Natural Medicine - Food complement

John W. Olney, M.D.
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

"In the November 1996 issue of the Journal of Neuropathology and
Experimental Neurology, John Olney, M.D. and his colleagues Nuri Farber,
M.D., Edward Spitznagel, Ph.D. and Lee Robins, Ph.D, all from Washington
University in St. Louis, report that brain tumor rates have risen in the
United States over the past 17 years in two distinct phases.

The first phase occurred in the mid l970's and might be explained
primarily by improved diagnostic methods. The second phase occurred
abruptly in the mid l980's, resulting in a 10 per cent higher rate of
brain tumors which has persisted to the present. This increase also was
associated with a shift from a lower to a higher grade of malignancy.

"The article raises the possibility that the artificial sweetener
aspartame, which was approved for limited markets in l981 and for
widespread use in foods and beverages in l983, may have contributed to
this increase," Olney says. "but it is important to remind consumers that
the evidence now available is not sufficient to prove that aspartame
caused the brain tumor increases." Olney urges that further studies be
conducted to clarify what role, if any, aspartame plays in the development
of brain tumors.

"In the meantime, consumers must decide whether they are willing to expose
themselves to potential risks in order to reduce their calorie intake," he
says. "Fortunately, the potential risk to any individual adult appears
low because the total number of people that could be affected is small."

Olney recommends, however, that pregnant women be especially cautious
about consuming aspartame until new studies can assess the risk to a
developing fetus.

The investigators analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute's
Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, which collects
and distributes data on all types of cancer. SEER data are taken from
areas of the U.S. that collectively represent about 10 per cent of the
national population.

Because increases in brain tumor rates that could be linked to aspartame
would be expected to follow public exposure to the artificial sweetener,
the group looked at increases in the incidence of each of the different
types of brain tumors from l975 to l992.

The new study shows sudden 10% increase in the incidence and malignancy of
brain tumors in the United States beginning about three years after
aspartame was introduced. The incidence of brain tumors did not continue
to rise but remained at the higher level through l992, the last year
included in the study.

"Although aspartame probably has been introduced into an increasing number
of foods in recent years, it is likely that the same portion of the
population simply ingested greater amounts of the product," Olney
explains. "If a larger proportion of the population was not exposed to
aspartame, that might explain why the incidence did not continue to

Olney became interested in the neurotoxic potential of aspartame in the
mid 1970's, after his discovery that the widely used food additive
monosodium glutamate (MSG) destroys nerve cells in the brain when fed to
immature animals. This link between MSG and neural damage eventually
caused the food industry to stop adding glutamate to baby foods.

Because aspartame is chemically related to glutamate, Olney later fed
aspartame to immature mice and found that it also destroyed nerve cells in
the brain. On the basis of this evidence, Olney protested the approval of
aspartame and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Alexander
Schmidt granted him a hearing at a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI). The
Commissioner also stayed the approval of aspartame, pending further

"To prepare for the hearing, I examined the FDA's aspartame file," Olney
recalls. "I was concerned because I did not find any studies pertaining
to nerve cell damage. The FDA had not required that any such studies be

He did, however, find two studies revealing an exceptionally high
incidence of malignant brain tumors in aspartame-fed rats, and FDA
Commissioner Donald Kennedy granted Olney's request that the brain tumor
evidence be evaluated at the PBOI, which was held in l980.

At the PBOI, Olney and other scientists argued that further studies must
be done to rule out a brain tumor risk. "We have particularly concerned
that aspartame might react in the stomach with nitrites present in foods
and be converted to a nitrosated molecule" he recalls. "We were aware of
published studies showing that certain nitrosated molecules can enter the
central nervous system and cause brain tumors in laboratory animals.
These studies showed that brain tumors develop fairly rapidly following
exposure of an adult animal to the nitrosated molecules or after a long
delay interval if a fetus is exposed during pregnancy."

