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The Arrow #125
Greetings from Montecito.
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The great un-junking proceeds apace. As you can see from the photos below, we have boxes from our erstwhile storage unit stacked everywhere.
MD is now making it her life’s work to grind the contents of these boxes into confetti using the industrial-strength home shredder you see at the bottom right of the left photo above. It is time consuming to the max for a couple of reasons. She has to go through all of the contents before shredding to make sure it’s not something we don’t want to get rid of. Even a fairly large shredder can only take so much at a go, both in terms of how much she can slide in and how long it can run before overheating and shutting off. Takes her several hours just to shred two boxes.
I sent off volume 2 of the Quiver a couple of days ago to paying subscribers. The first part was a public service announcement that I’m copying below. Make sure you don’t get caught up in this latest medical nightmare.
First (and this is kind of a public service announcement, so I’m going to repeat it in the next edition of The Arrow), root through your medicine cabinet and discard any EzriCare Artificial Tears, Delsam Pharma Artificial Tears and/or Delsam Pharma Artificial Ointment. These products—made by Global Pharma in India—have been responsible for the loss of four eyes, fourteen cases of vision loss, and four deaths. There have been 81 people who have had issues in 18 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, IL, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, SD, TX, WA, and WI). These products have been contaminated with a drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa never before reported in the US. If you’ve used any of these products and have developed eye issues of any kind, seek medical care immediately. Here is how investigators tracked down the culprits.
Twitter Mystery Solved
At least I think it’s solved. The mystery is why Twitter and Substack no longer play well together. I used to be able to simply copy and paste a Twitter link to my Substack newsletter, and it would immediately embed and appear just like it does on Twitter. Such has not been the case for a couple of months now.
I can still do it with YouTube. All I have to do is paste the YouTube link, and Bingo! I’ve got a YouTube video that will play right in the newsletter. I’m not sure it will play in the email version, but it will certainly play in the online version. Twitter used to be the same.
And I found it to be valuable when Musk took over Twitter because then Twitter began hosting videos that the still-censorious YouTube wouldn’t. So, I could find on Twitter videos by folks who were persona non-grata on YouTube (mainly docs who had issues with the Covid vaccines or who promoted natural immunity) and slap them on The Arrow, so you, the reader, could watch without having to click a link and leave here to go to Twitter.
It seemed the actual spat between Musk and the founder of Substack dissolved pretty quickly, but the lack of ability to automatically embed Twitter posts remained.
I think I’ve figured out why.
A week or so ago, I received an email from the folks who run the IFTTT app, which I use a fair amount to automate tasks, including, for example, sending any Twitter post I like to me in an email. I don’t have to do anything but click the Like button on the Twitter post in question, and IFTTT works in the background to send it to my email.
The pertinent section from the IFTTT email is below:
I had been getting the free (not Pro and not Pro+) version, which was all I needed to do the piddly little stuff I did with IFTTT. I am now a Pro user.
The email explains a lot.
For those of you who don’t know, an API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, is a software intermediary program that allows two different programs to work together.
I don’t know if Twitter was charging for their API in the pre-Musk days, or in the pre-Musk-Substack feud days, but it obviously is now. And a $42K fee per month adds up to a bit over a half million dollars per year. I have not a clue as to whether that fee is on a sliding scale as a function of how often the API is used, or if that is the going rate for all comers.
But I can clearly see why Substack didn’t pay it. On the other hand, I can also see why Musk/Twitter would want to charge for it.
So, there is that.
The Offbeat Eades Family
Once when the kids were still all at home a conversation took place around the dinner table (we all had a family dinner every night) about how weird all of Dad’s friends were. (I was the dad in this discussion.) Each of the kids plus MD ran through all of Dad’s friends and deemed them all weird. When I tried to argue, they all pointed out why this one or that one was weird (their word, not mine).
After fingering virtually all of my close friends as being somehow odd, they finally decided that one good friend of mine (Dr. Hill, who was their doc if MD and I happened to be out of town) was not weird. He was the only friend I had—in their estimation at any rate—who was normal. When I mentioned this to Dr. Hill, his response was, “What are they talking about? I’m not normal.” Then he proceeded to go through the entire list of his propensities anyone would consider weird.
I didn’t think of it at the time as I was too busy defending myself, but I should have countered with how weird each of the children was. And continues to be, each in his own way.
