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Scientific Evidence Suggests The Vaccine-Autism Link Can No Longer Be Ignored

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Vaccine-childConcerns regarding vaccinations continue to increase exponentially in light of all of the information and documentation that has surfaced over the past few years. As a result, corporate media has responded to alternative media, stating that the increase of persons who are choosing to opt out of vaccines and the recommended vaccine schedule is a result of ‘fear mongering.’ This may not be too surprising as the corporate media is owned by the major vaccine manufacturers, and the major vaccine manufacturers are owned by corporate media(1)(2)(3)(4). Given this fact, it’s easy to fathom the possibility that these institutions are desperately trying to protect the reputation of their product.

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For example, if we take a look at GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, they are owned by the same financial institutions and groups that own Time Warner (CNN, HBO etc.) and General Electric (NBC, Comcast, Universal Pictures etc.).(1)(2)(3)(4) This is seen throughout all of the major vaccine manufacturers and all of the 6 corporations that control our mainstream media. Keep in mind that these are the major funders of all ‘medical research’ that’s used to administer drugs and vaccinations. Despite these connections, medical research and documentation exists to show that vaccines might indeed be a cause for concern.

Vaccines and Autism, Both Sides of The Coin

Here we will simply present information from both sides of the coin because many are not even aware that two sides exist. We’ve presented multiple studies, citing multiple research papers and published research conducted by doctors and Universities from all across the world.  Here is an example of a paper that describes how vaccine manufactures and medical ‘experts’ with drug industry connections have been aware of the multiple dangers associated with vaccinations for over 30 years. We’d also like to present medical research that indicates the many dangers associated with vaccines, and have done this on multiple occasions. We do this because the safety of vaccinations is commonly pushed by the mainstream media, without ever mentioning or citing the abundant medical research that should also be taken into consideration when discussing vaccinations. Please keep in mind that there is evidence on both sides. At the same time, some of the evidence on the side that negates a positive outlook on vaccination has been labelled fraudulent, but then again many haven’t.

The vaccine-autism debate has been going on for years. It has been a tale of shifting beliefs as child vaccination rates remain high. On February 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist and his colleagues published a paper that supposedly linked Autism to Vaccines(5). More specifically, he claimed that the MMR vaccine was responsible for intestinal inflammation that led to translocation of usually non-permeable peptides to the bloodstream and, subsequently, to the brain, where they affected development(5). His work was unpublished, and he lost his medical license despite the fact multiple studies seem to support Andrew Wakefield’s work (here is one example, and here is another.) He has been labelled a fraud by the mainstream medical world, some experts claim that his research and methods are weak and based on very little evidence. Dr Wakefield’s research will NOT be used in this article.

At the same time I must mention that multiple studies from around the world have concluded that there is no link between Autism and the MMR Vaccine(5). It can become quite a confusing subject given that we have multiple medical studies contradicting each other. Was Dr. Wakefield exposing something that the medical industry did not want you to know? It is known that vaccine manufacturers suppress harmful data regarding their product, as mentioned and illustrated earlier in the article. Regardless of the MMR vaccine and autism debate, there are still a number of studies that link vaccines to a possible autism connection. Please keep in mind that multiple courts worldwide have ruled in favour of vaccines causing autism, brain damage and other complications (6)(7), that include the MMR vaccine.

Here is a great video narrated by Rob Schneider outlining the vaccine-autsim link. Below that you will find a list of 22 medical studies that show possible connections to vaccines and autism. Please keep in mind that we’ve only presented 22 studies here, there are many more published papers that document the link. Hopefully this inspires you to further your research on the subject. Also keep in mind that Autism is only one of the multiple shown consequences of vaccine administration, as they have been linked to a number of other ailments. 

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 1. A study published in the Journal Annals of Epidemiology has shown that giving the Hepatitis B vaccine to newborn baby boys could triple the risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder compared to boys who were not vaccinated as neonates. The  research was conducted at Stony Brook University Medical Centre, NY.

