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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 Ren
    January 30, 2015

    I treat criticism as a hat… I try it on for size. If it fits, I take it. If it doesn’t, I throw it away.

    It’s clear that the antivax talking points have been sent out.

    BTW, it was reported today that the child in Baltimore who developed measles after the MMR shot didn’t have measles. More than likely, the child had a reaction to the vaccine, which will happen from time to time and never in the proportion that people like Robert Schecter or Jay Gordon claim.

    You know what the child won’t get? Measles.

  2. #2 Chadwick Jones
    January 30, 2015

    Yes, speaking of Arizona…

    2 more Arizona measles cases tied to Disneyland
    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/01/27/arizona-measles-outbreak-abrk/22422525/

  3. #3 shay
    January 30, 2015

    ““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.

    What. An. Idiot. Six will get you ten this jackass is too young to have had the above-named diseases.

    (I promised my husband recently that I would cut down on my use of the f-bomb, but this kind of crap would drive a wooden man nuts).

  4. #4 Michael Finfer, MD
    Edison, NJ
    January 30, 2015

    “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.”

    This is demonstrably false. Ozti the ice man had coronary artery disease. There is at least one case of probable bone metastasis in an ancient skeleton, I THINK Paleolithic, but don’t hold me to that.

    Measles does not fossilize, and neither do most of the diseases that we might consider “modern woes.”

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  5. #5 Chris Hickie
    January 30, 2015

    Wolfson came up on my radar in April of 2014, when a person with measles had briefly passed through central AZ. Thankfully, the measles did not spread from that episode, however this AZ media outlet decided to have a vaccine “debate” between caveman cardiologist Wolfson and Dr. Albter Jacobson, a clinical professor of pediatrics (http://www.azcentral.com/videos/news/local/phoenix/2014/04/11/7611475/). The interview is incredibly painful to watch, as Jacobson was not at all prepared for the level of BS with which Wolfson shat right out of the gate. I emailed the news director complaining about this false balance and here with the response I received from the assistant news director

    Dr. Hickie,

    We want to thank you for being a loyal 12 News viewer. From your email we know that you feel strongly about the subject. Many of us do believe that vaccines protect us and our loved ones from infectious and sometimes deadly diseases. However, there is a segment of our population who have a philosophical difference. We wanted to offer our viewers a passionate debate and allow them to draw their own conclusions as we often do at 12 News. All of the points you made are valid. We were hoping Dr. Jacobson would bring those same talking points to the discussion challenging Dr. Wolfson but he did not. Mark Curtis’ role was to serve as the moderator. We appreciate your note. This is an ongoing conversation that we will revisit in the future.

    Thanks for watching.

    Yeah, whatever, AZCentral. Clearly they still love this jackass paleoputz to put him back on with this measles outbreak. Additionally, he even hosted (along with his chiroquacktic wife) an antivaccine seminar in 2013 called “Vaccination: Destroying a Generation” (http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/vaccination-destroying-a-generation/) .

    Yeah, Wolfson a real piece of something. And he’s right in my backyard. So far myself and another physician (a cardiologist from AZ) have filed formal medical board complaints against him. I welcome anyone else feeling so inclined to go to http://azmd.gov/Files/Forms/md_complaint.pdf and download and fill out a complaint form.

    And I’d call him much worse than an idiot to his face–he is a direct threat to the health of my patients.

  6. #6 Andrew
    January 30, 2015

    I made the mistake of wandering onto his Facebook page a bit earlier.

    I’m currently posting this from my phone, while curled up in the fetal position, crying, and rocking back and forth.

  7. #7 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    Re: cardiovascular disease in ancient humans: Quite true. I described studies of mummies that demonstrated that atherosclerotic disease was fairly common in ancient peoples that did not correlate with agricultural status. Hunger-gatherers like Unangans (the original “Paleo” diet!) and farmers like Egyptians both had it:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/03/25/paleo-and-woo-bad-company-until-they-day-they-die/

    The only strongly predictive factor was the age of the person at death.

  8. #8 enkidu97
    January 30, 2015

    Ren, I too had a reaction to the MMR when I got my booster in high school (back during the 1990 measles resurgence). High fever for 3 days, then a mini-rash that lasted about a day. My doctor knew it was only a vaccine reaction though, and called my school to let them know that I did not have the measles and I could attend my senior prom. 🙂

    BTW, this cardiologist is an over-the-top quack. He can’t really believe all that crap he posted, can he? It’s mind-boggling.

    And I am one of the people who could not breastfeed, not through lack of effort but lack of milk. How dare he call for my head! People like him that think 1) everyone can breastfeed and 2) shame those that can’t seriously piss me off.

  9. #9 KayMarie
    January 30, 2015

    Looking at when he graduated Med School from the Arizona medical license look up it puts him about a dozen years younger than me.

