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02 December 2017

The Anatomy of a Rumor - Karolinska’s Maria Feychting Cites Pathology Bias To Discredit NTP RF Cancer Study

The Anatomy of a Rumor
Karolinska’s Maria Feychting Cites Pathology Bias To Discredit NTP RF Cancer Study
microwavenews.com, 1st December 2017

Maria Feychting of the
Karolinska Institute cites
pathology bias.
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 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, a professor at the Karolinska Institute and the vice chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). She had cast doubt on the landmark $25 million NTP RF–animal study in a talk presented at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences —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,”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, 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 held in Munich, November 8-10. Most of what Bucher said had already been presented at the BioEM 2016 conference in Ghent last year. There was nothing new, said Martin Röösli of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. Röösli, a member of ICNIRP, attended both meetings.

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