Study Confirms Decreases in Immune Function in CFS/ME Patients, Suggests Biomarker
via ProHealth.com • February 21, 2013
Editor’s Note: Natural killer (NK) cells are part of our body’s innate immune system. Their primary function is to reject tumor and virus infected cells. They do this by releasing granzyme and perforin, which are small protein granules that target cells to be destroyed. This process is called apoptosis or programmed cell death.
Longitudinal investigation of natural killer cells and cytokines in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis
~Source: J Transl Med. 2012; 10: 88
By Ekua W. Brenu et al.
Background: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is an etiologically unexplained disorder characterised by irregularities in various aspects of the immunological function. Presently, it is unknown whether these immunological changes remain consistent over time. This study investigates Natural Killer (NK) cell cytotoxic activity, NK cell subsets (CD56 bright CD16- and CD56 dim CD16+) and cytokines, over the course of a 12-month period in patients with CFS/ME.
Methods: The participants in the study comprised 65 (47.2 ± 11.5 years) CFS/ME participants and 21 (45.2 ±9.3 years) non-fatigued controls. Flow cytometry protocols were used to assess NK subsets and NK cytotoxic activity at various time points that included baseline (T1), 6 (T2) and 12 months (T3). Cytokine secretions were measured following mitogenic stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Results: NK cytotoxic activity was significantly decreased in the CFS/ME patients at T1, T2 and T3 compared to the non-fatigued group. Additionally, in comparison to the non-fatigued controls, the CFS/ME group had significantly lower numbers of CD56 bright CD16- NK cells at both T1 and T2. Interestingly, following mitogenic stimulation, cytokine secretion revealed significant increases in IL-10, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha at T1 in the CFS/ME group. A significant decrease was observed at T2 in the CFS/ME group for IL-10 and IL-17A while at T3, IL-2 was increased in the CFS/ME group in comparison to the non-fatigued controls. Overall cytotoxic activity was significantly decreased at T3 compared to T1 and T2. CD56 bright CD16- NK cells were much lower at T2 compared to T1 and T3. IL-10 and IL-17A secretion was elevated at T2 in comparison to T1 and T3.
Conclusion: These results confirm decreases in immune function in CFS/ME patients, suggesting an increased susceptibility to viral and other infections. Furthermore, NK cytotoxic activity may be a suitable biomarker for diagnosing CFS/ME as it was consistently decreased during the course of the 12 months study
Source: J Transl Med. 2012; 10: 88 doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-10-88. Ekua W Brenu, Mieke L van Driel, Donald R Staines, Kevin J Ashton, Sharni L Hardcastle, James Keane, Lotti Tajouri, Daniel Peterson, Sandra B Ramos, and Sonya M Marshall-Gradisnik.
This article was written by a nurse and mom of a child on the Autism Spectrum. Though ME/CFS and ASD are different disorders they share many similarities, including dysfunction of certain metabolic pathways relating to methylation. People with ASD and ME/CFS share many genetic mutations that hinder methylation and add to the complications arising from anaesthesia. If you know your mutations, great. If you don't you may want to run methylation panels through Dr Amy Yasko ($500), or your entire genetics through 23&Me ($99).http://www.autism.com/index.php/pro_anesthesia
The updated, state-of-the-art Bioinitiative Report 2012 is now available. This is a great resource for the latest studies regarding EMR, RF radiation, etc. and is compiled by 29 health experts and researchers from ten countries around the world. The facts are indisputable that low level RF radiation adversely impacts human health. This updated report covers new territory, including wireless Smart Meters. People with ME/CFS often have extreme reactions to such technologies. Please read and share!
PUBLICATION DATE: December 31, 2012
WHERE: The BioInitiative 2012 Report will be published at www.bioinitiative.org as a free download.
WHAT IS IT: A report by 29 independent scientists and health experts from around the world* about possible risks from wireless technologies and electromagnetic fields. It updates the BioInitiative 2007 Report.
WHAT IT COVERS: The science, public health, public policy and global response to the growing health issue of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation in the daily life of billions of people around the world. Covers brain tumor risks from cell phones, damage to DNA and genes, effects on memory, learning, behavior, attention; sleep disruption and cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Effects on sperm and miscarriage (fertility and reproduction), effects of wireless on the brain development of the fetus and infant, and effects of wireless classrooms on children and adolescents is addressed. Mechanisms for biological action and public health responses in other countries are discussed. Therapeutic use of very low intensity EMF and RFR are addressed.
