More To Betty Martini

Mark Gold mgold at
Fri Aug 11 13:59:52 EST 1995

: From: jstream at (Rifle River)
: Newsgroups: bionet.neuroscience
: Subject: Re: More To Betty Martini
: Date: 11 Aug 1995 14:48:56 GMT
: > The double=blind study by Dr. Walton is, indeed, a study.  However, the 
: > frequency and severity of psychiatric, neurologic, eye and other side 
: > effects caused the institutional Review Board to terminate the project 
: > prematurely. 
: Betty, this study used fewer than 10 subjects who were all suffering from
: severe depression.  The study was stopped when two unusual medical
: conditions occurred in two of the subjects during the week which they
: received PLACEBO!


You were doing much better when you stuck to discussion of 
excitotoxins.  Whenever you talk about this study, you carefully avoid
mentioning the title of the study:

  Walton, Ralph G., et al., 1993. "Adverse Reactions to
    Aspartame: Double-Blinle Challenge in Patients From a
    Vulnerable Population," Biological Psychiatry, Volume 34,
    page 13-17.

As anyone can see from the title, Dr. Walton was conducted a study on 
a population which is considered vulnerable to adverse effects from 
aspartame.  You manage to leave out that fact, pretending that there 
is something wrong with studying patients who have been diagnosed 
with depression.

The fact that the study was so short relative to real-world use of 
aspartame (20 days) and that capsules were used which significantly 
lowers the plasma amino acid spikes means that the danger of 
long-term use of real-world aspartame-containing products to this 
vulnerable population may be very serious.

The reactions experience by the depressed subjects were as follows:

                          Placebo      Aspartame
Headache                    63%           88%
Nervousness                 25%           63%
Dizziness                   13%           25%
Trouble remembering          0%           63%
Binge eating                13%           13%
Lower back pain             25%           25%
Nausea                      25%          100%
Depression                  38%           75%
Insomnia                    38%           50%
Temper                       0%           25%

More energy                  0%           25%
Fatigue                      0%           25%
Malaise                      0%           38%
Weight loss                 13%            0%
Pain in eye                 13%            0%
Negative thoughts            0%           13%
Bad taste in mouth           0%           13%
Swollen lips                 0%           13%
Facial numbness              0%           13%
Conjunctival hemorrhage      0%           13%
Weight gain                  0%           13%
Irritability                 0%           25%

Now, the question is, "How would years of ingesting real-world 
aspartame products affect this vulnerable population?"  A much less 
vulnerable population is being affected after years of use in my 

Finally, you are selectively quoting why the experiment was stopped.  
People who have read the publication and who have talked to the 
*independent* investigator get quite a different picture.

: > No Jody, the tests were never proven safe - they were proven unsafe.
: Please cite the references for these valid studies indicating the unsafe
: nature of aspartame.  Warning:  Mark Gold didn't like what I did to his
: reference list.

Why beat around the bush?  I posted a detailed description of what 
you did -- misreading, selective quoting, taking statements out of 
context, attributing statements to me that I never made, etc.  See 
enclosed copy of that post.
: > wonder why Desert Storm Syndrome symptoms are identical to aspartame 

: Dr. Garth Nicholson directly contradicts your theory.  He states that
: Desert Storm Syndrome results from mycoplasm infection from biological
: warfare.
: However, what evidence have you seen to even indicate that there is such a
: thing as Desert Storm Syndrome other than mass hysteria?
: Ever notice how a crackpot doesn't just have one cooky idea to support, but
: they support every strange idea out there?  :->  Betty, you only harm your
: credibility further.
Rifle, do you mind if I quote you on the immune system related groups 
and the Desert Storm related groups?  I'm sure those people would 
"love" you characterizations -- "mass hysteria" "crackpot" etc.  I 
like the the way you managed to imply that Desert Storm exists in your 
first sentence and imply that it is "mass hysteria" in your second 

Best regards,
                              - Mark
                           mgold at


: From: jstream at (Rifle River)
: Newsgroups:,,
: Subject: Re: Aspartame/NutraSweet
: Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 17:02:46 -0600
: Mark, you must enjoy trolling me.  I reviewed the references you sent to
: me regarding aspartame.  Let's begin.


