Conventional Medicine

Autoimmune Disease
Diet vs Meds
Fung, Jason
How Effective Are Meds?
Medical Boards?
Medical Errors?
Obesity Causes
Pain Pills
Problems With


Is artificial intelligence about to transform the mammogram? WP By Steven Zeitchik 12/21/21

An MIT researcher who survived breast cancer has devised a technique that seems to predict many breast cancer cases

When Regina Barzilay returned to work after her breast cancer leave seven years ago, she was struck by an unexpected thought.

The MIT artificial-intelligence expert had just endured chemotherapy, two lumpectomies and radiation at Massachusetts General Hospital, and all the brutal side effects that come along with those treatments.

"I walked in the door to my office and thought, 'We here at MIT are doing all this sophisticated algorithmic work that could have so many applications,'" Barzilay said. "'And one subway stop away the people who could benefit from it are dying.'"

Barzilay had spent years researching the AI specialty known as natural-language processing, which applies algorithms to textual data. Those skills, she realized, might be put to a different use: predicting cancer. She decided to shift her research.

That choice is now bearing fruit. Barzilay, 51, and a student protege have built an AI that seems able to predict with unprecedented accuracy whether a healthy person will get breast cancer, in an innovation that could seriously disrupt how we think about the disease.

As she and her team laid out in an article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology last month and explore further in an upcoming piece set to be published in Nature Medicine, by analyzing a mammogram’s set of byzantine pixels and then cross-referencing them with thousands of older mammograms, the AI — known as Mirai — can predict nearly half of all incidences of breast cancer up to five years before they happen.

Multi-Institutional Validation of a Mammography-Based Breast Cancer Risk Model

It's a marriage of tech and health care that could alter millions of lives without a single drop of medicine. "If the data is validated, I think this is very exciting," said Janine T. Katzen, a radiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who specializes in breast imaging.

Assuming that validation happens - trials are about to begin - Mirai could transform how mammograms are used, open up a whole new world of testing and prevention, allow patients to avoid aggressive treatments and even save the lives of countless people who get breast cancer. (Men and nonbinary individuals also are affected.) Mirai would spit out risk scores for patients' next five years, giving them a chance to make health-care choices that earlier generations could only dream of.

The AI has an oracular quality: The designers themselves don’t understand how it works. They're just certain that it does.

That fact raises many broader social and moral implications. But there's also a more practical matter - whether the medical establishment and insurance companies will at all embrace this.

Any family that has been affected by breast cancer knows the trajectory: A person is feeling perfectly fine when a mammogram or self-examination turns up a troubling sign, jolting everything to a stop. An MRI or biopsy then confirms the suspicion.

Suddenly rushing in are fears about the future, flurries of doctor appointments assessing the threat and many months of debilitating treatments and surgery. Even in cases with a "successful" outcome, physical and psychological aftereffects - along with paralyzing fears of recurrence - can last years.

Through it all, a question gnaws: How could a body betray us without offering up so much as a warning message?

Barzilay asked another question: What if it does and we just haven't built the tools to hear it?

The system most often trying to listen has been Tyrer-Cuzick, a statistical model into which doctors input a list of basic variables such as a person’s age and family history. It usually predicts breast cancer in just 20 to 25 percent of people who go on to be diagnosed with it.

MIT researchers took a different tack. The team - Barzilay; the student, Adam Yala; and Connie Lehman, a Mass General doctor Barzilay met through her oncologist - gathered more than 200,000 Mass General mammograms of people who would and would not go on to develop cancer. They fed them into Mirai to train its algorithm. Mirai would scan mammograms and make a prediction, drawing from all it had analyzed.

Then it would be told the actual result and be "penalized" or "rewarded" (via the mathematical adjustment of the model) based on the deviation from the reality. It quickly learned what future breast cancer did and did not look like in the mammogram dots.

Once Mirai was trained, team members embarked on a study. They collected 129,000 mammograms taken from 2008 to 2016, spanning 62,000 patients in seven hospitals in five places - Sweden, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil and the United States - and asked Mirai to make its predictions. Anything above a cumulative five-year risk score of 2.5 percent was deemed high, and the AI would then automatically recommend further testing such as a biopsy or MRI. How well, the team wondered, could Mirai predict which mammogram belonged to a person who developed cancer over a five-year period?

The AI was correct in an average of about 76 out of 100 cases, an improvement of 22 percent over Tyrer-Cuzick, translating to millions of women in the real world.

Mirai's "sensitivity" - the rate at which it correctly foretold cancer in all those who would go on to be diagnosed with it - was about 44 percent, nearly double Tyrer-Cuzick's 20 to 25 percent. (The study did not distinguish between more and less aggressive forms of cancer.)

"This is the next, very positive step forward," Dorraya El-Ashry, chief scientific officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, said in an interview. "There is a lot of work to do. But it is very encouraging."

The foundation provided funding for Barzilay's research, as did MIT's Jameel Clinic and the British nonprofit Wellcome Trust. Barzilay and Yala early on decided to make the technology open-source so any hospital could use it; there are no patents on Mirai.

Prickly City by Scott Stantis, 3/9/20

Insurance Lobby Gorilla by Stuart Carlson

Dustin by Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker 12/10/21

Doctors Lie -Anita Glass
She told a gynecologist that she had a condition. He said no, but agreed to a test. The test was positive but he said she couldn't have the condition undless she had X condition. She said "Yes, I have that condition." He just walked out

Later she fell and tore her labrum. With an x-ray in front of him, he still denied that she had torn her labrum.

When I went to Dr. Mroueh about my sleep problems, she said I could not have an adrenal problem. "They are rare, and if you had it you would be in the hospital."

Both WebMD and Mayo Clinic say adrenal exhaustion is common. I had to change doctors to get a test.


2 Thyroid Destroyers You Didn't Know

Pain Pills

In 10 years, pain pills will be OBSOLETE. THIS is what we'll do instead… transcript

How Safe and Effective Are Your Medicines? You Might Be Surprised! Most people assume their medicine is safe and effective. The FDA says a drug can be "safe" even if it can cause cancer, heart attacks or death. How effective are statins at prolonging life?

Before a physician prescribes a medication, she should know exactly how safe and effective it is. And before a patient swallows any pill he should also know precisely how safe and effective it is. You don't get any more basic than that. Before many people buy a car, a TV or an appliance, they do their homework. They may check Consumer Reports, or get a mechanic to inspect a used car to make sure they aren't buying a lemon. When it comes to medicine, however, there is no easy way to determine how safe and effective a drug will be for you.

Progressive Health Care

Pramila Jayapal Is Starting The First Medicare For All PAC HuffPost 9/12/18

The first-term House member from Seattle wants to help congressional candidates who support the progressive health care policy.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is founding a political action committee to contribute money to congressional candidates who support single-payer health care, commonly known as Medicare for all.

