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Over-Vaccinated Children & The Allergy Epidemic

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The global prevalence of allergic diseases is skyrocketing, affecting 30% to 40% of the world’s population. Allergic conditions include food allergies, anaphylaxis, asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and reactions to drugs and insects. Often, these burdensome conditions start young, are overlapping and have the potential to be severe or fatal. A study of children with peanut allergy, for example, found that the median age of onset was 12 months; 40% to 60% of peanut-allergic children had concurrent asthma, atopic dermatitis, and/or other food allergies; and over a third (35%) had experienced anaphylaxis upon initial peanut exposure. Anaphylactic outcomes are worse when multiple allergic conditions are present.

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…an escalating number of children have been hospitalized for food allergies or have visited an emergency department for primarily food-related anaphylaxis over the past couple of decades.

In the U.S., food allergies are widespread and are the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children. One in 13 American children—about two per classroom—has at least one food allergy, and food allergies increased by 50% from 1997 to 2011. An analysis of New York City school system data showed that the incidence of epinephrine administration for severe food allergy increased threefold from 2007 to 2013. Likewise, an escalating number of children have been hospitalized for food allergies or have visited an emergency department for primarily food-related anaphylaxis over the past couple of decades. Similar trends are playing out all over the world.

As each new decade ushers in higher childhood allergy rates, researchers mostly have scratched their heads, citing the poorly operationalized “hygiene hypothesis” or feebly asserting that the reasons for the increase remain “unclear.” A few investigators have pointed to possible risk factors such as cesarean delivery and novel food technologies. However, given that the hallmark of allergic disease is an altered immune response, it stands to reason that vaccines— which purposefully set out to “reprogram immunity”—are major contenders as allergy triggers.

A Perfect Storm

In her 2011 book, The Peanut Allergy Epidemic, Heather Fraser assembles persuasive scientific and historical evidence that lays the blame for the mass peanut allergy phenomenon (and the steep rise in childhood allergies of all types) on the “extensive and sudden” changes made to childhood vaccine programs in the U.S. and elsewhere in the late 1980s. According to Fraser, a series of critical factors synergistically converged during this time period to create a perfect storm and launch the allergy and chronic illness epidemics that have been ongoing ever since. These factors include:

  • Abrupt and massive expansion of the childhood vaccine schedule: In the U.S., the schedule went from three recommended vaccines in the mid-1980s to fifteendifferent vaccines currently.
  • Initiation of vaccination on the day of birth: This includes both the hepatitis B vaccine and synthetic vitamin K injection.
  • Changes in vaccine technology: Changes include production of recombinant(genetically engineered) vaccines and conjugate vaccines (which couple a weak vaccine antigen to a protein carrier), both of which actively go after “immunologic memory” and non-antibody immune response.
  • Vastly increased use of aluminum adjuvants, which stimulate a stronger immune response that can easily veer into the realm of “immune dysregulation.”
  • Increased vaccine coverage: Only about half of American two-year-olds in the late 1980s had completed their recommended series of vaccines, but a decade later, about nine in ten 19-35-month-olds were receiving all or most recommended vaccines.
…vaccinated children had a significantly greater odds of having a diagnosed allergic condition compared to unvaccinated children

A study conducted in 2012 and published in 2017 in the Journal of Translational Sciencecompared chronic health problems in vaccinated and unvaccinated 6-to-12-year-olds—in other words, children born between 2000 and 2006. The results lend credence to Fraser’s thinking about vaccination and allergy trends. Among many striking results, the authors found that vaccinated children had a significantly greater odds of having a diagnosed allergic condition compared to unvaccinated children: 10.4% versus 0.4% for allergic rhinitis, 22.2% versus 6.9% for “other” allergies and 9.5% versus 3.6% for eczema and other forms of atopic dermatitis. Other studies also have linked vaccines to atopic conditions and allergic sensitization.

