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Vaccine Confidence: Attitudes and Actions

Few groups are more hazardous to public health than the anti-vaccine movement — because there’s a body count affiliated with their actions. When vaccination rates drop, communicable diseases re-emerge, and people suffer. While anti-vaccine sentiment will probably persist as long as vaccines are around, we’re fortunate that vaccination rates, on balance, remain very high. In 2009, U.S. vaccination rates for most childhood vaccines were over 90%. And less than 1% are completely unvaccinated. But do high vaccination rates mean that parents have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines? Most states and provinces maintain public health regulation that require documentation of vaccination status for school or day care admission. So vaccines may be seen as a requirement or obligation which may override lingering concerns. Do concerns remain? That’s what a recent survey undertook to explore.

I’ve blogged before on antivaccination sentiment, and its drivers.  It’s remarkable that viewing anti-vaccination material for even five to ten minutes can increase the perception of risk of vaccination, and decrease the perceived risk of omitting vaccines, leading to lowered vaccination intentions.  It tells me that as a health professional, I need to be ready to address vaccines concerns directly, honestly and completely. To do that, I need to be prepared for the common arguments and concerns about vaccinations. The SBM archives are a good resource, serving as a compilation for issues and topics of interest to its authors.

Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other colleagues at the CDC used a consumer survey of parents to examine intentions, behaviors and concerns about vaccines. The survey also sought to understand common sources for vaccine information.This paper, Confidence about vaccines in the United States: Understanding Patient Perceptions, is unfortunately behind a paywall. So I’ll touch on the highlights of this survey, and what it means for those “in the trenches” of vaccine advocacy.

Kennedy’s analysis is data cut from a large survey on consumer behaviors and intent, the 2010 HealthStyles survey, which included 4,198 households. The analysis was limited only to households with children aged six or younger, shrinking the pool to 376 responses. It’s a small sample size, admittedly, so how representative these data are isn’t clear. In addition, the authors comment that one cannot infer causality: We don’t know if cited concerns preceded or followed vaccination actions.

Intentions

The majority of respondents (94%) intended to vaccinate their child with all recommended vaccines. Only 5% intended to partially vaccinate, and 2% (seven people) intended to leave their children completely unvaccinated. (Number don’t add to 100 because of rounding.) These number look good and seem consistent with the (U.S.) national vaccination goals. Reason to be reassured? Not quite.

Despite an overwhelming majority intending to vaccinate, only 23% reported no concerns about childhood vaccines.  The rest reported a number of concerns:

  • 38% — painful to receive so many shots during one visit
  • 36% — too many vaccines at once
  • 34% — too many vaccines during first two years of life
  • 32% — vaccines may cause fevers
  • 30% — vaccines may cause learning disabilities, such as autism
  • 26% — ingredients in vaccines are unsafe
  • 17% — vaccines are not tested enough for safety
  • 16% — vaccines may cause chronic disease
  • 11% — vaccines are given to prevent diseases children are not likely to get
  •  9% — my child will not be vaccinated on time because there’s not enough of some vaccines
  •  8% — vaccines are given to prevent diseases that are not serious
  • 23% — no concerns

This list should look pretty familiar. With the exception of concerns about shortages (which isn’t a negative against vaccines), this is a succinct summary of standard anti-vaccine arguments the contributors to this blog has addressed again and again.

The authors attempted to distill differences in concerns between parents that fully intended to vaccinate their children, and those that stated an intent to reduce or eliminate vaccines. As expected, everyone without concerns intended to fully vaccinate.  And as would be expected, there were more concerns among parents who intended to reduce or avoid recommended vaccines.  While there were some modest differences in the incidence of some specific concerns between the two groups, the sample size of the latter is too small to draw any meaningful observations.

Sources of Information

Fully 60% of parents sought out “some” or “a lot” of information on vaccine safety prior to any vaccination — not surprising given the movement for patients to become more involved as partners in care decisions.  Other people were cited as one of the three most important source of information, including health care professionals (85%), family members (46%) and friends (22%). The internet is a growing source of information, with 24% including it in their top three sources ( I discussed popular sites in a prior post) while traditional media, including television, newspapers, and magazines, are infrequent sources of information. Reassuringly, daytime television was a top information source for less than 1% of respondents, so Dr. Oz, no friend of science, may not have the influence on vaccination that his viewership might suggest.

Among professional organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control were also among the top sources of information. No SBM (yet).

Most respondents, when asked about their relationship with health professionals, gave generally good evaluations. Over half “strongly agreed” they trusted the advice of their health care professional, while 31% “somewhat agreed”.

Implications

We cannot be complacent when it comes to vaccination rates: Concerns about vaccine safety are prevalent in parents, even among those that intend to complete the vaccination schedule for their children. Clearly, anti-vaccination arguments are resonating, though thankfully they’re not translating into vaccine refusal in most parents. Given the dual importance of both the internet, and personal advice, on vaccine confidence, this survey reinforces the need to be aware of the shifting goalposts from the anti-vaccine movement, in order that we can be prepared to proactively discuss these concerns.  Moreover, non-professionals that are familiar with and can address typical anti-vaccine concerns should be able to have a meaningful impact on vaccine confidence.

This paper ultimately left me thinking about the complexity of understanding and addressing vaccine concerns. Parental concerns are far more nuanced than can be summed up in a single confidence parameter.  As advocates we need to do a better job of understanding the relationship between attitudes and behaviors, recognizing that simply having the facts available is just on component of maintaining confidence in vaccination.

Reference
ResearchBlogging.org
Kennedy A, Lavail K, Nowak G, Basket M, & Landry S (2011). Confidence about vaccines in the United States: understanding parents’ perceptions. Health affairs (Project Hope), 30 (6), 1151-9 PMID: 21653969

Posted in: Vaccines

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96 thoughts on “Vaccine Confidence: Attitudes and Actions

  1. Scott says:

    Besides the shortages concern, the pain and fever concerns are also legitimate. Shots do hurt, and fever is a reasonably common reaction which can be distressing (to child and parent alike). Neither is a sufficient reason to avoid vaccinating (or even close), but being concerned about them does not seem unreasonable to me.

    The antivaccine movement may well have parents more worried about these than is justified by the evidence, but we can’t tell from the data provided HOW worried they are, so such a conclusion is not indicated. It sounds like a parent who thinks “vaccines are wonderful and safe, but I wish there were a painless way to administer them” might well get counted among the 38%.

  2. Nescio says:

    I was wondering what the relative risk of vaccination is as compared to a common everyday activity, like traveling in a car. So I decided to figure it out.

    In the USA in 2004 there were 33,134 fatalities of car/truck drivers and passengers involved in motor vehicle accidents. There were an estimated 2.9 trillion vehicle miles traveled in the same year. That means that approximately 1 person was killed for every 88 million miles traveled.

    The risk of a serious adverse reaction from a vaccine is somewhere in the region of 1 in a million or less. So the risk of an adverse reaction from getting a vaccine is roughly the same as the risk of dying in an accident while traveling 100 miles in a car or truck.

    The risk of serious sequalae including death from, for example, measles, is around 1 in 1000, or similar to the risk of being killed while traveling 100,000 miles in a car or truck.

    These are ballpark figures, but I hope they give some idea of the real risks involved. Few people would hesitate to take their children on a car journey of a few hundred miles because they might have an accident and be killed.

    The figures are fairly similar for flying, by the way. Between 1991 and 2000, one person was killed on US carrier flights for every 64 million miles flown. So the risk of a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine is similar to the risk of dying while flying 100 miles (not taking the higher risk of taking off and landing into account).

  3. Th1Th2 says:

    When vaccination rates drop, communicable diseases re-emerge, and people suffer.

    Another exaggerated claim based on fantasy.

  4. Th1Th2 says:

    I was wondering what the relative risk of vaccination is as compared to a common everyday activity, like traveling in a car. So I decided to figure it out.

    Of course vaccine apologists are incapable of explaining science so what they do is they often resort to faulty escape mechanisms like the infamous vaccine-car analogy. Embarrassing indeed.

  5. woo-fu says:

    Does the study discuss whether parents are aware of vaccination options such as preservative-free vaccines? I understand that many parents still cannot accept that vaccines have not been proven to cause autism, so a preservative-free option might circumvent resistance.

    Furthermore, where there is risk, it is often the burden of specific groups with immune and autoimmune disorders, individuals who are already vulnerable. If a doctor can demonstrate that a child is healthy and not a member of one of these populations, the relative risk should be even lower. (However, this assumes that the at-risk groups weren’t excluded from studies evaluating vaccine risks and benefits in the first place, and I’m not sure this is correct.)

    Even for members of at-risk groups, vaccinations aren’t entirely avoided, except in cases where the body is unable to mount any antibody responses. (This is usually evident fairly early.) Care is taken to avoid giving live preparations and to carefully evaluate the necessity and efficacy of each vaccine.

    @Th1Th2

    I don’t consider myself a vaccine apologist, nor do I feel doctors are, in general, acting as pushers for unsafe products, especially products directed at children. Doctors are often parents, too. Do you really feel they would by-pass science and logic to push unsafe substances on their own offspring?

    And it isn’t unfair to compare relative risks of different activities as a way to illustrate contradictory behaviors. I’d like to see the source info., but I believe Nescio has a point.

  6. windriven says:

    @woo-fu

    Th1Th2 is notorious in these pages. S/he is delusional and is unmoved by scientific evidence regardless of rigor. One engages with it in the hopes of meaningful and useful dialog only to find intractable and unrelenting ignorance.

