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A Government Cover-up of a Mercury/Autism Scandal Has Now Been Exposed

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World Mercury Project noteWith the ongoing mainstream media blackout on questions regarding vaccine safety, we want to remind our followers of the publication–and subsequent retraction–of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s 2005 article “Deadly Immunity” in Salon. The history of repression of crucial vaccine safety data runs deep. The article laid out the scientific link between thimerosal and childhood neurological disorders and published explosive excerpts from the transcripts from the CDC’s secretive June 2000 Simpsonwood conference which brought together government public health officials, vaccine manufacturers and professional medical associations. The article was groundbreaking at the time and received lots of media attention for uncovering the cozy relationship between government and industry at the expense of children’s health. Even though a dozen years have passed, the article’s facts have stood the test of time. An important read for people new to the movement and long-time advocates alike.

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In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session — only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly “embargoed.” There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

 “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism.”

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants — in one case, within hours of birth — the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. “You can play with this all you want,” Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results “are statistically significant.” Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting’s first day, was even more alarmed. “My gut feeling?” he said. “Forgive this personal comment — I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.”

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry’s bottom line. “We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country.” Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that “given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.” Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that “perhaps this study should not have been done at all.” He added that “the research results have to be handled,” warning that the study “will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group.”

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…instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data.

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children’s health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to “rule out” the chemical’s link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten’s findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been “lost” and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants — but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines — including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to eleven-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government’s vaccine-related documents — including the Simpsonwood transcripts — and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the “Eli Lilly Protection Act” into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. The measure was repealed by Congress in 2003 — but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. “The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists,” says Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to Frist.

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government’s effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic,” his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. “This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin.” The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of “institutional malfeasance for self protection” and “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. I was drawn into the controversy only reluctantly. As an attorney and environmentalist who has spent years working on issues of mercury toxicity, I frequently met mothers of autistic children who were absolutely convinced that their kids had been injured by vaccines. Privately, I was skeptical.

I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source, and I certainly understood the government’s need to reassure parents that vaccinations are safe; the eradication of deadly childhood diseases depends on it. I tended to agree with skeptics like Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, who criticized his colleagues on the House Government Reform Committee for leaping to conclusions about autism and vaccinations. “Why should we scare people about immunization,” Waxman pointed out at one hearing, “until we know the facts?”

It was only after reading the Simpsonwood transcripts, studying the leading scientific research and talking with many of the nation’s pre-eminent authorities on mercury that I became convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real. Five of my own children are members of the Thimerosal Generation — those born between 1989 and 2003 — who received heavy doses of mercury from vaccines. “The elementary grades are overwhelmed with children who have symptoms of neurological or immune-system damage,” Patti White, a school nurse, told the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. “Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.”

“Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.”

More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism, and pediatricians diagnose more than 40,000 new cases every year. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among eleven children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931.

Some skeptics dispute that the rise in autism is caused by thimerosal-tainted vaccinations. They argue that the increase is a result of better diagnosis — a theory that seems questionable at best, given that most of the new cases of autism are clustered within a single generation of children. “If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis,” scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world’s authorities on mercury toxicity, “then where are all the twenty-year-old autistics?” Other researchers point out that Americans are exposed to a greater cumulative “load” of mercury than ever before, from contaminated fish to dental fillings, and suggest that thimerosal in vaccines may be only part of a much larger problem. It’s a concern that certainly deserves far more attention than it has received — but it overlooks the fact that the mercury concentrations in vaccines dwarf other sources of exposure to our children.

What is most striking is the lengths to which many of the leading detectives have gone to ignore — and cover up — the evidence against thimerosal. From the very beginning, the scientific case against the mercury additive has been overwhelming. The preservative, which is used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines, contains ethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Truckloads of studies have shown that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines — and that the developing brains of infants are particularly susceptible. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to much lower concentrations of ethylmercury than those given to American children still suffered brain damage years later. Russia banned thimerosal from children’s vaccines twenty years ago, and Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have since followed suit.

