DEATH BY INFLUENZA
CYTOKINE STORMS AND INEFFECTIVE FLU VACCINES
"About the flu family of vaccines, sorry, flu shot doesn't work. Zilch, zero, nada. After 29 years and reading the research, it's bullshit. Tamiflu, LOL, I was part of the FDA then, and their data that I looked at, zilch, zero, nada, again. It was crazy this drug ever got approved like Rezulin did. I voted against both, because I read. But those people said buy stocks. [#@%$] them, I have been in [I've seen what it's like on the inside]. Never again [I'll never be a part of that system again]."
"O.K. O.K. O.K. Just a little pin prick. There'll be no more... aaaaaaaah! But you might feel a little sick." From Pink Floyd's 1979 classic, Comfortably Numb (The Wall)
The middle quote above came from a friend of mine who happens to be an elite MD. He has worked as an ICU physician and OB/GYN as well as a researcher in multiple specialties. He is a two time professor-of-the-year at one of the largest universities in the US. He also happens to be one of the foremost experts in sports nutrition on the planet and lectures around the globe on a regular basis). He currently runs a practice that specializes in figuring out what's wrong with people whom no one else has been able to figure out what's wrong with. The quote above comes from his final message-board reply to the hundred or so members of his mastermind group concerning a recent online discussion about Oseltamivir / Tamiflu and the flu vaccines themselves.
Not to toot my horn, but I'd looked at the same evidence years ago AND COME TO THE VERY SAME CONCLUSIONS (about TAMIFLU as well). And not only has my brother come to the same conclusions (HERE --- he's a practicing MD), but when I quizzed a patient just last week who is an ICU nurse, here is what she had to say (roughly quoting). She sheepishly told me, "The doctors I work with love Tamiflu and prescribe it all the time. But, the pharmacists I work with hate it, say it's worthless, and have warned me not to ever give it to my kids under any circumstances due to its side effect profile." But what about the dying kids? What can be done to prevent children from dying?
Fortunately, children dying from the flu is rare --- really rare. And as far as I can tell, there's no relationship to their vaccination status (a local Springfield station ran a story on a 10 year old autistic boy who just died of the flu --- his father said he had been immunized). The fact that kids get the flu despite being vaccinated is terrible, but not at all surprising (HERE). But dying from the flu is an entirely different matter. It's one thing for the "frail elderly" to succumb to the flu (HERE), but what is it that turns some flu from a self-limiting nuisance --- essentially a bad cold --- into a raging inferno with the potential to kill young and "healthy" individuals? Although every case is different, the common denominator is something called a "Cytokine Storm."
Cytokines are cellular chemical messengers that are an important part of your IMMUNE SYSTEM (the biggest part of which resides in the Gut --- HERE), and are usually thought of as inflammatory, although they can anti-inflammatory as well (HERE). The journal International Anesthesiology Clinics published a scientific paper called Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain, that said.....
"Cytokines are small secreted proteins released by cells have a specific effect on the interactions and communications between cells. Cytokine is a general name; other names include lymphokine (cytokines made by lymphocytes), monokine (cytokines made by monocytes), chemokine (cytokines with chemotactic activities), and interleukin (cytokines made by one leukocyte and acting on other leukocytes). Cytokines may act on the cells that secrete them (autocrine action), on nearby cells (paracrine action), or in some instances on distant cells (endocrine action). There are both pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There is significant evidence showing that certain cytokines/chemokines are involved in not only the initiation but also the persistence of pathologic pain by directly activating nociceptive sensory neurons. Certain inflammatory cytokines are also involved in nerve-injury/inflammation-induced central sensitization, and are related to the development of contralateral hyperalgesia/allodynia."
I've written extensively about ALLODYNIA, HYPERALGIA, and CENTRAL SENSITIZATION on my site, and you may have heard of some of the specific cytokines associated with these and other painful, INFLAMMATORY OR DEGENERATIVE / NEURODEGENERATIVE CONDITIONS (IL-6, and TNF-α -- Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha --- are two of the biggies, but there are dozens of others). Be aware, however, that pain and disease are not the only problems associated with inflammatory cytokines. In large enough amounts, these compounds can actually kill you. How do they accomplish this?
