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The Studies Cited To Support Gender-Bending Kids Are Largely Junk Science


REPORTED BY: NATHANAEL BLAKE | MARCH 10, 2022

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/the-studies-cited-to-support-gender-bending-kids-are-largely-junk-science-2656908394.html/

New York Times building

The transgender misinformation machine is at it again. The New York Times recently published an extensive essay arguing against screening before medical transition — if someone says she wants hormones or surgery, doctors should immediately break out the syringes and prep the operating room.

The article, by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich of Bowdoin College, exemplifies how the transgender movement uses misinformation to advance its agenda. Marzano-Lesnevich asserts, “That gender-affirming health care saves lives is clear: A 2018 literature review by Cornell University concluded that 93 percent of studies found that transition improved transgender people’s heath [sic] outcomes, while the remaining 7 percent found mixed or null results. Not a single study in the review concluded negative impact.”

That seems dispositive — unless you look at the studies. The cited literature review was titled the “What We Know Project” and was directed by the LGBT scholar and activist Nathaniel Frank, who cited it in his own New York Times piece on transgenderism a few years ago, writing that “Our findings make it indisputable that gender transition has a positive effect on transgender well-being.”

Poorly Conducted Studies

These proclamations that the science is settled are a bold facade on rickety scaffolding. When this New York Times article invokes the authority of science, it seeks to evoke the image of careful statisticians sifting through data collected by diligent doctors.

But it is actually appealing to self-selected online surveys with cash prizes, studies with tiny samples, and studies that are missing more than half of their subjects. Stacking a bunch of weak studies on top of each other doesn’t provide a strong result, but The New York Times presumes readers won’t bother to check the details — the editors certainly didn’t.

Back in 2019, I took a closer look at the studies the What We Know Project cites, and found a methodological mess. Many of the studies had serious flaws, beginning with small sample sizes. As I noted, “Of the fifty relevant papers identified by the project, only five studies (10 percent) had more than 300 subjects, while twenty-six studies (52 percent) had fewer than 100. Seventeen studies (34 percent) had fifty or fewer subjects, and five of those had a sample size of twenty-five or less.”

The flaws extended far beyond small sample size, and the largest studies tended to be the weakest, often consisting of little more than online surveys with a self-selecting sample. Nor should we put much faith in a study that recruited subjects for an online survey by advertising “on online groups and discussion forums that were dedicated to FTM [female-to-male] members. . . . Upon survey completion, participants were entered into a lottery drawing for cash prizes.”

Even the better-designed long-term studies were often plagued by poor response rates. A European study had 201 out of 546 respond — just 37 percent. And though missing data is, by definition, missing, it is reasonable to suspect that those with poor outcomes are overrepresented among those who could not or would not respond.

Regret Rates

Nor did The New York Times check Marzano-Lesnevich’s claim that “gender-affirming health care has some of the lowest rates of regret in medicine. A 2021 systemic review of the medical literature, covering 27 studies and 7,928 transgender patients, found a regret rate of 1 percent or less.” But read the paper and it is quickly apparent both that the review has significant weaknesses and that The New York Times allowed its conclusions to be misrepresented.

Of the 27 studies used in their analysis, the review authors ranked only five as “good” and only four as having a low risk of bias. Many of the studies had the same flaws as those examined in the What We Know Project (indeed, some studies were used in both).

Another problem is that the majority of the data in the 2021 review came from a single study conducted by a Dutch group retrospectively examining the records of their own gender clinic. But a retrospective review of medical files will only identify regrets from patients who shared them with the gender clinic that performed their surgeries. Furthermore, the study only identified regrets following gonadectomy, and not those who regretted other surgeries, or who never had surgery but did regret taking cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers.

In addition to the problem of allowing a flawed data set to dominate the 2021 review, this illustrates another persistent difficulty with studies of transgender regret, which is that they are often conducted by those who provide medical transition, rather than independent researchers. People whose livelihoods and reputations depend on facilitating medical transition might be less than diligent and rigorous in looking for regret.

