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Mass Shootings: The New Manifestation of an Ancient Phenomenon & Their Link to Psychiatric Drugs

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Individuals perpetrating unspeakable acts of violence is not a new phenomenon. What’s new, rather, are the altered states of consciousness induced by antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs well-documented to promote homicidal and suicidal behavior in susceptible individuals.

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Although semi-automatic weapons have enabled the infliction of mass casualties at an unprecedented scale, massacres perpetrated by lone individuals are not new phenomena. Rather, these tragic and inexplicable events may represent an incarnation of a more ancient phenomena called “running amok,” formerly believed to be a culture-bound syndrome isolated to certain societies.

The Resemblance of Mass Shootings to Running Amok

Used in colloquial verbiage to indicate an irrational individual wreaking havoc, the linguistic origins of “running amok” stem from the description of a mentally perturbed individual that engages in unprovoked, homicidal and subsequently suicidal behavior, oftentimes involving an average of ten victims (1).

Although it was not classified as a psychological condition until 1849, amok was first described anthropologically two hundred years ago in isolated, tribal island populations such as Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Laos, where geographic seclusion and indigenous spirituality were hypothesized to be cultural factors implicated in this culture-bound syndrome. In his eighteenth century voyages, for example, Captain Cook recorded Malay tribesman randomly maiming or executing animals and villagers in a seemingly unprovoked, frenzied attack (1).

Culturally-encapsulated explanations localized blame to spirit possession by the “hantu belian” or evil tiger spirit of Malay mythology, which was believed to have been the source of the involuntary, indiscriminate violence that characterizes amok. In native cultures, sacred healers of the folk sector operated under cultural ideologies where illness was believed to be of supernatural origin, so amok was tolerated as an inevitable element of the cultural experience and offenders were brought to trial (1).

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As Western expansion encroached on remote cultures, incidence of amok decreased, reinforcing the biased view that so-called primitive cultural ideas were responsible for its pathogenesis. Meanwhile, episodes of violence in Western civilizations began to escalate, culminating in the unparalleled modern statistics where shootings have become so frequent that those unaffected become numb and desensitized to their devastating effects, and all live with the threat of an impending shooting as an everyday reality. Formerly considered a rare psychiatric culture-bound syndrome, researcher Dr. Manuel Saint Martin (1999) argues that amok is also prevalent in contemporary industrialized societies (1).

Resurgence of this Ancient Construct in Modern Shootings

Saint Martin postulates that the escalating frequency of mass homicides in industrial cultures in the past quarter century represents amok, citing that attackers often have a history of mental disturbance and that modern-day episodes involve similar numbers of victims (1).

He likewise disputes classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome, since it seems to appear cross-culturally, and argues instead that culture is the mediating mechanism that determines how the violence manifests (1). For example, Jin-Inn Teoh (1972) claimed that amok appears universally but that its mode of expression in terms of weapons and methods used are culture-specific (2). Furthermore, John Cooper (1934) postulated that its affiliation with suicide, a practice transcending arbitrary cultural boundaries, disproves the classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome (3). Cooper further highlights that amok may be an indirect expression of suicide, induced by the same psychosocial stressors that produced suicide in contemporary cultures (3) In essence, the author contends that amok is a product of mental illness, which has similar etiology and psychosocial precipitants worldwide (3).

In his comparison of amok to modern-day shootings, Saint Martin advocates prevention by identification of individuals with risk factors and treatment of underlying psychological conditions (1). In addition to coworker, neighbor, friend, and family observations of susceptible individuals, Saint Martin states that physicians are uniquely positioned to collect data regarding those vulnerable to amok, since, “Many of these patients preferentially consult general and family practitioners instead of psychiatrists owing to the perceived stigma attached to consulting a psychiatrist, denial of their mental illness, or fear of validating their suspicion that they have a mental disorder” (1). However, the arsenal of tools wielded by the conventional allopathic doctor, with their magic bullet remedies and treatment algorithms, often falls short.

