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American Academy Of Pediatrics Refuses To Back Vaccine Claims With Science

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Please visit The World Mercury Project, they were kind enough to send this article over to us for re-publishing purposes.

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When asked whether it could provide studies to support specific claims it made about vaccine safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics ultimately declined.

On January 10, 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a press release to express its opposition to a federal commission that has been proposed by the Trump administration to examine vaccine safety and efficacy. The AAP argues that since we already know that vaccines are safe and effective, therefore there is no need for further examination into their safety and efficacy.

This argument, however, begs the question — it presumes in the premise the proposition to be proven (the petitio principii fallacy). And the press release itself illustrates why, apart from the question of whether there should be a federal commission, critical examination of public vaccine policy is very much warranted.

In its press release, among other things, the AAP stated that:

  • Vaccines prevent cancer.
  • Claims that vaccines are linked to autism “have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature”.
  • Claims that vaccines “are unsafe when administered according to the [CDC’s] recommended schedule” have likewise “been disproven by a robust body of medical literature”.

According to the AAP, its own claims are backed by solid science. Yet when asked whether it could provide citations from the medical literature to support its claims, the AAP first failed to do so, then essentially offered a “No comment” when pressed for a comment about its failure to do so.

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With respect to the claim that vaccines prevent some forms of cancer, the AAP was asked:

  • Can you please direct me to any studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature showing any vaccine prevents cancer?

With respect to the other two, the AAP was asked the following questions:

  • Can you please direct me to the studies you are referring to in this body of literature that took into account the possibility of a genetically susceptible subpopulation?
  • Can you please point me to the studies in this body of literature that have compared health outcomes, including but not limited to developmental regression (i.e., autism), for children who’ve receive the CDC’s full schedule of vaccinations with children who’ve remained completely unvaccinated?

An initial email to the AAP containing these questions went unanswered.

The email was followed up with a phone call. Lisa Black, the AAP’s Media Relations Manager, assured that she would get back with answers to the questions. In a subsequent email, Ms. Black replied, “Please see information that AAP has posted for parents on this page”, which was followed by a link to a list of studies on the website HealthyChildren.org.

However, none of the listed studies on that page supports the AAP’s claim that “vaccines prevent … forms of cancer”.

None apparently considered the possibility of a susceptible subpopulation with a genetic susceptibility to adverse reactions to vaccines.

And none compared health outcomes of fully vaccinated children with completely unvaccinated children.

The list provided does contain numerous studies finding no association between vaccines and autism, but even the listed safety review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) doesn’t go so far as to say that the hypothesis has been “disproven”.

On the contrary, the IOM acknowledges that it is biologically plausible that vaccines might cause autism in a genetically susceptible subpopulation, but characterizes this hypothesis is still “speculative” and “unsubstantiated”.

That is a world apart from saying it has been “disproven”.

One would think that the IOM’s conclusion, if its inquiry was a scientific one, would be that since this is such an important question and this specific hypothesis is plausible and not well studied, therefore there should be further study into this question of whether vaccines could trigger autism at least in some children with a genetic predisposition to vaccine injury.

But rather than calling for more research into this area, the IOM actually advocated that no further studies to test this hypothesis be done. Its stated reason for this was partly medical, but at least equally political — and certainly favorable to the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. The IOM’s reason was:

Using an unsubstantiated hypothesis to question the safety of vaccination and the ethical behavior of those governmental agencies and scientists who advocate for vaccination could lead to widespread rejection of vaccines and inevitable increases in incidences of serious infectious diseases like measles, whooping cough, and Hib bacterial meningitis.

In other words, since studying this hypothesis further would undermine public vaccine policy with its one-size-fits-all approach to disease prevention, therefore no further research to test the biologically plausible hypothesis should be done.

