Former Pfizer Vice President Mike Yeadon discusses his thoughts as to why the lockdown was a mistake, and why the government strategies to manage the pandemic are only making things worse.
Doctors stimulate a nerve in the neck to treat epilepsy, heart failure, stroke, arthritis, and a half dozen other ailments
“This is a bottle of pills,” says J.P. Errico, showing me something that’s obviously not a bottle of pills.
Errico, who is cofounder and CEO of ElectroCore Medical, is holding the GammaCore, a noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator. If ElectroCore’s R&D work holds up, this device is about to turn decades of evidence about the importance of a single nerve into a new kind of medicine: an electrical therapy as benign as a morning swim and as straightforward as popping a pill with your coffee.
Look at an anatomy chart and the importance of the vagus nerve jumps out at you. Vagus means “wandering” in Latin, and true to its name, the nerve meanders around the chest and abdomen, connecting most of the key organs—heart and lungs included—to the brain stem. It’s like a back door built into the human physiology, allowing you to hack the body’s systems.
Vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, got its start in the 1990s, when Cyberonics, of Houston, developed an implanted stimulator to treat particularly tough cases of epilepsy. That application was just the beginning. Researchers soon found that stimulation had the potential to treat a variety of ailments, including painful neurological conditions such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, inflammatory problems such as Crohn’s disease and asthma, and psychiatric ailments such as depression and obsessive- compulsive disorder.
Scientific enthusiasm notwithstanding, the clinical history of VNS has been mixed. Trials with patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression produced good results—but not quite good enough to convince U.S. government-run insurance programs to pay for its use. This past August, a stimulator produced by Boston Scientific performed poorly in a major trial with heart-failure patients. Cyberonics and its competitors are still figuring out what signals are best to send along the vagus nerve to tap into the brain’s systems and fix what ails us.
Progress has been excruciatingly slow. Treatments typically require implanting a pocket-watch-size pulse generator in a patient’s chest, which is wired to a pair of electrodes encircling the vagus nerve in the neck. These trials involve patients for whom all other options have either failed or been ruled out and who are willing to undergo an invasive “treatment of last resort.”
But what if VNS could be the first thing your doctor prescribed? What if, as ElectroCore promises, it really was as easy as taking a pill? That’s what the New Jersey–based startup is aiming for. ElectroCore has developed the first vagus nerve stimulator that isn’t implanted: It’s a handheld device you simply press against your neck. If that’s all it takes to hack into the brain and treat some of the most troubling conditions around, medicine might look very different a decade from now.
The idea that this single nerve can have such a profound effect on so many different organs and ailments might seem far-fetched. To understand the underlying logic of this treatment, consider the anatomy of the vagus nerve and where it connects to the brain.
The nerve terminates in the brain stem at a structure called the nucleus tractus solitarius. “The NTS is a junction in the brain,” explains Milton Morris, who until recently was senior vice president of R&D at Cyberonics. From there, the vagus nerve’s signals travel to other important brain structures with bewildering Latin names, such as the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe nuclei. Most of these structures produce neuro transmitters—the chemicals brain cells use to communicate—that have an inhibitory effect, decreasing a neuron’s excitability.
That anatomical perspective clarifies how VNS produces its therapeutic benefits. An epileptic seizure, for example, is the result of waves of excitation sweeping through the brain. Deploying the brain’s natural dampers should—and apparently does—cause these waves to peter out. Many of the ailments now being investigated by vagus nerve researchers likely involve similar overexcitation, or oversensitivity. “Epilepsy might be just one end of a spectrum,” Errico says.
Some connections along this spectrum have been known for a long time: About 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates noted an association between epilepsy and depression, two ailments now treated with VNS. Researchers have stumbled upon other links more recently: Errico and scientists at Columbia University discovered that asthmatics they successfully treated with stimulation reported fewer headaches.
ElectroCore found further hints of relationships between maladies by delving into patient complaints collected by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. Sorting through the data helped the company identify its first clinical targets—migraines and cluster headaches—but also suggested future research directions. The data showed that care for patients with headaches is surprisingly expensive, as they consult doctors up to three times as often as average and take up to four times as much medication. But all this extra health care isn’t necessarily to address their headaches; these patients tend to have other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, anxiety, and asthma that may be treatable through VNS. The data suggest that these conditions may have a common root, at least in some patients.
Today these problems are served by a multibillion-dollar pharmaceuticals market. But those drugs don’t always work, and they can have troubling side effects. So instead of trying to squash these electronic upstarts, some big pharma companies are getting in on the game.
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has been the most public with its support, even coining the term “electroceuticals” to describe the emerging therapies. “Our goal, basically, is to speak the electrical language of the nerves to achieve a higher treatment effect,” said Kristoffer Famm, head of bioelectronics research at GSK, in a recent interview. In 2013, GSK created a US $50 million venture capital arm, Action Potential Venture Capital, to fund electroceutical startups. It’s first pick was the vagus nerve implant company SetPoint Medical.
