Flight Safety

pilotsHave you ever wondered about the health of the pilot that’s flying the plane you’re on?  Flight safety considers the effects on pilots from ingesting diet sodas, gums and other diet foods.

I’m talking specifically about aspartame which seems to be the artificial sweetener of choice, despite the fact that it was passed by the FDA under a cloud of fraud, misdemeanour and deception in the days when Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of the then owner of aspartame G D Searle.

Adverse reactions due to aspartame

My last few previous articles, cover this fraudulent fiasco but believe you me, aspartame was passed by the FDA despite horrendous research that proves this toxic molecule causes brain tumours and other cancers.   This is apart from neurological problems such as MS (multiple sclerosis) and Parkinson’s, seizures and migraines.  More than 80% of the adverse reactions reported to the FDA are due to aspartame with 92 different side effects reported.

fraudulent research
A fairy story about research

Representatives of aspartame, sold under various names such as nutrasweet, equal, canderel, neotame etc., will give you all kinds of fairy stories about how the product has been researched more than any other.  The truth is, the research has been done but the results have been manipulated and massaged out of all recognition.  The FDA chose to ignore research and studies done by independent researchers that had no ties to the manufacturers of aspartame.  Instead they went along with the fraud, aiding and abetting the likes of Searle and Monsanto.

mary stoddardMary Nash Stoddard

In 1985, Mary Nash Stoddard, an internationally acclaimed investigative journalist, had been diagnosed with a leukemia type condition, known as Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome. This was soon after her husband died at the age of 42 with a brain tumour.  Her doctor put her illness down to aspartame.  This was upsetting to Mary as she wondered if her husband, who used aspartame, contracted his tumour because of it.  She started researching and learning about the chemical threesome and became such an expert that she is called upon to give evidence in court cases involving it.

Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Neotame) is a safety-of-flight threat!

After the FDA passed the use of aspartame in 1983 for carbonated drinks, there seemed to be an emerging problem with pilots suffering from various conditions including migraines, seizures, tremours, sight problems and other neurological episodes.  Ingesting aspartame laced products such as chewing gum, diet cokes and sodas, hot chocolate drinks etc., seemed to be the trigger.  It’s common knowledge that pilots and flight attendants do drink a lot of diet sodas, chew gum and ingest other fast diet foods before and on their flights. Their job has a somewhat ‘celebrity status’ and thus looking good and keeping slim is important to most of them.  The problem is, this profession directly relates to public safety and if aspartame threatens that safety, it should be avoided at all costs.

F16 Air Force Major Michael CollinsMajor Gen Collings

Mary was asked to set up a hot line by ace F-16 pilot Air Force Major Michael Collins who himself had suffered from symptoms of dizziness and tremours.  He was asked to fly with the famous Thunderbirds but rejected the offer because flying wingtip to wingtip, he was afraid his symptoms could cause an accident.  He didn’t want to disclose his problems for fear of losing his licence to fly.  But in 1985, he had a grand mal seizure.  Suffice to say, he lost his licence and his career as a pilot came to an end.

Pilots need help

He said that pilots needed to talk to someone in confidence, who knew about their problems and give advice in confidence.   Apart from the pilots, many wives and families of pilots needed help and advice to support their loved one experiencing problems whilst flying.  Understandably most pilots did not want to discuss their medical problems.  Assessments are necessarily strict for a pilot to retain his medical credentials for flying.

Air Force MagWarning articles

Many articles were written about the dangers of aspartame and the susceptibility of pilots to seizures, vertigo and hypoxia.  Flying Safely, the Air Force’s magazine and Navy Physiology, a Navy magazine published such articles.  Other warnings were expressed about aspartame dangers in aviation publications such as, Aviation Medical Bulletin, General Aviation News, Plane & Pilot, Canadian General Aviation News.  A paper was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Assn. warning about aspartame.  But that was in 1986!  What’s happening now? Aspartame hasn’t changed, it’s still as toxic as it was then, so why aren’t pilots still being warned about this possible threat to their livelihood, their health and, most importantly, the lives that are in their hands when they fly.

International Pilots Hotline

The International Pilots Hotline (214-387-4001) was set up for pilots in 1988 by Mary Stoddard and has been going ever since.  Hundreds of pilots and/or their wives and families have reported various incidences such as grand mal seizures, serious migraines and other reactions such as tremours and dizziness, after the ingestion of aspartame.

Is methanol the problem?coke

Pilots may be more susceptible to problems in flight because of the ingestion of the methanol in aspartame, especially at altitude says Dr Phil Moskal, Prof of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Pathology.  Also pilots do tend to drink plenty of diet coke and other sodas along with chewing gum.  Most gums sold around the world have aspartame in them.  Ingestion of aspartame could affect pilots at altitude causing seizures and vertigo or even hypoxia.

