Manuka Honey Better at Killing Respiratory Infections Than Antibiotics

Manuka honey alone outperforms antibiotics in treating respiratory infections. Combined with antibiotics, Manuka honey killed 90% of the bacteria tested

Manuka honey could provide the key to a breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis patients following preliminary work by experts at Swansea University.

Dr Rowena Jenkins and Dr Aled Roberts have found that using Manuka honey could offer an antibiotic alternative to treat antimicrobial resistant respiratory infections, particularly deadly bacteria found in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) infections.

Using lung tissue from pigs, experts treated grown bacterial infections mimicking those seen in CF patients with Manuka honey. The results showed that it was effective in killing antimicrobial resistant bacteria by 39% compared to 29% for antibiotics, whilst improving the activity of some antibiotics that were unable to function effectively by themselves, honey and antibiotics combined killed 90% of the bacteria tested.

CF is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, with around 10,400 people in the UK suffering according to the CF Trust. A government review led by Lord Jim O’Neill also highlighted the threat of antimicrobial resistance, estimating that a continued rise in resistance by 2050 would lead to 10 million people dying every year from antimicrobial resistant infections.

A problem that CF patients suffer from are chronic and long-lasting respiratory infections which often prove fatal due to the presence of certain bacteria that are resistant to many (if not all) the antibiotics that doctors currently have at their disposal.

Bacteria that cannot be removed from the lungs through antibiotic treatment can, as a last resort, be removed by providing patients with newly transplanted lungs. This has some associated risks, however, as the bacteria that caused the original infection can still be found in the upper airway, and migrate into the new lungs, thus making the transplant ineffective.

Some patients have a worse prognosis as they are infected with deadly types of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas and Burkholderia cepacia complex, which are difficult to kill (due to multiple antibiotic resistance) and cause extensive damage to the lungs. In some instances, merely their presence within a patient can prevent them from receiving life-saving lung transplants.

The effectiveness of antibiotics against these deadly infections is a huge concern, making the need to find suitable, non-toxic alternatives, which are effective at killing the bacteria a top priority.

Honey has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal product. More recently, research has shown that Manuka honey is capable of killing antibiotic resistant bacteria present in surface wounds. Funding from The Waterloo Foundation and The Hodge Foundation has allowed research to look at it as an antibiotic alternative in CF infections.

Dr Rowena Jenkins, Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Swansea University, said:

“The preliminary results are very promising and should these be replicated in the clinical setting then this could open up additional treatment options for those with cystic fibrosis infections.

“The synergy with antibiotics and absence of resistance seen in the laboratory has allowed us to move into the current clinical trial, investigating the potential for Manuka honey as part of a sinus rinse for alleviating infection in the upper airway.

Article and study by Swansea University.

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Researchers Hunt For Secret to Kratom’s Natural Pain-Relief Benefits

Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree with a long history of use in traditional medicine. In the region, the plant’s leaves are widely consumed for pain relief, treatment of opioid addiction and other uses.

Though its efficacy and safety are unproven, kratom use has spread to the U.S. and Europe. Now, researchers report in ACS Central Science that a metabolite of a kratom alkaloid could be responsible for the treatment’s therapeutic effects.

Currently, kratom is legal and available in the U.S. as a gray-market product, but it has an uncertain regulatory future. In the meantime, scientists are investigating the substance’s physiological effects.

Some prior research attributed these effects to mitragynine, the major active alkaloid in kratom, and its binding to an opioid receptor. However, 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OH), another alkaloid present in the leaf at far lower concentrations, also interacts with that receptor.

To clear up the matter, Jonathan A. Javitch, Susruta Majumdar, Dalibor Sames and colleagues set out to probe the pharmacological and metabolic mechanisms behind kratom’s analgesic effects.

Through studies in cells and mice, the researchers showed that most of the analgesic effect is from 7-OH rather than mitragynine.

They also found that metabolism of mitragynine in mouse and human liver preparations actually produces much more 7-OH than is present naturally in kratom.

The team says that the results shed light on some of the seemingly contradictory reports on kratom, but more studies are still needed to see whether their findings in mice extend to humans.

Article by ACS.

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Top Tips to Relieve Hemorrhoids

Although they aren’t life-threatening, hemorrhoids may be painful and affect your daily activities.1 They more often affect adults from 45 to 65 years old, but younger adults and children may experience them as well. While they are common in both women and men, women have an increased risk during pregnancy, due to the pressure of carrying the baby and straining during delivery.2

In one retrospective study3 using reimbursement claims data from 33,034 patients in Taiwan, researchers evaluated the relationship between hemorrhoids and the subsequent development of coronary heart disease. Over a 12-year follow-up, the researchers found those with hemorrhoids experienced a 127% higher risk of coronary heart disease compared to those without hemorrhoids.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,4 it’s estimated half the people in the U.S. will have hemorrhoids by age 50. Aside from age and pregnancy, other risk factors for developing hemorrhoids include activities that increase your abdominal pressure, such as straining during a bowel movement, lifting heavy objects, obesity or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.5,6

What Are Hemorrhoids?

To understand how to prevent hemorrhoids and why these tips help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with them, it’s helpful to know exactly what hemorrhoids are and how they are formed.

Inside the anus and lower rectum are veins. When those inside the wall of the rectum or anus become swollen or inflamed they are called internal hemorrhoids. You can’t usually see or feel these hemorrhoids, but if they become irritated from straining, you may experience bleeding.7

Hemorrhoids may also form under the skin around the anus, called external hemorrhoids.8 When these become irritated they cause itching or bleeding. In some cases, hemorrhoids may not cause symptoms or pain, and you won’t be aware you have them unless a physician does an internal examination. When symptoms do occur, you may experience:9,10

  • Bright red blood after passing stool in the toilet or on toilet tissue
  • An itchy bottom
  • A lump outside the anus, which may need to be pushed back after passing stool
  • Redness, soreness and swelling around the anus
  • Pain or achiness while sitting around your anus

Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins in your legs. In other words, the veins bulge and swell, sometimes in response to added abdominal pressure. At other times, you may not be able to identify a cause.11 The swelling causes irritation to the wall of the veins, and the subsequent symptoms.12

Top Tips to Relieve Hemorrhoid Pain at Home

When you are experiencing pain and discomfort from hemorrhoids, it’s likely you’ll want relief as quickly as possible. In some cases, your relief may be as close as your kitchen cabinet.

Use a bidet — Since hemorrhoids are irritated veins, using a bidet is an effective, less irritating and low-cost way to clean your backside after a bowel movement. If you don’t have one installed at home now, there are several do-it-yourself kits that make installing one on your current toilet safe and simple.

Soften your stool — Since hemorrhoids are aggravated by straining during a bowel movement, it’s important to keep your stool soft. An important strategy is eating enough dietary fiber. Fiber comes in two types: soluble, which easily dissolves in water, and insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve but stays intact as it moves through your colon.

Both are important for digestion. I believe 50 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories is ideal to maintain optimal health, but most Americans don’t get nearly this much.13

Taking an organic psyllium dietary fiber supplement daily, which contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, may assist in softening your stool and has benefits for your cardiovascular system, weight control and blood sugar support.

Stay hydrated — Constipation results in hard dry stool that is difficult to pass and irritates your rectum. One of the more common causes is dehydration. Staying hydrated is a key component of optimal health and, according to a Harvard study,14 54.5% of children and adolescents are chronically dehydrated. This has repercussions for health and academic performance.

