What’s causing microcephaly? It might not be what the media is telling you…
Is It Zika Virus or Glyphosate Exposure ?
The news media has been reporting the Zika virus as the cause of microcephaly. The story originated in a Monsanto chemical industry press release dated Feb 17, 2016 which was then copied over the news media. The Zika virus was discovered in Uganda in 1947, and there have been no reports of microcephaly in Uganda. A US news article says, according to Associated Press journalists who visited the Zika Forest in Uganda on Feb 1, 2016, local officials have no concern about the Zika virus.(24)
New England Journal Reports
A recent studypublished in the New England Journal of Medicine reported Zika Virus surveillance in Colombia.(80-81) Of 50 babies reported with microcephaly, only four (8 %) had laboratory evidence of congenital Zika virus infection on RT-PCR. The other 46 cases (92 %) were due to other causes.
Of 1850 pregnant women reported infected with Zika virus, no babies were born with microcephaly. The authors state: (80-81)
“maternal infection with the Zika virus during the third trimester of pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the fetus.”
Since 92% of microcephaly babies are not caused by maternal Zika virus, perhaps we should be looking for other preventable causes.
Dr Yaneer Bar-Yam reviewed this same data from the Colombia surveillance study After reviewing this data, Dr Yaneer Bar-Yam concluded in his own report entitled: “Is Zika the cause of Microcephaly?”that there is no direct link between zika virus and microcephaly, and he proposed pesticide exposure (pyriproxyfen) in the drinking water as an alternative explanation(99):
“This (data) would seem to rule out Zika as a cause of microcephaly. This gives a consistent interpretation that there is no direct link between Zika and microcephaly except for random co-occurrence.”….”An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water.”(99)
Dr Tiago Baptista Questions Zika as Sole Cause of Microcephaly
Maternal viral infection with rubella or cytomegalovirus have been known to cause fetal malformation and fetal demise. There is no doubt that viral illness during pregnancy is best avoided.(47-55) However, Dr Tiago Baptista in a 2016 BMJ article questions “whether the surge in reported cases of microcephaly is entirely due to Zika virus infection“(55) He says:
“The risk of microcephaly after maternal infection is estimated at roughly one in 100 women… This is a relatively low risk compared with other causal infections such as cytomegalovirus.”(55)
A Distraction From the Real Cause- Exposure to Glyphosate Causes Microcephaly and other Congenital Anomalies
I suggest that the Zika virus is merely a distraction away from the real cause, agrichemical exposure from Monsanto’s Round-Up Herbicide, glyphosate, (1-4)
Dr Alejandra Paganelli reported in 2010 that “Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling.” (8)
Dr Paganelli concludes: “(congenital malformations) “produced by Glyphosate Based Herbicides are mainly a consequence of the increase of endogenous retinoid activity. ” (8)
Dr Sylvia Lopez
In 2012, Dr Silvia L. Lopez reviewed the effects of agricultural chemicals, glyphosate based herbicides, in human and animal models.(9) She says:
“It is very well known that acute or chronic increase of retinoic acid (RA) levels leads to teratogenic effects during human pregnancy and in experimental models. The characteristic features displayed by Retinoic Acid embryopathy in humans include brain abnormalities such as microcephaly, microphtalmia, and impairment of hindbrain development; abnormal external and middle ears (microtia or anotia), mandibular and midfacial underdevelopment, and cleft palate.” (9) Note: Retinoic Acid is Vitamin A Derivative.
Dr Benitez-Leite reported 52 cases of malformations in babies born of women exposed to agricultural chemicals. The congenital malformations observed include anencephaly, microcephaly, facial defects, myelomeningocele, cleft palate, ear malformations, polydactily, syndactily all consistent with the well-known and expected syndrome caused by upregulation of the Retinoic Acid pathway.(10) Left image Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide contains glyphosate.
Upregulation of Retinoic Acid Pathway
A number of reports have linked arial spraying with the mosquito larvicide pyriproxyfen to birth defects such as microcephaly in the crop sprayed towns of Northeast Brazil.(106-108) Pyriproxyfen disrupts retinoic acid (vitramin A) signalling, a known mechanism for microcephaly (106-108) In 1995, Dr Kenneth Rothman reported in NEJM that High Vitamin A Intake causes birth defects. (109)
Increasing Anencephaly in Yakima Valley in Washington State
Another mechanism is glyphosate disruption of folate metabolsm as discussed below in the Yakima Washington State case. (35-37)
Over three years from 2010 to 2013, the Washington State Department of Health reportedan unusual increase in anencephalic babies born in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties, four times higher than the national average. (33-34)
Anencephaply, microcephaly and spina bifida are all related disorders of neural tube closure associated with maternal folate deficiency.Maternal folate supplementationis preventive. Maternal folate supplementation in Yakima was not at issue, as this was similar to the national average. Barbara Peterson, in Farm Wars, makes a compelling casefor glyphosate exposure as the cause, since the Yakima river running through the affected counties had been heavily treated with glyphosate for weed control during that time period.(29) Left image Yakima River Washington State.
