Smelling a Rat
moiv printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:49:44 AM EST
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs the rest of the world knows but the Christian right won't admit, having an abortion does not increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. That's yesterday's news.

Today's news is just-published research showing that the early abortion drug  mifepristone, also known as Mifeprex and RU-486, offers great promise in preventing breast cancer.

And just as one might expect, the religious right's spin machine is going into vapor lock.

The results of a new study from the University of California only confirm what previous research had already indicated: Abortion Pill May Help Prevent Breast Cancer

The abortion pill might ward off breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease.

New research finds the chemical compound in RU486 prevented tumors from growing in mice that were genetically engineered to carry the BRCA1 breast cancer gene.

RU486, or mifepristone, blocks the production of the hormone progesterone, and this anti-progesterone effect could have prevented the growth of tumors in these mice, the authors speculated.

Mifepristone aborts an early pregnancy by the same mode of action. And therein lies the rub.

Within hours of the announcement, Steve Ertelt at LifeNews, a primary abortion propaganda outlet for the religious right, had upped the terror alert level to red.

A leading biochemist who has published internationally-respected studies on breast cancer and a top pro-life organization both reacted to a study released Thursday showing the RU 486 abortion drug helped suppress the breast cancer gene in mice. They agreed the drug will not likely benefit humans.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThis means that LifeNews speed-dialed Dr. "abortion-causes-breast-cancer-no-matter-what-studies-say" Joel Brind (left) -- a college professor who uses the honorific "doctor" to lend spurious credibility to his one-man religious crusade for an abortion-breast cancer link-- because he's always good for a quote.

"There is reason to believe that RU 486 as an anti-progestin might suppress growth of breast cancer in an experimental system in rodents, but RU 486 also neutralizes the essential hormone cortisol which mice do not make," Brind said.

"Therefore, there is good reason to believe that such a drug would not be an effective anti-cancer drug in people," he told LifeNews.com.

Brind said that the aboriton [sic] pill's backers have been trying for over twenty years to find legitimite medical use for the drug without success.

The highly qualified UC researchers express no reservations about a lack of cortisol in mice. And if Dr. Brind, as a professor of biology and endocrinology and as a self-styled expert on the actions of mifepristone, really doesn't know that mifepristone has other medical indications, he certainly ought to. Because as everyone else has known since 2002, the drug also is highly effective as a treatment for psychotic depression.  Hey, Joel, catch up; it was even in the New York Times. (But since mifepristone's suppression of cortisol has been so widely publicized, one suspects he might have heard.)

Two small studies, the latest appearing last month in the journal Biological Psychiatry, have found that mifepristone is effective in helping people whose severe depression is accompanied by delusional beliefs or hallucinations. Of the 30 patients in the recent study, those who took mifepristone for seven days at dosages higher than those used for abortions showed substantial and rapid improvement in their symptoms, the researchers found. The drug produced only mild side effects in the study.
:::
Patients with psychotic depression often suffer from delusions, believing, for example, that they deserve punishment for imagined crimes or that they have terminal illnesses.

Psychiatrists have traditionally treated psychotically depressed patients with some combination of antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs and electroshock therapy, an approach that has yielded only moderate success.
:::
A chemical compound used for abortions may seem an odd candidate for a depression drug. But mifepristone attracted the attention of researchers for good reason.

Mifepristone induces abortion by blocking the action of progesterone, a hormone necessary for implanting a fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus.

But in higher doses, the drug also blocks another hormone, cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands and plays a critical role in the body's response to stress. Patients with psychotic depression, studies have shown, often have elevated levels of cortisol.

Dr. Anthony Rothschild, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who has studied psychotic depression, said he and Dr. Schatzberg had hoped to test RU-486 as a treatment in the late 1980's.

''You just couldn't get it because of the political controversy,'' Dr. Rothschild said.

Gee, Dr. Rothschild, no kidding?

The LifeNews spin continues with more expert commentary from another "doctor" -- Dr. Randy O'Bannon, director of the education department at the National Right to Life Committee.

Though he doubts the drug will ultimately help patients, he said the Population Ation [sic] Council, a pro-abortion group that holds the rights to the drug, has been more worried about promoting abortions than assisting women.

