Articles

Medical Voices: Always in Error, Never in Doubt

I have discussed two articles from the web site Medical Voices, one with 9 questions, the other on mumps. There are, I think, 18 web pages of articles about vaccines on that web site. I am uncertain as to the true number of pages of information as the navigation buttons at the bottom of the pages do not always seem to function correctly. That such a problem exists suggests that no one has bothered, like me, to go through the web site to read all the essays. Or maybe it is me and the price of using the Chrome browser. Anyway, there are a large collection of essays that serves as a rich vein of iron pyrite to mine for topics. At about 5 entries to a page, evaluating at a pace of about one monthly, it would take years to analyze all the misinformation on Medical Voices.

It occurs to me that at the center of each article is a nut of misinformation (or sometimes as many as nine) that serves as the core fallacy of that article. I want to emphasize that I am using ‘nut’ as a metaphor for seed, not in its other, more colloquial, meaning. So rather than an in-depth evaluation of each article (although some will warrant a future, more through review), I thought it would be interesting to identify the nut in each article and why it is wrong. So, in the spirit, but not the intellectual rigor, of Generation Rescue‘s “14 Studies“, let’s sort through the nuts …

1. Tobacco Plants Will Now Make Vaccines, by Joseph Mercola, DO.

Less about misinformation and more a nut of fear-mongering. One of the ongoing problems with the flu vaccine is the lag between the (hopefully correct) identification of the year’s influenza strain and the production of the vaccine, taking about 9 months to come to fruition. Each dose of the flu vaccine is grown in a chicken egg, so the infrastructure required to produce all those eggs and support that one poor chicken is huge. What has been needed for years is a rapid, simple, and inexpensive method to generate huge amounts of flu antigen. Genetic engineering has made the production of human insulin in bacteria routine, to the benefit of every insulin-requiring diabetic. The benefit of introducing viral genes (but not the whole virus) into plants could be the ability to generate cheap vaccines. The other benefit is that plant infections cannot infect humans, making the vaccine theoretically safer than vaccines grown in mammalian cells.

As Mercola sums up:

Keep in mind that if you place your sole trust in your health officials and the vaccine makers, the potential price you might pay is your physical health and financial future. Everything is at stake. In my opinion, blindly believing that a plant-based vaccine will remove the possibility of viral contamination and potentially deadly side effects is foolhardy at best.

Fortunately, vaccine producers test for viruses and other contamination, so we do not have to rely on blind belief. He then lists a number of alternative flu treatments and preventatives that ever-so kindly link to Mercola.com where you can ever-so conveniently purchase his products, many of which do require blind belief for efficacy. And I am the big pharma shill.

2. Whom Do We Serve? The Medical Doctor’s Conundrum, by Suzanne Humphries, MD.

The nut? Doctors are profit-driven tools of big pharma and the government.

The creativity of the Caring Profession has been systematically choked to death by the pharmaceutical industry, the AMA and the government who have been waltzing together for over 60 years….Young, bright college grads do not go to medical school with any understanding that the system they are embarking upon destroys health rather than cures it. They are about to become pawns in a system set up for commerce, with humans being the means of putting the check in the bank.

Dr. Humphries knows natural treatments are being suppressed since they cure the patient and, if cured, the patient no longer needs a doctor, eradicating the income of the medical-industrial complex. I presume, of the above were true, her practice is like that of an infectious disease doctor with no long term patients, because I cure the majority of my patients.

Removing heavy metals from the body is considered a risky and potentially dangerous intervention that is shunned and avoided by mainstream medicine, even though it has been done safely for over 30 years by alternative practitioners. This is an interesting paradox since many of the diseases that doctors treat are related in some way to heavy metal toxicity: hypertension, heart disease, various neurological diseases, cancer, and kidney failure. Could it be that addressing the cause would eliminate the need for the cure…and for the doctor?

Heavy metals? I thought all cancers were due to liver parasite. Could it be that heavy metals are related to none of diseases mentioned and the reason doctors ignore heavy metal is that they are not an etiology of disease and/or doctors prefer light jazz?

The suppression of truth for financial or other reasons is a popular refrain in the alt-med community. I have no understanding of this bizarro outlook on the medical community as I am not sympathetic to conspiracy theories. I work in an environment where everyone is doing their best to make people better and to prevent illness. Since many of the alt med practitioners seem to profit directly from selling the products that cure the alleged illnesses they diagnose, it is another example of ‘holy kettle calling the pot black, Batman.’ I sure wish I could make a buck off the diagnostics and therapeutic interventions I recommend.

3. What To Do About All Those Non-Vaccinating Parents, by Robert Sears, MD.

The nut? The CDC is covering up information about parents vaccinating children.

“I believe the CDC has been trying to hide the fact that more and more parents are refusing or delaying vaccines.”

That is often the standard of proof at Medical Voices. I believe. It is often a reference-free site. This is more conspiracy fear-mongering. I believe the CDC is doing no such thing. So who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

The proof? None. I have spent time discussing and reading about declining vaccine rates as part of my job in infection control and the source of my information is more often than not the CDC. If they are hiding this information, they are doing a lousy job.

4. Censorship and Show Trials on Vaccines and AIDS, by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

The nut? What follows is not parody, but a direct quote.

Peter Duesberg and Andrew Wakefield are two tenacious, brave men. They struggle against the medical-government-pharmaceutical complex’s efforts to disenfranchise them, and they have to endure a withering barrage of ad hominem attacks. But they do not flinch in their efforts to see truth reign, Duesberg with AIDS and Wakefield with vaccines.

One hopes that in the not too distant future both of these truths will pass through Schopenhauer’s third stage and become accepted as self-evident. Once fully accepted the pandemic of autism spectrum disorders and the chronic diseases that now afflict so many children – asthma, allergies, arthritis, enterocolitis, and diabetes – will abate; and AIDS by prescription, AIDS caused by taking anti-retroviral drugs that doctors prescribe to HIV-positive people – DNA chain terminators, like AZT, and protease inhibitors – will cease. The day will come when the CDC withdraws its childhood immunization schedule and stops recommending that vaccines be given to children under two years of age. HIV tests will no longer be done and anti-retroviral drugs will be outlawed.

Dr. Miller knows the truth; the rest of us are deluded. Unfortunately, Wakefield lied and Duesberg is wrong.

There are almost 300,000 articles on HIV or AIDS on Pubmed, representing probably a million authors, demonstrating remarkably sophisticated understanding about both the biology of HIV and its complications. To think, maybe a million HIV researchers and physicians all working together to keep Peter Duesbergs truth suppressed. My career started with the HIV epidemic (association is not causation) and I have watched the evolution of our understanding of the disease and its treatment. We have gone from a 9-month life expectancy to an almost normal life span thanks to HIV medications.

To suggest HIV is not a cause of AIDS but that “the real cause of AIDS is four-fold: heavy-duty recreational drug use, anti-retroviral drugs, receptive anal intercourse, and malnutrition” is an interesting interpretation of the medical literature. I am glad Dr. Miller is a heart surgeon and especially glad he will not be mine. Again, I keep thinking of DC comics’ Bizarro World, where everyone on the square planet Htrae does the opposite of what is done on the real Earth. Many of the Medical Voices essays could have been written on Htrae.

The trials and tribulations of Dr. Wakefield have been well covered on this blog. I would wonder if, rather than a measles/autism researcher, it had been Dr. Millers financial adviser who exhibited the same behaviors. Invented information for investing and bought Enron. Would he be so understanding when he lost his 401k, calling his adviser a tenacious, brave man struggling against the banking-government-investment complex’s?

