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Smallpox and Pseudomedicine

A good case of smallpox may rid the system of more scrofulous, tubercular, syphilitic and other poisons than could otherwise be eliminated in a lifetime. Therefore, smallpox is certainly to be preferred to vaccination. The one means elimination of chronic disease, the other the making of it.

Naturopaths do not believe in artificial immunization . . .

—Harry Riley Spitler, Basic Naturopathy: a textbook (American Naturopathic Association, Inc., 1948). Quoted here.

Here’s what a good case of smallpox will do for you:

If you’re lucky enough to beat the reaper (20-60%; 80% or higher in infants) or blindness (up to 30%), those blisters will leave you scarred for life. Oh, and the next time a good smallpox epidemic comes around, your children born since the last one will catch it and contribute their fair share to the death rate. But not you because you’ll be immune, so you’ll have the “preferred” experience of watching your children die well before you do.

Variolation and Vaccination

Except that none of this will happen, because the disease has been eradicated from the world—thanks, of course, to vaccination, which Napoleon reasonably called “the greatest gift to mankind.”

Smallpox was “the most terrible of the ministers of death.” It began at least several thousand years ago and rapidly spread wherever its human carriers traveled, eventually to the entire populated world. In endemic regions, it wiped out 1/4 to 1/3 of children in epidemics that occurred every few years. In epidemics among people who had not previously seen it, such as the natives of the Western Hemisphere during the early years of European explorations, it wiped out as many as 90% of everyone. It brought down armies and empires. Monarchs dropped like flies; it spared no socioeconomic class. Gods were invented in its name. There was never an effective treatment for it once it had begun.

Prior to the advent of vaccination, there was a heroic method that proved useful in reducing the severity of the disease. This was inoculation (‘variolation’): crude matter from a pustule of someone with the disease was etched into the skin of an uninfected person. This resulted in somewhat more indolent clinical cases, with death rates of ‘only’ around 2%, but the disease remained terrible and those so infected could still transmit it to others by means other than inoculation.

Vaccination, as many readers already know, was introduced near the end of the 18th century in England by the physician Edward Jenner. Jenner neither discovered it—it seems to have been discovered by milkmaids (and their close associates) who had noticed that after experiencing a cowpox blister, they never caught smallpox—nor was he the first to use it purposefully or even to write about it. He was the first, however, to conduct and report a series of convincing experiments demonstrating that people previously infected with cowpox could not subsequently be infected with smallpox (by variolation). He also showed that cowpox could be transferred from person to person by inoculation of matter from the cowpox blister, thus offering the first method for widespread use. Jenner is thus given credit not only for having introduced vaccination for smallpox, but for having introduced the concept of vaccination in general, although he would not live to see another example.

The Antivax Movement is Born

Opposition to smallpox vaccination (the name comes from the Latin for “cow”) began almost immediately after Jenner’s reports and remained substantial for more than 100 years. Some opposition was explicitly religious; some was based on disbelief in the method or, later, in the Germ Theory; some objectors claimed that vaccination caused terrible diseases, including smallpox itself; some voiced a political objection to state mandated vaccination programs. An early cartoon suggested that if Jenner had his way, people would start to look like cows:

Two antivax organizations in 19th century Britain were the National Anti-Vaccination League and the Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination. They sought to discredit Jenner’s reports and to argue, in keeping with the popular “hygiene” and “sanitation” movements of the day, that “cleanliness is more likely to prevent smallpox than [is] introducing filthy matter into the body.”

The Holy Trinity of American Quackery

These were, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, homeopathy, chiropractic/osteopathy, and naturopathy. Hahnemann himself had approved of his contemporary Jenner’s assertion, believing that it confirmed “like cures like” (ably refuted by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.). Constantine Hering, however, the “Father of American Homeopathy,” was the first homeopath to declare his opposition to vaccination. He called it “always a poisoning” and asserted, “we learn from year to year a more certain and better way of curing small-pox homeopathically.” He nevertheless admitted in 1883, near the time of his death, that this ‘better way’ had not achieved the certainty of prevention by vaccination.

In 1918, Benedict Lust, the “Father of American Naturopathy,” wrote this:

Like the alchemist of old who circulated the false belief that he could transmute the baser metals into gold, in like manner the vivisector claims that he can coin the agony of animals into cures for human disease. He insists on cursing animals that he may bless mankind with such curses.

To understand how revolting these products are, let us just refer to the vaccine matter which is supposed to be an efficient preventive of smallpox. Who would be fool enough to swallow the putrid pus and corruption scraped from the foulest sores of smallpox that has been implanted in the body of a calf? Even if any one would be fool enough to drink so atrocious a substance, its danger might be neutralized by the digestive juices of the intestinal tract. But it is a far greater danger to the organism when inoculated into the blood and tissues direct, where no digestive substances can possibly neutralize its poison.

The natural system for curing disease is based on a return to nature in regulating the diet, breathing, exercising, bathing, and the employment of various forces to eliminate the poisonous products in the system, and so raise the vitality of the patient to a proper standard of health.

Official medicine has in all ages simply attacked the symptoms of the disease without paying any attention to the causes thereof, but natural healing is concerned far more with removing the causes of disease…

In those words we find several of the recurring themes in quackery that were evident in the 19th century and remain so today. We know that naturopaths continued to espouse this view of vaccination at least until 1968, when the quotation at the top of this essay was among the materials they submitted to the Department of HEW in an unsuccessful attempt to be covered by Medicare. They’ve since learned to be somewhat more subtle about the issue, possibly because of the 1968 failure, but their distaste for vaccinations in general persists, as explained here.

An Aside: the “Cause of Disease,” Naturopathy-style

I’m sure you’ve been wondering, so here it is, right from the pen of Harry Riley Spitler, the author of the quotation that began this piece (courtesy of the 1968 HEW report):

The primary cause of disease is reaction to unnatural environment . . . When the body is weighted down by toxins in excess of the amount with which the vital force is able to cope, then enervation… supervenes and there is a lag in the body’s power to expel the “ashes” of metabolism… Enervation leads to the secondary cause of so-called disease — toxemia. Toxemia is the state of auto-intoxication resulting from the accumulation of poisons in the body – poisons taken in from without in the form of incorrect food, impure water, vitiated air, etc., and which are not thrown off by the body because of its enervated state, and in addition thereto the poisons formed within the body itself by the processes of metabolism. . . The presence of these poisons within the blood stream and tissues causes the vital force to make efforts to eradicate toxemia, and these efforts are what is called “diseased crises.” . . . Disease, therefore, is not a hostile entity to be attacked, but is rather a manifestation of vital force in its efforts to continue to live and to remove anti-vital conditions caused by man’s deliberate, or ignorant, breaking of the laws of health and life … Disease, then, is the result of stagnation and accumulation of filth in the blood stream and in the tissues.

