Respectful Insolence

Remember the Jenny McCarthy Body Count website that I mentioned last month? Basically, it’s a website that uses CDC reports and other sources of information to estimate the number of cases of and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. since Jenny McCarthy started her antivaccine crusade back in late summer 2007. The site points out that it is not blaming Jenny McCarthy for all this disease and death but that she should bear at least part of the blame for them because she has become the public face of the radical antivaccine movement. That’s something I’ve been saying for a while, and something against which Jenny has tried to inoculate herself by, when asked about the decreases in vaccination rates leading to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in areas where the decreases have been the steepest, blaming big pharma for not making vaccines that are “safe enough” to her. Never mind that “safe enough” to Jenny McCarthy is clearly an impossible standard that no therapeutic or preventative measure could ever meet. In fact, it’s an utterly disingenuous gambit, because time and time again Jenny McCarthy has shown that no level of safety, no decrease in the level of risk, is “safe enough” when it comes to vaccines, although, oddly enough, she doesn’t mind injecting one of the most lethal toxins known to humans into her face.

In any case, thanks to Martin over at The Lay Scientist, you can now have a Jenny McCarthy Body Count Widget installed on your–yes, your–blog! Advertise to the world the price of Jenny McCarthy’s idiocy every day. Choose from either the Antivaccine Body Count version:

Or the personalize it with the Jenny McCarthy version:

Personally, when I get around to installing the widget on my sidebar, I’ll install the Anti-Vaccine Body Count version. As important as Jenny McCarthy has become to the antivaccine movement, she is not the sole person to blame for the decline in vaccination rates that risk more and larger outbreaks. The antivaccine movement existed long before McCarthy discovered it, and it will exist long after she finds some other “project” to move on to.

Comments

  1. #1 MikeMa
    April 14, 2009

    Very useful. Might be better without the image altogether, just the body counts but I like it.

  2. #2 Fifi
    April 14, 2009

    having a crappy day so this widget is priceless!

    If only another celebrity with more clout would stand up to this nonsense and say “HEY! Vaccinate your kids or they will be living in an iron lung.”
    Dumb asses

  3. #3 Martin
    April 14, 2009

    Hi, Martin here

    @MikeMa: I’m open to suggestions, and a few people have suggested a smaller, image-free widget, so look out for one soon :)

  4. #4 Martin
    April 14, 2009

    Plain Version Now Available

    Following MikeMa’s suggestion, I’ve put a plain version up without the image. See http://www.layscience.net/node/510 .

  5. #5 IBY
    April 14, 2009

    Do anyone know whether wordpress allows me to add widgets by inserting codes, and if so, how? Because I am checking and I don’t think I can.

  6. #6 Interrobang
    April 14, 2009

    Thanks for making the image-free widget. Having to look at Jenny McCarthy’s tool-of-the-patriarchy-poster-girl face makes me want to puke on my shoes.

  7. #7 Martin
    April 14, 2009

    @IBY: Hopefully the instructions on this site should sort you out: http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins/WordPress_Widgets (about half way down).

    To add a text Widget to your blog’s sidebar, go to Design > Widgets and choose which sidebar you would like the text Widget to appear on. Then choose Add Text from the list of Widgets.

    Click Edit to edit the text Widget

    Click Edit to enter the widget Options and enter the text in the text Widget.

    To add text or code to the text Widget, there are two sections to add content. In the top line, enter a description or title for that particular widget. In the next section of the form, enter the the text or HTML code for the widget.

    To change or add the new text to the text Widget on your blog, click Change. To remove the text Widget from your blog’s sidebar, click Remove.

  8. #8 MikeMa
    April 14, 2009

    Martin,
    Thanks for the rapid image-free response! I will install it tonight. Oh boy, new toys!!!!!!

  9. #9 jj
    April 14, 2009

    @Fifi

    If only another celebrity with more clout would stand up to this nonsense and say “HEY! Vaccinate your kids or they will be living in an iron lung.”

    Not too sure about her ‘clout’ but I believe that’s essentially what Amanda Pete said. And I’d listen to Amanda Pete over JM any day, she’s smarter, a better actress (if you’d call Jenny an actress) and way HOTTER!!!

