A couple of days ago, Orac directed us towards an article that is one of the funniest pieces of ‘Science Journalism’ I have ever seen, anywhere. See, those of us on the ‘non-kook’ side of things have marvelously eloquent writers like Carl and Ed, and inquisitive investigatory journalists like Trine. Sure theyre ‘educational’, but their work is depressingly devoid of ‘WTF LOL!!’ moments like this piece by an apparent anti-vax ‘science’ journalist, Sharyl Attkisson:

The author is Helen Ratajczak, surprisingly herself a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943.

Yes, a ‘literature review’ is a totally foreign concept to everyone in science except for Helen Raraalvhajkavsjknav. Thank gawd for her. Her discovery of ‘PubMed’ will revolutionize science.

“What I have published is highly concentrated on hypersensitivity, Ratajczak told us in an interview, “the body’s immune system being thrown out of balance.”

To think, Im getting a PhD in immunology, and we havent had ONE lecture on how to ‘balance’ immune systems! Its like that phrase has no scientific meaning, and is a buzzword used by woo corporations to sell bullshit supplements or something. But that cant be right, Helen Raaazzzzzk is the genius mind who thought up the concept of a ‘literature review’, apparently. She MUST be right!

Ratajczak also looks at a factor that hasn’t been widely discussed: human DNA contained in vaccines. That’s right, human DNA.

I literally LOLed when I read this. “THATS RIGHT, HUMAN DNA!” “I KNOW, RIGHT!” “LIKE TOTALLY!” “FOR REALS!”

But then I got to the best part. I dont mean the ‘best part’ of this article. I mean the ‘best part’ of any ‘science journalism’ piece, anywhere, ever. EVER.

Why could human DNA potentially cause brain damage? The way Ratajczak explained it to me: “Because it’s human DNA and recipients are humans, there’s homologous recombinaltion tiniker. That DNA is incorporated into the host DNA. Now it’s changed, altered self and body kills it. Where is this most expressed? The neurons of the brain. Now you have body killing the brain cells and it’s an ongoing inflammation. It doesn’t stop, it continues through the life of that individual.”

NOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!! ANYTHING BUT HOMOLOGOUS RECOMBINALTION TINIKER!!! NOOOOOOO!! THERE IS NO GOD!!!! WE ARE AL DOOMED!!! DOOOOOOOMED!!!

Of course, ‘homologous recombinaltion tiniker’ is babby babble. Its not a real phrase composed of real words with a real meaning. So the commentors at Oracs place put their heads together to try to figure out what the fuck this crazy ho is talking about. We got this so far–

Okay, there is ‘DNA’ in vaccines, okay? When you get a shot, this DNA makes a bee-line for your brain.

“Why? What biochemical process would lead to that kind of targeting?”

Stop asking questions– it just goes to ‘the brain’, alright? Okay, so once its in your brain, it gets into your ‘brain cells’.

“What brain cells? The human brain is composed of countless different cell types. Does she mean neurons? We know what happens when neurons die– there are any number of diseases that happen when neurons die– Myasthenia Gravis, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, its not Autism.”

I said shut up. This is cromulent research we are talking about, here, no time for tomfoolery. Right, so DNA in in brain cells, and get this, it RECOMBINES with your brain cells DNA in a homologous recombinaltion tiniker manner, which makes your brain cells express non-self proteins, which makes your immune system (which is like, totally overwhelmed) attack your brain because your immune system thinks your brain is NOT YOUR BRAIN. Which perfectly explains why children with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome have no detectable brains. Their immune system ate it after they got vaccines with DNA in them. Thats right, human DNA.

Some BRAINWASHED commentors at Oracs place pointed out that if this were at all possible, people who had gotten blood transfusions or transplants or ever had sex would also suffer from homologous recombinaltion tiniker, but dont, so… yeah…

But *I* thought everyone missed a much greater issue– Cats.

Thats right, cats.

See, cat allergies were already on my mind because a group of scientists recently got a lot of press for creating a (maybe) cat allergy vaccine:

Development and preliminary clinical evaluation of a peptide immunotherapy vaccine for cat allergy

People breathe cat DNA (thats right, cat DNA) by inhaling cat dander all the time, which results in cat allergies in some people. Now, cats have almost 18,000 genes homologous to humans. Which means… you got it: WE COULD HAVE HOMOLOGOUS RECOMBINALTION TINIKER BETWEEN HUMAN AND CAT DNA!!!!

Humans could be having their human brains replaced with cat brains as we speak, and NO ONE at the CDC appears to be interested in investigating this threat to humanity. Not even Super Genius Helen Ratatatatataczk, who is obviously a super genius, and does not have a brain of a cat.