SetPoint was cofounded by Kevin Tracey, a neurosurgeon and immunologist. Motivated by the mysterious death of an infant burn patient under his care, Tracey went on to prove the existence of the “inflammatory reflex”—a pathway through which the brain can quell inflammation by sending signals through the vagus nerve to the spleen. SetPoint Medical is dedicated to manipulating that reflex to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, among other inflammatory afflictions. Though its therapy requires an implanted stimulator, the small device fits entirely in the patient’s neck, greatly reducing the extent of surgery. The company has always aimed to make the device as much like a drug therapy as possible, explains SetPoint chief technical officer Mike Faltys. “We didn’t get pharmaceutical funding until recently,” he says, “but we had the pharmaceutical idea from the start.”
Think about pills for a moment: You take them either on a schedule or in response to a symptom. They’re portable, and their number can be limited by prescription.
ElectroCore’s device shares all these attributes, says Errico. A typical regimen is two or three 2-minute doses twice a day, but if you sense a migraine coming on, you can use the stimulator to head off a full-blown attack. ElectroCore’s device is smaller than an iPhone 6, so it’s easy to tote around. (The company’s engineers recently built a stimulator into the case of a Samsung smartphone just to show it could be done.) And it can be programmed by your doctor to deliver a set number of doses.
Making the world’s first noninvasive nerve stimulator was quite an engineering challenge. Consider the signaling problem: The vagus nerve is made up of many individual nerve fibers of several different types, some transmitting signals up into the brain and some signaling down to the organs. Some do helpful things such as calming over excitation in the brain or signaling the spleen to reduce inflammation, but others do things that could be dangerous such as slowing your heart rate. The signal must be able to activate the “good” fibers while leaving the “bad” ones unchanged.
Adding to the difficulty is that to reach the nerve, the stimulator has to transmit its signal through several centimeters of flesh without causing excessive muscle contractions. The signal must also pass through a layer of skin that’s both electrically resistive and chock-full of pain receptors.
ElectroCore’s researchers knew that directing the signal through the good fibers instead of the bad ones is just a matter of hitting a sweet spot of signal strength. Their real innovation was sending that signal painlessly through the skin, explains vice president of research Bruce J. Simon. The key, he says, is to understand that the skin acts the way a capacitor in a filter circuit does: It blocks direct current and low frequencies, but a high enough frequency signal will pass through it. But brain responses to VNS are frequency dependent. ElectroCore’s brain- hacking code needs 25 one- millisecond pulses per second—but this low a frequency would trigger pain receptors while passing through the skin. So the stimulator forms each of the 25 pulses from a burst of 5,000 hertz. The high- frequency signals slip painlessly past the skin, losing only about half their strength along the way. The nerve fibers themselves do the rest of the job, modifying the signal that reaches them so that only the train of 25 pulses remains to propagate up into the brain.
The handheld stimulator can produce pulses at a range of voltages; because people’s necks and nerves vary anatomically, the voltage is adjustable for each patient—though it always remains below the level that would trigger the bad nerves. ElectroCore’s researchers found that the optimum voltage is about equal to the level that causes a person’s lower lip to twitch.
“My number is 28 [volts],” says company chief operating officer Frank Amato, as he demonstrates the device. You get the sense that everyone at ElectroCore knows his or her number. I tried it as well, though on my arm and with the goal of causing my hand to contract. My number was 12.
ElectroCore isn’t alone in seeking a noninvasive way to access the vagus nerve. Germany-based Cerbomed has developed a stimulator that hangs on a part of the ear where a minor branch of the vagus nerve lies close to the skin. Competitors are skeptical that stimulating this small branch will cause sufficient changes in the brain, but Cerbomed cites studies showing that its stimulator produces a pattern of neural activation similar to that produced by more typical forms of VNS. The company is now conducting a clinical trial for the treatment of epilepsy and has experimented with treatments for migraine, schizophrenia, and tinnitus as well.
You might think ElectroCore’s noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator would have makers of more conventional systems worried. It doesn’t. For those companies, it’s all a matter of compliance and control.
Compliance is the ability or willingness of a patient to follow through with a therapy. As former Cyberonics staffer Morris points out, some of the company’s patients may be too sick to reliably use a self-administered system. Some epileptic patients, for example, can feel their seizures coming on and activate their implants, but others don’t experience such foreshadowing. Implanted stimulators can deliver their therapies automatically. What’s more, it can take months or even a few years for epileptic patients to get the full benefits of vagus nerve stimulation, he says. “If he’s not getting relief, a patient might quit before it gets there.”
Companies making invasive vagus nerve stimulators also like the guarantee that they can control the delivery of a precisely tuned signal to the vagus nerve alone. Cyberonics is also working on a heart-failure therapy, in which the doctor carefully ramps up the electrical signal over many weeks. Morris thinks this progression would be too difficult to control without an implant.
The Dallas-based company MicroTransponder is developing an implanted device to treat tinnitus and stroke. The company’s chief scientific officer, Navzer Engineer, says external stimulators couldn’t match the timing precision and signal integrity of his system. “We know it works and we know the parameters,” he says. “I’m not sure we’d know these parameters if we used a noninvasive system.”
