Dr Byers, supplements and increased cancer risk – Same turgid old stuff.

It seems every five years or so, someone is appointed to jump up and warn us all about Vitamin Supplements and their dangers.

This time Dr Byers got the short straw.

The problem is that we’ve heard it all before, the same research, the same generalisations – and we know the answer.

Out comes the same one-off research study (following an indicative study) on beta-carotene and smoking. Then there is research on vitamin E which has little benefit and may even do harm.

Neither supplement would I touch anyway. Both mass market supplements in the main are deficient, synthetic copies of the real thing. In nature beta-carotene is available in cis- and trans- forms, but only one is used in the common supplement. Vitamin E is worse. Most studies involve synthetic alpha-tocopherol, just one of the eight variants found in nature. In my book it should not even be called vitamin E (it’s fraud).

Synthetic vitamins, for me, carry the same basic risks as synthetic drugs. Natural vitamin E is easy to come by. Put out a bowl of nuts and seeds – a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds will give you the four tocotrienol vitamin Es – shown to be much better than tocopherol in fighting cancer anyway.

Folate supplementation is, quite possibly, a threat to all these highly profitable cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which are under soooo much pressure at the moment from leading heart specialists. They have been linked to a range of secondary illnesses from diabetes to eye sight problems; and research is now questioning whether they do lower death rates from heart attacks and strokes.

Folate, again, is a vitamin you should get from your diet – eat your greens!!!! If you are short you are in trouble. If you have a healthy microbiome (gut bacteria) and eat properly you will be fine; too much you might be in trouble. It has an RDA in ‘micrograms’ for that reason.

But what I love is the way the ‘research’ extrapolates a study on synthetic beta-carotene and smoking to warn the listeners on supplements in general. It would be like me saying that since one drug, Vioxx, killed 48,000 Americans and is now banned, people should be careful when using any drugs because their benefits are questionable and there is clear evidence of significant risks.

Mass market vitamin supplements have limited benefits, although Centrum produced a study a couple of years back showing their multivitamin reduced cancer risk by 7 per cent – this would extrapolate to 22,000 less people with cancer in the UK alone next year. In 2003, the French produced the Su Vi Max study which had followed 17,000 people on selenium and zinc, vitamins E and C and beta-carotene – that showed 31% fewer male cancers (but little change for women); and 37% less deaths overall from cancer over the study period.

I am much more interested in bioactive natural compounds such as vitamin D, curcumin, fish oils, sulforaphanes, CLA, MCP and another 60 with Epigenetic benefits. Now they are interesting. Even Dr Young S. Kim of the NCI in her research on foods that could stop cancer stem cells re-growing, said these could be taken as quality supplements.

Ok. It’s diary time. Which doctor, or preferably professor wants to author this same study on the risks of supplements in 2020?

I’ll have this Junk Science article ready to re-run then too.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

I was asked recently what I thought of ‘alternative medicine’. I replied as I have consistently done for a number of years, ‘There is no such thing as alternative medicine. A treatment either works or it doesn’t’.

If you talk to cancer patients and ask them what they want a treatment to do, it is simply to cure them.
Here I side with Dr. Henry Friedman of the Preston Robert Tisch Cancer Center at Duke University Medical Center, Carolina. He said, on the front page of the website, ‘I believe cancer can be cured; it may be in remission but it can be in remission permanently’. Brave words from a man who treats people with gliomas, which are often described as ‘terminal’.

So his aim is to get a patient into remission and, ideally, even cure them.

Talk to patients. Their aim is to be cured. It’s as simple as that. ‘Manage your cancer with drugs for the rest of your life, madam?’ ‘No thanks, I’d rather be cured.’

This fits with the way things are going for cancer patients too. In a 2012 report, the American Cancer Society concluded that since 2006 there had been an explosion in research into complementary therapies and that there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that certain of them like diet and exercise could increase survival and even prevent a cancer returning.

Sounds like a result to me. And obviously to patients at large.