    Feed it at your own risk.

  7. Rick says:

    @ Nescio, you make it sound like an adverse event= death, which it isn’t. Also a reported adverse events maybe or may not be related to a vaccine. Lastly, if you were if you wanted to follow your analogy, it would be better to compare say traffic accidents to vaccine adverse events.

  8. aeauooo says:

    “Reassuringly, daytime television was a top information source for less than 1% of respondents, so Dr. Oz, no friend of science, may not have the influence on vaccination that his viewership might suggest.”

    In a report of a study group for the DHHS, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz’s patron, was cited three times as a source of information:

    “[Parents] reported hearing, viewing, or reading about possible risks of vaccinating children, most commonly autism.
    - They reported hearing about risks on the Internet, on television (“the news” and The Oprah Winfrey Show), in parenting magazines, from friends and family members, and in the vaccine information statements (VIS) provided in their doctors’ offices.”

    “They also wanted to encounter this information on trustworthy, impartial websites, such as (in order of importance):
    - Federal government (CDC, HHS)
    - WebMD
    - State health department, state government home page
    - Nonprofit organizations (“sites that end in .org”)
    - On relevant mass media, including television news, talk shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and parenting magazines”

    “Stories based on a real person’s experience and conviction—such as Jenny McCarthy on The Oprah Winfrey Show and some focus group participants’ mention of their personal experience with a family member or friend who could not be vaccinated—were persuasive even in these groups…”

    Balch, G. I., Lotenberg, L. D., Hoffman, M. K., & Reynolds, J. (2010). Exploring how mothers and influencers perceive vaccination: toward a communication strategy. Report of a focus group. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Thanks for the Allison Kennedy reference. One of the projects I’m work for a local health jurisdiction and am using a couple of her studies as references for a project addressing “vaccine hesitancy” in our county.

  9. aeauooo says:

    Failure to proof-read my cut & paste editing:

    I work for a local health jurisdiction and am using a couple of her studies as references for a project addressing “vaccine hesitancy” in our county.

  10. Th1Th2 says:

    woo-fu,

    I don’t consider myself a vaccine apologist, nor do I feel doctors are, in general, acting as pushers for unsafe products, especially products directed at children.

    To be more specific, vaccines are pathogenic products directed at children. Are they safe? No, they are inherently NOT safe.

    Doctors are often parents, too. Do you really feel they would by-pass science and logic to push unsafe substances on their own offspring?

    Hence, doctors are as just as ignorant as any uninformed parents when it comes to vaccines.

    And it isn’t unfair to compare relative risks of different activities as a way to illustrate contradictory behaviors. I’d like to see the source info., but I believe Nescio has a point.

    No, Nescio has it all wrong. Cars and vaccines are incomparable. Vaccines, like natural infection, are inherently bad. Those who promote vaccination are also infection-promoters. On the contrary, cars are inherently designed for safe travel. No, you don’t buy a car, drive it and intentionally crash it. Anybody with a brain stem would drive appropriately thereby not promoting accidents unless of course the driver is deranged, drunk or suicidal. Unlike vaccination, the uninformed would visit the clinic to deliberately get infected. Now, are all vaccinators and vaccinees deranged, drunk or suicidal? Absolutely.

    It’s laughable vaccine apologists are addictive to analogies. Of course, if they cant’ debate using science they will automatically resort to fairytale stories. Unbelievable.

  11. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Nescio, am I reading your math wrong? It looks like the risk of vaccination is greater than the risk of getting the measles (in millions of miles driven). By my understanding, you should be inverting your “100″ versus “100,000″ miles figures.

    Th1Th2:

    Another exaggerated claim based on fantasy.

    It’s not really fantasy – areas with low vaccination levels are where vaccine-preventable diseases emerge. There’s lots of research and news stories on the subject, including several blog postings. For instance:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pertussis-epidemic-2010/

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/outbreaks/

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/you-cant-hide-in-the-herd/

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/measles/

    I realize you’re strongly motivated to distort and ignore evidence you don’t like, but you’re starting to look plain ol’ illiterate at this point.

    As to your criticism of the vaccine-car analogy, I’ll admit that it’s nowhere close to ideal. We should really look at the reality of things – the risk of dying from vaccination is infinitesimally lower than the risk of dying from the diseases they prevent.

    Also, I’m wondering how your “no pathogen ever enters the body through skin punctures, ever, despite the existence of sharp, abrasive and blunt-but-moving-quickly objects” theory is going. Do you still think it’s utterly impossible for measles to enter the body through a cut, or have you managed to figure out a way bubble-wrap yourself out of harm’s way?

  12. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Th1Th2:

    To be more specific, vaccines are pathogenic products directed at children. Are they safe? No, they are inherently NOT safe.

    Of course they aren’t safe. They’re just safer than the diseases they prevent.

    Cars and vaccines are incomparable. Vaccines, like natural infection, are inherently bad.

    Except for the fact that vaccines are better than the illnesses they prevent. If you make your math binary, “absolutely causes no harm ever/causes any harm whatsoever” then the two are equivalent. However, that places the entire universe into a single category when in reality risks are relative.

    Those who promote vaccination are also infection-promoters. On the contrary, cars are inherently designed for safe travel. No, you don’t buy a car, drive it and intentionally crash it.

    Hm…not quite. Those who promote vaccination would, in this analogy, promote driver’s education. Unvaccinated people are like drivers who are never, ever given instruction on how to drive then made to drive from California to New York. It can be done, but it’s risky. Vaccination is like getting taught how to drive, then practicing driving for a while, then driving across the continent. Sure, you still can get into an accident. You may even get into an accident because of your driver’s education training. But overall your risk is diminished by several orders of magnitude.

    Unlike vaccination, the uninformed would visit the clinic to deliberately get infected. Now, are all vaccinators and vaccinees deranged, drunk or suicidal? Absolutely.

    In addition to being really offensive, this statement is quite wrong. Vaccination can involve infection with attenuated viruses, but in many cases it involves exposure to dead viruses. Either way – the next time your body is exposed to the antigen, it mounts a response that is far faster and more effective.

    It’s laughable vaccine apologists are addictive to analogies. Of course, if they cant’ debate using science they will automatically resort to fairytale stories. Unbelievable.

    What’s laughable is you attempting to pretend your own arguments are in any way based on science. As has repeatedly been pointed out – your understanding of the immune system and vaccination appears to be simply wrong. Not a little off, not flawed, simply bearing no relation to what we actually know about science.

  13. Nescio says:

    @woo-fu
    I grabbed those figures from this page and this page on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. They are actually from 2003 but were published in 2004.

    There are more current figures I have found subsequently here that are broadly similar though it’s good to see road safety has improved – 1 death for every 122 million miles traveled.

    @Rick
    It’s not an analogy, it’s a look at approximate relative risks of different activities. I am comparing the approximate risk of a serious adverse event after vaccination to the approximate risk of death after traveling a certain distance by car/truck. As I wrote, the risk of a serious adverse vaccine reaction may be lower than 1 in a million. Events that unlikely tend to disappear into background statistical noise as a study with a large enough population to detect them is for all practical purposes impossible. Humans are notoriously bad at risk estimation, so I thought comparing the risks of vaccination with a more familiar risk we all take regularly might be useful.

  14. Nescio says:

    William Lawrence Utridge:

    Nescio, am I reading your math wrong? It looks like the risk of vaccination is greater than the risk of getting the measles (in millions of miles driven). By my understanding, you should be inverting your “100″ versus “100,000″ miles figures.

    I think you misunderstand me. The more miles you travel by car, the higher are your chances of having a fatal accident. The chances of a serious adverse reaction after vaccination are roughly similar to your chances of dying in an accident if you travel 100 miles in a car. Your chances of death or serious sequalae after getting measles are roughly similar the the risk of dying in an accident if you travel 100,000 miles in a car i.e. 1000 times more likely.

    @Th1Th2
    It is not an analogy. We know the approximate risk of various activities from looking at large numbers. If I say that the risk of dying in a car crash when traveling 1000 miles is higher than the risk of dying in an airplane crash when traveling the same distance, that is not an analogy, it is a comparison of risk.

    There is a comment in moderation with the source for my numbers.

  15. Tell it like it is says:

    STOP PRESS

    It has been announced on the BBC News today (7th of July 2011) that the world’s first SYNTHETIC ORGAN TRANSPLANT took place on Andemariam Teklesenbet at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

    Scientists created the windpipe at the Royal Free Hospital in London and the pioneering surgery was led by Spanish Professor Paolo Macchiarini.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14047670

  16. I’m thinking Th1Th2 gets his/her ideas from The Marshall Protocol. The line of reasoning sounds eerily familiar to me.

  17. Harriet Hall says:

    Th1Th2,

    Somebody needs to tell you, since you seem to be totally oblivious and unable to perceive it for yourself. Haven’t you noticed that no other commenter has agreed with you? No one here accepts your ideas. No amount of repeating them is likely to convince anyone here. You are perceived as deluded and ignorant and have become a laughing stock. I am embarrassed for you when I read your posts. By commenting here you are only exposing yourself to ridicule and contempt.

    I offer this in the spirit of helping you to avoid unnecessary exposure to ridicule and contempt. In the same sense that a friend will tell a friend if he has offensive body odor.

  18. Th1Th2 says:

    William,

    I realize you’re strongly motivated to distort and ignore evidence you don’t like, but you’re starting to look plain ol’ illiterate at this point.

