- The Facts:
Vaccines can trigger autoimmunity with a laundry list of diseases to follow. With harmful and toxic metals as some vaccine ingredients, who is susceptible and which individuals are more at risk? A new study shows what they do to our immune system.
- Reflect On:
With so many scientists and publications emerging showing multiple concerns with vaccines, why are they marketed as completely life-saving and necessary when that's actually not the case?
Before you begin...
No one would accuse Yehuda Shoenfeld of being a quack. The Israeli clinician has spent more than three decades studying the human immune system and is at the pinnacle of his profession. You might say he is more foundation than fringe in his specialty; he wrote the textbooks. The Mosaic of Autoimmunity, Autoantibodies, Diagnostic Criteria in Autoimmune Diseases, Infection and Autoimmunity, Cancer and Autoimmunity – the list is 25 titles long and some of them are cornerstones of clinical practice. Hardly surprising that Shoenfeld has been called the “Godfather of Autoimmunology” – the study of the immune system turned on itself in a wide array of diseases from type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis.
But something strange is happening in the world of immunology lately and a small evidence of it is that the Godfather of Autoimmunology is pointing to vaccines – specifically, some of their ingredients including the toxic metal aluminum – as a significant contributor to the growing global epidemic of autoimmune diseases. The bigger evidence is a huge body of research that’s poured in in the past 15 years, and particularly in the past five years. Take for example, a recent article published in the journal Pharmacological Research in which Shoenfeld and colleagues issue unprecedented guidelines naming four categories of people who are most at risk for vaccine-induced autoimmunity.
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“On one hand,” vaccines prevent infections which can trigger autoimmunity, say the paper’s authors, Alessandra Soriano, of the Department of Clinical Medicine and Rheumatology at the Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome, Gideon Nesher, of the Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem and Shoenfeld, founder and head of the Zabludowicz Center of Autoimmune Diseases in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. He is also editor of three medical journals and author of more than 1,500 research papers across the spectrum of medical journalism and founder of the International Congress on Autoimmunology. “On the other hand, many reports that describe post-vaccination autoimmunity strongly suggest that vaccines can indeed trigger autoimmunity. Defined autoimmune diseases that may occur following vaccinations include arthritis, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE) diabetes mellitus, thrombocytopenia, vasculitis, dermatomyosiositis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and demyelinating disorders. Almost all types of vaccines have been reported to be associated with the onset of ASIA.”
ASIA – or Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (also known as Shoenfeld’s syndrome) — first appeared in the Journal of Autoimmunology four years ago. It is an umbrella term for a collection of similar symptoms, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that result after exposure to an adjuvant – an environmental agent including common vaccine ingredients that stimulate the immune system. Since then an enormous body of research, using ASIA as a paradigm, has begun to unravel the mystery of how environmental toxins, particularly the metal aluminum used in vaccines, can trigger an immune system chain reaction in susceptible individuals and may lead to overt autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease results when the body’s system meant to attack foreign invaders turns instead to attack part of the body it belongs to (auto is Greek for self). If the immune system is like a national defence system, antibodies are like drones programmed to recognize a certain type of invader (a bacteria say) and to destroy them or mark them for destruction by other special forces. Autoantibodies are like drones that are misidentifying a component of the human body and have launched a sustained attack on it. If they mistakenly target a component of the conductive sheath around neurons, for example, nerve impulses stop conducting properly, muscles go into spasm and coordination fails; multiple sclerosis results. If autoantibodies erroneously focus on joint tissue; rheumatoid arthritis results. If they target the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, Type 1 diabetes, and so on
“Throughout our lifetime the normal immune system walks a fine line between preserving normal immune reactions and developing autoimmune diseases,” says the paper. “The healthy immune system is tolerant to self-antigens. When self-tolerance is disturbed, dysregulation of the immune system follows, resulting in emergence of an autoimmune disease. Vaccination is one of the conditions that may disturb this homeostasis in susceptible individuals, resulting in autoimmune phenomena and ASIA.”
