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NFL: The Game Destroying The Brains & Lives Of Some Of America’s Finest Athletes

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“In football, one has to expect that almost every play of every game and practice, they are going to be hitting their heads against each other. Each time that happens, it’s around 20 G’s or more. That is the equivalent of driving a car at 35 miles into a brick wall. A thousand to 1500 times per year.”

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 —Robert Stern, PhD Neuropsychologist (featured in the frontline documentary Why The NFL Should Be Scared Of Chris Borland)

Can you imagine being hit in the head constantly with an impact similar to that of hitting a brick wall, and how you might feel the more it happened? Each one of those hits could be potentially damaging for you, let alone having them happen again and again, year after year.

If you’ve ever watched an NFL game, you’re likely unsurprised to hear how dangerous this sport can be. If those big shoulder guards and helmets are any indication, this is not a sport for the faint of heart. It’s rough, requires enormous strength, speed, and agility, and only a select few can make it to the big time.

For many young boys, often their dream is to end up playing in the big leagues, becoming a super wealthy sports star. If they play in college, but don’t get picked up by the professional league, it can completely crush their dreams.

But this rejection may actually be a huge blessing in disguise. That is because, playing in the professional NFL may actually destroy your life.

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Tens Of Thousands Of High Impact Hits To The Brain Over The Life Of A Professional Player

By the time someone has finished college football, it is estimated that they will have received an alarming 8000 high impact hits alone (1). When you add a professional football career spanning many years, that number increases dramatically.

Take away the glamour and prestige of the game, and think about it just in terms of these high impacts, and it might not take a lot to see: it’s a very dangerous game for long-term health. Many of the NFL fans out there are still perhaps not aware that a large number of players have died due to these impacts, and some in the most brutal and gruesome ways.

“In my opinion, taking professional football players as a cohort, I think over 90% of American football players suffer from this disease. Over 90% of players who play to the professional level have some degree of this disease. I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative.”

— Dr. Omalu, speaking to Time Magazine

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CTE: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Dr. Bennet Omalu, who holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology, and Neuropathology, began investigating what could be happening to these players and discovered that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy [CTE] was a disease affecting many professional footballers.

CTE (2) is a degenerative disease found in people who have had severe blows to the head. It can occur from even one hit to the head. Professional football players are at the greatest risk of developing CTE. It is now thought that professional NFL players have a whopping 90% chance of developing brain disorders and/or early death.  Those with CTE are found to have an increased buildup of the protein Tau. The changes to the brain can begin after one hit, months, years, or even decades after the last hit (3).

Dr. Omalu first came across the case of Mike Webster, who played as a centre for the Pittsburgh Steelers for over 15 years. Some still call him one of the greatest NFL players ever to play the sport. Mike played an estimated 245 professional games.

To give you an idea of how many high impact hits in the head Mike may have received, just in these games, and with the estimation from college football games also included, Mike is likely to have received 17,800 hits. To put this into a different perspective, Mike may as well have been in 25,000 automobile accidents.

Absolutely astounding to say the least.

Mike’s life ended in tragedy. He suffered from amnesia, depression, and dementia. Despite having offers of places to live, he ended up living all alone in his pick-up truck.

What happened to Mike is not an isolated case. To see how many former players have had CTE confirmed after death, please see this alarming compilation here.

Terry Long, who played in 108 NFL games, is a truly tragic case. He drank a gallon of anti-freeze to kill himself. He had been experiencing extreme mental issues such as hearing voices. Terry was perfectly healthy before he played in the NFL.

There have also been several murders and suicides linked to CTE where a football player, Jovan Belcher, killed his girlfriend, and then himself.  OJ Simpson, who allegedly killed two people, was a huge football star for many years, and it is speculated that he may too have suffered from CTE, which is proven to affect mood and behaviour. the-science-behind-head-injuries

NFL Worth Billions; CTE Threatens Big Money

Dr. Omalu then went on to write a landmark study on CTE, which he brought to the NFL. While the clinical findings were overwhelming, the NFL (with the 32 teams being worth an estimated combined $63 billion) denied CTE was happening. They simply did not want to know. Many of its leaders were interviewed on TV and said that the sport was ‘safe’ and had ‘zero’ risk of brain injury.

