Americans now more likely to die from opioids than car crashes


​It marks a first for the U.S., where some 49,000 people died from opioids in 2018.

  • Each American has about a 1 in 7,569 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to a National Safety Council report. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 8,096.
  • The death rate for opioids is now six times higher than it was in 1999, with about 130 Americans dying every day from the drugs.
  • Narcan is a life-saving drug that can stop opioid overdoses in their tracks, however factors like stigma and cost are preventing this antidote from becoming more accessible.

For the first time in U.S. history, Americans are more likely to die from opioid overdoses than car accidents, according to a new report from the nonprofit National Safety Council.

Americans have a 1 in 7,569 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, while the probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 8,096. Those odds were calculated by dividing the total U.S. population by the total number of deaths for each cause in 2017, using data on preventable deaths from the National Center for Health Statistics.

“We’ve made significant strides in overall longevity in the United States, but we are dying from things typically called accidents at rates we haven’t seen in half a century,” Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council, said in a press release. “We cannot be complacent about 466 lives lost every day. This new analysis reinforces that we must consistently prioritize safety at work, at home and on the road to prevent these dire outcomes.”

The figures on opioid deaths are even more startling when presented in terms of lifetime odds, which are approximated by dividing the one-year odds of dying from a particular cause by the life expectancy of a person born in 2017 (78.6 years). Measured this way, Americans have a 1 in 96 probability of dying from an opioid overdose.

The lifetime odds of dying in a plane crash? 1 in 188,364.

“As human beings, we’re terrible at assessing our own risk,” Kolosh told National Public Radio. “We typically focus on the unusual or scary events … and assume that those are the riskiest.”

Opioids abuse and overdoses have been on the rise for years. In 2017, more than 49,000 people died of opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That’s about six times higher than the rate for 1999. Now, an average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

The increased availability of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is partly responsible for the recent spike in opioid overdoses, the council said in the press release.

“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl.”

​Can Narcan curb the opioid crisis?

There’s one life-saving drug that, if administered quickly and properly, can stop nearly all opioid overdoses in their tracks: naloxone, commonly known as Narcan. Patented in 1961, the drug works by preventing the brain’s receptors from bonding with opioids, eliminating their effects on the body. Narcan can’t stop the addiction, but it can stop an overdose.

In 2018, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory calling for more people to carry and learn how to administer Narcan, which is already carried by many EMTs and police officers.

“The call to action is to recognize if you’re at risk,” Adams told NPR. “And if you or a loved one are at risk, keep within reach, know how to use naloxone … We should think of naloxone like an EpiPen or CPR. Unfortunately, over half of the overdoses that are occurring are occurring in homes, so we want everyone to be armed to respond.”

Some believe making Narcan more accessible is the key to curbing the opioid crisis. That’s why most U.S. states have recently implemented a so-called standing order that allows people to get Narcan from a pharmacist without having to visit a doctor. Still, several factors seem to be preventing Narcan from being as ubiquitous as advocates like Adams might hope.

One problem is stigma. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists’ Association showed how both pharmacists and addicts report being uncomfortable engaging in face-to-face discussions about the need for Narcan. The researchers argued that this stigma might be reduced through policies that call for pharmacies to universally offer Narcan to patients obtaining opioid prescriptions.

Another component of the stigma surrounding Narcan is an argument that says increasing the drug’s accessibility actually enables addicts. The idea is that addicts are more willing to take risks, and take increasingly dangerous drugs like fentanyl, when they know they have a life-saving drug in their pocket. Proponents of this idea might argue that Narcan “subsidizes recklessness,” but others say denying medical patients a lifesaving drug isn’t the answer.

“I understand the frustration,” Police Chief Thomas Synan Jr. of Newtown, Ohio, told The Associated Press. “I understand the feeling that someone is doing something to themselves, so why do the rest of us have to pay? But our job is to save lives, period.”

But perhaps the biggest obstacle to increasing the accessibility of Narcan is the price. As STAT points out, a life-saving dose of Narcan cost just $1 a decade ago, but now “costs $150 for the nasal spray, a 150-fold increase,” while a “naloxone auto-injector, approved in 2016, costs $4,500.”

As Stephen Wood wrote for Harvard Law School’s Bill of Health, these price increases came “when the opioid epidemic was at its peak, and they came without any explanation.” If the prices don’t drop, it’s unlikely that efforts like standing orders and community distribution programs will be effective.

Ultimately, Wood argued, it’s all about the money for pharmaceutical companies.

“Naloxone has gone from a $21 million dollar a year industry prior to 2014, to a booming $274 million dollar take per year since 2015. There is no doubt: pharmaceutical companies are making money off the opioid epidemic. Additionally, those who need this drug the most, often don’t have access to it. They are the under- or uninsured, so waving a co-pay is moot.

There are plenty of opportunities to reduce costs. Several authorities have asked for induction of federal law 28 U.S.C. section 1498, which would allow the United States to contract with a manufacturer to act on their behalf to create a less costly product. However, this still puts the onus of the cost on the tax payer. The pharmaceutical industry brought us the opioids that sparked this epidemic, heavily marketing oxycontin and oxycodone, which retail at around $1.25 a pill. What could possibly justify the antidote costing upwards of 3,600 percent more? There is no justification for this and policy makers need to draw their attention to this scamming of the general public in a time of crisis.”

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UN gives 12-year deadline to crush climate change


Climate change activists holding a banner that reads '1POINT5 = LIFE LINE' during previous UN Climate Conference. /

Climate change activists holding a banner that reads ‘1POINT5 = LIFE LINE’ during previous UN Climate Conference.

