Today I learned that not everyone has an internal monologue and it has ruined my day

brain graphic illustration

My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time.

internal narrative tweet

Literally the first person I asked was a classmate of mine who said that she can not “hear” her voice in her mind. I asked her if she could have a conversation with herself in her head and she looked at me funny like I was the weird one in this situation. So I began to become more intrigued. Most people I asked said that they have this internal monologue that is running rampant throughout the day. However, every once in a while, someone would say that they don’t experience this.

monologue text

My life began to slowly spiral out of control with millions of questions. How do they get through the day? How do they read? How do they make decisions between choice A and choice B? My friend described it as “concept maps” that she sees in her brain. Another friend says that she literally sees the words in her head if she is trying to think about something. I was taking ibuprofen at this point in the day because my brain was literally unable to comprehend this revelation. How have I made it 25 years in life without realizing that people don’t think like me?

I posted a poll on instagram to get a more accurate assessment of the situation. Currently 91 people have responded that they have an internal monologue and 18 people reported that they do not have this. I began asking those people questions

monologue text

about the things that they experience and it is quite different from the majority.

I would tell them that I could look at myself in the mirror and have a full blown telepathic conversation with myself without opening my mouth and they responded as if I had schizophrenia. One person even mentioned that when they do voice overs in movies of people’s thoughts, they “wished that it was real.”

And to their surprise, they did not know that the majority of people do in fact experience that echoey voice in their head that is portrayed in TV and film. Another person said that if they tried to have a conversation with themselves in the mirror, they would have to speak out loud because they can’t physically do it inside of their mind.

I started posting screenshots of these conversations on my instagram and my inbox started to flood with people responding to my

monologue text

“investigation.” Many people were reassuring me that I was not crazy for having an internal monologue, while others were as absolutely mind blown as I was. People were telling me that I ruined their day and that they now do not understand anything about life. Maybe you are all just a figment of my imagination, but regardless, yesterday made reality seem even more skewed.

monologue text

How do they think? How does this affect their relationships, jobs, experiences, education? How has this not been mentioned to me before? All of these questions started flooding my mind. Can those people without the internal monologue even formulate these questions in their mind? If they can, how does it happen if they don’t “hear” their voice? I mentioned earlier that I was spiraling out of control. Well, as I write this and as I hear my own voice in my head, I am continuing to fall down the rabbit hole.

Whether people just have different definitions of their thoughts, or if people literally don’t have an internal monologue, there is one thing that we do know… you will definitely get a headache if you keep thinking about this. Just trying to wrap my head around it is causing irreversible brain damage. I suggest asking people around you what they experience. If you are one of the few that do not have this internal monologue, please enlighten me, because I still do not understand life anymore. Send help.

Here it is: SIDS listed as a side effect on a DTaP vaccine insert

DTaP vaccine insert SIDS

SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome] is the term given to all of the babies who die of an unexplainable death before they turn one year old.

SIDS and the DTaP Vaccine

“70% of children who have died of SIDS received the pertussis vaccine within 3 weeks before death.” Within this 3 week time period after receiving the vaccine, children’s breathing patterns became stress-induced, wreaking havoc on their respiratory systems (Pages 120 and 121 of Vaccine Safety Manual For Concerned Families and Health Practitioners). This stress-induced breathing, combined with a baby sleeping face down would seem to make it even more troublesome for him/her to breathe freely. This is the very same vaccine that lists SIDS as a possible side effect. Something to think about (at the very least).

Please note, the CDC is changing their inserts over the last year, leaving out important side effects even though they are very much still side effects.

Any infant death that is ‘unexplainable’ gets lumped into the term SIDS. I believe much of it has to do with a toxic overload. Here’s some more information on that: Protecting Your Baby From SIDS

Statement from the World Health Organization on Vaccines

Just two days ago (January 18, 2020), after meeting to discuss vaccines at the Global Vaccine Safety Summit, the World Health Organization came out with a statement acknowledging that they are questioning the safety of vaccines. The live feed is pretty eye-opening.

The Childhood Vaccination Program

As far as the childhood vaccination program, Robert F. Kennedy has been studying the ingredients and the program itself, for years. “These guys at the CDC originally were telling me ‘well, there’s a good mercury and a bad mercury,'” Kennedy said. “I knew at that point, their argument was not with me, it was with the periodic table, because there’s no way that could happen.”

Kennedy said according to well-known vaccine proponent and rotavirus vaccine developer Paul Offit, who he spoke with by phone, ethyl mercury leaves the body so fast that it doesn’t have time to do damage. However, Kennedy said that he had read Thomas Burbacher’s monkey studies which confirmed that although ethyl mercury does clear the blood quickly, it goes directly into the brain, where it rapidly metabolizes into highly toxic inorganic mercury, and then lodges there, creating inflammation and brain damage.

You can read everything he said here: The Iowa Standard

Want to change your personality? It may not be easy to do alone

It’s not true that people never change, but it’s very hard to change an aspect of your personality simply because you want to, research suggests.

personality change

Most people have an aspect of their personality they’d like to change, but without help it may be difficult to do so, according to a study led by a University of Arizona researcher and published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

Contrary to the once-popular idea that people’s personalities are more or less set in stone, research has proven that personalities do change throughout the lifespan, often in line with major life events. For example, there is evidence that people tend to be more agreeable and conscientious in college, less extroverted after they get married and more agreeable in their retirement years.

While it’s well-established that personalities can change in response to life circumstances, researcher Erica Baranski wondered if people can actively and intentionally change aspects of their personalities at any given point simply because they desire to do so.

She and her colleagues studied two groups of people: approximately 500 members of the general population who ranged in age from 19 to 82 and participated in the research online; and approximately 360 college students.

Both groups completed the 44-item “Big Five Inventory,” which measures five key personality traits: extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience and neuroticism, also referred to as emotional stability. The participants were then asked whether they desired to change any aspect of their personality. If they answered yes, they were asked to write an open-ended description of what they wanted to change.

Across both groups, most people said they desired to increase extroversion, conscientiousness and emotional stability.