The PBOI panel of neuropathology experts appointed by the FDA to judge the
brain tumor evidence unanimously concluded that aspartame should not be
approved until extensive additional animal tests had ruled out the brain
tumor risk. In addition, Olney says, three top FDA science advisors
reviewed the brain tumor evidence and agreed with the PBOI panel of
neuropathology experts.

In l981, however, a newly appointed FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes,
approved aspartame without requiring further studies. In his judgment,
the available data established with reasonable certainty that aspartame
does not cause brain tumors in laboratory rats.

In l993, Swiss scientist S. E. Shephard exposed aspartame to nitrite in a
test tube, causing it to undergo nitrosation as it might do when it
encountered nitrite in the stomach. Shephard then demonstrated that the
nitrosated aspartame molecule is able to cause mutations in cultured
bacteria. This is a test commonly used to assess the cancer causing
potential of chemicals.

According to the Washington University researchers, three types of
evidence are usually gathered to assess a substance's cancer causing
potential: (1) Can the substance cause mutations? (2) Is there an
abnormally high incidence of specific types of cancer in animals that are
exposed chronically to the agent? 3) Is there an increased incidence of
the same kind of cancer in human populations exposed chronically to the

"While it looks as if our new study and the prior evidence answer all
three questions in the affirmative," Olney emphasized that further studies
are needed. "A major problem is that early animal feeding studies
showing an apparent brain tumor risk are contradictory and difficult to
interpret. More reliable animal feeding studies are needed. In addition,
studies are needed to clarify the significance of the mutation causing
potential of aspartame. The chemical reactions that aspartame can undergo
in the body and the effects of the resulting products on the brain need to
be determined."

"Studies of brain tumor rates before and after the introduction of
aspartame in other countries also are needed" Olney says. "Upward trends
in deaths from brain tumors have been detected in the United Kingdom,
France, Germany and Italy. These trends must be carefully analyzed in
relation to aspartame consumption."

Other factors that have been studies in relation to increased brain tumor
rates include ionizing radiation, electromagnetic fields, smoke
inhalation, pesticides and various industrial chemicals. "The evidence
linking aspartame to the recent brain tumor increases is stronger than for
any of these other factors," Olney says. "However,, the evidence
presently available is not adequate to establish whether aspartame does or
does not cause brain tumors. Therefore, new studies properly designed to
answer this question are urgently needed."

This is the end of the article from Washington University School of
Medicine, John Olney, M.D. and authors of original report that made world

Dr. H. J. Roberts peer reviewed report on aspartame and brain tumors is on
our auto-responder and also on

This report will also be added to web and we encourage others to add this
to their web page.

Also, Dr. Roberts recent letter on aspartame and brain tumors appeared in
Lancet in February.


Part 2 will go into original studies by Searle and the link to brain
tumors, and some of the history. Monsanto bought Searle in l985.

Why has world renowned Dr. John Olney asked for further studies? Could it
be because the original studies were a disaster and the manufacturers of
aspartame have resisted any more testing? Senator Howard Metzenbaum who
investigated the aspartame issue and the problems arising in the
population wrote a bill that would have required independent testing by
the National Institute of Health and put a moratorium on aspartame. It
would have required studies to investigate some of neurological problems
then being complained about back in l985 when aspartame was only in a few
hundred products not 9000 and climbing with an expired patent. Heavy
lobbying by Monsanto prevented the bill from getting out of committee.

Dr. H. J. Roberts in his letter in Lancet in February went a little
further than requesting new studies being accomplished. He said: "I have
documented other severe neuropsychiatric reactions to aspartame products -
most notably headache, seizures, confusion and depression, and the
probable acceleration of Alzheimer's disease by aspartame products. I
believe that our society faces a preventable medical disaster if aspartame
products are not promptly removed from public use." Dr. Roberts has
written on the brain tumor issue for years and has authored books on the
dangers of aspartame.

There have been independent studies on aspartame over the years, not
funded by the manufacturer. Dr. Ralph Walton on 60 Minutes on Dec 29 said
that out of 90 independent studies 83 showed a problem with aspartame.

