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Medical Conspiracies

Anyone publicly writing about issues of science and medicine from a pro-science perspective likely gets many e-mails similar to the ones I see every week. Here’s just one recent example:

Im sorry the medical community has become decadent and lazy as most that follow your stance could care less to study the real truth. I have also seen it much more deviant as many professionals know the risks and harm vaccination cause but continue to push it through there practices because of pure greed. Many are also scared of loosing there practices for not following the corrupt industry. Im sorry but the medical industry has become drug pushing decadent slobs that only care about there bottom line.

The e-mailer clearly has a particular narrative that he is following (in addition to the amusingly common poor grammar and spelling). He even writes at one point in our exchange, “the details really don’t matter at this point what matters is what the bigger picture…” He is certain of his big picture conspiracy narrative. The details are unimportant.

Being on the receiving end of an almost constant barrage of such medical conspiracy theories it might seem that such beliefs are extremely common. Of course, such e-mails are self-selective and therefore not representative of the general population. I was therefore interested to see a published survey polling the general population about such beliefs. The survey is published in JAMA Internal Medicine, authored by Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood.

Here are the six survey questions and the percentage who agree or disagree (the rest indicating that they do not know).

The Food and Drug Administration is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from drug companies. (37% agree, 32% disagree)

Health officials know that cell phones cause cancer but are doing nothing to stop it because large corporations won’t let them. (20% agree, 40% disagree)

The CIA deliberately infected large numbers of African Americans with HIV under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program. (12% agree, 51% disagree)

The global dissemination of genetically modified foods by Monsanto Inc is part of a secret program, called Agenda 21, launched by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations to shrink the world’s population. (12% agree, 42% disagree)

Doctors and the government still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders. (20% agree, 44% disagree)

Public water fluoridation is really just a secret way for chemical companies to dump the dangerous byproducts of phosphate mines into the environment. (12% agree, 46% disagree)

The numbers are not surprising, in fact I would have guessed they were a bit higher, but again that perception is likely distorted by my e-mail inbox. They found that 49% of Americans agreed with at least one conspiracy, and 18% agreed with three or more. This is in line with the level of belief in non-medical conspiracies. They did not publish, but I would be interested, in the percentage of people who said they disagreed with all of the conspiracies. Many of the respondents indicated that they did not know if a particular conspiracy were true, likely because they had not heard of it before, but were unwilling to disagree on plausibility grounds alone.

An earlier study by Oliver and Wood found similar percentages for political conspiracies. In that study they concluded that belief in conspiracy theories does not track with any particular ideological belief, but rather with a, “willingness to believe in other unseen, intentional forces and an attraction to Manichean narratives.”

This would seem to be true for the 18% who believe in three or more medical conspiracies – they have a tendency to believe in conspiracies. For those who believe in only one or two conspiracies, that might have less to do with personality and more to do with culture and ideological beliefs.

The second part of their study is perhaps more interesting. They found a strong predictive correlation between belief in the above conspiracies and a host of medical behaviors. Conspiracy believers were more likely to use herbal supplements, use alternative medicine, and eat organic food, and less likely to vaccinate, use sunscreen, and have regular physicals.

The largest effect sizes were for taking herbal supplements, which went from 13% for zero conspiracy beliefs to 35% for three or more. Buying from local farms was similar, going from 14% to 37% respectively, while using sunscreen only decreased from 38% to 30% respectively.

I would have been interested in seeing other responses, such as the percentage who visit a naturopath or chiropractor. I would predict that more hard-core use of clearly “alternative” practices (more than just taking supplements) would be a strong predictor of belief in medical conspiracies. This is based upon the observation (documented in many of the articles here on SBM) that much CAM promotion is intimately tied with medical conspiracy thinking. Anti-vaccine sites, for example, often promote homeopathy and other alternatives to vaccinations. Mike Adams of naturalnews is perhaps the most dramatic example of the convergence of CAM and all manner of conspiracy theories.

Conclusion

This survey by Oliver and Wood indicates that belief in medical conspiracies is fairly common, and that such beliefs are not benign, but correlate negatively with important medical behaviors. It’s difficult to tease out cause and effect, and this survey makes no attempt to do so. It’s possible that the same personality profile is attracted to both conspiracy theories and alternative medical practices. It’s also possible that the CAM subculture encourages belief in conspiracy theories, and that the conspiracy subculture encourages rejection of mainstream medicine and acceptance of fringe ideas. I think all of these factors conspire together to create the effect we are seeing in this survey.

The medical community would be well-served if they understood the phenomenon of medical conspiracies. In fact, it can be viewed and addressed as a public health issue. Medical institutions can take such beliefs more seriously, rather than just dismissing them as fringe. Efforts to educate the public about critical thinking, scientific methodology, and how the institutions of medicine work and are regulated, might reduce the popularity of such conspiracy theories.

I also think we need to have as much transparency as possible in scientific and regulatory processes. Secrecy or even opaqueness tends to breed paranoia.

This data (if I may indulge in a little self-promotion) also highlights the importance of efforts such as science-based medicine, the goal of which is to popularize understanding of the science of medicine, and taking a critical view of popular misconceptions, including medical conspiracy theories. I would argue academic and medical institutions to take such efforts more seriously.

Posted in: Science and Medicine

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166 thoughts on “Medical Conspiracies

  1. Lawrence says:

    Having once worked for a Fortune 500 Company, the thought that any organization of size would be capable of getting away with (much less planning and implementing) any type of large-scale conspiracy is a joke. Most of these companies are lucky to be able to get different divisions within their own organizations pointing in the relatively same direction, much less coordinating anything on even a national scale.

    Not to mention that we can’t even keep our nation’s most top secret surveillance and anti-terrorism programs and operations from the front page of the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal.

    1. stanmrak says:

      “we can’t even keep our nation’s most top secret surveillance and anti-terrorism programs and operations from the front page of the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal.”

      What is revealed in these corporately-owned news sources is just the tip of the iceberg. How are you so sure that you know what is being kept from us? Are you privy to top secret military information? We had a stealth bomber for 10 years before they told us. How long was the NSA been spying on us before a whistleblower risked his life and came out? Don’t tell me they can’t keep secrets.

      What makes conspiracies easier to pull off are people too smart for their own good thinking they can’t be fooled.

      1. Lawrence says:

        And Popular Mechanics had most of the specifications of the Stealth Bomber (and fighter) long before it was publicly revealed……seriously, if you even had one iota of intelligence, you’d realize how absurd the notion of the kinds of cover-ups you claim…..

        1. stanmrak says:

          How long did the military have a stealth bomber before Popular Mechanics found out about it? 10 years? 20? 30? 40? You don’t know. citation?

          1. Stan, how old are you? The Stealth Bomber was first built in 1988, it was not around for ten years before the public knew about it. President Jimmy Carter talked about it while campaigning in 1980. We knew about it 8 years before the first one was built. I ask how old you are because I’m wondering if you are remembering it wrong or if you just assumed that something called the Stealth Bomber was a big secret, because it wasn’t.

            1. Lawrence says:

              Hell, I was reading popular fiction from people like Larry Bond and Tom Clancy that contained more “classified” information about weapons systems & programs, years before anything was ever officially acknowledged by the Government….

              Stan really is an idiot, isn’t he?

          2. Stuartg says:

            Stan

            Probably the first stealth bomber was the de Havilland Mosquito in WWII. Made almost entirely of wood, it didn’t reflect radar waves very well at all. The public knew it as “The Wooden Wonder”, but didn’t know it was a stealth bomber because radar was so secret.

            Since then there have been a stream of low observable bombers that have entered service, including the Avro Vulcan, F117, B1B and B2. All of them featured in magazines before they even flew.

          3. Lukas Xavier says:

            See, this is where you really go off the rails and go hard-core conspiracy nut.

            You’re not basing this on any evidence. You’re just assuming that the government must have had the stealth bomber longer. It fits your pet theory and now you’re demanding that other people disprove it.

            Even if we showed that no stealth bombers were active until the recognized dates, you’d just say that this proves how successful the conspiracy is; they’ve managed to hide all the evidence.

            You’ve painted yourself into an epistemological corner. Your theory is unfalsifiable and that ought to make you very skeptical of it.

      2. Andrey Pavlov says:

        We had a stealth bomber for 10 years before they told us. How long was the NSA been spying on us before a whistleblower risked his life and came out? Don’t tell me they can’t keep secrets.

        “Let me give you examples of secrets they can’t keep in order to prove that they can keep secrets!”

        Brilliant Stan! I am deeply grateful I can’t understand how your brain works.

        1. Jesse says:

          I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact that the military does at times keep some project details secret (albeit poorly) for obvious reasons. Would Stan consider the secret codes of WW2 to be part of some sort of conspiracy?

      3. Frederick says:

        Like you? your conspiracy Info site are fooling you. because you think you are so smart, and better and everybody, you don’t need to apply basic critical thinking rules, and swallow whole everything those “alternatie” news site give you. All main stream = lies, Alternative = TRUTH. that resume you rules of thinking. And you have demonstrate it many times over in your post.
        Those alternate site also have private interest, money to make,( Alex jones make tons of money with books, and radio shows that’s just example in many) Ego to sustain. Corruption is not always about money. Ego is the biggest corrupting force in my opinion. People will cling to belief even in the face of mountains of evidence and logic that they are wrong. Because they want to be right. That is a lot more powerful than money. And that’s is exactly what conspiracy mongers site do. they use that dark site of humans personality and once they got you. it is hard to came back. I know I was there once in my younger life!

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          It’s worse when you’re younger, you don’t have an appreciation for just how complicated the world is, and thus your solutions are simple. Often you have no investment in the larger economic structures, and no incentives in maintaining it (for good and for ill). You don’t have a family to provide for, and in fact you are systematically shielded from the consequences of your own actions, inactions and ability to make a living.

          “It’s a conspiracy” is a much simpler solution than “it’s really, really complicated”. It’s also more comforting than “the world is chaos and nobody is in control”.

        2. stanmrak says:

          Your post perfectly reflects the type of thinking on this blog. Look in the mirror. You want to be right as much as anyone else.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Everyone wants to be right, it’s a matter of who can back up their view with evidence and arguments. Your claims of conspiracy are not proof of conspiracy. You don’t seem to grasp that merely because you can think of a scenario where something might have happened, that doesn’t mean it did happen.

          2. RobRN says:

            Stan… Of course I like being “Right” but I like being right with credible and supportable evidence!

          3. Frederick says:

            Like they said, of course I want to be right, But I use sound science and Proof, and when i don’t know, I just DON’T KNOW. I don’t make up explanation. And also I am not afraid of being wrong, or make mistake. when you admit that you were wrong, you look up at the REAL facts ( not made up ones, or cannot back up with logical thinking), and find sources that have credibility.
            And that is exactly what you don’t and never do, and the difference between US and people like you so NO we are not the same.

          4. Jesse says:

            No Stan, that is just where all of the credible evidence points.

      4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        What makes conspiracies easier to pull off are people too smart for their own good thinking they can’t be fooled.

        This is closer to what makes people bleieve in conspiracy theories, except people aren’t too smart for their own good – they just pat themselves on the back for thinking they are.

        Seriously – what makes more sense:

        - evolution is a complicated process that acts on population-levels for the survival of genes and gene pools, thus fighting a constant battle between growing sufficiently and growing too much, leading to cancer, in an environment that has no inherent selection pressure to produce compounds that selectively and nontoxically kill tumor cells

        or,

        - there is a single plant, molecule or product that happens to be provided by nature that kills exclusively all human tumor lines without toxicity, drug companies know about it and are not selling it despite the immense impact on their short-term profitability, a guaranteed market for decades, if not centuries since humans will continue to exist and grow old, and despite incentives that systematically promote short-term gains in company profits.

        Also, there’s a slight difference between a national security agency keeping passive monitoring secret, and a bunch of people knowing about a cancer cure and not using it – despite themselves, their friends and their families getting and dying of cancer. Slight difference.

      5. Spectator says:

        ” We had a stealth bomber for 10 years before they told us. ”

        Err, it’s not your biz that a stealth bomber is under development. Certain things are and should remain secret; you and anyone else not directly involved with the projects don’t have a need or right to detailed military or diplomatic information.

  2. goodnightirene says:

    “Buying from local farms was similar, going from 14% to 37% respectively, while using sunscreen only decreased from 38% to 30% respectively.”

