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A Closer Look At The Relationship Between Mercury & Cardiovascular Disease

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Mercury’s toxic properties have been apparent for centuries. Nonetheless, from the time of the first Emperor of China on, doctors have been fascinated with the metal’s purported curative properties. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, health practitioners blithely used mercury as a medical treatment for everything from syphilis to teething discomfort to dysentery.

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As early as the 1820s, some healers began to object to the practice of “giving poison as medicine,” but, in many branches of medicine, physicians remained enthusiastic. In the late 1890s, for example, the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet published case studies broadcasting doctors’ seemingly successful use of mercury for the treatment of heart disease. Referring to a mercurous chloride compound called calomel (also called the “blue pill”), Dr. Arthur Foxwell in Birmingham praised, in September 1895, mercury’s “unique” virtues as a cardiac tonic capable of “freeing” a sluggish heart of “half its labour.”

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Although many researchers have focused heavily on mercury’s neurotoxicity in children, others acknowledge that, in adults, the cardiovascular system may be exquisitely vulnerable to mercury’s toxic effects.

Over a century later, the medical perspective on mercury and heart disease has come to look quite different. Although many researchers have focused heavily on mercury’s neurotoxicity in children, others acknowledge that, in adults, the cardiovascular system may be exquisitely vulnerable to mercury’s toxic effects. A simple search using the terms “mercury” and “heart disease” in PubMed (the National Institutes of Health database) pulls up ample documentation detailing a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease in individuals who have higher blood levels of mercury. Mercury damages the cardiovascular system even at low concentrations of exposure.

Effects of Mercury on the Heart

Researchers who acknowledge that mercury exposure increases cardiovascular risk often profess ignorance about the underlying cellular mechanisms of harm. However, a trio of relatively recent articles makes it apparent that scientists actually know quite a bit about how mercury exerts its cardiotoxic effects. Two of the reports, published in 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension and in 2014 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases & Diagnosis, are authored by Vanderbilt University professor and hypertension expert Mark Houston, who has published extensively on hypertension and heart disease since the 1980s. Dr. Houston began turning his attention to the ramifications of mercury exposure for heart disease a decade ago. A newer study, a review by Italian researcher Giuseppe Genchi and colleagues that appeared in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2017, also reviews mercury’s overall toxicity and specific cardiovascular effects.

…the clinical consequences of these and other pathophysiologic mechanisms explain the wide variety of cardiovascular diseases caused by mercury.”

It should not be surprising that many of the biological mechanisms that explain mercury’s deleterious impacts on the brain (recently summarized here by World Mercury Project) likewise create problems for the heart. Dr. Houston’s two articles list 22 different vascular biological effects of mercury that he further distills into the eight categories shown in the table below. According to Houston, “the clinical consequences of these and other pathophysiologic mechanisms explain the wide variety of cardiovascular diseases caused by mercury.” These conditions include: hypertension, diastolic dysfunction, generalized atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias, reduced heart rate variability, sudden cardiac death, cerebrovascular accidents, carotid artery obstruction and left ventricular hypertrophy.

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Vascular Biologic Effects of Mercury

Increased oxidative stress
Vascular inflammation
Thrombosis
Vascular smooth muscle proliferation and migration
Endothelial dysfunction
Dyslipidemia (oxidation of high-density lipoprotein and paraxonase)
Immune dysfunction
Mitochondrial dysfunction

SOURCES: Houston 2011 and Houston 2014

Increased oxidative stress: Mercury prompts increased production of free radicals (a type of reactive oxygen species or ROS) and also inactivates antioxidant defenses, including compromising the activity of the important antioxidant glutathione. “Oxidative stress” is the term used to describe these disturbances in ROS equilibrium. As Genchi and coauthors observe, “Glutathione…is the most potent intracellular and mitochondrial antioxidant for protecting against oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.” In fact, clinicians consider increased oxidative stress as a predictive biomarkerfor cardiac pathology: “When the finely regulated signaling pathways of [ROS] molecules become uninhibited, it may lead to the initiation and progression of atherosclerotic disease.”

