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Research Exposes New Health Risks of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes & Salmon

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This article was written By Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com. For more news from them, you can sign up for their newsletter here

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Just when genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes got their approval by the Cayman Islands and the government of Canada’s Prince Edward Island is trying to approve GM salmon, new research reveals unexpected and potentially dangerous effects of genetic engineering.

Unfortunately, neither the makers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) nor their regulators conduct the studies that are necessary to protect the public. Being bitten by GM mosquitoes and eating GM salmon remains a serious gamble.

The new discomfiting research published in Nature Methods examined the unintended impacts of gene editing on the DNA of mice. Gene editing is touted by its promoters as the safer, more precise version of genetic engineering. The earlier version that was used to create the GM crops we all know about (soy, corn, etc.) forced genetic material from bacteria or viruses into plant DNA. Gene editing, on the other hand, does not necessarily introduce genes from foreign species. Rather, it cuts the DNA in a predetermined location. The cell’s DNA repair mechanisms are then activated to repair the cut.

Of all the gene editing techniques, the one that is easiest, least expensive, and most popular is called CRISPR-Cas9. Proponents claim it is so safe and predictable, it should not be regulated. They want to put their gene-edited products on the market without informing governments or consumers. And they don’t even want it to be called genetic engineering, since consumers have largely weighed in against GMOs. That is why the recent research is so damning.

Gene Editing Creates Predictable Mutations

The tools used for gene editing are designed to recognize and make changes only on specific DNA sequences.  In the Nature Methods research, for example, the engineers designed their tools to fix a defective DNA sequence that could restore sight to blind mice. But the defective DNA sequence that governs sight is also repeated in other places throughout the mouse genome—unrelated to vision. Therefore, the gene editing tools can also make unintended changes in these “off-target” locations.

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The unwanted mutations do not come from cutting the DNA. Rather, they occur when the cut ends are rejoined by the cells’ repair mechanisms. It results in either the loss of some DNA base units or the insertion of a few base units at the cut site.

If the mutation occurs in the middle of a known gene (or in a portion of the DNA that controls a gene) it can severely disrupt its function. Gene editors, therefore, rely on computer models of the genome to identify where the similar sequences are that are likely to become mutated and to predict what level of collateral damage that could create. If the risk is considered low enough, they proceed with editing.

Widespread Unpredicted Mutations Discovered

There is a joke that says molecular biologists don’t understand just two things: molecules and biology. Too often, the complex 3-D world doesn’t cooperate with their computer model predictions. This was again confirmed by the work of Stamford’s Dr. Kellie Schaefer, along with her colleagues from Stamford, Columbia, and the University of Iowa.

Instead of letting the computer guess which off-target changes would take place, Schaefer’s team actually sequenced the genome of the two gene-edited mice after they had undergone CRISPR-Cas9. They did find insertions and deletions (indels), which is the type of mutation that the computer predicts. One mouse had 164 indels; the other 128. But of the top 50 sequences that a computer would identify as most likely to be mutated, none were changed at all. Far more importantly, however, the computer model would totally miss their other finding: point mutations throughout the genome. One mouse had 1,736; the other 1,696.

A point mutation is the replacement of a single nucleotide along the DNA. But don’t let its smallness fool you. These so-called single-nucleotide variants (SNV) can have huge consequences. They can lead to many types of changes, including disease.

According to Dr. Michael Antoniou, a London-based molecular geneticist who routinely uses genetic engineering in his research, “Many of the genome editing-induced off-target mutations [both the point mutations and the indels] . . . will no doubt be benign in terms of effects on gene function. However, many will not be benign and their effects can carry through to the final marketed product, whether it be plant or animal.”  This could translate into possible toxins, allergens, carcinogens, or other changes that could affect those eating a GMO.

Dr. Michael Hansen, a Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, wrote, “While genome editing has been portrayed in the media as an incredibly precise process, where one can go in and literally only intentionally change one or a small number of nucleotide bases, the reality is that there can be large numbers of off-target effects.” He says, “This study raises troubling concerns.”

Another recently published study in Nature Communications used CRISPR/Cas9 to make 17 edits in the mouse genome. They too sequenced the genome and found unexpected insertions and deletions in all 17 places. Whereas deletions of approximately 9 base pairs are predicted, the actual size of the deletions was as high as 600 base pairs. No computer model predicts DNA damage this extensive.

third study published this year also found deletions of more than 500 base units. The researchers also confirmed that proteins produced by these mutated sections were altered. Such changes could theoretically transform a beneficial protein to a harmful one.

Hansen says the long deletions of DNA material “may not be routinely identified without whole genome sequencing.” But whole genome sequencing is rarely done by gene editors. Instead, they rely on their computers.

