Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:18 PM
Subject: Re. Dr. Olle Johansson
Below is a letter on behalf of Olle Johansson. Feel free to circulate and use as a model for your own letters. There is at least one letter circulating for people to communally sign but it's important for people to write individually too. This may be especially true for the scientists among us. He can use an outpouring of support right now as the pressure in the opposite direction appears to be getting stronger.
July 20, 2010
Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, Rektor
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Chairman, Department of Neuroscience,
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Re: Associate Professor Olle Johansson
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Dear Rektor Wallberg-Henriksson,
It has come to the attention of many in the EMF science community that Dr. Olle Johansson is having difficulty maintaining proper laboratory & office space when other uses take precedence over his professional requirements. Several months ago, the head of the Department of Neuroscience, Dr. Staffan Cullheim, asked Dr. Johansson to vacate his office and laboratory so that an animal containment area of some sort could locate there. Dr. Johansson refused and although there were other spaces available in that building, such a use was never commenced. Now Dr. Cullheim has asked Dr. Johansson to vacate again, this time for an imaging facility when there are still other suitable and empty spaces available elsewhere in that building, we have been told. This latest request is also being made at a time when Dr. Johansson is recovering from surgery.
Clearly this sort of mobile office mayhem makes it difficult for other scientists to know if Dr. Johansson will be able to carry out replication of studies done elsewhere, as well as to continue his own very important work. Surely everyone must be aware of how difficult it is to repeatedly move professional quarters around. After a while, one begins to wonder if these requests are motivated by something more personal.
Sometimes it is helpful for people in top leadership positions at world-renowned institutions such as Karolinska to hear from people outside of their immediate working circles -- hence my taking the liberty to address you. I am an American medical & science journalist, former New York Times writer, author of Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer's Guide to the Issues? (Harcourt Brace, 1996 first edition; iUniverse 2007 second edition), a book which won an award of excellence from the American Medical Writers Association. I am also the editor of Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? Proceedings of the "Cell Towers Forum," State of the Science, State of the Law, (Safe Goods/New Century Publishing, 2000). That book is a compendium of papers presented at an environmental forum and contains the presentations of government officials from three American federal regulatory agencies; three world-renowned research scientists; several physicists and RF engineers; and several attorneys and land-use regulators. I have been an invited speaker at numerous forums, including at the Royal College of Physicians, London, UK, in 2000 where I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Johansson and to discuss his work for the first time. At that conference, I believe he presented his seminal research on changes in skin mast cells with EMF/RF exposures.
Over the years, I have followed Dr. Johansson's important professional contribution to what must be the most contentious area of science & public health policy today -- that of the health and environmental effects of nonionizing radiation. This is a critically important subject with over 4 billion cell phone users now and all of the wireless infrastructure needed to make those technologies function. The human race has never been exposed to this form of radiation before, with its odd signaling characteristics, at such intensities, and with long, chronic exposures. We are in the throes of a massive global experiment with no end in sight, and little cautionary intelligence being brought to bear.
As a science writer for over 25 years with a focus on biophysics, it has become second nature to recognize what does or does not constitute credible work, and how very easy it is to slant studies toward the outcome that a funding source desires. In America, over a 10+ year period in the late 1980's and 1990's, 4-to-5 independent bioelectromagnetics research facilities closed when the telecom industry gradually refused to fund any labs that found results not beneficial to them. In time, the industry refused to fund independent researchers who would not sign confidentiality clauses regarding their findings, plus they insisted on final edit for all papers published. Some papers with adverse findings never saw the light of day. The industry refused to publish after researchers objected to altering their interpretations to suit industry aims. It was the wholesale gutting of American bioelectromagnetics research at a time when government funding was also drying up. Today, there is only one such independent lab still in existence at the University of Washington, headed by Dr. Henry Lai. Dr. Lai prevailed because he refused to tolerate industry bullying, and because the president of the university understood how important Dr. Lai's work is. Most other bioelectromagnetics researchers here have been forced to close their labs, go on to other work, or retire. Where those labs were housed under a university or government umbrella, other uses were quickly found for their space -- the same scenario that Dr. Johansson seems to be facing.
Today more than ever, with so much at stake from increasing exposures to telecommunications technologies, the relative handful of experienced, independent researchers who still exist need consistent support and protection. Billions of dollars in industry profits depend on a clean-bill-of-health being given to them. Whether that assumption is accurate is very much in question -- and always has been. These exposures have been known to be problematic to humans and other species since the early 1950's. Yet safety issues have never been resolved. What is not in question is that there are very few researchers with the expertise to gather reliable, useful data. Dr. Johansson is one of those few and his work should be promoted and made easier, not more difficult and dispiriting.
Dr. Johansson is highly respected in the international bioelectromagnetics community. He often asks the toughest questions and follows through with plausible data. He has conducted many groundbreaking studies on the effects of low-level, chronic EMF/RF exposures. These include, as you likely know, changes in the skin's mast cells in people who have electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), which was the first work to find physiological differences in that segment of the population, thereby providing a mechanism for this perplexing functional disorder that now afflicts millions of people worldwide. Dr. Johansson was also the first to find a direct parallel between the introduction of FM radio transmission -- an energetic environmental exposure that did not exist prior to the 1940's -- and the rise in melanoma rates. No one had looked for that association before, presuming that the steady rise in melanoma rates was due to sun exposure, despite the obvious paradox that most melanomas occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight. These are only two examples. There are many others. And then there are the many seminal papers published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Johansson has also spoken at numerous forums and professional conferences, and is among the few professionals to make himself available to people suffering damage from EMF/RF exposures. He also makes himself available to the global press as an educator. The Karolinska Institute could not have a better representative than Dr. Johansson of its historic mission to create cutting edge research and apply it to useful, intelligent public policy.
