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Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The major media dismiss public vaccine policy critics as “conspiracy theorists”, but no conspiracy is required to explain how it can be true that the CDC deceives about vaccines.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is this information constantly ignored and demonized? What's really going on here?

As I have covered in previous articles for Children’s Health Defense, the fundamental assumptions underlying the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone aged six months and up should get an annual flu shot are unsupported by scientific evidence. Examining a case study from the New York Times, we’ve seen how the corporate media manufacture consent for public vaccine policy by grossly misinforming their audiences about the science—and how, in doing so, the media are just following the CDC’s example. We’ve seen how the CDC uses deceptive fear marketing to increase demand for influenza vaccines, and how the CDC’s claims that flu vaccination significantly reduces deaths among the elderly have been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.

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As far as the discourse about vaccines goes in the mainstream media, this problem doesn’t exist. The media treat the CDC as practically the most credible and authoritative source for information about vaccines on the planet and unquestioningly amplify the CDC’s public relations messaging. We saw in our New York Times case study just how blatantly the media participate in misinforming the public, with health writer Aaron E. Carroll supporting his argument that everyone should follow the CDC’s recommendation to get a flu shot by citing a study whose authors actually concluded not only that the CDC’s policy is unsupported by the scientific evidence, but also that the CDC deliberately misrepresents the science to support its policy!

As far as the mainstream discourse is concerned, the idea that the public is being grossly misinformed about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines requires belief in “conspiracy theories”. But no conspiracy theory is required to explain how it can be that the CDC is misinforming the public about vaccines. The media is just demonstrably serving its usual function, as outlined by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, of advocating government policy rather than doing journalism. This is not a conspiracy. It’s just an institutionalized bias stemming from what Chomsky has called the “state religion”—an undying faith in the fundamental benevolence of the US government and its agencies.

Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

Likewise, no conspiracy theory is required to explain how it can be that the government agency charged with formulating public vaccine policy is misinforming the public about vaccine science. On the contrary, the CDC’s behavior can be explained to a considerable degree solely by good intentions. Public health officials generally are simply convinced that, in performing their individual function in the mechanisms of government, they are doing good and serving the public interest.

But as economist Milton Friedman once pertinently observed, “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes; or, as reiterated in Psychology Today, “If our interventions cause more harm than good, the interventions are not moral regardless of the loftiness of our intentions.”

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Doctors working within the confines of the medical establishment, too, succumb to confirmation bias and fail to question the institutionalized way of doing things

It is only human psychology to be resistant to ideas that challenge one’s own self-identity. It’s not difficult to understand how public health officials might be unwilling to acknowledge the possibility that they could be wrong—that they might be doing harm. The idea that government officials are susceptible to what is known as “confirmation bias”, or the tendency to accept information supportive of one’s personal belief system while dismissive of information that contradicts it, should hardly be considered far-fetched or conspiratorial. Doctors working within the confines of the medical establishment, too, succumb to confirmation bias and fail to question the institutionalized way of doing things.

And it’s not as though the medical establishment has not been wrong before! As Dave Sackett, “the father of evidence based medicine”, once quipped, “Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half—so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own.”

Too many people just don’t think for themselves, but succumb to groupthink. And this situation isn’t helped by the pharmaceutical industry’s undue influence on the direction of science. As BMJ editor Richard Horton has commented, “Journals have devolved into information-laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Studies examining this problem have shown that an alarming proportion of medical literature gets the science wrong. As a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation concluded, “To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence base production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers.”

One of the authors of that study was John Ioannidis, who’s been described by The Atlantic as possibly “one of the most influential scientists alive”. In a 2005 essay published in PLoS Medicine, Ioannidis wrote that, “It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.” And false findings might not just be “the majority”, but could be “the vast majority”. Rather than majority expert opinion representing scientific truths, claimed findings “may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

Among the numerous other problems affecting the quality of research are financial conflicts of interests and institutionalized prejudices. As Ioannidis elaborated:

“Conflicts of interest are very common in biomedical research, and typically they are inadequately and sparsely reported. Prejudice may not necessarily have financial roots. Scientists in a given field may be prejudiced purely because of their belief in a scientific theory or commitment to their own findings. Many otherwise seemingly independent, university-based studies may be conducted for no other reason than to give physicians and researchers qualifications for promotion or tenure. Such nonfinancial conflicts may also lead to distorted reported results and interpretations. Prestigious investigators may suppress via the peer review process the appearance and dissemination of findings that refute their findings, thus condemning their field to perpetuate false dogma. Empirical evidence on expert opinion shows that it is extremely unreliable.”