The college students were surveyed again six months later, and the general population group was surveyed again a year later. Neither group had achieved the personality goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the study, and, in fact, some saw change in the opposite direction.

“In both samples, the desire to change at ‘time one’ did not predict actual change in the desired direction at all at ‘time two,'” said Baranski, a postdoctoral psychology researcher in the University of Arizona Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance. “In the general population sample, we didn’t find that personality change goals predicted any change in any direction.”

College Students Saw More Change

While the general population group exhibited no change in personality traits between the first and second rounds of data collection, the college student group did show some changes; however, they were either in the opposite direction than desired or were for different personality traits than the one the person intended to change.

Specifically, college students who expressed the strongest desires to be more conscientious actually exhibited less conscientiousness six months later. That could be because those individuals exhibited low levels of conscientiousness to begin with, putting them at a disadvantage from the outset, Baranski said.

In addition, students who said they wanted to be more extroverted showed increases in agreeableness and emotionally stability rather than extroversion in the follow-up. Baranski said that perhaps as part of their effort to become more social and extroverted, they actually focused on being friendlier and less socially anxious – behaviors more directly related to agreeability and emotionally stability, respectively.

Baranski said college students may have exhibited more change than the general population because they are in such a transformational period in their lives. Still, the changes they experienced didn’t align with the goals they set for themselves.

“College students are thrown into this new environment, and they may be unhappy and may look within selves to become happier and change some aspect of their personality,” Baranski said. “But, meanwhile, there is a bombardment of other things that they’re told they need to achieve, like doing well in a class or choosing a major or getting an internship, and those goals might take precedence. Even though they know more sustained and introspective change might be better, the short-term effort is more attractive and more necessary in the moment.”

Overall, Baranski’s findings illustrate how difficult it can be for people to change aspects of their personality based on desire alone. That doesn’t mean people can’t make the changes they want. They just might need outside help doing so – from a professional, a friend or maybe even a mobile app reminding them of their goals, Baranski said.

Baranski intentionally did not interact with study participants between the first and second rounds of data collection. That approach differs from that of another researcher, Southern Methodist University’s Nathan Hudson, who in several other separate studies assessed personality change goals over a 16-week period but followed up with participants along the way. In that research, which Baranski cites, experimenters assessed participants’ personality traits and progress toward their goals every few weeks. With that kind of interaction, participants were more successful in making changes.

“There is evidence in clinical psychology that therapeutic coaching leads to change in personality and behavior, and there is recent evidence that suggests that when there’s a lot of regular interaction with an experimenter, personality change is possible,” Baranski said. “But when individuals are left to their own devices, change may not be as likely.”

Future research, Baranski said, should look at how much intervention is needed to help people achieve their personality goals, and which types of strategies work best for different traits.

“Across all the studies that have been done on this topic over the last several years, it’s clear that most people want to change an aspect of their personality,” Baranski said. “If left unattended, those goals aren’t achieved, so it would be helpful for people who have those goals to know what is necessary for them to accomplish them.”

Babies are aware of bilingualism from birth — if not before

babies

In a fascinating study of the bilingual brain, Albert Costa explains exactly what is going on when we switch effortlessly from one language to another.

Probably most of the world is bilingual, or more than bilingual. It is common in many countries to speak a national language alongside an international lingua franca such as Arabic, Spanish or English. On top of that, there may be a mother tongue that is not the same as a national language. A Nigerian, for instance, may be at once one of the million speakers of Berom, one of the 64 million speakers of Hausa and one of the 1.13 billion speakers of English. The same pattern is repeated across the globe.

In my experience, one of the best places to observe a wide variety of bilingual or multilingual individuals is Geneva, where a stable Francophone society is thickly overlaid with an international society, bringing their own mother tongues and the universally accepted lingua franca of English. In this setting, the linguistic grounding of children can be dauntingly complex. One friend, Italian by birth, has a child of five who switches between Italian, French and English, the syntactic structures still sometimes a little strange. Another set of children have a Danish father and a Bosnian mother; the conversation at lunch flows impressively from Danish to English, French and Bosnian, with German somewhere in reserve too.

Most of the interesting questions about bilingualism are cultural. Is it usual to use different languages for different areas of experience — English for life at the office, for instance, and Bengali for cooking? If so, does this reflect lived experience or the greater expertise different languages offer in different areas? (You can’t, for instance, say that a river is ‘shallow’ in French, only, inadequately, that it is ‘not deep’.) What are the differences between bilingual life in a bilingual society, and speaking an outside language — between, for example, speaking Welsh in Swansea and speaking Gujarati? Most importantly, what actually constitutes a language? Is a speaker who can switch between Scots (not Scottish Gaelic) and English, or Dutch and Flemish, bilingual in the same sense as someone with a Greek father and a German mother?

There is something quite uncanny about the ability to move rapidly between languages which even practitioners find hard to describe. Anyone who has learnt a language recognises that moment when you pass from translating in your head to just speaking it, the words emerging from inchoate thoughts before you can quite formulate them. It feels like an engine just moving over points to a quite different set of tracks; or perhaps like the ability of most musicians to transpose from one key to another — you read the notes in C major, but your fingers move in E flat, without having to think about each note.

What is happening here? How does the growing child encompass both ‘Es war einmal ein armer Mann and ‘Once upon a time there was a poor man…’, knowing that they are in some sense the same sentence and in others quite different sentences?

The answer may lie in the structures of the brain. Albert Costa’s engaging book explores just how multiple languages are acquired and sorted out by the brain, as well as what the possession of more than one language might mean for the development of mental capacity and its retention. There is some evidence that babies still in the womb can be aware of the difference between languages, and this is certainly the case very soon after birth. Scientists are witnessed solemnly exposing infants to rudimentary languages with artificial rules — that the syllables Tu Pi Ro must always follow each other in that order. When an established rule is broken for the first time in the artificial language (but not in other languages around) the baby shows surprise and increased attention.