WHAT IS NEW: This update covers about 1800 new studies reporting bioeffects and adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields (powerlines, electrical wiring, appliances and hand-held devices) – and wireless technologies (cell and cordless phones, cell towers, WI-FI, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, surveillance systems, wireless utility meters (‘smart meters’), etc.
*The BioInitiative 2012 Report has been prepared by 29 authors from ten countries*, ten holding medical degrees (MDs), 21 PhDs, and three MsC, MA or MPHs. Among the authors are three former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and five full members of BEMS. One distinguished author is the Chair of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation. Another is a Senior Advisor to the European Environmental Agency. Full titles and affiliations of authors is in Section 25 – List of Participants.
Each year, about 100,000 people visit the site. In the five years since it’s publication, the BioInitiative website has been accessed over 10.5 million times, or four times every minute. Every five minutes on the average, a person somewhere in the world has logged on. More than 5.2 million files and 1 million pages of information has been downloaded. That is equivalent to more than 93,000 full copies of the 650+ page report (288.5 million kbytes).
* Sweden (6), USA (10), India (2), Italy (2), Greece (2), Canada (2), Denmark (1), Austria (2), Slovac Republic (1), Russia (1)
ME drove my daughter to suicide
by ANDREA PERRY, femail.co.uk; July 21, 2012via Daily Mail
Fiona Smith had a bright future ahead of her as a landscape architect when she was struck down with the debilitating illness chronic fatigue syndrome - also known as ME
After a courageous nine-year battle to get help for the illness, which left her severely disabled and often bed-ridden, Fiona could take no more and took her own life in November last year.
She was just 31.
Now her mother Trish has spoken bravely for the first time of the daughter who she described as 'my best friend, adviser and confidante.'
Mrs Smith, of Bristol, broke her silence at a launch of a new report which revealed there is a major suicide risk amongst ME sufferers.
The report reveals a catalogue of failure and discrimination through the NHS and social services towards the 150,000 patients diagnosed with the illness.
The document highlights, in particular, the problems encountered by people who are most severely affected by CFS/ME. Many of those involved in the study have been confined to their homes or even bed-ridden for up to 10 years.
Conducted by Action for ME, the leading UK charity, it is the largest study published into ME and questioned 2,300 sufferers.
It found that:
• 51 per cent had felt suicidal as a result of the extreme pain of the illness coupled with a lack of support from the medical profession.
• 65 per cent had received no advice from their GP on managing the illness.
• 33 per cent had to endure a wait of more than 18 months before being diagnosed with ME, despite evidence that early diagnosis can help recovery.
Despite displaying classic symptoms of the illness, it took 19 months before Fiona Smith was suspected of having CFS/ME and a further two months before a formal diagnosis was confirmed. She became ill in February 1992 after a flu virus and shortly afterwards was so ill that she had to withdraw from her post-graduate diploma course.
Fiona deteriorated, becoming bed-ridden in July 1994 and often had no voice, was weak and in so much pain that she could do little for herself.
Over the next two and half years she improved very slightly but still was mainly bed-ridden and unable to wash or feed herself. Without professional advice she plateaued at this stage for two years.
After a battle with her local health authority, who initially refused funding, she was referred to an in-patient unit in Romford where she made a slow but steady improvement. But a series of relapses set her back nearly five years.
She had become so weak that she was too frail to attend six-monthly hospital appointments with the local consultant and instead her mother went to update him on Fiona's state.
He could offer no advice and in summer 2000 he stopped seeing CFS/ME patients and said that Fiona's GP would have to oversee her care. The GP had not seen another case as severe and was unable to help.
Mrs Smith said: 'By last November the future looked bleak. Now dependent on others for virtually everything - despite nearly nine years of day to day struggle to overcome the illness - it seemed that Fiona decided, quite suddenly, that she had had enough.
'Somehow she found the courage and the strength to hang herself from the curtain pole in her room.
'Why is it that some patients, despite maintaining excellent personal motivation and accepted as not having psychological problems or depression, steadily deteriorate to indefinite total dependency on carers?
'Why do they fail to respond to hospitalisation or professional interventions, which help others?They still seem to be a mystery to the medical profession but inevitably become forgotten as new patients emerge. I feel this category is seriously neglected and badly needs highlighting.