And this has been passed on down through the families. Our youngest, who is wonderfully weird by anyone’s estimate, has three kids. The eldest just turned 18, and like all the rest of us manifests his own particular brand of offbeat Eadesian weirdness.
When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said he wanted to eat an alligator. His doting parents, never one to deny their children, indulged him with an alligator fit for cooking. Where did they find the alligator? On Amazon.com, of course. Who knew you could get a ready-to-cook alligator on Amazon?
Here is young Ben with his mom, who spearheaded the whole process. I’m assuming Dad and younger brother Kent help eat the reptile. Young Robbie may have had a taste. God only knows what he’ll want when he’s 18.
Mom, though a lit major in college, an avid reader, and an excellent writer, is a country girl who grew up in Oklahoma right next door to the the property owned and operated by The Tiger King, the guy who owned the exotic animal park that was the subject of a popular (much-binged) Netflix series a few years ago. She is no stranger to any kind of wild game.
By the way, if you’ve never eaten alligator, it’s pretty good. Tastes a lot like rattlesnake, which tastes a lot like frog legs. Which, to my taste buds anyway, don’t taste anything like chicken.
Ben is an avid reader of The Arrow. He and Thomas, our eldest grandchild, are my bookstore roaming buddies. I can always count of them to hit the bookstores with me. The other grandchildren would rather take a beating. Except maybe for young Robbie, Ben’s youngest brother. The Robster hasn’t declared himself yet bookstore-wise.
Happy Birthday, Ben.
US Deaths from Exploding Kerosine Lamps
The click-bait title above will serve to let me persuade you to get one of my favorite applications for yourself (while giving me a free month if you get it through my affiliate link).
I love the Readwise application, and I use it all the time. If you read a lot (as I do), and you want to remember what you read, you should have this app. It’s minimally expensive, but well worth it. At least as far as I’m concerned. And I don’t use but a fraction of the things it can do.
You can use it to highlight books in Kindle and other e-readers. And, as I do, on the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPad. You can also use it to take photos on your phone of highlighted passages (or passages you would like to highlight) on real physical books. Then you can search them at will on Readwise much more easily than you can online via Kindle. And you can choose to have highlights of books you have read sent to you via email on whatever schedule you want. There are many other tasks Readwise does, but the search and the email feed of highlights are all I use.
Which brings me to the heading for this section.
In the early days of The Arrow, I wanted to write something—and I can’t remember now what it was—about deaths in the late 1800s from exploding kerosine lamps. I knew I had read something about it, and I thought I remembered reading it in Daniel Yergin’s expansive book on the oil industry titled The Prize. I knew I had read the book in hardcover, so I found my copy and started thumbing through it. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I thought maybe I had read it in a biography of John D. Rockefeller I had read. So I thumbed through that. Nada.
I knew I had read it somewhere, but could not find it.
Yesterday, I get my daily feed from Readwise of highlights I made, and Voila! here’s what showed up in my email:
The word “explosions” gave it away. It was in The Prize after all.
I grabbed the book, whipped to pay 784, found the citation and the page it referred to. Here’s what it had to say.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, provided practical advice on the use of kerosine in a book she helped her sister write about principles of domestic science. Here’s what Daniel Yergin wrote about it:
“Good kerosine gives a light which leaves little to be desired,” they wrote, as they advised their readers what type of lamps to buy. But they warned against poor quality and impure oils, which were responsible for “those terrible explosions.” In the mid-1870s, five to six thousand deaths a year were attributed to such accidents.
When I read information like this, I always want to convert it into numbers based on the population today.
I looked up the US population based on the 1870 and 1880 census reports, interpolated to get a close figure for 1875 (“the mid-1870s”) and used that in an equation along with 5,500 deaths to calculate an equivalent death rate now. Turns out in today’s numbers to be ~42,000 people per year. Which is more than die each year now from automobile accidents.
The section in Yergin’s book talked about how John D. Rockefeller worked hard to “standardize” rock oil, or coal oil as my grandparents called it, to get rid of pockets of gas that would explode. Thus the name of his company, Standard Oil.
It hard to imagine anything comparable now. You go to light an oil lamp, the type used by most everyone then, and if there is a pocket of gas in the kerosine: BAM! You’re on fire and your house is on fire. I would certainly pay a little more for my kerosine to keep this from happening. And people did.
We’ve come a long way. Now we just kill 2.5 times that many with black market fentanyl.
