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The Dangers of Glyphosate


Soil, Plant and Human Effects on Glyphosate
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Professor at M.IT.
Institute of Sustainable Nutrition March 24th
Granby Community Television

By Debbie Lavigne,

Current Student, Integrative Health & Healing M.A. Program, at The Graduate Institute

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), presented at the Institute of Sustainable Nutrition on March 24th, 2018 on the health effects of glyphosate. Dr. Seneff was one of two featured speakers on the topic of Glyphosate, the other speaker was Dr. Don Huber an expert in Glyphosate and the impact on our health. Dr. Seneff has also appeared in health related documentaries, such as What’s with Wheat, provides her expertise on the dangers of the herbicide Round Up and the link to many diseases such as Autism, Alzheimer’s and several autoimmune disorders.

Dr. Seneff started with some statistics that provide a snap shot of our current health situation in the United States. A few of the statistics state that the United States consumes 50% of the world’s pharmaceuticals, spends more on health care than several countries combined, is last for infant mortality, has more chronic disease and consumes 20% of the world’s Glyphosate. She explained that Glyphosate is Round Up and widely used to kills weeds and produces faster yielding food crops such as corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton, tobacco and alfalfa. The weeds however are getting smarter, and more herbicide is required each year instead of less.

The main toxic effects of Glyphosate are the interference with the function of P450 enzyme in the liver, chelates to important minerals, interferes with synthesis of amino acids and disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport. Dr. Seneff presented several slides on studies done on the correlation of Glyphosate and conditions such as Dementia, Cancer of kidney, thyroid and bladder, and Autism. Glyphosate is patent as an antibiotic and is shown to cause people to become antibiotic resistant due to the exposure of such high amounts in our food.

Dr. Seneff explains how Glyphosate disrupts the production of the protein synthesis of Glycine. The protein grabs Glyphosate, which is present, instead of Glycine and destroys the protein from doing its job. The protein synthesis of Glycine occurs in plants and our gut biome. The swapping of Glyphosate for the Glycine has altered the DNA protein, which gets rid of the Glycine instead of destroying the Glyphosate. This may result in several health issues including impaired CYP P450 enzymes, neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease, obesity and adrenal insufficiency, kidney failure, insulin resistance and diabetes and cancer. Glyphosate has also been shown to impact pregnancy, shortening the gestation period and disrupting hormones.

Dr. Seneff refers to the work of scientist Dr. Anthony Samsel, who studies the impact of Glyphosate on bone, finding the highest concentration in bone marrow. I find the following quote by Dr. Samsel to be incredibly scary. “Glyphosate is not toxic in the conventional sense. It destroys our biology at the cellular level one molecule at a time through disruption of proteins and signaling. Integration of glyphosate with globular and structural proteins is how it can be the cause of an endless array of unrelated diseases, and unleash a cascade of ill health effects that kill us like a slow cumulative poison.” We are poisoning ourselves slowly, causing our own chronic disease and potentially death.

Dr. Seneff makes a connection of Glyphosate to food allergies and autoimmune diseases. Glyphosate sets up leaky gut, creating a weaker immune system and blood brain barrier allowing foreign substances to enter the blood stream that should not be there. The body sees the foreign substances, proteins that have not been broken down properly in the gut, and develops an active antibody response to the protein. This can lead to autoimmune disorder, also explains food allergies and gluten intolerance including Celiac Disease.

There are other connections where Glyphosate contaminates live vaccines, which Dr. Seneff presents the correlation to issues with the MMR vaccine. Glyphosate is also found in the body where there is collagen. About 25% of the body is collagen, and 25% amino acids in collagen are Glycine, which can be swapped out with Glyphosate. Collagen is found in our bones, joints and vasculature. Dr. Seneff suggests there is the connection to Rheumatoid Arthritis as the Glyphosate is found in the ligaments and joints through the presence in collagen.

Glyphosate is also impacting animals. Diseases in bats, bees, ladybugs, frogs and starfish are documented in areas where Glyphosate is present. It is impacting and changing our environment and food source. Dr. Seneff suggests to by organic and grass fed foods when possible, to reduce our exposure to Glyphosate and consume Probiotics to strengthen the gut and immune system.

I appreciate the information and my new awareness, since this program, on Glyphosate and the health risks along with its wide use on our food system. It is frightening that we use a chemical that is linked to so many harmful side effects in exchange for money. Where does humanity live in all of this craziness we have created? I think about the harm I may have caused my daughter, Lilly, who recently we learned has food sensitivities. I struggle with what to eat, what to buy and how to afford the foods I really want. I have been making changes to what I purchase in the grocery store and where I am purchasing my produce and meats. We have also put in a much larger garden with more vegetables and herbs. Just yesterday I shook my head as I passed a facility worker spraying weeds on campus. On his back he had a small tank that was labeled “Round Up”. I wondered if he knows the potential danger by exposing himself to Glyphosate. It will be interesting to follow in the news to see what the outcome will be in the future years and when Glyphosate will finally be pulled off the market forever.

