via the NYT
Carl Zimmer, June 25, 2011
ONE of the great strengths of science is that it can fix its own mistakes. “There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong,” the astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said. “That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process.”
If only it were that simple. Scientists can certainly point with pride to many self-corrections, but science is not like an iPhone; it does not instantly auto-correct. As a series of controversies over the past few months have demonstrated, science fixes its mistakes more slowly, more fitfully and with more difficulty than Sagan’s words would suggest. Science runs forward better than it does backward.
Why? One simple answer is that it takes a lot of time to look back over other scientists’ work and replicate their experiments. Scientists are busy people, scrambling to get grants and tenure. As a result, papers that attract harsh criticism may nonetheless escape the careful scrutiny required if they are to be refuted.
In May, for instance, the journal Science published eight critiques of a controversial paper that it had run in December. In the paper, a team of scientists described a species of bacteria that seemed to defy the known rules of biology by using arsenic instead of phosphorus to build its DNA. Chemists and microbiologists roundly condemned the paper; in the eight critiques, researchers attacked the study for using sloppy techniques and failing to rule out more plausible alternatives.
But none of those critics had actually tried to replicate the initial results. That would take months of research: getting the bacteria from the original team of scientists, rearing them, setting up the experiment, gathering results and interpreting them. Many scientists are leery of spending so much time on what they consider a foregone conclusion, and graduate students are reluctant because they want their first experiments to make a big splash, not confirm what everyone already suspects.
“I’ve got my own science to do,” John Helmann, a microbiologist at Cornell and a critic of the Science paper, told Nature. The most persistent critic, Rosie Redfield, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia, announced this month on her blog that she would try to replicate the original results — but only the most basic ones, and only for the sake of science’s public reputation. “Scientifically I think trying to replicate the claimed results is a waste of time,” she wrote in an e-mail.
For now, the original paper has not been retracted; the results still stand.
Even when scientists rerun an experiment, and even when they find that the original result is flawed, they still may have trouble getting their paper published. The reason is surprisingly mundane: journal editors typically prefer to publish groundbreaking new research, not dutiful replications.
In March, for instance, Daryl Bem, a psychologist at Cornell University, shocked his colleagues by publishing a paper in a leading scientific journal, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in which he presented the results of experiments showing, he claimed, that people’s minds could be influenced by events in the future, as if they were clairvoyant.
Three teams of scientists promptly tried to replicate his results. All three teams failed. All three teams wrote up their results and submitted them to The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. And all three teams were rejected — but not because their results were flawed. As the journal’s editor, Eliot Smith, explained to The Psychologist, a British publication, the journal has a longstanding policy of not publishing replication studies. “This policy is not new and is not unique to this journal,” he said.
As a result, the original study stands.
Even when follow-up studies manage to see the light of day, they still don’t necessarily bring matters to a close. Sometimes the original authors will declare the follow-up studies to be flawed and refuse to retract their paper. Such a standoff is now taking place over a controversial claim that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a virus. In October 2009, the virologist Judy Mikovits and colleagues reported in Science that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had high levels of a virus called XMRV. They suggested that XMRV might be the cause of the disorder.
Several other teams have since tried — and failed — to find XMRV in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. As they’ve published their studies over the past year, skepticism has grown. The editors of Science asked the authors of the XMRV study to retract their paper. But the scientists refused; Ms. Mikovits declared that a retraction would be “premature.” The editors have since published an “editorial expression of concern.”
Once again, the result still stands.
But perhaps not forever. Ian Lipkin, a virologist at Columbia University who is renowned in scientific circles for discovering new viruses behind mysterious outbreaks, is also known for doing what he calls “de-discovery”: intensely scrutinizing controversial claims about diseases.
Last September, Mr. Lipkin laid out several tips for effective de-discovery in the journal Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. He recommended engaging other scientists — including those who published the original findings — as well as any relevant advocacy groups (like those for people suffering from the disease in question). Together, everyone must agree on a rigorous series of steps for the experiment. Each laboratory then carries out the same test, and then all the results are gathered together.
At the request of the National Institutes of Health, Mr. Lipkin is running just such a project with Ms. Mikovits and other researchers to test the link between viruses and chronic fatigue, based on a large-scale study of 300 subjects. He expects results by the end of this year.
This sort of study, however, is the exception rather than the rule. If the scientific community put more value on replication — by setting aside time, money and journal space — science would do a better job of living up to Carl Sagan’s words.
Carl Zimmer writes frequently for The New York Times about science and is the author, most recently, of “A Planet of Viruses.”
The Canadian ME/FM Action Network is asking for submissions for a collection of stories they are putting together. If you would like to contribute, please go to their site at www.mefmaction.net.The following is the story that I submitted.
Priya, Canada; June 2011
I always travelled by bike. Everywhere. I enjoyed concerts, being politically active, camping, dance, gymnastics, my work, playing guitar, painting, cooking. I was the only kid in my whole public school that got the ‘Award of Excellence’ for physical fitness.
I have a history of travel in India, South America, North America, Europe and the Caribbean. In India, 1996 I came down with an un-diagnosed malaria-like illness, gastroenteritis and four flus. I think this set the stage for decreased immunity and gut problems, though it didn’t hinder me that much from my activities. Upon my return to Canada, I had my amalgams removed by SW who did not use any precautions, and had me swallowing and spitting out hunks of mercury fillings when he was done. He now denies I was ever his patient. I have only received one vaccination past age 10 - for meningitis - forced upon me at school when I was 19. I believe all the above came together to burden my immune system, setting the stage for what was about to appear ...
On New Year’s Eve, 1997 I was in NYC eating Indian Food at some joint on Lexington. I looked up from my plate and suddenly felt very ill. I went back to Tom’s apartment. I had the flu.
Yet, I sensed it was somehow different. Turns out it was, as it never resolved. I was 26 years old. Within the year I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/CFS (ICD 93.3) about 3 times over. Within 5 months I became unable to work as co-owner of Canada’s largest health food co-operative, nutritional consultant/herbalist, and had to give up my seat on the board of directors. I just didn’t have the stamina or energy, though I felt ‘wired’ all the time. I left confidential papers lying around the store. I turned clumsy and fell down the steps of the subway and showed up at doctors’ appointments on the wrong day. In 2001, I lost my father, my home, my income, my cat, my vehicle - all within weeks, but I remained stable, functioning at about a 5/10.
I did not want to be back living with my mother, and I wanted to pursue my spiritual path in a more focused way, so I signed up for a 6-month stint at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Cape Breton, NS. Then 9/11 happened and I started feeling worse, but I was determined to go ... It was perfect and I loved everything about it, though I was having difficulty with the daily schedule. I was told that I should leave to benefit my health. I was stubborn and didn’t want to hear it. I was undergoing immense stress from just trying to cope enough to stay. Some of us, including myself, came down with wicked flu. After this flu my neurological problems started happening in a severe way with increased sensitivity to noise, inability to book a hotel room, etc.
Somehow, I made it back to Toronto in 2002, not well at all. I had an MRI: negative for MS. I had an EEG, which caused a seizure and dirty looks from the lab tech, but showed ‘no epilepsy’. I moved in with my aunt and uncle in the country but got much worse inside of 2 months, I believe, due to the 2 cell phone/radio towers that border their property. I couldn’t speak much; couldn’t listen to speech or music, and started having seizures provoked by overstimulation (e.g. someone whistling, or hearing a radio play). My uncle drove me to Toronto to see my ME specialist in May, where I had a seizure from people talking in the waiting room. I then ended up at my mothers’ by default, bedridden. I tried to walk, but my whole body became spastic. Within the year I became paralyzed.
I have spent 97% of my thirties bed-bound. From my own experience of ME/CFS, I would describe it as feeling like I've been hit by a Mac Truck, the worst case of the flu, and 20 cups of coffee while having been made to stand for 3 days straight after running a marathon, without being allowed to sleep. For a few years after diagnosis I was moderately ill, unable to work but able to go to restorative yoga, drive, take a few vacations, go for short walks and take care of myself. I did all the right things and yet things went downhill...
At my very worst I was totally paralyzed for 8 months, unable to speak or put a few words together in my mind; I couldn't process any incoming sensory stimulation, so nobody could talk to me. I was in the most unbelievable neurological pain, convincing me that hell realms existed and that I was in one. Opening my eyes to look at a blank wall was impossible. My brain hurt and my body felt crazy, like all the subtle infrastructures suddenly went haywire. I recalled a the story of a guy who took 100 hits of LSD and was tripping for a year. His life sounded like a wonderful dream compared to mine.
I remember trying to look at the clock beside my head, trying to take my heart rate for 10 seconds as it echoed in my pillow, but it was impossible. If I ever needed to dial 9-1-1, that also would have been impossible. Liquid food was poured down my throat, running down the sides of my face as I couldn't use my facial muscles properly to manage a cup or my hands to wipe it up. I was given nutritional IVs, yet they made my blood sugar rise to levels that only diabetics can achieve, and I'm not diabetic. I was constantly fighting to get enough 'food' into me to keep my blood sugar from dropping; I knew the strain of hypoglycemia on one so weak was serious: the last time my blood sugar plummeted, the stress caused a huge crash which resulted in my inability to stand up anymore ... followed by the paralysis of my legs ... followed by the paralysis of my arms. Just trying to turn my head slightly on the pillow caused horrendous crashes. I could feel myself drifting away, dissolving into the ether. I wasn't able to have my hair washed anymore in the bed sink; nor was I able to tolerate having bedsheets or my top changed. My mum yelled at me because I stunk. She used to throw my 85-lb. body onto the commode beside my bed until a bladder infection relegated me to the bedpan. I motioned to the scissors with my eyes (a major feat) and had my mum cut off my hair, as it was too heavy on my head and caused distress. I hoped the OT, nurse or doctor would figure out to flex my feet to avoid the excruciating 'foot-drop' that occurs when movement in legs is lost. But they didn't. They also didn't inform my mother that I needed 'turning' every 1 1/2 hours to avoid extra pain. I had a wash twice a week through CCAC, a community caregiving service. I stunk because I could not wipe myself after using the commode, and I did not want my mother doing it. When I had my period, I just bled onto a ‘blue pad’, but didn’t receive any extra care to clean me up. I felt gross in every way imaginable. I waited through unbelievable pain each day for the night, when I might get a short reprieve and sleep. My mother and close friends thought I was dying. I felt I was. My quality of life was in the red. It was an effort just to breathe, get food down my throat and land on the commode.
In 2005 some grace entered my life. I was put in hospital, treated for a bladder infection with Macrobid and somehow I stopped crashing. I was relieved to be away from my mother, who was not coping as my caregiver. Slowly I could move my toes and hands, then I was able to get a kleenex out of the box and blow my nose. My speech was weak, but it started to return. I became able to chew certain foods. After almost 3 months of physiotherapy I was able to walk up to 24 meters once a day (on a good day) with a walker if I spent at least 20 hours of the day in bed. I was transferred to a rehab hospital (big mistake, but the ‘rules’ required it), and started going downhill because I was ashamed to ask for help when I needed it and my physician there didn't believe that ME/CFS existed. The six psychiatric diagnoses from the previous hospital were not helpful. Everyone who didn’t know me thought I was lazy and choosing to ruin my life by not being able to get out of bed except for the 1-2 hours a day I would sit in the wheelchair.
One day, some installments and major cleaning were being done in my hospital room, leaving it with an unusual and extremely strong chemical smell. This VOC exposure caused a major crash, leaving me unable to feed myself, brush my teeth, stand, walk or talk. I was devastated. Yet, the doctor told me I didn't walk because I didn't want to. The Patient Care Manager forced ‘tough love’ on me, telling the PSWs not to feed me or brush my teeth; that I just had to force myself to do it. Politics played in here, as she let it slip that the she couldn’t get the PSWs to do certain tasks, as they wouldn't understand my needs because they 'weren't educated', so I’d just have to do them myself. Finally, when my Care Manager was away on holiday, my friends spoke to her replacement and she demanded the PSWs help me with tasks I could not do myself from that day forward.