Speed read

  • Latest UN report sets 2030 deadline to implement global emission goals
  • 2015 Paris pledges will not be enough to avoid cataclysmic warning by 2100
  • But mitigation must be well-planned to avoid negative impacts on poor people, say experts
The world’s politicians have just over a decade left to implement drastic transformations in their energy, food and transport systems that could avoid dangerous climate change, a report has revealed.

The report, published today by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that crucial policies to reduce global warming must be in place by 2030 to avoid the worst. If emissions continue at the current rate, 1.5 degrees of warming could be reached between 2030 and 2052, and temperatures would continue to rise steeply, the IPCC authors said.

According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth has already warmed by nearly a degree since 1900 due to carbon emissions from industry, farming, heating, and transport. Stabilising global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial level is possible, the authors of the report said. But, they added, meeting the goal will depend entirely on the political will of all countries.

“But it also comes with some wishful thinking that the messages are being taken up by the public, by policymakers and by governments,”

Hans-Otto Pörtner

The aim of the report was to follow up on the Paris Agreement, a set of targets to limit climate change signed at a UN summit in Paris, France, in 2015. Scientists have warned that, even if all pledges under the agreement are implemented, humans will still emit around 58 gigatonnes of CO2 in 2030, far beyond the 35gt needed to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees.

The report highlights a number of potential pathways to prevent further warming, including removing carbon from the atmosphere, phasing out coal and reducing food waste. “The preparation of this report […] was a benefit in itself,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, an ecologist at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, who chairs an IPCC working group. “But it also comes with some wishful thinking that the messages are being taken up by the public, by policymakers and by governments.”

The IPCC report pointed out that there would be significant differences between a 1.5 degree world and 2 degrees of global warming. Under a 2-degree scenario, the proportion of people exposed to heat waves at least once every five years would leap from 14 to 37 percent. This will increase ozone-related mortality and the spread of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, the report warned.

Even under the 1.5-degree scenario, ocean fishing is expected to decline by 1.5 million tonnes a year. But this figure would double, were global mean temperatures to reach 2 degrees of additional warming, the report said.

However, the IPCC authors make it clear that some mitigation measures need to be carefully managed to avoid negative ‘trade-offs’. “Any poorly designed policy is going to have unexpected consequences,” says Joyashree Roy, an economics researcher at Jadavpur University in India, who coordinated the report’s summary for policymakers. “For example, if we adopted bioenergy at massive scale, this may lead to competition for land, which in turn may cause food prices to spike.”

Niklas Höhne, a co-founder of the NewClimate Institute think tank in the Netherlands, said that many transformations have already happened on a small scale. “One example is renewable energy, that has developed much faster than people thought only five years ago,” he told SciDev.Net. “Right now, renewables are so cheap that are outpricing coal even in countries like India, where people always thought this would never happen.”

Höhne concedes that the 1.5 degree target by itself is an aspirational goal, but that striving for it keeps global leaders aware of the problem. “Whether we reach it or not,” he said, “is not the most important question.”

Act fast to halt the decline of insect numbers


A bee on an almond flower.

A bee on an almond flower.

Speed read

  • Insects disappearing eight times faster than mammals
  • Decline fuelled by destructive dynamic in pesticide use
  • Action needed as first line of defence in three steps
Researchers, policymakers and donors should act fast to halt the diminishing insect numbers, writes Wei Zhang.

Insects are among the most diverse and successful organisms on our planet. Their significant contributions to vital ecological functions including pollination, pest control and maintenance of wildlife cannot be ignored.

But a scientific review of insect numbers published earlier this year startlingly warns that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles. Meanwhile, some species such as houseflies and cockroaches are likely to boom.

“Both regulatory and market-based interventions are needed to reduce farmers’ reliance on insecticide-based control in the long run,”

Wei Zhang, International Food Policy Research Institute

This should concern not only professionals in agriculture, but also in health and development. This “plague of pests” could have many detrimental impacts on human health and livelihoods — especially those of the poor. It could undermine decades of hard-earned progress in development.

Why the decline?

Insects provide ecosystem services, such as pollination and pest suppression, which are essential for agriculture and for the people whose livelihoods depend on it. As natural enemies of crop pests, insects reduce the likelihood and frequency of disease outbreaks and the need for synthetic insecticides, known to harm human health and the environment.

The use of pesticides is a major cause of the alarming insect declines outlined in the review. They decimate beneficial insect communities, including those that control pests. Unlike natural pest control, they also cost money — a burden for resource-constrained farmers in low- and middle-income countries such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Pests often develop resistance to insecticides, and this is a key part of a destructive dynamic where insecticides become more expensive and possibly more toxic. A recent study I led describes how the feedback loop works: if biocontrol is effective at crop level, a farmer may refrain from using pesticides, allowing the natural pest enemies to thrive. But if insecticide use is indiscriminate, then natural enemies may not be effective, and their life cycle may be disrupted — ultimately destroying the ecosystem service they provide.

In other words, farmers can develop a ‘lock-in’ syndrome where continued heavy spraying is necessary to compensate for the missing beneficial insects that this same spraying has caused, a syndrome we called the “pesticide treadmill”.

More alarming is the fact that the insect crisis is just one among many environmental threats. This is not surprising. The challenges today’s world faces, as well as their many underlying drivers, are interlinked. A recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research warns of a potentially deadly combination of factors. These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, deforestation, and acidifying oceans, which are driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

The UN FAO’s new report on biodiversity for food and agriculture, which is based on data gathered in 91 countries, concludes that the plants, animals, and microorganisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline. If these critical species are lost, it “places the future of our food system under severe threat”, it states. The report identifies land-use changes, pollution and climate change as causes of biodiversity loss.

How to act

What can researchers, development practitioners, and policymakers do? More attention should be directed toward three main areas simultaneously.

