The Picower Study's results were first announced in mainstream media in 1992 on ABC TV's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. The study focused on the effects that eating fried, baked and grilled food have on people with diabetes, in whom the cooked food causes aging and chronic disease through a caramelization-like process. About 10 years later, the Picower Study's validation of the raw foods diet was broadened by a Swedish Institute study that showed that heating food above certain temperatures (via common forms of cooking) produces carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides in all people who eat those foods, not only diabetics.
Indeed, in 2007, research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine also found that the harmful effects of cooked foods extend to all people, not only diabetics. The study showed that certain cooking methods produce a class of toxins, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are absorbed into the body through the consumption of grilled, fried, or broiled animal products, such as meats and cheeses. AGEs, which are also produced when food products are sterilized and pasteurized, have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Helen Vlassara, M.D., who was part of the Mount Sinai study and the original Picower Study, said the 2007 study revealed that AGE levels are elevated in the blood of healthy people, and even more so in older individuals than in younger people. Of particular interest was the finding that a major determinant of the blood levels of AGEs is the amount of AGEs in the diet, not dietary calories, sugar, or fat. The study, which was done in collaboration with, and supported by, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), was published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," said Vlassara, senior study author, Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, and Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled, or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about their AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking."
Because of these ground-breaking studies (of which the Picower Institute's was the first), many people have switched to a raw foods diet, a way of eating that keeps growing in popularity, with many restaurants and prepared food businesses opening across the US and the world. The raw food lifestyle revolves around a very creative cuisine that can replicate most people's favorite cooked recipes--including such foods as cookies, breads, ice creams and pasta--all made from combinations of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs that are never heated over 117 degrees Fahrenheit.
Following is a quote from Wikipedia about Jeffry Picower and his foundation, and his connection to Bernard Madoff:
The Jeffry M. and Barbara Picower Foundation was created in 1989 by Picower and his wife Barbara. Barbara Picower was listed as Executive Director and trustee, with both Picowers being members of the board of directors. Longtime friend Bernard Madoff managed foundation assets listed at over $1 billion. It distributed over $268 million in grants to various American organizations, including Human Rights First and the New York Public Library. In 2002, it granted $50 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscience research center, which was subsequently renamed the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. However, the Picower Foundation was forced to close in 2009 due to losses arising from the uncovering of Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
In June 2009, Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff's assets, filed a lawsuit against Picower in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), seeking the return of $5.1 billion in profits, alleging that Picower and his wife knew or should have known that their rates of return were "implausibly high", with some accounts showing annual returns ranging from 120% to more than 550% between 1996 and 1999, and 950% in 1999. According to a June 28, 2009 MSNBC article, that would make the Picowers the biggest beneficiaries of Madoff's scam, exceeding even Madoff himself. The Pickowers' lawyer, William D. Zabel of Schulte Roth & Zabel, responded that, "They were totally shocked by his fraud and were in no way complicit in it."
On October 1, 2009, an additional court filing from the Madoff trustee documented an apparently fraudulent gain benefiting Picower. "According to the new filing, Mr. Picower opened an account with Mr. Madoff on April 18, 2006, by wiring a check for $125 million, more than a quarter of the entire sum he invested with Mr. Madoff over time. Within two weeks, the $125 million deposit had purportedly grown to $164 million because of a dramatic ‘gain’ on the securities held in the account — all of which supposedly had been purchased three months earlier... Five months later, Mr. Picower withdrew his original $125 million, leaving $81 million in the account. There is no legitimate explanation for these events nor any possibility that they escaped Picower’s notice."
Jeffry Picower was 67 years old.