They eventually moved me to the Long Term Care floor of the hospital for residents awaiting transfer to nursing homes. I was the youngest one there in the history of that unit at age 34. Here, the PSWs would not let me sleep, as they owned the rooms and saw fit to party, gossip and use their cell phones in them all night long. In the morning, I recognized one who was whooping it up in my room the night before, and asked her why she wouldn’t let me sleep. Her response: ‘Life’s a killer, baby. These people, y'all just going to nursing homes, nobody cares about you. It’s not like the rehab floor where you have a chance to be somebody.’ After the myriad stresses of 20 months in the hospital, the stress of not being allowed to sleep was too much. I did not have the energy to even receive a wash. My adrenals were totally exhausted, and I was fading fast.
In November 2006, I left in an ambulance without being discharged to save my life, once again ending up at my mum’s. The hospital kept calling, asking my mum to bring me back, at least so they could discharge me. They just didn’t get it. If I had to be moved one more time in that shape, that would’ve been the end of me. Bureaucracy always trumps patient well-being in the health care system, so I understand their efforts at trying. Too bad they didn’t understand why I refused. Too bad so much of their buraucracy is not in the
I have recovered some, but at a pathologically slow pace, encountering many set-backs. I have not been able to stand up or sit up independently since 2005. Now it is 2011. On good days, I can use the computer, read, meditate, chew certain soft foods and feed myself. Sometimes I can brush my own teeth, which is a pleasure I cannot even begin to describe. I use the bedpan during the day and diapers at night. I still cannot sit up independently, stand up or walk. I can’t tolerate movement, so I’m not able to be transferred into a wheelchair, or to go outside. On bad days, I can’t roll over in bed or speak. I have caregivers through an agency, though find many of them lacking the necessary skills to take care of people in my situation. The system doesn’t have the money to pay for workers with skills.
It is a job in itself being very severely ill and having to fight the system for the basics of care at every turn.
One day I will write my story the way I want to. Until then, thank you for reading the first draft.
Statistics Canada releases new data on CFS, FM and MCS
June 21, 2011
The first data from the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) was released today.
The data show that the number of Canadians reporting a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities has increased markedly since 2005. Number of Canadians reporting a diagnosis of : CCHS 2005 CCHS 2010 % change
Target Population 27,125,065 28,890,710 7%
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 333,816 413,370 24%
- Fibromyalgia 389,782 446,586 15%
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities 598,585 784,789 31%
A 2010 data file with the CFS, FM and MCS variables is now available to government and academic institutions. No information about these illnesses, other than what is in the above table, has been made available to the National ME/FM Action Network or the public at this time.
Margaret Parlor, President
National ME/FM Action Network
note to consicer: the very severely ill, who are unable to fill out a census form, are likely missing from these statistics as I was in 2005. In 2010, I did not even receive a census form. In 2011 I received and completed a census form, but it was the short version and didn't ask about health...
-Priya, ME/CFS Assist
by Neil Nathan, MD
June 22, 2011
Dr. Nathan reported to ProHealth readers recently on his successful trial of a promising protocol for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia patients. (See “A Simplified Methylation Protocol is Effective for the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.”) As Dr. Nathan explained:
• Every ME/CFS and FM patient he tested showed signs of abnormal methylation chemistry,
• But this chemistry began to normalize, and most of the patients got much better, on a regimen of nutrients that the body employs in methylation.
The regimen is “simplified” in that it has been pared down over time from a long list of possibilities to just a few, with formulas refined collaboratively by Drs. Nathan, Rich Van Konynenburg, Amy Yasko, and Jacob Teitelbaum.
Now, to answer questions from readers about the protocol, Dr. Nathan has provided the following Q&A.
Dr. Nathan’s Preface:
I would like to emphasize that although the individual ingredients in the protocol are all natural and safe, when they work, there is the very real risk that improved methylation will dramatically improve the body’s ability to detoxify, and if the individual’s system cannot deal with a sudden release of toxins, they can get quite sick.
That’s why I emphasize the need to find a health care provider who understands this and can work with you. More information is available in the chapter on methylation in my book, On Hope and Healing: For Those Who Have Fallen Through the Medical Cracks. But unfortunately that information is not sufficient for patients to do this by themselves.
Q: Specifically what are the vitamins that you mention in the article?
Dr. Nathan: The supplements we used in the trial are:
- Actifolate: ¼ tablet (200mcg) daily
- Folapro: ¼ tablet daily
- General Vitamin Neurological Health Formula: start with ¼ tablet and work up, very slowly, to 2 tablets daily
- Activated B-12 Guard: 1 sublingual lozenge daily
- Phosphatidyl Serine Complex: 1 softgel capsule daily (we feel this is helpful, though not as central to the protocol as the others)
Q: Do you offer a "package" that includes all the required supplements together, as described in the article?
A: At my office (at Gordon Medical Associates), we have put this package together, and I believe that ProHealth has just arranged to offer the package as well.*
* * * *
Q: Is there specific information on this protocol in a form that I could submit to my doctor so she could monitor it?
A: You could copy the chapter in my book (pp. 153-167, “Methylation: a Key to Understanding Chronic Illness”), and you could Google “Rich Van Konynenburg” to get copies of his groundbreaking papers which outline the scientific basis for this program.
* * * *
Q: Advice on finding a doctor or type of doctor who would be open minded about this protocol and willing to work with me in trying it?
A: Many holistic, integrative practitioners are somewhat knowledgeable about this protocol, but many not have experience with it directly. I have presented our work to a number of scientific groups, and hope that more physicians will get interested.
In the meantime, you might look at members of ACAM (the American College for Advancement in Medicine), AHMA (the American Holistic Medical Association), or AAEM (the American Academy of Environmental Medicine) for practitioners who are more likely to know something about this.
* * * *
Q: Is Dr. Nathan's treatment ministered through any doctor or specialist here in the UK that you know of? Suggestions for those in the UK and elsewhere?
A: I’m sorry, but I am not aware of any specific individuals in the UK to recommend. In fact, I have heard that several UK holistic practitioners have been reprimanded recently for their work (which is distressing) – such as Dr. Sarah Myhill, who has done some excellent work in the field of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
* * * *
Q: Is the protocol a regimen recommended to maintain as long as you can as a part of a daily regimen?
A: What we have found is that it takes 4 to 6 weeks to start seeing improvement, and then that improvement continues over a 9-month period of time, probably longer.
Some of my patients, in the study, discontinued the supplements and relapsed (and then improved again). Others discontinued the supplements and did well. So I suspect the results are dependent on individual biochemistry and that each patient will need to elucidate for themselves their optimal use of these materials.
* * * *
Q: Thanks for the encouraging report. Would the results of the 30 patients treated with Dr. Teitelbaum's program have had an increased chance of realising a good response to Dr. Nathan's treatment due to the fact they had a 'good start' having benefited from Dr Teitelbaum's treatment?
A: That's an excellent question, and we don't really know the answer, since it hasn't been studied yet. It is possible that addressing problems with the adrenal, thyroid, gut, sex hormones, food allergies, infections and heavy metal toxicity allowed the treatment to work much better. It is also possible that the Methylation Protocol would have value in a patient who had not been treated with any of these methods.... we just don't know.
* * * *
Q: Would there be any point in starting on just one supplement, and if so which one?
A: In terms of our study, which is the only scientific data I have, it's a package deal in terms of effectiveness. I have seen really sensitive patients who cannot take the entire program, and for them I start with the sublingual B-12 and phosphatidyl serine, then slowly add the Folapro and Actifolate next.
* * * *
Q: Is one supposed to discontinue your methylation supplements before doing a methylation panel test, and if so, how long would you need to be off them before the test? It seems to me that I would be more interested in how my body is doing while on them, since I plan on continuing to take them, but perhaps they interfere with the test?
A: I agree, it would be much more useful to get the panel done while ON the supplements, since that tells you where you are in space and time, and guides us in modifying the protocol. Because of the expense of the test, I usually will start patients on the protocol and reserve the use of the test for those who have not responded to it as I would expect.
* * * *
Q: If the problem is low glutathione in ME/CFS, why not just take that?
A: Also a good question, and an important one. Many practitioners don't agree on this. From my perspective, if you give glutathione (which often helps, by the way), that sends a message to the body that it doesn't need any more, and it stops making it. It makes more sense to me to give the body the raw materials it needs to stimulate it to make more glutathione, and our research indicates that this approach works.
* * * *
Q: I have fibromyalgia for 13 years, and am interested in your simplified Methylation Protocol, but my doctor tested me recently for folate and B-12, and they were at "normal" levels. Would this be an indication that the protocol probably wouldn't do much for me?
A: Absolutely not. Those numbers have nothing to do with this protocol. The problem for most people is that they cannot methylate properly because of toxic, or genetic, effects. The full methylation panel offered by Vitamin Diagnostics** measures 11 parameters that we can evaluate, which show how well the body makes glutathione and SAMe, which is what this is all about.
Most physicians are only aware of, or prescribe, cyanocobalamin (one form of B-12) and folic acid, neither of which is particularly good at improving methylation. What we have learned is that hydoxycobalamin and methylcobalamin (other forms of B-12) and 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate and folinic acid are what are needed to start moving the cycle around.
So just looking at folate and B-12 levels does not give you what you need to figure this out.
* * * *
Q: I have suffered from fibromyalgia for over 33 years. I continue to search the Internet for new treatments and must admit that I have hope for the first time in many years of frustration and defeat. I’ve noticed new treatments in many different trial phases at this point. While reading about your discovery I wondered about where this stands regarding trial stage for the FDA approval process. Is it possible to try your new discovery without FDA approval? Please let me know… how I may benefit from this discovery now if possible.
A: We were not looking for FDA approval of this material. We were looking for answers for how to help a lot of patients like yourself. Since these are natural materials, they can't be patented, and a pharmaceutical company cannot charge exorbitant amounts for the product... Hence, it will never be profitable enough for anyone to seek FDA approval in the usual way. Find someone who understands this chemistry and let them help you with it.
* * * *
Q: I have been doing the simplified methylation protocol and believe it has helped me. But I think I have reached a plateau. Do you suspect this is as good as it gets, or might there be something I could add to improve more?
A: You may be ready to check your methylation chemistry test results now. OR you may need to look at heavy metal (particularly mercury) toxicity as something that may be preventing it from working optimally.
* * * *
Q: I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and POTS is an important symptom for me. Might a methylation problem be involved in this?
A: It may help. To my knowledge no one has looked at this yet, but every biochemical piece of the puzzle may ad to the possibility of healing.
* * * *
Q: I have purchased your book [On Hope and Healing: For Those Who Have Fallen Through the Medical Cracks] and am underlining/making notes in the margin. Thanks for this wonderful book with its compilation of treatments. I have had CFIDS for 23 years. My new DO practices holistic medicine. Although she does not know the many specifics of this illness, she is willing to work with me on treatment modalities.
I looked up the products for methylation [pp. 153-167]. The General Vitamin Neurological Health Formula has citrate compounds (e.g., calcium citrate) which I have never been able to tolerate. What alternative product(s) would you recommend for citrate-sensitive individuals?
A: The General Vitamin formula was chosen for some of its unique ingredients, but is probably the least essential part of the program, so I suspect you could benefit without adding that specific product.
* * * *
Q: I would like to know if you have heard other people say that the B vitamins in this protocol cause migraines.
A: I am not aware that these B vitamins (primarily B-12) have ever been associated specifically with migraines. The only way that might happen would be if the release of toxins in that individual was greater than they could deal with. That might set off migraines. But having treated several hundred patients with the protocol now, I have not personally seen that reaction.
* * * *
Q: Dr. Nathan, if you add sufficient vitamin D3 (5,000-10,000 IU/day) to your protocol your patients will see an additional incremental improvement. Go to the Vitamin D Council website at www.vitamindcouncil.com for more information.
A: Measuring vitamin D levels and treating with D3 is an integral part of our program. I agree it is another important area to evaluate and treat, but was not specifically a part of the original protocol.
* * * *
Q: For Dr. Garth Nicolson’s “ATP Fuel” Trial (of a supplement with NT Factor, NADH, and CoQ10) now recruiting, would I have to stop the methylation protocol before starting it? I was accepted and didn't think to ask about other meds or supps I'm taking.
