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Make Vaccines Safe

  • Vaccines contain chemicals and other ingredients that are carcinogenic.

  • The biggest class of carcinogenic additives in vaccines are heavy metals with mercury being the most dangerous. Even minute amounts of mercury affect every system of the body: the endocrine, the neurological system, the digestive system, the epithelial tissue.

  • Antibodies that are stimulated by the body from vaccines are not always enough to provide lifelong protection from a disease. For example, people who had Chicken Pox often still get Shingles later in life.

  • Vaccines include foreign RNA and DNA from animals, aborted fetal tissue, formaldehyde, antifreeze-like compounds. If you added these same ingredients to a baby’s bottle you would be charged with attempted murder.

Gonorrhea Protection From Vaccine

Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine Bexsero reported to elicit antibodies to Neisseria Gonorrhea

December 21st, 2018 – New research indicates that the meningococcal B vaccine Bexero may offer cross-protection against gonorrhea.

Bexsero, which is FDA-approved to prevent invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B, for individuals 10 to 25 years of age, includes the MeNZB OMV component plus 3 recombinant antigens, NadA, fHBP-GNA2091 and NHBA-GNA1030.

This research found there is a high level of sequence identity between MeNZB OMV and Bexsero OMV antigens, and gonococcal proteins in test rabbits.

This study’s conclusion said ‘the anti-gonococcal antibodies induced by MeNZB-like OMV proteins could explain the previously seen decrease

And, the high level of anti-gonococcal-NHBA antibodies generated by Bexsero vaccination in humans may result in additional cross-protection against gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is the 2nd most commonly reported notifiable disease in the USA.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium.

N. gonorrhea infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and the urethra in women and men, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This new study builds on a 2017 report that the outer membrane vesicle (OMV) meningococcal B vaccine, MeNZB, was reported to be associated with reduced rates of gonorrhea following a mass vaccination campaign in New Zealand.

To probe the basis for this protection we assessed cross-reactivity to N. gonorrhea of serum raised to the meningococcal vaccine Bexsero, which contains the MeNZB OMV component plus three recombinant antigens (NadA, fHBP-GNA2091, and NHBA-GNA1030).

This new information is important since gonorrhea is becoming increasingly difficult due to widespread antibiotic resistance, says the CDC.

In 2017, 555,608 cases of gonorrhea were reported to CDC.

While vaccines are routinely used for N.meningitidis, no vaccine is available for N.gonorrhea.

“We have all the knowledge and technology to make a real gonorrhea vaccine,” said the producer of Bexero, GSK, in an interview during November 2018.

This study’s results may lead to human clinical trials.

These Australian researchers included Evgeny A Semchenko, Aimee Tan, ay Borrow, and Kate L Seib, Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

Finally we have an end to a war we should never have fought in Syria!

We Know How Trump’s War Game Ends
Matt Taibbi
December 21, 2018
Rolling Stone

Nothing unites our political class like the threat of ending our never-ending war

