John Ioannidis is one of the world’s most important experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team of researchers have repeatedly shown that many of the conclusions biomedical researchers arrive at in their published studies are exaggerated or flat-out wrong.
However, these studies are what doctors use to prescribe drugs or recommend surgery. Ioannidis asserts that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information relied on by doctors is flawed or incorrect.
The Atlantic reports:
“His work has been widely accepted by the medical community … Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change — or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.”
Further, it is commonly believed that modern medical treatments, including drugs, are “scientifically proven.” In reality, this is a “profitable marketing ruse,” according to a Huffington Post article by Dana Ullman. He reports:
“The British Medical Journal’s “Clinical Evidence” analyzed common medical treatments to evaluate which are supported by sufficient reliable evidence (BMJ, 2007). They reviewed approximately 2,500 treatments and found:
- 13 percent were found to be beneficial
- 23 percent were likely to be beneficial
- Eight percent were as likely to be harmful as beneficial
- Six percent were unlikely to be beneficial
- Four percent were likely to be harmful or ineffective.
- 46 percent were unknown whether they were efficacious or harmful”
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
The modern medical system prides itself on being “scientifically proven.” Those little blue pills, or pink ones, or red ones are allegedly scientifically proven to make you fall asleep, relieve your pain, feel less hungry, or lower your blood pressure, they claim.
And they very well may have gone through a multi-million-dollar, controlled study — sometimes more than one. But what is typically removed from public view is the massive conflict of interest that is involved, which invariably invalidates the study.
Is Medicine Really Based on Science?
That many natural therapies are not “scientifically proven” is often used to unfairly suggest they are not safe or effective. However, were you aware that the vast majority, over 85 percent, of therapies currently recommended by conventional medicine have never been formally proven either?
I recently discussed this topic at length with Dana Ullman, MPH, who is widely recognized as a prominent spokesperson for homeopathic medicine. Dana has a phenomenal column in the Huffington Post, and as he wrote:
“Doctors today commonly assert that they practice “scientific medicine,” and patients think that the medical treatments they receive are “scientifically proven.” However, this ideal is a dream, not reality, and a clever and profitable marketing ruse, not fact.”
Now please understand that I have enormous respect for the scientific method, and I think when it is done properly it can clearly provide us with profound and valid truths that can guide and direct our understanding of nature and help us improve our health.
The primary challenge however is confirm that study is free of any conflict of interest that would pervert the results and the meaning of the analysis. Sadly, today that means far more research into the author of the study, who funded it and the motivations as to why it was initially designed.
Medical Journal Results are Often Not What They Seem
In my recent interview with Dr. Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, who is a rare commodity in the research world because she has integrity and has not sold out to the drug companies while most other researchers have, she explained a perfect example of the qualitative difference between the scientific facts amassed and the conclusions drawn.
“FDA analysts now have access to clinical trials whether or not they are published because of the clinical trial registries that some journals now require. (That doesn’t actually require that those results then be published, but at least now there is opportunity for the FDA to get access to those studies, and sometimes to the evidence from the studies.)
So the FDA conducted an analysis of antidepressant drug trials and found that of 38 trials for which the evidence appeared favorable, 37 had been published. Whereas of 36 trials for which the evidence did not appear favorable toward antidepressant drugs, 22 were not published at all, and 11 were published in a way that misleadingly conveyed the outcome as though it was favorable.
So that research, the “published evidence,” would be that over 90 percent of publications were favorable, relative to “truth” (at least as determined by the FDA analysts), which was about 50 percent.
. So that’s an example of how the evidence we see can be dramatically different from the evidence that was procured, and there are actually a number of mechanisms that lead the evidence that was procured to already have disparities, generally favoring treatment benefits, relative to truth.”
In other words, drugmakers do an excellent job of publicizing the findings they want you to know, while keeping very quiet about the rest.
As Ullman further explained:
“One of the things that have come out recently about some of the antidepressant research is that it’s amazing how many studies had negative results but they are almost never published. Only the ones with the positive results are published and according to the FDA, drug companies only need to have two positive studies.
They can have 18 negative studies but if you have just two positive studies, that’s enough for acceptance. That’s a serious problem.”
Even the Most Widely Cited Data is Often Wrong
Dr. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece is at the forefront of exposing the true credibility of medical research.
Back in 2005, he showed that there is less than a 50 percent chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper will be true, and there is a seemingly endless number of variables that can affect the outcome. As Dr. Ioannidis wrote:
“In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships;
. where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance.
Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
Again in 2008, Dr. Ioannidis showed that much scientific research being published is highly questionable. According to that analysis, the studies most likely to be published are those that oversell dramatic or otherwise considered important results — results that oftentimes turn out to be false later on.
