Personal use of hair dyes is very common, with estimates that 50% or more of women and 10% of men over age 40 color their hair. However, with social distancing guidelines in place amidst the ongoing pandemic, many people have foregone their regular hair salon appointments. As natural hair colors get rooted out, let”;s cut to a layered question: do permanent hair dyes increase cancer risk?
Decades of research, conflicting results
Hair dyes come in three major varieties: oxidative (permanent), direct (semi-permanent or temporary), and natural dyes. Most hair dyes used in the US and Europe –; both do-it-yourself dyes and those used in salons –; are permanent dyes. They undergo chemical reactions to create pigment that deposits on hair shafts and may pose the greatest cancer risk.
People are exposed to chemicals in hair dyes through direct skin contact or by inhaling fumes during the coloring process. Occupational exposure to hair dye, as experienced by hairstylists, has been classified as probably cancer-causing. However, it remains unclear whether personal use of permanent hair dyes increases risk for cancer or cancer-related death.
Many studies have explored the relationship between personal hair dye use and risk of cancer or cancer-related death. Conflicting findings have resulted from imperfect studies due to small study populations, short follow-up times, inadequate classification of exposures (personal or occupational) or hair dye type (permanent versus non-permanent), and incomplete accounting of cancer-specific risk factors beyond permanent hair dye use.
Permanent hair dye does not appear to increase overall cancer risk, says recent study
In a recent study in The BMJ, researchers at Harvard Medical School evaluated personal hair dye use and risk of cancer and cancer-related death. The study authors analyzed survey data from 117,200 women enrolled in the Nurses”; Health Study, collected over 36 years beginning in 1976. They tabulated information that included age, race, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, natural hair color, permanent hair dye use (ever user vs never user, age at first use, duration of use, frequency of use), and risk factors for specific types of cancer.
Compared to non-hair dye users, participants who had ever used permanent hair dyes did not have an overall higher risk for cancer or cancer-related deaths.
Among specific cancers, there was slightly higher risk for basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer) in ever-users compared to non-users. Risk for certain breast cancers and ovarian cancers seemed to increase with longer-term use of permanent dye. Women with naturally dark hair seemed to have increased risk for Hodgkin lymphoma, and women with naturally light hair were observed to have higher risk for basal cell carcinoma.
The authors were cautious in reporting their findings, concluding that further investigation is needed to better understand associations that were identified. In addition, we should keep in mind that association does not prove causality.
Well-designed study also had some limitations
This was a large, well-designed study with high participant response rates. The researchers analyzed detailed data, allowing them to tease out the degree to which cancer risk was attributable to personal permanent hair dye use rather than to other potential risk factors.
This study also had several limitations. First, participants were female nurses of mostly European descent, meaning the findings are not necessarily generalizable to men or to other racial or ethnic groups. Next, the study could not account for every single cancer risk factor (for example, exposure to pesticides and other environmental chemicals). Data were not collected on other hair grooming products beyond hair dyes, and subjects may have mistakenly reported use of permanent hair dyes when they were in fact using semi-permanent or natural dyes. Without data on actual color of hair dyes used, the authors assumed that hair dye color correlated with natural shades of hair. This assumption may miscalculate true chemical exposures, such as in the case of dark-haired users who had additional chemical exposures from stripping the natural darker pigment.
To dye or not to dye?
Once pandemic restrictions lift, some may reconsider whether to dye their hair. The key highlights from this study are:
Personal permanent hair dye use did not increase risk for most cancers or cancer-related death. This is reassuring, but continued safety monitoring is needed. Additional research is needed to study diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, specific hair dye colors (light versus dark), cancer subtypes, and exposure levels (personal versus occupational). Though this study exposed possible associations between permanent hair dye use and increased risk for some cancers, there is not enough new evidence to move the needle on recommendations for personal permanent hair dye use. Until more is known, consider your personal and family histories when deciding whether to use permanent hair dyes. When in doubt, check with your doctor for more guidance.
Breast cancer screening with mammography or other tools (such as MRI) has increased the rates of diagnosis of very early breast cancers knowns as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). As opposed to invasive breast cancers, DCIS cancers are confined to the local area and have not spread to deeper tissues or elsewhere in the body. With increased rates of diagnosis, there has been considerable controversy about the true risks of DCIS and the best treatments, with some suggesting that women are being overtreated for a condition that does not substantially increase the long-term risk of death, and others advocating more intensive preventive treatment among women with DCIS.
