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Wednesday 23 October 2013

Arsenic and the so called WHO paper

This is in a sense continuation of the series I intended to write on “Let them die to maintain the hegemony of western science”. I will be writing a few more articles on the above theme though not by the same title. I want to write on western science is a “pattapal boruwa”, and in a sense I was glad when a great Sri Lankan scientist living in Canada said that I am a worse critique of western science than Feyerabend  was. As far as I am concerned western science is nothing but induction (not what is mentioned in connection of the old scientific method), second rate Applied Statistics and constructing (creating) stories that are referred to as theories but nothing other than “pattapal boru). Even so called deductions are based on induction and I challenge any great Mathematician or Scientist to prove that if A=B and B-C, then A=C, using only so called logic. I know a bright brat (spoiled by western knowledge) will say it is an axiom and cannot or need not be proved. However, my point is that these so called axioms cannot be proved or deduced or whatever you think of using logic. In fact logic is also nothing but results arrived at using induction. Western Philosophy considers induction as a problem, but it is not induction but deduction that is a problem, and deduction can be explained only using induction!

Recently I came across reports in newspapers claiming that the WHO in a paper published has claimed that Cadmium is the cause of the Chronic Kidney Disease Unidentified Etiology (CKDu). In fact at least one newspaper, not of the Upali group, said that according to an unnamed official in the Ministry of Health, Cadmium has been identified as the cause of the CKDu by the WHO in a paper published in a reputed international journal. I do not have any regard for these so called reputed international journals nor their contents whether peer reviewed or not as I consider that people who have ideas should be able to publish them without any restrictions so that as many people as possible would have access to them. In this context I publish all my new ideas (not  true according to Prof. Carlo Fonseka) in the newspapers, mainly of the Upali group, in fact I have been contributing regularly  from the inception of the group, but even in this case there are restrictions as editors would like to use their blue pencils often, and in order to overcome this problem I publish the unedited versions in the Kalaya website (www. Thus WHO paper per se did not  arouse any interest in me but some of my friend wanted to find out whether Arsenic is not the cause of CKDu, as I was the leader of the Kelaniya group that claimed that Arsenic is the cause of the disease.

Though I was the leader of the Kelaniya group sometime ago after I ceased to be the Dean of the Faculty of Science, the group disowned me as probably my views on Science are too much for them who would like to end up as Fellows of the National Academy of Science that august body that is established following the Royal Society, London, though none of the Fellows have been able to win a Nobel Prize, let alone the Fellowship of the Royal Society to which they are eligible as Sri Lanka is a Commonwealth country. Kelaniya group knows that my knowledge of Chemistry is next to nothing as I have come down in Chemistry at both the University Entrance Examination and the General Science Qualifying Examination. My knowledge of Biological Sciences is abysmal though I do not believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution being a story related by good old Darwin. The group published a paper in the Journal of Natural Sciences Research   Vol 3, page 64 (2013) on “Possible link of chronic Arsenic toxicity with chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology in Sri Lanka” without mentioning me as an author but thanking me for the support extended. Of course I did not contribute anything in Chemistry or Biological Sciences and I did not deserve to be named as an author, but I have reasons to believe that there were other reasons for disowning me.  I was not a member of any of the committees appointed by various ministries and authorities to study the problem but the group had no objections to dropping me from these committees. It is interesting to find that there were some members of the committees whose knowledge of Chemistry and Biological Sciences was no better than that of mine.   

In any event I thought that I should go through this paper purported to be by the WHO, the  World Health Organization recognized in the medical and scientific circles, which appeared in a so called internationally reputed journal.  There is a paper published in the open access (on line) journal with date 27 August 2013 on “Chronic kidney disease of uncertain aetiology: prevalence and causative factors in a developing country” by Nihal Jayatilake, Shanthi Mendis, Palitha Maheepala, and Firdosi R Mehta, On behalf of the CKDu National Research Project Team. The first is the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, the second a Sri Lankan attached to the WHO, the third Director General of Health Services  and the last country representative of the WHO in Sri Lanka. It is interesting to find that the names of the other authours are not mentioned except that the four aforementioned authors are writing on behalf of the CKDu   National Research Project Team. The usual procedure is to mention all the authours by name even if the number is very high. Would the other members of the team be deprived of claiming the paper as one of theirs when it comes to writing CVs and applying for promotions? Are their human rights violated by the act of four individuals even if they are highly placed in the Academic and Professional circles?

However, what is most significant is that the paper is not one of the WHO though Shanthi Mendis and Firdosi Metha are attached to the WHO. The paper does not state that it is published on behalf of the WHO and it specifically says that the paper is published on behalf of what is called the CKDu National Research Project Team. I do not attach any authority to the WHO as far as the health of the people of this country is concerned, but it is clear that some people in the ministry of health who project themselves as spokespersons are interested in using the so called authority of the WHO to propagate their pet theories against Arsenic.

In this connection I wish to draw the attention of the readers to the final report published by the WHO (in the name of the WHO) on “lnvestigation and Evaluation of Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Aetiology in Sri Lanka”. It is a report on the project “Investigation and Evaluation of Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Aetiology in Sri Lanka”, the principal investigators being the Health Ministry, Sri Lanka and the WHO.

The names of all the individual investigators are also mentioned and the date of award and the completion of the project also being mentioned. The final report and the paper published by Mendis et al. in the reputed international journal differ in contents, data and it is not known what transpired between the publication of the final report by the WHO and the esteemed paper. In any event it has to be mentioned that neither the report nor the paper comes to any conclusion as far as the cause of the CKDu is concerned and it makes me wonder  who in the Ministry of Health is responsible for concluding that Cadmium is the cause of the disease. (to be continued) 

Nalin De Silva