When people are seriously attacked by bacteria they can go into septic shock --- a condition in which one's immune system becomes overwhelmed to the point that organs shut down and fail. Death is imminent if not dealt with immediately. With viral infections (yes, they can "go viral"), people tend to have an over-reaction to said virus. Listen as retired Neurosurgeon, RUSSELL BLAYLOCK explains the basic mechanics of this phenomenon in a cherry-picked article called Do Viruses Kill People?
"Most people think that viruses kill people directly. But, in fact, recent studies have shown that most viruses kill by causing the body to overreact to the infection. Studies have shown that in many cases the virulence of a virus is actually based on its ability to trigger immune overreaction. In a high percentage of cases, a person’s immune system is not operating normally. Part of the immune system, usually the cellular immune system, is weakened either by heredity, other illnesses, poor nutrition, or aging. And the intact parts of the immune system overreact to correct the defect."
Notice here that he is talking about an imbalance of THE TWO SIDES OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM (and is the basis for warning you about "boosting" your immune system indiscriminately) The cellular immune system (Cell-Mediated Immunity) is the part of the immune system that makes cytokines, and Blaylock goes on to describe the name of this phenomenon when it is tipped far enough to be considered out of control --- the "Cytokine Storm". A 2012 article in the Washington Post by David Schultz (Flu’s Lethality is Attributed to Immune Systems Overreacting to the Virus) said almost the same thing.
"New research about how the virus works on the cellular level has uncovered what makes influenza so deadly: It destroys its host — you — by using your body’s own defenses against itself. 'This is where the science is right now,' said Trish Perl, a senior epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 'That’s what happens with a lot of severe infections. . . . It’s almost like the system goes into overdrive.' While trying to destroy flu-infected cells, your immune system also destroys legions of perfectly healthy cells all over your body. This is why, even though the virus itself rarely ventures outside the lungs, the symptoms of the flu are so widespread."
In a Cytokine Storm, the two sides of the immune system are out of balance (see previous link). And although we typically think of immune system dysfunction as a 'weakened' response, all too often it's just the opposite. Not only does this imbalance lead to varying degrees of the situation described above (the Cytokine Storm), it can also lead to longer-term dysfunction in the form of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES --- the body losing immune inhibition to the degree it starts to attack itself.
Nowhere is this process seen more clearly than with POLIO. What if I told you that during the polio epidemic of the 40's and 50's, virtually everyone had polio. The crazy part is that only about one in twenty had any symptoms (usually they had something akin to a cold or flu), and of that five percent with symptoms, about one in ten developed varying degrees of what we call "polio". And what's doubly crazy is that the epidemic was largely over before the vaccine(s) came into use (HERE). The culprit in paralytic polio? Not the virus itself, since most people didn't react at all --- at least visibly. The Cytokine Storm was the culprit. Allow me to give you a couple of examples showing that the severity of viral disease is often directly proportional to the severity of the storm.
- A 2012 study from the Journal of Infectious Diseases (Host Cytokine Storm Is Associated With Disease Severity of Severe Fever With Thrombocytopenia Syndrome) concluded --- as might be ascertained from the title --- that "Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging viral disease in China, caused by SFTS virus (SFTSV). The study demonstrates that SFTSV infection induces a cytokine storm with abnormally expressed cytokine profiles, which are associated with the disease severity." The worse the storm, the sicker you get.
- A year later, Cell Host & Microbe (Virus Infections in the Nervous System) revealed that "Virus infections usually begin in peripheral tissues and can invade the mammalian nervous system (NS), spreading into the peripheral (PNS) and more rarely the central nervous systems (CNS). Patients infected with H5N1 virus die, not because of robust virus replication, but because of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) triggered by the cytokine storm. Poliovirus infection begins with the ingestion of virus particles followed by replication in the intestinal mucosa and secretion of new virus particles in feces, typically with no CNS infection. However, about 1–2% of poliovirus infections result in the infection of motor neurons that leads to the well-known motor dysfunction, poliomyelitis. Viral infections can spread to other tissues where they can cause more serious problems due to... overreacting immune response. This latter reaction is sometimes called a `cytokine storm` because cytokines are elevated in the serum leading to vigorous systemic immune activity. Such a response in the brain is usually devastating and can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, meningoencephalitis or death." The worse the storm, the sicker you get.
- In an article called The Vaccine Argument, Dr. Roby Mitchell (MD) says about polio virus, "What causes the paralysis of polio is the immune system response (inflammation) to an enterovirus in nerve cells of the spine. The response could be to one specific enterovirus, labeled polio. However, the exact same reaction can happen when a different enterovirus (D68) invades spinal nerve cells (Acute flaccid paralysis is simply polio by a different name). Your immune system causes polio, not the virus. This makes it impossible to eradicate polio unless you eradicate the immune system." Did you catch that? An over-reactive immune system causes polio, not the virus itself.
