Junk Sciences Junk Sciences Sciences Uncategorized

[Sciences/Junk Sciences] Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

First blog post of 2020, after taking a holiday break to reinvigorate and prepare myself for the second half of the academic semester, a semester with a lot of items on the menu.
It is also, for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, time for the flu season. Unfortunately this year, it is not looking good and seems to be a very bad year for Winter 2019-2020 as we have already an early spike in the number of cases about flu and already a certain number of fatalities.
For some reasons, the flu shot drag a very bad reputation amongst the population. We blame it gives you the flu (which is impossible since you are injecting a dead virus into your deltoid muscle, not even in your nasal cavity) and some prefer downplaying the danger of influenza (“It is just a cold!”) or claiming you can prevent it by using some grandma remedies such as elderberry syrup. If you wander around some “wellness” websites, you will see these website touting about the benefits of elderberry syrup, claiming it as a “cure-it-all” remedy and even will give you how to make your own.
To sugarcoat it with a layer of “scientific literacy”, they will cite studies showing its antiviral properties and therefore giving it credentials to other treatments. Back off Tamiflu(R), we have a serious challenger right here, and it is natural!
One study that I have seen becoming viral is this one:
Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra)” by Dehghani and colleagues, published last year in Journal of Functional Foods, a journal that aims on publishing any studies on nutraceuticals (studies showing the biological activity of food and food-derived products). It is a journal published by Elsevier with an okay impact factor (3.19 as of 2019).

About the conflict of interest:
The first thing I am checking when reading papers is the affiliation of the authors and the possible conflict of interests in the funding of the study. The authors are all affiliated with the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia) with the exception of Qayyum Adil that has an affiliation with PharmaCare Laboratories. This is the first item of interest. If you lookup PharmaCare Laboratories, you will find out that one of their product is Sambucol(R) (elderberry extract). Sambucol(R) is sold at any grocery chains like Wal-Mart as a dietary supplement (which means it was not approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat or prevent any illnesses) and natural remedy to “stay healthy through the year”. It is sold as syrup, or tablets, or gels with some packages claiming “homeopathic cold and flu relief”. There is also the disclosure of financial support by PharmaCare to the study, which accounts for a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is not inherently bad and evil. But it is important to disclose it, as the authors may have a possible bias to present their study in a too much favorable and positive way that is supported by the data.

About the study:
This study aims to look at the antiviral property of elderberry extract (here mentioned as juice) as a potential antiviral against influenza virus (in this case H1N1 strain, and only the H1N1).  To address this activity, the authors have solely conducted an in vitro (aka in a Petri dish) study using two cell lines to assess the antiviral activity (A549 cell line which derives from a lung cancer) and MDCK (Mavin-Darby Canine Kidney cells, a cell line derived from a dog kidney). It is important to note that the A549 is only good at assessing adhesion and internationalization of the influenza virus (, but is not a great at allowing the virus to spread. In the other hand, MDCK is one of the cell line commonly used to grow the influenza virus for industrial production, as these cells are perfectly suited for large-scale culture in bio-reactors, and provide source of viral material including for vaccines production.

Like any plant-derived products, elderberry extract is reach in plant chemical products originating from the plant primary metabolism and secondary metabolism. Amongst them, polyphenols represent a major class of phytochemical found in elderberry. Polyphenols share the same chemical structure revolving around a benzopyrane structure (see below).

Elderberry extract is indeed rich of a certain class of polyphenols called “anthocyanins”.

These anthocyanin share a common structure, with the presence of an “oxonium” (positively charged oxygen atom) in their structures. They differ from each other by the nature of the radical groups surrounding the aromatic rings (hydrogen, hydroxyl, or methyl groups) and being present either as their aglycone (no sugar moiety) or glycoside form (with a sugar moiety, quite often a glucose).
As I have mentioned, this “oxonium” is very unstable yet very useful. It gives these polyphenols a pigmented color usually in the blue-purple range, which gives the colorful blue-purple of red grades, roses and berries. The maintenance of the structure is indeed pH dependent and remains stable only under acidic condition (pH<5). At higher pH, these compounds quickly disintegrate into a chalcone.

I know this to happen personally very fast, as I have been working on measuring levels of delphinidin in cell culture medium during my Master’s degree……and failed. Upon aqueous solution at physiological pH (7.4), it degraded into a chalcone, making it near impossible to detect on my HPLC-UV instrument. Without an internal standard, I could establish a validation method for its analysis. I lost half of my Master thesis on that issue.

About the method:
For the study, the authors extracted 200g of elderberries and obtained a juice at undocumented concentration, which they diluted via serial dilution for the study. A quick lookup of some data in Figure 1 allows us to estimate that 1:5 of elderberry dilution maybe representing 100mg of anthocyanin/100ml juice.
That would conclude that the stock (1X) solution would contain 500mg anthocyanin/100mL juice or a concentration of 5000mg/L (5g/L) of anthocyanins.
A lookup on the Sambucol(R) datasheet suggests that 10mL of serving (2 teaspoons) contains 3.8g of elderberry extract (assuming that his extract is 100% anthocyanins). This would correspond to about 0.38g/mL or 380g/L solution (which is roughly the same of a 76X concentrated juice). In parallel, the authors also used cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) as a standard. The authors used two cell lines (A546 and MDCK), measured cell viability via WST-1 assay, assayed the antiviral activity by measuring the inhibition of hemagglutinin (the H in H1N1) using red blood cells, H1N1 infectious level by measure plaque formation assay (which denotes cell death from viral infection, leaving the area empty), measurement of H1N1 infection in MDCK cells by flow cytometry (and using a FITC-labelled anti-H1N1) and measurement of cytokines using a cytometric bead array (CBA). This last experiment is a bit weird as usually an ELISA (direct measurement of cytokines release) being a more accurate choice.

About the results:
The first result is the presentation of the cytotoxicity. A common trope that flies over anti-vaccines and alternative medicine is the good old axiom of Paracelsus known as “the dose makes the poison”. Figure 1 is about that, assessing which dilution of elderberry juie makes the poison.1-s2.0-S1756464619300313-gr1

A caveat here is the absence of control (untreated cells) that would have helped set the baseline and determine which amount is toxic. If we take the highest dilution as control,  we can guess which dose is toxic. Usually if you achieve over 30% decrease, you can expect the difference is statistically meaningful. If we look at the values extrGapolated from the absorbance and normalized to the 1/20th dilution,  we have about 75% and 50% viability at 1/15th and 1/10th dilution for MDCK; 80% and 50% viability for A549 respectively. Similar outcome for panel b. Interestingly, is the absence of statistical significance (as reported as “*” which is indicative of a P-value lesser than 0.05), which is bizarre that no reviewers asked for.  One thing is certain, by 1:5th dilution, we have 0% viability. Both cell lines are dead. The dose makes the poison. It can be due to the extreme acidity (elderberry juice is pH 4.4, 1000x more acidic than the physiological pH).
If we look at the dilution (1/5th) and the amount of anthocyanin (~100mg/100mL or 1000mg/L juice or 1g/L juice), we can estimate that the average concentration of this elderberry juice is about 5g/L. I would assume dilution of 1/15th and higher can be considered not toxic.
Then comes trouble. And trouble came with the form of the IC50. In pharmacology, the IC50 is the concentration of a drug by which you obtain 50% of inhibition. From the IC50, you can deduct that you should achieve a very good inhibition at 10x to 100x this value.
In pharmacology this concentration has to remain under a certain level, usually below 1micromoles/L to avoid off-target effects (lack of selectivity, which is the basis behind drug side effects). Usually, we cap the maximum concentration to 100micromoles/L. If you cannot achieve a significant inhibition, you can toss your drug candidate in the trash or bring it back to the bench and let medicinal chemists tinker it.
The authors give us two values: A for during and after infection, B for during infection only. The average values provided are 6mg/100mL and 17mg/100mL.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.20.43 PM

These equate to 60mg/L and 170mg/L respectively. If we assume that all this elderberry juice is 100% made of cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G, which is the compound they consider bioactive) and harbors a molecular weight ~450g/mol, we can estimate IC50 values of 0.133-0.377mmoles/L or 133-377micromoles/L. We are talking here IC50 values, which means we have to factor in we will likely need 10x these concentrations to have an antiviral activity. These put us about 1.33-3.77mmoles/L. This assuming we have a concentration in tissues equal to the concentration in plasma (blood). Assuming a blood volume of about 5L in humans, we are talking about 6.65-18.8mmoles to enter the body.
The oral bioavailability of anthocyanins is indeed very small and reported to occur between 0.26-1.8% (based on comparative PK to IV administration) according to this review. If we assume a 2% bioavailability, this puts us to the consumption of at least 332.5-940 mmoles of anthocyanins. Assuming we are talking about C3G, that would represent a mininum intake of  150’000mg or 150g of C3G. If we had to put into perspective, that would be about 400mL of Sambucol to swallow, or 40 teaspoons or about 3 bottles at 4oz each. This would require to repeat it 4 times a day, which brings us to 1.6L of Sambucol(R) swallowed by an adult every day to achieve the same results than obtained in a Petri dish. With a price tag of $12.99/0.12L ($108.25/L) on Sambucol(R) website, it would cost you almost $200/day/person to have a chance in reducing your flu symptoms (if it works). Assuming a week-long treatment? About $1400 per week per person!
And BigPharma is here for their money, one $15 to get a flu shot you get once per season! The maths is here.
Now let’s reverse it. The company tells you to take 10mL four times a day. Thats 3.8g per serving. Out of it, 2% is bioavailable and ends in the circulation. Thats 0.076g circulating in your blood, with about 0.0152g/L(15.2mg/L) of average plasma concentration. Assuming it is 100% C3G, thats a plasma concentration 0.0337mmoles/L or 33.7 micromoles/L.  Or 25% of the IC50 values. In other words, you cannot achieve any antiviral effects with the dose recommended by the company. In both ways you lose.
A) The posology written on the insert for Sambucol(R) is too low to be efficient
B) To achieve the efficacy as reported in a Petri dish, you will have to drink gallons of it, with a price tag exceeding far more the cost of a flu shot.

Should we continue? Sure let’s continue. In the later stage of the study, the author use C3G as a comparator as they mention it being “the primary anthocyanin in elderberry,showed a strong anti-influenza effect with the IC50“. The IC50 reported is 0.069mg/mL or 69mg/L (or 153micromoles/L).  What is bizzare is the nature of the contradictory of the data shown.
One of them is the flow data hidden in the supplementary figures (which you have to download separately). First, the design of this figure is very convoluted and needed to rearrange the panels to become more readable. Putting aside the concern that the number of events are not equal between the different histograms (the authors should have presented as % max for the y-axis), you can see something that is not looking good for the authors.
If we compare between the two infected groups, we can see without hard numbers that elderberry syrup (at 1/20th dilution) was not changing the outcome of infected population. In the opposite, treatment with anti-H1N1 antibody completely blocked the infection. Guess what makes you produce anti-H1N1 antibodies? A $15 flu shot!

What is even more bizarre is the cytokine expression profile. I personally not much confident in this method, and I would have much more preferred a good old ELISA, which gives you absolute values. But lets go through the figure 6.1-s2.0-S1756464619300313-gr6

Cytokines are important molecules that serve as communication methods for immune cells. Some are pro-inflammatory, some are anti-inflammatory. In this case, the cytokines measured are most pro-inflammatory (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF), with IL-10 being anti-inflammatory and IL-12p70 being involved in T cells differentiation into Th1 cells.
Under normal conditions, cells do not produce pro-inflammatory cytokines.
LPS is the acronym for lipopolysaccharide, a biomolecule present in Gram-negative bacteria. LPS is considered as the most potent bacterial stimulator of immune response during sepsis, and commonly refered as endotoxin which can induce a septic shock.
We can see that LPS alone induce the production of IL-6 by 50 fold and in lesser extent IL-8 (15-20 fold).
Interestingly, elderberry juice (1/15th dilution) triggered the expression of TNF-alpha by 50-fold and IL-6 by 200-fold. IL-8 by contrast was increased by 30-fold. Here is the problem. If C3G is the main anthocyanin in elderberry juice, why he could not achieve the same profile then elderry juice (which is about 5g/L anthocyanins) at a concentration half of it (C3G was given at 2.5g/L)?
The second issue is the extent of the release of pro-inflammatory molecules. This release can be high enough to cause what we call a “cytokine storm”, the equivalent of the nuclear option for the immune system by inducing a major immune response leading to the death of the patient. Cytokine storm is accepted now as the worst outcome of the flu pathphysiology (, with current goals is to save patients with flu by trying to avoid the nuclear option using immunomodulators.
As I said, the last thing you want is to worsen the immune response. With such an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, you may indeed worsen the outcomes of flu rather than treating the flu.

This study albeit interesting suffers from major flaws that unfortunately will not deter woo peddlers. But lets resume it here:
1. It has some skin in the game as one author is affiliated with a company making a living of elderberry syrup as dietary supplement.
2. The amount used to show some effects requires a ridiculous amount to see any effects.
3. Inversingly, the dosing regimen of the Sambucol as written on the package is way below the dose needed to see a semblant of biological effect.
4. The data is overall of poor quality and contradicts each other making the paper pretty unreliable.
5. And if you think you can save money by making your own, think twice. You can poison yourself to death with elderberry juice. I guess flu will have no chance…if you are dead.

