Thursday, March 27, 2008
Policing of Scientific Fraud
Before 1980, only a handful of accusations of scientific fraud were ever proven. In 1981, however, following press reports of a "crime wave" of scientific fraud, the U.S. House of Representatives conducted the first-ever congressional hearings on the subject. These hearings revealed a wide gap in perception of the magnitude of the problem. Prominent scientists testified that fraud in science was rare; that individual allegations were best investigated on an ad hoc, case-by-case basis; and that government intrusion into the evaluation of scientific fraud would place bureaucrats in charge of declaring scientific truth. Prominent journalists and other critics, in contrast, testified that many cases of scientific fraud had likely gone undetected; that the scientific system of self-policing responded inadequately to fraud; and that the government's substantial financial investment in basic scientific research necessitated undertaking measures to ensure the integrity of the scientific enterprise.
Congress, siding with the critics, enacted the Health Research Extension Act of 1985. The Act required federally supported research institutions to develop internal procedures for handling allegations of scientific fraud, and also mandated the establishment of a new government agency to receive and respond to such allegations. That agency, the Office of Scientific Integrity, was established in 1989, and was renamed the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in 1992. In 1993, the ORI became part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 1999, the ORI ceased conducting its own fact-finding operations, instead ceding that role to the inspector general of HHS. ORI continues, however, to oversee all scientific fraud investigations. From 1994 to 2000, ORI processed 1,205 allegations of scientific misconduct, and sustained findings of scientific misconduct and/or took administrative action in ninety-five cases.
Fabrication of Data or Physical Evidence
There are several varieties of scientific fraud. Perhaps the most egregious incidents involve "fabrication" or "forgery," for example, situations in which researchers deliberately invent or falsify data, or report results of experiments that were never conducted.
A modern incident of "fabrication" arose in 1981, when Dr. John R. Darsee of Harvard Medical School reported the results of experiments in which dogs with induced myocardial infarction were said to have been injected with experimental heart disease medications. In 1982, however, two investigating committees determined that the reported experiments had never taken place. In a similar case, from 1973 to 1977, Dr. John Long of the Massachusetts General Hospital published several papers in which he claimed to have "subcultured" certain permanent lines of malignant tumor cells taken from patients with Hodgkins disease. In 1980–1981, Dr. Long confessed that these claims were fabricated, and that no such cell subcultures had ever been created.
Occasionally, scientists have gone beyond fabrication of data, and have actually fabricated physical evidence to bolster their fraudulent claims. One infamous example of such possible fakery was perpetrated between 1912 and 1915. Amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson discovered two skulls said to belong to primitive hominoid ancestors of man in the Piltdown quarry in Sussex, England. For decades, the "Piltdown man" was widely accepted by the international scientific community as the "missing link" between human and ape, with the noble brow of Homo sapiens and a primitive jaw. In the 1930s, however, the discoveries in Asia and Africa of other, incompatible hominid fossils cast doubt on the authenticity of the "Piltdown man" skulls. Finally, in 1953, an international congress of paleontologists, relying in part on modern dating technology, pronounced "Piltdown man" a hoax. To this day, however, the identity of the perpetrator(s), whether Dawson or others, remains disputed.
A more recent case involving fabrication of physical evidence involved medical research into skin grafting, a process that can enhance the safety of organ transplantation. During the period from 1967 to 1974, Dr. William A. Summerlin of New York's prestigious Sloan Kettering Institute reported that he had successfully transplanted skin from black mice to genetically distinct white ones. In 1974, however, under pressure from his colleagues, Dr. Summerlin confessed that he had used a black felt-tip pen to darken an area of graft that he had actually transplanted from one white mouse to another. Subsequently, a committee of Sloan Kettering researchers determined that Summerlin had also misrepresented the results of his earlier work on corneal transplantation from human cadavers to rabbits.