There have been repeated claims that people who can speak more than one language are more intelligent — with the result that rich New Yorkers are always hiring Japanese or Mandarin-speaking nannies, or whatever the current fashionable tongue may be. Costa goes into the science in considerable detail. It does seem as if bilingual ability affects some aspects of the performance of tasks, but often not in any significant way. Sometimes it appears to have an impact in a negative manner — the active vocabulary of bilinguals can be smaller than that of monolingual speakers. In other cases, such as the resolution of conflicting information, bilingual speakers tend to do better. This is unproven, though of course it is always useful to be able to speak another language.

It may be that different categories of bilingualism lead to different conclusions here. It seems quite plausible that someone who has spoken more than one language from birth would not be stretching his or her brain in the same way as another who painfully has set about mastering the grammar of a foreign language in youth or adulthood. Speakers of acquired languages display such different levels of confidence and mastery that it’s unlikely to have solid or consistent effects on intelligence or cognitive development. In German I can hold a conversation, read a novel, write a letter — and once or twice I have even dreamt in it; in Arabic I could just about buy a train ticket or ask for directions. It doesn’t seem likely that they have the same contribution to mental capacity. It would also be worth investigating whether a person who had kept mentally active by acquiring a language in middle age would find that it warded off mental decay more successfully than a bilingual speaker from birth.

The world may be growing more, not less, multilingual as transport links improve and increasing numbers are exposed to others unlike themselves. English speakers are shielded from this truth because, uniquely, our need to acquire foreign languages is decreasing. Forty years ago, one had to learn a few words of Portuguese to travel round Portugal or Brazil, but nowadays their inhabitants are much less likely to be monoglot.

The ability of the brain to absorb an entirely different way of expressing and of understanding the world, to sort it out into meaningful and rational compartments, is a matter of wonder and apparently near-limitless scope — a linguistic prodigy such as the 19th-century army officer Frederick Burnaby, who spoke seven languages fluently, is now often restricted by the demands of time rather than mental capacity. There is no short cut to language acquisition. It appears that your children can’t learn languages through technology alone; it has to be through an interactive, personal process.

Costa’s book, his last before his unfortunate early death, is stronger on the science of brainpower than on the structure of languages themselves, or on the cultural effects of bilingual societies. He writes in that engaging way, buttonholing the reader with direct address, with which authors of popular science books try to jolly up their often very difficult subjects. (‘At this point the only thing left to do is to invite you to join me on this journey to discover how two languages live in the same brain.’)

Personally, I find this style a bit painful, but Costa’s work certainly derives from a great fund of knowledge, considerable curiosity and that solidly scientific spirit which hardly cares whether it unearths a whacking great truth or discovers that something everyone firmly believes has nothing much in it after all. I guess that we’re hardly at the beginning of our investigations into what the brain actually does, or can do.

Kids who are glued to screens are couch potatoes by 5, according to study

kids screen time

Toddlers who are glued to a screen at age three are couch potatoes by the time they are five, a study shows.

They move for 40 minutes less each day by the time they start primary school than those who had less screen time earlier in life.

Researchers say the reduced physical activity may contribute to weight gain and poor health. They ­suggest parents follow World Health Organization guidelines to limit young children’s screen time to one hour a day.

Study leader Dr. Falk Muller-Riemenschneider said: “Reducing screen time in early childhood might promote healthier behaviors and associated outcomes later in life.”

The findings come from a National University of Singapore study of 552 children. Their parents were questioned on how long they spent on screens aged two and three.

At the age of five, the kids wore activity trackers continuously for a week to monitor sleep, rest and activity levels.

Only one in five met the WHO guideline limit.

But those who had used a screen for three hours or more did 30 minutes less light activity, such as walking, and ten minutes less moderate to vigorous activity, such as running, every day. Researcher Bozhi Chen said it supports calls to limit young kids’ screen time.

Early life adversity identified as top risk factor for mental disorders

child abuse neglect

Early life adversity including neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is the single biggest risk factor for psychiatric disorders, new research suggests.

In what has been described as a seminal review, investigators at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas, conclude that childhood maltreatment is “by far” the biggest contributing factor leading to impaired health in adults.

Physically, early abuse is associated with reduced life expectancy due to higher risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer, study co-author Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD, professor and chair, department of psychiatry at Dell’s Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, and director of its Institute for Early Life Adversity Research, told Medscape Medical News.

In terms of the psychiatric impact, “maltreatment increases the risk for depression, drug abuse, suicide, alcohol abuse, and it also worsens the course of all psychiatric disorders that have been looked at,” Nemeroff added.

The paper was published in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

High Rates of Maltreatment an Underestimate?

Shockingly, estimates show that about one in four children will experience abuse or neglect, although this might well be an underestimate as most cases of maltreatment go unreported.

“This is especially true for certain types of childhood maltreatment (notably emotional abuse and neglect), which may never come to clinical attention but have devastating consequences on health independently of physical abuse and neglect or sexual abuse,” Nemeroff and co-author Elizabeth Lippard, PhD, write.

Pointing to a recent meta-analysis showing that 46% of patients with depression experienced childhood maltreatment, the authors also note that up to 57% of patients with bipolar disorder also report high levels of childhood abuse and/or neglect.

The research also suggests childhood maltreatment is associated with poor treatment outcomes in patients with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder.

These findings underscore the need for clinicians to conduct detailed evaluations of trauma history, said Nemeroff.

“It’s extremely important for clinicians to get a detailed childhood trauma history of a patient so they know what they’re dealing with. Many patients don’t volunteer information, particularly during the first visit, about whether they have had any adverse early childhood experiences,” he said.

“We need to try to understand how best to treat these patients because they don’t respond well to conventional treatments — medication or psychotherapies,” said Nemeroff.

Evolving research is examining the timing, duration, and severity of childhood maltreatment. Some studies suggest maltreatment earlier in life that continues for a longer period is associated with worse outcomes. However, the authors emphasize that exposure to maltreatment at any time during childhood significantly increases the risk for mood disorders.

