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Canadian researchers take scalpel to opioid prescribing for surgical patients

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With the recognition that physician prescribing plays a significant role in Canada’s opioid crisis, a team of researchers has developed a program called STOP Narcotics to dramatically reduce the amount of painkillers patients are given following some common operations.

In a study presented Wednesday at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Boston, researchers from Western University showed that the STOP Narcotics protocol halved the amount of opioids prescribed after two types of outpatient surgery, while still adequately treating most patients’ post-operative pain.

“By significantly reducing the amount of opioids prescribed, this decreases the exposure risk and potential for misuse of narcotic medication,” said lead author Dr. Luke Hartford, a general surgery resident at the London, Ont., university.

“This also decreases excess medication available to be diverted to individuals for whom it was not intended,” he said, noting that the STOP Narcotics program includes a combination of patient and health provider education, with an emphasis on non-opioid pain control.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, involved 416 patients at London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care, who underwent either laparoscopic gallbladder removal or open hernia repair.

Roughly half the patients were randomly assigned either to a control group, which received a standard prescription for opioids, or to the STOP Narcotics protocol group, which were prescribed acetaminophen and an anti-inflammatory drug to manage post-surgical pain for the first 72 hours after their operations.

Under the protocol, surgeons were instructed to write a 10-pill opioid prescription, which expired seven days after surgery. Patients were asked to fill this prescription only if they couldn’t achieve adequate pain control with the other drugs.

Opioids prescribed reduced by half

“Ninety per cent of the patients said that controlled their pain, they didn’t need the narcotics script filled,” said principal investigator Dr. Ken Leslie, chief of general surgery at London Health Sciences Centre.

Researchers found there was a 50 per cent reduction in the number of opioids prescribed by surgeons under the STOP Narcotics group, compared to the control group.

As well, just 45 per cent of patients in the protocol group filled their opioid prescription, compared to 95 per cent in the control group.

“So we not only decreased the amount we were prescribing in half, but we saw that [less than] half of patients were actually filling those prescriptions,” Hartford said, adding that only “a very small number” needed the opioids for additional pain control.

“We found that in our control group, as well, that even though patients were getting prescribed 20 to 30 tablets of opioid medication, they were only taking around seven of them,” he said.

People tend to hang on to extra opioids 

That’s why the STOP Narcotics initiative has another goal: to sharply limit the amount of unused opioids that can be diverted for recreational use, especially by young people who may come across them in the family medicine cabinet.

As part of the post-surgical program, patients were asked to return left-over opioids to their pharmacy or to the hospital for disposal. The researchers found the return rate was seven per cent among those in the control group versus 23 per cent among STOP Narcotics patients.

“It’s really hard to get people to give up something that they have at home,” said Leslie. “They hang onto to it just in case they have pain down the road.”

Surgeons often say they prescribe “plenty of pills” to ensure patients have enough on hand to control their pain — but also to avoid calls to their offices for renewals, Leslie said.

But the study found that renewal rates were low: 3.5 per cent for those initially prescribed opioids and 2.5 per cent for protocol patients.

“We recognized that before STOP Narcotics, every surgeon had a different approach to pain control and that most surgeons were prescribing more narcotics than are actually needed,” said Leslie. “When we looked at the data from this new protocol, we saw that the patient’s pain-control was just as good with this pathway, without a huge prescription for narcotics.”

Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, said the Western study isn’t the first to show that more prudent prescribing of post-surgical opioids can be beneficial for patients, but “it’s an important topic nevertheless.”

“There’s this increasing narrative that the opioid crisis is really about people with addiction who are dying by the thousands and that treatment of pain is not the problem,” said Juurlink, who was not involved in the study.

“And that’s not true … It is also to no small extent about how we manage acute and chronic pain.”

Juurlink said that every time a patient is given more opioids than they need — whether for chronic pain or for pain following surgery or dental work — they may be on the drugs longer than needed or the remaining tablets could stay in their medicine cabinet and offer a temptation to an experimenting teenager or to someone who might be at risk for addiction.

“So I think the more surgeons change their practice to this sort of model — not avoiding opioids but prescribing them more judiciously — the better off patients will be and society too.”

The Western researchers hope to expand the STOP Narcotics initiative beyond general surgery to other specialties, such as gynecology and orthopedics, and possibly for some in-patient operations as well.

The protocol has already been presented to a couple of southwestern Ontario hospitals, which have adopted it, and the researchers are scheduled to present the program elsewhere in the coming months.

Leslie said there are about 45,000 laparoscopic gallbladder-removal and open hernia-repair operations performed in Ontario each year, and applying STOP Narcotics to just these two surgeries alone would remove almost a million opioid tablets from circulation.

“Our message isn’t that narcotics or opioids are inherently bad,” added Hartford. “They’re great medications when used appropriately. But they also have significant side effects — constipation, nausea, confusion in older patients.

“They’re only one part of many things you can do to help someone’s pain after surgery.”

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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