ALZHEIMER'S OR TYPE III DIABETES?
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GLUTEN AND THE BRAIN
NEW RESEARCH AND TWO CASE HISTORIES
Although there are two chief diets that I've recommend for years for chronically ill people (these can actually be combined into one --- KETOGENIC & PALEO), I always suggest that people start out with an ELIMINATION DIET. Why? Because the tests that most doctors run in their offices provide zero information about food sensitivities. The really cool thing about an Elimination Diet is that it allows you to figure things out for yourself. By eliminating certain foods and then adding them back systematically, you can get a pretty good idea of what foods you might be having various degrees of immune system reactions against. Today I want to talk especially about wheat protein --- GLUTEN. And while I've written mountains about it in the past (HERE), it always amazes me how many people are living under the assumption that MODERN GRAINS are the healthy-equivalent of what your great grandfathers were eating a century ago.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CELIAC DISEASE AND NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (NCGS)?
"It is increasingly evident that many, if not most [wheat intolerant] individuals have 'non-classical' Celiac Disease and, furthermore, that many patients have wheat or gluten-related conditions that do not even fall under the diagnosis of Celiac Disease. The resulting confusion in the scientific literature regarding the definition, diagnosis, and treatment of gluten-related conditions has hampered the clinical management of these conditions. In addition, failure to recognize atypical, non-gastrointestinal symptoms has led to delayed or missed diagnoses of gluten-related disorders with the potential for increased morbidity...." From the American Association for Clinical Chemistry's article, The Spectrum of Wheat Sensitivity: From Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity to Celiac Disease
Dr. Aristo Vojdani (the brilliant immunologist who founded CYREX LABS) teamed up with author of Grain Brain, neurologist David Perlmutter, for a study that was published in a 2013 edition of Case Reports in Immunology. Listen carefully. "Celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity are two distinct conditions triggered by the ingestion of gliadin [a component of gluten]. Although symptoms of nonceliac gluten sensitivity may resemble those of celiac disease, due to the lack of objective diagnostic tests, NCGS is associated with overlapping symptomatologies of autoimmunities and Crohn's disease. Thus, a new paradigm is needed to aid in diagnosing and distinguishing among various gut-related diseases, including CD, NCGS (also known as silent celiac disease), and gut-related autoimmunities." For the record, gluten, whether we are talking about CD or NCGS, is heavily related to autoimmunity (HERE) --- a fact that has been reported since the early 1930's. Are you starting to see how little difference there really is between the two?
In 2015, the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Diagnosis of Gluten Related Disorders: Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity) said that, "Gluten-related disorders have gradually emerged as an epidemiologically relevant phenomenon with an estimated global prevalence around 5%. Celiac disease, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity represent different gluten-related disorders. Similar clinical manifestations can be observed in these disorders, yet there are peculiar pathogenetic pathways involved in their development. Celiac disease and wheat allergy have been extensively studied, while non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a relatively novel clinical entity, believed to be closely related to other gastrointestinal functional syndromes." The study went on to talk about the tests that verify the presence of CD, saying.....
"The ingestion of gluten in genetically predisposed individuals carrying HLA type II DQ2/DQ8 alleles can arouse a T-cell mediated immune reaction against tissue transglutaminase, an enzyme of the extracellular matrix, leading to mucosal damage and eventually to intestinal villous atrophy. To date, the only available therapy for CD is a life-long GFD. The adherence to a restrictive GFD leads to the resolution of symptoms and to the gradual healing of histological abnormalities even if the complete recovery of the intestinal mucosa is rare and low-grade mucosal inflammation seems to persist in many treated celiac patients as shown by follow-up duodenal biopsies."
Let me summarize. As I will show you in a moment, a significant portion of those carrying the genetic makeup for Celiac never get Celiac. Why? It's yet another example of why EPIGENETICS RULE OVER GENETICS (just because you carry a certain gene does not necessarily mean that gene will be expressed). Certain T-Cells become fired up against things they shouldn't be fired up against (in this case, gluten), while others (TREGS) fail in their mission to prevent the immune system from becoming a runaway train, which usually results in immune system reactions against self (autoimmunity). The biggest difference between the celiacs and non-celiacs is that the small intestines are damaged in celiacs (the villi / microvilli) --- it's the tissue the body chooses to attack, making it the hallmark of this disease. Be aware, however, that gluten-induced mucosal damage occurs in non-celiacs as well, in the form of something called LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (various forms of "THE LEAKIES" are a hallmark of all chronic illness). And there it is again --- even though these these folks went on a GFD, the inflammation never seemed to completely resolve (even if their symptoms did). My opinion is that this is at least in part due to so few people understanding cross-reactivity. Again, the unfortunate result of this misunderstanding is that many people who do a GFD, do not get the results they want.
Less than two months ago, the same journal published a study (Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: All Wheat Attack is Not Celiac) which showed that when it comes to diagnosing NCGS, things have not changed that much. "While reliable clinical tests for CD exist, diagnosing individuals affected by NCGS is still complicated by the lack of reliable biomarkers and reliance upon a broad set of intestinal and extra intestinal symptoms possibly provoked by gluten. NCGS has been proposed to exhibit an innate immune response activated by gluten and several other wheat proteins. Features of NCGS and other gluten related disorders call for a review of current distinctive diagnostic criteria that distinguish each, and identification of biomarkers selective or specific for NCGS." Again, I'm not convinced it really matters as the treatment is the same no matter which you have.
The point of this is simply that most people think about this whole thing the wrong way. They see Celiac Disease as being bad --- really bad, but NCGS not being nearly as severe. More of a nuisance than a real problem. Pay attention folks. Although it's certainly not true in every case, NCGS can be every bit as severe CD and in many cases, worse. The biggest difference is that in CD, your body is making antibodies against its own small intestine. With NCGS, it's not. However, NCGS may be inducing the body to create antibodies against any number of other tissues, glands, or organs (for instance, how many of you knew that 90% of the thirty million cases of thyroid disease in America is autoimmune?). I want to shift gears here and discuss a few of the new studies on the potential neurological issues seen with gluten ingestion.
Just a few days ago, the journal Acta Neurologica Begica (Cognitive Impairment in Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Review of Literature...) revealed exactly what I've been telling you --- that both "CD and NCGS can be responsible for neurological complications such as ataxia and peripheral neuropathies but also cognitive impairment. Several mechanisms were proposed to explain the deleterious influence of gluten-related pathologies on cognitive functions: nutritional deficiencies, elevation of circulating cytokine levels due to systemic inflammation, low brain serotonin levels… Several types of dementia such as Alzheimer dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia were reported in association with CD. Gluten free diet should be introduced as early as possible because of its potentially protective effect." For those who are interested, I have a COOL ARTICLE on serotonin.
Back in September, the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience (Neurophysiology of the Celiac Brain: Disentangling Gut-Brain Connections) featured a group of European authors talking about diseases associated with gluten. The list included EPILEPSY and other seizure disorders, NEUROPATHY, HEADACHES / MIGRAINE, cerebellar ataxia (we'll discuss it more in a moment), neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as the fact that, "Many adults (over 50%) exhibit significant extra-intestinal involvement even without typical CD manifestations." In other words, there is a better than 50/50 that these individuals will not have the "classic" GI symptoms associated with gluten (bloating, gas, etc). Some of the other neurological symptoms listed included, "cross-reacting antibodies, immune-complex deposition, direct neurotoxicity, other immune-mediated factors, deficiency of vitamin and other nutrients secondary to chronic malabsorption, depression, bipolar disorder, apathy, excessive anxiety, irritability, schizophrenia, eating disorders, attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, autism, thyroid disease, and sleep complaints." Listen to them describe what I talked about earlier --- the fact that NCGS only means that you do not have auto-antibodies to your own small intestine. All other tissues, glands, and organs, however, are on the table --- including the brain. No matter what you "officially" label it, it's all about solving gluten-induced inflammation!
"Regarding humoral autoimmunity to neuronal antigens, deposits of anti-tTG2 and anti-tTG6 antibodies have been found not only in the small intestine but also in different CNS sites (cerebellum, pons, medulla, brain blood vessels). Furthermore, a possible blood-brain barrier (BBB) lesion, secondary to diffuse infiltration of T-lymphocytes and inflammatory cells within the perivascular cuffing might expose cerebral tissues to antibodies."
Because a lack of clear thinking, poor decision-making ability, and diminished cognitive function are all increasingly common in today's society, might it be possible that gluten has something to do with it? Could gluten be playing a role, apart from what BLOOD SUGAR IS DOING TO OUR COLLECTIVE BRAINS? A study from February's issue of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Gluten-Induced Cognitive Impairment ('Brain Fog') in Coeliac Disease) helped answer this question in light of BBB (Blood-Brain Barrier) dysfunction (this is a phenomenon known as "Leaky Brain Syndrome" --- see my link on "The Leakies").
"The most likely explanation for the existence of minor cognition impairments (i.e., brain fog) in patients with untreated CD... is the existence of elevated levels of circulating cytokines associated with the systemic inflammation associated with CD. At elevated levels, circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines bind to blood–brain barrier epithelial cells and facilitate the migration of leukocytes into the brain. Leukocytes promote inflammation in the brain, particularly inflammation of nerve fibers, which, in turn, reduces the speed of neural transmission. The observation of brain fog in patients with multiple sclersois, patients with fibromyalgia, and patients undergoing chemotherapy suggests that the mechanism is not related specifically to gluten ingestion. All of these disorders have one thing in common with CD—they are associated with systemic inflammation. In summary, subjective reports of brain fog from CD patients are both psychologically and neurologically real and can be quantified when sufficiently sensitive cognitive tests are used. The cognitive impairments associated with brain fog improve on a GFD."
One of the things I have shown you repeatedly from the peer-reviewed literature is that children with AUTISM have a high incidence of gluten sensitivity. A study from this month's issue of Metabolic Brain Disorders asked the question of which diet was better for these kids --- a GFD that was also dairy free, or a KETOGENIC DIET (a modified version of the induction phase of the Atkins diet). Although all worked, the authors concluded that the "Ketogenic diet is gaining attention due to its proven effect on neurological conditions like epilepsy in children. Both diet groups showed significant improvement in ATEC and CARS scores in comparison to control group, yet ketogenic scored better results in cognition and sociability compared to GFCF diet group. Depending on the parameters measured in our study, modified Atkins diet and gluten free casein free diet regimens may safely improve autistic manifestations and could be recommended for children with ASD."
Before I show you a few more of the neurological and extra-intestinal manifestations of Gluten Sensitivity, realize that many GFD's fail because they are all too often loaded with GLUTEN-FREE GARBAGE --- the same processed crap widely found in normal food, only without the gluten. It's why I NEVER recommend a GFD unless it's as I've already shown you. By the way, healthy fats are neuro-protective, which is why Keto proved beneficial above.
- EXTRA-INTESTINAL MANIFESTATIONS OF GLUTEN SENSITIVITY: Because the primary mechanism that pathology is induced in gluten sensitive individuals is via SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, it would make sense that, as I said earlier, everything is on the table (not just autoimmunity against the small intestine). Two studies from last month, both in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, showed how big a deal these non-GI manifestations of Gluten Sensitivity are. "CD patients exhibited an oxidative imbalance and inflammatory response despite GFD." Did you catch that? OXIDATIVE STRESS and inflammation were both higher even while on the GFD. And although there is a mountain of research on the link between Gluten Sensitivity and MICROBIOME, the second study confirmed this by saying "It has been hypothesized that an early disruption of the gut barrier in genetically susceptible individuals, which would result in an increased intestinal permeability [Leaky Gut Syndrome], could precede the onset of gluten-induced immune events. The intestinal barrier is a complex functional structure, whose functioning is dependent on intestinal microbiota homeostasis." HOMEOSTASIS of the body without homeostasis in the Gut is a pipe dream. It's why GUT HEALTH is such a big deal. It's also why some of you need to read up on the hottest area of health-related research for the past half decade; FMT.
- OSTEOPOROSIS: 15 researchers from University of Salvador in Buenos Aires, published a study in October's issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology that told us all it needed to via its title (Improved Bone Microarchitecture in Patients With Celiac Disease After 3 Years on a Gluten-Free Diet). This should not surprise anyone once we start connecting some dots. We already know that children who react to gluten generally have much higher rates of autism (or vice versa if that's how you want to look at it). However, did you know that autistics have high rates of OSTEOPOROSIS as well --- even as children (interestingly enough, as rates of autism continue to explode, so do childhood fractures --- HERE)? After doing DEXA Scans on groups of healthy 4-8 year old boys and then comparing them to age-matched controls, "Boys with ASD had significantly lower spine bone mass density." Remember that this whole mess is driven by inflammation, and osteoporosis is an inflammatory disease (HERE). Read THIS to learn what calcium supplement is best.
