The Gary Null Show Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

November 27, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world.


Johns Hopkins University Reveals Manipulated Covid Death Figures


Former Pfizer VP: ‘No need for vaccines,’ ‘the pandemic is effectively over’

November 27, 2020  
November 25, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Can drinking cocoa make you smarter? Oral administration of quercetin or its derivatives inhibit bone loss of osteoporosis. Psilocybin & migraine: First of its kind trial reports promising results. Universally available herbal teas based on sage and perilla elicit potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Green Mediterranean ('green Med') diet may be even better for health. Tryptophan intake found to be lower in study of older adults with mood disorders.  Dr. Yeadon video - 32 mins  

November 24, 2020  

The Art of Profiteering from a Pandemic


Gary Null PhD and Richard Gale

Progressive Radio Network, November 24, 2020



As the number of reported Covid-19 cases increase, we are once again seeing a dramatic uptick in states’ efforts to mandate lockdowns and quarantines and to restrict transportation. Yet at the same time there is a growing number of voices within the medical and scientific communities criticizing these policies and providing evidence that the current lockdowns and flawed preventative measures are not working. In fact, they are contributing to more damage than good. There is also reliable evidence to conclude that the pandemic has been captured by special interest groups, especially the vaccine makers and the industries that profit off them. Consequently the fear of a deadly virus has been both politicized and weaponized to subvert populations into passive submission to authorities who control the media’s narrative.

Yet these regressive policies are being challenged aggressively. Many of the tens of thousands of medical critics come from the world’s most respected institutions such as Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and Yale medical schools.  Over 47,000 epidemiologists and public health experts and 639,000 concerned citizens have now signed the Great Barrington Declaration to publicize the warning that the policies now being enacted are having a far more detrimental effect on public health and the economy than the virus itself.

None of these experts are suggesting that Covid-19 is not real nor are they questioning its virulence.  Nor are they suggesting we should be cavalier and pretend the virus poses only minor risks. What is being challenged on the other hand are the political decisions based upon poor scientific evidence and the commercial conflicts of interest that guide these decisions.

First, we must acknowledge that the actual mortality rates in comparison to the rising number of so-called “positive” cases being reported is seriously flawed. Since the outbreak and reports of the first wave of deaths, federal health officials have conflated actual Covid-19 deaths with fatalities due to other preexisting comorbidities. Oddly, this peak in fatalities also occurred during the height of the influenza season. Reported deaths due to the flu and pneumonia for the first time in decades declined astronomically. There has been no coherent and rational explanation to account for this decrease. Rather, this death rate seems to have been incorporated into the Covid deaths that rose exponentially. This was also during a period when accurate diagnostic testing was poor, and this remains the case seven months later. Worse, without proper evaluation for the actual cause of these deaths, hospitals, clinics and mortuaries were being instructed to classify them as Covid-related. By and large these deaths were among the elderly and more so with older patients with compromised immune systems. If a person is young or under the age 60, there is very little chance of dying from Covid. The annual flu, on the other hand, kills young and old alike. In this manner, the pandemic provided the opportunity to enable state governments to begin lockdowns, close numerous businesses and places of work, and mandate masks and social distancing.

Stanford University’s distinguished professor of medicine, Dr. John Ioannidis accurately puts our current state of affairs in correct context,

“The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher…. Among normal, healthy people, the death rate is gradually falling to become about 0.1%, which is average for flu every year. We never locked down in the past.”

In most European countries we witnessed a peak in fatalities in late winter and early spring. Despite aggressive testing during the subsequent months, death rates have dropped and leveled off to nearly zero per day. On the other hand, official charts of US deaths present a pattern unlike any other nation.  The pattern is jagged and shows peaks unlike any other country with fatalities again on the rise.  After a low in early July, daily deaths rates have regularly fluctuated between 400 and 1,500 per day. Yet these figures do not agree with what the CDC has been reporting.  In fact, confirmed Covid-19 deaths have been level since mid-June.

What can account for these bizarre patterns and contradictions in data? We would agree with Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a former Chairperson at the University of Mainz medical school in Germany that we are in fact caught in a pandemic of over-testing rather than in a pandemic caused by a pathogen. Moreover, the US is continuing to erroneously assign primary causes of death due to other comorbidities, such as heart failure, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and obesity, as Covid-19 related if a patient happens to test positive for the virus. There is already an official precedent for this fudging of numbers. For example, the CDC does not distinguish between deaths caused by flu virus or pneumonia. The two completely different pathogens are heaped together. Every year before the arrival of the flu season, we read in the press the same figures of more or less 34,000 deaths due to flu; however, the majority of these are in fact due to pneumonia in already ill patients. Nevertheless it serves as excellent propaganda every year to encourage people to get their flu vaccination.

