Pleeblandia

Thoughts from the front lines


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How much can we trust our healthcare?

There are many examples in the book Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood about corporate power such as the issue with Crake’s dad who was against the corporates and had an ‘accident’ shortly after, and about corporate greed such as Toby’s past and how her healthy mother became a guinea pig and slowly died.

Corporate greed is a recurring theme in the book Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake.
Sadly, this is something that happens in real life as well.

The government, the corporates, the media are hiding many things from us.

You probably already heard about the issue with financial fraud of the Wall Street executives in 2008 which was impossible to hide because of the crisis. Obligatory measures and new laws were forced to be implemented due to the huge exposure, but unfortunately, those new laws didn’t stop the corporates from abusing their power.

There are more examples of corporate power/greed out there and much more examples hidden from us, but in this post, I will focus mostly on corporates responsible for our healthcare.

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Here is a recent example of a healthcare company lying about its integrity because of money:

“The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products and does not accept commercial support, but later a review authored by Jeanne Lenzer that was published in the British journal BMJ in 2015 reveals that through the CDC Foundation, much of the research led by the CDC is indeed backed by a wide variety of corporations” (Lux).

It is hard to trust a company with all those corporation ties, the product could be harmful, but because CDC was supported by them, they would have to lie to the public about it due to the conflict of interest.
This is something that happens a lot actually, another example is how the sugar industry paid prestigious Harvard researchers to say fat (NOT sugar) caused heart disease.
You can read more about that here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3785753/How-sugar-industry-paid-prestigious-Harvard-researchers-say-fat-NOT-sugar-caused-heart-disease.html

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“Corporation pills are the food of the dead, my dear”(Atwood, 105)

Here is one example that resonates with Pilar’s advice:

“The flu and measles vaccine which are claimed to be ‘safe and effective’ – even though mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum (plus many other neurotoxic ingredients) can be found in each dose. According to Dr. Dean, “the Health Advocacy in the Public Interest (HAPI) commissioned a small study to test four vials of different vaccines for mercury content. The vials were sent to a heavy metal testing lab called Doctor’s Data. The results showed that all four vaccines contained mercury, even though two of the four companies claimed that their vaccines were mercury-free. Children and adults injected with these poisons have an increased risk of digestive problems, chronic inflammation, brain disorders and weakened immune function”. (“Three reasons why modern medicine will never cure chronic disease”)

Toby described HelthWyser clinics as a place where “all they did was poke at your tongue and give you a few germs and viruses you didn’t already have, and send you home” (Atwood, 26).

Ironic how we are taking vaccines to cure a disease but end up having injected things that could cause other diseases like how Toby portrayed the clinics and how her mother was taking supplements to become healthier, but it ended up being the source of her mother’s illness and eventually death.

In the book and in real life, we don’t know for sure who should we trust, what medicines really work, or what they (the Corps) are hiding for us, but we can always consult more than one specialist and do our own research about what we are putting into our bodies.

So, what do you think? Are those sources spouting a bunch of bullshit, or do you think there is some true behind it? and if you agree with the latter, do you think it is possible to solve this issue (preferably a method that does not include erasing humanity) ?

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. MaddAddam Trilogy. New York: Random House, 2013. Print

Batts, Vicki. “CDC Foundation accepts millions of dollars from vaccine manufacturer.” CDC.news. 7 March 2017, http://www.cdc.news/2017-03-07-cdc-foundation-accepts-millions-from-vaccine-manufacturers.html. Accessed  25 March 2017.

Lux, Mike. “Corporate Power Run Amok.” Huffington Post. 27 April 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/corporate-power-run-amuck_b_4855750.html. Accessed 25 March 2017.

“Three reasons why modern medicine will never cure chronic disease.” Natural News Network. http://www.naturalnews.com/048887_Carolyn_Dean_modern_medicine_mandatory_vaccinations.html. Accessed 25 March 2017


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GMO food, an upgrade or downgrade to mankind?