5. Autism Vaccine Connection, by Jaquelyn McCandless, M.D

The nut on this tree is that heavy metals and vaccines, especially the MMR, are the trigger of autism and that oral chelation will reverse autism. Dr. McCandles is a practitioner of said chelation therapy. Is it me, or do expect to see a paper suggesting the benefits of the Sham Wow or the Slap Chop?

To date there are no studies confirming an association between vaccines in general and the MMR or mercury in particular, as a cause of autism. Two recent studies suggest that getting the vaccines as recommended may be protective for autism and neurological function. Of course, it is not the data that counts at Medical Voices.

6. Smallpox Vaccine: Origins of Vaccine Madness, by Jennifer Craig, BSN, MA, Ph.D

The first two thirds of this entry is a recounting of the early history of the smallpox vaccine. It is an entertaining read, but not being a historian I cannot vouchsafe the information. The author does not bother to note that the vaccinations of Jenner’s time, transfer of pus, is not the same as modern vaccine production techniques. Then it gets weird.

There has been no human small pox in the world since 1976 (well, kind of). There are many pox viruses, a family of related viruses that preferentially infect different hosts. There is cow pox and monkey pox and squirrel pox. The cow pox was used in the vaccine to eradicate smallpox because there is enough similarity between the two viruses that infection with cow pox prevents infection with small pox, but there is enough difference that it is very rare for the cow pox to spread beyond the inoculation site.

The fact there has been no small pox since 1976 is, it would seem, reasonably good evidence that there is no longer human small pox in the world and that vaccination was the cause of its eradication. However, Dr. Craig has a clever solution. Her nut? Small pox is still around but has been renamed as either chicken pox or monkey pox. Really. The essays on Medical Voices induce a need to qualify that the quotes from the site are the real deal and are not meant as a joke on my part.

It is akin to saying that the dodo is not extinct, it has been renamed the chicken or turkey; after all, they are all flightless birds.

7. Pandemic Panic Hits World Health Organization, by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The nut: the H1N1 flu epidemic was faked by the WHO to sell drugs and vaccines. This article was published in Feb 2010, and the idea has had a resurgence this month thanks to the British Medical Journal.

Everyone in Infectious Diseases learns about the pandemic of 1918–1919 which killed maybe 40 million people world-wide and 600,000 in the US. We worry that one day a new strain of flu will emerge with the right combination of virulence factors and there will be a repeat of 1918. Luckily, we dodged that bullet with the in 2009-2010. The H1N1 was highly infectious, but not very virulent: 61 million infected, 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths by CDC estimates. Deaths, like the 1918 pandemic, predominated in the young and the pregnant.

I always like the way anti-vaccine proponents belittle the mortality and morbidity of vaccine-preventable illnesses: “I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that swine flu is nothing more than a sniffle.” For a short time in my hospitals, just as the flu peaked, we were maxed out. No beds, no vents, and a worry about how we were going to find the staff and space to treat patients if the increase in flu related admissions continued and then, poof, the rates fell instead of increased. I have never leaned so far over the edge of the precipice before and been pulled back from what appeared to be a disaster. It still amazes me, months later. I saw at two flu related deaths; H1N1 was more than a sniffle for some. 162 million doses of vaccine were produced and distributed, but only 90 million were given. So if 60 million cases of flu were prevented from the 90 million shots given, the vaccine could have saved 12,000 lives.

People in public health are always screwed: they will either under-prepare or over-prepare for a disaster, and they get blamed either way. They didn’t do enough and people died, or they did too much and wasted money. The solution? Let’s fill the WHO and the CDC with psychics. Miss Cleo should have been called for her free readin’ now.

8. Forced Vaccinations, Government, and the Public Interest, by Russell Blaylock, MD.

There is the philosophical/political question as to whether the government has the right to force vaccinations; it is not a scientific question. The questions of safely and efficacy are answerable by science. Part of this essay is philosophical, and Dr. Blaylock evidently blames vaccination policy on, well, I feel odd saying this as it seems so, well, weird, but he blames, er,……..the Rockefellers, for vaccinations in the US. Yes. Really. The Rockefellers:

The Rockefellers either owned outright or had controlling interest in all of the major pharmaceutical companies. This has given them absolute and extremely powerful access to the reins of power at all levels. Yet, they can be defeated by the truth.

So last century. Could we at least have the suggestion of a modern conspiracy, like Reptilians, because I, for one, bow down to my lizard overlords. I did find some web sites to suggest that the Rockefellers are high order Reptilians, so I can not dismiss this argument out of hand. Repeat after me. In the context of this essay, nut is metaphorically referring to “a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed.”

As to the science, his major contention is that herd immunity is a myth, and proceeds to make a series of calculations to prove that herd immunity is a myth. He combines all vaccines, each with different efficacies, as if they all have the same efficacy. There are several characteristics of anti-science/anti-vaccine writers: they do not like change, they do not like subtlety, and they like topics to be all or nothing.

His basic argument is that vaccine response has been discovered to fade with time. Also, I might add, water is wet and fire is hot. Since we do not have outbreaks of vaccine preventable illnesses in the population who have faded immunity, herd immunity is a myth.

He fails to take into account that fading antibody levels does necessarily not mean fading ability to respond to infection, since many who have been vaccinated will have an amnestic response and gear up antibody production after re-exposure to infection. There is also behavior, nutrition, hygiene and understanding of disease that has helped decrease spread of illness compared to the outbreaks. But like most anti-vaccinators (I so need a better term, term…. vaccinators…terminators? Been done and is probably copyrighted), either the vaccines are 100% or they are nothing.

Like many anti-vaxers, he fails to understand, or chooses not to consider, subtlety and nuance. Part of vaccination results in vector control. For example, vaccination of children with the conjugated pneumococcal vaccine has lead to a marked decrease in invasive pneumococcus in the adult and elderly population. So targeting disease in one population can prevent disease in another, non-immune, population. However, waning immunity is an issue with pertussis, and the reservoir for disease in children is vaccinated adults whose immunity has faded (but there is sufficient immunity to prevent whooping cough). Reality is always more complicated than the fantasy world of anti-vaxers.

The rest of his argument?

The fact that powerful, enormously wealthy foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rockefeller series of foundations, are supporting forced vaccination greatly enhances the power of governments all over the World.

The big irony from my perspective is the an importnat issue with vaccines is the ease with which people can get an exemption. I looked for statements from the above foundations to see if I would find recommendations for “forced” vaccinations. All I found were the statements of Dr. Blaylock, but of course, that is what the Gates and the Fords and the Rockefellers want me to write.

They are out to get us. I know this kind of argument appeals to some, but I don’t get it. It seems so fringe it should be on a surrey. Watch that fringe and see how it flutters.

9. An Unwelcome Third Wheel: Patient Vaccination Without Doctor Authorization, by S. Humphries, MD .

The basic nut here is that vaccinations are given routinely in the hospital to patients without a doctor’s specific order. That is true in many hospitals; I have been a big proponent for those policies in my institutions at the behest of my Lizard/Rockefeller masters.

Part of quality indicators is to make sure that all patients have both the flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine. The secret to quality care, I have discovered over the years, is take responsibility out of the hands of the physician, since more often than not, in a busy day, they may forget. It is only after we have taken the responsibility out the hands of physicians, who are focused on the acute problems, that compliance with numerous routine quality initiatives improved with a subsequent marked decline in infections and mortality in my hospitals.

