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Yesterday, I wrote about false balance in reporting on vaccines in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak. For those who’ve never encountered this blog, what I mean by false balance is when journalists, in a misguided belief that there are “two sides” (i.e., an actual scientific controversy) about the safety of childhood vaccines and whether they cause autism and all the other ills blamed on them by antivaccinationists or not, interview an antivaccine activist, advocate, or sympathizer for “balance” and to “show both sides of the story.” The problem with that technique, so deeply ingrained into journalists, is that while “telling both sides” makes sense in the political sphere, in the scientific and medical spheres it doesn’t always make sense, and the time when it makes no sense is when covering pseudoscience like the antivaccine movement. There is no longer—and, to put it bluntly, never really was much of—a controversy in the scientific community over whether vaccines cause autism or are in any way dangerous; it is a manufactroversy perpetuated by the unscientific and pseudoscientific.

Unfortunately, when misguided journalists present antivaccine pseudoscience alongside real science, it elevates the pseudoscience in the mind of the public, leading them to think, “Gee, there must be a real controversy here.” This is true even when, as three days ago, CBS News did an interview with everybody’s favorite antivaccine apologist, if not outright believer, of a pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon and seemed to be refuting what he said. Contrary to what some claim, even if the intent of CBS News were to find a doofus pediatrician with antivaccine views and discredit him, the very act of refuting a person like that and juxtaposing him with real experts elevates his evidence-free “concerns” about the MMR vaccine to be in the same ballpark as real science, a perception that does not help. False balance again. Do we see journalists interview geocentrists for “balance” in stories about astronomy—or even to refute their views? No, we do not. Yet we see this sort of thing all the time with antivaccine warriors and, truth be told, anthropogenic global warming denialists.

As I mentioned yesterday, though, I had thought that the era of false balance had ended, but, disappointingly, the Disneyland measles outbreak reveals that those bad journalistic instincts have never gone away. Despite the relative rarity of stories over the last couple of years about vaccines with false balance (a trend that even antivaccinationists have noticed and, of course, bemoaned as “one-sided” reporting about the safety of vaccines), the Disneyland measles outbreak has opened the door to more such stories. One such story has been brought to my attention more times than I can remember over the last few days, so much so that even my relatives are starting to ask me about it. So, even though Orac “doesn’t do requests” (as you know), sometimes, I guess, he does “give the people what they want.” I’m referring, of course, to an interview with an antivaccine “paleocardiologist” named Dr. Jack Wolfson that aired a week ago on a local NBC affiliate in central Arizona. (Embedded video removed from this post because I couldn’t get it to stop autostarting even adding what I thought to be correct tags. I hate autostart videos, and I won’t subject my readers to that which I myself hate. You’ll just have to rely on the link.)

Upon seeing this interview, all I could think was: Wow. I’m glad this guy doesn’t treat children. Then I thought: But he does treat adults and no doubt tells his patients not to get the flu vaccine every year or other vaccines recommended for adults, such as the Tdap and the every ten years Td booster, or the varicella or zoster vaccines. Heck, I’m guessing he doesn’t recommend the pneumococcal vaccine to his heart failure patients, even though pneumonia, even your run-of-the-mill community-acquired pneumonia, is a life-threatening illness in such patients. That’s why the pneumococcal vaccine (PPSV23) is recommended for all adults 65 and over and for adults younger than 65 with heart or lung disease (among other indications), as Dr. Wolfson should know as a cardiologist. Instead, the ignorance doth flow:

“We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, these are the rights of our children to get it,” said Dr. Jack Wolfson of Wolfson Integrative Cardiology in Paradise Valley.

Wolfson does not believe in vaccination. “We do not need to inject chemicals into ourselves and into our children in order to boost our immune system,” he said.

The cardiologist also believes the key is to have a healthy immune system. In order to have that, he says, you have to avoid chemicals, get enough sleep, exercise, take good supplements, and have proper nutrition.

“I’m a big fan of what’s called paleo-nutrition, so our children eat foods that our ancestors have been eating for millions of years,” he said. “That’s the best way to protect.”

It’s your children’s right to get measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox? Their right? But, as he goes on in the video, never inject “chemicals” into your child’s body to “boost their immune systems”? Geez, I thought cardiologists tended to be smarter than that. It does, after all, take four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and at least three years of fellowship (more for interventional cardiology or electrophysiology) to become a cardiologist, but apparently it is possible for someone as scientifically ignorant as Dr. Wolfson to become board certified in cardiology. Of course, if Michael Egnor can become a neurosurgeon while apparently understanding so little about neuroscience, then I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Dr. Wolfson is so ignorant about vaccines, given that that’s not his area of expertise, but truly his ignorance is staggering.

What’s even more staggering is this false balance:

However, many doctors disagree. They believe it’s important for children to get vaccinated, especially when the measles is among the most infectious viruses.

Simply unbelievable. “Many” doctors disagree? How about the whole of the medical establishment thinks that what Wolfson is spouting is dangerous pseudoscientific idiocy that is not accepted in the medical community by any but a few fringe docs like, yes, Wolfson. The way Wolfson is portrayed is not as a dangerous kook with respect to vaccines (which is what he clearly is) but just as a doctor with an outside-the-mainstream viewpoint with which “many doctors” disagree. It’s enough to make a skeptic pull his hair out. (Good thing Orac is a Plexiglass box of blinky lights and circuitry.) Even worse, the caption over the story reads, “Doctors disagree on whether to vaccinate.” This is what I like to call lying by omission. Yes, because there are a few doctors like Wolfson who don’t think we should vaccinated, technically it’s true that “doctors” disagree on whether to vaccinated, but in reality the number of such disagreeing doctors is vanishingly small, and the medical community and medical science stand firmly behind vaccinations as safe and effective means of preventing childhood diseases.

It gets even worse, though. Near the very end of the segment, after the infectiousness of measles is correctly explained and it’s stated that measles is not a harmless childhood disease, the announcer intones, but one thing all doctors can agree on, followed by a snippet from a the pro-vaccine doctor ( Dr. David Engelthaler) saying, “…this is not a highly fatal, thankfully.” Yes, the overall impression given is the antivaccine trope that measles is no big deal, and what the audience takes away is not that measles is dangerous but that it’s “not highly fatal,” which ignores all the other bad things that measles can cause, such as the hospitalization of one quarter of the current outbreak’s victims, encephalopathy in two out of 1000, and even blindness. This has to be the worst example of false “balance” that I’ve seen thus far in this outbreak.

Also, if the Phoenix NBC affiliate still insisted on interviewing Wolfson, why couldn’t the producers have gotten an actual pediatrician to counter his misinformation? Nothing against Dr. Engenthaler, but he’s not a physician. He’s a researcher and epidemiologist. Granted, he used to be the State Epidemiologist for Arizona, where he tracked outbreaks, which is good, but he’s not really qualified to counter the claims that getting childhood diseases is “good for you”; i.e., the myth that “natural immunity” is so much better than that “artificial immunity” of vaccines. Remember, the price of “natural immunity” is suffering through the disease and exposing your child to the potentially serious—and, depending on the disease, even fatal—complications of the disease.

After the widespread criticism of his views, Wolfson was unchastened. Indeed, a few days later, he responded to the criticism in a post on an antivaccine website entitled Arizona Cardiologist Responds to Critics Regarding Measles and Vaccines: Why all the anger?. Yes, it’s a variant of Dr. Bob’s “why are you all being so mean to me?” laments after he lays down a diarrheal drip of antivaccine misinformation while trying to portray himself as being the “reasonable” among “vaccine skeptics” or of Katie Tietje’s “s ” gambit.

Amusingly (to me at least), Dr. Wolfson is quite up front about his intent. First, he laments the “angry responses” he got from “thousands of people” but then contrasts it with a “a tremendous amount of support to my comments and opinions.” The clear implication? It’s the old “civility” trap, in essence concern trolling. Basically, he’s portraying his critics as unreasonable and angry without valid reason and his supporters as reasonable. Then, he openly states that he wants to redirect the anger at him. I couldn’t resist putting my own comments in brackets after each item.

I want to address all this misguided anger and see if we can re-direct it where it belongs.