    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=339

  10. #10 Derek Bartholomaus
    April 14, 2009

    Hi there.

    Thank you Martin for making this, and thank you Orac for letting people know about it.

    -Derek

  11. #11 storkdok
    April 14, 2009

    Thanks! I just installed it! I may have to change it to the non-JM version if I ever get some time to get back to blogging.

  12. #12 Michael Simpson
    April 14, 2009

    Amanda Peet was in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, an Aaron Sorkin TV show. That puts her at a whole different level than Jenny. However, who of us, this above average IQ group, actually make medical decisions based on what celebrities say? That’s why I lose all sanity when I see anyone listening to Jenny McCarthy and others.

  13. #13 jj
    April 14, 2009

    @Michael,
    Really, you don’t get your medical information from celebrities? C’mon, you know they are more trustworthy than those big pharma shill doctors trying to make money off you!

    But seriously, it sickens me to know that people will take advice on the health of their children from a celebrity over an expert, boggles the mind…

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 14, 2009

    Keep an eye out on Colbert tonight. Possible (though unlikely) mascot sighting.

  15. #15 Calli Arcale
    April 14, 2009

    Oh goodie! I rarely watch Colbert the first night (I watch the rerun; I normally turn into a pumpkin around 10PM) but tonight I’m eager — NASA will use it to announce the name of Node 3. They’d put out four suggestions and told people to vote on them, or write in their own. Colbert got his fans to push his name to the top as a write-in. ;-) ‘Twill be interesting to see what they do about it. (Historical note: OV-101 Enterprise, the aerodynamic test article used for the approach-and-landing tests prior to Columbia’s first flight, was also named following an open vote by the public. But NASA did not want to name something after a fictional starship, so they came up with a justification based on actual ships of exploration named Enterprise, and went with that. Officially, OV-101 was not named for NCC-1701, but really it was.)

  16. #16 Cubik's Rube
    April 14, 2009

    This is sort of relevant, but as per that new Daniel Loxton book about skeptical activism, I’m trying to motivate myself to get more involved in this whole movement, and taking a few cues from his experts as to how to go about it. One easy suggestion they recommend is to simply show some support to a skeptical activist or organisation whose work you appreciate, which might make a small but appreciable difference to their day, given the levels of opposition such people and groups sometimes face.

    So: I think your work lately promoting good health, scientific awareness, and clear thinking, particularly with regard to the vaccination issue, has been absolutely outstanding. I think you’re precisely what’s needed in a world where the likes of Jenny McCarthy make such easy headlines, and it’s been fantastic to see you in action, putting in so much effort to explain so many facets of this issue in such depth and detail. I hope you can tell what a significant and positive difference it makes, and that it’s as rewarding for you as it should be.

  17. #17 Bink
    April 14, 2009

    Today on “Ellen” Jenny informed us that HBOT chambers “prevent cancer.” Good to know! She also advised people to buy one from a company she is apparently promoting. Nice.

  18. #18 Joseph
    April 14, 2009

    Today on “Ellen” Jenny informed us that HBOT chambers “prevent cancer.”

    I wonder if she’s putting Evan in an HBOT chamber. Doesn’t he have pretty severe seizures from time to time?

  19. #19 David M.
    April 14, 2009

    Once you all are done playing with your widgets and thinking about Jenny and Amanda. (Don’t make yourselves go blind!) there is something you should check out.
    I know you all like to pick on actresses, college students and parents with sick kids, but how about taking a look at the column by Dr. Bernadine Healy on U.S. News. She used to run the NIH, the Red Cross and basically is smarter and has more credibility in medicine than anyone who has ever played with their widget on this website.
    (Oh my goodness from a quick read, Dr. Healy thinks there needs to be more research on this issue, including vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. She must be a moron.)

    Happy reading and gentlemen start the slime!

    http://health.usnews.com/blogs/heart-to-heart/2009/04/14/the-vaccines-autism-war-dtente-needed.html

  20. #20 antivax
    April 14, 2009

    perhaps you boneheads would like to direct me to the studies that have been done that show vaccines cohorts are safer than non-vaccinated populations?

    time and time again we put this theory to you, but you wont listen. how can you deny the parents this wish?

    it’s well known that all vaccinations carry the risk of severe side effects – autism, allergy, death – and that by vaccinating untold damage is done and the diseases are pushed into adult populations where they are far more dangerous.

