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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The "FLU"..... Really?

I have two articles to share with you in the coughy coldy season.

First up- an oldie but a goodie that still holds absolute truth!  NO ONE TRACKS FLU DEATHS!!  Not the governments, not the health agencies, not the CDC.  All of their "thousands dying from the flu!" rhetoric is based on guesses, and on selling vaccines and anti viral drugs.

And number two:  you don't need vaccines OR anti viral drugs!  Vitamin D is the miracle maker of the immune system- it's damn cheap- free even if you go outside! 

Until the fall of 2011, Health Canada paid for vitamin D testing for patients to see if they were vit D deficient.  Then suddenly as more news articles began to talk about the importance of Vit D in over all health and immune strength, Health Canada suddenly decided to stop covering the tests and instead focus on pushing flu vaccines.....  Funny how that works eh?


Flu deaths reality check

Credibility of flu models disputed

By Kelly Crowe, CBC News Posted: Nov 25, 2012 5:14 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 25, 2012 5:12 PM ET
Flu deaths reality check
Flu deaths reality check 3:25
Do thousands of Canadians really die every year from the flu? The flu folks keep saying so. I've already heard it repeated several times this year and flu season has just started. This is what the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a recent press release: "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."
In a CBC interview a few weeks ago an editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal said: "Four thousand to 8,000  people die every year of influenza."
It comes directly from the desk of Canada's chief public health officer. "The flu is serious," he tells us from his website. "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."
Flu's winter companions include coronavirus, adenovirus and Streptococcus pneumonia. (Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters)
Did you ever wonder how they know that? The fact is, they don't know that. "This is a scientific guess. This is not the truth," Dr. Michael Gardam, director of the infection prevention and control unit at the University Health Network in Toronto and a longtime flu watcher, told me.
The fact is, no one knows how many people die after being infected with the flu virus. The death estimates are not based on body counts, lab tests or autopsies.
"I think people may have the misconception that every person who dies from the flu is somehow counted somewhere, and they're not," Gardam said.
The "2,000 to 8,000" numbers are based on computer models — a statistical guess that comes out of the end of a mathematical formula that makes a range of assumptions about death and flu.
"They're tossing it into a big computer and they're churning out estimates," Gardam said as he scribbled numbers on a white board to show me how the models work.
One model counts all respiratory and circulatory deaths — that's death from heart and lung failure — as flu deaths.
"As an upper limit, they are looking at everybody who died of a heart and lung problem," Gardam said. "So you could imagine this could include people who died of a heart attack that had nothing to do with flu, but the feeling is that anybody who died of flu should be captured in there, plus a lot of other people."
At the lower end of that model they count the number of deaths officially listed as "influenza" on the death certificate, plus all deaths from pneumonia — even though not all pneumonia is caused by flu.
"That is going to include obviously people who died specifically of those, but it might miss people who died of influenza but who didn't get tested, for example," Gardam said.

Data can include deaths by poison

Another model assumes that every extra death that happens in the winter is a flu death. At the risk of oversimplifying, this is the basic formula of that model: winter deaths (minus) summer deaths = death by flu virus.
That includes winter deaths from slippery sidewalks, snowy roads, freezing temperatures, plus all the winter heart failure, lung failure and deaths from cancer. In the language of the computer model, all excess mortality in winter is considered "death by flu."
The model extrapolates that the flu virus will cause more deaths across all causes, including "disorders of the nervous system," stroke and "disorders of the digestive system." Which means that according to the model, flu causes 33 more "accidental falls" every year, 18 more "accidental poisonings," and 68 more deaths from "psychotic conditions." But what does flu have to do with deaths from accidental poisonings or accidental falls? 
'If they don't collect that information, how do they know that their policies will work? This is called faith-based medicine.'— Dr. Tom Jefferson
How reliable are the computer model estimates? "I don't think they're reliable at all," Dr. Tom Jefferson told me. He is a Rome-based researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration, and he spends his days reviewing all the research on acute respiratory infections and vaccines. He said hard data on flu deaths "are difficult to get hold of for obvious reasons. So enter modelling, which is nothing more than guesswork, highly sensitive to the assumptions you feed into the model. 'Give me a model and I will make it say whatever you want,' a colleague of mine always repeats."
The models are only as good as the data sets that are fed into them. And death can be complicated. If someone already extremely fragile with heart or lung disease is tipped over the edge with a flu infection, is that a flu death, or a heart death or a lung death? Which database gets to claim it?
"The only mortality estimates which have any credibility are those based on post mortem examinations and tests which were done before death," Jefferson said.

