ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Newsmax's Dubious Doctor

Dr. Russell Blaylock, whose health newsletter Newsmax publishes, preaches questionable medical advice like railing against vaccines and declaring that NutraSweet and MSG cause brain damage.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/17/2011

Newsmax publishes and sells (for $48 a year) the Blaylock Wellness Report, edited by Dr. Russell Blaylock, whom it describes as "a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon." Blaylock also writes a regular column for Newsmax's health website.

Some of Blaylock's medical advice, however -- particularly on vaccines -- places him far outside the medical mainstream.

In an October 2009 email sent to the Newsmax mailing list, Blaylock sought to scare his readers into not getting a vaccination against swine flu (boldface is his):

Take government's aggressive promotion of the swine flu vaccination . . .

Flu vaccinations contain a full dose of mercury, the most toxic substance known to man.

No amount of mercury is safe. Even very small amounts can weaken your immune system.

Vaccinations also cause brain inflammation. And severe brain inflammation will lead to . . .
  • Behavioral problems and language difficulties in children!
  • Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases in adults!

Like someone trying to deflect blame, Blaylock is accusing others of fearmongering:

When the swine flu story first broke, experts warned that it could be the worst flu since the 1918 pandemic that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, including 700,000 Americans.

But who were these experts?

People on the pharmaceutical and government payroll, that's who. They said it was the most unusual virus they had ever seen . . . that it could kill in large numbers . . .

Overnight, a compliant media spread this alarming news was spread far and wide.


The Chicken Little doomsayers (read "drug company executives") were disappointed in these statistics. But now they're back scaring the public again, saying the "big event" is coming this winter!

And surprise of all surprises, drugmaker Novartis has a swine flu vaccine all ready to go. And the company says it won't give the vaccine away to the poor. Everybody must pay!

Imagine if it could sell 2 billion doses worldwide and get $5 a piece for them. That's $10 billion.

Neat trick. But to succeed, it will need governments around the world insisting that their citizens get vaccinated while using taxpayer money to buy the vaccine for the poor.

Washington is on board. Can you guess why?

Big Pharma is the biggest contributor to Washington politicians -- both Democrats and Republicans. President Obama himself collected $1.2 million during his presidential campaign.

Blaylock goes on to advise people to "avoid flu shots, and if you've had them in the past, to take nutrients that will strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammatory cytokine activity."

In fact, the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2009 disproportionately hit younger victims compared with the elderly who typically succumb to regular seasonal flu. Does that sound like something that can be warded off with a handful of nutrients?

With such an aversion to vaccines, it's unsurprising that Blaylock has been a promoter of the idea that vaccines are to blame for autism:

  • In a September 2009 article, Blaylock asserted that flu vaccines "could not only produce an increase in autism but also an increase in seizures, paralysis and autoimmune diseases."
  • Blaylock claimed in October 2009 that the practice of giving children multiple vaccines causes "autism and schizophrenia."
  • Blaylock claimed in April 2010 that "in theory, a great number of neurological disorders can be triggered by excessive vaccination."
  • In a Dec. 27 post, Blaylock asserted that "the vaccine schedule is quite harmful to brain development, and is responsible for autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and other neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood."

When the most prominent study linking vaccines to autism was retracted by the medical journal that published it and later discredited as an "elaborate fraud," Blaylock ran to its defense. In a Jan. 13 article, Blaylock insisted that "I am not here to defend" Andrew Wakefield, lead author of the study, but defend him he does by painting Wakefield as a victim of a Big Pharma conspiracy and dismissing everyone else's research as even more fraudulent:

Virtually every paper published on drugs, such as statins, is authored by individuals having financial links to as many as three to four pharmaceutical companies each. The same is true of papers published by major journals extolling vaccine efficacy and safety. They know these papers violate every ethical principle known, yet they are published in some of the most prestigious journals.

Abundant evidence has shown that these very same people destroy the reputations of anyone producing evidence, no matter how well researched and of the highest ethical standards, if it in any way endangers this vaccine program. It is ironic that these accusers speak of “blatant fraud,” when virtually all of the vaccine safety evidence they use abundantly is fraudulent by careful design.

So, why is Wakefield being attacked and his reputation ruined — especially for an article written 13 years ago? For several reasons, all of which involved the makers of vaccines. Vaccines generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue for pharmaceutical manufacturers every year.

The H1N1 vaccine alone generated $1.5 billion in addition to the $1 billion generated by the seasonal flu vaccine, neither of which has been shown to be either effective or safe. You have been told this safety and efficacy has been scientifically shown, when this is a shocking, provable lie.