And the cure? Back to Lust:

The Program of Naturopathic Cure

 1. ELIMINATION OF EVIL HABITS, or the weeds of life, such as over-eating, alcoholic drinks, drugs, the use of tea, coffee and cocoa that contain poisons, meat-eating, improper hours of living, waste of vital forces, lowered vitality, sexual and social aberrations, worry, etc.

2. CORRECTIVE HABITS. Correct breathing, correct exercise, right mental attitude. Moderation in the pursuit of health and wealth.

3. NEW PRINCIPLES OF LIVING. Proper fasting, selection of food, hydropathy, light and air baths, mud baths, osteopathy, chiropractic, and other forms of mechano-therapy, mineral salts obtained in organic form, electropathy, heliopathy, steam or Turkish baths, sitz baths, etc.

And, of course, enemas.

Natural healing is the most desirable factor in the regeneration of the race.

 Wow. It’s all kind of fascistic, no? But I’m digressing.

More on the Holy Trinity

You probably noticed Lust’s approval of chiropractic, another field with a rich tradition of antivax fervor. Some chiropractors have learned to be a bit more subtle; others have not (and not all contemporary chiropractors are opposed to vaccinations). If you’ve perused the 1968 HEW report, you also know that the American naturopathic schools of the mid-20th century were mostly spawned by chiropractors, and that for some time there was little distinction between naturopaths and “mixer” chiropractors. Many “NDs” of that time also had “DC” after their names.

You may also know that contemporary naturopaths love homeopathy. Lust didn’t include it in his NEW PRINCIPLES OF LIVING, probably because of his emphasis on “drugless healing.” Nevertheless, he praised Hahnemann for having shown “the physicians of his day…that just as good results could be brought about by means so gentle that even a delicate child could be treated, without the slightest particle of danger.” It seems to have been left to the next generation of American naturopaths to fully embrace homeopathy, and this was done most conspicuously by a man who himself embodied the Holy Trinity of Quackery: John Bastyr, N.D., D.C. (1912-1995), the “Father of Modern Naturopathic Medicine.”

Bastyr was also described as a

…third-generation homeopath from Dr. Adolph von Lippe. His teacher was Dr. C. P. Bryant (who had been, in 1939, president of the International Hahnemannian Association). C. P. Bryant had been taught by Walter Bushrod James who had been one of Lippe’s closest students. He received doctorate degrees in naturopathy and chiropractic from Northwest Drugless Institute and Seattle Chiropractic College, respectively. He became licensed to practice naturopathic medicine in 1936. He is also credited with being the Father of Modern Naturopathic Medicine. Because of Bastyr’s influence naturopaths have been at the forefront of the rebirth of homeopathy in this country. He made sure that homeopathy shared equal emphasis with nutrition, hydrotherapy and botanical medicine in naturopathic education. Dr. Bastyr considered manipulation the most important therapy in his practice.

So there you have it: the mystical unity of three seemingly incompatible True Causes (Psora, Subluxations, Toxemia), and of three seemingly incompatible True Cures (similia similibus curentur, spinal manipulation, enemas). No wonder that John Bastyr the chiropractor is credited with having been the Saviour of naturopathy and homeopathy in the United States.

Another Aside: Early Vaccinations really were Dangerous

It’s ironic to consider that many of the early objections to smallpox vaccinations were somewhat justified, far more so than are contemporary objections to contemporary vaccinations. Material gathered from cowpox blisters, transferred from human to human, was invariably contaminated. Diseases plausibly attributed to such “arm to arm” vaccinations, in the era before the Germ Theory elucidated such risks in advance, included syphilis, hepatitis, and even smallpox itself, due to contamination from variolations occurring within the same hospitals or clinics. The advent of exclusively animal sources of cowpox didn’t occur until the mid-19th century, and “arm to arm” vaccinations weren’t outlawed in Britain until 1898. Preparations of pure virus—vaccinia—were introduced only in the mid-20th century.

The political objection to mandatory vaccinations also had more clout in the early days, when the concept of “herd immunity” had yet to be introduced.

“All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.”

This is from a meeting of the Connecticut Homeopathic Medical Examining Board, March 12, 2003:

TREATMENT OF SMALLPOX

The Board reviewed the following procedures for the prevention and treatment of smallpox as submitted by Dr. Mullen:

PREVENTION

Malandrinum

It is recommended to administer it at a potency of 30 CH twice a day for up to 5 days as a preventive. This remedy is also very useful to combat the ill effects of Allopathic small pox vaccination, as well as to control the disease that happens when a person gets unwillingly infested by the vaccine received from another.

Sarracenia

It is recommended to administer this remedy at potencies of up to 9 CH. I believe a good dosage schedule would be once a week for 2 or 3 weeks. It is recommended to administer this remedy at a potency of 6 CH every 8 days. Also useful in recent and distant ill effects of Allopathic vaccination.

Vaccininum

An indication for the use of vaccininum would be a patient’s fear of contracting smallpox.

Variolinum

Both Drs. Allen and Vosin enthusiastically endorse this remedy for the prevention of small pox. I would advice to administer it at potencies of 30 CH or 200 CH weekly for 3 or 4 weeks.

TREATMENT

Malandrinum

It is recommended to administer it at a potency of 30 CH. This remedy is particularly useful in patients whose symptoms are more evident in the lower half of the body. I would recommend daily administration for 5 consecutive days and then re-evaluate the patient.

Mercurius 200 CH every other day alternating with Thuja 200 CH.

I would recommend to use this combination up to 10 consecutive days and then re-evaluate the patient.

Sarracenia

It is recommended to administer this remedy at a potency of 9 CH. I would recommend to use it for 5 consecutive days and then re-evaluate the patient. This remedy can stop the disease in its earliest stages, including the development of pustules. The patient may be very sensitive to light, weak in the shoulder area and have shooting pains in zigzag from the lumbar region to the middle of the scapula.

Variolinum

It is recommended to administer it at any potency. I would recommend using it for up to 5 consecutive days, depending on the potency, and then re-evaluate. Variolinum is useful in patients with mild and uncomplicated small pox. Also when pustules are surrounded by a red halo and are often very itchy. Every other day for up to 10 consecutive days and then reevaluate the patient.

Thuja 200 CH

Every other day for up to 10 consecutive days and then re-evaluate the patient.

