When I was a child, nearly everybody became ill with chickenpox. Like nearly all kids, when I became ill with it, I stayed home from school about a week and fully recovered. All that changed in 1995, when the FDA licensed and approved the live attenuated chickenpox (varicella) vaccine in persons aged >12 months. After the vaccine began to be used by most children, the incidence of chickenpox rapidly declined. However, due to continual outbreaks of chickenpox, a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine was added to the childhood immunization schedule in 2006. Is the chickenpox vaccine effective at significantly lowering the incidence of chickenpox? Yes. Due to the vaccine, there is a significantly lowered incidence of chickenpox. However, the most important question to ask is, “Has the chickenpox vaccine (along with the other 70 doses of vaccines given) improved the lives of our children and the rest of the population? The answer to that question is easy: No.
Today (April 15, 2016) I sat for my family practice board exam–for SEVEN hours. That will be the last time I put myself through something as ridiculous as that endeavor! In my SEVEN (miserable) hour board exam today, I found myself getting more and more irritated. Nearly every question was about a drug—how it is used, the side effects associated with it, and how it interacts with other drugs. There were virtually no questions about the importance of diet or the importance of identifying nutritional deficiencies. In fact, I can’t recall one question along those lines. The patient vignettes that I suffered reading through were all the same—the patient was taking multiple drugs and I was asked one obscure question about the drug therapy prescribed to the patient. I actually felt bad for the poor patients in the vignettes as they were having their biochemistry poisoned with multi-drug prescription cocktails.
At FDA.gov, it states, “FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.” That sounds good to me. Too bad it is simply not true. Folks, the FDA does not work for us. It works for Big Pharma. The FDA has started sending letters to companies manufacturing CBD oil informing them to stop producing and marketing it. Then, a Big Pharma company will come in and offer CBD oil for a price many times above what people are paying now. If the FDA was working for us, the citizens, it would not wait 19 years to ban something that has been proven to be harmful. Nor would it allow the second most toxic chemical known to mankind—mercury—in any vaccine. For that matter, it would not allow neurotoxins such as aluminum and MSG in vaccines as well. These failures are mammoth and criminal. Folks, the FDA is beyond fixing. It needs to be replaced with a true agency that is looking out for our health.
The FDA has approved a new flu vaccine—Fluad. Should we say, “hooray,” or “oy veh”. I will let you decide. Fluad is the first seasonal influenza vaccine containing an adjuvant called squalene. Adjuvants in vaccines, such as aluminum, are used to cause a greater immune system response as compared to vaccines used without an adjuvant. This increased immune system response is hypothesized to result in an enhanced efficacy of the vaccine–in other words, it should make the vaccine more effective. Therefore, you would think that a flu vaccine with an adjuvant such as squalene would result in a more robust antibody response when it is compared to the regular flu vaccine that is adjuvant-free. Well, in the case of Fluad, you would think wrong.
We take too many prescription drugs. A study in JAMA(2015:314(17):1818-31. Nov. 3, 2015) was titled, “Trends in prescription drug use among adults in the U.S. from 1999-2012.” The authors used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which included 37,959 adults. The authors found an increase in overall use of prescription drugs among US adults between 1999 and 2012. The most upsetting part of this study was the polypharmacy aspect. The researchers reported that 15% of Americans use at least five prescription drugs. Folks, this is a disaster. Where are the studies that show it is safe to take five or more prescription medications at one time? There aren’t any. Perhaps the increased use in prescription medications resulted in better health outcomes. If you believe that, I may have some swampland in Florida for you! In every health indicator the World Health Organization tracks we finish last or near last among every Western country. We don’t live as long as other Western people and we have more chronic illness. Things are getting worse for us, not better. And, we spend nearly 20% of our GNP on health care–over two-fold higher than any other Western country. Clearly taking more drugs is not the answer.
Let’s look at statin guidelines. The new guidelines recommend nearly half of Americans over the age of 40—more than 50 million people—may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk. I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% who take them—they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer. Where is the evidence that statins help lower coronary calcium levels? There isn’t any. In fact, the opposite is true: research has shown that statin use actually increases the deposition of calcium in coronary arteries. Yes, you read that right. In fact, researchers reported, “…coronary artery calcium progression was fastest among participants using statins…” This wasn’t the only study to report that fact. Other researchers have concluded, “Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.” Folks, evidence-based medicine should be used and embraced. It is too bad that conventional medicine fails to use it when it comes to statins (as well as many other drug therapies). The evidence behind the statin studies should expose statins as one of the greatest failures in modern medicine.
As reported in a September, 2015 study in JAMA Internal Medicine article, researchers studied 16,120,349 women over the age of 40 who resided in 547 counties across the U.S. during a one-year period. The researchers correlated their findings with breast cancer incidence and mortality data during the ensuing 10 years. There was no significant change in mortality in those screened with mammography. The authors noted, “Although it has been hoped that screening would allow breast-conserving surgical procedures to replace more extensive mastectomies, we saw no evidence supporting this change.” Clearly we need a better path. What should be happening is that the Powers-That-Be, such as the American Cancer Society and the Komen Foundation, should be promoting research that would identify why one in seven U.S. women have breast cancer instead of promoting a screening test—mammography–that has never been proven to decrease the mortality rate from breast cancer.
The best metric for measuring the effectiveness of a drug is the NNT or the number of patients needed to be treated with the drug to prevent 1 clinically significant endpoint. In the case of statins and presumably in the case of the new class of drug to lower cholesterol the NNT for primary prevention is between 100-500!! I would not want to take an expensive dangerous drug that is likely to increase my incidence of diabetes (which in and of itself increased heart attacks), heart failure, dementia, muscle aches, fatigue, and oxidative stress as a result of lower vitamin D and coenzyme Q10. For what? To lower my chances of an MI or stroke by less than 1%? I would rather take up jogging and eat better. I would rather bet on black. The statin drugs have been a disaster as they don’t work in the majority of people who take them. Now, we want to spend over $14,000 per year in a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs? We must be out of our minds.
A recent study in Critical Care Medicine is titled, “Lipid Paradox in Acute Myocardial Infarction- The Association with 30-Day In-Hospital Mortality.” This study followed 724 hospitalized patients who suffered an acute heart attack (i.e., myocardial infarction). The scientists attempted to clarify the relationship between the lipid profiles and the 30-day mortality in patients who suffered a heart attack. The authors found that those with lower LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels had a significantly elevated mortality risk when compared to patients with higher LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Why would lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels be associated with a higher mortality rate? Fats from triglycerides are a major energy source and LDL-cholesterol is critical for cell membrane synthesis and is needed to fight infections. Adequate LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be critical for cell function and survival in the case of a heart attack—as well as in other conditions. Folks, we have been hoodwinked to believe that we must all take cholesterol-lowering medications in order to prevent and/or treat heart disease. People do not get heart disease because their cholesterol level is elevated. Remember, 50% of patients who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.
Last night, I viewed the movie, “Trace Amounts: Autism, Mercury, and the Hidden Truth.” This movie should be seen by every parent, medical student and physician in this country. If you are curious about what is in a vaccine and why there are still people out there who do not blindly support mass vaccination, this movie is for you. In fact, if you are worried about the future of our children, this movie is for you.