Urine concentration and color is one of the best ways to track your individual hydration status from day to day. Ideally you want to drink enough pure, filtered water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow. This may mean drinking more, or less, than the often-repeated eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, giving your body enough fluid to properly form stool and detoxify waste products.

Try a potty stool — If you live in the U.S., it’s likely you haven’t put much thought into the best position to be in while having a bowel movement. However, sitting on a toilet is not the best position and may contribute to difficulty defecating, leading to hemorrhoids and other problems such as urologic disorders, rectal prolapse and anal fissures.15

Squatting places your digestive system in an anatomically correct position to improve elimination and reduce constipation. Squatting on top of the toilet requires strength, flexibility and balance. Another option is to use a simple footstool to help get into a squatting position.

Limit your time on the toilet — Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time places additional pressure on hemorrhoids, increasing irritation to the veins and, therefore, your symptoms. Limit your time on the toilet to only what is needed to complete your bowel movement.

Apply cool witch hazel — While there isn’t scientific evidence for use, witch hazel has been a home treatment of choice for decades. The Cleveland Clinic16 reports it contains tannins and oils that may help bring down inflammation and some say it tightens the skin as a natural anti-inflammatory.17

Natural witch hazel is an astringent that helps the tissue shrink and has antioxidant properties, according to one study.18 It helps to reduce pain, itching and bleeding until the hemorrhoids fade, but provides only symptom relief and cannot speed healing.

Some find greater relief when the witch hazel is cooled in the refrigerator. Do not dilute witch hazel with alcohol as this may dry and irritate the tissue. Add a small amount to a cotton swab and dab the witch hazel on the hemorrhoid.

Aloe vera — Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and some over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams and pads are impregnated with aloe vera to help soothe the inflammation of the engorged veins.

The Cleveland Clinic19 reports there is no current research available for its use with hemorrhoids, but aloe vera has demonstrated benefit for other inflammatory skin conditions, and they recommend trying it, provided it’s pure aloe and not used in a cream or pad with other ingredients.20

Epsom and glycerin — This home treatment may help painful hemorrhoids and is simple to compound at home.21 Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts with 2 tablespoons of glycerin. Place on a gauze pad over the painful area and leave it in place for up to 20 minutes. Repeat every four to six hours until the pain eases.

Coconut Oil — This natural moisturizer also has anti-inflammatory properties. Applying coconut oil may help reduce irritation and swelling and may help reduce your urge to scratch.22

Ice packs — Ice packs and cold compresses may help combat the pain, inflammation and swelling. Do not apply ice cubes directly to the skin; first wrap them in a small towel to prevent skin damage. Leave them in place for about 15 minutes and continue to use them every one or two hours until the pain subsides.

Loose fitting clothing — You may support healing by wearing loose-fitting clothes that don’t rub the area. It helps to prevent the hemorrhoids from becoming irritated by excess sweat and reduces symptoms.

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It’s All in How You Sitz

The word sitz comes from the German verb “sitzen” mean which means “to sit.”23 A sitz bath was also called a hip bath and is a type of soaking done to include only the hips and buttocks. The purpose was to speed healing for patients who had undergone rectal surgery, or experienced hemorrhoids, uterine cramps or prostate infections.24

Warm sitz baths are one of the easiest and effective ways to reduce the pain of hemorrhoids. They are a European tradition in which only the pelvis and abdominal area are submerged in water. Others have used a cool sitz bath to help reduce constipation or tone the muscles of the bladder or bowel.25

On some occasions, you may feel dizzy when getting up from a hot sitz bath, but when using them for hemorrhoids, the water should be warm and not hot. A sitz bath may help relieve the itching, irritation and spasms of the sphincter muscle occurring with pain from hemorrhoids.

Small plastic portable tubs that fit over the toilet seat may be used, or you may use a regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water. Many experts recommend a 20-minute bath after each bowel movement, in addition to another two or three during the day to relieve hemorrhoids.26

Afterward, gently pat the area dry. Do not rub as it irritates the hemorrhoid. Alternatively, you may want to use the cool air from a hair dryer to dry the area. Soaking in mild temperature water helps to speed the healing process by boosting blood supply. It doesn’t cure the condition, but it will help reduce irritation.

Refrain from adding shower gel, bubble bath or soap products to the water, as it can cause irritation.27 However, epsom salts in a sitz bath is soothing to the skin and helps reduce irritation and symptoms.

Don’t Use These for Hemorrhoid Pain

In addition to the methods of reducing pain listed above, there are a few things you should avoid doing as they increase your symptoms and discomfort. As mentioned above, steer clear of using any soap products on the area as it dries the skin and increases the risk of bleeding.

Additionally, commercial baby wipes and perfumed toilet paper are irritating and may increase itching and pain. While some have considered using apple cider vinegar, the Cleveland Clinic28 recommends avoiding this as it may burn irritated skin and exacerbate problems over time.

Since there are several other natural strategies to reduce symptoms, it’s wise to steer clear of apple cider vinegar. Tea tree oil is another antiseptic and anti-inflammatory essential oil some recommend to decrease symptoms. However, as this strategy hasn’t been well studied, experts recommend avoiding it.29

Do not wait to have a bowel movement.30 When you prolong the urge to defecate there’s a tendency the stool will become harder and more difficult to pass. This increases pressure, straining and the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Instead, consider setting up a schedule to help establish regular bowel habits. When your hemorrhoids are inflamed and irritated, it’s best to avoid blood thinning medications, such as aspirin, if it all possible, as they increase the risk of bleeding.31

Nonsurgical Hemorrhoid Relief

There are several types of nonsurgical treatments your physician may use to get rid of hemorrhoids. Before undergoing any of them, discuss the pros and cons of each with your physician and be sure you are comfortable with your decision.

One of my favorite preventives is the use of the polyphenolic bioflavanoid rutin which is a more potent derivative of quercetin. It works to heal hemorrhoids naturally by stabilizing and tightening the walls of blood vessels.

Rubber band ligation — This procedure is used in the doctor’s office to treat prolapsing or bleeding internal hemorrhoids.32 During the procedure, a specialized rubber band is placed at the base of the hemorrhoid, which cuts off the blood supply. Within a week, the banded area shrivels and falls off, leaving scar tissue.

While this procedure has the lowest risk of recurrence, it is not suitable for those using anticoagulant medications or who have a bleeding disorder.33 It may also lead to increased bleeding, pain and blood clots or infections. If you have several hemorrhoids, the procedure will need to be repeated. Specialized equipment is used, and the physician will monitor your condition; you should never attempt to do this at home.34

Infrared coagulation — This procedure may be used to address small hemorrhoids. The physician will use a tool that directs infrared light.35 The heat causes scar tissue to form, which eliminates the blood supply and usually shrinks the hemorrhoid. A local anesthetic will be used to reduce your discomfort. With multiple hemorrhoids, you may require multiple treatments. The recovery period takes several days and care must be taken to reduce constipation and straining to prevent reopening the scar.

Sclerotherapy — During this procedure the physician injects a solution directly into the hemorrhoid, triggering a local reaction and ultimately shrinking the hemorrhoid. The procedure is effective and safe for those with cirrhosis who have bleeding hemorrhoids, and is preferred over banding in this case.36

Despite treatment, there’s a risk the hemorrhoids will return after a few years and some experts believe this procedure to be less effective than a rubber band ligation.37

When to See Your Doctor

In most cases, you’ll be able to treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids at home using home remedies. However, you should seek medical care immediately if you experience severe anal pain and bleeding that may or may not be associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea or fever.38

Hemorrhoids may also progress to the point where they become thrombosed. In this situation the hemorrhoid is pushed outside of the anus and is filled with blood clots. This makes everyday activities exceedingly uncomfortable.