Even if they did sequence the genome, science doesn’t yet have the capacity to predict what the real-life consequences of all the mutations would be. Therefore, according to Antoniou, “it is also essential to ascertain the effects of these unintended changes on global patterns of gene function.” For this, both Antoniou and Hansen (as well as the National Academy of Sciences and the international standard setting body Codex Alimentarius) agree that the scientists must also analyze the changes in RNA, proteins, and metabolites.

Armed with this data, certain problems would be obvious—an increase of a known allergen or toxin, for example. But even if no red flags are raised at this point, according to Antoniou, “it is still necessary to conduct long-term toxicity studies” using animals. That’s because, once again, science is still not competent to figure out the complex interactions and side effects that can occur.

Antoniou concludes, “In the absence of these analyses, to claim that genome editing is precise and predictable is based on faith rather than science.”

And it is mere faith that supports the claims that GM mosquitoes and salmon are safe. Although they were not produced by the CRISP-Cas9 technique, they are the product of earlier gene-insertion techniques, which are also fraught with unpredictable mutations and altered gene expressions.

Earlier Research Warnings Ignored by GMO Makers

Just because this year’s research on gene editing shows unintended and potentially dangerous side effects does not mean that companies using the technology will change the way they operate. Indeed, back in 1999, a study showed widespread changes in the DNA due to gene insertion; but many GMO companies conveniently ignored the findings and continue to do so.

In that study, scientists studying cystic fibrosis inserted a gene into human cells. Using a microarray, they discovered that the insertion “significantly affect[ed] up to 5% of the total genes in the array.” This means that the presence of a single foreign gene might change the expression of hundreds, possibly thousands of genes. In the case of the human cell being studied, the scientists were at a loss to determine the impact. “In the absence of more biological information,” they wrote, “we cannot discern which directions are better or worse, since any of these may have positive or negative effects.”

Just like the recent gene editing studies, this 1999 discovery contradicted the assumptions of an entire industry, which marched forward on the false assumption that their GMOs were predictable and safe.

The Untested Danger of a GM Mosquito Bite

In January 2014, I testified at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, opposing their planned release of GM mosquitoes. Also testifying was Derric Nimmo, a principal scientist at Oxitec, the UK company that produces the mosquitoes.

Oxitec had already conducted limited releases with millions of Aedis Aegypti mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, Brazil, Panama, and Malaysia. The male insects were engineered to mate with natural females and produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood. Their plan was to reduce the population and thereby reduce the incidence of dengue and other diseases that this type of mosquito carries.

The company had widely publicized that they were only releasing males, which don’t bite. But it turns out that their method of sorting males from females is flawed, and thousands of biting female mosquitoes are released. In addition, their method to create non-viable offspring is also flawed. Between 3%-15% of the offspring survive and prosper. This can easily translate into millions of biting females, born from a genetically engineered family tree.

After the Florida hearing was over, I asked Derric if they ever analyzed the saliva from their GM mosquitoes, since the saliva enters the bloodstream of the people who are bitten. He said that they were just now doing research to see if the protein produced by the inserted gene was found in the saliva.

Realizing that they had already exposed the population of four countries to their mosquito saliva before doing this research, I was unimpressed. Then…

I explained to Derric the findings of the cystic fibrosis study, showing that a single inserted gene can create widespread changes, including new toxins, allergens, or carcinogens. Shouldn’t his company analyze everything in the saliva, I asked? Derric responded, “Good idea.”

ln Derric’s defense, Oxitec is not the only company that is tampering with nature’s gene pool in spite of the fact that it is wholly unprepared and unqualified to do so. Other GMO makers also fail to use the modern molecular profiling techniques that reveal unintended side effects. However, when independent scientists conduct that type of research on GMOs, the results are sobering.

For example, long after Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn had been consumed by hundreds of millions of people, a team led by Dr. Antoniou found more than 200 significant changes in its proteins and metabolites, compared to non-GMO corn of the same variety. Two of the compounds that increased are aptly named putrescine and cadaverine, because they produce the horrific smell of rotting dead bodies. More worrisome; they are also linked to higher risks of allergies and cancer. Another Monsanto GM corn has a new allergen and their cooked soy has up to seven times the level of a known soy allergen, compared to cooked non-GMO soy.

The Typical Biotech Response: Ignore or Attack

If regulators and medical authorities knew in advance that a proposed GMO contained new or higher levels of dangerous allergens, it is unlikely that the GMO would have been introduced. (I’m being optimistic.) But once a GMO variety is released, grown on millions of acres and eaten by millions of people, somehow the crop enjoys a bizarre immunity. Confronted with hard evidence of allergens, GMO makers and government regulators typically ignore the problem. The offending GMOs are still on the market, and they don’t carry any warnings on the package to protect those who might react.