'The undertaker in our small village had handled three other ME suicides in recent years.
'There are many more like Fiona who are still patiently struggling and we must help them.
'The absence of a cure can be accepted but there is no excuse for such patients to feel forgotten and invisible as so many do.'
The Chief Medical Officer working group on CFS/ME is due to report on the most effective methods of treatment later this year.
Tony Wright MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on CFS/ME presented the report at today's launch.
He said: 'ME is a complex, much misunderstood illness. My post bag is full every week with people around the country in despair because of this illness. There has to be more money put into research.'
The illnesses cost the public purse £4 billion each year. Yet just £250,000 is spent on research.
Three times as many women suffer CFS/ME than men. Many girls under the age of 18 contract the condition, but there is no research carried out into the illness in childhood.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-32448/ME-drove-daughter-suicide.html#ixzz21HNf3iJN
Dr Alison C Bested named Medical Director of Chronic Disease Clinic in British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver – A new clinic focused on treating people who suffer from a group of complex chronic diseases has appointed its first Medical Director - Dr Alison Bested- to lead the Complex Chronic Disease Clinic, which will be located at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver. The clinic is the first of its kind in the province.
Dr. Bested is expected to start on October 1, 2012, after closing up her current medical practice in Toronto where she treats patients with complex medical illnesses.
In March 2011 the Ministry of Health announced a $2 million investment to study cases and best practices for patients with complex chronic diseases.
The clinic will focus on diseases such as Lyme disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Clinic staff will work with patients and doctors from across the province to provide care and to learn more about these complex diseases.
Bested is a medical specialist who has worked with complex medical illnesses for the past 21 years. She is the Medical Specialist Liaison at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and also lectures at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Alison Bested, MD, FRCPC
“I’m looking forward to continuing my work in the field of complex chronic diseases in British Columbia,” said Bested. “This clinic will be an excellent way for us to focus our resources and energy on patients dealing with very complex medical illnesses that require specialized treatments.”
Alain Gagnon, Senior Medical Director, BC Women’s Hospital:
We are thrilled to have recruited one of Canada’s premiere physicians in this field, said Alain Gagnon. “Her passion for knowledge translation as well as her dedication to patients will advance the care for people all across British Columbia.”
Dr. Alison Bested's Biography
Dr. Alison Bested is a Haematological Pathologist who has held a private practice in Toronto for the past 21 years where she treated patients with complex medical illnesses including Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.
Dr. Bested is the Medical Specialist Liaison at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. She is a lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Bested uses Telemedicine to outreach individual patients in Ontario and also with her Education and Support Group.
Dr. Bested co-authored the Canadian ME/CFS consensus definition that was published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2003.
The second edition of her book “Hope and Help for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia” was published by Sourcebooks House in 2008. It was co-authored by Alan Logan ND and lawyer Russ Howe.
Booth, Myhill, McLaren-Howard Comment on ME/CFS Mitochondrial Dysfunction Paper
By Norman E. Booth, Sarah Myhill, John McLaren-Howard • ProHealth.com • July 4, 2012
Source: Press Release, July 4, 2012
Dr. Norman E. Booth, Dr. Sarah Myhill and Dr. John McLaren Howard are pleased to announce the publication of a second paper concerning the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and ME/CFS. [“Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)", published June 30, 2012]
In 2009 we published our first paper looking at mitochondrial function in ME/CFS patients. What we found is that those patients with the worst mitochondrial function had the worst levels of fatigue and vice versa. There was a very clear relationship between the two. The importance of this paper was that it gave backing to certain treatment interventions and also that it clearly established ME/CFS as a physical condition with physical causes. The mitochondrial function can be used as an objective assessment of fatigue and of course this has obvious practical implications.
Hitherto any assessment of the level of disability had to be subjective and this created great difficulties for patients in cases where their physicians disbelieved the serious nature of their symptoms. For a detailed explanation of the clinical issues please see http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Central_Cause:_Mitochondrial_Failure.
This second paper further explores the above ideas. In this second paper the size of the patient group is much larger with 138 ME/CFS patients involved. Their mitochondrial function tests were compared with 53 normal healthy controls.
The findings of the first paper were repeated and confirmed, but the analysis of this second paper was carried out slightly differently.
It was found on careful inspection of the biochemistry that there were various sub-groups of ME/CFS patients with their own characteristic biochemical pattern. In particular, one of the five parameters measured, namely translocator protein function IN, can be higher as well as lower for patients as compared with controls.
