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Scientists Discover Huge Amounts of Aluminum In The Brains of Deceased Autistic People

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Scientists have been aware of aluminum’s neurotoxicity for decades. Although aluminum’s apologists have tried to shroud the metal’s risks in manufactured controversy, a growing number of reports by researchers in the United KingdomFranceCanadaIsrael, the U.S. and elsewhere has furnished substantive evidence linking aluminum to neuropathology, including the epidemics of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

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Aluminum levels were particularly high in the male brains, including in a 15-year-old boy with ASD who had the study’s single highest brain aluminum measurement.

Dr. Christopher Exley—one of the world’s leading experts on aluminum toxicity—has shown that chronic intoxication with myriad forms of this “ubiquitous and omnipresent metal” is exacting a high price on human health. Dr. Exley and other aluminum experts such as molecular biologist Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic have confirmed that aluminum readily and actively traverses the blood-brain barrier to selectively accumulate in brain tissues, where it induces unwelcome changes in brain biochemistry. As Dr. Exley has noted, “There are no ‘normal’ levels of brain aluminum,” meaning that “its presence in brain tissue, at any level, could be construed as abnormal” [emphasis added].

Below is a video of him speaking on his study.

Documenting Aluminum in the ASD Brain

In light of the fact that even minute amounts of aluminum can have adverse neurological consequences, Dr. Exley’s newest paper—which reports on the first-ever study of aluminum in ASD brain tissue—is groundbreaking. Published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, the paper documents some of the highest values for aluminum in human brain tissue ever recorded. Using a two-pronged study design (see box), the researchers measured and characterized aluminum deposits in brain tissues from five to ten ASD donors, most of whom died in their teens or twenties.

Study DesignQuantitative component: First, the investigators used graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GRAAS) to measure aluminum content in frozen brain tissue samples. Frozen tissue was available from one female donor (age 44) and four male donors (ages 15, 22, 33 and 50) who, when alive, had a confirmed ASD diagnosis. The researchers quantified aluminum levels in 59 tissue samples representing five different areas of the brain (frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal and hippocampal).

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Qualitative component: Using a technique called fluorescence microscopy, the researchers visualized aluminum deposits according to their presence (a) insideversus outside the brain cells and (b) in the two types of brain tissue (grey matterversus white matter). For this component, fixed tissue samples were available for the same five donors plus an additional five donors diagnosed with ASD, including two females (ages 13 and 29) and three males (ages 14, 22 and 29).

What the research team found was startling. The study’s quantitative arm documented “consistently high” aluminum levels representing “some of the highest values for brain aluminum content ever measured in healthy or diseased tissues.” Specifically:

  • All five individuals had at least one brain tissue with a “pathologically significant” level of aluminum, defined as greater than or equal to 3.00 micrograms per gram of dry brain weight (μg/g dry wt). (Dr. Exley and colleagues developed categories to classify aluminum-related pathology after conducting other brain studies, wherein older adults who died healthy had less than 1 μg/g dry wt of brain aluminum.)
  • Roughly two-thirds (67%) of all the tissue samples displayed a pathologically significant aluminum content.
  • Aluminum levels were particularly high in the male brains, including in a 15-year-old boy with ASD who had the study’s single highest brain aluminum measurement (22.11 μg/g dry wt)—many times higher than the pathologically significant threshold and far greater than levels that might be considered as acceptable even for an aged adult.
  • Some of the elevated aluminum levels rivaled the very high levels historically reported in victims of dialysis encephalopathy syndrome (a serious iatrogenic disorder resulting from aluminum-containing dialysis solutions).