    He probably got the chicken pox, but any of the rest of the pack of diseases he had the right to catch he was probably vaccinated against or able to hide in the herd and never got a chance to go to the house of a playmate with polio or rubella to catch whatever it makes you stronger disease he wishes he could have gotten.

    May be young enough to not have had to get the small pox vaccination. I think I was vaccinated in one of the last few years they still did that. T’was the only vaccination that annoyed me as I got it during the summer so I wouldn’t have to miss school for my annual check up and I couldn’t get it wet for a few days and missed my daily going to the community pool to play. Sitting in the kiddie pool with my arm sealed in plastic wrap was not an acceptable substitute.

  10. #10 Andrew
    January 30, 2015

    I read in one of the articles about this guy where he says (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he used to believe in science, but then he met his wife, who’s a chiropractor, and she convinced him that science is yucky and evil. That part I’m not sure whether to laugh about or not.

  11. #11 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    Yeah, I notice his website and Facebook page are named after “the Doctors Wolfson.” Another one claimed by falling in love with a woo-meister.

  12. #12 Helianthus
    January 30, 2015

    “Paleo nutrition by the Paleo cardiologist”

    Sorry, I stopped taking this guy seriously after reading “Paleo nutrition”. When I read “cardiologist” on the news, I assumed it was the opinion of a real physician.

    The interested reader is engaged to go read on the history of our veggies. Most of today’s westerners vegetables weren’t in our ancestors’ diet a thousand year ago (unless you are from native american or south asian stock; but even so, the million-year mark isn’t reached…).

    “Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many.”

    They died early, d!psh!t. My mom, who is not 80-year old yet, had a few of these poor kids living around her block when she was a teenager.
    Which part of “crippled” doesn’t he understand? From a supposed physician!

    Sidenote: Interesting, a variation on the “where are the 80-year old autistic people”.

    For someone who express concerns that anger can give us heart attack…

  13. #13 Delphine
    too much of nothing
    January 30, 2015

    His contempt for his patients is staggering.

    I breastfed my daughter til she was nearly two, we bedshared for almost as long, I don’t stuff my face with Domino’s and I don’t use Tide, and guess what, she still got infectious illnesses like RSV, norovirus, Coxsackie, and a host of others. But when all else fails, blame the Mom. It MUST be something she did or didn’t do. Or, you know, life.

    As for “where are all the 80 year olds crippled by polio?” he can just go do something to himself that I won’t write here. What a vile, hateful man.

  14. #14 Delphine
    January 30, 2015

    Anyone ever read Pat Conroy’s The Great Santini? Imagine Wolfson as Bull Meecham as your cardiologist.

  15. #15 Dangerous Bacon
    January 30, 2015

    Wolfson: “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!”

    Shades of Mitt Romney blasting the “47%”.

    At least we won’t have to worry about Wolfson running for political office. All an opponent would have to do is quote his contempt for parents.

  16. #16 Vicki
    January 30, 2015

    Does Wolfson feel deprived of his “right” to catch smallpox and polio? Has he considered trying to get cholera instead? Or is it only other people’s children who he thinks “should” get unpleasant and potentially fatal diarrheas?

    As a side note, television is not legally required, and in fact the cable companies won’t give it to you unless you pay them. Of course, if Wolfson thinks television is bad, where is his apology for appearing on television and thus helping them draw viewers who could otherwise be playing outside?

  17. #17 palindrom
    January 30, 2015

    Chris @5 — Yet another example of why it’s a fools’ errand to “debate” a crank, unless you’re thoroughly versed in the various BS arguments that they’re likely to pull. Evolutionary biologists learned that lesson painfully some time ago; after all, the Gish Gallop is named after “creation-science” propagandist Duane Gish.

    rationalwiki has a good article on the Gish Gallop.

  18. #18 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    Yeah, whatever, AZCentral. Clearly they still love this jackass paleoputz to put him back on with this measles outbreak. Additionally, he even hosted (along with his chiroquacktic wife) an antivaccine seminar in 2013 called “Vaccination: Destroying a Generation” (http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/vaccination-destroying-a-generation/) .

    Somehow I missed that when perusing his website…

  19. #19 Quark
    January 30, 2015

    Well, I don’t know about this…
    This is maybe the most stupid thing i’ve read for a while. Orac, you made me laugh and then cry and then hit my head against my keyboard. You should put a “Not safe for anyone” at the the start of this piece.

    How is it even possible to be so ignorant as a doctor ?

  20. #20 Delphine
    can turn a man into a liar
    January 30, 2015

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

    I do care about my next cocktail, but it’s not ALL I care about, Jack.

  21. #21 Dorothy (the anthropologist)
    Oz--the other one
    January 30, 2015

    Ahem… Egyptians, nor Otzi, were paleolithic people, but your points are valid anyway. People MAY have been less prone to arteriosclerosis before the advent of agriculture, but since they died young, it’s hard to say.

