Science in Society Archive

Science in Society #39 - Letters to the Editor

Science in Society 39

Green tea a cure for Morgellons Disease?

Regarding your article, Agrobacterium & Morgellons Disease, A GM Connection? (SiS 38), I would like to know if there been any successful therapies found for the disease. I have such a patient and do not know where to start with her.
Dana F. Flavin, M.D.,, Greenwich, Ct, USA

I read your article and was surprised, but also convinced that Agrobacterium could very well be the cause of Morgellons. I have had Morgellons for five years and nothing cured it until recently (see below). I have a very strong history of ranching in Texas with high exposure to horses, goats, dogs, as well as soil and flooding on my ranch.

I have been able to get rid of Morgellons Disease recently after simply by using green tea, as your Green Tea, The Elixir of Life? and other articles in the series (SiS 33) indicates, among the many known benefits of green tea are its ability to fight bacterial and viral infections. I started drinking green tea about three months ago and it had an immediate effect on the Morgellons leisions,  unlike anything else I have ever tried. I continue drinking green tea and am almost completely healed and symptom free.

Your article suggests research involving Agrobacterium and its potential relationship to Morgellons disease. I am suggesting very strongly that green tea is potentially a cure for it. It would be easy in a lab to see how Agrobacterium is affected by green tea exposure. I have pictures of me healing following drinking green tea and applying it topically (sent to ISIS), and you can see the dramatic difference.
Linda Escobedo. San Antonio, Texas, USA 

Perennial grains? Impossible!

Humans must not limit their thinking to trying to breed the impossible (Ending 10 000 Years of Conflict between Agriculture and Nature, SiS 39). 

Plants that produce lots of seed and transfer most of their starch and nutrients into them have by definition little left for competitive growth and hence must die, i.e., be annuals. They can retain reproductive structures in the stems such as Banana, or root tubers, but this is inherently no better than dispersing and re-growing from seed. 

By contrast perennial plants compete by maintaining actively growing biomass and don't need to invest as much in seed, hence their lower yield. While both strategies can be highly effective they are opposite to each other. There is no basis for thinking that that a hybrid between the two will be either productive or competitive. Where we have sought to breed such hybrids, for example, cabbages with kale, we have ended up with unproductive plants that are neither productive nor competitive.

We need to get beyond thinking of wonder plants and instead manage the whole soil micobial plant system with synergistic mixtures of annuals and perennials, each evolved to optimize productivity in their micro-niche. It is mono-cultures that we need to overcome. And deluding ourselves that we can find a new magical monoculture cultivar just perpetuates our delusion and inevitable failure. 
Walter Jerne, Healthy Soils, Australia.

Dr. Stan Cox replies
I urge readers who have such concerns (and can find the time) to read a couple of the articles to which I referred.  The one found at this link
explains much more thoroughly than I had space for in my article why perennial grains are necessary.  We must look to natural systems to guide us in designing an agriculture that can be sustained beyond the next few decades, the keys are perenniality and diversity, and readers should note that we have never advocated perennial monocultures. We have argued in detail elsewhere ( DeHaan et al,
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 2005, 20, 5-14) against the notion that perennials “by definition” produce low seed yields.  Myriad examples and evolutionary reasoning both show why the array of species we see around us do not define the boundaries of what is feasible through hybridization and selection.  Evidence against the so-called “tradeoff” argument has accumulated, and we are hearing it much less often than we once did.  An article summarizing our breeding experience as of two years ago was published in Bioscience 2006, 56, 649-59.

Sublime Reactions

I was struck by the cogency and sophistication of your essay In Search of the Sublime (SiS 39); an excellent piece in every respect and, of course, a great proclamation for “truth”.

I have long grappled with similar issues, more especially the interrelationship between word, music, movement and text (within the ‘new theatre’).

Then I became concerned with the more general issue of how to combine artistic expression - I was an actor in experimental theatre - and agriculture, as I became an enthusiastic organic farmer in 1975, largely down to remarks attributed to Eve Balfour concerning the absolute interrelationship between soil, plant, animal and the human species. This dynamic cycle of health, I realised, embodied the same symbiotic relationship as that to be discovered in the juxtaposition of energies and nuances in word, music, movement and text.

