Monsanto’s challenge was unsuccessful in the trial court. Although the case has been appealed, no stay of the listing has been granted. Therefore, glyphosate is being added to the Proposition 65 list on July 7, 2017.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), indicates the following chemicals are also relevant, because these salts dissociate to free glyphosate:
Glyphosate Listed Effective July 7, 2017, as Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer. (2017). OEHHA. Retrieved 29 June 2017, from https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/crnr/glyphosate-listed-effective-july-7-2017-known-state-california-cause-cancer
Glyphosate. (2017). International Agency for Research on Cancer. Retrieved 30 June 2017, from http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol112/mono112-10.pdf
from Columbia University Medical Center:
As CRISPR-Cas9 begins to move into clinical trials, new research published in Nature Methods has unveiled that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unexpected mutations into the genome.
“We feel it’s critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single nucleotide mutations and mutations in non-coding regions of the genome,” says co-author Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD, the Laszlo T. Bito Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and associate professor of pathology & cell biology in the Institute of Genomic Medicine and the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center.
CRISPR-Cas9 editing technology—by virtue of its speed and unprecedented precision—has in ways been beneficial for scientists trying to understand the role of genes in disease. The technique also has raised hope for more powerful gene therapies that can delete or repair flawed genes, not just add new genes.
The first clinical trial to deploy CRISPR is now underway in China, and a U.S. trial is slated to start next year. But even though CRISPR can precisely target specific stretches of DNA, it sometimes hits other parts of the genome. Most studies that search for these off-target mutations use computer algorithms to identify areas most likely to be affected and then examine those areas for deletions and insertions.
“These predictive algorithms seem to do a good job when CRISPR is performed in cells or tissues in a dish, but whole genome sequencing has not been employed to look for all off-target effects in living animals,” says co-author Alexander Bassuk, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa.
In the new study, the researchers sequenced the entire genome of mice that had undergone CRISPR gene editing in the team’s previous study and looked for all mutations, including those that only altered a single nucleotide.
The researchers determined that CRISPR had successfully corrected a gene that causes blindness, but Kellie Schaefer, a PhD student in the lab of Vinit Mahajan, MD, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, and co-author of the study, found that the genomes of two independent gene therapy recipients had sustained more than 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations and more than 100 larger deletions and insertions. None of these DNA mutations were predicted by computer algorithms that are widely used by researchers to look for off-target effects.
“Researchers who aren’t using whole genome sequencing to find off-target effects may be missing potentially important mutations,” Dr. Tsang says. “Even a single nucleotide change can have a huge impact.”
Dr. Bassuk says the researchers didn’t notice anything obviously wrong with their animals. “We’re still upbeat about CRISPR,” says Dr. Mahajan. “We’re physicians, and we know that every new therapy has some potential side effects—but we need to be aware of what they are.”
Researchers are currently working to improve the components of the CRISPR system—its gene-cutting enzyme and the RNA that guides the enzyme to the right gene—to increase the efficiency of editing.
“We hope our findings will encourage others to use whole-genome sequencing as a method to determine all the off-target effects of their CRISPR techniques and study different versions for the safest, most accurate editing,” Dr. Tsang says.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants R01NS098590, R01EY026682, R01EY024665, R01EY025225, R01EY024698, R21AG050437, 5P30EY019007, R01EY018213, 5P30CA013696, and F31EY026789), Jonas Children’s Vision Care, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Tistou and Charlotte Kerstan Foundation, the Schneeweiss Stem Cell Fund, New York State (grant CO29572), the Crowley Family Fund, and the Gebroe Family Foundation.
CRISPR Gene Editing Can Cause Hundreds of Unintended Mutations - Columbia University Medical Center. (2017). Columbia University Medical Center. Retrieved 25 June 2017, from http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2017/05/30/crispr-gene-editing-can-cause-hundreds-of-unintended-mutations/
Schaefer, K., Wu, W., Colgan, D., Tsang, S., Bassuk, A., & Mahajan, V. (2017). Unexpected mutations after CRISPR–Cas9 editing in vivo. Nature Methods, 14(6), 547-548. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.4293
Primates are exceptionally playful animals. In fact, primates tend to spend more time playing compared to every other taxonomic group observed. Researchers speculate that the quantity and quality of primate play is directly related to cognitive and behavioral abilities. These abilities include extractive foraging, tool use, behavioral innovation, and complex sociality.
If play does function to aid in the development of cognitive and behavioral patterns among primates, then we should expect to observe a positive relationship between the incidence of play and the incidence of complex behaviors across primates, and a coevolutionary association between play and neural matter that underlies complex cognition and behavior. For the latter, focusing on specific gross-anatomical neural structures may not be the best objective test for the following reasons:
Previous research by Montgomery (2014) has observed a significant positive relationship between play and the frequency of extractive foraging, tool use, behavioral innovation, and tactical deception among eleven primate species.
The purpose of the following study is to explore whether play has coevolved with the cortico-cerebellar system, a neural system known underlie complex cognition and the production of complex behavior in primates.