Vascular inflammation: Among its many inflammatory effects, mercury alters arachidonic acid metabolism. Arachidonic acid metabolites are a type of fatty acid compound. With mercury-induced inflammation, these metabolites make the vascular endothelium—which plays a central role in vascular homeostasis—more “leaky.”

Thrombosis: Mercury induces thrombosis (blood clotting), in part, by promoting abnormal coagulation and clumping of platelets as well as changes in platelet shape. Back in 1946, clinicians who tested the suitability of mercury-containing gelatin solutions as “plasma substitutes” in 39 patients initially were baffled to observe thrombosis of the injected veins as a significant and frequent “untoward effect.” The physicians stated, “Because of the high incidence and considerable extent of venous thrombosis it seemed likely that the [gelatin] solutions contained a thrombosing substance”; they ultimately concluded that the mercurial preservatives in the gelatin solutions were the “probable cause.”

Changes in vascular smooth muscle cells: Mercury stimulates proliferation and changes in the size of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), versatile cells that line the walls of arteries and veins. VSMCs play a role “in all the physiological functions in the vascular wall,” including regulation of blood pressure. VSMCs are also “the main cellular determinants of arterial wall pathology.” Genchi et al. point out that exposure to mercury compounds correlates strongly with hypertension. Mercury’s effects on VSMCs have prompted calls to explicitly consider mercury as an “environmental risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Endothelial dysfunction: The vascular endothelium is “indispensable for the regulation of vascular tone and the maintenance of vascular homeostasis.” Even at very low levels of exposure, mercury promotes endothelial dysfunction. When the vascular endothelium stops working properly, it loses its ability to regulate vascular tone and perform other essential jobs. Clinicians consider endothelial dysfunction as an independent predictor of cardiac events because it represents a “key early step in the development of atherosclerosis and…plaque progression and the occurrence of atherosclerotic complications.”

Dyslipidemia: Heart disease experts have long viewed dyslipidemia (abnormal lipid profiles) as closely related to coronary heart disease as well as metabolic syndrome. Recent studies have confirmed that chronic exposure to organic mercury induces dyslipidemia and contributes to the development of atherosclerotic plaques. According to Dr. Houston and Genchi’s team, mercury disrupts lipids, in part, by inactivating paraoxonase, an antioxidative enzyme that plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. Paraoxonase is a major component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and mercury-induced inactivation of paraoxonase, makes HDL cholesterol dysfunctional.

Immune dysfunction: Macrophages (a type of immune system cell called phagocytes) play a key role in innate immunity by swallowing, killing and digesting invaders. Exposure to mercury lowers immune function in part by reducing phagocytic activity. Where cardiovascular disease is concerned, macrophages play a role “in both the progression and regression of inflammation” in atherosclerotic lesions. Researchers recently have noted the importance of understanding how pathological factors such as mercury exposure affect macrophage activity so as to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. A 2016 study by a group of European researchers, which found an association between a heart condition called Takotsubo syndrome (TS) and “hypersensitivity” to mercury and other metals, noted that TS patients displayed “pathological immune reactivity.”

Mitochondrial dysfunction: Scientists have extensively documented mercury’s adverse effects on the mitochondria. Toxicologists have shown that normal human brain cells, for example, preferentially take up organic ethylmercury, damaging the cells’ mitochondria and setting off a cascade that leads to cell death. The maladaptive mitochondrial responses triggered by mercury also play a major role in the development of abnormalities related to cardiovascular disease, including dyslipidemia, hypertension and various cardiac pathologies.

Chelation Therapy: At the close of their article, Genchi and coauthors recommend chelation therapy as a strategy to get rid of mercury and thereby “avoid further distribution and penetration [of mercury] in tissues.” Chelating agents bind to unwanted metals and minerals in the blood and enable urinary excretion. Clinicians started trying out the synthetic amino acid EDTA for the treatment of angina and other forms of atherosclerotic disease beginning in the 1950s, after they observed that EDTA not only chelated lead effectively but also improved and stabilized cardiovascular function.

