I was reading my favorite health journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, which is published by the National Institutes of Health, and I came across a rather strange article: "Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation"
The article looked at DNA damage to mice after exposed to 5 weeks of continuous ionizing radiation at 400X background level.
This was a strange study because it showed no effects at all: "These studies suggest that exposure to continuous radiation at a dose-rate that is orders of magnitude higher than background does not significantly impact several key measures of DNA damage and DNA damage responses."
I've researched the effects of ionizing radiation enough that I know that effects are present even after extremely low levels of exposure.
In fact, a few weeks ago I posted information about the bystander effect, which explains how cell damage and repair can occur as a result of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation. See my relevant posts at the end of this post.
So, I read the article carefully and I also did a background check on the lead author, Werner Olipitz.
What I found may be indicative of a "plant."
I am defining a plant as an article that has been written deliberately to inoculate readers, either for, or against, a position.
An article that is a plant structures the research methodology so that results support a preconceived conclusion. The release of the article is timed to inoculate readers.
An experiment that is set up to prove a point may have internal validity, but not have ecological validity; that is, the experiment results may not be generalizable to the real world environment it purports to represent, even if the internal experimental conditions are valid.
Here is Wikipedia's definition of Ecological Validity: "Ecological validity is a form of validity in a research study. For a research study to possess ecological validity, the methods, materials and setting of the study must approximate the real-life situation that is under investigation. Unlike internal and external validity, ecological validity is not necessary to the overall validity of a study" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_validity
Majia here: Drug research paid for by pharmaceutical companies is notoriously problematic in this regard.
Examination of ecological validity for "Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation"
The study on irradiation of mice explicitly claims to have relevance for humans, but does not have ecological validity for our current conditions (i.e., Fukushima fallout) because the exposure pathway was purely external and only examined photons (i.e., gamma radiation).
The mice did not eat or drink radionuclides.
Furthermore, the research did not follow the mice across time beyond the experimental condition.
AN IMPORTANT EXPOSURE PATHWAY FOR RADIONUCLIDES IS INGESTION: THE HUMAN BODY ABSORBS RADIATION in food and water
“the human body absorbs iodine and caesium readily. "Essentially all the iodine or caesium inhaled or swallowed crosses into the blood," says Keith Baverstock, former head of radiation protection for the World Health Organization's European office, who has studied Chernobyl's health effects.” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20285-fukushima-radioactive-fallout-nears-chernobyl-levels.html)
THIS STUDY ALSO DID NOT INVESTIGATE LONG-TERM EFFECTS
The exposed mice were killed immediately after the 5 week exposure period. Consequently, there was no follow-up investigation of long-term effects.
The effects of exposure to ionizing radiation include both acute and long-term effects (Elgazzar & Elsaid 2001).
Past research has documented delayed effects on genomic instability from exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation (see Huang, Nickoloff, & Morgan, 2007; Sahina et al, 2009).
This study did not address long-term effects, only acute effects.
SO, THE STUDY HAD 2 LIMITATIONS FOR ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY.
Studies that have examined actual people exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation have documented effects at low-levels of exposure (see Little, Wakeford & Kendall, 2007; Sermage-Faure et al.,)
NEXT I INVESTIGATED THE LEAD AUTHOR AND THE FUNDING
"This work was supported primarily by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FG02-05ER64053). This work was partially supported by R33-CA112151 and 1U19AI68021-06)..."
The lead author identifies his institutional affiliation as the Dept of Biological Engineering at MIT; HOWEVER, he is not listed as a faculty member or research assistant of this department and his name does not come up when searched at the MIT "people search" function at the university of home page.
He had one other article published in 2010 and it also refers to MIT's Dept of Biological Engineering as his address
Yet, he isn't there! A google search finds no current institutional affiliation. Institutional affiliation is everything in the world of academe.
The correspondence is supposed to be directed to the article's last author, B.P. Engelward, at the Dept. of Biological Engineering at MIT. She was probably the faculty advisor http://web.mit.edu/be/people/engelward.shtml
Even stranger, Engelward's latest research study "Methyltransferases Mediate Cell Memory of a Genotoxic Insult" in Oncogenedemonstrates precisely the type of effects that Olipiitz's study is refuting. Here is an excerpt from her study:
"that a single exposure can lead to long-term genome-destabilizing effects that spread from cell to cell, and we provide a specific molecular mechanism for these persistent bystander effects" (p. 751)...