ElectroCore’s Errico acknowledges that compliance may be a problem for some patients, but he’s convinced that his company’s device has exact enough control to treat a broad range of ailments.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the noninvasive approach is the economics. Implants must operate inside the body for years without being damaged or causing problems themselves, and that doesn’t come cheap: The U.S. government insurance program Medicaid pays about $20,000 for the Cyberonics epilepsy device and its implantation. At that price, it’s not surprising that implants are often a last resort. By contrast, ElectroCore’s noninvasive system costs the equivalent of $200 to $400 in Europe, depending on how many doses are programmed into the device.
At that price, Medical University of South Carolina brain-stimulation scientist Mark S. George imagines a scenario that would be a win for both invasive and noninvasive technology. Like any therapy, VNS doesn’t work for everybody. Even in its most established use, epilepsy, VNS helps only about 40 percent of those who get the implant. George suggests that patients might start with noninvasive stimulation, and if they respond to it, they could go ahead with the implantation procedure knowing ahead of time that they’ll benefit. This would cut costs overall, because fewer patients would needlessly get implants.
In any case, ElectroCore still has a lot to prove: While its device has met Europe’s regulatory standards as a treatment for migraines and other headaches, U.S. market approval requires more rigorous clinical trials, which are now being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. And the company’s scientists are still investigating potential applications in gastroenterology, psychiatry, and pulmonology.
If clinical trials eventually prove this system’s worth for other chronic ailments, its low price tag would make it competitive with standard drug treatments. And unlike pharmaceutical treatments, the nerve stimulator seems to have no major side effects. Hence the buzz about electroceuticals. Anyone who will ever suffer from one of those ailments or cares about someone who does—in other words, just about everyone—may soon benefit from this new electronic age of medicine.
This article originally appeared in print as “Follow the Wandering Nerve.”
The word “alcohol” is said to come from the arabic term “Al-khul” which means “BODY-EATING SPIRIT” (also, is the origin of the term” ghoul”).
In alchemy, alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity. Hence its’ use in extracting essences for essential oils, and the sterilization of medical instruments. By consuming alcohol into the body, it in effect extracts the very essence of the soul, allowing the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities most of which are of low frequencies. (why do you think we call certain alcoholic beverages “SPIRITS”). That is why people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol often black out, not remembering what happened. This happens when the good soul (we were sent here with) leaves because the living conditions are too polluted and too traumatic to tolerate. The good soul jettisons the body, staying connected on a tether, and a dark entity takes the body for a joy ride around the block, often in a hedonistic and self serving illogical rampage. Our bodies are cars for spirits. If one leaves, another can take the car for a ride.
Essentially when someone goes dark after drinking alcohol or polluting themselves in many other ways, their body often becomes possessed by another entity. Have you ever felt different, more sexual, more violent, less rational and less logical………after drinking alcohol? Are you aware we already live inside an ancient religious cult who are schooled concerning the dark powers of alcohol? It is this cult that popularizes alcohol, through the media and government it controls, to serve a very ancient and dark agenda.
The solutions to our crumbling society are only to be found within our non polluted collective humanity, not within modern science and the death cult it represents, Our dark and immoral human farmers masquerade as altruistic governments, who then serve us up to dark spiritual entities that feed off our energies when we consume alcohol and a host of other toxic substances they rain down from the top of the ruling pyramid. We’re slaves living on an elaborate control grid…..based on indoctrination, propaganda, chemical sedation, toxic medication and we’re even used as food energy for dark spirits who live outside the frequency of visible sight. I haven’t drank alcohol in almost 5 years. Now, the dark spirits are in fear of me and that’s the way it was always meant to be. Join the moral rebirth of humanity, unslave, reject the poison and lets get to work doing what we know has to be done.
Stop thinking… now stop it… just stop it… stop thinking. See you can’t do it…
The Awakening of the Thinking Machine
Please, carry out a simple, nonetheless astonishing experiment:
Take a watch or a stopwatch, and decide that you are not going to think for a while, as long as you are able to do so! Well, how long has it taken until the first thought slipped into your mind? 5-10 seconds? Are you able to avoid thinking for minutes?
You will be astonished: you are incapable of not thinking. Thinking takes place, it happens to you. The thoughts thinks you, and it is not you who thinks it. You do not do it at will (if it depended it on your will, you could simply avoid thinking), and you are unable to suppress thinking or keep it under control.
We are proud of capable of thinking, as this is what elevates us above the animal kingdom, and our personal identity is also rooted in our thoughts to a large extent. Philosopher René Déscartes declared ”I think, therefore I am.” But is this really thinking that makes us what we are? Would we exist if we did not think?
If we devote some time to monitoring our thoughts, we soon realize that thoughts in our mind keep shifting and changing: a thought appears, then it vanishes, and is replaced by another thought, linked, associated to the previous one–that is how thoughts stream continually, without a stop. Where is this vast stream of thoughts coming from, how has that stream become the foundation of our identity?
