The Effects of GMOs on Children with Learning Disabilities (Part 2)

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A growing body of evidence connects GMOs (genetically modified organisms) with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. Many developed nations such as Australia, Spain and many countries in Europe do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs in their countries. Certain studies have shown that foods containing GMO’s have produced toxins, are allergenic, may contain carcinogenic and anti-nutritional.

There is some scientific evidence to recommend caution with respect to certain kinds of genetic modification, especially if there are genes involved that confer antibiotic resistance. One of the first major concerns that arose with the birth of GMOs was the possibility that grafting genetic traits from different plants onto other crops could be dangerous to people with food allergies. For example, if you know you’re allergic to nuts, you know to stay away from them, but would you also know to keep away from genetically modified crops that contain nut genes that may give you the same allergic reaction?

On the other side, according to the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the pros of genetically modified crops is a better taste, increased nutrients, resistance to disease and pests, and faster output of crops. They also state that farmers can grow more food on less land with genetically modified crops.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that one of the positives of GMOs is that farmers can produce more nutritious food. Many foods are in the works for bio-fortification for this reason. Rice, for example, feeds 50 percent of the world’s population, so genetically modifying rice to have more vitamin A would reduce vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.

Genetically modified animals have certain genes inserted into their genomes so that they can produce ‘better’ milk, eggs, and meat. These animals also are expected to have a higher resistance to disease and overall better health, with better natural waste management. In theory, genetically modified crops and animals will also be more environmentally friendly because they conserve water, soil, and energy.

The Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy and other research institutions lists some of the controversies associated with genetically modified foods. One of these controversies are the potential health risks, including allergies, antibiotic resistance, and unknown effects. Other negatives that stem from GMOs is that scientists are tampering with nature by mixing genes and no one knows what this is doing to the animals or the environment. However, on the other side there is also plenty of research claiming that GMO foods are safe and that no long term research studies have truly demonstrated that GMO foods are healthy or unhealthy.

The fact remains that there is a controversy between the pros and cons of GMOs. But given the need for all families to be more mindful in what they eat and everyone moving towards healthier choices, the following are some recommendations: Incorporating organic foods into your diet is one of the steps you can take to ensure that your family is eating the healthiest foods possible, as the use of GMOs is prohibited in organic products. Also eating grass-fed beef, free range poultry, wild caught fish whenever possible, growing your own fruits and vegetables and avoiding and/or limiting processed foods and trying to buy locally grown, foods from around your neighbored and farms are just some ways to avoid and/or eliminate GMOs from your family’s diet.

Dr. Vicki Bolina is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She obtained her Master of Science Degree (M.S.) and Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) from Argosy University - Chicago Northwest Campus. Dr. Bolina has worked in several psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, a school system, outpatient clinics, a university counseling center, a domestic violence shelter, and prison. She specializes in mood disorders and has extensive experience providing therapy and testing for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of issues. Her professional interests include childhood disorders, adolescent psychology, and health psychology. In addition to private practice, Dr Bolina currently teaches online psychology classes to both undergraduate and graduate level students and does freelance writing.  


1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Weighing the GMO Arguments. (2003).

2. Lahey, M., & Rosen, S.  (2002). Diet and Its Possible Role in Developmental Disorders.

3. Ronald, P.  (August 11, 2011). Genetically Engineered Crops What, How and Why. Scientific American

4. World Health Organization (WHO). 20 questions on genetically modified foods. 2002. Retrieved from  

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