To their credit, the authors of the 2021 review do discuss some of the limits and difficulties of their work, writing that various problems:

represent a big barrier for generalization of the results of this study. The lack of validated questionnaires to evaluate regret in this population is a significant limiting factor. In addition, bias can occur because patients might restrain from expressing regrets due to fear of being judged by the interviewer. Moreover, the temporarity of the feeling of regret in some patients and the variable definition of regret may underestimate the real prevalence of ‘true’ regret.

None of these qualifications regarding regret were even hinted at in the published column. Despite The New York Times’ citing it, the 2021 review does not prove that “gender-affirming health care has some of the lowest rates of regret in medicine.”

As the authors note, regret is not only an imperfect measure, but it is often difficult to measure, with no set criteria defining it. In one Swedish review cited by the What We Know Project, it was defined “as application for reversal of the legal gender status among those who were sex reassigned,” which excludes those who succumbed to depression or addiction, or who lived unhappily after transition without seeking to legally detransition.

Gatekeeping before Transition

Furthermore, even if we uncritically accept the results of the 2021 review, it does not support the argument that gatekeeping before medical transition is unnecessary and harmful. Rather, the authors claim that the low regret rate they found “reflects and corroborates the increased [sic] in accuracy of patient selection criteria for GAS [gender affirmation surgery].”

In short, the review argues that medical gatekeeping keeps regret rates low. That The New York Times allowed this review to be used as evidence against medical screening, and in favor of self-ID for medical transition, exemplifies the persistent practice of American transgender activists using studies of (mostly) carefully screened European adults to argue against screening before medical transition, even for children.

Unfortunately, the aggregation of (often questionable) studies, and the exaggeration of their conclusions by activists, is only part of the problem. These efforts to spread misinformation are augmented by the intimidation of dissenting scientists and the suppression of results that trans activists dislike.

Suppressing Dissent

Researchers have learned to fear the wrath of LGBT activists, and take pains to avoid it. Results that undermine the narrative have to be carefully presented lest the public draw the wrong conclusions. Thus, when scientists concluded that there is no “gay gene” they “worked with LGBTQ advocacy groups and science-communication specialists on the best way to convey their findings in the research paper and to the public.”

With regard to transgender ideology, the intimidation is even more overt. For example, Lisa Littman’s qualitative study describing the phenomenon of rapid-onset gender dysphoria met a ferocious response from transgender activists. Similarly, activists smeared Canadian psychologist Kenneth Zucker and forced him out of his position as the leader of a gender identity clinic, even though he sometimes supported transitioning children. He was just more cautious about it than activists wanted. He was eventually vindicated, but targeting him still sent a warning to any researchers who are seen as insufficiently pro-trans.

As these cases demonstrate, the science is being manipulated to fit transgender ideology. Shoddy studies — often conducted by activists and doctors with a stake in medical transition — are boosted if they support the trans narrative, while results and researchers who challenge it are suppressed. This skewed data is then used by trans activists and their allies to shape the discourse.

Uncomfortable facts and stories are kept out of the official narrative. Insightful and moving first-person accounts of transition and detransition are confined to non-traditional outlets such as Substack, as are the warnings of leading trans doctors about the reckless rushing of children into transition. The information bubble is the point.

Going forward, disagreement will be labeled “misinformation” and banned from social media, and dissidents will be labeled as bigots who should be fired from their jobs. Doctors will be required to practice only according to the approved narrative, and educators will encourage children to transition without parental knowledge and consent. Worse still, the government will take children from parents who do not support transition.

The purpose of the transgender misinformation machine is not so much to persuade, but to provide justification for coercion. The point of the lies and distortions is to impose transgender ideology on all of us, especially children.


Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor to The Federalist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Swedes Are Implanting Microchip Vaccine Passports. It Won’t Stop There


Reported BY: JOE ALLEN | DECEMBER 23, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/12/23/swedes-are-implanting-microchip-vaccine-passports-it-wont-stop-there/

A skinput system projecting tech onto a person's arm

Last week, the world glimpsed a future in which vaccine passports are implanted under the skin. A viral video from South China Morning Post profiled a Swedish start-up hub, Epicenter, that injects its employees with microchips.