The review also includes studies of the negative consequences of bullying. While there’s some evidence to indicate that cyberbullying often precipitates suicide and that this appears to occur more often with women than men, said Nemeroff, much of the data in this area is “anecdotal.”

Most Prevalent, Least Studied

With respect to subtypes of childhood maltreatment, the authors note that emotional abuse and neglect are likely the most prevalent in psychiatric populations, but are the least studied.

In part, this is because patients who experience these types of abuse are often the least likely to come to clinical attention compared with those with physical and sexual abuse, which often results in physical injury.

“In many studies, but not all, neglect has the most devastating consequences in terms of mood and anxiety disorders,” said Nemeroff. However, he added, few individuals suffer a single isolated type of abuse.

“Very often, they’re victims of mixed forms of abuse like physical and sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.”

Emerging evidence suggests childhood maltreatment may increase the risk for mood disorders and disease progression via inflammation, as indicated by measures such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6.

Anti-inflammatory medications are a promising novel therapeutic strategy in depressed patients with elevated inflammatory markers. However, this evidence is still preliminary, the authors note.

Another potential mechanism is through alterations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) circuits that regulate endocrine, behavioral, immune, and autonomic responses to stress.

Genetic predisposition also likely plays a role in the pathogenesis of mood disorders following early life stress. Only 35% to 40% of individuals exposed to traumatic events will develop PTSD, said Nemeroff. “That’s probably largely determined by genetics.”

He estimated there might be a dozen or so genes, each of which provides a small degree of vulnerability to psychiatric disorders after exposure to trauma.

Intergenerational Genetic Trauma

The authors also point to novel research pertaining to the complex area of intergenerational transmission of trauma and psychopathology — a phenomenon that has been studied in Holocaust victims.

“It turns out that when an individual is traumatized, their ova, in the case of women, and sperm cells, in the case of men, can be changed by epigenetic mechanisms,” said Nemeroff. “In that way, the child that’s a product of these gametes can carry with it an effect of previous generations’ trauma.”

Research also suggests that childhood maltreatment may lead to structural and functional brain imaging changes. Some evidence has linked early abuse with lower gray matter volumes and thickness in the ventral and dorsal prefrontal cortex, including the orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, hippocampus, insula, and striatum.

Studies that are more recent also suggest an association with decreased white matter structural integrity within and between these regions.

“Different types of abuse and neglect result in different brain changes. It probably depends in part on how old the child is at time of the insult,” said Nemeroff.

Researchers are gaining ground in understanding why not all people exposed to childhood trauma develop a mood disorder. Environmental factors, as well as genes, may mediate the relationship between childhood abuse and mood disorders, the review authors note.

Studies also show that social support and secure attachments can buffer depression risk.

Nemeroff believes there are three critical areas for further research. These include determining whether brain and body changes that occur because of childhood abuse and neglect are reversible. In addition, he said, there needs to be more research into optimal treatments for this patient population and better methods of identifying those at risk of early adversity.

“It won’t be long before genome-wide scanning will become part of the electronic medical record,” said Nemeroff. “We screen for genetic diseases all the time in other areas; why wouldn’t we do it for this?”

In addition, when at-risk patients are identified, interventions could focus on the family unit, single parents, families living in poverty, and parents working two jobs, said Nemeroff.

Educating guidance counselors, teachers, and nurses, is also important, he said, but it is also critically important to educate clinicians about how to conduct proper evaluations.

Strengths, Limitations

Commenting for Medscape Medical News, David Fassler, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, described the review as “comprehensive.”

The authors “demonstrate that the available research consistently supports the finding that childhood maltreatment increases the risk of mood disorders,” said Fassler.

“They also appropriately address the limitations of their review, including varying definitions of maltreatment and the use of different assessment instruments across studies,” he said.

Given the prevalence of childhood maltreatment, the review “further underscores the importance of comprehensive initiatives designed to protect young people from such traumatic and harmful experiences. Hopefully, the findings will also inform future research on the treatment and prevention of adult mood disorders,” Fassler said.

The research was supported by NIH grants K01AA027573, MH117293, and AA024933. Nemeroff reported consulting for Bracket (Clintara), Fortress Biotech, EMA Wellness, Gerson Lehrman Group, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Janssen Research and Development, Magstim, Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Takeda, TC MSO, and Xhale; holding stock in AbbVie, Antares, BI Gen Holdings, Celgene, Corcept Therapeutics Pharmaceuticals Company, EMA Wellness, OPKO Health, Seattle Genetics, TC MSO, Trends in Pharma Development, and Xhale; being a member of the scientific advisory boards of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America (ADAA), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSPP, Bracket (Clintara), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Skyland Trail, and Xhale and on the boards of directors of ADAA, AFSP, Gratitude America, and Xhale Smart; receiving income or equity of $10,000 or more from American Psychiatric Publishing, Bracket (Clintara), CME Outfitters, EMA Wellness, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Magstim, Takeda, TC-MSO, and Xhale; and holding patents on a method and devices for transdermal delivery of lithium, a method of assessing antidepressant drug therapy via transport inhibition of monoamine neurotransmitter by ex vivo assay, and compounds, compositions, methods of synthesis, and methods of treatment (CRF receptor binding ligand). Fassler has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Am J Psychiatry. 2020;177:20-36. Abstract

Veteran Affairs tests keto diet for diabetic patients, raising ire of nay-sayers

soldier doctors

© Getty Images/iStockphoto
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with a California health company to help veteran diabetics follow the keto diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with Virta Health, a Silicon Valley startup that claims its treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes.

A partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Silicon Valley startup Virta Health Corp. is focusing attention on the company’s claim that it provides treatment “clinically-proven to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes” without medication or surgery.

The assertion is at the heart of an ongoing debate about the keto diet’s effect on diabetes. Some diabetes experts are skeptical of Virta’s promise and are expressing concerns that the company’s partnership with the federal government is giving the diet too much credence.

The agreement has helped raise the national profile of Virta, a fledgling health company that has developed a proprietary system of remote coaching and monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes to help them follow the keto diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.

