What happened at that House of Commons Committee Hearing? You won’t believe what happened next…

I was recently invited before a House of Commons Committee to testify before the Standing Committee on Health about wireless technology.  I gave a 10 minute presentation discussing the IARC report, the meaning of a Class 2b Possible Carcinogen, and the overall less than impressive evidence that non-ionizing radiation is linked with cancer causation (“oncogenesis” is the fancy word).  I also discussed the universally rejected diagnosis of Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) and how the symptoms, under controlled conditions, are reliably provoked by the perception of being exposed to WiFi, but never by actual exposure.

As you might imagine, I was prepared to answer questions about the data and the research findings.  So, what were those questions?  Why, about my investment portfolio, of course!  Who knew the Standing Committee on Health took such an intimate interest in the private investment portfolios of witnesses it has invited to appear?

 

I.  Medeo Corporation

Mr. Terence Young (Oakville, CPC): 

Thank you, Chair.  Dr. Tarzwell, we just heard about the paramount importance of objectivity in scientific evaluation of technology from Dr. Leszczynski. We know that when you publish an academic paper, the expert reveals all potential conflicts of interest as part of that publication.  In the interest of objectivity, could you please identify to the committee your business enterprises that you’re personally involved in, if any, that depend on Wi-Fi, cellular signals, or other wireless technology to succeed?
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
I’d be happy to do that.  I am a shareholder in a mobile gaming company called Hothead Games, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was an investor in a telemedicine company called Medeo, which has subsequently been acquired.

What I wish I had added to this answer
:  
at a 50% loss.

 

II.  Hothead Games

Mr. Terence Young:
I’m just looking at Medeo corporation, which you say has been acquired, and a quote from one of their, I guess, flyers or their statement of purpose, says, “With Medeo.ca, Canadian medical care joins the mobile revolution”.    A quote from the statement of purpose for Hothead Games says, “to create and publish great games exclusively for mobile users.”

What I wish I had answered
:  I acquired my shares in Hothead in 2007, before mobile gaming existed.  It is a private company, and a very close friend was one of the founding employees.  I believe in, and invested in, his work ethic and vision.  Hothead constitutes 5% of my total portfolio.  It is a global business, so only approximately 5% of Hothead’s business is to Canadian consumers.  If all mobile devices in Canada were outlawed tomorrow, my portfolio would therefore drop by 5% of 5%:  0.25%.

 

III. One Minute Medical School

Mr. Terence Young:
Do you have any interest in the One Minute Medical School?
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
I’m the creator of One Minute Medical School. That’s a YouTube channel with short videos on medical topics.
Mr. Terence Young:
These would be videos watched by people who are interested, laypersons or medical students, mostly on hand-held devices. Is that right?
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
In terms of the composition of the audience, that I don’t really know. I assume there will be some viewership on mobile devices.

What I wish I had added:  Thus far, total payments from Google for advertising revenue on One Minute Medical School:  $200.00.  Total investment of my own time to date:  500 hours

 

IV. Many Eggs in the Wireless Basket

Mr. Terence Young:
A lot of eggs in the wireless basket, that’s for sure.
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
You could say so. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s not sort of intimately connected with wireless technology. If any of those are a significant conflict—

What I wish I had added:  Yes, if by “many” eggs you mean “three” very tiny, pathetic eggs.

 

V. A Conflict of Interest?

Mr. Terence Young:
They are. I’m just saying there might be a potential conflict.  Would it be fair to say that any regulatory actions that the government might take regarding wireless communications or Safety Code 6 might significantly affect your business success in these enterprises?
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
Speculating, I suppose that’s possible. I suspect not, but of course, it’s hard to read the future. I certainly have to concede the possibility
What I wish I had added:  One “business success” went rotten and incurred a 50% loss.  The second “business success” is a very small piece of my portfolio, and Canadian WiFi affects its worth by a maximum of 0.25%.   The third “business success” is a story of how I found fame on the Internet by working for 40 cents per hour.  I’d be quite happy to pad it with those Big WiFi cheques.  So far the mailbox is empty.

 

VI.  And How do We Deal with Potential Conflicts of Interest?

Mr. Terence Young:
Is there a possibility of a potential conflict of interest when you present your credentials as an objective scientist to this committee, rather than in your other role as a business investor in a technology that depends on wireless?
Dr. Rob Tarzwell:
Yes, and it’s extremely important to be as clear as possible and as honest as possible to the data and the evidence, which is why I’ve provided the documentation from the sources that I’m relying upon directly, so that the committee can peruse these in significant depth, rather than simply just relying on the pull-quotes that I’ve assembled today.

Mr. Young, your bias is showing.

headspace – Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation – headspace (http://www.headspace.org.au/) – is a fantastically successful, nationwide network of youth-friendly clinics which offer medical, psychological, educational and addiction services, for ages 12 to 25. The Canadian Graham Boeckh Foundation –
http://grahamboeckhfoundation.org/
– has partnered with headspace to bring this exciting model to Canada.

Infino.me: Dr. Clinton Mielke

http://www.infinome.com @InfinoMe

BIL the unconference is the grassroots response to TED. This year, Cosmo Mielke, PhD, an astrophysicist and obesity geneticist spoke at BIL Vancouver about the interactive genetics of obesity and diabetes. He founded infino.me, an open-science genomics experiment which you can join and contribute your personal biodata in the fight against preventable disease.

Functional Brain Imaging in Psychiatric Disorders – One Minute Medical School

Measuring blood flow through the brain can tell us which neurons are working hard and which are underperforming, because hard working neurons demand more blood supply than idle neurons. Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is one tool we use to create 3D maps of brain activity.  See how it works and how we use it to investigate psychiatric disorders.