Which leads me to the fact that there is a humungous problem with cancer drugs. They don’t cure cancer. In 2012 it was proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that at the heart of all cancers lay cancer stem cells. An ‘inconvenient truth’ is that while drugs can cause a decrease in tumour size of 50, 60 or even 70%, as of today there is not one single drug known to man that kills off the cancer stem cells at the heart of the tumour.

But despite this, 54 per cent of people do beat cancer (or at least survive 5 years – which, I agree, is not really the same).

Cue Dr. Young S. Kim of the National Cancer Institute in America who concluded from her research in 2012, that people who employed a poor diet saw their cancers return. While people who employed a good diet – including foods that were high in sulphoraphanes, curcumin, piperine, EGCG, choline, genistein, vitamin A and E, and a couple of others – could prevent the cancer returning. She even went so far as to say that these bioactive compounds could be obtained via quality supplements.

The fact is, that very few patients nowadays rely on their oncologist’s medicines to cure a cancer. They may use them, but they employ a range of their own treatments from fasting, juice diets, colourful Mediterranean diets, yoga, IVC, weight control, even (perish the thought) localized hyperthermia, HIFU and the dreaded apricot kernels. Several women I know have used a herbal poultice called Black Salve. Oncologists treating the ladies both said the same thing.: Having confirmed that the ‘thing’ in the jar was indeed a tumour, they said they had never seen anything like it. But it was beyond their training and they could comment no more.

Of course not all these treatments have been through ‘The rigours of a clinical trial’. Actually, ‘rigourous trial’ when it comes to drugs is a bit of an oxymoron. Even the FDA has just concluded that almost 40% of drug clinical trials were sloppy and inaccurate. Worse, Peter Grotzsche, the head of the highly respected Nordic Cochrane Centre, has a book called ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare’. The title says it all. And it is the British Medical Association’s 2014 book of the year!!

Radiotherapy and surgery have hardly a clinical trial between them. Surgery, even biopsies, have been linked to increased metastatic activity. Cutting out a colorectal cancer is certainly no guarantee that the cancer won’t return in your lungs or liver.

Brachytherapy, used for prostate cancer is now used in some parts of America for up to 60% of breast cancers, meriting huge protests. Why? Errr, there are no clinical trials to support it. The new sexy Cyberknife will cause less damage – who says? Show me the proof. Does it prevent a cancer returning?

Meanwhile Hospitals feed the cancer with ice cream, sweet desserts and milky, sugary tea. The drink and snack food dispensers all offer chocolate bars, and cans of fizzy soft drinks full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Leading cancer charities say there is no harm in feeding cancer patients cows’ dairy and sugar. They are out of their tiny minds. 2014 research showed sugar CAUSED cancer. 2013 research showed people with the highest blood sugar levels survived least.

And so it goes on.

A subplot over the last few years included research from Johns Hopkins that showed chemo drugs actually caused a cancer to return – and stronger; German research that showed Taxol caused metastases 6 months after treatment was finished and Scientists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Amherst showed in research published in January 2015 that some chemotherapy drugs actually caused cancer stem cells to re-grow. Another ‘inconvenient truth’?

So, there are treatments that have the power to prevent a cancer returning. And there are others that don’t. Some may even make matters worse.

The ones that do keep cancers at bay – diet, exercise, quality supplements and a few others, are thus treatments that work. The others – chemo, radio and surgery are but unproven alternatives supported by dodgy research, vested interest, mafia-like unions, some paid skeptics and often simple fraud.

Patients are right to think of self-empowerment. Offering chemical potions that simply don’t give them what they want – preventing a cancer from returning – that’s just unproven alternative medicine.

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Research misconduct rife in Clinical Trials

A major study from New York Institute of Journalism member Charles Seife, M.S has reported that nearly half of the clinical trials approved by the FDA in the USA (which is a gateway for UK approvals) had ‘significant departures’ from accepted standards – these included under-reporting of adverse events, violations of recruitment guidelines, inadequate record keeping, failure to respect the safety, welfare and rights of patients, institutional review board oversights and violations of best practice protocols.

