Playlist of the Lambs: psychopaths may have distinct musical preferences

Those with highest psychopath scores were among the greatest fans of Blackstreet hit No Diggity, with Eminem’s Lose Yourself also rated highly

Contrary to the movie trope epitomised by Alex in The Clockwork Orange and Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs, psychopaths are no fonder of classical music than anyone else, though they do appear to have other musical preferences, psychologists say.

In a study of 200 people who listened to 260 songs, those with the highest psychopath scores were among the greatest fans of the Blackstreet number one hit No Diggity, with Eminem’s Lose Yourself rated highly too.

Related: Can an online quiz spot a psychopath?

Related: The psychopath in you | Lucy Foulkes

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Immunotherapy has changed cancer medicine. But it’s no miracle cure | Ranjana Srivastava

26/09/2017 Ranjana Srivastava 0

Immunotherapy provides good reason for optimism and even awe. Unfortunately, it does not work in the majority of patients

She is grunting from the work of breathing. Perched at the edge of a chair, she hunches over her walking frame in order to find a comfortable position to speak the few sentences she can manage. Having watched her decline, I estimate she has weeks to live.

Slowly and painstakingly, she removes a paper buried in her bag. I can’t help noticing that this task consumes so much of her energy that her son has to unfold the newspaper article.

Related: Cancer treatment: sorting the good news from the hype

Related: We’re more likely to get cancer than to get married. This is a wake-up call | Ranjana Srivastava

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World Rugby rejects ‘alarmist’ call for tackling and scrum ban in school sport

26/09/2017 Press Association 0
  • Experts call for ban on ‘harmful contact’ to reduce injury risk
  • World Rugby questions data and claims made in new study

World Rugby has rejected “extreme and alarmist” claims made in a study that calls on scrums and tackling to be banned at school level, with a number of former international players also speaking out against the proposal.

Allyson Pollock and Graham Kirkwood from the Institute of Health at Newcastle University had urged the government to remove the tackle and other forms of “harmful contact” from school rugby. They argued that removing collision is likely to “reduce and mitigate the risk of injury” and said governments have a duty to “ensure the safety of children”.

Related: The great rugby union debate: should tackling be banned at school level?

Related: Rugby research team find 20-minute exercise plan reduces injury risk

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Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies

Plant and animal species that are the foundation of our food supplies are as endangered as wildlife but get almost no attention, a new report reveals

The sixth mass extinction of global wildlife already under way is seriously threatening the world’s food supplies, according to experts.

“Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report on Tuesday.

Related: Chips, chocolate and coffee – our food crops face mass extinction too

Related: Earth’s sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

Related: Global warming brews big trouble in coffee birthplace Ethiopia

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‘Winter bailout fund’: Labour calls for £500m emergency injection for NHS

Jonathan Ashworth to make call at conference as analysis suggests 10,000 people a day will wait four-plus hours at A&E this winter

Labour will call for the government to commit a £500m “winter bailout fund” for the NHS over the coming months, citing party analysis suggesting 10,000 people a day will wait at least four hours for A&E treatment this winter.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, will announce at the Labour party conference in Brighton that NHS patients suffered their worst winter on record in Theresa May’s first year as prime minister.

Related: Five to watch: the key players on Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench

Related: Exposed: ‘secretive’ NHS cost-cutting plans include children’s care

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Fake Pharma — The Ghosts in a Very Big Machine

26/09/2017 Dr. Mercola 0

By Dr. Mercola

Another media outlet has been caught promoting the interests of Big Pharma under the guise of real news. This time, somewhat surprisingly, it was news outlet STAT, which otherwise has a solid reputation in reporting science and health news. The story was titled, “How Pharma Sales Reps Help Me Be a More Up-to-Date Doctor,” written, supposedly, by Dr. Robert Yapundich, an experienced neurologist. You can see where this is going.

The article praised drug reps for providing vital information to doctors. And why wouldn’t it offer such praise? Yapundich has received more than $300,000 from drug companies in recent years, a fact pointed out by numerous Twitter users and readers in the article’s comments section, who suggested the obvious conflict of interest ought to be disclosed.1 The problem was, it wasn’t, at least not at first.

The article remained untouched for at least four days, during which other commenters pointed out more problems, like the fact that Yapundich said he’d not heard of a drug (Nuplazid) until he had lunch with a drug rep, yet, it turns out, he was previously paid for consulting services regarding the same drug.2 Commenters soon started calling on STAT to disclose the ties, fix the seemingly false statement or retract the article. STAT chose the latter.

STAT Retracts Ghost-Written Piece

The controversial article now contains an editor’s note stating that it was retracted because “it did not meet our standards,” continuing:3

“As a matter of policy, we ask all our contributors to disclose payments from industry and other possible conflicts of interest. In this case, the author disclosed no conflicts other than his affiliation with an organization that supports expanding manufacturers’ ability to discuss off-label uses of drugs.

