It often feels as if there are two mindsets regarding healthy living: those looking to return to the natural goodness of the earth and those embracing modern, manmade products. However, there are plenty of products and foods that disprove the need for such a division, including vegan and vegetarian foods that imitate animal-based products, organic and convenient frozen meals, and even the ever-improving realm of exercise equipment and medical knowledge, as a few quick examples.
When it comes to our health, especially, there has been such a rapid increase of available technology that we can easily find assistance reconnecting with our physical and mental health. In fact, you could easily say that personal technology now covers the four cornerstones of overall health: physical activity, proper nutrition, mental health and medical awareness.
The need for physical activity often seems to be in direct opposition with living in the modern world. Only a lucky few manage to secure jobs that encourage adequate exercise during the workday. For the rest, the pressure to hit the gym, participate in strenuous activities on their own time, or to simply achieve the required amount of movement per day can not only be difficult, but an additional stressor in itself.
Luckily, there are a variety of smartphone apps and online tools to ease the pressure of moving enough to satisfy your doctor. My Fitness Pal is a popular free program, with an accompanying choice of multiple apps that help users easily track exercise and calories, and accomplish weight goals. Popular products like the Fitbit, which counts your steps for you, are easily connected to My Fitness Pal –eliminating any misconceptions about your activity level. Products like the Fitbit also allow you to add and track more movement throughout the day, so you no longer have to assume a long, after-work gym session is always needed.
There are plenty of other products that allow for tracking as the Fitbit and My Fitness Pal, all of which, at their core, are useful due to the knowledge they provide. Finding the best tool for you is crucial, though, since as writer Jennifer Cohen from Health magazine explains,
“Now’s the time to check out some of the hottest fitness apps for the new year. Getting fit no longer requires a pencil-and-paper workout plan or a hardback diet book. The latest apps can aid your fitness goals through interactive features, instant stats and tips, and GPS technology, as well as inspiration of the monetary variety.”
With the right tools, users can diminish any confusion regarding how much – food, exercise, weight loss – they are or aren’t doing. Apps can inform you of exactly where you are on your health journey, as well as provide tips, workouts and motivation to keep you happily on your way – no personal trainer certification needed.
But wait, you’re not solely concerned about the calories in every food item you purchase. In fact, for many health-seeking eaters, calories are the last thing on their minds. What’s more pressing are the ingredients: what foods are nutritionally devoid and which will make your body function as it should? You want to know if something is organic, gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. You want to know what, exactly, is in your food.
And you should! Despite studies that pinpoint calorie counting as the primary factor behind healthy eating and unhealthy eating, and a decrease in calories as the first step to becoming “healthier,” all it takes is a living, breathing body to realize there is more to nutrition than one daily number.
At Harvard Medical School, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology whose research has been cited routinely by documentaries and films such as Fed Up, is one of many who point out that the idea that we get fat solely because we consume more calories than we expend is based on archaic, outdated science. “The implicit suggestion is that there are no bad calories, just bad people eating too much,” Dr. Mozaffarian said. “But the evidence is very clear that not all calories are created equal as far as weight gain and obesity. If you’re focusing on calories, you can easily be misguided.”
And while technology and scientific research may have created the lab-born foods many try to steer away from today, personal tech tools are making a sincere effort to help users reconnect with ideal foods.
Apps like Fooducate, which are as easy as scanning a product in the grocery store, quickly rate the food item for nutritional value. The app, which was developed by scientists and dieticians, will also recommend healthier alternatives for low value foods, and can be personalized to the point of knowing your preferences and dietary needs, such as low-cholesterol, allergy concerns, dairy-free, etc.
The state of our mental health has been increasingly focused on in the past years. Being in a state of unbalance, whether it’s due to stress, anxiety, or other challenges, has been proven not only to cause weight gain, but to lead to other complications such as depression, digestive problems, asthma, heart disease, sleep issues and even memory and concentration impairment.
“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”
That’s why being aware of and adequately handling stress levels and overall mental health is integral to our well-being. Smartphone apps and programs have yet to bring the psychiatrist directly to you, but they can help control stress and anxiety levels on a daily basis.