Wow. What exquisite, quaint, balderdash. Here’s a fun exercise that readers might enjoy: see what contradictions you can find between what you’ve just read and other efforts of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Hint: start here. Then look at some of the practice acts, such as those for homeopathy, naturopathy, and chiropractic. Does one hand know what the other is doing?

A Ukrainian translation of this post is available here.

The Naturopathy Series:

  1. “CAL”: a Medico-Legal Parable
  2. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 1
  3. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 2
  4. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 3
  5. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 4
  6. Colorado is Nearer to Promoting Naturopathic Pseudomedicine—Aided by the Colorado Medical Society
  7. Naturopathy and Liberal Politics: Strange Bedfellows
  8. Open Letter to Dr. Josephine Briggs
  9. Smallpox and Pseudomedicine

The Homeopathy Series:

  1. Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future – Part I
  2. Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future – Part II
  3. Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future–Part III
  4. Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future Part IV
  5. Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future Part V
  6. Harvard Medical School: Veritas for Sale (Part III)
  7. The Dull-Man Law
  8. Smallpox and Pseudomedicine

 

 

 

Posted in: Chiropractic, Epidemiology, Health Fraud, History, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Public Health, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (71) ↓

71 thoughts on “Smallpox and Pseudomedicine

  1. daijiyobu says:

    Re: “because of Bastyr’s influence naturopaths have been at the forefront of the rebirth of homeopathy in this country”,

    I’ve settled upon labeling all forms of naturopathy licensure “licensed falsehood”.

    To run with the Bastyr connection — and what I mean is the institution named after him — here’s something as scary / absurd, from an ND luminary in Vermont (see http://www.vtnaturalmed.com/drwarnock.htm ) who states:

    “Dr. Warnock received his ND (doctorate in naturopathic medicine) from Bastyr College of Natural Medicine in 1984 [...] when he set up his practice in 1985, Dr. Warnock was the first ND to practice in Vermont in recent times. When the Vermont legislature passed a bill to license naturopathic physicians in 1996 [I'd love to get the submitted description that the lawmakers supposedly vetted], he received the first license issued by the Secretary of State [truly a rebirth]. He served as the president of the Vermont Associating of Naturopathic Physicians for many years and is now an advisor to the Department of Professional Regulation for the regulation of the Naturopathic Profession [a professions claim]. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Vermont Blueprint for Health. Dr. Warnock treats people of all ages and has special expertise in treating childhood illnesses and chronic debilitating diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He uses homeopathic, anthroposophical, acupuncture, botanical, nutritional and bee venom therapies. Dr. Warnock has 21 years experience using mistletoe in the treatment of cancer.”

    Expertise….in unicorn tears and magic beans? Is a ‘Dr. Warlock’ pun too low-hanging fruit?

    -r.c.

  2. swienke says:

    Jeez, that picture is absolutely horrifying. Anyone who doubts the efficacy or safety of vaccines needs to take a good long stare at that one and think about what the world would be like if that hideous scourge was still around.

  3. Khym Chanur says:

    Therefore, smallpox is certainly to be preferred to vaccination.

    Holy crap…

  4. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    Hahnemann himself had approved of his contemporary Jenner’s assertion,

    Hahnemann was very positive about Jenner. Not just ‘approve’.
    In the footnote to section 56 of Organon he writes

    Those who first brought Isopathy to notice, probably thought of the benefit which mankind received from cowpox vaccination by which the vaccinated individual is protected against future cowpox infection and as it were cured in advance. But both, cowpox and smallpox are only similar, in no way the same disease. In many respects they differ, namely in the more rapid course and mildness of cowpox and especially in this, that is never contagious to man by more nearness. Universal vaccination put an end to all epidemics of that deadly fearful smallpox to such an extent that the present generation does no longer possess a clear conception of the former frightful smallpox plague.

    Boldface by me. “Benefit” is rather tepidly translated from Wohltat (= blessing, great service) and “frightful” for scheusslich (=hideous, horrible) lacks in my feeling also the emotional content of the word.

    Hahnemann’s original “daß dadurch der Eingeimpfte von aller künftigen Menschenpocken-Ansteckung frei erhalten,” is wrongly translated in this quote from http://www.homeoint.org/books4/organon/ .

    It is the future smallpox infection that the cowpox vaccination protects against.

    In my opinion the success of the vaccination was a major inspiration for Hahnemann. He didn’t quite understand it, but after all, who did in those times? Historically homeopathy is vaccination (itty bitty amounts of similar disease) plus magnetism (immaterial healing forces amplified by shaking or
    rubbing) plus vitalism (black box theory of the life force) plus anger at 18th century naturopathy.

  5. I highly doubt that the World Health Assemby would be debating (and ultimately delaying once again) the possiblity of destroying the last known stockpiles of smallpox, if vaccination would not have been so successful. It is only because of vaccination that the World Health Organization was able to declare smallpox eradiated from the world. Fraudulent theories such as Dr. Wakefield’s, regarding the link between the MMR vaccine and autism, can only harm humanity. If it were up to practitioners of naturopathy, the world would see a resurrgence of measles. In fact we are seeing large outbreaks in Europe and the USA as a result of inaccurate theories of medicine.

    Dr Sam Girgis
    http://drsamgirgis.com

  6. TsuDhoNimh says:

    Variolinum is supposed to be diluted material from a smallpox pustule. Where are they getting it? Does WHO know about it?

  7. daijiyobu says:

    @ Jan Willem Nienhuys:

    Re: “historically homeopathy is vaccination (itty bitty amounts of similar disease) plus magnetism (immaterial healing forces amplified by shaking or rubbing) plus vitalism (black box theory of the life force) plus anger at 18th century naturopathy.”

    I agree with most of that synopsis, in the sense, respectively, of sympathetic magic per ‘similar’ and magnetism as a ritualistic vitalism that denies what might be called bioanalysis ['we cannot know what's happening inside, ever, in living beings'].

    All this was completely overturned as science developed in the centuries after Hahnemann.

    I think his anger, though, was at the medicine of his day, which he labeled allopathy, not naturopathy.

    He coined allopathy as a term for the heroic medicine of this time, 200 hundred plus years ago: bleeding, emetics, cathartics, sialogogues etc.

    Naturopathy didn’t exist until 100 years ago when Sheel coined the term and Lust bought it from him — so he couldn’t be angry at naturopathy in his time.

    It is naturopathy — to this day, though — that maintains that our current modern medicine is “allopathy”, which indicates just how homeopathy-bound naturopathy still is.

    But, naturopaths / homeopaths calling modern medicine allopathy is like calling modern chemistry alchemy, or astronomy astrology — quite inaccurate.

