Gut Revolution

Gut Revolution

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2017)

Film Review

This is a three-part Australian documentary about state-of-the-art treatment for various manifestations of gut dysbiosis.* Thanks to genetic sequencing, gut scientists can now identify approximate numbers of bacterial species in patients’ large intestines. In many cases, scientists have also identified the relative helpful/harmful effect of specific species.

For example, in high numbers some bacteria are linked to metabolic syndrome;** some produce sulfuric acid, a cause of irritable bowel symptoms (eg diarrhea, gas, bloating), and some are linked to inflammatory changes leading to depression and impaired cognitive function.

In this series, a dietician works with three patients with very different manifestations of gut dysbiosis: the first suffers from chronic diarrhea, the second from obesity and metabolic syndrome, and the third from severe anxiety, coupled with disabling abdominal paid.

The first patient rebalances her gut bacteria (and eliminates her diarrhea) by starting a low FODMAP diet,*** effective in 70% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

The second patient rebalances his gut bacteria by eliminating all processed foods;**** increasing his intake of fruits, vegetables, and high fiber complex carbohydrates; and engaging in a modified fast two days a week. After six weeks he’s lost six kilos, as well as noticing substantial improvement in his mood and energy levels.

The third patient rebalances her gut bacteria with a Mediterranean-style diet. The latter has reduced major depression symptoms in several double blind studies. Due to severe anxiety levels, patient 3 has a long history of severe dietary restriction and also uses yoga and hypnotherapy to make it easier to try new foods.

Link to Part 1: https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/gut-revolution-a-catalyst-special—part-1/11017218

Link to Part 2: https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/gut-revolution-a-catalyst-special—part-2/11017246

Parts 1-3 can be viewed free on Kanopy. Type “Kanopy” and the name of you public library into your search engine.


*Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance  of bacterial populations in the large intestine. According to a growing number of scientists, your gut microbiome (ie community of bacteria in your gut is just as important as genes and lifestyle in achieving and maintaining good health.

**Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.

***A low FODMAP (Fermentible Oligo-,Di-. Mono-Saccharides and Polyols) diet eliminates short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. High FODMAP foods should only be eliminated for six to eight weeks because most are really important for long term gut health.

****The dietary emusifiers and artificial flavors and colors in processed foods are really damaging to the microbiome.

 

 

Wealth and Health: Why Black, Brown, and Poor People Are Dying of COVID19

In Sickness and in Wealth

Directed by Llewellyn M Smith (2008)

Film Review

It’s no mystery and doesn’t need yet more study. Epidemiologists have known since the late seventies that health and life expectancy directly correlate with income level, irrespective of genetics, lifestyle (smoking, exercise, diet, etc), or access to medical care. This documentary is a about a 2008 study that examined four Louisville districts with varying average income levels.

Residents in the wealthiest district earned incomes averaging $100,000+. Nearly all had college degrees and owned their own homes. Their average life expectancy was 80 years.

In the second most prosperous district, most residents had high school diplomas. Although a minority owned their homes, they considered themselves solidly middle class. They had an average life expectancy of 76 years.

In the third wealthiest district, fewer were high school graduates. Many had difficulty maintaining stable employment and lived in subsidized housing. Lacking in chain supermarkets or other access to fresh produce, the district is characterized as a food desert. The average life expectancy here was 74 years. In the poorest district, unemployment was double the national average, and many residents suffered from chronic illness and received disability benefits. Most had failed to complete high school. Thirty percent lived below the national poverty level. Their average life expectancy was 70 years.

The study reinforced prior research* indicating that neither genetics, lifestyle, nor access to medical care has as much influence on health outcomes as income and social status.

Scientists believe low social status leads to poorer immune function and adverse health effects due to the total lack of control poor people have over their lives. This absence of control tends to result in high chronic stress levels that contribute directly to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and impaired immunity.

Overall African Americans had worse health outcomes than white residents regardless of income or social status. Scientists believe this relates to the chronic stress they experience related to racial slights and abuse in their interactions with white people.