If independent scientists discover an adverse finding that might threaten their bottom line, companies like Monsanto enlist a veritable army of supporters to drum up opposition—often using unscientific excuses that are repeated so often that they appear to be facts.

Two gene-editing companies whose stocks plummeted after the Nature Methods article came out quickly mounted their attack. But according to GMWatch.org, “the findings reported in the article, along with other recent research papers that also report unintended effects of CRISPR gene editing, show that the companies are arguing on the wrong side of the science.”

The main argument used by the company Intellia was that the mutations were not from the gene editing at all. They claim that “the more plausible conclusion is that the genetic differences reflect a normal level of variation between individuals in a colony.” But the scientific literature does not support this conclusion, given that:

  1. Most of the mutations (117 indels and 1397 SNVS) were exactly the same in the two mice. According to GMWatch.org, “This indicates a targeted and non-random process.” If it were “a normal level of variation,” as Intellia insists, there would be much greater difference between the mice.
  2. Another study looked at the genomes of 36 different strains of mice. None of the point mutations that were found in the gene-edited mice were in any of these strains. Thus, they don’t appear to be naturally occurring at all.
  3. In fact, the sheer number of mutations in the edited mice was higher than scientists find among natural strains.

Perhaps the most strained logic used by Intellia to attack the research was that “there is no known mechanistic basis for Cas9 to induce SNVs.” In other words, the journal should not have published research showing unpredicted changes in the DNA simply because no one yet has figured out why those changes take place.

But if these widespread mutations exist in Crispr-Cas9 edited organisms, according to Antoniou they are likely happening with all the new gene editing techniques, which haven’t yet been studied in such detail.

Real Dangers and Perceived Dangers are Both Dangerous

If we apply these lessons to GM mosquitoes, there are serious consequences. If the saliva contains a new toxin or allergen, it might elicit mild or even deadly reactions. Since there are no human clinical trials and no public health surveillance related to the mosquito, the cause of any associated health problems could go unnoticed. It would require a large-scale outbreak of a serious reaction for health authorities to even mount an investigation, let alone consider the mosquito as a potential source.

Whether or not the GM mosquito causes harm, there is another problem that the Cayman authorities have surely overlooked. Suppose a girl who is vacationing on the island has a sudden onset of a serious health issue without an apparent cause. And suppose that her parents notice that she has also been bitten by mosquitoes. Now suppose that they draw the conclusion, correctly or incorrectly, that her condition is caused by the bite of a GM mosquito and that story is picked up by the media.

It doesn’t have to be a prominent media source for it to inspire some supermarket tabloid to dream up alarming headlines about the serious threat to American tourists by deadly engineered mosquitoes. The results could be disastrous for Cayman tourism.

The Cayman government is not only gambling that GM mosquitoes are safe (which cannot be guaranteed at this point), but also that no one draws the conclusion that they got harmed from being bitten by one. Who would want to vacation on an island where a mosquito bite could lead to who knows what?

It’s the who-knows-what that is the main point here. No one knows. But now that we understand that the generic genetic engineering process that created the mosquito also creates unpredictable and potentially dangerous changes, who in their right mind would release them? Oxitec would, obviously. And they still haven’t published any research on the composition of their GM mosquito saliva.

Oxitec is also planning to release genetically engineered moths in upstate New York. The male moths, like the mosquitoes, mate with natural females and produce larvae that don’t make it to maturity. But that larvae will inevitably be deposited into cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. What if the genetic engineering process alters the larvae and creates a toxin or allergen? Eating that vegetable might trigger a reaction. And just like the mosquito bite, it would be hard to trace, and the perception of harm (real or unreal) could damage produce sales from regions near the moths’ release.

Oxitec is owned by Intrexon, which also owns AquaBounty—the maker of GM salmon. The research on the salmon did show indications of off-target effects, with higher amounts of a cancer promoting hormone (IGF-1) and larger allergenic potential. But the number of fish used in the study was so small that the changes were not statistically significant. On behalf of Consumers Union, Hansen wrote to the FDA, “Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate, we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Instead of approving this product, FDA should be requiring studies with data from many more engineered fish, not the tiny sample of six fish on which it currently bases its conclusions. Unfortunately, even the data from those six fish raises concerns.” The FDA did not heed Hansen’s warning and instead approved the salmon for consumption.

At this point, there are no comprehensive analyses or feeding studies on any of these Intrexon GMOs. Their release might not only affect human health, they can permanently alter the gene pool. If the salmon escape confinement into the ocean, if the surviving GM mosquitoes or moths persist, there is no technology on earth to recall them. Any side effect can be with us for generations.