The problem is further compounded with the US’s over-reliance on PCR testing to determine infection. Numerous medical professionals are now on record criticizing the use of PCR tests for clinical diagnosis. Even the world’s vaccine czar Bill Gates told Wire magazine in an interview that “the majority of all US tests are complete garbage, waste.” But their voices are unrecognized by federal and state health officials nor are state governors paying attention. In fact, an information sheet released by the British government recommends that the PCR test not be used as a standalone indicator for Covid-19 infection. Furthermore, over 90 percent of Covid deaths were in nursing homes, intensive care units with patients admitted for other illnesses, hospices, assisted living centers and security prisons with their horrendous medical care systems.

Dr. Michael Yeadon, a former chief scientific officer at Pfizer, provided evidence to the UK’s Corona Committee about the corruption within the nation’s Covid-19 testing program. Politicians and scientists are suppressing real science and replacing it with only the policies that maximize financial gain. The more that PCR is relied upon for monitoring infection rates, the higher the number of false positives. According to Dr. Yeadon, the entire diagnostic regimen is solely designed to game the system. There can be no other explanation for the blatant negligence of scientific facts unfavorable towards PCR’s reliability to diagnose any infectious virus.

If the medical establishment had conducted proper evaluation of the actual death rate, we may never have reached a pandemic level. An altogether different approach for protecting public health may have been mandated with public warnings, masks, frequent hand washing and common sense hygienic measures that are encouraged during any severe flu season and without lockdowns or shutting down the economy.

Now that thousands of physicians in clinical practice are having extraordinary success in treat early stage Covid-19 infections with low dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc, we must ask a simple question. Why are we not relying upon this protocol rather than awaiting for a vaccine? HCQ has been proven to be safe and effective and does not have the adverse risks of Gilead’s expensive remdesivir now being recommended by Anthony Fauci and the CDC. On November 20th, the WHO released a “conditional recommendation against the use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients, regardless of disease severity, as there is currently no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients.”

HCQ on the other hand can be safely used preventatively for front-line workers. And yet the medical bureaucracies at the federal and state levels have viciously attacked HCQ’s proponents and the drug itself with false claims that it is ineffective and even dangerous. But the evidence is the exact opposite.  A review of 179 HCQ studies, 114 peer-reviewed, showed that almost 100 percent sowed positive effects for early treatment.  This is just one example of how the political handling of the virus is not about saving lives. Rather it is all about vaccine and innovative drugs for profit.

A more scientifically valid and common sense effort could be made to educate the citizenry in nutritional responsibility to strengthen the immune system. As we have reported in the past, there is a large body of peer-reviewed evidence showing the efficacy of certain nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, selenium, zinc and melatonin to protect ourselves from Covid-19 or to at least prevent any severe condition in the event of an infection. Yet our conventional health system has never been a strong advocate for nutrition and healthy lifestyle as a preventative policy to fight disease or infections. Rather for the past century we have had a disease management system: we wait until a person becomes sick and then treat it with pharmaceutical drugs.  As more presumed Covid cases mount, as the bureaucrats mandate lockdowns and increase penalties on those who fail to comply with draconian policies derived from junk science, as the media’s fear-mongering continues, and as the scandalous denial of more viable preventative measures because the norm, all hope is now placed on a vaccine reaching the market. Yet there is not an iota of empirical evidence to suggest any one of the several vaccines now ready for launch will truly protect recipients from the virus, whether they are truly safe, or whether a person can still be infected and shed the virus to others.

In fact our deepest worry is the frantic race and enormous momentum to launch a poorly studied Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible with the false promise that life will then gradually return to some resemblance of normalcy.  Anthony Fauci now offers a carrot of hope that if enough people are vaccinated we can reach that elusive and hypothetical “herd immunity,” which has never been scientifically and consensually confirmed for any vaccine against any infectious disease in the past. We can only hope that the vaccine will be effective and safe. But there is no sound evidence to draw this conclusion. In fact, our research shows the potential risks far outweigh the evidence for its benefits.