    Jenny said “you just can’t look at single vaccines – you have to look at the whole schedule” and this is true; all those toxins, bacteria, viruses, causing havoc to the baby’s immune system.

    For sure Jenny will sue you guys. how dare you accuse her of being responsible for deaths, when it’s the vaccines causing the damgage.

  21. #21 Bink
    April 14, 2009

    Jenny did indeed say that Evan spent a lot of time in the HBOT chamber. Then she mentioned the product she was paid to promote a few more times.

    David M., I have an autistic child and have spent years reading everything I can about the condition. You are cordially invited to bite me.

  22. #22 Dedj
    April 14, 2009

    “She used to run the NIH, the Red Cross and basically is smarter and has more credibility in medicine than anyone who has ever played with their widget on this website.”

    The first two claims are attributing significantly more responsibility to her than those posistions of power are responsible for and can actually be allowed within the structure of those two organisations.

    She is highly qualified in her own fields of practice. None of those fields are, or ever have been, autism, epidemiology (except possibly in relation to cardiac disorders) or immunology.

    You typical medical university will have several people who are more extensively and relevantly qualified to talk on this subject than she is. Someone like Paul Offit is eminently more authourative on this subject than she is.

    This binary concept of expertise you crazy cats keep coming up with is laughably nieve, even before we begin to look at the contention surrounding both her appointments and her departures.

    Healy is a Dr. who has an opinion, that is all.

  23. #23 adina
    April 14, 2009

    Ugh. Ellen DeGeneres just called McCarthy’s book “excellent” on the air.
    Jenny singled out the Hep B vaccine as one to avoid (Was there a lottery?). And she said to avoid vaccines if the baby has a rash. What baby DOESN’T get rashes? Very convenient.

  24. #24 HCN
    April 14, 2009

    antivax said “perhaps you boneheads would like to direct me to the studies that have been done that show vaccines cohorts are safer than non-vaccinated populations?”

    Perhaps you should go and read a bit of history. You know, back in the good ol’ days 150 years ago when one out three children who were born did not live past age five. If any of them were vaccinated, it was only for smallpox.

    Also, presently there has been an increase in pertussis and haemophilus influenzae type b deaths in children who were either not vaccinated, or under vaccinated. Why don’t you give me the actual factual scientific evidence that I can find in my local medical school to show us that the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Do the same for the Hib and the MMR.

    You make a bunch of silly claims, but you never bring up any proof.

  25. #25 drksky
    April 14, 2009

    Added to my sidebar, not that anyone actually reads me, though. *shrug*

  26. #26 Derek Bartholomaus
    April 14, 2009

    There have been studies between vaccinated and un-vaccinated children and the prevalence of autism:
    http://www.askquestions.org/details.php?id=6083

    “A 1997 National Childhood Encephalopathy Study showed no indication that the measles vaccine contributes to the development of long-term neurological damage, including educational and behavioral deficits.

    A 1998 study in Sweden showed that there was no difference in the prevalence of autism among children born before the introduction of the MMR vaccine and those born after the vaccine was introduced.

    A 2002 study showed that there was no higher risk of autism in vaccinated children than in unvaccinated children, there was no association between the age at time of vaccination, the length of time that and that had passed since vaccination, or the date of the vaccination and the development of the autistic disorder – in short, the study gave strong evidence against the belief that the MMR vaccination causes autism.”

    Just because the answer does not agree with your beliefs does not mean that the question has not been answered.

    -Derek

  27. #27 Orac
    April 14, 2009

    I know you all like to pick on actresses, college students and parents with sick kids, but how about taking a look at the column by Dr. Bernadine Healy on U.S. News. She used to run the NIH, the Red Cross and basically is smarter and has more credibility in medicine than anyone who has ever played with their widget on this website.
    (Oh my goodness from a quick read, Dr. Healy thinks there needs to be more research on this issue, including vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. She must be a moron.)

    Happy reading and gentlemen start the slime!