Long-term outcomes for women with and without DCIS have been limited, until now
A recent study published in The BMJ offers the best data so far on the risks associated with DCIS and the impact of different treatments. In the study, more than 35,000 women diagnosed with DCIS via mammography were followed for up to 20 years to see if they developed invasive breast cancer or died of breast cancer.
Overall, the researchers found that having DCIS more than doubled the risk of developing invasive breast cancer and increased the risk of dying of breast cancer by 70%, compared with the general population. Moreover, the researchers observed that more intensive treatment of DCIS was associated with lower risk of invasive breast cancer. Compared to women who had both breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) and radiation therapy, those who had lumpectomy alone had 43% higher rates of breast cancer, and those who had mastectomy had 45% lower rates of breast cancer. A larger DCIS-free margin in the biopsy sample was also associated with lower rates of developing invasive breast cancer. For women with estrogen receptor-positive DCIS, hormone treatment to reduce estrogen levels was associated with lower risk of invasive breast cancer.
The findings from this new study are broadly similar to a US study of more than 100,000 women with DCIS that found an 80% higher risk of dying of breast cancer in women with DCIS than in the general population, although that study couldn”;t determine how the DCIS was diagnosed. A Danish study also found that women with DCIS who were treated with mastectomy had lower rates of invasive breast cancer in that breast than those treated with more conservative surgery, with or without radiation therapy.
What does the new research mean for a woman who is diagnosed with DCIS?
This study showed that increased cancer risk persisted for more than 15 years after a diagnosis of DCIS, and that more intensive therapy than lumpectomy alone –; whether with mastectomy, radiation therapy, or endocrine therapy –; reduced the risk of invasive breast cancer among women with DCIS. The lowest risk of invasive breast cancer was in women who chose mastectomy.
The risk of invasive breast cancer was seen regardless of severity of DCIS. Women who had low- or moderate-grade DCIS, as well as high-grade DCIS, had long-term increased risk.
Women who are recently diagnosed with DCIS should work with their treatment team to weigh the best individual treatment strategies based on their preferences and other health conditions. This new research validates the need to consider the long-term consequences of DCIS when making treatment decisions, and it may prompt doctors and patients to consider more intensive treatments to reduce later risk of invasive breast cancer and risk of dying of breast cancer. While no details on surveillance strategies, such as regular mammograms or other exams, were presented in this study, based on these results, patients with DCIS should continue active surveillance for breast cancer for decades after their diagnosis.
Informed consent to medical treatment is a right that ensures patients receive information about the recommended treatment so they can make a well-informed decision about their medical care.1 Medical practitioners are both ethically and legally obligated to ensure their patients have an opportunity for informed consent, which means disclosing both the risks and benefits of potential medical treatments.
In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, it”;s not possible to provide a full list of potential risks, considering the unprecedented speed with which they were developed and released to the public –; the long-term effects are completely unknown.
Significant concerns have been raised, however, surrounding antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), and the possibility that COVID-19 vaccines could worsen COVID-19 disease via ADE.2
Anyone receiving this experimental medical procedure would certainly want to be informed of its potential to worsen the very disease they”;re trying to avoid, but it”;s not included as part of the informed consent disclosure –; despite researchers recommending back in October 2020 that it be “;prominently and independently disclosed.”;3
COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients Should Be Warned About ADE Risk
Writing in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, Timothy Cardozo of NYU Langone Health and Ronald Veazey with the Tulane University School of Medicine, noted, “;Patient comprehension is a critical part of meeting medical ethics standards of informed consent in study designs.”;4
As such, they set out to determine if enough research existed to require clinicians to disclose the specific risk that COVID-19 vaccines could worsen disease if the recipient is exposed to circulating virus. First, they reviewed preclinical and clinical evidence, which revealed that ADE is a significant concern. They noted:5
“;COVID-19 vaccines designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies may sensitize vaccine recipients to more severe disease than if they were not vaccinated. Vaccines for SARS, MERS and RSV have never been approved, and the data generated in the development and testing of these vaccines suggest a serious mechanistic concern:
that vaccines designed empirically using the traditional approach (consisting of the unmodified or minimally modified coronavirus viral spike to elicit neutralizing antibodies), be they composed of protein, viral vector, DNA or RNA and irrespective of delivery method, may worsen COVID-19 disease via antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).”;
Their next step involved reviewing clinical trial protocols for COVID-19 vaccines to determine if this risk was properly disclosed to research subjects (at the time, the vaccines had not yet been released to the public). It was not, leaving people largely in the dark instead:6
“;This risk is sufficiently obscured in clinical trial protocols and consent forms for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials that adequate patient comprehension of this risk is unlikely to occur, obviating truly informed consent by subjects in these trials.”;
The conclusion reached by the study was that, in order to meet medical ethics standards of informed consent, people taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials, as well as those who have received it after approval, should be clearly warned of the “;specific and significant COVID-19 risk of ADE.”;7
This, however, has not occurred, and most receiving it have likely not even heard of ADE, much less its association with the experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
What Is Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE)?