Normally, I wouldn't respond to your post on this group since what 
you are addressing is some old posts I made to  
But you have reached a new level of twisting what I said, so I will 
respond.  At the end I offer to anyone who really wants to look beyond 
the NutraSweet PR, a document which details the science and history
of aspartame and includes references.

: Camfield et al. Neurology Vol. 42 1000-1003
: The study used 10 children all with generalized absence seizures.  The
: kids received 40 mg/kg of aspartame in a single dose, and I quote from the
: paper "which would be unusual on a day-to-day basis."  This dosage is
: essentially the equivalent of giving aspartame from 4.5 cans of diet soda
: in one sitting.  The authors also state that "caution should be exercised
: in extrapolating our findings to other types of epileptic seizures" much
: less the rest of the general population.  In addition, the data were
: hardly overwhelming.  And, the authors state that the parameters they
: measured do not translate into severity of epilepsy.  Conclusion: 
: Generalized absence seizure epileptic children probably should not drink
: 4.5 cans of diet soda in one sitting.

In hot whether, alot of kids down 1.5 liters of soda.  This was a 
relatively short experiment.  If you are concluding that 4.5 cans of 
diet soda may be dangerous in one sitting, then what happens with a
lifetime of aspartame ingestion -- especially in a vulnerable 
population.  The study was a very speicific experiment and it gives 
clues as to dangers of aspartame.  Since seizures are one of the more 
common adverse reactions reported from aspartame, it certainly is 
worth advising extreme caution given the results of this 
*independent* study.

: Van Den Eeden et al.  Neurology Oct. '94 Vol. 44 1787
: This study used 18 subjects who had prior complaints of aspartame causing
: them headaches.  These authors did note that studies using healthy adults,
: healthy children, phenylketonurics, or diabetics have not reported any
: excess of adverse reactions (hmm, this sounds different from what you
: said, Mark?).

I said that virtually all independent studies have found problems 
with aspartame.  NutraSweet has conducted a number of flawed studies 
-- those are the studies that Van Den Eeden was refering to.

>However, these authors chose to study those people who
>claim to have an adverse reaction to aspartame.  The subjects received
>2,000 mg of aspartame per day.  This equates to approximately 8.5 cans of
>diet soda per day.

Or approximately 6 cans (2 liters) of diet orange soda.  Two to three 
liters of soda per day is quite common in the Southwest U.S.  Even 
FDA reviews turned up quite a number of people who had this intake.
If a person eats any one of thousands of other aspartame-containing 
products in addition to diet soda, then 2,000 mg per day can be
obtained quite easily.

>  The authors state that "Given the ubiquitous use of
>aspartame, it appears that the frequency of adverse reactions is low in
>the general population."  Mark, this seems to contradict the conclusions
>you make (this is from a source that you gave me, so I assume you've read

You seem to freely misquote me and selectively quote the author of 
the study. The authors' own chosen conclusions are as follows:

  "This experiment provides evidence that, among individuals with 
   self-reported headaches after ingestion of aspartame, a subset of 
   this group report more headaches when tested under controlled 
   conditions.  It appears that some people are particularly susceptible 
   to headaches caused by aspartame and may want to limit their 

While this independent study was much better designed than NutraSweet 
studies, it had one major flaw that would lessen adverse reactions.  
The aspartame was encapsulated.  There was a very important 
experiment conducted by Stegink in 1987 which showedd that less 
aspartame is absorbed from aspartame capsules and that the changes in 
plasma amino acid levels were not spiked nearly as much as aspartame 
dissolved in liquids.  This *independent* study found adverse effects
even though capsules were used.

: Walton et al. Biological Psychiatry Vol. 34 1993: 13-17
: All 8 of the vulnerable subjects were suffering from clinical depression. 
: Five of the 8 subjects were on antidepressants during the study.  The
: dosage given was equivalent to 10-12 cans of diet soda per day.  In the
: non-depressed subjects, used for comparison, headaches, dizziness, lower
: back pain, nausea, depression,  and temper all decreased when taking
: aspartame compared to placebo.