Melodic Death Metal Metal Music Uncategorized

[Metal/Melodic Death] Insomnium -Heart Like A Grave (90%)

Finally, the last review of my streak of overdue reviews. The last one in the list is the Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium. I got into them late in the game through their album (and fairly controversial album within the community) “Winter’s Gate”.
What I like about the band is their ability to perfectly blend the brutality of death and powerful melodic, that give me the sense of mental escapism and serendipity of the Finland wild, green and white vast lands of wilderness.
This is an album containing 10 tracks (+2 bonus tracks, iTunes version) spinning about 70 minutes. We got introduced by “Wail of The North”, giving us this floating feeling, that melodies I have been talking but this one mostly driven by pianos and keyboards, followed by fast guitar riffs. It nicely serve as a primer for the official opening track “Valediction”. This is where the “attach your seat belt” sign should be blinking because we start brutally, only to get free flying within 30 seconds. Enjoy the video clip:

“Neverlast” brings us more to classical Insomnium stuff, but that does not a downgrading. We are still flying on the awesomeness with the band, again very good track. “Pale Morning Star”, we keep on a perfect streak with the band and this perfect blend of heavy riffs and melodic that makes your soul escape into beautiful Finnish landscapes. “And Bells They Toll” is my favorite song of the album. The quintessential track that makes in my opinion the band being the flagship of the whole Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene. “The Offering” is in contrast, tuning to heavier and faster riffs, making it more aggressive and yet enjoyable, rapidly followed by “Mute is My Sorrow” and “Twilight Trails” that in my opinion almost acts as a bridge between “Winter’s Gate” and this album.
“Heart Like A Grave” brings us more down to Earth and simply beautiful to listen, my second favorite of the album by its enriched sensory experience. Watch the video, close your eyes, focus on the auditory stimulus and enjoy this mental escapism.

“Karelia” is a melodic ballad, 100% instrumental track that closes the album magnificently.
The two bonus tracks are good. The first one, “The True Morning Star” is an instrumental acoustic guitar track that is okay but does not feel we are missing much. The second one, “Karelia 2049” is much more electronic, giving place to the keyboards. Oh boy as I love the prime electronic sounds of the early synthesizers, I like that track giving a much colder and electric sound to the homonym track.
With this album, Insomnium is showing us that they are reaching their pinnacle of their artistic talent, over 10 years in the refining and improving, giving us this perfect album that is a pleasure to listen and has been spinning almost daily in the last two months. Rarely we are given a chance to hear a nicely blended form of melodic death metal that embrace this “Fire and Ice” analogy. If I have to summarize the beauty and wilderness of the Finnish metal scene, that would be using this album I would showcase. Finland gave us one of the best symphonic metal band (Nightwish), one of the best melodic doom metal band (Swallow The Sun) and just offered us one of the best melodic death metal band in the presence of Insomnium.

Gothic Metal Metal Music Uncategorized

[Metal] Lacuna Coil – Black Anima (80%)

October was also the same month of the release of the latest album by Lacuna Coil “Black Anima”. At the helm, we have Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro as usual keeping the ship exploring and wandering over the years. It is a 14 tracks album (iTunes version, that is inclusive of three bonus tracks in the total I provided) spanning over 59 minutes of music.
We get into it with “Anima Mera”, a cryptic song that is pretty interesting and setting sort of the whole album. The second track, “Sword of Anger” is pretty okay but nothing really hooking much, as well as the third track “Reckless”. For some reason, I find this track pretty unattractive to my ears and even would sound like one of the weakest of the album. The band has a videoclip, so you can judge by yourself. The videoclip is indeed much better and is deeply inspired by Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”:

Fortunately things become interesting for me “Layers of Time”, the fourth track. Tha’ts the Lacuna Coil stuff I was looking for, that’s a song I really like that it became an earworm through these last two months. Again a videoclip to share, so enjoy the listening of that track:

The fifth track “Apocalypse”, is also a decent track and straight into the band direction. “Now and Never” reminds me a lot like “The House of Shame” of their previous album, so good stuff again from the band. “Under The Surface” is also pretty good overall. “Veneficium” is probably my second favorite track. It starts with Cristina starting a capella into a sort of chorale, following by Andreas lyrics, some of the heavy stuff that has something connecting the old fans to their old stuff, it has this wavy feeling that is so pleasant to my ears. “The End Is All I can See” is a bit strange but very fascinating to my ears. Another good track of the album.  “Save Me”, the 10th track, is pretty okay but in my opinion nothing too pretencious, something more like alternative metal. “Black Anima”, the last official track is another good one, with Cristina in my opinion being the best of her in this album, with hitting the highest notes she can.
What about the three bonus tracks? “Black Feathers”, the first of the three extra tracks, is a damn good one, I would like to have this one in the regular album in place of some weaker songs. Same for “Through The Flames”, very good one. “Black Dried Up Heart”, the last track (and the last of the bonus tracks) is also pretty decent and wished was part of the regular album tracklist.
As this album marks about 20 years of discography of the band, where does it stand? I would say still pretty well. The band went back to their heavyness a scale higher, they also embraced darkness at a higher level than their discography of their second decades. There are some good songs, and some weak songs. It is not the crush album, it takes some times to get into in and appreciate. It is overall a pretty good album and love to see the band after 20 years still being dynamic and produce some quality albums, where other bands crashed on the shores or simply let the wrenched sea become their graveyard. My only regret was missing on their North American tour that was not clearly advertised and that’s honestly disappointing. Lacuna Coil is one of these bands that performs well both in studio and live and wished I could finally see them live after this incessant game of cat and mouse.

Melodic Death Metal Metal Uncategorized

[Metal] The Agonist – Orphans (90%)

Thanksgiving is finally here, meaning for me the end of the frenetic fall semester and able to take some time on my blod and foremost write reviews on the albums I have purchased and listened during my grants and manuscript writing . Because of the glut of albums to reviews I will keep them sweet and short.
Among the pile of albums, came the latest one from the Canadian metal band The Agonist titled “Orphans”. After facing some issues I would not enter into details, it finally came out mid-October and available on the Bandcamp webpage of the album.
Third album with Vicky Psarakis at the helm, I have to say this is an album that marks a maturation of both the band and from Vicky. It is brutal, harsh, bombing and pretty homogenous just like I like them!
It is a pretty short album (45 minutes) but sweet albums with 10 strong tracks. We start into it by ramming the big door with “In Vertigo” that for some reasons reminded me some tracks of the band from the early days with Alissa. The band makes us a gift of a videoclip for the song, so listen and enjoy:

A pretty good introduction track that ramps up towards to track 2 “As One We Survive”. Here comes the cannons of Navaronne, some of the firepower of the band in combining the brutality and the melodics, while Vicky show her able to steer both cleans and growls in a same track.  My favorite part? The second half of the song, this crescendo of riffs bringing an increase in tension as the music become heavier until it peaks. The brutality of the song is nicely translated into the videoclip of it, check it out:

The third track is “The Gift of Silence”, keeping up into the frenzy of the second track, this time bringing the pace to a much faster pace, also a damn good song. And another clip for your eyes and ears:

The fourth track is a continuing streak of good track from the band, with “Blood As My Guide”. What I can say? It is the gift that keeps on giving with good stuff, with special mention on Vicky singing a whole verse in Greek (I would assume from her Greek heritage), if anyone can give me the translation of the words that would be great. I did my best to guess using my French to do some bastardized translation but nothing speaked much as a  tragedy unforlding than listening to Vicky singing.
The rest of the album is also damn solid with “Mr. Cold”, a bit much chill than the rest;  “Dust To Dust” which also quite good only got me into it by the second-half of the song (I hate the first-half, like the second-half); “A Devil Made Me Do It”, a sick as hell track by its sheer speed and brutal drums ; “The Killing” which is pretty good but kind of left hungry; “Orphans” (9th track) that is my second favorite song of the album, starting soft and building momentum as we go through. “Burn It Down”, the 10th track of the album, concludes this almost perfect streak from the band.
What I can say? Man I love to see how the band came together over the years by constantly refining their artistic direction and getting this unique sound making them standing out from the crowd. Vicky certainly reached a point of maturation making her a definitive asset in the band. This winning formula is certainly the one that should and must make this band becoming a flagship for the Montreal metal scene, and the Canadian metal band. It is so good to see the band unleashing itself after navigating tumultuous waters in the last few years. The band came out of it stronger than ever and ready to conquer new lands.

Metal Power Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Power Metal] Sonata Arctica – Ecliptica (20th anniversary)

Today marks the 20th anniversary release of the first full-length album “Ecliptica” by the Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica. Power metal, never a metal genre was making so much polarization within the community. Some love it, some hate it. I found it is interesting that the divide espouse the Atlantic rift with the North American continent predominantly driven towards death metal and its sub-genres (hardcore, metalcore, grind core), whereas Power Metal being really a popular feature in Europe.
What I like about Power Metal? Ultra-fast riffs, high-speed drums, and this whole adrenaline pumped out by embracing lyrics. And Sonata Arctica counts in my favorite Power Metal bands, in particular when it comes to their old stuff. And how does “Ecliptica” holds on after 20 years? Awesomely well. With certain cynicism, I would say the old SA stuff ages much better than their new stuff.
The album is short (47 minutes), but damn intensely packed, with certainly a very strong foundation with 10 tracks holding overall very well. We get into it with “Blank File” that quickly sucks us into an intense and fast tempo giving the tone: it will be loud, it will be fast and it will be epic. The second track, “My Land” is kind of more relaxed and more like a power ballad. But the third track, “8th Commandment”, oh boy, thats some densely packed steroids right here. Super-fast riffs, super-fast pace, with very engaging and dueling keyboards/guitars. The very essence of Sonata Arctica. Give it a try and listen to it:

One power metal track like this one over 10’000 death metal songs, anytime. Where death metal songs sounds mostly the same, power metal gives you this energy and complexity never experienced. Every time this song is played in a concert, it is such a pleasure.
The fourth track, “Replica”, gives us some resting and offers us another of these nice power ballad, one of these sing-along songs that makes SA concerts great. “Kingdom for a Heart”, the fifth track, is good but for some reason not putting me into ecstasy.

Then comes “Fullmoon”. The Sonata Arctica Power Ballad, the stuff you want to sing-along in concert. It is an epic power ballad that I have rarely seen equaled by other bands I have listened.

“Letter to Dana” is a beautiful power ballad story about this love story that never occurred to happen and ends up tragically.  Yes, the writing is a bit cheesy, a bit goofy but thats the charm of power metal.

“Unopened”, “Picturing the Past” and “Destruction Preventer” nicely help finish the album by alternating power ballads and by power melodics making the album a perfect streak.
Now there are two versions of the albums: the original one and the revisited one published for the 15th anniversary. I personally prefer the original from the keyboard perspective. The revisited is kind of lacking flavor and punch of the original one. Please grab that version, you will thank me later.
Sonata Arctica, like it or not, is certainly one of the flagship of Finnish power metal and a must-have band to have in your power metal collection. It epitomizes for me what makes power metal a much better experience than death metal: epic, fast-faced, bombastic listening experience that brings this adrenaline rush that makes you feel much better after a listening session. I wish Sonata Arctica could look back at their early years and bring back this energy in their musical direction.


[Personal Log] Looking back at my 10 years in the US, from a French perspective

Today officially marks the 10th anniversary of landing here in the United States. It was on October 23rd 2009. After weeks and weeks of waiting on my H1-B visa to be processed (it took about three months between the time I have got the I-797 notification and the time I have landed in the US), I finally got the magic pass to start my career in the US.
I officially handed over my keys of my efficiency in Zurich, the same efficiency that was my place during my graduate study. Yet, I started to experience the long process of the US administration.
I thought I would be in the US by August, it would take me almost 3 months to get there. I had my family (my wife and two daughters, 3 and 2) send back to France, cluttered in 1BR in my parents house. And I spent the whole summer couch-surfing in student dorms sub-leased for a month at the time (because the rental market in Zurich back then was insane, less than 1% vacancy rate). I lived most of my days in the lab and the office, finishing up crucial experiments.
I remember when I got the visa stamp, I hastily booked a flight to the US. I could not get picky with the flight and it was a whole journey. I had packed 2 baggages of 50lbs each (it was just at the time when airlines removed the 2 checked-in bag allowance), filled with basic necessity stuff. I had arranged my rental all over the internet and using Craigslist. I left on a Friday morning from my hometown. From there a domestic flight from CDG to DTW, then DTW to IAH and finally a shuttle from IAH to Aggie-land. I spent the first night late in a Knight Inn at close proximity of my rental.
Nicely, the landlord was here to greet me the next morning. He picked up with his Chevy Suburban. That was my first experience with SUV. Everything is bigger in Texas, even the cars. Gave the deposit, the first month of rent in cash and that was the first pictures I took with my Macbook:


Here I was. An empty house and some basic necessity in my baggage: some linen sheets, a pillow, my computer, some kitchen utensils, my clothes. And not furniture, no bed…..yet. Fortunately, I was able to grab some free Internet (I think it was from the nearby Motel 6, hehe), at least enough for a week. I had made arrangement to have a guy selling mattresses deliver one of them in my place, I also made arrangement for a round table with four chairs and finally a sofa and loveseat. I was lucky enough to find an Albertson’s 10 minutes walking. I discovered Philadelphia cream cheese, Folgers coffee and donuts!
That afternoon felt like going on a run like in the Walking Dead: secure glassware, dishes, small appliances (coffee machine, toaster….). And I walked west, towards Goodwill. A 2 miles walk. 38 minutes walk. It was all about learning. Me and my backpack. I remember crossing a pawn shop (first time I ever entered a pawn shop) and bought an Xbox360 (that will serve me for a DVD player and videogames). I later got from Goodwill a small frying pan, a couple of glass, a alarm radio, and some stuff.
Sunday was my second day. That time I explored the East side of my neighborhood. I went to the Dollar Tree that was two miles East. That’s what I bought the necessary stuff to the house and cleaning supplies, some basic necessity. And finally on my back, passed by Best Guy. Bought my first prepaid phone (AT&T Pay as you Go or something like that), and my first TV. An Insignia 32″ LED TV that as of today is still working :). I still have it and use it in my man cave. This fellow followed me through my journey. Finally in the afternoon, Greg my mentor picked me up and drove me to Walmart. Having a car ride would be my luxury in the next three months, especially in Texas!
For three months, my radius of action was 1 mile at best. The only way for me was the Aggies bus shuttles that would take a whole hour to bring you from A to B, a bicycle I bought, and that basically it. The things that were around me were Albertson’s, Denny’s, Pizza Hut, and Sonic. And Blockbuster. That closed within a month of me arriving here.
My first week was discovering a whole different way to do research, learn about things you don’t know, setting my first bank account, applying for my SSN number. getting cable, connecting the utilities…….It was a steep learning curve. I still remember my first Halloween (unfortunately no Halloween in a college town if you live in a student neighborhood), my first Thanksgiving. I remember how sidewalks became my bike lane because it honestly feel suicidal to drive on a major avenue.
But heck it was an unforgettable experience. Looking back 10 years, I learnt a lot and now feel part of the country.
Howdy y’all!