As The Atlantic noted, Ioannidis has estimated that “as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed”, and “he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.”

That certainly also applies to the CDC, where corruption and conflicts of interest are an endemic problem.

The Endemic Corruption at the CDC

Perhaps the most infamous example is how the head of the CDC from 2002 to 2009, Julie Gerberding, left her government job to go work as president of Merck’s $5 billion global vaccine division. Merck’s CEO understandably described Gerberding as an “ideal choice”. She held that position until 2014 and currently holds the Merck job title of “Executive Vice President & Chief Patent Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health”. That is to say, the former CDC director is now in charge of Merck’s propaganda efforts. One might say she’s basically doing the same job now that she did for the CDC, but even more lucratively. Apart from her salary, in 2015, Gerberding sold shares of Merck worth over $2.3 million dollars.

A more recent example came in January 2018, when CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald was forced to resign after Politico reported that, after assuming leadership of the CDC on July 7, 2017, she “bought tens of thousands of dollars in new stock holdings in at least a dozen companies”—including Merck.

In August 1999, the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into federal vaccine policy, the findings of which were reported in June 2000. As its report stated, “The Committee’s investigation has determined that conflict of interest rules employed by the FDA and the CDC have been weak, enforcement has been lax, and committee members with substantial ties to pharmaceutical companies have been given waivers to participate in committee proceedings.”

Examples of the corruption included the following:

  • “The CDC routinely grants waivers from conflict of interest rules to every member of its advisory committee.”
  • “CDC Advisory Committee members who are not allowed to vote on certain recommendations due to financial conflicts of interest are allowed to participate in committee deliberations and advocate specific positions.”
  • “The Chairman of the CDC’s advisory committee until very recently owned 600 shares of stock in Merck….”
  • “Members of the CDC’s advisory Committee often fill out incomplete financial disclosure statements, and are not required to provide the missing information by CDC ethics officials.”
  • “Four out of eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”
  • “3 out of 5 FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

US Senate report from June 2007 noted how surveys showed that Americans “overwhelmingly” viewed the CDC as doing a good job at keeping them healthy, as well as how the CDC took advantage of that perception by seeking ever increasing levels of funding year after year—and yet the CDC had little to show for its exorbitant spending.

The Senate report named Julie Gerberding as an example of the problem. Under her leadership, bonuses for the people managing the CDC increased dramatically. The top three CDC financial officers, for example, had “taken in more than a quarter million dollars in bonuses” over the previous several years. A New York Times analysis, the Senate report noted, had found that “The share of premium bonuses given to those within the director’s office has risen at least tenfold under Dr. Gerberding’s leadership.”

Contractors who previously were employed by the CDC appear to have found a lucrative way to make their CDC connection pay off.

Another problem was the “revolving door” of Washington. Citing examples, the Senate report commented that, “While CDC employees’ pay may not be equal to those in the private market, contractors who previously were employed by the CDC appear to have found a lucrative way to make their CDC connections pay off.”

The Senate report was appropriately subtitled, “A review of how an agency tasked with fighting and preventing disease has spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars for failed prevention efforts, international junkets, and lavish facilities, but cannot demonstrate it is controlling disease.”

2009 report from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found that “almost all” financial disclosure forms for “special Government employees”—such as the people who sit on the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee—were not properly completed. For 97 percent of them, there was at least one omission, and most of the forms “had more than one type of omission.” Furthermore, looking at the year 2007, 64 percent of such employees were found to have potential conflicts of interest that the CDC had either failed to identify or failed to resolve. The CDC also failed to ensure that 41 percent of such employees received required ethics training, and 15 percent of such employees “did not comply with ethics requirements during committee meetings in 2007.” In sum, the Inspector General’s office found “that CDC had a systemic lack of oversight of the ethics program” for special government employees.

A particularly salient example was the aforementioned June 1998 recommendation of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that all infants receive the rotavirus vaccine. We’ll examine that particular case in a forthcoming article. Be sure to sign up for the Children’s Health Defense newsletter so you don’t miss it!

