The More Pasteurized Milk People Drink, The More Likely They Are To Die!

October 30, 2014


Study Tracking Over 100,000 People Finds The More Pasteurized Milk People Drink, The More Likely They Are To Die

Milk is the only beverage still aggressively pushed on children as a health promoting food when it is the exact opposite – a disease promoting food. Drinking pasteurized milk is not nearly as good for general health or bones as the dairy industry has made it out to be. In fact, this fairy tale of “milk doing a body good” is being exposed more frequently by many independent scientists and researchers who have had just about enough of the propaganda. According to a large scale study of thousands of Swedish people, cow’s milk has a deteriorating effect on health when consumed in the long-term. The research was published in The BMJ.
The study, which tracked 61,433 women aged 39 to 74 over 20 years, and 45,339 men of similar age for 11 years, found that the more cow’s milk people drank, the more likely they were to die or experience a bone fracture during the study period.

The risks were especially pronounced for women, a group advised to drink milk to help avoid bone fractures that result from osteoporosis.

Women who said they drank three or more glasses of milk a day had almost double the chance of dying during the study period as those who reported drinking only one. A glass is defined as a 200 millilitre serving. They also had a 16 percent higher chance of getting a bone fracture anywhere in the body.

Why Does Milk Cause Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures

The dairy industy has been hard at work the last 50 years convincing people that pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases bioavailable calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis.

Pasteurized dairy contains too little magnesium needed at the proper ratio to absorb the calcium. Most would agree that a minimum amount of Cal. to Mag Ratio is 2 to 1 and preferably 1 to 1. So milk, at a Cal/Mag ratio of 10 to 1, has a problem. You may put 1200 mg of dairy calcium in your mouth, but you will be lucky to actually absorb a third of it into your system.

Over 99% of the body’s calcium is in the skeleton, where it provides mechanical rigidity. Pasteurized dairy forces a calcium intake lower than normal and the skeleton is used as a reserve to meet needs. Long-term use of skeletal calcium to meet these needs leads to osteoporosis.

Dairy is pushed on Americans from birth yet they have one of the highes risk of osteoporosis in the world. Actually, people from the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

The test for pasteurization is called the negative alpha phosphatase test. When milk has been heated to 165 degrees (higher for UHT milk) and pasteurization is complete, the enzyme phosphatase is 100 percent destroyed. Guess what? This is the enzyme that is critical for the absorption of minerals including calcium! Phosphatase is the third most abundant enzyme in raw milk and those who drink raw milk enjoy increased bone density. Several studies have documented greater bone density and longer bones in animals and humans consuming raw milk compared to pasteurized.

The message that estrogen builds fracture-resistant bones (prevents osteoporosis) has been hammered into women’s minds over the past 4 decades by the pharmaceutical industry, selling HRT formulas, such as Premarin and Prempro. Food also raises estrogen levels in a person’s body–and dairy foods account for about 60 to 70% of the estrogen that comes from food. The main source of this estrogen is the modern factory farming practice of continuously milking cows throughout pregnancy. As gestation progresses the estrogen content of milk increases from 15 pg/ml to 1000 pg/ml.

The National Dairy Council would like you to believe, “There is no evidence that protein-rich foods such as dairy foods adversely impact calcium balance or bone health.” But these same dairy people know this is untrue and they state elsewhere, “Excess dietary protein, particularly purified proteins, increases urinary calcium excretion. This calcium loss could potentially cause negative calcium balance, leading to bone loss and osteoporosis. These effects have been attributed to an increased endogenous acid load created by the metabolism of protein, which requires neutralization by alkaline salts of calcium from bone.”

The More Milk You Drink, The More Inflammatory Molecules

The most likely explanation of the negative health effects of milk are the damaging inflammation caused by galactose, a breakdown product of lactose, the main sugar in milk. In a separate group of people, the team found that the more milk that people drink, the more inflammatory molecules were present in their urine.

What’s more, women who reported eating a lot of cheese and yogurt had a lower chance of fracturing a bone or dying during the study than women who ate low amounts of the dairy products. This supports the inflammation hypothesis because yogurt and cheese contain much less lactose and galactose than milk.

Cancer Fuel

Of the almost 60 hormones, one is a powerful GROWTH hormone called Insulin- like Growth Factor ONE (IGF-1). By a freak of nature it is identical in cows and humans.

The foods you eat can influence how much IGF-I circulates in the blood. Diets higher in overall calories or in animal proteins tend to boost IGF-I, and there seems to be an especially worrisome role played by milk.

Consider this hormone to be a “fuel cell” for any cancer… (the medical world says IGF-1 is a key factor in the rapid growth and proliferation of breast, prostate and colon cancers, and we suspect that most likely it will be found to promote ALL cancers). IGF-1 is a normal part of ALL milk… the newborn is SUPPOSED to grow quickly! What makes the 50% of obese American consumers think they need MORE growth? Consumers don’t think anything about it because they do not have a clue to the problem… nor do most of our doctors.

Studies funded by the dairy industry show a 10% increase in IGF-1 levels in adolescent girls from one pint daily and the same 10% increase for postmenopausal women from 3 servings per day of nonfat milk or 1% milk.

IGF-1 promotes undesirable growth too–like cancer growth and accelerated aging. IGF-1 is one of the most powerful promoters of cancer growth ever discovered. Overstimulation of growth by IGF-1 leads to premature aging too–and reducing IGF-1 levels is “anti-aging.”

A review published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research in 1997 found that cancer risk paralleled milk consumption in numerous studies.

Pasteurization Masks Low-Quality Milk and Destroy Nutrients and Enzymes

Why do humans still drink milk? Because they think it’s safe due to pasteurization. However, heat destroys a great number of bacteria in milk and thus conceals the evidence of dirt, pus and dirty dairy practices. It’s cheaper to produce dirty milk and kill the bacteria by heat, that to maintain a clean dairy and keep cows healthy. To combat the increase in pathogens milk goes through ‘clarification’, ‘filtering’, ‘bactofugation’ and two ‘deariation’ treatments. Each of these treatments uses heat ranging from 100-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Dairies count on many heat treatments to mask their inferior sanitary conditions: milk filled with pus, manure and debris. Consumer Reports found 44% of 125 pasteurized milk samples contained as many as 2200 organisms per cubic centimeter (fecal bacteria, coliforms)

Pasteurization also destroys vitamin C, and damages water soluble B vitamins diminishing the nutrient value of milk. Calcium and other minerals are made unavailable by pasteurization. The Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between proteins and sugars, occurs at higher heats and causes browning, discoloring the milk.

Milk enzymes, proteins, antibodies as well as beneficial hormones are killed by pasteurization resulting in devitalized ‘lifeless’ milk. Milk enzymes help digest lactose and both enzymes and milk proteins help to absorb vitamins. Protective enzymes in milk are inactivated, making it more susceptible to spoilage.

Overall, pasteurized milk is not a beverage that can be recommended to either maintain or advance health. It has no significant nutritional value and there is a far greater risk in consuming it than not. There are also plenty of alternatives including coconut milk, nut milks (i.e. almond, cashew), and hemp milk which far exceed conventional cow’s milk in terms of nutrition and health promoting properties.


Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.



October 15, 2014


The following is an article by Bruce Boyers and it made such sense to me that I copied it here for you. As always,  I’m open for your comments and here to assist you and your family in the attainment and maintenance of optimal health through chiropractic care and targeted nutrition.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a diagnosed “illness” in children since the 1980’s. Many argue that ADHD should not be classified as a “disorder” but simply consists of a set of problems that are a normal part of childhood. Nonetheless, many of ADHD’s symptoms, including wandering attention, nervousness and hyperactivity, do exist and can be extremely troubling to parents and teachers alike.

