Welcome to Tony Pantalleresco Radio Show notes – November 15th 2014
This week Tony Discuses the follwoing topics:
This Drug Has Sickened Thousands of Animals – Will It Be At Your Holiday Feast?
Startling decline in European birds- Majority of losses from most common species
Ignoring This will cost You
37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field
Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines- Glyphosate-based herbicides toxicity
Time- and dose-dependent effects of roundup on human embryonic and placental cells – Glyphosate inhibits beneficial gut bacteria
HOW WELL DO FLU VACCINES WORK
This Drug Has Sickened Thousands of Animals – Will It Be At Your Holiday Feast?
I have been to countless holiday meals when I had no control over the ingredients. Of course, I ate what was offered and was polite but knowing what I know now about what’s really in food – it’s hard for me to just shut up and take it. The more we shut up and take it, the more disgusting things like what I am about to share with you continue to happen. That’s why I am sharing these important facts about how to avoid drugged up turkeys this holiday season.
I know it’s tempting this time of year when you get coupons from the grocery store offering a whole turkey for FREE in exchange for shopping in their store. These “FREE” store-brand turkeys generally aren’t free of antibiotics and are raised on a diet of GMOs. Most conventionally raised (non-organic) turkeys are pumped full of antibiotics, and this overuse of antibiotics is creating a major human health issue.. There is another drug that is permitted to be fed to turkeys in the U.S. that is banned in dozens of countries due to health issues. You won’t find it on the label, it’s been shown to leave residues in the meat, and the meat companies are not required to tell you whether they use it.—–I’m talking about Topmax (otherwise known as Ractopamine).-Ractopamine is a growth enhancing drug that’s fed to some turkeys to increase their muscle mass. Basically, it’s used to make big turkeys look perfect for a big Holiday feast. We’ve been conditioned to think that “bigger is better” – but when it comes to turkey, its not! This drug has been shown to cause horrible health problems (and even the death of) animals, as can be witnessed by it’s rampant use on pigs during the last decade. As reported by NBC News, “Since it was introduced, ractopamine had sickened or killed more than 218,000 pigs as of March 2011, more than any other animal drug on the market, a review of FDA veterinary records shows. Pigs suffered from hyperactivity, trembling, broken limbs, inability to walk and death, according to FDA reports released under a Freedom of Information Act request.”–It’s fed to some conventional turkeys, and we might be eating it too.-Residues of ractopamine have been found in meat samples tested by the USDA and Consumer Reports. This is because there’s no mandatory withdrawal period for the drug, which can be fed to turkeys right up until the day they are slaughtered. The FDA established some “safe maximum residue limits” (MRLs) for ractopamine residue, so they are allowing some of this residue to remain in the meat sold at the store. Most meat is never tested for ractopamine residues, so it’s anyone’s guess how much we are really eating. That’s frightening, considering that ractopamine carries a bold warning label that states:
“NOT FOR HUMAN USE”
Why is this permitted?
The FDA has allowed widespread use of ractopamine in turkey feed since its approval in 2008. This led the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Center For Food Safety to file a legal petition with FDA demanding that they conduct comprehensive scientific studies that document the risks of ractopamine to human and animal health – because clearly more needed to be done before it gained FDA approval. The FDA approved ractopamine based on safety studies submitted by the company that makes it (Elanco), which is standard for most food and drugs on the market, and have reportedly refused to share their records. To date, ractopamine is still allowed to be fed to turkeys, cows, and pigs (up to 80% of pigs eat ractopamine-laced feed).
Other countries don’t take the use of ractopamine so lightly. For instance, China and Taiwan prohibit any traces of ractopamine residue in meat, and have rejected some U.S. exports. Also any meat exported to the European Union needs to be certified as ractopamine-free or it will be rejected.
Jennie-O’s customer service agent told us that it’s not routinely used and only used on a limited basis if necessary — whatever that means, because ractopamine is not a “necessary” drug used to treat disease. Jennie-O indicated that there would be no way of knowing at the store if their turkeys were fed ractopamine because it’s not labeled or otherwise indicated.
