Prostate cancer blood test – Is it a good idea?

Blood Test

© SebastianRushworth.com/

Should you get a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer? What are the advantages and disadvantages of screening? Do the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms? Those are the questions we will seek to answer in this article.

Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men. About one in 41 men die of the disease. This has led to efforts to find a way to screen for prostate cancer and discover it before it has a chance to spread in the body, when there is still a chance to cure.

The problem is that prostate cancer is common, and for most people who have it, it is something that never causes any symptoms, and certainly not the thing that’s going to kill them. In medical school I was taught that the probability of having prostate cancer is about the same as the number of years you’ve lived. So, if you’re 50 years old, there’s a 50% chance that you have prostate cancer, and if you’re 80 years old, there’s an 80% chance. For most people, prostate cancer is a slow growing disease that never causes any problems. So, most people who have prostate cancer die with it, not from it.

PSA (prostate specific antigen) is an enzyme produced by the cells in the prostate. It was first discovered in the 1970’s and its biological function is to make semen more liquid after deposition in the vagina, freeing sperm to move around. It is normally present in low levels in the blood, but can increase to abnormally high levels in prostate cancer, due to the large number of cancerous prostate cells that are dividing in an uncontrolled fashion. This led to the idea that PSA could be used as a method to screen for prostate cancer, hence the PSA test.

The PSA test is simply a blood test, where you look at the level of PSA in a person’s blood. If the level is above a certain cut-off point, the value is considered “positive” (which is “positive” in pretty much the same way that being HIV-positive is “positive”), and that generally leads to a prostate biopsy being performed. And if the biopsy strongly suggests cancer, and there are no signs that the cancer has already spread throughout the body, then the prostate is usually either removed surgically, or irradiated. (If the cancer has already spread in the body, then it’s pointless to destroy the prostate – that only makes sense if there is still a chance at stopping the cancer before it spreads).

Now, for screening to make sense you need to be finding cancer in people who are going to die from it, at a point in the disease course when the cancer is still curable. The screening needs to change the course of the disease for the screened individual who has cancer, otherwise it’s meaningless.

At the same time, you need to avoid false positives, for example people who have the cancer but who will never develop any problems as a result of it. This is because, as mentioned above, prostate cancer is slow growing, and most people die of other causes before they develop any symptoms from their cancer. Treating these people for a disease that they will never actually suffer from only exposes them to harm, and those harms can be crippling and ruin a person’s quality of life. Both surgical removal of the prostate and irradiation frequently cause sexual impotence and urinary incontinence.

The whole point of screening is after all to help people, not harm them. If you’re maiming ten people to prolong the life of one person, then screening might not be such a good idea. What this means is that the benefits and harms of any screening program need to be weighed very carefully.

Another aspect to screening is financial cost. From a societal point of view, the cost per case of treatable cancer discovered needs to be reasonable (at least if the tax payer is footing the bill). What a reasonable cost is, is of course something that each society needs to determine for itself.

A meta-analysis was published in the British Medical Journal in 2018 seeking to answer the question of benefits vs harms of prostate cancer screening definitively. The meta-analysis included five randomized controlled trials with a total of 721,718 men. The ages of the men enrolled ranged from 40 to 80 years old.

The screening interval varied across the studies, from a one time screening only, to once every two years, or even once a year, and the length of follow-up also varied, with the shortest follow-up period being 10 years, and the longest being 20 years.

So, what were the results? At the longest follow-up, 12,8% of men were dead in the group that received screening, and 12,9% were dead in the control group. This 0,1% difference was not statistically significant. Basically, PSA screening made no difference whatsoever to the odds of survival over the course of the follow-up period.

Now, let’s look at the negative effects of screening. As mentioned before, if the PSA test is considered positive, it gets followed up with a prostate biopsy before a decision is made whether to get rid of the prostate. One complication of this is a bacterial infection in the blood stream (sepsis). The reason you can get this complication is because the easiest way to reach the prostate with the biopsy instrument is by entering with it through the rectum, and then punching a hole through the wall of the rectum in to the prostate. When you do this, there is inevitably a risk that you will transfer bacteria that are living in the rectum in to the blood stream. Overall, 1,4% of men who were biopsied developed infections that were so severe that they had to be admitted to hospital.

If the biopsy result comes back positive for cancer, then in most cases that leads to surgery or radiation therapy, both of which pose a significant risk of impotence and urinary incontinence. The researchers calculated that, of 1,000 men screened, the screening will lead to a chain of events that will result in 25 more men becoming impotent and 3 more men developing urinary incontinence. How many of those men actually needed surgery or radiation therapy, i.e. had their lives saved by it? Probably not many, considering that the screening had zero effect on mortality.

Finally, we can look at what the review had to say about the diagnostic accuracy of the PSA test. Overall, the PSA test had a false positive rate of 67% . This means that 67% of men who have a positive PSA test don’t actually have any sign of prostate cancer when biopsied. The remaining 33% actually do have cancer, but we don’t know how many of them would ever have developed symptoms from their cancer before they died of other causes. Probably not many, or you would have expected to see an effect on mortality.

What does this all mean? Getting a PSA test for the purposes of screening is almost certainly a bad idea. The potential harms of PSA screening by far outweigh the potential benefits. While you’re considering whether to screen for prostate cancer, you might also want to consider how many blood pressure medicines you are taking, and whether statins make sense to take.