During Congressional Hearings on aspartame a document was discussed titled
12/28/70. In the concluding paragraph it says: "we have no way of
estimating maximum likely abuse and hence need to utilize data based on
almost complete conversion to DKP. If we include this .. we stand a good
chance of ending up with nothing.."

Diketopiperazine (DKP) is a BRAIN TUMOR AGENT.

With regard to the studies, Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, a former FDA
toxicologist and member of an FDA task force that investigated the
authenticity of research done by Searle to establish the safety of
aspartame, said she believes the original aspartame studies were "built on
a foundation of sand". (Testimony of Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, FDA
toxicologist, before the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources,
regarding "NutraSweet Health and Safety Concerns, 11/3/87)

Dr. Verrett testified that flawed tests conducted by Searle - used as the
basis of FDA approval - were a "disaster" and should have been "thrown
out". She said she believed the studies left many unanswered questions
about possible birth defects and the safety of aspartame. Verrett said
the team was instructed not to be concerned with, or comment upon, the
overall validity of the study. She said a subsequent review discarded or
ignored the problems and deficiencies outlined by her team's original
report. She said, "serious departures from acceptable toxicological
protocols" that her investigative team noted in the reevaluation of these
studies were also discounted. Verrett concluded the data in the study was
worthless, and the safety of aspartame and its breakdown products have
therefore not been determined.

She emphasized that aspartame exists in the market place without basic
toxicity information. She said there are no data to assess the
interactions with DKP, excess phenylalanine, other aspartame metabolites,
additives, drugs, or other chemicals. She elaborated on DKP problems,
including significant increases of uterine polyps and changes in blood
cholesterol. DKP is formed when liquids in particular are pre-sweetened
with aspartame. The production of DKP is vulnerable to increase in
temperature, and higher temperatures produce increasing amounts of DKP.
She reminded members of Congress "that is why initially, aspartame was
not intended or not planned to be used in liquids because of this
decomposition.. it was decided it was too unstable to be used in hot
preparations, hot liquids, and also in diet drinks."

On January 10, l977, FDA chief counsel, Richard Merrill, sent a 33 page
letter to U.S. Attorney Skinner repeating the request for the grand jury
investigation "into apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act. . and False Reports to the Government Act .. by G. D.

The letter charged that Searle concealed material facts and made false
statements in reports of animal studies conducted to establish the safety
of aspartame. Studies cited for investigation had been conducted in l972
and five year statues of limitation for criminal prosecution were due to
expire on 10/10 and 12/8/77. U. S. Attorney Sam Skinner went to work for
Searle's law firm, Sidley and Austin, and the statue of limitations ran

The FDA task force observed laboratory methods at Searle from April 25 to
August 4, l977. The Bressler Report (named for team leader Jerome
Bressler) identified major discrepancies including "substantial
differences between gross observation on pathology sheets when compared
with those submitted to the FDA" in a rat toxicology test of aspartame.
(FDA, Bressler Report, Investigation of Searle Laboratories, 8/7/77)

According to the Bressler Report, one rat even appeared resurrected. It
stated: "Observed records indicated that animal A23LM was alive at week
88, dead from week 92 to week 104, alive at week 108, and dead at week

The actual meal fed to the rats was also in question. Raymond Schroeder,
a former Searle employee, said in an FDA interview on July 13, l977 that
"the particles of DKP were large enough to allow the rats to discriminate
between the DKP and the basal diet."

Dr. John Olney, psychiatrist, neuropathologist and professor at Washington
University in St. Louis, found 12 brain tumors in 320 dosed rats and none
in 120 control rats when he examined FDA files on aspartame animal studies
in l978. Olney advised that the high number of brain tumors was unusual.
Olney voiced another concern based on his research. He showed that when
glutamate and aspartic acid are ingested together each agent augments the
neurotoxic effects of the other.

Olney, along with consumer activist attorney James Turner, initiated court
action over aspartame. In a l986 interview Turner said he had spent 15
years battling approval of aspartame because "its hurting people".

