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A Matter of Right and Wrong: The CDC’s Troubling Lack of Research Ethics

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By Dr. Brian S. Hooker, Science Advisor, Focus for Health and Board Member, World Mercury Project

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Documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials gave preferential treatment to the Danish grantees (including Dr. Poul Thorsen) at Aarhus University, and took no apparent action to evaluate the veracity of any of the study data when theft of over $1 million of grant money by Thorsen was made known. Furthermore, in 2009, when CDC officials including Dr. Coleen Boyle (Director of the National Center for Birth Defects and Development Disabilities [NCBDDD]), Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp (Chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch), Joanne Wojcik (Public Health Analyst, Developmental Disabilities Branch), and Diana Schendel (former CDC NCBDDD senior epidemiologist) became aware that Thorsen failed to obtain legally required ethics permissions for the autism bio and genetic data projects, these CDC employees worked with the Danish grantees to hide this fact.

…studies were conducted and results published without legally-required ethics clearances.

These officials have never made public that both the validity of childhood autism in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register (Lauritsen et al. 2010 Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders) and the population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism (Madsen et al. 2002 New England Journal of Medicine) studies were conducted and results published without legally-required ethics clearances. They knew that the psychiatric registry records were reviewed without required permissions, a serious ethical violation.

On the 30th of November 2009, Coleen Boyle, Diana Schendel, Joanne Wojcik, and Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, along with Danish grantees, failed to report this serious ethical violation in previously published research, as well as a study near publication. They sought to cover their tracks on their failure to ensure Poul Thorsen had obtained all the needed ethical approvals for autism bio and genetic studies. Two studies were published in which legally required ethical permissions were apparently never applied for and granted, according to their notes. When repeatedly asked to provide them, Thorsen did not.

These acts were a clear violation of both ethical and legal standards.

It appears that the biggest concern the CDC-Danish collaborators had at that point was getting ethical coverage for Diana Schendel’s paper on autism and inflammatory markers that was about to be published. They decided to extend the permissions obtained by another researcher (Dr. Rikke Maimburg from Aarhus) to Schendel’s work because Maimburg had been approved in 2000 for an unrelated study entitled ‘Obstetric factors and autism’. Their thinking was that since Diana’s study used mothers’ obstetric files, the 2000 Ethics Committee approval could be extended to her study (even though the committee never reviewed Schendel’s study design.) However, permissions for child records, which were also reviewed, were never obtained. These acts were a clear violation of both ethical and legal standards.

Thorsen, the principle investigator for the granted CDC funds, failed to provide evidence after the fact that he had obtained ethical committee permissions for his research on bio and genetic markers and autism. The team eventually determined no requests had ever been submitted. By all appearances, they found that studies related to the two papers, one previously published, were done without legally-required ethical approval. The two papers in question are:

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  1. A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M., 2002, New England Journal of Medicine 347:1477
  2. Validity of childhood autism in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register: findings from a cohort sample born 1990-1999. Lauritsen MB, Jørgensen M, Madsen KM, Lemcke S, Toft S, Grove J, Schendel DE, Thorsen P., 2010, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 40:139
…the seminal Denmark study on the MMR and autism, used to “debunk” the vaccine-autism hypothesis both in the Institute of Medicine’s 2004 report “Vaccines and Autism” as well as in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s Omnibus Autism Proceedings, is an illegal study.

Notes from the Nov. 30, 2009 phone call between the CDC officials and Danish grantees include:

We have not been able to find a permission from ethical committee that covers both bio and genetic markers and autism. As far as we understand only one paper has been published using these data and Diana will soon be submiting (sic) another. Apart from the letter from the EC in our region (attached) we have not been able to locate the permission for abstraction of the psychiatric records, and it is likely that it does not exist.

Dr. Coleen Boyle, current Director of NCBDDD at CDC, should have shut this grant down immediately upon being informed that ethical clearances were not in place. She should have immediately contacted the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity as well as the Office of Inspector General. Funding should have been discontinued. She should have led the charge to have these papers retracted. There should have been, at a minimum, a press release from the CDC to inform the public. Instead, Dr. Boyle along with Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Joanne Wojcik and Dr. Diana Schendel worked with their Danish Grantees to ‘fix it’ and retrospectively apply ethics approvals. Their next call on 14 December 2009 closed the case on Poul providing information to Aarhus.

