid is similarly toxic to bacteria, and glyphosate alone doesn’t have that effect (if we can trust anything Seralini has co-authored). Wash your vegetables before eating them and all should be well.

  421. #425 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    Krebiozen,

    The Shikimate Pathway

    “The shikimate pathway is found only in microorganisms and plants, never in animals. All enzymes of this pathway have been obtained in pure form from prokaryotic and eukaryotic sources and their respective DNAs have been characterized from several organisms.”

  422. #426 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    Since you are a real scientist that actually works on things like this… how about you tell me… why shouldn’t safety testing assess for harm to the microbiome?

    Starting with this piece first. While it is acknowledge that a healthy microbiome is necessary for overall health, what we don’t know is what constitutes a healthy microbiome. We only know what an unhealthy microbiome looks like and then only because of the explosion of certain species that lead to problems.

    So the first question becomes: what do you measure? There is as yet no internationally agreed measure of a healthy microbiome.

    The second question becomes: how do you measure it? There is as yet no internationally agreed procedure to measure the microbiome.

    On top of that, everything you eat changes your microbiome. If you decide to go vegetarian that will change the composition of your microbiome, if you have a big night at the pub the composition of your microbiome will change. So what is normal? If tests were done and the microbiome changed, what would this mean?

    There are a whole host of possible things to measure in toxicity testing. However, meaningless data is completely unhelpful in making informed decisions. Indeed, they can mean the wrong decision is made.

    So what toxicity testing does is look at factors such as growth and development of the test animal, major organ growth, development and function, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, etc. If a chemical is having an impact on the microbiome, but that impact does not show up in an effect on growth, development or major organ function then that impact cannot be very important for overall health.

    So really to sum up, there is no need to specifically measure effects on the microbiome for every molecule regulated, because any health effects that would result will be captured by the current toxicity tests.

    As for glyphosate… as I have said earlier… maybe it is a total red herring.

    And I have pointed out why. The concentration in food is about 2 orders of magnitude too low to have any inhibitory effect on bacteria.

  423. #427 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    Why not do a study just like this and use glyphosate instead of the chlorpyrifos?

    Perhaps we should look at what the paper found?

    It used an artificial system to attempt to mimic what might happen to bacterial in the human gut. Long-term chlorpyrifos feeding at 100 times the ADI for chlorpyrifos of both the artificial gut and rats led to changes in the bacterial systems present. However, these changes were not the same. The artificial system was more sensitive to chlorpyifos than the rat gut, so would be likely to over-estimate the changes.

    So far so good, but what does this mean for health? Would the same changes occur at the ADI? Are the changes observed detrimental to health?

  424. #428 Dangerous Bacon
    March 12, 2015

    All this glyphosate focus detracts from the other potential causes of microbiome interference which could cause a whole host of diseases.

    Dr. Joe Mercola, who is heavily into this subject, points to the following likely culprits:

    “[T]he consumption of fermented foods..vaccines using human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants..all processed foods, sugar, antibiotics (including CAFO meats and antibacterial soaps), and birth control pills prior to conception as these cause yeast and fungi to grow and also cause leaky gut….Processed, refined foods in general…artificial sweeteners and other synthetic additives…refined grains…Wheat Germ Agglutinin…genetically engineered (GE) ingredients (primarily corn and soy), which have been shown to be particularly detrimental to beneficial bacteria..Eating genetically engineered Bt corn may turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory,” essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis…

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/06/culprits-autism.aspx

    And don’t forget aspartame and fluoride in the water.

    The best thing to do is probably hide under your bed, and/or become a breatharian (but in the latter case, make sure your home’s air is ultrafiltrated to keep out all toxins).

  425. #429 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    Unfortunately- intellectual property laws bar somebody like me from accessing this research without first coughing up $40 getting a library card to take a closer look at the study to see what exactly they did.

    FTFY.

  426. #430 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    But that’s alright, because every good blog needs a resident troll to throw in irritating comments every time two other people actually converse.

    As with “evidenced,” you demonstrate that this whole “meanings of words” thing really isn’t your strong suit.

  427. #431 JGC
    March 12, 2015

    Matt, 150 mg/kg daily is about 16 times greater than the current levels of glyphosate exposure we receive from our diet (which is estmated to be about 5.5% of the ADI (PMID:22261298). If that’s what you’re looking to model you’ll want to dose the reactors with just over 9 mgs per day (about 16 times less than you propose).

    You almost seem to be trying to design an experiment in such a way to maximize the likelihood dysbiosis will be seen,.

  428. #432 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    As with “evidenced,” you demonstrate that this whole “meanings of words” thing really isn’t your strong suit.

    Extra funny considering that the motivation for his flounce from the comments on the Oregon Vax post today was inability to grok the legislative use of ’emergency’ in re: the status of a senate bill.

  429. #433 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    But while trolling can be entertaining, I am sorry to say that your skills leave a lot to be desired. But it’s not for lack of effort!

    Perhaps the best part here is that I had previously directed precisely one comment at Matt.