This second paper also attempts to explain what is happening at the biochemical level to result in such an abnormality.
To this end, Dr. Booth provides an alternative method of assessing mitochondrial function. He noticed that the percentage inhibition of ATP closely correlates with TL-in factor – this is probably because the biochemistry of these two measured quantities is so closely associated.
So instead of using TL-in to calculate the mitochondrial energy score, he used percentage ATP inhibited – this provided a solution to the problem of translocator protein IN being higher in some patients than in controls, a factor which in itself is abnormal.
Dr. Booth then went on to plot the relationship between mitochondrial energy score and the number of factors within the normal region to achieve an extremely close correlation.
Importantly this test identifies a clean separation between the ME/CFS cases and the healthy controls.
So this first part of the paper very much confirms the work of the first paper published in 2009 which is that those patients with the worst ME/CFS had the worst mitochondrial function and vice versa.
It must be remembered that patients attending a clinic for ME/CFS are usually the most severely fatigued – no mildly ill patients were tested. Within these limitations the ATP profile is an exclusive and sensitive test for ME/CFS. However, we cannot claim that it is specific to ME/CFS because there are many other neurological illnesses and metabolic syndrome also associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.
Dr. Booth went on to analyze sub-groups within the main group.
When mitochondria are stressed, i.e., energy demand exceeds energy delivery, in the short term they can switch into an alternative means of making ATP, of which there are 2 possibilities identified. Dr. Booth called these patients cohort 1 and cohort 2.
• In cohort 1, the mitochondria switch into anaerobic metabolism with increased glycolosis in order to produce ATP.
• In cohort 2 there was an alternative process to supply additional ATP. This alternative process involves the adenylate kinase reaction in which two molecules of ADP combine to make one of ATP and one of AMP. The problem with this reaction is that for every molecule of ATP generated, so is one of AMP. This is not recycled, but mainly lost in the urine. So there may be short term metabolic benefits here, but in the longer term metabolic disaster ensues as the energy molecules literally leak away. It takes time to replace these leaked molecules of ADP (leaked in the form of a ‘lost’ AMP molecule) and so this may explain one of the clinical features of ME/CFS, namely delayed fatigue.
A vital feature of ATP studies is that they identify the mechanisms by which mitochondria ‘go slow’. Essentially they can ‘go slow’ for one of three common reasons:
• Either there is substrate deficiency, i.e. lack of essential co-factors for mitochondria to work such as Co-enzyme Q10, magnesium, vitamin B3, or acetyl-L-carnitine,
• Or secondly, because mitochondria are blocked by toxins. Typically the blockage can be of oxidative phosphorylation and/or translocator protein function. Dr. John McLaren Howard has developed several further tests to look at the nature of these blockages. These tests include microrespirometry studies, translocator protein function studies, intracellular calcium studies and so on.
• The third possible mechanism for mitochondria malfunctioning has to do with membrane function. The membranes of mitochondria need to be of just the right consistency in order to hold the bundle of enzymes in the correct 3D configuration to allow efficient movement of substrate from one enzyme complex to another. To this end, again Dr. John McLaren Howard has developed cardiolipin studies which look in more detail at mitochondrial membrane structure and function.
Many of the above tests have been available in research laboratories, some John has developed through his own brilliance and initiative. What is so wonderful is how he has given these cutting edge research tests a clinical application.
This is extremely helpful for patients and clinicians because we can see exactly why mitochondria are ‘going slow’ and thereby correct deficiencies using both nutritional supplements, correct gut function, as well as being able to tailor detoxification regimes to individual patients.
This second paper also goes on to look at cell free DNA in ME/CFS patients.
Cell free DNA is a measure of DNA in the bloodstream that is not bound up within cell membranes. It can only, therefore, come from damaged cells and therefore is a measure of cell damage within the body.
What we found is a strong negative correlation with mitochondrial energy scores, ATP levels and the rate of oxidative phosphorylation. What this means is that those patients with mitochondria that perform extremely poorly have the highest level of cell damage and vice versa. This makes perfect biochemical sense – if mitochondria ‘go slow’ one can expect there to be the production of free radicals which have the potential to damage tissues.
Therefore addressing these issues of poor antioxidant status is an essential part of the package of treatment for ME/CFS patients.
