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The Connection Between Mercury & Autism Explained

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In nature, toxic metals generally are bound with other elements rather than being present in their pure form. However, with the advent of large-scale industrial processes to extract metals from naturally occurring compounds, humans let the genie out of the bottle, contributing significantly to the distribution of mercury, aluminum and other heavy metals in the environment. When released from nature’s semi-protective hold, these “invariably toxic” metals wreak havoc on living systems, including humans, animals and plants alike.

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Modern-day scientists have been amassing evidence of mercury’s toxicity for decades, with a growing focus in recent years on the metal’s association with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A new review article in the multidisciplinary journal Environmental Research pulls together a wide body of literature with the aim of summing up current research and emerging trends in mercury toxicology. Geir Bjørklund, the study’s lead author, is the founder of Norway’s non-profit Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and has published prolifically on topics related to heavy metals, autoimmune disorders and ASD.

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Multiple avenues of exposure

Exposure to mercurial compounds remains widespread, despite feeble attempts to ban some uses. Bjørklund et al.’s review covers all three categories of mercury: elemental, organic and inorganic. Exposure to volatile elemental mercury can come about as a result of occupational contact or vapor from dental amalgam fillings. Organic mercury—the most frequent form of exposure, according to Bjørklund and colleagues—exists as methylmercury (in fish) and ethylmercury (in the vaccine preservative thimerosal). Coal-fired power plants send inorganic mercury into the environment, where the toxic metal works its way up the marine food chain.

Because mercury plays no constructive metabolic role whatsoever, humans have not evolved effective mechanisms to excrete it. Children with ASD have a particularly hard time detoxifying and excretingmercury.

Interconversion between various forms of mercury also occurs. For example, elemental and organic mercury can cross the blood-brain barrier and bioaccumulate in the form of inorganic mercury. Studies also have described “mixed exposure” in the brain to both organic and inorganic mercury compounds. Because mercury plays no constructive metabolic role whatsoever, humans have not evolved effective mechanisms to excrete it. Children with ASD have a particularly hard time detoxifying and excreting mercury.

Multiple mechanisms of toxicity

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Mercury exerts toxicity through a number of different mechanisms and has effects at both the molecular and cellular levels. For their purposes, Bjørklund and coauthors zero in on eight interrelated mechanisms, although there are others. Every single one of the toxic mechanisms that they describe has a documented association with ASD.