    BTW, there’s a traditional song about acquiring syphilis in that heroic era and being ‘treated’ with mercury,

    http://www.lyricstime.com/old-blind-dogs-the-pills-of-white-mercury-lyrics.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iiJMgUlIR8 .

    One, I believe, can see why, at that time, Hahnemann’s empty remedies would be preferred.

    Or, as Baron Munchhausen says as he’s dying, though quite an absurdist / fabulists

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0iNnVUT6OA ,

    he was still realistic enough to demand,

    “no doctors” as death appears to him in doctors’ garb.

    -r.c.

  8. Variolinum is supposed to be diluted material from a smallpox pustule. Where are they getting it?

    Heh. I knew someone would notice that. Of course they can’t get it from a smallpox pustule, but no matter: every molecule of water in the world has, at one time or another, been in proximity to material from a smallpox pustule. That’s all that really matters, right?

    Actually, I also wondered how variolinum is “made,” but I didn’t bother to delve into it deeply enough to confront the obvious question. What I did find was this explanation from a company that supposedly manufactures it and many other ‘remedies’:

    http://www.elixirs.com/faq.htm#process

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier…

  9. Actually, maybe not every molecule. Some in polar icecaps might be exempt.

  10. David Gorski says:

    A “friend” of mine points out that naturopathy is increasingly finding its way into places you wouldn’t normally expect it, away from big cities and their New Age-y types:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/naturopathy_invades_the_heartland.php

  11. Harriet Hall says:

    “Variolinum is supposed to be diluted material from a smallpox pustule. Where are they getting it?”

    When I inquired at a website that is offering a homeopathic smallpox vaccine, they told me they got the material from nuns in Sri Lanka. I notified Homeland Security that there was apparently a source of smallpox that was available to terrorists. Never heard back.

  12. CarolM says:

    Are osteopaths in the same quack category as naturopaths? My local walk-in clinic is now using them along with MDs. They seem a little more cocky and prone to shoot from the hip with their diagnoses, rather like a PA. They are friendlier however.

    This is probably the future so I’d better get used to it.

  13. CarolM says:

    “friend” of mine points out that naturopathy is increasingly finding its way into places you wouldn’t normally expect it, away from big cities and their New Age-y types:

    Montana has all the latest in woo, believe me. Remember this is the age of the Internet, and we’ve had satellite TV and cable for quite some time, so it’s not like we’re 20 years behind anymore. Plus a lot of Californians migrate to the Kalispell area.

  14. When we adopted our daughter in Kazakhstan (age 1, 2004), we were surprised that she had a small pox vaccination scar.

    Kazakhstan is one of the areas where it is said that the U.S.S.R. stored smallpox for testing of biological weapons. My daughter’s orphanage was a couple hundred miles away from the 1971 smallpox outbreak that was suspected to have been spread from a bio-weapons lab. Is that why they are still vaccinating for smallpox in Kazakhstan? Or aren’t they vaccinating the general public? Who knows.

    I wonder if we will ever know if we have truly eradicated smallpox.

  15. Harriet Hall says:

    @CarolM,
    “Are osteopaths in the same quack category as naturopaths?”

    Osteopaths were originally in the same category as chiropractors, but in the US they accepted modern scientific medicine and evolved. They are now considered equivalent to MDs, take the same licensing exams, and do the same residencies to become specialists. They are taught manipulative techniques that are not taught in medical schools, but after graduation most of them seldom use those techniques. DOs in other countries are a different matter: they are not equivalent to MDs.

  16. Harriet Hall says:

    @micheleinmichigan,

    The only current rationale for smallpox vaccination is to protect the population from a potential biological warfare attack. The risk of such an attack is generally considered to be far less than the risk from the vaccine.

    We have definitely eradicated smallpox as a disease, but the virus itself still exists in labs, and even if those stores were eliminated, we know the entire genome of the smallpox virus and could build it again.

  17. Rick says:

    Thankfully the CDC is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

    http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp

    @CarolM in my experince there is little differnce between DO’s and MD’s now. I have worked with both and treated by both. Few DO’s practice osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) any more. I think you’ll find quacks in each group as you do with all professions. Some point to higher standards of admission to medical schools over osteopaths as a point, but I take each provider I work with and go to at face value.

  18. Sid Offit says:

    Wow, she’s pretty.

  19. gziomek says:

    Thank you for the Battlestar Galactica reference.

  20. Thanks for the correction HH – I did not mean to suggest that we had not eradicated smallpox infections (if I am saying that right?)

    Only that there still appears to be a risk from lab/government sources, particularly considering the government instability in some regions today.

    It’s my understanding that the smallpox vaccine was one that had higher risks, so there would have to be a significant risk for a large number of people to be infected (through something like a confirmed bio-terrorist attack) to make the decision to vaccinated a large population.

    It just leaves me kinda confused about why my daughter would have been vaccinated. Went our ped pointed out the vaccination scar, I thought very little of it, since I was vaccinated as a child. But the more I read, the more odd it seemed.

    Particularly since we had to re-vaccinate her due to the fact that the titer that our ped did to check for immunity indicated that at least one of the vaccines on her record didn’t “take”. Our pediatrician said this isn’t uncommon (in internationally adopted children), due to lack of refrigeration of some vaccine and the possibility of some vaccines being diluted inappropriately. (Not sure if I’m saying that right, I speaking from memory of a 7 year old conversation)

    Oh well, we’ll probably never know why she was vaccinated for smallpox. She didn’t suffer any lasting effects, so it’s water under the bridge, I guess. I am rambling, so I’ll stop now.

  21. Whoops, when I said “Particularly since we had to re-vaccinate her” I didn’t mean for smallpox, I meant for the standard schedule.

  22. aeauooo says:

    @micheleinmichigan

    “When we adopted our daughter in Kazakhstan (age 1, 2004), we were surprised that she had a small pox vaccination scar.”

    Are you sure it’s not a BCG scar?

  23. DTR says:

    Dr. Atwood:
    “Of course they can’t get it from a smallpox pustule, but no matter: every molecule of water in the world has, at one time or another, been in proximity to material from a smallpox pustule.”

    This brings up a question (unrelated to this thread) that has nagged me for for a while. How do homeopaths “erase” the memory of water prior to preparing a nostrum? Wouldn’t water just naturally retain the memory of everything it has every come in contact with? If so, wouldn’t water naturally be a pretty potent treatment against whatever ails you, even in the absence of succussion?

  24. Chris says:

    DTR:

    How do homeopaths “erase” the memory of water prior to preparing a nostrum?

    They perform a reiki treatment where they wave their hands over the water and chant “Hahnemann Hahnemann.”

  25. aeauooo “Are you sure it’s not a BCG scar?”

