Pathway by which Glyphosate Wrecks Health.


The more we learn about genetically engineered (GE) foods, the clearer the dangers become. I’ve warned you of the potential dangers of GE foods for many years now, as I was convinced that the artificial combining of plants with genes from wildly different kingdoms is bound to cause problems.

As the years roll on, such suspicions are becoming increasingly validated. In recent weeks, we’ve not only learned that GE corn is in no way comparable to natural corn in terms of nutrition, we’re also discovering the ramifications of dousing our crops with large amounts of glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup.

GE crops are far more contaminated with glyphosate than conventional crops, courtesy of the fact that they’re engineered to withstand extremely high levels of Roundup without perishing along with the weed.

A new peer-reviewed report authored by Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant, and a long time contributor to the Vital Votes Forum and Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has fortunately received quite a bit of mainstream media attention.

Their findings, along with the development of another breed of “gene silencing” crops, makes the need for labeling all the more urgent, and the advice to buy certified organic all the more valid.

How Glyphosate Worsens Modern Diseases

While Monsanto insists that Roundup is safe and “minimally toxic” to humans, Samsel and Seneff’s research tells a different story altogether. Their report, published in the journal Entropy,1 argues that glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar, corn, soy and wheat, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.” According to the authors:

“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”

The main finding of the report is that glyphosate inhibits cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, a large and diverse group of enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances. This, the authors state, is “an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals.”

One of the functions of CYP enzymes is to detoxify xenobiotics—chemical compounds found in a living organism that are not normally produced or consumed by the organism in question. By limiting the ability of these enzymes to detoxify foreign chemical compounds, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of those chemicals and environmental toxins you may be exposed to.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff has been conducting research at MIT for over three decades. She also has an undergraduate degree in biology from MIT and a minor in food and nutrition, and I have previously interviewed her about her groundbreaking insights into the critical importance of sulfur in human health. Not surprisingly, this latest research also touches on sulfur, and how it is affected by glyphosate from food.

“Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport,” the authors write.

“Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the ‘textbook example’ of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.”

The Link Between Your Gut and the Toxicity of Glyphosate

The impact of gut bacteria on your health is becoming increasingly more well-understood and widely known. And here, we see how your gut bacteria once again play a crucial role in explaining why and how glyphosate causes health problems in both animals and humans. The authors explain:

“Glyphosate’s claimed mechanism of action in plants is the disruption of the shikimate pathway, which is involved with the synthesis of the essential aromatic amino acids, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans or to any mammals because the shikimate pathway is absent in all animals.

However, this pathway is present in gut bacteria, which play an important and heretofore largely overlooked role in human physiology through an integrated biosemiotic relationship with the human host. In addition to aiding digestion, the gut microbiota synthesize vitamins, detoxify xenobiotics, and participitate in immune system homeostasis and gastrointestinal tract permeability. Furthermore, dietary factors modulate the microbial composition of the gut.”

As noted in the report, incidences of inflammatory bowel diseases and food allergies have substantially increased over the past decade. According to a recent CDC survey, one in 20 children now suffer from food allergies2 — a 50 percent increase from the late 1990’s. Incidence of eczema and other skin allergies have risen by 69 percent and now affect one in eight kids. Samsel and Seneff argue it is reasonable to suspect that glyphosate’s impact on gut bacteria may be contributing to these diseases and conditions. They point out that:

“…Our systematic search of the literature has led us to the realization that many of the health problems that appear to be associated with a Western diet could be explained by biological disruptions that have already been attributed to glyphosate.

These include digestive issues, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases, and cancer, among others. While many other environmental toxins obviously also contribute to these diseases and conditions, we believe that glyphosate may be the most significant environmental toxin, mainly because it is pervasive and it is often handled carelessly due to its perceived nontoxicity.

[T]he recent alarming increase in all of these health issues can be traced back to a combination of gut dysbiosis, impaired sulfate transport, and suppression of the activity of the various members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family of enzymes.”

Former Navy Scientist Exposes Health Hazards of Glyphosate

Former US Navy staff scientist Dr. Nancy Swanson has a Ph.D. in physics, holds five US patents and has authored more than 30 scientific papers and two books on women in science. Ten years ago, she became seriously ill, and in her journey to regain her health she turned to organic foods. Not surprisingly (for those in the know) her symptoms dramatically improved. This prompted her to start investigating genetically engineered foods.

She has meticulously collected statistics on glyphosate usage and various diseases and conditions, including autism. A more perfect match-up between the rise in glyphosate usage and incidence of autism is hard to imagine… To access her published articles and reports, please visit Sustainable Pulse,3 a European website dedicated to exposing the hazards of genetically engineered foods.