So we’re withdrawing troops from the Middle East.
GOOD!
What’s the War on Terror death count by now, a half-million? How much have we spent, $5 trillion? Five-and-a-half?
For that cost, we’ve destabilized the region to the point of abject chaos, inspired millions of Muslims to hate us, and torn up the Geneva Convention and half the Constitution in pursuit of policies like torture, kidnapping, assassination-by-robot and warrantless detention.
It will be difficult for each of us to even begin to part with our share of honor in those achievements. This must be why all those talking heads on TV are going crazy.
Unless Donald Trump decides to reverse his decision to begin withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, cable news for the next few weeks is going to be one long Scanners marathon of exploding heads.
“Today’s decision would cheer Moscow, ISIS, and Iran!” yelped Nicole Wallace, former George W. Bush communications director.
“Maybe Trump will bring Republicans and Democrats together,” said Bill Kristol, on MSNBC, that “liberal” channel that somehow seems to be populated round the clock by ex-neocons and Pentagon dropouts.
Kristol, who has rarely ever been in the ballpark of right about anything — he once told us Iraq was going to be a “two month war” — might actually be correct.
Trump’s decisions on Syria and Afghanistan will lay bare the real distinctions in American politics. Political power in this country is not divided between right and left, and not even between rich and poor.
The real line is between a war party, and everyone else.
This is why Kristol is probably right. The Democrats’ plan until now was probably to impeach Trump in the House using at minimum some material from the Michael Cohen case involving campaign-finance violations.
That plan never had a chance to succeed in the Senate, but now, who knows? Troop withdrawals may push a collection of hawkish Republicans like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse and maybe even Mitch McConnell into another camp.
The departure of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — a standard-issue Pentagon toady who’s never met an unending failure of a military engagement he didn’t like and whose resignation letter is now being celebrated as inspirational literature on the order of the Gettysburg Address or a lost epic by Auden or Eliot — sounded an emergency bell for all these clowns. The letter by Mattis, Rubio said:
“Makes it abundantly clear we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.”
Talk like this is designed to give political cover to Republican fence-sitters on Trump. That wry smile on Kristol’s face is, I’d guess, connected to the knowledge that Trump put the Senate in play by even threatening to pull the plug on our Middle Eastern misadventures.
You’ll hear all sorts of arguments today about why the withdrawals are bad. You’ll hear Trump has no plan, which is true. He never does, at least not on policy.
But we don’t exactly have a plan for staying in the Middle East, either, beyond installing a permanent garrison in a dozen countries, spending assloads of money and making ourselves permanently despised in the region as civilian deaths pile up through drone-bombings and other “surgical” actions.
You’ll hear we’re abandoning allies and inviting massacres by the likes of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If there was any evidence that our presence there would do anything but screw up the situation even more, I might consider that a real argument. At any rate, there are other solutions beyond committing American lives. We could take in more refugees, kick Turkey out of NATO, impose sanctions, etc.
As to the argument that we’re abandoning Syria to Russians — anyone who is interested in reducing Russian power should be cheering. If there’s any country in the world that equals us in its ability to botch an occupation and get run out on a bloody rail after squandering piles of treasure, it’s Russia. They may even be better at it than us. We can ask the Afghans about that on our way out of there.
The Afghan conflict became the longest military engagement in American history eight years ago. Despite myths to the contrary, Barack Obama did not enter office gung-ho to leave Afghanistan. He felt he needed to win there first, which, as anyone who’s read The Great Game knows, proved impossible. So we ended up staying throughout his presidency.
We were going to continue to stay there, and in other places, forever, because our occupations do not work, as everyone outside of Washington seems to understand.
TV talking heads will be unanimous on this subject, but the population, not so much. What polls we have suggest voters want out of the region in increasing numbers.
A Morning Consult/Politico poll from last year showed a plurality favored a troop decrease in Afghanistan, while only 5 percent wanted increases. Polls consistently show the public thinks our presence in Afghanistan has been a failure.
There’s less about how the public feels about Syria, but even there, the data doesn’t show overwhelming desire to put boots on the ground.
When Trump first ordered airstrikes in Syria over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, 70 percent favored sanctions according to Politico, while 39 percent favored sending troops. A CBS poll around that time found 45 percent wanted either no involvement period, or airstrikes and no ground troops, versus 18 percent who wanted full military involvement.
