It’s been pointed out to me that our old pal David Kirby, perhaps the cleverest antivaccine propagandist out there, is back at (where else?) The Huffington Post (a.k.a. HuffPo) asking why The Autism-Vaccine Debate: Why It Won’t Go Away (short answer: because opportunists like Kirby have teamed with believers in pseudoscience to keep fanning the flames of this manufactroversy whenever they fade to embers). I’ve been debating whether it’s worthwhile to produce a response to his disingenuously slimy arguments yet again, given that Kirby’s being even more disingenuously slimy than usual. In the meantime, while I’m debating whether it’s better to ignore Kirby or to be a benevolent Plexiglass box of blinking multi-colored lights and give him the not-so-Respectful Insolence he clearly so desperately craves, I also noticed that, while engaging in some necromancy, a commenter named Dinah Everett Snyder expresses her extreme displeasure with my treatment of Andrew Wakefield in the comments of a two year old post:

Having just spent some time reading the posts attached to this blog on autism and Dr. Wakefield I would like to tell the author of the article , if it could be called such, that he has done a damning and despicable disservice to the now millions of children in absolute agony due to their symproms of an illness that they were not born with, and on whom governments,the medical establishment, the media and special interest groups have turned their backs.

Oh! Wait, not exactly ! The special interest groups (read : pharmaceutical companies) have found a way to profit even from this travesty by prescribing more and more drugs to alleviate the symptoms in these children.( which do not work .) Please be aware that attention deficit and related ” labels” are part of the autism spectrum and as such, these children support a multi billion dollar additional drug platform through such drugs as Ritalin etc.

Scientific Integrity demands following the principles of ethical research, taking a hypothosis through to its own natural conclussion and NOT trying to make the science fit the need or preconceived idea/ notion!

Contrary to what the media has said, Dr. Wakefield questioned a causal link between autism and the combination vaccine of Measles, Mumps and Rubella, noting that a new measles strain had been used in the combo jab.

And, the study HAS been duplicated, ad nauseum, in the US, Japan and Australia in the years since Dr. Wakefields first paper hit the headlines.

Further,many papers have been published that seek to understand the chronic inflammation of the gut associated with many autistic children.Papers have been published that look at the gut issues of ADHD children too, lest you think otherwise. And the evidence supports this as a relevant area of study, a relevant area of answer seeking.

Rather than attack one man, governments and medical establishments would be better off finding ANSWERS to the question of autism. In fact, each and every person who pays taxes should be demanding that the FDA fund those critical studies, now ! Most especially in light of the fact that the FDA is seeking more and more funding (read: OUR tax dollars) in order to finance “research” and ” development” in “critical areas” on behalf of drug companies, which are global entities and the biggest sector of commerce. They DO NOT need the additional support from a government entity, OR our tax dollars. Unless they intend to gift all tax payers with the resulting medications free of charge to both us and our insurance providers (read: of course this is a joke ! ) The ignorance and bias on this ENTIRE blog site is indicative of the sick culture that we have become. Know this then, autism issues are no different to those of cancer, diabetes, HIV Aids and auto immue illness…and as such they ALL deserve our investment in Scientific Integrity and transparancy from the Department of Health and Human Services. Drug companies are merely interested in profit, not solutions. There is NO MONEY in a cure, you ignorant bunch of fellow people.

Autistic children deserve our compassion and attention and their families NEED our help. But for the grace of god, there stands each and every one of YOU.

If we are able to turn our backs on our wounded soldiers and our damaged children, what does that say of us, and what have we become? Shamed, you have all been shamed.

Ignorance is no excuse.

It’s half-tempting to ask my readers to engage in a game of “name that logical fallacy,” but truly, Dinah hits pretty much every brain-dead antivaccine talking point. Given how thoroughly Andrew Wakefield has been disgraced, how intellectually bankrupt and fraudulent his “research” has been demonstrated to be, and how morally bankrupt as a human being he is, it’s depressing that he still has such ardent “fans.”

“Cult”-like is indeed an accurate term to describe the antivaccine activists who still lionize Andrew Wakefield. Indeed, I still find it quite odd how even the seemingly more intelligent antivaccine propagandists still stick to Andy like glue. In any case, if Dinah wants to try to respond, here’s the place to do it, in a brand, spankin’ new post.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    February 14, 2011

    More unsupported flights of fancy from Dinah.

    What part of “put up or shut up” to you fail to understand.

  2. #2 Candy
    February 14, 2011

    Dinah, you’re an idiot. It’s really that simple. Why should we have to look up the citations you asserted existed? You’re a mendacious liar, a goal post-shifting dishonest twit, and obviously a believer in every crank idea that comes down the turnpike. Your books will probably make quality door-stops, though.

  3. #3 Babs
    February 14, 2011

    So here are some studies listed as replicating wakefields results…… F. Balzola et al “Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism show for the first time by wireless capsule Enteroscopy: Another piece in the Jig-saw of the gut-brain sundrome?” American Journal of Gastroenterology 2005 100(4): 979-981 L Gonzalez, K. Lopez, D. Navarro et al “Endoscopic & Histological characteristics of the digestive mucosa in Autistic children with gastro-intestinal symptoms” Arch Venez Pueric Pediatr 2005 69: 19-25 S. Walker, K. Hepner, J. Segal & A. Krigsman “Persistant Ileal Measles virus in a large cohort of regressive autistic children” (IMFAR May 2007)

  4. #4 Chris
    February 14, 2011

    Babs, we have seen those studies, and they are not independent replications. Why would you think that Krigsman, a colleague of Wakefield would be independent? And which one was from Australia? Dinah claims there is one from Australia. Did someone lose it?

