Respectful Insolence

PalMD, PalMD, PalMD…why did you have to make me aware of this?

What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Preparing for the Swine Flu

The blogger, Lisa Sharkey, opines:

What can I do to keep my family safe? How can I boost our immune systems now and what complementary medicines can I begin taking immediately, regardless if I ever come in contact with the dreaded Swine Flu?

You know what sort of answers are coming, I bet. That’s right: Supplements, herbalism, homeopathy, reflexology, tapping, this post is a veritable cornucopia of quackery for swine flu, with Sharkey touting it all as “immune-boosting.” But more interesting is where she got her information from:

Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has the worlds most popular natural health on line newsletter says he’s never seen so much traffic, with his visitors all clamoring for this information. He told me how we can begin to protect ourselves now without drugs or needles.

Surprise, surprise! It’s Dr. Mercola, über-quack, whose website is third (and not by much) only to John Scudamore’s Whale.to and Mike Adams’ NaturalNews.com for unabashed promotion of virtually every quackery under the sun. Sharkey’s post is nothing more than a regurgitation of Mercola’s opportunistic melange of woo served up custom-made to bring traffic from Google searches for “swine flu” and “alternative medicine.”

All with this:

Author’s note: This swine flu story on alternative and complementary medicine is not meant to replace anything you hear from you doctor, the WHO or the CDC, but is meant to show you some natural ways to enhance your overall wellness in addition to any medication you may need either to prevent or treat the flu.

Of course. Now HuffPo’s bloggers are prefacing their health posts with disclaimers, a.k.a. The Quack Miranda. How appropriate. I only wish they’d been doing that all along for posts by the antivaccine contingent that’s infested HuffPo since 2005.

It’s as if the swine flu scare has brought all the worst quackery elements out of the woodwork at HuffPo. Wait. Strike that. There’s no “as if” about it.

Comments

  1. #1 Militant Agnostic
    May 2, 2009

    My lizard friends assure me that the swine flu is nothing to worry about. It is just the NWO testing distribution mechanism for the real pandemic that will kill us all.

  2. #2 Do Nothing....
    May 2, 2009

    Exercise, eat well, lots of rest… That’s about all you need to do.

    Certainly don’t fall for a Swine Flu vaccine, that’s for damn sure!

  3. #3 Whitecoat Tales
    May 2, 2009

    This is ridiculous. I’m actually on vacation right now and I’m getting emails from people asking if they should do what’s in the HuffPo article!

    We must neutralize the HuffPo threat to real medicine.

  4. #4 mk
    May 2, 2009

    Seriously. A coordinated effort from Seed, Discover, Sciam is needed.

  5. #5 Toaster
    May 2, 2009

    Every email and every post I wrote on the HuffPo’s medical idiocy contained the words “dangerous” and “irresponsible”. Maybe they started including the Quack Miranda because one of their lawyers saw the emails and are now doing so only to cover their asses against litigation.

  6. #6 Kelly
    May 2, 2009

    I just got my wrists slapped on a mommy board for calling Mercola’s article hilarious for it’s bad logic and bias. The person posting the link thought I was rude for pointing this out and that I shouldn’t laugh at people for referencing/quoting the article. They weren’t interested in my corrections of the logic or sites that have more accurate information.

    Why don’t people ask why most doctors don’t tell you these things about swine flu? Hint: It’s not because doctors are ignorant of or close-minded to CAM.

    And how can we convey the message that this is quackery without appearing condescending and close-minded?

  7. #7 Bolt
    May 2, 2009

    It is true that much money is spent for health information, but it is also quite true that so far no will find the cure for terrible diseases and quickly became generalized in our body, it calls on the authorities to better distribution of this money because it is spending so far in vain, I have friends who suffer from cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s, and so far we can not find any solution to the disease, only the medicines in vicodin to control their pain, but until you take the same? actually there will be some day, the cure? Please have to be sensible and remember that nobody is free from disease and therefore it is important for everyone.

  8. #8 Michael Simpson
    May 2, 2009

    I personally not going to click on the link to HufWoo articles any more. So, I’ll just have to trust Orac, PalMD and you fine readers to make sure that we’re informed of the crap without actually having to read the crap.