The symptoms are similar to hemorrhoids, but the pain and itching will increase, as will the swelling around the anus. Thrombosed hemorrhoids may also become infected and can lead to an abscess, which causes additional symptoms such as fever.39

Acutely thrombosed external hemorrhoids may require additional treatment from your physician. In some cases, they will resolve on their own, but in others it may require surgical intervention, especially if they become strangulated and the tissue begins to die (necrosis).40

The severity of the pain is most intense within the first 48 hours and will usually gradually resolve. As a result, surgical removal is usually offered with severe pain within the first 48 hours, and then only if the hemorrhoid progresses to strangulation and necrosis.41

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Polytoxicity — Why Chemical Safety Studies Cannot Be Trusted

One section of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to “compile, keep current and publish a list of each chemical substance manufactured or processed” in the U.S.1 The initial reporting began in 1978 and was published in 1979, listing 62,000 chemical substances. Currently, the TSCA inventory lists 85,000 chemicals.2 They state:

“As part of EPA’s commitment to strengthen the management of chemicals and increase information on chemicals, the Agency provides free access to the inventory online.”

However, their site goes on to say that to determine if a substance is on the list, a written request must be made to the EPA, which will consider whether there is3 “genuine intent to manufacture or import” the chemical.

The EPA receives 400 requests to add chemicals each year, and while they update the public list twice a year, it contains no identities of chemicals claimed as confidential. Therefore, according to the EPA, the public list is not as complete or current as the Master Inventory File, which contains chemical identities claimed as confidential.4

The master list is updated continuously but requires a written request to determine if a specific chemical is on the list. While this list contains 85,000 chemicals, it does not contain chemicals included in pesticides, food additives, drugs or chemicals contained in cosmetics or tobacco products.5

And, while they maintain the list, they are largely in the dark about what the chemicals mean for human health and the environment, and are unsure of how the chemicals are being used.6

Chemical Safety Is Determined by the Manufacturer

With an ever-growing list of chemicals used in production, the EPA, Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies are unable to adequately test for safety in human health or the environment. To manage this unwieldy system, the FDA has said that while cosmetics are required to be safe, product testing is in the hands of the manufacturer to ensure the safety of the product.7

According to the FDA, the agency has no legal authority to approve cosmetic products and ingredients before they arrive on store shelves. They also do not have a list of tests required by manufacturers for any cosmetic product or ingredient.8 The FDA lays the full legal responsibility for ensuring product safety on the shoulders of the companies making money from the products.

One study9 evaluated a searchable database of additives allowed in human food made publicly available by the FDA with cross references to toxicological studies. The researchers found 80% of the additives lacked the information needed to estimate consumer safety and 93% lacked reproductive or developmental toxicology data.

In total, of all the FDA-regulated additives on the list, two-thirds didn’t have publicly available feeding data to estimate the amount of additive that may be safely eaten.10 In recent years, more researchers have raised warnings of the mounting number of toxic exposures. In some cases, negative effects of a chemical are well-established, but regulatory agencies still allow its continued use.

Chlorpyrifos is one such chemical. It was invented as an alternative to the pesticide DDT but impairs the developing brain in children. The EPA denied a petition to ban it, allowing continued use, while recognizing it is found in food and drinking water above safe levels, according to a report from Harvard University.11

Most studies done on chemicals by manufacturers are also done in isolation under unrealistic conditions. A recently completed European study found a mixture of chemicals increased measurable health risks.12

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Threat Posed by Chemical Mixtures Is Underestimated

In late 201813 the European Union made a move to protect consumers when they heavily restricted four types of phthalates in current use in consumer products. Phthalates are plasticizers used to soften and strengthen plastics. They’re found in packaging, cosmetics and food wrapping.

However, they are not strongly bound to the products, so over time they leach into the air, water, soil and household dust. Joelle Ruegg, molecular toxicologist at The Institute of Environmental Medicine in Sweden, believes most are exposed to thousands of chemicals and the interactions between them may potentiate the effects.14

Tested in isolation, some scientists have found chemicals with little to no harmful impact. But testing has ignored the fact chemicals are not used in isolation and often end up in the human body from multiple sources. Ruegg says,15 “If we don’t take into account the many chemicals out there that have a similar effect on the hormone system, then we are underestimating risk.”

Ruegg led a European study called EDC-MixRisk,16 which implicated chemical mixtures in damaging health and development. This study measured 41 chemicals in the blood and urine found in 2,300 pregnant women in Sweden, in an effort to find “real life” endocrine disrupting chemical mixtures.17

When the chemicals were tested individually, the researchers believed there were few short-term concerning effects. However, in mixture, the researchers found the chemicals affected sexual development and metabolism in animals used in the study, such as zebrafish and mice.

The typical mixtures contain bisphenol a (BPA), phthalates and pesticides. Each of these are regulated by different agencies and legislation, but they all eventually end up in the environment and often in the human body. Ruegg points out,18 “… [B]ut the organism does not care if it is a pesticide or plasticizer, or if it is in food or drink. It is going to be important to address mixtures, together.”

A second European initiative, the Human Biomonitoring Initiative,19 measures man-made chemicals found in people to investigate potential health implications. To date, they have identified 18 priority substances,20 including mixtures. There are now 117 groups and agencies across 28 countries collaborating in the hope of generating guidelines for safe levels found in the human body.

No Evidence Demonstrating Safety of Pesticides in Children

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In this video excerpt of my interview with Andre Leu, author and president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements — Organics International,21 we discuss the impact pesticides and chemicals have on children. Leu has written and published extensively on this impact and has over 40 years of experience in organic agriculture.

For decades, federal regulatory agencies have stated traces of pesticides left on food would be safe. However, the sheer volume of chemicals involved in food production contaminating everything from fruit and vegetables to meat, crackers and cereals makes this assertion extremely unlikely.

According to a sampling by the FDA,22 79% of fruit and 52.3% of vegetables carry pesticide residues, even the tightly restricted chemical DDT. One pesticide, endosulfan,23 which has been banned worldwide24 due to evidence it causes neurological and reproductive problems, was also found in the food samples, as reported by Environmental Health News.25

While regulators and pesticide manufacturers insist these residues pose no threat, research from the EU finds otherwise. The EPA continues to be confident pesticides in food are safe and have granted requests to increase the allowable tolerance of pesticide residue allowed on food.26

One team of scientists from Harvard University27 called for further research in this area since the potential for cancer development is a serious public health challenge, and pesticide residue found in the food supply is global.

A study28 of 325 women undergoing infertility treatment evaluated the association of pesticide intake from residue left on fruits and vegetables with the outcome of infertility treatment.

Researchers found higher consumption of pesticide residue was associated with lower possibility of pregnancy and live birth after infertility treatment. Data suggested dietary pesticide exposure within a range currently accepted as typical may be associated with adverse reproductive consequences.29

Chemical Absorption Happens Through Several Avenues

There are multiple ways of absorbing toxins into your system you may not have considered. Eating foods with pesticide residue is only one. BPA is used in thermal paper, the type receipts at many grocery stores are made of. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that affects development in children but may also trigger high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity in adults.

Using hand sanitizer before handling a receipt may increase your absorption of BPA from the receipt. This type of absorption route bypasses liver metabolism, which may increase the health risks even further.30 The same study also found the combination of handling BPA receipt paper, using hand sanitizer and eating finger food led to a dramatic and rapid increased absorption.

