It’s a topic visited here many times. But a recent article in The Atlantic , titled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science: MUCH OF WHAT MEDICAL RESEARCHERS CONCLUDE IN THEIR STUDIES IS MISLEADING, EXAGGERATED, OR FLAT-OUT WRONG,” has led us down this path once more. I’ve just spent hours scanning the web for a shred of … truth? We’re in the midst of what the techno-pharmaceutical-industrial complex calls “flu season” and I’m trying to get to the bottom of things. I’m insulted by the constant number-waving in mainstream media that claims 36,000 people die from influenza each year in the United States. We already know that the Centers for Disease Control’s own statistics confirm that the figure is inflated by a factor of about 500. We’re left to wonder why they still try to sell that 36,000 number. While reading a recent news article that stated, “The Oklahoma State Department of Health says at least two people have died of influenza in recent months,” I shook my head in disbelief. If only two people in Oklahoma have died in months and we’re in the peak of flu season, how in the world are we going to get to the much-touted 36,000 that are supposed to die each year? Granted, Oklahoma is not New York (in many ways,) and not one of our more populous states. But I wanted to do a little collating myself so I started adding up some statistics found on individual state websites. The numbers just don’t add up. Canvassing state health department websites for the truth is a task of Diogeneic proportion. Oh, you can find some truth but you’d better be good at sifting. Looking at numbers provided by individual state data, one is hard pressed to come up with a figure of 36,000 deaths each year from the flu. Consider: Nebraska reports that since October 3, 2010, a grand total of 174 cases of flu have been confirmed by laboratory analysis. And quoting from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website, as of this week, “Zero deaths have been attributed to lab-confirmed influenza virus since October 3, 2010.” That’s zero, as in none. In the peak of flu season, no less. Iowa has only 137 lab-confirmed cases of flu since September 1, 2010 and reported a grand total of 41 flu deaths in the 2009-2010 season. In the populous state of Florida, fewer than 250 confirmed cases of flu in the past month. For the entire flu season 2009-2010, Alabama, one of the hotspots for flu activity in the nation, reported exactly 53 deaths from flu. Georgia, another hotspot state, reports a grand total of five deaths so far this entire season. In Louisiana, yet another hotspot state, an official total of 96 deaths are attributed to influenza for the period 1999-2007! That’s 96 deaths in nine years. In the great state of Illinois, from October 3, 2010 through January 8, 2011, the height of flu season, there has been exactly one death attributed to flu, according to the state Department of Public Health. For the entire 2010-2011 flu season, beginning October 1, 2010, the state of New York is reporting on its official website exactly two pediatric deaths attributed to influenza. Excuses, excuses, excuses. The Centers for Disease Control has a dissembling and unguentary explanation for all this. The 36,000 number of dead each year that is continuously bandied about in the media is justified by a singular bit of numerical legerdemain published back in 2003 using “statistical modeling techniques.” Actual numbers are acknowledged to vary. One excuse for the inflated number is that the CDC adds deaths attributed to pneumonia and counts them as influenza. But on the website, the CDC answers this question: “Does CDC think that influenza causes most [pneumonia and influenza] deaths? No, only a small proportion of deaths in either of these two categories are estimated to be influenza-related. [CDC estimated that] only 8.5 percent of all pneumonia and influenza deaths and only 2.1 percent of all respiratory and circulatory deaths were influenza-related.” My math tells me that means a number closer to 36 hundred deaths yearly is more honest than 36 thousand. And that if we used the Iowa yearly number of 41, times 50 states, we’ll get about 2,000. If drug companies and public health agencies wonder why they are met with general distrust and disrespect, perhaps being truthful would be a good start toward regaining public trust. In local news: A new clinic focused on alternative healing arts has opened in the Benson area. Hypnotherapist Tom Tyrakoski and wife Barbara Bockes have transformed the space at 5519 N.W. Radial Highway into a welcoming and peaceful place for natural therapies. Tyrakoski said the clinic offers hypnotherapy, a detox program featuring a special detoxifying footbath, massage therapy, color therapy and more. Tyrakoski took over the comfortable eight-room space late last year and hopes to add more therapies. There are spaces available for practitioners, including a large community/workshop room. Contact Tyrakoski at 740.7431. The fourth annual Omaha Health Expo is scheduled for April 30-May 1 at the Civic Auditorium. The successful show is aimed at mind, body and spirit wellness with an emphasis on alternative and holistic healing. A wide variety of therapies are highlighted by the 350-plus exhibitors and there are workshops and lectures. Attendance at the event is free to the public and exhibition space is still available. Organizer Bob Mancuso said last year’s event drew over 10,000. More information is at OmahaHealthExpo.com Following a multitude of requests, we have listened and acquiesced. Heartland Healing , in partnership with The Reader, will again publish a Healing Arts Directory . Published beginning in 1997, it will again feature the holistic and traditional therapies, providing information on how to find practitioners. It will be distributed in early May. Contact Kathy Flavell at The Reader , 813.3276. If you have healing arts news, email Heartland2@aol.com Be well.