According to Safeway Grocery Stores – “Ractopamine is a growth promotant that can be feed to turkeys so our Safeway Farms turkey may or may not have the promotant in their feed. To guarantee that growth promotant was not part of the diet, please choose our Open Nature or O Organics brands which do not allow growth promotants.”
As these companies aren’t required to disclose whether ractopamine is used, and their claims are not third-party certified, it’s difficult to confirm its use. Even turkeys that are labeled “No Hormones Added” or “Raised Without Hormones” may have still been fed ractopamine to promote growth (because it is not a hormone), so don’t be fooled by this label. Growth hormones aren’t allowed to be used in raising poultry, so this label is meaningless and used as a marketing trick when labeled on turkeys (such as Butterball).
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE!
I just found out that two lawsuits were filed against the FDA yesterday (11/6/14), as reported in the Wall Street Journal, “In two different lawsuits filed on Thursday…groups including the Center for Food Safety, the Humane Society of the United States and United Farm Workers of America argue that in approving drugs like Topmax, a medicated feed additive used to produce lean muscle instead of fat, the FDA failed to adequately consider the drugs’ collective effects on animal welfare, worker safety, wildlife and U.S. waterways”. Both of these lawsuits are asking the Court to set aside FDA’s unlawful approval of these drugs until the FDA issues a more thorough environmental analyses. You can read these Complaints here and here.
From Humane Society, et al:
“FDA approved Ractopamine for use in pigs in 1999 under the brand name Paylean, and subsequently approved Ractopamine for cattle and turkeys under the brand names Optaflexx and Topmax, respectively. Since its initial approval as Paylean, Ractopamine use has increased significantly in the pork, beef, and turkey industries”–“Today, Ractopamine is fed to approximately 60% to 80% of pigs, cattle, and turkeys raised in the United States”–“The FDA also apparently failed to provide for any public or expert comment on its NEPA analysis for Topmax”.
From The Center for Food Safety, et al:
“FDA does not require any withdrawal period for ractopamine before slaughter. A 2006 scientific study concluded “there is a possibility that adulteration of feed with ractopamine could result in residues in animal tissues and lead to human poisoning.” A 2013 Consumer Reports test of 240 U.S. pork products found that about one in five tested positive for ractopamine residues”
Startling decline in European birds- Majority of losses from most common species
November 2, 2014 Source:University of Exeter
Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings.–Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, say the University of Exeter, the RSPB and the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) in a new study. However numbers of some less common birds have risen.-The study, published today in the journal Ecology Letters, reveals a decrease of 421 million individual birds over 30 years. Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings, highlighting the need for greater efforts to halt the continent-wide declines of our most familiar countryside birds.–Richard Inger from the University of Exeter said: “It is very worrying that the most common species of bird are declining rapidly because it is this group of birds that people benefit from the most.”–“It is becoming increasingly clear that interaction with the natural world and wildlife is central to human wellbeing and significant loss of common birds could be quite detrimental to human society.”–Birds provide multiple benefits to society. They help to control agricultural pests, are important dispersers of seeds, and scavenging species play a key role in the removal of carcasses from the environment. In addition, for many people birds are the primary way in which they interact with wildlife, through listening to bird song, enjoying the sight of birds in their local environment, feeding garden birds and through the hobby of bird watching.–The majority of the declines can be attributed to considerable losses from relatively few common birds, but not all common species are declining. Numbers of great tits, robins, blue tits and blackbirds were all shown to be increasing. Populations of rarer species, including marsh harriers, ravens, buzzards and stone curlews have also shown increases in recent years: this is likely to be the result of direct conservation action and legal protection in Europe.–Head of Species Monitoring and Research at the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science Richard Gregory said: “The rarer birds in this study, whose populations are increasing, have benefited from protection across Europe. For example, white storks and marsh harriers receive among the highest level of protection in the EU — this is why their numbers have increased. The conservation and legal protection of all birds and their habitats in tandem are essential to reverse declines.