Misrepresentation of Experimental Results
More prevalent and more vexing than outright fabrication is the "fudging" or "massaging" of data, in which collected data or mathematical computations are manipulated modestly, so as to make the data appear to conform more closely with the researcher's conclusions. A related offense occurs when researchers "cook" or "finagle" data by reporting only part of their findings, while omitting to report data or experimental results that do not support their conclusions. In one famous example, data may have been "cooked" by Robert A. Millikan, the University of Chicago physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for computing the charge of subatomic particles called electrons. Millikan's computations were based on data that he obtained by charting the movements of oil droplets across electrically charged brass plates. In the 1913 paper that led to his Nobel Prize, Millikan stated that his data "represented all the drops experimented upon." In 1978 and 1981, however, researchers reviewing Millikan's original unpublished notebooks discovered that Millikan had, in fact, failed to report data from 49 of the 140 oil drop observations that he performed, and that the apparent clarity and elegance of his computations were enhanced by the omissions.
By today's standards, omission of data that inexplicably conflicts with other data or with a scientist's proposed interpretation is considered scientific fraud. In Millikan's time, however, scientific measurement technologies were relatively crude, and scientists commonly exercised judgment concerning which of their observations were valid, and which were tainted by laboratory error. In this regard, Millikan's judgment appears in retrospect to have been sound; his exclusion of the forty-nine "bad" data points did indeed enhance the accuracy of his computations of an electron's charge. Millikan's case thus illustrates the inherent difficulty of drawing a line between scientific fraud on the one hand, and the exercise of creative judgment and the force of conviction that remain integral to scientific achievement on the other hand.
The "baltimore Case"
The difficulty in drawing a line between scientific fraud and honest error was illustrated by a prominent controversy involving another Nobel Laureate, the virologist David Baltimore. In 1975, at age thirty-seven, Baltimore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of retroviruses and their means of reproduction. A decade later, while affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Baltimore coauthored a paper that concluded that a mouse's immune system could be altered by injection of a special mouse gene—a finding that raised the possibility of genetic modification of the human immune system. The data analyzed in this paper were derived from laboratory experiments performed on mice by Dr. Thereza Imanishi-Kari, Baltimore's assistant.
In 1985, Dr. Margot O'Toole, a postdoctoral fellow working in Baltimore's laboratory, was assigned to perform additional experiments on mouse genes for a proposed follow-up paper. When O'Toole could not reproduce Imanishi-Kari's original results, however, O'Toole became convinced that Imanishi-Kari's results were "fudged." O'Toole's suspicions seemed to be confirmed when inspection of laboratory notebooks revealed certain discrepancies with the published results. After Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari stood by Imanishi-Kari's original results, O'Toole complained to an acquaintance, who in turn alerted authorities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that Imanishi-Kari might have committed scientific fraud.
O'Toole's allegations sparked further congressional hearings in 1989 and 1990, during which Baltimore vigorously defended Imanishi-Kari's integrity, and argued that the government investigation represented a threat to scientific inquiry. Although no one ever accused Baltimore himself of fudging any experimental data, many scientists initially credited the allegations against Imanishi-Kari, who was declared guilty of scientific fraud by both the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Office of Scientific Integrity of the NIH (now the ORI). Tarred with complicity in an alleged cover-up, Baltimore was forced in 1991 to resign from his recently acquired position as president of Rockefeller University in New York City.
In 1996, however, an NIH appeals board wrote a 183-page opinion analyzing the Baltimore case in great detail. The board fully exonerated Imanishi-Kari of engaging in any misconduct, but noted that the research paper at issue had contained errors that Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari had subsequently acknowledged. With some exceptions, scientists generally were persuaded by the board's disposition, and came to view the government investigations of 1989–1991 as "scientific McCarthyism," spearheaded by reckless politicians who sought to obtain publicity as crusaders by humiliating leading members of the academic establishment. In 1997, Imanishi-Kari received a tenured faculty position at Tufts University, while Baltimore was appointed president of the California Institute of Technology.
Broad, William, and Nicholas Wade. Betrayers of the Truth. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982.
Kevles, Daniel J. The Baltimore Case. New York: Norton, 1998.
Kohn, Alexander. False Prophets: Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986.