Air quality is yet another route of absorption. The World Health Organization states 92% of the world breathe air exceeding safety limits set by WHO.31 Even when you can’t see them or smell them, one group of air pollutants may be present — volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are used in dry cleaning fluids, metal degreasers, paint thinners, adhesives and glue.32

Children and pets may absorb chemicals from household dust on the floor, while all may be ingesting 100 pieces of plastic in dust33 with every meal.34 The composition of dust is complex, and one meta-analysis found the chemicals residing in your dust may come from a variety of different sources in your home.35

Water is another source of toxins, whether you’re drinking bottled water that may contain microparticles of plastic36 or tap water. In 2015, 21 million people were drinking community water that violated health-based quality standards, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.37

Simple Strategies May Reduce Your Exposure

With the number of chemicals used in the manufacture and production of products used throughout your home and work, it is impossible to completely avoid all exposure.

Whether intentionally or not, corporations use your home, water, air, food and body as a convenient chemical dumping ground. Until global changes happen, you may significantly limit your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.

Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals, from the food and packaging. Wash fresh produce well, since even organically grown produce may be inadvertently exposed to pesticides.38

Choose pastured, sustainably raised meat and dairy. Avoid dairy products containing the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).

Avoid conventional or farm-raised fish, often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury.39 Instead eat wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines or supplement with a high-quality krill oil.

Purchase products in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals may leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings) into the contents. Be aware products labeled “BPA-free” are typically made with bisphenol substitutes40 with as many health challenges.

Store your food and beverages in glass, use glass baby bottles and avoid using plastic wrap.

Replace nonstick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware. Also avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

Filter tap water for your drinking and bathing. If you are able to do only one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin readily absorbs contaminants. Most tap water toxins, including fluoride, may be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.

Seek out products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free. This applies to food, personal care products, building materials, furniture, mattresses and others.

Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame-retardant chemicals.

When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses or carpet padding, consider buying chemical-free varieties containing naturally fewer flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar.

Steer clear of plastic toys and pacifiers for your baby.

Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that may compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.

Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database41 may help you find personal care products free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Replace a vinyl shower curtain with fabric or glass doors.

Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer organic alternatives.

Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance may contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals.42 Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

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Opioids Still Often Prescribed to Teens, Young Adults

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Even amid an epidemic of abuse, opioid painkillers are still commonly prescribed to teenagers and young adults for conditions like tooth and back pain, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 2005 and 2015, opioids were prescribed to teens and college-age adults at nearly 57 million visits to doctors’ offices and emergency departments in the United States.

It was particularly common in the ER: 15% of those visits ended with an opioid prescription — with only a small decline over the 10-year study period.

The reasons for the prescriptions ranged from bone fractures and sprained ankles to dental problems and low back pain, the study authors said.

It’s not clear how often those prescriptions were appropriate or inappropriate, said Dr. Todd Callahan of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

“What we can say is that opioids are still commonly prescribed to adolescents and young adults,” he said. “And this study gives us some clear signals about which diagnoses are most related to those prescriptions.”

Callahan wrote an editorial published with the study in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Dr. Joel Hudgins, lead researcher on the study, agreed that it’s not clear what the prescription rates “should be.”

“But for some of these conditions, the rates are too high,” said Hudgins, who practices emergency medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

For problems like dental pain and aching backs, it’s recommended that non-opioid pain relievers be tried first, Hudgins said.

Yet, the study found, about 60% of emergency visits for “dental disorders” ended with an opioid prescription. And among young adults, the drugs were prescribed at 38% of emergency visits for low back pain.

That’s concerning because teens and young adults are at increased risk of abusing opioids after receiving a legitimate prescription, according to Hudgins.

“This is a high-risk population,” he said, “so we should be particularly thoughtful when making the decision to prescribe an opioid.”

More than 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Illegal opioids, like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, have become the biggest concern in recent years. Still, prescription opioids — like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet — were involved in 35% of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, government figures show.

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Fertility Treatment, Pregnancy Heart Issue Linked?

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The risk of a pregnancy-related type of heart failure is five times higher for women who undergo fertility treatment than those who conceive naturally, a new study says.

The condition is called peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). It affects about 1 in 1,000 pregnant women worldwide and is life-threatening to the mother and baby.

This study included 111 women with PPCM and was presented Saturday at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, in Athens.

“It is very difficult to distinguish normal pregnancy discomfort from heart failure symptoms,” study co-author Dr. Tobias Pfeffer said in a society news release. He’s a cardiologist at Hannover Medical School in Germany.

“Our study shows that the risk of PPCM is five times higher in women who have fertility treatment, so they should be aware that this discomfort may not be benign. PPCM is often diagnosed much too late, with direct consequences on prognosis,” Pfeffer said.

Shortness of breath, swollen legs and waking up in the night to urinate could be warning signs of PPCM. Women undergoing fertility treatment should immediately see their doctor if they have such symptoms, researchers advised.

“In all women who have conceived artificially, gynecologists and fertility doctors should advise cardiac checks including echocardiography after delivery, or shortly before, to rule out PPCM,” said study senior author Dr. Denise Hilfiker-Kleiner. She’s the medical school’s dean of research in molecular cardiology.

She noted women may undergo multiple rounds of fertility treatment if they don’t get pregnant or lose a pregnancy.

“Lost pregnancies can also induce PPCM,” Hilfiker-Kleiner said. “Women who have developed signs of cardiac stress or impaired function should know that another cycle may increase their risk of becoming severely ill.”

She pointed out that women who undergo fertility treatments are normally older and more likely to deliver by cesarean section — two PPCM risk factors. Fertility treatments that result in multiple fetuses also increase the risk.

Study co-author Manuel List, a medical student at Hannover, said researchers are investigating whether genetic alterations may predispose women to fertility issues and PPCM.

“So far there is no clear evidence that hormonal treatment, which is usually part of fertility therapy, increases the risk of PPCM,” List added.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Atlanta to Transform 7 Acres of Vacant Land Into Country’s Largest Free Food Forest

By Emma Fiala

Atlanta’s City Council just voted in favor of transforming over 7 acres of vacant property into the state of Georgia’s first food forest. The measure, which paves the way for the largest food forest in the country according to Councilwoman Carla Smith, was approved last Monday after a unanimous vote.

The Urban Food forest will be available free of charge and will include edible trees, shrubs, and vines in addition to traditional community garden beds as well as walking trails, public gathering spaces and other features.

“It’s just like going into a park and picking muscadines from a bush,” Smith said.

The land, currently own by environmental agency The Conservation Fund, will be sold to the city of Atlanta for $157,384.00. The agency was in possession of the land after it was abandoned due to a failed business venture.

According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

The Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill has been in the works since November 2016 when the city accepted an $86,150 grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space Program.

Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation will oversee the property and Trees Atlanta, will maintain the Urban Food Forest. Trees Atlanta has secured $121,500.00 in funding and plans to employ two part-time workers including including a Forest Ranger and a Community Workforce Educator.

Plans for the Urban Food forest conform to the city’s goal to “strengthen local food economy to ensure 85 percent of the city residents are within one-half mile of fresh food access by 2021.” According to the measure, “parks, greenspace and recreation are an integral part of the fabric of the City of Atlanta.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 36 percent of Atlanta was classified a food desert in 2017 and a quarter of the city’s residents must travel more than a half-mile to purchase fresh produce.