“You couldn’t even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe,” says Haley, who heads the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. “It’s just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage.”

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans. In 1930, the company tested thimerosal by administering it to twenty-two patients with terminal meningitis, all of whom died within weeks of being injected — a fact Lilly didn’t bother to report in its study declaring thimerosal safe. In 1935, researchers at another vaccine manufacturer, Pittman-Moore, warned Lilly that its claims about thimerosal’s safety “did not check with ours.” Half the dogs Pittman injected with thimerosal-based vaccines became sick, leading researchers there to declare the preservative “unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs.”

In the decades that followed, the evidence against thimerosal continued to mount. During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it “poison.” In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly’s own studies discerned that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million — 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as “nontoxic” and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck’s vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, “especially when used on infants and children,” noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. “The best way to go,” he added, “is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives.”

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this “cost consideration,” Merck ignored Hilleman’s warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received eleven vaccinations — for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of twenty-two immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. “What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?” Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. “Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?”

But by that time, the damage was done. At two months, when the infant brain is still at a critical stage of development, infants routinely received three inoculations that contained a total of 62.5 micrograms of ethylmercury — a level 99 times greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin. Although the vaccine industry insists that ethylmercury poses little danger because it breaks down rapidly and is removed by the body, several studies — including one published in April by the National Institutes of Health — suggest that ethylmercury is actually more toxic to developing brains and stays in the brain longer than methylmercury.

Officials responsible for childhood immunizations insist that the additional vaccines were necessary to protect infants from disease and that thimerosal is still essential in developing nations, which, they often claim, cannot afford the single-dose vials that don’t require a preservative. Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDC’s top vaccine advisers, told me, “I think if we really have an influenza pandemic — and certainly we will in the next twenty years, because we always do — there’s no way on God’s earth that we immunize 280 million people with single-dose vials. There has to be multidose vials.”

But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry. Dr. Sam Katz, the committee’s chair, was a paid consultant for most of the major vaccine makers and was part of a team that developed the measles vaccine and brought it to licensure in 1963. Dr. Neal Halsey, another committee member, worked as a researcher for the vaccine companies and received honoraria from Abbott Labs for his research on the hepatitis B vaccine.

Indeed, in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, such conflicts of interest are common. Rep. Burton says that the CDC “routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines,” even though they have “interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.” The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisers who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine “had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he “would make money” if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist’s direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. “It provides no conflict for me,” he insists. “I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country. It’s offensive to say that physicians and public-health people are in the pocket of industry and thus are making decisions that they know are unsafe for children. It’s just not the way it works.”

Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children’s health, proud of their “partnerships” with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children’s health. They are often resentful of questioning. “Science,” says Offit, “is best left to scientists.”

Still, some government officials were alarmed by the apparent conflicts of interest. In his e-mail to CDC administrators in 1999, Paul Patriarca of the FDA blasted federal regulators for failing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines. “I’m not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now,” Patriarca wrote. The close ties between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, he added, “will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use” of thimerosal in child vaccines.

If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines — which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense — over to a private agency, America’s Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research. It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC “wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe,” Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001. “We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect” of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee’s chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation” between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result “Walt wants” — a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.

For those who had devoted their lives to promoting vaccination, the revelations about thimerosal threatened to undermine everything they had worked for. “We’ve got a dragon by the tail here,” said Dr. Michael Kaback, another committee member. “The more negative that [our] presentation is, the less likely people are to use vaccination, immunization — and we know what the results of that will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of the trap, I think is the charge.”

Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.” Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.

In May of last year (2004), the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease. The IOM declared the case closed and — in a startling position for a scientific body — recommended that no further research be conducted.

The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were “fatally flawed” by “poor design” and failed to represent “all the available scientific and medical research.” CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because “an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?”

Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used in the Verstraeten study, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.

So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a “very significant relationship” between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.

