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Why Picking Your Skin Is More Than Just A Bad Habit

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In May of 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was revised to update its current literature on mental health conditions to include ones that were previously unrecognized and categorize them according to their similar characteristics. The addition of Excoriation Disorder, aka “Dermatillomania,” brought validation to thousands of sufferers by giving acknowledgment from the medical field that this is a mental health condition — not just a “bad habit.”

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According to the TLC Foundation for BFRBs:

Excoriation Disorder is characterized by the repetitive picking of one’s own skin. Individuals who struggle with this disorder touch, rub, scratch, pick at, or dig into their skin in an attempt to improve perceived imperfections, often resulting in tissue damage, discoloration, or scarring. Skin picking disorder is one of a group of behaviors known as body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), self-grooming behaviors in which individuals pull, pick, scrape, or bite their own hair, skin, or nails, resulting in damage to the body.

Research shows that 2-5% of the population has a BFRB with approximately 75% of affected individuals identifying as female.

I Am One Of Those Females

By the time I reached my teenage years, my legs were filled with open sores. My face had already been a problem since I was a child and I went through periods where I picked at my upper back and chest. For years I suffered alone, barely telling a person because I believed that if everyone found out about this disorder, I’d be deemed a “freak.”

The effects of this disorder caused me to refrain from dating and believe that I was unworthy because I couldn’t control the mess on my body let alone the mess in my head causing it. It made me housebound for 2.5 years because I was too embarrassed to be seen in public most days, causing me to also drop out of university. While suicidal, I had a mental health nurse tell me that all I had to do to stop picking is to “grow up.” There was no help where I lived and Internet awareness pre-2010 was scarce. I never wanted anyone to experience the stigma and shame I did, which led me to releasing my personal memoir, FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary. My hope was for it to encourage others to come forward with their stories so that we could unite and create change for the next generation with BFRBs.

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Educating Education

When it came to mental health in grade school I learned about bare-bone facts surrounding depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. I never heard of Dermatillomania, let alone a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior. Teachers should learn the signs of BFRBs and pass it on to their students as a part of their education and provide fidget/fiddle/sensory toys in the classroom.

Teaching Therapy

Like many others with Dermatillomania, I’ve been told that I will live with this forever. With what I’ve learned after my therapy with Karen Pickett after appearing on “The Doctors,” I now know that this disorder is manageable with the right tools. With the DSM 5 out, mental health professionals should be required to update their skills to effectively serve the BFRB community. Learn how to become trained here.

Community Collective

I started my journey alone. By reaching out and becoming active in online forums I’ve met incredible people and organizations dedicated to the same efforts I am. The first time I met another person with Dermatillomania was across the continent while filming Scars of Shame; a few years later I was able to meet others in my area as more awareness and support groups were created in North America. This support has not only been imperative in my journey to raise awareness, but now sustains my own recovery.

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Awareness

Food Brands Owned By Monsanto

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a list of food brands currently owned by Monsanto. The list was put out by Vocal Media.

  • Reflect On:

    Are the foods we eat safe? Are the chemicals we eat ingest with them safe? A lot of science has shown otherwise, so what's really going on here.

Monsanto is a biotech corporation that was founded in the early 1900s. They produce genetically modified foods (GMOs) and many chemicals that are sprayed onto our food, including several pesticides. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research titled, Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” outlined the issue with these chemicals, many of which were actually originally designed by Monsanto as warfare weapons to be used as nerve agents.

The study highlighted that diet is the primary source of pesticide exposure in both children and adults. It found that an organic diet significantly reduced neonicotinoid, OP pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure, with the greatest reduction observed in malathion, clothianidin, and chlorpyrifos.

The researchers noted that all of us are exposed “to a cocktail of toxic synthetic pesticides linked to a range of health problems from our daily diets.” They explained how “certified organic food is produced without these pesticides,” and attempted to answer the question, “Can eating organic really reduce levels of pesticides in our bodies?”

They tested four American families who typically don’t eat organic food to find out.

First, we tested the levels of pesticides in their bodies on a non-organic diet for six days. We found 14 chemicals representing potential exposure to 40 different pesticides in every study participant. These included organophosphates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids and the phenoxy herbicide 2,4-D. Some of the pesticides we found are linked to increased risk of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. (source)

This is one of multiple studies that’ve shown the benefits of switching to an organic diet.

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When it comes to GMOs, there is a wealth of information that shows corruption with regard to their approval. A great resource to learn more about that is  called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverte.

The stranglehold that corporations like Monsanto have on governments and government agencies like the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is quite strong. Many senior CDC scientists actually stressed this, but there are several other examples of this type of corruption.

For example, glyphosate, an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.

Glyphosate has been implicated in thousands of cancer cases, and Monsanto has already paid out billions of dollars to multiple victims. Dewayne Johnson is one of multiple examples.