Trump is a madman, a far-right extremist and an embarrassment, but that’s not why most people in Washington hate him. It’s his foreign-policy attitudes, particularly toward NATO, that have always most offended DC burghers.
You could see the Beltway beginning to lose its mind back in the Republican primary race, when then-candidate Trump belittled America’s commitment to Middle Eastern oil states.
“Every time there’s a little ruckus, we send those ships and those planes,” he said, early in his campaign. “We get nothing. Why? They’re making a billion a day. We get nothing.”
As he got closer to the nomination, he went after neoconservative theology more explicitly.
“I don’t think we should be nation-building anymore,” he said, in March of 2016. He went on: “I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’re blown up. We build another one, we get blown up.”
Trump was wrong about a thousand other things, but this was true. I had done a story about how military contractors spent $72 million on what was supposed to be an Iraqi police academy and delivered a pile of rubble so unusable, pedestrians made it into a toilet.
The Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction noted, “We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate.”
SIGIR found we spent over $60 billion on Iraqi reconstruction and did not significantly improvelife for Iraqis. The parallel body covering Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, concluded last year that at least $15.5 billion had been wasted in that country between 2008 and 2017, and this was likely only a “fraction” of financial leakage.
Trump, after sealing the nomination, upped the ante. In the summer of 2016 he said he wasn’t sure he’d send troops to defend NATO members that didn’t pay their bills. NATO members are supposed to kick in 2 percent of GDP for their own defense. At the time, only four NATO members(Estonia, Poland, the U.K. and the U.S.) were in compliance.
Politicians went insane. How dare he ask countries to pay for their own defense! Republican House member Adam Kinzinger, a popular guest in the last 24 hours, said in July 2016 that Trump’s comments were “utterly disastrous.”
“There’s no precedent,” said Thomas Wright, a “Europe scholar” from the Brookings Institute.
When the news came after Trump’s election that he’d only read his intelligence briefings once a week instead of every day as previous presidents had dutifully done, that was it. The gloves were off at that point.
“The open disdain Trump has shown for the agencies is unprecedented,” said Patrick Skinner, a former CIA official for both George W. Bush and Obama.
All that followed, through today, has to be understood through this prism.
Trump dumped on basically every segment of the political establishment en route to Washington, running on a classic authoritarian strategy — bash the elites, pose as a populist.
However fake he was, there were portions of the political establishment that deserved abuse, the Pentagon most of all.
The Department of Defense has been a money pit for decades. It has trillions in expenditures it can’t account for, refused an audit for nearly 30 years and then failed this year (as in failed completely, zero-point-zero, not producing any coherent numbers) when one was finally funded.
We have brave and able soldiers, but their leaders are utter tools who’ve left a legacy of massacres and botched interventions around the world.
NATO? That’s an organization whose mission stopped making sense the moment the Soviet Union collapsed. We should long ago have repurposed our defense plan to focus on terrorism, cyber-crime and cyber-attacks, commercial espionage, financial security, and other threats.
Instead, we continued after the Soviet collapse to maintain a global military alliance fattened with increasingly useless carriers and fighter jets, designed to fight archaic forms of war.
NATO persisted mainly as a PR mechanism for a) justifying continued obscene defense spending levels and b) giving a patina of internationalism to America’s essentially unilateral military adventures.
We’d go into a place like Afghanistan with no real plan for leaving, and a few member nations like Estonia and France and Turkey would send troops to get shot at with us. But it was always basically Team America: World Police with supporting actors. No wonder so few of the member countries paid their dues.
Incidentally, this isn’t exactly a secret. Long before Trump, this is what Barney Frank was saying in 2010: “I think the time has come to reexamine NATO. NATO has become an excuse for other people to get America to do things.”
This has all been a giant, bloody, expensive farce, and it’s long since time we ended it.
We’ll see a lot of hand-wringing today from people who called themselves anti-war in 2002 and 2003, but now pray that the “adults in the room” keep “boots on the ground” to preserve “credibility.”
Part of this is because it’s Trump, but a bigger part is that we’ve successfully brainwashed big chunks of the population into thinking it’s normal for a country to exist in a state of permanent war, fighting in seven countries at once, spending half of all discretionary funding on defense.
It’s not. It’s insane. And we’ll never be a healthy society, or truly respected abroad, until we stop accepting it as normal.
Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. His most recent book is ‘I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,’ about the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police. He’s also the author of the New York Times bestsellers ‘Insane Clown President,’ ‘The Divide,’ ‘Griftopia,’ and ‘The Great Derangement.’