Despite its strict requirements, the keto diet has been gaining popularity in recent years with consumers and studies noting it helps shed pounds and can lead to improved health. But the company’s claim about reversing diabetes is unusual. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to excess weight, and the company said its studies suggest that significant weight loss through keto can lower patients’ blood sugar and need for diabetic medications.

The diet has won support among some diabetes researchers and patient groups. But other public health advocates are concerned that the science of treating diabetes with a keto diet is not well studied. They worry about keto’s effect on the heart and the paucity of vegetables and fruits generally in the diet.

In a press release announcing the collaboration, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said Virta’s regimen would help the department create “a more comprehensive approach to care.”

Under the accord, Virta is providing its services free to about 400 VA patients for a year while federal officials evaluate the service and their health.

In November, Virta announced in a news release that the initial 90-day results were promising. It said veterans reported weight loss, reduced blood sugar and lower reliance on diabetes medication.

But Virta declined to provide KHN with underlying data, citing the need to protect patient information. It did arrange an interview with its then-chief counsel and vice president of finance, Anand Parikh. He said he expected the partnership with the VA to soon expand. Parikh, who left the company in December, said future government collaboration will likely involve payment to Virta, but added it was too early to estimate a price. The treatment currently costs other patients $370 per month, plus a one-time $500 initiation fee.

A VA spokesperson did not respond to detailed written questions concerning the partnership.

The VA runs the country’s largest integrated health care system and is considered a leader in diabetes care. Roughly 25% of its patients have the disease, which is twice the national average. Inside the VA, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, renal disease and amputations.

Virta offers diet coaching, monitoring and support through a smartphone application. Patients can use the services around-the-clock and regularly upload their blood sugar readings and other medical details, such as weight and blood pressure.

“One of the most important things about our approach is that we individualize for each person,” Parikh said.

The VA’s work with Virta has raised alarm bells, including on Capitol Hill.

In October, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., sent a letter to Wilkie saying that the “partnership between the VA and Virta Health Corporation provides tacit approval of the ketogenic diet as a means to reverse the impacts of type 2 diabetes.” His letter also added, “Promoting a ketogenic diet for patients with diabetes may put them at increased health risk.”

Neither Gottheimer nor his staff returned repeated requests for comment about what prompted his letter.

Virta’s Studies Find Benefits of Keto

Virta officials first floated the idea of a partnership during President Barack Obama’s administration. A deal was finalized this year after former Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who is now a Washington lobbyist, signed up to work for the company. Miller retired from his seat in January 2017 after serving as the powerful chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for six years.

The day after registering as a lobbyist for Virta, Miller sent a note to Darin Selnick, then a senior VA political appointee, with proposed language for an agreement between Virta and the VA, according to emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Selnick reviewed it, then passed it along to an official in the VA’s research department.

Parikh said the VA thoroughly evaluated Virta’s research before the deal was done. The partnership was announced in May.

Virta was founded in 2014 by venture capitalist Sami Inkinen after being told by doctors that he had signs of a prediabetes condition. Joining him were Dr. Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, a researcher on low-carb diets. The two had written a book about the Atkins diet, which also emphasizes severely limiting carbohydrates and instead turning to some high-fat foods.

A spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association declined to comment on Virta’s treatment regimen but pointed to an article in its magazine that noted some benefits of a keto diet, such as lowering blood sugar and weight, while listing its potential drawbacks, including missing nutrients, risk of dehydration and high cost.

Still, many health experts said there is little evidence the diet can produce long-term results that ameliorate diabetes.

Moreover, some studies suggest that low-fat or plant-based nutrition, like the Mediterranean diet, produces similar results and has fewer health risks. The VA’s clinical guidelines for diabetes care, while acknowledging potentials benefits of low-carb diets like keto, make clear that “the evidence in support of the Mediterranean diet was more uniform and robust than that for the lower carbohydrate dietary approaches.”

Proponents of the keto diet note that a vegetarian option is also available.

Virta’s website lists six research papers as proof that the company’s assistance for diabetes results in significant improvements in various clinical markers of diabetes, including obesity and blood sugar levels.

The papers were peer-reviewed, yet they are all based on a single, non-randomized clinical trial of 262 patients, which was funded by Virta. Among the authors of these papers are Volek and Phinney.

In April, two Virta consultants co-authored a journal article reviewing various studies and said they showed low-carb diets were “effective in reversing diabetes in the short term.”

Concerns About Missing Nutrients in the Diet

Dr. Randall Stafford, who directs Stanford University‘s Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices, reviewed Virta’s research and called the results “encouraging.” Yet he said the comparison group — called the “control” in scientific circles — was “fairly useless, given that it was composed of people who did not want to change their diets.”

Stafford said results don’t suggest that Virta’s treatment alters diabetes.

“My interpretation is that the keto diet is a temporizing measure, not a cure,” he said.

In April, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that focuses on the role of nutrition in health, urged Wilkie in a letter to cancel the Virta partnership.

“The company’s approach is to place patients with diabetes on a low-carb ketogenic diet,” the letter reads. “At best, this type of diet may act as a ‘Band-Aid’ for diabetes, yet it carries serious health risks,” including higher cholesterol levels and nutrient deficiencies.

A large study by the European Society of Cardiology published in 2018 found those who ate a low-carbohydrate diet were at greater risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.

In an opinion article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Shivam Joshi, a lifestyle medicine physician associated with NYU Langone Health, suggested that Virta’s April review of studies should “be interpreted with caution” as the group of participants was self-selecting and said the review “presents an overly enthusiastic narrative” that passed over studies critical of the ketogenic lifestyle.

“Any diet can be effective when bundled with intense lifestyle interventions,” Joshi said in an interview. “The real question needs to be over the long-term benefits of the diet itself.”

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service covering health issues. KHN is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

How much does our language determine behavior?

words

© Fabio Santaniello Bruun/Unsplash

In the early twentieth century, anthropologists and linguists including Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf (his student) developed a provocative hypothesis: that the language we speak impacts the way we see the world, and our behavior in it. Since then, scholars have been debating the validity of what became known (some say inaccurately) as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and researching the boundaries of language’s influence on our cognition. In the following excerpt of the recently published Don’t Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language, Guardian writer and editor David Shariatmadari explores the latest research in the debate — and the questions it continues to raise about the links between language and behavior.