These abnormal results clearly show that the effect on mitochondria is a systemic effect, not just confined to the neutrophils that are being tested. Very often we see levels of cell free DNA of a similar magnitude to those in patients who are experiencing a serious illness such as cancer, stroke, autoimmunity, or severe viral infection. Again this underpins the fact that ME/CFS is a physical condition with clear indications of marked cell damage.
This puts ME/CFS firmly in the realm of major organic pathology.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TREATMENT OF ME/CFS
These bio-medical tests have been extremely helpful in the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS patients. This is because they clearly identify the biochemical lesions that underpin the cause of this illness. Furthermore, identification of these lesions has clear implications for management using the standard methods of nutritional and environmental medicine.
We are currently preparing a third paper which looks at the efficacy of these interventions in patients by measuring mitochondrial function tests before and after such interventions and correlating these with the clinical picture.
For further information as to what these interventions are please see http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_CFS_Book_published_by_Dr_Sarah_Myhill, which is available on line without charge.
It bears repeating that this paper would not have been remotely possible without the brilliance of Dr. John McLaren Howard at Acumen Laboratory, who has developed these wonderful tests for looking at mitochondrial function, together with the analytical mind of Dr. Norman Booth, who has analyzed the data in detail to identify the biochemical metabolic pathways involved.
- July 4, 2012
As ME/CFS is a neuro-immune disorder with altered gene expression, it's important to learn that these foods need to be avoided to avoid exacerbation of symptoms.
- A recent science-based investigation into the claims of genetically engineered foods concludes that the scientific evidence does not support the safety and efficacy claims made
- There are three potential sources of adverse health effects from genetically engineered foods: the genetically modified (GM) gene product (for example, the Bt toxin in crops that generate its own internal insecticide); the genetic transformation process; and changes in farming practices
- Results of genetically engineering crops include toxicity, increased allergenic potential, mutagenic effects, alterations in biological structure and function, reduced nutritional value, increased toxic residues
- Russian scientists recently announced evidence of “very serious health risks for animals given genetically modified feed.” A number of pathological changes were discovered, including a delay in development and growth; a distortion of the sex ratio in the offspring; and a progressive reduction in the number of offspring up to complete infertility by the third generation of offspring fed genetically engineered feed
The Lies You’re Told about Genetically Engineered Foods
July 03 2012
By Dr. Mercola
The Atlantic recently reported on the findings of new research into the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically engineered foods.
The authors of the report GMO Myths and Truths took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, and came to the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increase yield potential do not support the claims made at all. In fact, the evidence demonstrates that the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown; they simply aren't true...
The featured article summarizes the evidence presented, which shows that genetically engineered (GE) crops:
The authors of this critical report include Michael Antoniou, PhD, who heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King's College at London School of Medicine in the UK. He's a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies; as well as John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GMO testing.
- Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GE crops
- Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
- Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
- Do not increase yield potential
- Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
- Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant "superweeds", compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
- Have mixed economic effects
- Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
- Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
- Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
- Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes - poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on
If you want to get an in-depth understanding of genetically engineered foods, I highly recommend reading their report, which covers the ins-and-outs of genetic engineering and the disturbing findings of a large number of scientific studies.
Three Sources of Adverse Health Effects from Genetically Engineered Foods
According to their reportiv, there are three potential sources of adverse health effects from genetically engineered foods:
I've already written quite extensively on all three of these. You can locate all previous articles written on genetically engineered foods on my dedicated GMO page. To give you an example of these adverse health effects, when Monsanto's genetically engineered Bt corn was approved, Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured everyone that only insects would be hurt by the Bt toxin produced by these plants. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all.
- The genetically modified (GM) gene product – for example, the Bt toxin in GM insecticidal crops – may be toxic or allergenic
- The GM transformation process may produce mutagenic effects, gene regulatory effects, or effects at other levels of biological structure and function that result in new toxins or allergens and/or disturbed nutritional value
- Changes in farming practices linked to the use of a genetically modified organism (GMO) may result in toxic residues – for example, higher levels of crop contamination with the herbicide Roundup are an inevitable result of using GM Roundup Ready® crops
They were proven wrong when doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the toxin circulating in the blood stream of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant womenv. Shockingly, the toxin was identified in 93 percent of pregnant women, 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67 percent of non-pregnant women tested.