The study’s qualitative findings were equally concerning:

  • Across the 10 donors, the investigators identified 150 aluminum deposits. All 10 donors had aluminum deposits in at least one tissue.
  • Aluminum deposits were markedly more prevalent in males than females (129 deposits in seven males, averaging over 18 deposits each, versus 21 deposits in three females, for an average of 7).
  • In males, most aluminum deposits were inside cells (80/129), whereas aluminum deposits in females were primarily extracellular (15/21). The majority of intracellular aluminum was inside non-neuronal cells (microglia and astrocytes).
  • Aluminum was present in both grey matter (88 deposits) and white matter (62 deposits). (The brain’s grey matter serves to process information, while the white matter provides connectivity.)
  • The researchers also identified aluminum-loaded lymphocytes in the meninges (the layers of protective tissue that surround the brain and spinal cord) and in similar inflammatory cells in the vasculature, furnishing evidence of aluminum’s entry into the brain “via immune cells circulating in the blood and lymph” and perhaps explaining how youth with ASD came to acquire such shockingly high levels of brain aluminum.

The Importance of Glial Cells

There are three broad categories of non-neuronal (glial) cells, including astrocytes (which support neuronal signaling), oligodendrocytes (which create myelin) and microglia (responsible for repairing damage). In discussing their results, Dr. Exley’s team comments that the intracellular location of most of the aluminum in these non-neuronal cells was the “standout observation” for ASD.

…environmental factors can alter microglia function, negatively affecting brain development and synaptic connectivity; when this occurs during important developmental periods, there may be ‘consequences throughout life.’

Unlike other brain cells, the microglia (which represent about 10% of brain cells) are dedicated immune cells. Microglia also play a key role in the process known as synaptic pruning that takes place during vital phases of cognitive development in early childhood as well as adolescence, continuing into the late 20s. This process, which some observers have likened to “neural spring cleaning,” allows the maturing brain to shed “weak or redundant [neuronal] connections.” Given this and other important microglial functions, the microglia have attracted considerable research attention as key players in brain disease, including autism. (Astrocytes also have implications for autism, given the role of astrocyte dysfunction in seizures—a condition that is frequently comorbid with ASD.) A pivotal review article published in 2017 observes that “microglia are now known to be active participants in brain function and dysfunction” and notes that “aberrant [synaptic] pruning during critical developmental periods could contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders.” Evidence suggesting that the microglia are dysfunctional in ASD includes findings from postmortem ASD brain studies showing “altered microglial counts, morphology, and neuronal interaction” as well as altered expression of microglia-specific genes.

It is clear to many researchers that environmental factors can alter microglia function, negatively affecting brain development and synaptic connectivity; when this occurs during important developmental periods, there may be “consequences throughout life.” Aluminum exposure undoubtedly constitutes a dangerous environmental exposure, and Dr. Exley observes that “microglia heavily loaded with aluminum…will inevitably be compromised.”

The Most Pervasive Exposure to Aluminum

The study’s results strongly suggest that aluminum is entering the brain in ASD via cells that have become loaded up with aluminum in the periphery. Where is the aluminum coming from? One of the most pervasive routes of modern-day exposure to neurotoxic aluminum is via aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. (Vaccine manufacturers use aluminum adjuvants to intensify the vaccine recipient’s immune response.) Elsewhere, Dr. Exley has described the “migratory capabilities” of aluminum-based adjuvants “at sites distant to the injection site,” including the brain.

The extreme levels of aluminum found in the brains of the study’s teenage donors have alarming implications for the entire generation of highly aluminum-vaccinated children.

In the ASD brain paper, Dr. Exley and coauthors point out that the “burgeoning” use of aluminum-adjuvant-containing childhood vaccines “has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD.” A 2011 study by Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher Shaw confirms that aluminum-containing vaccines are having crippling neurological consequences. Their analysis shows that children from countries where ASD prevalence is highest have the highest exposure to aluminum from vaccines; moreover, children’s increased exposure to aluminum adjuvants over the two decades starting in the 1990s significantly correlates with the increase in ASD prevalence in the U.S.  Counting the shots now pushed during pregnancy, highly vaccinated American children may receive up to 73 total vaccine doses by age 18, including multiple rounds of injected aluminum.