Within the overall picture, the FDA reported on 57 trials of which 22 contained data that was falsified (nearly 40 per cent).

So much for rigorous testing.

Ref: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=2109855

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Help, I’m sick – orthorexia nervosa. I have it. Badly!

You see, at all times I want to eat healthily. True I drink a glass of red wine (or two) a day, but I think that is healthy too. I grow all my own vegetables, eat foods like flaxseed and nuts, squeeze oranges, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil and eat sourdough bread. And shhhhh, don’t tell anyone; I eat fresh pomegranate and papaya from the garden, make up wheatgrass juice and put apricot kernels in my whole oat porridge, the thought police just might arrest me.

No wonder those spotty, sit–in-front-of-their-computer-screens-eating-Pizza skeptics think I’m a quack. I still play football. And go to the gym. At 65. No hope really.

And now it’s official. In America, wanting to eat healthily is AN ILLNESS. It’s all over the media. The psychiatric profession has spoken. Those people who hand out drugs to control people’s moods and ‘mental’ conditions (when they don’t know for sure how the drugs actually work), have spotted a new mental condition:

Orthorexia nervosa. It’s a desire to eat healthily and is characterised by wanting to eat ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ foods. Apparently sufferers are overly concerned by the nutritional make up of what they eat. They have even been known to read labels in Supermarkets and check ingredients.

No it’s not April 1st.

So that’s it – I have an official ‘eating disorder’, because I don’t fancy a frozen beefburger (with tomato ketchup and French Fries), a can of coke and a slice of cheesecake, nor a TV dinner fresh from the microwave. What hope is there for me?

Will I now be declared a raving loony and my passport endorsed? Will the psychiatrists work with the drugs companies to develop a drug to change my mental state and treat me? Or will I be forced into rehab – and have to spend a week eating at McDonalds or Pizza Hut? Maybe I’ll be connected to a pesticide drip? Maybe all ingredients labels will be removed from food packaging in Supermarkets to protect me from my urges.

On my trip back to the UK, there was discussion on TV suggesting fat people were given financial incentives to diet; and smokers were given cash to stop smoking. Clearly Big Brother is going mad.

A few years back when Codex was stopping herb sales in Europe, I did actually write a piece entitled ‘What next? Oranges?’

So, maybe it’s my fault? Maybe a psychiatrist read it?

If they want to read something new on their chosen subject perhaps they could go to Scientific American vol 312, where, in the ‘Mind and Brain’ section, there’s an article on how the bacteria in your gut control your mental state – as I’ve been telling people for two years now.

Taking specific probiotics would potentially make psychiatric drugs (and psychiatrists) redundant.

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2015 Flu Vaccine “USELESS”

According to various National newspapers in the UK in the last 24 hours, the current flu vaccine doesn’t work in about 97% of cases.

And with reports that the number of deaths this winter will be the highest for 15 years, this winter’s flu jab is declared “useless” in several newspapers.

Variously, the Daily Telegraph describes how the dominant strain of the virus currently in circulation is a “different mutation” from the type expected; the Daily Mail says the NHS spends £100m a year on its flu vaccination programme, targeting “at risk” groups and quotes Katherine Murphy, from the Patients’ Association, saying: “It beggars belief that health officials weren’t aware just how badly the vaccine was working a long time ago”.

And the Independent says that to make sufficient quantities of the vaccine the WHO plays ‘guess the strain that’s coming’ 6 months in advance. And mutation can easily take place over that period.

Apparently, even in a good year, the vaccine only works in about half of those vaccinated. In 2015 health officials have been describing serious outbreaks of flu in care homes and a surge in UK hospital admissions.

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Ebola – The Wolf of Main Street

So what are we supposed to make of Ebola?
On one hand we have seen SARS, bird flu, avian flu, epidemics that just didn’t happen. People wore masks in the streets and on planes (they only help if you have it, not if someone else does), stock markets fell, and governments like the UK were conned into buying vaccines they just didn’t need (and asked for their money back)– and probably would not have worked anyway.