In his international best seller Corona False Alarm, Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi argues that a vaccine is only necessary “when an infection regularly leads to severe illness and/or serious sequelae in healthy individuals.” However, according to the author, a vaccine is not warranted for Covid-19. Since the virus has already been shown to mutate rapidly there is high risk of vaccine failure in the long-term. He is especially worried about the new mRNA-based vaccines that carry the potential danger of integrating the plasmid DNA into cell’s genome and may trigger “production of anti-DNA antibodies and autoimmune reactions.”  And we must all be cautious because none of these vaccines have undergone rigorous review and evaluation to determine their safety profile. Instead, they are being fast-tracked under the naïve assumption they will bring an end to the pandemic. But at what cost to the public’s future health is completely unknown territory.

More recently, during an exclusive interview with Dr. John Martin, the former head of the FDA’s Viral Oncology Laboratory where he investigated vaccine contamination from cancer-causing viruses, he raised warnings about the potential interaction between the vaccines using either mRNA or the genetically modified adenovirus with stealth adapted viruses already present in the body.  These stealth viruses largely present no health risks and do not trigger an immune response; however, they are highly reactive and can incorporate the vaccine’s mRNA, and then be converted into cellular DNA, or they can mutate into something more virulent and pathogenic. Although health officials are fully aware of stealth viruses, and have known about them since the early days of the polio vaccine, it is a risk completely being ignored and off the table when evaluating the new generation of Covid vaccines.

Behind all of the public fear, contradictory science, flawed statistics, and bureaucratic knee-jerk reactions, we are now witnessing the complete politicalization of a medical threat that should have been handled with consensual independent scientific data rather than through social control. Unfortunately, the pandemic and the means to either control it or bring it to an end is not being handled by competent scientists and administrators. As we look upon other nation’s such as Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and Taiwan as models for how to contain the virus, keep their economies open and limit the number of deaths well below a flu outbreak, the US and the UK have become the laughing stock of the developed world. Gates himself has been a sharp critic for how our government and federal health agencies have handled the crisis. Sadly, we cannot expect anything much better from president elect Biden. The US no longer has within its political DNA the capacity to respond to crises with common sense.

November 23, 2020  

Dr. John Martin is the Medical Director of the nonprofit public charity MI Hope in California. He holds a medical degree from the University of Sydney and a doctorate from the University of Melbourne and has specialized in immunopathology and medical microbiology. Earlier in his career Dr. Martin worked for the National Institutes of Health and later at the FDA where he headed the Viral Oncology Laboratory. His work at the FDA involved investigating possible contamination in vaccines with cancer causing viruses. For the past three decades, John has been conducting research into the detection of stealth adapted viruses that are not recognized by our body's immune system. Today Dr. Martin will share his research into these viruses and the role they may play in increasing the risks of the new generation of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines that will be launched shortly.  

November 20, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Getting Healthy With Gary Null: Actor Fred Fischer  , THIS is a Meeting Privately Recorded in EDMONTON Alberta Canada last week!    Mediterranean diet helps reduce effects of stress in animal model, study shows. Nutrition can aid DNA repair during aging. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation associated with improved antioxidant status, glycemic control. Mindfulness interventions can change health behaviors -- integrated model helps to explain how they work. Certain CBD oils no better than pure CBD at inhibiting certain cancer cell lines. 


November 19, 2020  

Origins of covid virus and Fauci's connections with Chinese Wuhan Laboratory


Dr. Peter Breggin has been called the “conscience of psychiatry” during his outstanding career to reform the mental health field.  Dr. Breggin is a Harvard trained psychiatrist and a former consultant for the National Institutes of Mental Health. He is one of our nation's most important critics of the current conventional psychotherapeutic approaches in treating mental disorders in both adults and children, particularly the epidemic use of psychoactive drugs.  Along with his wife, he is the founder of the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, a non profit organization providing scientific-based information on dangers and adverse effects of psychiatric drugs. Dr. Breggin has written many important and award winning books. Especially notable are "Medication Madness" and his later  “Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions” and "Talking Back to Prozac".  Peter also hosts a radio broadcast -- “Dr. Peter Breggin Hour” -- every Wednesday at 4:00 pm eastern time on the Progressive Radio Network.  His website is

November 18, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world.  Carnitine supplementation associated with improvement of metabolic syndrome. Chemicals in your living room cause diabetes. How pomegranate extract alters breast cancer stem cell properties. Calcium supplementation may be needed in addition to vitamin D to lower fracture risk. Low levels of choline in pregnant Black American women associated with higher levels of stress. Chronic inflammation causes a reduction in NAD+. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract promotes skeletal muscle fiber transformation which supports increased fatigue resistance.

