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Cause of Declining Life Expectancy

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Two years ago, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data revealed a sudden drop in life expectancy in the U.S. for 2015.1,2 It was the first decline in 20 years. The trend continued in 2016,3 and the latest data for 20174 show the downward trend continuing for the third year in a row, which makes it the longest downward trend since World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic.5

Overall, the average life expectancy for the total U.S. population in 2017 was 78.6 years, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 2016. Life expectancy for men also declined, from 76.2 years in 2016 to 76.1 years in 2017, while life expectancy for women remained stable at 81.1 years.

In all, life expectancy for Americans has fallen by about four months over the past three years. Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC, commented on the latest report:

“The idea that a developed wealthy nation like ours has declining life expectancy just doesn’t seem right. If you look at the other wealthy countries of the world, they’re not seeing the same thing.”6

Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, also commented, saying the data “confirms that there’s a profound change in the trajectory of mortality. This should really be getting everyone’s attention in a major way.”7

Drug Overdoses Drive Declining Life Expectancy in US

The initial decline in 2015 was primarily attributed to a rise in several categories of preventable deaths,8 including opioid overdoses, highlighting the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease and rein in the burgeoning opioid addiction epidemic.

The decline in 2016 was again driven largely by an increased number of deaths among younger Americans, fueled by opioid and fentanyl overdoses, while the 2017 drop is being attributed to a combination of still-increasing drug overdoses — especially from fentanyl — and a 3.7 percent rise in suicides.9,10

In 2017, the suicide rate was 14 per 100,000, up from 10.5 in 1999, concentrated in rural America, with middle-aged women committing suicide at a greater rate than men. With more than 47,000 Americans committing suicide in 2017, about 2,000 more than the year before, it’s the highest suicide death rate in at least 50 years.11

The rise in suicide has also demolished the old stereotype that only chronically depressed people take their own lives. In reality, more than half of those who commit suicide have no known mental health problem at the time of death.12,13

Relationship problems, substance abuse, physical health problems, work and/or financial stress, legal problems and loss of housing are all contributing factors for suicide.14 CDC principal deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat told CBS News:15

“Our data suggests that suicide is more than a mental health issue. We think that a comprehensive approach to suicide is what’s needed. If we only look at this as a mental health issue, we won’t make the progress that we need.”

Fentanyl-Related Deaths Nearly Double for Second Year in a Row

Overall, about 70,000 more people died in 2017 than the year before,16 a number which is incidentally nearly identical to the number of people who died from drug overdoses that year, totaling 70,237 in all.17

Disturbingly, while overdose deaths relating to prescription opioids seem to have leveled off, deaths from fentanyl (a synthetic opioid that is far stronger) are increasingly sharply. According to Joshua M. Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “The opioid market has been completely taken over by fentanyl.”18

The most recent data suggests fentanyl-related deaths rose from 19,413 in 2016 to nearly 28,466 in 201719 — a 47 percent increase. Fentanyl-related deaths also more than doubled between 2015 and 2016.

As reported by The Atlantic,20 “Three reports released by the [CDC] … paint a bleak picture of a country in which people are growing sick, using drugs and dying young — many of them by their own hand.” And, as noted in The Washington Post:21

“Sharfstein said the most lamentable aspect of the crises is that policymakers know which approaches make a difference, such as medically assisted treatment for drug abusers and increased availability of mental health services in states where they are lacking.

‘So the frustration that many of us feel is that there are things that could save many lives,’ he said, ‘and we are failing to make those services available.'”

Top 10 Leading Causes of Death in 2017

In order, the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2017 were:22

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Unintentional injuries (which includes drug overdoses)
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  5. Stroke
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Influenza and pneumonia
  9. Kidney disease
  10. Suicide

Of course, this ranking is biased and fails to integrate a more comprehensive analysis that includes medical errors. If you include medical errors in the calculation, you find that conventional medicine is the third leading cause of death.

I actually coined the term that doctors are the third leading cause of death in an article I published in 2000 after reading the print JAMA article by Dr. Barbara Starfield,23 and did the calculations based on her data. The term ended up being copied by many other sites. Ironically, Starfield, a medical doctor with a Ph.D. from Stanford, died from a medical mistake. She suffered a stroke from taking Plavix.24

What’s Driving the Rises in Drug Overdoses and Suicides?

