Friday, May 23, 2008

Fwd: ALERT: Monsanto Genetically Engineered Sugar to Hit U.S. in 2008

We've highlighted this movie in Bytes before, but we strongly feel
this is truly a 'canary in the mine' issue.

This movie, which is nearing completion, analyzes why millions of
bees are dying around the world and how dramatically it could impact
the world's natural environment and food supply.

The producers are in need of donations to complete the film and are
currently eligible to receive matching funds from a foundation that
will double donations made by our readers.

View this breath-taking movie trailer here:


ALERT: Genetically Engineered Sugar to Hit U.S. in 2008

Background Information:

American Crystal, a large Wyoming-based sugar company and several
other leading U.S. sugar providers have announced they will be
sourcing their sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets
beginning this year and arriving in stores in 2008.

Like GE corn and GE soy, products containing GE sugar will not be
labeled as such.

Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar
beets, a move towards biotech beets marks a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply.

These sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are found in many
conventional food products, so consumers will be exposed to
genetically engineered ingredients in just about every non-organic
multiple-ingredient product they purchase.

The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto's
controversial broad spectrum Roundup herbicide.

Studies indicate farmers planting "Roundup Ready" corn and soy spray
large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water.

Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply
the herbicide up to five times per year.

Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the
U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota.

Meanwhile candy companies like Hershey's are urging farmers not to
plant GE sugar beets, noting that consumer surveys suggest resistance
to the product. In addition the European Union has not approved GE
sugar beets for human consumption.

Ingredients from GE crops are not labeled in the U.S., once food
producers start using GE beet sugar in their candies, cereals,
breads, baby foods and other products, there will be no way for us to
know if we are eating GE sugar unless we buy organic foods, since GE
ingredients are banned in organic products.



of crop seeds and germplasm, wheat, rice, soy, corn, and other grains.

While a billion people go hungry, and food riots threaten global
stability, these Biotech and Food Giants are raking in record
profits, along with Wall Street speculators, who have shifted their
greed from sub-prime mortgages to increasingly scarce natural
resources and food.

Learn more:



An important lawsuit was filed last week against the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) by the International Center for Technology
Assessment calling for 200 consumer products to be removed from the
market, because they contain dangerous nanoparticle pesticides.

The EPA is illegally allowing a wide variety of consumer products to
be infused with nanoparticle-sized silver, supposedly for its
enhanced 'germ killing' abilities.

Nano-silver is now laced into products including children's toys,
personal care products, household appliances, cleaners, clothing,
cutlery, and coated electronics.

According to George Kimbrell, staff attorney for ICTA, 'Nano-silver
is leaching into the environment, where it will have toxic effects on
fish, other aquatic species and beneficial microorganisms.'

Nanotubes, one of the wonder materials of the new age of
nanotechnology, may carry a health risk similar to that of asbestos,
a wonder material of an earlier age that turned into a scourge after
decades of use when its fibers were found to cause lung disease,
researchers said Tuesday.

This time, the warning comes long before anyone has fallen ill, and
experts say the findings call for caution, not alarm, in handling
nanotubes, which are tiny, superstrong carbon fibers.

Although nanotubes are already found in some products, like tennis
rackets, researchers say the fibers appear to pose little risk to

Nanotubes, discovered in 1991, are essentially rolled-up sheets of
carbon that can be used to produce materials that are far lighter and
stronger than steel, for example. But scientists have also long
wondered whether the needle-shaped nanotubes might cause the same
types of disease as needle-shaped asbestos fibers.

An article published Tuesday on the Web site of the journal Nature
Nanotechnology suggests that the answer may be yes.

A team of researchers reported that injecting nanotubes into the
abdomens of mice induced lesions similar to those that appear on the
outer lining of the lungs after the inhalation of asbestos.

In the case of asbestos, the lesions eventually become mesothelioma,
a deadly cancer.

The researchers, though, portrayed their results as good news by
providing people who work with nanotubes with knowledge of how to
minimize the dangers. "In a sense, we're forewarned and forearmed now
with respect to nanotubes," said Anthony Seaton, a professor of
environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Aberdeen
in Scotland.

Learn more about nanotechnology, take action, and see a comprehensive
list of everyday products containing nanotech here:

Monday, May 19, 2008

BBC NEWS | Politics | Hybrid embryos 'should be banned'

BBC NEWS | Politics | Hybrid embryos 'should be banned': "Hybrid embryos 'should be banned'
A human embryo
Critics say tinkering with human embryos is 'immoral'

Allowing scientists to carry out stem cell research using hybrid human-animal embryos 'is a step too far and should be banned', the Commons has been told.

