Study looks at the effect of cannabis extract on brain cancer

I’ve seen plenty of stories about people using cannabis to treat brain cancer and other medical problems, but there hasn’t been a lot of hard science looking at this treatment.  That’s where this new study is particular interesting, for it does just that – looks at the effects of using two cannabis extracts, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), both by themselves, and also in conjunction with irradiation.  The result showed a clear benefit of the cannabis extracts, and the best results were when the treatment included both those extracts and the irradation – where the tumors virtually disappeared.  Pretty promising stuff…read more here.

Pepsi decides to stop using a known carcinogen

The power of corporate greed is such that, even after 4-methylimidazole was found to cause cancer, Pepsi continued to ship product containing it.  They removed it from product sold in California after a new law requiring labeling of carcinogens, but it’s taken until now for them to commit to removing it nationwide (and even then, not until around the end of 2013).  Well, at least they’re finally taking this step.  You’re probably still better off sticking with tap water though!

(via smartplanet)

Roundup herbicide linked to cancer, autism, parkinson’s alzheimer’s

Well I think the title says it all…Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is really nasty stuff that studies are showing has a link to some really nasty human diseases.  Add to that the increased use of crops that have been genetically modified to be roundup-resistant, and you should start being concerned about the safety of your food supply.  Do yourself a favor and either buy organic foods, or grow your own vegetables!  (read more at The Good Human)

TSA to stop using all x-ray body scanners

rapiscansecure1000sp__small_customThe TSA has announced that it plans to remove all x-ray (or backscatter, as it’s also known) body scanners and use only the radio-wave based scanners.  The backscatter technology has received much criticism over health concerns and a lack of scientific testing to show they’re safe, and while the TSA finally started investigating the health risks associated with those machines in December of 2012, they say the decision to stop using these machines is due to the company’s inability to provide a timely software upgrade that would replace the actual image of the passenger with an avatar or other abstract graphical representation.

I’d written about the concerns with backscatter technology previously, and am hesitant to get too excited about this news.  My concern now is that the study into the health effects will be terminated (as it should, to save money), yet OPI Systems (the backscatter scanner manufacturer) will upgrade their software and slightly change their hardware to allow them to release a ‘new’ model of scanner later this year which the TSA will then accept as a replacement for the 174 backscatter machines currently due to be sent back to OPI.  Since it’s a ‘new’ machine, it’ll restart the clock, so to speak, for getting the TSA to begin investigating the health impact of it, then there will be a long, protracted study, etc, with the technology being used all the while.  Of course, that’s just my pessimistic speculation..for now, it’s a victory for health as the machines are due to be removed and replaced with a safer technology.If you’re curious..check out this link for a good side by side comparison of the two scanner technologies.

Rats fed GM corn die young (with tumors and organ damage)

Researchers in France fed rats a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s GM corn (NK603, to be specific), and found that 50% of the males and 70% of the females died prematurely (compared with 30% of the males and 20% of the females in the control group).  They suffered from mammary tumors, also severe liver and kidney damage (this is in stark contrast to the carefree life portrayed by French rats in Ratatouille).

What’s most interesting here, to me at least, is the implications.  Specifically…NK603 is a type of corn that’s tolerant to the pesticide Roundup…it wasn’t stated specifically, but I’m assuming that when growing NK603, they did so by using Roundup as intended.  Thus these deaths are not necessarily due to the genetic modification of the corn plant, but rather the pesticides that that modification allowed the use of.  In the end, perhaps it doesn’t matter, the result is dead rats…but I worry that a GM crop could be shown to be perfectly safe by itself, but use of that will result in secondary factors that lead to problems down the line.

I’m also disturbed by the article’s statement that GM crops are approved based upon a 90 day feeding trial.  As this study showed, there are lifetime impacts that need to be properly quantified…a mere 90 day test may be insufficient to expose long-term health impacts.

NK603 was approved for food use in the US in 2000.

You can read the full article at Reuters.