How “they” view “us”

Those of us who dedicate considerable time and effort to combatting quackery generally do it because we think we’re doing good. Certainly, I wouldn’t spend so much time nearly every evening blogging the way I do if I didn’t think so. It’s true that I also enjoy it, but if I were doing this just for enjoyment I’m sure I could manage to find other topics that I could write about. In actuality, way back in deepest darkest beginnings of this blog, I did write about a lot of other things. My skeptical topics were more general in nature, encompassing not just medicine but evolution versus “intelligent design” creationism, religion, Holocaust denial, history, and even the occasional foray into politics. Over time such diversions became rarer, to the point where I hardly ever write about topics other than medicine anymore. I think that the reason for that is simple: It’s what I’m most passionate about, and I think it’s where I can do the most good. Like most bloggers supporting skepticism and, in particular, science-based medicine, I think of myself as doing my part to educate, hopefully in an entertaining fashion, and I’ve been rewarded with one of the more popular medical blogs out there and a small degree of notoriety. Indeed, I sometimes think of myself as a microcelebrity, because I have a little bit of fame, but it doesn’t really extend outside of the blogosphere. That’s fine with me.

It’s often instructive, however, lest I become too smug or comfortable, to take note of how the “other side” thinks of those of us who try to promote SBM and, in doing so, educate the world about quackery. The way we think of ourselves does not resemble in any way what the quacks and antivaccinationists think of us. At some level this is not surprising. After all, any of us who’ve been at this for a while and managed to accumulate enough of an audience to be noticed by the “other side” will be subject to charges that we are “pharma shills,” hopelessly in the pay of big pharma. To the “other side,” obviously that must be why we do what we do, because we can’t possibly be doing this because we’re passionate about our beliefs. It’s such a common (and specious) attack that more than seven years ago I coined a term for it (at least I think I coined the term—I can’t find its use before my first post on it), the “pharma shill gambit.”

However, how we are seen by our opponents goes is much worse than mere allegations of undisclosed conflicts of interest, in which (apparently) nefarious drug companies are paying us to sit at our computers in our underwear turning out attack after attack on antivaccinationists and practitioners of “natural healing.” I was reminded of this recently. Let’s revisit briefly a post I did about Stanislaw Burzynski last week. As you recall, I’ve been very critical of Burzynski on a number of occasions for his peddling of ineffective “antineoplastons,” his promotion of what I have referred to as “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy for dummies,” his playing fast and loose with human subjects protections in the numerous clinical trials he runs, and his arrogance of ignorance. Basically, I view Burzynski as someone who is incompetent as an oncologist and highly unethical as a researcher charging patients huge sums of money to be in his clinical trials that never seem to end up being published.

So last week I noted that word had appeared around some skeptical blogs that a patient’s family that reported that apparently the FDA is in the process of auditing the Burzynski Clinic, that Burzynski hasn’t been able to use antineoplastons in children for a few months now, and that apparently he’s also been banned from administering antineoplastons to adults as well. I kept the identity of the patient confidential, as did other bloggers writing about the family’s post. However, today I learned that the family has learned about how their post has leaked out. More importantly, I learned how they view those of us trying to report on Burzynski’s activities:

It has come to my attention that there are some uninvited guests following our posts about Alynn. Even with all our progress and good news, anti-Burzynski weirdos find ways to take information I privately post and exploit it as negative criticism. I will be upping the security on our site and removing certain users from allowing access to our account. If I block you by mistake, please take a moment and send me a message. Friends, family, friends of friends.. you should know how to contact me. I will gladly add you back. If I have never met you, and you have good reason to follow our page, even if you are just curious about Burzynski and have come across our story, I will add you back if I can verify your intent is not malicious.

Yes, there are anti-Burzynski groups. Makes no sense to me why these people waste time and want to take away our freedoms. Fortunately, they only have each other and no one really cares about all the effort they put into creating articles and web pages and blabber. I never even heard of such people! I wonder if these cavemen even have iphones yet, I’m surprised they can work the computer. I debated making Alynn’s page public, but I am not into exploiting my child, as these groups are into exploiting children and adults, mainly those who are no longer with us who happen to be patients of the clinic. What I have found in following some facebook pages of kids with terminal illnesses, it seems there are always those people that think they know everything and post really evil, heartless comments. Apparently, I’m not immune to this.

Please do not waste a second of your time trying to avenge are little hero and Dr. Burzynski. It really would do them great satisfaction to know that they rubbed someone the wrong way. Evil people feed off of aggravating others. Bad people have no place in our healing journey.

Yes, that’s right, and it might be jarring to some skeptics. In marked contrast to how I view most believers in pseudoscience such as antivaccinationism or patients pursuing dubious cancer therapies, which is that they are wrong, that they’ve made a horrible mistake, but that I can to some extent understand it on the basis of human nature, believers such as Burzynski patients and their families view us skeptics as downright evil. To some extent, one can understand this. These parents believe that Burzynski is the only hope for their terminally ill relatives to survive. They know they’ve made a decision that their doctors almost certainly tried to talk them out of. Rather than let in a modicum of doubt about that decision, it is easier to view those of us who are trying to combat the misinformation that is used to support his clinic and activities as heartless monsters, as enemies who are actively trying to prevent their children from being cured of cancer. And, yes, that is really, really how they view us.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at what Stanislaw Burzynski’s propagandist Eric Merola is now saying on his website about the “anti-Burzynski” bloggers:

Overall, you need to be able to think for yourself. Question everything, including me and this film. Feel free to verify all sources used for this film for yourself via the Sourced Transcript [link]. You will notice the “anti-Burzynski bloggers” refuse to do that or adhere to reputable sources. You might say, “they are preying on desperate cancer patients and families of cancer patients” by carelessly misleading their readers about Burzynski and his invention. This is a natural course of history when scientific innovation like this occurs, and is something that is to be expected. Never underestimate the irrationality of the human brain when it is confronted with something it doesn’t understand. These bloggers have an agenda, and are not open to rational discourse.

Our society is built on propaganda wars, and wars of information and disinformation. The fact that most people will basically believe anything they are told without bothering to find out if what they are told is true or not—makes them for easy prey, especially when they are dying of cancer. The writers of the “anti-Burzynski” bloggers know this—and take full advantage of this.

Of course, I did just that, going over Merola’s “sourced transcript” over a year ago in my original review of his movie. Be that as it may, notice the message being promoted. “Anti-Burzynski bloggers” are out there to keep you from being cured of cancer! They’re “preying on desperate cancer patients and families of cancer patients”! Why? Who knows? The best Merola can come up with is a variant of the Galileo Gambit, in which we skeptics apparently reflexively resist anything that’s different. In reality, if Burzynski had the goods, he could persuade us, which is why seeing Merola accuse us of “not being open to rational discourse” fried another one of my irony meters.

It’s not just Burzynski fans, either. Antivaccine activists also believe that skeptics and supporters of SBM are out to get them. For instance, last week I also took note of an internecine conflict developing among the crew at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. What interests me now is not so much the conflict itself, given that there haven’t been any new developments of which I’m aware, but some of the comments after one of the posts that brought it all to a boil, which are perhaps epitomized by this one about “ScienceBloggers”:

They really go so out of their way (mounting hate campaigns like “ditchJenny” etc. etc. and this is why I honestly doubt their “Oh we’re not paid shills,” claims. Real, open minded science people wouldn’t be so militant and many scientists/doctors actually disagree with them anyways! Someone mentioned that most of them are either young, impressionable types or older has-beens who get off on bashing others with social media. The more that I think about it, they’re above all, bullies, not pro-science people. I have several friends with MS and it makes me sick as to how they malign anything to do with CCSVI (when MS drugs have killed SOOO many more people than angioplasty ever will) – I believe 3 people have died due to angioplasty- mostly due to having been given stents which they don’t even put in veins anymore. There’s a jerky journalist in our town who actually uses “Science”blogs as his source of information to write on health topics which is really scary (and lazy). It is beyond pathetic that grown up people waste time trying to prop up the status quo in healthcare when it is so obvious that there are serious questions that need to be asked and answered to do with vaccines and questions also to issues of MS cause and treatment.

Yes, as I said before, they really, really hate us. They view us as the enemy, evil people who are actively trying to keep them from healing their children of autism, every bit as much as the parents of Burzynski patients view us as wanting to kill their children by preventing them from being treated by the Savior Burzynski. It is an attitude and view that is actively promoted by Wakefield and his ilk, as well as their supporters, the way Eric Merola tries to whip up paranoia about what he calls “anti-Burzynski bloggers,” and, I suspect, the way that the man who is being reported by commenters to have recently been hired as Burzynski’s new PR man, Wayne Dolcefino, will try to demonize and dismiss Burzynski’s critics. (I don’t have full confirmation yet, but, if it is true and Dolcefino is indeed Burzynski’s new PR flack, one wonders if Burzynski chose him because of his investigative journalism skills, which could facilitate digging dirt on Burzynski’s critics.) To them, we are not just wrong, but we are vile, contemptible, less than human pharma shills. That’s also why, like Burzynski patients, they go into full attack mode whenever there is criticism of their heroes, in particular Andrew Wakefield. These practitioners represent hope, and to attack them is to attack hope. We have to remember that criticism of people like Wakefield or Burzynski only serves drive their worshipers closer.

Now of this, however, is to say that we shouldn’t criticize them. Andrew Wakefield has done great harm, and as a cancer doctor and researcher I simply can’t abide Burzynski’s activities—and rightly so, in my opinion. Certainly, I’ve never pulled any punches. On the other hand, we do have to remember who are targets are and what our goals are. I have no expectation that I will ever be able to convince someone like the parents whom I quoted above. Occasionally, I actually do get through to such people, but it’s so infrequent that I can’t count on it. My goal is instead to put science-based information out there, so that the fence sitters and undecided can encounter it. If the occasional true believer listens, then I’ve done far better than I would ever expect.

In the meantime, I don’t make the mistake of thinking that in return for my efforts I will ever receive anything but hatred and contempt from the “other” side.

Comments

  1. #1 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    February 18, 2013

    “Scrupulous” and “Homeopath” are mutually exclusive.

  2. #2 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 18, 2013

    Darwy – I’m not entirely sure that’s fair. I’m sure many homeopaths believe that they’re doing great good because of what they’ve been taught.

  3. #3 Narad
    February 18, 2013

    I’m sure many homeopaths believe that they’re doing great good because of what they’ve been taught.

    There was even one homeopath back when I frequented MDC who rejected assertions that there was “something in it.” Straight magic vibrations. I’ll credit her with honesty.

  4. #4 Melissa G
    February 18, 2013

    Hi Sablonneuse! I’m really glad to hear you’re learning more about vaccine efficacy and safety here. No one minds explaining things to someone who’s genuinely asking. In fact, we kind of love it! 🙂

  5. #5 Khani
    February 18, 2013

    #199 Awesome!

    We all know and accept that there are some risks associated with vaccines (as with any medical procedure, such as x-rays, anaesthesia, and even filling cavities at the dentist’s office), but the common ones are usually soreness or redness around the injection site, and the uncommon ones are far, far less likely to occur than the nasty side-effects that go along with even so-called “harmless” diseases.

    Chicken pox can blind you, mumps can leave you infertile and measles can turn into measles encephalitis and leave you brain-damaged. And (crowd, correct me if I’m wrong, here!) each of those side-effects is more likely if you get the disease than having an equally bad or worse reaction to the vaccines.

    Incidentally, my father cannot have the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine (he has the misfortune to be allergic, and he did indeed have a nasty reaction to the shot, I believe).

    If the people he comes into contact with do not vaccinate, pertussis at least is a real risk. My father does not have a choice; you do. Please vaccinate!

    I did too. And my darn arm ached afterward, let me tell you. But it is worth it.

  6. #6 flip
    February 19, 2013

    @Sablonneuse

    I haven’t personally researched all the homeopathic remedies to find out which ones are poisonous but i do trust my homeopath to know which are which

    Now follow to the next thought:
    How do the homeopaths know what’s poisonous and what’s not?

    BUT, as we both agree, in a homeopathic dilution there isn’t enough (or any) of the original substance so it has got to be safe

    If there is no original substance left, then how does it work?
    As an easy to understand not-quite-accurate analogy:
    I have a car. I dilute gas with water, so much that there’s no trace of the gas left, only water. I put the water in the car. Does the car still work? And more to the point – does exchanging one substance for another mean that the car is safe to drive?

    Please also go back and answer the other questions. They are relevant, and if you don’t know the answer, that’s fine, but please at least try.

    It would be difficult to shake my acceptance of homeopathy but I have to say I have learned a lot more regarding the risks and safety of vaccination and I’d like to thank all those who have taken the time and trouble to explain in simple terms. I have been reading too many arguments from ‘the other side’ so it makes a refreshing change to come to this blog.

    Well, if anything I’m happy that you’ve considered our positions – it’s great to see for once someone genuinely interested in understanding and learning, rather than just trolling for laughs or getting too frustrated to stick around and read our replies.

  7. #7 sablonneuse
    February 19, 2013

    Melissa and flip (and everyone else who’s helped me) thanks again.
    flip: you’re right again, i can’t answer all your questions but I would like to hope that by now they have figured out which substances are toxic and which are not.
    I have no choice but to acknowledge the scientific argument that as there is no trace of the original substance in a diluted homeopathic remedy it can’t possibly work but where I differ from all of you is that I do have room for a little ‘belief’ that doesn’t have to be based on hard fact. I’m not ‘religious’ but I have an open mind when it comes to certain things that can’t be explained by the laws of science as we know them. Do you not think there’s a possibility that there is still more out there that scientists haven’t yet discovered?
    Of course, i accept all that you say about the misuse of homeopathy and the risks attached to it.
    But despite the scientific facts I will still use homepathy because it works for me and maybe -just maybe -one day someone will be able to explain why. . . . . . .

    flip: as for your other questions about why do I accept homeopathy and reject vaccines etc. Well I admit I came to this site very anti the present day vaccination programme but not totally anti vaccine. I expressed my concerns about giving more and more vaccines to babies at a young age and taking Denice’s argument that if X-vaccine carries a 1;1000000 risk of adverse effects then giving X and Y doubles the risk and perhaps it more than doubles because they are given together. So, the more jabs a child gets (within a short tine -say several month) the more the risk accumulates.
    Not being a scientist or a mathematician I can’t really take this argument any further but I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say.
    Then with the ‘flu jab I freely admit I was very biased and influenced by what I had read elsewhere. I can now say you’ve changed my thinking!

  8. #8 Lawrence
    February 19, 2013

    @Sable – actually, Science can explain that right now, you don’t have to wait:

    1) It is the placebo effect – you feel better because you’ve made yourself believe that the “treatment” is helpful.

    2) You are treating a condition that is of short duration or variability in symptoms, meaning that you take the “remedy” and the symptoms disappear, but that they would have gone away on their own, if you hadn’t done anything at all (which is really what you are doing, taking “water” for whatever ails you).

    See, this whole “belief and faith” thing was great a few hundred years ago, when we didn’t have anything else to go on – but now we actually have the tools and methods for determining what ails people and developing (and testing) effective treatments. Of course, we are still learning, but we’ve gotten past the point of hocus pocus & beliefs in the “invisible.”

    Of course, no harm, no foul – you can continue to do what you think is right, but I hope that by coming here, you’ve shown at least a shadow of doubt that this “treatment(s)” aren’t what they are claimed to be & potentially harmful in some situations as well (and finally, no better than placebo).

  9. #9 Grant
    February 19, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    “Do you not think there’s a possibility that there is still more out there that scientists haven’t yet discovered?”

    Certainly (there’s a reason science hasn’t ended!), but in the case of homeopathy—with it’s very high-dilutions—it’s very clear these “remedies” aren’t able to do anything.

    “because it works for me”

    Excuse me for nitpicking this, but individual experience doesn’t really establish if something works or not. It’s something marketing for “woo” plays on and people fall for. The key problem with individual experience is that you can’t rule out all the others things that might have contributed to the “cure” as there’s only one of you so there’s no realistic way to examine all the things affecting the resolution of the illness. (I’m simplifying, but I hope you get the gist.) In particular, some illnesses occur in cycles and some resolve anyway, whether or not you apply a treatment.

    “one day someone will be able to explain why”

    I can explain why no homeopathy remedy could work, in fact you did yourself, but you seem to want to have it both ways! 😉

    (More on vaccines later – if I find time…)

  10. #10 herr doktor bimler
    February 19, 2013

    Just to annoy Grant and any other NZers.

  11. #11 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/11/14/dear-journalists-and-editors-again/
    February 19, 2013

    herr doktor bimler,

    I have what might be developing into an occasional series titled Dear journalists and editors ranting on the same general theme… :-/

  12. #12 sablonneuse
    February 19, 2013

    Lawrence: you mention the placebo effect. So, scientifically speaking, does this mean the illness was not rea/serious or it IS possible to cure oneself purely by believing – mind over matter, in fact – or is the ‘cure’ not real. Of course, I realise it depends on the illness in question and maybe the person concerned as well. You can’t cure a broken leg by willpower – or even a common cold!
    I can see the logic of your second explanation. For example I tested positive for an allergy to cats (we have six and would never part with them). I wasn’t happy about using an inhaler and taking antihistamines longterm so my homeopath gave me potentized cat fur (from freshly licked fur) and later granules diluted from the ‘official’ homeopathic tincture. OK, so this all smacks of hocus pocus but I’m not allergic any more. All the same, I’ve no doubt you’ll tell me it’s scientifically possible to ‘lose’ an allergy without treatment. : )

    Grant;: thanks for replying. Yes, I’m afraid I can only speak from my own experience and i wouldn’t want to push it onto other people just because I use it so, in a way, we’re looking at the argument from different angles. Looking at it from a scientific point of view, you all reject it because scientifically it doesn’t work. I can see that, but I also have a circle of friends and acquaintances who use homeopathy and, OK, it may be a self perpetuating myth we’re creating here, but we do consider it helps alleviate many small health problems. For bigger ones -we all agree – go and see the doctor. So, yes, I do want to have it both ways, don’t I?