    Anyway, those were all debunked ages ago here.

    Babs, next time make sure to cite the study and why it is:

    a) Independent. That means that Wakefield and none of his associates, like Krigsman, are involved.

    b) Have a similar set of cases. This means children (not adults like the some on the list), and include at least the same number, preferably more than twelve.

    c) List which MMR vaccine was being investigated. If you check, you will see that measles is not even mentioned. It should be either the one approved in the UK before or after 1992.

    d) Must be full published papers, not IMFAR posters.

    Please try again with those guidelines.

  5. #5 Candy
    February 14, 2011

    Babs, could you provide some links? I Googled that last study in your list and the only thing that came up was a link to some crank mentioning it on The Jenny McCarthy Body Count Facebook page. The first study you mentioned had several hits that stated it has been debunked.Supporting sites for that study were Age of Autism and Mothering; not impressive. I admit these were quick Googles and it would be most helpful if you would provide actual links to the studies themselves.

    This is interesting: http://www.topix.com/forum/source/york-daily-record/TQHV9SO44V49OV6HI

  6. #6 Calli Arcale
    February 14, 2011

    Dinah:

    And the last time I checked, strep was a bacteria,and yes, a spray mist application would be considered a topical application and is reported as such for this study. I would also like to point out that I never claimed oral ingestion as an exclusive terrain. Although it has been used to treat chronic oral thrush and in that case is used as a gargle and swallow, which clearly makes it an oral ingestion.

    No, that would also be a topical application, because it’s meant to work exactly where it is applied, not by passing though the gut and into the bloodstream. I’ll grant that if swallowed, it is being taken internally, but I rather suspect it’s the rinsing and gargling that’s useful and you’d get the same benefit (without the risks) if you spit it out afterwards.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that silver (colloidal or otherwise) is an effective antiseptic; it’s been used for that purpose quite effectively for a long time. It’s pretty lethal to a lot of organisms. But why drink it? Chlorine’s an effective antiseptic too, and I have no intention whatsoever of drinking it. Most antiseptics are fairly stupid things to drink, actually — it’s rare for something to be deadly to pathogens and harmless to human tissues.

    BTW, what’s so special about it being colloidal? Colloids are not unusual substances, really. I have a sneaky suspicion it’s a bit like “quantum” — it sounds impressive to the scientifically illiterate. Making it into a colloid just makes it easier to drink, just like Nyquil and other drugs in liquid formulation. Has very nearly zip-doodle to do with its chemical properties.

  7. #7 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 14, 2011

    I thank Babs for at least trying to provide citations, though, as opposed to Dinah who thinks that for some reason, we should be trusting her unsupported word that Wakefield’s results have been replicated. That, after she mistook the percentage of mercury in thimerosal for the percentage of mercury in the entire suspension liquid of a flu vaccine.

  8. #8 Matthew Cline
    February 14, 2011

    @Dinah Everett Snyder:

    it is evident that you just don’t understand, I am not going to cite the Wakefield things here,

    You’re going to cite them somewhere else, just not here? Why cite them over there (wherever “there” is) yet not here?

    Also, you phrase that as if it’s obvious you’re not going to be citing them here. What have you said to make that obvious (other than not answering after being asked many times)?

    Oh, and since that question is off the table, how about this question: what in the world does silver being used in mechanisms on the space shuttle have to do with silver being used as an antibacterial?

    Gosh, such a lather about citations ! Do you all wait for your patients to give up their diagnosis too, before you write that acceptable prescription for acceptable treatment….

    So…. Asking you for citations is like a doctor asking his/her patient for a diagnosis (a professional asking her client to do the professional’s work for her)? Or asking you for citations is like a person seeing a drug advertised on TV, demanding that drug from the doctor, and the doctor just handing over a prescription for the drug, with the doctor then working backwards from drug to diagnosis?

    Anyways, us asking your for citations is basically us saying “we don’t believe you, provide us with some evidence”.

    He never struck me as much of anything. For a journalist he has a peculiar lack of conversational skills…perhaps that is why he is such a useful pet for concerned parties. The perfect patsy is one who has no original thoughts.

    1) Genuine investigative reporters have good conversational skills.
    2) Brian Deer doesn’t have good conversational skills.
    3) Thus, Brian Deer isn’t a genuine investigative reporter.

    Did a good article on Septrin though, not bad follow up either. All things considered.

    If Deer is a patsy with no original thoughts, who hired him to do his article on Septrin?

    Being that I am a believer in pre ventative medicine, as opposed to a pharma band aid.

    That’s a bit of a non-sequitur, since the only thing you’ve mentioned that could be considered preventative medicine is anti-oxidants.

  9. #9 Gray Falcon
    February 14, 2011

    The perfect patsy is one who has no original thoughts.

    If I suggested that you were, in fact, a vampire, that would be original. Useless and unprovable, but still original.

