Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

***************************************************

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.

ACADEMICS, DOCTORS, AUTHORS, FILMMAKERS, REPORTERS AND COMMENTATORS WHO HAVE NOBLY AIDED REVIEW OF THE STATUS QUO

Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

*****************************************************
I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Human Nature)

Important: This site is best viewed in LARGE FONT, and in Firefox for image title visibility (place cursor on pics to reveal comments) and layout display. Click the title of any post to get only that post and its Comments for printing. All posts guaranteed fact checked according to reference level cited, typically the original journal studies. Full guide to site purpose, layout and how to print posts out is in the lower blue section at the bottom of the home page.
---Admin AL/E/ILMK---

PBS Platforms Ken Burns’ Take On ‘Emperor of All Maladies’

March 30th, 2015

Six hours of establishment history rolled out by public television

New era of progress heralded as gene targeted drugs multiply

Will the series tell us of other, more promising approaches? Probably not.

Following the Pulitzer prize winning book published in 2010, Emperor of All Maladies, connoisseurs of misinformation, having enjoyed the Vaccine Wars repeat last week, can now settle down this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9pm (Mar 30-Apr 1) on the East Coast for Ken Burns’ version of Emperor on PBS.

Judging from Burns’ WNYC radio interview in advance of this watershed event in cancer history, things are not promising. Guess what? From the sound of it, it wasn’t Peter Duesberg who found the first supposed oncogene and sequenced it (and later debunked it and all such specific cancer gene theory) any more. He is not to be mentioned. Instead we are to be told that Harold Varmus, the varmint at NCI, found with Bishop the src gene as the first supposed human oncogene. Well, we do know that Varmus, who headed the NIH after his Nobel and then Memorial Sloan Kettering, and has ruled the NCI as director since 2010, is to retire on Tuesday. We label him a varmint since he has been denying Duesberg his support for any money for his work, which is probably the only cancer lab research worth funding given the field’s continuing obsession with the inherited gene theory of cancer, which has yet to yield one actual oncogene consistently shown to mutate to originate any cancer (though scores of “confirmed” candidates last time we looked).

Now we have PBS doing its usual job of swallowing currently leading, publicly funded scientists’ story whole, without checking behind the scenes in any way. Here’s a talk by Peter Duesberg which might have shed more light on the real cancer research story and its scandalous misdirection today, Controversies in Cancer Research by Peter Duesberg.

Your breasts or your life

Line up for your mastectomys, girls – now that Angelina Jolie has had her ovaries removed too, she has shown the way, and we will continue to ignore decades old clinical studies showing it doesn’t help at all – in fact it worsens outcomes.

But hey. if you have the gene it’s the best thing to do, reports Ken, advised by Siddhartha Mukherjee who has his Pulitzer in hand for the original book.

Is this what PBS supporters deserve for their support which they fondly believe frees PBS reporting from the money game? When will the progressive TV news program Democracy Now learn to handle the big scandals of science and expose all this nonsense? Not soon enough, sadly, given the mental paralysis in questioning that so often afflicts the left as soon as they hear the word science. Even though Amy Goodman, the admirable Democracy Now host and personification, has a biochemistry undergrad degree from Harvard, and planned a career in science before leading the way in progressive news coverage, it doesn’t seem likely she will investigate, though she has managed some coverage of scientific issues.

The truth is that cancer is still the great scourge of humanity just as it was for the Pharaohs, and PBS has a duty to investigate the topic as thoroughly as possible if there is any chance of saving women from the grotesque suffering it brings them either personally or through their children.

Times adds Op-Ed perspective

All is not lost at the Times, at least, since that generally admirable paper (except in its science coverage of HIV/AIDS, another giant boondoggle) allowed a small but fierce bit of enlightened skepticism to peek through on its Op Ed pages in the Weekly Review section yesterday. In Trying to Fool Cancer Mikkaela Sekeres, director of the Cleveland Clinic program on leukemia and an oncologist, is permitted to say that a national cancer policy focusing on drugs targeted on individual gene mutations may be something of a wild goose chase, since the cancer picture appears to be, from Cleveland Clinic research, a lot more complicated.

The problem is, cancer is rarely that simple, or that easily fooled.

Three recent studies, all published or presented late last year, highlight the challenges of building a national cancer therapy policy around precision medicine…..

Ten genetic mutations. So if you’re developing a drug to treat these cancers, which mutation would you choose to target? If your drug attacked the ninth or 10th mutation, the cancer would quickly regrow, because one through eight would still thrive…..

Targeting these mutations would be the best way to fight these cancers, right?

But what if it turns out that the founder mutations are part of a given person’s normal human genome — what are called “germline” mutations, which are present in both cancerous and noncancerous cells? Killing them could wreak havoc……

When we looked back to our database of more than 1,000 patients with similar disorders, we were able to identify eight others with this mutation who had already been treated with the drug I gave to my identical twin patients, and all had improved blood counts. This would seem to argue in favor of a national cancer policy focusing on targeted drugs.

Or does it? True, the twins had a founder genetic mutation for which we identified (by accident) a drug that worked really well, and neither had major side effects. But despite the improvement in their blood counts, when we examined their bone marrow after they had been treated, the twins’ cancer never went away, and one died from an infection related to his disease only months later……

One final study should give us all pause. Researchers from Harvard and M.I.T. analyzed genomic tests from more than 17,000 patients enrolled in diabetes or heart disease studies. They found that many had mutations more commonly associated with blood and bone marrow cancers, despite the fact that the patients did not have any known blood disorders…..