In response to reader questions, we contacted Yapundich and he told us he had received more than $300,000 in recent years from pharmaceutical companies, including one he mentioned in the article.

He also acknowledged that his organization was funded in part by pharmaceutical companies. We disclosed that information at the bottom of the article … We also asked Yapundich to address reader questions about the veracity of the central anecdote in the piece. He said the anecdote was accurate as written.

But Yapundich later told HealthNewsReview that the anecdote was not, in fact, accurate. After that interview was posted … we contacted Yapundich again and he conceded to STAT that the anecdote was inaccurate. We then retracted the article.”

The organizational affiliation that STAT speaks of is the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA), a group that receives money from close to 30 drug companies; Yapundich sits on the board. Kevin Lomangino, managing editor for HealthNewsReview, reported that, when he spoke with Yapundich, he said the article was AfPA’s idea and was written by a ghostwriter.

Yapundich then made some changes and edits to the article prior to it being published by STAT. Reportedly, when he asked his contact at the AfPA what he needed to do in terms of conflict of interest disclosures, the person wrote, “Hold on financial info. Hopefully only needed for AfPA and not for you individually.”4

HealthNewsReview then revealed another layer to the story, which is that Yapundich was working in some capacity with Washington D.C.-based PR firm Keybridge Communications, who says their goal is to “brand thought leaders.” It’s unclear who was paying for their services, as well as who was ultimately responsible for the lack of financial disclosure in the article. “It seems that wherever the op-ed originated,” Lomangino wrote, “it received careful attention from PR messaging pros before it ever reached Yapundich’s desk.”5

‘Ghost-Written Puff Pieces From PR Companies’ Passed Off as Op-Eds

“While authors of op-eds may get more latitude than they would in a straight news piece, the boundaries shouldn’t be so wide as to include ghost-written puff pieces from PR companies,” Lomangino wrote. Industrial ghost writers first became popular when tobacco executives hired them to spin positive press about cigarettes and secondhand smoke, published in the name of various scientists, according to New York University journalism professor Charles Seife.

“Since then, ghostwriters employed by parts of the pharmaceutical industry have been busily tobacconizing the scientific literature. Gaze into the depths of PubMed for long enough, and they will materialize before your eyes, promoting Wyeth’s Prempro, Merck’s Vioxx, and Pfizer’s Neurontin, just to name a few,” Seife says.6

Even Monsanto has gotten into the mix, with glyphosate articles ghostwritten by Monsanto’s toxicology manager published using names of academic researchers, and the practice is well-known among peer-reviewed journals. For medical journals, ghostwriting usually refers to writers sponsored by a drug or medical device company, who make major but uncredited research or writing contributions.

The pharmaceutical company hires a medical education and communications company, which is a company paid almost exclusively by pharmaceutical companies to write articles, reviews and letters to editors of medical journals in order to cast their products in a favorable light. One cross-sectional survey found that more than 20 percent of articles published in six leading medical journals during 2008 were likely written by honorary and/or ghostwriters.7

With the STAT piece, however, we’re now seeing that industrial ghostwriting has come to the mainstream media, allowing corporate interests to spread their propaganda over an even wider audience. Seife continued that many news outlets, including STAT, are aware that some of their opinion pieces are ghostwritten, but when the ghost-writers are being sponsored by powerful people with powerful agendas, that’s where the problems begin:8

“Many opinion sections have a grudging acceptance of some degree of ghostwriting in their pages; after all, high officials and A-list celebrities have entire staffs hired to meticulously shape each public utterance.

But even if you accept that kind of ghostwriting, the industrial version of ghosting is an entirely different beast. Instead of putting the words of an unknown in the mouths of the powerful, it does just the opposite — it disseminates the words of the powerful by putting them in the mouth of the unknown.

Indeed, in this case, it used the trusted institution of a friendly doctor to spread the gospel of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s not the sheep in wolf’s clothing that’s to be feared, but the reverse … It may be a losing battle; the wealthy industries using these tactics are adept at harnessing the forces of capitalism to defeat any attempt at transparency. After all, it’s nigh impossible to see who’s really pulling the strings when the invisible hand gets involved.”

Another STAT Blunder: Patient Praising TV Drug Ads Connected to Drug Company

Yapundich’s now-retracted piece wasn’t the first time STAT published an op-ed without disclosing the author’s true affiliations. In 2016, an op-ed titled, “You Can Complain About TV Drug Ads. They May Have Saved My Life,” was featured, written by patient Deborah Clark Dushane. Suffering from chronic hepatitis C, Dushane wrote that drug ads on television prompted her to ask her doctor about new drugs to treat the disease, which “cured” her.  

