Revising Darwin: The Real Origin of Homo Sapiens1 month, 7 days ago
By Deepak Chopra, MD
The story of life on Earth owes a great deal to Charles Darwin, and even though few people today read his epoch-making 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, without a doubt we live in a Darwinian world. Revolutionary ideas are subject to change, and when they go viral, as Darwinism did with a vengeance, many unexpected consequences result.
The crudest misuse of Darwin’s theory of evolution are contained, ironically enough, in phrases Darwin never uttered: “survival of the fittest,” ”the law of the jungle,” and “Nature red in tooth and claw.” These notions have been enormously influential. They turn evolution into a winner-take-all competition ruled by the violent opposition of predatory and prey.
Survival of the fittest, when applied to human society, celebrated the rich and powerful as evolutionarily superior. It justified the prejudice that the poor deserve to be poor because they are unfit (i.e., weak, stupid, genetically inferior). Racism and genocide have looked to Darwinism as an excuse to “purify” whole populations through means ranging from forced sterilization to mass murder. Oppressing workers in the worst periods of the Industrial Revolution also looked to Darwin for (false) justification.
Yet these excesses are not the major effects of Darwinism. The major effects consist of truisms that millions of people believe in; they have become the official story of how Homo sapiens evolved. Hardly anyone today can talk about our species without accepting the following premises:
Humans are higher primates that developed immense brains through the necessity to survive.
Genes tell the story of life. The random mutation of genes created the physical, mental, and behavioral features that make us human. [The discovery of the microbiome and the fact that bacterial genes outnumber human genes 150 to 1 and their population can be altered just through a change in diet adds a further layer of complexity.]
Human evolution is unique, but it follows the same statistical pattern of mutations that governs all life forms.
Once the physical machinery of evolution is understood in complete detail, we will know who we are and where we came from.
These propositions reduce human evolution to a purely mechanistic physical model; the evidence in the fossil record is irrefutable. And Darwinian evolution in biology is the most useful model of evolution we have.
But there are problems.
The breakdown of classical Darwinism began with the battle over how new traits are passed on. Strict Darwinism holds that genes are fixed. Only the genetic material you inherited from your parents matters. If your parents and their ancestors had striking experiences in their lives, either positive or negative, if they developed certain behaviors or learned new skills, nothing in that realm can be passed on genetically. This assumption has been thoroughly revised, however. The field of epigenetics delves into all manner of “soft inheritance” whereby a lifetime of experiences has marked genetic consequences affecting the next generation and more generations to come.
As a major revision, epigenetics has already changed the course of genetics, but a second, even more radical revision is in the offing. It is a cornerstone of genetics that DNA, sitting in the nucleus of every cell, controls the entire cell through the production of the proteins and enzymes that are the basic building blocks of life. Now it appears that the story is far more complex. Cells do all kinds self-regulating of their inner life independently of DNA, including sending a myriad of chemical messages almost from the moment of conception, differentiating into brain, heart, liver, and other specialized cells.
In fact, cells may have evolved without DNA, responding to the world and self-regulating to become entities that recorded their evolution first in RNA and only later in DNA. How matter began to regulate itself and learn new things is a deep mystery, with enormous implications for how matter and mind are related.
These are complex issues, but the upshot can be condensed into some new propositions about Homo sapiens and how we got here.
We evolved along two lines, physical and mental. Purely physical principles do not explain the human mind.
Intelligence is innate in Nature and forms the linchpin of evolution. Intelligence is not the late-stage product of billions of years of primitive life forms becoming more complex physically.
Likewise, consciousness is innate in Nature. Living creatures should be viewed as unique species of consciousness. A flatworm, blue-green algae, and dinosaurs are not arranged on an evolutionary ladder that climbs from primitive one-celled organisms at the bottom to Homo sapiens at the top. Every species is a conscious entity that draws from the same reservoir of infinite potential.
Evolution isn’t random as it pertains to mind. A species evolves through its experiences, adapting its intelligence and physical structure seamlessly together.
Evolution cannot explain life on Earth until it holistically explains the life of the cell, the inter-relatedness of the eco-system, the unique consciousness of each species, and the origin and operation of a conscious universe.
These new propositions are creating exciting new models of life and especially of human beings. At the very least, they demand that Homo sapiens be studied as a species of consciousness just as much as a physical species—and perhaps primarily as a species of consciousness. But ideas that excite some minds infuriate others. Hard-core strict Darwinians still hold sway and persist, against any rational argument or new evidence, that DNA alone contains the story of life, a story that relies entirely upon physical processes, fixed genes, and a refusal to consider mind as anything but a byproduct of the brain.
Yet the tide has turned, because strict Darwinism has been backward-looking for decades. Evolutionary theory has evolved, unsurprisingly. The explanations offered by epigenetics are already better than an older generation of explanations. The new understanding of how cells self-regulate tells a much better story than the one which focused totally on DNA. The drift toward more genetic flexibility and the acceptance of cellular intelligence has been decisive.
What’s on the cutting edge now is consciousness: to many open-minded theorists in anthropology, biology, and physics, there is no valid model that can explain mind through physical evolution. At no point did atoms and molecules learn to think; there is no difference in a chemical once it crosses the blood-brain barrier compared with chemicals that haven’t cross the barrier. Far more credible is the notion that consciousness underlies the physical universe, and its unfolding into forms and structures, including life on Earth, has been a conscious evolution.