When your body is exposed to a pathogen, it first ramps up a nonspecific response as part of your innate immune system. Next, your adaptive immune response takes over, generating neutralizing antibodies against the pathogen, which work to bind to the offender so it can”;t enter your cells.
While vaccines may generate neutralizing antibodies, they can also induce binding antibodies, sometimes referred to as non-neutralizing antibodies, which increase the ability of a virus to enter your cells and worsen the disease.
Children”;s Hospital of Philadelphia explained, “;ADE occurs when the antibodies generated during an immune response recognize and bind to a pathogen, but they are unable to prevent infection. Instead, these antibodies act as a “;Trojan horse,”; allowing the pathogen to get into cells and exacerbate the immune response.”;8
It”;s possible for pathogens to cause ADE, the most well-known being dengue virus, which has four different serotypes. If a person is infected with one serotype, neutralizing antibodies may effectively fight back against the disease.
However, if they”;re exposed to a different serotype later, the neutralizing antibodies already circulating in their system can bind to the virus and enhance its entrance into cells, causing a severe form of the disease known as dengue hemorrhagic fever.9
Vaccinations are also known to cause ADE. In 1969, attempts to create a vaccination against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) catastrophically failed after it led to increased rates of severe illness in infants. Eighty percent of vaccinated infants ended up hospitalized compared to only 5% of the nonvaccinated infants, and two vaccinated infants died due to enhanced RSV infections caused by the vaccine.10
RSV is an upper respiratory illness that is very similar to that caused by coronaviruses. In my May 2020 interview with Robert Kennedy Jr., he talked about the failed RSV vaccine:
“;At the time, they did not test it on animals. They went right to human testing. They tested it on I think about 35 children, and the same thing happened. The children developed a champion antibody response, robust, durable. It looked perfect, and then the children were exposed to the wild virus and they all became sick. Two of them died. They abandoned the vaccine. It was a big embarrassment to FDA and NIH …;”;
An early version of the measles vaccine also resulted in ADE (measles belongs to the same family as RSV). Children who were vaccinated with the formalin inactivated measles vaccine were more likely to develop a severe, atypical measles infection, including high fever, unusual rash and pneumonia, leading the vaccine to be withdrawn from the market.11
Coronavirus Vaccines Linked to ADE
As Kennedy further noted, coronavirus vaccines remain notorious for creating ADE, or paradoxical immune enhancement. Coronavirus vaccine development, which began in 2002, followed three consecutive severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreaks. SARS is caused by SARS-associated coronavirus, or SARS-CoV.
By 2012, Chinese, American and European scientists were working on SARS vaccine development and had about 30 candidates. Of those, the four best vaccine candidates were then given to ferrets, which are the closest analogue to humans with lung infections. In the video above, which is a select outtake from my full interview, Kennedy explains what happened next.
While the ferrets displayed robust antibody response, which is the metric used for vaccine licensing, once they were challenged with the wild virus, they all became severely ill and died, mirroring the severe effects that occurred during the failed RSV trials.
At the time, even long-time pro-vaccine advocate Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, was shaken. According to a feature published in PNAS:12
“;When SARS, also a coronavirus, appeared in China and spread globally nearly two decades ago, Hotez was among researchers who began investigating a potential vaccine.