Drugs such as Ritalin, promoted as ADHD treatments for some years, have been found to have highly dangerous side-effects and not to be true solutions at all. At the same time, many nutritionists have found, not surprisingly, that many of the answers to ADHD lie right in a child’s diet in the form of food additives, sugar, gluten, GMO and the lack of essential nutrients.

Food Additives and Sugar

In a notable example, one child, horribly hyperactive, “out of control” and diagnosed as having ADHD by a school psychologist, was taken off any foods containing a particular red dye. As if by magic, the child’s ‘hyperactivity’ ceased; she began paying attention and living a normal life.

Supporting such a result, a study just completed at Yale University School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center showed a direct connection between food additives and hyperactivity. In the study, 297 children were given drinks containing common artificial food colorings and additives similar to those found in commercially available food and candy. A control group was given drinks without additives. The children who drank the additive-enhanced drinks displayed significantly more hyperactive behavior and also had shorter attention spans.

Another very common cause of ADHD symptoms is children “overdosing” on sugar. With all the snack-food breakfast cereals available, and all manner of high-sugar-content treats, hyperactivity is no wonder. You can observe a child who ingests a large quantity of sugar (just a doughnut and a soda will do the trick) and watch what occurs with the child. They’ll hit a high of seemingly out-of-control hyperactivity, and then become grouchy and fidgety and prone to tantrums. This is sometimes called a “sugar rush” and is somehow unknown to many parents as a source of problems. Taking a child off sugar will do miracles.

In addition to removal of chemical additives and processed sugar from the diet, a number of noteworthy nutritionists have traced ADHD symptoms to a lack of the mineral magnesium, which is essential to – and missing from – most diets today.

Kids drinking a lot of soda, or even drinking fruit juices, are getting high amounts of sugar but not magnesium,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle. “Kids without magnesium suffer irritability, insomnia and constipation. These symptoms, usually diagnosed as ADHD, usually clear up very quickly when a child is put on magnesium. You also can’t concentrate in school when you’ve got a magnesium deficiency – your brain is irritated.”

Daniella Chace, nutritionist and author of the best-selling book Smoothies for Life, agrees: “It is my belief that many ADHD symptoms stem from a high sugar diet and also, in many cases, from a magnesium deficiency.”

Sirena Server, a naturopath practicing in Augusta, Georgia, also agrees. “Sugar and overstimulation, like stress, will actually exhaust a child’s nervous system,” she says. “One of the foundation products we will start them on is Peter Gillham’s Natural Calm. They can tell such a difference. The magnesium allows the nervous system to rebuild, and will allow the child to relax.” Dr. Stever has actually assisted many children to come off ADHD medications and helped restore them to normal lives.

Children are the future of our society. Assisting them to survive – naturally – is something for which we must all take responsibility.

Dr. Hand here! I have also seen some remarkable positive changes in the children that we treat with ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism, Hyperactivity, etc… The biggest positive changes were seen in those children whose parents adhered to a strict avoidance of artificial colorings and flavorings, processed sugar products, fruit juices and added Kid’s Calm or Natural Calm to their supplement regimen as determined by our testing procedures.

If you are interested in helping your child or the child of someone you know, just let us know. Remember, we’re here to help!

Doc Hand

Ebola, EV-D68 and You – Recommendations

October 14, 2014

Patients, family members and friends have been making inquiries more and more about the           “Ebola” pandemic situation. Some are also aware of the just as sinister “Enterovirus D-68” also known as EV-D68. This virus appears to spread much more easily than “Ebola” and has already been implicated in the death of a 4-year-old boy here in America. This virus also seems to be affecting the children more than adults at the present time.

My own personal research has revealed quite a bit of information regarding what’s really going on with these current situations. Most of what I have found I would label as “sinister”. There are forces at work here that are not being revealed by any of our friendly ‘major media’ sources. However, I will not be going into that here at this time.

People are fearful – and they should be! The survival of everyone is truly at stake. If you truly care for your loved ones and yourself, you MUST be prepared! And this information is what people have been asking. So I will do my best to explain what – in my opinion – everyone should be doing right now!

Most of the following are considered ‘standard’ precautions and protocols for ANY potential infectious spread, pandemic – or even epidemic.

You can reduce your risk of infection for Ebola, EV-D68 and any other pandemics by following these 7 tips:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and hot water often, especially before eating and after using the rest room.
  2. Carry hand sanitizer with you everywhere and use frequently.
  3. Try not to touch your face, especially your eyes. These microbes will enter your body through your mucous membranes – mouth, eyes, lungs, vaginal area, etc…
  4. Avoid touching someone who’s sick. No exceptions.
  5. Don’t ever come in contact with someone’s bodily fluids – blood, urine, sweat, semen or saliva. So when someone even sneezes or coughs the virus is also in these fluids and ALL contact should be avoided. These are how the viruses spread easily.
  6. Don’t handle any items from a sick person. Most important, avoid things that might have any blood, urine, sweat, saliva, semen or other fluids on them.
  7. Get medical care** immediately if you have a fever (101.5 degrees or over) with any of these symptoms: muscle aches & pains, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, or diarrhea. (I am somewhat reluctant to agree with this statement. I personally would not have any desire to either go to or be taken to ANY facility where ‘sick’ people are gathered when I am sick! If you are adequately prepared at home – this is truly the best place to be!)

OK – so the above tips are the ‘standard’ protocols. And at the very least – numbers 1 thru 6 are practical and effective to a degree. In addition – however – I personally have designed the following for myself and my family. Here they are for your review:

1. Be totally prepared to ‘hunker down’ should the pandemic reach our region. (I believe that it will!) There are already laws (sic) in place that will put us under strict martial law! You may be ‘forced’ to stay in your home under quarantine. You may be forcefully removed from your home if some government ‘official’ (sic) decides – for whatever reason he/she chooses – that you are a ‘danger’ to the population! Perhaps you might be taken to a FEMA camp for the safety of the populace! Do not be surprised if there are Executive Orders put into ‘law’ (sic) where the populace will be mandated to take whatever poisonous ‘vaccine’ they decide you need. Please take the time to research exactly what is in these so-called ‘vaccines’. All these orders have been written and are ready to be implemented on a moment’s notice. In fact, the Governor of Connecticut has already declared a ‘Health Emergency’ where all of the foregoing are in effect!

When/if things get worse – you will definitely not want to leave your home to go anywhere that might subject you to exposure! This means that you will NEED to have a supply of food for 90 days for each member of the family. I strongly suggest canned fish, canned meat, rice, beans, canned vegetables and fruit, raw nuts, seeds, extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil. You will also need a source of pure water filtering. You can live without solid food for quite some time – but water is required daily for life!

2. Pick up several gallons of Clorox bleach. I have six. Hopefully you won’t need it – but better to have than not have when needed. This is an excellent source of disinfection of surfaces. It will kill 99% of any/all potential infectious agents. It will need to be diluted to be used properly. It may also be used to ‘purify’ water should the need arise. The dilution ratios are available online or call the office

3. Pick up a supply of latex ‘medical’ gloves. These will be used whenever the need arises to come into possible contact with a potentially infected substance. I would use 2 gloves per hand to be certain – as these gloves may sometimes have micro-tears that would allow material to get onto your hands. Use once and discard into a bag or container that should be sealed and left outside the home.