    Be very careful what you ask for…

  28. #28 Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)
    April 14, 2009

    Be very careful what you ask for…

    j
    SWEEEEET! I’ll make the popcorn.

  29. #29 passionlessDrone
    April 14, 2009

    Hi Callie Arcade –

    But NASA did not want to name something after a fictional starship, so they came up with a justification based on actual ships of exploration named Enterprise, and went with that.

    I thought that the front runner of the choices that NASA provided, Serentiy, was exactly that; the name of the ship from the shortlived, but relatively good science fiction show, Firefly. Maybe just a coincidence based on the fact that I just got done Huluing the show in question. (?)

    – pD

  30. #30 Magnus
    April 14, 2009

    How about a wider selection? One with J.B, one Kirby etc. It would be nice to point out other influential people in the movement.

  31. #31 Frasque
    April 14, 2009

    We wouldn’t “pick on” actresses if they didn’t go about promoting dangerous woo.

  32. #32 Vindaloo
    April 14, 2009

    David M., the slime started with your post. Your ignorant namedropping and fanboy cheerleading are just pathetic. Did JB Handley help you write that? Are we going to have to hear “Neener neener neener, my kid is going to be cured within two years because I rub Butter’s stinky goo on him and your kid won’t” again, because to be honest, I have idiot antivax comment fatigue.

    Dr. Healy has closed her eyes and blissfully jumped over the line separating the scientific process from scaremongering antivax propaganda. It’s not just commenters here that take issue with her, mainstream scientists, physicians and parents who support evidence based medicine stand aghast at a former scientist advocating health policy based upon discredited gut feelings conjured up by a handful of people, many of whom have a financial stake in their pretend medicine.

  33. #33 Mrs Ward
    April 14, 2009

    When I first came to this site, I thought too many shots were given to babies. I remember getting the shots in grade school, so I know they aren’t dangerous, but I did think that doctors shouldn’t be putting all those viruses in tiny babies. After reading several posts here about vaccines, and reading other sites that ya’ll have linked to, I’ve mostly changed my mind: vaccines are safe…probably. Because the diseases are so much worse, the babies should get the shots.

    But I still wonder about chicken pox: we all had it when we were kids, and our kids had it; it was just a rash and itching. Is there a site that has the exact numbers of kids who were damaged-for-life from chicken pox? Something about how horrible it is?

    Oh, yeah, and can any of you doctors tell me the treatment for prostate cancer? A link will do if you’re busy.

  34. #34 DrV
    April 14, 2009

    Let me know when the Jenny McCarthy body count app for iPhone is released

  35. #35 Calli Arcale
    April 14, 2009

    thought that the front runner of the choices that NASA provided, Serentiy, was exactly that; the name of the ship from the shortlived, but relatively good science fiction show, Firefly.

    You are correct! However, being a descriptive term totally apart from Firefly, and rather consistent with Node 2’s name “Harmony”, NASA would not have had to admit any connection to the TV series. ;-) And actually therein lies the real problem with naming modules after TV shows — it could be construed as an endorsement, and NASA has to be very careful about that, as a government agency. I’m hopeful that they’ve found a clever way of justifying naming Node 3 “Colbert”. ;-)

  36. #36 Joseph C.
    April 14, 2009

    She used to run the NIH, the Red Cross and basically is smarter and has more credibility in medicine than anyone who has ever played with their widget on this website.

    Dr. Healy is apparently politically connected and has held a series of management jobs. Her “contributions” to the scientific literature as of late seem to be a series of US News articles. In all likelihood, Stockholm doesn’t have her on speed dial.

    Oh, and she’s got really poor judgment as far as cosmetic surgery goes. Those cheek implants look dreadful.

  37. #37 Calli Arcale
    April 14, 2009

    Darn, just found out that they chickened out and didn’t use Colbert *or* Serenity. It’s “Tranquility”. (Colbert Report won’t air here for another hour, but it’s out on the news sites.)

    But they did name the treadmill “Colbert”, apparently. ;-) Or, more accurately, COLBERT — “Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill”. Gotta love those NASA backronyms!

  38. #38 HCN
    April 14, 2009

    Mrs. Ward said “But I still wonder about chicken pox: we all had it when we were kids, and our kids had it; it was just a rash and itching.”

