More To Betty Martini

Rifle River jstream at girch1.med.uth.tmc.edu
Tue Aug 15 09:25:13 EST 1995


In article <Pine.NEB.3.91.950814171553.2304B-100000 at max.tiac.net>, Mark
Gold <mgold at max.tiac.net> wrote:

> Nice try.  The protocol called for 40 subjects to be tested.  Once 
> again, you seem to be suggesting that there is something wrong with
> testing a suceptible population.

Using a small sample size and using patients suffering from depression who
knew they would be given the potentially harmful chemical at some point
(based on current laws regarding disclosure of research to human subjects)
is just asking to see something happen.  The fact that the side effects
occurred during the placebo week reinforces this.
 
>  the protocol as designed 
> was of a high enough quality that adverse reactions would likely have 
> been found -- and they were as you could see from the table I posted.

No, the design was of poor quality so that it increased the chances of the
researchers seeing an effect.  Short runs with few subjects can often
result in significant effects that would wash out in larger and longer
studies.

> : Why doesn't this same critical analysis apply to the studies that agree
> : with your position?  Can you say bias?  
> 
> I would like to see Walton's study repeated by *independent* 
> investigators with more subjects.  I would also like to see 
> real-world aspartame products used, a longer experiment, and better 
> selection of test and control groups.  Otherwise, I think Walton's 
> study was very good and raises serious concerns about the alleged 
> "safety" of short-term use of NutraSweet in vulnerable populations.

Mark, this has to be one of the most reasonable and logical statements I've
read on this topic.  It doesn't incite fear or hysteria, yet I think it
gets your point across.
  
> The FDA investigation turned up this fact and the fact that most of 
> Searle's tests were worthless.

OK, how can I access the FDA reports?  No, don't point me to a WWW or FTP
or auto-responder.  Would a large University library have this report?  Can
I write to the FDA to get the report of the investigations?

> : I, personally, have not examined the hundreds of studies that have tested
> : aspartame's safety.  However, are you trying to tell me that every one was
> : flawed and hundreds of researchers are unethical?  I find this hard to
> : swallow.
> 
> A researcher doesn't have to be unethical to conduct a flawed test.

Good point.  
 
> I would be happy to discuss the research on aspartame, especially as it
> related to neurological issues.

When I find some time I'll look into the research proclaiming aspartame's
safety.  Rest assured that I use the same degree of skepticism when
examining any study.  If I have any questions after that I'll get back to
you.

Rifle River
jstream at girch1.med.uth.tmc.edu



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