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Physician Specialists Urge CDC to Consider A Safe & Powerful Treatment For COVID-19

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A readily available, inexpensive medication has been shown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but is being ignored by the CDC and NIH. They instead continue to support the use of an untested mRNA vaccine.

  • Reflect On:

    Given the severity of the pandemic and what is at stake, why do these institutions have such a narrow focus at this time? How can we bring awareness to what may be happening?

Before you begin...

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As Covid-19 infection and death rates continue their climb, public opinion is consolidating around our health agencies’ guidance and directives. Resolution of the pandemic could be around the corner given the recent announcements around their initial observations of volunteers in Pfizer and Moderna Phase III trials of their novel vaccine based on an mRNA (messenger RNA) platform. Both vaccine manufacturers claim an initial 90-95% efficacy rate of their experimental vaccines. 

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The vaccines are in fact experimental as Phase III trials take a full 24 months to complete. Nevertheless widespread deployment of the vaccine will move ahead under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) policy. This policy does not indemnify vaccine manufacturers from legal action if their products cause harm. That protection has been in place for over thirty years under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act passed in 1986 in response to vaccine manufacturers refusal to produce vaccines without legal protection. The EUA goes a little further by allowing this particular vaccine to be administered to the public prior to the completion of safety and efficacy trials.

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Given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, such bold measures seem justifiable in the interest of saving lives. After all, there aren’t any other potential options. At least that is what we are and have been told.

In reality, several relatively inexpensive and effective measures have been suggested based on anecdotal and even experimental evidence. These include the use of corticosteroids, Vitamin D and hydroxychloroquine among others. Physicians on the front line have been urging FDA approval for these medicines to treat Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. These medicines have been reliably effective in treating other conditions and have shown promising benefit with symptomatic Covid-19 patients. Despite the completion of preliminary studies in June, 2020 that demonstrated seriously ill COV patients had ample benefit from steroid administration, the CDC position against this treatment did not relent even a month later according to this article in the British Medical Journal

As of today, the CDC recommended treatment guidelines continue to uphold the use of Remdesivir, an antiviral agent (that manufacturer Gilead charges $2,340 for a five day treatment) and bamlanivimab, casirivimab and imdevimab, monoclonal antibodies to the SARS-COV-2 spike protein (which medicare pays on average $340 per hour long infusion). Inexpensive, well known medicines like hydroxychloroquine and Vitamin D that have generous safety profiles when given judiciously remain conspicuously absent from their recommendations.

Could Ivermectin be the “miracle cure”?

Just this week, Pulmonary and Critical care specialist, Dr. Pierre Kory made this emphatic plea at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on “Early Outpatient Treatment of Covid-19”. Dr. Kory is an academic physician and part of a larger group of critical care clinicians, the Frontline Covid Critical Care Alliance, that have been researching all treatment options since the onset of the pandemic. Recently they are attempting to bring awareness to the results of controlled studies involving the use of Ivermectin in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. 

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If you have a dog or cat this medicine may be familiar to you. Ivermectin is a first line remedy for heartworm. It has also been widely and successfully used to treat various parasitic and roundworm infections in humans for nearly four decades. Discovered in 1975, it was first prescribed in 1981 and is on the W.H.O.’s list of essential drugs. This medicine has been instrumental in fighting infections from river blindness and filariasis to scabies and head lice.

Ivermectin paralyzes parasites by blocking nerve conduction in their cellular membranes leading to their death. Why then would it be useful in SARS-COV-2 infection (Covid-19)? It has been demonstrated, in both in vivo and in vitro studies, to be effective in arresting the replication of certain viruses by blocking nuclear transport of various viral proteins required for the manifestation of disease in Dengue, West Nile Virus (WNV), Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV) and Influenza. It has also been shown to stop the replication of SARS-COV-2 in this study from June of this year. Furthermore, Ivermectin has anti-inflammatory properties. The attenuation of an inflammatory response, especially in the late stages of the covid-19 disease process, is instrumental in improving outcomes as well. The possibility that this 40 year old heartworm medicine may have a role in treating Covid-19 is therefore not so far-fetched.

Despite the rigid and limited treatment guidelines offered by the CDC, physicians like Dr. Kory have been exploring all possible treatment options for months. As more study results get published it is becoming increasingly clear that this remarkable medicine may be more effective than any other in treating covid-19. 

Their conclusions are based on numerous studies from around the world. They have made them all available on their website and provide an excellent summary of the studies to date here. Admittedly, few of the studies have been peer-reviewed. As Dr. Kory points out, the peer-review process takes months. Given the fact that we are moving forward with vaccines that are nearly two years from completion of Phase III trials, granting some latitude to these studies is not necessarily out of step with the breakneck pace we are on to find a treatment. In any case, Ivermectin studies have been completed, Covid vaccination studies haven’t.

What does the evidence suggest?

Ivermectin is being shown to be remarkably effective in treating patients with both mild and severe symptoms. For the purposes of this article I will explore what is perhaps the most intriguing aspect to this medicine’s application: prevention of the disease. This is particularly relevant as millions of healthcare providers and school aged children are getting ready to roll up their sleeves to receive an experimental vaccine.