Prestigious journals boast that they are very selective, turning down the vast majority of papers that are submitted to them. The assumption is that they therefore publish only the best scientific work.
But Dr. Ioannidis’ study of nearly 50 papers in leading journals, which had been cited by more than 1,000 other scientists — in other words, well-regarded research — showed that within only a few years, almost a third of the papers had been refuted by other studies.
Making matters worse, the “hotter” the field, the greater the competition, and the more likely that published research in top journals could be wrong. As David H. Freedman wrote in The Atlantic:
” . [E]ven for medicine’s most influential studies, the evidence sometimes remains surprisingly narrow. Of those 45 super-cited studies that Ioannidis focused on, 11 had never been retested. Perhaps worse, Ioannidis found that even when a research error is outed, it typically persists for years or even decades.
He looked at three prominent health studies from the 1980s and 1990s that were each later soundly refuted, and discovered that researchers continued to cite the original results as correct more often than as flawed-in one case for at least 12 years after the results were discredited.”
Why it’s So Difficult to Have Independent Studies .
Most of the major clinical trials involving drugs are funded, at least in part, by drug companies. For instance, based on Dr. Golomb’s investigations into statin drug studies, ALL of the large randomized control trials of statin drugs have been funded by drug companies.
And when you consider that the pharmaceutical industry makes about half a trillion dollars annually, it’s easy to see how statin drug research may have been clouded by conflict of interest.
So why is there not more independent research being done?
“It’s very expensive to do those studies,” Golomb explained. “The only other source of funding for reasonable sized studies is the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
We approached the NIH to conduct a study to see whether coenzyme Q10 might mitigate muscle side effects of statins, and we were told by NIH officers that they wouldn’t even consider to do the study unless we ask the drug company to supply the statin .
So I contacted the NIH and I said, “I’m really trying to have a career free of drug company conflict of interest, would it be such a problem to have one study that doesn’t have a drug company involved in it?”
And they said, somewhat reasonably, that their interest is in leveraging their funding and therefore, no, they would not consider an application unless we asked the drug company to supply the drug, which of course already set some level of conflict of interest.”
Indeed, if a drug company voluntarily supplies the drug, they’re naturally going to want to have a say in what results are published at the end.
What This Means for YOU .
It’s unfortunate, but it’s clear that the ostensibly “science-based” system we currently have has some fatal flaws.
It’s virtually impossible to expect a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, which has a major obligation to its stockholders, to simultaneously have the patient’s best interest — YOUR best interest — at heart. As Dr. Golomb says, the two are fundamentally incompatible. And yet this is THE source of the vast majority of the funding for all our “science-based evidence.”
Ultimately, the take-home message here is that even if a drug or treatment is scientifically proven, it in no way guarantees it is safe or effective. Likewise, if an alternative treatment has not been published in a medical journal, it does not mean it is unsafe or ineffective.
For more information to help you understand how, and why, the “scientific method” has become so manipulated and willfully distorted by the drug industry, I encourage you to watch my video interview with Dr. Golomb.
One general principle I have found to be useful is that it is wise to be highly skeptical of any drug approach. Most all of them should be considered guilty of potentially harming or killing you unless there is monumental evidence to convince you otherwise.
Conversely you needn’t be as cautious of a natural approach as the side effects and death rates are a mere fraction of a fraction of those seen with drugs and typically they are far less expensive. Most natural approaches do not involve supplements but rather addressing your diet and exercise first.
If you haven’t reviewed my comprehensive free nutritional program you can simply click on the link and review it.
Related Articles:Big Pharma’s Bold-Faced Lies that can Destroy Your Health and Wealth in 2010
America ranks 49th in life expectancy worldwide, putting it lower than a dozen other developed nations.
However, researchers determined that obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate may not be the main causes — the U.S. didn’t stand out as doing any worse in these areas than any of the other countries studied.
Instead, poor health care may be to blame. Factors such as costly specialized and fragmented care are likely playing a large role in the nation’s poor performance.
Commenting on the study in Salon, Glenn Greenwald noted:
“It’s easy to say and easy to document, but quite difficult to really internalize, that the United States is in the process of imperial collapse. Every now and then, however, one encounters certain facts which compellingly and viscerally highlight how real that is.”Sources:
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
The U.S. health care system is in a downward spiral and showing no indications of slowing down or reversing. I’ve been warning people about this tragic state of affairs for more than two decades, and now the evidence is becoming even more obvious.
Virtually every measurable index indicates that despite the ever-increasing amounts of money invested, if you live in the US, your chances of achieving optimal health through the medical system is only getting worse.
Americans Spend More for Health Care to Live Shorter Lives
The latest study published in Health Affairs revealed that the United States now ranks 49th for male and female life expectancy worldwide, a ranking that has fallen sharply from fifth place in 1950. At the same time that life expectancy has been declining at faster rates than many other industrialized nations, per capita health spending has been on the rise.