"It is becoming increasingly clear that indirect mechanisms of mutation induction that involve changes in cellular behaviour, in addition to the directly induced DNA lesions, can lead to an increased risk of disease-causing mutations for months or even years after exposure (Pant and Kamada, 1977; Mothersill and Seymour, 2001; Lorimore et al., 2003; Morgan, 2003; Maxwell et al., 2008). Furthermore, at least one study suggests that the extent of bystander-induced DNA damage can be as great as that of the original exposure (Dickey et al., 2009)...." (p. 754).
I strongly suspect that this article ("Integrated Moleculary Analysis" by Olipitz et al) is a plant that is aimed at debunking concerns about our exposure to Fukushima fallout.
Although the study may have impeccable internal validity, its ecological validity is highly suspect.
However, the article can be cited later by authorities wishing to trivialize Fukushima fallout as non-important.
There is of course considerable research that directly CONTRADICTS the findings of Olipitz's study of irradiated mice (apparently including research by his adviser).
I'll include some in my list of references and link some of my previous posts on the subject.
I am very unhappy because Environmental Health Perspectives is one of the leading, if not the leading, outlet for research on environmental effects.
The idea that this journal may have been hijacked in order to spread dis-information about radiation's effects on human health is TREMENDOUSLY DISTURBING on many levels.
It would indicate that scientific inquiry and publishing are far more compromised than I ever knew.
The external reviewers should have called into question the study's assertions about the generalizability of findings to human exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation.
It is possible that this study is indicative of a CONCERTED AND DELIBERATE PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO SPREAD DIS-INFORMATION ABOUT FUKUSHIMA.
Let us hope that my analysis and concerns are inaccurate or misdirected.
Averbeck, D, Towards a New Paradigm for Evaluating the Effects of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis Volume 687, Issues 1-2, 1 May 2010 pages 7-12.
Elgazzar, A. H., & M. Elsaid (2001). The pathophysiologic basis of nuclear medicinein Biological effects of ionizing radiation A.H. Elgazzar (Ed.), pp. 369–370
Huang L, Kim PM, Nickoloff JA, Morgan WF. 2007. Targeted and nontargeted effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on delayed genomic instability in human cells. Cancer Research 67:1099–1104
Little, Mark, Richard Wakeford and Gerald M Kendall. Updated estimates of the proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionising radiation Journal of Radiological Protection Volume 29 Number 4 467 10.1088/0952-4746/29/4/001
Sahina, A., Abdulgani Tatarb, Sıtkı Oztasb, Bedri Sevena, Erhan Varoglua, Ahmet Yesilyurtb, Arif Kursad A. (2009) Evaluation of the genotoxic effects of chronic low-dose ionizing radiation exposure on nuclear medicine workers. Nuclear Medicine and Biology, 36(5), 575–578
Sermage-Faure, D. Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hemon and J. Clavel. Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants – the Geocap study, 2002 – 2007,” International Journal of Cancer study by C document is online in English at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.27425/pdf.
SEVERAL MY PREVIOUS POSTS ON RESEARCH ON EFFECTS OF LOW-DOSE IONIZING RADIATION
Research Demonstrating Significant Effects at Low Dose Rates of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. April 18, 2012
Wikipedia: [excerpted] "Polonium has 33 known isotopes, all of which are radioactive. They have atomic masses that range from 188 to 220 u. 210Po (half-life 138.4 days) is the most widely available. 209Po (half-life 103 years) and 208Po (half-life 2.9 years) can be made through the alpha, proton, or deuteron bombardment of lead or bismuth in a cyclotron.
210Po is an alpha emitter that has a half-life of 138.4 days; it decays directly to its stable daughter isotope, 206Pb. A milligram of 210Po emits about as many alpha particles per second as 4.5 grams of 226Ra. A few curies (1 curie equals 37 gigabecquerels, 1 Ci = 37 GBq) of 210Po emit a blue glow which is caused by excitation of surrounding air. A single gram of 210Po generates 140 watts of power. Because it emits many alpha particles, which are stopped within a very short distance in dense media and release their energy..." [end excerpt]
Citation: Seiler RL, Wiemels JL 2012. Occurrence of 210Po and Biological Effects of Low-Level Exposure: The Need for Research. Environ Health Perspect. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104607
Received: 10 October 2011; Accepted: 26 April 2012; Online: 26 April 2012
Background: 210Po concentrations exceeding 1 Bq/L in drinking-water supplies have been reported from four widely-separated States where exposure to it went unnoticed for decades. The radionuclide grandparents of 210Po are common in sediments and segments of the public may be chronically exposed to low levels of 210Po in drinking water or in food products from animals raised in contaminated areas.
