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Undeniable Evidence Links Popular Sunscreens To Cancer – How Ironic?

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 Palestinian Children Visit The Beach For The First TimeCancer rates are increasingly on the rise as we continue to surround ourselves with an extremely toxic environment. Everything from GMOs to pesticides and cosmetics, our world is full of cancer causing agents that are now being exposed. People are beginning to wake up and take back control of their own health. Researching and actually looking into things rather than blindly believing mass marketing and media seems to be the new trend.

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It’s ironic how people combat potential dangers from long term Sun exposure by rubbing several known toxic chemicals all over their bodies. Skin cancer used to be rare, but today one in every five Americans develop skin cancer; that’s around 3.5 million people diagnosed every year, and the incidence of melanoma has increased over 1000% in the last 20 + years. All of this comes with the increased use of sunscreen and the mass marketing of sunscreen coupled with the mass fear that seems to plague the planet with regards to sun exposure.

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There is already sufficient evidence which suggests that sunscreen use promotes the spread of cancer, rather than preventing it. Personally, I have never used sunscreen in my life. For most of my childhood up to my late teens, I was in the Sun for a minimum of 6 hours a day almost every day of the week. I admit I might have a bias because of my experience with the sun but nonetheless, personal experience is personal proof. Considering the Sun provides life to our planet, it is only natural to assume that there is nothing to fear in regards to sun exposure.

Multiple studies from across the world have examined sunscreen, its contents and what happens with regards to penetration and absorption after applying it to your skin. One example comes out of the faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada (0). The purpose of the study was to develop a method for quantifying common sunscreen agents. Results demonstrated a significant penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin. Basically, all of these chemicals are entering multiple tissues within the body. This is something that cannot be denied. So what are some of the main toxic chemicals contained in top name brand sunscreens? Before we go into that, I wanted to share this video with you.

Below I will provide evidence for only TWO ingredients in popular name brand sunscreen. Please keep in mind that there are a myriad of chemicals contained within popular sunscreens, and a majority of them (just like the ones I have outlined) have studies which link them to harmful effects on human health and cancer. I wanted to keep this article shorter, but I encourage you to further your own research on the matter.

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Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is contained in multiple top brand sunscreen products. It’s used as a UV-B and short-wave UV-A filter and has been available for over 40 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a prevalence of 96.8 percent oxybenzone exposure in the general US population.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (1) determined that the substance could be harmful to the homeostasis of the epidermis. Another study done by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology at the University of Goettingen (2) observed regulatory effects on receptor expression for oxybenzone that indicate endocrine disruption (hormone disruption).

A study out of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Zurich determined that oxybenzone, which blocks ultraviolet light, may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and promotes the growth of cancer cells (5).

A study out of the Queensland Cancer Fund Laboratories at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia recognized the significance of systemic absorption of sunscreens prompted by multiple studies. Researchers discovered that oxybenzone inhibited cell growth and DNA synthesis and retarded cycle progression in the first of the four phases of the cell cycle(3). This takes place during eukaryotic cell division, a very significant step that leads to the synthesizing of mRNA and proteins in preparation for the steps leading towards mitosis. They determined that sunscreen causes mitochondrial stress and changes in drug uptake in certain cell lines.

A study published in the Journal of Health Science by the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan examined UV stabilizers used in food packages as plastic additives (4). They found that some UV stabilizers in sunscreen products have estrogenicity in an MCF-7 breast cancer cell assay as well as an immature rat uterotrophic assay. They tested a total of 11 UV stabilizers. 20 kinds of benzophenones were tested using the same assay to demonstrate their estrogenic activity.

A study published by the Department of Chemistry at the University of California determined that  oxybenzone produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death (as illustrated in an earlier study presented in this article) and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease(6).

Another study out of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich shows a large array of developmental and reproductive toxicity (7).

A study published by the Department of Biological Systems Engineering by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln looked at how commercial sunscreens are penetration enhancers. They determined that the active ingredients within sunscreen, including oxybenzone enhance dermal penetration of the herbicides (8). This study came about because of the fact that agricultural workers are often encouraged to use sunscreen to decrease the risk of UV-related skin cancer.

The list goes on and on, and the studies seem to be never ending. There is sufficient evidence to indicate that oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor, and it clearly penetrates deeply into this skin. Like many other skin care products, there is a lot of controversy around this. The fact that major financial institutions who own the pharmaceutical and medical industry produce these sunscreens poses further suspicions.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is another common ingredient within sunscreen, predominately baby sunscreen (9).  As illustrated earlier in the article, what goes on your skin goes into your skin. Specifically with titanium dioxide, studies have shown that large concentrations are absorbed into the epidermis and dermis (12).  Particularly with sunscreen, researchers have conducted experiments that show chemicals contained within sunscreen penetrate the skin at a high percentage. Do you really want something like titanium dioxide inside of your body? How about inside your baby? Titanium dioxide was recently classified as being possibly carcinogenic to humans by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (10). Titanium dioxide also meets the classifications of a carcinogen by the National Office of WHMIS.

