(Getty Images, from a related Shape mag. article.
Jeffery M Smith, anti-GMO activist and author of "Seeds of Change" has "published new research" claiming evidence of 28 conditions reversed by a removal or reduced consumption non-GMO diet.
The survey claims to be peer-reviewed, when published in a "journal" created by the (it's a mouthful) ICHNFM (International College of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine)......which is a sort of online college of chiropractic, and business website of Alex Vasquez DC ND DO.Abstract:
A survey of 3,256 respondents, primarily residing in the United States, reveal improvements in a wide range of health symptoms following the removal or reduced consumption of genetically engineered foods, also called genetically modified organisms or GMOs. The changes are consistent with reports by physicians and others about improvements accompanying a switch to largely non-GMO and organic diets.
It looks like a journal created to promote Vasquez's profession, plus his colleagues' .
It is pay-for-play, and requires membership.
Smith's "research" was a survey questionnaire Emailed to his website subscribers ~108,000.
Only 3256 replied, and self-diagnosed themselves in the survey.
(a blog post from Cornell U.)
Jeffery Smith describes it as:......
Using this splendidly biased sample of respondents — all of whom had presumably been regularly subjected to Smith's own anti-GMO propaganda by virtue of being on his email list — Smith gathered results purporting to show health improvements among those who had given up GMO foods.
Smith's questionnaire gave a laundry-list of 28 different health complaints, varying from the vague "Digestive problems" to "Fatigue" to "Clouding of consciousness (brain fog)", not to mention Autism, Infertility, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Hilariously, the questionnaire did not give the option of a negative response. Instead respondents were asked to choose whether giving up GMO foods had shown them:
1. Some Mild Improvement
2. Moderate Improvement
3. Significant Improvement
4. Nearly Gone
5. Complete Recovery
6. N/A Not Applicable"
From this, Smith lists the “results,” including that 85.2 percent self-reported that “Digestive problems” had improved, 60.4 percent found they had less “Fatigue,” and so on. The next section in his paper has some excellent examples of correlation-causation confusion, purporting to link acres of GMO crops with bowel dysfunction and “deaths due to intestinal infection.”
"These so called 'Journals' will be the death of legitimate science," worried (Alison) Van Eenennaam (UC Davis). Her fears may not be misplaced. Smith's tactic, like that of many anti-science campaigners, has been to use sciencey-looking publications and technical language to try to create an air of expertise.
Other anti-GMO groups then report on Smith's "peer-reviewed" paper as if it was a real piece of science, and their articles are then picked up by other media. In this way, myths gain currency online, and can be eventually accepted by many people as fact. If nothing else, Smith's paper gives us a good example of how these myths get started.
...even though when asked in interviews, he admits that such a survey is "less than prefect".My new peer-reviewed article just published yesterday can redefine how we think and speak about GMOs, Roundup®, and organic diets. I know it does for me. At the same time, it strengthens our commitment to eating organic. It’s likely the most important piece I’ve ever written.
(back-pedaling when confronted)
I wonder what sort of "peer review" was used ?