4. In addition to the food storage listed above – there are other essentials that will assist in the enhancement of the immune system – a vital system in the fight to eliminate any foreign invader. These include:

a. Sovereign Silver (or similar Colloidal Silver Solution) – this should be taken daily – right now – in whatever the ‘single’ dose is as listed on the label. Silver is a broad-spectrum natural anti-microbial that will kill any microbes (bacteria, virus, fungus, mold, yeast, etc…)

b. An ‘all-natural’ organic, food-based, multi-vitamin/mineral. I use Organic Life Vitamins. Again – this should be ingested daily at the label dosage. I personally have doubled-up on this – taking a dose in the morning and again in the evening.

c. Bio-D-Mulsion or similar quality Vitamin D product. This ‘vitamin’ is essentially a ‘hormone’ that is vital for numerous functions in the body. But the function we are concerned with at this time is the ‘immune’ system. I personally take 6,000 IU daily – but have increased to 10,000 IU for this period.

d. These nutrients are the ‘BASICS’ for immune system enhancement. The other vitally important nutritional aspect is the avoidance of ‘pro-inflammatory’ foods! Therefore – if the food you wish to ingest is not a ‘quality’ meat/fish/poultry source, a non-wheat grain, beans, a fruit, vegetable, nut, seed or oil – please, please, please do not eat it!

There are so many additional items/protocols/procedures/information that I could go into here – but my intent at this time is to not overwhelm. I simply wish to get some ‘basic’ information to you so you will have some defense against the potential devastation that we could very soon be facing. Please take care of each other! Do not fear – PREPARE!

Doc Hand

Another flu wave expected

February 14, 2010

February 13, 2010

New Jersey health officials say the country is due for a third wave of the pandemic flu and are reiterating their advice that immunization shots against regular influenza and H1N1 are the best protection against infection.

“You don’t want to get that,” said Bob Gogats, Burlington County Health Coordinator. “It makes you sick for quite awhile and immunization only takes a few minutes. Plus, it’s free. It doesn’t make any sense not to get it.”

Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties are providing free immunizations against both viruses at county-run clinics this month and in March. There are ample doses of both vaccines and supplies can be replenished if necessary, county officials say.

“People need to keep thinking H1N1 even when the usual flu season is over because it acts a little bit differently,” said Dr. Susan Walsh, a deputy commissioner for Public Health Services. “During this quiet period is exactly when they should get vaccinated,” she added.

Unlike regular flu, which peaks from January to March, H1N1 — also know as swine flu — strikes in waves lasting six to 12 weeks. The second wave of the H1N1 virus lasted from October into early December and health officials are now warning that the next bout is imminent.

The H1N1 virus is passed through casual contact with an infected person but risk can be reduced by regularly washing hands, sneezing into the crook of your elbow instead of your hand, staying home when sick and avoiding crowds and sick people.

The majority of flu cases in New Jersey and across the country are caused by the H1N1 virus, she said.

The H1N1 virus has killed 42 New Jerseyans — from a 3-year-old Bergen County girl to an 80-year-old Hudson County woman — since last spring’s breakout. Those deaths were reported across the state, with the tri-county area accounting for nine cases, or 20 percent, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services.

Some can shake an infection with bed rest while others require hospitalization that could include intensive-care treatment, Walsh said.

Ironically, New Jersey has been seeing “regional activity” — the second of three steps that measure intensity — of H1N1 virus for the past five weeks. Activity has slowed since January, Walsh said.

The highest-level category is “widespread activity” while “sporadic activity” is the lowest level.

“New Jersey was one of the last states to go to widespread activity,” she said. And although the H1N1 virus arrived later than in most other states, it has stayed around longer.

Gogats characterized the flu season this year as “unusual” for two reasons:

1. A 16 percent increase in hospital emergency room admissions was “four times higher than the highest we’ve ever had during our average flu season.”

2. The school absenteeism rates peaked to their highest point in 10 years, which was “more than double the historical average absenteeism for any week. . .”

Gogats remembers that people looking for H1N1 immunization shots last spring and summer were “beating the door down. Now you can’t get anybody to come in,” he said.

Immunization Partnership to Push for Texas Registry

February 13, 2010

Abby Rapoport
Texas Tribune
February 9, 2010

Anna Dragsbaek has worked quietly for years to build support for expanding the state’s immunization registry, a database of vaccines given to Texans. Now, Dragsbaek, the executive director of the Texas-based Immunization Partnership, is ready for the spotlight: She and her allies are asking lawmakers to include all Texans in the registry. They’ll make their case before an influential Senate committee this month — and face an impassioned and formidable group of privacy proponents and anti-immunization parents.

Advocates for vaccination records say they’re vital to a robust public health system, that a complete registry of those shots would help the state navigate major health crises. Furthermore, they say, it would save the state huge sums in unnecessary bureaucracy. Opponents say the registry jeopardizes patient privacy, that it’s an effort to force people to give up their medical records. Lawmakers aren’t quite sure where they stand.

At the heart of the debate is the question of who’s included. The registry has the capacity to track every vaccine given to every person in the state. Currently, it only tracks vaccines for children whose parents opt in to the registry and adults who agree at age 18 to keep their vaccines on file with the state or are emergency first responders. Advocates want all Texas children’s shot records to be included in the registry unless the parents actively opt out.

Dragsbaek argues that a well-populated registry will allow for a significantly better response to health crises like the H1N1 virus and Hurricane Katrina. Texas is 12th in the country in vaccination rates, with about 22 percent of kids missing at least one dose of one vaccination, and 96 percent of the state’s under-18 population is in the database, according to the Department of State Health Services. Dragsbaek believes that number might be inflated (she says data quality has been a consistent problem in the registry) but that nonetheless, getting adults into the system will take time — the registry only just started including people older than 18 last session. Vaccines are often in short supply in the U.S., and distributing the shots efficiently can be a challenge. A full registry allows officials to know where the need is. “That prioritization and identification of vulnerability is crucial,” Dragsbaek says. “We can’t do that in Texas right now because our database is so poorly populated.”

During the H1N1 crisis last year, vaccines came in late and in small quantities, and many children never received the requisite second dose. Priority groups — children, caretakers for infants under six months and those with immunodeficiency — were not reached as efficiently as health officials hoped, Dragsbaek says. In the aftermath of that crisis, the Legislature is considering methods to improve vaccination systems, giving vaccination advocates the chance they’ve been waiting for to change the state’s registry.

They’ll have tough opposition, says Dawn Richardson, head of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, or PROVE. Richardson is a leading voice in Texas for allowing parents to decide whether their children should get vaccinated. While Dragsbaek has been waging war to get vaccines to more children, Richardson has been just as active in reminding parents they have a choice. Richardson has a lot of questions about the safety of vaccines but says that when it comes to the registry, it’s simply a question of privacy rights. “Just because the vaccines are the sacred cow, you can’t give away people’s medical records,” she says.

Richardson maintains that even if the opt-out method is more time-consuming, it’s worth it to protect medical information. She argues the current system works: Parents can give consent for the registry when they apply for their child’s birth certificate. During emergency situations, like H1N1, the state can already collect immunization data without consent. “There are really no burdens on the registry at this point,” Richardson says. After all, the vast majority of parents let their children’s information go into the registry. This new effort, she argues, is “an attempt to get people in there who don’t want to be.”

Richardson has a strong base of support: National organizations that favor parental choice, autism communities that believe vaccines can cause the disease, privacy advocates. Then there are the anti-vaccine and vaccine safety parents. Well-educated and tenacious, they have no qualms about making themselves heard. “It offends people on all ends of the spectrum,” Richardson says. “It’s made for interesting political allies.”

