Vaccine Studies

vaccine comicYou may be thinking that OLM is “beating a dead horse” with this vaccine issue. But it’s a battle; one that we won’t quit fighting any time soon. I’m going to say something here that is going to piss off a lot of people: If you don’t think the vaccine industry is out of control, you are a brainwashed pawn, or better yet, a guinea pig. Until we have independent studies that are not funded by Big Pharma, that are published in scientific journals not funded by Big Pharma, that are conducted by scientists who do not rely on grants from Big Pharma to finance their university program or their next research project, we will not trust studies that tell us vaccinations are safe. So when you hear about a study that says there is no correlation between vaccines and neurological disorders, remember the swine flu shots given in 1976 and the thousands who contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). In little more than 2 months, 1/3 of the adult population was vaccinated for the swine flu. The following is from a court case resulting from a 1976 swine flu vaccination injury. Doesn’t this sound familiar? “So monumental and effective were the urgings of the government that it resulted in an unprecedented nearly 40 million citizens responding to the call. Both this plaintiff and untold others relied on the government’s assurances that the vaccine was both safe and necessary. A barrage of publicity aimed at overcoming the reluctance of citizens to participate included the unprecedented appearance of the President of the United States on national television to plead for a positive response. Against that background, it would be a travesty to suggest that people who hurriedly signed the standardized form presented to them were adequately informed of the risks.” [VERLIN G. UNTHANK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT]1 With each report of a death from H1N1, we must remember that the severity of H1N1 is significantly lower than that of seasonal flu. The news does not tell us each time a man, woman, or child dies from complications of seasonal flu, which claims the life of 35,000 Americans each year. Don’t let swine flu hysteria and the media frenzy affect your health decisions regarding vaccination.

Refusing a C-section – A Mother’s Right?

Many have blogged about the New Jersey mother who lost her parental rights for refusing a C-section and acting erratically during labor. What is unclear is whether she refused to sign permission for a C-section in the event one was indicated or if she refused when the baby was in distress and doctors wanted to perform one. It may be a moot point, considering the child was born vaginally and without complications, but still there is a clear distinction between signing a cart blanche permission to allow doctors to do whatever they want before the need arises, and refusing care when an unborn child is experiencing fetal distress.

The parents’ rights have now been terminated and the court cites chronic mental illness on both their parts as the reason. (The mother had received mental health care for 12 years prior to the incident.) Many blogs make the point that if the mother had not refused a C-section, her mental health would not have been in question. We don’t necessarily agree.

If this couple was receiving on-going care for chronic mental illness, Child Protective Services likely would have been notified about their case by their mental health worker. But so little is known about the actual facts in this case (and the links to the court ruling are broken on multiple sites), most of what is posted is assumption.

In another case in 2004, a mother was charged with murder for refusing a C-section for her twins. One was stillborn. This mother also had drug and alcohol issues. The case was plea bargained and the murder charge was dropped.

While both of these cases have extenuating circumstances, it is still quite clear that a woman no longer has the right to refuse an invasive procedure without facing parental termination or, in the case of a child’s death, murder charges.

Clinical Trials and Scientific Studies

Clinical trials and scientific studies are held as the gold standard when it comes to health care, so how credible those trials and studies are ends up being a very important question. The truth, as it turns out, might surprise you.

The medical establishment likes to look at their studies as factual, evidence driven, and done with an impartial eye. But the truth is, the results of research studies can have multi-million or multi-billion dollar consequences for drug companies, so they can be about as biased as you can get.

It makes more sense when you understand that the drug companies with many millions or billions at stake are often funding the researchers or funding the universities for which the researchers work. And, of course, if the researchers’ studies produce the “right” results, they are more likely to continue to receive funding. Researchers who don’t get enough grant money from big pharmaceutical companies are likely to lose their university jobs. For some researchers, that can be reason enough to play along.

Playing along can mean a number of things. At its worst, playing along can result in complete fabrication or manipulation of the data and results.