    Oh dear, I regularly buy from local farms. I often find myself in this situation–being of one school of thought (scientific), but exhibiting some behavior or characteristic of the “other”. The difference is the reason that I do these things is not rooted in any conspiratorial or “alternative” thinking. I just like fresh food and like to support small farms. This is how I end up at Whole Foods, albeit rolling my eyes the whole time I’m there. I DO love the underground parking though!

    I use sunscreen.

    1. Frederick says:

      Same here, each summer we receive (me and my wife) organic vegetable from local farms, local distributions. The reason are taste, (like grape for wine, when it have a more .difficute life, they taste better, that is chemistry), and local = less energies spend in transport. they also are organic, for that i don’t really care. there is, of course, ecological concern, and organic food offer some positive. But i know that ALL the food we eat are in reality GMO, cross-bred, etc, and lots of genes are common between species etc and i defend science in food too. My wife is a plant biologist, so I have the information about plant DNA i need, we really don’t like anti-gmo propaganda, because they dismiss reality. they are like the climate change deniers.

      Anyway, i often face friends with some belief, some are even bright and know about science, but still talk to you about how GMO are dangerous, and that there is not proof fluoride is safe and effective, or how they believe in some energy.
      As a Ecologist (a science based one) is it hard, my side of the fence is full of conspiracy mongers.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        and local = less energies spend in transport

        Not to say your are wrong, but merely since I believe you would appreciate adding nuance to your thought on the matter… this is not always the case. While in premise it makes sense that less distance to travel will translate to less energy expended to physically move the items and preserve them long enough to make it to market, you must also remember economies of scale. Huge companies that produce large amounts of goods tends to have very good infrastructures for transporting them long distance. They also know that energy costs affect the bottom line so the per unit energy cost tends to actually be lower simply because more of it is transported in a more efficient manner than the local farmer does.

        There are, I believe, other reasons to buy local at least sometimes and energy costs (as well as greenhouse impacts) can be valid, but are not always so.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Just Food went into some of these details, and was a very interesting, sometimes depressing read.

          I really didn’t like the part about how you can’t be an environmentalist and eat meat. I like meat. Which is why I long for VAT MEAT to be a thing.

          1. Frederick says:

            You can, But the best way to do it is to reduce you consumption of meat , because the overproduction of meat is one of the worst thing, you know field = lost of forest. green house gases etc. At home we eat meat, but not that often, most of the time Fish and chicken ( i hate when people think that fish is not meat.. meat = animal flesh it is simple) beef in summer, ( BBQ only, i hate the smell of beef in the house, despite the over fan it smells for days) . but we also eat veggies burger ( there’s a brand i buy with cheese and mushroom huum). In reality we do it by taste. some week, we can have 3-4 meal that are totally vegan, like lentils, vegetable curry ( thai style ) etc because you like that. the best way to do it is to be versatile :-) My wife is a excellent cook ( i can cook, but I’m far from her skills) that help a lot.

            Sorry for the double post. we cannot edit post here.

        2. Frederick says:

          Yeah I guess you make a point, BUT the veggies are more fresh, and they taste good. the strawberries at that farm, my god, they are good.
          The only problem is that the choice is limited, they don’t grow eggplant, ( well yes but you have 2-3 egg plant in the whole season) and we love eggplants,( we eat them every like week in summer) because people here don’t really know what to do with them, but we do. There is also veggies we don’t like, so we give them to friend or my mother in law.
          we always need to buy some fruit/vegetable at the groceries store, because we don,t have all we need.
          Also it is also cheaper. the cost of this is like 400-500$ from may to october, we have compare cost, and for us it is cheaper. so there is also that argument.

    2. Andrey Pavlov says:

      I also shop at Whole Foods on occasion (limited primarily by $$$). I do rather enjoy their selection of produce, fish, cheese, meats, and olives. They also have really tasty cooked meals to go as well. But yes, it is so incredibly crammed with ridiculously stupid alternative crap I’ve had to train myself not to let my eyes roll out of my head.

      One time I truly had to try to not burst out laughing. I was looking for rosewater for a particularly cocktail recipe. I had tried it at a restaurant and loved it so I wanted to recreate it. I am used to having Middle Eastern markets near me that sell rosewater for around $1-2 per 500mL or so. The only place I could find any at all was at WF. However it was in their “medicinal” section along with all the homeopathy and other crankery. It was a 100mL bottle for $6.99. I was astounded! What on earth could make rosewater cost so much? Well… it turns out this wasn’t just any ol’ rosewater. It was “Vormag” rosewater. They apparently put the stuff through a funnel that drained it in a vortex that was surrounded by a strong magnetic field. This, of course, gave it magical healing powers. The sales clerk helping me was explaining all that to me and I was struggling to keep a straight face. Finally I asked the only question I really cared about – can I drink it? Oh yes, you sure can!

      So I bought the dang thing because the recipe only calls for 2-3mL per cocktail and I was really looking forward to having one that night. I still have the bottle.

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        Oh, I also meant to add that I care not about the “organic” produce at WF. In fact, when I shop elsewhere I actively avoid anything labeled “organic” whenever I can. You’d actually be surprised how difficult that can be at times! I just go because they have a better selection on certain things and because they are generally more fresh than the cheaper markets I go to regularly.

      2. CHotel says:

        The part of the comment that I don’t like is where you don’t share the cocktail recipe and whether you were able to recreate it to the same standard. I’ve been drinking too many Old Fashioneds, and I’m running out of Bourbon brands in my local liquor mart to switch between in an attempt at variety.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          My apologies!

          Firstly, yes, it did come up to standard. I enjoyed it immensely.

          Secondly, I don’t actually have the recipe handy (I think it was lost somewhere or I only ever looked it up online) and the restaurant has changed its cocktail menu since. It had some very trendy hipster name that was long and esoteric rather than descriptive, so I don’t remember that either.

          However, as I recall the ingredients:

          2 oz good bourbon of your choice (I like Basil Hayden’s, but many are reasonably equivalent)
          Carraway simple syrup, to taste
          Rosewater, 2mL (so roughly 50 drops or 1/2 tsp)
          Twist of lemon

          Carraway simple syrup is just 1 part sugar with 1 part water, boiled, with a good amount of whole caraway seeds. How much you put in depends on your bourbon (how sweet/dry/smoky it is at base) and your own preference as to how much sweet you like. It should be heavy on the caraway flavor. I typically put 1 to 1-1/2 tsp since I like mine less sweet.

          Combine everything in a glass with a few rocks, swizzle, and enjoy.

          1. CHotel says:

            I sure hope my local grocer has rosewater when I check after work! That sounds delicious, and I don’t really want to wait until the next time I’m in the city to try one.

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              Let me know how you like it!

          2. Angora Rabbit says:

            You can also buy rosewater and jasmine water at the Asian grocery stores. I use it when I make Sankaya (Thai steamed custard dessert). Yummm…

          3. Frederick says:

            Huum nice, My fav is Gin fizz.
            gin sugar, lime. Simple and good. I don’t like Gin alone, but with sugar, it is great.
            Oh yeah good old Mojito Too, best one I had were In Portugal, small beach village of Selema, in the south. The Aventura Bar, Zoe and carl 2 great Bar tender!
            Well that’s off topic enough! :-)

      3. Al Lure says:

        Yes it is all in the marketing, the slick and glossy product wrapped up in some healthy side salad of a conspiracy narrative and wham mo… hook line and sinker!!!

        Here’s a testimonial regarding essential oils and cancer; and of course they don’t say the oil cures cancer, but hey it’s an alluring story…

        “MY MOMS DEAR FRIEND HAS BEEN BATTLING THROAT CANCER THAT WAS SPREADING TO OTHER AREAS OF HIS BODY. LAST OCTOBER HE STARTED USING THE OILS! FRANKINCENSE and THE VITAMIN PACK and a few others. TODAY HE WENT IN FOR AN MRI and HE WAS GIVEN A TRUE MIRACLE..HE IS CANCER FREE! THANK YOU GOD ~AMEN! CHANGING LIVES AND CREATING MIRACLES WITH GOD’S GIFTS ONE OIL AT A TIME!”
        from
        http://gaialifeoils.com/2011/03/06/essential-oil-cancer-treatment/

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I also buy from local farms, when I can, during the summer, because I like the idea of supporting local farmers and buying food closer to when it was attached to the ground (plus food miles and transport costs, though those aren’t a panacea). I don’t in the winter, because the cost to maintain a 100-mile apple when surrounded by six feet of snow is stupid and prohibitively expensive.

      Organic is stupid, but local is a good idea – if you can afford it. Sadly, despite having lower transport costs, local produce still tends to cost a premium beyond the price in the grocery store. But man, when you hit the sweet spot of a farmer knowing his shit and making a good product that gets to my hand within hours of being separated from the dirt, that’s a good apple. Or carrot. Or beet. Though I have naugth but contempt for the people who insist organic is a solution to any of life’s problems. Damned hippies.

      1. Bigjeff5 says:

        “Organic” anything is one of my major pet peeves, and it never fails to piss me off every time I see the word in a store. I have absolutely no problem with what the “Organic” movement is trying to do, but “Organic” is the wrong word to use. Saying “Organic Food” is like saying “Wet Water”. Yes, it’s technically correct, but it implies anything not labeled such is not organic, which is absolute idiocy. The fact that you often have to meet certain standards just pisses me off even more. Virtually everything in the grocery store is organic, including the plastic packaging! Chances are the building itself could technically qualify as organic! To only allow certain foods to label themselves “Organic” is pure stupidity.

        Because of this, I’ve never bought anything labeled “Organic” unless it was significantly cheaper than its “non-organic” counterpart. I can count how many times that’s happened on one hand, and I’m not sure I even need to use any fingers to do it.

      2. Jon Brewer says:

        FWIW, biodynamic is stupider than organic. It’s organic, but adding some astrology to the mix. Naturally, there are “green books” out there that promote biodynamic as even more environmentally friendly than organic.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Biodynamic is way stupider than organic! It’s hilaribad. Any agricultural approach that starts with “Note the phase of the moon…” should get the farmer disqualified from farming :)

          1. Jon Brewer says:

            Maybe fish farming involves the moon? I mean, the tides? I got nothing.

            Is it weird that in my culture, the idea that the stars are trying to tell you something is seen as the height of arrogance? (We even thought comets were predictable events, hence the dearth of comets in winter counts.)

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Biodynamic has some reasonable practices (whatever you take out of the soil, put back in – i.e. compost your scraps). But they also recommend homeopathic nonsense, and there’s some pure voodoo involved too. Plant during the first phase of the moon, hang deer testicles at the four points of the compass. Presumably there’s some chanting involved. It sounds hilarious, I would love to watch an actual farmer undertake it. Maybe brush up on my Latin.

    4. CC says:

      Yeah… I do a lot of things that, if you look at just those things, puts me in a group with the hippie all-natural crowd. Mostly buying local, mostly avoiding processed foods, supporting environmental policies, cycling instead of driving, barefoot runner, etc.

      Until they find out I’m a chemical engineer. That combination seems to break a lot of people’s brains.

      1. Jon Brewer says:

        That’s funny. A lot of Indians have the same experience. Hippies love you, until they find out you eat a lot of meat, your culture really does promote military service, and so on.

        Anyway, for me, I do have an issue with people who say GMOs shouldn’t be labeled. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I also understand that, I hate red delicious apples. I love Granny Smith apples and Fuji apples, though. Now, if someone took the bland, mealy taste of a red delicious and spliced its genes to make it green? And I bit into it? There’s no nutritional difference, but I’d still spit it out, since I was expecting the crisp, tart taste of Granny Smith. Also, I hate red delicious apples. Also, I would like to remind people about the need for an experiment to be replicable. Once you can’t separate different varieties of corn, the experiment can no longer be replicated, and we have to rely on faith.

        I don’t drive much, because I can’t afford gas. (And of course, when something like BP happens, I call them on it.)

        I was born at home, because IHS has a history of sterilizations. Naturally, I wasn’t circumcised, though I’ve noticed those who promote circumcision to prevent AIDS tend to pretend condoms don’t exist, and there’s no way it can prevent male-to-female transmission, though they claim it does.

        But I was fully immunized and have never used a homeopathic remedy in my life.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Anyway, for me, I do have an issue with people who say GMOs shouldn’t be labeled. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I also understand that, I hate red delicious apples. I love Granny Smith apples and Fuji apples, though. Now, if someone took the bland, mealy taste of a red delicious and spliced its genes to make it green?