Steinberg, Nisan A. "Regulation of Scientific Misconduct in Federally Funded Research." Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 10, no. 1 (2000): 39–105.
United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity. Home page at http://ori.dhhs.gov.
United States Office of Science and Technology Policy. "Federal Policy on Research Misconduct." Federal Register 65, no. 235 (Dec. 6, 2000): 76260–76264.
"Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud and that the major cancer research organisations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them." - Linus Pauling PhD (Two-time Nobel Prize winner).
Have you ever wondered why, despite the billions of dollars spent on cancer research over many decades, and the constant promise of a cure which is forever "just around the corner", cancer continues to increase?
Cancer Is Increasing
Once quite rare, cancer is now the second major cause of death in Western countries such as Australia, the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom. In the early 1940s cancer accounted for 12% of Australian deaths. (1) By 1992 this figure had climbed to 25.9% of Australian deaths. (2) The increasing trend of cancer deaths and incidence is typical of most Western nations. It has been said that this increase in cancer is just due to the fact that people now live longer than their ancestors did, and that therefore the increase of cancer is merely due to the fact that more people are living to be older and thereby have a greater chance of contracting cancer. However, this argument is disproved by the fact that cancer is also increasing in younger age groups, as well as by the findings of numerous population studies which have linked various life-style factors of particular cultures to the particular forms of cancer that are predominant there.
The Orthodox "War on Cancer" Has Failed
"My overall assessment is that the national cancer programme must be judged a qualified failure" Dr. John Bailer, who spent 20 years on the staff of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and was editor of its journal. (3) Dr. Bailer also says: "The five year survival statistics of the American Cancer Society are very misleading. They now count things that are not cancer, and, because we are able to diagnose at an earlier stage of the disease, patients falsely appear to live longer. Our whole cancer research in the past 20 years has been a total failure. More people over 30 are dying from cancer than ever before . . . More women with mild or benign diseases are being included in statistics and reported as being 'cured'. When government officials point to survival figures and say they are winning the war against cancer they are using those survival rates improperly."
A 1986 report in the New England Journal of Medicine assessed progress against cancer in the United States during the years 1950 to 1982. Despite progress against some rare forms of cancer, which account for 1 to 2 per cent of total deaths caused by the disease, the report found that the overall death rate had increased substantially since 1950: "The main conclusion we draw is that some 35 years of intense effort focussed largely on improving treatment must be judged a qualified failure." The report further concluded that ". . . we are losing the war against cancer" and argued for a shift in emphasis towards prevention if there is to be substantial progress. (4)
Most Cancer IS Preventable
According to the International Agency for Research in Cancer "...80-90 per cent of human cancer is determined environmentally and thus theoretically avoidable." (5) Environmental causes of cancer include lifestyle factors such as smoking, a diet high in animal products and low in fresh fruit & vegetables, excessive exposure to sunlight, food additives, alcohol, workplace hazards, pollution, electromagnetic radiation, and even certain pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures. But unfortunately, as expressed by medical historian Hans Ruesch, "Despite the general recognition that 85 per cent of all cancers is caused by environmental influences, less than 10 per cent of the (U.S.) National Cancer Institute budget is given to environmental causes. And despite the recognition that the majority of environmental causes are linked to nutrition, less than 1 per cent of the National Cancer Institute budget is devoted to nutrition studies. And even that small amount had to be forced on the Institute by a special amendment of the National Cancer Act in 1974." (6)
Prevention - Not Profitable to Industry
According to Dr. Robert Sharpe, " . . . in our culture treating disease is enormously profitable, preventing it is not. In 1985 the U.S., Western Europe and Japanese market in cancer therapies was estimated at over 3.2 billion pounds with the 'market' showing a steady annual rise of 10 per cent over the past five years. Preventing the disease benefits no one except the patient. Just as the drug industry thrives on the 'pill for every ill' mentality, so many of the leading medical charities are financially sustained by the dream of a miracle cure, just around the corner." (7)
Desired: A State of No Cure?