Conclusion

In sum, while the CDC is the mainstream media’s go-to source for information on any vaccine-related story, the public has every reason to be skeptical of the information coming out of this agency. It is certainly no “conspiracy theory” to claim that the CDC is misinforming the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. On the contrary, that the CDC does so is demonstrable and recognized in the scientific literature.

It also requires no “conspiracy theory” to explain how this can be so. It certainly does not follow from the assumption that government officials in positions of power are acting out of benevolent intent that therefore their policies are not harmful. The institutionalized confirmation bias and endemic corruption are more than sufficient to explain how it can be that the CDC is misinforming the public about vaccines.

Written by Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent journalist and analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, author of several books, and father. Read more of his writings at JeremyRHammond.comTo stay updated with his work on vaccines and download his report “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process”, subscribe to his free newsletter.


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Awareness

Studies Show What A Whole Foods Vegan Diet Does For People With Diabetes

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple studies have shown that a whole foods, plant-based diet can help manage, prevent, and, in some cases, even reverse diabetes.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is dietary intervention not a priority of conventional doctors? Especially when it can be much more beneficial to the patient than medication?

Food truly is medicine, and nutrition is a great way to combat multiple diseases. What’s extremely confusing is why so many doctors still choose to prescribe medication first, without considering the power of nutrition. Many doctors are not even aware of the power of nutrition and its ability to heal diseases, and this is probably because they know next to nothing about it given that they learn nothing about it in medical school.

However, things are changing. There are an abundance of doctors who are not prescribing medication when it’s not needed, and instead prescribing a proper diet. Many of them are starting to educate themselves using the literature and science surrounding nutrition. It’s not only doctors, but patients are choosing to self educate themselves now as well.

When it comes to the medical industry, self education is important, given the fact that “The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry.”   Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal (source)

Not long ago, Dr. Asseem Malhotra, a well-known Doctor in Britain, had some choice words to say in front of the European Parliament about modern-day medical education and the overall knowledge doctors possess. He’s one of many who continues to emerge and speak out. You can read more about that here.

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, it’s one of the diseases that can easily be managed with a proper diet. The undue influence the pharmaceutical industry has on the medical industry and doctors’ lack of understanding of nutrition is why, I believe, more than 370 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, and approximately 100 million Americans have it or are likely to get it.

It’s firmly established in scientific literature and quite clear now that moving to a whole-food, plant-based diet can drastically reduce the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and can even help manage, or in many cases completely reverse, type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Giving up animal products and processed foods helps as well, and there is an abundance of research that shows this.

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Perhaps one of the most important pieces of evidence is the fact that there are real life success stories. Forks over Knives has a plethora of examples and real-life case studies that support the notion that eliminating animal products and following a healthy, whole-foods diet can make it easier to live with diabetes.

In 2016, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published a study that showed plant-based diets can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by a third. This involves simply switching out animal products for plant-based alternatives. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is rich in beneficial dietary fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients, and low in saturated fats. This is excellent for overall health outcomes, whether they’re related to diabetes or not.

Multiple studies have shown that red and processed meats (also recently linked to cancer by the WHO), as well as animal protein in general, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. In omnivore populations, the risk of diabetes is doubled compared with vegans. Another study found that eating meat once a week or more over a 17-year period increased the risk of diabetes by a startling 74%. A follow up study was conducted and found that increasing red meat intake by more than just half a serving per day was closely associated with an almost 50% increased risk of contracting diabetes over four years.

Removing animal products and shifting to a diet consisting of whole and minimally processed plant foods can reduce the problems created by type 1 and type 1.5 autoimmune diabetes big time. Although there’s no cure for this type of diabetes, the right diet has plenty of benefits. Cyrus Khambatta, PhDwrites that following a low-fat, whole-foods plant-based lifestyle can:

  • Boost insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin use by more than 40 percent after six months.
  • Lead to more predictable blood glucose, making it easier to manage diabetes.
  • Increase blood flow to tissues in the body and reduce the likelihood of diabetes-related nerve damage.
  • Reduce the burden on the kidneys, decreasing the chances of getting kidney disease.

People have also reversed type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet and fasting.