Veteran killed by Veteran’s Hospital policeman in Kansas City during routine traffic stop! Family suing for wrongful death

**Veteran died after confrontation at Kansas City VA hospital. Senators demand answers**

BY ANDY MARSO

DECEMBER 11, 2018 05:30 AM

A man named Dale Farhner died in May after a confrontation with Kansas City VA Medical Center police. The VA has declined to provide any information about his death.

Two U.S. senators are seeking answers about the death of a veteran following an altercation at the Kansas City \[VA Medical Center\]\[\]. VA officials have declined for months to provide information to The Star.

Dale Farhner of Kingston, Mo., died in May, and since then The Star has sought details about what happened. ButVA officials have withheld information, saying the matter remains under review.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, sent a joint letter to U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie last week, asking for answers.

“We certainly appreciate the requirements of an investigation, but hope that after over six months some initial information can be forthcoming,” the letter reads. “The health and well-being of our veterans have been among our highest shared priorities in Congress. Please release any information that can be made public regarding Mr. Farhner, and if not, please explain the reasons why.”

The Star received an anonymous tip that on May 10 Farhner had a confrontation with VA police outside the entrance to the medical center’s emergency department, at 4801 Linwood Blvd. The tipster said Farhner was comatose following the confrontation and was taken to the University of Kansas Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage.

The tipster said Farhner died May 12 at KU Hospital. That much is confirmed by \[online obituaries\]\[\], which said he was 66 and from Kingston. Efforts to reach his next-of-kin, as identified by his funeral home, were not successful.

**HELP LIFT A BURDEN FOR THOSE WHO SERVE**

Military families—even those with VA benefits—often face health care bills they can’t pay, raising their risk for depression, substance abuse and suicide.

That’s why we’ve launched The War Within Initiative to abolish millions in military medical debt. Every dollar our readers contribute to RIP Medical Debt, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, forgives $100 in unpaid medical bills.

The Star sought comment in May from Dwayne Rider, who was then the spokesman for the Kansas City VA Medical Center.

Rider responded via email on May 31, saying “due to privacy restrictions, we cannot release additional information at this time.”

The Star filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act that same day.

The VA responded on July 7 with an emailed letter saying it had identified “nine documents totaling 18 pages of written records, and one video, and one audio recording” relevant to the request.

But VA records manager Laura Hughes wrote that she was withholding all of it “based on the open/pending status of the Veterans Health Administration Office of Security & Law Enforcement review.”

“Due to the open/pending status the documents are pre-decisional to VHA’s findings and decision regarding this incident,” Hughes said. “Based upon the information available to me I believe release of the records could potentially impair the deliberative process as release of the pre-decisional document to the public would likely negatively impact a frank discussion on matters of policy between subordinates and supervisors.”

The Star lodged a formal appeal of that decision on July 20.

As of Monday, the VA’s appeals office had provided no response. Tracy Knight, an information specialist in the Washington, D.C., office of the VA’s general legal counsel, said she could give no time line for a decision.

“The attorney who’s working it has been in contact with his deputy and they’ve got to go back and forth and do some additional work,” Knight said.

On Monday, Kansas City VA staff once again rebuffed requests for comment on Farhner’s death.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office performed Fahrner’s autopsy, but Marshanna Hester, a spokeswoman for the office, said no information could be released because the case is still open.

“All documents prepared by and in the custody of the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office relating to this matter are investigative reports of a law enforcement agency and are thus closed records until the investigation becomes inactive,” Hester said Friday via email.

Kansas City VA policeman murders veteran during routine traffic stop

VA police kill man during traffic stop. The 66 year old veteran who recently had hernia surgery was thrown to the ground by a VA Policeman injuring his face and causing an artery to burst in the brain. The family is suing the VA for the wrongful death.

See the report below:

**USA Today: Veteran died after** **KC****VA** **police officer injured him during traffic stop | The Kansas City Star**

**USA Today: Veteran died after** **KC****VA** **police officer injured him during traffic stop**

[BY ANDY ][BY ANDY][MARSO][BY ANDY]

DECEMBER 14, 2018 05:02 PM,

UPDATED DECEMBER 14, 2018 07:57 PM

A 66-year-old military veteran died after he was injured by a Kansas City VA Medical Center police officer when a routine traffic stop went wrong in May, according to USA Today.

VA officials, citing an ongoing investigation, have refused for six months to release to The Star information about the [death of Kingston, ][death of Kingston_][Mo][death of Kingston_][., resident Dale ][death of Kingston_][Farhner][death of Kingston_].

But an [internal report leaked to USA Today][] says Farhner suffered gashes to his face and scalp after he was pulled to the ground by the police officer. He later died of a brain hemorrhage at University of Kansas Hospital.

[BY ANDY]: mailto:amarso@kcstar.com
[death of Kingston_]: https://www.kansascity.com/news/business/health-care/article222800675.html
[internal report leaked to USA Today]: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/14/exclusive-internal-va-report-details-veterans-encounter-police-death/2305707002/

Border Protest Against Militarization

Brant Rosen

I Witnessed the Horror of Border Militarization, and Vow to Fight It

I ‘ve just returned from the San Diego-Tijuana border where I had the honor of participating in “Love Knows No Borders” — an interfaith action sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and co-sponsored by a myriad of faith organizations from across the country. As a staffer for AFSC and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (one of the many co-sponsoring organizations), I took a special pride in this interfaith mobilization, in which more than 400 people from across the country gathered to take a moral stand against our nation’s sacrilegious immigration system. I’m particularly gratified that the extensive media from our action could shine a light on the brutal reality at our increasingly militarized southern border.

