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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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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave 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, at the time of publication, only accounted 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 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.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted 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.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

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. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

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