Ice Age Farmer Report: Edible vaccine”? PHARMING – Food that changes you

vaccine

We hear a lot about vaccines, but what if the real threat is something as seemingly innocuous as a tomato? Scientists are “Pharming” tomatoes that will act as “edible coronavirus vaccines,” as we are told that GMO is mandatory in this “new normal.”

The ultimate goal, they admit, is to modify the genetics of the consumer. Is food the ultimate delivery mechanism to achieve a GMO transhuman future? Every aspect of the food supply chain is being destroyed and perverted, and you must start growing your own food for your family.

“You are what you eat.” / “Let thy food be thy medicine.”

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Ice Age Farmer Report: Harvard wants to deceive, sell lab-grown protein as meat without telling you!

lab meat

Harvard has petitioned the USDA to allow sales of lab-grown, FAKE meat as “Chicken” or “Beef,” and claims forcing them to tell the TRUTH would violate their FREE SPEECH! Christian breaks down this stunning deception, the latest salvo in the war on real food and the agenda for a total transhumanist takeover of our food supply.

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Ohio Pharmacy Board banning hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment

hydroxychloroquine hcq

© Getty
A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah.

The Ohio pharmacy board is banning hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment in the state. The move comes shortly after a video by America’s Frontline Doctors was removed from YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Some doctors in the video touted hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure, which the FDA has said is not accurate.

Pharmacists Could Temporarily Lose Their Licenses If They Don’t Follow the Regulations

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has issued new regulations for hydroxychloroquine that are effective on July 30, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The drug can be used in clinical trials, but pharmacies, medical institutions, and clinics will no longer be able to dispense or sell the drug for COVID-19 use. Pharmacists who dispense the drug may face anywhere from a warning to a temporary suspension of their license.

You can read the full announcement by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy here. Screenshots are below.

hcq ban ohio

© State of Ohio

HCQ hydroxychloroquine ban ohio

© State of Ohio

The relevant part of the new regulations read, in part:

(B) Except as provided in paragraph (C) of this rule, prescriptions issued for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for prophylactic use related to COVID-19 or for the treatment of COVID19 are strictly prohibited unless otherwise approved by the board’s executive director in consultation with the board president, at which time a resolution shall issue. Upon the effective date of this rule, all previous approvals for the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine shall be deemed void and must be approved using the process outlined in this paragraph.

(C) The prohibition in paragraph (B) of this rule does not apply to prescriptions issued as part of a documented institutional review board-approved clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drugs to treat COVID-19. Prescriptions must include documentation that the patient is enrolled in a clinical trial.

The regulations note that the new requirements apply to inpatient prescriptions for patients in hospitals and nursing homes, too, and all previous exceptions are voided except for clinical trials. The rule also applies to non-resident pharmacies.

Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications for the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, told Dispatch: “The long and short of it is, we want people to focus on what works, such as social distancing and mask use. We ultimately want to make sure people are being safe and not exposing themselves to drugs that have shown not to be effective in treating COVID-19.”

McNamee said exactly what actions would be taken against pharmacists still prescribing the drug for coronavirus patients would depend on each individual situation.

Melanie Amato, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health, told WHIO that the drug wasn’t an effective treatment for COVID-19.

In April, Ohio Purchased 2 Million Hydroxychloroquine Pills in Case the Treatment Worked

The Board had previously cracked down on doctors who were hoarding the medication in case it was needed, and the drug was only allowed to be prescribed for people who had tested positive for COVID-19, Dispatch reported. Before that, the Ohio Department of Health had stockpiled the drug in case it was needed, purchasing two million pills on April 9 for $602,629.

On May 28, 2020, a systematic review of the therapeutic role of hydroxychloroquine was published in Clinical Drug Investigation. The publication concluded: “The results of efficacy and safety of HCQ in COVID-19, as obtained from the clinical studies, are not satisfactory, although many of these studies had major methodological limitations. Stronger evidence from well-designed robust randomized clinical trials is required before conclusively determining the role of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical prudence is required in advocating HCQ as a therapeutic armamentarium in COVID-19.”

The drug is typically used to treat malaria and may also be used for conditions like lupus or arthritis. The CDC notes that the medication can be prescribed to children and adults of all ages and can be safely taken by women who are nursing or pregnant. However, people who have psoriasis should not take the medication. Medical News Today noted that the drug can cause eye damage in high doses and can cause heart disease. While the latter side effect is uncommon, Medical News Today reported, it can be fatal.

The FDA has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial because of heart rhythm risks. On June 15, it revoked emergency use authorization of the medication in certain hospitalized patients.

Still, some doctors have said they have had personal success with hydroxychloroquine and believe further study is needed. A peer-reviewed publication by the Henry Ford Health System in early July, analyzing patients from March 10 to May 2, concluded that treatment with hydroxychloroquine reduced death rates in COVID-19 patients, MLive reported. It still stated that people should be cautious in their reaction to the results and more trials are needed.

A group called America’s Frontline Doctors hosted a summit in which some doctors, including Dr. Stella Immanuel, claimed that hydroxychloroquine was a “cure.” The videos were removed from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The video can still be viewed on Bitchute here.

The America’s Frontline Doctors’ website is now down too. A “Website Expired” error message from Squarespace appears when visiting the domain. According to ICANN, the domain’s owner and phone number are private. The domain was just registered on July 16, 2020 and isn’t set to expire until July 16, 2021.

A mutilation of young lives: How the radical transgender bandwagon is wrecking girls’ bodies and destroying their mental health

Irreversible Damage

© Blackstone Publishing, 2020
Abigail Shrier “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters”

A new book, Irreversible Damage, reveals how teenage girls are being duped into believing they want to be male, and are pushed into taking puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and undergoing double mastectomies.

Whether it is a statement or a question, the title of this book conveys the necessary urgency of this desperately sad story. Amid the trans debate, seemingly a battle between grown adults, vulnerable children are prey to a malevolent ideology that survivors call a cult.

In a superb piece of investigative journalism, Abigail Shrier focusses on teenage girls – most with no history of gender dysphoria – who become captivated by the belief that they are transgender. Behind the glittery exterior portrayed in the media, she encounters damaged children – many alienated from their families – in poor mental health and facing the prospect of infertility and medication for life.

Shrier, a writer with the Wall Street Journal, pulls no punches when describing phalloplasty, the construction of an artificial penis. The complications can be horrific. She reports the experience of one nineteen-year-old, “whose phalloplasty resulted in gangrene and loss of the appendage.” On the cusp of adulthood, that young person has been left without normal genitalia, for either sex, and tethered to a catheter.

I am a transgender person, but I transitioned as an adult when I could understand the implications on my body and my relationship with society. Besides, by then I’d had my own children. Yet children too young to even give consent for a tattoo are being corralled into making truly life-changing decisions.