Objectives: To summarize information on the environmental behavior, biokinetics and toxicology of 210Po and identify the need for future research.
Methods: Potential linkages between environmental exposure to 210Po and human-health effects were identified in a literature review.
Discussion: 210Po accumulates in the ovaries where it kills primary oocytes at low doses. The ovary may be the critical organ in determining the lowest injurious dose for 210Po because of its radiosensitivity and tendency to concentrate 210Po. 210Po also accumulates in the yolk sac of the embryo and in fetal/placental tissue. Low-level exposure to 210Po may have subtle, long-term biological effects because of its tropism towards reproductive and embryonic/fetal tissues where exposure to a single α particle may kill or damage critical cells. 210Po is present in cigarettes and maternal smoking has several effects that appear consistent with the toxicology of 210Po.
Conclusions: Much of the important biological and toxicological research on 210Po is more than 4 decades old. New research is needed to evaluate environmental exposure to 210Po and the biological effects of low-dose exposure to it so public-health officials can develop appropriate mitigation measures where necessary.
Potrblog has very carefully tried to validate their findings by checking the reliability of their measurements and subtracting background levels from their detections.
They used two geiger counters, checked for reliability (i.e., consistency) of measurements.
They used a sample collected on April 14, which measured 49X background radiation.
They put the radioactive sample material in their lab (a lead cave in a lead-lined box) with a geiger counter. This is the experimental condition.
They put another geiger counter in the same lead-lined box, but in a separate lead-lined cave. This is their control condition.
(Regarding time in cave: I cannot see the chart but the X axis has more than 8000 minutes)
They graphed the data from the time spent in cave for the control and experimental geiger counter conditions.
They subtracted the background measurements detected on the control geiger counter from the measurements of the radioactive rain sample (experimental condition).
The experimental condition (precipitation sample) data were significantly higher than the zero line after subtracting background data measured in the control condition.
Their detections of longer half-life fallout match Cesium-134 and Bismuth 212, but they cannot guarantee the validity of these identifications.
[Note: they also detected high levels of radon daughters. Potrblog thinks that radon daughters are being steamed out of ground in Fukushima (which has high concentrations of radon in ground water naturally) when nuclear criticalities occur at the plant.
I very much appreciate Potrblog's efforts to make their methods transparent for critical discussion and debate.
[excerpted] " The study explores how mineral deficiencies - affected by dietary factors like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - could impact how the human body rids itself of common toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides....
Commander (ret.) Renee Dufault (U.S. Public Health Service), the study's lead author and a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toxicologist, developed an innovative scientific approach to describe the subtle side effects of HFCS consumption and other dietary factors on the human body and how they relate to chronic disorders. The model, called "macroepigenetics," allows researchers to consider how factors of nutrition, environment and genetic makeup interact and contribute to the eventual development of a particular health outcome...."
[Excerpt of quote from scientist who wrote study]: "'Our results suggest humans now exert a stronger influence on the abundance of reef sharks than either habitat quality or oceanographic factors,' the authors wrote..."
[excerpted] "Solar flares like the huge one that erupted on the sun early today (Aug. 9) will only become more common as our sun nears its maximum level of activity in 2013, scientists say.
Tuesday's flare was the most powerful sun storm since 2006, and was rated an X6.9 on the three-class scale for solar storms (X-Class is strongest, with M-Class in the middle and C-Class being the weakest).
Flares such as this one could become the norm soon, though, as our sun's 11-year cycle of magnetic activity ramps up, scientists explained. The sun is just coming out of a lull, and scientists expect the next peak of activity in 2013. The current cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008...." [end quote]
Majia here: The problem with the heightened solar activity is the possibility that a large flare will hit earth directly and compromise sensitive electronics, leading to widespread power outages.
Were such an event to occur we might see nuclear plant meltdowns across the globe.
This could cause an extinction event for humans (if we haven't yet sealed that fate).
Thank you Craig for the link.
