"Modern Medicine would rather you die using its remedies than live by using what physicians call quackery".--Dr Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.
[Amazon Pharma troll. They get everywhere. He keeps saying Vitamin C never cured anything bar scurvy even when shown the 1,200 peer reviewed citations found in Levy book Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable by Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D, a sign of a Pharma boy if there ever was one.]
SKEPTICALRAPTOR.COM BY MICHAEL SIMPSON
After spending years in the medical industry, I decided to blog about my thoughts on a wide range of issues in the healthcare industry, science, and skepticism. I am a firm supporter of science-based medicine. I will debunk quackery and pseudoscience whenever possible.
Quotes by Simpson:
Quacks who gave people massive doses of vitamins never cured or prevented polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
A letter to BMJ is not peer-reviewed. It was an opinion, and frankly Donegan is spouting off unscientific and ignorant nonsense.
All kidding aside, Vitamin C prevents scurvy. That's it, and if you have an adequate diet, you're fine. Vitamin C has no effect on cancer (and actually might promote some of the 250 or so cancers), common cold, immune system, the flu, measles, mumps, or anything else. Not just little evidence. None.
Wow. You really do enjoy the pseudoscience.
You know they have no argument when they bring out the Ad Hominem Anti-Semitism card like Stacy Mintzer Herlihy.
"As a skeptic, I donít accept the existence of a god or gods."
To teach the Rockefeller drug ideology, it is necessary to teach that Nature didn't know what she was doing when she made the human body.-------Hans Ruesch
A skeptic (or if you write in British/Australian/South African/New Zealand/Canadian English, sceptic) is a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions. In common vernacular, a skeptic is someone who requires extraordinary evidence before accepting extraordinary claims. Why havenít aliens left some piece of their technology behind? Or why canít we find one decaying remains of Sasquatch? As a skeptic, I donít accept the existence of a god or gods, I donít accept magical claims in medicine and science, and I donít accept claims made by politicians who donít provide adequate support for their claimsĖwell, who doesnít? My areas of expertise are in medicine and science, so Iíll probably stick with discussing those topics. But if I see anything about sasquatch, I might have comment just because I can. I will also comment about sports, rarely, especially if I read about the sport and pseudoscience.
Reviews by Simpson:
1. Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All
Dr. Offit is one of the greatest scientists of our time. His rotavirus
vaccine saves hundreds of thousands of lives all over the worldĖEVERY YEAR.
Precious lives of children.
What Dr. Offit knows about vaccines and helping children live long healthy lives gives him the bona fides to write this book. He describes the how the world of the anti-vaxxers bows at the idols of pseudoscience.
He also describes the long history of the anti-vaccine movement, one that hasn't changed in a 100 years, despite the fact that probably 100 million lives, in the USA alone, have been saved by vaccines.
I'll be honest here. Although I have a long career in biomedical research, I never paid attention to the antivaccination cultists until I read this book the first time when it was first published, and again recently.
I know this book will not open the minds of those who already reject the overwhelming scientific consensus on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. I know most of us who love the book already was convinced. But maybe one person will read this and decide to vaccinate their children. And for that, I think Paul Offit deserves our genuine appreciation.
2. Homeopathy for Mumps
Homeopathy is water, plain and simple. Only by violating all of the laws and
understanding of quantum physics and atomic chemistry would homeopathy work, yet
there is absolutely no extraordinary or even ordinary evidence support such an
The only way to stop mumps is by vaccines, which are safe and effective. There is no known medical treatment, and certainly homeopathy, i.e. water/H20/dihydrogen monoxide cannot cure mumps.
3. No Vaccines for Me!
I find it amusing that this author, who apparently failed her science
education, still believes in the myth that vaccines cause autism. Let's review:
1. Mr. Andy Wakefield perpetrated a fraud. His Lancet article that claimed a link between autism and the MMR vaccine was retracted, and all of his co-authors withdrew their support of the study. (Retraction-Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 2010 Feb 6;375(9713):445. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60175-4. PubMed PMID: 20137807; Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H. Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. BMJ. 2011 Jan 5;342:c7452. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c7452. PubMed PMID: 21209060.)
2. The number of vaccines given to children does not have any effect on the rate of autism. (DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. Journal of Pediatrics. 2013 March. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001. PubMed PMID: )
3. Well constructed epidemiological studies also showed no link between MMR vaccine and autism in Denmark, England, Japan, Japan, Poland, and the United States. (Tons of citations, too many to list.)
4. There is no scientific or medical controversy about this whether there is a link between MMR (or any vaccine) and autism. None. [...]
Once she makes that claim in the book, it was impossible to continue to read it. I just keep it on the shelf as a reference source for stupidity amongst vaccine deniers.
4. VACCeptable Injuries: Increasing Childhood Diseases & Developmental Disorders (Volume 1)
If I could, I would give this book negative stars, since it is so dangerous
to the health of children in this world. I couldn't find one thing in the book
that I would find to meet a scientific standard. Basically, Heinze set out a
hypothesis, that vaccines cause a whole host of diseases and disorders, and
using confirmation bias (choosing only the papers or research that supports the
hypothesis, rather than looking at the broad scientific consensus).