The PAC's website, where donors can contribute online, went live Wednesday morning at

"The goal is really to lift up and support candidates who are excited about and supporting the idea of Medicare for all,” Jayapal, a first-term former activist, told HuffPost in an interview. "It's really that simple.”

The Obesity Epidemic - Root Causes

The Obesity Epidemic - Root Causes Dr. Jason Fung

There are many puzzling aspects to this obesity epidemic. First, what caused it? The fact that this epidemic is both global and relatively recent argues against an underlying genetic defect. Exercise as a leisure activity was largely unheard of in the 1970s. People just didn't sweat with the oldies in that decade. The proliferation of gyms, running clubs, exercise studios and the like were a product of the 1980s. I would struggle with this question for many years. People ate white bread, ice cream and Oreo cookies in the 1970s. Whole wheat pasta and bread didn't truly exist as foods real people ate. They were doing everything 'wrong' but yet there's little obesity, as you can easily see if you were to look at old photographs from the 1970s.

Second, why were we powerless to stop this epidemic? Nobody wanted to be fat. All the best scientists, doctors and dieticians of the era were giving dietary advice to stay lean. For more than thirty years, doctors have recommended a low-fat, calorie-reduced diet as the treatment of choice for obesity. Yet the obesity epidemic accelerated. From 1985 to 2011, the prevalence of obesity in Canada has tripled, from 6 percent to 18 percent.1All the available evidence shows that people were trying to cut their calories, cut their fat and exercise more. But they weren't losing weight. The only logical answer is that we didn't understand the problem. Eating too much fat and too many calories wasn't the problem, so cutting the fat and calories was not the solution. So, it all comes back to that first essential question. What causes weight gain?

In the 1990s, I graduated from the University of Toronto and the University of California, Los Angeles as a physician and kidney specialist. And I must confess that I did not have the slightest interest in the treatment of obesity. Not during medical school, residency, specialty training or even during practice. But it wasn't just me. This was true for just about every physician trained in North America. Medical school taught us virtually nothing about nutrition, and even less about the treatment of obesity. There were hours and hours of lectures dedicated to the proper medications and surgery to prescribe. I was proficient in the use of hundreds of medications. I was proficient in the use of dialysis. I knew all about surgical treatments and indications. But I knew nothing about nutrition and even less about how to lose weight. This is despite the fact that the obesity epidemic was well established, and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes was following just behind, with all its health implications. Doctors just didn't care about diet.

Weight loss was not a matter of looking good in a bikini for the summer swimming season. If only. The excess weight was largely responsible for development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, dramatically increasing the risk of heart attacks, stroke, cancer, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and nerve damage, among other problems. This was not some peripheral topic of medicine. Obesity was at the very heart of everything, and I knew just about nothing.

I entered practice as a kidney specialist in early 2000s, and the most common cause of kidney failure, by far, was type 2 diabetes. I treated those patients exactly as I had been trained, the only way I knew how. With drugs like insulin and procedures like dialysis.

From experience, I knew that insulin would cause weight gain. Actually, everybody knew insulin caused weight gain. Patients were rightly concerned. "Doctor,” they say, "you've always told me to lose weight. But the insulin you gave me makes me gain so much weight. How is this helpful?” For a long time, I didn't have a good answer for them, because the truth was it wasn't helpful.

The problem was that my patients were just not getting healthier. I was simply holding their hand as they got worse and worse. I was doing everything I was taught, but it wasn't doing any good. Gradually, it dawned on me what the problem was.

The root cause of the entire problem was the weight. Obesity caused metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which caused all the other problems. Yet everything I was taught, almost the entire system of modern medicine, with its pharmacopeia, with its nanotechnology, with all the genetic wizardry was focused myopically on the problems at the end.

Nobody was treating the root cause. If you treat the kidney disease, patients are still left with obesity, type 2 diabetes and every other complication. This was the way that I, and virtually every other doctor was trained to practice medicine. But it was not working. We needed to treat obesity.We were trying to treat the problems caused by obesity rather than obesity itself.

When people lost weight their type 2 diabetes would also reverse course. Treating the root cause is the only logical solution. If your car is leaking oil, the solution is not to buy more oil and mops to clean the spilled oil. The logical solution is to find the leak and fix it. As a medical profession, we were guilty of blindly ignoring the leak.

If you could treat the obesity at the beginning, then type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome could not develop. You could NOT develop diabetic kidney disease if you didn't have diabetes. You couldn't develop diabetic nerve damage if you didn't' have diabetes. It seems obvious in retrospect.

The problem was that I didn't know how to treat the obesity. Despite having worked more than twenty years in medicine, I found that my own nutritional knowledge was rudimentary, at best. This sparked a decade long odyssey and eventually led me to establish the Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) program and the Toronto Metabolic Clinic.

In thinking seriously about the treatment of obesity, there was one singularly important question to understand. What causes weight gain? What is the root cause? The reason we never think about this crucial question is that we already think we know the answer. We think that eating too many calories causes obesity. If this were true, then the solution to weight loss is simple. Eat fewer calories.

But we've done that already. Ad nauseam. For the last 50 years, the only weight loss ever given out was to cut your calories and exercise more. This is the highly ineffective strategy called 'Eat Less, Move More’. We've added calorie counts to food labels. We have calorie counting books. We have calorie counting apps. We have calorie counters on our exercise machines. We've done everything humanly possible to count calories so that we could cut them. Did it work? Did those pounds melt like a snowman in July? No. It sure sounds like it should work. But the empiric evidence, plain as a mole on the tip of your nose, is that it does NOT work.

From a human physiology standpoint, the entire calorie story collapses like a house of cards. The body does not measure calories because it has no calorie sensors. The body does not respond to 'calories’. There are no calorie receptors on cell surfaces. It has no ability to know how many calories you are or are not eating. If your body doesn't count calories, why should you? Calories is purely a unit of energy borrowed from physics. The field of obesity medicine, desperate for some simple measure of food energy, completely ignored human physiology and turned to physics instead.

So, we got the saying 'A calorie is a calorie’. But that's not a question I can recall anybody ever asking. Instead, the question is 'Are all calories of food energy equally fattening?’, to which the answer is an emphatic no. One hundred calories of kale salad is not as equally fattening as one hundred calories of candy. One hundred calories of beans is not equally as fattening as one hundred calories of white bread and jam. But for the last 50 years, we pretended they were equally fattening.

And so I started from the beginning. Unravelling the rotten tapestry of the Calories model to answer that all-important question of the underlying causes of weight gain was the reason I wrote The Obesity Code. Since then, in my Intensive Dietary Management program ( treated thousands of patients over the last 5 years. I've wondered sometimes about why such a simple concept about using free dietary measures like fasting to treat dietary diseases runs into such obstacles. Here is the traditional medical system.