Addressing the Root Cause: Psychiatric Drugs Engender Violence

Although amok explains the deep-seated human tendency to engage in acts of violence, it does nothing to explain the recent increase in frequency. While many argue that access to semiautomatic weapons explains the explosion in mass shootings, one long-neglected element of the conversation is that the recent rise in mass homicides coincides with the greatest use of cognition-altering psychiatric drugs ever observed in human history.

Oftentimes, shooters are branded as bad apples, a narrative that allows for the rationalization of such heinous crimes and marginalizes assailants as social deviants and mentally deranged anomalies. However convenient this rhetoric is for imparting meaning to the unfathomable, it does nothing to prevent future incidents or to understand the trajectory of events or the biological and psychological variables that enabled individuals to perpetrate these tragic acts of terrorism. It enables the system and society to wash their hands of any culpability and critical analysis of how people can commit unspeakable violence.

Due to media distortion, the story line disseminated in public spheres diverges dramatically from the conversations played out in the academic sector and these questions remain largely absent from the mainstream dialogue. A perusal of the academic research, however, reveals that psychotropic drugs may be contributing to the epidemic of mass shootings. In 2011, 26.8 million adults in the United States used pharmaceutical drugs for mental illness (4). Two years later, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that nearly 17 percent of American adults filled at least one prescription for a psychiatric drug.

Psychiatric drugs, many of which are based upon the flawed serotonin theory of depression, send almost 90,000 people to the emergency room yearly as a result of medication side effects ranging from delirium to head injuries to movement disorders, and one in five of these visits culminates in hospitalization (4). This figure is an underestimate, as it excludes visits to the emergency department secondary to drug abuse, self-injurious behavior, or suicide attempts (4).

Preliminary reports from the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 58 people dead indicate that the alleged killer was prescribed Valium, a sedative-hypnotic drug classified as a benzodiazepine (5). Relevant to this insight is a meta-analysis of 46 studies published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, which illuminated that, “An association between benzodiazepine use and subsequent aggressive behaviour was found in the majority of the more rigorous studies,” especially in those individuals with an underlying propensity toward anxiety and hostility (6). In addition, a prospective cohort study of nearly one thousand Finnish subjects published in the journal World Psychiatry demonstrated that current use of benzodiazepines elevated risk of homicide by 45% compared to controls (7).

Data compiled from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse event reporting system similarly highlights that use of some antidepressant medications is disproportionately related to an increased number of violent events (8). The authors report that, “Varenicline, which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs” in case reports of “homicide, homicidal ideation, physical assault, physical abuse or violence related symptoms” (8).

Psychotropic Drugs and The Absence of Informed Consent

At the epitome of this discussion is that deleterious side effects of psychotropic drugs are ill-publicized and patient do not receive sufficient information about the devastating sequelae that can result from their use. Little of the public knows that in 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning for antidepressants, advertising that they are associated with suicidal ideation and behavior in two to three children out of every hundred who are administered these drugs (9, 10). In fact, a meta-analysis of 372 randomized clinical trials entailing nearly 100,000 subjects elucidated that the rate of suicidal thoughts and action was double in those patients assigned to receive an antidepressant compared to placebo (11).

Notwithstanding the tendency of psychotropic drugs to predispose individuals to homicidal and suicidal ideation is the evidence that antidepressants elevate risk of death and cardiovascular disease, which is often not shared when a physician dispenses a slip from their prescription pad. A meta-analysis of 17 studies published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that in the general population, antidepressant medications increase all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 33% and the risk of cardiovascular incidents (heart attacks and strokes, for example) by 13% (12). According to researchers, “The results support the hypothesis that ADs [antidepressants] are harmful in the general population” (12).

Also rarely discussed with patients is the potential of psychotropic drugs to distort emotional affect. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have mind-numbing effects, as demonstrated by their ability to blunt emotions and produce apathy, disinhibition, and amotivation similar to a frontal lobe lobotomy, all of which would be consistent with a mindset that might predispose an individual to homicidal behavior (13). As a corollary, SSRIs are known to induce serious movement disorders, including akathisia, dyskinesia, tardive dyskinesia, dystonia, and parkinsonism (14). Pertinent to this discussion is akathisia, a form of severe agitation also induced by antipsychotic drugs, which can cause suicide and violence (15). Further, almost one in ten admissions to hospital psychiatric units have been attributed to antidepressant-induced mania or psychosis (16).