A: When doing research, it is important that you follow the research protocol being offered to you. I am aware of Dr. Nicolson's study, and would suggest you ask him that question before you proceed.
* * * *
Q: Do you have any thoughts on whether a methylation defect might affect thyroid or other hormonal balances?
A: Everything is interrelated. For example, we have to methylate serotonin to make melatonin, so there is an important interaction between our neurotransmitters and methylation... And I think, as we learn more, that all of our important endocrine relationships will be connected in some way to methylation. Methylation is central to over 150 important chemical reactions (that we know of, so far). More is yet to be revealed.
* * * *
Q: Do you think a methylation cycle problem could contribute to allergies, and if so might your simplified protocol help?
A: Again, everything is inter-related in the body. Improving methylation will help detoxification, but I wouldn't recommend it as a first-line treatment for allergy.
* * * *
Q: Would the Methylation Protocol be of any benefit for individuals with Lyme disease? Would the vitamin B-12 and folic acid be good for it? My girlfriend has had Lyme disease for the past 7 years. She was diagnosed 5 years ago and has been on antibiotics for the past 4 years as of June 2011. Do you have any suggestions or directions regarding the continued use of antibiotics for the treatment of chronic Lyme disease? Any help would be much appreciated. She has been through hell and is better but not cured of the Lyme.
A: We treat a large number of patients with Lyme disease, and we have found that most of them (as with patients chronically ill with virtually any condition) do not methylate properly. Many of them do respond to a methylation protocol, but again, I must warn you that most of our Lyme patients wrestle with problems of toxicity and are at high risk of reacting to the protocol, initially. So I would go VERY slowly and carefully, work with someone who understands this.
* * * *
Q: For someone with a diagnosis of Lyme pathogens, would you recommend treating the Lyme first or doing the Methylation Protocol first?
A: Treat the Lyme first. If you try the methylation protocol first, you will release toxins that the individual cannot handle and you have a high risk of making them worse.
* * * *
Q: Rich Van Konynenburg wrote several years ago in the ProHealth ME/CFS/FM message board that he had a hypothesis that “Lyme disease is one route of entry into CFS for people who are genetically susceptible.” What is your current thinking on whether ME/CFS and Lyme may sometimes be linked or otherwise associated?
A: As we continue to study this, it becomes clear that many patients who have been diagnosed with ME/CFS have Lyme disease that hadn't been looked for or diagnosed. The numbers are much higher than we had thought, so that some Lyme specialists think most patients with "CFS" actually have Lyme.
I would not take it that far, but I would agree that we should check all CFS patients for Lyme disease. We don't want to realize three years down the road that we missed a treatment component.
* * * *
Q: What can help with the cellular detoxification that the methylation protocol vitamins encourage? Something like milk thistle? Or chlorella? What do you think the toxins are, mostly? Heavy metals, or other?
A: The toxins include heavy metals, mold, pesticides, chemicals, and the results of a wide variety of infections (Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, viruses, mycoplasma, Chlamydia, etc.). We do use milk thistle, chlorella, and a wide variety of other materials to assist with the detoxification process - each adjusted to individual patients' needs.
* * * *
Q: I heard a video piece by a man who was doing a mini-beet protocol for detoxification. He told of eating apple directly after drinking a beet juice combination. He said that the raw apples stopped the detox effects. Have you heard of this and do you think it would be a possibility following your protocol?
A: I am not specifically aware of this, but neither do I know that it is true.
* * * *
Q: Would soluble fiber be good to help while detoxing?
A: One valuable detoxification material is pectin; fiber does help.
* * * *
Q: In May 13 Science there’s an article on DNA methylation and epigenetics. [Note: Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression produced by environmental factors.] It indicates this phenomenon adds methyl groups to specific genes, “usually silencing their expression.” This is susceptible to environmental influences, and is reversible, so silenced genes can be reactivated.
Could something like this DNA methylation be affecting gene expression in ME/CFS and fibro people, and might the methylation protocol be reversing something?
A: Yes, of course. One of the many vital functions of methylation is that it is central to repairing DNA. Part of our study related to the SNPs that represent genetic "tendencies" to impair methylation (more than 13 are known and are measured by Dr. Yasko) and the ability of this protocol to improve this.
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Q: It has been established in other studies that glutathione levels are low in ME/CFS. The question of whether ME/CFS is due to impaired methylation is doubtful. The immune signature of ME/CFS is now better understood and widely accepted by key researchers in this field. We need to be wary of simplistic biochemical explanations like this but by all means supplement with folate and B-12 as well as glutathione, even N-acetyl cysteine.
A: There is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, we are learning more of the immune signature of ME/CFS, but why presuppose that methylation "blocks" are not an integral part of that story?
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Q: My Lyme doctor put me on the Methylation Protocol (I have had chronic fatigue for more than 10 years)… It made me feel like I was on speed. Any insights on this?
A: Yes. It was too strong for you. You may need to cut it way back for it to be of benefit.
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Q: I have problems with IBS and have heard that introduction of glutamine can sometimes rid these problems. In your study did any of your patients have IBS and did your methylation therapy help their IBS?
A: Glutamine is tricky: Although it may be useful for 'leaky gut' or IBS, glutamine is excitotoxic to the brain and may make autism or other conditions that have an irritated autonomic nervous system worse.
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Q: Dr. Nathan, I have your book and have been encouraged by your your stories and your dedication. I've even done cranio-sacral work [discussed in the book]. Awesome! I have been on the full Yasko Protocol about 7 months and I believe I am progressing, but slowly. My question: Is it because I am 51 years of age? Does it make sense that someone older might take longer to recover?
A: I am not aware that age is an issue in methylation treatment. I had great results in my study with an 82-year-old woman, and poor results in a 27-year-old.
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Q: How can I get in touch with Dr. Yasko? I have a family member with autism and would like to have Dr. Yasko see him. [Note: Biochemist Dr. Amy Yasko pioneered the concept of addressing methylation problems in autistic children using specially formulated nutrients that she developed, with promising results. Her suggestion that methylation problems might play a role in other conditions was what inspired Rich Van Konynenburg, another biochemist, to work diligently for years adapting the protocol for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.]
A: Dr. Yasko is unfortunately no longer seeing patients directly. She decided several years ago that she could help more patients (since the need is great) by testing them with the genomic assays available through her website, and going on line to help them understand the results of those tests and guide them with suggestions.
ProHealth Concluding Note
Along with their questions, readers have expressed sincere gratitude to Drs. Nathan and Van Konynenburg for their untiring "commitment to healing." In their words, "This is so very exciting. Thanks to you and Dr. Rich. You guys are heroes!"
For readers who have further questions for Dr. Nathan, he may be reached at his office with Gordon Medical Associates near Mendocino, California (www.gordonmedical.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Dr. Van Konynenburg may be reached at email@example.com
* For information about the Simplified Methylation Protocol nutritional supplements mentioned above, which ProHealth has arranged to make available soon, contact our helpful Customer Service Specialists.
** Now Health Diagnostics and Research Institute, South Amboy, NJ. Phone 732 721-1234. Their Methylation Pathways Panel requires an order from a medical doctor or chiropractor and costs $300 plus cost of shipping blood sample to lab, according to Rich Van K.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general information, and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.
Dr David Bell, ME/CFS Specialist; NY, USA
JOURNAL HIGHLIGHTS, UNDERSTANDING CFS | 13. JUN, 2011 BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Dr. David Bell
By David S. Bell, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Reprinted with permission from Lyndonville News, Vol. 8, Issue 1
This article is directed toward the mitochondrial problems which underlie the energy envelope of ME/CFS. [Editor's note: More info about the energy envelope.] Whatever is the cause of ME/CFS results in poor mitochondrial functioning and reduced energy output. Drs. Norman Booth, Sarah Myhill and John McLaren-Howard have been very kind as to write a clarification of the paper by Vermulen et al. discussed below and an update of their own work. I feel that it is at the cutting edge. First let’s put the energy production problems in perspective.
There has been talk for many years about the mitochondrial problems present in persons with CFS. In 1990 I did a muscle biopsy study looking for large insertions and the general morphology of mitochondria with Dr. June Aprille of Tufts University. Our results showed no mitochondrial DNA large (>240 bp) insertions and normal morphology, but this study was never published. Since then, my interests have continued around the mitochondria, particularly in the area of energy production. There have been nearly 30 scientific papers concerning oxidative stress, and many other papers concerning mitochondria in persons with CFS.
In a previous issue of Lyndonville News, I summarized the elegant study of Drs. Sarah Myhill, Norman Booth and John McLaren-Howard (Myhill S, Booth N, McLaren-Howard J. Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. 2009;2:1-16).
More recent is this publication: Vermeulen R, Kurk R, Visser F, Sluiter W, Scholte H. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome performed worse than controls in a controlled repeated exercise study despite a normal oxidative phosphorylation capacity. Journal of Translational Medicine 2010;8:93.
This paper is important in that it accomplishes two things: a) it confirms conference reports and abstracts about a decrease in anaerobic threshold on the second test of a test-retest protocol. b) it looks further at this phenomenon by determining that the decrease in ATP production is not due to a defect in the enzymes which carry out oxidative phosphorylation. There must be some other factor, as yet unknown, which causes this.
The authors tested 15 CFS women and 15 healthy sedentary control women with exercise tests separated by 24 hours (test-re-test). ATP synthesis rate was determined along with creatine kinase levels, used as a surrogate measure of lowered oxidative phosphorylation. The anaerobic threshold of patients was worse than sedentary controls on both first and second tests, with the second test showing a significant decline. However measures of CK and ATP synthesis rates based upon degree of reduction in complex I and II were not different from the two groups. The effort of patients and controls in the exercise was the same. Interestingly, pulmonary parameters indicated a possibility of a ventilation-perfusion mismatch in the patient group.
Drs. Norman Booth, John McLaren-Howard, and Sarah Myhill were kind to write the following commentary that is linked to the paper in Readers’ Comments:
Neutrophil ATP Related Parameters in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It is gratifying to see experts in the biomedical field turn their attention to the devastating illness Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), as exemplified in the recent paper by Vermeulen et al . Further studies of the postexertional malaise following exercise, either physical or mental, are extremely important because this malaise is the most characteristic and disabling symptom of CFS/ME. Moreover, in spite of many studies, there is inadequate understanding of the biochemical processes which lead to this malaise.
In 2009, we published our findings from an audit where we compared deficiencies in the provision of ATP in neutrophils with the degree of disability of patients with CFS/ME . The results presented were from 53 controls and 71 CFS patients (61 in the same age range 18-65 years as the controls). The patient group spanned a wide range of CFS Ability from 0 to 7 on the Bell CFS Ability scale [2-3].
The paper by Vermeulen et al  compares exercise performance in CFS patients and controls. These authors conclude that the decrease in mitochondrial ATP production with work rate detected in their tests on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) is a secondary phenomenon. They focus attention on differences in transport capacity of oxygen. While agreeing about the importance of this and supporting the premise that more research is needed to understand oxygen transport-related issues in CFS, a number of ATP-related issues concern us greatly.
Vermeulen et al quote the excellent work by Maianski et al  on neutrophils in support of their dismissal of the importance of ATP-related parameters in CFS. The work in  concentrates on the aspects restricted to apoptosis. The work of van Raam et al  further defines these issues and shows that neutrophils retain some respiratory chain complex activity but this activity is limited to certain complexes in the respiratory chain and exists mainly for the maintenance of mitochondrial membrane potential.
These papers raise critical doubt about the validity of our previous findings and we feel that it is important to explore these issues in terms of the ATP-related tests we have done and the results we have published together with some preliminary comments comparing the CFS patients in the Vermeulen et al  study and our own .
With regard to the exercise procedures given to the 15 CFS patients in the Vermeulen et al study, we are confident that many of the patients in our study, including all of those in the ‘severe’ and ‘very severe’ categories would not have been able to carry out the exercise procedures. While we fully appreciate that the patients in both studies met the Centers for Disease Control criteria for CFS , we are well aware that there is enormous patient-to-patient variability in the degree of physical and mental incapacity. We felt it a strength of our paper that the measured biochemical parameters were compared individually and collectively with the CFS Ability [2-3] of the individual patients. This was, of course, much simpler with the higher number of patients in our study.