Now I have no idea why I wanted to write about this before, but I’m just glad I found it thanks to Readwise. Oh, and I forgot to mention, if you sign up for Readwise, you get a month free to try it out. If you sign up through my affiliate link, you get two months free. And I get a month free. Thanks in advance to all who sign up.
I get emails here and there from readers wanting book recommendations. I got four such emails this past week, so I figured it was time.
I’ve got three recommendations. The first two I’ll do here; the last I’ll put in its own section, because I think it’s so important.
Alexander Masters is an English author and screenwriter who wrote a book a few years back titled A Discarded Life, which, in my view at least, is a splendid read on many levels. I can tell you it affected me enormously.
Here’s the story.
An academic friend of the author’s found 148 volumes of a handwritten diary in a skip (we call them dumpsters in the US) in the UK. The friend, who came down with cancer, passed these volumes along to Masters. Thus starts the story.
Masters begins to read through them here and there and tries to put a face to the writer. As he plods through the diaries—many parts of which are reproduced in the book—he comes to first one conclusion, then the next about the author, who self identifies as “I.” As time passes, Masters becomes more and more compulsive in his study of this perfectly average human being. But as he reads on, he continues to discover one thing after another that explodes his mental biographical sketch of the author.
For example, based on the writing, he determined the author was a middle-aged male, only to be disabused of that notion way down the road when the author wrote about her painful menstrual cramping. Along the way Masters is surprised over and over again as his understanding of the anonymous author is shown to be incorrect. His surprises along the way are what makes this book so difficult to review—which I didn’t realize till I started reviewing it. Most of the enjoyment in reading the book comes when you get the same surprises Masters did as he discovered new details about the author, which often destroyed the entire composite he had built of the life of the person whose words he had been reading.
Masters becomes ever more intent on learning the identity of the author, every minute detail of whose life he has spent so much time reading about. As he probes deeper and deeper, he comes to the final revelation. Which I won’t share as it would be a true spoiler.
I found this book absolutely fascinating. And I can tell you that I will look at any history book that relies on diaries to build a picture of the subject with a real grain of salt. So will you when you’ve read this book.
The next book on the list I mentioned a week or two ago as I had just started it then. While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector's Search for Freedom in America is a book by Yeonmi Park, about whom I wrote at length in a previous Arrow.
Ms Park’s history, in brief, is one none of us would have wanted to live. She was born in North Korea to a family out of favor with the leadership class. She and her family had next to nothing to eat, forcing the children to catch bugs for sustenance much of the time. Her father ended up in prison, and when he got out, he came down with cancer. The entire country is mired in poverty, but her family was at the bottom of the demographic pile.
After her father died, she and her mother decided to try to escape to China. Her older sister had already disappeared, so Park and her mother assumed the sister had made her way to China as well.
When she and her mother successfully make it into China, they are snared by sex traffickers, which are multitudinous in China. They trap women who have escaped from North Korea and enslave them as sex workers. These young women are held hostage by these Chinese traffickers who tell them that if they don’t go along with the plan, they’ll be sent back to North Korea where they will be executed. Or worse.
Yeonmi Park watches her mother get raped and she herself, at the age of 14, becomes a sex slave. She’s written a much more in depth book on all this that I have yet to read. It’s titled In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom. I have it on my Kindle queued up to read as soon as I can get to it. The short descriptions she gives in the current book of life in North Korea and as a sex slave in China are plenty brutal. I can’t imagine what the full blown picture presented in the other book looks like.
She manages to get away from her Chinese captors and makes her way to South Korea, where she lives for a bit. Then ends up getting selected to go to the US on an academic trip. She is dazzled by what she sees in this country and manages to immigrate here legally.
She gets accepted into Columbia University, and her disappointment begins. She sees in the early wokeness of several years back shades of the kind of propaganda she was so familiar with in North Korea. She is appalled at the failure of her classmates to question anything. They simply go with the flow.
The main theme of her book is the troubling signs she sees in her beloved US that are more and more reminiscent of what she escaped North Korea to get away from. She describes story after story and encounter after encounter that deeply worry her. And she, herself, has been victimized by the criminals the lax law enforcement have unleashed.
She describes a terrifying ordeal she survived in Chicago. At this point in her life she is married and has a young son. She is walking with him on the Miracle Mile, the huge shopping district in the middle of downtown, when she is attacked. The female thugs grab her purse. When she tries to call the police, they grab her phone and throw it in the street. They call her a racist for fighting back. She calls for help from the people on the street with her, and they call her a racist. It is a brutal scene.