Poul Thorsen’s reply from the Dec. 14, 2009 conference call was:

“As I have stated before to Carsten and Erik, I have not been able to locate the ethical approval for the autism pilot study. I recommend that new approvals are requested just as stated in the notes from the last conference call.”

Not only is this egregious behavior for government officials, but it also points to poor grant management by CDC staff. The CDC staff responsible for this multimillion dollar grant, starting with Diana Schendel, should have had copies of all the legally required ethics permissions in hand before the Danish grantees were allowed to get started, and before the first US taxpayer dollar was sent to Denmark.

Also, most notable is the fact that the seminal Denmark study on the MMR and autism, used to “debunk” the vaccine-autism hypothesis both in the Institute of Medicine’s 2004 report “Vaccines and Autism” as well as in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s Omnibus Autism Proceedings, is an illegal study. Without proper ethics approval, it should have never been published and indeed should be retracted from the New England Journal of Medicine. This is one of two studies that the CDC has completed regarding the MMR vaccine and autism. Of course, the other study was completed by DeStefano et al. (2004 Pediatrics 113:259) and showed a statistically significant relationship between MMR timing and the incidence of autism, specifically in boys, despite the fact that the authors erroneously dismissed the relationship as evidence that individuals with autism had to get early vaccines to enroll in special education programs.

CDC officials in the Immunization Safety Office and the Developmental Disabilities Branch have repeatedly omitted data and manipulated statistical results to deny any relationship between vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.

How can the CDC be trusted with stewarding vaccine safety for the U.S. if this is an example of how ethics are regarded within their ranks? Unfortunately, this is just one of many instances of research fraud and malfeasance within the CDC. CDC officials in the Immunization Safety Office and the Developmental Disabilities Branch have repeatedly omitted data and manipulated statistical results to deny any relationship between vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders. These same officials have covered up the embezzlement of Federal funds by CDC grantee, Dr. Poul Thorsen as well as the romantic relationship between Thorsen and his CDC grant supervisor, Dr. Diana Schendel. As described by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., this agency is truly “a cesspool of corruption” and should be disqualified from protecting the health of our children.

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Antidepressants Cause Severe Withdrawal Symptoms Like Hallucination, Mania, & Anxiety, Study Reveals

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Another study has emerged outlining the harmful health consequences of taking antidepressant drugs. Not only do pharmaceutical companies lie about their benefits, but they also conceal their harm.

  • Reflect On:

    There are other ways to deal with depression that are more effective than medication. Placebo, for example, exercise, a plant-based diet, meditation etc.

This article was written by Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission. You can sign up for their newsletter here.

A concerning new study published in the journal Addictive Behavior and titled, “A systematic review into the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based?,” reveals that antidepressants are far more addictive and harmful than previously assumed, and vindicates the long time activism on this issue spearheaded by American psychiatrists like Kelly Brogan, MD and Peter Breggin, MD.

Highlights from the paper are as follows:

  • More than half (56%) of people who attempt to come off antidepressants experience withdrawal effects.
  • Nearly half (46%) of people experiencing withdrawal effects describe them as severe.
  • It is not uncommon for the withdrawal effects to last for several weeks or months.
  • Current UK and USA Guidelines underestimate the severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal, with significant clinical implications.

This study aimed to assess the veracity of the the U.K.’s current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychiatric Association’s depression guidelines which state that withdrawal reactions from antidepressants are ‘self-limiting’ (i.e. typically resolving between 1 and 2 weeks).

In order to accomplish this goal the systematic review used the following methods:

“A systematic literature review was undertaken to ascertain the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal reactions. We identified 23 relevant studies, with diverse methodologies and sample sizes.”

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The results were reported as follows:

“Withdrawal incidence rates from 14 studies ranged from 27% to 86% with a weighted average of 56%. Four large studies of severity produced a weighted average of 46% of those experiencing antidepressant withdrawal effects endorsing the most extreme severity rating on offer. Seven of the ten very diverse studies providing data on duration contradict the UK and USA withdrawal Guidelines in that they found that a significant proportion of people who experience withdrawal do so for more than two weeks, and that it is not uncommon for people to experience withdrawal for several months.”