Senior Tory MP Edward Leigh said there was 'no evidence yet to substantiate' the claims this could lead to treatment for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Popular Drugs that Steal Nutrients

Popular Drugs that Steal Nutrients
Many Medications Deplete the Body of Important Vitamins and Minerals. Here’s How to Protect Your Health...
Frederic Vagnini, MD
Weill Cornell Medical College

reprinted from Bottom Line/Health, March 1, 2007

Depletion of nutrients is among the most common -- and overlooked -- side effects of both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs.

Here's what happens: Medications can cause improper absorption of vitamins and minerals -- or they can accelerate the elimination of nutrients from the body. The consequences may range from bothersome symptoms, such as fatigue or stomach upset, to serious heart, muscle or nerve damage.

Most doctors are aware of some minerals that are depleted through the use of diuretics (water-excreting drugs). However, few doctors are aware of the dangers of nutrient depletion caused by many other types of medication, because the problem is not widely reported.

Popular drugs that deplete the body of nutrients...


The most commonly prescribed antibiotics include azithromycin (Zithromax), amoxicillin (Amoxil), ampicillin (Omnipen), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin) and erythromycin (Eryc).

Nutrients depleted...

B vitamins. The B vitamins are essential for normal metabolism as well as immune and nervous system functioning.

Vitamin K. This vitamin is critical for blood clotting and bone strength.

"Friendly" intestinal bacteria known as Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria but also "good" bacteria that promote gastrointestinal health and help balance immune response.

If you are prescribed an antibiotic: Ask your doctor about also taking a B-complex vitamin -- 50 mg... vitamin K supplement -- 60 micrograms (mcg) to 80 mcg... and probiotic supplements providing 15 billion live B. bifidum and 15 billion live L. acidophilus organisms daily.*

*If you're taking any medications, consult your doctor before changing your diet or beginning a supplement. In rare cases, increasing a nutrient may interfere with a drug's potency or worsen your condition.

In addition, eat more vitamin B-rich foods, such as beef liver, chicken, pork, fortified breads and cereals, whole-grain pastas, legumes, nuts and dark, leafy greens.

To increase your intake of vitamin K, eat kale... collard, turnip or mustard greens... spinach... broccoli... and Swiss chard.

Caution: Do not take vitamin K supplements or eat excessive amounts of vitamin K-rich foods if you take warfarin (Coumadin) or another blood-thinning drug.

For additional B. bifidum, eat more asparagus, garlic and/or onions, which stimulate growth of this friendly bacteria. For L. acidophilus, yogurt containing live cultures is your best food source.

High-Cholesterol Drugs

The most widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering "statins" include atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor) and pravastatin (Pravachol).

Nutrient depleted...

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). All cells require CoQ10 for the proper function of mitochondria (tiny energy-producing structures within the cells). The more energy a cell must produce, the more it depends on CoQ10. That's why cells of the heart, in particular -- because it is constantly beating -- require an abundance of CoQ10.

Unfortunately, statin drugs, which effectively block the production of harmful cholesterol, also prevent CoQ10 production.

Some doctors worry that long-term use of statins may worsen heart failure. Studies have found that patients with chronic heart failure have lower CoQ10 levels, and that CoQ10 supplements may improve their heart condition. Signs of CoQ10 deficiency include fatigue and muscle weakness.

If you are prescribed a statin: Ask your doctor about taking 30 mg to 100 mg of a CoQ10 supplement daily. This nutrient also is available in some foods, including beef, chicken, salmon, oranges and broccoli.


Millions of Americans take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex) and nabumetone (Relafen), to help relieve arthritis and other inflammatory pain.

Nutrient depleted....

Folic acid. Your body needs this water-soluble B vitamin to produce new cells and DNA and to synthesize and utilize proteins.

Several large epidemiological studies have linked low folic acid levels to increased risk for colon, breast and pancreatic cancers.

Heart health is also affected by folic acid. As folic acid levels decline, levels of the amino acid homocysteine rise. Studies suggest that elevated homocysteine can raise the risks for blood clots, heart attack and stroke.

Low folic acid levels may cause loss of appetite, irritability, weakness, shortness of breath, diarrhea, anemia, headaches, heart palpitations and a sore tongue.

If you take an NSAID regularly (daily for at least one to two weeks): Talk to your physician about also taking 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid daily.

You also can get more folic acid by consuming fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, spinach and other leafy greens, peas and beans.


Beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), betaxolol (Betoptic S), carteolol (Cartrol) and labetalol (Normodyne), are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure or glaucoma.

Nutrients depleted...

CoQ10. Not only does CoQ10 appear to improve cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure, studies suggest that it also may prevent second heart attacks and possibly protect against Parkinson's disease.

Melatonin. The hormone melatonin is essential for healthy sleep-wake cycles, and there's some early evidence that it may slow aging.