    By the way, what exactly is ‘woo’. I’d guess from the context it means ‘merde’!

  13. #13 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    February 19, 2013

    merde can be useful

  14. #14 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    February 19, 2013

    but I have an open mind when it comes to certain things that can’t be explained by the laws of science as we know them.

    No, you have a closed mind. Why?
    You “do have room for a little ‘belief’ that doesn’t have to be based on hard fact.

    And that means you have faith in homeoquackery, despite the knowledge of all the evidence otherwise. This is no different than religion.

    Don’t like the answers reality provides? Clutch your faith even tighter…

  15. #15 flip
    February 19, 2013

    F’ing… this blog is eating my comments….

  16. #16 flip
    In the land of no error messages...
    February 19, 2013

    @Sablonneuse

    i can’t answer all your questions but I would like to hope that by now they have figured out which substances are toxic and which are not.

    So I take it that means you don’t know how they test for safety, or whether they do or not?

    I do have room for a little ‘belief’ that doesn’t have to be based on hard fact.

    As I suspect, you take it on faith alone. You don’t ask for evidence of efficacy or safety. And yet, you come here and tell us that vaccines should be safe.

    Once again, I’d like to point out to you that you seem to be using one set of standards for homeopathy, and another for vaccines. Even though both would require safety and efficacy.

    What makes it worse is that you accept homeopathy blindly, but require scientists to use evidence before you’d accept vaccines. So for homeopathy it exists in this magical realm of faith, and vaccines it exists in a world where evidence and facts matter. Please now go look up the definition of “cognitive dissonance”.

  17. #17 flip
    In the land of no error messages...
    February 19, 2013

    @Sablonneuse

    but I have an open mind when it comes to certain things that can’t be explained by the laws of science as we know them. Do you not think there’s a possibility that there is still more out there that scientists haven’t yet discovered?

    This is a logical fallacy. “If science hasn’t proven X, that doesn’t mean that X isn’t real”. Except of course, that X has any number of testable claims (ie. homeopathy can treat AIDs), that can then be studied. If it has been studied – and homeopathy has been – then we look at the results. If the results say, “there is no effect” then you don’t get to say “you simply haven’t proven it”. No, you have to accept that there’s probably no effect.

    Continue: “if science hasn’t proven X, that doesn’t mean that X isn’t real”. Yes, there are many things undiscovered. However, I have a pink invisible unicorn in my backyard. Science hasn’t proven that it’s there, but I’m sure it is – are you going to take my word for it, or are you going to ask me for proof? And my neighbour next door, he has a homeopathic version of the pink invisible unicorn. Do you believe him more than you believe me, or do you ask us both for proof?

    Not being a scientist or a mathematician I can’t really take this argument any further but I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say.

    Sadly I’m in the same position: I’m not a scientist and I’m terrible at maths. That’s why I let the others tackle that stuff and I leave myself to points I can actually comprehend and explain.

    However, from my understanding, the issue is that you have to balance the side effects and benefits of BOTH getting an illness, and getting severe side effects from the vaccine. The statistic say that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks of receiving side effects; and the risks of getting the illness outweigh any potential risks from the vaccine.

    Returning back to homeopathy for a moment: the reason why I’m asking questions about how you determine the safety of it is because I want to know how you think. If you don’t look for, ask for, or understand how safety is determined for homeopathy, you’re likely not to understand how safety is determined for vaccines. If you don’t know how safety is determined for either, then it’s extremely likely you also don’t have a good basis for criticising the use of vaccines….

  18. #18 flip
    In the land of no error messages...
    February 19, 2013

    @Sablonneuse


    If you accept homeopathy based on faith alone, it might mean you have accepted misinformation about vaccines without realising it. It might also mean that you need to stop putting so much faith in what you experience, and learn more about how the human mind tricks itself and why science and medical trials were invented.

    As an example, I’ve been suffering from asthma. At first I thought I just needed to dust, and sometimes I thought I was reacting to some herbal tea, and sometimes I thought it was my cat…. and so on. The problem is that my asthma would get better and worse and then better, etc. So it was hard to know what exactly might have been the cause. The trouble is that I can’t work it out like that: I may not be aware of other factors that somebody trained in medicine might know; I might ignore one thing in favour of another (maybe unwilling to give up laziness makes me unfit, which causes my asthma). Or I might simply be experiencing a long-term problem due to an environmental or underlying health issue which can only be found through serious testing. Sure, I can cut out tea and I can “think” I’m feeling better – but am I actually better?

    The only way to know for sure is to properly test things, and properly control for the mind playing tricks on you. One person is not enough to tell whether something works or not, or whether something is safe or not. Different people react different ways, which is why medical trials try to include as many people as possible so they can take an average of the benefits, side effects and so on.

    Yes, I’m afraid I can only speak from my own experience and i wouldn’t want to push it onto other people just because I use it so, in a way, we’re looking at the argument from different angles. Looking at it from a scientific point of view, you all reject it because scientifically it doesn’t work.

    This is known as the “other ways of knowing” fallacy. I can’t seem to find a decent definition of what it means, so I hope I can do justice to it:

    “Other ways of knowing” is basically saying that you can pick and choose facts. The sun will rise tomorrow in the east, no matter if you choose to believe in it or not. Your “different way of looking at the world” doesn’t mean that the sun will rise in the west for you, and in the east for everyone else. Facts are facts, no matter what prism you see them through.

    As for “woo”, try googling “what is woo”.. I’d put in the link, but I think the site is eating it.

    (Severe apologies for the multiple, and probably by now, very repeated, comments)

  19. #19 Lawrence
    February 19, 2013

    @Sable – growing up, I had terrible migraines. One of the tests that was conducted was an allergy test (this was after a few years & yes, we had cats in the house). Turns out I was just about allergic to everything, cats, dogs, dust, pollen, grass, etc.

    The kick of it was, I showed no real symptoms (the migraines were related to allergies) of any allergic reactions in my normal life, despite what the tests said….so yes, it is very possible for allergies to just “go away” on their own.

    As to the “placebo effect” most likely, you just think you feel better – if you were actually sick, you’d still be sick – you can’t just wish away something like the flu…though, you can get better over time, as is what happens naturally.

  20. #20 sablonneuse
    February 19, 2013

    flip; yes, i agree I’ve accepted misinformation about vaccines. That’s why I’ve been looking for different views and found this site.
    Yes, I’ve googled ‘woo’ and it came up with the modern definition. Thanks. Google translation only gave “courtiser”.

  21. #21 Rose
    February 19, 2013

    About allergies going away, they do you know.
    One of my grandchildren had a peanut allergy and it went away. This was verified by tests at an allergist’s office. Another one had a milk allergy, with the same outcome (also verified by tests), so this could very possibly be what has happened to you.
    I love that you come here looking for facts.

  22. #22 Chris
    February 19, 2013

    Sableonneuse:

    Looking at it from a scientific point of view, you all reject it because scientifically it doesn’t work. I can see that, but I also have a circle of friends and acquaintances who use homeopathy and, OK, it may be a self perpetuating myth we’re creating here, but we do consider it helps alleviate many small health problems.

    You need to look at the history of homeopathy and some of Hahnemann’s original notions. That was two centuries ago, has much changed in homeopathy versus actual medical practices? Hahnemann had decided there were miasms that he could cure with homeopathy.

    I asked you this earlier, but you seem to have missed it: a couple of those “miasms” were gonorrhea and syphilis. Now ask your homeopath how she/he would treat those if someone presented the symptoms of one of those bacterial infections.

  23. #23 Chris
    February 19, 2013

    Oh, and this part: “OK, it may be a self perpetuating myth we’re creating here, but we do consider it helps alleviate many small health problems.”

    So does mommy’s kiss. The problem is that most of the small health problems are self limiting, and only need time to get better.

  24. #24 Calli Arcale
    February 19, 2013

    I was for a while considering buying homeopathic tablets to use as placebos when my kids were fussy. But as not all homeopathic tablets are really harmless (a surprising number are actually untested drugs labeled “homeopathic” as a regulatory shortcut), I decided not to do that after all.

    Allergies do fluctuate naturally. I used to be allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I scarf them by the handful now. 😉 Alas, I never did lose the cat allergy, so I have to continue with the cat-free household.

  25. #25 Rose
    February 19, 2013

    My problem is not with using woo to heal small problems but as a cure for cancer or AIDS or other life-threatening illnesses.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2013

    @ sablonneuse:

    What you say is true: if each vaccine carried a risk of 1 per million then giving two would increase the risk- you even hint at interaction- but let’s even assume that there’s no overlap of risk : 1 per million plus 1 per million plus 1 for the interaction- that still would be only 3 per million. That would still be a very small risk of 1 per 333 333. I think it’s actually smaller.

    Although I believe that there are things that science hasn’t explained, I would hold that most of the arguments used by alt med to justify their activities ARE already explained by general science- physics, chemistry, biology and psychology.

    A physicist said that we must make sure we’re not fooling ourselves – we’re the easiest ones to fool. When you are experiencing the illness or the cure, you can’t stand outside of yourself and observe dispassionately; also if you are testing your pet theory or an idea for a new product to market, you aren’t exactly neutral.

    Science gives us methods of becoming more neutral: using large numbers of subjects, blinding, using statistical analyses, outside observers, publication and replication by others.Then it is not just ourselves and a small number of selected subjects but a representative sample of the population at large done using procedures agreed upon by others and published for everyone to see and criticise.

    A study that ‘implicated’ vaccines in the causation of autism was done using only 12 subjects- there were more experimenters ( 13) than there were subjects! It frightened parents away from vaccines enough that diseases that had declined sharply because of vaccines began to re-appear in the western world. It concerned giving three vaccines together.

    There was more wrong with this study: the subjects were not randomly recruited ( but came through an advocacy group and their lawyer), the main experimenter was not a neutral party- he had a patent for a single vaccine; fixing data and other ethical issues were also involved.

    When I first read this study, I felt something was wrong: it didn’t fit what I had studied previously about development. No one else had found this connection.

    A few years later, my cousin feared for his newborn child: would vaccines harm him, he asked? I said that I have no problems with vaccination and that I DID have problems with the study that had frightened everyone.

    Little by little, the author’s tampering and malfeasance was un-covered and he was cast out of the medical profession.

    Similarly, a psychologist was found to have created data: it was revealed after his death; however his material affected how children were educated, especially the poor.

    Through publication, both studies were available to scientists and the general public: researchers, who were not in either of the authors’ camps, found different results. They were not compromised by either monetary aims or possible prejudice like the originators I discussed. Recently, a major journal ( BMJ) requested its authors to make their data available on publication.

    Science allows us to look beyond our own perspective, prejudices and error, to observe and describe what may actually exist.

  27. #27 Melissa G
    February 19, 2013

    I am EXTREMELY placebo-susceptible. This is why I like to be scientifically rigorous before I spend my money. 😉

  28. #28 herr doktor bimler
    February 19, 2013

    By the way, what exactly is ‘woo’.

    I like the word. It puts me in mind of spooky Theremin sound effects playing in the background while some New Age magical claim is ‘explained’ with a melange of sciency buzzwords.

  29. #29 sablonneuse
    February 19, 2013

    Chris: I thought the miasms were kind of ‘categories’ of patients but I may well be wrong. When it comes to contagious diseases I think homoepaths use nosodes – taken from actual infected material – but I can’t really get into this discussion because I don’t know enough about it.. I don’t see my homeopath very often because she ilves in England and leads a very busy life despite being very ill herself. (When I ask for her advice she always gives it without charge and when she comes to visit me she usually brings remedies – again at no cost. Though, of course, in France they are readily available at most chemists and sometimes even with doctors’ prescriptions)

    Denice: thank you for your very full and clear explanation. I agree that the study was small and badly carried out but IF he suspected a problem, wasn’t he wise to try to ring alarm bells – just in case? He may have genuinely believed that a single vaccine was better and despite the fact that his findings were disgraced there are still homeopaths who believe that there was some truth in it. This has, of course, influenced my views because my homeopath is convinced that some cases she has seen were induced by the MMR vaccine. I regard her as a sincere and intelligent person so you can understand why I sometimes have problems taking in the scientific evaluation. It’s a bit of a shock to the system!

    Now I have a question: How can you all be sure that every scientist’s research is absolutely reliable? Scientists are human too and may be tempted to ‘tweak’ data to help prove a point – or worse, deliberately misrepresent results. I’m thinking of the case of the UEA scientists whose emails showed a certain amount of ‘playing with the data’ in their research on climate change as an example.

  30. #30 herr doktor bimler
    February 19, 2013

    Similarly, a psychologist was found to have created data: it was revealed after his death; however his material affected how children were educated, especially the poor.

    In another case similar to the Burt episode, did you see the recent expose of Wertham? A doctor who campaigned in the 1950s against garish comic books (“The Seduction of the Innocent” — allegedly their graphic depictions of sex & violence were turning susceptible youths into delinquents) left enough of his raw case notes lying around for someone to go through them systematically. The anecdotes he reported in his books and in congressional hearings turned out to bear little relationship to what he had recorded in his research.

  31. #31 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 19, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    How can you all be sure that every scientist’s research is absolutely reliable?

    You want to look for replication by other scientists. If you only find one paper claiming X and every other paper says Y, then that one paper is more likely to be in error. If there are no other papers, do your best to evaluate the study – seek out scientists in the field (e.g., at respected universities) to get their opinions, but reserve judgment until more studies have been done.

  32. #32 JGC
    February 19, 2013

    regarding that idea that the risk associated with receiving 2 different vaccines might increase multiply rather than additively (“perhaps it more than doubles because they are given together”), recall the human immune system is demostrably capable of dealing with thousands of individual antigens we’re exposed to from our enviroment, diet, etc., on a daily basis without adverse event. A newborn is exposed to more antigens in the first 5 minutes after delivery than it would ever see during as a reult of the most aggressive vaccination schedule imaginable. One or two vaccinations, particularly with the current acellular vaccines? Far less than the proverbial drop in the bucket in terms in terms of total antigen exposure.

  33. #33 Grant
    February 19, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    “Now I have a question: How can you all be sure that every scientist’s research is absolutely reliable? Scientists are human too and may be tempted to ‘tweak’ data to help prove a point – or worse, deliberately misrepresent results.”

    It’s why scientific results are decided on the weight of the scientific community, not just one person, and the weight of evidence, not someone’s “word”.

    Not because of potential fraud, just the innocent ordinary issue of things being complex so initial arguments frequently will have winkles that need ironing out.

    You’re jumping straight to fraud before the ordinary reasons – overplaying the card and a bit of a straw-man.

    Note this is also a reason not to trust the “word” of a practitioner whose treatments lack a weight of evidence. (Substitute a long list of practices that lack evidential support for ‘practitioner’. You guessed it: homeopathy is one of them 😉 )

  34. #34 Grant
    February 19, 2013

    @sablonneuse – see wikipedia, etc., for miasmic theory – it’s an historical idea that “foul atmospheres” caused illness. (Foul as in smelling bad.)

    Think of it as an association of environment and illness before bacteria, etc., were known. Naturally it’s long been discredited. It’s fun as a piece of history and you can see where it comes from. If you trace back the origins of some of these things like homeopathy you’ll find they’re founded on things like this, which is why some of us find it embarrassing they still exist.

    “I regard her as a sincere and intelligent person so you can understand why I sometimes have problems taking in the scientific evaluation.”

    People can be sincere and wrong, even otherwise intelligent people. Better to rely on evidence and a community of people who are willing (too willing!) to criticise each other’s work to suss out what’s right and what’s not.

  35. #35 sablonneuse
    February 19, 2013

    JGC: I was under the impression that a baby’s immune system took a little while to develop (that he/she relied on breastmilk to ‘fill the gap’ at first) but maybe that’s an old wives’ tale. Because of this it concerned me that a developing immune system might be at risk from too much’ prodding into action’.

    Grant: like your cheeky reference to homeopathy again.
    Perhaps I should have said “at worst” instead of “worse” so that it doesn’t look as though i’m jumping straight into accusing anyone of fraud but in the case I quoted it did look like deliberate misrepresentation agreed by a small group of researchers. Note I did NOT suggest it happening in medical trials. 😉

  36. #36 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 19, 2013

    Now I have a question: How can you all be sure that every scientist’s research is absolutely reliable?

    To echo Grant’s message, it is well known that not every paper published is equally valuable and not every announced discovery can be repeated. Highly reputable scientists make errors. Examples that come to mind that you may have heard of include the apparent discovery of a particle that moved faster than light at CERN (it didn’t), the use of vitamin C to cure influenza, and cold fusion. While those were pretty spectacular claims that didn’t pan out, science is full of things that one team believes they have found, only to discover later that they more sort of didn’t.

    I’m thinking of the case of the UEA scientists whose emails showed a certain amount of ‘playing with the data’ in their research on climate change as an example.

    You may be interested to learn that 8 different investigations found no evidence of fraud or misconduct. They also found that the UEA data was in line with that used by other independent groups.

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2013

    @ sablonneuse:

    Merci beaucoup.
    I try, I really do.

    If the researcher ( named Andrew Wakefield -btw-) was concerned about a real effect that harmed children, he would have first consulted with others, later tried to replicate his own work ( he didn’t) and would not have ‘stacked the deck’ by choosing subjects who came from biased sources ( a parents’ group, a lawyer’s clients)- if the effect was REAL, it would have shown up in larger samples drawn randomly from the population, done fairly and ethically. No need to change data. Or fear transparency.