    No I’m not sure. I’d never heard of it, until just now. I googled and it’s a vaccine for TB? Google images seem to show that that vaccine can cause a blister/scar like smallpox?

    I bet that’s it! It makes a lot more sense.

    Thanks tons, aeauooo! Puts my mind a bit more at ease.

  26. daedalus2u says:

    Harriet, in your link, they refer to Jacques Benveniste winning two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry but neglect to mention that they are Ig Nobel Prizes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Benveniste

  27. aeauooo says:

    @micheleinmichigan

    You’re welcome.

    I directed an immunization outreach program in Ethiopia for a year – that’s how I know about BCG scars.

    http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/tuberculosis/en/index.html

  28. Harriet Hall says:

    @daedalus2u,

    I missed that. I was only reading for the erasing memory part and I skipped over the section that mentioned Benveniste. How hilarious!!!

    Incidentally, Benveniste is the only person to ever win 2 IgNobels.
    His research paper in Nature was debunked by a team from the journal that published it, a team that included James Randi, the magician.

  29. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    Re making of Variolinum: If you have once made it, say in 1950, you will still have
    bottles with 99 cubic centimeters of Variolinum C12, C13, C14 … C30 each.
    If your stock of C30 is depleted, you use 1 cc from the bottle of C29 to make 100 cc of Variolinum C30. If the C29 is finally finished (after selling 100 time 100 cc of C30), you use one cc of the C28 bottle to make an entirely new full bottle of 100 c of Variolinum C29. And so on. In this manner you can make out of your stock a
    huge amount, namelly 100¹² cc of Variolinum C30. That is 100,000,000 tons of Variolinum C30 for each person that lives or ever has lived on earth. I’d say, that’s enough for the time being.

    In this connection: it is sometimes said that a single duck is enough to produce a year’s supply of Oscillococcinum 200CK. Wrong. A single duck should be enough to supply all of humanity until the sun blows up (in about 5 billion years…) and even 10¹⁰⁰ years after that.

  30. CC says:

    I’ve seen chiropractic mentioned with quackery many times, and I have to admit to being confused at it. Based on the descriptions I’ve seen here and there over the last few years, they sounded like some pretty serious woo-mongers.

    However, the chiropracters I have seen in the past peddled no woo, and everything I experienced was, to the best of my knowledge, grounded in science.

    And then today, in the comments to this post, I saw Harriet Hall’s comment that osteopaths are the science based bone doctors while chiropractors are quacks. In the US.

    Could this be yet another difference in terminology between countries? I’m not american and I’ve never seen a doctor of any kind in the US.

  31. Harriet Hall says:

    Since Oscillococcinum can be made so cheaply, Boiron must be making a fortune: they’re selling it for around a dollar per dose! They earned back the price of one duck a long time ago. :-)

    A smart consumer could buy one dose, dilute it, keep a stock solution, and keep making his own supply from it.

  32. daedalus2u says:

    Harriet, a smart consumer would buy zero doses.

  33. Harriet Hall says:

    But since the effect of homeopathy increases with the dilution, zero doses might kill him. :-)

  34. shadowmouse says:

    Minor hijack…

    My encounter with an osteopath left much to be desired.

    I had a basic orthopedic procedure done to reset a broken bone.(minor aside…no post surgical antibiotics rx’d as “The surgery was sterile…don’t be worried”…) A week after surgery, I was still experiencing pain, redness, and swelling of the surgical site and I was concerned about potential infection. Instead of ordering any bloodwork (CBC, CRP) done, the ‘doctor’ waved off my concerns as normal post-surgical results. Who needs lab work, eh?

    Cutting this saga short…I was admitted to the hospital three days later with major pain, swelling, skin blackening, and pus streaming from the surgical site. Admitting WBC was around 60,000 and climbing – ain’t MRSA grand?

    Result: 1+ year of IV and oral antibiotics, multiple extensive surgical site clean-outs, two long hospital stints, in-house rehab and physio, and permanent disability. Gee, thanks ‘Dr.’

    Enough of my tale of woe, carry on.

  35. Lytrigian says:

    In this connection: it is sometimes said that a single duck is enough to produce a year’s supply of Oscillococcinum 200CK. Wrong. A single duck should be enough to supply all of humanity until the sun blows up (in about 5 billion years…) and even 10¹⁰⁰ years after that.

    (Hope that’s right. I can’t seem to track down a reference on markup in these comments.)

    Actually the “K” ensures that you do indeed need a fresh duck from time to time. It means the remedy is prepared by the Korsakov method, which is a lot more economical at high dilutions. Unlike the Hahnemann method which requires a fresh, clean container at each step, for the Korsakovian method you simply dump out the container and assume any leftover residue amounts to about 1/100 of the original amount, then refill it before your ritual tapping. So there is no remaining 199CK remedy left from which to prepare a new batch of 200CK remedy. It’s all coursing through a French sewer somewhere, which we may happily assume is entirely free of flu virus.

    I guess they *could* save what they pour off at some arbitrary steps, but in that case what would they do with all those ducks?

  36. Chris says:

    Harriet Hall:

    How to erase the memory:

    That is even nuttier than my facetious answer!

    Though I went through the website and I never saw any kind of machine. So perhaps the “hydroplasm anti-entropy generator” is someone waving their hands over a bottle of water chanting “Hahnemann Hahnemann.”

    Hmmm, I wonder what happens if you look in a mirror and say “Hahnemann” three times. Would it be worse than saying “la bruja” or “Blood Mary” three times?

  37. daijiyobu says:

    KCA3,

    I must acknowledge the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ reference, also.

    The BSG Ron Moore version, of course [that is the source, specifically].

    Many may not realize that the idea of eternal recurrence, in this modern time, has its origins in Nietzsche: it has happened before, and shall happen again.

    Particularly regarding the myth of Sisyphys.

    Having studied the big ‘N’, in a gross sense — though much of his work is quite decrepid as he is, like all of us, a creature of his time —

    I evalate him to the stature of 19th century punk rocker.

    Who, at that time in academia, whould be so bold as to DISMISS Christianity as morally inferior. Etc.

    But, and anyway, until.

    -r.c.

    [forgive my spelling and grammar, I'm writing within an Android environment -- and it ain't there yet].

  38. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    for the Korsakovian method you simply dump out the container

    I know about Korsakov, see
    http://www.homeowatch.org/history/oscillo.html

    There’s nothing in the K-method that says you have to start all over anew if you
    prepare a batch of 200CK. The idea of K. is that you can use the same glass each time. Originally Hahnemann said on has to use a brand new bottle, never used before. With the K-method I presum you use one glass (say from C12 on), fill, shake, pour into a bottle that says “C12″, refill, shake, pour into a bottle marked “C13″, refill, shake, pour into a bottle marked “C14″ and so on. If you need to make a new batch of CK199, start with the “C198″ bottle, pour into a glass, then pour the glass back into the bottle, refill etc.