Metal Symphonic Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Symphonic] Epica – Design Your Universe (10th Anniversary)

Today marks the 10th anniversary release of Epica fourth album “Design Your Universe” on October 16th 2019. What can I tell about this album? Epic album from Epica, certainly the best album from their discography, it is standing on the pinnacle in my opinion. It is also hard to tell, as we are splitting hair with their discography, a constant quality-crafted work by Mark Jansen. like a Rembrandt paint every single time.
This is an album made of 14 tracks, totaling 79 minutes of bold and heavy symphonic metal. It starts with an overture named “Samadhi” which is here as a launching ramp for the second track “Resign To Surrender”. And I hope by that time you are all buckled up, becasue the rollercoaster ride of awesomeness is just starting. That brings us to the third track “Unleashed”. If you have to summarize the awesomeness of the band or resume Epica to a song, that would be it, give it a spin and listen:

Excited about Epica following “Unleashed”? Wait, there is more! If someone would have asked me, “Do Epica has a wall of death song?” I would have said nope, until listening to the fifth track “Martyrs of The Free World”. I remember it while attending their concert in Dallas in 2016. Mark splitting up the crowd for a big and beautiful wall……of death!
Heavy tunes, heavy-loaded lyrics on denouncing terrorism and indoctrination.  Thats the signature stuff from Epica. My favorite of the album! We continue our musical rollercoaster ride with “Our Destiny” that is more mellow than our previous listening experience but only to allow us to enjoy the voice of Simone Simmons. The seventh track, “Kingdom of Heaven” continues where we left with “Martyrs…” but brings us to a brigther side.
To help us recover from this rollercoaster ride, the “Price of Freedom” is an interlude that allows to transition to the second half of the album that is as epic as the first half. Track 8 is “Burn To A Cinder”, good stuff. “Tides of Time”, the ninth track of the album is like the slow tide, calm and washing us ashore, a breeze of calm before the tempest. That comes us with the 10th track “Deconstruct”. My second favorite of the album, some level of awesomeness packed. “Semblance of Liberty” is another fast-paced one, and has the famous Georges H. Bush “read my lips!” quote at the end! “White Waters”, the 12th track album is the calm song, this one feature Tony Kaiko from Sonata Arctica! But Mark let the plat de resistance to us with “Design Your Universe”, the opus magnum of the album. Dichotomic, starting with a crescendo, and blowing our mind away. The track of the album!
“Incentive” is the last one of the album, quite good but felt a bit too soft and lacking flavor after coming out of “Design….”.
What can I say? If you dont have it yet, rush to your record store as Epica re-issued it for the 10th anniversary. Get this album!



Doom Metal Metal Music Uncategorized

[Metal/Doom] Paradise Lost – Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us (10th Anniversary)

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary release of Paradise Lost “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us”. It is the 12th album of the British doom metal band from Halifax, part of the Holy Trinity of doom-death genre with Anathema and My Dying Bride.
For me, this album has a special place as it was my first album from the band, it is how I got introduced to the band, by a random pick from a record store. It has the doom feelings and writing, topped with the brutality of death and singing by Nick Holmes and a pinch of melodic riffs from Gregor Mackintosh. For the fans, it was a return to the source of the band, after being artistically exploring through that decade.  It is a 10-track album that is almost 46 minutes long.
We start with a bang with “As Horizons End”, having this feel of Games of Thrones at the beginning and comes in Nick Holmes aggressively, which is for me a departure of the classic doom I have been used. It is an explosion to the hear, full of melancholy and rage, with the with the remarkable guitar solo in the second half of the song. This is the song that got me hooked on Paradise Lost. One of my favorites of the album, if not the favorite track. The second track, “I remain”, is straight in the continuation of the “As Horizons End”, with excellent lyrics. Again an almost perfect run here. We keep on the continuum with the third track “First Light”. “Frailty” breaks with the cohort, and start with a crescendo tone quickly taken by fast riffs and breaks with the melodic tones of the three first tracks. Another favorite of mine.   The fifth track “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” was in my first impression an okay song, but somehow get much more amplification when you watch it with the official videoclip. The psychological violence in it (it is interesting how being held and having your hair cut can have an uneasy feel, directly feeling compassion with the victim), coupled with the depressing lyrics makes it a very powerful song. Judge it by yourself:

The rest of the album is pretty good, but I kind felt less enthusiastic “The Rise of Denial”, “Living With Scars” and “Universal Dream” are okay songs, but not really got too excited. However, the “Last Regret”, the 8th song of the album is damn good song, well-written and well composed. It is very dark, very depressing and that’s when you feel the power of Paradise Lost.  It is well seconded by “In truth”, the closing song of the song, that has the signature trait of the band.

Overall, it is very good album of Paradise Lost, some saying this return to the source was a wlecome move and I can imagine if I was a first hour fan, I would have welcomed that move.

Rare thing but noteworthy to be noted, Century Media, the label of the band graciously offer the streaming of the album on Youtube, see the link below:

If you have not heard about Paradise Lost, and want something between doom and death metal, you should give a spin. This record hooked me on the band and let me discover their remarkable discography.


[Sciences/Junk Sciences] Let’s talk about Ashley Everly and her “Vaccine Guide” binder full of…A focus review on the “Ingredients” section.

One feature amongst the AV community is their ability to illustrate the whole Dunning-Kruger Effect with real life example. If you are not familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect, it is a cognitive bias initially reported by David Dunning and Justin Kruger, in which a person commonly overestimate or display an overconfidence on his/her knowledge on a topic but yet fails to master the topic in question, often living in a belief of superiority, in particular when challenging experts.
The average person on the Dunning-Kruger (DK) effect will make extraordinary claims while denigrating giving the credentials to experts, often arrogantly claiming they know more than an seasoned expert that spent his/her education and professional career on the topic.
Most of the time (>99%), AV experts are using and abusing credentials that don’t have. For instance, Avers claiming to be medical doctors only to be a doctor in chiropractic or naturopathy, or scientists whereas harboring at best a Bachelor’s degree. Amongst them is Ashley Everly.

1. Who is Ashley Everly?

Ashley loves to depict herself as a “toxicologist” and love to parade on social media as is. However, if you look a bit more attention to her LinkedIn profile, you will notice that she has a Bachelor degree in Environmental Toxicology from UC Davis, and some internship at the California EPA from 2007 to 2008. Then a 8 years gap, with suddenly posing as a toxicologist for “Health Freedom Idaho”, a notorious anti-vaccine group.
Let me be clear. In order to claim yourself as a “toxicologist”, you have to have a minimum a doctoral degree in toxicology from an accredited institution, have passed the peer-review amongst peers by showing evidence of publications in peer-reviewed journal and ideally hold a faculty position in that specialty.
At best, with a BSc you can claim the title of “lab technician” but nothing more. It also tells us the low-standard quality that “Health Freedom Idaho” stands and the quality of the science they must be using.

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 8.11.19 AM

Ashley loves to parade as a peacock during mating season in the AV community as an expert, but once facing real experts quickly cave in and go into hiding. Let me show you some of my encounter with Ashley on Facebook a couple of months ago:

The PNAS study in question is this one ( and as of today Ahsley was never seen again discussing on that topic. She quickly flounced and disappeared. So much for a “toxicologist” to refuse to address criticism from a peer and being completely clueless on interpreting a study she herself brought into.
Ashley, if you read that post, I hope that these last four months were enough for you to read and comprehend the PNAS paper and answer my question.

2. Vaccine Guide: Ingredients/Excipients/Contaminants

You will find below my rebuttal to the whole section, with the exception of reviews (because a review is a collection of studies picked from the literature and remains at the discretion of the author. I treat them as an opinion piece and I don’t discuss opinions. I discuss data and their interpretation). I maintained the sections and went through most of the “studies” present in her binder as published in May.

2.1. Aluminum Adjuvants:

Aluminum involvement in neurotoxicity
This is a study that is published in a potentially predatory journal (Hindawi), and you can feel the low-quality of the study presented by the sole figure making the paper (Figure 1).
The author main hypothesis is that aluminum is associated with neurological diseases and claim that chelation therapy (using IV infusion of EDTA) can help alleviate the patient.
The cohort of subjects are divided into several categories including a healthy, neurodegenerative diseases (ND, including MS, mislabeled as SM. An error that should have been labelled by reviewers but went through, Alzheimer=AD, Lou Gehrig/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s (PD), and non-ND (e.g. fibromyalgia group).
Here is the first problem: Why did the authors not provided blood/plasma levels of Al in patients? Blood levels would be a much better biomarker than urine, because it would indicate the systemic concentration of aluminum and pointed out that ND patient have abnormal Al load by default.
The second problem is the use of urine. It is interesting, but not as great than plasma samples. Especially because you have a high risk of variation in Al urine concentration based on the kidney function. Do these diseases affect the kidney function? I don’t know but showing an absence of difference in creatinine clearance between the patients would have really helped.
Third is the chelation method. By applying chelation therapy to these patients, they are forcing the pulling out of Al from their body, which can be highly variable and also an unreliable outcome for assessing heavy metal poisoning. Again, I repeat, blood sampling is the gold standard.
The fourth problem is putting different NDs together to try to show some statistics: that’s comparing apples to oranges. I am not even mentioning the error bars that are SEM instead of SD. SEM is equal to SD/square root of the sample size. It has little meaning in statistics. SD is a more appreciated parameters as it allows the assessment of the statistics (and verify the P-value calculated by the authors is correct or incorrect). Ideally, you would like to show the urine Al values for each individual as a dot-plot.
With honesty, a journal that is publishing studies based on solely one figure raises an important red flag about the quality of peer-review performed, and you can see that the important flaws in the methodology is unacceptable.

Contact allergy to aluminum induced by commonly used pediatric vaccines
It is interesting to see a comment taken as a “gotcha” moment by Ashley. Yes the authors reported a series of granuloma in Swedish children and note how Ashley highlighted only the pieces that were fitting her narrative, by willingly highlighting the final words of the authors.
“We want to point out that itching granulomas are benign and self-limiting and no cause to refrain from vaccination in consideration of the risk for a serious infectious disease. They are poorly known but easy to recognize once you are aware of them. They should be familiar to all health care staff working with children to avoid mistrust and anxiety in the parents and unnecessary investigations of the child.” The same authors reported that this is likely due to contact allergy and seems to improve over time as reported in their 2018 paper (
In conclusion: Yes, granuloma can happen in certain vaccinated children, it is mostly an allergy contact with aluminum and causes only minor effects (itching) that resolves over the year.