    People may support him or the other cheater ( Sir Cyril Burt) because their results fit in well with preconceived notions which might be common in our era. Some people fear pharmaceuticals and opt for ‘natural products’, so they’ll continue to fear vaccines; others may believe that intelligence is solidly based in hereditary, not shaped by environmental influences, because of their political beliefs and prejudices about poor people and minority groups.

    Both of these fellows’ work was suspicious to many experts in their fields but may have enjoyed some popular support because of the subject matter- a matter for sociologists and social psychologists to investigate. One of my profs went into a long tirade about the fraudulent psychologist and taught us about how he was found out.

    Both were exposed through the general press, IIRC by the same newspaper. Public interest is an important factor in attempting to find ways to keep research ‘clean’: people are working on it right now. You’ll be hearing more about it soon.

  38. #38 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2013

    How does fraud get found out?
    these two got caught because there was something suspicious about their data- or in Wakefield’s case, how he himself behaved as well.
    Their results did not fit other previous research well. Data was not replicated by others who were not directly connected to the principals – and in Burt’s case, correlations, in diverse instances, were remarkably similar- actually the same, to three decimal places ( highly unlikely in the real world) as well as other issues.
    Wakefield refused to replicate his own work and made a fuss about being interviewed.
    I wonder if Wakefield may have learned something about how to cheat from the earlier case and its un-covering- his own fixed data were not as ‘perfect’ as Burt’s- but he messed up in other interesting ways.

  39. #39 JGC
    February 19, 2013

    While infant is protected during gestation by maternal IgG’s which are able to cross the placental barrier, and after birth if nursing also by additional classes of maternal antibodies (IgE’s, IgA’s, IgM’s, etc.) received its mother’s milk, the infant’s immune system is capable of responding to multiple antigens at birth. It’s lesst that it needs further development as that it’s naive (unchallenged)–it’s just emerged from what was an essentially sterile environment into the big bad dirty world.

    If we accept that the infant immune system is immature and requires additional time to develop, my point of still stands: the infant will be exposed to orders of magnitude more antigens from environmental sources in the first five minutes of life than it will ever see as the result of routine immunization. If ‘too many too soon’ represents a real problem we’d all of us have had our immune systems overwhelmed in infancy.

  40. #40 Chris
    February 19, 2013

    sablonneuse:

    Chris: I thought the miasms were kind of ‘categories’ of patients but I may well be wrong. When it comes to contagious diseases I think homoepaths use nosodes – taken from actual infected material – but I can’t really get into this discussion because I don’t know enough about it.

    It is common that many of the defenders of homeopathy actually know very little about it. Miasms are what Hahnemann thought caused the disease. For a more complete explanation read this:
    http://www.skepdic.com/homeo.html

  41. #41 Liz Ditz
    February 19, 2013

    Sablonneuse, who is not a native English speaker, asked a really good question:

    By the way, what exactly is ‘woo’. I’d guess from the context it means ‘merde’!

    Not exactly “merde”.

    Rational Wiki on Woo.. There are subsets of woo, such as science woo (“woo that confuses science with magic, often in the heads of the people espousing it”).

    Also see Tooth Fairy Science (“”Tooth Fairy science” is an expression coined by Harriet Hall, M.D., (aka the SkepDoc) to refer to doing research on a phenomenon before establishing that the phenomenon exists. Tooth Fairy science is part of a larger domain that might be called Fairy Tale science: research that aims to confirm a farfetched story believed by millions of scientifically innocent minds.”)

    I would highly recommend that you look for Dr. Hall’s presentation on Tooth Fairy Science — rich with detail.
    Only using one link to avoid the moderation pit.

  42. #42 Liz Ditz
    February 19, 2013

    And for Sablonneuse, the nine red flags for woo:

    Woo most always contains most of the following characteristics:

    A simple idea that purports to be the one answer to many problems (often including diseases)

    A “scientific-sounding” reason for how it works, but little to no actual science behind it; for example, quote mines of studies that if bent enough could be described in such a way to support it, outright misapplication of studies, or words that sound scientific but make no sense in the context they are used in

    It involves the supernatural and paranormal (not necessarily)

    A claim of persecution, usually perpetrated by the government or the pharmaceutical, medical, or scientific community

    An invocation of a scientific authority

    Prefers to use abundant testimonials over actual scientific research

    A claim that scientists are blind to the discovery, despite attempts to alert them

    A disdain for objective, randomized experimental controls, especially double-blind testing (which are kind of what makes epidemiology actually, y’know, work)

    And, usually, an offer to share the knowledge for a price.

    You can see how homeopathy has many of these markers.

  43. #43 herr doktor bimler
    February 19, 2013

    People may support him or the other cheater ( Sir Cyril Burt) because their results fit in well with preconceived notions which might be common in our era.

    This is worth stressing (though not particularly relevant to the topic at hand). The proof that Burt was fabricating his data was evident right at the start, but they were accepted anyway because he was telling people what they thought they already knew.

  44. #44 Narad
    February 19, 2013

    Miasms are what Hahnemann thought caused the disease.

    Note that miasm “theory” is an active field of study. Unfortunately, Dimitrialis seems to throw Hahnemann under the bus by asserting the existence of “infectious agents.”

  45. #45 Narad
    February 19, 2013

    If the root of a disease e.g., childhood asthma, stems directly from a history of gonorrhea, even a few generations ago, then often, only Medorrhinum will ultimately cure it and take the susceptibility away. No other remedy will do this.

    Yes, time-traveling gonorrhea. Part 2, which begins with “Part Three,” is here.

    Cancer is the only miasm that does not stem from an infectious disease. The other four all have an infectious disease or contagion principle involved in it. However, for all intensive purposes, it conforms to all the other major criteria for a miasm, in that there is a distinct inherited disposition to it, there is a clear nosode with a profound remedy image and there is a larger pattern of physical and mental symptoms and behavior connected to it.

    In other news, Creutzfeldt-Jakob is part of the “AIDS miasm.”

  46. #46 flip
    February 20, 2013

    @Sablonneuse

    i agree I’ve accepted misinformation about vaccines. That’s why I’ve been looking for different views and found this site.

    It’s great that you’ve been willing to go and read more; I really do hope that you consider my points about how you trust homeopathy vs how you distrust vaccines.

    Though, of course, in France they are readily available at most chemists and sometimes even with doctors’ prescriptions)

    If there’s no substance left in the homeopathic treatment, why do they need to provide a prescription for it? And whether there is or isn’t any substance in it, this practice implies that homeopathy comes with risks – otherwise it would be an over the counter medication.

    I regard her as a sincere and intelligent person so you can understand why I sometimes have problems taking in the scientific evaluation. It’s a bit of a shock to the system!

    This is the problem – you are trusting of the person, rather than the data. I return to my original question: how do the homeopaths know what is safe and what is not?

    Now I have a question: How can you all be sure that every scientist’s research is absolutely reliable? Scientists are human too and may be tempted to ‘tweak’ data to help prove a point – or worse, deliberately misrepresent results. I’m thinking of the case of the UEA scientists whose emails showed a certain amount of ‘playing with the data’ in their research on climate change as an example.

    This is another example of you believing misinformation (there are plenty of science-based websites that discuss the issues of climate change that have more info). You need to stop believing everything you hear/read and check people’s sources or read the original data.

    As for your question: scientists publish data. Other scientists then go and double check that data. If errors or fraud is found, then the second lot of scientists publish that information. On the other hand: how do you know if the homeopaths are reliable? Do they publish data so you can check it for yourself? Do they allow other people to test their treatments and report the truth of safety/efficacy?

    Yes, scientists are human: so are the homeopaths. The difference is the homeopaths go out of their way to ignore or not bother with providing evidence. Scientists on the other hand allow for their work to be shredded by other scientists, because it’s the only way to ensure every possible answer is looked at and tested.

    In fact, the whole point about repeatedly asking you about how homeopaths know is so that you consider that they might not actually know anything: that they might actually be guessing, and might be completely unreliable because they don’t KNOW but rather GUESS.

    @DW

    Thanks for saying what I was trying to in a clearer manner.

    @Narad

    So not only does the water have a memory, but so does the miasma?

  47. #47 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/10/13/how-vaccines-work-a-primer/
    February 20, 2013

    Sablonneuse

    In case it’s of use: I gathered some primers on vaccines in this post (lillady added a couple more in the comments).

  48. #48 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2013

    However, for all intensive purposes

    It is always a delight to see an egg-corn in the wild.

  49. #49 sablonneuse
    February 20, 2013

    flip: you say “If there’s no substance left in the homeopathic treatment, why do they need to provide a prescription for it? And whether there is or isn’t any substance in it, this practice implies that homeopathy comes with risks – otherwise it would be an over the counter medication.”.

    It’s not that the remedies are considered ‘prescription only’. You can buy them over the counter, but if a doctor gives you a prescription (and many doctors are also homeopaths) then they’re free. Of course, it’s not just in France that homeopathy is widely accepted -the British royal family use it too. But, yes, I know that doesn’t make it scientifically right!.

    I think it’s unfair to suggest that homeopaths don’t ‘know’ anything. They (should!) undergo a rigorous training but the problem is that instead of concentrating on the disease in question they also have to consider the patient as a whole in far more detail than a medical doctor would find necessary/useful – or even have the time for. They do know which remedies are indicated but there are lots of them to choose from for each symptom. It’s making this choice that requires a bit of ‘educated guessing’. They don’t always get it right first time.

    Grant: I’ve started looking at your link -which led to other links and it reminded me of the whooping cough epidemic reported on the BBC website where they stated that Repevax was being recommended for pregnant women. The Repevax website clearly explains all the pros and cons
    http://www.medicines.org.uk/EMC/medicine/15256/SPC/REPEVAX/#CONTRAINDICATIONS and at 4:6 states clearly that:

    “The effect of REPEVAX on embryo-foetal development has not been assessed. No teratogenic effect of vaccines containing diphtheria or tetanus toxoids, or inactivated poliovirus has been observed following use in pregnant women. Limited post-marketing information is available on the safety of administering REPEVAX to pregnant women.
    The use of this combined vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy”.

    In view of that last sentence I am alarmed that it was lauded as a good idea for pregnant women to have it. Does it mean health officials don’t bother to read the manufacturers’ own research results before making a product available?

    Oh dear, I’m spending far too miuch time on my computer. Poor dog hasn’t had her walk yet!

  50. #50 Grant
    February 20, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    Pointing at someone and saying “they use it” doesn’t make using it a good idea. (As an example, any number of famous people have taken “class A” recreational drugs – does that make it a good idea to take them too?)

    You really ought to be looking at the *evidence*. It’s what it comes down to the end.

    For example, there is an extensive examination of the evidence for homeopathy by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/4502.htm

    (There’s an earlier evidence check that might be more relevant and more documents but I don’t want to link them all as more than a couple of links will cause this comment to be treated as spam.)

    The links my post point to are explaining how vaccines work and giving the overview. You’ll do better if you read this first before diving off into details (or sidetracking as you seem to have). It’s easy to spot a number of the anti-vaccine myths if you know the basics.

    “Does it mean health officials don’t bother to read the manufacturers’ own research results before making a product available?”

    Of course they read them. They also read the medical research literature and take advice.

    If you do more reading you will find that the *medical* advice is that (some of) the whooping cough vaccines are recommended to be given to pregnant women. (Before the last couple of weeks of pregnancy.) Others can fill you in on the details. (Like Orac, I’m a bit busy with a grant application!)

    I strongly suspect that the document you link to gives the contents of the little leaflet that the company includes with the vaccine. Disclaimers will be in these for *legal* reasons. (Companies have to protect themselves.) You need to look for the *medical* advice.

    Anti-vaccine groups lately are holding up various disclaimers as if they were medical advice – these people are scaremongering or poorly informed. I’ve seen similar nonsense on the same issue from the local anti-vaccine group.

  51. #51 dingo199
    February 20, 2013

    Sablonbleuse, I echo what Grant has said.
    Also, you may wish to review some of the evidence relating to safety of the vaccines in pregnancy:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/preg-guide.htm
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6041a4.htm
    http://www.vhcinfo.org/immunizations.asp?page=safety&subnav=tdap&title=Td/DTap/Tdap%20Related%20Articles

  52. #52 dingo199
    February 20, 2013

    It is always a delight to see an egg-corn in the wild.

    A true Mondegreen.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

  53. #53 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    February 20, 2013

    sablonneuse

    a man in NZ(?) trusted his sincere and knowledgeable homeoquack for a cut on his foot

    use manuka honey it will heal quickly was the patter

    it is getting worse says the man, no that means it is healing naturally

    the man, a diabetic, followed the advice to the end and died after waiting too long

    there has to be something behind the sincerity and there is nothing in homeopathy to suggest it should or does work, despite your anecdote and the niceness of your homeoquack.

    It has been studied 9 ways from Sunday and come up lacking. The US has spent over a billion dollars studying merde like this and quelle surprise – sugar pills are no better than sugar pills.

    above a 24X (?) dilution you would have to begin eating olympic sized swimming pools full of pills to even have a remote chance of swallowing a single molecule of the cure.

    Add to this, homeoquackery only seems to work on the the things homeoquacks say it does, while scientific dilution works on anything.

    All these other issues you raise have nothing to do with homeoquackery being snake oil, which has been said, at lest had some snake in it.

    It is ridiculous that France pays for this delusion de l’eau, what a waste of money and resources.

  54. #54 sablonneuse
    February 20, 2013

    I get the feeling I may be annoying some of you now. I concede that many of my preconceptions on vaccines were mistaken and thank all those who have explained patiently and fully.
    As for homeopathy – call it stupidity, pig headedness, delusion -what you will – but I am having trouble accepting the science. You have all been very helpful and there are still plenty of links for me to explore. I shall carry on reading but – and I mean it this time – I’m bowing out of this discussion for the time being.
    Who knows, I may not be able to resist popping up again on a different post but feel free to ignore me!
    Here’s wishing all the best to all of you.

  55. #55 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 20, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    In view of that last sentence I am alarmed that it was lauded as a good idea for pregnant women to have it. Does it mean health officials don’t bother to read the manufacturers’ own research results before making a product available?

    As Grant said, it seems like that is from the package insert for the vaccine. By law, manufacturers cannot state things in there that they have not actually studied and submitted to regulatory agencies for approval. There are a lot of caveats and disclaimers in there to cover legal liabilities.

    If they say that safety has not been assessed and that it is not recommended in population X, then it means that that particular company has not studied it. Since they have not studied it, they cannot make claims about its safety. Since they cannot make claims about its safety, they cannot recommend its use.

    Government agencies, however, have a much greater scope of information from which they draw to make recommendations. In addition to what they receive from manufacturers, they also look at independent research that has been published in the medical literature, info from other manufacturers, in-house research, adverse event reports, and so on. They often have significantly more information available to them upon which they base their recommendations.

    A common anti-vaccine tactic when a vaccine is recommended by a government agency for use in a special population (e.g., pregnant women) is to pull out the manufacturer’s package insert for the vaccine and point at the statement that it has not been assessed for safety in that population. They ignore all of the other medical and scientific literature that has looked at the safety of the vaccine in that population.

  56. #56 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 20, 2013

    @sablonneuse

    I don’t think you’re annoying anyone. You are asking good questions and seem to be making an effort to learn more.

    Here is a question for you to ask regarding homeopathy: if you take several potent (e.g., 12C or greater) homeopathic remedies to a homeopath, how can they tell which remedy is which? When you get it, how can you determine if it is actually the remedy you requested, rather than simply water, alcohol or sugar and whatever other non-active ingredients they might use?

    You don’t need to answer…just some questions to ponder.

  57. #57 Liz Ditz
    February 20, 2013

    Wrote sablonneuse,

    I get the feeling I may be annoying some of you now.

    I for one am not annoyed. Having to explain why homeopathy is “the one woo to rule them all” (as our esteemed host puts it) to a person who is semi-believing helps me sharpen my thinking.

    And untangling your preconceptions (or misconceptions) about vaccine safety and efficacy makes me a better advocate for vaccines.

  58. #58 Denice Walter
    February 20, 2013

    Not annoyed at all. Also, by answering her, we are providing the lurkers with additional material.

  59. #59 THS
    February 20, 2013

    re #258: as a semi-lurker: just so. Very useful & entertaining, too.

  60. #60 flip
    February 20, 2013

    @Sablonneuse

    I think it’s unfair to suggest that homeopaths don’t ‘know’ anything. They (should!) undergo a rigorous training but the problem is that instead of concentrating on the disease in question they also have to consider the patient as a whole in far more detail than a medical doctor would find necessary/useful – or even have the time for. They do know which remedies are indicated but there are lots of them to choose from for each symptom. It’s making this choice that requires a bit of ‘educated guessing’. They don’t always get it right first time.

    Sigh… you miss it again. Basically your whole paragraph can be summed up as “I don’t know how they know it works, they just do!” which is about as useful for proving a treatment’s efficacy and safety as using a magic eight ball.

    Basically you are confirming for me that you simply trust what they tell you, haven’t looked into the safety/efficacy of homeopathy yourself, don’t know how they test for efficacy/safety, don’t care if they do or not, and therefore have no reason to then demand better evidence from scientists about vaccines. You ask for no evidence from homeopaths, why ask doctors for evidence? You have double standards.

    You also use the “holistic” fallacy, which is torn apart on this blog in many places: doctors also treat the whole person. They always have and always will. Anyone who says they don’t are feeding you misinformation. Doctors also use a bit of guesswork as the others have suggested, since not everyone is the same and there can be many symptoms that fit many illnesses with many different causes. The only difference is that doctors rely on consensus, data, rigourous testing as a basis for their decisions; homeopaths don’t.