2. A study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry  by researchers at the Neural Dynamics Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia determined that Aluminum, a highly neurotoxic metal and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant may be a significant contributing factor to the rising prevalence of ASD in the Western World.  They showed that the correlation between ASD prevalence and the Aluminum adjuvant exposure appears to be the highest at 3-4 months of age. The studies also show that children from countries with the highest ASD appear to have a much higher exposure to Aluminum from vaccines. The study points out that several prominent milestones of brain development coincide with major vaccination periods for infants. These include the onset of synaptogenesis (birth), maximal growth velocity of the hippocampus and the onset of amygdala maturation. Furthermore, major developmental transition in many bio-behavioural symptoms such as sleep, temperature regulation, respiration and brain wave patterns, all of which are regulated by the neuroendocrine network. Many of these aspects of brain function are known to be impaired in autism, such as sleeping and brain wave patterns.

According to the FDA, vaccines represent a special category of drugs as they are generally given to healthy individuals. Further according to the FDA, “this places significant emphasis on their vaccine safety”. While the FDA does set an upper limit for Aluminum in vaccines at no more that 850/mg/dose, it is important to note that this amount was selected empirically from data showing that Aluminum in such amounts enhanced the antigenicity of the vaccine, rather than from existing safety. Given that the scientific evidence appears to indicate that vaccine safety is not as firmly established as often believed, it would seem ill advised to exclude paediatric vaccinations as a possible cause of adverse long-term neurodevelopment outcomes , including those associated with autism.

3. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues by the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of New York shows how researchers suspect one or more environmental triggers are needed to develop autism, regardless of whether individuals have a genetic predisposition or not. They determined that one of those triggers might be the “battery of vaccinations that young children receive.” Researchers found a positive and statistically significant relationship between autism and vaccinations. They determined that the higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher the prevalence of autism. A 1 % increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having autism. The results suggest that vaccines may be linked to autism and encourages more in depth study before continually administering these vaccines.

4. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology by the Department of Neurosurgery at The Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston has shown that ASD is a disorder caused by a problem in brain development. They looked at B-cells and their sensitivity levels to thimerosal, a commonly used additive in many vaccines. They determined that ASD patients have a heightened sensitivity to thimerosal which would restrict cell proliferation that is typically found after vaccination. The research shows that individuals who have this hypersensitivity to thimerosal could make them highly susceptible to toxins like thimerosal, and that individuals with a mild mitochondrial defect may be affected by thimerosal. The fact that ASD patients’ B cells exhibit hypersensitivity to thimerosal tells us something.

5. A study published in the Journal of Biomedical Sciences determined that the autoimmunity to the central nervous system may play a causal role in autism. Researchers discovered that because many autistic children harbour elevated levels of measles antibodies, they should conduct a serological study of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and myelin basic protein (MBP) autoantibodies. They used serum samples of 125 autistic children and 92 controlled children. Their analysis showed a significant increase in the level of MMR antibodies in autistic children. The study concludes that the autistic children had an inappropriate or abnormal antibody response to MMR. The study determined that autism could be a result from an atypical measles infection that produces neurological symptoms in some children. The source of this virus could be a variant of MV, or it could be the MMR vaccine.

6. Study published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry  suggests that Autism is likely triggered by a virus, and that measles virus (MV and/or MMR vaccine) might be a very good candidate. It supports the hypothesis that a virus-dincued autoimmune response may play a causal role in autism.

7. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that an increased vulnerability to oxidative stress and decreased capacity for methylation may contribute to the development and clinical manifestation of autism. It’s well known that viral infections cause increased oxidative stress. Research suggests that metals, including those found in many vaccines are directly involved in increasing oxidative stress.

8A study published by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Northeastern University, Boston determined that a novel growth factor signalling pathway that regulates methionine synthase(MS) activity and thereby modulates methylation reactions. The potent inhibition of this pathway by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum and thimerosal suggests that it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins. You can read more about this here, and here.  You can read more about the MS/autism link here

9A study published in the Journal of Child Neurology examined the question of what is leading to the apparent increase in autism. They expressed  that if there is any link between autism and mercury, it is crucial that the first reports of the question are not falsely stating that no link occurs. Researchers determined that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.

