Prof Tim Noakes – victory for high fat, low carb; World Immunisation week; Blood and slime – new protection against viruses & bacteria?; Monsanto found guilty in tribunal; Unsafe Dengue vaccine goes on sale; Rejection of GMO’s by developing countries; Artificial sweeteners and brain health
Prof Tim Noakes’ victory for low carb, high fat – at last!
In February 2014, Prof Noakes, a medical doctor and expert in nutrition and sports science, responded to a question on Twitter from a breastfeeding mother in regards to the best foods to wean her child on. He told her that the best first foods are low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). In other words meat, fish, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit (as promoted in our Food4Health guidelines) rather than using a processed option such as baby rice or cereal! The tweet was seen by a dietician who complained to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HCPA) who subsequently charged him with unprofessional conduct. A charge normally reserved for doctors who are guilty of malpractice. The trial started in April 2015 and concluded this month with a verdict of not guilty for Prof Noakes. At the root of the prosecution was the accusation that his advice was potentially life threatening because it was not evidence-based (for more on the problems of evidence based medicine read this week’s article . There has been an international witch hunt against the proponents of LCHF, lest corporate profits for Big Food be at risk. Another medical doctor (Dr Gary Fettke in Australia) was also charged over advising diabetic patients to follow an LCHF diet to reduce the risk of them having limbs amputated. Has the time now come for governments around the world to look again at the science and revise their eating guidelines to ensure they meet the health needs of the population rather than the business goals of Big Food? For full details of all the charges and coverage of the Noakes trial read Marika Sboros’s blog at Foodmed.net.
World Immunisation week sees calls for global vaccine access
Blood and slime – new protection against viruses and bacteria?
Do you remember when the fairy-tales invited us to kiss frogs to find our Prince Charming? Well scientists from the Emory Vaccine Centre and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India are now suggesting that frog slime may protect against flu. Frogs' skins are known to secrete peptides that defend them against bacteria and a new study published in the journal Immunity suggests that these peptides may represent an important resource for the development of new antiviral drugs for human use. In similar research, researchers at George Mason University published a study claiming the Komodo dragons’ blood carries a protein that can kill a wide range of germs, including antibiotic resistant superbugs, due to the extreme conditions they live in, which creates a much stronger immune systems than ours. However, as Komodos are an endangered species, researchers have created a synthetic version of the blood called ‘Dragon 1’, which appears to help heal cuts and wounds faster than a conventional antibacterial ointment.
Monsanto found guilty at The Hague Tribunal
Last week the verdict of the International Monsanto Tribunal was finally delivered in The Hague. Monsanto who chose not to appear in court was found guilty of obstructing the right to live in a healthy environment, food sovereignty, food security, the right to physical, mental and social health in countries where its products are used. The Court said the company obstructs free and independent scientific research into its practices, which is infringing on the right to freedom of information as a result of its aggressive commercial approach, fierce lobbying, discrediting and intimidation of researchers and academics opposed to it. Whilst they were not officially condemned for complicity in war crimes, the Tribunal stated they knew the intentions of its customers for certain products (namely Agent Orange) and what the effects of the deliberate use of their products against humans would be. In brief the Tribunal concluded that, “Human and environmental rights take precedent over any and all economic interests. It is necessary that companies like Monsanto be held criminally liable for their actions, and that they be called to trail where fundamental rights are violated”.
Unsafe Dengue vaccine goes on sale
In the Phillipines a new vaccine against Dengue feverhas gone on sale through pharmacists. In order to make the vaccine more available payment plans have also been introduced to encourage people to buy the vaccine and spread the cost. However, this vaccine has gone on sale despite concerns about its safety. A study published in the journal Science last year, which was used to license the vaccine, expressed concern over use of the Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine, Dengvaxia, in young children (aged 2-5) who have not been exposed to infection by Dengue. Long-term follow up results showed a much higher risk of hospitalization three years following vaccination in this age group compared to unvaccinated children. The researchers commented, “Our current estimates indicate that in all but the highest-transmission settings, use of this vaccine may lead to an increase in the risk of hospitalization for dengue in seronegative recipients even if the overall impact of vaccination is positive.” A total of six countries so far have approved the vaccine for use despite these concerns. The World Health Organizations vaccine experts — known as the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization — recommend that the vaccine should only be used in places where there is high dengue activity.
Rejection of GMO’s by developing countries
Burkina Faso has said no to GMO cotton seeds and returned to the use of conventional seeds to provide a 20% rise in production. The West African Nation brought the production of genetically modified cotton to a halt last year due to the poor quality short fibres produced by the GMO crop, a variety introduced by Monsanto, which was contributing to reduced revenues and affecting their reputation. In other GM news, farmers and civil societies across Asia have put a stop to field testing and direct use of GM Golden Rice and other GM crops as they are threatening the livelihoods as well as the lives of Asian farmers.
Artificial sweeteners and brain health
ANH-Intl have written at length about the supposed safety of artificial sweeteners (non-nutritive sweeteners) in our foods. Two new studies using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort published in the journals Stroke and Alzheimer & Dementia have both linked increased consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that sugar consumption can disrupt memory, and long term it can contribute to the shrinking of the hippocampus of the brain, which is a hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s becoming clear that the same pathological process that leads to type 2 diabetes may also hold true for the brain. The ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines along with its integrated 10 pointers is one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy in the long term. Find more information on the link between diet and Alzheimers in our article ‘Muteness on B vitamins and lifestyle after pharma’s Alzheimer flop’