Although GMO companies like to argue that GMOs with built-in sterility will not persist in the environment. Given the fact that a percentage can survive, however, their argument is deceptive. In addition, studies confirm that after several generations, genetically engineered traits in insects can fail. A recent study, for example, showed that newly introduced traits in engineered mosquitoes failed in just 25 generations.

Intrexon can’t pretend it doesn’t know about the dangers and problems with genetic engineering technology, both real and perceived. Robert Shapiro has been on their board since 2011. He was the CEO of Monsanto who arranged to fast track the release of GMOs into the food supply. Monsanto inserted the company’s attorney into the FDA, where he pioneered the policy that allows GMOs onto the market without a single adequate safety study. Since then, numerous studies have pointed to serious health impacts, all of which are ignored or attacked.

Many of us who study the research on GMOs are convinced that they contribute to rising disease rates in the US. But even if we’re wrong, no one can pretend that the GMOs have been safe for the economy. All over the world and especially in the US, consumer rejection of GMOs has exacted a heavy economic toll on food companies and agribusiness.

But even if the regulators in the Cayman Islands and Prince Edward Island are ignoring the trends, others are wising up. According to Friends of the Earth, “more than 79 grocery retailers with more than 11,000 stores have now made commitments to not sell the GMO salmon,” if it gets introduced into the market. Major brands are already racing to eliminate derivatives of GM crops, even advertising on TV that their products are non-GMO. And many countries and regions that had considered Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes have said no and are opting for safer alternatives. And as long new studies continue to demonstrate serious unpredicted side-effects from genetic engineering, more consumers will take the necessary precautions.

The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey Smith’s meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Mr. Smith’s feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette — The Gamble of Our Lives was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide).

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Institutional Inertia: Is Enough Being Done to Protect Children from Aluminum Toxicity?

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Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. For most of human history, aluminum was not bioavailable; however, it became so in the late 1880s when chemists developed and patented the smelting process that helped turned the metal into the fixture of modern life—and the omnipresent “ecotoxin”—that it is today. Roughly 130 years later, it is no exaggeration to say that aluminum has become an active (albeit unhelpful) “participant in human evolution.”

The scientist citing aluminum’s outsized biological influence—Professor Chris Exley of the United Kingdom’s Keele University—is one of the world’s foremost aluminum experts. He points out that because aluminum exposure is largely insidious, complacency about aluminum’s effects persists despite the nearly universal body burden that human beings now carry. While the metal’s effects appear to be “invariably deleterious,” variables such as age and gender also shape vulnerability. Infants in their first year of life are particularly susceptible to aluminum bioaccumulation, raising concerns about the high levels of absorbable aluminum reported in infant formula and in the parenteral (intravenous) nutrition solutions given to premature babies. Suggesting that these reports represent the “tip of an iceberg,” one group of researchers cautions that not only does aluminum constitute a “significant component of newborns’ exposure to xenobiotics and contaminants,” but the consequences of aluminum overload in the perinatal period can have pathological consequences that persist into adulthood.

Two routes of early exposure

Studies documenting aluminum contamination of infant formula date as far back as the mid-1980s, and many have recommended doing something about it. Yet, a quarter of a century later, when Professor Exley and a coauthor examined the aluminum content of fifteen leading brands of formula, they found that 2010 levels remained virtually unchanged—and were about 10 to 40 times higher than the amount of aluminum in human breast milk. Depending on the brand, the aluminum content ranged from 200 to 700 micrograms per liter of formula—the equivalent of up to 600 micrograms ingested per day based on standard formula intake. At these levels, a healthy six-month-old boy weighing 7.9 kilograms would take in almost 80 micrograms of aluminum per kilogram per day (μg/kg/day), far in excess of the maximum daily dose of 4 to 5 μg/kg/day recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of “accumulation and toxicity.”

One out of every 10 U.S. infants is born preterm, and the preterm birth rate has risen every year since 2015. These premature babies face a particularly elevated risk of “systemic aluminum intoxication.” Due to the immaturity of their gastrointestinal (GI) system, it is common practice to administer nutrients parenterally, sometimes for weeks on end. However, parenteral nutrition (PN) solutions exhibit the same “unresolved” (and decades-old) aluminum toxicity problems as infant formula. One study reported that keeping within the FDA’s recommended aluminum limit of no more than 5 μg/kg/day would only be “feasible” in PN patients weighing 50 or more kilos—and most preterm infants weigh well under three kilograms at birth. Even worse, after premature infants leave the hospital, they often transition to a diet of aluminum-containing formula.