Aluminum hydroxide lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration
Introduction: The whole hypothesis of the paper is to address the possible cause of the Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). GWS was a condition described in veterans of the first Gulf War (1990-1991) characterized by various neurological conditions. But for some reasons, Shaw is suspecting that GWS was correlating with cases of ALS with some veterans diagnosed with GWS. Shaw speculates that the anthrax vaccine (AVA) given to soldiers during the Gulf War (in anticipation of the use of anthrax-laden weaponry by Saddam Hussein) is the causative agent, and went up to nail to aluminum adjuvants to vaccines.
Using existing literature documenting high aluminum (Al) levels in mice following treatment at elephant dose (Table 1) and dubiously claiming these mice showed sign of ALS (spoiler: they just reported Al levels in tissues, no reported ALS phenotype in these mice), Shaw goes with big stretches to claim that the anthrax vaccines caused these to happen.
Methods: Shaw used CD-1 male mice, 3 months old (about 12-weeks old). That’s about young adults that matches the demographic of the military. Gender differences can be discussed but I would speculate the proportion of men serving the country back then was predominant.
The number of animals is about okay for a fair power of analysis (if you assume about 30% or more differences following treatment, with 10-15% variability, an optimum number would be 12). Note there are four groups: saline (PBS), squalene, aluminum hydroxide (AH) and AH+squalene.
The concerning part is that Shaw mentions the following: “The current study will report only on the aluminum treated and control groups from this experimental series. “. Why are you mentioning the squalene and AH+squalene group and not showing the data? Are you hiding something that your study is showing but contradicting your hypothesis? How did reviewers let that fly in the first instance? That’s already a big red flag you have not caught.
The Al dosing seems adequate but here is the problem: “In Experiment 1, we performed two injections of a suspension of aluminum hydroxide of (50 μg/kg) in a total volume of 200 μL sterile PBS (0.9%) spaced 2 weeks apart. The mice in this experiment would therefore have received 100 μg/kg versus a probable 68 μg/kg in humans. In Experiment 2, mice received six injections for a total of 300 μg/kg aluminum hydroxide over 2 weeks. Controls in both studies were injected with 200 μL PBS. “2 injections within two weeks or 6 injections within two weeks. What does the military say? Five doses injections at 0, 4 weeks, 24 weeks (6 months), 52 weeks (1 year) and 76 weeks (18 months) according to this site:
Remember, we are just talking about anthrax vaccine here. Under which rationale Shaw consider the fate of aluminum in a mouse body very different from a human body? Considering Al is mostly cleared by renal route and that mouse have physiologically a lower renal clearance level (based on creatine clearance) than humans, what we have here is basically a deliberate overdosing of mice with aluminum by running a complete irrational immunization schedule. He squeezed us a whole injection schedule that is spanned over a year and a half (76 weeks) within a 2 weeks period. A major an unacceptable methodological flaw that was repeated in the sheep studies by Lujan (the studies claiming vaccines in sheep caused ASIA).
How did you miss that Glenn? You had 24 hours to read that paper! And you were telling us PV how to design an experiment? This experimental design is so flawed, yet it flew under your nose.
I will give it to you, it also flew under the nose of reviewers, but I speculate either the reviewers were friendly to Shaw or had no expertise to review that paper at all.
Results: Let the fun begins with Figure 1. First thing here is Shaw is looking for signs of neuronal damage and spinal cord injury in his animals by immunocytochemistry. You can do that by staining tissue sections with antibodies. In ALS, motoneurons (the neurons controlling skeletal muscles) are the one affected by the disease and die. Motoneurons are localized in the ventral portion of the spinal cord in a region called the ventral horn. Motoneurons neurotransmitter of choice is acetylcholine, so you can label motoneurons with antibodies targeting an enzyme involved in acetylcholine biosynthesis (choline acetyltransferase or ChAT). Aside from neurons, you have glial cells that are here to support neurons. The major type is astrocytes. When astrocytes are injured or get wind of a bacterial information or injury, they become activated. One protein indicative of an astrocyte activation is glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Under physiological condition, GFAP is barely detected. Under injury (in my case, stroke injury), GFAP levels will go up, in particular in the region being injured. Iba-1 is a staining for activated microglia. Microglia are resident immune cells in the brain, sitting ducks waiting for an injury to happen. When an injury happens, microglial cells go berserk, will release tons of pro-inflammatory cytokine and press the RED ALERT button, activating both astrocytes and the BBB to let immune cells come inside the brain and induce neuroinflammation.
First flaw here is that Shaw never show us any representative tissue staining to let us appreciate his bar graphs with actual staining. That was unacceptable in 2009, it is still unacceptable in 2019. He also omitted to put all three spinal cord regions (cervical, thoracic and lumbar) for both ChAT, GFAP and Iba-1. Indeed, Shaw plays with the cherry-picking of both what he wants to show in terms of data and statistics.
Aluminum in cervical SC showed no differences in ChAT-positive neurons but has a higher number in the aluminum group. It is about 50-60% higher, yet Shaw conveniently brushed the statistics under the rug. How come he denotes us a statistical significance (P<0.05 as pointed by the * symbol) in 1C but not in 1B, despite showing similar difference and even smaller error bars? What about ChAT in the lumbar section?
This is not the first contradiction, how Shaw explains that in the thoracic region you have more reactive astrocytes in the cervical region, but less in the thoracic region? What about GFAP in the lumbar section?
Finally, same applies to Iba-1. Considering the huge variability observed between regions for ChAT and GFAP, how much credibility the Iba-1 lumbar section tells me. I bet he showed the opposite pattern in the cervical and thoracic regions and he brushed that off under the rug. How convenient it must be to brush off data not aligning with your hypothesis and only show the data that align with it, don’t you think? That’s called cherry-picking and that’s a no-no in science.
Figure 2: Shaw is trying to show us aluminum in the spinal cord using morin staining. Two things here. Shaw is showing us a spinal cord staining from control mice and you can see the high autofluorescence, but that does not stop him to claim there is no staining. Second, he is showing us blurbs of immunoreactivity. The problem is how do you sort real staining from garbage? The answer is you need to have a counter-staining, in particular a nucleus counterstaining. One would be the use of DAPI (that stains the DNA) and see if these blurbs are parts of cells and not just debris. You can also make things up by tuning in the exposure time. This, with the lousy quantification (how did he identify these are cells without DAPI? What is the sample area in micrometers2 or mm2?), is already sinking the boat of that paper. We are two figures and yet have to find any nuggets in that garbage dumpster.
Figure 3: He is trying to sell us a spinal cord section of its aluminum mice versus a brain cortical slice of a human (entorhinal cortex) suffering from Alzheimer’s’ to claim that aluminum is inducing Tau hyperphosphorylation. What is that garbage? First, Tau hyperphosphorylation is not associated with ALS, second Alzheimer’s is not ALS, third brain cortex is not spinal cord and finally human is not mice. And that isolated cell that is immunoreactive amongst a desert of empty staining, that screams out loud he cherry-picked a region of interest to show one single positive cell amongst thousands negative. What I am supposed to do with that?
I would have shown the following: control versus aluminum, spinal cord sections at three spinal cord regions (cervical, thoracic and lumbar), low-magnification and high-magnification to show the depletion of motoneurons and possibly the Tau hyperphosphorylation. But I would also show a Nissl staining to exclude the presence of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in my spinal cord versus the cortex of human sample given here to show this Tau hyperphosphorylation was not associated with Alzheimer’s.
Figure 4: This is a statistical joke, you must be kidding me right? To tell me that he got a P<0.0001 with SEM bars big like that is a straight out lie, or he just found the obscure statistical test to make is so. You cannot run the statistics overall and conclude so, you have to do the test for each timepoint between the group. Also, why did he use a two-way ANOVA when he only has two groups? That is telling me he is as meticulous in his stats as his experimental design. The only time I would consider something happening (don’t forget we are overdosing our mice) is on Fig4G and H.
Figure 5: Finally, a water maze test to assess the ability of mice to memorize. The idea is you have mice submerged in a pool. In this pool, there is a platform that they can hold on and have a firm surface to stand. Over time, if you let them swim every day, they will become better at it and find the platform faster. The problem is the water is blurred out, so they have to remember where in the room and in the pool the platform is located. Also, here Shaw is remembering us something. Do you remember that?
“In Experiment 1, we performed two injections of a suspension of aluminum hydroxide of (50 μg/kg) in a total volume of 200 μL sterile PBS (0.9%) spaced 2 weeks apart. The mice in this experiment would therefore have received 100 μg/kg versus a probable 68 μg/kg in humans. In Experiment 2, mice received six injections for a total of 300 μg/kg aluminum hydroxide over 2 weeks. Controls in both studies were injected with 200 μL PBS.”
Here Shaw is telling us “This is the 6x mice”. What about the 2x mice? What about the previous figures? Which experiments were they? 2x?6x? Did he mix the 2x and 6x into the whole aluminum group? Sloppy as hell. And you have the audacity to tell me this study still worth something? Not even a kopeck!

Administration of aluminum to neonatal mice in vaccine-relevant amounts associated with adverse long-term neurological outcomes
Note: Chris Shaw must have a knack for publishing his paper in JIB, almost as if the editor in chief was complacent to his botched studies.
Introduction: Shaw continues on his hypothesis that aluminum in vaccines is bad and that he must be causing neurotoxic effects in infants brain, in particular he consider that aluminum in vaccines is associated to ASD, self-citing their study published also in JIB in 2011. Therefore, the aim of this study is to demonstrate that the current immunization schedule is bad because it induces an aluminum overload
Methodology: Here is the big flaw of the paper, that will be used and reused by other groups later. Shaw assumes that a mouse born (P0) is equal to a newborn (which is not, the literature is indicating that a P0 mouse is about a 7month of gestation fetus. A human newborn would be about a P7 or a 7-days old mouse). Considering that mouse puberty is about 5-6 weeks old, Shaw designed an experimental design that is about injecting mice every 2-3 days for 10 days with a final injection at P17. Noteworthy, the apparent shift in injection schedule of the saline group, that is never matching the US schedule (referred as high Al) or Scandinavian (referred as low Al). This is unacceptable. When you design an experiment, you want to be sure you align your control group to your treatment to remove the maximum number of variables.
The second problem here is a pharmacokinetic problem. We can argue that the 17-days schedule maybe reflective of a “0-2 years” schedule in humans. The problem is does Shaw (or anyone else) validated that this rapid schedule is respecting the pharmacokinetic pattern of aluminum adjuvants? He has not. Nobody has not either. That’s a huge mistake here. Aluminum adjuvants fate based on the Flarend data tells us that it has a two-phase: a rapid but mild peak concentration (that is about 2% of the injected dose) following IM injection (within 24 hours) followed by a progressive decrease at a rate estimated by 0.6%/day. In a human schedule (2 months interval), this allow to get rid of most of the aluminum. In a mouse schedule (2 days), you are basically overdosing mice with cumulative dose of aluminum and logically reach toxic levels (aluminum is neurotoxic, if you have a blood level of it at least 3x what we consider the normal level). Shaw never bothered to show Al levels in blood/plasma at day 17 to see if his schedule was making sense or not.
Results: Figure 1 and show weight. A decrease in weight is usually sign of mouse distress. Again, Shaw shows us Mean+SEM, making the assessment of the statistics useless and have you taken him on his words. Interestingly enough, the high Al showed higher weight gain than controls and low Al. I don’t know what to do about, but maybe the high Al load due to his botched Al overload is responsible for that.
Figure 2 and 3 show different behavioral testing, so I will not go through details much. High aluminum group is showing the worsened outcome at 22 weeks, but surprisingly only males. Why not females? I would not expect a difference in PK parameters between sex, but maybe some neuroprotection from the gonadal hormones in females.
No memory test done (swim test, Morris maze test), no social behavioral test done, no novelty test done. These are behavioral tests that are important and surely more relevant than the ones shown, especially if you consider the hypothesis “aluminum in vaccines cause autism in mice”. Did Shaw not performed the test because it was a neglection or did he hide the results of them in a drawer because it was not fitting the narrative?
That’s it for the results. No assessment of aluminum load in the brains, no Cresyl violet to show brain structure abnormality, no immunostaining to show some sort of damage or neuroinflammation. Shaw get a lofty free pass at JIB and use it conveniently.
Discussion and acknowledgment: Seems Shaw is not at all embarrassed to oversell the data, in particular as his main benefactor (the Dwoskin foundation,

Biopersistence and brain translocation of aluminum adjuvants of vaccines
This is a review from Romain Gherardi. The problem with a review is similar to an opiniated piece, you can make your case with basically anything that fits your narrative and you often end-up self-citing your papers and own papers. But that does not mean Gherardi is doing great science and I would easily debunk one of his studies anytime.

Aluminum in childhood vaccines is unsafe
This is a so-called study written by Neil Z. Miller. This is an example on assessing someone’s credential is important. Scroll at the end of the paper and read the following
“Neil Z. Miller is a medical research journalist.”
He has no credentials as a scientist, he has no affiliation with a research institute (with the rare time he points out to his PO Box in Santa Fe, NM) and he has absolutely no knowledge from what he is talking about (although he claimed the aliens talked to him and told him vaccines are bad). All of this published in JPANDS, the journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. This is a political (right-wing) organization that is anti-Medicare, anti-Government (they give tips to medical practitioners to tax dodge and reduce financial tracking) with a strong anti-abortion, anti-LGBT stances with dipping often with conspiracy theories (HIV denialism being one of them). Just Google Jane Orient (former president of the AAPS) and you will see a nebula of conspiracy theories promoted by her.
Neil is trying to sell the idea that aluminum is the new mercury, claiming levels went up as thimerosal was phased out. In Figure 2, Miller is giving the middle finger to basic pharmacokinetics claiming that an 18 months toddler holds almost 5’000microg of aluminum in his body from vaccines. The problem is that Neil omitted to count that such amount is mostly gone by that time, omitted a physiological function commonly referred as “pee-pee” (renal route represents 95% of the exit route for aluminum) and also omitted to count the exposure from food and water during that period. That’s sound like an awful lot of cherry-picking that only garbage journals would accept as valid papers. Of course, Neil cites the classical tropes and debunked studies from Shaw, Gherardi and Exley.
To make a point valid, someone has to show that the current CDC schedule 1) increases significantly Al blood levels during the first 24 hours of injection and 2) that the current schedule is translating into a cumulative increase in blood levels in infants. Both of these issues are never addressed by Neil, because Neil does not have the scientific baggage to answer these questions and conveniently ignored the literature that is not fitting his misconception.