No one, except these awesome scientists. Their vaccine contains cat dander peptides– not cat DNA. Thats right, not cat DNA. And, no cat dander proteins. Know that immune therapy I mentioned the other day? They normally contain the actual proteins (thats right, the actual proteins). Well, when you just start the therapy, you have a ton of IgE that recognized the proteins, so when you get them via an allergy shot, you could have a severe, if not deadly, allergic reaction.

The vaccine these folks made is just peptides– bits and pieces of the protein that is instigating the trouble. These peptides are taken up by T-cells, which directs the immune response to the peptide in an alternate direction, so you no longer get the allergic response to the actual protein.

Its very cool from a scientific and medical perspective. Its also cool from a kook perspective– Vaccines are Teh Devil, but here is a vaccine that could prevent human people from turning into cat people, according to Helen Raczklahsdfasds logic.

Liz Ditz suggested “Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker” be incorporated into the title of some sort of an award, and I wholeheartedly agree. Thus I hereby bestow upon Margitta Worm MD, Hae-Hyuk Lee MD, Jorg Kleine-Tebbe MD, Roderick P. Hafner PhD, Paul Laidler PhD, David Healey MS, Cecile Buhot PhD, Adrienne Verhoef PhD, Bernard Maillere PhD, A. Barry Kay MD/PhD, and Mark Larch PhD the “Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker Award for the Prevention of Cat People aka ‘Manimals‘”

We will never know how many lives these folks have saved.

Unless Helen does another literature review.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin
    April 7, 2011

    I was having a good morning. Now my brain hurts. Seriously, reading that article gave me a headache…

  2. #2 ERV
    April 7, 2011

    *nod* That ‘headache’ is a side-effect of the homologous recombinaltion tinikering going on in your brain cells.

  3. #3 JohnV
    April 7, 2011

    “Humans could be having their human brains replaced with cat brains as we speak,”

    No wonder I got hungry on my last visit to the vivarium.

  4. #4 Mobius
    April 7, 2011

    Oh thank you thank you thank you thank you!

    You has saved us from the evils cats. Dogs and humans everywhere will sing Hosannas to your name.

    ERV! ERV! ERV!

  5. #5 Chris Lindsay
    April 7, 2011

    I don’t know this crazy ho might be on to something. Every time I exchange DNA with my wife, I think there just might be some tinkering going on in my brain.

  6. #6 mcmillan
    April 7, 2011

    I think my brain has been recombinaltionaly tinikered since I can’t stop laughing right now.

    Yes, a ‘literature review’ is a totally foreign concept to everyone in science except for Helen Ratajczak. Thank gawd for her. Her discovery of ‘PubMed’ will revolutionize science.

    Reminds me of when I started my first grad project and was starting out tracking down sources (if only I had Helen around to give me advice). One of the reviews I found had a methods section -odd maybe it wasn’t actually a review like I first thought. Then I read the method section:

    I searched MEDLINE database [18] for the key words
    ‘‘COMT AND polymorphism’’ in November 2004 for the first time, and found 287 abstracts. … In order to avoid an oversize number of references, I selected representative large-scale association studies and meta-analyses recently published in journals with a high impact factor.

    I think it may have been written by Helen’s collaborator. Actually no, that’s too insulting, I actually found some good references that I missed with my own initial search.

  7. #7 feralboy12
    April 7, 2011
    “the body’s immune system being thrown out of balance.”

    Mine fell right over.

  8. #8 Elipson
    April 7, 2011

    Just think what happens to the poor cannibals after they’ve eaten a whole human! They mutate like all hell!

    Maybe there is something to the old saying about eating a man’s heart in order to gain his strength!

  9. #9 Chrisj
    April 7, 2011

    Iz not tru dat replacing Uman brainz wiv Cat brainz haz led to diffoccultdiffacoltdiffoclotproblems wiv riting. Nao, Iz hungry. Can haz cheezeburger?

  10. #10 SLC
    April 7, 2011

    This clown is a correspondent for CBS News. Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite must be turning over in their graves. What a comedown for a formerly elite news organization.

  11. #11 Jon H
    April 7, 2011

    To be fair, I think what’s posted on the web is probably a transcript of what was spoken on the air, possibly the same text used for closed captioning.

    Assuming it was actually on the air. Did anyone actually catch it on TV? Does anyone actually watch TV news anymore?

  12. #12 Herp N. Derpington
    April 7, 2011

    “Homologous recombinaltion tiniker” remains unedited on the CBS website as of this posting. Let’s hear it for…

    tinikers?