In early tests of his candidate, he witnessed how immune cells of vaccinated animals attacked lung tissue, in much the same way that the RSV vaccine had resulted in immune cells attacking kids”; lungs. “;I thought, “;Oh crap,”;”; he recalls, noting his initial fear that a safe vaccine may again not be possible.”;
According to Kennedy, the same thing happened in 2014 with the dengue vaccine DENVax. “;They knew from the clinical trials that there was a problem with paradoxical immune response,”; Kennedy says, but they gave it to several hundred thousand Filipino kids anyway.
They got a great immune response from the vaccine, but those exposed to wild dengue got horribly sick and 600 of the children died. “;Today, the Philippine government is prosecuting criminally a bunch of the people locally who were involved in that decision,”; Kennedy says.
Risk of ADE in COVID-19 Vaccines “;Compelling”;
The International Journal of Clinical Practice researchers called the risk of ADE in COVID-19 vaccines not only nontheoretical but also compelling.13 They noted that vaccine-elicited enhancement of disease has been previously found with SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related (MERs) coronaviruses, as well as feline coronavirus, all of which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
A 2019 study involving macaques and SARS14 raises additional concerns. According to the researchers:15
“;Inflammation and tissue damage in the lung in this animal model recapitulated the inflammation and tissue damage in the lungs of SARS-infected patients who succumbed to the disease. The time course was also similar, with the worst damage occurring in delayed fashion in synchrony with ramping up of the immune response.
Remarkably, neutralizing antibodies controlled the virus in the animal, but then would precipitate a severe, tissue-damaging, inflammatory response in the lung. This is a similar profile to immune-complex mediated disease seen with RSV vaccines in the past, wherein vaccinees succumbed to fatal enhanced RSV disease due to the formation of antibody-virus immune complexes that precipitated harmful, inflammatory immune responses.
It is also similar to the clinical course of COVID-19 patients, in whom severe COVID-19 disease is associated with the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies, with titers correlating directly with the severity of disease. Conversely, subjects who recover quickly may have low or no anti- SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies.”;
The goal of most COVID-19 vaccines is to produce neutralizing antibodies, and they believe that vaccine-elicited ADE is therefore likely to occur “;to some degree”; with COVID-19 vaccines.
“;A finite, nontheoretical risk is evident in the medical literature that vaccine candidates composed of the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike and eliciting anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, be they neutralizing or not, place vaccinees at higher risk for more severe COVID-19 disease when they encounter circulating viruses,”; they explained.16
Current data on COVID-19 vaccines do not reveal a risk of ADE, but data are limited and studies have not been designed to follow what happens when subjects are exposed to circulating virus after vaccination, which is when ADE could occur.
“;Thus,”; the researchers added, “;the absence of ADE evidence in COVID-19 vaccine data so far does not absolve investigators from disclosing the risk of enhanced disease to vaccine trial participants, and it remains a realistic, nontheoretical risk to the subjects.”;17
True Informed Consent Is Required to Weigh Risks and Benefits
It”;s often recommended that patients weigh the risks versus the benefits of medical procedures before making a medical decision. But this is only possible if informed consent provides an accurate picture of risk. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, the researchers believe informed consent has failed:18
“;Based on the published literature, it should have been obvious to any skilled medical practitioner in 2019 that there is a significant risk to vaccine research subjects that they may experience severe disease once vaccinated, while they might only have experienced a mild, self-limited disease if not vaccinated.”;
Unfortunately, only minor risks such as injection site reactions, rare risks from the past or risks from unrelated vaccines and viruses are typically disclosed on vaccine trial informed consent forms. Further, generic statements about more severe systemic adverse events and death are the norm.
Given the strong evidence of ADE risk from COVID-19 vaccines, the researchers believe that a separate informed consent form should be given out to those receiving the vaccine, warning them of the specific risk of worsened COVID-19 disease from vaccination, and demonstrating consent that they understand this risk.19 If you received such a form, would it change your mind about getting the shot?
“I may not be able to sing ever again,”; Marianne said in a new interview with The Guardian. “;Maybe that”;s over. I would be incredibly upset if that was the case, but, on the other hand, I am 74. I don”;t feel cursed and I don”;t feel invincible. I just feel f–king human.”
Marianne is still hopeful that her singing voice will return.