As the federal government worked to prevent scientists from studying vaccines, others have stepped in to study the link to autism. In April, reporter Dan Olmsted of UPI undertook one of the more interesting studies himself. Searching for children who had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines — the kind of population that scientists typically use as a “control” in experiments — Olmsted scoured the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who refuse to immunize their infants. Given the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from a power plant. The other three — including one child adopted from outside the Amish community — had received their vaccines.

At the state level, many officials have also conducted in-depth reviews of thimerosal. While the Institute of Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa legislature was carefully combing through all of the available scientific and biological data. “After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism,” says state Sen. Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the investigation. “The fact that Iowa’s 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children’s vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone.” Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in thirty-two other states.

But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries — some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders “under review.”

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. “The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence,” says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. “The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It’s bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you’ve ever seen.”

It’s hard to calculate the damage to our country — and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases — if Third World nations come to believe that America’s most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It’s not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America’s enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers — many of them sincere, even idealistic — who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world’s poorest populations.

If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine.

###

After several revisions to the article and nearly 6 years after the original publication date, Salon.com retracted the article from its website archives without consideration or opportunity for rebuttal. For the reasons behind why Salon.com pulled the article, click here

Deadly Immunity” was simultaneously published in Rolling Stone Magazine (www.RollingStone.com) on July 14, 2005 and can be read on their website with a Rolling Stone Magazine subscription.

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Awareness

How A Nasal Obstruction & Tongue Tie Affects Sleep, Learning, Attention and Mood

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    When breathing isn’t proper, many things can go wrong. Some nasal obstruction symptoms include mouth breathing, low energy, chewing with the mouth open, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you or a loved one have a nasal obstruction and/or tongue tie?

Has your child gone down every treatment and therapy route with little success? Could it be that all the doctors and therapists you have previously consulted with missed this? Absolutely, Yes! Both my children had multiple tongue ties and an airway obstruction that contributed to learning difficulty, speech problems, ADHD, sleep disturbances, and mood issues.

Sadly, emotional, social, and physical impairments are all too common. Nearly one in 12 children ages 3–17 have a disorder related to voice, speech, language, feeding, or swallowing. Almost one in 10 children have ADHD. One in six children has a developmental disability. One in two-hundred children has an intellectual disability. Up to 50% of children will experience a sleep problem, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, behavioral problems, learning difficulties, and poor academic performance.

Airway Obstruction – Poor Nasal Breathing

When breathing isn’t proper, many things can go wrong. Breathing through the nose is essential. It filters the air going into your lungs and regulates the amount of air that comes into the body. Breathing correctly through the nose allows the body to take in the proper amount of oxygen, the body and brain needs. Getting enough oxygen helps to calm the mind and increase our energy level. The nose also houses olfactory bulbs, which are direct extensions of part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for many functions in our body, including generating neurotransmitters that influence memory and emotion.

Some nasal obstruction symptoms include mouth breathing, low energy, chewing with the mouth open, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea. Other symptoms are a forward head posture, a tongue that rests on the bottom of the mouth, snoring, memory problems, coughing during sleep, daytime fatigue, weight problems, hyperactivity, and trouble concentrating. Sleep Disordered Breathing is one potential root cause of poor growth, development impairments, a lower intellect, poor cognition, affecting school performance, and more.

In the Journal of Sleep, “Studies show that nasal obstruction may dramatically affect breathing in sleep, and consequentially daytime vigilance and behavior.”

There is an interesting phenomenon when the airway is blocked. The body will overcompensate by increasing the adrenaline (fight or flight) in the body to stimulate breathing and open up nasal passages. This increased adrenaline can cause a child to feel very anxious, angry, hyper, and unfocused. In adults, this can lead to hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, fatigue, and more.  Many go undiagnosed for years. Doctors may miss a diagnosis because the obstruction is more pronounced during sleep. And, sometimes, we believe our allergies are causing our congestion alone. When, in fact, there is an obstruction affecting our breathing.