  430. #434 Dangerous Bacon
    March 12, 2015

    Maybe we should be looking much more closely at interventions that _aim_ to disturb the gut microbiome (sort of destroying the village to save it). Of course, I am talking about colon cleanses to remove “toxins” which believers think cannot be handled by various bodily systemts including the resident gut flora. Thus we have harsh remedies like coffee enemas – ever think what a whole mess of caffeine and other coffee components might do to one’s hapless little microbiome friends?

    And what of all the supplements and probiotics we’re pouring down there willy-nilly? Maybe it’s gotten to be like a transient hotel in your colon, with new populations of microorganisms constantly arriving and being killed off with each new product that the host tries.

    I say we need to be very very careful before allowing the use of these supplements and cleanses, in order to protect our vital colonic fluids.

  431. #435 herr doktor bimler
    March 12, 2015

    Why not do a study just like this and use glyphosate instead of the chlorpyrifos?
    Perhaps we should look at what the paper found?

    First the inventors of the SHIME® machine will have to convince people that its simulation of human digestion is sufficiently realistic. I want to know what happens when they dose it with five pints of Fullers ESB and a hot Rogan Josh.

  432. #436 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    I want to know what happens when they dose it with five pints of Fullers ESB and a hot Rogan Josh.

    I am guessing they are going to have to batten down the hatches after that to make sure there is not an explosion.

  433. #437 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    One thing I’ve just been reminded of is that it’s not actually Seneff who’s responsible for seemingly endless series of dumb charts – that’s Nancy Swanson, of “Abacus Enterprises” (note the file name; this person also should not be offering Web design services).

  434. #438 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @JGC

    According to this source:

    “The current daily intake of glyphosate by individuals in the US is estimated, based on food intake data and assuming all foods carry maximal allowable residues, at about 13% of the ADI (or 230 ug per kg of body weight) from residues in or on foods. This is a maximum-case estimate. Tests for glyphosate in samples of urine suggest the typical dietary intake is well below 1% of the ADI or less than 17.5 ug per kg of body weight.”

    I just picked the ADI because it’s the ADI.

  435. #439 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @Dangerous Bacon

    Maybe we should be looking much more closely at interventions that _aim_ to disturb the gut microbiome (sort of destroying the village to save it).

    Maybe we should. But then we might risk getting chastised for lending credibility to quack therapies by studying them.

    And what of all the supplements and probiotics we’re pouring down there willy-nilly?

    … and don’t forget the antibiotics we get willy-nilly prescribed just because we’ve got a little sniffle!

  436. #440 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @ChrisP

    So the first question becomes: what do you measure? There is as yet no internationally agreed measure of a healthy microbiome.

    How about microbial diversity?

    The second question becomes: how do you measure it? There is as yet no internationally agreed procedure to measure the microbiome.

    Measuring the microbiome: perspectives on advances in DNA-based techniques for exploring microbial life.

    On top of that, everything you eat changes your microbiome.

    That’s a good point. Although if I recall correctly, as little as 3 years ago such a statement was met with incredulity, and the usual sneers and jeers.

    So what is normal?

    Dunno. What IS normal? Whatever we would find in an “otherwise healthy” population of people who subsist primarily on sugary cereals, white bread salami sandwiches, ramen noodles, pizza, pop, and beer, I suppose.

    If tests were done and the microbiome changed, what would this mean?

    Who can say? I’m sure there would be many different opinions and interpretations. All the uncertainty you raise makes it sound like an even BETTER idea to start these experiments sooner rather than later!

    So really to sum up, there is no need to specifically measure effects on the microbiome for every molecule regulated, because any health effects that would result will be captured by the current toxicity tests.

    I still don’t see how you are drawing that conclusion. There are many potential effects that are outside of those you mentioned. How about susceptibility to infection? Cognitive or behavioral effects? Hormone or blood sugar effects?

    Just because something isn’t outright killing people doesn’t mean we should ignore possible harm.

  437. #441 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    and don’t forget the antibiotics we get willy-nilly prescribed just because we’ve got a little sniffle!

    I’m not denying that overprescription of antibiotics happens, or happened to the extent that resistant strains gained a foothold, but I dispute that ‘willy nilly’ distribution is still a thing. The medical community is dealing with the consequences of past indiscretions, but on the whole I think they’ve learned from their mistakes. I have certainly not seen a provider in the past decade who offered up antibiotics without really good reason.

  438. #442 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    Say I found a link to this fun little microbiome quiz hosted by Stanford in my inbox. Got a 90%!

  439. #443 Matt
    March 12, 2015

    @Jen Phillips

    Would you consider acne a really good reason?

    Considering that we’ve known about beneficial gut bacteria for just as long as we’ve known about pathogenic bacteria… I’m very curious to know what was the justification for a good 50 years’ worth of those “past indiscretions” by physicians.

    … gee I wonder why so many people don’t trust their doctors…

  440. #444 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    … gee I wonder why so many people don’t trust their doctors…

    How many is that?

  441. #445 Matt
    March 12, 2015
  442. #446 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    Approximately 1 in 3.