More recent research indicates that growing inequality (ie tax and public spending policies that grants billionaires a larger and larger share of the wealth working people create) since the 2008 economic crash is worsening health discrepancies based on wealth and racial differences. The solution is no mystery, either. We will never end inequality so long as we allow private banks to create and control our money system. Contrary to popular belief, private banks presently create 97% of our money (out of thin air) when they issue loans.**


*The film mentions 1967-1977 The Whitehall Study https://unhealthywork.org/classic-studies/the-whitehall-study/

**See The Battle for Public Control of Money

The full film can be viewed free at Kanopy by anyone with a public library card. Type Kanopy and the name of your library into your search engine.

 

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic (Official US Government Version)

We Heard the Bells: The Influenza of 1918

US Department of Health and Human Services (2010)

Film Review

I began watching this film believing it was a historical account of the 1918 influenza epidemic. It’s not. It’s actually a 10-year old US government propaganda film promoting flu vaccination. It’s currently being recycled in honor of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly ratcheted up the media hype over annual flu vaccination, which had never made much sense to me. Even the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledge the 2020 flu vaccine is only 45% effective (only 45% of people who receive it will be protected against influenza).

Ironically they call 2020 a good year – most years flu vaccine is even less effective

In people over 65 (the under most pressure to be vaccinated), the 2018-19 vaccine was only 16% effective.

In my view the vaccine’s low effectiveness needs to be weighed against potential side effects, which a growing body of research suggests can be considerable.

Recent studies suggest that flu vaccination can increase the risk of other viral (including coronavirus infections) in some patients.

Also that repeated flu vaccination can reduce the body’s ability to fight off influenza. See  NIH study, Canadian study, and Vaccine Failures (summary).

On a positive note, the first half of the film contains some great archival footage of survivors of the 1918 pandemic. I found it interesting that most 1918 victims died of pneumonia caused by secondary bacterial infections (rather than viral pneumonia caused by influenza virus). Doctors reported a typical pattern in which patients appeared to totally recover after 5-7 days, when weakened defenses caused them to succumb to new bacterial or fungal infections.

A number of clinicians are reporting a similar pattern with COVID-19, with patients appearing to recover, and then suddenly worsening and dying. Prior to the development of antibiotics during World War II, there was no way to treat these secondary infections. However at present most are treatable with antibiotics and anti-fungal agents. A recent Lancet paper summarizing 99 cases of COVID-19 treated in Wuhan China in December 2019 indicates all patients were tested and treated for bacterial and fungal secondary infections.

Given the 24/7 coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, I find it a little disappointing the mainstream media offers so little information regarding treatment.

The 1918 influenza pandemic reportedly killed 50 million people globally and 675,000 in the US. In contrast to COVID-19, in 1918 the vast majority of deaths were in young adults.

 

The Politics of Asbestos: Banned in EU, But Not China, Russia, Brazil or US

Deadly Asbestos

DW (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is about the international asbestos industry and its aggressive penetration of developing countries following the EU’s decision to ban it in 1998. The first study linking asbestos to lung cancer and mesothelioma was published in 1964. Asbestos also causes a chronic (eventually fatal) lung condition known as asbestosis. Sadly, as with smoking and lead poisoning, it took decades of sustained organizing to get western governments to acknowledge the fatal health consequences of asbestos exposure. The US enacted a “partial ban” on asbestos in 1989.*

Because mesothelioma can result from a brief single exposure to asbestos fibers, EPA rules regarding asbestos removal from old buildings are far more stringent. In fact, an entire industry has evolved around asbestos removal.**

The filmmakers focus primarily on the Belgian asbestos manufacturer Etex-Eternit (aka Everest) and its expansion into India in the 1990s. India has been a primary industry target of the industry, owing to its lax regulation of asbestos manufacture, use and disposal.

Asbestos sheets are sold widely in India for use as walls and roofs in makeshift shacks. Over 100,000 Indians develop asbestosis annually.