According to Dr. Swanson:4

“Prevalence and incidence data show correlations between diseases of the organs and the increase in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the food supply, along with the increase in glyphosate-based herbicide applications. More and more studies have revealed carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting effects of Roundup at lower doses than those authorized for residues found in Genetically Modified Organisms.”

“The endocrine disrupting properties of glyphosate can lead to reproductive problems: infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and sexual development. Fetuses, infants and children are especially susceptible because they are continually experiencing growth and hormonal changes. For optimal growth and development, it is crucial that their hormonal system is functioning properly.

The endocrine disrupting properties also lead to neurological disorders (learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Those most susceptible are children and the elderly.”

Warning! EPA Raises Limits for Allowable Glyphosate Residues

Amazingly, just as more independent reports are emerging confirming the health hazards of glyphosate and GMOs, the Environmental Protection Agency5 (EPA) is proposing to RAISE the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and feed crops! As reported by GM Watch 6:

“The allowed level in teff animal feed will be 100 parts per million (ppm); and in oilseed crops, 40 ppm. Allowed levels in some fruits and vegetables eaten by humans will also rise.”

Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, will get one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The new level for sweet potatoes will be 3 ppm.

“As a comparison, malformations in frog and chicken embryos were documented7 by Prof Andres Carrasco’s team at 2.03 ppm glyphosate, when injected into the embryos,” GM Watch writes.

Yet despite all the evidence, the EPA rule states:

 “EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues.”

Monsanto has in fact petitioned and received approvals for increases in residue levels for several crops. Why? Because the weeds are getting increasingly resistant, requiring farmers to increase the amount of Roundup they have to spray just to keep up with the superweeds created by the excessive use of the chemical in the first place…

The Rise of Superweeds

A recent article in Nature Magazine8 addressed some of the environmental and societal concerns associated with genetically engineered crops. One of them is the rise in crop-destroying superweeds, as weeds develop resistance to glyphosate. This was yet another possibility that was initially pooh-pooh’d by Monsanto. However, truth has a way of eventually becoming self evident, and now glyphosate resistance is becoming so obvious the facts are hardly disguisable. According to the article:

“As late as 2004, the company was publicizing a multi-year study suggesting that rotating crops and chemicals does not help to avert resistance. When applied at Monsanto’s recommended doses, glyphosate killed weeds effectively, and ‘we know that dead weeds will not become resistant,’ said Rick Cole, now Monsanto’s technical lead of weed management, in a trade-journal advertisement at the time.

The study,9 published in 2007, was criticized by scientists for using plots so small that the chances of resistance developing were very low, no matter what the practice.

Glyphosate-resistant weeds have now been found in 18 countries worldwide, with significant impacts in Brazil, Australia, Argentina and Paraguay… And Monsanto has changed its stance on glyphosate use, now recommending that farmers use a mix of chemical products and ploughing. But the company stops short of acknowledging a role in creating the problem…

To offer farmers new weed-control strategies, Monsanto and other biotechnology companies, such as Dow AgroSciences, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, are developing new herbicide-resistant crops that work with different chemicals, which they expect to commercialize within a few years.”

What the author fails to mention is that some of these new herbicide-resistant crops are being designed to withstand chemicals that could be even more destructive, both environmentally and with regards to human health—especially in light of Samsel and Seneff’s new research.

For example, Dow AgroSciences has developed a new generation of genetically modified (GM) crops — soybeans, corn and cotton — designed to resist a major ingredient in Agent Orange, the herbicide called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).

The use of 2,4-D is not new; it’s actually one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. What is new is that farmers will now “carpet bomb” staple food crops like soy and corn with this chemical at a previously unprecedented scale—just the way glyphosate has been indiscriminately applied as a result of Roundup Ready crops. In fact, if 2,4-D resistant crops receive approval and eventually come to replace Monsanto’s failing Roundup-resistant crops as Dow intends, it is likely that billions of pounds will be needed, on top of the already insane levels of Roundup being used (1.6 billion lbs were used in 2007 in the US alone).

Gene Transfer Hazards, and the Latest ‘Gene Silencing’ Crops

Nature Magazine also discusses the spread of transgenes to wild crops. Mexico in particular has reported the spread of GE corn despite the fact that GE crops are not approved for commercial planting in Mexico. It is believed that the transgenes originated in corn imported from the US, and that local farmers may have planted some of the corn originally purchased for consumption, not realizing they were genetically engineered.