    I really just want to focus on the issue you have with vaccines, and don’t want to get too distracted with the homeopathy; however, the way you look at homeopathy is important to how you also look at vaccines.

    So I’m going to keep harping on this point: you ask for evidence that vaccines do what they say they do. You do NOT ask for evidence that homeopathic products do what they say they do. You are biased, you accept homeopathy on blind faith. And yet you ask questions of vaccines.

    I’m merely suggesting that you should question BOTH, but follow the evidence and not your gut feeling.

    I get the feeling I may be annoying some of you now. I concede that many of my preconceptions on vaccines were mistaken and thank all those who have explained patiently and fully.

    On the contrary, I find it refreshing to discuss these things with someone willing to consider the evidence, rather than throwing a tantrum or calling names once we start disagreeing with them. I think you deserve a big thumbs up for it actually. And especially for taking the time to read and think about what you’ve read. (I understand that my tone may appear exasperated, that’s only because I’ve had a long few days)

  61. #61 JGC
    February 20, 2013

    How can one be given rigorous training in homeopathy, in the absence of any actual evidence homepathic remedies are actually effective at treating the indications homeopath’s claim they’re effective for? All such training could consist of is studying and accepting anecdotal or otherwise unsupported claims made by other practicing homeopaths.

    As a proposal it’s subtantively no different than suggesting faith healers all receive ‘rigorous training’ in intercessory prayer.

  62. #62 THS
    February 20, 2013

    “Rigorous training” in homeopathy is a contradiction in terms insofar as there is no scientific basis for homeopathy. Homeopathy has no “rigor”. There are other instances, however, of “rigorous training” in systems that have their basis on fantasy and/or the supernatural.

  63. #63 Denice Walter
    February 20, 2013

    Yes, a few minutes worth of searching the ‘net will turn up training, diplomas, advanced diplomas and professional training in arcanae like reiki, energy medicine, medical intuitive counselling, herbalism, nutrition, de-toxification, accupuncture, reflexology, TCM, chelation therapy, chakra balancing, ayurveda, aura reading, psychic ability, ND, Chi Gong, health coaching, life coaching, spiritual counselling etc.

    I’m sure that you also have a choice of white or black magick and distance healing: I didn’t look.

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2013

    Here’s wishing all the best to all of you.
    And to you…
    NO NO we must be cannot accept the power of WISHING — not without evidence!

  65. #65 S
    February 20, 2013

    “Rigorous training” in homeopathy is a contradiction in terms insofar as there is no scientific basis for homeopathy. … All such training could consist of is studying and accepting anecdotal or otherwise unsupported claims made by other practicing homeopaths.

    Wouldn’t drinking a lot of water on a regular basis qualify as “rigorous training” in homeopathy?

    I discovered the Homeopaths Without Borders group today. What a ruthless bunch of people I see that Orac has already covered them in the past.

  66. #66 JGC
    February 20, 2013

    Rigorous practice of homeopathy, maybe–for it to be rigorous training you’d have to practice hitting that glass of water a few times with a bible before drinking.

    I was thinking along those lines when I read sable’s comment that in France if you have a doctor’s prescription for a homeopathic remedy it’s free: why not just drink directly from the tap at home getting the same remedy at effectively the same cost? You’d avoid the annoyance of having to run out to the doctor and pharmacy.

  67. #67 flip
    February 20, 2013

    @JGC

    Quite clearly the tap water hasn’t been succussed. 😉

  68. #68 S
    February 20, 2013

    Those are good points, JGC.

    What I’m now wondering is that if the dilutions are harmless, then why not put the homeopathic remedies into the drinking water supply for a few small towns? They could do that as a medical trial of homeopathy. If after the end of six months, the members of the treated towns who had chronic illnesses are suddenly healed, yet similar members in the untreated towns are not, then it would help evidence their claims. Would it not, or is that too easy?

  69. #69 Melissa G
    February 20, 2013

    Sablonneuse, I think we have all really enjoyed having you on the thread, and would welcome you to comment and hang around with us any time. 🙂

    Peut-être qu’un jour je vais trouver le courage d’essayer mon lycee française. 🙂 …

  70. #70 Grant
    February 20, 2013

    @al kimeea,

    “a man in NZ(?) trusted his sincere and knowledgeable homeoquack for a cut on his foot”

    Do you have a link for that? (I’m being lazy here! …well, actually, I’m swamped in reading for grant applications and whatnot.)

  71. #71 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2010/02/23/homeopathy-check-up-not-in-the-health-system-disclaimers-in-pharmacies/
    February 20, 2013

    Sablonneuse,

    I forgot I wrote a summary of the British examination of the evidence regards homeopathy, it’d be easier to read that the full document, which is very long.

  72. #72 alison
    taking a break from enrolments
    February 20, 2013

    #270: Grant, I think it is this story – a guy in the UK who was a ‘natural healer’ trusted his own intuition about what would work for a cut foot. He trusted it until he was dead.

    http://metro.co.uk/2008/11/17/healer-dies-after-letting-cut-foot-rot-150526/

  73. #73 Grant
    February 20, 2013

    @Sablonneuse:

    “As for homeopathy – call it stupidity, pig headedness, delusion -what you will – but I am having trouble accepting the science.”

    I started explaining this here. If I find time I’ll put it up as a blog post (hopefully tonight) and come back later and provide a link here for you.

  74. #74 Grant
    Taking a break from this grant application madness
    February 20, 2013

    Hi Alison, (My break matched yours huh?)

    Good grief. Maybe I ought to revisit Manuka honey as well as homeopathy? Thanks for the link.

  75. #75 Professor Jurnak
    February 26, 2013

    I just noticed an open letter querying my WSJ letter response about vaccines. I will not attempt to explain all of my rationale and experience in dealing with the vaccine safety question in a short post. Suffice it to say that (1) I believe that the harm vaccines cause is considerably under-reported in the US and (2) there are simple, low cost approaches that can be used right now to reduce the risk of vaccines by 10-fold or more. All of this information is already in the peer-reviewed medical literature, but not really noticed because the medical community has such a strong bias against giving nutritional supplements and so my suggestions would fall on deaf ears. I arrived at my conclusions, in part, because my son (and others that I know) had an extremely bad reaction to the hepatitis vaccine and the first booster. The bad reactions were never reported to the CDC by the physicians. I scoured the medical literature to figure out why and what could be done. By using science as the guide as well as information about my son’s own genetic make-up, I was able to mitigate his risks and have him safely vaccinated with the second hepatitis booster as well as with a number of subsequent vaccinations needed before he went to medical school. I believe that my solution might work well for many others but I have met a wall of resistance in discussing it with anyone in the medical community, in part, because physicians lack the extensive biochemical training and experience that I have.

  76. #76 AdamG
    February 26, 2013

    there are simple, low cost approaches that can be used right now to reduce the risk of vaccines by 10-fold or more.

    What exactly are these approaches? I suspect that these approaches are neither as simple nor as cheap as you think.

  77. #77 Professor Jurnak
    February 26, 2013

    I meant ever word – simple and low cost, but I would need an entire blog or two to explain. Otherwise my words would be misconstrued and misapplied by many.

  78. #78 Lawrence
    February 26, 2013

    @PJ – please enlighten us – I would love to know exactly how you accomplished the “genetic screening / sequencing” of your son, in what sounds like the late 1980’s or early 1990’s….in a cost-effective manner.

  79. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 26, 2013

    Professor Jurnak,

    I for one would be interested in your suggestions and scientific evidence for same. If you know ways to better determine which children are at risk of adverse vaccine reactions or to prevent such reactions, that would be a substantial benefit in the fight against infectious disease. Could you please share?

  80. #80 AdamG
    February 26, 2013

    I would need an entire blog or two to explain. Otherwise my words would be misconstrued and misapplied by many.

    Ah, so I guess we’re just supposed to believe you without any evidence. My particular expertise happens to be in developing genetic tests for clinical use. If that’s the type of thing you’re referring to, it’s certainly neither simple nor cost-effective at this moment (this may change in the next decade). I was hoping to engage in an actual, rational discussion on this issue, but apparently you’re not interested. Why did you bother to post here at all then?

  81. #81 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    @ Professor Jurnak: We have open minds here.

    Why do you *think* that the *harms* experienced by children post vaccination is under reported? Be specific here. Define “harms” and provide citations from reputable sources that those “harms” are under-reported.

    How about those “simple low cost interventions that can be used right now to reduce the risk of vaccines by 10-fold or more”? Do you even *know* what the baseline is of kids who have been “harmed” by each vaccine is? Are you in fact, *confusing* mild reactions such as pain at the injections site, with the exceedingly rare “severe adverse reaction”?

    What are those *nutritional substances* that you *claim* have been reported in journals that decrease the risk of *harm* from vaccines? How about providing some internet links, so that we could discuss them?

    I’m not even going to evaluate your statement about the *harm* (“extremely bad reaction”) your son experienced with the first hepatitis B vaccine and the second “booster” hepatitis B vaccine. BTW, do try to learn what a “booster vaccine” is. The second hepatitis B vaccine shot is NOT a “booster vaccine”.

  82. #82 Professor Jurnak
    February 26, 2013

    I have to leave for a meeting, but if I am allowed to post a lengthy post by the moderators, I am sure that I can satisfy all of your concerns. The moderators should let me know.
    I do mean serious adverse reactions, not just minor harm. As for the approach, it relies upon giving selective vitamins/minerals, depending upon the type of vaccine, for a week prior and after the vaccine. Also, not all children are at risk, but I do believe that with a few simple studies, a subset of children can be identified as having the potential for risk. One such group would likely include those babies who experience severe jaundice or elevated bilirubin problems at birth.

  83. #83 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    @ Professor Jurnak: Please come back and post here with your extensive nutritional pre-treatment to avoid “harms” caused by vaccines. We are all very *intrigued*.

  84. #84 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    because physicians lack the extensive biochemical training and experience that I have

    “Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!”

    I started pursuing Professor Jurnak’s ideas on nutritional supplements and orthomolecular psychiatry, but then got sidetracked on pyroluria and The Mauve Factor.

  85. #85 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 26, 2013

    Professor Jurnak – you may want to contact Orac directly if you’d like to post something large on his blog. His e-mail address (which you can find if you click on “Orac” at the top of the page) is orac@scienceblogs.com.

    Alternatively, if you’ve published papers on the topic, that would be interesting as well.

  86. #86 Lawrence
    February 26, 2013

    @PJ – how about just the highlights then?

  87. #87 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 26, 2013

    herr doktor bimler – I have to admit my first reaction in reading Professor Jurnak’s message was along the same lines (possibly with a touch of “they thought me mad – MAD!”). However, I looked up his profile at UC Irvine (if indeed that’s the same man) and he may well be speaking simple fact.

  88. #88 Beamup
    February 26, 2013

    @ PJ:

    PMIDs for the clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of the claimed method will suffice as a starting point. Similarly for the documentation of under-reporting.

  89. #89 Ren
    February 26, 2013

    This is going to turn into a flame war, isn’t it?

  90. #90 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    Please don’t tell me he’s orthomolecular…save us.
    -btw- better mauve than fauve?
    I look terrific in mauve.

  91. #91 JGC
    Let's make a response as easy as possible
    February 26, 2013

    Prof. Jurnak, rather than post a ‘blog-length’ response arguing your position why not simply provide citations to what you consider to be the tow or three most compelling studies indicating 1) harm caused by vaccines is being significantly under-reported and 2) specific low cost solutions have been identified which could reduce their occurence by an order of magnitude?

  92. #92 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    Please don’t tell me he’s orthomolecular…save us

    Orthomolecular psychiatry seems to be only a small aspect of Professor Jurnak’s research interests, and is no reflection on the quality of her other work (“2004 President of the American Crystallographic Association” speaks for itself). Mephistopheles O’Brien #287 is probably right — she is entitled to describe physicians as “lacking the extensive biochemical training and experience that I have”.

  93. #93 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 26, 2013

    Professor Jurnak – my apologies for writing about you in the wrong gender.

  94. #94 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/11/30/genetic-screening-for-severe-vaccine-complaints/
    February 26, 2013

    Regards Professor Jurnak‘s comment #275,

    I’m all for “identifying which children are at risk” (from your letter to WSJ), but there are several phrases in your comment that raise concerns for me, at least.

    You wrote, “I believe that the harm vaccines cause is considerably under-reported in the US”. This I think would be better phrased, “If vaccines cause serious harm, it is likely to be under-reported”. (I know I’m not being very clear, but what I’m touching on here is association v. causation. An example I know something of is Dravet Syndrome, a genetic condition, cases of which were previously offered as “vaccine injury” by association.)

    Two problems here, “but not really noticed because the medical community has such a strong bias against giving nutritional supplements and so my suggestions would fall on deaf ears”. Firstly, this looks dangerously close to a strawman. Secondly, my own impression is that the medical community has long recommended supplements – where there is a deficiency, the latter being the catch.

    “in part, because physicians lack the extensive biochemical training and experience that I have.”

    Sorry to be blunt on this one, but I’m leery of this, as while you might, at pinch, argue this of GPs you certainly couldn’t say the same for immunologists – and the latter are the people you’d need to convince, surely.

    One the subject of genome screening, what is done after you have the sequence matters considerably as I’d like to think you understand and as AdamG was indicating. (I’m generalising here, there have been some remarkable successes with identifying the cause of rare genetic disorders this way.) I’ve previously suggested genome sequencing for serious vaccine reactions, as a step towards better understanding of what causes these medical events and heading off some of the fuss from the onset.

    Just for clarity: is this you expressing a personal interest in multi-vitamins, etc.?

  95. #95 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    Apologies for the gender mixup.
    However Orthomolecular Psychiatry would be a warning sign for me.

  96. #96 Chris
    February 26, 2013

    Professor Jurnak:

    By using science as the guide as well as information about my son’s own genetic make-up, I was able to mitigate his risks and have him safely vaccinated with the second hepatitis booster as well as with a number of subsequent vaccinations needed before he went to medical school.

    What particular gene sequence did you discover was the root of your child’s issues?

    My son has obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The genetic testing failed to find the eighteen sequences known to cause HCM. I have in front of me the report from GeneDx, a company in Maryland that performs these kinds of genetic medical screens. It includes a list of genes they checked for like: MYH7, MYBPC3, TNNT2, LAMP2, PRKAG2, MTTG, etc.

    I personally don’t understand it, but I am sure that there are those here (like AdamG) who would be able to figure out any genes you feel make a child vulnerable to vaccines.

    Obviously, you had better luck with genetic testing than we did.

  97. #97 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    However Orthomolecular Psychiatry would be a warning sign for me.

    I am siding with Steven Novella — it was an interesting idea that was not supported by the weight of evidence.
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pyroluria-and-orthomolecular-psychiatry/

    However, it did give us the Terry Southern story, “Blood of a Wig”.

  98. #98 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    I’ve located 4 Pages of published articles for “Jurnak” in PubMed…including the Mauve I and Mauve II articles that her doktor bimler referenced.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

    I rather *doubt* that “Professor Jurnak” has ever had an article published in a reliable first tier science or medical journal…for the simple reason that “Jurnak” refers to the second hepatitis B vaccine that her son received as a “booster vaccine”.

    When Professor Jurnak returns from the meeting, I’ll be here awaiting some of the answers to the questions we posed.

  99. #99 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    I would count ‘Science’ and ‘Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A’ as first-tier science journals, lilady (despite occasional lapses on the part of the latter, e.g. the Larval Transfer imbroglio).

  100. #100 Professor Jurnak
    February 26, 2013

    I have taken Mephistopheles O’Brien’s suggestion to contact Orac directly and will continue the discussion with him. The events leading to my knowledge on this subject were very traumatizing ones for my family and myself. As you can already see from the posts, many are quick to jump on the prospect of quackery. I don’t need this. I have valuable knowledge to share, but I will only do so, if I can present the material completely and the audience is willing to hear the story/evidence without pre-judgement.

  101. #101 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    @ herr doktor bimler: I located 4 pages of different articles published under “Jurnak”…and I *suspect* that “Professor Jurnak” is not the “Jurnak” listed on the PubMed link I provided.

  102. #102 Professor Jurnak
    February 26, 2013

    I am one and the same Jurnak. I am an excellent scientist with a solid international reputation in the field of macromolecular structure and biochemistry. However, my best scientific work is unpublished, involving how I treated and cured my son, when the traditional medical establishment gave up on him. Using my knowledge, I have helped many others, so I know that my son’s story is not just a rare, lucky anecdotal cure.

  103. #103 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    Hmmm, I’ve located Frances Jurnak’s post on the Wall Street Journal blog about vaccines….

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324880504578298832037736720.html

  104. #104 Chris
    February 26, 2013

    Well, Professor Jurnak, I am particularly interested in the genetic testing. It seems to be hit and miss, which was noted in a recent NY Times article (Feb. 18, 2013 by Gina Kolata).

    Now the paper from the company that did the genetic testing for the eighteen known genes that are associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy included a PubMed indexed citation. It was a review paper on all of the genes associated with that particular physical anomaly that can be seen with an echocardiogram.

    Do you have citations on which genes are associated with vaccine injuries?

  105. #105 Chris
    February 26, 2013

    From the letter to the editor by Frances Jurnak in lilady’s WSJ link:

    Moreover, beyond the popular press articles about autism and the MMR vaccine, the authors demonstrate no familiarity with the extensive medical literature which reports harm, even death, caused by vaccines, albeit in rare occurrences.

    That is interesting. I am sure Professor Jurnak will provide us with all that medical literature of well conducted studies that show the MMR vaccine causes enough injury allow us to let measles, mumps and rubella to return (just like what has happened in Europe and Japan). And to save her, and us, lots of time: I hope she does not include any on this list. It became quite tiresome to see that list cut and pasted from Wakefield’s page, when it did not support their claims.