It wasn’t long ago that Hwang Woo-Suk, South Korea’s once highly esteemed researcher, claimed a major breakthrough in stem cell research and his results were also published in a prestigious, peer-reviewed publication. It was later found that he fabricated the data, for which he publicly apologized. While his fraud made headlines around the world, the crime might not be as rare as you think.

In 2008, one in fifty scientists admitted they had fabricated, falsified or “doctored” a research study; that number is generally regarded as low since these researchers have an interest in keeping their frauds a secret. When these same scientists were asked if they knew a colleague who had fabricated the data or results, about one in seven said they knew someone who had done just that.

Questionable research practices fall below outright falsification of data and were found to be even more prevalent. When scientists were asked, about one in three admitting to having used questionable research practices; again, the number skyrocketed when asked if they knew a colleague who had. About seven out of every ten scientists said they knew a colleague who had used questionable research practices.

Questionable research includes practices like “changing the design, methodology or results of a study in response to pressures from a funding source” or cherry-picking the results for publication. To the FDA, the latter is even acceptable.

In fact, by FDA rules, pharmaceutical companies can conduct as many clinical trials as they want, and send only the favorable results to the FDA for review. To help you read between the lines, this means drug companies can bury the negative results of clinical drug trials so that you and your doctor Clinical Trials never know about them.

Eli Lilly was accused of hiding the risk of suicide and suicidal tendencies with their drug Prozac, a drug now accepted to increase suicidal risk. A Harvard psychiatrist alleged that during the clinical trials those with suicidal tendencies were asked to leave the study, so their results were not counted. The Harvard psychiatrist was able to produce Eli Lilly internal documents to support the accusation.

Internal documents also surfaced to support the accusation that Eli Lilly knowingly hid the risks of their drug Zyprexa. A former FDA official even testified in court that the drug giant hid the risks for the purpose of insuring profits.

Questionable research practices can also include tweaking the results to make them seem more definite than they originally were, ignoring conclusions that don’t meet the study’s needs, and concealing conflicts of interest.

Depending on whose numbers you trust, incidences of scientific fraud in the U.S., as counted by government confirmed cases, occur with one out of ten scientists at the high end, or at the low end, with one out of every hundred scientists. Either way, they’re high numbers, especially when you consider that millions of people trust this information then put unnatural chemicals inside their bodies.

Properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs have been found to kill 100,000 Americans and “seriously injure” another 2.1 million each year, and one has to wonder how much pharmaceutical and scientific manipulation and outright fraud is responsible.

To add to the dog pile, drug companies have been found to stoop to all sorts of tricks.

Merck was caught disguising in-house authors as independent researchers. To accomplish this, Merck wrote a key study used to popularize the now infamous Vioxx then paid a researcher to put his/her name on it.

In relation to Vioxx, the Wall Street Journal reported that “a prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex.” The studies were published in anesthesiology journals between 1996 and 2008.

Another tactic of the drug companies is to intimidate the scientists. Drug companies have been known to pressure researchers, even scientists at the federal agency that is supposed to regulate them.
Drug Overdose Pressure at the FDA to bow to the interests of their financiers, the drug companies, has gotten so out of hand that scientists at the agency recently wrote Congress and then president-elect Obama about the problems. They talked about being forced to “change their opinions and conclusions,” which is a pretty weighty accusation.

The medical world’s insistence that their drugs are both effective and safe, based on their “unbiased, evident-based” research and clinical trials, no longer sounds so reassuring, does it? Profit-driven would be a more accurate description.


This Just In – Study Proves that 9 out of 10 Studies Mean Nothing!

In case you haven’t noticed, or this is the first OLM article you’ve read this month, this issue is primarily about studies. Many people rely on studies to tell them what they should and shouldn’t eat, drink, smoke, and purchase. People aren’t in tune with their bodies. People aren’t listening. They seem to have lost their common sense.

