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Why Flying Should Come With A Health Warning

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Did you know that the air you breathe on a commercial airliner comes directly from the engine, complete with engine oil, lubricants and hydraulic fluid? A new study confirms the link between contaminated cabin air and aerotoxic syndrome. Learn what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

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If you don’t feel well after air travel, it might be more than simple jet lag. From the parking garage to the baggage carousel, your body undergoes a fusillade of toxic assaults. You may eat toxic food, drink toxic water, and touch contaminated surfaces—and then your body is bombarded by body scanners, Wi-Fi and cosmic radiation.

On top of all that, the air in the airplane is toxic.

For six decades, the airline industry has turned a blind eye to the adverse health effects of contaminated cabin air. Since warm air is needed for both engine propulsion and human respiration, aircraft manufacturers decided decades ago to combine the two by bringing air through the engine to heat it, then bleeding it directly into the cabin—unfiltered. This air brings with it a toxic mix of engine oil, lubricants, and various hydrocarbons. As noted by US Attorney Alisa Brodkowitz, the only air filters are the lungs of passengers and crew.

Modern aircraft have no chemical sensors—save for the noses of the humans onboard. Background levels of contamination are sometimes but not always detectable by smell, and not all incidents are recorded in flight logs or reported to aviation authorities.

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Engine oils leak into the air supply, by design. Their chemical signature is regularly found in aircraft cabins and cockpits. Repeated exposures have created a new occupational disease called “Aerotoxic Syndrome” suffered by pilots, flight attendants and other crew—and unfortunately, some passengers as well. Extensive evidence confirms that frequent exposures are occurring, and health and flight safety are being compromised.

The role bleed air plays in the reported illnesses has been the subject of much debate, but a study recently published by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides solid evidence that contaminated cabin air is making people sick. The study took an in-depth look at the effects of “contaminated air events” (aka fume events) on the health of aircrew to determine whether reported symptoms are consistent with exposure to pyrolysed (decomposed due to heating) jet engine oil and other fluids, or if the symptoms could be attributed to other factors. Researchers concluded the following:[i]

A clear cause and effect relationship has been identified linking the symptoms, diagnoses and findings to the occupational environment. Recognition of this new occupational disorder and a clear medical investigation protocol are urgently needed.

A Flying “Gas Chamber”

Exposure to extreme temperatures produces a wide range of toxic compounds. Jet exhaust, and therefore cabin air, are tainted with petrochemicals, carbon monoxide, ozone, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, deicing agents, hydraulic fluid—and even fecal matter and pesticides.[ii][iii] [iv] In terms of Aerotoxic Syndrome, the most significant players appear to be the organophosphates, which will be my focus in this article.

All aircraft engines leak oil. Jet engines require synthetic oils for lubrication, and these oils contain chemicals such as tricresyl phosphate (TCP), which contains several compounds, one of which is tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (TOCP). TCP is an organophosphate with known neurotoxic effects in the same category as sarin gas. TCP and other noxious agents are sometimes odorless—so you may not know you’re inhaling them, which makes them all the more dangerous.[v] According to the WHO study:

Transient, low-level oil leakage over the engine oil seals into the aircraft air supply occurs during normal flight operations, with less frequent, higher level leakage under certain operational conditions (e.g. seal wear or seal failure). The use of pressurized air from the engine compressor to both seal the oil-bearing chamber and supply cabin bleed air provides a mechanism for low-level oil leakage in routine engine operations.

While many experts have suggested that oil leakage is associated only with rare failure events, others now recognize that chronic exposure is caused by the so-called tiny amounts of oil vapors released by oil leaking continuously over the seals during engine power changes.

Most medical practitioners are unaware of Aerotoxic Syndrome. Sufferers are misdiagnosed with a variety of other illnesses that miss the root of the problem and result in inappropriate treatments. The prime suspect for Aerotoxic Syndrome is TCP, which is found in 25 to 100 percent of in-flight air samples.[vi]TBP (tributyl phosphates) are found in 73 percent of flights, and triphenyl phosphate metabolites have been found in 100 percent of urine samples.