Hopefully Atlanta will be the first of many cities pushing for legislation that focuses on the wellbeing of their residents and transitions vacant lands into productive spaces that benefit the people. With many Americans living in areas classified as food deserts, it only makes sense to further legislation like Atlanta’s Ordinance 19-O-1251 to make use of the vacant lands that dot America’s urban landscapes.


This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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Cranberries Help Antibiotics Fight Bacterial Infections

Research conducted at McGill University and INRS has found that a cranberry extract makes bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics, a promising avenue for limiting resistance to these important drugs

The global spread of antibiotic resistance is undermining decades of progress in fighting bacterial infections. Due to the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, we are on the cusp of returning to a pre-antibiotic era in which minor infections can once again become deadly. Therefore, countering the fall in antibiotic efficacy by improving the effectiveness of currently available antibiotics is a crucial goal.

Cranberries are highly sought after for their tangy taste and the antioxidants they contain, but a new study published in the journal Advanced Science provides evidence that they could also help in the fight against bacteria. When treated with molecules derived from cranberries, pathogenic bacteria become more sensitive to lower doses of antibiotics. What’s more, the bacteria don’t develop resistance to the antibiotics, according to the findings by researchers at McGill University and INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique) in Montreal.

Given the popular belief that drinking cranberry juice is helpful against urinary tract infections, the researchers sought to find out more about the berry’s molecular properties by treating various bacteria with a cranberry extract. The bacteria selected for study were those responsible for urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gastro-enteritis (Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli).

“Normally when we treat bacteria with an antibiotic in the lab, the bacteria eventually acquire resistance over time,” said McGill chemical engineering professor Nathalie Tufenkji, lead author of the study. “But when we simultaneously treated the bacteria with an antibiotic and the cranberry extract, no resistance developed. We were very surprised by this, and we see it as an important opportunity.”

Analyses showed that the cranberry extract increases bacterial sensitivity to antibiotics by acting in two ways. First, it makes the bacterial cell wall more permeable to the antibiotic, and second, it interferes with the mechanism used by the bacteria to pump out the antibiotic. Consequently, the antibiotic penetrates more easily, and the bacteria have a harder time getting rid of it, which explains why the drug is effective at lower doses.

“These are really exciting results,” said coauthor Éric Déziel, a professor of microbiology at INRS. “The activity is generated by molecules called proanthocyanidins. There are several different kinds of proanthocyanidins, and they may work together to deliver this outcome. We’ll need to do more research to determine which ones are most active in synergy with the antibiotic.”

After confirming the activity of the cranberry molecules on bacterial culture, the researchers tested to determine whether the pattern persisted in a preliminary animal model: infected insects. Since the synergistic effect of the extract and the antibiotic was also observed in the insects, further experiments will be conducted to clearly identify the active molecules.

If the results are confirmed in animals, certain classes of antibiotics subject to high levels of resistance could be made useful again by using cranberry extract to boost their potential.

“We are eager to pursue this research further,” Tufenkji said. “Our hope is to reduce the doses of antibiotics required in human and veterinary medicine as part of efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.”

Article by McGill University. Related journal article in Advanced Science. Image by Pixabay.

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Liars, Ghostwriters and Whistleblowers: How Bayer Made the Worst Deal in History

Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion, a purchase Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said would further their goal of creating a leading agriculture company.1 Bayer is now the largest seed and pesticide company in the world, but it might not stay that way for long, as lawsuits mount against the chemical giant over Roundup herbicide’s cancer link.

At least 13,400 lawsuits have been filed from people who claim exposure to their glyphosate-containing Roundup caused them health problems, including cancer. The first three lawsuits have already ended in favor of the plaintiffs, leaving Bayer saddled with billions in damages — and that’s only the beginning.

Now some experts are calling Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto “the worst deal ever,”2 and the company is scrambling to appeal and trying to convince courts to toss out the lawsuits because U.S. regulatory agencies continue to side with industry and assert glyphosate is safe.3

Bayer Zero for 3 in First Series of Roundup Lawsuits

In August 2018, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Dewayne Johnson in a truly historic case against Monsanto. Johnson — the first of the cases pending against the chemical company — claimed Roundup caused his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the court agreed, ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to Johnson, an amount that was later reduced to $78 million.

Bayer asked the court to throw out the judgment in April 2019 and reverse the damages awarded because Johnson is near death.4 In the second case, a judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, ordering Bayer to pay more than $80 million.

The jury agreed that Edwin Hardeman’s repeated exposures to Roundup, which he used to kill weeds on his 56-acre property, not only played a role in his cancer diagnosis but also that the company did not warn consumers that the product carried a cancer risk.5

The case was particularly noteworthy because it was split into two phases, with jurors first finding the chemical to have caused the cancer on purely scientific grounds and the next phase finding that Bayer is liable for damages.6 Ultimately, Hardeman was awarded $75 million in punitive damages, $5.6 million in compensatory damages and $200,000 for medical expenses.7

The third case involved a married couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who claimed they both developed Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after regular use of Roundup. The pair had been using Roundup since the 1970s, stopping only a few years ago.

The jury heard 17 days of testimony and deliberated for less than two days before deciding in the Pilliods’ favor and ordering Bayer to pay $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages.8 As for what compelled the possibly-disastrous Monsanto acquisition in the first place, The Telegraph’s deputy business editor Ben Marlow states it was part arrogance and greed:9

“On one side was Bayer’s uber-ambitious new boss Werner Baumann, who seemed determined to start his promotion to the top job with an almighty bang, unveiling Germany’s biggest ever takeover, a mere four weeks into the job.

Meanwhile, his opposite number at Monsanto, Hugh Grant, had a mind-boggling $226m (£173m) in shares and severance pay resting on the merger. Perhaps that explains why the boards of both companies were prepared to overlook the financial and legal risks of the tie-up.”

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Bayer Argues Lawsuits Should Be Thrown Out Because of Industry-Friendly US Regulators

The likelihood that Bayer will ultimately have to offer a settlement to the tens of thousands of people who say Roundup caused their cancer grows ever stronger — and the company is no stranger to settlements. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to settle more than 25,000 U.S. lawsuits alleging their blood thinner drug Xarelto causes uncontrollable bleeding, severe injury and death for $775 million.10

In the case of the glyphosate lawsuits, however, Bayer is not going down without a fight. Their latest argument is that the $2 billion jury award, along with pending lawsuits, should be thrown out because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) favorable stance toward glyphosate.11

In their latest review of glyphosate, the EPA released a draft conclusion April 30, 2019, stating the chemical poses potential risks to mammals and birds that eat treated leaves, as well as risks to plants,12 but poses “no risks of concern” for people and “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”13

Reuters quoted one of Bayer’s lawyers, William Hoffman, who stated, “We have very strong arguments that the claims here are preempted … and the recent EPA registration decision is an important aspect of that defense.”

The news outlet continued, “Preemption is generally regarded as a ‘silver bullet defense’ because it stops claims across the board, said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.”14

In stark contrast, in March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen” based on evidence showing the popular weed-killing chemical can cause Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals.

EPA Doesn’t Protect Anything but the Chemical Industry

In 2015, following IARC’s glyphosate cancer ruling, the EPA, rather than taking immediate steps to protect Americans from this probable cancer-causing agent, decided to reassess its position on the chemical and, after doing so, released a paper in October 2015 stating that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.15

In April 2016, the EPA posted the report online briefly, before pulling it and claiming it was not yet final and posted by mistake. The paper was signed by Jess Rowland (among other EPA officials), who at the time was the EPA’s deputy division director of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and chair of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC).

Email correspondence showed Rowland, who at the time was the EPA’s deputy division director of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and chair of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC), helped stop a glyphosate investigation by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Monsanto’s behalf.

In an email, Monsanto regulatory affairs manager Dan Jenkins recounts a conversation he’d had with Rowland, in which Rowland said, “If I can kill this I should get a medal,”16 referring to the ATSDR investigation, which was put off for years. The final draft conclusion is the report that was finally released in April 2019, stating the chemical “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”17

EPA Inspector General Launched Investigation Into Collusion Accusations, but Where Are the Findings?

Another internal email between Rowland and the late Marion Copley, a former EPA toxicologist, suggests Rowland colluded with Monsanto to find glyphosate noncarcinogenic.

In Marion’s correspondence to Rowland, she cites more than a dozen reasons why she believes glyphosate to be carcinogenic, and states “it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer” and “the CARC category should be changed to ‘probable human carcinogen.”18

She then pleads with Rowland to “for once do the right thing and don’t make decisions based on how it affects your bonus,” continuing:19

“You and Anna Lowit [science advisor in the EPA’s Office of Pesticides] intimidated staff on CARC and changed HIARC [Hazard Identification Assessment Review Committee] and HASPOC [Hazard and Science Policy Committee] final reports to favor industry.

Chelators [which glyphosate was originally designed to be] clearly disrupt calcium signaling, a key signaling pathway in all cells and mediates tumor progression.

Greg Ackerman [Branch Chief, Office of Pesticide Programs] is supposed to be our expert on mechanisms, but he never mentioned any of these concepts at CARC and when I tried to discuss it with him he put me off. Is Greg playing your political games as well, incompetent or does he have some conflict of interest of some kind?”

As the evidence of potential collusion between an EPA agency staffer and Monsanto grew, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., requested that an investigation be conducted into whether such collusion took place. The inspector general responded in 2017, stating that he asked the EPA’s Office of Investigations (OIG) to “conduct an inquiry into several agency review-related matters.”20

The question now, two years later, is what were the findings from the investigation? The EPA’s OIG shows no mention of such a report on their news releases and inspector general statements page.21 Back in 2017, Bart Staes, a Belgian member of parliament, told HuffPost of increasing evidence relating to Monsanto’s manipulation of science and regulatory agencies:22

“We are now getting some written proof of collusion between scientists and Monsanto, which has these scientists like puppets on a string … More and more, the debate is about corporations controlling the science, and then this science is used by the regulators.”

Another example occurred in 2015, when Henry Miller, who was outed as a Monsanto shill during the 2012 Proposition 37 GMO labeling campaign in California, published a paper in Forbes Magazine attacking IARC’s findings after it classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Later it was revealed that Miller’s work was in fact ghostwritten by Monsanto.

Bayer Investors Give Vote of No Confidence

At Bayer’s annual general meeting in Bonn, Germany, 55.5% of shareholders voted against ratifying the management’s actions, in large part due to the Monsanto acquisition.23 Marlow called the move “a rare act of defiance in conservative Germany,” even though the vote was symbolic in nature only and won’t legally change anything.24

“But having forced through the Monsanto takeover without a vote,” Marlow added, “Bayer has already made it quite clear what it thinks of shareholders. Salvaging something from this ruinous deal will take a heroic act.”25

The next Bayer Roundup case will go to trial in August 2019. The plaintiff is Sharlean Gordon, who used Roundup for 15 years and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2006. The trial will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, just miles from Monsanto’s former world headquarters.

One of Gordon’s attorneys, Eric Holland, said that not only has the human toll been tremendous in this case, but Monsanto’s behavior is also atrocious. “This evidence against them, their conduct, is the most outrageous I’ve seen in my 30 years of doing this,” Holland said. “The things that have gone on here, I want St. Louis juries to hear this stuff.”26

If you’re curious how much glyphosate is in your body, the Health Research Institute (HRI) in Iowa developed the glyphosate urine test kit, which will allow you to determine your own exposure to this toxic herbicide. In order to avoid this chemical as much as possible, choose organic or biodynamic foods, and install a filter on your drinking water.

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Censorship Is the Last Tool of Tyrants

The following referenced information contains opinion and perspective on a health topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics that is being discussed in public forums, including in medical, law and other professional journals; newspapers, magazines and other print; broadcast and online media outlets; state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

Readers are encouraged to go to the websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for information on vaccine policymaking; to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for information on regulating vaccines for safety and effectiveness; and to National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for information on research and the development of new vaccines.

The World Health Organization has stated that “vaccine hesitancy” is one of the top 10 global public health threats.

Is the vaccine business a profitable industry? You bet!1 Many vaccine pushers like to promote the idea that vaccine profits are slim, hence there’s no financial incentive behind the push for vaccinations. Two years ago, the blog Skeptical Raptor, just to point to one example, stated that ” … [T]he Big Pharma vaccine profits conspiracy is still one of most amusing myths of the antivaccination world.”2

In reality, Pfizer’s Prevnar 133 vaccine (which protects against common strains of pneumonia) actually made more money than Lipitor or Viagra in 2015, both Pfizer top-selling drugs,4,5 and the 2018 revenues for Gardasil 9 was $3 billion according to CNBC.6

As noted by Financial Times,7 profits from Prevnar 13 shot up in 2015, reaching $6.25 billion, nearly three times more than Viagra that year, thanks to the U.S. government recommendation to start using it in seniors over 65 and not just children. “The success of Prevnar shows [vaccines] can be as lucrative as any drug,” the article states.8

Censorship Aimed at Blocking First-Hand Testimony of Vaccine Harms

When you have a profitable business, you want to nurture and protect it, and promote its sustained growth. That’s normal in the world of business. What’s not normal is enlisting government to mandate the use of your product while simultaneously preventing the sharing of bad reviews that might impact sales and/or force you to improve the safety or effectiveness of your product.

And that’s exactly what’s happening in the vaccine industry. In recent months, the push to censor negative press about vaccines has been outright shocking. The “justification” given is that “misinformation” about vaccines is preventing people from making sound medical decisions.

But make no mistake about it; what’s really happening here is that Big Pharma and government are blocking parents of vaccine-injured children from sharing their stories and letting the truth be known that there are risks involved. It’s really a showdown between a largely pharma-run government and parents of vaccine injured children — not government against creators of fake news.

There’s nothing fake about vaccine injuries. There’s also nothing fake about data, oftentimes obtained from government documents, that are unfavorable for the vaccine manufacturers. The current censorship is blocking out those real-world stores of injury, and important data demonstrating that government and industry are not telling the whole truth about what is known about vaccines.

‘Vaccine Doubts Spread Like Disease’

Speaking at a recent event at the World Health Organization’s annual assembly, Seth Berkley, CEO of the Global vaccine alliance GAVI, stated that doubts about vaccines spread across social media “at the speed of light,” and that the spread of “misinformation about vaccines,” is “not a freedom of speech issue,” and that “social media firms need to take it offline” because “it kills people.”9

He also stated there’s “a strong scientific consensus about the safety of vaccines,” referring to the spread of negative vaccine information as “a disease.” It’s well worth remembering that GAVIs primary mission is to “shape markets for vaccines and other immunization products.” Clearly that will not be as easy if people understand the risks.

