- The Facts:
This article was written by By Jeremy R. Hammond, Contributing Writer, Children’s Health Defense.
- Reflect On:
Are vaccines as safe as they are marketed to be? Why has the mainstream and big health ridiculed and demonized those who question them instead of addressing and countering their points?
Before you begin...
By telling parents not to do antibody blood tests to avoid needlessly vaccinating their child, Paul Offit unwittingly exposes scientific fraud by the FDA.
Many parents today are naturally concerned about the number of vaccine doses their children are exposed to by following the schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To many parents, it makes sense to avoid vaccinating their children unnecessarily, and to this end a blood test can be done to determine an antibody titer, or the level of antibodies in the blood. If a child already has a protective antibody titer, indicating immunity to a given infectious disease, then there would be no reason for the child to undergo the risks associated with vaccinating against that disease.
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To persuade parents that this is wrong thinking, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has published a video in which Dr. Paul Offit argues that such blood tests are of little practical use, and that the best thing for parents to do is just to get their children all of the vaccinations strictly according to the CDC’s schedule.
Offit’s argument, however, is fallacious.
Moreover, the nature of his argument reveals how advocates of existing public vaccine policy rely on deception in order to persuade the public to comply with the wishes of the bureaucrats and technocrats who determine that policy.
In fact, properly understood in its context, Offit’s argument undercuts the case for public vaccine policy inasmuch as it highlights how, in order to get vaccine products to the market, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) colludes with the pharmaceutical industry in what is arguably scientific fraud.
… just because someone doesn’t have a protective level of antibodies doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t immune.
In the video, Paul Offit introduces himself as coming from the so-called “Vaccine Education Center” at the CHOP. Then he acknowledges parents’ concern about unnecessary vaccinations:
One thing that parents worry about, or wonder about is, do I really need a vaccine if I’ve already had one or two doses? Do I really need to finish out the schedule, for example? Or maybe I’ve already been exposed to a virus or bacteria, so I don’t really need to even get vaccines at all.
So instead, how about if I just have my blood tested to see whether or not I have a protective immune response already against that particular virus or bacteria.
But, Offit argues, this is “not as easily done as you would think” because antibody titers are not necessarily indicative of immunity.
He names the hepatitis B virus and the Haemohilus influenzae type B bacterium as examples of pathogens for which a certain quantity of antibodies in the blood is equivalent to immunity.
This is not the case, however, for other pathogens, including the measles virus; rotavirus; and the pertussis bacterium, which causes whooping cough.
With measles, having a certain antibody titer does correlate with immunity, but a lack of antibodies isn’t necessarily indicative of a lack of immunity. In Offit’s words (bold emphasis added):
However, there was an outbreak of measles in the late 1980s, early 1990s that swept through the United States that caused more than 50,000 hospitalizations and caused about 120, children mostly, to die from measles.
When people looked back at that outbreak, you found that there were many people who had been vaccinated, but who didn’t have antibodies against measles who were still protected. The reason they were still protected is they had something called memory cells. Memory immunological cells, like B- and T-cells, which then when they were exposed to the virus became activated, differentiated, made antibodies, which then protected them. So even though they didn’t have circulating antibodies in their bloodstream, they still have these memory cells in their immune system that could then respond when they were exposed. So, if you looked at those people and saw they didn’t have antibodies, you would have falsely concluded they weren’t protected when they were.
n short, just because someone doesn’t have a protective level of antibodies doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t immune. One can still be immune to a disease due to what is known as cell-mediated immunity, which is a different branch of the immune system from humoral, or antibody, immunity.
Conversely, Offit continues (bold emphasis added):
Sometimes you can have antibodies in your bloodstream and not be protected.