“Right now it is very convenient to have a COVID passport always accessible on your implant,” its chief disruption officer, Hannes Sjöblad, told the interviewer. Oddly enough, he repeatedly spoke of chipping “arms” when we clearly see a woman opening doors with her hand.

Two years earlier, Sjöblad told ITV, “I want us humans to open up and improve our sensory universe, our cognitive functions. … I want to merge humans with technology and I think it will be awesome.”

Naturally, some Christians see the Mark of the Beast. In a sane world, the idea of having your hand chipped to access public goods or private property—to receive a mark in order to “buy, sell, or trade”—should alarm anyone, regardless of religious persuasion. The same goes for using an implanted brain-computer interface to access the digital realm, as Elon Musk plans to do with Neuralink.

Yet for a growing fringe, this invasive tech isn’t just desirable. It’s already normal. Presently, some 5,000 Swedes use implanted radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to open doors, pay cashless, present medical records, access concert venues, and ride public transportation. According to Ars Technica, as of 2018 an estimated 50,000-100,000 people worldwide have microchip implants, primarily in their hands.

A 2019 analysis in Nature reported about 160,000 people have deep brain stimulation devices implanted in their heads. Currently, this is only done out of necessity to treat disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, or even addiction and depression. Of these devices, only 34 are true brain-computer interfaces. However, with current advances in technology, enormous injections of capital, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recent approval, that number will rapidly climb.

Hurtling Toward a Hybrid Humanity

Enthusiasts say they aim to propel these technologies from healing to enhancement. In 2018—the same year Biohax gained international attention for chipping thousands of Swedish hands—MIT Technology Review boosted it with the fawning headline: This company embeds microchips in its employees, and they love it.”

Since the first human-grade RFID implant was patented in 1997, followed by FDA approval in 2004, subdermal microchips have become just another device in a growing cyborg toolkit. Drawing on that cache, the Internet of Bodies paradigm has gained enormous traction among the medical establishment. At the extreme end, the concept of natural-born humanity is to be abolished.

For more than six decades, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has funded Human 2.0 projects, with particular interest in brain-computer interfaces. Citing these and many other human-machine hybrids, the World Economic Forum’s chairman Klaus Schwab recently spelled out his vision of civilizational transformation. His widely read books—“The Fourth Industrial Revolution” (2016) and “The Great Reset” (2020)—both describe inexorable progress toward total technocracy. The same idea emerges in a 2019 government analysis by Policy Horizons Canada, entitled “Exploring Biodigital Convergence.” According to the authors, “Digital technology can be embedded in organisms [and today] biotechnology may be at the cusp of a period of rapid expansion—possibly analogous to digital computing circa 1985.” Its success will hinge on sweeping surveillance. The document goes on to describe tracking chips, wearable bio-sensors, internal organ sensors, Web-connected neurotech, swallowable digital pills—merging body and brain with the digital beehive.

Last spring, the UK’s Ministry of Defense published the jarring study, Human Augmentation: The Dawn of a New Paradigm.” The authors promise this “will become increasingly relevant, partly because it can directly enhance human capability and behaviour, and partly because it is the binding agent between people and machines.” Surveying today’s cyborgs, they write, “Once inserted, these ‘chips’ can…replace many of our keys and passwords, allowing us to unlock doors, start vehicles, and even log onto computers and smartphones.”

All the above authors fret over ethics in a perfunctory fashion, but most accept the “inevitable” fusion of man with machine. If military strategists, corporate elites, and government officials are taking this prospect seriously, so should we.

The New Normal Is Total Digitalization

For people with any sense at all, the notion of having a microchip jabbed into your hand (or your head) triggers animal revulsion. Disturbing as it may be, a more immediate concern is the widespread use of non-invasive biometric systems.

Wherever the New Normal takes hold, access to society is granted or denied on the basis of arbitrary “health and safety” concerns. Today, it’s masks or vaccine status. Tomorrow, it could be ideology. Authorities don’t have to chip you if they can simply scan your smartphone and tell you to get lost, or lock you in your dwelling pod whenever “the numbers” rise.