          I can’t agree with you there, because they could do the same thing through natural breeding and you’d have to find out by biting into it. I’m against labeling GMOs in general because there have never been any risks found, but your specific example takes a step further by not highlighting any risks unique to genetic modification.

          Also, the whole debate over circumcision is dumb in my opinion. Religious reasons are nonsense and irrational, but whatever. Personal preferences are personal. The risks and benefits are low, I don’t think it should be funded by a health care system, but it’s not an issue that should be forbidden either.

          I just don’t understand the vigor of the debate.

          1. Jon Brewer says:

            I was more giving a hypothetical example. Obviously no one is making Granny Smiths to taste like red delicious. (For what? The lulz?) My point was more that people do have a right to know what they’re eating.

            And of course, transparency is what makes science different than woo. The simple fact is, I can see literally every organ mentioned in Gray’s Anatomy, if a cadaver is nearby to dissect. I can even see a cell’s organelles under a microscope. I can’t see meridians; nor can I grok the ‘memory’ of water. We shouldn’t remove transparency, or we play into the woo artists’ hands.

            Yeah, circumcision is a weird can of worms. My own view of it is that a lot of its promoters tend to ignore that we have better (less invasive, cheaper, and more effective) options. Ones that most African men aren’t already doing. There’s also the weirder aspect of the advocacy. Circumcision advocates, in my experience, are less than critical of their sources, up to and including known child molesters such as Vernon Quaintance.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              I would be more on the side of “people have the right to know” if they could contextualize what they learn in the process. It’s like saying “people have the right to know about the side effects of vaccines”. Well, sure, I guess, as long as you also have an appreciation for the side effects of acute measles infection.

              It’s not easy – transparency seems like such an obvious win. But transparency can also lead to quote mining and misrepresentation. and if that is the case – are we ahead?

              It’s complicated, and it’s not made any easier by the presence of layfolks who think they can read something by Joe Mercola and suddenly grasp the topic better than the CDC or a Nobel-prize winning biologist. The more I learn, and my learning is (he says humbly) substantial for a layperson, the more I realize just how much more an actual doctor, scientists or even policy analyst at the FDA knows than me. And the more I see that the arguments and objections put forth by the anti-science left and right have been dealt with long since, but are circulated unchanged.

              I wish I could pay extra for non-organic, GMO food, just to stick it to them. But sadly, GMO tends to be cheaper because it’s enhanced by science. Now that is a sticker I would put on an apple. “Enhanced by science.” Boo-ya!

              1. Jon Brewer says:

                Made worse by ideology in the MSM. A lot of it is this faux-balance notion. The other day, I was talking about the PPACA and Hobby Lobby. There are legitimate gripes with the PPACA; I keep coming back to the Harkin ‘non-discrimination’ amendment. But ‘it covers Plan B, which some people[who?] believe induces abortions’ is not a legitimate gripe, since Plan B (of course) doesn’t induce abortions.

                I just don’t believe in the noble lie. The noble lie would conflate John Salamone (who simply wanted to replace live polio vaccines with dead ones, such as the Salk vaccine, after his son took the Sabin one and…contracted polio) from Barbara Loe Fischer (who is making the world safer for deadly infectious diseases, one antivaxxer myth at a time).

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Did you see the grist.org series on GMOs by Nathanael Johnson?

                How science reporting should be done.

    5. Birdy says:

      I’m also often in the same situation – being a scientific thinker but finding myself doing things that might signal to others that I’m more inclined towards the altie point of view.

      I shop locally because where I live, I am literally surrounded by farms and live five minutes from the ocean. It is often cheaper to get local food directly from farmers, and about the same price as the grocery store at the farmer’s market.

      When I can literally walk across the street and get fresh potatoes or corn or go a few houses down to get some apples or cider or go dig clams or get mussels or lobster right off the boat, I’d be nuts not to eat local food.

    6. Spectator says:

      “Buying from local farms….”

      Mm. The local farmstand/co-op often has some fresh tasty stuff, and it items I wouldn’t have known existed otherwise. Odd-looking tomatoes that really taste like tomatoes, better than any other except for the few times I’ve had one fresh out of someone’s garden, and still distinct from those. Garlic scapes, unusual onions and deep purple potatoes, those markets are fun, something I can’t say about any supermarket.

      No electro-laetrile miracle whips-cancer spray in my house tho.

      1. Philippa says:

        “Unusual onions,” I like that phrase. It could be the name of an alternative rock group, or possibly a book of experimental poetry. :)

  3. “I also think we need to have as much transparency as possible in scientific and regulatory processes. Secrecy or even opaqueness tends to breed paranoia.”

    Yes! When will government learn this lesson.

  4. stanmrak says:

    If you investigate the evidence presented in court when a pharmaceutical company is sued, you will find internal communications that unequivocally prove that they deliberately market drugs and other products that they know will be harmful – and keep the truth away from their employees and the public. If the potential profit is considerably more than the penalty for getting caught, they will do go for the profit every time. Google Vioxx.

    Of course drug companies are not the only culprit. Didn’t Exxon lie to us? BP? Halibuton? Monsanto? GoldmanSachs? Bush and Cheney? There are just too many others to mention.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Yes, and part of the solution is better regulation, bigger government. It’s a shame that one of the health conspiracies that exist is the belief that new drugs are being kept out of your hands by the FDA.

      Stan, you could finally make a useful contribution to life and health by advocating for enhanced powers and resources for the FDA. Why don’t you do that? Personally I think your best bet is to have all the costs of drug testing in clinical trials be transferred to universities, so academics can test them completely independent of the drug companies. The FDA or NIH could act as a third-party guarantor or broker.

      Talk to your congressperson!

      1. stanmrak says:

        Give the FDA more power? That’s your solution? The FDA is staffed, owned and funded by corporate interests. Their primary purpose is to protect the profits of their benefactors – corporate interests with lots of money. That would be obvious to anyone who pays attention and reads something other than mainstream journalism. My congressman doesn’t care much about his constituents. He really works for Monsanto, et al, and does what’s best for them. They’re the ones who line his pockets with big campaign donations.

        1. CHotel says:

          Corporations are evil and biased, the regulatory boards overseeing them are evil and biased, the government requiring and managing those boards are evil and biased, and presumably the judicial system enforcing those requirements are evil and biased as well. The media who would report on all of this is evil and biased, the banks that pay and are paid for everything are evil and biased, and the military and intelligence that protects all of those evil and biased groups are evil and biased as well. To sum: Everyone and everything is owned and controlled by someone else who are constantly lieing about everything so trying to ever do anything to change something is pointless.

          So tell us Stan, what should we do?

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Scientific American Mind had an article on conspiracy theories, and how those who believe in them are actually less happy than the average, and feel more helpless. The question being – do they use their conspiracy theories to justify their inaction and apathy, or does belief in the conspiracy theory lead to inaction and apathy?

            Either way, they tend to be miserable people.

            1. CHotel says:

              I have no trouble believing that at all.

            2. PC says:

              Ignorance is bliss

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Give the FDA more power? That’s your solution?

          Yup. What’s yours again? Abandon all drugs and buy our herbs from Gary Null? Everyone eats a healthy diet and never gets sick ever again? Good luck with that.

          The FDA is staffed, owned and funded by corporate interests. Their primary purpose is to protect the profits of their benefactors – corporate interests with lots of money.

          Yep, that’s a problem. Hard to get around too. Respect and resources to the agency so people can do their jobs, make a living and be proud of what they do – that would probably help.

          Also, so in your mind the FDA has never turned down a drug developed by Pfizer or GSK or Merck? Remarkable. I wonder why I keep hearing about how many phase I and II trials you have to run to result in a single phase III trial, most of which fail to result in an approved drug. Must be black-ops propaganda.

          My congressman doesn’t care much about his constituents. He really works for Monsanto, et al, and does what’s best for them. They’re the ones who line his pockets with big campaign donations.

          Yes, I absolutely agree, campaign finance is a huge problem and should be reformed. Doesn’t mean drugs don’t cure disease or the FDA doesn’t have a limited, but still present role in the regulation of drugs. But your tiny nub of a point does have some merit.

          1. Lawrence says:

            Well, you’d think if the FDA was so corrupt that they would pretty much eliminate the testing and trials process, right? I mean, it costs tens to hundreds of millions of dollars just to bring one successful drug to market – so if the organizations are as corrupt as Stan believes, why do they even exist & why do they turn down a majority of drug applications (and drug companies have to go through anywhere from dozens to hundreds of unsuccessful drugs to find one successful one).

            Stan – your own internal logic doesn’t even begin to make sense.

            1. Lukas Xavier says:

              The problem is the simplistic mindset; the one-size-fits-all explanation.

              Sure, the drug companies are often so focused on their bottom line that safety falls by the wayside. Sure, the FDA is subject to regulatory capture. Sure, politicians are sometimes swayed by big business and campaign contributions.

              However, none of this is absolute or complete. The drug companies aren’t dens of ultimate evil, they don’t own every person working in the FDA and politicians do occasionally show a spine.

              The truth is a little more complex than what conspiracy theories generally allow.

            2. ebohlman says:

              I think a big part of the problem here is salience bias and differential publicity. There are really 4 kinds of decisions the FDA can make:
              A) Approve a good drug
              B) Approve a bad drug
              C) Fail to approve a good drug
              D) Fail to approve a bad drug

              When B or C happen, it gets brought to our attention and it grabs our attention and sticks in our minds. When A or D happen, however, we rarely notice it unless it’s something dramatic like HIV protease inhibitors or Gleevec. Such cases are rare.

              As a result, unless we make a conscious effort not to we tend to view B and C as characteristic of FDA decisions, even though they’re both small compared to A and utterly tiny compared to D

              The common anarcho-libertarian objection that government fails at just about everything it does is another example of this phenomenon. When government is successful, with the exception of high-profile events like sending humans to the moon, the results fade into the background: things that we’ve come to expect will run smoothly actually do run smoothly. When it’s unsuccessful, though, it’s very noticeable.

          2. Sawyer says:

            The funny thing about catch-all conspiracies is that if they were actually true, the solutions that conspiracy theorists posit would be even less likely to succeed. I’ve tried running anti-FDA folks through alternative ways to monitor drug development, and whatever they come up with is inevitably even more vulnerable to corruption and bureaucracy. The two primary suggestions seem to be to reduce the FDA to bare bones funding and authority, in which case they’d start taking even MORE money from industry, or to create an additional tier in the drug approval process, which would grind all medical progress to a standstill.

            But solving real problems has never been a priority for conspiracy nuts, so why should they care their ideas don’t make any sense?

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              And what happens if you ask them about running their preferred brand of woo through the FDA? Do they ever have a reasonable reply?

              1. Sawyer says:

                The websites where I’ve seen these debates take place were primarily centered around politics rather than medicine, so if I tried to bring up actual drugs like thalidomide or laetrile no one had anything useful to say. I tried in vain to explain how silly it was to judge the FDA without at least a cursory knowledge of pharmacology, but alas both hard-line libertarians and radical leftists don’t tend to be big fans of science.

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                To quote Aladdin, I think I might have a heart attack and die from not surprise.

          3. PC says:

            And what diseases have been CURED by drugs

            1. David Gorski says:

              Let’s see.

              Leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, anal cancer, pneumonia, various infectious diseases…the list goes on and on.

            2. Dave says:

              Normal saline is not often considered a drug but has saved many lives who would have been lost from hypovolemic shock due to gastroenteritis or blood loss. It would be number one on my list if I were stranded on a desert island.
              Bacterial meningitis used to have a 100% mortality rate. Now it is often cured.
              Bacterial endocarditis used to have a 100% mortality rate. Now it is often cured.
              If you go back 100 years some of the top causes of death included tetanus, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and polio. There were dedicated TB hospitals in every major city. Drug resistant tb are now a problem but as a whole tb pales in comparison to the past as a cause of death. Vaccines have eliminated smallpox and greatly reduced deaths from diphtheria, measles, polio and tetanus.
              Antibiotics for helicobacter can be curative for peptic ulcer disease.
              Epinephrine has saved many lives by reversing anaphylaxis from beestings. Antivenin has saved lives from snakebite.
              Many hematologic malignancies are now often cured by drugs.
              Just as importantly, drugs can control some chronic diseases. Type one diabetes and Addison’s disease were once uniformly fatal. Now people live relatively normal lifespans with them. Drugs can also help control the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure, myasthenia gravis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory neuropathies. Drugs can make life a lot better for many endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, Kallman’s and Turner’s syndromes, and hyperthyroidism. And ask any soldier who has been wounded or any patient who has had major trauma , or any cancer patient with painful bony metastases, about the beneficial effects of opioids.