Pharmacists & Pharmacy Interns given green light to vaccinate children

pharmacy

Under an amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), pharmacists and pharmacy interns in the United States are now permitted to administer vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to children over three years of age.1

Currently, there are 28 states that allow pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children. In 22 states, there are laws that limit which vaccines pharmacists can administer, including three states that prohibit pharmacists from giving vaccines to any children.2

HHS Directive Expands Access to Childhood Vaccines

The new directive allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines to children over age three was declared Alex Azar, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with the aim of increasing access to CDC recommended childhood vaccines to children returning to daycare, preschool and school after the COVID-19 lockdown that closed day care facilities and schools in most states.3

According to Secretary Azar, “The Trump Administration has worked to allow pharmacists — alongside all of America’s heroic healthcare workers — to practice at the top of their license, empowering the public with more options to protect their health and well-being.”4

The amendment authorizes state-licensed pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns acting under their supervision, to administer vaccines to children over age three if the pharmacy intern is licensed or registered by his/her state board of pharmacy.5 The HHS authorization also allows state-licensed pharmacies to administer vaccines to the children without a doctor’s prescription.6

CDC Reports Decline in Childhood Vaccination Rates During Pandemic

A report released by the CDC in May 2020 showed that routines childhood vaccination rates had plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of families staying at home. The CDC report states that orders for because of lockdowns and social distancing requirements keeping families at home. The numbers of childhood vaccines given in doctors’ offices plummeted in late March 2020 and early April 2020 as doctors offices were forced to close or saw fewer patients, raising concerns that vaccination rates would decline.7

Secretary Azar said that this declaration was signed to prevent vaccination rates from falling even further.8

HHS Authorization Subject to Requirements

The amendment authorizes state-licensed pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer childhood vaccines but is subject to some requirements as listed below:9

  • The vaccine must be approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The vaccination must be ordered and administered according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vaccination schedules.
  • The licensed pharmacist must complete a practical training program of at least 20 hours that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
  • The licensed or registered pharmacy intern must complete a practical training program that is approved by the ACPE.
  • The licensed pharmacist and licensed or registered pharmacy intern must have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • The licensed pharmacist must complete a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, vaccination-related continuing pharmacy education during each state licensing period.
  • The licensed pharmacist must comply with record keeping and reporting requirements of the jurisdiction in which he or she administers vaccines, including informing the patient’s primary-care provider when available, submitting the required vaccination information to the state or local immunization information system (vaccine registry), complying with requirements with respect to reporting adverse events, and complying with requirements whereby the person administering a vaccine must review the vaccine registry or other vaccination records prior to administering a vaccine.
  • The licensed pharmacist must inform his or her childhood-vaccination patients and the adult caregivers accompanying the children of the importance of a well-child visit with a pediatrician or other licensed primary care provider and refer patients as appropriate.10

American Academy of Pediatrics Opposes Vaccination of Children by Pharmacists

The HHS directive allowing all state-licensed pharmacists and pharmacy interns the ability to administer childhood vaccines is opposed by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP).11

According to AAP president Sally Goza, MD, “This move is incredibly misguided. In the middle of a pandemic, what families are looking for is reassurance and clinical guidance from the doctors they trust most to care for their children: pediatricians.”12

Dr. Goza adds:

This unprecedented expansion of pharmacies’ ability to administer vaccines to children is not a solution to the vaccine hesitancy that is driving down rates of childhood immunizations in the U.S. Many parents have questions about their children’s vaccines, and pediatricians are ready to talk with them. It’s what we do, every day, one-on-one with thousands of parents, as part of the long-term trusting relationships that families have with their physicians.13

References

  1. Associated Press. Pharmacists can give childhood vaccines, U.S. officials say. NBC News Aug. 19, 2020.
  2. Ibid.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Expands Access to Childhood Vaccines during COVID-19 Pandemic. Aug. 19, 2020.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Santoli J. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration — United States, 2020. MMWR May 15, 2020; 69(19): 591-593.
  8. AP. Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations. CBS News Aug. 19, 2020.
  9. See Footnote 3.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Inserro A. HHS Gives Pharmacists Ability to Deliver Childhood Vaccines, Upsetting AAP. AJMC Aug. 19, 2020.
  12. American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Opposes HHS Action on Childhood Vaccines; Calls It ‘Incredibly Misguided’. Aug. 19, 2020.
  13. Ibid.
  14. AAP, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, ACIP, ACPE, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Alex Azar, American Academy of Pediatricians, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19, Department of Health and Human Services, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, HHS, National Vaccine Information Center, NVIC, PREP, Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, Rishma Parpia, Sally Goza, The Vaccine Reaction

More entitled people get angrier after experiencing bad luck

bad luck

We’ve all had the experience of losing our temper when being treated unfairly by someone else. And while anger isn’t the most pleasant emotion, it can be a useful social tool to signal to another person that we’re not happy with how they’re acting towards us.

But what about when we suffer because of bad luck, rather someone else’s actions? In that case it would seem to make little sense to get mad. And yet, a new study in Personality and Individual Differences finds that a certain group of people are more likely to show anger in such situations: those who feel like they are particularly entitled in the first place.

Psychological entitlement is essentially a belief that you deserve more than others. People who score highly in entitlement tend to think that others should be accommodating of their own needs and schedules, for instance, and are more likely to see themselves as being mistreated. When their high expectations aren’t met, they can experience reduced wellbeing and feelings of anger.

In a series of studies, Emily Zitek from Cornell University and Alexander Jordan from Harvard Medical School looked at whether these emotional effects of entitlement extend to situations solely involving bad luck. First, the pair asked 162 participants to fill in the Psychological Entitlement Scale, which asks respondents to rate their agreement with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than others”. Participants were also asked how good they would expect their luck to normally be when rolling dice.