If you take a beta-blocker: Ask your physician about taking 30 mg to 100 mg of CoQ10 daily... and 1 mg to 3 mg of melatonin nightly, just before bed, if you have trouble sleeping.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as enalapril (Vasotec), benazepril (Lotensin) and ramipril (Altace), as well as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), including candesartan (Atacand) and irbesartan (Avapro), are prescribed for high blood pressure and heart failure, and to help prevent heart attacks in high-risk patients.

Nutrient depleted...

Zinc. Zinc boosts immunity, and some studies have shown that it reduces the duration of cold symptoms.

Zinc also is necessary for wound healing, strong bones and male potency, and it may help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In a recent six-year National Eye Institute study involving 3,600 people with AMD, zinc and antioxidant supplements reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by 25%.

If you take an ACE inhibitor or ARB: Ask your doctor about taking 50 mg to 100 mg of zinc daily and eating more zinc-rich foods, such as oysters, beef, dark-meat chicken, pork tenderloin, yogurt, milk, peas, beans and nuts. If you continue to take zinc indefinitely, do not exceed 50 mg daily.

Important: Many medications combine an ACE inhibitor or ARB with a diuretic -- for example, enalapril and hydrochlorothiazide (Vaseretic) is an ACE inhibitor plus a diuretic... candesartan and hydrochlorothiazide (Atacand HCT) is an ARB plus a diuretic.

If you're taking a combination drug, you'll need to compensate not only for zinc, but also for the electrolytes and nutrients excreted by the diuretic, including potassium, magnesium, thiamine (B-1) and calcium. Ask your doctor for advice.

Diabetes Drugs

People with type 2 diabetes are often prescribed tolazamide (Tolinase), acetohexamide (Dymelor), glimepiride (Amaryl) or glipizide (Glucotrol) -- all sulfonylurea drugs. These medications stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar.

Nutrient depleted...

CoQ10. Diabetes more than doubles your chances of dying from heart disease or stroke -- and low CoQ10 levels exacerbate those risks.

If you're taking a sulfonylurea drug: Ask your doctor about supplementing with 30 mg to 100 mg of CoQ10 daily.

Reflux Drugs

Proton pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec) and rabeprazole (AcipHex), are prescribed for chronic heartburn -- also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- and ulcers.

Nutrient depleted...

Vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is essential for producing red blood cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Deficits may cause fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, diarrhea, tingling in the hands or feet, unsteady gait, nervousness, cognitive changes and even dementia.

Vitamin B-12 is found in red meat, fish, eggs and dairy foods, but our bodies require stomach acid to release the vitamin from these foods. Proton pump inhibitors reduce the production of stomach acid, inhibiting the release and absorption of vitamin B-12.

Iron. Low iron reduces the amount of oxygen your red blood cells can transport to body tissues, leaving you feeling weak and fatigued. A serious iron deficiency results in anemia.

If you take a proton pump inhibitor: Ask your doctor about taking 500 mcg to 1,000 mcg of vitamin B-12 daily and for advice on the best way to increase your iron intake.

Caution: Never take an iron supplement without consulting your physician -- excess iron can accumulate in your major organs and cause severe damage. Most people, however, can safely eat more iron-rich foods, including liver, beef, dark-meat chicken or turkey, legumes and fortified cereals.

Bottom Line/Health interviewed Frederic Vagnini, MD, medical director of the Heart, Diabetes and Weight-Loss Centers of New York and an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, both in New York City. Dr. Vagnini is coauthor of The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications (Broadway).

Friday, May 16, 2008


AMERICAN THEOCRACY, BY KEVIN PHILLIPS: "Home Commentary Table of Contents Preface About the Author Reviews Other Books Buy the Book
'American Theocracy may be the most alarming analysis of where we are and where we may be going to have appeared in many years. It is not without polemic, but unlike many of the more glib and strident political commentaries of recent years, it is extensively researched and frighteningly persuasive...By describing a series of major transformations, by demonstrating the relationships among them, and by discussing them with passionate restraint, Phillips has created a harrowing picture of danger that no American reader will welcome, but that none should ignore.'

The New York Times Book Review, March 19, 2006

'American Theocracy serves as an invaluable resource, given its marshaling of facts and figures, as well as the breadth and depth of its historical analyses... Overall, Phillips’ book is a thoughtful and somber jeremiad, written throughout with a graceful wryness...a capstone to his life’s work.'

Chicago Sun-Times, March 12, 2006

"Phillips makes a very interesting argument that the old North-South split in this country is far deeper and more ingrained than most people realize, and that one way of looking at American politics today is to say that the South managed the aftermath of its defeat in 1865 that it is now the dominant section of the country."

Baltimore Sun, March 12, 2006

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bush Signs Bill To Take All Newborns’ DNA

Bush Signs Bill To Take All Newborns' DNA

Steve Watson
Friday, May 2, 2008

President Bush last week signed into law a bill which will see the federal government begin to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the U.S. within six months, a move critics have described as the first step towards the establishment of a national DNA database.

