Category Archives: Uncategorized

Different Types Of Data Analysis Can Yield Different Results

Study Of The Week: Choices, Oh My, The Choices, Sensible Medicine, 15 August 2022

The paper above describes how a study’s results depend upon how its data was analyzed. The author, Dr. Mandrola, recalls a study that was done to test the hypothesis that different types of analysis yield different results – from the same data.

Nosek and colleagues recruited 29 teams of expert researchers to analyze one data set to answer one simple question: were professional soccer referees more likely to give red cards to dark-skin-toned players than light-skin-toned players?

The 29 teams of researchers analyzed the same data in 29 different ways.

Two-thirds of the expert teams of data scientists detected a significant result and one-third found no statistical difference. Two teams of experts found results that were highly suggestive of implicit bias amongst referees.

Studies describe the method that was used to analyze data. It’s usually only one method.

As if it wasn’t already difficult to trust results.

There Is No Safe Level Of Air Pollution

Despite the relatively clean air, the study found that nearly 8,000 Canadians were dying early each year from outdoor air pollution. Photograph: Robert McGouey/Alamy

Even Low Levels Of Air Pollution Can Damage Health, Study Finds, The Guardian, 12 August 2022

Census records for more than 7 million Canadians from between 1981 and 2016 were combined with air pollution data to find out if small amounts of particle pollution were still harmful.

Despite the relatively clean air [Canada has some of the cleanest air in the world], the study found that nearly 8,000 Canadians were dying early each year from outdoor air pollution. Notably, even people in the cleanest areas were experiencing an impact on their health.

The Canadian study was one of three funded by the US Health Effects Institute. The other two looked at more than 60 million people in the US and 27 million people in Europe. They reached similar conclusions: there is no lower limit that can be used to define safe air quality.

Look at the air in that photo. LOOK AT THE AIR IN THAT PHOTO. And still, it’s killing people.

What, then, is the fate of people living in Los Angeles?

Looking down from the Hollywood Hills, with Griffith Observatory on the hill in the foreground, air pollution is visible in downtown Los Angeles on a late afternoon. – Wikipedia: Air Pollution In The US

… Or Phoenix, or Cleveland, or New York City, or Houston, or Fairbanks, or Chicago, or Philadelphia, or …

the rest of the world.

We treat our planet like a dumping ground.

Plastics: “In Short, We’re Poisoning Ourselves”

Plastic Can Take Hundreds Of Years To Break Down – And We Keep Making More, The Guardian, 8 August 2022

Plastics with chemicals to make them flexible, and those that are biodegradable but have endocrine-disrupting effects, may both increase rates of cancer, infertility and obesity – for starters.

In short, we’re poisoning ourselves.

“With skyrocketing plastic production, low levels of recycling, and poor waste management,” writes Brian Hutchinson for the Oceanic Society, “between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year – enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet! And that amount is projected to triple in the next 20 years.”

Plastics now jam the stomachs of seabirds, sea turtles, sharks and whales that wash up dead. They litter remote beaches from the Aleutians to Midway to Pitcairn Island. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – two huge floating masses of plastic debris, each bigger than Texas – is so large (and growing) that Captain Charles Moore, who discovered it in 1997, has said cleaning it up would “bankrupt any country” that tried.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What do you do when you see the train heading for a cliff and there’s nothing you can do to stop it?

New Study: We Have Passed The Tipping Point, PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Have Polluted The Whole Planet

“Rainwater all over the planet exceeds US safety guidelines say scientists.” BBC

New research shows that rainwater, surface water, and soil throughout the planet has now been contaminated with PFAS “forever chemicals” at levels above which the EPA considers safe:

Outside the Safe Operating Space of a New Planetary Boundary for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), Environmental Science and Technology, 2 August, 2022

It is hypothesized that environmental contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) defines a separate planetary boundary and that this boundary has been exceeded. This hypothesis is tested by comparing the levels of four selected perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) (i.e., perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)) in various global environmental media (i.e., rainwater, soils, and surface waters) with recently proposed guideline levels.

On the basis of the four PFAAs considered, it is concluded that:
(1) levels of PFOA and PFOS in rainwater often greatly exceed US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory levels and the sum of the aforementioned four PFAAs (Σ4 PFAS) in rainwater is often above Danish drinking water limit values also based on Σ4 PFAS;
(2) levels of PFOS in rainwater are often above Environmental Quality Standard for Inland European Union Surface Water; and
(3) atmospheric deposition also leads to global soils being ubiquitously contaminated and to be often above proposed Dutch guideline values.

It is, therefore, concluded that the global spread of these four PFAAs in the atmosphere has led to the planetary boundary for chemical pollution being exceeded.

Levels of PFAAs in atmospheric deposition are especially poorly reversible because of the high persistence of PFAAs and their ability to continuously cycle in the hydrosphere, including on sea spray aerosols emitted from the oceans.