Do you need a study to tell you that it’s not good for you to drink a whole bottle of wine? Hopefully not. What about one glass? If you truly listen to your body, you’ll know if and how much that glass affected you. The signs are usually subtle, but they are there. We’ve spent so long ignoring our bodies that we are dependent on “experts” to tell us what we should already know—just by paying attention.

The following pages take a look at the studies involving milk, chocolate, red wine, and coffee, four foods the media now tells us are health foods. We, at OLM, do not consider them to be healthy, though our editor-in-chief admits he’s a “chocoholic,” and he also enjoys a glass of red wine every now and then.

The proceeding articles were not written to “convince” you to give up chocolate, milk, alcohol, or coffee. That’s up to you. We’re just looking at the so-called “expert studies” in a discerning manner and stating our opinions. Your opinion is your own, but we hope you will see the fallacy in relying on “experts” and their studies to tell you how to live.

Is Milk Good For You?

For the purposes of this article, unless otherwise stated, when we say milk we mean pasteurized, homogenized, conventional cow’s milk.

While I have yet to see an actual study that proves milk is good for you, there are countless studies out there that state that calcium is good for you and you can get it by drinking milk. This is true. Statements such as this sum it up perfectly: “Indeed, it is impossible in a diet based on conventional foods to obtain adequate intakes of calcium if milk and dairy products are not consumed.”1

They’re correct. But consider a conventional diet: microwaved dinners, cereal, and frozen vegetables at best. Maybe a salad made with pre-packaged iceberg lettuce, a few pieces of romaine lettuce, some shredded carrots and Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing when it’s supper time. With the soda most Americans drink, which leaches minerals including calcium from the body in order to keep the blood’s PH at 7.4, it’s no wonder milk can do a body good. So does this mean milk is good for you?

Most alternative health care practitioners and a growing number of conventional doctors say “no”. They know milk is a major source of allergen in people, especially children. Okay, so maybe a more realistic statement would be, “Milk is good for you, unless you are one of the millions who are allergic or intolerant.” On the other hand, milk allergy or not, on the holistic side of health, it’s not uncommon to have relief from other allergies when one stops consuming milk. In fact, most alternative health care practitioners will tell you before you do anything else, “Stop consuming dairy and refined sugars!”

There are so many studies. Some say milk may make you fat2, while others claim milk helps you lose weight. Some studies state that milk can help prevent heart disease3 while others claim the opposite is true4.

Many people advocate drinking raw milk, which is unpasteurized and non-homogenized. We at OLM are not fans of pasteurization or homogenization at all. And milk does contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and very easily assimilable protein. Some argue that it is not at all easy for humans to absorb the calcium from cow’s milk, but others say that you can if it’s raw.

So what’s our take on the milk issue? Cows have four stomachs. Humans have one. Raw cow’s milk from a healthy cow is a much better choice than the homogenized and pasteurized varieties, but there is still some minor risk of food poisoning (though if the cow and the human ingesting the milk are healthy, the risk is extremely low). This is what confuses many. “Healthy” and “Safe” are not the same things. Raw milk, provided it is not tainted with e-coli, is healthier than pasteurized milk. But the pasteurization of milk does make it safer to consume. For health, raw sheep’s milk is a better choice, and raw human milk is the best. Isn’t it silly that the idea of human milk is disgusting to many people, yet cow’s milk is the norm? Come on, guys, would you rather suck on a cow’s udder, or… Well, you know.

So how do you get enough calcium? You may have heard us say this before: At least 80% of your diet should be raw fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly vegetables. And if you want to get more vitamin D, we recommend sunlight.

If you are an animal lover, there is also the animal cruelty issue to consider when evaluating milk as a part of your diet. The intensive dairy practices for milking cows for any type of milk significantly reduce the animal’s lifespan. If you’re considering giving up cow’s milk all together and need a little extra push, check out the video on the right and this website for some more information.

Organic or not, a dairy cow’s life is not a pretty picture.