The date of the action (December 10) was symbolically chosen to take place on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and served as the kick off to a nationwide week of action that will conclude on December 18, International Migrant’s Day. The action set three basic demands before the US government: to respect people’s human right to migrate, to end the militarization of border communities, and to end the detention and deportation of immigrants.

Over the course of this past weekend, hundreds of participants streamed into San Diego for orientation and training. To conclude our preparation and as a precursor to the upcoming action, an interfaith service was held in the packed sanctuary of University Christian Church. As one of the Jewish leaders of the service, I noted that it was the eighth and final night of Hanukkah and invited the Jewish members of our delegation up to sing the blessings.

Before the lighting, I explained that the final night of Hanukkah is the night in which our light shines the brightest, and I pointed out the wonderful confluence of this Jewish festival with our interfaith action the following day. Rev. Tracie Blackmon, a United Church of Christ leader and prominent social justice activist, delivered one of the most powerful messages of the evening, properly placing the issue of immigrant justice within the context of US white supremacy.

Arrests at the Border
The next morning, we gathered at AFSC’s San Diego office and left in buses to Border Field State Park, located just north of the border with Tijuana. After a press conference, we marched west down the trail to the beach, then turned south and approached the border fence, which snaked across the beach and jutted several hundred feet into the water. As we got closer, we could see a tangle of barbed concertina wire laid out in front of the fence. Behind the wire stood a phalanx of heavily armed border police.

The action set three basic demands before the US government: to respect people’s human right to migrate, to end the militarization of border communities, and to end the detention and deportation of immigrants.
When we reached the edge of the wire, some of the clergy formed a semi-circle and offered blessings for the migrants. As the prayers were spoken aloud, the police used a megaphone to inform us that we were trespassing on federal property and that we needed to move to the back of the wire. I recited the Priestly Benediction in Hebrew and English (“May God bless you and keep you …”), doing my best to articulate the prayer between the voices of police barking out orders (a ceremonial first for me).

When our blessings were over, we went back to the other side of the barbed wire and those of us in front formed a line directly facing the guards. A policeman repeatedly told us to leave, adding that he did not want any violence — an ironic statement considering that he and the rest of the riot-gear clad border police wielded automatic weapons in front of our faces. We began to chant freedom chants and held the line, even as the police inched forward and started to push us back.

While we were careful not to touch any law enforcement officers, we continued to hold the line as the police pushed us forward. Eventually, protesters who did not yield were grabbed, pulled to the police side of the line and arrested. Most men were thrown to the ground and held down with their faces in the sand while their hands were bound together with plastic ties; women were generally allowed to kneel before they were led away from the beach to waiting police vans.

When we stood up to the line of armed border police, I couldn’t help but flash back to my very similar experience in Hebron.
As I continued to hold the line on the far west end of the front line, I noticed a commotion at the other end: Police had broken through the line and were chasing protesters down the beach. I saw one of our protest organizers, AFSC staffer Matt Leber, roughly thrown to the ground by at least five or six border police officers, handcuffed and led away. While Leber did not intend to take an arrest, this kind of intentional targeting of organizers is a common police tactic.

We learned later that Leber had been charged with felony assault against a federal officer. In video taken of the incident, however, you can see Leber (wearing the red T-shirt and backpack) guiding the protest when he is suddenly attacked, unprovoked, by the police who lunge at him and yank off his backpack. You can also see AFSC staffer Jacob Flowers (wearing the yellow vest) attempt to nonviolently de-escalate the situation by placing his body between Leber and the police before they throw him to the ground.

Shortly after Leber’s arrest, I dropped to my knees and was grabbed and pinned down by two border police officers. When it became clear that I wasn’t resisting, they allowed me to stand of my own accord and led me to the line of arrested protesters who were arrayed along a fence, waiting to be placed into police vans.

All told, 32 of us were arrested and charged with the misdemeanor of “nonconformity to the orders of a Federal Law Enforcement officer.” After we were cited and released, we learned that Leber had been charged with felony assault of a law enforcement officer. When a day went by with no further word, AFSC released a statement calling for his immediate release. To our collective relief, Leber was eventually let out later on Tuesday afternoon and the charges against him were dropped.