    I wish there were a way to convey these messages about woo in a non-condescending, civil manner. But here’s how a typical conversation will go:

    Woo-believing parent: I’m not worried about the flu, because I read in HufWoo that a good colon-cleansing will stop the disease. Also, I’ll lose 15-20 pounds that is stuck to my intestinal walls.

    Intelligent parent: But I’ve read in this article (just find one, there are enough) that colon-cleansing doesn’t do anything, it can’t prevent or treat the flu, and it doesn’t get rid of 15-20 lbs.

    Woo: Articles are just supported by Big Pharma money so that they can make money. Colon-cleansing is cheaper than drugs, and it works.

    Intelligent: The articles are written by independent researchers, many of who have no support from Big Pharma.

    Woo: They’re lying. Anyways, my Aunt was cured of breast cancer with colon cleansing. She had surgery and chemo, but it was the cleansing that cured her. She could have saved the hardship of the surgery and chemo.

    Intelligent: Don’t you think she was cured by the surgery and chemo, and the colon cleansing was just a waste of money.

    Woo: You are always pushing science, and I give you a scientific fact, and you dispute it. You’re an idiot supported by Big Pharma and by surgeon’s lobby who are all males who want to cut into women’s breasts.

    Intelligent: I’m not even sure how to respond to that.

    Woo: See, typical skeptic, you have no clue.

    Intelligent: and you’re an idiot.

    The problem is that ever single pushback from science-based medicine is met with ad hominems, personal attacks, etc. There’s nothing to do but just call them names and dismiss them. It saves a lot of energy.

  9. #9 Liz Ditz
    May 2, 2009

    Janet Stemwedel’s commenter JohnV points out another problem with HuffPo:

    HuffPo very strongly censors the comments in their fake science section. They moderately, but very randomly, censor comments in their other sections. This is even done at times against the wishes of the blogger to whom you’re commenting.

    If someone managed to get a pro-science piece posted there, the team of moderators would permit the legions of stupid, baseless, fake science, disease promoting comments to flow freely which savaging anyone who agreed with the blogger.

    I say this as someone who used to frequently post there (about 2000 comments over a years time), whose comments were censored at about a 15% rate. I’m not that anal, it used to give you your post count and your censored post count. Once the pro-disease moms started deleting any comment that contained links to scientific studies I gave up.

    I am not sure what the correct course is — but the full-court press from ScienceBlogs can’t hurt.

  10. #10 Marcus Ranum
    May 2, 2009

    In order to protect myself from swine flu, I have taken to wearing my underpants on my head. So far – so good!

  11. #11 Phil
    May 2, 2009

    You got mentioned on the Daily Kos website, another lefty site. Keep up the criticism and maybe Huffpost will be shamed into promoting facts.

    “The white coat underground and Respectful Insolence have more deserved criticism for a worrisome example of pseudoscientific quackery on an otherwise top-notch progressive website — DS”

  12. #12 Jim Ehmke
    May 2, 2009

    Seems like you conveniently ignored that fact that Dr. Mercola’s last book, The Bird Flu Hoax (a NY Times best seller) about a similar topic was spot on. There was NO pandemic that killed two million Americans like George Bush said it would. Also seems you choose to ignore other facts like the last time there was a Swine Flu epidemic in 1976, the vaccine killed more than the flu did. And that only 16 people have died to date from Swine Flu ALL of them from Mexico where overcrowding, poor nutrition and overall poor immune health makes deaths far more likely. Oh and let me point out the obvious that many more people are believing Dr. Mercola than you. His article has nearly ONE MILLION views. How many views does yours have?

  13. #13 The Perky Skeptic
    May 2, 2009

    Rather than count the hits on Orac’s site, I’d rather count the logical fallacies in Jim Ehmke’s comment!

  14. #14 Beatis
    May 2, 2009

    I would strongly advise Tony Isaac’s swine flu protocol, it’s waaaaay simpler than dr. Mercola’s. (I’ve copied it from his website, so you don’t have to visit yourselves)
    http://beatis.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/tony-isaacs-swine-flu-protocol/

  15. #15 Jim Ehmke
    May 2, 2009

    Perky skeptic why don’t you enlighten me, Everything I stated is an easily confirmed referenced indisputable fact. Only your perception is a delusion.