"If there turn out to be such applications, it is likely that they would have been found much sooner, and saved a lot more lives, if the researchers and patent holders hadn't poured all their time, money and energy into promoting its use for abortion, the killing of unborn children," O'Bannon said.

The Population Council helped make mifepristone available in the United States for use in early abortion, an application totally irrelevant to the subject at hand: cancer research -- which is not the purview, and not under the control, of an organization called the Population Council.  So "Duh," Dr. O'Bannon, but thanks for contributing to the conversation anyway. Next time LifeNews asks you for a quick quote, maybe you can read them something from the 119,000 Google hits for "mifepristone+breast cancer."

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSteve Ertelt (right) seems to have been so agitated that he could barely type, although that might not be the only reason that Ertelt completely misrepresents the opinions of the researchers involved in the study.

Other reashers [sic] also urged women and the general public to not get excited about the abortion drug's potential to treat patients.
:::
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society's deputy chief medical officer ... told AP "it would not be appropriate in any way, shape or form that women start taking RU-486 for this purpose."

Let's look at the full text of Dr. Lichtenfeld's remarks to the Associated Press as published in the Washington Post.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society's deputy chief medical officer, said researchers and patients will "take interest in this topic and explore it further."

He called the paper "elegant research," but stressed that "it would not be appropriate in any way, shape or form that women start taking RU-486 for this purpose."

Long-term use of RU-486 could suppress the immune system and cause other side effects.

Ertelt's selective quotations are his stock in trade, so of course there's more.

Eva Lee, the UC biologist who conducted the study, also warned AP that the abortion drug isn't the answer for women with breast cancer, saying it could suppress the immune system and cause other long-term problems.

She said the drug wouldn't be used to help women and that another similar drug that more specifically targeted the progesterone hormone would need to be developed.

But wait, Steve, there's more. Again, from the AP via the Washington Post:

Although the study was done in mice, the same mechanism occurs in human cells, said study author Eva Lee, a professor of developmental and cell biology and biological chemistry at the University of California, Irvine.

She speculated that clinicians may one day be able to use progesterone-blocking compounds to prevent breast cancer in women with a genetic predisposition.
:::
"[Mifepristone] is the most widely available anti-progesterone drug," Lee said. "We are currently testing a more specific anti-progesterone drug to see whether it has the same effect and if that's proven, we'll go to a small clinical trial to see if that anti-progesterone is effective in a high-risk population."

So what Lee really appears to be saying is that since mifepristone shows such promise, a more specific drug could be even better.

The most absurd assertion of all from LifeNews is that this research should be discounted because the drug was tested in mice.  Considering its regurgitation of Tony Perkins' inane endorsement of the religious right's favorite gynecologist, Dr. Eric Keroack, and his wacky rodent-fueled "sex = drug addiction" theory, a legitimate mouse study should be all the proof they'd need.

Such pathetic and blatant dissembling might be funny if the subject wasn't, well ... as serious as cancer.




Display:
As medical director of A Woman's Concern, Eric Keroack fully endorsed [pdf link] Joel Brind's abortion-causes-breast cancer propaganda.

by moiv on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:06:21 AM EST

that the new congress has a way to get Mr. Keroack (I hesitate to call him a Dr.) in front of a committee to testify before everyone what an ass he is. I could be some great political theater and hopefully give some grounds for getting rid of him before he can do much damage.

by RevDeb on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 08:26:18 AM EST

Trust me, that's a mouse, probably one of the common albino strains used in labs (A/J). NOT an albino strain of Norway rat.

Any M.D. who claims that first trimester abortion "causes" breast cancer is a quack who needs more continuing ed credits or a check on his ethics and billing practices. No excuse for not knowing about the NIH consensus conference and/or the contents of respected textbooks on breast cancer.

by NancyP on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 05:06:04 PM EST

The rats I smell are Brind and Ertelt. ;-)

by moiv on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 08:36:42 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Houston's I Stand Sunday
In response to Houston's gay mayor's solicitation of church sermons, on Nov. 2, 2014, Houston Texas will host an I Stand Sunday.  The event,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.