The late Dr. M. Adrian Gross, an FDA toxicologist, spoke out against
aspartame in the August 1, l985 Congressional Record. Gross, who took
part in on site investigations at Searle laboratories, said the studies
carried out by Searle to show the safety of aspartame were "to a large
extent unreliable." He said "at least one of those studies has
established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of
inducing brain tumors in experimental animals and that this .. is of
extremely high significance." (Congressional Record SID835:131 Aug 1,

Gross also testified that because aspartame was capable of producing brain
tumors and brain cancer, FDA should not have been able to set an allowable
daily intake of the substance at any level.

He said at least one of Searle's "has established beyond any reasonable
doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental

animals and that this predisposition of it is of extremely high
significance... In view of these indications that the cancer causing
potential of aspartame is a matter that has been established way beyond
any reasonable doubt, one can ask: What is the reason for the apparent
refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney
Amendment to the Food, Drug an Cosmetic Act?"
The Delaney Amendment makes it illegal to allow any residues of cancer
causing chemicals in foods. In his concluding testimony Gross asked,
"Given the (cancer causing potential of aspartame) how would the FDA
justify its position that it views a certain amount of aspartame as
constituting an allowable daily intake or 'safe' level of it? Is that
position in effect not equivalent to setting a 'tolerance' for this food
additive and thus a violation of that law? And if the FDA itself elects
to violate the law, who is left to protect the health of the public?"

H.R. 3200 just repealed the Delaney Amendment and in June the FDA at the
request of the NutraSweet Co. (Monsanto) gave blanket approval to this
neurotoxin without public notification. Dr. Kessler of the FDA who
approved it then recently resigned and left office. Aspartame was
approved in l981 by Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes when he over-ruled a Board of
inquiry and went to work for Searle's PR firm. He refused to talk to the
press for over 10 years and refused recently to be interviewed by 60

When the NutraSweet Company tells you aspartame has been proven safe,
remember that these are the studies that approved it. This is the myth of
the most tested additive in history. Monsanto funds the trade
organizations, the AMA and Congress. Petitions to ban aspartame have
failed in the past. Monsanto has great power and the FDA has great
loyalty to them. When Dr. Olney's report made world news the NutraSweet
Co. attempted to defend their product and the FDA went to their defense.

You've now read Dr. Olney's report, and some information from the
Congressional Record on the original studies. Mission Possible collects
the histories from the victims of aspartame. In a nutshell aspartame
destroys the central nervous system, the brain, the optic nerve and
triggers an irregular heart rhythm; and as Richard Wilson once said who
lost his wife to NutraSweet - it ravages every organ in the body.
This is the reality of aspartame.

Because aspartame was classified as an additive instead of a drug, which
it is, it requires no safety monitoring. The Congressional Record even
mentions that the FDA was sending complaints to the AIDS Hotline. In
l984 the Center for Disease Control was asked to do an investigation of
the complaints. They reviewed 213 of 592 cases of aspartame complaints.
Ages of the complainants ranged from four months to 77 years; 77% were
between the ages of 21 and 60 years, 75% were female and 94% were white.
Twenty-eight percent reported repeated episodes of symptoms and 26 people
experienced identical symptoms. Some of the reported symptoms included:
aggressive behavior, disorientation, hyperactivity, extreme numbness,
excitability, memory loss, loss of depth perception, liver impairment,
cardiac arrest, seizures, suicidal tendencies, severe mood swings and
death. The CDC recommended future investigations of aspartame investigate
the neurological and behavioral problems, and focus on symptoms such as
headaches, mood alterations and behavioral changes.

Would you say these are serious problems? Yet, Frederick L. Trowbridge
added an executive summary to the report which conflicted with the
information in the report. He stated: "Currently available information,
based on data with limitations as described in the report, indicated a
wide variety of complaints that are generally of a mild nature. Although
it may be that certain individuals have an unusual sensitivity to the
product, these data do not provide evidence for the existence of serious,
widespread, adverse health consequences to the use of aspartame."