Pilots losing their licence

If a pilot loses his medical certification to fly because he’s had a serious condition such as a seizure, this licence will be very hard to regain and understandably so.  The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will not get involved officially, although when Mary and her co-founder of the ACSN (aspartame consumer safety network), met with the FAA about setting up the hotline,  they agreed it was an excellent idea, but explained that their hands were tied because of their affiliation with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) who refuses to recall aspartame, despite all the evidence that aspartame is a dangerous chemical.

Clayton OsbonJet Blue Pilot – A Victim of Aspartame?

There is one famous event which happened in March 2012 and was recorded by passengers’ mobile phones.  An experienced Captain on a flight from New York to Las Vegas, evidently had some kind of breakdown.  With an exemplary record and a much liked member of the Jet Blue team, this man suddenly had an episode, completely out of character and alien to all those who knew him.  His character has now been put through the mill, despite many doctors explaining what may have actually happened to this poor man.  His career as a pilot has been terminated, his character brought into question, he has been ridiculed and his life is in ruins and it could be all because of his consumption of aspartame.

Side effects of aspartame

Psychological side effects of aspartame consumption is acute depression, panic attacks, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias.  Neurological side effects are epileptic seizures, severe headaches and migraines, dizziness, tremours, confusion, memory loss.  To date, there are 92 side effects associated with this artificial sweetener.  It is interesting to note that the above side effects are also associated with a Magnesium deficiency and consumption of aspartame is a known depleter of magnesium!

CBS News

CBS news interviewed a doctor about the event, a renowned psychiatrist and he described what could have happened to this normally professional, experienced and talented pilot.  Dr Jeffrey Lieberman, Chief of Psychiatry, NY-Presbyterian/Columbia explains that pilot Clayton Osbon was likely suffering from ingesting a substance that affected his brain.  Have a look at this short clip from the interview by CBS.


As you heard from this clip, there have been other incidences which we will cover in part 2 of this post.  Most never get as far as the media.  Pilots or flight attendants who suffer a sudden episode will be loath to advertise the fact.  They will keep quiet and hopefully get some help, perhaps from the pilot hotline.

ViSalus diet drinks

As for the then Captain Clayton Osbon, he was a salesman for ViSalus diet drinks which means he probably had access to plenty of them, no doubt at a reduced price or even gratis.  Here is a 49 year old professional pilot who had no previous record of mental illness.  According to his neighbour he was a pleasure to be with and had a happy and light-hearted disposition and loved his job.  He and his wife looking after stray animals especially dogs for which they found homes.  I don’t know the man but he sounds like a caring and considerate individual to me.

Dr Betty Martini & Abigail Cormack (aspartame victim)
Dr Russell Blaylock

Dr MartiniDr Betty Martini, another expert in the field of aspartame gave a list of the ingredients of ViSalus to Dr Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills”  Dr Blaylock stated  “The product in question contains no less than 4 excitotoxin additives as the most abundant ingredients. To be fasting and take this product could induced severe hypoglycemia in conjunction with an intense excitotoxic reaction that could possibly lead to such a psychotic reaction. Mix it with aspartame and you magnify the excitotoxic effects. He could have also been taking prescription medications that in combination could precipitate a psychotic breakdown.”

In part 2 of this post, we will hear from pilots who have suffered from the effects of aspartame and some of the airline disasters that have been documented as being from pilots or copilots purposely downing their aircraft.  These are experienced pilots, acting out of character and I believe that at least some of these pilots may have been under the influence of aspartame from ingesting diet products such as diet sodas and chewing gum.

Ches PowerIf you are a pilot, have you had any experiences or know of other pilots or crew that have had a problem whilst on board a flight?  It would be great to hear from you, even if it’s anonymously.

Ches

Aspartame Dangers – Part 3

Part 3 of Aspartame Dangers deals with what aspartame actually does to your body.  If you want to know a brief history of this chemical and a time line, please see Part 1 and Part 2.  I apologise in advance if some of this post is a bit heavy going but it is a vast subject and I’ve just tried to cover the salient points.  But first…

baby's foodA Statement from Dr Russell Blaylock MD – Neurosurgeon

My review of the first Ramazzini Study concluded that the study was one of the best designed, comprehensive and conclusive studies done to date on the multipotent carcinogenic potential of aspartame.

This second study is even more conclusive, in that it shows a dose dependent statistically significant increase in lymphomas/leukemia in both male and female rats exposed to aspartame. These two cancers are the fastest growing cancers in people under age 30.

Also, of major concern is their finding of statistically significant increases in breast cancer in animals exposed to aspartame. With newer studies clearly indicating that toxic exposures during fetal development can dramatically increase the cancer risk of the offspring, this study takes on a very important meaning to all pregnant women consuming aspartame products. Likewise, small children are at considerable risk of the later development of these highly fatal cancers.

It should be appreciated that the doses used in these study [sic] fall within the range of doses seen in everyday users of aspartame. This study, along with the first study, should convince any reasonable scientific mind, as well as the public at large, that this product should be removed from the market.

Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

What is aspartame

aspartame diagramAspartame is made up of three components, aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol or wood alcohol.  Those who push this lethal adulterant say that two of the components are natural and harmless because they are amino acids.  This aspartame molecule has the three components attached together, the aspartic acid and phenylalanine as a dipeptide and the methanol attached to the phenylalanine part of the molecule. (A peptide is a short chain of amino acids linked together). For those interested, see the diagram showing the makeup of aspartame. The sweetness of aspartame is the result of methyl alcohol that is bonded to the amino acid phenylalanine.  If that bond is broken, the sweetness will be lost.

Aspartic Acid

Aspartic acid is one of the twenty amino acids found in the human body.  Along with glutamic acid and in their free form ie. when not bound to a protein, they can raise the blood plasma levels of aspartate and glutamate.  Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain which allows transmission of signals from neuron to neuron.  When these neurotransmitters are significantly raised, it triggers the calcium channels to open allowing excess calcium into the cells.  If the calcium channel stays open, the cell will die. This is why these two amino acids are called excitotoxins as they stimulate the neural cells to death.  Glutamic acid is associated with ‘monosodium glutamate’ (MSG) a food additive used to enhance taste and which needs to be avoided!

Compromising the BBB

During childhood the blood brain barrier (BBB) which is there to protect the brain from toxins and excess aspartate and glutamate, is not developed fully.  It therefore cannot protect all the areas of the brain at this time.  The BBB can also be compromised by disease conditions and this can allow excretion of aspartate and glutamate into the brain.

Excess amino acids

When isolated these amino acids are excitotoxins that can cause migraines, seizures, mental problems and according to research, cancer.

The excess of these excitotoxins will slowly destroy neurons and this will not be evident until a good portion of the neurons in any area of the brain are killed.  This means the brain is being damaged with no symptoms showing.  Not until more than 75% of the neurons have been killed will symptoms start to arise.  Many conditions can be attributed to long term exposure of excitotoxins such as aspartate and glutamate and these include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and motor neurone disease (MND)
  • Neuroendocrine disorders
  • Brain lesions (dark or light spots not like normal brain tissue)
  • Hypoglycaemia

Dr BlaylockAccording to Dr Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills“Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause particular brain cells to become excessively excited, to the point they will quickly die. Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. Food-borne excitotoxins include such additives as MSG, aspartame, hydrolyzed protein and soy protein extract.”

What about phenylalanine?

Around 1 baby out of 10,000 will be born in the UK with an inherited disorder known as Phenylketonuria (PKU).  People with this condition are unable to break down the amino acid phenylalanine.  This then builds up in the brain and can cause brain damage.

PKU testPKU test

At around 5 days old babies are offered a test to check if they have PKU as well as some other conditions.  This is done by taking a few drops of blood from the heel of the baby.

If PKU is diagnosed early then the child can be treated and will invariably lead a normal healthy life.  If not diagnosed PKU can damage the nervous system and the brain leading to learning difficulties.  These problems can include epilepsy, tremours, eczema and behavioural problems.

Those with PKU should avoid aspartamejello warning

Suffice to say, those with this condition should avoid certain foods and any excess phenylanaline such as that containing aspartame in diet foods and drinks.  If a product has aspartame in it, there should be a warning on that product.

Methyl alcohol or Methanol (wood alcohol)

Many researchers think that the methanol contained within aspartame is one of the most dangerous molecules of this deadly threesome.  One of those experts has been studying aspartame for most of his professional career, especially with respect to MS (multiple sclerosis).

Prof MonteProf. Woodrow Monte

Woodrow C. Monte, Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Nutrition from Arizona State University has decades of experience in the subject of food sciences and nutrition and as a researcher.  He is commited to food safety and has been studying the link between artificial sweeteners and the illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Autism and Birth Defects.  Professor Monte is not affiliated to any drug companies, the FDA or any other organisation.   He just wants to help those suffering from the effects of all the diseases that aspartame triggers and assimilate the information and the reasons why this toxin is so dangerous.

Prof. Monte, who also authored the book  “While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills”, is well-known as a world expert on the toxicities of methanol as it relates to aspartame, having studied it for the last three decades.

MethanolMethanol studies on animals

Methanol is the smallest molecule of alcohol that there is, it has just one carbon.  There have been numerous studies way back, using animals to test the safety of methanol.  Animals such as dogs, rabbits, ruminants, mice¹, primates², rats³, have all been tested.  When testing animals to see how dangerous methanol is to them, ethanol is much more toxic to all animals than methanol is.  In fact ethanol is more toxic by a factor of around 30% depending on the animal.