The Unconscious Deep Programs of the Mind
When we come to this world as newborn babies, we do not have thoughts, we only have an unconsciously experienced uniform experience. From that, the world of forms and shapes gradually unfolds and, with the help of the language, we learn to categorize our experiences, to put them into conceptual pigeonholes. ”She is mother, that is a tree, and this here is a house.” The language appears, and together with it, the thoughts.
As small children we are extremely open to the outside world, we want to know all about it, we want to conquer it. But we have very little experience in connection with the world, so we apply to the adults around us: parents and teachers. The adults are pleased and willing to tell us how the world works–that is, the way they perceive the world, with their own eyes and in their own beliefs. We are fed partial, fragmented pieces and bits of information, and that is what we devour and believe without hesitation–the program of a system of beliefs.
These explanations run like some sort of programs in the child’s mind. Children are willing to accept unconditionally what they hear from the adults, who are, in a child’s mind, authorities like a God or a sorcerer. Children believe that in this way they will be able to understand the world around them. Parents, kindergarten nurses, teachers, the priests of the congregation and later politicians–who were previously programmed by their own parents, teachers, priests and politicians in a similar manner– form ideas in the children’s minds that are presented as unquestionable truths. These ideas are fixed in the subconscious parts of our minds as a complex system of beliefs that are built upon each other as complementary elements and determine how we see the world and how we act in it.
The beliefs function as hypnotic programs in the computer of the mind, and we are hardly able to resist them. What I have already believed, what is a part of my own ideas, is something that I do not question, that is ”my own truth” and I live my life according to those truths. Our beliefs and convictions are like programs running automatically in the hardware of a computer.
These systems of beliefs that have been installed into us will then do strange things to us. As these are usually unconscious rules, they tend to largely inhibit our creativity. Our beliefs clearly determine what we should think and do and how we should think and do that. I cannot do this, I should not do that, I should not be thinking like that, and must not feel this etc.
A number of the programs are “good” and ethical, as these prevent the impulsive and aggressive outbursts of the Ego, the small ”Self” but, unfortunately, most of the programming is harmful, since these systems of beliefs make us predictable and easy to control.
The Phantom who Lives in Us and Says that it is Us
It is important to understand that during most of our life we are asleep, we live in deep narcosis. Even when our eyes are open, we are still in the dreams of our thoughts, in the imaginary world of our desires and fears, and we are no fully aware of the depths of the present moment. The pure space of Consciousness is shrouded with the clouds of more and more thoughts, the thoughts are joined with emotions, and the thoughts and emotions develop into intricate systems of beliefs which, in the end, cover up the entire space of Consciousness–keeping it in a narcosis, in the narcosis of the systems of beliefs until the end of the person’s life.
Inside the Consciousness a condensed core of thoughts is generated: the Ego, a phantom that does not even have an existence of its own. It is but a mere idea, which calls itself ”ME!” Through self-observation and meditation you are able to look beyond thoughts, in search of your thinking Self, and you are surprised to find that the voice chattering in your head is not somebody, it does not have an existence of its own, it is just a bundle of the systems of beliefs and the emotions connected to these.
Expressions like “my religion,” “my tribe,” “my country,” “my faith,” or “my principles” indicate how deeply we identify with some sort of a system of beliefs. So much so that we do not even know who is ”I,” because we fully identify with a role, with the ideological mask we are wearing.
Waking up from the Hypnotic Dream
It is worth monitoring our thoughts. At all times and under every circumstance. Especially when we need to make a decision in an apparently important issue. We then may observe that though we make a seemingly rational decision, the decision is in fact based upon the systems of beliefs petrified in us. We cannot speak about free will and freedom when we are the captives of some dogma: it is the dogma that makes the decision. For us and instead of us!
Let us make a habit out of examining our thoughts! Let them emerge, and let us contemplate them peacefully–but keep a little distance from them. We should not believe our thoughts, we should not believe in the absolute truth of our thoughts. We must realize that they are only the ”tentacles” of the systems of beliefs that wind themselves around us and eventually strangle us. Free ourselves from the obligation of confusing our systems of beliefs with absolute truths.
Watch carefully our thoughts, derived from our beliefs, and notice that they keep us in some sort of a dazed state, a hypnosis. Once we have experienced that, we are free to wake up from a hypnosis of thousands of years.
Unleash the self-inhibiting beliefs in order to–finally!–allow Life, the Miracle emerge in us and through us.
Consciousness: the Ultimate Mystery
Have you ever been thinking about what is hiding behind your eyes, contemplating the world through your eyes? Who is experiencing its environment through your body? Who is that knows your emotions and thoughts?
Tasting a Newly Discoverable State of Consciousness
Have you ever been thinking about what is hiding behind your eyes, contemplating the world through your eyes? What is the thing that is experiencing its environment through your body? What is the thing that knows your emotions and thoughts? Please, in this very moment turn your attention to the intellect, awareness reading these lines! Watch the observer hiding in you!
What you may find is an existing, real ”something,” and not some abstract metaphysical concept, new age-, esoteric or religious-dogmatic thing that you must believe in. You do not need to believe in it, as it is there in everybody as an alert, intelligent space. It is possible to experience it directly.
