Séralini paper resurfaces  

It’s not over for Séralini’s GM study by a long shot! Clearly one man’s meat being another’s poison extends to journal editors and research papers too, because the editor of Environmental Sciences Europe has happily republished the full study. The study, which links Monsanto GM crops and herbicides to cancer has caused much controversy and was retracted from the first journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), by the editor Dr Wallace Hayes. The republication move comes shortly after Professor Giles-Eric Séralini was quoted as saying, “We are forced to conclude that the decision to withdraw our paper was based on unscientific double standards applied by the editor.”  He also believes the forced retraction “reveals a deep and systemic corruption of science and regulation.”

Cocoa extract may stop Alzheimer’s brain damage

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has shown that Lavado, a cocoa extract, may reduce damage to nerve pathways typically seen in Alzheimer's disease patients' brains long before they develop symptoms. The conclusion of the study states, “Our findings indicate that cocoa extracts have multiple disease-modifying properties in AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] and the researchers also believe that cocoa extracts “present a promising route of therapeutic and/or preventative initiatives.” The study used mice genetically engineered to mimic Alzheimer's disease, and found that Lavado prevents amyloid plaques (proteins in the brain) from clumping together and damaging nerve cells. Lead researcher Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D. said “Given that cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease is thought to start decades before symptoms appear, we believe our results have broad implications for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.”

Sugar tax: the cure for childhood obesity?

UK campaign group, Action on Sugar, has produced a seven point plan for UK health minister Jeremy Hunt to help address the childhood obesity crisis. In a bid to discourage children from consuming food and drink with added sugar, the seven points suggested are:

  • Reduce added sugars in food by 40% by 2020
  • Ban all forms of targeted marketing of ultra-processed, unhealthy foods and drinks to children
  • Disassociate physical activity with obesity by banning junk food sport sponsorships
  • Reduce fat by 15% in ultra-processed foods by 2020
  • Limit the availability of ultra-processed foods and sweetened soft drinks as well as reducing portion sizes
  • Introduce a sugar tax to incentivise healthier food

Earlier in 2014, Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, told a committee of MPs that she believed “research will find sugar is addictive” and “we may need to introduce a sugar tax.” Supporting this line of thinking is the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) who are advising that the intake of added sugar in people’s daily diet should be halved.

EFSA ok's GM oilseed rape

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is at it again! Monsanto’s MON 88302 oilseed rape crop, which has been genetically modified to be tolerant of herbicides, has been approved to enter the European market for food and feed uses, import and processing. The EFSA opinion stated, “no differences in the compositional data of seeds obtained from oilseed rape MON 88302 requiring further assessment with regard to safety by the EFSA GMO Panel were identified.” Same old story — despite the ever increasing anti GM sentiment in Europe.

Facebook users treated like experimental mice

A cursory look at a new paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells us clearly that a great many of us have been the unwitting and unconsenting subjects of a massive ‘emotional contagion’ experiment conducted by none other than the social media site Facebook Inc. Entitled “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks”, the findings “support the controversial claims that emotions can spread throughout a network”. Although the effect sizes from the manipulations are small, they can have large aggregated consequences. … “given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook”.

The experiment’s data manipulations are an additional controversy here. For one part of the ‘massive’ experiment, it seems the social network deliberately removed positive content posted by friends, from users’ newsfeeds, leaving only negative posts. They then monitored the subject’s own, subsequent, posts to ascertain whether or not this group had been influenced negatively by their now predominantly negative newsfeeds. Privacy issues are already a major issue with online and social media, but is the deliberate — non-consenting — manipulation of Facebook users’ emotions in this way another step too far? As the Facebook researchers themselves point out: “the well-documented connection between emotions and physical well-being suggests the importance of these findings for public health”.

Press silent on Burzynski cancer treatment ‘go-ahead’

Dr Stanislaw Burzynski, and his exciting ‘antineoplaston’ cancer treatment, have been the subject of a long campaign of persecution to prevent its progress. You would expect something this promising for the treatment of ‘incurable’ forms of cancer that the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) has given the go-ahead for phase 3 three clinical trials, would be grabbing world headlines. But not when that treatment threatens the status quo in mainstream western cancer treatments, and the massive profits associated with them. A news report to this effect in Examiner.com [http://www.examiner.com/article/feds-finally-release-burzynski-cancer-cure-treatment]concludes: “Now that Phase 3 clinical trials have been given the green light, it’s likely the continually growing numbers of success stories will do much more than speak for themselves”. We are confident that they will.

Choose exercise —not TV viewing!

We don’t need a new study to tell us that excessive TV watching is bad for our health. But just in case some need reminding why, the Journal of the American Heart Association has concluded “Television viewing was directly associated with all-cause mortality”. The researchers also said: “our findings suggest that not only the promotion of physical activity but also the reduction in sedentary activities (especially television viewing) is a priority for the prevention of premature mortality. Other authors have also reported that prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all?cause mortality, independently of physical activity”.

An American Heart Association news release, issued pre-publication, highlighted: “adults who watch TV three hours or more a day may double their risk of premature death from any cause”, and “researchers suggest adults should consider getting regular exercise, avoiding long sedentary periods and reducing TV viewing to one to two hours a day”.

EFSA drags its feet over ‘transparency’

Having been doing it’s best to clean up its act in the wake of frequent and vociferous criticism over conflicts of interest, and lack of transparency, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is clearly still floundering in the mire. NutraIngredients.com recently reported that the temporary chair of EFSA's Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) panel said: “Transparency is important, but this may not be compatible with openness of scientific debate”. The report continued “Although he ‘sympathised’ with the question of transparency, he thought truly open panels where members felt comfortable sharing information were only possible behind closed doors”. The temporary chair, Professor Sean Strain of Ulster University, was speaking at a recent meeting in its Parma headquarters in Italy.

Prof Strain further commented on the trend for a narrative with "industry as the grand satan trying to poison the European Community". We can’t imagine why so many feel that!


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