There are reasons why the book Oryx and Crake is called speculative fiction rather than science fiction. Atwood’s world is based on reality, things that may actually happen, considering how things are going in our real world.  In fact, many of the things mentioned, do actually exist already, or at least there are different people working on it.

In the novel, we will often encounter genetically modified organisms (GMO), that is animals created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology, so far we got Pigoons, Rakunks, and Wolvogs.

Nonetheless, the list doesn’t stop there. They even went as far as modifying animals for our consumption by creating genetically modified chickens. No, not chickens, only living chicken parts. At first, I didn’t know if I was terrified or excited with the idea, but a feeling of awe was definitely growing inside of me.

Fortunately (or not) we do not have ChickieNobs yet, but we do have genetically modified plants.

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This is a picture of how GMO corns are created!

Impressive, huh? However, let’s not forget that all new creations have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the Happicuppa example:

Happicuppa coffee was designed so that all of its beans would ripen simultaneously, and coffee could be grown on huge plantations and harvested with machines. This threw the small growers out of business and reduced both them and their laborers to starvation level poverty (p.179).

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In this case:

• Advantages: Easier and faster way to harvest without the need of manual work.
• Disadvantages: Small growers and laborers lose their jobs and fall into poverty.

Throughout the chapter, Atwood gives us some other arguments and of course some counter-arguments regarding gen-mod coffee in their world, surprisingly they are not that different from the benefits and the risks of GMO food in our world, so what are they?

Benefits

• Reduce crop loss due to pests, disease, or weeds;
• Reduce crop loss due to inadequate storage facilities, slow transportation (by delaying ripening or providing post-harvest pest resistance);
• Extend grow and harvest seasons;
• Greater consistency of production;
• Nutritional enhancement;

Risks:

• Use of a lot more water and fertilizer than traditional crops.
•  Increased use of pesticides (which created pesticide resistance while killing off some beneficial insects).
• Ineligible for export to countries that had not approved the specific genetic modification (most of the countries, including the entire Europe).
• Potential to produce allergens and toxins, dangerous to human health.
• No in-depth studies of the impact of GMO on humans

As a bonus, here are some more biased facts of GMO:

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And some interesting questions to ponder over:

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(Obs: Monsanto is a leading producer of genetically modified food with its headquarters located in the USA).

– If they are so proud of the benefits of GMOs, why won’t they label it?
– Although GMO has been around for a while why there are no long-term GMO studies on humans?
– What do they know, that we don’t?

I think that from the paragraphs above, you can already deduce my opinion. Genetically modified food can definitely be beneficial in the short-term and even be a fast solution to world hunger, however, it is not sustainable since insects will evolve and develop total resistance and of course the possible health risks of ingesting modified food in the long-term.

So, What do you think? Is GMO food a way to enhance our food supply or an insidious human creation?

As we saw in the book, and throughout history, we need nature to survive, not the other way around. Thus, let’s not disregard the possibility of Atwood’s novel of being a premonition (just like Crake’s) of what the future could look like to us if we go overboard on trying to change nature. Ah, I don’t mean it that our future will look exactly like in the book, but rather the fact that our own creations can fire back at us.

For more information on GMO food click on the pictures or check the following websites:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/05/monsanto200805
http://fod.infobase.com/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=39438&loid=58455&tScript=0
https://gmo-awareness.com/
http://gmoinside.org/
http://www.inra.fr/en/content/search?SearchText=gmo&parent=72&submitbutton.x=0&submitbutton.y=0

References

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. Paperback, US, 2003. Print.

Ceccoli, Stephen. “Explaining Attitudes toward Genetically Modified Foods in the  European Union.” International Political Science Review / Revue Internationale De Science Politique 33.3 (2012): 301-19. JSTOR. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.

Olga, Lusaka Manda. “Controversy Rages over ‘GM’ Food Aid.” United Nations. United Nations, Feb. 2003. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.

Weasel, Lisa H. Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetically Modified Food. New York: AMACOM, 2009. eBook Academic Collection, eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=d60700cf-e13b-4fdd-9439-33cd15c271d2%40sessionmgr103&hid=103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=251063&db=e000xna