Monthly Archives: April 2020

Alanis Morissette: ‘Almost Every Woman In The Music Industry Has Been Assaulted, Harassed, Raped’

Music Industry Sex Abuse

Singer Alanis Morissette has made an explosive claim about the music industry by saying that almost every woman in the industry has been assaulted, harassed, or raped.

Speaking with U.K. publication The Sunday Times, Morissette, who began her music career in the 1990s when she was just a teenager, talked about the need for “female rage” in the times we live in.

“Female rage gets such a bad rap, but it’s part of being human,” Morissette said. “Not punching someone in the face, but anger channeled into activism or — heaven forbid — raising your voice, or saying no, or protecting your kids, or being a feminist.”

Morissette, who claims to have suffered sexual abuse going back to the age of three, also chastised the stigma that women face for “waiting” to come forward with an allegation.

“First of all, they didn’t wait,” she said. “Second, they face the threat of losing their job, reputation, or not being believed. At best it’s swept under the rug, at worst you are admonished or fired.”

When it comes to the #MeToo movement’s influence on the music industry, Morissette made her most explosive claim, alleging that a majority of women have suffered abuse in one form or another.

“It hasn’t even begun in the music industry. Almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted, harassed, raped. It’s ubiquitous — more in music, even, than film,” Morissette said, as reported by Variety. “What, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? By definition it’s crass, sweaty, and aggressive. But it’s only a matter of time before it has its own explosion of stories.”

Indeed, of all the industries to get hit by #MeToo, the music industry seems to have the least amount of bombshell allegations against top industry figures. Other than Russell Simmons, and to some extent, R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, the industry avoided the kind of earth-shattering shakeups as seen by the film and fashion industries. Writing in Forbes this past January, Shannon Lee even wondered if the music industry would ever have its #MeToo moment.

“Despite a fickle reverence for Kesha, and other pop stars that share their experience of sexual assault, the American public has shown little interest in holding high-profile sex criminals in the music industry accountable,” wrote Lee. “R. Kelly retains a loyal fan base, and rapper and convicted child rapist Tekashi 6ix9ine just signed a new $10M record deal while serving time for racketeering.But, will new rape allegations spark an outpouring of testimonies from other survivors — emboldened by the Me Too Movement years after it caught fire — forcing us to finally pay attention?”

By  Paul Bois

How fevers and Finnish saunas can help the body battle a virus

How fevers and Finnish saunas can help the body battle a virus Dale Yeager

Important aspects of our immune system have gone overlooked within the current dominant practice of allopathic medicine. One of these aspects is fever. Sometimes we need a different way of looking at something to recognize its value.

So with that in mind, let’s look at what an “externally-induced fever” can do for the body, according to modern science. Understanding this might help us pause before seeking treatments to suppress a fever that is not actually threatening our well-being. In fact, it could be preserving it.

So what do I mean by an externally-induced fever? It’s a fever that comes from outside the body rather than inside. Basically, it means we heat up the body, like in a sauna. Remarkably, these two types of fever have very similar impacts on our health. And these benefits are something people have known for generations.

The Finnish sauna, Russian banya, Japanese mushi-buro, and Korean jimjilbang are all examples of traditional practices with solid scientific backing. In these similar traditions, a person is exposed to extreme hot temperatures followed by a rapid cooling. Both the heating aspect and the cooling aspect have unique impacts on our immune system. Research has found that imposing dramatic body temperature changes can improve immune function, specifically the type of immune function which many viruses including COVID-19 are known to attack.

Immunity: Learning a Disease

We have two broad categories to our immune systems: the acquired and innate. The acquired immune system comes into play after a new infection comes on the scene and “surprises” us. Since this new bug has never been encountered before, our immune system has not had time to recruit immune cells to mount an adequate defense. However, once the infection has run its course, the acquired immune system will remember that particular pathogen and we will be protected for many years into the future.

So why do we get that feeling of malaise, fatigue, fever and all the other symptoms of a cold and flu? Those symptoms come from the innate immune system. This branch of the immune system is not specific to the particular pathogen and basically reacts to certain pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). The immune system recognizes a PAMP as dangerous and immediately mounts an attack—regardless of whether it is familiar with the pathogen or not.

Some PAMPs are recognized sequences of RNA in COVID-19 and influenza viruses, as well as unique components in the cell walls of yeasts and chains of sugars strung together outside pathogenic bacteria, called lipopolysaccharide.

These unique microbial identifiers are all recognized as PAMPs by our innate immune system.