Now you're really going overboard in twisting the facts.  The change 
in adverse effects between placebo and aspartame for *non-depressed* 
patients was not statistically significant.  You simply picked the 
ones that increase slightly and didn't list the ones that decreased 
slightly.  Unfortunately, most people do not have access to this 
paper to see how you selectively choose your data.

The title of the paper is, "Adverse Reaction to Aspartame: 
Double-Blind Challenge in Patient from a Vulnerable Population."
As you can see, the authors' intentions were to study a vulnerable 
population -- i.e., depressed patients.  What you neglected to 
mention was that some patients thought they had been poisoned 
because there reactions were severe and that the Institutional Review 
Board stopped the study because of a severe reaction from aspartame.  
You also neglected to mention that because this experiment was not 
controlled by NutraSweet, they refused to sell the authors the 

I encourage those who are interested to loo at Table 1 of this study 
and see the large increase in adverse reactions despite the study 
being relatively short.

: Conclusion of the authors:
: People with unipolar depression should not drink 10 to 12 cans of diet
: soda per day.

Once again, encapsulated aspartame was used.  This significantly 
lessens the effects of aspartame's breakdown products as can clearly 
be seen in Stegink's 1987 study.  Even though encapsulated aspartame 
was used and the study was relatively short, it is an important 
finding that it caused severe reactions in this vulnerable 

: Koehler et al. Headache Feb. '88 Vol. 28: 10-14
: This study examined migraine sufferers.  The dosage was approximately the
: equivalent of 6 cans of diet soda per day.  Eleven subjects completed the
: study.  The authors state that "there is the possibility that these
: results could have been obtained by chance due to the number of t-tests
: that were performed on this subject sample".  The authors conclude that
: "aspartame may cause a significant increase in the frequency of migraines
: for some subjects" and that "it is possible that some of the migraineurs'
: reactions may have been due to chance and thus have led to inaccurate
: conclusions".  I tend to agree with the authors because, looking at the
: data, only 3 of the 11 participants showed a substantial change.

Here we go again.  Here's the table from the paper.

Number of Migraines Per Subject as a Function of Study Phase
Subject ID      Baseline       Placebo       Aspartame
   11              1              1              3
   15              4              2              8
   01              0              0              6
   24              2              1              3
   12              4              3              8
   08              1              2              2
   02              0              2              2
   09              3              3              3
   22              1              1              1
   25              1              1              1
   20              2              1              2

Of course, any result could possibly be due to "random chance," but 
it is quite clear that some migraine sufferers experience a 
significant increase in the number of headaches when ingested 
aspartame for a relatively short period of time.  

The dose was equivalent to 2 liters of diet soda (or ~1.3 liters 
of diet orange soda) **and** it was encapsulated which decreases the 
toxicity!  Also, the capsules were taken with meals which also lowers 
the spike in the plasma amino acid levels and slightly reduces the 
toxicity.  What would the result be if some of these people ingested 
a couple of liters of soda a day plus a number of other aspartame 
products ... for a lifetime?

Here's the authors' chosen conclusion (as opposed to your selective 

  "The results of this study indicated that the ingestion of aspartame 
   by migraineurs caused a significant increase in healdache frequency 
  for some subjects" 

Also, if you read this study, please look at the editoral review in 
the same issue.  The editors of this journal take NutraSweet to task 
for conducting a seriously flawed headache study a year earlier.

: Burns et al. Pharmacology 1991; 43:210-219
: This study showed similar increases in plasma phenylalanine (Phe) and
: large neutral amino acids (LNNA) occur when healthy fasted subjects
: ingested amounts of equivalent sweetness of sucrose or aspartame.  In
: other words, the Phe increase seen from ingesting aspartame occurs after
: ingestion of sucrose as well.  I doubt you would suggest that everyone
: should give up sucrose as well as aspartame.  The authors also state that
: Phe/LNNA fluctuations are a natural everyday phenomenon.  Mark, I was
: surprised that you gave me this reference because it directly contradicts
: your position.  Or, at least it says that aspartame is no more harful than
: sucrose (more later).

