Joel Brind

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Joel L. Brind
Alma mater
Known forAbortion-breast cancer hypothesis
Scientific career
InstitutionsBaruch College
ThesisStudies on the androgen-dependent differentiation of cells of the mouse preputial gland : metabolism of testosterone and effects of selected drugs and hormones (1981)
WebsiteBrind's faculty page

Joel Lewis Brind is a professor of human biology and endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York and a leading advocate of the abortion-breast cancer hypothesis, which posits that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.[1] This idea is rejected by mainstream medical professional organizations and there is overwhelming evidence in the peer-reviewed medical literature debunking it.[2][3][4][5][6] Brind is openly contemptuous of mainstream medical professional organizations and journals, accusing them of conducting a deliberate cover-up with the goal of "protecting the abortion industry."[7]

Early life, education, and religious conversion[edit]

Brind grew up in Laurelton, Queens, where he decided he wanted to become a biochemist at the age of 10 after reading an issue of Life magazine where the cover story described the discoveries scientists had recently made about the inner workings of the cell, using electron microscopy.[1] He has a bachelor's degree from Yale (1971)[8] and a Ph.D. from New York University in biochemistry, immunology and physiology.[9] Four years after receiving his PhD in 1981, Brind converted to Christianity,[10] and decided to try to use science to pursue what he saw as a "noble task" of discouraging women from having abortions.[1]

Advocacy of Non-Mainstream Medical Hypotheses[edit]

Abortion-Breast-Cancer Hypothesis[edit]

Following his conversion to Christianity,[10] Brind began working as a consultant and expert witness for the anti-abortion cause.[7] Discover magazine reported in 2003 that since 1997, "Brind has spent about 90 percent of his time outside the classroom investigating and publicizing" his claimed abortion-breast cancer link, testifying "in courthouses and statehouses in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Alaska."[7]

He fought against the legalization of mifepristone for non-surgical abortions in the USA, testifying at a federal hearing that "thousands upon thousands" of women would develop breast cancer as a result of using the drug.[11] Brind was an invitee to the National Cancer Institute's conference on the abortion-breast-cancer issue[12] where he was the only member to file a dissenting opinion.[13] In a meeting between Colorado Right To Life and the Denver affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure regarding Komen grants to Planned Parenthood, Brind urged the breast cancer group to re-consider the idea that abortion is linked to breast cancer.[14]

In 1999, Brind co-founded the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, a non-profit group which promotes a link between abortion and breast cancer. The group is identified in the academic literature as an anti-abortion activist group that promotes "the notion that a link to cancer has been both irrefutably proved and deliberately concealed by the medical establishment."[15]

Glycine Supplements[edit]

While he was working on studies concerning amino acid metabolism and aging, Brind began promoting the hypothesis that most diets are deficient in the amino acid glycine, and that this deficiency is responsible for illnesses caused by chronic inflammation, including arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These hypotheses are not supported by mainstream medical or nutritional science.[16] He also claims to have prevented himself from suffering ordinary pain and stiffness after strenuous exercise, and after severe injury, by taking glycine supplements, and, to have accelerated the healing of sunburn, by the same means.[17] In 2010, Brind founded Natural Food Science, LLC, through which glycine supplement products Proglyta and Sweetamine are manufactured and sold.[18]


Brind et al. (1996) conducted a meta-analysis of 23 independent epidemiologic studies of abortion and breast cancer.[19] It calculated that there was on average a relative risk of 1.3 (1.2 - 1.4) increased risk of breast cancer. The meta-analysis was criticized in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute for ignoring the role of response bias and for a "blurring of association with causation."[20] It was also criticized for selection bias by using studies with widely varying results, using different types of studies and not working with the raw data from several studies, and including studies that have methodological weaknesses.[21][22] The statistician who collaborated with Brind later stated of their findings: "I have some doubts. I don't think the issue has been resolved. When we were talking about the conclusions, he [Brind] wanted to make the strongest statements. I tried to temper them a little bit, but Dr. Brind is very adamant about his opinion."[7]


Experts believe Brind overlooks the methodological weaknesses of some studies he uses as evidence for an abortion-breast cancer link. Furthermore, medical researchers note Brind overstates his findings since his own research shows a "barely statistically significant" increase in breast cancer rates.[22] In reaction to the criticism an editor of the journal that published Brind's study noted with concern:

However, in the light of recent unease about appropriate but open communication of risks associated with oral contraceptive pills, it will surely be agreed that open discussion of risks is vital and must include the people – in this case the women – concerned. I believe that if you take a view (as I do), which is often called 'pro-choice', you need at the same time to have a view which might be called 'pro-information' without excessive paternalistic censorship (or interpretation) of the data.[23]


  1. ^ a b c Mooney, Chris (October 2004). "Research and Destroy: How the Religious Right Promotes Its Own 'Experts' to Combat Mainstream Science". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on April 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion" (PDF). Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  3. ^ "Is Abortion Linked to Breast Cancer?". American Cancer Society. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ "WHO – Induced abortion does not increase breast cancer risk". Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  5. ^ Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems (PDF) (2nd ed.). World Health Organization. 2012. p. 49. ISBN 9789241548434. Sound epidemiological data show no increased risk of breast cancer for women following spontaneous or induced abortion.
  6. ^ Committee On Gynecologic, Practice (June 2009). "ACOG Committee Opinion No. 434: induced abortion and breast cancer risk". Obstetrics and Gynecology. 113 (6): 1417–8. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181ac067d. PMID 19461458.
  7. ^ a b c d Yeoman, Barry (January 31, 2003). "The scientist who hated abortion". Discover.
  8. ^ "short bio of Brind". Archived from the original on 2004-12-25. Retrieved 2005-06-10.
  9. ^ "Joel Brind, Department of Natural Sciences, Baruch College".
  10. ^ a b Chamberlain, Pam (Summer 2006). "Politicized Science How Anti-Abortion Myths Feed the Christian Right Agenda". The Public Eye. Vol. 20, no. 2.
  11. ^ "Concerned Women for America - Family Voice". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events Workshop". National Cancer Institute. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11.
  13. ^ "Minority dissenting opinion". Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved 2014-01-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Race for the Cure Protest".
  15. ^ Jasen, Patricia (Oct 2005). "Breast Cancer and the Politics of Abortion in the United States". Med. Hist. 49 (4): 423–444. doi:10.1017/s0025727300009145. PMC 1251638. PMID 16562329.
  16. ^ "Glycine: Uses and Risks".
  17. ^ "About Dr. Brind « Sweetamine".
  18. ^ "About Natural Food Science". Proglyta. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  19. ^ Brind J, Chinchilli VM, Severs WB, Summy-Long J (1996). "Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 50 (5): 481–96. doi:10.1136/jech.50.5.481. PMC 1060338. PMID 8944853.
  20. ^ Weed DL, Kramer BS (1996). "Induced abortion, bias, and breast cancer: why epidemiology hasn't reached its limit". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 88 (23): 1698–700. doi:10.1093/jnci/88.23.1698. PMID 8943995.
  21. ^ "Planned Parenthood - Anti-Choice Claims About Abortion and Breast Cancer published". Archived from the original on October 25, 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  22. ^ a b Study Linking Breast Cancer, Abortion Widely Criticized
  23. ^ Donnan S (December 1996). "Abortion, breast cancer, and impact factors--in this number and the last". J Epidemiol Community Health. 50 (6): 605. doi:10.1136/jech.50.6.605. PMC 1060372. PMID 9039374.

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