Respectful Insolence

When first I commented on the unfortunate death of HIV/AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore a few days ago, little did I expect to be descended upon by several of her fellow denialists, who promptly swelled the comment thread after the post to close to a couple of hundred comments. Perhaps I should not have been so surprised. It’s an emotional story, and whenever, for example, Tara Smith wrote about HIV/AIDS pseudoscience it was not uncommon for her posts to provoke well over a thousand comments. It also doesn’t help that HIV/AIDS denialists tend to be among the most persistent of cranks.

In any case, when HIV/AIDS denialist Celia Farber decided to try to explain away Christine Maggiore’s death as being due to weakness due to a “cleanse,” I decided to take a look at her claims. From my perspective, it appeared that the dissembling about “cleanses” only made it seem more likely that Maggiore had an HIV-related pneumonia. Farber then decided to follow up one more time, and it’s a classic case of digging herself in deeper. Indeed, her “explanation” makes me think more than before that Maggiore probably had an HIV-associated pneumonia.

First, let me deal with something that annoys me. Farber appears unhappy about what I wrote but doesn’t have the courtesy or balls to bother to link back to me. I suppose it’s possibie that she was referring to some other blogger, but I don’t think so, particularly not after reading this:

I’m told that I stand accused in Internet hate swamp sites of claiming Christine Maggiore died “from a cleanse,” in the name of “denying” that she died of AIDS.

She died, while suffering from bilateral bronchial pneumonia, after taking on a de-tox cleanse, is what I reported. These people at these swampy sites apparently can’t read, can’t decipher basic English. Every time I report they accuse me of “denying,” but how can you be denying while you are reporting?

“Internet hate swamp site”? Little old me? I suppose so, but only towards quackery and pseudoscience. As I pointed out again and again, Maggiore’s death saddens me because it was due to an ideology that denies reality. Apparently, Farber can’t read her own words, because that’s exactly what she said: That a “cleanse” rendered Maggiore so weak that she could not fight off a case of pneumonia. She apparently can’t read the words of her friend, either. Let’s take a look at an excerpt from Christine Maggiore’s alleged e-mail:

Regarding my health, I finally figured out what’s going on…but it got really scary. Here’s the scoop I just sent a friend:

I have been through the absolute worst health nightmare ever. The cleanse, while definitely bringing about some profound benefits, left me feeling weak and dehydrated. I lost my appetite almost completely about 10 days ago and for some weird reason could only tolerate hot tea and hot chicken broth. I had been in touch with the cleanse doc who said all was typical, uncomfortable but typical. Not one to quit, I kept going. Then I started to have trouble breathing, I was feeling winded after the most simple task like making the bed.

This last Sunday, I stopped being able to sleep at all. So finally, genius that I am, I made an appointment to see my MD who is really smart and very well versed in natural health care and not at all into the HIV paradigm.I could only get in to see her yesterday. She said I was totally dehydrated and having a reaction to the herbs in the cleanse which she thought were suspicious. I asked her to check my lungs and she said they sounded clear. I told her I thought I should have a chest Xray anyway, just to be sure, but she was skeptical because I hadn’t had a cold, flu, cough or fever. But I insisted so she wrote me up to go to a radiology place that would give an immediate reading. By then I felt so ill I had to ask my neighbor to drive me and thank god he was there with me because I never would have made it to the radiologist without his help. As it turned out, the Xray showed a very serious case of bi-lateral bronchial pneumonia. The doctor immediately gave me IV rehydration, IV natural cortisone, and IV antibiotic.

It sure sounds to me as though Maggiore had been seriously ill at least since early December. Indeed, Farber’s reposting of Maggiore’s e-mail reinforces my opinion that she was either very ill beforehand, became ill (or more ill) after a “cleanse,” or both. Perhaps the most bizarre claim I’ve seen as to the cause of Maggiore’s death came from a commenter called Baby Pong on the Science Guardian blog, who claimed that EJ died as a result of a covert operation and that Maggiore’s death was similarly “extremely suspicious,” even going so far as to speculate that “the ‘holistic cleanse’ would have been an excellent opportunity for someone to have covertly introduced some extremely toxic substance into Christine’s body.” I don’t claim that this is what HIV/AIDS denialists are arguing in general; I only present it to show the depths of conspiracy mongering to which some of them routinely descend.

Looking at the e-mail reposted, I can’t help but give a tip of the ol’ hat to one of my commenters, who happens to be an infectious disease doctor and who happened to find Maggiore’s e-mail to be evidence that she did indeed have an AIDS-defining illness:

The information thus far available on Christine indicates a number of things:

  1. That she had about 2 weeks minimum of symptoms prior to her death, which is typical for PCP (this usually takes 2-3 weeks to progress as opposed to around 7 days for simple pneumonias).
  2. These symptoms (breathlessness with minimal exertion) are the hall mark of PCP, and are so typical that in themselves they should set alarm bells ringing in any clinician’s ears.
  3. Her doctor (who does [did?] not believe in the AIDS “paradigm”) did not manage her condition correctly, misdiagnosing her initial symptoms as being a “reaction to the herbs”. Brilliant.
  4. At that point, her lungs sounded clear (again this is quite typical for PCP) but at Christine’s insistence, an XRay revealed “bilateral pneumonia”.
  5. Ordinary “pneumonias” are always unilateral, in fact they are most often confined to a single lobe of a single lung. There are however 3 exceptions to this. They are:
  6. a). PCP, which is virtually always “bilateral”, b). Legionnaires disease, which may be bilateral, and c). Terminal bronchopneumonia in the elderly prior to death.
  7. Even with the diagnosis of bilateral pneumonia, Christine’s doctor did not consider hospitalization, but gave her antibiotics which obviously did not help cure her, but would have if she had a simple “pneumonia”.
  8. Failure of pneumonia to easily resolve with standard antibiotics is a sign that something else is wrong- usually the diagnosis is of a more serious or opportunistic pneumonia.
  9. Moderate to severe PCP is associated with significant inflammation of the lung and airways. Steroid hormones are always given (as well as specific antibiotics) to patients with this severity of PCP to reduce inflammation in the lung in the short term (a few days). So coincidentally, the steoids given by the doctor might have temporarily helped. However, without specific anti-PCP treatment, steroids would then have made things significantly worse, causing rapid deterioration of Christine’s health, which seems to fit with the time line.

The information provided by you and Christine in her email actually help to point to PCP being the cause of her pneumonia.

I agree.

Christine’s letter struck me right to my heart. She was clearly quite ill, and it is unlikely that the cleanse was what caused her illness or set her up for the pneumonia that killed her. Given her history of denialism, to the point that her daughter had died, it would have been extremely difficult for her to admit that she had been wrong, particularly given that her entire social system had been built up around her denialism. Worse, she had clearly trusted herself to a doctor who was a quack. Yes, a quack. This clown gave her some sort of “cleansing” regimen that was so harsh that Farber believed it plausible that it weakened her to the point where she could not fight off a pneumonia.

Personally, I have some advice for HIV/AIDS denialists like Celia Farber. Don’t be so eager to volunteer information. The more you volunteer, the deeper the whole you dig yourself.

Comments

  1. #1 Robster, FCD
    January 5, 2009

    Who asks for an Xray because they think they might have a cold, flu, cough or fever?

    Seriously. Who asks for a chest Xray?

  2. #2 DLC
    January 5, 2009

    In the slightly more than a year(?)that I’ve been reading Respectful Insolence, I have to say that this is one of the most disturbing issues you have written about.
    I remember reading the first post here on AIDS denialism and thinking: “How can they possibly not understand this?” Even if you don’t “get” the science, it’s fairly clear.
    Take the meds, live longer. Don’t take the meds, die sooner.

    last question: what’s the point in being in denial about this issue ? What visceral reaction is it that makes people jump into the HIV – AIDS denialism camp ?
    Serious question, not troll-bait.

  3. #3 Robster, FCD
    January 5, 2009

    DLC, for some, like cooler, it is the feeling of importance and pride that secret knowledge of conspiracies gives. Others cannot admit that they might be wrong, and attract followers (such as Duesberg and friends). So we then have the followers of the charismatic, along for the ride out of faith.

    I suspect that Christine was one of these until her need to deny reality became far more personal, if not pathological. If she were to have confronted the facts that her actions had caused deaths of those that had listened to her, as someone who had developed a following of her own, the world that she had constructed for herself would have come crashing down. Add to that the death of her child from medical neglect, and it becomes all too human to believe comforting things.