  1. Be angry at food companies. Sugar cereals, donuts, cookies, and cupcakes lead to millions of deaths per year. At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive. Call up Nabisco and Kellogg’s and complain. Protest their products. Send THEM hate-mail. [Orac says: This is utterly irrelevant, a non sequitur. There’s also no evidence that people who eat all natural are less likely to die of varicella infection. Truly, this is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a doctor write.]
  2. Be angry at fast food restaurants. Tortured meat burgers, pesticide fries, and hormone milkshakes are the problem. The problem is not Hepatitis B which is a virus contracted by drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes. And you want to inject that vaccine into your newborn? [Orac says: This one is truly vile, a common antivaccine trope directed at this vaccine that tells parents that you don’t have to worry about hepatitis B or C because you, antivaccine friends, are upstanding citizens who would never, ever engage in any of those immoral, risky behaviors. Of course, hepatitis B can be contracted in other ways, which is why there is a clear rationale for administering the vaccine shortly after birth. It’s not the only strategy, but it’s a very reasonable one.]
  3. Be angry at the companies who make your toxic laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. You and your children are wearing and breathing known carcinogens (they cause cancer). Call Bounce and Downy and let them know. These products kill more people than mumps, a virus which actually doesn’t cause anyone to die. Same with hepatitis A, a watery diarrhea. [Orac says: Another non sequitur, and a particularly ridiculous one at that. Moreover, there is no evidence that Bounce and Downy “kill more people than mumps.” As for the mumps, even if it is rarely fatal, some of its complications are quite unpleasant and dangerous.]
  4. Be angry at all the companies spewing pollution into our environment. These chemicals and heavy metals are known to cause autism, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and every other health problem. Worldwide, these lead to 10’s of millions of deaths every year. Measles deaths are a tiny fraction compared to pollution. [Orac says: Here’s the fallacy of the false dilemma. It is not an “either-or” choice here with two options. There is no reason we as a society can’t both vaccinate to eliminate measles and work on cleaning up the environment worldwide. Of course, Dr. Wolfson also overstates the risks, as there is no good evidence that these pollutants cause, for instance, autism, and the links to cancer tend to be tenuous at best, much less to “every health problem.” Certainly air pollution contributes to lung diseases such as asthma, but Dr. Wolfson simply massively overstates his case to create a false dilemma.]
  5. Be angry at your parents for not breastfeeding you, co-sleeping with you, and stuffing your face with Domino’s so they can buy more Tide and finish the laundry. Breastfeeding protects your children from many infectious diseases. [Orac says: This is another despicable one. How vile and hateful can Dr. Wolfson get? Blame your parents for not breastfeeding? Not all mothers can breastfeed. What about them? Is Wolfson saying they shouldn’t be mothers? Also, it’s true that breastfeeding does protect through transmission of maternal antibodies, but it doesn’t protect against everything, and what will protect the child once he is weaned?]
  6. Be angry with your doctor for being close-minded and not disclosing the ingredients in vaccines (not that they read the package insert anyway). They should tell you about the aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, aborted fetal tissue, animal proteins, polysorbate 80, antibiotics, and other chemicals in the shots. According to the Environmental Working Group, newborns contain over 200 chemicals as detected by cord blood. Maybe your doctor feels a few more chemicals injected into your child won’t be a big deal. [Orac says: This is just a particularly uninteresting and really dumbed down version of the “toxins” gambit. Even Dr. Jay Gordon knows better than to use this hoary old antivaccine chestnut any more. As for the “argument by package insert,” well, the less said the better. Dr. Wolfson clearly needs to up his game as an antivaccine doctor if this is the best he can come up with.]
  7. Be angry with the cable companies and TV manufacturers for making you and your children fat and lazy, not wanting to exercise or play outside. Lack of exercise kills millions more than polio. Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many. In fact, be angry with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for creating computers so you can sit around all day blasted with electromagnetic radiation reading posts like this. [Orac says: Dr. Wolfson is just getting dumber and dumber in his rant. It’s really hard to take him seriously any more. I mean, Itzhak Perlman is a polio survivor, which is why he plays the violin sitting down. Mia Farrow was in an iron lung for eight days. There are many, many other polio survivors still around, some famous.]
  8. Be angry with pharmaceutical companies for allowing us to believe living the above life can be treated with drugs. Correctly prescribed drugs kill thousands of people per year. The flu kills just about no one. The vaccine never works. [Orac says: Dr. Wolfson intentionally conflates these issues and just plain lies about the flu. At least, in my not-so-humble opinion, if he’s not lying, by making the false claim that no one (OK, “just about no one”) dies of the flu he has just demonstrated himself so ignorant that the state of Arizona ought to yank his medical license forthwith because he is a danger to his patients.]

Just to top off his level of despicableness, Dr. Wolfson finishes off by directly attacking the parents who criticized him:

Finally, be angry with yourself for not opening your eyes to the snow job and brainwashing which have taken over your mind. You NEVER asked the doctor any questions. You NEVER asked what is in the vaccines. You NEVER learned about these benign infections.

Let’s face it, you don’t really give a crap what your children eat. You don’t care about chemicals in their life. You don’t care if they sit around all day watching the TV or playing video games.

All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!

This post was created with love and with the idea of creating a better world for our children and future generations. Anger increases your risk of suffering a heart attack. Be careful.

Actually, Dr. Wolfson is the one who sounds as though he needs an anger management course. He’s a really, really angry guy. It also sounds as though he doesn’t like being criticized. Of course, no one actually likes being criticized, but if he wants to play with the big boys he really does need to develop a thicker skin than he’s exhibited. Of course, I don’t mind anger when there’s something worth getting anger over and have always rejected most tone trolling. (As Johnny Lydon used to sing, “Anger is an energy.”) I do, however, recognize double standards. While Dr. Wolfson is asking “why all the anger?” as though the anger at him was unjustified, at the same time he’s getting himself worked up into quite a lather! Then he’s telling people that what they are angry about is not what they should be angry about, treating them as stupid as he lectures them with logical fallacies galore, non sequiturs, and complete misinformation about vaccines and health. Yes, it’s great to eat better and avoid so much processed food, but it won’t protect you against disease the way vaccines can—nowhere close!

Just for yucks, I perused Dr. Wolfson’s website. I suggest that you do the same. It’s the naturalistic fallacy on steroids:

Although natural remedies have been used for thousands of years, “conventional” medicine is the term typically used to describe medical care using pharmaceuticals and surgery. The term “alternative” medicine was coined to represent all the other modalities such as vitamins, chiropractic, naturopathic, and homeopathic along with thousands of others. Conventional medicine has its place. If you are in a car wreck and needing emergency surgery, by all means, go to the nearest hospital. Natural is the only way regarding true prevention.

Integrative Cardiology uses nutrition and evidence based supplements to reduce/eliminate pharmaceutical burden and minimize cardiovascular risk. Some prescriptions may be necessary but the goal is to use as little as possible for a short duration. Invasive procedures such as coronary angiography and surgery may need to be performed. Some diseases do not have a natural cure and can only be treated with surgery. Sometimes a patient may need a pacemaker. The goal of the Integrative Cardiologist is to help the patient prevent situations calling for heroic measures and to aid in the recovery from such procedures using natural methods.

One wonders where the evidence is to support the claim that “natural is the only way” regarding “true prevention” (whatever that is). So, let’s see. If someone with hypertension uses a medication to bring his blood pressure down and thus decrease the risk of suffering a stroke or cardiac event, how is that not “true prevention”? Elsewhere, Dr. Wolfson gets even more ridiculous, such as this claim:

There are three main causes of disease and genetics is not one of them. Our ancestors from 50,000 years ago had the same genes but did not have the diseases of today.

Poor nutrition, chemicals, and stress are the root of all health issues and my focus is centered around addressing and correcting these factors. Genetics can predispose someone to disease, but poor nutrition and chemicals activate your genes, a concept called Epigenetics.

Epigenetics. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. But, seriously. This is a doctor outright saying that genetics is not a cause of cardiac disease, a statement that is so demonstrably wrong that I find it hard to believe that instead Wolfson didn’t just try to downplay the role of genetics (as most “integrative doctors” who spout off about epigenetics do) rather than outright deny it. Think of it this way. If genetics doesn’t play a role in heart disease, why are there pediatric cardiologists who specialize in inherited cardiovascular disease?

As for the whole “paleocardiologist” thing, just don’t get me started.

The sad thing is that this false balance continues. Since his first interview, Dr. Wolfson is reveling in his notoriety. He’s been interviewed for USA TODAY:

He’s apparently done a segment for CNN in which he “debated” Dr. Armand Dorian about vaccines that is truly painful to watch. (Sorry, CNN doesn’t allow embedding; so you’ll have to click on the link, but maybe that’s a favor to you.) Dr. Wolfson even pulls the “aborted fetal proteins” gambit. I will give Dr. Dorian credit for doing a pretty good job countering Wolfson, but I’m annoyed that CNN let Wolfson spout on about being a “board certified cardiologist,” as if that meant anything!

For shame, USA TODAY and CNN! For shame!

Of course, I know why news outlets are resurrecting false balance. In fact, it’s even alluded to in this Washington Post article:

Wolfson, who himself lives in a state now affected by the California measles outbreak that many blame on the anti-vaccination movement, does nonetheless prove the power of assuming a contrarian stance. The controversy has transformed Wolfson — last week, just another doctor — into a hero for those who share his views.

Yes, the reason that idiots like Wolfson—yes, idiots, and I’d call him an idiot to his face were I ever to see him—are reappearing is because measles is in the news now, and having raving antivaccine loons like Wolfson on TV juxtaposed with real doctors like Dr. Dorian is because it’s just the model of politics imposed on medical discourse.

It might make for interesting TV, but it sure doesn’t make for illuminating TV. CNN and USA TODAY have failed their viewers most egregiously.

Comments

  1. #1 TBruce
    February 1, 2015

    A thought…

    Cardiologists generally have to have admitting privileges, don’t they?

    I’d bet that Wolfson doesn’t go anywhere near a hospital and has an office-based practice only. As a “paleo-cardiologist”, he wouldn’t need to do hospital-based procedures such as cardiac catheterization. He wouldn’t have to be responsible for ICU coverage or cardiac emergencies, and therefore no brutal nights and weekends on call. Why bother with all that when you can make a good living from 9 to 5 telling people at $750 a crack to eat mastodon steaks?

    BTW, rather than an office-based practice, wouldn’t a “paleocardiologist” have a “cave-based” practice?

  2. #2 shay
    looking at the first five inches of our predicted eight inch snowfall
    February 1, 2015

    I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a cardiologist who doesn’t believe in medical intervention. Seriously, WTF?

  3. #3 Helianthus
    February 1, 2015

    @ Shay

    I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a cardiologist who doesn’t believe in medical intervention

    Maybe he believes that using medical treatments carries the risk of invoking demons from the Dungeon Dimension?
    I just hope he doesn’t have between 7 and 9 children…

  4. #4 Scottynuke
    February 1, 2015

    All quite possibly true, TBruce, but in that case we should always refer to Wolfson as a “cardiologist,” with extra air quotes.

  5. #5 sadmar
    Bombing the balancers
    February 1, 2015

    A link to some honest-to-gosh “False Balance” popped up the last thread. I attempted to do NEWS CRIT HULK GO SMASH.

    (Btw, “false balance” is an unnecessary rubric as all “balance” is false. When the truth does indeed have two equally valid ‘sides’, it’s just the truth.)

  6. #6 sadmar
    Brevity?
    February 1, 2015

    You cannot convince the broad public – who has little background on vaccine politics, and is only now paying attention due to the Disneyland outbreak – that anti-vaxers are dangerous loons unless you show them on TV saying dangerously looney stuff in pompous arrogance, and then dissect their lunatic blather with sharp critiques of their stupidty and irresponsibility.

  7. #7 Dangerous Bacon
    February 1, 2015

    “You cannot convince the broad public – who has little background on vaccine politics, and is only now paying attention due to the Disneyland outbreak – that anti-vaxers are dangerous loons unless you show them on TV saying dangerously looney stuff in pompous arrogance, and then dissect their lunatic blather with sharp critiques of their stupidty and irresponsibility.”

    wow, I see that there’s a Debate about vaccines. I will need to do my own Research online. Look, there are plenty of websites confirming what that TV person said about Toxins!!!