In fact, some analysts consider that the cancer industry is sustained by a policy of deliberately facing in the wrong direction. For instance, in the late 1970s, after studying the policies, activities, and assets of the major U.S. cancer institutions, the investigative reporters Robert Houston and Gary Null concluded that these institutions had become self-perpetuating organisations whose survival depended on the state of no cure. They wrote, "a solution to cancer would mean the termination of research programs, the obsolescence of skills, the end of dreams of personal glory, triumph over cancer would dry up contributions to self-perpetuating charities and cut off funding from Congress, it would mortally threaten the present clinical establishments by rendering obsolete the expensive surgical, radiological and chemotherapeutic treatments in which so much money, training and equipment is invested. Such fear, however unconscious, may result in resistance and hostility to alternative approaches in proportion as they are therapeutically promising. The new therapy must be disbelieved, denied, discouraged and disallowed at all costs, regardless of actual testing results, and preferably without any testing at all. As we shall see, this pattern has in actuality occurred repeatedly, and almost consistently." (8) Indeed, many people around the world consider that they have been cured by therapies which were 'blacklisted' by the major cancer organisations.
Does this mean that ALL of the people who work in the cancer research industry are consciously part of a conspiracy to hold back a cure for cancer? Author G.Edward Griffin explains ". . . let's face it, these people die from cancer like everybody else. . . [I]t's obvious that these people are not consciously holding back a control for cancer. It does mean, however, that the [pharmaceutical-chemical] cartel's medical monopoly has created a climate of bias in our educational system, in which scientific truth often is sacrificed to vested interests . . . [I]f the money is coming from drug companies, or indirectly from drug companies, the impetus is in the direction of drug research. That doesn't mean somebody blew the whistle and said "hey, don't research nutrition!" It just means that nobody is financing nutrition research. So it is a bias where scientific truth often is obscured by vested interest." (9) This point is similarly expressed by Dr. Sydney Singer: "Researchers are like prostitutes. They work for grant money. If there is no money for the projects they are personally interested in, they go where there is money. Their incomes come directly from their grants, not from the universities. And they want to please the granting source to get more grants in the future. Their careers depend on it." (10)
Money Spent on Fraudulent Research?
A large portion of money donated to cancer research by the public is spent on animal research which has, since its inception, been widely condemned as a waste of time and resources. For instance, consider the 1981 Congressional Testimony by Dr. Irwin Bross, former director of the Sloan-Kettering, the largest cancer research institute in the world, and then Director of Biostatistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research, Bufallo, NY: "The uselessness of most of the animal model studies is less well known. For example, the discovery of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of human cancer is widely-heralded as a triumph due to use of animal model systems. However, here again, these exaggerated claims are coming from or are endorsed by the same people who get the federal dollars for animal research. There is little, if any, factual evidence that would support these claims. Indeed, while conflicting animal results have often delayed and hampered advances in the war on cancer, they have never produced a single substantial advance either in the prevention or treatment of human cancer. For instance, practically all of the chemotherapeutic agents which are of value in the treatment of human cancer were found in a clinical context rather than in animal studies." (11)
In fact, many substances which cause cancer in humans are marketed as "safe" on the basis of animal tests. As expressed by Dr. Werner Hartinger of Germany, in regard to cancer-causing products of the pharmaceutical-petro-chemical industry, "Their constant consumption is legalised on the basis of misleading animal experiments . . . which seduce the consumer into a false sense of security." (12)
Imagine What Could Be Achieved
The next time you are asked to donate to a cancer organisation, bear in mind that your money will be used to sustain an industry which has been deemed by many eminent scientists as a qualified failure and by others, as a complete fraud. If you would like to make a difference, inform these organisations that you won't donate to them until they change their approach to one which is focussed on prevention and study of the human condition. We have the power to change things by making their present approach unprofitable. It is only through our charitable donations and taxes that these institutions survive on their present unproductive path.
Copyright 1997 by the Campaign Against Fraudulent Medical Research, P.O. Box 234, Lawson NSW 2783, Australia. Phone +61 (0)2-4758-6822. www.pnc.com.au/~cafmr
The above article may be downloaded, copied, printed or otherwise distributed without seeking permission from CAFMR. However, printed acknowledgement is required when this is done.