    Wrong. This info is from a Gallup Poll that asked people to rank how much trust they had in about a dozen different professionals, including health care professionals. The latest data I found, from the 2013 poll (more recent than what’s cited in Matt’s link, although the numbers haven’t moved much) show:
    69% of respondents reported a high or very high degree of trust for Medical Doctors.
    27% had an *average degree of trust
    3% had a low or very low degree of trust.

    (breakdown available in a PDF from the article I’ve linked to)

    So the 1 in 3 figure is BS.

  443. #447 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    Approximately 1 in 3.

    It’s cute that your intellectual sloth oozes through even in this one. (In fact, if you could see beyond the end of your nose, you would have understood this. Instead, you complain about “irritating comments every time two other people actually converse,” which is… curious.)

    Just for the sake of lifting a finger, let’s turn to The Question.

    So, four and a half years ago, 1 in 3.45 people reported that they checked or researched their physician’s advice. And this is what you proffer in support of your disconnected effort?

    Would you consider acne a really good reason?

    Considering that we’ve known about beneficial gut bacteria for just as long as we’ve known about pathogenic bacteria… I’m very curious to know what was the justification for a good 50 years’ worth of those “past indiscretions” by physicians.

    … gee I wonder why so many people don’t trust their doctors…

    This seems to be a characteristic trait: You throw out blobovianisms – in this case, soooo many people distrust their doctors – and then scrabble around for random crap to toss out – in this case, a Gallup snapshot showing that a strong majority of people accept their doctor’s opinion without question* – until you manage to secure a foothold on a working evasion of everything that has gone before.

    * Hell, I’d easily be in the 29%; to say that I “don’t trust” my doctors would be a gross mischaracterization. Sure, I “trust” specialists “more than” my PCP in their specialty, but so does my PCP.

  444. #448 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    I could well be in that 29% too, depending on how the questions were worded. I have an ‘average’ amount of trust for most people by default.

  445. #449 Jen Phillips
    March 12, 2015

    Oh, whoops, I didn’t follow ‘The Question’ link to see where the percentages were coming from. Yeah, but that too. No way I’m not going to do my own research on most any medical issue.

  446. #450 ChrisP
    March 12, 2015

    How about microbial diversity?

    Why would measuring the total number of different organisms present be better than measuring the number of each organism present?

    Problems typically occur when a single organism with damaging features grows into large numbers.

    Measuring the microbiome: perspectives on advances in DNA-based techniques for exploring microbial life.

    That is simply a review of current and future technologies that might help understand the microbiome. It dies not set out a method for accurately and repeatably measuring the microbiome.

    That’s a good point. Although if I recall correctly, as little as 3 years ago such a statement was met with incredulity, and the usual sneers and jeers.

    I very much doubt that was the case in the scientific community. If for no other reason than the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

    Who can say? I’m sure there would be many different opinions and interpretations. All the uncertainty you raise makes it sound like an even BETTER idea to start these experiments sooner rather than later!

    And herein lies the crux of the matter. What is the point of insisting on toxicity tests where the results cannot be interpreted? You would just be killing animals for no discernible benefit. The ethics of that would be dubious.

  447. #451 Narad
    March 12, 2015

    Yeah, but that too. No way I’m not going to do my own research on most any medical issue.

    Yah, this is a matter of course in my case. However, the outcome is trying to ask well-formed, specific questions questions, since I’m the one holding The Continuity. Surgical consult:

    “Wait, you don’t have any symptoms of gall bladder problems?”

    “No, the ultrasound was for a putative hernia, but I’ve since come to think that it’s a diastatis recti.”

    “Get on the table.”

    “Lift your….”

    “See?”

    “Yup, that’s a diastasis.”

    “Purely cosmetic?”

    “Yes. And I’d make you quit smoking for at least a month before even considering it.”

    Followed by a discussion of how tobacco use also weakens one’s connective tissue and a description of what such abdominoplasty actually involves. What they did leave out was the Tupler exercises and a reminder to check whether my insurance covers NRT. (It does.)

  448. #452 JP
    March 13, 2015

    God, sometimes I’m glad I’m 27. Also, I should really quit smoking, even if it’s mostly just when I drink. Or when I’m in Eastern Europe.

  449. #453 Krebiozen
    March 13, 2015

    Matt,

    “The shikimate pathway is found only in microorganisms and plants, never in animals. All enzymes of this pathway have been obtained in pure form from prokaryotic and eukaryotic sources and their respective DNAs have been characterized from several organisms.”

    I know about ESPS synthase. Glyphosate alone had little effect on probiotic bacterial growth in Seralini’s in vitro study* (full text version available here), even at concentrations of over 1,000 mg/L, whereas Roundup inhibited bacterial growth at 100 mg/L. That leads me to conclude that it cannot be ESPS inhibition that has effects on bacteria at concentrations of less than 1,000 mg/L.

    * See Figure 1, where I assume that when the authors refer to “triangles” they mean “diamonds”; ppm is equivalent to mg/L.

  450. […] naturopaths contribute to the fear mongering about vaccines and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the latter of which leads the lack of political will to strengthen vaccine […]

  451. #455 Krebiozen
    March 13, 2015

    To clarify: it could be that the surfactants in Roundup increase susceptibility to glyphosate, perhaps allowing more to enter bacterial cells. Even if so, I would expect these to be washed off crops before harvest, or before consumption. Residue tests look at glyphosate, not surfactants.