  106. #106 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 26, 2013

    Professor Jurnak,

    I’m curious about your claims, as well. Anything that we can do reliably and cheaply on a broad scale to determine who will and who will not have an adverse reaction, as well as how to mitigate those risks, should be pursued. I also find it interesting that you state your best work is unpublished. Why? Would it not make sense to publish it so that other scientists could evaluate and replicate your studies?

    As some others mentioned, it would be nice to see just a few PMIDs of studies that you feel best represent the evidence for your claims.

  107. #107 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/02/27/cricks-letter-to-son-aged-12-explaining-dna-discovery/
    February 26, 2013

    For those looking for the mauve factor papers, Medline doesn’t link to them (at all), but there are scanned copies of the papers online (part I, part II).

    PubMed indicates an errata for the first part, but I gave up looking for it. (Mea culpa – just short on time – it didn’t turn up on searches at the journal website and they don’t seem to offer a table of contents for each issue.) It’s apparently at Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 May-Jun;14(3):15

    Having found them, I’m not sure I’ll have time to read them! (Ha.) We’ll see. I wouldn’t be the best to judge them, anyway. At least the links can be there for others if they interest anyone.

    (lillady: thanks for the WSJ link, I should have provided it myself. I’ve only glanced at her publication record very briefly, but in her own field her publication looks fine. (There’s a publication in Vaccine, too.) Having said that, very fine scientists can propose weak or even dubious ideas, too. It’s one of the reasons, I think, that proposals ideally are best to stand on their own merits rather than previous record or “authority”, just in case it’s a case of a good scientist’s lesser ideas.)

  108. #108 lilady
    February 27, 2013

    @ Grant: Here’s the original Mauve Part I paper…starting on page 40, “Alternative Therapies”. Enjoy!

    http://www.hriptc.org/pdfs/at20080304-dl.pdf

  109. #109 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/02/27/cricks-letter-to-son-aged-12-explaining-dna-discovery/
    February 27, 2013

    @lillady, thanks – that’s a lot more readable!

  110. #110 JGC
    February 27, 2013

    However, my best scientific work is unpublished, involving how I treated and cured my son, when the traditional medical establishment gave up on him.

    I’m curious why your ‘best scientific work’ would remain unpublished, since clearly you’ve had no problem publishing what you appear to consider your lesser scientific work. Could you explain?

    I have helped many others, so I know that my son’s story is not just a rare, lucky anecdotal cure.

    We routinely see reiki practicioners, homeopaths, etc. making exactly the same claim: the sheer number of people they’re convinced their interventions have helped somehow renders their observations into something other than anecdotal evidence. That isn’t the case.

  111. #111 Beamup
    February 27, 2013

    As you can already see from the posts, many are quick to jump on the prospect of quackery. I don’t need this. I have valuable knowledge to share, but I will only do so, if I can present the material completely and the audience is willing to hear the story/evidence without pre-judgement.

    Most of us are simply asking for proper citations, as needed to support any scientific claim. Is there some problem with that?

  112. #112 Professor Jurnak
    March 8, 2013

    I have been traveling and did not have a chance to respond. It has given me time to reflect upon the many posts, the questioning of my credentials, and the demands for citations. Because I don’t post regularly, I am not familiar with the background of the posters and so please ignore my comments, if I misinterpret things. I have done original scientific research for years. This involves observations, hypotheses, experimental testing, adjustment of hypotheses, more testing, etc. Really nothing is ever proven, but always subject to revision. If you re-read any of my posts, you will notice that I chose my words very carefully. I did not make claims, only suggestions as to what I believe (hypothesize) based on my personal observations and extensive reading of the scientific/medical literature. Thus, I was initially surprised by the demands of proof, only three or so references out of the thousands of peer-reviewed publications that I have read over 15 years or so. Original thinking implies that there are no citations yet, otherwise the ideas would not be original. So it is simply not possible to respond to such requests for references.

    After discussions with Orec, I have decided that there are more germane venues for my son’s story. However, because I was the one to initiate some suggestions about vaccines by responding to a letter on this blog, I will share with you, space permitting, a fraction of the information available to me, in hopes that some of my ideas may give you a fresh perspective on very ingrained dogmas. Read it if you want, ignore it if you want, or use it if you are in a situation where the information may be useful. This will be my last posting on this blog site.

    There is a war between two opposing views about vaccinations– vaccinate all children for the good of the common, no matter what the cost or the harm to any single individual. Although the harm may affect a very small percentage of children, if it is your child, it is a large percentage and so educated parents may be reluctant to assume the risks. I suggested an alternative – seek better ways to identify those at risk and to determine ways to safely vaccinate those at risk. On this blog, I mentioned some possible approaches. At no time, did I dogmatically state that these approaches would definitively work as demonstrated by existing experimental data, only that money might be better spent in collecting the necessary experimental data to test my hypotheses as opposed to spending the money to attempt to convince skeptical parents to vaccinate their children, no matter the individual cost. If nothing is done and if “powers to be” insist that all children be vaccinated, some will die and this is equivalent to a genetic cleansing of the population not able to withstand the harmful effects that vaccinations can cause. In the long run, the latter approach will certainly eradicate diseases.

    During his adolescent years, my son experienced waxing and waning episodes consistent with a disorder called porphyria. The episodes manifested in a number of ways that could be quite dangerous to himself and to others. I realized early on that the attacks were highly correlated with his states of deficiencies in B6 and zinc, as demonstrated by clinical testing. The acute form of porphyria is caused by dehabilitating mutations in one or both enzymes that initiate the synthesis of the porphyrin ring of hemoglobin. Both enzymes require B6 and zinc as cofactors, so a deficiency in these nutrients can effectively block the action of the enzymes and mimic the acute genetic form of the disorder. I supplemented my son with extra B6 and zinc to minimize the occurrence of the attacks. This helped, but every once in awhile, the attacks would still occur and I kept a notebook of the circumstances surrounding the attacks to see if I could figure out “what” was triggering the attacks. It became quite clear very early on that influenza and cold viral infections triggered the attacks, driving him into states of severe B6 and zinc deficiencies. Moreover, I could always pull him out of the attack by giving him very high doses of B6 and zinc. I had learned how to do this safely by thoroughly familiarizing myself with the relevant medical literature and consulting with an appropriate professional, but I don’t recommend anyone else doing this without professional monitoring.

    When California declared that all school children needed the hepatitis B vaccine, I got him vaccinated. As circumstances would have it, I was due to speak at a scientific meeting in Europe, so I left shortly after his vaccination. I left my son in the care of my husband as well as two special caregivers who were quite knowledgeable about his many neurological problems. Within a day, I received a phone message from one of the caregivers, telling me that my son was having a severe attack and that I should come home. I left immediately and when I arrived home, I recognized that he was in a state of severe B6 and zinc deficiency, so I knew what to do and pulled him out of it over the course of a week. We had all assumed that the attack was triggered by the stress of my leaving my son for a trip. It did not occur to me at the time that there may have been any correlation with the hepatitis vaccination. So when a month had passed, and he was due for his second hepatitis shot, I had him vaccinated. Within hours, he had another attack, earmarked by his characteristic symptoms of B6 and zinc deficiency. Of course I knew what to do and cleared it up within a matter of days. During this time, I happened to post my observations on a web site frequented by parents whose children had similar neurological problems as my son. There was an immediate response from one woman who said that her daughter had just been vaccinated with the hepatitis vaccine and would be watchful. Well, within hours, the girl had such violent seizures that she had to be hospitalized. My son’s B6 and zinc deficiency symptoms do not present as seizures; however, it is well known that B6 deficiency can cause seizures in some people – those that have certain mutations in glutamic acid dehydrogenase (GAD). The girl in question was not tested for a B6 deficiency or the critical GAD mutations; nevertheless I found the two different occurrences, linked by possible B6 deficiency symptoms, to be more than happenstance. So I started searching the viral and vaccine literature. Some of you request references. I suggest you start with the 24,000+ citations that come out of a Pubmed search for “Adverse effects of vaccines”. I have read thousands of peer-reviewed literature articles over the years, but I will spare you all the details and only summarize my salient findings herein. Essentially, it is known that the hepatitis virus is a risk factor for porphyria attacks. The vaccine does not contain the live virus, but only the capsid protein, so the virus cannot replicate. I deduced, theorized, hypothesized, but did not prove, that the hepatitis capsid protein, not the entire viral particle, was sufficient to induce a B6/zinc deficiency in my son. (1) Could this happen, ie is my theory plausible, and (2) are their any scientific data to determine the validity or fallacy of my hypothesis? After reading the viral literature and talking with many virologists, including a Noble Laureate, the answer to the first question is yes – viral capsids can swell up in the presence of zinc, requiring many more zinc molecules than the actual number of capsid particles, Moreover, in some preliminary experiments, there are suggestions that certain viruses (not hepatitis) can hijack the host’s nutrient transporter systems and thus block transport of specific nutrients into the cell. The answer to the second question is no – there are no experiments yet done with hepatitis to test whether the intact virus or the capsid protein alone can trigger a B6 and/or zinc deficiency state in genetically-predisposed individuals.

    Now let me also address the nature of B6 and zinc deficiency symptoms. In most enzymes, B6 and zinc are used together as cofactors and therefore must be supplemented together in certain ratios. There are over 300 known enzymes for which B6 and/or zinc serve as cofactors. When there is a massive global deficiency state, all kinds of symptoms will occur. However, as a person enters into the state of becoming B6/Zn deficient, possibly affecting one organ (usually skin) over another, the first deficiency symptoms that will express will be dependent on the genetic make-up of the individual. Of the 300 or so B6/Zn-dependent enzymes, some are likely to have small genetic mutations (single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs), which affect the strength of the binding site of B6/Zn. If the SNPs weaken the binding interaction between the enzyme and cofactor, this could result in a slowdown or even a halt in the particular metabolic pathway involving the enzyme. Ultimately, this would show up in some way as a clinical symptom. There are over 300 B6/Zn-dependent enzymes. The first symptoms of a B6/Zn deficiency would show up in the pathways in which the enzymes had SNPs that weakened the cofactor binding sites. In any one individual, the likelihood of displaying a particular B6/Zn deficiency symptom is 1/300 or .33%. This low percentage does not meet the standard threshold values of 1% to be considered an adverse effect or 5% to be named as a specific adverse effect. Thus, my son’s porphyria-like attack in response to the hepatitis vaccine and the other girl’s seizure response, would not meet the lower threshold values to be considered as an adverse effect of the hepatitis vaccine and would never get listed any where as a possible side effect of the vaccine. Moreover, because both my son and the girl had prior histories of their respective symptoms, the vaccine would not be considered as a culprit unless the physician actually witnessed the attacks within a short period of time after giving the vaccination. Because this did not happen, my son’s porphyria-like attack and the girl’s seizures were not reported to the CDC. You can debate the parental observations in this story, but it does raise the specter that adverse effects of vaccines are under-reported.

    In reading the vaccine literature, there is a major theme that pops up time and again. Vaccines cause more harm to malnourished populations, particularly in under-developed sections of Africa. This provides a tentative link between vaccine harm and nutritional deficiencies, raising the possibility that some vaccines cause harm by inducing nutrient deficiencies in an already malnourished population. The strongest evidence for such a link is between the rubella virus and a deficiency in vitamin A. It is astounding but the claims in peer-reviewed medical articles are that one dose of vitamin A at birth can decrease the 5-year morbidity rate by 50% in these populations by mostly decreasing deaths caused by rubella infections. I won’t even attempt to summarize all the reports, but there is a clear link between rubella and vitamin A. It scares me to think that a rubella vaccination might be, in some way be hijacking some aspect of the retinol or retinoic acid transport system, inducing a vitamin A deficiency, which in turn would impair many processes in the immune system.

    After learning that vaccines might induce nutritional deficiencies in individuals susceptible to harm by specific nutritional deficiencies, I gave my son high doses of vitamins, minerals, and retinol (from cod liver oil, not beta carotene) for a week prior and after a scheduled vaccination. In this way, my son was able to get his third hepatitis shot and other vaccinations without experiencing any adverse effects. Although many will think that malnourished children do not exist in the US, reading of the nutritional literature suggests otherwise. There are subsets of US children who are deficient in one or more nutrients due to poor diets, genetic mutations, stress, infections of all types (parasitic, viral, bacterial, etc.) and/or the administration of certain kinds of medications. Children who have jaundice at birth have errant metabolic pathways, some of which might be caused by genetic factors and/or medications given to the mother at birth. Children, whose families have a predisposition to early onset alcoholism, may have inherited a promoter mutation that causes a deficiency in retinol. These are just a few examples. Obviously much more would have to be done to identify children at risk of being deficient in one or more specific nutrients.

    I have a great respect for geneticists. However, the search for a few single genes responsible for complex disorders has not been very illuminating to date. For example, approximately 1% of the individuals with hyperactive ADHD have a mutation in a dopamine receptor, which renders the receptor less responsive to dopamine. When one considers the biosynthesis of dopamine, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of proteins involved. If there is an adverse mutation in any one of the hundreds/thousands of proteins causing a lowering of dopamine production, the symptoms would be similar – hyperactive ADHD, yet the genetic defects (< 1% for a single protein) would not likely stand out above the background noise in a genetic screen of ADHD individuals. The situation is similar with genetic screening of individuals harmed by vaccines. One is not likely to find a strong enough signal above background for any single gene. It is like applying sophisticated techniques to thoroughly study the problems in the kitchen, but if the problems are in the backyard, the sophisticated techniques applied to the kitchen won’t result in anything meaningful. It will be many, many years before enough DNA sequences, perhaps tens of millions, are available to begin to identify sets of genes indirectly responsible for many complex disorders. In the interim, observations such as mine with my son, can possibly provide some clues as to how to narrow the search for the problem.

    So what to do? I have designed many experiments to collect relevant data and have even offered my own personal funds to support pilot studies. So far, I have been thwarted by the attitudes and lack of knowledge in medical academia. I have not met any physicians (with access to relevant human biosamples) who have sufficient biochemical knowledge to understand what I am saying. To make matters worse, as soon as I use the dirty word “vitamin”, the research project becomes alternative medicine and the academic physicians think their involvement in such a project would jeopardize their big NIH-funded grants. To be truthful, I have met a few sympathetic physicians who believe what I say, but they simply don’t understand the biochemistry sufficiently to lend even minimal time to help such a project, which would by necessity involve collecting biological samples, such as urine, from patients. I have interacted with the alternative medical world, but they usually don’t work at academic institutions and aren’t able to implement the proper protocols needed for a first-rate, definitive research effort.

  113. #113 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    @ Dr. Jurnak:

    Why don’t you take your anecdote about your son’s porphyria to the NIH Rare Diseases Network-The Porphyrias Consortium. I’m sure they would be *interested* in your treatment consisting of zinc and Vitamin B 6 supplementation.

    http://rarediseasesnetwork.epi.usf.edu/porphyrias/index.htm

  114. #114 herr doktor bimler
    March 9, 2013

    Thank you for your courtesy, Professor Jurnak, and for taking the time to explain your perspective.

  115. #115 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    March 9, 2013

    That is all well and good, Prof. Jurnak, but I see absolutely no references to actual studies.

    I did ask if you have those genetic sequences what they are in particular. It seems that you making statements about these “sensitive” children without any evidence.

    Then perhaps you can provide the evidence that support a statement you made elsewhere. I will again request the support for that statement (cut and pasted from my comment):

    I am sure Professor Jurnak will provide us with all that medical literature of well conducted studies that show the MMR vaccine causes enough injury allow us to let measles, mumps and rubella to return (just like what has happened in Europe and Japan).

    Do share that data. Thank you.

    Oh, and since my son was injured from an actual disease before the vaccine became available, perhaps you might address this question: If you find a gene that makes a child more sensitive to vaccines, would that not make them even more vulnerable to the actual disease?

    It is all about relative risk. While many do not understand biochemistry, I wonder how well you understand statistics and the mathematics of epidemiology.

  116. #116 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    @ Chris: I have some concerns about Professor Jurnak’s research skills and her understanding of providing Vitamin A to children who are Vitamin A deficient, in developing countries.

    This is her latest statement…

    “In reading the vaccine literature, there is a major theme that pops up time and again. Vaccines cause more harm to malnourished populations, particularly in under-developed sections of Africa. This provides a tentative link between vaccine harm and nutritional deficiencies, raising the possibility that some vaccines cause harm by inducing nutrient deficiencies in an already malnourished population. The strongest evidence for such a link is between the rubella virus and a deficiency in vitamin A. It is astounding but the claims in peer-reviewed medical articles are that one dose of vitamin A at birth can decrease the 5-year morbidity rate by 50% in these populations by mostly decreasing deaths caused by rubella infections. I won’t even attempt to summarize all the reports, but there is a clear link between rubella and vitamin A. It scares me to think that a rubella vaccination might be, in some way be hijacking some aspect of the retinol or retinoic acid transport system, inducing a vitamin A deficiency, which in turn would impair many processes in the immune system.”

    Wouldn’t you think that a biochemist who has read thousands of articles about immunology and vaccine-preventable diseases during the past 15 years, would know the difference between rubella virus and rubeola virus?

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

  117. #117 Narad
    March 9, 2013

    If nothing is done and if “powers to be” insist that all children be vaccinated, some will die and this is equivalent to a genetic cleansing of the population not able to withstand the harmful effects that vaccinations can cause.

    I guess that takes care of that.