10. A study published in the Journal of Child Neurology noted that autistic spectrum disorders can be associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Researchers determined that children who have mitochondrial-related dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time.

11. A study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital at the Centre for Morphometric Analysis by the department of Paediatric Neurology illustrates how autistic brains have a growth spurt shortly after birth and then slow in growth a few short years later. Researchers have determined that neuroinflammation appears to be present in autistic brain tissue from childhood through adulthood. The study excerpt reads:

Oxidative stress, brain inflammation and microgliosis have been much documented in association with toxic exposures including various heavy metals. The awareness that the brain as well as medical conditions of children with autism may be conditioned by chronic biomedical abnormalities such as inflammation opens the possibility that meaningful biomedical interventions may be possible well past the window of maximal neuroplasticity in early childhood because the basis for assuming that all deficits can be attributed to fixed early developmental alterations in net

12, A study conducted by the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Arkansas determined that thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with the depletion of intracellular glutathione (GSH) in both cell lines.  The study outlines how many vaccines have been neurotoxic, especially to the developing brain. Depletion of GSH is commonly associated with autism. Although thimerosal has been removed from most children’s vaccines, it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly and to children in developing countries.

13. A study published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS)  determined that elevation in peripheral oxidative stress is consistent with, and may contribute to more severe functional impairments in the ASD group. We know that oxidative stress is triggered by heavy metals, like the ones contained in multiple vaccines.

14. A study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Centre by the Department of Family and Community Medicine determined that for each 1,000 Ib of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism. Researchers emphasized that further research was needed regarding the association between environmentally released mercury and developmental disorders such as autism.

15. A study published in the International Journal of Toxicology determined that in light of the biological plausibility of mercury’s role in neurodevelopment disorders, the present study provides further insight into one possible mechanism by which early mercury exposures could increase the risk of autism.

16. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health determined that mercury exposure can induce immune, sensory, neurological, motor and behavioural dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with ASDs. Based upon differential diagnoses, 8 of 9 patients examined were exposed to significant mercury from Thimerosal-containing vaccine preparations during their fetal/infant developmental periods. These previously normal developing children suffered mercury encephalopathies that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with regressive ASDs. Evidence for mercury intoxication should be considered in the differential diagnosis as contributing to some regressive ASDs.

 17. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Centre suspected that persistent low-dose exposures to various environmental toxicants including mercury, that occur during critical windows of neural development among genetically susceptible children, may increase the risk for developmental disorders such as autism.

18. A study conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine showed that Macaques are commonly used in pre-clinical vaccine safety testing. Collective Evolution does not support animals testing, we feel there is a large amount of evidence and research that already indicated the links to vaccines in which some animals have been used to illustrate. The objective of this study was to compare early infant cognition and behaviour with amygdala size and opioid binding in rhesus macaques receiving the recommended childhood vaccines. The animal model, which examines for the first time, behavioural, functional and neuromorphometric consequences of the childhood vaccine regimen, mimics certain neurological abnormalities of autism. These findings raise important safety issues while providing a potential model for examining aspects of causation and disease pathogenesis in acquired disorders of behaviour and development.

19. A study conducted by The George Washington University School of Public Health from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics determined that significantly increased rate ratios were observed for autism and autism spectrum disorders as a result of exposure to mercury from Thimerosal-containing vaccines.

20. A study published in the Journal Cell Biology and Toxicology by Kinki University in Osaka, Japan determined that in combination with the brain pathology observed in patients diagnosed with autism, the present study helps to support the possible biological plausability for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.

21.  A study published by the Journal Lab Medicine determined that vaccinations may be one of the triggers for autism. Researchers discovered that substantial data demonstrates immune abnormality in many autistic children consistent with impaired resistance to infection, activation of inflammatory responses and autoimmunity. Impaired resistance may predispose to vaccine injury in autism.

22A study published in the Journal Neurochemical Research determined that since excessive accumulation of extracellular glutamate is linked with excitotoxicity, data implies that neonatal exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines might induce excitotoxic brain injuries, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sources:

All sources not listed below are listed throughout the article and highlighted. To view them, please click on them.