Dr. Humphries says:

You are not in control anymore. Your patients can be harmed by vaccines that you have not ordered — while your back is turned.

As I read the article, while this policy had been in place since 2007, she discovered the policy in 2010. Evidently while her back was turned she was paying no attention to what was going on in her hospital. She continues:

Guidelines, recommendations and one-size-fits-all treatment programs of all comers for the sake of profit are the real driving forces.

It is not mentioned, and I can only speak for infectious disease guidelines, that in virtually every study published on outcomes, populations who receive the guidelines, recommendations and one-size-fits-all treatment programs have decreased mortality and morbidity compared to populations where the treating doc does what they want. That is the beauty of science-based medicine. Patients do better when their physician follows the guidelines. Of course, I do not suffer from the hubris and arrogance that the Doctor is the be-all and end-all in patient care. I consider the practice of medicine to be a team undertaking.

10. Shaken Baby Syndrome and Non-Accidental Injury: Are Parents and Caretakers Being Falsely Accused? Harold Buttram, MD

Shaken baby syndrome is where a baby is shaken violently shaken causing retinal hemorrhages, fractures, soft tissue injuries and/or subdural hematoma from a whip lash injury. The nut of his thesis is all these effects are from vaccines not trauma. At least he didn’t suggest it was caused by the Rockefellers, not necessarily an improvement in critical thinking.

Bleeding in the brain. Trauma? No. How could trauma cause bleeding? It must be a vaccine. This is perhaps the oddest argument in a site filled with odd and speaks for itself. It is nice that those who injure children have an advocate.

The Visions statement of the website:

International Medical Council on Vaccination will become the most comprehensive educational center on the Internet for physicians seeking the truth about vaccines. This will change healthcare as we know it.

I will not disagree. If baby shakers get off by blaming vaccines, it will be not be change, but not a good one.

11. Flu Shot: Friend or Foe? by Lynette Volkers, RN, BSN

The nut here: vaccines do not do anything and are filled with toxins. I bet half of the essays are variations on this theme. She states flu only kills a 1000 people year (the direct deaths) not 30,000 (indirect deaths), they have formaldehyde (not mentioning that you make an ounce and a half a day with normal metabolism and the vaccines have less than 0.1 mg. Nothing new here.

But Ms. Volker is not noted for her ability to read. She says “manufacturer’s package insert indicate that the flu shot should NOT be given to pregnant women.”

They do? Let us find a package insert.

Monovalent Vaccine or Fluzone vaccine. It is also not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

and

Reproduction studies have been performed in female rabbits at a dose approximately 15 times the human dose (on a mg/kg basis) and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to AGRIFLU. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, AGRIFLU should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed. In two reproduction toxicity studies, the effect of AGRIFLU on embryo-fetal or post-natal development was evaluated in pregnant rabbits. Animals were administered AGRIFLU 3 times prior to gestation, during the period of organogenesis (gestation day 7) and later in pregnancy (gestation day 20), 0.5 mL/rabbit/occasion (approximately 15-fold excess relative to the projected human dose on a body weight basis) by intramuscular injection. Effects on post-natal development could not be fully evaluated, however, there were no adverse effects attributable to the vaccine on mating, female fertility, pregnancy, or embryo-fetal development. There were no vaccine related fetal malformations or other evidence of teratogenesis noted in this study.

I do not see a ‘NOT’ in any of the package inserts, just the usual cautions. That pregnant women are more likely to die from flu does not seem to be a concern nor is checking her statements for accuracy. I don’t know. I get the sense that the only way the writers on this blog can make an argument is to ignore pertinent information, make up information, or misrepresent information.

12. Stop All Vaccines! by Sue McIntosh, MD

The nut is:

recommending more and more toxic vaccines and belittling arguments against vaccination. Such behavior can only occur when profit, creation of illness rather than health, and population control (including the medical profession) are priorities.

Population control? If you want population control, then getting rid of vaccines would be the better approach. Dead people, after all, do not reproduce (zombies notwithstanding).

I recommend vaccines because they are safe and efficacious. Vaccines have been the single best bang for the buck, decreasing morbidity and mortality with surprisingly few side effects. But I bet Dr. McIntosh doesn’t use airbags, since they kill maybe 25 people a year, probably do not save lives and are in cars only to generate profit for big auto. And don’t get me started on seat belts.

13. A Heretic’s View of Influenza’s Role in Health & Disease, by Sherri Tenpenny, DO

Dr. Tenpenny is a germ denier. Disease is due to toxins that damage the body and the germs subsequently take advantage of the toxin-damaged tissues. She even quotes the well-debunked lie that Pasteur recanted his germ theory on his death bed. Again, fact-checking is not the strong point of the Medical Voices website or its authors.

The nut that follows is a direct quote. I am afraid that someone will think I am making this up as an attempt at parody, so please do look it up yourself.

It may be that the role of both the bacteria and the virus is to induce an inflammatory response, a low-level and modified cytokine storm, to help the body to detoxify. It would be very interesting to test the secretions that are expelled during a bout of the flu for chemicals and heavy metals. For example, if a person reportedly died from “viral pneumonia,” perhaps the body was trying to expel a huge amount of chemical-containing mucous. If the person’s immune system was too weak to muster an adequate response or his lymphatics were too congested to drain the accumulated debris—and more chemicals are added during the acute episode, such as aspirin, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and steroids—the body may have become overwhelmed, leading to the person’s demise.

In the presence of faulty detoxification processes, toxic overload occurs. Maybe microbes are handy to have around, inflaming the system and cleaning out the muck. If everything on this planet is here for a reason and there are no mistakes, perhaps an episode of the flu, with the increased mucous, cough, nasal drainage, and diarrhea is the act of cleaning out the internal dross.

Supporting the body through this elimination process with homeopathy, herbs, and Chinese medicine – instead of suppressing the symptoms with Western medicine’s tools – may be the key to long-term health and longevity. From this perspective, instead of being the problem, viruses may be part of the solution, the “clean-up crew. ”It should be noted that the human race evolved because of its relationship to microbes, not in spite of it.

What a novel thought! Instead of fearing the flu and doing everything possible to avoid it — including spending billions of dollars to create an experimental vaccine — it may be okay to spend a week or two in bed, clearing out accumulated toxicities. I’m sure many will think of this heresy bordering on the ridiculous.

It is not heresy: it is ridiculous, bordering on ludicrous, down the street from preposterous, kitty-corner from farcical, and across the street from absurd.

The home page has the phrase “Medical doctors convey the results of thousands of hours of study.” I am not certain what they are studying, given that many of the entries do not have references. But the information above is not based on references found in Pubmed, except, of course, on Bizarro World.

14. The Truth about Flu Shots in Pregnancy, by Sherri Tenpenny, DO

Dr. Tenpenny musters data to suggest the pregnant women should not get the flu vaccine. Left out in her data was mortality.

In the old days death in pregnant females was high:

Although appropriate nonpregnant control groups were generally not available, mortality rates among pregnant women in the pandemics of 1918 and 1957 appeared to be abnormally high. Among 1,350 reported cases of influenza among pregnant women during the pandemic of 1918, the proportion of deaths was reported to be 27%. Similarly, among a small case series of 86 pregnant women hospitalized in Chicago for influenza in 1918, 45% died (6). Among pregnancy-associated deaths in Minnesota during the 1957 pandemic, influenza was the leading cause of death, accounting for nearly 20% of deaths associated with pregnancy during the pandemic period; half of women of reproductive age who died were pregnant.