    She had also seen the backlash that leaving the denialist cult would have earned her, had she sought out appropriate and life saving help.

    I think that Christine deep down knew that she was wrong. Doctor shopping, asking for a chest xray to diagnose a cold or flu… She knew, but couldn’t admit it, even to herself, due to the emotional consequences.

  4. #4 Lurkbot
    January 5, 2009

    DLC said:

    last question: what’s the point in being in denial about this issue ? What visceral reaction is it that makes people jump into the HIV – AIDS denialism camp ?
    Serious question, not troll-bait.

    As a non-medical-professional, I have a theory about this, but feel free to tell me I’m an idiot if you like.

    I think AIDS just seems totally different from any other disease that any of us have had experience with (at least in the 20th and 21st centuries.) We’re not used to suffering any ill effects from microorganisms themselves–sure there are exceptions, like diphtheria toxin–but most of what we cause disease is actually our immune system’s response to the presence of some germ or other.

    AIDS acts quite differently by knocking out people’s immune systems and causing them to confront the effects of microorganisms themselves and their unrestrained proliferation. Most people come down with some ailment, and they say it’s “caused” by some disease organism, and they’re right. But what they’re feeling is their body’s reaction to that disease organism. (As someone with a ridiculously overreactive immune system, I know what I’m talking about.)

    It’s natural that they would think AIDS is different from other diseases, they just have the reason backwards: They think it’s not the effect of a virus, when it’s really the common cold for example, or the symptoms we call the common cold, that’s not really caused by a virus, but by our own immune system’s response.

    OK, I’ll go back to my lurking again–just an idea.

  5. #5 Lurkbot
    January 5, 2009

    2nd Paragraph: “Most of what we call“, not cause, “disease…”

    It’s late.

  6. #6 mayhempix
    January 5, 2009

    After reading the comments on the previous thread I have concluded that Geiger is the Casey Luskin of AIDS/HIV Denialists but with a much thinner skin, Alice and her sockpuppets is incredibly angry that the real world rejects her self-inflated fantasies and cooler revels ignorantly in his.

    While I can understand the grief of those close to Maggiore, I must admit it is hard for me to have sympathy for a person who watched as their child collapsed while speaking on the phone to one of the idiots who, in my personal opinion, is complicit in the premature deaths of both of them.

    I know this has been stated repeatedly, but while an adult has the right to die because of ignorance and denial, it should be a crime that they can foist this on a child. As in the case of blood transfusions and withheld medications, the state should and must step in to see that a child is protected from negligence and abuse.

  7. #7 mayhempix
    January 5, 2009

    Wow… I was shocked when I hit the “post” button and a message appeared saying the comment would need to be read and approved.

    I hope this is only for this thread due to the ignorant repetitive HIV/AIDS Denialist freaks and not a new policy.

    And thanks for fighting the good war Orac. I had a young assistant die from AIDS before the “cocktails” were readily available. If he had gotten sick a few years later I’m quite certain he would still be alive today.

  8. #8 mayhempix
    January 5, 2009

    Interesting. My second post went right through even though my first post hasn’t appeared. Either the “review” message was a server screw up or else my first post was rejected, although I cannot imagine why.

  9. #9 marilove
    January 5, 2009

    mayhempix? …. Post don’t always go through right away because of spam and such. It happens. No need to get all paranoid.

  10. #10 Tracy W
    January 5, 2009

    last question: what’s the point in being in denial about this issue ? What visceral reaction is it that makes people jump into the HIV – AIDS denialism camp ?

    Not wanting to deal with nasty thoughts (“I might die”) and take nasty medications?

    Denial is a common reaction to all sorts of unpleasant news. I denied my dyspraxia as a kid – a rather less serious case, but in the same spirit. I didn’t want to spend my time at speech therapy – Mum made me go anyway. Which I am now grateful for.

    There are people who have managed to starve themselves basically to death in the belief that they don’t need food (see http://www.rickross.com/reference/breat/breat08.html, in two cases the immediate cause was slightly different). Starving yourself to death is even a more extreme form of denial than not taking Aids medications as your stomach has a lot to say about starvation.

    In the case of Christine, as Robster says, if she stopped denying she would have had to confront that she basically was responsible for her daughter’s death.

  11. #11 DLC
    January 5, 2009

    Thanks to Robster and Lurkbot for answering.

  12. #12 Kemist
    January 5, 2009

    last question: what’s the point in being in denial about this issue ? What visceral reaction is it that makes people jump into the HIV – AIDS denialism camp ?

    You might also add the social stigma to the mix in the specific case of AIDS.

    I’m not at all sure that, even today, there are no nasty social consequences for declaring yourself HIV+. Like losing your jobs, your friends, your spouse.

    At the outset, AIDS was associated with doing “naughty things” (teh gays, teh drugs). Some people, especially those who display blatant homophobia, want it to stay that way. Just discuss the subject of heterosexual, blood transfusion or lab accident transmission of HIV with them and you’ll see what I mean.

    At the other end of the spectrum, you have those who feel AIDS is a tool of persecusion against their specific group. That’s a very strong factor in what is happening in africa.

  13. #13 Kemist
    January 5, 2009

    In the case of Christine, as Robster says, if she stopped denying she would have had to confront that she basically was responsible for her daughter’s death.

    To paraphrase somebody I don’t remember the name of:

    The only path you have when you commit atrocity is more atrocity. To do anything else entails self-destruction.

    (When describing the psychlogical process that conducted perfectly normal people into commiting war crimes of the genocidal variety)

  14. #14 mayhempix
    January 5, 2009

    “No need to get all paranoid.”
    Posted by: marilove | January 5, 2009 9:55 AM

    No paranoia here… project much?

    I have been posting on Science Blogs for the better part of 2 years and am well aware of the occasional glitches. I had never seen a screen pop up on Orac stating that comments would be posted after being read and cleared. My original post finally appeared.

  15. #15 cooler
    January 5, 2009

    Yes, HIV deniers are loony tunes. If that were true I could easily get answers to a couple easy questions.

    In 1987 Cell killing drug that can induce blood tranfusions AZT that was designed for cancer chemotherapy in the 1960′s was approved by the FDA. Every prestigious medical school taught the HIV killed nearly everyone infected during the mid eighties. The IOM dedicated billions for research in 1985. Can someone provide me the overwhelming evidence that HIV kills nearly everyone infected from this time period that would justify these measures?

    Can someone please cite and breifly summarize them (so people can make sure you even read them) the scientific papers that you read that convinced you hiv kills nearly every person infected? Spamming a website in not evidence, it just proves HIV defenders, like creationists, have taken the hypothesis on faith, without critically reading scientific papers. Waiting.

    Anyways…..
    According to the CDC like 90,000 people died of pneumonia in 1999.

    “Pneumonia is a lung disease that can be caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria, and sometimes fungi. The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate nearly 90,000 people in the United States died from one of several kinds of pneumonia in 1999.”

    If you have HIV antibody and pneumonia you have AIDS, w/o is pneumonia. A hypothesis solely based on correlation thats an artifact of the definition! Even a 100% correlation doesn’t prove anything since all people that die of old age have wrinkles, it doesn’t mean wrinkles cause death in old people!

    And the HIV hypothesis is far less than a 100% correlation that since most HIV people are totally healthy, but the CDC can extend the latent period from 10 months to 10 years like they did to get around that!

    No animal model; a special retirement home built for hundereds of chimapanzees inoculated, no viral load ever photographed from a pateint with the EM, a virus that in 1/1000 cells, never has a wild animal died of SIV.

    The basis of the hypothesis is some correlation where the cause and effect are seperated by in this case almost 20 years. Well I’m sure all those people who died of pnemumonia had eaten ice cream 20 years ago. There is a near 100% correlation between people who eat ice cream and people that die of pneumonia! It must be the cause when its the there, and when it isn’t the original disease is then responsible!

  16. #16 Dianne
    January 5, 2009

    In 1987 Cell killing drug that can induce blood tranfusions AZT

    I suppose what cooler meant was that AZT can suppress the bone marrow to the point that a person taking it might need a transfusion, but the way it’s written I have this vision of the drug growing a pseudopod out of the body of the person who takes it, groping about until it finds a blood bank, grabbing a pack of RBCs (hope it checked for compatibility!) and IV tubing, and then snaking back to the person it came from, attaching the tubing to the PRBCs, and jabbing the needle in the person’s vein…quite a drug!

    Anemia is a real and significant side effect of AZT, BTW, but occurs in a minority of patients taking AZT. And it doesn’t really grow pseudopods.