- SPEAKING OF AUTISM: Last month's issue of the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (Food and the Gut: Relevance to Some of the Autisms) concluded that, "Complex, diverse and rarely appearing without comorbidity, the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) continue to be a source of research interest. The central role of the brain in relation to autism may be at least partially influenced by the functions of other organs. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract represents an important biological system pertinent to at least some autism. The notion of a gut-brain-behaviour axis has garnered support from various findings: an over-representation of functional and pathological bowel states, bowel and behavioural findings showing bidirectional associations, a possible relationship between diet, GI function and autism and recently, greater focus on aspects of the GI tract such as the collected gut microbiota in relation to autism. Science appears to be moving towards defining important GI-related autism phenotypes with the possibility of promising dietary and other related intervention options onward to improving quality of life." I've shown you on more than one occasion that Autism is a literal KICK TO THE GUT!
- OCCULT INFECTIONS AND GLUTEN SENSITIVITY: How does one come down with NCGS if there is no genetic predisposition? Although I have covered this at length previously (HERE), a group of Italian researchers writing in last month's issue of Nutrients (A New Proposal for the Pathogenic Mechanism of Non-Coeliac / Non-Allergic Gluten/Wheat Sensitivity: Piecing Together the Puzzle of Recent Scientific Evidence) said that, "Recently, the involvement of an increased intestinal permeability [Leaky Gut Syndrome] has been recognized in the onset of this clinical condition. According to this new hypothesis, the root cause of NCG/WS is a particular dysbiotic profile." Once again we see that old nemesis, DYSBIOSIS. Research shows that dysbiosis is the twin sibling of LGS --- where you see one you are likely to see the other. Another study; this one from next April's issue of the Journal of Cellular Physiology (The Silent Enemy: Celiac Disease Goes Viral) stated, "A very recent study has begun to shed light on a possible mechanistic basis for this hypothesis, and surprisingly linked intestinal infections caused by common reoviruses to the onset of celiac disease." What are reoviruses? Although they don't usually cause overt symptoms, they can cause URI's, FEVERS, and stomach flu. Just remember that I've shown you how health problems can be caused by OCCULT (HIDDEN) INFECTIONS, including the INFECTION PUMPS we call root canals. Speaking of the mouth.....
- GLUTEN INTOLERANCE OF THE MOUTH: An Italian study published in this month's issue of Nutrients (Tooth Wear Is Frequent in Adult Patients with Celiac Disease) showed that Celiacs who were on a GFD have much more tooth wear than controls. Another study, this one a Portuguese paper from The Open Dentistry Journal (Oral Manifestations in Pediatric Patients with Celiac Disease – A Review Article) said that some of the dental issues seen more commonly in those with gluten sensitivity issues include, "dental enamel defects, recurrent aphthous stomatitis, delayed tooth eruption, multiple caries, angular cheilitis, atrophic glossitis, dry mouth, and burning tongue." BTW, "carries" is another word for CAVITIES.
- THE SIBO / IBS CONNECTION: We know that SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is intimately associated with IBS --- itself a known autoimmune disease (HERE). What's cool is that there are inexpensive DIY breath tests that can tell you if you have SIBO. A recent issue of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Outcome of Breath Tests in Adult Patients with Suspected Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) revealed that of 311 patients that were suspected of having SIBO and then run through several breath tests, "46% had a positive breath test: 18% were positive for methane, 24 % positive for hydrogen and 4% positive for both gases. 50% had a positive lactulose breath result and 37% had a positive glucose breath result." Thirty of the biggest names in European gluten research teamed up for a blockbuster study in last month's issue of Nutrients (The Overlapping Area of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Wheat-Sensitive Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): An Update). "Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), sometimes referred as gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac wheat sensitivity, was already described in 1978 but did not receive much recognition from clinicians until the 21st century. It is characterized by intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms related to the ingestion of gluten-containing food, in subjects that are not affected by CD." If you want the latest information as well as a better understanding of FODMAPS, the study is free online. And finally, in a study that could have been written by the venerable ART AYERS (Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: People Without Celiac Disease Avoiding Gluten --- Is it Due to Histamine Intolerance?), last month's copy of Inflammation Research concluded that histamine intolerance is remarkably similar to NCGS (histamine is one of the many markers of inflammation). "A targeted dietary intervention for single or possibly combined intolerance/malabsorption might be more effective than a short-term diet low in fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) or the untargeted uncritical use of gluten-free diets." There has been a lot written about the low histamine diet lately.
- PARKINSON'S OR OTHER CEREBELLAR ATAXIAS: Although I have written about CEREBELLAR ATAXIA in the past; because it looks so similar to other ataxias such as PARKINSON'S and ALS, it's not surprising that there are numerous studies on the subject each and every month. The October issue of Intestinal Research published a study called A Case of Celiac Disease with Neurologic Manifestations Misdiagnosed as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Nuff said, but be aware that peer-review abounds with similar case studies concerning a myriad of neurological diseases as related to gluten ingestion. Just three days ago, the journal CNS and Neurological Disorders Drug Targets (Advances in Therapies of Cerebellar Disorders: Immune-mediated Ataxias) said that, "The identification of an increasing number of immune mediated ataxias suggests that the cerebellum is often a target organ for autoimmune insults." Mess up the cerebellum and you are in deep trouble (HERE). If this topic interests you (i.e. you have a family history of ataxias --- lack of voluntary coordination of movements and gait abnormalities), then read Immune-Mediated Cerebellar Ataxias: From Bench to Bedside in the September issue of Cerebellum & Ataxias.
GLUTEN-RELATED CASE HISTORIES
Good morning from across the pond.
I just read your article regarding Gluten-Related Neurological Problems [HERE] and found it jaw dropping. I also saw a lot of myself in the article. I am 29 female and in 2011 began twitching. By 2014 it had spread all over, accompanied by numbness burning and tingling in my hands and feet. All tests performed have come back clear apart from my MRI, which shows a white matter lesion about the size of a ping pong ball behind my left eye.
My question is could an autoimmune gluten response cause brain lesions? My neurologist isn't interested in my case anymore and refuses to perform a lumber (my mum has MS) and is taking a wait-and-see approach, so I'm outta luck and on my own to find answers and get better. Thanks you for taking the time out of your day to read this.
Ally D, UK
When I hear the word "autoimmune," I automatically assume some sort of gluten sensitivity is at play. Not that the relationship is necessarily causal, but that any hidden sources of inflammation can be murderous to someone with genetic predispositions toward certain diseases. And with a family history of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (yes, it's an autoimmune disease) I would definitely do an Elimination Diet. A friend of mine who is also a patient has essentially put her's into remission by strictly following the WAHL'S PROTOCOL (a version of a Paleo Diet). Honestly, whether you are officially diagnosed with MS or not, you are at risk. DO NOT wait for them to actually diagnose you to take matters into your own hands! More information below. Good luck and God Bless!
Hello Dr. Schierling,
I had to contact you because you really seem passionate about your work and know a lot of things that are being ignored within the medical community.
Two years ago, I started training soccer very seriously, hours on end daily. Being the naive teenager I was, I thought I could just train everyday without any problems occurring. Yeah, that proved to be false. Within two weeks I had developed acute pain in my right hip flexor, my lower back and right hamstring. I also felt my knees had moved up a bit? I went to a clinic and was told to take NSAIDs (duh) and just rest and the problems would go away.
I did the what the doctors suggested, but instead of resting, I played computer games daily for about 2 weeks, First-Person-Shooters, so I had to move my right arm a lot. What bad can a little gaming do, right? Turns out, a lot... I developed similar pain in my right arm also and had to rest completely. After a month of "resting" (I was working in a grocery store at the same time, having to carry products to the shelves all the time and so on) the pain seemed to go away.
The thing is, even though the pain went away, it would come back fast if I tried to do any sports. I now have these "lumps" that can be moved under my skin. Running from behind my knees up to my hamstrings and in both of my triceps. After reading your page a lot, I'm thinking I probably have tendinosis. It doesn't hurt a lot (yet), I can do daily activities normally. Sometimes I do have these dull aches. I can workout fine, no pain during push-ups, pull-ups etc. I have chosen not to do those because they can aggravate the injury.
A thing that should be noted also is that I have "ADHD". I was medicated with Methylphenidate 32mg, from the ages seven to eleven, and my grandfather from my dads side has gluten intolerance. I am 19 years old, and a male. Any insight from you would be GREATLY appreciated.
Despite the fact that tendinosis is largely a degenerative condition (HERE), we now know that it is driven by inflammation on some level (HERE). It's possible (although far from certain) that gluten could be that driver --- especially if you are fair-skinned, fair-haired, and blue-eyed (more likely to fit the genetic profile ---- HERE is a recent example from my clinic). Not sure what the knots are (could be TRIGGER POINTS but I doubt it), but I am not sure that these are tendinosis (here is material on HIP FLEXOR issues and HAMSTRING TENDINOSIS). Also, if you have problems all over the place --- multiple joints affected both above and below the waist, and on both the right and left side --- it is likely you have SYSTEMIC TENDINOSIS or SYSTEMIC FASCIAL ADHESIONS.
There is also tons of info linking various forms of Gluten Sensitivity to ADD / ADHD, which is usually treated by giving people METHAMPHETAMINES (see name of drug above --- Ritalin). At some point read my stuff on PLAYING VIDEO GAMES. Also read THIS POST on what it may take to address the inflammation that is wreaking havoc on your life. Oh; and whatever you do, never (NEVER) under any circumstances take a FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTIC as you are more likely to be sensitive than the average person. It seems you already figured out what NSAIDS and CORTICOSTEROIDS do to INFLAMED CONNECTIVE TISSUES --- they slowly (or in some cases, not so slowly) destroy it.
WHAT'S MAKING YOU FAT?
COULD IT BE THE BACTERIA THAT
MAKE UP YOUR MICROBIOME?
It's been known for a very long time that antibiotics cause OBESITY, although the mechanism was not completely understood (HERE). A team of a dozen scientists, led by researchers from UCONN, showed that dysbiotic bacteria from the oral cavity and Gut secrete large amounts of lipids (fats) that end up in places they shouldn't -- like say the arterial walls. Listen to what Jim Kreiger said in a story for UCONN Today (Bacterial Fats, Not Dietary Ones, May Deserve Blame for Heart Disease).
"Heart disease and fatty clogs in the arteries go hand in hand. But new evidence suggests the fatty molecules might come not only from what you eat, but from the bacteria in your mouth... The research may explain why gum disease is associated with heart trouble. Heart attacks and strokes are the crises we notice, but they result from a slow process of atherosclerosis, the hardening and clogging of the arteries with fatty substances called lipids. For a very long time, doctors and researchers assumed that the lipids came from eating fatty, cholesterol-rich food. But the research hasn’t borne this out; some people who eat large amounts of the foods we thought were the sources of the fat, such as eggs, butter, fatty fish, and meat, don’t necessarily develop heart disease."
Did you catch that? Despite the fact that I cannot get this simple fact through the heads of many of my patients who grew up with messages to the contrary drilled into their heads on a regular basis, it's not dietary fat that causes people to get fat. Although the kind of fats people consume is certainly of critical importance, compared to SUGAR and high glycemic carbohydrates, fat is metabolically inert. Sugar, however, sets off a metabolic firestorm --- an unholy chain reaction that can rapidly ruin your health via INSULIN RESISTANCE, CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME, DIABETES, STROKES and HEART ATTACKS --- and that's just for starters (SUGAR CAUSES CANCER as well). And it's not because you ate fat, but because under certain conditions, fat is being created by dysbiotic bacteria.
What have I been telling you for years? It's antibiotics that initially cause dysbiosis, but sugar and a HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE that propagates it. And all of this is intimately entangled with --- you guessed it --- INFLAMMATION (a group of immune system chemicals that allows your body to communicate with itself). While a necessary part of the normal healing process, too much inflammation causes some serious problems. Listen to what World Health dot net said in a recent article called Bacterial Fats May be to Blame for Heart Disease (they bill themselves as "The original voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine").
"Bacteroidetes makes distinctive fats. Non-native Bacteroidetes [Dysbiosis] can be broken down with an enzyme in the body that processes lipids into the material to make inflammation enhancing molecules, making them have a double hit to blood vessels: The immune system views them as a sign of bacterial infection, and then breaks them down with enzymes that super charges inflammation."