On the strength of these studies, back in the early 1900s, refined methanol was used to make vanilla extract and other extracts that would normally have ethanol as their base.  Methanol was much cheaper than ethanol and it made stuff taste good and what’s more, there was no tax on it; ethanol was taxed even in those days.  Other products were being produced such as cough syrups and medicines that were more palatable because of the methanol.

skull CrossbonesMethanol – so dangerous

It wasn’t long before doctors and carers started seeing adverse affects.  People were going blind, people were dying.   Doctors were writing articles giving details of the death and blindness and pleading with the food and drug industry to do something about it.  They knew it was the methanol. As little as 10ml of pure methanol can destroy the optic nerve, rendering drinkers blind.  This is still happening now in this modern age, so beware.

“Here is the story: there is a major biochemical problem here,” Prof. Monte says. “Methyl alcohol is known now, and has been known since 1940, to be metabolized differently by humans from every other animal.”

peroxisomesPeroxisomes?

No cells in the human body can metabolize methanol.  Whereas in the animal body, every cell can metabolize methanol.  Animals have peroxisomes within their cells as do humans, every cell having around 200 of these tiny structures.  When methanol enters the peroxisome of an animal, catalase within it converts it to formaldehyde and then other chemicals within that peroxisome will change the formaldehyde to formic acid, rendering it harmless.  With humans, although we have the peroxisomes, for some reason, which has supposedly happened in our evolution, our peroxisomes can’t handle the methanol, the same as animal peroxisomes can.

Misguided research

This makes the study of animals in relation to humans hit and miss with regards to the methanol part of the aspartame molecule.  This is why methanol was used way back in the early 1900s because animal studies pointed to methanol being safe.  As it turned out, it was deadly to humans.  It is strange that humans can tolerate ethanol better than animals and animals can tolerate methanol better than humans.

Enter the enzyme ‘alcohol dehydrogenase’ (ADH)

Parts of our body contains an enzyme known as ‘alcohol dehydrogenase’ (ADH).  Prof. Monte has found 11 areas with the body where this enzyme is found.  It is the only enzyme able to convert methanol into formaldehyde.  ADH can be found in the lining of the vessels, especially in the brain and other sensitive areas like the female breast tissue, the kidneys, the liver, the unborn child and the optic nerves.  If methanol comes across ADH and is converted into formaldehyde, then the ensuing damage can be catastrophic.  As for the unborn child, the fetus develops ADH, especially in the brain. Methanol coming into contact with ADH in the brain of a fetus could have dire consequences.

DNA damage
dna ladder
DNA ladder

DNA is found within our cells.  If ADH and methanol meets with DNA, the  resulting formaldehyde conversion can mess with the DNA, as Prof. Monte explains “when you produce this formaldehyde, you’re producing a methylating monster.  We’ve only recently been able to understand how important methylation is to cancer and to life in general.”  He goes on “methylation – when you methylate a DNA, it turns off that DNA.  It keeps it from producing that protein.”  As you can imagine, because the ADH is free floating as is the methanol that gets into the cell, there is no telling where and when, within that cell, the ADH may come across the methanol and convert it to formaldehyde.

Aspartame does NOT aid dieting

Apart from the dangers shown by many studies and the problems caused by each of aspartame’s components, using aspartame as a dietary aid is a farce.  This neurotoxin actually encourages weight gain.  The two amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, stimulate insulin production.  This is turn causes spikes in insulin which takes all the glucose from the blood, stores it as fat and leaves the body ravenous.  Thus this encourages consumption of more food and the process is repeated; a vicious circle.

Apart from this, the neurotransmitter seratonin which signals a full stomach, is inhibited causing even more to be eaten. This is an ironic state of affairs with the public thinking they’re doing the healthy alternative, when in fact they are exacerbating weight gain and unhealthy weight gain to boot as well as playing Russian roulette with their health.

When ethenol meets methanol

Prof. Monte explains – “there is always ethanol in the hepatic portal vein during the day or after people eat, because there is fermentation going on in the gut.  Scientists have shown that most people, not all the time, but most people have a little bit of ethanol in their bloodstream. If that’s the case then the small amount of methanol that comes from aspartame or whatever will not be metabolized in the liver, because there is just that little bit of ethanol.  So what happens is – this is not good – it gets through the liver completely, the low levels of methanol, and it gets into the circulatory system.”

No ethanol means methanol can be converted 

Often in the early hours, when fermentation ceases and ethanol is close to zero, the circulating methanol can come across the only enzyme that can convert it, alcohol dehydrogenase’ (ADH) and then formaldehyde can be produced.  Prof. Monte hypothesizes that those that advocate that a small alcoholic drink every day could be good for you, may be onto something!

Emergency treatment for methanol poisoning

If someone was poisoned by methanol, the quick treatment would be giving ethanol because ethanol acts as a competitive inhibitor by binding and saturating alcohol hydrogenase enzymes in the liver.  This blocks the binding of methanol so methanol is excreted by the kidneys without being converted to formaldehyde.  This is what happened on the ‘Supervet’ program when a cat came in poisoned.

