"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Friday 31 July 2015

Pornucopia: Does Too Much Porn Dull Sexual Pleasure?

Does Too Much Porn Dull Sexual Pleasure?


Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?

I don’t remember how old I was when I had my first encounter with pornography, but I must have been around 10 – the experience is entwined with the sound of the AOL dial-up tone. It was something relatively benign – a close-up photo of some genitalia – and I wasn’t much shocked. I grew up in a family not given to sugarcoating the realities of the human condition and I’d known what to expect.

But what if I’d grown up a decade or so later, when the internet had graduated beyond the old-school chatrooms and into the ubiquitous juggernaut of today? My memory might have been decidedly different.

‘The widespread use of internet porn is one of the fastest-moving global experiments ever unconsciously conducted,’ the US science writer Gary Wilson told a TEDx audience in 2012 [See video below]. For the first time ever, Wilson explained, we can track how ever-growing exposure to pornography affects sexual practices, appetites and trends. Wilson – who is neither a scientist nor a professor – is the founder of Your Brain On Porn, a site that popularises anti-pornography research. In his talk, he reiterated the site’s main conclusions: when we have pornography freely available at our fingertips, the brain’s reward circuits go into overdrive as they’re exposed to what he terms ‘extreme versions of natural events’. Instead of one or two possible sexual partners, now there are dozens, hundreds, all readily accessible in a single click. Like any addiction, Wilson says, the result is a numbed response to pleasure, from lack of interest in real women to erectile dysfunction. Ubiquitous pornography undermines natural sexuality.

Wilson’s talk has had approximately 4.6 million views – and its popularity heralds a new movement in pornography consumption: NoFap. ‘Fap’ comes from Japanese manga porn, where it is a sound effect for masturbation. NoFap is a move away from masturbation, and the pornography that so often forms its backdrop. The rationale derives from a version of Wilson’s argument: when you are constantly bombarded with heightened sexual stimuli, your virility is undermined. Your ability to communicate with real sexual beings collapses. You become isolated – porn, after all, is a solitary pursuit – and your emotional wellbeing plummets. Refrain from those stimuli, and from acting on them, and you will find yourself rejuvenated and your sexual powers reawakened, your emotional equilibrium restored and your happiness rising. When Wilson’s talk was first released, the self-styled ‘Fapstronauts’ numbered approximately 7,000. Today, there are more than 150,000.

The NoFap, brain-on-porn arguments are the latest in a common, critical refrain: that, for one reason or another, pornography is bad for you. The more traditional critiques say that pornography is inherently degrading to women – or whoever happens to be the object of sexual activity – and fosters unrealistic expectations of sex. It decreases the quality of real relationships and the self-image of those involved – and increases negative sexual attitudes and actions. Porn-users compare real humans to the fantastical images, and either come out unimpressed and reluctant to have real sex, or, at worst, demanding the types of behaviours they see on screen, regardless of their desirability to their partner. One poll from the US Pew Research Center in 2007 quantified the feeling, finding that 70 per cent of Americans said pornography is harmful.

Do any of these criticisms hold water? It would be nice to know. Reliable statistics about pornography are notoriously difficult to obtain – many people underreport their own habits, and many porn companies are loath to share any sort of viewership statistics. But according to ongoing research by Chyng Sun, a professor of media studies at New York University (NYU), the numbers are high and rising quickly. She estimates that 36 per cent of internet content is pornography. One in four internet searches are about porn.

There are 40 million (and growing) regular consumers of porn in the US; and around the world, at any given time, 1.7 million users are streaming porn. Of the almost 500 men Sun surveyed in one of her studies, only 1 per cent had never seen porn, and half had seen their first porn film before they’d turned 13. Cindy Gallop, the founder of the website Make Love Not Porn, told me recently that, in the past six months, the average age when children are first exposed to pornography dropped from eight to six. It wasn’t a deliberate seeking. Online pornography is now so widespread that it’s easier than ever to ‘stumble’ on it.

The actual effects of pornography on attitudes, behaviour, life and relationship satisfaction are difficult to study, and for many years most data have remained purely correlational or anecdotal. But early on, there emerged suggestive inklings that those who vocally opposed pornography’s spread might be motivated more by emotion than any tangible proof.

In 1969, Denmark became the first country to legalise pornography. In the years that followed, onlookers watched with interest and trepidation: what would happen to Danish society? As it turns out, nothing – or rather, nothing negative. When in 1991 Berl Kutchinsky, a criminologist at the University of Copenhagen who spent his career studying the public effects of pornography, analysed the data for more than 20 years following legalisation, he found that rates of sexual aggression had actually fallen. Pornography was proliferating, but the sexual climate seemed to be improving. The same thing happened, he found, in Sweden and West Germany, which followed Denmark’s legalisation campaign.

Kutchinsky concluded that the available country-level data ‘would seem to exclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this availability [of pornography] has had any detrimental effects in the form of increased sexual violence… the remarkable fact is that they decreased’ – a conclusion that has since been echoed by multiple studies of country-level data, from nations spanning North and South America, Europe and Asia. If anything, Kutchnisky wrote, pornography was being used precisely as it was originally intended: as an expression of a certain fantasy.

‘For someone with lower sex drive, porn evokes the same magnitude response as eating chocolate’

When it comes to porn, going beyond correlational evidence can be difficult. ‘Science is so scared of pornography and sexuality, and it’s so discriminated against, that there’s a ton of work that hasn’t been done,’ Nicole Prause, head of the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), recently told me. ‘Most of the information we currently have is not experimental or longitudinal. Lots of data talk about correlates and associations, but the literature is especially bad – it can’t be trusted – because no one is doing experiments, no one is showing cause and effect. That needs to change.’