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A Road Warrior Asks: Is Spoken Word the New Publishing Medium?

Listen to this:

Since I live in Pennsylvania and teach at TGI’s campus in Connecticut, I am, by definition, a Road Warrior.

Crazy as it may sound, I have been commuting to this gig for more than 17 years. Let the record show that I have made the 300-mile round-trip journey approximately 250 times. That’s 75,000 miles (the distance required to drive around the equator of the Earth three times).

Think of the vast stretch of time: An astonishing 2,000 hours of White Line Fever. Said another way, that amounts to 166 back-to-back days of 12-hour driving. Where have they all gone, those precious ticking moments of my rapidly-shortening lifespan?

Some of those moments were spent daydreaming, some were spent cursing the traffic on the Merritt Parkway. But most were spent with my constant traveling companions—recorded books. Like many long-distance drivers, I learned long ago that nothing makes the miles roll by faster than a really good audio book.

Once I am entranced by a good reader and a gripping story, I can push through exhaustion, road rage and sheer boredom--finding my way to my destination with a smile on my face and the knowledge that I have learned something. And, I should mention: These audio books are free! My local library has an extensive collection of recorded books on CD. Full Disclosure: I tried Audible—too expensive.

In no particular order, here are the recorded books lying on the floor of my van right now:

The Whistler/ John Grisham
The Future of The Mind/Michio Kaku
Holy Blood, Holy Grail/Michael Baigent
Writing Creative Nonfiction/Tilar Mazzeo
The Professor in the Cage/Jonathan Gottschall
The Death of Ivan Ilyich/Leo Tolstoy
A Plague of Doves/Louise Erdrich
Spoonbenders/Daryl Gergory
Murder is Forever/James Patterson

Why do I carry so many? Some will be duds: After listening for a few moments, I will be annoyed by the reader or will discover that I don’t care about the premise. But a few will be gems and will wrap me in an aural blanket of listening bliss as the landscape zips past my windshield at 75 miles an hour.

A Fast-Growing Medium

Turns out, I am not alone in discovering the benefits of listening to books, often read by the author, while I do something else.

Consider the headline of a recent article in the June 3, 2018 edition of The New York Times: “Listen Carefully, Book Lovers: Top Authors Are Skipping Print”. Journalist Alexander Alter notes the impressive rise in audio sales as publishers respond to consumers’ desire for books that can be enjoyed by the ear rather than the eye.

“Audiobooks are no longer an appendage of print, but a creative medium in their own right,” Alter writes. “The rise of stand-alone audio has also made some traditional publishers nervous, as Audible (owned by Amazon) makes deals directly with writers. While e-book sales have fallen and print remains anemic, publishers’ revenues for downloaded audio has nearly tripled in the last five years.

"The battle over who will dominate the industry’s fastest-growing format is re-shaping the publishing landscape, much as e-books did a decade ago, driving up advances for audio rights and leading some authors to sign straight-to-audio deals.”

“We are scripting to a new aesthetic,” said Donald Katz, Audible’s founder and chief executive. “This wasn’t a full-fledged media category before, it was a tiny little Siberia stuck in book publishing, and it shouldn’t have been.”

Audible executive Davis Blum says that this change will require that book lovers expand their ideas of how they perceive literature. “We’re trying to break down the boundaries of what people think content ought to look like,” Blum says.

Listening to your favorite book is easier than ever. Advances in digital technology now allow cellphones to function as audiobook players. Consumers bought 90 million audiobooks in 2016, totaling sales of $2.1 billion. According to Alter, more writers and publishers are warming to the concept of delivering stories through the spoken word. Audible is now approaching writers directly to buy the audio rights for their latest works even before their book proposals are submitted to mainstream publishers.

A New Frontier

Once again, TGI finds itself on the cutting edge of contemporary culture. TGI’s Writing and Oral Traditions program is different from every other writing program in the nation because it focuses on the marriage of the spoken and written word in the creative process.

Since the launch of the program in 2000, we have understood that orality informs the writer and provides us with access to a neural pathway which carries messages into the storehouse of memory, imagination and insight in a way that mere ink on the page can never do. By combining the ancient art of storytelling with the latest trends in literary experimentation, TGI’s emerging writers have the opportunity to explore an alternative medium for delivering story.

The Graduate Institute Publishing Center is currently offering TGI writers the opportunity to publish in both print and digital form before a world-wide audience on the platform. Are audio books, with easily downloadable content, far behind? Keep posted as TGI's first-time authors learn how to distribute their work to story-lovers connected by the rapidly-growing matrix that is modern-day publishing.