This is a new concept that has so far escaped our attention. This is, in fact, the only existing dimension into which the objects and forms of the external world are projected, and that is where we experience our bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts, which are no more than the phenomena of this dimension.
There are basically three–entirely different–states of consciousness:
*The ordinary state of consciousness, which is unaware of the space in which patterns and forms (an image of the world, thoughts, emotions and feelings) appear. This is our everyday consciousness, when we are submerged in forms and shapes – in the contents of the consciousness
*The state of identifying with the pure consciousness, free from forms and shapes. Initiated, mystic or spiritual disciplines call this state ”divine.”
*The experience of completeness, which is equally aware of the domain of forms and shapes and the space-like consciousness.
Space as a Reality which is Hard to Understand
We do not sense the space in which the forms appear, since our attention is diverted by our identification with the forms, the emotions and thoughts. Our like or dislike of various forms prevents us from experiencing the space, where forms and shapes appears. We are abandoned in the play of the actors so much that the stage as such ceases to exist for us.
It is a familiar experience that while we are watching a movie that we find exciting, we tend to forget that it is only a movie, a virtual reality. We are so deeply involved in the magic of the images that we experience intensive emotions: we shed tears when the protagonist dies, though all this is just an illusion. The only real thing is the movie screen.
Relax, and release all thougths and emotions whirling in you.
Look around! Look at the objects surrounding you. With your eyes, scan all the objects in your environment and take notice of them. Then concentrate on the empty space separating the objects! Sense the ”no-thingness” between the objects, the space in which the objects appear. Sense as the objects emerge from the space. Watch for the space!
It appears to be a simple exercise but sometimes we encounter unexpected difficulties. Although we are intellectually aware that objects exist in a space, we are still unable to focus on the space itself, as we consider space as an emptiness, as nothing. As reasonable creatures, we cannot comprehend the concept of ”nothing” (no thing). We believe that space is ”nothing,” and we do not pay attention to the ”nothing,” to the non-existent, though we are aware that space must exist. If space did not exist, objects would be scattered on each other, and we would not be able to separate and identify them. This very gap between things, this spaciousness enables the objects to appear separately, and this is the way we are able to take notice of the objects around us.
Our culture recognizes material, substance the only existing reality, and places material into the focus of its attention. Everything material is important for us, and what is not of material nature will be ignored. Our conscious attention is directed towards material, and space around the material is considered as non-existent. It is, however, space in which all creatures appear, it is the silence on the surface of which sounds dance, and Consciousness in which thoughts, emotions and images of the world appear.
There is no form without space and there is no space without forms–forms appear in space, and every form exists in a surrounding space. That is what Buddha asserts in the famous Heart Sutra: “Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form.”
The Miracle of Space
Once we are able to concentrate on the gap, space between the objects, a strange change of state of consciousness takes place in us. We experience the same emotion as we do when we concentrate on the attention hiding inside us.
You identify with the thing your attention is focusing on.
Before concentration, all observed, experienced things are of material nature: solid furniture, our own solid body; we only sense things that are manifested–we are deeply involved in the material world and all its details: the mutual transformation of things and phenomena into each other.
Once we are able to concentrate on our own attention or on the space between the objects, our state of consciousness changes, and we have a peculiar experience that challenges all our previous systems of beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.
We experience an entirely new dimension of our self, and this dimension is in fact an ancient, undescribable, intelligent, living, endless space, an emptiness, in which bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts as well as material objects appear and vanish, like the waves on the surface of the ocean.
We know that it exists, it is the one and only Life, and at the same time it is the essence in us we call ”I” (The ”I am” sensation). It exists as an ancient, living empty space, a Consciousness conscious of its own existence that comprises everything. Nothing exists outside it, and everything that exists is born inside it: within its space and as its own manifestation.
This state is characterized by tranquillity, deep silence, peace and all-permeating love. We know that this mysterious ”something” is beyond time, it does not have a beginning and end, it was never born and it will never die. If there are no forms and shapes inside it, it will not be conscious of itself, it simply, ”passively” exists, in a sort of dreamless sleep.
Once it has created forms and shapes, it will awake to the existence of the forms and, as it recognizes itself as the creator of the forms and shapes, it will awake to its own existence, too.
It creates forms and shapes in Its own space, in the space of the Consciousness. It permeates the forms and appears as life in them, and plays the role and life of the forms. Once the form has been used up and is no longer suitable for the one and only Life to live Its life through it and experience Itself through that particular form, the Life sheds the form and assumes a new one to experience itself in a different form. The more forms it identifies with, the more experience it gathers about its own individual characteristics.
It is most easily approached through paradoxical statements, like: It exists and is still beyond existence. Only It exists, the forms coming into being in It are all transient and, as they are temporary, transient, they are in fact but illusions.
It is more difficult to describe It in traditional concepts: it is not possible to learn anything about It; we are only able to exprience It in a direct way. Perhaps that is why Jewish mysticists said that it is not possible to pronounce God’s name, and that is why the commandment of the Christians says, ”Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
Buddha never spoke about God, because he was sure that once he had called It God, his followers would identify It with beliefs and concepts they create about God. The one and only existing ”something”–which remains a mystery forever–the human mind is unable to comprehend as It is beyond comprehension:
It is the knower of all thoughts, the mysterious Consciousness.