We now discuss the issues relating to neutrophil ATP-related parameters in the three parts of the ATP profile test that we used.
Whole cell ATP
ATP often functions as a complex with magnesium (Mg) and in many reactions Mg is an essential cofactor. Due to the fact that intracellular Mg deficiencies are common in CFS, we measured the whole cell ATP in neutrophils in the presence of excess Mg and again with endogenous Mg only.
The mean of the whole cell ATP level of our control group as measured with excess Mg was 2.00 ± 0.33 fmol/cell (SD, n=53). The distribution was highly asymmetric with a sharp cut-off at 1.6 and a tail extending up to 2.9 fmol/cell as illustrated in the right-hand histogram in Figure 2A of our paper . The mean with endogenous Mg only was 1.37 ± 0.23 fmol/cell, with a distribution of almost identical shape to that of the whole cell ATP due to the fact that the ratio (defined as ATP Ratio and shown in Figure 2B our paper) has almost the same value 0.686 ± 0.032 for all the controls. The ATP concentrations given in Figure 1 of the Maianski et al paper  and confirmed in Figure 4 of van Raam et al  lie between our results with and without added Mg. These differences in baseline whole cell ATP may simply relate to differing Mg concentration or other methodological differences in the test procedures.
In our profile, we have used the ATP Ratio as an indication of the Mg status of the CFS patients. We found that about 70% of the patients were deficient in Mg as compared with the controls. Also, 87% were below the minimum value of the controls in the ATP with only endogenous Mg, ATPend as shown below in Fig 1. In spite of this, the value of ATPend was not a strong indicator of CFS Ability with a correlation coefficient of only r = 0.086. It is as if a low ATPend is a prerequisite for CFS but does not determine the severity of the illness. A more likely explanation is that the normal vigorous motility of the neutrophils is suppressed such that they are only just alive with about ½ of the ATPend of the controls.
Fig 1. Plot of ATPend = ATP x (ATP Ratio) vs CFS Ability
We did not compare baseline whole cell ATP levels in neutrophils and PBMCs. It is clear from van Raam et al  that although their ATP levels are similar to ours, there are markedly differing effects of some known inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. As a result, Vermeulen et al  understandably criticize our use of neutrophils to explore ATP function in CFS patients. It is appropriate that we should proceed with further studies comparing neutrophils with PBMCs and we are doing so. Until such results are available, we wish to explain further aspects of the work already done and the tests we have used.
Inhibition study and ADP to ATP re-conversion
Following the measurement of the whole cell ATP, we used sodium azide to inhibit ATP production prior to a two-stage re-measurement of ATP. The azide ion is an inhibitor of cytochrome c oxidase, a component of Complex IV in the mitochondrial respiratory electron transfer chain. It is in the initial step that our results differ from those of Maianski et al . Under the conditions in which we did the test, we saw a rapid (in less than 3 minutes) fall in measured ATP, usually to just a few percent (7.5 ± 3.4 % for the controls) of the starting value. After removal of the inhibitor, in our control group we saw the total ATP levels return to between 60% and 90% of their original values as shown in the right-hand histogram in Figure 2C of our paper . Note also the strong negative feedback correlation between the degree of recovery and ATP concentration for the control group, shown in the upper right-hand corner of Figure 3B of our paper . These results appear to be inconsistent with the findings shown in Figure 1 of Maianski et al . However, they measured after 6 hours with and without inhibitor and also there may have been some compensatory process involved.
For the 38% of the patients who had similar recoveries to the controls, the degree of recovery was independent of CFS Ability, while for the other group (62% of the patients) with recoveries below 60% (and as low as less than 10%) there was a strong correlation with CFS Ability, as shown in Figure 2C of our paper  and in Fig 2 below. We attribute these low recovery values to an inability of the mitochondria to reliably reconvert ADP to ATP.
Fig 2. Plot of Ox Phos v Ability for patients and controls, age 18-65. The patients divide into 2 groups, one above and one below the normal minimum line. For the former group Ox Phos appears to be independent of CFS Ability while for the latter group there is a strong correlation with Ability. The trend line (+) averages over these 2 groups. In contrast, Vermeulen et al  conclude that mitochondrial ATP production shows no defect.
In order to make a comparison of the two studies we will have to ignore the fact that in our study the values of the Ox Phos parameter for the patients definitely fall into two groups, and we just take the average of all Ox Phos parameter values. However we do this for each value of CFS Ability. Also, for CFS Ability = 6 and 7 there are only 3 patients in each so we average the 6 patients and assign them CFS Ability = 6.5. Vermeulen et al  make 4 measurements of ATP synthesis (using methods developed to measure the activity of individual protein complexes in the mitochondrial electron transfer chain [5, 7]) and 1 of CK (creatine kinase) in plasma for CPET1 and CPET2 and for patients and for controls. The only convenient way to compare the two studies is to compare ratios of the mean value of each parameter for patients with the corresponding mean for the controls, <patients>/<controls>. Because we are just comparing mean values we can use the standard error of the mean (SEM) for each mean value rather than the larger standard deviation (SD). The results are shown in Fig 3.
In Fig 3A the Ox Phos ratios for the ‘moderate’ patients show only a slight decrease from unity while there is a strong decrease for the more severely ill patients. This shows that mitochondrial ADP-ATP recycling does occur in mitochondria of neutrophils and is strongly correlated with CFS illness severity. As mentioned previously, it is unlikely that any of the patients in the Vermeulen et al cohort were comparable with the ‘severe’ and ‘very severe’ patients so we show as red dotted lines the mean ± 1 SEM of the ‘moderate group. Average Ox Phos ratio of ‘moderate’ = 0.851 ± 0.065 (SEM, n=21).
Fig 3. Comparison of A. Ox Phos data in neutrophils  with B. ATP synthesis data in PBMC and CK in plasma . The labels pro and U CS refer to the ATP synthesis rate expressed as nmol/0.5 h. per mg protein or per U citrate synthase.
In Fig 3B the Complex I and II ratios are all less than unity but the errors are so large that they are also consistent with no decrease from unity. However, they are also consistent with the decreases of the ‘moderate’ group of patients. The red dotted lines indicate the average over all Complex I and II ATP synthesis values (± 1 SEM), and the blue dotted lines the average and ± 1 SEM of the CK values. Average ratio of ATP synthesis rates = 0.905 ± 0.062.
This number overlaps the Ox Phos number and we conclude that the ATP synthesis data cannot support the statement that mitochondrial ATP production shows no defect. The Ox Phos data show that decreased oxidative phosphorylation is not a major factor for ‘moderate’ patients, but becomes very important for the more severely disabled patients.
The third part of our ATP profile test explored the functionality of the translocator protein (TL or ANT for adenine nucleotide transporter), the electrogenic antiport which transports ADP into mitochondria for recycling. It also transports the ATP synthesized by recycling back into the cytosol where it is used.
ADP – ATP translocator (TL) study
Neutrophils contain fewer mitochondria than PBMCs but there are sufficient for study purposes. It is clear from van Raam et al  that we may not be studying the whole respiratory chain but rather the reconversion of ADP to ATP by some of the complexes. Indeed, this was what we wanted to study although we fully accept that the use of mitochondria from PBMCs rather than neutrophils may have proved a better option.
We separated mitochondria from neutrophils and made 3 aliquots of the separated mitochondria. The first was used to measure ATP within the mitochondria. The second aliquot was provided with excess ADP and the third aliquot deprived of ADP. The exact analysis conditions were decided experimentally and designed to maximize the production of mitochondrial ATP from ADP (parameter TL OUT), and the provision of ATP to the external artificial cytoplasm (parameter TL IN). In this way we explored the efficiency of ADP-ATP translocator (TL) sites in the mitochondrial inner membrane.
In our control group the baseline mitochondrial ATP increase was greater than 35% in the TL OUT part of the test with excess ADP present, while 60% of the CFS patients failed to exceed this minimum production of ATP. In the TL IN part of the test where access to ADP was restricted, the mitochondrial ATP decrease was between 50 and 75% for the control group. For 30/61 (or 50%) of the patients the decrease in the mitochondrial ATP was less than for the controls indicating a blocking of ATP transfer to the artificial cytosol. Both of these parameters show strong correlation with CFS Ability. The results are summarized in Fig 4 where we show the product (TL OUT) x (TL IN) as a function of CFS Ability. Note the strong correlation with r = 0.683.
One of us (JMH) has proceeded with further studies of TL function and has found chemical blocking in such cases. The results of molecular level fluorescence microscopy and the identification of the blocking agents by Micro Raman Spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy will be the subject of a further paper.
Our study  compared ATP-related parameters in CFS patients and in a similar number of controls. We have found that neutrophils are suitable for such a study and that they reflect the severity of CFS and can provide insight into appropriate therapeutic strategies.
In retrospect, we can see that this work using neutrophils should have been paralleled by similar studies using PBMCs and we have already begun that task. In the interim, we commend the results of our paper as a significant contribution to understanding the energy depletion in CFS patients. The laboratory findings closely paralleled the functional ability of the patients. This in no way belittles the contribution made by Vermeulen et al  who conclude that transport capacity of oxygen is limited in CFS patients. We wish to see both of these avenues of investigation explored more fully.
Fig 4. Plot of the product (TL OUT x (TL IN) as a function of CFS Ability.References
1. Vermeulen R, Kurk R, Visser F, Sluiter W, Scholte H: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome performed worse than controls in a controlled repeated exercise study despite a normal oxidative phosphorylation capacity. Journal of Translational Medicine
2. Myhill S, Booth NE, McLaren-Howard J: Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
3. Bell DS: The Doctor’s Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
New York: Da Capo Press; 1994.
4. Maianski NA, Geissler J, Srinivasula SM, Alnemri ES, Roos D, Kuijpers TW: Functional characterization of mitochondria in neutrophils: a role restricted to apoptosis. Cell Death and Differentiation
5. van Raam BJ, Sluiter W, de Wit E, Roos D, Verhoeven AJ, Kuijpers TW: Mitochondrial Membrane Potential in Human Neutrophils Is Maintained by Complex III Activity in the Absence of Supercomplex Organisation. PLoS ONE
6. Fukuda K, Straus SE, Hickie I, Sharpe MC, Dobbins JG, Komaroff A: The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. Annals of Internal Medicine
7. Barrientos A: In vivo and in organello assessment of OXPHOS activities. Methods
_______________Dr. David Bell graduated from Harvard College in 1967 with an AB degree in English literature followed by Boston University with an MD degree in 1971. Post doctoral training in pediatrics was completed in 1976 with subspecialty training in Pediatric Behavior and Developmental Disorders. In 1978 he began work at the University of Rochester but soon began a private practice in the town of Lyndonville, New York.In 1985 nearly 220 persons became ill with an illness subsequently called chronic fatigue syndrome in the communities surrounding Lyndonville, New York. This illness cluster began a study of the illness which continues today. Dr. Bell is the author or co-author of numerous scientific papers on CFS, and, in 2003 was named Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of the Department of Health and Human Services. Publications include A Disease of A Thousand Names (1988) and The Doctor’s Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (1990).Dr. Bell has recently retried from general medicine and lives with his wife, Nancy, a family nurse practitioner, in Lyndonville. Roughly half of the patients seen in his former medical practice suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, orthostatic intolerance, and/or myalgic encephalomyelitis. In addition to serving patients through his practice, Dr. Bell has been active in research and education of professionals and patients alike. He has served on many boards and panels, including the Board of Directors of the CFIDS Association of America from 1992-1997.Share and Enjoy
Here's some news about cell phones and cancer which even the mainstream media has found impossible to ignore. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), has declared after a review of the research that cell phones are possible cancer-causing agents. The expert panel ruled that there was some evidence that cell phone use was linked to two types of tumors—brain tumors (gliomas) and acoustic neuromas.
Some scientists say the IARC classification is still not strong enough, and that cell phone radiation should have been classified as a "Probable Human Carcinogen" based on the existing science, but evidently there were not enough studies to classify it more strongly at this time.
Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch in the U.K. says,
"The existing science is very clear there is risk of cancer from cell phone use. The warning might have been 2A if there were a larger number of animal studies showing this, or if there were a larger number of up-to-date human studies. It's important to recognize the Interphone study on which the classification to a large extent relied was completed in 2004, and current studies reflecting usage patterns today would be far more damning, possibly earning a Class 1 "Human Carcinogen."
However, according to Electromagnetic Health:
"Nonetheless, the IARC opinion is a breath of fresh air to many, and restores some integrity to a badly tarnished IARC ... The IARC classification of cell phones as a 'possible human carcinogen' will now travel throughout the world, influencing governments far and wide, for the 1st time providing an official scientific basis on which governments, schools and parents can legitimately call for precautionary behavior regarding these radiation-emitting devices."
Professor Dariusz Leszczynski, of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, explains why this should probably be considered big news:
"... for the first time a very prominent evaluation report states it so openly and clearly: RF-EMF is possibly carcinogenic to humans. One has to remember that IARC monographs are considered as 'gold standard' in evaluation of carcinogenicity of physical and chemical agents. If IARC says it so clearly then there must be sufficient scientific reason for it, or IARC would not put its reputation behind such claim."
WHO's Group 2 Classification of Cancer Risk
"This category includes agents for which, at one extreme, the degree of evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is almost sufficient, as well as those for which, at the other extreme, there are no human data but for which there is evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Agents are assigned to either Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) or Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) on the basis of epidemiological and experimental evidence of carcinogenicity and mechanistic and other relevant data.
The terms probably carcinogenic and possibly carcinogenic have no quantitative significance and are used simply as descriptors of different levels of evidence of human carcinogenicity, with probably carcinogenic signifying a higher level of evidence than possibly carcinogenic."
So as you can see, while some journalists and scientists are now downplaying the IARC decision, saying the IARC classification of cell phones as possibly carcinogenic does not mean cell phones cause cancer, and even preposterously claiming that there is no evidence of this at all, there is no uncertainty that IARC, a highly respected scientific body, is now clearly saying there is evidence of carcinogenicity, otherwise they would not have classified in category 2B.
See Citizens for Health commentary on this, including comments on the 2B classification by 20+ year veteran of the IARC, Dr. Annie J. Sasco of Bordeaux Segalen University, France
Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org says,
"We expect to see continued spin from all directions, attempting to confuse the public and raise doubt, for some time to come. Thus it is especially important citizens be able to spot the misinformation and recognize there is an extraordinary propaganda machine in motion. We expect this will get LOUDER until industry is one day forced to cry 'Uncle" under the expected landslide pressure lawsuits and from governments."
Already, three senior members of Congress are calling on the General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct a "thorough review" of the science and "adequacy" of current FCC exposure guidelines. These include Representatives Ed Markey (MA), Henry Waxman (CA) and Anna Eshoo (CA). And Reuters reports the Supreme Court is considering the fate of existing cell phone safety litigation in light of the WHO classification.
The IARC decision came only days after the Council of Europe, elders from 47 European countries, has called for a dramatic reduction in EMF exposure to humans from call phones and wireless technologies.
It is important to realize, however, that cell phones may not all be the same. Although all cell phones emit radiation, CDMA cell phones, such as those used by Sprint and Verizon, do not pulse their signals like the GSM phones used by AT&T and T-Mobile.
According to Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, "GSM phones emit about 28 times more radiation on average compared to CDMA phones according to one published study." Dr. Moskowitz recommends switching to a CDMA carrier if you want to reduce your radiation exposure.
Magda Havas, PhD of Trent University, Canada, agrees pulsed radiation is more dangerous:
"Pulsed radiation is much more harmful and the true intensity is not provided as it is "averaged" during a period of time (30 minutes for public exposure in US). The average of the pulse (maximum reading) and the minimum reading
gives a false low reading. Engineers like to measure averages but living organisms react to extremes so these average readings under estimate the potential for harm if the radiation is pulsed."
Electromagnetic Health May 31, 2011
Gizmodo May 31, 2011
The New York Times May 31, 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This is truly a groundbreaking moment; one that I and other safety advocates have worked toward for over a decade. I personally began warning my readers about the potential health hazards of cell phones and the need to adhere to the precautionary principle in the late 1990's. So those of you who have been long-time readers of this newsletter, you've had more than 10 years to consider the evidence and implement safety precautions for yourself and your family.
Cell Phone Radiation Declared "Possible Carcinogen"
On May 21, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a committee of 27 scientists from 14 different countries working on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation is a "possible carcinogen" and classified it into the 2B category. This is the same category as the pesticide DDT, lead, gasoline engine exhaust, burning coal and dry cleaning chemicals, just to name a few.
The group did not perform any new research; rather the decision is based on a review of the previously published evidence, including the Interphone study results published so far (about 50% have still not been released) and the Hardell studies. This is the same evidence that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), among others, have previously waved aside; calling it "reassuring," and claiming it showed "no evidence" of harm.
Finally, this international committee of experts has now declared otherwise. Only days before the meeting commenced, a key 'expert', Dr. Anders Albom of the Karolinska Institute, was let go from the expert group after it was revealed he had failed to disclose a potential telecom industry conflict on his WHO conflict-of-interest statement. Anders Albom and others long suspected of ties to the telecom industry had recently been featured in the spoof poster created by activists below, "The Science of the Lambs".
Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, opened the IARC meeting on carcinogenicity of RF calling for scientists to understand the gravity of the upcoming decision for society.
Cell Phones—A Worldwide Health Hazard
As you probably know, over five billion people worldwide, about 80 percent of the world's population, now has a cell phone. This fact alone makes this an extremely important issue as it affects the vast majority of people on Earth—not to mention the detrimental impact it may have on insects, such as bees, and other animals. Many Third World countries have actually circumvented the infrastructure of landlines entirely, and have gone straight to using cell phones.
It's important to realize that while this type of radiation exposure may not pose an immediate short-termthreat to your health, as it is not an ionizing type of radiation (like x-rays) that can break chemical bonds and directly damage DNA, cell phones emit a radio frequency field in the microwave band that interacts with your own bio signaling system, which can over time cause a variety of health problems and raise your risk of cancer. Cancers associated with this radiation include brain tumors (gliomas), acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, salivary gland tumors, eye cancers, testiculal cancers and leukemia.
And, importantly, in some people, acute symptoms from cell phone radiation can also be debilitating, greatly impairing cognitive function, even for long periods after cell phone use. And while DNA is not directly impacted, its repair processes are impacted, the end result being damaged and malfunctioning DNA, with unknown consequences for future generations.
Don't be misled by those saying there is not DNA damage just because the power is not hot enough to separate electrons from atoms. DNA has been shown to be exquisitely sensitive to these fields, according to research by Martin Blank, PhD of Columbia University and others. In fact, it is "exquisitely sensitive" to EMFs, Blank says, across the entire spectrum of frequencies (i.e. from the low frequency ELFs, such as from electricity, to the higher frequency radiofrequency and microwaves from cell phones and WiFI, due to DNA's 'coil of coil structure'.
In 2008, the year for which we have the most recent statistics, there were 237,913 new cases of brain cancers and about two-thirds of these were gliomas.
The WHO scientific committee, relying on much research from the Swedish Hardell group and IARC's own 13-country Interphone data, found that cell phone radiation exposure increased the risk of this type of cancer by as much as 40 percent. However, other experts who have reviewed the evidence believe it may be far worse than that, warning that it may actually double your risk of developing brain cancer.
Wireless Industry Grasping for Straws
Needless to say, the wireless industry is now scrambling to counteract the bad press. John Walls, vice president for public affairs for The Wireless Association (CTIA) was quoted in the New York Times, stating:
"This IARC classification does not mean cell phones cause cancer.''
He also noted that both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have evaluated the evidence, concluding that cell phone radiation does not pose a health threat.
Well, the last time I checked, the FDA couldn't even distinguish between the health effects of raw- versus pasteurized milk laced with genetically modified growth hormones, so I'm not so sure they're qualified to evaluate something as complex as the health effects of non-ionizing radiation… And the FCC, while it regulates the media industry, including telecommunications services, it is also politically tied to those industries. At least one of the current commissioners (who make the decisions) is a former telecommunications industry lobbyist.
Additionally, as clearly stated on the FCC's website, the FCC's "primary jurisdiction does not lie in the health and safety area, and it must rely on other agencies and organizations for guidance in these matters." Hence, it stands to reason that a "thumbs up" from the FCC is not all it's cracked up to be.
In all likelihood they too may eventually be forced to recognize the IARC's classification of cell phone radiation as "possibly carcinogenic, and change exposure guidelines for industry for microwave radiation from wireless technologies so that the standards are based on what we know is happening biologically, not simply on assumptions of physicists. An excellent write-up on the FDA and FCC conflicts and the failure of our government on this was published on ElectromagneticHealth.org last summer:
"If the FCC says it relies on the safety expertise of the FDA, and states it considered opinions from the FDA in setting its safety guidelines, but the FDA officially does not review the safety of radiation-emitting consumer products such as cell phones and PDAs before they can be sold, as it does with new drugs or medical devices, then where is the responsibility for assuring safety actually domiciled?"
The New York Times also quotes Dr. Meir Stampfer, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and a paid adviser for the cell phone industry:
"It's a very thoughtful group, but the important thing is putting it into the perspective of what 'possible' means, and the likelihood that this is really something to be concerned about. The evidence doesn't support that. Comparing this to going out in the sun or any number of normal everyday activities that we're not really concerned about, I would put cell phones in the lower part of that category.''
His outdated knowledge about the "danger" of sun exposure notwithstanding, I cannot help but think that this is little more than a grasping for straws, supporting his telecom client's interests.
John Maris, MD of Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, has also recently made a statement in which he said, several times, "there is nothing at all to be worried about".
Misinterpreting the intent of the 2B classification of cell phone radiation as a potential carcinogen, Maris said
"The World Health Organization released a cautionary statement to say that we just need more information. That does not mean that cell phones cause cancer."
However, if we simply needed 'more information', cell phone radiation would not have been classified as a possible carcinogen by this esteemed body. And they made this decision before publishing the remaining almost 50 percent of the Interphone study, including much of the results from studies on tumors closest to where the cell phone us held against the head.
Cell phone radiation has the potential to harm your health, just like DDT or lead, which is what experts in the field have been saying for years. That doesn't mean that every person exposed to those substances will get cancer.
But it raises your overall risk, depending on a number of other factors, such as your general state of health, which in part is dependent on exposure to other toxins through food, air, and water, just to name a few. And I believe it's important to remember that when we're talking about toxins in general, it's your accumulated toxic load that matters most. So in that sense, heavy users of cell phones and other wireless gadgets are at exponentially increased risk, and should at the very least be warned so that they can make educated decisions about their self-imposed level of exposure.
Why You Should Take Notice of the IARC's Conclusion
Darius Leszczynski, an electromagnetic field (EMF) scientist with the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, points out in a recent blog post that one of the factors that lend extra weight to the IARC's decision is that of the 27 working group members (Three of the 30 IARC members did not participate in the final voting process. One had previously been removed from the group due to a previously undisclosed potential conflict of interest.), a clear and overwhelming majority voted for the 2B classification. It was not a decision fraught with controversy and disagreement.
"This should be recognized as a strong mandate, for the IARC and the WHO, to classify RF-EMF (including mobile phone radiation) as 2B agent – possibly carcinogenic to humans," Leszczynski writes.
… One has to remember that IARC monographs are considered as "gold standard" in evaluation of carcinogenicity of physical and chemical agents. If IARC says it so clearly then there must be sufficient scientific reason for it, or IARC would not put its reputation behind such claim."
An excellent review of the dynamics surrounding the IARC decision, including the industry supporting views of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Peter Inskip, who walked out of the meeting before the vote, can be found on Microwave News.
What Does this Mean Long-Term?
Some nations have already adopted the precautionary principle, and have previously issued precautionary advice to mobile phone users. Now that cell phone radiation has been classified as a "possible carcinogen," these messages can be strengthened in a meaningful way to reach more people, across the world.