Cross-breeding between native and GE varieties may have allowed for the continued spread of transgenic DNA. Sadly, once present, it’s virtually impossible to get rid of these transgenes, which means that native species may eventually be eliminated entirely—a fate that cuts deep into the heart of the Mexican people, where corn is considered sacred.

Latest Breed of GE Crops Can Silence Your Genes… What Then?

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has developed a type of genetically engineered (GE) wheat that may silence human genes, which could have truly disastrous health consequences.

Last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on the wheat, which unequivocally showed that molecules created in the wheat, intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, can match human genes and potentially silence them. Heinemann’s research revealed over 770 pages of potential matches between two genes in the GE wheat and the human genome. Over a dozen matches were “extensive and identical and sufficient to cause silencing in experimental systems,” he said.

Experts warned that eating this GE wheat could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults. Yet despite the seriousness of these findings, regulators are ignoring and dismissing such warnings. According to the Institute of Science in Society,10 the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved at least five such GE food products already.

Rather than using in vitro DNA modification (which is how Roundup Ready and Bt crops are created), this new breed of genetically engineered crops use a wholly different approach. In vitro DNA modification results in the creation of a new protein, but this new breed is designed to change their RNA content, thereby regulating gene expression within the plant. RNA is one of three major macromolecules, like DNA. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is responsible for regulating more than one-third of human genes. By engineering the plant to produce dsRNA, the plant can be “instructed” to silence specific genes—within itself, and potentially within your body…

A Global Experiment Based on Faulty Assumptions is Bound to Take its Toll…

It is assumed that both DNA and RNA are broken down in your gut when you consume them in GE food, which is why they both have GRAS status (Generally Regarded as Safe). However, experiments dating back to the early 1990’s have contradicted this assumption.11 According to Dr. Mae Wan-Ho12 (for references, see the original article):

“There have been many publications documenting the ability of DNA to survive digestion in the gut and to pass into the bloodstream whenever investigations were carried out with sufficiently sensitive detection methods. DsRNA in particular, is much more stable than single stranded RNA. DsRNA produced in genetically modified plants survive intact after passing through the gut of insects and worms feeding on the plants.

Also, oral exposure of insect pests to dsRNA was effective in inducing RNA interference. Worms can even absorb dsRNA suspended in liquid through their skin, and when taken in, the dsRNA can circulate throughout the body and alter gene expression in the animal. In some cases the dsRNA taken up is further multiplied or induces a secondary reaction resulting in more and different secondary dsRNA with unpredictable targets. Thus, not only are dsRNA mechanisms universal to all plants and animals, there is already experimental evidence that they can act across kingdoms.”

Dr. Mae Wan-Ho also points out research from China, which has demonstrated that dsRNAs can survive digestion and be taken up via the gastrointestinal tract, and that microRNA (miRNA) from food can circulate in the human blood stream and have the potential to turn off human genes.

“The data also indicated that some dsRNAs from plants are found more frequently than predicted from their level of expression in plants; in other words, there may be a selective retention or uptake of some miRNA molecules,” she writes.

Most Consumers Still Unaware of GMO Risks

The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, is increasing their propaganda efforts to reshape their public image, and sway your opinion against the need to label genetically engineered foods. As The Atlantic recently reported.13

“Given its opposition to the labeling of GM foods… it seems clear that Monsanto wants you to close your eyes, open your mouth, and swallow.”

Indeed, many consumers are still in the dark about the very real risks that GE crops pose, both to the environment and human health. This is precisely what the biotech industry wants, even as increasing research demonstrates the many dangers associated with GE foods. For example, one recent study found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems. This was at dietary amounts of about 10 percent. Does 10 percent or more of your diet consist of genetically engineered ingredients? If processed foods form the basis of your diet, then you’re likely consuming FAR MORE genetically modified organisms (GMOs) than that…

Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure how many items in your fridge and pantry might contain GMO since the US does not require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. With the emergence of “gene silencing” crops and the latest findings from Samsel and Seneff, the need for labeling couldn’t possibly be greater.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.

  • No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
  • If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
  • For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
  • Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.


Uganda: Immunization — Parents to Face Arrest.


Story at-a-glance

  • Ugandan President Museveni issued a warning that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children will be punished severely, and the decision treated as a crime
  • In the US, children have been barred from attending public education institutions and adults have been fired from their jobs for choosing to avoid vaccination
  • The real issue surrounding vaccine mandates is not one of public health; it’s one of money, power and an assault on your freedom
  • You have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of pharmaceutical products – like vaccines – and be allowed to make a fully conscious choice about whether or not you decide to take the risk, without being punished for it – but this right is increasingly under attack in the US and around the globe

Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children will be punished severely, and the decision treated as a crime, according to a warning issued earlier this month by Ugandan President Museveni.