November 17, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world.  Go (over) easy on the eggs: 'Egg-cess' consumption linked to diabetes. Veganism: Vitamin B12 is well supplemented, iodine is a matter of concern. Resveratrol shows promise in reduction of stroke symptoms that can affect neuronal function. Vitamin D and Omega-3s bolster health in some active older people. One-third of people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicines. Are We Being Told the Truth About COVID-19? | Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi. 

November 16, 2020  

Vitamin C's effectiveness against COVID may hinge on vitamin's natural transporter levels

Medical College of Georgia Center for Healthy Aging, November 12, 2020

High doses of vitamin C under study for treating COVID-19 may benefit some populations, but investigators exploring its potential in aging say key factors in effectiveness include levels of the natural transporter needed to get the vitamin inside cells.

Age, race, gender, as well as expression levels and genetic variations of those vitamin C transporters that make them less efficient, all may be factors in the effectiveness of vitamin C therapy against COVID-19 and other maladies, investigators at the Medical College of Georgia Center for Healthy Aging report in a commentary in the journal Aging and Disease

The investigators recommend that those factors be considered in the design and execution of clinical trials, and when trial results are analyzed, for COVID-19 as well as other conditions, says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, aging researcher and the article's corresponding author.

The novel nature and lack of immunity against the coronavirus has prompted a worldwide pursuit of effective treatments for COVID-19, they write. That includes repurposing drugs with known safety profiles, including Vitamin C, an established immune system booster and antioxidant, which made it a logical choice to explore in COVID-19. Both strategies are needed in response to infection with the novel coronavirus to ensure a strong immune response to stop the virus from replicating in the body, and to avoid the over-the-top, destructive immune response the virus itself can generate if it does. 

There are at least 30 clinical trials underway in which vitamin C, alone or in combination with other treatments, is being evaluated against COVID-19, some with doses up to 10 times the recommended 65 to 90 milligrams daily of vitamin C.

Factors like whether or not vitamin C can get inside the cell, likely are an issue in the effectiveness the therapies ultimately show, says Dr. Carlos M. Isales, co-director of the MCG Center for Healthy Aging and chief of the MCG Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. 

In fact, without adequate transporters on a cell's surface to get the water-soluble vitamin past the lipid layer of cell membranes, particularly large doses may enable the vitamin to cluster around the outside of cells where it actually starts producing oxidants, like damaging reactive oxygen species, rather than helping eliminate them, says Isales, a study coauthor. 

"We think it's important to look at transporter expression," Fulzele says.

They suspect low transporter expression is a factor in the mixed results from vitamin C's use in a variety of other conditions. Clinical trials in osteoarthritis, for example, an autoimmune disease where a misdirected immune system is attacking the joints, has gotten mixed results, Fulzele says. However its usage in other viral-induced problems, like potentially deadly sepsis, has shown benefit in reducing organ failure and improving lung function in acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is also a major cause of sickness and death with COVID-19. 

At the time their Aging and Disease paper was published, there were not yet published studies of the efficacies of high-dose, intravenous vitamin studies underway for COVID-19.

Fulzele, who works on vitamin C in aging, and others have shown that some conditions, like osteoarthritis and even normal aging, are associated with significant downregulation of at least one subtype of vitamin C transporter. 

In fact, part of the paradox and concern with COVID-19 is that those most at risk mostly have both lower levels of vitamin C before they get sick and fewer transporters to enable the vitamin to be of benefit if they get more, Fulzele says.

Many of those most at risk from COVID-19, including individuals who are older, Black, male and with chronic medical conditions like osteoarthritis, hypertension and diabetes, tend to have lower levels of vitamin C, another reason vitamin C therapy would be considered a reasonable treatment, Isales says. The investigators also note that patients may develop a vitamin C deficiency over the course of their COVID-19 illness since, during an active infection, vitamin C is consumed at a more rapid rate. Insufficient levels can augment the damage done by an overzealous immune response.