  13. #13 SoulmanZ
    April 7, 2011

    Am I giving too much credit by saying “it does this homologous recombination thing” in a heavy eastern european accent and seeing maybe this is a transcription error (hah!)?

    thanks by the way. studying for some stupidly major and tough exams right now, and you brightened my day no end

  14. #14 Kele Cable
    April 7, 2011

    wtf is tiniker?

  15. #15 Rev.Frost
    April 7, 2011

    Couldn’t she have just saved time by Rick Rolling us instead?

  16. #16 SoulmanZ
    April 7, 2011

    @ Kele @ 14

    seriously, try saying “homologous recombination thing” in a very heavy eastern european accent, not that I know the author has one

    thing can sound very like ‘tinker’ or even ‘tiniker’

    but that does not change the point it still would make no sense

  17. #17 ghholm
    April 7, 2011

    @Elipson: Don’t forget about kuru….eat a man’s brain to get his crazy-assed laughing disease!

  18. #18 ERV
    April 7, 2011

    This wasnt supposed to be a ‘funny’ post. Im serious, you guys. Cat people are a very serious threat to the future of our species.

    If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are HOMOLOGOUS RECOMBINALTION TINIKERS + DWARFS??

  19. #19 Brian
    April 8, 2011

    How indeed!? I can think of only one possible explanation: One of our ancestors back in prehistory must have injected themselves with PYGMY DANDER. And it tinikered their DNA. Recombinaltionally.

    Now excuse me, I’m off to go run some PubMed searches.

  20. #20 Jon H
    April 8, 2011

    “Am I giving too much credit by saying “it does this homologous recombination thing” in a heavy eastern european accent and seeing maybe this is a transcription error (hah!)?”

    An accent probably isn’t even necessary. The transcriber probably blew a brain fuse during “homologous”, started botched “recombination”, and just punted on whatever ‘t’ word came after that in order to catch up.

    Homologous recombination… that’s nine syllables in two words, which is WAY more than you typically find in US news broadcasts.

    Crappy that they haven’t corrected it, of course, but I expect no better from network TV.

  21. #21 titmouse
    April 8, 2011

    wtf is tiniker?

    It is a meme. That’s right, a meme.

    Journal of Immunotoxicology –who are you? I’ve never heard of you. Moar liek the Journal of Pure Poppycock amirite?

  22. #22 Azkroth
    April 8, 2011

    Why could human DNA potentially cause brain damage?

    Well, if you only look at people like Helen Ratajczak you might notice a correlation between the two, but establishing a mechanism might prove difficult.

  23. #23 Birger Johansson
    April 8, 2011

    Sooo…If you get bitten by a zombie and get zombie DNA, it will homolgously recombine tinkiker (sic!) your brain cells and make you shuffle around, drooling and saying “braaaainz…” until the hero/heroine cuts off your head with a chain saw. Helen Ratajczak has found the mechanism for this severe threat to the human race! Time to call the Nobel comittee in Stockholm!

  24. #24 stripey_cat
    April 8, 2011

    So this is why, after snuggling a cat, I fell asleep in a sunbeam and woke up with the irresistible urge to play with toy mice.

  25. #25 fusilier
    April 8, 2011

    This explains, perfectly, the scores on the lab exam I’m giving this week.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  26. #26 jaranath
    April 8, 2011

    I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep until I know what “tiniker” is. “Tinker” sounds right for the word, but in context “homologous recombination tinker” is still word salad. But then, I think word salad is quite likely from the person, so maybe it doesn’t matter…

  27. #27 ERV
    April 8, 2011

    Has anyone really been far as decided to use even go want to do look more like homologous recombinaltion tiniker?

  28. #28 jaranath
    April 8, 2011

    Precisely.

  29. #29 Epinephrine
    April 8, 2011

    Funny, except for the deliberate misspellings of Ratajczak’s name. Then again, I breathe a lot of cat DNA, so it could just be homologous recombinaltion tinikering my frontal cortex and affecting my judgment.

  30. #30 AutismNewsBeat
    April 8, 2011

    Ratajczak’s paper doesn’t refer to “tiniker” or any word like it. Here is the relevant paragraph (on pg. 3):

    The human DNA from the vaccine can be randomly inserted into the recipient’s genes by homologous recombination, a process that occurs spontaneously only within a species.

    It’s possible Ratajczak said “tinkering” and Attkisson misheard it, and being a prize-winning CBS science reporter and all used the word “tiniker.”

