More Evidence for Effectiveness of Ivermectin Against COVID-19

No, you don’t have to inject the vaccine yourself

The May-June 2021 issue of American Journal of Therapeutics has a meta-analysis of various experiments using ivermectin both as prophylaxis against and treatment for COVID-19. I’m starting to think ivermectin is effective. Not only that, it’s inexpensive and relatively non-toxic.

From the aforementioned article:

Background: 

After COVID-19 emerged on U.S shores, providers began reviewing the emerging basic science, translational, and clinical data to identify potentially effective treatment options. In addition, a multitude of both novel and repurposed therapeutic agents were used empirically and studied within clinical trials.

Areas of Uncertainty: 

The majority of trialed agents have failed to provide reproducible, definitive proof of efficacy in reducing the mortality of COVID-19 with the exception of corticosteroids in moderate to severe disease. Recently, evidence has emerged that the oral antiparasitic agent ivermectin exhibits numerous antiviral and anti-inflammatory mechanisms with trial results reporting significant outcome benefits. Given some have not passed peer review, several expert groups including Unitaid/World Health Organization have undertaken a systematic global effort to contact all active trial investigators to rapidly gather the data needed to grade and perform meta-analyses.

Data Sources: 

Data were sourced from published peer-reviewed studies, manuscripts posted to preprint servers, expert meta-analyses, and numerous epidemiological analyses of regions with ivermectin distribution campaigns.

Therapeutic Advances: 

A large majority of randomized and observational controlled trials of ivermectin are reporting repeated, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes. Numerous prophylaxis trials demonstrate that regular ivermectin use leads to large reductions in transmission. Multiple, large “natural experiments” occurred in regions that initiated “ivermectin distribution” campaigns followed by tight, reproducible, temporally associated decreases in case counts and case fatality rates compared with nearby regions without such campaigns.

Conclusions: 

Meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 have found large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance. Furthermore, results from numerous controlled prophylaxis trials report significantly reduced risks of contracting COVID-19 with the regular use of ivermectin. Finally, the many examples of ivermectin distribution campaigns leading to rapid population-wide decreases in morbidity and mortality indicate that an oral agent effective in all phases of COVID-19 has been identified.

Parker here again. My understanding of Emergency Use Authorization, which applies to all COVID vaccines used in the U.S. today, is that they are authorized only if there are no other proven effective treatments available. In which case, the Big Pharma vaccine manufacturers may want to suppress the study at hand.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: There is no consensus on the dose of ivermectin for the patients I see, i.e, those sick enough to be in the hospital. Single dose of 0.4 to 0.15 mg/kg? Subsequent dose seven days later “if needed”? I see multiple different dosing regimens in the article.

Resistance Training Improves Insulin Resistance in Overweight Men

Didn’t we already know this?

Insulin is a blood-borne hormone that the pancreas gland secretes in order to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high. (Insulin does many other things, but table that for now.) Insulin triggers certain body cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. “Insulin resistance” means that these cells don’t respond to insulin as well as they should, so either the pancreas secretes even more insulin (hyperinsulinemia) or blood sugar levels rise. Insulin resistance is a harbinger of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Most overweight or obese type 2 diabetics have insulin resistance. Many experts think hyperinsulinemia causes disease by itself, regardless of blood sugar levels. So it may be best to avoid insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.

The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of 6 weeks of resistance exercise training, composed of one set of each exercise to voluntary failure, on insulin sensitivity and the time course of adaptations in muscle strength/mass. Ten overweight men (age 36 ± 8 years; height 175 ± 9 cm; weight 89 ± 14 kg; body mass index 29 ± 3 kg m−2) were recruited to the study. Resistance exercise training involved three sessions per week for 6 weeks. Each session involved one set of nine exercises, performed at 80% of one‐repetition maximum to volitional failure. Sessions lasted 15–20 min. Oral glucose tolerance tests were performed at baseline and post‐intervention. Vastus lateralis muscle thickness, knee‐extensor maximal isometric torque and rate of torque development (measured between 0 and 50, 0 and 100, 0 and 200, and 0 and 300 ms) were measured at baseline, each week of the intervention, and after the intervention. Resistance training resulted in a 16.3 ± 18.7% (P < 0.05) increase in insulin sensitivity (Cederholm index). Muscle thickness, maximal isometric torque and one‐repetition maximum increased with training, and at the end of the intervention were 10.3 ± 2.5, 26.9 ± 8.3, 18.3 ± 4.5% higher (P < 0.05 for both) than baseline, respectively. The rate of torque development at 50 and 100 ms, but not at 200 and 300 ms, increased (P < 0.05) over the intervention period. Six weeks of single‐set resistance exercise to failure results in improvements in insulin sensitivity and increases in muscle size and strength in young overweight men.