The normal titanium levels in the blood of males between 24 to 66 years of age were found to be 11.2 micrograms. This obviously increases with sunscreen usage. A study out of Germany determined that oral administration of this chemical results in gastro-intestinal absorption. (11).

Oral administration of titanium dioxide nano-particles caused a wide distribution in the liver, spleen and kidneys as well as causing lung tissue and heart tissue injury during an animal study done by the National Centre for NanoScience (13).  Another study done by the National Institute of Health in Portugal found that the carcinogenic effects of titanium dioxide nano-particles induce tumour-like phenotypes in human gastric epithelial cells (14).

A 2009 study conducted by the VaxDesign Corporation illustrated that titanium dioxide provoked inflammation of an in vitro human immune construct (15). Another study done by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by Yamagata University in Japan found that titanium dioxide converted benign mouse fibrosarcoma cells into aggressive tumour cells (16).

A study conducted by the Finish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland illustrated that titanium dioxide has genotoxic effects (17), and that it also induces DNA damage and reduced cell viability. Another study out of Taiwan determined that titanium dioxide can induce oxidative damage to human bronchial epithelial cells (18)

I’m going to stop here with titanium dioxide; there are many more studies but I hope I’ve clearly shown that it can definitely pose a risk to our health. It’s evident that people should be more aware of what chemicals are in the sunscreens that they are applying on their bodies.

Other Chemicals

There are a large assortment of other chemicals within many popular name brand sunscreens of which the story is no different. Multiple studies are available for a majority of chemicals contained within name brand sunscreens that can have harmful effects on human health.  The fact that multiple studies indicate a majority of chemicals enter into the body should encourage people to further investigate what they do to it. Most people don’t realize that applying cosmetics is almost the same as eating it, either way they still get into your body and into your bloodstream through the skin. This article outlines only two of the main ingredients found in popular sunscreen brands; I encourage you to seek out alternative ways to protect your skin from sun burn. If you are interested in the other chemicals within sunscreen, there are many studies which provide information on the matter.

Cell toxicity studies done by Dr. Yinfa Ma, Curator Professor of Chemistry at Missouri S&T, and his graduate student, Qingbo Yang, suggest that when exposed to sunlight zinc oxide (a common ingredient in sunscreen) undergoes a chemical reaction that may release unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals seek to bond with other molecules, but in the process, they can damage cells or the DNA contained within those cells. This in turn could increase the risk of skin cancer (22).

The Sun is Good For You? What About Sun Burns? Concluding Remarks

As many of you probably already know, humans require sunlight exposure for vitamin D. Sunburns do indeed cause a concern, and there are many studies that link sun burns to melanoma. Due to different factors such as cultural changes and fear mongering our skin is not used to large amounts of sun exposure like it was in the past. If you spend a large portion of your time in the sun, your skin adapts to build a natural immunity. We are naturally built to receive sunlight, and we have gone backwards with this regard. There are alternative ways to protect yourself from sunburns. You can buy natural sunscreens without the harmful chemicals. Questioning big name advertisements is crucial to our health in these times of information awareness.

The depletion of the ozone layer only happens seasonally, in winter and spring. We are generally not out in the sun at this time, and do not usually apply sunscreen. Depletion is also heavier over Antarctica and the Arctic as well as the equator, yet cancer rates are not higher in those geographic regions (19). There are people who get melanoma who are less exposed to the sun than others. Research also shows that incidence of melanoma increases in people who are not exposed to the sun. The lack of vitamin D has a strong correlation to melanoma instances.

Only 10 percent of all cancer cases are attributed to all forms of radiation, and UV is a very small part of that (20). When we think of skin cancer we automatically want to blame the Sun, but what about other causes of skin cancer that are out there such as arsenic which is found in a number of things we ingest or work around (21). Not to mention pesticides, leather preservatives and glass.

Sunscreens are a huge contributor to toxins in the body, being absorbed within seconds of application. Is it not important to know what you are putting into your body? We now live in a culture where we fear the Sun, which is ironic considering the Sun has created all life on Earth. Its important to remember that fear eventually manifests as reality. The Sun has many health benefits so using natural products will ensure that you receive these benefits while keeping your skin safe, ensuring that you aren’t absorbing the dangerous chemicals found in most sunscreen’s today.

Sources:

(0) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15063329

(1) http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v106/n3/abs/5610617a.html

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15458797

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10333769

(4) http://jhs.pharm.or.jp/data/49%283%29/49_205.pdf

(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11333184

(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17015167

(7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15458796

(8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15020197

(9) http://m.johnsonsbaby.com/baby/products/face_body_spf40

(10) http://www.ccohs.ca/headlines/text186.html

(11) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10723775

(12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8961584

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17197136

(14)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24051123

(15)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19769402

(16)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19815711

(17)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19755445

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/pick-your-poison-–-sunscreens-vs-sunburns-1#_edn14

(19)https://research.noaa.gov/SecureContentAdd/tabid/405/Default.aspx

(20)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515569/

(21) http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/arsenic

(22)http://phys.org/news/2012-05-sunscreen-ingredient-pose-skin-cancer.html

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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

To help make sense of what’s happening in our society today, we have released a course on overcoming bias and improving critical thinking. It’s an 8 module course and you can learn more about it here.

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