Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Oz show on cell phones / What’s killing the bats? / Morgellons Disease and EMR / The Cell Phone Brain Cancer Debate / Parents fear mobile towers'

From: Devra Davis

please get the word out about the November 17 and 18 Dr. Oz show on cell phones and health 

and our newly revamped website


with links to the Expert Conference in Washington DC in September, the CPSAN broadcast on the first U.S. Senate Hearing in more than two decades on the topic, and extensive background documents; 

With your help, this should galvanize/crystalize long needed and overdue public discussion on the issue

Devra L. Davis, PhD, MPH
Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh
Environmental Health Trust
P.O.Box 58
Teton Village, WY 83025

Dr. Oz will be dedicating his Tuesday, November 17, 2009 television show to cellphones and the brain.

He will be interviewing Alan Marks, who has brain cancer; Mr. Marks's wife, Ellen; Dr. Devra Davis, Phd, MPH,

an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, also founder of the Environmental Health Trust (;and, Dr. Joell Moskowitz, a professor at University of California at Berkeley.

Ellen Marks testified at the September 2008 hearing before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy

convened by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Check for local listings by going to

Please forward this notice to others.


Dr. Oz on Cell Phones and Your Health
ABC News

Cell phone users are exposed to a form of electromagnetic radiation called radio frequency energy, also known as RF. Although RF isn't the same kind of ...


What's killing the bats?

At least 1 million have died in the past three years from a mysterious disease, posing serious questions for our environment. But one Boston University biologist is leading the hunt for answers.

By Stacey Chase

November 15, 2009

Thomas Kunz emerges from Aeolus cave in East Dorset, Vermont, with a half-dozen metal ID bands -- smaller than SpaghettiOs -- cupped in the palm of his latex-gloved hand. They're tiny emblems of death, having once been affixed to the forearms of little brown bats.

The renowned bat biologist from Boston University, who bears a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford, minutes earlier had recovered the bands while trudging, like a real-life Indiana Jones, through a slippery mud-like ooze of rotting bat carcasses, liquefied internal organs, toothpick-sized bones, piles of guano, and a strange white fungus on the cave floor.

If bats had come out of hell, it couldn't have been worse than this.

"What we saw was bat soup. There were a lot of bones of wings and skulls and emulsified bodies," Kunz says. "There were dead bats -- decomposing bats -- hanging from the walls of the cave.

"My heart sunk," he says, noting some of the bands bore his initials, THK. "It was as if I had lost family members."

It's late August, when bats are in their swarming phase, and the 71-year-old Kunz and two fellow biologists have trekked, at night, in hard rain, with heavy gear, 2,520 feet up the rugged Taconic Mountains to Aeolus -- the largest bat hibernaculum in the Northeast -- to bleed live bats and collect samples for researchers leading the hunt for clues into the cause of mysterious bat deaths like these.

At least 1 million bats in the past three years have been wiped out by a puzzling, widespread disease dubbed "white-nose syndrome" in what preeminent US scientists are calling the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife in human history. If it isn't slowed or stopped, they believe bats will continue disappearing from the landscape in huge numbers and that entire species could become extinct within a decade. It's enough to make some wonder: Is the bat in the cave the new canary in the coal mine?

"We're at the vanguard of an environmental catastrophe," says Tim King, a conservation geneticist with the US Geological Survey in West Virginia. "There's very little definitive information available at this point. Everybody's just scrambling, with very limited resources, to do whatever they can to help -- help stop this."

The little brown bat, historically among the most common of North American bats, has been the hardest hit of the six species known to be afflicted with the baffling illness. The others are: the big brown bat, the Eastern small-footed bat, the Northern long-eared bat, the tri-colored bat (formerly known as the Eastern pipistrelle), and the Indiana bat.

The mass deaths are difficult to quantify because wild bats are almost impossible to count, but to scientists monitoring hibernation sites, serious declines are as undeniable as they are unprecedented. Population counts at two dozen small winter colonies in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont show they have plummeted from 48,626 bats to 2,695 -- an average 94.5 percent decline -- since the outbreak began.Continued...

What's killing the bats?
Boston Globe - Boston,MA,USA

Yet even fears that some species could vanish entirely are being overshadowed by the enormity of ordinary bats, like little browns, dying by the tens of ...


Mysterious ailment plagues Vallejo woman

Is Morgellon's Disease real, or imagined?

By Tony Burchyns/

Posted: 11/15/2009 12:00:47 AM PST

To purchase a copy of this photo please e-mail

Valerie Swanson of Vallejo has a mysterious ailment which leaves her fatigued and feverish, and sometimes manifests itself in strange fibers or growths emerging from her body. Sufferers refer to it as 'Morgellons disease,' which has yet to be confirmed as a disease by the CDC. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald) (Mike Jory/Times-Herald)

Valerie Swanson remembers it all started with a rash. Then loss of energy. Then blisters covering her whole body.

