Influenza: Help from Healthy Habits

Meditation and Exercise could protect from the Flu

Who knew meditation could be so handy during cold and flu season? A small new study finds that mindfulness meditation and moderate exercise seem to have protective effects against cold and flu, with people who engage in the practices having less severe, shorter and fewer symptoms of acute respiratory infection — and fewer days missed from work due to the sickness — than people who don’t engage in either practice.

Specifically, undergoing mindfulness training was linked with a 40 to 50 percent decrease in symptoms, while exercise was linked with a 30 to 40 percent decrease in symptoms, researchers reported, compared with people who did neither activity.

“The apparent 40 to 50 percent benefit of mindfulness training is a very important finding, as is the apparent 30 to 40 percent benefit of exercise training,” study researcher Dr. Bruce Barrett, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a statement. “If this pans out in future research, the impact could be substantive indeed.”

Researchers found that people who did meditation had 27 total “episodes” of cold or flu symptoms, lasting a total of 257 days. And the people who exercised had 26 total “episodes” of cold and flu symptoms, lasting 241 days. But the people who did neither exercise nor meditation had 40 total “episodes” of cold or flu symptoms, lasting 453 days.

Recently, a review of research published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science broke down what exactly it is about mindfulness meditation that seems to make us healthier. They deduced that mindfulness is able to promote regulation of attention, body awareness, self-awareness and regulation of emotion — all of which help us in different aspects of our lives.

VIDEO: Influenza Deaths: The Hype vs. the Evidence

The CDC has been telling the public for nearly a decade that an estimated 36,000 people die from influenza in the U.S. every year. This number is grossly inaccurate as it includes not just influenza death cases, but also other respiratory, circulatory, cardiac and pulmonary deaths that potentially might have been associated with influenza

State health department officials are increasingly joining with medical trade association lobbyists in many states to severely restrict or eliminate medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions for all children. In Connecticut and New Jersey, mandates are already in place that force parents to give their six-month-old babies flu vaccine or be banned from daycare.

Global Flu Vaccine Market: U.S. Biggest Customer

Today, the global market for seasonal influenza vaccine is $3.6 billion and forecasters have recently reported that the U.S. is the single biggest and most profitable market in the world.45 They say the huge U.S. market is “driven by price increases” and high vaccine coverage rates generated by the 2009 influenza pandemic and the government’s “universal” flu shot recommendation in 2010. They add that “campaigning by U.S. authorities” will continue to drive up flu shot sales.

CDC: We Don’t Know How Many Influenza Deaths There Are

Meanwhile, doctors at the CDC now quietly admit on their website that the “CDC does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year.”46 Having gotten that cradle to the grave flu shot recommendation firmly in place, they are backing away from the 36,000 influenza death figure. CDC now says that “only 8.5 percent of all pneumonia and influenza deaths and only 2.1 percent of all respiratory and circulatory deaths” are influenza related.

From the CDC website:

How many people die from seasonal flu each year in the United States?

The number of seasonal influenza-associated (i.e., seasonal flu-related) deaths varies from year to year because flu seasons are unpredictable and often fluctuate in length and severity. … CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death was listed as respiratory or circulatory disease on their death certificate.

What does this study tell us?

The MMWR study found that during seasons when influenza A (H3N2) viruses were prominent death rates were more than double what they were during seasons when influenza A (H1N1) or influenza B viruses predominated. In addition, the study confirmed previous findings that about 90% of influenza associated deaths occur among adults 65 years and older.

Why doesn’t CDC base its seasonal flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that specifically list influenza?

Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It has been recognized for many years that influenza is infrequently listed on death certificates and testing for seasonal influenza infections is usually not done, particularly among the elderly who are at greatest risk of seasonal influenza complications and death. … Statistical modeling strategies have been used to estimate seasonal flu-related deaths for many decades, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Only counting deaths where influenza was included on a death certificate would be a gross underestimation of seasonal influenza’s true impact. …

The number of people in the US who die from flu annually is about the same number that die from gunshot (homicide and suicide).

In 2010 two virologists, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, filed a lawsuit against their former employer and vaccine manufacturer Merck. The lawsuit, which was unsealed in late June, alleges that Merck defrauded the U.S. for over 10 years by overstating the MMR vaccine’s effectiveness.
The virologists claim in their lawsuit that they “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.”

More at   National Vaccine Information Center – Your Health. Your Family. Your Choice.


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