First, natural and semi-natural habitats should be protected. The diverse value of these habitats — in providing a wide array of ecosystem services themselves, as well as supporting organisms that provide ecosystem services — should be made more ‘visible’ and accounted for in decision-making.

Valuation and modelling studies should be carried out to help understand where their benefits lie. This goes for both economic and other benefits, who receives them, and how species and different land use types interact. Research is also needed to improve the governance of crucial habitats.

More urgently, researchers must be more proactive and effective at communicating their findings to the public, governments, non-governmental organisations and other key stakeholders. Innovations in technology and policies are needed alongside public campaigns aimed at influencing cultural change.

Second, the adoption of biodiversity-friendly practices should be accelerated. Although now more common, these are not growing quickly enough. Researchers at the CGIAR, a global partnership in which I am a member, are well-positioned to tackle this.

Finally, farmers should be supported to use synthetic insecticides and other agro-chemicals judiciously. The overuse of synthetic insecticides is driven by a number of factors: prices that do not account for the social and environmental costs associated with their use, distorting policies, lack of knowledge and awareness, and an absence of risk management tools such as technical support and insurance. Both regulatory and market-based interventions are needed to reduce farmers’ reliance on insecticide-based control in the long run.

Together, these three strategies can help address the threat posed by the dangerous decline in insect populations. Managing the crop pest problem, so that pests and natural enemies co-exist and sustain a balance resilient to environmental shocks, is our first line of defence.

If this line holds, we can avoid getting to the stage where we are trying to ‘control’ the problem and many of the negative social, economic and environmental consequences associated with our interventions.

Wei Zhang is a research fellow in the Environmental, Production and Technology division of the International Food Policy Research Institute, based in Washington, D.C., United States. She can be contacted at w.zhang@cgiar.org
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.

References

[1] Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys  Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers (Biological Conservation, April 2019)
[2] Wei Zhang and others Multidecadal, county-level analysis of the effects of land use, Bt cotton, and weather on cotton pests in China (PNAS, 14 August 2018)
[3] Patrick W Weddle and others History of IPM in California pears—50 years of pesticide use and the transition to biologically intensive IPM (Pest Management Science, 13 October 2009)
[4] Laurie Laybourn-Langton and others This is a crisis: Facing up to the age of environmental breakdown (Institute for Public Policy Research, February 2019)
[5] The state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture (UN FAO, 2019)

Tetanus Remains a Threat to Unvaccinated


A recent case of tetanus in an unvaccinated child highlights the continued threat of this rare but dangerous disease among the unvaccinated individuals in the United States.

“Unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated persons are at risk for tetanus, irrespective of age, and recovery from tetanus disease does not confer immunity,” write Judith A. Guzman-Cottrill, DO, from the Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, and colleagues. The case report was published online March 7 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The case involved a 6-year-old boy who suffered a scalp laceration while playing outdoors. Although his wound was cleaned and sutured at home, the boy was unvaccinated.

After 6 days, he developed symptoms of jaw clenching, involuntary upper extremity muscle spasms, opisthotonus, generalized spasms, and breathing difficulty. He was airlifted to a hospital, where a clinical diagnosis of tetanus was made.

He underwent 8 weeks of inpatient care, including administration of tetanus immune globulin, as well as diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP). His wound was irrigated and debrided, and he received intravenous metronidazole.

He required neuromuscular blockade to manage his muscle spasms, continuous intravenous medication infusions to control his pain and blood pressure, and a tracheostomy for ventilator support.

After 8 weeks, his condition improved enough for transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center, where he remained for 17 days. One month later, he was able to resume his normal active lifestyle. His family refused the second dose of DTaP and other vaccinations recommended by clinicians.

Because of continued use of tetanus immune globulin for wound management and widespread vaccination with tetanus toxoid, tetanus cases have dropped in the United States by 95% since the 1940s, and the number of tetanus-related deaths have dropped by 99%.

In this case, the boys inpatient care alone cost $811,929, which is about 72 times the mean cost of $11,143 for a child’s hospital stay, according to a 2012 study.

This is the first case of tetanus in a child in Oregon in more than 30 years, the authors emphasize, but it highlights the importance of vaccination for this preventable disease.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a five-dose DTaP series for all eligible children at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, followed by a fourth dose at 15 to 18 months of age, and a fifth at 4 to 6 years of age.

“Booster doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids are recommended every 10 years throughout life,” the authors stress.

The Dark and Light Side of Food As Information (Dietary RNAs Directly Impact Gene Expression)


 

New insights in biology show that food is informational and can directly impact and even control the expression of your genes. The implications of this discovery are profound, and have both a light and dark side in need of deeper exploration…

A new study published in the journal BMC Genetics entitled, “Plant miRNAs found in human circulating system provide evidence of cross kingdom RNAi,” reveals that powerful little diet derived nucleic acids known as microRNAs (miRNAs), from commonly consumed plants, are present within the human circulatory system in what appear to be physiologically significant quantities. MiRNAs are comprised of ~ 22 nucleotide single strand non-coding RNAs, which regulate protein coding gene expression by interfering with messenger RNA’s ability to transcribe DNA into protein. This is why miRNAs are sometimes called RNA interference molecules.

The study found,

“…abundant plant miRNAs sequences from 410 human plasma small RNA sequencing data sets. One particular plant miRNA miR2910, conserved in fruits and vegetables, was found to present in high relative amount in the plasma samples. This miRNA, with same 6mer and 7mer-A1 target seed sequences as hsa-miR-4259 and hsa-miR-4715-5p, was predicted to target human JAK-STAT signaling pathway gene SPRY4 and transcription regulation genes.”

