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Weak Evidence for Gender Medicine, Junk Food Companies Push Weight Loss Drugs, NYC School Programs Teach Healthy Eating
Revealing News Articles
May 21, 2024

Dear friends,

Welcome to our weekly newsletter, where we summarize important news articles from reliable sources on controversial issues that impact our lives. This week we've summarized key news articles on:

  • a report by top pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass suggesting that the evidence for gender medicine is surprisingly weak
  • how thousands of people harmed by the COVID-19 vaccines are being sidelined and ignored
  • the Biden administration's suspension of federal funding to EcoHealth Alliance, the controversial nonprofit that may have been involved in the initial release of the COVID-19 virus
  • an agreement by Pfizer to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits which alleged that the company failed to warn patients about the cancer risks of anti-heartburn medication Zantac
  • a study finding that six in ten doctors in the US received more than $12 billion in payments from Big Pharma in the past decade
  • the connection between junk food consumption and consumer advertising
  • evidence that what we eat now can impact the health of our children and grandchildren
  • the hidden dangers of toxic plastic chemicals

Our independent media news articles (skip to this section now):

  • how some junk food companies are reaping big profits from weight loss drugs
  • how economic inequality fuels unethical behavior in society

Our inspiring stories (skip to this section now):

  • New York City after school programs using music to teach students about healthy eating
  • a school in Bali that uses organic food to care for orphans, autistic children and children with Down Syndrome
  • stories from parents about the role organic food may have played in curing their children's autism

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the news source listed. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can work together to create a more free and informed society.

With faith in a transforming world,
Mark Bailey and Amber Yang for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Quote of the week: No society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side. ― Gabor Maté


Hilary Cass Says U.S. Doctors Are ‘Out of Date’ on Youth Gender Medicine
May 13, 2024, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/13/health/hilary-cass-transgender...

After 30 years as one of England’s top pediatricians, Dr. Hilary Cass ... took on a project that would throw her into an international fire: reviewing England’s treatment guidelines for the rapidly rising number of children with gender distress, known as dysphoria. Staff members who said they felt pressure to approve children for puberty-blocking drugs had filed whistle-blower complaints. Over the next four years, Dr. Cass commissioned systematic reviews of scientific studies on youth gender treatments and international guidelines of care. She also met with young patients and their families, transgender adults, people who had detransitioned, advocacy groups and clinicians. Her final report, published last month, concluded that the evidence supporting the use of puberty-blocking drugs and other hormonal medications in adolescents was “remarkably weak.” On her recommendation, the N.H.S. will no longer prescribe puberty blockers outside of clinical trials. Dr. Cass also recommended that testosterone and estrogen, which allow young people to develop the physical characteristics of the opposite sex, be prescribed with “extreme caution.” “We have to stop just seeing these young people through the lens of their gender and see them as whole people, and address the much broader range of challenges that they have ... I’ve spoken to young adults where it was the wrong decision, where they have regret, where they’ve detransitioned. The critical issue is trying to work out how we can best predict who’s going to thrive and who’s not going to do well," [said Dr. Cass]. "Medicine should never be politically driven. It should be driven by evidence and ethics and shared decision-making with patients and listening to patients’ voices. Once it becomes politicized, then that’s seriously concerning, as you know well from the abortion situation in the United States."

Note: We believe that everyone has a right to exist and express themselves the way they want. Yet when it comes to transgender medicine, research suggests significant health concerns. Why aren't we openly discussing this so that people (especially children) can make informed choices about their bodies? Explore our concise summaries of important news articles on transgender medicine.


Thousands Believe Covid Vaccines Harmed Them. Is Anyone Listening?
May 3, 2024, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/03/health/covid-vaccines-side-effects.html

Thousands of Americans believe they suffered serious side effects following Covid vaccination. As of April, just over 13,000 vaccine-injury compensation claims have been filed with the federal government. Only 19 percent have been reviewed. Only 47 of those were deemed eligible for compensation, and only 12 have been paid out, at an average of about $3,600. In a recent interview, Dr. Janet Woodcock, a longtime leader of the Food and Drug Administration ... said she believed that some recipients had experienced uncommon but “serious” and “life-changing” reactions beyond those described by federal agencies. “I feel bad for those people,” said Dr. Woodcock, who became the F.D.A.’s acting commissioner in January 2021. “I believe their suffering should be acknowledged, that they have real problems, and they should be taken seriously.” The government’s understaffed compensation fund has paid so little because it officially recognizes few side effects for Covid vaccines. People who said they had been harmed by Covid shots ... described a variety of symptoms following vaccination, some neurological, some autoimmune, some cardiovascular. All said they had been turned away by physicians, told their symptoms were psychosomatic, or labeled anti-vaccine by family and friends — despite the fact that they supported vaccines. The National Institutes of Health is conducting virtually no studies on Covid vaccine safety, several experts noted.