We do better in the modern era right? Somewhat.

In all, 18 pregnant women and 4 postpartum women (total, 22 of 102 [22%]) required intensive care, and 8 (8%) died. Six deliveries occurred in the ICU, including four emergency cesarean deliveries. The 2009 H1N1 influenza–specific maternal mortality ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) was 4.3.

Complications and deaths for vaccine-preventable illnesses are relatively rare in a large population. Dr. Sears, at the end of his The Vaccine Book, says something to the effect that he is glad he has never cared for cases of the rare morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases that his ID colleagues contend with, else he might be more in favor of vaccines. That is another characteristic of anti-vaxers. If they haven’t seen a death or complication, then the morbidity and mortality of an illness doesn’t matter or exist. About 30,000 die each year in car accidents or from being shot. I have never had a personal acquaintance with either, yet I wear a seat belt, do not own a gun, and my kids are vaccinated.

15. Unvaccinated Children, by Richard Moskowitz, MD

His nut: the diseases are not that bad and if they occur they should be treated with homeopathic nostrums. Again, a dismissal of the suffering and death because it is uncommon.

He even goes so far as to suggest that:

Likewise, any child whose sibling or parent previously contracted poliomyelitis, or a severe or complicated case of measles or whooping cough or any of the other diseases listed, should not receive the vaccine prepared against that illness.

Given that many severe reactions to infections may be the result of various polymorphisms in the immune system that result in a genetic predisposition to severe illness, if a sibling had a bad course of illness, then it may be all the more important to prevent it in the unaffected sibling.

I have seen tetanus, a nasty disease. He recommends:

Hypericum can reputedly treat as well as prevent tetanus, but I would recommend giving human antitoxin at the first sign of the disease, since it is far less effective later on.

I do not know whether to laugh or to cry.

I am at 15 blog entries. Can I keep going? Not a single reasonable reality-based essay yet. What is next. Mercola? Argh.

16. Flu Vaccine Exposed, by Joseph Mercola, DO

The nut here: the flu isn’t that bad, the vaccine doesn’t work, and all you need is vitamin D. Influenza caused “just 1,100 actual flu deaths.” Another just. They do not seem to care that people die. I have discussed flu mortality at length on this blog.

I am not going to argue against the importance of Vitamin D as an immune modulator and the importance of being replete in vitamin D to help decrease chance of illness. But note the absolutes: vaccines do nothing, vitamin D is all. In my world, both vaccines and vitamin D help, to variable degrees.

17. Protecting Yourself Against Swine Flu, by Russell Blaylock, MD

The nut of oversimplification.

The flu virus is supposed to cause a “cytokine storm,” and this inflammatory overreaction is what causes the damage, not the virus itself. This is interesting because all vaccines also cause a cytokine storm, one that can last for decades. This is why vaccines are linked to sudden death, joint pains, depression, weakness and fatigue, mental cloudiness, seizures, neurological disorders, and autoimmune diseases. (No one seems to be concerned about vaccine-caused cytokine storms, which are, in fact, immunoexcitotoxicity.)

No. Sorry. Wrong. “Cytokine storm” refers to the massive release of cytokines that accompanies an overwhelming and often rapidly fatal disease. It is a hurricane. Vaccines are, in comparison, a light spring shower that is comes right after you have sown the grass seed. Cytokine storm: I do not think it means what you think it means.

There is zero evidence that vaccines cause a cytokine storm, much less a storm that lasts for years. Where do they get these ideas? Studying thousands of hours of what?

18. Polio Vaccine Blamed for Outbreaks in Nigeria, by Joseph Mercola, DO

The nut:

Nigeria has also been facing outbreaks of polio that are caused by the polio vaccine itself! The nation has faced at least seven separate polio outbreaks caused by a mutated polio virus from the polio vaccine.

That is true, but he leaves out key information. What a surprise. Someone who is against vaccines leaves out important information. What happened in Northern Nigeria is they were on the verge of eradicating polio when Islamic clerics decided that the vaccine was being used to spread HIV and sterility in Nigerian Muslims. The clerics told all Muslims to stop the taking the polio vaccine. The live polio virus is used because it results in a superior response compared to the killed vaccine, although it rarely can cause polio. Also Africa has many immunoincompetent children from HIV and malnutrition and a poor sewer system. This not-so-perfect storm allowed the polio vaccine strain to persist in the environment and mutate, and as it mutated it became more virulent, causing polio. The number of cases from wild polio has dwarfed the vaccine-related disease. As the vaccine compliance has increased, the number of cases of wild type and vaccine derived polio has decreased.

But you would not know the rest of the story from reading Mercola. It is a shame that Paul Harvey has passed on. Medical Voices needs an editor.

In the past 10 years worldwide over 10 billion doses of OPV have been administered to more than 2 billion children; 9 cVDPV (vaccine derived polio virus) outbreaks have occurred in 9 countries, in communities with low OPV coverage, resulting in under 200 polio cases; during that period, more than 33,000 children were paralyzed by wild poliovirus while over 3.5 million polio cases were prevented by OPV. cVDPVs in the past have been rapidly stopped with 2-3 rounds of high-quality immunization campaigns with OPV.

Of course Dr. Mercola has the answer to polio.

According to one such study, a substance produced during the sugar refining process, such as deoxysugars, may be responsible for polio. Even if the polio virus is present in a population, you’re not likely to get it unless you consume large quantities of refined sugar.

Yes, of course, the developing world, where paralytic polio is not uncommon, is noted for its large consumption of refined sugar. According to the WHO, Nigeria consumes 9.5 kg per person of refined sugar a year, compared to 31 kg for the US. That explains why the US has had so many polio outbreaks this century.

19. Virus de Influenza Tipo A Porcina (H1N1), by Victor A. Marcial Vega.

The one essay for which I have no comment since I do not read Spanish. There is one English sentence in the whole article: “Use an all natural antibiotic for viruses such as colloidal silver.” I tell my kids that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, so let’s say I am not optimistic about the veracity of this essay.

20. Profits, Not Science, Motivate Vaccine Mandates. Kristine M. Severyn, RPh, PhD

Of course the real reason that docs push vaccines is they make money.

Vaccines represent an economic boon for pediatricians. Profitable well-baby visits are timed to coincide with vaccination schedules established by the AAP and the CDC.

Right.

Pediatrics. 2009 Dec;124 Suppl 5:S472-91. PMID 19948579.

Net financial gain or loss from vaccination in pediatric medical practice

OBJECTIVE: The goal was to determine the net return (gain or loss after costs were subtracted from revenues) to private pediatric medical practices from investing time and resources in vaccines and vaccination of their patients.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of private medical practices requested data on all financial and capacity aspects of the practices, including operating expenses; labor composition and wages/salaries; private- and public-purchase vaccine orders and inventories; Medicaid and private insurance reimbursements; patient population; numbers of providers; and numbers, types, and lengths of visits. Costs were assigned to vaccination visits and subtracted from reimbursements from public- and private-pay sources to determine net financial gains/losses from vaccination.

RESULTS: Thirty-four practices responded to the survey. More than one half of the respondents broke even or suffered financial losses from vaccinating patients. With greater proportions of Medicaid-enrolled patients served, greater financial loss was noted. On average, private insurance vaccine administration reimbursements did not cover administration costs unless a child received > or = 3 doses of vaccine in 1 visit. Finally, wide ranges of per-dose prices paid and reimbursements received for vaccines indicated that some practices might be losing money in purchasing and delivering vaccines for private-pay patients if they pay high purchase prices but receive low reimbursements.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the vaccination portion of the business model for primary care pediatric practices that serve private-pay patients results in little or no profit from vaccine delivery. When losses from vaccinating publicly insured children are included, most practices lose money.