    Dr Hickie: I have had numerous exchanges like the one you share with various media outlets. When I respond and try to explain that science is not a “philosophy”, they simply stop communicating. It’s very frustrating that they cut off the conversation after issuing their stock response.

  22. #22 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    I do care about my next cocktail, but it’s not ALL I care about, Jack.

    Indeed, tonight after a long week of writing grants, seeing patients, and operating, I’m caring about having a couple of fingers’ worth of single malt scotch to chill out before hitting the grant writing again tomorrow. 🙂

  23. #23 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    Does he only condemn Starbucks or has that become a generic term for all coffee (much like Kleenex for tissues and Xerox for copiers)? I thought both current scientific research and alternative medicine said good things about coffee in general, though the orifice used to dose would be different between the two.

    If it’s just Starbucks … how come?

  24. #24 KayMarie
    January 30, 2015

    How did he get to be a doctor? Sadly it seems fairly common for people with the The Dunning–Kruger effect to get astounding far along in their eduction/training. It isn’t just the couldn’t graduate high school, but got a degree from Google U types.

    I think part of it is that people don’t know to look for signs of it and often it is just easier to let them move ahead with their false confidence than to actually come up with what you need to stop them. I know of someone that was finally sent for an evaluation after getting very far along in education and training, and they came back with a diagnosis of Dunning Kruger.

    My sense is that the ones that get advanced degrees are a lot like some people with other kinds of personality flaws where they are good at manipulation the sane and competent people around them so they manage waltz through the check points through the fog of war they create around them.

  25. #25 JP
    January 30, 2015

    Ugh, Paleo woos are some of the worst woos. They’re certainly some of the most pushy and self-righteous, although you’d think raw-food vegan types would take the cake there. (I had the bad fortune of having lunch with a Paleo type back when I was still a vegetarian.)

    The man’s Facebook page is at least good for laughs – he tells you “how to soak your nuts,” for one thing. Also, he apparently believes that showering is bad for you.

    He also clearly believes that the whole world lives in sunny SoCal, as he has an article thingy up about how good it is for you to walk barefoot in the sand. I mean, I actually did spend a few days on the coast with some relatives earlier this month, but the Oregon coast in January is not a place you want to be walking barefoot. And I like it that way, thanks.

    Also: he has a whole bunch of naked pictures of his kids up. I mean, I know that little kids love to run around naked, and it can be hard to get them to put clothes on, but dude, putting naked pictures of them up on your Facebook page? Pretty creepy.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    He’s a cardiologist! G-d! No!

    My late father developed an arrhythmia when he was 80 which gradually progressed into more serious issues but was managed for a really LONG TIME entirely with meds. Because he was vaccinated appropriately as his doctor advised, he didn’t die of flu or pneumonia but of VT ( he couldn’t undergo surgery because of his very advanced age).

  27. #27 Yvette
    January 30, 2015

    Leave him alone!!!! His online brand of personal supplements for sale is really amazing!!! Where is your online supplement store???? Don’t have one, do you. So how can we take you seriously????

    #sarcasm

    http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/shop/

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    OT but it’s Friday and woo, like rust, never sleeps
    @ Chris Hickie:

    There’s a post you might *enjoy* ( cough) at TMR today, written by Jennifer Margulies**, which deals with child services in your state amongst other issues.

    ** and we know about her, don’t we?

  29. #29 Composer99
    January 30, 2015

    Mephistopheles O’Brien:

    Starbucks is the go-to coffee brand for painting critics, opponents, skeptics, and the like as out-of-touch, effete ivory-tower “elitist” liberals who have more time and money than good sense.

    I don’t know why, it just seems to be a rule.

  30. #30 shay
    January 30, 2015

    Imagine Wolfson as Bull Meecham as your cardiologist.

    In fairness to Meecham, in the book he was pretty good at his job. Wolfson? Meh.

  31. #31 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    FWIW, neither Bounce, Downy, nor Tide is an independent company. The are all brands produced by a consumer products company with international presence headquartered in the US. Tide, Bounce, and Downy boxes do have contact numbers written on them as well as web sites and e-mail addresses, so maybe that’s what he meant.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    Wolfson’s list of worthy anger recipients sounds like a woo-meister’s rant:( See PRN)

    No one forces you to eat fastfoods or not exercise, etc ( although I realise that people sometimes have less choice, time and money).

    Like anti-vax, it externalises causes of illness rather than acknowledging that how people behave,their heredity and chance itself have significant effects on outcomes.

    But being realistic won’t win him any popularity contests.

  33. #33 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    Composer99,

    Thanks.

  34. #34 Composer99
    January 30, 2015

    See, I can understand Dr Ben Carson saying ridiculous and ignorant things about economics, because he’s a neurosurgeon, not an economist, and compartmentalisation is a thing.

