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How Depression Affects Brain Structure & What You Can Do To Change It Back

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 400 million people, of all ages, suffer from depression, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide.

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This is a massive target market for pharmaceutical companies, and that’s no secret. There are huge profits to be made, and drug companies are taking every opportunity to make the most of this seemingly limitless source of income — at the expense of the consumer. It is not difficult to find evidence to support this notion, and a recent study published in the British Medical Journal is just one of many compelling examples. The study showed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported.

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And it’s not the first time this has happened. To read more about that and to find the study, click here.

Not feeling well can take a toll on your physical health in a number of ways; when it comes to the brain, episodes of constant depression can actually can actually reduce the size of your hippocampus — an area of the brain involved in forming and regulating emotions and memory. This is especially concerning for teenagers, given their brains are still developing in significant ways.

There is good news, however: the damage can be reversed, and you can change your brain in a number of different ways, but to do so requires you to make the decision to help yourself and then act on it.

Depression & Your Brain

Several studies have stated that depressed people tend to have a smaller hippocampus. According to Professor Ian Hickie of The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute:

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[The] more episodes of depression a person had, the greater the reduction in hippocampus size. So recurrent or persistent depression does more harm to the hippocampus the more you leave it untreated.

This largely settles the question of what comes first: the smaller hippocampus or the depression? The damage to the brain comes from recurrent illness…

Other studies have demonstrated reversibility, and the hippocampus is one of the unique areas of the brain that rapidly generates new connections between cells, and what are lost here are connections between cells rather than the cells themselves.

Treating depression effectively does not just mean medicines. If you are unemployed, for example, and then sit in a room doing nothing as a result, this can shrink the hippocampus. So social interventions are just as important, and treatments such as fish oils are also thought to be neuro-protective.  (source)(source)

It’s also noteworthy to mention here that feelings of sadness and negativity can code different information into the heart’s electromagnetic field, and that the heart will actually send signals to the brain which can create chaos in the nervous system. These findings come from the scientists at the Institute of HeartMath, who investigate heart and brain interaction. You can read more about that here.

Scientists have also used brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to examine the hypothesis that depression changes the brain. For example, an international team of researchers found that those who suffered from recurring depression do indeed have a smaller hippocampus. (source)(source)

Chemical Imbalance Or Not? 

Joseph Coyle, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, perhaps sums it up best when he explained that this idea of a “chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It’s much more complicated than that.” And it’s true; depression cannot truly be reduced to the commonly accepted notion of  a chemical imbalance in the brain. Posed in the late 1950s, this theory essentially posits that depression is a deficiency of select neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) at critical points, like synapses. One of these neurotransmitters, for example, is serotonin; others include norepinephrine and dopamine.

As Scientific American reports, “much of the general public seems to have accepted the chemical imbalance hypothesis uncritically,” but “it is very likely that depression stems from influences other than neurotransmitter abnormalities.” (source)

Harvard Medical School also put out a press release a few years ago stating that it’s “often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is.” Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a prominent author and British psychiatrist, explains further:

Of course, there are brain events and biochemical reactions occurring when someone feels depressed, as there are all the time, but no research has ever established that a particular brain state causes, or even correlates with, depression. . . . In all cases studies yield inconsistent results, and none have been shown to be specific to depression, let alone causal. . . . The fact that more than 50 years of intense research efforts have failed to identify depression in the brain may indicate that we simply lack the right technology, or it may suggest we have been barking up the wrong tree! (source)

The most commonly cited evidence to support the chemical imbalance theory is the ability of some drugs to increase and decrease mood in human and animal models. While many antidepressants increase the amounts of serotonin and other neurotransmitters at synapses, they do not address the underlying issues or help the brain heal itself. And what we fail to realize today is that just because mood can be artificially manipulated with drugs does not mean that depression cannot be treated in other ways, or that the chemical imbalance theory is true.

We are simply incapable of saying with certainty that a human being has a chemical imbalance (to whatever extent) or identifying what neurotransmitters are involved. This is why the chemical imbalance theory of depression remains a theory. Chemical levels in the brain cannot accurately be measured or ‘looked at,’ either.

Yet much of the general public still accepts the chemical imbalance theory. A survey conducted in 2007 of 262 undergraduates at Cleveland State University found that more than 80 percent of the participants found it “likely” that chemical imbalances cause depression. According to Jonathan Leo, an Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University, this really has yet to be proven:

At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models for natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioral changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness. (source)

It’s important to keep in mind that there are probably many chemicals involved, working both inside and outside of our nerve cells. As Harvard Medical School points out, there are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.