    Primary infection caused by any vaccines is not a fantasy. And no but instead you’re the one who’s illiterate not to know it. So how many ignorant people who have acquired the measles virus from the vaccines did NOT get the diagnosis of primary measles infection despite having had the evidence of the pathogen? You tell me.

    Do you still think it’s utterly impossible for measles to enter the body through a cut, or have you managed to figure out a way bubble-wrap yourself out of harm’s way?

    The most common mode of measles virus transmission into the body is through needle puncture. Surprising? No.

    Of course they aren’t safe. They’re just safer than the diseases they prevent.

    Lesser evil you mean.

    Except for the fact that vaccines are better than the illnesses they prevent. If you make your math binary, “absolutely causes no harm ever/causes any harm whatsoever” then the two are equivalent. However, that places the entire universe into a single category when in reality risks are relative.

    Just being unexposed and unvaccinated are better. No risks, no harm, no complications and no death. Easy-peasy.

    Hm…not quite. Those who promote vaccination would, in this analogy, promote driver’s education.

    No you’re wrong. Vaccines inherently promote infection. Now, if you really want to use this ridiculous vaccine-car analogy, then you have to prove that cars inherently promote accidents.

    Unvaccinated people are like drivers who are never, ever given instruction on how to drive then made to drive from California to New York. It can be done, but it’s risky.

    Apparently, vaccination is not just an audio/visual instruction where you could teach about infection control and prevention without the need for vaccines. It involves hands-on, that is, someone has to be sacrificed.

    Vaccination is like getting taught how to drive, then practicing driving for a while, then driving across the continent. Sure, you still can get into an accident. You may even get into an accident because of your driver’s education training. But overall your risk is diminished by several orders of magnitude.

    Let me get this straight. The vaccine-car analogy is a failure. What’s appropriate and realistic is comparing vaccines to natural infection. Vaccination is to sexual harassment whereas natural infection is to rape. Sure, you can teach about harassment and rape prevention without getting someone to sit on the driver seat and I mean sacrificed. But hey you and the rest of infection-promoters would still think that getting actually sexually harassed “is better” than rape. Now tell me, if getting sexually harassed would “diminish the overall risk” of rape “by several orders of magnitude.”

    Can you see now how fortunate are the unvaccinated and uninfected?

    In addition to being really offensive, this statement is quite wrong. Vaccination can involve infection with attenuated viruses, but in many cases it involves exposure to dead viruses. Either way – the next time your body is exposed to the antigen, it mounts a response that is far faster and more effective.

    Hence, it is referred to as primary versus secondary immune response to infection due to wild-type or vaccine-type pathogens.

    What’s laughable is you attempting to pretend your own arguments are in any way based on science. As has repeatedly been pointed out – your understanding of the immune system and vaccination appears to be simply wrong. Not a little off, not flawed, simply bearing no relation to what we actually know about science.

    It’s science-based and you can’t argue with that.

  19. GLaDOS says:

    Dr. Gavura — sorry to derail, but I need a pharmacognosy guy STAT.

    A parent wants me to prescribe this stuff to her kid and I have to call her back today.

    http://www.iherb.com/Hyland-s-Calms-Nerve-Tension-Sleeplessness-100-4-GR-Tablets/3773?at=0

    Each 4 gr. tablet contains: plant extract of

    Passiflora 1X Triple Strength (Passion Flower)
    Avena Sativa 1X Double Strength (Oat)
    Humulus Lupulus 1X Double Strength (Hops)
    Chamomilla 2X (Chamomile)

    What the hell does “1x” of some dried plant actually mean? Is it a smidgen or scwoosh?

    Does this stuff work better than Seroquel for bipolar mania?

    I’m running late and need an answer asap. Thx in advance.

  20. aeauooo says:

    “Haven’t you noticed that no other commenter has agreed with you? No one here accepts your ideas. No amount of repeating them is likely to convince anyone here. You are perceived as deluded and ignorant and have become a laughing stock. I am embarrassed for you when I read your posts. By commenting here you are only exposing yourself to ridicule and contempt.”

    Ironically, that sounds like something antivaccinationists have said to me – only much more tactful and polite!

  21. Th1Th2 says:

    Nescio,

    It is not an analogy. We know the approximate risk of various activities from looking at large numbers. If I say that the risk of dying in a car crash when traveling 1000 miles is higher than the risk of dying in an airplane crash when traveling the same distance, that is not an analogy, it is a comparison of risk.

    It is an analogy. It is a classic and pathognomonic sign and tool commonly used by vaccine apologists in the event they can’t defend themselves using science. It has always been used as an escape mechanism which is, obviously, designed to fail.

  22. Nescio says:

    Th1Th2
    I had forgotten you have a very basic inability to understand simple English. Stating that the risk of death in doing X is 1 in 1 million and the risk of death in doing Y is 1 in 1 thousand is not an analogy, it is a comparison of relative risk.

    Other people have used driving a car as an analogy for vaccination but my comparison of relative risk is not an analogy.

    When are you going to explain how your magical method of avoiding infection actually works? Usually when pressed about your technique of “due diligence” you lapse into incomprehensible word salad.

  23. Harriet Hall says:

    GLaDOS,

    1X means the plant material was diluted 1:10; 2X means it was diluted 1:100. This gives you NO information about how much is in the product, since they don’t say how much of the 1:10 dilution they put in each tablet.

    I’m confused: this remedy does not require a prescription, so what does the patient want from you?

  24. Chris says:

    GlaDOS:

    What the hell does “1x” of some dried plant actually mean? Is it a smidgen or scwoosh?

    One part out of ten. It is “homeopathic” terminology. The “X” is for ten, and “C” is for a hundred. The numbers in front are the numbers of dilution. A 2X would be taking the one part of the 1/10 solution and adding it to nine more parts… or so… essentially turning it into a one in a hundred, and on and on.

    That mixture has real measurable amounts of about:

    10% – Passiflora 1X Triple Strength (Passion Flower)
    10% – Avena Sativa 1X Double Strength (Oat)
    10% – Humulus Lupulus 1X Double Strength (Hops)
    1% – Chamomilla 2X (Chamomile)

    But I would not trust any “homeopathic” formulation by Hyland. They have had their “homeopathic teething tablets” recalled for actually containing toxic levels of belladonna. I think a kid would rather have a nice warm bath, a cuddle and be read a story to get ready for bed instead of a wonky tablet.

  25. Chris says:

    Ooops, missed this:

    Does this stuff work better than Seroquel for bipolar mania?

    I was imagining a small child who had trouble with bedtime. Not one diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. I would still be wary of the wonky sugar pill with random plant extracts.

  26. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @Nescio – oops, my bad. Seems counter-intuitive to me but I grasp your point now, thanks for taking the time to clarify!

    @Th1Th2

    The most common mode of measles virus transmission into the body is through needle puncture. Surprising? No… Lesser evil you mean… Just being unexposed and unvaccinated are better. No risks, no harm, no complications and no death. Easy-peasy.

    Of course it’s not surprising, because they’re using a live attenuated virus (http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf). A proven effective means of rendering a virus safe enough to administer to humans while still granting effective immunity. Huzzah for science! And yes, “lesser evil” does imply safer. Of course we’d all love to live in a world where infectious diseases didn’t exist, but we don’t. We live in a world where infectious diseases are plentiful and vaccines are a safe and effective way of preventing the more dangerous ones. I’m glad we agree that vaccination is a less dangerous means of acquiring immunity to infectious diseases. And may I say – WOW, you’ve found a way of avoiding all diseases? That’s remarkable, can you publish your method?!??!

    No you’re wrong. Vaccines inherently promote infection. Now, if you really want to use this ridiculous vaccine-car analogy, then you have to prove that cars inherently promote accidents.

    Attenuated live virus vaccines certainly do promote controlled infection leading to immunity. Killed viruses promote immunity, not infection, so I’m glad to correct your science again.

    Cars do indeed promote car accidents, that’s axiomatic. The overall thrust of the analogy is that vaccines train the immune system to recognize and eliminate specific infectious vectors. Again, you’re welcome!

    Apparently, vaccination is not just an audio/visual instruction where you could teach about infection control and prevention without the need for vaccines. It involves hands-on, that is, someone has to be sacrificed.

    What kind of driver’s ed did you take? Mine drove around in a car with me, and had his own brake pedal. You may want to consider reporting the agency you used to some sort of regulatory body, or at least the Better Business Bureau. I’m even more disturbed if your driver’s ed course involved live instruction in running someone over. Where do you live, North Korea?

    Let me get this straight. The vaccine-car analogy is a failure. What’s appropriate and realistic is comparing vaccines to natural infection.

    Oooh, fail. An analogy is used to make a complicated, abstract (for us) problem and related it to a process we are familiar with. It’s working out great for me, but you seem to either not understand it, or your understanding of vaccination is flawed. I suggest the latter.

    Vaccination is to sexual harassment whereas natural infection is to rape. Sure, you can teach about harassment and rape prevention without getting someone to sit on the driver seat and I mean sacrificed. But hey you and the rest of infection-promoters would still think that getting actually sexually harassed “is better” than rape. Now tell me, if getting sexually harassed would “diminish the overall risk” of rape “by several orders of magnitude.” Hence, it is referred to as primary versus secondary immune response to infection due to wild-type or vaccine-type pathogens.