“I strongly believe that if I hadn’t seen TV ads about chronic hepatitis C and new drugs to treat it, I wouldn’t have done anything to protect myself against it. Those commercials raised my awareness of the disease and gave me the courage to try again to beat it. I’m sure I’m not the only person they have helped,” Dushane wrote in the STAT piece.9

Again, reporting by HealthNewsReview revealed that the author wasn’t operating totally independently. A PR firm for Gilead, a drug company that manufacturers drugs to treat hepatitis C, contacted Dushane and asked her to write the piece. The positive press was intended to offset another STAT article that had recently been published, outing the “$100 million ad blitz for a $1,100-a-pill drug for hepatitis C.”10

Dushane wasn’t paid to write the piece, but Gilead flew her to California to learn more about the company and its products, after which she appeared on local TV stations to talk about the drug. Dushane was coached by Gilead’s PR people on what message to relay in the article and on TV.

STAT added an updated disclosure to the article on September 13, 2017, after HealthNewsReview brought the conflict to their attention. Seife, meanwhile, described Dushane’s role as a sock puppet for the industry11 while HealthNewsReview quoted Dr. Carl Elliott, a professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics and an affiliate faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications:12

“Of course this is wrong, and it’s wrong because it’s deceptive. I think the editors need to explain just what their policy is about corporate influence on the editorials they publish … Do they permit editorials that are completely ghosted by pharma? By a PR company working for pharma? What if the author wrote it himself or herself, but was paid to do it by pharma or a PR company?

What if the author wasn’t paid directly to write the editorial, but was coached what to write and got other benefits from a company? All of these scenarios seem disturbing to me, and I’d like to know if they are disturbing to the STAT editors too.”

Drug Company Faked Cancer Diagnoses in Patients to Sell More Opioids

A federal indictment and congressional investigation by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill allege that Insys Therapeutics concocted a fraudulent scheme to sell more of Subsys, an expensive, highly addictive, sprayable form of fentanyl.13 Prior authorization was required from insurance companies before the drug could be prescribed by doctors, and a diagnosis of cancer was a requirement for prescription clearance.

Insys wanted to make it easier for patients to get the drug, even if they didn’t have cancer, so they had their own employees to talk to patients’ insurance companies, pretending they were working with their doctors. According to CNN, “The Senate report documented how beginning in 2014, when someone needed to obtain prior approval for a Subsys prescription, it was actually an Insys employee who called the insurer and its affiliates to persuade them.”14

The insurance companies would ask whether the patients had “breakthrough” pain caused by cancer. CNN reported, “Insys got around this by finding calculated ways for its employees to create the impression on the phone calls that the answer was yes, they did have cancer, without explicitly saying so, according to the report.” 15

Further, six former Insys executives were charged in 2016 with fraud and racketeering charges, alleging they paid kickbacks to bribe doctors to prescribe Subsys and defraud insurance companies. Another former Insys manager pleaded guilty to charges that she taught salespeople how to entice doctors with money, chocolate or spending time with them, and to look for “money hungry” doctors willing to “play ball.”16

Drug Reps Target ‘Thought Leaders’

Drug companies have long tried to influence doctors’ prescribing habits by giving them gifts, vacations, fancy dinners and the like. This practice has since become frowned upon, but paying them for research activities, speaking and other “consulting” gigs continues. In fact, it’s interesting that PR firm Keybridge Communications used the phrase “branding thought leaders,” because drug reps use this tactic too.

Speaking to NPR, pharmaceutical rep Mathew Webb said asking doctors to become speakers was a surefire way to get them to write more prescriptions. In particular, calling them “thought leaders” apparently has “incredible psychological power,” he said, continuing, “When you do say ‘thought leader’ I think it’s a huge ego boost for the physicians. It’s like a feather in their cap. They get a lot from it.”17

While doctors may think they’re being recruited because of their qualifications or know-how, former drug rep turned whistle-blower Angie Maher told NPR, “I think nowadays a thought leader is defined as a physician with a large patient population who can write a lot of pharmaceutical drugs. Period.”

Webb said that after paying a high-prescribing doctor $1,500 to speak, he might write an additional $100,000 to $200,000 worth of prescriptions for the company’s drugs. They know because they purchase data about each physician’s prescribing habits from companies like IMS Health, ensuring they get a good return on their investment.18

Is Your Doctor Being Bribed by Drug Companies?

What can you take away from the knowledge that Big Pharma’s ties run deep, perhaps to your local newspaper’s opinion pieces or even to your own doctor? It’s important to take what you read with a grain of salt, and do your own research if an “independent” source reeks of conflict of interest. This applies not only to what you read in the media but also what you hear from your doctor.

Drug companies have long tried to influence doctors’ prescribing habits, however it hasn’t always been possible to find out what gifts your own doctor might be accepting. The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013.

For the first time, the Act required drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program.19 You can easily search the site to find out what (if any) payments your doctor has received, along with the nature of the payments.

ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs website is another great tool you can use to search for general payments (excluding research and ownership interests) made to doctors from August 2013 to December 2015.20 If you don’t like what you see, you can take the steps necessary to put your health care in the hands of someone with your best interests — not Big Pharma’s — at heart.

