Neuroexcitotoxicity 6: Deceptive behavior, science and the FDA

June 28, 2010

Neuroexcitotoxicity 6:  Deceptive Behavior, Science and the FDA 

 Topic: Brain Health Reference:  The Taste that Kills  by Russell Blaylock 

 MSG has been studied by a variety of scientists and found to have neurotoxic effects in human children, laboratory science, and animal models.  However,  we have other studies funded and paid for by the MSG advocacy organizations that argue those findings.  We see this back and forth argument through much of American toxicological science.   The interested companies publish their own studies, without publically revealing their data sources or methods, and accumulate large numbers of such studies to play the game of “the vast majority of studies”.  Even reporting on this type of behavior sounds slightly conspiracy theory prone, so I’m reluctant to be too eager to jump on this bandwagon, but I want to share with you one example MSG study that has been well documented to have been manipulated, and the manipulation ignored by the FDA. 

 In 1971 a Dr WA Reynolds reported that baby monkeys fed large doses of MSG showed no side effects of the MSG.  This was published in the journal Science and remains one of the standard studies the FDA refers to in citing the safety of MSG.  However, Dr. Russell Blaylock chased the author down and heard her admit in a public forum that the monkeys were fed huge doses, and all promptly vomited.  Vomiting was not mentioned in the final paper but was conceded in a national forum by the author later.  Vomiting is known to effectively remove the MSG and makes the study invalid.  Furthermore, the monkeys had been anesthetized with phencyclidine (Angel Dust) which is known to completely block the neurotoxic effects of MSG.  The use of phencyclidine was also not mentioned in the paper.  Finally, the paper submitted pathology sections of the hypothalamus not being affected, but what they showed were parts of the monkey hypothalamus’ that are never affected by MSG.   They didn’t show the sensitive parts where MSG has been proved to wreak damage.  Three reasons to call this paper into question-and all ignored by the FDA.  That’s the problem. 

 What this reveals is a pattern, a pattern we have seen throughout the American political system.  Large interests with large amounts of funding can influence public policy.  While money is not seen to directly change hands, the lobbyists who speak to lawmakers are effective at getting industry-related “experts” on panels who then use their position to leverage the outcomes of reports, regulations and other public directives.  

It is only when the public reacts with potent and focused attention that lawmakers find it too difficult to take unpopular public positions.  MSG will likely not rise to the level of national importance like the war in Afghanistan or national banking reform, so it remains below the radar.  The real loser is the American public.   Our FDA, instead of being our protector, is actually functioning as a public screen for companies with no moral imperative but to increase their personal profits.  We have seen this in the tobacco wars over the last 30 years, the hormone replacement studies, and in about 15 other drugs that have come to the marketplace and been found to be troublesome.  

Numerous books by major leaders, including the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine have decried the corruption caused by company-funded research and its reliably bogus findings. 

 WWW: What Will Work for Me.  The FDA considers glutamate as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) which means it does not need to be regulated, controlled, or measured.  I believe they are wrong.   But our FDA is not empowered or capable of reviewing the science in an objective fashion.  Next week we will talk about aspartame and the same issue.  Is it really safe?

Column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI (262-784-5300