This discovery has profound implications, as the human JAK-STAT signalling pathway has a wide range of potential downstream effects. In fact, JAK-STAT transmits information from extracellular chemical signals to the cell nucleus resulting in DNA transcription and expression of genes involved in immunity, differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis — all of which relate to cancer risk and oncogenesis. But this is just the tip of the miRNA iceberg. There have, in fact, been hundreds of these miRNAs identified in commonly consumed foods in the agrarian diet, and they appear to have the ability to match up with hundreds of human gene targets. The implications of this are profound, if not possibly devastating when it comes to GMO food technology.

It is now widely accepted among conventional biologists that miRNAs regulate most of the protein coding genes in mammals. In fact, the profound difference in complexity between higher life forms such as humans relative to, say, earthworms, is attributable to the higher level of RNA complexity within the so-called ‘dark matter of the genome’ (the ~ 98.5% of the human genome that does not code for proteins).

But what research like this brings to the table is the even more provocative possibility that our genetic and epigenetic wellbeing may be wholly dependent on miRNAs existing outside of us within the gene-regulatory miRNAs embedded within our diet.

Can you imagine the difference between an evolutionarily conserved ancestral diet and a modern one comprised of synthetic components and highly processed GMO cereal grasses?

The New Epigenetic/Nutritional Paradigm: Cross-Kingdom Communication

The idea that the plants and animals we eat contribute to modulating the expression of our genome is known as cross-kingdom or inter-species genentic communication, and represents a significant departure from the classical view that the genetic infrastructure of species were closed off, hermetically sealed within the cell nucleus, and could not be accessed epigenetically from the outside in. We’ve moved from this atomistic, monadistic view to an open access one, where miRNAs operate like software upon the hardwired protein-coding sequences within a species’ genome, making for a much more complex and interdependent web of relationships, reminiscent of the Gaian concept of a biospheric interconnectivity between all the biotic elements of the Earth. As I discuss in another article,

“…this more “open access” model would permit species to alter and affect another’s phenotype in real-time, along with potentially altering its long-term evolutionary trajectory by affecting epigenetic inheritance patterns. This speaks to a co-evolutionary and co-operative model, with all areas of the tree of life, co-developing in a highly complex and seemingly highly intelligent, carefully orchestrated manner.”

And so, if plant derived miRNAs can survive cooking and digestion, as appears to be the case, and can accumulate in physiologically significant quantities, they will therefore alter gene expression, introducing the novel concept that mammalian genomes may have, in fact, evolved to outsource some of their regulation to nutrigenomic dimensions within their dietary milieux.

This, of course, has profound implications, such as validating the concept that an evolutionarily appropriate diet —  e.g. Paleo diet — would help to assure the optimal expression of the human genome. Conversely, the use of RNA interference technology by biotech corporations, such as Monsanto/Dow’s newly EPA approved RNAi corn, could have biologically devastating consequences to the health and wellbeing of those fed or exposed to its altered miRNA profiles. To learn more about this concerning possibility, read (and please share) my report: The GMO Agenda Takes a Menacing Leap Forward with EPA’s Silent Approval of Monsanto/Dow’s RNAi Corn

 

Beware: US salmon may be crawling with Japanese tapeworm, say scientists


 

Image: Beware: US salmon may be crawling with Japanese tapeworm, say scientists

A recently published study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases says wild caught Alaskan salmon may harbor a species of tapeworm previously known to infect only Asian fish. Researchers warn that based on their findings, any salmon caught along the North American Pacific coast may have the parasite. The concern is that if you eat the fish undercooked or raw, you could become a host to this gruesome organism.

CNN reports that the tapeworm newly discovered in Alaskan salmon is named Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, also known as the Japanese broad tapeworm. This species accounts for the most infections in humans, in contradiction to the previous belief that the dubious distinction went to the most common fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum. A team of scientists found four species of Pacific salmon known to carry the Japanese tapeworm: chum salmon, masu salmon, pink salmon and sockeye salmon. These fish are caught and then shipped worldwide, so the infection may occur in humans anywhere on the planet. (RELATED: Stay informed about the health risks of food ingredients at Ingredients.news)

Tapeworms, including the Japanese version can grow to 30 feet inside a human digestive tract. Infestation often goes undetected, because symptoms may often be mild, with symptoms largely attributed to other conditions by medical practitioners. When fish are commercially caught worldwide, they are placed on ice for the journey to port. But this does not freeze the fish, it only refrigerates them. To kill the possibly present parasite worms, the fish need to be frozen. Salmon sushi at a restaurant or store can be assumed to be an unsafe commodity unless you know it has been frozen or you freeze it yourself. Additionally, the fish can be sufficiently cooked for assurance of safety against parasitic infection.

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Jayde Ferguson, a scientist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game believes, “The tapeworm itself is probably not new — it’s just that more skilled parasitologist started looking for it. Identifying these parasites is challenging. This was simply a more detailed evaluation of the Diphyllobothrium that has occurred here for over a millennium.”

Professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Dr. William Schaffner stated, “Because we do things that we haven’t done before, now, we have these fresh caught fish that can be transported anywhere and eaten raw. … I am sure we will be on the lookout for this kind of tapeworm going forward.”