2.2. Aborted Fetal Cell DNA
MRC-5 and WI-38 fibroblast ATCC technical data sheets
These are technical data sheets for these two cell lines. ATCC stands for American Tissue Cells Collection. It is a cell and tissue repository, a sort of giant cell culture database. If you are looking for a particular cell line and ATCC has it, it will provide you these cells (upon paying some $$$) so you can run your experiments. You can passage cells, in particular immortalized cells, as many times as the cells will accept. Some cells like HeLa and these two cell lines have been over 1000 passages easily, that’s is like 1000 generations of cells since the original isolation.
Ashley stupidity in plain sight:
“MRC-5 cell line………by J.P. Jacobs in September of 1966”. In other words, MRC-5 was created in 1966 and since the same cell line has been used to make vaccines. That’s should torpedo the claim of “they use aborted babies to make vaccines”. They used the same cells isolated from one aborted fetus sometime in 1965-1966 to produce billions of vaccines doses. One fetus.
The WI-38 is coming from the same period of time, produced by Plotkin in 1965. This is the original link to the study: So what is Ashley trying to accomplish here? Stir the “aborted babies in vaccine” pot to scare people? These are cell lines coming from 2 babies, that are over 50 years old cells passaged at least 1000 times since their isolation. They are a far cry of the original product, yet they helped save the life of billions of babies worldwide. As Spock would quote “The need of many outweighs the need of few”.

Spontaneous Integration of human DNA fragments into Host Genome.
That’s a poster authored by Deisher. First, it is a poster. In other words, it has little or no value when it comes to publication. It is nice, but useless until it gets in its final form as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. A poster is never peer-reviewed, at best it is reviewed by a scientist affiliated with a society meeting (for instance I review poster abstracts for the American Heart/Stroke Association for their International Stroke Conference meeting on regular basis) and give a “yeah/nay” for poster presentations. Poster presentation is usually the easiest form of communication that get an acceptance rate, it is not often you get rejected unless your abstract is poorly written or you are presenting something outside the field of interests of the meeting.
Ashley did a very poor job in cropping the poster making it difficult to read.
First, the author. Teresa Deisher. Deisher seems to have some experience in cardiac cell biology according to her PubMed profile, but her last relevant paper dates from 2010.
Deisher is back in publication by publishing three articles, all in Issues in Law Medicine. That does not sound a journal you would publish biomedical sciences, right? It is also unlikely that you will have the right experts to peer-review that studies.
The second issue is Deisher is not affiliated with any public institution. She is affiliated with Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute located in Seattle, WA. The use of “institute” is a common strategy of anti-science to pose as legitimate, but often these institute are mere than a basement in a suburb area or a hut located in a mountain. If you are unsure about an institute, just Google Map it. That’s how the so-called institute look like.


Does it look like the Broad Institute (this is what I would put at the top of molecular biology institute)?

In this “study” Deisher took some placental DNA (Cot1), labelled it with a fluorescent dye (Cy3, that fluoresce in the red range following excitation by a light source).
She lists few cells that took the dye (3 out of 7 cell lines) in her Table 2 with some dubious results. First, she is not showing all the data (in terms of genomic DNA incorporation), she is not validated the DNA uptake method (is she relying on fluorescence to determine the incorporation, did she use a PCR analysis or DNA sequencing to show the incorporation of that genomic DNA? No for any of these).
The rest is even more laughable if we move to the Figures. If you want to show that you have incorporation, you have to show each fluorescence by its own using a negative control.
A negative control is important to show, so people will accept that your fluorescent signal is real signal and not some noise background. A negative control should be either your untreated cells (because some cells can have autofluorescence), or cells treated with free fluorescent dye (to remove the non-specific uptake of free dye by the cells, which can lead to a false-positive).
More importantly, you have to show the fluorescence of each channels separately before showing a merged picture (example DAPI, Cy3 and brightfield separated and finally a merged picture).
Figure 1: What I am supposed to see here? Why is there a blue color in brightfield? How should I conclude that the red blobs I barely see is genuine signal and not background noise?
Figure 2: That’s the most laughable picture. Here Deisher treated the cells with saponin. Saponin will drill holes into your cells and let anything enter your cells. We use saponin to show the internalization of a protein normally located on the cell surface (to allow antibodies to enter and detect these proteins inside the cells). Deisher forced holes into the cells, treated them with her DNA fragment and low and behold see some red signals. No shit Sherlock!
Then with other figures, she used LPS instead and of course no controls. LPS is a lipopolysaccharide present in Gram-negative bacteria. When these bacteria explode following an immune response, this LPS is acting like a nuclear bomb in the body. It will induce a massive immune response that is commonly observed in the clinic as septic shock.
So what I am supposed to do with that data if I find DNA uptake in cells that were nuked by LPS but I have no idea if such DNA uptake even occur in non-treated cells? Why not using saponin as well?
Garbage in, garbage out. What you call a disgrace I call it a common practice in anti-science papers. Produce garbage, sell garbage as science. If I was the MJ Murdock foundation, I would ask for some explanation on why their grant money was spent on useless junk science.

Characteristics of a new human diploid cell line Walvax2 and its suitability as a candidate for vaccine production.
Ashley, based on her markups, seems to never read anything more than the title and the abstract of a paper. Past the introduction, and you will not find her yellow marker. So much for a “toxicologist” eh? Walvax-2 is a new cell line developed by Chinese scientists and assessing it as a possible alternative to the MRC-5 and WI-38 cell lines. Walvax-2 was isolated from an aborted fetus that was medically aborted. The mother had a uterine scar from a previous C-section. A uterine scar can break during pregnancy and can kill the mother (and the fetus) if ruptured. It was not a complacent abortion; it was a medical abortion and the chance of having this fetus to become a full-term newborn was almost null. Maybe Ashley should go back to school and learn some A&P courses before playing the scare and ignored the uterine scar.
For the lay person, this paper is not that interesting. It is mostly validation and characterization for the cell lines at different passages (P6, P14 and P20) and benchmark them versus MRC-5 in their ability to be infected with known pathogens.
Yet, there is still a long way to go for Walvax-2, as the authors mentioned “ Nevertheless, more research needs to be done to investigate the susceptibility of Walvax-2 cells to a greater variety of viruses, and to develop fully the potential of Walvax-2 cells as a cell substrate platform for producing viral vaccines for human use in China” (p. 1005)
Those that make the claim this cell line is already in use in China and used to produce vaccines anywhere in the world are lying liars that should be called out for spreading nonsense.

Effect of thimerosal, methylmercury and mercuric chloride on Jurkat T Cell Line
This is a paper that looked at the toxicity of mercury at different forms (EtHg, MeHg and HgCl2) in a rat T cell line, the Jurkat cell line. Cells were treated at different concentrations for 48 hours. Let’s assume this is a blood concentration and what these cells are exposed would be plasma concentration of mercury.
First, how much mercury do we receive in a vaccine injection? The closest thing I came come with is the Burbacher study (Env Health Persp.2005) that investigated the effect of multiple injection of EtHg versus MeHg (that one was given orally) at 20microg/kg, 4 injections spaced one week each (so it’s really aimed to overdose the baby monkey with it). The value of mercury is supposed to represent the value found in a vaccine. At the 4th week of injection, the value of Hg coming from thimerosal was 16ng/mL (MeHg via oral route peaked at 32-35ng/mL). That’s 16microg/L. The molecular weight of elemental mercury being about 200g/mol, that puts us about to 0.08micromoles/L (0.08microM).



It seems it did not bother at all Ashley that the 50 microM she cherry-picked (why not the 1microM? It has a statistical significance too, a value of P<0.05) was absolutely not a concentration even reached in a vaccine overdosing (no one get 1 injection/week for 4 weeks). We are talking about 312x the maximum amount observed in the overdose scenario. So, what should I care about a toxicity at a concentration never reached in the body at any condition? Worse, Ashley, despite her claims of being a toxicologist completely nixed the nature of methylmercury. Unlike thimerosal/ethylmercury, methylmercury has a nefarious feature to bioaccumulate and stay longer in the body. If you look at the Burbacher study, it takes about 3 more times to clear MeHg versus thimerosal. Yes, methylmercury maybe less bad if subjected to acute exposure, but his effects are much worse in terms of prolonged exposure to it.

Low-dose mercury exposure in early life relevance of theimerosal to fetuses newborns and infants
Ashley is not bothered to read papers, and she will take any abstracts aligning to her agenda as valid and will claim she read the paper. It is a paper from Dorea. This guy is not known for doing sound science and he is pretty goofy and even dishonest on how he sells his findings. I will skip that one as it is a review.

Thimerosal induces DNA breaks and cell death in cultured human neurons.
This paper is looking at the effect of thimerosal at different concentrations on DNA breaks and cell death in both fibroblasts and neurons. Again, Ashley took it, read it up to the intro and ran away with it.
Figure 1: They exposed neurons at different concentrations for 2, 4 and 6 hours at different concentrations. Since it is neurons, we have to see how much would reach the brain. This brings us to the Burbacher paper as she measured mercury clearance in the baby monkeys. She found by the end of her 4-weeks regimen that Hg levels in the brain of thimerosal-treated group was 40ng/g brain tissue. If we assume that the brain is 100% water, that would equal to 40microg/L or 0.2microM. What is the minimum concentration used in this study? 2microM, 10x the concentration you would have in the brain if you overdosed on vaccines.
They see an increase of DAPI-positive nuclei at 6 hours at 2microM (DAPI is a compound stacking within DNA and fluorescein in blue. It only enters cells that are dead). You would assume to be problematic but in the same time we don’t have an idea of how many cells (as counted by their nuclei were in the field). I would have expected the authors to take a picture before/after fixation or use a dual staining propidium iodide (red, dead cells)/DAPI (total cells after fixation) to be able to normalize. We cannot exclude that the authors could have cherry-picked the field to downplay the number of DAPI-positive cells in the control group.
Fibroblasts were more robust and stood up to 10microM (remember, we found that the Burbacher reported 0.08microM concentration in her monkeys).
In Figure 3, the authors looked at caspase-3 activity in neurons. Caspase-3 is the endpoint of the signaling cascade known as apoptosis. It is programmed cell death and result in a cell death comparable to euthanasia. Increase in caspase-3 activity was only measured at 10microM. That’s about 100x the amount found in the brain in the baby monkeys.
Finally they performed a TUNEL assay that will highlight damaged DNA (and indicative of cells undergoing apoptosis). You can see an increased TUNEL activity at 2microM, or 10x the maximum amount reported by Burbacher.
I don’t think we have to go through the end of this paper and concluded a minimum toxicity of 0.5microM after 24 hours in their neurons.
Again, Ashley brilliantly showed her credentials one more time by citing papers that are absolutely not supporting the claims made by her.

Review of neurotoxicity studies of low-dose thimerosal relevant to vaccines
Again, a Dorea review. You cannot do much with a review, especially coming from Dorea but would be more than happy to review a full-research article from our friend.

2.3. Polysorbate 80:

The blood-brain barrier: A bottleneck in brain drug development
Another review by Ashley but this time she cites a very good one. This one is written by Bill Pardridge back in 2005. Bill is a professor at UCLA specialist of drug delivery at the BBB. So, this is a very good review if you want to understand the BBB. My problem? Again, Ashley likely put that one in following her “research” that maybe not more than a Google search of “polysorbate 80 blood-brain barrier”. She is just highlighting blindly whatever she thinks is nice but obviously never read references 28 to 30. In particular reference 30. This is the JNS study that I used in my infographic about polysorbate 80 and the BBB. Of course, she did not read, otherwise she would have noted two things:
1. The administration route is by direct injection in the carotid artery. Since when are we giving vaccines by a shot in your carotid artery?
2. The second is the dose. Huge dose given. mg/kg range. That is almost 3000x doses given at once. Straight into the carotid artery……of a mouse. Not sure it was even shown to occur in humans. May I say that 25 years seems indicative that it fell short to work in humans?

Specific role of polysorbate 80 coating on the targeting of nanoparticles to the brain.
Ashley is again happy to just share an abstract but this time no yellowing, I guess she just put on the fly. This is a paper working on how to optimize the delivery of nanoparticles across the BBB. They are trying different combination of the nanoparticles, from the basic surfactant-free nanoparticles (SFNP), to the one coated with PS80 or other stuff as seen in Table 1.
It is a particle bound PS80, not some free-roaming PS80.
Overall, nothing really much interesting for those not into drug formulation, but I have to say I was not really convinced by the fluorescence pictures.
It seems that first the microscopy pictures were overexposed, suggesting a weak signal in the brain parenchyma. The only region that seems rich with fluorescence (bright) is what appears the vascular region (as we have something delineating as a tube). I guess the nanoparticles can enter the BBB but must remained trap inside it or in the perivascular space.

2.4. Fetal Bovine Serum
The use of fetal bovine serum: ethical or scientific problem
This is what seems a review about the use of FBS in cell culture medium. For those unfamiliar, FBS is an important component of mammalian cell culture. It provides the right amount of proteins to maintain what we call an oncotic pressure constant, as well as cell growth factors that we cannot completely reproduce in the lab due to the complex composition (number and amount of growth factors present).
This is a review written for a journal maintained by FRAME: Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments. This is something in biomedical sciences every scientist is working hard to achieve and commonly referred into the 3R guidelines: Reduce, Replace, Refine the use of animal in medical research. In vitro (cells in a Dish) models can help reduce or replace the need of animals for certain types of research, but it is only a viable option if you can have almost all reagents coming from animal-free origin. You can understand that fetal bovine serum is an ingredient that can be problematic. Usually, FBS is used at a final concentration of 10% (10mL of FBS for 100mL complete medium), with often reducing it down to 1% (as FBS can interfere with some experiments). Vaccine products (as well as biologics) are not used directly from the crude cell culture medium. There are a series of purifications and extraction processes that are aimed to obtain a pure product. This process brings it the presence of FBS to traces levels.