Many mainstream foods were also found to be contaminated with glyphosate. Here’s a list of children’s foods that’ve been contaminated.

Monsanto was recently acquired by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Big food and big pharma are one in the same. They own the press, they own politicians, and they practically dictate government policy. There are a multitude of examples that illustrate the massive amount of corruption that drives these corporations, yet they are still operating despite the fact that the products they offer have been proven to be extremely damaging to human health as well as the environment.

Those of you who have been involved in the past in the battle to protect our children from poorly made vaccines or toxic chemicals in our food or in our water know the power of these industries and how they’ve undermined every institution in our democracy that is supposed to protect little children from powerful, greedy corporations. Even the pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. – Robert F. Kennedy (source)

Today, annual protests are held against the agrochemical company to demonstrate the public’s displeasure with Monsanto’s practices. Not only do the protests illustrate how many people are against genetically modified organisms, but they also represent how many people are against the dangerous pesticides Monsanto produces to kill off pests and insects.

Here are some of the brands that Monsanto works with.

The Brands

This list was recently put out by Vocal Media.

  • Aunt Jemima
  • Aurora Foods
  • Banquet
  • Best Foods
  • Betty Crocker
  • Bisquick
  • Cadbury
  • Campbell’s
  • Capri Sun
  • Carnation
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Coca Cola
  • ConAgra
  • Delicious Brand Cookies
  • Duncan Hines
  • Famous Amos
  • Frito Lay
  • General Mills
  • Green Giant
  • Healthy Choice
  • Heinz
  • Hellman’s
  • Hershey’s Nestle
  • Holsum
  • Hormel
  • Hungry Jack
  • Hunts
  • Interstate Bakeries
  • Jiffy
  • KC Masterpiece
  • Keebler/Flowers Industries
  • Kelloggs
  • Kid Cuisine
  • Knorr
  • Kool-Aid
  • Kraft/Phillip Morris
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Lipton
  • Loma Linda
  • Marie Callenders
  • Minute Maid
  • Morningstar
  • Butterworths
  • Nabisco
  • Nature Valley
  • Ocean Spray
  • Ore-Ida
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Pasta- Roni
  • Pepperidge Farms
  • Pepsi
  • Pillsbury
  • Pop Secret
  • Post Cereals
  • Power Bar Brand
  • Prego Pasta Sauce
  • Pringles
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Quaker
  • Ragu Sauce
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Smart Ones
  • Stouffers
  • Shweppes
  • Tombstone Pizza
  • Totinos
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Unilever
  • V8

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, despite the massive amount of corruption and illegal activities these companies have engaged in, we are the ones buying their products and consuming their foods. All we have to do is make better choices–we can switch to organic produce, we can do our research and purchase from ethical companies, and we can refuse to spray our lawns with herbicides. Vote with your dollar.

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Awareness

New Study Finds Strong Link Between Glyphosate & Human Liver Disease

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study outlines a strong link between Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, and human liver disease.

  • Reflect On:

    Glyphosate has contaminated much of our soil and it's in many of the foods we eat. Decades of research has shown the dangers of this product, so how have our federal health regulatory agencies been able to approve this substance, and others, as safe?

Scientists and health professionals have been raising concerns about pesticides for decades. The idea that these products were ever approved as safe by our federal health regulatory agencies is truly mind blowing, given the fact that their toxicity and danger seem to be unquestionable. In 2012, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) stated that “Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.”

Again, with all of the science available showing clear cause for concern, how are these products approved as safe? There are many examples one can use to answer this question. For example, a group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, made up of CDC senior scientists, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).

They outline the corporate connection to science in the statement below:

We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency.  It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviours.

This is how substances like Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, continue to gain approval–it’s pure corruption. What’s one of the latest examples of corruption? Look no further than the fact that it was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. In this case, MEPs found out that the science given to them was plagiarized and full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.

In 1996, Monsanto was sued by the New York Attorney General based on its false and misleading advertising of Roundup products. Monsanto lost and agreed to stop, but to date they have not stopped those practices anywhere else other than New York State. You can read more about that here.

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The list of corruption is long, and these are only a few of many examples.

Despite this fact, Germany has said it will phase out the weedkiller because it wipes out insect populations crucial for ecosystems and pollination of food crops and because of the negative impact it has on human health.

Glyphosate & Liver Disease

Glyphosate has been making noise in the courtroom, with thousands of pending cases regarding the correlation between glyphosate and various types of cancer. The link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma  has actually led to Monsanto paying victims billions of dollars. You can read about one example here.

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, suggests an association between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in human beings.

In a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology , a team led by Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor and chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine, examined glyphosate excretion in the urine samples of two patient groups — those with a diagnosis of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD), and those without. The results were significant, as glyphosate residue was significantly higher in patients with NASH than it was in patients with a healthier liver.