Whether you agree or disagree with her, this is a book that needs to be read. Shrier’s informed analysis flows from dozens of interviews, including medical experts and parents. From Dr Kenneth Zucker, who oversaw the writing of the medical definition of “gender dysphoria,” to ordinary families whose children seem to them to have been swept along by this cult, Shrier talks directly to those with first-hand experience.

The facts are clear: there is a contagion spreading among teenage girls who suddenly believe themselves to be boys. While there is documented history of young feminine boys expressing a desire to be girls, never before have girls dominated the work of paediatric gender clinics. The statistics are staggering. In the UK, for example, referrals of teenage girls rose by 4400% in the last decade.

Shrier interviewed Lisa Littman, an American doctor who conducted an observational study and found that nearly 70 percent of the teenagers belonged to a peer group in which at least one friend had also come out as transgender. In some groups, most of the friends had done so. Transgender identification was encouraged and intensified by friends and social media and, astonishingly, appeared to precede the experience of gender dysphoria itself.

Shrier explores possible reasons why these daughters, often from liberal progressive households, want to be sons. First, social media where children are influenced by strangers while their parents are kept in the dark. Second, the educational system where adults who ought to know better have been enthralled, or threatened, by transgender activists. Ignoring both science and basic safeguarding, they have bought into the notion that we all have an immutable gender identity which may or may not match our sex.

With overwhelming folly, children are being transitioned in their schools with new names and pronouns. If their parents might be unsupportive, then they are not told, in case their children might feel “unsafe.” But this is something all parents need to know: this phenomenon is catching, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

But nothing could have happened without the cooperation of policy makers, and not only within the education system. Therapists – the very people who should be helping children to challenge their thinking – have been blindly affirming whatever their young patients have picked up from the internet.

Anyone who has stood against this has faced censure and condemnation. But as Jungian analyst Lisa Marchiano explained, “This idea that a kid’s going to come in and tell us that they’re trans and that within a session or two or three or four, that we’re going to say, ‘Yep, you’re trans. Let me write you the letter.’ That’s not therapy.”

Even the medical profession itself has been found wanting. Eminent sexologist Dr Ray Blanchard told Shrier that “I can’t think of any branch of medicine outside of cosmetic surgery where the patient makes the diagnosis and prescribes the treatment.” While the zealots who actually believe that children can change their sex are perhaps in a minority, those professionals who remain silent in education, therapy and medicine are complicit in this unfolding scandal.

Shrier credits the sterling work of parental groups such as 4thWaveNow and Transgender Trend who have stood firm against the ideology. They have been condemned as bigots and transphobes for protecting children from themselves, the first duty of parents since the dawn of time.

The book is well-referenced and easy to read, making it suitable for a wide readership. The most obvious audience are parents concerned for the wellbeing of their daughters. But teachers, therapists and doctors, some of whom remain silent out of ignorance or fear, also need to hear these stories. Finally, the wider public would find Shrier’s analysis accessible, clear and educational. Those only vaguely aware of transgender ideology may be tempted to think that it cannot be true: young girls taking powerful cancer drugs to halt puberty, or induce an artificial menopause if started. But it is happening across the world, and Shrier catalogues it.

The time has come for society to take responsibility. Much has happened covertly, and the startled onlooker may need time to catch up, but Shrier’s book fills in the background, identifies the problems, explains the impact, and proposes clear and workable ways forward. This is a must-read for those with children, anyone who works with children and everyone who cares about them.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner, based in the UK. She tweets @DebbieHayton

Power scrubbing our way to a false sense of security: ‘Hygiene Theater’ is a huge waste of time

soapy sponge cleaning scrubbing

© Getty / The Atlantic

As a COVID-19 summer surge sweeps the country, deep cleans are all the rage.

National restaurants such as Applebee’s are deputizing sanitation czars to oversee the constant scrubbing of window ledges, menus, and high chairs. The gym chain Planet Fitness is boasting in ads that “there’s no surface we won’t sanitize, no machine we won’t scrub.” New York City is shutting down its subway system every night, for the first time in its 116-year history, to blast the seats, walls, and poles with a variety of antiseptic weaponry, including electrostatic disinfectant sprays. And in Wauchula, Florida, the local government gave one resident permission to spray the town with hydrogen peroxide as he saw fit. “I think every city in the damn United States needs to be doing it,” he said.

To some American companies and Florida men, COVID-19 is apparently a war that will be won through antimicrobial blasting, to ensure that pathogens are banished from every square inch of America’s surface area.

But what if this is all just a huge waste of time?

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface “isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. “Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,” Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission.

There is a historical echo here. After 9/11, physical security became a national obsession, especially in airports, where the Transportation Security Administration patted down the crotches of innumerable grandmothers for possible explosives. My colleague Jim Fallows repeatedly referred to this wasteful bonanza as “security theater.”

COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk — even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. This is hygiene theater.

Scientists still don’t have a perfect grip on COVID-19 — they don’t know where exactly it came from, how exactly to treat it, or how long immunity lasts.

But in the past few months, scientists have converged on a theory of how this disease travels: via air. The disease typically spreads among people through large droplets expelled in sneezes and coughs, or through smaller aerosolized droplets, as from conversations, during which saliva spray can linger in the air.

Surface transmission — from touching doorknobs, mail, food-delivery packages, and subways poles — seems quite rare. (Quite rare isn’t the same as impossible: The scientists I spoke with constantly repeated the phrase “people should still wash their hands.”) The difference may be a simple matter of time. In the hours that can elapse between, say, Person 1 coughing on her hand and using it to push open a door and Person 2 touching the same door and rubbing his eye, the virus particles from the initial cough may have sufficiently deteriorated.

The fact that surface areas — or “fomites,” in medical jargon — are less likely to convey the virus might seem counterintuitive to people who have internalized certain notions of grimy germs, or who read manynewsarticles in March about the danger of COVID-19-contaminated food. Backing up those scary stories were several U.S. studies that found that COVID-19 particles could survive on surfaces for many hours and even days.

But in a July article in the medical journal The Lancet, Goldman excoriated those conclusions. All those studies that made COVID-19 seem likely to live for days on metal and paper bags were based on unrealistically strong concentrations of the virus. As he explained to me, as many as 100 people would need to sneeze on the same area of a table to mimic some of their experimental conditions. The studies “stacked the deck to get a result that bears no resemblance to the real world,” Goldman said.

As a thousand internet commenters know by heart, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But with hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of scientists around the world tracing COVID-19’s chains of transmission, the extreme infrequency of evidence may indeed be evidence of extreme infrequency.