–“This is a warning from birds throughout Europe. It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species.”–Petr Vorisek from the PECBMS said: “The study brings a very important message to conservation practice in Europe. This would not have been possible without thousands of skilled volunteer fieldworkers who count birds according to high scientific standards and contribute their data to the national monitoring schemes.”–Conservation efforts tend to be focused on rarer species but the research suggests that conservationists should also address issues affecting common birds, for example those traditionally associated with farmland. The decline in bird populations can be linked to modern farming methods, deterioration of the quality of the environment and habitat fragmentation, although the relative importance of these pressures remains unclear.–The study brought together data on 144 species of European bird from many thousands of individual surveys in 25 different countries, highlighting the value of the different national monitoring schemes increasingly working together. The researchers suggest that greater conservation funding and effort should be directed to wider scale environmental improvement programmes. These could include urban green space projects, and effective agri-environment schemes, which, informed by lessons learned from past schemes, should aim to deliver real outcomes for declining bird species whether they are rare or common.–Story Source-The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter.-Journal Reference-Richard Inger, Richard Gregory, James P. Duffy, Iain Stott, Petr Voříšek, Kevin J. Gaston. Common European birds are declining rapidly while less abundant species’ numbers are rising. Ecology Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12387
Ignoring This will cost You
37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field
Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.–“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.–Two of Bayer’s best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.–Nathan Carey another local farmer says that this spring he noticed that there were not enough bees on his farm and he believes that there is a strong correlation between the disappearance of bees and insecticide use.–In the past, many scientists have struggled to find the exact cause of the massive die-offs, a phenomenon they refer to as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). In the United States, for seven consecutive years, honeybees are in terminal decline.–US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. “We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies,” said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS’s bee research laboratory.-The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute over 30 billion to the global economy.–A new study published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system and making them unable to fight diseases and bacteria.–After reporting large losses of bees after exposure to Imidacloprid, banned it for use on corn and sunflowers, despite protests by Bayer. In another smart move, France also rejected Bayer’s application for Clothianidin, and other countries, such as Italy, have banned certain neonicotinoids as well.–After record-breaking honeybee deaths in the UK, the European Union has banned multiple pesticides, including neonicotinoid pesticides.
Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines
Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely used across the world; they are commercialized in different formulations. Their residues are frequent pollutants in the environment. In addition, these herbicides are spread on most eaten transgenic plants, modified to tolerate high levels of these compounds in their cells. Up to 400 ppm of their residues are accepted in some feed. We exposed human liver HepG2 cells, a well-known model to study xenobiotic toxicity, to four different formulations and to glyphosate, which is usually tested alone in chronic in vivo regulatory studies. We measured cytotoxicity with three assays (Alamar Blue®, MTT, ToxiLight®), plus genotoxicity (comet assay), anti-estrogenic (on ERα, ERβ) and anti-androgenic effects (on AR) using gene reporter tests. We also checked androgen to estrogen conversion by aromatase activity and mRNA. All parameters were disrupted at sub-agricultural doses with all formulations within 24 h. These effects were more dependent on the formulation than on the glyphosate concentration. First, we observed a human cell endocrine disruption from 0.5 ppm on the androgen receptor [F6] in MDA-MB453-kb2 cells for the most active formulation (R400), then from 2 ppm the transcriptional activities on both estrogen receptors were also inhibited on HepG2[F7] . Aromatase transcription and activity were disrupted from 10 ppm. Cytotoxic effects started at 10 ppm with Alamar Blue assay (the most sensitive), and DNA damages at 5 ppm. A real cell impact of glyphosate-based herbicides residues in food, feed or in the environment has thus to be considered, and their classifications as carcinogens/mutagens/reprotoxics is discussed.