Meds vs Diet

Here is how the modern medical system fares if people could use diet to control their own health and destiny. Reversing type 2 diabetes, as I explored in The Diabetes Code, is really very simple, and does not involve using expensive medicines or surgeries.

The most common situation in a standard medical office usually goes something like this: a patient isn't feeling well and makes an appointment. He or she is scheduled at the same time as 10 other patients, likely due to the fact that so many people are living stressed lives and not taking adequate care of themselves while at the same time the medical office recognizes there will be a number of no-show patients and they need to keep their schedule full. The patient arrives at the office, usually a cold, sterile, closed off space, wherein they complete a few forms and sit for almost 30 minutes prior to seeing their doctor. After taking vitals, the patient is placed in a room to sit and wait another 15-20 minutes. Finally, the doctor arrives, however, due to his schedule, he can spend no more than 7-9 minutes, on average, with each patient. This is just enough time for the patient to share his or her complaint and the physician to run through a number of possible prescription medication remedies for the patient's concern. Then the patient pays at checkout and may stop by a pharmacy within the next day or two.

Dr. Marcia Angell, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about it "Drug Companies and Doctors: A Story of Corruption"

Autoimmune Disease

6 Ways Conventional Medicine Gets Autoimmune Disease Wrong Conventional medicine is a "one-size-fits-all" approach that focuses on treating symptoms rather than trying to help you prevent chronic illness in the first place. The same is true for how it approaches autoimmune disease, an epidemic that has increased threefold over the past 50 years and affects approximately 50 million Americans, or one in five people.

Unfortunately, conventional doctors are still using this outdated model of dealing with autoimmunity, despite the ever-increasing need for true solutions in this realm. Now, more than ever, we need answers that conventional medicine simply can't provide. Conventional medicine failed me, and I have made it my mission not to let it fail you too.

In this article, we'll take a look at how conventional medicine gets autoimmune disease wrong, and clear up some myths that have been perpetuated by this system.

Conventional Medicine Has Autoimmunity All Wrong You're not alone if you've faced doctor after doctor addressing individual symptoms, but failing to look at the WHOLE YOU - at how your symptoms are interrelated.

You may have been encouraged to take harsh medications to suppress your "overactive" immune system and told you'll be on those medications for life.

You may have been discouraged by the medical community's stance that your condition is a result of genetics, so diet and lifestyle will not impact your condition.

You may have even been told that your symptoms are "all in your head,” which can leave you frustrated, isolated and with little or no faith that healing is possible.

That's exactly what I heard during my own struggle with an autoimmune condition! And after conventional medicine failed me, I made it my mission to not let it fail you too. - Dr. Amy Myers.

Medical Errors

DrMercola: Can the Conventional Medical Profession Be Trusted? Trust in the medical profession has dramatically declined in recent decades. In 1966, more than 75 percent of Americans had great confidence in medical professionals; today only 34 percent do. Only 25 percent have confidence in the U.S. health system and a mere 14 percent trust the federal government will do what's right most of the time

A glaring example of how little attention our medical system affords health is the fact that U.S. hospitals and senior care institutions still insist on serving highly processed, sugary foods and meal replacement beverages

Research by John Ioannidis, one of the world's foremost experts on the credibility of medical research, shows as much as 90 percent of the published medical information relied on by doctors is flawed or incorrect

Research published in 2016 concluded that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 250,000 Americans each year

Doctors, while well-intentioned, have by and large become untrustworthy for the simple fact that they stopped thinking for themselves and fell into a corporate for-profit scheme that depends on chronic illness. Few are those who buck the system, do their own research rather than getting their information from pharmaceutical reps, and focus on patient education about preventive strategies that '’t involve costly drugs or surgical interventions.

Medical Boards

Medical Board Ordered to Pay Millions for Harassment Medical boards have gained tremendous power over doctors' ability to practice medicine, and while standards are needed to protect patients, medical boards frequently misuse that power

License revocation and other career-ending punishments are being used to stifle free speech, free thinking and the open-minded investigation that should be a cornerstone of science itself

Dr. Mark Geier, a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in genetics, lost his medical license in 2011 for using a controversial chelation therapy to treat autistic children. After the Maryland Board of Physicians published a list of medicines prescribed to Geier, his wife and son on its website, Geier sued the board for harassment, and won. Montgomery County Circuit Court awarded Geier $2.5 million in damages, calling it a significant breach of medical privacy; half of the damages must be paid out of pocket by the board's appointees


Top Reasons You Can't Trust Your Doctor [about vaccines]


Increasingly, parents are left feeling belittled or threatened by their children's doctors should they so much as question the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vaccination schedule

There are stories from across the U.S. of people who have been dismissed from medical practices or yelled at by their physicians over questions regarding vaccination or personal decisions of whether or not to vaccinate

It's a doctor's job to inform his or her patients so they're able to make an educated decision about their medical care; it's not a doctor's job to make that decision for the patient

Physicians and pharmaceutical companies that people are expected to blindly trust when it comes to vaccinations are the same ones who are implicated in creating a deadly opioid epidemic and who, via medical errors, are a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Top Doctors Reveal Vaccines Turn Our Immune System Against Us

GMI Posted on: Tuesday, November 13th 2018 Written By: Celeste McGovern

The research is hard to ignore, vaccines can trigger autoimmunity with a laundry list of diseases to follow. With harmful and toxic metals as some vaccine ingredients, who is susceptible and which individuals are more at risk?

But something strange is happening in the world of immunology lately and a small evidence of it is that the Godfather of Autoimmunology is pointing to vaccines – specifically, some of their ingredients including the toxic metal aluminum – as a significant contributor to the growing global epidemic of autoimmune diseases. The bigger evidence is a huge body of research that's poured in in the past 15 years, and particularly in the past five years. Take for example, a recent article published in the journal Pharmacological Research in which Shoenfeld and colleagues issue unprecedented guidelines naming four categories of people who are most at risk for vaccine-induced autoimmunity.

"On one hand," vaccines prevent infections which can trigger autoimmunity, "On the other hand, many reports that describe post-vaccination autoimmunity strongly suggest that vaccines can indeed trigger autoimmunity. Defined autoimmune diseases that may occur following vaccinations include arthritis, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE) diabetes mellitus, thrombocytopenia, vasculitis, dermatomyosiositis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and demyelinating disorders. Almost all types of vaccines have been reported to be associated with the onset of ASIA."

"Throughout our lifetime the normal immune system walks a fine line between preserving normal immune reactions and developing autoimmune diseases," says the paper. "The healthy immune system is tolerant to self-antigens. When self-tolerance is disturbed, dysregulation of the immune system follows, resulting in emergence of an autoimmune disease. Vaccination is one of the conditions that may disturb this homeostasis in susceptible individuals, resulting in autoimmune phenomena and ASIA."