Insufficient Science About Added Sugar?

26/09/2017 Dr. Mercola 0

By Dr. Mercola

How much of a role does added sugar in the U.S. diet contribute to obesity and chronic disease? It depends on who you ask. Independent studies have linked the consumption of added sugar to everything from heart disease and depression to declines in brain function, kidney damage and diabetes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended in 2015 that sugar should make up less than 10 percent of your total daily energy intake, with additional benefits to be had if you reduce it to below 5 percent (which amounts to about 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day).1 In contrast, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar a day.2

The widespread prevalence of sugar in the U.S. diet is common knowledge — it’s added to the vast majority of processed foods, even those you may consider to be savory, like tomato sauce. Yet, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines only recommend limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10 percent each day, or 12 teaspoons, for a 2,000-calorie diet.

If the Guidelines were truly put out to protect Americans’ health, it should be far lower and, in fact, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) did recommend that Americans reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. However, this was followed by a flurry of activity from industry groups who, using tobacco-industry tactics, attempted to sway the dietary debate in their favor.

‘Direct Evidence’ the Food Industry Seeks to Influence Science and Public Policy

Gary Ruskin, co-founder of nonprofit advocacy group U.S. Right to Know, published a report in Critical Public Health that reveals emails between former Coca-Cola executives and the industry-funded International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), as well as a mass email sent by another industry-backed group, International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC).3

The messages “appear to be the food industry’s roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges,” Ruskin told Bloomberg. “I’ve never seen such a document.”4 The analysis of the email exchange shows how food and beverage companies deliberately influence evidence and public option. According to the report:5

“The results provide direct evidence that senior leaders in the food industry advocate for a deliberate and coordinated approach to influencing scientific evidence and expert opinion.

The paper reveals industry strategies to use external organizations, including scientific bodies and medical associations, as tools to overcome the global scientific and regulatory challenges they face. This evidence highlights the deliberate approach used by the food industry to influence public policy and opinion in their favor.”

The exchange occurred like this: the day after DGAC’s report was released, IFIC sent out a mass email to its directors and staff detailing the call they’d had with the media earlier that morning, in which they discussed “insufficient evidence” behind the recommendation to reduce added sugars. More than 20 experts were apparently on hand to discuss the issues with the media. Bloomberg continued:6

“The email was then forwarded outside of the organization to Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola executive and the founding president of ILSI. Malaspina, in turn, forwarded it to two current Coke executives, adding that ‘IFIC is coming through for our industry’ …

The next morning, in an email to Malaspina, Michael Ernest Knowles, a former vice president of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Coca-Cola and former president of ILSI, went further than media outreach, calling for ‘the generation of credible consensus science on the issues hitting the industry — obesity and causative factors, sugar, low/no calories sweetener safety — in particular we have to use external organizations in addition to any work we directly commission.’”

Already, a report sponsored by ILSI was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluding “guidelines on dietary sugar do not meet criteria for trustworthy recommendations and are based on low-quality evidence” and suggesting public health officials be aware of this when making recommendations and consumers take it into account when making dietary choices.7,8

Industry Tactics to Shape Diet and Public Health-Related Issues Revealed

The email exchange was quite eye-opening in revealing how senior leaders in the food industry seek to influence science and public health recommendations. Several tactics were revealed, according to the Critical Public Health report, including:9

  • Influence on evidence generation and summation, such as the food industry generating its own evidence by directly commissioning the work and using external organizations to do so
  • Highlighting the limitations of non-industry sponsored research to raise doubts in science
  • Exerting influence over scientific bodies and medical associations by seeking key leadership roles in such organizations, and using their positions to direct debate and discussions in their favor
  • Using academic contacts to guide global debate and advocating “broad-based collaboration with government and key opinion leaders, and involvement in nutrition-related government reviews of the evidence base”

To sum up, the report highlights the fact that allowing the food industry to participate in discussions related to nutrition and public health is counterproductive and not in the public’s best interest:

“Companies that profit from the sale of unhealthy food have a clear conflict of interest in relation to NCD [non-communicable disease] prevention, and are unlikely to have the public’s health as a motivating factor … The tactics displayed by these food industry leaders to influence the scientific evidence base and global debate in relation to nutrition and food represent a substantial risk to efforts to address NCDs globally.

The public health and medical community need to be aware that they are viewed as tools through which food companies can overcome threats to their profits.”10

Coca-Cola Secretly Funded Journalism Conferences, Has Ties to CDC

In 2015, Coca-Cola was outed for secretly funding and supporting the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit front group that promoted exercise as the solution to obesity while significantly downplaying the role of diet and sugary beverages in the weight loss equation.11 Public health authorities again accused the group of using tobacco-industry tactics to raise doubts about the health hazards of soda, and a letter signed by more than three dozen scientists said the group was spreading “scientific nonsense.”12

By December 2015, the Global Energy Balance Network announced it would be shutting down, with Coca-Cola claiming it was working on increased transparency. However, it’s since been revealed that the company funded a six-figure bill for a series of journalism conferences, which, the BMJ investigation reveals, “was more than repaid in favorable press coverage.” The report continued:13

“For drinks manufacturers such as Coca-Cola the idea that consuming their products is fine as long as you exercise — reinforced with expensive advertising campaigns associated with sport — has been an important one.

As Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, told The BMJ, ‘For Coca-Cola the ‘energy balance’ message has been a crucial one to cultivate, as its underlying inference is that, even for soda drinkers, obesity is more a consequence of inactivity than it is of regularly drinking liquid candy.’”

The conferences were hosted at a university, which was not forthcoming about the source of the funding. However, Coca-Cola’s ties run even deeper than academia, all the way to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2016, Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., former director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP), left the agency unexpectedly, two days after her close ties with Coca-Cola were revealed. Bowman reportedly aided a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence WHO officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.14

Bowman, however, was not the only CDC official looking out for Coca-Cola. Uncovered emails revealed that Michael Pratt, senior adviser for Global Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, has also promoted and led research for the soda giant.15 Even the newly appointed CDC director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, received $1 million in funding from Coca-Cola to combat childhood obesity during her six-year stint as commissioner of Georgia’s public health department.

Not surprisingly, her Coke-funded anti-obesity campaign focused on exercise. None of the recommendations involved cutting down on soda and junk food, yet research shows exercise cannot counteract the ill effects of a high-sugar diet.

Beyond their cozy ties with the CDC, Coca-Cola funds more than 90 different medical and health organizations,16 including the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes for Health and the American Cancer Society. All of these organizations work on strategies to reduce incidence of disease, yet receive funding from a major purveyor of those very diseases.

Sugar Association Paid Researchers to Downplay Sugar’s Link to Heart Disease

For decades, the links between sugar and poor health outcomes have been buried and nutritional science has been misdirected on purpose — to shield industry interests, without regard for public health. In another example, a historical analysis of internal industry documents stated the link between sugar and coronary heart disease emerged in the 1950s but was buried by the sugar industry, which launched its own research aimed at shifting the blame toward dietary fats. As noted by the authors:17

“Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s. We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) [now the Sugar Association] internal documents, historical reports and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study …

[O]ur findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.”

The Sugar Association fired back, stating that while they should have “exercised greater transparency” in its research activities, the digging up of a 50-year-old study amounted to using “headline-baiting articles to trump quality scientific research.”18 In an accompanying editorial, Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York University, put them in their place, summing it up quite succinctly:19

“This 50-year-old incident may seem like ancient history, but it is quite relevant, not least because it answers some questions germane to our current era. Is it really true that food companies deliberately set out to manipulate research in their favor? Yes, it is, and the practice continues.”

What Does the Science Really Say About Added Sugar?

If you listen to the industry fluff, you’ll come away believing that perhaps sugar isn’t so bad, especially if you exercise and make up for the “empty calories” by consuming some vegetables and skipping dessert. In reality, researchers have known since the 1960s that your body metabolizes different types of carbohydrates, like glucose and fructose, in different ways, causing very different hormonal and physiological responses that absolutely may influence fat accumulation and metabolism.20

Gary Taubes, co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative and the author of “The Case Against Sugar,” expertly documents sugar’s link to chronic disease and much more, including whether sugar should more aptly be described as a drug instead of a food. It doesn’t cause the immediate symptoms of intoxication, like dizziness, staggering, slurring of speech or euphoria, associated with other “drugs,” yet perhaps this only allowed its long-term medical consequences to go “unasked and unanswered.”

“Most of us today will never know if we suffer even subtle withdrawal symptoms from sugar, because we’ll never go long enough without it to find out,” Taubes wrote, adding that sugar has likely killed more people than tobacco, and that tobacco wouldn’t have killed as many people as it did without sugar.21

Once you understand the health risks of sugar, including the fact that it’s not an issue of extra calories but the kind of calories, it may motivate you to want to cut back, or eliminate, this substance from your diet and that of your children. If a sugar craving strikes, fit in a quick workout, drink a cup of organic black coffee, or eat something sour (like fermented vegetables or lemon water), all of which are excellent at helping you kick the craving.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is another great option, which has been shown to significantly reduce food cravings and increased peoples’ ability to show restraint — even after six months.22 A video demonstration is below, but here is the basic approach, which you can start using right now:

  • Identify a food you crave by visualizing it or imagining you’re eating it
  • Tap on your activated thoughts (for example, “I want this,” “I have to have it,” etc.)
  • Tap on each of the specific sensations or thoughts you have about the food (sweetness, saltiness, creaminess, crunchiness, how it feels in your mouth, how it smells, etc.)
  • Scan your body for any tension, and tap on that too

Flu Vaccination During Early Pregnancy Linked to Nearly Eightfold Risk of Miscarriage

26/09/2017 Dr. Mercola 0

By Dr. Mercola

Most pregnant women know to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and other obvious toxins to protect the child growing in their womb, but what about vaccines? In recent years, pregnant women have been told to get an increasing number of vaccinations, even though there’s a shocking lack of studies to confirm the safety for mother and child.