(1)http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=GSK

(2)http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=twx+Major+Holders

(3)http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=ge+Major+Holders

(4) http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=pfe+Major+Holders

(5)http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.full

(6) http://www.ebcala.org/unanswered-questions

(7)http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/07/courts-rule-mmr-thimerosal-containing-vaccines-caused-autism-brain-damage/

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Awareness

Medical Medium: The Two Causes Of Chronic Illness & The Power Of Your Thoughts

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Medical Medium is one of the most influential figures in the alternative health movement, and he firmly believes that our thoughts and beliefs can play an integral role in our health and wellness.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or a loved one currently battling a chronic illness? If so, how do you view it and what are you doing to help your body overcome it?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, Anthony William (also commonly known as the Medical Medium) is the author of several New York Times bestselling books including Liver Rescue and Life-Changing Foods. He’s also the primary figure behind the now viral Global Celery Juice Movement–a subject that we covered in great detail earlier this year.

However, what really sets Anthony William apart in the alternative health world is that the source of his insights is far more “alternative” than most of his equally successful counterparts. You see, rather than regularly citing scientific studies or findings throughout each of his books, Anthony instead credits a higher source that he channels out of compassion and a desire to truly heal us all–something that many believe modern medicine struggles with. (To learn more about Anthony’s incredible story read this.)

Several of us connected to Collective Evolution, myself included, have put many of Anthony’s suggestions into practice and I can say from personal experience that I’m grateful to have done so. As just the adoption of daily morning celery juice alone has worked wonders at improving both my own health and the health of my mother in just a few short months.

As part of the upcoming Hay House Heal Summit, two new videos featuring Anthony have recently been released, both of which share a perspective on our health that is certainly worth considering.

The Two Causes Of Chronic Illness

As Anthony outlines in the video, chronic illness ultimately boils down to the presence of toxins and pathogens. Toxins are defined as poisonous substances that are products of the metabolic activities of a living organism, while pathogens are causative agents of disease.

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Whether it be through the food that we are eating, the air that we are breathing, the surfaces that we are touching, or the liquids that we are drinking, our bodies are regularly exposed to things that both build up toxins and/or present us with triggers of illness that are only made stronger by the existing toxins within our body for it to feed and thrive off of.

It therefore becomes imperative that we consider taking proactive measures–whether it be those recommended by the Medical Medium or otherwise–to both rid our body of existing toxins and minimize the amount of new toxins we expose it to. I’ve personally found being more conscious of the dietary choices that I make, and opting to make my own food with non-processed organic ingredients as often as possible, as incredibly helpful in doing exactly this, especially when paired with celery juice first thing in the morning to help flush out pre-existing and new toxins I’ve managed to take on.

The Power Of Your Thoughts

Within this video, Anthony touches upon an aspect of health that I’ve become particularly connected to over the past 3 years through my work with the documentary Heal. Heal is a film that features some of the greatest minds in the alternative health movement including Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Kelly Brogan and the Medical Medium himself in an exploration of the role that our thoughts can play in our ability or inability to heal from illness and disease. (Note: If you haven’t seen it, the film is available on Netflix.)

While toxins and pathogens may play the physical leading roles in the development of disease, many believe that our thoughts and beliefs may play just as critical a role.

Whether you or someone close to you is or has battled a chronic illness, we all know that they can be scary, frustrating, and a million other related adjectives making the development of negative beliefs seemingly natural. While completely controlling them may not be possible, as Anthony points out in this video, it’s certainly worth at least attempting to minimize them.

For proof of this, look no further than the integral role that placebos have played in many studies. It may not do all of the work when it comes to your healing, but cutting back on the less than pleasant beliefs and showing yourself some compassion can only help (even if just mentally) in your healing journey.


If the above videos resonated with you, I encourage you to sign up for the FREE Hay House Heal Online Summit taking place from October 23rd – 29th. It’s not only slated to feature the complete interview lessons with the Medical Medium that the above two clips were taken from, but it also features several other lessons with impactful health figures like Bruce Lipton, PhD., Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, Chris Wark, Dr. Joe Dispenza and many more all set on helping you empower the powerful healer that lies within us all.