    Now you’re doing something called “mixing metaphors”, and I must say it’s not working out for you. In addition, your “vaccine is to infection as sexual harassement is to rape” is wrong as well. Vaccine is to infection as sexual harassement training accompanied with a stun gun is to rape. Statistically preventive even if the occasional innocent person gets electrocuted.

    A primary immune response is naïve infection – catching an infectious disease without prior immunity. Secondary immunity is a second exposure and infection with the same disease. They are separated in time, speed and intensity. Primary infection gets you sicker, produces less of an immune response and takes longer. Secondary immunity is much faster, much more intense and produces very few symptoms. Vaccination induces a primary immune response using a controlled dose of an antigen (either attenuated live virus or killed viral particles) so when the wild-type virus is encountered the body produces a secondary immune response – faster, better, safer. So your metaphor is still wrong but at least you’re using a word salad that sounds superficially convincing. At best, you could say sexual harassment versus rape in this analogy would be comparable to a less virulent versus a more virulent virus. I suppose if you were willing to stretch things to the point of being deceitful while poisoning the well more than a little bit, you could say that an attenuated live virus is indeed an artificially produced, less virulent virus. Of course, the analogy is now useless, but my expectations were low.

    It’s science-based and you can’t argue with that.

    Actually, I think I just did, and I think I just won. Yay for me, yay for science!

    Keep trying, this is still amusing me.

  27. JPZ says:

    @GLaDOS

    That combination of herbs would not work on bipolar mania even if it were full strength. I have researched herbal treatments for bipolar previously. I can give details but you asked for a quick answer.

  28. JPZ says:

    @Harriett Hall

    Rule 14 for Th1Th2, I think.

  29. Th1Th2 says:

    William,

    Of course it’s not surprising, because they’re using a live attenuated virus

    To promote infection. No thanks.

    A proven effective means of rendering a virus safe enough to administer to humans while still granting effective immunity.

    When you vaccinate, it’s a guarantee that you’re getting the right pathogenic agent causing infection. That will only add to your credibility as an avid infection-promoter. “Huzzah for science!”

    And yes, “lesser evil” does imply safer.

    From Wiki—-The lesser evil or lesser of two evils principle is the idea in politics and political science that of two bad choices, one isn’t as bad as the other, and should be chosen over the one that is a greater threat.

    What part of the word “bad” do you not understand?

    I’m glad we agree that vaccination is a less dangerous means of acquiring immunity to infectious diseases

    Fool. With vaccination, you’re acquiring the infection and the disease. The immunity is the immune response, whether it be primary or secondary, against the offending vaccine-type pathogens. BTW, smart parents would not want to put their children into any kind of danger. No, they are not deranged, drunk nor suicidal.

    And may I say – WOW, you’ve found a way of avoiding all diseases? That’s remarkable, can you publish your method?!??!

    It’s called exercising due diligence.

    Attenuated live virus vaccines certainly do promote controlled infection leading to immunity. Killed viruses promote immunity, not infection, so I’m glad to correct your science again.

    Killed viruses are pathogenic foreign nonself hence when introduced they are recognized by the immune system as infection.

    Cars do indeed promote car accidents, that’s axiomatic. The overall thrust of the analogy is that vaccines train the immune system to recognize and eliminate specific infectious vectors. Again, you’re welcome!

    Vaccines are infectious vectors themselves. It’s an inherent nature that they cause infection. Cars promote car accidents? No, it’s either you’re deranged, drunk or suicidal. Tell me then when do you plan to promote a car accident?

    What kind of driver’s ed did you take? Mine drove around in a car with me, and had his own brake pedal. You may want to consider reporting the agency you used to some sort of regulatory body, or at least the Better Business Bureau. I’m even more disturbed if your driver’s ed course involved live instruction in running someone over. Where do you live, North Korea?

    You’re the one who’s driving fool. Next.

    Oooh, fail. An analogy is used to make a complicated, abstract (for us) problem and related it to a process we are familiar with. It’s working out great for me, but you seem to either not understand it, or your understanding of vaccination is flawed. I suggest the latter.

    Like I said before, it’s an escape mechanism.

    Vaccine is to infection as sexual harassement training accompanied with a stun gun is to rape. Statistically preventive even if the occasional innocent person gets electrocuted.

    Oh I’m sure you didn’t even understand your own statements.

    Vaccination induces a primary immune response using a controlled dose of an antigen (either attenuated live virus or killed viral particles) so when the wild-type virus is encountered the body produces a secondary immune response – faster, better, safer.

    Vaccination, primarily, cause an infection which would trigger like you said, a less of an immune response called primary immune response against the vaccine pathogens. It is a physiologic event. In case you wanted the immune response to be faster, better and safer then you’ll have to re-vaccinate and re-infect the host numerous times in what is called secondary immune response. Hey, it’s science and what you do by promoting primary and secondary infections through vaccination is based on science. Shame on all infection-promoters.

    Actually, I think I just did, and I think I just won. Yay for me, yay for science!

    You’re an infection-promoter. Science tells us that the goal of vaccination is NOT infection prevention.

  30. Harriet Hall says:

    Rule 14.
    Dunning-Kruger.

  31. GLaDOS says:

    I’m confused: this remedy does not require a prescription, so what does the patient want from you?

    Oh yes it does require a prescription, if the patient is in a facility that does not permit medication self administration. RNs cannot give a cough drop without a doctor’s order.

  32. Chris Repetsky says:

    Th1Th2,

    If vaccinations are so evil and death bringing, can you explain the significant decline in almost all diseases that we do vaccinate for? How about the ones we have completely eradicated? I’m just curious if you have any evidence I could read or view that would contradict the fact that vaccines had nothing to do with those events.

    As far as exercising due diligence, what is your method exactly of avoiding diseases that vaccines prevent? Obviously exercising good hygiene isn’t enough (If that were the case, we wouldn’t need vaccines at all, and it would be a non-issue) and staying away from infected people is not easy, as we don’t know who’s infected! I’m just curious how we are supposed to accomplish this, that’s all.

    Those two questions aside, how would you propose we tackle this widespread problem of disease? I figured you must have an alternative method in mind, aside from standing around and doing nothing (Which is proven not to work) or vaccinating (Which you have, of course, expressed displeasure towards.)

    One last question, again for curiosity’s sake. Were you ever vaccinated against anything? Has no bearing on the discussion, I was just interested to know.

  33. GLaDOS says:

    Yeah I know “one part in ten.” But that’s volume, amirite? And the crushed dry dust from plant leaves and stems would be measured by weight, not volume. Typically.

    So help me out, how many grams of plant dust in say a liter of water for a 1x dilution?

    Where would I find out the typical concentration of active ingredient in the plant dust?

    Where would I find the chemical names of the active ingredients?

    I like the homeopaths a lot more when they use 30c dilutions. This 1X stuff requires actual thought about what’s in the product.

  34. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Ahahaha. Th1, you’re just an outright moron, or using a random phrase generator that draws from an immunology textbook. I don’t even have anything to refute. It’s like arguing with a lobotomy. Not a lobotomy patient, an actual lobotomy.

  35. Nate Dogg says:

    Sorry, no more health care for anyone, if you’re sick it’s obviously because you failed to exercise due diligence.

    Bootstraps, people, bootstraps!

  36. JJ from Cowtown says:

    Th1Th2 is equipped with a lot of immunology & infectious disease terminology but the usage demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding.

    I applaud the site admins and their ideals as said poster stinks up vaccine thread after vaccine thread.

  37. GLaDOS says:

    I was imagining a small child who had trouble with bedtime.

    Heh I never see those kids. My bedwetters are visibly abnormal from across the street, when they aren’t seizing or pulling out their feeding tubes.

    Thanks for the tip about Hyland. You may have provided me with an out.

    Parents are totally freaking out about psych meds. They’ve always been spooked, but the anti-psychiatry black PR team has cranked the game up of late. On the bright side, I’m hearing less “Don’t give my autistic kid the flu shot cuz it might cause moar autism!”

  38. GLaDOS says:

    I cannot believe you people actually read Th1Th2′s posts. Don’t you have a mouse wheel?

  39. JPZ says:

    I think FDA rules require homeopathic remedies making serious disease claims (e.g. bipolar, cancer, etc.) to be available only by prescription from a physician. Some irresponsible companies ignore this rule.

  40. Chris says:

    GlaDOS:

    Thanks for the tip about Hyland. You may have provided me with an out.

    Which makes sense when you cannot figure out the specific amount of plant material used in each tablet, especially with the triple and double strength nonsense. Is the tincture made by seeping the plant material twice as long, or by using twice as much plant material? But it is a moot point when it turns out the company’s manufacturing system was inconsistent.

    The herbal concoctions do have some chemicals, but never in any consistent dosage. Plus you don’t know what they can do to anyone’s brain chemistry. I learned the hard way a long time ago what happens when brain chemistry is messed up, and it was just from dehydration.

  41. JPZ says:

    @GLaDOS

    “So help me out, how many grams of plant dust in say a liter of water for a 1x dilution?

    Where would I find out the typical concentration of active ingredient in the plant dust?

    Where would I find the chemical names of the active ingredients?”

    I don’t think you can. The product would need to use “standardized extracts” that allow you to claim potency, e.g. 12% ginkosides. They also did not specify root or flower. And, I have no idea what “double strength” means in this context especially when it is a 2x dilution. As for active ingredients, hops have at least four bioactive compounds none of which have been studied in bipolar.