Editor’s Note:

As a child I was sick regularly. I had many allergies and other health issues. Eliminating milk made a huge difference in my quality of life. The last time I drank a glass of milk, years ago, it immediately made me feel terrible.

Monsanto Company Profile part III of IV

Ten to twelve thousand years ago, fertile ground led to the rise of our first civilizations as mankind began the slow shift from full dependence on hunting and gathering food to planting and growing crops.  Seed was saved and sowed from year to year. Wild plants become domesticated. We learned to irrigate fields, to maximize production, to feed nations.

In time, we learned to use selective breeding. Selective breeding produced desired traits such as taste, size, drought resistance, and yields. Experience brought us wisdom. We learned the benefits of crop rotation. Knowing rich soil grew healthy, disease resistant crops, we found natural ways to replenish the land.

But famine has always plagued mankind. Famine is caused by many factors—war; over-population; climate shifts including drought, over abundant rainfall, temperature shifts, decreased sunlight; and so on. Though many would argue we have enough food to feed the world, famines continue. A quick look at the history of famine, and the famine conditions that exist today, explains much about the search for solutions.

Beginning in the 1940s, the agricultural technology of industrialized nations – utilizing fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation techniques, and high yield cultivars (new varieties of

grains developed through selective breeding) – was brought to developing nations. Dubbed the “Green Revolution”, these projects created remarkable increases in yields but they also changed the face of traditional farming.

Indian Farmer Suicides

Search anywhere on the net, and you will find story after story blaming Monsanto for alarming suicide rates among poor rural farmers—200,000 or more farmers in India since 1997. The stories claim poor farmers incur debt to purchase Monsanto seeds at 1000 times the conventional price, believing Monsanto’s exorbitant claims that GMO seeds will require little to no pesticide and yield abundant crops, bounties never before seen. These stories also claim GMO seeds require twice the amount of water as conventional seeds.  Sold in areas of persistent drought, the crops fail. Farmers, with land now indebted to pay for their inputs of seed, fertilizer, and pesticide, are committing suicide by the thousands, many of them by drinking Monsanto insecticide before they lie down in their fields to die an agonizing death.

Brad Mitchell, Monsanto’s Director of Public Affairs, denies the claim that their seeds are priced at 1000 times the cost of conventional seeds, but admits their cost is higher. “Monsanto’s seeds are based on value,” he says, directing us to information on the company website that explains higher yields and lower inputs justify a higher price tag on GMO seeds.  Mitchell also denies the claim that Bt cotton seeds require more water.

Monsanto’s website states, “Bt cotton has been given an unfair reputation when the true culprit is a smorgasbord of repairable socio-economic problems in India. A variety of third-party studies have proven that personal debt is the historical reason behind an Indian farmer’s decision to commit suicide, notbiotech seed. Think about it this way: if Bt cotton were the root cause of suicidal tendencies, then why is it that Indian farmers represent the fastest-growing users of biotech crops in the world? Between 2005 and 2006, India’s adoption of Bt cotton nearly tripled to 9.5 million acres! Today, Bt cotton is currently used in nine states in India on 14.4 million or 63 percent of India’s total cotton acres. So, if the studies don’t disprove the myths relating Bt cotton to Indian farmer suicide, then perhaps the sales figures will.” 1

Brad Mitchell encouraged us to read an independent study by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Bt Cotton

and Farmer Suicides in India, Reviewing The Evidence.

The study reaches the conclusion that on a national level there is no “resurgence” of farmer suicide and no correlation to Bt cotton and farmer suicide rates. Overall, national cotton production “appears” to have a positive correlation to Bt cotton; pesticide use is down.

The study reports farmer suicides at the rate of 14,000 to 18,000 per year representing 14-16 percent of India’s total suicides, since 1997. It concludes, “Based on the observed national trend from 1997 to 2006, one can clearly reject the assertion that the growth in suicides has accelerated in the last five years or so. The number of farmer suicides is significant and tends to be growing over time, but so is the total number of suicides in the general population…” They also state, “Yes, farmer suicide is an important and tragic phenomenon, but it still only represents three-quarters of the total number of suicides due to pesticide ingestion in India and less than a fifth of total suicides in India. Moreover, even if there has been an increasing trend in total suicides, the reported share of farmer suicides has in fact been decreasing. Of course, all these conclusions are based on available estimates, which may be underestimated, but without better data, onecannot deny that claim.”