The Bt crop varieties were first introduced to the market in 1996, and since then, many of the disorders that have subsequently been linked to Bt crops have risen exponentially. The fact that the toxin is flowing through our blood supply and passes through the placenta is a potent indicator that the Bt crop varieties cannot be considered harmless at all. For example, government-sponsored research in Italyvi showed a wide range of immune responses in mice fed Monsanto's Bt corn. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were elevated are also found to be higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders as indicated in the following chart.
IL-6 - Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer (multiple myeloma and prostate cancer)
IL-13 - Allergy, allergic rhinitis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
MIP-1b - Autoimmune disease and colitis.
IL-12p70 - Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis
Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GE Corn
Over the years, genetically engineered crops have proven disastrous for animals, although the conventional media has done a remarkable job of keeping such details from the public. Most recently, the Swiss biotech company Syngenta had criminal charges filed against it by a German farmer. Sixty-five of his cows died after he fed them Syngenta's genetically modified Bt corn. He alleges the company not only knew the corn could be lethal to livestock, but was also covering up deaths that occurred during clinical trials.
According to a recent press release by GM Watchvii, the lawsuit asserts that Syngenta committed a grave criminal offense by deliberately withholding the results of a feeding trial in which four cows died in two days. The deaths prompted the company to halt the test. No health problems or deaths were reported in the control group, which was not fed the genetically engineered Bt 176 corn.
Other health ramifications from the Bt 176 corn have also been found. In April 2004, Spain banned Syngenta's Bt 176 corn on the grounds that it may confer resistance to the antibiotic ampicillinviii. As of December that same year, the EU decided to prohibit genetically engineered crops with antibiotic resistance genes, and cultivation of Bt 176 crops were subsequently discontinued in the EU in 2007. However, similar varieties, such as Bt 11 sweet cornix are still cultivated for both animal and human consumption...
The Health Effects of GE Feed on Livestock
As reported by Institute of Science in Societyx, mysterious animal deaths are not limited to Syngenta's Bt 176 corn. Thousands of livestock deaths have been reported across India as a result of grazing on genetically engineered Bt cotton, for example.
"Shepherds' own observations and post-mortem analysis carried out in the laboratory revealed abnormal liver, enlarged bile ducts and black patches in the intestine. The shepherds said that the sheep became "dull/depressed" after 2-3 days of grazing, started coughing with nasal discharge and developed red lesions in the mouth, became bloated and suffered blackish diarrhea, and sometimes passed red urine.
Death occurred within 5-7 days of grazing. Sheep from young lambs to adults of 1.5-2 years were affected.
One shepherd reported getting diarrhea from eating the meat of an affected sheep. The vets declared that the toxicity could be due to the Bt toxin but this could not be proven as results were confounded by additional pesticides used on the fields. The shepherds were however, advised against letting the sheep graze on any more Bt cotton plants," Institute of Science in Society writesxi.
The Philippines have also reported cases of villagers suffering health effects from surrounding Bt crop fields. In 2006, the blood of 38 individuals was analyzed and all tested positive for antibodies specific to Cry1Ab, suggesting an immune reaction to the Bt toxinxii.
GE Crops Seriously Threatens Reproductive Health
According to Dr. Don Huber, an expert on the toxicity of genetically engineered plants, a new organism linked to GE crops appears to be the cause of high reproductive failure in livestock. The organism was initially identified by veterinarians around 1998—about two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, which is one of the staple feeds. The vets were puzzled by sudden rates of miscarriages. While sporadic at first, the phenomenon has continued to increase in severity.
In an interview last year, Dr. Huber stated:
"We [recently] received a call from a county extension educator, indicating that he has a dairy that has a 70 percent [spontaneous] abortion rate. You put that on top of 10 to 15 percent of infertility to start with, and you're not going to have a dairy very long. In fact, a lot of our veterinarians are now becoming very concerned about the prospects for being able to have replacement animals."
According to a recent report by the European GM Watchxiii, Russian scientists have also jumped into the fray, proving the existence of "very serious health risks for animals given genetically modified (GM) feed." This announcement was reportedly made during a press conference of the National Association for Genetic Security (NAGS). As a result of the findings, the Russian Parliament is considering a new veterinary law, which could potentially include a ban on genetically engineered animal feed.
"According to the authors; a number of pathological changes were discovered in the experimental animals that consumed the GM feed," GM Watch reports. "A delay in development and growth was detected, plus a distortion of the sex ratio in breeds with an increase in the proportion of females, reducing the number of pups per litter, up to their complete lack in the second and third generation...