A good case study of how the coronavirus spreads, and does not spread, is the famous March outbreak in a mixed-use skyscraper in Seoul, South Korea. On one side of the 11th floor of the building, about half the members of a chatty call center got sick. But less than 1 percent of the remainder of the building contracted COVID-19, even though more than 1,000 workers and residents shared elevators and were surely touching the same buttons within minutes of one another. “The call-center case is a great example,” says Donald Schaffner, a food-microbiology professor who studies disease contamination at Rutgers University. “You had clear airborne transmission with many, many opportunities for mass fomite transmission in the same place. But we just didn’t see it.” Schaffner told me, “In the entire peer-reviewed COVID-19 literature, I’ve found maybe one truly plausible report, in Singapore, of fomite transmission. And even there, it is not a slam-dunk case. “

The scientists I spoke with emphasized that people should still wash their hands, avoid touching their face when they’ve recently been in public areas, and even use gloves in certain high-contact jobs. They also said deep cleans were perfectly justified in hospitals. But they pointed out that the excesses of hygiene theater have negative consequences.

For one thing, an obsession with contaminated surfaces distracts from more effective ways to combat COVID-19. “People have prevention fatigue,” Goldman told me. “They’re exhausted by all the information we’re throwing at them. We have to communicate priorities clearly; otherwise, they’ll be overloaded.”

Hygiene theater can take limited resources away from more important goals. Goldman shared with me an email he had received from a New Jersey teacher after his Lancet article came out. She said her local schools had considered shutting one day each week for “deep cleaning.” At a time when returning to school will require herculean efforts from teachers and extraordinary ingenuity from administrators to keep kids safely distanced, setting aside entire days to clean surfaces would be a pitiful waste of time and scarce local tax revenue.

New York City’s decision to spend lavishly on power scrubbing its subways shows how absurd hygiene theater can be, in practice. As the city’s transit authority considers reduced service and layoffs to offset declines in ticket revenue, it is on pace to spend more than $100 million this year on new cleaning practices and disinfectants. Money that could be spent on distributing masks, or on PSA campaigns about distancing, or actual subway service, is being poured into antiseptic experiments that might be entirely unnecessary. Worst of all, these cleaning sessions shut down trains for hours in the early morning, hurting countless late-night workers and early-morning commuters.

As long as people wear masks and don’t lick one another, New York’s subway-germ panic seems irrational. In Japan, ridership has returned to normal, and outbreaks traced to its famously crowded public transit system have been so scarce that the Japanese virologist Hitoshi Oshitani concluded, in an email to The Atlantic, that “transmission on the train is not common.” Like airline travelers forced to wait forever in line so that septuagenarians can get a patdown for underwear bombs, New Yorkers are being inconvenienced in the interest of eliminating a vanishingly small risk.

Finally, and most important, hygiene theater builds a false sense of security, which can ironically lead to more infections. Many bars, indoor restaurants, and gyms, where patrons are huffing and puffing one another’s stale air, shouldn’t be open at all. They should be shut down and bailed out by the government until the pandemic is under control. No amount of soap and bleach changes this calculation.

Instead, many of these establishments are boasting about their cleaning practices while inviting strangers into unventilated indoor spaces to share one another’s microbial exhalations. This logic is warped. It completely misrepresents the nature of an airborne threat. It’s as if an oceanside town stalked by a frenzy of ravenous sharks urged people to return to the beach by saying, We care about your health and safety, so we’ve reinforced the boardwalk with concrete. Lovely. Now people can sturdily walk into the ocean and be separated from their limbs.

By funneling our anxieties into empty cleaning rituals, we lose focus on the more common modes of COVID-19 transmission and the most crucial policies to stop this plague. “My point is not to relax, but rather to focus on what matters and what works,” Goldman said. “Masks, social distancing, and moving activities outdoors. That’s it. That’s how we protect ourselves. That’s how we beat this thing.”

Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of Hit Makers and the host of the podcast Crazy/Genius.

New theory of why we dream

Bruno Dreams

© Image courtesy of Fox
Bruno dreams of an infinity beyond the classical universe.

Why do we dream? Psychologists and neuroscientists have been debating the function of dreams for centuries, but there is still no accepted answer.

Now, David M. Eagleman​​ and Don A. Vaughn​ have proposed a new theory. Their preprint article, which has not yet been peer reviewed, is called The Defensive Activation theory: Dreaming as a mechanism to prevent takeover of the visual cortex.

To my mind, it’s a highly original and creative theory, but I’m not convinced by it.

Here’s Eagleman​​ and Vaughn​’s theory in nutshell: The role of dreams is to ensure that the brain’s visual cortex is stimulated during sleep. Otherwise, if the visual system were deprived of input all night long, the visual cortex’s function might degrade.

We know that the visual cortex, in the brain’s occipital lobe, can start to respond to non-visual signals if it is deprived of visual input. In blind people, for instance, the occipital lobe strongly responds to touch. This rewiring or repurposing of under-utilized brain areas is a form of neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is generally considered a good thing. But Eagleman​​ and Vaughn point out that for the visual system, neuroplasticity could actually pose a threat, because vision — unlike our other senses — isn’t active all the time.

If we are in a dark place, or it’s night, we get little or no visual input. So — in theory — our visual cortex would be vulnerable to ‘takeover’ by other senses, every single night. Dreams, on this view, are our brain’s way of defending the integrity of our visual system by keeping it active.

As I said, I love the ingenuity of this theory, but I don’t really buy it. We know that dreams are associated with stimulation of the occipital cortex during a sleep stage called REM sleep. So it’s true that dreams stimulate the visual system. But I’m not convinced that this is the main purpose of dreams.

For one thing, Eagleman​​ and Vaughn’s theory only makes sense if neuroplastic repurposing of the cortex happens very quickly. For the visual cortex to need defending, harmful neuroplasticity would need to occur in the space of a few hours. The authors do discuss evidence that rapid neuroplasticity can occur, but they don’t show any evidence that these rapid changes are strong enough to be harmful.

In fact, Eagleman​​ and Vaughn don’t really discuss any direct evidence for the dreams-as-defense.

They show a correlation between amount of REM sleep and the pace of development among primate species. Primates whose babies learn to walk faster and reach maturity faster, tend to have less REM. (Humans, the slowest maturing primates, have the most REM.)

REM Sleep

© Discover Magazine
Primate development and REM sleep, from Eagleman and Vaughn (2020)

The idea is that faster development means slower neuroplasticity, and slower neuroplasticity means less need to protect the visual cortex from encroachment. This is very much circumstantial. The authors do cite some other indirect evidence, but admit that: “The present hypothesis could be tested more thoroughly with direct measures of cortical plasticity.”

I think this hypothesis could be tested quite easily. You’d take a group of human volunteers and give them an fMRI scan, at baseline, to establish the extent of their visual cortex and how visually selective it is (i.e. how well it responds only to visual input, not touch or other senses.)

Then, for 24 hours, half of the volunteers would wear a blindfold to produce visual deprivation. Half would have REM sleep disrupted that night (selective REM disruption is possible). At the 24 hour point, they get a second fMRI scan.

Eagleman​​ and Vaughn’s theory would predict that the vision-deprived people would have less visually selective visual cortex, and, crucially, that REM disruption would enhance this effect. The authors suggest a similar experiment.