Moreover, it is often not disclosed that antidepressant therapy can exacerbate the severity and chronic nature of depression and lead to poorer outcomes. For instance, one retrospective study of nearly 12,000 patients in the Netherlands revealed that 72 to 79 percent of those who were treated with antidepressants during their first depressive episode experienced relapses (17). It is telling that despite record high rates of antidepressant use, prevalence of depression continues to soar.

Lastly, meta-analyses, which compile data from placebo-controlled trials, indicate that the differences in levels of symptoms resulting from SSRI use “were so small that the effects were deemed unlikely to be clinically important” (18). Further, a meta-analysis involving 6,944 patients participating in 38 studies underwritten by drug manufacturers found that “Antidepressants demonstrated a clinically negligible advantage over inert placebo” (19). This is all the more shocking, since the efficacy of the drug was likely artificially inflated. Researchers state, “This analysis probably overestimates the antidepressant effect because placebo washout strategies, penetration of the blind, reliance on clinician ratings, use of sedative medication, and replacement of nonresponders may penalize the placebo condition or boost the drug condition” (19).

It is incumbent upon physicians to provide patients with true informed consent as to the potential disastrous consequences of consuming mind-altering psychotropic drugs, to identify at-risk individuals and mobilize support, and to provide alternatives where applicable. For instance, luminary Dr. Kelly Brogan, who has been a pioneer in debunking mythologies of conventional psychiatry, recently published the success of her holistic protocol incorporating mind-body techniques, dietary and lifestyle interventions, detoxification modalities, and targeted supplementation in producing dramatic clinical remission in a patient with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (20).

Other Risk Factors for Amok and Mass Shootings

Compounding the effect of skyrocketing prescription rates for violence-promoting psychotropic drugs is the unprecedented social isolation that accompanies the digital age. The common thread uniting amok and contemporary mass shootings is what is branded mental illness, which is often inextricably intertwined with social alienation in a chicken-or-egg scenario.

In the anthropological curiosity known as amok, dimensions such as grief, acute loss, and interpersonal stress are intimated to be contributing factors (1). For instance, an 1846 Malay incident was concluded to be caused by an elderly mans bereavement of his wife and child, while the offender in a 1998 Los Angeles incident suffered financial bankruptcy (21). Furthermore, individual characteristics, such as predilection to aggression, and recurring cognitive themes such as persecution and revenge are speculated to constitute instigating elements (1).

Undoubtedly at play in mental illness is that we are divorced from our nuclear families, proverbial islands adrift from the quintessential tribe and support system to which we are evolutionarily adapted. Social ostracism was historically the ultimate ancestral punishment, as an individual was ill-equipped to survive when banished from a community. Moreover, admissions of psychiatric disorders are met with derision and social stigmatization, and the mobilization of social and professional support needed to contend with mental illness is radically deficient. Therefore, many individuals are deterred from seeking professional help.

Initial narratives by amok witnesses chronicled two forms characterized by differential causative factors: “The more common form, beramok, was associated with a personal loss and preceded by a period of depressed mood and brooding; while the infrequent form, amok, was associated with rage, a perceived insult, or vendetta preceding the attack” (1). Many of these traits can be reconciled with the diagnostic criteria for modern psychiatric disorders such as depressive, mood, psychotic, dissociative and personality disorders, as well as paranoid schizophrenia (1). Some argue that psychiatric classifications are not reproducible or diagnosable with objective biomarkers, and therefore do not constitute objectively delineated and non-overlapping categories, but they do have utility in their ability to describe and operationalize behavior in recognizable terms.

According to Saint Martin, “Viewing amok from this new perspective dispels the commonly held perception that episodes of mass violence are random and unpredictable, and thus not preventable” (1). However, the modern medical infrastructure has failed to support these individuals with anything other than pill-for-an-ill psychotropic cocktails and psychotherapy, rather than undertaking a holistic, root-cause resolution approach consistent with the precepts of personalized medicine. Instead of deferring to this standard of care, which has proven inadequate, we would be wise to use these societal tragedies as impetus for revolutionary reform and the heralding of evidence-based natural approaches that address the underlying causes of mental illness rather than applying symptom-suppressive chemical band-aids.