Parasitic worms – an under-recognized epidemic

Naturopath Marijah McCain is a widely experienced healer who apprenticed with a parasitologist and knows firsthand about these disgusting critters and how to rid the body of the menace. Though rare, various helminths (worms) such as the tapeworm can find a home in your brain with grave consequences. Quoting Marijah:

“Myself and a handful of others, like Dr. Hulda Clark, have spent years trying to bring the parasite issue to the forefront of preventative & curative medicine. The good news is the medical field is slowly training their doctors once again on the health risks of parasites… Most Americans carry parasites and this is currently a serious health issue. Parasites are not meant to kill you, they just sit inside you and steal your nutrition. But, when a person gets weakened from another ailment the parasites can take hold and become life threatening. This is why EVERYONE with any health disorder should do an anti-parasite program at least once a year. Twice a year if you live with animals. People interested in maintaining good health should also do routine parasite cleansing…”

Marijah says that symptoms caused by parasites include gas, diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, mood swings, insomnia, nail biting, dry skin, weight gain, bad breath, brittle hair, hair loss, and muscle cramping. Because parasites can invade any tissue in the body, symptoms can occur anywhere. Dr. McCain states that parasites are a contributing factor in conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, some heart disease, arthritis, asthma, as well as others. She points out that in the US, the medical system is in denial about the health risks of parasitic infections, and doctors make a huge blunder when they fail to recognize the role that parasites play in disease. “Parasites are the cause of hundreds of misdiagnosed ailments,” she claims, and recommends natural anti-parasite formulas in lieu of conventional toxic allopathic medications.

5G looks like it’s the next best thing in tech, but it’s really a Trojan horse for harming humanity


Image: 5G looks like it’s the next best thing in tech, but it’s really a Trojan horse for harming humanity

Many so-called “experts” are claiming that it’ll be a huge step forward for innovation in everything from manufacturing and transportation, to medicine and beyond. But in reality, 5G technology represents an existential threat to humanity – a “phony war” on the people who inhabit this planet we call Earth, and all in the name of “progress.”

Writing for GreenMedInfo, Claire Edwards, a former editor and trainer in intercultural writing for the United Nations (U.N.), warns that 5G might end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of the state of public health. Electro-hypersensitivity (EHS), she says, could soon become a global pandemic as a result of 5G implementation, with people developing severe health symptoms that inhibit their ability to live normal lives.

This “advanced” technology, Edwards warns, involves the use of special “laser-like beams of electromagnetic radiation,” or EMR, that are basically blasted “from banks of thousands of tiny antennas” installed all over the place, typically on towers and poles located within just a couple hundred feet of one another.

While she still worked for the U.N., Edwards tried to warn her superiors about the dangers of 5G EMR, only to have these petitions fall on deaf ears. This prompted her to contact the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who then pushed the World Health Organization (WHO) to take a closer look into the matter – though this ended up being a dead end as well.

For more news about 5G and its threat to humanity, be sure to check out Conspiracy.news.

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Elon Musk is planning to launch 4,425 5G satellites in to Earth’s orbit THIS JUNE

Edwards worries particularly about 5G implementation in space, as existing space law is so woefully inadequate that countries all around the world, including the U.S., will likely blanket the atmosphere in 5G equipment, turning our entire planet into an EMR hell.

Elon Musk of Tesla fame is one such purveyor of 5G technology who’s planning to launch an astounding 4,425 5G satellites in to Earth’s orbit by June 2019. This means that, in a matter of just a few months, 5G will be everywhere and completely inescapable.

“There are no legal limits on exposure to EMR,” Edwards writes.

“Conveniently for the telecommunications industry, there are only non-legally enforceable guidelines such as those produced by the grandly named International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which turns out to be like the Wizard of Oz, just a tiny little NGO in Germany that appoints its own members, none of whom is a medical doctor or environmental expert.”

Edwards sees 5G implementation as eventually leading to a “catastrophe for all life in Earth” in the form of “the last great extinction.” She likens it to a “biological experiment” representing the “most heinous manifestation of hubris and greed in human history.”

There’s already evidence to suggest that 5G implementation in a few select cities across the United States, including in Sacramento, California, is causing health problems for people who live near 5G equipment. At firehouses where 5G equipment was installed, for instance, firefighters are reporting things like memory problems and confusion.

Some people are also reporting reproductive issues like miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as nosebleeds and insomnia, all stemming from the presence of 5G transmitters.

Edwards encourages folks to sign The Stop 5G Appeal if they care about protecting people, animals, insects, and the planet from this impending 5G assault.

“Our newspapers are now casually popularizing the meme that human extinction would be a good thing, but when the question becomes not rhetorical but real, when it’s your life, your child, your community, your environment that is under immediate threat, can you really subscribe to such a suggestion?” Edwards asks.

Sea Creatures Still Arriving in the U.S. on Plastic Debris From the Japanese Tsunami Eight Years Ago


Marine biologists don’t know how long different species can survive adrift in the open ocean, and some may become invasive when they reach new shores

Plastic Cup
Plastic debris is providing a new vessel for potentially invasive species to cross large distances.

The open ocean is essentially a marine desert. So far from shore, starved of nutrients like phosphorus (which enters the ocean as runoff from land), not much lives out on the open sea.

So when living animals started washing up along the coasts of the Pacific Northwest and California, clinging to plastic debris that was swept out to sea by the 2011 Japanese tsunami, 4,300 miles away, it raised a few eyebrows. And when the living animals—mostly shellfish and crustaceans, but also marine worms, sea stars, sponges and even fish—kept arriving year after year, it raised even more.

By February 2017, nearly 300 species of living organisms had made landfall on the shores of Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Jim Carlton, professor of marine sciences at Williams College, and colleagues published a study that year in the journal Science documenting the castaways that had made the trip from Japan to North America.

Two years later, the animals are still arriving, Carlton said earlier this month at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Debris seems to wash up on the shore seasonally, and the most recent recorded sighting of a living animal—a tiny crab—was last July.

Somehow, these creatures, adapted for life on the coasts, are surviving at sea for at least seven years—five years longer than previously documented instances of marine rafting.