Described as a "national contingency plan" the justification for the new law S. 1858, known as The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, is that it represents preparation for any sort of "public health emergency."

The bill states that the federal government should "continue to carry out, coordinate, and expand research in newborn screening" and "maintain a central clearing house of current information on newborn screening… ensuring that the clearing house is available on the Internet and is updated at least quarterly".

Sections of the bill also make it clear that DNA may be used in genetic experiments and tests.

Read the full bill here.

One health care expert and prominent critic of DNA screening is Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care who has written a detailed analysis (PDF) of the new law in which she warns that it represents the first program of populationwide genetic testing.

Brase states that S.1858 and H.R. 3825, the House version of the bill, will:

• Establish a national list of genetic conditions for which newborns and children are to be tested.

• Establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide.

• Build surveillance systems for tracking the health status and health outcomes of individuals diagnosed at birth with a genetic defect or trait.

• Use the newborn screening program as an opportunity for government agencies to identify, list, and study "secondary conditions" of individuals and their families.

• Subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent.

"Soon, under this bill, the DNA of all citizens will be housed in government genomic biobanks and considered governmental property for government research," Brase writes .

"The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned
by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research."
"The public is clueless. S. 1858 imposes a federal agenda of DNA databanking and population-wide genetic research. It does not require consent and there are no requirements to fully inform parents about the warehousing of their child's DNA for the purpose of genetic research."

In a previous report we outlined the consequences of the already existing DNA warehousing operation in Minnesota, a program that the Citizens' Council on Health Care has been following closely for a number of years.

Ms. Brase explained in a statement last month that state Health Department officials are now seeking exemption for the so called "DNA Warehouse" from Minnesota privacy law. This would enable state officials to continue to take the DNA of newborn infants without consent, which would also set the precedent for nationwide policy on DNA screening.

DNA of newborns has already been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with nationwide.

The National Conference of State Legislatures lists for all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the various statutes or regulatory provisions under which newborns' DNA is already being collected.

In addition, all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 merely establishes this practice within the law.

Another vocal critic of bill S. 1858 is Texas Congressman Ron Paul who made the following comments before the U.S. House of Representatives:

"I cannot support legislation, no matter how much I sympathize with the legislation's stated goals, that exceed the Constitutional limitations on federal power or in any way threatens the liberty of the American people. Since S. 1858 violates the Constitution, and may have untended consequences that will weaken the American health care system and further erode medical privacy, I must oppose it."

Paul, a medical doctor himself continued, "S. 1858 gives the federal bureaucracy the authority to develop a model newborn screening program. Madame Speaker the federal government lacks both the constitutional authority and the competence to develop a newborn screening program adequate for a nation as large and diverse as the United States. …"

"Those of us in the medical profession should be particularly concerned about policies allowing government officials and state-favored interests to access our medical records without our consent … My review of S. 1858 indicates the drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children," Paul continued.

"In fact, by directing federal bureaucrats to create a contingency plan for newborn screening in the event of a 'public health' disaster, this bill may lead to further erosions of medical privacy. As recent history so eloquently illustrates, politicians are more than willing to take, and people are more than willing to cede, liberty during times of 'emergency," he concluded.

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Mayo Clinic's Top 10 Complementary Therapies

Mayo Clinic's Top 10 Complementary Therapies

Amit Sood, MD
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

D ozens of US hospitals and major medical centers now offer complementary treatments in addition to conventional medical care* -- and some of these therapies are covered by health insurance.

Problem: With so many conflicting claims being made regarding complementary therapies, how do doctors at these institutions decide which to recommend to the patients they treat? At the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, the following four criteria are used...

Is it safe? If a complementary treatment is completely safe, then it may be worth trying, even if its effectiveness has not been proven definitively by scientific studies.

Is it standardized? Herbs and dietary supplements are subject to limited regulatory oversight by the FDA. Therefore, these products frequently are not standardized to contain a consistent level of ingredients, potency and purity. Some herbs and dietary supplements do provide benefits, but you should work closely with a knowledgeable doctor when using them.

Does it meet a need that cannot be met by conventional medicine? When it comes to stress, for example, conventional medicine includes treatments, such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, that potentially can help people. But such medications often have side effects and may not be suitable for long-term use. Complementary therapies, such as yoga, massage and meditation, can help relieve stress without the risk for serious side effects.

Does it positively affect not only patients, but also those with whom they interact? The calming influence of several complementary treatments, such as meditation and music therapy, promotes a feeling of relaxation and well-being that helps bring harmony to one's interactions with family and friends. Positive, supportive relationships, in turn, are believed to help speed recovery from many types of illness.

Here is an alphabetical listing of Mayo Clinic's top 10 complementary treatments -- and the research that supports their use...