2.5. Propylene Glycol
Hyperosmolarity in small infants due to propylene glycol
Here we have Ashley winning the potato prize for the definition of parenteral!
She is defining parenteral as “intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous or intradermal administration”. No shit, Ashley! You just mentioned the major administration routes except the oral route and did not even took the time to read the article. So much for your professionalism, Ash! But this is not what parenteral means in this article. Usually, parenteral routes are used for administrating fluids and nutrients to patients uncapable to feed and drink.
This is a case report made on a premature newborn (27 weeks of gestation). She was put on a total parenteral nutrition (TPN). TPNs are always administered via IV route.
The source of propylene glycol was a multivitamin administration (named MVI-12) given in the final IV nutrition bag (10mL). Few days after the onset, the patient developed complications including hyperosmolarity that resulted in stopping the parenteral nutrition. This prompted the authors to screen other babies also put on the same multivitamins and noted an hyperosmolarity that was variable in extent. This let the authors to recommend restraining the use of any medical products containing a high amount of polyethylene glycol in their formulation.
But the last question we have: was this propylene glycol reaction due to vaccines?

2.6. Glyphosate
Glyphosate pathways in modern diseases VI prions amyloidosis and autoimmune neurological diseases
Oh boy, what I have to say about that? That is a turd paper written by a computer scientist (Stephanie Seneff) that has ZERO, I repeat ZERO knowledge in biological sciences. Imagine, me as a BBB expert, writing an article about Linux operating system, claiming it is an utter piece of garbage, that its code is so degenerate that even penguins would write a better code. I would not sound credible right? Same here. Seneff makes extraordinary claims with ZERO evidence in her claims. Even critics of glyphosate such as Robin Mesnage and Michael Antoniou consider Seneff too kook to have her claims credible (

However, one thing is here laughable and that’s Table 4. Seneff claims that she can detect glyphosate at 3ppb. To reach such level of glyphosate, you need a very sensitive and quantitative method, usually used in analytical chemistry. Such methods are usually referred as liquid chromatography (LC) or gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectrometry (MS). The MS method allows to identify chemicals by their unique analytical fingerprints. We see such methods used in TV shows such as NCIS or CSI, but also at airports when the TSA has some suspicions of presence of prohibited products (the famous swipe test they perform). Here they use an ELISA. ELISA stands for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. It is a technique that uses antibody-antigen interactions to identify a chemical. The problem with ELISA? The very high risk of false positive. Do you want to have proof of the high variability? Check the LOD values given by two labs: 0.075ppb and 0.15ppb. That’s about a mean of 0.11ppb with a standard deviation of 0.053ppb. That’s a coefficient variation of 47%!!!!! The FDA tolerates a CV of 7.5% for compounds detection at 10ppm or less. 1ppm=1000ppb.
If we consider the 0.11ppb as a reference, that’s put us to 6.17nanomoles/L or 1microg/L limit of detection. The LC-MS method developed by McGuire and colleagues found their limit of detection to the same levels, and nothing was able to come significantly higher than that, whether the volunteers had a regular grocery based-diet or an organic-based diet.
Unlike the McGuire study that is published and publicly accessible for the validation methodology, the ELISA is a well-kept secret kept by ABRAXIS that have been very mysterious on how their kit works. I have approached them for assessing glyphosate levels in cell cultures sample, and the impression left was a shroud of secrecy. Ask any analytical chemist, the gold standard for chemical analysis for organic molecules is the LC/GS-MS method. ELISA has so many variables involved and steps (I practice them routinely) that you cannot afford such variability in a rigorous analytical method.

3. Concluding remarks:

I had focused on this section because it was aligning on my expertise, and let others deal with the other sections. But here is the final conclusion I have, as a peer to Ashley: Ashley has ZERO credential as a scientist and as a toxicologist, and her “Vaccine Guide” perfectly illustrate that point. She does not know to read papers, she does not know how to face criticism but she knows to cherry-pick, she knows how to put irrelevant papers into a binder and pose as the next Nobel Prize contender.

Ashley is a hack, she is an impostor, and she is dangerous and therefore should be rightfully called on her lies.

Junk Sciences Sciences Uncategorized

[Sciences/Junk Sciences] Contre-lettre au billet d’Adrien Senecat « Les évidences relatives de la tribune de No Fake Science sur l’information scientifique” (Le Monde – 07/26/2019)

Avertissement :L’article suivant est un article d’opinion servant à une contre-réponse à un article publie en tant que “article d’opinion” par un journaliste du quotidien “Le Monde”. Je suis scientifique français immigre aux États-Unis, enseignant-chercheur en pharmacologie et neurosciences. Pardonnez d’avance certaines coquilles et l’usage abusif de termes anglo-saxons en lieu et place de termes francises.

Il est rare que je prenne ma plume pour écrire un article sur mon blog en Français, ceci pour plusieurs raisons. Le fait de vivre aux États-Unis depuis 10 ans, d’avoir un contenu principalement international et puis surtout discuter d’un contenu scientifique. Cependant, un article (ou plutôt un billet d’opinion) signe par Adrien Senecat  publie dans le quotidien « Le Monde » ( et partage sur le réseau social a servi d’une discussion vive entre moi et un ancien camarade de fac (pour la petite histoire, on a été ensemble sur les bancs de la Fac de Médecine il y a 20 ans. Il a réussi le concours de P1 et devenu médecin, j’ai raté mon concours de P1 et je suis devenu enseignant-chercheur aux États-Unis. Comme quoi il y a une vie après la P1).
Cette pièce d’opinion m’a surpris, et en même temps m’a donné du grain à moudre durant mon weekend. Pourquoi je reste sceptique et même absolument pas impressionne par cet article ? Je suis sceptique par les arguments avancés par l’auteur, par les qualifications du journaliste et en même temps exprimer ma lassitude de voir les sciences maltraites et caricatures par le journaliste de base. Venant d’un quotidien comme le Monde, je m’attends à une qualité journalistique digne d’un journalisme d’investigation, non de titres racoleurs et d’un nivèlement journalistique par le bas.

Mais allons au cœur du sujet et vidons le cahier de doléances envers cette pièce.

1. L’auteur en question :

Qui est l’auteur de cet article d’opinion e et quels sont les mérites qui lui donnent une qualification pour discuter d’un sujet pointu qu’est la science ?
Adrien Senecat (selon son profile LinkedIn) a un diplôme de journalisme de l’EFAP Lyon. Après un rapide passade dans l’hebdomadaire “Le Pays Roannais” et sur la radio “RCF Lyon Fourvière”, il s’est spécialisé dans le journalise “high-tech/web” pour L’Express d’Octobre 2011 à Avril 2015. Il quitta l’express pour Buzzfeed pour une période d’un an, avant d’obtenir son poste de journaliste d’Avril 2016 jusqu’à maintenant dans l’équipe “Les Décodeurs”, avec comme intitule “factchecking”. En conclusion, on peut supposer que l’éducation scientifique se limite à l’enseignement du lycée. Considérant que les personnes entrant une carrière de journalisme le font majoritairement à partir de filières générales débouchant vers un Bac L ou ES, on peut vraisemblablement considère que son éducation scientifique est au mieux anémique et absolument pas préparé pour ce sujet et encore moins donner le niveau requis pour un « factchecking » scientifique.

Je précise ici que c’est mon premier article lu écrit par Mr. Senecat. Donc, je suis à ce niveau « blind » et seulement lu avec mon propre niveau. Je ne peux juger de sa qualité sur ces autres « factchecking » et de ce fait ma contre-lettre s’applique qu’à ce billet écrit pour le quotidien.

2. Qu’est-ce la méthode scientifique et pourquoi elle est importante quand on parle de « Fake Science » ?

La méthode scientifique est à base de toute les sciences dure moderne et s’appuie sur l’expérimentation scientifique de Claude Bernard, un physiologiste Français du 19emesiècle. La pierre angulaire de la méthode scientifique est le scepticisme.
Toute nouvelle étude est passe au peigne fin, pour s’assurer que les résultats sont de hauteur a la rigueur scientifique. En science, les découvertes scientifiques les plus robustes se font dans l’intimité d’un journal de peer-reviewde haut vol tel que “Science” ou “Nature” et présente dans de grandes conférences scientifiques en tant que “keynote speakers”. J’ai l’habitude de comparer le monde de la recherche scientifique avec le monde de la musique métal. On a nos propres “Rockstar”, on a notre propre “Hellfest”, on a le même défi de vivre de notre travail par un système de mécénat (les demandes de financement de recherche restent assez proche de soumission d’une maquette d’album a un producteur de musique). Pour réussir dans le métier, il faut exceller dans la qualité du travail et dans l’innovation scientifique. Mais elle se fait généralement discrète, présenté rarement dans les médias conventionnels. Les scientifiques aiment rester des personnes discrète, détaché du « spotlight » des plateaux télés. C’est un peu comme le slogan d’une marque de frite surgelés, ceux qui paradent le moins dans les écrans télés en font le plus de découvertes scientifiques. Malheureusement, les scientifiques ont négligé d’adresser le public de leurs découvertes, laissant la porte ouverte à la « Fake Science » qui compense son incapacité scientifique par une esbroufe devant les plateaux télé et radio.
En science on a une deux issues possibles à une hypothèse : ou bien elle est validée par les résultats expérimentaux (reproduits par d’autres laboratoires et vérifies par des résultats convergents obtenues par d’autres approches) ou bien elle n’est pas. Quand la masse et la qualité des résultats et d’études atteint un niveau critique et que la réfutation de ces données devient difficile, on atteint un consensus. Un consensus n’est pas inscrit dans la pierre et s’adaptera en fonction de nouvelles informations et découvertes.
L’article en question publie par le collectif “No Fake Science” dans le quotidien « La Tribune » ( et signée par plus de 250 signataires (médecins, scientifiques, pharmaciens, ingénieurs….) met en alerte sur la progression rampante de la « Fake Science » dans la sphère publique.
A titre personnel, l’utilisation du terme « Fake Science » est maladroit. Le mot « Fake » est utilisé en anglais Nord-Américain pour désigner un faux, une pâle copie, une escroquerie, une tromperie. Ce terme a une importance légale, car on peut avoir une étude complètement bâclée (par exemple, l’étude rétractée faite sur des rats nourris au maïs OGM. Cependant, le laboratoire a gagné un procès en diffamation car l’accusation a été faite que les résultats présentes dans l’étude rétracté étaient « Fake ». En réalité, les résultats aussi mauvais et bâclés (ayant de ce fait aucune valeur scientifique) étaient bien existants, avec une preuve physique de leurs existence (cahier de laboratoires sous forme physique ou électronique).
A moins qu’il y ait démonstration qu’une étude a été montée de toute poil, je préfère l’utilisation de « Junk Science » (science poubelle) quand je m’adresse au sujet de l’antiscience.

L’antiscience est la face oppose de la méthode scientifique. Que l’on parle des anti-vaccins, des médecines alternatives (homéopathie, acupuncture, reiki, cristaux…), des créationnistes, des négationnistes du changement climatique anthropocène, des anti-nucléaires ou des anti-OGMs, on retrouve souvent le même fil rouge qui font que leur approche est biaisée et leurs évidences de faible qualité scientifique (en particulier, un fil rouge que je vois quasiment tout le temps dans n’importe quel étude anti-vaccin) :

  1. On part sur une conclusion prédéfinie, et l’on réalise les expériences qui confirment le résultat.
  2. Généralement, les résultats obtenus s’alignent rarement avec la conclusion initiale donc on va éliminer l’utilisation de groupe contrôles, on va exagérer les doses administrer en utilisant des quantités faramineuses, ou bien un compose qui n’est communément utilise ou bien une approche exotique utilisant uniquement une seule technique.
  3. Si on n’obtient toujours pas le résultat voulu, on a sélectionné le résultat qui s’aligne à note conclusion et ignorer les autres communément appelé « cherry picking » (« cueillette des cerises ») ou bien couper les coins de la rigueur statistique par l’utilisation du « p-hacking » pour trouver une signifiance statistique là où il n’a point.
  4. Publier le tout dans un journal de basse qualité (car aucun journal de qualité accepte un torchon sans passer par un « peer-review » rigoureux), au pire un journal « Open-Access » a comportement prédateur (dans lequel le journal acceptera de publier n’importe quel torchon moyennant la somme coquette de $2000-3000 en frais de publications).
  5. Présenter ce torchon comme la preuve ultime d’une contre-étude fiable questionnant le consensus dans les « echo-chambers » sur les réseaux sociaux et par certains journalistes à l’éthique journalistique discutable sinon malhonnête. Jouer les cartes du martyr et du « whistleblower » (lanceur d’alerte) sur les plateaux télés, dénonçant une cabale et une censure qui a pour but de cacher la « vérité® » au public. Le but est de semer le doute dans l’esprit du public.
  6. Accuser les détracteurs et critiques comme « shills » (agent paye par un groupe d’intérêt), tout en cachant les conflits d’intérêts financier dont vous êtes vous-même coupables (par exemple, plusieurs scientifiques anti-vaccins siègent dans le directoire de fondations ayant un agenda anti-vaccins et bénéficie d’une manne financière de ces mêmes organisations à travers le financement de leurs propres recherches).