Prause fell into sex research by mistake: she followed a boyfriend to Indiana and found herself next to the Kinsey Institute, which happened to have an opening for a researcher. Soon, she was hooked. Today, Prause has become one of the few researchers in the US to study pornography in the laboratory. A trained neuroscientist, she focuses much of her efforts on the brain. Using fMRI, PET and EEG, Prause looks at how we respond to pornography – and how those responses translate to attitudes and behaviour. She has found that, in many ways, pornography is no different to a scary movie or a bungee jump. We just view it differently because it happens to involve sex. ‘There is a general idea that porn is special or unique in the brain. But frankly, it doesn’t look that different from other rewards,’ she says. ‘Lots of other things are as powerful. For someone with lower sex drive, for instance, watching porn evokes the same magnitude response as eating chocolate, in similar brain areas.’

What’s more, it doesn’t seem to be the case that people become desensitised to pornography, in the sense that the more you watch it, the more extreme your viewing content needs to become. When Prause and the psychologist James Pfaus of Concordia University in Quebec recently measured sexual arousal in 280 men, they found that watching more pornography actually increased arousal to less explicit material – and increased the desire for sex with a partner. In other words, it made them more, not less responsive to ‘normal’ cues, and more, not less, desirous of real physical relationships. In a 2014 review, Prause likened pornography addiction – the notion that, like a drug, the more you watch, the more, and higher doses, you crave – to the emperor who has no clothes: everyone says it’s there, but there is no actual evidence to support it.

Prause has also studied the question of relationship satisfaction more directly: did watching pornography negatively impact the quality of sexual intimacy? Working with the psychologist Cameron Staley of Idaho State University in 2013, she asked 44 monogamous couples to watch pornography alone and together, to see how it would affect feelings about their relationship. After each viewing session, the couples reported on their arousal, sexual satisfaction, perception of themselves, and their partner’s attractiveness and sexual behaviour. Prause and Staley found that viewing pornography increased couples’ desire to be with their significant other, whether they’d seen the film alone or together. Pornography also increased their evaluation of their own sexual behaviour.

In the past decade, experimental approaches such as Prause’s have finally started to grow in number – and for the most part, their conclusions cast doubt on the perceived social wisdom of pornography’s detrimental impact. As part of the 2002 Swiss Multicenter Adolescent Survey on Health, more than 7,500 16- to 20-year-olds were asked about their exposure to online pornography (over three-quarters of the males and 36 per cent of the females had viewed internet porn in the past month) and then measured on a variety of behaviours and attitudes. The researchers found no association between viewing explicit material and then going on to behave in more sexually risky ways. A 2012 review of studies that, since 2005, have looked at the effects of internet porn on adolescents’ social development and attitudes found that the prevailing wisdom that pornography leads to unrealistic sexual beliefs, more permissive attitudes and more experimentation is not founded on replicable research. ‘The aggregate literature has failed to indicate conclusive results,’ the authors conclude in the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity.

Likewise with sexually violent behaviours or negative attitudes toward women. In one series of experiments conducted by the sexologist Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii, viewing pornography neither made men more violent nor more prone to having worse attitudes toward women. In a 2013 study of 4,600 15- to 25-year-olds in the Netherlands, the psychologist Gert Martin Hald looked to see whether pornography-viewing had an effect on a wide variety of sexual behaviours, such as likelihood of adventurous sex (threesomes, same-sex partners for self-stated heterosexuals, sex with someone you met online, etc), partner experience (one-night stands, age of first encounter, number of partners, etc), and transactional sex (being paid money or something else for sex, paying someone else for sex). He found that frequency of pornography-consumption did indeed have an effect – but, once you controlled for other things, such as socio-demographic factors, risk-seeking, and social relationships, it explained only an additional 0.3 to 4 per cent of the impact. We shouldn’t dismiss the effect, Hald says, but rather understand it in context: it is one of many factors, each of which contributes to behaviour, and its influence is not any greater (and often, less) than that of other predisposing elements.

The negative behaviours we blame on pornography might have emerged no matter what: porn is more symptom than cause

Indeed, in another study earlier this year, Hald and the psychologist Neil Malamuth of UCLA looked at the relationship between negative attitudes toward women and pornography use. They found that there was, in fact, a link – but only if a person was already low on a scale of so-called agreeableness. Those results came as no surprise: in 2012, they, along with the clinical psychologist Mary Koss of the University of Arizona, found that the only time pornography viewing was associated with attitudes that condoned any form of violence against women was in men already at high risk of sexual aggression. When they summarised the data that preceded their work, they wrote that negative effects ‘are evidence only for a subgroup of males users, namely those already predisposed to sexual aggression’. The negative behaviours we blame on pornography, in other words, might have emerged no matter what; porn is perhaps more symptom than cause.

It’s a message that new research is increasingly supporting. Earlier this year, a group from VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands attempted to disambiguate cause and effect in relationship satisfaction: did frequent pornography viewing cause people to drift apart – or was it the result of their having drifted apart already? For three years, the psychologist Linda Muusses and her colleagues tracked just under 200 newlywed couples, as part of a broader study on marriage and wellbeing. At regular intervals, both members of every couple were asked about their use of ‘explicit internet material’, as well as their happiness with the relationship and their sexual satisfaction. The happier men were in relationships, they found, the less pornography they watched. Conversely, more viewing predicted lower happiness a year later. It was a self-reinforcing cycle: get caught in a good one, with a satisfied relationship, and porn was a non-issue. But lose satisfaction, watch more porn, and realise your relationship is further disintegrating.