The AAP was sent a follow up email noting that none of the studies listed appeared to support the claims it made in the press release. The AAP was welcomed to correct the record, but did not dispute the observation that none of the studies listed showed that vaccines can prevent cancer, considered genetic susceptibility to vaccine injury, or compared health outcomes for vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

The additional follow up questions were also asked:

  • If the AAP cannot produce one or more studies that considered the possibility of a genetically susceptible subpopulation, how can it claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”?
  • If the AAP cannot produce one or more studies that compared health outcomes between children vaccinated according to the CDC’s schedule and children who remained unvaccinated, how can it claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”?

The AAP did not reply via email to the follow up questions.

In a second phone call requesting the AAP to produce such studies to support its claims, Ms. Black replied that she had provided everything the AAP was going to provide.

When confronted with the observation that none of the studies provided supported the AAP’s claim that vaccines can prevent cancer, she repeated that the AAP was not going to provide any additional information.

When asked whether the authors of the press release, AAP President Fernando Stein and Executive Vice President Karen Remley, would like to comment, Ms. Black abruptly ended the phone call by saying she was going to hang up and then doing so.

Questions Unanswered

The questions seem pertinent, particularly given the fact that the government has acknowledged that vaccines can cause brain damage resulting in developmental regression.

In 2008, then director of the CDC Julie Gerberding offered the following carefully worded acknowledgment:

Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with a mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

The context in which she was speaking was with respect to Hannah Poling, a child with a mitochondrial disorder who developed autism after receiving numerous vaccines on the same day and whose family was awarded compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The VICP was established in the mid-1980s under a law that granted broad legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers. The government’s reason for doing so was that vaccine injury lawsuits were threatening to undermine public policy by putting vaccine manufacturers out of business.

The Supreme Court has upheld that legal immunity on the grounds that certain adverse reactions are “unavoidable” and “design defects” are “not a basis for liability.”

Around the same time as Gerberding’s admission, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, the late Bernadine Healy, criticized the refrain that any link between vaccines and autism has been debunked. She pointed out the kinds of studies that would be necessary in order to confidently draw that conclusion hadn’t yet been done.

Specifically, she noted the lack of studies taking into consideration a genetically susceptible subpopulation.

Ms. Healy also slammed the IOM for advocating that no further research be done and noted that as a potential cause of autism, “vaccines carry a ring of both historical and biological plausibility”.

Similarly, in contrast to the AAP’s claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”, one of the CDC’s lead researchers on that very question, CDC Director of Immunization Safety Dr. Frank DeStefano, admitted in an interview in 2014 that “it’s a possibility” that vaccines could trigger autism in genetically susceptible individuals.

“It’s hard to predict who those children might be”, DeStefano observed, and trying to determine what underling conditions put children at risk of vaccine injury is “very difficult to do”.

Acknowledging the lack of studies in this area, he added that, “if we ever get to that point, then that kind of research might be fruitful.”

The AAP’s list of studies includes one or more for which DeStefano was an author.

The CDC also admits the need for further study in this area. Its website at the time of this writing acknowledges that “More research is needed to determine if there are rare cases where underlying mitochondrial disorders are triggered by anything related to vaccines.”

So how can the AAP claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven” when the studies that would be necessary to invalidate the hypothesis haven’t been done?

No comment.

That’s the AAP’s answer to the question, anyway.

The AAP’s attitude should perhaps come as no surprise, given its close relationship with the vaccine industry.

As CBS News reported in 2008, “The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters.”

A Discussion to Be Had

The AAP argues in its press release against the formation of a federal commission, but its argument would apply to any public debate about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. By the AAP’s logic, like the IOM’s, also unnecessary are any discussion about it in the media and any further scientific inquiry.

But as Daniel Sarewitz observes, “as science approaches the cutting edge, it tends to raise as many questions as it resolves, so there is always room for debate about what the science is actually saying.”

Parents dubbed “anti-science” by the media are naturally curious why that label doesn’t seem to apply to those calling for no further inquiry into pertinent questions.

Parents aren’t just asking legitimate questions about vaccines. They’re doing what most doctors haven’t and spending a lot of time researching vaccines themselves. And they’re not just going to “anti-vaccine” websites to research it. They’re organizing, sharing information, and digging into the medical literature for themselves.