U.S. vaccines containing one or more aluminum adjuvants*

Infection or Illness Vaccine Manufacturer or Brand Name
Diphtheria-tetanus or tetanus-diphtheria DT
Td
Sanofi
Tenivac; Mass Biologics
Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis DTaP
Tdap
Daptacel; Infanrix
Adacel; Boostrix
Haemophilus Influenzaetype B Hib PedvaxHib
Hepatitis A Hep A Havrix; Vaqta
Hepatitis B Hep B Engerix-B; Recombivax
Human papillomavirus HPV Gardasil; Gardasil 9
Meningitis Meningococcal Bexsero
Streptococcus pneumoniae Pneumococcal PCV 13/Prevnar 13
Combination vaccines DTaP-IPV
DTaP-HepB-IPV
DTaP-IPV/Hib
Hep A/Hep B
Kinrix; Quadracel
Pediarix
Pentacel
Twinrix

* Aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, aluminum salts, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate (AAHS), potassium aluminum sulfate

Crucially, Dr. Exley and coauthors note that what “discriminates [their] data from other analyses of brain aluminum in other diseases is the age of the ASD donors” [emphasis added]. The extreme levels of aluminum found in the brains of the study’s teenage donors have alarming implications for the entire generation of highly aluminum-vaccinated children. Moreover, Dr. Exley’s other research has consistently shown that aluminum is the most significant contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease. Given that it is no longer unheard of to see Alzheimer’s being diagnosed in people who are in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, it is not unreasonable to worry that a catastrophic new wave of AD may be about to compound children’s already heavy burden of ASD and other neurological disorders. Recognizing the risks, numerous researchers have called for a halt to the use of aluminum salts in vaccines. The powerful results of this study underscore the urgency of heeding this plea as well as eliminating exposure to other sources of neurotoxic aluminum.

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Studies Show What A Whole Foods Vegan Diet Does For People With Diabetes

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple studies have shown that a whole foods, plant-based diet can help manage, prevent, and, in some cases, even reverse diabetes.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is dietary intervention not a priority of conventional doctors? Especially when it can be much more beneficial to the patient than medication?

Food truly is medicine, and nutrition is a great way to combat multiple diseases. What’s extremely confusing is why so many doctors still choose to prescribe medication first, without considering the power of nutrition. Many doctors are not even aware of the power of nutrition and its ability to heal diseases, and this is probably because they know next to nothing about it given that they learn nothing about it in medical school.

However, things are changing. There are an abundance of doctors who are not prescribing medication when it’s not needed, and instead prescribing a proper diet. Many of them are starting to educate themselves using the literature and science surrounding nutrition. It’s not only doctors, but patients are choosing to self educate themselves now as well.

When it comes to the medical industry, self education is important, given the fact that “The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry.”   Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal (source)

Not long ago, Dr. Asseem Malhotra, a well-known Doctor in Britain, had some choice words to say in front of the European Parliament about modern-day medical education and the overall knowledge doctors possess. He’s one of many who continues to emerge and speak out. You can read more about that here.

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, it’s one of the diseases that can easily be managed with a proper diet. The undue influence the pharmaceutical industry has on the medical industry and doctors’ lack of understanding of nutrition is why, I believe, more than 370 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, and approximately 100 million Americans have it or are likely to get it.

It’s firmly established in scientific literature and quite clear now that moving to a whole-food, plant-based diet can drastically reduce the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and can even help manage, or in many cases completely reverse, type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Giving up animal products and processed foods helps as well, and there is an abundance of research that shows this.

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Perhaps one of the most important pieces of evidence is the fact that there are real life success stories. Forks over Knives has a plethora of examples and real-life case studies that support the notion that eliminating animal products and following a healthy, whole-foods diet can make it easier to live with diabetes.