“What we’re waiting for is whether or not the spring 2019 pulse brings to North America the same arrival of Japanese tsunami marine debris and living species that it has for the past seven years,” Carlton says. There’s no reason to think it wouldn’t. Thanks to this research, we now have no upper limit on the length of time coastal animals can survive adrift at sea.

Plastic Rafters
The debris from Japan ranged from the small, like buoys, to the very large, like the dock shown in upper right. 

When the Tōhoku tsunami washed boats, plastic docks, buoys, crates, ropes, and propane tanks out to sea, the natural disaster became the first opportunity to track a large debris field over an immense distance—one of the only times scientists had a known origin point and time for marine junk. “It was as if we had done a giant experiment, tossed out millions of objects with a date on them,” Carlton says.

Much of the 2011 debris was made of plastic, unlike the last time Japan was hit by a tsunami of this size, in 1933, many years before the widespread emergence of plastic goods. Wooden objects degrade in the ocean in just two or three years as they are munched on by wood-eating worms, Carlton says, so any organisms that might be clinging to a wooden debris raft only have a couple years to make it to shore. Plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t degrade, which helps explain how a wood-and-fiberglass fishing boat, the Sai-Shou Maru, washed up on a Washington beach in 2013 with five live fish inside.

The combination of the emergence of plastic, the probability that climate change will intensify hurricanes and typhoons, and the ability of marine species to drift on the open ocean for half a decade or more creates a new vector for invasive species, Carlton says. For now, it’s not clear whether any of the species that survived the Pacific crossing have established themselves on the West Coast of the U.S. Determining that a foreign organism has taken root takes time and effort. Carlton says his team is already likely missing some organisms, simply because the number of pieces of debris associated with the tsunami is in the thousands or tens of thousands.

“We’re only sampling a fraction of the debris field,” he says. “It’s possible the species that will successfully invade will be a species we will not successfully detect.”

If a species establishes itself after floating across the ocean, it won’t be the first. Famously, in 1995, a population of 15 iguanas rafted 200 miles on trees ripped from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Enough survived to start a new colony on Anguilla, and they’re now considered invasive. Since that first documented journey, scientists have begun to study how animals of all kinds manage to raft across the seas.

Jon Waters, a professor at New Zealand’s University of Otago, studies how mollusks, sea stars and other creatures float on natural rafts made of kelp. Waters, who isn’t involved in the Japan tsunami research, said that kelp is “amazingly robust” and can last up to two years at sea. In this instance, the creatures bring their own food with them—either the kelp itself or the microbial and algal species that live on the kelp.

But when creatures raft on plastic, the question of what they eat is more complicated. “We had assumed that food is pretty limited out there,” Carlton says.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch presents a unique opportunity to study the organisms’ “pre-landing story,” as Carlton calls it. Linsey Haram, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, is planning to study samples from the Pacific gyre to learn more about the communities that live on the ocean between the coasts. Hopefully the study will shed light on what rafting animals eat. Haram said via email that the hitchhikers might “be living off of algae, animals and detritus present on their singular ‘rafts,’” or they may be surviving off the limited plankton and dissolved minerals in the water.

Knowing that rafting species can survive for years “adds a whole new dimension” to the work, Waters says, emphasizing “how important this type of process can be for marine biodiversity research.”

Animals have been rafting across seas for millennia. Madagascar was probably populated by animals that rafted from mainland Africa 60 million years ago. But our plastic waste has made it possible for organisms to travel farther and longer than we ever thought they could.

Even a ‘Limited’ Nuclear War Could Wreck Earth’s Climate And Trigger Global Famine


Deadly tensions between India and Pakistan are boiling over in Kashmir, a disputed territory at the northern border of each country.

A regional conflict is worrisome enough, but climate scientists warn that if either country launches just a portion of its nuclear weapons, the situation might escalate into a global environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.

On February 14, a suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian troops in a convoy travelling through Kashmir. A militant group based in Pakistan called Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. India responded by launching airstrikes against its neighbour – the first in roughly 50 years – and Pakistan has said it shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured one of the pilots.

Both countries possess about 140 to 150 nuclear weapons. Though nuclear conflict is unlikely, Pakistani leaders have said their military is preparing for “all eventualities“. The country has also assembled its group responsible for making decisions on nuclear strikes.

“This is the premier nuclear flashpoint in the world,” Ben Rhodes, a political commentator, said on Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save the World” podcast.

For that reason, climate scientists have modelled how an exchange of nuclear weapons between the two countries – what is technically called a limited regional nuclear war – might affect the world.

Though the explosions would be local, the ramifications would be global, that research concluded. The ozone layer could be crippled and Earth’s climate may cool for years, triggering crop and fishery losses that would result in what the researchers called a “global nuclear famine”.

“The danger of nuclear winter has been under-understood – poorly understood – by both policymakers and the public,” Michael Mills, a researcher at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Business Insider.

“It has reached a point where we found that nuclear weapons are largely unusable because of the global impacts.”

Why a ‘small’ nuclear war could ravage Earth

When a nuclear weapon explodes, its effects extend beyond the structure-toppling blast wave, blinding fireball, and mushroom cloud. Nuclear detonations close to the ground, for example, can spread radioactive debris called fallout for hundreds of miles.

But the most frightening effect is intense heat that can ignite structures for miles around. Those fires, if they occur in industrial areas or densely populated cities, can lead to a frightening phenomenon called a firestorm.

“These firestorms release many times the energy stored in nuclear weapons themselves,” Mills said. “They basically create their own weather and pull things into them, burning all of it.”

Mills helped model the outcome of an India-Pakistan nuclear war in a 2014 study. In that scenario, each country exchanges 50 weapons, less than half of its arsenal. Each of those weapons is capable of triggering a Hiroshima-size explosion, or about 15 kilotons’ worth of TNT.