  5. chemical says:

    Buying from local farms isn’t an unscientific practice, not that I believe that Mr. Novella was implying such. The benefits from buying from local farms include supporting your local farmers and reducing pollution since your food doesn’t require fuel to be burnt by shipping it cross-country.

    Regarding conspiracies: I believe there has been a rise in conspiracies because the internet is such an easy medium to use to transmit such ‘information’. There are actual conspiracies and abuse of government power, but eventually it gets exposed. Actual conspiracies include NSA spying programs (exposed by Snowden, very embarassing for NSA), New Jersey bridge scandal, which led to Gov. Chris Christie firing high-level staffers that he hired himself, Iran-Contra affair which led to high level government officials in the Reagan administration losing their jobs, and Watergate which led to the President himself being forced out of office. Hell, even Bill Clinton was nearly impeached for attempting to cover up infidelity!

    In short, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. If there was anything to the six conspiracy theories listed here, there would be a lot more consequences

    1. ebohlman says:

      Another effect of the Internet is that it’s led people to believe that quick and simple answers to any question are always available. That struck me when reading about the demands from families of the Flight 370 passengers: they were loudly insisting on having answers now and some were claiming that the lack of a quick answer indicated that the truth was known but was being suppressed. They simply couldn’t accept the possibility that the answers they wanted were still literally unknown.

      This tendency has always been there, but the idea that the whole world somehow runs on Internet Time has greatly exacerbated it.

  6. stanmrak says:

    The conspiracies that are uncovered are a drop in the bucket compared to the ones that have not been revealed in the mainstream media. It’s foolish to think that all conspiracies get exposed. You don’t have any idea of what else they’re hiding. Most people still aren’t aware that the Vietnam war was initiated by a false-flag event that never happened, in the Gulf of Tonkin. Been proven. It’s in the history books as fact, tho.

    1. Greg says:

      Given that there are many secret societies in the world is it any wonder people believe in conspiracy theories? In truth, I think Stephen hit the nail on the head with his comment that the CAM subculture encourages belief in conspiracy theories.

      1. I believe what I believe because I have read many texts and articles, seen many types of patients, tried many types of therapies, seen many therapies failed, harmed many patients and witnessed what you have not seen.

        Where has your journey taken you, because I am sure you have no idea where the skeletons are!

        If you do not read, practice and get the proper training from the list of authors, you will be blinded by your inexperience.

        http://ubcgunnims.com/courses/calendar/

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I’m really not sure what this comment has to do with the post, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to something not said. Do you spend the day googling yourself or something?

          What’s the evidence base supporting Gunn’s intervention?

        2. Ken Hamer says:

          I know where the skeletons are.

          I put them there!

          Oh wait… you should probably pretend you didn’t read that last bit.

        3. nancy brownlee says:

          @SSR
          ” I have read many texts and articles, seen many types of patients, tried many types of therapies, seen many therapies failed, harmed many patients and witnessed what you have not seen. ”

          I’ve seen the best minds of my generation running naked in the Negro streets at dawn… and they STILL made more sense when they talked than any single sentence I’ve read from you. You fraud.

          1. @brownlee. I don’t expect you to be able to understand and comprehend what I have read, experienced and witness over these 3 decades. You are blinded by your lack of these experiences. If you want to clear the fog, you can follow my authors and read alternative therapy options. Oh, you should clear-out your modern science mindset or you will not learn anything. Want to start your journey on a new paradigm? — just follow my links, :) — this site is not fair equitable or open-minded.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Again, I just have to shake my head. You do realize that the surgeons you criticize for spinal fusion and knee surgery – they also have decades of experience of positive results for their treatments? Why not trust their experience?

              Or, should I say – “had”, since both spinal fusion and knee replacements are experiencing a downwards trend since research has shown they don’t help.

              Tell me again how it is that your experience can be trusted, and tell me why theirs is untrustworthy. Is it merely because it contradicts your own?

              That’s pretty arrogant and hypocritical.

    2. Lawrence says:

      So, it’s still a secret conspiracy, even though it has been made public for decades?

      And no, the Vietnam War (which technically started in the late 1940′s when the French returned to Indochina after the end of WWII) was not “initiated” by the Gulf of Tonkin incident – it just provided an excuse for President Johnson to do what he was already doing, which was beefing up the US presence and activity in South Vietnam.

      Read a book sometime, you might learn something.

  7. Calli Arcale says:

    Interesting. One thing that struck me was noticing that for each question, it’s in the general neighborhood of a third of the population that has no opinion. In the case of GMO and fluoridation, it’s more than a third but less than a half.

    I wonder if this is always the same third. That is, is there a sizeable fraction of the population that has no opinion on *any* conspiracy theories? My gut instinct is that it would be yes, and that they lean more against the conspiracies than towards them; this would be the “shruggie” base.

  8. stanmrak says:

    ” If there was anything to the six conspiracy theories listed here, there would be a lot more consequences”

    If you were paying attention during the Wall Street bankers’ conspiracy revelations, you’d realize that THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES for big corporations. No one went to jail – they actually got bonuses. Banks payed a fine equal to a small percentage of the money they stole, taken from the corporate slush fund – yes, they had one of these just in case they got caught. HSBS was found guilty of FINANCING TERRORISTS, for crissakes. The game is rigged, folks.

    1. Sawyer says:

      Name a medical researcher currently employed by a drug company, university, or government lab that is involved in organizing bailout money for Goldman Sachs. Or working with HSBC (nice job on the acronym) and giving money to terrorists. Or was involved in the freaking Gulf of Tonkin incident. These are large scale events that involve tens of thousands of people. At this point we should have a giant list of defectors willing to share their stories. Where are they stan?

      Trying to connect well documented conspiracies to fake ones is idiotic and counter productive. It only undermines the ability of journalists to investigate real corruption and cover ups when they happen and the credibility of honest whistleblowers in large institutions. If there are conspiracies in the world of Big Pharma, you are only making their job easier stan. All they have to do is point to your paranoid delusions as proof they aren’t doing anything wrong.

      Thanks for your never-ending quest to make drug companies seem rational by comparison stan.

      1. stanmrak says:

        You don’t seem to understand how secrecy works. Insiders who know the truth know that they would be putting everything on the line… their jobs, their reputation, their careers, their family and friends. All would be lost if they spoke the truth. There would be a smear campaign, followed by vague threats, followed by specific threats if they continue to talk. All you have to do is check the history of whistleblowers. That’s why Edward Snowden is in Russia and whistleblowers who follow the rules like Bradley Birkenfeld are in jail, while the real criminals go free.

        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ubs-whistleblower-bradley-birkenfeld-deserves-statue-wall-street-prison-sentence-article-1.168809

        1. windriven says:

          Why are you here, stan? Why do you wander the halls shouting your messages to the floor tiles and the fluorescent tubes? Do you have some sort of odd messiah complex? Trying to save the techies from themselves? Trying to recruit people who don’t line their hats with tinfoil and their windows with blackout curtains?

          You look for all the world like the guy in the sackcloth robe standing on an upended milk crate shouting that the end is near. That doesn’t play well here.

          Mount a meaningful and specific case: Dr. Demento, head of R&D for Toxithica Pharmaceutical was given a bag of Krugerands worth a zillion dollars on March 7, 2011 by … No slander, no dark allusions, just facts.

          You want to be taken seriously, not pitied, right?

        2. Carl says:

          It seems unfair that he went to jail while the bosses did not, though he was also paid $100 million as a reward. You’ll have to try harder to establish your belief that everything is as you like to present it.

        3. MadisonMD says:

          Stan: Don’t forget the secret intergalactic alien conspiracy. They make giant crop circles without being seen, so as to maintain the secret. Those dirty aliens are probably carefully bending some rye sheafs in Sibera right now.

          Oh, and our government knows all about it. Yes, it is a government conspiracy. Oh, you want proof? Use google. Uh, look right here.

          Thanks for revealing the truth about aliens on SBM. You reveal the truth like a candle in a black hole.

        4. Iorek says:

          Stan I’m a dab hand at making paper pirate hats. Happy to whip one up for you in tinfoil and send it along if that might help?

    2. Jon Brewer says:

      Except bankers aren’t doctors. How many doctors were involved in HSBC?

  9. cervantes says:

    ” They found that 49% of Americans agreed with at least one conspiracy, and 18% agreed with three or more. This is in line with the level of belief in non-medical conspiracies. They did not publish, but I would be interested, in the percentage of people who said they disagreed with all of the conspiracies.”

    100-49=51

    1. Not in this case.

      If 49% only believed in one conspiracy, that only means that 51% answered either (a) Do Not Believe, or (b) I Don’t Know, to all the questions. The OP in this case was wondering who would answer ALL of the questions with (a) above. (I would be in that group!)

  10. The entire science-based medicine myth is in itself a conspiracy of misinformation under the heading of science or truth.

    “You can not find the “truth” without imagination, experimentation, failures, integrity and consensus.” ? i’m mis quoting some famous person.?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      You seem to be hyperfocusing on everything but the “experimentation” part. Experimentation is the keystone in science, it’s what turns your beautiful idea into something worthless or worth believing in.

      Your substitution of “whatever I believe in” for “experiment” is rather the problem. You have no idea if what you believe in is correct or not – only your self-reinforcing beliefs. Nobody cares about your beliefs Steve, we want proof in the form of controlled trials.

      1. Have you searched Trps or myofascial release yet? Are you fearful of what you will find? It is easy to “naysay” isn’t it! Once you venture away from this narrow minded idea of what science is, you will be delighted!

        Google it … and expand your views!

        1. Thor says:

          Thought you said you weren’t coming back. Those were obviously meaningless words, just like everything else that comes from you. Just can’t resist trolling, can you? How disappointing, as I thought SBM would be so much more enjoyable without you cluttering up the place. You’re so disrespectful. I relish and cherish this site, use it to learn, engage, further my understanding of science and medicine. Why do you insist on coming here with the sole purpose of blindly denigrating all things science? Oh right, you’re a troll. I guess it’s refreshing for you to be around rationally minded people. For a change.
          Oh well, maybe you’ll blow your last chance given by Dr. Gorski and get banned.

        2. MadisonMD says:

          Google it … and expand your views!

          I did. And so I got some Youtube videos and a Wikipedia article that ended with this:

          Effectiveness:In 2011, the UK Advertising Standards Authority ruled that there was inadequate scientific evidence that myofascial release was effective for any condition.[8]

          Then I followed the link to citation 8. Is SSR afraid of what I found?

          1. Thor says:

            Well done, MMD! Kudos to the ASA. Bet you a Franklin that SSR will justify his belief even stronger now.

            I have years of myofascial release under my belt. It is a common, popular modality taught to most massage practitioners. It has it’s own anatomical system, procedural protocol, and set of manual techniques. Above all, as with most things CAM, it makes loads of extraordinary claims. A simple, hands-on massage system which makes a person feel better by manipulating the soft tissues of the body in a beneficial way just isn’t enough. Nooo, let’s pretend and boldly claim it cures all kinds of major neurological, orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions.
            In my quarter century practice, I clearly experienced first hand what MR can and can’t do. And it certainly can’t do the things SSR and The Natural Therapy Center in Glasgow (and all around the world) say it can.

  11. It would be great if people had to login to post as a “real” person instead of those horrible avatars, btw…

    First time poster here on this site and I’m glad for it! I’m a modern day hipster/hippie who is definitely skeptical of centralized power structure (governments, corporations, etc), but I also believe in Science and its ability to accurately understand our environment.

    I think the article is good, but you are glossing over the difference between causality and correlation. The numbers in the survey don’t seem dramatic, as you even said yourself that a certain percentage of people will believe in ANY conspiracy theory. While I don’t buy organic, I do focus on local foods and eat foods that are minimally processed AND I don’t believe in any of those conspiracy theories mentioned. It seems preposterous.

    Not all of us hippies are indoctrinated, and you have just as many fanatical indoctrinated science-believers on the other side. I wish the two sides could come together and inform each other’s opinions.