Note: While mainstream narratives emphasize how rare these injuries are, the numbers speak for themselves. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a voluntary government reporting system that only captures a portion of the actual injuries. Vaccine adverse event numbers are made publicly available, and currently show 1,637,441 COVID vaccine injury reports, 37,544 COVID Vaccine Reported Deaths, and 216,213 COVID Vaccine Reported Hospitalizations. Explore our nuanced, uncensored investigation about this important issue.


Biden Administration Strips Federal Funding From Nonprofit at Center of COVID Lab Leak Controversy
May 15, 2024, Aol News/Reason
https://www.aol.com/news/biden-administration-strips-federal-funding...

The Biden administration suspended federal funding to the scientific nonprofit whose research is at the center of credible theories that the COVID-19 pandemic was started via a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was immediately suspending three grants provided to the New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) as it starts the process of debarring the organization from receiving any federal funds. For years now, EcoHealth has generated immense controversy for its use of federal grant money to support gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab. HHS said that EcoHealth had failed to properly monitor the work it was supporting at Wuhan. It also failed to properly report on the results of experiments showing that the hybrid viruses it was creating there had an improved ability to infect human cells. In testimony to the House's coronavirus subcommittee, [EcoHealth President Peter ] Daszak claimed that EcoHealth attempted to report the results of its gain-of-function experiments on time in 2019, but was frozen out of NIH's reporting system. [An] HHS memo released today says a forensic investigation found no evidence that EcoHealth was locked out of NIH's reporting system. The department also said that EcoHealth had failed to produce requested lab notes and other materials from the Wuhan lab detailing the work being done there.

Note: Watch our 15-min Mindful News Brief video on the strong evidence that bioweapons research created COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on COVID and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer agrees to settle over 10K lawsuits linking Zantac to cancer
May 8, 2024, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2024/05/08/business/pfizer-to-settle-over-10k...

Pfizer has agreed to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits which alleged that the company failed to warn patients about possible cancer risks caused by the anti-heartburn medication Zantac. The lawsuits were filed in state courts across the country, but the agreements don’t completely resolve Pfizer’s exposure to the claims linking Zantac and cancer. Zantac was brought to market in 1983 by Glaxo Holdings, a company that is now part of the GlaxoSmithKline company. By 1988, it was the world’s best selling drug as patients reported benefits for conditions such as heartburn, ulcers and acid reflux. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration asked drugmakers to pull Zantac and its generic versions off the market after a cancer-causing substance called NDMA was found in samples of the drug. Thousands of lawsuits began piling up in federal and state courts against Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim. Last month, Sanofi reached an agreement in principle to settle 4,000 lawsuits linking Zantac to cancer. Sanofi did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but Bloomberg News reported that the company will pay $100 million — or $25,000 to each plaintiff. Sanofi still faces about 20,000 lawsuits over Zantac in Delaware state court. A judge in Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington is weighing the fate of about 70,000 cases filed against Sanofi and other defendants, including GSK, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


In bed with big pharma: Corruption fears as report finds US doctors received record $12bn in pharma payments in past decade
March 4, 2024, MSN News/Daily Mail
https://www.msn.com/en-sg/health/other/in-bed-with-big-pharma...