Even for patients who have a genetic mutation and a clearly defined cancer, that mutation might have nothing to do with causing the cancer. Targeting it with a drug could just damage cells that might be innocent bystanders.

Without doubt, therapies that target genetic abnormalities have made huge inroads in the survival of cancer patients, most notably in some chronic leukemias, melanomas and lung and breast cancers.

But they haven’t been curative. And we shouldn’t delude ourselves, or our patients, in thinking that standard chemotherapy is a thing of the past. Or that a few more months of life, which is what many targeted drugs have been able to deliver on average, is a panacea in cancer care.

Let’s see how many of these caveats are featured in Ken Burns’ six hour saga, on which he acted as Senior Creative Consultant, according to the credits, though it seems he was the senior producer from all accounts. More intimately responsible for the level of new information and the perspective of the coverage is the director and “series producer”, Barak Goodman, perhaps. But whoever had the final say, the first signs are not promising.

However, it is apparent from uninformed reviews in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times that at least one giant mistake is admitted.

Needless mastectomies

The horrible infliction of radical mastectomy, where the whole breast is removed and a good deal else, is recognized in this six hour history as having been uselessly savage for many years. Halsted’s desperate attempt at the turn of the century to prevent the cancer spreading was sadly misdirected, because it couldn’t block metastasis which had already happened through the blood. The problem was known since the 1940s, and mastectomy was confirmed by Bernard Fisher of the University of Pittsburgh in large scale trials in the 1970s as no better than lumpectomy. Not that that has stopped many doctors and surgeons from still perpetrating this barbaric piece of sadism on many women today, though the prophylactic double mastectomy that Angelina Jolie recently experienced, with typical female enthusiasm for maximum intervention, was undertaken for different reasons.

The motive for the operation in her case was not preventing metastasis but heading off the potential failure of her immune system to block cancer, which was reckoned a strong possibility owing to her possessing a mutated BRCA1 gene (ie BReast CAncer 1). But the severe operation remains questioned by some for its possibly exaggerated statistical rationale, and more decisively, for its similar inability to prevent the cancer coming up in the chest wall or anywhere else. Jolie followed with a second operation removing her ovaries for the same reason a fortnight ago, again open to the same objection and more.

On this topic, a review paper in March last year showed that in general mastectomy is not only a treatment which results in nil advantage over lumpectomy, or ‘BCT – breast conservation therapy’, it actually worsens outcome in terms of death when used on early stage breast cancer (Effect of Breast Conservation Therapy vs Mastectomy on Disease Specific Survival for Early-Stage Breast Cancer, Agarwal et al., JAMA Surg. 2014;149(3):267-274.)

Skepticism on mammography, new drugs

It has already been made clear that the upbeat conclusion of this standard piece of establishment self congratulation is that a whole new wave of advance in the standard, oncogene fixated strategy against the Emperor’s cellular armies of the night can be expected. The wave will wash over the haplessly trusting patients as an armory of new and profitable drugs targeted against specific gene mutations will pad the billing of hospitals. But will they help, or will the great wave be to no real avail? As indicated above, this is by no means a sure thing.

After all, the earlier wave of early (before age 50) mammograms built up by advertising and promotion has run up against a seawall of reassessment in the last decade, leaving its benefits debatable in terms of risk and reward, for like chemotherapy, mammography itself risks cancer.

Alternatives without side effects

Any mention of dietary treatments and phytochemicals (plant constituents) will probably be absent, we expect, in the same way as they will no doubt be neglected in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s free lecture coming up shortly on Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer: What Are They and How Do They Work?. Last time we attended a MSK briefing on breast cancer, the topic was entirely omitted, and one of the specialists presenting, a woman, said that diet was not addressed in treatment with any regard to what phytochemicals might be especially relevant to breast cancer.

That’s a pity, given the impressive lab results that have come through in the last two decades showing that phytochemicals can kill cancer cells in petri dishes faster than chemo. But of course, these are manufactured for free by Mother Nature, so no one can make enough money out of them to justify a billion dollar set of clinical trials, lab studies and legal expenses to satisfy the authorities they are effective, safe and have no side effects, even though we eat our veggies and fruit every day and prove otherwise.

Recent notable findings of interest in regard to breast cancer include Resveratrol increases BRCA1 and BRAC2 mRNA expression in breast tumour cell lines Fustier et al Br J Cancer. 2003 Jul 7;89(1):168-72; BRCA1 and BRCA2 as molecular targets for phytochemicals indole-3-carbinol and genistein in breast and prostate cancer cells by Fan et al Br J Cancer. 2006 Feb 13;94(3):407-26 ;and the latest one to emphasize synergy in phytochemical action, here on breast cancer cells, Simultaneous Inhibition of Cell-Cycle, Proliferation, Survival, Metastatic Pathways and Induction of Apoptosis in breast cancer cells by a phytochemical super-cocktail: genes that underpin its mode of action, by Ouhtit et al, J Cancer. 2013 Nov 14;4(9):703-15. doi: 10.7150/jca.7235. eCollection 2013 .

The abstract of the last one emphasizes the advantages that Mother Nature offers over traditional chemotheray and radiation, let alone sadistic surgery:


Traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment face serious challenges such as drug resistance and toxic side effects. Complementary / Alternative medicine is increasingly being practiced worldwide due to its safety beneficial therapeutic effects…..
This investigation indicates the potential for development of a highly effective phytochemical combination for breast cancer chemoprevention / chemotherapy.

Optimistic, perhaps, but surely it is a tragedy that any avenue to progress should be blocked simply because it won’t make any money.

Tell that to Angelina Jolie.


Bad Behavior has blocked 1333 access attempts in the last 7 days.