Going Forward: Making Sense of Devastation

In summary, the behavior exhibited in modern mass shootings bears uncanny resemblance to amok, indicating that indiscriminate violence has long been intrinsic to the human psyche. It is fundamental to recognize, when drawing parallels between the two constructs, the role that social isolation, collective disillusionment, violent proclivities, and mental instability play in precipitating this behavior in order to generate effective solutions. More recently, the widespread use of psychotropic drugs no doubt contributes to the rising incidence of mass shootings, yet it is a topic mainstream media outlets fail to broach.

However, the prescribing of these pharmaceuticals is only symptomatic of more upstream causes of psychological imbalance, many of which remain to be elucidated. Fundamental, though, is the profound disparity between the circumstances to which we are evolutionarily accustomed and the modern-day stressors we encounter, such as micronutrient deficiency, toxicant burdens, a genetically engineered and irradiated food supply, and a deeply-entrenched sense of dissatisfaction and loss of social connection.

This is not meant to catalogue excuses for such egregious and monstrous behavior, or to rationalize the very worst in humanity. Nor is it meant to represent an exhaustive survey of all the multifaceted socioeconomic, psychosocial, and geopolitical variables that contribute to acts of mass violence. But rather, this article serves as a commentary on some of those little-discussed instigating variables and the pharmaceutical industry-promulgated predecessors to such tragic events. It also attempts to paint a portrait of how massacres are not isolated to the modern era, and that by using critical analysis of the historical patterns of amok we can garner insight into shared risk factors such as detachment of an individual from the fabric of society and lack of supportive resources or constructive coping mechanisms.

By finding common psychological threads, and exploring their physiological origins, as well as unearthing novel variables such as psychotropic drugs which contribute to the never-before-witnessed frequency of fatal massacres, we can take productive action to prevent their recurrence. We can transform our righteous indignation into meaningful change. Although it is tempting to abdicate all blame and to employ the bad apple narrative, this does nothing to prevent the recurrence of these home-grown acts of terrorism, but rather, represents a society-wide coping mechanism and means of distancing oneself from some of the sources of these ultimate acts of unimaginable aggression.


References

1. Saint Martin, M.L. (1999) “Running Amok: A Modern Perspective on a Culture-Bound Syndrome”. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1(3), 66-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181064/?tool=pmcentrez

2. Teoh, J-I. (1972). “The changing psychopathology of amok”. Psychiatry, 35, 345–351.

3. Cooper, J. (1934). Mental disease situations in certain cultures: a new field for research. Journal of Abnormal Sociology and Psychology, 29, 10–17.

4. Hampton, L.M. et al. (2016). Emergency Department Visits by Adults for Psychiatric Medication Adverse Events. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, 71(9), 1006-1014. doi:  10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.436

5. Harasim, P. (2017). Las Vegas Strip shooter prescribed anti-anxiety drug in June. Retrieved from https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/the-strip/las-vegas-strip-shooter-prescribed-anti-anxiety-drug-in-june/

6. Albrecht, B. et al. (2014). Benzodiazepine use and aggressive behaviour: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(12), 1096-1114. doi: 10.1177/0004867414548902

7. Tilhonen, J. et al. (2015). Psychotropic drugs and homicide: A prospective cohort study from Finland. World Psychiatry, 14(2), 245-247. doi: 10.1002/wps.20220

8. Moore, T.J., Glenmullen, J., & Furberg, C.D. (2010). Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS One, 5, e15337.

9. Friedman, R.A. (2014). Antidepressants’ Black-Box Warning — 10 Years Later. The New England Journal of Medicine, 371, 1666-1668.

10. Harris, G. (2004). F.D.A. Links Drugs to Being Suicidal. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/14/health/fda-links-drugs-to-being-suicidal.html

11. Hamad, T., & Racoosin, J. (2004). Relationship between psychotropic drugs and pediatric suicidality: review and evaluation of clinical data. Silver Spring, MD: Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/04/briefing/2004-4065b1-10-TAB08-Hammads-Review.pdf

12. Maslej, M.M. et al. (2017). The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants Are Moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86, 268-282.

