Skip to main content

See also:

Does Roundup cause celiac disease or gluten intolerance?

Corn growing in our garden
Corn growing in our garden
jwc

There have been a number of alarmist articles asserting this silly idea recently. You’ll find one in the barely credible Mother Earth News and in the completely incredible crackpot Natural News as well. There’s also one on sustainablepulse.com, a site of conspiracy theorists, which includes pages on the discredited French scientist Giles-Eric Seralini (he of the withdrawn lumpy rat GMO paper).

But where’s the research? We didn’t find any actual research at all. There is one paper by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, who apparently do deep dives into the existing literature and concoct previously unknown correlations to support their unproven theories. Neither author has a PhD in biology or chemistry (Seneff’s is in computer science) nor have either published any actual research. We discussed their earlier paper on Roundup last year, finding it primarily a collection of “academic weasel words” but establishing nothing conclusive. Eric Hall also criticized the paper in his column at skeptoid.

This is the case here too. A paper called “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance” was allegedly published in the somewhat obscure quarterly journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology. However, a search of that journal’s site does not reveal that paper or any paper by Seneff.

In fact, the only places you can find this paper are on activist sites with little scientific credibility such as Mother Earth News. It is also hosted on New Hampshire Right to Know.

So why do various anti-biotech activists with little science in their backgrounds have this paper when the actual journal does not? Who do you suppose sent it to them?

Well, what about the actual paper? It is another densely argued screed with over 250 references. This is called the Gish Gallop, where spraying you with facts overcomes the lack of serious science. But if you read the paper, it is surprisingly light on actual science, since the authors used the same technique as before, finding some obscure literature factoid and arguing that this might be construed to show some sort of harm.

And, as you probably know, Celiac disease is a genetic abnormality that can lead to the autoimmune disease. It is not caused by an utterly benign herbicide.

In this paper, the authors cite their earlier discredited paper (which uses “exogenous semiotic entropy” as an argument) and cite Judy Carman’s discredited paper on feeding GMO soy to pigs (twice). They also cite their own previous paper 5 times. But when they get to the major points of the paper, they cite no data, nor did they do any experiments themselves. Essentially they assert that Roundup (glyphosate) kills beneficial bacteria in the gut and “celiac disease is associated with a reduced presence” of such bacteria. No experiments! No data! No proof!

Much of the rest of the paper is of the same sort, but using “academic weasel words” to tie actual data in other people’s research to their unproven hypotheses:

  • We hypothesize that H2S, while toxic, is a source of energy…
  • We hypothesize that glyphosate induces EOE…
  • A hypothesis was developed that glyphosate disrupts the transport of sulfate…
  • Impaired venous relaxation would likely contribute…
  • Thus, it is becoming clear that excess exposure to RA would increase risk…
  • Excess RA could be a significant factor…
  • A possible mechanism by which glyphosate might…
  • And glyphosate may be playing a role in…
  • It is fruitful to consider…

and many, many more.

The authors are using densely worded descriptions of other people’s work to mask their own lack of actual results. They appear to be on a campaign to scare people without any evidence and should not be taken seriously.