    1. PC says:

      Ok if you don’t believe in any of the above mentioned “conspiracy theories”
      Has there,in your opinion,ever been a conspiracy theory that you did believe in ?

      1. Sawyer says:

        Yes, and people have discussed them before on this site if you look hard enough. I don’t see any point in listing hundreds of real conspiracies through history, but the main characteristics are that:

        A) They are usually more subtle and always much, MUCH sloppier than the over-the-top-mastermind-at-the-top schemes that conspiracy theorists come up with. Despite how the bad guys are portrayed in Hollywood movies, it’s kind of hard to control the actions and thoughts of billions of people.

        B) Real evidence (not speculation) slowly trickles out to journalists, scientists, business leaders, doctors, investors, etc, and what started as a small secret among a few people becomes widely known. This doesn’t happen immediately, but it rarely takes more than a few years. Once a large group of people knows something juicy, personal conflicts between them create tremendous motivation to go public with that information.

        C) It becomes downright impossible to construct a coherent chain of events that doesn’t include incredibly unlikely events.

        I once again reiterate the point I made to stan. Crying wolf on phony conspiracies does NOT make it easier to discover real ones. Conspiracy mongering eats up time, money, and attention, distracting people from the real problems they should be focusing on.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Technically one can’t identify successful conspiracies, so there could be multitudes of successful ones. It’s just hideously unlikely, given how often they seem to fail (and given how, when one digs at most of the issues that conspiracy theories attempt to explain, most tend to simply be complex situations with a lot of drivers and interactions that can’t be explained through reference to a single, easy-to-identify cause).

        2. mouse says:

          (clicking imaginary like button) Saw this comment before and meant to say how glad I was to see this point made.

      2. Windriven says:

        “Has there,in your opinion,ever been a conspiracy theory that you did believe in ?”

        Echoing Sawyer: yes. But they are fiendishly difficult to keep secret for long. Watergate. NSA broad sweep. Madoff ponzi scheme. They all blow up eventually.

        The only “conspiracies” that endure are those conducted in broad daylight. Consider the shaping of government policy by big business, big labor, and particularly big finance. This is done in full view. If you have ever met any of the lobbyists who actually apply the grease to the gears, they are totally unashamed and, if you catch them just right, gleefully gloat about it.

        Large scale philanthropy aside, conspicuous concentrations of wealth rarely accrue to the public benefit. But don’t blame the Bigs, they may have most of the money but average Americans have most of the votes – and we vote for banalities and nostrums. We allow it. They exploit it. And we’re content as long as the game on Sunday isn’t blacked out and we can watch it on our 55″ televisions.

  12. BobbyGvegas says:

    “Efforts to educate the public about critical thinking, scientific methodology, and how the institutions of medicine work and are regulated, might reduce the popularity of such conspiracy theories.”
    __

    Sadly, I have frequently found that arguing logic and evidence (“scientific” thinking) to many willfully ignorant extremists simply hardens their views. The more you “prove” a point, the more such proof is to them simply proof of the malignant extent of the conspiracy.

    1. Bigjeff5 says:

      I’ve come to realize that the biggest mistake you can make, when trying to change the mind of someone who does not use critical thinking to form their beliefs, is to use facts and logic and evidence. They don’t see the value of these things, and so they are unconvinced when presented with evidence, or when their poor reasoning is pointed out.

      A perfect example is the recent Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate about whether the Bible was a valid basis for scientific theories. Nye had tons of well established facts and sound reasoning absolutely demolishing Ham’s position. Ham pretty much just ignored all of Nye’s facts, presented his own “facts” (most of which were debunked decades ago) and clearly flawed reasoning. Yet young-earth creationists everywhere touted the debate as a clear win for Ham. Reality clearly didn’t matter to Ham & Co, only rationalizing their previously held beliefs.

      You must first convince them that it’s the facts and evidence and logic that matter, and that your beliefs should conform to those things, before such arguments will change their minds. Often you don’t even need to give them the evidence that changes their mind, as once you have succeeded in convincing them that evidence matters they’ll start to pick their own beliefs apart and recognize the serious flaws with them, and change accordingly.

      1. Windriven says:

        I prefer taunting them. I realize this won’t change their minds but I’m long beyond caring. My chosen strategy is to maneuver them into an idiotic position such as the mystery of god’s plan for allowing children to die of horrific diseases – then getting in their faces and pointing out that their holy book paints a loving god but the actions suggest a sociopath. It can be a pretty good laugh. The secret is to not invest in changing minds. It needs to be played purely for entertainment. But I do like to believe that eventually when they are laying in bed some night, they’ll think about it just a little.

    2. Jon Brewer says:

      In fact, you’re a part of it. How does the conspiracy theorist know this? Because you insist the conspiracy doesn’t exist.

      For the most part, I find conspiracy theorists adorable.

  13. MTTurvey says:

    What always puzzles me is why people want – and they do actively *want* to believe in conspiracy theories, hence the rejection of evidence to the contrary, demands to “do your research” (read: “look at Natural News until you agree with me”) and cries of “Pharma shill!” when they’re losing the argument.

    I can kind of understand it when someone famous dies in an accident and some people find it comforting to believe that it was a conspiracy – it dulls the thought that actually anyone can die, totally randomly and long before their time.

    I can see the (very) twisted logic of proclaiming that “vaccines took my real child away” (people who say that anger me immensely) – then you don’t have to accept that your child is and always was autistic, nor that your genes *may* have played a part.

    But believing that the government/big pharma/whoever is concealing the fact that a cure for cancer (in its multiple forms!) has been found? What do you get out of that?

    Incidentally, a few years ago Southampton City Council (I’m in the UK) announced that they would be fluoridating the water. There was outrage among some of the locals – they would spout the usual “it’s not proven to be safe” guff, but when it came down to it, the main reason for their anger, tellingly, was that they hadn’t been asked*.

    *Since most people are not qualified to make the decision and there is a general lack of scientific literacy, I can’t blame the council on that one.

    1. nancy brownlee says:

      People know they lack control over their lives, and that they lack they ability to protect themselves and the people they love. They feel helpless and victimized. They want information, but have no tools to judge the quality of the information they’re given – at home, at school, at church, on television- or the self-referential nature of the “facts” they hear and read. There’s no substantiation at the bottom of most of the thought systems, and many people don’t even know that there should be factual substantiation. They’ve never had the idea seriously presented to them, or been asked to apply it to their beliefs. If anything, they have a sort of a fuzzy core of certainty that a good person can intuit his/her way to “truth”.

      We all feel more than we think. But most people don’t just believe that there’s no difference between thought and emotion- they don’t know that there IS a difference.

      1. Angora Rabbit says:

        Well said, Nancy!

        1. Thoughts, imagination and emotions are impulses from the brain so they are similar. If someone can verify, duplicate or reproduce these thoughts or emotions in every part of the world, then they can be considered Laws of Nature thus are forever.

          A conspiracy is just an impulse from the brain unverifiable and thus electrical energy which will dissipate into the air. If one can prove that these impulses actually were put into motion by man then that is a true statement. To prove a conspiracy one needs eyewitnesses but since humans are unreliable eyewitnesses the verdict can not be trusted.

          We do know that humans are capable of deceptions, false assumptions, miscommunications, misinterpretations and lies as per our evolutionary design so conspiracy should be a function of our everyday skepticism.

          1. Neil J says:

            Stephen, you sound like Deepak Chopra. That is not meant as a compliment.

            I have the strong feeling that you don’t understand what “electrical energy” is. I am a physicist by trade. I actually do. If you want a lesson on electromagnetism and energy I’d be glad to provide it free of charge (no pun intended).

            Seriously, if you think you are going to convert anyone here with your hand-wavey nonsense coated in a thin veneer of scientific terminology you are sadly mistaken.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              It’s like reading the longest fortune cookie ever.

              1. @William. I did not know you would read!!!
                LOL you left yourself open for that one! :)

            2. @neil j … you read it and hopefully it helped you to think. Just a idea about thoughts, reasoning, judgement, reflection and imagination which are actually at the foundation of science, something missing in this site. :(

              I really truly do not need your or anyone’s accolades, I can generate my own emotional energies! :)

              Does any “ONE” person understand electrical energy??

              1. Sam says:

                Why don’t you subject your beliefs to the scrutiny of the scientific method? You seem to respect science. I suspect you have a misguided definition or application of science.

              2. windriven says:

                “Does any “ONE” person understand electrical energy??”

                Stephen, the number who understand electrical energy better than you are legion.

              3. @Sam and the masters; @harrietl @paul @Steven
                “I suspect you have a misguided definition or application of science.”

                This is the issue Sam, what is science, what is pseudoscience and how to apply those definitions into the practice of medicine???

                Primary issue, what if the science fails a case ie, RA patient who is one all options, methotrexate, biologic agent or tofacitinib,NSAID,corticosteroids, sulfasalazine, or hydroxychloroquine plus opiates and is still miserable with aches, pains and stiffness.
                1. Do you piddle with the doses of meds?
                2. Do you let him suffer and tell him that that is all you have for him.
                3. When he ask for more opiates do you think he is a druggie?
                4. Do you wonder if he is compliant or corrupting your plan.
                5. Do you think he is stupid?
                6. Do you think he has an ulterior motive?
                7. Do you have him get involved with a PT plan, with heat/cold, aerobic, yoga, swimming, massage.
                8. Have him try Acupuncture?
                9. Have him see a Chiropractor?
                10. Do you suggested 7+8+9?

                @wind, lol I know! Somethings you just do not have to understand or be concerned with to utilizes effectively. Besides, It takes about a few decades to master a trade.

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                This is the issue Sam, what is science, what is pseudoscience and how to apply those definitions into the practice of medicine???

                Clearly your willingness to ignore contradictory data, the lack of evidence for many of your practices, your ignorance of the criticisms of your pet interventions and your willingness to let your experience overwhelm te scientific literature means you do not know or appreciate what science is. Particularly the latter.

                Primary issue, what if the science fails a case ie, RA patient who is one all options, methotrexate, biologic agent or tofacitinib,NSAID,corticosteroids, sulfasalazine, or hydroxychloroquine plus opiates and is still miserable with aches, pains and stiffness.

                Science doesn’t apply precisely to all patients in all circumstances. It informs, it does not dictate practice. The fact that this hypothetical patient’s symptoms are not adequately controlled does not invalidate science and does not validate your preferred preference. I will note that low-impact exercise, your item 7 (“Do you have him get involved with a PT plan, with heat/cold, aerobic, yoga, swimming, massage.“) is scientifically supported and has been since 2009 (earlier, since that meta-analysis is based on existing literature). In fact, most doctors would probably recommend it as a first-line treatment.

                Why on earth would a doctor think a patient is stupid because they have uncontrolled pain due to rheumatoid arthritis?

                How would spinal manipulation help with arthritis? And chiropractors offer no other effective treatments (even SM is only of dubious effectiveness).

                And, as always, what does this have to do with science?

                Besides, It takes about a few decades to master a trade.

                How do you reconcile this with your claim that in addition to being a doctor, you are 12 other things? Are you incompetent at them all?

              5. MadisonMD says:

                Primary issue, what if the science fails a case

                SSR, if science had all the answers, it would stop. Science is a methodical way to carefully and provably make tomorrow better than today for these patients. Similarly, we can reflect that today is far better than 100 years ago when only large doses of aspirin and patent medicines were available for RA.

                In the scientific framework, wild guesses are OK, but they must be validated by experiments that are designed to eliminate bias. Scientists try to rule out every possible reason why they might falsely accept their hypothesis. To keep them honest, scientists are expected to subject their data and interpretation to peers who scrutinize to check that biases were appropriately eliminated and that the data support the conclusions. (…and even then not everything published is not correct.)

                For this reason, it is not surprising that people like you, Peers, Burzynski exist largely outside the scientific framework where your evidence is not subjected to such scrutiny. Within the field of science, a lack of responsiveness to criticism leads to failure. i.e. a scientist who does not respond to criticism by other scientists will soon lack employment.

                You, Peers, Burzynski appear surprised to get criticism for your puerile interpretations of anecdotes and crazy inferences. But such criticism is rather ordinary in science.

                So, get thick skin and respond to the criticism with data. This is SBM.

              6. @WilliamLawrenceUtridge “Science doesn’t apply precisely to all patients in all circumstances. It informs, it does not dictate practice. The fact that this hypothetical patient’s symptoms are not adequately controlled does not invalidate science and does not validate your preferred preference.”