    First, I like to compliment you on your open mind. You were willing to go out and find the information and read it without a filter. Thank you.

    Actually, having chicken pox makes you eligible for shingles. The virus never goes away, it lies dormant until something (like stress) reactivates it on the ends of the nerves and causes lots of pain.

    As far as information, I think you should check out this;
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/varicella-508.pdf

    … and for the more scary thing there are stories of what can go wrong here:
    http://immunize.org/reports/chickenpox.asp

    (before the vaccine about a hundred people per year died from chicken pox)

  39. #39 Porlock Junior
    April 14, 2009

    Tangential good news: In the heart of woo country, or just next to it (see under Sonoma County), the Marin Indpendent-Journal ran a front-page lead story on the dangers from low vaccination rates. Takes some stones to do that. I’m suspending snide remarks about that paper for a while.

  40. #40 Rjaye
    April 15, 2009

    Oh, dear, the shingles. My best friend’s uncle just spent two weeks in the hospital with the severest case of shingles the docs had ever seen. I’d never heard of shingles getting that bad. The man couldn’t stop scratching and was in such agony, he had to be put on iv pain meds and tranquilizers.

    And when I had chicken pox, I was sicker than a dog for a week, and couldn’t work for twice that because my boss was so paranoid. I had itchies all over in places I didn’t know one could get the pox. Geez loweez.

    I think one really good reason for kids to get the chicken pox vaccine in addition for their own protection is that adults get it so much worse, and many adults have never had the pox. I was one of those people, and I got it from a kid.

  41. #41 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    Herpes zoster (shingles) can actually be more debilitating and dangerous than Varicella zoster (chickenpox). Postherpetic neuralgia, Ramsay-Hunt, and Herpes zoster ophthalmicus can result from shingles, and these are chronic conditions that are often difficult to treat. Since the trigger mechanism that causes the latent zoster virus to suddenly manifest itself in a Herpes zoster infection is not well understood, prevention is critical. Even if you were infected as a child, a VZV vaccination is the best way to prevent shingles.

    So when I hear the anti-vaccine crowd state that the VZV vaccination is not that important, I get a bit snarky.

  42. #42 HCN
    April 15, 2009

    Yikes! Good to know, Mr. (Dr.?) Simpson, I will endeavor to prevent an outbreak of shingles. I remember having chicken pox as a kid… it was miserable. One of the first actions taken was my fingernails were cut very very short to prevent me from breaking skin while scratching to prevent infection. It has been over forty-five years, and I still remember that — because I hated it!

  43. #43 Dr. P
    April 15, 2009

    Varicella encephalitis;A rare but horrible complication; a former partner had a child in his practice who died from this condition; needless to say, he was a staunch believer in the vaccine

  44. #44 sff
    April 15, 2009

    A bit off topic from vaccines, but what’s the truth about the natural birth movement? I tried looking into it and some of the stuff they oppose – 90% episiotomy rates in some countries etc. – does seem pretty awful.

  45. #45 csrster
    April 15, 2009

    sff: I don’t know about “natural birth”, but there is news of a new large study on home births in the Netherlands reported at
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7998417.stm . The bottom line, according to the BBC, is that there is no difference in death rates between home-birth and hospital-birth groups. Personally, as with all scientific studies outside my field of expertise, I’ll wait to see these results thoroughly analysed by the blogging community before I trust the summary reported in the news media.

  46. #46 ababa
    April 15, 2009

    The “natural birth” movement likes to believe that birth is as safe as life gets, despite the fact that it was one of the largest causes of death for young women and their children less than a century ago. They come up with every convoluted reason to buck medical knowledge just for the sake of bucking the establishment. I can’t eat during labor? I NEED TO EAT NOW! You want to give me something for my pain? IT WILL RUIN MY EXPERIENCE! I need to lay here in the bed? I NEED TO ROAM AROUND THE HALLS! Birth in a hospital is safer? I WANT TO GIVE BIRTH AT HOME! A midwife should attend? I WANT TO GIVE BIRTH UNASSISTED! It’s juvenile authority resisting mentality.