Specifically, U.S. per capita health spending rose at nearly twice the rate of other developed countries between 1970 and 2002, which means the U.S. spends more than twice the amount on health care as other developed nations.
What’s more, three of the “big killers” — obesity, traffic accidents and murder — cannot explain the United States’ dismal life expectancy data, as other countries have similar death rates from these factors.
What they may not have, however, is a health care system as poor as the one in the United States . as the study researchers told MSNBC:
“The U.S. doesn’t stand out as doing any worse in these areas [obesity, traffic accidents and murder] than any of the other countries we studied, leading us to believe that failings in the U.S. health care system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy.”
Among the most likely suspects for Americans’ declining health, the researchers noted in Health Affairs, were unnecessary medical procedures and an uncoordinated system with fragmented care, where patients rely on numerous providers to treat various bits and pieces of a problem, rather than seeking out one provider who will treat them as a whole:
” . unregulated fee-for-service reimbursement and an emphasis on specialty care may contribute to high US health spending, while leading to unneeded procedures and fragmentation of care. Unneeded procedures may be associated with secondary complications.
Fragmentation of care leads to poor communication between providers, sometimes conflicting instructions for patients, and higher rates of medical errors. For example, two separate physicians are probably more likely than a single primary care provider to prescribe two incompatible drugs to a single patient.”
This system, as you may have experienced first-hand, is becoming known throughout the world not for its technology or advances but for its alarming rates of medical errors and poor results in relation to its astronomical costs.
The U.S. Medical System is Responsible for Countless Deaths Every Year
That other countries manage to achieve longer life expectancies than the United States while paying a mere fraction of the U.S. health care cost per capita is a major clue that something is sorely amiss in the United States, and that something comes down to the very fundamental core of the system, which relies on drugs and surgery to treat illness, rather than focusing on prevention and wellness.
The U.S. now ranks LAST out of 19 countries for unnecessary deaths — deaths that could have been avoided through timely and effective medical care.
For example, more than 2 million Americans are now affected by hospital-acquired infections every year, and 100,000 people die as a result. It is all too common for people to go into the hospital for a “routine” surgery or medical procedure, only to contract a severe hospital-acquired infection or succumb to an adverse drug reaction or other completely preventable medication mishap.
According to one study, “patient safety incidents,” which is a nice way of saying “preventable medical mistakes,” are so common in U.S. hospitals that over the years 2006-2008 there were nearly 1 million incidents among Medicare patients, and one in 10 of them were deadly.
A HealthGrades report also pointed out that “the incidence rate of medical harm occurring is estimated to be over 40,000 each and EVERY day according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement!”
Ten years ago, Professor Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto also concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the US.
More recently, Johns Hopkins Medical School refined this research and discovered that medical errors and prescription drugs together may actually be the LEADING cause of death.
So the primary form of “health care” and treatment in the United States may actually prematurely kill more people than any disease plaguing our society!
Unthinkable Surgery Mix-Ups are All Too Common
Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong patient or amputating the wrong limb, are unacceptably high in the United States. A new study in the Archives of Surgery found that Colorado doctors alone operated on the wrong patient 25 times and on the wrong body part 107 times!
These catastrophic “wrong patient” and “wrong site” procedures accounted for 0.5 percent of the medical mistakes analyzed in the study, which is a much higher percentage than expected.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Martin Makary, M.D., a professor of surgery and public health at Johns Hopkins University, went so far as to say that “almost every surgeon has seen one.”
These entirely preventable, and unacceptable, incidents were often the result of errors in diagnosis, judgment and communication — or in other words human error.
Surgical teams are also encouraged to have a “time out” prior to surgery to double check that they have the correct patient and surgical site — but in wrong-site errors, a time-out procedure was not performed 72 percent of the time.
U.S. Health Care Gets a Failing Grade
If you’re like most people, you probably have certain expectations about the quality of the products you buy. You probably expect your laptop computer to make it through at least a year or two before crashing, or your car to operate smoothly for a certain number of miles before needing to pay for additional repairs, for example.
So, what do you expect to get when you’re faced with an ailment or disease and your physician — or worse yet, a slick advertisement — “sells” you on a particular surgical procedure or drug treatment?
You probably expect it to solve your problem, improve your health, or, at the very least, live up to its advertised ideals. But in the United States this is, sadly, expecting too much.
American medical care is the most expensive in the world, and for this “price” Americans get:
- A maternal mortality rate that is 13.3 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births — over four times the U.S. government’s 2010 goal of 3.3.
- A premature birth rate that is higher than that of most other developed nations, and rose 36 percent between the early 1980s and 2006.