  452. #456 JGC
    March 13, 2015

    Matt, your source for the 13% estimate states itself 9bold for emphasis) “The current maximum intake of glyphosate by individuals in the US is estimated to be about 13% of the ADI, about seven-and-a-half times less than the ADI. This is an over-estimate of exposure.

    Again, it seems as if you’re trying to design the experiment to maximize the odds dysbiosis will be seen to occur

  453. #457 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    Narad-

    What is a blobovianism?

    The comment in question was more of a causal one… I wasn’t expecting to have to defend it with rigorous data although I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised.

    My comment wasn’t meant to be interpreted as “soooo” many people distrust their doctors. Just one “o” in the so. It’s just a figure of speech.

  454. #458 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    Krebiozen-

    First you deny that bacteria have the metabolic pathway targeted by glyphosate. Then you say you already know that they do have the pathway. So which is it?

    I think your point about the surfactants is a good one, and worth considering.

  455. #459 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    @JGC

    I can’t speak to why something would “seem” a certain way to you. As I said, I picked the ADI because it’s the ADI.

    It would certainly be reasonable to use a number more consistent with the actual amount of glyphosate we would expect an “average” person to consume. But it seems that number is hard to determine. I’m fine with 13% for the purposes of the discussion.

  456. #460 Krebiozen
    March 13, 2015

    Matt,

    First you deny that bacteria have the metabolic pathway targeted by glyphosate. Then you say you already know that they do have the pathway. So which is it?

    You misunderstand me; that’s my fault for not being clear. By “I don’t think so”, I meant that I don’t believe the concentration of glyphosate was high enough to be the mechanism by which Roundup inhibited probiotic bacteria in the Awad et al study. I’m well aware that most bacteria have ESPS.

    I think your point about the surfactants is a good one, and worth considering.

    In vitro toxicity studies can be very misleading. There are a million things that will inhibit or kill bacteria in a petri dish far more effectively than glyphosate, including many substances we are exposed to on a regular basis.
    Bottom line – if I had a million dollars to use for some interesting and useful research on the microbiome, glyphosate would be a long way down the list of things that I would consider spending the money on.

  457. #461 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    @ChrisP

    Why would measuring the total number of different organisms present be better than measuring the number of each organism present?

    I don’t know if it would necessarily be better, but aren’t there somewhere between 500-1000 different species present in the human microbiome? How could we possibly measure them all?

    Problems typically occur when a single organism with damaging features grows into large numbers.

    Right. So wouldn’t that be reflected in lower overall diversity?

    Then again- I’m wondering if species diversity is even the most appropriate measure…? What if genetic representation of biochemical function is more important?

    Isn’t it true that different bacteria can swap genes? [i recall asking that question in an undergrad biology class about 20 years ago and being condescendingly assured that such a thing was quite impossible.]

    That is simply a review of current and future technologies that might help understand the microbiome. It dies not set out a method for accurately and repeatably measuring the microbiome.

    Yes, I know. Just putting it as a reference as to the current state of affairs. So would you agree that it is important that we develop these methods? Do you have any ideas about what could possibly work?

    And herein lies the crux of the matter. What is the point of insisting on toxicity tests where the results cannot be interpreted? You would just be killing animals for no discernible benefit. The ethics of that would be dubious.

    I thought we were discussing whether or not they should be done. If there is no way to actually do it in a reliable fashion, then of course trying to do it would be pointless.

    But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth looking into, and developing the technology so that we can.

    As I said way back when in this thread- I think that we should be cautious that we are not committing the genetic fallacy or the fallacy fallacy when dismissing the types of claims made the likes of Seneff, which this blog post was originally about.

    Which is why I am asking- setting Seneff aside- do we actually have clear evidence to show that glyphosate residues present in food do NOT cause harm to the microbiome?

    Krebiozen- says yes but has to take two disparate data sets and piece them together to draw a conclusion. I don’t agree that constitutes clear evidence. He also suggests maybe it is the combination of the glyphosate itself with the surfactant adjuvants present in the spray.

    Maybe so. I don’t know. But I still think it is a question worth asking.

    You have made a solid case that we simply just can’t answer that question right now in a reliable, expedient, and/or cost-effective manner. Fair enough.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s not a question worth asking.

  458. #462 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    @Krebiozen

    You misunderstand me; that’s my fault for not being clear. By “I don’t think so”, I meant that I don’t believe the concentration of glyphosate was high enough to be the mechanism by which Roundup inhibited probiotic bacteria in the Awad et al study. I’m well aware that most bacteria have ESPS.

    Ahhhhh, got it! Geez it is really tough to have a conversation in this format.

    In vitro toxicity studies can be very misleading. There are a million things that will inhibit or kill bacteria in a petri dish far more effectively than glyphosate, including many substances we are exposed to on a regular basis.

    Sure, I understand. I hope I didn’t give an impression otherwise.

    Bottom line – if I had a million dollars to use for some interesting and useful research on the microbiome, glyphosate would be a long way down the list of things that I would consider spending the money on.