  8. #8 sadmar
    I do know...
    February 1, 2015

    “You know what they say about people who think they know more than you do…”
    Pot, meet Kettle.

    In all seriousness, I have never had any expectation to be engaged by Orac. When I reference his comments by number, I’m just, well referencing what I’m trying to comment on. Even if I pose a question, I’m not asking for Orac personally to address it. My honest understanding is that Orac is a busy guy with many more important things to do than read posts here (including mine especially) much less respond to them. I do not take a blog to be a conversation with the host. I take the host’s task as providing an interesting OP for readers to discuss amongst themselves.

    “He spends more time criticizing those combatting pseudoscience than he does actually, well, combatting pseudoscience.”
    I must object to that characterization. If my comments appear ad hominem, I apologize, but also ask that readers allow I do not mean them to be so.

    I do not mean to criticize “those combatting pseudoscience” but to critique the methods/strategies/theories they have chosen to employ in that combat, as I believe that will yield a more effective combatting of pseudo-science.

    And even so, I dispute the count of how I spend my time.

  9. #9 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    February 1, 2015

    Spent some time looking the good doctor’s website and offerings. It is entirely unfair not to admit he is a cardiologist as he has been awarded that title and it has not been stripped by his governing board.

    A rather standard array of diagnostic testing and his clinical testing is almost mainstream with a couple of kwirks thrown in. Strange anyone that would do an electrocardiogram and EKG yet not recommend surgical intervention. His diagnostic tests are nearly mainstream, except for the Omega-3 testing. Also, the metals testing. I wonder if he’s into chelation as you’d think that his testing would dovetail with chelation.

    His insurance babble is really babble. They do not participate in insurance plans, urges his patient to take stripped insurance, after all most people never need most of their insurance plan anyway. Most of his diagnostic tests are likely to be covered by insurance, but he forces the patients to do the filing. I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry, as patients doing their own claim filing is loved by the insurance sector. He is almost the poster child for free market health coverage, an set of insanity fostered by many in Congress.

    I had this thought while sitting in my own cardiologist office, being the youngest patient in a sea of “old farts”. As a specialization, in most cases the best you can do is to slow the progression of the disease. The vast majority of your patients, you hope you are helping by extending their lives, by improving their quality of their life, but you rarely “cure” anyone. In the end, grafts fail, plaques reform, failure progresses. I suspect that puts a special kind of pressure on a person, not surprising one would crack.

  10. #10 sadmar
    Face-palm
    February 1, 2015

    Wow, I see that there’s a Debate about vaccines. I will need to do my own Research online. Look, there are plenty of websites confirming what that TV person said about Toxins!!!

    [respectfully; without snark]
    Really, DB? Do you really think that’s an argument? If so:
    1) Please explain how such reactions are not engendered by every post on RI and SBM that mentions ant-vaxers by name and explicates their positions.
    2) Please provide evidence that such reactions occur in any significant percentage of the audience, and are anything other than overwhelmingly outnumbered by the opposite reactions as exemplified in the Deadspin comment thread.
    3) Please explain how the implied ‘logic’ of public opinion here, differs from the ‘logic’ of public health that asserts that any bad reaction to a vaccine injection invalidates the massive public health benefit produced by widespread immunization.
    4) Please provide an analysis of the visual elements, formal structures, and framing language of the news reports that supports a contention a rational viewer would interpret them as you suggest in the over-riding context of a spreading outbreak of measles.
    5) Please provide evidence that anyone who is not already a hopeless fringe-y loon would be persuaded to drop down the anti-vax rabbit-hole via such a mental mechanism…
    6)…including evidence that any significant percentage of the audience is so stupid they cant tell an interrogation or a set-up mis-match from an actual debate.

    Go Seahawks!

  11. #11 Colonel Tom
    February 1, 2015

    Ah, I see it now.
    He says

    “Platelet genetics to determine if certain drugs can help or harm Coagulation genetics (blood stickiness) such as Factor V Leiden, Prothrombin Mutation, and MTHFR which is critical for many diseases including detoxification of chemicals/heavy metals ”

    That would be chelation. Many of my teachers investigated this field. Human plaques are not purely cholesterol, there was(is) a field of research that suspects that blockages are tied to calcium-cholesterol complex. Yet, chelation would not work on calcium, and is unlikely to work on anything. That “treatment” is highly questionable and certainly includes some significant risks.

    Conversely, as my undergrad is in chemical engineering, I have known many friends that have gotten chelation. Just not for heart health.

  12. #12 Colonel Tom
    February 1, 2015

    @Sadmar. I am pretty sure that Mr. Bacon was using sarcasm. It is a subject I ponder upon frequently, how to tell the true from the false. The Christian Bible has a fairly good logical test for that, but the flaw is that when you don’t see the fruits of the evil seed, the test does not work. (Matthew 7:16-20) The “false” has become very good at hiding their poor outcomes, diversion and falsehood. Thus, how is the health consumer to know the bad from the good?

  13. #13 Mrs Grimble
    February 1, 2015

    “I think in those days the average age was a lot lower than nowadays, also because a lot of children probably died of illnesses we now are able to prevent, or cure with all those nasty chemicals.”
    You’re right, the “average life expectancy of thirty” estimate comes about mostly from the high childhood mortality rates of those times. If you survived into adulthood, you could be pretty sure of living (or at least not dying from natural causes) until at least fifty.
    Funny how kids back then died so easily when they were all entirely breastfed, ate totally organic food, played outside and never had any vaccinations.

  14. #14 SkewedDistribution
    February 1, 2015

    Iqbal,

    I can assure you that Orac has not singled out Wolfson alone. Wolfson is merely the latest purveyor of pseudo-science to pop his head up in the game of anti-vax whack-a-mole.

    If you take more than a moment to peruse this blog, you will rapidly discover that there is no crank, quack, snake-oil salesman or woomeister that is safe from Orac’s precision literary scientific strikes. And that also includes The Greater Good itself, which has also been highly accurately dissected by Orac.

  15. #15 Mrs Grimble
    February 1, 2015

    Appalled @73: “Dr. Wolfson is a cardiologist – and he’s recommending AGAINST vaccinations, including Rubella.
    Congenital Rubella (mom infected while pregnant) often causes heart damage.”
    And other disabilities – at least according to this story. Partial blindness, bone malformation, short stature and (reading between the lines) mild learning difficulties, all caused by his mother getting rubella in pregnancy.

  16. #16 dingo199
    February 1, 2015

    Has anyone posted a link to Wolfson’s response to the criticism?

    http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/arizona-cardiologist-responds-to-critics-regarding-measles-and-vaccines/

    Amusing how he rants at parents: “You NEVER learned about these benign infections!”

    Neither did he, it appears.

  17. #17 Panacea
    February 1, 2015

    @lilady re #190

    You are correct. Vaccination requires informed consent, which minors cannot give. So I could not administer an MMR to someone under the age of 18 without parental consent, even if the kid wanted it (not impossible if he sees his friends getting sick and decides he wants no part of that but his parents are virulent anti vaxxers).

    However, the Gardasil vaccine would be an exception in most states. Many states allow an exemption for reproductive health care. A minor child (usually age 12 or over) can ask for and get health care regarding reproduction and not only do we not ask the parents permission, we can’t even tell the parents the child came to see us.

    Usually the issue has to do with STD treatment or a prescription for the Pill. I’ve dealt with many angry parents who were outraged when I refused to discuss the visit of their minor child in the ER seeking (and getting) this kind of care. The parents scream “But I’m paying the bill!” And yes, yes they are. But they by law have no access to the medical records and I cannot and will not discuss the visit with them.

    So if a 15 year old asked for Gardasil to prevent HPV, in a state that allows minors control over their reproductive health, the teen can sign the informed consent form and get the vaccine. I would not call the parent, I would not discuss it with the parent if they called later, and the law would absolutely protect me.

  18. #18 brook
    February 1, 2015

    @panacea if same 15yo wanting hpv vax also wanted mmr (unlikely I know) couldn’t that fall under the heading of reproductive health? Pregnancy and VPD don’t mix.

  19. #19 Vicki
    February 1, 2015

    Mrs. Grimble @215:

    “If you survived into adulthood” and were male you had a good chance of making it to fifty. A lot of women died in childbirth.

  20. #20 Colonel Tom
    February 1, 2015

    @Panacea Yes, my mother tried to take her step-grandchildren in to get shots, and was rather upset when they refused.

    I miss that crazy old woman.

  21. #21 Stacie Lancaster
    Mason City, IA
    February 1, 2015

    This entire topic is starting to frustrate me. I would LOVE to find actual scientific information about vaccines, and what I mean by that is actual studies and research done. My problem is most every article or webpage I find with information is like this one, where people spend their words name calling and quite frankly, presenting their beliefs in the manner of a 8 year old. It’s hard to me to find truth on either side. I understand, people on both sides of this issue are concerned, scared, angry and feel incredibly protective of their loved ones, especially their children (and I suspect somewhat helpless due to the incredible consequences both sides believe may happen to their children). I get that, however, for those of us who would like to look at this issue in an objective manner the emotions make it difficult to find objective information or believe the information provided (on either side). As a physician I would hope you would consider writing an article with citations (not blogs or websites in support of your beliefs), but citations of studies or meta-analysis done or of people who have the credentials and ability to explain what they have researched. Provide the information that I can read for myself and make an informed decision from. Thank you.

  22. #22 lilady
    February 1, 2015

    Panacea, my daughter’s pediatrician was providing counseling 30 years ago. I brought her to her pediatrician for a well visit/physical examination for entry into Junior HIgh School. He examined her, and then asked me to leave the examination room. He provided her with the opportunity to discuss sexual activity and gave her “the speech” about patient confidentiality and assurances that he would provide her with birth control, when she became sexually active without telling her parents.

    My 12 year old daughter, without my prompting, told me about the conversation and I backed up the pediatrician.