    Even at the extreme useless spectrum of dietary supplements, this would score low. If you want to throw the parents a bone, tell them to give her fish oil (which may work but needs more studies) but still take the Seroquel. Coromega makes an orange flavored one that kids like (I worked for a competitor of Coromega, so this isn’t a shill).

  42. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I like responding to Th1Th2′s posts because the misunderstandings, falsehoods and nonsense are so easy to refute, it lets me flex my minimal knowledge of immunology in an entertaining way. Plus, it might be educational for people who know even less than me.

    And usually I end up brushing up on basic knowledge and filling out bits here and there. I mean, when you have to look up basically every term to confirm what the real definition is you inevitably end up learning something new.

    But most of all, it’s just so easy! It’s like taking candy from a baby Hitler then punching him in the face!

  43. JPZ says:

    @GLaDOS

    Here is a relevant publication on fish oil and bipolar:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19156158

    Promising, but not proven.

  44. Harriet Hall says:

    @WLU,

    Easier than punching a baby, because the baby will cry. Th1Th2 doesn’t even realize he has been hit.

  45. woo-fu says:

    To the experts, especially immunologists, could someone read over my first comment on this post (#5)? There are a couple of issues where I could use some clarification. I don’t want to be leading anyone astray.

    @windriven–thanks for the warning; too bad I didn’t catch this before. At least I had to exercise my brain a bit in order to respond, but as the replies piled in, my brain threatened a melt-down.

    @nescio–thanks for the links

    @nobodyyouknow–I believe even Trevor Marshall is still pro-vaccination. The last time I read up on his stance, he felt the benefits far outweighed the risks. He does call for improvements in quality assurance and oversight, but he still gets his flu shot.

  46. windriven says:

    @WLU

    “Not a lobotomy patient, an actual lobotomy.”

    Made me laugh out loud :-)

  47. JPZ says:

    @woo-fu

    How can I help (immunology minor in grad school, postdoc in immunology, supervised a lab of immunologists)? Your comments were all valid study design issues, but genetic screening in vaccine development trails is not terribly common. Pharma companies like to test in the broadest population context possible.

  48. Th1Th2 says:

    William & Harriet,

    Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see. That’s why infection-promoters like you are aptly called the blind leaders of the blind.

  49. Chris says:

    And irony meters across the globe explode!

  50. woo-fu says:

    @JPZ Thanks for the info.

    How about the recommendations regarding vaccinating at-risk populations? Is that still on target?

  51. JPZ says:

    @woo-fu

    Last I knew, live vaccines were still out for immunodeficient patients. Protein conjugate vaccines are good for most everyone (I’ve seen great titers in HIV/AIDS patients). Polysaccharide vaccines are useless in children under 2 and spelenctomy patients unless they are conjugated. These are perspectives from my being in clinical research not clinical practice. The folks who tell folks to stick needles into babies would be better to advise on practice guidelines and real world examples.

  52. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I may not be able to see, but at least I can still read. Apparently I picked up braille somewhere without noticing it.

    I think I’m done, seeing as my last post invoked no less than three logical fallacies – reductio ad hitler, poisoning the well and a kettle argument. Of course, you’ve got to admit it’s more interesting than argumentum ad nauseum, which is both boring and leaves me sick to my stomach.

    @woo-fu

    I’ve done a bit of research on Marshall and most importantly I’ve dug into the quality and use of his sources. I would perhaps trust his opinion on circuitry and programming, I wouldn’t trust his biology. He may be right, but he’d be helping the world a whole lot more if he spent his time proving it instead of proclaiming it. Computer modeling + conference does not a theory make.

    Well, I suppose it could make one, it just couldn’t validate it.

  53. muklowd says:

    I must say you folks are by and large very gentle on your troll :)

  54. Enkidu says:

    “32% – vaccines may cause fevers”

    I once had an anti-vaxer tell me that vaccine-induced fevers were due to chemicals (aka the TOXINS) processing through the brain.

  55. rtcontracting says:

    @ Nescio

    I’m nit-picking here, but I think that your stats for the risk of flying vs driving are misleading.

    Per passenger mile, flying on a commercial carrier in the US is way safer than driving (including landing and taking off). Flying risk is measured in fatalities per billions of passenger miles.

    I think that your stats may be for fatalities per vehicle miles (ie by an airplane or car and not a passenger), which is a misleading comparison if you are looking at individual risk. Commercial airplanes often have hundreds of passengers, whereas cars typically have two or three.

    The statistic that is important for an individual is the risk per passenger mile, not vehicle mile.

  56. nybgrus says:

    I didn’t have a chance to read this post until just now (thanks for it Scott – some heartening data in it).

    Then I scrolled through the comments thread and it was like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie on science.

    First a general introduction, followed by the requisite bad guy coming in and making some odd comment. The rest of the group know what’s up, but our protagonist is new to the game. He takes the bait. Switch scenes over to a whole knew crew discussing some interesting tidbits of information which flash in and out of the movie. Throw in some more raving lunacy and then yet another side chat about the science interspersed. Sprinkle in some seriously comical digs at the villian and finish with a black knight scene and some more science banter.

    I’m sorry – I don’t think I did justice to the narrative that played in my head as I read through the comments. Hopefully someone out there got it though :-)

  57. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    1X means the plant material was diluted 1:10;

    Not precisely. It means that the so-called mother tincture (Urtinktur) was diluted 1:10. Theis reduces to the question how homeopaths make the mother tincture.

    One recipe is that the fresh plant material is squeezed very hard and the juice is mixed with 50% alcohol. Another recipe is that one part dried plants (ground or pulverized) is mixed with 20 parts alcohol.

    The idea of using alcohol was that it acts as a preservative, so the wholesome parts do not deteriorate
    In both cases the resulting mixture is filtered to remove solid parts.
    For insoluble minerals one triturates (=~ rubs together in a mortar) with milk sugar, until 3C, after which it supposedly becomes soluble.

    I have only a faint idea how one might dilute double strength oats to 1X. For example one might use two parts of dried oats plus twenty parts of alcohol for the mother tincture. I don’t know whether the oat seeds are used or the entire green plant. In the former case squeezing the juice out would be not very productive. In the latter case I don’t know what double strength may mean.

    However the homeopathic scheme for proceeding from the mother tincture says that if the starting material was fresh juice + alcohol, one starts the dilution series with two parts mother tincture plus 8 (or 98) parts of alcohol for the first dilution step.

    It is anybody’s guess what might be meant with tablets containing a certain amount of 1X remedy. Many homeopathic preparations are sugar pills, and traditionally the last step in preparation of such sugar pills is that a mass of pills are sprayed with the homeopathic fluid (i.e. pure alcohol) and left to dry. Traditionally this is counted as an extra 1:500 dilution step, this in case you are using belladonna or cadmium and you have to explain why it is safe. In the homeopaths mind this extra step probably doesn’t change the effect because no shaking is involved.

    Somehow all of this must sound like a discussion of the composition of unicorn’s blood or the biomechanics of horcruxes or the spectral composition of the Ava Kadavra curse in the Harry Potter books.

  58. Tell it like it is says:

    IGNORE THIS AT YOUR PERIL!

    Mathematics is all about ‘balancing’ an equation. If it is considered that 2 X 3 = 6 is ‘in balance’, then it follows that 2 = 6/3 is ‘also’ ‘in balance’. This is known as ‘logical consistency’ – usually (well in Britain anyway) expressed as ‘it therefore follows’. Without acceptance of this proposition, ‘every’ ‘law’ would fail, and mathematics and logic would fail humankind as tools.

    When one is performing mathematical calculations, be it for computational or comparison (balancing) purposes, one must convert the articles under evaluation into ‘common units’; and it is IMPERITIVE that one uses the ‘correct’ metric upon which to perform the computation. You cannot compare apples with oranges or road traffic accidents with vaccine failure incidents, any more than you can compare horned ruminants with camels or pints with inches, unless you derive a ‘common metric’ (AKA ‘unit of measurement’). Most of us grasped this simple concept at school when we learned fractions.

    There are many ‘conversion laws’ – e.g. to convert inches to centimetres multiply inches by 2.4; to convert centimetres to inches multiply centimetres by 0.416.

    Here is a simple mathematical illustration, Ohms Law states that ‘current is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance’. It is usually expressed as the algebraic formula I (current) = V (voltage) divided by R (resistance) – viz – I = V/R. The ‘common unit’ is ‘current’.

    Equally, from a ‘logical’ stance (which is ‘also’ mathematics), saying ‘all ruminants have horns’ excludes the camel (which is a ruminant). The ‘common metric’ is ‘grass’ – which gives us ‘all ruminants eat grass’ (when they can get it).

    So – putting aside the game of ‘off-topic nit-pick tennis’ that is taking place here as each person volley’s the other person’s rhetoric too and fro, and ignores whether what is being said makes logical sense (which most of it doesn’t), let us turn our attention to ‘logical consistency’.

    The United Kingdom has a better road safety record than most other countries. The United Kingdom has the lowest road death rates per 100,000 ‘population’, at 6 per 100,000 of population. This compares to figures of 9.3 per 100,000 population in Australia, 8.2 in Japan and 15.3 in the USA. Across the EU, the average road death rate for children is around 2.6 per 100,000 of population. The UK has the lowest rate at 1.9 per 100,000 (Source: Office of National Statistics).