The study also reveals that national trends and regional trends on suicide differ as do reports of success with Bt cotton.  At the time of the International Food Policy Research Institute report, Bt cotton was cultivated in more than 10 states across India. Bt seed sold at prices up to 400% higher than conventional seed (down from its original price of 500 times the price of conventional seed), and it promised higher yields with fewer inputs (less need to spray with pesticide). “…Bt cotton is a costly technology compared with non-Bt cotton because of the highly priced seeds. At the same time, some farmers seem to have spent significant amounts on other inputs (fertilizers and so forth) with the planting of Bt cotton, based on the belief that this new technology would result in an extraordinary level of yields in all conditions (even with drought) or on the false perception that high pesticide use was still required. Other farmers seem to have purchased high-cost spurious seeds, thinking the seeds were Bt seeds, but they were duped. Lastly, and more generally, a number of farmers bought Bt seeds without considering the type of Bt variety they were purchasing; therefore they blamed the Bt technology itself, when actually the variety they purchased was inadequate for their  conditions.” 2

India’s first Bt cotton was illegally planted.  The seed company held responsible, Navbharat, claimed they collected seed from a number of fields to produce a new hybrid seed, not knowing the seed carried Bt genes. Whether Navbharat told the truth and Monsanto’s seeds were already sown across the countryside or the company was lying and knowingly sold Bt cotton seeds to farmers, the fact remains that Monsanto’s Bt cotton entered India illegally, bypassing safety testing protocols and endangering non-GMO crops with contamination. At roughly the same time, a Monsanto subsidiary in Indonesia bribed an Indonesian official to repeal or modify a law that prevented the introduction of Bt cotton without a legally required environmental impact study.

Indian cotton farmers have “adopted the methods at higher rates than anywhere else on the planet with any other technology ever introduced into agriculture,” says Brad Mitchell.

Monsanto is certainly perpetuating the second wave of the “Green Revolution” model which began in the last century, a movement that encourages farmers to adopt non-sustainable agriculture and results in a dependence on companies such as Monsanto for seed and other inputs. More >and more small Indian farmers have moved into non-sustainable cash crop farming, planting one crop instead of many, and relying on that one cash crop to make a profit that will pay for all the family’s needs. As a result, small rural farms in India are on the decline, an all too familiar scenario.

Seed Monopoly

Monsanto, now the largest seed company in the world, has bought out many seed companies across the nation. Critics are crying foul, with fears that Monsanto is gaining a monopoly on the world’s seed supply. Brad Mitchell says, “At present, if we dominate—if you want to use the word dominate – we dominate through innovative not through unfair business practices. People buy our product because they like it, and because they find value in it, not because they have to. I ask every farmer I meet, ‘Do you have choices?’ and he’ll say. ‘Hell yes.’ So that’s out there. I’ve been looking for statistics on this, but my understanding, and I can’t cite it, but the best understanding I can come up with from personal sources is that about 80% of the world’s seed remain open source; that they’re not patented, they’re not hybrid.”

Anti-GMO critics aren’t the only sources concerned that Monsanto now holds a monopoly on the seed supply. Monsanto’s GMO competitor, DuPont, has gone public with the same concerns about a monopoly, though DuPont’s concern is a monopoly within the bio-tech seed industry. 3

Monsanto’s latest seed company acquisitions to make the headlines are two of the largest seed companies in the world. While purchasing an overseas company is not addressed under U.S. anti-trust laws, the greater concern now becomes global dominance.

