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Revisiting an Animal Researcher who Doesn't Get It

"Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars." - Warren Buffett

Six years ago, I wrote about a company called Myogen, calling it a "potential billion dollar company." The founder is an animal researcher named Leslie A. Leinwand, and she performs absurd heart research on laboratory animals at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

How absurd is $2.5 billion? That's the price Dr. Leinwand received in early March of 2012.

I found this posted on March 18, 2012 on her website:

"One day last year, a dejected cardiology research fellow in Leslie Leinwand's lab sought her out. He could not begin his experiments to test the role of estrogen in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic form of heart disease that leads to thickening of the walls/chambers of the heart, because none of his mice were showing any symptoms of the disease." "The only thing he had done differently with the mice, he told Leinwand, was to switch them from their usual soy-based diet to a comparable milk-based diet. He did so because a colleague mentioned that soy, with its large concentration of plant estrogens, might confound the estrogen experiment."

"Leinwand's students will also do research using a colony of green and brown Burmese pythons housed in the basement of the psychology department."

The student's mice had been genetically engineered and bred to naturally have heart disease.

Soy does not contain estrogen. Milk contains estrogen.

Her graduate student does not get it either, but since her mice did not get heart disease as she planned, Dr. Leinwand now finds it appropriate to test her heart theories on snakes living in the basement of her laboratory. I wonder whether lightening bolts play a role in her experiments. I also wonder whether she brings them back from the dead so that she can do research on reptiles with two-chambered hearts and apply her theories to humans with four-chambered hearts. I wrote the following six years ago in a Notmilk letter:

Soy Causes Heart Failure

Hundreds of years ago, Jonathan Swift wrote (in Gulliver's Travels) about an island of research scientists living atop a cloud that floated above the earth's surface. Swift's descriptions of research studies appear as absurd to today's reader as present-day research will appear to 22nd century philosophers, sociologists, and scientists.

That being said, I have been called upon by a few dozen of my own readers to explain a recent publication by Dr. Leslie Leinwand of the University of Colorado regarding soy consumption and heart disease.

I came, I saw, I conquered. I obtained the study. I analyzed same. I've finally conquered my desire to ever again frustrate myself by searching for hidden agendas, biases, and conflicts of interest.

This study takes the cake for the worst abuse of deception yet, that has become the new nature of scientific research.

My conclusion, first. Can soy consumption cause heart disease? Absolutely, so long as you are an unethical scientist willing to bend the rules of logic and ethics, and then, only if your subjects are genetically engineered male transgenic mice, created to naturally have heart disease by the insertion of, and re-combination of human genetic material and rodent genetic material. The darndest thing is that the lead researcher (Dr. Leslie Leinwand) is the founder of Myogen, a potential billion dollar company who unscrupulously gathers NIH government funding at taxpayer's expense to conduct Frankenstein-like research. If things do not go their way initially, such scientists change parameters midway, like changing the rules of a basketball game, and add layer upon layer of deceit to a study which laypersons and investigative reporters lack the skills to decipher. So, allow me to share the evil. You will then understand why I have little desire to return to the scene of such crimes.

I am completely disgusted and anti all rodent research. Half of the cancers that rats get, mice do not get. Half of the cancers that mice get, rats do not get. To expect me to accept applied data from one rodent species to humans, when one rodent species cannot fairly be applied to another rodent, is one of the key fatal flaws in animal studies. Animal research is a betrayal to both humans (who rely upon such data) and animals (who needlessly die in pain).

One example of the betrayals is what was learned from polio research in the 1940s. The Polio vaccine would have been approved for use 15 years earlier, had not all of the test subjects (chimpanzees) died.

In the case of the soy/heart study, a new creature was developed as the test model. This creature was neither man nor mouse. It was man-mouse. I refer to the subject as the not-so-mighty mouse.

Imagine 21st century technology. Cells from extremely ill human heart patients, waiting to die, were extracted and implanted into mouse embryos. A new species of mouse with thin arterial walls was thus created. Such an animal model never occurs naturally in this world. The study was more than undignified. It was deceptive.

Rats and mice are both fed standard animal feeds. When I was a young researcher, we used Purina rat chow. Unfortunately (for me at the time), the rat chow was made from alfalfa, a substance high in phytoestrogens. As my work was performed in the field of neuroendocrinology and mammalian sexual behavior, the feeding of phytoestrogens to rodents presented an extraneous variable which compromised and negated my own work.

In Dr. Leslie Leinwand's lab (and others, all of the test animals are given a standard animal feed that is rich in soy, even the control group subjects.

Dr. Leinwand feigned shock (she wrote, "much to our surprise") when commenting upon the results of her manipulated research data.

Consider this. There were no such results until she changed the rules in the middle of her own game. When she did not receive headline breaking news to fit her agenda from her original data, she unethically added additional isolated soy proteins (genestein and daidzen) into the feed and random surprises occurred.

She fed one group of animals this added supplement, and another group milk protein (casein). The group fed the milk protein grew obese. This potential earth-moving information (milk protein causes obesity) did not become the good doctor's revelation, because it did not fill her agenda. Instead, her carefully manipulated data exposed the random absurdity of conflicting scientific results. The male transgenic mice, designed to die from heart disease, did so at a faster rate than the females.

The 21st Century Scientific Credo:

"Allow me to select the species of mammal. Tell me what you want me to prove, in either direction. Give me enough money. I will be your whore."

In the future, when asked to comment upon a scientific study, I may very well throw my hands up into the air and refer you to today's column. Digging for truths often unearths treasures accompanied by curses.

Now, for the good news. If you are reading this and you are a transgenic male mouse, please forward this study to your cardiologist. It seems clear that if you were to immediately become a cheesehead, you may become an obese happy rodent who might even live a few weeks longer than the expected time in which your heart was genetically designed to explode.

So what was Dr. Leinwand's hidden agenda? As founder of Myogen, she has sent a message to Wall Street how easy it is for a scientist in high places to move the market. If this is not insider trading, what is? In late December, as this news was being announced, a Wall Street headline revealed: "Myogen Vaults Higher on Trial"

It seems that Myogen's premarket trading value gained 50%. Does anybody still not get it?

"Money often costs too much." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Robert Cohen

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