While interesting, those of you in the know cannot be surprised. What's super cool is that by using a healthy diet as a weapon against inflammation, you have the ability to start turning your health around. Just realize that a healthy diet, while of critical importance, is not the only non-pharmaceutical weapon at your disposal against chronic inflammation, chronic pain, and chronic illness. If you are interested in the protocol I created to help give suffering people a starting point, make sure to take a look at THIS POST. I'm the first to admit that it's not the solution for everyone. But it will at least get you thinking with a different mindset, hopefully pointing you in the right direction.
FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOU CAN TRUST THE CDC.....
Trying to find out exactly what happened in the Brian Hooker / William Thompson saga is nearly impossible. Hooker has been touted by some as a the "anti-vaxxer's" messiah, while others say he is a self-serving quack. Today I'm going to give you the gist of the story and let you decide. Dr. Hooker, who has both masters and doctorate degrees in biochemical engineering from Washington State University (1988 & 1990), also happens to be the father of an autistic son. He's got several patents in genomics (he led a large genomics lab for many years), was the winner of several major professional awards, and is currently a professor at Simpson University in Redding, California. He is most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for having a study retracted. And not just any old study mind you, but a study on the link between vaccines and autism.
The journal, Translational Neurodegeneration, that originally published the study he was lead author on (his research showed an association between AUTISM and the MERCURY-BASED preservative called THIMEROSAL), reversed course in September of 2014 by publishing a retraction (Retraction Note: Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination Timing and Autism Among Young African American Boys: A Reanalysis of CDC Data). The entire thing is found below.
"The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologize to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused."
What was the conflict of interest? For one, Hooker, in similar fashion to DR. AMY DAVIS (M.D.) of Crossing Back to Health clinic in West County (St. Louis) --- a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST dealing with, among other things, vaccine-damaged children (she had two of her own children become autistic after receiving their shots) --- has spent over 15 years using the Freedom of Information Act to dig up CDC documents showing that the link between vaccines and autism has been known about and purposefully hidden for decades. Not surprisingly, the "stuff" really started hitting the fan when Dr. Hooker testified before a Congressional Hearing on November 29 of 2012. You can read the transcript online at any number of sites, but suffice it to say that the CDC looked none too honest after Hooker spoke of the massive cover-up he had discovered. Enter William Thompson.
Dr. William Thompson was a Senior Scientist and Epidemiologist at the CDC (Immunization Safety Branch), who heard about Hooker via these hearings. Thompson contacted Hooker a year or so later, providing him with thousands of pages of "proof," that if nothing else, showed the CDC was guilty of data-mining and manipulating study results --- the same kind of "tricks of the trade" I have spoken of in my dozens of posts on "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE".
Although all of this is old news, I dredged it up because of a short piece by Hooker that was published in the brand new issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (CDC Data Manipulation Exposed: Four Years Later). Depending on who you believe, Hooker "betrayed" Williams and went public with the information Williams gave him, eventually leading Thompson to retract much of what he said (although I do believe he is currently under the protection of the Whistle Blower act). Like I said, it's tough to figure out exactly what happened. But we get the general idea.
Hooker began his article by talking about the two books (Vaccine Whistleblower and Inoculated) and movie (VAXXED) that were written about this ongoing narrative. He also discussed the fact that there are complete transcripts of the forty or so calls he had with Thompson, along with something like 10,000 pages of research data that Thompson turned over to him. I would suggest you read the article for yourself --- it's a five minute read (HERE) --- but can be summed up in a few short sentences.
"Dr. Thompson revealed to me the gross bias of CDC leadership in covering up for vaccines at all costs. Yet, these individuals remain in place in their comfortable leadership jobs at CDC, despite the revelation of data manipulation. This destroys confidence in the CDC’s assurances of the safety of the now-bloated vaccine schedule and instead shows its leaders’ dedication to protecting their institution at all costs."
Although Hooker goes on to give numerous examples (including significant BRIBES in the form of questionable pay raises), the last sentence above begs a question; what institution is the CDC talking about here? In other words, why would a governmental organization such as the CDC care one way or another what these studies show? It's not like they have a stake in the failure or success of Big Pharma? Or do they? Unfortunately, it's an open secret that there is a REVOLVING DOOR between some of the government's alphabet soup of watchdog organizations (USDA, CDC, VAERS, NIH, etc, etc, etc) and industry. Work your way through the ranks and eventually you'll be rewarded with a high-paying job for a PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY or similar.
There are many like Hooker who have had their lives turned upside down (or at least been vilified as quacks) when they publicly acknowledged there might be a problem with (this drug, that drug, vaccines, medical devices, insert almost anything you want here______________). What about DEAN BURK? Or ROYAL LEE? or HUGH FUDENBERG? Or ROBERT BECKER that I talked about just a couple days ago? Or STEPHANIE SENEFF, or TERRY WAHLS, or tens of thousands of others?
What's interesting is that as time goes on, these and many like them continue to be vindicated. Although there are two sides of this issue, what's become unarguable is that the CDC has been using your tax dollars and their almost absolute power to viciously go after and persecute / prosecute those they disagree with for any reason, valid or not. In fact, I recently showed you just how severe it can be, if, in the eyes of peers / government, you are a researcher who comes up with findings that fall on the wrong side of this argument (HERE) --- especially with the mountains of new information coming out on ALUMINUM ADJUVANTS.
Although you can find plenty of stories showing that Hooker and Thompson were both quacks and weirdos (Thompson has been portrayed by some as mentally unstable, chronically depressed, and easily manipulated), most of these tend to come from outlets like GORSKI'S, who has written ten or twelve on the subject. HERE and HERE are a couple interesting (and abbreviated) accounts of the story. Oh, and make sure to read how discredited CDC vaccine researcher, Poul Thorson (MD / Ph.D), figures into the picture by reading Robert Kennedy's piece for the HuffPo (Central Figure in CDC Vaccine Cover-Up Absconds With $2M).
My sincerest desire is that an article like this forces you, as a parent or parent to be, to dig into this issue on your own. Don't believe me, and certainly don't believe your doctor. Do your own research and come to conclusions that you can live with. And make sure to get this material in front of those you love and care about most by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.
DIET AND BRAIN FUNCTION
WHAT YOU EAT AFFECTS YOUR MOODS, EMOTIONS, AND ABILITY TO THINK
Defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over thirty (you can calculate your BMI HERE), the authors start out by letting readers know that one third of American adults fit the clinical definition of "obese". They also revealed that the rest of the world is catching up (38% of adults and 18% of children and adolescents worldwide are classified as either overweight or obese). Not surprisingly, "Cognitive and emotional dysfunctions are increasing" along with. When I was a kid, TYPE III DIABETES (aka Alzheimer's) was rare. Today it seems like everyone knows / loves someone with PARKINSON'S, ANXIETY / DEPRESSION, ADD / ADHD, or generalized "Brain Fog," characterized by an inability to think or make sensible decisions. And that's just for starters; the list is truly endless.
Next, the authors pulled the rug out from under one of the most common beliefs widely touted by the medical community today --- that much of, maybe even most of, the health problems that the average person deals with today are the result of bad genetics. As I have shown you time and time again on my site, in the case of the vast majority of disease processes, genetics actually plays second fiddle to something known as epigenetics. Listen between the lines as these authors explain. "Next to our genetic makeup, the interplay between specific environmental challenges occurring during well-defined developmental periods seems to play an important role." What are these "environmental challenges"? They could be any number of things, including poor nutrition (either mother or baby). Or they could be be exposure to toxic chemicals / elements such as GLYPHOSATE or ALUMINUM. Or they could be exposure to the STRESS of a violent or harsh upbringing. It's another list that's truly endless.
Quick example of epigenetics. My house may have the best lighting system ever devised, but unless I actually flip the switch when I walk in the door after dark, the lights will not express themselves. In similar fashion, even though you may carry the genes for any number of nasty diseases, including those mentioned earlier; unless those genes are actually turned on, they won't express themselves either. This phenomenon is known as EPIGENETICS and is (or at least should be) concerned not so much with whether you have this gene or that gene, but about triggers. What are the most common triggers? For the most part, the things that trigger "bad" genes are bad habits or exposure to "bad" things. A great example is sugar (see OTTO WARBURG'S Nobel Prize winning work from 1931 on sugar and cancer). And case you missed Dr. Seyfried's amazing video on this topic, HERE it is. To oversimplify it, bad habits turn on bad genes, leading to ill health.
The very next sentence provides the theme of this paper by revealing that "brain dysfunction most often co-occurs with metabolic disorders (e.g., obesity) and/or poor dietary habits." While I certainly don't want to discount what happened to you in you formative years (you'll see this in a moment), the fact that epigenetics trumps genetics should leave you feeling empowered. In other words, despite the message conveyed by deceptive and ever-so-clever advertising campaigns (VYTORIN COMMERCIALS a few years back come immediately to mind --- it's another crappy STATIN DRUG otherwise known as Ezetimibe / Simvastatin), in most cases your fate and health are much more up to you and your conscious decisions than your genetic makeup. The next thing mentioned is that our collective diets lack many nutritional components, including antioxidants (we can change diets and habits!). If you want to see some really cool research on a major source of antioxidant power that you might want to start tapping into, make sure to take a look at YESTERDAY'S POST.
Honestly, this entire study can be broken down to a single paragraph.....
"Overeating, obesity, acute high-fat diet consumption, poor early-life diet or early life adversity can produce an inflammatory response in peripheral immune cells and centrally as well as having impact upon the blood–brain interface and circulating factors that regulate satiety. Peripheral pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines, chemokines, danger signals, fatty acids) can signal the immune cells of the brain (most likely microglia) via blood-borne, humoral, and/or lymphatic routes. These signals can either sensitize or activate microglia leading to de novo production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as interleukin-1beta (IL1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) within brain structures that are known to mediate cognition (hippocampus) and emotion (hypothalamus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex and others). Amplified inflammation in these regions impairs proper functioning leading to memory impairments and/or depressive-like behaviors. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), polyphenolics, and a positive early life environment (appropriate nutrition and absence of significant stress or adversity) can prevent these negative outcomes by regulating peripheral and central immune cell activity."
Poor dietary choices such as overeating, etc, etc etc (we'll talk about "acute high-fat diet consumption" in a moment*), lead to inflammation. INFLAMMATION is the collective name given to a group of immune system molecules that are at the root of virtually every health problem you can name (not to mention most of those you can't), including OBESITY. Among other things, inflammation opens up the body's numerous barrier systems (including the BBB or Blood Brain Barrier), causing something I refer to as "THE LEAKIES". Leaking epithelial barriers cause untold numbers of problems wherever they are found. One of the problems these authors mention specifically is the part of your brain is affected so that you can never feel full after eating (satiety is the medical word for this). The second they mention is that it ignites or "activates" your microglia.
MICROGLIAL ACTIVATION is serious stuff because it leads to so many potentially difficult-treat-problems (problems that are usually impossible to treat with the standard DRUG THERAPIES that are ubiquitous to our society). What does activation of the microglia do to people neurologically? As they mention, it affects memory, cognition, causes depression, screws up your moods & emotions, and generally fouls up your BRAIN. And although they did not delve into it here, it is frequently a chief component of CHRONIC PAIN, including CENTRAL SENSITIZATION, which can itself be associated with SYSTEMICALLY INFLAMED CONNECTIVE TISSUES --- something commonly seen in any doctor's office.
And although this phenomenon happens frequently in the adult population, it is not confined to adults. "Neuroinflammatory processes, including the role of microglia, can clearly be impacted by neonatal diet and represent at least one contributing mechanism for how cognitive function is affected. Neuroinflammation and microglia can also be impacted by other early life events and play a significant role in how stress during development alters long-term physiology." Stop for a moment and ponder something. This statement should make people pause and contemplate the neuroinflammation and microglial activation that's being PURPOSEFULLY INDUCED over and over and over again by vaccinations (including these FOUL BEASTS).
*A quick note on high fat diets. If people are doing high fat diets the right way (HERE or HERE), this manner of eating (aka ketogenic diets) has actually been shown to be neuro-protective as well as protective against cellular proliferation (CANCER). This is not my opinion but the opinion of a large and growing number of researchers. I would contend that our differences of opinion on this matter, as I have shown you many times previously, is due to the huge metabolic difference in fats (HERE). If you fail to consume healthy fats, everything mentioned is true.
Want to know why it's so darn important to BREAST FEED your baby and then feed feed them a diet based on WHOLE FOODS in their developing years? Easy. If you fail in this, you increase the odds of future and permanent neurological deficits and dysfunctions. Furthermore, just because you are breastfeeding junior; if you are sitting around eating Cheetos and Cheesecake all day yourself, you are sabotaging your good intentions. "Early life stress-induced alterations in the nutritional composition of the dam’s [mother's] milk.... could have lasting consequences for brain structure and function." Be aware that a form of stress that scientists have been talking about for decades is "dietary stress". Among other things I suggest to combat this is getting plenty of omega three fatty acids. Speaking of Omega 3's, listen to this....