Infants—including preemies—are more vulnerable to aluminum toxicity than adults for several reasons. First, infants have a blood-brain barrier that is highly susceptible to disruption by drugs and toxins. Second, infants lack adequate GI protection, and oral ingestion of aluminum worsens the problem by damaging gut homeostasis (to the point that researchers consider it a risk factor for various inflammatory bowel diseases). Third, whereas the kidney is the organ that the body relies on to excrete aluminum (both ingested and intravenous), the neonate’s kidney is “functionally immature,” making aluminum accumulation “inevitable.” Even in adults with normal kidney function, studies show that only 30% to 60% of the PN aluminum load gets excreted, resulting in build-up of aluminum in the bones and tissues (notably the brain, liver and kidney).

Inertia and its consequences

Taking stock of manufacturer inertia with regard to infant formula’s aluminum content, Professor Exley speculated in 2010 that manufacturers either are failing to monitor their products’ aluminum content or “are not concerned at these levels of contamination.” In either case, he notes, manufacturers have little excuse for their inaction: “Manufacturers of infant formulas have been made fully aware of the potentially compounded issue of both the contamination by aluminium and the heightened vulnerability, from the point of view of a newborn’s developing physiology, of infants fed such formulas.”

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Early exposure to high levels of aluminum can have varied harmful effects, increasing children’s longer-term disease susceptibility as well as contributing to conditions such as uremia (a type of kidney disease), bone disorders and neurologic disorders, among others. A study that followed preterm infants for 15 years into adolescence found that the teens who had been exposed to parenteral aluminum had reduced bone mass in the lumbar spine and hips—risk factors for later hip fractures and osteoporosis.

Other routes of exposure

Infant formula and PN are not babies’ only routes of exposure to high levels of aluminum. Studies point to possible toxic effects for the embryo and fetus (including effects on fetal metabolism) resulting from maternal use of antacids and other aluminum-containing pharmaceutical products. Moreover, common components of a pregnant woman’s diet (such as the citric acid found in fruit) increase absorption of the aluminum in these products.

Aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are another significant source of early exposure. Young children receive multiple aluminum-containing vaccines in their first three years, and more as adolescents. A two-month-old infant may receive up to 1,225 micrograms of aluminum from the vaccines administered at a single well-baby visit and a cumulative 4,925 micrograms by 18 months of age. Regulators have never properly assessed these astronomical levels of aluminum for safety. Co-exposure to aluminum and mercury (still present in influenza vaccines) makes matters synergistically worse.

Injection as the route of exposure is another important consideration. Toxicologists note that “Depending on the type and route of exposure,” aluminum clearance may have multiple half-lives estimated in hours, days—or years. Evidence indicates that the body does not easily eliminate vaccine forms of aluminum, which can make their way into the brain; in fact, manufacturers have expressly designed the aluminum used in vaccines to provide “long-lasting cellular exposure.”

In 2018, Exley published another groundbreaking study that confirmed the presence of consistently high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Other studies have linked aluminum to autism severity. In a recent letter published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology by an independent scientist, the writer describes three converging lines of evidence supporting a link between aluminum adjuvants (Al-adjuvants) and ASD: ecological correlations of vaccination and aluminum adjuvants; experiments in mice; and the discovery of aluminum in ASD brains. He concludes:

While there may certainly be not enough “hard data” evidence to claim that Al-adjuvants in vaccines are responsible for ASD, there is even less evidence supporting the opposite conclusion that Al-adjuvants are completely safe to use without any long-term downfall.

Banishing complacency

Thus far, regulators and manufacturers—whether of infant formula, PN solutions, vaccines or other aluminum-containing products—have been largely tone-deaf to the crescendo of studies pointing to aluminum toxicity in the very young (or, for that matter, in individuals across the life span). Among those sounding the alarm, many have taken pains to distance themselves from conceding the potential risks of aluminum adjuvants, cavalierly dismissing the aluminum in vaccines as a “relatively small amount.” Even without accounting for adjuvant risks, though, aluminum experts recognize the importance of banishing complacency. Reducing “aluminum-related human pathology, not only in neonates but even in children and adults,” they admit, is also likely to contribute to “the prevention of the epidemic increase of neurodegenerative diseases of elderly people.”

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Awareness

50 Things You Could Be Doing Instead Of Staring At A Screen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The average adult spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of a screen while at home.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of our screen time is providing value to our lives? Is our screen time benefiting us or taking time away from doing what we love and spending real, quality time connecting with friends and family?

There is no doubt about it, screens have become a central part of many of our lives. From the moment we wake up and turn off our alarms and do a quick check of Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter notifications, email, and other apps — screens have the capacity to suck us in, right from the start of the day. The act of checking our screens has become so common nowadays that many of us spend the majority of our waking lives staring at various screens including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

There are some people who argue that before smartphones and tablets, it was the television set, and before that, the radio, and before that, the newspaper. However, we can’t ignore the fact that it is currently an epidemic, as many people (myself included at times) are so sucked into this virtual reality, they do not realize that it is a potentially harmful addiction.

