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The Amazing Health Benefits of Dancing

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This article is posted with permission from our friends at Greenmedinfo.comFor more news from them, you can sign up for their newsletter here

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The evidence-based health benefits of dancing are numerous and profound. In fact, if dancing were a drug it would be considered unethical not to use it.

If you already love to dance, you know how easy it is to work up a sweat on the dance floor. Far from the monotony of the treadmill, dancing is an exercise that engages not only the body, but also our creativity and sense of fun. Who knows where a dance will take you? When the music starts playing, it can feel almost like a trance: toes start tapping, hips begin to sway, and before you know it, you are creating your own moves that flow from within—no choreographer needed! Dancing can be a deep release that melts away stress and worry, while simultaneously delivering a great workout. Talk about a win-win!

If you aren’t a dancer, or it’s been years since you have, learning about the amazing health benefits of dancing may be just the inspiration you need to get out on the dance floor! This article explores some of the ways that science has substantiated the mind, body, and quality of life benefits you can gain by adding this exuberant activity to your life.

Dance to Stay Young

As we grow older, we experience an increased risk of age-related cognitive decline, evidenced by the onset of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s in elderly populations. It’s no surprise that the elderly experience the most marked improvements from dance therapy. Considered a “psychosocial” intervention, dancing combines a myriad of benefits into one activity: the mood-elevating effects of increased social interaction, along with improvements in brain function and quality of life.

A recent study[1] published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience has demonstrated that while most forms of exercise slow-down age-related decline, dancing has even more profound benefits. Two test groups were created: one group underwent eighteen months of once-weekly endurance and flexibility training, while the other group learned dance routines. Both groups demonstrated increases in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory, learning, and balance, and most affected by age-related decline. But only the dance group demonstrated noticeable behavior changes like improved balance. Researchers credited the challenging aspects of learning new dances each week to being in a state of continuous learning. Mastering new rhythms, steps, and formations, combined with increased social engagement, provided a boost to brain activity that created additional cognitive benefits for the dance group. Researchers were greatly encouraged by results, calling dancing “a powerful tool to set new challenges for the body and mind, especially in older age.” A new study is being planned to bring the combined power of music and movement to the aid of dementia patients.

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Other important studies on dancing have found additional benefits to cognitive function and quality of life among aging populations. A 2009 study of patients in a dementia care unit showed 67% of patients attending dance sessions with staff members experienced a significant reduction in agitation, one of the primary and most distressing symptoms of dementia. Participants also experienced uplifted mood and increased social bonding, signifying an overall increase in quality of life for these patients. A similar study, conducted in an assisted care home was motivated by the desire to treat depression often witnessed in elderly residents of such facilities. Researchers were seeking treatments that could also potentially improve the lack of desire and motivation that often accompanies depression. This type of layered, psychosocial condition is where therapies involving art can be the most impactful. Researchers noted that dancing sessions allowed residents to express themselves freely and creatively which had measurable impact on self-esteem. Residents also experienced relaxation benefits and emotional upliftment. This study concluded that dancing, along with other art therapies, can significantly improve cognitive functioning as they enhance overall well-being.

Dance to Keep Fit

Dancing for fitness has experienced a cultural boost in the United States thanks to the popularity of TV shows like “Dancing With the Stars,” where viewers watch as their favorite celebrities improve their moves while simultaneously shedding pounds. To witness these cultural icons whom we regard as masters in their respective fields, reduced to clumsy beginners when they attempt to dance is something many of us can relate to. We also get to share in their victories, as hard work and dedication give rise to grace and skill. Not only do many of these celebrities get into the best shape of their lives, they have an amazing time doing it! Their joy and developing confidence is so infectious, America can’t stop watching. The show has become a global phenomenon with audiences and spin-offs in 50 countries.[2] But dancing is not a spectator sport! To experience the benefits, you have to get up, and get down!