Participants were then told that they would be randomly allocated by dice roll to either a fun task (rating comic strips) or a boring task (counting the letters in a paragraph). In reality, all participants were told they had had “bad luck” and been assigned to the boring task. They then rated how unjust they felt this was, and indicated how angry they were.

The team found that those higher in entitlement had a stronger feeling of injustice and greater levels of anger. More entitled participants also generally expected to experience better luck when rolling dice, suggesting this is another instance where entitled people have (unrealistically) high expectations.

In a second study, participants were asked to recall either a time when something bad had happened to them solely because of bad luck, or when someone had treated them unfairly. They then indicated how fair and just they felt the event was, and rated their feelings of anger.

People high in entitlement again showed greater anger than those low in entitlement when recalling an instance of bad luck. But when remembering an instance of unfair treatment, those high and low in entitlement showed similar levels of anger. That is, entitlement again seemed to be an important factor in determining anger after bad luck, but not when there was a specific individual to blame.

Finally, the researchers looked at how entitlement related to feelings of anger and pity when someone else experiences bad luck. Participants read a scenario in which their flight had been cancelled and the airline was randomly selecting a customer to hop onto another plane with a spare seat. In one scenario they were told that they had been unlucky and someone else had been picked; in another they were the lucky one.

When the participants read that they had had bad luck, higher entitlement was once again related to greater feelings of anger. Unsurprisingly, participants didn’t feel much anger when they were assigned the seat and the other person was unlucky. But they did experience pity towards that person — and interestingly, those with a greater sense of entitlement reported less pity.

Overall, then, the studies suggest that entitled people expect to have good luck, and get angry after experiencing bad luck — even though by definition there is no-one to direct that anger towards. (The authors do acknowledge it’s possible that people implicitly blame God or some higher power for their bad luck).

So what are the consequences of experiencing anger in those situations? The researchers suggest that feelings of anger and injustice could reinforce people’s sense of entitlement, though they add that there could be benefits too — if anger motivates someone to try and improve their performance in the future, for instance (though that may be difficult in cases where a bad result is purely down to luck).

Similarly, it remains to be seen how the results translate to the real world. In most cases an instance of “bad luck” doesn’t occur in isolation, but often in a social setting — so it would seem prudent to examine whether this kind of anger is taken out on others.

Individuals higher in psychological entitlement respond to bad luck with anger

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Interview with Alan Francis: The Fourth Way, Taoism and Spiritual Development

alan francis

Today on MindMatters we interview Alan Francis, a longtime Fourth Way practitioner, teacher and author of the book Secrets of the Fourth Way. Alan is the founder of the Russian Center for Gurdjieff Studies as well as the International School of the Fourth Way, planned to open this coming winter. Our discussion covers a range of topics, from Alan’s early life experiences that led him to the Fourth Way, basic Fourth Way topics like kundabuffer and Gurdjieff’s take on kundalini, addiction, and fear, to ‘powers and principalities’, Taoist alchemy and its possible significance in relation to Gurdjieff’s ideas and practice, concluding with a demonstration of a unique Fourth Way gymnastics exercise.

Alan’s Facebook group is accessible here.

[embedded content]

Running Time: 01:42:06

Download: MP3 — 93.5 MB

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Harrison Koehli (Profile)

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s MindMatters, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists (commies too).


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Corey Schink (Profile)

Corey Schink was born and raised in the Midwestern United States, where he worked on farms and as a welder, musician, and social worker. His interests in government, philosophy and history led to his writing for SOTT in 2012 and to becoming a SOTT editor and SOTT Radio co-host in 2014. He now resides in North Carolina, where he enjoys the magnificent views of the Appalachian Mountains.

Massive study suggests dreams are really continuations of reality

Dream Study

© Alex Blăjan/Unsplash

Where do dreams come from? It’s an age-old question, something people have been wondering and theorising about for millennia.

Whereas ancient civilisations may have interpreted dreams as having supernatural or spiritual origins, in modern society, we’re more likely to analyse our dreams in terms of our waking life, looking for meaningful connections linking the content of dreams with lived experiences from our day-to-day existence.

“Research has repeatedly provided strong support for what sleep scientists refer to as the ‘continuity hypothesis of dreams‘: most dreams are a continuation of what is happening in everyday life,” researchers led by computer scientist Alessandro Fogli from Roma Tre University in Italy explain in a new study.

“It turns out that everyday life impacts dreaming (e.g. anxiety in life leads to dreams with negative affect) and vice versa (e.g. dreaming impacts problem-solving skills).”

These psychological theories date back to the work of Sigmund Freud and others in the 20th century, who spearheaded the notion that the hidden meanings of dreams could be unlocked when examined within the context of a person’s real-world experiences.

In contemporary dream analysis, therapists attempt to help patients interpret their dreams, via the use of dream reports, looking for clues, symbols, and structures that might correspond with other parts of the dreamer’s life.

One of the most well regarded systems for interpreting dream reports is called the Hall and Van de Castle system, which codifies dreams in terms of the characters that appear within them, the interactions these characters have, and the effects these interactions subsequently have on the characters, among many other concepts.

One problem with the system however, is that it can be a slow and time-consuming process to manually sift through dream reports to identify these elements, which is why sleep scientists these days are continually looking into algorithmic solutions that can automate the task of recognising and annotating dream content in terms of the Hall and Van de Castle method.

In their new study, Fogli and his team have come up with a new way of doing this – one which they used to track people’s dreams on a vast scale, analysing a set of 24,000 dreams from a giant public database of dream reports called DreamBank.

“We designed a tool that automatically scores dream reports by operationalising the widely used dream analysis scale by Hall and Van de Castle,” the researchers explain.

“We validated the tool’s effectiveness on hand-annotated dream reports … and tested what sleep scientists call the ‘continuity hypothesis’ at this unprecedented scale.”