Some believe that this type of technology is just a natural part of human evolution and that in may ways it benefits our lives. To a degree, this is true, as there are many amazing perks of technology and it absolutely can be used to benefit our lives — being able to access any information we are seeking, learning a new language, instrument, or practically anything we want, attending online courses, webinars or education programs, connecting with loved ones that are far way. But really think about your screen time and how it’s spent. Is it benefiting your life in any way? Or is it a compulsive habit? Whenever you have a spare moment–waiting in line, in an elevator, whenever you feel that you are bored–is that when you reach for your phone? Are you mindlessly scrolling through your Newsfeed, photofeed or Twitter feed? Potentially comparing your life to others, getting lost looking at the pictures from people you hardly know? Obsessing over celebrities and “influencers” that actually provide no value to your life? Sometimes we might have the T.V. on, watching a show, whilst at the same time mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. This is a double screen-time wham-o! Essentially getting lost in whatever is available to take you away from yourself and basically inhibit your ability to give love, care and attention to yourself.

We Are Wasting Valuable Time

Many of us, again often including myself, have dealt with a deep dissatisfaction with our lives — maybe we are not happy with our careers or our relationships, or perhaps we lack purpose, passion and drive. Yet, instead of doing something that could benefit ourselves, we instead choose to escape those feelings. We reach for our screens in a desperate attempt to get our next “fix,” our dopamine hit that gives us temporary relief from our dissatisfaction with our lives. This IS an addiction and it is important to be aware of that. What would happen if instead, we leaned into our feelings of discomfort and spent time in deep reflection about what is working in our lives and what’s not?

Using Tech To Help Moderate Our Use Of Tech

A great tool for me has been an app called “Moment” that basically tracks your screen time and how much time has been spent on each app. Without consciously trying to change your screen time habits, I challenge you to download this app and check out your screen time at the end of each day. Much like I was, you may be surprised to learn how much time you might be completely throwing away on social media.

After all, “Lost time is never found again.”

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If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “Well, what the heck else am I supposed to be doing?” And you may still enjoy spending some time on social media, but as with pretty much everything else in life, moderation is key! You may want to try setting a daily limit for screen time for yourself and sticking to it. If you can’t, then you know you may have a problem worth exploring.

50 Things You Can Do Instead Of Staring At A Screen

Below I have provided a list of 50 things you could be doing instead of scrolling or staring at a screen. While some of these are going to seem extremely obvious, you may not always think of them when you are sucked into the glowing light of a screen. This is meant to be a quick reference, it may be even beneficial to print this list off or copy it onto a physical piece of paper so that you ironically don’t need a screen to view it.

  1. Read a book
  2. Read a magazine
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Go for a hike
  5. Clean out your closet
  6. Write in your journal
  7. Play an instrument
  8. Play with your pet
  9. Practice a new language
  10. Listen to a podcast
  11. Draw a picture
  12. Paint a picture
  13. Literally sit and do nothing
  14. Meditate
  15. Stretch
  16. Do yoga
  17. Go to the gym
  18. Workout from home
  19. Call up a friend (use headphones or speakerphone to chat)
  20. Write a letter you intend to send
  21. Write a letter you don’t intend to send
  22. Plan out tasks you intend to accomplish within the next week
  23. Bake something
  24. Cook something
  25. Meet a friend for tea
  26. Play a board game or cards
  27. Go swimming
  28. Do a massage exchange with a friend
  29. Redecorate your home
  30. Give yourself an opportunity to really feel your feelings
  31. Notice the urge to reach for your phone
  32. Practice grounding
  33. Volunteer your time
  34. Go to a comedy show
  35. Listen to music
  36. Color
  37. Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for
  38. Go to the library
  39. Try something new
  40. Sit in quiet reflection
  41. Study something that sparks your interest using books
  42. Get clear on your vision for the next 5 years of your life
  43. Go to a Meetup group
  44. Dance around your living room
  45. Practice eye-gazing with yourself in the mirror, or with someone else
  46. Clean out your fridge
  47. Take a cold shower
  48. Have a bath
  49. Downsize your belongings
  50. Repair something that is broken

Bonus* Make a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do, but felt like you haven’t had the time.

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Reasons Why Many People Refuse The Flu Shot: Facebook Has No Right Censor This Information

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Despite the fact that Facebook and other platforms like Google are censoring important information pertaining to vaccines, science is science and should be made freely available. Studies show that the flu vaccine is not really effective.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are terms like "anti-vax" and ridicule used by advocates of vaccines instead of simply addressing and countering the points made by vaccine safety advocates?