In 2016, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published a study that showed plant-based diets can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by a third. This involves simply switching out animal products for plant-based alternatives. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is rich in beneficial dietary fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients, and low in saturated fats. This is excellent for overall health outcomes, whether they’re related to diabetes or not.

Multiple studies have shown that red and processed meats (also recently linked to cancer by the WHO), as well as animal protein in general, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. In omnivore populations, the risk of diabetes is doubled compared with vegans. Another study found that eating meat once a week or more over a 17-year period increased the risk of diabetes by a startling 74%. A follow up study was conducted and found that increasing red meat intake by more than just half a serving per day was closely associated with an almost 50% increased risk of contracting diabetes over four years.

Removing animal products and shifting to a diet consisting of whole and minimally processed plant foods can reduce the problems created by type 1 and type 1.5 autoimmune diabetes big time. Although there’s no cure for this type of diabetes, the right diet has plenty of benefits. Cyrus Khambatta, PhDwrites that following a low-fat, whole-foods plant-based lifestyle can:

  • Boost insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin use by more than 40 percent after six months.
  • Lead to more predictable blood glucose, making it easier to manage diabetes.
  • Increase blood flow to tissues in the body and reduce the likelihood of diabetes-related nerve damage.
  • Reduce the burden on the kidneys, decreasing the chances of getting kidney disease.

People have also reversed type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet and fasting.

For more on that you can refer to the article linked below:

The Complete Guide To Fasting & Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: A Special Interview With Dr. Jason Fung.

Here are some other related articles you might be interested in as well:

9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

Internal Medicine Physician Shares What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Meat 

Plant-Based Protein VS. Protein From Meat: Which One Is Better For Your Body

Scientist: Milk From Cows Has “The Most Relevant Carcinogen Ever Identified” & “Turns on Cancer”

Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker

Studies Show What Happens To Your Heart When You Go Vegan or Vegetarian

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to recognize that a whole foods, plant-based diet can be life changing. There are a number of studies that have emerged and continue to emerge showing this, while many more show a strong connection between various diseases and eating meat. It makes one ponder, are humans even designed/supposed to eat meat, or has this simply been the tactic of clever marketing by the big food industry? Something to think about.

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Awareness

Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com where it first originally appeared. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    The average American consumes their body weight annually in this cancer-causing substance, and yet hospitals freely feed it to their cancer patients, seemingly oblivious to the harm it does.

Hospitals feed cancer patients sugar and high carbohydrate diets for a simple reason: they are abysmally ignorant of the role of nutrition in health and disease — hence their burgeoning growth, packed rooms, and ‘return customers.’

Even though the science itself shows – at least since the mid-20’s with Otto Warburg’s cancer hypothesis — that tumors prefer to utilize sugar fermentation to produce energy rather than the much more efficient oxygen-based phosphorylation* – hospitals have actually invited corporations like McDonald’s to move into their facilities  to ‘enhance’ their patient’s gustatory experience, presumably to provide comfort and take the edge off of the painful surgery, radiation and chemo treatments erroneously proffered to them as the only reasonable ‘standard of care.’

But the times are changing, with new research requiring these medical institutions to reform their dietary strategies, at least if they wish to claim that their interventions are in fact ‘evidence-based,’ as they so often claim.

Study Reveals Sugar Doesn’t Just Feed But Causes Cancer

A groundbreaking study, uncovered by one of our volunteer researchers at Greenmedinfo, is the first of its kind to identify sugar, not only as fuel source for an already existing cancer, but as a primary driver in oncogenesis – i.e. the initiation of cancerous characteristics (phenotype) within previously healthy cells.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and titled, Increased sugar uptake promotes oncogenesis via EPAC/RAP1 and O-GlcNAc pathways, researchers addressed a common perception (or misperception) in the cancer research community regarding sugar’s relationship to cancer: namely, “increased glycolysis [sugar based metabolism] is frequently viewed as a consequence of oncogenic events that drive malignant cell growth and survival.”