What Causes a Nasal Obstruction?

There are many possible causes of nasal airway obstruction. Deformities or irregularities are primarily genetic unless there is an injury to the nose. A trained Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) or a Functional Dentist can do a CT scan to determine if there is a problem. Such issues are narrow mouth pallet, a septal deviation, a collapsed nostril, enlarged bone/tissue turbinates, or a sizeable egg-like air sac in the nose. Nasal congestion can also be due to a condition called vasomotor rhinitis (VMR). Without an allergy present, excessive blood flow causes congestion in the nose. The ENT will also look for large adenoids, allergies, and nasal polyps, causing an obstruction. Typically, a person with a blockage has multiple factors at play.

Treatment Options Depending on Causation

  • Pallet expansion
  • Adenoids and Tonsil removal (typically the first and possibly only thing we did in hopes of correcting sleep disturbances – before the medical community recognized the many other possible causes)
  • Aggressive and more invasive nasal surgery (cure rate is not too high)
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedure called MIST (minimally invasive sinus technique)

Initially introduced in the 1990s, MIST revolutionized nasal surgery. It takes less than an hour to complete by an experienced surgeon. There are no incisions, scars, or nasal packing. Discomfort is minimal and has a higher success rate than the older methods.

 Tongue or Lip Tie

 A tongue or lip-tie affects up to 11% of all newborns. According to the 2017 Cochrane review, and it is often overlooked. This condition restricts the range of motion in a baby’s tongue. It presents as a concise and thick band of tissue that tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the roof of the mouth. A tongue-tie or lip-tie may interfere with breastfeeding, speech, eating, swallowing, and the jaw’s oral motor development. Some of the risk factors for developing a tie in utero are often genetic. However, smoking and alcohol use, medication, chemicals, viral infections, methylation issues, and chronic stress may also cause it. A surgical procedure is sometimes required. However, some ties can be resolved with chiropractic manipulation, myofascial release, or exercises alone. An early indication of a tongue or lip tie is the inability to latch on a bottle or breastfeed. A child may appear to latch correctly, and so the condition is not discovered. However, if your child suffers from colic, sleep disturbances, excessive drooling, or spitting up, this may be the cause. Allopathic physicians may insist that the child has an aversion to the breast milk or that you are eating something too gassy. Synthetic formula and Prevacid or other antacid is often prescribed without checking for this condition.

Takeaway

Suppose you or your child is struggling and are exhibiting any signs of an obstruction or tongue tie. In that case, I encourage you to explore it with your ENT or functional dentist before resorting to medication. If you would like more info on how you and your family can overcome anxiety, I am offering a FREE downloadable PDF of an online presentation I recently gave containing these tips and much more. Learn why eating protein is essential and why microbiome diversity is critical. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. And to purchase my award-winning book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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COVID-19 Survival Rates Have Many Scientists/Doctors Questioning Masks & Lockdown

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    All restrictions on restaurants and other business in Florida have been lifted, and so have local fines against people who refuse to wear masks after the CDC released new survival rates.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are opinions and narratives that oppose the WHO being censored, ridiculed, and largely ignored? Why aren't they discussed openly and transparently?

What Happened: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other business in Florida and banned local fines against people who refuse to wear masks. He did so after showing new statistics just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing very high survival rates, as you can see from the picture picture above. The CDC has a page on their website titled “Covid-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios.” According to them, “Each scenario is based on a set of numerical values for biological and epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 illness, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These values—called parameter values—can be used in models to estimate the possible effects of COVID-19 in U.S. states and localities. That’s where the numbers come from.

Questioning Lockdown & Masks, A Theme From The Very Beginning: The world’s leading scientists in the field and from other fields have been questioning lockdown measures from the very beginning of this pandemic, due to the fact that many of them believe and have believed that we are dealing with a virus similar, and even less severe than viruses that have been circling the globe for decades, infecting hundreds of millions and killings tens of millions of people every single year.