To cite one common example among many, the biometric company Clear rode the Patriot Act to prominence. Today, Clear is contracting to provide biometric and QR code-based vaxxports to fully jabbed citizens on the go. It won’t stop there. Not without a fight. As Clear’s CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker told CNBC last year, “Just like screening was forever changed post-9/11, in a post-Covid environment you’re going to see screening and public safety significantly shift. But this time it’s beyond airports. It’s sports stadiums, it’s retail, its office buildings, its restaurants.”

Taking a more cerebral angle, tech mogul Bryan Johnson founded Kernel to develop non-invasive brain-scanning helmets to enhance your health and happiness. The devices can also gather users’ neurological data. Last summer, Johnson told Bloomberg Businessweek that by 2030 he’d like to put his BCI helmets in every American household. These people want to completely transform our mental and physical spaces. It isn’t even a secret. They want some form of transhumanism, whether they use the term or not. It’s past time to smash their devices.

America Cannot Let This Happen

One by one across the globe, canaries are falling dead in the digital coal mine. We see implanted vaxxports in Sweden, lockdowns for the unvaccinated in Austria and Germany, and yes, quarantine camps in Australia. The Untact program in South Korea is specifically designed to replace human interaction with social robots and the Metaverse. At the pandemic’s outset, American writers at The Atlantic and CNN urged U.S. leaders to adopt Chinese authoritarianism. Their wish is beginning to come true.

While I doubt any population will be forcibly chipped like wayward housecats—at least not in the near future—no nightmarish policy is truly off the table. In the past 21 months, the United States has seen mandated mRNA gene therapies, QR code-based vaccine passports, mass deletion of supposed “misinformation,” and even drone surveillance to monitor social distancing. Meanwhile, more young adults died from fentanyl overdoses than from any transmissible disease.

If the biosecurity state can force you to wear an obedience mask to buy groceries, what can’t they do? Resist their measures at every turn. Drag these people down from the seats of power. Dismantle the structures they’ve already put in place.

I’m no absolutist. Tools are tools, and every naked ape needs one. For the most part, I couldn’t care less if techno-fetishists chip themselves or refashion their appendages. Had their subculture remained on the fringe, I’d still find such people fascinating. But that’s not what’s happening. Riding waves of germaphobia—the ultimate organic disruption—tech titans and their think tank ministers are establishing a secular religion. The world’s wealthiest men, wielding the most powerful tools on earth, are erecting inescapable systems of control. We can’t combat them if we don’t acknowledge what they are.

Scientism is their faith. Technology is their sacrament. Their cult is a cyborg theocracy. Even if they rain fire from the sky with the press of a button, never bend the knee to their silicon gods.


Joe Allen is a fellow primate who wonders why we ever came down from the trees. For years, he worked as a rigger on various concert tours. Between gigs, he studied religion and science at UTK and Boston University. Find him at www.joebot.xyz or @JOEBOTxyz.

Herd Immunity To COVID Is Not Reckless. It Would Protect The Vulnerable


Herd Immunity To COVID Is Not Reckless. It Would Protect The Vulnerable

SELF Magazine / Flickr

Why is the press and officialdom suddenly shrieking about “herd immunity”? On Oct. 12, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said pursuing herd immunity is “unethical.” Within hours, most of the media broadcast the same message. It’s as though someone sent out a list of talking points.

“Sweden’s experiment with herd immunity is unethical and undemocratic,” Australia’s ABC intoned, “and reveals an underlying political pathology.” According to Fortune, herd immunity against SARS-CoV2 is a “myth.”

Time called Sweden’s coronavirus response a “disaster.” “From early on,” the magazine claimed, “the Swedish government seemed to treat it as a foregone conclusion that many people would die.” The Washington Post is claiming that herd immunity is now the White House’s “strategy,” supposedly on advice from White House advisor Scott Atlas.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus,” claimed the head of WHO, “not by exposing them to it.” According to him, “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic.”

This is misleading. First, herd immunity is all about exposure. A study of nearly 6,000 individuals out Oc. 13 finds that, outside one outlier, the COVID-positive patients sampled retained their immunity to the disease for at least five to seven months, the duration of the study. After enough people get and recover from an infection, the virus loses most of its routes for new infections. Indeed, the main purpose of the annual flu vaccine is to speed up herd immunity by reducing the number of susceptible people. Just as huddling inside in the winter helps spread flu, and thereby pneumonia, so herd immunity helps bring down death rates in the summer.

