Letters to the Editor – July/August 2015Vitality Magazine July 1, 2015
Reader Searches for a Complementary Medicine Doctor
(Re: ‘The Perils of Being a Patient’ article by Helke Ferrie in June 2015 issue: http://tinyurl.com/nq8nhtx)
I wanted to let you know about a reader who called us to complain because she took the advice at the end of your ‘Perils of Being a Patient’ article, but hit a brick wall. At the end of your article, in the Resources section, it says: “Find a doctor: OMA Section for Complementary Medicine (http://www.oma.org). The reader said she phoned the OMA to ask about this section, and they angrily said that no such complementary section exists. Furthermore, it seems that they have received many phone calls in this regard.
~ Julia Woodford
Helke Ferrie responds:
The Ontario Medical Association used to have among its many specialty sections one devoted to complementary and alternative medicine. It was founded close to two decades ago by Dr. Linda Rapson, a pain and acupuncture specialist in Toronto. The CAM section now no longer exists, partly because much of what was then considered ‘complementary’ or ‘alternative’, and therefore heretical, is now often part of regular medical practice and is increasingly taught in medical schools, especially at McMaster University.
My feature, ‘Sickness for Beginners‘, which appeared in the June 2015 issue of Vitality was originally published in this magazine some years ago and remains, in its essence, relevant today. It included that OMA Section on CAM. Today we have an excellent resource for readers looking for CAM-literate physicians in PRIM (People’s Right to Integrative Medicine http://peoplesrim.org), of which I am a co-founder. (See also Vitality’s March 2015 issue article ‘Vanessa’s Law’, written by PRIM executive David Carmichael (http://tinyurl.com/q4ebl3v). The MDs listed in the resources are all covered by OHIP.
However, as most people know, OHIP does not cover everything in standard or alternative medicine, and never has. Hence, as CAM doctors do not offer a conveyor belt practice, they must charge for essential alternative tests and the time-consuming history-taking which are absolutely necessary. Appropriate standard tests, most of which are covered by OHIP, are routinely done by these doctors as well.
One of the great developments springing from that original OMA-CAM section is that so many doctors have, over time, now become willing to be known as CAM practitioners. When Dr. Rapson founded that OMA section, none were willing to be listed in print; access to all of these doctors was by word-of-mouth only. I know this only too well, as I referred hundreds of people to them over the years. Their well-founded fear of arbitrary prosecution by the medical regulatory body, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), was a mighty deterrent. CAM practices, supported by standard medical literature, court decisions (Brett 1993), and confirmed by positive patient outcomes, were routinely prosecuted (google ‘Glasnost Report 2001’). The CPSO is still far from being current in its policies, but can no longer enforce an outdated status quo in the face of growing public demand for medicine that actually works. Nor can it ignore the flood of medical research revealing the ineffectiveness, tremendous harm, and the waste of public funds for which that status quo is responsible (see for example ‘Overkill‘ by Dr. A. Gawande in The New Yorker, May 11, 2015: http://tinyurl.com/ozjr2qq).
Medicare, however, has not kept up with these developments; it still primarily funds expensive and harmful medicine. Browse the PRIM website and download the excellent brochure ‘Safety First’ edited by Dr. Robert Banner. Download for free from www.helkeferrie.com, my ‘Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health‘ (http://tinyurl.com/neufmf7), and ‘Creative Outrage’ (http://tinyurl.com/n5syjxw), which trace this history and provide additional resources.
~ Helke Ferrie
Scientists Issue Health Warnings About Wireless Radiation
Scientists are a fairly conservative group of individuals who tend to shy away from giving interviews, writing for the popular press, and becoming politically involved with anything that might resemble activism. Yet, just last month, 200 scientists from 40 countries signed a petition calling on the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), and on other world leaders to adopt more stringent regulations for wireless radiation, and to issue precautionary health warnings to the public. Specifically, they requested that:
1) children and pregnant women be protected;
2) guidelines and regulatory standards be strengthened;
3) manufacturers be encouraged to develop safer technology;
4) utilities responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution, and monitoring of electricity maintain adequate power quality and ensure proper electrical wiring to minimize harmful ground current;
5) the public be fully informed about the potential health risks from electromagnetic energy and taught harm reduction strategies;
6) medical professionals be educated about the biological effects of electromagnetic energy and be provided training on treatment of patients with electromagnetic sensitivity;
7) governments fund training and research on electromagnetic fields and health that is independent of industry, and mandate industry cooperation with researchers;
8) media disclose experts’ financial relationships with industry when citing their opinions regarding health and safety aspects of EMF-emitting technologies; and
9) white-zones (radiation-free areas) be established.
Why did so many scientists, who do research in this field, sign this Appeal? Because our exposure to man-made radio frequency radiation from wireless technology is increasing exponentially; because a growing number of people are becoming ill with cancers, reproductive problems, and an illness called “electrohypersensitivity”; and because policy makers are ignoring the signs. If something is not done soon, we are headed for a health tsunami that will be much worse than the combined health effects of cigarettes, asbestos, and lead.
To date, 88 NGOs from 19 countries have signed a letter of support for this Appeal. Many of the NGOs are EMF advocacy groups and those advocating on behalf of children (http://www.iemfa.org).
Other groups wishing to support this Appeal can contact the President of The EMR Policy Institute in the U.S. at: JNewton@emrpolicy.org
Changing policy takes time. Until we have safer technologies and better guidelines, individuals have to take precautionary steps to minimize their exposure, and especially the exposure of children.