Who is "susceptible" is the subject of the paper entitled, "Predicting post-vaccination autoimmunity: Who might be at risk?" It lists four categories of people: 1) those who have had a previous autoimmune reaction to a vaccine, 2) anyone with a medical history of autoimmunity, 3) patients with a history of allergic reactions, 4) anyone at high risk of developing autoimmune disease including anyone with a family history of autoimmunity, presence of autoantibodies which are detectable by blood tests and other factors including low vitamin D and smoking.

Ebook: Vaccines and Brain Health

PDF doc is in Documents

What Do Vaccines Have to Do With Brain Health?

A GOOGLE SEARCH FOR 'VACCINE SAFETY' will return an overwhelming amount of conflicting, and often emotionally-charged, rhetoric about vaccines. Objective, scientifically-validated information about the risks and benefits of vaccines can be difficult to identify. As a passionate believer in the power of informed consent, I feel that we have a right to know the full breadth of available data so that we're empowered to make our own decisions about our bodies and our children.

To make your own judgment, it's important to understand how vaccines work, who is recommending them, and why - and to ask questions. Because no one should be threatened by the process of further inquiry.

A new model of depression as an inflammation-mediated evolutionary mismatch, as opposed to a serotonin deficiency, is introduced and supported by a number of scientific studies.

Since vaccines were designed before the discovery of DNA, the understanding of epigenetics, and the relevance of chronic inflammation as a disease driver, the inflammation that is deliberately caused by vaccines should be independently examined as a risk factor for inflammation-linked diseases, especially as vaccineinduced immune responses are fundamentally different from those generated by natural infection.2

I suggested that the current one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination needs further scientific study, especially in terms of disease protection claims and brain-related adverse effects. Emerging science has called into question the effectiveness of vaccines, including the documentation of outbreaks in highly to completely-vaccinated populations4 and the finding that disease-causing microbes are quickly evolving to escape vaccine-induced immunity.5 Importantly, women, who are underrepresented in scientific study groups and more prone to autoimmunity, may incur an increased risk of adverse effects from vaccines.

Since the publication of my review article, another study emerged that linked vaccines to psychiatric disorders.7 Analyzing data from thousands of children, researchers found that children who had been diagnosed with OCD, anorexia, anxiety, tics, or ADHD were more likely to have received a prior vaccination than their matched controls.

Perhaps even more compelling is an April 2017 scientific article, the first of its kind, that compared age-matched vaccinated and unvaccinated children to determine if there were significant differences in the diagnoses of acute and chronic illnesses. Researchers polled the parents of over 650 homeschooled children, aged either 6 or 12. In this mostly-Caucasian group, 39% of children were unvaccinated, 31% partially vaccinated, and 30% fully vaccinated. Using sophisticated statistical analyses to control for other variables, researchers determined the likelihood of acute and chronic illnesses with respect to vaccination status.

In terms of acute illnesses, vaccinated children were significantly less likely to have had chicken pox, whooping cough (pertussis), and rubella (though the rubella incidence was not significant). Vaccinated children were more likely to have suffered from otitis media (ear infection) and pneumonia, and there was no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups in terms of Hepatitis A and B, high fever, measles, mumps, meningitis, influenza, and rotavirus.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Vaccinated children were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with a variety of chronic diseases. Perhaps most alarmingly, children who had received vaccines had higher incidences of neurodevelopmental disorders, including learning disabilities, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, at a rate of 10.5% compared to 3.1% of unvaccinated children. Here is a full table of increased chronic illness due to vaccines:

The Study

Chronic Illness

% Vaccinated

% Unvaccinated
Allergic Rhinitis


Other Allergies


Eczema, Dermatitis


Learning Disability




All neurodevelopment


All chronic diseases


Why am I writing this article, which will cover the fundamental mechanisms of vaccines as well as current studies? I wish to provide an objective, scientific foundation for open dialogue on a topic that affects all of us.

Vaccines Are Designed to Promote Inflammation

VACCINES AS WE KNOW THEM were born about 200 years ago, when Edward Jenner, widely considered the father of vaccination, took pus from a cowpox lesion on a young dairymaid's hand and injected it into an 8-year-old farmhand to 'protect' him from smallpox. Subsequently, the boy developed a fever and lost his appetite for 9 days. Two months later (in July 1796), Jenner injected the boy with smallpox and noted that he did not develop disease.8 Jenner then concluded that this type of inoculation trains the immune system to be ready to fight off impending threats.

Amazingly, the way vaccines are made today is
not much different from two hundred years ago.

Fundamentally, vaccines are designed to cause inflammation. Following Jenner logic, most vaccines contain a part of the "threat”, called an antigen, combined with chemicals that stimulate the immune system, called adjuvants.

However, independent science is revealing that the immune system is far more complex than we realize. Specifically, there are three emergent scientific discoveries that should completely change the game: the microbiome, exosomes, and the role of psychology or beliefs in medical outcomes

Finally, the influence of our emotions and beliefs on immunity cannot be overstated. Both rigorous science15 and powerful experiences have confirmed the mind-body connection and the power of placebo. When people believe that they will heal, they do: the placebo effect has been shown to resolve depression, mend broken bones,16 and extend the life of cancer patients.17 The mandatory nature of vaccination implies that we cannot trust our bodies to fight off disease, and this fear-based implication erodes the very beliefs that enable true health.

The Current Vaccine Development Process and Schedule are Predicated On Outdated Science

Furthermore, the vaccine schedule is a one-size-fits-all approach that has never (not once) been studied in its ever-growing entirety. Additionally, vaccine formulations have never been studied against a true placebo for FDA approval.

To suggest that a pharmaceutical product should be delivered to all persons regardless of age, weight, health status, and history is to ignore all of the advances of modern science that suggest that biochemical individuality is the key to health and wellness

The current vaccine schedule requires multiple inflammatory chemicals to be injected with little to no time in between, with people (especially babies!) often getting multiple shots in a single office visit. This barrage of antigens and inflammatory chemicals can over-activate the psychoneuroimmune system for years. Amazingly, the MMR vaccine package inserts clearly state that coadministration with other vaccines has not been studied.

Many Vaccine Ingredients are Known Toxins

LET'S REVISIT THE FLU VACCINE, which millions of people of all ages are advised to get each year. What exactly is being injected into people's muscles?

Vaccines contain ingredients, called antigens, which cause the body to develop immunity. Vaccines also contain very small amounts of other ingredients – all of which play necessary roles either in making the vaccine, or in ensuring that the vaccine is safe and effective.

All the flu vaccine components are potentially toxic; thimerosal is a mercurybased31 preservative, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, gelatin and egg proteins are allergens, antibiotics are literally designed to kill cells, and I can't even imagine how muscle cells respond to an influx of straight sugar.