- Ranked second-to-last out of rich countries for measures of child well-being.
- Ranked 30th in global infant mortality rates, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Israel.
- Falling life expectancy rates relative to 12 other countries over the past 30 years.
So please understand that if you live in the United States, your health is not safe in the hands of the conventional medical system. The entire paradigm of conventional medicine is flawed, and finding health care providers that aren’t trapped within this paradigm will require effort on your part — but it can be done.
The Solution for Quality Health Care in the United States .
If you are suffering from a health problem or looking for a wellness guide, you’ll need to find a holistically minded physician who can teach you how to achieve and maintain good health rather than throwing one Band-Aid after the other your way.
Many cities in the United States now have thriving communities of people looking to break away from the conventional modes of care, and the more you get involved in that community — by visiting local health food stores, food coops, alternative health fairs and the like — the easier it will be to find a reliable referral. You can also search online for holistic practitioners in your area.
Breaking free of the conventional “drug for every symptom” paradigm is an essential step in your well-being, and ultimately this responsibility is yours. Even if you find a health care practitioner to guide you, which I recommend, ultimately you will still need to make the choices to better your health.
Please know that you and your family CAN take control of your health.
My site is chock full of free comprehensive recommendations that can serve as an excellent starting point. The tools I provide on this site will help you to reduce your reliance on the broken health care system.
The guidelines that follow are more basic strategies to live by; strategies that will boost your well-being naturally to keep you OUT of the hospital and away from the fatally flawed medical system so you can enjoy a healthful life!
- Address your emotional traumas and manage your stress
- Optimize your vitamin D levels
- Drink plenty of clean water
- Limit your exposure to toxins
- Consume healthy fats
- Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
- Eat plenty of raw food
- Optimize your insulin and leptin levels
- Exercise – I also encourage you to incorporate Peak 8 exercises to really maximize your health benefits
- Get plenty of good sleep
Related Articles:Why is Life Expectancy Falling in the United States?
Nine-month-old twins in Ghaziabad, India reportedly died within minutes of receiving a measles vaccine.
Avika and Anika Sharma were given the vaccinations at a private nursing home by Dr. Satyaveer Singh. Within about 15 minutes, both little girls were dead.
Dr. Singh disappeared shortly after the incident, which is under investigation.
According to Indian MSN News:
“The Indian Medical Association’s local president Dr Santosh Aggrawal, who visited the hospital after the incident, confirmed that the health of the twins deteriorated after being administered the vaccine.
“The doctor had a fresh supply of the vaccine. Still there could be something wrong with the batch of vaccines. Similar deaths have been reported from Kanpur and Lucknow,” he added.”
In related news, Australia is having vaccine problems of its own, as officials recently confirmed that the seasonal flu vaccine, Fluvax, caused convulsions in 99 children. The rate of seizures was 50 times higher than would ordinarily be expected with a vaccine.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Many parents do not think twice about taking their children in for routine vaccinations, as they are an integral, and heavily pushed, part of the conventional medical system. But this decision turns out to be a life-or-death one for more children than you might think.
Last month in India, 9-month-old twin girls died suddenly, just 15 minutes after receiving a measles vaccine.
The family has received no explanation, and an official investigation into the incident is so far turning up little information. The doctor who administered the vaccines has disappeared, the clinic where they were performed has been shut down for the time being, and the Indian Medical Association’s local president is at a loss.
He did report, however, that although the doctor had a “fresh supply of the vaccine . there could be something wrong with the batch .” Reportedly, similar deaths in two other regions in the country have also been reported.
This news, shocking and tragic as it is, is not unheard of.
This past August, four children also died in Indian villages during a routine immunization drive. Like the current case, the investigators had little to say by way of explanation, except to state, “This is a case of adverse event following immunization . This is not a new phenomenon .”
Every Vaccine Carries a Risk of Injury and Death
It is not a “new phenomenon” for children to die or become seriously ill after being vaccinated, because the risk is present every time a child receives a vaccine.
Unfortunately, this fact is not shared with parents so they can make an educated and informed decision on whether or not to proceed.
If you knew that death or permanent disability/injury was a possible side effect, you might think twice before agreeing to have your child vaccinated, especially for illnesses that kids typically easily recover from, like chicken pox, the flu, and rotavirus — or illnesses your newborn has virtually no risk of catching, like hepatitis B.
“The truth is, nobody knows how many vaccine victims there are in America, how many of the 1 in 6 learning disabled children; or the 1 in 9 with asthma; or the 1 in 100 who develop autism; or the 1 in 450 who become diabetic, can trace their chronic inflammation, disease and disability back to vaccine reactions that have been dismissed by public health officials and doctors for the past century as just “a coincidence.””
