Karolinska’s Maria Feychting Cites Pathology Bias To Discredit NTP RF Cancer Study http://microwavenews.com/news-center/anatomy-rumor
Editor & Publisher December 1, 2017
A few days ago, I received an urgent warning from a longtime contact in Sweden. An industry associate had told him that the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s study on cell phone cancer risks http://microwavenews.com/news-center/ntp-cancer-results was screwed up and essentially “useless.”
I was tempted to disregard it as nothing more than a corporate delusion. But the original source was said to be Maria Feychting, http://ki.se/en/people/marfey a professor at the Karolinska Institute and the vice chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) http://www.icnirp.org/ She had cast doubt on the landmark $25 million NTP RF–animal study in a talk presented at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences http://www.kva.se/en/startsida —the institute that awards the Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry every year.
I decided I had to check out the rumor.
The crux of Feychting’s argument, I was told, is that the pathology analyses were not properly blinded. That is, the pathologists were aware which samples had come from the exposed animals and which were from the controls. The diagnoses were therefore subject to bias and could not be trusted. The net result would be that the higher tumor rates reported by the NTP had, as the rumor put it, “no value.”
The evidence, I was told, is buried in Appendix C of the NTP’s report of its “partial findings,” https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699 issued in May 2016 (pp.21-22):
“All PWG [Pathology Working Group] reviews were conducted blinded with respect to treatment group and only identified the test article as “test agent A” or “test agent B.”
Feychting and others appear to have assumed that “A” and “B” were code for the exposed and controls rats.
They were wrong.
“The PWGs were carried out on slides that were blinded as to exposure group or control,” John Bucher, https://irp.nih.gov/pi/john-bucher the study director and the associate director of the NTP wrote in an e-mail when asked about the Feychting rumor by Microwave News. He also confirmed that agents “A” & “B” referred to the different RF modulations.
This same concern had already been raised and addressed during the internal NTP review prior to the release of the interim results last year. That report states that “A” and “B” refer to the two types of cell phone signals under study, GSM and CDMA (p.69).
Feychting did not respond to a request for comment.
A Rumor is Born at an ICNIRP Workshop
ICNIRP invited Bucher to present the results of the NTP study at a meeting JointNoteSystemsofProtectionNov2017 held in Munich, November 8-10. Most of what Bucher said had already been presented at the BioEM 2016 http://www.bioem2016.org/ conference in Ghent last year. There was nothing new, said Martin Röösli https://www.swisstph.ch/en/staff/profile/people/martin-roeoesli/ of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. Röösli, a member http://www.icnirp.org/en/about-icnirp/commission/index.html of ICNIRP, attended both meetings.
Bucher recalls that the ICNIRP members asked a lot of questions about the NTP study, especially about the pathology review procedures. (These are spelled out in detail in Appendix C of last year’s interim report.)
I asked Eric van Rongen, http://www.icnirp.org/en/about-icnirp/commission/details/chair.html the chair of ICNIRP, for a copy of the agenda of the ICNIRP meeting. He refused, explaining that it was a “closed meeting.”
Maria Feychting of the Karolinska Institute Cites Pathology Bias