GMO Research is Important
Why do we bother with research anyway? Isn’t there enough already? What does GMO research have to do with dogs and cats?
One of the biggest reasons to do research is to figure out what works and what does not, especially if you see one of those “everybody knows” statements. Like “Everybody knows that herbs don’t work.”
Or, on the other hand, “Everybody knows vitamin C is good for colds.” In the first case, we are doing research to show that the things we use actually do work. Other veterinarians will not take our word for it. They think you might just be taking better care of your dog and so your dog feels better from having more attention.
In the second case, to do a better job as a holistic veterinarian, we need to know the best way to give herbs, supplements, and so on. What dose? How often? If you read a lot of books about holistic treatments you will notice that these answers vary, depending on which person is writing the book and how much experience they have had. Fortunately there is good research on vitamin C taken by mouth (but not on intravenous vitamin C). Unfortunately, few people have read it and most people quote it wrong. Vitamin C does not prevent colds, but it makes them shorter and less severe. Most people quote either the first part of the sentence (if they are anti-vitamin) or the second part (if they are pro-vitamin).
“Everyone knows” there is lots of research on holistic treatments. If you visit PubMed, which keeps track of most published medical research, and really start looking you will see that holistic research actually is far behind research for conventional medicine. There are many more herbs and herbal formulas than there are antibiotics. But PubMed has 683,586 research studies on antibiotics and only 9408 on herbs. Penicillin has 96,649 published studies. There are 2 herbs which have been studied enough that they have some research validation: echinacea (1042 studies) and cranberry (1140 studies). But the only thing that has been supported so far with echinacea is to use it for respiratory infections. How about yunnan baiyao, which plays such a big part in stopping bleeding? 40 studies. How would you use it in horses? The one and only study on the horse says it doesn’t contribute much food value, and more study is needed. (So the Foundation has sponsored a study that measures its effects on horses.)
Last week Dr. Karen Becker’s column highlighted a patient of mine whose bladder infection would not respond to any antibiotics tried on her. A Chinese herbal formula helped her. Number of studies on that formula? Zero. That is another study that we would like to fund, when we get enough money to support it.
We also like hearing about new things that a treatment can or can’t accomplish. Cold Laser treatment is pretty well supported as treatment for muscle and joint pain. A veterinarian told us it can help with aggressive behavior. The first reaction to a statement like that is “Everybody knows you can’t use lasers for behavior.” There’s that phrase again – everybody knows. Instead of thinking “It would be wonderful if that is true?” And how often do you give it? Where? What class laser? We want to know more about that also. So we are looking for money to support the study to see if it is something we all can do.
What does all this have to do with GMOs? There is a lot of controversy about the safety of GMOs when eaten, including conflicting research studies. Until the question is settled we would like to know which food has GMOs in it – both petfood and people food. So the Foundation is supporting a study to test dog and cat food for GMO content.
Is there anything we won’t fund? Of course there is. We will never fund any study that creates a disease or pain in an animal in order to study it. We will not support the kind of study that gets lots of support from big drug and chemical companies – they already have lots of money to support them. Help us find the answers when there is nothing left to do. Let us help you when you need more time for your friend.
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