"Abnormal omega-3 levels have been extensively described in both the peripheral tissues and in the brain of patients with mood disorders or cognitive decline, leading to a large number of random controlled trials aiming at evaluating the effectiveness of long chain omega-3 dietary supplementation on mood and cognitive disorders."
This statement raises an interesting question. Why is the research all over the place as far as supplements (not just Omega-3's) are concerned? We know that "abnormal omega-3 levels" are a major factor in ill health (study after study shows that the average American is consuming about 1/30th the recommended amount), yet some studies show positive results with supplementation, while others conclude it's a waste of time and money. My opinion is that it boils down to two issues. The first is that whether talking about nutrition or medications, MONOTHERAPIES are frequently not very helpful in isolation. Which brings us right into the second point; supplements are just that --- a "supplement" to a balanced diet based on WHOLE FOODS.
Unfortunately, my experience is that the majority of people don't really want to change their diets (at least don't want to change them too much). Instead, they continue to hope that the supplements they are taking will solve their problems. In other words they are using NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS in the exact same way that the medical community is using drugs; trying to cover symptoms without really making the lifestyle changes required to change their physiology (HERE). For the record, GRASS-FED BEEF as well as OZARK DEER (raised on acorns instead of GRAIN) are fantastic sources of Omega-3's. Supplementing with FISH OIL, while potentially good, can be also potentially harmful (click the link to see why).
The authors go on to talk about FRUITS AND VEGETABLES as well as the effects of diet on the aging process. "Aging and metabolic dysregulation are both associated with numerous cognitive and motor deficits on tasks that require fine motor control, balance, short-term and long-term memory, or executive function. Studies in both humans and animal models have demonstrated that oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as impaired insulin resistance, are common features in cardio-metabolic and vascular disease, obesity, and age-related declines in cognitive and motor function." OXIDATIVE STRESS, INSULIN RESISTANCE, CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME, DIABETES, and the rest of this mess are largely the result of LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. And while it is certainly possible to make changes as you get older, by the very nature of things, these changes become more difficult, which is why waiting to change until you have visible symptoms is a fool's game that leaves you vulnerable to a host of nasties that can destroy your life in incredibly unpleasant ways. In other words, it's easier to stay healthy than to get sick and then try to play catch up.
Overall, I felt this was a valuable review, and would recommend you take 15 minutes or so to read it. It is exciting to see real scientists go from recommending old worn out drug therapies for everything, to suggesting dietary and lifestyle changes that can positively affect every cell, organ, and tissue in your body, ultimately leading to various degrees of better physical and (as proved by this paper) mental health.
It's problematic that in this arena, the practicing medical community has lagged two to three decades behind current peer-review (HERE). Even though things continue to improve, don't wait on your doctor to start making changes. Dr. Ken Sharlin, a neurologist and specialist in Functional Medicine in the Springfield area agrees (HERE). Your health is up to you, and every day you fail to make the necessary changes, you increase your chances of ending up with a chronic inflammatory degenerative disease (HERE). Or maybe an autoimmune disease (HERE). Or maybe you'll become one of the 100 million Americans living in chronic pain (HERE). Fortunately for most of you, it doesn't have to be that way.
Although I would never tell you to do something rash like stop taking your medications, my desire is that you created a plan of change so that your doctor can one day tell you that you no longer need your medications (HERE). And while some of you might require some sort of SPECIAL TESTING or continued medical intervention, many of you --- probably the majority of you --- can use some of the totally and 100% free information in THIS POST to start taking you life back. While it's not easy (nothing good in life ever is), the longer you stick with it, the easier it will get. Since there's no time like the present, give yourself an early CHRISTMAS PRESENT and get started today!
FASCIA'S RELATIONSHIP TO GROUNDING / EARTHING, AND WHY IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE YOUR HEALTHRead Now
CAN GROUNDING / EARTHING BETTER YOUR HEALTH?
"It is now well established that the energy on the surface of the earth is mainly electrical. The central theme of this book is that we draw this electrical energy into our body in the form of free electrons through our bare feet. These electrons resonate at a variety of frequencies and the frequencies reset our biology, providing the body with electrical energy and behaving as anti-oxidants. Our research on Earthing has uncovered what is perhaps the most simple and natural remedy against proliferating, painful, and often deadly conditions, including the disease of aging, created by various kinds of inflammation." From Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? on the website of the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine
"Whilst grounding is often undertaken in industry as a matter of good practice in situations where the risk of excess charge exists, little thought is usually given to the biological effects that such measures may have, or possible benefits that may arise from the more widespread application of electrostatic and other ‘electromagnetic hygiene’ measures in hospitals and the general built environment. Research, which is still in its infancy, indicates that grounding the human body... can significantly enhance biological functioning." Researchers from London's Imperial College a review (Grounding & Human Health: A Review) in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Physics: Conference Series
When speaking of the electricity in your house, car, or appliances, a ground wire allows excess electricity built up within a circuit to be shunted to the the ground or earth (ground wires have historically been known as "earthing" wires) before building up to the point of critical mass where it does something bad. Another example, a lightning rod, will always be attached to a wire that runs all the way to the ground. In similar fashion to non-biological systems; for decades there have been scientists who have shown that excess electricity --- particularly in the form of positive (+) charges --- can and should be bled from the body, and that negative charges could be gained, simply by putting your feet or body in contact with the ground / earth. Follow along as I explain this in just a bit more detail, showing you something very very cool in the process.
Although I first heard of Grounding / Earthing a number of years ago, after recently re-reading Becker's seminal Body Electric, it made me start wondering about Grounding, which is frequently referred to as Earthing. What exactly is Grounding / Earthing and how does it work? The premise of Becker's book (Becker was an orthopedic surgeon who did a great deal of research for the military before being blackballed for some of his amazing non-pharmaceutical discoveries) is that the body is first and foremost an electric organism. In other words, it's the electrical system that controls and rules over the chemical system and not vice versa (interesting in light of our nation's out-of-control propensity for CHEMICAL REMEDIES --- pharmaceutical drugs --- as well as what BJ and AT were telling their patients and followers well over a century ago).
Our bodies are great conductors of electricity (you can prove this to yourself by grabbing hold of a live spark plug). We are not only made up of water, a great conductor of charges when it contains ions (charged metals), but each and every cell contains these ions. There are negatively charged ions (aka anions --- molecules that have more electrons than protons) such as phosphorus (P-) and chloride (Cl-). It's important to remember that because of their extra electron, anions can act as electron donors. Likewise, there are positively charged ions (cations) such as sodium (Na+), iron (Fe+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg++), calcium (Ca++), as well as any number of others. While these all have obvious functions (for instance iron is what makes up the "heme" portion of the oxygen-carrying molecule hemoglobin), there are endless numbers of functions that are less well known by the general public.
An in-depth study of physiology will show that most bodily functions, including nerve function, are run by ion pumps --- the body using energy to pump ions a certain direction in order to create a resting potential so that when needed, depolarization can take place and ions move in the opposite direction, allowing various bodily functions to take place. There is no question that our body is indeed "electric". The question, however, that we must answer is whether or not electrical fields coming from outside the body can affect normal physiology on the inside, and even more importantly, is there anything at all that can be done to modify or change it.
The pics below are all from NASA and show the magnetic fields created by the earth and its interaction with the solar system (click the pic on the left to see how intricate and complex this system really is). The truth is, everything, whether living or non-living, organic or inorganic, has both a VIBRATIONAL FREQUENCY as well as a magnetic field. Everything has an electronic pulse. In fact, just days ago our airwaves (EMF's themselves) were buzzing with the fact that the earth has a distinct hum that can be heard (with special equipment) on land as well as at the bottom of the ocean.
There is ample evidence to suggest that we are being bombarded by EMF's (Electro-Magnetic Fields) that are at least on some level, adversely affecting our NORMAL PHYSIOLOGY. While this is itself a topic for another day, suffice it to say that in similar fashion to DRUG SIDE EFFECTS, some people will be affected far more than others. Numerous governmental agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) have "trust us" propaganda pieces on their websites (What Are Electromagnetic Fields?) that have experts talking from both sides of their mouths about the exponential increase in human EMF exposure being "proven" completely safe.
"Low-frequency electric fields influence the human body just as they influence any other material made up of charged particles. When electric fields act on conductive materials, they influence the distribution of electric charges at their surface. They cause current to flow through the body to the ground. Low-frequency magnetic fields induce circulating currents within the human body. The strength of these currents depends on the intensity of the outside magnetic field. If sufficiently large, these currents could cause stimulation of nerves and muscles or affect other biological processes. No obvious adverse effect of exposure to low level radio-frequency fields has been discovered."
This last sentence is simply not true. And as Dr. Becker can attest, bucking the corporations that supply power to the grid is not any different than bucking BIG PHARMA, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Food, or any number of other multinational corporate conglomerates that are in many ways tied to our government (or at least to the corrupt politicians that run the government) at the hip (HERE'S AN EXAMPLE). If you care to do your own research on EMF's, you will find enough information (much of it rather freaky) to keep you reading for months.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELECTRICITY, IONS, AND THE REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES KNOWN AS FREE RADICALS
To way oversimplify things, positive charges tend to come from bad things / bad habits --- TOXICITY, POLLUTION, too much time around electronics, computers, and EMF's, too much time indoors, not enough fresh air, SMOKING CIGARETTES, ACIDIC FOODS, along with any number of others (a common one that is often overlooked is OVER-TRAINING). Just remember that the same things that cause Free Radicals cause inflammation, and that they are intimately related to each other. Here's an interesting tidbit for those of you who have been following the material I've been publishing on ALUMINUM found as ADJUVANTS in most vaccines --- it's extremely positively charged (Al+++). Oh, for the record, MERCURY is Hg++. Which brings us to a topic everyone should be at least somewhat familiar with; Free Radicals.
Some of you who had a little to much fun back in the sixties might have some confusion concerning what I am saying it means to be both "radical" and "free". Put your bong away and switch gears for a moment. Also known as Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS, FREE RADICALS wreak havoc on the body because they create positive charge. Writing for the May 27 2016 issue of Live Science (What Are Free Radicals?), Jesse Szalay wrote (I am cherry-picking for time and space as I always do)....
"The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage. Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink... and include fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and air pollutants."
In other words, Free Radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. This loss means that in most cases, these molecules will be positively charged. Because opposites attract and Free Radicals are always prowling around, looking to get their electron back any way they can, they take electrons wherever they can find them, trying all sorts of low-down sneaky tricks in order to steal them back.
The process of stealing electrons from other molecules is what we call oxidation (this is why OXYGEN can be good or bad, depending on the situation). Too much oxidation going on in your body and you end up with "OXIDATIVE STRESS" and the endless damage associated with it. Oxidation is what causes metal to rust or an apple to turn brown once you've cut it in half. It also causes any number of disease processes, including CANCER, which can be set in motion by chain reactions in CELL MEMBRANES, created by one cell stealing electrons from the next, stealing electrons from the next, etc, etc.
The question now becomes, how in the world can we increase the amount of negative charge / negative ions in our bodies, while preventing electron theft by positively charged free radicals? Can anyone say antioxidants? ANTIOXIDANTS are essentially electron donors (the most powerful in your body being GLUTATHIONE). By giving away their extra electron, they allow the Free Radical to pair the electrons in its outer shell (their outermost orbit of electrons), thereby neutralizing its ability to do damage. Antioxidants are usually thought of as certain foods that act as methyl donors (this is where the electrons come from --- BIOTRANSFORMATION). The thing is, there are any number of ways to potentially increase the number of electrons in your body, thereby increasing the amount of negative electric charge. Some of the more popular include a WIDE ARRAY OF SUPPLEMENTS, ion foot baths, and drinking ionized or "structured" water. There is one, however, that most people are unaware of --- something known as grounding or earthing.