India has more than 50 asbestos manufacturing plants. Filmmakers visit an asbestos factory Everest built in 1995 and sold to an Indian family in 2002. In addition to filming a 600,000 square meter asbestos waste dump, they also visit a makeshift clinic treating thousands of local residents for asbestos-related problems. They also talk with Indian lawyers and activists who are bringing a lawsuit against Everest in Belgium.

The film concludes by looking at World Health Organization efforts to institute a global ban on asbestos. Brazil, China, and Russia, which still mine asbestos, continue to vociferously block the ban.

Last year, the Trump EPA approved new rules that soften regulations against asbestos use in the US.  In response, one Russian asbestos manufacturer now proudly displays features Trump’s image on all their products.


* History of EPA asbestos regulation

  • 1989 Partial Ban on the manufacture, import, processing, and distribution of some asbestos-containing products. EPA also banned new uses of asbestos which prevent new asbestos products from entering the marketplace after August 25, 1989. These uses remain banned. The April 2019 final rule does not provide a way for these uses to return to the marketplace.
  • April 2019 Final Rule to ensure that asbestos products that are no longer on the market cannot return to commerce without the Agency evaluating them and putting in place any necessary restrictions or prohibiting use. The uses covered under this rule were not already prohibited under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and could have returned to the market at any time.
  • Risk evaluation of asbestos under TSCA. EPA is reviewing a handful of very limited, still ongoing uses of asbestos. The evaluation of the risks associated with ongoing uses of asbestos is required under TSCA section 6. If EPA finds unreasonable risk, the Agency will take prompt action to address those risks.

** See https://www.epa.gov/asbestos

 

 

 

Treating Depression with LSD Microdosing

LSD: Microdosing LSD in the Name of Self-Improvement

DW (2019)

Film Review

As it’s title suggests, this documentary concerns LSD “microdosing,” a fad originating with Silicon Valley tech executives. They discovered that tiny doses (10-15 micgrograms) of LSD greatly improved their mood, energy, focus and creativity. Microdosing has since taken off in Germany and other parts of Europe.

The film begins with testimonials from anonymous German microdosers who believe that LSD has totally turned their life around. One man whose depression failed to respond to any other treatment (including antidepressants, psychotherapy and alternative medicine) finally obtained relief after a brief period of microdosing.

Filmmakers also interview Paul Austin, a Silicon Valley microdosing coach, and James Fadiman, leading expert on LSD and psilocybin microdosing and author of the 2011 Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide.

Researchers in Germany and Switzerland are conducting double blind studies of LSD microdosing. At doses between 10-15 mg, their subjects experience a clear improvement in concentration, mood and anxiety in contrast to placebo control groups. Moreover, unlike antidepressant trials, there are no apparent adverse effects.

The film also looks at promising double blind research of the psychedelic psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) in treating depression. Unlike LSD, “shrooms” are legal in the Netherlands and have been decriminalized in a number of US cities. Portugal legalized all mind-altering drugs in 2001 (see British Medical Journal Calls for Legalization of All Drugs)

Other research has shown psilocybin and other psychedelics to be helpful in treating PTSD and alcoholism. See Why Are We Sending Vets to Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico

 

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

The Crisis of Science

James Corbett (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is loosely based on the 2005 paper by John Ioannidis (Why Most Published Research Findings Are False). According to Ioannidis, modern research faces four major crises: the crisis of fraud, the crisis of replication, the crisis of peer review and the crisis of publication.

The Crisis of Fraud: the number of scientists basing their findings on fraudulent data and/or methodology is clearly on the increase. This stems partly from the sad reality that corporations, which presently fund most research, tend to pay their researchers to produce favorable outcomes. However the pressure universities place on researchers to continuously publish also plays a significant role. The film features a 2008 clip of Robert F Kennedy Jr exposing emails he uncovered regarding a conspiracy between the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and vaccine manufacturers to conceal a proven link between thimerosal (a mercury-based vaccine preservative) and autism and other neurodevelopmental disoders.

The Crisis of Replication: this relates both to outright fraud and a peer review process that places more weight on statistical significance than on sample size and reproducibility. Statisticians are well aware that measuring a large number of variables in a small group inevitably produces at least one “statistically significant” correlation. In the research community, this is known as “p-hacking”* or “data dredging.”