A quick search of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reveals nearly 1,000 U.S. deaths related to various vaccines. With over 70 vaccines included, VAERS is an excellent tool that can help you easily identify which vaccines are associated with the most side effects.
It is important to know, though, that only a tiny fraction of the reactions are actually reported. Studies have estimated that less than 10 percent, to as little as ONE percent, of side effects are ever reported, so the true side effects, and deaths, are easily FAR higher than the reported statistics represent.
This is information that you, as a parent or even when deciding on vaccines for yourself, need to be aware of.
Australian Children Suffered Seizures After Flu Vaccine
As we gear up for flu season in the United States, one glaring example of the side-effect risk of “routine” vaccinations can be taken from Australia.
The Australian Department of Health and Aging has just confirmed that its main seasonal flu vaccine was “causally related” to fever and convulsions in 99 children in 2010.
An analysis by Heath Kelly, head of epidemiology at the state infectious diseases laboratory in Melbourne, further revealed that getting the Fluvax vaccine was actually worse than getting the flu, as the vaccine caused two to three hospital admissions due to convulsions, for every hospital admission the flu prevented.
This vaccine is very similar to the one being administered in the United States right now, with no warning to parents whatsoever!
How Much Risk are You Willing to Take?
This is the question you need to ask yourself when deciding on the very important decision of vaccination.
Studies of parental attitudes toward vaccination have repeatedly demonstrated that parents still prefer their child dying from an actual disease than dying from side effects associated with vaccination.
This is one reason why increasing numbers of parents are refusing vaccines. In 2008, 39 percent of parents refused or delayed vaccines for their children compared to just 22 percent in 2003. Among the top reasons for their decision:
- 27 percent said too many shots were recommended
- 26 percent questioned whether vaccines really worked
- 25 percent cited worries that vaccines might cause autism
- 24 percent worried about side effects
The media would have you believe that those who refuse vaccines are ignorant but when you examine the facts, mothers with college educations and higher incomes are actually LESS likely to vaccinate their children than those with less education.
Studies have also shown that the higher the education and income bracket of the parents, the lower the acceptable risk becomes.
For instance, in order to achieve a 90 percent acceptance rate (a typical target for recommended childhood vaccines), one study found that parents would accept no more than 1,794 cases of vaccine-related intussusception (a problem with the intestine in which one portion of the bowel slides into the next) caused by the rotavirus vaccine, per year.
This incidence rate corresponds to 359 surgeries and 14 deaths, 11 of which could be related to the rotavirus vaccine.
Does this sound like an acceptable risk to you?
Because to me it is a shockingly high risk, especially when you consider that rotavirus is typically mild in most U.S. children, entirely treatable with fluids and rest, and the infection provides natural, longer lasting immunity that will protect your child.
So that would be one risk I, personally, would NOT be willing to take.
But even if the risk for some vaccines is low, what you may find when you examine the research carefully is that the benefit for many vaccines is virtually nonexistent, which then means there is a big question about whether to accept ANY risk.
Earlier this year, for instance, more than 1,000 people came down with the mumps, and almost all of them had been vaccinated against this disease! So the MMR vaccine apparently does not always work as advertised, meaning you’re taking a risk of a serious reaction occurring for nothing.
These are the types of risk-benefit analyses you should perform with each and every vaccine your child is expected to take. Do not go in blindly, as your child’s life is very much at stake.
Did You Know Safety Studies Have Never Been Done?
Federal public health officials recommend children should get a total of 69 doses of 16 vaccines from day of birth to age 18. You should know that this current “one-size-fits-all” vaccination schedule has never been proven safe.
No studies have been done to examine if the benefits of this unprecedented number of vaccines outweigh the risks, so it is very much a large, uncontrolled experiment that your child is expected to take part in.
What the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has done is assume that there is no difference in giving a child one vaccine than giving them five, 10 or 14 all at once. They have simply chosen to ignore the fact that giving multiple vaccines at one time is, in fact, very different from giving just one.
They have also chosen to ignore the fact that this vaccine “prescription” is the same for every U.S. child, even though it’s well known that all children are not the same biologically — and some children will not be able to survive the currently recommended vaccine schedule without suffering serious harm to their health.
It’s your child, so it’s up to you to make an informed decision. For parents who are looking for the truth about vaccinations, you can continue your journey by searching this site and also visiting credible, reliable resources like the National Vaccine Information Center for more information.
Related Articles:Why Doesn’t the U.S. Ban a Vaccine that’s Killing Children Overseas?
Each year, roughly 25,000 American women decide to deliver their babies at home, and the numbers are on the rise.
The main reason is a wish to avoid overly invasive procedures during childbirth. Deliveries taking place at home tend to involve far fewer medical interventions and complications.
However, midwife-assisted home births cannot always be easily or legally arranged.