Speaking at a primary school for the launch of the 10-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV 10), President Museveni said:1

“I’m going to consult with my people on what penalty should be given to parents who do not bring their children for immunization because some are just reluctant to do so.”

Jail Time for Making an Informed Medical Decision for Your Child?

President Museveni’s warning echoes threats being made around the globe, with the “public health police” coming after those who choose not to vaccinate their children, or make other “non-conventional” medical choices for them.

In Uganda, parents may soon face arrest, fines and jail time if they choose not to have their children vaccinated. In the US, children have been barred from attending public education institutions, and adults have been fired from their jobs, and these are just the latest tactics in a coordinated effort aimed at eliminating all vaccine exemptions.

Make no mistake … what’s happening in Uganda could soon be happening in the US, as vaccine choice is increasingly being targeted by public health officials and other vaccine proponents. All 50 states have enacted vaccine laws that require proof children have received a certain number of vaccinations in order to attend daycare, middle school, high school and college.

However, all 50 states currently allow a medical exemption to vaccination (medical exemptions must be approved by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and 17 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination for children attending school. But these exemptions are increasingly under attack.

Is Vaccination Necessary for the Greater Good?

Warnings like the one from President Museveni are often given under the pretense that such enforcement is necessary to protect public health. In the Ugandan case, it was referring to the PCV 10 shot, which is intended to protect children from pneumococcal infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

But the real issue surrounding vaccine mandates is not one of public health; it’s one of money, power and an assault on your freedom.

In the US, for instance, recent outbreaks of pertussis, measles, and mumps have officially been blamed on those who are unvaccinated, even though the diseases have occurred primarily in people who were vaccinated, and no one seems to be able to fully explain how that is the fault of those who are unvaccinated…

If the vaccine theory was correct, these people should have been protected because they were vaccinated. Published studies into the outbreaks have revealed that a lot of the blame should be placed on ineffective vaccines – not on the unvaccinated minority – yet vaccines continue to be pushed as the best way to protect against infectious disease.

Even President Museveni acknowledged that parents need to be boiling drinking water, using clean latrines and eating properly in order to help curb the spread of pneumococcal infections, yet still threatened parents with severe punishment for choosing not to vaccinate, implying that not doing so would put the entire country at risk.

This concept of “herd immunity,” the idea that when the majority of the community is vaccinated against a contagious disease, it offers protection for everyone in the community because there is little opportunity for an outbreak to occur, is widely promoted in the US as well, even though vaccines do not confer the same kind of immunity as being challenged by and overcoming the natural disease.

The science clearly shows that there’s a big difference between naturally acquired herd immunity and vaccine-induced herd immunity, as natural infection typically gives lifelong immunity, while vaccines only confer temporary (and incomplete) protection. Thus, the idea of vaccine-induced herd immunity is seriously flawed because when the vaccine’s protective period wanes, there is no more herd immunity.

In order to eradicate infectious disease from a nation, you need sanitation facilities, toilets, healthy food and clean water, as well as children and a population with healthy immune systems, yet vaccinations are typically touted as the first and best line of defense, while these important basics are largely overlooked.

Vaccinations May Increase Resistant Infection Rates

It’s imperative that your right to informed consent is protected, as the safety and efficacy of taking multiple vaccinations in childhood has never been proven. Instead what we are now seeing is a rise in vaccine-induced diseases.

For instance, certain hard-to-treat bacterial infections in children are on the rise because of the widespread use of antibiotics and the conjugated pneumococcal vaccines2 and a rise in shingles cases in adults has been linked to the chickenpox vaccine.3 The Prevnar pneumococcal vaccine has also been linked to the development of a deadly form of strep bacteria called 19A,4 which has developed super resistance and is spreading.

To put it simply, the widespread use of vaccinations may trigger bacterial adaptations leading to antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases and vaccine-resistant viral diseases. Cases noted in the literature include:

  • Whooping Cough: In Australia, dangerous new strains of whooping cough bacteria were reported in March 2012.5 The vaccine, researchers said, was responsible. The reason for this is because, while whooping cough is primarily attributed toBordetella pertussis infection, it is also caused by another closely related pathogen called B. parapertussis, which the vaccine does NOT protect against.