Glyphosate Disrupts Folate Metabolism
Glyphosate disruption of folate metabolism is discussed by Stephanie Seneff in her May 2016 articleon Weston Price.(35) Glyphosate acts as an antibiotic, killing friendly bacteria by blocking the Shikimate pathway. These friendly bacterial are also involved in bacterial conversion of folic acid to methyl folate, its active form. Maternal methylfolate deficiency is associated with neural tube defects in the developing embryo.(85-87)
Glyphosate Disrupts Glycine Metabolism
Stephanie Seneff’s article then discusses how glyphosate disrupts glycine decarboxylase metabolism, known to cause neural tube defects in animal studies and humans.(36-37)
Glyphosate is the amino acid glycine with an added phosphate group, so glyphosate may readily displace glycine in various biochemical reactions. Glyphosate disrupts glycine decarboxylase by displacing glycine as a substrate. In addition, glyphosate replaces glycine at insertion sites in amino acid chains during protein synthesis, producing defective enzymes (35). Glyphosate is basically the amino acid, glycine with a phosphate group added on to it.
Glyphosate is a Patented Antimicrobial, Anti-Folate Drug
Glyphosate is actually patented as an anti-microbial drug. (83,84) Glyphosate serves as an anti-folate agent working in synergy with other anti-folate drugs.(58,61) Other anti-folate drugs in common use include the urinary tract antibiotic, Bactrim (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) the rheumatology drug, methotrexate, and the anti-seizure drug Dilantin (phentoin). Maternal exposure to anti-folate drugs such as methotrexate Bactrim and Dilantin increase risk of neural tube defects in the fetus up to six-fold. (85-87) Maternal folate supplementation has been shown to reduce incidence of fetal neural tube defects (NTD), and folic acid fortification in food supply was mandated in 1998. (85-87)(100-103)
Glyphosate Inhibits the Shikimate Pathway
Glyphosate’s known mode of action is inhibition of the shikimate pathway in plants, fungi, bacteria and parasites.(58) Glyphosate blocks the pathway which produces Folate, Ubiquinone (Co-Q10), Vitamin K, and the aromatic amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine.
Government Regulators Deemed Glyphosate Safe for Humans
Government regulators deemed glyphosate safe for us humans because we lack the shikimate pathway. They forgot to consider that we humans depend on the shikimate pathway in plants and gut bacteria for our folate (vitamin B9), to prevents neural tube defects. If your lunch salad comes from an agricultural field treated with glyphosate which blocks the plant’s ability to synthesize folate, how much folate are you getting in your meal ? If you are ingesting glyphosate in your food, blocking your gut bacteria from synthesing folate, how soon will you be rendered folate deficient? Dr Bekaert says in 2008,
“Humans cannot synthesize folates (vitamin B9) and thus have to rely on plant food supplying these essential vitamins.“(104)
Dr Craig Roberts suggests that Glyphosate may serve as anti-folate, anti-parasitic drug ,He says:(58)
” it is likely that the shikimate pathway is important for supply of folate precursors in this parasite….inhibitors of EPSP synthase (such as glyphosate) can act in synergy with conventional antifolates and may be a useful addition to the agents used against apicomplexan parasites.”(58)
A quote from a University of Chicago Press Release 1998 (61) explains that Glyphosate blocks production of folate:
“Effective new ways to inhibit parasites that cause malaria, toxoplasmosis and cryptosporidiosis” June 25, 1998.(61)
“Dr. McLeod’s team showed that glyphosate, …could block the production of folate, inhibiting parasite growth and survival. Glyphosate proved effective against malaria strains that were resistant to an anti-malarial medicine, pyrimethamine, which interrupts folate processing at a different point. To confirm the finding, they demonstrated that these folate-starved parasites could be rescued, in the test tube, by giving them folate.”(61)
Brazil Annual Pesticide Sales Surpasses the US
Left Image courtesy of Reuters.Brazil sales of herbicide (glyphosate) exceeds that of US.(81)
According to Paulo Prada in her 2015 article, Brazil has a huge appetite for pesticides and herbicides, surpassing annual sales in the US.(81)
Poalo Prado explains that in Northeast Brazil, irrigation canals were built, transforming previously arid land into fertile farm land. These open air irrigation canals are heavily contaminated with herbicides and pesticides liberally applied to the crop fields. Life is primitive for the agricultural workers who live without piped in water for their dwellings. The local workers use the open air irrigation canals for their drinking water, thus are heavily exposed to herbicide and pesticide runoff.
House Passes 1.1 Billion Zika Virus Bill. Methyl-Folate is Cheaper.