Side effects were wide-ranging, lasting several months or longer (including permanent dysfunction), such as: 

“Typical AD withdrawal reactions include increased anxiety, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory disturbances, and hyperarousal. Dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, brain zaps, diarrhoea, headaches, muscle spasms and tremors, agitation, hallucinations, confusion, malaise, sweating and irritability are also reported (Warner, Bobo, Warner, Reid, & Rachal, 2006, Healy, 2012). Although the aforementioned symptoms are the most common physical symptoms, there is also evidence that AD withdrawal can induce mania and hypomania, (Goldstein et al., 1999; Naryan & Haddad, 2011) emotional blunting and an inability to cry, (HolguinLew & Bell, 2013) long-term or even permanent sexual dysfunction (Csoka & Shipko, 2006).”

The study concluded:

“We recommend that U.K. and U.S.A. guidelines on antidepressant withdrawal be urgently updated as they are clearly at variance with the evidence on the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal, and are probably leading to the widespread misdiagnosing of withdrawal, the consequent lengthening of antidepressant use, much unnecessary antidepressant prescribing and higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions overall. We also recommend that prescribers fully inform patients about the possibility of withdrawal effects.”

The researchers also noted that the rising numbers of antidepressant prescriptions used throughout the world may be fueled by the antidepressant drug withdrawal side effects themselves:

“As the lengthening duration of AD use has fuelled rising AD prescriptions over the same time period, we must understand the drivers of such lengthening use. The evidence set out suggests that lengthening use may be partly rooted in the underestimation of the incidence, severity and duration of AD withdrawal reactions, leading to many withdrawal reactions being misdiagnosed, for example, as relapse (with drugs being reinstated as a consequence) or as failure to respond to treatment (with either new drugs being tried and/or dosages increased). This issue is pressing as long-term AD use is associated with increased severe side-effects, increased risk of weight gain, the impairment of patients’ autonomy and resilience (increasing their dependence on medical help), worsening outcomes for some patients, greater relapse rates, increased mortality and the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.”

The concerning implications of this study to millions around the world who are on antidepressants were immediately recognized by the media, as evidenced by mainstream reporting on the topic with the following headlines:

Thanks to a small but courageous group of professionals who have been raising awareness of the profound, unintended adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and the abject absence of objective criteria for determining “mental disease,” not only are there already resources available to the public today to better understand the dangers of psychiatric drugs, but there are also programs and protocols in place to help those who are on them to come off of them safely and with the support of others who have done the same already. For instance, the program put together by Dr. Kelly Brogan — Vital Mind Reset — has produced powerful outcomes. Take a look at the testimony wall here to learn from the first hand experiences of those who underwent the program and came out drug-free, often with their psychiatric symptoms and comorbid conditions reduced or completely put into remission.

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Scientists Break Down How Aging Is “Plastic” & We Can Manipulate It To Slow Down Aging

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Slowing down the ageing process is not about looks, it's about health, and feeling good. Scientists have discovered multiple healthy ways to regenerate our immune systems and repair our DNA, and caloric restriction/fasting is one of them.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we told to eat three meals a day? Why are our national food guides more of a guide towards bad health rather than health? Why have many people stopped caring about health? To change the world, we have to change ourselves in multiple ways.

Can we reverse age regression, or slow it down? Given our research into Black Budget programs, it’s clear what we know in the mainstream scientific world differs greatly from the world of secrecy. We recently conducted an interview with a neuroscientist from the University of Arizona who also makes a clear distinction between mainstream science and Black Budget science.

From a mainstream scientific standpoint, it is reversible. At least in human cells and in mice. 

This is why it’s always interesting to ponder just how advanced the world might be. The U.S. air strike against Libya in 1986 used the F-111 fighter aircraft, for instance, but not the F-117A Nighthawk. The latter was still classified at the time, and keeping it secret was more important than using it for this mission. Then there’s the National Reconnaissance Office, which was founded in 1960 but remained completely secret for 30 years. What type of technology were/are they using? Does the NSA have computers that are far more advanced than ours? Can we teleport? Can we travel faster than the speed of light? Is there a secret space program? Can humans be cloned?

While these questions might conflict with many people’s belief systems, they represent valid concerns. Another question worth asking is, can we reverse age regression? We have no idea what military technology is capable of, or how far beyond us it has progressed. Considering the advancements in technology in the past century alone within the mainstream scientific/technical world, these things are hardly beyond our grasp.