So, for example rotavirus or pertussis bacteria affect really just the mucosal surfaces. So, rotaviruses just infect the lining of the small intestine. Pertussis or whooping cough infects sort of the lining of the trachea or windpipe and the lungs. That virus and that bacteria don’t really spread into the bloodstream and cause a systemic infection. They’re so-called mucosal infections. So when you look at immunity in the bloodstream, that doesn’t necessarily predict whether or not there’s going to be adequate immunity at that mucosal surface.
n short, just because someone has a high antibody titer doesn’t mean that they are immune. Cell-mediated immunity and mucosal immunity—or both—may also—or instead—be required to provide adequate protection against disease.
Offit summarizes by saying that “titers are difficult” and “not a perfect predictor” of immunity, concluding that “the best way of knowing that you’re protected is to get the vaccines that are recommended at the time they are recommended.”
Thus, Offit dismisses the idea of trying to avoid vaccination with a blood test as practically useless while characterizing vaccination as the best guarantee of immunity.
But this argument is neither logically valid nor honest.
That it’s safe to vaccinate children according to the CDC’s schedule, by his reasoning, is merely assumed.
Legitimate Concerns about Vaccine Safety
Today, children vaccinated according to the CDC’s schedule will have received fifty doses of fourteen vaccines by the age of six. By the age of eighteen, children may may have received upwards of seventy-two doses of nineteen vaccines.
As acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine in a 2013 report, no studies have been done to test the entire vaccination schedule to determine the long-term effects of the cumulative number of vaccines and their ingredients, which include the known neurotoxins aluminum and mercury.
(Aluminum is used in some vaccines as an adjuvant, or a substance intended to provoke a stronger immune response, i.e., an increased level of antibodies. Mercury is used as a preservative. Specifically, the preservative thimerosal is about half ethylmercury by weight. It was included in numerous childhood vaccines until the turn of the century, when it was removed from most after it became publicly known that the CDC’s schedule was exposing children to cumulative levels of mercury that exceeded the government’s own safety guidelines. Multi-dose vials of the inactivated influenza vaccine, which is recommended for pregnant women and infants as young as six months, still contain thimerosal.)
Naturally, the large number of vaccine doses and the lack of safety studies, coupled with alarming rates of chronic disease and developmental disorders among children, is a cause of concern for many parents. The idea that they should try to avoid unnecessary vaccinations is certainly a reasonable one.
Yet in his response to these parents, not even the slightest effort is made by Offit to address the question of safety. That it’s safe to vaccinate children according to the CDC’s schedule, by his reasoning, is merely assumed.
That, of course, is the fallacy of begging the question. But Offit’s fallacies don’t end there.
… during the mid to late 1980s, about 40 percent of measles cases were occurring in vaccinated schoolchildren, according to a study published in the journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, in 1990.
To strengthen his characterization of vaccines as the best guarantee of immunity, Offit highlights cases in which vaccinated individuals did not have a protective antibody titer and yet were still immune to measles.
Naturally, he doesn’t mention that the outbreak he speaks of was to a much greater extent characterized by large numbers of children who were vaccinated and yet who still got measles.
Bringing up the phenomenon known as “vaccine failure” just wouldn’t do, given his purpose of persuading parents to vaccinate their children strictly according to the CDC’s schedule.
In fact, during the mid to late 1980s, about 40 percent of measles cases were occurring in vaccinated schoolchildren, according to a study published in the journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, in 1990.
Most of these cases were attributed to what is known as “primary vaccine failure”, which refers to the failure of the vaccine to confer immunity. Another possible explanation was “secondary vaccine failure”, which refers to the waning effect of vaccine-conferred immunity.
For outbreaks occurring in the year 1989, according to a paper published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 1995, “Approximately 80% of the affected school-age children were appropriately vaccinated.” As prior studies had shown, “epidemics of measles can be sustained in school-age populations despite their having very high vaccination rates.”
Among the explanations for this were both primary and secondary vaccine failure.
Until that time, a single dose of measles vaccine was recommended for children by the CDC, to be administered between the ages of twelve and fifteen months. It was precisely because measles outbreaks were occurring in highly vaccinated populations, however, that the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) began considering adding a second dose to the schedule, to be administered between the ages of four and six years.