  118. #118 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    March 9, 2013

    I am disturbed that Prof. Jurnak who actually does real research decided to share with us this tidbit:

    Although many will think that malnourished children do not exist in the US, reading of the nutritional literature suggests otherwise. There are subsets of US children who are deficient in one or more nutrients due to poor diets, genetic mutations, stress, infections of all types (parasitic, viral, bacterial, etc.) and/or the administration of certain kinds of medications.

    But failed to provide any supporting scientific evidence for this claim.

    Narad, the illogical part of what you quote is that the children who cannot deal with vaccines for some reason would be okay dokay with the actual diseases. So a kid is affect adversely by the MMR vaccine, does that mean they will not suffer from actually from mumps or measles. The same goes for Haemophilus influenzae Type b: why would a child deal better by actually it instead of the Hib vaccine?

    It boggles the mind. What special genetic proclivity makes a child more vulnerable to the vaccine, but not affected by the full disease?

    I don’t think she has had the discussions with a genetics specialist that I have had, despite her respect for them. And, yes, the geneticist would have loved for us to pay for a full panel on our son because of both his neurological and cardiology issues. Did Prof. Jurnak pay the full $10,000 for a full screen? We did not. (insurance only covered the search for the eighteen known gene sequences, none of which our son had… but he still has HCM) Though we would gladly let more of his blood be used when they got a grant to study the subset of patients with my son’s multiple issues.

  119. #119 Chris
    Need to go to bed...
    March 9, 2013

    Bad grammar alert: “does that mean they will not suffer from actually getting mumps or measles?</b?"

  120. #120 Chris
    Time to go to bed, so good night...
    March 9, 2013

    And I screwed up the HTML… nighty night.

  121. #121 Narad
    March 9, 2013

    Narad, the illogical part of what you quote is that the children who cannot deal with vaccines for some reason would be okay dokay with the actual diseases.

    I take it that the idea is that disease is natural “genetic cleansing,” whereas vaccines are Shoah.

  122. #122 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    @ Chris: Professor Jurnak claims her son has porphyria that she claims is treatable with supplementation with zinc and Vitamin B 6. She also claims that she cannot generate any interest within the research academia community to test her hypotheses about treating porphyria.

    Up thread, I linked to the NIH Rare Disease Network-Porphyria Consortium and the regional clinical centers that are involved in research into the various forms of porphyria.

    Wouldn’t you think that Professor Janrek who works at University of California-Irvine would be aware of the Porphyria Consortium Regional Clinical Center located at the University of California-San Francisco? They have five open research projects that her son could be enrolled in and Dr. Janrek could work with the staff there to design a research study to test her hypothesis about zinc and Vitamin B 6 during acute attacks of porphyria.

    http://rarediseasesnetwork.epi.usf.edu/porphyrias/centers/ucsf.htm

  123. #123 Narad
    March 9, 2013

    I will agree with Dr. Jurnak on this point, though:

    There is a war between two opposing views about vaccinations– vaccinate all children for the good of the common, no matter what the cost or the harm to any single individual.

    The “war,” however, has been started yet again by the usual antivax types. Just this evening, in a discussion regarding a certain hockey team’s first regulation loss, things eventually turned into a discussion with a fellow, starting a family in short order, whose wife is concerned about newer vaccines. Like Hib. My “combat” “tactics” were to say “hell, yes” and to offer to provide all the relevant data that I could dig up if so wished. Brutal, I know. Cue The End.

  124. #124 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    @ Grant: Up thread you were looking for Prof. Jurnak’s Discerning the Mauve Factor Part 2 paper. I located it for you.

    http://www.biobalance.org.au/_downloads/discerning-the-mauve-factor-part-ii-galley.pdf

  125. #125 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/03/08/drop-the-false-balance/
    March 9, 2013

    @lillady – thanks so much. (I have to admit I’ll struggle to find time to read it, I’ve a huge pile of research papers I’d like to get through. I need the time device Professor McGonagall gave Hermione! 🙂 )

  126. #126 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    You’re welcome Grant. Come back and post if and when you want to give us your impression of Prof. Jurnak’s Mauve Factor paper Part 1 and 2. Don’t expert her to reply, however. I believe after posting her fact free/citation free comment she announce her flounce…

    “After discussions with Orec, I have decided that there are more germane venues for my son’s story. However, because I was the one to initiate some suggestions about vaccines by responding to a letter on this blog, I will share with you, space permitting, a fraction of the information available to me, in hopes that some of my ideas may give you a fresh perspective on very ingrained dogmas. Read it if you want, ignore it if you want, or use it if you are in a situation where the information may be useful. This will be my last posting on this blog site.”

  127. #127 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    March 9, 2013

    Narad, there is another more sinister look at her quote:

    There is a war between two opposing views about vaccinations– vaccinate all children for the good of the common, no matter what the cost or the harm to any single individual.

    Then add that to her comment in the WSJ:

    Moreover, beyond the popular press articles about autism and the MMR vaccine, the authors demonstrate no familiarity with the extensive medical literature which reports harm, even death, caused by vaccines, albeit in rare occurrences.

    To which, the obvious conclusion is that she and her friends wish to make vaccines voluntary for those who question them, just like what happened in Japan. It seems she has no idea what happened after they made measles vaccination voluntary: Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan:

    In Japan, measles vaccine coverage has remained low, and either small or moderate outbreaks have occurred repeatedly in communities. According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months.

    How many children will be sacrificed for her and her friends views if they succeed in reducing herd immunity to measles?

  128. #128 Krebiozen
    March 9, 2013

    Porphyria is something I know a bit about. Acute intermittent porphyria is one of those conditions with a variable course that might have been designed to lead patients (and their parents), through regression toward the mean, to believe an intervention, whether diet, drugs or supplements is effective. When Prof. Jurnak writes, ” I recognized that he was in a state of severe B6 and zinc deficiency, so I knew what to do and pulled him out of it over the course of a week”, that strongly suggests to me that she has fallen prey to this kind of self-deception, since acute attacks of AIP last a week or two without treatment.

  129. #129 MI Dawn
    March 9, 2013

    What also concerns me is the view that “ALL children MUST be vaccinated” that she believes we hold. How many times to we have to stress that we *KNOW* that there are infants/children/adults who cannot be vaccinated for one reason or another, and that is why we stress that all people who CAN be vaccinated, SHOULD be vaccinated, to protect those who can’t be.

    It’s really annoying to deal with their willful black/white view of the world, when it contains so many shades of grey.

  130. #130 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/03/08/drop-the-false-balance/
    March 9, 2013

    Hi lillady –

    Started a reply, but my browser crashed and lost it. Bottom line for me, I guess, is that she’d really want to write it up as a hypothesis paper in a decent peer-reviewed journal with supporting references, etc., explaining her case. A presentation like the one above would have us (well, me anyway) second-guessing things, tracking things down and trying hopefully to put them into the picture, wondering if that’s what she meant, rather than having what she meant presented to us.

    There are some things she’s written that don’t “fit” to me (e.g. her remarks about complex genetics) – might point some of them out later, but I have to admit I’m not sure of the value doing that. By the way, there are a few papers pointing at a link between vitamin A and rubella. (I’m not seeing the large number of reports she infers.) I had similar concerns to Krebiozen over intermittent porphyria (specifics on the genetics and diagnosis, etc. might have helped). There’s more but enough from me and besides I’d rather get on with my day 🙂

  131. #131 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    Well Dangerous Bacon @ #69 *started* this entire controversy about Prof. Jurnak, with a well-reasoned reply that he posted, to her Letter to the Editor on the WSJ op-ed piece “Rolling Back The War on Vaccines”. (February 14, 2013)

    (I don’t have “Flip’s” ability to properly document Prof. Jurnak’s RI’s posts…but here are the salient points I’ve taken from those posts)

    Prof Jurnak’s first comment @ 275 on February 26th, where she states her opinion that the harm inflicted by vaccines are vastly under-reported and her son and others were seriously harmed by the first…and “booster” hepatitis B vaccine. She claims that “simple cost-effective” solutions are available, because she *knows* her son’s “genetic make-up” and he was successfully immunized without harmful side effects “before he went to medical school”.

    And this…

    “The bad reactions were never reported to the CDC by the physicians. I scoured the medical literature to figure out why and what could be done. By using science as the guide as well as information about my son’s own genetic make-up, I was able to mitigate his risks and have him safely vaccinated with the second hepatitis booster as well as with a number of subsequent vaccinations needed before he went to medical school. I believe that my solution might work well for many others but I have met a wall of resistance in discussing it with anyone in the medical community, in part, because physicians lack the extensive biochemical training and experience that I have”.

    Prof Jurnak replied to questions about those nebulous “cost-effect solutions” @ 277:

    “I meant ever word – simple and low cost, but I would need an entire blog or two to explain. Otherwise my words would be misconstrued and misapplied by many.”

    Dr. Jurnak then states @ 288:

    “I have to leave for a meeting, but if I am allowed to post a lengthy post by the moderators, I am sure that I can satisfy all of your concerns. The moderators should let me know.
    I do mean serious adverse reactions, not just minor harm. As for the approach, it relies upon giving selective vitamins/minerals, depending upon the type of vaccine, for a week prior and after the vaccine. Also, not all children are at risk, but I do believe that with a few simple studies, a subset of children can be identified as having the potential for risk. One such group would likely include those babies who experience severe jaundice or elevated bilirubin problems at birth.”

    (Crap, I did not take her on about newborn jaundice that is not treated, which increases the risk of a child to have developmental delays…including ASDs)

    Dr. Jurnak’s fourth and final post, @ # 302, February 26…informing us of her credentials and her *expertise*:

    “I am one and the same Jurnak. I am an excellent scientist with a solid international reputation in the field of macromolecular structure and biochemistry. However, my best scientific work is unpublished, involving how I treated and cured my son, when the traditional medical establishment gave up on him. Using my knowledge, I have helped many others, so I know that my son’s story is not just a rare, lucky anecdotal cure”.

    (Fade out)

    Dr. Jurnak returned to RI on March 8th to post a rather lengthy citationless post where she details her son’s “Acute Intermittent Porphyria” (up thread she stated that she *knew* her son’s “genetic make-up”) and how she *treated* his diagnosed Acute Intermittent Porphyria attacks associated with vaccinations…and the hepatitis B vaccine in particular:

    “When California declared that all school children needed the hepatitis B vaccine, I got him vaccinated. As circumstances would have it, I was due to speak at a scientific meeting in Europe, so I left shortly after his vaccination. I left my son in the care of my husband as well as two special caregivers who were quite knowledgeable about his many neurological problems. Within a day, I received a phone message from one of the caregivers, telling me that my son was having a severe attack and that I should come home. I left immediately and when I arrived home, I recognized that he was in a state of severe B6 and zinc deficiency, so I knew what to do and pulled him out of it over the course of a week”.

    Whoa….

    Prof. Jurnak stated up thread that her son needed hepatitis B vaccine (and a “booster” hepatitis B vaccine) “before he went to medical school”. Now she is claiming that her son was a “school-aged” child who was so neurologically impaired that when she left for a business trip to Europe (that) “I left my son in the care of my husband as well as two special caregivers who were quite knowledgeable about his many neurological problems”.

    IMO, Prof. Jurnak is a classic case of an anti-vaccine mommy who cannot get her *stories* straight, when called out to put or shut up with citations for her bogus theories.

  132. #132 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    There are a lot of inconsistencies in Prof. Jurnak’s posts and I have become (somewhat) well versed in the porphyria conditions, through research at the NIH Rare Diseases Network-Porphyria Collaboration, which I referenced up thread.

    Since Prof. Jurnak’s first post on February 14th, I educated myself about vitamin B-6 and Zinc supplements for “treating” Acute Intermittent Porphyria at this site (nary a mention of do-it-yourself-at-home Vitamin B 6 and Zinc megadoses).

    http://www.porphyriafoundation.com/for-healthcare-professionals/emergency-guidelines-for-acute-porphyria

    So yes, I’m call bullsh!t on each and every one of Dr. Jurnak’s posts.

  133. #133 flip
    March 9, 2013

    @Lilady

    I don’t have “Flip’s” ability to properly document Prof. Jurnak’s RI’s posts…but here are the salient points I’ve taken from those posts

    What are you trying to do?

  134. #134 lilady
    March 9, 2013

    @ flip: Show Prof. Jurnak’s inconsistencies…not too successfully, sigh.

  135. #135 Chris
    March 10, 2013

    Personally, I just wanted her to show us what were those genetic sequences. But it seems that she never even attempted to get a scan of her son’s genes.

    Plus, she ignored kids who actually need to be protected by herd immunity.

  136. #136 lilady
    March 10, 2013

    @ Chris: Let’s not *complain*. Dr. Jurnak’s citationless and fact-free posts, gave us the opportunity to question her silly and dangerous theories about vaccines.

    Up thread, she stated she didn’t know how her comments would be received here. Apparently, she was unaware that she was posting on a site where we want some proof for her statements about the dangers of vaccines, the under-reporting of serious adverse events/deaths caused by vaccines and her “cost-effective (vitamin/mineral supplements) to prevent/treat those numerous serious adverse events, associated with vaccines”.

    Is she actually giving out medical advice? That doesn’t bode well for her.

    BTW, when my son was young, I had “two special caregivers who were quite knowledgeable about his many neurological problems”, but he never “went to medical school”.//sarcasm.

  137. #137 flip
    March 10, 2013

    @Lilady

    @ flip: Show Prof. Jurnak’s inconsistencies…not too successfully, sigh.

    Are you kidding me? I am incredibly jealous of everyone here who is 10 times smarter, eloquent and well, knowledgeable.

    I thought you were talking about some sort of technical thing like linking to comments…

    Thank you for the (undeserved) compliments 🙂

  138. #138 lilady
    Here, still plodding through basic computer skills :-)
    March 10, 2013

    flip…I’ve made (huge) strides during the two plus years I’ve been posting here…ask “Chris” who used to “link” for me.

    You really do have a great talent for organizing the comments/walls of words posted by some of the individuals who spam threads on RI.

    Don’t ever sell yourself short…you are a valued member of our community.

  139. #139 drw
    March 10, 2013

    I was looking for vaccine info and stumbled upon this site. Amusing read, but really do some of the regular posters realize how ridiculous they sound? They want to appear critical, but really don’t support their criticisms with citations as they demand of others. In their haste to criticize, they misread posts they don’t like. Lilady has been all over Prof. Jurnak for any number of reasons, but the poster seems to have misread the posts or didn’t understand them. E.g. PJ never claimed her son had Acute Intermittent Porphyria, only attacks that were “consistent with a disorder porphyria”, but went on to explain how deficiencies in certain nutrients could mimic the disorder. PJ did not claim that AIP (genetic form) could be treated with vitamins or minerals and thus it is pointless to suggest that a porphyria foundation would support such research.

    PJ seemed to make a reasonable, low cost (~$1- $5) suggestion that vitamins shortly before and after vaccination might avoid some harm in children at risk. She failed to provide citations, only a rationale, for her suggestions. Really, if the posters object so much to the suggestion, they should provide citations demonstrating that such an approach would definitively harm children, rather than attempt to criticize what appears to be their own misreading of parts of the PJ posts. If this blog site wants to gain credibility with readers, then posters need to do a better job of monitoring one another.

    Here are some citations about the vitamin approach to vaccinations:

    orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n07.shtml and 15 references therein:

    “Vitamin C prevents vaccination side effects; increases effectiveness” by T.E. Levy, MD

    Horrors – the article is written by an orthomolecular physician so according to most posters it must be immediately discounted. Open your minds, people, or at least provide relevant citations to refute the article!

    CS Benn. Dan. Med. J, 2012, Jan; 59(1): B4378 “Combining vitamin A and vaccines: convenience or conflict” and references therein.

    Author seems to conclude that vitamin A supplementation can help or hurt, depending on gender and/or vaccine type. More study needs to be done.

  140. #140 flip
    March 10, 2013

    Thanks Lilady. I do feel part of the community, but very much a baby in terms of dealing with anti-science claims.

    I’m still not sure what you mean by organising comments, but my technique is always copying the comment into a notepad file and then replying to bits here and there if I have a remark to add; then copying that into the comment box. Maybe you mean the formatting using blockquote?

    Oh and for some fun, I just found this. A home birther of an unusual kind… Those on facebook should really go over and comment.

  141. #141 Chris
    March 10, 2013

    drw:

    Amusing read, but really do some of the regular posters realize how ridiculous they sound? They want to appear critical, but really don’t support their criticisms with citations as they demand of others

    I have had a genetic screen on my son, so I know they are not magic. I even listed some of the sequences. Prof. Jurnak did not do the same.

    I also asked her to compare the risks of the MMR to measles with evidence based on her comment to the WSJ article. I did provide a citation to what happened in Japan, where toddlers got measles and several died. Did you miss that?

    I have more citations, would you like to see them? Here, knock yourself out:

    Vaccine. 2012 Jun 13;30(28):4292-8. Epub 2012 Apr 20.
    The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: The first case-control study in Asia.

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
    Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

    BMC Public Health. 2011 May 19;11:340.
    Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination–United States, 2001-2010.

    Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41.
    On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.

    Pediatrics. 2009 Jun;123(6):1446-51.
    Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children.

    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82
    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

  142. #142 Chris
    March 10, 2013

    Okay, drw, I looked at both of your cites.

    The first on from the orthomolecular physician is interesting, except the citations were the effect on poultry, pigs, fish, etc. Not terribly enlightening.

    The second citation is specifically to vitamin supplementation for children in Ghana, which a vastly different demographic than North America and Europe. There really is not much in the way of starvation and malnutrition in North America and Europe.

    Prof. Jurnak also failed to support her claim that there was malnutrition in the USA with a valid citation.

  143. #143 Chemmomo
    State of Confusion
    March 10, 2013

    drw@339

    Open your minds, people, or at least provide relevant citations to refute the article!

