No, this pediatrician proves no dangers to children from masks

More than 9000 Facebook users have shared an article (paywall) by the right-wing populist news portal Epoch Times Deutschland about the video of the pediatrician since 15. December 2020 shared. This article in turn summarizes its video of 12. December 2020 together. On Facebook here more than 12.000 users shared. Among the Epoch Times spreaders is also the AfD member of the Bundestag Karsten Hilse, whose post alone drew around 1300 shares. In addition, websites critical of Corona measures also shared the article (such as here and here). The video also appears on Instagram (about here). The article is also circulating in several Telegram groups, such as this channel with 74.000 users and in this channel with around 26.000 users.

No, this pediatrician proves no dangers to children from masks

Facebook screenshot: 4. December 2021

What is the article and the Youtube video about??

The article shared refers to a Youtube video of the pediatrician Eugen Janzen from Bad Salzuflen in North Rhine-Westphalia. On Youtube numerous videos circulate, in which it expresses itself again and again critically to the Corona measures of the federal and federal state governments (approximately here and here). In the current video he claims that wearing masks is dangerous for children.

The Epoch Times article thereby faithfully reproduces several claims made in the video. In it, Janzen announces a "bombshell" want to leave. He was concerned about the "increased CO2 rebreathing and the vasodilatory effect of CO2."

The pediatrician explains his thesis: CO2 rebreathing when wearing masks increases the CO2 concentration in the blood, which leads to the dilation of the blood vessels (note. d. Red.Vasodilatation called). So that the blood pressure does not fall, so Janzen further, the adrenal gland produces the stress hormones Adrenalin and Noradrenalin, in order to constrict the blood vessels again. This in turn compensates for the increased rebreathing of CO2.

To prove this claim, he has examined 20 children with complaints and himself, says Janzen. He had measured the respiratory and heart rates, blood pressure and oxygen saturation in his test subjects, and in some cases also analyzed blood gases and the adrenaline content in the urine – in the first run without and in the second with previously worn masks.

Janzen summarizes his results: The children would have breathed faster or deeper with mask. "The mask changes the normal breathing patterns", Janzen says in his video. In addition, the CO2 levels in the blood and the adrenaline and noradrenaline content in the urine are "much higher" in him and the children, if they would have worn a mask.

"I have the evidence that the mask is harmful." – Eugen Janzen

In conclusion he said: "I have the evidence that the mask harms" and "Everybody whines that the mask is bad for them." Parents reported to him that their children had headaches, heart palpitations and other complaints. Janzen also refers to the effects of stress on the body and calls for a ban on masks, as well as an explanation from endocrinologists to what extent these are still justifiable from a health point of view. (Note. d. Red.The term "endocrinology refers to the teaching of hormones)

AFP submitted Janzen’s video to several leading endocrinologists, pediatricians and adolescents, and a pulmonologist. They all criticize independently of each other formal and substantive problems with Janzen’s experiment. According to the experts, its observations cannot be easily attributed to the wearing of masks: Adrenaline and noradrenaline levels are influenced by numerous factors in the body. The experts interviewed by AFP also agree that Janzen’s work is unscientific and that his results cannot be scientifically supported. The changes observed by him are also not relevant for patients from a medical point of view.

Critical adrenalin rise not possible by mask

In the video, Janzen describes the biological reaction to an increase in CO2 in the blood, which leads to an increase in adrenaline in the body. This is already known.

AFP spoke on the subject with Dr. med. Burkhard Rodeck, secretary general of the German Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) and head of pediatric gastroenterology at the Christian Children’s Hospital in Osnabruck, Germany. He, too, knows the effects of CO2 on the body. This knowledge is mandatory in a medical degree, he said.

First of all, he basically states that there is no connection between this normal process and health hazards caused by vasodilatation. Only an excess of normal ranges would represent a risk. In any case, masks did not lead to: "I have a math test or maybe I am stressed by the mask and therefore have a somewhat higher adrenaline release", he explained in a telephone conversation with AFP on 17. December 2020. In order to produce a dangerous vasodilation, however, a degree of adrenaline release would be required that could only be triggered by a tumor, for example.

"It is in no way conceivable that wearing a mask could lead to increases in stress hormones to this extent." – Angela Hubner

This was also confirmed by Prof. Dr. Angela Hubner, Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology at the Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the University Hospital Carl-Gustav Carus in Dresden in response to an AFP query on 7. January 2021: "We know of a longer-term and significant increase in adrenaline and related stress hormones only in children who have certain tumors, such as a pheochromocytoma." This is a disease of the adrenal medulla, where adrenaline is produced, Hubner explained.

Wearing masks does not lead to such a critical adrenaline release: "It is in no way conceivable that wearing a mask could lead to increases in stress hormones to this extent", Hubner said.

Methodological errors in Janzen’s experiment

The experimental design of the pediatrician Janzen is also questionable for the gastroenterologist Rodeck: "There are various factors that trigger stress, which Janzen did not even ask about. Of course, if I focus on only one factor, then I cannot say that there is a temporal or causal connection. There are methodical problems in the argumentation of the colleague."

