Document 3319

October 7 – 13, 2010
The Epoch Times
Carbon nanotubes
may cause cancer
Genetically engineered salmon eat five times as much as wild salmon and have fewer predators. If they escape from a fish farm, it could harm the ecosystem. roar
greipsland/afp/getty images
Has the FDA already decided about genetically engineered salmon?
The day after the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) held
hearings about whether AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS) should be
approved, it held hearings about
how the genetically engineered
(GE) salmon should be labelled,
even though it said it had not yet
decided about approval.
Unfortunately, its invited speakers didn’t get the memo.
Presenting to the Veterinary
Medicine Advisory Committee
(VMAC) on Monday, Yonathan
Zohar, from the Center of Marine
Biotechnology at the University of
Maryland, extolled the “promise”
of aquaculture and bashed Greenpeace and other groups that are
against growing “fish in cages.”
Alison Van Eenennaam, with
the Department of Animal Science at University of CaliforniaDavis, declared during labelling
hearings that GE salmon “poses
no additional risk,” criticized the
New York Times’ AAS coverage,
and laughed at peanut-allergy labels. She also served on the veterinary committee advising the FDA
the previous day.
AAS was created by inserting the
coding sequence from a Chinook
salmon growth-hormone gene,
under control of an ocean-pout
gene, into wild Atlantic salmon.
The resulting fish grows twice
as fast as wild Atlantic salmon,
reaching its full size in 18 months
instead of three years.
Though the fish, all female, are
95 to 99 percent sterile, Bostonbased Aqua Bounty Technologies
(ABT), its developer, says eggs will
be grown on Prince Edward Island
in Canada and adults in Panama
because the respective marine environments discourage survival of
The FDA has approved GE
crops, genetically modified bovine
growth hormone (BGH) used in
milk and, last year, a goat with
human genes to create a bloodclotting drug.
AAS is the first GE animal whose
flesh will actually be eaten.
Because the AAS is affected by a
“transformation event” and the injected DNA “imparts traits” to the
animal, the salmon’s application
is actually being treated as a “new
animal drug approval,” hence a vet
Some say the public health orientation of the new top two at FDA,
commissioner Margaret Hamburg
and deputy commissioner Joshua
Sharfstein, will spell a harsher climate for genetically engineered
foods. The public is also becoming
less GE friendly and rejected BGH
in milk in 2006, 13 years after it
received FDA approval.
But FDA staffers who spoke
at the hearings read right out of
ABT’s playbook, creating distinctions between “risk,” “hazard,”
and “harm” that made the fish
appear safer ( Ice is
only a risk if you slip on it, they
pointed out.
FDA staffers also said the
AAS had minimal impact on the
“human environment” until the
advisory committee asked what
other environment [would be affected], whereupon the term was
FDA’s Eric Silberhorn itemized ABT’s redundant safety systems to prevent the escape of GE
salmon—screens, floor drains,
chemical containment, chlorine,
nets—as written in the sponsor’s
environmental assessment, prepared for the FDA, and bringing
to mind BP.
Why does the government
present industry data on behalf
of industry, some in the audience asked, and why is industry
called the “sponsor” instead of
AAS were also said to be less
“fit” if they escape though no one
quoted the part of ABT’s environmental assessment report that
says the salmon eat five times as
much as wild salmon and have
less fear of predators. (See “Jurassic Park.”)
The risk of bootleg AAS surfacing in unregulated Asian operations, even returning as imports
like a “transgenic shrimp” Silberhorn says is reported in U.S. food,
would be handled with the labelling, control, and inspection given
any U.S. drug, said staffers.
Of course other nations, like
Canada and Panama, are “sovereign” and not bound by our laws,
added FDA’s Larisa Rudenko.
Next week: Part 2, more on genetically engineered salmon.
Martha Rosenberg is a journalist
who lives in Chicago.
How lectins
affect health
“Are you aware that lectins can affect your health?” I asked a group
of friends.
I wasn’t referring to the hormone
leptin or an Irish Leprechaun. No
one knew I was talking about a type
of protein in food that can trigger
faulty digestion and other chronic
In 1988, one hospital advertised a
“healthy eating” lunch for its staff.
One item contained red kidney beans,
and 31 staff enjoyed this dish. But at
3 p.m. one of the surgeons vomited
while operating. During the next
four hours, 10 more staff suffered
severe vomiting and diarrhea.
What had caused this reaction?
Studies found no pathogenic bacteria
in the food. But the red kidney beans
contained a high concentration of
one type of lectin that adversely affects some people.
It’s been said that good health begins with sound digestion. But Lucretius, the Roman philosopher-poet,
added another pertinent point. “One
man’s food is another man’s poison,”
he said. For instance, one type of lectin, ricin, present in castor beans,
is so potent that a minute amount
causes death. It has been used in espionage as a murder weapon.
Depending on one’s genetic
makeup, other types of lectins either initiate or aggravate problems
such as Crohn’s disease, irritable
Nightshade vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes are very high in lectins and have been known to trigger symptoms
of arthritis.
bowel syndrome, arthritis, lupus,
fibromyalgia, skin problems, food
intolerances, and allergies. Studies
show that dietary lectins also increase polyamine production in the
intestines, causing halitosis.