The True Meaning of Border Militarization
During our debrief, many noted the ferocity of the border guard’s response to our prayerful, nonviolent demonstration. Many of us — in particular the white, privileged members of our delegation — agreed that we had gained a deeper sense of empathy and solidarity with our migrant neighbors, a stronger understanding of the toxic effects of militarization on our border communities, and a more profound conviction than ever that we must all fight for a nation that receives immigrants with open hearts and open doors.

This experience also served to demonstrate what “militarization of the border” truly means. My friend and fellow Jewish Voice for Peace member Elaine Waxman put it well when she wrote about our experience on her Facebook page:

What has stuck with me most in the last 24 hours is a deeply uncomfortable sense of what that border surely looks like when the witnesses are gone, the journalists are not taking pictures, and the encounters are with migrants instead of documented (and often white) community leaders. Because what we saw yesterday looks like a police state.

Indeed, when we stood up to the line of armed border police, I couldn’t help but flash back to my very similar experience in a direct action with Youth Against Settlements during the summer of 2006 in Hebron. In both cases we faced heavily armed soldiers, the loud screaming of orders, and the use of the threat of violence to intimidate and deter those who do not yield to state control.

Clergy demonstrators hold the line at the San Diego-Tijuana border fence.

I also noticed another, more specific similarity between these two experiences. When I stood in front of the border guards on the beach, I noticed familiar tear gas canisters belted across their chests. I’d seen the same on soldiers throughout the West Bank and Gaza: silver cylinders with blue writing manufactured by Combined Tactical Systems in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

Seeing those same canisters at the US-Mexico border reminded me of the multiple intersections between systems of state violence and corporate profit – and of the need for a movement that will expose and dismantle them once and for all.

Study links frequent red meat consumption to high levels of chemical associated with heart disease

NEWS RELEASES
Monday, December 10, 2018

Findings reveal tripling of blood levels of TMAO from red meat diet, but dietary effects can be reversed

Researchers have identified another reason to limit red meat consumption: high levels of a gut-generated chemical called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), that also is linked to heart disease. Scientists found that people who eat a diet rich in red meat have triple the TMAO levels of those who eat a diet rich in either white meat or mostly plant-based proteins, but discontinuation of red meat eventually lowers those TMAO levels.

TMAO is a dietary byproduct that is formed by gut bacteria during digestion and is derived in part from nutrients that are abundant in red meat. While high saturated fat levels in red meat have long been known to contribute to heart disease—the leading cause of death in the United States—a growing number of studies have identified TMAO as another culprit. Until now, researchers knew little about how typical dietary patterns influence TMAO production or elimination.

The findings suggest that measuring and targeting TMAO levels—something doctors can do with a simple blood test—may be a promising new strategy for individualizing diets and helping to prevent heart disease. The study was funded largely by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. It will be published Dec. 10 in the European Heart Journal, a publication of the European Society of Cardiology.

“These findings reinforce current dietary recommendations that encourage all ages to follow a heart-healthy eating plan that limits red meat,” said Charlotte Pratt, Ph.D., the NHLBI project officer for the study and a nutrition researcher and Deputy Chief of the Clinical Applications & Prevention Branch, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, NHLBI. “This means eating a variety of foods, including more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, and plant-based protein sources such as beans and peas.”

“This study shows for the first time what a dramatic effect changing your diet has on levels of TMAO, which is increasingly linked to heart disease,” said Stanley L. Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. “It suggests that you can lower your heart disease risk by lowering TMAO.”

Hazen estimated that as many as a quarter of middle-aged Americans have naturally elevated TMAO levels, which are made worse by chronic red meat consumption. However, every person’s TMAO profile appears to be different, so tracking this chemical marker, Hazen suggested, could be an important step in using personalized medicine to fight heart disease.

For the study, researchers enrolled 113 healthy men and women in a clinical trial to examine the effects of dietary protein—in the form of red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources—on TMAO production. All subjects were placed on each diet for a month in random order. When on the red meat diet, the participants consumed roughly the equivalent of about 8 ounces of steak daily, or two quarter-pound beef patties. After one month, researchers found that, on average, blood levels of TMAO in these participants tripled, compared to when they were on the diets high in either white meat or non-meat protein sources.