— Elizabeth Weingarten, Managing Editor

It’s easier to prove or disprove a hypothesis in a well-defined area of experience that can be readily compared across languages. That’s why a lot of scholars interested in Benjamin Lee Whorf’s ideas focused their research on color. Because color is a physical property, determined by the wavelengths of light that are reflected or absorbed by an object, you might assume that all languages have just as many words for colors as there are colors in the world. But the human eye can distinguish around 1,000,000 different shades, and I’d be surprised if you could quickly name more than ten. Choices are evidently made about how we divide up the spectrum of visible light — and languages make those choices differently.

The exact manner in which languages slice up the spectrum — the way they happen to label colors — can have a measurable effect on our perception. Not exactly shocking. But there are more mind-boggling examples of Whorfian effects out there. Could the language you speak, for example, make you more likely to injure yourself, or even die?

Swedish is a north-Germanic language, very closely related to Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. It sits within the larger Indo-European language family, meaning it shares ancestors with English, French, Greek, Russian, and so on. Finnish, on the other hand, is part of the Finno-Ugric language family, which includes Hungarian and Estonian. The grammar and native vocabulary of these languages are completely different, despite the geographical proximity. The Swedish for “father” is far. In Finnish it’s isä. In Swedish “eye” is öga, in Finnish silmä.

While there is undoubtedly a deep linguistic divide, the Nordic neighbors have similar standards of living, legal systems and modes of social organization. There’s a huge amount of trade and cultural exchange, and around 300,000 ethnic Swedes live in Finland. It’s odd, then, given this cultural closeness, that the two countries should have sharply different rates of workplace accidents, with those in Finland being significantly higher. Even more bizarrely, this pattern holds among the Swedish minority in Finland: factories in Swedish-speaking areas are in line with the Swedish national rate. And we’re not simply talking about bumps and bruises. The industrial fatality rate among Swedes is 31 percent lower than for Finns.

Strange as it may seem, it’s possible that language holds the key. In Swedish, prepositions (words like “to,” “over,” “through,” etc.) allow for the fine-grained description of movements over time. Finnish, which relies more on case endings (those suffixes which tell you about the connections between words), tends to emphasize the static relationships of objects to one another. According to the psycholinguist John Lucy, linguists researching the discrepancy determined that “Finns organize the workplace in a way that favors the individual worker (person) over the temporal organization of the overall production process.” That kind of organization seems to reflect the way sequences of events are structured in the Finnish language. As a result, “Lack of attention to the overall temporal organization of the process leads to frequent disruptions in production, haste, and, ultimately, accidents.”

Those same qualities of Finnish may also have produced a distinctive cultural genre. Lucy reports the results of research into film-making according to language family. “Indo-European (Swedish, Norwegian, English) productions formed coherent temporal entities in which action could be followed from beginning to end across scenes, whereas . . . Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian productions showed more emphasis on static settings with only transitory movement.”

These effects are extraordinary, but they’re difficult to pin down. Although the research concerned made as much effort as possible to isolate the effects of linguistic structure, it’s still reasonable to ask where the linguistic ends and the cultural begins. Separating out the effects of being brought up in, say, a Finnish-speaking household from the effects of Finnish grammar itself would be a challenge.

This question becomes more intriguing still when we consider grammatical gender — the requirement in some languages for all nouns to be defined as male, female and sometimes a third category, neuter. English and Finnish don’t have grammatical gender. A table, a car or a tree are neither male nor female. In Spanish, however, the word for “table” — la mesa — is feminine, takes the feminine definite article, la, and must be replaced by the female pronoun, ella. “Car” is masculine — el coche — as is “tree” — el arbol. In German, “table” — der Tisch — is masculine, “car” — das Auto — is neuter, and “tree” — der Baum — is masculine. The assignment of these words to different gender categories appears to be arbitrary.

What does it matter? Surely in the course of everyday thinking, German, Spanish, and French speakers don’t really imagine that rocks, scissors, and paper are somehow more or less female, male or something in between? For these speakers, gender must fade into the background, merely part of the nuts and bolts of language, of no more consequence than the fact that we add an “s” to nouns when there are more than one of them. Well, cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky devised experiments to check this hypothesis and came up with some surprising results.

First, she gathered a group of German and Spanish speakers to investigate whether the gender markers attached to nouns were meaningfully interpreted as being either masculine or feminine. Boroditsky and her colleagues selected twenty-four objects and gave them masculine or feminine proper names. An apple might be called Patrick, for example. Half the time the name matched the grammatical gender; half the time it didn’t. Subjects were then tested on their recall of the names. When the name matched the gender, they were better at remembering it than when it didn’t — suggesting that there is a sense of an object actually seeming masculine or feminine when the grammar marks it that way.

What to make of this? Boroditsky’s further hypothesis was that speakers whose language assigns the word “apple” masculine gender might conceive of it more in terms of stereotypically masculine qualities, and vice versa for speakers who assign it feminine gender. If this were true, it would have all sorts of implications for the mental life of these speakers, their grasp of the way the world works and how they understand natural and artificial processes. Not only that: in descriptions of the “meaning” of a word, we would have to add the associations it has as a result of its gender. A truly complete translation of le soleil, the French, masculine sun, would need to communicate the difference between it and the German feminine sun, die Sonne.

To investigate this, Boroditsky used another list of twenty-four objects that had the opposite genders in German and Spanish. She then asked native speakers of those languages to write down the first three English adjectives the objects brought to mind. The aim was to see whether the descriptions they produced tended to “match” the gender of the word. The “masculinity” and “femininity” of these adjectives was rated by a separate group of English speakers to provide an unbiased measure.