Personal Zen is one such app, developed by therapists and psychology researchers alike. “What this game is doing is trying to train your attention toward the positive,” says Tracy Dennis, a professor of psychology at Hunter and the lead researcher behind the game.
The game is modeled after a cognitive treatment for anxiety called attention-bias modification, which is based on the idea that if people can train themselves to ignore threatening stimuli and focus on good stimuli, stressful situations will cause less anxiety overall. A similar app is Northwestern University’s Mobilyze, as well as their web based interventions, which tracks users’ behavior patterns and moods to identify depression inducing states before they happen.
Expensive technology and medications may be what drives up the cost of visits to the doctor’s office and medical centers, but personal technology is poised to not only alter how healthcare is delivered, but also the entire patient experience, and even the cost of healthcare. Mobile and digital technology not only assists with basic health, but can also help with chronic disease management, the independence of the elderly, reaching medically underserved areas, and the efficiency of the entire medical system.
At the center of increased mobile and personal technology is better communication between patients and doctors. Draw MD is just one app that might help doctors explain the body’s symptoms more fully, so that patients can entirely comprehend their medical needs. A socially connected doctor might also more quickly recognize a disease, having seen it previously online.
As HealthITjobs.com notes, “hospitals are starting to leverage new technologies, especially mobile, to increase profitability by decreasing repeat visits and length of stay and free up clinician resources to provide better care. Activities like patient monitoring and post-treatment check ups can easily be done now using mobile apps integrated with EMR systems.”
Remote monitoring allows any patient to self-record and monitor their own health measurements, which can then be sent electronically to physicians and specialists. Doctors are then provided with increased data to provide a diagnosis or monitor ill and elderly patients, which results in less individual visits, and a direct lowering of healthcare costs. Apps like Healow allow patients to efficiently schedule appointments, securely message their doctors, and view lab results – which again means less time occupying nurses’ time, and more overall efficiency at home and at the medical center.
Today, underserved areas could possibly receive prognoses and diagnosis entirely online, with doctors able to see and observe the patient without being physically present. For more connected areas, increased healthcare technology is showing us a faster, more direct way of preventing, discovering and treating illnesses.
Long-Term Consequences of Mumps Vaccination: Many Unanswered Questions
This is Part II of a two-part series on mumps. Part I discussed how mumps vaccination and the flawed mumps component of Merck’s MMR vaccine are fostering dangerous mumps outbreaks in adolescents and young adults.
It has been about five decades since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s first mumps vaccine. The company began launching combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines in the 1970s. Coincidentally—or not—an infertility crisis has been brewing over roughly the same time period, with dramatic declines in sperm counts and record-lowfertility levels. However, few investigators seem interested in assessing whether mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations of teens and young adults could be having long-termeffects on fertility or other health indicators.
As described in Part I, childhood MMR vaccination has been an unmitigated disaster where mumps is concerned, deferring mumps infection to older ages and leaving adolescents and young adults vulnerable to serious reproductive complications. Public health reports show that the vast majority of mumps cases and outbreaks occur in youth who have been fully vaccinatedwith the prescribed two-dose MMR series, supporting a hypothesis of “waning immunity after the second dose.” FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials even admitthat mumps outbreaks in the post-vaccination era “typically involve young adults,” and that vaccination is failing to protect those who are college-age and above.
Myopically, many vaccine experts have called for a third MMR dose—or even “booster dosing throughout adulthood”—even though the FDA’s and CDC’s own research shows that MMR boosters in college-age youth barely last one year. As alleged in whistleblower lawsuits wending their way through the courts over the past eight years, Merck presented the FDA with a “falsely inflated efficacy rate” for the MMR’s mumps component, using animal antibodies and other fraudulent tactics to fool FDA—and the public—into believing that the vaccine was effective.
When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs.
Mumps after puberty is no laughing matter
Around the time that the first mumps vaccine came on the market, the 1967 children’s classic The Great Brain humorously depicted mumps infection in childhood as a mere nuisance. The book’s young protagonist goes out of his way to intentionally infect himself with mumps so that he can beat his two brothers to the recovery finish line—and he experiences no adverse consequences other than his siblings’ annoyance.