  17. #17 Hanna
    January 5, 2009

    Robster, you’re so right on target. Christine specifically requested a chest x-ray though she notes “I hadn’t had a cold, flu, cough or fever.”

    Really? So she didn’t suspect pneumonia but asked for an x-ray “just to be sure.” Huh? Her daughter had shortness of breath and wasn’t well for 3 weeks and Christine never requested a chest x-ray for her child and relied on the sound of “clear lungs” by a physician.

    Christine’s alleged email tells us that a doctor can hear clear lungs on the same day an x-ray shows bi-lateral pneumonia.

    I agree with Orac on this. Celia Farber and Fintan Dunne should just shut up. They’ve made an even better case for PCP than existed on strong speculation alone.

  18. #18 Hanna
    January 5, 2009

    Robster said: “I think that Christine deep down knew that she was wrong. Doctor shopping, asking for a chest xray to diagnose a cold or flu… She knew, but couldn’t admit it, even to herself, due to the emotional consequences.”

    I couldn’t agree more, which is why her death doesn’t sadden me in the least and this is the ONLY time being an atheist sucks – I wish there was a god who would condemn her to the firey pits of hell for the pain and suffering she consciously caused on this planet, not the least of which was her own daughter.

    Strong EVIDENCE demonstrates that Christine absolutely knew that HIV causes AIDS. She took her daughter to 3 separate doctors in separate practices over a 3 week time frame over “sniffles and a cough,” rather than return to one doctor (Jay Gordon) who’d seen the child first and would have a baseline of wellness to measure against. She didn’t ask for a chest x-ray of her daughter though she told Dr. Gordon’s office when setting up the original appointment that her daughter was short of breath.

    And when the child died, she immediately lined-up a quack to second-guess the coroner’s report (an unbiased party) and drum up any cause of death, no matter how implausible, that would not hint at immune suppression.

    She was ANYTHING BUT INNOCENT.

    Sorry we disagree on this point Orac. I don’t even blame Duesberg as much as I blame her. He has no dog in this fight – she sacrificed her own daughter!

  19. #19 Rogue Epidemiologist
    January 5, 2009

    *picks up the feed bag*

    okay troll, here ya go.
    Can someone provide me the overwhelming evidence that HIV kills nearly everyone infected from this time period that would justify these measures?
    There’s plenty of mortality data that show that during this time period, pretty much everybody who had HIV could expect to eventually (within the next decade or so) die of AIDS. HOWEVER, in 1993, we started giving HIV+ folks HAART and lo and behold, despite the side effects, people with HIV started to live so long that doctors can no longer define an endpoint for Poz survival. This conference report summarizes two cohort studies pretty succinctly http://www.i-base.info/htb/v7/htb7-1-2/Mortality.html But you won’t read it anyway, so whatever.

    Generally they’re not using just AZT anymore. They’re using other therapies. Drugs have side effects. Yes they do. Are they sometimes dangerous ones? Yes. but until a better alternative comes along, they remain a gold standard. We are always looking for better methods. But you’d rather not believe that. You’d rather think all of us in research want to maim people for no good reason. You probably think we steal blankets from the homeless, tell children there’s no Santa Claus, and kick puppies for shits and giggles.

    If you have HIV antibody and pneumonia you have AIDS
    If you have pneumonia and the pathogen happens to be Pneumocystis juroveci and you have HIV, then you have AIDS. Other etiologies aren’t included unless they’re recurrent and complicated. Healthy people can kick pneumonia. But it requires medication plus an active immune system to do so. HIV denialists often have neither.

    And not everything is zoonotic. There are plenty of pathogens that are species-specific. Smallpox comes to mind. It has non-human variants that are NOT smallpox and are not as lethal.

  20. #20 Kemist
    January 5, 2009

    No animal model; a special retirement home built for hundereds of chimapanzees inoculated, no viral load ever photographed from a pateint with the EM, a virus that in 1/1000 cells, never has a wild animal died of SIV

    There’s not just SIV and HIV. There’s also a cute little virus with the same modus operandi which attacks felines. FIV.

    It does kill some felines species, and not others. A domestic cat infected with FIV will die about 5 years after diagnosis. I know, I had the displeasure of losing a cat that way. Of opportunistc pneumonia, confirmed with an autopsy (the vet did it for free because he had never seen such a case and was curious).

    FIV also kills among populations of wild felines.

  21. #21 Andrew Doyle
    January 5, 2009

    Interesting tidbit. Insurance investors may remember this extremely well. In the late 80′s/early 90′s, some investment companies were specifically buying the life insurance policies of people who were HIV positive. So a group of investors might buy the life insurance policy of an HIV+ person for half of its payout worth after death. The HIV+ person could then use the money for travel and to live and when he/she died, the new policy holders (the investors) would make, essentially, a 100% profit.

    Well, these investments were doing wonderfully. Investors believed they’d hit the jackpot with a 100% profit on investments within MONTHS.

    Out of no where came HAART and there was a big news story on the investors who IMMEDIATELY saw no return on investment. Policy holders stopped dying. And it was such a P.R. mess to boot because the policy holders were furious that the investment company wasn’t keeping itself current on HIV antiviral therapy and kept selling these policies and now the investor’s money was tied up. The policy holders were disgusted that the investors were, essentially, angry with them for not dying on schedule.

    This massive fiasco in itself proves HIV+ people who were formerly dropping like flies ended full stop after HAART. Just ask the investment companies and private investors who took a bath on these investments!

  22. #22 Tracy W
    January 5, 2009

    There is a near 100% correlation between people who eat ice cream and people that die of pneumonia! It must be the cause when its the there, and when it isn’t the original disease is then responsible!

    Before you can attribute pneumonia to ice-cream eating, you need to look at the number of people who don’t eat ice cream and see if they get pneumonia at a similar rate. You also want the two groups to be broadly comparable in other ways (no point in comparing 20-year-old non-ice cream eaters to 80 year old ice cream eaters). The more comparable the two groups are, and the wider the difference in percentages of people getting pneumonia, the more plausible the hypothesis is. Just looking at the group that ate ice-cream tells you nothing.

    I suggest you take a course in statistics or in the scientific method soon.

  23. #23 cooler
    January 5, 2009

    First off, Harrt wasn’t in use until use until late 1995 at the earliest, so I dont know where Rogue gets his 1993 figure. Second of all of course the death rates are going to drop when the monster Doses of AZT were cut back due to the lower less toxic drugs, the drop just got nearer to the amount of people that were dying before AZT was released, for example in 1986 there were 12,183 deaths, slowly peaking in the mid 90′s with appx 50k deaths and in 1997 there were 21,846 deaths. (Avert)

    As far as FIV of course you didn’t give any references to its causal role in disease. But most people who have FIV infected cats realize they live just as long as any other cats, from wikipedia

    “Approximately 11% [1] of cats worldwide, and about 2.5% of cats in the USA, [2] are infected with FIV. More than 90% of African lions in some zoos tested positive for the virus.[clarification needed] FIV differs taxonomically from two other feline retroviruses, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline foamy virus (FFV) and is more closely related to human immunodeficiency virus HIV. Within FIV, five subtypes have been identified based on amino acid sequence differences coding for the viral envelope. FIV is the only non-primate lentivirus to cause an AIDS-like syndrome, but FIV is not always a death sentence for cats, as they can live relatively healthily as carriers and transmitters of the disease for many years. A vaccine is available although its efficiency remains uncertain, and cats will test positive for FIV antibodies after vaccination.[3]”

  24. #24 cooler
    January 5, 2009

    @Tracy W
    So your saying if one conducted a study of 20 year olds who eat ice cream and those that don’t and found more people in the ice cream eaters group developed pnuemonia 20 years later, it would mean Ice cream consumption causes pneumonia? You are the the one that needs a stats class to understand correlations don’t usually prove causality, especially when the cause and effect are seperated by several years.

  25. #25 Dr. Matthew
    January 5, 2009

    Ah, this is why HIV behavioral medicine has often been considered a specialization by itself within clinical psychology. The levels of commitment in these cases pushes the cognitive dissonance through the roof, there are probably many who are willing to die rather than concede such a central part of their identity as “rejecting the AIDS ‘paradigm’.” It’s tragic, but sounds increasingly obvious, that Ms. Maggiore died of AIDS-related causes.

  26. #26 Alice's Ghost
    January 5, 2009

    Orac,

    You invited me to come here from the “Celia Farber on Christine Maggiore” thread to prove you are not a pseudonymous coward.

