Medical Tests: Whose Interests Do They Really Serve?
During the height of the past several years’ virus panic, a mixture of arm-twisting and fear compelled or persuaded billions around the world to submit to invasive Covid-19 tests, often repeatedly—whether to catch a flight,1 attend school2 or hold onto a job.3 According to the Gates-funded Our World in Data website, the U.S. led the world in the number of tests performed, with over nine hundred million tests completed between late February 2020 and June 2022, for a population roughly one third that size.4 India ran a close second, carrying out over eight hundred fifty-eight million tests on its 1.4 billion residents over the two-plus year period. In third place was test-happy Italy, whose population barely exceeding sixty million acquiesced to almost four times that many tests. All of this added up to a “previously unimaginable number of. . . diagnostic procedures. . . performed.”5
Even without Covid-19, medical tests clearly play a major role in the “cultural landscape” of Western medicine,6 which offers all kinds of tests for all kinds of reasons—including for screening, diagnosis, evaluation of disease severity, treatment monitoring and risk prediction.7 Like kids in a candy store, doctors have a staggering array of medical tests at their disposal. There are tests that sample body fluids (such as blood, urine, saliva, cerebrospinal fluid); tests that measure body functions (such as lung function, heart or brain electrical activity); imaging tests (see sidebar); biopsies that remove and examine tissues; and endoscopies that insert a tube through various orifices or a custom incision to observe an internal organ.
Medical imaging, in particular, is one of the mainstays of the U.S. health care system and is on the rise. An analysis of trends in up to twenty-one million patients enrolled in U.S. and Ontario health care systems found “significantly higher” imaging rates in 2016 versus 2000 for most imaging modalities for both adults and children, with the increase in children being a concern given that the procedures involve ionizing or non-ionizing radiation.8 In the U.S., this amounts to hundreds of millions of diagnostic imaging procedures performed annually—generating upwards of one hundred billion dollars in annual revenue.9 In a “major ongoing trend,” diagnostic imaging is now shifting out of hospital settings (where roughly three out of five procedures had been performed) to independent diagnostic testing facilities.9 The transition toward more telemedicine catalyzed by Covid-19 has also given rise to “physicians relying more heavily on diagnostic imaging tests instead of traditional in-person examinations,” with one imaging company predicting “increased utilization of routine imaging. . . earlier in the patient diagnostic staging.”9
Somewhat surprisingly, even the parties ordering tests admit that medical testing has an unsavory underbelly. Doctors and health facilities openly describe many tests as “fishing expeditions” that not only don’t help people but can cause harm.10-12 Harvard Medical School noted in 2021, for example, that “medical sources” today account for 50 percent of total radiation exposure in the U.S., versus 15 percent in the early 1980s.13 Pointing out that a chest CT scan delivers seventy times as much radiation as a chest X-ray, Harvard cited a 2009 study in Radiology indicating that overall, CT scans slightly increase the risk of cancer (0.7 percent), but for individuals who have undergone repeat CT scans (study participants had received anywhere from five to thirty-eight!), the increased risk can be anywhere from 2.7 to 12 percent.14
In a 2018 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from some of the country’s top medical schools and cancer centers suggested that overuse of medical tests (and treatments) can give rise to six different types of negative consequences, including physical, psychological, social and financial consequences as well as “treatment burden” and “dissatisfaction with health care.”15 The researchers emphasized that negative consequences might flow “directly from overused services” or “indirectly from downstream services” as well as themselves leading to even more downstream services.