- d'Espaignet, E.T. et al., Trends in Australian Mortality 1921-1988, Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS), Canberra, 1991, p. 33
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia 1992, ABS, Canberra, 1993, p.1
- Dr. Bailer, speaking at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in May 1985, as quoted in Bette Overall, Animal Research Takes Lives - Humans and Animals BOTH Suffer, NZAVS, 1993, p.132
- Robert Sharpe, The Cruel Deception, Thorsons Publishing Group, Wellingborough, U.K. 1988, p.47
- Robert Sharpe, op. cit. 1988, p.47
- Hans Ruesch, Naked Empress - the Great Medical Fraud, CIVIS, Massagno/Lugano, Switzerland, 1992, p.77
- Robert Sharpe, op. cit. 1988, p.65
- as quoted in Hans Ruesch, op.cit. 1992, p.65-66
- Edward Griffin, The Politics of Cancer, (audio cassette) American Media, 1975 available from CAFMR $14.
- Sydney Singer, Medical Demystification (M.D.) Report, Vol.1 No.1 p.5., Medical Demystification Crusade, 1992, CA, U.S.A.
- Irwin Bross, as quoted in Robert Sharpe, op.cit., 1988 p.179
- Dr. Werner Hartinger, in a speech given at the 2nd International Scientific Congress of the Doctors in Britain Against Animal Experiments (D.B.A.E.), London, 24 Sept. 1992.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Fortunately, there are several natural alternatives like nettle extract.
Supplements talked about on this page
Other supplements you might look into are :
Celery Juice Powder
Grape Seed Extract
Caused by Crystals
Gout is a form of arthritis because it causes pain in the joints, usually the big toe, although other joints can be affected. It's caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. When levels rise beyond a certain point, uric acid crystals form and collect in the affected joint or joints, causing excruciating pain. These crystals can also form in the body's major organs and do considerable damage, so avoiding pain is not the only reason to keep this serious condition under control.
Gout tends to run in families. Three hundred years ago, it was associated with wealth, because gout attacks were thought to be provoked by eating a rich diet. Now we know that the disease afflicts rich and poor alike. More than 95 percent of people who have gout are men over 30. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of the population has elevated uric acid levels, but only 3 people in 1,000 experience gout.
Caused by Certain Foods
Uric acid is a waste product derived from the breakdown of an amino acid called purine. Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and eliminated from the body by the kidneys. But for some reason for some, uric acid builds up in the joints. Researchers have found that avoiding purine-rich foods can help alleviate gout. Foods with the most purine are meats, especially organ meats, and yeast-laden baked goods. Also avoid gravies and broths, sardines, mussels, herring, mushrooms, dried beans, fish, lentils, peas, alcohol, oatmeal and spinach.
Cherry Berry Flavonoids
Over 40 years ago, Texan Ludwig W. Blau, Ph.D., made a discovery that to this day ripples through many nutritional journals and books about gout. Crippled, confined to a wheelchair and suffering from gout, Blau one day wheeled himself to the cupboard. Seeing nothing appetizing, he turned to refrigerator, spied a bowlful of plump, red cherries, sampled them, and, hooked, ate the bowlful. The next morning, wonder of wonders, the pain and inflammation in his foot were almost gone. Blau's family physician tried the therapy on 12 patients. Every one of them saw improvement. Dr. Blau reported in Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine that, following a non-restricted diet of one half pound of fresh or canned cherries per day, all 12 gout sufferers saw their blood uric acid levels return to normal, with no further attacks gout.
Natural Help for Gout
Celery (Apium graveolens). Learning that celery extracts might help eliminate uric acid, I began taking two to four tablets of celery seed extracts daily instead of allopurinol. As I write, six months have gone by without a single gout crisis. For one week, I ate four celery stalks a day in lieu of the extracts. These self-dosing anecdotal results lead me to believe the advertisement that led me to the celery seed. A skeptic then, I'm a believer now: Celery seed (or serendipity) has kept my uric acid below critical levels.