Allergy as an inevitable response to vaccination

To grasp how the chain of vaccine-related events initiated roughly 30 years ago has bred today’s worldwide allergy epidemics, one has to understand that vaccines, by their very nature, induce an unnatural immune response. This property of vaccines is called “immunogenicity.” Pharmaceutical researchers note that it can be tricky to achieve “wanted” immunogenicity while avoiding “unwanted” immune responses that later result in “clinically adverse consequences.”

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Considering this question, Fraser calls attention to an important 1991 paper in The Quarterly Review of Biology that put forth the plausible view of allergy as an evolutionary form of immunological defense against “commonly allergenic” toxins, including metals and carcinogens. From this perspective, allergy symptoms (such as vomiting, sneezing and decreased blood pressure) are logical bodily responses intended to expel toxic substances or slow their circulation in the body.

Fraser elegantly connects vaccines to this view of allergy as an evolved immunological response to toxins. She and other writers have pointed out that awareness of the association between injected toxins and allergic reactions goes back to at least the early 20th century, when a French physiologist coined the term “anaphylaxis” to describe what happened to a dog injected twice with a hive-inducing marine toxin; the dog died within minutes of the second injection, administered three weeks after the first.

Later, a 1940s study described how tetanus vaccine could induce allergy in humans. In fact, the medical literature is replete with terms such as “bystander effects” and vaccine-induced allergic responses to “non-target antigens,” all of which describe vaccines’ almost guaranteed ability to produce unwanted immunogenicity in the form of allergy. Notwithstanding the fact that vaccines also contain a plethora of worrisome ingredients—“immunogens, preservatives, adjuvants, antibiotics and manufacturing by-products” in addition to carrier proteins and live or inactivated viruses and toxins—Fraser believes that vaccines’ skewing of the immune system as a whole is the most significant contributor to subsequent allergy.

The era of food allergy began with the post-millennial generation, the same faction who received new immunizations during early childhood.

The role of aluminum

Because of its powerful immune-stimulating effects, aluminum is the one vaccine ingredient that perhaps should be singled out for its pivotal role in creating allergies. As one research group recently noted, aluminum adjuvants induce “Th2 responses to coadministered antigens and potentially to unrelated environmental allergens, thus providing bystander…responses that contribute to allergic disease.” The probability of sensitization may be even greater with simultaneous administration of multiplealuminum-containing vaccines. Another study from 2016 bluntly stated: “The era of food allergy began with the post-millennial generation, the same faction who received new immunizations during early childhood. Many of these vaccines contain alum, an adjuvant known to induce allergic phenotypes.”

A recent case report measured serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels in two children before and after the children received aluminum-containing vaccines. (IgE are the immune system antibodies that, together with histamine-storing white blood cells called mast cells, “contribute substantially to disease development, progression and…pathology in many people afflicted with…allergic disorders.”) In both cases, children’s levels of total IgE and food allergen-specific IgE increased following vaccination.

In another aluminum-related study, 64 Swedish children who received diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccines containing aluminum adjuvants experienced persistent vaccine-induced itching nodules (with a median duration of five years), and 95% developed a contact allergy to aluminum.

Disturbing trends

As if the rise of food and other allergies were not bad enough, studies are documenting a qualitative shift in the “natural history” of food allergy toward a “more frequently…persistent rather than…transient” condition. Moreover, dangerous manifestations of allergy such as anaphylaxis may be even more widespread than we know, because anywhere from 21% to 57% of cases of anaphylaxis are misclassified and given a less severe diagnostic code. As a result, children’s quality of life suffers, and once-rare items like epinephrine autoinjectors are becoming a fixture at schools and summer camps.

Although many researchers recognize the importance of avoiding “excessive activation” of the immune system in early life, the rush to overload the vaccine schedule continues unchecked. It is time to look at the scientific evidence and strengthen children’s immune systems in ways that do not result in massive collateral damage.

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Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

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Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

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WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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