The model suggested those explosions would release about 5 million tons of smoke into the air, triggering a decades-long nuclear winter.

The effects of this nuclear conflict would eliminate 20 to 50 percent of the ozone layer over populated areas. Surface temperatures would become colder than they have been for at least 1,000 years.

The bombs in the researchers’ scenario are about as powerful as the Little Boy nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, enough to devastate a city.

But that’s far weaker than many weapons that exist today. The latest device North Korea tested was estimated to be about 10 times as powerful as Little Boy. The US and Russia each possess weapons 1,000 times as powerful.

Still, the number of weapons used is more important than strength, according to the calculations in this study.

How firestorms would wreck the climate

Most of the smoke in the scenario the researchers considered would come from firestorms that would tear through buildings, vehicles, fuel depots, vegetation, and more.

This smoke would rise through the troposphere (the atmospheric zone closest to the ground), and particles would then be deposited in a higher layer called the stratosphere. From there, tiny black-carbon aerosols could spread around the globe.

“The lifetime of a smoke particle in the stratosphere is about five years. In the troposphere, the lifetime is one week,” Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who worked on the study, told Business Insider.

“So in the stratosphere, the lifetime of smoke particles is much longer, which gives it 250 times the impact.”

The fine soot would cause the stratosphere, normally below freezing, to be dozens of degrees warmer than usual for five years. It would take two decades for conditions to return to normal.

This would cause ozone loss “on a scale never observed,” the study said.

That ozone damage would consequently allow harmful amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun to reach the ground, hurting crops and humans, harming ocean plankton, and affecting vulnerable species all over the planet.

But it gets worse: Earth’s ecosystems would also be threatened by suddenly colder temperatures.

Screen Shot 2019 03 01 at 3.52.36 pm(Mills et al., Earth’s Future, 2014)

The fine black soot in the stratosphere would prevent some sun from reaching the ground. The researchers calculated that average temperatures around the world would drop by about 1.5 degrees Celsius over the five years following the nuclear blasts.

In populated areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, changes could be more extreme (as illustrated in the graphic above). Winters there would be about 2.5 degrees colder and summers between 1 and 4 degrees colder, reducing critical growing seasons by 10 to 40 days. Expanded sea ice would also prolong the cooling process, since ice reflects sunlight away.

“It’d be cold and dark and dry on the ground, and that would affect plants,” Robock said. “This is something everybody should be concerned about because of the potential global effects.”

The change in ocean temperatures could devastate sea life and fisheries that much of the world relies on for food. Such sudden blows to the food supply and the “ensuing panic” could cause “a global nuclear famine”, according to the study’s authors.

Temperatures wouldn’t return to normal for more than 25 years.

The effects might be much worse than previously thought

Robock is working on new models of nuclear-winter scenarios; his team was awarded a nearly US$3 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project to do so.

“You’d think the Department of Defence and the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies would fund this research, but they didn’t and had no interest,” he said.

Since his earlier modelling work, Robock said, the potential effects of a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan have gotten worse. That’s because India and Pakistan now have more nuclear weapons, and their cities have grown.

“It could be about five times worse than what we’ve previously calculated,” he said.

Because of his intimate knowledge of the potential consequences, Robock advocates the reduction of nuclear arsenals around the world. He said he thinks Russia and the US – which has nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons – are in a unique position to lead the way.

“Why don’t the US and Russia each get down to 200? That’s a first step,” Robock said.

“If President Trump wants the Nobel Peace Prize, he should get rid of land-based missiles, which are on hair-trigger alert, because we don’t need them,” he added.

“That’s how he’ll get a peace prize – not by saying we have more than anyone else.”

Even The Creatures in The Ocean’s Deepest Chasms Are Now Eating Plastic


The deepest parts of the ocean aren’t easy to get to. They’re found in fissures in the seafloor, and the creatures there are strange – adapted to the dark, the cold, and the crushing pressure.

But in those trenches, at hadopelagic depths greater than 7,000 metres (20,000 feet), our impact on this world has still been felt. For the first time, in the stomachs of scuttling creatures retrieved from six of the ocean’s deepest places, scientists have found plastic.

A team of researchers from Newcastle University in the UK sent “landers” to the bottom of the sea in six hadopelagic trenches, across a broad range of sites: Japan, Izu-Bonin, Peru-Chile, New Hebrides, Kermadec, and the deepest known part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

trenches globe(Jamieson et al., RSOS, 2019)

Each of these landers is equipped with monitoring and sampling equipment; when they were pulled back to the surface, they had collected a variety of small marine creatures called amphipods for further study.

Between the six trenches, they had collected 90 animals that they studied further, looking for plastic in the hindguts – towards the end of their digestive tracts – to rule out any recent ingestion, such as on the way up from the bottom of the ocean.

They found plastic in the guts of 72 percent of the animals. That’s pretty bad. But it gets worse. The deeper they went, the more plastic they found.

From the New Hebrides Trench, plastic was found in 50 percent of the amphipods. But from the Challenger Deep, at a depth of 10,890 metres (35,730 feet), 100 percent of the animals had plastic in their guts.

“This study has shown that man-made microfibres are culminating and accumulating in an ecosystem inhabited by species we poorly understand, cannot observe experimentally and have failed to obtain baseline data for prior to contamination,” said marine scientist Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in 2017, when he revealed the findings.

“These observations are the deepest possible record of microplastic occurrence and ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by anthropogenic debris.”

Last year, a plastic bag was spotted in the Mariana Trench. Now Jamieson and his team have published the results of their study, showing that this is not an isolated incident. Our garbage is making its way to the bottom of the ocean globally, and we should all be ashamed.