Reading printed books to children more beneficial to child’s development than e-books – study

Reading books with children

Picking what book to read isn’t the only choice families now make at story time – they must also decide between the print or electronic version.

But traditional print books may have an edge over e-books when it comes to quality time shared between parents and their children, a new study suggests.

The research, led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and involving 37 parent-toddler pairs, found that parents and children verbalized and interacted less with e-books than with print books. The findings appear in journal Pediatrics, which is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Shared reading promotes children’s language development, literacy and bonding with parents. We wanted to learn how electronics might change this experience,” says lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., a fellow in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Mott.

“We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better.”

The parent-toddler pairs in the study used three book formats: print books, basic electronic books on a tablet and enhanced e-books featuring additions like sound effects and animation. With e-books, not only did the pairs interact less but parents tended to talk less about the story and more about the technology itself. Sometimes this included instructions about the device, such as telling children not to push buttons or change the volume.

Munzer notes that many of the interactions shared between parents and young children while reading may appear subtle but actually go a long way in promoting healthy child development.

For example, parents may point to a picture of an animal in the middle of a story and ask their child “what does a duck say?”

Or, parents may relate part of a story to something the child has experienced with comments like “Remember when we went to the beach?” Reading time also lends itself to open-ended questions, such as asking children what they thought of the book or characters.

Munzer says these practices, involving comments and questions that go beyond content, are believed to promote child expressive language, engagement, and literacy.

“Parents strengthen their children’s ability to acquire knowledge by relating new content to their children’s lived experiences,” Munzer says. “Research tells us that parent-led conversations is especially important for toddlers because they learn and retain new information better from in-person interactions than from digital media.”

However, such practices occurred less frequently with electronic books, with parents asking fewer simple questions and commenting less about the storyline compared with print books.

The study suggests that electronic book enhancements were likely interfering with parents’ ability to engage in parent-guided conversation during reading.

Munzer adds that nonverbal interactions, including warmth, closeness and enthusiasm during reading time also create positive associations with reading that will likely stick with children as they get older.

Authors recommend that future studies examine specific aspects of tablet-book design that support parent-child interaction. Parents who do choose to read electronic books with toddlers should also consider engaging as they would with the print version and minimize focus on elements of the technology itself.

“Reading together is not only a cherished family ritual in many homes but one of the most important developmental activities parents can engage in with their children,” says senior author Jenny Radesky, M.D., developmental behavioral pediatrician at Mott.

“Our findings suggest that print books elicit a higher quality parent-toddler reading experience compared with e-books. Pediatricians may wish to continue encouraging parents to read print books with their kids, especially for toddlers and young children who still need support from their parents to learn from any form of media.”

Young children with pet dogs seen having fewer social interaction problems than other kids

Child playing with puppy

© fizkes – stock.adobe.com

There’s no doubt that dogs can bring a whole lot of joy to a household. Our canine companions are loyal, caring, and offer unconditional love to every member of the family. Now, an interesting new study finds that a pet dog may also offer improved social and emotional well-being for children.

In a nutshell, the study concludes that young children living with at least one dog at home display far stronger emotional and social development than kids with no pups at home.

The research, conducted at the University of Western Australia in collaboration with the Telethon Kids Institute, includes 1,646 households (42%, or 686, of which own a dog) with at least one child between the ages of two and five. Each family was given a questionnaire to fill out.

Best friends with benefits

To start, a number of additional factors were considered for each child, including age, gender, sleep routine, parents’ education, and usual daily screen time. Using this data, researchers say that kids with a pet dog were 23% less likely to have problems with their emotions or social interactions with others than children with no dog at home.

Kids from a dog-owning household were also 30% less likely to act in an anti-social manner and 40% less likely to have trouble hanging out with other kids. Children with dogs are also 34% more likely to be considerate toward others (sharing, politeness).

“While we expected that dog ownership would provide some benefits for young children’s wellbeing, we were surprised that the mere presence of a family dog was associated with many positive behaviors and emotions,” says corresponding author & associate professor Hayley Christian in a release.

Spending time with their dog appears to strengthen these benefits for children. Kids who reported going for a family dog walk at least once per week were determined to be 36% less likely to have below average emotional or social development in comparison to kids who rarely went for walks with their dog. Moreover, kids who said they play with their pet dog at least three times per week were 74% more likely to be considerate toward others.

“Our findings indicate that dog ownership may benefit children’s development and well-being and we speculate that this could be attributed to the attachment between children and their dogs. Stronger attachments between children and their pets may be reflected in the amount of time spent playing and walking together and this may promote social and emotional development,” professor Christian adds.

This study was observational, so for now at least, the study’s authors say they are unable to give an explanation for these findings. They believe future research should focus on if similar effects are seen among different types of pets.

The study is published in Pediatric Research.

SOTT FOCUS: Dr Mercola Interviews Denis Rancourt: ‘There is no Scientific Evidence That Facemasks Inhibit Viral Spread’

mercola mask header covid

Story at-a-glance

  • Not a single randomized controlled trial with verified outcome has been able to detect a statistically significant advantage of wearing a mask versus not wearing a mask, when it comes to preventing infectious viral illness
  • If there were any significant advantage to wearing a mask to reduce infection risk to either the wearer or others in the vicinity, then it would have been detected in at least one of these trials, yet there’s no sign of such a benefit
  • There is no evidence that masks are of any utility for preventing infection by either stopping the aerosol particles from coming out, or from going in. You’re not helping the people around you by wearing a mask, and you’re not helping yourself avoid the disease by wearing a mask
  • Infectious viral respiratory diseases primarily spread via very fine aerosol particles that are in suspension in the air. Any mask that allows you to breathe therefore allows for transmission of aerosolized viruses
  • All-cause mortality data are not affected by reporting bias. A detailed study of the current data of all-cause mortality shows the all-cause mortality this past winter was no different, statistically, from previous decades. COVID-19 is not a killer disease, and this pandemic has not brought anything out of the ordinary in terms of death toll

Intro

Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., a former full professor of physics, is a researcher with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association in Canada. He’s held that volunteer position since 2014, which has given him the opportunity to dig into scientific issues that impact civil rights. He also did postdoctoral work in chemistry.

Here, we discuss the controversial topic of face masks. Should you wear one? When and where? Does it protect you or not? There’s a wide range of opinions on this even within the natural health community.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, I endorsed the use of face masks based on the experience of some of the Eastern European countries. The rationale of it seemed to make sense at the time. Since then, however, I’ve started to question their use.

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Unfortunately, the mainstream propaganda and government orders in many states in recent weeks have reverted back toward mask wearing just about everywhere. You’re not allowed into stores; you cannot fly or take a cab, Uber or Lyft without one; you must wear one everywhere you go, even outdoors, and if you don’t you’re vilified, sometimes aggressively attacked.