For more on that you can refer to the article linked below:

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

Here are some other related articles you might be interested in as well:

9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

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

Plant-Based Protein VS. Protein From Meat: Which One Is Better For Your Body

Scientist: Milk From Cows Has “The Most Relevant Carcinogen Ever Identified” & “Turns on Cancer”

Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker

Studies Show What Happens To Your Heart When You Go Vegan or Vegetarian

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to recognize that a whole foods, plant-based diet can be life changing. There are a number of studies that have emerged and continue to emerge showing this, while many more show a strong connection between various diseases and eating meat. It makes one ponder, are humans even designed/supposed to eat meat, or has this simply been the tactic of clever marketing by the big food industry? Something to think about.

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Awareness

Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com where it first originally appeared. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    The average American consumes their body weight annually in this cancer-causing substance, and yet hospitals freely feed it to their cancer patients, seemingly oblivious to the harm it does.

Hospitals feed cancer patients sugar and high carbohydrate diets for a simple reason: they are abysmally ignorant of the role of nutrition in health and disease — hence their burgeoning growth, packed rooms, and ‘return customers.’

Even though the science itself shows – at least since the mid-20’s with Otto Warburg’s cancer hypothesis — that tumors prefer to utilize sugar fermentation to produce energy rather than the much more efficient oxygen-based phosphorylation* – hospitals have actually invited corporations like McDonald’s to move into their facilities  to ‘enhance’ their patient’s gustatory experience, presumably to provide comfort and take the edge off of the painful surgery, radiation and chemo treatments erroneously proffered to them as the only reasonable ‘standard of care.’

But the times are changing, with new research requiring these medical institutions to reform their dietary strategies, at least if they wish to claim that their interventions are in fact ‘evidence-based,’ as they so often claim.

Study Reveals Sugar Doesn’t Just Feed But Causes Cancer

A groundbreaking study, uncovered by one of our volunteer researchers at Greenmedinfo, is the first of its kind to identify sugar, not only as fuel source for an already existing cancer, but as a primary driver in oncogenesis – i.e. the initiation of cancerous characteristics (phenotype) within previously healthy cells.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and titled, Increased sugar uptake promotes oncogenesis via EPAC/RAP1 and O-GlcNAc pathways, researchers addressed a common perception (or misperception) in the cancer research community regarding sugar’s relationship to cancer: namely, “increased glycolysis [sugar based metabolism] is frequently viewed as a consequence of oncogenic events that drive malignant cell growth and survival.”

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Contrary to this conventional view, the new study “provide[s] evidence that increased glycolytic activation itself can be an oncogenic event.”  That is to say, the activation of sugar-based metabolism in a cell – driven by both the presence of increased quantities of glucose and the increase glucose receptors on the cell membrane surface (i.e. “overexpression of a glucose transporter”) – drives cancer initiation.

Moreover, the study found that “Conversely, forced reduction of glucose uptake by breast cancer cells led to phenotypic reversion.” In other words, interfering with sugar availability and uptake to the cell causes the cancer cell to REGRESS towards its pre-cancer structure-function (phenotype).

What Are The Implications of This Research to the Diet?

What this new research indicates is that sugar – of which Americans consume an astounding 160 lbs annually (imagine: 31 five-pound bags for each of us!) – is one of the primary causes of metabolic cell changes in the body consistent with the initiation and promotion of cancer. And, the research indicates that removing it from the diet, and depriving the cells of it, could REVERSE cancer. Why is this so surprising? It’s because Americans have been lead like lambs to the slaughter to think of “prevention” as “early detection,” focusing not on identifying and removing the well known nutritional and environmental causes of cancer, rather, to spend their time, energy, and money on cause-marketing campaigns focused on “finding a cure” — as if one didn’t already exist right in front of our noses, or more aptly, on the end of our forks.

Hidden Sugar, Crouching Cancer

It has been estimated by the USDA that the average American consumes 200 lbs of grain products annually. Why is this relevant to the question of sugar in the diet? Because refined carbohydrate products – e.g. crackers, bread, pasta, cereal – are actually ‘hidden’ forms of sugar. In fact, puffed rice causes your blood to become sweeter (and presumably feeds more cancer cells sugar) than white sugar, as it is higher on the glycemic index. Adding the two figures together – annual per capita consumption of sugar and grain-based products – we get a jaw dropping 360 lbs of sugar (both overt (table sugar/high fructose corn syrup) and covert (grain carbs) annually – all of which may contribute to promoting the ideal metabolic situation of cancer cells: aerobic glycolysis.