Muusses and her colleagues also noticed that higher levels of pornography use at the start of a relationship did not predict a less sexually satisfying experience later on, for men or women. ‘Our findings suggest that it is implausible that SEIM [sexually explicit internet material] causes husbands to contrast their sexual experiences and partner’s attractiveness with their SEIM experiences with long-lasting effects,’ the authors wrote.

Why, then, does the disconnect persist between theory, opinion and social sentiment, on the one hand, and empirical research, on the other? Part of the problem stems from the difficulty of saying exactly what pornography actually is. The deeper I ventured into the world of pornography, online or not, speaking with producers, viewers, distributors, the stars themselves, the more I realised how misplaced the very premise of that framing was: there isn’t a monolithic ‘pornography’, just like there isn’t a monolithic ‘Hollywood film’. When we go to the cinema, there are dramas and comedies, horror and sci-fi, thrillers and romantic romps – movies to suit any mood, any taste, any occasion. The experience and effects of each differ. We don’t emerge from Selma in the same frame of mind as we do from When Harry Met Sally. But while we understand that implicitly when it comes to mainstream cinema, we don’t see pornography with the same level of nuance. ‘We cherry-pick the worst, most aggressive examples,’ said the media researcher Chyng Sun.

I heard the same refrain over and over, from every researcher and every member of the pornography industry I spoke with: pornography is to sex as Hollywood films are to real life. Pornography is fantasy, pure and simple. And just as any fantasy can be channelled in any direction, so too can pornography. There are bad fantasies – Sun’s ‘worst, most aggressive examples’, just as there are good fantasies, instances of pornography that should pass any feminist’s muster, both in terms of quality and the ethical standards of filming. As Coyote Amrich of Good Vibrations, an adult retailer in San Francisco (one of the oldest such retailers in the country) puts it: ‘Just like not everyone is a Bernie Madoff in finance, not every person involved in porn is this terrible person. Some are really great and have allowed incredible content and have been supportive of male and female performers, and help people make great careers.’

That short description goes to the heart of what makes pornography the kind of fantasy we can feel good about versus the kind we should actively question. It’s not a question of content but rather one of ethics, where the number-one criterion is the treatment of the actors. ‘Are the women enjoying themselves and having authentic pleasure as far as we can tell? Are the other people in the scene with them not saying debasing things to them or, if they are, is it clear that it’s wanted – yes, I want you to call me a slut, so call me a slut?’ Amrich explained. It matters little what acts are being performed or how; we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss something as bad just because we, personally, don’t think anyone could possibly enjoy it. What matters is that the people performing these acts enjoy their performance. As Jamie Martin, who previously worked with Amrich at Good Vibes, put it: ‘If it’s not hurting anyone, and someone is going to get off on it, why not?’

Amrich refuses to stock any films where the ethical treatment of actors isn’t completely clear, a stance I saw from multiple buyers, distributors and retailers. Increasingly, people insist that the product they host on their site or bring to their customers comes from a place of clear desire. Not all porn is created equal. ‘We need to move past the notion that a female performer is a victim. It’s antiquated,’ Amrich says. ‘It doesn’t acknowledge female power, pleasure, women taking control of sexuality. It only serves the idea that a woman who is sexual is being taken advantage of.’

Jiz Lee, recognised as one of the leading modern genderqueer adult performers, has been in the industry for more than 10 years, and says ethical pornography is a priority. The single biggest marker of such porn is that it costs the consumer something. ‘By paying for it, it’s a guarantee,’ Lee told me, taking a break from shooting with the director Shine Louise Houston. ‘Otherwise, it can be hard to tell if it was ethically shot. Paying helps insure it, and helps the company be in good standing.’ These days, they point out, the internet doesn’t just function as a way to distribute pornography; it’s a way of gauging quality and blacklisting those sites that don’t meet certain standards. ‘I won’t work for a company that has a poor record or is exploitative,’ Lee says. ‘And I will tell everybody else.’

In the absence of other options, pornography becomes a de facto way of educating yourself about sexuality

Ethical pornography is becoming increasingly less exceptional. The porn industry of today is a far cry from the ‘San Pornando Valley’ adult entertainment industry of the 1990s. There are more women in charge, more readily enforced standards, and more accountability.

But regardless of what pornography insiders say, for consumers, especially younger ones who are growing up with a ubiquitous internet, the view is quite different. Unlike Hollywood, where it’s clear to anyone that they are watching an idealised version of reality, with pornography, that realisation is often absent. For one simple reason: we don’t talk about sexual pleasure as children, adolescents or adults. It’s a taboo, guilt-ridden area. In the absence of other options, pornography becomes a de facto way of educating yourself about sexuality. As one 2014 study of low-income black and Hispanic youth put it, led by Emily Rothman of the Boston University School of Public Health, quoting an interview with a porn-watching adolescent: ‘Without porn, I wouldn’t know half the things I know now.’

The sex researcher Alice Dreger of Northwestern University in Chicago recently live-tweeted from a high-school sex-education class – her son’s. His teacher’s approach, it soon became clear, was absolute avoidance of any topics other than abstinence. Any attempt to broaden the conversation was stonewalled. And therein lies the problem. We see pornography as a socially destructive force, but there’s nothing inherently destructive about it. It becomes so only when it is the one thing adolescents see as they discover sex: they use it as a learning script. It’s not a problem of pornography as such, but rather, a problem of the absence of a competing script, something that contextualises porn as a fantastical, not real-life, experience.