What about fruit and veggies?

Those that advocate that methanol is safe, speak of fresh fruit and vegetables that contain minute amounts of methanol.  They forget to add though, that pectin within the fruit and veggie firmly binds to methanol, allowing it to be excreted because humans do not have enzymes that will break this pectin/methanol bond.  That’s why fruit and veggie is harmless to us UNLESS it is spoilt or going off because that is when the pectin can disassociate from the methanol.

75% of adverse reactions is from aspartame

Aspartame accounts for over 75% of adverse reactions, which include seizures and death, reported to the FDA regarding food additives on the market today.  The problem with this aspartame concoction is, if someone succumbs to certain illnesses such as Alzeimer’s, dementia, Parkinsons, breast cancer, brain tumours, autism, epilepsy, atherosclerosis etc., who’s to know how they contracted these diseases.  Even if aspartame is suspected, can it be proven?

The evidence is overwhelming

All I can say to you is this.   Look at the evidence and the research.  If you’ve read the previous two parts of this post, the shananigans and deception of Searle and Rumsfeld is undeniable and breathtaking.  Why do they need to be so deceitful if they believe in their product?  We know they are trying to hide unfavourable results from their numerous studies.

You know now that there is a high possibility that this stuff is toxic so you know that there is also a possibility that you or your loved ones can contract any of the diseases associated with consuming aspartame.  There is so much negative research and studies on this chemical concoction.   If you leave it alone, at least that’s one area where you won’t fall ill because of this likely contaminant.  Take control, make sure you and your family do not succumb to aspartame’s side effects.

Does your pilot drink diet coke or chew gum?

My next article deals with the problems pilots have whilst in flight.  Are they having seizures, migraines, hypoxia and brain fog because of their consumption of diet products like diet coke and chewing gum?

  1. Alzheimer’s disease and methanol toxicity (part 1): chronic methanol feeding led to memory impairments and tau hyperphosphorylation in mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;41(4):1117-29. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131529.
  2. Ches PowerAlzheimer’s disease and methanol toxicity (part 2): lessons from four rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) chronically fed methanol.  J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;41(4):1131-47. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131532.
  3. Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to tissue components in vivo.
    Trocho C. et al. Life Sci. 1998;63(5):337-49.

Aspartame Dangers Part 2

aspartame productsIn part 2 of Aspartame Dangers, we will look at the Bressler Report and then the shady attempts to get aspartame approved.  As we know these duplicitous tactics have worked and now aspartame is consumed by billions of people worldwide.  How many, I wonder, are suffering because of their instake of this chemical, not realising what’s making them sick.  Here is Part 1 by the way.

Yet another report

In 1977, over a period of 5 months, another report known as “The Bressler Report” was instigated to investigate procedures of Searle research because of inconsistencies found by the FDA.  The report was damning with 40 different parts of the research found to be lacking in areas of:

  1. Design & Conduct of Study
  2. Stability and Homogeneity of Diet Mixture
  3. Dosage, Body Weight and Food Consumption
  4. Gross and Microscopic Pathology
  5. Organ Weights
  6. Survival
  7. Clinical Laboratory Procedures
Affected animals excluded from study results
rat tumour
Before and after a tumour excision

For instance under Gross and Microscopic Pathology:  “Animal F6HF, a high dose female,was found dead at 787 days of treatment and the gross pathology sheet reported a tissue mass measuring 5.0 x 4.5 x 2.5 cm.  The submission to FDA reported no tissue mass and the animal was excluded from the study due to marked autolysis.” (postmortem changes after death).  A total of 20 animals were excluded from the study due to excessive autolysis.  Of these, 17 had been fixed in toto and autopsied at a later date.

Animals dying twice!

Under Design & Conduct of Study: “Observation records indicated that animal A23LM was alive at week 88, dead from week 92 through week 104, alive at week 108 and dead at week 112.”

Under Clinical Laboratory Procedures: “Some of the data sheets for urinalysis had erroneously labeled the phenylketones test values as “phenylalanine.” 

This is just an example of the sloppiness of the research done by GD Searle.  In the opinion of many critics, this was more to do with fraud.

Obvious attempts to massage results

The above comes from The complete Bressler Report and is worth looking at.  It is a little difficult to read in places because of the copying but you can see what’s going on here and how Searle attempted to ‘massage’ the research they did on aspartame, with these three different studies, one of rats and two others on mice.  These went missing for 3 decades.

Rumsfeld appointed President of Searle

In 1977 Donald Rumsfeld was appointed President of GD Searle.  Attorney James Turner Esq., alledged that this position given to Rumsfeld, was Searle’s attempt  to get aspartame approved through political means rather than scientific.  Rumsfeld was also on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Tribune.  The newspaper had recently written a glowing article on the Nutrasweet Company.