    On homebirth, I have no idea how someone can consider that giving birth at home instead of a hospital where emergency care is immediately available is somehow safer. Does the light from your own lamps have magical powers? And some even try it without midwives or anyone at all. I cannot fathom how a parent could risk the life of their child like that. In reality, a lot of it is just phobia of doctors and hospitals and they think that they will be strapped down and forced to have a C-Section so the doctor can get back to his tee off time.

    The Mothering forums alone had over a dozen preventable documented deaths in 2008 from people attempting home and unassisted births. My local forums just a few weeks ago had a mother that proudly posted about how she “scared” the emergency room staff after attempting a breech birth at home. The thought that she risked her child’s life for her own “experience” never once entered her mind …

  47. #47 Hap
    April 15, 2009

    In Better, the author cited infection as the primary cause of death for babies and mothers in prehospital birth, and that birth at home early was safer than hospital birth because of the prevalence of infection. (If I’ve got the author misstated, I’m sorry.)

    We had a baby not long ago, and while home birth was not an option, a lot of the techniques we were exposed to would be useful there. It does seem foolhardy, though, to not have assistance in case something happens. In addition, we were told (by people at a hospital granted, but I sort of figure they know what they’re doing) that a breech baby is an absolute showstopper for vaginal birth. If you’ve had multiples, presumably someone can turn the baby, but that requires lots of experience and knowledge to perform, and you have to avoid strangling the baby with the umbilical cord. In another words, WTF was the mother thinking trying to have a breech birth at home? Did she have a death wish?

  48. #48 The Hypocrisy, It Burns!!
    April 15, 2009

    Here’s my widget. Sadly, I can’t post it here, but I can tell you what it says;

    “Orac,”
    1,512,768 parents turned away from the medical industry with his attitude alone. His bedside manner is worse than a serial rapist”

  49. #49 Mu
    April 15, 2009

    Hmm, if you know Orac’s bedside manners, that implies you were his patient. Are you mad at him because you survived what, knowing Orac’s specialty, was a life threatening condition, or did you die and are now ranting from the afterlife?

  50. #50 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    Back to vaccines (thought the home birth stuff was interesting).

    HCN, I have a nasty scar behind my ear from an infection that arose from scratching during my childhood bout of VZV.

    These childhood diseases may seem, in our cultural memory, to be nothing, because we don’t remember the consequences. I’m just old enough to remember kids that were stricken with polio either before are just after the Salk vaccine became widely available. We all know what Jenny and gang would be saying if their children contracted polio.

  51. #51 Tracy W
    April 15, 2009

    I cannot fathom how a parent could risk the life of their child like that.

    Every parent I know of risks the life of their children by taking unnecessary trips that involve public roads for reasons like visiting grandparents (be that by loading kids into a car or by crossing said roads as a pedestrian).
    This is not to justify any particular form of risk, just to point out that even if there are any parents who never risk the lives of their children they are in a minority.

  52. #52 MikeMa
    April 15, 2009

    The Jenny widget looks so splendidly gruesome on my blog. Thanks Martin.

    I long for the day when Jenny & Co are held criminally liable for the deaths they have caused.

  53. #53 William
    April 15, 2009

    Falls somewhat under the herd immunity area but Varicella vaccine also plays a role in preventing Maternal/Neonatal complications. (Vaccine + birth, fits both topics )

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/vac-faqs-clinic-preg.htm

  54. #54 Kemist
    April 15, 2009

    MrsWard

    Oh, yeah, and can any of you doctors tell me the treatment for prostate cancer? A link will do if you’re busy.

    No doctor here, but I did a PhD on breast/prostate cancer hormone treatment, and my uncle was recently diagnosed.

    There are several options.

    1- Prostatectomy (A surgery that removes the prostate). Almost never done anymore, because it can cause impotence and incontinence, permanently.

    2- Hormonal treatment, that, is a combination Lupron-antiandrogen/androgen synthesis inhibitor (Flutamide, proscar, or similar. Lupron will be adminstered as 1 injection per month and the other medication as a pill. Side-effects include andropause (similar to menopause) and maybe impotence (temporary).

    3- Radiotherapy, internal or external. External consists of a five-minute non-invasive treatment using a radio-therapy machine. Since there is generally no whole-body irradiation, side-effects are generally mild, but can include burns reminescent of sunburns on the exposed skin. Internal radiotherapy consist in the implantion of radioactive seeds into the prostate with needles.

