Mickey Mouse pumpkins; and drugs that genetically modify your brain

Inhabitat.com, on Disney’s Epcot Centre land exhibit:

Genetically modified Pumpkins resemble Mickey Mouse’s head. Photo via Inhabitat.com

“….The 6-year-old then asked our guide about genetic experimentation, and pretty quickly we all learn that most of the crops within the “Living With The Land” greenhouses are genetically modified. At this point in the tour I’m starting to think that perhaps EPCOT needs to give media training to their interns – because lots of talk about genetically modified crops and copious use of styrofoam “because its cheap and disposable” doesn’t exactly paint the rosiest of pictures for an exhibit supposedly about “Living With The Land”

Apparently Nestle Corporation is the main sponsor of this exhibit at EPCOT, which explains some of the questionable claims and dubious greenwashing on display at “Living with the Land.” Nestle is, after all, one of those food companies with an infamous track record – second only to big tobacco in the amount of deaths and illness it has caused through aggressively marketing dangerous practices to the public. (As documented in this great article in the Guardian, Nestle is widely known to have caused the deaths of many babies around the world through aggressively pushing their unsafe and unhealthy baby formula as a “better” alternative than breastfeeding to impoverished mothers in the third world.)

Despite all this, however, one thing that EPCOT’s greenhouses seem to do pretty well is to grow Mickey-shaped vegetables. Pumpkins growing in plastic Mickey-head-shaped molds were prominently displayed throughout the greenhouses, churning out pumpkins with visible “ears” on either side of their head. We were also fortunate enough to get a look at Mickey cucumbers as well. (The Mickey shape is extruded throughout the length of the cucumber, so that when you slice the lumpy and odd-looking cucumber, each flat slice resembles Mickey Mouse’s head). Yowza!…”

Read more on Inhabitat.com

From Michael Cornwall, in “Mad in America”:

“Does anyone want a genetically modified brain..”

“Move over outdated chemical imbalance theory, now it is claimed that genetic misregulation underlies psychiatric disease, and that psychiatric drugs themselves can fix the genetic misregulation problem. ”Anti-psychotics and mood stabilizing agents are capable of promoting epigenetic modifications associated with an active transcriptional state at disease-relevant loci, suggesting new molecular mechanisms of anti-psychotic efficacy” says the just released report by the Toronto-based Krembil Epigenetics Laboratory.

The report entitled- “Epigenetics of Major Psychoses: Progress, Problems and Perspectives”- was supported by the Canadian Institute for Health and the National Institutes of Health. It represents the cutting edge science on the brain, genetics, and so-called psychiatric disease.

To me this report heralds an Orwellian prophecy of hugely ominous proportions. Anti-psychotic and mood altering agents are being cheerfully seen as acceptable gene modifying substances that reverse the genetic misregulation that is boldly claimed to underlie so-called schizophrenia and bi-polar.

This is the new model. No more unproveable, debunked chemical imbalance theory of causation. Now we read – “Rapidly growing evidence shows that epigenetic regulation underlies normal cognition, and that cognition dysfunction occurs upon epigenetic misregulation.”

And – “Several psychiatric medications have been shown to produce epigenetic changes in the brain … the therapeutic actions of current medications for psychiatric disorders may occur via epigentic mechanisms.”

Epigenetics, is the study of modifications that occur in our DNA that cause certain genes to be suppressed. This report says that healthy genetic functioning or expression underlies normal cognitive functioning, and that genetic misregulation underlies psychiatric disease.

That in itself is a game changing model of human emotional suffering and madness if it is true. It tightens the science that says that all causation of human experience is caused by genetically determined neurological and biological forces and processes of normality vs. disease.

But to then assert that the psychiatric medications already in use can remedy all that, by altering us and changing how our genes work, is really breathtaking in its reach and possible consequences. The moral imperative to hesitate and deeply ponder how genetic science impacts people, has been a much proclaimed safeguard in the field of genetics. That requisite moral imperative seems to have been skipped over in this zeal to applaud anti-psychotic medication use as a ready way to modify genetic expression. Won’t all prescriptions for anti-psychotic medications have to include an informed consent now, about their genetic modifying effects? Most people I know don’t like to eat genetically modified produce. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people will be against their prescribed psychiatric drugs effecting their genetic functioning….”

Read more on Mad in America.

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