When the police finally come, she tells them what happened, and they caution her to never fight back. Just relinquish your property, they tell her. Nothing’s worth getting killed over. And that she’s lucky she didn’t get killed.
She still loves the United States and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But based on what she’s lived through prior to moving here, she is worried.
Unlike the book above about the 148 diaries, this is not a fun one to read. But I think it is important. And I think she has a critical message to pass along: will people wake up before it’s too late?
Time will tell.
Right on cue… I just got my Readwise list of highlights via email today, which included this one.
Okay, on to another serious book.
Turtles All the Way Down
I’ve had this book for a while now, but didn’t start reading it until just a few days ago. Frankly, I was put off by the title. From everything I had heard, it is a phenomenal book, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to start reading it. Finally, after reading yet another compelling review, I started the book.
I haven’t come close to finishing it. Turtles All the Way Down is a long book filled with countless citations. But I have read enough to highly recommend it.
For those of you who—like me—might be put off by the title, which, still, does seem a sort of comical title for such a serious book, let me tell you where it comes from. And why I’ve got to admit the title is apropos.
First, the book is a deep dive into vaccines and vaccine safety. And was a true eye-opener for me. It made me realize that the Covid-vaccine fiasco has been sort of a blessing in disguise. Though numerous people have been harmed as a consequence (and not much Covid prevented), the entire roll out and subsequent fallout have exposed the duplicity of the FDA, CDC, NIH, and other institutions that had been previously trusted by all. Including me.
I suspect my medical education was similar to most, and during such, I didn’t really learn squat about vaccinations beyond the basic history of the famous ones. Of course, I was in medical school before Ronald Reagan foolishly signed the bill eliminating the liability against lawsuits for any pharmaceutical company making vaccines. Which, as you might imagine, opened the floodgates for vaccine development. Before 1986 there were just a handful of childhood vaccines recommended. Now there are 80+.
Vaccines have been the beneficiary of the halo effect probably more than any other pharmaceutical ever created. There are even terms of approbation used to discredit anyone who might have issues with vaccines. A lot of people realize and voice the opinion that this or that antibiotic doesn’t work for them in given circumstances. No one ever calls them anti-antibioticers. Or antibiotic deniers. (Though I must admit, I have been referred to as a statin denier.)
Most of us grew up reading tales of Edward Jenner and his smallpox vaccine, Walter Reed’s heroic discovery of the cause of Yellow Fever and the subsequent vaccine development, and Jonas Salk and his polio vaccine. All these were heralded as miracles, and, I’m sure, planted in the brain of every child reading these stories the notion that vaccines were beyond reproach.
The real story is much darker and calls into question the mass vaccination of everyone for everything. Vaccines can and do cause harm. Instead of being regarded as a panacea for every illness contracted as a result of a bacterial or viral infection, perhaps they should be looked at on a risk-reward basis. (In point of fact as everything in medicine should be.) Heretofore, they have always been regarded as good. The more the merrier.
This book will cause you to maybe revise your thinking on that.
The first chapter of the book starts with a description of how the title came to be. There is an old story in the scientific world (so the authors write; I had never heard it) about an elderly woman coming up to a famous cosmologist after a talk he had given on the origins of the solar system:
“Your beautiful theory about the earth being round, and rotating around the sun, is very interesting, young man. Unfortunately, it is also very wrong. I have a better theory,” the woman told him.
“And what would that theory be, madam?” the scientist responded.
“Well, what you call ‘planet Earth’ is not round at all. Actually, it is kind of a large, flat disk that rests on the shoulders of four giant elephants.”
“And what do these four elephants stand on?” the scientist inquired.
“They stand on the back of a giant turtle,” the elderly woman answered.
“And what does that turtle stand on?” the scientist asked with an inquisitive grin.
“On another, bigger, turtle.”
“And what does the second turtle stand on?”
“Well, my dear man,” said the elderly woman with a victorious smile, “it’s turtles all the way down!”
When I read these lines, I understood the joke, but I still didn’t understand why the punchline could be the title of a serious book.
As I began to read, I realized it was the perfect title.
The first chapter is titled “Vaccine Clinical Trials: Turtles All the Way Down.”