Why would they do this? CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human
Services, FDA! When you call the CDC for this report they only send you
the summary. I told them I had seen the report and there was no way they
would keep it from me. It was sent to me when I filed under Freedom of
Information. It is the most damning report ever written on aspartame.

And these problems continue in the population. Histories continue to
flood in from victims who have suffered seizures, vision loss and
blindness, mood swings, miscarriages, birth defects in their children,
loss of equilibrium and MS symptoms, depression, chronic fatigue, memory
loss, etc. These reports the FDA calls anecdotal were once considered
clinical observation. And as we get the victims off aspartame their
symptoms disappear within 4 to 6 weeks, if warned in time. Some have

Here is the FDA report of 92 documented symptoms including death, also
acquired through Freedom of Information. The FDA says they list blindness
under vision loss (the component methanol converts to formaldehyde and
formic acid in the retina of the eye).

Headaches, dizziness or problem with balance, change in mood quality or
level, vomiting and nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision,
diarrhea, seizures and convulsions, memory loss, fatigue, weakness, other
neurological, rash, sleep problems, hives, change in heart rate, itching,
change in sensation (numbness, tingling), grand mal seizures, local
swelling, change in activity level, difficulty breathing, oral sensory
changes, change in menstrual pattern, other skin, other, localized pain
and tenderness, other urogenital, change in body temperature, difficulty
swallowing, other metabolic, joint and bone pain, speech impairment, other
gastrointestinal, chest pain, other musculo-skeletal, fainting, sore
throat, other cardiovascular, change in taste, difficulty with urination,
other respiratory, edema, change in hearing, abdominal swelling, change in
saliva output, change in urine volume, change in perspiration pattern, eye
irritation, unspecified, muscle tremors, petit mal, change in appetite,
change in body weight, nocturnal, change in thirst or water intake,
unconsciousness and coma, wheezing, constipation, other extremity pain,
problems with bleeding, unsteady gait, coughing, blood glucose disorders,
blood pressure changes, changes in skin and nail coloration, change in
hair or nails, excessive phlegm production, sinus problems, simple partial
seizures, hallucinations, lumps present, shortness of breath on exertion,
evidence of blood in stool or vomit, dysmenorrhea, dental problems, change
in smell, DEATH, other blood and lymphatic, eczema, complex partial
seizures, swollen lymph nodes, hematuria, shortness of breath due to
position, difficulties with pregnancy, (children only) developmental
retardation, change in breast size or tenderness, anemia, change in sexual
function, shock, conjunctivitis, dilating eyes, febrile

Should an additive cause these kind of symptoms? Pilots are reporting
grand mal seizures in the cockpits of commercial airliners from aspartame,
chest palpitations, tachycardia, vision loss, etc. FLYING SAFETY,
Journal of the U.S. Air Force and NAVY PHYSIOLOGY, Journal of the U.S.
Navy, have written in their journals warning all pilots off aspartame.

Doctors if you are seeing neurological symptoms you can't explain and your
patient is on aspartame get him off and see for yourself what this deadly
neurotoxin is doing to the human race. At the Conference of the American
College of Physicians which I attended with Dr. H. J. Roberts the first
thing neurology professors said was: "Where are the seizures coming from?"
The phenylalanine in aspartame lowers the seizure threshold of the brain.

Why is this product so deadly? Aspartame is a molecule composed of 3
components: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Once ingested the
methanol, wood alcohol, converts into formaldehyde and formic acid (ant
sting poison). Both aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine are also neurotoxic
because they are isolated from the other amino acids in protein and go
past the blood brain barrier and deteriorate the neurons of the brain. The
phenylalanine in aspartame is genetically engineered.

We ask everyone to write to the FDA and complain:

Food & Drug Administration,
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857

Dr. Roberts position papers on aspartame and diabetes, aspartame or MS?,
aspartame and the eye, aspartame and equilibrium, aspartame and pregnancy,
aspartame and cardiac problems are in Mission Possible files located at:

If you have specific information please consider capturing the form,
complete and send it to the FDA, with a "proof" copy to Betty Martini.