    Note the ‘common metric’ – POPULATION – not ‘road miles travelled’ which is a ‘fallacy’ (AKA BE) to set the world laughing; and just as much a fallacy as saying ‘all mammals give birth to live young’ – which excludes the duck-billed platypus – it is a mammal that lays eggs. The correct metric to discriminate a mammal from a reptile is ‘warm blooded’.

    It is considered that major contributors to road accidents are excessive speed and alcohol. This is a fallacy (BE). Let me explain. It is calculated that 5 per cent of all road casualties and 13 per cent of road deaths occurred when someone was driving over the legal limit for alcohol. This means that 95 per cent of all road casualties and 87 per cent of road deaths were caused by people who were SOBER. Going deeper, in incidents involving people crashing into on-coming traffic it is the sober ones who fail to get out of the way.

    And now – vaccine effectiveness vs vaccine failure incidents. Calculate for yourselves the BILLIONS of lives saved and continue to be saved year-on-year through the application of preventative medicines, compared to the miniscule numbers that suffer an allergic reaction; and derive the comparison of incidents per protected capita and compare it to road accidents per driving capita – then publish it on this site so that we may keep it lively as you all enjoy arguing over the figures.

    In the case of the pioneering synthetic organ transplant surgery announced to the world just yesterday, prior to this, anyone given a donor organ must then spend the rest of their lives on a diet of pills and potions to prevent organ rejection. This is the equivalent of having AIDS!

    Regards,

    TILIS

  59. nybgrus says:

    I read the first line and nothing else. I must be in peril

  60. Nescio says:

    @rtcontracting,
    You are right, my calculations are based on vehicle miles and absolute numbers of deaths, and if passenger miles were used they would show that the risks of travel by car or airplane are even lower than I estimated. I think they do give a useful ballpark estimate of the sort of order of magnitude of risk we take every day without giving it a second thought. The risk of a serious adverse event during or after the complete childhood vaccination schedule is considerably lower than the risk of death during a trans-Atlantic flight, for example.

  61. Nescio says:

    TILIS,

    I have read what you wrote several times, but it still makes no sense. You don’t seem to understand the concept of risk or probability at all. Perhaps your mathematical education stopped at simple fractions and you didn’t learn about probability theory or statistics.

    The common metric in what I wrote is the risk of an event happening, expressed as “1 in X”. Every activity we carry out has some risk attached to it, whether eating peanuts, sky-diving, driving, crossing a road or flying to the moon. If we have enough measurements of these activities and the adverse events associated with them we can calculate a risk of suffering a specific adverse event when carrying out a specific activity.

    If you are vaccinated you have a finite risk of suffering a serious adverse reaction. The best estimate we have of this is in the region of 1 in 1 million. If you drive 100 miles in the USA you have a finite risk of having a fatal road accident. The best estimate we have of this is in the region of 1 in 1 million. If you are in the UK you would have to drive more like 200 miles for a 1 in 1 million risk (based on stats from this document).

    This has nothing to do with apples, oranges, horned ruminants, camels, pints, inches, Ohm’s Law, logical consistency, road traffic accident rates in different countries, duck-billed platypuses, or drink driving.

    Are you and Th1Th2 related?

  62. Epinephrine says:

    @GLaDOS
    Whatever you do, don’t rely on whether it is “approved” or not, if you are in Canada (I don’t know the US system for natural products). The evidence required here for homeopathic products is essentially that the ingredients are in a homeopathic pharmacopeia – in other words, the proof that it is effective is that homeopaths say it is. No studies need to be done.

  63. I do agree that It is calculated that 5 per cent of all road casualties and 13 per cent of road deaths occurred when someone was driving over the legal limit for alcohol. This means that 95 per cent of all road casualties and 87 per cent of road deaths were caused by people who were SOBER. Going deeper, in incidents involving people crashing into on-coming traffic it is the sober ones who fail to get out of the way. but not hundred percent with the figures shown.

    Asif, webmaster
    A Healthcare Blog

  64. Scott says:

    TILIS seems to think that such lunacy is needed to say that “road deaths per population is the only possible metric”. Which is simply wrong. They are different measures, which indicate different things. Blaming the sober driver for the crash when a drunk veers into oncoming traffic for bonus points!

    Even more bonus points for thinking that quoting every other word somehow adds something (previously CLAIMED to be due to the FACT that EMPHASIS doesn’t come through ON SCREEN, despite the fact that nobody else needs to do so in order to make themselves understood…).

    Like Thingy, I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that TILIS has major issues and badly needs professional help.

  65. zed says:

    I agree with Harriet, Th1Th2 Just stinks.

  66. Mojo says:

    @JJ from Cowtownon

    Th1Th2 is equipped with a lot of immunology & infectious disease terminology but the usage demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding.

    Perhaps Th1Th2′s name is Wayne.

  67. JPZ says:

    @JWN

    That was an incredibly educational overview of homeopathic compounding! I had no idea how it was done. The first two words that come to mind are “arcane” and “anachronistic.” When does the “eye of newt” get added? ;)

  68. JPZ says:

    @Epinephrine

    Same in the US – approved homeopathic products just have to be listed in the 1936 Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States.

  69. JPZ says:

    @Nescio

    I am not sure how, but I think I understood what TILIS said. S/he thinks that relative risk should be expressed per capita rather than per unit risky behavior (100 miles driven). Considering that the units used in relative risk calculation depend on the point you wish to illustrate, I think “per unit risky behavior” is a quite appropriate metric in your example.

    @TILIS

    If you leave out ALL of your side examples and factoids, you might reach a broader audience. Proposing “per capita” as a metric was a legitimate point that got lost in all the rhetoric.

  70. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    JPZ, for me the “industry standard” would be Homeopathy: How it really works by Jay Shelton (Prometheus books). He describes, then meticulously dissects the subject.

    And regards everyone discussing the vaccines-versus-cars analogy, the only real advantage is that it allows us to relate the risks of vaccination (which most are unfamiliar with) to the risks of driving (which most are). Getting the numbers and metaphor exactly right is less important than conveying the jist of it, which is “neither is particularly risky”.

  71. GLaDOS says:

    Jan Willem Nienhuys, thanks for the info about the mother tincture, which seems a dilution of the active ingredient before the dilutions begin.

    Then at the other end –after the serial dilutions– only a small amount is included in the tablet for sale.

    So it seems safe to assume there is insufficient active ingredient to have a meaningful effect, if the product is prepared as you describe and not adulterated or contaminated.

    It’s interesting that with all the blogging about homeopathy over the past several years, I’ve never really thought about the form and amount of original substance prior to dilution. I suppose that’s because I never had a patient asking me about a 1x product before.

    Still, I wish someone with a nice lab would get some of these pills for analysis, to confirm that the tabs are basically lactose and standard fillers.

  72. Chris says:

    JWN, thanks for the more complete explanation. It goes to show exactly how that company, Hyland, managed to screw up so badly that there were toxic levels of belladonna in their teething tablets.

    As far as car versus vaccine: all one needs to know is that there is more risk in driving to the clinic for the vaccine than getting the vaccine. In reality the most common cause of death to children under age fourteen are vehicular accidents and drowning. Which is a far cry than it was over a century ago, when it seemed every family was touched by a child dying before age five from a now treatable or vaccine preventable diseases.

    It seems to be worse in the summer, which seems to also be “helicopter” season in my neighborhood (I live near the two helipads used by the local Children’s Hospital).

  73. Tell it like it is says:

    @Nescio Thank you for replying to my contribution – very much appreciated.

    Before you proceed, may I make it clear to you that should I have the need to EMPHASISE a particular word, I will type that word in CAPITALS. Please do misconstrue this as shouting. Thank you.

    Putting all of your assumptions and unwarranted condescension’s aside (which do not add anything of value to the discussion), you rightly say that “the risk of an event happening, expressed as “1 in X””. You then go on to define ‘X’ as “If we have enough measurements of these activities and the adverse events associated with them we can calculate a risk of suffering a specific adverse event when carrying out a specific activity.” Good stuff – you are on the case.

    You support your assertion with “If you are vaccinated you have a finite risk of suffering a serious adverse reaction. The best estimate we have of this is in the region of 1 (person TILIS) in 1 million (persons TILIS).” This substantiates your definition, and, being a person who is very much pro-vaccine, I wholly endorse what you say (more about that in a mo).

    But then you go and spoil it all by stating “If you drive 100 miles in the USA you have a finite risk of having a fatal road accident”.

    This assertion has no more merit than stating ‘“If you walk 100 miles in the USA you have a finite risk of having a fatal road accident” – particularly valid if you walk on the freeway.

    As I attempted to make clear, you must have a COMMON metric to make comparisons. You can not use PEOPLE in your vaccination assessment and then use MILES in the second. The two are not synonymous – they are incongruent.

    The metric for assessing risk THROUGHOUT THE WORLD is ‘People harmed carrying out an event divided by the total population performing that event’. This is substantiated on page 16 of the document you had the good grace to send me (thank you). As you will read, the ASSESMENT METRIC is expressed as ‘fatality rate PER MILLION POPULATION’ and a chart (chart 1b) beautifully illustrates the data dispersion – and as you would expect, the road accident incident rate is higher on busy roads than on roads where very few moving vehicles are present.

    The ACCEPTANCE CRITERION is also stated in an earlier part of the document – viz: “AGREED national standard for the system for collecting and processing statistics on road accidents involving personal injury”.

    Incident rates are continuously monitored and when the number of incidents exceeds a ‘danger incident threshold’ – then action is immediately taken – day or night – it matters not.