    Fair enough. What would be on the top of your list?

  459. #463 ann
    March 13, 2015

    Krebiozen- says yes but has to take two disparate data sets and piece them together to draw a conclusion.

    And the problem with that is?

    Because when trying to determine the import of something and/or anything, taking objectively existing conditions into account is generally considered to be a good — and even necessary — practice among thoughtful people.

  460. #464 Matt
    March 13, 2015

    @Ann

    And the problem with that is?

    The “problem” is that the question I asked is if there were any studies showing that glyphosate was harmless to gut bacteria. Turns out- there’s actually not.

    It doesn’t mean that I don’t think his argument makes sense. It does make sense. What doesn’t make sense is why the authors of the study looking at the MICs of glyphosate on gut bacteria didn’t conclude that there was no cause for concern.

  461. #465 ChrisP
    March 14, 2015

    Which is why I am asking- setting Seneff aside- do we actually have clear evidence to show that glyphosate residues present in food do NOT cause harm to the microbiome?

    Yes we do. In the experiments determining minimum inhibitory concentrations of glyphosate for bacterial species that are part of the microbiome the MIC values determined are about 2 orders of magnitude higher than the maximum amount of glyphosate found in food.

    So as I said once before, unless you are going to drink glyphosate …

    As for Seneff, yes we should dismiss her claims, because they are completely without evidence. In fact, the evidence she presents in support is mostly made up.

  462. #466 Krebiozen
    March 14, 2015

    Matt,

    What doesn’t make sense is why the authors of the study looking at the MICs of glyphosate on gut bacteria didn’t conclude that there was no cause for concern.

    As I wrote earlier, I suspect bias. There is a faction of people, including some scientists, who are ardently opposed to biotechnology in general and Monsanto products in particular. For example, Séralini’s papers on the effects of GM foods, which have been discussed here and elsewhere. If you start with a conclusion and look for evidence to support it, it is easy to fool yourself into thinking you have, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias,

    The more I look at that paper (authored by Awad A. Shehata, not ‘Awad’, as I mistakenly wrote above) the more puzzling I find it. As I mentioned before, they clearly used glyphosate concentrations ranging from 0.075 to 5.0 mg/mL to assess bacterial sensitivity, yet they report that:

    On the other hand, with the exception of Lactobacillus spp., all tested beneficial bacteria including E. faecalis, E. faecium and B. badius, B. cereus and B. adolescentis were highly sensitive to glyphosate with MIC value of 0.15, 0.15, 0.30 and 0.075 µg/ml, respectively.

    In Table 2 they report a MIC of 0.075 mg/mL for Bifidobacterium adolescentis, which is equivalent to 75 mg/L or 75 ppm. If probiotic bacteria were really affect by levels as low as 0.075 µg/mL, or 0.075 ppm, I would be concerned too, but I don’t believe this is the case (the Séralini study I cited before supports this*).

    Later in the study they state, “Some poultry and cattle feed samples in Germany were found to have 0.4–0.9 mg glyphosate/kg”, which is equivalent to 0.4-0.9 ppm, and refer to water contamination with glyphosate of 0.10 to 0.70 mg/l which is equivalent to 0.10-0.70 ppm. They then state:

    Glyphosate daily intake could be hazardous if feed and/or water contain high glyphosate residues; further work is urgently required to determine the real glyphosate residues in animal feed originated from different countries.

    Why are they concerned when the maximum concentration of glyphosate found in feed and water is 80 times lower than the minimum found to inhibit probiotic bacteria? Is it possible they have conflated µg/mL with mg/mL, a factor of 1,000? It does look suspiciously like it to me.

    * Which is ironic since as this article in Forbes suggests, “Séralini has made a specialty of methodologically flawed, irrelevant, uninterpretable — but over-interpreted — experiments intended to demonstrate harm from genetically engineered plants and the herbicide glyphosate in various highly contrived scenarios.”

  463. #467 ann
    March 14, 2015

    The “problem” is that the question I asked is if there were any studies showing that glyphosate was harmless to gut bacteria. Turns out- there’s actually not.

    Unless the absence of studies, in and of itself, acts on the human microbiome as an antibiotic, I don’t see why that should be a problem for the purposes of the present discussion.

    It doesn’t mean that I don’t think his argument makes sense. It does make sense.

    Then what’s your objection to it?

    What doesn’t make sense is why the authors of the study looking at the MICs of glyphosate on gut bacteria didn’t conclude that there was no cause for concern.

    When someone who’s making you a job offer names the salary, do you require them to prove it will cover your living expenses, on the grounds that there’s no other way of knowing for sure that you won’t starve?

    Or do you take two disparate data sets and piece them together to draw a conclusion?

  464. #468 Matt
    March 14, 2015

    @Ann

    I really do appreciate you continuing to make an effort to understand what I am trying to say. I’m quite sure if we could have a real conversation face to face, you wouldn’t be so befuddled.

    Unless the absence of studies, in and of itself, acts on the human microbiome as an antibiotic, I don’t see why that should be a problem for the purposes of the present discussion.