Nuff said.

I am at twenty essays and have grown weary with the contents of Medical Voices. 19.1 essays of half-truths and misinformation. But, in the spirit of openness, I will say that the Rockefellers paid me to say that. I had naively thought I could evaluate the whole website, but it was too tough a nut to crack for one entry. There are more, many more, essays to evaluate. I will get to them in a later post.

Posted in: Science and Medicine, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (54) ↓

54 thoughts on “Medical Voices: Always in Error, Never in Doubt

  1. bluedevilRA says:

    It really bothers me that not a single one of these doctors (that I can verify) is commenting in the area of their specialty. Miller is a heart surgeon at the University of Washington. I am actually shocked that such a prestigious school would have such a loon on faculty. I wonder if he tries to teach AIDS denialism to his surgical residents. I find his brand of AIDS denialism to be morally reprehensible because it is despicable victim-blaming (typical of the alt-med movement). “It is the gay person’s fault for getting AIDS because they have anal sex.” Wow. What 1980′s, pre-Tom Hanks in Philadelphia homophobia!

    Mercola is a family physician. Terpenny is an ER doc whose board certification has not been renewed since 2005 for some reason. McIntosh is a Peds Hem-Onc, if I found the right Sue McIntosh. Blaylock is a neurosurgeon. And the list goes on…

    My point? Sure, doctors can comment outside their realm of expertise, but I find it laughable that they could not find a single ID doc or immunologist to join their anti-vaccine/anti-Rockefeller movement. Furthermore, it is so telling that they have no evidence to support their stances. They do not know or understand the literature and thus, they cannot quote it.

  2. David Gorski says:

    Miller is a nutty one. He’s also big on HIV/AIDS denialism, if I recall correctly.

  3. hat_eater says:

    I applaud your perseverance and thank you for this article. It must have been an unpleasant duty. I’m shocked by the amount of easily disproven nonsense on the Medical Voices site. Well, with so many MD’s out there, I guess there must be more than a few bad apples. But still, it’s discomforting.

  4. windriven says:

    What struck me is how many of those contributors are physicians! I really think the time has come to ban breakfast cereal companies from offering MDs and DOs as prizes. What happened to good old decoder rings?

    Seriously, What is going on in this country’s medical schools? As a follow up question, what is going on with CME? Can one earn CME credits in HIV denialism? And what about state licensing boards? A state board of accountancy would never renew the license of someone who promoted the idea that numbers and laws are illusions and that the financial health of a public company is best assessed by consulting the entrails of a goat.

    It is one thing when some half-baked whackaloon goes on about chelation therapy curing autism, quite another when J.K. Whackaloon, MD does it.

    How are we to stop healthcare consumers from buying into garbage when that garbage is peddled by licensed physicians?

  5. David Gorski says:

    Sadly, physicians tend to be prone to pseudoscience. I suspect the problem is physician education, which is very much oriented towards learning a large body of facts and how to apply them, rather than to understanding the science that supports these facts. Also, given our not uncommon “God complex” coupled with the genuine driving imperative to help people that most physicians feel in their gut (after all, if they didn’t feel such a strong need to help people, most physicians wouldn’t have gone into medicine in the first place), the appeals of pseudoscience can be quite strong.

    BTW, I forgot to compliment Mark for this quote: “I am glad Dr. Miller is a heart surgeon and especially glad he will not be mine.” Heh.

  6. sheldon101 says:

    You’ve done a great job Mark.

    You wrote,”However, waning immunity is an issue with pertussis, and the reservoir for disease in children is vaccinated adults whose immunity has faded (but there is sufficient immunity to prevent whooping cough). Reality is always more complicated than the fantasy world of anti-vaxers.”

    I knew that titers aren’t necessarily an accurate guide for immunity when the issue is waning immunity. Are there any other tests that would be better?

    Second, does the adult exhibit any signs of infection with pertussis? Do they become sick?

  7. Enkidu says:

    You quote from Tenpenny: “If everything on this planet is here for a reason and there are no mistakes, perhaps an episode of the flu, with the increased mucous, cough, nasal drainage, and diarrhea is the act of cleaning out the internal dross. [...] From this perspective, instead of being the problem, viruses may be part of the solution, the “clean-up crew.”"

    Everything is here for a reason? No mistakes? WTH kind of religious crap is she disguising as her “science” here?

  8. Calli Arcale says:

    sheldon101:
    I’m a software engineer, not a doctor, but my understanding is that adults with pertussis get sick, but it’s harder to distinguish it from a particularly nasty cold, and most people don’t seek medical help for colds until they’ve been sick for a while, and by then they’ve exposed a lot of other people.

    Minor quibble with an otherwise excellent article:

    Dead people, after all, do not reproduce (zombies not withstanding).

    Zombies do not reproduce either, exactly. They may convert the living, though. Much like vampires, in that regard. (A curiously consistent theme in undead legends is that they cannot reproduce but increase their numbers instead through conversion of the living. Seems to be part of the common archetype. Also, most are directly parasitic as well — zombies eat brains, vampires drink blood — so there’s an ancient horror at work there.)

    Richard Moskowitz, who thinks polio is no big deal and that siblings of people who got severe cases of that or measles should definitely *not* get vaccinated (bizarro world indeed), at least realizes that he’s going to get in trouble if he recommends treating tetanus exclusively with homeopathic nostrums, and advises something actually effective. I wonder what his opinion on rabies is, then? I find a lot of anti-vaxxers fall apart on tetanus and rabies.

    Gorski:

    Sadly, physicians tend to be prone to pseudoscience. I suspect the problem is physician education, which is very much oriented towards learning a large body of facts and how to apply them, rather than to understanding the science that supports these facts.

    Exactly the same problem in engineering. I think the “god complex” develops as a direct result of this. If you’re taught “these are the things we know, and this is what you need to know to save people,” you wind up with a poor appreciation of the shades of gray behind all those things. It’s much more practical, since the objective is after all to save people not to study them scientifically, but it can lead to people who think they really do know all that stuff, and that all that stuff is absolute truth. It isn’t. There are no absolute truths, and the physician-scientists like you know that better than anyone.

    The facts we memorize are, necessarily, simplifications of the truth. They are likely to be incomplete. An engineer might use Newtonian physics to compute a solution to a problem, but Newtonian physics is incomplete — it works very well, but to assume it is absolutely true is to be baffled at the precession of Mercury or the small shifts in GPS time data.

    It’s okay to work with those simplifications. In fact, it’s necessary. But it’s also necessary to understand it’s limitations and not get too crazy extrapolating from it. We have to be cognizant of what we know and what we have just assumed.

  9. Josie says:

    I think it’s great the the medical industrial complex has been so successful as to allow these cranks the wiggle room they need to vomit their …dross? (i think that is the word one of them used…)

    If we didn’t have vaccines or any of the other results of medical research these *donkey*hats would really be on the hot seat for not providing efficacious treatments despite their claims.

    One quibble, I know you are defiantly proud of your typos….but I have to say that so far as I know chickens aren’t mammals:
    “The other benefit is that plant infections cannot infect humans, making the vaccine theoretically safer than vaccines grown in mammalian cells.”