Who is “susceptible” is the subject of the paper entitled, “Predicting post-vaccination autoimmunity: Who might be at risk?” It lists four categories of people: 1) those who have had a previous autoimmune reaction to a vaccine, 2) anyone with a medical history of autoimmunity, 3) patients with a history of allergic reactions, 4) anyone at high risk of developing autoimmune disease including anyone with a family history of autoimmunity, presence of autoantibodies which are detectable by blood tests and other factors including low vitamin D and smoking.
Regarding those who have had a previous adverse reaction to vaccines, the paper cites five relevant studies including the case of a death of a teenage girl six months following her third Gardasil injection against HPV virus. She had experienced a range of symptoms shortly after her first dose, including dizziness, numbness and tingling in her hands, and memory lapses. After her second injection, she developed “intermittent arm weakness, frequent tiredness requiring daytime naps,” worse tingling, night sweats, chest pain and palpitations. A full autopsy was unrevealing but blood and spleen tissue analysis revealed HPV-16 L1 gene DNA fragments – matching the DNA found in vials of the Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer – “thus implicating the vaccine as a causal factor.” The DNA fragments had also been found to be “complexed with the aluminum adjuvant” which, according to the report, have been shown to persist for up to 8 to 10 years causing chronic immune system stimulation.
“Although data is limited,” Shoenfeld and his colleagues concluded, “it seems preferable that individuals with prior autoimmune or autoimmune-like reactions to vaccinations, should not be immunized, at least not with the same type of vaccine.”
ESTABLISHED AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION
The second group which the paper cites for vaccine exemption is patients with “established autoimmune conditions.” Vaccines don’t work so well in them, say Shoenfeld and his colleagues, and they are at “risk for flares following vaccination.” Inoculations that contain live viruses including chickenpox, yellow fever and the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine (MMR) are “generally contraindicated” for people with autoimmune conditions because of the risk of “uncontrolled viral replication.” But inactivated vaccines are not such a good idea either because they usually contain the added ingredient aluminum, linked to autoimmunity.
The immunologists describe recent studies in which patients with autoimmune rheumatic disease given the influenza vaccine (without aluminum) suffered more joint pain and fever than controls and whose levels of autoantibodies (the drones that attack self) increased after receiving the flu vaccine. What’s more, they developed new types of autoantibodies that weren’t present before the vaccines, and those persisted. As the presence of autoantibodies can be predictive of developing autoimmune disease in patients without symptoms, even years ahead of disease onset, this is troubling to those who understand immunology.
A number of studies claim vaccines are safe for the “overwhelming majority of patients with established autoimmune diseases,” the study allows, but they only looked at rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and not at severe and active cases so “the potential benefit of vaccination should be weighed against its potential risk,” they cautioned.
PATIENTS WITH A HISTORY OF ALLERGY
Vaccine trials have usually excluded “vulnerable” individuals — only extremely healthy individuals with no allergies are recruited. It’s a “selection bias,” say Soriano and Shoenfeld, and has likely resulted in serious adverse events being “considerably underestimated” in “real life where vaccines are mandated to all individuals regardless of their susceptibility.” The true incidence of allergic reactions to vaccines, normally estimated at between one in 50,000 to one in a million doses, is probably much higher and particularly where gelatin or egg proteins are on the ingredients list, they say.
There’s a long list of vaccine ingredients that are potential allergens: besides the infectious agents themselves, there are those from hen’s egg, horse serum, baker’s yeast, numerous antibiotics, formaldehyde and lactose, as well “inadvertent” ingredients such as latex. People’s allergic histories have to be taken before vaccination say the researchers. But some signs of reaction don’t show up until after the shot.
The public health nurse or GP might tell patients that a long-lasting swelling around the injection site after a vaccine is a normal reaction, for example. But that is not what the immunologists say. “[A]luminum sensitization manifests as nodules [hard lumps] at the injection site that often regress after weeks or months, but may persist for years.” In such cases, they say, a patch test can be done to confirm sensitivity and to avoid vaccination.
According to a growing body of research, though, allergy may be only the beginning of many dangerous aluminum-induced phenomena.