As noted by Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) in her 2013 article, “Vaccination During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?”:1

“Although since the 1970s public health officials have recommended influenza vaccinations for pregnant women in the second or third trimester,2 relatively few obstetricians promoted the vaccine until the past decade when, in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strengthened recommendations that all pregnant women, healthy or not, should get a flu shot in any trimester.3

[C]urrent vaccine recommendations4,5,6 are endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)7,8 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical trade associations.9,10

With these recommendations, the time-honored rule of avoiding any potential toxic exposure that might interfere with the normal development of the fetus has been suspended and replaced with an assumption that vaccination during pregnancy is safe.”

Vaccinations During Pregnancy Have No Basis in Science

Fisher goes on to list no less than 10 vaccine facts pertaining to the lack of evidence of safety in pregnant women. For starters, drug companies did not test the safety and effectiveness of giving influenza vaccine to pregnant women before the vaccines were licensed in the U.S.,11,12 and data on inflammatory and other biological responses to vaccination during pregnancy that could affect pregnancy and birth outcomes is still lacking.13

As far as the scientific evidence is concerned, it’s still unknown whether the influenza vaccine can cause fetal harm or affect your reproductive capacity,14 which is why the vaccine manufacturer product inserts state that the influenza vaccine should only be given to a pregnant woman if it’s “clearly needed.”

Pregnant women are essentially expected to stick to recommendations out of sheer faith, since vaccine recommendations are not based on weighty scientific evidence. In fact, health statistics suggest there’s something very wrong going on in the U.S., seeing how we have one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world.

As of last year, global rates for maternal mortality had fallen by half — except in the U.S., where the number of women who die from pregnancy-related complications has significantly increased.15 Infant mortality rates are also far higher in the U.S. than in any of the other 27 wealthy countries surveilled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).16

Could this be related to the fact that American babies and pregnant women receive the greatest number of vaccines? While there’s no research clearly proving this, there’s also no evidence to refute the hypothesis that excessive vaccinations may be part of the problem.

Flu Vaccine May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Miscarriage

In 2009, reports of miscarriage following administration of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine started emerging.17 Dozens of women claimed they lost their babies just hours or days after getting the vaccine, which had not been tested on pregnant women or, if it was, the evidence was never published. Not surprisingly, these instances were passed off as coincidental. After all, miscarriages do happen, and for any number of different reasons.

Now, a paper18, 19,20 published in the journal Vaccine is yet again raising questions about whether it is safe to give pregnant women flu vaccine. They found that women who had received a pH1N1-containing flu vaccine two years in a row were more likely to suffer miscarriage within the following 28 days.

While most of the miscarriages occurred during the first trimester, several also took place in the second trimester. The median fetal term at the time of miscarriage was seven weeks. In all, 485 pregnant women aged 18 to 44 who had a miscarriage during the flu seasons of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 were compared to 485 pregnant women who carried to term.

Of the 485 women who miscarried, 17 had been vaccinated twice in a row — once in the 28 days prior to vaccination and once in the previous year. For comparison, of the 485 women who had normal pregnancies, only four had been vaccinated two years in a row. While the study could not establish direct causation, the researchers call for more research to assess the link. Commenting on the study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Amanda Cohn, CDC adviser for vaccines stated:

“I think it’s really important for women to understand that this is a possible link, and it is a possible link that needs to be studied and needs to be looked at over more [flu] seasons. We need to understand if it’s the flu vaccine, or is this a group of women [who received flu vaccines] who were also more likely to have miscarriages.”

At present, the CDC is not making any changes to its recommendation for pregnant women, which states they should get vaccinated against influenza no matter which trimester they’re in.21 This is reprehensible public health policy at its worst. Sacrifice the health of women and their unborn children so corporations can profit.

Remember the former head of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, left the CDC in 2009 to later become president of Merck Vaccines, a position she held until December 2014, when she became Merck’s executive vice president of strategic communications, global public policy and population health.

Washington Post Tries to Minimize Impact of Its Report

Not surprisingly, vaccine industry shills are up in arms about the findings, and already, there are signs suggesting industry pressure is being applied to stifle the news. The original story published by The Washington Post, written by Lena Sun, was headlined “Researchers Find Hint of a Link Between Flu Vaccine and Miscarriage.” That headline was quickly changed to “What to Know About a Study of Flu Vaccine and Miscarriage.”22

Notably, this edit was done without disclosing the edit made, which is standard practice. I would not be at all surprised if the study actually gets retracted in coming weeks for some perceived shortcoming or flaw, even though it’s virtually impossible to find a published study that isn’t impervious to such critique. As noted by J.B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue:23

“The mainstream media is doing their best to minimize a devastating study showing a high correlation (7.7-fold) between flu vaccines and miscarriages. A review of the scientific literature shows a body of evidence that supports the new study’s conclusions.”

