Respectful Insolence

Archives for May, 2010

Opening Orac’s holiday mailbag…

Today is a holiday in the U.S., Memorial Day. This is a day when we remember our war dead, but the three day weekend that accompanies the last Monday in May is also viewed as the unofficial start of summer. Consequently, I decided to take it easy and simply post a bit of e-mail from…

Damn! I knew I made my promise to myself not to write about vaccines again for at least a few days too soon! Whenever I do that, it seems, one of two things happens. Either something important happens that, having become, however it happened, the go-to blogger for commenting on the anti-vaccine movement, I can’t…

The SkepDoc reviews Callous Disregard

The week is coming to a close, and the Memorial Day holiday beckons for those of us in the U.S. I’ve spent most of this week blogging about the anti-vaccine movement, and I do need a rest. Next week, I promise to try to stay away from this issue as much as possible, not just…

Is the anti-vaccine movement fizzling?

After a week of some of the most amazing anti-vaccine craziness that I’ve seen in quite a while, a week that started with anti-vaccine hero Andrew Wakefield’s name being struck off the list of licensed medical practitioners in the U.K. During the entire week, there was (and is ongoing) an anti-vaccine crank conference known as…

The pause that refreshes these Doctors

I’ve written about the credulous mass of misinformation that is TV’s The Doctors before. As you might imagine, I’m not impressed with the quality of the medical information that is dispensed on this show. It’s everything I hate about glitzed up medicine as TV entertainment, particularly the vacuously beautiful hosts. I thought Dr. Stork and…

I don’t mean to beat up on Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. I really don’t. I realize I rather harshly criticized him yesterday for being so hostile to the concept of “denialism,” to the point where he characterized even the use of the term as a means of “suppressing” free speech. Normally, that criticism would have been…

I love it when cranks write petitions. They’re hilarious. Usually, they’re oh-so-serious and ominous, sprinkled with unintentionally, un-self-aware bits of pure comic gold. For example, check out this “petition” being circulated by the anti-vaccine activists, called The Chicago Principles on Vaccination Choice:

As I’ve pointed out numerous times this week, anti-vaccine loons, led by Generation Rescue and a “health freedom” group, have organized an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago from 3 PM to 5 PM CDT. Anti-vaccine martyr Andrew Wakefield himself will be the keynote speaker, and there will even be very bad music promoting…

I’ve had a lot of fun thus far this week expressing more than a bit of schadenfreude over Andrew Wakefield’s being ignominiously stripped of his medical license in the U.K. by the General Medical Council, not to mention pointing out the quackfest that is Autism One, I feel the need for a brief break from…

It figures. I’ve written a couple of times about a rally to be held tomorrow in Grant Park that would be hilarious were it not an indication of the threat to public health that the anti-vaccine movement represents. Actually, it is to some extent hilarious, mainly due to the anti-vaccine Poe-worthy “music” that will be…

Regular readers know that I have a tendency every so often to whine about when writing about the antics of the anti-vaccine movement seems to engulf this blog. Yes, it’s true. Every so often I get really, really tired of the bad science, pseudoscience, magical thinking, misinformation, and even outright lies that emanate from various…

In the wake of Matt Lauer’s interview with Andrew Wakefield, there’s a new poll up at the TODAYMoms website: Do you think vaccines are related to autism? Andrew Wakefield, who touched off an international controversy by claiming a possible link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism, has lost his medical license, but…

Andrew Wakefield: Struck off!

It’s been a long time comin’ It’s goin’ to be a Long Time Gone. And it appears to be a long, appears to be a long, appears to be a long time, yes, a long, long, long ,long time before the dawn. – from “Long Time Gone” by Crosby, Stills & Nash Oh, happy day!…

An old Chinese combined proverb and curse is said to be, “May you live in interesting times.” Certainly, with respect to vaccines, the last few years have been “interesting times.” Unfortunately, this week times are about to get a lot more “interesting” as the Autism One quackfest descends upon Chicago beginning today. Featuring prominently in…

Andrew Wakefield’s back, and he’s sure trying to come back big. I knew when I last wrote about his utter humiliation and disrepute that he wouldn’t stay away for long. In fact, he stayed away longer than I thought–a whole three months. Unfortunately, though, he appears to be on a full media blitz to try…

A homeopath unplugged from reality

Yesterday’s post made me sad. It always makes me sad to contemplate a 14 year old boy facing the loss of his father to an aggressive form of leukemia, as Danny Hauser is. The kid just can’t catch a break. First he himself develops Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Because he happens to live in a family that…

Around this time last year, the major topic of this blog was the case of a young teen named Daniel Hauser. In fact, right around this time last year, this particular case was approaching its climax. Hauser, as you may recall, was the 13-year-old Minnesota boy diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who refused chemotherapy. His stated…

I’ve blogged a lot about anti-vaccine hero Andrew Wakefield over the years. The story has become long and convoluted, and to tell it takes a lot of verbiage, even by Orac standards. However, I’ve found a good resource that tells the tale of Andrew Wakefield and his misdeeds in a highly accessible form: The question…

Here we go again. I’ve written a few times before about the controversy over whether cell phones (a.k.a. mobile phones in most of the rest of the world) cause brain cancer, concluding on more than one occasion that the evidence does not support a link. For example, there has not been a large increase in…

Over the last week or so, I’ve been a bit–shall we say?–dismissive of claims by anti-vaccinationists when they insist that, really, truly, honestly, they aren’t “anti-vaccine,” usually with a wounded, indignant, self-righteous tone. Either that, or they make like the Black Knight in Monty Python and The Holy Grail by demanding the surrender of the…

As a followup to my rather “epic post” on dichloroacetate, I thought I’d just post a brief follow up. A reader sent me this video of Evangelos Michelakis, the investigator who has been testing DCA in the clinic and who did the study testing DCA against gliblastoma, describing his results: It’s always interesting to hear…

Last week, I did three posts about the anti-vaccine movement. (What? Only three? Well, last week was slower than usual on the anti-vaccine craziness front. It happens.) Two of them were variations on a theme, namely how the anti-vaccine movement vehemently, desperately does not want to be seen as “anti-vaccine, even though that’s what many…

Yesterday was a sad day indeed, as a blogger that I’ve been following almost since I myself started blogging has decided to close up shop: It’s been a long time coming but the time has come. Effect Measure is closing up shop, after 5 and a half years, 3 million visits and 5.1 million page…

Late last week, a crank I hadn’t heard from in a while showed up in my comments. I’m referring to DaveScot, who normally was known for promoting anti-evolution rhetoric in the service of the pseudoscience known as “intelligent design” creationism. This is what he said: Hi Orac, terrasig suggested you do a followup article on…

Every so often, I hear the complaint from some readers, usually in the context of complaining about my posting style on issues I care a lot about, such as countering the anti-vaccine movement or pseudoscientific alt-med modalities, that I’m just “preaching to the converted” and not changing any minds. While there may be some element…