Early in this chapter, the authors ask and answer a critically important question:
Are new vaccines really rigorously scrutinized, as the public is routinely promised, in keeping with an uncompromising commitment to the highest possible safety standards? Not only is the answer a flat “no”, by the end of this chapter you will learn the inconceivable secret the medical establishment has concealed from the public eye for decades: Clinical trials of vaccines are rigged to hide their true (and high) rate of side effects, which means the medical establishment’s long-standing claim that vaccines are safe has no scientific merit. [Bold in the original]
Under the rubric of new vaccines, they include all the new and old childhood vaccines all our children are routinely given without a second thought at their pediatricians’ offices.
The authors discuss the various phases of testing required by the FDA to gain approval for a new drug or vaccine. Phase 1 trials involve a small number of subjects to see how humans respond to a drug or vaccine that has first been tested on animals. Phase 2 trials include more subjects and testing to see if the drug or vaccine is efficacious in the population for which it is intended. Phase 3 trials are performed on thousands of subjects and are used to, again, check efficacy and to determine if the proposed drug or vaccine is better than one already on the market. If it’s not, the FDA is loathe to approve a new drug if another that’s already on the market is as good as or better than the drug under approval. Finally, Phase 3 trials “collect information that will allow the [drug or] vaccine to be used safely.” This phase of testing results in the safety and use info that appears on the package insert.
In the US, the FDA is in charge of licensing new vaccines, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for making recommendations for their actual use, including who should receive them (their ages and health status), the timing and number of doses to be received, and which vaccines can be given concurrently.
Adding a vaccine to the American schedule recommended by the CDC instantly guarantees sales of millions of units per year in the US alone, thus assuring its manufacturer a handsome return on its initial investment.
All the above sounds reasonable enough, but here’s where it starts to get hinky.
Randomized, controlled trials (RTC) are the so-called gold standard for this kind of testing. You randomize a group of people into two groups. One is the study group—those subjects who get the drug or vaccine. The other group is the control group—they get the placebo in drug or shot form. Investigators wait to see how the study group fares compared to the control group in terms of efficacy and/or side effects. If an RTC shows way more side effects occur in subjects in the study group, then the drug or vaccine approval is threatened.
If a pharmaceutical company spends hundreds of millions of dollars developing a drug or vaccine only to find the side effect profile too great to reasonably expect FDA approval, the company has a handful of choices to make in an effort to get the product through.
First, the company could fiddle with the data by eliminating certain subjects, but that is difficult because the RTCs are always double blinded, meaning neither the researchers nor the patients knows who got the real stuff. Second, they could out and out alter the data, which would be unlawful and researchers and/or managers could end up in jail. A third option would be to “build a false safety profile” for the product being tested. But, again, the doubly-blinded nature of the RTCs prevents this, because no one knows who suffered what until the study ends, at which point the data can’t be changed (other than fraudulently altering it; see the second option above).
The last option available to the company wishing to hide their product’s undesirable side effects is to design a trial in which the reported rate of adverse events in the control group would likely be very similar to that of the trial group.
This technique has three distinct advantages: (1) It is 100% legal, (2) it is very effective, and, as it turns out, (3) it has the full approval of licensing authorities around the world. As we shall shortly see, this method is exactly the one vaccine manufacturers employ to deliberately obscure the real incidence of vaccine adverse events. The entire vaccine program is founded upon this deception.
In a section titled Fake Placebo, the authors go into more detail as to how this deception is perpetrated.
It is virtually impossible to state the bottom line of the analysis presented above mildly, so here goes: Vaccine trials in general, and childhood vaccine trials specifically, are purposely designed to obscure the true incidence of adverse events of the vaccine being tested.
How do they do this? By using a two-step scheme: First, a new vaccine (one which does not have a predecessor), is always tested in a Phase 3 RCT in which the control group receives another vaccine (or a compound very similar to the experimental vaccine, see explanation below). A new pediatric vaccine is never tested during its formal approval process against a neutral solution (placebo). Comparing a trial group to a control group that was given a compound that is likely to cause a similar rate of adverse events facilitates the formation of a false safety profile. The rate of adverse events of the tested vaccine is said to be similar to the “background rate,” hence it is considered safe. The researchers, and the vaccine manufacturer they work for, seem to “forget” that the compound they administered to the control group is a bioactive substance, carrying its own risks and side effects, and hardly represents the baseline or background rate that is essential to a RCT for a new vaccine. [Bold text and quotation marks all in the original]
Upon approval—based on this shady evidence—the new vaccine is added to the many recommended vaccines in the various vaccine programs in the US and around the world. Then when a “new and improved” vaccine is under development a few years later, its side effect profile will be compared to this old vaccine under current use.