  23. #23 Covey
    Canada
    February 1, 2015

    Here’s what I want to ask these anti-vaxxers: If they step on a rusty nail, will they go get a tetanus shot, or take their chances? If they are bit by something like a bat, will they go get a rabies shot, or take their chances? Do the women who are anti-vaxxers wear any makeup? Because there’s tons of chemicals in those. Did any of these anti-vaxxer middle to upper class couples have problems conceiving a child and paid for in-vitro fertilization? Because those hormone injections seem sketchy. Do they wash their hands after using the washroom? Because if they do, doesn’t that make them hypocrites, because according to their logic, germs are good for us and our ancestors never had soap or hand sanitizer. Do they brush their teeth? Because who knows what they put in the toothpaste. If their child gets head-lice, will they just shave their child’s head? Because who knows how toxic the head-lice shampoo is. If their child gets an ear infection, I’m assuming they will just wait for their kids body to fight it off right, because god only knows what is in those antibiotics. If their child gets measles and then they take them to do doctor, thereby exposing and potentially infecting hundreds of people, will they feel guilty? Or will they think they’ve done something good for society?

  24. #24 Ladiebug77
    US
    February 1, 2015

    CNN sought out Wolfson’s input on their article “Arizona measles exposure worries parents of at-risk kids”, by E. Cohen & D. Goldschmidt, Sat 31 Jan 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/30/health/arizona-measles-vaccination-debate/index.html . Yet “He blamed the Jacks family for taking Maggie to the clinic for care,” when the second paragraph of the article clearly states that they took Eli, not Maggie, to that clinic. This bombastic self-proclaimed expert can’t even be bothered to get the facts straight before he starts criticizing people.

  25. #25 sadmar
    Another parody from The Onion
    February 1, 2015

    From: ‘Pamela Masters, New Mom’ on The Onion spin-off ‘Clickhole.’

    Someone posted it on Twitter, and in true Onion fashion a number of twitterers took it seriously.

    @elainewalton: I really disagree with not vaccinating children. Unnecessary danger to all because of unproven autism link, IMHO.

    ‏@dajbelshaw: @elainewalton I think you haven’t realised what @ClickHole actually is. #ironyfilter

    @elainewalton: @dajbelshaw Oh – whoops – haha! Half reading it, half watching tv (while eating). #doh

    @jomeara555: Can you afford to see your kids suffer from something easily avoided by a vaccination?

    ‏@dajbelshaw: @jomeara555 @ClickHole 😉

    @njbaseball: The link between autism and vaccines has already been scientifically dispelled.

    @SleeperTimbre: @njbaseball Clickhole is a satire website. Its basically satirizing the anti vaccination sentiment

    @njbaseball: @SleeperTimbre Oooooops!

    ‏@Wooty_wooty: Idiots like this caused a fucking measles outbreak at Disneyland potentially killing babies

    @muttonthanks: This is satire, right? Feel dumb for asking

    @cardenaso11: @muttonthanks @ClickHole Of course 😛

    ‏@muttonthanks: @cardenaso11 @ClickHole Then consider me a click-holer!

  26. #26 Annie
    February 1, 2015

    Oh wow. Have you read his response on CNN to the doctor whose 10 month old son and 3 year old daughter with leukemia were exposed to measles?

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/30/health/arizona-measles-vaccination-debate/index.html

    “But Dr. Jack Wolfson said it’s the Jacks family who should keep themselves at home, not him.

    Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist, refuses to vaccinate his two young sons. He said the family that didn’t vaccinate and endangered the Jacks children did nothing wrong.

    “It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child like Maggie] to be supposedly healthy,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place.”

    “I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” he added. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.”

    CNN asked Wolfson if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

    “I could live with myself easily,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child.”

    He blamed the Jacks family for taking Maggie to the clinic for care.

    “If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn’t be going out into society,” he said.”

    It truly is shocking how callous this “doctor” is.

  27. #27 sadmar
    It's a crazy feeling and I know it's got me reelin'
    February 1, 2015

    @ Stacie #221
    In yesterdays thread Chemmomo cited these books:

    Seth Mnoonkin, The Panic Virus
    Paul Offit, Autism’s False Prophets
    Arthur Allen, Vaccine

    If you click the ‘Autism’ link under ‘Categories’ in the right-hand column on this page, and look through the results, you will eventually find the links to the peer-reviewed scientific papers. Orac has been blogging on this topic for years, has linked to the studies many times, and cannot be expected to do so again each time he writes a new post.

    You may also find what you are looking for here:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/vaccines-and-autism/#resources

  28. #28 DevoutCatalyst
    February 1, 2015

    Covey, it’s hard to say what individuals do under those circumstances, but tetanus and rabies vaccine denial is common enough. I once believed basic human decency would insure that certain lines are not crossed, but alt-med’s overweening ignorance and/or callous disregard for the welfare of others has disabused me of this notion.

  29. #29 sadmar
    Halftime
    February 1, 2015

    Re: Annie’s #225
    The problem with putting people like Wolfson on TV is that they may appear so obviously ‘out there’ that viewers assume they are grossly amplifying some more sensible and position along similar lines that exists somewhere in the public sphere.

    However, while the expression may not be so shockingly overt in its callousness, the ‘It’s not my responsibility to protect your child. You should keep you kid at home,” argument has whole threads devoted to it on at least one ‘mainstream’ (cough) anti-vax website. (I do not have the stomach to check others. Perhaps Denice can report…)

    I would want viewers to know this is not just the opinion of a guy who looks and sounds like a stereotypical ‘extremist’, but is central to the dogma of even the kinder-and-gentler-seeming core of the ‘movement’.

  30. #30 brook
    February 1, 2015

    @stacie how about contacting your alma mater. I’m sure they’d be happy to help you navigate pubmed.
    Complaining that a blog isn’t doing your work for you smacks of tone trolling.

  31. #31 shay
    February 1, 2015

    Stacie, did you bother to read the blog post, or did you go straight to the comments?

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2015

    @ sadmar:

    You are quite correct: I’ve seen it all.

    Besides TMR, I find that the altie sites ( PRN, Natural News, Green Med Info, Fearless Parent. Mercola) are similarly hotbeds of feverish antivax activity esp when comments are allowed.

    -btw- since Jake turned the comments back ( ET), he’s had some interesting guests to whom he hasn’t ( as yet) responded. I perversely wonder what would happen if a particular one- well versed in the art of interviewing, he is- directly questioned Jake.
    Right, the comments would probably be turned off again.

  33. #33 palindrom
    February 1, 2015

    Denice @232 —

    feverish antivax activity

    Now that’s an apt metaphor.

    Or whatever figure of speech it actually is.

  34. #34 a-non
    February 2, 2015

    Stacie @221-

    Nice try, but the “where’s the research” gambit gives you away. That’s #13 in the Pretend To Be Pro Safe-Vaccine When I Really Oppose Vaccines Playbook.

  35. #35 he's a pitchman!
    February 2, 2015

    …anyone notice he’s pushing a vitamin line on his cardiology site?!? This is a marketing plan for him. He’s just another shyster trying to churn a dollar through infamy……..

  36. #36 lilady
    February 2, 2015

    Denice Walter: Jake turned off the comments on a previous post on Epoch Times and labeled some of the commenters as trolls. I think he might have be forced by his editor at ET to keep the comments section open. He hasn’t opted to reply to comments on this current blog post. I wonder why?

  37. #37 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    February 2, 2015

    Super Sunday and all that — The 11 o’clock news led off with the story that a Santa Monica CA daycare center is closed at least temporarily because an infant has been diagnosed with measles. The center is near Santa Monica High School. None of the high school’s students have come down with measles, but this is the same place that an assistant baseball coach had it.

    As I said previously, I suspect that the accumulating weight of all these news stories is starting to have an effect. The measles stories are of course fairly short, but they are showing people talking about getting vaccinated.

    @221 and others: There are of course medical textbooks of immunology, pediatrics, and infectious diseases. Medical libraries have them, and some university libraries have some. The problem is that they will be hard to read for people who haven’t studied chemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and pathology. If you haven’t done that, then you aren’t even able to understand the depths of your own ignorance. You simply lack the foundational knowledge to know how badly you don’t know the subject. The obvious course of action would be to listen to the combined knowledge of those who have studied these topics, have engaged in serious academic research, and have become infectious disease experts or public health experts. Of course it is easy to reject this advice on the basis that the whole world is part of a vast conspiracy, including those experts, but this would be irrational.

  38. #38 lilady
    February 2, 2015

    I’m going to assume Stacie Lancaster @ 221 is on the fence about vaccines and I will provide her with studies about vaccine safety:

    http://www2.aap.org/immunization/families/faq/vaccinestudies.pdf

    Stacie, there is a recently published meta analysis and Orac blogged about it.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/05/20/one-more-bit-of-evidence-burying-the-ex-hypothesis-that-vaccines-cause-autism/

  39. #39 brook
    February 2, 2015

    lilady – you are much more charitable than I.

  40. #40 Mel
    East Africa
    February 2, 2015

    Bob G @236 (or any of the other regulars)
    I’m trying to put together an introduction / overview on how to evaluate scientific sources for high-school students, using a guide I came across at Violent Metaphors. If the audience is 10th-11th graders, how would you recommend helping them to distinguish between “appeal to authority” as a fallacy vs relying on experts in fields where they simply aren’t going to be able to master enough background & technical details to evaluate the content first-hand?

  41. #41 Orac
    February 2, 2015

    From TIME.com:

    CNN inexplicably afforded Wolfson the familiar split-screen, point-counterpoint platform to argue the vaccine issue with another doctor—as if there were any argument to begin with. The network touted the exchange on CNN.com as “Fiery Vaccine Debate,” which likely earned the site some clicks and gave Wolfson a patina of legitimacy in return.

    False balance.

  42. #42 KayMarie
    February 2, 2015

    @Mel

    From my limited understanding the things to look for are

    1. When did the authority say that (for example one medical myth I read about the authority was a doc in the 1800’s who made a supposition that then got into medial textbooks as fact and is oft repeated on many of the usually reliable medical websites as well), and is there any more recent data to contradict it.

    If you ignore that the authority was found wrong you are giving into the fallacy rather than following the data.

    2. Is the expert actually an expert at the thing you are using as the facts. While some people are polymaths or do interdisciplinary work so may have good standing in more than one field (lord knows my publication record is all over the map) an engineer may not be the best expert for information about biology and I might not trust a biologist’s take on the astrophysics of star formation in the early universe.