Then it got weird.

Strange fibers appeared to be growing out of her hands. And tiny black specks resembling seeds, she said, began appearing mysteriously on her wrists and fingers as she was washing dishes one day at her Vallejo home.

"It was terrifying," said Swanson, 60, adding she felt as though a plant had taken hold of her body and wouldn't let go.

That was a little more than a year ago, shortly before Swanson became convinced she had Morgellons disease after reading about a condition similar to hers on the Internet.

Problem is, the disease may not even exist. It could all be in her head.

Most doctors, including dermatologists and psychiatrists, think Morgellons -- the name given in 2002 to the proposed condition -- is a purely psychological disorder. They insist sufferers are imagining the symptoms and scratching lesions into their own skin, similar to patients with delusions of bugs crawling on them.

Some experts believe the disease is a delusion that's become more prominent in recent years due to information spread through the Internet.

But some researchers -- and the federal government -- are keeping an open mind about Morgellons, currently referred to by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as "unexplained dermopathy."

Results from a CDC investigation launched in 2006 are still pending.

That's left Swanson and other self-diagnosed Morgellons sufferers with little relief, often wondering if they're insane or suffering from an infectious disease that hasn't been confirmed.

"They can't help you if they don't know what it is," said Swanson, whose symptoms have puzzled a string of doctors since April 2008. "Most doctors just think you're crazy, because that's the closest thing."

Real or imagined, the disease has affected Swanson's life in ways all too real. She said she's stopped working, gone on disability, drained her savings, declared bankruptcy, lost her social life and is losing her home to foreclosure.

She used to be a real estate agent, selling homes in Napa while also working at a furniture store in Emeryville.

"I've lost everything," Swanson said. "I have to go somewhere, but I don't know where I am going. Plus I have no money."

She said her family has offered to help her buy a home in Sacramento.

She's afraid to let people in her home, fearing she may have a contagious disease.

"I can't have any social life. I don't want to be around anyone," said Swanson, who agreed to be interviewed at a Vallejo restaurant. "I don't want anybody to come over to my house."

Her family doctor initially thought she had a skin condition known as scabies. But when treatments didn't work, he told her she had a mysterious skin disease, and prescribed a tranquilizer to minimize her scratching.

Swanson then sought second opinions from doctors at University of California medical centers in San Francisco and Davis.

Dr. Sepideh Bagheri of the U.C. Davis Medical Center said she was unable to come up with a diagnosis after examining Swanson in July. A previous battery of tests at U.C. San Francisco could not find the cause of Swanson's symptoms.

Reached by phone, Bagheri said Swanson's skin lesions might go away "if she would stop picking at it."

Swanson, however, insists she hasn't been excessively scratching herself.

Is she going crazy? Are doctors taking her seriously? Swanson wonders.

One doctor who's not convinced she's crazy is her brother, Philip Swanson, a Dallas surgeon.

"You have something wrong with your body, you go see an expert, and they say you have a psychological condition," he said. "You go see another and get the same answer. And pretty soon, you begin to think nothing can be done and you must be crazy.

"There are lots and lots of people who describe the same physical findings," her brother added. "If you have people describing the same things, how could they be imagining it?"

That's the question that motivates the work of Dr. Randy Wymore, director of the Center for the Investigation of Morgellons Disease at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

"Very little is known about the disease," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, we are the only academic institution working on Morgellons."

Wymore's team is working on the first Morgellons case study for publication in a medical journal, which could help doctors diagnose or rule out Morgellons.

About 13,000 people -- from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia -- have registered on a Web site for self-reporting the disease. But since most of them have not been diagnosed, there is no way of knowing how many may actually have Morgellons.

"It could be a small percentage, or nearly 100 percent of those registered," Wymore said. "Again, keep in mind that these are all self-reported registrations."

The symptoms often include itching, burning sensations, slow-healing skin lesions and the presence of small fibers, black specks and sand-like granules. Neurological signs include muscle weakness, pins-and-needles, difficulty focusing thoughts, memory lapses and sometimes changes in behavior.

"There also seems to be a component of extreme fatigue," Wymore said.

Swanson said she has exhibited all these symptoms.

What might cause Morgellons remains a mystery. Theories have included environmental toxins, bacterial and fungal infections or worms or other parasites. But there has been little evidence to suspect any of those ideas over others.