    Refilling and shaking is supposed to correspond with diluting whatever sticks to the walls of the glass with the fluid added.

    In the Hahnemann recipe it is possible that whatever is in the dilution vanishes quicker, because of adhesion to the wall.

    In the Korsakov method you have the opposite effect. I heard once a physicist explain that if you have a glass container that has a solution of KCl (maybe he mentioned another substance) in it, it is extremely difficult to rinse the glass so thoroughly that no potassium is measured anymore if you fill the galss with distilled water. The K adheres so firmly to the glass that at every refill only a small part of the adsorbed K is carried off into the solution.

    With the original Hahnemann method (clean brand new glass every time) that is no problem, but with Korsakov it means that the actual dilution degree is anybodies guess.

    How they actually do it at Boiron, I don’t know. They might still be using material from the single duck theyu started with, or they might kill a duck every week. It is probably a trade secret.

    PS. When the sun exactly blows up I don’t know. Maybe the Red Giant stage is only after 7 billion years.

  39. TsuDhoNimh says:

    Harriet –
    unburdening water of the memory of the many chemicals, pathogens, electro-magnetic frequencies, etc… that it has encountered

    Sounds like psychotherapy for H2O. Those memories must be too much for a molecule to handle.

  40. David Gorski says:

    Wow, she’s pretty.

    And, wow, you’re vile.

  41. David Gorski says:

    My encounter with an osteopath left much to be desired.
    I had a basic orthopedic procedure done to reset a broken bone.(minor aside…no post surgical antibiotics rx’d as “The surgery was sterile…don’t be worried”…) A week after surgery, I was still experiencing pain, redness, and swelling of the surgical site and I was concerned about potential infection.

    In all fairness, if the fracture was not an open fracture or otherwise contaminated somehow, then from an evidence-based point of view there was no need for post-surgical antibiotics, although there may have been an indication for a single perioperative dose before making the incision. Either way, continuing antibiotics postoperatively does not detectably decrease the chance of infection. Surgeons tend to massively overuse perioperative antibiotics. I’ve met plastic surgeons who keep their patients on postop antibiotics for over a week, even though there’s no good evidence that that does anything other than select for resistant bugs.

  42. pmoran says:

    JWN: How they actually do it at Boiron, I don’t know. They might still be using material from the single duck theyu started with, or they might kill a duck every week. It is probably a trade secret.

    As usual, Dr Barrett is thorough —

    ” In its February 17, 1997, issue, U.S. News & World Report noted that only one duck per year is needed to manufacture the product, which had total sales of $20 million in 1996. The magazine dubbed that unlucky bird “the $20-million duck.”"

    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/homeo.html

  43. Lytrigian says:

    With the K-method I presum you use one glass (say from C12 on), fill, shake, pour into a bottle that says “C12″, refill, shake, pour into a bottle marked “C13″, refill, shake, pour into a bottle marked “C14″ and so on. If you need to make a new batch of CK199, start with the “C198″ bottle, pour into a glass, then pour the glass back into the bottle, refill etc.

    You *can* do it that way, but clearly they don’t. Otherwise they wouldn’t need a new duck every year.

    Why? Who knows? Maybe an annual executive duck dinner has become traditional, and so they have to make sure the guest of honor is present.

    And for some reason, Boiron says the stuff has a 5-year shelf life. Maybe homeopathic remedies expire if you don’t shield them from “waves” of magnetic fields?

  44. ebohlman says:

    michele: At your next scheduled contact with your daughter’s pediatrician, you should mention that you suspect that she had a BCG vaccination. The reason is that people who have been vaccinated against BCG will often give a false positive if they have a Mantoux test for TB, so the fact of the vaccination should go into her records to protect her from a possible future false assumption of TB infection.

  45. ebohlman, thanks! I will make a note of to mention it in my daughter’s next ped appt.

  46. Davdoodles says:

    “Two antivax organizations in 19th century Britain were the National Anti-Vaccination League and the Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination.”

    Small comfort, but at least they had the courage of their convictions, unlike their sleazy modern-day counterparts, with creepy Orwellian mis-titles like the “Vaccination Information & Choice Network” and the “National Vaccine Information Center”.
    .

  47. Regarding hospital acquired MRSA

    Recently a friend of the family had a MRSA infection after a hip fracture/surgery. My MIL believed this was due to slack hygiene practices on the hospital’s part (She’s a retired RN).

    Is there anyway for a patient to know if a doctor, hospital is using appropriate infection controls and medication to prevent MRSA? Or are the variables too complex to predict and you mays as well toss a coin in choosing a hospital?*

    I’m not sure if that’s really up SBMs alley, but maybe a future article if anyone is looking for a topic.

    *I hope that makes sense, I think our household’s circulating strep pool has come around to me, again.

  48. overshoot says:

    Is there anyway for a patient to know if a doctor, hospital is using appropriate infection controls and medication to prevent MRSA?

    From a patient’s perspective, you’re kinda limited. It’s not like they have the medical equivalent of restaurant inspection certificates posted or anything of the sort.

    However, having recently been through a joint replacement, I can say that you do get a bit of a feel about how paranoid your surgeon is regarding infection. Mine put a lot of upfront time into discussing what I needed to do for prevention, including a three-day prep cycle and freshly laundered sheets, night clothes, and clothing prior to surgery. Lots of coaching on postop precautions, too.

    Works for me — the last material I saw on postop infections indicated that the majority of resistant strains were community-acquired rather than hospital-acquired (a little appreciated benefit of improved genetic analysis, no?)

  49. desta says:

    Anyone know when/where the last known cases of small pox occurred?

  50. desta, wiki has this to say under eradication history “The last naturally occurring case of indigenous smallpox (Variola minor) was diagnosed in Ali Maow Maalin, a hospital cook in Merca, Somalia, on 26 October 1977.[18] The last naturally occurring case of the more deadly Variola major had been detected in October 1975 in a two-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Rahima Banu.[69]”

    that is natural smallpox, regarding lab smallpox…

    “The last cases of smallpox in the world occurred in an outbreak of two cases (one of which was fatal) in Birmingham, UK in 1978. A medical photographer, Janet Parker, contracted the disease at the University of Birmingham Medical School and died on September 11, 1978,[71] after which the scientist responsible for smallpox research at the university, Professor Henry Bedson, committed suicide.[2] In light of this accident, all known stocks of smallpox were destroyed or transferred to one of two WHO reference laboratories which had BSL-4 facilities; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR in Koltsovo, Russia.[72]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox

  51. Thanks, Michele. I had planned to include a bit about the eradication effort and the controversy over keeping the smallpox virus in the two labs, but I ran out of time and energy. A great site for this is the History of Vaccines (of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/disease-eradication ). There you can also find information and photos regarding the last outbreaks in the US (last case in New York City: ca. 1947; last outbreak, about 10 years later in the midwest) and lots of other interesting stuff.