13. Garland, E.J., & Baerg, E.A. (2004). Amotivational Syndrome Associated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Children and Adolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 11(2), 181-186.

14. Gerber, P.E., & Lynd, L.D. (1998). Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor-induced movement disorders. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 32(6), 692-698.

15. Shear, M.K., Frances, A., & Weiden, P. (1983). Suicide associated with akathisia and depot fluphenazine treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 3, 235–236.

16. Preda, A. et al. (2001). Antidepressant-associated mania and psychosis resulting in psychiatric admissions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(1), 30-33.

17. van Weel-Baumgarten, M. et al. (2000). Treatment of depression related to recurrence:10-year follow-up in general practice. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 25, 61-66.

18. Moncrieff, J., & Kirsch, I. (2005). Efficacy of antidepressants in adults. British Medical Journal, 331 (155). doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7509.155

19. Antonuccio, D.O., Burns, D.D., & Danton, W.G. (2002). Antidepressants: A Triumph of Marketing Over Science? Prevention & Treatment, Volume 5(25).

20. Brogan, K. (2017). Resolution of Refractory Bipolar Disorder With Psychotic Features and Suicidality Through Lifestyle Interventions: A Case Report. Advances in Mind Body Medicine, 31(2), 4-11.

21. Burton-Bradely, B.G. (1968). The amok syndrome in Papua and New Guinea. Medical Journal of Australia, 55, 252–256.

About the Author

Ali Le Vere holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

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Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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PGA Tour To End COVID Testing For Both Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Players

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The PGA Tour has announced that it will stop testing players every week, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

  • Reflect On:

    Are PCR tests appropriate to identify infectious people? Should people who are healthy and not sick be tested at all, anywhere?

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The picture you see above is of John Rahm, a professional golfer on the PGA tour being carted off the golf course after tournament officials told him he had COVID. He was healthy and had no symptoms, yet was forced to withdraw from the tournament. He was told in front of the camera’s, and a big scene was made out of the event. You would think something like that, especially when you are a big time sports figure, would be done behind closed doors with some privacy.

Earlier on in June a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that more than 50 percent of players on the PGA tour have been vaccinated. Although it seems that the majority of players on the tour will be fully vaccinated judging by this statement, it does leave a fairly large minority who won’t be, and that’s something we’re seeing across the globe as COVID vaccine hesitancy remains high for multiple reasons.

We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open. – PGA tour Senior VP Tyler Dennis

The tour recently announced that the testing of players every week will stop starting in July for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This was an unexpected announcement given the fact that, at least it seems in some countries, vaccinated individuals will enjoy previous rights and freedoms that everyone did before the pandemic. Travelling without need to quarantine and possibly in the future not having to be tested could be a few of those privileges. Others may include attending concerts, sporting events, or perhaps even keeping their job depending on whether or not their employer deems it to be mandatory, if that’s even legally possible. We will see what happens.

Luckily for professional golfers, regardless of their vaccination status they won’t have to worry about testing positive for COVID, especially if they’re not sick. This is the appropriate move by the PGA tour, who is represented by their players and it’s a move that the players themselves may have had a say in. It’s important because PCR tests are not designed nor are they appropriate for identifying infectious people. A number of scientists have been emphasizing this since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, a letter to the editor published in the Journal of infection explain why more than half of al “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not infectious, otherwise known as “false positives.”

This is why the Swedish Public Health agency has a notice on their website explaining how and why polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not useful for determining if someone is infected with COVID or if someone can transmit it to others, and it’s better to use someone who is actually showing symptoms as a judgement call of whether or not they could be infected or free from infection.

PCR tests using a high cycle threshold are extremely sensitive. An article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that among positive PCR samples with a cycle count over 35, only 3 percent of the samples showed viral replication. This can be interpreted as, if someone tests positive via PCR when a Ct of 35 or higher is used, the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 percent. This begs the question, why has Manitoba, Canada, for example, using cycle thresholds of up to 45 to identify “positive” people?

When it comes to golf, the fact that spread occurring in an outdoor setting is highly unlikely could have been a factor, but it’s also important to mention that asymptomatic spread within one’s own household is also considerably rare. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here, doesn’t it?