Glyphosate-based herbicides toxicity
Roundup (R) was highly toxic on human cells, from 10-20 ppm, far below agricultural dilutions. This occurred on hepatic (HepG2, Hep3B and embryonic (HEK293) as well on placental (JEG3) cell lines, but also on human placental extracts, primary umbilical cord cells (HUVEC) and freshly isolated testicular cells (Richard et al. 2005; Benachour et al. 2007; Benachour & Seralini 2009; Gasnier et al. 2010; Clair et al. 2012). All formulations cause total cell death within 24 h, through an inhibition of the mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity, and necrosis, through the release of cytosolic adenylate kinase measuring membrane damage. They also induced apoptosis through the activation of enzymatic caspases 3 / 7 activities. Most importantly, the R commercialized formulation is always more toxic than the active principle alone, the glyphosate (G). These effects were more dependent on the formulation and thus adjuvants content than on the G concentration. We recently measured compositions and effects of 9 Gbased formulations and identified ethoxylated adjuvants (commonly called POEA) asthe active principle of cytotoxicity (Messnage et al. 2012a). However, these are considered as inert diluents in international regulations and are not taken into account for chronic effects which are insufficiently tested, and only with G in pre-commercial testing. We previously underlined this loophole (Mesnage 2010). Long term feeding and reproductive trials with pesticides are the only tests long enough to reveal a potential endocrine disruption which was consequently never studied for R until recently (Seralini et al. 2012), however it was for G by itself. We investigated it by measuring androgen to estrogen conversion by aromatase activity and mRNA on placental human cells and showed that G interacts with the active site of the purifed enzyme (Richard et al. 2005). Both parameters were disrupted at subagricultural doses within 24 h. We also observed a human cell endocrine disruption from 0.5 ppm on the androgen receptor in transfected cells, and then from 2 ppm the transcriptional activities on both estrogen receptors which were also inhibited (Gasnier et al. 2009). Aromatase transcription and activity were disrupted from 10 ppm on
HepG2. On freshly isolated rat testicular cells, low non-toxic concentrations of R and G (1 ppm) induced a testosterone decrease by 35 % (Clair et al. 2012). This is expected to occur in human cells which are fitted with the same steroidogenic equipment. G-based formulations are claimed to have been extensively studied by industry and regulatory agencies and are considered as one of the safest pesticides (Williams et al.2000). This allowed the establishment of high maximum residue limits (MRL) for GM food / feed (up to 400 ppm). For instance, 20 ppm of G are authorized in GM soy and this MRL is in the range of concentrations typically found in a GM soy harvest. In the light of our results, the safety of these thresholds is clearly challenged.
Time- and dose-dependent effects of roundup on human embryonic and placental cells.
Benachour N1, Sipahutar H, Moslemi S, Gasnier C, Travert C, Séralini GE.
Roundup is the major herbicide used worldwide, in particular on genetically modified plants that have been designed to tolerate it. We have tested the toxicity and endocrine disruption potential of Roundup (Bioforce on human embryonic 293 and placental-derived JEG3 cells, but also on normal human placenta and equine testis. The cell lines have proven to be suitable to estimate hormonal activity and toxicity of pollutants. The median lethal dose (LD(50)) of Roundup with embryonic cells is 0.3% within 1 h in serum-free medium, and it decreases to reach 0.06% (containing among other compounds 1.27 mM glyphosate) after 72 h in the presence of serum. In these conditions, the embryonic cells appear to be 2-4 times more sensitive than the placental ones. In all instances, Roundup (generally used in agriculture at 1-2%, i.e., with 21-42 mM glyphosate) is more efficient than its active ingredient, glyphosate, suggesting a synergistic effect provoked by the adjuvants present in Roundup. We demonstrated that serum-free cultures, even on a short-term basis (1 h), reveal the xenobiotic impacts that are visible 1-2 days later in serum. We also document at lower non-overtly toxic doses, from 0.01% (with 210 microM glyphosate) in 24 h, that Roundup is an aromatase disruptor. The direct inhibition is temperature-dependent and is confirmed in different tissues and species (cell lines from placenta or embryonic kidney, equine testicular, or human fresh placental extracts). Furthermore, glyphosate acts directly as a partial inactivator on microsomal aromatase, independently of its acidity, and in a dose-dependent manner. The cytotoxic, and potentially endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup are thus amplified with time. Taken together, these data suggest that Roundup exposure may affect human reproduction and fetal development in case of contamination. Chemical mixtures in formulations appear to be underestimated regarding their toxic or hormonal impact.