Jonathan Leo further points out that “the cause of mental disorders such as depression remains unknown. However, the idea that neurotransmitter imbalances cause depression is vigorously promoted by pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric profession at large.” (source)

As I hope I have made clear, the theory that depression is caused by low levels of serotonin, along with similar such theories, came into existence because scientists were able to observe what drugs do to the brain. It is a hypothesis that attempted to explain how drugs were able to fix the problem, but whether or not depressed people actually have lower serotonin levels remains to be proven. You can read more about the science here.

“The serotonin theory is simply not a scientific statement. It’s a botched theory – a hypothesis that was proven incorrect.” – Dr. Joseph Mercola (source)

Not only is there no solid scientific proof to back up the chemical imbalance theory, many depressed people are not even helped by taking antidepressants like SSRIs. For example, a review done by the University of California in 2009 found that one third of people treated with antidepressants do not improve, and a significant portion of these people remain depressed. Scientific American too points out that “if antidepressants correct a chemical imbalance that underlies depression, all or most depressed people should get better after taking them.” (source)

That being said, there are many who do report positive benefits, but there is no way to tell if the drugs are working or if they are just working like a placebo.

Think about this for a moment: so many of us are made to believe that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, when there is actually little scientific evidence to support that statement. Association between various brain changes and depression is large, and no studies have established a solid, cause-and-effect correlation between the brain and the disorder.

Depression has one focus — brain chemistry — despite it being a multi-faceted problem. Focusing on this one theory and then dishing out drugs that actually alter brain chemistry is, as Scientific American puts it, simply “shortsighted.”

“In spite of the enormous amounts of money and time that has been spent on the quest to confirm the chemical imbalance theory, direct proof has never materialized.” (source)

I am astounded that people fail to see the irony in the situation. The only chemical imbalances we can prove exist in people’s brains are the ones being inflicted upon them by psychiatric drugs.

There Are Other Biological Factors Implicated In Depression

As Dr. Mercola points out:

Contrary to popular belief, depression is not likely caused by unbalanced brain chemicals; however there are a number of other biological factors that appear to be highly significant. Chronic inflammation is one such factor.5

Scientists have also found that your mental health can be adversely impacted by factors such as vitamin D deficiency and/or unbalanced gut flora — both of which, incidentally, play a role in keeping inflammation in check, which is really what the remedy to depression is all about.

He also talks about sugar, which is extremely toxic to the body and a catalyst for multiple diseases. You can read his article on depression and these other biological factors here.

Some Great Ways To Combat Depression

1. Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain is adaptable and changeable. It’s now being used to treat learning disabilities, brain damage, chronic pain, and more. A great person to learn more about this from is Dr. Norman Doidge, among others. He is the author of The Brain That Changes Itself. He writes:

The idea that the brain is plastic in the sense of changeable, adaptable and malleable is the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain in four hundred years. Neuroplasticity is that property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and its function, it’s a response to sensing and perceiving the world, even to thinking and imagining. Human thoughts and learning actually turn on certain genes in our nerve cells which allow those cells to make new connections between them.

It’s the idea that the way you think can actually change your brain. This is not a new idea, and it has been demonstrated by a number of experiments ranging from quantum physics, where factors associated with conscious can change the behaviour of an atom, to placebo studies, which demonstrate the power of the mind.

For example, a Baylor School of Medicine study, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee pain. Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe. The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries people go through who have severe arthritic knees. The third group received a “fake” surgery; the patients were only sedated and tricked into thinking they actually had the knee surgery. Doctors made the incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery, then sewed up the incisions like the real thing and the process was complete. All three groups went through the same rehab process, and the results were astonishing. The placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery.

“My skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.” – Dr. Moseley (surgeon involved in the study) (Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Hay House, Inc, 2005)

The power of the placebo effect was also clearly demonstrated in a report published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 1999. It discovered that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve compared to the thirty-two percent taking a placebo. Considering all of the side effects and dangers associated with anti-depressant use, this marginal difference hardly seems worthwhile. And let’s not forget that the anti-depressant industry is a multi billion dollar one.

