Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Poisoning The Well


Wow. That study I critiqued about mice published in Environmental Health Perspectives is Getting Some Mileage.

The study was titled Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation. Environmental Health Perspectives.


My April 30 blog post critiqued the ecological validity and generalizability of the study's findings
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/plant-in-environmental-health.html

I stated that the study of gamma effects on mice DNA did not look at "delayed" bystander effects because the mice were killed after a mere 5 weeks of exposure. Thus, it was inappropriate to conclude that no DNA damage had occurred. Delayed effects are just that.

Moreover, the study only looked at exposure to gamma and did not look at beta or alpha exposures via ingestion so the mice study has no bearing on issues of nuclear fallout. Please see my link above for the specific analysis.

On May 17 I looked at how this mice study was used for propaganda
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/plant-erupts-into-poison-fruit-dont-be.html

Now I learn that MIT's public relations department is erroneously extrapolating results from that study in an obvious propaganda effort:

A new look at prolonged radiation exposure
MIT study suggests that at low dose-rate, radiation poses little risk to DNA.
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/prolonged-radiation-exposure-0515.html

[Excerpt] A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative.

The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected."

Majia here: The error of "ecological validity" stems from the generalization of this mice study's findings to fallout from a nuclear plant.

I've come to see that these "no effects" studies are really simply for the purposes of propaganda.

If they get published, those who know the research area well will understand their limitations.

But the point of the research is NOT to persuade the informed.

The point of the research is to get cited by mainstream news, such as Science Daily and other such outlets that reach mass audiences.

The goal is to make the public think that a significant increase in background radiation has no effect.

I bet some people somewhere are anticipating that significant increases in background radiation are going to be reported.

This MIT study is poisoning the well…

Of course, MIT has very deep ties to the IAEA and the nuclear industry in general.

See the letter written to MIT's Provost by a commentator at Enenews http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/letter-to-incoming-mit-president.html

Another commentator, ML, posted this interesting study on a thread at Enenews discussing Japanese women's message to their government about the Fukushima disaster and plans to re-start the Oi reactor in Japan.http://enenews.com/fukushima-woman-officials-started-suffer-health-problems-one-after-another-last-june-exactly-same-found-villages-around-chernobyl-video/comment-page-1#comment-261269

The study of damage to mitochondrial DNA by "background" radiation is fascinating and also disturbing.

ML describes the study: A study done on a population of people who lived in an area that was naturally more radioactive due to a concentration of radioactive phosphorus did not show outwardly apparent mutations. But when their mitochondrial DNA was compared with a population living with more usual rates of background radiation, then the patterns of damage that emerged. 

(http://www.pnas.org/content/99/21/13950.long Natural Radioactivity and Human Mitochondrial DNA Mutations by Forster, et al, 2002.)
 
ML concludes: So when the pro-nuclear data started being generated it was well before we knew about mitochondrial DNA, and well before we began understanding how mitochondrial DNA was more susceptible to even relatively low levels of natural radiation. 

Majia Here: ML cites the study when observing that it is the genetic inheritance of women to their children that is most at risk by exposure to radiation and so it seems right somehow that it is everyday women who are bravely standing up in Japan.


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