Only 27 U.S. states license or regulate professional midwives. And in the 23 states that lack licensing laws, midwife-attended births are illegal, and midwives may be arrested and prosecuted.
However, according to Time Magazine:
“Momentum appears to be growing. Of the 27 midwife-friendly states, eight began licensing midwives only in the past decade. And legislatures in 10 other states are now considering bills to institute licensing of [professional midwives] — a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the medical establishment .
Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) … oppose home birthing.”Sources:
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
If a pregnant American woman announces to her friends and family that she is planning a home birth, the first reaction is typically shock, followed by questions like:
- “What will happen if something goes wrong?”
- “Isn’t it too dirty?”
- “Is that safe?”
Unfortunately, this is the product of a medical system that views pregnancy and childbirth as a disease or a problem that has to be “fixed” rather than the completely natural process it actually is.
More than 75 percent of women have normal pregnancies, and for these women a midwife may be more qualified to attend birth than an obstetrician, and giving birth at home may be preferable and safer than doing so in a hospital.
Why Giving Birth at Home Makes Sense
Most people consider hospital births to be safer than home births, but when you look at the facts this isn’t the case.
Nearly all U.S. births (99 percent) occur in a hospital, yet the United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates of any developed country (6.3 deaths per 1,000 babies born). In the Netherlands, however, where one-third of deliveries occur in the home with the assistance of midwives, the infant death rate is lower (4.73 deaths per 1,000).
Maternal mortality rates also rose more than 54 percent from 2000 to 2005 in the United States, while decreasing in other developed countries.
This is likely due at least in part to the incredibly high rate of Caesarean section (C-section) in the United States. C-section is the most common operation performed in the United States, and accounts for nearly one-third of all births.
According to the World Health Organization, no country is justified in having a cesarean rate greater than 10 percent to 15 percent.
The United States’ rate, at nearly 32 percent, is so high that even The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists admits it is worrisome. This is actually the highest rate ever reported in the United States, and a rate higher than in most other developed countries.
One study in the British Medical Journal found that a woman’s risk of death during delivery is three to five times higher during cesarean than a natural delivery, her risk of hysterectomy four times higher, and her risk of being admitted to intensive care is two times higher.
Clearly C-section should be used as a last resort, and only when absolutely necessary. Yet in the United States the rates suggest they are being used far more than that. C-section rates are lower among home births, as well as midwife-attended births. At one small hospital run by the Navajo Nation, where midwives deliver most babies born vaginally, the C-section rate is only 13.5 percent.
New Homebirth Study Gives Outrageously Flawed Results
Unfortunately, a recent study by Dr. Joseph Wax that looked at the safety outcomes of home births versus hospital births gave very misleading conclusions — and has been publicizing them in the media. What the study found was that:
- Women who delivered at home had fewer interventions such as an epidural, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, episiotomy, and operative delivery (c-section). They were also less likely to experience lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections.
- Babies born at home had less frequent prematurity, low birthweight, and assisted newborn ventilation.
- Planned home and hospital births exhibited similar perinatal mortality rates.
All of these findings suggest that home birth appears to be as safe, if not safer, than hospital birth. However, what the authors focused their results on were the neonatal mortality rates, which are newborn deaths that occur within 28 days of delivery. For this they found that homebirths had a higher rate of death, by three times, compared to hospital births.
The problem with this statistic is that a lot can happen in 28 days after delivery, and many of these deaths were likely completely unrelated to the fact that the babies were born at home.
As Melissa Cheyney, assistant professor of medical anthropology and reproductive health, recently reported in the Huffington Post, ” . congenital anomalies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, unsafe home environments, and poverty, can all contribute to death in the first month of life.”
So the statistic is misleading to start. But the study authors also included what Cheyney calls “faulty data” in their report, such as grouping high-risk and low-risk mothers together and including babies that were unintentionally born at home. This flawed methodology lead to skewed results, and as Cheyney reported:
“As Dr. Michael Klein of the Child and Family Research Institute in Vancouver, B.C. points out, after removing low-quality studies and out-of-date statistics, the Wax study actually demonstrates no difference in outcomes between home and hospital-based delivery, even for neonatal mortality.”
My Personal Biases
I have four siblings but am closest to my sister Janet who I started my medical practice with me in 1985. She was my assistant and office manager for 14 years until she got married and left to raise her children.
She has two boys who were both scheduled to deliver at home with an MD who performed home births. At 31 weeks during her first pregnancy, she developed HELP syndrome, and had to have a hospital birth. We tried IV magnesium and other vitamins in hopes of turning things around, but she was admitted to the hospital and labor was induced at 35 weeks.
That was before my epiphany of the importance of vitamin D, and it is my belief that if we had got her vitamin D levels optimized she likely would have avoided these complications.