And now we have Ebola; clearly a far worse proposition. Yet again it started as a virus in the food chain, the Liberian food chain. It’s a potential plague that had been coming for 30 years; there had been minor skirmishes every few years. Did the WHO and the Western world use their combined knowledge to isolate the plague quickly? No, they moved after about 4 months. Now the Americans and the UK have built field hospitals surrounded by barbed wire.

Back in the USA, the Americans did move quickly on one aspect. They patented the Ebola DNA. Now, theoretically, only they can interfere with that DNA. It is theirs by right. Only they can treat it.

In Thailand there was great news more than a month ago. Thai scientists had isolated an antibody to Ebola. It made the TV every day for a week. Worldwide news? A breakthrough? You’ll be lucky to find it on Google Search.

Then there’s ‘natural remedies’ like colloidal silver. Before skeptics choke while reading this consider three minor points – first, we have no treatment with a jot of research behind it from the orthodox medical profession. Two, there is research on colloidal silver treating respiratory viruses. Three, why not take a couple of hundred patients in Liberia and see if it offers anything? What is there to lose? Instead, Health Authorities would not even allow the parcel of colloidal silver on the plane to Liberia. Natural Health anti-viral compounds are many (astragalus, goldenseal, Pau d’Arco and more). Presumably all these and more are being tested with Ebola? Somehow, I doubt it; but if Pau d’Arco can work with South American rainforest Indians and their viruses, might it not possibly just do something for Liberians? With the world’s health at stake, who has the power to decide NOT to try it?

Meanwhile the CDC in America – who have been mired in scandals over cover ups and lies about vaccines – search for … a vaccine.

Next there’s the nurse in Texas who contracted the virus while helping a patient. The TV spokesperson called it a ‘serious security breach’, but declined to say what the nurse had actually done.

Nurses are, of course, kitted out like the average spaceman. No virus is about to penetrate those suits which are sprayed with disinfectant after use and thrown away. But the truth is that even after 30 years of knowing about Ebola, we are not certain how exactly you can catch it.

Hospitals already have plagues in them – MRSA and clostridium difficile kill more that 20,000 people entering American hospitals every year simply for routine and often minor operations. Surfaces in wards are sprayed with disinfectant as they were 100 years ago. But why? We have known for 40 years that UV kills viruses; it is used in water purification plants throughout the world. An American firm Xenex, even sells anti-viral UV-C ‘robot’ machines. You’d have thought similar hand held machines and machines disguised as floor mops would be commonplace in hospitals all over the world. We are talking here about saving more lives than mammography at a fraction of the price.

So where are we on Ebola?? We now have temperature checks at airports; but the patient in the USA had been wandering around with it for more than two weeks with absolutely no symptoms. There will also be a questionnaire. “Have you been in Liberia and eaten a bat in the last 21 days”, seems a good place to start. Spare me.

So is this another swine flu, or something that will kill 16 million people in the Western world and we need to send urgently for Brad Pitt?

Above all we’d like some honesty. And some genuine worldwide health co-operation. And while we’re about it, who on earth said you could patent a virus? Yet again big business side – lines main street health concerns.

And if only the Health Authorities had not cried wolf so many times before. The UK has 16 million phials of unused plague vaccine. Anybody want some? It didn’t work last time, but what the heck?

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Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $492 million for bribing doctors and health officials in China. The Chinese court also sentenced the company’s former China manager, Briton Mark Reilly, and four Chinese co-defendants to prison. These sentences have been postponed, however, because ‘the defendants confessed’. The fine is the largest such penalty ever imposed by a Chinese court and stems from an allegation that almost half a billion dollars was channelled through a travel agency for use by GSK sales people.

Reilly was accused by police of operating a “massive bribery network.” He allegedly ordered GSK sales teams to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK’s drugs.