    But Dr Wolfson saying ridiculous and ignorant things about medicine? And the contempt dripping from his post? To paraphrase Treebeard’s line in the The Two Towers film, a doctor should know better!

  35. #35 DevoutCatalyst
    January 30, 2015

    This is my favorite Insolence of the week. Wolfson via his MD credentials has the power to lead many astray. Hope Orac does get a chance to call him an idiot to his face — that would be priceless.

  36. #36 Bells
    United States
    January 30, 2015

    And don’t forget he of course sells stuff on his website.

  37. #37 NH Primary Care Doctor
    January 30, 2015

    He’s married to a chiropractor. Apparently he was a normal doctor until he was infected by her woo. And by the way, Orac, you ask just how hateful he can be? Check out his attack of a mother who lost her 5 year old daughter to chicken pox: http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/anti-vaccine/

    “Recently, a child died from complications of the chicken pox and now her mother wants to make sure everyone gets injected. While the death of any child is a travesty, this one could have been prevented, not with injecting more chemicals into this young girl, but with good nutrition and chemical avoidance. She was likely fed GMO, sugar, gluten, soy, corn, and other items that led to her demise. Her mother sadly blames the doctor (who advised her against the vaccine) and the rest of us who demand the freedom to choose whether or not to inject chemicals into our children. Here is the response of my wife, Dr. Heather Wolfson, to a column on Yahoo. Where do I begin?!! I can go on forever about it. First of all, the little girl was born without a spleen therefore she was immunocompromised since birth. The lack of this vital organ was probably caused by some drug the mother took while pregnant! Immunocompromised individuals are not supposed to receive vaccines. Kudos to the pediatrician who steered the mom and child away from the chicken pox shot. I’d like to shake his hand. He probably saved the girls life given she may have died due to complications of vaccines based on her poor immune status. i Maybe the mother got an extra five years of life from her daughter by not participating in vaccine schedule folly. She should be thankful to the doctor. Secondly, the mother probably gave fever reducers such as Tylenol. This depletes glutathione and is a sure fire way to allow your child to succumb to such a benign childhood illness. In this country, one in 30,000 of those with chicken pox died every year, for a grand total of 100 per annum. Those were usually adults. Please don’t pass a law forcing us to vaccinate and inject chemicals into our children because 100 people died per year. What was the health status of those 100 prior to chicken pox? Probably not good. Your healthy, breast fed, organic child will not suffer the same fate. If this mother would have sought out chiropractic care, gave just two simple vitamins A and C, she would have never developed pneumonia. Also, mom fed her garbage food and exposed her to thousands of chemicals. This little girl is dead, not from chicken pox, but from chemicals and poor nutrition. Additionally, she probably had at least one vaccine, hepatitis B, when she was first born in the hospital which would have destroyed her immune and nervous system from the start. The mother is ignorant, uneducated, and a danger to all other parents and children. She should spend her time learning how the human body works instead of spreading her deadly advice to the rest of the world.”
    ________

    Nauseating.

  38. #38 Lawrence
    January 30, 2015

    Holy crap – how is this man still practicing medicine?

  39. #39 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    The lack of this vital organ was probably caused by some drug the mother took while pregnant! Immunocompromised individuals are not supposed to receive vaccines….

    The mother is ignorant, uneducated, and a danger to all other parents and children. She should spend her time learning how the human body works instead of spreading her deadly advice to the rest of the world.

    You first, Jack.

  40. #40 Delphine
    January 30, 2015

    @36
    I’m putting myself in the shoes of that 5 year old’s mother, imagining how it would feel to read that, in light of her passing.

    I live in Canada. Can I make a complaint about Wolfson? Do I have to reside in the US? This nasty megalomaniac needs to be censured.

  41. #41 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 30, 2015

    Also: he has a whole bunch of naked pictures of his kids up [on Facebook].
    Pretty creepy doesn’t even start to cover it. Also, incredibly stupid. In some jurisdictions, he’d face charges for that.

  42. #42 Renate
    January 30, 2015

    A paleo cardiologist?
    Is he operating with stone knives and without anesthetics?
    And where do the supplements he sells grow? I doubt they had those in the times he seems to want us all to return to.
    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.

  43. #43 quetzalmom
    Down on the farm
    January 30, 2015

    Reading Wolfson’s rantings makes me want to inject my child with chemicals and then take him out for a tortured meat burger. I don’t thinks I should mention what reading his attack on the mother who lost her child to chickenpox makes me want to do.

  44. […] by which I mean “get taken to the woodshed”, on Erin Burnett’s Out Front. Orac has already spanked this guy, but when it comes to seriously dubious claims, there can never been enough […]

  45. #45 NH Primary Care Doctor
    January 30, 2015

    Said in Homer Simpson voice….”mmmmm…..hormone shakes. Pesticide fries. Organic, free-range children.”