While dancing requires a certain level of fitness and athleticism to win competitions, there are no barriers to entry if you want to explore dance movement as a way to improve general health and coordination. In 2014, researchers sought to determine if dance therapy can improve exercise capacity and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure. As compared to control group, dance therapy imparted significant improvements in both overall fitness and quality of life measurements, leading researchers to suggest inclusion of dance therapy in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

What if you don’t have a dance partner, and hesitate to go dancing on your own? Thanks to its growing popularity, there are more options than ever before to find an instructor-led class that appeals to you. Most gyms now offer classes in a variety of dance styles, such as ballet barre, where participants focus on flexibility and strength-building using the classic tools of the ballet. Hip-hop dance classes offer a more free-form way to move. There are dance classes that can help you connect to culture, such as tribal African dance, folk styles, and belly-dancing. Even the non-specific style of aerobic dance that is conducted in classes all over America offers health advantages over jumping on the treadmill. A 2007 study explored the benefits of aerobic dance as compared to a walk-jog exercise program. After eight weeks of engagement, both the aerobic dance group and the walk-jog groups experienced significant fitness benefits over the control group, leading researchers to conclude that an aerobic dance program is an effective alternative to a walk-jog training regime. As with all exercise programs, the key to obtaining optimal results is compliance. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy is the best way to ensure that you stick with it! So if you’re bored with your traditional fitness routine, exploring a style of dance that appeals to you can be just the ticket to reinvigorating your commitment to regular exercise.

Dance to Be Happy

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression.[3] With antidepressant medication use up by more than 400% in the United States,[4] now more than ever, we need natural ways of stimulating “feel-good” hormones in the brain. Perhaps nothing can make a deeper impact on feelings of well-being and contentment than genuinely connecting with other human beings, and coming together through song and dance is one of our oldest human traditions. Dancing with someone lights up areas of the brain that stimulate a sense of oneness and connection, something scientists call “self-other merging.”[5] And researchers are taking note of these therapeutic effects as a potential remedy for depression.

A Korean study on adolescents suffering from depression found that young people who engaged in dance movement therapy reported significantly less psychological distress, and demonstrated improved emotional responses. Neurohormone levels were measured before and after 12 weeks of dance therapy, adding further supportive evidence to these findings. Serotonin concentration increased from dancing, and dopamine levels decreased, suggesting that dance therapy may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system. Researchers concluded that dancing may “beneficially modulate” these important brain chemicals, and improve emotional health in sufferers of depression.

Dancing can provide an emotional boost when experiencing other hardships in life, such as a cancer diagnosis. A pilot research study was conducted in 2005 at two cancer treatment centers, exploring the effects of dance movement therapy on breast cancer survivors in their first five-years post-treatment. Outcomes were based on quality of life measurements, shoulder range of motion, and body image scale. As compared to the non-active group, the dance movement group showed significant quality of life improvements  Shoulder range of motion also improved, as did perception of body image. Researchers stated that “The overall effect of dance training was significant” and larger studies are justified to include dancing as part of the continuum of care for cancer survivors.

The powerful healing effects of music and dancing are not exclusive to the hearing-enabled. A 2002 study sought to understand how dance and other forms of “esthetic education” could influence the socialization of deaf persons. Therapeutic dance instructors applied “choreo-therapy” to young, deaf persons for a period of one-to-three years, and a variety of socialization metrics were recorded. Researchers found that the students “participated with pleasure,” and the longer they danced (in terms of years), the better their social skills became. Motivations for their voluntary participation ranged from a desire to improve health (10% cited), to the opportunities for engagement with instructors (20%), to a sheer love of dance (70%). Improvements in social abilities included development of a more mature outlook, better grades in school, and improved conversational abilities. Students relaxed and became less self-conscious, developed better decision-making skills, and experienced more joy. And if you think that dancing is only for the bold, among these deaf adolescents, only 5% felt tired and discouraged by the activities.

If you are bored with your regular fitness routine, dealing with circumstances that have you feeling down, or you just want to amp-up the joy in your life, dancing is an amazing activity, replete with benefits for mind, body, and soul. It’s something you can do with a partner, in a class led by a qualified instructor, or alone in your room with the radio turned up! Whether you’re dancing fast or slow, alone or with someone, the therapeutic benefits of music, movement, and connection, are free and available to everyone. So turn up the music, and dance your way to a long, healthy, and happy life!