Darwinism shaped the modern world, for both good and ill, but it needs to be absorbed into a broader story that will explain what it means to be human. Every discipline has something to add to the new explanations of who we are and how we came to be human. Currently there’s conflict and confusion about very basic theories in quantum physics. Creative ferment isn’t easy to live through, but it’s the most exciting state for future discovery. Let’s see how creative Darwinism can become. The future of the whole theory depends upon it.
Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are The Healing Self co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. Chopra hosts a new podcast Infinite Potential available on iTunes or Spotify www.deepakchopra.com
Read more: deepakchopra.com
Top 11 Reasons to Start Using Frankincense Oil4 months, 10 days ago
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Scents can have a powerful influence on your well-being. Aromatherapy, which uses concentrated essences of various botanicals, allows you to harness the olfactory power of plants for healing on many levels. Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds in a highly-concentrated form that can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts.
There are hundreds and many thousands of essential oils available if you factor in combinations, each with its own potential benefits. That said, one essential oil that stands out above the crowd is frankincense essential oil — commonly referred to as the King of Oils — made from the resin of either the Boswellia sacra or Boswellia carterii tree.
Boswellia trees grow in African and Arabian regions, including Yemen, Oman, Somalia and Ethiopia. The oil is pale yellow-green with a woody, earthy and spicy aroma. Frankincense oil is traditionally used in many religious holy rites, and as an ingredient in perfumes and skin care products.
Composition of Frankincense Oil
Its main chemical constituents are alpha-pinene, octanol, linalool, octyl acetate, bornyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate. Monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are thought to be the most valuable elements of frankincense oil.
According to the “Studies in Natural Products Chemistry: Bioactive Natural Products, Part H,”1 monoterpenes work in the liver and kidneys, and lower cholesterol activity in the liver. Some monoterpenes have antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor2 and expectorant3 properties.
Sesquiterpenes may cross the blood-brain barrier, as seen in this 2013 animal study,4 and help stimulate the limbic system, aka the emotional center, of your brain. This stimulates secretions of antibodies, serotonin, endorphins and neurotransmitters which can influence your mood and emotions.5
Quality frankincense oil is nontoxic and generally nonirritating.6 That said, it’s always best to perform a skin test before using it undiluted on your body. Should any irritation occur, be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.
Health Benefits of Frankincense Oil
Anecdotally, many swear by its healing powers, and substances found in frankincense essential oil — such as alpha-pinene and boswellic acid — have been scientifically shown to impart a number of health benefits, including:7
1. Speeding up wound healing8
2. Fight the appearance of stretch marks, age spots and wrinkles9
4. Reducing stress hormones13,14
5. Boosting immune function15,16
6. Improving oral health by preventing bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores and other infections17,18
7. Supporting uterine health in women by regulating estrogen production. It also helps regulate the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women19
9. Promoting sleep21
11. Fighting cancer23,24,25,26,27,28
Frankincense is also one of the best oils to use for the removal of skin tags. One recent study29 confirmed that frankincense essential oil is bioactive and affects human gene expression, upregulating at least 42 and downregulating 41 genes, stating that “Many of these signaling pathways are closely related to the biological processes of inflammation, immune response, and tissue remodeling in human cells.” The researchers also noted that:
“Alpha-pinene, the top constituent of FREO [frankincense essential oil], is widely recognized as the major anti-inflammatory component of FREO. Alpha-pinene showed anti-inflammatory properties in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and mouse macrophages through inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, nitric oxide, and mitogen activated protein kinases.
An in vitro study showed that isolated alpha-pinene had the ability to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Another study found that alpha-pinene inhibited the nuclear translocation of NF-kB induced by lipopolysaccharide in THP-1 cells, explaining its benefits in the treatment of upper and lower airway diseases.
Recent research has also provided evidence that alpha-pinene has some immune-enhancing properties, particularly regarding enhanced T-cell activity.
In two related studies, the effects on human immune function of essential oils from trees were investigated. In both studies,30,31 it was found that exposure to alpha-pinene increased T-cell activity and decreased stress hormone levels.”
Frankincense Exhibits Cancer Cell-Specific Cytotoxicity
While research is still scarce, a small number of studies have looked at frankincense oil’s anticancer potential, finding positive results. For example:
• A 2011 study32 looking at alpha-pinene’s effect on malignant melanoma, the most aggressive and dangerous form of skin cancer, found alpha-pinene induced apoptosis in melanoma cells. According to the authors:
“Our results demonstrated that α-pinene was able to induce apoptosis evidenced by early disruption of the mitochondrial potential, production of reactive oxygen species, increase in caspase-3 activity, heterochromatin aggregation, DNA fragmentation and exposure of phosphatidyl serine on the cell surface.
Most importantly, this molecule was very effective in the treatment of experimental metastatic melanoma reducing the number of lung tumor nodules. This is the first report on the apoptotic and antimetastatic activity of isolated α-pinene.”
• That same year, another study33 found Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis in human breast cancer cells and suppresses tumor aggressiveness. Here, the authors noted that:
“More abundant high molecular weight compounds, including boswellic acids, were present in Boswellia sacra essential oil prepared at 100oC hydrodistillation. All three human breast cancer cell lines were sensitive to essential oil treatment with reduced cell viability and elevated cell death, whereas the immortalized normal human breast cell line was more resistant to essential oil treatment.