While not routinely done, transporter expression can be measured today using PCR technology, a method also used for novel coronavirus as well as influenza testing. While increasing transporter expression is not yet doable in humans, one of Fulzele's many research goals is to find a drug or other method to directly increase expression, which should improve the health of older individuals as well as those with other medical conditions that compromise those levels.

He notes that reduced transporter levels that occur naturally with age are a factor in the reduced immune function that also typically accompanies aging. That means that even when a 60-year-old and 20-year-old both have a healthy diet in which they consume similar, sufficient amounts of vitamin C, the vitamin is not as effective at boosting the older individual's immune response. Reduced immune function in older individuals is known to put them at increased risk for problems like cancer and COVID-19. 

Low vitamin C levels also have been correlated with higher mortality in older individuals from causes like cardiovascular disease. High oxidative stress, a major factor in conditions like cardiovascular disease as well as aging and now COVID-19, also is associated with significantly reduced expression of the vitamin C transporter. 

Isales and Fulzele doubt that taking a lot of vitamin C is a good preventive strategy against COVID-19, except in those individuals with a known deficiency.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means people have to consume it in their food or supplements. Foods naturally high in vitamin C include oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The vitamin's diverse roles in the body also include formation of blood vessels, collagen and cartilage.

Emerging role of vitamin C in prevention and treatment of novel respiratory virus


University of Otago (New Zealand), November 11, 2020

According to news reporting out of Christchurch, New Zealand, research stated, “Investigation into the role of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia and sepsis has been underway for many decades. This research has laid a strong foundation for translation of these findings into patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”

Our news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from University of Otago: “Research has indicated that patients with pneumonia and sepsis have low vitamin C status and elevated oxidative stress. Administration of vitamin C to patients with pneumonia can decrease the severity and duration of the disease. Critically ill patients with sepsis require intravenous administration of gram amounts of the vitamin to normalize plasma levels, an intervention that some studies suggest reduces mortality. The vitamin has pleiotropic physiological functions, many of which are relevant to COVID-19. These include its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and immuno-modulatory functions. Preliminary observational studies indicate low vitamin C status in critically ill patients with COVID-19. There are currently a number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) registered globally that are assessing intravenous vitamin C monotherapy in patients with COVID-19. Since hypovitaminosis C and deficiency are common in low-middle-income settings, and many of the risk factors for vitamin C deficiency overlap with COVID-19 risk factors, it is possible that trials carried out in populations with chronic hypovitaminosis C may show greater efficacy. This is particularly relevant for the global research effort since COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting low-middle-income countries and low-income groups globally. One small trial from China has finished early and the findings are currently under peer review. There was significantly decreased mortality in the more severely ill patients who received vitamin C intervention. The upcoming findings from the larger RCTs currently underway will provide more definitive evidence.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Optimization of the intervention protocols in future trials, e.g., earlier and sustained administration, is warranted to potentially improve its efficacy. Due to the excellent safety profile, low cost, and potential for rapid upscaling of production, administration of vitamin C to patients with hypovitaminosis C and severe respiratory infections, e.g., COVID-19, appears warranted.”


Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting: an update on mechanism, and the role of circadian rhythm and gut microbiota

Sun Yat-sen University (China), November 11, 2020

According to news originating from Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Importance: There is accumulating evidence that intermittent fasting (IF) is connected to improved health condition and longevity time-restricted feeding (TRF) is the most recognized and extensively studied model of IF. To investigate the underlying mechanism of pleiotropic benefits of IF and hint the most advantageous feeding pattern for humans.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Sun Yat-sen University, “Evidence review: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar by 2020 April for publications on IF or TRF and their mechanisms. Studies include animal models and human cohorts. One important mechanism is that IF allows certain period of fasting time, in which our bodies activate pathways of repair and rejuvenation. Moreover, the advantages of IF, especially TRF over total caloric restriction (CR) provided bases for various animal and human studies which suggested that the feeding-fasting rhythm stimulates the fluctuation of our gut microbiota and a series of subsequent molecular alterations, which in turn restored a healthier circadian clock that resembled our inherent clock formed throughout millions of years of homo sapiens history.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Conclusions and Relevance for Reviews: Complete understanding of the mechanism leading to the beneficial effects of IF paves the way for tailored dietary regimen to combat a wide range of diseases and ill health conditions.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.


Valerian Quality, Storage Issues May Affect Sleep Outcomes

Chiba and Nagasaki universities (Japan), November 1, 2020

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) may be a safe and effective herbal sleep aid; however quality control issues may affect outcomes, according to the findings of a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis.