It is believed the primary effects of TCP come from its disruptions of acetylcholine metabolism. Acetylcholine is a natural neurotransmitter found in your central and peripheral nervous system. Neurotransmitters normally have a short half-life because they are rapidly degraded by enzymes, preventing their build-up. When organophosphates in bleed air impede the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, the resulting increase in acetylcholine overstimulates acetylcholine receptors, giving rise to central and peripheral nervous system symptoms.

High TCP exposure is known to cause neuropathy, paralysis, and damage to myelin sheaths, similar to what happens with multiple sclerosis. Symptoms can present immediately or be delayed by a couple of weeks, with varying severity. Symptoms can be triggered by higher-dose episodes (fume events), as well as low level exposures associated with routine air travel. Even the smallest dose can produce symptoms in susceptible individuals, depending on factors such as previous exposure history, genetics, age, overall health and ability to detox. Chronic effects are common.

The relationship between toxic inhalants and reported symptoms has been difficult to establish for a number of reasons. Another problem is that toxicants cause a wide range of symptoms that are not always easy to connect to exposure, made even more challenging if the effects are delayed.

Aerotoxic Syndrome symptoms can mimic other conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), mold toxicity, chronic infections, drug reactions, “sick building syndrome,” chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS)—making identification a challenge. Many aerotoxicity victims describe feeling like “zombies” or perpetually intoxicated.

Medical investigation of Aerotoxic Syndrome should focus on organophosphate poisoning, as many of its symptoms are typical of poison-induced neurological injuries. Aerotoxic Team provides a list of jet fluid compounds that have been detected in crews’ body fluids, and these specific compounds should be included in any lab analysis for toxic exposures, along with the more common toxins (pesticides, heavy metals, etc.). There is also a specialized hair analysis kit that checks for organ contamination from jet-oil TCP and five compounds, also available through the Aerotoxic Team website.[vii] The test must be performed within three to four months of exposure.

The ten most common acute and chronic health effects noted in the WHO study are listed below.

1.    Breathing problems

2.    Impaired cognition, memory and performance

3.    Headaches

4.    Vision problems

5.    Nausea

6.    Fatigue

7.    Nerve problems

8.    Dizziness

9.    Cardiovascular

10. Cold/flu like feelings

An Epidemic of Underreporting

All current transport aircraft use the bleed air system to provide cabin ventilation, except for the newest airliner, the Boeing 787. Boeing’s “Dreamliner” incorporates bleedless technology using fresh air drawn in through inlets at the wing roots. You might think this would be a great selling point for Boeing’s new jet—but they do not feature the airliner’s “clean air design” in its marketing copy. Why?

Bringing attention to this feature would shine the spotlight squarely on the widespread air quality problems characterizing all of its OTHER aircraft. There are about 19,000 airliners currently in operation, and just over 280 are 787’s. Based on that statistic, we can conclude that only about 1.5 percent of transport aircraft are safe to fly.

The fact that Boeing redesigned the 787’s ventilation represents a tacit acknowledgment of the industry-wide problem of contaminated air and is one step toward a permanent solution. However, the vast majority of aircraft are still in the technological dark ages, with public awareness of health risks only starting to emerge.

Jet engine chemicals are routinely found in the blood of pilots.[viii] As I’m sure you would agree, compromising the neurological fitness of pilots should be taken as seriously as a mechanical defect in the plane—after all, pilots are essential to keeping our planes safely in the air. It is inexcusable for the industry to continue ignoring this problem.

It will be consumers and non-governmental advocacy organizations, such as those listed at the end of this article, that will force the industry and its regulators to make this issue a priority. If just one airline in this country took measures toward addressing the problem, it would see huge support by an increasingly educated consumer base—and that’s you and those with whom you share this article! Short of redesigning existing aircraft, the Aerotoxic Association proposes the following solutions:[ix]

  • As bleed air is not presently filtered, installation of bleed air filtration systems would eliminate the problem, although a technically efficient system has not yet been developed.
  • The French oil company NYCO has developed a less toxic formulation, which has recently been introduced to the EasyJet aircraft fleet—a step in the right direction.
  • Chemical sensors to detect contaminated air in the bleed air supply would alert pilots to a problem allowing for prompt intervention, as confirmed by a 2017 study.[x]

Until the airlines implement some greatly-overdue changes, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from exposure to toxic inhalants when you fly. At the top of the list is wearing an appropriate mask.