Glyphosate inhibits beneficial gut bacteria
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 – A new study published in the journal Current Microbiology describes the harmful effect of glyphosate on intestinal bacteria in poultry. The evidence is that glyphosate is toxic to beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lactobacillus spp, while pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum are highly resistant to glyphosate.–A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract disturbs the normal gut bacterial community and allows salmonella and clostridia species to grow unchecked thus increasing the incidence of these two diseases.–The researchers pointed out that glyphosate also has the potential to induce genetic mutations within bacteria, making it possible for a new level of pathogenicity to emerge following chronic exposure to this chemical.- Oral bioavailability of glyphosate: studies using two intestinal cell lines.
Vasiluk L1, Pinto LJ, Moore MM.–Author information –Abstract
Glyphosate is a commonly used nonselective herbicide that inhibits plant growth through interference with the production of essential aromatic amino acids. In vivo studies in mammals with radiolabeled glyphosate have shown that 34% of radioactivity was associated with intestinal tissue 2 h after oral administration. The aim of our research was to investigate the transport, binding, and toxicity of glyphosate to the cultured human intestinal epithelial cell line, Caco-2, and the rat small intestinal crypt-derived cell line, ileum epithelial cells-18 (IEC-18). An in vitro analysis of the transport kinetics of [14C]-glyphosate showed that 4 h after exposure, approximately 8% of radiolabeled glyphosate moved through the Caco-2 monolayer in a dose-dependent manner. Binding of glyphosate to cells was saturable and approximately 4 x 10(11) binding sites/cell were estimated from bound [14C]. Exposure of Caco-2 cells to > or =10 mg/ml glyphosate reduced transmembrane electrical resistance (TEER) by 82 to 96% and increased permeability to [3H]-mannitol, indicating that paracellular permeability increased in glyphosate-treated cells. At 10-mg/ml glyphosate, both IEC-18 and Caco-2 cells showed disruption in the actin cytoskeleton. In Caco-2 cells, significant lactate dehydrogenase leakage was observed when cells were exposed to 15 mg/ml of glyphosate. These data indicate that at doses >10 mg/ml, glyphosate significantly disrupts the barrier properties of cultured intestinal cells
HOW WELL DO FLU VACCINES WORK? FALL CAMPAIGN IS IN FULLSWING
One easily gets the impression that the answer is very well indeed. Get your shot and you will be protected. Flu vaccination has become mandatory in many health care institutions. No shot and either wear a mask or quit. One would expect that most would be protected. The efficacy (relative risk reduction in controlled trials) is typically 50-60 % and can go higher, especially for children. Vaccine Manufacturers and promoters would of course like it close to 100% which would justify the claim if one gets their shot, they won’t get the flu. If one took an exit poll was taken from a vaccination clinic at a local mall, probably a surprising number would say just that. Thus it is of interest to look at two recent meta-analyses and examine the other side of the coin, the absolute benefits, a taboo subject in this field. International Health News November 2014 Page 7 –Recently, Ossterholm et al16 examined the efficacy of influenza vaccination as indicated by studies that were randomized, placebo controlled and where the cases were laboratory verified as viral influenza. It was required that vaccine efficacy be reported for all circulating influenza strains. Meta analyses of qualifying trials were conducted separately for adults and children or just adults A second recent study by Tricco et al17 compared the efficacy of influenza vaccines depending on whether or not they were matched to at least one of the strains circulating that year. Both matched and unmatched randomized controlled trials involving either trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) or nasal spray containing live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) were analyzed. All the meta analyses had a mixture of studies involving children and adults in varying proportions, but more than half of the studies using LAIV involved children. The results of these two studies are given in the table below. Both papers provided enough information to calculate absolute results, actually by two methods which gave very close to identical results. The published papers ignored absolute results.