When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs. About one in three postpubertal men with mumps develops orchitis(inflammation of the testes), which can damage sperm, affect testosterone production and contribute to subfertility and infertility. During a mumps outbreak in England in the mid-2000s, mumps orchitis accounted for 42% of all hospitalized mumps cases; the researchers attributed this outcome—which was the most common reason for hospitalization—to “the high attack rates in adolescents and young adults” that occurred “despite high coverage with two-dose MMR.” An analysis of a 2006 mumps outbreak in the U.S. reported that male patients were over three times more likely than female patients to experience complications, “due primarily to orchitis.”
An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.
Mumps infections are often asymptomatic or produce nonspecific symptoms such as fever, while cases of orchitis may present with no other mumps symptoms. Nonetheless, public health officials advise clinicians that orchitis is an instant cue to test for mumps virus, and testing often reveals elevated mumps antibodies. In a case report of MMR failure, British clinicians isolated a novel genetic strain of mumps virus from the patient’s semen two weeks after the onset of orchitis and found mumps RNA in the semen 40 days later; they also noted “the appearance of anti-sperm antibodies,” with “potential long-term adverse effects on the patient’s fertility.”
In 2017, researchers who reviewed 185 studies conducted in Western nations found that sperm counts had plummeted by 50% to 60% between 1973 and 2011—an average decrease of 1.4% annually. Commenting on this work, one analyst estimated that 20% to 30% of young men in Europe and North America have sperm concentrations associated with a reduced ability to father a child. Given estimates that as much as 40% of reproductive problems have to do with the male partner, there is agreement on the importance of “finding and eliminating [the] hidden culprits in the environment” that most researchers believe are to blame.
MMR’s and MMRV’s potential to impair fertility never studied
Merck has not evaluated either of its two MMR vaccines—the MMR-II and the MMR-plus-varicella (MMRV) vaccine—for their potential to impair fertility. Whether such testing would unearth direct effects on fertility (as appears to be possible with HPV vaccination in women) is thus unknown. However, mumps vaccination undeniably increases reproductive-age individuals’ risk of mumps infection and, in the process, increases the risk of fertility-altering complications. These facts alone should be attracting far more attention.
Unfortunately, because clinicians already tend to underdiagnose mumps infection and underestimate mumps complications, it is likely that they are failing to recognize possible vaccine-induced reproductive health consequences of mumps infection in their adolescent and young adult patients. In one university outbreak, “most physicians…did not suspect mumps,” and even when they became aware of the outbreak, “diagnosing mumps was not always straightforward.” Moreover, although differentiating between vaccine strains of mumps virus and wild types could provide valuable information, few clinicians have the capacity or inclination to perform testing of this type. A Japanese study of cerebrospinal fluid and saliva from patients with mumps complications found vaccine strain in nearly all of the samples and noted the information’s importance in helping determine whether the complications were vaccine-related.
Those who have sought to understand mumps vaccines’ poor performance point to a mixture of explanatory factors. These include waning immunity, the high population density and close quarters encountered in settings such as college campuses, incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus as well as viral evolution such that “the vaccine triggers a less potent reaction against today’s mumps viruses than those of 50 years ago.” However, some also quietly admit that individuals with “mild vaccine-modified disease” could be perpetuating the chain of transmission. This latter point ought to be raising questions about the logic and wisdom of administering further rounds of MMR boosters during outbreaks while ignoring the problems created by the doses already given.
… some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.
Most scientists appear to be either resigned to ongoing mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations or actually accept periodic outbreaks as the cost of doing business. Publications by FDA and CDC researchers reveal these agencies’ awareness that some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and that vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, “irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.” Considering the effects on fertility, the generally abysmal track record of mumps vaccination and Merck’s fraudulent claims about efficacy, it is hard to fathom medical and public health experts’ complacency about current mumps vaccines and vaccine policies.
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Investigation Shows The MMR Vaccine Was Approved Based On Small Studies Showing Disturbing Results
- The Facts:
A FOIA request by Del Bigtree reveals that the 8 studies supporting the release of the MMR vaccine were only 6 weeks long, used only 800 children, and led to damaging respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to many of the children.
- Reflect On:
Are we ready to collectively deal with the implications of ongoing revelations of industry malfeasance with regards to vaccines that for some may require a shift in long-held beliefs?