Travel Masks Can Be a Lifesaver for Your Family

There are many kinds of masks on the market that can protect you from air pollution. The Aerotoxic Association has a page about masks specifically geared for airline travel, with the following guidelines:[xi]

If you are looking for a small, foldable mask with good protection you should always check out the technology they use. It should also indicate for which particulates, VOC’s, type of fumes, smoke, gas etc. the specific mask is good for, and that it has an “activated carbon” filter within.

They recommend Cambridge Mask Co., which offers masks with the correct filtration technology in five different sizes, from infants on up. Cambridge masks are soft and foldable and meet the NIOSH N99 standard for filtration, which means filtration of 99 percent of particulates, 99.6 percent of viruses and 99.8 percent of airborne bacteria—so you will also receive some protection from those uninvited pathogens that can hitch a ride home in your respiratory tract.

Cambridge Mask Co. is affiliated with the Aerotoxic Team, so when you purchase from them you are also supporting the important work this organization is doing for the cause. To order, please visit the mask page on the Aerotoxic Team website—and make sure to add the code AEROMASK at checkout to receive a 10 percent discount.[xii] Many people report that these masks run small, so keep that in mind when you order.

It’s worth noting that aircraft drop-down oxygen masks are used only for cabin decompression—pilots do not drop them in the event of smoke or fumes in the cabin. These deliver 50 percent oxygen and 50 percent cabin air so they are of little use during a fume event.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones When Flying

In addition to wearing a mask, keep in mind the following:

1.    Stay well hydrated before and during a flight by drinking plenty of pure water (filtered water from home or bottled water, not airline water).

2.    Avoid departing in an exhausted or stressed state as that may compromise your immune system.

3.    Adjust overhead air vents so the flow is directed away from you; if you suspect a fume event, turn the vent off immediately.

4.    Many people coughing on a flight may indicate an air contamination problem.

5.    Report unusual smells or visible smoke to the flight crew and ask them to alert the captain. The smell of these fumes has been described as wet dog-like, dirty socks, burning oil or electrical. You can file a fume event report online or using this QR code, if you have a smart phone.

Additional Resources

For more information about this issue, the following resources and organizations may be helpful.

·         Global Aerotoxic Team[xiii]

·         Information for passengers[xiv]

·         Toxic Free Airlines: protocols, fume reporting guidelines and forms, informational handouts and more[xv]

·         Facebook pages: Flightoxic International,[xvi] Global Aerotoxic Team,[xvii] Toxic Free Airlines,[xviii] Aerotoxic Association[xix]

·         Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers: A Guide for Healthcare Providers[xx]

·         Documentary by 60 Minutes Australia (free)[xxi]

·         Documentary: “Angel Without Wings”[xxii]

·         Documentary: “Unfiltered Breathed In: The Truth About Aerotoxic Syndrome”[xxiii]

Air travel has many associated risks, and contaminated air is probably the least well known. You can protect yourself by exercising a few basic precautions, such as wearing a mask. Raise awareness about this important issue! Share this article with your friends and family, and educate other passengers as the opportunities arise. Write to airline and aviation regulators insisting that toxic air detectors be fitted to all passenger jets, and encourage others to do the same.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Aerotoxic Team for their contributions to this article, and for spearheading the movement toward toxic-free air on all aircraft, on behalf of passengers and crew worldwide.