The way to change that – and to change the negative effects such a misperception can have – isn’t to restrict or ban pornography. It’s to bring the discussion of sexual pleasure to the foreground, especially in sex-ed. ‘We need to supplement pornography with non-porn sexual education, so that porn becomes fantasy sex rather than a real-world template,’ Zhana Vrangalova, a psychologist at NYU who specialises in sexuality, told me. ‘We need to give people permission to enjoy sex. Until we do that, they will go to porn. Because you can’t kill curiosity.’

Already, certain movements are trying to do just that. Jessica Cooper helps run ScrewSmart, a sex-education collaborative in Philadelphia that aims to foster open dialogue about sexual pleasure. The group meets with students, hosts workshops, discusses porn and its role openly and honestly. ‘One of the biggest issues for sexuality in general is permission,’ Cooper told me. ‘People want permission to like things they like, want what they want. We are giving them permission to say yes. Your desires are valid, sexuality is important, what you want to do is not wrong. Porn does that, especially to women. They need to be told, I’m not an evil, weird creature for enjoying this.’


For some women, erotica is the mythical Viagra, a way of empowering them

Other programmes are starting with even younger children – an important step given the ever-earlier pornography exposure that might otherwise seep through unexplained. In Norway, Line Jansrud, the presenter of Newton, an educational show on state TV, gives herself a hickey with a vacuum cleaner, kisses a tomato and uses a lubricated dildo on an anatomically correct doll model. She wants to explain how real sex works, so that children and adolescents can distinguish Hollywood from real life. Her target audience: third-graders.

The effects of this social change reach far beyond sexual education as such. ‘We’re missing important therapeutic effects of using erotica because of taboos,’ Prause says. ‘Aroused states and orgasms do really nice things for the brain and body.’ Erotica can, for some women, be the mythical Viagra that has thus far gone missing, a way of empowering them and ‘putting their brain in that mode, helping it do what it’s been programmed to do’. There is certainly a desire for it, albeit largely unspoken in normal circumstances: when Prause’s group placed an ad for one of their recent studies, the response broke their phone lines. They had to take it offline. There is also evidence that the social effects of watching porn can spread beyond the individual: pornography has been shown to improve acceptance of homosexuality, birth control and extra-marital sex.

And porn has the potential to go even further. Sun doesn’t like pornography – but it’s not actual porn she doesn’t like. It’s the social norms and standards that led to the creation of certain stereotypes in the first place: not a result of pornography, but rather a reflection of the direction broader society has taken. ‘We live in a patriarchy, where women are fundamentally objectified. We shouldn’t be surprised to see it play out in pornography.’

We shouldn’t be worrying about whether pornography has negative repercussions on society. We should be worrying about the kind of society that would lead to the types of pornography we find distasteful in the first place – and work on fixing that society rather than blaming its inevitable result.

The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow

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Thursday 30 July 2015

The Polio Vaccine: A Global Scourge Still Threatening Humanity

The Polio Vaccine: A Global Scourge Still Threatening Humanity


Vaccination H1N1 : méfiance des infirmièresDuring the past several months as a slew of draconian vaccine bills have been aggressively pushed upon state legislators to legally enforce vaccination against Americans freedom of choice, I have had the opportunity to debate publicly pro-vaccine advocates on a number of occasions. When faced with a barrage of peer-reviewed scientific facts confirming vaccine failures, and its lack of efficacy and safety, representatives of the vaccine establishment will inevitably raise the issue of the eradication of polio and smallpox from the US as case examples of two vaccine miracles. 

Yet in neither case, has there been scientifically sound confirmation that the demise of these two infectious diseases were the result of mass population vaccine campaigns.

Furthermore, this horribly simplistic belief that polio and smallpox are exemplary models for all other vaccines is both naïve and dangerous.  Vaccinology does not follow a one-size-fits-all theory as the pro-vaccine industry propagates to the public. For any coherent public debate, it is necessary for each vaccine to be critically discerned upon its own terms with respect to its rate of efficacy, the properties of viral infection and immune response, vaccine adverse effects, and the long term risks that may not present symptoms until years after inoculation.

This article is the first part of a two part series to deconstruct the false claims of polio and smallpox as modern medical success stories and put each in its historical and scientific perspective.  In this first part, the legacy of the polio vaccine and its ongoing track record of failure, particularly in developing nations, will be presented.

It is a very dangerous assumption to believe that any new vaccine or drug to fight an infectious disease or life-threatening disease will be safe once released upon an uninformed public. The history of pharmaceutical science is largely a story of failures as well as successes. Numerous drugs over the decades have been approved and found more dangerous than the condition being targeted, but only after hundreds of thousands of people were turned into guinea pigs by the medical establishment.  In the case of vaccines, both the first human papilloma vaccine (Gardasil) and Paul Offit’s vaccine for rotavirus (Rotateq) were disasters. Both were fast tracked through the FDA and both failed to live up to their promises.

This scenario of fast tracking unsafe and poorly researched vaccines was certainly the case for one of the first polio vaccines in 1955. In fact the polio vaccine received FDA approval and licensure after two hours of review – the fastest approved drug in the FDA’s history. Known as the Cutter Incident, because the vaccine was manufactured by Cutter Laboratories, within days of vaccination, 40,000 children were left with polio, 200 with severe paralysis and ten deaths.  Shortly thereafter the vaccine was quickly withdrawn from circulation and abandoned.[1]

The CDC’s website still promulgates a blatant untruth that the Salk vaccine was a modern medical success. To the contrary, officials at the National Institutes of Health were convinced that the vaccine was contributing to a rise in polio and paralysis cases in the 1950s.  In 1957 Edward McBean documented in his book The Poisoned Needle that government officials stated the vaccine was “worthless as a preventive and dangerous to take.”  Some states such as Idaho where several people died after receiving the Salk vaccine, wanted to hold the vaccine makers legally liable. 