Parents can see the fundamental contradiction between public health officials and the media constantly insisting that vaccines are harmless even while the government grants legal immunity to the vaccine manufacturers on the grounds that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe and while the government manages a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in order to shift the costs for damages and keep the vaccine manufacturers profitable — all to maintain public policy.

Parents understand how government and industry funding influences the direction and findings of scientific research, and how the medical establishment that has given us soaring costs and a population in which nearly 40 percent are chronically ill will tend to justify itself despite its abysmal performance and a long history of being wrong time and again, from tobacco science (older generations may remember how the industry used to get product endorsements from doctors) to the USDA recommended high-carb diet (which has contributed to the obesity epidemic and is more about satisfying food industry lobbyists than providing science-based advise) to the role of cholesterol in heart disease (scientific research no longer supports the hypothesis that dietary cholesterol contributes to blood cholesterol and heart disease risk).

Parents are aware of how government agencies like the FDA and the CDC serve the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. They see the corruption and the “revolving door” of Washington, such as how Julie Gerberding left her government job pushing vaccines as head of CDC to become president of the vaccine division for the pharmaceutical giant Merck.

They see how the AAP, too, has an incestuous relationship with “Big Pharma”. They understand how willful ignorance goes beyond the individual operating within the system and becomes institutionalized. And they watch as an organization that influences how their child’s pediatrician practices medicine accepts money from an industry they feel the AAP ought to be protecting them from.

They can witness how the AAP makes statements it claims are solidly backed by science, but which it is unwilling or unable to provide any studies to support. They understand that the truly “anti-science” position is the one that says no further scientific inquiry into an admittedly biologically plausible hypothesis is necessary.

Parents know there are many studies that have found no association between vaccines and autism. They don’t need the AAP to point this out to them. But they wonder why the AAP ignores all the studies that do support the hypothesis.

They wonder how the AAP can claim that the vaccine-autism hypothesis has been “disproven” when the most any of the studies it cites have concluded is that those particular studies, with their own particular focus, designed around their own particular assumptions, using a particular methodology, did not find an association between vaccines and autism.

And parents are asking questions like: What was the actual purpose of the study? What were the underlying assumptions made by the authors? What vaccines were being studied, and what outcomes? Who were the study groups? What were the criteria for their selection? What was the study’s methodology? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Do the conclusions drawn follow from the actual findings? How conclusive is it? What does the study actually prove, if anything?

Parents can see for themselves the huge disparity between what they are told science has to say about vaccines  — by public health officials, the medical establishment, and the mainstream media — and what science actually has to say about it.

The parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children aren’t doing so because they are uneducated or unintelligent. On the contrary, studies show that they tend to be wealthier and more highly educated than the general population.

They aren’t choosing not to vaccinate because they are ignorant of the science. They are choosing not to vaccinate because they are digging into the medical literature (which can be searched via PubMed.gov) and awakening to the deceit they see coming out of the government and the mainstream media.

They see how mainstream journalists, rather than seriously investigating what the science actually says, rely on statements from agencies like the CDC and industry-funded organizations like the AAP to “inform” the public about the subject.

They see how the establishment is seeking to stifle debate not by respectfully addressing their legitimate questions, but by bullying them into silence and conformity, and they understand how such a phenomenon can arise because institutions with a life of their own feel threatened by the truth and act to preserve the status quo.

The AAP and other actors interested in preserving the public vaccine policy so far seem to have assumed that they can end the discussion by declaring authoritatively that there is no need for further discussion.

But if they ever hope to truly end the discussion, they are going to have to start taking parents’ concerns seriously and answering their legitimate questions with more than disingenuous public relations talking points that might as well have been written by the vaccine industry.

Original article was reprinted with permission in its entirety. Jeremy R. Hammond is an award-winning independent journalist, author, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, and father. Subscribe to stay updated with his work on vaccines and get his free report “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process.”