    That’s a bit of a non-sequitur, since the only thing you’ve mentioned that could be considered preventative medicine is anti-oxidants.

    Don’t vaccines count as preventative medicine?

  10. #10 Matthew Cline
    February 14, 2011

    @Gray Falcon:

    Don’t vaccines count as preventative medicine?

    Yes, but she said “as opposed to a pharma band aid”, so since vaccines are made by pharma I assumed she didn’t mean to include vaccines when she talked about preventative medicine.

  11. #11 herr doktor bimler
    February 15, 2011

    BTW, what’s so special about [silver] being colloidal?

    It’s less useful that way. For reals. All the studies where silver has documented antimicrobial uses, they’re talking about silver ions (i.e. a salt of some form) rather than in its elemental form (e.g. colloidal) when it’s inert and has no effect except on your skin pigmentation.

  12. #12 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    All the studies where silver has documented antimicrobial uses, they’re talking about silver ions (i.e. a salt of some form) rather than in its elemental form (e.g. colloidal) when it’s inert and has no effect except on your skin pigmentation.

    To play devil’s advocate, the microscopic silver particles will have to be turned into ions by the stomach acid in order to pass through intestinal wall, so it winds up being ions by the time it gets into the blood.

    On the other hand, it would make colloidal silver not very effective for topical treatments.

    (Also, I wonder why they sell it colloidal form. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to dissolve the silver with some acids rather than grinding the silver down into microscopic particles?)

  13. #13 Composer99
    February 15, 2011

    Dinah, quite apart from the burden of proof being on the person making positive claims (such as yours regarding papers replicating Wakefield’s findings), it is an easy way to move goalposts (not that you haven’t been doing that already) to simply handwave ‘go Google it’ at others.

    If people go to any effort to search for papers, they can find a few that appear to support your position, post them and explain what is good or bad about their methods, data, etc., and then watch as you move the goalposts and say ‘oh, those weren’t the papers I was talking about!’ Rinse and repeat.

    If you want to be taken at all seriously on this blog:

    (1) Provide citations, preferably to PubMed listed papers, to back up any positive claims you make regarding medical procedures and products (e.g. ‘vaccines cause autism/other disorders’, ‘vaccines contain 50% mercury’, ‘Gardasil is bad’, ‘colloidal silver cures flu’, that sort of thing – not that you’ve made any of those specific claims, necessarily – but you’ve made similar ones and failed to back them up).

    (2) If you are going to criticize people like Paul Offit or Brian Deer, you should proceed by showing that their data or methods are faulty, or that their conclusions do not follow from their data & methods. Implying their claims are false by making unsubstantiated assertions or character attacks simply won’t cut it. You’ll notice that when Orac or commenters here are at the point where they’re ridiculing someone (such as yourself), it’s come after they’ve collected and presented evidence of ridicule-worthiness (such as your current contributions to the thread).

  14. #14 herr doktor bimler
    February 15, 2011

    Prometheus:

    It doesn’t work, of course, but it’s not nearly as toxic as, say, injecting hydrogen peroxide. And aren’t these “alternative” practitioners the same clowns who sell “anti-oxidants” in their shops?

    From the Google I learned that a lot of the alt-health loons who are poisoning themselves with household bleach (alias Magical Mineral Supplement) because it is a powerful oxidant that will selectively kill all pathogens (but not healthy cells) are also taking DMSO. Because it’s an anti-oxidant.

    It’s all about the cargo cult. Sometimes they call this a ‘drug cocktail’ and sometimes a ‘protocol’.

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to dissolve the silver with some acids rather than grinding the silver down into microscopic particles?

    My understanding of the process is that the silver is not made into a colloid mechanically. Some people use an electrolytic process: the silver starts on one electrode, where it’s ionised; the ions come back out of solution at the other electrode where they’re neutralised and clump into colloid particles with other ions doing the same thing. Others start with silver nitrate and neutralise it with sodium hydroxide. So the colloid has a high surface area, like a catalytic converter, which is possibly part of the appeal.

  15. #15 Chemmomo
    February 15, 2011

    @Matthew Cline

    To play devil’s advocate, the microscopic silver particles will have to be turned into ions by the stomach acid

    Actually, that’s kind of unlikely. Stomach acid is basically HCl, about pH = 1. Silver isn’t oxidized by HCl.
    When HCl does react with metals, the acid protons become reduced, creating hydrogen gas (H2) (which brings to my mind the amusing image of ingesting metal, burping, then setting the burps on fire. Never mind).

    However, there’s an “Activity Series” for metals based on reduction potentials (http://chemistry.about.com/od/chartstables/a/Activity-Series-Of-Metals.htm). Metals, plus Hydrogen, are ranked in order of reactivity: those at the top of the list are prone to oxidation (getting turned into ions), and will be oxidized by metals below them on the list (resulting in the reduction of said metals back to their elemental form). Those metals at the bottom of the list tend to stay reduced (e.g, elemental).

    Hydrogen is above silver on the list: Silver will not reduce HCl protons. In fact, Silver is near the bottom: it’s just not very reactive. Gee, I wonder if that fact has anything to do with the fact that many uses of metallic silver are simply ornamental?