    The absence of studies- collectively speaking- very well could be a problem. If we are systematically overlooking microbiome effects in our testing models- that sounds like a potentially huge problem to me.

    Thousands of chemicals, thousands of drugs (including gobs of antibiotics), and yes, even thousands of naturally-occurring substances, that human beings put in their mouths on a daily basis, and hardly anybody is considering the impact on the microbiome?

    How is that not a problem?

    Then what’s your objection to it?

    It was never an objection. It was a question. The question was: Do we have any studies demonstrating that glyphosate residues on food do not cause harm to the human gut microbiome?

    Or do you take two disparate data sets and piece them together to draw a conclusion?

    Your example really has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    If I had said: Are there any studies showing that glyphosate is not carcinogenic?

    You could respond: Yes. Here are the pile of studies.

    If I had said: Are there any studies showing that glyphosate is not directly toxic to animal cells?

    You could respond: Yes. Here are the pile of studies.

    If I had said: Are there any studies showing that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate in the body?

    You could respond: Yes. Here are the pile of studies.

    When I say: Are there any studies showing that glyphosate is not harmful to the microbiome.

    You would say: No- not really. There are a couple of studies that have begun to look into the issue. But these studies are problematic, and it appears that the authors might have had some confirmation bias and/or misinterpreted their own data.

  465. #469 Matt
    March 14, 2015

    @ChrisP

    Yes we do. In the experiments determining minimum inhibitory concentrations of glyphosate for bacterial species that are part of the microbiome the MIC values determined are about 2 orders of magnitude higher than the maximum amount of glyphosate found in food.

    Yes, I understand this. But the authors seem to be confused, since they did not conclude that their data demonstrated it was safe. Confirmation bias? Data misinterpretation? Just plain making shit up?

    Why should we trust their data if their intentions and/or skill is so questionable?

    How about this question: Has Monsanto published any studies demonstrating that glyphosate does not harm gut bacteria? If not, why not?

    So as I said once before, unless you are going to drink glyphosate …

    I don’t care for the taste of RoundUp. Plus it makes me kind of foam at the mouth. 😉

    But in all seriousness… no I am not drinking glyphosate. But if I consider the collective amount all the thousands of chemicals that various agencies are assuring me are so safe… but none of them are evaluated for effects on microbiome… why shouldn’t I question it?

    I like my microbiome. I am of the understanding that a healthy, robust, diverse microbiome is an important factor in my overall health, and I want to stay healthy.

    The way I see it… there’s a whole ecosystem down there in my gut, and I want to preserve it. I might not be able to save the rainforests, but maybe there is something I can do about my own internal ecosystem.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  466. #470 Matt
    March 14, 2015

    @Krebiozen

    As I wrote earlier, I suspect bias.

    Alright. Then, along with all the other good questions you’ve raised about the study… why should we lend it any credibility, whatsoever? If the research is so shoddy, how can we even trust their raw data?

    There is a faction of people, including some scientists, who are ardently opposed to biotechnology in general and Monsanto products in particular.

    With respect to the element of that faction who are actual scientists… why are they opposed? In your opinion, are there any valid reasons why we should be skeptical about biotechnology? If so, what are they?

  467. #471 Jen Phillips
    March 14, 2015

    With respect to the element of that faction who are actual scientists… why are they opposed?

    Different reasons. In some cases, as the other side is so fond of saying, one only needs to follow the money. Seralini, for example, has a clear, vested interest in finding problems with GMOs. Somewhat related would be the vanity/fame factor. Not many people would know who Seralini, or Carmann, or Seneff were had they not published such contrarian rubbish.

    Somewhere on the more rational side of the spectrum from those people, though, are a minority of scientists who had genuine, legitimate concerns about the technology but made the mistake of settling into those biases and not leaving room in their minds for the answers to those concerns.

    I know quite a few biologists who, having worked firsthand with a lot of the types of technologies used in bioengineered crops, did indeed have some legitimate worries about over-use, ecosystem imbalances, etc. With one exception, all have been satisfied with the extensive testing and problem solving for introducing new GE traits. The one colleague who is still opposed is now the go-to guy in his region for reporters want to present ‘the other side’.

  468. #472 Narad
    March 14, 2015

    I see that Seneff & Swanson have unleashed a real tour de force in another zeroth-tier journal:

    Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology: Connection to Gut Dysbiosis and Neurological Disease.

  469. #473 Jen Phillips
    March 14, 2015

    Nice! Anti-vax (aluminum) and Anti-GMO (glyphosate): two great tastes that taste great together, as our fearless leader is wont to say.

  470. #474 Narad
    March 14, 2015

    BTW, Monsanto goes over the usual litany of anti-GMO papers in a recent response to a proposed proxy vote (PDF).

  471. #475 Narad
    March 14, 2015

    Anti-vax (aluminum) and Anti-GMO (glyphosate): two great tastes that taste great together

    The pineal gland is the icing on the cake, because it’s what makes reiki work.

  472. #476 herr doktor bimler
    March 14, 2015

    Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology

    No mention of Schumann Resonances. I am disappoint.