    *commence drooling*

  46. #46 BA
    Snowlandia
    January 30, 2015

    “Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many.”

    Besides the ones who died there are those like my father. He’s 70 and one leg in much shorter than the other. He has post polio syndrome and has been in a great deal of discomfort for many years with hip and knee pain and sciatica. This past year he has come to no longer be able to walk much more than a few steps and uses a wheelchair and scooter to get around.

  47. #47 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    That little rant mixes rampant speculation with misinformation in roughly equal portions, with a tag that says, “first you handicapped your child by preventing her from getting a spleen, then murdered her by your actions and inactions.”

    I wonder what the Pope would do if someone talked to his mother like that?

  48. #48 e canfield
    January 30, 2015

    Maybe my husband’s into being cuckolded and therefore is *hoping* I have an affair! Could be just the thing to perk up our relationship. And how is monogamy paleo? Lots of high ranking men had harems, after all.

  49. #49 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    ” While the death of any child is a travesty”.

    English, like SBM, apparently isn’t his strong suit either.

  50. #50 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    And by the way, Orac, you ask just how hateful he can be? Check out his attack of a mother who lost her 5 year old daughter to chicken pox: http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/anti-vaccine/

    Words fail me, which almost never happens.

  51. #51 Emma Crew
    Seattle-ish
    January 30, 2015

    Mephistopheles O’Brien, to expand further:
    Another thing about Starbucks is most of what they sell is not straight up coffee. It’s milk (oh noes) and sugar (or artificial sweeteners, double oh noes) with some coffee in it. People joke that Seattle doesn’t have a coffee culture so much as a warm milk culture.

    As for what Composer99 said, part of the “liberal” perception is the Starbucks/Walmart ratio – a few election cycles ago if you compared the number of each in a county, it was a pretty reliable correspondence to that county going blue or red (I don’t know if that still holds true). Part of it is that Starbucks is generally an urban phenomenon. And the “elitism” comes from asking “who in their right mind spends five bucks on a coffee?”

  52. #52 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    English, like SBM, apparently isn’t his strong suit either.

    I assumed they didn’t care enough about this child’s death to bother using the correct word. That or perhaps they really believe that the death of any child is a false, absurd, or distorted representation.

  53. #53 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    Note:

    The entire rant quoted @ 37 is not Wolfson’s:
    about 7 lines in, he quotes his wife, Heather, – but this isn’t illustrated well. So it’s a joint rant.

  54. #54 Ellie
    In The Snow
    January 30, 2015

    quetzalmom, I want to put him in an iron lung with a bad case of the shingles, preferably, including in his mucus membranes and force him to listen to a baby gasping for breath because of whooping cough. After that, I want to put him in a sack and beat him with a stick until he ends up crippled similar to old friends I’ve had who were survivors of polio. After that? Smallpox.

  55. #55 Emma Crew
    January 30, 2015

    (choosing to focus on the “why Starbuccks” query because otherwise my head will explode with rage)

  56. #56 Chris
    January 30, 2015

    M O’B: “If it’s just Starbucks … how come?”

    Perhaps because it provides fairly decent benefits to even its part time employees. Going my experience with folks I know in Arizona (my relatives), they are very libertarian and dislike it when those in low income jobs get stuff they “did not earn.”

    Listed as a favorite on one relative’s Facebook is “Not Giving Welfare to Illegal Immigrants.” So, yeah.

    By the way, I should note that I am very glad my son’s cardiologist is sane. This is why son get influenza vaccine, and before each dental appointment he takes antibiotics.

  57. #57 Public Health RN
    January 30, 2015

    @Dr. Hickie,
    I watched the video in the link you provided. I think Dr. Jacobson held his own pretty well. It’s just that Dr. Wolfson is smooth and confident in the horrible information he provides. In a completely fanatical way. “Vaccines are really just chemicals” and chemicals are bad. That was painful and just idiotic. Everything is made of chemicals.

  58. #58 JP
    January 30, 2015

    Or maybe it’s because they sell pumpkin spice lattes. There was a big Food Babe to-do about those a while back. (Apparently they contain chemikulz.)

  59. #59 Beana
    January 30, 2015

    I typically enjoy reading the comments on Orac’s articles, however, after seeing that POS’s response to a 5 year old dying . . . I can’t breathe I am so angry. One of my ‘friends’ posted his tirade that Orac is destroying, and that made me mad enough. LIVID. She agreed with it and got six ‘likes’. I think I am going to go throw up.