One who denied CTE was Dave Duerson, who played for several NFL teams during his career; he vehemently disagreed that CTE was a problem within the NFL. In a sad and ironic twist of fate, Dave committed suicide in 2011. His brain was sent for further study and it was found that he too, had CTE.

In the movie Concussion (released December 2015), which is about CTE and the NFL (Will Smith plays Dr. Omalu), the viewer sees that the NFL have behaved just like other powerful entities that have a lot of money at stake — when they see a pressing problem they simply chose to deny and hide it.  Dr. Omalu spent much of his own money carrying out the study and also ended up being ridiculed and threatened by those close to the NFL. Despite there being so much evidence now that he is right, Omalu today is still often discredited.

“My son is 6. I wouldn’t let my six-year-old son near any football field. And if any coach asks my son to play football, I’ll sue that coach, and I’ll sue the school.”

– Dr. Bennett Omalu, speaking to Time

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Chris Borland AKA The Most Dangerous Man In Football

How are some of the players dealing with the issue of CTE? Many choose to ignore it but some have not. Chris Borland was a rising star in the NFL world. He was signed to the San Francisco 49ers and had a very ‘bright’ future ahead of him. Yet after only a year of playing in the big leagues, he quit. His reasoning? He had researched CTE and saw that he was at great risk of developing this and chose to end his career, putting his health first.

To the powerful NFL, what he has done is very threatening to the league.  The game makes many billions each year, with the owners of the teams often being worth a billion (or 2 or 3) alone.

Chris spoke about this in an episode of Frontline which you can see below:

“The NFL is smart, they are scared of Chris Borland and the people that will come after them.”

— Chris Nowinski, Executive Director, Concussion Legacy Foundation

NFL Concussion Settlement: 20,000 Players Suing

Since the NFL had prior knowledge of CTE, many players have now sued for not being informed about the risks they would be taking by having a professional football career. It is estimated that 20,000 men are involved in this lawsuit.

Where To From Here? Can The NFL Be Safer?

America’s most loved and lucrative game isn’t going to end anytime soon. The only hope we have is making it safer, but is that even possible? Improvements so far which have been helping to improve the chances of delaying CTE are: longer time spent off the field after a high impact tackle or hit (to allow the brain to rest), new designs of helmets such as the Procap, and new rules to the game. While these may help, it’s perhaps nowhere near enough to decrease the risks of CTE in a way that is going to make a profound improvement.

The game itself would have to be completely changed to make CTE something that doesn’t happen in the extremes it is. So it seems the answer is no, the NFL can’t ever be risk free.

The only thing we can do is hope that players have much more knowledge about what they might be getting themselves into. I wish they would realize that money and fame cannot do a thing to make CTE go away once it’s affected the brain. And experiencing the severe mental problems such as some of the now deceased players have experienced, is something that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.

Do People Love NFL For The Wrong Reasons?

I’m ending this on a personal note: I didn’t grow up in America so seeing NFL games is not something that I was at all used to. The first time I ever saw one on TV, I was stunned at how rough it was. It just looked like a game to me that had impossible odds to avoid these high impacts and at times what seemed like near-death accidents. It boggles my mind that just like boxing, it’s something that has become so popular today.

It begs the question: is there perhaps something very wrong with a society that seems to enjoy seeing grown men experience these horrific body slams, the occasional breaking of limbs, and intense head impacts that just make you cringe and feel a bit sick to the stomach because you know that what you just saw has hurt a heck of a lot?

You can also find many clips on Youtube like this one with titles like ‘20 of the Most Gruesome NFL Injuries Ever.’ I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it.

Is all of this violence in sports perhaps a slight throwback to the Roman times where men would be released into a pit and have to fight off lions, and the more gory it was, the louder the cheers?