Boswellia sacra essential oil hydrodistilled at 100oC was more potent than the essential oil prepared at 78oC in inducing cancer cell death, preventing the cellular network formation … causing the breakdown of multicellular tumor spheroids … and regulating molecules involved in apoptosis, signal transduction and cell cycle progression.
Similar to our previous observations in human bladder cancer cells, Boswellia sacra essential oil induces breast cancer cell-specific cytotoxicity.
Suppression of cellular network formation and disruption of spheroid development of breast cancer cells by Boswellia sacra essential oil suggest that the essential oil may be effective for advanced breast cancer. Consistently, the essential oil represses signaling pathways and cell cycle regulators that have been proposed as therapeutic targets for breast cancer … “
• In 2012, researchers found34 frankincense essential oil made from Boswellia sacra induces cell death in human pancreatic cancer cells as well.
• A study35 published in 2014 reported that frankincense essential oil selectively induced apoptosis in cancer cells via NRF-2-mediated oxidative stress.
How to Use Frankincense and Other Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used in a number of different ways. For example, you can:
Add a drop or two to a teaspoonful of your favorite carrier oil; moringa oil and coconut oil are just two examples of many
Add a few drops of the essential oil to your bath to create an aromatic soak. Your body may also absorb some of the oil. To prevent the oil from separating and floating on the surface of the water, first mix the oil with a small amount of full-fat milk
Apply a drop or two of frankincense on your pulse points during meditation or yoga. Keep in mind that while frankincense can be used neat (undiluted), other oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to your skin
Apply a few drops of oil to a hot compress
Diffuse the oil in a diffuser or vaporizer made specifically for essential oils (do not add to standard humidifiers)
Quality Is of the Essence
When it comes to essential oils, quality is paramount. First of all, what we’re talking about here is pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from plants, not synthetic fragrance oils or perfumes, which can be toxic and typically contain allergenic compounds.
But even among essential oils the quality can vary widely, and assessing the quality of any given brand can be difficult, as factors such as growing conditions and methods of harvesting, distillation, manufacture and storage can all affect the final product.
Boswellia trees can produce different colored resins. Brown-yellow and muddy frankincense are touted as the cheapest and most readily accessible, while silver and clear frankincense are considered high-quality. The University of Minnesota36 offers helpful guidance regarding international standard-setting agencies and considerations to take into account when looking for an essential oil.
One of the most important considerations is to look for a statement of purity. What you’re looking for is 100 percent essential oil (meaning it has not been diluted, altered or mixed with anything else). Price can be a tipoff. If it’s really cheap, it’s probably a reflection of poor quality.
Improve Your Health With Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil is probably one of the safest and most beneficial essential oils you can use to support your health. It may also be a good choice if you want to improve your prayer or meditation sessions, as it helps promote feelings of peace, comfort and relaxation, as well as combating stress.
Despite its safety, it may not be suitable for everyone. If you experience any kind of adverse reaction, stop using it. Always do a small skin patch test before using on larger areas of your body, and dilute if needed.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, frankincense essential oil diluted with a carrier oil is safe to use during pregnancy, and Autism Parenting magazine recommends it for children on the autism spectrum and/or for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.37 Using Essential Oils Safely38 also lists frankincense as an essential oil safe to use for children.
That said, according to RxList,39 frankincense oil may cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and rash. There are also indications that boswellia may have blood-thinning effects, and also can interfere with prescription anticoagulants such as warfarin,40 so people with blood clotting issues should use it with caution.
Read more: articles.mercola.com
The grand Indian plan that could change all things medical4 months, 14 days ago
India is getting ready for a project that is as small as it gets — and as big. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) will map trillions upon trillions of microbes — bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea — that are found in Indians. On their skin. In the dark depths of their guts. Swarming on every inch of their body.In a one-of-a-kind project in the country, researchers will take skin and oral swabs and collect blood and faecal samples from 20,600 individuals who belong to 103 endogamous communities (which marry within the group). These will include 32 tribes as well — from Changpa in Ladkah to Warli in Maharashtra and Mankidia in Odisha, and from Ao in Nagaland to Koya in Telangana. After collecting the samples, scientists will sequence the genome of these microorganisms.
(These microbes are called human microbiota and their genetic material are collectively referred to as the human microbiome.) The Union government-funded, Rs 150 crore project could get underway in the next few months, once the Department of Biotechnology gives it the nod. It wants to map the microbiome composition of India’s different communities — and how genetics, diet and environment impact it differently.The ambitious project aims, at the end of it, to generate the baseline microbiome data of Indians. It will also define the core microbiome of tribal populations that are unaffected by modern lifestyle. It will even help us understand the links between microbial composition and disease risks and also create a repository of microbial samples from healthy individuals to help develop probiotic-like solutions.