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Contrary to this conventional view, the new study “provide[s] evidence that increased glycolytic activation itself can be an oncogenic event.”  That is to say, the activation of sugar-based metabolism in a cell – driven by both the presence of increased quantities of glucose and the increase glucose receptors on the cell membrane surface (i.e. “overexpression of a glucose transporter”) – drives cancer initiation.

Moreover, the study found that “Conversely, forced reduction of glucose uptake by breast cancer cells led to phenotypic reversion.” In other words, interfering with sugar availability and uptake to the cell causes the cancer cell to REGRESS towards its pre-cancer structure-function (phenotype).

What Are The Implications of This Research to the Diet?

What this new research indicates is that sugar – of which Americans consume an astounding 160 lbs annually (imagine: 31 five-pound bags for each of us!) – is one of the primary causes of metabolic cell changes in the body consistent with the initiation and promotion of cancer. And, the research indicates that removing it from the diet, and depriving the cells of it, could REVERSE cancer. Why is this so surprising? It’s because Americans have been lead like lambs to the slaughter to think of “prevention” as “early detection,” focusing not on identifying and removing the well known nutritional and environmental causes of cancer, rather, to spend their time, energy, and money on cause-marketing campaigns focused on “finding a cure” — as if one didn’t already exist right in front of our noses, or more aptly, on the end of our forks.

Hidden Sugar, Crouching Cancer

It has been estimated by the USDA that the average American consumes 200 lbs of grain products annually. Why is this relevant to the question of sugar in the diet? Because refined carbohydrate products – e.g. crackers, bread, pasta, cereal – are actually ‘hidden’ forms of sugar. In fact, puffed rice causes your blood to become sweeter (and presumably feeds more cancer cells sugar) than white sugar, as it is higher on the glycemic index. Adding the two figures together – annual per capita consumption of sugar and grain-based products – we get a jaw dropping 360 lbs of sugar (both overt (table sugar/high fructose corn syrup) and covert (grain carbs) annually – all of which may contribute to promoting the ideal metabolic situation of cancer cells: aerobic glycolysis.

This is one reason why the ketogenic diet – that is, a fat- and protein-focused diet devoid of carbohydrate, both in simple (sugar) and complex (grain product) form – has been found so useful in the most aggressive of cancers: including brain cancer. Once you ‘pull the rug out’ from under the sugar/carb-craving cancer cells, they are forced to either undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) or re-differentiate back into non-cancerous phenotypes.

If It’s So Bad For Us, Why Do We Eat So Much?

One of the primary reasons why we eat sugar and carbohydrate rich diets is because they are addictive. Within minutes of consuming sugar/carbs our body goes through a neuroendocrine roller coaster. Your brain can not survive very long without glucose, the fundamental energy unit of the cell, and will ‘freak out’ if deprived of a steady stream of this ‘nutrient’ within only 2-3 minutes. The endocrine system, on the other hand, perceives the danger of high sugar – namely, glycation associated damage to protein and lipid structures within the cells of our body; think: blood caramelizing, getting sticky, and gumming up the finely tuned works – and will release hormones such as insulin, adrenaline and cortisol, in order to try to get the elevated sugar in the blood and tissues under control. Insulin forces the sugar into storage within the cell, both as glycogen and as fat, but often does its job too well, causing available glucose levels in the brain to be depleted – setting off a vicious cycle of ’emergency signals’ telling the body to release more cortisol and adrenaline to increase the levels of glucose in the blood. This, of course, will result in additional insulin production and release, causing the same cycle to be repeated over and over again.

This seemingly endless vicious cycle is responsible for the insatiable cravings a high carb/sugar diet generates – not to mention the fructose-based hedonic effects generated in the brain that modulate both opioid and dopamine receptors in the nervous system (not unlike alcohol), and the pharmacologically active peptides in many gluten-containing grains, which also drive addictive behaviors and an almost psychotic fixation on getting carbs at each meal.