Almost six in ten doctors in the US received more than $12 billion in payments from pharma firms in the past decade, an analysis has revealed. A study by researchers at Yale University found that 57 percent of doctors earned the huge sums from manufacturers in relation to medical drugs or devices between 2013 and 2022. Most of the money was for consulting services or fees for things such as serving as a speaker at a venue, but the physicians also received large amounts of money for food and beverages and gifts. Orthopedic surgeons were found to receive the largest total sum of payments, at $1.36bn, and the most common drugs related to payments were blood thinners Xarelto and Eliquis. 'Despite evidence that financial conflicts of interest may influence physician prescribing and may damage patients' trust in medical professionals, such payments remain pervasive,' the researchers wrote. After orthopedic surgeons, the physicians that received the largest total sum of payments were neurologists and psychiatrists, who received $1.32bn, and cardiologists, who got $1.29bn. Although the median payment to doctors was $48, payments to the top 0.1 percent of doctors were far higher and differed depending on specialty. The average amount paid to the top 0.1 percent of orthopedists was $4,826,944. For the top 0.1 percent of cardiologists, it was $3,197,675, and for the top 0.1 percent of neurologists and psychiatrists it was $2,588,819.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


If you want to tackle junk food, target the advertisers
October 13, 2023, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/oct/13/if-you-want-to...

Unhealthy foods are becoming a silent epidemic, with one in seven adults and one in eight children globally now effectively addicted to ultra-processed foods. It’s time to address this issue at its source: advertising. Consumption of junk food begins not with what goes in our mouths but with the messaging into our brains via advertising. UK junk food advertising is an industry worth tens of millions of pounds working to glamorise unhealthy diets. My own work looks at outdoor advertising, such as on billboards and bus stops. In 2022, among the biggest spenders on outdoor advertising were the likes of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway and Müller. They spent £195m filling public spaces with monuments to fat, salt and sugar. Advertisers will say this is simply a question of choice, and that junk food ads respond to consumer demand. But do any of us feel deprived of choice by the absence of ads touting the supposed health benefits of smoking? Of course not. Society would be better off without ads for junk food on street corners. The good news? We can take action. Local authorities can introduce ethical ad policies that ban junk food ads on council-owned sites. Somerset council recently took this step, following in the footsteps of Bristol and Transport for London, whose junk food ad ban was predicted to save the NHS more than £200m. Outdoor advertising offers a poorly regulated platform for big corporations to push unhealthy diets on an unassuming public.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.


What you eat could alter your unborn children and grandchildren’s genes and health outcomes
April 23, 2024, Yahoo News
https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/eat-could-alter-unborn-children...

Epigenetics refers to shifts in gene expression that occur without changes to the DNA sequence. Some epigenetic changes are an aspect of cell function, such as those associated with aging. However, environmental factors also affect the functions of genes, meaning people’s behaviors affect their genetics. For instance, identical twins develop from a single fertilized egg, and as a result, they share the same genetic makeup. However, as the twins age, their appearances may differ due to distinct environmental exposures. One twin may eat a healthy balanced diet, whereas the other may eat an unhealthy diet, resulting in differences in the expression of their genes that play a role in obesity. Nutritional epigenetics is the study of how your diet, and the diet of your parents and grandparents, affects your genes. The dietary choices a person makes today affects the genetics of their future children. A ... study in sheep showed that a paternal diet supplemented with the amino acid methionine given from birth to weaning affected the growth and reproductive traits of the next three generations. Methionine is an essential amino acid involved in DNA methylation, an example of an epigenetic change. These studies underscore the enduring impact parents’ diets have on their children. They also serve as a powerful motivator for would-be parents and current parents to make more healthy dietary choices, as the dietary choices parents make affect their children’s diets.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Toxic plastic chemicals number in the thousands, most are unregulated, report finds
March 14, 2024, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/14/health/toxic-unregulated-chemicals...

For the first time, researchers have pulled together scientific and regulatory data to develop a database of all known chemicals used in plastic production. It’s a staggering number: 16,000 plastic chemicals, with at least 4,200 of those considered to be “highly hazardous” to human health and the environment, according to the authors. “Only 980 of those highly hazardous chemicals have been regulated by agencies around the world, leaving us with 3,600 chemicals that are unregulated — and these are only the known chemicals,” said Martin Wagner, first author and project lead of the PlastChem Report. The ... report outlines a systematic approach to identify and prioritize chemicals of concern that can be used by agencies and regulators around the world, including those attending the April meeting of the International Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution. The committee is part of the United Nations Environment Programme, which has committed to developing a Global Plastics Treaty between 175 nations by the end of 2024. “The most important criterion we used is toxicity,” Wagner said. “Many of these chemicals are known to be very toxic for human health or the environment. They are carcinogenic or mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. Some have organ-specific toxicity, typically the liver, as that is where many of the chemicals are absorbed from circulation.” The report [also] found that detailed hazard information is missing for more than 10,000 of the 16,000 chemicals.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on toxic chemicals and corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Independent Media


Weight Loss Drugs Go Hand-in-Hand With Junk Food Industry
May 14, 2024, CounterPunch
https://www.counterpunch.org/2024/05/14/weight-loss-drugs-go-hand...