    Hmm, I wonder if we could use platypus eggs…

  10. This article is making me hungry. Can we have specific nuts? I’m particularily partial to brazil, macadamia, cashews…

    Regarding Doctors, science and pseudoscience, I propose a SBM seal of approval.

  11. TsuDhoNimh says:

    Heavy metals? I thought all cancers were due to liver parasite.

    No, they are because of lack of alkalinity, or maybe it was cell salts imbalance, or your qi is blocked, or you have negative thoughts about your boobs.

  12. Th1Th2 says:

    Mark Crislip,

    “It is akin to saying that the dodo is not extinct, it has been renamed the chicken or turkey; after all, they are all flightless birds.”

    Have you ever seen a dodo? What a ridiculous comparison.

  13. wales says:

    I always like to point out inaccuracies and anomalies.

    BlueDevil: My search of the Ohio medical records reveals that Dr. Tenpenny has an active medical license.

    Physicians commenting (at length) outside their area of expertise is apparently not unusual. At SBM in the past 12 months DG has published 35 posts archived in the “vaccines” section versus MC’s 11.

  14. David Gorski says:

    The difference, of course, is that I took the time to make sure my posts are based on solid science. Dr. Tenpenny does not. Obviously.

  15. “I am glad Dr. Miller is a heart surgeon and especially glad he will not be mine.”

    I think I may be missing part of the joke. I was on the cardiac floor of the local children’s hospital for a couple days last week. The last thing those kids need is a Doctor like this. Actually, I’m totally creeped out just thinking about it.

  16. overshoot says:

    It really bothers me that not a single one of these doctors (that I can verify) is commenting in the area of their specialty. Miller is a heart surgeon at the University of Washington. I am actually shocked that such a prestigious school would have such a loon on faculty.

    I’d be a lot more worried about having a surgeon who doesn’t believe that HIV disease is transmissible via bodily fluids.

  17. bluedevilRA says:

    Sorry wales, I didn’t mean to imply her license is not active. It is my understanding that one may have an active license but not necessarily be board certified in his/her specialty. For example, Rand Paul refuses to be board certified because he is protesting the grandfather clause of the ABMS. He still practices as an ophthalmologist. With Tenpenny, I was just commenting on how less credentials are likely to equal less conventional and less scientific. The opposite is not true, however. More credentials do not equal more scientific, as Orac found out with Robert Lanza.

    Also, I did not mean to disparage doctors speaking outside their specialty. They are more than welcome to do so. I just find it humorous that a website about immunology and infectious disease does not have a single immunologist or ID doc among its contributors.

    I have noticed that alt-med quacks tend to speak very authoratatively based merely on an opinion. This is true of any pseudoscience, such as an engineer criticizing evolution. After all, he is well educated and taken lots of physics courses. Why shouldn’t he comment on something else scientific that is unrelated to his career? Despite the fact that he has no scientific evidence to support his stance. His argument can be boiled down to the simple statement, “I didn’t come from monkeys!”

    So when Mercola opines a bizarre cadre of ideas (railing against vaccines, homogenization of milk, and fluoridation of water) all without a single piece of evidence or the slightest expertise in the field, I become very skeptical. Conversely, when Dr. Gorski puts forth an opinion supported by large amounts of evidence, despite a lack of extensive formal training in pediatric ID/neurology, my skepticism subsides.

    Mitchell and Webb parodied the idea of knowledge-less opinions:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQnd5ilKx2Y

    Gorski sends us his knowledge (taken from textbooks, journals, institutions, etc.). Mercola sends us his reckons.

  18. bluedevilRA says:

    Dr. Crislip, its a good thing you couldn’t read Dr. Marcial-Vega’s article. I think it would’ve pushed you over the edge. A nurse I work with showed me a pamphlet by him once. He believes a pH imbalance is the source of all disease (surprise, surprise).

    Here is his website:

    http://www.marcialvegamd.com/

    My favorite part is that one of the links on his sidebar says “We got Products!” He is just so eager to sell stuff to a credulous audience. The pamphlet I saw was hocking Goji berry juice. Apparently, it has the ability to make your blood alkaline, which will kill cancer, cure diabetes, and bacteria in the blood! His pamphlet seemed to think that bacteremia was a normal finding…

  19. overshoot – yes! exactly. Not to mention all the loony ideas you don’t know about. Tip of the iceberg and all that.

  20. TsuDhoNimh says:

    Mark – re the smallpox vaccination history It is an entertaining read, but not being a historian I cannot vouchsafe the information..

    I have a considerable collection of material from that era. The main problem was the “improving” mentality of the European physicians. Instead of following the whole variolation process as developed in India and Turkey, they “improved” it with fasting, purging, deep incisions, and rubbing things into the deep incisions to make they produce laudable pus … etc. They also omitted the quarantine that was traditional in variolation, where people would be isolated until the scabs fell off naturally, and were turning active smallpox cases loose in London.

    What is interesting is that those with the best variolation success rate were not physicians – they were amateurs who followed the directions.

    As for the failures of the vaccinia inoculations, I managed to track down the “it didn’t work in the Philippines” story. Of course it didn’t work in the Philippines: there are vitriolic reports from the medical examiners about people who were in charge of vaccination taking the money for the clinics and tossing the vaccine in the trash.

  21. bluedevilRA says:

    While I think Miller is a complete nut (and arguably a bad person because of the victim-blaming), it does not mean that he is a bad surgoen. In fact, if he is at the University of Washington and a CT surgeon, he is likely a very talented surgeon. One of the top neurosurgeons in the country still argues that smoking does not cause cancer and he believes that sunscreen causes cancer. My guess is that his pseudoscience (and likely Miller’s) is derived from the God complex.

    It is unfortunate, but as Dr. Gorski said, we do not expect all doctors to be good scientists. I wish that were not the case, but I have no idea how you go about it. Carl Sagan suggested that all aspiring physicists be forced to take courses in critical thinking, maybe med schools could do the same.

  22. “In fact, if he is at the University of Washington and a CT surgeon, he is likely a very talented surgeon. One of the top neurosurgeons in the country still argues that smoking does not cause cancer and he believes that sunscreen causes cancer.”

    From a patient’s perspective it is just very hard to know where to draw the line. I have no problem when a medical persona has wacky political or lifestyle views, but I find a surgeon who doesn’t believe that a major blood-borne infectious disease is blood-borne or infectious, very worrisome. What does he think of Hepatitis or Staph, I wonder?

    The thing about medical people is that they have their inside line. They can ask about a surgeon from other health care people. We patient and parents of patients don’t have that. I feel really uncomfortable trusting a person with bizarre medical beliefs on the basis of the hospital’s reputation. How do I know they’re not hanging on by their last thread from being discredited?

  23. overshoot says:

    While I think Miller is a complete nut (and arguably a bad person because of the victim-blaming), it does not mean that he is a bad surgoen. In fact, if he is at the University of Washington and a CT surgeon, he is likely a very talented surgeon.

    I’d still be very interested in his rate of postoperative infections.

  24. pmoran says:

    Re Miller’s piece, I am as puzzled as anyone as to how a doctor like him can be so sure that Duesberg and Wakefield are proponents of “truth”.

    But does anyone else feel uncomfortable about censorship that entails the removal of published articles from the scientific literature?

  25. crrobertson77 says:

    I’m some what new to SBM, but have been both educated (by SBM) and thoroughly entertained/schocked (by the alt-med community). This story was great and peaked my interest on:

    19. Virus de Influenza Tipo A Porcina (H1N1), by Victor A. Marcial Vega.

    And, you were correct about being mindful of the company you keep. I read Spanish, and the first portion of that article was Marcial’s interpretation of mortality and statistics. Nuff said.