Glaxo has already stated it will pay the fine. It has also stated that it will review its incentive schemes and reduce its involvement with healthcare professionals.

“We have and will continue to learn from this,” said CEO Sir Andrew Witty in an official statement. Glaxo has previously stated that the actions, which apparently started in 2009, took place without its knowledge.

We have previously reported that a private investigator, Briton Peter Humphrey had been jailed in China. Hired by GSK, he was accused of illegally trafficking personal data. GSK said Humphrey was hired to look into a security breach, not bribery. But apparently Humphrey had reported that the bribery allegations were true.

However, GSK announced in June 2013 that a four-month investigation of bribery allegations had found no wrong doing.

GSK paid the largest ever fine of $3 billion for similar offences in the USA and still faces similar charges in other countries such as Poland and Jordan.

Other drug companies now face similar scandals in China.

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Hear this well: Vaccines cause autism

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen well and truly put her foot in her mouth last week.

Seeking to state the ‘Official view’ that vaccines are safe, and especially the MMR vaccine following the CDC whistleblower story that research evidence had been fraudulently withheld, she leant forward to camera on TV and said, “Autism is not a side effect of vaccines or to say it another way because some people don’t hear this well, vaccines do not cause autism.”

The backlash was immediate and huge. Welcome to the ‘Hear this well’ campaign.

Starting with Polly Tommey: This lady has two children, one perfectly normal but the other became seriously autistic following MMR vaccination at the age of 13 months. Seizures, high pitched screaming, head bashing and severe gut problems were just four of the symptoms; Polly had already formed the Autism Media Channel.

Polly cut ‘Vaccines do not cause autism’ from the CNN piece and then she explained on video the story of her autistic son with the words ‘Some people don’t hear that well’. See the first video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=WsLuR3X6cpg&list=PLJpPObXpZncOfT0bG2ghgkVb2Nxjd_bNe&index=1

Others follow on from this link, because it started a landslide. Mothers, fathers, grandparents all made short videos about their offspring, and MMR vaccines and autism. And the videos all used variations of the theme ‘Hear this well’. In double quick time there were more than 400 posted on You Tube. Some featured stories, at least one involved the death of the child. Others featured the child clearly showing their condition symptoms.

Several even talk of family members catching measles from the vaccinated child. Destruction of lives is a constant theme and even death is mentioned in some.

It wasn’t only Big Pharma and the CDC that Cohen exposed. Much of the mainstream media (who often benefit from large drug company budgets in America) have not covered any of this news story about whistleblowers, autism and vaccines. Nor have the Big Pharma-sympathizing skeptics who originally produced such a robust attack on Dr Andrew Wakefield.

However accidental, Cohen has inflamed the situation and brought it to a wider audience on social media.

See also “#CDCwhistleblower” and “#hearthiswell”.

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A Whistleblower stirs up a frenzy on Autism, MMR and the CDC in America

A ‘Whistleblower’, Dr William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA has publicly stated that the CDC withheld data that confirmed a link between MMR and Autism.

The word ‘fraud’ is commonly used in press comment about the CDC action.

And in the last two days, there has been release of messages supposedly sent to Dr Andrew Wakefield by Thompson apologising for his ‘dishonesty’ and the effect it had on Wakefield’s life.

Let us just follow this through because the blogging press – for Wakefield, cover ups, MMR and Autism has been having a field day.

Dr Andrew Wakefield is a British former surgeon, medical researcher and honorary consultant in experimental gastroenterology at the Royal College of Pathologists, best known for his 1998 research paper claiming that there was a link between the administration of the MMR vaccine and the appearance of autism and bowel disease.

The controversy was enormous. Wakefield has continued to defend his research and conclusions, while Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer, in particular, has aggressively attacked Wakefield and produced evidence in support of his claims. On 28th January a GMC tribunal found charges (including dishonesty) proven against Wakefield and in May 2010 Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register.