STUDIES ON GROUNDING / EARTHING
- CAN ELECTRONS BE ABSORBED FROM THE EARTH, BE TRANSFERRED THROUGHOUT THE BODY, AND THEN ACT AS ANTIOXIDANTS? DR. JAMES OSCHMAN, a FASCIA and CONNECTIVE TISSUE specialist, has spent decades answering this question. With advanced degrees in biophysics and biology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as experience working in labs at Cambridge, Case-Western Reserve, University of Copenhagen, and Northwestern, Oschman has the credentials to back up his claims. In his amazing 2003 paper, The Living Matrix Connective Tissue Concept, Oschman said this of fascia's EXTRA-CELLULAR MATRIX (he was partially quoting research from the early 1940's). "Proteins are semiconductors rather than insulators, as had been thought previously. In essence, our bodies are composed mainly of materials that are similar in properties to the substances that make possible our modern computers, cell phones, televisions and so on. If a great number of atoms is arranged with regularity in close proximity, as for instance, in a crystal lattice, the electrons cease to belong to one or two atoms only, and belong to the whole system. A great number of molecules may join to form energy continua, along which energy, viz., excited electrons, may travel a certain distance. This means that the human body contains free or mobile electrons that can move about within the fabric of the body. These electrons are energetic and can therefore transfer energy and information from place to place." This is part of the premise for fascia acting as a SECOND NERVOUS SYSTEM. In a 2007 study (Can Electrons Act as Antioxidants? A Review and Commentary) Dr. Oschman concluded, "It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of earthing is that a direct earth connection enables free electrons to flow from the earth to the body. Current biomedical research has led to an inflammation hypothesis that is establishing chronic inflammation as the culprit behind almost every modern chronic illness. It is proposed that free or mobile electrons from the earth can resolve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants." Long, bullet point, but incredibly important!
- GROUNDING AND SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE: A 2011 issue of Integrative Medicine carried a study (Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding, and Improved Autonomic Tone: Clinical Applications) by an MD and Ph.D team that came to some interesting conclusions concerning HRV --- the standard medical method of measuring SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE --- and electron flow. "Grounding or earthing is defined as placing one’s bare feet on the ground (especially when humid or wet), whether it be dirt, grass, sand, or concrete. It is known that the earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. This study showed a positive trend in HRV that kept improving all the way to the end, suggesting a greater benefit with time. In patients who experience anxiety, emotional stress, panic, fear, and/or symptoms of autonomic dystonia, including headaches, cardiac palpitations, and dizziness, grounding could be a very realistic therapy. These patients may see positive effects most likely within 20 to 30 minutes and in almost all cases in 40 minutes. Negative emotions such as panic, depression, anxiety, & hostility have all demonstrated reduced HRV. Grounding has the potential to help support HRV, reduce excessive sympathetic overdrive, balance the autonominc nervous system, and, thus, attenuate the stress response." Did you catch that? If you didn't read it again as these findings are nothing short of amazing.
- GROUNDING, SLEEP, AND STRESS: Back in 2004, the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine (The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress) had some promising observations for those of you with INSOMNIA, FIBROMYALGIA, and other sleep-disturbing illnesses. "Measurable improvements in diurnal cortisol profiles were observed, with cortisol levels significantly reduced during night-time sleep. Subjects' 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles showed a trend toward normalization. Subjectively reported symptoms, including sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated in nearly all subjects. Results indicate that grounding the human body to earth ("earthing") during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective reporting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress." So not only did the researchers see an objective difference, the subjects reported a subjected difference as well --- they felt better and slept better.
- GROUNDING HELPS SOME PEOPLE WITH CARDIAC CONDITIONS: In a 2013 study done by Oschman and another researcher, along with 2 MD's, including Dr. Sinatra who can be seen in the embedded video below (Earthing/Grounding the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—A Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease), the authors concluded, "Increased blood viscosity in the general population may be a predictor of cardiovascular events because of its influences on hypertension, thrombogenesis, ischemia, and arthrogenesis. Statins appear to be effective for modulating blood viscosity, but can have serious side-effects including death. Grounding is the most desirable and suitable intervention for both reducing blood viscosity and reducing inflammation simultaneously. Attenuating inflammation and reducing blood viscosity will help physicians address primary and secondary prevention issues Grounding may represent one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions to help reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events." Another study, this one from a three year old issue of the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications (Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study) used a special camera to measure blood flow in the face via thermal imaging. "The very Earth we live on possesses a form of easily accessible and beneficial natural electric energy that has been found to positively influence human physiology in various ways. Previous studies have indicated improved cardiovascular dynamics. This study further supports those findings by documenting a clear improvement in autonomic nervous system regulation of facial blood flow in grounded subjects but not in sham -grounded subjects." Here's the deal folks; if you can modulate INFLAMMATION via Grounding / Earthing, think about what might be possible for a WHOLE ARRAY OF DISEASES. How cool would it be for something this simple to help keep you off STATIN DRUGS?
- GROUNDING HELPS RESOLVE INFLAMMATION AND AUTOIMMUNITY: Oschman was back for the attack with a study published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Inflammation (The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Inflammation, the Immune Response, Wound Healing, and Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases). "Voluminous current research correlates inflammation with a wide range of chronic diseases. Our working hypothesis features this scenario: mobile electrons from the Earth enter the body and act as natural antioxidants; they are semi-conducted through the connective tissue matrix, including through the inflammatory barricade if one is present; they neutralize ROS and other oxidants in the repair field; and they protect healthy tissue from damage. We know from medical infrared imaging that inflammation begins to subside within 30 minutes of connecting with the earth via a conductive patch placed on the skin. Secondly, metabolic activity increases during this same period. We suspect that the “filling” of the charge reservoirs is a gradual process, possibly because of the enormous number of charged residues on the polyelectrolytes, and because they are located throughout the body. When charge reservoirs are saturated, the body is in a state we refer to as “inflammatory preparedness”. This means that the ground substance [think fascia here], which pervades every part of the body, is ready to quickly deliver antioxidant electrons to any site of injury via the semiconducting collagenous matrix." In an age of out of control inflammation and corresponding national EXPLOSION OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, Grounding / Earthing is a breath of fresh air --- literally.
- GROUNDING AND EXERCISE RECOVERY: A team of eight Polish researchers writing in a 2013 issue of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects during Cycling Exercise and Recovery) revealed, "One group was earthed in the first week during 30 minutes of cycling exercise and during recovery, and a second group was earthed in the second week. A double-blind technique was applied. Blood samples were obtained before each training session, after 15 and 30 minutes of exercise, and after 40 minutes of recovery. Significantly lower blood urea levels were observed in subjects earthed during exercise and relaxation." Why is this big? Urea in the form of something known as BUN or Blood Urea Nitrogen is a metabolic marker of muscle breakdown. Although athletes want to stress their muscles (THINK WEIGHTLIFTERS HERE), they want to limit how much they are actually breaking them down. Nitrogen is toxic to the brain and is cleared from the body via turning it into urea, where it is filtered by the kidneys. High BUN levels, besides being indicative of poor kidney function, can provide an idea of how much muscle an athlete is breaking down in their training. If you can continue to train at a high level with less tissue degradation, it means less energy and metabolic resources will be needed for regeneration and repair.
- GROUNDING PREVENTS MUSCLE DAMAGE: When it comes to muscles and the many ways they can be injured (HERE and HERE), any sort of simple, low tech remedy is welcome. In 2010, a group of three researchers published a double-blinded study called Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. After looking at groups of men that were grounded and groups that were not, the authors determined that, "Forty-eight markers were measured. In 30 of these markers, a consistent pattern emerged; over the 3-day testing period, one or the other group was always above or below the other group. 36% showed differences of 10% or greater and 21% showed differences of 20% or greater. Both subjective and objective pain measurement had a strong, positive relationship with the grounded subjects. Grounding appears to be the first intervention with the potential to reduce the time of recovery and improve muscle function....." The same team got together at the University of Oregon and Cal State Irvine two years ago to research and publish a paper called Grounding After Moderate Eccentric Contractions Reduces Muscle Damage that ended up in Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, which stated, "Following eccentric contractions, skeletal muscle fibers suffer damage including myofilament disorganization, membrane disruption, sarcomere damage, Z-line streaming, degradation of muscle protein, leakage of muscular enzymes into the plasma, and degradation of calcium-sensitive pathways. The injuries to the muscle cells result in a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The structural damage leads to an inflammatory response which increases histamines, which sensitize free nerve endings in the muscle tissue and cause pain and swelling. The inflammatory response also attracts neutrophils to the injury site where they generate free radicals that participate in the immune response but can also further damage the muscle cells." As you might imagine, there were significant differences between the two groups.
- GROUNDING AND DEPRESSION: Knowing what we know about the relationship between body acidity, inflammation, free radicals, and the SAD (STANDARD AMERICAN DIET), we can't be shocked by the results of another Cal State Irvine study carried in the April 2015 issue of Psychology Reports (The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood), which looked at "40 adult participants were either grounded or sham-grounded (no grounding) for 1 hr. Pleasant and positive moods statistically significantly improved among grounded-but not sham-grounded-participants. It is concluded that the 1-hr. contact with the Earth improved mood more than expected by relaxation alone." What have I been showing you for years? That CLINICAL DEPRESSION along with any number of other psychological issues are caused by inflammation. This is one more study showing that inflammation can be potentially curbed by Grounding / Earthing.
OK; I'M CONVINCED!
IS THERE MORE TO THIS THAN TAKING MY SHOES OFF AND GETTING IN THE RIVER?
You can even use your concrete floor as long as it is actually on the ground, although concrete can be extremely cold, not to mention BRUTALLY ROUGH on feet and the rest of the kinetic chain (KNEES, HIPS, SPINE, and even the NECK). In the past I've mentioned the MICROBIOMAL benefits of GARDENING (organically of course), or you could lay or even nap on the ground (be aware that although most shoes act as insulators, leather soles actually act as electron conductors). The real question is what are you going to do when the weather gets cold, like it does here for a few months out of the year.
As far as cold weather goes, there are a number of companies that offer relatively inexpensive products such as earthing mats, earthing sheets, or small TENS-looking devices that you put on your feet while you kick back in your easy chair. Although I would strongly urge you to get as much of your Grounding as possible outdoors, remember that every study I showed you today was done with some sort of device, usually the TENS-like creatures mentioned above. Also remember that this is just another piece of the pie that you can use to help solve your own chronic health issues. For the WHOLE ENCHILADA, just click the link.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN
ACCORDING TO THE LATEST RESEARCH
In plain English it means that you ignore neck pain at your own peril. A failure to deal with your neck issues today means that you'll likely be dealing with them tomorrow, only it will be worse, with incidents coming closer together and lasting longer, until it all runs together, becoming constant and chronic. This is why the term "self limiting," while true for colds, FLU, WHOOPING COUGH, CHICKEN POX, and most other infectious diseases, may not be a good descriptor of musculoskeletal problems, including neck pain.
Although statistics have shown that just under a third of all Americans deal with some sort of CHRONIC PAIN ISSUE, a recent article from the American Pain Society (NIH Study Shows Prevalence of Chronic or Severe Pain in U.S. Adults) revealed that according to peer-review, "Nearly 50 million American adults have significant chronic pain or severe pain, according to a new study prepared by National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)." A study from the July/August issue of the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy (Prevalence and Factors Associated with Neck Pain: A Population-Based Study) painted a similar picture.
Neck pain is one of the major musculoskeletal disorders in the adult population; its prevalence in the world ranges from 16.7% to 75.1%. This condition has a complex etiology, including a number of factors: ergonomic (strenuous physical activity, use of force and vibration, inadequate posture, repetitive movement), individual (age, body mass index, genome, musculoskeletal pain history), behavioral (smoking and level of physical activity), and psychosocial (job satisfaction, stress level, anxiety, and depression). In the United States, neck pain was associated with women and people who suffered from some morbidity (respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal diseases, among others) and psychological alterations (depression, difficulty falling asleep, and insomnia).
What does this paragraph tell us? For starters it shows us how intimately neck pain is related to inflammation (most of the physical problems listed above can be found filed under "INFLAMMATORY DISEASES"). This means that a failure to address inflammation means a greater likelihood of failure in addressing your pain --- the reason that we'll see momentarily that "best evidence" says most interventions for chronic neck pain are of little help (the drugs used to treat inflammation cause major problems with the healing of connective tissues such as LIGAMENTS, FASCIA, and TENDONS ---- HERE). With both incidence and prevalence exploding; how badly are our collective wallets being affected?
According to last December's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (US Spending on Personal Health Care and Public Health, 1996-2013), DIABETES and HEART DISEASE were the number one and two costliest diseases facing Americans. Guess what number three was? "US health care spending has continued to increase, and now accounts for more than 17% of the US economy. with estimated spending of $88.1 billion, low back and neck pain accounted for the third-highest amount. Spending on low back and neck pain and on diabetes increased the most over the 18 years, by an estimated $57.2 billion and $64.4 billion respectively." By the way, this was "across all age and sex groups and types of care." It's another proof that our healthcare system is "UNSUSTAINABLE".