Confusing things even more is the idea that the disease may have neurological side effects, perhaps causing some patients to hallucinate, some researchers say. That could lend credence to Morgellons being viewed as psychosis.

Swanson has her own theory: An unknown plant has attached itself to her body, and is spreading around her house. She said the plants resemble tiny tumbleweeds.

But when she submitted a sample to a U.C. Davis lab in July, the results raised more questions than they answered.

"(The lab) did find plant material in the specimens she had submitted, but there is nothing to say what the source of that is," Bagheri said. "It could be cotton."

So far, no doctor has suggested she see a psychiatrist, Swanson said. If they did, she said, she'd go.

She acknowledges the plant theory sounds like "science fiction." She said she knows she may be wrong.

"The frustrating thing is not knowing what's wrong with me," Swanson said.


Hi David

I came accross this illness over a year ago and wrote to the Morgellons Society suggesting that the illness could be related to electro magnetic radiation. I suggested that sufferers should ensure that they are living away from sources of EMFs and EMR as a test to see if it affects their symptoms.  They did not reply to me.

I will forward this to Andrew Goldsworthy, I am sure that he may have in idea of the cause.


Hi Martin,

The symptoms of Morgellons disease include so many of those of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), it is hard to believe that they are not related. Furthermore, there is a plausible mechanism, which is based on the way that the body uses electric currents to repair wounds to the skin.

The skin contains a layer of cells called the stratum granulosum where the gaps between the cells are sealed against leakage by tight junctions. This layer contains the so-called skin battery, which uses molecular ion pumps to generate a voltage of about 70mV between the inside and the outside of the body (inside positive). If the skin is broken by a wound, it short-circuits this "battery" and an electric current flows within the body towards the wound. This current is sensed by cells called fibroblasts, which then migrate along the line of the current towards the wound. When they get there, they make collagen fibers that form the new tissue that eventually fills the wound. Sometimes, they overdo this and form raised "hypertrophic" scars that are often pigmented and bear some resemblance to the Morgellons lesions.

Many of the symptoms of EHS can be explained by the radiation weakening cell membranes by removing structurally-important calcium ions, so that they leak. When this happens to sensory cells, it makes them send signals to the brain to give false sensations such as pins and needles, heat, pain and feelings of insects crawling over the skin, etc. depending on which cells are most affected (visit for a short talk on the subject). However, if the cells in small parts of the stratum granulosum leak, electric currents would flow within the body towards the leaks, just as if there had been physical wounds. This would then attract fibroblasts to the area and in some people bring about the formation of raised pigmented lesions similar to those of Morgellons disease.

While this is just an educated guess, I think the evidence is strong enough to suggest that Morgellons sufferers should try as far as possible to avoid all forms of electromagnetic radiation (especially cell phones, cordless phones and Wi-Fi) to see if this results in any improvement to their condition.

Best wishes


(Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy)


The Cell Phone Brain Cancer Debate

Get Breaking News Alerts

Dr. Cara Natterson

Pediatrician and Author

Posted: November 16, 2009 04:32 PM

If you don't want to have to read all the way to the end of this article to get to the punch line, here it is: No one is certain what cell phones do to our brains when we endlessly rest them against our heads. At best, it's nothing. At worst, it's insidious damage that will translate into an enormous spike in brain cancers down the road. If these are our two choices--status quo versus debilitating and ultimately fatal disease--why are we even talking about this anymore? It's time to move phones away from our heads.

I am not suggesting that we give up cell phones. Not at all. I am simply saying that we should acknowledge cell phone danger and stop holding them up to our brains. I am also not pointing a finger at cell phones alone. There are studies suggesting that cordless phones in the home may affect the brain in ways very similar to cell phones. This is because both cordless phones and cell phones have antennae and it is the antenna that seems to be at the root of the problem.

Two years ago, a group of two-dozen scientists and public health officials published The Bioinitiative Report. The group looked at more than 2000 studies published in scientific journals and argued that safety standards were both outdated and grossly insufficient. Within weeks, governments across the European Union were enacting new safety standards related to electromagnetic radiation and specifically non-ionizing radiation (which is the type that is emitted from your cell phone antenna).

In the US, we didn't hear a peep about The Bioinitiative Report.

Around the same time, World Health Organization (WHO) released a policy advisory about limiting exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic radiation. WHO, led by its International Agency for Research on Cancer branch, argued that there are clearly acute and likely chronic effects from this type of radiation.

Again, very little attention in the US.

Finally, a year later, the issue appeared in our own press. Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute, wrote a now somewhat famous memo to more than 3000 of his colleagues and staff outlining steps to safer cell phone use by minimizing time on the phone and, most importantly, increasing distance between the phone and your brain. But it was simply a news item and didn't seem to impact public policy or individual behavior.

