Monday, February 1, 2010

"Get Me Out": New Book Examines the History of Birthing

Today on NPR's "Fresh Air", host Terri Gross explores the history of childbirth with author Randi Hutter Epstein. She wrote a history of childbirth called "Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank."

Sounds interesting. Here are a few snippets from the Fresh Air interview:

How about "Do it yourself" forceps? This is one of the many "innovations" Epstein covers.

Students would watch a doctor...sticking his hands under sheets and [see] a baby pulled out.

And that's all they saw! Very hands-on. Sounds enlightened, doesn't it?

On childbirth and pain, and the differing views of it over time:
'Is pain a good thing or a bad thing? Things that were done to alleviate the pain were considered heresy'...
to, 'We deserve not to remember anything about childbirth,'
but later feminists were saying, 'We deserve to experience pregnancy. The real issue is doctor/patient relationships.'
Epstein says that our feelings about our care providers may have helped propel the movement in the 1970s away from drugs during childbirth.

Ack! Although I love hearing about childbirth in general and natural birth in particular, I think certain parts of this book may make me cross my legs. Doesn't sway me though, I am still eager to read it.
No matter how your baby came into the world, this sounds like a fascinating read.

Check out the interview here. The book is available on Amazon, but not in paperback yet.

Photo: via NPR, taken by Nina Berman.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yet another reason we should value seeds more than gold...

Click here to find out more!

Monsanto's GMO Corn Linked To Organ Failure, Study Reveals

Huffington Post | Katherine Goldstein/Gazelle Emami Posted: 01-12-10 05:30 PM

Germany Gm Corn

In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

According to the study, which was summarized by Adam Shake at Twilight Earth, "Three varieties of Monsanto's GM corn - Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 - were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities."

Monsanto gathered its own crude statistical data after conducting a 90-day study, even though chronic problems can rarely be found after 90 days, and concluded that the corn was safe for consumption. The stamp of approval may have been premature, however.

In the conclusion of the IJBS study, researchers wrote:

"Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown."

Monsanto has immediately responded to the study, stating that the research is "based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products."

The IJBS study's author Gilles-Eric Séralini responded to the Monsanto statement on the blog, Food Freedom, "Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data."