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Once there was a time when I believed in vaccinations… then I woke-up.
During the past several months as a slew of draconian vaccine bills have been aggressively pushed upon state legislators to legally enforce vaccination against Americans freedom of choice, I have had the opportunity to debate publicly pro-vaccine advocates on a number of occasions. When faced with a barrage of peer-reviewed scientific facts confirming vaccine failures, and its lack of efficacy and safety, representatives of the vaccine establishment will inevitably raise the issue of the eradication of polio and smallpox from the US as case examples of two vaccine miracles.
Yet in neither case, has there been scientifically sound confirmation that the demise of these two infectious diseases were the result of mass population vaccine campaigns.
Furthermore, this horribly simplistic belief that polio and smallpox are exemplary models for all other vaccines is both naïve and dangerous. Vaccinology does not follow a one-size-fits-all theory as the pro-vaccine industry propagates to the public. For any coherent public debate, it is necessary for each vaccine to be critically discerned upon its own terms with respect to its rate of efficacy, the properties of viral infection and immune response, vaccine adverse effects, and the long term risks that may not present symptoms until years after inoculation.
This post is to deconstruct the false claims of polio and smallpox as modern medical success stories and put each in its historical and scientific perspective. In this first part, the legacy of the polio vaccine and its ongoing track record of failure, particularly in developing nations, will be presented.
It is a very dangerous assumption to believe that any new vaccine or drug to fight an infectious disease or life-threatening disease will be safe once released upon an uninformed public. The history of pharmaceutical science is largely a story of failures as well as successes. Numerous drugs over the decades have been approved and found more dangerous than the condition being targeted, but only after hundreds of thousands of people were turned into guinea pigs by the medical establishment. In the case of vaccines, both the first human papilloma vaccine (Gardasil) and Paul Offit’s vaccine for rotavirus (Rotateq) were disasters. Both were fast tracked through the FDA and both failed to live up to their promises.
This scenario of fast tracking unsafe and poorly researched vaccines was certainly the case for one of the first polio vaccines in 1955. In fact the polio vaccine received FDA approval and licensure after two hours of review – the fastest approved drug in the FDA’s history. Known as the Cutter Incident, because the vaccine was manufactured by Cutter Laboratories, within days of vaccination, 40,000 children were left with polio, 200 with severe paralysis and ten deaths. Shortly thereafter the vaccine was quickly withdrawn from circulation and abandoned.
The CDC’s website still promulgates a blatant untruth that the Salk vaccine was a modern medical success. To the contrary, officials at the National Institutes of Health were convinced that the vaccine was contributing to a rise in polio and paralysis cases in the 1950s. In 1957 Edward McBean documented in his book The Poisoned Needle that government officials stated the vaccine was “worthless as a preventive and dangerous to take.” Some states such as Idaho where several people died after receiving the Salk vaccine, wanted to hold the vaccine makers legally liable.
Dr. Salk himself testified in 1976 that his live virus vaccine, which continued to be distributed in the US until 2000, was the “principal if not sole cause” of all polio cases in the US since 1961. However, after much lobbying and political leveraging, private industry seduced the US Public Health Service to proclaim the vaccine safe. Although this occurred in the 1950s, this same private industry game plan to coerce and buy off government health agencies has become epidemic with practically every vaccine brought to market during the past 50 years.
Today, US authorities proudly claim the nation is polio-free. Medical authorities and advocates of mass vaccination raise the polio vaccine as an example of a vaccine that eradicated a virus and proof of the unfounded “herd immune theory”. Dr. Suzanne Humphries, a nephrologist and one of today’s most outspoken medical critics against vaccines has documented thoroughly that polio’s disappearance was actually a game of smoke and mirrors.By 1961, the polio vaccine should have been ruled a dismal failure and abandoned since more people were being paralyzed from the vaccines than wild poliovirus infection.
The 1950s mark a decade of remarkable medical achievement; it also marked a period of high scientific naiveté and enthusiastic idealism. Paralysis was not only associated with polio infections, but also a wide variety of other biologic and toxic agents: aseptic meningitis, Coxsackie and Echo viruses, arsenic, DDT and other industrial chemical toxins indiscriminately released upon millions of Americans. In addition, paralytic conditions were given a variety of names in an attempt to distinguish them, although some, such paralysis due to polio, aseptic meningitis and Coxsackie, were indistinguishable.
One of the more devious names was Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), a class of paralyses indistinguishable from the paralysis occurring in thousands within the vaccinated population. It was therefore incumbent upon health authorities to transfer polio vaccine-related injuries to non-poliovirus causation in order to salvage vaccination campaigns and relieve public fears. Dr. Humphries and her colleagues have noted a direct relationship between the increase in AFP through 2011 and government claims of declining polio infectious rates parallel with increased vaccination.