Two years earlier, scientists at Penn State had already reported that receiving the pertussis vaccine significantly enhanced nasal colonization of B. parapertussis, thereby promoting vaccine-resistant whooping cough outbreaks.6

  • Hepatitis B: In 2007, immunologists discovered mutated vaccine-resistant viruses were causing disease.7
  • Polio: The oral polio vaccine, which is still used in many third-world countries, is made from live polio viruses, and carries a risk of causing polio. The viruses in the vaccine can also mutate or recombine into a deadlier version, igniting new outbreaks.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admits that 154 cases of polio in the US that occurred between 1980 and 1999 were vaccine-associated, or on average 8 cases per year in the US.8

Your Freedom is Under Attack

Informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right. You have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of pharmaceutical products – like vaccines – and be allowed to make a fully conscious choice about whether or not you decide to take the risk, without being punished for it like Ugandan President Museveni is suggesting. More than $2.5 billion dollars has been awarded to children and adults in America who have been seriously injured by vaccines. Yet those rights are increasingly being taken away.

For example, last year health officials in New Mexico changed their vaccine exemption form so that philosophical objections are no longer an option. In Vermont, the legal right to take a vaccine exemption for philosophical beliefs was also threatened with bills promoted by two Vermont legislators, State Senator Kevin Mullin and State Representative George Till.

They joined with the Vermont Health Commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, to lead a crusade to take away philosophical exemption to vaccination but the bills went down in defeat after supporters of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice educated legislators and the public about the need to keep the philosophical exemption from being stripped from Vermont public health laws.

Get Informed Before You Vaccinate

All Americans need to know their options for legally opting-out of vaccinations, and you also need to know why it’s so important to protect this legal option, whether you choose to use every federally recommended vaccine for yourself and your children or not. No matter what vaccination choices you make for yourself or your family, there is a basic human right to be fully informed about all risks and have the ability to refuse to allow substances you consider to be harmful, toxic or poisonous to be forced upon you.

Unfortunately, the public-private business partnership between government health and defense agencies and pharmaceutical corporations manufacturing and marketing vaccines in the US is getting closer and closer. There is some serious discrimination against Americans, who want to be free to exercise their human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking when it comes to making voluntary decisions about which vaccines they and their children use. We cannot allow that happen!

It’s vitally important to know your legal rights and understand your options when it comes to using vaccines and prescription drugs. For example, your doctor is legally obligated to provide you with the CDC Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) sheet and discuss the potential symptoms of side effects of the vaccination(s) you or your child receive BEFORE vaccination takes place. If someone giving a vaccine does not do this, it is a violation of federal law. Furthermore, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 also requires doctors and other vaccine providers to:

  • Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given and the manufacturer’s name and lot number
  • Record serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination in the patient’s permanent medical record
  • File an official report of all serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)

If a vaccine provider fails to inform, record or report, it is a violation of federal law. It’s important to get all the facts before making your decision about vaccination; and to understand that you have the legal right to opt out of using a vaccine that you do not want you or your child to receive. But as mentioned earlier, vaccine exemptions are under attack in a number of states, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to protect the right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions.

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

While it seems “old-fashioned,” the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand your rights under the law to make voluntary vaccine choices, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.


Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact.

Signing up to be a user of NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal at gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen you will be put in touch with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Contact Your Elected Officials

It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect who are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what’s really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the “real life” experiences that you, or people you know, have experienced with vaccination.

Internet Resources

I also encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and death. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or state officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Find a Doctor Who will Listen to Your Concerns

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to punish patients and parents who become truly educated about health and vaccination and want to make vaccine choices instead of being forced to follow risky one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.

If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor (or government official), do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media if you or your child are threatened.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate and connect with a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

Sources and References









Will more science expertise fix the sustainability crisis?


Constant calls for evidence-based policy miss the underlying politics of knowledge, argues analyst Peter Bille Larsen.

Knowledge and science for sustainable development are intimately interlinked. Not only did the very notion of sustainability emerge from the scientific community, a constant flow of scientific reports on burning topics ranging fromclimate change to biodiversity loss also suggests the central role of scientific observation.

But as the sustainability crisis grows, the recent history and practice of this science-policyinterface suggests a difficulty in bridging the two. The question is, what can we learn from this?

Milestone for science input

Forty-five years ago, a pioneering UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) meeting on ‘The scientific basis for the rational use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere’ was a milestone global event bringing more than 300 scientists and policymakers together. It spearheaded the role of science in recommending action to resolve environmental problems.

A quarter of a century later, at the 1992 Rio summit, the Agenda 21 action plan (a non-binding plan for sustainable development) encouraged scientific research that integrates concerns over global population, environment and development with disciplines such as meteorology, hydrology, forestry and soil and plant sciences.