Dr. Salk himself testified in 1976 that his live virus vaccine, which continued to be distributed in the US until 2000, was the “principal if not sole cause” of all polio cases in the US since 1961.  However, after much lobbying and political leveraging, private industry seduced the US Public Health Service to proclaim the vaccine safe.[2]  Although this occurred in the 1950s, this same private industry game plan to coerce and buy off government health agencies has become epidemic with practically every vaccine brought to market during the past 50 years.

Today, US authorities proudly claim the nation is polio-free. Medical authorities and advocates of mass vaccination raise the polio vaccine as an example of a vaccine that eradicated a virus and proof of the unfounded “herd immune theory”.  Dr. Suzanne Humphries, a nephrologist and one of today’s most outspoken medical critics against vaccines has documented thoroughly that polio’s disappearance was actually a game of smoke and mirrors.[3]  By 1961, the polio vaccine should have been ruled a dismal failure and abandoned since more people were being paralyzed from the vaccines than wild poliovirus infection.

The 1950s mark a decade of remarkable medical achievement; it also marked a period of high scientific naiveté and enthusiastic idealism.  Paralysis was not only associated with polio infections, but also a wide variety of other biologic and toxic agents:  aseptic meningitis, Coxsackie and Echo viruses, arsenic, DDT and other industrial chemical toxins indiscriminately released upon millions of Americans.  In addition, paralytic conditions were given a variety of names in an attempt to distinguish them, although some, such paralysis due to polio, aseptic meningitis and Coxsackie, were indistinguishable. 

One of the more devious names was Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), a class of paralyses indistinguishable from the paralysis occurring in thousands within the vaccinated population. It was therefore incumbent upon health authorities to transfer polio vaccine-related injuries to non-poliovirus causation in order to salvage vaccination campaigns and relieve public fears.  Dr. Humphries and her colleagues have noted a direct relationship between the increase in AFP through 2011 and government claims of declining polio infectious rates parallel with increased vaccination. [4]

One of the largest and most devious medical scandals in the history of American medicine also concerns the polio vaccine.  In an excellent history about the polio vaccine, Neil Miller shares the story of Dr. Bernice Eddy, a scientist at the NIH who in 1959 “discovered that the polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer.”  As the story is told, her attempts to warn federal officials resulted in the removal of her laboratory and being demoted at the agency.[5]  It was only later that one of the nation’s most famous vaccine developers, Maurice Hilleman at Merck identified the agent as a cancer causing monkey virus, SV40, common in almost all rhesus monkeys being used to culture the polio virus for the vaccine. 

This contaminant virus was found in all samples of the Sabin oral polio vaccine tested.  The virus was also being found in Salk’s killed polio injectable vaccine as well.  No one knows for certain how many American’s received SV40 contaminated vaccines, but some estimates put the figure as high as 100 million people.  That was greater than half the US population in 1963 when the vaccine was removed from the market.

Many Americans today, and even more around the world, continue to be threatened and suffer from the legacy of this lethal vaccine. Among some of the more alarming discoveries since the discovery of the SV40 in Salk’s and Sabin’s vaccines and its carcinogenic footprint in millions of Americans today are:

  • Loyola University Medical Center identified SV40 in 38% of bone cancer cases [6]

  • 58% of mesothelioma cases, a life threatening lung cancer, had SV40 present

  • A later analysis of a large national cancer database found mesotheliomas were 178% higher among those who received the polio vaccines

  • A study published in Cancer Research found SV40 in 23 percent of blood samples taken and 45% of semen samples studied, thereby confirming that the monkey virus can be sexually transmitted.[7]

  • Osteosarcomas are 10 times higher in states where the polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 was most used, particularly throughout the Northeastern states [8]

  • Two 1988 studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that SV40 can be passed on to infants whose mother’s received the SV40 tainted vaccines. Those children later had a 13 times greater rate of brain tumors compared to children whose mothers did not receive the polio vaccines. This would also explain why these childrens’ tumors contained the SV40 virus present, even though the children themselves did not receive the vaccine. [9]

There is a very large body of scientific literature detailing the catastrophic consequences of SV40 virus infection. As of 2001, Neil Miller counted 62 peer-reviewed studies confirming the presence of SV40 in a variety of human tissues and different carcinomas.  Although the killed polio vaccines administered in developed countries no longer contain the SV40 virus, the oral vaccine continues to be the vaccine of choice in poor developing countries because its cost-effectiveness to manufacture.  Safety is clearly not a priority of the drug companies, health agencies and bureaucratic organizations that push the vaccine on impoverished children.

After almost sixty years of silence and a federally sanctioned cover up, the CDC finally admitted several years ago that the Salk and Sabin vaccines indeed were contaminated with the carcinogenic SV40 monkey virus. [10]

However, SV40 is not the only contaminate parents should be worried about. As with other vaccines, such as measles, mumps, influenza, smallpox and others, the viral component of the vaccine continues to be cultured in animal cell medium. This medium can contain monkey kidney cells, newborn calf serum, bovine extract and more recently clostridium tetani, the causative agent for tetanus infection. 