What Americans eat, how they diet and exercise, what nutritional supplements they take, the sugar content of their sodas, the high fructose corn syrup in their processed foods, and the price of their diabetes medication have long been objects of endless gambling on Wall Street. Now, with drugs like Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic in the mix, new vistas of corporate exploitation have opened up. It’s not a conspiracy theory that food addiction is a tool of corporate profiteering. Consider that tobacco companies, upon being regulated out of the business of addictive smoking, turned their sights onto addictive eating. Health columnist Anahad O’Connor wrote, “In America, the steepest increase in the prevalence of hyper-palatable foods occurred between 1988 and 2001—the era when Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds owned the world’s leading food companies.” Many of these ultra-processed foods are specially marketed to children, which in turn can change their brain chemistry to desire those foods for life. Alongside the aggressive marketing of hyper-palatable foods is a massively profitable weight-loss industry that preys upon individual shame to the tune of more than $60 billion a year. In fact, some of the same companies pushing high-calorie foods are in the business of weight loss. The ultra-processed food industry is becoming symbiotic with the weight-loss drug industry. The former ensures we eat poorly and the latter is there to feed off our shame.

Note: This is strangely comparable to when pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma LP secretly pursued a plan to become "an end-to-end pain provider" by selling both opioids and drugs to treat opioid addiction. It is now estimated that 1 in 8 adults in the US have taken Ozempic or another weight-loss drug. The money behind these obesity drug makers is staggering. The economic value of Novo Nordisk soared to over $420 billion, which exceeds the entire GDP of Denmark, its home country. As Lee Fang reports in this investigative piece on the issue, “The company is growing so fast, bringing in so many American dollars, that the Danish central bank recently devalued its currency to keep it in line with the euro.” For more along these lines, read the growing reports of concerning adverse side effects from these weight-loss drugs.


The Well-Heeled and Our Personal Well-Being
May 9, 2024, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/05/09/the-well-heeled-and-our-personal...

People who live in societies with wide gaps between the wealthy and everyone else turn out to live briefer lives than people who call more equal societies home. People who live in more equal societies, meanwhile, tend to live happier lives than their unequal-society counterparts. They face less crime. Their economies crash less often. Recent studies from Northwestern’s Maryam Kouchaki and her colleagues ... have been illuminating how unequal distributions of income and wealth are serving to increase “the acceptability of self-interested unethical behaviors.” The bottom line: People who live in highly unequal societies feel “a lower sense of control” and look less askance at unethical behaviors, either from others or from themselves, than do people who live in distinctly more equal societies. “Overall,” Kouchaki and her colleagues conclude, “our results suggest inequality changes ethical standards.” Other recent psychological research has come to the same core conclusion. “When are people more open to cheating?” asked the Canadian researchers Anita Schmalor, Adrian Schroeder, and Steven Heine in a paper published earlier this year. “Economic inequality makes people expect more everyday unethical behavior.” The longer we let inequality define our contemporary daily lives, this new research helps us understand, the more the unethical behavior all around us will seem to reflect just the way our world naturally works. Economic inequality, in effect, normalizes unethical behavior.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and mental health from reliable major media sources.


Inspiring Articles


From hip hop to ‘Top Chef’: How two NYC after-school programs teach students about healthy eating
October 6, 2023, Chalkbeat
https://www.chalkbeat.org/newyork/2023/10/6/23901806/nyc-healthy...

Kevin, a sixth grader at P.S. 146 in Queens who hopes to one day work as a doctor, said he’s always tried to study nutrition. But it wasn’t until he participated in the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S., or Healthy Eating and Living in Schools, after-school program last year that he found an engaging way to learn about it at school. The program, developed in partnership between Columbia University neurologist Olajide Williams and hip hop artist Doug E. Fresh, relies on music to help teach students about healthy eating. What Kevin participated in was one of two after-school healthy eating programs that are being studied as part of a partnership between the after-school provider New York Edge and Columbia University. About 300 students across 20 school sites were provided with either the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S. program, or NY Edge’s Food Explorers program, with their nutritional choices tracked over the course of 10 or more weeks. Through the partnership, researchers aim to learn if the educational interventions from these programs can help kids make healthier choices, particularly at chain restaurants. The focus on teaching students to navigate settings like chain restaurants is especially important as many kids in the programs live in “food swamps,” or areas with few healthy food options, Williams said. “We’d love to have community gardens everywhere,” he added. “But the reality is many people live in food swamps. It’s about how we get them to make better decisions within those swamps.”