I know, I’m ‘just’ a woman — I hear some of you saying — who doesn’t ‘get’ what its like to be in a man’s world or understand the skill of this sport. But come on, there’s something seriously awry here. Men are dying, and the odds aren’t good. There will definitely be more, and we can bet on that.

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Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.

  • Reflect On:

    When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.

Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.

One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’

For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.

The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.

Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research.  This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.

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It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:

If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.

Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary

One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:

“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)

She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.

Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy

“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)

With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks,  “The Game Changers” documentary

“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)

A Related CE Articles With More Information: 

Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat – Leading Microbiome Scientist Explains

12,000 Doctors Urge The FDA to put Cancer Warnings on Cheese 

Scientist: Milk From Cows Has “The Most Relevant Carcinogen Ever Identified” & “Turns on Cancer”

Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker

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The Real Agenda Behind The Paris Climate Accord – Besides The Actual Climate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The efforts to ratify the Paris Climate Accord of 2015 and put a Carbon Tax/Carbon Credits scheme in place continue, amidst growing resistance.

  • Reflect On:

    If we were to clearly understand that the greatest beneficiaries of the Paris Climate Accords would be a small global elite, would we start to question this "solution" to Climate Change and even question the legitimacy of the Climate Change movement?

Greta Thunberg is quite upset. Yes, even more than she normally is. The reason? Because the wave of climate change school strikes over the past year has “achieved nothing” since greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, apparently by 4% since the Paris Climate Accord was signed four year ago. And here is why she thinks this has happened:

People want everything to continue like now and they are afraid of change. And change is what we young people are bringing and that is why they want to silence us and that is just a proof that we are having an impact that our voices are being heard that they try so desperately to silence us. (source)

The notion that the global political establishment is trying desperately to ‘silence’ Greta Thunberg and her young friends verges on the absurd. If anything, the global political establishment has done everything in its power to give voice to her ongoing strikes, marches, and protestations, and the global media has been fully accommodating by keeping her and her demands on the nations of the world in a bright spotlight.

While we have seen a physical maturation in Greta Thunberg before our eyes, her message has not grown accordingly and is getting stale. It’s not just the monotonous timbre of her outrage. Her unquestioning advocacy for the only establishment “solution” to climate change–mapped out by the controversial Paris Climate Accords of 2015–is starting to make people ask questions. As a girl growing in intelligence and discernment, would she not at any point challenge the ‘official’ solution handed to her on climate change, and wonder if some of the problems are actually contained therein? Would she not give at least a cursory glance to other solutions that have been proposed that might be more palatable to nation states?

How About Hemp?

Solutions like, for example, growing large amounts of hemp all over the planet. Hemp is a super-strong and fast-growing crop that pulls carbon out of our atmosphere like nothing else:

Hemp begins sequestering carbon the moment it is seeded; conservatively, hemp cultivation yields a sequestration ratio of about 1.5 units of sequestration per unit produced. In Layman’s terms, one ton of harvested hemp fiber should sequester 1.62 tons of CO2. Hemp can also sequester carbon back into the soil through a process called, biosequestration. In this process, hemp captures carbon emissions from the atmosphere. (source)

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If we took this efficiency rate and calculated the cost of using a worldwide hemp-planting initiative to meet IPCC carbon-reduction guidelines, we would find not only that the cost to nation-states would be a fraction of what is being proposed by the Paris Climate Accord, but if this was done wisely and efficiently then countries would probably be able to actually profit from the enterprise by harvesting the hemp for its many uses.

Still skeptical? Longtime hemp activist Jack Herer is offering $100,000 to anyone who can disprove his hypothesis that hemp is a silver bullet for climate change. Here’s what he says at the end of his challenge, which was put up on his website in 2002:

No one has taken the $100,000 challenge to prove me wrong. Why? Because I am right. The U.S. government has been lying to us since the early 1900s. Do economic interests have more to say than the people about the future of our planet?