    Oh, and the fact that’s it’s “colloidal” silver is just describing the physical state of the element (such as solid, liquid, or gas). When an element is ionized, the ion will be water soluble, and it won’t need to be be prepared as a colloid.

  16. #16 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Chemmomo:

    Actually, that’s kind of unlikely. Stomach acid is basically HCl, about pH = 1. Silver isn’t oxidized by HCl.

    So when someone gets blue skin from ingesting too much colloidal silver, that’s entirely from the silver ions already present in the liquid, with the silver particles simply passing through the digestive system? Huh.

  17. #17 mistermuz
    February 15, 2011

    If nothing else, all this silver talk has some gold in the midst:

    “I have never encountered such a pack of hyennas, of course maggots all stick to the same piece of rotting meat, and birds of a feather will flock together. So do baboons…”

    Ya hear that you bunch of…swarming bees! You need to be more like fish and hang out in a school, not snap at the heels like a lone shark, chased by the dolphins of truth into the nets of the Japanese trawlers of Fate!
    You bunch of seagulls, stealling the chips of honest labour from lions like Andrew Wakefield. Lions beset by mites like you and Brian Deer, trying to rob him of his mane through mange. But we can cure mange with our Colloidal Silver and Rooibos tea. And we will corral you herds of Deer to be left at the mercy of the Grizzly’s of valour and the Ted Nugents of faith…I sort of forgot what I was talking about.

  18. #18 Dinah Everett Snyder
    February 15, 2011

    Dear ” Julian”,
    Before your knee jerk reaction you should have gone back and read my post. If you had you may have noticed the sarcasm applied to the statement” FDA has issued a final ruling on the inappropriateness of using this compound in any ingested medicine”. “Hail Hitler” was MY sarcastic reply to the FDA ” final ruling”.

    Having said that, it may interest you ( or not) to know that I am Jewish and also lost family in Germany, and Poland, and Kiev. My Yiddish is quite profound although my Afrikaans is better.

    This knee jerk must stop….not sure if you have watched any of the Holocaust stories currently in overdrive to preserve them before the last survivors pass on, but, in one of them there is a lovely old lady who talks about how holding onto the knee jerk mentality gives away ones power, and that if there is one thing she learnt through all of her experiences it is that the only thing they could not take away was what she held within her heart. And in her heart she vowed to never ever react to ignorance. She went on to say that all her life she has held onto that notion of letting go: of anger, of hate, of fear, of reaction and specifically mentioned the knee jerk reaction of the young.
    Well, for her everyone was young ( actually those were her words too) She was 97 and attributed her longivity to living life to the fullest and not holding grudges ( based on the above.)Nelson Mandella said much the same during his presidential festivities.
    I believe her name was Ivy though I don’t remember her last name. I remembered her name because ivy ( the plant) is like that, tenacious….

    It may also interest you to know that I have met several elderly ladies who refused chemo treatment for their breast cancer, saying that using the chemo would be horrific because the treatments involved using products that had been tested ( and used) on Jewish prisoners of war in the concentration camps. The elderly ladies preferred a death of ” dignity” rather than a death of ” betrayal” towards their lost kin.
    So, next time you pop an asprin made by Bayer you think on that.
    And for the rest of you: the Bayer of today can be traced back to the IG Farben Industry, whose members were tried for Crimes Against Humanity by a special Tribunal at Nuremburg in 1945.
    The United States and other Allies developed the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis and Charter of the International Military Tribunal overseen by General Telford Taylor, US Chief Prosecutor.

    There are official transcripts from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal Against the Oil and Drug Cartel available online and they number in the thousands.

    Hence the name of my book (FDA) Crimes Against Humanity which follows the charter as outlined in the tribunal et al.

    And while you may howl, snap, snarl and rip apart my writing skills or lack thereof please understand that I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book. So, ” put up or shut up” is what I believe the words were, correct?

    In that case I guess I will leave, leaving all the
    ” techies and lab rats” to continue their stumble through the dark as they babble on about the finer points of what the hell constitutes Colloidal Silver…..ah yes! the great minds…at work again !

    Carry on, at ease gremlins…lordy! what a bunch!

    though some of you have turned out to be quite elegant off the forum. In case you missed it, you may contact me directly:

    dinaheverettsnyder@hotmail.com

    And Julian, I really am sorry that you were so offended, it was not my intent.

    okay Orac, I assume that I have now fulfilled the finer points as laid out in your disclaimer of: information is for discussion and entertainment purposes only,

    therby fulfilling your humble bowing and scraping to FDA whether in fact you realize it or not.
    ” not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure”

    Tsk tsk
    I really did want to tell you about Artemisinin, most especially since you mention cancer so often in your bio
    but honestly, based on your title piece re Alt meds frankly this may be too much, even for you. Pity.

    I particularly loved the WarCraft pieces popping up sporadically, they were superb.

    Dinah Everett Snyder.

  19. #19 Forbidden Snowflake
    February 15, 2011

    it may interest you ( or not) to know that I am Jewish

    I get it about destroying stereotypes and all, but did you have to start with the one about the Jews being smart?

  20. #20 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Dinah Everett Snyder:

    please understand that I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book.