Writing for DAVID GORSKI'S Science-Based Medicine site, DR. MARK CRISLIP invoked articles from about 15 vaccine-choice MD's (Medical Voices: Always in Error, Never in Doubt), telling his readers that, "No. Sorry. Wrong. 'Cytokine storm' refers to the massive release of cytokines that accompanies an overwhelming and often rapidly fatal disease. It is a hurricane. Vaccines are, in comparison, a light spring shower that is comes right after you have sown the grass seed. Cytokine storm: I do not think it means what you think it means. There is zero evidence that vaccines cause a cytokine storm, much less a storm that lasts for years." Once you understand vaccine adjuvants (substances added to vaccines to purposefully make the virus more reactive since in vaccines they are often not reactive on their own to create an antibody reaction), you start to see that in susceptible individuals, vaccines can and do cause Cytokine Storm. And although the storm itself may be rather brief; like a tornado that may be gone in a matter of seconds, the consequences can be both devastating and long term (I have a post in the works to address this particular issue).
VACCINE ADJUVANTS (the most common by far being aluminum) are increasingly being implicated in abnormally strong cytokine responses in the scientific literature --- simply because this is exactly what they have been designed to do. Furthermore, controlling these adjuvant reactions can be difficult (impossible) due to the individual differences in both genetics and environment (think HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS and EPIGENETIC FACTORS here) as well as the multiple (multiple / multiple / multiple / multiple / multiple) exposures.
Back in July I discussed JB Handley's article from Health in America (Did Chinese Scientists Find Autism’s Missing Puzzle Piece?). Listen to what he wrote about cytokines? "The study also found amazing increases of certain cytokines in the brain, and of others in the cerebro-spinal fluid. This is is a landmark paper, in my opinion, because it presents the first evidence that there’s an ongoing, permanent immune-system activation in the brains of autistic people. It’s a subclinical state, because there’s no overt infection..... If you’re an autism parent, you’ve probably heard the expression cytokine storm." After a great deal of similar discussion, he went on to show that IL-6 is not only intimately related to AUTISM, but that high levels have been experimentally kown to be induced by aluminum since the early 1980's.
A quick glance at the title of a 2010 study published in the Journal of Immunology should wake you up (Long Peptide Vaccination Can Lead to Lethality through CD4+ T Cell-Mediated Cytokine Storm). And we see once again that there's nothing novel about this phenomenon (adjuvant-driven storms), which is clearly seen through the cherry-picked quote from Micro and Nanotechnology in Vaccine Development (an extremely pro-vaccine book by a pair of renowned Australian chemists).
"The role of an adjuvant in a vaccine is to stimulate a rapid and robust immunological response to the presented antigen. This can be achieved through a number of mechanisms... including cytokine activation and activation of the inflammasome. Safe adjuvants require a balance between immune stimulation and immune toxicity. Consequently, all adjuvants have the ability to exert unwanted side effects to susceptible individuals through hyper-activation of the immune system. More severe adjuvant responses such as hypercytokinemia are not uncommon and have led to the withdrawal of a number of vaccines from the market. Hypercytokinemia or "cytokine storm" is the unregulated release of cytokines following an acute immune response. It usually involves prior exposure to the causative agent [can anyone say multiple vaccinations?] and can result in key organ failure and eventual death."
Listen to what Dr. Helen V. Ratajczak, a retired senior scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and leader of the Immunology Group at the IIT Research Institute, had to say about the effects of this storm on the brain. "In the case of the immune system’s attack on brain microglia and astrocytes, there is a cross reaction of the antibody against the antigen and the brain cells. (The configuration of the brain cells or parts of them is similar to the antigen.) Therefore, the immune system attacks the brain cells. Besides eliciting an immune response that is specifically against the antigen, the vaccine elicits a number of cytokines or factors, which enhance or regulate the immune response. The cytokines caused by the vaccine cause the secretion of harmful chemicals including two excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolenic acid. These chemicals elicit an excitatory reaction in the neurons, and create cellular toxicity and inflammation if too much accumulates." In case you are not sure what MICROGLIA are and why they are a critical part of you brain and immune system, click the link. And as for excitotoxins, go back and click the link on Russell Blaylock (he wrote the definitive book on the subject back in 1994).