Additionally, we're still in the infancy of EMF science as it relates to understanding the mechanism of the human health effects. One of the most beneficial effects this classification can have is to increase support for more research, as only when the mechanisms of action are better understood can causation be proven.
Research funds have begun to dry up in recent years, but that doesn't mean we don't need more research. It just means that those holding the purse strings thought it wasn't worth looking into further since the potential for health hazards seemed remote, based on conventional thinking about the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation, or because the findings would be detrimental to the cell phone industry.
Government officials rely on the wireless industry for financial support, and the health of our entire economy is deeply intertwined at this point with telecom industry interests.
Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch in the U.K. makes the important point that we are basing our insight, even in the IARC evaluation, on research conducted many, many years ago, and usage patterns have changed. He says that a review of the incidence of brain tumors conducted in the U.K. show that in fact the incidence rates for malignant temporal and frontal lobe tumors IS in fact rising.
"The graph below, created from research by de Vocht et al shows a rise in brain tumors in the regions of the brain closest to where you hold a cell phone. Tumors in other areas of the brain are actually decreasing."
This is an extremely important finding says Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org, as other countries have not separated out their overall brain tumor incidence data by type and location of tumor so insights like this, that brain tumors are actually on the rise, can be gleaned.
If we fail to continue researching the effects of this type of radiation, we throw away the opportunity to perhaps alter the technology in such a way that it significantly reduces the health impacts. I believe doing nothing is not an option at present, and hopefully the IARC's decision will help usher in greater research and safer technologies.
Rees says greater transparency in research funding is also urgently needed:
"Universities must be upfront and disclose the extent of their funding from telecom industry sources. This way, when statements downplaying the known cancer risks are made by academics, any telecom industry potential influence can be better assessed and clearer to the public."
Three Important Factors to Remember that May Reduce Health Risks
The major take-home fact that everyone needs to be concerned about is to protect your children, as they're clearly the most vulnerable. This includes unborn babies as well, so pregnant women may want to take extra precautions.
Increasing numbers of children are now using cell phones at an ever younger age, and it's important to realize that this exponentially increases their risk of cancer and any other wireless radiation-related health problems over their lifetime. According to professor Lennart Hardell of Sweden, those who begin using cell phones heavily as teenagers have 4 to 5 times more brain cancer as young adults!
So I believe you really need to set limits, if you're a parent.
How to Pick the Phone Carrier with the Lowest EMF
Please remember, you cannot determine safety by the SAR (specific absorption rate) on your phone. Buying a low SAR phone is a false sense of security, because the SAR rating has nothing to do with the non-ionizing radiation emitted and only is gauge of the intensity of the heating effect, and simply comparing one phone to another. One thing you can do, which hardly anyone is discussing, is to pick your cell phone carrier appropriately. There are two primary technologies used to distribute cell phone signals in the U.S.:
As it turns out, GSM is far more dangerous because it emits 28 times more radiation than CDMA phones. In the United States, there are two primary CDMA networks: Verizon and Sprint. Most of the others use GSM, but you need to check with your specific carrier to confirm.
Common Sense Tips to Lower Your Cell Phone Risks
While the IARC panel, being a science not policy organization, did not make many specific recommendations to consumers, IARC Director Christopher Wild did take it upon himself to publically state:
"Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting."
And, Jonathan Samet, leader of the IARC RF-Carcinogenicity working group, of University of Southern California, has said:
"The 2B designation was not limited to cell phones. It has "broad applicability" to all sources of RF radiation" according to Microwave News, something the general news media has not yet zeroed in on.
Keep in mind that completely eliminating exposure is close to impossible. Even if you don't use a cell phone and your home is wireless-free, you can be exposed to microwave radiation from your neighbor's wireless devices or while visiting "hot spots" or traveling near cell phone towers. That said, there's still plenty you can do to minimize your exposure and help safeguard your children's health:
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
- Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones, and still developing immune and neurological systems.
- Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
Leave an outgoing message on your phone stating your cell phone policy so others know not to call you on it except in emergencies.
- Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
- Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, it may not be as damaging to your health.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off or disconnect your base station every night before you go to bed. Levels of microwave radiation from portable phones can be extraordinarily high, according to Camilla Rees.
"Portable phone radiation can be as high or higher than a wireless router, though most people would have no idea that this common device at their bedside could be harmful".
You can find RF meters at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is labeled DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
We Can WIN this Battle
- Limit Your Cell Phone Use to Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
- Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
- Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer than Another.There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone, and do not rely on the SAR value to evaluate the safety of your phone. Always seek CDMA carriers over GSM as they have far lower radiation in their signaling technology. And remember, eliminating cell phone use, or greatly lowering cell phone use from phones of all kinds, is where true prevention begins.
- Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
- Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
- Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain. Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.
The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
This latest development reminds me of the statements made by two famous men: Gandhi, and Arthur Schopenhauer, about the stages all truths must go through before being fully integrated into any society:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
All truth passes through three stages.
We are now entering into the third phase described by Schopenhauer:
- First, it is ridiculed.
- Second, it is violently opposed.
- Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
This is the typical transition, and it's not just related to health; it's really related to any principle of truth because truth is something that you really can't suppress for very long. It will eventually surface, and it's exactly what we're now seeing in so many areas.
For example, I was one of the first public figures to recommend and encourage the use of vitamin D because of all of its amazing health benefits, and for years I've sought to dispel the beliefs of many dermatologists and expert medical groups that the sun is dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth as long as you have reasonable and rational exposure to it. This is one major area where we've already made a huge impact.
Here are four more health challenges that are currently being violently opposed under the current paradigm:
I address these four issues in the video above, so if you haven't done so already, please listen to it, or read through the transcript.
- Water fluoridation
- Genetically modified (GM) food
- Mercury amalgams
Now that we've established safer ways of using your cell phone, I just want to emphasize how excited and delighted I am about this recent announcement from the IARC because it really is a vindication of much of the work that I've been doing. Over the years, I've posted more than 200 articles about this topic.
To learn more, please see my dedicated EMF site.
I highly recommend setting aside an hour to listen to ElectromagneticHealth.org founder Camilla Rees' interview with Karl Maret, MD. With an extensive background in medicine, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering, Dr. Maret is uniquely qualified to speak on the topic of electromagnetic fields, and he shares some of the most compelling arguments to date on why you must use extreme caution when it comes to cell phones, cordless phones, smart meters and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
You can also listen to an important 20-minute speech by Martin Blank, PhD, who spoke at the November 18, 2010 Commonwealth Club of California program, "The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields," co-sponsored by ElectromagneticHealth.org. Dr. Blank speaks with deep experience and commanding authority on the impact on cells and DNA from electromagnetic fields, and explains why your DNA is especially vulnerable to electromagnetic fields of all kinds.
An "Elephant in the Room"?
On a final note, Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org cautions that while the IARC decision was a true watershed event, especially given IARC's own 13-country Interphone study downplayed brain tumor risk when published last May, with news headlines heralding "No Risk Found", she says:
"This first IARC classification is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a big elephant in the room most people are not seeing.
Microwave radiation emitted by cell phones is the same kind of radiation emitted by other wireless technologies, such as WiFi routers, portable phones, wireless baby monitors and cell towers.
The distinction is that the cell phone has more power at the head, and they operate at different frequencies. But given society is blanketing itself in this radiation at a range of frequencies, and the radiation is known to cause DNA damage, cancer, impaired fertility, cognitive impairment, such as memory changes, interference with learning and wildlife and ecosystem effects, we feel it is urgent that federal research funding be immediately allocated to examining this issue in the broader sense, far beyond the cell phone and brain tumor issue"
Fertility and Other Concerns
Fertility impacts from wireless radiation is one of the issues that is of greatest concern, given the number of people exposed to wireless technologies. Last Fall Rees published a "Letter to Parents on Fertility and Other Risks to Children" discussing these concerns that every parents will want to read.
And this month, Holistic Primary Care, a large circulation magazine for physicians and health practitioners, has published a piece on fertility by Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch entitled "Male Infertility Linked to Cell Phone EMF Exposure" Philips reviews the damage to sperm morphology and motility, fertility, as well as DNA and testicular changes . All men, or parents of a male child, will want to understand the fertility damage now occurring and take steps to create EMF-free environments.
Beyond fertility impairment, Rees says there is grave concern among scientists, such as Dr. Blank, about EMF's impact on our genetic material:
"If we do not look at this subject now, with significant federal resources, the damage occurring to the human species, as well as to animals and nature, may not be reversible. It is important public health officials understand the consequences of their inaction, or slow action, on this urgent public health issue".
Joel Moskowitz, PhD of UC Berkeley and others, as well, have proposed a $1 per year surcharge on cell phones to fund a $300 million federal research fund immediately.
Rees says an immediate step schools should take is to swap out wireless networks and exchange them with hard-wired connections.
"This will lessen long-term damage to our children as well prevent the short-term cognitive difficultiess occurring that impair learning. This investment in our children's health is essential".
Rees, who is founder of ElectromagneticHealth.org is also founder of Campaign for Radiation Free Schools (Facebook).
"What I don't understand", Rees says, "is how a trillion dollar industry could have emerged without our government expressing concern about human exposure to microwave radiation, when we have known for over a half century that microwaves are biologically active. There has been a terrible failure of government here. I hope we can learn from this.
Congress needs to place public safety above commercial interests. We have seen health overlooked in so many areas of society, for example in government support of Big Pharma, Big Telccom, Big Agra, etc.,at the expense of public health, and it is our responsibility as citizens to stand up and let our representatives in Congress understand what we value, and actively vote those representatives in government out of office if they are not concerned with our values and responding to serious public health issues."
Readers can sign the EMF Petition to Congress here
Latest EMF News
European Leaders Call for Ban of Cell Phones and WiFi in Schools
Cell Phones Raise Children's Risk of Brain Cancer 500 Percent
WPI has made it through the first round - now they have an excellent chance to win the Pacific Regional top prize, as well as a chance to win the overall top prize of 1/4 million. All you need is a FB account to vote. Vote daily and spread the word! WPI wants to use the money to start clinical trials to benefit ME/CFS patients everywhere. Read more about WPI here.
This movie will be premiering in the fall of 2011, and highlights the experience of those severely ill with ME/CFS and their caregivers.
A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the cell phones and wireless internet connections have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and decided that immediate action was required to protect children. They ruled that the technologies pose a health risk and should be banned from schools.
The committee report argued that it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials failed to recognize the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead.
According to the Telegraph:
“The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology ... The Council of Europe ... is highly influential in policy-making and has often seen its decisions enacted through conventions and treaties.”
The Telegraph May 14, 2011
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly May 6, 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
The powerful Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has echoed the warning I have been making for years now, that children should be protected from cell phones and "one must respect the precautionary principle" in regard to cell phones and other wireless technologies.
In a new report, they conclude that evidence is strong enough to warrant immediate action to protect children and others from the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices:
"… non-ionizing frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals, as well as the human body when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.One must respect the precautionary principle and revise the current threshold values; waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco."
Experts Advise a Cell Phone Ban in SchoolsThe European Council has taken the exemplary step of recommending that mobile phones and wireless networks be banned in classrooms and schools. They note, correctly, that young people and children are most vulnerable to emissions of electromagnetic fields and suggest the following:
If you are not yet aware of the increased risks to children from cell phones, I suggest viewing this graphic from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, which is based on research by Oh Ghandi, PhD at the University of Utah. It shows quite clearly that electromagnetic fields are likely to penetrate the brain far more deeply for children than adults. In fact, due to their thinner skulls, smaller brains and softer brain tissue, children are FAR more susceptible to damage from cell phone use than adults.
- " … develop within different ministries (education, environment and health) targeted information campaigns aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves;
- " …ban all mobile phones, DECT phones or WiFi or WLAN systems from classrooms and schools, as advocated by some regional authorities, medical associations and civil society organizations"
Despite this, some schools in the United States have even allowed the installation of cell phone towers directly on school grounds! They are accepting large amounts of money from cell phone companies to do this, helping their budgets, but unfortunately locking them into long-term contracts they will not be able to break once they realize there are serious health hazards.