  16. #16 Kevin
    May 2, 2009

    I think that you, and others, are doing the right thing in publicly challenging the articles and clearly pointing out the factual errors and flawed reasoning in HuffPo’s postings. ( I can’t bring myself to call it reporting) Adding some well deserved snark and Fire Marshall Bill references just ices the cake!

  17. #17 Jim Ehmke
    May 2, 2009

    Kevin have you taken an illogical pill today? This article did not point out ANY factual errors in the HUNDREDS of points that were listed in Dr. Mercola’s analysis that has been viewed (at the time of this post) by 796,000 + people.

  18. #18 Ploon
    May 2, 2009

    I count several non-sequiturs and one argument from popularity. No substantial responses to the criticism in the OP whatsoever. How am I doing?

  19. #19 Ploon
    May 2, 2009

    Oh looky: another argument from popularity. Jim, do you have any idea how many people view pr0n on the internet? And what does that number tell you about the truth content of your average internet pr0n? Exactly.

  20. #20 Ploon
    May 2, 2009

    Lots of people went to see the latest Harry Potter film too, but that doesn’t mean that magic is real. Key word: fiction [substitute: lies, spin, quackery etc.]

  21. #21 trrll
    May 2, 2009

    Also seems you choose to ignore other facts like the last time there was a Swine Flu epidemic in 1976, the vaccine killed more than the flu did.

    I cannot imagine how anybody capable of even rudimentary rational thought could make an argument as obviously, flagrantly fallacious as this.

    After all, if a therapy is PERFECTLY effective in preventing or treating a disease, then ALL of the deaths will be from the therapy. And this will true no matter how low the risk of the therapy happens to be, and no matter how high the risk of the disease is.

    (I am, of course assuming that the risk of the therapy is nonzero, since the only kind of therapy with zero risk is the kind that doesn’t work at all).

  22. #22 The Perky Skeptic
    May 2, 2009

    Pretty good, Ploon! :) Also I’d call an implicit argument from authority.

  23. #23 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 2, 2009

    I for one will welcome or pork Overloards when they swoop in and take over after Hamthrax has run its course. The aporkalypse is coming, prepare to meet your maker.

    And he is Porky pig.

  24. #24 The Old Man
    May 2, 2009

    I recently subscribed to the medicine and health scienceblogs feed. My reader was deluged with attacks on homeopathy and other pseudoscience, especially among the HuffPo blogs. I thought some of the other scienceblog readers would be interested in the political history of homeopathy in America. I have a summary of it at http://usahc.blogspot.com

  25. #25 dikken
    May 2, 2009

    Jim,

    I didn’t know it was so easy to count idiots. Much easier than counting the number of people shopping at GNC or the herbal aisle at Krogers supermarket.

  26. #26 Alan Kellogg
    May 2, 2009

    [OT] I know, it’s evil of me, but since folks here see autism fraud of a kind with flu fraud I’m passing on word of a study on the genetic basis of autism. From Zoe Brain -a transexual intersexual Australian rocket scientist (you know she’s strange, she’s Australian)- we get a report from Genome Web.

    This ends your obligatory attempt at thread derailment.[/OT]

  27. #27 Jedemy
    May 2, 2009

    His article has nearly ONE MILLION views. How many views does yours have?

    Yeah, go ahead and do what it says, tell those mexicans I said Hi

  28. #28 desiree
    May 2, 2009

    kelly, that’s a good question. someone posted the link on my mom board too but i didn’t say anything (i learned my lesson after VERY diplomatically offering some thoughts on vaccination after it came up). i don’t know the answer… i swear i’m a nice person but i always feel like people think i’m a jerk if i disagree with a “holistic” kind of point. i’m ready to just give up and quit the mommy board.

  29. #29 pathgirl
    May 2, 2009

    I don’t have swine flu, I have Dutch elm’s disease. There is a high mortality rate (for trees) and the news media can panic about the obscure species jump.

  30. #30 Kevin Champagne
    May 3, 2009

    I hate the Huffington post. Way to left for me.

    I don’t know if this comment belongs under this thread but I just came across this study from 1987 about an outbreak of Measles in a school that had a 99% vaccination rate.

    Talk to me goose …
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/13/771

    ?

