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Fluorine-Based Toxins Accumulate In The Body & Cause Multiple Health Problems

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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.

When you bake muffins in a non-stick tin, do you think about how the non-stick coating is going to affect your health? There has been enough publicity around damaged Teflon that some reading this will likely think about the harm that can come from chipped non-stick coating. After all, who wants to eat that stuff? But I still doubt that most people think about the health consequences of the vapors that are being emitted from the heated non-stick pan or the chemicals that are being leached into their muffins while they bake them.

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Do you think about the vapors coming up from carpet-covered in-floor heating? Do you think about the health consequences of the particularly slippery dental floss that has become so popular? Do you think about how non-clump kitty litter may affect the health of your children? Do you think about how water-repellant packaging chemicals seep into the food they cover?

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Most people don’t think about those things. Consumer products with non-stick coatings are such a pervasive part of life that they’re rarely thought about at all. Most people assume that those products are safe and that the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and other regulatory agencies wouldn’t let people use them if they were dangerous.

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that the chemicals used to make non-stick consumer products, chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, a.k.a. C8), are toxic and that they’re related (causally, but that’s difficult to prove) to many diseases. Even more worrisome is the fact that organofluorine compounds like PFOA bioaccumulate — meaning that they are not excreted from the body. Rather, they accumulate in the body with each exposure, and the risk of suffering from ill-health because of them increases as the toxic load on the body increases. Additionally, man-made organofluorine compounds accumulate in the environment and the food-chain. Creatures who are high on the food chain, like humans, get exposed to these chemical compounds that have concentrated our food. We’re also affected by them when they’re in the water that we drink and the air that we breathe.

Whether you think about it or not, you have PFOA and other organofluorine compounds in your blood. Since they started being produced in the 1950s, PFOAs and other organofluorine compounds, have become so pervasive that every person, and every living creature tested, has organofluorines in his or her body (1).

PFOAs, and other organoflurine compounds, are toxic to living creatures. In animal studies, PFOAs have “been found to cause liver toxicity, disruption of lipid metabolism and the immune and endocrine systems, adverse neurobehavioral effects, neonatal toxicity and death, and tumors in multiple organ systems” (2), as well as “cancerous testicular, pancreatic and liver tumors” (3). In humans, elevated levels of PFOAs in the blood have been linked to “testicular cancer, liver cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertension” (3), as well as seizures, kidney failure, miscarriage and birth defects (4). DNA damage has been linked to organofluorine compounds (3). The toxicity of organofluorine compounds is widely spread across many organ systems, and the diseases that are related to them are multi-symptom, chronic diseases.

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In addition to being found in thousands of household products like carpeting, non-stick pans, waterproof clothes, dental floss, kitty litter and cosmetics (4), organofluorine compounds are also found in “aerosol propellants, surfactants, refrigerants, plastics, anesthetics, pesticides, plant growth regulators, medicines, adhesives, fire retardants, and even blood substitutes” (5). These products are used daily by millions of people, most of whom aren’t aware that they’re exposing themselves to toxins.

Organofluorine compounds are particularly dangerous because they essentially never biodegrade, and accumulate in the bodies of living beings while moving through the food-chain (6). Organofluorines have been “detected everywhere—produce and beef in American grocery stores, polar bears in the Arctic, children in the remote Faeroe Islands. One analysis of blood banks from around the world showed that nearly all of the blood contained C8. The lone exception was a set of archived samples that had been collected from Korean War veterans before 1952.” (4).

Organofluorine accumulation is getting worse every day, and with each generation. Organofluorine compounds have been found in umbilical cord blood (3) and breast milk, and children throughout the world are exposed to these toxic chemical compounds every day of their lives. As more and more organofluorines accumulate in each person, the toxic burden will get worse, and health consequences will become increasingly dire.

Unfortunately, “there are no reported studies of successful interventions to remove PFCs from the human body. Exposure to these commonly used non-stick and stain-resistant compounds is widespread, but excretion from the body is impaired as a result of the chemical nature of some of these agents and their propensity to be re-absorbed in the kidney and the enterohepatic [liver] circulation” (6).