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies and the power of art.


Balinese Foundation Treats Autistic Children with Organic Food
January 2, 2017, Jakarta Post
https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/01/02/balinese-foundation...

“People think that Bali is a paradise, but if you come inside you see it’s a different story,” said Ni Nyoman Sri Wahyuni. For 12 years she has been caring for orphans, autistic children and children with Down Syndrome. “Many Balinese believe that these children are cursed, due to bad karma." children with very low IQs are not received by Sekolah Luar Biasa (Special Needs Schools). Such children, many with autism and Down Syndrome, have little to no support. This is what inspired Sri Wahyuni and her husband, I Ketut Sadia, to open the Yayasan Widya Guna school 10 years ago. Today Yayasan Widya Guna provides daily schooling to over 100 students, both disabled and non-disabled. Besides providing English, exercise and art classes to the children, it also teaches organic farming and promotes a healthy diet among students. “We’ve received lots of information suggesting that poor nutrition is a factor in developing autism,” said Sri Wahyuni. The foundation serves meals with lots of vegetables, and tries to not include too many fried foods. Sri Wahyuni says that kids who used to catch colds and the flu rarely fall sick these days. A student with epilepsy, whose parents complained was having three seizures a day, has stopped having seizures completely since he started attending the yayasan. The Yayasan Widya Guna ... also offers English classes for local children attending regular schools.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies.


The miracle that cured my son’s autism was in our kitchen
June 17, 2015, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2015/06/17/is-diet-the-key-to-curing-autism/

When a doctor told Susan Levin her 4-year-old son, Ben, was autistic, she was shocked. “Oh my God. What are we going to do?” Levin recalls. “Everyone knew autism was a lifelong disorder and couldn’t be cured.” Except that in Ben’s case, it could be. And it was. The family’s journey ... is detailed in her new memoir, “Unlocked: A Family Emerging From the Shadows of Autism.” Levin is part of a growing group of people who are paying more attention to diet — organic, gluten- and casein-free among them — as a way to treat the symptoms of autism and other disorders. Now 12, Ben is studying for his bar mitzvah. Eight years after that chilling diagnosis, he’s become more empathetic, frequently saying “I love you” to his mother, his father and sister. Levin says his newfound compassion is nothing short of a miracle. While the scientific verdict is still out on diet as a cure, statistics point to a definite link between gastrointestinal issues and autism. A 2012 study published by the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found a direct link between GI issues and behavior. As many as 70 percent of children with autism have gastrointestinal issues at some point during childhood or adolescence. Kathleen DiChiara ... was diagnosed with sudden onset neuropathy, which left her unable to walk. When the doctors told her there was little to be done, she went back to school to study. She’s now a nutrition educator, chef and speaker who credits an all-organic diet for healing not only herself, but her 11- year-old son, Steven, who’d been diagnosed as autistic but is no longer considered to be.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies.


Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet
February 12, 2019, Common Dreams
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/12/study-shows-...

A new peer-reviewed study shows that eating a completely organic diet - even for just one week - can dramatically reduce the presence of pesticide levels in people, a finding that was characterized as "groundbreaking" by critics of an industrial food system that relies heavily on synthetic toxins and chemicals to grow crops and raise livestock. The study ... found that switching to an organic diet significantly reduced the levels of synthetic pesticides found in all participants. "This study shows that organic works," said study co-author Kendra Klein, PhD. The study tested the urine of four diverse American families ... after eating their typical diet of conventional food for six days and then after a controlled diet of all organic food for six days. The pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels detected in participants dropped by an average 60.5 percent after just six days of eating the all-organic diet. Specifically, the testing showed significant reductions in pesticides associated in the past with increased risk of autism, cancers, autoimmune disorders, infertility, hormone disruption, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease. "This important study shows how quickly we can rid our bodies of toxic pesticides by choosing organic," said [study co-author] Sharyle Patton. "Congratulations to the families who participated in the study and their willingness to tell their stories in support of creating a food system where organic is available to all."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


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