    Chemotherapy is rarely given to prostate cancer patients except in case of advanced disease. Generally treatment is a combination of a few of the above things, depending on the agressiveness (Gleason score, given on a base of 10, with 10 being the most agressive disease), stage and general health.

    Hope this helps.

  55. #55 SLC
    April 15, 2009

    Re douchbag David M

    I’ll call Mr. David Ms’ Healy and raise him one Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine.

  56. #56 Michael Suttkus, II
    April 15, 2009

    In the interest of fairness, they should add a third statistic to the widget: Number of children saved from Autism by Anti-vaxer efforts.

    It can’t take too much programming to put a big, fat, unchanging zero there.

  57. #57 sff
    April 16, 2009

    csrster, ababa, Hap: thanks.

    Hap: Yeah, I’ve read that death rates actually went *up* when doctors first got involved, because that was before germ theory was generally accepted, and doctors dealt with sick people while midwives generally didn’t. Don’t have any real cites, though.

    ababa: One question, does refusing anesthesia actually add risk? I can certainly see why people would want to be 100% conscious during the process.

  58. #58 sff
    April 16, 2009

    crud, posted early: there was supposed to be one more sentence there. “Since there’s generally some risk from anesthesia, is birth without it sufficiently more dangerous to the mother or child to make it not a viable choice from a medical perspective?”

  59. #59 Hap
    April 16, 2009

    At our birthing class, the woman running primarily seemed to believe that surgical intervention (Caesarean) increased the risks significantly for childbirth, so that avoiding it was probably in everyone’s best interest, if possible.

    The Better chapter was discussing the difficulty in getting everyone in the hospital (particularly doctors and nurses) to wash their hands after every patient – though it seems to be a significant source of hospital infections (some of which are now difficult to treat), docs/nurses have a hard time because of the time needed (thirty seconds per patient, a lot of patients) and the constant attention. It may not merely have been a matter of not understanding where diseases came from, but the lack of attention and large time requirements for washing hands at the time. I think it’s the second chapter, but I don’t know if the author actually gives citations for those points (again, unless I’ve got them wrong, in which case I’m sorry).

  60. #60 Kemist
    April 16, 2009

    The bottom line, according to the BBC, is that there is no difference in death rates between home-birth and hospital-birth groups.

    If you think carefully about these stats they’re not very reassuring. Think about it : how many pre-eclamptic pregnancies end up in a home/birthing house ? How many trisomic ? Twins/triplets, siamese ? Breech ? Diabetics ? And still the complication rates are equal ? Me thinks either hospital does a first rate job, and/or home births result in preventable complications.

    I’ve heard the same argument in the mouth of my brother in law, a normally intelligent person who doesn’t know very much about biological sciences and medicine but somehow thinks he’s an expert (my sister is about to give birth and has swallowed a lot of codswallop, probably from her mother-in-law, about pregnancy and birth).

    I regret not having been there when he spoke those moronic arguments. I have a strong suspicion that he is avoiding the subject with me (and to some extent now with my brother, who is studying microbiology) to avoid looking like a big fat idiot.

  61. #61 Grizzly Smith
    August 17, 2009

    RE the previous post: Okay, wait: the home births are catch-as-catch-can, whatever you get, you Deal With; hospital births, you start with as full knowledge of every aspect you can ask about or filter from previous births. And the death rates are -the-same-???

    You’re right, those stats are “not very reassuring.”

    I think (as a kid I survived Rubella among other diseases/virii, as an adult I survived shingles) Vaccination Are Good.

    For maybe a century or so, kids have been born in hospitals, sometimes. For tens of thousands of years, kids were born wherever Mom happened to be. Lots died. Some lived, hence we’re here to argue about that.

    In a normal birth, a hospital prepares for Every Conceivable Horrible Complication, then lets Mom give birth. Or a midwife lets Mom give birth. If complications happen, Mom gets sent to the hospital, or she’s already -at- the hospital. And sometimes, dead is dead.

    I think Vaccination is a separate issue, and Built To Stay That Way.

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