As the CDC itself explains in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of June 14, 2013, “measles outbreaks among school-aged children who had received 1 dose of measles vaccine prompted ACIP in 1989 to recommend that all children receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine, preferably as MMR vaccine.”
Moreover, the CDC openly acknowledges that for most children who’ve received the first dose of measles vaccine, the second dose is unnecessary.
In the CDC’s own words (with my bold emphasis), “The second dose of measles-containing vaccine primarily was intended to induce immunity in the small percentage of persons who did not seroconvert after vaccination with the first dose of vaccine (primary vaccine failure).”
Offit’s argument is that since a negative antibody titer after the first dose is not necessarily indicative of a lack of immunity, therefore parents should just go ahead and get their child the second dose, too. But that argument doesn’t make any sense. It’s a non sequitur fallacy. The conclusion simply does not follow from the premise.
Rather, the conclusion that follows, in the case of the measles vaccine, is that parents who think that the second dose might provide no additional benefit and would hence pose an unnecessary risk for their child are probably correct in their assessment.
… for the purposes of licensure by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccine manufacturers are not required to demonstrate that their product is actually protective against the target disease.
The FDA’s Unscientific Surrogate Marker of Immunity
The second part of the argument presented by Paul Offit on behalf of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is that, in the case of other pathogens such as rotavirus and pertussis, a high concentration of antibodies in the blood is not a good indicator of immunity.
It does not follow, however, that there’s no point in getting a blood test to determine antibody titer.
To illustrate, if a child has not yet received any doses of pertussis vaccine and yet has a high antibody titer, it would indicate that the child has already been exposed to and successfully mounted an immune response against the bacterial infection, hence rendering vaccination an unnecessary risk.
Nevertheless, Offit is correct to conclude that, for vaccinated children, there is little use in parents getting a blood test to determine antibody titer. But that’s just because of the differences between natural and vaccine-conferred immunity.
The example of pertussis is salient. Natural immunity to pertussis confers both cell-mediated (Th1) and mucosal immunity (Th17), whereas vaccination skews the immune system toward an antibody response (Th2). And as observed in a paper published in February 2019 in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, “The Th17/Th1 response prevents infection and disease and also provides longer-lasting protection than does the Th1/Th2 response.”
In other words, the immunity conferred by natural infection is superior to that conferred by the vaccine.
In light of that acknowledged fact, now consider the fact that, for the purposes of licensure by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccine manufacturers are not required to demonstrate that their product is actually protective against the target disease. Instead, the FDA uses antibody titers as a surrogate measure of immunity, which is unscientific precisely for the reason given by Paul Offit and the CHOP: antibody titers are not necessarily evidence of immunity.
As an example, take Infarix, the brand name for the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) produced by GlaxoSmithKline Biologics (GSK). The pertussis component was approved by the FDA on the basis of blood tests to measure the antibody response to the pertussis antigens included in the vaccine.
The FDA did so even though, as GSK itself admits right on the package insert for Infarix, “The role of the different components produced by B. pertussis in either the pathogenesis of, or the immunity to, pertussis is not well understood. There is no well established serological correlate of protection for pertussis.” (Emphasis added.)
In other words, they don’t really understand how immunity to pertussis works or hence how the vaccine works (although continued science is illuminating those questions, as reflected in the recent study elucidating differences between naturally acquired and vaccine-conferred immunity). What they do know is that in most children, the vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies against the included pertussis antigens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccine confers immunity to those children.
In short, what Offit and the CHOP fail to inform their viewers when trying to convince parents that there’s no practical use for getting antibody blood tests is that antibody production is precisely the endpoint the FDA considers for vaccine licensure as a surrogate for demonstrated immunity.