With the progressive accumulation of organofluorine compounds, and as human health outcomes worsen as a result, there will undoubtedly be angry people who want to hold those responsible accountable for the creation of toxic organofluorines. As is often the case, the responsible parties are greedy corporations and failing regulatory agencies.

Corporate and Regulatory Culprits

Chemical giants DuPont and 3M are the primary producers of organofluorines that are used in household products. In their production of these goods, they have made billions in profit, while making people (and animals and plants) sick. For years DuPont covered up evidence of the toxic nature of PFOAs/C8, and rather than ceasing to use toxic organofluorine compounds when the toxicity of PFOA/C8 became clear, they switched from C8 to other organofluorine compounds which are no better for human or environmental health, but are not as well studied as C8 (4).

The regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor the safety of chemicals in our environment, including the E.P.A., have failed to regulate organofluorine compounds in any meaningful way. “Under the 1976 Toxic Sub­stances Control Act, the E.P.A. can test chemicals only when it has been provided evidence of harm. This arrangement, which largely allows chemical companies to regulate themselves, is the reason that the E.P.A. has restricted only five chemicals, out of tens of thousands on the market, in the last 40 years” (3). Organofluorine compounds are not restricted by the E.P.A., and industrial giants/polluters like DuPont and 3M produce thousands of tons of them each year.

Details about the malfeasance of DuPont, the role of 3M, and the unwillingness and inability of the E.P.A. to protect people from the toxic, harmful effects of PFOA/C8 can be found in the brilliant exposés, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” written by Nathaniel Rich and published in The New York Times Magazine on January 6, 2016, and “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history” written by Mariah Blaze and published in The Huffington Post.

Also exemplifying the problem of industry-controlled regulation of organofluorine compounds is the following from the article “Human detoxification of perfluorinated compounds”:

While there is increasing evidence suggesting health sequelae associated with PFC bioaccumulation, there are some authors and publications that have minimized concern about the accrual of these chemical agents. It is imperative to recognize that much of the research related to potentially toxic compounds, including PFCs, is undertaken or funded by the specific companies, industry-supported organizations and affiliated scientists involved with the production of the chemicals being studied. Furthermore, some toxicology journals routinely use reviewers from chemical companies to scrutinize and review manuscript submissions about the compounds their company manufactures. (6)

As long as science and journalism are corrupted by money, and regulatory agencies and politicians are controlled by corporations, citizens of the world have little protection against the toxic chemicals that can accumulate in our bodies and poison us.

Pharmaceuticals

Another source of toxic organofluorine compounds is fluorinated pharmaceuticals. Approximately 20% of the prescription drugs on the market are fluorinated (7), including fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin), statins (Lipitor, Crestor and others), antimalarial drugs (Lariam/mefloquine), antidepressants (SSRIs including Prozac/fluoxetine), anesthesias, and chemotherapy drugs. Depending on how the drugs are formulated, and what position fluorine is attached to carbon, they can form poisonous metabolites (8, 9)  that may be responsible for the severe side-effects associated with many of the fluorinated drugs, and they may be contributing to the multi-symptom diseases of modernity. (Many of the drugs listed have been shown to damage mitochondria (10, 11), and damaged mitochondria lead to a cycle of oxidative stress and further damage to mitochondria (12). Fluorine metabolites, such as fluoroacetate, have also been shown to damage mitochondria and increase oxidative stress (13). Many multi-symptom, chronic diseases are linked to both mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress.)

Pesticides

In an article published in 1997 (the use of fluorine-containing pesticides has escalated since), it is noted that, “Over the past 15 years, the number of fluorine-containing agricultural chemicals has grown from 4% to approximately 9% of all agrochemicals and has increased in number faster than non-fluorinated agrochemicals. These compounds are primarily used as herbicides (48%), insecticides (23%), and fungicides (18%)” (5). Exposure to these fluorinated pesticides is hazardous to the health of both agricultural workers and consumers (14).