The results are remarkable. Let’s take the word “key” — which is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish. German speakers chose adjectives like “hard,” “heavy,” and “jagged.” Spanish speakers chose “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and “tiny.” Or “bridge,” which is feminine in German and masculine in Spanish. German speakers chose “beautiful,” “elegant,” “pretty,” and “slender” and the Spanish speakers chose “big,” “strong,” “sturdy,” and “towering.”

What this appears to show is that, if your mother tongue teaches you that keys are categorized as masculine, your idea of “key” is infused with what are judged masculine qualities in your culture — and this applies even when you’re using another (genderless) language. With these results, Whorf’s theory seems to rise from its shallow grave.

Excerpted from Don’t Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language. Copyright (c) 2019 by David Shariatmadari. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

When is a pesticide not a pesticide? Apparently when it coats a seed

pesticide-coated seeds

© Larry W. Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lance Russell, left, and his father, Harold Kraus, check DuPont Co.’s Pioneer coated corn seed, in preparation for planting on their farm near Hays, Kansas.

If you apply a chemical to a field of crops, either from a sprayer towed behind a tractor or from above, by an aerial crop duster, that is considered a pesticide.

However, if you take that same chemical and coat it on a seed, then plant that seed in the ground, it ceases to be pesticide — at least according to government regulators.

This issue of how to define a pesticide is at the center of a growing battle over a regulatory loophole that allows seeds coated with chemicals to be considered “treated articles,” rather than pesticides.

“That exemption has had devastating consequences for the environment, and pollinators in particular,” said Amy van Saun, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group is among a chorus of critics who argue that the Environmental Protection Agency has incorrectly applied the treated-article exemption (40 CFR 152.25a) to seeds, allowing chemical companies to avoid a number of environmental safety and labeling rules required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

“For instance, neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world,” she said, referring to a type of pesticide implicated in declining pollinator populations. “If they [regulators] don’t look at the neonics that are applied as seed coatings, they’re ignoring one of the primary routes for pesticides into the environment.”

But representatives for the crop seed industry remain unconvinced. They say the increased use of pesticide seed treatments has actually allowed farmers to use fewer, and less toxic, chemicals than before.

“When the neonicotinoids were introduced, they offered a less harsh product than many of the older chemistries, and we feel that they have lived up to that,” said Jane DeMarchi, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at the American Seed Trade Association.

In addition to being less toxic to mammals than many of the older organophosphate pesticides, seed treatments allow farmers to apply insecticides with a single, minuscule application, rather than multiple applications of a foliar spray, DeMarchi said.

“And it’s below ground, so there is less opportunity to interact with nontarget pests,” she said.

Bad Seeds?

The use of so-called “neonics” took off in the late 1990s when chemical companies started using them as seed coatings to protect commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton from early-season pests.

Unlike earlier generations of insecticides, neonics act systemically, meaning that once absorbed by the growing seed, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects, including beneficial ones such as bees and butterflies.

“One teaspoon of a neonicotinoid is enough to deliver a lethal dose to 1.25 billion honeybees,” said David Goulson, a professor at the University of Sussex and author of several books about bees. “And we’re applying thousands of kilos of this stuff to the landscape all the time.”

Goulson also refutes the claim that neonics offer a more targeted application. He said only 5% of the chemical itself is actually taken up by the plant, leaving the remainder to leach into nearby streams, soil, and plants.

The three primary chemicals used in seed coatings are imidacloprid (sold under the brand name Gaucho from Bayer AG), clothianidin (Poncho from Bayer/BASF), and thiamethoxam (Cruiser from Syngenta AG).

pesticide seed treatments graph

© Christina Brady/Bloomberg Law

In April 2018, the European Union issued a ban on the three substances, except within closed greenhouses.

Other research suggests that the chemicals are also responsible for sub-lethal effects, such as impairing bee learning and memory — which affects a bee colony’s ability to forage for food.

“Even at very brief exposures at extremely low doses, we observed a significant decrease in a bees’ cognitive functions, such as forgetting their homing route back to the hives,” said Hartmut Doebel, an assistant professor of biology at George Washington University. “The pesticides also gets into the pollen and nectar, which the bees then carry back and expose to the whole hive.”

In addition to impacts on bees, a 2019 study published in the journal Science found that birds that consumed small, field-realistic doses of neonic-coated seeds lost weight and suffered delays to their migration.

‘It Wasn’t Meant for Agriculture’

FIFRA defines a pesticide as “any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.”

But the EPA lets some products qualify for a treated-article exemption. According to the law, the product must be treated with a registered pesticide, and the pesticide must be limited to protection of the treated article only.

“And for certain products, that makes perfect sense,” said John Tooker, an insect specialist at Penn State University.

Back when the exemption was promulgated in 1988, he said regulators never had seeds in mind. Instead, it was meant to exempt certain categories of products with “pesticidal” qualities, such as treated lumber or insect-resistant paint.

“It wasn’t meant for agriculture; it doesn’t make any sense in that context at all,” Tooker said. “You’re preemptively deploying chemicals into fields of crops, just in a different way.”

According to an analysis by Tooker and his coauthor, by 2011 more than 79% of field corn acres and about 40% of soybeans were treated with a neonicotinoid. By 2014, the percentage that was treated crept toward almost 100% for corn and 50% for soybeans.

But others say that even if the EPA doesn’t regulate a seed as a pesticide, it’s still regulating the pesticides on the seed.

“They say how much can be applied, on what types of seed, and set residue tolerances for the food produced from those plants,” said Bill Jordan, a former deputy director in the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.

Moreover, Jordan says the definition of a pesticide under FIFRA is actually quite expansive, including not only chemicals labeled as pesticides, but also those making implied public health claims for protection against viruses, fungi, or bacteria.

Duplicative Regulations?

In 2017, a coalition of farmers, beekeepers, and nonprofits submitted a citizen petition to the EPA, challenging the agency to justify the exemption of treated seeds from FIFRA.

Among their concerns, the petitioners said the systemic nature of neonics makes treated seeds fundamentally different from other treated articles.