  60. #60 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    Emma Crew – that explains it, then. When I go to such a shop, I typically get a black drip coffee. Unless I’m in the UK or Europe, in which case I either get an espresso or an espresso mixed with hot water (Caffè Americano). The whole milk (or milklike substances), sugar (or other sweetener), and flavorings thing is lost on me. But I could see how one might mock someone getting a double half-caff soy latte with sugar free hazlenut syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  61. #61 Mark Crislip
    January 30, 2015

    a slight digression but I think cool. Measles may not have infected our paleo ancestors and may be a relatively modern infection from rhinderpest.

    http://www.virologyj.com/content/7/1/52

    And, divergence between MeV and RPV occurred around the 11th to 12th centuries. The result was unexpected because emergence of MeV was previously considered to have occurred in the prehistoric age.

    MeV may have originated from virus of non-human species and caused emerging infectious diseases around the 11th to 12th centuries. In such cases, investigating measles would give important information about the course of emerging infectious diseases.

  62. #62 Orac
    January 30, 2015

    I typically enjoy reading the comments on Orac’s articles, however, after seeing that POS’s response to a 5 year old dying . . . I can’t breathe I am so angry. One of my ‘friends’ posted his tirade that Orac is destroying, and that made me mad enough. LIVID. She agreed with it and got six ‘likes’. I think I am going to go throw up.

    The solution, of course, is to post a link to this post in response to your friend. 🙂

  63. #63 Rich Woods
    Not West Pond
    January 30, 2015

    @Dangerous Bacon #15:

    At least we won’t have to worry about Wolfson running for political office. All an opponent would have to do is quote his contempt for parents.

    Just think of all those babies who’ll be relieved not to be kissed by him.

  64. #64 KayMarie
    January 30, 2015

    Had some fun poking around the on-line reviews of Dr Jack the Caveman Cardiologist.

    For someone who spouts off the only cure for everything is food I found this page http://doctors.findthebest.com/l/25454/Jack-M-Wolfson-in-Phoenix-Arizona where you can check out a doctor’s prescribing habits illuminating.

    Especially the comparisons between how much he prescribes of something compared to county state and national rates. Although I suspect any cardiologist may be higher on the meds their population needs.

    My very EBM academic clinic doc who is in internal medicine is below average for how many ebil phrarma chemiculz he forces upon his patients.

  65. #65 Kathy
    January 30, 2015

    I read this article yesterday and I was shocked, at first, that a cardiologist would write about chemicals in that way. Then, I went to his website and saw all the supplements and beauty products he sells. I am sure they are just like Mercola’s products where the prices are jacked up only because they have his name on them. Further, he doesn’t take insurance so you have to pay $750 out of pocket for a consult. That is about 10 times what it costs my insurance for me to see my doctor. He’s a shyster. I with there was a way to stop people like him, legally.

  66. #66 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    @Dr. Crislip:

    And, divergence between MeV and RPV occurred around the 11th to 12th centuries.

    They seem likely to be off by at least two centuries.

  67. #67 Kathy
    January 30, 2015

    Should read I read his article (on Natural News) not this article

  68. #68 Beana
    January 30, 2015

    @ Orac Done and done. And done again.

  69. #69 Andrew
    January 30, 2015

    This is my favorite response to his Facebook page, by the way:

    ——

    Dear Dr Jack Wolfson,
    I read your article in response to the anger over your vaccination comments. You listed different things to be angry at which are, in your opinion, worse than the diseases we vaccinate our children again. I’d like to challenge you to practice what you preach, to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

    I will eat sugar infused breakfast cereals every day for a month, if you will expose yourself to the measles. You say in item 1 of your article that these cereals do more damage than the measles, so I would challenge you to prove that.
    2 I will wash my clothes in Tide every day if you will expose yourself to Hep A, or as you’ve put it, “watery diarrhea”. If you believe the damage these chemicals would do is worse than the virus, I again would be interested in the proof.

    We can continue with the comparisons of television and computers to polio and so on, but the reality is that you’d probably not want to expose yourself to these illnesses, and the truth is that you would end up a whole lot sicker than I would. My lethargy and sickness would probably be fixed by a couple days of jogging and exercise; you would need medical attention.
    So, if you’d like to accept my challenge, I’m game. It would probably even drum up more of that publicity you love. We can even add MSG vs Smallpox if you can find some; I’ll eat Doritos while you die.

    Sincerely,
    Scott Ferris

  70. #70 wiwille
    January 30, 2015

    From Wolfson’s website:

    “I’m proud to be voted Top Holistic MD 2012 by Natural Awakenings Magazine.”

    Yeah, that’s a real stellar award there sport.

  71. #71 Joel
    United States
    January 30, 2015

    Andrew, thanks for sharing Scott Ferris’ post. After reading so many that I enjoyed here, this one beat them all.

  72. #72 daved
    January 30, 2015

    Let’s not forget Wolfson’s sleazy introduction of “mercury” into this whole mess. MMR does not contain thimerosal and never did — mercury would inactivate the vaccine.

  73. #73 Appalled
    January 30, 2015

    Dr. Wolfson is a cardiologist – and he’s recommending AGAINST vaccinations, including Rubella.
    Congenital Rubella (mom infected while pregnant) often causes heart damage.
    He’s generating profit for himself & pretending it’s “concern”.