VACCINE EFFICACY IN RECENT META -ANALYSES
Study STUDIES Age NNT RRR No Benefit Vaccine
Osterholm16 8 18-64 64 60% 98.4% TIV
Osterholm 16 7 0.5-7 8 84% 87.3% LAIV
Trico17 12 A&C 93 62% 98.9% TIV-Matched
Tricco17 11 A&C 204 51% 99.5% TIV-Mismatched
Tricco17 15 A&C 18 77% 94.4% LAIV-Matched
Tricco17 15 A&C 48 60% 97.9% LAIV-Mismatched
TIV—Trivalent inactivated vaccine. LAIV—Live attenuated influenza vaccine.
NNT—Number needed to treat. RRR—Relative risk reduction. A&C—adults and children. Note that most of the relative risk reductions (RRR) are impressive. Those who do not understand relative risk reduction will assume that for example, a RRR of 60% means that 60% of those vaccinated will not get the flu. However, only 1.6% will actually benefit whereas 98.4 will not. The magnitude of the relativemrisk reduction is related to the absolute risk reduction divided by the absolute risk in the control group, and thus can be very large for small absolute benefits in the case of disorders or diseases that have a low population incidence, which is the case with the flu in adults. Children have a higher untreated population risk, but it is still only generally only a few percentage points. Risk reductions are generally adjusted for confounding, and but these can be used to calculate the adjusted absolute risk reduction and number needed to treat. Note also that the RRR correlate rather poorly with the NNT, something at the very heart of the problem of using the RRR. The above table suggests that independent of the type of the vaccine or how well it matches the strains during a given year, most vaccinated individuals do not benefit but must simply hope they are lucky. For TIV, a very common vaccine, mismatching does not seem to make much difference. However, the benefit for children from the LAIV is quite strong, as seen in the analysis involving LAIV by Osterholm et al and in the two by Tricco et al involving both LAIV which had heavy representation of children in the studies included, since it is the popular vaccine type for children. While numbers needed to treat of 8 are not common in clinical trials or their pooled analyses, it is unfortunately still true, as shown in the table, that even with such a low number, most do not benefit. There is very little data for those over 65 of age. The analysis by Osterholm et al prompted a number of comments in the literature. It is interesting in these comments that the focus was universally on relative risk reduction, never on the percentage treated that do or do not benefit, i.e. the absolute results. This appears to be a taboo point of view. Commentators worried that the “modest” relative risk reductions in the 50% range would be used by critics to discourage vaccination, but if this is the case, the more realistic view based on absolute benefit would rightly terrify proponents of this popular public health intervention and the related desire to develop herd immunity. Furthermore, there is always the worrisome problem that adverse effects have been suppressed by the industry, certainly far from an unheard of approach to doing business; therefore one cannot do a risk/benefit analysis.-The above results are a nice example of how a given set of trial results can be presented in different ways (another term is spin) that either accentuate the positive or provide a more realistic view. For those who find this hard to believe, an appendix at the end of this issue is included which gives a sample calculation. The potential for creating unrealistic expectations is obviously great and an almost universally used approach. It seems worth mentioning in passing that pregnant women, if they decide to get a flu shots, should demand the mercury free one which generally comes in a single dose vial not a septum capped little bottle. Live attenuated influenza vaccine which is delivered as a nasal spray, in generally mercury free. However, given that the vaccine preparation may have other dangers to the fetus aside from mercury toxicity which may be unknown or suppressed, perhaps the dismal percentage of adults benefiting should be given considerable weight by this special group. What should one do? There do not appear to be studies that have provided strong evidence concerning actions found to dramatically reduce the risk of the flu. Mainstream medicine regards the problem solved with vaccination. While maintaining a vitamin D status that is sufficient or more than just sufficient can be justified from a number of studies and is easy and inexpensive to accomplish and justified for a large number of other reasons, definitive studies have yet to appear. The subject of maintaining a high level of immune response will have to wait for a future issue of IHN.