Earlier this year, Sarah Boseley of The Gaurdian wrote about this study in an article titled Epidemic of Untreatable Back and Neck Pain Costs Billions, Study Finds. Listen as she echos the futility of most treatments as shown by decades of scientific studies. "Injections, electrical nerve stimulation, opioid drugs and a whole host of other interventions are not recommended for lower back and neck pain. The Cochrane group have found no evidence in favour of using these or many other interventions; in the UK, guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence advises healthcare staff not to offer them. Low back and neck pain is an increasingly widespread and expensive condition worldwide, costing the US alone $88 billion a year – the third highest bill for any health condition – despite evidence most treatments do not work." She is talking mostly here about THE BIG FIVE, which you already know don't work well. Let's look, however, at some things that might be of benefit.
- GENERAL RISK FACTORS FOR NECK PAIN: Less than three weeks ago, a team of five researchers from Duke looked at almost 900 articles and concluded in the journal Musculoskeletal Science and Practice (Identifying Risk Factors for First-Episode Neck Pain: A Systematic Review) that, "Because of the tendency for neck pain to become a chronic issue, it is important to identify risk factors that could encourage prevention and early diagnosis. The strongest psychosocial risk factors were depressed mood, high role conflict, and perceived muscular tension. The most commonly reported physical risk factor was work in awkward/sustained postures. Protective measures found included high perceived empowering leadership, high perceived social climate, leisure physical activity, and cervical extensor endurance. Most risk factors found for neck pain were related to psychosocial characteristics, rather than physical characteristics." If you are struggling with Depression, make sure to read these amazing posts (HERE).
- NECK PAIN FREQUENTLY STARTS IN THE WORKPLACE: In October, the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health (Determination of Pain in Musculoskeletal System Reported by Office Workers and the Pain Risk Factors) said that risk factors for spinal pain in office workers (52% of the 528 workers quizzed had neck pain) include, "sitting at the desk for a long time without a break, working sitting on a chair that supported only the lumbar area and the arms, having the computer mouse at a distance from the keyboard, having the head inclined at 45° when working, working holding both forearms above the level of the desk, not taking exercise in daily life, and having a moderate or extremely stressful workplace." The next month the same journal looked at risk of neck pain for all workers in a study titled Risk Factors for Episodic Neck Pain in Workers: A 5-Year Prospective Study of a General Working Population. The biggest factor here were things like work pace, sustained/repeated arm abduction (raising your arms to the side), and high physical exertion.
- CHRONIC NECK PAIN TIED TO OCCIPITAL BONE SPURS: If you reach back to the back of your head, halfway between your ears, you can feel a knob of bone called the EOP (External Occipital Protuberance), which is the point where lots and lots of muscles attach. WOLF'S LAW says that bone grows in response to stresses put on it, whether that stress is normal or abnormal. So, if there is abnormal tension in the neck, it only makes sense that the EOP turns into what amounts to an oversized bone spur, which is by the way, a commonly seen occurrence in any chiropractic clinic. A study published in last week's edition of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery (An Anatomic Morphological Study of Occipital Spurs in Human Skulls) concluded that, "Occipital spurs are quite common; however, they are also the source of frequent discomfort to the patients. Their role has been implicated in causation of pain at the base of skull, which may extend to shoulder limiting the movement of the shoulder and neck." The paper said that about 10% of the population has tight enough muscles to cause an occiptial bone spur. The x-rays at the top of the page all have an occipital bone spur (click pics to enlarge). In the middle pic, you can see not only the EOP, but the entire ridge of bone where muscles attach along the back of the skull. This should help you understand why I frequently work on the back of the skull when treating people with chronic neck pain, HEADACHES, or SKULL PAIN.
- NECK PAIN AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES IN CHILDREN: After looking at some of my posts on TBI (Traumatic Brain Injuries --- HERE is one from just the other day showing how they cause any number of diseases via genetic mutations), make sure to glance at this study from last week's issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma (A Review of Pain in Children Following Traumatic Brain Injury: Is There More than Headache?), which helped shed some light on this all too common problem by concluding "Headache is a common source of pain in children following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Pain assessment in children after TBI needs improvement, given that pain is linked to worse recovery, poorer quality of life, and can be long-lasting. More rigorous examination of non-headache pain and its role in impeding recovery in children following TBI is imperative, and has the potential to improve the care and management of children with TBI." This means that if the only treatment your child gets for a CONCUSSION, WHIPLASH or TBI/MTBI is THESE DRUGS, noting is being done to address the problem.
- NECK PAIN AND CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: Three weeks ago the Journal of Orthopedic Science (Associations Between Neck Symptoms and LDL Cholesterol) found a relationship between CHOLESTEROL LEVELS (LDL -- the so-called "bad" cholesterol) and chronic neck pain. "Studies have reported associations between neck pain and degenerative changes in the cervical spine in women, and between neck pain and obesity or metabolic syndrome. The 1122 volunteers who participated in this study included 426 men and 696 women. Each subject filled out a questionnaire about any neck pain or neck-shoulder stiffness experienced in the previous 3 months. We recorded the following laboratory results related to metabolic factors, including lipid profiles: total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, glucose, and hemoglobin A1c. The prevalence of neck and shoulder stiffness was significantly higher in women (60.3%) than in men (38.0%). Analyses showed a significant negative correlation between the prevalence of neck pain and LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol was correlated with neck pain in this cross-sectional population-based study." I talked extensively HERE about the intimate relationship between cholesterol and inflammation.
- NECK PAIN AND THE RELATIONSHIP TO TACTILE SENSATION: Researchers from the University of Queensland's Centre of Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries, published a study a few weeks ago in Musculoskeletal Science and Practice (Tactile Acuity is Reduced in People with Chronic Neck Pain). This isn't surprising considering what we know about the neck as related to RADICULAR PROBLEMS, the authors stated that, "Tactile acuity deficits have been demonstrated in a range of persistent pain conditions and may reflect underlying cortical re-organisation. People with chronic neck pain demonstrated tactile acuity deficits in painful and non-painful regions when measured using the Two-Point Discrimination test, with the magnitude of deficits appearing greatest at the neck. The study also revealed a positive relationship between Two Point Discrimination and pain intensity/duration, further supporting the main study finding." These findings are intimately related to PROPRIOCEPTION, which when lost, is a huge factor in developing DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS.
- CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND CENTRAL SENSITIZATION: CHRONIC PAIN is bad enough on its own but when it becomes "learned," locked into the brain and playing on a loop, it's really bad news. This is because in the same way it is almost impossible to unlearn how to ride a bike, it's likewise difficult to unlearn pain that has been creating neural pathways that can end up more aptly described as highways. A Belgian study published in last week's issue of Pain Practice (Convergent Validity of the Dutch Central Sensitization Inventory: Associations with Psychophysical Pain Measures, Quality of Life, Disability, and Pain Cognitions in Patients with Chronic Spinal Pain) dealt with CENTRAL SENSITIZATION as related to chronic neck pain. "Symptoms of Central Sensitization have been described in patients with chronic spinal pain. Although a gold standard to diagnose Central Sensitization is lacking, psychophysical pain measures are often used. Moderate to strong associations were found with current pain intensity, quality of life, disability, and catastrophizing." CATASTROPHIZING is freaking out over your situation. Because there is, as these authors said, no gold standard for diagnosing it, my opinion oon using TISSUE REMODELING on those with potential CS is let her rip --- there's nothing to lose (HERE).
- WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO TEST FOR CHRONIC NECK PAIN: What would be really cool is if doctors had a way to test people in the same way mechanics hook up your car to their diagnostic computer to see what's wrong. Unfortunately, the fact that pain is subjective is at least part of what's led to the OPIOID EPIDEMIC. If you look at the final link in the "Tactile Sensation" bullet above, or better yet, THIS LINK on MRI's, you quickly realize that imaging --- at least in the sense that we currently use it today --- isn't necessarily much help. Thus, my opinion based on a number of studies is that RANGE OF MOTION is the best and easiest way to get a picture of how bad neck pain might be. Although there are a number of companies selling ROM-measuring devices for thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, a study from the October issue of JMPT (Intrarater and Inter-rater Reliability of Active Cervical Range of Motion in Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain Measured With Technological and Common Use Devices: A Systematic Review With Meta-Regression) revealed that simple, low tech, inexpensive devices work just as well. "The use of expensive devices to measure active cervical range of motion in adults with nonspecific neck pain does not seem to improve the reliability of the assessment."
- HOW BEST TO TREAT THOSE STRUGGLING WITH CHRONIC NECK PAIN: Back in July, eight PT's wrote an 83 page position paper for their profession called Neck Pain: Revision 2017 Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health From the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association that was published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. Their conclusions could be boiled down to a few sentences. "For patients with chronic neck pain with mobility deficits, clinicians should provide a multimodal approach of thoracic manipulation and cervical manipulation or mobilization, mixed exercise for cervical/scapulothoracic regions (neuromuscular exercise, coordination, proprioception, postural training, stretching, strengthening, endurance training, aerobic conditioning, and cognitive affective elements), dry needling, laser, or intermittent traction"
In the words of YODA, correct they are. When treating people with chronic neck pain, the very first thing that must be accomplished is breaking the ADHESED FASCIA and SCAR TISSUE / FIBROSIS. This needs to be followed by "MANIPULATION" (not to be confused with mobilization --- HERE). There are so many cool ways to improve PROPRIOCEPTION that can be combined with various forms of EXERCISE (both specific and non). DRY NEEDLING, LASER THERAPY, and intermittent traction (otherwise known as SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY) all follow if needed. I have written about these in my PHASE I and PHASE II for dealing with people who have chronic neck pain. Don't forget how important it is to deal with SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION (or overabundance of local inflammation) that might be present.
- YOGA IS HELPFUL FOR THOSE WITH CHRONIC NECK PAIN: I have spoken of YOGA on my site previously. The October issue of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (Effects of Yogic Exercise on Nonspecific Neck Pain in University Students) concluded that at least in college students, "The yoga group showed significantly decreased neck pain scores compared with those of the control group." Last month's issue of the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine (Effects of Pilates and Yoga in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Sonographic Study) looked at the effects of neck pain on one of those new imagining technologies mentioned earlier (DIAGNOSTIC ULTRASOUND) determining that although yoga did not change the ultrasound itself, "All 3 types of exercise (yoga, Pilates, and isometrics) had favorable effects on pain and functional scores." Two weeks ago today, Clinical Rehabilitation (Effects of Yoga on Chronic Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis) concluded that, "Yoga has short-term effects on chronic neck pain, its related disability, quality of life, and mood suggesting that yoga might be a good treatment option."
- WHAT ABOUT THOSE ADJUSTMENTS? I've shown you repeatedly that repeated adjustments in and of themselves are a waste (HERE). A study from last month's issue of Chiropractic and Manual Therapies (The Chiropractic Profession: A Scoping Review of Utilization Rates, Reasons for Seeking Care, Patient Profiles, and Care Provided) looked at hundreds of studies and determined that neck pain is the second most common reason people visit the chiro (LBP is first). Fortunately, the second most common treatment used on these folks (behind manipulation) was soft tissue therapy. But what about the question of when you should be adjusted if you are injured? It was answered by a group of European osteopaths in last month's issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (Immediate Effects of Osteopathic Treatment Versus Therapeutic Exercise on Patients With Chronic Cervical Pain) who concluded that, "Although both interventions were associated with immediately improved ROM and pain after treatment, high velocity, low amplitude manipulation was more effective than craniocervical flexion exercise in improving ROM and visual analog scales (1-10 pain diagrams) during ROM." Please note the word "immediately". Very cool, but what I am looking for in my clinic are LONG TERM RESULTS. It's ironic that as groups of American chiros pine for prescription rights, European physicians are taking courses to learn how to manipulate the spine. In a study published in last week's issue of BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (Physicians Using Spinal Manipulative Treatment in The Netherlands: A Description of Their Characteristics and their Patients) a team of four Dutch physicians, chiros, and other similar, were starting to use manual techniques to treat patients.
- WHAT THE HECK IS ACOPOTOMY? According to Qiao Jinlin, the director of China's Naval General Hospital's Department of Rehabilitation, "Soft tissue trauma includes muscular pain, fascia and tendon injury, as well as articular cartilage, joint capsule [ligaments] and bursa." What's one of the hottest methods of dealing with these problems? I mentioned it earlier ---- NEEDLING. I have said for a very long time that while super cool, acupuncture needles are often too small to affect the needed change (which is why I usually use hypodermics). A relatively recent treatment known as Acopotomy ("a non-invasive acupuncture/ micro surgery using a small needle-scalpel invented by Professor Zhu Hanzhang around 30 years ago in China") is being used to break deeper tissue adhesions. HERE is a super cool video of Dr. Steven Woo of the OG Pain Clinic fixing a shoulder problem. And while there are actually a fair number of studies on acopotomy, a group of six Chinese physicians published a study back in August called Acupotomy Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. After looking at results of ten trials involving 433 patients, the authors concluded that, "Acupotomy therapy may be beneficial to chronic nonspecific neck pain patients." What's doubly cool is that these authors also reported that the procedure, used by 360,000 people a day in China, saves over ten billion dollars annually in surgery and other medical services. Take a look at the previous link to see why.