Some lectins enter the general circulation of the body and attach themselves to the bladder, nerves, and
other tissues, which, in susceptible
people, results in an inflammatory
response. Moreover, almost everyone has antibodies to some dietary
lectins. So many food allergies are
actually immune-system reactions
to lectins.
Today there’s a trend to eat lessprocessed grains, which are more
nutritious, but unfortunately they
contain more lectins. Nightshade
vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes are very high in lectins and
have been known to trigger symptoms of arthritis.
The genetic modification of food
has also changed lectin content.
Today’s epidemic of obesity is the
result of many factors. But lectins
have been shown to block certain
digestive hormones, which leads
to an increase in both appetite and
How can people who are suffering from intestinal food intolerance,
joint troubles, arthritis, and chronic
inflammatory conditions decrease
the effects of lectins?
Purchasing organic sprouted-grain
bread (with no added gluten) is the
safest way to get the nutritional benefits of grain with decreased amounts
of lectins because sprouting destroys
lectins. And since lectins are water
soluble, soaking beans and rinsing
them several times before cooking
removes much of the lectin.
Lectins are found in 30 percent of
our food, such as fruits, vegetables,
seafood, and especially grains, beans,
and seeds. They are not destroyed by
stomach acid or enzymes, making
them resistant to digestion.
Obviously, if you know a certain
food is causing problems, avoid it.
Dr. Gifford-Jones is a medical journalist
with a practice in Toronto.
(VOA News)—A Japanese professor
says his former university is trying
to suppress his research showing
that carbon nanotubes, a material
used in everything from skis to cables, may cause cancer.
Put simply, carbon nanotubes
are carbon atoms rolled into microscopic tubes. The tiny needlelike cylinders have strong electrical properties, and they are often
used in transistors or copper
But they look much like asbestos fibre, and former Shinshu University professor Shozo
Koyama says carbon nanotubes
pose similar health risks. Asbestos is linked to a number of deadly
lung diseases.
Koyama says his research shows
that two types of carbon nanotube fibres may cause cancer. He
reached that conclusion after mice
he injected with those carbon fibres developed cancer.
Studies done in Europe and the
United States have also indicated
a similar hazard, although the
severity of the risk is still being
Koyama says he unveiled his
study a few years ago, but Shinshu
University refused to acknowledge
the findings.
His lawyer, Jiro Yamane, told
journalists that this is partly because the university has close ties
with a company that produces carbon nanotubes.
Yamane says public universities in Japan have become increasingly tied to industry, since
the Japanese government passed
a law six years ago encouraging
their schools to become more financially independent.
Yamane said a tight budget cut
government funding and universities have tried to fill that void
by forming close ties with various
The carbon nanotubes in question were developed by another
Shinshu University professor.
But that professor and the university dismiss Koyama’s findings. Last year, the university cut
Koyama’s access to his research
facilities. A few months ago, the
university fired the professor, citing issues with “sexual and power
This points to a dangerous trend
in Japan, said Yamane, adding that
universities are too focused on promoting and nurturing industry at
all costs.
Koyama says companies that
make carbon nanotubes have a responsibility to stop producing what
he says are harmful products.
Eating fish reduces
prostate cancer death risk
causality—in this case, that eating
fish causes a reduced risk of prostate
cancer. However, if the link does turn
out to be causal, how might eating fish
exert its protective effect?
Some species of fish (oily fish, such
as mackerel, herring, sardines, trout,
and salmon) contain an abundance of
omega-3 fats, principally in the form of
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
As the authors of the review point
out, these fats have anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is a potential underlying factor in the development of cancer,
along with other pathogenic processes
such as cell proliferation and angiogenesis, the production of new blood
vessels that can feed cancer cells.
The authors also point to research
that has found that in animal studies,
omega-3 fats reduce the progression of
cancer cells.
We don’t have all the answers regarding omega-3 fats and cancer, including
prostate cancer. However, the fact that
omega-3 fats have known anti-inflammatory effects helps explain their links
with not just a reduced risk of cancer
but also a reduced risk of other conditions, including heart disease and
Another nutritional tactic worth
considering to quell inflammation is
to cut back on carbohydrates, which
tend to disrupt blood sugar and insulin levels.
Prostate cancer is the most common
form of cancer in men in the Western
Many of these cancers are slowgrowing and are not fatal. Many men
will die from prostate cancer that
never showed itself when they were
alive. However, prostate cancer does
kill with enough frequency to take this
condition very seriously.
Some men may want to do what they
can to reduce the risk of developing
this condition and ultimately succumbing to it.
A study published on Sept. 15 in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
assessed the relationship between one
dietary factor—eating fish—and prostate cancer risk.
There has been previous evidence
linking higher fish consumption with
lower prostate cancer risk. This latest
study was a meta-analysis, a collection
of available data from more than one
This review of the evidence did not
find an association between fish consumption and risk of prostate cancer.
However, it did find that higher fish
consumption was associated with a
reduced risk of death from prostate
cancer. Overall, the protective effect
associated with fish consumption was
63 percent (a lot).
This finding is interesting and potentially relevant, as one could argue
that where prostate cancer is concerned, it is more important to reduce Dr. John Briffa is a London-based physithe risk of death rather than reduce the cian and author with an interest in nutriincidence of this cancer.
tion and natural medicine. His website
As mentioned above, a significant is
percentage of men
will get the disease
but not die from
it. The suggestion
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is that higher fish
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