So to be clear–I am not even broaching the subject as to whether or not Carbon emissions are causing global warming, or if the planet is even warming, both matters that are also deserved of serious investigation and analysis. All I am saying in this article is that an examination of the only solution to ‘Climate Change’ being proposed by the global establishment–and parroted by activists like Greta Thunberg–will help us discern whether or not the goal here is actually to improve conditions on the planet for humanity.

The Paris Climate Accord Explained

I have come across a video put together by health freedom advocate Dr. V. A. Shiva, who ran for the Senate in Massachusetts, in which he gives a clear and concise explanation of what would happen if the Paris Climate Accord was fully implemented today, and why it was a good thing that the U.S. pulled out of the accords. Here is a basic summary of his points:

  1. Today, one of the basic mechanisms of our economy is that manufacturers take raw materials and turn them into products, which we pay for as consumers.
  2. Those manufacturers are cumulatively emitting a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of the manufacturing process.
  3. By 2030, the total amount of Carbon Dioxide emitted into the atmosphere will have INCREASED based on the regulations of the accord (e.g. China will be allowed to double their carbon emissions without penalty).
  4. The only change is that manufacturers will have to pay money to the “IPCC” (a global elite “science” group that includes Al Gore, the Bushes, and others) in exchange for ‘carbon credits’ that this group somehow magically ‘owns’ and can therefore sell. 2030 will be the big payday for them as China will have to start buying credits.
  5. Naturally, these payments for carbon credits will ultimately be felt by consumers who will have to buy their consumer goods at a proportionately increased cost.
  6. In addition, the “IPCC” will allow these carbon credits to be bought and sold on a commodities market, which will actually enable the “IPCC,” current ‘owners’ of most of the carbon credits, to make TRILLIONS since the mechanisms in place will make the finite credits infinitely more valuable over time.
  7. As part of the agreement the U.S. had to agree to create a $100 Billion “Green Fund” which was actually being used to pay off (bribe) top “influencers” in each of the 190 signatory countries in order to get them to persuade their country’s leaders to sign on to the accord.

In effect, When the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Accord, the “Green Fund” payouts were withdrawn and a wrench was thrown into these plans. Many countries, especially developing nations, are now hesitant to become involved in a scam to enrich the global elite to the detriment of their own economy.

Vladamir Putin’s line to Greta Thunberg sums up the current hesitation by some signatories of the Paris Accord:

No one has explained to Greta that the modern world is complex and different and…people in Africa or in many Asian countries want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden. Go and explain to developing countries why they should continue living in poverty and not be like Sweden.

Greta Thunberg is dead wrong in saying that the problem is that people, or countries, are ‘afraid of change.’ The majority of humanity is aching for change. But the most important change for us to make first is to take back our power, and recognize which so-called ‘movements’ are designed to once again enrich a small elite at the expense of humanity.

The Takeaway

Our ability to move forward and make positive changes for the benefit of humanity is contingent on our discernment of the activities of the global elite, especially those activities which pretend to be in service of humanity. We have to stop giving away our power to carefully orchestrated movements that seem appealing but, when looked into more closely, turn out to be vehicles of our continued enslavement.

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Research Suggests Many Diagnosed With ADHD May Not Actually Have A “Disorder”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The fact that ADHD is diagnosed strictly on behavioural characteristics and not brain imaging or other science means that many who have this label don't formally have a neurodevelopmental disorder.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is medication the only resort to combating the symptoms of ADHD? Why are other interventions, like meditation, dietary changes, a change in lifestyle/environment never really discussed or emphasized?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, has become an epidemic. According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.

They go on to state that it’s normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. “However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviours. The symptoms continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.”

The CDC claims that children with ADHD might daydream a lot, forget or lose things a lot, squirm or fidget, talk too much, have a hard time resisting temptation, have trouble taking turns, and make carless mistakes or take unnecessary risks. But are these really symptoms of a serious “neurodevelopmental disorder?”

Is This Science-Based?