“Seeds coated with liquid formulations of these chemicals are pesticide delivery devices. The purpose of this technology is to carry the active ingredient via the growing plants’ circulatory systems into the tissues of the plants, which ultimately are typically hundreds or even thousands of times larger in dimension and mass than the seed itself,” the petition states.

The Center for Food Safety’s van Saun said: “By just registering the active ingredient, regulators aren’t looking at the full spectrum of environmental impacts.”

Under FIFRA, pesticide makers have to submit reams of data to the EPA that prove their chemical doesn’t create “unreasonable adverse effects to man or the environment,” she said. “It also triggers requirements under the Endangered Species Act, a process that other pesticides have to go through.”

The petition seeking rulemaking was posted for public comment in the Federal Register in December 2018.

A spokesman for the agency said he couldn’t say when the EPA might rule on the petition, but “the public will have another opportunity to comment on issues pertaining to treated seed products during the ongoing registration review for the neonicotinoids.” An interim decision is expected to be posted in “early 2020,” the EPA spokesman said.

Representatives for the chemical makers say the petition, if granted, would amount to a duplication of regulatory efforts. It “would require a significant regulatory burden, while having little to no benefit on human health or environmental safety of seed treatment products,” according to Carroll Moseley, a regulatory stewardship manager for Syngenta.

More Corn in the Crib

Moseley said the increased use of seed treatment products over the last two decades corresponds directly with yield increases and other benefits for farmers.

“Twenty years ago, if we had a cold wet spring like we had last year, we would have had of a lot of early emergence issues,” said Bob Hemesath, who farms 2,700 acres of corn and soybeans near Decorah, Iowa, referring to problems getting seeds to grow.

But despite the benefits, Hemesath said that neither he nor his neighbors want to use products that hurt the environment. “I guess we rely on the science to tell us the right thing to do,” he said.

But even if farmers were inclined to use nontreated seeds, finding a place to buy them can be challenging.

“There isn’t a whole lot of customization; once that seed is in the bag, it’s in the bag,” said Mitchell Hora, a seventh-generation row crop farmer from Ainsworth, Iowa.

In recent years, Hora said he’s adapted his operation to incorporate so-called “regenerative” soil practices, designed to promote beneficial insects and microbes. As such, he largely avoids using insecticide-treated seed, but he understands why many farmers still do.

“It’s pretty much a one-size-fits-all concoction of treatments,” he said. “Whether you need them or not, I think a lot of farmers see that it has paid off more often than not.”

Efficacy Studies Halted

Still, other evidence suggests that the yield benefits of neonic-coated seeds may be vastly overestimated.

A 2014 study by the EPA’s Biological and Economic Analysis Division analyzed the use of seed treatments for insect control in soybean production and concluded: “In most cases there is no difference in soybean yield when soybean seed was treated with neonicotinoids versus not receiving any insect control treatment.”

A similar scientific study from 2017 also found that the seed treatments were of marginal benefit to corn, with average yields from the treated seed about 2% higher than untreated.

“That’s probably not enough to justify its use on basically all corn planted in the U.S. every year,” said Christian Krupke, a professor of entomology at Purdue University in Indiana and lead author of the paper.

Krupke said the EPA was also in the process of conducting its own corn study, including collecting data from him and other researchers, before the project was called off without explanation.

“I think the fact that we’re seeing this huge increase in pesticide use, with no corresponding increase in pest threats, creates a number of tough questions for [pesticide] registrants who want to sell more products,” he said.

Vaccine for the China virus—the planet is the guinea pig for a vast experiment

coronavirus

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching a rush program to develop a vaccine against the China coronavirus.

The goal? Have a vaccine ready for human testing in an unprecedented 90 days.

NIH is partnering with a US vaccine company, Moderna, Inc.

The vaccine is a new type called RNA. According to Reuters (“With Wuhan virus genetic code in hand, scientists begin work on a vaccine,” Jan 24, 2020), “[these are] vaccines based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) — a chemical messenger that contains instructions for making proteins.”

The PHG Foundation/University of Cambridge explains further: “Unlike a normal vaccine, RNA vaccines work by introducing an mRNA sequence (the molecule which tells cells what to build) which is coded for a disease specific antigen [virus]; once produced within the body, the antigen [virus] is recognised by the immune system, preparing it to fight the real thing.”

Let’s have a look at Moderna (twitter), the company that will be making and testing the new RNA vaccine against the China coronavirus. Its website states, in a January 23rd press release: “Moderna Announces Funding Award from CEPI to Accelerate Development of Messenger RNA (mRNA) Vaccine Against Novel Coronavirus”.

Funded by CEPI. Who is that? (twitter) Its website states: “CEPI is a innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations. We’re working together to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks.”

A more relevant quote: “CEPI was founded in Davos by the governments of Norway and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum.”

Bill Gates. Doesn’t that send your trust and faith rocketing up into the sky?

There is more. Going back to the Moderna Inc. website — at the bottom of the press release referenced above, we find a VERY interesting statement, in a section titled, “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements”: “…there has never been a commercial product utilizing mRNA technology approved for use…”

And there you have it. The vaccine that is being tapped by the US government… under its National Institutes of Health…through drug company Moderna…HAS NEVER BEEN USED ON THE PUBLIC BEFORE. IT IS NOT LICENSED FOR PUBLIC USE.

RNA vaccines and the technology they use are entirely experimental.

And this is the type of vaccine being rushed into existence in 90 days.

What in the world could possibly go wrong?

One way to find out is to unleash it on millions of people, stand back, and see.

The PHG Foundation at the University of Cambridge gives us a substantial clue: “… better understanding of [RNA] vaccine adverse effects is needed – these can include inflammation or autoimmune reactions.”

Autoimmune reactions — the human immune system attacks healthy elements and processes of the body itself. The body goes to war with itself.

I’m sure you would volunteer for a test run of the vaccine, right? You would certainly offer up your child for a grand experiment, wouldn’t you?

And if you’re a doctor reading this, you’ll definitely inject the vaccine into unsuspecting patients, won’t you? Conscience is such an annoyance, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Don’t you want to have the whole world as your guinea pig?