Une antiscience a aucune chance de soutenir ses thèses erronées devant ses pairs lors d’un congres scientifique international. Leur seule chance pour disséminer leur « Junk science » se fait par le biais de la « fausse-équivalence » et de trouver un journaliste assez naïf (comme est le cas avec cet article de Mr. Senecat) pour se dire qu’il y a deux camps dans chaque débat, y compris scientifique et que chaque camp a le droit à la parole sans peser le poids des « facts » de chaque camp. Ce que fait notre auteur avec ce paragraphe d’introduction :

« Le débat public autour de ces thèmes ne saurait être considéré comme “scientifiquement clos”, reconnaissent les auteurs. Pour autant, les points précis retenus en exemple sont consensuels parmi les spécialistes et doivent être présentés comme tels », assurent-ils. A y regarder de plus près, ces six « consensus scientifiques » n’en sont pourtant pas tous. Revue de détail.»

3. Les vaccins :

Dans sa globalité, la section est correcte de manière scientifique :

« Il est donc tout à fait juste de parler de consensus scientifique sur ce point. On peut cependant noter qu’un tel consensus n’éteint pas automatiquement tout questionnement sur la politique de vaccination. Ce n’était certes pas le propos de la tribune de No Fake Science, mais des questions demeurent ouvertes sur l’âge auquel vacciner, le nombre d’injections à pratiquer, la composition des produits utilisés. ».

L’auteur questionne, a juste titre la politique de vaccination. Mais l’auteur oublie de préciser que la politique de vaccination, bien que se basant sur la même littérature scientifique, reste à la discrétion de chaque gouvernement base sur son propre corpus scientifique et de la géographie. C’est un point récurrent que je vois utilise de manière sotte par les anti-vaccins anglophones qui considère que la politique vaccinale du CDC (Center of Diseases Control, organisme fédéral de sante publique) est en place non seulement aux États-Unis, mais aussi au Canada, au Royaume-Uni, en Australie ou en Nouvelle-Zélande !

Premier carton jaune a l’auteur pour le zeste de doute sur les vaccins, en pleine explosion d’épidémie de rougeole (les États-Unis ont déjà dépassé le record de cas de rougeole cette année compare à la plus grande crise d’épidémie depuis son éradication du territoire depuis 2000 (précédent l’effet vague de l’étude Wakefield).

4. L’homéopathie :

L’homéopathie, ou ce que j’appelle la poudre de perlimpinpin qui se base sur un principe développé par Samuel Hahnemann il y a 200 ans.

Ses deux principes violent les lois de la biologie et de la chimie :
* Que l’on puisse soigner “un mal par un mal” sans aucune évidence de causalité (par quelle mécanismes biologique un extrait de foie/cœur de canard ait capable de soigner un état grippal ? Aucune réponse).
* Comment expliquer que les produits homéopathiques puissent expliquer une activité pharmacologique malgré une dilution ridicule qu’il est statistiquement impossible de détecter une molécule de substance active dans une préparation diluée pour usage thérapeutique ?
* Comment expliquer “la mémoire de l’eau”, un argument souvent utilise par les homéopathes pour réfuter argument #2 ? Ça va faire plus de 200 ans que Lavoisier a établi les bases de la chimie modern et 400 ans que Paracelse a défini les bases de la pharmacologie. 200 ans et toujours aucune évidence des principes de Hahnemann démontré par la science moderne.
Le problème est que bien que ce sont des préparations homéopathiques, une etape-cle reste la préparation de concentre communément appelée “teinture mère” (Tinctura mater). Cette préparation (souvent hydro-alcoolique) reste un concentre de composes extrait de plantes avec une activité pharmacologique documentée. Une erreur de dosage peut avoir un risque important de surdosage qui peut être mortelle. Ce fut le cas avec un extrait d’Atropa belladonnautilise comme remède “Hyland teething tablets” antidouleurs pour les éruptions dentaires chez le nourrisson et le petit enfant. Le principe actif est l’atropine, un puissant antagoniste des récepteurs muscarinique de l’acétylcholine. A fortes doses, ce compose peut entrainer la mort du patient. Ce produit a été reitre par le FDA ( après le rapport de cas fatal (on estime 10 décès lies a l’utilisation du produit. Pour rappel, tout supplément sur le marché US n’est pas régulé par le FDA, le FDA enquête qu’après cas d’effets secondaires sérieux ou fatal reporte par les médecins traitants).

« Là aussi, cependant, le fait qu’un consensus scientifique existe ne veut pas dire qu’une seule politique publique est possible. »

Si l’on réalise une expérience 100 fois pour valider une hypothèse et que l’on 100% un taux d’échec pour cette hypothèse, il est fort probable que cette hypothèse est invalide et se doit d’être abandonne. Les antis sont généralement têtus et pense que la 101eme expérience confirmera ce que 100 expériences ont échoué à vérifier. Avec l’homéopathie se posent deux problèmes, éthique et financier :
* Est-il éthique pour un médecin de prescrire un remède inerte juste pour satisfaire un effet placebo chez le patient sachant que le remède inerte a une probabilité quasi-nulle de traiter la condition du patient ?
* Dans un climat ou les dépenses de sante augmentent, est-il raisonnable to dévier des fonds dans une intervention thérapeutique qui a pratiquement zéro effet thérapeutique pour un produit qui est couteux ? On crie beaucoup à la chasse au gaspillage, le déremboursement des produits homéopathiques est un moyen de recentrer les dépenses vers des approches supporte par les faits scientifiques.
Un deuxième carton jaune pour l’auteur et l’on peut sentir le refrain “Je ne suis pas anti-X, mais…”, une autre tactique que je vois utilise par les trolls anti-vaccins quand je les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.

5. Le réchauffement climatique :

Là, je suis en alignement avec l’auteur. Le changement climatique est réel, que le réchauffement climatique est anthropogène (due par l’activité humaine) qui a contribué l’augmentation du CO2dans l’atmosphère, un gaz à effet de serre connue depuis au moins 100 ans. Les modèles mathématiques développés il y a 20-30 ans se sont révélés assez proches des valeurs expérimentales mesures sur le terrain. Que cela plaise ou non au gouvernement US, on a un effet sérieux dont on sent les premiers signes alarmant. En tant que climatologue et communicateur scientifique, je recommande de suivre les travaux de Michael Mann ( et Katharine Hayhoe ( qui sont tous deux climatologues et excellent communicateur scientifique.

6. Le glyphosate :

Le glyphosate. Un sujet très a cœur des Français jusqu’en dans les plus hautes sphères, associe avec Monsanto comme un croquemitaine. Mais là encore beaucoup d’erreurs de jugements, de stéréotypes et d’exagération des faits que l’auteur, bien que habitue au « factchecking » selon ses dires, se laisse badigeonner dans la saumure.
« Inclure le glyphosate dans une liste de sujets qui font l’objet d’un consensus scientifique est discutable. Cet herbicide massivement utilisé dans le monde est, en réalité, au cœur d’une controverse scientifique, où chaque mot a son importance. »
Pour être honnête, la controverse n’existe que dans la tête des des politiciens, des « écologistes-bobos » et d’autres adeptes des délires conspirationnistes que même certains scientifique critique du glyphosate appellent à mettre de cote (donc je ne citerai point que selon Stefanie Seneff, informaticienne du MIT, que le glyphosate serait selon elle responsable des causes du spectre d’autisme chez les enfants, ou bien que le glyphosate change notre microbiome intestinal car une étude publie dans PNAS montre que le microbiome intestinal est fortement changée par la présence de glyphosate à haute dose) (

« Ici, les auteurs de la tribune mentionnent les « différentes instances chargées d’évaluer le risque ». Et il est vrai que celles-ci jugent « limités » les risques du glyphosate pour la santé humaine. Le problème, c’est que ces agences sanitaires ne sont pas les seules à explorer le sujet. Le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer (CIRC), une agence de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), a ainsi classé le glyphosate comme « cancérogène probable » en 2015. Cette décision n’a pas de valeur réglementaire, mais elle est le fruit d’un travail scientifique. Plusieurs études sérieuses ont également pointé de possibles risques pour les agriculteurs qui utilisent des produits à base de glyphosate. »

Disséquons les points ici et commençons par la classification du CIRC du glyphosate 2A. Ce que Senecat a oublié de manière involontaire ou non est de pointer du doigt l’écran de fumée opaque délivré par Chris Portier (président du CIRC) dont ses relations étroites avec les firmes d’avocat qui ont pignon sur rue pour entrainer des poursuites pénales, résumé par Risk-Monger dans son enquête « Portier Papers »

Cette suspicion d’intégrité a été confirme par une investigation journalistique par Kate Kelland de Reuters (ce n’est pas Buzzfeed, hein. On tape quand même dans du très haut de gamme quand on considère la qualité de l’information). Dans cet article, la journaliste a montré que certaines personnes ayant accès au brouillon final du monographie du CIRC a modifié de tel sorte pour faire passer le glyphosate d’être plus cancérigène que les études ont conclu.

Étonnant que notre « factchecking » ait ignore ces articles compromettants dans son analyse, j’assume que c’est un oubli involontaire de notre auteur. Si je peux souligner ce fait a l’auteur, ceci considère ce que l’on appelle un « conflit d’intérêts ». On a une technique assez rode que d’autres scientifiques à une intégrité scientifique douteuse comme Andrew Wakefield on utilise : une firme d’avocats cherche un moyen d’argent facile, trouve un scientifique comme « mercenaire » pour publier une étude qui compromet un produit chimique ou une procédure médicale populaire. Ce scientifique publie une étude suggérant un lien entre une maladie et le produit chimique en question. Avec une telle étude en poche, les firmes d’avocats sont prêtes pour envoyer des procédures de poursuites pénales et en même décrocher un sacre pactole.
Aussi étonnant est le silence de plomb de la position isole du CIRC dans sa décision de classifier le glyphosate en tant que « cancérigène probable »  seule contre plus de 17 organismes de sécurité sanitaire nationales, résumé dans une illustration infographique par « Toughtscapism » (une scientifique environnementale, qui blogue comme moi durant son temps libre) ici (
Je suis curieux de savoir quelles sont ces études qui ont donné l’idée de Portier de classifier le glyphosate en catégorie 2A (pour comparaison, l’alcool est classifie 1, bon à se souvenir lors de la prochaine étude trouvant des traces de glyphosate dans le vin, la bière ou le schnaps).
« Ces éléments font que bon nombre de spécialistes se montrent beaucoup moins catégoriques que les auteurs de la tribune No Fake Science. « C’est un sujet difficile avec pas mal d’incertitudes et il est nécessaire d’approfondir nos connaissances »expliquait ainsi récemment au Monde Robert Barouki, médecin, toxicologue et directeur de recherche à l’Inserm. »
Je salue le langages mesure du Dr. Barouki, co-auteur d’une publication majeure qui démontre l’absence d’effets biologique longue durée du maïs OGM chez les rats ( Malheureusement, il semble que ce soit la seule étude auquel il approcha d’une manière indirecte la toxicologie du glyphosate et j’aurais préfère que d’autres chercheurs dont la toxicologie du glyphosate est le pain quotidien (avec une expertise adéquate base sur leur publications) soit également intéressé.

Mr. Senecat questionne la position du collectif par rapport au glyphosate : « Outre la santé des personnes, l’usage massif du glyphosate dans le monde pose également des problèmes environnementaux, qui sont documentés par des études scientifiques. Si bien que, en résumant, le glyphosate à un simple « improbable » risque cancérogène pour l’homme, le collectif No Fake Science semble s’écarter de sa propre recommandation de ne pas « choisir ce qui nous convient et laisser en rayon ce qui contredit nos opinions ».

Le problème du glyphosate est le même que n’importe quel pesticide (qui sont utilisé aussi bien dans l’agriculture classique et Bio, à bon entendeur), celle de déterminer les bénéfices/risques sur le rendement et sur la santé humaine et environnementale. Il faut en particulier comparer aux précédentes générations de pesticides. Depuis 30 ans, le glyphosate a été adopte par son profil faible de toxicité aiguë (de l’ordre de 500mg/kg et plus, on parle plutôt d’une DL50 autour de 5’000-10’000mg/kg), de faible usage (une canette de concentre est suffisante pour l’épandage d’un terrain de football américain. On est très loin de cette fausse idée que les champs sont trempes de glyphosate). Le problème d’écotoxicité bien que moindre compare aux anciennes générations, reste quand même assez longtemps (demi-vie estime de quelques jours à 90 jours, source :

Il y a également un risqué de résistance qui s’applique à n’importe quel pesticide et reste qu’une solution temporaire jusqu’à le développent d’une nouvelle génération de pesticides plus efficace et plus sure. Comme chaque chose dans la vie, le 100% efficace ou le 0% risque n’existe pas car c’est un paramètre impossible à achever dans la réalité. Donc quelle alternative on nous laisse ? Trouver des pesticides moins toxiques et plus efficaces dans le futur, mais en même temps le glyphosate reste un pesticide malgré son âge qui a le meilleur ratio bénéfices/risques de l’arsenal contemporain.

Troisième carton jaune pour Mr. Senecat, donc j’appelle cela une expulsion de terrains pour trois fautes journalistiques sérieuses. Si de telles fautes aurait été faite par un journaliste de « l’Écho des Savanes », j’aurais laisse passe. Mais de la part d’un journaliste qui se glousse d’être dans le « factchecking », cela est inacceptable.

7. Les OGMs :

Deuxième hystérie collective de la population Française de base, et un « cash-flow » profitable pour n’importe quel marchand de peur. Je m’y connais, moi aussi était jeune, con et anti-OGM. Les anti-OGM (et comme chaque antiscience) c’est comme une certaine marque de frites surgelé : « Ceux qui en connaissent le moins (biotechnologie) en parlent le plus », étude a l’appui (

Pour marquer son scepticisme, l’auteur écrit « Le fait qu’un organisme soit génétiquement modifié (OGM) ne présente pas, en soi, de risque pour la santé. » Ici encore, la formulation retenue par les auteurs est contestable. La référence utilisée (un article de l’OMS sur les questions fréquentes sur les OGM) n’est, en effet, pas aussi catégorique. ».