Amidst a rash of efforts to bring forward mandatory vaccination in pockets of the United States is the recent move in New York City to declare a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak and order mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order to address what he said was a measles “crisis” in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in the neighborhood. The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.
This kind of invasive move gives rise to several serious questions, including challenging many of the assumptions that are necessarily made to justify such a move.
Assumption #1: People who may have been infected with the measles should get vaccinated immediately. De Blasio wants people who may have been infected with the measles to get vaccinated. The assumption here is that the vaccine would actually help someone who has the virus by preventing them from getting the measles or preventing them from spreading it to others. But this just doesn’t stand to reason. If someone is already infected, getting a measles vaccine will not prevent the outbreak. That’s not what a vaccine is designed for. And while the person is going through the 2-week period it takes for the vaccine to take hold, it’s quite possible that this will weaken the immune response to the actual measles infection the person has. Quarantining people suspected of being infected would be the sensible response, not vaccinating. If they happen to have the measles, no problem. Once they recover they will then be immune for life.
Assumption #2: The MMR Vaccine Can Create Herd Immunity. There is an article in the Huffington post entitled ‘I’m No Anti-Vaxxer, But the Measles Vaccine Can’t Prevent Outbreaks,’ in which Dr. Gregory Poland, who strongly advocates for vaccines, notes that outbreaks are often initiated and spread by people who have been fully vaccinated against the measles–over 50% in the case of a 2011 outbreak in Quebec. How is this possible? While this Quebec outbreak happened within a community that supposedly had achieved herd-immunity status of over 95% vaccinated, the facts are, as the article notes, that “9 per cent of children having two doses of the vaccine, as public health authorities now recommend, will have lost their immunity after just seven and a half years. As more time passes, more lose their immunity.” Therefore, herd immunity for measles is simply impossible to achieve with this vaccine.
Assumption #3: The MMR Vaccine, in de Blasio’s words, is ‘safe, effective, and life-saving.’ The claim that the MMR vaccine is ‘life-saving’ does not stand up to simple statistics, as we detail in our article ‘Statistics Show The MMR Vaccine Kills More People Than The Measles Does.’ Whether it is effective, we have already seen that it is incapable of creating herd immunity, wanes over time, does not work at all for some people, and in some of the latest outbreaks the majority of people infected were fully vaccinated. Is it safe? This is the important question we cover in the next section.
The Studies That Stand Behind The Approval Of the MMR Vaccine
The pharmaceutical industry, as well as governmental regulatory bodies like the CDC and the FDA, assure the public that they take the safety of vaccines seriously, and that there is irrefutable science behind the notion that vaccines are safe in terms of the studies that their approval is based on.
However, a Freedom of Information Act request by Del Bigtree has revealed absolutely startling information about the studies that supported the approval of the MMR vaccines that have been injected into our children. To begin with, only 8 studies were conducted and the total combined number of children participating in the studies was only a little over 800! Furthermore, the studies only recorded symptoms for the first 6 weeks after the vaccines were given, unlike many other drug studies that follow symptoms for 5 years or more. And finally, the study revealed serious side-effects in those receiving the vaccine, including a highly significant number of participants who suffered upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, which has been linked to autism.
In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe, Arjun and I discussed New York’s mandatory vaccination order as well as Del Bigtree’s analysis of the MMR studies he received and the reason that Big Pharma not only does not want to do proper, large-scale studies on the safety of vaccines, but they also want to try to prevent other researchers like Dr. Christopher Exley from doing so as well.
You can watch the full episode of The Collective Evolution Show where we talk about this subject in more detail here.
The veils of illusion that have been masking the truth are lifting as our consciousness awakens. Transparency is coming, though how long it takes will depend on our continued efforts to dig for and spread the truth far and wide.
Merck’s Julie Gerberding Wins Industry ‘Woman Of The Year’ Award For Putting Profits Ahead Of Human Health
- The Facts:
Julie Gerberding, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association 'Woman of the Year,' is a prime example of someone who has gone through the revolving door between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they are supposed to be regulating.
- Reflect On:
It is becoming clear that our authorities in government and business alike are making decisions purely for their own interests, in utter disregard for human safety and well-being. How does this realization play a role in our awakening?