Commenting specifically on The Washington Post’s obvious tiptoeing around the issue, he writes:

“[W]hile I’ve seen a number of different ways for reporters to try and minimize the implications of damaging studies, Ms. Sun’s headline may just take the cake: ‘Researchers find hint of a link between flu vaccine and miscarriage’ … “hint” is not a statistical term nor does “hint” in any way provide a specific assessment of risk.

“Hint” is more like a word that you hope might keep people from reading your article … [T]he actual conclusions by the study authors were deeply troubling … [A]n odds ratio is ‘a measure of association between an exposure and an outcome. The OR represents the odds that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure.’

In plain English, an odds ratio greater than 1 would tend to imply that two things are in fact linked (like tobacco use and lung cancer). What was the odds ratio for spontaneous abortion for women who had received an H1N1 shot in 2010–2011 and then a flu vaccine in 2011–12?

The study says 7.7 … that’s not a “hint,” that’s a giant disturbing alarm (which is why the damage control is being rolled out en masse today). Women who had received the two flu shots in successive seasons were almost 8x more likely to have a spontaneous abortion than those who had not …”

Safety of Flu Vaccine Has Not Been Established in Pregnant Women

Sun’s article deserves further critique, which Handley also addresses, and that is her statement that the CDC’s advice to vaccinate pregnant women is “based on a multitude of previous studies.” This simply isn’t true, and you can verify this for yourself (which is what Sun should have done).

While you can certainly take the time to pore through the medical literature, available on PubMed for example, all you really have to do to confirm or refute this particular statement is to look at a flu vaccine package insert, which will tell you that safety and effectiveness have NOT been established in pregnant women. This means there are no studies showing pregnant women will benefit from flu vaccination. Nor are there any studies to support the claim that getting vaccinated during pregnancy is in fact safe.

If something has not been established, the issue is still wide-open for debate. To claim anything else is simply to spout opinions. Handley provides the following screen shot, showing the fine print from a 2016 package insert for Sanofi Pasteur’s Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine, which is routinely given to pregnant women.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Source: Medium, “Devastating Flu Vaccine-Miscarriage Study Sparks Ridiculous Spin,” September 13, 2017

The company’s patient information sheet24 for this vaccine also points out that “Sanofi Pasteur Inc. is collecting information on pregnancy outcomes and the health of newborns following vaccination with Fluzone Quadrivalent during pregnancy.” In other words, pregnant women everywhere are participating in an uncontrolled experiment in progress.

They just don’t know it, and articles like Sun’s perpetuate the false idea that “a multitude” of studies have already established safety and effectiveness of flu vaccination during pregnancy.

Successive Flu Vaccinations Depress Immune Function

We’ve actually known that successive flu vaccinations take a toll on immune function, raising your risk of more severe infections as time goes on — including the possibility of miscarriage if you’re pregnant.

For example, a study25 published in Human & Experimental Toxicology in 2012, based on reports from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database during three consecutive flu seasons, starting with the 2008/2009 season, found “an ascertainment-corrected rate of 590 fetal-loss reports per million pregnant women vaccinated (or 1 per 1,695).”

Canadian researchers have also found that people who receive consecutive flu seasonal vaccinations start to experience declined flu protection. As reported by CBC News in January 2015:26

“During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control originally thought seasonal flu shots from 2008 might offer extra protection against the new pandemic strain. They were puzzled to find instead, seasonal flu vaccination almost doubled the risk of infection with pandemic flu.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski and her colleagues went on to do five more studies during the summer that showed the same effect in people and in ferrets, which are considered the best animal model of flu.”

Vaccinating Pregnant Women Is Unwise

It has always been a principle of medicine that one should not vaccinate pregnant women, except in extreme cases, because the risk to the baby developing in the womb is too high. It’s only in recent years that this policy is being blatantly violated.

Research has shown that stimulating a woman’s immune system during midterm and later-term pregnancy significantly increases the risk that her baby will develop autism27 during childhood, and/or schizophrenia during the teenage years or early adulthood.28 It may also increase the risk of seizures in the baby, and later, as an adult.29 In fact, a number of neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems can occur in babies born to women immunologically stimulated during pregnancy.30,31,32

Despite such evidence, ACOG issued a notice September 13, the same day the featured study was published, saying it’s perfectly safe to receive the flu vaccine during pregnancy, no matter what the study in the Vaccine journal suggests. According to ACOGs press release:33

“The safety of vaccines used during pregnancy is of critical concern to ob-gyns. ACOG carefully tracks pregnancy-related vaccine safety information through its involvement in the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For many years, ACOG and the CDC have recommended that every pregnant woman receive a flu shot in any trimester. Multiple published studies, as well as clinical experience, have all supported the belief that the flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy.” 