Although the government claims that in an average year the flu vaccine is about 50-70% effective, it's important to realize that these (exaggerated) figures are for seasonal flu vaccines only. When it comes to various virulent strains (this year's flu is a good example) or influenza pandemics, flu vaccines provide almost zero protection (this year's vaccine is admittedly less than 10%). And because the antivirals (Tamiflu / Osmalivir) are equally as ineffective, it means that a PANDEMIC FLU such as that seen in 1918, could prove freakishly devastating. What made the 1918 flu so bad? The Cytokine Storm of course.
Listen to what retired astronaut, surgeon, and family doctor, Duane Graveline said in an article called Flu, SARS, Ebola and Cytokine Storms. "With the 1918 flu pandemic, unlike other flu outbreaks, it was not the very young, the very old and the sick that were most at risk, but young, previously healthy adults. The stronger the individual’s immune system, the greater the chance of death. This particular strain of flu — influenza A (H1N1) avian (bird flu) — caused the infected individual’s immune system to go out of control in what has come to be known as a cytokine storm. The healthier the individual and the stronger their immune system, the more robust the response and the more damaging it is to the host. This amplified immune response was what made the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic so deadly. In common with other types of the flu, the immune response was concentrated in the lungs. The overwhelming immune response destroyed lung tissue and caused the lungs of the infected host to fill with liquid." Part of what led Graveline to write this article is that researchers are attempting to use STATIN DRUGS to fight these storms, and he's written several books on their dangerous SIDE EFFECTS.
So, the question becomes, if you have a Cytokine Storm, what can you expect from the medical community and how effective are current methods of stopping said storm? Writing in last July's issue of the American Laboratory (An Effective Treatment Strategy for Cytokine Storm in Severe Influenza), Erin Murphy revealed just how desperate the situation really is. After mentioning Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which we already know is terrible, and before mentioning several novel "experimental" treatments, Murphy spilled the beans about the most commonly used treatments for Cytokine Storm.
"Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs have not been successful in treating cytokine storm and improving survival. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, are used commonly to treat mild to moderate inflammation, but have not demonstrated the ability to control cytokine storm. Similarly, corticosteroids have also had mixed results, and their use for treating severe influenza is not recommended due to an increased risk of hospital-acquired infections and death. Other experimental approaches, such as the use of statins, have shown some success when used with other agents to alter the body’s immune response."
If you want to look at some of these novel and experimental treatments, look no further than the paper Targeting the 'Cytokine Storm' for Therapeutic Benefit found in a 2013 issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. The bottom line, it's rather a crapshoot. Which raises the question of whether or not there are things that one can do on their own in the event of another flu pandemic --- something that the experts (rightly) believe will happen again (probably sooner rather than later), and something that even the most ardently pro-vaccine advocates admit flu vaccines will provide no protection against --- at least in the early stages (most experts say a year). In other words, how would you protect yourself against a "Storm" potentially so severe that it once killed 6% of the world's population?
STAYING ALIVE IN THE EVENT OF A FLU PANDEMIC
WEATHERING A CYTOKINE STORM
"The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died. Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people, while current estimates say 50–100 million people worldwide were killed. This pandemic has been described as 'the greatest medical holocaust in history' and may have killed more people than the Black Death. It is said that this flu killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS killed in 24 years, and more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century." From Wikipedia's entry, 1918 Flu Pandemic
"Sir, When H5N1 avian gains human to human transmissibility, its lethality will probably be related to the ability of the virus to induce a cytokine storm, a positive feedback loop between cytokines and immune cells such as macrophages and T cells. Since we will have no vaccines for the first 6 months of a pandemic, since the effectiveness of the effectiveness of the neuraminidases [Tamiflu] is in doubt, and since H5N1 influenza viruses are resistant to the antiviral effects of interferons and tumour necrosis factor alpha, we would do well to look at other approaches to treatment." From a letter to the editor of the editor of the BMJ (Treating the H5N1 Cytokine Storm) by one Dr. Richard Lawson
Ridin' the storm out
Waitin' for the thaw-out
REO Speedwagon from 1973's Riding the Storm Out
The idea that diet affects and modifies one's immune system is nothing new. Two decades ago our military (Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition and Immune Function in the Field --- Cytokines and Nutritional Status: Possible Correlations and Investigations) was looking into this issue with a paper written by Dr. Jeff Rossio, a biology and immunology professor at Maryland's Hood College. After discussing the problems and side effects associated with administering cytokines intravenously, he discussed using diet to modify cytokine profiles to prevent or reverse certain types of diseases common on the battlefield (or possibly the result of biological warfare). Truthfully, the study didn't come to any concrete conclusions; and let's be honest, do we really want advice on vaccines or food from our military?