Four different studies are summarized on their above referenced page, all of which demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in infection rates of healthy people. Of note, a recently published randomized controlled study of 217 patients in Argentina demonstrated a 0% infection rate of healthy patients taking prophylactic Ivermectin compared to an 11% rate of infection of those with no treatment. Healthy people with regular contact with a known COVID positive person also had a greater than eight fold reduction in contracting the disease compared to those who received no treatment in a different randomized controlled study with 304 subjects. 

Perhaps even more interesting are the retrospective observations of large populations who received prophylactic Ivermectin compared to similar populations that didn’t. Here I am referring to a paper submitted by Alan Cannell, an engineer that has lived in Mozambique, who noticed that the Covid Rates in Mozambique and Ethiopia where Ivermectin is commonly used to combat the endemic parasitic infections were much lower than in South Africa where the drug is less frequently taken.

His interest piqued, he compiled Covid infection rates from three large towns in Brazil that instituted prophylactic Ivermectin to their population in mid July and compared the number of new cases in these towns in August to three other towns in Brazil of comparative size and geographical location that didn’t use the medicine during the same time period. When comparing each town’s August rates to their June and July rates, the towns that used Ivermectin fared 50 to 200% better. Of course this does not represent a controlled study, but we are looking at a combined population of over 3 million people with roughly the same demographics. His observations in East Africa seemed to play out in South America too.

Are the CDC and NIH biased?

Where does this leave us? Dr. Kory is making a direct and impassioned plea to the CDC and NIH to immediately form a taskforce to review and research the enormous amount of new information regarding this inexpensive, tried and true medicine that has been available around the world for decades. Despite all the convincing findings, these institutions have not changed their position from August 27 when they decreed that Ivermectin should not be used outside of a controlled trial. As a physician who has “cared for more dying Covid patients than anyone could imagine”, he finds the CDC’s seeming lack of interest in a safe and potentially game-changing regimen dumbfounding. This is in stark contrast to their resounding support given to a vaccine solution even though any meaningful study on their efficacy and safety cannot even begin for another 2 years. The implications here are hard to overlook.

I am a physician however I am not qualified to offer an authoritative opinion on the quality of the large amount of clinical data now available around this topic. Dr. Kory is. Nonetheless, he and all other medical professionals that directly care for Covid-19 patients ultimately must abide by the guidelines that are set forth by the CDC. His request to the CDC and NIH for an immediate assessment of the data and reevaluation of their position is more than reasonable. It is my personal opinion that any reluctance or refusal to do so should be considered negligent given these circumstances. I echo Dr. Kory’s plea and request that all my colleagues in clinical medicine consider the evidence and if so moved, join in this petition for an updated set of recommended treatment guidelines.

The Pandemic is NOT a Hoax

If you believe this group of clinicians is sincere, it is worthwhile to closely consider what Dr. Kory has to say about Covid-19 itself. “It is not the flu.” Here he is indicating his frustration with the continued comparisons with death rates between the flu and Covid-19 that demonstrate little difference in most age groups. That has not been his or his colleagues personal experience. Once a Covid patient arrives in the intensive care unit, he feels there is very little that can be done, especially using the treatment guidelines from the CDC. This is much different than a serious bout with influenza. Prevention and early treatment go a long way.

As we negotiate the widely divergent narratives about this complicated disease and sometimes perplexing response to it, it is very easy to succumb to polarization ourselves. Just because the death rate in the relatively young and healthy is very small doesn’t mean we should dismiss the disease as harmless. Just because little can be done to treat the critically ill does not mean we should look no further than a vaccine that is yet to be fully tested when other, safe and efficacious alternatives are available. Though there is controversy about the origins of this virus, it is most definitely not a “hoax”. Neither are the alternative treatment regimens we have to combat it. Dr. Kory notably is not suggesting that Ivermectin is a replacement for a vaccine. He believes it would serve in tandem with one.

Medical Therapies are often found in Nature

Ivermectin is itself a variation of a product of a species of bacteria called Streptomyces avermectinius. If you are familiar with pharmacology you will not find this surprising. Many of our most potent pharmaceuticals, especially antibiotics, were first found in nature serendipitously and later isolated, purified and synthesized. In that sense the “cure” often comes from the same source as the “disease”.

Indeed, the vaccines we have manufactured over the decades are often bits and pieces of the very same pathogens we seek to eradicate. Often they are grown in cell lines of other species. Now we are slowly turning away from nature and synthesizing the solution ourselves. The advent of the mRNA-based vaccine platform is perhaps the biggest step towards a “man-made” solution. Rather than presenting the “enemy” to our immune systems for future recognition, we are now programming our cellular machinery to synthesize a portion (the full length SARS-COV-2 spike protein) of the enemy itself, peptide by peptide.

The Takeaway

We cannot know with any certainty which approach is better or safer at this moment. However, doubt doesn’t seem to exist in the institutions that are governing our response to this pandemic. They seem to be inexplicably offering us a synthetic solution to a natural problem at all costs.

Update: December 14, 2020. We have corrected the previously described mechanism of the mRNA vaccine. The mRNA codes for the spike protein (the antigen) and not an antibody to the spike protein.

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated 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. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Awareness

Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

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Health

Study Suggests Risk of Death From Loneliness May Be Greater Than Obesity

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to a study at Brigham Young University, heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

  • Reflect On:

    At the deeper levels, is "loneliness" the problem or is it our mindstate? Is it our perception of loneliness that's a problem? Some thrive with a lack of social interaction, that being said, most of us are indeed social beings who desire connection.

Before you begin...

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Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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