Thus, all parties involved ensure that the true rate of vaccine adverse events is never discovered – for either the original or upgraded vaccine – and that rate is never shared with the public, or even the medical world.
The practice of giving a different vaccine to the control group in an RCT of an entirely new vaccine and calling it “placebo” is a deliberate misrepresentation of the term.
And these are the vaccines we (I, myself, am guilty) have given to our kids willy nilly. Each one that comes along.
After this disturbing part of the first chapter, the authors go on to discuss the RCT testing process of all the common vaccines we give our kids without a thought. One by one they go through the testing protocols allowing these vaccines to be authorized.
It’s the same story repeated again and again.
Vaccine version 4 is tested for side effects against the same vaccine version 3. Which was itself tested against the same vaccine version 2. Which, of course, was tested for side effects against vaccine version 1. Which was tested not against a placebo, but against a completely different vaccine with its whole contingent of side effects. It is, as the authors write after they explain the testing process for each of these vaccines, turtles all the way down.
It’s difficult to imagine that we give these vaccines to children and even helpless infants when they have been so shoddily tested for both short-term and long-term side effects.
I don’t know about you, but it has me infuriated. And, unless you’re a physician, I have way more culpability than you for believing them.
I would never give a patient a drug I did not know pretty much everything about—which is why I don’t like to give drugs unless absolutely necessary—but I didn’t think twice about all the childhood vaccines I had our kids given. And our grandkids. [The bride disputes this last and reminds me that we have had our reservations for maybe 20 years or so about the potential harm in the ever growing number of vaccines being given to kids who are actually at very slight risk from getting the illnesses these vaccines are purported to protect against. Not quite vaccine deniers, but vaccine skeptics at least.]
As I mentioned above, one blessing of the Covid ordeal is that now at least vaccines can be questioned. It has taken long enough.
A few days ago I read an article by an author going into hysterics because the pandemic and anti-vaxxers had made people aware that vaccines might not be perfect. And as a consequence, 300,000 children had failed to get their measles vaccine.
I think this is a wonderful thing. For one thing, for the vast majority of kids measles isn’t a deadly disease, so I doubt there will be a mass die off as a consequence. And, two, it will provide a nice large control group researchers can look at along the way to compare to the group who did get the measles vaccine. My prediction is that the kids who did not get the measles vaccine will thrive.
What do the authors have to say about the measles vaccines currently in use?
After a long description of how the various iterations of this vaccine made it through the approval process, the authors conclude:
Evidently, the safety of the MMR line of vaccines, like the rest of the vaccines in the US childhood vaccination program, was tested according to the de facto industry rule of “turtles all the way down.”
Turtles All the Way Down is doubtless the most thoroughly documented book I’ve ever seen. In fact, had they added the documentation to the book, the book would have been over half again as long. They provide a link to the documentation. Scanning through it will give you an idea of just how much effort went into the accuracy of this book.
Okay, one more illustrative foray into vaccine territory, then we’re done.
Kirsch, Briggs, and Vaccine Injuries
As most of you probably know, tech entrepreneur Steve Kirsch is one of the most vocal anti-Covid vaxxers out there. He got the vaccine and got sick himself. Plus, if I recall correctly, his housekeeper (I think) got either seriously ill or may have died from what Kirsch attributed to the vaccine.
Kirsch writes a popular Substack decrying the Covid vaccines, the pandemic, and pretty much anyone and anything that had to do with either of them. He has offered large amounts of cash to anyone willing to debate him or his team on the merits of the vaccines.
He recently wrote a post with the not-too-subtle title “Vaccines cause autism.” The subtitle said “Nearly all the world’s autism experts know it. They just can’t talk about it.”
In his post, he writes about a survey he did with his readers.
On May 19, 2023, I did a survey of parents who described the health challenges of their kids. The data showed a huge signal that vaccines in general increase your likelihood of various chronic diseases including autism. For autism, ADHD, food allergies, etc. it was a 5X signal; for autoimmune diseases, the risk was elevated by around 25X. More on the results in a subsequent article.
He goes on to say
I will fund a study to identify the common unique practices of clinics with superior health outcomes (including zero autism). And I’m also going to fund a robust statistical analysis on my survey data to prove that it shows a causal link between vaccines and a variety of chronic diseases in a way that is impervious to attack. [Bold in the original]
I think I mentioned in an earlier issue of The Arrow that I met Steve Kirsch at a Broken Science Initiative meeting MD and I attended in Phoenix in February of this year. William “Matt” Briggs was also at the meeting and gave a nice talk.