Mais que dit l’OMS ? En fait pas grand-chose, et renvoie la patate chaude aux autorités nationales « En revanche, la plupart des autorités nationales estiment que les aliments génétiquement modifiés nécessitent des évaluations spécifiques. Des systèmes de circonstance ont été mis sur pied afin d’évaluer avec rigueur les organismes et les aliments génétiquement modifiés du point de vue de la santé humaine et de l’environnement. Les aliments traditionnels ne font généralement pas l’objet d’évaluations similaires. Il existe donc aujourd’hui une différence importante dans le processus d’évaluation qui précède la commercialisation de ces deux groupes d’aliments. »

Cette phrase explique bien le problème qu’on rencontre la science quand il vient aux décisions politique. La science n’a que faire de la politique, malheureusement la politique a souvent un problème avec la science, surtout quand celle-ci déraille des slogans politiques, surtout dans certaines populations électorales. Vaccins, avortement, changement climatique, mesures de sante publique, contraception, orientation sexuelle et identité sexuelle…on a souvent un antagonisme émanant de la classe politique refusant d’écouter ce que la science a de dire.

Malheureusement, par la nature même des autorités de sante, il peut être difficile de recommander une initiative impopulaire en disant que les OGMs sont aucun risque car Madame Michu donne plus de crédit a d‘anciens 68-ards devenu eux-mêmes un membre de la “nomenklatura” qu’a un panel d’experts de l’INRA quand a la question des OGMs. Les OGMs sont devenu un sujet tellement tabou qu’il a fallu la mobilisation de 107 Prix Nobel dénonçant la politique calamiteuse de Greenpeace par rapport aux OGMs (
Nous avons (en temps qu’Homo sapiens sapiens) modifie génétiquement toute notre agriculture et notre élevage depuis le Néolithique. Nous avons joué “au sorcier” maintes fois utilisant les lois de la génétique de manière aléatoire en croisant des variétés et sélectionnes des mutants ayant des traits d’intérêts que ce soit esthétique, nutritionnelle ou de rendement. On a joué ainsi plus de 9800 ans a “l’apprenti-sorcier à l’aveugle” jusqu’au expériences des petits pois de Gregor Mendel dans son cloitre.
Les OGMs reste jusqu’à présent une technique qui a montré son efficacité et sa sécurité quand on parle de temps, d’argent et de traits recherche. N’est-il pas hypocrite que l’on interdise une méthode qui permet d’éditer un génome de manière chirurgical (OGMs y compris CRISPR/Cas9) dans l’industrie Agricole, mais en même temps laisse le champ libre à la formations d’OGMs de manière complètement aléatoire (mutagenèse force) car considère de manière “naturelle” ( Ou bien pourquoi les autorités sont si frileuses à certain types d’OGMs (agriculture) mais en même accepte sans ronchonner d’autres OGMs (produits pharmaceutique obtenue par génie génétique).
L’hypocrisie est encore pire lors ce que l’on interdit la culture de plantes transgéniques mais on autorise allègrement leurs importations ( Là est le manquement de l’auteur qui gratte que de manière superficielle ignorant ces détails et se contente que de trouver information qui confirme ses biais.

En es temps de changement climatiques, on a point le luxe d’attendre 50 ans pour trouver une variété résistante aux aléas climatiques ou à l’apparition de nouveaux pathogènes dans nos latitudes.

Oui les OGMs ont leurs problèmes, mais pas les problèmes imaginent et fantasmes par la population et maintenue par un journalisme malhonnête. On a l’issue de l’accès des ressources en biotechnologie pour les pays en voie de développent, afin qu’il puisse trouver une solution à leur problèmes spécifiques ; ou bien les financements servant à développer des brevets par des centre de recherche publique de protéger leurs inventions (eh oui, la propriété intellectuelle existe aussi pour les découvertes scientifiques et aide au financement de Nouvelles découvertes. L’histoire de la warfarine (un anticoagulant) développé par Dr. Paul Link at l’Universite de Wisconsin via le Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation qui se finance grâce aux licences de brevet), mais également la mise en place d’un système de sécurité sanitaire pour s’assurer de l’innocuité de nouveaux produits OGMs.

Apparemment pour Senecat, vivre de ses brevets est le mal absolu:
« Au-delà des questions de santé évoquées par la tribune, les OGM posent néanmoins d’autres enjeux, notamment en termes de brevetabilité du vivant et de dépendance des agriculteurs aux sociétés qui en commercialisent les semences. Autant de réserves politiques qui ne relèvent pas forcément de l’obscurantisme ou de la mauvaise foi. ».

On accepte bien que le piratage d’œuvres artistiques (y compris films, séries TV et musiques) est une violation des droits d’auteurs, mais en temps on demande aux scientifiques de renoncer à une protection de leurs inventions. Le terme brevetabilité du vivant est souvent utilise comme argument de “straw man fallacy” (“fallacieux d’homme de paille”) pour discréditer le parti adverse par une exagérations des points argumentaires discute. On a un “straw man” aussi bien sur la “brevetabilité” (je me souviens de mes jeunes années ou l’on brandissait l’épouvantail Monsanto et ses grains OGMs avec le gène “Terminator”), que sur l’idée de voir les agriculteurs redevenus serfs sous le joug des multinationaux. Ce que Senecat n’a pas dû apprendre durant son passage sur Buzzfeed et sur les réseaux sociaux est ce que j’appelle les méthodes d’investigations.

Cette idée que Monsanto tient les fermiers comme je tiens mon chien par la laisse est le cas “Bowman vs. Monsanto” qui remonta jusqu’à la cour suprême des EU, donnant raison à Monsanto ( Les agriculteurs sont libres d’acheter leurs semences ou leur plaisent et rarement gardent les semences pour l’année suivante. Les raisons sont multiples mais surtout pour s’assurer de la qualité des semences chaque année (surtout en termes de rendements). Le cas Bowman se base sur l’achat de graines de soja OGM “Roundup Ready” génétiquement modifie pour être résistant au glyphosate. Cela donne une certaine aisance a l’agriculteur avec un produit prêt a l’emploi, sans se soucier d’une perte de rendement ou le choix du pesticide. Comme chaque produit, on se doit de lire le CLUF (généralement on clique “OK” sans lire les clauses du contrat). Dans ce cas, l’agriculteur en question donna son accord écrit pour utiliser les semences pour les planter durant la saison et de ne pas les réutiliser l’année suivante”. Que l’on soit d’accord ou non avec cette clause reste à la discrétion du client. Mr. Bowman, en signant le contrat, accepta cette clause et accepta d’acheter le produit de Monsanto. Si Mr. Bowman n’était pas d’accord sur cette clause, rien ne l’empêchait d’acheter ses graines chez un autre pépiniériste. Le problème survenu quand Bowman décida de garder quelques graines de Soja “RR” pour un plantage hors-saison, violant les clauses du contrat. Monsanto eu vent de cette violation et entama une procédure juridique.
On est donc bien loin de cette image fantasme du pauvre fermier sous le joug de Monsanto que Senecat nous peints dans sa tribune. J’ai le droit d’acheter un CD, de le convertir en fichier audio AAC sur mon Mac pour écoute personnel. Mais je n’ai point droit de poster ces fichiers en téléchargement libre sur Internet. On a le même problème ici.

Quand on a des saccageurs fauchant des champs expérimentaux de cultures OGMs qui se passent pour des “héros et martyrs” dans les réseaux sociaux et sur le PAF, détruisant le fruit de plusieurs années de travaux de scientifiques de l’INRA tout en demandant les études complémentaires sur l’absence de risqué sanitaires, n’est-il pas indicatif de l’hypocrisie ambient à ce sujet ? Malheureusement, Senecat joue à l’apprenti-sorcier jetant de l’huile sur le feu en jouant sur la peur et l’appel au “naturel”.
Que différencie un faucheur d’un “sauvageon” incendiant une voiture lors de la veille du Nouvel An ? On a destruction et saccage de propriété d’autrui.

8. Le Nucléaire :
Le dernier parti du billet se focalise sur le nucléaire. A l’heure du changement climatique et de la série “Chernobyl” sur HBO, on a la discussion du nucléaire qui revient. Et à son habitude, l’auteur reste suspect des points aborde par la tribune des “No Fake Science”:
« Mais, de nouveau, la mise en exergue d’une seule affirmation, au détriment d’autres enjeux essentiels du sujet, peut donner l’impression que No Fake Science a fait son choix dans le « supermarché » de l’information scientifique. « Le point que nous voulions mettre en avant était la faible émission de CO2 de ce moyen de production électrique, pouvant participer à la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique. Le propos n’avait pas l’objectif d’aller au-delà », répond le collectif. ».
Le nucléaire en lui-même n’est pas la solution miracle à elle seule. Chaque source d’énergie a ses avantages et inconvénients. Les énergies fossiles ont dominé le 19eme jusqu’à maintenant au détriment du réchauffement climatique (gros producteurs de CO2), mais également de la pollution atmosphérique (dont les particules de gaz d’échappement des moteurs diesels ou bien des industries). Les énergies renouvelables sont une alternative intéressante, mais aussi ont leur limitation. Beaucoup de chemin reste à parcourir quant au rendement et a l’approvisionnement continue et stable en énergie. L’Allemagne qui a pourtant été le fer de lance “Gruene” (vert en allemand), n’a pu trouver une alternative aux centrales nucléaires pour une énergie propre (CO2) par la réouverture des centrales au charbon (
L’urgence a court-terme reste à diminuer la production de CO2pour mitiger le réchauffement climatique. A ce point l’énergie nucléaire reste la méthode alternative accessible immédiatement. Oui il y a le problème des déchets mais on a des solutions. On a des méthodes pour recycler certains déchets et l’on a une expertise nationale à ce niveau. Le montant de déchets reste bien moindre que le montant de déchets et matériaux utilise pour la production de machines utiliser pour produire les énergies alternatives (solaire, éoliennes) tels représenté dans un diagramme par Toughtscapism (
L’autre alternative ? On retourne à l’Age de pierre pour couper net notre production de CO2avec zéro production de déchets et un licenciement sec pour Senecat : plus d’électricité, plus d’internet, plus de réseaux sociaux, plus de “buzz”, plus de “factchecking” et peut-être on réécoutera les sages paroles du vieux chef du village.

9. En conclusion :
Ma conclusion est la même et en phase avec ce que “Risk-Monger” appel le “poison du précaution” ( On vit dans une époque ou les réseaux sociaux ont une place prépondérante dans notre société. On vit à coup de “likes” sur Facebook, sur Instagram, sur Twitter. On a un changement de paysage ou soudainement on a donné une importance a des “motivateurs”, des “coach” ou bien “des experts” tout en regardant d’un mauvais œil les experts “classiques” comme dépassé, ou bien à la solde de groups d’intérêts dans nos délires conspirationnistes.

On vit dans un monde où l’on questionne les experts qui ont un Bac+8 et une réputation scientifique par leurs pairs par la qualité de ses publications.
Revenons à mon ancien camarade de fac et discutons comment cette mentalité peut être délétère.

Imaginons que je vais chez mon ORL pour un maux de gorge. Mon ORL diagnostique ce mal de gorge en tant qu’infection par streptocoque et me prescrit des antibiotiques.
En attendant mon tour pour récupérer ma prescription, je navigue sur le groupe Facebook « Crunchy Mommies », parlant de ma visite chez le médecin.

Karen, agent de caisse le jour et vendeuse « ceinture noire » des huiles essentielles (HE) Pomme Déterre la nuit (m’assurant que son insistance à vendre ses 5mL d’HE coutant $50 pièces, m’assurant que ce n’est pas un « Ponzi scheme ») commente sur mon poste : « Ne prends pas ces antibiotiques, tu vas bousiller sa flore intestinale ! Prends donc un flacon d’HE d’origan pour ton angine ! Ton docteur ne connaît rien et il est sous la solde de Big Pharma ! ». Voilà comment Karen, caissière s’improvise ORL.

Cette histoire peut paraître rocambolesque mais est assez proche des histoires que je rencontre avec des mamans « On The Fence » (hésitante à vacciner). Les réseaux sociaux ont paradoxalement ouvert les portes à n’importe qui sur Internet de se parader comme « expert » sans démontrer aucune qualifications et diplômes. SI l’on veut diminuer l’effet des « Fake Sciences/Junk Sciences », il faut une alliance entre les experts scientifiques et des journalistes scientifiques qui ont un bagage intellectuel et idéalement une formation scientifique de base pour pouvoir décoder un article de « peer-review ».
Malheureusement, Adrien Senecat est le symptôme plutôt que la solution dans le combat des « Fake Sciences ». De gré ou de force, Senecat via ce billet d’opinion a démontré son inaptitude et d’immaturité de « factchecking » quand on parle de questions scientifiques. Senecat est comme l’un de ces journalistes d’une planche de « Tintin au Pays des Soviets », auquel un commissaire Soviet montre avec opulence sous les yeux ébahis de journalistes occidentaux son « Village Potemkine ». Senecat est tel un étudiant qui pense plus connaître que le professeur. Ce symptôme a un nom, on l’appelle « l’effet Dunning-Kruger » et Senecat nous a démontré par cet article être plein dedans.