The Crisis of Peer Review: research has become so super specialized that only a handful of scientists are qualified to perform peer review in any given field. This allows them to act as gatekeepers. Not only are they more inclined to approve work by scientists they know or work with, but they’re also less inclined to check closely for data fraud and statistical manipulation in a friend’s work.

The Crisis of Publication: the pressure to publish (three times a year at some universities) creates a robust market for scientists who produce dodgy research.


*P-value or probability value is one important measure of statistical significance.

 

 

 

 

 

Buyer Beware: Faulty Medical Devices Can Be Fatal

Out of Control: The Dangerous Health Business

DW (2019)

Film Review

In this documentary, DW investigates the EU’s medical device industry. The filmmakers maintain that medical complications caused by defective devices have increased by 300% in the EU and 1500% in the US, where regulation is even more lax.

The principal devices DW looks at are pacemakers, replacement hips, breast implants, insulin pumps, transvaginal mesh stabilizers and plastic spinal disk replacements. Reported complications include the failure of pacemakers to prevent fatal arrythmias, insulin pumps that accidentally overdose patients on insulin, and breast and orthopedic implants that rupture, leading to cancer, severe chronic pain and other serious complications.

The EU fails to rigorously enforce companies’ reporting requirements when patients and doctors discover defects in their products. Worse still, the EU allows some companies to bring medical devices to market without any clinical trials at all.

A German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has recently introduced a bill that would create a government certification program for all new medical devices. At present the EU allows manufacturers to hire private certifying companies to approve the safety of their products.

Monsanto Papers

The Monsanto Papers: The Secret Tactics Monsanto Used to Protect Roundup – Its Star Product

Four Corners (ABC) 2018

Film Review

This is an Australian documentary about a long history of deceptive tactics by Monsanto to conceal the link between the herbicide Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma – known in Australian medical circles as farmer’s lymphoma.

The film centers around Dwayne Johnson’s $289 million award in a California lawsuit against Monsanto. Johnson was a groundskeeper who developed aggressive (and fatal) non-Hodgkins lymphoma after two years of routine spraying with Roundup. Legal analysts believe his victory stemmed mainly from secret documents the court ordered Monsanto to release. They reveal that Monsanto knew that Roundup was potentially carcinogenic and did everything possible to cover it up.

In her book Whitewash, investigative journalist Carey Gillam documents two instances in the 80’s and 90’s in which labs Monsanto used were caught falsifying data about Roundup’s alleged safety. When the EPA followed up with studies showing Roundup to be “possibly” carcinogenic, Monsanto lobbyists forced them to Alter their findings to “not likely” carcinogenic.

Then in 2003, Monsanto’s own chief toxicologist sent an email to his superiors maintaining the company couldn’t rightly assert that Roundup was non-carcinogenic because they had failed to undertake the appropriate studies. At the same time Monsanto lobbyists effectively blocked EPA efforts to conduct an independent review of Roundup’s potential link to cancer.

The saddest part of the film is the various Australian and US farmers interviewed who believe all the PR hype Monsanto (now Bayer-Monsanto) has been spouting and continue to risk their own lives and those of their families and consumers who eat the crops they produce. Bayer-Monsanto’s slick PR team (featured in the film) have totally convinced them the lawsuit they lost in California was merely a fluke, thanks to the state’s “treehugging” juries.

At present Bayer-Monsanto faces more than 9,000 lawsuits for cancer and other serious health problems related to Roundup.

 

 

 

Vaccines: What Medical Research Really Shows

In the following two videos, board certified nephrologist and vaccine researcher Dr Suzanne Humphries summarizes the peer reviewed evidence on infant immunity and the impact of vaccines on this process.

In the first, she explains the concept of epigenetics and exposures during pregnancy that have a lifelong impact on an offpsring’s health. In the second, she discusses the more specific effect of vaccination and aluminum adjuvant exposure during pregnancy and infancy.