There’s No Scientific Support for Mask-Wearing

Rancourt’s investigation into mask wearing was part of his research for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He did a thorough study of the scientific literature on masks, concentrating on evidence showing masks can reduce infection risk, especially viral respiratory diseases.

What I found when I looked at all the randomized controlled trials with verified outcome, meaning you actually measure whether or not the person was infected … NONE of these well-designed studies that are intended to remove observational bias … found there was a statistically significant advantage of wearing a mask versus not wearing a mask.

Likewise, there was no detectable difference between respirators and surgical masks. That to me was a clear sign that the science was telling us they could not detect a positive utility of masks in this application.

We’re talking many really [high-]quality trials. What this means — and this is very important — is that if there was any significant advantage to wearing a mask to reduce this [infection] risk, then you would have detected that in at least one of these trials, [yet] there’s no sign of it.

That to me is a firm scientific conclusion: There is no evidence that masks are of any utility either preventing the aerosol particles from coming out or from going in. You’re not helping the people around you by wearing a mask, and you’re not helping yourself preventing the disease by wearing a mask.

This science is unambiguous in that such a positive effect cannot be detected. So, that was the first thing I publicized. I wrote a large review1,2 of the scientific literature about that.

But then I asked myself, as a physicist and as a scientist, why would that be? Why would masks not work at all? And so, I looked into the biology and physics of how these diseases are transmitted.

The Importance of All-Cause Mortality Statistics

When trying to tease out whether an intervention works against COVID-19 or not, it’s important to look at death statistics. The number of deaths is really what’s important, not the number of infected individuals, as many may not even exhibit symptoms.

The problem is that assigning the cause of death in a situation where a viral infection taxes the immune system and is confounded by comorbidities is tricky business. As noted by Rancourt, epidemiologists have long known that you cannot reliably assign cause of death during a viral pandemic such as this. There’s tremendous bias involved.

To get around those problems, you have to look at all-cause mortality. The reason for this is because all-cause mortality data are not affected by reporting bias.

So, Rancourt did a detailed study of the current data of all-cause mortality, showing that the all-cause mortality this past winter was no different, statistically, from previous decades. In other words, COVID-19 is not a killer disease, and this pandemic has not brought anything out of the ordinary in terms of death toll.

Government Lockdown Orders Fueled Death Toll

He published this data in the paper,3 “All-Cause Mortality During COVID-19: No Plague and a Likely Signature of Mass Homicide by Government Response.” Rancourt explains:

It turns out that these curves, which show the winter burden deaths as humps every winter, some of them, in some jurisdictions, have an additional very sharp peak. It doesn’t represent a … huge amount of deaths by comparison to the total winter burden because it’s a very sharp peak, but it’s an anomalous peak. It’s not a natural peak.

And it happened in exact coincidence and time everywhere. In every jurisdiction that sees this anomalous, unnatural peak … the peak started exactly when the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization. And the World Health Organization at that time recommended states prepare their hospitals for a huge influx of people with critical conditions.

So, the government response to that World Health Organization recommendation is what killed people, what accelerated the deaths. You can see that in the data, and you can also understand it in terms of how immune-vulnerable people are affected by these kinds of diseases.

What they did is they closed people into their institutional places of residence, they didn’t allow visitors. So, they isolated the most vulnerable parts of society that already had comorbidity conditions who were in a fragile state.

So, they ensured that many people that were locked into these institutions would die from this particular seasonal virus that causes the respiratory disease.

But the virus itself is not more virulent than other viruses. The total winter burden deaths is not greater, but there is a signature of a sharp feature that lasts the full width at half maximum. This feature is three or four or five weeks, which is extraordinarily rapid, never been seen before. And it happens very late in the winter burdens season.

A sharp peak like this has never been seen this late in the season before, and it’s happening [synchronistically] everywhere, on every continent, at the same time in direct immediacy after the declaration of the pandemic. To my eye, there is no doubt that there was an acceleration of deaths of vulnerable people due to government responses …

What really matters is the hard data, and the hard data is all-cause mortality in any jurisdiction that you want to look at. And it has not been anomalous, statistically speaking, no matter how you slice it.

The two graphs below show the number of deaths from all causes from 1972 until 1993, and 2014 until present time in 2020.

all cause deaths graph
total deaths per year graph usa

Why Government Response Was Ill Advised

Rancourt goes on to qualify some of this data based on the mechanism of viral transmission, which also helps explain why government responses have been ill advised, as they actually worsen transmission rather than inhibit it. Infectious respiratory diseases primarily spread via very fine aerosol particles that are in suspension in the air.

“We’re talking about the small size fraction of aerosols, so typically smaller than 2 micrometers,” Rancourt explains. “There are water droplets that bear these virions, the virus particles, and there can be dozens or hundreds of these virions per very small droplet of this size.

Those are the droplets we’re talking about. When you get down to those sizes, gravitational outtake is very inefficient and they basically stay in suspension. And, as soon as you have currents or flow of air, [the particles] are carried.”

The aerosol particles stay in suspension when the absolute humidity is low. This is why influenza outbreaks occur during the winter. Once absolute humidity rises, the aerosol particles become unstable. They agglomerate, drop out of suspension and cease to be transmissible. “This is well known,” Rancourt says. “It’s been known for a decade. It’s been extraordinarily well-demonstrated by top scientists.”

The mid-latitude band is where you find the dry weather and the temperature ideal for transmitting viral respiratory diseases. Viral infections typically spread during the winter in the northern hemisphere, and in the summer in the southern hemisphere.

“You see it in both hemispheres, but inverted,” Rancourt says. “That is why, when you move down towards the equator, transmission drops. You don’t get transmission.

Likewise, if you go too far North, it also does not transmit, and that is not well understood. I’m an expert in environmental nanoparticles and how they charge and what they do, so I have some ideas about why that is, but it hasn’t been studied in detail.

The point is the transmission band is very narrow. It’s across Europe and North America where you have temperatures between about zero and 10 degrees Celsius, and you have low absolute humidity. That’s where these aerosol particles that are the vector of transmission are completely suspended as part of the fluid air.

They’re really part of the fluid air, so any air that gets through, [the viral particles are also] going to come through. That’s why masks don’t work. And these particles are in suspension in the air and get trapped indoors.

That’s why centers where you have sick people and you’re not controlling the air environment are centers of transmission. We’re talking about old folks’ homes, hospitals, even people’s homes. This entire class of diseases, this is how they’re transmitted.”

Why Masks Are Used During Surgery

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Many firmly believe wearing a mask in public will protect themselves and/or others, and one of the reasons for this is because they appear to work in some circumstances, such as operating rooms. If they don’t work, why do surgical staff and many health care workers use them on a regular basis?

As explained by Rancourt, the reason surgical masks are worn in the operating room is to prevent spittle from accidentally falling into an open wound, which could lead to infection. Surgical masks have been shown to be important in that respect.