THE TROUBLE WITH ALUMINUM
Aluminum has been added to vaccines since about 1926 when Alexander Glenny and colleagues noticed it would produce better antibody responses in vaccines than the antigen alone. Glenny figured the alum was inducing what he called a “depot effect” – slowing the release of the antigen and heightening the immune response. For 60 years his theory was accepted dogma. And over the same time, the vaccine schedule grew decade on decade, but few ever questioned the effects of injecting aluminum into the body, which is strange considering its known toxicity.
A PubMed search on aluminum and “toxicity” turns up 4,258 entries. Its neurotoxicity is well documented. It affects memory, cognition, psychomotor control; it damages the blood brain barrier, activates brain inflammation, depresses mitochondrial function and plenty of research suggests it is a key player in the formation of the amyloid “plaques” and tangles in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It’s been implicated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and autism and demonstrated to induce allergy.
When kidney dialysis patients were accidentally infused with aluminum, the “dialysis-induced encephalopathy” (DAE) they developed neurological symptoms: speech abnormalities, tremors, memory loss, impaired concentration and behavioural changes. Many of the patients eventually went into comas and died. The lucky ones survived: when the source of toxicity, aluminum, was removed from their dialysis they recovered rapidly.
With these new observations, researchers began investigating the adjuvant effects of aluminum and in the past decade there has been a flurry of research. Far from being a sandbag that holds the antigen for a while and then gets excreted, it turns out that aluminum salts trigger a storm of defence action. Within hours of injection of the same aluminum oxyhydroxide in vaccines into mice, for example, armies of specialized immune cells are on the move, calling in grid coordinates for more specialist assault forces. Within a day, a whole host of immune system commandos are in play — neutrophils, eosinophils, inflammatory monocytes, myeloid and dendritic cells, activating lymphocytes and secreting proteins called cytokines. The cytokines themselves cause collateral damage but they send out signals, directing cell-to-cell communication and recruiting other cells into action. If the next phase of the attack is launched: fibroblast growth factor, interferons, interleukins, platelet derived growth factor, transforming growth factor and tumour necrosis factor might all be engaged. There’s evidence that poorly understood and pesky inflammasomes, (currently a topic of cutting- edge cancer causation research) such as the Nod-like receptor 3( NLRP) are activated too, but it’s all still too early to say exactly what they’re doing.
New research emerging from University of British Columbia has found that aluminum adjuvant injected into mice can alter the expression of genes associated with autoimmunity. And in their recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, immunologists at the University of Colorado found that even host DNA is recruited into the aluminum assault, that it rapidly coats injected alum, triggering effects that scientists have barely scratched the surface of understanding.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MACROPHAGIC MYOFASCIITIS
This mobility or “translocation” of aluminum in the body is perhaps the most disturbing of the mounting evidence in current aluminum research. In 1998, French researcher Romain Gherardi and his colleagues observed an emerging condition of unknown origin which presented in patients post-vaccination with Chronic Fatigue like symptoms including swollen lymph nodes, joint and muscle pain and exhaustion. Tissue biopsies of the patients’ deltoid revealed lesions up to 1 cm in diameter and unique from similar lesions of other diseases. They went to the lab for analysis and to Gherardi’s astonishment, they mainly consisted of macrophages – large white blood cells in the immune system whose job is to swallow up foreign invaders in the body. Enclosed in the cellular fluid of these phagocytes were agglomerates of nanocrystals of aluminum.
Gherardi and his colleagues began injecting mice with aluminum to see what happened. Their research published in 2013 revealed that the metal particles were engulfed by macrophages and formed MMF-like granulomas that dispersed — to distant lymph nodes, spleen, liver and eventually the brain.
“This strongly suggests that long-term adjuvant biopersistence within phagocytic cells is a prerequisite of slow brain translocation and delayed neurotoxicity,” writes Gherardi in his February 2015 review of the relevant research in Frontiers in Neurology.
