Aug 2, 2023 3-5PM ET
Wednesday on The Robert Scott Bell Show:
Scientific Publishing Is Hugely Profitable — It’s Also Highly Compromised and ‘Broken,’ Critics Say Problems that have plagued medical journals for decades include the failure of peer review, replication crisis, ghostwriting and the influence of Big Pharma. In 2004, Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet wrote, “Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.” More recently, Peter Gøtzsche, one of the founding fathers of the Cochrane Collaboration said, “The medical publishing system is broken. It doesn’t ensure that solid research which goes against financial interests can get published without any major obstacles.” Scientific publishing is now one of the most profitable businesses. Elsevier, for example, made $2.9 billion in annual revenue with a profit margin approaching 40%, rivaling that of Apple and Google. But despite these impressive numbers, trust in medical journals has diminished, and this has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Peer review fail Former editor of The BMJ, Richard Smith, once famously wrote, “Peer review is faith not evidence based, but most scientists believe in it as some people believe in the Loch Ness monster.” In a recent conversation with Smith, he explained why. “Peer review was thought to be at the heart of science — that is, who gets a grant or who gets a Nobel Prize — and I suppose it wasn’t until the 80s and 90s that somebody actually examined it — it was just sort of assumed to be a good thing,” said Smith.
Preprint Servers have Repeatedly Censored our Work on COVID-19 Policy Just out on the preprint server Zenodo, comes an analysis of every preprint that has come out of my laboratory at UC San Francisco. In it, we reveal a startling pattern of censorship and inconsistent standards from pre-print servers. Preprint servers appear to be playing politics. Specifically MedRxiv and SSRN have been reluctant to post articles critical of the CDC, mask and vaccine mandates, and the Biden administration’s health care policies. Preprint server are not supposed to be journals— they are not supposed to reject articles merely because the people running them disagree with the arguments within— and yet, the pattern below suggests they are inserting their biases into their practices. Ironically, two of them refused to post this article as well! Likely independent investigation is needed. As you can see, 38% of our submissions have been rejected or removed. Yet, these rejected articles have been eventually published and been downloaded massively. In fact, “The median number of downloads for a rejected/removed article that was later accepted by a different server was 4142 vs 300 for articles submitted and accepted without rejection or removal.” Moreover, the stated reasons for removal, are, pardon my french, bullshit. Not one of these articles has received any substantive rebuttal. All are consistent with scientific practices and norms, and similar papers not critical of the CDC or Biden administration have been accepted.
Special Guest Dr. Leyla Ali
Dr. Leyla Ali is a pharmacist for over 20 years, speaker, and the author of Off Balance, the American Way of Health, A Pharmacist’s Perspective on Why Drugs Don’t Work and the just released So You’ve Been Diagnosed with Cancer and Now You’re in a Panic Handbook. Over the years Dr. Leyla has had the opportunity to see how patients who take more and more medications over time get sicker and sicker. Now she wants to share the limitations of our medical system of doctors and drugs, and also share the many different alternatives for better health. Dr. Leyla currently teaches a weekly Deprescribing class to help members get off their medications and find better alternatives for an online telemedicine group. Her first book, Off Balance, the American Way of Health, A Pharmacist’s Perspective on Why Drugs Don’t Work, written in 2012, compares Western Medicine approach with holistic health practices, and has interviews of several individuals who were able to heal themselves from health conditions their doctors couldn’t treat. The COVID pandemic served to shine the light on what has been happening for years. Patients suffering with their health, on long-term medications, when they don’t need to; when there are often better and safer alternatives. With the upsurge in new cancer cases, Dr. Leyla is happy to share her new book on cancer that should provide options and empower patients to make thoughtful choices. She was inspired to write this booklet after years of seeing cancer patients in fear and panic while making important decisions for their health. This was very unsettling as Dr. Leyla knows there are safer and more holistic approaches that could better serve the many struggling with cancer. She is also working on creating a cancer course (coming soon) to help those who want to prevent or treat cancer. Dr. Leyla is proud to be working alongside Frank Cousineau and the Cancer Control Society in the creation of her booklet. Their work has played an instrumental role in gathering the information she has shared. The booklet serves to continue to share their message, as well as a practical guide so readers can make informed decisions during difficult or stressful times of a cancer diagnosis.
Not ‘if’ but ‘when’: Antibiotic resistance poses existential threat for modern medicine In some ways, Melanie Lawrence is living a future that awaits us all. She’s resistant to nearly every antibiotic and allergic or intolerant to the rest. Now when she gets an infection, which she does every few months, she has to hope her immune system can fight it without much help from modern medicine. Despite more than a century of antibiotic research and development, the world is quickly running out of these lifesaving drugs. Antibiotics, either found in nature or developed intentionally, are designed to kill bacteria. But bacteria have been evolving for more than 3 billion years and have learned to change themselves to survive. The more we use them, the more they adapt. In 2019, the last year for which data is available, more than 2.8 million Americans had antimicrobial-resistant infections and more than 35,000 died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide, deaths already top 5 million a year and are expected to grow into the tens of millions within a few decades. “We are truly right now in the midst of this crisis,” Brenda Wilson, a professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois said in a recent American Society for Microbiology talk.