Cell phones have been widely used for only about a decade, so we haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of the REAL effects of this radiation exposure. If cell phone popularity continues at its current rate—or increases, which is likely—we could be headed for a brain cancer epidemic the likes of which the world has never seen.
Of course, not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and not every cell phone user will develop brain cancer or suffer neurological damage. There are many variables that contribute to your susceptibility.
But why risk it?
Why gamble with your life or the life of your child?
European Leaders Call for Immediate Precautionary Approach to Cell PhonesYou may be surprised to learn that several countries including France, Germany and India have already issued recommendations to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields, including those from cell phones and other wireless technologies.
This includes Toronto's Department of Public Health, which has advised teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones to avoid potential health risks.
What these countries are doing is applying the precautionary principle, and taking action now to protect their population from a potentially devastating health tragedy. This is precisely the advice given in the new European report, which calls for the 47 member states of the Council of Europe to:
Last year, the U.S. President's Cancer Panel, which pointed to cell phones and other wireless technologies as potential causes of cancer, similarly reported "when credible evidence exists that there may be a hazard, a precautionary approach should be adopted and alternatives should be sought to remove the potential hazard and still achieve the same social benefit."
- "Take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumors"
- "Put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age"
- "Pay particular attention to "electrosensitive" persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network"
- "Raise awareness on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby, and recommend the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves"
- "Set preventive thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves in all indoor areas, in accordance with the precautionary principle, not exceeding 0.6 volts per metre, and in the medium term to reduce it to 0.2 volts per metre"
In the case of cell phones and wireless technologies, there is more than credible evidence that a hazard exists, and immediate steps should be taken to prevent further exposure.
It's Still Too Soon to See the Damage …One of the most important points made by the European Council report, which most mainstream studies attempt to downplay or completely ignore, is the fact that the latency period for brain tumors from cell phone use may be three to four decades.
As the report noted, cell phone use is still a new phenomenon, so its true impact has yet to be seen:
"Obviously, in evolutionary terms, living or working in artificial electromagnetic extremely low frequency and high frequency fields, on top of the electromagnetic fields naturally occurring in the environment, is still a relatively new experience for human beings, fauna and flora.It goes back no further than fifty years or so, when intensive industrial and domestic exposure began with radars, radio waves and televisions and electromagnetic fields generated by high-voltage lines and household electrical appliances.It was only from the 1990s onwards that the new telephony and wireless mobile communication technologies began to boom ever faster Europe-wide and even worldwide thanks to increasingly diverse and sophisticated applications: mobile telephones, cordless telephones, WiFi, WLAN (wireless local area network), etc."
So many current studies showing "no risk" from cell phone use are flawed because they're focused on the short term -- too short to predict the real heath outcome for heavy users who start using the technology at an early age.
For example, Devra Davis, PhD, of the Environmental Health Trust, has also pointed out the danger of believing the media spin of a European study published in 2009 that proclaimed cell phones safe.
In that study, researchers analyzed annual incidence rates of two types of brain tumors -- glioma and meningioma -- among adults aged 20 to 79 from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1974 to 2003. But they did NOT tie these trends in any way to actual patterns of use of cell phones!
"In Sweden, Norway and Finland, about half of all persons had cell phones in 2000," Davis said. "It would be unreasonable to expect to see any general population effect from such phone use in such a short period of time. Scientists know that brain cancer can take a decade or longer to develop in adults."
It has taken almost a century for smoking to morph from a popular, seemingly sophisticated and "harmless" practice into what's now regarded as a nasty habit that will lead you to an early grave. It took decades of cancer deaths for the truth to finally meet the public's eye.
In the same way the dangers of smoking were downplayed and ignored for so many years, the adverse effects of cell phone radiation are not acknowledged by the media, and therefore remain unknown to the majority of consumers.
The Risks Can No Longer be IgnoredDespite what you may have heard, the link between cell phone use and brain tumors is well substantiated and backed by more than 100 scientific studies.
In 2008, Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana, a Mayo Clinic-trained neurosurgeon with an advanced neurosurgery fellowship in cerebral vascular and tumor microsurgery, concluded:
"There is currently enough evidence and technology available to warrant industry and governments alike intaking immediate steps to reduce exposure of consumers to mobile phone-related electromagnetic radiation and to make consumers clearly aware of potential dangers and how to use this technology sensibly and safely."
Besides brain tumors, scientists have shown that radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices can:
There are now numerous peer-reviewed published studies showing harm. For a great overview of the latest research that helps explain the mechanism that causes damage to cells and DNA, please see this recent article featuring Martin Blank, PhD of Columbia University.
And for a more comprehensive summary of the science see the Electrosensitivity Primer, developed for physicians by Michael Bevington in the U.K., which documents hundreds of studies, or the legendary Ecolog Report, commissioned by T-Mobile and Deutsche Telecom MobilNet GmbH. This report offers an extensive, well-organized summary of the known biological effects from microwave radiation, as does the BioInitiave Report, much of which was later published in Pathophysiology.
Please Use These Tips to Protect Yourself and Your FamilyAll the evidence points to the fact that our current safety standards are seriously inappropriate to protect you and your family. It is beginning to be more widely accepted that our rapidly expanding wireless technologies must be properly evaluated, first of all, and the precautionary principle must be invoked when new technologies emerge.
But as it stands, governments are not going far enough to protect you, and you can't completely avoid radiation in today's wireless world. But, you can at least minimize your exposure by heeding the following advice:
Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults because of their thinner skull bones and also because they have not yet completed their child-bearing years.
Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.
Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility. (See ElectromagneticHealth.org's Letter to Parents on Fertility and Other Risks to Children from Wireless Technologies)
Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another. There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used.
If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
Use a Safe Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.
The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
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This is an informative, well-documented offering about how one mans' novel cancer treatment has tried to be suppressed because it worked, threatening Pharma and the FDA. At present he is having 50-60% of tumours disappear with his gene-targeted treatment. If patients have had radiation or chemo at dangerous levels previous to receiving his treatment, many autopsies show they die of their side effects, while their bodies are cancer-free from Burzynski's treatment. At present, he is also reporting a better relationship with the FDA.
Below article via Mercola.com
Important! The producers of this powerful film are allowing a full and FREE preview through June 13th! Please tell everyone you know to watch this film in it's entirety through June 13, 2011.
Visit the Mercola Video Library
Burzynski, the Movie is the story of a medical doctor and Ph.D biochemist named Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski who won the largest, and possibly the most convoluted and intriguing legal battle against the Food and Drug Administration in American history.
In the 1970’s, Dr. Burzynski made a remarkable discovery that threatened to change the face of cancer treatment forever. His non-toxic gene-targeted cancer medicine could have helped save millions of lives over the last two decades had his discovery not been criminally suppressed by the US government, as his therapy, called “antineoplastons,” have been shown to effectively help cure some of the most “incurable” forms of terminal cancer.
This documentary takes you through the treacherous 14-year journey Dr. Burzynski and his patients have had to endure in order to finally obtain FDA-approved clinical trials of antineoplastons.
His story is yet another testament that fact can be far stranger than fiction, as the film exposes the powerful, unscrupulous forces that work to maintain the status quo of the medical- and pharmaceutical industry at any cost—including the lives of millions of people.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski was born in the early 1940's in Poland, and was trained as both a biochemist and a physician. He's spent the last 35 years developing and successfully treating cancer patients suffering with some of the most lethal forms of cancer at his clinic in Houston, Texas.
I recently interviewed Dr. Burzynski about his cancer treatment—a gene-targeted approach using non-toxic peptides and amino acids, known as antineoplastons. Here, I will follow up with a review of his recently released documentary, Burzynski, The Movie.
It's an absolute jaw-dropper...
For anyone who has ever been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, the facts presented in this film will hit you like a rude slap in the face.
You will learn that not only did the US Federal government spend 14 years actively suppressing a cancer treatment that had a FAR greater success rate than any other treatment available, they also spent well over $60 million of US taxpayer dollars trying to put the inventor of the treatment in jail in order to steal his patents and either suppress or cash in on his discovery.
This film is an absolute MUST-SEE, as the summary I'm about to present below simply cannot do it justice. It's available for purchase at BurzynkiMovie.com, where you can view the first half-hour for free. The site also contains a large number of video clips, as well as a full transcript of the entire film, along with links to all the documentation presented.
What's so Special about Dr. Burzynski's Treatment?
The story begins back in the early 1970's when Dr. Burzynski discovered that people with cancer lacked a certain peptide, while those who were cancer free had a plentiful supply of it.
This finding eventually led him to create a medical treatment referred to as antineoplastons. The drug contains a mixture of peptides and derivatives of amino acids. These were known to act as molecular switches, but as genome research blossomed and science progressed, Dr. Burzynski discovered they also work as genetic switches, and that is why antineoplastons work so well. They're actually able to turn on cancer suppressing genes, while simultaneously turning oncogenes (cancer genes) off.
As explained in the film:
"Our bodies contain two categories of genes that allow cancer to flourish: oncogenes, and tumor suppressor genes. When someone has cancer, they have a higher level of oncogenes switched on, with a higher level tumor suppressor genes switched off.
The goal is to tell the body to both switch back on the tumor suppressor genes, and turn off as many oncogenes as possible."
While other gene targeting cancer drugs now exist, they're only capable of targeting a small number of specific cancer genes. Antineoplastons, on the other hand, targets a wide spectrum of cancer genes—about 100 of them at once. In a very simplistic way, antineoplastons are to cancer what a broad-spectrum antibiotic is to infectious disease.
Success Rates of Chemo and Radiation versus Antineoplastons
The film features several remarkable case stories of people who were successfully cured of cancer, but it's when the clinical trial data of conventional therapies versus antineoplastons are stacked against each other that the benefits of antineoplastons become really obvious:
Radiation or Chemotherapy Only
- -ME5 of 54 patients (9 percent) were cancer free at the end of treatment
- Toxic side effects
- 5 of 20 (25 percent) were cancer free at the end of treatment
- No toxic side effects
Tackling Childhood Brain Tumors
Dr. Burzynski was so confident in his antineoplastons that he even accepted the most difficult and "hopeless" cases, such as childhood brain tumors. Conventional medicine has little or nothing to offer in these cases, and the side effects can be as horrific as the disease itself, if not more. Furthermore, the best outcome conventional treatment can offer is to slow down the growth of the tumor.
Using antineoplastons, however, Dr. Burzynski has been able to successfully cure many of these otherwise hopeless cases, such as Jessica Ressel.
She was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with brainstem glioma—an incurable brain tumor. After learning that she would die no matter what toxic drugs and radiation treatments she underwent, the family decided to not put her through it. When they found Dr. Burzynski, they literally had nothing to lose...
Twelve months later—after having initially been told she had but a few months to live, and given no chance of survival at all—MRI's confirmed she was cancer-free. Her brain tumor was completely resolved. Today, Jessica is a healthy 24-year old woman, pregnant with her second child.
Even more interesting, while some of Dr. Burzynski's patients did eventually die after the five-year mark, most who did NOT undergo chemotherapy prior to getting antineoplastons have gone on to live normal, healthy lives—yet another indication that in many cases, the conventional treatments are more lethal than the disease itself.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy Drugs
Here's just a sampling of the side effects of three conventional chemotherapy drugs:
Another chemo drug, Mitotane, which is derived from DDT, is also used for pediatric patients even though no studies have ever been performed to ascertain its safety or effectiveness in children.
- Doxorubicin (nick-name: Red Death)—leukemia, heart failure, infertility, mouth sores
- Etoposide—leukemia, nerve damage, inability to fight infections
- Cisplatin—kidney damage, hearing damage, nerve damage, infertility
Dr. Burzynski's Troubles Begins...
The legal battle Dr. Burzynski found himself embroiled in over his invention is convoluted to say the least. There are many bizarre twists and turns, and I strongly urge you to watch the documentary to fully appreciate what happened.
Dr. Burzynski had tried to get the FDA to review and approve antineoplastons since 1977, to no avail. To make sure he would not get into trouble for using the experimental therapy in his practice, his legal team reviewed federal and Texas state laws, confirming that he was acting within the laws and could use antineoplastons in his own practice "to meet the immediate needs of patients," since he was a licensed physician. Particularly if no other alternatives were available to the patient. He could not engage in interstate commerce, however, so he had to restrict the use of the drug to his home state of Texas.