    First, we aren’t asking for all of the citations in your book. We’re asking for citations for a few specific things, namely the research papers you claim duplicate Wakefield’s work. Surely the citations regarding Wakefield’s research don’t form such a large portion of all your citations that you’d be giving away the majority of your citations?

    Second, if you’ve signed a contract giving a publisher right of first publication, I rather doubt that they’d be bothered by you giving some of the citations from your book (or even all of them). If that’s what worrying you, you should ask your publisher/agent about that, since being unable to give any citations when arguing about things like this is rather like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

  21. #21 Forbidden Snowflake
    February 15, 2011

    Also: Julian was right. Your casual comparison of someone who cited the FDA as an authority on health to a Nazi WAS indeed trivializing the Holocaust. The correct thing to do at that point would be to apologize. Instead, you chose to castigate Julian for reacting to your remark (no, the fact that it was sarcasm doesn’t really change the fact that it was stupid and inappropriate) and for daring to hold a resentment against the Nazis for murdering hir relatives (WTF???), and ended with a snide and arrogant not-pology.

    Protip:
    “I’m sorry I offended you” = apology
    “I’m sorry you were offended” = not an apology (not-pology)

    What seems to be your chronic inability to accept criticism in stride is impeding you not only from correcting your misconceptions about science, but from being a more decent person.

  22. #22 Mojo
    February 15, 2011

    I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book.

    You do realise what is being asked for, don’t you? Just references for published research that is available to anyone with a subscription to the journals concerned (in some cases they may even be available free). All they should be doing in the book is supporting the statements you make in the book. If anything is “integral to [your] book”, it is your own arguments, not the external sources the book uses. You seem quite happy to post your own statements here, but claim that the external citations you use to support them cannot be revealed?

    All this looks like is “I have evidence but it’s a secret”.

  23. #23 Poodle Stomper
    February 15, 2011

    I think anyone here can see what’s going on. Dinah had some references which she thought were awesome. Then she realized that they had been addressed here before and simply do not uphold her position, leaving her with nothing more than her conspiracy theories. Logically, she doesn’t want to reveal them anymore for fear of being (rightfully) laughed at. It’s pretty simple.

    @Dinah, in the world of science evidence is everything. Simply prancing about shouting “the sky is falling” doesn’t amount to much. Many people here on this blog are scientists of one sort or another and would be willing to take a look at references if you have them. The fact that you are unwilling to provide even simple links to journals makes it so very clear that you have nothing. It’s more than a bit hypocritical that you bash others for supposedly going ahead without evidence (Gardasil) when you yourself are doing just that. So please tell us why you think you should be taken seriously?

    (PS I have secret evidence that aliens in the form of Andrew Wakefield and Jenny are plotting to take over the idiot population of this planet. Just believe me. I have the evidence but I can’t share it. You believe me, right?)

  24. #24 Orac
    February 15, 2011

    There are official transcripts from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal Against the Oil and Drug Cartel available online and they number in the thousands.

    Hence the name of my book (FDA) Crimes Against Humanity which follows the charter as outlined in the tribunal et al.

    And while you may howl, snap, snarl and rip apart my writing skills or lack thereof please understand that I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book.

    Hilarious!

    Seriously, Dinah, that is the single most pathetic excuse I’ve ever heard for not providing even a single citation. In fact, it’s beyond pathetic and, from my perspective, more than adequate justification for having a hearty chuckle at you and your cluelessness.

    Put up or shut up. You bore me now.

  25. #25 Beamup
    February 15, 2011

    Let’s also note that if providing citations is so integral to the book that they can’t be given in this context, said book would be quite pointless.

    In a real book, the citations are used only to support the arguments made in the text. If there ARE no arguments in the text, just regurgitation of citations, then there’s no reason for the book to exist.

  26. #26 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Orac:

    Seriously, Dinah, that is the single most pathetic excuse I’ve ever heard for not providing even a single citation.

    What are some of the most amusing ones you’ve heard?

  27. #27 Pablo
    February 15, 2011

    All the studies where silver has documented antimicrobial uses, they’re talking about silver ions (i.e. a salt of some form) rather than in its elemental form (e.g. colloidal) when it’s inert and has no effect except on your skin pigmentation

    In fact, as chemmomo hints above, the only way silver is any way reactive is if it is in its ionic state. Just as elemental silbver really doesn’t want to lose its electron (its why silver stays shiny (and gold, fwiw)) the ion wants to get it back. That makes it highly reactive but it only applies to the ion.

    To put it technically, silver ion is a great oxidizing agent, and that is a very effective way to kill microbes (by oxidizing them). Metalic silver, colloidal or whatever, does not have any reactivity that would make one expect it to kill bacteria. There is no mehanism for it to happen.

    Then again, this is a common perspective of cranks. To put it simply, they believe in magic. Acupuncture? It’s magic! (To be fair, some try to propose scientific mechanisms; of course, when they test it, thewy find that supposed acupuncture doesn’t work by these mechanisms, and the things that do aren’t acupuncture). Homeopathy? No physical mechanism, its magic. Colloidal silver? Magical.

  28. #28 Calli Arcale
    February 15, 2011

    Matthew Cline @ 204:

    All the studies where silver has documented antimicrobial uses, they’re talking about silver ions (i.e. a salt of some form) rather than in its elemental form (e.g. colloidal) when it’s inert and has no effect except on your skin pigmentation.