It is this non-specific early response to a variety of invaders which determines the severity of symptoms we may experience early in the course of infection.  Generally speaking, the younger and healthier the individual is, the more aggressive their innate immune response will be and the more likely they will successfully fight off the invader.

An Unknown Virus

I need to preface this discussion with a little science, so bear with me.

There are no randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials specifically dealing with treatments for COVID-19 though one study did find the flu vaccine could make one more susceptible to the virus.

These studies take time and while they are sure to emerge shortly, the rapid development of this pandemic has just not given us this time. Further studies are needed for everything specifically relating to COVID-19.

But that doesn’t mean there are not some important lessons we have learned generally about dealing with viruses or how our immune system functions.

One of our primary defenses against viruses is Type 1 interferon, a cytokine, or immune protein. It is responsible for activating our non-specific innate immunity when the genetic material of PAMPs, such as COVID-19, are identified. When infected cells secrete interferon, this protein signals the healthy cells around the infected cell to prepare to take on the invader.

We know of many similarities between COVID-19 and the other novel coronaviruses of the 21st century such as SARS and MERS. In a review performed in March 2020 at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, researchers found that this group of viruses actually interfered with activation of our innate immune systems by suppressing interferon secretion early in the course of disease.

This means no immediate immune response and all those symptoms created by our immune response. This explains the high rate of asymptomatic carriers, those that don’t show symptoms, who later experience a full-blown case of the disease. It also explains the overall mild nature of the disease in children and young adults.

Children and young adults tend to have a more aggressive innate immune response but this response wanes with age and chronic disease. An analysis of MERS patients who died revealed they had a significantly lower innate immune response due to lower interferon levels than patients who recovered.

The cells that make the compounds that activate our innate immunity are called monocytes and natural killer cells or NK cells. Both of these immunity cell types appear to be depressed and deficient early in the disease course of COVID-19 infected patients.

Hot and Cold

One of the key features of our innate immune response is increased body temperature or fever. Fever burns off pathogens. Fevers of 39.5C (103.1F) were linked to better survival and quicker recovery. Researchers found that a fever could activate monocytes.

And, despite popular belief, short periods of cold exposure did not actually lower immune response. On the contrary, a 1999 study found that cold exposure could stimulate immunity in much the same way fever does.

So when your immune system mounts that fever early in the course of an infection, it is doing exactly what it has been designed for millions of years to do. That means the best thing you can do is not get in its way.

There are always exceptions to every statement and only you and your doctor will know the nuances of your particular metabolism.  There are specific signs and symptoms associated with fever which require immediate medical attention. What I am trying to dissuade you from is the knee jerk reaction to treat the fever.  You’re not necessarily treating the illness, instead you are blunting your immune response. In most cases, fever is one of the best tools in our immune toolbox.

Unfortunately, many of us have been conditioned to immediately reduce our temperatures at first sign of an increase.  We’ve even included the quasi-medical terminology of “low-grade fever” which generously includes any temperature deviation between 98.7F up to 100.4F.  The accepted medical definition of a fever is a body temperature of greater than 100.4F. Normal body temperature is defined as a static 98.6F but this is a dynamic number which may deviate for a variety of reasons—an activated immune system being only one possible explanation.

Also, I should make an important disclaimer: This article isn’t intended to guide you in how to treat yourself if you think you are sick—particularly in today’s world of pandemic viruses. I don’t know you or your general health. If you are seeking medical advice, get it from your doctor, preferably one who also understands and incorporates the important role of your body’s immune system.

Sauna Science

That said, just as fever is a critical way your body fights infection, the Finnish sauna and its other cultural equivalents reveal another treatment course, though one largely unavailable to people in the United States, especially during the pandemic. (Hot baths can work as well, but because water is on the skin, getting it too hot can cause burns. This makes it is not as effective at raising body temperature safely.)

This practice involves spending time in an extremely hot sauna with temperatures upwards of 200F followed by a rapid cool down by plunging into cold water or even snow in some cases.

This practice has long been considered beneficial to health in the Finnish culture. While similar practices are also followed in Russia, Japan, and Korea, I am focusing on the Finnish sauna simply because of its high rate of use by its people. In a nation of about 5.5 million people, there are roughly 2 million saunas.

A thirty-year-old study from the Annals of Medicine looked at sauna bathing and the incidence of common cold, which non-COVID-19 varieties of coronavirus are frequently responsible for. They found that the group of people who regularly used saunas had half the incidence of the common cold over the three month period that they followed them for in the study than the non-sauna users.