But word spread, and patients started traveling to his office from out of state.
Suddenly, in 1984, he found out that agents from the Texas board of medical examiners were traveling to patients across the country trying to convince them to file charges against him.
What followed next truly challenges the rational mind.
Texas Board of Medical Examiners Try to Strip Away his Medical License
In 1988, despite not breaking any laws, and having produced more evidence than was required to show that his treatment was effective and that no harm was coming to his patients from it, the Texas medical board charged him with breaking a law that didn't exist, claiming it was grounds for revoking his medical license.
They didn't have a case, but kept the charges going by continuing to file slightly amended complaints, until finally, in 1993, the case went to trial. By then, 60 of Dr. Burzynski's patients had filed a petition for the medical board to stop harassing their doctor—a petition that the board successfully eliminated from the trial by filing a motion to strike it from the record.
Testifying on Dr. Burzynski's behalf, however, was a leading expert from none other than the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Nicholas Patronas, MD, a board certified radiologist since 1973, and the founder and chief of Neurology at the NCI. Even he recognized the absurdity of the board's case, and put his own career on the line to testify.
The judge ruled in Dr. Burzynski's favor, confirming that no laws had been broken.
You'd think that would be the end of it. But not so in this case. Instead of accepting defeat, the Texas medical board filed charges against Dr. Burzynski with the Texas Supreme Court.
The Method Behind the FDA's Madness
It eventually came to light that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had pressured the Texas medical board to revoke Dr. Burzynski's medical license—despite the fact that no laws were broken, and his treatment was proven safe and effective.
It's been stated many times that a crime can be solved simply by following the money, and this case is no exception. The FDA and the pharmaceutical industry had realized that if Dr. Burzynski's discovery—which he owned the patent for—received a fair review, chemotherapy and radiation would rapidly dwindle into obscurity, effectively crippling the industry. Not only that, but if antineoplastons were approved, billions of dollars of cancer research funds would get funneled over to one single scientist who had exclusive patent rights...
Dr. Richard Crout, Director of the FDA Bureau of Drugs, once wrote in a 1982 newsletter:
"I never have and never will approve a new drug to an individual, but only to a large pharmaceutical firm with unlimited finances."
It became clear that ever since 1977, when Dr. Burzynski first tried to get antineoplastons approved, the FDA had begun scheming to eliminate the threat he and his discovery posed to the entire cancer industry...
The Harassment Continues Unabated
The FDA, under the direction of Commissioner Dr. David Kessler, called no fewer than FOUR different grand jury investigations into Dr. Burzynski's practice, despite the fact that none of the grand juries ever found him to be at fault, and no indictment ever came from any of the investigations.
But the FDA did not let up.
Finally, in 1995, just days after the final grand jury investigation, which also had found no fault, Dr. Burzynski was inexplicably indicted on charges of fraud, and 75 counts of violating federal law. If found guilty, he now faced 290 years in federal prison, and $18.5 million in fines.
A year later, in a bizarre twist brought about by congressional and public pressure, the FDA agreed to accept all of Dr. Burzynski's patients into a series of 72 FDA-supervised phase 2 clinical trials.
A 1996 article in The Washington Post noted:
"The prosecution marks the first time the FDA has tried to jail a scientist for using a drug on which he is conducting FDA authorized clinical trials."
Federal Government Spent $60 Million Trying to Bury Dr. Burzynski
This second trial cost American tax payers a whopping $60 million just in legal fees alone—that's not counting the cost of continually harassing him (including several raids on his office) and his patients over the preceding 11 years. Dr. Burzynski spent $2.2 million on his own defense, $700,000 of which was raised by Dr. Julian Whitaker through requests for donations in his newsletter Health & Healing.
On March 4, 1997, the judge declared it a mistrial, due to a deadlocked jury. However, after stating the government had not presented sufficient evidence in its case, he ordered that Dr. Burzynski be acquitted of 42 of the 75 counts.
But the FDA wasn't done yet. They took him to court AGAIN!
Third Time's the Charm...
At this point, many were becoming increasingly aware that something very bizarre and unusual was going on. Jurors from the first trial even joined patients in protests outside the court house. One clear-headed juror from the previous trial stated:
"Please don't waste my money abusing the system to make sure that you maintain your power!"
On May 28, 1997, after three hours of deliberation, the jury came back with their final verdict: Not Guilty.
By now you're probably thinking that this victory surely must mark the end of the wrongful harassment of Dr. Burzynski.
But no. It gets worse.
Secret Dealings Hide True Intents
While this ongoing drama unfolded over the course of more than a decade, something even more sinister was taking place behind the scenes, unbeknownst to Dr. Burzynski and his legal counsel.
In 1989, Dr. Burzynski had retained Dr. Dvorit Samid as a research consultant, and she did a lot of work with the antineoplaston ingredients. At the time, Dr. Samid worked at the Uniformed Services Medical School in Baltimore. She later transferred to the National Cancer Institute.
By 1990—while the Texas medical board kept filing one amended complaint after the other against Dr. Burzynski, in an effort to revoke his license—he had decided that the easiest way to keep the government from putting him out of business or in prison, was to partner with a pharmaceutical company. As luck would have it, he'd treated the sister-in-law of the Chairman and CEO of Élan Pharmaceuticals, and Élan eagerly drafted a letter of intent stating they would aggressively pursue the filing of the necessary protocols with the FDA for approval and marketing of antineoplastons.
Dr. Samid began working closely with Élan on the project. But once the financing, licensing agreements and royalties had been negotiated and agreed upon, Élan suddenly changed its tune, stating they had significant doubt as to whether the active substances could be patented, which would render an agreement meaningless.
As it turns out, Élan had instead partnered with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where Dr. Samid got the position of section chief. They then co-sponsored laboratory research and clinical trials on just one of the antineoplastons' ingredients—an ingredient that Dr. Burzynski had NOT been able to patent due to the fact that it was already known. However, he had also already determined it to be very limited in terms of effectiveness on its own, over a decade ago.
Élan and the NCI spent tens of millions of dollars testing this single ingredient... Not surprisingly, it failed. Dr. Burzynski had already established that the ingredients must be used in combination in order to be effective. After realizing they could not duplicate the effectiveness of Dr. Burzynski's antineoplastons, the NCI finally agreed to conduct his clinical trials under the direction of Dr. Michael Friedman.
Sabotaging Trials—Par the Course for the National Cancer Institute
How do you sabotage a clinical trial?
It's actually easier than you might think. You'll have to watch the film to get all the details, but in summary, the trials were closed prior to completion, and were written off with the statement that "no conclusion can be made about the effectiveness or toxicity of antineoplastons." But it was clear, based on the study data, that seven of the nine patients enrolled received NO antineoplastons whatsoever! The others received dosages that were far lower than recommended.
Adding insult to injury, in 1999, about a year after Dr. Burzynski had been acquitted a third and final time, the NCI published these invalid trials in the medical literature, citing antineoplastons as a complete failure. So sure, Dr. Burzynski was a free man; cleared of all charges and free to practice medicine, but now the National Cancer Institute had effectively undermined the credibility and commercial viability of his medical discovery...
What the film reveals next, truly boggles the mind.
After the National Cancer Institute intentionally violated all protocols of their own antineoplaston trials, and after all state and federal agencies had failed in their 14-year campaign to remove Burzynski from society—after all of the dust settled—a profound truth began to emerge.
Theft and Patent Infringement—All in a Day's Work
In October 1991—while the Texas medical board kept filing amended complaints against him in an effort to revoke his license, due to pressure from the FDA—the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had conducted a site visit to Dr. Burzynski's clinic, and verified that "anti-tumor activity was documented by the use of antineoplastons."
As it turns out, a mere 17 days after this visit, the United States of America as represented by "The Department of Health and Human Services," filed a patent for antineoplastons AS2-1... one of the two antineoplastons Dr. Burzynski had already patented.
The inventor listed?
"Dr. Dvorit Samid," Dr. Burzynski's former research consultant. The patent states:
"The invention described herein may be manufactured, used and licensed by or for the government, for governmental purposes, without the payment to us of any royalties thereon."
Over the next four years, while the witch hunt to put Dr. Burzynski behind bars was in full swing, the US Government filed 10 more patents antineoplastons.
By the summer of 1995, around the time that Burzynski was indicted for fraud and 75 counts of violating federal law, Dr. Michael Friedman—who sabotaged the NCI antineoplastons trials—had left the NCI and become Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the FDA, working directly under FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler—the man responsible for dragging Dr. Burzynski in front of no less than four different grand juries a few years earlier.
In November of 1995, a month into Dr. Burzynski's trial, where he faced 290 years in prison, the US Patent office approved the first US Government patent for antineoplastons. Between 1995 and 2000, the US Patent office approved all 11 copycat patents on antineoplastons AS2-1....
Who Pays for Their Crimes?
By now your head is probably spinning, so let's recap.
Dr. Burzynski developed a cancer treatment that surpassed all other treatments on the market, and the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, and the National Cancer Institute all knew it. They also knew he was the sole owner of the patents for this therapy, and these two facts combined, threatened the entire paradigm of the cancer industry.
The cancer paradigm is based on very expensive machines and toxic drugs. There's an enormous amount of money to be made in this paradigm, and Dr. Burzynski single-handedly threatened to overturn it.
So they tried to copy his invention using a single non-patented ingredient. It failed. The next step was to steal the whole thing right from under him. There was just one problem. They knew they couldn't use the stolen patents as long as Dr. Burzynski walked free and had the ability to defend his rights to them... So they concocted 75 fraudulent charges to tuck him away in jail for the rest of his life.
Fortunately for us, they failed in that too.
Dr. Whitaker sums it up nicely when he says:
"How can the US Patent office be corrupted to the point they issue patents for a medical treatment that's already been patented and issue them to someone who had nothing to do with their discovery or use? And how can the Patent office then assign these fraudulent patents to some of the most powerful institutions in the American government? And, imagine, all of this was done while these same agencies were spending millions of taxpayer dollars trying to put Dr. Burzynski in jail, so he could not fight the criminal theft of his discovery!"
As I said in the beginning, the facts of this case challenge the mind of any sane and rational person, but make no mistake about it: These things did happen, and Dr. Burzynski has all the documentation to back it up.
The US Government did harass and intimidate, and they did try to falsely imprison a brilliant scientist, simply because he'd discovered an effective cancer therapy, while simultaneously engaging in patent infringement.
Now, while this was an enormous personal hardship for Dr. Burzynski, the US Government also, through their enormous greed, in a very direct way prevented millions of cancer patients to receive a non-toxic therapy that could have saved their life. Remember, Dr. Burzynski has been trying to get antineoplastons reviewed and approved since 1977, to no avail. It's absolutely heartbreaking to consider the cost of this criminal behavior in terms of human life, including young children.
The Deadly, But Highly Profitable, Cancer Paradigm
While the stolen patents are filled with useful information about the benefits and efficacy of antineoplastons, one statement in particular sums up the problem with the current cancer paradigm:
"Current approaches to combat cancer rely primarily on the use of chemicals and radiation, which are themselves carcinogenic and may promote recurrences and the development of metastatic disease."
Dr. Burzynski's therapy, as you may recall, is non-toxic, giving patients the option to at least not suffer more grievous harm from the treatment itself, in addition to a significantly greater chance of being cured.
I'm sure that whenever someone donates their hard-earned money or participates in a pink-ribbon walkathon, they believe they're doing a good thing. They believe they're helping fund vital cancer research that will hopefully, some day, find a cure for cancer. Little do they know that much of this money goes toward perpetuating the status quo of cancer treatment, namely highly toxic drugs and expensive machines—the same old paradigm centered around profit.
As of 2010, the National Cancer Institute's annual budget is $5.2 billion. Dr. Burzynski cannot get a single dime of it. All of his research into antineoplastons over the past 35 years has been self-funded.
Think about that for a moment. Not one dime has been funneled toward developing one of the most promising cancer therapies to emerge in the past three decades... Are you still convinced they have your best interest at heart, and are diligently working to "find a cure for cancer".
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