    What I see is a pseudonymous coward citing an anonymous source. We’re often told around here that a typical sign of pesudoscientists is that they don’t have the courage of their convictions.

    I tend to agree.

  27. #27 The Perky Skeptic
    January 5, 2009

    Arguments stand or fall based on their logic and the truthfulness of their premises. Pseudonymity, or lack thereof, has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  28. #28 Alice's Ghost
    January 5, 2009

    Quite right and the premise was that HIV = AIDS can only be proven, never disproven.

    Go read the original thread if you don;t want to make a fool of Orac by pointing out his fallacious logic.

    The fact is he knows this is pure speculation, wishful thinking rather, which is why he is afrad to put his or any body else’s name on it

  29. #29 Chris
    January 5, 2009

    Alice’s Ghost said “You invited me to come here from the “Celia Farber on Christine Maggiore” thread to prove you are not a pseudonymous coward.”

    No, he invited you to read his posting on the other blog. I already posted a comment there, I didn’t see you. It is easily found, have you tried looking for it?

  30. #30 Andrew Doyle
    January 5, 2009

    Cooler said: “There is a near 100% correlation between people who eat ice cream and people that die of pneumonia! It must be the cause when its the there, and when it isn’t the original disease is then responsible!”

    Now I see where the problem is Cooler. You don’t understand statistical values.

    If 50,000 people a year eat ice cream and 97% of those people go on to develop blindness in under 20 years and except for a handful of cases of people with blindness who never ate ice cream, you only see blindness in 97% of those 50,000 people – then you’re onto something, for sure.

    Which is why HIV causes AIDS.

    97% of Americans who test positive for HIV go on to develop a life-threatening OI within 10-20 years. And in all but a handful of cases, these OI’s are ONLY seen in HIV positive people. Put it together.

    Now, we have explained immune deficiency in organ recipients and people who’ve undergone whole-body radiation – so they account for your stragglers of people who develop things like PML, PCP, MAC, Cryptococcal Meningitis, MAC. But those diseases are otherwise EXCLUSIVE to HIV positive individuals but not their HIV negative cohorts.

  31. #31 Joseph C.
    January 5, 2009

    I already posted a comment there, I didn’t see you. It is easily found, have you tried looking for it?

    This is too much fun. Watching the woo fail at even the most low level of tasks, like searching the Internet.

  32. #32 Alice's Ghost
    January 5, 2009

    Chris, you may be right, but this was the only link given per yesterday, so I guess it must have some relvance to the boast, no?

    You guys are so deeply mired in your own secrecy that you are calling the site I have to go to “the other blog” and don’t give the link. I am sorry, butI have only recently become an Orac fan, so it’d be nice if you could be more specific.

  33. #33 Alice's Ghost
    January 5, 2009

    Chris, you may be right, but this was the only link given per yesterday, so I guess it must have some relvance to the boast, no?

    You guys are so deeply mired in your own secrecy that you are calling the site I have to go to “the other blog” and don’t give the link. I am sorry, but I have only recently become an Orac fan, so it’d be nice if you could be more specific.

  34. #34 BSE
    January 5, 2009

    Oh dear… I tried clicking on the link to the maggiore email and it appears to have vanished from deansmay site… such a shame.

    Can Farber vanish along with her postings?

  35. #35 Dianne
    January 5, 2009

    What I see is a pseudonymous coward

    Sez the person posting as “Alice’s ghost”: Somehow I don’t think that’s your real name any more than “orac” is orac’s real name. Alice might be your real first name, I suppose.

  36. #36 trrll
    January 5, 2009

    Can someone please cite and breifly summarize them (so people can make sure you even read them) the scientific papers that you read that convinced you hiv kills nearly every person infected?

    Actually, some of the people around here are old enough to have learned about the lethality of untreated HIV first hand. Many of us lost people close to us during those desperate years prior to the development of antiretroviral therapy. Others had the discouraging task of treating HIV patients as they fell prey to one opportunistic infection after another.

    It is curious that while HIV denialists set great store in anecdotal reports of HIV+ individuals who were fortunate enough to live many years without developing AIDS or taking antiretroviral therapy, the accounts of those who lost family, friends, and patients seem to carry no weight with them.

  37. #37 Chris
    January 5, 2009

    Alice’s Ghost: Try using http://blogsearch.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wb

  38. #38 Kemist
    January 5, 2009

    As far as FIV of course you didn’t give any references to its causal role in disease. But most people who have FIV infected cats realize they live just as long as any other cats, from wikipedia

    huh ???

    A perfectly healthy cat drops dead at 5 years old ? Has infections all the time ? Dies of a pneumonia so rare that my specialist vet had never seen it ?

    That’s news to me, buddy. I’ve been owned by one or several cats all my life. I’ve only had one which was FIV+, and that was the one who died at 5. Oh, and our other cat, which was older, mysteriously became sick, repeatedly, of multiple infections, after we introduced the FIV+ cat in the house. It died at 8 of a weird kidney disease the vet had never seen. That’s quite young for an indoor only cat. A cat that was completely healthy before the arrival of the FIV+ one.

    A normal indoor cat lives 15 to 20 years. FIV infections are commonly diagnosed at around 3 to 5 years old, and normally in homeless cats, which live typically 8 to 10 years of age. Do a quick calculation. Yep, in a typical setting, FIV does not seem to shorten a cat’s life, when you consider such uninformative data as life expectancy.

    However, if it were infected much earlier, say by its mother when it’s a kitten, as mine has been, I bet it would shorten its life, wouldn’t it ?

    FIV, like HIV, is a delayed death sentence for most of those affected. The reason this expression (“not a death sentence”) is used so very often in articles about FIV is that most owners of FIV+ animals decide, upon diagnosis, to have their cat euthanized, because they quite likely will face increasingly hefty vet bills until the animal’s untimely demise.

    I’ve experienced it, and believe me, taking care of a FIV+ cat is high maintenance. Those are cats that you have to watch all the time for the slightest sign of infection. You have to run to the vet each time for antibiotics because the infections never resolve by themselves. Does that sound like a healthy cat to you ?

    Nobody more than me would have liked to believe that FIV didn’t shorten a cat’s life (I was reassured by those words, “not a death sentence”). But here it is, it died right on FIV’s schedule, at least 10 years earlier than expected.

    FIV, and its ugly cousin FLV (both are close relatives, enough to be detected with the same ELISA test), are a real concern for cat breeders and owners everywhere. And in many wildlife preserves of africa.

  39. #39 dt
    January 5, 2009

    It certainly seems as though Celia Farber’s article on DeansWorld has magically been airbrushed from history. Someone obviously realised that the details and speculations within it actually made a very strong case for Christine having died from an AIDS-related pneumonia such as PCP, something the denialists could obviously not tolerate.

    These people sicken me. They haven’t even the courage of their own convictions. Uninformed, deluded and paranoid to the last.

  40. #40 David Lee
    January 5, 2009

    Would this count for a Darwin award?

  41. #41 Jason Hart
    January 5, 2009

    Please indulge a longish comment, but as you will see, it is both relevant & from a refreshingly angle, a propos of the cause of Christine’s immunodeficiency.

    It’s from an essay by Dr matt Irwin entitled “Aids & Voodoo Hexing”:

    “[...] A more recent article by Meador appeared in the Southern Medical Journal in 1992. Dr. Meador gave case histories of two people who received death-hexes from medicine men. The two men had very different outcomes, apparently due to the ability of one of their physicians to alter the belief structure of the patient. One of the most astounding elements of his case histories is that one of the men was a Haitian given a death hex by a medicine man, while the other was an American given a death hex unintentionally because of a false positive liver scan which appeared to indicate widespread metastatic cancer, when in actuality there was none. The “medicine man” who placed this second hex was Dr. Meador, himself, the author of the article.The first patient, a poorly educated man near death after a hex pronounced by a local voodoo priest, rapidly recovered after ingenious words and actions by his family physician. The second, who had a diagnosis of metastatic carcinoma of the esophagus, died believing he was dying of widespread cancer, as did his family and his physicians. At autopsy, only a 2 cm nodule of cancer in his liver was found. (page 244)The actions of the physician whose patient made a dramatic recovery were truly remarkable, and involved something more akin to theatre, rather than medical treatment:The patient had been ill for many weeks and had lost a large amount of weight. He looked wasted and near death. Tuberculosis or widespread cancer was considered the likely diagnosis. The patient refused to eat and continued a downward course depsite a feeding tube.