In a 2019 survey that explored this unfortunate “cascade of care”—meaning “a seemingly unstoppable series of medical tests or procedures”—nine out of ten doctors reported witnessing psychological, physical or financial harm to patients from such a cascade.16,17 Another report described how a doctor who ordered a chest X-ray for a “completely healthy” woman with no symptoms set an alarming and inexorable process into motion: after the X-ray, the woman underwent a PET scan, a bronchoscopy that resulted in severe hoarseness requiring her “to stop talking for weeks and. . . go to speech therapy,” a biopsy involving a chest incision, weeks of isolation for suspected (but unfounded) tuberculosis—“and none of it benefited her in any way.”6
Delving into the physician mindset, a 2014 telephone survey of six hundred primary care and specialist physicians found that nearly three out of four doctors (73 percent) characterized “the frequency of unnecessary tests and procedures” as either a “somewhat” or “very” serious problem, and about half (47 percent) admitted personally to ordering unnecessary tests or procedures “at least once a week.”18 Their top reasons for doing so were physician-driven concerns about malpractice and a desire to “be safe” or have “more information for reassurance.” As these survey results suggest, many tests may be more of a CYA maneuver than something actually intended to improve patient outcomes. Unnecessary services also benefit the bottom line, of course, generating an estimated seventy-five to one hundred billion dollars annually in the U.S.17
In the Covid-19 era, there are indications that over-testing, and over-involvement with the health care system generally, may pose an entirely new set of risks. As Forbes gleefully reports, “the pandemic has accelerated the digitization” of the health care industry, with at least 80 percent of health care providers reportedly planning to “leverag[e] artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, extended reality (XR), and the internet of things (IoT) to develop and deliver new treatments and services.”19
Some Americans are already trustingly availing themselves of cutting-edge genetic testing and wearable biosensors20,21—seduced by the “convenience” of round-the-clock medical monitoring into surrendering precious genomic and health data. Others, however, have become more sensitized to both iatrogenic and totalitarian risks.22 In fact, for those with eyes to see, Covid-19 furnished a frightening illustration of how perversely skewed incentives and protocols can quickly turn hospitals and medical staff into “bounty hunters” and patients into “virtual prisoners”23—and how ready officials are to manipulate test results and, in collaboration with Big Tech, compile health data for purposes of control.24 Testing shenanigans have become one of the mainstays that allow authoritarian regimes to get away with statements like China’s recent assertion that the Covid-19 epidemic “has ‘basically’ ended, but. . . is not completely over.”25
In short, recent events suggest that medical testing may be riskier than ever. The remainder of this article provides selected examples of specific types of tests and their dangers.
PCR TESTING: THE ONGOING CON
In the U.S., few members of the public likely realized that the approximately four hundred different Covid-19 tests and “sample collection devices” in use by October 2021—both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and “antigen” (also called “rapid” or “home”) tests—entered the market via the rushed mechanism of emergency use authorizations (EUAs).26 In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bragged about the “flexible approach” it adopted to increase consumer “access” to testing, despite a “limited understanding in the test developer community on how to appropriately validate a diagnostic test.”26
PCR, also referred to as “molecular photocopying,” creates copies of or “amplifies” a segment of DNA or, in the case of the variation called “RT-PCR,” an RNA sequence.27 Of course, regular readers of Wise Traditions—and other members of the public familiar with Nobel Prize-winner Kary Mullis’s insistence that the PCR technology he invented was suited to manufacturing but not diagnosis28—knew from the start that the notion of “validating” diagnostic PCR tests was bogus. PCR diagnostic tests claim to be an “accurate” and “reliable” way to assess “viral load,” but to do so, they require a “primer sequence” that is supposed to be specific to a given virus. As Dr. Tom Cowan describes in his booklet Breaking the Spell: The Scientific Evidence for Ending the Covid Delusion, the scientists who “set the global standard for SARS-CoV-2 testing. . . admit[ted] they never had the virus itself to work with.”29 The acknowledgement that no virus had been isolated, Cowan observes, “invalidates the entire test.”
Critics have recognized the worthlessness and flimsy logic of diagnostic PCR testing since the HIV/AIDS era. The authors of the book Virus Mania quote a molecular biologist as stating, “HIV has never been isolated, for which reason its nucleic acids cannot be used in PCR virus load tests as the standard for giving evidence of HIV.”30 More generally, they note that there is no way to know whether the “[v]ery fine traces of genes” detected via PCR testing “come from a (certain) virus, or from some other contamination.”