The team’s dream processing tool simplifies the Hall and Van de Castle system, parsing the text of dream reports and focusing on characters, social interactions, and emotions words.

“These three dimensions are considered to be the most important ones in aiding the interpretation of dreams,” the team writes, “as they define the backbone of a dream plot: who was present, which actions were performed and which emotions were expressed.”

When they compared the output of their language processing tool against hand-annotated notes of dream reports written by dream experts, the results matched about three-quarters of the time; not a perfect score, but a promising signal that suggests technological developments like this could lead to new kinds of breakthroughs in dream research.

The researchers also found in their data evidence to support the continuity hypothesis – the notion that dreams are a continuation of what happens in everyday life. According to the researchers, the dream reports contained various “statistical markers” reflecting what the dreamers likely experienced in real life.

You can explore facets of their analysis, all based on the dreams of real people, at this website, which replicates data from the project.

While it’s far from being the last word on what our dreams really mean and where they come from, the researchers say approaches like this in the future will make it easier to quantify important aspects of dreams, and could even make it possible to “build technologies that bridge the current gap between real life and dreaming”.

The findings are reported in Royal Society Open Science.

Study of heart attack victims showed most had normal LDLs

LDL HDL cholesterol

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), or heart disease, is a term that refers to several types of heart conditions. Many of the problems associated with heart disease are related to atherosclerosis. This term refers to a condition in which there’s a buildup of plaque along the walls of the artery, making it more difficult for blood to flow and for oxygen to reach the muscles, including the heart.

This can be the underlying problem in cases of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. Other types of CVD happen when the valves in the heart are affected or there’s an abnormal heart rhythm.1

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and it contributes to other leading causes including stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.2 It also ranks as the No. 1 cause of death around the world: Four out of five deaths are from heart attack or stroke.3

Heart disease accounts for 25% of deaths in the U.S. with a $219 billion price tag, based on data from 2014 to 2015.4 Scientists believe some of the key contributing factors are high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

Cholesterol Levels in People Who Had Heart Attacks

There is ongoing disagreement over the levels at which cholesterol presents a risk for heart disease and stroke. Added to this, many doctors and scientists continue to recommend lowering fat consumption and using medications to lower cholesterol levels.

A national study from the University of California Los Angeles showed that 72.1% of the people who had a heart attack did not have low-density (LDL) cholesterol levels which would have indicated they were at risk for CVD. Their LDL cholesterol was within national guidelines and nearly half were within optimal levels.5

In fact, half the patients admitted with a heart attack who had CVD had LDL levels lower than 100 milligrams (mg), which is considered optimal; 17.6% had levels below 70 mg, which is the level recommended for people with moderate risk for heart disease.6

However, more than half the patients who were hospitalized with a heart attack had high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in the poor range, based on a comparison to national guidelines.

The team used a national database with information on 136,905 people who received services from 541 hospitals across the U.S. They were admitted between 2000 and 2006 and, while they had their blood drawn upon arrival, only 59% had their lipid levels checked at that time.

Of those who were checked, out of everyone who was admitted with a heart attack but didn’t have CVD or Type 2 diabetes, 72.1% had LDL levels less than 130 mg/dL, which was the recommended level at the time of the study (2009).

In addition to this, researchers found the levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) had dropped compared to statistics from earlier years, with 54.6% having levels below 40 mg/dL.7 The desirable level for HDL is 60 mg/dL or higher.8

The findings led researchers to suggest that the guidelines for prescribing cholesterol medication should be adjusted — to lower the number at which drugs should be administered. In other words, they are suggesting that more people be put on cholesterol drugs. As explained by Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, lead investigator:9

Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk in most who could benefit.

The study was sponsored by the Get with the Guidelines program that’s supported by the American Heart Association, which promotes the use of statins for lowering LDL cholesterol.10 Fonarow has done research for GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, and has consulted for, and received honoraria from Merck, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott — all of which manufacture cholesterol drugs, including statins.

Cholesterol Myth May Be Kept Alive by Big Pharma

While scientists and physicians continue to investigate the level of cholesterol that may affect heart attack risk, the theory that dietary cholesterol is a contributor has long been proven false. In the 1960s it may have been a conclusion that researchers made based on the available science, but decades later the evidence does not support the hypothesis.11

Yet, as some researchers have pointed out, the move toward removing dietary cholesterol limits has been slow. In the past 10 years, some have modified recommendations to address certain negative consequences of limiting dietary cholesterol, such as the risk of having inadequate levels of choline. Unfortunately, others have continued to promote low-fat diets and that could have hazardous results.

Whether discussing cholesterol intake or serum cholesterol levels, the data do not support the hypothesis that it relates to heart disease. I believe it appears that the evidence supporting the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs is likely little more than the manufactured work of pharmaceutical companies.

This also appears to be the conclusion of the authors of a scientific review published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology.12 The team identified significant flaws in three recent studies: “… large reviews recently published by statin advocates have attempted to validate the current dogma. This article delineates the serious errors in these three reviews as well as other obvious falsifications of the cholesterol hypothesis.”

The authors present substantial evidence that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are not indicators of heart disease risk. In addition, statin treatment is doubtful as a form of primary prevention. In their analysis, they point out that if high cholesterol levels were a major cause of atherosclerosis, patients with high total cholesterol whose levels were lowered the most by statin drugs should see the greatest benefit. However, evidence does not show that to be the case.