For additional research on the health benefits of dancing visit our database on the subject. 

References

[1] https://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/worldwide/50th-country-strictly

[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

[4] National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2010: With special feature on death and dying. Table 95. Hyattsville, MD. 2011.

[5] Tarr Bronwyn, Launay Jacques, Dunbar Robin I. M. Music and social bonding:“self-other” merging and neurohormonal mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology. Vol.5.2014. pg.1096. https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096. 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096. 1664-1078

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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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Awareness

60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found a high level of Dacthal in non-organic Kale.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we justify the spraying of poison on our food? How does this make any sense? These substances have been linked to several diseases, how are they approved and marketed as safe in many countries? Why are they banned in so many others?

Do you still think organic is not necessary? A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT University, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. This study found a dramatic 90 percent drop in pesticide levels. Both studies used urine samples to measure pesticide accumulation. You can access those studies and read more about them here and here.

A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know that they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses. Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, among many others, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous systems of humans by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.

There is no question or doubt about it, organic food not sprayed with pesticides is much better for our health, and eating organic is a great way to prevent multiple diseases, including cancer. Despite all of the publications and research on this subject, it’s confusing how cancer awareness initiatives continue to focus on raising money without ever addressing the root causes of the disease, one of which is clearly exposure to herbicides and pesticides.

This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advocates buying organic products. Since its inception in 1993, EWG has fought for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. EWG’s very first report in 1993, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress passing the Food Quality Protection Act two years later. They are a well known group of scientists and activists doing great work.

Recently, they discovered that approximately 60 percent of kale samples sold in the United States were contaminated with another carcinogenic pesticide, according to the  EWG’s analysis of the 2017 Department of Agriculture’s test data.

The pesticide is called DCPA, often marketed as Dacthal,  and it’s a substance that the EPA classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995. In 2005, its major manufacturer voluntarily terminated its registration for use on several U.S. crops, including artichokes, beans and cucumbers, after studies found that its breakdown products were highly persistent in the environment and could contaminate drinking water sources. This is why in 2009, the European Union prohibited all uses of Dacthal, enforcing a complete ban on it. With all this being said, the fact remains that it is still used in the U.S. on crops including kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, turnips, and who knows what else.

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Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly. EWG’s new analysis places it third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen™, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. Recent EWG-commissioned tests of kale from grocery stores found that on two of eight samples, Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA.

The USDA has not tested kale for pesticides since 2009, when it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen. Between 2007 and 2012, the acres of kale harvested in the U.S. grew by more than 56 percent, with more than 2.5 times as many commercial farms growing it.

Conventional kale farming relies heavily on the use of several synthetic pesticides, including Dacthal. The EPA’s 1995 classification of it as a possible carcinogen noted increases in liver and thyroid tumors. Dacthal can also cause other kinds of harm to the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid.

According to U.S. Geological Survey data from 2016, about 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was sprayed in the U.S., mostly in California and Washington state. In California, the only state where all pesticide use must be reported, nearly 200,000 pounds were sprayed in 2016.

In states with high Dacthal use, concerns have grown about the capacity of its breakdown products to contaminate surface and groundwater. Not only can Dacthal contaminate areas near its use, but studies indicate it can also travel long distances in the atmosphere as well. (EWG)

You can read more from EWG on the subject here.

The Takeaway

Again, multiple agents can be found on non-organic produce, but this article just outlines one. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether or not you buy your fruits and vegetables organic. If you can afford conventional produce, you can afford organically grown produce as well. One helpful tip is to cut out junk food from your purchases if you have any, and that can make room for organic produce. Another way to look at it is spending the extra few bucks to invest in your health.

It’s unfortunate that organic food is more expensive, especially when organic food in general could be provided to the entire world if we actually utilized our fullest potential. It’s actually cheaper to produces, it’s just that governments subsidize convention farmers, not organic ones. At the end of the day, kale is extremely nutritious. It’s high in vitamins A, K and iron, and consumption of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of various diseases. It’s best if we keep it that way by only growing organic kale.

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