  • Sulfur: A key and widely recognized fact about mercury is that it is “thiophilic,” meaning that it has an affinity for biochemically important sulfur compounds called thiols. Mercury binds to the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine (which contains a thiol group); this allows mercury to piggy-back into brain cells and other target cells through a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry (meaning that the problematic mercury-cysteine entity “mimics” the useful amino acid methionine). According to leading toxicologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mercury then “blocks or attenuates [the] protein molecule’s range of availability for normal metabolic function.” Mercury also reduces sulfate absorption. Individuals with ASD frequently have low levels of sulfate.
  • Immune activation and autoimmunity: Bjørklund et al. outline numerous mercury-related immune system effects, including “immunostimulation, immunosuppression, immunomodulation, delayed-type hypersensitivity…, and autoimmunity.” These effects occur largely due to mercury’s influence on immune cytokines—proteins that are important in helping cells communicate. Chronic elevation of inflammatory cytokines and other immune abnormalities such as activation of microglia (immune cells in the brain) are hallmarks of both mercury exposure and ASD.
  • Protein synthesis: Researchers have reported since the late 1960s that mercury inhibits protein synthesis (a fundamental cell process that involves both DNA and RNA), interfering with cells’ ability to build new proteins. Bjørklund and coauthors report that inorganic mercury is particularly disruptive in this regard. Investigators have postulated that dysregulated protein synthesis, which disrupts the balance between excitation and inhibition in brain cells, plays a causal role in ASD.
  • Brain microtubules: Neuropsychiatrist Jon Lieff describes microtubules as “the brains of the cell” and suggests that cerebral microtubules may be “the seat of consciousness.” Microtubules form the scaffolding required by axons (nerve fibers that transmit neuronal signals). Mercury preferentially targets axonal microtubules, leading to their “depolymerization and derangement,” according to the Environmental Research Moreover, mercury is unique among toxic metals in having these microtubule effects. Axonal disturbances and the altered brain connectivity that these disturbances promote are widely documented features of ASD.
  • Membrane transport: Cell membrane transport refers to the process whereby molecules (such as amino acids) pass into or out of a cell. Mercury can disturb amino acid transport and also “penetrate” across biological membranes. The authors note the need for “approaches to inhibit [mercury’s] transfer both at the placental border and at the blood-brain barrier.” An international research group recently described the relationship between ASD and impaired amino acid transport at the blood-brain barrier.
  • Glutathione: Numerous researchers have described how organic mercury, in particular, impairs glutathione activity, thereby lessening protection from oxidative stress and weakening the body’s detoxification capacity. The relationship is bidirectional, according to Bjørklund and coauthors, because when brain glutathione levels drop, the uptake of mercury in brain tissue increases substantially. Lowered glutathione levelselevated oxidative stress and a higher body burden of mercuryhave been repeatedly documented as core characteristics of ASD.
  • Metallothioneins: Metallothioneins (MTs), a family of proteins, are antioxidants and metal chelators that work to maintain metal homeostasis. MTs also play an important role in neuroprotection and regeneration. Although MTs are present to “protect the brain and gastrointestinal tract against overload by toxic metals,” Bjørklund and coauthors cite evidence showing that common genetic mutations and variations in MTs may increase some individuals’ susceptibility to mercury-induced neurotoxicity, including individuals with ASD. Studies have identified “a significant increase in both metal content and metallothionein expression” in autistic children.
  • Zinc and copper: Appropriate metabolism of zinc and copper is important for healthy neurological functioning. When mercury binds to metallothioneins, it can substitute for zinc and copper, “interact with [zinc] and [copper] availability” and thereby disturb the normal zinc-copper ratio. In a previous publication, Bjørklund described mercury’s role in disturbing zinc and copper metabolism and the typically low zinc-copper ratio in autistic children. Other researchers have measured the zinc-copper ratio in plasma as a biomarker for mercury toxicity in ASD children.

Reducing mercury toxicity

Bjørklund and coauthors also devote several paragraphs to a discussion of the essential trace element selenium, which plays an important antioxidant role, among other functions. The authors note that mercury is highly “selenophilic,” binding to selenium “with an extraordinarily high affinity…when compared with the affinity for sulfur.” The welcome implication spelled out by the authors—which has been known to researchers for nearly half a century—is that selenium has a “high capability…to reduce the toxicity of [mercury] compounds.” The authors list several mechanisms whereby selenium can minimize mercury-induced toxicity, such as by improving mercury’s excretion or sequestration and strengthening antioxidative activity. Autism researchers have identified “a significant elevation of [mercury]…together with a significant decrease in the [selenium] levels in [red blood cells] of patients with ASD when compared to…healthy controls.” These researchers agree that selenium has an important role to play in reducing mercury toxicity in ASD patients. 

Translating research into action

It has been over a decade and a half since a seminal publication in Medical Hypothesesdescribed autism as “a novel form of mercury poisoning” and showed how “every major characteristic of autism has been exhibited in…cases of documented mercury poisoning.” Ten years later, Kern and colleagues published a detailed consideration of “parallels between mercury intoxication and the brain pathology in autism” in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis. A 2017 publication in Molecular Neurobiology by autism expert Dr. Richard Frye and others reviews “associations between mercury exposure and ASD subtypes,” even “at doses well below the current reference levels considered to be safe.” Thus, Bjørklund and coauthors are far from alone in synthesizing the evidence base and drawing attention to the global public health epidemics of mercury toxicity and autism.