But Dragsbaek says the opt-in registry doesn’t do the trick. The current system requires so much paperwork that parents don’t always sign up and doctors don’t always follow through. “We spend hundreds of thousands to protect the privacy of 4 percent of the population,” she argues. Dragsbaek points out the system is just as secure as online financial records and other such private online information. Richardson’s view is “a shrill, irrational response that really doesn’t have much logic to it when you understand how the system works,” she says.

With help from the Texas Medical Association and the Texas United Way, Dragsbaek has slowly tried to move the registry conversation away from questions of vaccine safety, which she says is a separate fight. She shies from the term “opt-out,” which she says can cause even more controversy. She prefers to use “implied consent” or “voluntary exclusion.” She says she’s focusing on the logistics of improving the database. After Katrina, she helped push through a bill to include EMTs and other first-responders in the registry. Last session she persuaded lawmakers to allow for interstate data sharing. Then she helped pass bills to allow young adults turning 18 to keep their vaccine records on file, turning the database into a “lifetime registry.”

The reality, public health experts say, is that in a community where only a small percentage of people are vaccinated, even those who have the shot may be at risk for the disease. “No vaccine is perfect,” says Dr. John Gullett, a retired infectious disease expert who spent most of his career in Abilene. “The best vaccine with the best response rate is probably 95 percent or 98 percent, but there are still some people who don’t respond to it.” If a population has a high enough percentage of the population vaccinated, Gullett says, the disease cannot easily enter the community, and even those without the vaccination will be protected — “herd immunity,” he calls it.

For state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, the H1N1 experience highlighted the need for a more inclusive registry, something he’s been advocating for years. “We don’t really know how many people are immunized and whether we’ve reached the point of herd immunity unless we have that information,” Coleman explains. Dragsbaek agrees: The registry, she says, is “a decision-making tool about where to deploy resources.” It can help alert parents when children need booster shots and second doses, as well as prevent children from unnecessarily getting the same vaccinations twice. When resources are slim — as they often are with vaccines, advocates say — the registry would allow for maximum immunization.

Furthermore, people often need their vaccination records later in life, to get into the army or get a job in healthcare or even just to go to college. “Let’s make it easy for people to get those jobs, to go to school, to join the army,” says Jason Sabo, a United Way of Texas lobbyist who has been a primary advocate of the effort.

Lawmakers are listening closely, and weighing their options. While Coleman supports Dragsbaek’s efforts, State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, has concerns about the new effort. “If you support immunization registries, you have to support that they have some benefit to public health,” says Zerwas, an anesthesiologist who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services — and is an influential voice in the debate. “I don’t think they have the magnitude of benefit that we in Texas should demand that everyone should be a part of it.”

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and has been one of Dragsbaek’s “champions” on the registry issue, didn’t respond to requests for an interview. But in a written statement, she said, “The statewide immunization registry offers parents a convenient way to track their children’s vaccinations … but parental rights must be respected and parents should have the last word.”

Dragsbaek’s coalition may have to rely for support on TMA, a coalition partner with significant political clout. Traditionally, TMA has been more than willing to speak up on the need for the registry. “The benefits outweigh the concerns [around the registry], which to an extent I think are largely speculative,” says Dr. Jeff Levin, chair for the Council on Public Health at TMA. But advocates acknowledge that they face a tough balancing act between privacy and public health. “Nelson has to her credit been walking that very fine line very well,” says Jason Sabo, the lobbyist for the United Way of Texas and an active partner with Dragsbaek.

If the Legislature does decide to support the registry change, public health may not have anything to do with it. Advocates say the new system will cut costs dramatically: In her upcoming testimony, Dragsbaek will argue the current system costs $1.13 per record under the opt-in system, which adds up when there’s 24 million potential entries. The current system is expensive because the state must reach out to parents to ask them to opt in, and then must process the paperwork for the 96 percent participating. Dragbaek’s proposal would mean the state only had to process the four percent not participating rather than the 96 percent who are. Since the governor has demanded every agency find ways to cut five percent of their budget, anything with savings has legislative appeal.

The cost saving measures have caught the attention of Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the chair of the House Public Health Committee. “Would it be wiser to stretch that tax dollar and cut down on the bureaucratic waste?” she asks. “We have to look at not just policy but what we’re willing to spend.” But even Kolkhorst is hesitant to openly support the effort, citing privacy concerns. “I’m listening very carefully to both sides,” she says.

Advocates for the registry will take any reasoning they can get to bring legislators on board, but they say the overall goal is not about government efficiency or helping people keep track of their own records. “At the end of the day,” says Dragsbaek, “it is about getting shots in arms. It is about stopping vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Mumps outbreak spreads among people who got vaccinated against mumps

February 12, 2010

Mike Adams
Natural News
Thursday, February 11th, 2010

To hear the vaccine pushers say it, all the recent outbreaks of mumps and measles are caused by too few people seeking out vaccinations. It’s all those “non-vaccinated people” who are a danger to society, they say, because they can spread disease.

Reality tells a different story, however: It is the vaccinated people who are causing these outbreaks and spreading disease!

Just this week, an outbreak of mumps among more than 1,000 people in New Jersey and New York has raised alarm among infectious disease authorities. The outbreak itself is not unusual, though. What’s unusual is that the health authorities slipped up and admitted that most of the people infected with mumps had already been vaccinated against mumps.

In Ocean County, New Jersey, county spokeswoman Leslie Terjesen told CNN that 77 percent of those who caught mumps had already been vaccinated against mumps.

77 of those infected had been vaccinated

Usually this information is censored out of the press. The vaccine industry wants the public to believe that vaccines are effective at preventing infection. So the media typically refrains from reporting what percentage of the infected people were already vaccinated against the infectious disease.

But in this case, the 77 percent figure slipped out. And now intelligent observers are increasingly seeing the truth about these vaccines:

* Infectious disease vaccines simply don’t work. If they did, then why did all these children who were already vaccinated still get mumps?

* Vaccines may actually increase your risk of disease. Notice that far more vaccinated children were stricken with mumps than non-vaccinated children?

* The people who administer vaccines never tell you that their vaccines don’t really work. They tell you that you’ll be “protected” with the vaccine, implying a near-100% level of protection (which is blatantly false).

* Even if you’re vaccinated against a disease, you may still catch that disease anyway! So what’s the point of the vaccine?

The lies of the CDC

The CDC claims the mumps vaccine is 76 to 95 percent effective, but they offer no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that claim. To date, there has never been a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study published on the mumps vaccine in humans. The so-called “scientific” evidence supporting these vaccines is purely imaginary.

I still have a $10,000 reward offered for anyone who can provide a single scientific study proving the safety and effectiveness of any H1N1 vaccine (…). To date, not a single person has stepped forward to claim that $10,000. I might as well raise the reward to a million dollars, because I’ll never have to pay it: There is no scientific evidence proving the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines!

Does being vaccinated raise your risk of infection?

The CDC also says that 2009 was a bad year for mumps outbreaks. They blame all the people who refuse to be vaccinated for causing these outbreaks. Their theory, of course, is based on the imaginary idea that mumps vaccines halt mumps infections. But once again, it’s all imaginary! As we saw this week in New Jersey, most of the people who get infected in these outbreaks are the very people who were vaccinated!

If mumps vaccines actually worked, then what you should see instead is the mumps infection spreading among those who refused the vaccines, right? It’s only logical.

In fact, if vaccines really work, then why should the vaccinated people be bothered at all by those who don’t get vaccinated? After all, if their vaccines protect themselves from disease, then non-vaccinated people are no threat to them, right? So why are vaccinated people so pushy about forcing non-vaccinated people to get vaccinated?