A more frightening animal study of aluminum is that of Spanish veterinary researcher Lluis Lujan’s study of ovine ASIA. After huge numbers of sheep in Spain died in 2008 in the wake of compulsory multiple vaccine campaigns against bluetongue in Spain in 2008, Lujan set out to find out what killed them – and he began by inoculating them with aluminum.
His 2013 study found that only 0.5% of sheep inoculated with aluminum vaccines showed immediate reactions of lethargy, transient blindness, stupor, prostration and seizures – “characterized by a severe meningoencephalitis, similar to post-vaccine reactions seen in humans.” Most of them recovered, temporarily, but postmortem exams of the ones who didn’t reveal acute brain inflammation.
The delayed onset “chronic” phase of the disease affected far more of the sheep — 50-70% of flocks and sometimes virtually 100% of animals within a given flock, usually including all of those who had previously recovered. The reaction was frequently triggered by exposure to cold and began with restlessness and compulsive wool-biting, then progressed to acute redness of the skin, generalized weakness, extreme weight loss and muscle tremors, and finally, entered the terminal phase where the animals went down on their front quarters, became comatose and died. Post-mortem examinations revealed “severe neuron necrosis” and aluminum in the nerve tissue.
The immune system’s reaction to aluminum “represents a major health challenge,” Gerhardi declares in his recent review, and he adds that “attempts to seriously examine safety concerns raised by the bio-persistent character and brain accumulation of alum particles have not been made… A lot must be done to understand how, in certain individuals, alum-containing vaccines may become insidiously unsafe.”
Back to the problem of which “certain individuals” should avoid vaccination to avoid autoimmune disease.
PEOPLE PRONE TO DEVELOP AUTOIMMUNITY
Soriano and Shoenfeld’s identify a final category: anyone at risk of developing autoimmune disease. Since a number of them have been shown to have genetic factors that would include anyone with a family history of autoimmune disease. It also includes anyone who has tested positive for autoantibodies which can indicate disease years before symptoms show up. Vaccinations, the doctors say, “may trigger or worsen the disease.”
Smokers too, have an exceptionally high risk of developing an autoimmune disease, says the report. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 18% of Americans smoke. That means about 42 million Americans have an elevated risk of developing an autoimmune disease and they’re stacking the odds with every vaccine.
And finally, factors that Shoenfeld and Soriano associate with high risk of developing autoimmunity are high estrogen and low vitamin D — which means anyone taking birth control or hormone replacement therapy and, according to one 2009 study of vitamin D status, about three quarters of American teens and adults should be wary of vaccines.
Shoenfeld doesn’t seem to mean to exclude all of these people from immunization, however. The paper concludes that “for the overwhelming majority of individuals, vaccines carry no risk of systemic autoimmune disease and should be administered according to current recommendations.” Which is in stark contrast to the body of the paper. The final word is cautionary about weighing the “potential benefit of vaccination…against its potential risk.”
It’s exemplary of a strange sort of schizophrenia in a wide range of recent immunology papers. The doctors seem to be trying to reconcile a century of “safe and effective” vaccine dogma with the last decade’s worth of terrifying research findings. There’s a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” in them.
The new research seems about to gain the upper hand, however. A 2013 overview of ASIA by six immunologists including Shoenfeld, for example, is a catalogue of vaccine side effects from Gardasil deaths, narcolepsy epidemics, infertility, chronic fatigue, dead sheep and aluminum-addled brains. It is rife with statements that would have been virtually unheard of inside mainstream medicine a decade ago. Like this shocker:
“Perhaps, in twenty years, physicians will be duelling with better-characterized particles of autoimmunity, and the vaccines may become fully safe as well as effective. Nonetheless, the recognition of ASIA has initiated the change to put more efforts in identifying the good, the bad and the ugly of vaccines and in particular of adjuvants as triggers of autoimmunity.” Bad and ugly of vaccines? What’s wrong with the adjuvants? That’s not in the CDC hand-out.
