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A study tracked cancer patients using crowdfunding to pay for homeopathy. The results are troubling

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It’s not hard to imagine the impulse of newly diagnosed cancer patients to want to use every means available for their treatment or to avoid its debilitating side effects.

But what if one of those methods is rejected by our health-care system because, after years of study, there’s no convincing evidence that it’s of any help? Where the health-care system won’t cover the cost, there’s always crowdfunding to pay for it.

Health policy researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and University of Alberta wanted to find out how often cancer patients or their supporters turned to the popular crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe, to raise money for complementary treatment that includes homeopathy — a 200-year-old belief system based on the non-scientific claims that water has memory and the more something is diluted the more powerful it becomes.

The analysis published in The Lancet identified 220 active fundraising campaigns in June 2018. Of these patients, 85 per cent were based in the U.S., 10 per cent in Canada and four per cent in Europe. 

Almost half of cancer patients sought some kind of alternative treatment, the study found, but the researchers did not approve of this trend.

“There are clear risks associated with this trend, including concerns that desperate patients can be exploited or that the … treatment could be harmful, or result in an adverse interaction with conventional therapy,” the study said.

Of greater interest to the researchers was the motivation of cancer patients to seek out non-conventional treatment, which research has shown can actually reduce their chances of survival if it delays evidence-based cancer care.

Campaigns perpetuated unproven health claims

Thirty-eight per cent of patients used homeopathy in addition to conventional treatment, often because they believed it “enhanced” what they were getting from more modern medicine. 

Twenty-nine per cent rejected normal cancer treatment altogether because they didn’t trust pharmaceuticals or simply wanted something more “natural” like homeopathy.

Thirty-one per cent of people used homeopathy as their last hope, because further conventional cancer treatment wasn’t possible for medical or financial reasons. 

 I was a little bit surprised and disturbed by how many people were actively using crowdfunding to turn away from effective treatments.– Jeremy Snyder

The findings didn’t surprise the study’s co-author, SFU ethicist Jeremy Snyder, who has previously studied how GoFundMe is used to raise money for questionable or bogus stem cell treatments.

“I understand the rationale of wanting to try everything,” he said. “But I was a little bit surprised and disturbed by how many people were actively using crowdfunding to turn away from effective treatments.”

Even more troubling, said Snyder, is how the campaigns made “black and white” claims such as “outstanding healing results.”

Oncologist Dr. Daniel Rayson said complementary therapy practitioners need to warn patients about the limitations of their treatments. (CBC)

“These are really powerful statements. They reach a lot of people.”

Snyder’s research was able to verify that about 28 per cent of the patients died after the start of their campaigns, which he suspects is an understated number because of the difficulty in trying to confirm their status.

A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found use of alternative medicine was associated with a higher risk of death than conventional cancer treatment, particularly for breast and colorectal cancers. The risk was highest for those who delayed or refused conventional treatment.  

‘Clear potential harm’

Halifax oncologist, Dr. Daniel Rayson, said Snyder’s study flags a real concern about how pursuing “natural alternatives” when all other treatment has failed may end up delaying critical end-of-life care.

“And that is a clear potential harm of using complementary therapy to the exclusion of everything else … filling the time with a lot of other [alternative] therapies that can delay other very effective supportive care.”

Rayson said he’s also troubled by the amount of faith patients in the study placed on homeopathy or other treatments.

He said, just like conventional treatment, “complementary therapy practitioners need to be more straight up about the limitations since these patients are all vulnerable.”

Still, Rayson said doctors should be careful to not “shut down” conversations about complementary care, which he said he faces daily from patients.

$35,000 for acupuncture and Chinese medicine

When Kristin Kolb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 at age 40, she said she was “blindsided.” 

Kristin Kolb, 44, raised money on GoFundMe to pay for acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and holistic nutrition to complement the breast cancer treatment she received under B.C.’s health care system. (Lisa Marie Songy)

She said her friends and family urged her to get complementary treatment alongside her conventional cancer care in Vancouver.

A friend asked to set up a GoFundMe campaign. “I didn’t even know what it was,” she said.

Within a year she raised $35,000 that allowed her to go to Vancouver’s Integrative Cancer Centre, which offers acupuncture, reiki and “holistic nutrition.” Kolb said she didn’t seek out homeopathy specifically.

Kolb’s doctors seemed indifferent about the acupuncture and Chinese medicine she was taking.

“They weren’t against complementary treatment, but they weren’t for complementary treatment either. They didn’t discourage me from it.”

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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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