Critics claim he has cost ‘countless’ lives (never seemingly quantified) because of his ‘untrue claims’ and thus parents did not vaccinate their children with MMR; while Wakefield himself has always maintained that there was a smear campaign against him, funded by Pharmaceutical Companies and often using skeptics and paid anonymous bloggers. (Ed: Surely not?)

Wakefield now lives in Austin, Texas where he has a number of business and charitable interests mainly to do with Autism.

Ten days ago a news story broke in America. Typically the headlines used phrases such as
“Whistleblower speaks out about MMR and CDC fraud”.

A second round of comments has occurred in the last two days – typically:
“Whistleblower Thompson apologises to Dr Andrew Wakefield”.

What is this all about? Read this comment from Natural News in America.

‘Whistleblower William Thompson has now gone public with a statement posted on the website of the law firm representing him, Morgan Verkamp LLC.

‘My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998. I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.’

Furthermore Natural News states: The statement (above) opens with a blatant admission of scientific fraud at the CDC:

There are a few immediate comments one needs to add. A Whistleblower to me is someone who rushes off to the mainstream media to tell about dirty deeds. Thompson here held a private chat with someone he did not know was recording him, nor was going to publish along with his name. That doesn’t, of course, affect the content, which has now been verified by CNN.

Thompson also makes the point that the data suggested one group of Americans (African Americans) did seem to have an increased risk of Autism from MMR. Not that all the people in the study had an increased risk.

The fact is that incidence of gastrointestinal problems is high in children with autism. Here is an excerpt from Chris Woollams new book ‘The SECRET SOURCE of Your Good Health’:

‘In a 2013 meta-analysis of available research ‘Gastrointestinal Concerns in Children with Autism: What do we know?’ for the Autism Science Foundation in America, Doctors Barbara McElhanon of Emory School of Medicine and William Sharp of the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta observed that:

i) There has been a rapid increase in the numbers of cases to 1 in 88 children born according to the CDC, 2012). This has prompted a level of urgency amongst carers.

ii) There has been frequent reporting of gastro- intestinal symptoms (Croen et al., 2012).

iii) There has been a fivefold increase in reported cases of feeding problems (Sharp et al., 2013).

The results of the meta-analysis suggested children with ASD are at increased risk for gastrointestinal issues (1). Specifically, greater levels of gastrointestinal symptoms reported by parents compared with siblings (roughly an 8 fold increase in the risk) with areas of specific concern including abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhoea.

Certainly there is 2012 research showing that kids with autism were twice as likely as children with other types of disorders to have frequent diarrhoea or colitis (an inflammation of the large intestine).

Researchers from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have shown that autistic children have different gut bacteria to ‘normal’ children with one species of gut bacterium completely missing.

Research (2) into gut bacteria and autism is gathering pace.

Teams of researchers at America’s top Universities are studying the connection between your gut bacteria and your brain and specifically how they affect mood swings, attitudes and diseases from Autism to Alzheimer’s. For example, at UCLA, Professor Emeran Mayer M.D. has been studying the link between the bacteria in your gut and how your brain functions. An analysis of 60 humans showed that different regions of the brain were stimulated as a result of the dominance of different gut bacteria.

In a third study (3) there was a clear finding that the bacteria in a child’s gut affects its brain development. “The data suggests that there is a critical period early in life when gut microorganisms affect the brain and change the behavior in later life,” commented Dr. Rochellys Diaz Heijtz, lead researcher.

Of course, none of this proves that vaccines, and specifically MMR, cause autism. Indeed, one research study showed there was an increase in autism risk with mothers who had ‘unusual’ bacteria in their birth canal. The Arizona State research mentioned above stated that unusual bacteria may first enter the baby during transit of the birth canal. It also suggested that stressed mothers can have stressed babies and that the relevant bacteria are also passed during the passage through the birth canal.

But the fact is that autism levels are increasing, gut bacterial composition has been linked to brain development, and drugs and vaccines can definitely influence such bacteria.