From 2003–2012, the National Institutes of Health funded the first large-scale study of EDTA chelation therapy—the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT)—to examine its safety and efficacy in individuals who had experienced prior heart attacks. Using a rigorous randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind study design, TACT found that EDTA infusions safely reduced the risk of subsequent cardiac events, with particularly pronounced therapeutic benefits in individuals with diabetes. Commenting on what made the TACT study unique, investigators noted that whereas “the association of metals with cardiovascular disease is not new…this knowledge has been held in [discipline-specific] silos…[that] the cardiologist does not often visit.” They added that the TACT results “have unveiled an exciting area of new…research with the underlying concept that xenobiotic metals may be a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

The evidence base for EDTA is most substantial for lead and cadmium. Genchi and coauthors describe other synthetic chelating agents, including DMSA and DMPS, that can chelate and immobilize organic and inorganic forms of mercury, specifically. However, dental expert Dr. Hal Huggins and cardiologist Dr. Thomas Levy (who coauthored the book Uninformed Consent: The Hidden Dangers in Dental Care) discourage use of DMPS, which they describe as a “sledge hammer to the immune system.” On the other hand, Huggins and Levy view oral DMSA as acceptable, if used appropriately.

Studies have reported that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also can benefit from DMSA chelation therapy, which is not surprising given mercury’s role in contributing to ASD. One study carried out with 65 ASD children in the U.S. found that a single round of DMSA had significant behavioral effects that correlated with increased excretion of mercury and other toxic metals as well as changes in glutathione status. Another studyinvolving 44 Egyptian children with ASD generated similar results. Some autism expertshave urged caution in using overly aggressive synthetic chelation agents, however.

Taking Mercury Seriously

Dr. Houston and Genchi’s team both comment on the sizeable body burden of mercury that is accumulating in humans of our time (13 milligrams in the average 165-pound individual). In light of the myriad “intake pathways” of mercury (via air, water, food, vaccines, other pharmaceuticals and cosmetics), it behooves the public health community to take seriously the relationship between mercury exposure and cardiovascular disease risks, particularly because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the world. At a minimum, it is vital that clinicians evaluate mercury toxicity “in any patient with hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, or other vascular diseases and in patients who have a clinical history of exposure or clinical evidence on examination of mercury overload.”

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These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine recently shared that the survival rate for people under 70 years of age is about 99.95 percent. He also said that COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there such a large divide between so many doctors and scientists with regards to the response to the pandemic? Why is one side constantly ridiculed and censored by Big Tech companies? Should governments have the authority to mandate lockdowns?

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies that’ve been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95 percent. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95 percent. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than COVID deaths.

Obviously, his comments are open to interpretation and similar comments floating around the internet have been refuted by Facebook ‘fact-checkers.’

Bhattacharya has cited this study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization to come to his conclusion, along with, as mentioned above, many more.

These facts and many others are what inspired Bhattacharya, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology to create The Great Barrington Declaration.

The declaration strongly opposes lockdown measures that are being and have been put in place by various governments around the globe. The declaration has an impressive list of co-signers from renowned doctors and professors in the field from around the world, and now has nearly 50,000 signatures from doctors and scientists. The declaration also has approximately 660,000 signatures from concerned citizens.

The Declaration states,

The Declaration was written from a global public health and humanitarian perspective, with special concerns about how the current COVID-19 strategies are forcing our children, the working class and the poor to carry the heaviest burden.  The response to the pandemic in many countries around the world, focused on lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation, imposes enormous unnecessary health costs on people. In the long run, it will lead to higher COVID and non-COVID mortality than the focused protection plan we call for in the Declaration.

The declaration also states that as herd immunity builds, the risk of infection to all, including the most vulnerable, falls. Bhattacharya has explained that he and his colleagues don’t see herd immunity as a strategy but as a simple “biological fact,” adding, “It will eventually happen. That’s how epidemics end. So, the only question is how you get there with the least amount of human misery, death, and harm.” The best way, he said, is to “acknowledge who actually is in danger and devote enormous creativity, resources, and energy to protect them.”

The Declaration recommends implementing measures that protect the vulnerable without locking down the entire population, shutting down businesses and limiting people’s access to health-care.

Stefan Baral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said he supported adaptive interventions to protect at-risk people rather than broad lockdowns of entire populations. He said his mother lives in Sweden and “there’s nowhere else I would have wanted my mom to be. I love my mom and I feel she’s safe there.”