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Awareness

Medical Medium: The Two Causes Of Chronic Illness & The Power Of Your Thoughts

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Medical Medium is one of the most influential figures in the alternative health movement, and he firmly believes that our thoughts and beliefs can play an integral role in our health and wellness.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or a loved one currently battling a chronic illness? If so, how do you view it and what are you doing to help your body overcome it?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, Anthony William (also commonly known as the Medical Medium) is the author of several New York Times bestselling books including Liver Rescue and Life-Changing Foods. He’s also the primary figure behind the now viral Global Celery Juice Movement–a subject that we covered in great detail earlier this year.

However, what really sets Anthony William apart in the alternative health world is that the source of his insights is far more “alternative” than most of his equally successful counterparts. You see, rather than regularly citing scientific studies or findings throughout each of his books, Anthony instead credits a higher source that he channels out of compassion and a desire to truly heal us all–something that many believe modern medicine struggles with. (To learn more about Anthony’s incredible story read this.)

Several of us connected to Collective Evolution, myself included, have put many of Anthony’s suggestions into practice and I can say from personal experience that I’m grateful to have done so. As just the adoption of daily morning celery juice alone has worked wonders at improving both my own health and the health of my mother in just a few short months.

As part of the upcoming Hay House Heal Summit, two new videos featuring Anthony have recently been released, both of which share a perspective on our health that is certainly worth considering.

The Two Causes Of Chronic Illness

As Anthony outlines in the video, chronic illness ultimately boils down to the presence of toxins and pathogens. Toxins are defined as poisonous substances that are products of the metabolic activities of a living organism, while pathogens are causative agents of disease.

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Whether it be through the food that we are eating, the air that we are breathing, the surfaces that we are touching, or the liquids that we are drinking, our bodies are regularly exposed to things that both build up toxins and/or present us with triggers of illness that are only made stronger by the existing toxins within our body for it to feed and thrive off of.

It therefore becomes imperative that we consider taking proactive measures–whether it be those recommended by the Medical Medium or otherwise–to both rid our body of existing toxins and minimize the amount of new toxins we expose it to. I’ve personally found being more conscious of the dietary choices that I make, and opting to make my own food with non-processed organic ingredients as often as possible, as incredibly helpful in doing exactly this, especially when paired with celery juice first thing in the morning to help flush out pre-existing and new toxins I’ve managed to take on.

The Power Of Your Thoughts

Within this video, Anthony touches upon an aspect of health that I’ve become particularly connected to over the past 3 years through my work with the documentary Heal. Heal is a film that features some of the greatest minds in the alternative health movement including Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Kelly Brogan and the Medical Medium himself in an exploration of the role that our thoughts can play in our ability or inability to heal from illness and disease. (Note: If you haven’t seen it, the film is available on Netflix.)

While toxins and pathogens may play the physical leading roles in the development of disease, many believe that our thoughts and beliefs may play just as critical a role.

Whether you or someone close to you is or has battled a chronic illness, we all know that they can be scary, frustrating, and a million other related adjectives making the development of negative beliefs seemingly natural. While completely controlling them may not be possible, as Anthony points out in this video, it’s certainly worth at least attempting to minimize them.

For proof of this, look no further than the integral role that placebos have played in many studies. It may not do all of the work when it comes to your healing, but cutting back on the less than pleasant beliefs and showing yourself some compassion can only help (even if just mentally) in your healing journey.


If the above videos resonated with you, I encourage you to sign up for the FREE Hay House Heal Online Summit taking place from October 23rd – 29th. It’s not only slated to feature the complete interview lessons with the Medical Medium that the above two clips were taken from, but it also features several other lessons with impactful health figures like Bruce Lipton, PhD., Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, Chris Wark, Dr. Joe Dispenza and many more all set on helping you empower the powerful healer that lies within us all.

Sign up now and receive immediate access to 4 free lessons (including one with the Medical Medium) before the Summit begins on October 23rd!

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Alternative News

Thousands Protest In Switzerland As The Population Is Now Exposed To 5G Wireless Radiation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A large portion of the Switzerland population is now exposed to 5G, and thousands of people showed up on the Swiss house of Parliament in Bern to protest.