Or how about this one:
“Despite the huge amount of money invested in studying vaccines, there are few observational studies and virtually no randomized clinical trials documenting the effect on mortality of any of the existing vaccines. One recent paper found an increased hospitalization rate with the increase of the number of vaccine doses and a mortality rate ratio for 5-8 vaccine doses to 1-4 doses of 1.5, indicating a statistically significant increase of deaths associated with higher vaccine doses. Since vaccines are given to millions of infants annually, it is imperative that health authorities have scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines…” That could be any anti-vaxxer jabbering on…but it’s not.
But here is the topper:
“The US Supreme Court ruled that vaccines makers are immune from lawsuits charging that the design of the vaccine is defective. Thus there is need for innovative clinical trial design and the vaccines themselves should be redesigned.” Immunologists including the world’s leading authority on autoimmunity are saying it is time to take vaccines back to the drawing board.
Autoimmune disease is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and now among the top 10 killers of young American women. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from one of 88 autoimmune diseases — from type 1 diabetes to systemic lupus erythematosus — and some research puts the figure at one in five globally. At least 40 more diseases are suspected to be immune-mediated. Most of them are devastating — frequently crippling, expensive to treat and incurable. And they are increasing at an astonishing pace.
At this stage, it looks like the more the research pours in, the harder it is going to get for pro-vaccine immunologists to keep multiple personality disorder – or complete nervous breakdown — at bay. Ten years of cutting edge research into aluminum’s effects on the immune system has revealed primarily how wrong they were. And how little they know. If, after 90 years, doctors finally have begun to seriously examine the mechanism and question the merits of injecting metal toxins into newborn babies, what have they yet to discover? ASIA sounds awful. (Too bad for all the people whose kids suffered through chronic fatigue when it was just a Freudian yearning to sleep with their mother.) But what if, like Lujan’s sheep, the “negligible” minority that has been paying the price for the good of humanity is actually only the tip of the iceberg? What if some people with no apparent adverse immune reactions still have nanocrystals of aluminum silently depositing in their brains? What if ASIA really includes Alzheimer’s? ALS, autism? ADD? And that’s just the A’s.
Even if immunologists keep wearing their rose coloured glasses, and vaccine ingredients are only responsible for a tiny fraction of the exploding autoimmunity, the “ugly” in vaccines will still get harder and harder to ignore. When everyone on the planet is getting injected, 20 years is a long time for disabled people to stack up while scientists “duel with the characterized particles of autoimmunity.” In the fury over the Disneyland measles outbreak that is gripping the world’s vaccine promoters, time is running out for doctors and researchers who see the “bad and ugly” side of vaccines and their adjuvants to do something about it. There’s slim chance of a vaccine redesign in the absence of a profit incentive and a strong chance of universal vaccine mandates for one and all — previous anaphylactic shock reaction or not.
This article was written by Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com. His work is reproduced and distributed here with the permission. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.”
How Does Anesthesia Work? We Still Don’t Know: What Happens When Someone Goes “Under”?
Before you begin...
When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.
This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.
How does Anesthesia work ?
From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.
In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds.
Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.
Why we still don’t know…
If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?
These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.
First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.
The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.
We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness? Can consciousness ever be represented materially?
A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it. To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.
What happens when someone goes “under”?
The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.
Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.
There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.
How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively.
During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?
What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?
If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.
Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.
What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?
The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.”
By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.
Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?
Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?
Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.
In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.
Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.
Study: Organic Diet “Significantly Reduces” Urinary Pesticide Levels In Children & Adults
- The Facts:
A 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Research found that an organic diet significantly reduced the pesticide levels in children and adults. Their urine was used to measure pesticide levels.
- Reflect On:
Are the justifications used to to spray our crops actually justified? Are they really necessary or can we figure out a better way of doing things?
Before you begin...
What Happened: A 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Research titled, “Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” highlighted that diet is the primary source of pesticide exposure in both children and adults in the United States. It found that an organic diet significantly reduced neonicotinoid, OP pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure, with the greatest reduction observed in malathion, clothianidin, and chlorpyrifos.