I’m assuming Kirsch met Briggs at that meeting. Whatever the connection, Kirsch apparently hired or asked Briggs to take a look at the data he (Kirsch) had collected.
Briggs did. And he reported it in his own new Substack in a post titled “Did The Covid Vax, Or Any Vax, Cause ADHD or Autism? Steve Kirsch’s Survey Data Analyzed.”
I strongly suggest you read this piece as it demonstrates how a real statistical analysis should be done. With all the caveats included. And it tells you just what the data show when the caveats are understood.
When you read this, you’ll learn what I learned years ago in an argument with a prof I had who was very precise in his thinking. I can’t even recall the specifics, but, given who the guy was, I suspect it was over a political poll. I told him that a poll had come out showing whatever it was.
He replied, “How was the poll done?”
I said I didn’t know, but I suspected it was done by phone. And I remember there were quite a few subjects. A number that should pretty accurately represent the population involved. So, I was arguing the poll was valid.
He asked me if I had ever been called by a pollster. I told him I had. He asked how I answered. I told him I hung up on the guy.
He said, “Most people do.”
He then said, “The poll you’re talking about has as its demographic people who a) have phones, b) are home when the pollster called, and c) were willing to spend ten minutes talking to a stranger asking them questions on their voting preferences. Do you think that represents all of America? It doesn’t even represent you; you hang up on pollsters.”
I had to admit he had a point. And I’ve never trusted political polls since.
Briggs goes through the same exercise when he evaluates the Kirsch data. He tells us exactly what the demographic is the data represents, which isn’t the population as a whole.
He does find a signal. And I’m sure he presented it to Kirsch before he (Briggs) wrote his post linked above. The fact that Kirsch has had Briggs’s data for a few days and hasn’t published it should tell you everything you need to know.
But do read through the Briggs piece so you’ll see how a real analysis is done. In doing so, you’ll see why Briggs is a climate change agnostic. He doesn’t mention climate change in the piece, but no one in the climate change world does an analysis like he did on the Kirsch data.
Having said all this, I suspect we will ultimately find the extensive vaccination program the US currently operates under to be a (maybe not the only) cause of the huge spike in autism. As I recall, it was about 1 in 500 or 600 births when I was in med school. The latest stats I’ve seen show 1 in 63. An enormous increase.
A Bit More on Sarcopenia
A nice article on sarcopenia—which, as you’ve probably noticed, is a condition I like to harp on—came across my digital desk a few days ago. I didn’t watch the video of Peter Attia at the bottom, but I’m assuming he agrees with what the article says. Which is that the prevention and cure for sarcopenia are protein and resistance exercise.
What I really wanted to show you is what the difference looks like cross-sectionally. And this article includes a great graphic of what sarcopenia, or even sarcobesity, looks like.
This is a CT scan at the mid-thigh level of a 74-yo sedentary man at the top and a 70-yo triathlete on the bottom. You can clearly see the difference in the muscle-to-fat ratio.
Unsaturation Index and Un-Longevity
I’ve got a ton of papers on this subject—which I’ll define in a little more detail in a moment—but I can’t find the one paper I’ve been looking for. It exists. I’ve read it. Multiple times. I have it in my possession somewhere, but I cannot lay my hands on it. Nor, despite how many ways I try to query PubMed, can I find it online. My hope is that it is in one of those boxes pictured above, the contents of which my lovely wife is grinding to bits. She won’t grind a scientific paper, though. I hope. [Note: The bride promises not to grind up scientific papers!]
The unsaturation index is a measure of the degree of unsaturation in cell membranes. Here is a graphic of a cell membrane I pulled from Wikipedia.
The picture on the left is of a cell membrane. You can see the little golden leg-like things pointing to the inside with their round red heads pointed to the outside. The legs—or the hydrophobic tails, as defined in the picture to the right—are made of various fatty acids. As you know, fat and water don’t mix, so the fats are hydrophobic—ie water despising. The heads, however, love water, i.e., they are hydrophilic.
The blood is a water-based substance, whereas the interior of the cell membrane is not so much. The cell membranes are structured so that the water-loving parts are outside in contact with the blood and/or intercellular fluid. The fatty legs or tails are pointed at one another. Fat toward fat, so to speak.