If you have the time to complete an in-depth report for Dr. Roberts,
please capture, fill out and mail his questionnaire.
Mission Possible activists the world over are warning the public and
attempting to get this toxin off the market. People are still hurting!

Please help in any way you can!

Betty Martini
Mission Possible International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097

The brochure touting the safety of aspartame and its components is on Dave
Rietz web page, email address below, and it has been answered by Mark
Gold. Mission Possible reports are

General Aspartame Links Comprehensive site for better health Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Many excellent articles on milk, dairy and aspartame WebWorker - wide range of information! Purefood folks on aspartame and other toxins in the food chain. Official UK site UK Site Idaho Observer Lots of diverse information. One list of references. Huge (730k) text file on subjects with references. Chapters of a draft article. Text file on damage it causes. A waiting alternative (worse) and FDA stalling to revoke its approval?. Mark Gold's new page on Genetically Engineered stuff (I understand that part of aspartame fits that description!) A WEBsite with the fortitude to tell the whole story! In-depth interviews and more! Graves disease and aspartame Artificial Sweeteners... none of them are good for you! The word IS getting around the college dorms! A call to BOYCOTT the CULPRITS! PKU Support Group of Florida (includes a LISTSERV) Testimony from Diabetics on the Premier Financial Group WEB site. Well Now ...Preventative / Alternative Health Information Service Mission Possible Canada. German site (Mixture of English and German information) Learn how to become an ACTIVIST and help out! The Spice of Life Column (Spice W. Crosby.. actress and much more) Kim Coleman's contribution to this effort. by Jean Hudon, a prolific Canadian writer who can light intense fires. More help from John Champagne, with some good guest book comments. More help arising from independent investigation Excellent UK site (Dunfermline Scotland). Health, Wealth and Happiness (and dumping aspartame helps!) Mission Possible UK by Geoff Brewer Oasis covers world-impact news that that mainstream media won't report. Dr. Andrew Saul has a wealth of info on a wide range of topics. Dr. Mercola: search on aspartame International Freedom Foundation

International Sites
(Translation Accuracy Unknown)

French: Aspartame: Le mal caché du siècle by Jean Hudon Transcription d'une conférence de Betty Martini sur l'aspartame Julie Briere's Montreal-based Guide Ressources article

Dutch: Netherlands Mission Possible

Portuguese: O perigo dos adoçantes artificiais by Beatriz Medina, Mission Possible Brasil Interesting article highlighting the potencial dangers of aspartame. Very well written. PHD is a pharmacy.

Swedish: Mission Possible Sweden by Cyrilla & Tomas Högberg

German: English/German
Spanish El Aspartamo (Spanish)

Greek Greek Document on Aspartame

Similar/Associated Problems Links (MSG, rBGH, etc.) The Lighthouse Press on Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) The Pure Foods Campaign HOW TO HELP page. Carbohydrate Addicts' Official FAQ on MSG Battling the "MSG Myth" MSG and the Truth In Labeling Campaign by Jack and Adrienne Samuels John Hammell, Legislative Advocate, Founder of IAHF concerned with FOOD LABELING (and more!) Harmful Ingredients in everyday products by Vicki Neely Is Bovine Growth Hormone and Insulin Growth Factor ONE trashing all American dairy products?

The Alternatives (Food, Drink and Lifestyles) Gail Davis: A Tale of Two Sweeteners... Aspartame & Stevia Stevia info

Better Eating
(And Many Roads to Recovery!) Better more health recipes. Excellent meatless meats/recipes Vegetarian Times, periodical/recipes Intn'l Vegetarian Union, excellent articles/links Resource Grp, articles, recipes and links American Fitness Professionals (wide ranging) Vegetarian Society of the UK variety Animal rights All Raw Homepage,info, resources, articles Detractor turned supporter posts my entire Email replies! WELCOME TO THE GREAT BOYCOTT Welcome to my Homeless Page Ron Hamilton's FOCUS index page The Virtual Times Irritable Bowel Syndrome Web Site


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Zen-Blogs >> Natural Medicine >> Blog #50