    He soon reached a stage of near stupor, coming in and out of consciosness, and was barely able to talk. Only then did his wife ask to speak with Dr. Daugherty privately… The wife told him that about 4 months before hospitalization, the patient had an argument with a local voodoo priest. The priest summoned him to a local cemetery late one night, and… annonced that he had “voodooed” him, that he would die in the very near future.

    Dr. Daugherty spent many hours that evening pondering… what he could do to save this moribund man. The next morning he gathered 10 or more of the patient’s kin at the bedside; they were trembling and frightened to even be associated with this doomed man. Dr. Daugherty announced in his most authoritative voice that he now knew exactly what was wrong. He told them of a harrowing encounter at midnight the night before in the local cemetery where he had lured the voodoo priest. Dr. Daugherty reported that he had… choked the priest against a tree nearly to death until the priest described exactly what he had done. Dr. Daugherty announced to the astonished patient and family “That voodoo priest made some lizard eggs climb down into your stomach and they hatched out some small lizards. All but one of them died leaving a large one which is eating up all of your food and the lining of your body. I will now get that lizard out of your sustem and cure you of this horrible curse.” With that he summoned the nurse, who had, on prearrangement, filled a large syringe with apomorphine (a powerful emetic for inducing vomiting). With great ceremony, Dr. Daugherty squirted the smallest amount of clear liquid into the air and lunged towards the patient, who by now had gathered enough strength to be sitting up wide-eyed in the bed. Although he pressed himself against the headboard trying to withdraw from the injection, Dr. Daugherty delivered the entire dose of apomorphine. With that he wheeled about, said nothing, and dramatically left the ward. Within a few moments the patient began to vomit. When Dr. Daugherty arrived at the bedside the patient was retching, one wave of spasms after another. His head was buried in a metal basin. After several minutes of continued vomiting and at a point judged to be near its end, Dr. Daugherty pulled from his black bag, carefully and secretively, a live green lizard. At the height of the next wave of retching, he slid the lizard into the basin. He called out in a loud voice, “Look what has come out of you. You are now cured. the voodoo curse is lifted.”…

    The patient’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open. He looked dazed. he then drifted into a deep sleep within a minute or two, saying nothing. The sleep lasted until the next morning. When he awoke, he was ravenous for food. Within a week the patient was discharged home, and soon regained his weight and strength. he lived another 10, or more, years, and died of an apparent heart attack. No one else in the family was affected…

    I reflected on this case for many years. I could make no sense of it until I read Walter Cannon’s classic paper, “Voodoo Death”. (pages 244-245)Dr. Meador goes on to describe Cannon’s paper, and summarizes the aspects necessary to cause a voodoo hex to succeed, including deep belief in the hex by the victim, the family, and the community, as well as initial social isolation followed by expectant preparations for death. Before describing the American man who died after a false liver scan, he asks the following question: Even if such a strongly held belief could cause death, most Westerners think of hexing as a bizarre superstitious practice limited to ignorant people. It has no pertinence to modern Western society… does it? (page 245).This patient died with only a small patch of pneumonia and a small nodule of cancer in his liver. His wasting syndrome was unresponsive to antibiotics, and he died “thinking that he was dying of cancer, a belief shared by his wife, her family, his surgeons, and me, his internist” (page 246). Meador asks yet another question of the reader: “If the first patient was cured of a hex, did the second die of a hex?”.

    Some of the descriptions of the first patient’s illness bear remarkable resemblance to AIDS. The patient “had lost a large amount of weight”. He looked “wasted and near death”. Tuberculosis or widespread cancer was considered the likely diagnosis, and tuberculosis is one of the most common “AIDS-defining illnesses”. Several types of cancer are also considered AIDS-defining. The patient “continued a downward course despite a feeding tube”, showing that malnutrition alone did not explain his demise. He also suffered from severe dementia.

    Kaada (1989) presents a review of research into the opposite of the placebo effect, dubbed the “nocebo” effect. This is the negative effect on health associated with harmful beliefs and psychological stressors. He comments on voodoo hexing and the ability to resist its power as follows:”In its most extreme, nocebo-stimuli may cause death, as in voodoo-death in primitive societies, an example of the fear-paralysis reflex. Whether the outcome is positive or negative is determined, inter alia, by the subject’s possibility of coping with the situation.”This could explain why some people live for years after an HIV diagnosis with no ill health, while others succumb in much shorter time.”

  42. #42 dt
    January 5, 2009

    To follow up the problem of “disappearing links”.
    I have just tried to access what I was informed was Christine’s and Robin’s myspace site.
    http://www.myspace.com/Error404msp.aspx?c=11
    The link has been disabled.

    Myspace’s comment is rather pithy and very apt:

    Viruses are not fun! // We cut the links to places that are known sources of infection.

  43. #43 Mike
    January 5, 2009

    This sounds analogous to the anti-vaxers causing measles epidemics. If AIDS drug therapies control opportunistic infections, fewer infections should occur. In areas where hiv-deniers ‘congregate’ there might be measurable jumps in those infections. I propose we sponsor a few big denier conventions and see what happens!

  44. #44 Rebecca
    January 5, 2009

    Jason Hart, I don’t understand the point of the story that you’ve cited. Could you please spell it out? Are you trying to claim that people die of HIV only because they believe they’ll die of it? Like an earlier poster, I’m old enough to remember when the HIV epidemic started in the United States (around 1981), and I can tell you that people were dying of HIV long before anyone knew about AIDS – for example when young men who had been previously healthy were suddenly stricken with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare disease that usually struck only old men. A boss of mine died of AIDS in 1982 or 1983. It was a grim time.

  45. #45 Monado
    January 5, 2009

    Kemist, I agree with you. I adopted a cat from Animal Control and it got every bleedin’ infection that came down the pike. I would regularly spend hundreds of dollars on IVs and care for him. I was so glad I had pet insurance–which you can’t get for an old cat. Eventually we found out that he was FIV positive.

    That other commenter is misquoting Wikipedia (that bastion of scientific accuracy). Saying that an FIV+ cat can live for many years is not the same as saying that it has the same life expectancy of other cats.

    BTW, my cats, which can go in & out at will, live an average of 17+ years. Cause of death: heart attack at 16, tumor at 17, brain tumor at 17, died in sleep at 16, finally had to put one down at 23.

  46. #46 Jason Hart
    January 5, 2009

    Rebecca

    I’m saying Christine was an intellectual adult who was convinced of her views (so strange in fact the the orthodoxy calls Aids dissident “denialists” when in every forum like this one, it’s clear there’s a real debate going on between equals, all with command of the literature). However, there’s no underestimating the psychological& emotional stress of being accused of murdering one’s own daughter, & never having the chance to mourn her. I believe that ultimately, she died of a psychosomatic cause: she internalized the hate, & killed herself.

    I think you got it the wrong way around – in the early 80′s people were dying of Aids before they’d ever heard of “HIV”. Kaposi’s sarcoma – isn’t that still limited only to certain sub-groups of Aids-sufferers?

    Please excuse me for the next several hours, it’s 4 a.m. here in South Africa, bed beckons. Happy debating.

  47. #47 Joseph C.
    January 5, 2009

    I believe that ultimately, she died of a psychosomatic cause: she internalized the hate, & killed herself.

    It’s amazing the magical thinking that people stoop to keep their own delusions alive. This is nonsense of the utmost moment.

  48. #48 Martín Pereyra
    January 5, 2009

    It seems nobody has posted it yet, so for the interested, the Google cache got Farber’s vanished post on Maggiore’s email.

  49. #49 Rowan
    January 5, 2009

    i thought this post yesterday by andrew sullivan to be quite enlightening.

    I’m reminded of this acutely by the case of Christine Maggiore, a woman I met and interacted with as another person with HIV. Christine adamantly denied that HIV was related to AIDS and refused anti-HIV medication on those grounds. She died last week. Of AIDS. That was her choice, it seems to me, however tragic it is.

    i wonder how many e-mail messages have filled his inbox as a result of saying she died of AIDS. hmmmm…

  50. #50 cooler
    January 5, 2009

    How long will my FIV cat live?
    “Potentially, as long as any other cat. Surprisingly, there is no proven shortening of life expectancy with FIV cats, although you do need to keep on top of any infections it may pick up, as neglected illness will not help! It is not FIV that causes the problems, but the secondary infections it may pick up. So if you are vigilant, your cat should live a normal length of life.”

    http://www.webpaws.com/mwhs/fiv.html

    From the Metro west Humane society! The
    Deadly FIV epidemic! They actually take care of cats infected!