  • Reflect On:

    With undeniable evidence showing this type of technology has disastrous health effects, what's really going on? People are aware of this, but governments continue to ignore all of this information.

Frank Clegg, the former President of Microsoft Canada, has released an insider’s view educational video regarding the health and safety concerns of 5G and wireless technologies. You can watch that video here. The main takeaway of his video is that there are numerous health concerns concerning wireless radiation, especially with regards to 5G, and that this type of technology is linked to a number of diseases, and yet it’s being implemented without any safety testing.

His words echo the message of thousands of scientists who have published numerous papers on not just 5G, but EMF radiation in general and how over-exposure from our computers, cell phones, cell phone towers and wifi signals are creating a disturbing health epidemic around the world.

You would think with more than 10,000 peer reviewed publications on the subject that the industry and our government health regulatory agencies would do some safety testing  before rolling it out, but no, they haven’t. To be honest, with so much science already making things quite clear, if they did any type of appropriate safety testing there is truly no way they would be able to rollout this technology. It would be a huge profit loss, which is why we don’t hear anything about the negative health consequences of this type of technology.

I’d like to point readers toward a fairly recent publication by Dr. Martin L. Pall, PhD and Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, who says the following in his report “5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them”:

“Putting in tens of millions of 5G antennae without a single biological test of safety has got to be about the stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world.”

If you want to learn more about 5G technology and the health concerns regarding electromagnetic radiation of this kind, the Environmental Health Trust is a great place to start.

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Switzerland

What’s happening in Switzerland might go global–it’s something that seems to be rolling out in North America at least. Switzerland’s population is now officially exposed to the new 5G networks.

As a result, thousands of people showed up in protest.

Yahoo News reports:

The protesters, many carrying placards, gathered in front of the Swiss parliament building, in a bid to stop the construction of more 5G-compatible antennae.

“The fact that so many people turned out today is a strong sign against the uncontrolled introduction of 5G,” said Tamlin Schibler Ulmann, co-president of Frequencia, the group that organised the rally.

[C]ritics in Switzerland argue that the electromagnetic radiation the new system emits poses unprecedented health and environmental risks compared to previous generations of mobile technology.

Online petitions have helped persuade several Swiss cantons — in Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg and Neuchatel — to postpone the construction of antennae as a precaution.

The Swiss Federation of Doctors (FMH) has also argued for a cautious approach to the new technology.

The first injuries due to 5G are already being reported in Switzerland, according to Physicians for Safe Technology.

Paul Bischoff, a tech journalist and privacy advocate, recently compiled data regarding telecom’s political contributions to influence policies that benefit their industry.

Internet service providers in the United States have spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying since 1998, and 2018 was the biggest year so far with a total spend of more than $80 million.

Comparitech researchers compiled and analyzed 51 ISPs’ lobbying expenses from the US Senate’s Lobbying Disclosure Act database, which dates back to 1998.

Here are the highlights of our analysis:

  • 2018 was the biggest year yet for ISP lobbying at $80 million.
  • Top spenders include AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, which have amassed lobbying expenses of $341 million, $265 million, and $200 million, respectively since 1998.
  • Since 2011, yearly spending on lobbying across all ISPs hasn’t strayed below $72 million.
  • The largest amount spent by any provider in any year was AT&T in 1999, at almost $23 million. AT&T’s acquisition of Ameritech Corp accounted for much of this, and the merger eventually led to the creation of America’s largest telecom company.
  • Total spend from 2016 to 2019 is set to exceed lobbying expenses between 2012 and 2015, which totaled $295 million.
  • Lobbying in favor of mergers and acquisitions accounted for many of the biggest expenses for individual ISPs in a single year.
  • $1.2 billion has been spent by ISPs on lobbying since 1998.