While valerian is considered a popular herbal supplement for managing sleep disorders, study outcomes related to its effectiveness have been inconsistent. This review, which included a total of 60 studies (n=6894), aimed to determine the reason for this inconsistency as well as to provide an overview of the role of valerian for other disorders associated with sleep problems.

Meta-analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of valerian on improving subjective sleep quality (10 studies, n=1065), as well as to evaluate its role in reducing anxiety (8 studies, n=535). “Repeated treatments with the whole root/rhizome consistently promoted sleep quality at 450-1410mg per day for 4-8 weeks, whereas valerian extracts 300-600mg per day for 5 days-4 weeks resulted in inconsistent outcomes,” the study authors reported.

In their review, the authors found that the variability in the quality of valerian extracts was dependent on the extraction solvents utilized during the study. Additionally, findings revealed limited information on storage conditions, such as temperature and storage duration, used during each study.  “The absence of such information limits the discussion as to why some extracts were ineffective while others exhibited effectiveness in those clinical trials,” the authors noted.

As for safety, findings revealed no severe adverse events with valerian intake in patients 7 to 80 years old. Valerian was also not observed to have a significant impact on cytochrome (CYP) P1A2, 2D6, 2E1, or 3A4/5.

Based on their findings, the authors concluded that revisions to quality control processes for valerian were needed; however, for the time being, “the usage of whole herbal substances (root/rhizome), rather than extracts, may be the way to obtain optimal efficacy.”

Oh my aching back: Do yoga, tai chi or qigong help?

Florida Atlantic University, November 6, 2020

It's a pain. About 80 percent of adults in the United States will experience lower back pain at some point. Treating back pain typically involves medication, including opioids, surgery, therapy and self-care options. Efforts to reduce opioid use and increase physically based therapies to reduce pain and increase physical function and safety are crucial.

Patients are often advised to use non-pharmacological treatments to manage lower back pain such as exercise and mind-body interventions. But, do they really help? In a review published in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice, researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College for Design and Social Inquiry and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing evaluated the evidence of effects of three movement-based mind-body interventions on chronic low back pain. They examined yoga, tai chi, which combines gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness, and qigong, a traditional Chinese meditative movement therapy focused on body awareness and attention during slow, relaxed, and fluid repetitive body movements. Little is known about the effects of movement-based mind-body intervention, in particular qigong and tai chi.

Researchers compared and contrasted yoga, tai chi and qigong by examining frequency and duration of these interventions; primary and secondary outcomes; attrition rates and possible adverse events; and results. Findings from their review provide empirical evidence regarding the benefits of yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which have been recommended by health care providers for patients with lower back pain.

"Back pain is a major public health issue often contributing to emotional distress such as depression and anxiety, as well as sleep issues and even social isolation," said Juyoung Park, Ph.D., corresponding author and an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry. "We reviewed data to determine the effects of movement-based mind-body interventions on chronic back pain, psychological factors, coping strategies, and quality of life in people suffering with back pain. Our goal was to provide a comprehensive assessment of the effects of these interventions to be able to offer information across disciplines to implement evidence-based interventions to reduce such pain."

Of the 625 peer-reviewed articles the researchers identified, 32 met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Results found that the majority of these articles showed movement-based mind-body interventions to be effective for treatment of low back pain, reporting positive outcomes such as reduction in pain or psychological distress such as depression and anxiety, reduction in pain-related disability, and improved functional ability. Among the key findings, researchers discovered that longer duration and high-dose yoga intervention showed reductions in back pain while tai chi reduced acute lower back pain in males in their 20s. Tai chi also was more effective than stretching for lower back pain in young males. In the general community, tai chi showed greater reductions in pain intensity, bothersomeness of pain symptoms, and pain-related disability than the control intervention. Because there are only three qigong studies to date, it was unclear to the researchers whether this intervention is useful in treating chronic lower back pain. Existing research suggests positive benefits of yoga, however, tai chi and qigong for lower back pain are still under-investigated.

"Two of the studies we examined in our review were focused on the effects of movement modality, specifically yoga, in veterans. Many military veterans and active duty military personnel experience chronic low back pain and are affected by this pain more than the general population," said Cheryl Krause-Parello, Ph.D., co-author, a professor and director of Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.) within FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and a faculty fellow of FAU's Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH). "Our review provides emerging evidence that movement-based mind-body interventions could benefit veterans and others experiencing chronic low back pain."

