Respectful Insolence

Archives for May, 2009

“I’ll be back”…for your love!

I’ve noticed that a hilariously literal-minded parody of that 1980s chestnut “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler has been making the rounds in the blogsophere. I was suitably amused, but I also found this new tidbit amusing. I haven’t seen the latest Terminator movie yet, but I’ve been a big fan of the…

Cancer research explained briefly

One reason I (and most people involved in cancer research) don’t like the frequently used term “cure for cancer.” The reason is simple. Embedded within this term is the assumption that cancer is just one disease, when it is most definitely not. Rather, it is many diseases affecting many organs, each with its own mechanism…

I’ve been a bit remiss in not mentioning that everybody’s favorite blog carnival (well, at least my favorite blog carnival), the Skeptics’ Circle, is fast approaching. This time around, it’ll be hosted by Cheshire, who has helpfully provided a reminder with contact information. It’ll be here on Thursday, June 4, which means you have less…

Combatting the Oprah Effect

I don’t much like Oprah Winfrey. I know, I know, it’s a huge surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but there you go. Over the last four years, I’ve had numerous reasons to be unhappy with her, mainly because, as savvy a media celebrity and businesswoman as she is, she has about as close…

Here’s one of the stranger “alternative cancer cure” cases I’ve seen in a while. Basically, a man seems to think that a daily helping of his daughter’s breast milk will cure his metastatic colon cancer: When Tim Browne sits down to a bowl of corn flakes in the morning, he slurps up one unusual, and…

Today is a very good day indeed. I say that because Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who ran away with his mother to avoid having to undergo chemotherapy ordered by a judge, who had found that his parents were engaging in medical neglect in not getting him effective treatment, and returned on…

A badge of honor

I’m a bit envious of Dawn Crawford. Why am I envious? She has a badge of honor I have yet to obtain. Jenny McCarthy has blocked her on Twitter. Darn. I’m going to have to see if I can get Jenny to block me too.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s paper in Pediatrics showing that vaccine refusal elevates the risk of pertussis in a child by nearly 23-fold, a commentary in PLoS Biology asks what can be done to combat anti-vaccine misinformation. Entitled A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars, it’s an interview with a professor of medical…

One of the claims of the anti-vaccine movement that most irks me is that their actions do not risk harm to anyone other than their own unvaccinated children. Given that vaccination against many infectious diseases also depends on the concept of herd immunity to provide protection to members of the population who either cannot be…

Good news for Daniel Hauser!

I’ve been writing a lot about the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who underwent one course of chemotherapy and then decided he wanted to pursue “alternative therapy” based on fear of chemotherapy and the faux Native American religion that his mother had taken up with. Ultimately, after a judge ordered…

It’s a lovely, sunny day here, so I’ll be brief. I’ve written several posts about the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old who refused chemotherapy and is now on the run from the law with his mother to avoid having to comply with a judge’s order that he receive effective, science-based treatment. One strange aspect…

On Thursday and Friday, the Chicago Tribune ran a two part series (part 1 and part 2) about what is arguably one of the worst atrocities (I agree with Steve Novella on this one) committed against autistic children in the name of antivaccine lunacy. Specifically, these articles discussed Mark and David Geier’s Lupron protocol, which…

About a year ago in Wisconsin, an 11-year-old girl named Madeleine Neumann died of diabetic ketoacidosis thanks of the irrational religious beliefs of her parents, who prayed for her but did not take her to a physician even as Madeleine became weaker and more ill, her deterioration leading to a most unpleasant death. Highly unusual…

As promised, the Chicago Tribune served up the followup article to its expose of father-and-son autism quacks Mark and David Geier. This time around, the Trib takes on Dr. Mayer Eisenstein of the woo-friendly suburban Chicago medical practice known as Homefirst in two articles, Autism doctor: Troubling record trails doctor treating autism and Dr. Peter…

I originally joined this wild and woolly collective known as ScienceBlogs back in February 2006. I was not part of the very first wave of bloggers who made up ScienceBlogs when it launched, although I potentially could have, mainly because I had to work out policies about outside employment with my university before I could…

Time flies, and the ShamWow guy shows up… And so does the 111th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, this time at hosted at Action Skeptics. You’ll never look at the ShamWow guy in the same way again. Next up is Cheshire, who will be hosting two weeks hence on June 4. This blog has never…

I know I’ve been very, very harsh on Jenny McCarthy. After all, she has become the face of the anti-vaccine movement in America, and her activities are directly endangering children. Let’s take a look back, oh, a few days to a video that she made in which she decried all manner of “toxins” in vaccines…

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been blogging regularly about the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma who, after one course of chemotherapy in January, refused to undergo any more, citing a faux religion run by a woo-meister naturopath and Native American wannabe called “Chief” Cloudpiler. In reality,…

Chemotherapy versus death from cancer

I know I’ve been writing a lot about the Daniel Hauser case, and forgive me if I may be beating a dead horse, but cases like these reprsent supreme “teachable” moments that don’t come along that often. The antivaccine movement, for instance, will be with us always (or at least, I fear, as long as…

Maybe I was wrong. I praised the decision of Judge Rodenberg last Friday, in which he placed chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser in the custody of his parents and ordered them to take him to an oncologist and have him undergo repeat staging studies in order to determine the extent of his Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I did…

A reader informs me of a plaintive, heartfelt request from Oprah for help in developing the television show of her new protege Jenny McCarthy: You’ve seen it all over the news…Jenny McCarthy, one of America’s funniest and coolest moms and Harpo is giving her, her own show. Here is where YOU come in. What would…

When testimonials attack

As you may have noticed if you’ve been paying attention to the comments over the last few days, you may have noticed that we’ve had a bit of an infiltration of believers in “alternative cancer cures” (or, as I will abbreviate them, ACCs). The main focus of the infiltration appears to be in this post…

Time marches on, flies, or does whatever it is that time does, and, before I know it, two weeks have passed, and you know what that means. That’s right, the next meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle is only three days away. This time around it’s going to be hosted at Action Skeptics. Blog-specific instructions for…

You knew it was just a matter of time. At least I did. Let me back up a minute and tell you what I mean. Over the last week, I’ve done three posts about a chemotherapy refusenik (as some oncologists I’ve worked with tend to refer to them as) named Daniel Hauser. Hauser is a…

Over the last week, I’ve written about the case of a 13-year-old chemotherapy refusenik named Daniel Hauser, who lives in Minnesota. After having been diagnosed with a highly curable form of cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, back in February and having undergone one cycle of chemotherapy that apparently made him very sick, he refused further chemotherapy and…