    Marcial Vega then eludes to 11-ways to “PARA AYUDAR A MANTENERSE LO MAS SALUDABLE POSIBLE…” (TO HELP STAY HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE …).

    1- Stay calm and happy, and to help you on that path, **buy Marcial Vega’s CD** (again Mark Crislip is the pharma shill, not anyone from medical voices)

    2- Do not get vaccinated (shocking).

    3 – Stay alkaline as possible, avoid processed food, and read the book “Protocolo Rejuvenecedor” (Rejuvanating Protocol, again I wouldn’t be shocked if Marcial had stock in the book).

    4,5,6- Take Vitamin C, rest and sleep, and take long walks by rivers.

    7- Wash your hands and use essential oils, which are inhaled and are all antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic.

    8- There is no #8 in the list. Fill in your own medical voodoo or pixie dust fad here.

    9- Use natural antiviral colloidal silver (and scrub with leprechaun beard luffas, my own personal suggestion).

    10- Avoid hospitals and tamiflu will make you sick. (Anyone else here wanna nominate Marcial Vega for saint-hood?)

    11- Vitamin C and sodium bicarbonate (see #3 and 4) are the key to curing most aliments.

    After reading the article (twice) and using Google translator on the parts I thought I was reading wrong (I wasn’t), I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  26. Chris says:

    I suspect that Miller, like Blaylock is retired. Checking his university website:
    http://depts.washington.edu/surgery/faculty/miller.html , he graduated from medical school in 1965 (I’d have to run upstairs to check Dr. Hall’s book, but I believe she graduated after that).

    His last papers published in mainstream journals were almost twenty years ago. He and Blaylock may be experiencing some form of dementia, or just have the personality that is such that they cannot take in new information.

  27. orange lantern says:

    Dr. Crislip,

    Bang up job with the articles, but how could you resist passing up a jab at the poem by Dr. Humphries? Perhaps it was not up at the time you went to press. I feel I must reprint it in all its poeworthiness. But you also must check the link – the image is priceless.

    http://imcv.info/vaccination/articles/ode-to-madness.html

    Ode to Madness
    A poem by Suzanne Humphries, MD [medical doctor]
    June 2010

    What fetid madness has man brewed
    As science morphed into a spoof
    That throws the dice at natures gate
    To play with fires of unknown fate?

    The fearful flock, and stand in line
    Thinking they will dodge the swine
    While infants cry their virgin tear
    And wisdom lands on deafened ears

    Where innocence in need of truth
    Is herded up and shot with lies
    They’ll turn their heads away from proof
    Of villains, thieves and hypocrites

    From perfect skin to armor torn
    A breach of love has just been born
    With evil substrate; poison thorn,
    A smoking gun with barrel shorn

    And brick by brick, cell by cell
    The hospitals will grow
    And fill the walls with some sick hell
    That has nowhere to go

    The human does this devil’s task
    While fear will foot the bill
    The cloud of death he thinks he fights
    Looms bigger even still

    For as he cooks and purifies
    The sicknesses that terrify
    A new flock lands to keep this war
    Supplied with endless more

    That which fights can never cure
    And opposites will not obscure
    The buzz that interrupts the song
    But keep it buzzing all day long

    Seriously, this is a Medical Voice?

    On a surface level, I may not be much of a literary critic, but what is up with all the rhyming schemes? I’m seeing AABB, AAAA, ABAB… and that’s if you assume “brewed” rhymes with “spoof”, “lies” rhymes with “hypocrites”, and “thinks he fights” rhymes with, um… “devil’s task”.

    I might have tried “devil’s rites”. It rhymes AND adds to the Satanic imagery.

  28. Mark Crislip says:

    I can’t read poetry.

  29. orange lantern says:

    Well, perfect. Dr. Humphries can’t write it, either.

  30. Danio says:

    Leapin’ Lizards*, Dr. Crislip! I am in awe of your stamina and badass woo-fu. Thank you for taking the time and effort to plow through this minefield of excrement for our edification. You are made of stronger stuff than I am, for certain.

    @pmoran:
    the Lancet article is still there for anyone who cares to look at it, it just has the word “RETRACTED” stamped on every page.

    *The preface to all internet communications suggested by the Reptilian Overlords…but of course you already knew that.

  31. BillyJoe says:

    pmoran,

    “But does anyone else feel uncomfortable about censorship that entails the removal of published articles from the scientific literature?”

    Should the Lancet have removed Wakefield’s article from its archive?
    (They did)

    Should a medical magazine have allowed advertisements by Scientology promoting alternative ways of managing psychiatric illness?
    (They did)

    Should The Uniting Church have allowed Australian (anti)Vaccination Network from using their facilities?
    (They didn’t)

    Should the publishers of a free publication intended for distribution to child care facilities have allowed the ads by the AVN?
    (They didn’t)

    Is this censorship, or is this just refusing to be a party to distortion, misinformation and lies?

  32. BillyJoe says:

    “the Lancet article is still there for anyone who cares to look at it, it just has the word “RETRACTED” stamped on every page.”

    Oops!

  33. David Gorski says:

    But does anyone else feel uncomfortable about censorship that entails the removal of published articles from the scientific literature?

    Censorship. People keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means. Enforcing medical and scientific standards is not “censorship,” at least not in my book.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/enforcing_medical_standards.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/censorship_you_keep_using_that_word_it_d.php

    Seriously, though. There is a difference. :-)

  34. Jann Bellamy says:

    Blaylock got his science AND his law wrong. The government does not “force” anyone to get vaccinated. It is only when one elects to put one’s self or one’s child in certain enviornments that vaccination is required: school, the military, health care employment, summer camp, etc. If you don’t want to get vaccinated then don’t put yourself in one the these situations.

  35. ccbowers says:

    “But does anyone else feel uncomfortable about censorship that entails the removal of published articles from the scientific literature?”

    I think you need to think more about what the term censorship means. Is it censorship that a journal has standards? Is it censorship to not publish all submissions? Of course not. It may be censorship only if it were removed because of things unrelated to the quality of the paper that they found objectionable (e.g. the implication of the paper didn’t fit their ideology, or the information would cause harm, etc).

    In reading those statements above from Medical Voices I wonder when conspiracy theorism driven by paranoia becomes a mental illness. Of course, some are strictly oppotunist that realize they can make money from others with misinformation, but some clearly believe their own nonsense. Its likely a bit of Column A and a bit from column B for most of these people.

  36. Mark Crislip says:

    I am against censorship of any kind, esp by the government.

    If someone lies in court during a murder trial and as a result the defendant is found guilty and sentenced to death on the basis of fraudulent testimony, the testimony, and its consequences, should stand.

  37. We’ve all seen graphs; this one is especially striking:
    http://blogs.ngm.com/.a/6a00e0098226918833012876a6070f970c-800wi

    Judging by inputs and outputs, US seems to have “expensive, inaccessible and ineffective” health care.
    - Expensive: In the US, annual health care spending per person is vastly greater than for any other country. ($7,290 vs $4,417 for the next highest country, Switzerland, and $3,895 for Canada, the country with the fourth highest per-capita healthcare spending.)
    - Inaccessible: The US is in the category of 0-4 doctor visits per person per year, along with Switzerland, Sweden and Mexico. By comparison, out of the 21 countries on the chart there are 11 in the 4-8 category (including Canada), 4 in the 8-12 category and two (Japan and the Czech Republic) in the 12+ category.
    - Ineffective: Even with all that spending, US life expectancy at birth is below average: 15 of the 21 countries on the list have higher life expectancy, including Canada in 6th place. The Czeck Republic, Poland, Mexico, the Slovak Republic and Hungary have lower life expectancy.