The HMP is a collaborative effort between 11 research institutes and universities across the country, both public and private, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, the Insitute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology in Guwahati and Symbiosis International University in Pune. The study is being led by Pune’s National Centre for Microbial Resource (NCMR), which is part of the National Centre for Cell Science.“It’s a three-year project, but its repercussions will be there for many years to come,” says Yogesh Shouche, principal investigator at NCMR, in his office in Pune. Shouche, who has researched microbes for two decades, says this project is more challenging than similar projects in the West — for instance, in the US, Britain and European Union. “Unlike in India, microbiome projects in the West work with genetically more homogenous populations whose dietary patterns are more or less uniform.” India’s diversity is staggering on many counts.According to a study by the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani, near Kolkata, which is also involved in HMP, modern mainland Indians have descended from four ancestral populations — Indo-European, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic — and not two as earlier estimated. Indians’ diets also vary. For instance, according to a 2014 Union government survey, nearly 99% of Telangana’s population eat meat, while only a quarter of those in Rajasthan do so. A comparison of urban and rural populations in HMP will also yield insights into changes in microbiota, if any, from consumption of processed foods, which is higher in cities.“It will be interesting to study the links between microbiota and environment and diets,” says Rakesh Sharma, senior principal scientist at the New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.Gut InstinctsIt is the microbe that could unlock our understanding of diseases, disorders and differences but there is no definitive figure for the total number of microbes in a human body. We know that dominant among them are bacteria, a majority of which are found in the gut, especially the large intestine or colon.One estimate by researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, pegs the total number of bacteria in a human body at 40 trillion, compared with 37 trillion human cells. The total number of bacterial genes in the gut outnumber human genes by at least 30:1. Gut bacteria, which are the most extensively studied among human microbiota, help in breaking down undigested nutrients, producing vitamins and controlling disease-causing bacteria.India is already quite late to the microbiome research race. The Human MetaGenome Consortium Japan began in 2005 and the US Human Microbiome Project two years later. The US also announced a National Microbiome Initiative in 2016, committing a government investment of $121 million for two years and private investments of $400 million over an unspecified period. Similar initiatives can also be found in Canada and the European Union.
There are also projects like the American Gut project and, its offshoot, the British Gut project. They have received $2.5 million in individual contributions (as of May 2018) and crowdsourced samples from over 11,000 people (as of mid-2017). Among the observations made by American Gut were that those who had more than 30 plant types a week had more diverse gut microbiomes and fewer antibioticresistance genes than those who had 10 or fewer a week. Moreover, those who had antibiotics in the past one month had less diverse microbiota than those who had not had antibiotics for a year.Antibiotic use is one of the causes, along with staying in a healthcare facility, of Clostridium difficile (C diff ) infections, whose symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, fever and dehydration which could be life-threatening. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, but if they kill more of the good bacteria, it could aid the growth of bacteria like C. diff. The study of gut microbe, for instance, has had interesting results. The first randomised controlled trial in C diff infection, published in 2013, showed the efficacy of faecal microbiota transplant (FMT), in which faecal bacteria from a healthy donor is transferred to a patient, usually through colonoscopy.Bhabatosh Das, assistant professor at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, believes people living in rural areas make for ideal donors. “Their guts have very diverse bacteria, while in urban areas fast food and antibiotics result in reduced diversity.”
There are attempts being made to use FMT for obesity too. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut microbial composition, has been associated with obesity. According to a study published in Nature magazine in October 2018, FMT from mice, that were fed a normal-fat diet, to mice that were given a highfat diet resulted in beneficial effects usually caused by diet and exercise. Another study, also published in Nature, in April 2018, found that mice that were given chemotherapy and anitbiotic treatment regained their pre-treatment microbial composition after being given FMT.In another study from 2017, 34 pairs of twins were assessed, in which only one of every pair had multiple sclerosis. More of the mice which were given gut microbes from the twin with MS developed a disease similar to MS than those which got microbes from the healthy twin. Poor microbial diversity has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes. But there are still questions. “We can’t say whether diabetes is driving gut microbes or vice versa,” says Dr CS Yajnik, a diabetologist in Pune.Mind & MicrobeThe other area where a lot of research is focused is the relationship between microbiome and mental health. In a 2013 study by scientists from the California Institute of Technology and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, they found that when mice with symptoms similar to autism were given the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis, their microbiomes changed and they became more communicative and less anxious.The American Gut project also observed that some types of bacteria may be more common in people suffering from depression than those who are not. It also found in an assessment of the gut microbiomes of 125 people — who claimed to have a mental health disorder, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — that their microbiomes had more in common with each than with that with someone of the same age, gender, country and body mass index.
Moreover, babies born through natural birth tend to pick up microbes from the mother’s vagina and bowel, which could make them less likely to develop asthma, Type 1 diabetes, obesity and allergies. Similarly, breast milk is crucial to the microbial composition in kids’ guts. While the human microbiome is getting a lot of attention these days, with reports of studies uncovering the relationship between the microbiome and a disease or disorder. But there are some who sound a word of caution and believe that the significance of the microbiome may be overstated.“The hypothesis that variation in the gut microbiota can explain or be used to predict obesity status has received considerable attention and is frequently mentioned as an example of the role of the microbiome in human health…(but) we found that although there is an association, it is smaller than can be detected by most microbiome studies,” said a metastudy of 10 papers, published in August 2016 in mBio, a journal published by the American Society of Microbiology.It is quite possible that some of the recent findings about the role of microbes in our health may be disputed by future research. But a project of the scale and scope of the Human Microbiome Project could definitely advance our understanding of the complex world of human microbiota and what we do to each other.
Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com
Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth About Human Retroviruses and Chronic Disease5 months, 6 days ago
Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., a virologist, researcher and founding research director of the Whittemore Peterson Institute — which researches and treats chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in Reno, Nevada — got embroiled in controversy when, in 2009, she was the senior author on a paper which reported that a retrovirus known as xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) may play a causal role in CFS and other diseases, including autism.
Her book, “Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth About Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism and Other Diseases,” details her research and personal trials that arose as a consequence of her work.
“Kent Heckenlively essentially wrote it,” Mikovits says, “because I write like a scientist. We wrote it using the genre of flashback. He taped hours and hours of me telling the story as he asked me questions — because he’s trained as an attorney — and then he turned that into this suspense-thriller. Interestingly enough, it almost has to read like fiction because of the lawyers it took to … make sure we weren’t sued.”
What Are Retroviruses?
Before we go further, let’s review what a retrovirus is. A retrovirus is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus — in other words, a virus that contains RNA encoded genes rather than deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Using reverse transcriptase, the retrovirus is able to transform the single-stranded RNA into a double-stranded DNA.
When the retrovirus infects a host, it integrates its DNA into the DNA of the host cell, which allows the retrovirus to replicate itself and spread through the host. As more and more cells are infected, you become increasingly sicker. Mikovits explains:
“Humans have a DNA genome. Our blueprint is DNA. Retroviruses have an RNA genome, but they also are unique in the RNA family of viruses, where their RNA genome is reverse-transcribed. That is, written backwards by an enzyme unique to retroviruses called reverse transcriptase. That enzyme writes the RNA into DNA.
Then they have another enzyme called integrase. Integrase is like a pair of scissors that cuts open your DNA and then inserts the retrovirus, which is only about 8,000 base pairs, a very, very, very small virus, 50 to 100 nanometers on an electron micrograph. That piece of DNA — called a provirus — is now in the DNA of your cells forever. Every time your cells replicate, you make more viruses.”
Now, this DNA insertion has been ongoing throughout human history. According to Mikovits, about 10 percent of the human genome is retroviral in origin. These are called human endogenous retroviruses. These, however, differ in that they’ve been crippled in part by our DNA methylation machinery (which modulates genes expression and the human immune system — so that they can no longer make complete viruses and therefore cannot infect others.
However, when you’re infected with a retrovirus such as human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1), HIV HBRV or Borellia as in chronic Lyme disease and develop DNA methylation and immune dysfunction, these endogenous retroviruses begin to be expressed, and this is yet another really important finding.
HIV — One Example of a Transmissible Retrovirus
One example of a transmissible retrovirus is the HIV virus, which can cascade into the clinical symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV was discovered in 1982, and as mentioned above, was part of Mikovits’ early research work. Her book includes the history of that important discovery.
When Mikovits first began studying retroviruses, HIV/AIDS was completely unknown, but they suspected a retrovirus was at play because of how retroviruses affect the human immune system and lead to acquired immune deficiencies and cancers.
“You don’t just one day get this virus and you’re sick. In fact, we now know millions of people have HIV and will never develop AIDS. We talk about that in the book, because the book ultimately is one of hope that we fix HIV.
I can honestly tell you in 1999, when I was running the lab of antiviral drug mechanisms, I did not ever expect we would solve that problem. Now, AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy are probably healthier and develop fewer cancers … than most of the rest of society.”
Some retroviruses, including XMRV (but not HIV), also infect your germ cells, which means they not only cause continuous infection in your body but also transfer to your offspring.
“XMRV, the xenotropic murine (mouse) leukemia retrovirus, is the mouse-related retroviruses that cause cancer and lots of neurological diseases. Those affect the stem cells, the egg, the sperm — every cell in your body. That was one of the big ‘Oh, my Gods,’ about our discovery,” Mikovits says.
When it comes to treatment, the key is to keep the virus silent, because when they’re not, each time your cells divide you’re making more retroviruses. For this, antiretroviral treatments are used, some of which will be discussed later in this article.
From AIDS to ME/CFS
After 9/11, Mikovits started working with a woman whose daughter was severely ill with chronic fatigue syndrome. “Basically, that was the first time I ever saw the disease called ME/CFS,” she says.
“This person was looking at a herpes virus known as human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). This is a virus prominent in people with Kaposi sarcoma, [which] became associated with HIV and AIDS. Dr. Patrick Moore and Dr. Yuan Chang [discovered] that Kaposi sarcoma was actually caused by a herpes virus — then known as Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus; now, it’s HHV-8.
Because the immune system is crippled, you wake up the sleeping herpes viruses. People with autism, ME/CFS and cancers have a lot of chronic active infections, so we often see the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated with outbreaks of ME/CFS …
This woman introduced me to Dr. Dan Peterson and Annette Whittemore in Incline Village, Nevada, where he had been studying outbreaks of ME/CFS for probably 25 years. He said he had a bank of samples. We went up there. I met all the patients.
I interviewed them in great length and developed a hypothesis, which had actually been shown before by Elaine Defreitas, Ph.D., another scientist many years earlier …
Defreitas had isolated retroviruses from patients with ME/CFS. A doctor … named Sidney Grossberg had also isolated retroviruses from at least one patient with ME/CFS. So, the retroviral hypothesis wasn’t new. Everything about it fit …
One of the most severely injured patients at that time was Whittemore’s daughter, Andrea. That summer (2006), I went up there … and started studying it … I used the systems biology approach, because there’s a lot of heterogeneity.