    Food gets pulled off the shelf; fairground rides are shut down; products are re-called; and outright bans on products are immediately enforced.

    This same metric also defines when a disease becomes epidemic and pandemic.

    To illustrate: Concorde was pulled out of the sky because of ONE incident, and yet, despite numerous incidents, Boeing aircraft continue to grace our skies. Why is this?

    The reason is the number of people who died in Concorde divided by the total number of persons CARRIED on Concorde exceeded the ‘risk threshold’. Its PEOPLE that matter -miles have nothing to do with it. To date, the ‘risk threshold’ for passengers travelling on Boeing aircraft has not been reached – but on some aircraft its pretty close!

    Regrettably ten people died on Space Shuttle missions – including a beautiful woman who only took a trip because she wished to show the world that space travel was safe (which it isn’t – there’s irony for you).

    The ‘risk threshold’ was exceeded on the first major incident (The Challenger) and by rights the Space Shuttle programme should have been scrapped – but pressure from NASA secured its future.

    The last flight took place yesterday and the Space Shuttle – like Apollo – is no more. What grounded it was the exorbitant cost for very little gain.

    To the ‘anti-vaccine’ lobby, I say this: if one of them was unfortunate enough to need a heart transplant, and fortunate enough to receive a donor heart, would they reject the vaccines to combat organ rejection in favour of allowing the body to reject the heart?

    As I trust you now comprehend Nescio, establishing a common metric has EVERYTHING to do with apples, oranges, horned ruminants, camels, pints, inches, Ohm’s Law, logical consistency, road traffic accident rates in different countries, duck-billed platypuses, and drink driving.

    I cannot answer your question “Are you and Th1Th2 related?” because I have insufficient data.

    Have fun, enjoy your day, and thanks again for the comment.

    TILIS

  74. Tell it like it is says:

    @JPZ Thank you – point taken.

  75. Tell it like it is says:

    @Scott

    Where did I state that I “seems to think that such lunacy is needed to say that “road deaths per population is the only possible metric”. Which is simply wrong. They are different measures, which indicate different things.”?

    If judgement can be discerned from your poor grammar and passing of condescending remarks to events that were NEVER STATED, it begs the question as to whether it a reading issue you have, or you lack the faculty to comprehend what I and others write, or you have major issues and badly need professional help.

    On whether or not other people make themselves understood I say this: if they are making themselves understood, why does all the ‘off-topic’ tennis take place?

    And going deeper – why is most of what is said condescending?

    And deeper still – why is most of what is volleyed about nonsensical?

    And REALLY deep – why are people who are meant to be in ‘caring’ professions spewing black condescending bile instead of offering constructive criticism to the topic in hand?

    Is that too deep for you?

    Did you struggle with that?

    Over here we discuss things OBJECTIVELY in a rational manner – hearing out both sides of an argument. You, and others like you, would not survive five minutes in conversation with people in an English pub – we would destroy you and you would likely run to mommy for support.

  76. Tell it like it is says:

    @surgical-blogg

    Thank you for your reply – well pleased to see you ‘got’ what I was saying.

    When I quoted “87 per cent of road deaths were caused by people who were SOBER” I was being factual, flippant, and satirical – all at the same time – to stimulate a chuckle – that would be quickly followed by an epiphany moment.

    Although I never stated anything anywhere relating to the percentiles, I agree not hundred percent with the figures shown.

    The reality is, substance abusers (be it alcohol or drugs or other addictions – including OD on coffee), and other self-harmers are responsible for over 93% of REPEAT accidents.

    Although ‘drunk drivers’ are generally perceived as ‘evil’, they are not evil – simply foolish.

    What is a farce is that there is a belief that taking the driving license from a self-harmer stops them from driving. It doesn’t – they simply continue to drive until they are caught.

    Have a good day,

    TILIS

  77. woo-fu says:

    @WilliamLawrenceUtridge

    Regarding Marshall, I was responding to nobodyyouknow’s comment that commenter TH1/TH2 was representing Marshall’s views on vaccination.

    Although TH1/TH2 immune reactions are the focus of his studies, Marshall (last time I checked) is still pro-vaccination, so I’m not sure that TH1/TH2 is necessarily a Marshall advocate. He/she may be in some ways, but they diverge over vaccines.

    I have no comments regarding Marshall’s science yet as it is incomplete. Once they’re through with their trials, I’ll be interested to see the data and conclusions, but I’m not trying to advocate the method. It’s a radical departure from standard care, so, you’re right, they are really going to have to do more scientific legwork!

  78. JPZ says:

    @TILIS

    Your math makes sense, and I think what you are pointing out is why the CDC and NHS report figures in similar common denominators.

    As some others pointed out, this discussion is also about message:

    Physician to patient, “Did you know that you are more likely to die in a car accident driving to my office than you are to have anything serious go wrong with this immunization?”

    as opposed to pointing out the number of events per million persons for both so that can calculate a relative risk. It doesn’t have the same visceral impact. Reporting the figures as safe occurances per serious adverse event is not wrong, just not as cleanly standardized.

  79. Th1Th2 says:

    Chris Repetsky,

    If vaccinations are so evil and death bringing, can you explain the significant decline in almost all diseases that we do vaccinate for?

    Vaccination is not responsible for the decline of infectious diseases. Vaccines merely shifted the incidence of infectious diseases and have replaced natural infection to be the number one source of infectious agents hence we have, in reality, more infectious cases (natural infection + vaccine-induced infection combined). Primary infection caused by vaccination are deliberately not reported, dismissed through biased diagnostic screening and are being labeled differently to show that vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of infectious cases while natural infections are, as usual, being exaggerated. One thing is for sure, the reduction of infectious diseases is NOT the result of vaccination.

    How about the ones we have completely eradicated?

    They have not eradicated a single disease because of vaccines. Smallpox? Are you kidding me? It’s a lie. However, there were vaccine-induced diseases that were prevented because they have stopped the offending vaccine.

    I’m just curious if you have any evidence I could read or view that would contradict the fact that vaccines had nothing to do with those events.

    What is your evidence on the contrary? I bet I could use that evidence to go against your claim that vaccines have reduced infectious diseases.

    As far as exercising due diligence, what is your method exactly of avoiding diseases that vaccines prevent?

    Nothing extraordinary. Just the usual way a smart person would do.

    Obviously exercising good hygiene isn’t enough (If that were the case, we wouldn’t need vaccines at all, and it would be a non-issue) and staying away from infected people is not easy, as we don’t know who’s infected! I’m just curious how we are supposed to accomplish this, that’s all.

    Obviously, the practice of good hygiene, although very essential, is not the only factor. Well, getting infected with the vaccine is more effective , easier and guaranteed that you’re getting the right infectious stuff than wasting time checking for people with asymptomatic infections. But hey, that’s why infectious diseases have signs and symptoms to alert you that you need to stay away. Common sense.

    Those two questions aside, how would you propose we tackle this widespread problem of disease?

    Easy. Stop vaccination. All it does is adding fuel.

    >I figured you must have an alternative method in mind, aside from standing around and doing nothing (Which is proven not to work) or vaccinating (Which you have, of course, expressed displeasure towards.)

    The USG had done nothing in a span of 9 nine years prior to global eradication of smallpox. Instead, it rescinded routine smallpox vaccination despite its continued global threat throughout the 1970′s. Likewise, you will have to pay me to go where polio is rampant or where there is measles or pertussis outbreak for you to prove that by mere standing around and doing nothing do not work. My friend, that’s not what I call exercising due diligence. Thanks but no thanks.

    One last question, again for curiosity’s sake. Were you ever vaccinated against anything? Has no bearing on the discussion, I was just interested to know.

    Just a correction. You are NOT vaccinating against anything instead you’re inoculating WITH [insert pathogens]. Understood?

  80. Th1Th2 says:

    The Other Chris,

    As far as car versus vaccine: all one needs to know is that there is more risk in driving to the clinic for the vaccine than getting the vaccine.

    Again, Chris has not answered a very simple question as to why this ridiculous vaccine-car analogy is invalid. When do you plan in getting into a car accident in the the same manner you are planning in getting the vaccines? [Hint: Routine vaccination is never an accident. In fact, it is recommended.]

    Stop running Chris. Don’t hide behind analogies. Let’s talk science.

  81. Primary infection caused by vaccination are deliberately not reported, dismissed through biased diagnostic screening and are being labeled differently to show that vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of infectious cases while natural infections are, as usual, being exaggerated.

    I’d have to see some pretty hard evidence of this occurring to believe it. Is there anywhere I can look for non-anecdotal evidence concerning this accusation?

    They have not eradicated a single disease because of vaccines. Smallpox? Are you kidding me? It’s a lie.

    This too. Any scientific evidence? I’m just curious, is all.

    What is your evidence on the contrary? I bet I could use that evidence to go against your claim that vaccines have reduced infectious diseases.

    My evidence comes from the trials conducted in major medical journals. Is there something I’m missing, or something else I should be reading?

    Nothing extraordinary. Just the usual way a smart person would do.

    What exact methods should someone utilize? Is there experimental data to show these methods are successful?

    But hey, that’s why infectious diseases have signs and symptoms to alert you that you need to stay away. Common sense.

    If simple avoidance or quarantine were effective, what prompted people to utilize vaccines in the first place? Surely Polio wouldn’t have been “taken care of” by pure isolation. When the Polio vaccine was introduced, Polio fled the building. Now I know correlation =/= causation, but there is a very strong evidence that shows this is the case.