The CDC authors concluded that there are “many commonalities [and] similarities in the mechanisms of toxic action of methylmercury and ethylmercury,” particularly regarding their association with neurotoxicity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD.

Last year, CDC toxicologists published a comprehensive review that specifically focused on the two forms of organic mercury. The CDC authors concluded that there are “many commonalities [and] similarities in the mechanisms of toxic action of methylmercury and ethylmercury,” particularly regarding their association with neurotoxicity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. Both forms of organic mercury cause DNA damage (or impair DNA synthesis), affect cell division, decrease glutathione activity and increase oxidative stress, among other similar effects. These findings are particularly noteworthy in light of Bjørklund and coauthors’ observation that “co-exposure with [ethylmercury] and [methylmercury] might induce more adverse neurotoxic effects than each agent alone.” Bjørklund’s team calls on researchers to actively investigate these additive toxicological effects.

At the end of the day, as noted by mercury expert Philippe Grandjean, there is a need to move beyond simply generating “endless replications” in the form of “thousands of toxicology publications every year” on mercury and other well-understood toxic metals. The Bjørklund team’s broad review of over 200 studies—including recent findings as well as articles dating back several decades—shows that we already know more than enough about mercury’s hazards to take decisive action.

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Alternative News

Our Biology Responds To Events Before They Even Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Awareness

The Top Three “Alternative” Treatments For Covid-19 That’ve Been Ridiculed By Mainstream Media

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple "alternative" treatments have shown success with regards to treating COVID-19 patients. These treatments have been ridiculed and labelled as fake within the mainstream instead of being explored and discussed openly.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there is much ridicule when it comes to health solutions that don't come from big pharmaceutical companies?

“Fact-checkers” are patrolling the internet hard and censoring an enormous amount of content and specific media organizations, like Collective Evolution. Working simultaneously together with this fact-checker is mainstream media, which for the most part have become mouthpieces for the “establishment,” and have become a tool to promote information that just isn’t true or has very little backing while simultaneously  ridiculing anything that threatens their narrative. Big media’s connections with special interests from big corporations and government agencies alone is quite large. You can read more about that and find multiple examples in an article I published earlier on that specific topic that goes into more detail, here.

Mainstream media has been exposed many times with regards to spreading misinformation and propaganda. Examples of misinformation from mainstream media keep pouring out, and there’s little doubt in the eyes of many that they are simply being used to push a false narrative, and have been doing so on many different topics for a long time.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. … It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernay’s (Propaganda 128)

The latest example of perception manipulation comes with regards to alternative treatments for the new coronavirus that have appeared to generate some success, at least enough that should warrant a joint investigation by multiple countries and health organizations. Instead of that happening, ridicule is instantly created using big media, and casting doubt on these alternate treatments ensues. This, to me, appears to be a very clever business tactic.

What’s even more alarming is the fact that the world’s leading epidemiologists, scientists, and many doctors are being banned from YouTube and other social media platforms for simply sharing their research and opinions, many of which go against that of our federal health regulatory organizations and The World Health Organization (WHO).

These days, it’s big business that regulates and controls what is deemed to be “the cure” or “the treatment.” This doesn’t seem to be a battle to stop Covid-19 as much as much as it seems to be a battle to exaggerate the danger and harms of Covid-19, as well as market the vaccine as the only possible solution, as the only thing without question that has any potential to work. But this simply isn’t true.

Why are people like Bill Gates becoming our health authority, why are some countries attacking the WHO? Why is there a digital “fact-checker” going around the internet? Who is fact checking the fact checkers? Should people not have the right to examine information, sources, expert opinions and evidence openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t? What’s really going on here?

Events like this pandemic only serve the collective and encourage people to ask more questions. It helps them see and become more aware of the corruption our world is dealing with, and has been dealing with for a long time. In order to stop it, we must first at the very least become aware of it. This process has been taking place for quite some time now, and gets more intense every single day, month and year.