According to the President of NAGS Alexander Baranov, the main negative impact of GM feed, which was discovered during the investigation, is a "ban on reproduction," making it almost impossible to obtain third-generation animals."The results of our study confirmed the findings of European scientists who pointed out the negative impact on the health of animals from the GM ingredients in feed of animals," Baranov, said. "We used soybean meal, which is widely used in Russia for fattening livestock. Soya of the line 40-3-2, contained in extracted meal, which is allowed in Russia. It is also for use in human food." he added."
Engineering Washington Politics
Why do American politicians and government health, environmental, and agricultural officials seem to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to all these concerns? In short, they've sold their souls and the future of this planet. They're paid to not give a damn...
A recent article in the GMO Journal addresses the profound influence of biotech lobbying on our political processxiv. The article lists a number of facts showing how companies like Monsanto manipulates Washington to pass laws and regulations wholly in their favor. This includes preventing much-needed legislation to label genetically engineered foods. Thousands of ingredients must be listed on food labels, and yet genetically engineered ingredients, which have never been proven safe, do not need to be specified. Certainly, it is NOT because they are proud of their product and convinced it is superior to conventional or organic products. And it's not because it would be cost-prohibitive.
Again, countless other ingredients and health claims have been added to labels through the years, without sending prices soaring. I'm not sure what it'll take to make them grow a conscience and realize the dangers they've unleashed, and continue to support. As suggested in the GMO Journalxv, it's time to realize that this industry is based on profit alone, at the expense of everything and everyone else.
"To borrow a phrase from Bill Maher, here's a New Rule: anytime a GMO advocate gushes about the benefits and safety of genetically engineered products, someone must recite the following statistics from Food & Water Watchxvi:
How to Protect Your Health
- Since 1999, the 50 largest agricultural and food patent-holding companies and two of the largest biotechnology and agrochemical trade associations have spent more than $572 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.
- Lobbying expenditures for food and agricultural biotechnology more than doubled between 1999 and 2009, rising 102.8 percent from $35 million in 1999 to $71 million in 2009.
- Food and agricultural biotechnology PACs made more than $22 million in campaign contributions since 1999.
- Food and agriculture biotechnology firms employ more than 300 former congressional and White House staff members as lobbyists.
- In addition to in-house lobbyists, the food and agricultural biotechnology firms employed more than 100 lobbying firms in 2010."
Until genetically engineered foods are labeled, your BEST strategy is to buy USDA 100% Organic products whenever possible, as these do not permit genetically engineered ingredients, or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers.
The majority of the genetically engineered ingredients you're exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you're not inadvertently consuming something laced with altered ingredients. When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, as well as toxic herbicide residues.
Please Continue Supporting California's Ballot Initiative to Label GMO's!
Due to lack of labeling, many Americans are still unfamiliar with what genetically engineered foods are. We now have a great opportunity to change that, and I urge you to participate and to continue supporting the California ballot initiative—which will require labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and ban the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as "natural"—in any way you can. The voting takes place in November, so we still have a few more months to go, and we need "all hands on deck," so to speak, until then.
Since California is the 8th largest economy in the world, a win for the California Initiative would be a huge step forward, and would likely affect ingredients and labeling nationwide, as large companies are not likely going to label their products as genetically engineered when sold in California, but not when sold in other states. Doing so would be a PR disaster.
But it's an enormous ongoing battle, as the biotech industry will outspend us by 100 to 1, if not more, for their propaganda.
Needless to say, the campaign needs funds. So if you have the ability, I strongly encourage you to make a donation.
They also need more volunteers, because that's how we're going to win this battle. The biotech industry may outdo us in funding ability, but we as consumers still outnumber them. Pamm Larry, the California grandmother who created the initiative, is correct when she says we need to reach every single California community—large and small. I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can. Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the U.S. states, so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!
- If you live in California and want to get involved, please contact LabelGMOs.org. They will go through all volunteer requests to put you into a position that is suitable for you, based on your stated interests and location.
- No matter where you live, please help spread the word in your personal networks, on Facebook, and Twitter. For help with the messaging, please see LabelGMOs.org's "Spread the Word!" page.
- Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort, either through the Organic Consumers Fund.
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
- For timely updates, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
Though ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) is mentioned a lot in this piece, the information it presents relates to all neuro-immune disorders, including ME/CFS.