                Where have you had y’alls heads in the past few decades? Science and business dictates most aspects of clinical medicine. With no allowance to practice the art of medicine.

              7. “Why on earth would a doctor think a patient is stupid because they have uncontrolled pain due to rheumatoid arthritis?

                Since you are not in clinical practice you will not be able to comprehend this situation. Ask one of you trusted bloggers.

                “How would spinal manipulation help with arthritis? ”
                It is highly effective in certain cases and mandatory in others. What is your background again? Bias, ignorance and money — you have fallen into the trap.

              8. Where is hall, ingraham? Have you guys expanded your knowledge and experience base yet. Come on !!!! your patients are counting on you to do this.

              9. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Where is hall, ingraham? Have you guys expanded your knowledge and experience base yet. Come on !!!! your patients are counting on you to do this.

                Neither actually have patients anymore, both are retired. Also, they have better things to do than respond to your bleats for attention.

                Finally, they are only interested in expanding their knowledge bases on the basis of empirically-supported, epistemologically-sound ideas that have been tested using convergent methodologies. Not hypotheticals that are at best promising, mutually-contradictory, and supported primarily by anecdote.

    2. Birdy says:

      I think, to a degree, people like feeling like they are part of a small, special group that is smarter than everyone else. My former friend with a ninth grade science education is perfectly comfortable claiming she knows more about vaccines than every immunologist and epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, because the echo chamber she chooses to live in prides her in being a ‘thinking parent.’ SHE’S not one of those poor, misled sheeple who lets that evil agent of big pharma in a white coat inject scary sounding things into her children; she is too educated to do that.

      They get to belong to the ‘persecuted minority’ who REALLY understand everything and don’t just follow along with whatever they are told. Because Natural News told them so.

  14. Paul B says:

    I’m always amused by the idea that global warming is a conspiracy perpetuated by climate scientists.

    The attendant scientists in the research lab I used to work in couldn’t even organise the supply of tea and biscuits in the common room; how they could have ever run a global conspiracy is beyond me.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      They rather can’t, is the point :)

      The idea that scientists spend their days agreeing with each other, rather than bitterly and viciously badmouthing each other, in public and private, is also amusing.

      Of course, they’re doing so over the rather small details that separte sub-sub-components of scientific theories, they all agree on the overarching ones.

    2. mouse says:

      Paul B “The attendant scientists in the research lab I used to work in couldn’t even organise the supply of tea and biscuits in the common room; how they could have ever run a global conspiracy is beyond me.”

      LOL! Good One and I needed a laugh.

  15. Wake Up says:

    What a group of backslapping people we have here gleefully debunking the so-called conspiracies. I guess we should all be so glad to know that the keepers of medical wisdom that populate this website know there is no such thing as conspiracies. The government always has your best interests at heart. The government does not spy. Companies do not collude.

    I guess that’s why this website and sites like it are so worthless.

    A useful science-based website would have questioned all the faulty science on display in the profession on the big issues and have picked apart the weaknesses of things like the cholesterol and diet-heart hypotheses and the the oversold usefulness of statins.

    Instead we get repeated straw man stories about alternative medicine and the likes of Stanislaw Burzynski (whoever he is). Why the strange silence on the latest meta-analysis seriously undermining the campaign against saturated fats? You know, an issue ordinary people might actually be interested in?

    Unless purportedly “pro-science” sites like this can grow a backbone and show it can stand up for science even against establishment dogma, then people will be skeptical. This site hasn’t stuck up for science against what could arguably be called the biggest health scams in history. Quite the contrary, it has supported it. Why then should anyone put any weight on the views represented on this site?

    1. Sawyer says:

      I swear some website must be holding a competition for strawman arguments this month, because these sorts of rants are getting worse and worse. You made up some statements that are not only mischaracterizations, but are in fact the complete opposite of what many of us believe, and then castigated us for holding those fake beliefs. Did your bother to read any of the other comments? Did you not see me acknowledge multiple times that real conspiracies exist and that they absolutely require investigation? FFS I even offered a damn checklist for how to start identifying real conspiracies.

      This site hasn’t stuck up for science against what could arguably be called the biggest health scams in history.

      Unfortunately none of the SBM writers or readers have psychic powers, so we have no clue what you’re talking about.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Unfortunately none of the SBM writers or readers have psychic powers, so we have no clue what you’re talking about.

        Wake Up is a cholesterol denier, and also appears generally credulous about all things “alternative”. Oh, and they have a penchant for the naturalistic fallacy and the appeal to tradition. And they haven’t provided any citations yet, but I would guess they also harbour a fondness for cherry-picking.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The government always has your best interests at heart.

      The whole government? I could see individual politicians attempting to improve their personal wealth and control to the detriment of individual citizens, but to theorize that the whole government is against all citizens seems like a bizarre thing to say. What would motivate the whole government to be against its own citizens?

      A useful science-based website would have questioned all the faulty science on display in the profession on the big issues and have picked apart the weaknesses of things like the cholesterol and diet-heart hypotheses and the the oversold usefulness of statins.

      Are you sure these are conspiracies? Because they seem more like complicated, multi-factorial problems for which it is difficult to tease out exact answers. How do you explain things like high cholesterol being associated with significant risks of early death from heart attacks, without coming up with a series of unsupported hypotheses about metabolism?

      1. Jon Brewer says:

        Yeah, I can think of plenty of other things where at least some studies have linked them to heart attack:

        Obesity
        Insulin resistance (i.e., on the way to type 2 diabetes, if not already there)
        Blood pressure
        Family history of heart attack or stroke
        Prior history of heart attack or stroke
        C-reactive protein
        Homocysteine
        Blood triglycerides
        Lipoprotein(a)

        And of course, within cholesterol, there’s LDL versus HDL and (small, dense) LDL pattern B.

        You’ll note the American Heart Association’s newer guidelines take a more holistic (in the actual sense of the word, not in the altie sense) view of the risk factors of heart attacks.

  16. WakeUp says:

    Do I believe all those doctors and dieticians giving suspect nutritional advice are against the health of citizens? Of course not. Do I believe they are coerced by the system into giving such advice? Yes. Can coercion by the government be positive? Yes. The problem is that coercion can also be negative.

    Conspiracy is a loaded word since it suggests unlikely cloak and dagger stuff although as the recent spying revelations show it isn’t as unrealistic as you might imagine. But we don’t need such a classic worthy-of-a-book strong planned form of collusion to see how an alignment of vested interests can suppress consumer and patient interests.

    Let’s take for example the recent fiasco that was created by that committee tasked with introducing updated guidelines for statin prescription. 8 out of 9 on the panel were on the payroll of drug manufacturers. Should it be surprising then that they recommend potentially doubling the number of people who should go on statins?

    Well even looking only at the evidence yes it should be surprising. Statins have shown no significant effect for women. Statins have shown no significant effect for people who do not have cardiovascular disease. The only group for which there is evidence of a positive effect are men who have CVD. It take around 100 people on statins to prevent one person from experiencing a cardiovascular event in the space of five years. On the other hand studies report side effects or adverse reactions from about 5% of patients (i.e. 5 out of 100). This is probably underreported since studies are commonly screened beforehand to remove unsuitable candidates. I’ve heard that clinical experience suggests somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% or even more report side effects. One of these side effects is rhabdomyolysis a serious potentially fatal muscle wasting condition.

    Of course this is all set against the backdrop that assumes lowering LDL actually does anything. As the crumbling case against saturated fats shows that is no longer the slamdunk proposition many people assume nor should it ever have been if they had paid close attention to the conflicting studies.

    Given all the above is it really too much to infer vested interests pushing an agenda that results in inconvenient facts being ignored and misrepresentation of patient interests?

    You ask me about why cholesterol is associated with high early death from heart attack. I could give you a hypothesis but as you anticipate it is unsupported. On the other hand can you answer your own question and give one that is supported? I can also ask you a similar question: Can you explain why in some studies those with the lowest cholesterol have the highest death rate? Yet another question: Can you explain why 50 to 75% of the people who have a heart attack are reported as having normal or low cholesterol?

    I find it very odd that a bunch of purportedly “pro-science” people who one would think are more skeptical than most seem to train all their skepticism on outsiders and not at the insiders especially since it is the view of the insiders that are amplified by the system. There seems to be a pronounced deference to authority at play and that is unbecoming of scientists.

    If this site has ever reported on the glaring inconsistencies in the cholesterol hypothesis or have taken to task the miserable record of the American Heart Association and other organizations like it, or have expressed concern if not outright disgust at how results that don’t conform to the existing dogma are airbrushed away in published studies, I’m sorry for not having seen it. But if not, the people here are just a bunch of lapdogs.

    1. weing says:

      “Can you explain why 50 to 75% of the people who have a heart attack are reported as having normal or low cholesterol?”
      Of course I can. Why do you think that is the case?

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        Oh, I know weing! Is it because cholesterol in no way, shape, or form influences heart disease? That’s gotta be it, right? Geez, I really wish I’d learneded this stuff when I was in medikul skool.

    2. Bruce says:

      Hey look!

      A long ranty post with lots of talk of “studies” that support his viewpoint and not one reference or link to back up the argument!

      I think I might just randomly change my mind based on NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!

      “There seems to be a pronounced deference to authority”

      No, there is a deference to evidence and critical thinking. The authors of this site are constantly being challenged and consistently provide evidence to back themselves up.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Amusingly, Wake Up is essentially demanding we accept his/her authority on the matter and shut down our own critical thinking skills – for instance, any critical thoughts we might have on the likelihood a random internet commentor is better-informed on the vaguaries and nuances of cholesterols and heart attacks.

        Damn, my list above should have included reference to Dunning-Kruger. But I guess it was implied.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Do I believe all those doctors and dieticians giving suspect nutritional advice are against the health of citizens? Of course not. Do I believe they are coerced by the system into giving such advice? Yes. Can coercion by the government be positive? Yes. The problem is that coercion can also be negative.

      How are they “coerced” when they base their recommendations primarily on the scientific literature? And what “suspect advice”? Eat mostly vegetables, fruits and whole grains? Avoid empty calories? Wow, Machiavellian.

      Why are you bringing up statins on a page totally unrelated to it by the way?

      Let’s take for example the recent fiasco that was created by that committee tasked with introducing updated guidelines for statin prescription. 8 out of 9 on the panel were on the payroll of drug manufacturers. Should it be surprising then that they recommend potentially doubling the number of people who should go on statins?

      Now, when you say “on the payroll”, it sounds like 8/9 were actively drawing a salary from statin manufacturers. Is this true? Or did they have research studies funded by the manufacturers? Also, when the funding source is a drug company, that generally implies exagerration of results, while you seem to be pushing for outright fraud. Could you clarify – did you mean the panel members exagerated the benefits of statins, or were deliberately deceiving the audience on the basis of the money they were being directly given by Pfizer and Merck?

      What did the 9th person think of the recommendations?

      What part of the evidence base do you think they ignored or exagerrated in making their recommendations?

      Your discussion of the NNT and adverse effects is reasonably accurate, congratulations! What is the incident rate of rhabdomyolysis for patients taking statins? This study of 640,000 people showed a result of 59. That’s 0.01%. So by your calculations, that looks like 10,000 people will need to be treated to prevent 100 yeart attacks, and of that, one person might get rhabdomyolysis. What do you think of those numbers? They might be off, I’m not a statistician. But it still looks like somewhere around two orders of magnitude more people benefit versus those who experience rhabdomyolysis. What are the other adverse effects of statins? Looks like muscle pain, weakness and inflammation are the worst, and some other general symptoms like headache, sleepiness, etc. Not good things, but compared to a heart attack, not that bad.

      As the crumbling case against saturated fats shows that is no longer the slamdunk proposition many people assume nor should it ever have been if they had paid close attention to the conflicting studies.

      Yes, and the recommendations are changing to reflect these nuances. Questions:

      1) Are there some groups for whom lowering saturated fat is an unmitigated benefit?
      2) Can you distinguish these from those who do not benefit? Could you in the past?
      3) Where are these conflicting studies?

      Given all the above is it really too much to infer vested interests pushing an agenda that results in inconvenient facts being ignored and misrepresentation of patient interests?

      Yes. That would be one of the medical conspiracies that Dr. Novella talks about.

      I can also ask you a similar question: Can you explain why in some studies those with the lowest cholesterol have the highest death rate? Yet another question: Can you explain why 50 to 75% of the people who have a heart attack are reported as having normal or low cholesterol?