Why does this debate keep falling on deaf ears in America? Because ultimately, it all comes down to our guiding legal principle: innocent until proven guilty. For every article about cell phones causing cancer, there's at least one saying the opposite. And with this volley in the press, we allow every yin to cancel out a yang. We insist that guilt be proven before we change our behavior because we desperately want our cell phones to be safe--we have already used them for so long that we don't want to think about the potential impact. Not to mention that it is so darned convenient to just hold the phone up to your ear instead of fussing with an ear piece cord that always seems to be tangled or trying to have a conversation on speakerphone while walking down a crowded sidewalk. The scales have tipped, though, and we cannot continue to ignore the mounting evidence.

As a doctor, I find it unbelievably--almost unbearably--ironic that the health and safety standards for prescription drugs are so different from those for emerging technologies. A new medicine must be proven to be safe. It cannot go out onto the market until it has been run through several levels of testing in the laboratory, in animal populations, and lastly in humans. The burden is placed upon the pharmaceutical company developing a drug and then, when the drug is prescribed, the burden is shared with the prescribing doctor. The drug is guilty until proven innocent. It is dangerous, toxic, rife with side effects until it is proven not to be. In fact, even if a drug is found to not have any negative effects, it is tested and retested until someone identifies a dose that does cause a problem. Guilty. Drugs are always guilty until proven innocent.

I don't have a problem with this system. The FDA has got it right. But cell phones should also be treated like drugs. When a piece of technology stirs up enough controversy to be covered regularly in medical journals and newspapers alike, the standard should be applied.

Besides, if you have any doubt whether cell phones are drugs, consider the following. They are addictive: try not using one for a week--you'll almost certainly have withdrawal symptoms. Cell phones can cause confusion or impaired motor skills: there are 330,000 motor vehicle accidents per year and 2,600 fatalities as a direct result of using cell phones while driving--and that doesn't include the havoc caused by drivers who text or dial while driving. Cell phones also have a variety of biological effects: people become elated or agitated while talking on them.

Ultimately, the research must continue to determine whether or not non-ionizing radiation emitted from phone antennae causes brain cancers. But everyone agrees that when the endpoint is a cancer that can take decades to form, we are talking about waiting 20 or 30 years for an answer. That's unacceptable, especially with lives on the line. So let's turn this around, call them guilty until proven innocent, and continue the trial.

Meanwhile, keep using your phone, but plug in your wired earpiece and go back to corded phones at home.


Parents fear mobile towers' exposure is a health risk

Mobile towers

Don't fry my brain ... Peony Zhao and Caitlin Hamilton, both 4, in the garden of the Summer Hill childcare centre / Pic: Justin Lloyd Source: The Daily Telegraph

TELECOMMUNICATIONS giants are covertly installing mobile phone towers around kindergartens, schools and childcare centres.

Exploiting a loophole, created 12 years ago when the Federal Government was pushing to roll out mobile broadband, telcos have erected thousands of transmitters without having to get council permission as long as the tower is less than 10m high.

Communities across the eastern seaboard railed against a major tower roll-out in the past year but a new Telstra transmitter proposed for a heritage-listed suburb in Sydney's inner west is expected to challenge, and possibly close, the loophole.

At Summer Hill, Telstra is planning to build a 5.8m tower within 500m of a childcare centre, a kindergarten, two primary schools and an after school care centre catering to hundreds of children.

A group of 66 pre-schoolers at the childcare centre, reflecting parents' concerns, carry placards pleading: "Please don't fry my brain".

Research, including a study in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, found the cancer risk was up to 8.5 times higher than average around towers.

The Leukaemia Foundation said towers should be "prudently avoided" while NSW Education Department's policy "prefers" a 500m gap between schools and towers.

People living near transmitters were likely to suffer sleep disorders, headaches, nausea, memory loss, visual disorders, dizziness and vertigo, Summer Hill Action Group spokeswoman Sabiene Heindl said.

"We do not have the right to gamble with the health of future generations," she said.

Telstra did not inform childcare director Roberta de Souza of the plan to erect a tower 78m from the children. "We don't let children play near microwaves, we don't let them play with mobile phones," she said.

Ashfield Mayor Ted Cassidy is calling on Telstra to move the tower away from children and wants Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to overhaul the laws.

Telstra said more towers were being rolled out to meet demand for wireless broadband internet.


Iraq Encounters Huge Rise In Birth Defects

The Palestine Telegraph - London,UK

We are now seeing a dramatic rise in cancer, diabetes, mental problems, ... "Ex battle zone sees abnormal clusters of infant tumours and deformities.