Another dubious feature of PCR testing, as many critics pointed out during the height of the Covid p(l)andemonium,31 has to do with testers’ ability to manipulate the number of amplification cycles. This, as Cowan explains, “will determine the percentage of positives and negatives. Any PCR ‘test’ done with 25 or fewer cycles is likely to be negative in almost every case. . . . On the other hand, if the amplification cycles are above 40, almost everyone will test positive. . . .”29 Children’s Health Defense and others spelled out the implications:
“[W]ith varying numbers of cycles or amplifications being used in different states or even in different health systems in one state, it would be quite easy and simple to manipulate the number of positive results. . . by simply changing the number of cycles to a higher number to produce the appearance of worsening or to a lower one to produce lower infection numbers.”32
Unfortunately, the fraudulent misuse of PCR is far from over, with PCR testing now in use as the basis for orders to destroy poultry flocks due to alleged “bird flu.”33
Early on during the Covid-19 testing mania, one of the relatively novel aspects of testing was the use of deep nasopharyngeal swabs that authorities claimed “provided the best rate of detection.”34 The swabs reached so far up into the nasal cavity that people began nicknaming them “brain scraping,” “brain stabbing” or “brain tickling” and complained of being “poked in the brain.”35
Referring to the cribriform plate at the base of the skull (“the significant part that separates the brain from the nasal cavity”), the Alliance for Natural Health International commented that because it is “a delicate, soft, honey-comb or sieve-like structure that is thin and narrow with tiny perforations,” it was quite plausible that “someone inept at wielding a nasal swab” could push a swab into the brain.36 Although relatively few researchers investigated the warnings, one study described two cases of the swab tips breaking off—and, in one individual, becoming “no longer detectable. . . suggesting that the tip had been swallowed”; in a third case, a young adult “developed a spontaneous anterior dislocation of the left temporomandibular joint,” resulting in so much pain that she was transferred by ambulance to a hospital “for external jaw repositioning.”5
Another published study offered a gruesome case study of a broken swab tip:
“A patient in their 30s presented to the otolaryngology clinic with a retained nasal foreign body. Seven days prior, the patient underwent screening nasopharyngeal testing for SARS-CoV-2. The procedure was intensely uncomfortable and attempted swab withdrawal was noted to require added force by test operator due to increased resistance. On withdrawal, the tip was noted to have separated from the shaft, and remained in situ.”37
After health providers failed to remove the wayward swab tip in the emergency room, the patient—suffering “a significant inflammatory response”—ended up undergoing nasal endoscopy under general anesthesia a week later.
The same authors also reviewed case reports of nasal abscesses, severe nosebleeds (in some cases leading to intervention under local anesthesia) and cerebrospinal fluid leaks requiring surgical repair,38 prompting them to warn that “nasopharyngeal swabs are at increased risk of complications compared with other types of transnasal swabs.” They also recommended alternatives such as saliva testing “in patients unlikely to either tolerate or cooperate with [nasopharyngeal] testing.”
Testing facilities subsequently transitioned, without fanfare, to “superficial” nostril swabs or the combined use of throat and nostril swabs.35
TUBERCULOSIS TESTING: LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACES
Medical historians tell us that it took a long time, until the late 1800s, for tuberculosis (TB) to be conceptualized as a “unitary disease” rather than as separate wasting conditions such as “scrofula” or “consumption.”39 Contagion theory offered a convenient “unitary” explanation. However, in her fascinating 2022 Wise Traditions article on “solving the mystery of TB,” Sally Fallon Morell argues that scientists, both historically and now, have “looked in all the wrong places” for TB’s causes.40 The multiple strands of evidence she assembles suggest that the causes are environmental, rather than bacterial—with iron fumes and possibly arsenic poisoning as credible culprits.