The researchers noted that all of us are exposed “to a cocktail of toxic synthetic pesticides linked to a range of health problems from our daily diets.” They explain how “certified organic food is produced without these pesticides,” and ask the question, “Can eating organic really reduce levels of pesticides in our bodies?” They tested four American families that don’t typically eat organic food to find out. All pesticides detected in the body dropped an average of 60.5% after just six days on an organic diet.
First, we tested the levels of pesticides in their bodies on a non-organic diet for six days. We found 14 chemicals representing potential exposure to 40 different pesticides in every study participant. These included organophosphates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids and the phenoxy herbicide 2,4-D. Some of the pesticides we found are linked to increased risk of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. (source)
The most significant drops occurred in a class of nerve agent pesticides called organophosphates. This class includes chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic pesticide linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities and reduced IQ in children. Organophosphates are so harmful to children’s developing brains that scientists have called for a full ban. (source)
A lot of the food we now spray on our food were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare:
To understand this controversial issue it is helpful to look at the history of pesticide use. Prior to World War II, the pesticides that we use now did not yet exist. Some pesticides currently in use were in fact developed during World War II for use in warfare. The organophosphate insecticides were developed as nerve gases, and the phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D (the most commonly used herbicide in Canada), were created to eradicate the Japanese rice crop, and later used as a component of Agent Orange to defoliate large areas in jungle warfare. After World War II, these chemicals began to be used as pesticides in agricultural production, for environmental spraying of neighbourhoods, for mosquito eradication, and for individual home and garden use. – Ontario College of Family Physicians
It’s also noteworthy to mention that A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition carried out a meta-analysis based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate “statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop based foods.” The study found that
The study found that Phenolic acids are 19% higher in organic foods, Flavanones are 69% higher in organic foods (linked to reduced risk of several age-related chronic diseases), Stilbenes are 28% higher in organic foods, Flavones are 26% higher in organic foods, Flavonol is 50% higher in organic foods and Anthocyanins are 51% higher in organic foods.
Apart from nutritional content, the study also measured for concentrations of the toxic metal Cadmium (Cd), finding that in conventional foods, “significantly higher concentrations” were found. Conventional foods appear to have nearly 50 percent more of this heavy metal than organic foods. Furthermore, significant differences were also detected for other minerals and vitamins.
When it comes to pesticide residues on non-organic foods, the authors found that the volume of pesticide residues was four times higher in conventional crops.
Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT university nearly 5 years ago published in the journal Environmental Research found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide exposure in adults by up to 90 percent.
The Takeaway: At the end of the day, people are and have been voting with their dollar. More grocery stores and brands are offering organic options, and the industry is starting to recognize that it’s in demand. Furthermore, more people are growing whatever food they can. At the end of the day, sprayed food not only has implications for human health, but it’s detrimental to the environment as well. This is a big problem on plane Earth, we are constantly told that GMO food and the spraying of crops is the only way to combat world hunger and changes in climate, but this sentiment goes against a plethora of information showing that local organic farming/agriculture is the most sustainable.
Fact-Checker Claims No Causal Relationship Between 929 Deaths Reported After COVID Vaccine
- The Facts:
Data from the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) shows, as of today, 929 deaths, 316 permanent disabilities and more than 15,000 adverse reactions reported after of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Reflect On:
Should private institutions/companies have the right to mandate this vaccine for people and employees? When it comes to vaccines, should freedom of choice remain? Why is only one perspective presented by mainstream media?
Before you begin...
What Happened: According to the CDC Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), as of today (February 20th, 2021) 929 deaths, 316 permanent disabilities and more than 15,000 adverse events have been reported from people after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. This mainly represents reports that are coming in from the United States. The data shows that 799 of the deaths were reported in the U.S., and that about one-third of those deaths occurred within 48 hours of the individual receiving the vaccination. You can look it up for yourself and/or see the screenshot below. I have not looked up, or attempted to look up reports from countries outside of the U.S.
Many articles have been using VAERS to claim that the COVID-19 vaccine is causing deaths & injuries, but according to Facebook Fact Checker Health Feedback, the adverse events attributed to the COVID-19 don’t demonstrate a causal relationship between the vaccine and the adverse events. They do acknowledge, however, that VAERS records adverse events occurring after vaccination.