Grand jury investigation of Searle recommended

On January 10th 1977, a letter from FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill recommended to US Attorney Sam Skinner that a grand jury investigate Searle for “apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 USC 331 (e) and the False Reports to the Government Act, 18 USC 1001 for their willful and knowing failure to make reports to the FDA required by the act, 21 USC 355 (i) and for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animals studies conducted to establish the safety of aspartame.”

StatuteStatute of Limitations runs out

In July 1977 US Attorney Samuel Skinner who was supposed to instigate the grand jury investigation, was recruited by GD Searle’s law firm Sidley & Austin.   US Attorney William Conlon convened a grand jury but he let the statute of limitation lapse for the aspartame charges, thus the investigation was dropped.

5 person Task Force to review Bressler Report

After the Bressler Report, HR Roberts, Director of the FDA’s Bureau of Foods created a 5 person task force to review the report.  He would later leave the FDA to become vice president of the National Soft Drink Assn. in 1978.  Jacqueline Verrett was appointed the Senior Scientist for the review.  She later openly discussed the review and testified before the US Senate.  In one of her statements she said “It would appear that the safety of aspartame and its breakdown products has still not been satisfactorly determined, since many of the flaws cited in these three studies were also present in all of the other studies submitted by Searle.”

Searle pays $500,000 to validate research

Incidiously as time went by, reviews of Searle’s research started to tone down.  In December of 1978 UAREP ( Universities Associated for Research and Education in Pathology), stated that “no discrepancies in any of the sponsor’s reports that were of sufficient magnitude or nature that would compromise that data originally submitted.”     FDA toxicologist Adrian Gross stated that the UAREP review “may well be interpreted as nothing short of a whitewash”.  It is worth noting that Searle paid $500,000 for outside validation of their studies and it beggars belief that the FDA would allow such an action or take notice of the report results.

FDA acquiesces

In March 1979, the FDA seemed to change their tune and concludes that Searle’s aspartame studies were in fact acceptable!  Under pressure, they did decide however, to summon a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) which Dr John Olney and Attorney James Turner suggested 4 years earlier.

Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI)

Dr Olney, Searle and the FDA’s Bureau of Foods were to nominate scientists for the 3 person PBOI.  Note that the scope of the review was very limited and did not encompass all the various adverse reactions reported to the FDA.  Validity discussions were not allowed as the FDA had already accepted that the experiments had been validated.  Also consideration was to be for aspartame in dry goods only.

Dr Olney objects to Dr Young
Dr Young
Dr Vernon Young
Dr Olney
Dr John Olney

Dr John Olney objected to the panelists (Dr Vernon Young) because of a conflict of interest and lack of qualifications.  Dr Young had written articles working with Searle scientists.  Also that a neuropathologist was necessary to question aspartic acid’s neurotoxicity and Dr Young was unqualified in this field.  Dr Olney’s objections were overruled and Dr Young was assigned to study aspartic acid toxicity!

One of the three, Dr Nauta, stated that he would definately have considered other tests and research should be done if he had known that aspartame was planned for soft drinks usage.

PBOI rejects the use of aspartame

In 1980, the PBOI unanimously rejected the use of aspartame until additonal studies on aspartame’s potential to trigger brain tumors was done.  One experiment E33/34 of 320 rats receiving aspartame and the consequential high incidence of tumors, was of great concern.  As was the E70 experiment where 80 rats received aspartame but both the aspartame group and the control group had an unusually high number of tumors, leading to suspicions that both groups were actually given aspartame.

Although the PBOI did not consider that aspartic acid was a neurotoxic hazard, Dr Olney pointed out that “[Dr Young had a] lack of qualification” and that he “based his decision on a consideration of [aspartic acid] alone without regard to the real issue, ie. is it safe to add [aspartic acid] to the large amount of [glutamic acid/MSG] that were already adulterating the food supply?”  Also Dr Young used a conservative safety plasma level of aspartic acid that was the level at which half the rats developed brain damage.  Dr Young’s errors put the question of safety of aspartic acid into doubt.

ReaganRumsfeldSearle reapplies the day after Reagan takes office

On 20th January 1981, Ronald Reagan takes office as US President.  The day after, with Rumsfeld in charge, Searle reapplied for the approval of aspartame.  Rumsfeld’s connections with the Republican party was considered to be the reasoning behind this ‘political’ move.

Rumsfeld will “call in all his markers”ReaganRumsfeld

According to a former GD Searle salesperson, Patty Wood-Allott, GD Searle president Donald Rumsfeld told his salesforce that, if necessary, “[he would] call in all his markers and that no matter what, [he would] see to it that aspartame would be approved that year.”

5 member panel set up to review PBOI

In March 1981, Jere Goyan the FDA Commissioner set up a 5 member panel of scientists to review the issues raised by the PBOI.   In April 1981 Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. was appointed FDA Commissioner by Ronald Reagan.