Chapter 31 of the Agenda specifically sought to enable the scientific community “to make a more open and effective contribution to the decision-making processes concerning environment and development”. [1] And it called for greater use of science and independent research.

Since then, international conferences and sustainable policy-oriented research have mushroomed. Scientists are regular authors of policy papers, are members of scientific committees and engage in expert dialogues with policymakers.

This new stage of science-policy mechanisms is here to stay. But, in the meantime, sustainability problems have also expanded and deepened. How are we to make sense of this paradox?

Evidence sidelined 

The outcome document to last year’s Rio+20 conference reiterated the need to “strengthen the science-policy interface”, emphasising “inclusive, evidence-based and transparent scientific assessments”. [2]

This is, perhaps, a polite way of recognising the limited influence that ‘interface outputs’ such as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have had on the outcomes of global policy debates.

Despite constant calls for evidence-based analysis, it is not the lack of evidence or transparent assessments that is behind the indecision of global sustainability politics.

Thoroughly researched reports speak in plain language, yet are often present by name only in final decisions. Technical reports and scientific reviews — from World Heritage evaluations and Red Book data on species loss to climate change scenarios — may cause a stir, but are frequently rejected or simply ignored.

Some might ask what the point is of producing more and better science and technical assessments if they remain stuck in the policy pipelines. It matters, of course — but the path from knowledge to policy action is treacherous.

Constraints on debate 

To get past this problem, researchers need to show, and question, more explicitly the politics of knowledge that frame the interface between science and policy. 

While often presented as neutral platforms for initiating debate, science-policy interfaces are commonly constrained in many ways. They are fundamentally social fields framed by intergovernmental politics.

Consider, for example, the first report from the recently established Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services. [3] Readers will perhaps be surprised to find little substantial text on sustainability science, biodiversity and ecosystem services. They will instead encounter agreements about rules of procedure and working methods along with bracketed text where agreement was not reached. 

Up for negotiation are nominations of experts to join the platform, a decision on who may observe proceedings and the next steps for the initial work programme. State membership and agreed-upon working processes secure political buy-in, but they also reflect a process of ‘intergovernmentalisation’ that enables and constrains the future nature of the debate.

Consider, too, climate sceptics’ virulent attacks against the validity of IPCC reports. One effect of these assaults may have been a tendency, in the public debate, to pigeonhole the science-policy interface as only relating to questions of procedure and data quality.

Questioning methods or the validity of conclusions is, of course, at the heart of scientific debate. But there is much more to the politics of knowledge, ranging from what disciplines and paradigms are considered ‘policy relevant’ to the types and forms of knowledge considered valid inputs.

Changing tactics

Given the string of failures of intergovernmental forums to take science on board, how do we ensure that new interfaces succeed where existing ones have failed?

There is a need to broaden what is considered relevant research, as well as levelling the playing field in terms of who contributes their knowledge. Given the sheer diversity of sustainability challenges, we need to recognise that much relevant knowledge production is found among organisations and communities in forms that may never translate into high-impact peer-reviewed articles.

Transdisciplinary knowledge production, hybrid knowledge products resulting from partnerships between scientists and indigenous knowledge holders, and hands-on research by NGOs are just three examples of thinking outside the box to address contemporary challenges.

Given the scale and complexity of sustainability problems, the development community needs to think creatively and expand the boundaries of the science-policy interface. Inter-governmental platforms are starting points, not ends in themselves.

It is perhaps time to stop merely seeing global sustainability policy negotiations as a string of failures in need of yet another conventional knowledge fix. Bridging the knowledge gap is not merely about debating peer-reviewed science, but also about mobilising research and science more broadly to engage with the deepening challenges of our times.


[1] United Nations Agenda 21 (United Nations, 1992)
[2] United Nations The future we want (United Nations, 2012)
[3] UNEP Report of the first session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (UNEP, 2013)

Source: SciVx


DVD discs double as cheap diagnostic kit for HIV.

  • HIV_Particles_R_Dourmashkin_Wellcome_Images_130507131323537
  • A prototype device uses DVDs to diagnose HIV on the cheap
  • The hope is to have it rolled out as a clinically validated device for a range of diseases within three years
  • But this will require more funding, new partnerships and further research

Researchers have turned conventional DVDs into portable and cheap diagnostic tools for developing countries, and are now adapting their prototype into a workable medical device.

A team led by Aman Russom of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has demonstrated proof-of-concept for the tool by testing for HIV.