As I have been telling people for nearly three decades, if you want to solve your chronic issues, you're going to have to step out of the box. In a nation where we account for less than 5% of the world's population, but are, according to our own government (HERE), using 75% of the world's medication, it's clear that we are not as adept at this as we should be. After all, big pharma, corporate medicine, our government, and the insurance industry, all want to keep you in the box. That way you can be a MONEY-MAKING COMMODITY for decades to come. That way no one upsets the status quo. That way the people at the top of the pyramid make obscene amounts of cash.
If you are looking to step outside the box, I've given you some information to help you get started. Nope, it's not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases --- that's what the FDA says can only happen if you stay in the box. THIS POST is meant to give you a starting point as far as doing your own research. Because after everything shakes out in the wash, your health is up to you.
CAN YOU GET FLU FROM THE FLU VACCINE?
CAN A FLU SHOT GIVE YOU THE FLU?
"Among flu viruses, H3N2 is the one you should fear the most. It lands the most patients in hospitals. It kills the most people. Oh, and bad news: The flu shot has real trouble fighting it. Last year’s seasonal flu vaccine was particularly weak against H3N2. In fact, that keeps happening, year after year—and no one is really sure why."
Clearly it's a pattern, as well as being the reason that for years we've been hearing (usually at the very end of the season after everyone has had their shot) that shucky darns, the vaccine failed to work yet again. Today I will answer an oft-asked question; do flu shots cause the flu? The standard line, of course, is no. The CDC's website doesn't mince words in an article called Misconceptions About Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. "Can a flu shot give you the flu? No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness." Back in 2013, USA Today (Can the Flu Vaccine Cause the Flu?) stated that "There's a belief, popular in the current flu outbreak, that getting vaccinated can actually give you the flu, and many people use it as a reason to avoid the shot. A survey by CVS Pharmacy last year found that about 35% of consumers think it's true. Doctors say it's impossible. While some people get sick after being vaccinated, it's not from the vaccine, doctors say." But it doesn't stop there.
Mayo Clinic (Flu Shot: Your Best Bet for Avoiding Influenza) asks the question and then answers it in the way you might expect. "Can the vaccine give me the flu? No. The flu vaccine can't give you the flu. But you might develop flu-like symptoms." This is a common thread I hear in my clinic. People are told they don't officially have the flu; only flu-like symptoms, which is the same thing without a positive test --- kind of like your waiter saying, "no we don't have 7-up," but then revealing you can get Sprite.
Harvard Health Publishing (10 Flu Myths: Dispelling Misinformation About the Flu Vaccine, Sickness, Treatment, and Recovery) recently stated, "MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can't transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. It takes a week or two to get protection from the vaccine. But people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine, the shot caused their illness." There it is again; trying to explain away the large numbers of people getting the non-flu "flu equivalent" after their FLU SHOT.
WebMD (Can Flu Shots Cause the Flu?) says, "The flu shot is made from dead viruses and cannot "give" you the flu. However, the vaccine can trigger an immune response from your body, so you may have a few mild symptoms, like achy muscles or a low-grade fever. The nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, is made with a weakened live flu virus. It also cannot give you the flu, but is more likely to cause symptoms such as achy muscles or a low fever." How can we know the author of this article is clueless? Because two years ago the "mist" nasal vaccine was taken off the market because for at least three years prior, it's effectiveness was so low it could not be measured (effectively zero --- HERE). Livestrong (Flu-Like Symptoms After a Flu Shot) was even more clear on this subject. "Flu shots contain an inactivated version of the flu virus and cannot cause influenza." However, "Receiving a flu shot may cause side effects that are similar to flu symptoms.... Furthermore.... it is still possible to get the flu despite being vaccinated."
A 2015 story for the Sacramento Bee by medical reporter Anna Ibarra (Why You May Feel Sick After Getting the Flu Shot) showed how many promoters of flu shots don't practice what they preach. "I have a confession to make. I have opted out of getting a flu shot a few times in my adult life. I know this seems irresponsible of me, especially being a health reporter and all. But I can explain. It happened almost as a pattern – I’d get a flu shot, and I’d instantly feel sick. Headaches, stuffy nose, a cough, your typical flu symptoms. I’d ask myself: What was the point of getting the flu shot? The years I skipped the influenza vaccine: nothing. It was as if the flu shot made me sick. At least that is what I told myself to ease the guilt. So what is the point of me sharing this blunder? Well, I know I am not the only one who at some point erroneously believed that the seasonal flu vaccine can actually cause the flu illness." But maybe the best of the genre comes from Julianna LeMieux, who was writing in the September issue of the American Council on Science and Health (Why the Flu Shot Won't (and Can't) Give you the Flu).
"It's that time of year again - time to get the flu shot. In case you are wondering when is the best time to get your flu shot, please read here. Every year, the medical community emphasizes the importance of getting the flu vaccine. And, every year the same excuses pop up as to why people are not going to do it. But, the one excuse that I simply cannot hear anymore is that the flu shot will give someone the flu. This one drives me crazy because it is simply not possible.... The flu is going to be bad this year and the vaccine seems to be a good match."
LeMieux is probably a super great individual. But considering I just showed you that this year's vaccine is not a good match, her article cannot be considered anything but a glorified propaganda piece. A commonly used reason to convince you that you should get the flu shot anyway because even if the vaccine is not matched correctly (something that peer-review says happens less than once a decade), some protection is better than none, and what little protection you get will help you survive whatever flu virus you are hit with.
Not only is this not true (the only flu vaccine that may provide real protection must have the exact --- emphasis on exact --- genetic variant of the flu virus making the rounds in any given year), I am going to show you that in many cases, the flu vaccine actually increases your chances of getting sick with flu or something that looks so identical that it's indistinguishable (the plethora of viral infections filed under "flu-like illnesses").
NOT ONLY DOES THE FLU VACCINE NOT WORK, IT PREDISPOSES PEOPLE TO FLU
Back in 2011, University of Minnesota's CIDRAP program (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) published an article about research found in the Lancet, saying that the "70% to 90% level of protection afforded by seasonal influenza vaccines" should be revised. Before repeatedly repeating the mantra that yes, these things don't do what's always been claimed of them, but they are better than nothing so go ahead and promote them as you always have, the CIDRAP team wrote "The meta-analysis produced little or no evidence of 70% to 90% efficacy for most population groups...."
Members of the organization, in fact, debated whether the term "oversold" should be used to describe vaccine efficacy (many were upset that one of the paper's lead authors, Dr. Michael Osterholm, had used the word to describe our national flu vaccination policies). What was even more interesting was that despite the pediatricians in the paragraph above revealing that the CDC has known about this unwarranted hype for years, this paper showed that they continued to carry the fraudulently high percentages of efficacy on their huge tax-payer funded site (CDC estimates of effectiveness have since been lowered).
Although I have dealt with it in other posts on some level, here is another fun fact. Studies continue to show that if you got a flu shot last year, this year's shot will not only not be effective, it actually increases your chances of contracting the flu --- dramatically (HERE). Two years ago in January, the journal Eurosurvalliance published a study called Interim Estimates of 2014/15 Vaccine Effectiveness Against Influenza A(H3N2) from Canada’s Sentinel Physician Surveillance Network. "Vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) among those who received the 2014/2015 influenza vaccine without prior vaccination in 2013/14 was higher than among participants who were vaccinated with the same A (H3N2) vaccine component in both 2013/14 and 2014/15." How bad was it? Negative 15%. This means that the second consecutive year of getting a flu shot increased your chances of getting the flu by 15% above those who had not been vaccinated. The same phenomenon was seen in the "Household" study I dealt with yesterday from Clinical Infectious Diseases --- only it was much worse; -45%.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times patients tell me something along these same lines. The story is always the same. "Hey Doc, I took a flu shot last year and got the worst case of flu I've ever gotten in my life." Especially important once you understand that there are about a jillion viruses that can cause the same symptoms as flu, but because they are not actually flu, are classified as "Flu-Like" and not counted in official statistics. And then the other shoe dropped. Oxford Academic's Clinical Infectious Diseases (Increased Risk of Noninfluenza Respiratory Virus Infections Associated With Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine) revealed back in 2012 that if you had a flu shot, you were five and a half times (550%) more likely to come down with a non-influenza respiratory infection in that same year.
"Participants who received Trivalent Vaccine had higher risk of acute respiratory illness associated with confirmed non-influenza respiratory virus infection. In the prepandemic period of our study, we did not observe a statistically significant reduction in confirmed seasonal influenza virus infections in the Trivalent Vaccine recipients. Including two additional confirmed infections when participants did not report acute respiratory illness, Trivalent Vaccine recipients had higher risk of confirmed non-influenza respiratory virus infection. The phenomenon of virus interference has been well known in virology for over 60 years."
Did you catch that? This phenomenon has been recognized since at least the 1950's. In other words, while the virus in a flu vaccine may be similar enough to confer some degree of immunity against the flu (truthfully, they need to be identical as we have been seeing), the exact opposite is true more often than not. The more you ramp up the immune system with very specific viral antigens found in vaccines, the worse the body will react if the virus it is being attacked with is not what was in the vaccine. And if you remember, match-years --- those years when the flu vaccine actually "matches" the virus that is circulating in the public --- happen about once every 11 years according to peer-review. This is not only why we see crappy results with the flu vaccine year after year, but why --- thanks to "viral interference" --- we routinely see people getting sicker after getting vaccinated against the flu. And because these illnesses are not actually the flu (even though they pass the smell test), your doctor can sit there and tell you that your shot is doing exactly what it was created and designed to do.
What does this look like in today's America? We not only see a steadily eroding immunity against the flu for those who are getting vaccinated on a regular basis (think elderly folks here who often wait in line like teen groupies trying to get into a Justin Beever concert), the last few decades have brought us a veritable EXPLOSION OF AUTOIMMUNITY. Think of it this way; If you are constantly and purposefully activating the immune system via ALUMINUM-CONTAINING ADJUVANTS whose stated purpose is to do just that, what the heck do you expect is going to happen --- especially in a society that is already maximally inflamed --- an "INFLAMMATION NATION" if you will? And what does our medical community do? They continue telling us that it's a combination of plain DUMB LUCK and BAD GENETICS. The reality is that the ABSURD NUMBERS OF VACCINES that our citizens are being serially bombarded with from cradle to grave, radically increase the chances of the body attacking itself (AUTOIMMUNITY), which is why you are starting to actually hear about things like ASIA (Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants). But it's even bigger even than this.
If these sorts of problems were happening once in a blue moon, it would be one thing. But they aren't. They are happening with clock-like regularity. In fact, as I have shown you on several occasions (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few) all drug reactions, vaccine reactions included, are only reported to the proper governmental authorities, on average, about 1% of the time. I'm not making that up folks.
What it means is that even though the general public is hollering about vaccine-induced problems, our alphabet soup of governmental organizations (CDC, NIH, WHO, etc, etc, etc) continues to tell us how stupid we are for believing such poppycock, and that there is nothing to worry about. Add to this the fact that we seeing that most studies cannot be reproduced (HERE), and you can see why trying to comfort yourself with "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" isn't working out as planned. The truth is, when it comes to flu shots, the evidence against continues to mount. My advice based on research? Study the issue for yourself, and then run far and run fast.
THE QUEST FOR A BETTER FLU VACCINE
THE UNIVERSAL FLU VACCINE
Even though most physicians and public health officials have been forced to admit that flu vaccine efficacy is not anywhere near what's been officially touted, they continue preaching the wisdom of annual flu vaccinations. Not surprisingly, one of the ways that the scientific medical community combats citizens questioning their policies is the promise that a universal flu vaccine is right around the corner. For instance, just two short weeks ago, the New England Journal of Medicine carried a scientific paper (Chasing Seasonal Influenza — The Need for a Universal Influenza Vaccine) saying that given enough time and money, would "achieve the ultimate objective of a universal influenza vaccine."
The September issue of PNAS (Increasing the Breadth and Potency of Response to the Seasonal Influenza Virus Vaccine by Immune Complex Immunization) touted this same idea. Note that they begin by saying exactly what I have been showing you --- that matching vaccine to circulating virus is a pipe-dream. "The main barrier to reduction of morbidity caused by influenza is the absence of a vaccine that elicits broad protection against different virus strains." After talking about what they planned to do, they ended the study by telling us that this plan will be, "setting the stage for a universal influenza virus vaccine." A simple Google search reveals hundreds of similar articles touting the nearness of the universal vaccine. Allow me to show you why this "Holy Grail" of vaccines is not something you need to be getting overly excited about.