Preventing microbes and bacteria from falling into an open wound is very different from preventing the spread of viral particles, however. Not only are viruses much smaller than bacteria and many other microbes found in saliva, they are, again, airborne. They’re aerosolized and part of the fluid air. Therefore, if air can penetrate the mask, these aerosol particles can also get through.

“The best randomized controlled trials with verified outcome — in other words, the only scientifically designed studies that remove observational bias and that are valid and rigorous — are [done] in clinical environments.

So, they’re looking at health care workers treating people that potentially have a viral respiratory infection, or treating people they know have such an infection and they’re doing something that will potentially generate a lot of aerosol particles by the treatment. Many, many trials have been done in that environment and none of them find any advantage to the health care workers,” Rancourt says.

Mask Wearing Does Not Protect Others Either

The video below is from Patrick Bet David, who has a very popular YouTube channel that I enjoy watching. His message below is broken down into very simple terms and he presents valid arguments and good questions. I encourage you to view it if you believe in wearing masks.

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Now, one view is that, even though a mask may not protect the wearer against contracting an infection, it will still protect others that the mask-wearer comes into contact with. But that’s not what the science shows. The measured outcome in most rigorous studies on this is the infection rate. Did anyone involved get infected?

Comparisons are made between health care workers wearing masks, respirators or nothing at all. While this does not allow you to discern who is being protected — the mask wearer or others — the studies show mask wearing does neither.

Since everyone is in close proximity to each other, and no differences in infection rates are found regardless of what type of mask is worn, or none at all, it tells us that mask wearing protects no one from viral infections.

“It makes no difference if everybody in your team is wearing a mask; it makes no difference if one is and others aren’t,” Rancourt says. “Wearing a mask or being in an environment where masks are being worn or not worn, there’s no difference in terms of your risk of being infected by the viral respiratory disease.

There’s no reduction, period. There are no exceptions. All the studies that have been tabulated, looked at, published, I was not able to find any exceptions, if you constrain yourself to verified outcomes.”

What’s more, the results are the same for both N95 respirators and surgical masks. Respirators offer no protective advantage when it comes to viral infections.

“In one of the randomized control trials, a big one that compared masks and N95 respirators among health care workers, the only statistically significant outcome they discovered and reported on was that the health care workers who wore the N95 respirators were much more likely to suffer from headaches,” Rancourt says.

“Now, if you’ve got a bunch of health care workers, which you’re forcing to get headaches, how good is the healthcare going to be?”

Why Masks Don’t Prevent Viral Infections

As noted by Rancourt, it’s important to separate scientific findings from possible mechanics that might explain a certain outcome. Studies have conclusively proven masks do not prevent viral infections. Why, is another question.

“I think it’s important to recognize that no matter how clever your explanation is, it may not be right,” he says. That said, one commonsense explanation put forth by Rancourt is that masks don’t work for this application for the simple fact that they allow airflow:

I’ve come to the conclusion that the most prominent vector of transmission is these fine aerosol particles. Those fine aerosol particles will follow the fluid air. In a surgical mask, there is no way you’re blocking the fluid air. When you breathe wearing a surgical mask, the lowest impedance of airflow is through the sides and tops and bottoms of the mask.

In other words, very little of the airflow is going to be through the actual mask. The mask is only designed and intended to stop your spitballs from coming out and hitting someone … If the flow of air is through the sides, whatever molecules or small particles are carried in the air, are going to flow that way as well, and that’s how you get infected.

If you’re not stopping [the viral particles] coming in, you’re not stopping them from coming out either. They follow the flow, period. That’s the way it is. So that’s why there’s an equivalence between ‘It doesn’t protect you and it doesn’t protect anyone else either.’

Ironically, some masks are even designed with out-vents, to facilitate breathing, which completely negate the claim that mask-wearers are protecting others.

Why Masks Have No Impact on Viral Load

Rancourt also dismisses the argument that masks can reduce the total viral load by catching your spit. The theory is that by minimizing the viral load someone is exposed to, their chances of the infection taking hold are minimized.

The large droplets drop to the floor immediately and are not breathed in. So, they’re not part of the transmission mechanism. You can do a scientific study that demonstrates that viruses survive a fairly long time on a surface … These are called fomites, these surfaces where viruses can live and stay active.

That does not mean that transmission occurs through surfaces. It only means that a scientist was able to establish that a virus can survive a long time on a surface. It doesn’t tell you anything about the likely transmission mechanism of the disease. So, there are a lot of studies like this that are basically irrelevant in terms of transmission mechanism.

[Infectious respiratory diseases] are transmitted by these fine aerosol particles that are in suspension in the air. In a case like that, will a mask, will something that is preventing spitballs from coming out, protect you or protect others? And the answer is no, it makes no measurable difference.

There are many studies that show how difficult it is to actually infect someone when you’re just trying to put something like a fluid or something you know is bearing the virus into their eye or into their nose. It’s hard to do this. That’s what the studies show.

But if you take a fine aerosol and you breathe it in deeply, that’s where the infection starts and that’s where the virus has evolved to be most effective. So, by breathing in aerosols laden with these viruses, you’re going to be infected. Try to do anything else, and it’s going to be difficult [to spread infection].

The most recent randomized controlled trial [published] this year basically concluded they could find no evidence that masks, hand-washing and distancing, in terms of reducing the risk of these types of diseases, were of any use. [They] didn’t help.

So, there’s this dissonance between what the science actually tells you when you measure correctly, and what the health authorities tell you to do. They want you to be convinced that you’re in this dangerous environment and that if you follow their directives, you’ll be safe.

Their purpose is to control your life and to give you directives, and you’re going to accept that. That’s part of how they convince you that you absolutely need the state to save your life. I think that’s what’s going on.

Mask-Wearing Is Not Without Its Risks

We’ve already mentioned that certain masks can increase your likelihood of headaches. Others believe masks can cause lower partial pressure of oxygen, which could cause serious health problems. In the video above, Peggy Hall with TheHealthyAmerican.org claims certain masks can result in low oxygen levels, thus violating OSHA rules on oxygen requirements.

There are many admitted dangers to wearing masks,” Rancourt says. “The World Health Organization in its June 5 memo,4 where they reversed their position and decided that it was a good idea to recommend mask use in the general population, in that document, they actually say you have to consider the potential harms, and they list what they consider are all the potential harms.

They missed a lot. But one of the top ones is you’re concentrating the pathogen laden material onto this material near your face, nose, eyes and so on. And you’re touching the mask all the time, you’re touching yourself, you’re touching others.

It’s not a controlled clinical environment, so there’s potential for transmission in that way. You might wear the mask more than once, you might store it at home and then wear it again. You might do all kinds of things …

What I find extraordinary is that they also have a list of what they call potential advantages. And when I compare the two lists, the potential dangers far outweigh the potential advantages. So, you have to ask yourself, what the heck are you doing?