    Just a correction. You are NOT vaccinating against anything instead you’re inoculating WITH [insert pathogens]. Understood?

    Just a case of terminology. Yes, I happen to have been vaccinated with all the normal childhood shots, but those diseases have never plagued me. Again, it’s an anecdotal response, but I’d much rather be “infected” and exhibit no symptoms or have a disease harm me then take my chances on just not running into someone with that particular affliction, especially since I work in healthcare.

    Just my two cents.

  82. JPZ says:

    @everyone

    As muklowd said, Th1Th2 is a troll. For those unfamiliar with this internet-derived terminology, a troll is someone who posts outrageous comments and accusations on internet threads to provoke rational commentators into engaging them. It validates them if you attack or respond to them. It makes them feel good even if the response is dislike or hatred. Any response makes them feel good and encourages them to keep posting outrageous material – in this case pseudo-scientific commentary to upset a science-centric audience. The only way to effectively deal with a troll is not to “feed” it, i.e. don’t respond. Cut off the source of the good feelings. This is why you might occasionally hear an old internet meme, “Rule 14″ which states, “Don’t feed the trolls.”

    Also, I am going to go out on a limb here and stick up for TILIS. I have several friends and associates who talk and react like he does – “animated” would be an understatement. Some of them are remarkable geniuses who can’t help free-associating multiple concepts while trying to micro-specify an insightful comment. I share my best bottles of wine when these friends are at my house. I have to think harder to keep up, and I love that – and my other guests all find something interesting to engage them when Chaucer quotes and plumbing metaphors are standard fare.

    But, some of them free associate because they can’t stick with a single thread. They are inspired in a more artistic sense, and you spend more time sifting through their thoughts for the creative insights they bring. I hide the cheap beer when they come over, but they can be charming company at times.

    I can’t say where TILIS falls in this spectrum – yet. But, on another thread here he played with statistical principles like a person who has already mastered the math and can see the “meta” above the principles. Maybe I was being fooled, but one of my minors in grad school was epidemiology which required five statistics courses. Just like my other minor, immunology, lets me look at Th1Th2′s writings and known there are no meritorious arguments to be made, my stats knowledge makes me wonder if TILIS is the real thing. I’ll accept the group’s judgement if I turn out to be the fool. ;)

  83. nybgrus says:

    @JPZ:

    I’ll take your word for it and try and pay some more attention to TILIS’ posts. I do think (s)he is exhibiting mania or hypomania in the way (s)he writes (as do your friends you speak of). It is off-putting to have a wall of text and the first post I read was not particularly clear and Chris’s reaction to it put me off.

    But as I said, I’ll take another look in the future and see what up.

    To TILIS though, a sincere question – is the way you write reflective of the way you think or is it some intentional motif you are employing? The reason I ask should be obvious, and of course a few posts over the internet do not a diagnosis make, but your writing does seem rather manic. That is not an insult, merely an observation.

  84. woo-fu says:

    @JPZ

    I speak/write like that sometimes, too. It’s like my brain is churning with ideas, and I can’t get the words out fast enough. Of course, I also sometimes assume incorrectly that I’ve said/written what I’ve actually been thinking.

    IOW, what ends up coming out seems right to me, because at least I know what I was thinking, but might not actually be what I really meant to say/write. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings for me.

    I also have great difficulty putting the breaks on (speaking or writing) at times, as I’m sure you can tell from some of my way-too-long comments. I’ll post something before I’ve fully edited it, and then when I realize how it’s sounding to other people, I have to find the right words to be understood. Some people are willing to hang in there and hear me out; others just don’t have the patience. Either way, I understand.

    At least knowing I have these tendencies, I can go the extra distance in an effort to understand and be understood.

  85. woo-fu says:

    I wish good hygiene were enough to combat all illness, especially these pesky mosquito and tick related illnesses!

    Now I need to find a four-leaf clover, stand in front of the mirror and say that affirmation three times while turning in a circle. You’ll know if it works, you won’t have anything else to write about! ;)

  86. Th1Th2 says:

    Chris Repetsky,

    If simple avoidance or quarantine were effective, what prompted people to utilize vaccines in the first place?

    Isolating all students and staff members without previous history of measles during an outbreak is an effective method of infection control. Do you agree? Of course, that also means grouping individuals with prior history of the disease such are those who were vaccinated and those who have had previous natural measles. Most people do not realize that when they get the measles vaccine, it means they have acquired primary measles infection. Hence, most people are ignorant, misinformed and gullible for they are being manipulated and easily convinced by believing vaccines protect which in reality vaccines do not protect instead they infect with clear intent.

    Surely Polio wouldn’t have been “taken care of” by pure isolation. When the Polio vaccine was introduced, Polio fled the building. Now I know correlation =/= causation, but there is a very strong evidence that shows this is the case.

    When the polio vaccine was introduced, polio did not flee the building. On the contrary, as a result of continued vaccination, it mutated into neurovirulent poliovirus called VDPV which is completely different from the parental poliovirus vaccine and wild-type strains. So no, the vaccine did not prevent poliomyelitis. Majority of the vaccinees have had primary poliomyelitis infection due to the vaccine, while the rest can be divided with people who had VDPV and wild-type infection. Methinks, you’re the one who’s clearly uninformed about vaccine-induced poliomyelitis.

    Just a case of terminology. Yes, I happen to have been vaccinated with all the normal childhood shots, but those diseases have never plagued me.

    You have acquired the diseases through the vaccines they gave you initially, it’s called primary infection and primary infection can be asymptomatic. So don’t tell me that you’re still naive to those diseases. That’s a silly lie.

    Again, it’s an anecdotal response, but I’d much rather be “infected” and exhibit no symptoms or have a disease harm me then take my chances on just not running into someone with that particular affliction, especially since I work in healthcare.

    Well, smart people don’t want to get infected whatsoever. It’s not a smart choice. You have planned of getting infected with the vaccine so would it also be right if I ask you how and when do you plan of getting infected naturally?

  87. Th1Th2 says:

    woo-fu,

    I wish good hygiene were enough to combat all illness, especially these pesky mosquito and tick related illnesses!
    Now I need to find a four-leaf clover, stand in front of the mirror and say that affirmation three times while turning in a circle. You’ll know if it works, you won’t have anything else to write about!

    A good mosquito net is way better than a four-leaf clover. It does not surprise me at all SBM bloggers are really not smart.

  88. weing says:

    Since we are making up our own definitions, like vaccination being equal to infection, my definition of stupid is Th1Th2. Whatever stupid writes betrays ignorance of medicine.

  89. nybgrus says:

    now you are getting it, weing. I remember back when I first started reading SBM and commenting and I didn’t even know what a “troll” was (I know, so innocent) and I thought that thingy (that’s what we started calling it) and his partner Sid Offit were actually being legitimate. I learned real fast.

    @chris repetsky:

    Your points are spot on, of course. We here always tend to admonish not to feed the trolls, and I even wrote this long piece explaining why sometime way back when (the other Chris links to it from time to time). I’ll offer the same advice again in brief, but also add that you won’t last long – the incredible level of sheer ignorance, stupidity, and brazen denialism is so high you simply will tire of it very quickly. I don’t even read thingy’s posts anymore, since I’ve damaged enough brain cells doing so in the past.

  90. Your points are spot on, of course. We here always tend to admonish not to feed the trolls, and I even wrote this long piece explaining why sometime way back when (the other Chris links to it from time to time). I’ll offer the same advice again in brief, but also add that you won’t last long – the incredible level of sheer ignorance, stupidity, and brazen denialism is so high you simply will tire of it very quickly. I don’t even read thingy’s posts anymore, since I’ve damaged enough brain cells doing so in the past.

    You’re correct on all counts. I can see that this discussion will go no where, so I suppose terminating participation is the best course of action.

    It’s sad that we cannot have a polite discourse with evidence backing our claims, but hey, dem’s the breaks!

  91. Th1Th2 says:

    In fairness, this is usual and pathognomonic amongsts the so-called SBM defenders on how they let go discussing vaccines.

    1. They can’t argue with Science otherwise they will be exposed as germ-denialists and get humiliated so either they will remain quiet or…

    2. Resort to stupid analogies and fairytale stories as diversionary tactic

    3. and lastly “DNFTT” —like number 2, serves as an escape mechanism.

    There you go. It’s so easy and many of them have learned their lessons (they should have stopped at number 1).

  92. sigh – we seem to be experiencing a troll infestation. Isn’t there a sticky strip we could hang or something?

  93. JPZ says:

    @micheleinmichigan

    LOL “troll paper” :)

    Actually, that would be horrible. It would stick them in place but do nothing to mute the endless prattle. But, then again, it would make them easier to hit with a gigantic flyswatter!

    Actually, Randall Munroe came up with a better idea…

    http://xkcd.com/481/

  94. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Do not feed the troll – you’re keeping him from protecting his precious fluids.

  95. JPZ says:

    @WLU

    LOL – gotta love a well-placed Dr. Strangelove reference

  96. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Can’t take the credit, someone else made the joke a long time ago and I’m just recycling it because I’m environmentally conscious. As you can see by his latest comments, he’s got some truly surreal ideas that have absolutely no relation to a scientific understanding of the world. You can try to refute them, but he’s apparently got a big bag of crazy that he keeps pulling new ideas out of.

    Well, I assume it’s a bag but given how shitty the ideas are…

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