All animal tissue mediums can carry known and unknown pathogenic viruses, bacterial genetic residues, and foreign DNA fragments that pose countless potential health risks.  Based upon transcripts of CDC meetings on biological safety, the late medical investigative reporter, Janine Roberts, noted that vaccine makers and government health officials admit they have no way to prevent dangerous carcinogenic and autoimmune causative genetic material from being injected into an infant. Among the unwanted genetic material that might be found in vaccines today are:  cancer-causing oncogenes, bird leukemia virus, equine arthritic virus, prions (a protein responsible for Mad Cow Disease and other life threatening illnesses), enzyme reverse transcriptase (a biological marker associated with HIV infection), and a multitude of extraneous DNA fragments and contaminates that escape filtration during vaccine preparation. [11]

The CDC acknowledges that it is impossible to remove all foreign genetic and viral material from vaccines.  As Janine Roberts noted, the science behind the manufacture of vaccines is extraordinarily primitive.  Therefore, the CDC sets limits for how much genetic contamination by weight is permitted in a vaccine, and the agency over the years continues to increase the threshold.[12]

Amidst the polio vaccine debacle and mounds of scientific literature confirming the vaccines’ i failure, US health agencies and the most ardent proponents of vaccines, such as Paul Offit and Bill Gates, retreat into the protected cloisters of medical denialism and continue to spew folktales of polio vaccines’ success.

The polio vaccines on the market have not improved very much during the past 60 years.  They continue to rely upon primitive manufacturing technology and animal tissue culturing.  In recent years Bill Gates’ polio eradication campaigns in India have been dismal failures.  Touted as one of the “most expensive public health campaigns in history” according to Bloomberg Business, as many as 15 doses of oral polio vaccine failed to immunize the poorest of Indian children.  Severe gastrointestinal damage due to contaminated water and wretched sanitation conditions have made the vaccine ineffective.  Similar cases have been reported with the rotavirus and cholera vaccine failures in Brazil, Peru and Bangladesh.   According to epidemiologist Nicholas Grassly at Imperial College London, “ There is increasing evidence that oral polio failure is the result of exposure to other gut infections.” [13]

There is another even more frightening consequence of Gates’ vaccine boondoggle launched upon rural India in 2011.  This particular polio vaccine contains an increased dosage of the polio virus. In the April-June 2012 issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, a paper reported the incidence of 47,500 new cases of what is being termed “non-polio acute flaccid paralysis”, or NPAFP, following Gates polio campaign.[14]  The following year, there were over 53,500 reported cases. NPAFP is clinically indistinguishable from wild polio paralysis as well as polio vaccine-induced paralysis.  The primary difference is that NPAFP is far more fatal.[15]

Physicians at New Delhi’s St. Stephens Hospital analyzed national polio surveillance data and found direct links between the increased dosages of the polio vaccine and rise in NPAFP.  Coincidentally, the two states with the highest number of cases, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are also the two states with the worst water contamination, poverty and highest rates of gastrointestinal diseases reported by Bloomberg.  As early as 1948, during a particularly terrible polio outbreak in the US, Dr Benjamin Sandler at Oteen Veterans’ Hospital observed the relationship between polio infection, malnutrition and poor diets relying heavily on starches. [16]  According to nutrition data, white rice, the primary daily food staple among poorer Indians, has the highest starch content among all foods.[17]

Despite this crisis, in January 2014, Bill Gates, the WHO and the Indian government announced India is today a polio-free nation. [18] Another sleight of hand performance of the polio vaccine’s magical act.

The case of India, and subsequent cases in other developing nations, scientifically supports a claim vaccine opponents have stated for decades; that is, improving sanitation, providing clean water, healthy food, and the means for better hygiene practices are the safest and most efficacious measures for fighting infectious disease.  According to statistics compiled by Neil Miller, Director of ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute, the polio death rate had declined by 47% from 1923 to when the vaccine was introduced in 1953.  In the UK, the rate declined 55% and similar rates were observed in other European countries.[19]  

Many historians of science, such as Robert Johnson at the University of Illinois, agree that the decrease in polio and other infectious diseases during the first half of the twentieth century were largely the result of concerted national public health efforts to improve sanitation and public water systems, crowded factory conditions, better hygienic food processing, and new advances in medicine and health care.  Relying upon the unfounded myth that vaccines are a magic bullet to protect a population suffering from extreme conditions of poverty, while failing to improve these populations’ living standards, is a no-win scenario.  Vaccines will continue to fail and further endanger the millions of children’s health with severely impaired immune systems with high levels of vaccines’ infectious agents and other toxic ingredients.

A further question that has arisen in recent years is whether or not a new more deadly polio virus has begun to merge as a result of over-vaccination.  Last year, researchers at the University of Bonn isolated a new strain of polio virus that evades vaccine protection. During a 2010 polio outbreak in a vaccinated region of the Congo, there were 445 cases of polio paralysis and 209 deaths. [20] This is only the most recent report of polio virus strains’ mutation that calls the entire medical edifice of the vaccine’s efficacy into question.  

One of the first discoveries of the vaccine contributing to the rise of new polio strains was reported by the Institut Pasteur in 1993. Dr. Crainic at the Institut proved that if you vaccine a person with 3 strains of poliovirus, a fourth strain will emerge and therefore the vaccine itself is contributing to recombinant activity between strains.

Moreover, since the poliovirus is excreted through a persons GI system, it is commonly present in sewage and then water sources.  In 200, Japanese scientists discovered a new infectious polio strain in rivers and sewage near Tokyo.  After genetic sequencing, the novel mutation was able to be traced back to the polio vaccine.  Additional vaccine-derived polio strains have also been identified in Egypt, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.[21]

Therefore, the emergence of new polio strains due to over-vaccination is predictable. Similar developments are being discovered with a new pertussis strain that evades the current DPT vaccines.  For this reason, there has been an increase in whooping cough outbreaks among fully vaccinated children.  Influenza viruses regularly mutate and evade current flu vaccines.  The measles vaccine is becoming less and less effective, and again measles outbreaks are occurring among some of the most highly vaccinated populations.