Health Feedback highlights the following point:
Both COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were thoroughly reviewed for safety and efficacy before approval. The U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) enables the public and healthcare providers to report adverse events that occur after they received a vaccine. While VAERS serves as an early warning system for potential problems with vaccines, determining whether there is a causal link requires further investigation into these reports. VAERS data only tells us that an adverse event might have occurred after vaccination; on its own it cannot prove that vaccines caused the adverse event.
VAERS themselves makes this point clear by stating:
A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) cause the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after (the) vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.
Keep in mind that approximately 40 million Americans have had at least one COVID shot thus far.
The VAERS data can also be perceived from another perspective. There is no proof showing that the vaccine did not cause the adverse events. The reports coming into VAERS are from people who believe the vaccine is indeed responsible for the adverse event. There are, as I’ve written about many times before, other important factors that have been noted about VAERS. For example, according to some, like this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, VAERS is estimated to capture an estimated one percent of vaccine injuries, or at least reports by those who believe to be injured by a vaccine, because the majority of them are believed to be unreported. It’s not clear how many health professionals let alone people are even aware of VAERS.
VAERS has come under fire multiple times, a critic familiar with VAERS’ bluntly condemned VAERS in The BMJ as “nothing more than window dressing, and a part of U.S. authorities’ systematic effort to reassure/deceive us about vaccine safety.”
It’s also noteworthy to mention that, when it comes to vaccine injury In the United States, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out more than $4 billion dollars due to vaccine injuries. Since 2015, the program has paid out an average total of $216 million to an average of 615 claimants each year. Furthermore, those injured by the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be eligible for compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) while COVID is still an “emergency.”
lyson Kelvin, a virologist and assistant professor at Dalhousie University, who is currently working on COVID-19 vaccines with VIDO-InterVac, told Global News that “there’s a difference between “adverse events following immunization” and adverse events “directly related to a vaccine…Just because it’s an adverse event, doesn’t mean it’s directly related to the vaccine. It just means that it happened after someone got a vaccination… In Norway’s case, we’re talking about adverse events following immunization.”
Below is a screen shot from of the DATA:
When it comes to science and determining whether or not a vaccine is the direct cause of an injury, there doesn’t seem to be, in my opinion appropriate systems in place to investigate this. Furthermore, the VICP protects pharmaceutical companies from any liability with regards to vaccine injuries. Vaccines are a liability free product.
The scientific method in general is quick to point out that correlation does not mean causation, but again, in some cases correlation may actually mean causation. The Bradford Hill Criteria is one of the most cited concepts in health research and are still upheld as valid tools for aiding causal inference. You can look more into that too see how it all works if interested.
Another factor one must consider, also, is the politicization of science. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, recent former executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine, and the medical industrial complex.
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…The UK’s pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines.
According to Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal.
“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.”
It’s no secret that vaccine hesitancy is quite high in some places when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, and with vaccines in general. The Washington Post reported this week that nearly a third of military personnel are opting out of the vaccines, and ESPN reported that top NBA players are reluctant to promote the vaccine.
A survey conducted at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital shows that only 40 percent of healthcare workers will not take the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to them. Riverside County, California has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.
At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials.
Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having stated,
The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.
A study published in the journal EbioMedicine as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.
Drene Keyes, described as a “gifted singer and grandmother of six,” found herself unable to breathe and began vomiting within a couple hours of being vaccinated, according to media reports. She was rushed to Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, where doctors administered an EpiPen, CPR and oxygen. Keyes’ daughter, Lisa Jones, told WKTR: “They tried to remove fluid from her lungs. They called it ‘flash pulmonary edema,’ and doctors told me that it can be caused by anaphylaxis. The doctor told me that often during anaphylaxis, chemicals are released inside of a person’s body and can cause this to happen.”