This is one reason why the ketogenic diet – that is, a fat- and protein-focused diet devoid of carbohydrate, both in simple (sugar) and complex (grain product) form – has been found so useful in the most aggressive of cancers: including brain cancer. Once you ‘pull the rug out’ from under the sugar/carb-craving cancer cells, they are forced to either undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) or re-differentiate back into non-cancerous phenotypes.

If It’s So Bad For Us, Why Do We Eat So Much?

One of the primary reasons why we eat sugar and carbohydrate rich diets is because they are addictive. Within minutes of consuming sugar/carbs our body goes through a neuroendocrine roller coaster. Your brain can not survive very long without glucose, the fundamental energy unit of the cell, and will ‘freak out’ if deprived of a steady stream of this ‘nutrient’ within only 2-3 minutes. The endocrine system, on the other hand, perceives the danger of high sugar – namely, glycation associated damage to protein and lipid structures within the cells of our body; think: blood caramelizing, getting sticky, and gumming up the finely tuned works – and will release hormones such as insulin, adrenaline and cortisol, in order to try to get the elevated sugar in the blood and tissues under control. Insulin forces the sugar into storage within the cell, both as glycogen and as fat, but often does its job too well, causing available glucose levels in the brain to be depleted – setting off a vicious cycle of ’emergency signals’ telling the body to release more cortisol and adrenaline to increase the levels of glucose in the blood. This, of course, will result in additional insulin production and release, causing the same cycle to be repeated over and over again.

This seemingly endless vicious cycle is responsible for the insatiable cravings a high carb/sugar diet generates – not to mention the fructose-based hedonic effects generated in the brain that modulate both opioid and dopamine receptors in the nervous system (not unlike alcohol), and the pharmacologically active peptides in many gluten-containing grains, which also drive addictive behaviors and an almost psychotic fixation on getting carbs at each meal.

No wonder we have an epidemic of cancer in a world where the Westernized diet prevails. Certainly, we do not mean to indicate that a sugar/carb-rich diet is the only cause of cancer. There are many other factors that contribute to cancer initiation and promotion, such as:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • Chronic stress that suppresses the immune system
  • Vaccines containing hidden retroviruses and cancer causing viruses
  • Natural infection with bacteria and viruses that are cancer causing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Insufficient nutrients (lack of methyl donors such as B12, folate, and B6 will prevent the body from ‘turning off’ (methylating) cancer-promoting genes

Even though cancer is a complex, multi-factorial phenomena, with variables we can not always control, one thing we can do is control what goes into our mouth. Sugar, for instance, does not belong there if we truly want to prevent and/or treat cancer.  And don’t forget, carbohydrates that don’t taste sweet on the front end – bread, crackers, cereal – certainly convert to sugar in the body within minutes post-consumption.

In a nutshell, if you are concerned about cancer, have cancer, or would like to prevent recurrence, removing sugar and excess carbohydrates is a must. Not only is it common sense, but it is now validated by experimental research.

Additional Research

Note: another recent study found that Candida albicans (yeast) also contributes to cancer initiation and promotion. C. albicans thrives on sugar, lending additional support to the notion that sugar (consumed excessively) may be a primary driver of the cancer epidemic in those consuming the modern Western diet. For information on sugar alternatives that are not synthetic toxicants like Splenda (sucralose), read my latest article on the topic:  4 Sugar Alternatives That Won’t Poison You.


 *Note: Cancer cells prefer to ferment sugar as a form of energy even when there is sufficient oxygen available to the cells to do so; hence Warburg’s description of cancer metabolism as ‘aerobic glycolysis’ or the so-called ‘Warburg effect’

Originally published: 2017-12-04

Article udpated: 2019-07-19


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Link to the original article

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Health

Acetaminophen—Not Worth the Risk

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Acetaminophen has been around for over a century and is the most widely used drug compound in the world. In the U.S., acetaminophen (also called paracetamol or APAP) is present as an active ingredient in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications marketed to relieve pain or reduce fever, including Tylenol. Every week, nearly one in four Americans takes an acetaminophen-containing medication, and pediatricians routinely recommend acetaminophen as the treatment of choice for fever in children.

Despite its ubiquity, acetaminophen also has many critics. These argue that the drug’s path to prominence has been littered with errors, false assumptions and undue complacency about risks. Documented problems include life-threatening liver damage in individuals who consume acetaminophen in “excess amounts”—something that is all too easy to do, given the drug’s different aliases and the sheer number of products in which it is present—as well as cardiovascular disease and renal injury risks associated with long-term use. In the critics’ view, these and other problems make acetaminophen “one of the most dangerous compounds in medical use.”