Avocado (Persea americana). My botanical friends in the Amazon believe that avocado is useful for treating gout. It reportedly lowers uric acid levels in the blood. There's no scientific evidence that I'm aware of to support this assertion, but I have a lot of respect for the herbal wisdom of the Amazonian people, and avocados are certainly tasty. So here's a good reason to add an occasional avocado to your diet. Just don't go overboard, though, as avocados are high in calories.
Cherry (Prunus, various species). Many people claim to stave off gout attacks by eating eight ounces a day of canned or fresh cherries. I have one friend, for instance, who claims to have great luck in staving off gout when he eats black cherries. This therapy has never been scientifically demonstrated to work, but since so many people swear by it, I think it's probably worth trying. (One caveat, though: Buying this many cherries might be even more expensive than my allopurinol.) Other people favor strawberries. I'm going to give my Cherry Cocktail a try. It's a mixture of cherry, pineapple, strawberry and blueberry juices spiced up with a little bit of licorice and a lot of ginger and turmeric.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus). Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps break down protein. Naturopathic physicians often recommend pure bromelain, which can be purchased at health food stores, to reduce inflammation and swelling. Bromelain clearly works if you inject it into swollen tissue, but the effectiveness of the ingested enzyme has been controversial. It's probably worth trying, however. My preferred way to get bromelain is in an occasional glass of pineapple juice.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Like chiso, licorice contains several XO inhibitors, but at fairly low levels. Still, a cat's claw-licorice combo could be interesting, and the two herbs might even work better together.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa). One compound in turmeric (curcumin) inhibits the synthesis of substances called prostaglandins in the body that are involved in pain. The mechanism is similar to the one involved in the pain-relieving action of aspirin and ibuprofen, only weaker. Still, at high doses, curcumin stimulates the adrenal glands to release the body's own cortisone, a potent reliever of inflammation and the pain it often causes. East Indians revere turmeric and use it liberally in curries. That's a particularly nice way to take your medicine, if you ask me. You can also make a tea using turmeric or simply take it in capsules.
Cat's claw (Uncaria, various species). Once while I was on the Amazon, an attack of gout caught me without the prescription medication I usually take to alleviate the inflammation during a crisis. But I had some pills containing cat's claw (uña de gato), an herb with anti-inflammatory effects. I took two pills. No relief. I tried four. Nothing. Then, at six, I began to notice some effect, but it took nearly a dozen to do as much as the drug. While I'm certainly not discarding my prescription medications in favor of cat's claw, in an emergency I'd use the herb again. There are more than 30 brands of cat's claw on sale in health food stores and herb shops in the United States, and there's only one report in the scientific literature of an adverse reaction ever developing in anyone using the herb.
Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens). Several reports indicate that this herb lowers uric acid levels and has anti-inflammatory action, both of which would be useful for treating gout. Other studies suggest that it may be useful for relieving arthritic conditions, and gout is a form of arthritis. Unfortunately, studies rely on injections of an herbal extract of devil's claw, and an injection goes right into the bloodstream without passing through the stomach. This herb loses potency in the stomach, so I can't guess how effective (or ineffective) it might be in a tea or capsule. I think it's worth trying, however.
Olive (Olea europea). Olive has a reputation as a diuretic dating back to biblical times. In 1993, a Japanese researcher showed that about four cups of olive leaf tea a day for three weeks increased daily urine output by 10 to 15 percent, lowering uric acid levels in the blood and increasing uric acid in the urine. I would not hesitate to try this one myself.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). One scientific study showed that stinging nettle increases uric acid secretion, at least in ducks. These experimental animals exhibited lower blood levels of uric acid after they were given stinging nettle extract. The next time I have pain in my big toe, I intend to include stinging nettle tea in my own treatment program.
Nettle is a diuretic, expectorant, pain reliever, and tonic. Contains vital minerals that are essential in many disorders. Improves goiter, inflammatory conditions, and mucous condition of the lungs.
Help with Gout and Skin Problems with this product from Abunda Life -- Vibrant Skin
Monday, March 24, 2008
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