  31. #31 Dangerous Bacon
    May 3, 2009

    I am sorry to hear about pathgirl’s Dutch Elm disease. Hopefully it will be less virulent than in the case of James Thurber’s relative who died of the chestnut blight.

    I would reveal more, but They don’t want you to know.

  32. #32 HCN
    May 3, 2009

    Talk about cherry picking Champagne, plus outright lying!

    From that link “An outbreak of measles occurred among adolescents in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the spring of 1985, even though vaccination requirements for school attendance had been thoroughly enforced.”

    Since when did 1985 equal 1987?

    Wait, the article was published in March of 1987. Does this mean to you thought that it occurred in the same month?

    Okay, more studies:
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=8855680 , it is an pdf image, but it does say most of the kids who got measles were not vaccinated!

    Then there is this one:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106092 … “Overall, 90% of deaths reported to the NIP occurred in persons who had not been vaccinated against measles.”

    Also, what does influenza have to do with measles? Or to the fact that there is no vaccine for this particular but?

    How can you blame a vaccine when it does not even exist?

  33. #33 Kevin Champagne
    May 3, 2009

    Apparently I have to post my whole comment again since some people don’t get it or don’t read.

    ONE MORE TIME;

    I hate the Huffington post. Way to left for me.

    I don’t know if this comment belongs under this thread but I just came across this study from 1987 about an outbreak of Measles in a school that had a 99% vaccination rate.

    Talk to me goose …
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/13/771

    ?

  34. #34 Kevin Champagne
    May 3, 2009

    Please explain how there could be a measles outbreak in a population that is 99% (cough) protected by immunization?

  35. #35 Jack
    May 3, 2009

    To those of us who appreciate the scientific method, the tendency is to view science as science and quackery as irrational magical thinking. Skepticism is leveled against New Age hokum, as well it should be. But the careful thinker reserves skepticism for all things, takes nothing at face value, but examines the evidence and makes determinations from the result of his prudent inquiries. While the medical arts are, with the exception of psychiatry, based upon the scientific method, medical treatments are wielded by people with subjective, rather than objective, motivations, typically being economic power and monetary greed. Examine, with a disinterested eye, the sordid history of the Swine Flu Epidemic of 1976 and you will find that our government attempted to inoculate every man, woman and child in the United States against a flu that proved to be a non-starter. Never tested on human beings before it was widely disseminated, the vaccine was offered to 215,000,000 Americans, from which five hundred people developed an auto-immune disease later named “Guillain-Barre Syndrome”. Twenty-five of that number died from the disorder. (Only one individual, a soldier at Fort Dix in New Jersey, actually died from complications from the Swine Flu, which was named, “A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1) influenza virus”.) Medical claims by recipients of the vaccine who had suffered paralysis from it totaled $1.3 billion USD.

    Malfeasance did not end with the Swine Flu vaccine in 1976. The current treatment offers Tamiflu as an anti-viral drug to combat the new Swine Flu, now called H1N1. Tamiflu’s medical claim is simply that it can reduce the extent of a bout of influenza by one day. Weigh against that benefit the risks the drug poses: side effects which may include convulsions, delirium or delusions, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Tamiflu caused fourteen deaths in children and teens in Japan, as a result of neuropsychiatric disorders and “brain infections.” Japan banned the drug for use by children in 2007.

    Even though medicines result from the pursuit of science, that doesn’t mean that the use of them is immune from skulduggery on a massive scale at the highest levels, often involving persons within the FDA who promote the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the American people (and then leave the FDA and join the firms whose products they had approved, being richly compensated for their efforts.)

    Skepticism shouldn’t be reserved only for purveyors of Crystal Healing Jewelry and the like.

  36. #36 JP
    May 3, 2009

    @ Kevin

    It’s actually very simple – some people fail to generate a lasting immune response after exposure to an antigen. Those people are seronegative, meaning that they have no antibodies to that antigen. Without antibodies, they are vulnerable to infection.

    Herd immunity is the key to protecting vulnerable people. If enough people gain immunity from vaccination, a single infected person will, on average, infect less than 1 other person. If the average number of new cases caused by a previous case is less than 1, the disease will die off.

    Note that herd immunity is based on statistics. It does not say that an outbreak is impossible, only that it is unlikely when the immunity rate surpasses a given value.