One of the largest and most devious medical scandals in the history of American medicine also concerns the polio vaccine. In an excellent history about the polio vaccine, Neil Miller shares the story of Dr. Bernice Eddy, a scientist at the NIH who in 1959 “discovered that the polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer.” As the story is told, her attempts to warn federal officials resulted in the removal of her laboratory and being demoted at the agency. It was only later that one of the nation’s most famous vaccine developers, Maurice Hilleman at Merck identified the agent as a cancer causing monkey virus, SV40, common in almost all rhesus monkeys being used to culture the polio virus for the vaccine.
This contaminant virus was found in all samples of the Sabin oral polio vaccine tested. The virus was also being found in Salk’s killed polio injectable vaccine as well. No one knows for certain how many American’s received SV40 contaminated vaccines, but some estimates put the figure as high as 100 million people. That was greater than half the US population in 1963 when the vaccine was removed from the market.
Many Americans today, and even more around the world, continue to be threatened and suffer from the legacy of this lethal vaccine. Among some of the more alarming discoveries since the discovery of the SV40 in Salk’s and Sabin’s vaccines and its carcinogenic footprint in millions of Americans today are:
Loyola University Medical Center identified SV40 in 38% of bone cancer cases
58% of mesothelioma cases, a life threatening lung cancer, had SV40 present
A later analysis of a large national cancer database found mesotheliomas were 178% higher among those who received the polio vaccines
A study published in Cancer Research found SV40 in 23 percent of blood samples taken and 45% of semen samples studied, thereby confirming that the monkey virus can be sexually transmitted.
Osteosarcomas are 10 times higher in states where the polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 was most used, particularly throughout the Northeastern states
Two 1988 studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that SV40 can be passed on to infants whose mother’s received the SV40 tainted vaccines. Those children later had a 13 times greater rate of brain tumors compared to children whose mothers did not receive the polio vaccines. This would also explain why these childrens’ tumors contained the SV40 virus present, even though the children themselves did not receive the vaccine.
There is a very large body of scientific literature detailing the catastrophic consequences of SV40 virus infection. As of 2001, Neil Miller counted 62 peer-reviewed studies confirming the presence of SV40 in a variety of human tissues and different carcinomas. Although the killed polio vaccines administered in developed countries no longer contain the SV40 virus, the oral vaccine continues to be the vaccine of choice in poor developing countries because its cost-effectiveness to manufacture. Safety is clearly not a priority of the drug companies, health agencies and bureaucratic organizations that push the vaccine on impoverished children.
After almost sixty years of silence and a federally sanctioned cover up, the CDC finally admitted several years ago that the Salk and Sabin vaccines indeed were contaminated with the carcinogenic SV40 monkey virus.
However, SV40 is not the only contaminate parents should be worried about. As with other vaccines, such as measles, mumps, influenza, smallpox and others, the viral component of the vaccine continues to be cultured in animal cell medium. This medium can contain monkey kidney cells, newborn calf serum, bovine extract and more recently clostridium tetani, the causative agent for tetanus infection.
All animal tissue mediums can carry known and unknown pathogenic viruses, bacterial genetic residues, and foreign DNA fragments that pose countless potential health risks. Based upon transcripts of CDC meetings on biological safety, the late medical investigative reporter, Janine Roberts, noted that vaccine makers and government health officials admit they have no way to prevent dangerous carcinogenic and autoimmune causative genetic material from being injected into an infant. Among the unwanted genetic material that might be found in vaccines today are: cancer-causing oncogenes, bird leukemia virus, equine arthritic virus, prions (a protein responsible for Mad Cow Disease and other life threatening illnesses), enzyme reverse transcriptase (a biological marker associated with HIV infection), and a multitude of extraneous DNA fragments and contaminates that escape filtration during vaccine preparation.
The CDC acknowledges that it is impossible to remove all foreign genetic and viral material from vaccines. As Janine Roberts noted, the science behind the manufacture of vaccines is extraordinarily primitive. Therefore, the CDC sets limits for how much genetic contamination by weight is permitted in a vaccine, and the agency over the years continues to increase the threshold.
Amidst the polio vaccine debacle and mounds of scientific literature confirming the vaccines’ i failure, US health agencies and the most ardent proponents of vaccines, such as Paul Offit and Bill Gates, retreat into the protected cloisters of medical denialism and continue to spew folktales of polio vaccines’ success.
The polio vaccines on the market have not improved very much during the past 60 years. They continue to rely upon primitive manufacturing technology and animal tissue culturing. In recent years Bill Gates’ polio eradication campaigns in India have been dismal failures. Touted as one of the “most expensive public health campaigns in history” according to Bloomberg Business, as many as 15 doses of oral polio vaccine failed to immunize the poorest of Indian children. Severe gastrointestinal damage due to contaminated water and wretched sanitation conditions have made the vaccine ineffective. Similar cases have been reported with the rotavirus and cholera vaccine failures in Brazil, Peru and Bangladesh. According to epidemiologist Nicholas Grassly at Imperial College London, “ There is increasing evidence that oral polio failure is the result of exposure to other gut infections.”