Some researchers think we are entering an era when technology will allow the spoken word to open our ears in a new way. Among them is Psychologist Carol Gilligan, who reminds us,

“To have a voice is to be human. To have something to say is to be a person. But speaking depends on listening and being heard; it is an intensely relational act. Voice is natural and also cultural, a powerful psychological instrument connecting inner and outer worlds. Speaking and listening are a form of psychic breathing. This ongoing relational exchange is mediated through language and culture, diversity and plurality. For these reasons, voice is a new key for understanding the psychological, social and cultural order.”

As intelligent and empathetic listening becomes a skill necessary for meaningful participation in our steadily-growing understanding of what it means to be human, perhaps this new interest in the pleasures of both orality and aurality will help to lead the way.

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A Dolphin Tale

The Little Dolphin That Could

Our recent cohort session on humor in storytelling reminded me of this moment in time:

It was the year of 1995, and all was not well.

Andy and I had been married for approximately eight months, and we were still finding our way through life. We got together, both in debt, plunged further into debt with the wedding, and found ourselves struggling to get out of debt as we were both working in the restaurant business with no healthcare or retirement plan. But we were still young, in our late twenties, and had a lot of living to do.

Two weeks prior, I had quit my job at the restaurant Andy and I worked for as I was tired of always having to find coverage if I was sick -–that was how the mom and pop places worked.

So I ventured over to Bennigan’s and brought Andy with me, which turned out to be worse. It was like working at a restaurant that was run by high school students for high school student customers who were trying to get served without a valid ID for high school student tip money. After about two weeks of covering for the oh-my-God-you’ll-never-guess-what-happened-to-me staff of Bennigan’s, I had enough.

I threw down my green smock and walked out the door, again taking Andy with me.


My friend Andrea had the perfect solution: “Why don’t you come to Mexico with me and Marcella? It’ll be a blast!”

Broke, and armed only with credit cards, we embarked on a week-long vacation to Cancun, Mexico.

But out of the many highlights of the trip, one of my favorites was found a bus trip away in…

Xcaret- nature’s sacred paradise.

The beginning of the word is said like the beginning of the word escarole if pronounced in an Italian accent or the end of the word babushka if pronounced with a Polish accent. The end of the word pronounce like “Ay” or simply just “A.” At any rate, this Xcaret held the most coveted activity on Cancun—swimming with dolphins. This activity was not as common as it is today, and you had to get there early as the spots filled up quickly. So when the bus pulled up to the entrance, our first challenge started.

With a map already strategically printed out the evening before, I led the way. Sprinting through hordes of tourists who were trying to find their way, over baby carriages, and through finally manicured bushes to get there first. Andy was close behind me, but Andrea and Marcella had fallen back a pace. That pace was the difference between scoring a swim with the dolphins and watching other people swim with the dolphins. We were among the last five to be counted for the days totals, and we were told to return with our tickets at 11:00 a.m.

So we spent a ten-minute hour on the beach until we found ourselves suiting up in pink and blue life jackets as we got our safety lecture from the dolphin trainers. As I struggled to put the vest on, my mind drifted back to the gay couple we had met the evening before. While on our fifth rum punch on a booze cruise, I had told Wayne that we had plans to swim with the dolphins if we were lucky enough to score a ticket. He screeched.

“Or unlucky enough!!!” He clutched his white tank like he was having heart failure.

“Girrrrrl, you better watch out! There have been stories about people getting fuuuuucked up by dolphins,” he practically sang it.

“Dave, honey, tell these girls what we just heard about today, to---day!”

Dave captivated us with a tale of woe in which an unsuspecting tourist was swimming with dolphins when it treated her like a giant human ball--poking her in the ribs, swatting her around with its tail, and dragging her underwater to the point where she practically drowned.

Wayne sipped his cocktail, until he was just sucking at air.

“Don’t do it, girl,” he said.

He placed his hand on my forearm, “Don’t do it.”

The Moment of Truth

As we inched into the water, we were with two other people on our side of the tank. They had two different dolphins for the two different groups of people on either side of the tank, and the dolphins would get familiar with us before we did our grand swim across the 150’ length of the tank. I do not remember much except the cold blubbery skin slapping up against my legs, and then the trainer saying that the dolphin would respond if you just said her name, “Dolly.”

I was entranced. A moment in Mexico for a Broadway classic?

“Hello, Dolly! Well, hello, Dolly!” I crescendo-ed.

Apparently Dolly liked this a lot. She swam through my legs, jostling me around a bit, and nudged up right alongside of me, where the trainer on the dock snapped a photo.

Fear dissipated…love ensued…Xcaret lived up to its name of nature’s sacred paradise.

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