Blood samples are loaded into micro-channels on a modified, semi-transparent DVD disc and scanned by a DVD reader, which has been adapted to detect light transmitted through the disc. The image can then be visualised on a computer screen.

Previous attempts to use CDs or DVDs for biological analysis have suffered from low image resolution or issues with malfunctioning discs.

The new ‘Lab-on-DVD’ system has a resolution of one micrometre, opening up the possibility of low-cost analyses of blood cells, DNA, RNA and proteins for medical testing and diagnosis. It can provide immediate results, eliminating the need for rural patients to revisit far-flung laboratories.

Russom, who was born in Eritrea, believes the device could have “a transformative effect” in regions such as his native East Africa, and he hopes to make the system a reality in the next three years.

“In the first year we are going to make the technology robust; in the second we want to apply it to a clinical sample and then we will look at ways to outsource the technology to other partners,” says Russom.

The project is partly funded by the European Commission (EC), and the team is now looking for clinical collaborators “who can make the technology available to patients”, as well as further funding.

Russom says that the EC funding has led to a high-quality biological test, but this must now be validated in the clinic and compared with established laboratory tests.

DVDs and their readers are already produced on a mass scale, meaning that the device would likely cost about US$200, less than one hundredth of the cost of standard tools used in HIV testing such as flow cytometers.

DVDs themselves might be a dying product, but their manufacturing technology is well established and here to stay, according to Russom.

“We’re trying to find a new use for a dying technology … the optics are superb; they have been fine-tuned over the past 30 years,” he says.

Jason Warriner, clinical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, HIV and sexual health charity based in the United Kingdom, agrees: “If you think a model or a system works and there’s low maintenance to it, then you can use it.”

He adds that Lab-on-DVD could be advantageous in resource poor settings but warns that the research is in its infancy and needs “a lot of investment and development”, including assessing its accuracy and making sure the device is appropriate for use in the developing world.

The proof-of-concept study was published online in Lab on a Chip earlier this year.

Source: SciVx


Research topic trends are useful for Africa.




Analysis of scientific trends can help policymakers target limited resources where science and development collide, argues Linda Nordling.

  • A list of trendy research topics undermines the case that global science ignores African interests
  • But the main actors in these areas aren’t African
  • The list can help to identify topics where science and development priorities meet

Last month, Thomson Reuters released a report identifying 100 ‘front lines’ in research. These are topics seeing rapid growth in publications and citations — a measure of scientific activity and importance.

The list contains several topics relevant to Africa, such as assessments of maternal and child health, ocean acidification and the impact of climate change on food crops.

This is good news for African researchers working in these fields, as it might increase the international visibility of — and funding for — their work. But it also highlights important commonalities between the global research agenda and African priorities and challenges.

In Africa, we sometimes believe that global curiosity-driven research — studies driven by researchers’ inquisitiveness rather than political or strategic directives — is at odds with the continent’s development priorities.

Many articles — and I’ve written some of them — argue that Africa’s dependence on international research funding means its own priorities are overlooked.

While there may be a degree of truth to such beliefs, it has led to a culture of isolation among some African science policymakers. These people speak of wresting the scientific agenda away from international trends.

They long for the ‘domestication’ of science in Africa, arguing thatinternationally driven science — aiming for publication in top journals and Nobel prizes rather than to solve real-life problems — won’t improve the lives of ordinary Africans.

False dichotomy

I have always felt wary of this ‘Africanising’ ideology for science and innovation. Research is inherently collaborative, and is becoming more so, bridging national and cultural boundaries.

Making African scientists turn away from these international collaborations, and away from the recognition of their peers in other countries, will only make Africa’s best scientists leave for greener pastures.

If Western science values aren’t contributing to making the developing world a better place to live, I believe the fault doesn’t lie with developing country scientists being lured away from national challenges by international funding priorities.

Rather, it is the failure of local governments, businesses and development efforts to help drive the international science agenda by putting their own resources into relevant research areas. These governments also have a responsibility to take the new knowledge into account, turn it into locally applicable solutions that can then be implemented on the ground.

Led from outside

The Thomson Reuters report is significant because it highlights several trends that argue against the false dichotomy of ‘African’ and ‘international’ science. It shows that curiosity-driven international research can tackle subjects of relevance to developing regions.

But even where research trends are relevant to African problems, the main actors are, still, not African. An example of this is ‘polymer solar cells’ — one of the trendy research areas identified by Thomson Reuters.

Rather than using silicon-based technology, polymer solar cells convert sunlight to electricity using organic polymers. This technology is cheap, durable and environmentally friendly, and could help bring electricity to remote rural areas in developing countries.