We know AIDS patients who have HIV and will never get AIDS … I interviewed patients in Peterson’s office all summer and took blood, urine, saliva and all kinds of samples to isolate that virus, which is what you need to do to show it’s associated with a disease.”
The Discovery of Infectious Retroviruses
Eventually, she brought together several of her former and current colleagues who were world experts in HIV sequencing to look at ME/CFS. Among them was the world’s leading electron microscopist, Kunio Nagashima, who has done the electron micrographs of every family of human retroviruses discovered: the human beta retrovirus, human delta virus, lenti-virus (such as HIV) and gamma retroviruses.
Working in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, Mikovits and her team isolated the virus and spent the better part of 2008 and 2009 putting a paper together, proving the XMRV retrovirus was infectious and transmissible and not just another crippled human endogenous retrovirus.
“To our horror, we learned these [retroviruses] could be aerosolized. This was in 2011 … That was really the first nail in my coffin. Pun intended, because the national academy member, John Coffin, Ph.D. — who had told Frank Ruscetti, ‘There is no such thing as human retroviruses. Don’t study them’ — then made a fortune out of HIV and did everything he could to destroy me and the patients,” Mikovits says.
“Prior to publication in 2009, we wrote a patent on the detection of these retroviruses, these pieces and parts as contaminants of the cell cultures, of the cell lines from which we make vaccines. After they destroyed my reputation and career and forced the retraction of our paper from [the journal] Science, Coffin turned around and wrote a patent on the detection of these viruses in contaminating cell linings and contaminating biologicals in our labs.”
This PDF includes emails, letters and supporting documentation showing how the retraction of Mikovits’ Science paper was forced, after which Coffin filed his own patent for a detection method of the contaminants in cell lines used for vaccines and other biologicals. There’s also documentation detailing the scientific fraud Mikovits asserts in this interview.
Infectious Retroviruses May Contaminate Blood Supply and Vaccines
In her book, she also details how infectious retroviruses are still likely infecting many biological solutions used clinically today, such as vaccines and other therapies. To say that this is a concern would be an understatement. Children’s Health Defense discusses this, and more, in “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Cancer and Vaccines.”1 Mikovits explains:
“That was really at the heart of the big ‘Oh, my God.’ The worst I learned in this whole experience is how corrupt scientific journals are. In fact, Ruscetti now calls Science, that prestigious journal, ‘The National Inquirer,’ because they literally engineered the whole thing to destroy MEC/FS patients and any association this virus [XMRV] had with these diseases …
All of the studies showed that the control population was between 3.75 and 6.8 percent infected. When you do a study and there’s evidence of infection in 6 percent of the human population, that’s 25 million Americans. To put that in context, at the height of HIV/AIDS in 1995, it was 1 million Americans. It would crush our health care system if they had to pay for what they caused.”
The result of Mikovits’ findings was nothing short of personal devastation. Not only was her paper retracted by Science, she was even arrested for “stealing” her own lab notes. Charges were ultimately dropped, but the damage to her reputation was a done deal.
“Basically, our paper came out on October 8, 2009. It was literally like ‘the shot heard around the world.’ I was on the road every single day. Everywhere I went doctors were like, ‘She’s got it. She’s got it. She’s got it,’ and not just with MEC/FS but also with cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, with prostate cancer.
When you start looking at the inflammatory events in the acquired immune deficiencies, with autoimmune disease, with Lou Gehrig’s disease, the problem became this [retro]virus. Well, there’s no single virus. There’s no HIV. There’s a whole family of HIVs. There’s an HIV 1. There’s an HIV 2. There’s a strain A, B, C and D.
Why do we do influenza vaccines for this strain de jour or every year? [Because] there are strains of viruses. There are families of viruses … The second that we published this paper, we started working to get a diagnostic test for the blood supply to show it wasn’t contaminated, which, in fact, it was.
Later that year, the last talk I ever gave was on a science paper that came out September 22, 2011 … That talk was basically a debate for the evidence that there are human retroviruses of the XMRV family that aren’t VP62 (the infectious molecular clone, not the natural isolates of our paper).
We could show in the original paper that there was evidence of murine leukemia viruses, gamma retroviruses that were infectious and transmissible, just as we had said.
Coffin was on the other end of that debate. He said it was all a recombination event. He published a paper in 2013 saying, ‘When we worked with mouse cells, they expressed a lot of pieces and parts of retroviruses. This just happened to happen in the laboratory.’
[Hence, he claimed] that’s what we had isolated. [Coffin claimed] that what we were looking at were just contaminants in the laboratory. ‘It’s all a lab contaminant,’ [Coffin said], ‘You can all go home. You’re safe.'”
Massive Public Health Concerns Swept Under the Rug
As one might expect, Mikovits’ research caused massive concern in the professional community, because here was a newly identified, infectious and transmissible retrovirus that no one was screening for, and it was potentially contaminating 10 percent of the human blood supply. But rather than face the problem head on, it was rapidly swept under the proverbial rug.
“My mom was watching Good Morning America one morning. Across the bottom of the ticker tape said, ‘XMRV all a hoax’ … It was horrible. We started to realize our fake news and fake science.”