Morell also notes that the mycobacteria associated with TB are “iron-loving organisms” that could well be functioning as a “clean-up crew” rather than as pathogens.
Medicine looks for TB in two ways—through blood tests or tuberculin skin testing (TST)—but, without conceding that their entire TB paradigm may be flawed, authorities admit that both tests are problematic. The World Health Organization (WHO) frankly warns against the use of blood tests, stating that for many reasons, the test results often lead to someone being told they have active TB “even when they do not.”41 This is called a “false-positive” result.
The TST (also called the Mantoux test) has its own set of “false-positive” challenges, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) understatedly admits can “have serious implications for patient isolation, patient therapy, contact investigations, and unnecessary laboratory testing.”42 Dating back to 1912,43 the TST involves the intradermal injection of a solution of tuberculin “purified protein derivative” (PPD), grown on a “protein-free synthetic medium.”44 It comes with warnings of possible severe reactions, including fainting (syncope), blistering, ulcerations, necrosis (tissue death) and anaphylactic shock—and the related advice to have epinephrine on hand and put procedures in place “to avoid falling injury and to restore cerebral perfusion following syncope.” Other potential side effects (with “incidence not known”) include varied injection site reactions (such as bleeding, crusting, scabbing, scarring, dark purple bruising, itching, pain, redness or swelling); hives or hive-like swelling of the “face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs”; difficult, labored or noisy breathing; fast heartbeat; or “unusual tiredness or weakness.”45 The TB skin test is contraindicated for individuals with “extensive burns or eczema” and for those with a history of TST reactions or TB treatment.
Among the other problems with the TB skin tests is the fact that the PPD solution is stabilized with the surfactant polysorbate 80. Although animal studies conducted in the 1990s identified polysorbate 80 as having potential carcinogenic activity and an association with delayed ovarian toxicity,46,47 the TST solution “has not been evaluated for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potentials or impairment of fertility.”44 According to a report published in 2019, polysorbate 80 is linked to “immediate hypersensitivity” reactions that may be “more common than. . . recognized.”48 Not coincidentally, polysorbate 80 is also present as an excipient in numerous licensed vaccines as well as the Johnson & Johnson Covid shot, and nearly all of the vaccine package inserts list anaphylaxis as a possible adverse event.49
PPD solutions also contain phenol (“a chemical composite agent that is comprised of carbolic acid, phenic acid, phenylic acid, phenyl hydroxide, hydroxybenzene, and oxybenzone”),50 a chemical “used to sterilize medical equipment” and “mixed with other ingredients to clean toilets, floors, drains, and other items.”51 Pharmaceutical applications include its use in some vaccines (as a preservative) and in throat sprays, oral analgesics, muscle spasticity injections and mouthwash products.52 Toxicologists describe toxicity effects of pure phenol that include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blistering, necrosis and “blue-black discoloration,” all of which correspond to potential TST side effects.53 They also note that phenol “distributes widely and with severe toxicity” and “easily break[s] through cellular membranes.”