The shocking truth about infectious disease and vaccines, however, is very different from what you’re told by the drug companies (and the health authorities who pander to their interests): Some vaccines may actually promote the very diseases they claim to prevent!

That may be why 77% of those who recently got mumps in New Jersey were, in fact, the very people who were vaccinated against mumps. The vaccine may, in fact, weaken your immune system against future infections, causing you to become more susceptible to future outbreaks.

Many thousands of Americans who died from H1N1 swine flu were the very people who got vaccinated against H1N1 (…).

The great vaccine hoax exposed

Take a look at nearly every outbreak of infectious disease in recent years and you’ll find the same pattern. You’ll either see that most of those who got infected were already vaccinated, or you’ll see those statistics completely stripped out of all media reports.

It’s all part of the grand vaccine cover-up. Vaccines simply do not work as promised. Vaccines do not offer the level of protection against infectious disease that they promise. In fact, vaccines are far less effective than vitamin D in preventing infections!

Instead of shooting up our children with over 100 different vaccines (which is now standard practice, by the way), what we should be doing is boosting their immune function with vitamin D, zinc and immune-boosting nutrients from medicinal plants. That would protect them from all common infectious diseases at the same time, and it doesn’t require needles or the use of dangerous chemical preservatives like thimerosal, which is linked to autism.

Don’t believe the recent attacks on Dr. Wakefield. This was an organized smear campaign designed to discredit Dr. Wakefield before he could publish the results of his “14 monkeys” study that shows severe neurological harm caused by vaccines given to young primates (…).

There is a way to protect people from infectious disease: Give them the immune-boosting nutrients their immune systems need to defend themselves against disease. Outbreaks of infectious disease would plummet along with seasonal flu deaths.

Of course, so would sales of vaccines. And that’s the whole reason you never hear health authorities recommending vitamin D even though it’s far more effective than any vaccine at preventing infectious disease (…). The CDC, we now know, is little more than the marketing branch of Big Pharma’s vaccine operations. That’s why the former head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, is now suddenly the president of Merck’s worldwide vaccine division (…).

Vaccines make lots of money, but they don’t make people immune to disease. The fact that so many vaccinated people are being stricken with the very diseases they were vaccinated against is proof that vaccines fail to deliver what they promise.

Shreveport child diagnosed with rare disease after flu shot

February 12, 2010

Chrissi Coile
February 11, 2010

A Shreveport girl is battling a rare disease.

In December 5 year old Hannah Pham started complaining her leg was numb. When her parents took her to the hospital doctors diagnosed her with Tranverse Myelitis. It’s a disease doctors say infects about 1 in a million people.

Experts say the disease is a neurological disorder which typically follows a virus.

Hannah got an swine flu shot in early December. The Pham family is worried that’s what caused the illness, but the CDC hasn’t reported any cases of Tranverse Myelitis following swine flu shots.

Hannah has been hospitalized for five weeks, meanwhile her family is praying for her recovery.

Employess at Spa Concepts where Hannah’s parents work are collecting donations and raffeling off spa treatments to help the family pay medical costs. They also set up an account at Capital One. If you would like to help out the account number is 573-240-4947.

Swine flu epidemic is dying, CDC declares

February 7, 2010

Press TV
February 6, 2010

While swine flu is still circulating around the world, no major activity has been detected in the US for the past four weeks, health officials report.

Latest figures revealed that some 80 million Americans, including the 11,000 fatal cases, have been infected with swine flu. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials reported that the virus has claimed the lives of nine more children in the past week.

“Many people believe the outbreak is over and I think it is too soon for us to have that complacency,” said Anne Schuchat of the CDC, stressing that the number of affected cases has declined everywhere.

Some 70 million of the US population, however, have been vaccinated against the disease, indicating that many Americans have underestimated the ongoing outbreak and therefore have ignored the vaccine.

“We don’t seem to be seeing the disappearance of this virus, and we haven’t seen the emergence of the seasonal strain … so I think this virus is going to be finding susceptible people,” said Schuchat, urging more people to get vaccinated.

Thousands of Americans Died from H1N1 Even After Being Vaccinated

February 6, 2010

by Mike Adams
Published January 17, 2010

The CDC is engaged in a very clever, statistically devious spin campaign, and nearly every journalist in the mainstream media has fallen for its ploy. No one has yet reported what I’m about to reveal here.

It all started with the CDC’s recent release of new statistics about swine flu fatalities, infection rates and vaccination rates. According to the CDC:

• 61 million Americans were vaccinated against swine flu (about 20% of the U.S. population). The CDC calls this a “success” even though it means 4 out of 5 people rejected the vaccines.

• 55 million people “became ill” from swine flu infections.

• 246,000 Americans were hospitalized due to swine flu infections.

• 11,160 Americans died from the swine flu.

Base on these statistics, the CDC is now desperately urging people to get vaccinated because they claim the pandemic might come back and vaccines are the best defense.

But here’s the part you’re NOT being told.

The CDC statistics lie by omission. They do not reveal the single most important piece of information about H1N1 vaccines: How many of the people who died from the swine flu had already been vaccinated?

Many who died from H1N1 had already been vaccinated

The CDC is intentionally not tracking how many of the dead were previously vaccinated. They want you (and mainstream media journalists) to mistakenly believe that ZERO deaths occurred in those who were vaccinated. But this is blatantly false. Being vaccinated against H1N1 swine flu offers absolutely no reduction in mortality from swine flu infections.

And that means roughly 20% of the 11,160 Americans who died from the swine flu were probably already vaccinated against swine flu. That comes to around 2,200 deaths in people who were vaccinated!

How do I know that swine flu vaccines don’t reduce infection mortality? Because I’ve looked through all the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that have ever been conducted on H1N1 vaccines. It didn’t take me very long, because the number of such clinical trials is ZERO.

That’s right: There is not a single shred of evidence in existence today that scientifically supports the myth that H1N1 vaccines reduce mortality from H1N1 infections. The best evidence I can find on vaccines that target seasonal flu indicates a maximum mortality reduction effect of somewhere around 1% of those who are vaccinated. The other 99% have the same mortality rate as people who were not vaccinated.

So let’s give the recent H1N1 vaccines the benefit of the doubt and let’s imagine that they work just as well as other flu vaccines. That means they would reduce the mortality rate by 1%. So out of the 2,200 deaths that took place in 2009 in people who were already vaccinated, the vaccine potentially may have saved 22 people.

61 million injections add up to bad public health policy

So let’s see: 61 million people are injected with a potentially dangerous vaccine, and the actual number “saved” from the pandemic is conceivably just 22. Meanwhile, the number of people harmed by the vaccine is almost certainly much, much higher than 22. These vaccines contain nervous system disruptors and inflammatory chemicals that can cause serious health problems. Some of those problems won’t be evident for years to come… future Alzheimer’s victims, for example, will almost certainly those who received regular vaccines, I predict.

Injecting 61 million people with a chemical that threatens the nervous system in order to avoid 22 deaths — and that’s the best case! — is an idiotic public health stance. America would have been better off doing nothing rather than hyping up a pandemic in order to sell more vaccines to people who don’t need them.

Better yet, what the USA could have done that would have been more effective is handing out bottles of Vitamin D to 61 million people. At no more cost than the vaccines, the bottles of vitamin D supplements would have saved thousands of lives and offered tremendously importantly additional benefits such as preventing cancer and depression, too.

The one question the CDC does not want you to ask

Through its release of misleading statistics, the CDC wants everyone to believe that all of the people who died from H1N1 never received the H1N1 vaccine. That’s the implied mythology behind the release of their statistics. And yet they never come right out and say it, do they? They never say, “None of these deaths occurred in patients who had been vaccinated against H1N1.”

