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(35,773 posts)
Wed Jul 20, 2016, 08:12 PM Jul 2016

Glyphosate, Neurological Diseases And The Scientific Method: How Not To Do Science. [View all]



In their lengthy treatise, “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese (Mn), neurological diseases, and associated pathologies” recently published in Surgical Neurology International, Drs. Samsel and Seneff blame the widely used herbicide glyphosate for a number of ecological as well as medical disorders via Mn metabolism and a myriad of other pathophysiological mechanisms.[9] The linking of this effective herbicide to the alphabet soup list of conditions enumerated by the authors seems to be “shotgun science” — namely, multiple associations based on population-based statistics, disconnected correlations, and manipulation of numbers and conditions that create an epidemiological recipe for errors and nonvalid associations. The authors link every kind of disorder imaginable to a widely used chemical that has not been specifically linked clinically to any of those disorders.[9]

The massive weight of unconnected data presented by Drs. Samsel and Seneff in this paper fails to establish a definite association with glyphosate usage or Mn metabolism to autism or any of the other conditions implicated.[9] At best the link to autism is weak but not completely excluded as a co-factor with as yet unidentified other causes. Before we condemn glyphosate and its alleged mechanism of biological disruption in humans, in both alleged accumulation and depletion (both mechanisms are described by the authors), more data needs to be collected by actual fieldwork, testing, and experimentation. This hypothesis needs to be tested by other investigators under more direct and rigorous conditions for the variety of disorders listed by Drs. Samsel and Seneff.

Investigators must be wary of the various traps that befall epidemiological, population-based studies. First, for example, is the post-hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of it”) fallacy. In other words, does a high level of a toxic substance cause a disease, or does it merely accumulate as the result of the disease or some other process? Was the high use of glyphosate noted to precede the increase in the number of cases of autism, Parkinson's disease (PD), cholestasis, and Alzheimer's disease (AD), etc., really responsible for those conditions? I think not, by the evidence provided by the authors. True, the authors have done a phenomenal amount of work and collected an impressive bibliography, but this of itself does not prove a cause and effect relationship.

The assertion, “(glyphosate) usage has increased steadily. In step with the rise in autism rates,”[9] proves nothing, but suggests the intrusion of a second related epidemiological error — e.g., the correlation-causation fallacy, a common error in logic stating that correlation does not establish causation. We can make statements for a variety of other substances and conditions, but in the end correlation does not establish causation. Similarly, along with the markedly increased use of glyphosate, there has been increases in the use of a number of chemicals, including other pesticides and herbicides (many of them already blamed for some of the same illnesses cited by the authors); there has been a protracted increase in medical uses of prescription drugs as well as the recreational consumption of illegal drugs; administration of large number of vaccines given to children possibly overtaxing the immune system and implicated in the rise of autism (particularly measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR], and vaccines that used the preservative thimerosal), etc. By similarly shaped graphs, we could cursorily implicate not only vaccines, but also the escalation of single parenthood and poverty, increased federal spending in welfare programs, even the growth of the organic food industry, not to mention the tremendous world population growth and overcrowding — as culprits for the increase in the variety of degenerative conditions and cancers cited by the authors during a similar period of time [Figures ​[Figures11–5]. And yet, the authors have singled out glyphosate as the causative agent, not just for autism, but also for an alphabet soup list of conditions. And as we will see later, one of the authors (Seneff) asserts that we need to “act drastically,” implying, I suppose, imposing a ban on glyphosate. But even if the authors were on the right track, extreme caution should be exercised for reasons that will become obvious as we proceed further with this critique.



Yes, this is long. However, if you are ethical, and yet you intrinsically believe that Samsel and Seneff found that glyphosate causes all number of diseases, in their "paper," published in an unknown open-access journal a few years ago (Yeah, lots of bad publications keep reposting stories about it, claiming that it's brand new, but... ), then you will read it all the way through so you know the ins and outs of the problems with the claims they made.

Thank you.

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Did Samsel and Seneff Show That "Glyphosate Is Poisoning Everyone?" (No.) HuckleB Jul 2016 #1
K and R Ohio Dem Jul 2016 #2
Thank you! HuckleB Jul 2016 #3
I hate anti-science drivel, whether from the right or the left. MohRokTah Jul 2016 #4
Absolutely. It's astounding that so many here get taken in by such fictions. HuckleB Jul 2016 #22
Oh pish posh. progressoid Jul 2016 #5
Samsel and Seneff paper shows ignorance at an astounding level. HuckleB Jul 2016 #6
I took the liberty of checking out Dr. Samsel's publication record. Act_of_Reparation Jul 2016 #7
LOL! Publishing nonsense in crap journals on topics of which she knows nothing... HuckleB Jul 2016 #9
By That Logic. . . ProfessorGAC Jul 2016 #10
No, not really. Act_of_Reparation Jul 2016 #15
I'm not even sure what angle that post is attempting to take. HuckleB Jul 2016 #19
The Reply Made It Obvious ProfessorGAC Jul 2016 #23
I figured that, but I don't know if it's typical of that poster. HuckleB Jul 2016 #24
This is unfortunately going to fall on deaf ears (eyes?) alarimer Jul 2016 #8
And even when it doesn't, the response is Straw Man silliness. HuckleB Jul 2016 #18
I find gaps in his data and his declaration that organic gardens are 'impossible' is just silly. Bluenorthwest Jul 2016 #11
And the classic straw man strikes. HuckleB Jul 2016 #12
I cited the piece you cited, just that I cited the bits you did not want to cite. Bluenorthwest Jul 2016 #13
And you offer up the same straw man, again, and yet another to boot. HuckleB Jul 2016 #14
Lots of sound and fury signifiying nothing. Bluenorthwest Jul 2016 #16
No, I did not call the article a straw man. HuckleB Jul 2016 #17
Kick for all the ignorant anti-science woo freaks on DU. GaYellowDawg Jul 2016 #20
Thank you. HuckleB Jul 2016 #21
This is a great article! ananda Apr 2020 #25
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