On March  31, 2008, Monsanto announced its agreement to acquire DeRuiter Seeds, a Dutch company, one of the world’s leading vegetable seed companies. This action followed the acquisition of Seminis in 2007 for 1.4 billion in cash plus assumed debt. Seminis was the world’s largest seed company. Monsanto’s news release stated, “Seminis is the global leader in the vegetable and fruit seed industry and their brands are among the most recognized in the vegetable-and-fruit segment of agriculture. Seminis supplies more than 3,500 seed varieties to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, dealers, distributors and wholesalers in more than 150 countries around the world.” The Organic Seed Alliance reports Seminis controlled 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market and 20 % of the world market. 5

Again, we asked Mr. Mitchell for clarification on the monopoly issue, this time in writing. “What percentage of the world’s marketable seeds is owned by Monsanto (not counting seeds saved by farmers from their own crops)?”

He responded, Monsanto’s share of the total worldwide seed market is very small. Of the global seed market, it is estimated that greater than 80 percent is ‘open source’ farmer saved seed. So, the commercial seed market is less than 20 percent and Monsanto’s is a fraction of that 20 percent.”

That “fraction” equals 23% of the global proprietary seed market. In 2007, their sales totaled $4,964 million dollars.5

Monsanto is wildly criticized for the fact that farmers are not allowed to save seeds for the next crop. Farmers who purchase GMO seeds enter a contract, fully aware that they will have to buy new seed next season.  Yet critics abound, saying this goes against nature, that farmers have always saved seed.

Brad Mitchell reminds us that this is not always true. “You can’t save hybrids. I’m a little perplexed, frankly, by this whole thing about not being able to save seeds, because it’s nothing new. Beyond that, I guess I look out in the marketplace and I’m a home gardener and I have friends who are organic farmers. I’ve yet to hear one of them who can’t get the heirloom seeds they want.  I look at catalogs like Johnny Seeds and it doesn’t look to me like all those seed varieties are going away. In fact it seems like Johnny Seeds is growing every year. So I don’t see the evidence of us losing these open source varieties of seed.”

Mr. Mitchell tells us farmers would never save and plant hybrid seeds for a second season as they don’t do well for second generation planting—the farmer doesn’t know what he’s getting.

Hybrid seed is not new to India. The traditional relationship between the famer and his seeds has already been disrupted by the “Green Revolution” and the acceptance of hybrid seeds.

The abundance first realized through petroleum-based fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides has taken its toll on the land itself.  “The foundation of all agricultural production is quality soil,” says K. Rashid Nuri, of Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms. “Conventional agriculture uses soil as simply a receptacle for the roots, and then attempts to add chemical nutrients that plant and soil scientists feel are necessary. These chemicals actually degrade and pollute the environment and do not provide or create life-giving food.”

Lessons we have learned over thousands of years of agriculture are being ignored. Short term gains are realized at the expense of long-term results. It is only through honoring the land itself that we will reap benefits in the long run.

“Farmers who understand agricultural practices holistically,” says Nuri, “realize that all life begins and ends in the soil. Thus, the proper agricultural focus is on building quality soil through application and incorporation of copious amounts of compost and other organic materials. This material feeds the soil and the life found in it. Plants grown in healthy soil that is full of earthworms, fungi and other micro-flora and fauna create an environment that produces healthy, disease resistant plants full of vital nutrients requisite to human health.”

Isn’t it high time we support traditional farming?

Monsanto Part IV (click to read) addresses RoundUp safety and GMOs in Europe as well as other safety issues regarding GMOs

Recommended Reading:
  1. Monsanto’s website
  2. Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India, Reviewing The Evidence. 
  3. Monsanto, DuPont Square Off in Crop Seed Turf War, Reuters
  4. And We Have Seeds, Organic Seed Alliance, January 24, 2005
  5. Etc Group, Who Owns Nature? Nov 2008

Raw Cardamom Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

  • Raw Cardamom Sugar Snap Peas2 cups sugar snap or snow peas
  • ¼ cup dried coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (High Grade)
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Toss together and let marinate for 2 hrs.

All ingredients should be organic when ever possible!