1. Acupuncture. In this treatment from traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncturists insert thin needles into strategic, energy-balancing points on the body. Acupuncture can prevent and treat nausea and vomiting and help relieve many types of pain, including that from osteoarthritis, low back pain, neck pain, headaches and postsurgical pain. Patients who receive acupuncture typically receive up to 12 treatments, usually given once or twice a week.

Standout scientific evidence: German researchers tracked more than 3,000 patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis and found that those receiving acupuncture experienced significantly more pain relief than those who did not receive acupuncture treatments.

2. Guided imagery. Patients imagine a beautiful, soothing environment, such as a warm beach. Guided imagery, also referred to as visualization, helps reduce anxiety in patients who become claustrophobic during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, who are having outpatient surgery without general anesthesia or who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, such as cancer.

Standout scientific evidence: In a study conducted at the University of Akron in Ohio, a group of 53 women receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer either listened to guided imagery tapes once a day or did not. The women listening to the tapes felt more comfortable and less anxious, particularly during the first three weeks of treatment.

3. Hypnosis. The patient is led into a state of deep relaxation and focused attention by either a hypnotherapist or an instructional audio (self-hypnosis), and verbal suggestions are made to help relieve anxiety, pain, tension headaches and insomnia.

Standout scientific evidence: Doctors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City analyzed 20 studies on hypnosis and surgical patients. In 89% of cases, surgical patients who were hypnotized had less pain, used less pain medication and recovered faster.

4. Massage. A massage therapist manipulates the body's soft tissue -- muscle, skin and tendons -- using fingertips, hands and fists. Massage treats anxiety and low back pain and improves postsurgical healing.

Standout scientific evidence: Studies conducted at the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute show that massage can help relieve back pain and strengthen the immune system in women with breast cancer by increasing levels of natural disease-fighting cells.

5. Meditation. Attention is focused on breathing and/or on a word, phrase or sound (mantra), leading to a more relaxed body and calmer mind. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic use meditation to treat patients with anxiety and high blood pressure and to help people quit smoking without medication.

Standout scientific evidence: An analysis of 20 studies on meditation found that this treatment could help patients cope with epilepsy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, autoimmune disease and anxiety during cancer treatment.

6. Music therapy. Many complementary medical centers employ music therapists. However, you can use music therapy on your own by listening to soothing music or your favorite music.

Standout scientific evidence: At Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, a study of 86 patients recovering from heart surgery showed that those receiving music therapy experienced less anxiety and pain.

7. Spinal manipulation. Practiced by chiropractors, osteopaths (medical doctors whose training allows them to correct structural problems in the musculoskeletal system) and physical therapists, this hands-on technique adjusts the spine to properly align the vertebrae with muscles, joints and nerves. Spinal manipulation is an accepted medical practice for low back pain, but the evidence supporting its use for other medical problems has been somewhat conflicting.

Standout scientific evidence: At the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, a study of 681 patients with low back pain showed that chiropractic care was as effective as medical care, including painkilling drugs, in relieving discomfort.

8. Spirituality. For some people, this means religious observance, prayer or faith in a "higher being." For others, spirituality can be found through a deep appreciation of nature or art or participation in a secular community.

Standout scientific evidence: Researchers in Virginia who conducted an analysis of 16 studies on illness and "religious intervention" -- praying or attending religious services -- found that spirituality can decrease the length of hospital stays and fever in patients with severe infections... increase immune function... help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms... reduce anxiety... and improve outcomes in people with heart disease.

9. Tai chi. This gentle exercise, derived from Chinese martial arts, consists of a series of defined postures and movements performed slowly and gracefully. Medically, it is used to improve balance in older people who are prone to falls.

Standout scientific evidence: In a study of 278 elderly people at Vrije University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, those who performed tai chi three times a week for six months had 50% fewer falls and fewer injury-causing falls.

10. Yoga. These stretching postures and breathing exercises, which originated in India, help calm body and mind. Yoga is particularly effective for stress relief, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, anxiety and depression.

Standout scientific evidence: In a study conducted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, 98 people with heart disease or diabetes who practiced the postures and breathing techniques of yoga had significant reductions in total cholesterol and blood sugar.

*To learn more about complementary therapies, go to, the Web site of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

E-mail this Article

Bottom Line/Health interviewed Amit Sood, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and director of research at the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, both in Rochester, Minnesota. He is a contributor to the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine (Time).

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won't ever see

The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won't ever see:

The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won't ever see

By Siv O'Neall

More News

(Axis of Logic) -- The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years. The endless list of genetically modified seeds sold and controlled by Monsanto are putting at enormous risk age-old agricultural patterns under the presumptuous slogan of aiming at solving the huge problem of hunger in the world.

On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, entitled 'The World According to Monsanto' (Le Monde selon Monsanto[1]). Starting from the Internet over a period of three years Robin has collected material for her documentary, going on to numerous interviews with people of very different backgrounds. She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people in influential positions.

As an example of pro-Monsanto interviews, she talked at length with Michael Taylor who has worked as a lawyer for Monsanto and also for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), where he had great influence on the legalization of the genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH). It also became FDA policy during Taylor's tenure that GM seeds are declared to be "substantially equivalent[2] to non-GM seeds, hence proclaiming proof of the harmlessness of GMs to be unnecessary. Michael Taylor[3] is a typical example of technocrats employed via 'the revolving door policy'. He is now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

The gospel according to Monsanto is that their patented GM seeds and their bovine growth hormone (BGH) will increase worldwide production of agricultural, dairy and meat products and Bt cotton to the extent that worldwide hunger and poverty will be eradicated.

The actual truth is rather the opposite. GMOs are creating serious damage all over the world and artificial BGH injection in cows[4] cause numerous health problems, and even death.

Monsanto is not held back by any considerations of ethics and it hides the reality of its sordid machinations behind a wall of secrecy. Everything Monsanto does is exclusively with the intent of increasing its own profit – everything else be damned. If left to its own devices it will most certainly destroy the livelihood of millions of farmers – a process begun a decade ago in India and certainly in many other countries as well[5]. The planet's ecosystems will be seriously threatened by unnatural ways of changing agricultural patterns. The dangers of GMO cultivation to the environment come in many forms:

  • Switching from age-old biodiverse crops that can tolerate low-level amounts of water to industrial monocultures of crops such as GM soya, cotton, sugarcane, etc. that require large amounts of irrigation.

  • Inundating cultivated lands with toxic herbicides, in particular the dangerous Monsanto product Roundup, to which the GMO seeds have been made biotechnically resistant. Any other growth should succumb to Roundup, were it not for the fact that weeds to a very large extent become Roundup resistant.

  • Putting an end to biological farming and poisoning non GM cultures through pollenization from GM crops and accidental exposure to Roundup herbicide.

  • Deforestation to make more land available for the culture of the GM seeds Monsanto sells at high prices to poor farmers.

On top of all these dangers to biodiversity and biological farming comes the fact that Monsanto has patented its products and farmers are legally bound not to save seeds for replanting for the following year. They must buy new seeds from Monsanto every year and the company has a sizeable staff that just deals with prosecuting farmers suspected of illegally using one year's seeds for the planting of the next year's crop.

Globalization and Poverty

Biological farming is adapted to existing ecosystems. But age-old biological farming has had to give room to industrial monocultures that enrich the few and cause poverty and despair for millions of small farmers. Now there is soil erosion, destruction of biodiversity and social/economic disasters in tow. Contrary to Monsanto promises that GM seeds and Roundup would reduce production cost, farmers now have to pay skyrocketing prices for herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer.[6]

The destructive effects of genetically engineered crops are worldwide, but the extensive damage done in India has been widely documented by Dr Vandana Shiva. She is a physicist and environmentalist as well as a tireless activist and author of many books concerning the nefarious consequences of GM farming as opposed to the wisdom of traditional family and biological farming. She is currently based in New Delhi.

Quote from Dr. Vandana Shiva:

"I am writing this statement from beautiful Doon Valley in the Himalaya where the monsoons have arrived, and our Navdanya (Nine Seeds—Our National Movement on Conservation of Biodiversity) team is busy with transplanting of over 300 rice varieties which we are conserving along with the rich diversity of other agricultural crops. Our farm does not use any chemicals or external inputs. It is a self-regenerative system which preserves biodiversity while meeting human needs and needs of farm animals. Our 2 bullocks are the alternative to chemical fertilisers which pollute soil and water as well as to tractors and fossil fuels which pollute the atmosphere and destabilise the climate."[7]

"Economic globalization has become a war against nature and the poor" says Dr. Vandana Shiva.

"Recently I was visiting Bhatinda in Punjab because of an epidemic of farmers’ suicides. Punjab used to be the most prosperous agricultural region in India. Today every farmer is in debt and despair. Vast stretches of land have become waterlogged desert. And, as an old farmer pointed out, even the trees have stopped bearing fruit because heavy use of pesticides has killed the pollinators — the bees and butterflies.

"And Punjab is not alone in experiencing this ecological and social disaster. Last year I was in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, where farmers have also been committing suicide. Farmers who traditionally grew pulses and millets and paddy have been lured by seed companies to buy hybrid cotton seeds referred to as “white gold”, which were supposed to make them millionaires. Instead they became paupers."[8]

In India as well as in China it has been proven that the unscrupulous promises of Monsanto that Bt cotton (genetically engineered cotton) would produce a far higher yield and prove less costly in terms of herbicide and fertilizer required has been the exact opposite of what was promised. Bt cotton increases irrigation and water requirements where biological cotton would thrive without added irrigation. Thus the yield of Bt cotton has been far inferior to that of biological cotton and the costs of production significantly higher.[9]

Disastrous health problems caused by GMO products

In spite of the reassurances from Monsanto and its own lawyers and scientists that GMO cultures and Roundup herbicide are not health hazardous, it has been proven in their own research that rats have developed different forms of tumors and other health problems. However, instead of pushing the research further, they put a complete stop to it.