    3. Is there reason to believe the expert really has full expertise. Google U graduates may have in their own words “done the research” but may not have the training to notice when they are cherry picking the data. I think you see this in a lot of psuedo-science where there may be a couple of experts but all the references are circular so A said B, C repeats B, A uses C’s repetition to confirm B is true, but no one every really did a check on B, just gets repeated in book after book or article after article each saying well such and so said it, it must be true.

    4. What I like to think of as the Gadfly effect sometimes combined with Just Asking Questions. Some of the AIDS denialism fits in this. Some of the people who were doing the HIV can’t possibly be the cause of AIDS things had some standing as an expert, but when you realized that all the Questions were answered and they were still asking them as if no one ever thought of checking on that, like ever it becomes clear someone is just buzzing around being irritating rather than contributing to the field.

  43. #43 sadmar
    Playing the players
    February 2, 2015

    @lilady #238 Well done!

    I thought Stacie might be a troll, but figured the right move was to give a straight answer because any new readers would likely take the question as sincere, and we should offer some direct references to them, whether Stacie’s query was sincere or not.

    After I posted #227 I ran across a somewhat older article at Time.com, where there was a very similar comment: ‘frustration, no science, name-calling, where’s the data’ though it had a clear anti-vax spin at the end, and wasn’t as sophisticated as Stacie’s post.

    So my hypothesis is this sort of response has become a sort of anti-vax script, a known strategy for Machiavellian trolls to:
    • appear to question vax advocates from an ‘objective/neutral’ position
    • advance the ‘they’re just jerks’ meme
    • imply there isn’t a scientific consensus since ‘nobody’s giving cites’
    …all for the benefit of befuddling actual fence sitters.

    Whether Stacie herself is playing such a game of deception, or is somehow echoing it in sincerity doesn’t matter. People just beginning to ask questions about vaccines post-Disneyland may wind up here – maybe days from now – when the thread has quieted down. We want them to see the studies are indeed accessible, and that we treat fence-sitter questions with respect.

    If the fence-sitter might be fake, we don’t know that for sure, so best to address them as sincere, since the readers might be. Good job!

  44. #44 sadmar
    AoA makes me ill
    February 2, 2015

    @ Denice #232
    So, specifically is the ‘keep YOUR kids home, it not MY responsibillty to protect them’ line coming up often across the different sites. I stumbled into the thread of it on mothering.com… And I’m serious — if I look at that stuff for any length of time despair overtakes me and I just shut down… 🙁

  45. #45 Don
    February 2, 2015

    It should be pointed out again that this Wolfson character is not an MD. He is a DO. There is a big difference. DOs are already looked upon with skepticism in the medical community since they could not get into a real medical school and believe spine manipulation can miraculously cure disease. Don’t see a DO if you have a choice.

  46. #46 Annie
    February 2, 2015

    @sadmar

    “So, specifically is the ‘keep YOUR kids home, it not MY responsibillty to protect them’ line coming up often across the different sites. I stumbled into the thread of it on mothering.com… ”

    Posted just a few minutes ago is this gem by someone who goes by the name Serenbat.

    “Great Dad? Are you kidding us? And a MD too!

    This father took a 10-month old to a medical facility instead of getting a sitter! No 10-month old needs to be subjected to any medical facility for NO reason! Not only is it flu season, MRSA, and other communicable disease are all around! People and children are there to be tested!

    Where do you think we should be testing for measles and OTHER disease? Not in medical facilities?

    He put both children at risk, no one else did!

    The other child was going for a test, not a procedure, precautions should have been made, he clearly didn’t. I live in a smaller area in our local hosp. and clinics they even offer better services, private rooms and in-home blood work is SUPER common and done all the time. If someone is at risk a visiting nurse comes to your home.

    This is a GREAT dad? No way would I want to deal with a doc too cheap to get a sitter – total irresponsible too!

    WOW what PRO spin! Never taking responsibility! It’s always someone to BLAME!”

  47. #47 Orac
    February 2, 2015

    It should be pointed out again that this Wolfson character is not an MD. He is a DO. There is a big difference.

    No there is not, at least not in the US. In the US, DOs undergo pretty much the same training as MDs. Yes, they still learn spinal manipulation in DO school, but few, if any, of them in the US continue to practice it once they are licensed. Most of them go to the same residency programs as MDs and learn the same post-medical school training as MDs and practice the same way as MDs. Indeed, at least two of the finest physicians I’ve ever known were DOs. One is an anesthesiologist and critical care doc who ran the surgical ICU at one of the hospitals where I trained. The other is an oncologist who ran our phase I program at my cancer center for many years. Few MDs could match them.

    So I won’t have you badmouthing DOs (at least not American DOs; I know it’s different in Europe) in the comments here without taking you to task for it.

  48. #48 Orac
    February 2, 2015

    So my hypothesis is this sort of response has become a sort of anti-vax script, a known strategy for Machiavellian trolls to:

    • appear to question vax advocates from an ‘objective/neutral’ position
    • advance the ‘they’re just jerks’ meme
    • imply there isn’t a scientific consensus since ‘nobody’s giving cites’
    …all for the benefit of befuddling actual fence sitters.

    Oh, so you noticed. Old news that those of us in the pro-SBM, pro-vax camp learn very early on. It’s also known as a combination of JAQing off and tone trolling.

  49. #49 Denice Walter
    February 2, 2015

    @ sadmar:

    I’ve heard similar memes- *your kids are not my responsibility* around the usual places-
    usually, they throw in * if they’re vaccinated, why are you worried?* sarcastically.
    I have heard, *keep them home* a few times, but I think that it’s new.

  50. #50 Dangerous Bacon
    February 2, 2015

    Stacie says “I would LOVE to find actual scientific information about vaccines, and what I mean by that is actual studies and research done. My problem is most every article or webpage I find with information is like this one, where people spend their words name calling and quite frankly, presenting their beliefs in the manner of a 8 year old.”

    Many 8-year-olds have learned to use Google, which turns up numerous examples of articles on this blog which have examined studies of vaccine safety and efficacy. In addition to what lilady listed, here are a couple more for you to dig into:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/03/11/for-the-anti-vaccinationists-out-there-t/

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/04/01/the-death-of-too-many-too-soon-not-a-moment-too-soon/

    Hope you’ll be back real soon to acknowledge and discuss these articles. 🙂

  51. #51 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    February 2, 2015

    Regarding DOs in the US, I’ve had interactions with three.

    One is my husband’s PCP. My husband’s family is seriously into chiropractic, so he picked the DO as someone who might help out with his back pain by adjusting him. To his surprise, the doctor instead referred him to a physical therapist, and the therapy has actually resolved a lot of his problems — problems that manipulation only ever gave temporary relief from.

    Another was an opthamologist, who diagnosed the weird lumps in my eye and chelazions and advised me to take a conservative course and come back if that didn’t work. It didn’t work, so he drained them surgically, but his advice did work on some subsequent chelazions.

    And then there’s the one who delivered my second daughter by C-section. I had picked a family practice doctor to deliver my baby, but the stars were not in my favor; I needed a C-section so the OB on call got to do it instead. (My doctor assisted her, though. She likes assisting on C-section deliveries.) She was very efficient and thorough and very science-based as well.

    Honestly, it does make me wonder why there are two different degrees, but I suppose it’s a little bit like a BA in science. It’s an entirely legitimate degree, but people still make the “would you like fries with that?” jokes. 😉

  52. #52 justthestats
    February 2, 2015

    I’m not certain if a teen can legally get a MMR vaccine, even in the states which have liberal laws to permit teens to seek health care for STDs prevention and treatment. IIRC, states which are liberal have already addressed teens’ rights to consent to HPV vaccination, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. There is no provision that I am aware of, for a teen to consent to any other vaccine.

    Just a thought — are ther any VPD

  53. #53 justthestats
    February 2, 2015

    I’m not certain if a teen can legally get a MMR vaccine, even in the states which have liberal laws to permit teens to seek health care for STDs prevention and treatment. IIRC, states which are liberal have already addressed teens’ rights to consent to HPV vaccination, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. There is no provision that I am aware of, for a teen to consent to any other vaccine.

    Just a thought — are there any VPDs that can’t be transmitted sexually?

  54. #54 TBruce
    February 2, 2015

    My opinion about MD vs DO (in the US) is that they are both perfectly fine as a starting point. The US DO is recognized as a legitimate medical degree in all provinces in Canada (where I live). Medical education also includes residency, fellowship, CME, research, self-study and experience (not just experience, right, Dr. Jay?). It shouldn’t include fads, marketing or straight-up denying science to keep your wife or girlfriend happy (right, Dr Oz and Dr Wolfson?).
    Sneering at Wolfson because he’s a DO is beside the point and wrong.

  55. #55 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 2, 2015

    Just a thought — are there any VPDs that can’t be transmitted sexually?

    Since measles is a respiratory ailment, I suppose sexual transmission could be prevented by using a full body condom (ref. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!).

  56. #56 Orac
    February 2, 2015
  57. #57 brook
    February 2, 2015

    Stacie mentioned being a physician. Hence my steering her to her alma mater (which ought to be ashamed if they’ve turned out an MD who can’t do a basic pubmed search) for help.

  58. #58 TBruce
    February 2, 2015

    @brook:

    I don’t think that Stacie is a physician. I think she made a grammatical error.

  59. #59 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 2, 2015

    Stacie’s intended meaning was: ” I would hope you would consider writing an article with citations, since you are a physician.”

  60. #60 brook
    February 2, 2015

    Mea culpa. thanks for setting me straight.

  61. #61 sadmar
    Batty
    February 2, 2015

    Annie #246
    It was the very same ‘serenbat’ leading the ‘keep your kids home’ charge from day one of the Disneyland story on the thread I fell into. She’s not as rhetorically extreme as Wolfson, but she’s still pretty obnoxious. The thing was, while there was some dissent in the thread the position got a lot of support from less ‘edgey’ commenters as well. But while there wasn’t a surplus of ‘keep your kids home’ posts, as serenbat observed, that is the obvious consequent of ‘it’s not MY responsibillty to protect YOUR kids’ takes that utterly dominated the discussion (apart from the sbm ‘trolls’).