In the U.S., roughly 500 deaths are attributable to acetaminophen each year, as well as 100,000 poison control calls, 50,000 emergency room visits and 10,000 hospitalizations. Most acetaminophen-related emergency department visits are in young children (under age 5), adolescents or young adults. The problem of accidental (or intentional) overdoses is worrisome enough, but there are other reasons to be concerned about acetaminophen use in young people—notably, the drug’s association with asthma and developmental disorders such as autismThe research linking acetaminophen to these epidemic-level chronic conditions suggests that the drug’s automatic inclusion in the childhood medicine cabinet ought to be reconsidered.

… two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.

Acetaminophen and atopic conditions

Numerous studies link acetaminophen use during pregnancy with increased asthma risks in offspring. Research also points to an association between use in infancy and asthma later on. For example, two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.

The associations hold true not just for asthma but also for allergies and eczema. Polish researchers reported “a significant dose-dependent increase” in the risk of asthma, allergy and eczema symptoms in three age groups who used acetaminophen in the previous 12 months: children (ages 6-7), adolescents (ages 13-14) and adults (ages 20-44). A multi-center European study found that the drug was “strongly positively associated with asthma” in 20- to 45-year-old adults taking acetaminophen on a weekly basis, compared with less frequent users.

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Taking stock of the size and consistency of the evidence, Spanish researchers—while stopping short of recommending an outright acetaminophen ban—have advocated for a significant rollback on its use:

“It is absolutely clear that the scientific literature is sending a large and consistent signal that challenges the traditional excellent safety profile of acetaminophen in children. […] A widespread, professional-based recommendation of limiting acetaminophen use to those cases in which ibuprofen cannot be administered would reduce the childhood population exposure to a minimum and would provide a good opportunity to minimize the detrimental effect of acetaminophen.”

… the authors note that the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses—both of which are hallmarks of autism.

Autism and developmental disorders

In addition to asthma, research has linked prenatal acetaminophen use to “lower performance intelligence quotient (IQ), …autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental problems (gross motor development, communication), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, poorer attention and executive function, and behavioral problems in childhood.”For example, a longitudinal study that looked at language development in two-and-a-half year-olds whose mothers had taken acetaminophen during the first trimester of pregnancy found a significant association between prenatal acetaminophen use and language delays, particularly in boys. The researchers concluded, “Given…the importance of language development, these findings…would suggest that pregnant women should limit their use of this analgesic during pregnancy.”

There is especially compelling research tying acetaminophen use to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a 2017 study (written by a “who’s who” of autism researchers at Duke, Harvard and the University of Colorado), the authors note that “the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans” and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen “triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses”—both of which are hallmarks of autism. They also assemble evidence for both prenatal and postnatal associations between acetaminophen use and neurological problems in children, including mentioning a reported link between circumcision-related acetaminophen use and increased autism prevalence.

Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines.

Impaired detoxification

Studies published in 2018 propose that acetaminophen may function as an ASD risk factor in combination with other pharmaceutical and environmental toxins. For example, researchers speculate that acetaminophen magnifies the damage done by antibiotics and glyphosate because it impairs sulfate metabolism and depletes the master antioxidant—glutathione—that the body needs in order to engage in effective detoxification.

Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines. However, researchers desirous of keeping the focus on acetaminophen tend to avoid discussing possible vaccine-related synergistic effects. This is somewhat puzzling, given vaccines’ aluminum content and aluminum’s capacity to impair detoxification in much the same way as acetaminophen. In fact, there are multiple mechanisms “whereby significant quantities of aluminium introduced via immunisation could produce chronic neuropathology in genetically susceptible children,” including oxidative stress, glutathione depletion and increased inflammation. The “synchronicity…between the onset of the autism epidemic and the surge in acetaminophen use” is undeniable, but so is the synchronicity between autism and the ever-expanding childhood vaccine schedule.

No more candy

For years, health providers and parents have handed out acetaminophen-containing products like candy, heedless of the compound’s documented toxicity. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol and one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has been only too happy to continue encouraging perceptions of a “favorable safety profile”; however, recurrent lawsuits and recalls and the abundant literature describing toxic outcomes suggest that it may be time for acetaminophen’s glory days to come to a close.


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