Heidi Neckelmann, the wife of Dr. Gregory Michael from California, said that in her mind, her 56-year-old husband’s death was “100% linked” to the vaccine. Now, at least one doctor has come forward publicly to say he also believes the vaccine caused Michael to develop acute idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), the disorder that killed him. According to the New York Times: “Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert on blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in Dr. Michael’s care, said that based on Ms. Neckelmann’s description, ‘I think it is a medical certainty that the vaccine was related.’“‘This is going to be very rare,’ said Dr. Spivak, an emeritus professor of medicine. But he added, ‘It happened and it could happen again.’
Heidi made a Facebook post about the incident:
The love of my life, my husband Gregory Michael MD an obstetrician that had his office in Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach Died the day before yesterday due to a strong reaction to the COVID vaccine. He was a very healthy 56 year old, loved by everyone in the community, delivered hundreds of healthy babies and worked tireless through the pandemic . He was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at MSMC on December 18, 3 days later he saw a strong set of petechiae on his feet and hands which made him seek attention at the emergency room at MSMC…read the full post HERE.
Approximately one month ago, Norway registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who had their first COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the country changed which groups to target in national inoculation programs. Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.” Bloomberg Reported that the “Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.” So, there seemed to be some conflicting information there as well, one piece of information stating that the vaccine was linked, and the other stating that it wasn’t, both from the same source.
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician and epidemiologist were all the initiators of The Great Barrington Declaration. They recently announced that they are strongly in favour of voluntary COVID-19 vaccination.
It doesn’t seem like governments are going to mandate the vaccine. What instead seems to be the case is that private businesses and institutions may do so. For example, certain airlines may not allow people to travel unless they’ve had the shot. Some restaurant, entertainment facilities and other places of businesses might follow suit. Certain employers may require their employees to take the shot. All of this of course raises a number of legal and ethical concerns. We will just have to wait and see what happens. In all circumstances, I do believe the COVID vaccine should always remain voluntary, especially when it’s quite unclear if they can even reduce the risk of transmission and infection, and there does seem to be a number of concerns being raised with the vaccine.
Dr. Peter Doshi, an associate editor at the British Medical Journal published a piece in the Journal issuing a word of caution about the supposed “95% Effective” COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. You can access that here.
A few other papers have raised concerns as well, for example. A study published in October of 2020 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice states:
COVID-19 vaccines designed to elicit neutralising antibodies may sensitise vaccine recipients to more severe disease than if they were not vaccinated. Vaccines for SARS, MERS and RSV have never been approved, and the data generated in the development and testing of these vaccines suggest a serious mechanistic concern: that vaccines designed empirically using the traditional approach (consisting of the unmodified or minimally modified coronavirus viral spike to elicit neutralising antibodies), be they composed of protein, viral vector, DNA or RNA and irrespective of delivery method, may worsen COVID-19 disease via antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). This risk is sufficiently obscured in clinical trial protocols and consent forms for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials that adequate patient comprehension of this risk is unlikely to occur, obviating truly informed consent by subjects in these trials.
In a new research article published in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, veteran immunologist J. Bart Classen expresses similar concerns and writes that “RNA-based COVID vaccines have the potential to cause more disease than the epidemic of COVID-19.”
For decades, Classen has published papers exploring how vaccination can give rise to chronic conditions such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes — not right away, but three or four years down the road. In this latest paper, Classen warns that the RNA-based vaccine technology could create “new potential mechanisms” of vaccine adverse events that may take years to come to light.
Again, these are a few of multiple examples, I just wanted to provide some context. All of this warrants freedom of choice, does it not?
The Takeaway: One thing that seems to be quite evident, in my opinion, is the fact that mainstream media and the “mainstream” in general is failing at having proper conversations around controversial topics, like vaccines, for example. Instead of using terms like “Anti-Vax conspiracy theorist, as well as ridicule, it would be great if mainstream media advocates actually addressed the concerns being raised by those who are concerned about vaccine safety and effectiveness. Should private institutions/companies have the right to mandate this vaccine for people and employees? When it comes to vaccines, should freedom of choice remain? Why is only one perspective presented by mainstream media?
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