Second, herd immunity isn’t so much a strategy as a fact of life when dealing with infectious agents like the coronavirus. Even the Time article that lambasted Sweden admits that it’s not quite fair to say the Nordic country pursued a herd immunity “strategy.” Rather, it had an anti-lockdown policy. Still, any strategy that ignores herd immunity is foolish, since that is precisely how infection rates fall in pandemics.

So why the renewed furor over herd immunity? We suspect it’s really aimed at the thousands of scientists and medical practitioners who have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, which invokes the term favorably.

For lockdown partisans in the press and Big Tech, the declaration is a clear and present danger. They’re working hard to suppress it. After all, it refutes the narrative that all scientists agree with the lockdowns. Its three principal authors hail from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford universities. They have as many scientific chops as any of the lockdown partisans.

So the media have done everything they can, first to ignore, and then to tar, feather, and misrepresent the scientists who organized this effort. The campaign against a supposed “herd immunity strategy,” or what some call the “let people die” approach, is really a proxy war against the declaration.

Other, pro-lockdown scientists have now responded to the Great Barrington Declaration with the “John Snow Memorandum,” published in The Lancet on Oct. 14. Predictably, Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked about the declaration, called it “dangerous” and “nonsense.”

This looks like a smear campaign designed to prevent Americans, including the president, from hearing the scientific case against the lockdowns. That’s much easier to do if the public thinks the only alternative is letting people die. But the scientists behind the Great Barrington advocate nothing like that. They call for focused protection, a strategy that confers the greatest benefits with the fewest costs. These scientists argue that population-wide lockdowns are all pain and little gain. They also know that we’re going to reach herd immunity at some point whatever our approach. How much damage we cause in the meantime is the question.

Finally, they know that the elderly are about 1,000 times more at risk of death from COVID-19 than the young. Therefore, they argue, we should end the disastrous lockdowns, focus on protecting the most vulnerable, treat those who get sick with all the tools in our arsenal — including those President Trump received — and let immunity build up among those with very little risk.

This wasn’t the initial Swedish approach. That country failed to protect and sequester nursing homes, which were the source of most Swedish deaths.

The alternative is to keep pressing lockdowns, no matter the cost in lives and wellbeing, until a vaccine is available for all. That should be a non-starter. In our new book “The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe,” we show that the forced lockdowns had no discernable effect on the spread of the coronavirus. Worse, they will kill more people than the virus itself.

The Great Barrington Declaration has it right. And so does President Trump. But he has not yet clearly embraced the science and the many scientists who can provide the scientific heft behind this policy. That policy is focused protection. It is the most ethical and rational choice. The media campaign against “herd immunity” is a cynical effort to keep this approach from gaining traction.

Jay W. Richards, Douglas Axe, and William Briggs are the authors of “The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe.”

Democrats Vote Against CHIP Funding Ahead of ‘Schumer Shutdown’


Reported by Joel B. Pollak | 18 Jan 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/18/democrats-vote-chip-funding-schumer-shutdown/

186 House Democrats voted against keeping the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funded for the next six years as they opposed a stopgap spending measure in the House of Representatives Thursday that would keep the government open for the next four weeks.

Senate Democrats were likewise poised to vote against CHIP, as they declared earlier in the day that they had the votes to filibuster the spending bill and shut down the government. (Republicans have taken to calling the impending shutdown the “Schumer shutdown,” for Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), in response.)

CHIP provides funds for health insurance for children from low-income families who are not poor enough to be eligible for Medicaid. CHIP funding is the number one issue for American voters overall, according to a recent poll by Politico and the Harvard University School of Public Health.

When he won Alabama’s special election for the U.S. Senate last month, Doug Jones called on both parties to put politics aside and vote to fund the CHIP program:

“Take this election,” Jones said, “take this election where the people of Alabama said we want to get something done, we want you to find common ground, we want you to talk. Take this opportunity in light of this election and go ahead and fund that CHIP program before I get up there. Put it aside and let’s do it for those million kids and 150,000 here in Birmingham, Alabama.”