CDC REPORTS INFLUENZA OUTBREAK IN A VACCINATED POPULATION
On October 24, 2014 the Centers for Disease Cont rol in its Morbidity and Mortality Report described a flu outbreak among the crew of a navy ship moored in San Diego. In February of 2014, 25 cases of influenza, of which 20 were influenza A, occurred over a short period among a crew of 102. Ninety-nine percent of the crew had been vaccinated with a vaccine very well matched with the flu viruses circulating in 2013-14. The fact that it was influenza was documented by laboratory tests. The headline in the New England Journal of Medicine’s daily online Journal Watch of October 24 read as follows: Flu Outbreak Aboard Navy Ship Highlights Possibility of Illness in Vaccinated Populations. The interesting word is “possibility.” Reference to the above table indicates that 94.4% to 98.9% of vaccinated populations are not protected with a matched vaccine, depending on the type of vaccine, and the 94.4% is due in part to heavy weighting from children. These results apply to large pooled populations and studies covered a number of years. Of the 25 flu cases, 16 received the TIV form, 8 the LAIV and one was unvaccinated. Using the term “possibly” seems rather an understatement. According to the CDC report, Tamiflu was given to the crew to “reduce the impact and spread of the disease.” This is the same antiviral that has been discredited and found virtually useless after huge amounts of government funds throughout the world were spend stockpiling it. See the February 2013 issue of IHN for the full story of the shocking Tamiflu saga.
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Pooled data from 8 studies, adults 18-64 years of age, given trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine compared to unvaccinated controls. Cases laboratory -validated as viral influenza. Taken from Figure 2.16
THE RAW DATA
Cases of flu 221 357
Total in group 18,797 13,095
Flu Case %: (221/18,797) X 100 = 1.118%, No Flu % (357/13,095) X 100 = 2.730%,
Percentage who benefited: 2.730% — 1.118% = 1.55% or 1.55 per 100
Percentage with no benefit: 100% – 1.55% = 98.4%
The absolute risk reduction produced by vaccination was the percentage that benefited, 1.55% is the difference between the flu rates in the two groups, expressed as a percentage rather than probability, i.e. 0.0155. If 1.55/100 had benefit, how many must be vaccinated for one to benefit? It is calculated from 1.55/100 = 1/x and thus x = 64. This number needed to treat for one individual to benefit, i.e. not get the viral flu, and is the NNT. Put another way, it is the reciprocal of the absolute risk reduction expresses as a probability (range 1.0 to 0), not a percentage, i.e. NNT = 1/0.0155. The time interval is approximately the flu season. The unadjusted risk ratio 0.4 is obtained from the ratio 1.118/ 2.730 = 0.4 and the relative risk reduction (RRR) was 1 — 0.4 = 0.60 or as a percentage 60%. Why is this true? Details. Risk ratio = (case % in treated group)/(case % in untreated group) = T/U. But 1 = (T/U) = (U – T)/U = RRR, the relative risk reduction obtained comparing the % of cases prevented to the case % in the untreated (control) group. The same calculation can be done without expressing the numbers as percentages, since the 100 cancels out. Thus the four numbers, i.e. the cases and size of the groups, constitute the input data that produce these various final results used to express how well the treatment works. The 60% RRR looks great, the number who do not benefit looks terrible. Same data, just different presentations, both correct. Some think that by getting the vaccination they will not get the flu, some think that their risk is reduced by 60%, but interpret this by thinking that if a group of 100 are vaccinated, 60 will not get the flu. In fact, if 100 are vaccinated, between 1 and 2 individuals will be protected and 98% to 99% will not be protected. This is what the critics of the use of relative risk reductions are talking about, but no one is listening. Why spoil a nice picture based on a perfectly valid calculation. It is also noteworthy that when a disease or disorder has a very small population prevalence reflected by the percentage of cases in the control group, this forces the NNT and the percentage that do not benefit into the range seen in this example. This is the consequence of treating a group where the vast majority will not become cases, treatment or no treatment. One can argue that treatment is still desirable, but one must not have unrealistic expectations, and now the risk of adverse side effects becomes a major issue. Small absolute benefits and large NNT should stimulate research to find something better. Instead the RRR becomes a powerful marketing and public health tool.