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook is censoring information and articles about vaccines that are “anti-vax” or information that in some way paint vaccines in a harmful light. This is extremely concerning, because there are a number of experts in the field, doctors and scientists, who have been publishing research in several peer-reviewed journals that do bring up concerns about vaccines. It’s simply facts, information and science, yet it’s still being censored which makes no sense.

Why is Facebook limiting the reach of posts and articles that are presenting peer-reviewed science and the view-points and research of medical health professionals and scientists? Is it because Facebook’s ‘fact checkers’ are funded by big pharmaceutical interests? An important question to ask. FakeNews watchdog NewsGuard aims to hold independent media accountable for their stories. Funded by Clinton donors and big pharma, with ties to the CFR, NewsGuard seems to have a clear agenda in favour of mainstream media. That’s one example, and  you can read more about that here. Why does mainstream media always use ridicule and terms like “anti-vax” instead of simply addressing and countering the concerns made by vaccine safety advocates, like the points presented in this article?

When it comes to the flu vaccine specifically, Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot. I think many of you it’s been recommended to you that you get the flu shot, I don’t know if you’re aware of the fact, the CDC statistics are, that every year they look at vaccine effectiveness, for this particular year the vaccine effectiveness is 48 percent, so that means it’s not highly effective. It’s not even all that effective, if you look at the scientific literature…the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine is moderate to weak. It is not strong evidence. They say the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine to people over the age of 65 is not there, it’s inconclusive. So a lot of the things we’ve been told as Americans about vaccinations are not really based on the science. (source)

Here’s a great video of Doctor Toni Bark, who has been the medical director for various departments and hospitals, explaining why vaccines are not a one size fits all product. Here’s another one of Dr. Mary Holland, who is a professor at New York University School of Law. This is evident when one examines the The National Childhood Vaccine Injury (NCVIA), because it’s already paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

 If the numbers from VAERS and HHS are correct – only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported and only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated – then up to 99% of vaccine injuries go unreported and the families of the vast majority of people injured by vaccines are picking up the costs, once again, for vaccine maker’s flawed products. Furthermore, this act safeguards pharmaceutical companies from harm, meaning that they cannot be sued or blamed, nor held accountable for their productscausing injury. Therefore, vaccines are a liability free product that are being mandated on children, the manufacturers have no incentive to make a safe product.

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What We Did As A Result of Censorship

Facebook is blocking many of our posts from our own audience, Youtube demonetized us and many articles like this particular one, will be labelled and are labelled as “fake news.” As a result, in order to (attempt to) stay alive and continue doing what we do, we created a platform called CETV. It’s away for people to access information without organizations like Google or Facebook stepping in to censor it. You can sign up for your free trial  if you’re interesting in browsing through what we have, and if you’re interested in supporting us you can get a monthly/yearly subscription after that if you want to continue. In one of our latest episodes, CE founder Joe martino and I discuss the flu vaccine. Below is a brief clip of the episode, again, you can sign up for a free trial to watch the full episode.

More Important Info About The Flu Shot & Why Some People Are Refusing it

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

He goes on to state:

But perhaps the cleverest aspect of the influenza marketing strategy surrounds the claim that “flu” and “influenza” are the same. The distinction seems subtle, and purely semantic. But general lack of awareness of the difference might be the primary reason few people realize that even the ideal influenza vaccine, matched perfectly to circulating strains of wild influenza and capable of stopping all influenza viruses, can only deal with a small part of the “flu” problem because most “flu” appears to have nothing to do with influenza. Every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory specimens are tested across the US. Of those tested, on average 16% are found to be influenza positive. (fig 2).⇓ All influenza is “flu,” but only one in six “flus” might be influenza. It’s no wonder so many people feel that “flu shots” don’t work: for most flus, they can’t.

After reading this paper, a great quote from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comes to mind:

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmaceutical companies mount an aggressive campaign in the mainstream media to persuade Americans to get their flu shots. Flu shots are big business: industry analysts estimate that within the next five years, the U.S. flu vaccine market will be worth almost $3 billion annually. And profit margins are growing as manufacturers increase price premiums for the newer four-strain vaccines. The U.S. expects to distribute roughly 166 million doses for the 2017-18 flu season, up from 146 million doses in the previous year. As pharmaceutical companies bombard American consumers with ubiquitous billboards, drugstore enticements and radio announcements to “get your flu shot now,” the CDC has advised the industry to hike demand through the use of a “recipe” of scare-mongering messaging. (See Figure 1) CDC recommends “creating concern, anxiety and worry” among the American public. (source)

Mercury (Thimerosal) Is Still In Flu Vaccines

Thimerosal-containing flu vaccines contain 250 times the mercury level the EPA uses to classify hazardous waste. Unused thimerosal-containing flu vaccine should be returned to the manufacturer for appropriate disposal. (source)

Ethylmercury is still used as an ingredient inside many flu vaccines. The CDC claims that it’s safe, and it exits the body and has published a handful of studies suggesting this, but they do not demonstrate that the mercury actually exists the body and does no harm. Meanwhile, on the other hand there are well over 100 studies raising various concerns when it comes to Ethylmercury, and not one that can clearly demonstrate that it’s safe to inject into people, let alone little children.