For example, did you know that metapneumovirus has been shown to have worldwide circulation with nearly universal infection by age 5? Did you know that outbreaks of metapneumovirus have been well documented every single year, especially in long term care facilities with mortality rates of up to 50%? () Did you know that human metapneumovirus infection results in a large number of hospitalizations of children every single year? Did you know it has a substantial morbidity rate, again in the elderly, but also among children as well? Did you know nearly 1-2 million children every single year die of these types of respiratory illnesses because they lead to acute respiratory illness? (source)

At the beginning of the pandemic, multiple professors from Stanford criticized the World Health Organization for creating unnecessary fear and hysteria.

They make it quite clear that if the projections being given by the World Health Organization are correct, then “the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified.” But they also make the point that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise – and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.” It turns out that they were right.

John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology, recently published an article entitled “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data. In the article, he also argues that there is simply not enough data to make claims about reported case fatality rate.

He stated that rates, “like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless. He was right. Prior to the recent CDC update, he emphasized that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old.

Michael Levitt, a Biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, criticized the WHO as well as Facebook for censoring different information and informed perspectives regarding the Coronavirus. This is another strong point, why are/were social media outlets censoring information and opinions that did not match that which was given by the WHO? These actions have only raised more eyebrows, as we now have a digital authoritarian Orwellian “fact-checker”
patrolling the internet.

Almost all of the science we were hearing, for example like organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) was wrong…This has been a disgraceful situation for science..Reports were released openly, shared by email, and all I got back was abuse. And you got to see that everything I said in that first six weeks was actually true and for political reasons, we as scientists let our views be corrupted. The data had very clear things to say. Nobody said to be “let me check your numbers” they all just said “stop talking like that.” – Levitt

When Dr. Ron Paul shared his opinion a few months ago that “People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic” he was censored and marked as false news, having his social media distribution limited.

More than 500 German doctors & scientists have signed on as representatives of an organization called the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” to investigate what’s happening on our planet with regards to COVID-19, expressing the same sentiment. They came together to investigate the severity of the virus, and whether or not the actions taken by governments around the world, and in this case the German government, are  justified and not causing more harm than good.

You can access the full english transcripts on the organizations website if interested.

This group has been giving multiple conferences in Germany, in one of the most recent, Dr. Heiko Schöning, one of the organizations leaders, stated that “We have a lot of evidence that it (the new coronavirus) is a fake story all over the world.”  To put it in context, he wasn’t referring to the virus being fake, but simply that it’s no more dangerous than the seasonal flu (or just as dangerous) and that there is no justification for the measures being taken to combat it.  You can read more about the story here

Another example would be a recent report published in the British Medical Journal  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the peak of the virus.

Are masks even effective? Many studies claim yes, but many also claim no.

Many scientists and doctors in North America are also expressing the same sentiments. For example, The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled  “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%. You can read more about that and access their resources and reasoning here.

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history is also part of Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee mentioned above and has also expressed the same thing, multiple times early on in the pandemic all the way up to today.

Implementation of the current draconian measures that are so extremely restrict fundamental rights can only be justified if there is reason to fear that a truly, exceptionally dangerous virus is threatening us. Do any scientifically sound data exist to support this contention for COVID-19? I assert that the answer is simply, no. – Bhakdi. You can read more about him here.

And there is the issue of exaggerated death counts. For example, Toronto Public Health tweeted in late June that “Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19, are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.” There are multiple examples from different countries. You can read more about that here.

Vittorio Sgarbi, Italian politician Mayor of Sutri, gave an emotional speech at a hearing on the 24th of April where he emphasized that the number of deaths in Italy due to COVID-19 are completely false and that the people are being lied to. You can watch that and read more about it here.

A chemistry professor at the University of Waterloo has distributed a course outline to students, saying his in-class exams aren’t mandatory “because of the COVID fake emergency.”  Ronald B. Brown, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo recently stated that the COVID-19 fatality rate is the “worst miscalculation in the history of humanity.” Brown is currently completing his second doctorate degree, this time in epidemiology at the University of Waterloo. Not long ago, Brown published a paper in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, titled “Public health lessons learned from biases in coronavirus mortality overestimation.”