  62. #62 SteveJ
    February 2, 2015

    @Callie Arcade

    Honestly, it does make me wonder why there are two different degrees, but I suppose it’s a little bit like a BA in science. It’s an entirely legitimate degree, but people still make the “would you like fries with that?” jokes. 😉

    Hey now. My university only offered BAs in Biology. 🙂

  63. […] Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines, Respectful Insolence […]

  64. #64 Panacea
    February 2, 2015

    @brook #218: You can’t give the MMR to someone who is already pregnant. It has to wait until after the delivery. I think a doctor would have a hard time justifying giving the MMR before hand by calling it a planned pregnancy. It would probably open a can of worms he doesn’t want opened.

    Ditto varicella and influenza. Risks to the fetus are too high.

    @lilday #222 Teens often are anxious about their confidentiality and seek reassurance I won’t tell their parents.

    I won’t, I tell them. But I also tell them, “Don’t think your parents are stupid. They will figure it out eventually. Think about a way to tell them yourselves ahead of time if you can, unless you’re worried about violence. Find someone you trust to mediate if you’re really that worried about their reaction. But I won’t tell them a thing.”

  65. #65 Delphine
    no lyrics, just get me out of this effing endless snow.
    February 2, 2015

    @#264

    You can and should get a flu shot when you’re pregnant. Pregnant women are often very sick from influenza and sometimes they die. Also, Tdap is a must in the third trimester of every pregnancy.

  66. #66 Delphine
    February 2, 2015

    Also, I would just like everyone to know that right after I had a yellow fever shot, I was hit by a car. Tru fax. Moral of the story, yellow fever vaccine is a bad, bad, bad dude.

  67. #67 Dr. Facts
    San Francisco
    February 2, 2015

    Altho DO s typically complete medical residencies like MDs they are still the MD’s poor sisters. DOs have to take courses in body manipulation that lack scientific validity. Many if not most DOs were not accepted into medical schools and settled for DO school. That said Wolfson is a classic Galileo-complex, “smartest person in the room” narcissist. He is a contrarian because it gets him attention which he needs. His view of vaccines is contrary to overwhelming statistical evidence. The risk of an adverse reaction to the measles vaccine is 1 in 1 million. His ignorance of medical treatment of heart disease is appalling. He will be the subject of multiple malpractice lawsuits during his likely short career. He will have his “moonies” of course whom he will injure or kiill prematurely because of his “alternative”i.e. unscientific approach to heart disease and those people will not challenge his methods regardless of outcome. Remember 20% of people do not know if the earth revolves around the sign or visa versa and this is approximately the percentage who believe in conspiracies.

  68. #68 Chris
    February 2, 2015

    “Many if not most DOs were not accepted into medical schools and settled for DO school.”

    Though they do get residency spots in MD teaching hospitals. So it seems the residency selection committees overlook the first part.

    By the way, the pediatrician and parent of a child with cancer who is really angry at certain parents for spreading measles is a DO. Just saying.

    (my oldest was treated in the emergency department of a major medical teaching hospital by a DO doing a family practice residency)

  69. […] Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines – Respectful Insolence. […]

  70. #70 Dr. Facts
    San Francisco
    February 3, 2015

    Most DOs are excellent doctors who complete medical residencies. Most DOs are evidence-based in their approach to healthcare. But some DOs(more than MDs) subscribe to deviant notions of health. Wolfson is one of those. He is pathological and has no concept of evidence-based medicine. He believes his own intuition is superior to scientific facts. He rationalizes things and refers to obscure and often discredited notions about vaccines so he stands out so he can bring attention to himself. Anyone who buys into his drivel should think twice because it may cost hem a lot more than a case of measles.

  71. #71 DO Student
    Arizona
    February 3, 2015

    I’m a second year medical student at a DO school, and for what it’s worth, I think “Dr.” Wolfson is a quack, and so does every one of my classmates as far as I know. If it were up to me, he’d be stripped of his medical license. That vast majority of DOs, whether they did an ACGME or an AOA residency, practice modern, evidence-based medicine. Even the ones who are in to OMM (I’m not) think of it as an adjunct to- rather a replacement- for real medicine. Whether our MCAT score was as high as those of MD’s is pretty irrelevant when we regularly take and pass the USMLE by the thousands each year. Our residencies will all be ACGME-accredtied by 2020. The differences between MDs and DOs are superficial and disappearing.

  72. #72 Narad
    February 3, 2015

    But some DOs(more than MDs) subscribe to deviant notions of health.

    Please don’t leave everyone with bated breath.

  73. #73 Narad
    February 3, 2015

    Remember 20% of people do not know if the earth revolves around the sign or visa versa

    At this point, I feel obligated to ask whether “Dr. Facts” is importing prejudices.

  74. #74 Pomme
    United States
    February 3, 2015

    Wolfson should have his medical license pulled for incompetence, even if vaccinations are outside of his field of expertise. Does he also believe that the earth is flat? How did this guy get a bachelor’s degree, let alone an MD? If he wants to keep practicing something, he should become a chiropractor.

  75. […] Wolfson also stated that, in his bizarro world, children have a right to contract serious illnesses like measles. […]

  76. […] Indeed, he has even less reason to be familiar with childhood vaccines than the ever-vile Dr. Jack Wolfson who, being a cardiologist, would be expected to offer at least the pneumococcal vaccine to his […]

  77. #77 Chris
    February 3, 2015

    ” But some DOs(more than MDs) subscribe to deviant notions of health.”

    Let’s see: Dr. Jay Gordon, Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Russell Blaylock, Dr. Julian Whitaker, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Dr. Roy Kerry…. this website has dealt with several more.

    You really are going to have to come up with some real numbers now.

  78. #78 Dr. Facts
    San Francisco
    February 3, 2015

    There are hordes of MDs who subscribe to “alternative” nonsense. Most US med schools now have “integrative health departments” staffed by MDs who are as goofy as Wolfson. This is part of the politically correct, don’t offend anyone , every opinion is to be respected culture we now have. What I am saying is that osteopathy was originally a manipulative form of healthcare (bone-setting)and those roots persist in osteopathic schools. There are no studies that can verify that idea I realize but that is my perception. The best thing about the measles outbreak is that he public is learning the truth about vaccines. Antivaxers are being exposed as unscientific, paranoid, selfish and uninformed.

  79. #79 Scottie
    February 3, 2015

    This guy should take his children where they can catch the Measles. After all, it’s their RIGHT!

    Instead, the ignorance doth flow:

    “We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, these are the rights of our children to get it,” said Dr. Jack Wolfson of Wolfson Integrative Cardiology in Paradise Valley.

  80. #80 rs
    February 3, 2015

    271 “The differences between MDs and DOs are superficial and disappearing.”

    Then why have a DO program at all? I suspect rather because the differences are indeed real and will remain.

  81. #81 Chris
    February 3, 2015

    What I am saying is that osteopathy was originally a manipulative form of healthcare (bone-setting)and those roots persist in osteopathic schools.”

    Then they got their act together, and the bone bit was pushed to the fringes.

    “Then why have a DO program at all?”

    It seems historical. When I first visited this page over ten years ago I noticed he was a medical doctor teaching at an osteopathic school. When I go to that school’s page now I see that they removed osteopathic from their name: http://www.kcumb.edu/about/

    I suspect all osteopathic college are private, versus the lots of medical schools are public (though not all).

    It is also difficult to open new medical schools. The region in the Pacific Northwest is mostly served by one public university medical school at the University of Washington. They have a regional training program called WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho).

    There is presently a move to create a new medical school, but there is political arguing if it should be through the University of Washington or Washington State University. Most of over funding.

    So just like everything, it comes down to money.

    Personally I prefer the thought that an medical school applicant have an option of a private osteopathic college than the only other option in Washington State: Bastyr University, which supplies us with too many worthless naturopaths.

  82. #82 Chris
    February 3, 2015

    (please ignore the dropped words and bad grammar, eating lunch and typing is not a good mix)

  83. #83 Colonel Tom
    February 3, 2015

    KayMarie! Hey, I resemble that remark (#242). Some of us engineers took a boatload of biology in a premed/predent program of chemical engineering. Some of us in pharmaceutical, bio-engineering and bio-medical engineering take a good number of biology, anatomy and physiology.

    Its not like I am going to say that engineers make the best doctors, oh wait, yes I am.

  84. #84 Gus Snarp
    February 3, 2015

    Wow, this guy is truly an awful human being. I wish the media would recognize that he’s got no idea what he’s talking about and is a hateful, hateful man and stop interviewing him. It does no one any good for him to get that platform to spread his bile.

  85. #85 KayMarie
    February 3, 2015

    There are definitely people who are trained to work at the intersection between fields. However, I’ve also talked to some engineers without much training in chemistry or biology who can’t understand that the wetware isn’t going to respond the kinds of fixes their fault diodes or inappropriately sized structural element will.

    I may have picked that particular example as I believe the natural enemy of the scientist is the engineer. 🙂 One day in the lab I was able to open something when an engineer couldn’t find the latch and I wasn’t sure what made me happier, that I beat a boy, or I beat an engineer. Almost as good as the day with a little finesse I got the safety cap off a gas cylinder when the boys had been going after it with brute strength and long levers for about an hour. But the only additional rivalry that day was which University we were affiliated with.

  86. #86 Jake M
    February 3, 2015

    Nothing but a lot of name calling on this site. I for one, agree with most of what he’s saying in regards to diet and lifestyle. Secondly, most states offer exemptions for vaccines. Don’t like the law? Change it, and make the Pharma companies liable for vaccine related injuries and death.

  87. #87 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    February 3, 2015

    KayMarie, I suspect the Engineer was taking pity and allowing you your small victory. We are very kind that way.

    Many get confused with biomedical engineering, the human body has so many control mechanism and feedback loops that if you ever forget how complicated things are you are doomed to failure. We used to have a joke about blood pressure being controlled by 17 different control mechanisms, and for all I know they might have discovered a few more in the last 30 some years. God is a very subtle engineer.

  88. #88 Chris
    February 3, 2015

    Jake M: “Nothing but a lot of name calling on this site. I for one, agree with most of what he’s saying in regards to diet and lifestyle.”

    Including that it okay to give a child leukemia measles which would cause their death?

    Wow.

    “Change it, and make the Pharma companies liable for vaccine related injuries and death.”

    Please provide PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedules causes more “injuries and deaths” than the diseases.