About the only complication of the hospital delivery was the painful and unnecessary episiotomy, and also the fact that my nephew received an unwanted hepatitis B injection.
Eighteen months later, she was able to successfully deliver her second son at home with a doctor, and had an absolutely positive experience.
Homebirths Can be Difficult to Plan in the United States – But it Can be Done
In the United States it often takes a lot of diligence and determination to go against the norm and find a physician or midwife who performs homebirths. It is rare to find an obstetrician that will agree to a home birth in the United States, and while certified nurse midwives (CNMs) can legally attend home births in any state, most do not and choose to practice in hospitals instead.
Only 27 states currently license or regulate direct-entry midwives (or certified professional midwives (CPMs), who have undergone training and met national standards to attend homebirths. (You can find the legal status of CPMs in your state here.)
In the other 23, midwife-attended births are illegal, however women often end up finding a midwife on the “black market,” who due to lack of any type of regulatory oversight may or may not have adequate training.
It is certainly possible to find highly qualified and trained midwives practicing on the underground market. These women often believe strongly in women’s right to choose home birth, and risk being arrested and prosecuted for practicing medicine or nursing without a license to offer their services.
There are also people practicing as midwives who have not received adequate training that can also be found in this underground home birth market, so if you do go this route it’s imperative that you thoroughly check out and reference the person you are working with.
A campaign is currently underway to expand state licensing of CPMs so that women who want a home birth can choose from a qualified pool of applicants, but until that happens you have a few legal options for homebirth:
- Find a certified nurse midwife (CNM) who attends homebirths in your state or in a nearby state (then travel to that state to give birth)
- Find a CPM who is either licensed by your state or in a nearby state (then travel to that state to give birth)
- Use a CNM but give birth in a hospital or birth center (a compromise)
To find a midwife in your area, try:
- Midwives Alliance of North America
- Mothers Naturally
- American College of Nurse-Midwives
- Midwifery Today
- BirthLink (Chicago area)
The bottom line is that the surgical interventions obstetricians are trained to use are often unnecessary in a normal pregnancy and delivery, and can cause more harm than good when used inappropriately.
In a healthy pregnancy, a qualified midwife, who is there to offer help, education and support during pregnancy, labor, delivery and after, is actually the safest, most qualified birth attendant, and your home may very well be the best place for you to deliver.
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Leah Siegel fought hard against cancer, enduring blood transfusions and chemical burns and painful sores. She was haunted by the idea that her children would grow up without any memory of her.
From the moment doctors told her she had stage four breast cancer in 2008, she worried most about leaving her children. “I just need 10 years,” she told her oncologist. But the cancer had already had spread to her liver and bones. Doctors gave her two to three years.
According to this story in the Dallas News:
“Leah told doctors she would try any treatment, no matter the side effects … doctors seemed to be jumping from drug to drug. ‘There wasn’t a real plan anymore,’ said Leah’s husband, Eric …
Leah agreed to try a powerful drug cocktail that caused the most painful side effects yet. Flaming blisters appeared on her hands and … The drugs burned sores in her mouth and throat. For weeks, she couldn’t eat. She began to worry that she would starve to death.”Sources:
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
If you haven’t read the reference link above in the Dallas News I would STRONGLY encourage you to do so. It is an amazingly powerful story that helps bring home a real life illustration of what is going on with cancer in this country.
It is just beyond tragic that this is allowed to occur anywhere, let alone in the U.S.
No one should have to go through this type of pain and sorrow and leave young children behind when their mother dies decades prematurely because of a fatally flawed medical system.
Unfortunately, cancer rates are on the rise and the disease is expected to kill more than 13 million people a year by 2030, almost double the number who died from the disease in 2008.
Even with the latest technology and “advances” in medicine, cancer continues to devastate families and kill people far before their time. And through it all the current medical paradigm has remained essentially clueless about the underlying causes of cancer, along with how to effectively treat them.
Most conventional cancer treatments actually add insult to injury by doing more harm than good — a fact that has been largely swept under the rug by the medical industry.
Are Toxic Drugs Really Helping Cancer Patients?
Drugs, surgery and radiation are typically the only solutions offered by conventional physicians to treat cancer, and upon receiving a cancer diagnosis most people are willing to do just about anything to get better. This includes taking outrageously expensive and dangerous medications that offer little, if any, benefit.
Take Avastin, the best-selling cancer drug in the world, which is used to treat advanced breast cancer in the United States. This drug, which brings in $855 million in revenues each year, costs $8,000 a month even though it has not been proven to improve quality of life or help patients live longer.
Further, the side effects of the drug can in and of themselves be deadly. Potentially fatal risks of the drug include gastrointestinal perforation, hemorrhage, slow wound healing, stroke, severe hypertension, severe kidney malfunction, and the list goes on. Now the FDA is even considering revoking its approval for this toxic drug, citing new studies that show the benefits just do not outweigh the risks.
