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From the 29 May 1995 issue of Smart Drug News [v4n2]. Copyright (c) 1995, 2009. All rights reserved.
There were other problematic aspects of the brain tumor data. In the pre-1975 records that I reviewed, it was clear that several competent pathologists had carefully examined the original microscopic slides from the first study and agreed that there were 12 brain tumors in the NutraSweet-fed rats and zero brain tumors in the controls. When the FDA conducted a task force investigation of these laboratories in 1975, they singled out these studies for further investigation and ordered that all laboratory records, including microscopic slides etc. be impounded under FDA seal. Several years later, when a group of pathologists (UAREP) was sent to authenticate these studies, they could not find the microscopic slides. The UAREP pathologists were finally taken to a laboratory where the slides were not supposed to be and there they found some but not all of the original slides. Clearly they had not been kept under FDA seal and by mysterious coincidence the slides that were finally presented to the UAREP pathologists contained evidence for 11 brain tumors in NutraSweet-fed rats and 1 tumor in controls. It is important to recognize that if there are zero tumors in the controls, it is very difficult to argue that the tumor incidence in the control and NutraSweet-fed rats is the same. But if there is 1 tumor in the control group, it is possible with statistical acrobatics to reach the conclusion that the incidence is the same. And, indeed, this is exactly the argument that the manufacturer and the FDA Bureau of Foods pressed at the Public Board of Inquiry. ....Even more seriously, I wonder why FDA allows microscopic slides to disappear (while supposedly impounded) and why they do not question the de novo emergence of a brain tumor among the controls when the slides reappear.
Dr. John W. Olney
(from testimony before the U.S. Senate hearing)