But let’s take a look at what we do know. We are, after all, living in a world where science fiction is becoming a reality.

Aging Is Reversible

Today, scientists are actually able to tweak genes that turn adult cells back into embryonic-like ones. For example, it wasn’t long ago that researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reversed the aging of human and mouse cells, in vitro. The study was published in the journal Cell

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According to Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the study’s senior author and an expert in gene expression at Salk, “aging is something plastic that we can manipulate.” In living mice, they activated what are known as “Yamanaka factors,” which rejuvenated muscles that were damaged, as well as the pancreas in a middle-aged mouse. This extended the lifespan of the mouse, who also had a genetic mutation for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, which causes rapid aging in children.

The researchers believe that this study suggests it’s not just possible to slow the aging process, but actually reverse it.

“I fully agree with the conclusions. This work indicated that epigenetic shift is parr responsible for aging, and reprogramming can correct these epigenetic errors. This will be the basis for future exciting developments.”

– Manuel Serrano from the Spanish National Cancer Research Center In Madrid

Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by gene expression, and gene expression can change due to a myriad of factors.

But, as Scientific American points out“The study also showed how fine the line can be between benefit and harm. When the researchers treated mice continually, some developed tumors and died within a week. When the scientists cut the treatment to two days out of seven, however, the mice benefited significantly.” 

The lead author also told Scientific American that they “currently think the brain’s hypothalamus—known as the seat of control for hormones, body temperature, mood, hunger and circadian rhythms—may also act as a regulator of aging.”

According to the Telegraph, with the success of these animals studies, scientists predict human trials to commence within 10 years.

Caloric Restriction and Fasting 

Did you know that, in all animal model studies, caloric restriction reverses signs of aging, slowing it down, and reverses age-related diseases? Research has shown that it reduces what’s called the PKA enzyme, which has been linked to aging, tumour progression, and cancer.

According to a review of fasting literature conducted in 2003“Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan and retards age-related chronic diseases in a variety of species, including rats, mice, fish, flies, worms, and yeast. The mechanism or mechanisms through which this occurs are unclear.”

Fasting and caloric restriction have also shown to have a tremendous effect on the brain. As an article from John Hopkins Magazine reveals:

Dietary changes have long been known to have an effect on the brain. Children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. It is believed that fasting helps kick-start protective measures that help counteract the overexcited signals that epileptic brains often exhibit. (Some children with epilepsy have also benefited from a specific high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.) Normal brains, when overfed, can experience another kind of uncontrolled excitation, impairing the brain’s function.

A plate, fork and knife

Fasting has also been shown to regenerate the immune system and our organs. With regards to the brain, fasting challenges it, and your brain responds to that challenge by adapting stress response pathways that help your brain cope with stress and disease risk. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise — both increase the production of protein in the brain (neurotrophic factors), which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses. This is why it’s been found to completely reverse age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Here is an excellent  TEDx talk given by Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the foremost researchers of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

We’ve published many articles on fasting, and to find out more information on how to do it, different strategies, and more science, you can start here. Below are a select few related articles:

Neuroscientist Shows What Fasting Does To Your Brain & Why Big Pharma Won’t Study It 

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

Why Researchers Are Seeking FDA Approval For Fasting & Caloric Restriction For Cancer Treatment 

Scientists Discover That Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration & Fights Cancer

Reversing the Age of White Blood Cells

Elizabeth Parris, the CEO of Bioviva USA Inc, has become the very first human being to successfully, from a biological standpoint, reverse the age of her white blood cells, thanks to her own company’s experimental therapies. Bioviva utilizes intramural and extramural peer-reviewed research to create therapies for age-related diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart-disease), and now, they have reversed 20 years of ‘telomere shortening’ in a human for the first time.

Telomeres are short segments of DNA that cap the ends of every chromosome and act as a protective feature against wear and tear, which occurs naturally as the human body ages. As we age, these telomeres become shorter and shorter as our cells continue to divide more and more. Eventually, they become too short to protect the chromosome, which is what causes our cells to malfunction and age-related diseases to start setting in.

We published a story about this early last year, and you can read more about it here:

First Human Being Has Their DNA Manipulated To Make White Blood Cells 20 Years Younger

So, as you can see, even within the mainstream scientific world, we’re not too far off from reversing aging, or slowing it down to prevent age-related diseases. This research represents just the tip of the iceberg, and at our current rate of acceleration with regards to scientific and technological advancement, who knows where we will be in 20 years?