The plastic microparticles, on examination, were mostly semi-synthetic cellulosic fibres used in clothing. The team also found nylon, polyethylene, polyamide, and unidentified polyvinyls closely resembling polyvinyl alcohol or polyvinylchloride – PVA and PVC.

And it’s likely that these once-pristine ocean trenches are the last stop for our trash. Once it’s there, there’s nowhere else for it to go.

“It is intuitive that the ultimate sink for this debris, in whatever size, is the deep sea,” Jamieson said. “If you contaminate a river, it can be flushed clean. If you contaminate a coastline, it can be diluted by the tides. But, in the deepest point of the oceans, it just sits there.

“It can’t flush and there are no animals going in and out of those trenches.”

We don’t know what that means for the animals down there, but it may not be good. Ingestion of plastic rubbish is a known killer of sea turtles, and last year we saw multiple whales washed up onto shorelines, killed by plastic pollution.

For amphipods, a gutful of indigestible plastic could affect buoyancy and mobility, making them more vulnerable to predators. And down in the trenches, where food is scarce, the disruption of one source of prey could have a devastating domino effect.

It has impacts for research, too. Recent advances in technology have opened up hadopelagic exploration in unprecedented ways, and we’re finding all sorts of exciting new species, such as the Mariana snailfish discovered in 2017.

But humanity has been wreaking plastic havoc for far too long. According to a study published in 2017, by 2015 over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic had been produced by humans since the 1950s. Over 6.3 billion of those tons had been discarded – ending up in landfill or the natural environment.

It’s hard to know exactly how much is making its way into the ocean, but a 2015 study found that the figure was up to 12.7 million metric tons in 2010 alone.

So we have never seen the Mariana snailfish as it existed in an uncontaminated ocean.

“We have no baseline to measure them against. There is no data about them in their pristine state,” Jamieson said.

“The more you think about it, the more depressing it is.”

The deepest parts of the ocean aren’t easy to get to. They’re found in fissures in the seafloor, and the creatures there are strange – adapted to the dark, the cold, and the crushing pressure.

But in those trenches, at hadopelagic depths greater than 7,000 metres (20,000 feet), our impact on this world has still been felt. For the first time, in the stomachs of scuttling creatures retrieved from six of the ocean’s deepest places, scientists have found plastic.

A team of researchers from Newcastle University in the UK sent “landers” to the bottom of the sea in six hadopelagic trenches, across a broad range of sites: Japan, Izu-Bonin, Peru-Chile, New Hebrides, Kermadec, and the deepest known part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

trenches globe(Jamieson et al., RSOS, 2019)

Each of these landers is equipped with monitoring and sampling equipment; when they were pulled back to the surface, they had collected a variety of small marine creatures called amphipods for further study.

Between the six trenches, they had collected 90 animals that they studied further, looking for plastic in the hindguts – towards the end of their digestive tracts – to rule out any recent ingestion, such as on the way up from the bottom of the ocean.

They found plastic in the guts of 72 percent of the animals. That’s pretty bad. But it gets worse. The deeper they went, the more plastic they found.

From the New Hebrides Trench, plastic was found in 50 percent of the amphipods. But from the Challenger Deep, at a depth of 10,890 metres (35,730 feet), 100 percent of the animals had plastic in their guts.

“This study has shown that man-made microfibres are culminating and accumulating in an ecosystem inhabited by species we poorly understand, cannot observe experimentally and have failed to obtain baseline data for prior to contamination,” said marine scientist Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in 2017, when he revealed the findings.

“These observations are the deepest possible record of microplastic occurrence and ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by anthropogenic debris.”

Last year, a plastic bag was spotted in the Mariana Trench. Now Jamieson and his team have published the results of their study, showing that this is not an isolated incident. Our garbage is making its way to the bottom of the ocean globally, and we should all be ashamed.

The plastic microparticles, on examination, were mostly semi-synthetic cellulosic fibres used in clothing. The team also found nylon, polyethylene, polyamide, and unidentified polyvinyls closely resembling polyvinyl alcohol or polyvinylchloride – PVA and PVC.

And it’s likely that these once-pristine ocean trenches are the last stop for our trash. Once it’s there, there’s nowhere else for it to go.

“It is intuitive that the ultimate sink for this debris, in whatever size, is the deep sea,” Jamieson said. “If you contaminate a river, it can be flushed clean. If you contaminate a coastline, it can be diluted by the tides. But, in the deepest point of the oceans, it just sits there.

“It can’t flush and there are no animals going in and out of those trenches.”

We don’t know what that means for the animals down there, but it may not be good. Ingestion of plastic rubbish is a known killer of sea turtles, and last year we saw multiple whales washed up onto shorelines, killed by plastic pollution.

For amphipods, a gutful of indigestible plastic could affect buoyancy and mobility, making them more vulnerable to predators. And down in the trenches, where food is scarce, the disruption of one source of prey could have a devastating domino effect.

It has impacts for research, too. Recent advances in technology have opened up hadopelagic exploration in unprecedented ways, and we’re finding all sorts of exciting new species, such as the Mariana snailfish discovered in 2017.

But humanity has been wreaking plastic havoc for far too long. According to a study published in 2017, by 2015 over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic had been produced by humans since the 1950s. Over 6.3 billion of those tons had been discarded – ending up in landfill or the natural environment.

It’s hard to know exactly how much is making its way into the ocean, but a 2015 study found that the figure was up to 12.7 million metric tons in 2010 alone.

So we have never seen the Mariana snailfish as it existed in an uncontaminated ocean.

“We have no baseline to measure them against. There is no data about them in their pristine state,” Jamieson said.

“The more you think about it, the more depressing it is.”

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