Because of the poor reversibility of environmental exposure to PFAS and their associated effects, it is vitally important that PFAS uses and emissions are rapidly restricted.

I keep saying … the only recourse is to stop making PFAS chemicals. Once they are made, the products diffuse throughout the environment and into our bodies. They stay there for years. They accumulate.

According to the CDC, PFAS may lead to:

    • Increased cholesterol levels
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney disease, kidney cancer
    • Testicular cancer
    • Liver damage
    • Immune system damage
    • Birth defects, delayed development

From BBC:
Pollution: ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Rainwater Exceed Safe Levels, BBC, 2 August 2022

New research shows that rainwater in most locations on Earth contains levels of chemicals that “greatly exceed” safety levels.

Such is their prevalence now that scientists say there is no safe space on Earth to avoid them.

The researchers from Stockholm University say it is “vitally important” that the use of these substances is rapidly restricted.

There are around 4,500 of these fluorine-based compounds and they are found in almost every dwelling on Earth in hundreds of everyday products including food packaging, non-stick cookware, rain gear, adhesives, paper and paints.

The study’s findings lead the authors to conclude that a planetary boundary has been crossed – that there simply is no safe space on Earth to avoid these substances.

“We argue here that we’re not within this safe operating space anymore, because we now have these chemicals everywhere, and these safety advisories, we can’t achieve them anymore,” said Prof Ian Cousins, the lead author from Stockholm University.

“I’m not saying that we’re all going to die of these effects. But we’re in a place now where you can’t live anywhere on the planet, and be sure that the environment is safe.”

“In this background rain, the levels are higher than those environmental quality criteria already. So that means that over time, we are going to get a statistically significant impact of those chemicals on human health,” said Prof Crispin Halsall from the University of Lancaster. He was not involved with the Swedish study.

“And how that will manifest itself? I’m not sure but it’s going come out over time, because we’re exceeding those concentrations which are going to cause some harm, because of exposure to humans in their drinking water.”

The rest of this article goes on to say that, oh well, guidelines schmidelines. It’s too late, the chemicals are everywhere now, and the cost for cleanup is prohibitive:

I think they’ll do the same thing with the US drinking water advisories [relax the guidelines], because they’re not practical to apply. … It’s just impossible, from an economic viewpoint to apply any of those guidelines.

These chemicals weren’t around when I was a child. In my short lifetime, we have desecrated the planet!

Paper: mRNA Vaccine Suppresses Immune Response: Increasing Risk For Infections, Bell’s Palsy, Shingles, Cancer

This is an interesting paper. It describes mechanisms by which the mRNA vaccine can cause Bell’s palsy (one side of face weakens and droops), shingles, myocarditis (heart inflammation), and cancer (disturbs DNA repair mechanisms). It can cause early, undetected cancers or those in remission to grow aggressively.

Innate immune suppression by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccinations: The role of G-quadruplexes, exosomes, and MicroRNAs, Food and Chemical Toxicology, June 2022

Highlights

  • mRNA vaccines promote sustained synthesis of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
  • The spike protein is neurotoxic, and it impairs DNA repair mechanisms.
  • Suppression of type I interferon responses results in impaired innate immunity.
  • The mRNA vaccines potentially cause increased risk to infectious diseases and cancer.
  • Codon optimization results in G-rich mRNA that has unpredictable complex effects.

From the abstract:

The mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were brought to market in response to the public health crises of Covid-19. The utilization of mRNA vaccines in the context of infectious disease has no precedent. The many alterations in the vaccine mRNA hide the mRNA from cellular defenses and promote a longer biological half-life and high production of spike protein. However, the immune response to the vaccine is very different from that to a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In this paper, we present evidence that vaccination induces a profound impairment in type I interferon signaling, which has diverse adverse consequences to human health. Immune cells that have taken up the vaccine nanoparticles release into circulation large numbers of exosomes containing spike protein along with critical microRNAs that induce a signaling response in recipient cells at distant sites.

We also identify potential profound disturbances in regulatory control of protein synthesis and cancer surveillance. These disturbances potentially have a causal link to neurodegenerative disease, myocarditis, immune thrombocytopenia, Bell’s palsy, liver disease, impaired adaptive immunity, impaired DNA damage response and tumorigenesis. We show evidence from the VAERS database supporting our hypothesis.

This is their graphical abstract. Note the pathway for how the vaccine causes reactivation of latent viruses, such as viruses that cause shingles (herpes zoster), Bell’s palsy (herpes simplex), hepatitis.

One basic concept I walk away with is … the mRNA vaccines suppress “type I IFN signaling”. IFN stands for interferon, and this paper is a master class in the interferons (proteins that contribute to immunity).

It’s not light reading. I’ve visited it on and off since its early online release in April. There’s a lot here. I’ve learned a lot.