Source: The effect of short‐duration resistance training on insulin sensitivity and muscle adaptations in overweight men – Ismail – 2019 – Experimental Physiology – Wiley Online Library

Steve Parker, M.D.

Scientists say new vaccines needed within a year

face mask, young woman
She’s at little risk of serious illness if she’s generally healthy

The problem is that the virus mutates over time, perhaps to the point that the vaccinated immune system doesn’t recognize the new mutant. Learn the word endemic; you’ll be hearing it more often.

From The Guardian in March, 2021:

The planet could have a year or less before first-generation Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and modified formulations are needed, according to a survey of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists.

* * *

The grim forecast of a year or less comes from two-thirds of respondents, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, who carried out the survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries. Nearly one-third of the respondents indicated that the time-frame was likely nine months or less.

Source: Covid: new vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists | Coronavirus | The Guardian

Another issue is that we don’t know how long the vaccine’s effectiveness lasts. Pfizer’s CEO recently suggested a booster by be needed as soon as six months after the last shot.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Celebrity Culture Promotes Consumerism

h/t Fanatic Cook

Trainer Mark Rippetoe On the Impact of the Pandemic

young woman, exercise, weight training, gym
Not enough weight!
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Mark Rippetoe posted an interesting <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://startingstrength.com/article/the-new-fitness-industry&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="https://startingstrength.com/article/the-new-fitness-industry&quot; target="_blank">article on changes in the fitness industry precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic</a>. He also appreciates the difference between exercise/recreation and <em>training</em>:Mark Rippetoe posted an interesting article on changes in the fitness industry precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic. He also appreciates the difference between exercise/recreation and training:

When the opportunity to expand the government’s control in the name of Public Health or Safety or Your Continued Well-being or Not Overwhelming the Healthcare System or whatever comes along next, suddenly your having fun is not nearly as important as obeying the commands of the petty little fucks that enjoy telling other people what to do. Fun is “non-essential,” you see. Your obedience isessential. And that is why your globogym is now closed. 

Depending on where you live and how much cash the corporation has on hand, it may be closed for a long time, or it might be closed permanently. Because it is viewed as Recreation, and is therefore “non-essential,” the petty fucks in charge feel no responsibility to ensure your fun – as if the kind of innocent fun a person has is their decision to make. 

And the government has already described their ideas about exercise. I wrote an article about this several years ago that shows you how completely divorced from our particular reality these fools are. It could be argued that their version of exercise is so utterly wasteful of time that you would in fact be better off locked in your house. And that is what they intend to do.

So it’s time for a paradigm shift. Training – the process we employ to intentionally increase our strength and our health over time – is fundamentally different than stopping by the club on the way home, catching a pump, catching a sweat, catching a shower, and finishing the trip having had fun. Training may actually be no fun at all. The results of training are enjoyable, but the process is hard, and it requires commitment, patience, and eventually the courage to do things you’re not sure you can do. It is an educational process, of teaching both your body and mind to be stronger.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Mediterranean Diet Lowers Parkinson’s Disease Risk for Women

  • santorini, greece

Investigators studied a female Swedish population.

Women who adhere closely to a Mediterranean diet in their 30s and 40s have a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease later in life, particularly once they reach their mid-60s, a large population-based Swedish study found.The study, “Mediterranean Dietary Pattern at Middle Age and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: A Swedish Cohort Study,” was published in the journal Movement Disorders.Diet is increasingly recognized for its potential influence on a person’s risk of several diseases. With Parkinson’s, for instance, studies have suggested that dairy products could be a risk factor for its development.