3 panel members appose approval
FDA Commissioner
Commissioner Jere Goyan FDA

A letter was sent on 18th May 1981 by three of the scientists on this panel, Dr Satva Dubey (FDA Chief of Statistical Evaluation Branch), Douglas Park (Staff Science Advisor) and Robert Condon (Veterinary Medicine) to the panel lawyer Joseph Levitt.  One of the panelists Dr Satva Dubey said that the brain tumor data for the aspartame research was so worrisome that he could not recommend approval of aspartame.  In another study, Dubey said that key data appeared to have been altered.

5 members change to 6!

These three of the five scientists on the team opposed approval so it was decided to bring in a toxicologist for his opinion.  Reagan replaces Goyan with Arthur Hull Hayes.  Goyan said he would not have increased the team if the decision was up to him.  So now there was a 3-3 split.  Arthur Hull Hayes had the last word and made the split 3:4 in favour of approving aspartame.

Newly appointed  FDA Commissioner approves aspartame
Hill Hayes
Arthur Hull Hayes

On 18th July 1981, aspartame was approved for use with dry foods by the new FDA Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes Jr.  This despite the PBOI and ignoring the law of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 348).  This states that a food additive should not be approved if tests are inconclusive.

Searle applies for additional aspartame approval

On 15th October 1982, Searle applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in soft drinks and children’s vitamins.

Mark Novitch
Mark Novitch

In 1983, Mark Novitch, acting FDA Commissioner, approved aspartame for use in carbonated beverages and carbonated beverage syrup basis.  Although FDA Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes was out of town, he worked closely with Mark Novitch and ignoring the FDA’s own safety standards, they more than doubled the ADI (acceptable daily intake) of aspartame from 20mg/kg to 50mg/kg.

Arthur Hull Hayes left the FDA shortly after FDA approval for aspartame in carbonated beverages, under a cloud of improprieties.  He became Dean of New York Medical College and was hired as a consultant at $1,000 per Ches Powerday by Searle’s public relations firm, Burston Marsteller.

Part 3 of this extensive post will be explaining exactly what happens to your body when you ingest aspartame.

  1. Life-span exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal life increases cancer effects in rats. Soffritti M1, Belpoggi F, Tibaldi E, Esposti DD, Lauriola M.  Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Sep;115(9):1293-7

Aspartame Dangers

aspartame sodasHow much aspartame do you consume?

How often do you drink a diet coke or other diet sodas?  How many times a week do you eat a sugar free yoghurt?   How about aspartame flavoured cereal, chewing gum, puddings, cakes, juices or one of the other 6,000 products that contain aspartame?  Aspartame dangers will go into how this chemical affects your body.  If you have time, take a look at this video:

NutraSweet and others

Commonly known as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal Measure etc., you will be shocked at how this poison was passed initially by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).  Now it is consumed by millions but will you keep using it after reading gumthis post?

But first, I want to relay to you how aspartame was passed as safe by the FDA, without proper research, with fraudulent and misleading studies by the then aspartame producing company G D Searle and by political misdemeanours by Donald Rumsfeld, the CEO of Searle at the time of FDA approval.

How it started

The story starts way back in 1965, when a sweet substance was discovered, quite by accident, by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for G D Searle & Company.  He was working on an anti ulcer drug and after some of the powder was spilt he licked his fingers to pick up a piece of paper and noticed a very strong sweet taste…

A long story

The story of aspartame is a long one, too long to cover in this article but I will try and give you the salient points so you can at least make an informed decision as to whether you wish to continue consuming it.

Dr John OlneyA good place to start

In the spring of 1971 a neuroscientist Dr John Olney informed Searle that his studies on MSG (monosodium glutamate) had revealed that aspartic acid, one of the ingredients of aspartame, caused holes in the brains of infant mice.  (Dr Olney was responsible for having msg removed from baby foods).  One of Searle’s researchers, Ann Reynolds, confirms Olney’s findings in a similar study.

Controversial studies

In November 1971, Searle started a 115 week study (No. E-77/78) to test aspartame with 360 weanling albino rats, 190 of each sex.  They also did 2 other studies using mice.  It was these particular studies that caused much controversy.

FDA approved aspartame

The FDA approved aspartame in July 1974 for limited use as a sugar substitute for sweetening hot beverages, cereals, gum and dry bases. It was not approved for baking goods, cooking or carbonated beverages.  FDA scientists found serious flaws in 13 tests related to genetic damage which was submitted by Searle.  So why did they give their approval?

A formal objectionJames Turner

A formal objection was filed by Dr John Olney, James Turner and Label Inc. (legal action for buyers’ education and labeling) in August 1974.  They stated that they believed that aspartame could cause brain damage.  Aspartame’s effects on children was of particular concern to them.

