GM: New study shows unborn babies could be harmed

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GM: New study shows unborn babies could be harmed

Postby scollon » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:38 pm

<br>Geoffery Lean – The Independent January 8, 2006<br><br>Women who eat GM foods while pregnant risk endangering their unborn babies, startling new research suggests. <br><br>The study - carried out by a leading scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences - found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed on modified soya died in the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers with normal diets. Six times as many were also severely underweight. <br><br>The research - which is being prepared for publication - is just one of a clutch of recent studies that are reviving fears that GM food damages human health. Italian research has found that modified soya affected the liver and pancreas of mice. Australia had to abandon a decade-long attempt to develop modified peas when an official study found they caused lung damage. <br><br>And last May this newspaper revealed a secret report by the biotech giant Monsanto, which showed that rats fed a diet rich in GM corn had smaller kidneys and higher blood cell counts, suggesting possible damage to their immune systems, than those that ate a similar conventional one. <br><br>The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation held a workshop on the safety of genetically modified foods at its Rome headquarters late last year. The workshop was addressed by scientists whose research had raised concerns about health dangers. But the World Trade Organisation is expected next month to support a bid by the Bush administration to force European countries to accept GM foods. <br><br>The Russian research threatens to have an explosive effect on already hostile public opinion. Carried out by Dr Irina Ermakova at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, it is believed to be the first to look at the effects of GM food on the unborn. <br><br>The scientist added flour from a GM soya bean - produced by Monsanto to be resistant to its pesticide, Roundup - to the food of female rats, starting two weeks before they conceived, continuing through pregnancy, birth and nursing. Others were given non-GM soya and a third group was given no soya at all. <br><br>She found that 36 per cent of the young of the rats fed the modified soya were severely underweight, compared to 6 per cent of the offspring of the other groups. More alarmingly, a staggering 55.6 per cent of those born to mothers on the GM diet perished within three weeks of birth, compared to 9 per cent of the offspring of those fed normal soya, and 6.8 per cent of the young of those given no soya at all. <br><br>"The morphology and biochemical structures of rats are very similar to those of humans, and this makes the results very disturbing" said Dr Ermakova. "They point to a risk for mothers and their babies." <br><br>Environmentalists say that - while the results are preliminary - they are potentially so serious that they must be followed up. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked the US National Institute of Health to sponsor an immediate, independent follow-up. <br><br>The Monsanto soya is widely eaten by Americans. There is little of it, or any GM crop, in British foods though it is imported to feed animals farmed for meat. <br><br>Tony Coombes, director of corporate affairs for Monsanto UK, said: "The overwhelming weight of evidence from published, peer-reviewed, independently conducted scientific studies demonstrates that Roundup Ready soy can be safely consumed by rats, as well as all other animal species studied." <br><br><br>What the experiment found<br><br>Russian scientists added flour made from a GM soya to the diet of female rats two weeks before mating them, and continued feeding it to them during pregnancy, birth and nursing. Others were give non-GM soya or none at all. Six times as many of the offspring of those fed the modified soya were severely underweight compared to those born to the rats given normal diets. Within three weeks, 55.6 per cent of the young of the mothers given the modified soya died, against 9 per cent of the offspring of those fed the conventional soya. <br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article337253.ece">news.independent.co.uk/en...337253.ece</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <br> <br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: GM: New study shows unborn babies could be harmed

Postby * » Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:23 am

<br> More bad soy news:<br><br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2006/1.html">link</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>CU-Boulder Study Shows Soy Diet Worsens Heart Disease In Mice</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br>Jan. 4, 2006<br><br>A University of Colorado at Boulder study has shown the health of mice carrying a genetic mutation for a disease that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30 worsened considerably when the animals were fed a soy-based diet.<br><br>Male mice carrying the mutation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, were severely affected by the soy diet, exhibiting progressively enlarged heart muscles and eventual heart failure, said CU-Boulder Professor Leslie Leinwand. When the mice in the study were switched to a diet of the milk protein, casein, the condition of the males improved markedly, said Leinwand, chief author of the study.<br><br>Female mice carrying the mutation for HCM, which is characterized by the thickening of heart muscle that can obstruct blood flow, were relatively unaffected, she said. The research team hypothesized that heart deterioration in male mice was due at least in part to plant-based estrogens in the soy food diet that triggered a cascade of biochemical reactions and ultimately increased apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the heart.<br><br>"We were shocked by the results," said Leinwand, chair of the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department and chief study author. "This study shows that at least in mice, diet can have a more profound effect on heart disease than any drug that we could imagine."<br><br>A paper on the subject by Leinwand, Dr. Brian Stauffer, a cardiologist at Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, CU-Boulder research associate John Konhilas and doctoral student Elizabeth Luczak appears in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, one of the nation's leading medical journals.<br><br>"To our knowledge this is the first report of significant differences in cardiac muscle adaptation due to dietary manipulation," the researchers wrote in JCI.<br><br>The CU research team speculated the soy diet affected male mice more severely because the females already had large amounts of estrogen naturally circulating through their bodies, making the proportional increase in estrogen compounds from the soy diet significantly less, said Leinwand. In addition, male mammals, from mice to humans, are more severely affected by the symptoms of HCM than females, she said.<br><br>The study mice were bred over generations to carry HCM, a disease which causes the heart's lower chambers, or ventricles, to thicken and prevents the heart from fully relaxing between heartbeats, said Leinwand. In the latter stages of the disease, the heart's ventricle chamber enlarges, the heart wall thins and the pumping contractions of the heart are impaired, leading to heart failure, she said.<br><br>HCM is the leading cause of death in young athletes and affects about one in 500 people, although milder forms of the disease often go undiagnosed, said Leinwand. To date, 18 genes associated with HCM have been identified and several more are being investigated, she said.<br><br>Soy foods and diet supplements are perceived to be a huge health benefit to humans, as evidenced by the estimated $4.7 billion spent by consumers on them in 2005, said Leinwand. "I don't think normal, healthy people should be alarmed by the results of this study," said Leinwand. "But we are seeing more cautionary reactions from the medical community in recent years regarding the ingestion of huge quantities of dietary supplements, including soy phytoestrogens."<br><br>Leinwand said plant estrogens have been shown to have a potent effect on living organisms. Although they are sometimes suggested by doctors to treat menopausal symptoms in women, common plant estrogens like genistein and daidzein can contribute to reduced fertility in farm animals, studies have shown.<br><br>"There are some very complex issues in this study that we don't yet fully understand from a biochemical standpoint," she said. "But the study should help lead to a better understanding of how genes and diet interact."<br><br>Currently, the main treatment for end-stage HCM is a heart transplant, she said.<br><br>The CU-Boulder study was funded by a grant from the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.<br><br>Contact: Leslie Leinwand, (303) 492-7606<br>leslie.leinwand@colorado.edu<br>Jim Scott, (303) 492-3114 <br><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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