    Which article are we supposed to refute?
    The entire website you didn’t link to, the article by T.E. Levy you didn’t actually cite, or the following one you did cite: Dan Med J?
    If you want us to refute something, could you please let
    us know what that is first? Give us both the reference, and a summary of what you think it says?

    We can’t refute anything Prof Jurnak posted, since that’s all personal anecdote – no references.

  144. #144 lilady
    March 10, 2013

    @drw: How amusing. I just love your link to a crank organization that has bogus orthomolecular medicine advice about megadoses of vitamins as cure-all for diseases and disorders.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthomolecular_medicine

    How about looking at the many links I provided with reliable information?

    Why didn’t Prof. Jurnak pony up any citations about her child’s genetic disorder? Was he ever seen by a geneticist, who ordered a karyotype and other genetic testing to confirm any type of porphyria?

    Where are your citations from reliable medical/science journals? The studies on that website are studies of mercury toxicities in livestock, not lab animals. Do you actually know the difference between an organomercury compound (Thimerosal), Inorganic mercury, and elemental Hg?

    Here, from the National Academies of Science, Institute of Medicine, a synopsis of the January 2013 Report On Vaccine Safety:

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13563

  145. #145 Narad
    March 11, 2013

    Open your minds, people, or at least provide relevant citations to refute the article!

    CS Benn. Dan. Med. J, 2012, Jan; 59(1): B4378 “Combining vitamin A and vaccines: convenience or conflict” and references therein.

    Oh, look, it’s Guinea-Bissau again.

  146. #146 Narad
    March 11, 2013

    Horrors – the article is written by an orthomolecular physician so according to most posters it must be immediately discounted.

    This is a press release, not a “citation.”

    Dr. Thomas E. Levy is a board certified cardiologist and he has written six books on health-related issues. Most of his work has centered on how to restore and/or maintain good health in the face of the many different forms of toxicity that all of us face, typically on a daily basis. He no longer has a clinical practice of medicine and cardiology. Rather, he limits himself to research and writing at this time, and he is currently working on his seventh book, Death by Calcium: The Supplement that Kills.

  147. #147 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla, now in the grip of night
    March 11, 2013

    Not clicking drw’s link (since it’s probsbly full of woo), but I take it he’s probably not talking about what those of us with half a brain think of as “vaccine side effects” – a sore arm and possibly achy muscles/slight fever as the immune system kicks in. In this case, sucking on a vitamin C drop beforehand couldn’t hurt (and tastes good, too).

  148. #148 prn
    March 11, 2013

    So yes, I’m call bullsh!t on each and every one of Dr. Jurnak’s posts.
    Typical LL. Prof J, a published researcher with a UC Berkley PhD, represented an opportunity to engage to see how she arrived at her views. J sounds relieved that her son went to medical school, without arriving in a can of phenolics or HCHO, apparently a 1-2 decade story.

    Instead of engagement, Prof J gets the bums rush and pile-on before she even has an inkling about the “rules” here. LL is probably qualified to disinfect the floor at J’s lab but just keeps cranking out the attacks. Too bad.

  149. #149 Krebiozen
    March 11, 2013

    drw,

    E.g. PJ never claimed her son had Acute Intermittent Porphyria, only attacks that were “consistent with a disorder porphyria”, but went on to explain how deficiencies in certain nutrients could mimic the disorder.

    She claimed that her son’s symptoms were an unknown form of porphyria caused by nutrient deficiencies, but it seems very much more likely that he has a genetic form of porphyria. Why would her son suffer from periodic attacks of nutrient deficiency? Was she periodically failing to feed him properly?

    There is a condition called acrodermatitis enteropathica that is a congenital inability to absorb zinc properly but it is not characterized by episodes, just a slow deterioration that can eventually result in death if left untreated. I don’t buy her “nutrient deficiency” hypothesis.

    My main point above was that any condition that has a course characterized by attacks punctuated by periods of good health, “waxing and waning episodes” as Prof. Jurnak described her son’s symptoms, can very easily mislead people into thinking they have discovered an effective treatment for it. That’s what makes conditions like MS and Crohn’s such fertile ground for quack treatments. People tend to try a remedy when their symptoms are at their worst, and when their condition improves, as it inevitably will at some point, it is easy to attribute the improvement to the remedy. If this scenario is repeated a couple of times you may have someone who is utterly convinced that the remedy is effective. It’s one way our brains mislead us.

  150. #150 LW
    March 11, 2013

    Here’s what puzzles me about Professor Jurnak’s story:

    I had him vaccinated. Within hours, he had another attack, earmarked by his characteristic symptoms of B6 and zinc deficiency.

    This appears to imply that the mere exposure to “the hepatitis capsid protein” can drain B6 and zinc out of the body in a matter of hours.  How does that work, exactly?  To me it sounds like the “instant scurvy” others have claimed is caused by vaccination, when trying to explain broken and half-healed bones in Shaken Baby Syndrome, and is just as implausible.

  151. #151 MI Dawn
    March 11, 2013

    @prn: we gave Prof Jurnack the ability to respond. However, as you know, we prefer peer-reviewed literature. AND we prefer stories that don’t change midstream (her son was so neurologicially injured he required several trained caregivers VS her son was so brilliant that in time his vaccines were caught up before he went to medical school). Or does she have 2 sons? She is unclear; a poor method of writing for a researcher.

    And, again. Why has she not documented her treatments? Even just writing about them as a case study would help others replicate her work, instead of the handwaving “I’m so busy, I can’t write about my wonder cure for my child”.

    And WHY would any parent not want to have her child tested for a disorder, in order to be more aware of issues? I’d go through hell for one of my kids, but I’d make sure I had as much information as possible. Maybe, like Chris’ son, the answers wouldn’t be there, but I’d sure look for them!!!!

  152. #152 Chris
    March 11, 2013

    prn, Prof. Jurkak made several claims that she failed to provide any evidence of. I mentioned many. Why is it a bad thing to demand actual evidence for assurances made in a comment?

    Do you have the literature to show that children in the North America and Europe are malnourished? Hint: do not provide a paper about children in Ghana.

  153. #153 lilady
    March 11, 2013

    @prn: Prof. Jurnak had ample opportunity to understand how this blog…and every other science blog “works”. When you make an extraordinary statement about malnutrition prevalence and her as yet unpublished n=1 case study of her son…you’d better have your facts straight. To date, Jurnak offers two stories about the onset of her son’s disorder…

    – He was school aged, quite neurologically impaired, requiring two caregivers…or…he was on his way to medical school…when he required the hepatitis B vaccine series.

    -She “knew” her child’s “genetic make-up”…yet apparently never had a consultation with a geneticist and had genetic tests performed on her school-aged child (or medical school- aged child).

    – She *claims* she has done research on vaccines, hepatitis B vaccine especially, yet referred to the second hepatitis B vaccine in the vaccine series as a “booster shot”.

    -She confuses the rubella virus and rubeola virus.

    -She claims that her *research* has determined that megadoses of Vitamin B 6 and Zinc are required for anyone diagnosed with any of the porphyrias…they aren’t in the absence of any vitamin B6 or Zinc deficiencies.

    -She claims that vaccines in general and the hepatitis B vaccine in particular trigger porphyria attacks…they don’t.

    -She provided zero links to any of the “thousands of research papers that she has read over the past 15 years”. I provided two links to reputable websites about the porphyrias.

    -She didn’t even provide the links to the two papers that she authored and that were published in an Alt/CAM journal. I provided the links to her two papers “Mauve Factor 1” and “Mauve Factor 2”.

    You stated this about Jurnak and about me, prn:

    “Instead of engagement, Prof J gets the bums rush and pile-on before she even has an inkling about the “rules” here. LL is probably qualified to disinfect the floor at J’s lab but just keeps cranking out the attacks. Too bad.”

    Jurnak had no intention of “engaging”, because when she returned to the blog after a ten day absence with a citationless post, she stated she wouldn’t be posting again.

    I’ve never claimed any expertise in genetics and you prn are well aware of my education, my credentials and my work experience. Keep it classy prn…or else I’ll wipe the floor with you…once again.

    So yes, I’m calling bullsh!t on each and every one of Prof. Jurnak’s posts.

  154. #154 flip
    March 11, 2013

    My guess is that prn’s just annoyed because Jurnak suggests vitamins might be the answer. Prn seems to be sensitive whenever vitamins are mentioned.

  155. #155 prn
    March 11, 2013

    You show many prejudgments here, completely wrong again. Like on Prof J’s publication record with first tier pubs.

    or else I’ll wipe the floor with you…once again.
    Your memory is different than mine. You have puked on me, harangued and stalked me many times, to the point I felt the need to disconnect to break the cycleyou melted down here

    LL: ….when you were spouted your nonsense …, I located an old (1938) paper from Japan about one of your favorite non-traditional drugs or magavitamins? I cannot locate that thread prn…
    prn: Google and I don’t recall such a notably unusual reference either, perhaps you’ve confused intent to write or with someone else. Or perhaps an interesting combination of ad hominem and confabulation.….when you were spouted your nonsense …, I located an old (1938) paper from Japan about one of your favorite non-traditional drugs or magavitamins? I cannot locate that thread prn…
    Google and I don’t recall such a notably unusual reference either, perhaps you’ve confused intent to write or with someone else. Or perhaps an interesting combination of ad hominem and confabulation.

    You are delusional about your “mopping the floor” with me as with many factoids. I am still waiting for that 1938 Japanese vitamin reference that you claimed you showed us before, but had never, ever showed infact.

    I think my points stick. You simply have a strong need to dominate by shouting people down, LL.

  156. #156 Narad
    March 11, 2013

    I am still waiting for that 1938 Japanese vitamin reference that you claimed you showed us before, but had never, ever showed infact.

    Are we talking about the Otani pertussis stuff again? I had to lie down. It was 1936, as I recall.

  157. #157 lilady
    March 11, 2013

    @prn: Thanks so much for linking to Orac’s post last year 🙂

    There’s no need for me now, “to wipe the floor with you…again”…
    Res Ipsa Loquitar.

  158. #158 Grant
    March 11, 2013

    Personally I’d ignore prn’s blatant trolling.

    His “argument from authority” approach doesn’t work anyway. As I wrote earlier (#307),

    “… very fine scientists can propose weak or even dubious ideas, too. It’s one of the reasons, I think, that proposals ideally are best to stand on their own merits rather than previous record or “authority”, just in case it’s a case of a good scientist’s lesser ideas.”

    (The term “lesser ideas” is science’s very polite way of saying “simply wrong” – !)

    Some very fine scientists have put out some bad ideas, even some that were immediately seen as wrong by others.

    Looking at it in the best light I can (i.e. giving her the benefit of doubt, etc.), one obvious problem with Jurnak’s post is simply that being offered in piecemeal fashion (there are “bits”, but they haven’t really been linked to one-another) and without citations she has not actually argued her case but rather presented a sketch “gloss”, leaving others to somehow fill in the blanks, to second-guess what she would have there. As I suggested earlier for anyone to want to take it seriously she really would need to argue her idea properly — as a hypothesis article in a decent peer-reviewed journal. That won’t make her idea “right”, but at least it might then have enough detail (& supporting citations, etc.) for people to try engage with it.

  159. #159 Chris
    March 11, 2013

    prn:

    You show many prejudgments here, completely wrong again. Like on Prof J’s publication record with first tier pubs.

    So? Perhaps you have the supporting literature support this statement that American children are malnourished:

    Although many will think that malnourished children do not exist in the US, reading of the nutritional literature suggests otherwise. There are subsets of US children who are deficient in one or more nutrients due to poor diets, genetic mutations, stress, infections of all types (parasitic, viral, bacterial, etc.) and/or the administration of certain kinds of medications.

  160. #160 Chris
    March 11, 2013

    Oops… the second blockquote is quoting Prof. Jurnak.

  161. #161 Chemmomo
    Land Without Preview
    March 11, 2013

    Lilady @353

    – He was school aged, quite neurologically impaired, requiring two caregivers…or…he was on his way to medical school…when he required the hepatitis B vaccine series.

    You are wrong on one thing here: Prof Jurnak’s son did not receive the hebB vaccine on his way to medical school. My interpretation is he received hebB as a school aged child in the late 1990s, when CA added it to the list required for school. That was at least 14 years ago, as the mandates went into effect in 1997 for elementary school and 1999 for middle school (http://www.immunize.org/laws/hepb.asp).
    Her comment from #275 reads (my emphasis)

    have him safely vaccinated with the second hepatitis booster as well as with a number of subsequent vaccinations needed before he went to medical school.

    These are clearly separate events.
    I’m not going to speculate about what level of neurological impairment he overcame to be able to enroll in medical school, but if he was in elementary school in 1997, the timing is possible.

  162. #162 lilady
    March 11, 2013

    @ Chemommo: I documented precisely what Prof. Jurnak stated in her many posts about her son’s *reaction* to hepatitis B vaccine. California mandated hepatitis B vaccine for school aged children in 1997…and Jurnak stated her child had a reaction to the second hepatitis B vaccine (according to her, a “booster” vaccine), when he was a “school-aged” child…or was it in preparation for his entry into medical school?

    OSHA Guidelines Do Not require that HCWs/medical school students MUST have proof of completing the hepatitis B primary series/proof of immunity/”boosting” of immunity against the hepatitis B virus. OSHA Guidelines state that HCWs should receive reliable information about transmission of the virus and have the hepatitis B vaccine provided to them free-of-charge:

    http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_BloodborneFacts/bbfact05.pdf

    Here are the “Recommendations” for HCWs who will be exposed to accidental finger sticks…but HCWs and trainees are NOT required to prove immunity against the hepatitis B virus:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6007a1.htm

  163. #163 Lawrence
    March 11, 2013

    @lilady – I never thought the story made any sense, since the age of the child seemed to be variable, depending on the version of the “same” story told.

  164. #164 Chemmomo
    Land Without Preview
    March 11, 2013

    lilady (and Lawrence), I agree that the timeline is difficult to follow, especially as it’s spread out over several posts, and it’s not particularly clear what happened when. I’ve looked back through what she posted, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the confusion is ours, not hers. We are so used to folks getting upset over the birth dose of hepB that we overlooked the part of Prof Jurnak’s posts which describes him as an adolescent (#312 -don’t know if the link will work):

    During his adolescent years, my son experienced waxing and waning episodes consistent with a disorder called porphyria. . . . I realized early on that the attacks were highly correlated with his states of deficiencies in B6 and zinc, as demonstrated by clinical testing.

    After describing her rationale for the vitamins, she follows up with the statement:

    When California declared that all school children needed the hepatitis B vaccine, I got him vaccinated.

    If the child is already an adolescent, we can conclude this was the 1999 mandate for middle schoolers.

    And he certainly could have enrolled in medical school by now, and if he had, he probably had to get caught up on any missing vaccinations – those subsequent ones from Prof Jurnak # 275 which I quoted previously (I’ll save that link for a separate post to avoid moderation). Again, her writing is quite clear that the hepB vaccination and boosters occurred earlier, and he had other vaccinations later.
    It is lilady, not Prof Jurnak, who added the description “school age,” suggesting a relatively young child. If we assume the boy was young when he received the hepB, the story makes a lot less sense than it does in light of the fact he was already an adolescent. Jurnak’s actual wording is “school children” – and what else are you going to call them? She’s referring to the change in immunization law, which extended HepB coverage to all of them.

    As for the multiple care givers – I’m guessing they weren’t all attending the child at once, and she only mentioned them for the sake of accuracy since the phone call did not come from her husband.

    lilady, I respect you a lot and enjoy reading your posts both here and elsewhere and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. We need to make sure that we are accurate in our criticism – it does not do any good to criticize someone for something that they never did claim, or accuse someone of being inconsistent when we have misinterpreted their words.

  165. #165 Chemmomo
    Land Without Preview
    March 11, 2013

    Direct links to Prof Jurnak’s posts:
    #275 (her first one, February 26, 2013)
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/02/12/who-they-view-us/#comment-240018

    #312 (her final one, March 8, 2013)
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/02/12/who-they-view-us/#comment-243300

  166. #166 lilady
    March 12, 2013

    Thanks Chemmomo: According to PKIDs, mandatory hepatitis B series requirement for California elementary school was 1997 and mandatory for middle school 1999.

    http://www.immunize.org/laws/hepb.asp

    Prof Jurnak refers to the 2nd hepatitis B vaccine in the primary series as “a booster”…not so.

    I don’t know when her child received the Hepatitis B primary series, because of her utterly confusing posts…do you?

    She purportedly is an *expert* in porphyria disorders, because of her extensive research and because she “knows her son’s genetic make-up”. She jabbers on about the genetics associated with the various types of porphyria, her *expertise* in Vitamin B 6 and Zinc deficiencies present in children and adolescents in the developed world and her *expertise* in the need to provide mega doses of Vitamin B 6 and Zinc to children who do not have deficiencies and who have been diagnosed with types of porphryia…again, not so.

    She *confuses* rubella and rubeola…knows diddly squat about physiological jaundice in the newborn… yet Jurnak who is not a medical doctor, brags that she provides medical/nutrition advice over the internet.

    So….where oh where, are any citations about those deficiencies in the general population and the need to provide Vitamin B6 and Zinc mega doses to kids, adolescents and adults who have any type of porphyria…in the absence of a diagnosed deficient state?

  167. #167 Chemmomo
    Land of Cut an Paste
    March 12, 2013

    lilady, I linked to the same page on Immunization law back at #361.

    the 2nd hepatitis B vaccine in the primary series as “a booster”…not so.

    Then what is it called? As a regular parent, I thought that any later dose of the same vaccine given a later date was a booster. Does a “booster” have to be years later? If so, I’m guilty of the same mistake. And really – what should it be called?