    It’s right up there with confusing elemental mercury for Thimerosal, really.

    (Also, I wonder why they sell it colloidal form. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to dissolve the silver with some acids rather than grinding the silver down into microscopic particles?)

    I am now quite convinced that it’s for marketing reasons. “Colloid” sounds very sciency and advanced, but it’s not a word you hear used much in pharmaceuticals, even though so many pharmaceuticals *are* in a colloidal preparation — it’s a bit like trumpeting that silver nitrate is an ionic compound. True, but to anybody with much of a chemistry background, pretty trivial.

    There’s also the fact that making a colloidal silver preparation is somewhat complicated, so it becomes a sort of magic, much like homeopathy. Complicated placebos are generally more effective than simple ones.

  29. #29 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Pablo:

    To put it technically, silver ion is a great oxidizing agent, and that is a very effective way to kill microbes (by oxidizing them).

    But bacteria can develop resistance to silver. Can bacteria develop resistance to oxidizing agents?

  30. #30 Pablo
    February 15, 2011

    But bacteria can develop resistance to silver. Can bacteria develop resistance to oxidizing agents?

    They have to increase their own oxidation potentials significantly, especially in the regions that silver accesses. Basically, what I would expect to happen is that they end up having those regions of the proteins selected for hydrocarbon side chains.

    Note that the difference between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria is in whether they can be oxidized by peroxide (at least, that is my understanding of it – regardless of whether that is specifically Gram pos or Gram neg I don’t always remember, but ultimately some bacteria will be oxidized by peroxide and others are not)

  31. #31 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    February 15, 2011

    This discussion of silver is excellent and enlightening. Thank you Matthew and Pablo.

    Jay

  32. #32 Heliantus
    February 15, 2011

    So, to summarize the precedent episodes

    Dinah shows up and tells us that Wakefield’s results have been replicated, without doing the obvious thing, pointing to the article.
    Then she spouts more shocking revelations, again without any support.
    (what? medical teams from humanitarian societies using local resources in remote areas? Shocking, I tell you)
    Then she insists on the benefits of drinking colloidal silver, and justifies it by pointing at the use of silver as an antiseptic, or as a coolant by the NASA.
    Incidentally, for someone so knowledgeable on microbes, she is swapping virus for bacterium, and doesn’t seem to realize why this is a big deal. One is precise or one is not.
    And finally, when Julian was sort of upset of Dinah going for the Godwin award, she retorts what he shouldn’t make a big deal of this and should just forget and do not hold any grudge (just like this sweet old lady), and she keep digging deeper by revealing shocking facts about IG Farben, Bayer, and more (so much for not holding grudges).
    Hint, Dinah. Look at Orac’s favorite blogs, on the left. The ones in the category “Combating Holocaust Denial”. Look at the non-medical topics Orac was blogging about. Do you really think that the regular readers here don’t know about IG Farben?

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing news in what you are spouting. The shock value is fading away.

    One of your goals coming here was obviously to look smart, stunning us with your deep knowledge of real life.
    For confusing us and keep moving the topic, you are good. If you have a cat, I am sure you are confusing it regularly. It’s good for its health.
    But as for looking smart. I suggest you reassess your strategy.

  33. #33 JohnV
    February 15, 2011

    @Pablo and Matthew

    I hope I’m misinterpreting or missed something and I really apologize if that’s the case because it’s going to make the next sentence sound really condescending 😛

    Gram positive and Gram negative refers to the absence or presence of an outer membrane around a bacterium. The term derives from a staining protocol. Phylogenetically speaking, mycoplasmas (which lack a cell wall) and mycobacteria/corynebacteria (which have funky cell walls) group with the Gram positive bacteria. There are also a couple of members of the genus Clostridium (Gram positive) which have a sort of outer membrane.

    The rest of this I’m recalling from papers and old coursework that I don’t have ready access to, but I’ll work on cites when I can.

    Bacteria face significant danger from super oxide radicals (O2-), which are normally generated as byproducts of metabolism or generated by other microbes trying to jack them.

    Superoxide radicals can be neutralized by super oxide dismutase. While not all bacteria encode SOD, it can be found in both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.

    SOD sticks the superoxide radical onto a water molecule forming hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) which is less damaging to the cell than superoxide radicals. H2O2 can be further detoxified by catalase or peroxidases that convert it to H2O + O2.

    To answer the question about bacteria developing resistance to oxidative stress, I don’t know how often de novo resistance mechanisms pop up, but one can imagine mutations that will increase the resistance provided by an existing system.

  34. #34 Johnny
    February 15, 2011

    I’d be willing to bet that Dinah is using her book as her reference. Her reference is the book, and the book is the reference. It’s circular reasoning, sure, but it’s a better reason than anything she has said. I thought she might have taken a page from “Dr.” Wakefield, and went with the ‘everything is in my book, please buy it’ route, but that’s just wrong, and a kind soul such as herself wouldn’t do that.

    For a good discussion of CS, I’d suggest Dr. Crislip’s podcast at
    http://moremark.squarespace.com/quackcast-list-mp3/
    Number 36, Hi Ho Silver. Should you use colloidal silver? Was there WMD’s in Iraq. Same quality data.