Who are the treatments below ridiculed? Why does the mainstream claim they have no legitimacy when clearly, they do? Instead we are told to wear masks like our lives depend on it. You can read more about the legitimacy of masks with regards to fighting the new coronavirus, here.

This does not mean that these are cures, they are simply examples of low risk treatments for coronavirus patients that have, again shown potential and success, which means they should have been openly explored by our health authorities, not ridiculed.

Vitamin C. Any Legitimacy?

Vitamin C has been completely ignored as being a substance of great use during this pandemic, and for health and other ailments in general. More than once did mainstream media and fact-checkers claim that there is no evidence whatsoever that Vitamin C could be of some assistance, but this simply isn’t true.

A doctor who was seeing success with it on Covid-19 patients recently had his practice raided by the FBI as a result of using it. You can read more about that here.

Meanwhile in China, Dr. Zhi Yong Peng, a professor and the Chief of Critical Care Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital, in Wuhan, China, recently explained how  treating COVID-19 patients with high dose intravenous vitamin C has been successful. He is the principle investigator for “Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia” (ClinicalTrials.gov)

Medicine in Drug Discovery, of Elsevier, a major scientific publishing house, recently published an article on early and high-dose IVC in the treatment and prevention of Covid-19. The article was written by Dr. Richard Cheng, MD, PhD, a US board-certified anti-aging specialist from Shanghai, China. Dr. Cheng has been updating everyone via his YouTube channel about vitamin C treatment cases out of China for quite some time now. The published article explains how 50 moderate to severe Covid-19 cases have been successfully treated with intravenous vitamin C.

Multiple hospitals in New York were noticing that it was helping as well. You can read more about that here.

Again, instead of health authority figures coming together to examine this kind of thing, it’s instant ridicule and condemnation without any investigation. This doesn’t seem right? Why aren’t we working together? Why are big business interests coming before people’s health? This isn’t anything new.

Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine along with Zinc have also made a lot of noise. Dr. Anthony Cardillo, an ER specialist and CEO of Mend Urgent Care explained the treatment combination he is seeing great success with or severe COVID patients. He has been prescribing the zinc and hydroxychloroquine combination on patients experiencing severe symptoms associated with COVID-19, and he’s not the only one. You can read more about that here.

Professor Didier Raoult from France not long ago published his early results for Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. 973 patients out of 1063, according to him, have shown “a good clinical outcome.” You can read more about that and find other examples, here.

President Trump has even taken this treatment, along with others within the political realm like the president of El Salvador, for example.

This drug was never considered dangerous, all of a sudden, it is now? Why?

Herbs in Madagascar

Tremendous success has been seen in Covid-19 patients in Madagascar. In an and interview with FRANCE 24 and RFI, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina defended his promotion of a controversial homegrown remedy for Covid-19 despite an absence of clinical trials. “It works really well,” he said of the herbal drink “Covid-Organics.” They are, as the president expressed, herbs that have been brewed to extract their medicinal properties. He explains that his country has been doing things this way for a very long time, and they’ve always worked.

You can learn more about that by watching an interview with him here.

The discussion also goes into the western pharmaceutical lobby, which is quite large. Vimeo also recently banned a documentary showing the strong influence that pharmaceutical companies have on the WHO. This type of thing gained a lot more attention years ago when Wikileaks released documents showing a great deal for concern with regards to pharmaceutical influence within the WHO.

The pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (source)

The Takeaway

Many would compare what’s going on today as a medical tyranny. It’s powerful, and in my opinion it’s one of the main causes of poor health and dangerous medicines. What’s happening in the world of medicine, from business to academia is being exposed more and more everyday. At the end of the day, this type of system needs people who believe in it. Our perception, our own consciousness has been manipulated to accept a system that greatly harms and oppresses our full potential. Imagine a world we we all explored cures and treatments for various diseases based on what works best, instead of finding a way to somehow own it, and sell it. We have the potential to do a lot better than what we are doing. Big business and control is standing in the way, and we are the tools the use to sustain their business model. The more of us that snap out of it, the closer we get to creating something completely new and effective, and something that is a true representation of our potential to treat and heal the sick.

