[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity

Stewart Fist stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Tue Jan 9 12:40:38 AEDT 2007

Epidemiology is the science of looking at clusters of change in an otherwise
unchanged baseline population.  When the change effects everyone in the
community, then epidemiology is virtually useless.  This is a problem that
Chernobyl faced, and which we face today with radio and other environmental

Epidemiology just doesn't have tools for detecting changes that take place
across whole populations.

It also has few useful tools for detecting changes that take place slowly
and insidiously over time.  It can handle causal-consequences that happen
within days or even up to a year or so, but not those spread over a couple
of decades.  

Politics also is obsessed with short-term and critical outcomes - rather
than with the long-term and insidious.

So the funding, naturally enough, goes to researching those problems the
politicians can see,  to the exclusion of those that may only be suspected
or hinted at in the evidence.  The assumption is that they can be dealt with

You can't really argue with this -- although it does show a certain
superficiality to our consideration of most of these long-term concerns.
And as we gradually solve most of the short-term/critical problems, we get
increasingly left with the long-term/insidious.

[A decade or so ago I went on a crusade to try and have the Labor Government
fund a special institute within the CSIRO who's job it would be to look at
the potential for long-term insidious health problems in the Australian
community.  But no one in the Party thought it was a useful idea.

Lyn Allison of the Democrats was the only one in Parliament who seriously
considered the idea.]

On the question of thresholds, I think it is obvious that some toxic
substances would have a threshold because we have evolved in an environment
with toxic susbstances, and some wouldn't.  But it also depends on what you
mean by threshold; usually the term is only applied to critical

If you give a certain amount to a lab rat, it might roll-over and die, so
that is obviously above the threshold.  If it show no immediate reaction, it
is said to be below the threshold.

But that tells you nothing about giving low-doses to the rat over a two-year
life span unless you extend the program of research, and that will cost
about $2 million to get statistically significant numbers with rats.

And even then you can't extrapolate to a 90 year human life-span.

Stewart Fist, writer, journalist, film-maker
70 Middle Harbour Road, LINDFIELD, 2070, NSW, Australia
Ph +61 (2) 9416 7458

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