      No to all, I am not a doctor and do not have a sophisticated understanding of the topic. I do, however, trust those doctors and reserachers who do nothing but study the topic to know better than both of us, and to one day reach a correct conclusion. Medicine is complicated.

      There seems to be a pronounced deference to authority at play and that is unbecoming of scientists.

      I absolutely defer to authorities, real authorities, the doctors, researchers and consensus statements that reflect the state of the art. I will never be able to grasp the literature the way they do. In the meantime, I eat very well, don’t smoke, exercise regularly and make sure I get enough sleep. My doctor has never recommended I take any drug over the long term, let’s hope my lifestyle, arranged according to the mainstream guidelines, helps.

      Fake authorities, like Gary Null and Joe Mercola who attempt to carve out a niche of iconoclasm to sell you more ineffective crap, I will not defer to.

      If this site has ever reported on the glaring inconsistencies in the cholesterol hypothesis

      Yes.

    4. Dave says:

      It does take treating a lot of people with statins to prevent one heart attack. However, given that a major cause of death is cardiovascular disease, killing several hundred thousand people a year, you can save plenty of lives with this intervention nationwide. It boils down to what you think is a reasonable “number to treat” – ten, fifty, one hundred, two hundred?

      The vast majority of the side effects of statins are reversible and not dangerous. A very few people get rhabdomyolysis. I admit people every week with heart attacks, but hardly ever for rhabdomyolysis. Even if one does not die from a heart attack, many people wind up as “cardiac cripples” with a poor quality of life, and this is not reversible.

      The following points are interesting to me:
      1) Medications that are taken for an acute illness (antibiotics for pneumonia, anticoagulants for pulmonary emboli) or to relieve symptoms of a chronic illness (thyroid supplements for hypothyroidism, medications for rheumatoid arthritis) are generally satisfying to prescribe and satisfying to take. People directly feel better as a result. This is modern medicine doing what medicine has historically done – taking care of the sick. Modern medicine is often criticized especially by CAM proponents for not doing more than this. How often have you heard that “the trouble with health care is that it’s ‘sick care’. Doctors should try to keep people well, not just treat them when they get sick”?
      2) Some preventive care is nonmedical and involves not smoking, getting enough exercise, eating the foods you should and avoiding foods you shouldn’t, not drinking to excess, etc. It’s hard to get people to do this but such things ARE part of mainstream medical advice. A lot of it is also just common sense.
      3) Other preventive care involves reducing the risk factors for disease in hopes of preventing the disease. Examples would be treating high blood pressure to prevent strokes, controlling diabetes to prevent blindness, kidney failure or amputations from peripheral neuropathy; using statins in those at risk of heart disease, using ACE inhibitors to ward off chronic renal deterioration in some populations, etc. This category involves treating large amounts of people with medications that do not make people feel better and have side effects which often make people feel worse in order to prevent some of them from getting a devastating disease. Vaccinations fall into this category – give everyone tetanus vaccine and you drop the deaths from tetanus from several thousand a year to about 40-50 a year (mostly in unvaccinated people). The benefits of this are not usually individually noticed but the side effects sure can be.

      Surprisingly the same people who accuse modern health care of not doing enough to prevent disease also rail the loudest about the type of care given in the third category above.

    5. Dave says:

      For those who are not tired of the endless discussions and vehement opinions concerning statins, their side effect profile, and whether they should be given to low risk people, the British Medical journal today has yet another article about this. You can read their article on their website (bmj.com). Here are the first few paragraphs.

      “The controversy concerning the prescribing of statins to a wider section of the population showed no signs of abating this week after a new analysis—this time of high quality observational studies involving data on millions of patients—found that the risk of harmful effects from statins was very small and similar to those seen in clinical trials.1

      The finding is fuelling the debate on whether statins should be extended to healthy people who are at low risk of cardiovascular disease, as recommended in draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).2

      The latest research comes just two weeks after the publication of a meta-analysis of 29 randomised controlled trials that found that serious adverse events occurred just as often in patients taking a placebo (14.9% of patients in primary prevention trials and 11.2% of those in secondary prevention trials) as they did in patients taking statins (14.6% for primary and 9.9% for secondary prevention).3″

      1. WakeUp says:

        Dave, there are studies out there with run-in periods where they exclude certain participants prior to the trial proper. The CTT did comparisons that observers say didn’t make the most sense and were biased towards positive results. The datasets in many trials are not completely released.

        In short there are vested interests involved pushing statins and they control the flow of information.

        Why don’t doctor organizations set up special committees to prescribe guidelines for apples or blueberries? There’s a study showing apples are comparable to statins in preventing vascular disease. Blueberries IIRC show show better mortality reductions than apples. Do you consider yourself more a health practitioner or a drug dealer?

        I am also aware of another simple intervention that studies show reduces mortality by 40-60%. Double to triple the effect of statins. Why are doctors silent on it?

        Doctors organizations from all indications are the marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry. There are better alternatives and yet it is statins that are pushed. If you don’t want your profession to look like shills you will promote the BEST alternatives and not push second rate options that have a question mark hanging over them.

        When statins first came out we didn’t hear or know about all the side effects which slowly became apparent later. After two decades the frequency and severity of those side effects is still up for debate. After two decades I’m not even sure doctors know or are in agreement on how statins work. Is it primarily through cholesterol reduction, endothelial action, inflammation, or something else? Are you sure?

        The old guideline for their prescription it has been revealed was drawn from thin air. The new one promotes extending them to cover a population based on extrapolations. Anyone familiar with forecasting knows how tenuous an exercise that is especially when the inputs are of a dubious nature. As the saying goes there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

        Patients shouldn’t be guinea pigs for unnecessary prescriptions where the science is not rock solid. Do you recognize yet the disaster of convincing people to abandon butter and switch to trans fat laden margarine? Have you ever wondered how the “prudent diet” once flogged by the AHA could be so inferior? These were based on poor science—at least 20 years of poor science but poor science nonetheless. Are you willing to say with no hedging or qualification that these were flat out mistakes made by the medical profession? If you cannot no one should believe you on statins. Of course it’s a bit of a catch 22, if you learned anything from those examples you wouldn’t be so quick to believe in statins.

        1. weing says:

          @WakeUp,
          Please cite your compelling studies so that they could be evaluated. You are simply making claims without supporting them.

          “If you don’t want your profession to look like shills you will promote the BEST alternatives and not push second rate options that have a question mark hanging over them.”

          That means that you are qualified to know what are the best alternatives without any question mark. That is truly amazing. Whence comes this expertise? I wonder if you tell airline pilots how they should be landing the plane?

        2. windriven says:

          @WakeUp

          Echoing the distinguished Dr. weing, how about coughing up the citation for:

          “There’s a study showing apples are comparable to statins in preventing vascular disease.”

          and

          “I am also aware of another simple intervention that studies show reduces mortality by 40-60%.”

          I’m holding out hope that you aren’t batsh!t crazy but it is fading fast. For instance, I live in apple country, like apples, and eat them nearly daily. Some years ago I lived elsewhere and consumed few apples. I know my lipid levels from both periods and they are substantially equivalent. After the new ACA guidelines I went on atorvastatin 10mg and they plummeted like a rock. I understand that is an anecdote but …

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Windriven, anecdotes only work when they support coconut oil being a miracle cure for Alzheimer’s. Stop trying to use them to support statins, which are “chemicals”. Not like red rice yeast extract, which is natural. Chemically identical, but natural, and therefore better. Just like dying from smallpox, the natural way, is superior to unnatural vaccination.

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Why don’t doctor organizations set up special committees to prescribe guidelines for apples or blueberries? There’s a study showing apples are comparable to statins in preventing vascular disease. Blueberries IIRC show show better mortality reductions than apples. Do you consider yourself more a health practitioner or a drug dealer?

          One study? Compelling! Now, how dramatic was that reduction in vascular disease? Did it sustain over time? Does it scale, such that someone eating ten apples has ten times the reduction that someone gets eating one apple? Does it work acutely, or does one have to eat an apple a day for years to see such a result? In which case, what happens when one comes in with acute problems and doesn’t have ten years of apple-eating time ahead of them? We should just let them die, right?

          I am also aware of another simple intervention that studies show reduces mortality by 40-60%. Double to triple the effect of statins. Why are doctors silent on it?

          We could comment on it if you’d just say what it is instead of coyly alluding to it, which makes you look like a douche or a liar. In fact, I’m calling it flat-out. You are lying here. There is no study on an intervention that reduces mortality by 40-60%, you’re just making it up, you lying liar.

          There are better alternatives and yet it is statins that are pushed. If you don’t want your profession to look like shills you will promote the BEST alternatives and not push second rate options that have a question mark hanging over them.

          You know what would be the absolute best interventions? Reasonable weight, high-quality diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and regular exercise. As soon as you can figure out a way to convince America to get off of it’s mostly fat ass, undertake and maintain such lifestyle changes over their entire lives, you’ll have done worlds more good than statins. You should get on that, because telling patients “your fat ass is killing you” isn’t working.

          When statins first came out we didn’t hear or know about all the side effects which slowly became apparent later. After two decades the frequency and severity of those side effects is still up for debate.

          Jesus, it’s almost like the side effects are minor and infrequent – exactly what the mainstream statements say.

          See – dramatic, common side effects, they show up. If you’re not seeing a lot of reports of side effects, there are at least two possibilities:
          - a massive conspiracy to cover up nefarious adverse effects
          - adverse effects are rare, minor and generally innocuous

          It says more about you than it does about the data that you assume the former.

          As the saying goes there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

          What do they say about people who insist they have all the answers, but refuse to share them? Are you a follower of Lyndon LaRoche perhaps?

          Patients shouldn’t be guinea pigs for unnecessary prescriptions where the science is not rock solid. Do you recognize yet the disaster of convincing people to abandon butter and switch to trans fat laden margarine? Have you ever wondered how the “prudent diet” once flogged by the AHA could be so inferior?

          Yeah, we get rock-solid science by refinement. Statins didn’t show dramatic adverse effects when first studied, later studies turned them up and now they are recognized, and statins are still associated with reductions in cardiac risk factors and death.

          I wonder – did food scientists say “stop eating butter, eat trans fats instead”? I’m not sure – but I doubt it. My guess, and I will admit this is speculation, the food industry said “no saturated fats? How about trans fats, they have similar properties.” And later research found out they were just as dangerous.

          See, it sounds like you demand absolute perfection from science. It does’t work that way, science is tentative, exploratory and often contradictory until the parameters are better understood. Yeah, it would be nice if biology were easy and we could get the “right” answers right away. Man, that would be nice.

          Amusingly, I will note your double-standard for “natural” products. You recommend coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, for instance, on the basis of “anecdotes”. Oil pulling you believe to work because of a hypothetical mechanism (that does, or does not, involve soap – depending on whether someone has pointed out the flaws in your argument) and because coconut is natural. Coconut oil isn’t, of course, that requires processing and refining, but whatever – never let an inconvenient fact ruin a beautiful theory.

          Are you willing to say with no hedging or qualification that these were flat out mistakes made by the medical profession?

          I completely admit that medical error is woefully common, that doctors and researchers make mistakes, that patients die and this is terrible, and that medicine is imperfect. None of which means that “nature” provides for unlimited healthy lifespans, cures for all diseases or isn’t itself a source of considerable morbidity and mortality. It also doesn’t mean that CAM is a source of any of the suggestions for improvement, merely marketing activities to try to sell their own products.

          It does mean, however, that medicine is in a continual, slow, frustrating process of refinement and improvement, that take years but at least results in better, and more certain answers.

          Jesus, it’s like you’re saying because Ford didn’t see global warming coming, therefore cars don’t work.

  17. WakeUp says:

    You ask how are they coerced? Are threats of being banned from medicine not coercive? Are the attacks on character that Dr. Atkins for example experienced not coercive?

    I bring up statins as an example of the ways vested interests influence thinking. Is the American Heart Association in bed with the drug manufacturers? The situation may or may not fit the strict definition of conspiracy but would you call this if-you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours arrangement ideal? What would you call it in one word? Some call it conspiracy and while I hold out the possibility of sunnier interpretations I do not blame others for their cynicism.