By careful manipulation of the media, the pharmaceutical companies have created the illusion that the entire link between vaccines and neurodevelopmental brain damage is hinged solely on Wakefield’s article, implying there is no other evidence suggesting a powerful link.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have written seven peer-reviewed articles and co-authored a recent ebook that makes a powerful scientific case for such a link. A growing number of researchers have also supplied hard data from very carefully done research that strongly suggest a link.

The defenders of vaccine policy used in the United States and the UK have used poorly done, obviously manipulated studies to make their case. If we use the same judgmental standards they used against Wakefield, they would be seen to be guilty of gross misconduct and, most importantly, of endangering the public at large.

Now, by destroying Wakefield’s reputation and accusing him of “crimes against humanity,” they hope to silence any further research in this area. It has the ring of old Soviet-style intimidation and the fear tactics the KGB used against dissidents.

Blaylock went off on his usual anti-vaccine rant:

When I grew up there was no measles vaccine and everyone in my class got the measles and no one died or suffered serious harm. To imply our society is at risk of millions of deaths should vaccine rates drop is a blatant lie used to scare parents into over-vaccinating their children. They use the same scare tactics based on manipulated data to terrify the elderly into getting a flu shot every year.


The data demonstrates that millions of people are seriously injured and thousands die as a result of vaccine complications every year. In many cases the damage caused by the vaccines exceed the risk of the disease being vaccinated against — such as is the case with the chickenpox, tetanus, measles, mumps, hepatitis B, and HPV vaccines.

The United States is the most over-vaccinated country in the world and evidence is growing that we are trading an “illusion of protection” by vaccines for a massive increase in vaccine-related chronic diseases.

The entire vaccine program is based on massive fraud. The so-called H1N1 “pandemic” is a case in point. Even the World Health Organization declared there was a “huge amount” of uncertainty in the seriousness of the “pandemic,” which turned out to be far less deadly than initially feared.

Vaccinating people against swine flu was a bad idea because fewer people than expected died from it? Isn't that at least partly a consequence of the fact that people were vaccinated?

Vaccines aren't the only subject about which Blaylock departs from medical orthodoxy (or reality). He has promoted the idea that the artificial sweetener aspartame (better known as NutraSweet) is an "excitotoxin" that can be linked to diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease. Meanwhile, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation has stated that the Centers for Disease Control found no evidence of such a link, and that "extensive testing" has shown that "aspartame appears to be quite safe."

Blaylock has also identified monosodium glutamate (MSG) as another "excitotoxin," scaremongering about it in his book "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills":

What if someone were to tell you that a chemical added to food could cause brain damage in your children, and that this chemical could effect how your children’s nervous systems formed during development so that in later years they may have learning or emotional difficulties? What if there was scientific evidence that these chemicals could permanently damage a critical part of the brain known to control hormones so that later in life your child might have endocrine problems? How would you feel?

Suppose evidence was presented to you strongly suggesting that the artificial sweetener in your diet soft drink may cause brain tumors to develop, and that the number of brain tumors reported since the introduction of this widespread introduction of this artificial sweetener has risen dramatically? Would that affect your decision to drink these products and especially to allow your children to drink them? What if you could be shown overwhelming evidence that one of the main ingredients in this sweetener (aspartate) could cause the same brain lesions as MSG? Would that affect your buying decisions?

And finally, what if it could be demonstrated that all of these types of chemicals, called excitotoxins, could possibly aggravate or even precipitate many of today’s epidemic neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease? Would you be concerned if you knew that these excitotoxin food additives are a particular risk if you have diabetes, or have ever had a stroke, brain injury, brain tumor, seizure, or have suffered from hypertension, meningitis, or viral encephalitis?

As might be expected with someone with such out-of-the-mainstream views, Blaylock is associated with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, home to a whole host of unorthodox medical beliefs, right-wing activism, and outright falsehoods. It was the AAPS journal that was the home of an anti-immigrant screed featuring the discredited claim that there has been an explosion in leprosy cases that she blamed on illegal immigration. Blaylock served on the editorial board of the AAPS journal in the 1990s and wrote several articles for it; he has also served as president of the AAPS' Mississippi chapter.

Blaylock further explained the origin of his right-wing views in an AAPS article, stating that the medical school he attended "was deeply embroiled in a leftist-initiated war on Western culture, so issues of liberty were of great concern to me. I was exploring for the first time some of the classics of liberty, including Frederic Bastiat's The Law, F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and Constitution of Liberty, and the works of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard."

Capping Blaylock's conservative bona fides -- as if writing for Newsmax wasn't enough -- is the note on the bio on his personal website that he has "appeared on the 700 Club several times."

All this, of course, makes Blaylock a perfect fit for Newsmax -- both have demonstrated a propensity for putting political agendas and conspiracies ahead of basic facts.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2011 Terry Krepel