    Measles is a very infectious disease and is transmitted very efficiently. As a result, the immunity rate has to be rather high to minimize the chances of an outbreak. If, by chance, a number of people fail to achieve immunity from vaccination (or are immunocompromised), measles can gain a foothold and infect many vulnerable people.

    To summarize, the outbreak you refer to is a result of perfectly normal random variations in vaccination success and disease transmission. The school was unlucky enough to have 4.1% of the students without immunity, and the measles was transmitted well enough to infect 14 vulnerable students.

    And a final bit of context: this outbreak was sufficiently novel to warrant an article in NEJM. Measles outbreaks such as this one are rare, but not impossible. In any statistical distribution, there will be a non-zero chance of an outlier.

  37. #37 Liz Ditz
    May 3, 2009

    OK, more HuffPo woo incoming — duck or skip if you’ve had enough:

    Tabby Biddle — my meditation practice gave me spots on my eye>

    Matthew Stein: When it comes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and deadly viruses, so-called “alternative medicine,” including herbs and a variety of other treatments, may well be your most effective form of treatment and prevention

    Allison Rose Levy: Collodial Silver can help! And water has memory!

  38. #38 Gloria
    May 3, 2009

    Personally, I will probably be the first in line to get a swine flu vaccine if/when it comes out.

    But why, exactly, is it a fallacy to point out that the vaccine of 1976 killed more than the swine flu did? The swine flu at that time didn’t infect anyone outside Fort Dix and only went on for a few days, and the vaccine came out months later. The vaccine program wasn’t dropped until nearly a year after the flu cases. By any measure, the mass vaccination was a complete overreaction that did cause deaths that would not have occurred otherwise (there is no way the swine flu would have caused deaths across the entire United States, since the cases were so confined by both time and geographic location, with only one death). To say that vaccination program prevented people from getting the swine flu is silly. Fort Dix was quarantined and that was it for that particular outbreak.

    This influenza, however, has gone way beyond that.

  39. #39 John M.
    May 3, 2009

    JP@33
    Nicely put, but you won’t persuade people like Kevin Champagne. His mind is made up, don’t pester him with facts (i.e a self-confessed conservative)

  40. #40 Mark P
    May 3, 2009

    “there is no way the swine flu would have caused deaths across the entire United States, since the cases were so confined by both time and geographic location, with only one death”

    Yes, we know that. Now.

    That wasn’t known at the time. Since influenza can be spread easily by non-human vectors, it cannot be assumed that merely containing the infected humans will prevent the spread of the disease.

    Vaccines have risks. The trade-off is excessive vigilance against allowing extremely dangerous diseases full reign. Perhaps they got it wrong in 1976. Perhaps they didn’t. If they had got it wrong the other way, potentially many more people would have died.

  41. #41 D. C. Sessions
    May 3, 2009

    Please explain how there could be a measles outbreak in a population that is 99% (cough) protected by immunization?

    Semantic shift. Your “99%” was the degree of enforcement of the immunization policy — which has exemptions built in. It does not follow that 99% of the students were actually immunized against measles. Aside from medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions they could have had Jay Gordon for a pediatrician.

  42. #42 Jack
    May 3, 2009

    @Liz Ditz

    You know, just because something appears in the Huffington Post, that doesn’t mean it’s false. Not everything written by a liberal is wrong. Not everything that is an alternative to commonly accepted practices is voodoo or quackery. Science is the acquisition of truth gathered through experimentation and observation, and it is not a respecter of persons: anyone is capable of producing objective, verifiable facts, whether we appreciate their world-view or not. The article you cited above about colloidal silver contains information that has been obtained scientifically. Silver is not only antibacterial, like antibiotics, it is also antiviral: it kills viruses. And because it kills microbes by mechanical means, they can’t develop resistance to silver, in the same way that people don’t become resistant to bullets fired from a gun.

    Ulcers were once believed to be the result of stress, and were treated with sometimes ghastly methods. Two Australian doctors developed the theory that ulcers resulted from a bacterial infection, and one of them tested the hypothesis by infecting his gut with the bacterium h. pylorii, giving himself ulcers. He then treated the condition with antibiotics, killing the bacterium and curing the illness. It took twelve long years for this information –that ulcers could be cured by a simple treatment of antibiotics– to overcome the resistance against unorthodox information and become widely used, twelve years in which patients sometimes died as a result of unnecessary surgery.