No wonder we have an epidemic of cancer in a world where the Westernized diet prevails. Certainly, we do not mean to indicate that a sugar/carb-rich diet is the only cause of cancer. There are many other factors that contribute to cancer initiation and promotion, such as:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • Chronic stress that suppresses the immune system
  • Vaccines containing hidden retroviruses and cancer causing viruses
  • Natural infection with bacteria and viruses that are cancer causing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Insufficient nutrients (lack of methyl donors such as B12, folate, and B6 will prevent the body from ‘turning off’ (methylating) cancer-promoting genes

Even though cancer is a complex, multi-factorial phenomena, with variables we can not always control, one thing we can do is control what goes into our mouth. Sugar, for instance, does not belong there if we truly want to prevent and/or treat cancer.  And don’t forget, carbohydrates that don’t taste sweet on the front end – bread, crackers, cereal – certainly convert to sugar in the body within minutes post-consumption.

In a nutshell, if you are concerned about cancer, have cancer, or would like to prevent recurrence, removing sugar and excess carbohydrates is a must. Not only is it common sense, but it is now validated by experimental research.

Additional Research

Note: another recent study found that Candida albicans (yeast) also contributes to cancer initiation and promotion. C. albicans thrives on sugar, lending additional support to the notion that sugar (consumed excessively) may be a primary driver of the cancer epidemic in those consuming the modern Western diet. For information on sugar alternatives that are not synthetic toxicants like Splenda (sucralose), read my latest article on the topic:  4 Sugar Alternatives That Won’t Poison You.


 *Note: Cancer cells prefer to ferment sugar as a form of energy even when there is sufficient oxygen available to the cells to do so; hence Warburg’s description of cancer metabolism as ‘aerobic glycolysis’ or the so-called ‘Warburg effect’

Originally published: 2017-12-04

Article udpated: 2019-07-19


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Link to the original article

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Alternative News

The Medical Journals’ Sell-Out—Getting Paid to Play

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[Note: This is Part IX in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]

The vaccine industry and its government and scientific partners routinely block meaningful science and fabricate misleading studies about vaccines. They could not do so, however, without having enticed medical journals into a mutually beneficial bargain. Pharmaceutical companies supply journals with needed income, and in return, journals play a key role in suppressing studies that raise critical questions about vaccine risks—which would endanger profits.

Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.

An exclusive and dependent relationship

Advertising is one of the most obviously beneficial ways that medical journals’ “exclusive and dependent relationship” with the pharmaceutical industry plays out. According to a 2006 analysis in PLOS Medicinedrugs and medical devices are the only products for which medical journals accept advertisements. Studies show that journal advertising generates “the highest return on investment of all promotional strategies employed by pharmaceutical companies.” The pharmaceutical industry puts a particularly “high value on advertising its products in print journals” because journals reach doctors—the “gatekeeper between drug companies and patients.” Almost nine in ten drug advertising dollars are directed at physicians.

In the U.S. in 2012, drug companies spent $24 billion marketing to physicians, with only $3 billion spent on direct-to-consumer advertising. By 2015, however, consumer-targeted advertising had jumped to $5.2 billion, a 60% increase that has reaped bountiful rewards. In 2015, Pfizer’s Prevnar-13 vaccine was the nation’s eighth most heavily advertised drug; after the launch of the intensive advertising campaign, Prevnar “awareness” increased by over 1,500% in eight months, and “44% of targeted consumers were talking to their physicians about getting vaccinated specifically with Prevnar.” Slick ad campaigns have also helped boost uptake of “unpopular” vaccines like Gardasil.

Advertising is such an established part of journals’ modus operandi that high-end journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) boldly invite medical marketers to “make NEJM the cornerstone of their advertising programs,” promising “no greater assurance that your ad will be seen, read, and acted upon.” In addition, medical journals benefit from pharmaceutical companies’ bulk purchases of thousands of journal reprints and industry’s sponsorship of journal subscriptions and journal supplements.

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In 2003, an editor at The BMJ wrote about the numerous ways in which drug company advertising can bias medical journals (and the practice of medicine)—all of which still hold true today. For example:

  • Advertising monies enable prestigious journals to get thousands of copies into doctors’ hands for free, which “almost certainly” goes on to affect prescribing.
  • Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.
  • Journals will guarantee favorable editorial mentions of a product in order to earn a company’s advertising dollars.
  • Journals can earn substantial fees for publishing supplements even when they are written by “paid industry hacks”—and the more favorable the supplement content is to the company that is funding it, the bigger the profit for the journal.

Discussing clinical trials, the BMJ editor added: “Major trials are very good for journals in that doctors around the world want to see them and so are more likely to subscribe to journals that publish them. Such trials also create lots of publicity, and journals like publicity. Finally, companies purchase large numbers of reprints of these trials…and the profit margin to the publisher is huge. These reprints are then used to market the drugs to doctors, and the journal’s name on the reprint is a vital part of that sell.”

… however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry.

Industry-funded bias

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), nearly three-fourths of all funding for clinical trials in the U.S.—presumably including vaccine trials—came from corporate sponsors as of the early 2000s. The pharmaceutical industry’s funding of studies (and investigators) is a factor that helps determine which studies get published, and where. As a Johns Hopkins University researcher has acknowledged, funding can lead to bias—and while the potential exists for governmental or departmental funding to produce bias, “the worst source of bias is industry-funded.”

In 2009, researchers published a systematic review of several hundred influenza vaccine trials. Noting “growing doubts about the validity of the scientific evidence underpinning [influenza vaccine] policy recommendations,” the authors showed that the vaccine-favorable studies were “of significantly lower methodological quality”; however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry. The authors commented:

[Studies] sponsored by industry had greater visibility as they were more likely to be published by high impact factor journals and were likely to be given higher prominence by the international scientific and lay media, despite their apparent equivalent methodological quality and size compared with studies with other funders.

In their discussion, the authors also described how the industry’s vast resources enable lavish and strategic dissemination of favorable results. For example, companies often distribute “expensively bound” abstracts and reprints (translated into various languages) to “decision makers, their advisors, and local researchers,” while also systematically plugging their studies at symposia and conferences.

The World Health Organization’s standards describe reporting of clinical trial results as a “scientific, ethical, and moral responsibility.” However, it appears that as many as half of all clinical trial results go unreported—particularly when their results are negative. A European official involved in drug assessment has described the problem as “widespread,” citing as an example GSK’s suppression of results from four clinical trials for an anti-anxiety drug when those results showed a possible increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents. Experts warn that “unreported studies leave an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the risks and benefits of treatments.”

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science.

Debased and biased results

The “significant association between funding sources and pro-industry conclusions” can play out in many different ways, notably through methodological bias and debasement of study designs and analytic strategies. Bias may be present in the form of inadequate sample sizes, short follow-up periods, inappropriate placebos or comparisons, use of improper surrogate endpoints, unsuitable statistical analyses or “misleading presentation of data.”

Occasionally, high-level journal insiders blow the whistle on the corruption of published science. In a widely circulated quote, Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of NEJM, acknowledged that “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” Dr. Angell added that she “[took] no pleasure in this conclusion, which [she] reached slowly and reluctantly” over two decades at the prestigious journal.

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science. In formulaic articles that medical journals are only too happy to publish, the conclusion is almost always the same, no matter the vaccine: “We did not identify any new or unexpected safety concerns.” As an example of the use of inappropriate statistical techniques to exaggerate vaccine benefits, an influenza vaccine study reported a “69% efficacy rate” even though the vaccine failed “nearly all who [took] it.” As explained by Dr. David Brownstein, the study’s authors used a technique called relative risk analysis to derive their 69% statistic because it can make “a poorly performing drug or therapy look better than it actually is.” However, the absolute risk difference between the vaccine and the placebo group was 2.27%, meaning that the vaccine “was nearly 98% ineffective in preventing the flu.”