For example, a study published in Biomedical Research International explains:

There are over 165 studies that have focused on Thimerosal, an organic-mercury (Hg) based compound, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, and found it to be harmful. Of these, 16 were conducted to specifically examine the effects of Thimerosal on human infants or children with reported outcomes of death; acrodynia; poisoning; allergic reaction; malformations; auto-immune reaction; Well’s syndrome; developmental delay; and neurodevelopmental disorders, including tics, speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder, and autism.

Again, it’s one of many, another concern, as stated in this study published in the Journal of Toxicology is that”Ethylmercury is a lipophilic cation which can cross the blood-brain barrier”

This is why a number of studies, like this one published in Neurochemical research, emphasize that “Abating Mercury Exposure In Young Children Should Include Thimerosal-Free Vaccines.”

 Dr. Christopher Exley, a professor at Keele university who is simply studying the bioaccumulation of injected aluminum, has made some interesting discoveries.  But first, let’s look at  study in 2015 emphasized:

Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph nodes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term.

Furthermore, in 2018, a paper published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry found that almost 100 percent of the intramuscularly injected aluminum in mice as vaccine adjuvants was absorbed into the systemic circulation and traveled to different sites in the body such as the brain, the joints, and the spleen, where it accumulated and was retained for years post-vaccination. (source)

Aluminum is not in the flu vaccine, but it’s interesting to look at what happens to it when it’s injected, because strong evidence suggests that it crosses the blood brain barrier. The CDCs claims that the mercury contained in flu vaccines exits the body isn’t backed up by research, furthermore, they don’t specify the differences that may come about from mercy that we inject, compared to mercury that we ingest. This is why I’m using the aluminum example here.

Exley has been interviewed multiple times about this subject, and many studies and his research point to the same findings: Aluminum in vaccines does not exit the body, and it has been linked to multiple diseases, which can develop immediately post-injection or up to decades later in life for certain neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

study by Exley and his team published in 2018 should have made headlines everywhere, as it discovered historically high amounts of aluminum in autistic brains. The study was conducted by some of the world’s leading scientists in the field.

We have looked at what happens to the aluminum adjuvant when it’s injected and we have shown that certain types of cells come to the injection site and take up the aluminum inside them. You know, these same cells we also see in the brain tissue in autism. So, for the first time we have a link that honestly I had never expected to find between aluminum as an adjuvant in vaccines and that same aluminum potentially could be carried by those same cells across the blood brain barrier into the brain tissue where it could deposit the aluminum and produce a disease, Encephalopathy (brain damage), it could produce the more severe and disabling form of autism. This is a really shocking finding for us. Exley. (Taken from a video interview with him that’s found in this article)

Dr. Christopher Shaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia said of his study titled “Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration,” that it simply triggered silence from the federal health regulatory agencies who largely ignored it, despite the fact that “massive damage to motor neurons” were found in mice. (source) The point is, there is a large body of evidence showing that injected aluminum doesn’t exit the body, but travels to distant organs and eventually ends up in the brain.

So what are we to think about mercury? Why haven’t our federal health regulatory agencies tested this?

As you can see, concerns with vaccinations exist and they should not be censored.

The Takeaway

We are living in an age where access to information is becoming extremely limited. Independent media outlets that present information and evidence, no matter how well sourced, are being blocked and threatened by social media platforms like Facebook and organizations like Google if the narrative threatens various corporate and political agendas. This censorship should serve humanity, and play a role in waking up even more people as to just how wrong this is, clearly, there are many people out there who are feeling threatened by organizations that share credible information that threatens their interests. At the end of the day, truth cannot be stopped and will continue to leak out on various topics. When it comes to vaccines, science, and the questioning of vaccine safety should obviously encouraged, and not shunned.

Highly Recommended: Flu Vaccine Facts: What You Need to Know for 2018-19

The End of Censorship! CETV App Now Available!

We are standing up for ourselves like never before, and there is nothing the mainstream media and cabal can do to stop us from helping the planet awaken and shift consciousness.

CETV is our platform beyond censorship! Access our news broadcasts, exclusive interviews and original shows We're celebrating our iOS and Android app release with a 50% OFF SALE!

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