Sign up now and receive immediate access to 4 free lessons (including one with the Medical Medium) before the Summit begins on October 23rd!

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Alternative News

Thousands Protest In Switzerland As The Population Is Now Exposed To 5G Wireless Radiation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A large portion of the Switzerland population is now exposed to 5G, and thousands of people showed up on the Swiss house of Parliament in Bern to protest.

  • Reflect On:

    With undeniable evidence showing this type of technology has disastrous health effects, what's really going on? People are aware of this, but governments continue to ignore all of this information.

Frank Clegg, the former President of Microsoft Canada, has released an insider’s view educational video regarding the health and safety concerns of 5G and wireless technologies. You can watch that video here. The main takeaway of his video is that there are numerous health concerns concerning wireless radiation, especially with regards to 5G, and that this type of technology is linked to a number of diseases, and yet it’s being implemented without any safety testing.

His words echo the message of thousands of scientists who have published numerous papers on not just 5G, but EMF radiation in general and how over-exposure from our computers, cell phones, cell phone towers and wifi signals are creating a disturbing health epidemic around the world.

You would think with more than 10,000 peer reviewed publications on the subject that the industry and our government health regulatory agencies would do some safety testing  before rolling it out, but no, they haven’t. To be honest, with so much science already making things quite clear, if they did any type of appropriate safety testing there is truly no way they would be able to rollout this technology. It would be a huge profit loss, which is why we don’t hear anything about the negative health consequences of this type of technology.

I’d like to point readers toward a fairly recent publication by Dr. Martin L. Pall, PhD and Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, who says the following in his report “5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them”:

“Putting in tens of millions of 5G antennae without a single biological test of safety has got to be about the stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world.”

If you want to learn more about 5G technology and the health concerns regarding electromagnetic radiation of this kind, the Environmental Health Trust is a great place to start.

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Switzerland

What’s happening in Switzerland might go global–it’s something that seems to be rolling out in North America at least. Switzerland’s population is now officially exposed to the new 5G networks.

As a result, thousands of people showed up in protest.

Yahoo News reports:

The protesters, many carrying placards, gathered in front of the Swiss parliament building, in a bid to stop the construction of more 5G-compatible antennae.

“The fact that so many people turned out today is a strong sign against the uncontrolled introduction of 5G,” said Tamlin Schibler Ulmann, co-president of Frequencia, the group that organised the rally.

[C]ritics in Switzerland argue that the electromagnetic radiation the new system emits poses unprecedented health and environmental risks compared to previous generations of mobile technology.

Online petitions have helped persuade several Swiss cantons — in Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg and Neuchatel — to postpone the construction of antennae as a precaution.

The Swiss Federation of Doctors (FMH) has also argued for a cautious approach to the new technology.

The first injuries due to 5G are already being reported in Switzerland, according to Physicians for Safe Technology.

Paul Bischoff, a tech journalist and privacy advocate, recently compiled data regarding telecom’s political contributions to influence policies that benefit their industry.

Internet service providers in the United States have spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying since 1998, and 2018 was the biggest year so far with a total spend of more than $80 million.

Comparitech researchers compiled and analyzed 51 ISPs’ lobbying expenses from the US Senate’s Lobbying Disclosure Act database, which dates back to 1998.

Here are the highlights of our analysis:

  • 2018 was the biggest year yet for ISP lobbying at $80 million.
  • Top spenders include AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, which have amassed lobbying expenses of $341 million, $265 million, and $200 million, respectively since 1998.
  • Since 2011, yearly spending on lobbying across all ISPs hasn’t strayed below $72 million.
  • The largest amount spent by any provider in any year was AT&T in 1999, at almost $23 million. AT&T’s acquisition of Ameritech Corp accounted for much of this, and the merger eventually led to the creation of America’s largest telecom company.
  • Total spend from 2016 to 2019 is set to exceed lobbying expenses between 2012 and 2015, which totaled $295 million.
  • Lobbying in favor of mergers and acquisitions accounted for many of the biggest expenses for individual ISPs in a single year.
  • $1.2 billion has been spent by ISPs on lobbying since 1998.