It’s not as if children are taken into the lab and have their brains scanned to determine if serious brain abnormalities exist. ADHD is diagnosed purely off of behaviour, and there may be something very wrong with diagnosing someone with neurological abnormalities simply baed on observation, instead of actual science. Who is to say that the behaviours listed above are not those of a normal child, or even a normal adult, especially within a school or work environment that does not seem to be foster a human being’s natural state? Perhaps the person or child in question doesn’t actually have neurodevelopmental problems, but is simply responding appropriately to the environmental that they find themselves in?

There is hardly any evidence suggesting that there is a neurological problem, as is often expressed by the medical industry. There are studies, however, that do show differences. For example, one of the largest imaging studies of ADHD to date recently identified differences in five regions of the brain, with the greatest differences seen in children rather than adults.

It’s important to note here the the brain of a child is still developing, and that the structure is not permanent and continues to develop until early adulthood.  More than 3,000 people diagnosed with ADHD had an MRI compared to controls, to measure the volume and the size of seven regions of the brain that were thought to be linked to ADHD–the pallidum, thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus. The study found that overall brain volume and five of the regional volumes were smaller in people with ADHD — the caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala and hippocampus.

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“These differences are very small — in the range of a few percent — so the unprecedented size of our study was crucial to help identify these. Similar differences in brain volume are also seen in other psychiatric disorders, especially major depressive disorders.”–Dr Martine Hoogman, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.(source)

Smaller brain regions do not equate to a neurodevelopmental disorder or a lack of brain functioning though. This is simply an assumption. As with depression, where 6 decades of research that serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) deficiency is the cause of depression and anxiety, scientific credibility has not been achieved. This is well known. A New England Journal of Medicine review on major depression stated:

” … numerous studies of norepinephrine and serotonin metabolites in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as postmortem studies of the brains of patients with depression, have yet to identify the purported deficiency reliably.”

Despite this fact, drugs are being prescribed that alter brain chemistry based on the prevailing unsubstantiated ‘theories’ regarding several ‘mental disorders.’ Here is an eye opening quote regarding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

“[DSM-V] is a wholesale imperial medicalization of normality that will trivialize mental disorder and lead to a deluge of unneeded medication treatment – a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry but at a huge cost to the new false positive patients caught in the excessively wide DSM-V net.”–Allen Frances, DSMIV Taskforce Chair (source)

Financial Ties With Big Pharma

Speaking of the DSM, American psychologist Lisa Cosgrove and researchers have investigated financial ties between the DSM panel members and the pharmaceutical industry. She published her research in the journal Plos OneThe study found that, of the 170 DSM members who sat on panels of ‘mood disorders,’ ‘schizophrenia’ and other psychotic disorders, most of them had financial ties to drug companies. The connections were especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders:

The revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled for publication in May 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has created a firestorm of controversy because of questions about undue industry influence. Some have questioned whether the inclusion of new disorders (e.g., Attenuated Psychotic Risk Syndrome) and widening of the boundaries of current disorders (e.g., Adjustment Disorder Related to Bereavement) reflects corporate interests. These concerns have been raised because the nomenclature, criteria, and standardization of psychiatric disorders codified in the DSM have a large public impact in a diverse set of areas ranging from insurance claims to jurisprudence. Moreover, through its relationship to the International Classification of Diseases, the system used for classification by many countries around the world, the DSM has a global reach.

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat has said:

“And where there is a scientific vacuum, drug companies are happy to insert a marketing message and call it science. As a result, psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit.”

Questioning The System

Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), also considered one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, said the following:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (source)

Here is another great quote:

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”–Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal  (source)

A very interesting and uncharacteristic article in the New York times titled The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder raised awareness about this issue in 2013. The article discusses efforts to expose the manufacturing of a “profit driven machine into which our children are being fed.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990.

Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits.

According to Kelly Brogan, MD, psychiatrist:

Psychiatric studies funded by pharma are 4x more likely to be published if they are positive, and only 18% of psychiatrists disclose their conflicts of interests when they publish data.