    For the “good” Dr. Jay, I’d suggest Quackcast Number 30, Lets Kill The Children or A Defense of Vaccines Why vaccines, to quote Mr. Pooh, “Are a Good Thing.”

    Because the world needs more Mark Crislip

  35. #35 Mu
    February 15, 2011

    Dinah, you got lots of ignored advise on the accuracy of your medical information already, let me add a tidbit of historical knowledge for you to disapprove of. It was “Heil Hitler”, not hail. If you need to use that phrase, at least spell it right.

  36. #36 Calli Arcale
    February 15, 2011

    Heliantus:

    For confusing us and keep moving the topic, you are good. If you have a cat, I am sure you are confusing it regularly. It’s good for its health.

    This looks like a job for . . . Confuse-A-Cat!

  37. #37 Scottynuke
    February 15, 2011

    +1 internets to Heliantus for the classic MPFC reference. I surmise “Confuse-a-Cat Ltd.” would save Dinah for truly difficult cases.

  38. #38 Pablo
    February 15, 2011

    please understand that I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book.

    You know, Dinah, the cool thing about citations is that they are easily reproduced, such that even if you use them in one place, that does not mean they cannot be shared in others. For example, I routinely mention citations to papers in my daily activities, including those that I have previously included in my published, copyrighted works.

    So no, I don’t understand why you can’t give us citations for the references that you continually assert to exist. Your comment that they are “integral to your book” does not explain why you can’t provide them here, except in a “you have to buy my book to get the citation to the references” way, which would suggest that you have no interest in actually talking about this and your sole intent is to advertise your book.

    While Orac does not often ban commentors, I do think that “spamming advertising trolls” would match the level of what would constitute the level of being banned, I suspect.

    If I am misinterpreting something, you can clarify, but as the others have said, it’s time to put up or shut up. If you don’t, I will just assume you are spamming us to get us to buy your book. Then again, your marketing approach seems to have a lot to be desired, because you are going to be hard pressed to convinced anyone to buy a book written a someone who shows herself to be blinken idiot.

  39. Dinah types the way that I think… start off on one topic and veer off into a completely unrelated tangent by somehow linking hippopotamuses in pink tutus to the size of an overly intelligent mouse’s head.

  40. #40 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Pablo:

    Your comment that they are “integral to your book” does not explain why you can’t provide them here, except in a “you have to buy my book to get the citation to the references” way,

    Well, if she has a publishing contract for her book (rather than having it self published), she might think that giving citations contained in the book before it’s published would violate her contract. I rather doubt that any publishing contract would say anything like that, and even if it technically said that I really doubt that her publisher meant for it to say that.

  41. #41 Heliantus
    February 15, 2011

    @ JohnV, Pablo, Matthew

    To answer the question about bacteria developing resistance to oxidative stress, I don’t know how often de novo resistance mechanisms pop up, but one can imagine mutations that will increase the resistance provided by an existing system.

    I remember reading that some of the multiresistant Staphylococcus aureus strains were also collecting resistance genes to common antiseptic products, including bleach (much to my shock).
    Unfortunately, it was in another life (or country), I don’t have any reference handy. I will see if I can track one down.

    Re: Confuse-a-cat, it seemed… appropriate.

  42. #42 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 15, 2011

    Well, if she has a publishing contract for her book (rather than having it self published)

    That’s a pretty big “if”. Probably big enough to have a gravitational field, and several planets orbiting around it.

  43. #43 Pablo
    February 15, 2011

    Well, if she has a publishing contract for her book (rather than having it self published), she might think that giving citations contained in the book before it’s published would violate her contract.

    That’s why I mentioned that I regularly provide references that I have included in copyrighted publications. It clearly is not a violation of any copyright agreements. If the publisher (assuming there is one) insisted upon more, it is certainly non-standard and there is no reason why we should “understand” it without it being very clearly described.

  44. #44 Matthew Cline
    February 15, 2011

    @Pablo:

    That’s why I mentioned that I regularly provide references that I have included in copyrighted publications.

    Besides copyright, there’s also the right of first publication (which most publishers will demand) which says that the author can’t publish their writing elsewhere before the publisher does it first. Someone might misunderstand that to mean that citations contained in a book can’t be shared until after the book is published (or if the wording of the contract is weird it might actually say that, although I can’t believe any publisher would actually mean for the contract to say that).

  45. #45 herr doktor bimler
    February 15, 2011

    using the chemo would be horrific because the treatments involved using products that had been tested ( and used) on Jewish prisoners of war in the concentration camps.

    This much at least is not untrue: The Nazis killed many of their victims with hydrogen hydroxide.

  46. #46 Aaron
    February 15, 2011

    If Dinah’s worried about violating an agreement with the publisher, then should she be discussing any of her arguments in these comments? I assume many of her points on this page are “integral” to the book.. no?

    The citations are public domain and therefore have no copyright policy. The only reason for Dinah to hide them is to lure people into buying her book.

    Let’s think about the point of all of this. Dinah has argued online that Wakefield’s research has been duplicated in several countries. When asked for proof, she tells you to wait and buy her book. If she was trying to make a valid point that enlightens and expands the minds of those she’s debating, she would provide the reasoning behind her claim.