In a study from 1999 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that acute cold exposure also had an immune-stimulating effect. That effect was specifically seen on monocytes, NK cells and other immune cells and proteins that are all known to be key players in the innate immune response.

Looking at the latest COVID-19 data, Finland has far more favorable COVID-19 numbers than its other Nordic counterparts of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Finland’s total COVID-19 caseload per million people at nearly half and its death rate per million people is nearly one third when compared to other Nordic countries. Interestingly, when we look at these same epidemiological metrics for Russia, Japan, and Korea, they are also more favorable than their geographic neighbors.

My comparison here is far from a scientific study. There are many confounding factors that could explain these differences. But it is food for thought. The scientific data on immune response from increasing core body temperature clearly shows improvements in the particular immune cell which the COVID-19 virus is known to suppress early in its disease course. Whether that increase in core temperature is produced internally from fever or externally from sauna, the effect is essentially the same. When compounded by the additional immune-stimulating effect of acute cold exposure, the impact of spurring the immune system to action can be even more pronounced.

So the next time you think you may be coming down with something, don’t fight against your own immune system.  That fever may actually be helping you. From a preventative lifestyle perspective, you can replicate this elegant immune response. This seems to be something the Finns, Russians, Japanese, and Koreans have known for centuries. This might even partly explain why many of us crave a hot bath when we’re under the weather.

Armen Nikogosian, M.D., practices functional and integrative medicine at Southwest Functional Medicine in Henderson, Nev. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine and the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs. His practice focuses on the treatment of complex medical conditions with a special emphasis on autism spectrum disorder in children, as well as chronic gut issues and autoimmune conditions in adults.

BREAKING: U.S. Deaths by Covid-19 are lower than reported

Feds classifying all coronavirus patient deaths as ‘COVID-19’ deaths, regardless of cause

The federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.

“The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

Asked whether the numbers could skew data the government is trying to collect, Birx said that would mostly apply more to rural areas where testing isn’t being implemented on a wide scale.

“I’m pretty confident that in New York City and New Jersey and places that have these large outbreaks and COVID-only hospitals. … I can tell you they are testing,” she said.

Dr. Michael Baden, a Fox News contributor, said it’s reasonable to include the death of someone infected with the virus, who also had other health issues, in the COVID-19 body count.

Dr. Birx says anyone who dies with COVID-19 (regardless of other health issues) is counted as COVID death.

That’s dumb.

Worse, CDC doesn’t require TESTS to confirm COVID before it’s coded as COVID death. If symptoms are present… that’s enough. Crazy.

“In the normal course, autopsies would then determine whether the person died of the effects of the COVID virus, whether the person had a brain tumor or brain hemorrhage for example that might be unrelated to it and what the relative significance of both the infection and the pre-existing disease is,” Baden told Fox News.

However, the number of autopsies being performed could be low due to the danger of infection, he said.

“Then you will include in those numbers some people who did have a pre-existing condition that would have caused death anyway, but that’s probably a small number,” Baden said.

The United States had 398,185 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday night, including more than 12,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

ALERT! 3 Ways Criminals are Exploiting Consumers during Coronavirus Outbreak

Recent reporting from multiple sources indicates an increase in financial fraud schemes, as scammers have seized upon the ever-growing demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)a to target healthcare providers and the general public. Many of the schemes attempt to capitalize on high demand, low supply PPE such as N95 (NIOSH)-approved respirator masks, which are among the required PPE for healthcare personnel responding to COVID-19.

  1. When ordering PPE from online retailers, always verify the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and confirm “https” in the web address, as a lack of a security certification (“https”) may be an indicator that the site is insecure or compromised
  2. Consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) NIOSH website to view a list of all NIOSH approved manufacturers of N95 respirator masks and validate approval and certification numbers.
  3. Confirm N95 respirator mask approval status and certification numbers using the NIOSH flyer (Figure 1), the NIOSH website, or the CDC website, which includes examples of identified counterfeit or unapproved N95 respirator masks.

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/default.html

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/counterfeitResp.html

As of 11 March 2020, many large U.S. retailers and suppliers have sold out of their N95 respirator mask inventories and are now warning consumers against the rise of counterfeit versions. A survey of safety masks and respirators on one U.S. e-commerce platform found at least one hundred product listings that were counterfeit or unapproved.

If you believe your organization has purchased counterfeit PPE or COVID-19 testing kits, or were the victim of a fraud or scam, please contact your local FBI Field Office and report details regarding this incident to the Internet Crimes Complaints Center at IC3.gov and/or the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at IPRCenter.gov.

NIOSH website at https://cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/default.html