Psychiatry is particularly susceptible to industry corruption because of the highly subjective, non-biological, impressionistic nature of diagnostic criteria. With our “governing body” the American Psychiatric Association heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies, the temptation is all too great to open the diagnostic umbrella to encompass behavioral criteria like “makes careless mistakes” or “often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.”

Looking At ADHD Differently

What about other aspects of ‘ADHD’ that are never really emphasized? Recent work in cognitive neuroscience shows that people with an ADHD diagnosis and creative thinkers have difficulty suppressing brain activity that comes from the “Imagination Network.” This suggests people with ADHD might have differences in parts of the brain that actually makes them ‘superior’ in many ways, but it’s information that pharmaceutical companies can’t make a profit off of.

Currently, there are no school assessments to evaluate creativity and imagination. The fact remains,  people who show characteristics of ADHD are more likely to reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement compared to those who don’t show these characteristics.

“By automatically treating ADHD characteristics as a disability– as we so often do in an educational context– we are unnecessarily letting too many competent and creative kids fall through the cracks.”–Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (source)

Scrutinizing ADHD Treatment

A longitudinal NIMH study, the only one of its kind, demonstrated that after an initial decrease in ADHD symptoms, at three years, there was deterioration in the medicated group, and by six, worse attentional and behavioral symptoms than unmedicated controls, and increased functional impairment. Despite claims that stimulant side effects are “generally mild,” data accumulated by psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin has demonstrated quite the opposite. He cites studies that demonstrate concerning risks for:

  • Motor and vocal tics
  • Addiction, withdrawal and rebound
  • Growth suppression
  • Adverse cardiovascular effects
  • Mania, suicidality, psychosis

A study by Nasrallah et al in which more than 50% of young adults treated with ADHD medication experienced PET-confirmed brain atrophy, concluding “cortical atrophy may be a long-term adverse effect of this treatment.” In rhesus monkeys, Wagner et al demonstrated long-term changes to dopamine levels and receptor density, related to compensatory changes the brain undergoes in the setting of chronic intoxication. Subjects abstinent from stimulants for three years were found to have persistent dopamine-related brain changes on PET scans, related to Parkinsonian pathology.

That being said, many people have reported success with medications, but could this be placebo?

Alternatives

Dr. Kelly Brogan sees pharmaceutical intervention for symptoms of ADHD as very harmful for a child’s development:

When we interfere with behavior and brain growth, when we force children to conform to our needs as busy, distracted, and often chronically ill adults, we may be fundamentally compromising their expression of self, as Breggin cites Greenough et al.

Spontaneous or self-generated activities–play, mastery, exploration, novelty seeking, curiosity, and zestful socialization-are central to the growth and development of animals and humans and necessary for the full elaboration of CNS synaptic connections. (source)

She looks at other ways to treat these symptoms, and feels the first line of defense is dietary solutions. 

Some studies have, indeed, emerged that show a link between a gluten/casein free diet and improvement in autistic symptoms, and some parents have already seen the benefits of implementing this research.

The Mayo Clinic claims that certain food preservatives and colourings could increase hyperactive behaviour in some children. It would be best to avoid these, regardless of whether they are linked to ADHD or not.

It has also been suggested that EEG biofeedback (electroencephalographic) could help. It’s a type of neurotherapy that measures brainwaves. You can read more about that here.

In 2003, a study published in the journal Adolescence looked at how regular massages for 20 minutes twice a week could improve behaviour in the classroom. This is interesting because studies have also suggested that tai chi and yoga may also help improve ADHD symptoms. According to the studies, children with ADHD that practiced tai chi became less anxious or hyperactive. (source)

Other safe interventions are out there, you just have to look for them.

The Takeaway

I hope this article provides insight for people as well as parents who are considering using medications if their child is labeled as having ‘ADHD’. This article is not meant ignore symptoms of ADHD, but the idea of administering drugs so someone can better fit into a regimented environment should be questioned.

A challenge to convention like this can often be vilified, and that’s ok. We are going through a period of time where it’s best to keep an open mind, as new information is emerging in various areas that challenge our long-held belief systems.

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