  74. #74 Todd
    AL
    January 30, 2015

    Back when I went to med school (1994-98), you couldn’t be a med student unless you were up to date on all vaccinations including Hep B. Don’t know if this was true when this fellow went to med school, but it’s highly likely that he himself is vaccinated.

  75. #75 Janet
    where the governor hates education
    January 30, 2015

    Mark @ 61
    I feel rather prescient. In my dissertation published in 1998, I wrote that measles was first described in the 10th century by a Persian physician, who cited a 7th center Hebrew physician, but earlier writings by Hippocrates (460-377 B. C.) make no mention of anything that might have been considered measles. And that it most likely came from rinderpest. My existence in the world is now validated. 🙂

    Oh, and this cardiologist is vile. Totally vile.

  76. #76 arrested_development
    Steady state of intelligence
    January 30, 2015

    The press has done a fine job of elevating this 1d10t’s baseless and paranoid stupidity.

    I sure hope he doesn’t join forces with the extreme LDS faith healing contingent or we’ll have an even bigger problem : /

  77. #77 Mike
    January 30, 2015

    Is there anyone to stop obviously mentally ill doctors like Wolfson?

  78. #78 JP
    January 30, 2015

    I see no evidence that he is mentally ill. He is, however, a shyster, disingenous, and a horrible person, all things which are actually d*mning. (Unlike having a mental illness.)

  79. #79 Helianthus
    January 30, 2015

    @ Mike

    Is there anyone to stop obviously mentally ill doctors like Wolfson?

    Mentally ill, I don’t know. Totally vile, that’s for sure.

    But seriously, do you Americans have anything like a medical board? How come guys like this scum could be still be free to call himself “doc”?

    My apologies, that was uncalled for, and anyway it’s not really better in my country.
    This is so infuriating.

  80. #80 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 30, 2015

    @Helianthus. Arguably the best mechanisms is malpractice insurance rates and potentially reimbursement under insurance plans to police the wackadoodles. This is only partially effective.

    I have seriously pursued this twice, once the obstetrician that almost killed our child and once over a truly loonytoon that wanted to put my three year old in overcompensated glasses AND contacts at the same time to force her cornea to correct. My complaints, as I had allowed neither doctor to proceed with their insanity, were administratively dismissed. The game is rigged against patients.

    You know, it is amazing the number of bad doctors I have known in my life. I balance this fact with the few good ones I have known, but it still speaks really ill of the profession.

  81. #81 Composer99
    http://composer99.blogspot.ca
    January 30, 2015

    After reading Wolfson’s rant against the mother who lost a 5-year old to chickenpox, I can only say that the most polite response involves the liberal use of, shall we say, Anglo-Saxon epithets.

  82. #82 I am not a doctor
    January 30, 2015

    Thank you for unpacking this.

    To my knowledge the MMR also targets the mumps and rubella, as well as the measles. It seems the mumps/rubella components are being ignored — both in the narrative of these people claiming to be health professionals, and in the way the journalists are framing all of this.

    It all seems like dangerous stuff.

  83. #83 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 30, 2015

    Helianthus – Sure, there are medical boards. However, it’s quite possible this man does a good job within his practice and does not stray sufficiently from good standard of care for a board to take action.

  84. #84 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    Especially the comparisons between how much he prescribes of something compared to county state and national rates.

    Given that they’re only Medicare Part D data, I wonder what he has against ditiazem. The mutual-referral club with Jan Prasad is also cute. (There’s a less-than-stellar experience recounted here.)

  85. #85 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    ^ “diltiazem”

  86. #86 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    Sure, there are medical boards. However, it’s quite possible this man does a good job within his practice and does not stray sufficiently from good standard of care for a board to take action.

    Just by the by, since the only thing that he might face is an advisory letter if enough physicians complain, the relevant definitions are in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 32-1401, ¶¶ 18 and 27.

  87. #87 SkewedDistribution
    January 30, 2015

    After reading his rant, my planned evening activities are as follows:

    1. Do at least two loads of laundry with Tide (Pods) and Bounce. I would use Downy too but I ran out yesterday. 2. Revel in deliciously fresh-smelling clothing 3. Take a trail run in freshly-laundered togs such that I offend all others with my “stinky” clothes 4. Take a bath AND a shower with at least five different non-organic products 5. Order a pizza for my fully-clothed children and then watch Nick for hours, solely for the commercials; 6. Drift off to sleep while counting the number of “chemicals” in my body; 7. Die, apparently. But I’ll die happy, and smelling like a frickin’ forest glen.

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    January 30, 2015

    @ Narad:

    Diltiazem kept my father going for an awfully long time.
    Later on, he required bigger guns.