It’s Obvious That 5G Technology Is Not Safe. Here Are Some Related CE Articles On The Topic With More Information

Ex VP of Microsoft Canada Explains How 5G Wireless Radiation Could Be A Huge Health Hazard

5G Is The “Stupidest Idea in The History of the World” – Says Washington State Professor

5G Technician Reveals The Damage He Believes 5G Will Cause

Brussels Becomes First Major City to Halt 5G Due to Health Effects

Devonshire, UK Halts The Installation of 5G Over Serious Health Concerns

Top Cancer Research Advisor Compares Wireless Radiation To Cigarettes

EMF Frequencies Used For Crowd Control Weapons Form The Foundation of 5G Network

The Takeaway & What You Can Do

Many of us have already started participating in protests, and many steps are being taken to stop 5G. Products and services are being banned, and the amount of awareness that’s been created within the past five years is promising. People are becoming aware of this stuff, and with awareness comes action, like the examples used in this article. Ten years ago, the world was silent on such issues. Today, we are making it difficult for services and products to make a profit, and approval processes have become stricter. We are definitely moving forward.

So, what can you do? You could purchase some EMF protective clothing and bedding, or you could even paint your home with EMF protective paint. You can unplug your computer when not in use, turn off your cell phone, and unplug all your electronic devices before you go to sleep. You could have a wired internet connection, which is actually much faster than any wireless connection. You can live a healthy lifestyle, and you can use mind-body healing techniques to help you.

Years ago many actions taken by governments and corporations went unnoticed. We are no doubt making things difficult for them, so let’s keep moving forward.

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Alternative News

The Mental Health Morass: Good for Pharma, Bad for Youth

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When several hundred Colorado high school students walked out of a post-school-shooting vigil last May to protest the event’s politicization, their departing chant was, “mental health, mental health.” While this response may have unsettled the event’s organizers, it was unsurprising in the context of widespread media accounts of an “epidemic of anguish” among American youth. According to this narrative, not only is “the increase in mental health issues among [U.S.] teens and young adults…nothing short of staggering,” but around the globe, mental illness is set to become the “next major global health challenge” and “pandemic of the 21st century.”

Without making light of the problem or minimizing anyone’s personal suffering, it is clear that one entity that stands to benefit mightily from a deepening mental health crisis is the pharmaceutical industry. Psychiatric medications have long been “growth superstars”—generating billions in sales for companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly “as the U.S. became Prozac Nation, antipsychotics also became antidepressants, and ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] a byword.” Already in the mid-2000s, a Harvard economist reported that spending on psychotropic drugs had substantially outpaced overall prescription drug spending—no mean feat given the drug market’s exponential growth.

Outsized drug company profits and clever marketing tactics have prompted many to question the industry’s “oversized role in determining how mental illness is treated.” Even in conventional medical circles, clinicians acknowledge the need for “radical change in the paradigm and practices of mental health care,” including interventions that emphasize prevention and non-pharmacologic treatment modalities. These sorts of recommendations are urgently needed—not least for the young people for whom there is scant evidence of psychotropic medication safety or efficacy.

Overlapping trends

Modern psychiatry situates an alphabet soup of diagnoses under the broad rubric of “mental, emotional and behavioral” (MEB) disorders. It is no longer uncommon for children and adolescents to receive one or more of these diagnoses: anxiety disorder; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorder; bipolar disorder; conduct disorder; depression; disruptive behavior disorder; drug abuse or dependence; eating disorders; obsessive-compulsive disorder; oppositional defiant disorder; pervasive developmental disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; and schizophrenia.

The proliferation of mental health diagnoses in young people overlaps considerably with trends in diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, mental health diagnoses frequently intersect with physical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy, which are more often present in children with mental disorders than in children without such disorders. Pediatric hospital admissions for non-behavioral disorders result in higher costs and longer stays when they are comorbid with behavioral disorders.