A report published in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  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 months of April and May . According to the data, Covid-19 only accounts for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article suggests and also quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because Quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Bhattacharya has also cited an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicating that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

These are just a few  many examples and concerns the declaration is referring to.

Another perspective on these survival rates? According to  Professor Robyn Lucas, head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University,

Survival rates and the percentage of the population who have not died are two very different numbers, “They are using the whole population, rather than the number who have diagnosed infection. So this is not really ‘survival’ – to survive a disease you have to have the disease in the first place,” Prof Lucas told AAP FactCheck in an email. (source)

Why This Is Important: Never before have we seen so many renowned doctors, scientists, and experts in the field oppose the recommendations and actions taken by the World Health Organization and multiple governments to combat a health crises. The fact that there is a great divide among the scientific and medical community makes one ponder how governments can have the mandatory authority to lockdown our planet when there isn’t really a scientific consensus to do so.

What’s also quite concerning is the fact that big tech companies, like Facebook, have been actively censoring and flagging information and opinions that oppose those of the WHO and government health authorities. Unpopular opinions and recommendations aren’t really given any attention by mainstream media either, and they’re often ridiculed by them. The Great Barrington Declaration is a great example.

Because of all the discrepancy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for governments to simply present the science and make strong recommendations and leave the citizenry to do what they’d like to do. To each is own, that’s just my opinion. I believe we are more than capable enough, and intelligent enough to determine the right course of action for ourselves. A lot of people have lost trust in their government and this is because actions taken by them have simply called into question whether or not they make decisions with humanities best interests at heart.

Are they really executing the will of the people?

When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen that this may not be the case. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine in the British Medical Journal.

It it, he states the following:

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

When we allow governments and give them the power to use force when so many people disagree with their recommendations, it makes one question just how much power do thee entities have? And why? Why do we choose to be governed in such a way? Why aren’t we free to make our own decisions?

More important than facts is our ability to get along with one another and see from the perspective of another. We must understand why those who disagree with us feel the way they do, and they must try to understand us. Constantly arguing and disagreeing with each other and always being in a state of constant separation doesn’t solve anything. Now more than ever we need to respect one another and try see from a perspective that’s not our own. Can’t we find some middle ground and all get along? It’s ok to ask questions and challenge our governments, in fact, it should be encouraged.

Many of us are feeling the loss of freedoms, and even with new measures like that which is presented in this article, we are now seeing how our reality may become limited should we choose not to participate in certain measures we don’t agree with. The trouble we seem to be having is determining how to communicate about COVID, the fears we have around it, and how to come together as a community to ‘draw a line’ as to where we may be taking things too far.

Can we truly accept that controlling everyone’s lives and what they can and can’t do is the best thing to do with an extremely low mortality virus? Does this indicate the level of fear we have towards life? The issues with our general health? If the worry is straining health care systems, are we seeing the limitations of how our rigid social infrastructures can’t be flexible and maybe it’s time to look at a new way of living within society? Perhaps a new way built on a completely different worldview?

No, I’m not talking about no Great Reset here, I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about re-examining the deep questions of who we are, why we are here and what type of future we truly want to create. Questions that we may have forgotten about as we have gone on chasing what our current worldview and system dangles in front of us. Perhaps it’s time to take a breath and see the crisis’ in front of us as a call to ask some much deeper questions than common conversation invites us to ask.

A great place to start with these questions, and something I deeply urge people to consider doing, is doing something like a media/news fast that includes important questions and reflections designed to re-imagine and examine your worldview. I have just released a new short course on CETV called How To Do An Effective Media Detox. Check out CETV and this course as a great place to start. – Joe Martino

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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New Research Adds Evidence That Weed Killer Glyphosate Disrupts Hormones

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New research is adding worrisome evidence to concerns that the widely used weed killing chemical glyphosate may have the potential to interfere with human hormones.

In a paper published in the journal Chemosphere titled Glyphosate and the key characteristics of an endocrine disruptor: A review, a trio of scientists concluded that glyphosate appears to have eight out of ten key characteristics associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals . The authors cautioned, however, that prospective cohort studies are still needed to more clearly understand the impacts of glyphosate on the human endocrine system.