As you can see, even ACOG claims there are “multiple published studies” in existence showing flu vaccination is safe during pregnancy, despite the fact that vaccine makers actually negate such claims in their package inserts — and vaccine manufacturers are prevented, by federal law, from outright lying in their package insert.

The rules are looser, apparently, for everyone else. All in all, this is one giant experiment on pregnant women and infants — which Sanofi Pasteur even admits in its patient information sheet — and it is being driven by pharma greed and institutional power, infected with denialism.

Why Vaccinate Newborns With Unjustifiable Vaccine?

If vaccinating pregnant women isn’t bad enough, giving newborns, even preemies and low birth weight babies, a completely unnecessary and risky vaccination on the first day of life may be even worse. On August 28, 2017, the AAP recommended that newborns weighing at least 2,000 grams (4.4 pounds) should receive their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth.34

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices started recommending this in October 2016, and the AAP is now following suit. I cannot think of a more unnecessary and unjustifiable vaccine than hepatitis B to an infant weighing only 4 pounds. Hepatitis B is transmitted from IV drug abuse, sexual activity with an infected partner, a blood transfusion using contaminated blood, or from a hepatitis B-positive mother. 

This recommendation is medically unjustifiable, absolutely irrational and has no basis in science. The singular threat of this disease during infancy is if a child is born to an infected mother. Since that’s the case, why not screen all pregnant women for the disease and only give the vaccine to those infants whose mothers actually test positive for hepatitis B?

That kind of revised rational policy would be a lot less expensive, and far safer for the majority of babies born in the United States. The AAP admits that “the birth dose of hep B vaccine is a critical safety net for infants born to infected mothers when the mother’s results are not obtained, are misinterpreted, are falsely negative, are transcribed or reported inaccurately, or are not communicated to the infant care team.”

In other words, because medical records are in such disarray, and future compliance to questionable vaccines simply can’t be predicted, let’s just vaccinate all the babies instead of trying to figure out if the mother might be hep B positive. That kind of attitude really does not instill confidence in basic medical record keeping — especially if the mother is indeed tested during pregnancy.

If false negatives are truly of such great concern, just test her twice, say, at her first obstetrics checkup and then again just before giving birth. Two false negatives are unlikely, and if they cannot keep track of test results obtained in the last nine months, then something else really needs addressing.

Unsurprisingly, the hepatitis B vaccine35 has also been scientifically linked to 69 different diseases and adverse consequences, including death. A 2001 study,36 which assessed adverse events associated with the hepatitis B vaccine in children under the age of 6, concluded the “hepatitis B vaccine is positively associated with adverse health outcomes in the general population of U.S. children.”

Your Body Has Two Different Immune Systems

When it comes to vaccination, it’s important to realize there are two parts of the immune system that fight disease in your body. One is the innate immune system that is always ready to work and the other is the adaptive immune system. The adaptive arm consists of Th1 and Th2. Th1 is commonly known as the cell mediated arm, and Th2 known as the humoral or antibody arm. Most vaccines preferentially stimulate the Th2 or humoral part of the immune system that produces antibodies.

The benefit of only measuring humoral immunity (antibodies) as a means of measuring vaccine effectiveness is that it can be easily determined by drawing blood samples. If specific vaccine-induced antibodies are present, the person is presumed to be immune to that infection and protected.

The whole point of vaccines is to stimulate antibody production without a cell mediated reaction preceding it. The theory goes back to the early days when it was believed that the humoral (antibody) arm of the immune system was the most important part of stimulating immunity. 

However, research reveals that individuals who, due to a genetic abnormality are unable to generate antibody production, actually recover from infectious illness just as well as those able to make normal antibodies.37 They also usually have protection in the future upon re-exposure.

This demonstrates the importance of the Th1 arm of immunity, and suggests humoral immunity may only play a secondary role in natural resistance against targeted “vaccine-preventable” diseases. This, and the fact that vaccines fail to confer lifelong immunity, suggests that having a cell mediated response is necessary. What’s more, research suggests that when Th2 is excessively stimulated through vaccination, your immune function may be compromised long term, leaving you more vulnerable to cancer.

Autoimmune diseases involve excessive antibody production while cancer involves cell mediated immune failure. This is why therapies that stimulate the cell mediated or innate immune system, such as Coley’s toxins, can be helpful against cancer. What this suggests is that our modern vaccine policy, which is a full-scale assault on the cell mediated immune system, is a contributing factor to many of the chronic diseases we see.

There are also dozens of studies demonstrating that contracting certain childhood diseases actually protects you against various types of cancer later in life — everything from melanoma to leukemia. There’s even evidence suggesting childhood diseases help protect against future heart disease.

These and hundreds of other studies can be found in Neil Z. Miller’s book, “Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies: 400 Important Scientific Papers Summarized for Parents and Researchers.” If you’re on the fence when it comes to vaccination, this is a book not to be missed.