Within, through, and on the surface of this cell membrane reside receptors of one sort or another and all kinds of proteins that do all kinds of things. The cell membrane is pretty fluid, but not too fluid. It’s kind of a Goldilocks thing, where it needs to be just right. Not too fluid and not too stiff. Just right. But there is some wiggle room in what is just right.
When the fatty tails in the cell membrane are composed of a lot of unsaturated fat, the cell membrane becomes more fluid or pliable. If the fatty tails are made of saturated fat, the membrane becomes more rigid. Along with saturated fats, cholesterol resides in these cell membranes to help maintain structural integrity. Cholesterol is so important, in fact, that most every cell is able to make it on site to help keep the membrane strong. Were it not for the cholesterol in all our cell membranes, we would—in Shakespeare’s memorable words—resolve [ourselves] into a dew.
It was thought at one time, and I’ve read a number papers stating so, that the more fluid or pliable the cell membrane, the easier it made it for all the receptors and other proteins in and on the cell membrane to function. Researchers began to basically count the number of double bonds in cell membranes and came up with an unsaturation index. As you know, a saturated fat has no double bonds. Monounsaturated fats have one, and polyunsaturated fats have more than one. The unsaturation index was basically a measurement of double bonds versus single bonds, which meant unsaturated fats versus saturated fats in the membrane.
So the more polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats in the fatty tails, the higher the unsaturation index, which everyone figured would be a good thing.
Until the aging researchers got hold of it.
They began measuring the unsaturation index in all kinds of animals and discovered that it was inversely proportional to longevity. The higher the unsaturation index, the shorter the life on a species by species basis.
Which makes a sort of sense. Double bonds are readily attacked by free radicals. A lot of double bonds in a cell membrane means the potential for a lot of attacks. And since each attack precipitates a cascade of free radical attacks, it’s easy to see how cell membranes with a lot more polyunsaturated fat in them would be vulnerable to destruction. And as our cell membranes go, so do we all.
It was even discovered that intermittent fasting, which increases the lifespan of animals subjected to it, decreases the unsaturation index. Same with caloric restriction.
If you compare, say, a pigeon to a squirrel, both are about the same size. The squirrel has an average lifespan of about three years; a pigeon’s average lifespan is thirty years. The pigeon’s blood sugar and blood pressure and average temperature is higher than the squirrel’s. These all supposedly reduce lifespan, yet they don’t seem to affect the pigeon.
The pigeon has a much lower unsaturation index than does the squirrel. The squirrel-pigeon data along with a lot of similar data has led aging researchers to believe that the unsaturation index is an important parameter in the aging process.
It didn’t take long before they started trying to change the unsaturation index in lab animals to see if it really did confer greater longevity. How do you think they did that?
They fed them more saturated fat.
And they reduced the unsaturation index. And they increased longevity.
There are multiple papers out there by multiple authors, but just not the one I’m looking for. I came across it circa 20 years ago, which is before I started my current method of digitally filing.
The reason I would really like to find this paper is because of what the author(s) wrote in the discussion part. After describing how the unsaturation index had fallen as a consequence of their feeding their animals saturated fat and how the animals had lived longer, they cautioned readers of their paper not to try their methods at home. Nope, they wrote. It worked for lab animals, but everyone knows saturated fat causes heart disease, so increasing consumption should be avoided.
I’m sure the reviewers of the paper made the author(s) put that in as a condition of publication. I just want to find the actual paper and see how they worded it. I can’t remember exactly, but it was priceless.
I’m keenly interested in the association between the degree of membrane saturation and longevity, so will probably get to read more on this in future Arrows. I just hit it with broad strokes this time. Next time it will be in much more detail.
Video of the Week
A month or so ago I posted a couple of videos of songs by Delaney Davidson, a New Zealand country (as they call it) singer. I’ve listened to more and more and have finally come across my favorite. It’s a real ear worm. At least to me. Once I hear it, I can’t get it out of my head for the rest of the day. I’ve already got it picked out on the guitar. The chords are pretty easy, but I’m having trouble with the syncopation, which is kind of weird. Great, great song. At least for me.
The video is as strange as the words of the song.
Last week I wrote about cognitive dissonance and how politicians work to help their peeps resolve it. A perfect example occurred not long after the last Arrow was sent. I’ve run on way too long today, so I’ll hit it next week.
That’s about if for today. Keep in good cheer, and I’ll be back next Thursday.
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