  51. #51 Paul Murray
    January 5, 2009

    So your saying if one conducted a study of 20 year olds who eat ice cream and those that don’t and found more people in the ice cream eaters group developed pnuemonia 20 years later, it would mean Ice cream consumption causes pneumonia? You are the the one that needs a stats class to understand correlations don’t usually prove causality, especially when the cause and effect are seperated by several years.

    On the contrary. If one conducted a study like that and found those results, it would indeed be very suspicious. Depends on a lot, of course, particularly on the size of the study and degree of correlation. And like anything statistical, there’s no “proof”, there’s only – at best – “beyond reasonable doubt”.

    BTW: in the contex you used it, it’s “you’re”, not “your”.

  52. #52 Jason Hart
    January 5, 2009

    Joseph C:

    Firstly, please read the anecdotes from the Southern Medical Journal, posted further up. Then, in response to your incredulity that Christine Maggiore could’ve died of psychosomatic causes – why? It was the stigma and media infamy and the loss of her daughter and the further stigma and media infamy that wore her down. Stress kills. Whether it was pneumonia or cardio disease or a bad reaction to something is really immaterial. People die young when they are under constant stress, unless they have some way to compensate for or stop its toll. This is attested in the literature – please see my posting above?

    I find it harder to believe some little gremlin that nobody ever saw did it. Frankly, I think *that’s* far-fetched.

    As for “FIV” – come on, that really *is* a joke, it’s a franchise, just like HIV – nice buckaroos for da kitty-pharma companies & the vets! Yum!

  53. #53 Joseph C.
    January 5, 2009

    Firstly, please read the anecdotes from the Southern Medical Journal, posted further up.

    I don’t care what non-data you have to feed your cult thinking. I’ll take your endorsement as an indication that they’re an utter waste of time.

    I find it harder to believe some little gremlin that nobody ever saw did it. Frankly, I think *that’s* far-fetched.

    Only problem for you is that this just isn’t true. There are images of HIV. Heck, someone even posted some here on this very blog recently. On this completely stupid note, you can’t see CO either. Wanna huff some?

  54. #54 HCN
    January 5, 2009

    Jason Hart said “Firstly, please read the anecdotes from the Southern Medical Journal,”

    This is an oldy but goodie: The plural of anecdote is not data.

  55. #55 trrll
    January 5, 2009

    Firstly, please read the anecdotes from the Southern Medical Journal, posted further up. Then, in response to your incredulity that Christine Maggiore could’ve died of psychosomatic causes – why? It was the stigma and media infamy and the loss of her daughter and the further stigma and media infamy that wore her down. Stress kills.

    I am thinking about your case report of the man who thought that he had cancer, and died–and it turned out that he was right: he did indeed have cancer. Now a rational person would figure that perhaps he died of his cancer, even if the autopsy didn’t managed to find the particular tumor that killed him. After all, the human body is a complicated thing, and cancers can disrupt physiology by multiple mechanisms–for example, by producing excess amounts of hormones or other physiological regulators–so a fatal tumor does not always have to be large. But you jump to the conclusion that he died as a result of the power of suggestion.

    Then we have a person infected with HIV, who dies with symptoms that (based upon what has been reported) are characteristic of an AIDS-associated infections. A rational person would suspect that the person did, indeed, die as a result of AIDS. But you jump to the conclusion that she died as a result of the power of suggestion.

    I don’t know about suggestion, but denial is indeed a powerful thing–powerful enough to kill Christine Maggiore and many others.

  56. #56 Chris Noble
    January 6, 2009

    I’m saying Christine was an intellectual adult who was convinced of her views (so strange in fact the the orthodoxy calls Aids dissident “denialists” when in every forum like this one, it’s clear there’s a real debate going on between equals, all with command of the literature).

    Sure.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/12/hivaids_denialist_celia_farber_weighs_on.php#comment-1298138

    It would make your case more convincing if any of you could demonstrate that you can read a scientific study and understand it.

  57. #57 Cathy
    January 6, 2009

    I found this quote in an old article about Christine from the LA Times:

    “She has stayed healthy, she said, despite a cervical condition three years ago that would qualify her for an AIDS diagnosis. In a 2002 article for Awareness magazine, she facetiously refers to it as ‘my bout of so-called AIDS,’ saying it coincided ‘perfectly with the orthodox axiom that we get a decade of normal health before our AIDS kicks in.’”

    So as far back as 2002, as I read it, she was showing signs of full-blown AIDS.

    Later from the same article:

    “For her part, Maggiore said that her daughter’s death has taken a toll on her health; she’s had trouble eating, sleeping and, this past summer, simply breathing. She’s treated her symptoms with Chinese herbs, walked five miles a day and practiced yoga, and is now feeling better, she said.”

    I guess expanding one’s lung capacity might help with breathlessness in general and I’ve read that moderate exercise can boost the immune system… Still, it’s grim to note that she was willing to try a lot of woo, including Chinese drugs (“herbs”) — as long as it wasn’t AZT.

  58. #58 Cathy
    January 6, 2009

    I found this quote in an old article about Christine from the LA Times:

    “She has stayed healthy, she said, despite a cervical condition three years ago that would qualify her for an AIDS diagnosis. In a 2002 article for Awareness magazine, she facetiously refers to it as ‘my bout of so-called AIDS,’ saying it coincided ‘perfectly with the orthodox axiom that we get a decade of normal health before our AIDS kicks in.’”

    So as far back as 2002, as I read it, she was showing signs of full-blown AIDS.

    Later from the same article:

    “For her part, Maggiore said that her daughter’s death has taken a toll on her health; she’s had trouble eating, sleeping and, this past summer, simply breathing. She’s treated her symptoms with Chinese herbs, walked five miles a day and practiced yoga, and is now feeling better, she said.”

    I guess expanding one’s lung capacity might help with breathlessness in general and I’ve read that moderate exercise can boost the immune system… Still, it’s grim to note that she was willing to try a lot of woo, including Chinese drugs (“herbs”) — as long as it wasn’t AZT.

  59. #59 Robster, FCD
    January 6, 2009

    So she was lying about her health all along. No surprise there.

    Perfect health, except when she was sick, but wouldn’t accept it. That she lied and pushed so many to their graves in front of her is the sick part.

    Will there be an autopsy? Will it matter to the denialists if there is? A cause of death of PCP due to AIDS will one be evidence to them that the conspiracy is larger than anybody ever expected.

    Just like 911 cultists, they don’t want truth, only to be reassured that their paranoid beliefs are correct.

  60. #60 Chris Noble
    January 6, 2009

    So as far back as 2002, as I read it, she was showing signs of full-blown AIDS.

    No. She had had an abnormal Pap smear.
    For dramatic effect she equates this with AIDS. The 1993 AIDS definition specifies invasive cervical cancer as an AIDS defining illness. She was never diagnosed with cervical cancer of any type.

    http://tmh.floonet.net/articles/clinicalbias.shtml

    It did launch her into a new field of HPV denial though.

    As an outspoken representative for alternative AIDS views, a full time mascot for healthy HIV positives, and a new mother for the second time, tackling this challenge was the last assignment I wanted. The diagnosis was totally inconvenient to my life and work. I fell prey to despair, called my husband and sobbed into the phone.

    I guess dying from pneumonia is also inconvenient to her life and work.

    This program included detox, colon hydrotherapy, digestive enzymes, daily juicing, food combining, some new supplements, and regular exercise?something I’d slacked off on since the birth of my daughter. On my own, I added ozone therapy to the regimen.

    Ozone therapy? Doesn’t she know that oxidizing agents such as ozone cause AIDS?

  61. #61 Tracy W
    January 6, 2009

    Cooler: So your saying if one conducted a study of 20 year olds who eat ice cream and those that don’t and found more people in the ice cream eaters group developed pnuemonia 20 years later, it would mean Ice cream consumption causes pneumonia?

    No, I said “The more comparable the two groups are, and the wider the difference in percentages of people getting pneumonia, the more plausible the hypothesis is.” When summarising someone else’s words, it’s wise to get them right. Particularly if you are replying to the person.

    You are the the one that needs a stats class to understand correlations don’t usually prove causality, especially when the cause and effect are seperated by several years.

    The word is “needed” – note the past tense. Luckily for me I started taking statistics courses many years ago, which is why I described to you above the steps needed to indicate causality. What’s going on here Cooler? Do you really think that by mispresenting what I am saying, you are going to suddenly convince me I’m wrong?