Other inconvenient facts that Offit and the CHOP choose not to disclose to their viewers are that (1) the antibody protection conferred by vaccination lasts only two to four years, (2) vaccination does not prevent people from becoming carriers and spreading pertussis to others, and (3) mass vaccination has caused a genetic shift so that the dominant strains in circulation today lack a key antigen component of the vaccine called pertactin (PRN).
As the CDC itself concluded in 2013 based on data from pertussis outbreaks in Washington and Vermont, “vaccinated patients had significantly higher odds than unvaccinated patients of being infected with PRN-deficient strains.” Hence, pertactin-deficient strains “may have a selective advantage in infecting DTaP-vaccinated persons.”
Far from providing parents with a convincing argument for why they should strictly comply with the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule, what Paul Offit and the CHOP have provided us with in this video is a strong argument for why the very process by which vaccines obtain licensure by the FDA is scientifically invalid.
Indeed, the conclusion seems inescapable that the FDA’s use of antibody titers as a surrogate measure of immunity for the purposes of vaccine licensure amounts to scientific fraud.
Offit and the CHOP’s Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest
That Paul Offit and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia would produce a piece of propaganda intended to manufacture parents’ consent for public vaccine policy should come as a surprise to no one.
After all, Paul Offit is a vaccine industry insider who has worked for both the pharmaceutical industry and the government. In fact, he once sat on the CDC’s advisory committee, and during his time on the ACIP, he advocated the rotavirus vaccine for routine use in children. At the same time, he was working on the development of a rotavirus vaccine under a grant from the pharmaceutical giant Merck.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia co-owned the patent for that rotavirus vaccine with Offit. The patent was later sold to Merck under a deal in which Offit profited handsomely. He has publicly acknowledged making “several million dollars; a lot of money” from the deal.
In addition to profiting from the development of Merck’s RotaTeq vaccine and directing the so-called “Vaccine Education Center” at the CHOP, he also holds the hospital’s Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology, which was created in honor of the former senior vice president of Merck, which provided a $1.5 million endowment to the CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania to “accelerate the pace of vaccine research”.
Naturally, Offit didn’t disclose his or CHOP’s lucrative partnership with the pharmaceutical industry when introducing himself as coming from the “Vaccine Education Center” of a children’s hospital and presenting his argument that parents should strictly comply with the CDC’s recommendations by getting their children all of the vaccine doses on the schedule.
Paul Offit and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia argue that there’s no practical use to parents getting blood tests for their child to determine antibody titers and that vaccination is the best guarantee of immunity. But neither of those premises are true.
For one, in this propaganda video, Offit begs the question by presuming that its safe for children to be vaccinated strictly according to the CDC’s schedule despite no long-term clinical studies ever having been done to determine the schedule’s safety.
For another, he characterizes the measles vaccine as conferring a long-lasting immunity even after antibody levels have waned while completely ignoring the known phenomenon of vaccine failure.
He tries to dissuade parents from doing a blood test to avoid vaccinating unnecessarily, but the reality is that parents who believe the second dose of measles vaccine may be unnecessary for their child are likely correct, given the CDC’s acknowledgment that the second dose is specifically intended to try to stimulate a protective antibody titer among those who didn’t seroconvert after the first dose.
The argument presented is that the lack of correlation between antibodies and immunity for some pathogens, including rotavirus and pertussis, means parents should forego blood testing and just get their children all the vaccine doses on the CDC’s schedule. But the more valid conclusion to be drawn from this lack of correlation is that, in order to get vaccines to market, the FDA colludes with the pharmaceutical industry in what is arguably scientific fraud.
Paul Offit and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in this video aren’t presenting parents with the knowledge they need to know in order to make an informed choice about whether to vaccinate their children. Instead, they are issuing deceitful propaganda intended to manufacture consent for public vaccine policy, which isn’t too surprising given Offit and the hospital’s own partnership with the pharmaceutical industry.
Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, author, and contributing writer for Children’s Health Defense. To stay updated with his independent journalism on vaccines, subscribe to his 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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