In order to measure this relationship, researchers collected two types of data: mean percentage of time budget allocated to play (all types) by eight primate species (across age and sex); and, frequency of adult-adult social play. While both data sets of primate play have their advantages and limitations, researcher believe that the data sets are complimentary and mutually reinforcing. Predictions were conducted using phylogenetic comparative anaylses to determine whether play has coevolved with the cortico-cerebellar system.
The researchers observed significant positive relationship between the mean percentage of time budget spent in play and their relative size of:
These results suggest that, in general, there is a positive relationship between play and relative size of the components of the cortico-cerebellar system, a major system in the primate brain that underlies complex skills such as extractive foraging, tool use, and sociality. Although there are limitations present, the results support the concept that high level of play observed in primates is associated with the development of cognitive and behavioral abilities. More specifically, the results support the idea that play is associated with the neural substrates of those abilities.
Kerney, M., Smaers, J., Schoenemann, P., & Dunn, J. (2017). The coevolution of play and the cortico-cerebellar system in primates. Primates. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10329-017-0615-x
Among which, a meta-analysis (Choi et al.,) - a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple studies - found that in 26 out of 27 studies, children in a high-fluoridated community had lower IQ scores, on average, compared to children in a low-fluoridated community. Conversely, another group of researchers found no differences in IQ between children living in communities with artificially-fluoridated and those in a non-fluoridated community. Regarding the latter research, however, substantial methodological limitations have been identified; one key limitation of this study is that the difference in fluoride intake between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities was small, thereby reducing the power of the study to detect an effect of fluoride on IQ.
Based on research that found a relationship between exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ, which accounted for various confounding variables, a daily dose should not exceed 0.005 mg of fluoride per day, or 0.0010 mg of fluoride per kilogram of bodyweight per day, for children aged 8-13 years.
Several groups of researchers indicate that fluoride is a developmental neurotoxicant in humans. In addition, a separate group of researchers observed a significant association between the prevalence of artificial water fluoridation and and the prevalence of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States.
Another group of researchers observed a significant inverse relationship between both urinary and serum fluoride levels and IQ among children. The researchers observed a statistically significant IQ difference of 4.3 IQ points between the high (n=106) and control (n=110) urinary fluoride groups. Similarly, another group of researchers observed that both serum fluoride, and urine fluoride were significantly related to water fluoride levels, and both were also significantly related to lowered IQ. The high urinary fluoride level group, the IQ point difference, compared to the control group, was 2.42 points per milligram of fluoride per liter.
Regardless of the mechanism(s), the researchers observed that children who lived in areas with high fluoride exposure had lower IQ scores, compared to those who lived in low-exposure areas.
The researchers compared the estimated exposed and control doses received in the recent water fluoridation study (Choi et al.,), and compared the estimated differences in those exposures to their findings regarding an adverse effect level. They then used two methods, both with uncertainty factors, to estimate a protective fluoride dose:
The evidence indicates that the effect of fluoride on IQ is quite large, with a predicted mean 5 IQ point loss when going from a dose of 0.5 mg F/day to 2.0 mg F/day, which is an exposure range one might expect when comparing individuals in the United States with a low total intake to those with a higher total intake. However, when comparing a fluoridated area of the United States to an unfluoridated area it would be hard to discern a mean IQ difference, because of the multiple sources of fluoride intake besides drinking water.
While this research does not touch on the question of whether such a level in drinking water offers dental health benefits, it indicates that an intake rate greater than 0.047 mg F/day poses a significant risk of lowering IQ of exposed children.
The current average mean fluoride exposures for US children range from about 0.80 mg F/day to about 1.65 mg F/day. These doses are 17 to 35 times higher than the higher estimated reference dose of 0.047 mg F/day. These results imply that at present the risk of IQ loss among children in the US is high.
Fluoride may be similar to lead and mercury in having no threshold below which exposures may be considered safe.
In a population of 320 million, the population level impact of an average 5 IQ point loss, beyond purely dollars of income loss, is a reduction of about 4 million people with IQ>130 and an increase of almost as many people with IQ<70.
Broadbent, J., Thomson, W., Ramrakha, S., Moffitt, T., Zeng, J., Foster Page, L., & Poulton, R. (2015). Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence: Prospective Study in New Zealand. American Journal Of Public Health, 105(1), 72-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2013.301857
Choi, A., Sun, G., Zhang, Y., & Grandjean, P. (2012). Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(10), 1362-1368. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104912
Malin, A., & Till, C. (2015). Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States: an ecological association. Environmental Health, 14(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-015-0003-1
Wang, S., Wang, Z., Cheng, X., Li, J., Sang, Z., & Zhang, X. et al. (2007). Arsenic and Fluoride Exposure in Drinking Water: Children’s IQ and Growth in Shanyin County, Shanxi Province, China. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(4), 643-647. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.9270
Zhang, S., Zhang, X., Liu, H., Qu, W., Guan, Z., & Zeng, Q. et al. (2015). Modifying Effect of COMT Gene Polymorphism and a Predictive Role for Proteomics Analysis in Children’s Intelligence in Endemic Fluorosis Area in Tianjin, China. Toxicological Sciences, 144(2), 238-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfu311
Like humans, soil has it's own microbiome, rich in a spectrum of bacteria required for diverse life. Similarly, our health is dependent upon the microbiome that exists in our digestive tracts. However, with the advent of technology and mass production, our modern society has allowed and accepted the illusion that we are separate from nature. Albeit, research suggests that this illusion is far from reality.