Source: Holding to Mediterranean Diet Lowers Parkinson’s Risk for Women, Study Finds

Steve Parker, M.D.

Another Reason to Avoid Chronic Proton Pump Inhibitor Use: Higher Risk of Diabetes

prilosec, proton pump inhibitor
Neither the cited study nor I implicate Prilosec in particular

Regular use of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) increases patients’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) by 24%, an observational study published in Gut has suggested.

Source: Regular use of PPIs linked with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests | News | Pharmaceutical Journal

Proton pump inhibitors are widely used in the U.S. to treat esophageal reflux, ulcers, and dyspepsia. They are among the most widely prescribed drugs. You can also get them over-the-counter. Brand names include Protonix, Prilosec, and Nexium.

The study at hand defined “regular use” as at least twice per week. The study was an epidemiological one observing participants for 10-12 years. The more years of regular use, the greater risk of diabetes developing. Nearly all participants were White, so results may not apply to other ethnicities.

Note that this study doesn’t prove that PPIs cause diabetes. They just found a statistical linkage. As you know, correlation does not equal causation. We don’t know how PPIs could cause T2 diabetes. From the article:

According to the study, the possible mechanism for the association could be related to gut microbiota, as previous studies have shown that PPI use is associated with reduced diversity of gut microbiome and consistent changes in the microbiota phenotype.

If your physician recommends you take a PPI chronically, ask about alternatives.

Steve Parker, M.D.

“Thank You” to My Supporters!

I published my first book in 2007 to extend my healing reach beyond the confines of the clinic and hospital room. I’m certain my writing has improved the health of many folks I’ll never know about, and that means more to me than any financial success I’ve had with the books.

In 2020, my net profit from writing was $937.08, which is admittedly pitiful. The prior year profit was $5,802.48. Pandemic effect, maybe? To lower my expenses in 2021, I’ll look into a private PO box instead of US Postal Service ($168/year), drop Amazon Prime ($129/year), and negotiate lower fees with Network Solutions.

I am blessed to have a hospitalist job that pays well. COVID-19 has caused major economic hardship for many of you, including unemployment.

My primary means of advertising has been blogging. Cross-posting on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has done almost nothing for book sales. A few years ago I could give my hospital patients a business card with links to my books, but my employer insisted I stop.

If you care to support my writing, buy a book. If not for yourself, then for someone you care about.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Guesstimating my combined federal and state taxes being 40%, I have $562.25 left after paying taxes. And don’t forget sales tax on many things I might buy.

front cover of Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes

Click to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book also available at Smashwords.com.

front cover of paleobetic diet

Click to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book also available at Smashwords. com.

Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey 

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. The 2020 survey included 1,765 interviews with non-federal public and private firms.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,644 for single coverage. Fifty-five percent of small firms and 99% of large firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, with an overall offer rate of 56%.

Source: 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey | KFF

Get and stay as health as possible so you don’t need to use health insurance or pay high deductibles before insurance kicks in. Let me help.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Looks Like Blue Cross Has Lost a Huge Antitrust Lawsuit

From The New York Times, Sept 24, 2020:

The nation’s Blue Cross plans have reached a tentative $2.7 billion settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by their customers that accuses the group of engaging in a conspiracy to thwart competition among the individual companies, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The settlement, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would need to be agreed to by each of the three dozen Blue Cross insurers that make up the trade group, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Judge R. David Proctor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, who is overseeing the case in that state, also still needs to approve the proposed settlement.

It seems that the judge did indeed approve the settlement. I’v read elsewhere that the settlement was only $2.67 billion. This the culmination of litigation that started in 2012. Check the settlement website to see if you qualify for a piece of the pie. The lawyers are asking for 25%. From the settlement website:

Plaintiffs allege that Settling Defendants violated antitrust laws by entering into an agreement not to compete with each other and to limit competition among themselves in selling health insurance and administrative services for health insurance. Settling Defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing and assert that their conduct results in lower healthcare costs and greater access to care for their customers. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Instead, Plaintiffs and Settling Defendants have agreed to a Settlement to avoid the risk and cost of further litigation.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Keep yourself as healthy as possible so you don’t have to get mired in the medical-industrial complex. Let me help.