A 2002 article published in the American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment by University of Connecticut Psychology Professor Irving Kirsch titled, “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” made some more shocking discoveries. He found that 80 perecent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. This professor even had to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressants. (source)(source) Kirsch found that the difference between the response of the drugs and the response of the placebo was less than two points on average on this clinical scale that goes from fifty to sixty points. That difference, as Kirsch points out, is clinically meaningless.

Researchers all over the world have found that placebo treatments can stimulate real biological and physiological responses — everything from changes in heart rate to blood pressure and even chemical activity in the brain. It’s been effective with a number of different ailments, from arthritis, to depression, fatigue, anxiety, Parkinson’s, and more.  (source) Why are we not utilizing our brain’s own remarkable ability to heal itself more often?

2. Food

Take a look at these factors.

  • Added sugar and high fructose corn syrup
  • Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients (primarily corn, soy, and sugar beets) which, besides their own unknown health risks, also tend to be heavily contaminated with glyphosate—a Class 2A carcinogen that can also damage your gut microbiome and has been linked to antibiotic-resistance. Most conventional (non-GE) wheat is also treated with toxic glyphosate prior to harvesting.
  • By altering the balance of your gut flora, pesticides and herbicides also disrupt the production of essential amino acids like tryptophan, a serotonin precursor, and promote production of p-cresol, a compound that interferes with metabolism of other environmental chemicals, thereby increasing your vulnerability to their toxic effects.
  • Artificial sweeteners, along with thousands of food additives, most of which have never been tested for safety
    Chemicals in the food packaging, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), bisphenol-S (BPS), and phthalates, which can migrate into the food
  • Trans fats

3. Exercise 

Exercise has been shown to  effectively combat depression and help rebuild the hippocampus. Studies have shown very clear links between inactivity and depression. As Dr. Mercola tells us, women who sat for more than seven hours a day were found to have a 47 percent higher risk of depression than women who sat for four hours or less per day. Furthermore, those who participated in zero physical activity actually had a 99 percent higher risk of developing depression than women who exercised.  Studies have shown its efficiency typically surpasses that of antidepressant drugs, and it also helps rid your body of stress chemicals that can lead to depression.

4. Meditation

As Forbes points out,

The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the ‘me’ centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. . . .

Skeptics, of course, may ask what good are a few brain changes if the psychological effects aren’t simultaneously being illustrated? Luckily, there’s good evidence for those as well, with studies reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.

Related CE article: Harvard Study Unveils What Meditation Literally Does To The Brain

For more helpful ways to overcome depression, you can check out THIS article.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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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Awareness

COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine recently shared that the survival rate for people under 70 years of age is about 99.95 percent. He also said that COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there such a large divide between so many doctors and scientists with regards to the response to the pandemic? Why is one side constantly ridiculed and censored by Big Tech companies? Should governments have the authority to mandate lockdowns?

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies that’ve been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95 percent. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95 percent. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than COVID deaths.

Obviously, his comments are open to interpretation and similar comments floating around the internet have been refuted by Facebook ‘fact-checkers.’

Bhattacharya has cited this study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization to come to his conclusion, along with, as mentioned above, many more.

These facts and many others are what inspired Bhattacharya, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology to create The Great Barrington Declaration.

The declaration strongly opposes lockdown measures that are being and have been put in place by various governments around the globe. The declaration has an impressive list of co-signers from renowned doctors and professors in the field from around the world, and now has nearly 50,000 signatures from doctors and scientists. The declaration also has approximately 660,000 signatures from concerned citizens.

The Declaration states,

The Declaration was written from a global public health and humanitarian perspective, with special concerns about how the current COVID-19 strategies are forcing our children, the working class and the poor to carry the heaviest burden.  The response to the pandemic in many countries around the world, focused on lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation, imposes enormous unnecessary health costs on people. In the long run, it will lead to higher COVID and non-COVID mortality than the focused protection plan we call for in the Declaration.

The declaration also states that as herd immunity builds, the risk of infection to all, including the most vulnerable, falls. Bhattacharya has explained that he and his colleagues don’t see herd immunity as a strategy but as a simple “biological fact,” adding, “It will eventually happen. That’s how epidemics end. So, the only question is how you get there with the least amount of human misery, death, and harm.” The best way, he said, is to “acknowledge who actually is in danger and devote enormous creativity, resources, and energy to protect them.”