What Can be Done?

In May, 2015, more than 200 scientists signed The Madrid Statement, “which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA” (3). In the Statement, they suggested that the following action take place:

Scientists:

  • Assemble, in collaboration with industry and governments, a global inventory of all PFASs in use or in the environment, including precursors and degradation products, and their functionality, properties, and toxicology.
  • Develop analytical methods for the identification and quantification of additional families of PFASs, including fluorinated alternatives.
  • Continue monitoring for legacy PFASs in different matrices and for environmental reservoirs of PFASs.
  • Continue investigating the mechanisms of toxicity and exposure (e.g., sources, fate, transport, and bioaccumulation of PFASs), and improve methods for testing the safety of alternatives.
  • Bring research results to the attention of policymakers, industry, the media, and the public.

Governments:

  • Enact legislation to require only essential uses of PFASs, and enforce labeling to indicate uses.
  • Require manufacturers of PFASs to conduct more extensive toxicological testing, make chemical structures public, provide validated analytical methods for detection of PFASs, and assume extended producer responsibility and implement safe disposal of products and stockpiles containing PFASs.
  • Work with industry to develop public registries of products containing PFASs.
  • Make public annual statistical data on production, imports, and exports of PFASs.
  • Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs in government procurement.
  • In collaboration with industry, ensure that an infrastructure is in place to safely transport, dispose of, and destroy PFASs and PFAS-containing products, and enforce these measures.

Chemical manufacturers:

  • Make data on PFASs publicly available, including chemical structures, properties, and toxicology.
  • Provide scientists with standard samples of PFASs, including precursors and degradation products, to enable environmental monitoring of PFASs.
  • Work with scientists and governments to develop safe disposal methods for PFASs.
  • Provide the supply chain with documentation on PFAS content and safe disposal guidelines.
  • Develop nonfluorinated alternatives that are neither persistent nor toxic.

Product manufacturers:

  • Stop using PFASs where they are not essential or when safer alternatives exist.
  • Develop inexpensive and sensitive PFAS quantification methods for compliance testing.
  • Label products containing PFASs, including chemical identity and safe disposal guidelines.
  • Invest in the development and use of nonfluorinated alternatives.

Purchasing organizations, retailers, and individual consumers:

  • Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof, or nonstick.
  • Question the use of such fluorinated “performance” chemicals added to consumer products.

Indeed, all of those recommendations need to be put into action. Given the accumulation of organofluorine compounds in our bodies and environment, the time for putting these recommendations into action is now–before it’s too late.

Sources:

  1. Environmental Science & Technology, “Production of Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) from the Biotransformation of Polyfluoroalkyl Phosphate Surfactants (PAPS):  Exploring Routes of Human Contamination
  2. Environmental Health Perspectives, “The Madrid Statement on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)
  3. The New York Times Magazine, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare
  4. The Huffington Post, “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history
  5. Environmental Science & Technology, “Fluorinated Organics in the Biosphere
  6. Public Health, “Human detoxification of perfluorinated compounds
  7. Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics, “Fluorine is Flourishing in Pharmaceuticals
  8. Verdel, B.M., “Mechanism-based drug exposure classification in pharmacoepidemiological studies” Thesis Utrecht University – with ref. – with summary in Dutch, ISBN 978-90-393-5377-6 © 2010 Bertha Maria Verde
  9. British Journal of Cancer, “The anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil is metabolized by the isolated perfused rat liver and in rats into highly toxic fluoroacetate.
  10. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, “Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease
  11. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  12. Rejuvination Research, “Reactive oxygen species production in the mitochondrial matrix: implications for the mechanism of mitochondrial mutation accumulation.
  13. Biochemical Pharmacology, “Differential toxicity of fluoroacetate to heart, kidney and brain mitochondria of the living rat
  14. http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/pesticide/

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

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In Brief

  • 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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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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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!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Awareness

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.

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