Flu death statistics not collected

In a perfect world, the flu death statistic would be based on an actual count of confirmed deaths after infection with the flu virus. But that's difficult to do, because autopsies are almost never done, lab tests for the flu virus are rarely done, and someone could die from the complications of flu even though the virus is no longer detectable in their bodies.
The numbers we do have don't even come close to the computer estimates. In Statistics Canada's "deaths and mortality" table, under "cause of death: influenza," there were only about 300 deaths a year between 2000 and 2008. Public health officials don't trust that number. They believe it underestimates the true death toll from flu.
But Jefferson believes the models overstate the risk from influenza. "There are no real figures on deaths from influenza. They don't collect that information," he said. "So if they don't collect that information, how do they know it's a threat? And if they don't collect that information, how do they know that their policies will work? This is called faith-based medicine, not evidence-based medicine."
Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease expert at Toronto's University Health Network, says estimates of the number of flu deaths each year "vary a great deal depending on which research paper you read." (CBC)
"Could the deaths be being caused by other pathogens? It's an important question," Dr. Kumanan Wilson told me. He holds the Canada Research Chair in public health policy at the University of Ottawa. He's also a hospital clinician who has seen many flu seasons.
"We see lots of people coming in with upper respiratory infections and we don't know what causes it. Sometimes if they are really sick, we'll test for influenza. We rarely test for anything else."
One of the few attempts to check the accuracy of the models in assessing flu deaths was done by one of Wilson's master's students, and her thesis is interesting reading.
Using data from three Ottawa hospitals over seven flu seasons, Tiffany Smith did two things. First, she counted the patients who died from flu, according to a doctor’s diagnosis. Then, using one of the official flu modelling methods, she ran a computer model to see how close the actual body count matched the statistical estimates. Her result? The statistical model predicted eight times as many deaths from flu as there were actual clinical cases.
"I have found evidence to suggest that point estimates of influenza burden generated using statistical models may not be reliable," she concluded, "and that more research is required to understand the limitations of this methodology."
Remember, that's an unpublished thesis, not a peer-reviewed study. But Wilson said it was a well done paper that posed some important questions.

Health Canada resists queries

Just as an aside, I tried to contact Tiffany Smith to ask about her thesis, because she is one of the few people to attempt to validate the models. It seemed that she wanted to talk to me. Here's her response to my email:
Hi Kelly, I would love to talk to you about my thesis! However, because I work for the Agency, I'm obliged to engage media relations even if it's just for background info.
The "Agency" is the federal government, specifically, the Public Health Agency of Canada, a branch of Health Canada. My request for permission to talk to Tiffany about her student thesis was directed all the way up to the chief of media relations for Health Canada. Here is my email to him:
Hello. My name is Kelly Crowe and I am the medical sciences correspondent for CBC National TV news and I would like to talk to Tiffany Smith about her graduate thesis, as background research for a story I am doing. She is interested in talking to me, but she has been told that she needs to get permission, and she forwarded me your email address and suggested I contact you.
It would be a phone conversation about her master's thesis, and I will not be asking her any questions about her current work. I would not be speaking to her as a representative of a government agency, but only as the author of a student thesis.
Thank you, Kelly Crowe
He wrote back, declining on Tiffany Smith's behalf, although he did offer me a chance to ask about the official government point of view. His email:
Hello, Kelly.
Please accept my apologies for not getting back to you yesterday. I was out of the office with a bad cold. I've spoken with Tiffany and she would prefer that you quote from her written thesis as her current workload doesn't leave her a lot of extra time these days.
That being said, if you have any questions for PHAC on the subject matter I am happy to have one of our media relations officers get in touch with you. I understand that my colleague Blossom Leung is working with Marijka Hurko already for your piece that is to air this Sunday.
Regards, Alastair
As a further aside, despite Alastair Sinclair's offer to answer questions, we were refused an on camera interview with anyone from Health Canada about any of this. All we received was a written response to our questions, which I have included at the end of this article.