The two parts of the book on which I want to focus are important to understanding how poorly written and researched this book is. First, Heinze's understanding of history is pathetic, which leads me to think that his education is too weak to write a book that puts down a modern medical miracle like vaccines. He seems to make Jonas Salk out to be a traitor, when in fact, in the 1950's and 1960's Salk was considered an American Hero. He influenced so many American kids to become scientists and doctors. And the reason he was a hero was specifically because polio harmed so many children and adults. During summer months when polio epidemics spread through wealthy and poor communities in America, 1-2% of those who contract the disease would end up being paralyzed. In 1952, 58,000 Americans were hospitalized with polio, and nearly half were partially or totally paralyzed. The reason we do not see polio today is not as a result of improved sanitation, but because the heroic efforts of Salk to get a vaccine for children. Today polio is eradicated from the USA, and is almost eradicated from the world. Polio vaccine has few side effects, and even if the side effects were severe, I'd have my three daughters vaccinated (they all were) against polio. It's a no brainer.
The other issue I have with the book is that it is clear that Heinze wrote this book to place some blame for his daughter getting Type 1 Diabetes. This frustrated me beyond belief. Sometimes there is no blame. It's genetics or a random mutation. This happens for no reason and there is nothing or no one to blame for it. I could find no peer reviewed article that supported a link between any vaccine and Type 1 diabetes. None. So he invented a link through pseudoscience, that is producing what appears to be science, but does not meet even one part of the scientific principle.
What worries me most is that children (and adults) who have Type 1 diabetes are more susceptible to serious and deadly complications from almost every vaccine-preventable disease. Over 100 children this year (90% were not vaccinated) died of the flu. Many were perfectly healthy before going to the hospital and dying. Some had diabetes and died.
And what bothers me more is will he make certain that his daughter gets insulin? There is no way around this. And insulin today is produced by recombinant DNA from bacteria. And because all forms of insulin are in multi-use vials, there are lots of preservatives, because sepsis can occur if the insulin becomes contaminated.
I must admit that I wanted to throw this book through the window several times, but it would break my iPad. The ONLY reason I read it was because a vaccine denialist "friend" had given me the book and told me to be open-minded. Setting aside the fact that open-minded doesn't mean to deny evidence, I didn't find anything in this book that was accurate. Maybe the spelling of vaccine was correct.
5. Melanie's Marvelous Measles
I do not know where to start. But let's make this simple. Measles can kill.
One of the worst consequences of measles is encephalitis which can be
debilitating and can end the vibrancy of a young life.
Do not believe the lies of this book.
6. Your Baby's Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives
To be honest, I'm fairly knowledgeable about vaccines, and I only purchased
this book just to add to my library. I had read several other books from Paul
Offit and Seth Mnookin about vaccines, and I'm pretty well tied into research
articles on vaccines and immunology, so I wasn't sure I'd be reading it.
Then, one evening I decided to read the book. What I like about the book?
1. Careful, thoughtful explanation and debunking of many of the myths of the anti-vaccine group.
2. The section on vaccine ingredients was well written. This section will now be my go-to source when I write about vaccines.
3. Well cited, with sources from major peer-reviewed journals. I don't know precisely how many citations there are in the book, but it numbers into the hundreds. (And using the Kindle on my iPad, means all links are hot, so I can quickly review them in a browser).
4. Being a history aficionado, I love the story about Jenner and the way we came to stop smallpox, a disease that has been eradicated by vaccines. There were other historical vignettes that were interesting too.
5. The chapter on the HPV vaccine should be a must-read for any parent with teenagers. The HPV vaccine stops a deadly cancer. Period, end of story.
6. The authors stay calm, rational and optimistic about vaccines. They don't drop into ad hominems or even simple frustration with the outrageous fabrications of the anti-vaccine crowd.
If you vaccinate your kids, and you don't need convincing, then read this book because you'll have information when someone inevitably gives you some anti-vaccine "advice." If you're vaccinating your kids, but are unsure if it's the right thing to do, or you want to change the vaccine schedule, then read this book because it should allay most, if not all of your fears. If you're not vaccinating your kids, then maybe you'll find information that will convince you to start vaccinating them because it's safe and because it prevents diseases that can kill. Of course, if you're not vaccinating because you accept the misinformation of the anti-vaccine side, you probably won't read this book.
I do have a couple of very small nits to pick. There was one glaring error about bacteria. It was very very minor, and I'm hoping that future editions will update it. And second, I get the impression that the authors were trying to be as emotionally unbiased as possible, that some parts of the book (like the vaccine ingredients section) seemed very stilted. Of course, that's just an opinion because the danger of most of the ingredients is so laughable that I would have written in a snarky, and probably off-putting tone of voice.
All in all, this is a great book. It will be a resource for my writing.