    Another possibility: Tinikling is a Filipino dance in which the dancer steps between two long wooden poles (representing a bird-trap) held near the floor and drawn together and apart to the rhythm of the music. Perhaps human DNA in vaccines affect the immune system’s rhythm, resulting in crippling ankle injuries.

  31. #31 ERV
    April 8, 2011

    OMFG I HAVENT THOUGHT OF TINIKLING IN LIKE DECADES!!!! WE DID THAT IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND I LOVED THAT SHIT!!! OMFG NOSTALGIA SUPER WIN!!!!

  32. #32 Sili
    April 8, 2011

    I suspect there’d be quite a bit of money to made by making genoowine catgirls.

  33. #33 Shane Fron OZ
    April 8, 2011

    My biology may be a little rusty – but do not neurons lack a nucleus? Where would the DNA go??

  34. #34 Shane
    April 8, 2011

    Must be rustier than I thought looks like they do…
    bugger

  35. #35 John C. Welch
    April 8, 2011

    Seriously? Goddamnit, i give up. No matter how hard I try, I, a mere IT person can never, ever hope to attract the high-quality nutters you scientists get because you happened to wake up that morning.

    I mean, we get raving loons, but this…this is just so far above what we’ll ever see. Sigh.

  36. #36 JimNorth
    April 9, 2011

    Shane from Oz – erythrocytes do not have nuclei, neurons, however, do. Google is your friend (as is a gazillion years of biology).

  37. #37 example
    April 10, 2011

    doesn’t the blood-brain barrier prevent immune cells from getting into the brain in the first place?

    Interesting, a little googling indicates that the brain has a separate immune system based on microgilial cells.

    http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=BAE7A632-ACEB-4F74-9445-C4C07543717

  38. #38 Christophe Thill
    April 11, 2011

    For some people, getting a cat brain would be a real improvement.

  39. #39 Prometheus
    April 11, 2011

    When I read this, I couldn’t help wondering how Dr. Ratajczak imagined that the same segment of DNA was recombining in each cell (rather than the random recombination I see when I try it in the lab) and how this recombination was selectively targeted to neurons.

    If anything, I’d have expected to see more recombination in muscle cells, which are (sort of) naturally competent (i.e. they can take up DNA from their surroundings). This would lead – by Dr. Ratajczak’s “logic” to a significant inflammatory response in muscles, which would be much easier to test for than neuroinflammation.

    Of course, after I read the entire article, I realised that Dr. Ratajczak had only a Popular Science level of understanding about recombination in human cells. If human recombination were as easy as Dr. Ratajczak imagines, our species would be much more diverse.

    Prometheus

  40. #40 windy
    April 13, 2011

    I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep until I know what “tiniker” is.

    Danger, as in “homologous recombination danger”? Dinger? Tinikers ate my baby?

  41. #41 Karlin
    July 10, 2011

    So, you are getting a PhD in immunology, and you have not had ONE lecture on how to ‘balance’ immune systems, and you think this gives you credibility? LOL – as if immune systems cannot possibly have balance between being active and not active, or overactive.

    If your professors are not up to it, try Googling “autoimmune disorder”, or “allergen-antibody interactions”, those will get you started in understanding the concept of “immune system balance”.

    Also, the human DNA she refers to is INJECTED into the blood stream; you compared that to INHALING cat dander. [try googling Injected, Inhaled].

    Sorry to be equally sarcastic.

  42. #42 Divalent
    July 10, 2011

    Ooo, google! Way cool!

    Much better than them brick and mortar “universities” with their “medical” schools and those “science” departments doing actual “research”, and making you have to “study” and “evaluate” and “understand”.

    Actually, by googling “immune system balance”, it’s clear you don’t even NEED know what it is, because you hit on over 78 thousand sites, mostly offering products (most of them “natural”!!!!) that just DO THAT BALANCING JOB for you! Unfortunately, doing the equivalent search on Pubmed, the database of peer-reviewed scientic reseach, you only get a measly 7 hits :-(

    So don’t bother with Pubmed; google is more better. Like, 10,000 times more better!!!!

  43. #43 dianne
    September 4, 2011

    Like the article, but really no need to call her a ‘crazy ho’. Why call people names? You can say she is delusional, has no idea what she is talking about etc. etc. just don’t lower yourself to true believers standards or antivaxxers. The reason we are winning is because we are rational, intelligent and we have no need for name calling.

    just my 2 cts.

  44. #44 pornalysis
    October 23, 2011

    I am scratching my head now, and wondering if my CAT will snort my dandruff…hey wait–was that m-m-mye-myeowww!my…y brain that said that?

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