    As for this claim that if cause and effect are separated by several years this affects measures of correlation, I await with interest your mathematical proof that the time separation matters, as you are the one who has claimed that it does. You make all sorts of demands on other people to provide evidence, now I’m making a demand on you. Fair’s fair.

    I am now going to make a prediction – Cooler won’t provide a proof, because he or she can’t. Cooler will engage in all sorts of dances and insults instead.

  62. #62 BSE
    January 6, 2009

    Hahahahahahaha!

    Farbers latest post at:
    http://www.deanesmay.com/2009/01/06/the-clearing/

    “I took down the post I wrote the other day in which I re-published an email from Christine Maggiore, in her own words, about a week before she died suddenly and unexpectedly at home, on December 27.

    I want to contribute toward a much needed silence.”

    What an idiot. She clearly realised the damage she has done… far too late. She just keeps proving how much of a liability she is.

  63. #63 Hanna
    January 6, 2009

    Cooler, you should rename yourself “denser.”

    Geez! Yes, an FIV+ cat can live potentially as long as the average cat BECAUSE the life expectancy of the average cat is probably in the neighborhood of 16-17 years.

    FIV takes the same amount of time to demolish an immune system as does HIV.

    If cats lived an average of 40 years, you’d see the dimished longevity of the FIV+ ones. But all you’ll see by comparing statistically relevant data (i.e., large numbers) the life spans of FIV+ vs. FIV- cats is a couple of years, at best, which doesn’t illustrate such an issue.

    Human, however, can live 80-100 years so HIV has more than enough time to cut our lives short.

    Now, you want to see destruction? See what happens to an FLV (feline leukemia virus) positive kitten in a couple of years – DEAD! FLV is significantly more imminently lethal than is FIV.

    Get a clue, will you?

  64. #64 Hanna
    January 6, 2009

    Celia Farber, that worthless excuse for a journalist who is so biased in favor of harmless HIV, she can’t even see straight!

    She took down the post of Christine Maggiore’s email because she wants to “contribute toward a much needed silence.”

    Hypocrite that she is, didn’t take down any of her other posts on Christine Maggiore or her death. Conveniently, it was the post (which exists linked by cache and copied on multiple sites – thank goodness!) that exposed just how sick Christine was, just how many weeks this was going on, with symptoms indicative of PCP and a predictable AIDS-related death.

    Yeah, that’s the only post she wanted to be silent about!

    What a joke! The cat is SO out of the bag already.

    PS: I ALMOST feel badly for Celia. It appears she actually thought it so impossible that Christine died of AIDS’s that she didn’t view her email through the lens that someone like David Crowe would have. She probably had her a** handed to her for posting it! BHAAAAAAAAAA!

  65. #65 Robster, FCD
    January 6, 2009

    Chris, thanks for the clarification on the cervical cancer that wasn’t. No surprise that it was all about generating drama.

    This program included detox, colon hydrotherapy, digestive enzymes, daily juicing, food combining, some new supplements, and regular exercise?something I’d slacked off on since the birth of my daughter. On my own, I added ozone therapy to the regimen.

    Detox? Sorry, but detox is a meaningless phrase outside of having something to detox for. Its why rehab and detox are separate phrases. Its one of those words that is for all intents and purposes made useless by purveyors of woo.

    Maybe I missed something in my anatomy class (and life) but how would colon hydrotherapy be of any use to a cervical condition? Probably getting rid of “toxins.”

    Digestive enzymes? Let me guess, you swallow a capsule that supposedly has enzymes in it, and those enzymes are promptly broken down in the digestive system, doing nothing at all but adding a few amino acids and enriching the person who sold the “enzymes.” But who knows if there are any enzymes in the pill in the first place, there are no requirements that supplements actually have in them what they say they should.

    Daily juicing? She must have had one of those Jack Lelane machines going. Two words. Balanced diet. No need for daily juicing.

    Food combining? Well, I guess she did have a balanced diet. Of course, this is probably just another woo buzzword where you are supposed to eat corn with artichoke hearts or they don’t give you some magical benefit.

    More supplements.

    Regular exercise. Finally something that can actually improve health.

    And of course, the laughable ozone therapy. This wasn’t a woman making informed health choices, but someone who had more dollars than sense, frantically spending money, hoping to keep the reaper at bay in any way but the one that would work.

  66. #66 BD
    January 6, 2009

    Farber also changed the title of her original post – “What Killed Christine Maggiore?” to “Christine Maggiore, Pure Spirit.” Although the URL remains unchanged: http://www.deanesmay.com/2008/12/30/what-killed-christine-maggiore

  67. #67 Chris
    January 6, 2009

    Even with all the hints, Alice and her ghost have failed to find the worst kept secret on the Internet, Orac’s other blog. Sorry, but there is an unwritten rule to not reveal it here directly. You have to work at it.

  68. #68 Martín Pereyra
    January 6, 2009

    She not only changed the title. Farber also removed all the parts about detox regimes and her plea for an impartial autopsy. But all-seeing Google caught all that in its cache, and there are other places reproducing both original posts. (Thank you, Fintan.)

    Funny thing to do for a person who claims to be fighting against a fact-spinner, data-hiding, corrupt medical stablishment.

  69. #69 Dale
    January 6, 2009

    I don’t think Celia has quite figured out yet that removing an Internet post pretty much guarantees that it will be copied and reposted in a hundred different places.

  70. #70 Sheila Casey
    January 6, 2009

    Top Scientists Ask Medical Journal Science To Retract Original AIDS Papers

    How much longer can the lie about HIV and AIDS sustain itself? It appears that it may soon be common knowledge that this has been one of the greatest medical scams of all time. Dr. Robert Gallo’s reputation will lie in ruins, as it has become evident that Gallo falsified the results that the entire HIV-AIDS myth is based upon.

    My article “Everything you know about AIDS is wrong,” was published in the November, 2008 Rock Creek Free Press, and is also posted here. Matt Sullivan’s piece, “A Call for a Re-evaluation of the AIDS Dogma,” was published in the Creek last month.

    Health ranger Mike Adams wrote about this yesterday:
    “Natural health authors like Dr. Gary Null have been talking about the AIDS fraud for decades. What’s the fraud? The false believe that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. As it turns out, the entire basis of that belief is pure scientific fraud.

    The original papers upon which that now-common medical myth was based were, in fact, partly fabricated by Dr. Robert Gallo. The electron microscope photos used by Gallo to “prove” HIV causes AIDS didn’t even contain viruses at all! Even so, his papers were published in 1984 in the journal Science, and from that point forward, it was accepted as “scientific fact” that HIV causes AIDS.”

    http://www.sheilacasey.com/2009/01/top-scientists-ask-medical-journal-science-to-retract-original-aids-papers.html

  71. #71 Kemist
    January 6, 2009

    How long will my FIV cat live?
    “Potentially, as long as any other cat. Surprisingly, there is no proven shortening of life expectancy with FIV cats, although you do need to keep on top of any infections it may pick up, as neglected illness will not help! It is not FIV that causes the problems, but the secondary infections it may pick up. So if you are vigilant, your cat should live a normal length of life.”

    http://www.webpaws.com/mwhs/fiv.html

    From the Metro west Humane society! The
    Deadly FIV epidemic! They actually take care of cats infected!

    Reading comprehenshun, u’re doin it rong.

    Dude, I and others have been telling you that we’ve also actually taken care of both FIV+ and FIV- cats.

    FIV+ cats : fragile, listless, high maintenance, always infected; actually my FIV+ kitten had gingevitis so bad its teeth had to be taken out and it had to be on dexamethasone for the rest of its short life.

    FIV- cats : playful, healthy, only medication ever given was antiparasitic, given in a preventative setting.

    Read that expression I have put in bold. Why do they call the infections “secondary”, do you think ? They’re “secondary” to FIV, that’s why, halfbrain.

    Does my FIV- cat get “secondary” infections ? No.

    Does my FIV+ cat get “secondary” infections ? Yes. Therefore vet bills I would not get for a healthy FIV- cat. And, therefore, no deadly opportunistic pneumonia that kills my cat at age 5.

    As for “FIV” – come on, that really *is* a joke, it’s a franchise, just like HIV – nice buckaroos for da kitty-pharma companies & the vets! Yum!

    It’s really weird that something that’s “just a franchise” managed to wreck a 5 year-old cat’s immune system so bad that it died from opportunistic pneumonia-induced pneumothorax. And that it also managed to affect another cat that was put in contact with it. Weird.