Humphries begins her first lecture by challenging Western medicine’s overemphasis on the genetic basic of chronic illnesses. Recent research suggests that an individual’s genes are only 10 percent responsible for their overall health. Epigenetics – the environmental influences that impact gene expression (ie translation of genes into proteins) – plays a far bigger role.

Her particular concern is pro-inflammatory processes in the fetus and infant that produce epigenetic interference with the development of the immune system. Specific examples include poor nutrition, dysbiosis (disordered gut bacteria), alcohol, smoking, mood disorders, stress, antibiotics, antacids, pain killers, vaccinations and formula feeding.

There is strong evidence that the current epidemic of autism stems from epigenetic influences rather than genetic factors. Genetically based illnesses follow a statistically stable pattern. When there is a skyrocketing incidence of a disease (such as autism), the cause is environmental rather than genetic.

She ends her first lecture with a discussion of all the pro-inflammatory animal DNA and RNA introduced into the fetal/infant blood stream from vaccines given during pregnancy, and the 36 vaccines children receive prior to age 5.*

In the second film, Humphries explains how vaccines work, how the aluminum adjuvant in all vacines “overexcites” the immune system to elicit an immune response to the vaccine’s disease-causing agent.

Adverse vaccine reactions usually relate to an over-excited pro-inflmmatory response that can’t be shut off. This can result in chronically high levels of cytokines** in the fetus or infant that can permanently impair gene expression, immunity and grain development.**

The long term effect of repeated overstimulation of an infant’s immune system (via vaccines) has never been systematically studied.

There has also been no study of the long term effect on infant development of vaccinating pregnant women.***

However animal studies show the developing immune system is far more sensitive to developing a cascading inflammatory reaction that doesn’t shut off.


*Includes tumorigenic cocker spaniel cells (flu vaccine), monkey, chick and cow cells, and pig stomach cells.

**High levels of circulating cytokines are extremely common in autistic disorder.

***Humphries questions all the pressure on pregnant women and infants to accept the flue vaccine when CDC monitoring data reveals overall effectiveness as low as 25% in some years. Also several studies show repeated flu jabs make patients more susceptible to other respiratory viruses.

 

Is Your Arthritis Related to Water Fluoridation?

A Case of Skeletal Fluorosis?   

How many of us are at risk? How much arthritis in New Zealand is really skeletal fluorosis? Dr Mike Godfrey from Tauranga has had this case study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Doctors all over the country should be measuring the fluoride levels of all their arthritic patients.

Case Study Published in NZ Medical Journal 4th May 2018
Dr Michael Godfrey, Tauranga

79-year-old lady presented with a history of diffuse sero-negative arthritis dating from early adulthood. Numerous investigations and therapies had failed to provide any significant benefit and both knees and a hip had been replaced when initially seen a year ago. On questioning at that time, she admitted to daily drinking at least six cups of black tea since childhood. She lives in a retirement village where there has not been water fluoridation since 1994. However, her fasting fluoride results (Med-lab) were elevated:

  • Serum fluoride 2.5µmol/L (Ref. range 0–3-2.2)
  • Urine fluoride 58µmol (Ref. range 0–31)
  • Fluoride: creatinine ratio 13.5µmol (Ref. range 0–3.1)

She used a standard fluoridated toothpaste but was otherwise not on any fluoridated medications. However, given the fact that her preferred tea exceeded 3mg fluoride/L(1) it is possible that she has been unwittingly overdosing for many years. Skeletal fluorosis from tea has been identified (2). Furthermore, excessive use of fluoridated toothpaste caused severe arthritis initially diagnosed as ankylosing spondylitis with full recovery after stopping exposure(3). A year after stopping black tea drinking and changing to a herbal non-fluoridated tooth-paste, this elderly woman’s joint pain levels had markedly decreased with considerably improved mobility enabling her to have a long-awaited trip overseas.

