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Sheldon Saul Hendler (1936–2012)

Någon gång vid mitten av 1990-talet köpte jag en bok av den amerikanske läkaren Sheldon Saul Hendler, ”The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia”. Jag hade hört mycket gott om den, och när jag nu fick ett eget exemplar, så kunde jag konstatera att den faktiskt var väldigt användbar. Mycket av det man köper i hälsokostaffärer granskade han för och emot och jämförde med vilka eventuella vetenskapliga studier som gjorts som kunde belägga den ena eller andra åsikten.

Senare köpte jag också hans ”PDR for Nutritional Supplements” (skriven tillsammans med David Rorvik), en betydligt större bok, dock begränsad till kosttillskott, här togs t.ex. inte örtmediciner upp.

Idag tyckte jag det var dags att kolla om det möjligen kommit någon ny intressant bok av Hendler och upptäckte när jag googlade att han tyvärr avlidit 2012 (se runa).

Jag upptäckte också något jag inte haft en aning om; att han var musiker – jazztrumpetare. Och att han skrivit musiken till Jacob Bronowskis TV-serie från 1973, ”The Ascent of Man”. Bara detta var ett märkligt sammanträffande. Den serien betydde mycket för mig, och jag har sedan läst några böcker av vetenskapshistorikern Bronowski. Jag brukar gärna citera vad Bronowski skrev om vikten av att sätta sig in i vetenskapliga spörsmål: ”The world today is made, it is powered by science; and for any man to abdicate an interest in science is to walk with open eyes towards slavery.”

Tillbaka till Hendler. Han höll också vetenskapens fana högt. Han var definitivt ingen flummare, fast han tog vitaminterapier och örtmediciner på allvar.

Hendler tog en Ph.D i biokemi vid Columbia University i New York, och senare studerade han vid University of California i San Diego samt vid Salk Institute, där han bl.a medverkade vid viktiga fynd om nukleosomens struktur (ett protein som DNA-molekyler slingrar sig runt och som har med genuttryck att göra). Han var också med i gruppen som upptäckte en ny hudsjukdom, elastoderma 1985 (se New England Journal of Medicine). I San Diego blev han också medicine doktor.

More on trigger points & muscle lumps

In 2003 I published a book about mercury poisoning from dental amalgam, fibromyalgia and the role in society of scientific research. It was built upon my own experiences as chronically ill. The print version is available in Swedish only, but there is a version in English available on line as a 131 page PDF.

After the book was published, I also uploaded a few web pages with further comments on these topics, but those were in Swedish only. I believe, however, that especially one of those texts, concerning muscle lumps, should reach also non-Swedish readers. I have therefore translated it into English. Read more »

Is illegal tobacco more dangerous than legal?

When I wrote about the tobacco industry and its mafia methods the other day (in Swedish) I had missed an ad that was published in Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet on December 7. Advertisers are the Swedish Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association and an association for Swedish Stores & Fast Food.

The main message appears on the facsimile above: ”Illegal tobacco causes organized crime”, designed so that it resembles a warning on a cigarette packet.

An interesting attempt by an industry with very little goodwill to try to improve its image somewhat by pointing the finger at a branch of the same industry, which in some respects is even worse than themselves.

The products of the pirates and their business practices are perhaps a bit worse than those in the official channels, but you should be aware that they operate in a market that is created and maintained through decades by exactly the so-called legal tobacco industry. This has been done by systematically hiding the known dangers regarding tobacco harm.

The ad contains four statements:

* Those who sell illegal tobacco ignore age limits and market to young people.

* 2 billion Swedish crowns are being withheld from the state since pirated tobacco is tax free.

* Criminal activities are financed through the enormous profits from illegal tobacco.

* Pirated [counterfeit] cigarettes may have higher rates of various substances than is allowed as expressed in the approved limit values.

They try to make it sound as if only the illegal businesses focus on the young. But that is not true. Remember when Austria Tabak some years ago arranged special smoke parties for young people in Sweden, where they had the opportunity to buy cheap cigarettes. As late as the mid-1990s there were still tobacco advertisements that clearly aimed at the youth. Today, product placement in movies obviously aims at a young audience. And, as is well known, all of a suddden people smoke a lot again in TV serials.

I ask Pascal Diethelm about this. Diethelm is a well-known health activist at OxyGenève in Switzerland, who was one of the two sued in the so-called Rylander affair a few years ago.

– The ad in the Swedish dailies is a smokescreen to distract the attention away from the real problem, Diethelm says, namely the fact that the main suppliers of illegal tobacco trade are the cigarette companies themselves. It could be that less than 1% of the traffic is related to the pirates, but the industry uses them to mask the fact that the rest comes from them – except for counterfeit cigarettes, which mostly come from China, and which represent an increasing, but still small, share of the illegal market.

– Intergovernmental negotiations are underway for the elaboration of a protocol on illicit tobacco trade, and the tobacco industry is trying everywhere to preempt that future protocol by concluding separate agreements (with loopholes) with each country at the local level – perhaps this is what they are trying to do in Sweden.

When it comes to the talk about higher rates of various harmful substances in illicit cigarettes, Pascal Diethelm says that this is a myth, which has two purposes – as a scare tactic and to pass the message that regular cigarettes are safer, which is known not to be true.

Pingad på Intressant.

Scientific fraud must be investigated – also in Sweden!

In Swedish magazine Axess (No 2/2008) I have an article about how important it is that Sweden finally gets an impartial institution that may investigate science fraud. Other Nordic countries have such agencies – while Sweden turns a blind eye to a lot of irregularities that should be classified as either science fraud or scientific misconduct. There is presently a proposal in parliament suggesting the founding of a committee on scientific misconduct. This would at least be a start, therefore it is worth supporting. It is far from an ideal solution, but better than what we have now.