Soil Bacteria Has Been Observed Improve The Immune System
Mycobacterium vaccae is a safe, non-pathogenic strain of bacteria found in the soil. Considered as a possible vaccine or immunotherapeutic agent for human tuberculosis, researchers has evaluated and determined that M. vaccae promotes a strong Th1 response (Skinner et al., 2001). A Th1 response tends to produce the proinflammatory effects responsible for killing intracellular parasites and for perpetuating autoimmune responses, ultimately stimulating a protective immune response (Berger, 2000). Due to it's ability to elicit an immune response via intranasal administration, researchers also speculate that M. vaccae may become a candidate for the development of new treatments for asthma. In addition, evidence suggests that M. vaccae holds promise in the treatment of other diseases such as prostate cancer and psoriasis (Skinner et al., 2001). Immunotherapy with M. vaccae may also improve the rate of cure in patients with multi-drug-resistance tubercle bacilli (Stanford, Stanford, Grange, Lan & Etemadi, 2001).
The Relationship Between the Immune System and Emotional Health
It is well established that chronic immune-related disease is associated with major depressive episodes and suicide ideation. However, it is unclear whether this association is a result of decreased quality of life, a genetic link between chronic immune system dysfunction and major depression, or if it indicates a cause and effect relationship. Evidence suggests that serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness, may play a role in the function of the immune system (Lowry et al., 2007). Low levels of serotonin are associated with depressive episodes (Cowen & Browning, 2015).
Sertonergic systems, systems pertaining to or affecting serotonin, regulate arousal, motor activity and mood. Researchers have observed that upon an acute activation of the immune system, sertonergic activity increases, particularly in regions in the brain associated with mood regulation (Lowry et al., 2007).
In an effort to understand the relationship between the immune system and emotions, researchers administered M. vaccae to mice and measured the response of a group of sertonergic neurons in part of the brain. The effects observed were associated with increases in serotonin metabolism and altered emotional behavior. These results suggest that immune-responsive sertonergic neurons in that region of the brain play an important role in physiological responses to acute and chronic immune activation, including regulation of mood, and are thought to play an important role in regulation of coping responses and behavioral responses to uncontrollable stress. In other words, stimulation of the immune system activates neurons that regulate feelings of well-being and happiness. Consequently, dysregulation of serotonergic systems may contribute to the dysregulation of coping mechanisms in some stress-related psychological disorders, including major depression (Lowry et al., 2007).
Berger, A. (2000). Th1 and Th2 responses: what are they? BMJ : British Medical Journal, 321(7258), 424. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC27457/
Cowen, P., & Browning, M. (2015). What has serotonin to do with depression?. World Psychiatry, 14(2), 158-160. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wps.20229
Lowry, C., Hollis, J., de Vries, A., Pan, B., Brunet, L., & Hunt, J. et al. (2007). Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: Potential role in regulation of emotional behavior. Neuroscience, 146(2), 756-772. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.01.067
Skinner, M. A., Prestidge, R., Yuan, S., Strabala, T. J., & Tan, P. L. J. (2001). The ability of heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae to stimulate a cytotoxic T-cell response to an unrelated protein is associated with a 65 kilodalton heat-shock protein. Immunology, 102(2), 225–233. http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2567.2001.01174.x
Stanford, J., Stanford, C., Grange, J., Lan, N., & Etemadi, A. (2001). Does immunotherapy with heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae offer hope for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis?. Respiratory Medicine, 95(6), 444-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/rmed.2001.1065
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a major food crop of the world, essential for the survival of more than half of the world’s population. Worldwide, approximately 480 million metric tons of milled rice is produced annually, with about 90 percent of the world’s rice produced and consumed in the six Asian countries (China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Japan). Developing nations, particularly in Asia, are heavily reliant on rice for their dietary caloric requirements.
The highest increase in carotenoids levels within rice was accomplished when enzymes with higher activity were replaced by others in previous series. This replacement was shown to boost the production of carotenoids, reaching up to 37 μg/g in a separate long grain rice variety Kaybonnet, is referred as Golden Rice2 (GR2) series.
GE Golden Rice is far too often hyped by GMO proponents as a victory for genetic modification, claiming that these products will "feed the world" and save developing nations from dietary deficiencies. This new study emits uncertainty on the accountability of not only Golden Rice, but the biotechnology industry as a whole.
Bollinedi, H., S., G., Prabhu, K., Singh, N., Mishra, S., Khurana, J., & Singh, A. (2017). Molecular and Functional Characterization of GR2-R1 Event Based Backcross Derived Lines of Golden Rice in the Genetic Background of a Mega Rice Variety Swarna. PLOS ONE, 12(1), e0169600. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169600
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