The $173 million human microbiome project in the USA, along with its European twin shed important light on the role of the microbiome in your health – and the inconvenient truth that vaccines and drugs damage it. Research is gathering pace in this area. It won’t be long before we really do know the truth. Let’s hope it is not too long. Because autism is for life – at the moment it can be managed to a degree but not cured.

Refs:

(1) Buie T, Campbell DB, Fuchs GJ 3rd, Furuta GT, Levy J, Vandewater J, et al. Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with ASDs: a consensus report. Pediatrics. 2010;125(suppl 1):S1-18

(2)Mulle JG, Sharp WG, Cubells JF. The gut microbiome: a new frontier in autism research. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013;15(2):337. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0337-0. Epub 2013 Feb 15

(3) Collaboaration between the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Genome Institute in Singapore in 2011 – looked at the effect of gut bacteria on brain development in mice (PNAS)

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GlaxoSmithKlein – an endemic culture of fraud?

GSK the UK pharmaceutical to deodorant company is fast making a name for itself with brand values that include bribery, fraud and corruption, plus a fair smattering of junk science thrown in for good measure.

You would think that one bribery case would be enough to force the board to review its whole business strategy worldwide – especially as getting caught in America was extremely serious. The criminal fraud case involved a variety of drugs and issues such as making false claims, ‘exaggerating’ research conclusions, telling lies and bribery. That case in America cost them $3 billion plus change. Well, it was the largest fraud case in medical history. At this point, most boards of companies would be looking at themselves and putting ‘best practice’ into place to avoid any chance of a repetition.

But it doesn’t seem quite like this at GSK. Over the past months allegations of fraud, bribing doctors and even sex scandals have emerged in the great frontier market of China. A whistleblower sent an e mail in January alleging that doctors were sent expensive gifts and even cash. They would be invited to attend conferences, which were really all-expenses-paid holidays. (Isn’t this exactly what happens in Europe and America?). And payments were allegedly channeled through a ‘travel agency’ business. Hardly dodgy at all, really.

After a Private detective, Peter Humphrey, hired by GSK to investigate a smear campaign against them, reported that he thought claims might well be true and he himself was jailed this week for buying and selling private information, the likely outcome in China looks not much better than it did in America. Chinese authorities have filed criminal charges of bribery, corruption and fraud against Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK operations in China with the Serious Fraud Squad crawling all over the company – the UK is now helping their Chinese counterparts.

Such allegations, if proven, would also bring the American Authorities back into play. The US Dept. of Justice is now looking into possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Britain may also investigate as it has a new ‘Bribery Act’.

But now GSK faces new corruption claims in Syria where it is alleged to have bribed doctors and officials to drive sales. Of course, there are some that would say that GSK was just being caught up in politics, given the war and views on Britain held locally. But then GlaxoSmithKlein is also being investigated for bribery in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Poland.

GSK has issued a statement saying that they are ‘committed to taking disciplinary actions’ if guilt is proven and that they have ‘zero tolerance’ of unethical behavior. One wonders quite who it is that has the ‘zero tolerance’?

And isn’t this all huff and puff? Par for the course? Peter C. Gotzsche, a Danish Medical researcher and leader of the prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre has written a complete review of the atrocities that Big Pharma routinely get up to in his book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare (first published 2013; ISBN 9781846198847). You can guess the atrocities he talks about. Anyone with an open mind knew them long ago.

We have covered GSK in Junk Science before – that time they had been in top medical journal, BMJ, with the finding that 80% of flu vaccine research did not hold up to proper scrutiny.

We also covered this: Just a decade ago Dr. Allen Roses the worldwide Vice President of genetics and a top executive of the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline stated simply that “The vast majority of drugs – more than 90% – only work in 30 to 50% of the people.”

Isn’t that the crux of the problem? If GSK made wonderful drugs that worked for the majority of people, why would doctors need to be bribed to use them? Maybe the drugs aren’t that wonderful; and/or maybe all the competitors are playing the same games too?

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