Instead of spending 1.1 Billion dollars on a “controversial” Zika Virus Bill, I have a better idea for prevention of microcephaly and neural tube defects. (90) Suppose we instead allocate 100 million dollars to give out free methyl-folate tablets to all pregnant women exposed to glyphosate here in the US, and in Brazil. That would solve the problem at a fraction of the cost, saving a Billion Dollars.(90)
53 Countries Have Mandatory Flour Fortification with Folate
Folate fortification of flour for prevention of neural tube defects (anencephaly, microcephaly, spina bifida etc.) is mandated in 53 countries. Fortification of flour with folic acid was mandatedin the US in 1998, the most successful public health measure in history, with reduction of neural tube defects by 36%.(100-103) In 2009, Dr Oakley declared this success story a “modern miracle of epidemiology”.(103)
Study Blood Folate Levels in North East Brazil
Why not allocate research funds to study blood folate levels in women in Northeast Brazil at high risk for having babies with neural tube defects? This was done here in the US before and after starting folate fortification in 1998, showing reduction incidence of neural tube defects by 36%.(101) Folate deficiency (blood folate levels less than 3 ng/ml)) decreased from 21% to less than 1% of the population. (101)
In Australia, mandatory fortification of bread with folate and iodine was introduced in 2009, resulting in a 50-80 per cent reduction in neural tube defects in at-risk indigenous women and teenagers.(100-112)
Reducing Microcephaly in Brazil with Folate Fortification
Studies done in Brazil shows folate deficiency is severe, affecting 94% among the poor.(113) Folate fortification of flour in three south American countries (Brazil, Argentina, Chile) resulted in significant reduction in 52 different fetal anomalies including reduction in microcephaly and anencephaly.(114) Currently all South American countries except Venezuala have mandatory folate fortification legislation.(115) In populations using folate fortification there have been decreases in neural tube defects from 30-50%.(115)
How is Such an Error Possible ?
You might ask the obvious question, “how is such an error in thinking possible” that the government would waste a billion dollars on Zika instead of Folate Fortification? This is called CrimeStop or “Protective Stupidity“, aptly described in 1984 by George Orwell (91):
“The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself….Crimestop, they called it in Newspeak….the Party says the earth is flat’, ‘the party says that ice is heavier than water’—and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them.”
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments…”…”Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”(91)
Using Fear and Smear Tactics to Distract Attention from Monsanto
This article in the Huffington Post Feb 16 is typical of the Monsanto tactics to distract attention away from Roundup glyphosate as the cause of the birth defects in agricultural workers in Brazil; A Viral Story Links The Zika Crisis To Monsanto. Don’t Believe It. by Anna Almendrala Senior Healthy Living Editor Huffington Post. Anna’s piece is pure Monsanto propaganda masquerading as journalism, don’t believe a word of it. If you trust anything Monsanto says, then I have a bridge to sell you.
Monsanto has known for decades that Glyphosate causes birth defects, see this report: Roundup and birth defects.Is the public being kept in the dark ? by Michael Antoniou Earth Open Source June 2011
Search Google Scholar for articles with key words “microcephaly pesticide“ : you will see 2160 articles pop up.
Glyphosate is “Probably Carcinogenic to Humans”
A number of studiesshow glyphosate exposure doubles the incidence of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.(92) As reported in Lancet Oncologyby Dr Kathryn Guyton, on March, 2015, 17 experts from 11 countries met in Lyon France and classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (89)
Zika Distraction from Glyphosate – The Elephant in the Room
Certainly, maternal viral illness with Rubella, (CMV) cytomegalovirus and Zika are all risk factors for fetal demise, and fetal malformations, and are best avoided.(93-95) However, the Zika Virus is a distraction from the real cause of the problem, massive glyphosate exposure to pregnant agricultural workers in Brazil. Glyphosate is a patented anti-folate drug, Anti-folate drugs are known to cause microcephaly and neural tube defects in animals and humans.
Professor Don Huber, GMO Food and Glyphosate
Increased incidence of birth defects in the population caused by exposure to the anti-folate agent, glyphosate is only the “tip of the iceberg”. The adverse health consequences of GMO food and glyphosate contamination of our food and water supply are much more extensive as outlined in a series of articles posted on the Stephanie Seneff home page. Here is a quote from Professor Don M. Huber:(88) from his document GMO Failed Promises Flawed Science Serious Health Safety Issue
” Future historians may well look back upon our time and write, not about how many pounds of pesticides we did or did not apply, but about how willing we are to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations for this massive experiment we call genetic engineering that is based on failed promises and flawed science, just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise.” Dr. Don M. Huber
Dr. Jeffrey Dach, MD, is the founder and Medical Director of a clinic in Davie, Florida specializing in bioidentical hormones, natural thyroid and natural medicine called TrueMedMD. To see his full Curriculum Vitae visit his website here.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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