"As farmers know there is a cancer epidemic in America's heartland – partly resulting from exposure to chemicals like Roundup, and partly from ingesting contaminated food and drinking water." (Economic, health & environmental impacts of Roundup-type chemical and Roundup Ready soybeans)

Particularly when Roundup is applied by aerial spraying the risk of drift of the herbicide to close-by crops and trees is considerable. Both trees and nutritious and medicinal herbs have been proven to be killed or producing severely damaged fruit and leaves from the effect of Roundup being sprayed on nearby cultures, by air as well as by ground spraying.

Quote from "New research on the impact of GMOs on health"

"Although some GMOs have been approved and marketed for several years, there was no body of scientific research on their impact on the biology of living organisms. This is partly because animal feeding trials are not required in the current safety approval process for GMOs in the EU or USA. Only now is a body of evidence starting to emerge from a small number of animal feeding trials into the health effects and progress in the new science of epigenetics. This indicates that genetic engineering is much more unpredictable and risky than traditional breeding."[10]

Various health problems from GMO products have been identified, from serious skin problems in humans in Argentina at soya plantations (documented by Marie-Monique Robin in her film – The World According to Monsanto), to allergies in humans as well as tumors, damage to internal organs and internal bleeding in rats fed with genetically engineered potatoes.

From a lack of sufficient research and the fact that many health hazards develop over a long period of time, there is still no complete list of real health hazards to humans caused by GMO products. Monsanto who provides 90% of the world's long list of genetically engineered products[11] (having bought up 50 smaller companies during the last decade) does their business with such complete secrecy that there are still sold-out individuals out there who praise the complete revolution of agriculture achieved by the culture of GMO crops. These corrupt people seem to be totally unaware of the health hazards and the drive to despair and ruin of small farmers caused by GMO products. They seem to still believe that genetically engineered seeds can save the world's food problems. Or worse yet, they don't care.

A high representative for Monsanto has openly admitted that "We want to control the world's food supply."[12] It is also very clear that they have no concern for health hazards or human disasters caused by the callous decisions of world leaders to give up on biological farming and opt for genetically engineered food production and monoculture industrial farming.

The proofs that GM huge industrial monocultures and Roundup herbicide are destroying the earth's environment and human health are completely censured and ignored, due to intense lobbying and pressure from sold-out individuals at the United States Department of Agriculture and the Federal Drug Administration.

Once again, only corporate profit counts and people as well as the environment are of no importance. And the neocon puppets are playing the game with great gusto.

[1] Also entitled 'Monsanto, une enterprise qui vous veut du bien' (Monsanto, a company that wants the very best for you.) Monsanto is the multinational producer of Agent Orange, dioxin, bovine growth hormone, Round Up and 90% of the world production of GMOs. New movie damns Monsanto's deadly sins See also: Le Monde selon Monsanto

[2] [Michael Taylor] Attorney for Monsanto who rewrote the "regulations" for Genetically Modified foods. His brilliant addition is the "substantial equivalence" measure which says if the nutrition measures are the same for the GMO as the natural food it is nobody's business what the chemical companies add.

[3] Michael Taylor, former legal advisor to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Bureau of Medical Devices and Bureau of Foods, later executive assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA - still later a partner at the law firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company - still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United States Food and Drug Administration - and later with the law firm of King & Spaulding - now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

[4] Reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson Blow Whistle On News Station - Florida Milk Supply Riddled with Artificial Hormone Linked to Cancer. They Were Ordered to Lie About it on Fox-TV.

[5]1997 witnessed the first emergence of farm suicides in India. A rapid increase in indebtedness, was at the root of farmers taking their lives. Debt is a reflection of a negative economy, a loosing economy. Two factors have transformed the positive economy of agriculture into a negative economy for peasants - the rising costs of production and the falling prices of farm commodities. Both these factors are rooted in the policies of trade liberalization and corporate globalisation. (Vandana Shiva)

[6] The shift from farm-saved seed to corporate monopolies of the seed supply is also a shift from biodiversity to monocultures in agriculture. The District of Warangal in Andhra Pradesh (India) used to grow diverse legumes, millets, and oilseeds. Seed monopolies created crop monocultures of cotton, leading to disappearance of millions of products of nature's evolution and farmer's breeding. Monocultures and uniformity increase the risks of crop failure as diverse seeds adapted to diverse ecosystems are replaced by rushed introduction of unadapted and often untested seeds into the market. When Monsanto first introduced Bt Cotton in India in 2002, the farmers lost Rs. 1 billion due to crop failure. Instead of 1,500 Kg / acre as promised by the company, the harvest was as low as 200 kg. Instead of increased incomes of Rs. 10,000 / acre, farmers ran into losses of Rs. 6400 / acre. (Vandana Shiva)