The review included both randomized and nonrandomized studies with a total of 3,484 subjects ages 33 to 73 years old. Study sample sizes ranged from 25 to 320 subjects. The majority of articles reported on yoga (25), followed by tai chi (four), and qigong (three). Most of the yoga studies were conducted in India, followed by the U.S., while other studies were conducted in Australia (tai chi) and Germany (qigong).

People with chronic low back pain are at increased risk of functional limitations, job-related disability, and potential long-term disability. Moreover, the economic burden of chronic low back pain is high due to the cost of medications such as opioids, procedures, hospitalization, surgical treatment, and absence from work.

"Yoga, tai chi and qigong could be used as effective treatment alternatives to pain medications, surgery, or injection-based treatments such as nerve blocks, which are associated with high incidence of adverse effects in treating lower back pain," said Park. "We need more clinical trials and empirical evidence so that clinicians can prescribe these types of interventions with more confidence for managing lower back pain in their patients."

Go (over) easy on the eggs: 'Egg-cess' consumption linked to diabetes

University of South Australia, China Medical University, Qatar University, November 15, 2020

Scrambled, poached or boiled, eggs are a popular breakfast food the world over. Yet the health benefits of the humble egg might not be all they're cracked up to be as new research from the University of South Australia shows that excess egg consumption can increase your risk of diabetes.

Conducted in partnership with the China Medical University, and Qatar University, the longitudinal study (1991 to 2009) is the first to assess egg consumption in a large sample of Chinese adults. 

It found that people who regularly consumed one or more eggs per day (equivalent to 50 grams) increased their risk of diabetes by 60 per cent.

With the prevalence of diabetes in China now exceeding 11 per cent - above that of the global average of 8.5 per cent - diabetes has become a serious public health concern.

The economic impact of diabetes is also significant, accounting for 10 per cent of global health expenditure (USD $760 billion). In China, diabetes-related costs have exceeded USD $109 billion.

Epidemiologist and public health expert, UniSA's Dr Ming Li, says the rise of diabetes is a growing concern, especially in China where changes to the traditional Chinese diet are impacting health.

"Diet is a known and modifiable factor that contributes to the onset Type 2 diabetes, so understanding the range of dietary factors that might impact the growing prevalence of the disease is important," Dr Li says.

"Over the past few decades China has undergone a substantial nutritional transition that's seen many people move away from a traditional diet comprising grains and vegetables, to a more processed diet that includes greater amounts of meat, snacks and energy-dense food.

"At the same time, egg consumption has also been steadily increasing; from 1991 to 2009, the number of people eating eggs in China nearly doubled*. 

"While the association between eating eggs and diabetes is often debated, this study has aimed to assess people's long-term egg consumption of eggs and their risk of developing diabetes, as determined by fasting blood glucose.

"What we discovered was that higher long-term egg consumption (greater than 38 grams per day) increased the risk of diabetes among Chinese adults by approximately 25 per cent. 

"Furthermore, adults who regularly ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or equivalent to one egg, per day) had an increased risk of diabetes by 60 per cent."

The effect was also more pronounced in women than in men. 

Dr Li says that while these results suggest that higher egg consumption is positively associated with the risk of diabetes in Chinese adults, more research is needed to explore causal relationships.

"To beat diabetes, a multi-faceted approach is needed that not only encompasses research, but also a clear set of guidelines to help inform and guide the public. This study is one step towards that long-term goal."

Veganism: Vitamin B12 is well supplemented, iodine is a matter of concern

A study shows differences between vegan and mixed diets

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, November 9, 2020

There was no significant difference with regard to vitamin B12, which was present in approximately the same amount in the blood of both groups. Since vitamin B12 is taken up almost exclusively by animal food, the supply of participants following a vegan diet could be due to the intake via dietary supplements. "This study makes it possible to compare a vegan diet with a mixed diet with regard to a variety vitamins and trace elements," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Both diets investigated revealed a lack of iodine. However, the shortage is clearly more distinct in the vegan variant."

n the RBVD study, the BfR research team analysed blood and urine samples and evaluated lifestyle questionnaires and dietary protocols. Of those participating (18 women and men respectively per group aged 30-60 years), almost all those following a vegan diet and one third following a mixed diet took different food supplements.