They can’t say that because it’s simply not true. It would be a lie. And if that lie were exposed, people might begin to ask questions like, “Well gee, if some of the people who were killed by the swine flu were already vaccinated against swine flu, then doesn’t that mean the vaccine doesn’t protect us from dying?”

That’s the number one question that the CDC absolutely, positively does not want people to start asking.

So they just gloss over the point and imply that vaccines offer absolute protection against H1N1 infections. But even the CDC’s own scientists know that’s complete bunk. Outright quackery. No vaccine is 100% effective. In fact, when it comes to influenza, no vaccine is even 10% effective at reducing mortality. There’s not even a vaccine that’s 5% effective. And there’s never been a single shred of credible scientific information that says a flu vaccine is even 1% effective.

So how effective are these vaccines, really? There are a couple thousand vaccinated dead people whose own deaths help answer that question: They’re not nearly as effective as you’ve been led to believe.

They may not be effective at all.

Crunching the numbers: Why vaccines just don’t add up

Think about this: 80% of Americans refused to get vaccinated against swine flu. That’s roughly 240 million people.

Most of those 240 million people were probably exposed to the H1N1 virus at some point over the last six months because the virus was so widespread.

How many of those 240 million people were actually killed by H1N1? Given the CDC’s claimed total of deaths at 11,160, if you take 80% of that (because that’s the percentage who refused to be vaccinated), you arrive at 8,928. So roughly 8,900 people died out of 240 million. That’s a death rate among the un-vaccinated population of .0000372.

With a death rate of .0000372, the swine flu killed roughly 1 out of every 26,700 people who were NOT vaccinated. So even if you skipped the vaccine, you had a 26,699 out of 26,700 chance of surviving.

Those are pretty good odds. Ridiculously good. You have a 700% greater chance of being struck by lightening in your lifetime, by the way.

What it all means is that NOT getting vaccinated against the swine flu is actually a very reasonable, intelligent strategy for protecting your health. Mathematically, it is the smarter play.

Because, remember: Some of the dead victims of H1N1 got vaccinated. In fact, I personally challenge the CDC to release statistics detailing what percentage of the dead people had previously received such vaccines.

The headline to this article, “Thousands of Americans died from H1N1 even after receiving vaccine shots” is a direct challenge to the CDC, actually. If the CDC believes this headline is wrong — and that the number of vaccinated Americans who died from H1N1 is zero — then why don’t they say so on the record?

The answer? Because they’d be laughed right out of the room. Everybody who has been following this with any degree of intelligence knows that the H1N1 vaccine was a medical joke from the start. There is no doubt that many of those who died from H1N1 were previously vaccinated. The CDC just doesn’t want you to know how many (and they hope you’ll assume it’s zero).

Where are all the real journalists?

I find it especially fascinating that the simple question of “How many of the dead were previously vaccinated?” has never been asked in print by a single journalist in any mainstream newspaper or media outline across the country. Not the NY Times, not, not the WSJ, LA Times or USA Today. (At least, not that I’m aware of. If you find one that does, let me know and I’ll link to their article!)

Isn’t there a single journalist in the entire industry that has the journalistic courage to ask this simple question of the CDC? Why do these mainstream journalists just reprint the CDC’s statistics without asking a single intelligent question about them?

Why is all the intelligent, skeptical reporting about H1N1 found only in the alternative press or independent media sites?

You already know the answer, but I’ll say it anyway: Because most mainstream media journalists are just part of the propaganda machine, blindly reprinting distorted statistics from “authorities” without ever stopping to question those authorities.

The MSM today, in other words, is often quite pathetic. Far from the independent media mindset that used to break big stories like Watergate, today’s mainstream media is little more than a mouthpiece for the corporatocracy that runs our nation. The MSM serves the financial interests of the corporations, just as the CDC and WHO do. That’s why they’re all spouting the same propaganda with their distorted stories about H1N1 swine flu.

But those who are intelligent enough to ask skeptical questions about H1N1 already realize what an enormous con the pandemic was. In the end, it turned out to be a near-harmless virus that was hyped up by the CDC, WHO and drug companies in order to sell hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines that are now about to be dumped down the drain as useless.


The Depressing News About Antidepressants

February 5, 2010

Sharon Begley
February 3, 2010

Although the year is young, it has already brought my first moral dilemma. In early January a friend mentioned that his New Year’s resolution was to beat his chronic depression once and for all. Over the years he had tried a medicine chest’s worth of antidepressants, but none had really helped in any enduring way, and when the side effects became so unpleasant that he stopped taking them, the withdrawal symptoms (cramps, dizziness, headaches) were torture. Did I know of any research that might help him decide whether a new antidepressant his doctor recommended might finally lift his chronic darkness at noon?

The moral dilemma was this: oh, yes, I knew of 20-plus years of research on antidepressants, from the old tricyclics to the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that target serotonin (Zoloft, Paxil, and the granddaddy of them all, Prozac, as well as their generic descendants) to even newer ones that also target norepinephrine (Effexor, Wellbutrin).

But ever since a seminal study in 1998, whose findings were reinforced by landmark research in The Journal of the American Medical Association last month, that evidence has come with a big asterisk. Yes, the drugs are effective, in that they lift depression in most patients. But that benefit is hardly more than what patients get when they, unknowingly and as part of a study, take a dummy pill—a placebo. As more and more scientists who study depression and the drugs that treat it are concluding, that suggests that antidepressants are basically expensive Tic Tacs.

Hence the moral dilemma. The placebo effect—that is, a medical benefit you get from an inert pill or other sham treatment—rests on the holy trinity of belief, expectation, and hope. But telling someone with depression who is being helped by antidepressants, or who (like my friend) hopes to be helped, threatens to topple the whole house of cards. Explain that it’s all in their heads, that the reason they’re benefiting is the same reason why Disney’s Dumbo could initially fly only with a feather clutched in his trunk—believing makes it so—and the magic dissipates like fairy dust in a windstorm. So rather than tell my friend all this, I chickened out. Sure, I said, there’s lots of research showing that a new kind of antidepressant might help you. Come, let me show you the studies on PubMed.

It seems I am not alone in having moral qualms about blowing the whistle on antidepressants. That first analysis, in 1998, examined 38 manufacturer-sponsored studies involving just over 3,000 depressed patients. The authors, psychology researchers Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein of the University of Connecticut, saw—as everyone else had—that patients did improve, often substantially, on SSRIs, tricyclics, and even MAO inhibitors, a class of antidepressants that dates from the 1950s. This improvement, demonstrated in scores of clinical trials, is the basis for the ubiquitous claim that antidepressants work. But when Kirsch compared the improvement in patients taking the drugs with the improvement in those taking dummy pills—clinical trials typically compare an experimental drug with a placebo—he saw that the difference was minuscule. Patients on a placebo improved about 75 percent as much as those on drugs. Put another way, three quarters of the benefit from antidepressants seems to be a placebo effect. “We wondered, what’s going on?” recalls Kirsch, who is now at the University of Hull in England. “These are supposed to be wonder drugs and have huge effects.”

The study’s impact? The number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled in a decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005.

To be sure, the drugs have helped tens of millions of people, and Kirsch certainly does not advocate that patients suffering from depression stop taking the drugs. On the contrary. But they are not necessarily the best first choice. Psychotherapy, for instance, works for moderate, severe, and even very severe depression. And although for some patients, psychotherapy in combination with an initial course of prescription antidepressants works even better, the question is, how do the drugs work? Kirsch’s study and, now, others conclude that the lion’s share of the drugs’ effect comes from the fact that patients expect to be helped by them, and not from any direct chemical action on the brain, especially for anything short of very severe depression.