    When people I know have expensive-to-treat conditions (e.g. young people with cancer), the health care system has pulled out all the stops for no extra charge. When my brother was finally hospitalized for schizophrenia, the hospital kept him until they had a safe discharge plan for him – over six weeks – not simply until he was stabilized on meds. When the premier of Québec had necrotizing fasciitis, he was treated in the public hospital around the corner from me. There was no fancy top-tier private hospital for him to go to.

    One of the cool things about these awful communist plots is that because we all use the same infrastructure, if the elites want to be able to access a certain level of care they need to ensure that it exists in the public sector because that’s all there is. That means that it’s at least theoretically available for everyone. Not that there isn’t differential accessibility, but the basics exist.

    It’s true, we cheat. Canada is mostly a long line along the US border. We don’t have to pay for surplus infrastructure just in case because the US is already overflowing with surplus infrastructure. If absolutely necessary, the public system can pay to send people across the border to get care in the US. It’s more expensive and less convenient at the individual level, but it allows a more rational allocation of funds for the collective.

    We also cheat by not allowing the levels of poverty the US does. One might speculate that our money goes into social justice programs instead of health care, but I seem to recall that the US also spends more per capita on various relief programs than Canada does.

    RE CLCP surgery in particular, tonight I will be seeing a friend with a four-year-old who has CLCP. She adopted him from China where the orphanage described him as having untreated CLCP, but when she had him examined here as a two-year-old they said he’d had very nice surgery as an infant, and that Canadian surgeons could not have done a better job than the Chinese ones had.* I’ll be able to ask her about access to CLCP surgery in Canada.

    * Of course, this may simply mean that communist surgery sucks just as much in Canada as it does in China and that if he’d had surgery in the US it would have been 20 times as expensive but twice as good. I couldn’t say.

  38. Oops… wrong thread.

  39. Anthro says:

    @Jann Bellamy

    It’s perfectly simple (in most states, nearly all I believe) to send your child to a public school and refuse vaccinations of grounds of “personal” or “religious” beliefs. All it takes in my state is a signature at the bottom of the form under “exemptions”.

    Personally, I find this policy unnerving from a public health standpoint. Anyone could come across some sort of anti-vax stuff like Med Voices and very easily avoid vaccination for no rational reason.

  40. Jann Bellamy says:

    @ Dr. Crislip:

    “If someone lies in court during a murder trial and as a result the defendant is found guilty and sentenced to death on the basis of fraudulent testimony, the testimony, and its consequences, should stand.”

    Even if you are the defendant?

    What does this have to do with censorship?

    That said, I love your posts on Medical Voices — keep them coming!

  41. BillyJoe says:

    Jann Bellamy,

    I was similarly intrigued by Mark Crislip’s response.

    On the other hand, David Gorski’s response about holding people to medical and scientific standards was spot on. I’m adding it to my own opinion which is that censorship doesn’t mean we are obligated to promote deceptions, misunderstandings and lies by offering newspaper and magazine space, and public* or private venues for their propagation.

    (*in my example of the Uniting Church declining use of their venue to the AVN, the Public Library in Perth had no such qualms and came to the rescue of the AVN to spread its propaganda – if they felt, as a public utility, they couldn’t refuse, a good compromise would have been to have provided the mainstream view at the same event)

  42. Danio says:

    What does this have to do with censorship?

    Only that the kind of “censorship” that would be involved in striking such perjured testimony from the record (and subsequently adjusting the outcome of the trial) is analogous to the “censorship” involved in retracting a scientific article which has been found to be fraudulent; i.e. in neither case is it actual censorship.

  43. Chris says:

    Dr. Crislip was using sarcasm to get a point across. It is difficult to cry “censorship” when what is being removed is actually false.

  44. Mark Crislip says:

    Cris gets it.
    Wakefield lied. People can suffer or die in medicine, and they should not suffer or die based on made up information

    There was an anesthesiologist whose entire output on pain management was fabricated. Would removing his lies be censorship?

  45. pmoran says:

    I agree that there is no reason to allow frankly fraudulent material to stand.

    I am not sure about any other standard. The grossly unscientific would persumably not be accepted by reputable journals. Beyond that there are problems in where to draw the line.

  46. Jann Bellamy says:

    Whew! Sorry, it must be the summer heat! My brain is melting.

  47. Chris says:

    Summer heat? Not something those of us in the chilly Pacific Northwest have to worry about.

    Some honest researchers have been known to retract their own work because it was not correct:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/science/07retractw.html

  48. BillyJoe says:

    “Dr. Crislip was using sarcasm to get a point across.”

    I had to read that again and then once again before I got it. :D
    (and I can’t blame the heat, it’s actually wintery cold down here.)

  49. David Gorski says:

    @pmoran

    Sadly, it’s not true that grossly unscientific material doesn’t make it into the literature. For example, take a look at this story:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=4198

    Should Medical Hypotheses have had an article by Peter Duesberg retracted by the publisher because the editor wouldn’t do it? It wasn’t fraudulent, just grossly wrong. Then there’s Medical Hypotheses, which, while it has every right to publish its “editorially reviewed” articles, doesn’t have a right to be indexed on Medline so that it shows up in Pubmed searches.

  50. Regarding censorship. Freedom from censorship means that you can publish what you like and the government can not collect all the copies, burn them and/or throw you in jail (or any combination of the three.)

    It does not mean that Penguin Press has to publish my poetry.

    That said, I would think the Lancet did the right thing keeping the paper with the retracted statement. I hope that they also have a link to the judgement that brought on the retraction. Hopefully, it will help people learn.

  51. Chris says:

    BillyJoe, at least it is supposed to be summer in your hemisphere! We are going through Juneuary.

  52. Chris says:

    Ooops… addled brain… it is supposed be winter in the southern hemisphere. Gah! I am lacking Vitamin D due to lack of sunshine and it is affecting my brain.

  53. Jurjen S. says:

    It’s a common to confuse correlation with causation, but I find it (even) less excusable when one’s evidence for causation requires fabricating the correlation.

    Quoth Mercola:

    According to one such study, a substance produced during the sugar refining process, such as deoxysugars, may be responsible for polio. Even if the polio virus is present in a population, you’re not likely to get it unless you consume large quantities of refined sugar.

    So how come in places like the Netherlands, the polio outbreaks almost invariably occur in hardline Dutch reformed (“gereformeerd”) Calvinist communities, where vaccination is frowned upon as an attempt to thwart God’s will, and consumption of refined sugar (a luxury) is as low as it gets in Dutch society?

    Quoth Severyn:

    Vaccines represent an economic boon for pediatricians. Profitable well-baby visits are timed to coincide with vaccination schedules established by the AAP and the CDC.

    Wouldn’t it be more profitable if the “well baby” visits didn’t coincide with the vaccination schedule, so as to require more office visits?

  54. DonSelgin says:

    Found an article today about an outbreak of whooping cough in California – 5 dead. Don’t know if they were vaccinated or not, but article did emphasize the need for vaccinations:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,595186,00.html

    Couldn’t possibly be because of reduction in herd immunity, could it?

Comments are closed.