There is another even more frightening consequence of Gates’ vaccine boondoggle launched upon rural India in 2011. This particular polio vaccine contains an increased dosage of the polio virus. In the April-June 2012 issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, a paper reported the incidence of 47,500 new cases of what is being termed “non-polio acute flaccid paralysis”, or NPAFP, following Gates polio campaign. The following year, there were over 53,500 reported cases. NPAFP is clinically indistinguishable from wild polio paralysis as well as polio vaccine-induced paralysis. The primary difference is that NPAFP is far more fatal.
Physicians at New Delhi’s St. Stephens Hospital analyzed national polio surveillance data and found direct links between the increased dosages of the polio vaccine and rise in NPAFP. Coincidentally, the two states with the highest number of cases, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are also the two states with the worst water contamination, poverty and highest rates of gastrointestinal diseases reported by Bloomberg. As early as 1948, during a particularly terrible polio outbreak in the US, Dr Benjamin Sandler at Oteen Veterans’ Hospital observed the relationship between polio infection, malnutrition and poor diets relying heavily on starches. According to nutrition data, white rice, the primary daily food staple among poorer Indians, has the highest starch content among all foods.
Despite this crisis, in January 2014, Bill Gates, the WHO and the Indian government announced India is today a polio-free nation. Another sleight of hand performance of the polio vaccine’s magical act.
The case of India, and subsequent cases in other developing nations, scientifically supports a claim vaccine opponents have stated for decades; that is, improving sanitation, providing clean water, healthy food, and the means for better hygiene practices are the safest and most efficacious measures for fighting infectious disease. According to statistics compiled by Neil Miller, Director of ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute, the polio death rate had declined by 47% from 1923 to when the vaccine was introduced in 1953. In the UK, the rate declined 55% and similar rates were observed in other European countries.
Many historians of science, such as Robert Johnson at the University of Illinois, agree that the decrease in polio and other infectious diseases during the first half of the twentieth century were largely the result of concerted national public health efforts to improve sanitation and public water systems, crowded factory conditions, better hygienic food processing, and new advances in medicine and health care. Relying upon the unfounded myth that vaccines are a magic bullet to protect a population suffering from extreme conditions of poverty, while failing to improve these populations’ living standards, is a no-win scenario. Vaccines will continue to fail and further endanger the millions of children’s health with severely impaired immune systems with high levels of vaccines’ infectious agents and other toxic ingredients.
A further question that has arisen in recent years is whether or not a new more deadly polio virus has begun to merge as a result of over-vaccination. Last year, researchers at the University of Bonn isolated a new strain of polio virus that evades vaccine protection. During a 2010 polio outbreak in a vaccinated region of the Congo, there were 445 cases of polio paralysis and 209 deaths. This is only the most recent report of polio virus strains’ mutation that calls the entire medical edifice of the vaccine’s efficacy into question.
One of the first discoveries of the vaccine contributing to the rise of new polio strains was reported by the Institut Pasteur in 1993. Dr. Crainic at the Institut proved that if you vaccine a person with 3 strains of poliovirus, a fourth strain will emerge and therefore the vaccine itself is contributing to recombinant activity between strains.
Moreover, since the poliovirus is excreted through a persons GI system, it is commonly present in sewage and then water sources. In 200, Japanese scientists discovered a new infectious polio strain in rivers and sewage near Tokyo. After genetic sequencing, the novel mutation was able to be traced back to the polio vaccine. Additional vaccine-derived polio strains have also been identified in Egypt, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Therefore, the emergence of new polio strains due to over-vaccination is predictable. Similar developments are being discovered with a new pertussis strain that evades the current DPT vaccines. For this reason, there has been an increase in whooping cough outbreaks among fully vaccinated children. Influenza viruses regularly mutate and evade current flu vaccines. The measles vaccine is becoming less and less effective, and again measles outbreaks are occurring among some of the most highly vaccinated populations.
As with the failure of antibiotics because of their over-reliance to fight infections, researchers are now more readily willing to entertain the likelihood that massive vaccination campaigns are contributing to the emergence of new, more deadly viral strains impervious to current vaccines.
Currently, federal agencies review the vaccine science, reinterpret the evidence as it sees fit, and are not held accountable for its misinformation and blatant denialism that threatens the health of countless children at the cost of tens of billions of dollars. Vaccine policies are driven by committees that govern vaccine scheduling and everyone is biased with deep conflict of interests with the private vaccine makers. Even if a person were to make the wild assumption that polio vaccines were responsible for the eradication of polio infection in the US, what has been the trade off? According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013 over 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Twenty-four million Americans have autoimmune diseases. How many of these may be related to the polio and other vaccines? As we have detailed, In the case of the polio vaccine the evidence is extremely high that an infectious disease, believe to have been eliminated from the US, continues ravage the lives of polio vaccine recipients. Nevertheless it can no longer be disputed that the polio vaccine’s devastating aftermath raises a serious question that American health officials and vaccine companies are fearful to have answered.
Right now they “right” the papers, interpret them and are not held accountable if they are wrong. Policies driven by committees governing scheduling and all biased with conflict of interest.
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