Today, the blood supply is unlikely to be contaminated, thanks to a decontamination procedure developed by a California-based company called Cerus and which Mikovits proved to inactivate XMRV, rendering it noninfectious.
Other biologicals, including vaccines, however, may not be routinely decontaminated using this process, in large part because they’re not required to do so, and drug companies are not liable for vaccine-induced harm. What’s more, decontaminating the vaccine may render it ineffective.
“It won’t work. It will no longer be a vaccine … The Cerus method cleans up Ebola. It cleans up Zika. It cleans up essentially any RNA viruses, including HIV and all three human retroviruses. The Cerus system is extremely valuable to cleaning up the blood supply.
But they cannot clean up the vaccines for another reason. If they do, they prove Andy Wakefield right. They prove me right. They prove they’ve got 25 million Americans, who they have to support for the rest of their lives and pay damages [to] …”
The Price of Making an Unpopular Scientific Discovery
On a personal level, Mikovits has taken an enormous personal hit. September 29, 2011, she was fired from the Whittemore Peterson Institute for insolence and insubordination, and was driven into bankruptcy after being falsely arrested for stealing her own lab notes. (She never was and to this day is not in possession of her notebooks or any of the two offices full of her work done in her entire career.)
She explains her firing saying that Whittemore had been selling a diagnostic test and the director of their for-profit commercial laboratory was using federal grant funds to do that work (with full knowledge and under the direction of Annette and Harvey Whittemore), which is misappropriation of federal funds. Mikovits became aware of this in August that year, and wrote him off the grant.
“The Whittemores basically fired me immediately in an attempt … to get this scientist, Vince Lombardi, Ph.D. … to recreate the work while I was out of town and say I was a lunatic — that he’d been doing the work all along, and he hadn’t misappropriated any of the funds.
They fired me on September 29 and immediately locked down the entire university to me or my staff … The insolence and insubordination was I had refused a direct order to misappropriate federal funds, basically. I wasn’t ever going to do that. The insolence I’m trying to learn not to do, because it probably would have gone a lot better for me if I didn’t say ‘F-you,’ at the same time …
It was September 22, 2011, when I gave my last talk. They had three weeks to get a Science paper out there that would destroy my reputation in the ME/CFS community … Ruscetti had to sign that paper, or he and Sandy Ruscetti would be fired … [and] lose their entire retirement, which is 75 years.
That was one of the few times I sobbed. I was sitting in my bed screaming …It was 6 o’clock in the morning. They were on the East Coast and they needed to get this paper published fast by Science.
I called the Ruscettis and said, “Frank, they agreed to change the language. They agreed to change the title. They agreed it wasn’t an association study … [they say] we didn’t have a diagnostic test. Either way, the Whittemores are going to kill me because they’re selling the diagnostic test.’
So Frank [Ruscetti] signed the paper. They didn’t change the wording. [What they did] is pure fraud. Here, the head of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute published pure fraud in the journal Science, just as two years later, Ian Lipkin published pure fraud. It is fake news. It is so corrupt, everything about it.
It’s not [the researchers]. It’s the top of the line. It’s Dr. Tony Fauci. We’re only allowed to make incremental advances. When you make a discovery of this nature, it changes all of everything. This is misogyny … This is a bunch of little boys … fighting over who gets credit, while the world dies, while you kill an entire continent.
That’s why I do shows like this. Because we’re going to teach doctors. When doctors understand the science — and they’re coming around a lot — because the science is there. Nothing about our paper, except the sequence of the virus, has ever been wrong. We knew that in the beginning.”
Individuals Infected With Retroviruses Should Avoid Vaccinations
According to Mikovits, retroviruses such as XMRV affect entire families, as it can be transmitted to your offspring. Many of these families also have children with autism, which Mikovits believes may be connected to the retrovirus. The question is, what can you do if you’re infected? For starters, Mikovits recommends avoiding vaccinations.
“Until 2011, not inconsequentially, we didn’t vaccinate AIDS patients the same way. It’s in the book. You don’t vaccinate the immune-compromised … By definition, you have an immune system that doesn’t work. Why would you vaccinate them? Why would you vaccinate somebody under 3 years old, who has an immune and detox systems that don’t work?
This was the key of the RNaseL story (a genetic susceptibility not to degrade RNA viruses), of the Thompson fraudulent paper [Editor’s note: This refers to William Thompson, Ph.D., a former senior scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, who confessed he conspired to cover up links found between the MMR vaccine and autism].
All they had to do was wait for black boys to be 3 years old, and they would have been able to degrade the RNA virus. That’s criminal. That’s beyond comprehension …
The pearl of wisdom is this DNA methylation. Keep the violent virus silent … DNA methylation has to silence them. You can’t inject them in a vaccine. We’re injecting millions of pieces in parts of retroviruses in every vaccine, by definition (and admission).
I am working on an ongoing cancer lawsuit that says vaccines cause childhood cancer, a lymphoma. By these same mechanisms, you’ve destroyed the DNA methylation machinery’s ability [to silence the virus]. You’ve simply overwhelmed the substrate. You’ve overwhelmed the ability to methylate.
