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New study associates highly effective blood pressure medication with small risk of cancer

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A new study by Canadian researchers linking a widely used class of blood pressure medications to a slightly increased chance of lung cancer highlights the balance doctors must achieve in evaluating risks versus benefits — and then communicating them clearly to their patients so they can make the best decisions for their health.  

The study, published in the BMJ (formerly known at the British Medical Journal), focused on ACE inhibitors, which have been prescribed for decades to millions of patients to treat high blood pressure. ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors work by stopping the production of the angiotensin hormone, which can constrict blood vessels.

ACE inhibitors “have a great track record” both for effectively controlling blood pressure and for general safety, said study co-investigator Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and Toronto General Hospital.

Some researchers have long suspected there might also be an associated risk of lung cancer.

Udell and his fellow researchers wanted a more definitive answer, so they looked at almost one million patients in the U.K. who were treated with anti-hypertension drugs, including ACE inhibitors and their “cousin” class of drugs, called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). The two classes of drugs work in slightly different ways, but both block the blood vessel-constricting effects of angiotensin.

The study found a small but statistically significant association between taking ACE inhibitors and developing lung cancer. To put the risk into context, Udell said, they saw four cases of lung cancer per 1,000 patients followed for 10 years.

There was no observed association with lung cancer among those taking ARBs.

‘Dealer’s choice’ between two drugs

The results are worth considering, Udell said, because current Canadian cardiovascular guidelines effectively take a “dealer’s choice” approach to whether doctors should prescribe ACE inhibitors or ARBs.

“Although the doses need to sometimes be modified because the molecules are a little bit different, you can essentially interchange these with very little or any side-effects,” Udell said.

Udell says he has patients on ACE inhibitors who have already contacted him about the study, and he stressed that there is no need to panic — the next time they come in for an appointment they can discuss whether switching medications is appropriate.  

“On an individual basis we’re talking about such a small increase in risk,” he said. “We’ve got a while that we can sort this out.”

‘Don’t know if I’m convinced’

But another cardiologist who works with Udell  — but was not involved in the study — isn’t sure the findings warrant changing his patients’ blood pressure medication.

“I don’t know if I’m convinced as of yet,” said Dr. Sacha Bhatia. “You really have to, as a clinician, weigh the risks and benefits.”

Bhatia would like to see more investigation to address some of the limitations of the study, he said — including whether other factors could have contributed to the lung cancer risk, such as frequency of smoking.

(The researchers did factor in whether patients were smokers or non-smokers, but Bhatia said there’s a continuum to consider between someone who never smoked and someone who is a regular smoker.)

In addition, although many experts consider ARBs and ACE inhibitors to be equivalent, Bhatia said, he believes ACE inhibitors are still the best choice when it comes to issues beyond blood pressure, including preventing heart attacks or heart failure in patients who have reduced cardiovascular function.

What he worries most about, Bhatia said, is that “patients are going to get super-scared and they’re going to say, ‘Well … is this drug going to cause cancer?’ And I think what we would say is … the absolute risk, in fact, is very, very small.

“There is a reason that these patients are on these drugs in the first place, which is that they actually prevent them from having really bad [cardiovascular] outcomes.”

Illustrate risk in a meaningful way

Helping patients make sense of medical studies like this one, and putting risks and benefits into perspective, requires doctors to evaluate complex research statistics and distil them into useful information, said Dr. Kimberly Wintemute, a family physician at Toronto’s North York General Hospital.

When significant research studies yield new information about medication benefits and risks, “the right thing to do, and the ethical thing to do, is to have a conversation” with patients who take those drugs to help them make informed decisions, says family physician Dr. Kimberly Wintemute. (Submitted by Kimberly Wintemute)

That can mean translating often-misleading “relative risk” percentages into absolute numbers, said Wintemute, who is also co-lead of Choosing Wisely Canada — an organization that helps equip patients and their doctors to have informed conversations about medications.. Describing the risk of developing lung cancer as four in 1,000 people over 10 years in the ACE inhibitor study is an example of that. Showing the risk to a patient in a graphic (e.g., an illustration of how many individuals in a theatre full of people might be affected) is another way to do it.

Even though the cancer risk found in this study is very small, Wintemute will likely discuss it with her patients that are on ACE inhibitors because “it’s not for me to decide if that difference means something to my patient.”

“The right thing to do, and the ethical thing to do, is to have a conversation,” she said.

“If I had a 90-year-old patient, maybe they would say to me, ‘Look, I’m good on this medication. I feel good. I don’t have any symptoms … I don’t want to start, you know, tinkering now. And I would say I respect that.

“But there might be a patient who’s in their 40s and says, ‘You know, that information scares me. I want the other medication,'” she said.

“My duty …  is to give them the information in a way that’s easy to understand,” she said. “Which means first I have to understand it and then I have to present it in an understandable way.”

With files from Melanie Glanz


This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

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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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