In another review of statin trials and other studies in which cholesterol was linked to heart disease, researchers could not find a correlation between cholesterol and the degree of coronary atherosclerosis, coronary calcification or peripheral atherosclerosis. They found no exposure response in which those with the highest level of cholesterol enjoyed the greatest benefit from reduction.13

These researchers propose the link between high LDL or total cholesterol and heart disease may be secondary to other factors that promote CVD, such as:14

lack of physical activity, mental stress, smoking, and obesity. It is generally assumed that their effect on cardiovascular disease is mediated through the high cholesterol, but this may be a secondary phenomenon.

Physical activity may benefit the cardiovascular system by improving endothelial function, or by stimulating the formation of collateral vessels; mental stress may have a harmful influence on adrenal hormone secretion, smoking increases the oxidant burden; in these all situations the high cholesterol may be an epiphenomenal indicator that something is wrong.


Saturated Fat Is Crucial but Vegetable Oil Is Deadly

One of the reasons so many people are sick is that we’re constantly told that animal fats are unhealthy and industrial vegetable oils are not, and people believe it. The authors of a recent paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology admits the long-standing nutritional guideline to limit saturated fat is incorrect.

This is a tremendous step forward in righting a dietary wrong that started with Ancel Keys’ flawed hypothesis15 and has since had a significant impact on health and wellness. As the researchers note in the abstract:16

The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational studies found no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality, and instead found protective effects against stroke.

Although SFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, in most individuals, this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles, but rather larger LDL particles, which are much less strongly related to CVD risk. It is also apparent that the health effects of foods cannot be predicted by their content in any nutrient group without considering the overall macronutrient distribution.

Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods.

In a recent speech at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, titled “Diseases of Civilization: Are Seed Oil Excesses the Unifying Mechanism?” Dr. Chris Knobbe revealed evidence that seed oils, so prevalent in modern diets, are the reason for most of today’s chronic diseases.17

His research charges the high consumption of omega-6 seed oil in everyday diets as the major unifying driver of the chronic degenerative diseases so prevalent in modern civilization.

He calls the inundation of Western diets with harmful seeds oils “a global human experiment … without informed consent.” You’ll find more, including a video of his presentation in “Are Seed Oils Behind the Majority of Diseases This Century?


Your Omega-3 Index Is More Predictive Than Cholesterol

The combination of a diet high in omega-6 fats commonly found in vegetable oils and low in omega-3 fats, commonly found in fatty fish, is yet another risk factor for coronary heart disease. As the National Institutes of Health describes:18

The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood.

Each of the three fats plays a unique role in cellular health. The authors of one study analyzed the risk of a cardiovascular event while taking icosapent ethyl.19 The medication is a “highly purified omega-3 fatty acid” that is “a synthetic derivative of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).”20

Those who took the medication had a significantly lower number of ischemic events than those taking the placebo. An omega-3 deficiency leaves you vulnerable to chronic disease and lifelong challenges. The best way to determine if you’re getting enough is to be tested, as it’s a good predictor of all-cause mortality.21

The omega-3 index is a measure of the amount of EPA and DHA in red blood cell membranes. This has been validated as a stable and long-term marker because it reflects your tissue levels. An index greater than 8% is associated with the lowest risk of death, while an index lower than 4% places you at the highest risk of heart disease-related mortality.22

Your best sources of fatty fish are wild-caught Alaskan salmon, herring, mackerel and anchovies. The larger predatory fish, such as tuna, have much higher amounts of mercury and other toxins. It’s important to realize your body can’t convert enough plant-based omega-3 to meet your needs. That means that if you’re a vegan, you must figure out a way to compensate for the lack of marine or grass fed animal products in your diet.

If your test results are low, and you are considering a supplement, compare the advantages and disadvantages of fish oil and krill oil. Krill are wild-caught and sustainable, more potent than fish oil and less prone to oxidation. You’ll find more about the benefits of maintaining adequate levels of omega-3 fats in “Omega-3 Index More Predictive Than Cholesterol Levels.”

Know Your Cholesterol Ratios

The cholesterol myth has been a boon to the pharmaceutical industry since cholesterol-lowering statins have become some of the more frequently prescribed and used drugs. In a report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published in JAMA, evidence showed that 250 people need to take a statin drug for one to six years to prevent one death from any cause.23

When measuring cardiovascular death specifically, 500 would have to take a statin drug for two to six years to prevent even one death. As the evidence mounts that statin drugs are not the answer and simple cholesterol levels may not help you understand your risk of heart disease, it’s time to use other risk assessments.

In addition to an omega-3 index, you can get a more accurate idea of your risk of heart disease using an HDL/total cholesterol ratio, triglyceride/HDL ratio, fasting insulin level, fasting blood sugar level and iron level. You’ll find a discussion of the tests and measurements in “Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease.”

Sources and References

COVID19 – What have we learned?

COVID 19

© NZ Herald

We have learned that people who are asymptomatic can, cannot, can, cannot, can, cannot, can… spread the virus.

That the accuracy of PCR antigen testing is brilliant, useless, brilliant, useless, brilliant, useless.

That false positive tests are impossible, common, impossible, common, impossible, common.

That facemasks are useless, necessary, useless, necessary, useless… absolutely necessary.

We also know that some people are, are not, are, are not are, naturally immune. In addition, we know that having had COVID means that you can, cannot, can, cannot, can cannot – maybe you can, frankly who knows, get it again. I think Kurt Vonnegut Junior put it best:

We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodely do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

I like to think I have some expertise in reading medical research papers, then trying to work out what they really mean, rather than what they say they mean. I even gritted my teeth and wrote the book Doctoring Data in order to help people understand the endless games and manipulations that are played with research studies.

I analysed the power of money to distort research findings, in ways such that black can be magically turned into white.