Below is a statement Brown recently gave to John C. A. Manley, a journalist who was the first to cover the story:

The subject of this article is disruptive, to say the least, although it is not as obvious from the title. The manuscript cites the smoking-gun, documented evidence showing that the public’s overreaction to the coronavirus pandemic was based on the worst miscalculation in the history of humanity, in my opinion. My manuscript underwent an intensive peer-review process. You are the first media guy who has responded to my invitation.

The examples above aren’t even the tip of the ice-berg, but they are ones I’ve used many times in previous articles. I am posting them above just to hammer home the point.

Why This Is Important: This information is important because it highlights that the measures we are being mandated & forced to take are being done using flawed data to justify it. What also has more people concerned is that the opinions and research of many doctors and scientists around the world, some of them quite renowned, are being banned and censored from social media platforms for simply contradicting the information given to us by the World Health Organization (WHO). Why are people like Julian Assange really in jail? Why are people exposing war crimes and other misdoings within the WHO, as Assange has, punished, and the ones committing the actual crimes are the ones we identify with? Should we not have the right to examine information openly and freely, and determine for ourselves what is and what isn’t? A common theme with regards to this pandemic seems to be using fear and hysteria to make the threat seem much greater than it actually is, and then to propose the solution. Perhaps Edward Snowden was right when he said that governments are using the coronavirus to take away more of our rights and freedoms, and they won’t come back, just as they didn’t come back after 9/11. Is there anybody politically and financially gaining from this pandemic? What’s going on here?

The Takeaway: 

At the end of the day, we have to keep asking ourselves if our designated government and global health authorities actually have our best interests at hand. If not, why do we continue to support it?

There are many examples that show these institutions do not work to make humanity thrive, but instead oppress humanity. When it comes to the World Health Organization (WHO) for example, Wikileaks exposed how much they are influenced by pharmaceutical companies. Vimeo also recently completely banned a documentary that exposed the same thing. That particular documentary featured many scientists, doctors and even officials from within the WHO.

It’s quite clear to many that government doesn’t really put the citizens it claims to represent first, but instead corporations and big money. So why do we constantly listen to their advice? Why do we constantly rely on them for truth and information? Why do we rely on them for guidance? Would we not be better off determining for ourselves what is appropriate, especially in the face of such controversial times when so much is being exposed?

Is it time humanity becomes self-governed? Is it time we steep away from the need for such parental figures like government? It seems like we are currently in the process of doing this, with many of us beginning to awaken. Collectively, we will be creating a new world, that matches a consciousness of self-governance, and the key is to operate from a place of oneness and peace within, which is a journey of awakening to who we truly are, as opposed to what we have been taught to think. We are in a time of a consciousness renaissance.

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CDC Director: ‘Masks May Offer More Protection From COVID-19 Than The Vaccine’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    CDC director Robert Redfield said on Wednesday that wearing a mask might be "more guaranteed" to protect an individual from the coronavirus than a vaccine.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there so much conflicting information out there? Why is it so difficult to arrive at any concrete truth? How does the politicization of science play a role?

What Happened: Centers For Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield recently stated that wearing a mask may be “more guaranteed” to protect an individual from the coronavirus than a vaccine. This calls into question the efficacy of the vaccine, which is set to make its way into the public domain at the end of this year, or shortly after that. We thought we’d cover this story to bring up the efficacy of vaccines in general, and the growing vaccine hesitancy that now exists within a number of people, scientists and physicians across the world.

“I’m not gonna comment directly about the president, but I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks, these face masks, are the most important powerful public health tool we have.” – Redfield

Not long ago, many scientists presented facts about vaccines and vaccine safety at the recent Global Health Vaccine Safety summit hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. At the conference, Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project emphasized the issue of growing vaccine hesitancy.