It is my understanding that Dr. Johansson was preparing to replicate some of the work of Dr. Magda Havas at Trent University in Canada but cannot guarantee that now. It does little good for scientists to concentrate on pressing controversial areas, with all the inherent professional risks entailed, if they only experience marginalization for their sincere efforts. Replication is the lifeblood of science. In bioelectromagnetics, more so than other disciplines, the stakes are unusually high. Only certain labs know how to do this work. Only certain researchers know what to look for, how to design studies, how to really replicate rather than intentionally skew the original work, how to measure and control for any number of real-life variables/problems/biases. The timing of exposures and dosimetry problems alone can be staggering. In fact, most of the parameters that determine outcomes in bioelectromagnetics do not affect other areas of science. There just aren't enough Dr. Johansson's available to help the world accurately sort this out and for Dr. Johansson to have his lab and office minimized for any reason goes against the heart of Karolinska's mission.
It is my sincere hope that you will find a satisfactory resolution within your hallowed walls so that he may continue his significant research. At a moment in history such as this, with a potential emerging health crisis, Dr. Johansson should be given more lab space, not less. His expertise is rare and most needed. Dr. Johansson's contribution has been critical to international efforts to understand this urgent area of science. Hopefully he will be able to continue under the best of circumstances and not experience the worst, as happened to scientists in America.
Today there is very little research on EMF/RF in America, while there is increased interest and funding in Europe and elsewhere. At one time, America was the leader in this but no longer. Much of that is due to industry influence here on our political system. Dr. Johansson has a significant role to play, not just for Karolinska, but for all of us.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you on this matter.
Ms. B. Blake Levitt
355 Lake Rd.
New Preston, CT 06777 USA
From: Magda Havas
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 9:55 PM
Subject: President Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson RE: Dr. Olle Johansson
For Distribution with Dr. Blank's permission:
Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, Rektor Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden firstname.lastname@example.org
c/c: Staffan Cullheim Chairman, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden email@example.com
Re: Associate Professor Olle Johansson The Experimental Dermatology Unit Department of Neuroscience Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Dear Rektor Wallberg-Henriksson,
I am writing to you as past president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society to tell you how distressed I am to learn that Dr. Olle Johansson has been asked by his Chairman to move out of his lab at the Karolinska Institute. I feel that I should let you know that Dr. Johansson is internationally known for his research in bioelectromagnetics, and that his research program on electrohypersensitivity is unique and highly regarded by his peers. Dr. Johansson was one of the invited contributors to the 2007 online Bioinitiative Report, as well as to the 2009 update in the journal Pathophysiology that I edited.
I feel I should also let you know that support for bioelectromagnetics research has suffered recently, because there are many who prefer not to learn about biological and health effects of electromagnetic radiation. As a result, there are very few labs doing research in this area, and Dr. Johansson's is one of the few. I realize that changes in space allocation are occasionally necessary in active research institutions, but they should be avoided when there appear to be other alternatives regarding space utilization. Dr. Johansson's unique research program on electrohypersensitivity would be dealt a serious blow if the move were to take place. It should be obvious that because of the political issue, the move would also be a blow to the reputation of the Karolinska Institute since it will be seen as eliminating a research program with important health implications.
I urge you to reevaluate your decision, and change the current plans to enable Dr. Johansson's vital research program to continue.
Martin Blank Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons
You must be notified that after appearing as witness-invitees at your Committee, HESA, on April 27 & 29, attesting to the grave dangers to public health and wildlife under Health Canada's (so-called) Safety Code 6, regarding exposure to radiation (from cell phone base stations, wifi, etc.), two of these international eminences in their field have been subject to outrageous academic persecution. It is thus that their "whistleblowing" before an august governmental forum such as your own, has displeased industry and abettors so much, that these scientists have now been excluded from their offices, unable to pursue their groundbreaking work as before, depended on by colleagues and very many people around the world.
Dr. Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute and Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulos of the University of Athens, both engaged in pathbreaking work for many years, some of which has been shared with you at HESA & is thus now on this highest of public records, have their positions in jeopardy after their testimony before you.
Their contact emails are Olle.Johansson@ki.se and firstname.lastname@example.org .
You should also be aware that all four international witnesses, including these two, who graciously accepted HESA Committee invitations to testify, have also suffered similarly in the past for their brave and honest reporting of scientific findings, at odds with what the industry and its abettors put forth. I assume it was clearly noticed by all HESA MPs, that at hearings questioning Department of Health standards, only a single witness appeared to speak for that Department, the rest industry-connected (a point raised by Dr. Johansson on the 29th). That should speak for itself. Louder still should speak this further persecution of honourable capable researchers after bravely speaking out before you.
Will you enquire further directly and ask what you can do to reverse this travesty?
416 631 1495
Send a message - Sveriges Kungahus write or email to the King of Sweden about the treatment of Olle Johansson.
I have always been very proud to work at the Karolinska Institute; today I am sad to read about her behaviour. Unfortunately, as you all know, I have not seen a better side of her...
(Personally, regarding my lab. and office space, I have no new information. My boss, prof. Staffan Cullheim, refuses to answer my questions. Maybe it is time to rather contact the editorial office of Nature to get them...?)
THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support!!
Olle Johansson, assoc. prof. The Experimental Dermatology Unit Department of Neuroscience Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm Sweden
Professor The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm Sweden
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