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New Study Questions The Safety of COVID Vaccinations & Urges Governments To Take Notice

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  • The Facts:

    A new study published in the journal Vaccines has called into question the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are people hesitant to take the vaccine? Why are scientists and journalists who explain why hesitancy may exist censored?

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A new study published in the journal Vaccines by three scientists and medical professionals from Europe has raised concerns about the safety of COVID vaccines, and it’s not the first to do so. The study found that there is a “lack of clear benefit” of the vaccines and this study should be a catalyst for “governments to rethink their vaccination policy.”

The study calculated the number needed to vaccinate (NNTV) in order to prevent one death, and to do so they used a large Israeli Field study. Using the Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) database of the European Medicines Agency and of the Dutch National Register (lareb.nl), the researchers were able to assess the number of cases reporting severe side effects as well as the cases with fatal side effects as a result of a COVID vaccine.

They point out the following:

The NNTV is between 200-700 to prevent on case of COVID-19 for the mRNA vaccine marketed by Pfizer, while the NNTV to prevent one death is between 9000 and 50,000 (95 % confidence interval), with 16,000 as a point estimate. The number of cases experiencing adverse reactions has been reported to be 700 per 100,000 vaccinations. Currently, we see 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations, and the number of fatal side effects is at 4.11/100,000 vaccinations. For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination. This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.

The researchers estimates suggest that we have to exchange 4 fatal and 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations in order to save the lives of 2-11 individuals per 100,000 vaccinations. This puts the risk vs. benefit of COVID vaccination on the same order of magnitude.

We need to accept that around 16 cases will develop severe adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines per 100,000 vaccinations delivered, and approximately four people will die from the consequences of being vaccinated per 100,000 vaccinations delivered. Adopting the point estimate of NNTV = 16,000 (95% CI, 9000–50,000) to prevent one COVID-19-related death, for every six (95% CI, 2–11) deaths prevented by vaccination, we may incur four deaths as a consequence of or associated with the vaccination. Simply put: As we prevent three deaths by vaccinating, we incur two deaths.

The study does point out that COVID-19 vaccines are effective and can, according to the publication, prevent infections, morbidity and mortality associated with COVID, but the costs must be weighted. For example, many people have been asking themselves, what are the chances I will get severely ill and die from a COVID infection?

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.  This comes based on approximately 50 studies that have been published, and information showing that more children in the U.S. have died from the flu than COVID. Here’s a meta analysis published by the WHO that gives this number. The number comes based on the idea that many more people than we have the capacity to test have most likely been infected.

How dangerous COVID is for healthy individuals has been a controversial discussion throughout this pandemic, with viewpoints differing.

Furthermore, as the study points out, one has to be mindful of a “positive” case determined by a PCR test. A PCR test cannot determine whether someone is infectious or not, and a recent study found that it’s highly likely that at least 50 percent of “positive” cases have been “false positives.”

This is the issue with testing asymptomatic healthy people, especially at a high cycle threshold. It’s the reason why many scientists and doctors have been urging government health authorities to determine cases and freedom from infections based on symptoms rather than a PCR test. You can read more in-depth about PCR testing and the issues with it here if you’re interested.

When it comes to the documented 4 deaths per 100,000 vaccinations and whether or not it’s a significant number, the researchers state,

This is difficult to say, and the answer is dependant on one’s view of how severe the pandemic is and whether the common assumption that there is hardly any innate immunological defense or cross-reactional immunity is true. Some argue that we can assume cross-reactivity of antibodies to conventional coronaviruses in 30–50% of the population [13,14,15,16]. This might explain why children and younger people are rarely afflicted by SARS-CoV2 [17,18,19].

Natural immunity is another interesting topic I’ve written in-depth about. There’s a possibility that more than a billion people have been infected, does this mean they have protection? What happens if previously infected individuals take the vaccine? What does this do to their natural immunity? The research suggesting natural immunity may last decades, or even a lifetime, is quite strong in my opinion.

There are also other health concerns that have been raised that go beyond deaths and adverse reactions as a result of the vaccine.