One of the few large-scale surveys to focus on MEB disorders in children (rather than adults) was the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), conducted from 2001 to 2004. The NCS-A found that half of U.S. youth (ages 13-18) had been diagnosed with at least one MEB disorder—including one in five with behavior disorders and three in ten with anxiety disorders—with the impairments rated as “severe” in roughly one-fourth of the affected teens. For many of the young people, onset and diagnosis occurred well before adolescence. Reviewing the evidence, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine reported in 2009 that “early MEB disorders should be considered as commonplace as a fractured limb: not inevitable but not at all unusual.”

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The impact

Recent research has documented some of the impact of these “commonplace” diagnoses in young people. Between 2011 and 2015, for example, visits by U.S. youth to psychiatric emergency departments increased by 28%. By age group, the largest increase—54%—was seen in adolescents (as compared to younger children or youth in their early 20s), in whom the researchers also reported a 2.5-fold increase in suicide-related visits. As of 2010, mood disorders (which include both bipolar and depressive disorders) were the most frequent principal diagnosis given to hospitalized children ages 1-17—up 80% since 1997. The hospitalization rate for bipolar disorders increased fourfold between the two time points (1997–2010), especially in the 10-14 and 15-17 age groups.

Researchers describe comorbid ADHD as “nearly universal” among youth with bipolar disorder, with ADHD and anxiety disorders viewed as common precursors of bipolar disorder. The trend toward increased diagnosis of both ADHD and bipolar disorder has prompted increased use by young people of both inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as an exponential increase in the prescribing of medication. In office-based settings, where mental health care for young people has increased more rapidly than for adults, psychotropic medication prescriptions for younger patients are often provided by physicians with no psychiatric training.

For both ADHD and bipolar disorder, pharmacologic treatment relies heavily on powerful psychostimulants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Reporting on data collected in 2011–2012, researchers noted that a large proportion (44%) of very young children diagnosed with ADHD (2- to 5-year-olds) were taking medication, most commonly central nervous system stimulants. Nationally, a survey of children with special health care needs conducted in 2009–2010 found that 74% of ADHD-diagnosed children ages 4-17 had received medication in the past week.

Both the scientific community and mainstream media have raised questions about whether widespread administration of mind-altering psychostimulants to young children is safe or “meaningfully beneficial.” In 2016, a Washington Post reporter cited CDC findings when noting that “The long-term effects of those [ADHD] drugs on a young brain and body have not been well studied, and the side effects can be numerous, including poor appetite, sleeplessness, irritability and slowed growth.” Other risks of these freely prescribed drugs include the potential to actually worsen mania, foster addiction or lead to further medication. In the push for increased treatment, clinicians have largely ignored these risks.

In some states, special education funding policies create financial incentives to actively identify and medicate children with ADHD. In those states, children are “about 15 percent more likely to report having ADHD and…about 22 percent more likely to be taking medication for ADHD.” As a medical ethicist has commented, these patterns raise questions about the “muddier” aspects of psychiatric diagnosis and the variability “as regards who and what drive [diagnostic] practices.”

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders have also raised serious concerns—particularly about their potential to promote suicidality, aggression or other unwanted outcomes in children and adolescents. In 2016, the Nordic Cochrane Centre systematically reviewed clinical study reports from 70 trials of SSRIs and similar drugs and described substantial under-reporting of harms. Even with the under-reporting, the reviewed evidence linked the drugs to a doubling in the risk of suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.

Why is this happening?

Researchers have floated many hypotheses about the underlying causes of the burgeoning youth mental health crisis. But while the mainstream media have been more than willing to give airtime to social explanations such as smartphone use and academic stress, the public has seen far less discussion of other plausible factors such as the gut-brain connection. For example, there is a complex interplay between the gut microbiome, the immune response and vaccination—and experimental evidence links vaccines and vaccine adjuvants to adverse mental health symptoms. There is also ample experimental evidence showing that gut microbiota disruptions caused by subchronic and chronic exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides can increase anxiety and depression-like behaviors at virtually any age. Moreover, research findings are suggestive of potential transgenerational effects of both vaccines and glyphosate. Rather than acquiesce to the perpetuation of hair-splitting mental health diagnoses—and the pharmaceutical “solutions” that always seem to follow close behind—it would seem wise to scrutinize these pervasive environmental threats while keeping in mind the age-old question of cui bono.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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