The most common vaccine ingredient, aluminum, is in at least 18 vaccines, including the HepB vaccine that's 'required' for infants. Even though aluminum salts have been injected into people since the 1920s, a 2015 scientific review paper confirmed that we still don't know how they work.32 Aluminum stays in the body for several years, and it has been linked to chronic fatigue and cognitive decline,33 among other disorders. A pubmed search for 'aluminum' and 'human toxicity' returns over 4200 studies.

A 2011 study states that aluminum is a risk factor for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation, and associated neurological complications.34 In fact, aluminum has been so frequently documented as triggers for autoimmunity that a new term has been coined: Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA).35 Autoimmunity is intimately connected to depression, as these conditions are both symptoms of a misfiring immune system. In fact, a study of 3.5 million people showed that having an autoimmune disorder increased the risk of a mood disorder by a staggering 45%!36

Further, we do know that these aluminum particles can reach the brain.37

Mercury, another of the most common vaccine ingredients, is a known neurotoxin. The 'safe dose' of mercury recommended by the EPA is 2 parts per billion (ppb) per liter of drinking water. Amazingly, the flu vaccine contains 50,000 ppb of mercury! 38 Even in very low concentrations, mercury can be toxic to brain cells. In one study, a dose of 0.5 ppb was enough to kill human brain cells.39 A person who complies with the current vaccine requirements will develop a staggering toxic burden, since mercury is in several vaccines, including whooping cough, tetanus, meningococcal, and Hepatitis B.

Vaccines contain a multitude of other toxins that can cross the blood-brain barrier, like formaldehyde, monosodium glutamate (MSG), detergents,40 and foreign proteins that can set off a variety of unpredictable immune responses. Further, several vaccines contain 'weakened' versions of viruses, which can activate latent viruses that are otherwise normally harmless.41 Activation of these latent viruses has been linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.42

Antibiotics in vaccines may be the most worrisome component. Antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria in the microbiome, which orchestrates 70-80% of immune responses.43 Preliminary studies suggest that antibiotic-containing vaccines change the microbiome for the worse. In one study, researchers found that injecting mice with a human flu vaccine led to colonization by harmful bacteria, like Staph aureus. 44 And if you're pregnant, exposure to antibiotics can increase the chances of your baby developing diseases like IBS, asthma, obesity, and diabetes later in life. Everything is connected, and many of these metabolic diseases coincide with psychiatric diagnoses like depression.

Louis Pasteur, famous for his work in pasteurization and vaccination, later regretted his war on microbes.

As much as I'd love to tell you that the benefits of vaccines are worth the risk, the scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Despite the aggressive vaccine schedule for infants, America has an abysmal infant mortality rate, with 1 in 143 babies dying before age 1.

We are number 4 in infant morality, after Chile and the Slovak Republic.

Scientific evidence is mounting that shows the link between vaccines and suddeninfant death syndrome (SIDS). Most infants die of SIDS at age 2-4 months, when babies are subjected to 11 shots containing 16 different vaccines.

In terms of modern infections, the flu vaccine is notoriously ineffective, with the current estimate of 48% effectiveness against a few strains of many

One study showed that receiving the influenza vaccine actually hampers your immunity, 45 and another showed that this vaccine made people more susceptible to a worse version of the flu, H1N1 (swine flu).46

Further, several studies have shown that disease outbreaks occur in highly or completely vaccinated populations47, 48 and that vaccines can accelerate the evolution of existing microbes49 in a similar way that rampant antibiotic use creates antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Perhaps most strikingly, recent studies suggest that the immune response created by vaccines is incomplete, leading to increased infection risk.50, 51, 52

Overall, scientific data has confirmed the risks, but not benefits, of vaccines. Furthermore, over $3B has been payed out to vaccine-injured adults and children since 1989, and vaccine injuries are likely grossly underreported. It was in 1986 that pharmaceutical companies demanded protection from the government if they were to continue to manufacture vaccines that were incurring so many lawsuits at that point, arguing that they would be financially disabled by the continued consumer wrath.

Because of subsequent legislation, you can no longer hold a pharmaceutical company, nor your doctor, responsible for injuries or even death that may occur as a result of vaccination.

Despite the hundreds of studies that show the toxic effects of vaccine components and counter-indicate vaccination, more and more vaccines are being governmentally mandated. Our current vaccine schedule has TRIPLED in 25 years.

National Vaccine Information Center

GreenMedInfo: How the CDC Uses Fear to Increase Demand for Flu Vaccines

Fearless Parents. Thinking... for a change

International Medical Council on Vaccination

Hormones Matter:

The Earth is Floxed []

(“Floxed" is short-hand for suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity – an adverse reaction to cipro/ciprofloxacin, levaquin/levofloxacin, avelox/moxifloxacin or any of the other fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Fluoroquinolone toxicity manifests as a multi-symptom, often chronic, disease.)

Living without Antibiotics: Natural Remedies for Common Illnesses

Three years ago I nearly died from a sepsis infection. An antibiotic called Levaquin saved my life. That same antibiotic, which is in the fluoroquinolone class, poisoned me from head to toe. I am still trying to recover from the damage it did to my connective tissue, nervous and digestive systems. I thought as long as I stayed away from fluoroquinolone antibiotics I would be ok. Not so. Two years ago I had strep throat and was prescribed amoxicillin. After a few days, the antibiotic produced a meningitis-like reaction which subsequently worsened my Levaquin-induced symptoms.

All antibiotics disrupt our microbiome, a delicate environment of bacteria affecting our immune, nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems. Antibiotics are over-prescribed and big gun fluoroquinolone antibiotics meant to kill anthrax are used for non-life threatening infections. As such, we are creating all sorts of antibiotic-resistant germs and microbial imbalances. In response to these dilemmas, doctors may soon be forced to limit prescribing fluoroquinolones for certain infections.

Here are some general recommendations I found helpful for overcoming any bacterial or viral infection:

1. Remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. They feed bad bacteria and viruses. Your virus or infection will just love you for feeding them, making them stronger and more virulent.

2. Take probiotics. When I feel the first sign of a cold coming on I take a probiotic capsule. The good probiotic bacteria will work with your body's good bacteria to fight the virus, essentially crowding it out. Keep in mind, antibiotics kill bad bacteria and good bacteria. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. If you take an antibiotic for a virus, in my opinion, you are making the virus stronger because you are wiping out the good bacteria needed to help your immune system fight the virus.

3. Exercise a little, not a lot. When you are sick your body needs to conserve energy to fight the illness. Exercising at your usual pace during an illness puts added strain on your adrenals and immune system. You don't have to stop exercising completely, just go lightly.