Of course, distortion is not just driven by money. This is only one of the factors that lays its heavy hand upon research. There are many others. The immense power of an idea to set thoughts in concrete, previous public statements made and fearing loss of authority if you change your mind. Status, power, political games, etc.

Just to look at an example of actions not (obviously) driven by money. On the back of COVID, Bill Gates seems determined to be remembered as the man who vaccinated the world. It will be his enduring legacy. He probably knows that his Microsoft empire will simply be a sub-paragraph in an MBA hypothesis in a hundred years. On the other hand, worldwide vaccination will secure him a place in history.

Although I understand many of the forces at work to distort research, and how the manipulates are carried out, when it comes to COVID I have almost given up. Almost everyone seems to have an agenda, twisting and turning meaning this way and that.

In many cases, the end result seems to be a determined effort to inflate the mortality figures, or paint COVID as the evillest virus ever. I suspect the vaccine manufacturers have a major role to play in this.

Just to give one reasonably well-known example of this. In England, if you ever had a positive test for COVID, and then died, you were added to the COVID death statistics. Whatever killed you, however long after you had a positive test you died of COVID.

This has recently been changed. Primarily because it was so patently ridiculous that even Matt Hancock (UK health secretary) was no longer able to confirm that this was absolutely the correct thing to do. Although it seems he had no idea it was happening in the first place.

Despite this change, we still have the situation in the UK, where you can never, officially recover from COVID – which is equally mad. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. I suspect this will be quietly changed at some point – maybe it has been, and I didn’t notice.

On the other hand, other very strange things took place, in the opposite direction. Right at the start of the pandemic, the UK Govt changed COVID to an infection no longer considered of high consequence;

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK.1

Yes, the 19th of March. The UK went into lockdown on the 16th of March [Error, this should be the 23rd march], and three days later COVID was no longer a high consequence disease. The only disease in history which has required lockdown, including the obliteration of many basic human rights, and the trashing of the entire economy. Yet it is not a disease of high consequence?

This happened virtually unremarked. Very quietly, you could almost say sneakily. What on earth went on here? My guess is this was done to stop healthcare workers suing the NHS if they contracted COVID at work – as almost no medical staff had adequate PPE. There may be other reasons, but I struggle to think what they may be.

Wherever you looked there was confusion, and statistical manipulation, and then we moved onto the hydroxychloroquine saga. At the very start of the pandemic I wrote a blog suggesting hydroxychloroquine could be helpful. This was based on earlier research demonstrating this drug could hamper viral entry into cells and, once within the cell, could impede viral entry into the nucleus. I even tried to get my trust to stockpile some of the drug – no chance there. Hydroxy-what?

Little did I know the massive storm that would erupt around this drug. A drug that has been around for decades. It is available over the counter in many countries and is, I think, the most widely used drug in India. It is primarily an anti-malarial drug – as it helps to prevent entry of the malaria parasite into cells and can hamper it breaking down haemoglobin, thus destroying red blood cells.

It is also used as an anti-inflammatory in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), where it is extraordinarily safe (in the correct doses). It has been looked at as a possible anti-viral for many years. Earlier this year, I was reading various papers about it. Such as this one; ‘Effects of chloroquine on viral infections: an old drug against today’s diseases.’

Chloroquine is a 9-aminoquinoline known since 1934. Apart from its well-known antimalarial effects, the drug has interesting biochemical properties that might be applied against some viral infections. Chloroquine exerts direct antiviral effects, inhibiting pH-dependent steps of the replication of several viruses including members of the flaviviruses, retroviruses, and coronaviruses. Its best-studied effects are those against HIV replication, which are being tested in clinical trials. Moreover, chloroquine has immunomodulatory effects, suppressing the production/release of tumour necrosis factor α and interleukin 6, which mediate the inflammatory complications of several viral diseases’.2

[Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are essentially the same drug, when it comes to efficacy/activity, but hydroxychloroquine has less side-effects. ‘Hydroxy’ means an OH group has been added to the basic compound]

I have to say I didn’t bother to read anything from 2020. It was clear that commercial interests were already heavily contaminating this area.

Which meant that, in order to get a handle on untainted data, I went back to calmer research papers from another era. Anyway, having read around the area, it seemed that hydroxychloroquine might do some good. It was certainly pretty safe, and we had nothing else at the time. Thus, I recommended that it might be used.

Then, the distorting engine was switched to full power. Driven by two main fuel types. Type one was money. Companies with anti-viral agents, such as remdesivir, did not want a ‘cheap as chips’ drug being used. No sirree, they wanted massively expensive (and almost entirely useless) anti-virals to be used instead.

This resulted in a study published in the Lancet, no less, slamming hydroxychloroquine through the floor. It turns out the study was almost entirely fabricated, by researchers strongly associated with various companies who, surprise, surprise, make anti-virals.

The other fuel type was the hybrid money/vaccine. If hydroxychloroquine (plus zinc and azithromycin) works, then there was great concern this would lower uptake of any vaccine that was developed. In addition, it would not be possible to impose emergency vaccine laws, which would make the manufacture of any vaccine far quicker and easier.

Such laws, in the US, are known as Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA). If enacted, these laws mean that a vaccine does not have to be tested for safety and efficacy before use. Just whack it out there, untested. Also, there is no possibility of suing a vaccine manufacturer if it turns out the vaccine caused serious problems.

In the US, UK, and several other countries, complete legal protection against vaccine damage is already enshrined in the law, so nothing changes here.

However, there is still a requirement to carry out at least some research on efficacy and safety. The EUA would remove this barrier. Just get it out there, no questions asked, none possible.