I’m posting it so I can easily refer to it later and for anyone else interested in the topic.

Most Chemotherapy Drugs Do Not Improve Overall Survival

One of his best videos.

How Much Does Chemotherapy Improve Survival?, Michael Greger M.D. FACLM, Nutrition Facts, 27 July 2022.

Transcript:

Though we often hear new cancer drugs described as game-changing breakthroughs, most afford much more modest benefits. In my last video, I quoted a recent editorial in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggesting that the majority of new cancer drugs don’t deliver clinically meaningful benefits at all. At least when they are later proven to be ineffective, they’re pulled from the market, right? No. Even when postmarket studies show the new drugs to have no clinically meaningful benefit compared to not just older drugs, but compared to nothing—compared to a sugar pill—most chemo drugs retain FDA approval, and remain on the market, even at the same ridiculous prices. In fact, the most expensive drug they looked at, the one costing $169,836 a year, did not improve overall survival at all, and actually worsened quality of life. That’s $169,000 just to make you feel worse with no benefit. Why pay a penny for a treatment that doesn’t actually help?

And even when they do improve survival, what does that actually mean? Currently, the trend is for big Pharma to design large trials that may detect statistically significant, but often trivial, differences in survival endpoints. For example, check out this famous trial. Adding this second drug, erlotinib, to gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer significantly prolonged overall survival. Yeah, they suffered more side effects, but we’re not just talking about tumor shrinkage—they lived significantly longer. The placebo group only lived 5.91 months, whereas the added drug group survived all the way to…6.24 months. Wait a second. They only lived a third of a month longer; that’s just 10 days. All the side effects and expense for an average of just 10 days? That’s why doctors shouldn’t use the statistical jargon—”significant improvement in survival”—while informing patients about benefits of a new treatment. When patients hear the word “survival,” they’re not thinking about a week and a half.

If you put all the new chemo drugs together approved over a dozen years, the average overall survival benefit is 2.1 months. Now look, two months is two months, I don’t want to downplay that. But time and again, surveys have indicated that patients expect much more. Incredibly, about three-quarters of patients with metastatic lung or colorectal cancer did not report understanding that their chemo was not at all likely to cure their cancer. I mean, that’s the primary treatment, but the chemo is not curative; it’s just eking out a few extra weeks or months. Why weren’t the majority of patients told that? It’s not that they were being over-optimistic, explained the researcher. They were under the mistaken belief that the treatment offered a chance of cure when it in fact didn’t. That deprives patients of the opportunity to weigh the risks and benefits and make their own decisions about their own body.

If you ask cancer patients, most want at least half a year to stomach the side effects, which suggests that most cancer patients might not choose chemotherapy if they knew how little they’d actually benefit. But look, everyone’s different. One patient they interviewed said living even one week longer would be worth it; whereas another said they wouldn’t even want to do chemo for two extra years of life since they wouldn’t want anything to interfere with the quality of time they had left. Either way, people deserve to know the truth. I find it telling that oncologists and cancer nurses themselves express less willingness to accept intensive chemotherapy, given the associated toxicities. Most chemo drugs are cytotoxic, meaning they work by killing off cancer cells, but they also kill off some healthy cells as collateral damage, which is why they can damage our nerves, cause irreversible heart failure, slough off the linings of our gut, or damage our immune system.

Drug companies frequently downplay the risks, though––for example, describing this breast cancer drug as having “acceptable” side-effect profiles for most patients, or this pancreatic cancer drug as having a “manageable and mostly reversible safety profile.” These were studies published in top medical journals. Naturally, readers would take these statements to be true. However, if you actually look at the data, the number of serious, even life-threatening side effects was double, or even five times higher, on the new breast cancer drug. And the “manageable and mostly reversible” side effects evidently weren’t referring to those who were killed by the drug. I like how they even included something like a cheat sheet. Acceptable toxicity? Acceptable to whom? Manageable? Serious events and deaths can never be considered manageable. And feasible? Who would sign up for a drug whose toxicity could only be described as feasible? Favorable? Compared to what? Tolerable? That’s for the patient to decide. And any drug that kills people can hardly be considered safe.

Still, patients may very well consider it worth the risk. For some cancers, we’ve made tremendous strides. Testicular cancer, for example. There is greater than a one in three chance that chemotherapy would enable you to survive at least to the five-year mark. It’s the same with Hodgkin’s disease, a relatively rare form of lymphoma. But even when researchers tried to err on the side of overestimating the benefit, for our most common cancers—colon, lung, breast, and prostate—the chances that chemo would enable survival to the five-year mark appear to be more like 1 or 2 percent.

Every single person I know who has had chemotherapy did not survive. The side effects they endured were almost worse than the disease. For me, if I’m ever faced with it, the decision has already made itself.