… the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had ignored important evidence of bias.

Trusted evidence?

In 2018, the Cochrane Collaboration—which bills its systematic reviews as the international gold standard for high-quality, “trusted” evidence—furnished conclusions about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that clearly signaled industry bias. In May of that year, Cochrane’s highly favorable review improbably declared the vaccine to have no increased risk of serious adverse effects and judged deaths observed in HPV studies “not to be related to the vaccine.” Cochrane claims to be free of conflicts of interest, but its roster of funders includes national governmental bodies and international organizations pushing for HPV vaccine mandates as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—both of which are staunch funders and supporters of HPV vaccination. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president is a former top CDC official who served as acting CDC director during the H1N1 “false pandemic” in 2009 that ensured millions in windfall profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Two months after publication of Cochrane’s HPV review, researchers affiliated with the Nordic Cochrane Centre (one of Cochrane’s member centers) published an exhaustive critique, declaring that the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had “ignored important evidence of bias.” The critics itemized numerous methodological and ethical missteps on the part of the Cochrane reviewers, including failure to count nearly half of the eligible HPV vaccine trials, incomplete assessment of serious and systemic adverse events and failure to note that many of the reviewed studies were industry-funded. They also upbraided the Cochrane reviewers for not paying attention to key design flaws in the original clinical trials, including the failure to use true placebos and the use of surrogate outcomes for cervical cancer.

In response to the criticisms, the editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library initially stated that a team of editors would investigate the claims “as a matter of urgency.” Instead, however, Cochrane’s Governing Board quickly expelled one of the critique’s authors, Danish physician-researcher Peter Gøtzsche, who helped found Cochrane and was the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. Gøtzsche has been a vocal critic of Cochrane’s “increasingly commercial business model,” which he suggests is resulting in “stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests.” Adding insult to injury, Gøtzsche’s direct employer, the Rigshospitalet hospital in Denmark, then fired Gøtzsche. In response, Dr. Gøtzsche stated, “Firing me sends the unfortunate signal that if your research results are inconvenient and cause public turmoil, or threaten the pharmaceutical industry’s earnings, …you will be sacked.” In March 2019, Gøtzsche launched an independent Institute for Scientific Freedom.

In 2019, the editor-in-chief and research editor of BMJ Evidence Based Medicine—the journal that published the critique of Cochrane’s biased review—jointly defended the critique as having “provoke[d] healthy debate and pose[d] important questions,” affirming the value of publishing articles that “hold organisations to account.” They added that “Academic freedom means communicating ideas, facts and criticism without being censored, targeted or reprimanded” and urged publishers not to “shrink from offering criticisms that may be considered inconvenient.”

In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists.

The censorship tsunami

Another favored tactic is to keep vaccine-critical studies out of medical journals altogether, either by refusing to publish them (even if peer reviewers recommend their publication) or by concocting excuses to pull articles after publication. In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists. To cite just three examples:

  • The journal Vaccine withdrew a study that questioned the safety of the aluminum adjuvantused in Gardasil.
  • The journal Science and Engineering Ethics retracted an article that made a case for greater transparency regarding the link between mercury and autism.
  • Pharmacological Research withdrew a published veterinary article that implicated aluminum-containing vaccines in a mystery illness decimating sheep, citing “concerns” from an anonymous reader.

Elsevier, which publishes two of these journals, has a track record of setting up fake journals to market Merck’s drugs, and Springer, which publishes the third journal as well as influential publications like Nature and Scientific American, has been only too willing to accommodate censorship requests. However, even these forms of censorship may soon seem quaint in comparison to the censorship of vaccine-critical information now being implemented across social media and other platforms. This concerted campaign to prevent dissemination of vaccine content that does not toe the party line will make it harder than ever for American families to do their due diligence with regard to vaccine risks and benefits.


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