While all diets contained equal amounts of calories, half of the participants were also placed on high-fat versions of the three diets, and the researchers observed similar results. Thus, the effects of the protein source on TMAO levels were independent of dietary fat intake.

Importantly, the researchers discovered that the TMAO increases were reversible. When the subjects discontinued their red meat diet and moved to either a white meat or non-meat diet for another month, their TMAO levels decreased significantly.

The exact mechanisms by which TMAO affects heart disease is complex. Prior research has shown TMAO enhances cholesterol deposits into cells of the artery wall. Studies by the researchers also suggest that the chemical interacts with platelets—blood cells that are responsible for normal clotting responses—in a way that increases the risk for clot-related events such as heart attack and stroke.

TMAO measurement is currently available as a quick, simple blood test first developed by Hazen’s laboratory. In recent published studies, he and his colleagues reported development of a new class of drugs that are capable of lowering TMAO levels in the blood and reducing atherosclerosis and clotting risks in animal models, but those drugs are still experimental and not yet available to the public.

The study was supported by grants from the NHLBI and the Office of Dietary Supplements (HL103866, HL126827, HL106003, HL130819) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK106000). The study was also supported by UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Unit.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892

The Unjust Attacks on Dr. Lamont Hill

David Palumbo-Liu
December 4, 2018

The attacks are a threat to academic freedom and the criticism of Israeli human-rights abuses. CNN should immediately reinstate its former commentator; it should not cave in to the idea that criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic or hate speech.

The attacks are a threat to academic freedom and the criticism of Israeli human-rights abuses. CNN should immediately reinstate its former commentator; it should not cave in to the idea that criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic or hate speech.

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill giving the keynote address at Newark City Hall for the the 29th annual Sing in Praise of King on January 26, 2017., Flickr / Flisadam Pointer // The Nation

Marc Lamont Hill is a Temple University professor and was, until last week, a commentator for CNN. One of his comments during a speech at the United Nations has been wrenched out of context in order to punish him and to signal to others that such speech is going to bring about similar results. This is abhorrent and wrong. The reaction of his university trustees is especially troubling and signals a serious threat to academic freedom.

On November 29, CNN cut its ties with Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of media studies at Temple University who had been a regular contributor to the network, because of comments he made at the United Nations a day earlier as part of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is not a new event—it began in 1977 and has taken place every year since. As part of his address, Hill included a call “to not just offer solidarity in words” but “to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

Within hours of his remarks, a firestorm had erupted, with anger focused in particular on those last nine words, “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” Several pro-Israel groups, including the Anti-defamation League (ADL), heard in them the old PLO slogan and interpreted them to mean that Hill advocates the destruction of the state of Israel. In an op-ed published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hill forcefully rejected that interpretation:

My use of “river to the sea” was an invocation of a long history of political actors—liberal and radical, Palestinian and Israeli—who have called for their particular vision of justice in the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. For many, justice will come from a two-state solution. For some, like me, justice will come through a single bi-national democratic state that encompasses Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. I strongly believe that this is the best method to achieve peace, safety, security, and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians. Justice requires that everyone, not just a single side, is free and equal.

This explanation, however, has not satisfied Hill’s critics, some of whom are keying in on the very idea of a “free Palestine.” Those two words alone are anathema to those who can only see that geopolitical space as designating the State of Israel, as declared in its recent Basic Law, which effectively erases the Palestinians altogether. Nor are they mollified by the idea of a binational state, organized around the principle of equality for all inside its borders. As a recent JTA news brief intoned: “Israel’s government and many Jews regard the call for a single binational state as a euphemism for a political, if not violent, rejection of Jewish sovereignty.”

Given the occasion for Hill’s speech, it is not surprising that he said what he did, with the meaning he intended. Nor is it altogether surprising that a number of pro-Israel groups have used the incident to once again make the argument that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism in action. It is not—and the equation of the two terms simply means no one can criticize Israel’s ethno-nationalist project and the manners in which it deprives the Palestinians of their internationally recognized human rights. The fact that this has simply led to more violence is exactly what Hill is concerned about.

The criticism of Hill has now extended from one employer to another—his university. As much as I detest its decision, CNN was within its rights to fire Hill. Freedom of speech does not apply in this situation, and we have seen numerous other instances of media figures being dismissed because their speech or behavior has offended their corporate-media bosses. But this no doubt helped fuel the chain reaction that led Hill’s university president to make a public statement against him, after which the chair of Temple University’s Board of Trustees quickly followed suit.