How can you make these two columns and compare the advantages and disadvantages and have one clearly outweigh the other and then conclude that therefore we recommend masks? This is just nonsense. It’s irrational. So, my association added our list5 of things that they weren’t even considering.

We went into the civil liberties aspect of it as well, because I think this is very important. One of the fundamental aspects of a free and democratic society is that the individual is entitled to evaluate the personal risk to themselves when they act in the world.

As noted by Rancourt, risk evaluation is a very personal thing. It involves your personality, your judgment, your knowledge, your experience and your culture. It’s a very personal thing that you’re entitled to do for yourself. If the state is forcing you to accept their evaluation of risk, then this fundamental precept is violated. What’s worse, they’re currently forcing you to accept an evaluation of risk that cannot be scientifically justified.

Mask Mandates Are Indicative of Rising Totalitarianism

In its letter6 to the WHO, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association also addressed the issue of mask mandates as an instrument of totalitarianism.

In our letter, we put it this way. There’s a recent scientific study7 that came out in 2019. The first author is the executive director of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association that I do research for, and he’s a physicist also. He wrote an article with another physicist.

They looked at the conditions under which a society will gradually degrade towards a more totalitarian state. What they found was that there were two major control parameters that characterize the society that will tell you if that is likely to happen or not.

One of those control parameters is authoritarianism in the society. What they mean by that is, how successful can an individual be to refuse something, like to refuse to wear a mask if they protest? What is the chance that they’ll succeed if they refuse? That would be related to the degree of authoritarianism.

The other important parameter is the degree of violence in the society. How violent is the repression if you disobey? So how big is the fine? Can you go to jail? How much punishment will you be subjected to if you disobey a particular rule, for example, wearing of a mask?

Those two parameters, they were able to establish what we call a phase diagram of societies … And what they found is that in present society, if you would estimate the average value of those two parameters for United States or Canada, we’re in a state right now where the society is very gradually evolving towards totalitarianism.

The way to slow that and prevent it is for people to object and to scale it back. As soon as you agree with an irrational order, an irrational command that is not science-based, then you are doing nothing to bring back society towards the free and democratic society that we should have. You are allowing this slow march towards totalitarianism. That’s how I would explain the importance of objecting to this.

Mask Mandates Allow Government to Shirk Responsibility

Rancourt also points out that when government and health institutions convince people that masks are the solution, they are effectively removing their duty of care toward you, because they’re saying all you need to do is wear a mask. This allows them to avoid the responsibility of actually preventing transmission in the primary centers of transmission, such as hospitals, nursing homes and elsewhere.8

We don’t have to manage the air in such a way that immune-vulnerable in this establishment will not be at risk of dying and so on. They remove their duty of care responsibilities by saying, ‘Well, we’re just not going to allow visitors, and we’re going to force everyone to wear masks.’

You need to look at, scientifically, what is happening here. Why are people at risk? What is immune-vulnerability due to? What can you do about it? And then you have to do something about it if you’re serious about your duty of care towards these people. So it has that side effect of letting them get away with not taking care of the people that they’re responsible for.

Calls for Peaceful Civil Disobedience Are Growing

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association has issued a press release9 calling for peaceful civil disobedience against mandatory masking. The U.S. nonprofit Stand for Health Freedom is also calling for civil disobedience, and has a widget you can use to contact your government representatives to let them know wearing a mask must be a personal choice.

In the memo that was put out, we explain how best to perform that civil disobedience. We explain that you should be calm and confident and not get into arguments and not try to convince the authorities.

Just express your disobedience regarding this rule. And then we explain that they may want to trespass you, they may want to give you a fine, that you can anticipate fighting that fine in court. We go through the steps so that people can visualize how to do this.

We explain that some of their core shoppers or core citizens will be angry and aggressive, and to not get into a fight and not to get into a war of words. Do not try to convince them. Just stick to that you are not going to comply. Be very calm. This kind of civil disobedience has been successful at various times in North American history.

There are risks involved, but it’s often worth it to the individual to have that civil disobedience because there are many individuals that don’t know what to do that are very angry because they’re being forced to wear masks and they see it as absurd and a constraint. So, we try to give them a view of a venue on how to resist this …

We also recommend when people are practicing this kind of civil disobedience that they not be isolated, that they try to form a grassroots group of support and that they don’t do it alone. Try to bring at least one person, one supporter, with them. Record the interaction with the authorities and report back on social media and to their groups with details of what happened and so on.

We hope to create kind of a smoother messaging that a lot of people, or at least some people, do not believe this mask story and do not believe that they are at risk and are willing to practice civil disobedience to make that point.

Sources and References

1.) Vixra.org June 5, 2020

2.) COVID Censorship at ResearchGate: Things Scientists Cannot Say

3.) Technical Report June 2020 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.24350.77125

4.) WHO.int, Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 June 5, 2020 (PDF)

5.), 6.) OCLA.ca June 21, 2020

7.) PLOS ONE January 29, 2019 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211403

8.) Clinical Infectious Diseases July 6, 2020; ciaa939

9.) Ontario Civil Liberties Association Press release: Civil disobedience against mandatory masking (PDF)

Could CranioSacral Therapy help treat dementia & Alzheimer’s disease?

MRI scan

Some call Alzheimer’s disease the greatest tragedy of the 21st century.

Tremendous research efforts have been dedicated to learning more about the causes and possible treatment approaches for this debilitating and devastating brain disease.

According to the American Brain Foundation, brain diseases affect the lives of one in six people, bringing the total number of people suffering from neurological disorders to one billion worldwide. Brain disease has many different forms, ranging from concussion to stroke, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraines, brain tumors, brain trauma or ALS, just to name a few.

A Deadly Disease

The most devastating and widespread brain disease, however, is dementia and its most common cause, Alzheimer’s disease. Based on data published by the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2020 more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

While the deaths caused by heart disease have decreased by 7.8% between the year 2000 and 2018, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 146% during the same time span. The growing numbers of people affected by this type of brain disease put a serious strain on the medical system as well as on families, resulting in high costs and enormous personal sacrifices required to take care of dementia patients in private and public care facilities.

In 2020, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will cost the U.S. $305 billion USD. It is estimated that by 2050 these numbers will rise to $1.1 trillion USD.

The National Institute on Aging defines dementia as “the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.”

While dementia can have different origins, such as vascular or frontotemporal disorders, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among the senior population and can be described as a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and ultimately leads to complete dependency of a person for basic activities of daily living.

The disease was first discovered in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer, MD, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who treated a patient for an unusual mental illness that involved memory loss, language problems, mood swings, and loss of bodily functions, as well as unpredictable behavior, including aggressive outbursts.