MAMMOGRAPHY: ROUTINE SCREENING = ROUTINE OVERDIAGNOSIS
Public health officials began promoting routine screening mammography for women age fifty and up in the mid-1970s, ratcheting up their efforts in the 1990s. In subsequent decades, however, researchers started documenting breast cancer overdiagnosis as a significant and “insidious” adverse effect of mammography,54 such that even breast cancer activists reluctantly suggested that “the harms of screening may outweigh the benefit.”55 One study estimated that for at least one in four of the breast cancers detected via mammographic screening, the test identifies tumors “that would grow so slowly that the women concerned would die from other causes before developing noteworthy symptoms.”54 For women who get annual screening mammograms for ten years, over half will be called in for additional imaging or biopsy, causing “inconvenience and anxiety.”56 Researchers have concluded, “Women must be informed of the risk of overdiagnosis and its consequences in terms of unnecessary treatment”—including unnecessary surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and their side effects—“along with other factors influencing the harm-benefit balance.”54
Recently, cancer center researchers—who know which side their bread is buttered on— have been rising to mammography’s defense, suggesting that overdiagnosis may not be as common as previously thought.57 Are consumers convinced? As of 2021, levels of both breast and cervical cancer screening remained lower than prepandemic.58 Colonoscopy rates also dropped by 80 percent;59 in 2021, I wrote about the numerous risks of colonoscopy, including side effects and complications such as decimation of gut flora, perforation, infection, hemorrhage, sedation risks, anaphylactic reactions to bowel preps and death.60
The Weston A. Price Foundation was way out in front in 2000, republishing warnings by author William Campbell Douglass that “early treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy does not prolong life and may actually shorten it.”61 Douglass also colorfully described the dangers of the breast compression techniques employed by mammographers (“the equivalent of stacking 50 one-pound bags of sugar on the breast”), while GreenMedInfo’s Sayer Ji has pointed to unanswered questions about whether mammography “may be causing an epidemic of mostly unacknowledged radiation-induced breast cancers in exposed populations.”62 Douglass gave readers the practical advice to eschew mammography and instead “be serious about [their] diet”—including emphasizing raw milk, bone broth and cod liver oil—as well as drinking clean water and getting plenty of sunshine. He also reminded women that iodine “is excellent for breast health,” a fact reiterated by Morell and occasional Wise Traditions conference speaker Dr. David Brownstein.63,64
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 shots have introduced a new variable into the cancer equation. Around the world, doctors are reporting an increase in aggressive cancers in individuals who took either the original jabs or boosters,65-68 including a surge in breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.69 In November 2022, a UK oncologist wrote to the BMJ of his observations of seeing cancers recur and “rapidly progress” in individuals with previously stable cancers after they received boosters.70
As should be apparent, indiscriminate testing has the potential to open the door to a wide range of adverse impacts, including creating health-damaging fear and anxiety, labeling healthy people as “sick,” subjecting them to unnecessary and often risky procedures, poisoning them with toxic ingredients or components and emptying bank accounts. Some tests may also build false hopes; aluminum expert Dr. Christopher Exley recently critiqued a proposed new test for autism as “simply a patent looking for a home.”71
There are more insidious consequences of rampant testing, too. One consequence includes the feeding of test results to the big database in the sky that globalists are hoping to use to herd everyone into a social credit system. Brian Shilhavy of Health Impact News also has described the weaponization and falsification of drug tests to medically kidnap children and take them away from their parents.72 With Covid-19 having served to highlight a badly broken health system, it’s not a bad time to get back to basics— including heeding the “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts” that the Weston A. Price Foundation has sought to promote and study for over two decades.
THE MANY FACES OF MEDICAL IMAGING
Several of medical imaging’s most popular tools expose patients to ionizing radiation, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and nuclear medicine modalities such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans. Ionizing radiation involves “high-energy wavelengths or particles that penetrate tissue” and damage DNA.13 Non-ionizing imaging techniques include ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Although regulatory agencies have tried to dismiss concerns about the harms of non-ionizing radiation (the form of man-made radiation also emitted by cell phones and Wi-Fi), non-ionizing radiation is “quite capable of producing biological effects—including altering and damaging cells.”73
X-RAYS: As “the fastest and most accessible form of imaging,” X-rays are often “the first-line imaging,” taking just minutes to perform. The U.S. and the WHO class X-rays as a carcinogen. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, X-rays are well suited to identify fractures, dislocations, misalignments and narrowed joint spaces but cannot find soft tissue injuries or more “subtle” bone injuries.74 A type of X-ray called fluoroscopy uses pulsed X-ray beams “to show internal organs and tissues moving in real time.”75 Technicians compare standard X-rays to photos and fluoroscopy to videos.
COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY: CT scans combine a series of X-ray images into a 3D picture and are used to assess conditions like tumors, blood clots and internal bleeding. According to Harvard Medical School, CT scans, which involve “significant doses of radiation” with cumulative effects, account for 24 percent of total radiation exposure in the U.S.13,76
NUCLEAR MEDICINE: Scans like PET and SPECT use “radioactive tracers”—carrier molecules “bonded tightly to a radioactive atom”—and track their path inside the body using special cameras.77 Medical personnel may administer the tracers by intravenous injection or “by inhalation, by oral ingestion, or by direct injection into an organ.” SPECT scans feature in the diagnosis of heart disease, bone disorders, gallbladder disease, intestinal bleeding and, more recently, Parkinson’s disease; the primary use of PET scans is in cancer diagnosis and monitoring. A combination PET/CT scanner has become “the primary imaging tool for the staging of most cancers worldwide.”77
ULTRASOUND: Medicine promotes ultrasound as a benign tool involving “sound waves,” but many critics characterize prenatal ultrasound as a “malignant technology” harmful to the fetus.78 Author Jeanice Barcelo has painstakingly documented the insidious and harmful effects of prenatal ultrasound in her book, The Dark Side of Prenatal Ultrasound and the Dangers of Non-Ionizing Radiation.79 In addition to ultrasound’s overuse during pregnancy, doctors order ultrasounds to investigate problems with internal organs.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING: The MRI procedure involves placing a patient inside a full-body scanner, essentially a “large magnet,” and uses radio waves and a computer “to create a detailed, cross-sectional image of internal organs and structures.”80 The list of MRI uses—“by no means exhaustive”—includes investigation of brain and spinal cord anomalies, tumors, back and knee injuries, liver diseases, some heart problems and issues involving female reproductive organs.80 Although MRI fact sheets repeatedly describe the procedure as “non-invasive,” this is not quite true, as the injection of gadolinium-based contrast agents has “become an indispensable part of contemporary [MRI].”81 Gadolinium, a rare earth metal, “reacts with atoms and molecules in the body to make them easier to see”; in 2017, however, the FDA warned that the body and brain can retain gadolinium “for months to years.”82 Allergic and other adverse reactions are also possible. MRIs are contraindicated for some individuals with metallic implants, pacemakers or other implanted electronic devices.83
The early and aggressive use of deep nasopharyngeal swabs prompted many to speculate about a hidden agenda to get toxic ingredients up the nose. Concerns about the swabs intensified when independent tests began detecting metallic and other contaminants on the swabs—with the unintentional or intentional nature of their presence remaining an open question.84
One investigation of PCR test swabs found that the swabs were made of “hard and brittle,” porcupine-like “glassy fibers” and silver, aluminum and titanium nanoparticles traumatic to the nasal mucosa.85 The nanotechnology expert who performed the testing, Italian researcher Antonietta Gatti, warned that the tough fibers could cause bleeding that, in and of itself, “is an indication of the invasiveness of the test,” as well as leave foreign remnants behind capable of causing further complications.
Another independent test, conducted outside the U.S., reportedly detected lithium on the swabs as well as a nanoparticle hydrogel patented by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), prompting physicians like Dr. Carrie Madej to characterize the swabs as bioweapons.86 On other fronts, DARPA has made no secret of the fact that it wants to “flood your head with millions of nanoparticles that can read your neural signals from inside and relay them to a nearby computer.”87 It is perhaps relevant to note research by Sasha Latypova and Katherine Watt, which shows that the Covid injections constitute biological weapons, not medicines, with the Department of Defense running them “as a military program” and controlling the contracts with pharmaceutical companies.88 Watt relates that legally, “there is no stopping condition” for any of the EUA products, including the PCR tests and injections, “no matter how untested, unmonitored, unsafe, or ineffective they are, no matter whether their harmfulness to human health and uselessness for infection-control are known before use, or discovered afterward.”89
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- Children’s Health Defense Team. How billions in COVID stimulus funds led hospitals to prioritize “treatments” that killed, rather than cured, patients. The Defender, Jan. 24, 2022.
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2023🖨️ Print post