    Since this is about an outbreak of measles, do show that the MMR causes as much death and disability as measles. Does the MMR cause pneumonia in one out of five recipients? Does the MMR cause encephalitis in one out of a thousand doses?

    Please come up with verifiable documentation that the MMR is worse than measles.

  89. #89 lilady
    February 3, 2015

    Jake M. Why don’t you share with us citations/links to studies which prove those who have certain lifestyles and diets (and who are unvaccinated against measles), are less likely to contract measles when exposed to measles infectious individual.

    We’re trying to change laws in States which have personal belief exemptions and religious exemptions.

    How about providing your legal opinion that litigants who would make claims in civil courts for “vaccine injuries” would have a better chance of prevailing against a vaccine manufacturer-versus-litigants filing a claim for vaccine injuries in the Vaccine Court?

    – Make certain to comment on comparisons of the burden of proof in civil courts-vs-Vaccine Court.

    – Make certain to comment about the payment of attorneys’ fees if the litigant does not prevail in civil court-vs-payment of atttorneys’ fees if the litigant does not prevail in the Vaccine Court.

  90. #90 Bethany
    February 3, 2015

    I bet this asshat hunks we should banDHMO because it’s a *gasp* chemical. This man is a should have his MD yanked and be awarded a DoA- Doctor of ass-hattery because that is apparently his specialty. The ONLY logical explanation I can come up with is that he is being paid an extraordinary amount of money to spread these absolutely unconscionable lies and vitriol.

  91. #91 CHC
    PA
    February 3, 2015

    I am a chiropractor and there is no “woo “involved. Many people successfully see chiros, homeopaths, acupuncturist , nutritionists , do yoga or mediate daily to achieve their own healthy balance . If your not one of them -it is ok. There has got to be some moderation of living healthy but safely in this cynical world. I do not think bashing others holistic practitioners is
    getting anywhere in this.

  92. #92 Narad
    February 3, 2015

    I am a chiropractor and there is no “woo “involved.

    Well, there doesn’t have to be. Let’s see….

    Many people successfully see chiros, homeopaths, acupuncturist , nutritionists , do yoga or mediate daily to achieve their own healthy balance . If your not one of them -it is ok. There has got to be some moderation of living healthy but safely in this cynical world. I do not think bashing others holistic practitioners is
    getting anywhere in this.

    Congratulations, you have failed the science-based chiropractor test.

  93. #93 TBruce
    February 4, 2015

    I do not think bashing others holistic practitioners is
    getting anywhere in this.

    CHC, here’s a question thatI have asked repeatedly, but have yet to get a satisfactory answer. Why don’t you have a go?

    You refer to “holistic” practitioners. My understanding of a holistic practitioner is one who evaluates more than just a patient’s disease state, but also evaluates the patient’s overall health, his diet and lifestyle, his emotional and spiritual state and so forth. Why does this have to do with nonsense like homeopathy, therapeutic (non)touch, anti-vaccination and so forth? What is “holistic” about quackery?

  94. #94 Narad
    February 4, 2015

    ^ I ought to have been more precise:*

    Congratulations, you have failed the science-based chiropractor functional ability to identify what you’re claiming is “not involved” test.

    * I originally intended to link to SBM, but it wasn’t responding. Still.

  95. #95 ChrisP
    February 4, 2015

    I am a chiropractor and there is no “woo “involved.

    This must go down as one of the great blind spots in history. The theory of chiropractics is based on woo. And as this chiropractor so amply demonstrates, numerous practicing chiropractors are unable to identify other woo (homeopathy, acupuncture) when they meet it.

  96. #96 Chris
    February 4, 2015

    CHC: “I am a chiropractor and there is no “woo “involved”

    So what is your sure fire method to prevent measles? Be specific and provide citations.

  97. #97 Student DO
    Arizona
    February 4, 2015

    rs 280: “Then why have a DO program at all? I suspect rather because the differences are indeed real and will remain.”

    I spend about 2-3 hours a week half asleep in OMM lab and lecture, and spend an evening cramming for an OMM exam once or twice a semester. I challenge you to find the other differences. We use the same textbooks for pathology (Robbins), gross anatomy (Moore), etc. as any other med school. You could make the argument that many of our clinical rotations are not at large academic medical centers. That would be true, but it’s also irrelevant as the same applies to quite a few MD schools.

    The distinction is historical, that’s all.

    Chris, 281: Actually there are several public DO schools. Michigan State, Oklahoma State, University of North Texas to name a few.

  98. #98 Dr. Facts
    Sa Francisco
    February 4, 2015

    Chiropractic is one of the biggest ant-vaccine guilds. Remember, adjusting subluxations is the key to health and avoiding diseases like measles. Never mind the fact that only about 5% of the general public sees a chiropractor in any year and according to the American Chiropractic Association 90% of those people see chiros for musculoskeletal problems. Many chiros fuel the flames of anti-immunizations as means to promote their businesses. “Educational ” pamphlets written by a nut-job chiro named Tedd Koren are available at many chiro clinics . Chiropractic has very limited value for low back pain but there is no evidence that it has any value for any other health condition.

  99. #99 High Arka
    higharka.blogspot.com
    February 4, 2015

    For tens of thousands of years, human Wise Men, and those who believed in them, have been wrong. They have believed in evil spirits, bodily humors, leeches, and electric shock therapy to cure homosexuality.

    However, beginning sometime in the 1970s, human Wise Men became Completely Correct. From this point forward, the mainstream views on science are all Completely Correct. Anyone who dares to suggest that the mainstream views are wrong is, by definition, an insane idiot who should be ignored.

  100. #100 Murmur
    February 4, 2015

    And pointing out the lack of efficacy of “holistic practitioners” and how their “theories” are unhelpful, verging on harmful, is perfectly valid.

    As a former nurse “holistic” is one of those words which has me reaching or my revolver, as it has been misused into meaninglessness (resist temptation to do the Inigo Montoya line…resist…) or means, Humpty Dumpty style, whatever the person using it wants it to mean (cf “spiritual”).

  101. #101 sadmar
    DO-HIO
    February 4, 2015

    @Chris #281

    Ohio Univeristy (public) in Athens, OH has a College of Osteopathic Medicine.
    http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/

  102. #102 sadmar
    Dr. Nutjob, In the TV Studio, With the Poison
    February 4, 2015

    @ Gus Sharp #284

    The media are interviewing the man with no idea what he’s talking about because they know the audience with recognize him as a truly awful hateful human being. A bit of bile flows to those who suck bile – just as neo-Nazis get off on Schinder’s List. You cannot criticize something without showing it, especially some the audience is not familiar with. 12 Years A Slave was not a platform for spreading the message of the KKK. And so on.

    Which is not to say CNN is just being noble by putting Wolfson on TV. Hate sells. People have a lot of pent up hostility. They like to vent. So they get offered hateful stuff to vent at. Like Wolfson.

    Watching TV may be stupifying, but most people who can afford a TV aren’t total imbeciles, and this frankly absurd ‘false balance’ thesis is saying “I’m smart enough to tell this guy is a Bozo, but everyone else is an imbecile who will be fooled!”

    Why don’t you go down your block this evening, around dinner time, knock on the doors of all your neighbors, and inform them what utter morons they all are. Because surely once Jack Wolfson is introduced as ‘a doctor’ they will all ignore everything else about him, and treat everything that comes out of his wretched mouth as a pearl of wisdom.

  103. #103 Chris
    February 4, 2015

    Student DO and Sadmar, thanks for correcting my error with the information.

  104. #104 squirrelelite
    February 4, 2015

    @Chris, Student DO and Sadmar,

    Thanks for the info.

    I’d like to add that, in the case of Michigan State, it was basically a political decision. The state had a growth in population from the baby boom in the 50’s and 60’s and needed more doctors. But, the politicians didn’t want to erode the elite status of the U of M medical school. So, they decided to fund a school of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU instead.

    I graduated from MSU at about that time and followed the news in the press.

  105. #105 JGC
    February 4, 2015

    I am a chiropractor and there is no “woo “involved.

    You mean other embracing the fundamental principle of chiropractic (which has been demonstrated to be false) that vertebral subluxations actually exist and can impede the ‘innate intelligence’ of the human nervous system, leading to multiple illnesses in the majority of the body’s organs (e.g., heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach, etc.)?

    Homeopathy is quackery: not only does it not work, but in order to work as claimed literally everything we know about the physical world, biology and physiologcy would have to be not only wrong but be spectacularly wrong.
    Accupuncture has never been shown to be any more effective at treating illnesses or injuries than placebo treatments.

  106. #106 rs
    February 4, 2015

    @Student DO: I should have stopped at the question and not gone on to suggest that the distinction implies a difference. As you and Chris point out, there is none. Or at least not any more. But I have to wonder if the different labels ever confuse patients (or it’s just me) into thinking a DO is something other than an MD.

  107. #107 KayMarie
    February 4, 2015

    I’d say a fair number of the patients I’ve taken info from call their primary care provider Dr. whether they are an MD, a DO, and NP or a PA.

    If they aren’t distinguishing between mid-levels and MD’s I’m not sure that being a DO rather than an MD would make much difference.

    I’m sure some people will questions the letters after the name but it doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal around here.

    I don’t know about how much it was really different back in the day but I had an Osteopath who helped with my hips when I was little. I know we never went to him for anything else until my Mom got in a car wreck and ended up with bad hip pain and we kinda saw him as the bone/joint guy.

    He did pop her hip back into place, but mostly by accident. he was doing the initial evaluation and I guess just moved it through just the right spot and after a loud bang/pop she felt just fine and he said if it started to bother her again to come back.

  108. #108 nianbo
    Perth WA Australia
    February 5, 2015

    ”Finally, be angry with yourself for not opening your eyes to the snow job and brainwashing which have taken over your mind. You NEVER asked the doctor any questions. You NEVER asked what is in the vaccines. You NEVER learned about these benign infections.

    Let’s face it, you don’t really give a crap what your children eat. You don’t care about chemicals in their life. You don’t care if they sit around all day watching the TV or playing video games.

    All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!”

    This, is why the hell i call this dickhead Qr Quacktor Jackass Dickson

  109. #109 David Morgan
    Northwest North America
    February 5, 2015
  110. #110 Andrew
    February 5, 2015

    You’re going to have to come up with more “research” than a YouTube video, David.