Discussion
Fluoride exposures are pervasive. Traditionally, this country has been a major tea consumer and the consequences of fluoride in tea have recently been extensively covered with one cup of the most widely consumed tea brands supplying over 1mg of fluoride per teabag even without any added water fluoridation(1). Absorption of fluoride from toothpaste at 1,000ppm are considerable and equivalent to, or more than from a cup of tea.(1,4) Fluoride is present in beverages, and in over 200 pharmaceuticals with some being given on a long-term daily basis, e.g. atorvastatin, fluvastatin, fluticasone, celecoxib and fluoxetine.

Long-term accumulative exposures to fluoride even at low levels carries a risk of sub-clinical or stage-1 musculo-skeletal fluorosis presenting as joint pain or arthritis.(5) Notably, arthritis is a leading cause of disability with 647,000 now affected in this country and annual costs exceeding $3 billion.(6) Chronic pain was also reported in a New Zealand community study with the most common pain locations being lower back (59%), pelvis/abdomen (49%), joints (39%), neck (34%), muscle (31%) and headache (31%).(7) It would thus be logical to include possible fluorosis in the differential diagnosis of these patients with at least urine fluoride assessments. Notably, this woman’s serum fluoride level was considerably higher than that of women in her age group living in a low fluoride area, with a mean serum level of 0.56µmol/l and 0.948µmol/l being the highest recorded with impaired renal function.(8)

Prescriptions for arthritis are among the highest on Pharmac lists with similar health problems being recorded in the Republic of Ireland, the heaviest tea-drinking nation and with long-term nationwide fluoridation. Notably, excessive tea consumption can cause skeletal fluorosis(2) as can toothpaste.(3) The accumulating evidence could suggest that the population is potentially being over-dosed with fluoride and certainly exposed to far more than the initial well-intentioned dental hypothesis of 1mg/day for caries prevention proposed in the US 70 years ago.

The findings in this case would indicate that further primary health investigations are warranted and for those interested, Dr Susheela, a leading fluoride researcher, gives a useful diagnostic protocol.(9) Notably, the evidence presented here is but a fraction of the available peer-reviewed literature, demonstrating the potential for harm from this element as reviewed by Peckham and Awofeso.(10)

URL
https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2018/vol-131-no- 1474-4-may-2018/7561

REFERENCES:
1. Waugh DT, Godfrey M, Limeback H, Potter W. Black Tea Source, Production, and Consumption: Assessment of Health Risks of Fluoride Intake in New Zealand. J Environ Public Health (2017) 5120504. doi: 10.1155/2017/5120504. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pubmed/28713433
2. Kakumanu N, Sudhaker D, Rao SD. Skeletal Fluorosis Due to Excessive Tea Drinking. N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1140 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm1200995.
3. Kurland ES, Schulman RC, Zerwekhm JE, Reinus WR, et al. Recovery from skeletal fluorosis (an enigmatic, American case). J Bone Miner Res. 2007 Jan; 22(1):163–70.
4. Ekstrand J, Koch G, Petersson LG. Plasma fluoride concentrations in pre-school children after ingestion of fluoride tablets and toothpaste. Caries Research. 1983; 17(4):379– 384. doi: 10.1159/0002606 91. [PubMed] [Cross Ref
5. Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards Chapter 5 Musculoskeletal Effects. ISBN 978-0-309-10128-8 | DOI 10.17226/11571
6. http://www.arthritis.org.nz (accessed January 2018).
7. Swain N, Johnson M. Chronic pain in New Zealand: a community sample. The New Zealand Medical Journal. 2014; 127(1388):21–30. [PubMed]
8. Itai K, Onoda T, Nohara M, Ohsawa M, et al. Serum ionic fluoride concentrations are related to renal function and menopause status but not to age in a Japanese general population. Clinica Chimica Acta 411 2010; 263–266.
9. Susheela AK. Fluorosis and Associated Health Issues Indian Journal of Practical Pediatrics 2015; 17(2):138. 10. Peckham S, Awafeso N. Water fluoridation: A critical review of the phys- iological effects of ingested fluoride as a public health intervention. The Scien- tific World Journal (2014) Volume 2014, Article ID 293019, 10 pp. http://dx.doi. org/10.1155/2014/293019

Source: Is Your Arthritis Really Skeletal Fluorosis?