It’s Obvious That 5G Technology Is Not Safe. Here Are Some Related CE Articles On The Topic With More Information

Ex VP of Microsoft Canada Explains How 5G Wireless Radiation Could Be A Huge Health Hazard

5G Is The “Stupidest Idea in The History of the World” – Says Washington State Professor

5G Technician Reveals The Damage He Believes 5G Will Cause

Brussels Becomes First Major City to Halt 5G Due to Health Effects

Devonshire, UK Halts The Installation of 5G Over Serious Health Concerns

Top Cancer Research Advisor Compares Wireless Radiation To Cigarettes

EMF Frequencies Used For Crowd Control Weapons Form The Foundation of 5G Network

The Takeaway & What You Can Do

Many of us have already started participating in protests, and many steps are being taken to stop 5G. Products and services are being banned, and the amount of awareness that’s been created within the past five years is promising. People are becoming aware of this stuff, and with awareness comes action, like the examples used in this article. Ten years ago, the world was silent on such issues. Today, we are making it difficult for services and products to make a profit, and approval processes have become stricter. We are definitely moving forward.

So, what can you do? You could purchase some EMF protective clothing and bedding, or you could even paint your home with EMF protective paint. You can unplug your computer when not in use, turn off your cell phone, and unplug all your electronic devices before you go to sleep. You could have a wired internet connection, which is actually much faster than any wireless connection. You can live a healthy lifestyle, and you can use mind-body healing techniques to help you.

Years ago many actions taken by governments and corporations went unnoticed. We are no doubt making things difficult for them, so let’s keep moving forward.

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Alternative News

The Mental Health Morass: Good for Pharma, Bad for Youth

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When several hundred Colorado high school students walked out of a post-school-shooting vigil last May to protest the event’s politicization, their departing chant was, “mental health, mental health.” While this response may have unsettled the event’s organizers, it was unsurprising in the context of widespread media accounts of an “epidemic of anguish” among American youth. According to this narrative, not only is “the increase in mental health issues among [U.S.] teens and young adults…nothing short of staggering,” but around the globe, mental illness is set to become the “next major global health challenge” and “pandemic of the 21st century.”

Without making light of the problem or minimizing anyone’s personal suffering, it is clear that one entity that stands to benefit mightily from a deepening mental health crisis is the pharmaceutical industry. Psychiatric medications have long been “growth superstars”—generating billions in sales for companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly “as the U.S. became Prozac Nation, antipsychotics also became antidepressants, and ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] a byword.” Already in the mid-2000s, a Harvard economist reported that spending on psychotropic drugs had substantially outpaced overall prescription drug spending—no mean feat given the drug market’s exponential growth.

Outsized drug company profits and clever marketing tactics have prompted many to question the industry’s “oversized role in determining how mental illness is treated.” Even in conventional medical circles, clinicians acknowledge the need for “radical change in the paradigm and practices of mental health care,” including interventions that emphasize prevention and non-pharmacologic treatment modalities. These sorts of recommendations are urgently needed—not least for the young people for whom there is scant evidence of psychotropic medication safety or efficacy.

Overlapping trends

Modern psychiatry situates an alphabet soup of diagnoses under the broad rubric of “mental, emotional and behavioral” (MEB) disorders. It is no longer uncommon for children and adolescents to receive one or more of these diagnoses: anxiety disorder; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorder; bipolar disorder; conduct disorder; depression; disruptive behavior disorder; drug abuse or dependence; eating disorders; obsessive-compulsive disorder; oppositional defiant disorder; pervasive developmental disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; and schizophrenia.

The proliferation of mental health diagnoses in young people overlaps considerably with trends in diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, mental health diagnoses frequently intersect with physical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy, which are more often present in children with mental disorders than in children without such disorders. Pediatric hospital admissions for non-behavioral disorders result in higher costs and longer stays when they are comorbid with behavioral disorders.

One of the few large-scale surveys to focus on MEB disorders in children (rather than adults) was the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), conducted from 2001 to 2004. The NCS-A found that half of U.S. youth (ages 13-18) had been diagnosed with at least one MEB disorder—including one in five with behavior disorders and three in ten with anxiety disorders—with the impairments rated as “severe” in roughly one-fourth of the affected teens. For many of the young people, onset and diagnosis occurred well before adolescence. Reviewing the evidence, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine reported in 2009 that “early MEB disorders should be considered as commonplace as a fractured limb: not inevitable but not at all unusual.”