The WHO and U.S. government are founding partners of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. In 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $750 million in seed money to spearhead the creation of GAVI, a public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism involving the WHO, governments, the vaccine industry, the World Bank, philanthropic foundations and civil society groups to “improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.”10

Since 2000, GAVI has raised more than $15 billion to vaccinate the world’s children. The single biggest funding source for GAVI is the Gates Foundation, which has donated more than $3 billion, or 20 percent of GAVI’s total income.11

Between 2000 and 2013, only about 10 percent of total funding provided by GAVI ($862 million) was used to actually strengthen health systems in developing countries, such as improving sanitation and nutrition, while nearly 80 percent was used to purchase, deliver and promote vaccines.12

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Shutting Down Vaccine Safety Discussion and Censoring Vaccine Harms

Several of my recent articles have discussed the rapidly progressing effort to vilify (if not outright criminalize) those who express concerns about vaccine safety and to shut down free speech about vaccine harms in the U.S., along with increasingly tyrannical measures, forcing people to get vaccinated or face significant fines or jail time. Here’s a summary of some of the most prominent examples:

The World Health Organization lists “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top 10 global public health threats for 2019.13

In a January interview with CBS News,14 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) did not tell the truth when he flat-out denied the fact that vaccines can cause injury or death.

The fact is, the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 has paid out $4 billion in awards for vaccine damages and deaths, and that’s just 31 percent of all the injury petitions filed.15,16

February 27, 2019, Fauci also did not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at its “Confronting a Growing Public Health Threat: Measles Outbreaks in the U.S.” hearing.17

In his sworn testimony, he claimed childhood vaccines like the MMR are completely safe and do not cause encephalitis (brain inflammation) before the parents in the audience audibly protested and he was prodded into quickly adding the word “rare.”18 The facts are:

a. The MMR vaccine package insert19 published by Merck states that “Encephalitis and encephalopathy have been reported approximately once for every 3 million doses of M-M-R II or measles-mumps- and rubella-containing vaccine.”

b. The vaccine information statement (VIS), which doctors by federal law (under the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act) are required to give parents before their children receive a CDC recommended vaccine, states that “severe” adverse effects of the MMR20 and MMRV21 vaccines include “deafness; long-term seizures; coma; lowered consciousness; and brain damage.” One of the “moderate” adverse events listed as associated with the MMRV vaccine is encephalitis.

c. Studies have shown the MMR vaccine can cause encephalitis and encephalopathy (acute or chronic brain dysfunction).22

d. As noted in a 2015 paper in the journal Vaccine:23

“We summarize epidemiologic data on deaths following vaccination, including examples where reasonable scientific evidence exists to support that vaccination caused or contributed to deaths.

Rare cases where a known or plausible theoretical risk of death following vaccination exists include anaphylaxis, vaccine-strain systemic infection after administration of live vaccines to severely immunocompromised persons, intussusception after rotavirus vaccine, Guillain-Barré syndrome after inactivated influenza vaccine, fall-related injuries associated with syncope after vaccination, yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease or associated neurologic disease, serious complications from smallpox vaccine including eczema vaccinatum, progressive vaccinia, postvaccinal encephalitis, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy and vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis from oral poliovirus vaccine.”

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, also misinformed Congress when she stated, “There are rare instances in children with certain very specific underlying problems with their immune system in whom the vaccine is contraindicated.”

She lied when she said the MMR vaccine “does not cause brain swelling and encephalitis” in healthy children, and that parents would know if their child was at risk beforehand, because their child’s doctor would tell them if this were the case.24

In February 2019, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb threatened state legislators with federal government intervention if they do not eliminate vaccine exemptions.25,26,27

California state Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, is urging the U.S. Surgeon General to push mandatory vaccinations to the top of the federal public health agenda.28,29 According to Pan, mandating vaccines, as was done for smallpox during the Revolutionary War, would “protect our right as Americans to be free of preventable diseases.”

In March 2019, a bill was introduced in Washington, D.C., allowing minor children of any age to get vaccines in the city without a parent’s knowledge or consent after a doctor says the child is “mature” enough to make the decision.30

March 27, 2019, Rockland County, New York, barred any infant, child or teen under the age of 18 who is not vaccinated against measles from entering “public places” until the state of emergency is lifted in 30 days or until they get an MMR shot. (A New York Supreme Court judge lifted the state of emergency April 5, saying the number of measles cases did not meet the legal requirement for an emergency order.)

April 9, 2019, health officials ordered residents in four Williamsburg, New York, zip codes — 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249 — to get vaccinated for measles within 48 hours or face a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.

April 25, 2019, Rockland county issued another emergency order that banned anyone with measles or who has come in contact with a measles case from appearing in public for up to 21 days or face a $2,000 per day fine.

“The new order would keep unvaccinated students who don’t have medical or religious exemptions in the most affected areas from going to school, and those who have measles or have been exposed to it and are not vaccinated from going to public places, both indoor and outdoor,” CBS2 New York reported.31

May 12, 2019, KUTV reported Washington state will no longer accept a philosophical exemption from the MMR vaccine for children seeking to attend daycare or school.32

Tech Platforms Embrace Position as Truth Adjudicators

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In recent months, media have also been flooded with reports of how tech platforms and social media are fueling “anti-vax” fears and spreading misinformation, and not doing everything possible to prevent sharing of vaccine safety-related material between users.33

Art Caplan, a bioethics professor and head of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine, has stated that “companies cannot allow themselves to be ‘vehicles for misinformation contagion,'” and must take steps to censor information that might lead people to avoid vaccination.34 In response:

YouTube has demonetized “anti-vaccine” channels, barring them from advertising on the platform.35

Facebook is “hiding” vaccine critical content and barring “ads that contain misinformation about vaccines.”36

Pinterest is blocking search terms related to vaccines, as well as “memes and pins from sites promoting anti-vaccine propaganda.”37

Amazon has removed films critical of vaccine safety from its Prime Video streaming service, including the award winning 2011 documentary “The Greater Good,”38,39 as well as books discussing vaccine risks and failures and/or biomedical and holistic health treatments for autism.40

Google is burying content and videos relating to vaccine safety issues.41

Instagram is blocking vaccine-related hashtags such as #vaccinescauseautism and any hashtag found to be “spreading misinformation” will be added to an ever-growing list of banned hashtags.42,43

Twitter Joins in Censoring Vaccine Material

To this ever-growing list we can now add Twitter, which on May 10, 2019, announced44 users searching for vaccine-related Tweets will immediately be directed to “a credible public health resource,” namely the vaccines.gov website, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Noncredible commentary and information about vaccines” will not be included in auto-suggested queries. Twitter is also planning on expanding this censorship tool to include “other important public health issues …”

And that’s the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Let’s face it, the censorship will not be restricted to vaccine information. There are many toxic but profoundly profitable industries out there, and before you know it, we won’t be allowed to read about any number of toxic and dangerous issues.

Can You Get Full Disclosure on Vaccines From a Single Source?

Even if, right now, you think it “might be a good idea” to restrict information about the risks and failures of vaccines, it won’t be long before the censorship train stops at your station and suppresses information you are interested in and need to know about to take control of your health. Censorship, which is a threat to freedom of thought, speech and conscience, is always a slippery slope.

If the vaccine thought police prevail today, tomorrow you easily could be prevented from reading or sharing information about another health topic near and dear to your heart — be it pollution, climate change, water fluoridation, toxic cosmetics, dangerous infant products, pesticide-contaminated and GMO-altered food or any number of other contentious issues that can impact an industry’s bottom line.

Once censorship takes root as an acceptable norm, there will be no end to it. The fact of the matter is, the federal government’s vaccines.gov website does not spell out the whole truth about what is known, scientifically, about vaccines. For example, in a May 16, 2019 post, The Highwire points out the fallacies proclaimed on vaccines.gov with regard to aluminum adjuvants in vaccines,45 and that’s just one example of many.