Continue reading the article HERE

January 12, 2014

Vitamin D Proven More Effective Than Both Anti-Viral Drugs and Vaccines At Preventing The Flu

vit d vs flu232221 Vitamin D Proven More Effective Than Both Anti Viral Drugs and Vaccines At Preventing The Flu
by Marco Torres
The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found. The finding has implications for flu epidemics since vitamin D, which is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight, has no significant side effects, costs little and can be several times more effective than anti-viral drugs or vaccines according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Only one in ten children, aged six to 15 years, taking the sunshine vitamin in a clinical trial came down with flu compared with one in five given a dummy tablet. Mitsuyoshi Urashima, the Japanese doctor who led the trial, told The Times that vitamin D was more effective than vaccines in preventing flu.
Vitamin D was found to be even more effective when the comparison left out children who were already given extra vitamin D by their parents, outside the trial. Taking the sunshine vitamin was then shown to reduce the risk of flu to a third of what it would otherwise be.
Dr. Damien Downing, a doctor and medical consultant has publicly stated that governments “do like” epidemics as a chance to impose their will. The London based doctor has been advising patients to increase their vitamin D intake rather than get the vaccine.
You might be shocked to know that there are many physicians in both Canada and the United States who prescribe as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D daily as a treatment for a long list of chronic diseases.
Dr. John Cannell, MD, suggests high-dose vitamin D (50,000 IU) be consumed for three days at the first sign of a cold or the flu. If you have an infection, the truth is you need more vitamin D. That’s a given. In other words, vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic. It works against every type of microbe (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites).
Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months, especially in countries far north of the equator. Vitamin D acts as an immune system modulator, preventing excessive production of inflammatory cytokines and increasing macrophage (a type of white cell) activity. Vitamin D also stimulates the production of potent anti-microbial peptides in other white blood cells and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract, protecting the lungs from infection.
50 Percent Reduction In Flu Infections Using Vitamin D
Altogether 354 children took part in the trial. Vitamin D was found to protect against influenza A but not against the less common influenza B.
The trial, which was double blind, randomised, and fully controlled scientifically, was conducted by doctors and scientists from Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan.
The children were given a daily dose of 1200 IUs (international units) of vitamin D over a period of three months. In the first month children in the group taking the vitamin became ill just as often as those taking the dummy tablet. But by the second month, when the vitamin level in the children’s blood was higher, the advantage of the vitamin was clear.
The Japanese scientists, writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, say that the anti-viral drugs zanamivir and oseltamivir reduce risk of flu infection by 8 percent in children who have been exposed to infection, compared with a 50 percent or greater reduction with vitamin D.
Anti-virals are typically more effective than vaccines for the influenza virus which suggests that both forms of medical intervention would consistently fail in similar studies when pitted against vitamin D.
Anti-virals are also too expensive, and possibly too toxic, to be given to the population as a whole whereas vitamin D has additional benefits. The sunshine vitamin not only prevents bone fractures but is also believed to reduce risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illness, including various bacterial as well as viral infections.
The Japanese finding supports a theory that low blood levels of the sunshine vitamin occurring in winter explain why flu epidemics generally peak between December and March.
Vitamin D activates the innate immune system, enabling the body to produce several proteins such as defensin and cathelicidin which trigger cell activity and disable viruses.
Dr John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, London, said: “This is a timely study. It will be noticed by scientists. It fits in with the seasonal pattern of flu. There is an increasing background of solid science that makes the vitamin D story credible. ”
Dose and Vitamin D Levels Are Critical 
Researchers have recently pinpointed the mechanism behind vitamin D3′s ability to enhance the immune system and why it is so critical to our health.
- Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a steroid hormone precursor, which has profound effects on innate immunity.
- The amount of vitamin D in most food and nearly all multivitamins is literally inconsequential.
- The correct daily dose of vitamin D for adults is approximately 5,000 IU/day, not the 200 to 600 IU recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA.
- The only blood test to determine vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians now order.
- Healthy vitamin D blood levels are between 70 and 90 ng/ml, levels obtained by fewer than 5% of Americans.
- The mechanism of action of vitamin D in infection, dramatically increasing the body’s production of broad-spectrum natural antibiotics (anti-microbial peptides or AMP), suggests pharmaceutical doses of vitamin D (1,000 IU per pound of body weight per day for several days) will effectively treat not only influenza and the common cold, but help treat a host of other seasonal infections, including meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia, in both children and adults.
Read the full article here:
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.