Each of these statements is problematic for different reasons. As reported by The Temple News, the school’s President Richard Englert “said the university condemns hate speech and reiterated that Hill’s comments do not reflect the university’s beliefs.… He called the university a place of ‘divergent points of view,’ and condemned anti-Semitic language.” The problem with this language is that it accepts prima facie the idea that Hill’s statements were anti-Semitic hate speech, and again, this is where CNN’s actions were instrumental in establishing that impression. There was no hearing, investigation, faculty committee discussion, as to whether or not Hill’s utterances met the criteria for either anti-Semitic or hate speech.

What does this tell us? It tells us that Hill’s university administration is quite willing to rush out a declamatory statement to appease offended parties when those parties have political clout, and that due process is in their view a nicety.

Patrick O’Connor, president of Temple’s Board of Trustees, readily accepted the labels of hate speech and anti-Semitism, and stated that Hill’s speech “blackens our name unnecessarily” (a curious phrase which, if we are going to parse language, raises its own troubling set of questions). And O’Connor added, “I’m not happy. The board’s not happy. The administration’s not happy. People wanted to fire him right away…. We’re going to look at what remedies we have.”

While O’Connor’s statement leaves open the possibility of “remedies” other than firing, it is nonetheless telling that he leads with the issue of the school’s name—its branding—and it’s difficult not to imagine that thought flashed through Englert’s mind as well. That is to be expected. It is in fact the job of university presidents and boards of trustees to protect the name of their institution—their role is that of fiduciaries. But—and here is the most important thing to bear in mind—their job is not to punish professors for their extramural speech. That belief has long been established by the American Association of University Professors. Thus, while the trustees can express their displeasure as much as they wish, the “remedies” they are likely to consider would be a serious breach of their responsibilities. After all, they are trustees of a university, not (at least for now) a corporation.

Marc Lamont Hill was invited to speak before the United Nations on the International day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He delivered a passionate and well-reasoned speech based on his deep understanding of the issues and his longstanding work for Palestinian rights. All this uproar is just another example of what has been called the “Palestine Exception”: If this were a day celebrating any other people and advocating for their rights, nothing would have happened.

It is time for the attacks on Hill to stop. CNN should immediately reinstate its former commentator; it should not cave in to the idea that criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic or hate speech. And Temple University should remind itself of the proper role of administrators and trustees, and the way our profession has committed itself to due process and academic freedom.

[David Palumbo-Liu is the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor at Stanford.]

INTERPRET THE WORLD AND CHANGE IT

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?


Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system.

This leads to weakness, numbness, and tingling. It can eventually cause paralysis.

The cause of this condition is unknown, but it’s typically triggered by an infectious illness, such as the stomach flu or a lung infection.

Guillain-Barré is rare, affecting only about 1 in 100,000 Americans, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

There’s no cure for the syndrome, but treatment can reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.

There are multiple types of Guillain-Barré, but the most common form is acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP). It results in damage to myelin.

Other types include Miller Fisher syndrome, which affects the cranial nerves.

What causes Guillain-Barré syndrome?
The precise cause of Guillain-Barré is unknown.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two-thirds of people with Guillain-Barré develop it soon after they’ve been sick with diarrhea or a respiratory infection.

This suggests that the disorder may be triggered by an improper immune response to the previous illness. Learn more about autoimmune disease here.

Campylobacter jejuni infection has been associated with Guillain-Barré. Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrhea in the United States. It’s also the most common risk factor for Guillain-Barré.

Campylobacter is often found in undercooked food, especially poultry.

The following infections have also been associated with Guillain-Barré:

influenza
cytomegalovirus, which is a strain of the herpes virus
Epstein-Barr virus infection, or mononucleosis
mycoplasma pneumonia, which is an atypical pneumonia caused by bacteria-like organisms
HIV or AIDS
Anyone can get Guillain-Barré, but it’s more common among older adults.

In extremely rare cases, people can develop the disorder days or weeks after receiving a vaccination.

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have systems in place to monitor the safety of vaccines, detect early warning signs of side effects, and record any cases of Guillain-Barré that develop following a vaccination.