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The impact

Recent research has documented some of the impact of these “commonplace” diagnoses in young people. Between 2011 and 2015, for example, visits by U.S. youth to psychiatric emergency departments increased by 28%. By age group, the largest increase—54%—was seen in adolescents (as compared to younger children or youth in their early 20s), in whom the researchers also reported a 2.5-fold increase in suicide-related visits. As of 2010, mood disorders (which include both bipolar and depressive disorders) were the most frequent principal diagnosis given to hospitalized children ages 1-17—up 80% since 1997. The hospitalization rate for bipolar disorders increased fourfold between the two time points (1997–2010), especially in the 10-14 and 15-17 age groups.

Researchers describe comorbid ADHD as “nearly universal” among youth with bipolar disorder, with ADHD and anxiety disorders viewed as common precursors of bipolar disorder. The trend toward increased diagnosis of both ADHD and bipolar disorder has prompted increased use by young people of both inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as an exponential increase in the prescribing of medication. In office-based settings, where mental health care for young people has increased more rapidly than for adults, psychotropic medication prescriptions for younger patients are often provided by physicians with no psychiatric training.

For both ADHD and bipolar disorder, pharmacologic treatment relies heavily on powerful psychostimulants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Reporting on data collected in 2011–2012, researchers noted that a large proportion (44%) of very young children diagnosed with ADHD (2- to 5-year-olds) were taking medication, most commonly central nervous system stimulants. Nationally, a survey of children with special health care needs conducted in 2009–2010 found that 74% of ADHD-diagnosed children ages 4-17 had received medication in the past week.

Both the scientific community and mainstream media have raised questions about whether widespread administration of mind-altering psychostimulants to young children is safe or “meaningfully beneficial.” In 2016, a Washington Post reporter cited CDC findings when noting that “The long-term effects of those [ADHD] drugs on a young brain and body have not been well studied, and the side effects can be numerous, including poor appetite, sleeplessness, irritability and slowed growth.” Other risks of these freely prescribed drugs include the potential to actually worsen mania, foster addiction or lead to further medication. In the push for increased treatment, clinicians have largely ignored these risks.

In some states, special education funding policies create financial incentives to actively identify and medicate children with ADHD. In those states, children are “about 15 percent more likely to report having ADHD and…about 22 percent more likely to be taking medication for ADHD.” As a medical ethicist has commented, these patterns raise questions about the “muddier” aspects of psychiatric diagnosis and the variability “as regards who and what drive [diagnostic] practices.”

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders have also raised serious concerns—particularly about their potential to promote suicidality, aggression or other unwanted outcomes in children and adolescents. In 2016, the Nordic Cochrane Centre systematically reviewed clinical study reports from 70 trials of SSRIs and similar drugs and described substantial under-reporting of harms. Even with the under-reporting, the reviewed evidence linked the drugs to a doubling in the risk of suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.

Why is this happening?

Researchers have floated many hypotheses about the underlying causes of the burgeoning youth mental health crisis. But while the mainstream media have been more than willing to give airtime to social explanations such as smartphone use and academic stress, the public has seen far less discussion of other plausible factors such as the gut-brain connection. For example, there is a complex interplay between the gut microbiome, the immune response and vaccination—and experimental evidence links vaccines and vaccine adjuvants to adverse mental health symptoms. There is also ample experimental evidence showing that gut microbiota disruptions caused by subchronic and chronic exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides can increase anxiety and depression-like behaviors at virtually any age. Moreover, research findings are suggestive of potential transgenerational effects of both vaccines and glyphosate. Rather than acquiesce to the perpetuation of hair-splitting mental health diagnoses—and the pharmaceutical “solutions” that always seem to follow close behind—it would seem wise to scrutinize these pervasive environmental threats while keeping in mind the age-old question of cui bono.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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