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

Redfield’s comments came after President Trump downplayed the effectiveness of wearing mask, and Trump also stated that Covid would probably go away without a vaccine, referring to the concept of ‘herd immunity’ as practiced in Sweden, but has also been quite outspoken about the fact that a vaccine may arrive by November.

When it comes to the COVID vaccine, multiple clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines have shown severe reactions within 10 days after taking the vaccine. You can read more about that here.  The US government and Yale University also recently collaborated in a clinical trial to determine the best messaging to persuade Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine. You can read more about that here.

Are Masks Effective?

Multiple studies have claimed to show definitively  that mask-wearing effectively prevents transmission of the coronavirus, especially recent ones. This seems to be the general consensus and the information that’s come from our federal health regulatory agencies. There are also multiple studies calling the efficacy of masks into question. For example, a fairly recent study published in the New England Medical Journal  by a group of Harvard doctors outlines how it’s already known that masks provide little to zero benefit when it comes to protection a public setting. According to them,

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

You can read more about that story here and find other complimenting studies.

When it comes to masks, there are multiple studies on both sides of the coin.

Then we have many experts around the world calling into question everything from masks to lockdown. For example, The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%.

They are one of many who have emphasized this point.

More than 500 German doctors & scientists have signed on as representatives of an organization called the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” to investigate what’s happening on our planet with regards to COVID-19, and also make similar points. You can read more about that story here.

Again, there are many examples from all over the world from various academics, doctors and scientists in the field.

This is why there is so much confusion surrounding this pandemic, because there is so much conflicting information that opposes what we are hearing from our health authorities. Furthermore, a lot of information that opposes the official narrative has been censored from social media platforms, also raising suspicion among the general public.

How Effective Are Vaccines?

Vaccines have been long claimed to be a miracle, and the most important health intervention for the sake of disease prevention of our time. But as mentioned above, vaccine hesitancy is growing, and it’s growing fast.

According to a study published in the journal EbioMedicine,

Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts, and science. These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviors and attitudes varying according to context, vaccine, and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services. VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines..

In the United States, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows what vaccines have resulted in deaths, injury, permanent disabilities and hospitalizations. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury act has also paid out nearly $4 billion dollars to families of vaccine injured children.

According to a MedAlerts, 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. What is even more disturbing about these numbers is that VAERS is a voluntary and passive reporting system that has been found to only capture 1% of adverse events.

The measles vaccine has also been plagued with a lack of effectiveness, with constant measles outbreaks in heavily vaccinated population pointing towards a failing vaccine. You can read more about that in-depth and access more science on it here. In 2015, nearly 40 percent of measles cases analyzed in the US were a result of the vaccine.

It’s not just the MMR vaccine that shows a lack of effectiveness. For example, a new study published in The Royal Society of Medicine is one of multiple studies over the years that has emerged questioning the efficacy of the HPV vaccine. The researchers conducted an appraisal of published phase 2 and 3 efficacy trials in relation to the prevention of cervical cancer and their analysis showed “the trials themselves generated significant uncertainties undermining claims of efficacy” in the data they used. The researchers emphasized that “it is still uncertain whether human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination prevents cervical cancer as trials were not designed to detect this outcome, which takes decades to develop.”  The researchers point out that the trials used to test the vaccine may have “overestimated” the efficacy of the vaccine.

It’s one of multiple studies to call into question the efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine. It’s also been responsible for multiple deaths and permanent disabilities.

Another point to make regarding vaccine injury is that data was collected from June 2006 through October 2009 on 715,000 patients, and 1.4 million doses (of 45 different vaccines) were given to 376,452 individuals. Of these doses, 35,570 possible reactions (2.6 percent of vaccinations) were identified. This is an average of 890 possible events, an average of 1.3 events per clinician, per month. This data was presented at the 2009 AMIA conference. This data comes 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) that found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million. You can access that report and read more about it here.

The Takeaway: 

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