In the years ahead, a more particular dramatic ‘form’ may be manifest which brings all these together.
Julian Rose, Hardwick nr Reading, UK

In India there is a (comparatively) little known spiritual organisation called Shri Ramchandra Mission.  It has elements of Pranahuti wherein the teacher or ‘Master’ as he is called, transmits his yogic attainments to the ‘abhyasi’ or practitioner. This means that the abhyasi is sometimes elevated to a level higher than the master. Nothing can describe the bliss one gets in such meditations. There is no other ritual but silent meditation. I have also enjoyed music both western classical and Indian. For me, the meditation experience is always of a higher order as it comes from that ‘nothingness’ of no materiality at all.
R. Santhanam, New Delhi, India

Sex Hormones Sprays

I love your article Sex Hormones and City Life (SiS 39). Unfortunately, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where this chemical nightmare is being fought out between the public concerned about health and the environment on one side and the USDA & California Department of Food & Agriculture on the other, who want to use these chemicals in a very large area including the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast in California with approximately 7 million inhabitants. I am particularly interested in your report that the Lepidopteran (moth) pheromones inducing aggression and sexual arousal in the African elephant, and suggest that male sexual aggression should be evaluated from police records in the communities sprayed with insect pheromone from the air.  The entire section of your article, Elephants are white mice would be a complete a research paper, which I intend to share in a published report to a larger audience in order to stop the spray here in California.  We are continually told that it’s just a pheromone and it’s safe, but no one is reassured.
Pat Kirkaldie, San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

This is a great article. I have one question. You stated that the formulations sprayed contain the ‘inert’ Polymethylene Polyphenyl Isocyanate (PPI), but in the ingredients list I have, PPI is not included. In October 2007, a judge halted spraying because PPI is a potentially hazardous material; did Suterra eventually remove PPI from the formulation?
Caitlin Sislin, Associate Attorney, San Francisco, USA

Prof. Joe Cummins replies
With regard to PPI in aerial sprays, the 25 October 2007 Monterey County Weekly commented  “The  product, CheckMate OLR-F, was sprayed by plane over the Monterey Peninsula in
mid-September. The
Santa Cruz Sentinel released a list of its inert ingredients two weeks later. The state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) confirms that the Sentinel’s list is accurate – except for the inclusion of polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate (PPI), which is used in the making of CheckMate but reacts into other
compounds by the time it is ready to use.”

PPI is the chemical  used to synthesize the plastic capsules containing  pheromone. The plastic may contain a few percent un-reacted PPI. The authorities maintained that the amount of un-reacted PPI in the aerial spray mixture containing capsules was negligible but did not provide chemical analysis to support that conclusion.

Wireless dispute

Regarding your article Cordless Phones and Malignant Brain Tumours (SiS 37), a dispute has flared up between myself and my husband. He has acquired a BT Home Hub with an internet ‘phone which gives free ‘phone calls apparently. The connection is in the front bedroom and he has told me that the wireless router needs to be on constantly now because of the phone (we have 2 phones downstairs).

First of all, I am not happy about having a wireless system in our house at all, secondly not one that is going to be on constantly and thirdly not in our bedroom.

The more I read about the radiation problem, now even with cordless ‘phones (we have 2) the more worried I get. We live with our 3 children, the youngest is 12. I understand that schools have stopped using wireless internet connections as it is considered a health hazard, especially to children.

I am considering taking legal advice. I think it is our right not to have these things in our home. We can easily manage without them. We have a computer downstairs (Virgin Media, not wireless) and upstairs in the back bedroom (which is what the wireless router in the front bedroom is for), and if we have the BT line moved to the back bedroom, I don’t see the need for a wireless router anywhere.
Marianne Barrett, Cardiff, UK

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
You are quite right about the hazards or wireless in the home, and ordinary cordless phones are worse, as my article indicates. We have wired broadband connection in our house. Since I wrote that article, we have got rid of our ordinary cordless phones for one described in the article, which is not on unless it is in use, and we have also turned off the wireless in the BT router. Do tell your husband to do the same.

Article first published 17/08/08

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