As the inexorable rise in the use of antidepressants suggests, that conclusion can’t hold a candle to the simplistic “antidepressants work!” (unstated corollary: “but don’t ask how”) message. Part of the resistance to Kirsch’s findings has been due to his less-than-retiring nature. He didn’t win many friends with the cheeky title of the paper, “Listening to Prozac but Hearing Placebo.” Nor did it inspire confidence that the editors of the journal Prevention & Treatment ran a warning with his paper, saying it used meta-analysis “controversially.” Al-though some of the six invited commentaries agreed with Kirsch, others were scathing, accusing him of bias and saying the studies he analyzed were flawed (an odd charge for defenders of antidepressants, since the studies were the basis for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drugs). One criticism, however, could not be refuted: Kirsch had analyzed only some studies of antidepressants. Maybe if he included them all, the drugs would emerge head and shoulders superior to placebos.

Kirsch agreed. Out of the blue, he received a letter from Thomas Moore, who was then a health-policy analyst at George Washington University. You could expand your data set, Moore wrote, by including everything drug companies sent to the FDA—published studies, like those analyzed in “Hearing Placebo,” but also unpublished studies. In 1998 Moore used the Freedom of Information Act to pry such data from the FDA. The total came to 47 company-sponsored studies—on Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone, and Celexa—that Kirsch and colleagues then pored over. (As an aside, it turned out that about 40 percent of the clinical trials had never been published. That is significantly higher than for other classes of drugs, says Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco; overall, 22 percent of clinical trials of drugs are not published. “By and large,” says Kirsch, “the unpublished studies were those that had failed to show a significant benefit from taking the actual drug.”) In just over half of the published and unpublished studies, he and colleagues reported in 2002, the drug alleviated depression no better than a placebo. “And the extra benefit of antidepressants was even less than we saw when we analyzed only published studies,” Kirsch recalls. About 82 percent of the response to antidepressants—not the 75 percent he had calculated from examining only published studies—had also been achieved by a dummy pill.

The extra effect of real drugs wasn’t much to celebrate, either. It amounted to 1.8 points on the 54-point scale doctors use to gauge the severity of depression, through questions about mood, sleep habits, and the like. Sleeping better counts as six points. Being less fidgety during the assessment is worth two points. In other words, the clinical significance of the 1.8 extra points from real drugs was underwhelming. Now Kirsch was certain. “The belief that antidepressants can cure depression chemically is simply wrong,” he told me in January on the eve of the publication of his book The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Anti-depressant Myth.

The 2002 study ignited a furious debate, but more and more scientists were becoming convinced that Kirsch—who had won respect for research on the placebo response and who had published scores of scientific papers—was on to something. One team of researchers wondered if antidepressants were “a triumph of marketing over science.” Even defenders of antidepressants agreed that the drugs have “relatively small” effects. “Many have long been unimpressed by the magnitude of the differences observed between treatments and controls,” psychology researcher Steven Hollon of Vanderbilt University and colleagues wrote—”what some of our colleagues refer to as ‘the dirty little secret.’ ” In Britain, the agency that assesses which treatments are effective enough for the government to pay for stopped recommending antidepressants as a first-line treatment, especially for mild or moderate depression.

But if experts know that antidepressants are hardly better than placebos, few patients or doctors do. Some doctors have changed their prescribing habits, says Kirsch, but more “reacted with anger and incredulity.” Understandably. For one thing, depression is a devastating, underdiagnosed, and undertreated disease. Of course doctors recoiled at the idea that such drugs might be mirages. If that were true, how were physicians supposed to help their patients?

Two other factors are at work in the widespread rejection of Kirsch’s (and, now, other scientists’) findings about antidepressants. First, defenders of the drugs scoff at the idea that the FDA would have approved ineffective drugs. (Simple explanation: the FDA requires two well-designed clinical trials showing a drug is more effective than a placebo. That’s two, period—even if many more studies show no such effectiveness. And the size of the “more effective” doesn’t much matter, as long as it is statistically significant.) Second, doctors see with their own eyes, and feel with their hearts, that the drugs lift the black cloud from many of their depressed patients. But since doctors are not exactly in the habit of prescribing dummy pills, they have no experience comparing how their patients do on them, and therefore never see that a placebo would be almost as effective as a $4 pill. “When they prescribe a treatment and it works,” says Kirsch, “their natural tendency is to attribute the cure to the treatment.” Hence the widespread “antidepressants work” refrain that persists to this day.

Drug companies do not dispute Kirsch’s aggregate statistics. But they point out that the average is made up of some patients in whom there is a true drug effect of antidepressants and some in whom there is not. As a spokesperson for Lilly (maker of Prozac) said, “Depression is a highly individualized illness,” and “not all patients respond the same way to a particular treatment.” In addition, notes a spokesperson for Glaxo-Smith-Kline (maker of Paxil), the studies analyzed in the JAMA paper differ from studies GSK submitted to the FDA when it won approval for Paxil, “so it is difficult to make direct comparisons between the results. This study contributes to the extensive research that has helped to characterize the role of antidepressants,” which “are an important option, in addition to counseling and lifestyle changes, for treatment of depression.” A spokesperson for Pfizer, which makes Zoloft, also cited the “wealth of scientific evidence documenting [antidepressants’] effects,” adding that the fact that antidepressants “commonly fail to separate from placebo” is “a fact well known by the FDA, academia, and industry.” Other manufacturers pointed out that Kirsch and the JAMA authors had not studied their particular brands.

Even Kirsch’s analysis, however, found that antidepressants are a little more effective than dummy pills—those 1.8 points on the depression scale. Maybe Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and their cousins do have some non-placebo, chemical benefit. But the small edge of real drugs compared with placebos might not mean what it seems, Kirsch explained to me one evening from his home in Hull. Consider how research on drugs works. Patient volunteers are told they will receive either the drug or a placebo, and that neither they nor the scientists will know who is getting what. Most volunteers hope they get the drug, not the dummy pill. After taking the unknown meds for a while, some volunteers experience side effects. Bingo: a clue they’re on the real drug. About 80 percent guess right, and studies show that the worse side effects a patient experiences, the more effective the drug. Patients apparently think, this drug is so strong it’s making me vomit and hate sex, so it must be strong enough to lift my depression. In clinical-trial patients who figure out they’re receiving the drug and not the inert pill, expectations soar.

That matters because belief in the power of a medical treatment can be self-fulfilling (that’s the basis of the placebo effect). The patients who correctly guess that they’re getting the real drug therefore experience a stronger placebo effect than those who get the dummy pill, experience no side effects, and are therefore disappointed. That might account for antidepressants’ slight edge in effectiveness compared with a placebo, an edge that derives not from the drugs’ molecules but from the hopes and expectations that patients in studies feel when they figure out they’re receiving the real drug.

The boy who said the emperor had no clothes didn’t endear himself to his fellow subjects, and Kirsch has fared little better. A nascent collaboration with a scientist at a medical school ended in 2002 when the scientist was warned not to submit a grant proposal with Kirsch if he ever wanted to be funded again. Four years later, another scientist wrote a paper questioning the effectiveness of antidepressants, citing Kirsch’s work. It was published in a prestigious journal. That ordinarily brings accolades. Instead, his department chair dressed him down and warned him not to become too involved with Kirsch.