4. Rest and rest often. So many people I know catch a cold, continue to burn the midnight candle either at work or socially, end up with an infection, and are prescribed an antibiotic because they've dug themselves into an infectious grave they could have easily avoided by resting. Sleep. Rest some more.

5. Avoid stress, be patient and practice acceptance. Accept you have this illness, that it will take time to heal, and be kind to your body. Stress will make it worse. Practice whatever stress relieving activities work for you, ex. meditation, gentle yoga, applying essential oils, baths, relaxing in a quiet place, etc.

6. Avoid smoking and alcohol. I think this is self-explanatory.

7. Up vitamin and mineral intake, particularly vitamin C. Since your body is working over time, it is likely to be in need of extra vitamins and minerals. There are many different vitamin and mineral supplements but finding one with a high vitamin c content is crucial. You could also get IV vitamin and antioxidant cocktails. Since I no longer get a flu shot, a few IV vitamin C sessions stopped the flu in its tracks last year. See a functional medicine practitioner for these.

8. Try my cold/flu buster cocktail. I swear by this cocktail. Using organic fresh produce: juice 1 teaspoon each of ginger and turmeric root, add squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV), a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper, and blend with 8 ounces of your choice of watered down juices, ex. orange, carrot, beet, and/or apple. I drink one or two a day till I feel optimal.

Problems With

This one letter sums up a lot that's wrong with the American medical system

President Trump brought down the price of prescription drugs. Or so he says. At Monday night's reelection rally in Mississippi for Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, he told the audience, "Drug prices are starting to come down.”

Perhaps he should tell it to Hedda Martin, a disabled dog walker from Grand Rapids, Mich. Martin, 60, experienced her 15 minutes of fame over the Thanksgiving break, after a letter she received from Spectrum Health's Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Clinic, denying her a heart transplant, went viral.

It's not that Martin isn't a medical candidate -- she is. Her finances, however, did not meet Spectrum's standards. According to the hospital, Martin needed to show proof she could pay for the immunosuppressive drugs she will need to take for the remainder of her life to prevent her body from rejecting the transplanted heart. She couldn't do that. In lieu of that, Spectrum suggested "a fundraising effort of $10,000.”

Martin and her family quickly publicized the letter, putting it up on Facebook and GoFundMe. It went viral -- in 2018, many of us are still capable of being shocked by a medical practitioner bluntly admitting to prioritizing patients' financial resources over their immediate medical needs. Within days, Martin had her money. Martin got lucky: Studies show few medical fundraising campaigns meet their goals.

There is something repellent about crowdfunding medical care -- no matter how well intentioned, it encourages supplicants to market themselves or their loved ones, in a real life version of "Survivor.” GoFundMe and other sites like it also can't fix the fact that in the United States we pay significantly more for the exact same medications as people do in other countries.

The U.S. government -- unlike almost every other first-world nation -- does not negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to determine the price of prescription medications. An analysis published by Reuters this year found Americans can expect to pay three times as much for 20 bestselling drugs as British patients, and six times as much as Brazilians.

Moreover, we split the cost of medically needed drugs differently. Great Britain's National Health Service, for example, offers low co-payments and broad exemptions -- people over the age of 60 and cancer patients, for instance, pay nothing for NHS prescriptions. In the United States, on the other hand, Medicare and other insurance plans frequently leave their enrollees responsible for sometimes significant co-pays -- the Detroit Free Press reports the Medicare plan Martin is on comes with a $4,500 annual deductible.

People can't keep up with the costs. A survey released this past weekend by pharmaceutical price comparison site GoodRx, found 2 out of 5 Americans -- almost all of whom possessed health-care coverage -- said they found themselves financially stressed by the cost of their prescriptions. One of 3 said they have declined to fill a prescription because of the expense.

For those without insurance, it's worse. Last week there was a protest outside the Cambridge, Mass., offices of pharmaceutical company Sanofi, led by two women whose adult diabetic children died after they lost their health insurance and attempted to ration their insulin supply. The Boston Globe reported Sanofi "is one of three insulin manufacturers that in recent years have marked up prices by as much as 5,000 percent.”


Study: Millions of people with diabetes won't get the insulin they need by 2030

Jason Fung

Highlights from Summary of THE DIABETES CODE by DR. JASON FUNG: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally , by Jason Fung

Chapter 4: Diabetes, Obesity and the Misleading Calorie Count

The Problem with BMI Relative to Diabesity   This brings attention to a prevalent problem in today's society. Diabesity refers to the combination of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Body mass index (BMI) = Weight (kg) / Height2 (m2).

The obese have a BMI of 25.0 or more. The healthy have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. However, women with a BMI of 23-23.9 have a 360% bigger risk of experiencing type 2 diabetes than the ones with a BMI below 22. This indicates a problem since a 23.9 value of BMI is under the regular weight range.

a weight gain between 8 and 10.9 kgs increases this possibility by 270%.

This sheds light on the significance of the glycemic index. The digestion of carbohydrates converts them into glucose. The glycemic index helps calculate the boost in blood sugar after consuming 50 grams of carbohydrates.

You might have heard that you can lose weight by lessening the number of calories you take but this is false. Weight cannot be regulated like that. The Calories-In, Calories-Out hypothesis is incorrect.

Hormones make our body have food [eat] or stop by controlling hunger. Our decision to have something does not originate from its availability, it stems from our hormones. When fat gathers in our body, it is due to issues with energy distribution instead of energy surplus.

People need to regulate hormonal indicators from foods instead of trying to regulate their overall calorie consumption to limit fat buildup and weight gain.

Obesity refers to a hormonal imbalance. When we gain weight, the relevant hormonal issue is excess insulin. This causes type 2 diabetes to have a connection with insulin imbalance and not caloric imbalance.

Highlights from The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, by Dr. Jason Fung

THE ART OF medicine is quite peculiar. Once in a while, medical treatments become established that don't really work. Through sheer inertia, these treatments get handed down from one generation of doctors to the next and survive for a surprisingly long time, despite their lack of effectiveness. Consider the medicinal use of leeches (bleeding) or, say, routine tonsillectomy.

Unfortunately, the treatment of obesity is also one such example. Obesity is defined in terms of a person's body mass index, calculated as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. A body mass index greater than 30 is defined as obese. For more than thirty years, doctors have recommended a low-fat, calorie-reduced diet as the treatment of choice for obesity. Yet the obesity epidemic accelerates.

As a nephrologist, I specialize in kidney disease, the most common cause of which is type 2 diabetes with its associated obesity. I've often watched patients start insulin treatment for their diabetes, knowing that most will gain weight. Patients are rightly concerned. "Doctor,” they say, "you've always told me to lose weight. But the insulin you gave me makes me gain so much weight. How is this helpful?” For a long time, I didn't have a good answer for them.

Like many doctors, I believed that weight gain was a caloric imbalance--eating too much and moving too little. But if that were so, why did the medication I prescribed--insulin--cause such relentless weight gain?