  72. #72 Orac
    January 6, 2009

    I don’t think Celia has quite figured out yet that removing an Internet post pretty much guarantees that it will be copied and reposted in a hundred different places.

    No, but she will. She will.

  73. #73 Kemist
    January 6, 2009

    FIV takes the same amount of time to demolish an immune system as does HIV.

    Actually, it’s generally a little shorter, in the neighborhood of 5 years vs about 10 years for HIV. So if your cat’s infected at, say, 5, it may still live up to 10. If you intend to put more than a little money in vet care, that is. And are very, very vigilant.

    From what I’ve read (and I’ve read as much as I could seeing as I had an infected cat), infection of kittens is relatively rare, since they are not sexually active, do not fight (seriously, as in skin-piercing bites) and mother-kitten transmission is not that frequent. I guess I was particularly unlucky ;)

    But yeah, FLV is even worse. When I got the western blot result (after the initial ELISA), I was actually relieved it was FIV.

  74. #74 Orac
    January 6, 2009

    Oooh, I took a look at Sheila Casey’s blog a while ago. AIDS denialism, citations of Gary Null and Mike Adams, 9/11 Truth, New World Order conspiracy mongering, it’s all there, although I will give her credit for, at least as far as I can tell, not being a Holocaust denier, which would have completed the crank megafecta.

    Truly, Sheila is an excellent example of crank magnetism in action.

  75. #75 Robster, FCD
    January 6, 2009

    What Sheila and other similar denialists don’t understand is that if the theory that HIV is the cause of AIDS was incorrect, the following studies would have demonstrated this very quickly.

  76. #76 D. C. Sessions
    January 6, 2009

    How much longer can the lie about HIV and AIDS sustain itself? It appears that it may soon be common knowledge that this has been one of the greatest medical scams of all time. Dr. Robert Gallo’s reputation will lie in ruins, as it has become evident that Gallo falsified the results that the entire HIV-AIDS myth is based upon.

    This is almost as good as the myth about Pasteur’s deathbed recantation.

    I love these because they so perfectly demonstrate that the wooists are locked into a religious epistemology: everything depends on original revelation for its validity. Question the original revelation and you’ve just disproven all of the following work.

    The whole notion that science works from replicable evidence is just plain outside of their ability to comprehend, so the fact that thousands of people since Gallo have isolated HIV strains and tested their infectivity just doesn’t register.

  77. #77 Chris Noble
    January 6, 2009

    Top Scientists Ask Medical Journal Science To Retract Original AIDS Papers

    Top scientists like quack Gary Null and homeopathist Robert Scott Bell!

    The editorial staff at Science are quaking. What would happe if these top scientists stopped submitting their papers to the journal? Oh noes.

  78. #78 Coin
    January 6, 2009

    I love these because they so perfectly demonstrate that the wooists are locked into a religious epistemology: everything depends on original revelation for its validity. Question the original revelation and you’ve just disproven all of the following work.

    I’m kinda tempted to view the obsession here with uncovering the True Name of Orac in a similar vein. When I look at the analysis contributed by dt in the previous thread about PCP, what I take to be compelling about it is that it links the known information about Maggiore’s condition with facts about AIDS-linked pneumonia which can be verified against existing literature. On the other hand what, say, “Alice’s Ghost” seems to take to be compelling or not compelling is the screen name of the person posting (or in Orac’s case, reposting) the analysis.

    (This focus on the credentials and qualifications of anyone so much as stating basic facts is all the more mystifying given the entire denialist camp doesn’t appear to contain anyone more well-respected than Gary Null.)

  79. #79 trrll
    January 6, 2009

    (This focus on the credentials and qualifications of anyone so much as stating basic facts is all the more mystifying given the entire denialist camp doesn’t appear to contain anyone more well-respected than Gary Null.)

    That’s because it actually has little to do with credentials. A big part of denial is avoiding or suppressing information that might challenge your beliefs. Anybody who makes a strong argument is a threat to them. If they can’t find anything in your argument to attack, they will try to discover some sort of personal information that they can use to intimidate you or embarrass you in hopes of getting you to shut up. If they can find out where you work, they’ll write letters to your employer to try to get you fired. If attacking you personally does not succeed in intimidating you, they’ll liable to turn their attentions to your family. So anonymity is very frustrating to them, because it forces them to deal with your actual arguments.

  80. #80 The Perky Skeptic
    January 6, 2009

    Wow– Sheila Casey’s crankery has an accretion disc! :D

  81. #81 Joseph C.
    January 6, 2009

    This is almost as good as the myth about Pasteur’s deathbed recantation.

    Or Darwin’s. It’s amazing the commonalities that weave through most woo.

    I love these because they so perfectly demonstrate that the wooists are locked into a religious epistemology: everything depends on original revelation for its validity. Question the original revelation and you’ve just disproven all of the following work.

    They also like to use the language of cultists, like cooler calling cranks “our scientific father”. Straight out of Jonestown.

  82. #82 Dale
    January 7, 2009

    I wonder how the ‘top’ scientists asking for the retraction of Gallo’s papers spin the fact that Peter Duesberg is not one of them?

  83. #83 Skeptyk
    January 7, 2009

    “….uncovering the True Name of Orac…”

    Alas, unless Alice is a true mage of Earthsea she will not learn Orac’s True Name.

    Oh, unless she’s on the internet. Maybe.

  84. #84 Ranson
    January 9, 2009

    The “true name” thing is sad. I know it, but, even so, it took me less than a minute to find it on the web through other means. Hell, Orac even hands it to you right here on the blog, if you know where to look. Second worst-kept secret there is, next to Xenu. If his opponents can’t even find out, my assessment of their research and comprehension skills goes even lower.

  85. #85 Arthur Gittleman
    February 5, 2010

    I have a website for treating FIV. “Feline AIDS FIV” http://www.arkanas.net/~artg There have been two studies done on long-term FIV. One indiction 6 years on non-symptmatic FIV feline done in the United States the other symptomatic 10 years in U.K. This is where the information has been gotten. It should be understood that there are different subtypes. On type C the cat would not have slow progress but fast and die in a short time or few weeks.

    The blood tests given do not tell you anything but FIV and not what subtype. It isn’t likely that research is being done on your cat. I guess one could look at the blood test results and decide like they do in HIV when to treat the cat. But the truth of the matter is that HIV uses HIV drugs which are toxic and this has made the decision of when to treat diffcult.

    I do not use HIV drugs since in truth they happen to be less effective than the herbs and supplements I use. This is from experience of using both HIV drugs and herbs.

    The most effective treatment that I have come across recently is from India given for HIV 18 months using Immu-25 which is both non-toxic and cheap. It goes by the name ImmuPlus in U.K. and mostly used on horses. And contains Guduchi, Amla C, Tulsi, Ashwageandha. There is also the studies by Nobuto Yamamoto on DBP-MAF or Gc-MAF injection which showed good results on HIV that have lead me to take another look at macrophage response as being a problem. And an interest alkylglycerol from Shark Liver Oil.

    One can understand being in denial when the treatment can be such a problem and may make the person taking it sick when they are already sick. In most cases of non-symptomatic HIV this is not something to make someone happy.

    It should be understood that there are limitations with are currect medical system as the FDA requires its standard to be meet and this costs million of dollars. Drug companies are in the business of making money and profit is required. If there is no profit than a drug or herb will not be develop. And without FDA approval doctors can not do experiments on patients as they need a license to practise medicine and the license is gotten from the state and based on their laws. And of cause, if you break the law you go to jail.

    This is not the case so much with FIV as unapproved drugs can be used. Laws are there for humans but the laws for cats which are property are much more limited.

    As for treating FIV one can start as soon as it is known the the feline has this disease. It should also be known the damage caused by the disease started as easy as the first nine days of infection. This damage may not showup in blood tests but in the body. The problem is that blood tests do not tell the whole story.

    If they did you would alot less denialists. But the is one of the limitations of the currect medical science. Truth is we do not know the condition of the immune system. We are doing alot of guessing. This is not great science but that is the way things are with limited technology. It is better than saying you have a case of evil spirits!

  86. #86 David Crowe
    March 22, 2012

    In response to the 2009 comment, “I wonder how the ‘top’ scientists asking for the retraction of Gallo’s papers spin the fact that Peter Duesberg is not one of them?”.

    Duesberg declined to sign because he did not want to be perceived as settling scores with Gallo, given their long history. The commenter could have asked Duesberg himself rather than simply speculating.

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