As with the failure of antibiotics because of their over-reliance to fight infections, researchers are now more readily willing to entertain the likelihood that massive vaccination campaigns are contributing to the emergence of new, more deadly viral strains impervious to current vaccines.

Currently, federal agencies review the vaccine science, reinterpret the evidence as it sees fit, and are not held accountable for its misinformation and blatant denialism that threatens the health of countless children at the cost of tens of billions of dollars. Vaccine policies are driven by committees that govern vaccine scheduling and everyone is biased with deep conflict of interests with the private vaccine makers. Even if a person were to make the wild assumption that polio vaccines were responsible for the eradication of polio infection in the US, what has been the trade off?  According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013 over 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Twenty-four million Americans have autoimmune diseases.  How many of these may be related to the polio and other vaccines?  As we have detailed, In the case of the polio vaccine the evidence is extremely high that an infectious disease, believe to have been eliminated from the US, continues ravage the lives of polio vaccine recipients. Nevertheless it can no longer be disputed that the polio vaccine’s devastating aftermath raises a serious question that American health officials and vaccine companies are fearful to have answered.

Right now they “right” the papers, interpret them and are not held accountable if they are wrong.  Policies driven by committees governing scheduling and all biased with conflict of interest.


[1] Miller, N.  “The polio vaccine: a critical assessment of its arcane history, efficacy, and long-term health-related consequences” Medical Veritas. Vol. 1 239-251, 2004
[2] McBean E. The Poisoned Needle. Mokelumne Hill, California: Health Research,1957
[3]  Humphries, S.  “Smoke, Mirrors and the Disappearance of Polio,” International Medical Council on Vaccination. November 17, 2011
[4]  Humphries, S. and Bystrianyk, R.  Dissolving Illusions: Disaese, Vaccines and the Forgotten History. Self-published. 2013, pp 222-292
[5]  Miller, N.  op cit.
[6]  Carbone, M., et al. “SV-40 Like Sequences in Human Bone Tumors,” Oncogene, 13 (3), 1996, pp. 527–35
[7]  Miller, N. op cit.
[8]  Lancet, March 9, 2002
[9]  Miller, N. op cit.
[10] Mihalovic, D.  “CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine in an 8 Year Span When It Was Contaminated with Cancer Virus.”  Prevent Disease, July 17, 2013
[11]  Gale, R. and Null, G. “Vaccines’ Dark Inferno: What Is Not on Insert Labels.”  GlobalResearch. September 29, 2009.
[12]  Gale and Null, Ibid.
[13]  Narayan, A.  “Extra Food Means Nothing to Stunted Kids with Bad Water Health,” Bloomberg Business. June 12, 2013
[14] Vashisht, N. and Puliyel J. “Polio Program: Let Us Declare Victory and Move On,” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. April-June 9:2, 2012  pp 114-117
[15]  “53,000 Paralysis Cases in India from Polio Vaccine in a Year”  Child Health Safety. December 1, 2014
[16] Miller, N. op cit.
[17]  Chandra RK. “Reduced secretory antibody response to live attenuated measles and poliovirus vaccines in malnourished children,” British Medical Journal 2, 1975, 583–5
[18]  Krishnan, V.  “India to get polio-free status amid rise in acute flaccid paralysis cases,”  Live Mint (India), January 13, 2014.
[19] Miller, N. op cit.
[20]  Malory, M.  “Mutant poliovirus caused Republic of Congo outbreak in 2010,”  Medical Xpress. August 19, 2014
[21] Miller, N. op cit.

The CDC Made These Two Radical Changes and 30,000 Diagnoses of Polio Instantly Disappeared

The graph is from the Ratner report (1), the transcript of a 1960 panel sponsored by the Illinois Medical Society, on which sat three PhD statisticians and an MD, met to discuss the problems with the ongoing polio vaccination campaign.

The polio vaccine was licensed in the U.S. in 1954. From ‘50 thru ‘55, the striped and clear portions of the bars represent about 85% of the reported cases, or 30,000 per year, on average. Those cases were automatically eliminated by two radical changes the CDC made to the diagnostic parameters and labeling protocol of the disease as soon as the vaccine was licensed – 30,000 cases a year we were subsequently told were eliminated by the vaccine.

That success, held aloft as a banner of the industry, is an illusion. The CDC has an awesome power of control over public perception, sculpting it from behind closed doors in Atlanta, with the point of a pen.

Over the last sixty years in the U.S., more than a million cases of what would have been diagnosed as polio pre-vaccine – same symptoms - were given different labels.

The change didn’t stop there, however. As addressed in the Ratner report, they also changed the definition of a polio epidemic, greatly reducing the likelihood that any subsequent outbreaks would be so labeled – as though the severity, or noteworthiness, of paralytic polio had halved, overnight. It’s summed up thusly in the report:
Presently [1960], a community is considered to have an epidemic when it has 35 cases of polio per year per 100,000 population. Prior to the introduction of the Salk vaccine the National Foundation defined an epidemic as 20 or more cases of polio per year per 100,000 population. On this basis there were many epidemics throughout the United States yearly. The present higher rate has resulted in not a real, but a semantic elimination of epidemics.

And that’s precisely what happened to polio: not a real, but a semantic elimination of the disease.

In the decades following the release of the vaccine, additional changes were made to the diagnostic parameters of the disease, changes involving analysis of cerebrospinal fluid and stool and additional testing (2) , each succeeding change making it less and less likely that a diagnosis of paralytic polio would result.