    I cut and pasted all of Prof Jurnak’s posts into one document before I re-read them. That clarified the story for me, as I related in my earlier comment #364. I don’t know for sure when her son received the hepB series, but her story suggests it was in 1999, as she had previously described him as an adolescent, and that is when the law mandated it for someone that age.

    I do agree there’s a lot of information missing from her story, particularly references, and some parts of her final posts raise more questions than they answer. But Prof Jurnak decided that the comments section of this blog post was not the venue for her to do that, and I agree with her on that. I’m with Grant: it would be great if she did write the whole thing up for publication, with all the references. Unless that happens, we’re not likely to get any more answers.

  168. #168 Chemmomo
    Not familiar enough with terminology
    March 12, 2013

    One more point regarding the boosters/not boosters
    lilady wrote:

    the 2nd hepatitis B vaccine in the primary series as “a booster”…not so.

    Prof Jurnak wrote #275

    have him safely vaccinated with the second hepatitis booster

    This is after she has already mentioned he had a bad reaction to the first and second shot in the series – the immunization in question is here is actually the third of the series. And I probably would call that the “second booster,” too, using “booster” to distinguish it from the very first one.

  169. #169 lilady
    March 12, 2013

    @ Chemmomo:

    “Then what is it called? As a regular parent, I thought that any later dose of the same vaccine given a later date was a booster. Does a “booster” have to be years later? If so, I’m guilty of the same mistake. And really – what should it be called?”

    With Hepatitis B….”It” is called # 1 or # 2 or # 3 dose of the 3-dose series.

    Td and the newer Tdap vaccines are “booster” vaccines, given after the early 5-dose series a.k.a. primary series.

    https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/med_professionals.shtml

  170. #170 lilady
    March 12, 2013

    I managed to mess up the link to the CDC 2013 Childhood Vaccine Schedule…

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-schedule.pdf

  171. #171 Chemmomo
    terminology corrected
    March 12, 2013

    lilady,
    Thanks! I’ll stop calling the later shots in the first series boosters now. Dose, not booster.

  172. #172 JGC
    March 12, 2013

    Think we’re missing the forrest for the trees here. I’m really not that interested in clearing up the details of Jurnak’s accounts of her son’s immunization, supposed vacine injury, recovery and enrollment in med school, etc. All doing so could accomplish, after all, is to make a personal anecdote account self-consistent. It can’t raise its status from anecdote to evidence arguing against routine immunization.

  173. #173 prn
    March 12, 2013

    LL: It’s “Res Ipsa Loquitur
    Yes, it does speak for itself, like when you had made enough of a fool of yourself in front of everyone here, your legal threats started. e.g. might want to talk to your …attorney
    Now you rewrite history and pronounce a self congratulatory Victory. ha.

    Narad@356 Thanks, Otani(1936) appears to have been introduced by someone else at the other blog. Otani was not megadose vitamin C by modern CAM lights.

    Grant@358: Re:LL I wasn’t trolling and I didn’t make a technical claim that rested on authority. LL was far beyond civility in ad hominem attack mode again, based on her misinterpretations and misconstruction, as has been common with her on CAM subjects that are legit biological disputes. I injected a small dose of reality on relative scientific accomplishment and qualifications with respect to Prof J. LL loves to dish it out, but often can’t handle deflation on her rhetoric.

  174. #174 Grant
    March 12, 2013

    @prn

    “Grant@358: Re:LL I wasn’t trolling and I didn’t make a technical claim that rested on authority. LL was far beyond civility in ad hominem attack mode”

    Your comments to lillady have examples of both trolling and ad hominem. If you can’t recognise that then perhaps you need to back off.

    By way of example:

    This is straight-out ad hominem: “LL is probably qualified to disinfect the floor at J’s lab […]” In addition to being besides the point it plays the “authority” card — you’re comparing Jurnak’s credentials to an imaginary cleaner.

    This is trolling: “[…] You simply have a strong need to dominate by shouting people down, LL.” Putting in a “last word” at the end of a comment, evoking their name in a slur is trying to provoke, whatever else you might mean by it, and isn’t a good sign 😉

    You rested F. Jurnak’s involvement (and how she should be treated) on her credentials, rather than the substance (or not) of her argument – see my earlier comments.

    As I wrote earlier, the kindest (giving the benefit of doubt) would be to point out there are too many “jumps” between FJ’s points for anyone to know what her full argument is to engage with it properly. By way of example, I’m bothered by several things she wrote—these points don’t look right to me and raise suspicions—but I also think pointing them out might be a bit meaningless as she’s not going to clarify and in any event it would have us trying to fill in her argument rather than her arguing it to a standard that can be engaged with soundly.

  175. #175 lilady
    March 12, 2013

    @ JGC: I didn’t expect Prof Jurnak to reply, because she already stated she would not comment again. Since she first posted here on February 14th, she has never provided a link to back up her statements about the *dangers* of vaccines, the *under reporting* of serious adverse events/deaths from those vaccines. her statements about vaccines triggering an acute intermittent attack of porphyria, her *recommendations* about mega doses of Vitamin B 6 and Zinc, her *observation* that American children suffer from a variety of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and her n=1 anecdotal study about Vitamin B 6 and Zinc megadoses, that she *recommends* to other parents. Many posters here asked her to re-post with links to citations that support all her assertions. She chose to not provide any links to any citations.

    I, OTOH, provided links to the NIH Rare Diseases Network-Porphyria Collaboration and to The Porphyria Foundation, for reliable information about the genetics, the laboratory tests that are considered the gold standard for diagnostic purposes and the nutritional aspects of the types of porphyrias, (well balanced diet and no vitamins/minerals supplements in the absence of laboratory-confirmed deficiencies). On this thread, I didn’t delve into the veracity of her statements about vaccines…others on this thread posed pointed questions to Prof. Jurnak.

    @ prn: Thanks for correcting my spelling. Instead of your personal attacks on me…why not comment on the subject of this thread, using links to any citations from Alt/CAM websites or *traditional sources* such as the CDC, the WHO or the American Dietetic Association?

    C’mon prn, show us your stuff…else we might think you haven’t grown out of school girl taunting stage.

  176. #176 lilady
    March 12, 2013

    Dachel has organized her groupies who are posting about an vaccine/autism seminar in Vancouver. The “usual suspects” are posting there and I have posted…some comments still “in moderation”.

    Go and post…or at least register your vote at the online poll.

    http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/591086/vaccine-summit-in-vancouver-tries-to-rekindle-settled-debate/

  177. #177 Heather
    Australia
    March 29, 2013

    I get a little flack because I do see a place for some vaccinations – but not for STDs like HepB and HPV years before a child should be in a position to contracts such things. or is our world such an evil place now? And one day old babies do not have a fully functioning immune system to stimulate with a hep B shot in any event. I’d like the European option of freshly made vaccines (no preservatives/formaldehyde/mercury required) more readily available. And I am still waiting on a properly run trial for human ingestion of fluorine or Genetically Modified crops. Somehow these things were passed without.

  178. #178 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 29, 2013

    Heather,

    Hepatitis B is not solely sexually transmitted. Among other ways, babies can be exposed during birth if their mothers are infected and exposure to blood or open sores from people who are infected.

    The HPV vaccines need to be taken before being exposed to the virus, preferably before sexual activity. You may have heard that some young teens are participating in sexual activity, including oral sex, which can spread HPV. The vaccines are recommended at age 12.

    Fluoridation adds the mineral fluoride (not the gas fluorine) to the water. This is a mineral which is found naturally present in some water supplies. There have been multiple studies of the safety of drinking fluoridated water. See http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/systematic.htm for links to reviews of those studies.

  179. #179 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 29, 2013

    I’d like the European option of freshly made vaccines (no preservatives/formaldehyde/mercury required) more readily available.

    What on Earth gave you this idea? Freshly made? Have you even looked at package inserts for vaccines made in the EU?

  180. #180 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 29, 2013

    One story in today’s news about how hepatitis can be transmitted other than sexually: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/28/17505087-dentists-office-a-menace-thousands-possibly-exposed-to-hiv?lite

  181. #181 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 29, 2013

    @Heather

    To just tag on to what Mephistopheles O’Brien mentioned, the hepatitis B virus can survive and still be able to cause infections for up to seven days outside the body (e.g., if there are any infectious droplets of blood on a surface). It’s incredibly easy to miss droplets like this, even when specifically looking for them. While sexual transmission is the most common means of getting hep B, the more likely means of an infant acquiring it (if their mother is not infected) is through ingestion or through a scrape, cut or bite. The younger you are when infected, the greater your risk of chronic infection leading to liver disease and cancer.

  182. #182 Krebiozen
    March 29, 2013

    Heather,
    I think you need to think a little more critically about some of the information you have come across.

    And one day old babies do not have a fully functioning immune system to stimulate with a hep B shot in any event.

    If that’s the case, how is it that hepatitis B vaccine is so effective at preventing babies from contracting the disease from their mothers? Babies born to mothers with hepatitis B are 72% less likely to contract the disease if they are vaccinated immediately after birth.

    I’d like the European option of freshly made vaccines (no preservatives/ formaldehyde/ mercury required) more readily available.

    I live in Europe and this is news to me. The vaccines we get are mostly the same as those people get in Australia, and the US.

    And I am still waiting on a properly run trial for human ingestion of fluorine

    Nature has helpfully provided is with several natural experiments, since there are several places where drinking water contains as much or even very much more fluoride than is added in fluoridation. Fluoridation aims at 1 milligram of fluoride per liter of water, which we know from these natural experiments reduces dental caries without the side effects of higher amounts.

    or Genetically Modified crops.

    Do you really prefer your foods laced with the toxic pesticides and herbicides that GM crops are designed to reduce or even eliminate? In Europe neonicotinoid pesticides that are toxic to bees and other wildlife have been approved because of our reluctance to adopt GM crops that are pest resistant.

  183. #183 JGC
    March 29, 2013

    If you’re concerned about eating genetically modified crops I’m wondering what your diet consists of. Humans have been genetically modifying crops (and livestock) for centuries. The only real change today is that we now have allowing us to do so in a much more controlled and precise manner than our previous techniques which relied heavily on selective crossing/controlled breeding methods

    .

  184. #184 Narad
    March 29, 2013

    What on Earth gave you this idea? Freshly made?

    Perhaps she meant “artisanal.”

  185. #185 Khani
    March 29, 2013

    #377 Why shouldn’t women be protected from STIs that in many cases men don’t even know they have?

    You do realize you can get a sexually-transmitted infection from a husband even if *you* never ever have sex with anyone else, ever, don’t you?

  186. #186 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 29, 2013

    Khani,

    You do realize you can get a sexually-transmitted infection from a husband even if *you* never ever have sex with anyone else, ever, don’t you?

    The reverse, naturally, is also true.

  187. #187 lilady
    March 29, 2013

    @ Todd W. Your link led me to the Medscape sign-in page, not the article you referred to. I have Medscape membership and will provide the paragraphs for the studies that show the difference between providing ONLY the hepatitis B vaccine at birth-versus-providing hepatitis B AND HBIG (Hepatitis B Immune Globulin), at birth, to newborns whose mothers are chronic hepatitis B carriers.

    Liver International

    Hepatitis B and Pregnancy: An Underestimated Issue

    Maureen M. Jonas

    Liver International. 2009;29(s1):133-139.

    “Mode of delivery has been examined as a potential risk factor for HBV transmission. In a report from China in 1988, of 447 infants born to HBsAg-positive women, 24.9% (96/385) of newborns delivered vaginally were HBV infected at birth, compared with < 10% (6/62) delivered by caesarean section.[32] Both groups received HBV vaccine. These authors advised caesarean section delivery for mothers with high levels of viraemia. However, a later study compared outcomes among three groups: 144 infants born by spontaneous vaginal delivery, 40 by forceps or vacuum extraction and 117 by caesarean section.[33] All infants received the HBIG and HBV vaccine at the recommended schedule. Chronic HBV infection was detected in the infants in 7.3, 7.7 and 6.8%, respectively, and response rates to immunization were similar in all groups. The authors concluded that mode of delivery does not influence the likelihood of HBV transmission. At this point, most obstetrical algorithms do not include change in the planned mode of delivery for HBsAg-positive women regardless of HBeAg status or level of viraemia."

    The next two paragraphs are a discussion of transmission rates of Hepatitis B exposed newborns in the United States, who received the hepatitis B vaccine AND HBIG (Hepatitis B Immune Globulin) at birth…

    "In the USA, all pregnant women are supposed to be tested for HBsAg, regardless of assessed risk and previous testing. Neonates born to HBsAg-positive women should receive HBIG and vaccine before discharge[5] and be followed to determine the adequacy of immune response and the vaccine failures. All infants, regardless of maternal HBsAg status, should receive HBV vaccine in the first months of life. In Taiwan, all infants have been receiving the HBV vaccine for almost 20 years, with a significant impact on perinatal transmission and childhood and adolescent infection and its complications.[34,35] Whether universal immunization will be adopted in all European countries, as the World Health Organization has recommended, depends on many factors, such as perceived prevalence and risk, changing immigration patterns, cost–benefit analyses and budgetary priorities.

    Immunoprophylaxis provided to newborns clearly reduces the incidence of perinatal HBV transmission. In a recent meta-analysis of clinical trials,[36] the relative risk of neonatal HBV infection in those who received HBV vaccine (plasma-derived or recombinant) was 0.28 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.2–0.4] compared with those who received placebo or no intervention. Compared with vaccine alone, the addition of HBIG to the regimen further reduced the relative risk (0.54, 95% CI 0.41–0.73) when compared with active prophylaxis only. Nonetheless, there are clearly a substantial number of newborn infections, even with prompt administration of active and passive vaccination. The estimates vary, and depend on maternal HBeAg status, but most studies demonstrate anywhere from 1%[37] to 10%[36] chronic HBV infection in infants who were appropriately immunized. Clearly, with millions of at-risk pregnancies each year throughout the world, significant numbers of perinatally acquired chronic HBV infection are still occurring."

    When I retired from the health department our Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program staff had case-managed more than 900 deliveries. Only three babies who received who received the birth dose of the vaccine AND HBIG within 12 hours of birth, became infected with the hepatitis B virus; a failure rate of 0.003 %.

  188. #188 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 29, 2013

    Perhaps she meant “artisanal.”

    snort
    Somehow I don’t see “vaccine-maker” listed as a recognised artisan.

  189. #189 ARD
    Long Island
    March 29, 2013

    “but not for STDs like HepB and HPV years before a child should be in a position to contracts such things. or is our world such an evil place now? ”

    I’ve honestly never understood this sentiment. Is it not better to reduce risk wherever possible by any means available? Yes, one does not expect a child to be sexually active before a certain age, and ideally not for a very long time. But life doesn’t always go as planned–to put it bluntly, rape happens. Why add to the world’s suffering where one doesn’t need to?

  190. #190 Khani
    March 29, 2013

    #386 Exactly.

    However, my point was more along the lines of, even if you are willing to make the assumption that your own child is a paragon of purity, it’s probably not good to assume anyone else’s child is.

  191. #191 Melissa G
    March 30, 2013

    I am totally stuck on the idea of artisanal vaccines! People in the woo camp will take ANY supplement that is said to “boost your immune system”– and vaccines ACTUALLY DO IT, so it is killing me that they don’t see how well it dovetails with their philosophy!

    Obviously, vaccines just need different packaging. Instead of bringing the loaded syringe out on a tray, CLEARLY the loaded syringes need to be presented in a lovely box with pictures of flowers that plays Tibetan windchime music and emits the fragrance of wild chamomile and lavender when the healthcare practitioner opens it. Then s/he tells them how the pressure point selected for the vacupuncture has been revered for centuries by indigenous peoples worldwide as a chi point known to stimulate the immune system when needled with a potion that has been carefully formulated with the healing intent of millions (of research scientists and lab techs)!!!

  192. #192 Krebiozen
    March 30, 2013

    lilady,

    @ Todd W. Your link led me to the Medscape sign-in page, not the article you referred to.

    That was me, not Todd. Apologies for that, I do try not to link to information that requires registration. If you are already signed in, as I was, it takes you straight to the page, so I didn’t notice. Thanks for posting the data about adding HBIG to the hepatitis B vaccine. A failure rate of 0.003 % is very much more impressive than 28%. My point was that the majority of neonates’ immune systems are quite capable of being stimulated by the hepatitis B vaccine, contrary to Heather’s claim that, “one day old babies do not have a fully functioning immune system to stimulate with a hep B shot”.

  193. #193 flip
    March 30, 2013

    LOL Melissa G – that is brilliant!

  194. #194 Krebiozen
    March 30, 2013

    Melissa G #391 – so very true, I wonder if that approach might actually work. If people can be convinced that squirting bleach up their child’s rear end stimulates their immune system, they should be perfectly happy with vaccines.

  195. #195 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    March 30, 2013

    Living in Europe, I can attest to there being no ‘freshly made vaccines without preservatives’ available in my part of Scandinavia.

  196. #196 lilady
    March 30, 2013

    @ Melissa G: That’s a keeper !

    @ Krebiozen (and Todd W): Sorry for the mix-up.

    The “universal hepatitis B birth dose recommendation” was implemented in the United States, to provide some degree of protection to newborns whose mothers were not chronic carriers, but where close household contacts/caregivers might be infected. Unfortunately, there were instances, where OBs ordered the wrong test (hepatitis B surface antibody…rather than hepatitis B surface antigen), then wrote a chart note for the chart that is sent to to the delivery hospital 6 weeks before her due date, that the woman was negative for the hepatitis B surface antigen. Now hospitals require a copy of the actual lab reports…to avoid those instances where the neonates exposed at birth, didn’t receive the vaccine and HBIG within 12 hours of birth.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/pdfs/serologicchartv8.pdf

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