Every time those viruses integrate, you have a better chance at insertional mutagenesis. Don’t expose anybody to human (or animal) retroviruses. Use antiretroviral therapy, which are natural products … There are lots of natural products. We published on them. Those are actually therapy for these kids.
[A 100-year-old drug called Suramin] was one of the first antiretroviral therapies for HIV … [It] worked best against the murine leukemia virus-related viruses, against the mouse retroviruses, the gamma retroviruses …
[Dr. Robert] Naviaux [professor of medicine, pediatrics and pathology at University of California San Diego School of Medicine] did a small clinical trial.2 These kids got their life back.3 They started talking again. What did Bayer do? They stopped the trial and took the drug away from everyone. Now, you can’t get it …
We could help millions of people get over [autism]. But when you show cure, you know cause. That’s it. I would be right … Millions of people would get their lives back, and it’s all about money.”
XMRV Is a Significant Threat
As mentioned, there are several different retroviruses, which are part of four viral families (delta, lenti, beta and gamma). Aside from HIV and XMRV, there’s the human T-cell leukemia lymphoma virus (HTLV-1) family. There are five or six HTLV viruses, but HTLV-1 is the only one known to cause severe disease.
Human beta retrovirus is another virus associated with primary biliary cirrhosis. Many patients with MEC/FS also have family members with primary biliary cirrhosis. As for which one might be the most significant threat, Mikovits believes XMRV is among the most pressing, because while HIV is well-contained at present, XMRV is not, and it appears to play a significant role in diseases of methylation.
Disturbingly, they’re now using murine leukemia viruses as vectors for gene therapy and a novel cancer therapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. In other words, they’re causing cancer and other retroviral illnesses.
“The same thing with Gardasil … We’re causing these diseases and we know it because we’re using these [retroviruses] as vectors. We don’t need infectious viruses. That’s one thing that’s really important to know. You don’t need infectious viruses if you’re injecting the provirus, or the pieces and parts. You inject it, past your immunity, past your gut, past RNA cell, past everything. You bypass the immune system. They don’t need to be infectious.
All you need is an envelope to cause that prostate cancer. That’s a paper that was published 2013. In most of our studies, all we detected was the envelope. The envelope alone causes vasculitis … Another strain of XMRV gamma retrovirus from mice was identified by Gary Owens … associated with cardiovascular disease. This is just a nightmare that we’ve unleashed in our environment.”
Retroviruses and ME/CFS
According to Mikovits, 6 to 8 percent of the general population are infected with infectious and transmissible XMRV-retroviruses, and in the chronic fatigue population, that prevalence shoots up to about 30 to 40 percent. As with HIV, antiretroviral therapies can be very helpful in the treatment of ME/CFS, including low-dose naltrexone.
“You have to silence the other pathogens, so taking care of mycoplasma, taking care of mold, absolutely supporting the gut microbiome [will help],” Mikovits says. “We learned with AIDS and cancer patients that if they don’t have the diversity in the microbiome, just like in autism, just like in MEC/FS, it’s because the retrovirus is causing leaky gut …
The nonspecific inflammation [is] the retroviruses. If you keep the gut healthy, you can heal. The primary is the diversity in the microbiome, or you can’t respond to the drugs. There’s a lot of hope. That’s what we end the show with. There are therapies. We could fix this tomorrow. That’s why I do it.”
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of “Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth About Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism and Other Diseases,” which reads more like a fictional thriller than a nonfictional book about the science of disease.
Read more: articles.mercola.com
Could Human Evolutionary Changes Be Behind Mental Disorders? – Discover Magazine9 months, 8 days ago
Schizophrenia, as Julian Jaynes posited, is a vestige of our former manifestation of consciousness. Now relegated to pathology, this phenomenon may illustrate Stanford’s David Kingsley’s latest paper as Charles Choi discovers. Speaking as loud-mouthed laity with access to a prominent fortean website, I reckon it’s not biological evolution driving mental disorders but social, cultural, and technological changes. Again, in my opinion, humans evolved to live a certain way and, in the anthropoforming of Earth, the world is becoming less natural and more alien. With this disconnect, mental illness becomes unmanageable with people stuck in “boxes”, staring at screens, and consuming processed food all day. If the issue lay in evolution, then human evolution is being outpaced by unnatural progress. Being left behind isn’t all bad news according to Chris Less, appreciating the silver lining how a Love Of Patterns, Order May Explain Mad Math Skills And Autism Link. The very same math skills giving rise to our beloved gadgets guiding, and surveilling, our lives. Mind mysteries aren’t just an epiphenomenon of future shock, as Sequoyah Kennedy learns about a Boy Who Had One Sixth of His Brain Removed Shows Normal Cognitive Function And “Above Average” Reading Level. Either the brains is very resilient and flexible, or examples like these emphasize the non-physical natures of our minds. Such musings are better cures for insomnia than a cocktail of Ambien, Xanax, and bonghits than enlightening, unless you’re a slavish devotee of EsoterX. He takes those dry, academic papers, douses them in twelve year old scotch, and burns them, but not before contextualizing them in queer, historical accounts of anomalistics around the globe, sprinkled with ethically-sourced quotes and fair-trade bon mots. Such is the time when T.W. Aylesbury cried out for mommy dearest, neatly encapsulating our Portable Consciousnesses And The Near Death Experience. (CS)
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Read more: blogs.discovermagazine.com