There were rare cases of highly motivated patients who had lost significant amounts of weight. Their type 2 diabetes would also reverse course. Logically, since weight was the underlying problem, it deserved significant attention. Still, it seemed that the health profession was not even the least bit interested in treating it.

Doctors were not even remotely interested in nutrition. Instead, the medical profession seemed obsessed with finding and prescribing the next new drug:

You have type 2 diabetes? Here, let me give you a pill.

You have high blood pressure? Here, let me give you a pill.

You have high cholesterol? Here, let me give you a pill.

In trying to understand the underlying cause of obesity, I eventually established the Intensive Dietary Management Clinic in Toronto, Canada.

Caloric reduction had been prescribed for the last fifty years with startling ineffectiveness.

HERE'S THE QUESTION that has always bothered me: Why are there doctors who are fat? Accepted as authorities in human physiology, doctors should be true experts on the causes and treatments of obesity. Most doctors are also very hardworking and self-disciplined. Since nobody wants to be fat, doctors in particular should have both the knowledge and the dedication to stay thin and healthy.

The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Yet consider the self-discipline and dedication needed to complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, internship, residency and fellowship. It is hardly conceivable that overweight doctors simply lack the willpower to follow their own advice.

This leaves the possibility that the conventional advice is simply wrong. And if it is, then our entire understanding of obesity is fundamentally flawed. Given the current epidemic of obesity, I suspect that such is the most likely scenario.

We must start with the single most important question regarding obesity or any disease: "What causes it?” We spend no time considering this crucial question because we think we already know the answer. It seems so obvious: When the number of calories we take in exceeds the number of calories we burn, weight gain results, we say. Eating too much and exercising too little causes weight gain, we say. Eating too many calories causes weight gain, we say. These "truths" seem so self-evident that we do not question whether they are actually true. But are they?


The Obesity Code, Fung

How America can reduce its health-care costs, 1-14-20, Jared Bernstein & Dean Baker

One of most enduring, economically and socially damaging, downright frustrating facts about life in the United States is how expensive health care is here. Not only does U.S. health care cost far more than in other advanced economies, but compared with the nations that spend less, we have worse or equivalent health outcomes. In fact, U.S. life expectancy now lags behind that of all the advanced economies.

An MRI scan that cost $1,400 here went for $450 in Britain and $190 in Holland. Thirty tablets of a drug to reduce the risk of blood clots (Xarelto) cost $380 here, $70 in Britain, $80 in Switzerland and $60 in Holland. Hospital admission for angioplasty is $32,000 here, $15,000 in Australia, $12,000 in Britain, $7,000 in Switzerland, $6,000 in the Netherlands.

Add to those differences the latest outrage in health-care costs: surprise medical billing, when even well-insured patients can wake up from surgery finding that they owe thousands of dollars, because someone treating them while they were unconscious was out of their insurance network.

Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton (a Nobel winner) recently summarized the problem by labeling it an $8,000-a-year annual health-care tax paid by U.S. families. This is the difference in costs between what we pay for health care and what people in other countries pay. As Case put it: "We can brag we have the most expensive health care. We can also now brag that it delivers the worst health of any rich country.”

Why call this expense a tax? Well, for one, if you want health coverage, you can't escape it. But even if you don't -- and good luck with that -- you still can't escape the tax, as both employer- and government-provided health care extract payments through lower paychecks and public financing.

Case and Deaton may be erring on the low side in their $8,000-per-family figure. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development puts per-person spending in the United States at $8,950 a year. That compares with $5,060 in Germany, $3,470 in Canada and just $3,140 in Britain. If we assume a family of three, we would get an annual health-care tax of $11,670 compared with Germany and more than $17,000 compared with the cost of health care in Britain.

How can such differences persist, especially in a service where consumption is so essential to well-being? If ice cream were that much more expensive here, we'd have a lot to squawk about, for sure. But it wouldn't be a matter of life and death.

An obvious, and correct, answer as to why U.S. health care is so expensive is because we do so little, relative to other systems, to control costs. But it's worse than that. We do a fair amount to make health care more expensive.

First, our system of private insurance costs far more than single-payer systems like Canada's, and also more than countries with private but heavily regulated insurers like Germany. OECD data show that as a share of health spending, our administrative costs are three times that of Canada's and twice that of Germany's. Getting our administrative costs closer to those in other countries would require regulating private insurers and expanding public coverage, but it could save us at least 10 percent of our total health-care bill.

Next, we pay twice as much to our health-care providers and for prescription drugs as everyone else. The latter costs us more than $3,000 per family per year. We pay more than twice as much for medical equipment, costing us a bit less than $1,500 per family per year. Doctors and dentists cost us close to an extra $750 per family per year.

One reason for the outsize costs of these inputs to U.S. health care is that government policy protects our providers. When it comes to manufactured goods, like cars and clothes and almost everything on the shelves of Walmart, economists and policymakers push for "free trade" and more competition. But when it comes to health-care providers, these same authorities turn protectionist.

In areas like prescription drugs and medical equipment, this protection is explicit: Manufacturers are granted patent monopolies. The government will arrest anyone who sells protected items in competition with a patent holder.

In the case of doctors, we have maintained or increased barriers that make it difficult for qualified foreign physicians to practice in the United States. We also prevent other health-care professionals, such as physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners, from doing many tasks for which they are entirely competent. There is a similar story with dentists and dental hygienists.

Other countries directly control drug prices. In France, the government determines whether a new drug is an improvement or a copycat, and, if the drug is deemed useful, the government negotiates drug prices with the manufacturers and caps their revenue. When sales exceed the cap, the manufacturer must rebate most of the difference back to the government.

Here in the United States, we give drug companies and medical equipment manufacturers' patent monopolies and allow them to charge whatever they want. We don't even let the government use its massive leverage to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. That's what makes these goods expensive; they're almost always relatively cheap to produce.

This is fixable. It would take regulating costs, reducing reimbursements to providers and increasing competition.

The pharmaceutical industry's rationale for cost-exploding medical patents is that it helps incentivize research and innovation. Without them, it's likely that pharmaceuticals and medical equipment companies would do less speculative research. But it would take a fraction of the savings from reducing such protectionism to replace patent-support research with publicly supported research (for which we already spend $40 billion a year).

In terms of boosting competition, allowing foreign doctors whose training meets our standards to more easily practice medicine here would bring U.S. physicians' pay in line with international standards. Of course, our doctors pay much more for their education than doctors trained elsewhere, so part of this new structure would also require reducing the domestic cost of medical education and alleviating some of the educational debt burden that U.S.-trained doctors have acquired.

Increasing competition would also require using antitrust measures to push back on the pricing power engendered by the consolidation of both hospital groups and medical practices. An analysis by the New York Times of 25 metro areas found that hospital mergers "have essentially banished competition and raised prices for hospital admissions.”