Depending on your view of the ethical standards of those companies manufacturing such vaccines, you would either welcome this move, or feel deeply disturbed. I would be in the latter camp. No way I am taking an active medication that has not been tested for either safety or efficacy.

Whatever camp you are in, there are vast fortunes to be made from developing the first vaccine for COVID-19. If all barriers to immediate uptake are removed, we have a goldrush on our hands. No need to prove your vaccine works, no need to demonstrate it is safe, no chance of being sued. Billions of dollars to be made. What could possibly go wrong?

Which takes us back to that pesky drug, hydroxychloroquine. Does it work, does it not? It seems we will never be allowed to know. Recently the Food and Drug Administration in the US, removed authorisation for its use. Even in a hospital, such as he Henry Ford in Detroit, that appeared to be getting impressive results:

‘”The U.S. Food and Drug Administration informed us that it would not grant our request for an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine for a segment of COVID-19 patients meeting very specific criteria,” said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, in a statement’ 3

All other trials around the world have also being stopped by the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Orhanisation and the UK health authorities.

This, remember, is a drug that has been taken by, literally, billions of people. It is considered safe enough to buy over the counter, yet now it is so dangerous that it cannot even be used for research purposes. Of course, you can still take it if you have rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, malaria – or suchlike – where it remains perfectly safe and is also known to reduce inflammation (a major problem with COVID).

At a stroke discussion, or research, has become virtually impossible, as noted by the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit.

‘Last week, Henry Ford issued an open letter about its study, saying, “the political climate that has persisted has made any objective discussion about this drug impossible.”

The health system said in the letter that it will no longer comment outside the medical community on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat novel coronavirus.’

So, what have we learned? We have learned that medical science is not a pure thing – not in the slightest. We have also learned that the world of research has not come together to conquer COVID, it has split apart.

Those wanting to make money, have distorted and damaged research for their own ends. Those who want to vaccinate the world, forever, have seen a door open to the promised land. Those who wanted lockdown, are inflating the numbers of those killed. Democrats in the US are using COVID as a stick to beat Donald Trump. It is all a bloody horrible mess.

It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Never has this been more certain that with COVID. In this case, first we killed the truth, then we killed science, then we beat inconvenient facts to death with a club. It is all extraordinarily depressing.

References:

1. High consequence infectious diseases (HCID)

2. Effects of chloroquine on viral infections: an old drug against today’s diseases

3. FDA denies Henry Ford Health request to use hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients

SOTT FOCUS: Objective:Health – ‌Deconstructing the Covid Narrative with Investigative Journalist Rosemary Frei

O:H header

Today on Objective:Health we interview independent investigative journalist Rosemary Frei. Rosemary has an MSc in molecular biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, was a freelance medical writer and journalist for 22 years before she had had enough of the industry, the lies, the shady Big Pharma influence and moved on to dig deep and report the Truth. Rosemary has written for OffGuardian, Global Research and you can find many of her articles on Sott.net. You can also follow her on Twitter @RosemaryFreiTO

Join us for a fascinating discussion on the great Covid swindle, vaccines, viruses and dubious “fact-checking” organizations. She goes into detail about how little is actually known about SARS-CoV-2 and what the implications are for the vaccine, testing, immunity passports and even the state of the research itself.

You won’t want to miss this one!

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And check us out on Brighteon!

Links to sources discussed in the show:

Rosemary Frei and Patrick Corbett’s article on the revelations from a whistle-blowing Bulgarian pathologist:
“No one has died from the coronavirus”

Rosemary Frei’s article fact-checking the ‘fact checkers’ on the Bulgarian pathologist’s revelations:
Fact-Checking a “Fact-Checker”: A Response to HealthFeedback.org

Rosemary Frei and Amory Devereux’s article on how the novel coronavirus doesn’t fulfill Koch’s postulates:
Scientists Have Utterly Failed to Prove that the Coronavirus Fulfills Koch’s Postulates

Rosemary Frei’s article on deaths in long-term-care homes:
Were conditions for high death rates at Care Homes created on purpose?

Corbett Report interview of Rosemary Frei regarding her article on deaths in long-term-care homes:
Corbett Report: Rosemary Frei on how the high death rate in Care Homes was created on purpose

Rosemary Frei’s article on Bill Gates revealing the reason behind the lockdown:
Did Bill Gates Just Reveal the Reason Behind the Lock-Downs?

The lengthy and excellent article about what happened to Dr. Andrew Wakefield:
L’affaire Wakefield: Shades of Dreyfus & BMJ’s Descent into Tabloid Science

And the 54-tweet thread by Rosemary describing the main points in the article about Dr. Wakefield (written in response to three people on Twitter who challenged her assertions that the article clearly shows Dr. Wakefield’s reputation was destroyed unjustly):
https://twitter.com/RosemaryFreiTO/status/1084674128060153856
https://twitter.com/RosemaryFreiTO/status/1084677791516225536
https://twitter.com/RosemaryFreiTO/status/1084681568822603776

The study Rosemary referenced that compares vaccinated and unvaccinated children:
Analysis of health outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated children: Developmental delays, asthma, ear infections and gastrointestinal disorders, Brian S Hooker 1 , Neil Z Miller 2

The testimony by a US pediatrition about the dangers of vaccines:
Dr. Lawrence Palevsky Testimony: Unvaccinated Children Are “The Healthiest Children I’ve Ever Seen”

For other health-related news and more, you can find us on:

♥Twitter: https://twitter.com/objecthealth
♥Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/objecthealth/
♥Brighteon: https://www.brighteon.com/channel/objectivehealth

♥And you can check out all of our previous shows (pre YouTube) here.

Running Time: 00:49:38

Download: MP3 — 45.5 MB

750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes approved for release in Florida Keys

mosquito

© Shutterstock
A plan to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys in 2021 received final approval from local authorities.