The Declaration recommends implementing measures that protect the vulnerable without locking down the entire population, shutting down businesses and limiting people’s access to health-care.

Stefan Baral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said he supported adaptive interventions to protect at-risk people rather than broad lockdowns of entire populations. He said his mother lives in Sweden and “there’s nowhere else I would have wanted my mom to be. I love my mom and I feel she’s safe there.”

A report published 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 only accounts 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 suggests and also 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.

Bhattacharya has also cited an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicating that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

These are just a few  many examples and concerns the declaration is referring to.

Another perspective on these survival rates? According to  Professor Robyn Lucas, head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University,

Survival rates and the percentage of the population who have not died are two very different numbers, “They are using the whole population, rather than the number who have diagnosed infection. So this is not really ‘survival’ – to survive a disease you have to have the disease in the first place,” Prof Lucas told AAP FactCheck in an email. (source)

Why This Is Important: Never before have we seen so many renowned doctors, scientists, and experts in the field oppose the recommendations and actions taken by the World Health Organization and multiple governments to combat a health crises. The fact that there is a great divide among the scientific and medical community makes one ponder how governments can have the mandatory authority to lockdown our planet when there isn’t really a scientific consensus to do so.

What’s also quite concerning is the fact that big tech companies, like Facebook, have been actively censoring and flagging information and opinions that oppose those of the WHO and government health authorities. Unpopular opinions and recommendations aren’t really given any attention by mainstream media either, and they’re often ridiculed by them. The Great Barrington Declaration is a great example.

Because of all the discrepancy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for governments to simply present the science and make strong recommendations and leave the citizenry to do what they’d like to do. To each is own, that’s just my opinion. I believe we are more than capable enough, and intelligent enough to determine the right course of action for ourselves. A lot of people have lost trust in their government and this is because actions taken by them have simply called into question whether or not they make decisions with humanities best interests at heart.

Are they really executing the will of the people?

When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen that this may not be the case. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine in the British Medical Journal.

It it, he states the following:

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.

When we allow governments and give them the power to use force when so many people disagree with their recommendations, it makes one question just how much power do thee entities have? And why? Why do we choose to be governed in such a way? Why aren’t we free to make our own decisions?

More important than facts is our ability to get along with one another and see from the perspective of another. We must understand why those who disagree with us feel the way they do, and they must try to understand us. Constantly arguing and disagreeing with each other and always being in a state of constant separation doesn’t solve anything. Now more than ever we need to respect one another and try see from a perspective that’s not our own. Can’t we find some middle ground and all get along? It’s ok to ask questions and challenge our governments, in fact, it should be encouraged.

Many of us are feeling the loss of freedoms, and even with new measures like that which is presented in this article, we are now seeing how our reality may become limited should we choose not to participate in certain measures we don’t agree with. The trouble we seem to be having is determining how to communicate about COVID, the fears we have around it, and how to come together as a community to ‘draw a line’ as to where we may be taking things too far.

Can we truly accept that controlling everyone’s lives and what they can and can’t do is the best thing to do with an extremely low mortality virus? Does this indicate the level of fear we have towards life? The issues with our general health? If the worry is straining health care systems, are we seeing the limitations of how our rigid social infrastructures can’t be flexible and maybe it’s time to look at a new way of living within society? Perhaps a new way built on a completely different worldview?

No, I’m not talking about no Great Reset here, I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about re-examining the deep questions of who we are, why we are here and what type of future we truly want to create. Questions that we may have forgotten about as we have gone on chasing what our current worldview and system dangles in front of us. Perhaps it’s time to take a breath and see the crisis’ in front of us as a call to ask some much deeper questions than common conversation invites us to ask.

A great place to start with these questions, and something I deeply urge people to consider doing, is doing something like a media/news fast that includes important questions and reflections designed to re-imagine and examine your worldview. I have just released a new short course on CETV called How To Do An Effective Media Detox. Check out CETV and this course as a great place to start. – Joe Martino

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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Awareness

New Research Adds Evidence That Weed Killer Glyphosate Disrupts Hormones

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New research is adding worrisome evidence to concerns that the widely used weed killing chemical glyphosate may have the potential to interfere with human hormones.

In a paper published in the journal Chemosphere titled Glyphosate and the key characteristics of an endocrine disruptor: A review, a trio of scientists concluded that glyphosate appears to have eight out of ten key characteristics associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals . The authors cautioned, however, that prospective cohort studies are still needed to more clearly understand the impacts of glyphosate on the human endocrine system.