If you are not already clear about how the Corporatocracy that we live in is able to consistently serve their own power and wealth interests at the expense of our heath, well-being and prosperity, then the case of Julie Gerberding should provide some excellent insight. Her career path makes her the poster child for people who want to succeed in the world by embracing the corrupt, deceitful system that is currently in place.
Here is the blueprint: first, become an expert in a very specific area through a good old fashioned Western education. Use the talent and intelligence you have been blessed with to move up the ranks in your chosen industry to gain a position of power within the highest government agency in your field. Work in close collaboration with the corporations you are supposed to be the watchdogs for, and display a particular talent to get away with murder, not only deflecting obvious conflicts of interest and preventing them from materializing into lawsuits, but also demonstrating a highly developed ability–and willingness–to garner public trust around the safety and effectiveness of the products being pushed by the corporations you are colluding with.
Julie Gerberding completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at UCSF, where she also served as Chief Medical Resident before completing her fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases. She earned an M.P.H. degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.
Before becoming CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator, Gerberding was Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She joined CDC in 1998 as Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, NCID, where she developed CDC’s patient safety initiatives and other programs to prevent infections, antimicrobial resistance, and medical errors in healthcare settings.
But it is perhaps her talent in knowing how to speak with quiet authority, and a persona that people felt they could trust, that not only helped her rise up in the ranks of the government’s regulatory bodies, but also made giants of the corporatocracy take notice and treat her as one of their own. Knowing how to appeal to people emotionally, with eloquence and persuasion, is something you cannot force, nor can you teach it. Some people just have that power. What they decide to do with it is another matter.
Less than a year after she resigned from her CDC post in in January 2009, she was hired as president of Merck’s vaccine division. Now we can look at the low-hanging fruit and remark that during her tenure at the CDC, Merck became the manufacturer of 14 of the 17 vaccines ‘recommended’ for children by the CDC, and 9 of the 10 vaccines ‘recommended’ for adults by the CDC. The conflict of interest here is beyond obvious, and one would be reasonable to assume that this appointment, which garnered over $5 million in stock options alone, amounted to payback for favors done to Merck while head of the CDC.
But I believe Merck saw genuine value in the type of leadership Gerberding brought to the table: a cold and calculating devotion to the bottom line, covered over by a veneer of compassion-like-symptoms and a trustworthy tone of authority. In the pharmaceutical industry, these qualities are gold.
During our bi-weekly broadcast on CETV, Joe Martino and I had a discussion about the ‘revolving door’ between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they serve. We look at statistics that would literally make your head spin about the hordes of people who have enjoyed the freedom to move from working on one side of the aisle to the other. Typically this pattern serves those willing to ‘play ball’ with corporate powers in their capacity as government regulators, to then be rewarded by the wealthy corporations with cushy jobs and board appointments.
In the case of Julie Gerberding, we dove deep into a CNN interview Gerberding did with Sanjay Gupta while she was at the CDC around the time that the Hannah Poling case was making headlines and getting widespread public attention. (Hannah Poling was the first child to receive money from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for her vaccine injury; in essence, the government conceded that vaccines caused Hannah Poling’s autism). Big Pharma seemed to be in need of a reassuring voice directed at the public to prevent a massive exodus of parents from the growing vaccine schedules being lined up for their children.
Joe and I talked about the various techniques Gerberding uses to deftly move the conversation from a very vague ‘admission’ of what the government had conceded to assurances that all caring parents should continue to have their children vaccinated.
By some accounts, Julie Gerberding had a significant impact at this time in preventing a complete loss in confidence in vaccine safety, which would have been a major disaster for the pharmaceutical industry. Makes you wonder why she didn’t win the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association ‘Woman of the Year’ award sooner.
As difficult as it is for some of us to accept, the belief that those in authority have humanity’s best interests at heart has long run its course. It is an important part of our collective evolution that we realize we cannot count on our elected officials, corporate leaders, bureaucrats or other authority figures to make decisions that are in our best interests, because by and large we are seeing that they are only making decisions in their own interests, for the expansion and consolidation of their power. As individuals we must seek to become sovereigns, and as sovereigns to link together and awaken to our collective power to consciously create the type of world we really want to live in.
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