A plan to release over 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022 received final approval from local authorities, against the objection of many local residents and a coalition of environmental advocacy groups. The proposal had already won state and federal approval.

“With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, in a statement released Wednesday.

Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” she added.

Approved by the Environment Protection Agency in May, the pilot project is designed to test if a genetically modified mosquito is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides to control the Aedes aegypti. It’s a species of mosquito that carries several deadly diseases, such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

The mosquito, named OX5034, has been altered to produce female offspring that die in the larval stage, well before hatching and growing large enough to bite and spread disease. Only the female mosquito bites for blood, which she needs to mature her eggs. Males feed only on nectar, and are thus not a carrier for disease.

The mosquito is also approved to be released into Harris County, Texas, beginning in 2021, according to Oxitec, the U.S.-owned, British-based company that developed the genetically modified organism (GMO).

The Environmental Protection Agency granted Oxitec’s request after years of investigating the impact of the genetically altered mosquito on human and environmental health.

“This is an exciting development because it represents the ground-breaking work of hundreds of passionate people over more than a decade in multiple countries, all of whom want to protect communities from dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and other vector-borne diseases,” Oxitec CEO Grey Frandsen said in a statement at the time.

A LONG FIGHT IN FLORIDA

In June the state of Florida issued an Experimental Use Permit after seven state agencies unanimously approved the project. But it’s taken over a decade to obtain that approval.

In 2009 and 2010, local outbreaks of dengue fever, which is spread by the Aedes aegypti, left the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District desperate for new options. Despite an avalanche of effort — from aerial, truck and backpack spraying to the use of mosquito-eating fish — local control efforts to contain the Aedes aegypti with larvicide and pesticide had been largely ineffective.

And costly, too. Even though Aedes aegypti is only 1% of its mosquito population, Florida Keys Mosquito Control typically budgets more than $1 million a year, a full tenth of its total funding, to fighting it.

In 2012, the district reached out to Oxitec for help. The company had developed a male mosquito named OX513A, programmed to die before adulthood unless it was grown in water that contained the antibiotic tetracycline.

Batches of the sterile OX513A would be allowed to live and mate with females; however, their male and female offspring would inherit the “kill” programming and die, thus limiting population growth.

OX513A had been field tested in the Cayman Islands, Panama and Brazil, with Oxitec reporting a large success rate with each release. For example, a trial in an urban area of Brazil reduced the Aedes aegypti by 95%.

But when word spread in the Florida Keys that the mosquito was on the way, public backlash was swift: More than 100,000 people signed a Change.org petition against the proposal; that number has grown to more than 242,000 today.

Public relations campaigns reminding Floridians that the GMO mosquito doesn’t bite because he’s male didn’t completely solve the problem. Media reports quoted angry residents refusing to be treated as “guinea pigs” for the “superbug” or “Robo-Frankenstein” mosquito.

The EPA spent years investigating the mosquito’s impact on both human health and the environment, allowing time for public input. But in the midst of the evaluation, Oxitec developed a second-generation “Friendly Mosquito” technology and withdrew the application for the first.

The new male mosquito, OX5034, is programmed to kill only female mosquitoes, with males surviving for multiple generations and passing along the modified genes to subsequent male offspring.

The EPA permit requires Oxitec to notify state officials 72 hours before releasing the mosquitoes and conduct ongoing tests for at least 10 weeks to ensure none of the female mosquitoes reach adulthood.

However, environmental groups worry that the spread of the genetically modified male genes into the wild population could potentially harm threatened and endangered species of birds, insects and mammals that feed on the mosquitoes.

“The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes will needlessly put Floridians, the environment and endangered species at risk in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dana Perls, food and technology program manager at Friends of the Earth, in Wednesday’s statement.

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Dark Triad Politics: The Psychology of the Far Left and Alt Right

DARK TRIAD

Narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy are the three components of what psychologists and social scientists call the ‘Dark Triad’ – personality traits that inform how one thinks and what one does. And dark they are because these personality features represent some of the very worst that humanity has to offer itself. As we continue to see the chaos and destruction being savaged on Western society by far left groups who claim to be fighting for justice and equality, some new studies go to show that their “liberal” sentiments belie a deeper pathology. What these activists are actually doing is acting out their Dark Triad tendencies – which fly in the face of the very values they claim to espouse and closely resemble their supposed political ‘enemies’ on the far right.

This week on MindMatters we delve into the world of extremist politics and entitlement to examine what really lies behind the righteous curtain of political ideology on the left and the right, and how more moderate voices are co-opted and exploited by their more radical confrères. ‘Politically correct liberals’, ‘politically correct authoritarians’, ‘white identitarians’: whatever the ideological mask, the root problem is the psychopathic element who influence and distort every type of belief system. When we realize that, perhaps we’ll be able to get somewhere.

For the paper discussed, see here.

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Running Time: 01:08:18

Download: MP3 — 62.5 MB

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Harrison Koehli (Profile)

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s MindMatters, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists (commies too).


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Elan Martin (Profile)

Born and raised in New York City, Elan has been an editor for SOTT.net since 2014 and is a co-host for MindMatters. He enjoys seeing and sharing what’s true about our profoundly and rapidly changing world.


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Corey Schink (Profile)

Corey Schink was born and raised in the Midwestern United States, where he worked on farms and as a welder, musician, and social worker. His interests in government, philosophy and history led to his writing for SOTT in 2012 and to becoming a SOTT editor and SOTT Radio co-host in 2014. He now resides in North Carolina, where he enjoys the magnificent views of the Appalachian Mountains.