The line of argument in my article is based on a case I have followed for several years, the case of Swedish professor Ragnar Rylander, tobacco researcher who on the one hand, had a series of public health assignments (e.g. scientific advisor to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare), and on the other, was secretly working as a consultant to the tobacco industry. In that capacity he helped to keep secret such research results that could adversely affect the industry’s business. He also assisted in withholding incriminating documents concerning these affairs from the prosecutors in the major trials against the tobacco industry that took place in the USA in the 1990s.

Read the whole article in English translation from my archive!

Pingad på Intressant.

CT scans may affect children’s learning

A group of Swedish scientists at the Karoliska Institute and Harvard School of Public Health have found that CT scanning in children could affect their later learning abilities. The British Medical Journal presents the study thus:

Receiving low doses of ionising radiation to the head in infancy may impair the developing brain and affect intellectual development. Hall and colleagues (p 19) studied 3094 men from Sweden who had received radiotherapy for cutaneous hemangioma before the age of 18 months. They analysed military records reporting the men’s intellectual capacity at age 18 or 19 and found that exposure to doses of radiation greater than 100 mGy, the equivalent of a computed tomography scan, was negatively correlated with high school attendance and learning ability assessed by cognitive tests. The authors call for re-evaluating the use of computed tomography for minor head injuries in infants.

The full text of the article Per Hall, Hans-Olov Adami, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Nancy L Pedersen, Pagona Lagiou, Anders Ekbom, Martin Ingvar, Marie Lundell & Fredrik Granath, ”Effect of low doses of ionising radiation in infancy on cognitive function in adulthood: Swedish population based cohort study”, BMJ 2004;328:19 (3 January) is available at the BMJ web site. The study has already received some criticism at the Rapid Responses section.

Pingad på Intressant.

Microwave ovens and wireless networks

Jim Geier reports in an article at Wi-Fi Planet, Dueling with Microwave Ovens, about his experiments, which show how radiation from microwave ovens might interfere with wireless local computer networks, so-called WLAN’s. From a health point of view this seems to indicate that our microwave permeated environment not only includes radiation from cordless phones, cell phones, burgler alarms etc., but also leakage from microwave ovens, short in duration maybe but still adding to the total exposure. A quotation from the article:

A more realistic distance from the microwave is from one of the break tables, which is about eight feet away from the microwave. At this range, I reran the throughput tests, resulting in 178pps. This still equates to around a 75 percent decrease, something that would likely make users unhappy. […]
I also repeated the tests down the hall about 20 feet away with the microwave running and still experienced fairly sluggish responses. In fact, throughput from there was still only 260pps. Obviously, the microwave was making the WLAN crawl at surprisingly great distances from the microwave.

Pingad på Intressant.

The Rylander affair – at a glance

29 March 2001: The two anti-tobacco organizations CIPRET-Genève and OxyGenève publish their press release titled ”Geneva, platform of a scientific fraud without precedent”, where professor Rylander’s connections with the tobacco industry are pointed out. They also demand that the Geneva University must investigate the matter.

30 March 2001: An investigation is initiated by the rectorate of the Geneva University.

20 April 2001: Ragnar Rylander sues Pascal Diethelm and Jean-Charles Rielle, representatives of the two anti-tobacco organizations, for defamation on three points: for having claimed that Rylander was secretly employed by the tobacco industry, that he was one of the most highly paid of the industry’s consultants, and that he was responsible for a scientific fraud without precedent.

29 June 2001-24 maj 2002: The first trial in the Geneva Police Court. Diethelm and Rielle try to prove that their allegations are correct and thus do not constitute defamation.

6 November 2001: The rectorate of the university of Geneva presents its investigation: The context in which Rylander has chosen to work does not ”seem innocent in all respects”.

24 May 2002: The verdict in the first trial: The court agrees with the defendants on one point, that Rylander was secretly employed, but the claim that he was one of the most higly paid consultants and that he was guilty of scientific fraud could not be proved. Rielle and Diethelm are imposed a fine of 4,000 CHF each. They appeal.

September 2002: The Geneva University continues the investigation in the light of new facts presented during the trial. On December 20, the university representatives acknowledge that they might even reassess professor Rylander’s research results and communicate this to the scientific community, if necessary.

13 January 2003: The second verdict. The Cantonal Appeal Court in Geneva establishes the verdict of the Police Court. However, of the two counts from the earlier trial, now only one remains: the question of a scientific fraud without precedent. It was found that the defendants had proved that Rylander was one of the most highly paid of the industry’s consultants. The fine is lowered to 1,000 CHF. Rielle and Diethelm appeal again.

17 April 2003 (published May 28): The Supreme Court of Switzerland (Tribunale Fédérale) annuls the judgment of January 13, as being ”incomprehensible” and ”arbitrary”, and refers the case back to the cantonal court.

15 December 2003: The Court of Justice of the canton of Geneva publishes its verdict, where Rielle and Diethelm are completely freed of all charges, and professor Rylander’s work at the Geneva University is charecterized as a ”scientific fraud without precedent”. (Read also this blog entry!)


Read more:

Philip Morris assigned secret grants to Swedish professor” (Dagens Forskning [Today’s Science] no 12, 10-11 June 2002) (English, also available in Swedish.)
Ragnar Rylander has willingly offered his services” (Dagens Forskning [Today’s Science] no 16, 26-27/8 2002) (English, also available in Swedish.)
Extensive information in French at the Prevention web site.

Pingad på Intressant.