Would age reversal be “playing God?” It’s impossible to say. Perhaps “God” meant us to discover our own intelligence and ability and use these findings for good. Perhaps manipulating our own genes is part of our natural process of human evolution and development. This, however, is a completely separate topic, worthy of another article.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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22 Out Of 25 Popular Burger Chains Just Failed Their Antibiotic Use Report

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent study was done examining how well top fast food chains actually implemented their antibiotic use policies in their beef. 22 of 25 failed including McDonald's, Sonic, Burger King and In-N-Out.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you still eat fast food? If so, why do you find yourself doing so? What healthier choices can be made instead? If we want to see a healthier world, population and animal kingdom, we have to choose what we support more wisely.

The modern-day food industry seems to pay no attention to health. Thankfully, global consciousness is shifting in several ways including how we live as humans, view our health, our economy, education, politics, and the environment. You could say that humanity is going through one MASSIVE change.

Today, billions of animals in the United States alone are raised, tortured, and slaughtered for human consumption. This reckless production and consumption, in turn, has created enormous environmental and health problems that continue to accelerate. That being said, awareness on this issue (food) in particular, has come along way. We are seeing changes in the food guide, a shift towards plant-based diets, and more corporations catering to new choices people are making around food and health. This is a good thing!

One common trend helping to create change is the continues ‘bad press’ unhealthy players in the food industry are getting.

The latest news to come out regarding food quality within fast food comes from a report recently released by six major consumer and environmental groups. They graded America’s 25 largest burger chains and their use of antibiotics in their beef supply.

22 popular fast food restaurants completely failed, including giants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Sonic and In-N-Out.  The evaluation looked at each chain’s antibiotic use policies and whether these policies were truly implemented in their product. They also examined how transparent the chains were with their antibiotic use.

The Problem With Antibiotic Use

Antibiotics given to farm animals can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, among other things. This is actually one of the top threats to global public health, which is exemplified by the fact that each year, more than 2 million Americans alone suffer from these infections.

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In September 1999, Albrecht and Schutte published “Homeopathy Versus Antibiotics in Metaphylaxis of Infectious Diseases: A Clinical Study in Pig Fattening and Its Significance to Consumers” in Alternative Therapies. The study compared outcomes for four randomly assigned groups of pigs that were given placebo, homeopathic treatment, a standard blend of antibiotics and other conventional drugs in a routine low prophylactic dose, or conventional drugs in a high therapeutic dose.

There were 1440 pigs involved in the study, which took place at an intensive livestock farm in Germany. The primary outcome measured was the incidence of respiratory disease, a common problem for pigs on such farms.

The results were astounding.

Homeopathic treatment was far superior to prophylactic doses of antibiotics in preventing respiratory disease. The prophylactic antibiotic treatment made it only 11 percent less likely (than placebo) that the pigs would become sick. But homeopathic remedies made it 40 percent less likely. When the antibiotics were raised to therapeutic levels, meaning a level that is only given when people or an animal was sick, it became 70 percent less likely that the pigs would become diseased.

The significance of this is that homeopathic treatment on animals would already be better than routine antibiotic treatment. When an animal is actually sick, the farmer would then have the choice to increase homeopathic or use a legitimately high-level dose of antibiotics. This, significantly less cost and significantly fewer antibiotics in meat.

The List

The Takeaway

Simple, avoid fast food. There are many out there who seem to believe that people will always consume this food, but we fail to recognize that it’s not just our choice. The “food” these corporations offer is highly addictive to people, and that’s done on purpose.

If we can connect with caring about our health, quality of life and well-being of animals and the planet, these are places you must steer away from. In general, eating meat does not support the health and wellbeing of us nor animals, but this is a choice we each make.

Recommended Articles

A Native American Perspective On Veganism

Plant-Based Protein VS. Protein From Meat: Which One Is Better For You? 

Doctor Explains How Humans Have A “Strict” Vegan Physiology

Vegan Activist James Aspey Beautifully Shows How To Consciously Inform People

9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

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

Animals – Why Do We Love One But Eat The Other? 

The Heart Disease Rates of Meat-Eaters Versus Vegetarians & Vegans

Were Those Who Roamed The Earth Before US Nearly All Vegetarian?

A Quick Important Notice:

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