The study results were particularly noteworthy with regard to the trace element iodine. Iodine excretion measured in urine samples provides information on how well the body is supplied with the trace element. The majority of the participants had a deficiency. The deficiency was significantly more pronounced among vegans - in one third of them, the level was below 20 micrograms per litre (μg/L), the limit defined by the World Health Organization (WHO); anything below this represents a serious shortage. A vegan diet has, however, also shown health benefits, such as a higher fibre intake and lower cholesterol levels. For both diets, about 10% of participants had an iron deficiency.

One-third of people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicines

University of Texas, October 31, 2020

A stunning one-third of people with a cancer diagnosis use complementary and alternative medicines such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supplements.

UT Southwestern Medical Center's Dr. Nina Sanford made the discovery that's now drawing renewed attention to habits she said cancer patients must disclose during treatment. Dr. Sanford is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology who specializes in and treats cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

Herbal supplements were the most common alternative medicine and chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulation, was the second most common, according to Dr. Sanford's analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey. Her findings were published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

"Younger patients are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicines and women were more likely to, but I would have thought more people would tell their doctors," Dr. Sanford said, referring to the finding that 29 percent of people who use complementary and alternative medicine did not tell their physicians. Many survey respondents said they did not say anything because their doctors did not ask, or they did not think their doctors needed to know.

Dr. Sanford and other cancer specialists agree this is concerning, especially in the case of herbal supplements.

"You don't know what's in them," Dr. Sanford said. "Some of these supplements are kind of a mishmash of different things. Unless we know what's in them, I would recommend patients avoid using them during radiation because there's likely not data on certain supplements, which could interfere with treatment. With radiation specifically, there is concern that very high levels of antioxidants could make radiation less effective."

Dr. David Gerber, a lung cancer specialist and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Population and Data Sciences at UTSW, said physicians need to know if their patients use herbal supplements because they can completely throw off traditional cancer treatments.

"They may interact with the medicines we're giving them, and through that interaction it could alter the level of the medicine in the patient," he said. "If the levels get too high, then toxicities increase, and if the levels get too low, the efficacy would drop."

Nancy Myers wanted to use supplements during her 2015-2017 cancer treatments, but she ran it by her doctors first.

"I would ask the physician, 'Could I?' and everyone said, 'No, we don't know how that interacts with your conventional medicine,' so I respected that," the 47-year-old mother of four said. Only after treatment did she start taking turmeric, omega-3, vitamin D, and vitamin B6.

"I have plenty of friends in this cancer journey who I've met who take supplements. A lady I met recently takes 75 supplements a day. It takes her two hours to package her supplements every week," she said.

Ms. Myers said every person in her cancer support group uses some kind of alternative medicine. In addition to supplements, she practices meditation and yoga with guidance from a smartphone app.

"It's what we can control. We can't control the whole cancer," she said. "It helps because it takes your mind off just thinking about it."

She said she knows of some people with cancer who use only alternative medicine - and no traditional medical treatments. Dr. Sanford said this is a dangerous approach that could be fatal. The most famous case of this was Apple founder Steve Jobs, who reportedly used special diets, acupuncture, and other alternatives after receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He turned to traditional medicine late in his battle with cancer and died in 2011.

While doctors are highly cautious about the use of herbs and other supplements during treatment, they are much more open to meditation and yoga as practices that can help patients cope with the shock of a cancer diagnosis and the stress of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

"We strongly advise patients to stay active and engage in exercise during treatment," Dr. Sanford said. "A common side effect of radiation is fatigue. I let the patients know that the patients who feel the most fatigue are the ones who are the most sedentary and that those who are doing exercise are the ones who frequently have the most energy."

Belindy Sarembock, 53, of Dallas, said she practiced yoga during her treatments for breast cancer. She started the classes with skepticism and quickly became convinced of the benefits.

"I was one who would have laughed at yoga before breast cancer, but now it just helps me so much," she said. "It's just so relaxing, I just feel so good after I leave. It's just so peaceful. For your body, I can't think of anything better than that."

She said she had neuropathy or nerve damage from chemotherapy, and yoga almost immediately took the pain away.

"I couldn't get onto my toes. After the second time of going to yoga, I was able to go onto my toes," she said. "I wish I would have known about the yoga earlier. It was just such a benefit and helped me so much. I highly recommend it to anyone."

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