But the question of whether antidepressants—which in 2008 had sales of $9.6 billion in the U.S., reported the consulting firm IMS Health—have any effect other than through patients’ belief in them was too important to scare researchers off. Proponents of the drugs have found themselves making weaker and weaker claims. Their last stand is that antidepressants are more effective than a placebo in patients suffering the most severe depression.

So concluded the JAMA study in January. In an analysis of six large experiments in which, as usual, depressed patients received either a placebo or an active drug, the true drug effect—that is, in addition to the placebo effect—was “nonexistent to negligible” in patients with mild, moderate, and even severe depression. Only in patients with very severe symptoms (scoring 23 or above on the standard scale) was there a statistically significant drug benefit. Such patients account for about 13 percent of people with depression. “Most people don’t need an active drug,” says Vanderbilt’s Hollon, a coauthor of the study. “For a lot of folks, you’re going to do as well on a sugar pill or on conversations with your physicians as you will on medication. It doesn’t matter what you do; it’s just the fact that you’re doing something.” But people with very severe depression are different, he believes. “My personal view is the placebo effect gets you pretty far, but for those with very severe, more chronic conditions, it’s harder to knock down and placebos are less adequate,” says Hollon. Why that should be remains a mystery, admits coauthor Robert DeRubeis of the University of Pennsylvania.

Like every scientist who has stepped into the treacherous waters of antidepressant research, Hollon, DeRubeis, and their colleagues are keenly aware of the disconnect between evidence and public impression. “Prescribers, policy-makers, and consumers may not be aware that the efficacy of [antidepressants] largely has been established on the basis of studies that have included only those individuals with more severe forms of depression,” something drug ads don’t mention, they write. People with anything less than very severe depression “derive little specific pharmacological benefit from taking medications. Pending findings contrary to those reported here … efforts should be made to clarify to clinicians and prospective patients that … there is little evidence to suggest that [antidepressants] produce specific pharmacological benefit for the majority of patients.”

Right about here, people scowl and ask how anti-depressants—especially those that raise the brain’s levels of serotonin—can possibly have no direct chemical effect on the brain. Surely raising serotonin levels should right the synapses’ “chemical imbalance” and lift depression. Unfortunately, the serotonin-deficit theory of depression is built on a foundation of tissue paper. How that came to be is a story in itself, but the basics are that in the 1950s scientists discovered, serendipitously, that a drug called iproniazid seemed to help some people with depression. Iproniazid increases brain levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. Ergo, low levels of those neurotransmitters must cause depression. More than 50 years on, the presumed effectiveness of antidepressants that act this way remains the chief support for the chemical-imbalance theory of depression. Absent that effectiveness, the theory hasn’t a leg to stand on. Direct evidence doesn’t exist. Lowering people’s serotonin levels does not change their mood. And a new drug, tianeptine, which is sold in France and some other countries (but not the U.S.), turns out to be as effective as Prozac-like antidepressants that keep the synapses well supplied with serotonin. The mechanism of the new drug? It lowers brain levels of serotonin. “If depression can be equally affected by drugs that increase serotonin and by drugs that decrease it,” says Kirsch, “it’s hard to imagine how the benefits can be due to their chemical activity.”

Perhaps antidepressants would be more effective at higher doses? Unfortunately, in 2002 Kirsch and colleagues found that high doses are hardly more effective than low ones, improving patients’ depression-scale rating an average of 9.97 points vs. 9.57 points—a difference that is not statistically significant. Yet many doctors increase doses for patients who do not respond to a lower one, and many patients report improving as a result. There’s a study of that, too. When researchers gave such nonresponders a higher dose, 72 percent got much better, their symptoms dropping by 50 percent or more. The catch? Only half the patients really got a higher dose. The rest, unknowingly, got the original, “ineffective” dose. It is hard to see the 72 percent who got much better on ersatz higher doses as the result of anything but the power of expectation: the doctor upped my dose, so I believe I’ll get better.

Something similar may explain why some patients who aren’t helped by one antidepressant do better on a second, or a third. This is often explained as “matching” patient to drug, and seemed to be confirmed by a 2006 federal study called STAR*D. Patients still suffering from depression after taking one drug were switched to a second; those who were still not better were switched to a third drug, and even a fourth. No placebos were used. At first blush, the results offered a ray of hope: 37 percent of the patients got better on the first drug, 19 percent more on their second, 6 percent more improved on their third try, and 5 percent more on their fourth. (Half of those who recovered relapsed within a year, however.)

So does STAR*D validate the idea that the key to effective treatment of depression is matching the patient to the drug? Maybe. Or maybe people improved in rounds two, three, and four because depression sometimes lifts due to changes in people’s lives, or because levels of depression tend to rise and fall over time. With no one in STAR*D receiving a placebo, it is not possible to conclude with certainty that the improvements in rounds two, three, and four were because patients switched to a drug that was more effective for them. Comparable numbers might have improved if they had switched to a placebo. But STAR*D did not test for that, and so cannot rule it out.

It’s tempting to look at the power of the placebo effect to alleviate depression and stick an “only” in front of it—as in, the drugs work only through the placebo effect. But there is nothing “only” about the placebo response. It can be surprisingly enduring, as a 2008 study found: “The widely held belief that the placebo response in depression is short-lived appears to be based largely on intuition and perhaps wishful thinking,” scientists wrote in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The strength of the placebo response drives drug companies nuts, since it makes showing the superiority of a new drug much harder. There is a strong placebo component in the response to drugs for pain, asthma, irritable-bowel syndrome, skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, and even Parkinson’s disease. But compared with the placebo component of antidepressants, the placebo response accounts for a smaller fraction of the benefit from drugs for those disorders—on the order of 50 percent for analgesics, for instance.

Which returns us to the moral dilemma. In any year, an estimated 13.1 million to 14.2 million American adults suffer from clinical depression. At least 32 million will have the disease at some point in their life. Many of the 57 percent who receive treatment (the rest do not) are helped by medication. For that benefit to continue, they need to believe in their pills. Even Kirsch warns—in boldface type in his book, which is in stores this week—that patients on antidepressants not suddenly stop taking them. That can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including twitches, tremors, blurred vision, and nausea—as well as depression and anxiety. Yet Kirsch is well aware that his book may have the same effect on patients as dropping the magic feather did for Dumbo: without it, the little elephant began crashing to earth. Friends and colleagues who believe Kirsch is right ask why he doesn’t just shut up, since publicizing the finding that the effectiveness of antidepressants is almost entirely due to people’s hopes and expectations will undermine that effectiveness.

It’s all well and good to point out that psychotherapy is more effective than either pills or placebos, with dramatically lower relapse rates. But there’s the little matter of reality. In the U.S., most patients with depression are treated by primary-care doctors, not psychiatrists. The latter are in short supply, especially outside cities and especially for children and adolescents. Some insurance plans discourage such care, and some psychiatrists do not accept insurance. Maybe keeping patients in the dark about the ineffectiveness of antidepressants, which for many are their only hope, is a kindness.

Or maybe not. As shown by the explicit criticism of drug companies by the authors of the recent JAMA paper, more and more scientists believe it is time to abandon the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of not digging too deeply into the reasons for the effectiveness of antidepressants. Maybe it is time to pull back the curtain and see the wizard for what he is. As for Kirsch, he insists that it is important to know that much of the benefit of antidepressants is a placebo effect. If placebos can make people better, then depression can be treated without drugs that come with serious side effects, not to mention costs. Wider recognition that antidepressants are a pharmaceutical version of the emperor’s new clothes, he says, might spur patients to try other treatments. “Isn’t it more important to know the truth?” he asks. Based on the impact of his work so far, it’s hard to avoid answering, “Not to many people.”

With Sarah Kliff