  111. #111 M King
    United States
    February 5, 2015

    Not normally someone who posts, however, I just read on CNN that Dr. Wolfson has had two complaints filed against him and is being investigated by an Arizona Medical Board. Also, he is no longer interested in speaking with CNN.

  112. #112 Quietthinker
    United States
    February 5, 2015

    If anyone’s up for reading my rage-filled rebuttal to Dr. Wolfson, check out the link below. Summation: He’s an asshole.

    https://quietthinker1.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/on-vaccines/

  113. […] He also stated that a patient with leukemia probably got the disease from vaccines.  After the predictable backlash he suffered from these statements, he responded with a laundry list o….  (Yes, his response was posted on the internet.  The irony seems lost on […]

  114. #114 Alex N
    Texas
    February 8, 2015

    You have said that your wife gave birth to your children with a midwife.
    You said our kids should be “pure” at least your kids are pure, right?
    I am wondering if you live off the grid.
    Do you have a stove? Or fire?
    Do you have a refrigerator? Or do you keep food al fresco?
    Do you drive? Or do you walk or ride a horse?
    Have you all ever been on an aircraft? Or do you guys use carriages?
    Internet? Cell phones? Marketing? Or a word of mouth?
    Do you use a stethoscope? Or an ear on the chest?
    What about Anesthesia? Maybe a knife between teeth and Scotch would do it…
    With all due respect, Dr Wolfson, “Sarampion or Measles are serious business. Kids die or can end up deaf.
    Our fellow man have worked hard for centuries to cure and prevent diseases. Please do not endanger people’s life
    We all know that SOME members of the Pharmaceutical and medical community are ambitious and corrupted. But that does not mean that the Scientific community is screwed up.
    With all due respect, Dr Wolfson, in the good old days “healers” worked out of PURE love, wisdom, compassion and kindness, They did not make a business out of healing.
    I sincerely think that you enjoy being in the public eye, unfortunately your ego clouds your beliefs.

  115. #115 Lauran Hazan
    United States
    February 8, 2015

    So I guess if Dr. Wolfson doesn’t believe in “injecting chemicals” that are proven to prevent infectious disease in children, does he believe in “injecting chemicals” once they are infected by them? To me the only difference between the treatments for these diseases/accompanying symptoms and vaccines is that one is by far more effective than the other.
    I seriously doubt Wolfson would stand there and watch his kid suffer and potentially die from measles or polio, so all people like him are doing is increasing the cost and suffering associated with vaccine-preventable disease.
    I’m just staying tuned to see whose payroll Wolfson is on, because no real doctor would go this far out on a limb with no data to back up his position. It’s a matter of time before he’s exposed, so I’m sure they’re paying him enough to retire on.

  116. #116 Angie Darnell
    Georgia
    February 10, 2015

    Thank you for a well written article I will use as an excellent example of sanity. My husband works in the sciences and has for 25 years. Even he has a hard time reaching paranoid people with direct facts and rationality he has applied daily in his job as a qyality expert in pharma. He’s not paid off…he makes his living making sure pharma is making drugs safely and following regs. . Once bitten, some people simply see anyone trying to talk to this issue rationally, as part of the conspiracy or ignorant. After reading Dr Wolfson’s background, from his own thoughts on his blog, it seems as though his chiropractor wife opened his eyes to the way he sees medicine now. Well, I suppose there is more than one way to make a name for yourself. Bold move, Mr Wolfson.

  117. […] thing they can do is to double down on the crazy. Certainly we saw this in a certain “paleocardiologist” named Jack Wolfson. Unfortunately for him, he was so vile and despicable that even most antivaccinationists cringed at […]

  118. #118 Bob
    ND United States
    February 15, 2015

    He’s a friggin “cardiologist” – at best. Not an epidemiologist. His ‘advice’ is nonsense and he should be prosecuted for putting children at risk.

  119. […] the defensive. We’ve been treated to the spectacle of a truly despicable cardiologist spewing antivaccine nonsense with an added dollop of contempt for parents of children with cancer who are worried about the […]

  120. #120 Dee
    South-central PA
    March 1, 2015

    I had the blessing of experiencing measles, mumps, chicken pox, and whooping cough as a child as there were no vaccines for those diseases back then. I survived with no ill effects. MOST children do – with proper medical support. I do believe surviving all those childhood diseases helped me to develop an outstanding immune system. I haven’t had a cold in years and I haven’t experienced the flu since 1993, and I am exposed to hundreds of people on a daily basis. I do not tell people whether or not to vaccinate their children. I share this merely to state there are more than a few scientists who agree with Dr. Wolfson.

  121. #121 Chris
    March 1, 2015

    Dee, aren’t you a lucky ducky. Good for you!

    I am sure you have eugenics specific words for those like Olivia Dahl and these families, Vaccine Preventable Disease – The Forgotten Story.

  122. #122 Lawrence
    March 1, 2015

    Caveats, always caveats…..

  123. #123 Politicalguineapig
    March 1, 2015

    I had chicken pox, since I was in preschool before the vaccine. One of the last groups, as the vaccine came out two years later.
    At twenty-five, I had Bell’s Palsy- thought I had a stroke at first. Luckily I recovered. I still remember how bad chicken pox was, having my face paralyzed, and having to cancel work and other activities. I got off lightly, but if I ever have kids (unlikely) they’re getting *everything* including the chicken pox shot. And I’m planning on getting the MMR again, since no one vaccinates any more.

  124. #124 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2015

    Dee, why do you believe that having those childhood diseases helped to build your immune system? What is the evidence for this? Please be specific.

  125. #125 Vicki
    March 1, 2015

    Dee,

    What that list of previous infections tells me is that you’re at risk for shingles. Fortunately, there’s a vaccine to reduce the risk. It’s approved in the U.S. for anyone at least fifty years old, and that list of other things you weren’t vaccinated for suggests you qualify. (Doctors generally won’t suggest it to people under sixty, but mine was happy for me to have it two weeks after my 50th birthday when I asked.)

  126. #126 Chemmomo
    Most scientists prefer vaccines to diseases
    March 2, 2015

    Dee @320

    I had the blessing of experiencing measles, mumps, chicken pox, and whooping cough as a child

    You have some strange ideas about what constitutes a “blessing.”

    I share this merely to state there are more than a few scientists who agree with Dr. Wolfson.

    Huh? Based on this comment you posted, I have no reason to believe that your statement is true, and also no reason to believe you know anything about science.

  127. #127 squirrelelite
    March 2, 2015

    I had all those diseases too. But, I made sure my children were vaccinated and didn’t have to suffer and risk the side effects.

    And I made sure to get the shingles vaccine when I turned 60. I knew a lady at our church who had shingles and it was clearly no fun.

  128. #128 K Williams
    Texas
    March 5, 2015

    I have an honest question here about this statement and hope you can help me figure out something that is puzzling me: “There is no longer—and, to put it bluntly, never really was much of—a controversy in the scientific community over whether vaccines cause autism or are in any way dangerous.”
    I am a medical sociologist and demographer who studies population health but have no expertise in biology or vaccines.

    I started looking into the data on vaccine safety in part because I was puzzled by what seemed to be a lot of absolutist claims surrounding vaccine safety that seem generally uncharacteristic of the way scientists describe bodies of research. I read the IOM 2011 report on vaccine safety as well as the Cochrane Library’s 2012 report on MMR specifically. I could write more about this or give some direct quotes to clarify (IOM link below) but their overall conclusions are that for 135 of the vaccine-adverse event pairs that they examined, we lack the high quality scientific research required to move away from the position that “we just don’t know if vaccine X causes adverse event Y.” (Notably, IOM does conclude that the evidence favors rejecting an MMR-autism link.)

    I am just having difficulty squaring this conclusion with the dominant message offered about vaccine safety. I am not questioning the claim that the risks of vaccines, especially to average population health, are far smaller than the benefits. But is there something that I am missing in understanding what seems to be such a high level of certainty that vaccines are not associated with adverse outcomes, at least among small susceptible subgroups that have not been identified (in addition to the known immunodeficiencies that are contraindicated). Or is there a reason why the Cochrane and IOM conclusions should be discounted? Thanks very much for your help. This is mainly just a matter of scientific curiosity for me.

    http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-and-Causality.aspx

  129. #129 squirrelelite
    March 5, 2015

    @K Williams,

    Scientists don’t make absolutist claims about vaccines (or just about anything else). There is always statistical uncertainty in the results and limitations in how finely you can measure something.

    But this language doesn’t translate into a meaningful discussion with ordinary people.

    And a LOT of work has gone into testing the safety and side effects of vaccines.

    A few vaccines have known links to dangerous side effects like anaphylaxis. Which is why the medical person administering the vaccine have an epipen ready.

    But for most serious long-term side effects the risk is about one in a million, or no worse than for a normal person on an average day who has not been recently vacciated. So, by that standard of comparison, vaccines are safe.

  130. #130 K Williams
    Texas
    March 6, 2015

    @squirrelelite: Thanks for your thoughts.

    Regarding the safety issue, I agree that the science is convincing that, if there are risks of serious adverse effects, they are very small and, on average and for the population as a whole, any risks are orders of magnitude lower than the benefits of vaccination.

    Maybe I am wrong about the absolutist claims from scientists, I don’t know. That is mainly my anecdotal perception and is based largely on the public dialogue in the media/internet. But I can come up with at least some examples of scientists claiming that there is no way that vaccines could have possibly contributed to the neurodevelopmental condition of X specific kid who has it.

    My problem is squaring that claim with the Cochrane and IOM conclusions. The 2012 Cochrane report on MMR is paywalled but here are a couple of quotes. (Vittorio Demicheli,Alessandro Rivetti, Maria Grazia Debalin Carlo Di Pietranton. “Vaccines for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella in Children”. 2012. Cochrane Library):
    “We could assess no significant association between MMR immunisation and the following conditions: autism, asthma, leukaemia, hay fever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn’s disease, demyelinating diseases, or bacterial or viral infections. The methodological quality of many of the included studies made it difficult to generalise their results.”
    Their summary conclusion states: “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.”

  131. #131 Lawrence
    March 6, 2015

    Welcome Kristi – you’ll get good back and forth here, with a dose of Insolence, of course, but the regulars here can address and discuss the issues you raise.

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