  473. #477 Bronze Dog
    Nowhere, Tx
    March 14, 2015

    No mention of Schumann Resonances. I am disappoint.

    Or raspberries?

  474. #478 ann
    March 14, 2015

    But if I consider the collective amount all the thousands of chemicals that various agencies are assuring me are so safe… but none of them are evaluated for effects on microbiome… why shouldn’t I question it?

    Because…

    I like my microbiome. I am of the understanding that a healthy, robust, diverse microbiome is an important factor in my overall health, and I want to stay healthy.

    …your microbiome has been dealing with glyphosate for however many of the last 40-plus years you’ve been alive, and it’s evidently healthy, robust and diverse, the way you like it.

  475. #479 ChrisP
    March 14, 2015

    Yes, I understand this. But the authors seem to be confused, since they did not conclude that their data demonstrated it was safe. Confirmation bias? Data misinterpretation? Just plain making shit up?

    Possibly all of the above.

    Why should we trust their data if their intentions and/or skill is so questionable?

    We don’t. We check it against other data. Such as http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=PP9790177

    This suggests the MIC for bacteria will be in the high mg/L to the low g/L range.

    How about this question: Has Monsanto published any studies demonstrating that glyphosate does not harm gut bacteria? If not, why not?

    I know of no such publication from Monsanto. The reasons why they have not published such a study are likely to be the same reasons why I would not do it.

    1. There is no reason to suspect that the microbiome is more sensitive to glyphosate than other bacteria.

    2. The likely exposure is considerably below concentrations of glyphosate that are known to inhibit bacterial growth.

    3. If there were an inhibitory effect that led to an adverse health outcome, that adverse health outcome would already be captured by the existing feeding studies that go into setting the ADI.

    The only rationale for looking at the microbiome would be if there was an unexplained negative health outcome that you might be able to explain if you knew more about the microbiome. In the absence of such an adverse health outcome there seems little point.

    But in all seriousness… no I am not drinking glyphosate. But if I consider the collective amount all the thousands of chemicals that various agencies are assuring me are so safe… but none of them are evaluated for effects on microbiome… why shouldn’t I question it?

    This to me seems an argument from ignorance packaged with a lot of hand waving. ‘If we don’t know about something, it must be bad!’. Given that overall health outcomes of synthetic chemicals have to be determined and a wide range of end-points are measured as part of the regulatory process, what is the likelihood that an adverse health outcome exists that cannot be otherwise measured?

    Yes these chemicals may be having impacts on the microbiome, and that may lead to adverse health outcomes, but such effects will be at concentrations higher than the NOAEL.

    The way I see it… there’s a whole ecosystem down there in my gut, and I want to preserve it. I might not be able to save the rainforests, but maybe there is something I can do about my own internal ecosystem.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Have an annual medical check. Give up tobacco. Stop worrying about things that you cannot change.

  476. #480 LW
    March 14, 2015

    Thousands of chemicals, thousands of drugs (including gobs of antibiotics), and yes, even thousands of naturally-occurring substances, that human beings put in their mouths on a daily basis, and hardly anybody is considering the impact on the microbiome?

    So why, out of those thousands of chemicals, focus on glyphosate?

  477. #481 Matt
    March 14, 2015

    @ChrisP

    This to me seems an argument from ignorance packaged with a lot of hand waving. ‘If we don’t know about something, it must be bad!’.

    Kudos to you for expressing how my argument seems to you, rather assuming that you already know what my motivations and intentions are, and then demanding I defend myself against your false characterizations of me. I appreciate it.

    But no… this isn’t an argument of, ‘If we don’t know about something, it must be bad!’ Could just as well be the case that small, regular doses of glyphosate are great for the microbiome.

    No… this was simply a question of: Is there any evidence to show that glyphosate does not cause harm to the microbiome. Which then evolved into- if not, why not?

    Thanks to you, Krebiozen, and to some degree, Ann, I feel that those questions have now been answered to my satisfaction. Cheers.

  478. #482 ChrisP
    March 14, 2015

    Kudos to you for expressing how my argument seems to you, rather assuming that you already know what my motivations and intentions are, and then demanding I defend myself against your false characterizations of me. I appreciate it.

    Your motivations are your motivations and I can’t be expected to second guess them. All I can do is point out what it looks like from an outsider. If you don’t want your motivations to look like this, perhaps you should look at what you are writing.

    No… this was simply a question of: Is there any evidence to show that glyphosate does not cause harm to the microbiome. Which then evolved into- if not, why not?

    This has been pointed out to you time and time again. The concentrations of glyphosate that have negative impacts on bacteria are orders of magnitude higher than the amount that a person might obtain in food. Therefore, the answer to the question is simply that glyphosate residues in food are unlikely to have an impact on the microbiome.

    But you don’t seem to want to accept this.

  479. #483 Matt
    March 14, 2015

    @ChrisP

    If you don’t want your motivations to look like this, perhaps you should look at what you are writing.

    Perhaps readers of my words shouldn’t make assumptions as to my motivations, but instead ask for clarification.

    But you don’t seem to want to accept this.

    Thanks to you, Krebiozen, and to some degree, Ann, I feel that those questions have now been answered to my satisfaction. Cheers.