Just Who Caused this Polarization? There’s been much talk in the Mainstream Media recently about how democracy is under threat from the increasing “Polarization” of society. This Polarization – so the story goes – is caused by Social Media, which creates “bubbles” of largely anonymous individuals who share the same opinions. Isolated in their virtual echo chambers, they have lost the ability to debate calmly and rationally with those who have different opinions, but can only hurl abuse and shout them down. This threatens democracy, which is based on reasoned adversarial debate to reach a compromise both sides can accept. To save democracy – so the theory goes – governments need the power to control social media, stamp out disinformation and hate speech, and force anonymous individuals to reveal their identities and be held responsible for their crimes. So far so good, except for one small fly in the ointment which the Mainstream wants to forget. The Polarization began many years before Social Media or the Internet were even a twinkle in their inventor’s eyes. It was government ministers who started it, and the Mainstream Media who have nurtured it ever since. Back in the Good Old Days, TV and radio discussions were balanced like old-school debates, with speakers of equal standing arguing opposite sides of an issue. The only exceptions were government ministers, who could refuse to grace the programme with their lofty presence unless they were faced with only an interviewer asking pre-arranged questions, vetted in advance by the ever-growing band of ministerial minders.
Half the population to have a mental health disorder by 75, global study finds A global study co-led by researchers from The University of Queensland and Harvard Medical School has found one in two people will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Professor John McGrath from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, Professor Ronald Kessler from Harvard Medical School, and their colleagues from 27 other countries, analyzed data from more than 150,000 adults across 29 countries between 2001 and 2022, taken from the largest ever coordinated series of face-to-face interviews—the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey initiative. Lead author Professor McGrath said the results demonstrate the high prevalence of mental health disorders, with 50 per cent of the population developing at least one disorder by the age of 75. “The most common were mood disorders such as major depression or anxiety,” Professor McGrath said. “We also found the risk of certain mental disorders differed by sex.”The research also found mental health disorders typically first emerge in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. “The peak age of first onset was at 15 years old, with a median age of onset of 19 for men and 20 for women,” Professor McGrath said. “This lends weight to the need to invest in basic neuroscience to understand why these disorders develop.” Professor Kessler said investment was also needed in mental health services with a particular focus on young people. “Services need to be able to detect and treat common mental disorders promptly, and be optimized to suit patients in these critical parts of their lives,” Professor Kessler said.
Errors in disease diagnosis lead to nearly 800,000 deaths, disabilities in US each year: study Misdiagnoses in the U.S. lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and major disabilities each year, according to a recent report from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. Each year, an estimated 795,000 Americans become permanently disabled or die due to a misdiagnosis, the study found. It was published in The BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical trade journal. The top five misdiagnosed conditions were stroke, sepsis, pneumonia, venous thromboembolism (formation of a blood clot in a vein) and lung cancer — which together made up 38.7% of all cases. More than half of all serious harm cases were made up of only 15 dangerous diseases, which led researchers to believe the issue may be more manageable than expected. Study co-author Dr. David Newman-Toker, a neurology professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence, told Fox News Digital in an interview how he and his team determined the number of affected people. The “very simple” math, he said, included tallying up the total number of dangerous disease cases — such as heart attack, stroke, infections, vascular events and cancer — and multiplying that by both the error rate for each disease and the “risk of harm” associated with each error.
Drinking kombucha may reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, pilot trial suggests People with type 2 diabetes who drank the fermented tea drink kombucha for four weeks had lower fasting blood glucose levels compared to when they consumed a similar-tasting placebo beverage, according to results from a clinical trial conducted by researchers at Georgetown University’s School of Health, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and MedStar Health. This finding, from a pilot 12-person feasibility trial, points to the potential for a dietary intervention that could help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and also establishes the basis for a larger trial to confirm and expand upon these results. This finding was reported in Frontiers in Nutrition on August 1, 2023. Kombucha is a tea fermented with bacteria and yeasts and was consumed as early as 200 B.C. in China, but it did not become popular in the U.S. until the 1990s. Its popularity has been bolstered by anecdotal claims of improved immunity and energy and reductions in food cravings and inflammation, but proof of these benefits has been limited. “Some laboratory and rodent studies of kombucha have shown promise and one small study in people without diabetes showed kombucha lowered blood sugar, but to our knowledge this is the first clinical trial examining effects of kombucha in people with diabetes,” says study author Dan Merenstein, M.D., professor of Human Sciences in Georgetown’s School of Health and professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “A lot more research needs to be done but this is very promising.”