Concerns over other drug studies

Although we’re only talking about aspartame here, In July 1975 the FDA commissioner Dr Alexander Schmidt appointed a Task Force to look into 25 studies for the drugs Flagyl, Aldactone, Norpace and Aspartame.  This was because of concerns of Searle’s responses to queries about the testing of their drug Flagyl and serious and unexpected side effects from other drugs Searle developed.   The Olney studies and information, started controversy within the FDA as to the validity of Searle’s research of aspartame and other drugs.  All of the studies were either by Searle or done for Searle, ie. Hazleton Laboratories.  Eleven of the studies involved aspartame.


Approval
 put on hold

In December 1975 there was a hold of approval by the FDA for aspartame, due to findings of the Task Force.  The evidence of the aspartame pivotal studies were protected under FDA seal on December 3rd 1975.

Searle building an aspartame facility

Meanwhile, Searle was building a production facility for aspartame and had so far spent 19.7 million dollars.   On 8th December 1975, stockholders filed a class action lawsuit against Searle that they concealed information regarding the quality of research at Searle. This being in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act.

500 page report completed.

In March 1976 a 500 page report by the FDA Task Force was completed.  Some of the conclusions from this report about Searle’s research practices have been taken from Mark D. Gold’s FDA Dockets Submittal which has all relevant references therein.

“We have noted that Searle has not submitted all the facts of experiments to the FDA, retaining unto itself the unpermitted option of filtering, interpreting and not submitting information which we would consider material to the safety evalution of the product….Finally we have found instance of irrelevant or unproductive animal research where experiments have been poorly conceived, carelessly executed, or inaccurately analyzed or reported.”

and

“Some of our findings suggest an attitude of disregard for FDA’s mission of protection of the public health by selectively reporting the results of studies in a manner which allay the concerns of questions of an FDA reviewer.”

Worrying research practices

“Excising masses (tumors) from live animals, in some cases without histologic examination of the masses, in others without reporting them to the FDA.”  When Searle’s representatives were questioned they stated “these masses were in the head and neck areas and prevented the animals from feeding.”

“Failure to report to the FDA all internal tumors present in the experimental rats, e.g., polyps in the uterus, ovary neoplasms as well as other lesions.”

“Instead of performing autopsies on rhesus monkeys that suffered seizures after being fed aspartame, the company had financed a new monkey seizure study with a different methology that showed no problems.”

Animals which had died were sometimes recorded as being alive and vica versa. “These include approximately 20 instances of animals reported as dead and then reported as having vital signs normal again at subsequent observation periods.”

“Never seen anything as bad as Searle’s studies!”
“even with some fraud thrown in, it didn’t work”.

FDA lead investigator and Task Force Team Leader, Phillip Brodsky described the 1975 FDA Task Force members as some of the most experienced drug investigators.  He went on to state that he had never seen anything as bad as Searle’s studies.

The FDA Commissioner at the time, Alexander Schmidt stated “[Searle’s studies were] incredibly sloppy science.  What we discovered was reprehensible.”

Senator Kennedy says “profoundly disturbing.”

Senator Edward Kennedy at the April 1976 hearings, before the Senate subcommittee on Labor and Public Welfare stated: “The extensive nature of the almost unbelievable range of abuses discovered by the FDA on several major Searle products is profoundly disturbing.”

research into aspartameAn independent study

To finish Part One of this post, take a look at this research done by an independent researcher who has no axe to grind but just wants the truth.  She is Victoria Inness-Brown who started the study because of concerns for her family who were avid drinkers of diet sodas.

She came across ‘The Bressler Report’ which we will discuss in Part 2 and decided to do her own experiment so she could see for herself if aspartame does actually produce tumours.  She used rats for the study, 108 of them that she raised herself.  She had a control group as well as an experimental group.

NutraSweet used in study

male rat tumour aspartameShe could not obtain the pure form of aspartame because she wasn’t a food manufacturer, so she used NutraSweet which she put into the rats’ water.  The rats were given the acceptable daily limit or acceptable daily intake (ADI) set by the FDA which is 50mg per kilogram.  The research took 2.5 years, ie. 30 months to complete.  She had no help with finance although she states that it wasn’t that expensive to do the study, just time consuming.  She did all the care for the animals and was meticulous with recording her research.

As you can see by the images here, the results of the study are quite horrendous.  If you wish to look at more information regarding this study you can go to her page at  www.AspartameExperiment.com. or check out the special interview with Victoria Inness-Brown and Dr Mercola.

Ches PowerIn Part 2 of this article, another report is instigated by the FDA known as The Bressler Report  and we see how aspartame progresses to being approved once Donald Rumsfeld joins G D Searle as president and Ronald Reagan comes into power in 1981.

Carotid Artery Symptoms

carotid plaque
plaque taken from carotid artery

Carotid artery symptoms explains why carotid artery disease occurs. A family member has carotid artery disease.  Recently he had to have  two operations, one on each side of his neck.  The operations had to be done a few months apart, with the worst affected artery being done first. Continue reading Carotid Artery Symptoms