And, critically, before the vaccine was licensed polio diagnoses were made clinically and accepted from around the nation, duly reported to the American public annually as polio, no lab analysis required, while after it was licensed only the CDC was – and is - allowed to issue confirmations of paralytic polio – all suspected cases had to be sent to them for analysis and testing. (3)

Again, perception is key. Because of the persistent pre-vaccine news coverage of the disease, including film footage of paralytic polio victims in leg braces, or immobilized, strapped to huge, inclined boards, or housed in foreboding iron lungs, the public pictured the thousands of kids reported with polio each year as suffering terribly, when in truth the pictures involved only a fraction of a percent of the diagnosed cases.

Moreover, while for many the perception was that the iron lung was a permanent fixture, in the majority of cases the machine was needed only temporarily – generally about one to two weeks. (4)

The arbitrariness of the change in the diagnostic parameter of paralytic polio, from one day of paralysis to two months, resulting specifically in the elimination of all the cases represented by the striped portions of the bars in the graph, is remarkable. Indeed, the very idea that the length of time you’re ill determines the disease is remarkable!, and flies in the face of the science of virology.

Were you to apply the same logic to measles diagnostics, for instance, and add the requirement of a rash that lasts ten days, the disease would be eradicated, since the measles rash lasts from three to five days. To the point, had they made the requirement three months of paralysis instead of two, several additional thousands of cases of paralytic polio would simply and immediately have fallen off the diagnostic plate, hastening the illusion of complete eradication.

All of the non-paralytic cases, represented by the clear portions of the bars in the graph, and which pre-vaccine were the majority of cases reported simply as polio each year, were discarded completely!, reclassified. A search through public health department disease statistics reveals that in the U.S. those cases were basically handled as they were in Canada:
It may be noted that the Dominion Council of Health at its 74th meeting in October 1958 recommended that for the purposes of national reporting and statistics the term non-paralytic poliomyelitis be replaced by ‘meningitis, viral or aseptic’ with the specific viruses shown where known. (5)

Somewhat remarkable too, eh?, that virtually overnight an entire category of disease is simply abandoned; replaced.

The current non-use of the iron lung is often pointed out by vaccine proponents as proof of the success of the polio vaccine, but that, too, is an illusion; years ago it was replaced by much smaller, portable respirators, some body worn, some bedside – and much in use today.

You’ve gotta give ‘em credit for the hubris. Vaccine proponents will actually cite the fact that many illnesses were misdiagnosed as polio pre-vaccine, attempting to explain why the changes following its licensing were necessary, not necessarily nefarious. But as always, perception is the key, as in any magic act, and the CDC on its website continues to forward the illusion they themselves created:

How common was polio in the United States?

Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century in the United States. [Periodic epidemics increased] in size and frequency in the late 1940s and early 1950s. An average of over 35,000 cases were reported during this time period. With the introduction of Salk inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in 1955, the number of cases rapidly declined to under 2,500 cases in 1957. By 1965, only 61 cases of paralytic polio were reported. (6)
In reality, the charade was continuing right on schedule: Of the ‘35,000 cases of polio reported on average in the late 1940s and early 1950s’, only 15,000 were paralytic – the reduction to 2,500 cases of paralytic polio in 1957, and the complete disappearance of all the non-paralytic cases, was a direct result of the diagnostic changes. It’s smoke ‘n mirrors.

There are a few more puzzle pieces which help complete the picture, the unavoidably undeniable pattern, of conscious, purposeful manipulation of statistics:
In the 90s, “polio eradication initiatives” were implemented in India and Africa. The WHO quickly established the same diagnostic changes in those nations as were made in the U.S. in 1955. The result, as expected, was the announcement two years ago that India is now polio free. What the WHO so conveniently omitted was any mention of the skyrocketing incidence, in both nations, of acute flaccid paralysis (7) , clinically identical to polio, and following in the wake of the use of the oral polio vaccine, abandoned fifteen years ago in the U.S. because it triggers Vaccine Associated Paralytic Polio:

To eliminate the risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP), as of January 1, 2000, OPV was no longer recommended for routine immunization in the United States.(8)

As you can see, the incidence of acute flaccid paralysis quickly soared to tens of thousands, far surpassing the 1996 incidence of polio.

Midst the labeling deceptions lies another insidious character trait of the vaccine industry. During the polio epidemics in the 40s and 50s in the U.S., one doctor, Fred Klenner, MD, cured every one of the sixty polio patients he treated, some of them paralyzed, using massive injections of vitamin C. Astoundingly, after summarizing his work, his success, at the annual AMA meeting in 1949, Dr. Klenner received neither questions nor comment from his colleagues, and no mention of it was ever made to the American public. (9)

The nut: the eradication of polio is a total sham, an example of trust misplaced, of power and control run amok. It’s indicative of every aspect of the vaccination paradigm, propelled by a baseless, industry-constructed fear of infectious disease, statistical manipulation and withholding of critical information, and sustained, ironically, by the very and insidious nature of vaccine injury, the bulk of which displays temporally well divorced from the act of the vaccination, obfuscating causal relation.


3.    Suspected cases of poliomyelitis must be reported immediately to local or state health departments. CDC compiles and summarizes clinical, epidemiologic, and laboratory data concerning suspected cases. Three independent experts review the data and determine whether a suspected case meets the clinical case definition of paralytic poliomyelitis: http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/...
4.    Historically, a noninvasive, negative-pressure ventilator, more commonly called an iron lung, was used to artificially maintain respiration during an acute polio infection until a person could breathe independently (generally about one to two weeks). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliomyelitis#Paralytic_polio
5.    From: Poliomyelitis Trends, 1958, published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, Canada; Catalog No. 82-204

For more information about the polio vacine see http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/label/polio
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