The authors, Juan Munoz, Tammy Bleak and Gloria Calaf, each affiliated with the University of Tarapacá in Chile, said their paper is the first review to consolidate the mechanistic evidence on glyphosate as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC).

Some of the evidence suggests that Roundup, Monsanto’s well-known glyphosate-based herbicide, can alter the biosynthesis of the sexual hormones, according to the researchers.

EDCs may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones and are linked with developmental and reproductive problems as well as brain and immune system dysfunction.

The new paper follows publication earlier this year of an assortment of animal studies that indicated glyphosate exposures impact reproductive organs and threaten fertility.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide, sold in 140 countries. Introduced commercially in 1974 by Monsanto Co, the chemical is the active ingredient in popular products such as Roundup and hundreds of other weed killers used by consumers, municipalities, utilities, farmers, golf course operators, and others around the world.

Dana Barr, a professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, said the evidence “tends to overwhelmingly indicate that glyphosate has endocrine disrupting properties.”

“It’s not necessarily unexpected since glyphosate has some structural similarities with many other endocrine disrupting pesticides; however, it is more concerning because glyphosate use far surpasses other pesticides,” said Barr, who directs a program within a National Institutes of Health-funded human exposure research center housed at Emory. “Glyphosate is used on so many crops and in so many residential applications such that aggregate and cumulative exposures can be considerable.”

Phil Landrigan, director of the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, and a professor of biology
at Boston College, said the review pulled together “strong evidence” that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor.

“The report is consistent with a larger body of literature indicating that glyphosate has a wide range of adverse health effects – findings that overturn Monsanto’s long-standing portrayal of glyphosate as a benign chemical with no negative impacts on human health,” said Landrigan.

EDCs have been a subject of concern since the 1990s after a series of publications suggested that some chemicals commonly used in pesticides, industrial solvents, plastics, detergents, and other substances could have the capacity to disrupt connections between hormones and their receptors.

Scientists generally recognized ten functional properties of agents that alter hormone action, referring to these as ten “key characteristics” of endocrine-disruptors. The ten characteristics are as follows:

EDC’s can:

  • Alter hormone distribution of circulating levels of hormones
  • Induce alterations in hormone metabolism or clearance
  • Alter the fate of hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone receptor expression
  • Antagonize hormone receptors
  • Interact with or activate hormone receptors
  • Alter signal transduction in hormone-responsive cells
  • Induce epigenetic modifications in hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone synthesis
  • Alter hormone transport across cell membranes

The authors of the new paper said a review of the mechanistic data showed that glyphosate met all of the key characteristics with the exception of two:  “Regarding glyphosate, there is no evidence associated with the antagonistic capacity of hormonal receptors,” they said. As well, “there is no evidence of its impact on hormonal metabolism or clearance,” according to the authors.

Research over the last few decades has largely focused on links found between glyphosate and cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL.) In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

More than 100,000 people have sued Monsanto in the United States alleging exposure to the company’s glyphosate-based herbicides caused them or their loved ones to develop NHL.

The plaintiffs in the nationwide litigation also claim Monsanto has long sought to hide the risks of its herbicides. Monsanto lost three out of three trials and its German owner Bayer AG has spent the last year and a half trying to settle the litigation out of court.

The authors of the new paper took note of the ubiquitous nature of glyphosate, saying “massive use” of the chemical has “led to a wide environmental diffusion,” including rising exposures tied to human consumption of the weed killer through food.

The researchers said that though regulators say the levels of glyphosate residue commonly found in foods are low enough to be safe, they “cannot rule out” a “potential risk” to people consuming foods containing contaminated with the chemical,  particularly grains and other plant-based foods, which often have higher levels than milk, meat or fish products.

U.S. government documents show glyphosate residues have been detected in a range of foods, including organic honey, and granola and crackers.

Canadian government researchers have also reported glyphosate residues in foods. One report issued in 2019 by scientists from Canada’s Agri-Food Laboratories at the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry found glyphosate in 197 of 200 samples of honey they examined.

Despite the concerns about glyphosate impacts on human health, including through dietary exposure, U.S. regulators have steadfastly defended the safety of the chemical. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains that it has not found any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.”

Written by Carey Gillam, research director of U.S. Right to Know, where it was originally posted. 

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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