  52. vicki says:

    Side note on BCG: Some of us got on the topic of various vaccines over dinner a few days ago. I mentioned my BCG vaccine, and that I had been told to alert doctors if there was chance of TB as a diagnosis.

    The doctor in our group noted that this would basically save time, because it meant they would just go straight to the chest X-ray for diagnosis. If someone who hasn’t had the vaccine (or doesn’t tell the doctor about it) tests positive for TB on a skin test, the next step is supposed to be a chest X-ray. (I’m not sure what the false positive rate on the skin test is, but I gather they think it well worth double-checking before starting to treat for tuberculosis, given that that’s a long and annoying course of meds.)

  53. Harriet Hall says:

    @vicki,
    The reason for a chest x-ray after a positive skin test is not to rule out false positive skin tests but to rule out active TB in the lungs, which would require more intensive treatment than what given to patients whose skin test has converted but who are otherwise normal.

  54. EKrumbeck says:

    As a naturopathic medical student I can say that naturopathic physicians are NOT whole-heartedly against vaccinations. It is extremely easy to criticize a profession based on quotes from individuals more than 50 years ago (I could do the same thing for conventional medicine – what would it prove?). I’ll admit there are some in our profession who refuse vaccines, but this is becoming a growing minority.

    Naturopathic physicians (meaning licensed graduates of a 4-year naturopathic medical college) are extremely well trained primary care providers, and this includes informing our patients on the risks and benefits of each individual vaccine, as well as the incredible risks of the diseases each vaccine is preventing. When confronted with the whole body of evidence, most parents choose vaccinations.

    I have a whole blog about the philosophy and science behind naturopathic medicine: http://naturalmedicineisthebestmedicine.blogspot.com/

    I welcome any questions.

  55. Harriet Hall says:

    @EKrumbeck, “naturopathic physicians are NOT whole-heartedly against vaccinations.”

    Maybe not, but in this study children were significantly less likely to receive each of the four recommended vaccinations if they saw a naturopathic physician. Children aged 1–17 years were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with a vaccine-preventable disease if they received naturopathic care. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731444

  56. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @EKrumbeck

    To say you’re not “whole-heartedly against vaccinations” isn’t helping your case. Naturopathy presents ideological arguments against vaccination rather than science based arguments. Science does not see vaccination as a risk-free cure-all (prevent-all really), which is why there is ongoing, evidence-based debate over which vaccines to use (and why smallpox vaccines are no longer given, why the whooping cough vaccine has changed over the years, and why they switched the form of polio vaccine used over the years as the risk of polio decreased). If naturopaths rationally examined the risks and benefits of vaccination, they would whole-heartedly endorse it.

    Calling yourself “well-trained primary care practitioners” after four years seems rather mind-boggling considering it takes doctors around a decade of grueling study. Makes me wonder what you’re missing out on, particularly given your profession must take time “learning” things like homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs and vitamins rather than real medicine.

    I can’t friggin’ believe that on your blog, the front page brags about training in homeopathy:

    Secondly, naturopathic doctors have extensive training in natural treatments options not taught in a traditional medical school, including hundreds of additional hours in botanical medicine, nutrition, osseous manipulation, homeopathy, and counseling.

    Please, try to convince me that homeopathy is anything but nonspecific effects, placebo and a lengthy consultation. Yeah, naturopaths are totally like doctors. Exactly the same thing. Except for, you know, the medicine.

    Speaking of medicine, if natural medicine is so friggin’ effective, why are naturopaths advocating for the ability to prescribe antibiotics and hormones? Surely all of your magic potions would be sufficiently potent that you wouldn’t need all that nasty, reductionist REAL medicine…

    Naturopaths seem like science-illiterate, supplement-pushing, medicine-envying hypocritical hacks to me. If medicine is too hard, how about counselling since that seems to be most of what naturopaths are actually doing.

  57. @EKrumbeck:

    You’re wasting your time, your money, and, if you don’t recognize it soon, your life. The criticisms made here are not based on 50 year-old quotations; those merely provided the historical background. Did you read the text and follow the link?

    …their distaste for vaccinations in general persists, as explained here.

    “Naturopathic physicians” are not “extremely well trained primary care providers.” They’ve been fed a rich diet of pseudoscience and lack real residency training.

    Whatever questions you may imagine readers here have about “naturopathic medicine” have been asked and answered. “Naturopathic medicine” is a cult.

  58. David Gorski says:

    I’ll admit there are some in our profession who refuse vaccines, but this is becoming a growing minority.

    Citation, please?

  59. WLU “If medicine is too hard, how about counselling since that seems to be most of what naturopaths are actually doing.”

    While I appreciate a good rant* occasionally perhaps leave the “counselors” out of it. My mom was a counselor at a crisis center in an urban area for a while. Spending your days helping homeless mentally ill folks get shelter, food, meds, get through a crisis and find a way to spend their days may not required advanced degrees, but it’s pretty darn hard, in a different way, I’m sure. :)

    *and this is one.

  60. …perhaps leave the “counselors” out of it.

    Moreover, naturopathic counselling is every bit as pseudoscientific as everything else that they do. Here’s an example from a past faculty member at the flagship school, Bastyr U:

    So, what can I do to lower my risk of getting breast cancer?
    2. Keep your breasts happy and healthy. Love them and yourself. We often develop illnesses because of our own unresolved feelings and lack of love for ourselves. Our breasts are beautiful, no matter what their size or shape. Breasts and wombs are the primordial symbols of womanhood, not just motherhood. Appreciate your breasts as a bountiful source of your love and creative energy. Deal with any unresolved maternal, nurturing, and relationship issues so they’re not lurking in your breasts….Visualize your breasts overflowing with love, nurturing, and creativity. And let that love and nurturance heal you and all beings.

    This quotation was originally introduced to SBM readers here.