Congress did not do so, but Jones proposed a bill last week that would extend CHIP funding for five years — one year shorter than the stopgap spending bill Democrats are rejecting.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger offered her version of Democrats’ argument Thursday: “If this is so important to you Republicans, why didn’t you take it up earlier this year when you could have, when the Democrats wanted to deal with it? I mean, children’s health insurance is something that you can bring up on the floor any time and renew it, and they’ve been screaming about it — the Democrats have been screaming about it for quite some time.”

Voters in contested House and Senate districts this year can expect to see Republican advertisements noting that Democratic incumbents voted against funding CHIP. Only six House Democrats broke ranks to vote with the GOP.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak

Physician: Lifting DDT Ban Could Stop Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus


waving flagby Dr. Susan Berry, 9 Feb 2016

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/09/physician-mosquito-borne-zika-virus-should-prompt-rethinking-of-ddt-ban

The executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) asserts that a lifting of the ban on DDT could prevent the spread of the Zika virus, just as it could have wiped out malaria.

Dr. Jane Orient tells Breitbart News the major public health measure required to combat the Zika virus pandemic is mosquito control and says, “DDT was the most effective public health weapon of all time.”

Orient continues:

The ban on DDT was basically the decision of one man, William Ruckelshaus, going against a mountain of evidence on safety and enormous health benefits. It was said that, “If they can ban DDT, they can ban anything.” And that’s how the EPA power grab started. Millions of African babies have died and are still dying of malaria because if it.

“Substitute pesticides are far more toxic and expensive,” she adds. “People are advised to use insect repellents such as DEET — which is absorbed through the skin, and safety in pregnancy is not established.”

Orient’s view is shared by president of Pioneer Energy Dr. Robert Zubrin, who recently wrote at National Review, “The most effective pesticide is DDT. If the Zika catastrophe is to be prevented in time, we need to use it.”

Zubrin observes the pesticide’s history:

DDT was first employed by the U.S. Army to stop a typhus epidemic in Naples that had been created by the retreating Germans through their destruction of that city’s sanitation system. Subsequently, Allied forces used it in all theaters to save millions of disease-ravaged victims of Axis tyranny, and after the war employed it to wipe out malaria in the American south, southern Europe, and much of south Asia and Latin America. The benefits of these campaigns were unprecedented. As the National Academy of Sciences put it in a 1970 report: To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase of agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.

Zubrin asserts that environmentalists such as Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book Silent Spring, propagated the notion that DDT was harmful to bird populations.

“This was false,” he writes. “In fact, by eliminating their insect parasites and infection agents, DDT was helping bird numbers to grow significantly.”

Nevertheless, Zubrin notes environmentalists launched an aggressive “massive propaganda campaign” that would ultimately ban the use of DDT.The Leftist Propagandist

According to Orient, Zika is not a new virus, having been first identified in humans in 1947 in Uganda’s Zika Forest. Nevertheless, CDC director Thomas Frieden observes the virus’s association with microcephaly and other fetal harm.

“There is no definitive proof that ZVD has caused birth defects,” Orient notes. “In fact, the evidence is against it. In Colombia, 3000 pregnant women had ZVD — with no microcephaly. In Brazil, only 17 of 404 cases of confirmed microcephaly were positive for ZVD. ZVD has been known since the 1940s as a benign disease, with no reported birth defects.”

Orient also advises against exposing women who may be pregnant to drugs or vaccines that have not been through thorough safety testing. She notes that, last year, Brazil mandated the pertussis vaccine for all pregnant women — without proof of safety during pregnancy.

Regarding the fear that Zika could spread through the United States via illegal immigrants, Orient believes that ZVD is perhaps one of the least important of the kinds of diseases that could be transmitted in that way. A concern she has is that President Obama proposes to spend $1.8 billion on the ZVD threat — which is now being used politically to promote abortion in countries where it is currently illegal — while “other genuine threats proliferate.”

“We could stop transmission now with effective mosquito control in affected areas,” Orient says.

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