Before I show you why the Universal Flu Vaccine (UFV) is not quite everything you've been led to believe it is, I want you to realize that the concept is nothing new. In fact, if you head on over to our government's massive research database at PubMed, you'll find a whopping 760 studies when you search "Universal Flu Vaccine". I'm only going to go back 12 years, but get a load of some of these headlines.
- 2006: The August 2006 issue of Popular Science was talking about the UFV in an article called Kryptonite for Flu: A Single-Shot Universal Vaccine Against Any Strain of Flu (they quoted research from Philadelphia's WISTAR INSTITUTE).
- 2007: Remember CIDRAP? In July of 2007 they published an article called Acambis Launches Human Trial of 'Universal' Flu Vaccine, saying "Known as ACAM-FLU-A, the vaccine is designed to target all influenza A virus strains, Acambis said in a Jul 17 press release. If successful, the product will mark a major step toward a universal flu vaccine—one that would protect against all strains of both influenza A and B. The majority of laboratory-confirmed flu cases each year in the United States are type. The trial will also assess the effectiveness of two adjuvants (immune-boosting chemicals): aluminum hydroxide, widely used in licensed vaccines....." Don't you just love PRESS RELEASES?
- 2008: Almost a decade ago, a January issue of Science Daily (Universal Influenza Vaccine Tested Successfully In Humans) gave its readers some wonderful news (sigh). "Scientists report the successful conclusion of Phase I trials of the universal flu vaccine in humans. The universal influenza vaccine is intended to provide protection against all 'A' strains of the virus that causes human influenza, including pandemic strains. The vaccine was tested at multiple centers in the US and involved 79 healthy volunteers. The trial results demonstrate that [the vaccine] is well tolerated and immunogenic, and no significant side-effects were observed." I wonder what happened to this research? Was it one of the half of all medical studies that ends up in the bin marked INVISIBLE & ABANDONED?
- 2009: In June of 09, Nancy Schute, writing for USA Today, published an article called Wayne Marasco: A Shot at a Universal Flu Vaccine, which stated, "The man with the unorthodox history recently made a striking discovery: a human antibody that attacks a newfound vulnerability in flu viruses. His finding could be the key to a single, perennial vaccine against all forms of influenza, including swine flu." A few short months later, CBS News carried a story called Universal Flu Vaccine May be Available in 5 Years. "British researchers are reporting their discovery may bring us one step closer to one flu shot that protects against every new strain of the disease." What's interesting is that this article talked about flu being related to a 15 times higher chance of people having a heart attack. Funny they didn't mention the study from the Journal of Internal Medicine (Inflammation-Related Effects of Adjuvant Influenza A Vaccination on Platelet Activation and Cardiac Autonomic Function) which concluded "Together with an inflammatory reaction, influenza A vaccine induced platelet activation and sympathovagal imbalance towards adrenergic predominance. Significant correlations were found between CRP levels and HRV parameters, suggesting a pathophysiological link between inflammation and cardiac autonomic regulation. The vaccine-related platelet activation and cardiac autonomic dysfunction may transiently increase the risk of cardiovascular events." HRV determines VAGUS NERVE -vs- SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, as driven by the flu vaccine.
- 2010: As things continued to heat up concerning the UFV, CIDRAP published yet another article revealing that pharmacies were getting ready to cash in (Pharmacy Chains Poised for Universal Flu Vaccination Push). Cha ching! Then in September, another press release stated that "Dynavax Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: DVAX) announced that it has begun to immunize subjects in a Phase 1b clinical trial of its Universal Flu Vaccine."
- 2011: In January of 2011, the website Fast Company (Universal Flu Vaccine Could Fight Pandemics For Up To Twenty Years) reported that, "A universal flu vaccine – a vaccine that could last decades and offer protection against many different flu virus strains–is being developed. Human trials have started for the universal flu vaccine, which might be available within the next ten years."
- 2012: Idea dot org (Discovery May Hold Key for Universal Flu Vaccine) stated that, "We might not have a cure for the common cold, but scientists have discovered a potentially powerful new treatment for much more dangerous flu viruses. Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands say they have discovered a human antibody that protects against essentially all influenza A and B strains. In other words, this finding may portend a universal treatment for nearly all strains of the flu. The Holy Grail of influenza research is to find a mechanism to protect people against essentially all the numerous different strains of influenza viruses. This research is a heartening step forward." That same year, the Philadelphia Business Journal (Inovio Gets Patent for SynCon Universal Flu Vaccine) let readers know that "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent this week covering Inovio’s SynCon universal vaccine."
- 2013: In May of 2013, Disease Daily (Approaching A Universal Flu Vaccine?) asked a rhetorical question and then turned around and answered it (after giving a wide range of excuses why the flu vaccine rarely worked as touted). "What if we had a vaccine that protected us against all different strains of flu? What if this vaccine protected us for more than one flu season? Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health) are helping us get there." By December the Stanford University News (Stanford Researchers Take a Step Toward Developing a 'Universal' Flu Vaccine) was wanting everyone to know the good news. "Stanford researchers report promising steps toward the creation of a universal flu vaccine, one that could be produced more quickly and offer broader protection than the virus-specific inoculants available today."
- 2014: Quinn Eastman, writing for the Emory University News Center (Key to Universal Flu Vaccine: Embrace the Unfamiliar) wrote, "Vaccine researchers have developed a strategy aimed at generating broadly cross-reactive antibodies against the influenza virus: embrace the unfamiliar. In recent years, researchers interested in a universal flu vaccine identified a region of the viral hemagglutinin protein called the stem or stalk, which doesn't mutate and change as much as other regions and could be the basis for a vaccine that is protective against a variety of flu strains. In an Emory Vaccine Center study, human volunteers immunized against the avian flu virus H5N1 readily developed antibodies against the stem region of the viral hemagglutinin protein. In contrast, those immunized with standard seasonal trivalent vaccines did not, instead developing most of their antibodies against the more variable head region." Are you seeing a pattern? Hype and failure --- repeat indefinitely.
- 2015: The journal of the American Society for Microbiology published a study asking and then answering the same question. Is It Possible? A Different Approach to Creating a Universal Influenza Vaccine. "Arguably, the best means to prevent influenza infection is through vaccination, and each year, approximately 40 to 50% of adults in the United States are vaccinated against seasonal influenza viruses. Unfortunately, due to the evolution of the major outer viral surface protein hemagglutinin (HA) through antigenic drift, the annual vaccine components must be frequently updated in order to provide protection against emerging viral strains. Further, these vaccines are unlikely to protect against antigenically divergent strains. This is an exciting study that furthers our quest for a universal influenza vaccine. Clinical studies demonstrated that influenza VLP vaccines are safe and effective in adults." Later that summer CIDRAP told us via an article title that, Recent 'Universal' Flu Vaccine Proposals Fell Short. "The quest for a broadly protective or "universal" influenza vaccine suffered a setback recently when the US Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) determined that industry plans submitted in response to a formal request for proposals (RFP) fell short of the government's requirements. We had a number of proposals and unfortunately none of those met our minimum mandatory requirements."
- 2016: In a GLAXOSMITHKLINE PROPAGANDA PIECE written for Canada's The Globe and Mail (Lasting Effects), author Carly Weeks let everyone know that "Unlike vaccines for other illnesses, the influenza shot has to be remade from scratch every year because the viruses in circulation mutate each flu season. But a recent breakthrough by Canadian researchers marks an exciting step some experts say brings us closer to making a universal flu vaccine a reality."
- Early 2017: the journal Scientific Reports revealed that a research team from University of Nebraska had developed a UFV that "appears to provide broad protection against the flu." Lead researcher Eric The ultimate goal is to be able to vaccinate once and provide lifelong protection. Our current influenza vaccine programs and technologies reduce influenza infections and hospitalizations by 4.75 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. There is no doubt that there is a need for more effective vaccine technologies." Not a very good rate, and as research has repeatedly and universally shown, these stats are almost certainly overblown / exaggerated, with actual benefits of the flu vaccine being far less than estimated.
- Later in 2017: Just days before Halloween, Vanderbilt University's Research News tooted their own horn with an article called Vanderbilt Leads International Effort to Develop Universal Flu Vaccine. The author, Bill Snyder (not to be confused with the legendary Kansas State University football coach), said "Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are leading an international effort to develop a universal influenza vaccine that would protect everyone against all strains of the flu anywhere in the world. Coupled with artificial intelligence driven computer simulation models, they will seek to determine why some people are protected against the flu while others are not." It's interesting that this is the very same question that DR. B.J. PALMER was answering over a century ago (HERE). Interestingly, on October 3, England's Oxford University stated via the title of their article that this was, World-First Trial for Universal Flu Vaccine. Really? If they went back and re-read the 2007 bullet they would realize that although it sounds impressive, they were at least a decade too late with this claim.
- Even later in 2017: There have been a rash of articles and news releases in the last week and a half. The headlines read almost exactly like those of a decade ago. Unbridled optimism (or should I say unbridled propaganda), with little to show. The researchers are all touting the same thing --- dramatically increased levels of antibodies. But as Drs. Biondi and Algine showed you earlier, antibody titers and surrogate endpoints don't matter, improvements in both morbidity and mortality are all that matters.
Besides the "genetic drift" talked about earlier, a chief reason the flu shot is so ineffective is that it only contains three strains of virus. Doctors try and guess months ahead of time what these may be, and rarely get it right. So, why don't they just make a concoction with the thousands of potential flu viruses? It would ramp up the immune system far too much, and at the least, would require a series of annual injections. And this doesn't account for the constant genetic change, similar to what's seen with the common cold (of which has been said a vaccine is impossible).
Do you remember Helen Branswell, whose quote early in this post kind of started things off? Although she sounded super optimistic, here is what she wrote for the Toronto Star back in August of 2013 (as you read this make sure to recall the 2012 study showing that flu-vaccinated individuals had 5.5X more respiratory infections than the uninoculated public).
"A new study sounds a cautionary note for work that is being done to try to develop vaccines to protect against all subtypes of influenza. The research describes a phenomenon in which vaccination against one strain of flu actually seems to raise the risk of severe infection following exposure to a related but different strain, an effect called vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The study was published by the journal Science Translational Medicine... the finding is reminiscent of something that was observed in people in Canada during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic."
What happened back in 2009 in Canada? It was an ugly enough situation to garner its own Wikipedia entry (2009 Flu Pandemic in Canada). Researchers determined that something called "Fusion Enhancing" occurred --- the phenomenon of people being more likely to get sick from the viruses that are similar to those in the vaccine. Think about it; three strains of virus in the vaccine, thousands of strains not in the vaccine. A poker player would fold and wait for the next hand. If you want to actually see how the government attempted to explain this away, take a look at CIDRAP's paper titled New Canadian Studies Suggest Seasonal Flu Shot Increased H1N1 Risk.
Dr. Philip Alcabes is a public health official (masters in biochemistry from Berkley, MPH from Columbia, doctorate in infectious-disease epidemiology from Johns Hopkins) who also happens to be a Professor of Community Health at Hunter College of NY. In a 2013 article on his site (Against Universal Flu Immunization), the good doctor revealed why all of this is going on. It's nothing new, as I've shown you many times previously that when it comes to BIG PHARMA, safety and effectiveness are secondary --- it's all about the money. Think about it this way; the person or team that comes up with a viable UFV will become the next PAUL OFFIT --- times 1,000.
"I commented in 2011 on public officials striving to help pharmaceutical companies profit from flu fears. And that’s what we’re seeing again this season — with exaggerated warnings and declarations of flu emergencies. Even though the latest national summary from CDC shows that less than 30% of all influenza-like illness is actually caused by flu this season — and that’s likely an overestimate, since it’s based on testing of more severe cases of acute respiratory illness. And the surveillance data suggest that the season’s flu outbreak might already be past its peak. Get immunized against flu if you’re worried. But keep in mind that vaccination against flu is not going to help the public’s health, and it isn’t highly likely to help yours — it’s primarily your contribution to the profits of Sanofi-Pasteur, Novartis, Glaxosmithkline, or Merck."
HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT?
If the organization that Congress created (the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) deems you or your child was injured (or killed) as the direct result of a vaccine, you may be eligible to receive up to $250,000. Sounds like a lot, but if you've got a seriously damaged child, it will be gone in a year, maybe two. Take it or leave it, because your ability to sue has been removed. However, they rarely find the vaccine manufacturers guilty, as this would open up a can of worms for industry that would make Pandora's Box look like Sesame Street. Rather than me going through the whole sordid affair, take a look at this very cool (and short) "Whiteboard Video".
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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