Like any number of other researchers / physicians, Dr. Lawrence Helson's career reads like a Who's Who list. His main area of research just happens to be CURCUMIN (he's a professor, a researcher, a board member of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's Research Foundation, as well as owing his own pharmaceutical company that specializes in manufacturing --- you guessed it --- a patented type of curcumin). Three years ago next month, he and his team published a paper in In Vivo called Curcumin Suppression of Cytokine Release and Cytokine Storm. A Potential Therapy for Patients with Ebola and Other Severe Viral Infections. The paper is free online and concluded...
"The activity of curcumin in suppressing multiple cytokines, and its activity in experimental models of diseases and conditions associated with cytokine storm, suggest it may be useful in the treatment of patients with Ebola and cytokine storm. Curcumin is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract; however, intravenous formulations may allow therapeutic blood levels of curcumin to be achieved in patients diagnosed with cytokine storm."
A year ago next month, Scientific Reports published a study called Interleukin 10 Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Responses and Killing of Burkholderia Pseudomallei. The gist of this study was that the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10, could be potentially used in a drug-like fashion suppress the cytokine storm and save lives. The problem with this approach is that there happen to be a number of diseases associated with high levels of IL-10. "IL-10 is a potent anti-inflammatory immuno-suppressive cytokine with a broad range of effects both directly and indirectly on innate and adaptive immunity. It is important in dampening inflammatory responses but can contribute to pathogen persistence." In the specific disease these authors were talking about (melioidosis), increasing levels of IL-10 "actively inhibits both pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial responses of the host." While this might be a good thing in certain cases, they admitted that "it's likely to increase the susceptibility of the host to infection" with a caveat --- it stated that it might be beneficial for those in a Cytokine Storm. I mention this only because there are websites promoting ways to increase your own levels of IL-10.
Since pharmaceutical drugs do such a poor job of effectively strangling a Cytokine Storm, there are any number of articles online dealing with non-pharmaceutical ways to accomplish this. The scary truth is that in many cases, we may not talking about avoiding the disease altogether, but simply blunting it's lethal effects by taking the edge off of the Cytokine Storm. Although I highly recommend a HIGH FAT, PALEO-LIKE, NO SUGAR diet, made up of WHOLE FOODS, there are some things that you could do in addition. One of these is to become better-versed in herbology.
Some of the specific herbs / plants I've seen mentioned for helping suppress a Cytokine Storm include Astragalus, Garlic, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Quercetin, Black Pepper, Curcumin, Ginger, Tumeric, Boneset, Elderberry, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Skullcap, Cannibis, St. John's Wort, Licorice, Salvia Milthiorrhiza, Pleurisy Root, Butterfly Weed, Wild Cherry, Peach Pit, Lobelia, Catnip, Peppermint, Honeysuckle, Andrographis, Panax Quinquefolium, Platycodon, Hyssop, Iodine, Selenium, Magnesium, Rhodiola, Isatis, Lespedeza Bicolor, Angelica Keiskei, Amorpha Fruiticosa, Alpina Zerumbet, Erythrina Addisoniae and Cleitocalyx Operculatus, Senega, Houttuynia, Cordyceps, Knotweed, Kudzu, Mullein, Horehound, and my head is literally swimming (no, I don't claim to be an expert on herbs).
Bottom line, it's just a matter of time until another flu pandemic hits. The CDC mentions four pandemics specifically on their website, the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957, the Hong Kong Bird Flu of 1968, and the never-before-seen virus of 2009 (not sure you could call it a pandemic but it was certainly hyped that way). Along the way there have been others that you may have heard of (Swine Flu, Russian Flu, and any number of others). Your best bet is to stay as healthy as possible, and as always, avoid DRUGS THAT SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. For those of you who may be currently struggling with your health, take a look at some ideas for getting back on track (HERE). And as always, if you have a serious illness, make sure to contact your physician or local ER/ED as today's post was not meant to diagnose, treat, or heaven-forbid, cure, any diseases.