Magazines like Vitality, that deal with health, have a key role to play in bringing this information to their readers. Balanced reporting is important, but not with manufactured controversy that pits industry-paid spokespersons against scientists who are doing legitimate research in this field. Those scientists have spoken. It is now time for policy makers to act, and for the public to take exposure to radio frequency radiation from wireless devices seriously. Health is our greatest possession. Let’s protect it.
~ Dr. Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Havas is a signatory to the Appeal and is one of the scientists who helped draft the Appeal. For more information about the Appeal, visit emfscientist.org. Dr. Havas does research on the harmful effects of electrosmog and the beneficial effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields. Visit: www.magdahavas.com
MMR Vaccine Risks – The Debate Rages On
The April issue article, Measles Hysteria, written by Edda West (http://tinyurl.com/o7lzht2) is even worse than Helke Ferrie’s piece, The Illusion of Vaccine Safety (http://tinyurl.com/ofccbwk). Just one example: “A large Ontario study found that one in 168 children ended up in the emergency room after MMR vaccination. Several children died during the three year study period.” Nothing in that study mentioned the cause of death for those children, but Edda West attempts to connect those deaths to the MMR vaccine. There are many more shortcomings in that article.
I do feel that both authors are misleading readers and that your magazine is doing a disservice by publishing their opinions.
As regards the Kennedy book, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a lawyer with no education or credentials in the area of medicine, immunology, chemistry, or microbiology. My scepticism for his stance on vaccines has now turned into disdain because he had the insensitivity to compare immunization to a holocaust.
Margaret Krutow, Toronto
Edda West responds:
Regarding the large Canadian study that found that 1 in 168 children ended up in emergency rooms after MMR vaccination, and that several children died during the study period, Ms. Krutow should direct her question to the authors who chose a study design that specifically allowed them to discount fewer than six deaths if they occurred during the study period.
I’d advise Ms. Krutow to contact Dr. Kumanan Wilson, lead author, and put the following questions to him:
• How soon after being injected with MMR vaccine did the children die?
• Did they have any underlying medical disorders that put them at higher risk from vaccination?
• Were they seen in ER and/or admitted to hospital with an adverse reaction prior to their death?
• Were autopsies performed to determine cause of death?
Answers to these basic questions should have been disclosed in the study. But again, the authors chose a study design that allowed them to discount these deaths. By excluding vital information about these children’s deaths, the authors contribute to the sense of mistrust that a growing segment of Canadians have about the safety of the burgeoning vaccine schedule imposed on children today.
Furthermore, deaths following MMR vaccine and other vaccines are real, and are recognized by the medical industry, which is why the U.S. has a vaccine injury compensation system which to date has awarded more than $2.9 billion for disability and death: http://tinyurl.com/o7ztq37. This quarterly report from the U.S. Department of Justice provides insight into the range of vaccine-associated injuries (including death) that are being compensated in that country: http://tinyurl.com/o8slc7a
With the exception of the province of Quebec, Canada has no such vaccine injury compensation system.
A MedAlerts search of VAERS (U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events System) revealed that over the last ten years, over 100 people have died following receipt of measles-containing vaccines (http://tinyurl.com/mx64y5g) In the same time period, none have died of measles infection itself.
The National Vaccine Information Center in the U.S. provides a comparative analysis of the risks associated with measles and measles-containing vaccines. They report that “There have also been 329 deaths reported to VAERS in association with the MMR vaccine. However, the numbers of vaccine-related injuries and deaths reported to VAERS may not reflect the true number of serious health problems that develop after MMR vaccination.” Ms. Krutow can read more here: http://tinyurl.com/o7y9yjh
Ms. Krutow might also want to look at our recent Report on the state of vaccine adverse events reporting in Canada. Our investigative report found that vaccine adverse reaction data is largely inaccessible to the public. We can only surmise that this is because the government really doesn’t want people to know that, on average, there are over 4,000 vaccine adverse events reported to the (inexplicably dual) Canadian reporting system. She can read our detailed report here: http://tinyurl.com/paw458q
Unfortunately Canadians cannot search the CAEFISS database, the main repository of vaccine reaction reports held behind closed doors by the Public Health Agency of Canada, to determine how many people have suffered adverse reactions, or have died following vaccination. This data is hidden from the public and is only available through an Access to Information request. Ms. Krutow might be inspired to undertake such a project to determine for herself the reality of injuries and death following vaccination.
I also recommend she read this informative article about vaccine safety by Jamie Decoff-Jones, MD: http://tinyurl.com/nslywrz
Thank you for a great issue again. Regarding the Measles Hysteria article in your April 2015 issue, Edda West can’t be thanked enough for this extremely important piece of knowledge. We need to stand up and sound the alarm.
In Australia, the government punishes the parents of young children when they refuse to let their precious little ones get vaccinated: those “criminals” are excluded from governmental benefits, whatever that is. And the best way for the government to get rid of the old people might be: get your shot or you won’t get your pension anymore.
We live in an evil world and, if we do not warn the ‘sheeple’ who cannot run fast enough to get their free shot, then there is no future anymore for those who come after us. I’m doing my part as best I can. Having a daughter who was a vaccine victim too, from the cradle to high school, was the last straw.
H. Ruthard, Lisle, ON
Readers: To have your say, email email@example.com, or write to: Vitality Magazine, 356 Dupont Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5R 1V9