    In an argument, an ~ad hominem~ response is when, rather than addressing the truth or fallacy of a statement, the character of the person making the statement is attacked. This is a similar situation: all statements made by an opponent are deemed to be erroneous, simply because they were made by that person. Both responses are anti-truth, and are the result of ignorant tribalism. “Everything said by people in the tribe to which I belong is true and good; everything said by people in the enemy’s tribe is false and bad.”

    That is anti-science, anti-knowledge. Facts must be judged upon their merits, in all cases, regardless of their source.

  43. #43 Kelly
    May 3, 2009

    Jack said in post #42

    And because it kills microbes by mechanical means, they can’t develop resistance to silver, in the same way that people don’t become resistant to bullets fired from a gun.

    Silver resistance mechanisms are known and have been published in the literature. Salmonella typhimurium uses a conjugally transferable plasmid which also offers resistance to several antibiotics. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2007 59(4):587-590

    A comment on the above review article also notes: “It appears that the window between minimum concentrations lethal to microbes and those lethal to host cells is narrow and is easily missed in practice. In most cases this will not be clinically important, but in some it will be.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2007 60(2):447

    Ms. Rose mentions that silver aquasols have been subject to recent scientific study. I did a pubmed search for “silver aquasol” and retrieved no results. Could you please point me in the right direction for these scientific studies that you and Ms. Rose mentioned?

  44. #44 Tsu Dho Nimh
    May 3, 2009

    @42 “Ulcers were once believed to be the result of stress, and were treated with sometimes ghastly methods. Two Australian doctors developed the theory that ulcers resulted from a bacterial infection, and one of them tested the hypothesis by infecting his gut with the bacterium h. pylorii, giving himself ulcers. He then treated the condition with antibiotics, killing the bacterium and curing the illness. It took twelve long years for this information –that ulcers could be cured by a simple treatment of antibiotics– to overcome the resistance against unorthodox information and become widely used, twelve years in which patients sometimes died as a result of unnecessary surgery.

    Check out the timeline at Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_peptic_ulcer_disease_and_Helicobacter_pylori

    They started in 1982. Within two years they were published in Lancet (as a letter) and other labs confirmed the findings. They were fully funded.

    By 1987, an extensive study in Dublin demonstrated that eradicating H. pylori substantially reduces recurrence of ulcers. This a disease that must be observed for MONTHS to see changes and recurrences.

    1990 – World Congress of Gastroenterology recommends eradicating H. pylori in order to cure duodenal ulcers.

    So it’s not the twelve long years you claim. By 1990 it was becoming bleeding obvious that H. pylori was causing (somehow) ulcers. The exact how would take a while longer, but the way to get rid of them was well understood.

    Counting from 1982 to 1994, that’s when “Conference held by National Institute of Health (USA) demonstrating the general acceptance of H. pylori as cause of PUD in the US.” That’s “general acceptance”, meaning that by the time that conference was held, the votes were in and the “stress model” was already in the trashcan.

    BTW, they got the Nobel Prize in 2005.

  45. #45 Chris
    May 3, 2009

    Kevin Champagne:

    Please explain how there could be a measles outbreak in a population that is 99% (cough) protected by immunization?

    That is impossible. Even if 100% of the population has been vaccinated, about 5% would still be vulnerable to the disease. Plus you would never have 100% of the population vaccinated because 100% of the children under the age of one would not be vaccinated, plus there will a small population of people with real medical reasons for not getting the vaccine.

    Now for the numbers: In a population where at least 5% are vulnerable to measles even though they are vaccinated, it there are 1000 people that would mean that 50 people can get sick.

    Also, the paper you cited was when the MMR was only given once. After the outbreak five years later, the second vaccine was recommended. The vaccinated population in 1985 would have only had 90% or even fewer protected. So, out of 1000 people, that would make 100 vaccinated people vulnerable to measles.

    But that is old data, if you read about the most recent outbreaks they have mostly occurred in those who have not been vaccinated. The Update: Measles — United States, January–July 2008 has this paragraph:

    Among the 131 measles patients, 123 were U.S. residents, of whom 99 (80%) were aged <20 years (Table). Five (4%) of the 123 patients had received 1 dose of MMR vaccine, six (5%) had received 2 doses of MMR vaccine, and 112 (91%) were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Among these 112 patients, 95 (85%) were eligible for vaccination, and 63 (66%) of those were unvaccinated because of philosophical or religious beliefs

  46. #46 JN
    May 3, 2009

    Seems like you conveniently ignored that fact that Dr. Mercola’s last book, contained at least one piece of information that was not fabricated. Because this ONE claim was accurate, it’s safe to say everything else he writes should be accepted uncritically. Also seems you choose to ignore other facts like the last time there was a Swine Flu epidemic in 1976, it was transmitted by werewolves. And that only 57 people have spontaneously combusted to date from Swine Flu 600 of them from Dollywood where jumproping, holograms and overall scandalousness makes spontaneous erections far more depressing. Oh and let me point out the obvious that many more people are believing Dr. Pepper than you. His article has nearly ONE BRAZILLION views. I should have pointed this out in the beginning, because whoever gets the most views is correct. Why do you hate democracy? Oh, because you’re Hitler Satan Dracula Cheney!

  47. #47 Chris
    May 3, 2009

    JN:

    Seems like you conveniently ignored that fact that Dr. Mercola’s last book,

    Mercola is a not a valid source of information, despite your argumentum ad populam.

    Or is JN doing a Poe?

  48. #48 The Perky Skeptic
    May 3, 2009

    I think it’s safe to say JN is doing a Poe. :)

  49. #49 Nightshadequeen
    May 3, 2009

    JN’s doing a Poe. The last sentence cements it.

  50. #50 Scott
    May 3, 2009

    I heard from a friend the other day a great conspiracy theory about swine flu. After the bird flu scare the amount of Tamiflu that was stockpiled went through the roof. Now that the drugs are about to expire, there was a need to over-emphasise the potential threat of swine flu in order for customers to purchase the Tamiflu.

    Thought that sounded pretty reasonable. Its nice to have Big Pharma conspiracies that make sense every now and then! Maybe my friend first heard about this from Huffpo!

  51. #51 Missy Miss
    May 4, 2009

    Here’s what we REALLY have to worry about.

    http://bouncewith.me.uk/europe/8027043.htm

  52. #52 mcow
    May 4, 2009

    If you do come down with symptoms and have not been on Vitamin D, Dr, Mercola suggests therapeutic doses of up to 50,000 units a day for up to three days during the worst of it.

    Isn’t that quite a bit more than the upper limit for what is considered remotely safe?

  53. #53 Jen
    May 4, 2009

    Skepticism shouldn’t be reserved only for purveyors of Crystal Healing Jewelry and the like.>>>>>>>>>>

    Amen to that!

  54. #54 Pablo
    May 4, 2009

    I just got my wrists slapped on a mommy board for calling Mercola’s article hilarious for it’s bad logic and bias. The person posting the link thought I was rude for pointing this out and that I shouldn’t laugh at people for referencing/quoting the article. They weren’t interested in my corrections of the logic or sites that have more accurate information.

    Kelly and Desiree – I feel your pain. You have encountered the First Rule of Mom’s Forums: Mommy is always right, and no one can criticize her. Even if you do the complete opposite (you are also always right), you can’t criticize her.

    I got sick of it, too, especially when it came to topics like vaccination (like Desiree). While I am a live-and-let-live sort of person, a decision to not vaccinate puts MY child at risk, and therefore, affects me. Thus, I let it be known in no uncertain terms how I felt. Of course, I got the admonishment.

    Shoot, a lot of posters on the board I was on got into trouble because they dared to criticize a pregnant mom who drank alcohol!!!!! She came around expecting validation, and, indeed, got some, but many were like, no, we aren’t going to tell you it is OK. And they were considered the bad ones.

    The final straw for me was that, while mommy is always right, daddy is similarly never right. You have to know that I am one who works very hard promoting active parenting by fathers. Parenting is a team effort, and both parents need to contribute (in addition to actively promoting dad’s participation on discussion boards, I also volunteer for local baby classes (doing Dad’s Boot Camp – which is tonight, BTW)). So I get very tired of hearing moms rip on dads, especially for things that are not deserved (the whole, “I am pregnant so I am allowed to be irrational and mean” nonsense drives me up the wall – hormones are an explanation for irrational behavior, not an excuse), but the worst was when a mom was having a disagreement with dad about some parenting activity. His mother (grandma) pitched in with, “I think you should do it this way,” and the dad had the audacity to agree with her. So this mom goes off on him, complaining about how he is just going along with her because she is him mom, and it is HER child and she is going to do what SHE thinks best, because “mom is always right.”

    She couldn’t comprehend the possibility that perhaps the reason he went along with his mom was because he agreed with her that it was the best thing to do. Oh no, it was a case of “taking the mother-in-law’s side.”

    This kind of attitude was pervasive. They would constantly bitch that the dads never helped, but then when the dads did help, they bitched because they did it wrong (is it any wonder dad doesn’t want to help?). Too often, their concept of “dad being involved in raising the child” meant “dad does whatever mom tells him to do.” I got tired of fighting it.

    Team parenting means both parents contribute. There may be disagreements on what to do, and in that case, work it out. As I like to say, the goal of team parenting is not to think alike, but to think together. You can’t do that with the attitude that “mom is always right.”

    Sorry for the rant, but loopy moms really torque me off in that they think they need to be protected from criticism.

  55. #55 Dr. Rocketscience
    May 4, 2009

    Re JN@46:
    Guys, that’s not an example of Poe’s Law. Poe’s Law requires that the parody be indistinguishable from the real thing. I know the first statement could be construed as a Poe, but c’mon – warewolves? Dr. Pepper? One Brazillion? Spontaneous combustion? Depressing erections? Dollywood?? It’s just a joke, a hamfisted satire. Enjoy a laugh.

  56. #56 numsix
    May 4, 2009

    Whitecoat Tales posted:

    “This is ridiculous. I’m actually on vacation right now and I’m getting emails from people asking if they should do what’s in the HuffPo article!”

    Send the HuffPo a copy of the bill you would send your patients and ask for payment.
    Since they are giving the advice that incurs the expense they should take responsibility for their actions.

  57. #57 Steve Packard
    May 6, 2009

    The political left is really having some problems with this anti-science nonsense embeding itself in their ranks and would do well to kick them the hell out. The political right has its own problems with anti-science nonsense in the form of creationism and anti-evolution rhetoric, but it destroys their credibility and turns them into a laughing stock.

    The more liberal/progressive leaning readers of things like the Huff need to realize that this is no better and it is not a political statement, it’s just purely factually wrong. It needs to be seen for what it is. Homeopathy and other ‘alternative’ medicine sections are not sticking it to the man, they’re sticking it to the sick patients. They’re not anti-establishment, anti-corporate or pro-consumer, they’re just lies.

  58. #58 AR
    May 6, 2009

    I agree that Mercola’s comments are ludicrious, but let’s not absolve Big Pharma from some of the greedy power trips its been on. “Let those who have not sinned cast the first stone.” And big pharma has been guilty of PLENTY of those:

    http://www.medicationsense.com/articles/july_sept_04/crestor_truth.html

    This website is dedicated to providing information to help you and your doctor make informed, intelligent choices about medications and natural alternatives to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of treatment. Note: This website is free of drug company or government influence. Jay S. Cohen M.D.

    here’s a link to the class action lawsuit against Merck

    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,25273468-462,00.html

    And before the misunderstanding even occurs, let me apply some preventative medicine: Im not bashing DOCTORS! I specifically stated that Ive met several doctors (or read their blogs), many of whom bash pharmaceutical companies for trying to push them to prescribe medications which they, THE DOCTORS, dont want to prescribe. I also posted a link to a class action lawsuit in Australia concerning Merck, which proves my point.

    a recent NY Times article mentions a group of Harvard Med School students in a pharmacology class who got ticked off when a professor dissed one of the students for questioning the side effects of a cholesterol lowering drug. One of the students investigated and found that the prof was a paid consultant for several pharma companies some of which manufacture chloesterol lowering drugs.

    BTW some herbal remedies do work (they have a documented pharmacological action) so let’s not group everyone in the same basket.