    That there was a committee giving guidance on who to give statins to is in itself a framing of the issue that is beneficial to drug interests. The lay public might get the mistaken impression statins are the best intervention possible. Yet at least according to one review, statins are not the best intervention to reduce mortality, neither is exercise, nor omega 3s. The best intervention according to that review is one that I never hear of from organizations like the American Heart Association. I only hear it from those sources who have no bias against alternative medicine.

    Can any of the doctors here identify what that intervention is? And no I’m not talking about the Mediterranean diet although I can probably explain why it is effective and it wouldn’t be because of unsaturated fats. Any doctors here willing to explain it all to Mr. Utridge?

    There is a spectrum of diagnoses related to muscle weakness with rhabdomyolysis being at the severe end. One would expect many of those experiencing myalgia or myositis to have discontinued use of statins before it led to rhabdomyolysis. I cannot be sure without looking at the designs but I somehow doubt people in the studies that study analyzed would have been forced to continue on statins if they were already experiencing symptoms.

    1. Something like the A to Z trial would suggest yes there are some people who would benefit from low saturated fat diets but they would tend to be those not already suffering from obesity.

    2. If you are getting fat despite following the low fat diet that would be a sign.

    3. A meta-analysis from 2010 looking at 350000 subjects and another released last week looking at 650000 subjects couldn’t find a link between saturated fats and increase in CVD.

    Well I’m willing to read studies and interpret them independently. I’ve had too many instances of being around people who have respectable titles being lazy or complete idiots to respect such titles that much.

    That article from 2008 you linked to showed this site as an apologist of the cholesterol hypothesis not as a critical interpreter of it. Such articles are what make this site so bad.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      You ask how are they coerced? Are threats of being banned from medicine not coercive? Are the attacks on character that Dr. Atkins for example experienced not coercive?

      No, to both questions. And I’m not sure who is “threatened with being banned from medicine”. CAM and “natural is better” promoters should really stop pretending they are being persecuted merely because it is pointed out their claims are wrong.

      I bring up statins as an example of the ways vested interests influence thinking. Is the American Heart Association in bed with the drug manufacturers? The situation may or may not fit the strict definition of conspiracy but would you call this if-you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours arrangement ideal? What would you call it in one word?

      Complicated.

      I only hear it from those sources who have no bias against alternative medicine.

      You know what unifies alternative medicine? Assertions of evidence in their actual absence. Because you know what they call “alternative medicine” with evidence for efficacy? They call it medicine.

      Alternative medicine demands respect that it hasn’t earned. It demands respect because it claims to be old, and natural. You know what’s old, natural and deadly? Cancer. Snake venom. Polio. Smallpox. To the latter, we can add “extinct”.

      The AMA, AHA, AwhateverA believe what they do because of evidence. The evidence may be exaggerated through the influence of companies (though real medicine has conflict of interest disclosures and clinical trial registrations, and other mechanisms in place to try to address these issues), but there is still evidence. Why you think that the assertions of Joe Mercola and Gary Null are superior because of their lack of evidence, I’m not sure. Why you think Joe Mercola and Gary Null are worth listening to, I’m not sure. Why you think Joe Mercola and Gary Null don’t have conflicts of interest despite selling vitamins, minerals and virgin coconut oil, I’m not sure.

      You haven’t mentioned Mercola and Null specifically, I don’t care. I could put pretty much anyone’s name in there.

      The lay public might get the mistaken impression statins are the best intervention possible.

      That’s why I go to a doctor, because they’re not lay. They’re trained to look at the literature critically, and emphasis is now placed on the pernicious influence of Big Pharma. And they are also trained to look at my unique risks to determine if a statin is a good choice for me. It’s not like they give a prescription to everyone who shows up.

      Yet at least according to one review, statins are not the best intervention to reduce mortality, neither is exercise, nor omega 3s.

      1) What review?

      2 )What do the other reviews say?

      3) Omega-3s have been oversold for a pretty long time now. Much of the selling comes from the alt med crowd by the way.

      The best intervention according to that review is one that I never hear of from organizations like the American Heart Association. I only hear it from those sources who have no bias against alternative medicine.

      I have no idea what intervention or review you are talking about, you’re either being coy or neglected to link it.

      Can any of the doctors here identify what that intervention is? And no I’m not talking about the Mediterranean diet although I can probably explain why it is effective and it wouldn’t be because of unsaturated fats. Any doctors here willing to explain it all to Mr. Utridge?

      Ah, coy it is. Why not simply link to it? Is it because you get a smug sense of satisfaction and superiority out of it? Good for you, everyone likes masturbating to the internet.

      One would expect many of those experiencing myalgia or myositis to have discontinued use of statins before it led to rhabdomyolysis. I cannot be sure without looking at the designs but I somehow doubt people in the studies that study analyzed would have been forced to continue on statins if they were already experiencing symptoms.

      Excuse me, when are people forced to stay on statins? When are patients forced to remain on a drug despite intolerable side effects? Normally the doctor would try a different drug, or lifestyle changes, or a different class of drugs. Even vaccines are not forcibly mandatory. Should I have used Alex Jones instead of Mercola?

      If you are getting fat despite following the low fat diet that would be a sign.

      Yes, it would be a sign you need to reduce calories overall, not merely fat. The latest recommendations for diets and diet recognize that one of the dangers of low fat diets is the substitution of simple carbohydrates which present their own risks of obesity and diabetes. In other words, people dieting do it wrong – they hear “eat less fat” and instead eat more sugar. Which is wrong.

      It’s easy to make fun of the recommendations and research if you misrepresent and oversimplify them.

      That article from 2008 you linked to showed this site as an apologist of the cholesterol hypothesis not as a critical interpreter of it. Such articles are what make this site so bad.

      Which is another way of saying “articles I disagree with are wrong”. What specifically was wrong with Dr. Hall’s article?

  18. weing says:

    “The lay public might get the mistaken impression statins are the best intervention possible.”

    And you want to coerce us into believing that this impression is mistaken? Fine. Do it with evidence. and not accusation.

  19. weing says:

    “The lay public might get the mistaken impression statins are the best intervention possible.”
    So you are implying that you are not part of the lay public? You know better than even your MD because you are on the cutting edge of research into this. Show us your research.

  20. Jon Brewer says:

    Might be useful to divide this into three types of conspiracy theories:

    1) Real conspiracies, like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Note that these tend to involve, maybe 0.01% of all MDs in a given country at the most. This also includes things like Wakefield’s fraud. If I cite a conspiracy as fact, expect citations to prove this.

    2) Bullshit conspiracies that just “make sense” to the believer, given Category 1. This includes (to continue our Tuskegee example) the CIA inventing AIDS; the believer may not understand how difficult (specifically, impossible) it would be to grow HIV without a human host, the CIA has done shady things in the past, and doctors have deliberately given black men placebos for a disease that was curable before. These tend to be very specific to particular ethnic, religious, and political minorities.

    3) Conspiracy theories that are absolute bullshit. For instance, the vaccine-autism “link” is, of course, bullshit. You can tell these guys because even when they’re darlings of the MSM, they feel persecuted because the medical community doesn’t take them seriously. These are…just for the conspiracy-minded, but, as mentioned, they can be the darlings of the MSM. (Again, antivaxxers come to mind.)

    To put this in perspective, one of my Facebook friends is a former tribal president, and another two are attorneys specializing in tribal law. All three of them (much like myself) tend to take a “you’re adorable” attitude to the most common conspiracy theories we hear.

  21. Peter H Proctor, PhD,MD says:

    Why Apples are Healthful: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/fw04/apples.html

    Basically apples contain fructose, which increases levels of uric acid. In turn, uric acid the most important extracellular antioxidant. He says modestly— something I originated, BTW. “Uric Acid and Ascorbate, Similar Functions in Man” At: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v228/n5274/abs/228868a0.html

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Heh, someone should tell that to everyone who thinks high fructose corn syrup is just this side of poison.

      1. Peter H Proctor, PhD,MD says:

        Johnson’ et al postulate that fructose causes of elevation of uric acid, which can act as a both a pro and antioxidant. My discoveries, BTW. Thru its pro-oxidant properties and mediated by superoxide (also my discovery) urate causes insulin resistance.

        Johnson et al also show that this can be inhibited by the SOD-mimetic drug tempol, also my drug. Look it up.

        At normal levels, uric acid is primarily an antioxidant. Which is why apple juice increases serum antioxidant levels, per the cite above. This is why uric acid elevation is in clinical trials for stroke, Parkinsons, and MS.

        I would love it if Johnson et al are correct, since their work is ultimately-dependent upon mine. Likewise, diabetes is part of the oxidative-stress phenotype originally-postulated by me. E.g., hemochromatosis is AKA “bronze diabetes”.

        But alas, extreme hyperuricemia per se is not always associated with diabetes. Examples include the Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome and hyperuricemic syndrome in Dalmatian dogs…

  22. Bill says:

    Does anybody have any peer reviewed studies on vaccinated versus unvaccinated children?

    1. Windriven says:

      Studying specifically what?

    2. Andrey Pavlov says:

      That would be unethical Bill.

      However there are some retrospective case-control type studies that look at groups of children who happen to be unvaccinated against a matched cohort of vaccinated children. They found that the unvaccinated children had more incidence of preventable diseases, hospital stays, and a whole host of other problems.

      1. Windriven says:

        “That would be unethical Bill.”

        It would unethical if children were intentionally left unvaccinated as part of the study design. But what about prospective studies using children unvaccinated because of religious or other parental stupidity reasons?

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          @windriven:

          Yes, which is why I followed it up. I assume that Bill is trying to by sly and use the good ol’ anti-vaccine trope of doing an RCT on vax vs unvax. The goalpost that can never be reached since it would be unethical, forever giving them something to whine about.

          We could do a prospective version of the retrospective cases that have been reported (I’m not entirely sure it hasn’t been done, but I don’t think so). But I think you and I can predict what that would show.

          1. Windriven says:

            I’m sometimes tonedeaf to these types, Andrey. Good catch.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          But what about prospective studies using children unvaccinated because of religious or other parental stupidity reasons?

          Without randomization, you would have an uphill battle to attribute causality – you’d never know if any adverse effects or benefits, including “fewer cases of the disase in the vaccinated group”, were due to vaccination or not.

          Obviously the latter point is a reasonable assumption, but strictly-speaking it’s still a leap and assuption rather than evidence.

          1. Windriven says:

            Understood and agreed. But what is the alternative? Sometimes imperfect is better than nonexistent.

    3. Chris says:

      Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents

      Lewis K, Cherry JD, Holroyd HJ, et al. A double-blind study comparing an acellular pertussis-component DTP vaccine with a whole-cell pertussis-component DTP vaccine in 18-month-old children. Am J Dis Child 1986;140:872-6

      Blennow M, Granstrom M, Jaatmaa E, et al. Primary immunization of infants with an acellular pertussis vaccine in a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Pediatrics 1988;82:293-9.

      Peltola H, Heinonen OP. Frequency of true adverse reactions to measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial in twins. Lancet 1986;1:939-42.

      Tingle AJ, Mitchell LA, Grace M, et al. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study on adverse effects of rubella immunisation in seronegative women. Lancet 1997;349:1277-81.

      Hoberman A, Greenberg DP, Paradise JL, et al. Effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccine in preventing acute otitis media in young children: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2003;290:1608–16.

      Falsey AR, Treanor JJ, Tornieporth N, et al. Randomized, double-blind controlled phase 3 trial comparing the immunogenicity of high-dose and standard-dose influenza vaccine in adults 65 years of age and older. J Infect Dis 2009;200:172–80.

      Govaert TM, Thijs CT, Masurel N, et al. The efficacy of influenza vaccination in elderly individuals. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. JAMA 1994;272:1661–5.

      Glesby MJ, Hoover DR, Farzadegan H, et al. The effect of influenza
      vaccination on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 load: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Infect Dis 1996;174:1332–6.

      Vesikari T, Karvonen A, Korhonen T, et al. A randomized, double-blind study of the safety, transmissibility and phenotypic and genotypic stability of cold-adapted influenza virus vaccine. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2006;25:590–5.

      Peltola H, Kayhty H, Sivonen A, et al. Haemophilus influenzae type b capsular polysaccharide vaccine in children: a double-blind field study of 100,000 vaccinees 3 months to 5 years of age in Finland. Pediatrics 1977;60:730-7.

  23. Amiee Manawatu says:

    Scientists have concluded that AIDS genesis was in a laboratory. There is a patent for the AIDS virus!!

    1. Chris says:

      Prove it. Provide the citation with the verifiable evidence.

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