Even if we succeed in raising competition and reducing protectionism, health care will still be too expensive for many low- and moderate-income families, many of whom have suffered stagnant incomes in recent decades. Like every other wealthy country, we will need to get on a path to universal coverage. But whatever form that takes, if we can significantly reduce our current health-care tax, the savings will easily be large enough to extend quality, affordable coverage to every American.

Jared Bernstein, chief economist to former vice president Joe Biden, is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Dean Baker is a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.


A history of horrors, committed in the name of science

Trust science. It's a mantra we've all heard repeatedly in the past year and a half, and for many of us, it may seem natural to put our faith in people who wear white lab coats. After all, haven't they dedicated their lives to finding out the truth for the benefit of mankind?

You may think differently after reading Sam Kean's newest book, "The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science." His delightful, highly readable indictment of scientists behaving badly is a timely reminder that no field, no matter how seemingly selfless, is immune from corruption.

Kean takes his readers on an engrossing - and sometimes horrifying - historical tour of the many ways the search for knowledge can go wrong. Organized in rough chronological order, each chapter focuses on a specific transgression. Written with the flair of a beach thriller and the thoughtfulness of philosophy, the pages explode with a wealth of information and juicy details, all held together with virtuoso storytelling.

There's no shortage of sensational characters. First up in the rogues gallery is William Dampier, an Englishman turned buccaneer (the least respectable class of pirate). Dampier chose his career to support his insatiable interest in biology, and his field notes reveal a man easily distracted from the business of raiding a town by his delight at discovering colorful parrots. A naturalist and renowned navigator, his research laid the groundwork for Charles Darwin's theories and added more than 1,000 citations to the Oxford English Dictionary. He also robbed and killed people along the way.

You may have heard of Burke and Hare, the notorious Scottish graverobbers who murdered the poor and friendless to supply bodies for the anatomist Robert Knox. But did you know that in the frenzied race to provide universities with fresh cadavers, rival gangs would fight over the bodies at public hangings? Or that a latter-day review of cases found that 10 out of 36 autopsies began on bodies whose hearts were still beating?

Consider the ice pick surgeon from the book's title. Walter Freeman did for lobotomies what Henry Ford did for cars - he simplified the process and made them accessible to the masses. His "innovation" was that, instead of drilling through the top of the head, he just shoved an ice pick into the eye socket and swung it back and forth until it severed the limbic system connecting the frontal lobe to the rest of the brain. It was so simple that most could be completed in less than 20 minutes, with the only visible injury being two black eyes. Unfortunately, Freeman's haphazard approach to the procedure killed a number of people.

Nonetheless, as the "Johnny Appleseed of psychosurgery," he barnstormed around the country like an evangelist, visiting asylums and touting lobotomies as a miracle cure. On any given day he might perform half a dozen or so. Being a showman at heart, he frequently entertained crowds by doing two lobotomies at a time, one with his left hand and the other with his right (he was ambidextrous).

Sometimes, the victims take center stage in Kean's narrative. In an effort to discover the best methods of interrogation, Harvard professor Henry Murray designed a deliberately cruel psychological experiment inflicting brutal verbal abuse on his volunteer subjects. One student, a young genius who at 17 required parental permission to participate in the study, endured more than 200 hours of savage, needless ridicule. The young man's name was Theodore Kaczynski, and he went on to become the Unabomber.

Doctors in Germany were among the first professionals to join the Nazi Party, and they did so in great numbers. During the war, they performed countless highly unethical experiments resulting in problematic but valuable medical knowledge. Can we ever justify using the fruit of this poisonous tree? Before you answer, Kean challenges you to imagine that someone you love has been trapped beneath ice. Would you want to know the best treatment for hypothermia - even if it's something Nazi scientists discovered? Even if their unwilling research participants begged for death by the end? It’s a deeply uncomfortable thought.

That said, there aren't nearly as many Nazis in this book as you might expect. Kean purposely doesn't talk about monsters like Joseph Mengele, because when we compare ourselves with the extremes, we tend to let ourselves off the hook. He wants to avoid the psychological trap of thinking, "We're not as bad as the Nazis; therefore we must be okay."

In telling the story of "Why Good Scientists Do Bad Things," Kean is careful to call out extenuating circumstances and, when they happen, acts of humanitarianism along the way. Nazis aside, his scientists aren't cartoonishly evil; they fall from grace by pursuing knowledge to the point where the ends supposedly justify the means. He wants us to imagine ourselves thinking as they do, so if we come to the same slippery slope we can learn from their mistakes.

Sometimes with a book review or movie trailer, the worry is that the most exciting parts will be spoiled, leaving you little to discover on your own. There's no fear of that happening here - there is too much fascinating stuff going on. And make sure you read Kean's footnotes! They are chock full of tantalizing facts, such as the strategies that have proved most effective in getting a criminal to confess (hint: not torture). They also list links to Kean's podcast if you want an even deeper dive on some of the stories. Aspiring screenwriters should check out his appendix for a range of futuristic and imaginary - for now - scientific crimes.

In his conclusion, Kean argues that unethical science is objectionable not only because it is morally repugnant, but also because it is sloppy, shoddy and just plain bad science. Refreshingly, he proposes specific policies and lays out exactly why they might work. The Nuremberg Code's guidelines for human experiments, he reminds us, were created for a reason, and they are still effective if we take care to follow them. The best antidote is being on guard.

Kean begins and ends with a quote from Albert Einstein: "Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character." It is an observation that resonates fully by the last page.


Simone Biles has courageously exposed the blurred line between medicine and abuse. By Wendy Kline 7/29/21

The weight of years of sexual abuse in U.S. gymnastics is evident in Tokyo

The Olympics women's gymnastics tournament suggests that this is a sport coming to terms with its devastating recent history. Indeed, Simone Biles has been determined to make sure this is the case.

The superstar was assaulted by physician Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct in 2018, after sexually abusing more than a hundred young gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment. Biles decided to compete in Tokyo to force the Olympics to reckon with this history. "If there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport, they would've just brushed it to the side," she told Hoda Kotb in an NBC interview in April. "But since I'm still here, and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something."

That's a lot of pressure. On Monday, Biles posted on Instagram, "I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times." Soon after, she pulled out of the team final and then the women's all-around competition, where she was the defending gold medalist, to focus on her mental health.


Mona Awad's struggles with chronic pain and the health-care system fuel her new novel

The medical system is woefully inadequate for dealing with back pain. Most patients rarely receive the most important part of the prescription to get rid of back pain from their doctor--the knowledge and understanding of their condition required to become their own best advocate. - Stuart McGill [from book "Built from Broken']

How would you change your OB/GYN visits? This tweet got 3,000 responses.

Email Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus