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5 Things You Can Do To Overcome Depression Using Your Mind – Without Medication

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There are a lot of theories about the cause of depression in existence today, the primary one being biochemical imbalances in the brain, at least according to mainstream medicine. However, mainstream medicine hasn’t proven whether these imbalances are the true cause or simply an effect of being depressed. What we do know is that depression appears to result in changes in the brain structure and chemistry; however, these changes are also known to be related to lifestyle, emotions, trauma, activities you do (or don’t do), and in general, how fulfilled you are in your life.

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What science shows us is that your brain is constantly rewiring itself in response to how you perceive your environment. It’s an adaptive function to ensure the brain is effective at performing the task it’s most asked to perform. A tennis player’s brain will look completely different from the brain of a musician. The depressed person’s brain will look much different from that of someone who isn’t depressed. So is depression just a malfunction of evolution, or is it possible it’s an adaptation to a series of persistent thought processes and actions? And if that is true, isn’t it possible that if we change those thought processes and actions, we could then rewire the brain, restore chemical balance, and change the effect of depression?

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In my experience, both personally and professionally, depression isn’t a random ‘biochemical imbalance’ as so many people believe. I expect people who want to fight for that belief, to fight me in the comments. You’re free to do so and I embrace your criticism. I will, however, say to you that the same person who told you that depression is a biochemical imbalance in the brain is the same person who doesn’t really know what causes the biochemical imbalance, nor do they know how to cure it. So I ask for your consideration if you’re going to read this.

With that explained, let’s move on to the 10 things you MUST DO to overcome depression:

Determine your values and what is truly most important to you.

The biggest challenge with everyone, not just people who have depression, is that they have no idea what their true values are, and as a result they often attempt to live according to values that are not their own. This is actually the ‘root psychological cause’ of depression, as whenever you attempt to live according to values that are not your own, you subordinate and minimize your true wants and desires, repressing who you really are in a futile attempt to try to be someone you’re not. This attempt cannot go on forever and quite often the ‘depression’ effect is a biological attempt to get you to stop doing what isn’t for your authentic person.

Whenever you suppress your natural values in an attempt to live someone else’s, you’ll breed the internal ABCD’s of negativity towards yourself: Anger and aggression towards yourself. Feelings of betrayal and blame towards yourself. Self-criticism and unsolvable challenges. Inner despair, despondency, and depression. These ‘symptoms’ are not afflictions that need medication for life. They are feedback to let you know when and where you are ignoring your true values and attempting to do something that you think is important to you, but truly isn’t.

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People who live according to their values, both in thought and in action, are less capable of experiencing depression or negativity, as they are solely focused on fulfilling their wants and desires for life. They don’t suffer from ‘compare and despair’ syndrome, as they compare themselves and their accomplishments to no one but themselves. By focusing on your own life and what’s truly most important to you, you increase your chances for achievement, fulfillment, and mental stability, as you are the only one who has to live with you 100% of the time. Why spend your time thinking about the lives of others when you have yours to live, right now?

 Write down all your fantasies and crush them.

We will define a fantasy as an expectation or imagination that is only positive, not negative. Whenever you have this fantasy of more positives than negatives, you run the risk of experiencing depression as a feedback to help you create a more realistic expectation and imagination, or at least break your imagination down into small enough tasks that it becomes achievable.

Fantasies can emerge in a number of ways. Some examples could be: I could have a fantasy that my ex-girlfriend shouldn’t have broken up with me. I could have a fantasy that I should have more money than I do right now. I could have a fantasy that my parents should have stayed together. I could have a fantasy that my mom shouldn’t have died. I could have a fantasy that my girlfriend should be nicer and kinder to me. I could have a fantasy that says my boss shouldn’t be so critical of me. These are all examples of fantasies.

Fantasies are also not attached to time. You can have a fantasy about your past, perhaps about something you think should or shouldn’t have happened. You can have a fantasy about your future, perhaps about something you desire to happen or not happen. And you can have a fantasy about your present in the same way. Technically, you can have a number of primary fantasies or expectations:

  1. An unrealistic expectation that the world should be more peaceful / positive / happy than warful, negative, sad.
  2. An unrealistic expectation that people should be nice without mean, kind without cruel, happy without sad, healthy without disease, more positive than negative.
  3. An unrealistic expectation that You or I should be positive without negative, happy without sad, kind without cruel.
  4. An unrealistic expectation upon You or I to live outside our core values. (Ie: I should have a relationship even though I place no value on having one.)
  5. An unrealistic expectation that other people should live within my or your values. (Ie: Everyone should think like me because the world would be a better place.)

These are some of the primary expectations that lead to depressed thinking, feeling, and depressed ‘brain structure’ and chemistry over time, as the brain is adapting to your thinking process. You’ll notice that these expectations are primarily an expectation for positivity. This is why most people never solve their depression. They spent the healing processes attempting to get out of the depression, never understanding that depression is a by-product of elated fantasies. In fact, the most depressed people are the people seeking happiness all the time. The more you search for what isn’t possible, the more impossibility you will see.

Depression exists to balance manic elations.

The way to heal these fantasies is to ask, “If my expectation, imagination, or fantasy were true, what would be the drawbacks?” And write down as many as it takes for you to break the fantasy and realize that if it happened, it would have just as many downsides as upsides. Likewise, it’s important to write down a list of benefits to the fantasy not coming true (and things continuing as they are). By balancing the fantasy back into a more realistic goal that includes pleasure and pain, challenge and support, difficulty and ease, you will be able to tell if the goal is actually possible. You’ll also be able to tell if it’s something you truly want, and if it is, you’ll be able to embrace the challenge that comes with it. Also, by learning how to appreciate the way things are, you ease your physiology out of a stress response to your life, into a relaxation response, allowing you to operate with greater ease throughout your day.

The general rule is: a fantasy with no downsides equals a reality with no benefits. Whenever you find yourself in a reality with no benefits to you, you’ll feel unfulfilled with your life, you run the risk of creating fantasies and disassociating from your self-awareness, you’ll experience low-dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain as a result, and will imbalance your brain chemistry. As I said before, these ‘chemical imbalances’ may be resulting from a trauma that you imagine ‘shouldn’t have happened,’ thirty years ago, that you haven’t cleared. This is 30 years of stress response in the background of your thinking process. This is why many people who get depression say ‘it just happened one day.’ The reality is, no it didn’t. It’s been a longterm buildup of emotional repression that finally exploded.

If you argue with reality as it happened, you’ll lose.

Now, some people like to argue that their fantasy would have no drawbacks. People ‘should be healthy without sick’ or ‘happy without sad’ or ‘nice with mean’ or whatever delusion they’re stuck on. The truth is, people should be sad when they feel their values are being challenged. People should be mean when their values are being challenged and people should be sick according to the lifestyle choices they make, their genetic makeup, and a variety of other factors. To assume otherwise is delusional and leads us into depression faster than anything else. This is just default human behavior. If I write something that directly challenges your values, you’ll have a different response to me than if I wrote something that supports your values.

As an example, I had a new client call me on the phone a few years ago. She was in the middle of a suicide attempt and found my phone number on a newspaper, upon which she was placing her drugs. I asked her why she called. She was crying, upset, and obviously emotionally traumatized. I asked her why she wanted to kill herself. As with many cases of this type, for years, she has been overwhelmed with grief and other emotions that were running her with stress and anxiety. I asked her when it all started. She spoke of her ‘soulmate’ who cheated on her with her best friend, married her, and took custody of the two children they had.

This person had a high level of fantasy she was placing upon her husband or ‘soulmate’ at the time. As a result, she couldn’t embrace the reality of what happened, thus creating a perfect scenario for longterm emotional stress and depression, resulting from the gap between her reality and her fantasy. Her fantasy about him was so strong that it was more powerful than the pain of what he did, in her perception.

I asked her to describe how her ‘soulmate’ in fact wasn’t a soul mate. This line of questioning isn’t something she had thought about before, but after just 15 minutes, I had her soulmate turned into a normal human being with emotional challenges just like her. Once she got to that point, she was able to start appreciating that there were major benefits to being away from him. Within 15 minutes this person went from suicidal to loving her life as it is, simply by clearing the illusion that she ‘lost’ a ‘soulmate’ and he should still be with her. And as a result of our short session, she decided to go back to school and start empowering herself instead of living under the depression of fantasies.

Start planning and acting on goals that inspire you (and say no to those that don’t)

Unless we intentionally do things with our life that inspire us, our time, money, energy, and focus will be taken up by things that don’t. Besides dealing with traumatic experiences, the second most depressing experience is living a life in which you’re not being fulfilled by what you’re doing every day. If you’re not waking up thinking ‘I can’t wait to get started on today,’ you’re not really waking up.

Start paying attention to what is actually important to you. This isn’t what you think should be important to you, or what others think should be important to you, it’s what is actually important to you. To determine this (and also to help determine your values), ask yourself how you truly love to spend your time? What do you truly love to talk about? What are the things you plan for, that are truly meaningful to you? Ask yourself, “What are the things that are still important to me, when I’m away from all my friends, families, and responsibilities?” Use these answers to guide your life. Say yes to opportunities that inspire you and align with your unique values. Say no to those that you feel would be a sacrifice to what’s important to you. This isn’t to say you should never engage in new activities, but the most successful people I’ve ever met only really do what inspires them. If you can see a new activity as helping you achieve what’s already inspiring to you, you’ll have a greater level of engagement in anything new instead of reluctantly doing things you don’t love.

Meditate (or do something that gets you present)

If you’re not present in your life, you’re less capable of being self-aware and making decisions that are good for you. Meditation is one way of getting you there, but it can also get in the way. Meditation is not an escape from your problems, but rather a reminder of what you really feel like — what you really think like, beyond all the illusions and judgments, infatuations and resentments.

For some people, meditation comes in the form of yoga. For others, it comes in the form of making a model airplane. Whatever form of meditation you do, it’s important to keep doing it. It can help solidify a place in your life where you can practice being you. It’s easy to get caught up in everything going on, but getting caught up isn’t equal to empowering your life. Use your meditative time to help you solve the lingering challenges that are piling up. The more challenges you solve during your day, the less carried over challenges you’ll have tomorrow, which can help you be more inspired to keep going.

I recommend during your meditations to ask yourself what is getting in the way of you being fully alive and present in your life. Write down what comes up and start brainstorming how to solve these challenges. Ask your friends for advice. Use your resources to discover the solutions. The more ‘in time’ you are with your present reality, the more you are capable of doing in it. When you are constantly dreaming about how your reality was or should be, you’re less capable of taking action in your life and the more you’ll withdraw from it, leading you to emotional depression over time.

Stabilize your wins and your downs

The majority of adult depressions, in my experience, don’t make sense to the person experiencing it. They often say, “I was out the night before. It was the best night ever. I went to bed and woke up with depression.” This is a very much misunderstood function of intention. If you say you just had the best day ever, you have set up a belief system that makes every day from now on, terrible. Many people aren’t willing to admit that the beliefs they make up are so tuned in this way, but they are.

For example, I was finished my clinic work day, driving home with my friend, and we had just completed a series of incredible transformations with clients. We were riding so high in our elations that we literally said, at the same time, today was the best day ever. In that exact moment of supreme elation, our phones rang with an automatic voice saying that the clinic security alarm was going off. We were literally being robbed at that same instant we celebrated our gain.

The law of balance doesn’t discriminate.

If you don’t balance yourself, the world will, or your body and mind will, to ensure you aren’t looking back on wins but instead focusing on continuing to serve the world for now and the future. I often take clients, who have recently had this ‘elating’ and next morning ‘depressed for two weeks’ phenomenon, through a series of questions that helps them identify the downsides in the ‘up’ experience, which, when done, the client can no longer identify with the depressed feelings. It’s gone, simply, because the elation has been balanced.

Of course, not everyone is wired to experience this form of depression, but with pre-existing memories, especially childhood traumas that haven’t been emotionally balanced, a person becomes highly susceptible to experiencing elations and depressions because their nervous system is still wounded by the earlier traumas. When this occurs, the person is often stuck in a fight or flight mode, with their defenses up, literally, in a state of anxiety in the background for years. The nervous system was never designed to hold on to an emotional pain for so long and eventually, when that pain is escaped by an elating experience, withdrawing from that elation can slam a person back into their pre-existing trauma, psychologically and physiologically.

Imagine running a nervousness in your body for 30 years, behind the scenes, covering it up with eating ice cream or some other addiction. When you get slammed back into those traumatic feelings, you’ll really experience them, to the extent that you are stuck in bed for two weeks. This is what depression really is and it’s why it’s very important to balance our emotions in our traumatic past. By doing this, you shut off your fight or flight response and become more able to function normally, without triggers, and without the super-highs and inevitable lows.

With these 5 tips, you’ll be better equipped to handle depression than 99% of people in the world who have it. It’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. However, the rewards are worth a lifetime. If you’d love to learn more about these tools and specifically how to heal past traumas, visit this link and connect with me: https://coaching.stephangardner.com/optin.

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Stephan Gardner is a Self-Management Consultant known as a Mental Architect. A master facilitator of personal evolution, he helps professionals create the shifts in their lives necessary for fulfillment, achievement and excellence. Stephan is the Creator of The Visionary Method, a self-awareness and purpose-planning tool designed to help solve the questions of life, business and creativity through a deep clarification of values and destiny. Stephan serves business professionals, creative artists and entrepreneurs from around the globe, helping them live inspired and masterful lives.

Stephan has attracted work with Katrina Campins, Dr John Demartini, Dr Nima Rahmany, Gregory Gallagher & Kinobody, Nikki Jumper, Emily Gowor, Melissa Ramos, Kevin O’Leary, Sanjay Burman, Kai, Sovereign Wealth Management, Mercantile Exchange, The University of Toronto, Collective Evolution, Business News Network and many more.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Health

Study: Weekly Use of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Risk of Fatal Lung Disease

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research found that people who use disinfectants once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing lung disease.

  • Reflect On:

    How reliable are regulatory agencies when it comes determining how safe the products we use for cleaning are for our health and environment? Did you know that there are a number of effective alternatives and products available out there?

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What Happened: A 30-year study conducted by researchers at Harvard University alongside researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) found that regular use of bleach and other commonly used disinfectants can increase your chances of developing fatal lung disease. The study found that those who used these types of products just once a week had up to a 32% increased chance of developing the condition.

It’s called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers looked at the incidence of the disease for the study in more than 55,000 nurses in the United States. Nurses were used for the study because they use disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis. In this study population, 37 percent of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19 percent used them to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis.

In the UK alone, COPD is present approximately 1.2 million people. It includes various lung conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Obviously there are multiple factors that play a role, but according to this study, disinfectants are definitely one of them or at the very least, can’t be ruled out. Correlation may not mean causation but it’s safe to assume that breathing in these substances is not really safe, in my opinion, and can be detrimental to our health.

As far as deaths go, 25,000 people a year die from COPD in England. This number represents the third highest death rate from the disease. This study is thought to be the very first to identify such a link between COPD and specific cleaning products/chemicals known as “quaternary ammonium compounds (quats).”

To the best of our knowledge we are the first to report a link between disinfectants and COPD among healthcare workers, and to investigate specific chemicals that may underlie this association…Some of these disinfectants, such as bleach and quats, are frequently used in ordinary households, and the potential impact of domestic use of disinfectants on COPD development is unknown…Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.- Inserm researcher Orianne Dumas (source)

The researchers analysed data from a mass study on female US nurses commenced by Harvard in 1989. In 2009, they looked at those who were still working as nurses who had no history of COPD and tracked them until May this year. During that period, 663 were diagnosed with the condition.

A follow up study published in 2019 examining more than 70,000 nurses came to the same conclusions.

We found that use of several specific disinfectants was associated with higher risk of COPD development; these included hypochlorite bleach (chlorine), hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (commonly used for low-level disinfection of noncritical items, such as environmental surfaces) and glutaraldehyde (used for high-level disinfection). Several of these exposures often occurred concurrently, and disentangling the role of each product was challenging. When studying combinations of exposure to specific disinfectants, we found the highest risks of COPD incidence among nurses exposed to hypochlorite bleach or hydrogen peroxide and in those combining these exposures with exposure to aldehydes. Both the chemical properties of specific products and the greater number of products used could explain these elevated risks. Moreover, all of the agents that were associated with COPD incidence when evaluated separately have been described as airway irritants.

Why This Is Important: 

The everyday use of bleach currently has no specific health guidelines, and that’s very true with many other products as well. Cosmetics is a great example, that particular industry is not quite regulated as it should be, and products that do pass through federal health regulatory regulation and inspection are not always safe. Glyphosate is a great example, and there is a growing concern today among academics, journalists and everyday people regarding the close relationship between these regulatory agencies and the companies that manufacture these products. Sure they may work, but the case with many of these products is that there are alternatives that are just as effective and much more safer.

Whether it’s banking soda and vinegar, tea tree oil and lemons, or something else, the market and natural health stores are now filled with cleaning products that do not pose the same threat as mainstream conventional cleaning products. They’re not hard to find, all it takes is a simple internet search, or a trip to your local natural health food store. Many regular chains are also starting to carry more health and environmentally sound cleaning/disinfectant products as well. If you’re truly concerned and put effort into searching, you’ll have no problem finding these products.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Health

How Effective is The Covid-19 Vaccine?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The 95% efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine is widely touted by the media and the medical establishment, but there are important questions to be asked about this claim.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we being given all information available from covid vaccine study to make informed decisions? Are the studies even being done in a way that represents what effects the vaccine may have on the whole population?

Are you going to decline the Covid-19 vaccine if it is offered to you? Why or why not? No matter how certain you are in your reasoning there will no doubt be someone else who feels exactly the opposite to you and will be just as certain of their position. We trust different sources of information, we have had different experiences with vaccines and we have different impressions of the threat of SARS-COV2 to us and our species.

I would suggest that those in the “vaccine cautionary” community would decline the vaccine based on their ideas around its potential risks. On the other hand, supporters of the vaccine are more likely to focus on its potential benefits. The debate has largely been centered around the disagreement people have about the risks. In this essay I will consider the uncertainty I and others have about its benefits.

Is the Medical Community biased about the Vaccine?

As a contributor to Collective Evolution I am well aware of the “cautionary” perspective on vaccinations and CDC directives. As a physician, I have a reasonable understanding of how those in the medical community regard the “best of what modern science has to offer”. I am part of a Physician group on social media where doctors can seek advice from each other around all matters Covid-19, from interesting cases to rare side effects to how to address special concerns raised by patients. It has been alarming to realize how unilateral the support of vaccination is in this community. 

I mean no disrespect to my medical colleagues. Many of those in this community have seen their patients die from this very real virus. They have had to struggle with the divergent directives coming from the CDC. They have had to work through many weeks where Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was in short supply as their hospital wards rapidly reached capacity and overflowed. Now that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have met minimum requirements for efficacy under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), they are faced with yet another impediment to getting themselves and their patients through this pandemic: growing skepticism around the vaccine coming from the very same people they are endeavoring to help. Their frustration around the situation is understandable, but is it biasing them?

Before consenting to any intervention it is important to understand its relative risks and benefits. As I mentioned earlier, there has been much concern in the “vaccine cautionary” sphere about side-effects and deaths. Here I will take a closer look at what we know about the benefits of the vaccine based on Pfizer-Biontech’s  briefing document to the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. How confident can we be in the efficacy of the vaccine? Has the manufacturer done its due diligence in its analysis and in being transparent? These are the central questions that need to be answered.

Understanding False Positives and Negatives

There has been a lot of discussion about the rate of “false-positives” with regard to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for confirming infection with SARS-COV2. The PCR test can return a positive result even if only trace fragments of the virus are present. Fragments of the virus on a nasal swab is not necessarily representative of an active infection or transmissibility. Moreover the sensitivity of this test is dependent on the number of amplification cycles, or the cycle threshold (Ct), used.  The Ct is not standardized. It is not unreasonable to say that there will be a percentage of people who test positive that do not have the disease. Nevertheless, without a better test we as the public must treat all positive PCR tests as an indication of an infection. We must assume the test is right. The rate of false positives, whatever it is, is directly proportional to the overestimation of the prevalence of the disease. 

Here I would like to discuss the significance of “false-negatives”. These are people who get a negative PCR result but may still be infected. The rate of false negatives is directly proportional to the underestimation of disease prevalence. This aspect of the inaccuracy of our primary diagnostic test gets relatively little attention for practical reasons. If you are suffering symptoms consistent with Covid-19 but have a negative PCR test we assume that you have Covid-19 anyway. In other words, if someone is symptomatic we assume that the test is wrong, i.e. that it is a false-negative, and necessary measures are taken. We quarantine and isolate until we feel healthy again whether we have Covid-19 or not. 

Because we are in the midst of a pandemic we have no choice but to make these assumptions. We are responding appropriately given the limitations of the test. Because of the assumptions we are forced to make, we are exaggerating the prevalence of the disease and our response to it to some extent. It is the nature of the situation we are in.

How do we know that the Vaccine is 95% effective?

With this in mind I would like to discuss a post in the opinion blog of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that appeared earlier this month. The author, Peter Doshi (PhD and Associate Editor at the BMJ), takes a rigorous look at the results reported by Pfizer regarding the efficacy of their mRNA vaccine. The success of their vaccine has been widely publicized to be 95%. Where exactly does this figure come from?

During the four weeks of observation (three weeks between 1st and 2nd dose followed by 7 days), 162 participants who received the placebo expressed symptoms of Covid-19 and tested positive by PCR. Compare that with only 8 in the group that received their experimental vaccine. The chance of getting Covid 19 after receiving the vaccine was about 20 times lower than if you got the placebo. This is the basis of the claim that their vaccine was 95% effective, well over the 50% threshold required for Emergency Use Authorization that allows their product to be deployed despite the fact that the two-year Phase III trial is still 20 months from completion.

How did Pfizer handle study participants in the “Suspected Covid-19” group?

It is less commonly known that of the nearly 38,000 participants in the Pfizer study, 3,410 fell into a group labeled “suspected Covid-19”. These are people who developed symptoms consistent with disease but tested negative by PCR. 1,594 of those in this group received the vaccine and 1,816 received the placebo. It should be quite clear that how we regard this much bigger group of symptomatic participants will have an enormous impact on the true efficacy of the vaccine. In other words, if we assume that the PCR test was accurate in all of these people and that they didn’t have Covid-19 and developed symptoms from another virus, the flu for example, then the vaccine would in fact be 95% effective as reported. On the other hand, if the PCR test was wrong every time and they all in fact had Covid-19, the efficacy of the vaccine would be much different: 1602 (1594 + 8) in the vaccine wing vs. 1978 (1816 + 162) in the placebo wing results in a vaccine efficacy of only 19%. 

The PCR test (like any test) can be wrong some of the time and right some of the time. No test is 100% accurate, however in this situation the accuracy of the PCR test has a very large impact on how we interpret the results of the vaccine trial. The true efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine can be known only if we know how many symptomatic people in each wing had Covid-19 despite testing negative by PCR.

It is likely that the percentage of false negatives are different in each arm. As the FDA briefing document on the Pfizer study and the BMJ piece correctly note, there should be fewer false negatives in the vaccine group. Why? It is because there is a greater chance of developing Covid-19 symptoms after receiving the vaccine compared to getting a placebo. Reactogenicity, or the acute response of the body to the vaccine, is common. Most of the acute inflammatory reaction to the vaccine occurs in the first seven days after receiving the vaccine. Looking more closely at the data, 409 patients in the vaccine group developed symptoms in the first seven days after inoculation. Compare this to 287 in the placebo group. If we assume that any participant who expressed symptoms in the first seven days must be suffering from the side effects of the vaccine or the placebo and not a new Covid-19 infection, the efficacy of the vaccine would still only be 29% if everyone else in that group was a false negative. This is admittedly a very large assumption but it is not outside the realm of possibility.

There are other more extreme possibilities. If all of the vaccinated participants who were suspected of Covid-19 truly did not have the disease and all of the unvaccinated (placebo) participants who were suspect did have the disease we would have a true miracle vaccine. Why? It would mean that only 8 people got the disease in the vaccinated group compared to 1978 in the placebo group. This would mean that the vaccine was approximately 99.6% effective. On the other hand, if all those who got vaccinated in the suspected group got Covid-19 and those who got the placebo didn’t, the vaccine would be not just ineffective, it would be dangerous.

Putting aside extreme and unlikely possibilities, the matter of the 3,412 “suspected Covid-19” participants and our assumptions about them still has very large implications. Let us say hypothetically that we as a nation decide to vaccinate our entire population with the Pfizer vaccine assuming that it has a 95% efficacy in preventing the disease. In other words, we are assuming that none of those “suspected” of having Covid-19 actually have the disease. This is in fact the assumption that the FDA is making when approving the use of the vaccine under the EUA. We can predict that within a month about 6.3% people will develop Covid-like symptoms from something other than vaccine reactogenicity or the disease itself. This is based on the number of participants who became symptomatic (from something other than reactogenicity) despite getting the vaccine and testing negative (1,185) divided by the total number who got the vaccine (18,801) = 0.063. That’s what happened in the study.

In a population of 300 million, we would expect roughly 19 million people to develop symptoms of Covid from something other than SARS-COV2 within a month. We can agree that we must be extremely confident about whether these 19 million people have the disease or not. Why would we assume they all don’t have Covid-19 when the vaccine trial itself considered them to be “suspected” of having it? We won’t. We shouldn’t, and practically speaking, we will be in the same situation we are in right now.

Pfizer either did not do or report additional testing that would have helped

The real issue here is that we shouldn’t be guessing about such important numbers. What do you suppose Pfizer did, knowing that this larger pool of symptomatic participants could have an enormous impact on the estimation of their vaccine’s efficacy? In my opinion, they should have tested everyone who developed symptoms for antibodies to help quantify the percentage of false negative PCR tests. If a participant felt like they were coming down with Covid-19 but had a negative PCR test, it seems clear that performing an antibody test would have offered additional clarity. This was either not done or not reported.

We must be careful when interpreting the power of a vaccine study. Although tens of thousands of people were enrolled, the only meaningful numbers with regard to efficacy have to do with those who contracted the disease during the period of observation. This is the only way to assess the efficacy of the vaccine. When Pfizer only considers participants that became symptomatic and tested positive we only have a group of 170 cases to cross compare.

The 3,410 people who became symptomatic but tested negative during the four weeks of observation would represent a much larger set of cohorts and would amplify the power of the study 20 fold if infection could be confirmed or ruled out through additional testing. In other words, the 3,410 symptomatic people should be the ones that Pfizer were hoping would emerge when they enrolled 37,000+ individuals in their study. I find this lapse in diligence suspicious and at the very least inexplicable, especially in light of the latitude they are granted under the EUA. The fact of the matter is that we do not know if this was done. Pfizer, per their own protocol, will not make this data available until the trial is completed 20 months from now. 

Why didn’t Pfizer look harder?

This forces us to ask some sobering questions. If Pfizer is required (or has agreed) to make all data available in two years, would they have conducted antibody tests on the “suspected Covid” group? If those results told a different story it would be quite damning, if not now, eventually. Their product would not be permitted for use under the EUA if a 50% efficacy requirement could not be met. On the other hand, if antibody tests were conducted and the results confirmed the impressive efficacy of the vaccine, why wouldn’t they have made the data available right now?

It should be clear that if Pfizer’s primary goal was to obtain approval under the EUA they would have had little incentive to do further testing to confirm their product’s efficacy. Why would they take the risk of seeking more information on 3,400 participants that could potentially overturn their results that were based on only 170 outcomes? This is where we must be very careful in our assessment of the situation. If you believe Pfizer and vaccine manufacturers are only out for profit, it would be easy to conclude that they are being manipulative. If you believe that these corporations are seeking to improve public health and safety you may grant them a lot of latitude here. To be truly objective we must ask if they have been scientific in their approach.

At the very least I feel that they have not been diligent, and their position hints at disingenuousness: Pfizer didn’t mention this group of participants in their 92 page report or in their publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. This group was only mentioned in two paragraphs of a 53 page briefing to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) of the FDA submitted December 10, 2020. The FDA, an agency of the department of Health and Human Services that ostensibly serves to protect the public by ensuring the safety of drugs, biological products and medical devices, continues to remain silent around this issue.

The Take Away

The 95% efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine is widely touted by the media and the medical establishment. Why didn’t Pfizer test or report the testing of an enormously important group of participants in their trial? We can predict that without these additional tests deploying the vaccine will not change our behavior nor our attitude to this pandemic.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Alternative News

Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.

  • Reflect On:

    Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?

What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”

On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Madsen also told the BMJ that,

There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.

The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:

In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.

“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.

Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having  stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.

A study published in the journal EbioMedicine  as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.

Pfizer’s Questionable History:  Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.

Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers.

The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.

In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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