Unfortunately, this is often the way it works with cancer drugs. The benefits are sparse while the side effects can often kill.
Cancer Drugs Can Actually Cause Cancer, Illness, Death
The drugs conventional physicians use to treat cancer can actually cause cancer in healthy people who are only exposed to small amounts of them, as is often the case among the health care workers who make their livings making, mixing and administering these toxic agents.
Even when used correctly these toxic drugs may end up killing you prematurely or cause other cancers down the line, as they impair your immune system and are capable of causing genetic damage.
The biggest drawback to chemotherapy is the fact that it destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells. So a typical, and potentially deadly, side effect of chemo is the destruction of the rapidly multiplying and dividing cells found in your:
- Bone marrow, which produces blood
- Digestive system
- Reproductive system
- Hair follicles
Despite its reputation as the gold-standard cancer treatment, chemotherapy has an average 5-year survival success rate of just over 2 percent for all cancers, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Oncology in December 2004.
Another study, The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), found that more than four in 10 patients who received chemotherapy toward the end of life experienced potentially fatal effects.
And after reviewing data from over 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, it was found that chemotherapy hastened or caused death in 27 percent of cases.
Chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically do not work with your body to modulate and normalize its response to allow the cancer to resolve normally. Natural approaches simply do not have the types of fatal side effects common with cancer drugs because they work by optimizing your body’s own natural healing capacities.
Tips for Fighting, and Preventing, Cancer
If you are facing cancer, I strongly recommend you seek the help of a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner experienced in cancer care who can help you use nutrition, emotional healing, and other alternative treatments to help you get well.
This should include a reliable screening of your vitamin D levels.
Calcitriol, the most potent steroid hormone in your body, is produced in large amounts in your tissues when you have sufficient amounts of vitamin D. However, most cancer patients are vitamin D deficient.
Calcitrol — the activated form of vitamin D — has been shown to protect against cancer by inducing cell differentiation and controlling cell proliferation. People with a low vitamin D level are less able to make activated vitamin D in an amount sufficient to exert the controls over cell proliferation that are needed to reduce cancer.
Optimized vitamin D levels will work synergistically with virtually every other cancer treatment. There are over 830 peer-reviewed scientific studies showing its effectiveness in the treatment of cancer!
You’ll want to elevate your levels of vitamin D to about 80-90 ng/ml, and continue to have them monitored throughout your treatment.
However, even better than a safe treatment is preventing cancer in the first place, and I believe you can virtually eliminate your cancer risk if you follow risk reduction strategies that have not been formally “proven” yet by conservative researchers.
You can help save yourself and your family from a cancer diagnosis by following the lifestyle changes below.
Many of the preventive strategies I’m about to share with you are not only important to prevent cancer, they’re also incredibly important to use as part of your cancer treatment strategy if you already have the illness.
11 Top Strategies for Preventing and Fighting Cancer Naturally
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. It’s virtually impossible to discuss cancer prevention and treatment today without discussing vitamin D, as the scientific evidence of its anti-cancerous benefits is truly impressive.
Theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies, according to epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Dr. Garland is widely regarded as the leading epidemiologist on vitamin D and its relation to health. He led one of the latest studies on vitamin D for cancer prevention and proposed a new model of cancer development — dubbed DINOMIT– that is centered on a loss of cancer cells’ ability to stick together.
The model is a departure from the older model of cancer development, which centers on genetic mutations as the earliest driving forces behind cancer.
To find out the appropriate levels of vitamin D for cancer prevention and treatment, please watch my free one-hour vitamin D lecture.
- Control your insulin levels by limiting your intake of processed foods and sugars as much as possible.
- Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats, especially those from krill oil.
- Exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
Exercise is also an important part of cancer treatment, as Harvard Medical School researchers found patients who exercise moderately — 3-5 hours a week — reduce their odds of dying from breast cancer by about half as compared to sedentary women.
In fact, any amount of weekly exercise increased a patient’s odds of surviving breast cancer. This benefit also remained constant regardless of whether women were diagnosed early on or after their cancer had spread.
- Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
- Only about 24 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. However, please understand that, frequently, fresh conventionally grown vegetables are healthier than organic ones that are older and wilted in the grocery store. They are certainly better than no vegetables at all, so don’t use that as an excuse. If you are a carb nutritional type you may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than a protein nutritional type.
- Eating according to your nutritional type has potent anti-cancer effects. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic, this is in fact one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Get enough high-quality sleep.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
- Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them. Better yet eat as many of your foods raw as you can.
The sooner you implement these natural strategies, the better, as they will provide your body with the basic foundational elements necessary for health, healing and wellness.
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