[7] Monocultures, monopolies, myths and the masculinisation of

agriculture - Statement by Dr. Vandana Shiva

[8] Indian Agrarian Crisis

[9] "Several studies have shown Bt cotton yields to be substantially lower than non-Bt varieties." Has the Bt cotton bubble burst? (Devinder Sharma)

[10] New research on the impact of GMOs on health

[11] New movie damns Monsanto's deadly sins

[12] Greenpeace researcher uncovers chilling patent plans. One way or another, Monsanto wants to make sure no food is grown that they don't own -- and the record shows they don't care if it's safe for the environment or not. (Direct quote in Marie-Marianne Robin's documentary)

Siv O’Neall is an Axis of Logic columnist, based in France. She can be reached at

On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, entitled 'The World According to Monsanto' (Le Monde selon Monsanto[1]). Starting from the Internet over a period of three years Robin has collected material for her documentary, going on to numerous interviews with people of very different backgrounds. She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people in influential positions."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cloned Food Is Frankenstein Food

Cloned Food Is Frankenstein Food

I was shocked when I read, in January of this year, that an FDA report says that food products from cloned cows, goats and pigs are as safe as those from traditionally bred animals, basically paving the way for their milk and meat to enter our food supply. Not only did the FDA say products from cloned animals or their offspring are as safe as others, they also stated that, because the products are "virtually" the same, cloned-animal products wouldn't require special labels to identify them as such. Weird, right? It's exactly how I felt. But I thought perhaps I was missing something so I decided to learn more about the cloning process. It didn't make me feel reassured at all. Here's what I found out...


The cloning process sounds straightforward: You remove the nucleus from an egg cell, replace it with a nucleus with DNA from the animal to be cloned, give this new cell a tiny electric shock to kick-start it into dividing, and then implant it into a surrogate mother who will carry the clone embryo. The end result is supposed to be a genetic replica of the original DNA donor animal -- beneficial for farmers or ranchers who want to reproduce a particularly high-yield milk cow or beef steer. The process seems like an easy way to ensure product quality, right?

Not even close. While easy to describe, cloning is hard to do successfully. At present, 90% or more of cloning attempts fail. And then at least 50% of those that do survive suffer from what's called "large-offspring syndrome," which is exactly what it sounds like -- the babies are unusually large, and may also have bigger-than-normal organs. These newborns can suffer from a host of ailments, from enlarged tongues and brain abnormalities to immune diseases and diabetes. Though some cloned animals can lead "normal" lives, the gestation and birth process is extremely stressful (occasionally even fatal) for the mother as well as the clone. "This isn't just a food safety issue," says Rebecca Spector, west coast director of The Center for Food Safety. "It's an animal welfare issue."


However, the biggest concern, by far, lies in what we don't know about the safety of foods from cloned animals -- mostly because we don't know what we don't know.

Michael Hansen, PhD, a senior scientist with Consumers Union (, has publicly voiced concern that it's possible that food from cloned offspring will have safety problems that haven't yet been considered. With the implantation of a cell nucleus into another cell, for example, it is conceivable that cells in clones contain mitochondria from two different animals -- a condition known as heteroplasmy. This doesn't occur in traditionally bred animals. Also, given that cloning costs $15,000 or so per animal, it's actually the offspring of the clones that are likely to make it to market as meat. Dr. Hansen has noted that little study has been done on these next generation clones. Who knows whether they are safe for human consumption?

There are definitely reasons to be concerned about cloned foods for the simple fact that they haven't been studied enough to be deemed safe. The long-term implications are unknown. And, really, who's asking for clones? Not consumers -- we're not facing a meat or milk shortage. A Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology survey found that 64% of people are uncomfortable with animal cloning. Not likely many ranchers either -- why would they be eager to pay large sums for genetically questionable animals? I suspect that biotech firms are pushing to advance this technology -- which is not who I want in control of my food.


So, the question becomes: What do we do about it? First off, let's push for labeling. Though the FDA's report has essentially stated that it's unnecessary, at least nine states have introduced bills that would require some sort of labeling for foods from clones. I urge everyone who reads Daily Health News to contact their state representatives about this issue -- ask what they're doing about the labeling of cloned food. E-mail this story to make them aware of the potential problems. Granted, it's a long shot -- the labeling issue seems to be on the back burner in even the states looking at the issue -- but it's a start.

Beyond that, one good thing to know is that foods labeled as "organic" aren't allowed to contain any products from cloned animals. Small, local farmers are unlikely to use clones -- by supporting them, you're eating healthier while supporting a local business.


Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director, The Center for Food Safety, San Francisco.

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