To read more about the contemporary dangers of the Carrington effect see the links below:
[Excerpted] "Japan plans to seize control of its biggest utility on the same terms it applied to a bailout of the nation’s fifth-biggest bank nine years ago... The proposal, which outlines restructuring steps including a 1 trillion yen capital infusion, will be released after Edano approves it, Shimokobe said....
The nation is moving closer to restarting two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Ohi nuclear station in Fukui prefecture after four ministers approved additional safety measures at the plant and cited the need to ease power shortages as Japan’s summer approaches.
The Ohi reactors would be the first to come back online since Japan adopted so-called nuclear stress tests..." [end excerpt]
[excerpted] — "Since the beginning of the debt crisis in Europe more than two years ago, defenders of the euro currency union have stuck to a basic argument: if the euro zone’s weaker economies would only keep pursuing policies of austerity, even as growth collapsed and job losses mounted, they would be rewarded by investors more willing to buy their bonds.
Yes, the social cost would be high, but over the long term economies would benefit from the lower interest rates that can come with the seal of approval from global bond investors. Or so goes the argument.
That approach, though, has failed in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. And now it is being severely tested in Spain, where the more the government promises to cut its budget deficit, the more foreigners are unloading their Spanish bond holdings...."
Majia Here: Austerity has failed everywhere it has been applied. This is a known fact. The reason austerity keeps being applied despite its failures to resolve economic problems is because it essentially operates to shift wealth from the many to the few.
If you haven't seen Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine video, watch it now because this doctrine is being applied in Europe and the U.S.
[excerpted] Step One is Privatization - which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, 'Briberization…
After briberization, Step Two of the IMF/World Bank one-size-fits-all rescue-your-economy plan is 'Capital Market Liberalization.' In theory, capital market deregulation allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money simply flowed out and out. Stiglitz calls this the "Hot Money" cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation's reserves can drain in days, hours. And when that happens, to seduce speculators into returning a nation's own capital funds, the IMF demands these nations raise interest rates to 30%, 50% and 80%.
"The result was predictable," said Stiglitz of the Hot Money tidal waves in Asia and Latin America. Higher interest rates demolished property values, savaged industrial production and drained national treasuries.
At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas.
This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, "The IMF riot."
The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, "down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them.... [end excerpt]
[Excerpted] "A little over a month ago, back on March 19, at 3:00 in the morning, the Limerick Nuclear Power Station, which runs two aging GE nuclear reactors along the Schuylkill River west of Philadelphia, had an accident. As much as 15,000 gallons of reactor water contaminated with five times the official safe limit of radioactive Tritium as well as an unknown amount of other dangerous isotopes from the reactor’s fission process blew off a manhole cover and ran out of a large pipe, flowing into a streambed and on into the river from which Philadelphia and a number of smaller towns draw their municipal water supplies.
No public announcement of this spill was made at the time, so the public in those communities had no idea that it had occurred, and water system operators had no opportunity to shut down their intakes from the river. There was no report about the spill in Philadelphia’s two daily newspapers or on local news programs...."
Majia Here: Just wait until I tell you about tritium from nuke plants in swimming pools....
Fukushima Diary reports that Mr. Oyama, Minamisoma city councilor, measured 500CPM from a sample of black substance. The analysis results were: "4.2 million Bq/Kg of cesium from Black substance and microscope pics"
Fukushima has been very active lately, awing its webcam audience with regular massive steam releases that come from the ground, among other worrying places. I'm keeping records for the purposes of documentation :)
Majia here: The article states that the EU started conducting stress tests on Japan's nuclear reactors over a year ago.The stress test results are not going to be released as planned. They have officially been delayed until fall.
[excerpts] "The tests examine the ability of reactors to survive
emergencies, including plane crashes and natural disasters such as major
earthquakes and tsunami.
"The EU had aimed to release the final results of the stress tests by
June and make concrete recommendations at a summit. But on Thursday it
announced that the final report will be published in the autumn because
it will take more time to complete the tests...."
Majia here: Let us consider why the stress results are not being released. Perhaps this headline sheds some light on the situation:
Report Introduced by Top Official Hosono: “Other reactors are all in
considerably severe condition” — 14 total; Dai-ni, Onagawa, Tokai — “Extreme
situations, though not much has been broadcast” (VIDEO)
I am a Professor at a large public university. I study political economy and biopolitics. My interests are diverse but are broadly concerned with economic, social and environmental justice. I have published 3 books: Constructing Autism: Governmentality, Biopower and Everyday Life; Governing Childhood.