    No competent, well-intended debater provides a claim and refuses to provide evidence. Not only is it poor etiquette, but the end goal makes little sense. What is the point in her arguing? Does she assume that we’re going to change our minds because she stated a claim?

    This goes further than making a bad argument. This has more to do with the fundamental goal of having a discussion. Clearly, Dinah’s goal is something else… perhaps advertising?

    That’s it. Dinah isn’t here to change our minds. She’s here to advertise her book.

  47. #47 Pablo
    February 15, 2011

    That’s it. Dinah isn’t here to change our minds. She’s here to advertise her book.

    That is, of course, giving her the benefit of the doubt. There are other possible answers. For example, also in your post you mentioned…

    No competent, well-intended debater provides a claim and refuses to provide evidence.

    You are right, no competent well-intentioned debater does that. We might add “honest” to the list.

    Although I suggested it above, I am not convinced that the problem is not that she isn’t well-intentioned.

  48. #48 KoryO
    February 15, 2011

    Dinah, that whole “you gotta buy the book to get the references” thing was done far better by Kevin Trudeau a few years back, or even by Nancy Pelosi when she said they had to pass the healthcare bill in order to find out what was in it.

    I’m not a scientist like most of the commenters here. I am a writer, however, and you simply don’t have the way with words to pull that kind of bullshit off.

    Provide the sources. It’s not violating ANYONE’S copyright for you to do so. That whole “look ’em up on Google/FDA website because I’m just too busy” thing wouldn’t cut it in an elementary school book report, much less your magnum opus.

    Either you are unbelievably intellectually lazy to the point of sloth, which makes me pity your copy editor and fact checkers, or you are flat out making crap up and hoping that no one catches on until you recoup your vanity press investment. Which is it?

  49. #49 Composer99
    February 15, 2011

    Pablo:

    Then again, this is a common perspective of cranks. To put it simply, they believe in magic. Acupuncture? It’s magic! (To be fair, some try to propose scientific mechanisms; of course, when they test it, thewy find that supposed acupuncture doesn’t work by these mechanisms, and the things that do aren’t acupuncture). Homeopathy? No physical mechanism, its magic. Colloidal silver? Magical.

    And if some nasty skeptic starts asking silly questions about efficacy, mechanisms, and whatnot, just insist on the magic part louder and more stridently.

    Something like this, perhaps?

  50. #50 Jar Jar Binks
    February 15, 2011

    Mesafirsta? No, yousafirsta. Mesa no wanna gets hit bya dor onna wayout.

  51. #51 TheBlackCat
    February 15, 2011

    That’s a pretty big “if”. Probably big enough to have a gravitational field, and several planets orbiting around it.

    I’m stealing that.

  52. #52 Darth Vader
    February 15, 2011

    You should not have come back.

  53. #53 Lazer epilasyon Kayseri
    February 16, 2011

    The nom de Web appears in odd threads using some interesting, dare I say British, word spellings and phrasing. (“practise” for practice, jab for vaccine.) Strange that a brit would go after the FDA (see above silver comment) but he/she could be a transplant to our fair shores.

  54. #54 Julian Frost
    February 16, 2011

    @Lazer:

    The nom de Web appears in odd threads using some interesting, dare I say British, word spellings and phrasing. (“practise” for practice, jab for vaccine.) Strange that a brit would go after the FDA (see above silver comment) but he/she could be a transplant to our fair shores.

    Dinah says she can speak Afrikaans. That means she, like me, is a Saffer.

  55. #55 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    February 16, 2011

    “Dinah says she can speak Afrikaans. That means she, like me, is a Saffer.”

    Not necessarily. I speak Finnish, but that doesn’t mean that I am Finnish. It just means that I speak Finnish.

    However, all I’ve seen DES speak on this blog and anywhere else is bollocks. Seems that’s taking over people’s mother-tongues in some places!

  56. #56 Prometheus
    February 16, 2011

    Dinah claims:

    “And while you may howl, snap, snarl and rip apart my writing skills or lack thereof please understand that I simply cannot part with citations because they are integral to my book.”

    Although it is probable (as many commenters have noted above) that this means Dinah has no clear idea of what “citations” are, there is an alternative explanation.

    It could be that Dinah’s book is simply a bibliography – a listing of books and articles that are (at least tangentially) relevant to a certain topic. That would explain why the citations are “integral” to her book – they are her book.

    Of course, I think that the odds are in favor of the first hypotheses: that Dinah doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    Prometheus

  57. #57 Pablo
    February 16, 2011

    It could be that Dinah’s book is simply a bibliography – a listing of books and articles that are (at least tangentially) relevant to a certain topic. That would explain why the citations are “integral” to her book – they are her book.

    It would also explain why she can make all these claims. They _aren’t_ in her book.

    So to summarize:

    a possible explanation is that her book contains the citations to the papers that describe (inter alia) independent replication of Wakefield’s work in Australia, but doesn’t actually claim that Wakefield’s work was replicated in Australia.

  58. #58 LW
    February 16, 2011

    I think you’re all missing what Dinah’s book really is. It’s The Big Book of Paranoid Mad-Libs, and the bibliography is just there to give you ideas for the conspiracies with which to complete the Mad-Libs.

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