According to the vaccines.gov website, aluminum in vaccines is safe, stating that “For decades, vaccines that include aluminum have been tested for safety — these studies have shown that using aluminum is safe.”

In reality, aluminum has been used in vaccines for decades without any safety testing having been done. It has simply been assumed that aluminum was safe, because the addition of aluminum to vaccines provokes a stronger inflammatory response in an effort to create longer lasting artificial immunity.

However, as noted in a 2011 paper in Current Medicinal Chemistry, titled “Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are They Safe?”:46

“Experimental research … clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences.”

Or how about this 2018 study,47 which found high amounts of aluminum in the brains of autistic patients. According to the authors:

“The aluminium content of brain tissue in autism was consistently high. The mean (standard deviation) aluminium content across all 5 individuals for each lobe were 3.82(5.42), 2.30(2.00), 2.79(4.05) and 3.82(5.17) μg/g dry wt. for the occipital, frontal, temporal and parietal lobes respectively.

These are some of the highest values for aluminium in human brain tissue yet recorded and one has to question why, for example, the aluminium content of the occipital lobe of a 15 year old boy would be 8.74 (11.59) μg/g dry wt.?”

This study goes on to note that one known source of aluminum that children would be exposed to is vaccines, and that “their burgeoning use has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD.”

Science Earmarked as False News — Who Are the Science Deniers Now?

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Another example of what the government’s vaccines.gov website isn’t telling you is the documented evidence48 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been sitting on since 1978, showing the MMR vaccine causes gastrointestinal problems and upper respiratory infection in roughly HALF of all children.

This 1978 MMR vaccine’s licensing data were recently obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Informed Consent Action Network.49 These documents raise several other safety questions as well. For example, they show that:

  • The MMR vaccine was licensed for use in all children based on clinical trials involving a total of 834 children, of which only 342 received the MMR vaccine
  • Adverse events were only tracked for 42 days following injection
  • All of the control groups in the eight trials upon which licensing was granted were given another vaccine, in some cases simply another batch or lot of the MMR. None received a real placebo (an inert substance), without which you cannot accurately judge safety, as both the treatment group and the controls will experience side effects. The only thing these studies can tell us is which of two vaccines is better or worse, in terms of short-term side effects

We’re Entering an Era of Faith-Based Science

Does the vaccine.gov website tell you this about the MMR? No, it does not. Instead, this very real news, based on official documents from the FDA showing the actual science underpinning the licensing of this vaccine, is now labeled “noncredible vaccine commentary.”

The pro-vaccine lobby is very quick to label anyone who questions the safety of vaccines as “anti-science.” Yet, what most vaccine safety critics are trying to do is to reveal the science the pro-vaccine lobby doesn’t want to share with the public. So, just who are the science deniers?

The pro-vaccine lobby is working hard to get laws passed that will force everyone to use every vaccine the pharmaceutical industry produces and the federal government recommends. If forced vaccination lobbyists get their way, only studies confirming preconceived notions that all vaccines are safe and effective in all instances will be deemed “real science.” Everything else is “pseudoscience” or plain “misinformation.”

Not only is this censorship trend endangering public health by hiding reality, it’s also endangering the very foundation of the field of science by ushering in a highly-radicalized form of faith-based science, where you form an opinion and only allow studies that support that opinion to see the light of day. That’s already happening, but we’re bound to get much more of it if we continue down this path.

We cannot make sensible decisions about our health and that of our children when all we get is half the story. The video below, “Our Girls Are Not Rumors — Stories of the HPV (Gardasil) Vaccine,” is a perfect example of the devastation wrought by incomplete vaccine disclosures. Yet media, largely owned by Big Pharma, tries to write these real-world effects off as nothing but fake news.

In Criminals We Trust?

According to the vaccine lobby, information highlighting the lack of safety is too dangerous to be read. You should just trust the vaccine industry, the makers of these lifesaving marvels.

The problem with that is that most of them have been found guilty in civil courts of engaging in unethical, even criminal, behavior. Why should we trust companies with shoddy ethics that engage in criminal behavior? In my view, this is an unreasonable demand.

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Baxter International have all graced AllBusiness’ Top 100 Corporate Criminals List, along with 13 other drug companies. For example, at the height of the bird flu pandemic of 2009, Baxter “mistakenly” mixed the lethal, live, biological weapon/virus, H5N1, with seasonal flu, then sent it to labs around Europe.

In the largest health care fraud settlement in history, Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, and GlaxoSmithKline was found to have spent 11 years covering up trial data showing Avandia was a risky drug for the heart.

In 2012, Pharmaceutical-technology.com reported50 GlaxoSmithKline was in hot water again after a court in Argentina found the company mismanaged a Synflorix vaccine trial that killed 14 babies. Synflorix is a pediatric vaccine against pneumonia and meningitis, much like Pfizer’s blockbuster vaccine Prevnar. According to Pharmaceutical-technology.com:

“The firm was fined $93,000 for failing to obtain parental consent to conduct the trials on 15,000 Argentine babies, and an additional 9,000 babies from Colombia and Panama, between 2007 and 2008.

The children were recruited from poor families. Evidence from Argentina’s medical regulator said that, in some cases, GlaxoSmithKline pressured parents and grandparents to sign lengthy consent forms that they couldn’t understand … GlaxoSmithKline was also criticised [sic] by Judge Marcelo Aguinsky for keeping inadequate records of the children’s ages and medical histories.”

Unethical Vaccine Testing Methods Have Been the Norm

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The sad truth is that GlaxoSmithKline’s “mismanagement” was not a one-off event. As reported by Collective-Evolution,51 while under oath, “Dr. Stanley Plotkin, known as one of the fathers of vaccines, reveals … testing vaccines on orphans, colonial ruled populations, babies whose mothers are in prison, and mentally handicapped children.” In a letter to the editor of “Ethics on Human Experimentation,” Plotkin wrote:

“The question is whether we are to have experiments performed on fully functioning adults and on children who are potentially contributors to society or to perform initial studies in children and adults who are human in form but not in social potential?”

A short outtake of his testimony covering these specific points is in the video above. The full nine-hour video testimony can be found on Youtube.52 I also suggest reading through “The 6 Top Thugs of the Medical World… As Ranked by ‘Top 100 Corporate Criminals List” for a general overview of the companies you’re being told to trust blindly and without question.

The Fallacy of Censorship as a Conformity Builder

What we have here is a highly profitable vaccine industry, which has no civil liability for any of the health problems caused by the use of their products, that lobbies government to mandate vaccines, while simultaneously insisting on censoring criticism of vaccine safety and effectiveness, and blocking parents from publicly describing real-life experiences about how their healthy children were injured or died after vaccinations, and refusing to conduct well-designed scientific research that investigates evidence of harm.

The end result cannot be anything other than mounting public distrust, because this simply isn’t how honest corporations and industries who conduct business with transparency and integrity go about making a profit. There’s no need for censorship when you have nothing to hide and are willing to address shortcomings or product risks to ensure safety and effectiveness.

On top of it all, we now also have an up-cropping of self-appointed arbiters of truth and trustworthiness, such as NewsGuard — a company that right out of the gate failed to adhere to one of its own tenets of trustworthiness: transparency. From the outset, NewsGuard “declined to disclose” the size of its revenue stream in its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.53

You can learn more about NewsGuard and its funders in “Beware: New Plan to Censor Health Websites” and “Ghost in the Machine Part 6: Mainstream Media Censors News That Threatens Its Financial Interests.”

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