"There are methodological problems in the argumentation of the colleague." – Matthias Kroib

Prof. Dr. Dr. Matthias Kroib, spokesman for the advisory board of the Adrenal Gland Section of the German Society for Endocrinology and senior physician at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University Hospital, also takes a critical view of Janzen’s experiment. "The measurement of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine is subject to strong fluctuations", he wrote on 18. December in an e-mail to AFP. The changes could also be due to physical activity or the time of day.

The three experts agree that Janzen’s unpublished experiment does not meet the scientific standards for publication. He said it was neither clear which methods Janzen used in the laboratory analysis, nor had the pediatrician shown when, how and which masks he and the children tested had worn.

How should Janzen’s adrenaline levels be assessed?

Janzen, on the other hand, explained in the video that he had produced unambiguous results. AFP, however, could not initially find any such results online apart from the video. More about this later.

Janzen only reveals some numbers in the clip – his own adrenaline levels, which would have changed with and without a mask. He had taken a urine sample for this purpose on a Monday after a working day with a tight FFP2 mask. A second sample he had taken on Friday after a shorter working day with a surgical mask, which he had also removed again and again. A third value comes from a sample from a Sunday without work and also without masks for Janzen. The result: the adrenaline levels were always lower in the respective samples.

This number comparison is not meaningful however for Endokrinologen Kroib. He told AFP: "Variations in the observed range can occur in the same person in similar situations at different times, and the values of different people also differ." For a meaningful result, the experiment would have to be carried out several times on one person or a large number of people would have to be observed.

"The variations are so small that they are not medically relevant" – Matthias Kroib

Precisely because of such uncertainties, adrenaline measurements in urine are largely dispensed with in clinical routine. Kroib emphasized once again: Even if the values were correct, they could be influenced by a variety of factors and were not necessarily due to the masks. According to Kroib, the fluctuations shown by Janzen are also "so small that they are not medically relevant".

There are no studies or adrenaline thresholds for mask-wearing children. This is confirmed by Rodeck, Hubner, Kroib. Also an AFP search on Google Scholar did not yield any result.

In Hubner’s opinion, such a study is also not meaningful, because the sampling alone can cause measurable stress for children. Rodeck also said of the result Janzen presented as "proof" for the "harm of masks He described: "Of course I get an increased adrenaline release due to stress. This is known and does not have to be proven. Janzen has not shown whether it has effects on health."

Can masks lead to dangerous CO2 levels in the blood at all??

According to Dr. med. Dominic Dellweg, chief physician for pneumology and intensive care medicine at the Fachkrankenhaus Kloster Grafschaft and member of the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine, the adrenaline level in the body increases as described when there is more CO2 in the blood than usual. Janzen’s claim that masks lead to this effect. However, this is not true, Dellweg explained in an e-mail to AFP on 17 December. December. Although the children’s breathing did change.. But that is not relevant for blood values, he said.

"So far, there is no evidence that wearing a mask in healthy children leads to an increased CO2 level in the blood above the norm. But that would be the prerequisite for Janzen’s causality", Dellweg wrote.

In a November 2020 fact check, Dellweg had already stated, "The mask adds resistance to our breathing, which means our respiratory muscles, mainly our diaphragm, have to work harder to breathe the air through the mask. This increased effort is reported to the brain via receptors in the respiratory muscles as shortness of breath, although the values for oxygen and carbon dioxide are in the normal range." In other words, wearing masks does not lead to such an increase of CO2 in the human body at all, which thus cannot trigger dangerous adrenaline levels.

What does Janzen himself say about the estimates?

AFP spoke with pediatrician Janzen on 8. January phone call. He basically stuck to his observations. He also presented further details from his experiment. According to his own statements, he received this on 6. January 2021 published on his homepage.

In this publication, Janzen again describes the experimental setup, which experts have described as problematic. A precise overview of his measurement results is also still missing, as is a control mechanism for excluding factors that falsify the results. The figures presented by the pediatrician, as described above, therefore do not allow any sustainable conclusions to be drawn.

Janzen showed understanding for the experts’ criticism: "For others who see it differently, this is at most a hint. To have a proof, one must make a transparent study with 100 to 200 children, which is controlled by many physicians." Such a control of the children did not exist in his own observation, Janzen said.

"I should not have said that masks do harm." – Eugen Janzen

In the telephone conversation, he also acknowledged mistakes in the wording of the video: "I should have simply mentioned the values and said that everyone should think for themselves. I should not have said that masks hurt. I should have asked more questions – without assertions. I have formulated carelessly. Sorry to hear that."

Conclusion

Janzen claims to present proof that masks can harm children. However, this does not stand up to scrutiny. His method is criticized by several experts in terms of form and content. His experiment allows too many uncontrolled factors to influence adrenaline and noradrenaline levels and has no significance with regard to possible dangers.

Even if that were the case, however, Janzen’s findings would have no medical relevance, experts say. The changes in adrenaline levels measured by the pediatrician are still too small for this purpose.

Above all, wearing a mask cannot lead to CO2 increases in the body of healthy children, which could trigger such dangerous adrenaline levels.

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