She said, “But what I do believe in, which gives me hope, I do believe in miracles. You know, the doctor, this really nice National Health doctor, she came to see me and she told me that she didn”;t think my lungs would ever recover. And where I finally ended up is: OK, maybe they won”;t, but maybe, by a miracle, they will. I don”;t know why I believe in miracles. I just do. Maybe I have to, the journey I”;ve been on, the things that I”;ve put myself through, that I”;ve got through so far and I”;m OK.”
1 According to recent research, the reason why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure is because they:
Are deficient in calcium Consume excessive amounts of unsaturated fats such as omega-6 linoleic acid
A compelling report in the journal Gastroenterology offers a novel explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure, namely their high unsaturated fat intake. Unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while saturated fat intake lowers your risk of death. Learn more.
Eat too many eggs Have not exercised enough
2 Which of the following vaccine ingredients is suspected of being the culprit causing allergic, including life-threatening anaphylactic responses in some recipients of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine?
mRNA Thimerosal Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), and studies have shown 70% of people develop antibodies against this substance. This suggests PEG may trigger fatal allergic reactions in many who receive the vaccine. Learn more.
3 The SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was developed based on:
Viral isolate of SARS-CoV-2 collected from patient zero in Wuhan, China Viral isolate from a single American with cold symptoms The full genetic sequence obtained from viral isolate An incomplete genetic sequence published by Chinese scientists
The SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was developed based on a genetic sequence published by Chinese scientists, not the viral isolate. Missing genetic code was simply made up. Learn more.
4 Which of the following is a technique that allows scientists to make a pathogen more virulent?
One technique that allows scientists to make a pathogen more virulent is called “serial passaging.” By passing the virus through a series of cells from different animals, the virus progressively adapts to the new host cell. Learn more.
Sequential massaging Fromage processing Prime addition
5 Which of the following countries detained or arrested the greatest number of journalists in 2020?
The Philippines China
China tops the list of countries where suppression of journalism is taking place. As of December 1, 2020, 117 Chinese journalists had been arrested, many because of their reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic. December 28, 2020, the Shanghai Pudong People’s Court sentenced citizen journalist Zhang Zhan to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Learn more.
6 According to financial guru and former assistant secretary of housing, Catherine Austin Fitts, the riots that occurred in the U.S. during 2020 were:
An emotional response to racial inequality The result of poor upbringing Part of a real estate acquisition scheme
The riots in the U.S. were not random. According to Catherine Austin Fitts, the pattern suggests they were part of a real estate acquisition plan. Learn more.
An outgrowth of pandemic restrictions
7 Which of the following “hacks” will make fasting easier by preventing hunger pangs?
Eating a high-carb breakfast Never fasting for longer than 12 hours Avoiding exercise while fasting Having coffee, with or without MCT oil, butter and/or prebiotics, first thing in the morning
A simple hack that will make fasting easier is to raise your ketone level with black mycotoxin-free coffee, with or without added MCT oil and grass fed butter. Adding prebiotics to your morning coffee will also prevent hunger. Learn more.
President-elect Joe Biden is revealing his first plans after taking over the job in the White House.
A memo released from Biden‘s Chief of Staff Ron Klain outlined his strategy upon assuming the presidency later in the week on Saturday (January 16), via People.
“We face four overlapping and compounding crises: the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis. All of these crises demand urgent action. In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” the memo reads.
He plans to undo many of Donald Trump‘s contentious policies, beginning with “roughly a dozen executive actions” on Inauguration Day.
“President-elect Biden will take action –; not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration –; but also to start moving our country forward,” the memo continued.
He will ask the Department of Education to extend the pause on student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans, and will also re-join the Paris Agreement and reverse Trump‘s Muslim Ban.
For the pandemic, he will launch the “100 Day Masking Challenge” and issue a mask mandate on federal property and interstate travel. He will also extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.
In his second day, Biden will sign “a number of executive actions to move aggressively to change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards.”
He also plans to strengthen “Buy American” provisions, as well as overturning Trump‘s border enforcement policies and “start the difficult but critical work of reuniting families separated at the border.”
“But by February 1st, America will be moving in the right direction on all four of these challenges –; and more –; thanks to President-elect Joe Biden‘s leadership. While the policy objectives in these executive actions are bold, I want to be clear: the legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the President,” the memo continued.
Biden also proposed a stimulus package that includes $350 billion in state and local aid, $1,400 direct payments to Americans, expanded unemployment benefits and a higher federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.