The technology has been pursued by a project called the Lighting Africa initiative. This joint project between the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank aims to provide electricity to areas not reached by the national grid.

But the key researchers in the field are not African. They are Danish, led by Frederik Krebs of the Technical University of Denmark. And Australians dominate another trendy subject of high relevance to Africa: ocean acidification caused by burning fossil fuels. This threatens coral reefs in tropical seas with unknown, but potentially significant, effects on fishing and tourism.

Growing influence

However, it is not just countries with established research capacity that drive the trendy subjects. China and South Korea are big producers in the fashionable subject of how climate change will affect food crops. This shows that, as a country’s scientific standing grows, it gets a stronger say over the direction of global research.

This is something that African policymakers should take into account before deciding that international and African research priorities are at odds.

It is easy to blame Western scientific values for science failing to have an impact in developing countries. It is also easy to blame developing country scientists for being blinded by the ‘publish or perish’ imperative, and for failing to make sure their research meets local needs.

But it is difficult to tackle the real challenges: boosting local support for research and making sure to link this with wider development efforts. In a scenario where resources are limited, such as in most developing countries, it might be hard to decide where to target such investments.

However, scientific trend analyses — such as the one provided by Thomson Reuters — can help policymakers identify areas where cutting-edge science and development priorities collide.

These are likely to be crucial areas where their investments might make the most difference. Firstly, to science, by giving national researchers a fair chance to get into an internationally growing field. But it can also make a difference to development, as funding for technology adaptation and engineering skills can help a country make use of fresh technologies in the field.



[1] King, C. and Pendlebury, D.A. Web of knowledge: Research fronts 2013 — 100 top-ranked specialties in the sciences and social sciences (Thomson Reuters, April 2013)

Source: SciVx

Overfishing threatens quarter of key grouper species.


A quarter of grouper fish species face extinction or are near threatened because of overfishing and poor management of coral reef fisheries, and a further 30 per cent are so understudied there is not enough data to assess how threatened they are, according to a study.

Urgent conservation efforts are needed to tackle overexploitation and improve the management of these commercially-important fisheries, according to the study to be published in the June issue of Fish and Fisheries.

Most of the threatened and data-deficient species live in the developing world, where they provide crucial food and incomes, the study finds.

Groupers are found predominantly in the tropics and subtropics and they are estimated to be a multi-billion dollar a year industry, says the study.

Yvonne Sadovy de Mitcheson, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Hong Kong, China, says: “Groupers are caught mainly by local fishermen who sell them to local markets or traders who may export or sell them to big businesses”.

But they are also caught by big industrial fishing boats, which remove them at unsustainable scales, she says.

Global catches of groupers rose by nearly 25 per cent between 1999 and 2009 to 275,000 tonnes a year, according to Food and Agriculture Organization figures in the study.

The studysets out major threats to the world’s 163 grouper species based on existing assessments using International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria.

It shows that 20 species, or 12 per cent of all grouper species, are at risk of extinction if overfishing trends continue, with a further 13 per cent near threatened.

The majority of these threatened species live in the Caribbean Sea, off Brazil and in the Coral Triangle, which consists of marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

For 50 grouper species, there was insufficent data to even evaluate how threatened they are.

The study indicates that, while some management of grouper fisheries exists, challenges remain to ensure their protection and introduce long-term and species-specific monitoring.

“Groupers have slow life cycles, which means that they are among the more vulnerable types of species and easier to overfish than many other species,” Mitcheson says.

“Fishermen need to understand that the seas are not endless,” she says. “Source countries need to manage their reef resources, which are naturally limited and not very productive, with the food security of their people as a top priority.”

If this is impossible, nations could consider banning commercial exports of reef fish, she says.

John Randall, a senior ichthyologist at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Hawaii, says that large-scale fishing by foreign nations causes major problems.

“Most alarming are the large fishing vessels from China — especially Hong Kong — that visit developing countries such as Indonesia to fish, often illegally, for groupers and other large fishes,” he says.

A study published online in Fish and Fisheries in March estimated that China alone underrepresents its overseas fish catch by an order of magnitude, especially in the waters off West Africa.

“The problem of underreporting catches or of illegal catches is very serious,” Mitcheson says, adding that it “undermines our understanding of fishery conditions and affects our ability to
manage fisheries”.


Fish and Fisheries doi: 10.1111/j.14672–979.2011.00455.x (2013)
Fish and Fisheries doi: 10.1111/faf.12032 (2013)

Source: SciVx