References

[i] S Michaelis, J. Burdon, and V. Howard, “Aerotoxic Syndrome: A New Occupational Disease?” Public Health Panorama June 2017; 3(2): 141-356, http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/341533/5_OriginalResearch_AerotoxicSyndrom_ENG.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[ii] C Winder and JC Balouet, “Aerotoxic Syndrome: Adverse Health Effects Following Exposure to Jet Oil Mist During Commercial Flights,” Aerotoxic Association, June 10, 2014, http://aerotoxic.org/information/reports-and-evidence/aerotoxic-sydrome-adverse-health-effects-following-exposure-jet-oil-mist-commercial-flights/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[iii] SC Herndon et al., “Hydrocarbon emissions from in-use commercial aircraft during airport operations,” Environmental Science and Technology 2006; 40(14):4406-4413, http://www.ce.cmu.edu/~gdrg/readings/2006/07/18/HerdonAirportEmissions.pdf, DOI10.1021/es051209l, accessed July 20, 2017.

[iv] “3. Health Effects of JP-5, JP-8, and Jet Fuels,” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC), pages 23-143; https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp121-c3.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017.

[v] “Triorthocresyl Phosphate,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 11, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0642.html, accessed July 14, 2017.

[vi] S Michaelis, “Implementation of the Requirements for the Provision of Clean Air in Crew and Passenger Compartments Using the Aircraft Bleed Air System.” Cranfield University Master’s Thesis, June 2015, http://www.susanmichaelis.com/pdf/2016_Susan%20Michaelis_MSc%20Cranfield-Clean%20air%20requirements%20using%20bleed%20air%20system.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[vii] Hair Test Kit, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/laboratory.html, accessed July 20, 2017.

[viii] “German scientists find dangerous gas in plane cabins,” The Local, February 16, 2016, https://www.thelocal.de/20160216/german-scientists-find-dangerous-gas-in-plane-cabins, accessed July 14, 2017.

[ix] “What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?” Aerotoxic Association, http://aerotoxic.org/about-aerotoxic-syndrome/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[x] BW Jones et al., “The nature of particulates in aircraft bleed air resulting from oil contamination,” 2017 ASHRAE Winter Conference Papers, LV-17-C046, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/uploads/6/0/3/8/6038702/jones_et_al_nature_of_particulates_in_oil_contaminated_bleed_2017.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017.

[xi] “Protect yourself,” Aerotoxic Association, http://aerotoxic.org/protect-yourself-2/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xii] “Protection on Board from Contaminated Cabin Air,” Global Aerotoxic Team, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/protect-yourself-with-masks.html, accessed July 20, 2017.

[xiii] Global Aerotoxic Team official website http://www.aerotoxicteam.com.

[xiv] “Information for Passengers,” Global Aerotoxic Team, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/passenger-info.html.

[xv] “Files for download,” Toxic Free Airlines, http://toxicfreeairlines.com/index.php/files.

[xvi] Flightoxic International Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/flightoxicinternational/.

[xvii] Global Aerotoxic Team, https://www.facebook.com/aerotoxicsyndrome/.

[xviii] Toxic Free Airlines, https://www.facebook.com/ToxicFreeAirlines/?hc_ref=SEARCH.

[xix] Aerotoxic Association, https://www.facebook.com/AerotoxicAssociation/.

[xx] R Harrison et al., “Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers,” Toxic Free Airlines, http://www.toxicfreeairlines.com/images/stories/medicalprotocolforhcp2008.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xxi] Australia13i8ia, “Toxic Flyer,” YouTube, December 09, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvdmK0toSCo, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xxii] Vimeo, “Angel Without Wings,” December 21, 2014, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/angelwithoutwings, accessed July 20, 2017.

[xxiii] Vimeo, “Unfiltered Breathed In: The Truth About Aerotoxic Syndrome,” November 22, 2016, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/unfilteredbreathedin?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vod-rentalexpire-201602&utm_campaign=29548, accessed July 14, 2017.

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

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

  • Reflect On:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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Awareness

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

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

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

  • Reflect On:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

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

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

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

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

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

To help make sense of what’s happening in our society today, we have released a course on overcoming bias and improving critical thinking. It’s an 8 module course and you can learn more about it here.

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Awareness

Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

Dive Deeper

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

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

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

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

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