These results also compliment the findings from multiple animal studies that have already been conducted.

“There have been a handful of studies, all of which we cited in our paper, where animals either were or weren’t fed Roundup or glyphosate directly, and they all point to the same thing: the development of liver pathology,” said Mills. “So I naturally thought: ‘Well, could there be an association with this same herbicide and liver disease in the U.S.?’”

As the university points out:

The study examined urine samples of 93 patients. Forty-one percent were male; 42 percent were white or Caucasian; 35 percent were Hispanic or Latino. Average BMI was 31.8. Patients were originally recruited as part of a larger study at the UC San Diego NAFLD Research Center conducted between 2012 and 2018. Liver biopsies were used to determine the presence or absence of NAFLD while classifying the subjects by cohort.

Mills plans to next put a group of patients on an all-organic diet and track them over the course of several months, examining how a herbicide-free diet might affect biomarkers of liver disease.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States; it was developed and patented by agrochemical giant Monsanto in the 1970s and its sales represent approximately 50 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

Dr. Minkoff, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity, for very high academic achievement, provides an excellent scientific explanation as to why glyphosate represents a big problem for human health. You can read about that here, if you’re interested.

Will An Organic Diet Make A Difference?

Professor Mills mentions his intention to put a group of patients on an all organic diet and track them over the course of several months while examining how an herbicide free diet might affect biomarkers of liver diseases.

This is important, as many of our foods are now contaminated with glyphosate, among other herbicides and pesticides. For example, here’s a list of children’s foods that have been contaminated with glyphosate. The chemical has also been discovered in major orange juice brands.

Science has already shown that an organic diet can make a tremendous difference. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. You can access that study and read about more examples here.

The Takeaway

The approval of substances that are harmful to human health started long ago–remember DDT? It’s been decades, but it’s still happening. At the end of the day, you can refuse to buy and use these products, as many people are still purchasing them to use on their lawns and in their communities.

Despite the setbacks, progress is being made as this substance is now banned in multiple communities and countries as awareness continues to grow.

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Awareness

The True Purpose of California Vaccine Bill SB276

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A bill in California eliminates nearly all medical exemptions for kids who are threatened by vaccines. If they want to go to school, they have to get their shots.

  • Reflect On:

    Freedom of choice is being taken away here, even for children who are medical susceptible to vaccines. With so much information showing that vaccines aren't completely safe, how was this bill able to pass?

California has very strict compulsory vaccination laws for children in school, and as a result more parents are deciding to homeschool their children. The latest information regarding vaccines in California that’s making noise is Senate Bill 276 by Senator Richard Pan. The bill eliminated nearly all vaccine medical exemptions. Under this bill, politicians, not physicians, are in charge of deciding whether or not children may receive medical exemptions, which in turn would determine whether or not they can attend school.

This is, in many ways, insanity. And mainstream media isn’t helping. Take actress Jessica Biel, for example, who made an appearance with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Instantaneously headlines popped up everywhere claiming that she was ‘anti-vax’ when that wasn’t the case, she is simply a supporter of medical freedom and freedom of choice. Mainstream media constantly uses terms like ‘anti-vax’ to label those who oppose bills like these, without ever addressing the real science and concerns that many parents have, some of which are listed below.

State public health officials must not have the power to override the judgment of private physicians. SB 276 inappropriately places the granting or withholding of medical vaccine exemptions for patients in the hands of state employees, rather than in the hands of private physicians who personally care for patients. Doctors must be permitted to evaluate patient susceptibility to vaccine injuries, taking into consideration a variety of factors that cannot be legislated. SB 276 forces healthcare professionals to adhere to exceptionally narrow vaccine contraindications, which have been defined by government appointed officials working for the CDC, a public health agency. Doctors are so severely scrutinized and challenged for granting medical vaccine exemptions that, with precious few exceptions, most are concerned for their licenses and are no longer willing to grant them. Doctors must have the latitude to evaluate their patients and to grant medical exemptions when indicated.

Below is a very informative statement from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Merck introduced its measles vaccine in 1963, claiming the vaccine would convey lifelong immunity equivalent to a natural infection, with health officials promising that 55% vaccine coverage would produce “herd immunity” sufficient to eradicate measles by 1967.

Leading scientists of the day, including the world’s preeminent bacteriologist, Sir Graham Wilsonand Harvard Virologist John Enders, who first isolated measles, warned against introducing a vaccine unless it provided lifelong immunity. Measles, they cautioned, would rebound with increased virulence and mortality as the vaccine forced the evolution of more virulent strains and shifted outbreaks away from children—biologically evolved to handle measles—to the elderly who could die from pneumonia, and young infants now unequipped with maternal immunity.