I didn't give this as a reference showing adverse reactions from 
aspartame.  Given the selective quoting above, though, I'm not 
surprised you listed it.  I am, however, disappointed that I have to 
take the time to address misquotes.

First of all, this study was conducted at NutraSweet Comapny.  The 
plasma phenylalanine levels that were shown were averages for each 
time period.  That's means that if Joe's phenylalanine level was 
sky-high at 30 minutes and Mary's phenylalanine level was low at that 
time but sky-high at 50 minutes, the 30 minute value presented by 
NutraSweet would appear much lower because they averaged the values.
This is totally inappropriate, but they've been screwing around with 
numbers like this for years in order to disguise significant plasma 

The phenyalalanine from aspartame spikes the plasma phenyalalnine to 
extremely high levels (when ingested in liquid).  For some people the 
levels have been shown to be dangerously high, especially if they are 
pregnant.  (The fetal brain concentrates phenylalanine to a level 
four times that in the mother's blood.)  The other Large Neutral 
Amino Acid (LNAA) levels do not change significantly when ingesting 
aspartame.  Therefore, the Phenylalanine/LNAA ratio gets very high 
when ingesting aspartame (due to the increase in phenyalalnine 
levels).  It is the significant increase in phenyalalnine levels 
*and* the corresponding no-increase in LNAA levels that cause 
problems (e.g., gradual changes in brain chemistry, lowering the 
seizure threshhold, etc.).

On the other hand, when ingesting sugar, the insulin response causes 
the LNAA levels (including phenylalanine) to go way down (something 
you neglected to mention).  Therefore, even though the 
phenylalanine/LNAA ratio is higher than normal, the low levels of 
phenylalanine do not cause significant problems.  

Implying that phenylalanine from aspartame and sucrose cause similar
metabolic changes is ridiculous.  You and/or NutraSweet are really 
stretching reality.  At least *they* mentioned that the levels of 
phenylalanine went *down* after sucrose ingestion. There are a number 
of other tricks that NutraSweet uses to obscure unwanted results 
which I would be happy to address.

And yes, I do suggest that people reduce their sugar intake to low 
levels and gradually and comfortably move towards a healthy diet and 

: Lapierre et al. J Clinical Pharmacology 1990; 30: 454-460
: They found that "No significant difference between aspartame and placebo
: were found in measures of sedation, hunger, headache, reaction time,
: cognition, or memory at any time during the study."
: Again, I'm surprised you sent me this reference because it contradicts
: your position.  Granted, the n was small, but to quote the paper further:
: "no detectable effects observed despite significant increases in
: phenylalanine."

Again, another twisting of the point I was making.  This experiment 
shows that after *one* small dose of aspartame (encapsulated) the 
plasma phenyalalanine was spiked to levels many times higher than the 
placebo.  No one is saying that *one* dose of aspartame, especially 
when encapsulted is going to cause memory loss, etc.  Long-term use 
can and does cause serious adverse reactions.

: So Mark, the references you gave hardly support the contention that
: aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances on the market.  Maybe
: you have some other *quality* evidence that would sway my opinion?

I was happy to forward you references in the past, but I no longer 
trust your objectivity given that a) you're commenting on an old post on another group, b) you are twisting my 
comments, and c) you are selectively quoting the studies.

On the other hand, I have a much more detailed document on aspartame 
that discusses the science and history of aspartame which I highly 
suggest that objective persons consider reading.  Many parts are fun
to read because you get to see the types of things NutraSweet has
tried to get away with.

I also have a list of a "few" adverse reactions which I have seen on 
the Internet.  I would be happy to email to anyone.  The growing 
number and seriousness the the adverse reactions -- especially from 
long-term use is what has me and an increasing number of healthcare 
professionals very concerned.

Finally, I have a listing of sweeteners which I feel are good 
replacements to aspartame or sugar.  It's certainly not the last word 
on healthy sweeteners, but it may be useful for ideas and resources.

: Don't take my word for it.  I may merely be
: biased in opposition to Mark.  Rely on the evidence itself, not the
: conclusions I try to draw from it.

Hey, there's something I can agree with!

Best regards,
                           - Mark
                        mgold at

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