During a post-mortem autopsy of that patient, he discovered unusual clumps (now known as amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles) in her brain tissues, pathological changes that are, together with the loss of connections between neurons in the brain, still the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

But even though the causes of this disease are not fully understood and many questions remain yet unanswered, new discoveries in the field of neuroscience and increasing evidence on the effectiveness of treatment modalities, such as CranioSacral Therapy, bring renewed hope to millions of people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Great River of Life

The proper function of our brains is largely dependent on the effective and efficient exchange of nutrients and toxins between the tissues. The physiological system that is responsible for carrying out this role is called the CranioSacral System, a semi-hydraulic system that envelopes the brain and spinal cord and helps create, absorb and regulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, a clear, colorless liquid that serves as a shock absorber for the central nervous system, but also circulates nutrients and chemicals filtered from the blood and removes waste products from the brain.

Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, the father of Osteopathy, calls the cerebrospinal fluid “The Great River of Life in the Body” and describes it as the highest known element in the human body which abundant flow must be guaranteed in order for our bodies to stay healthy and fully functional.

The CranioSacral System was first described by osteopath John E. Upledger, DOO, OMM (1932-2012), who, based on his research at the University of Michigan, also developed CranioSacral Therapy, a gentle, non-invasive manual therapy that works with the CranioSacral Rhythm, the ebb and flow of the cerebrospinal fluid in the body, to detect and release restrictions in the body.

In a healthy adult, the daily turnover of cerebrospinal fluid lies between 600 and 800 ml. Upledger discovered that as we age, the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid decreases by as much as 50%, in part due to the aging process as well as inflammatory processes in the brain, head trauma or injury, accumulation of heavy metals, or other conditions.

Michael Morgan, LMT, CST-D, instructor at the Upledger Institute, took Upledger’s research a step further and discovered that in people with senile dementia, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid was actually decreased by 75% in comparison to a healthy adult. (Read “Craniosacral Therapy is Being Explored as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease,” By Michael Morgan.)

In his book, “Prevent Alzheimer’s in Just 10 Minutes a Day,” he explains that the decrease in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid actually leads to brains drying up during the aging process which results in an accumulation of toxins and restrictions in the brain, including the above-mentioned amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that are considered trademark signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

A reduced flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain therefore greatly diminishes the ability of our brains to function in healthy and effective ways. (For more information about Morgan’s work, visit preventingalzheimers.com.)

The Glymphatic System’s Role

In 2012, a team of neuroscientists at the University of Rochester discovered a cleansing system that rapidly drains waste products from the brain. (See kurzweilai.net/scientists-discover-previously-unknown-cleansing-system-in-brain.) They named this newfound system the “glymphatic system” due to its similarity to the lymphatic system but including the name reference to the so-called glial cells, non-neuronal brain cells that play a key part in managing the waste removal and regulation of the brain tissues.

Using a two-photon microscope, the researchers could demonstrate the existence of a pathway in the brain through which cerebrospinal fluid is efficiently circulated through every part of the brain. This new discovery disproved an old theory that stated the cerebrospinal fluid would only trickle slowly and steadily through the brain tissues.

The newly found glymphatic system has been shown to push large volumes of cerebrospinal fluid through the brain along specific pathways, clearing out extracellular solutes and ultimately eliminating waste products through the circulatory system.

Some of these waste products are called amyloid ß, a type of protein that is continuously produced and secreted from brain cells. (See “Scientists discover previously unknown cleansing system in the brain,” kurzweilai.net/scientists-discover-previously-unknown-cleansing-system-in-brain.) In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, the pathways where these proteins are cleaned out are failing due to injury, inflammation or infection in the brain. As a consequence, buildups of amyloid ß clog up the space in between the brain cells, which eventually leads to the suffocation and death of neurons and the creation of dementia symptoms.

Taking these findings into account, the researchers conclude that an increase in the activity of the glymphatic system might help prevent amyloid depositions from building up or cleaning out already existing buildups in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

CST as a Promising Treatment

Even though the discovery of the glymphatic system happened fairly recently, the concept of a strong motion of cerebrospinal fluid through the central nervous system had already been described in the 1980s by Dr. Upledger. He developed the so-called Pressure-Stat Model by describing a system of production and absorption of cerebrospinal fluid under pressure within the meninges, the dural membranes encasing the brain and spinal cord.

Based on extensive research in a multidisciplinary team at Michigan State University, Upledger developed CranioSacral Techniques that focus on enhancing and restoring fluid movement within the brain and spinal cord to facilitate adequate flushing of accumulated waste products and, therefore, a detoxification not only in the brain but ultimately the whole body system.

According to Morgan, there are five ways in which CranioSacral Therapy can benefit patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Based on his research and work with the senior population, he has found that CranioSacral Therapy works by:

1. Increasing the movement of cerebrospinal fluid, which supports the removal of waste products and helps improve brain function

2. Lowering sympathetic tone to encourage relaxation and reduction of stress levels so the body is better equipped to stay healthy

3. Reducing inflammation through the body and brain by assisting the immune system

4. Facilitating recovery from brain trauma, injury and concussion

5. Improving overall memory and brain function

Still Point Research

In a research study conducted by LA Gerdner and MB Zimmerman, “Craniosacral still point technique: exploring the effects in individuals with dementia” (Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 2008), the effectiveness of one specific CranioSacral technique, the still point, on individuals with dementia was explored.

Over a period of six weeks, patients suffering from moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease and residing in nursing homes were administered the Still Point Technique for a duration of 5-10 minutes each day at the same time of the day. The evaluation focused on changes in behavior, agitation, memory and cognition. Data was collected before and during as well as after the treatment.

The results showed clinically and statistically significant changes in all above-mentioned categories. The improvements observed in the patients continued after the closure of the study and were confirmed by caregivers, including family members and nursing staff. Some clients began to recognize their relatives and caregivers and, in some cases, improved speech abilities and enhanced independence in activities of daily living were observed.

More Studies are Needed

Do Alzheimer’s specialists believe in the benefits of CST? Do they refer to CST practitioners? This is a difficult question to answer. CranioSacral Therapy works from a different paradigm than allopathic medicine, as does most complementary and alternative medicine.

Most of the data is at this point still collected through case studies and personal observations with clients. More studies need to be conducted to understand the effectiveness of CST for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s on a larger scale so we can come to more precise conclusions about if and how CST can be valuable for this population.

Even though further studies need to be conducted to understand the effectiveness of CranioSacral Therapy in the prevention and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the results of this study as well as the work of Morgan within the senior population are promising to patients, families and caregivers.

With gentle yet very powerful and effective techniques, CranioSacral Therapy offers a safe and non-invasive approach that can potentially change the lives of many who are suffering from different varieties of brain diseases, and especially provide valuable tools to help combat the increasing numbers of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in our societies.

About the Author:

Andrea Winzer, M.Sc., LMT, BCTMB, holds a master’s degree in ecology and is a board certified massage and bodywork therapist. She practices CranioSacral Therapy and offers a variety of holistic treatment modalities with a focus on the integration of body-mind-spirit, release of physical and emotional trauma from the body, and supporting mental health therapies through trauma-sensitive bodywork. She wrote this article on behalf of the Massage Therapy Foundation.