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Awareness

Neurosurgeon Explains How Masks “Pose Serious Risks to the Healthy”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Russel Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon, and former clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center shares his thoughts on wearing masks for the new coronavirus.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has so much controversy surrounded this pandemic? Why is one side going really hard to ridicule another? Why is there so much censorship of information?

There are a number of weird facts and pieces of evidence that’ve emerged regarding the new coronavirus which are putting into question the measures we have taken, and are taking as a collective. One major theme during this outbreak seems to be the fact that not everything that we’re being told within the mainstream is true. For example, there have been multiple credible sources explaining how Covid-19 deaths have been inflated. For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recently stated that, even if it’s clear one died of an alternative cause, their death will still be marked as a COVID death. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths amid complaints that it inflated numbers. This has been a common theme throughout the US as well as the World. A few recent studies have also pointed out that what we are seeing here infection fatality rate wise, is something within the ball park of a seasonal flu. You can read more about that here.

Controversy has also surrounded testing kits. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has dismissed imported coronavirus testing kits as faulty, saying they returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw. This made no sense at all and suggests foul play. Testing kits in the recent past have also been found to be contaminated with bacteria or Covid-19 itself. You can read more about that here.

Complimenting this type of information comes statements from people like Edward Snowden, emphasizing that governments are using this to push more authoritarian measures on the citizenry that will remain in place just as they did after 9/11.

As a result of new information, mainstream media has started a massive ridicule campaign of any type of information that opposes or provides another narrative to that of the World Health Organization (WHO).

We have to ask ourselves, why is this information our there? What does it mean? And why is there such a tremendous effort to ridicule it? What’s really going on here? When the world’s leading scientists and epidemiologists get censored from social media platforms for sharing their research and opinion, yet people like Bill Gates become our health authority, that should immediately set off some red flags and raise questions.

Should people not have the right for themselves to examine information and evidence and determine for themselves what is real and what is not?

Not only have social distancing and lockdown measures been heavily criticized, so to has the idea of wearing a mask, something that’s being promoted and recommended by various health authorities.

Below are a few recent articles on the subject that we’ve already published if you’re interested:

Study Finds That Cloth Masks Can Increase Healthcare Workers Risk of Infection

Masks: Are There Benefits or Just a Comfort Prop? Let the Facts Speak

One of the latest to offer their opinion on the matter is Dr. Russel Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon, and former clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Below was a piece written by him that was originally published at Technocracy.

“By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.” — Russell Blaylock, MD

Researchers found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia).

It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.

A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.   Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.

Unfortunately, no one is telling the frail elderly and those with lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, of these dangers when wearing a facial mask of any kind—which can cause a severe worsening of lung function. This also includes lung cancer patients and people having had lung surgery, especially with partial resection or even the removal of a whole lung.

The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte. This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.

People with cancer, especially if the cancer has spread, will be at a further risk from prolonged hypoxia as the cancer grows best in a microenvironment that is low in oxygen. Low oxygen also promotes inflammation which can promote the growth, invasion and spread of cancers.  Repeated episodes of hypoxia have been proposed as a significant factor in atherosclerosis and hence increases all cardiovascular (heart attacks) and cerebrovascular (strokes) diseases.

There is another danger to wearing these masks on a daily basis, especially if worn for several hours. When a person is infected with a respiratory virus, they will expel some of the virus with each breath. If they are wearing a mask, especially an N95 mask or other tightly fitting mask, they will be constantly rebreathing the viruses, raising the concentration of the virus in the lungs and the nasal passages. We know that people who have the worst reactions to the coronavirus have the highest concentrations of the virus early on. And this leads to the deadly cytokine storm in a selected number.

It gets even more frightening. Newer evidence suggests that in some cases the virus can enter the brain. In most instances it enters the brain by way of the olfactory nerves (smell nerves), which connect directly with the area of the brain dealing with recent memory and memory consolidation. By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.”

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