Reigning in drug overdoses and suicide rates will likely require more than improved availability of treatment. We also need to understand the underlying causes. As suggested by Dr. William Dietz, disease prevention expert at George Washington University, I agree there appears to be a sense of hopelessness beneath these self-destructive trends. CBS News reports:25

“Financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics are all casting a pall over many Americans, [Dietz] suggested. ‘I really do believe that people are increasingly hopeless, and that that leads to drug use, it leads potentially to suicide,’ he said.”

I would suggest social disconnection may also be part of the problem. While social media keeps us connected to many, it actually tends to alienate us from those closest to us, as trying to have a conversation with someone sitting with their nose glued to a screen hardly encourages intimacy. Social media also tends to be a source of stress.

Yet another important, yet frequently overlooked contributor to depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders is the electromagnetic field exposure from all of these wireless devices. In 2016, Martin Pall, Ph.D., wrote a magnificent and comprehensive review on this that is available for free online.26 In it, he reviews how regular exposure to low intensity microwaves, like those from your cellphone and Wi-Fi, impact your nervous system.

Social Media Use Linked to Stress and Feeling Disconnected From Family

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2017 Stress in America survey,27 only 7 percent of American adults used social media in 2005. By 2015 that had grown to 65 percent. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, usage grew from 12 to 90 percent in that same timeframe.

A constant checker is someone who checks their email, text messages and social media accounts “constantly” throughout the day; 43 percent of Americans fit this bill, according to the APA, but they may be sacrificing their health as a result.

While non-checkers reported a stress level of 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being “a great deal of stress”), constant checkers’ average stress level was 5.3. This climbed to 6 among those who constantly checked their work email even during their days off.

The use of technology is in itself a source of stress for some Americans, especially when it’s not working properly, and especially for constant checkers (23 percent compared to 14 percent of non-constant checkers). Meanwhile, constant checkers faced increased stress from social media, compared to non-checkers, namely due to political and cultural discussions.

Constant checkers were also more likely to report feeling disconnected from family due to technology, including when they’re together, while 35 percent of this group also admitted social media made in-person meetings with family and friends less likely.

All of this makes identifying suicide risk all the more difficult, especially since about half of all suicides occur more or less without warning, triggered by an “acutely” stressful episode, such as the loss of a relationship or job, or sudden, deep feelings of alienation.

Know the 12 Warning Signs of Suicide, and How to Help

While some are better at keeping their depression and any thoughts of suicide well hidden, even from the ones they love, it’s important for everyone to recognize the warning signs, and what they can do to help. According to the CDC, the 12 warning signs that someone may be contemplating or getting close to suicide are:28







Feeling like a burden

Being isolated

Increased anxiety

Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

Increased substance use

Looking for a way to access lethal means

Increased anger or rage

Extreme mood swings

Expressing hopelessness

Sleeping too little or too much

Talking or posting about wanting to die

Making plans for suicide

If you notice one or more of these signs, take the following five steps to help.

  1. Ask how they are feeling and if they are considering ending their life, or if they have a plan to do so
  2. Don’t let them be alone and do your best to keep them safe
  3. Make yourself available to them
  4. Reach out to them daily and help them connect to others
  5. Follow up

If you live in the U.S. and are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line.29If you are in danger of acting on suicidal thoughts, call 911 for immediate assistance.

For more information about how to prevent suicide, see bethe1to.com. You can also find more information on key dietary considerations and helpful nutritional supplements in “Suicide Is on the Rise — Know the Warning Signs, and How to Help.”

What Can You Do to Avoid Painkillers and Overcome Opioid Addiction?

If you’re struggling with opioid addiction, please seek professional help immediately. At the same time, a major step toward health when dealing with chronic disease of any kind, including opioid addiction, is to make dramatic changes to your diet and lifestyle. Below are four areas to address as a primary strategy:

  • Eliminate or radically reduce your consumption of grains and sugars
  • Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3 fats
  • Optimize your production of vitamin D
  • Radically reduce your intake of processed foods

Beyond that, if you suffer from chronic pain of any kind, know there are many natural, safe and effective alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, including the following:












Medical cannabisMedical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 33 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.30

KratomKratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.31 (In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.32

Be aware, however, that STAT News uncovered documents33 in November 2018 showing that the FDA, HHS and National Institute on Drug Abuse formally asked the DEA in October 201734 to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, so this is still a developing issue.)

Kratom is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next. The other issue to address is that there are a number of different strains available with different effects.

Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) — Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.

Curcumin — A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric, curcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is very safe and you can take two to three every hour if you need to.

Astaxanthin — One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.

Boswellia — Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as it worked well for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Bromelain — This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when you consume the fruit.

Cayenne cream — Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) — This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils — These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

Ginger — This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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