    TRANSLATION: I accept your explanation. Thanks again.

  480. #484 herr doktor bimler
    March 15, 2015

    Re. Matt’s suggestion @417 of using an intestinal-tract simulator to test the effects of herbicides:

    a Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem: the SHIME® and in rats. The SHIME® comprises six reactor vessels (stomach to colon).

    SO I read the linked paper, and whatever the researchers were putting *into* their simulator, they were certainly getting Garbage Out.

    Did the researchers compare the microbial composition of their artificial colon against the composition of the fecal samples they used to inoculate it? That would have established the quality of the simulation, but alas, that little detail slipped their mind. Having run a simulation of 30 days of processing herbicide-laced foodstuffs, checking for variations in microbial composition, did they run a simulation of 30 days of processing pesticide-free foodstuffs, as a control? No, they didn’t bother.

    They seemed to go to a lot of trouble to produce worthless, meaningless results.

  481. #485 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    They seemed to go to a lot of trouble to produce worthless, meaningless results.

    Bummer. It sounded like a neat idea.

  482. #486 tiggerthewing
    March 15, 2015

    The quality of the air, water and food I take in has improved dramatically over the course of my lifetime. Why are so many people today so terrified of harmless stuff? Is it because our brains are wired, like those of our ancient ancestors, to see constant threats everywhere and some people, instead of being grateful that we are safer than at any time in history, look for any reasons to justify their groundless fears?

    I fail to understand why people are so determined to find a link between autism and anything ‘modern’ (even if it’s actually decades old, and safer – by far – than what went before) when it is pretty much settled that the different way our brains are wired happens in utero, possibly influenced by a combination of fœtal genetics and uterine hormone levels but extremely unlikely to be influenced by minute quantities of safe chemicals, whether natural or man-made (from natural ingredients, of course – making matter from light is much harder than the reverse 🙂 ).

    As for the microbiome; since this is likely to vary from individual to individual and day to day, depending on diet, it surely is impossible to say what is a ‘perfect’ combination of gut flora!

    Which combinations of gut flora are ideal? We can’t know, and not just for humans eating a ‘modern’ diet. Even today, traditional, hunter-gatherer societies have very different diets, as shown in this article about ‘Paleo’ diets.

    Regardless of stupid graph extrapolations, people like me with atypical neurology will always be in a minority (as will people like me with genetic health disorders). However hard we try, we simply can’t out-breed the dominant, ‘healthy’ population! 😉

  483. #487 herr doktor bimler
    March 15, 2015

    Bummer. It sounded like a neat idea.
    Thanks for the link anyway. But an in vitro simulation has to be a *really convincing* simulation before its results change the mind (one way or the other) of someone who isn’t already expecting those results.

  484. #488 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 15, 2015
  485. #489 Tim
    March 18, 2015

    Lot’s of ignorance in this article and in the comments. Of course, I would expect that from the keepers of the faith. Much of medical science today is junk science – talk about the correlation equals causation dilemma. What in mainstream medicine is not based on ludicrous correlations studies with built in bias?

    There is a reason to believe Roundup alters the gut’s bacterial balance. The permeability of a damaged gut, damaged villi and the destruction of the bacterial/mucosal lining leading to attack by toxins and pathogens. Could that be the cause of autism or other disorders?

    Just because a medical degree’d person didn’t come up with this hypothesis, does that means its wrong? This article is based on junk science and ignorance.

  486. #490 justthestats
    March 18, 2015

    There is a reason to believe Roundup alters the gut’s bacterial balance. The permeability of a damaged gut, damaged villi and the destruction of the bacterial/mucosal lining leading to attack by toxins and pathogens. Could that be the cause of autism or other disorders?

    I’m confused. You claim to have read the comments, and yet you seem to not have noticed that these very concerns have already been discussed in depth.

  487. #491 JGC
    March 18, 2015

    What in mainstream medicine is not based on ludicrous correlations studies with built in bias?

    Pretty much everything that I’m aware of, Tim. Small molecule drugs, biologics, vaccines, medical devices, etc., are only licensed by the EMEA, FDA, etc. after extensive clinical testing has characterized their safety and demonstrate their efficacy.

  488. #492 JGC
    March 18, 2015

    There is a reason to believe Roundup alters the gut’s bacterial balance.

    Not at exposure levels achievable by consuming a diet which includes produce grown using it as an herbicide.

  489. #493 Pertti A. Ukkola
    Finland
    March 20, 2015

    Do you think that this as well is bad science? How come you couldn’t find it?

  490. #495 Dangerous Bacon
    March 20, 2015

    Yep, that’s pertti bad science, seeing as critics had a field day pointing out its numerous gross flaws and the journal it was published in later retracted it.

    It’s since been republished, but remains an outstanding example of crappy anti-GMO pseudoscience.

  491. #496 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    Pertti A. Ukkola: “Do you think that this as well is bad science? How come you couldn’t find it?”

    Perhaps you should have put “Seralini” in the search box above, you have found several articles including this one:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/09/24/bad-science-on-gmos-it-reminds-me-of-the-antivaccine-movement/

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