  61. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @Michele,

    I agree that counselling is hard work (I volunteered at a suicide crisis line for a bit, I couldn’t imagine it on an ongoing basis), and your point is spot-on (it’s a much longer rant if I qualify everything I say). My overall point is that the patients of naturopaths, like homeopaths, almost certainly get all of their benefit from that long, emotional, unconditional-positive-regard-filled consultation and nothing from the nostrums sold to them. In other words, naturopaths are providing a form of stealth counselling to the worried well. Even that comparison is illustrative of the intellectual bankruptcy of naturopathy since real counsellors have a much harder job dealing with actual mental health, behavioural and social issues rather than the much easier burden naturopaths have doling out placebos for ostensibly physiological complaints. Essentially Rogerian therapy under the guise of medicine. It furthers my point that naturopathy is little more than a poorly-skilled stepchild of medicine in all forms (including mental health) dealing in little more than lip service and buzzwords to science, research and professional standards and avoiding the heavy lifting faced in the genuinely difficult world of actually improving people’s lot in life. At least where I am, mental health counsellors themselves face a longer period of study as well as internship and supervision than students of naturopathy do, again to their discredit. Again, it looks far more like a lazy (wo)man’s path to the warm fuzziness of fake helping via slogans, unjustified criticisms and logical fallacies than the more difficult path of study and internship that leads to actual better health.

    Wow, I can’t believe I managed to squeeze another rant out of that. I’m on a righteous indignation-fuelled roll today.

  62. @WLU
    Cool, thanks for taking the time to clarifying.

    This is beside your point, but as someone who’s had social anxiety since childhood, I can sympathize with the patients that are drawn to the “unconditional-positive-regard-filled consultation”. Doctor’s appts are one of my least favorite types of social encounters. This is not just the appt itself, which features all sorts of things that I dislike, like being asked questions, having to be assertive, having to think quickly, feeling like the doctor really has better things he/she could be doing, but also all the other employees in the office, who might be irritable, impatient, etc. In recent years, I’ve seldom had a doctor who was dismissive of my complaints, but it seems like the fear that the doctor will think I am being silly or a complainer hangs over my head every appt.

    So I will admit I have been tempted by the thought of someone who could help some of my health issues, without having to fear they will think I’m silly. It seems alternative doctors have that reputation.

    But the problem is, every person I know who sees alternative doctors (or other CAM folks) comes away with a list of things they shouldn’t be eating or supplements that they should be taking, or special time consuming therapies. I really try to avoid adopting anymore rules than are necessary in my life, because I tend to feel exceedingly guilty when I break them. Without good evidence, It’s hard to see how most of those rules are worth it.

    I guess this only supports the various posts on this site that talk about the importance of conventional doctors using good interpersonal skills to get the best out of SBM. I feel my current doctor does that and it makes my appts with her less unpleasant.

    Sorry for the unsolicited view into my oddness, but since social anxiety is relatively common, I thought it might not be completely useless.

  63. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Hi MIM,

    You’ve my sympathy, your situation sounds very much like what my wife experiences every time she visits her doctor – whom she likes. As a fancy, jive-talkin’ loudmouth I consider myself to have the opposite problem. Excess confidence and the impression that there is nothing my doctor could be doing that would be more important than talking to me. Probably a legacy of all those ego-inflating self-esteem presentations in public school.

    An interesting “experiment” would be to see how you feel with a CAM practitioner versus an MD; would you (or others with similar anxiety stuff) actually feel more comfortable with them? If so, why? Can we turn this into instructions or practices doctors can use to improve how they deal with patients?

  64. Thanks WLU

    WLU “An interesting “experiment” would be to see how you feel with a CAM practitioner versus an MD; would you (or others with similar anxiety stuff) actually feel more comfortable with them?”

    That would be interesting, but I’m not volunteering. :)

    I am guessing that there may already be some guidelines for the best social approaches for GPs dealing with patients with social anxiety, or at least there are probably guidelines for therapists that GP’s could use. Problem is, many socially anxious people hide it, so the doctor may not know when to bring out their social anxiety manners vs when to bring out their ‘this patient will be in my office chatting about their neighbors all day if I let them’ manners. :)

  65. chrisb1 says:

    Re’ Smallpox and Pseudomedicine……………………………

    The claim is made by medical historians that the vaccination process wiped out smallpox throughout the world. However, the truth is that compulsory vaccination was abandoned because more deaths were caused by the vaccinations than there were cases of smallpox. A slight of the hand trick was used to foster the claim that smallpox was eradicated by the vaccination practice. Everyone who had been vaccinated and who developed smallpox was diagnosed as having chicken pox!

    Dr William Howard Hay MD addressed the Medical Freedom Society on the Lemke Bill to abolish compulsory vaccination. He stated:

    “l have thought many times of all the insane things we have advocated in medicine, that is one of the most insane – to insist on the vaccination of children, or anybody else, for the prevention of smallpox when, as a matter of fact, we are never able to prove that vaccination saved one man from smallpox….

    “I know of one epidemic of smallpox comprising nine hundred and some cases, in which 95 per cent of the infected had been vaccinated, and most of them recently….

    “it is now thirty years since I have been confining myself to the treatment of chronic disease … I have run across so many histories of children who had never seen a sick day until they were vaccinated and who… have never seen a well day since….

    “In England, where statistics are kept a little more frankly and accurately and above board… than in this country the actual official records show 3 times as many deaths directly from vaccinations as from smallpox for the past twenty one years… I will guarantee you that there are 3 times as many deaths that were not recorded, that are directly traceable to vaccinations. That doesn’t take into account the many many cases of encephalitis or sleeping sickness, and of this or that form of degeneration, that occurs as the result of vaccination….

    “it is nonsense to think that you can Inject pus – and it is usually from the pustule end of the dead smallpox victim… it is unthinkable that you can inject that into a little child and in any way improve its health. What is true of vaccination is exactly as true of all forms of serum immunization, so called…if we could by any means build up a natural resistance to disease through these artificial means, I would applaud it to the echo, but we can’t do it….

    “The body has its own methods of defence. These depend on the vitality of the body at the time. If it is vital enough, it will resist all infections; if it Isn’t vital enough, it won’t, and you can’t change the vitality of the body for the better by introducing poison of any kind into it”.
    ********************************

    “Smallpox was on the way out, indeed epidemics disappeared decades before the WHO decided to conduct the final “eradication” campaign. It is also well-documented that the largest epidemics occurred in the most highly vaccinated populations, while whose who were unvaccinated, did not have the same epidemics. “–Dr. Viera Scheibner

    “We also hear of the noble work of Father Damien among the lepers of Hawaii, but we are not told that there was not one leper in the whole of the Hawaiian Islands before the noble work of Jenner reached them. By the nineties, 10 per cent of the natives were lepers.”………………………
    http://www.whale.to/b/hoax1.html

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