As the study points out,

A recent experimental study has shown that SARS-CoV2 spike protein is sufficient to produce endothelial damage. [23]. This provides a potential causal rationale for the most serious and most frequent side effects, namely, vascular problems such as thrombotic events. The vector-based COVID-19 vaccines can produce soluble spike proteins, which multiply the potential damage sites [24]. The spike protein also contains domains that may bind to cholinergic receptors, thereby compromising the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathways, enhancing inflammatory processes [25]. A recent review listed several other potential side effects of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines that may also emerge later than in the observation periods covered here [26]…Given this fact and the higher number of serious side effects already reported, the current political trend to vaccinate children who are at very low risk of suffering from COVID-19 in the first place must be reconsidered.

Concerns regarding the distribution of the spike protein our cells manufacture after injection have been recently raised by Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist from the University of Guelph who recently released a detailed in depth report regarding safety concerns about the COVID vaccines.

The report was released to act as a guide for parents when it comes to deciding whether or not their child should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Bridle published the paper on behalf of one hundred other scientists and doctors who part of the Canadian COVID Care Alliance, but who are afraid to ‘come out’ publicly and share their concerns. Byram, as many others, have received a lot of criticism and have been subjected to fact checking via Facebook third party fact-checkers.

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”

It’s also important to note that only a small fraction of side effects are even reported to adverse events databases. The authors cite multiple sources showing this, and that the median underreporting can be as high as 95 percent. This begs the question, how many deaths and adverse reactions from COVID vaccines have not been reported? Furthermore, if there are long term concerns, will deaths resulting from an adverse reaction, perhaps a year later, even be considered as connected to to the vaccine? Probably not.

This isn’t the only study to bring awareness to the lack of injuries most likely not reported. For example, an HHS pilot study conducted by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research found that 1 in every 39 vaccines in the United States caused some type of injury, which is a shocking comparison to the 1 in every million claim. It’s also unsettling that those who are injured by the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be eligible for compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) while COVID is still an “emergency”, at least in the United States.

Below is the most recent data from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Keep in mind that VAERS is not without its criticism. One common criticism we’ve seen from Facebook fact-checkers, for example, is there is no proof that the vaccine was actually the cause of these events.

A few other papers have raised concerns, for example. A study published in October of 2020 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice states:

COVID-19 vaccines designed to elicit neutralising antibodies may sensitise vaccine recipients to more severe disease than if they were not vaccinated. Vaccines for SARS, MERS and RSV have never been approved, and the data generated in the development and testing of these vaccines suggest a serious mechanistic concern: that vaccines designed empirically using the traditional approach (consisting of the unmodified or minimally modified coronavirus viral spike to elicit neutralising antibodies), be they composed of protein, viral vector, DNA or RNA and irrespective of delivery method, may worsen COVID-19 disease via antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). This risk is sufficiently obscured in clinical trial protocols and consent forms for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials that adequate patient comprehension of this risk is unlikely to occur, obviating truly informed consent by subjects in these trials.

In a new research article published in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, veteran immunologist J. Bart Classen expresses similar concerns and writes that “RNA-based COVID vaccines have the potential to cause more disease than the epidemic of COVID-19.”

For decades, Classen has published papers exploring how vaccination can give rise to chronic conditions such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes — not right away, but three or four years down the road. In this latest paper, Classen warns that the RNA-based vaccine technology could create “new potential mechanisms” of vaccine adverse events that may take years to come to light.

There are a plethora of reasons why COVID vaccine hesitancy has been quite high. I wrote an in-depth article about this in April if you’re interested in learning about the other reasons.

Conversations like this are incredibly important in today’s climate of mass censorship. Who is right or wrong is not important, what’s important is that discussion about the vaccine and all other topics remain open and transparent. The amount of experts in the field who have been censored for sharing their views on this topic has been unprecedented. For example, in March, Harvard epidemiologist and vaccine expert Dr. Martin Kulldorff was subjected to censorship by Twitter for sharing his opinion that not everybody needed to take the COVID vaccine.

It’s good to see this recent study point out that the benefits of the vaccine, for some people, may not outweigh the potential costs.

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