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A 1984 Johns Hopkins University modeling study predicted that Merck’s population-wide experiment would increase measles outbreaks by 2050, (when the last generation subject to natural immunity died off,) compared to the pre-vaccine era. This is exactly what has happened. Merck’s vaccine, with a growing failure rate has been incapable of abolishing the disease. Vaccine failure has left millions of adult Californians effectively unvaccinated. And 79% of people affected by measles in this year’s California outbreak were adults.

When eradication predictably didn’t materialize and measles attacked fully-vaccinated populations, Merck simply moved the goalpost saying that herd immunity required 75% vaccination, then 85%, then 95%, then 98%. And now 99%. To distract the world’s citizens from its failed vaccine, Merck started blaming “anti-vaxxers.” (The Vaccine Safety Movement)

California’s bought or brain-dead lawmakers are proposing to “fix” Merck’s vaccine failure problem by punishing 4,000 vulnerable children with medical exemptions. In an act of legislative savagery, Democratic politicians propose to forcibly vaccinate children whose doctors have told them that a vaccine could kill or severely injure them. SB276 will not fix the measles outbreak or solve the problem of vaccine failure, it will only reward a corrupt company for a defective product.

Vaccines Aren’t Safe For Everyone

It’s no secret that vaccines are not completely safe for everyone, it’s clearly not a ‘one size fits all’ product, and that’s evident by the fact that nearly $4 billion has been paid out to families of vaccine injured children via the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). If the numbers from VAERS are correct – only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported and only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated – then up to 99% of vaccine injuries go unreported and the families of the vast majority of people injured by vaccines are picking up the costs, once again, for vaccine makers’ flawed products. According to a MedAlerts search of the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, as of 2/5/19, the cumulative raw count of adverse events from measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines alone was: 93,929 adverse events, 1,810 disabilities, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 463 deaths.

I’m just trying to make it clear that, again, vaccines are not safe for everybody. Furthermore, the NCVIA sounds like it has the best interests of this nation’s young citizens in mind, but actually serves a much different purpose. The NCVIA  sets limits on the liability of vaccine manufacturers. They don’t have to pay a dime, in most cases, if someone is injured as a result of a product they make. It comes out of taxpayers’ pockets, and this has been going on for more than two decades. The act completely protects pharmaceutical companies from any liability or responsibility for a vaccine product that caused or causes injury. They cannot get in trouble and they cannot be held responsible, which allows them to be completely careless with their products. A vaccine could kill multiple people and the company would not be held liable. It should really be called the pharmaceutical protection act.

Aluminum is another great example of vaccine safety concerns, in fact, it’s one of many. Here’s a detailed article I wrote that presents multiple studies as well as links to studies and a very informative interview with Dr. Christopher Exley, a Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Keele University, who explains what happens to aluminum when it is injected via a vaccine.

These types of studies are never addressed or countered or even brought to light by the mainstream media. All they simply do is trigger complete silence, while ridicule and terms like ‘anti-vax’ and  ‘conspiracy theorist’ are constantly used.

The main motivation behind compulsory vaccine initiatives is “herd immunity.” The idea that the more people that are vaccinated, the more protection there will be for the whole. The public health establishment borrowed the herd immunity concept from pre-vaccine observations of natural disease outbreaks. Then, without any apparent supporting science, officials applied the concept to vaccinations, using it not only to justify mass vaccinations but to guilt-trip anyone objecting to the nation’s increasingly onerous vaccine mandates as well.

The mandatory measles vaccine initiatives are a great example, as measles outbreaks over the past couple of years have occurred in vaccinated individuals, which suggests a failing vaccine. In fact, highly vaccinated (measles) populations have had a history of measles outbreaks, and studies have also shown that vaccinated children could also be spreading/shedding the virus they’ve been vaccinated with. You can see multiple studies and examples that go into more detail in an article I previously published here.

An 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), showed 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.

Herd immunity can’t exist unless vaccines are 100 percent safe. The idea that an unvaccinated child can pose danger to other children, especially children who are vaccinated, is completely false. If anything, the science showing that vaccinated individuals can shed their virus implies it’s the other way around.

Below is a thought provoking statement from Holland in Washington during the fight to stop mandatory measles vaccinations.

The various forms of vaccine failure not only make herd immunity impossible to achieve but also feed the occurrence of ‘vaccine-preventable illnesses’ in highly or even fully vaccinated populations. Again, I provide multiple links and evidence above that clearly show that vaccines are nowhere near as effective as they are marketed to be, as there are many instances of vaccines failing.

The Takeaway

The idea that politicians can force children to be vaccinated, including those deemed to be in danger of severe adverse reactions, and strip them of their rights to attend public school is insane. Freedom of choice and medical freedom should always exist, especially with regards to vaccines. If parents want to vaccinate, fine, but parents who wish to not vaccinate their children for whatever reasons should always have the freedom to do so.

Mandatory vaccination is tyrannical.

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