The authors, Juan Munoz, Tammy Bleak and Gloria Calaf, each affiliated with the University of Tarapacá in Chile, said their paper is the first review to consolidate the mechanistic evidence on glyphosate as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC).

Some of the evidence suggests that Roundup, Monsanto’s well-known glyphosate-based herbicide, can alter the biosynthesis of the sexual hormones, according to the researchers.

EDCs may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones and are linked with developmental and reproductive problems as well as brain and immune system dysfunction.

The new paper follows publication earlier this year of an assortment of animal studies that indicated glyphosate exposures impact reproductive organs and threaten fertility.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide, sold in 140 countries. Introduced commercially in 1974 by Monsanto Co, the chemical is the active ingredient in popular products such as Roundup and hundreds of other weed killers used by consumers, municipalities, utilities, farmers, golf course operators, and others around the world.

Dana Barr, a professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, said the evidence “tends to overwhelmingly indicate that glyphosate has endocrine disrupting properties.”

“It’s not necessarily unexpected since glyphosate has some structural similarities with many other endocrine disrupting pesticides; however, it is more concerning because glyphosate use far surpasses other pesticides,” said Barr, who directs a program within a National Institutes of Health-funded human exposure research center housed at Emory. “Glyphosate is used on so many crops and in so many residential applications such that aggregate and cumulative exposures can be considerable.”

Phil Landrigan, director of the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, and a professor of biology
at Boston College, said the review pulled together “strong evidence” that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor.

“The report is consistent with a larger body of literature indicating that glyphosate has a wide range of adverse health effects – findings that overturn Monsanto’s long-standing portrayal of glyphosate as a benign chemical with no negative impacts on human health,” said Landrigan.

EDCs have been a subject of concern since the 1990s after a series of publications suggested that some chemicals commonly used in pesticides, industrial solvents, plastics, detergents, and other substances could have the capacity to disrupt connections between hormones and their receptors.

Scientists generally recognized ten functional properties of agents that alter hormone action, referring to these as ten “key characteristics” of endocrine-disruptors. The ten characteristics are as follows:

EDC’s can:

  • Alter hormone distribution of circulating levels of hormones
  • Induce alterations in hormone metabolism or clearance
  • Alter the fate of hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone receptor expression
  • Antagonize hormone receptors
  • Interact with or activate hormone receptors
  • Alter signal transduction in hormone-responsive cells
  • Induce epigenetic modifications in hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone synthesis
  • Alter hormone transport across cell membranes

The authors of the new paper said a review of the mechanistic data showed that glyphosate met all of the key characteristics with the exception of two:  “Regarding glyphosate, there is no evidence associated with the antagonistic capacity of hormonal receptors,” they said. As well, “there is no evidence of its impact on hormonal metabolism or clearance,” according to the authors.

Research over the last few decades has largely focused on links found between glyphosate and cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL.) In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

More than 100,000 people have sued Monsanto in the United States alleging exposure to the company’s glyphosate-based herbicides caused them or their loved ones to develop NHL.

The plaintiffs in the nationwide litigation also claim Monsanto has long sought to hide the risks of its herbicides. Monsanto lost three out of three trials and its German owner Bayer AG has spent the last year and a half trying to settle the litigation out of court.

The authors of the new paper took note of the ubiquitous nature of glyphosate, saying “massive use” of the chemical has “led to a wide environmental diffusion,” including rising exposures tied to human consumption of the weed killer through food.

The researchers said that though regulators say the levels of glyphosate residue commonly found in foods are low enough to be safe, they “cannot rule out” a “potential risk” to people consuming foods containing contaminated with the chemical,  particularly grains and other plant-based foods, which often have higher levels than milk, meat or fish products.

U.S. government documents show glyphosate residues have been detected in a range of foods, including organic honey, and granola and crackers.

Canadian government researchers have also reported glyphosate residues in foods. One report issued in 2019 by scientists from Canada’s Agri-Food Laboratories at the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry found glyphosate in 197 of 200 samples of honey they examined.

Despite the concerns about glyphosate impacts on human health, including through dietary exposure, U.S. regulators have steadfastly defended the safety of the chemical. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains that it has not found any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.”

Written by Carey Gillam, research director of U.S. Right to Know, where it was originally posted. 

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

Alternative News

Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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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