  89. #89 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 30, 2015

    Nothing like a totally preventable disease outbreak to bring out the loons like Wolfson, Sears and Gordon who feel some narcissistic need to defend their reprehensible positions with callous, vile, presumptuous and completely dishonest claims.

  90. #90 shay
    January 30, 2015

    . After that, I want to put him in a sack and beat him with a stick until he ends up crippled similar to old friends I’ve had who were survivors of polio. After that? Smallpox.

    Can I help?

  91. #91 conrad
    Dallas, TX
    January 30, 2015

    He’s a “DO” and sells vitamins on his website.

    Speaking about him only gives him more publicity,

    again, he’s a freaking “DO”

  92. #92 Trey1
    January 30, 2015

    Well, the guy is an osteopath, not an M.D. Which means he is well versed on the holistic approach to medicine, where the whole patient is focused on, not just the disease.

    At least that’s what the American Osteopathic Association would have you believe. Interestingly, I don’t know a single osteopath who chose osteopathic medicine for those reasons. The real answer, if they’re honest, is that they couldn’t get into a traditional M.D. medical school, which requires better test scores, and better G.P.A.s (and which don’t allow the GPA to be “massaged” like D.O. schools do).

  93. #93 ChrisP
    Australia
    January 30, 2015

    I had written a comment a day ago on his Vaccine Impact post taking him to task over the inaccuracies in his rant.

    Of course it was deleted in moderation.

  94. #94 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde med fastelavnsboller!
    January 30, 2015

    ““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.”

    No, my child does not have a goddamned ‘right’ to get a disease. That’s the most asinine and ignorant pile of bullsh!t I’ve seen today.

  95. #95 shay
    January 30, 2015

    And…..the SuperBowl is in Arizona this year. I would not want to be in the AZ Director of Public Health’s shoes right now for anything.

  96. #96 Narad
    January 30, 2015

    Diltiazem kept my father going for an awfully long time.
    Later on, he required bigger guns.

    I was specifically wondering in comparison with the nifedipine.

  97. #97 Emma Crew
    Seattle-ish
    January 30, 2015

    @shay

    Oh, lord, the Superb Owl. I hope we don’t end up with the Disney outbreak followed by the Football outbreak, which could then bring measles roaring into Boston and Seattle.

    Go Hawks!
    (not actually a fan of the sportsball, but it’s hard to not be swept up in the enthusiasm)

  98. #98 sadmar
    Reading the news
    January 30, 2015

    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.

    Totally “unsupported by the text’. Before Wolfson appears, hiss position is described as “shocking” and measles symptoms are described as “horrible”. Then the frame focuses out attention away from mere anti-vaxing to Wolfson’s “jaw-dropping” belief children SHOULD be getting these horrible infections.

    The only negative element of this story for pro-vaxers is the odd insertion of “It’s not highly fatal, thankfully.” IMHO, that IS a bit of “false balance” of the worst kind — the intentional undermining of a reporter’s piece by a supervising editor, but it’s no big deal in terms of the overall effect of the piece…

    Contrary to what some claim, the very act of refuting a person like [Dr. Jay] and juxtaposing him with real experts elevates his evidence-free “concerns” about the MMR vaccine to be in the same ballpark as real science…

    1) Show evidence it works that way.
    2) If the the very act of refuting doofuses and juxtaposing them with real experts elevates their “concerns” to the same ballpark as real science, WTF has Respectful Insolence* been doing for the last 9 years?

    This thread is full of evidence. With the exception of Chris H. the comments come from people who’ve likely never heard of Wolfson before. And they are universally appalled. Now, the only reason they have this reaction that supports their pro-vax position and re-affirms the appalling idiocy of anti-vaxers is because KPNX put this guy on TV.

    The Wolfson piece isn’t out there flying solo. It’s viewers will be reading it context of other stories they’ve seen on KPNX, on azcentral or in The Arizona Republic (all part of a unified operation owned by Gannet) There were two other measles stories linked on the Wolfson page: “Why do vaccinations matter? Meet my deaf son.” and “Arizona measles outbreak caused by stupidity, not virus”. From the latter:

    This is the price we pay for the explosion of modern media. Everyone, even the ill-informed and the fanatical can find a place to speak and an audience to listen to them. What happened was an anti-vaccine movement sprang up after a few celebrity parents, who based their concerns and their decisions on faulty science, convinced a bunch of regular folks that the vaccine called MMR ( was linked to autism. The study suggesting that was debunked. It didn’t matter. People still refused to have their children vaccinated. And are still refusing to have their children vaccinated. And so diseases we should, essentially, have been done with are making a comeback… Scientists worked long and hard to beat measles. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for stupidity. http://tinyurl.com/k58tglj

    Now, with this context in mind, consider that selection is the most fundamental “bias” in any human activity. is selection. Not just who and what are on TV. but who and what are NOT on TV. If you’re trying to fulfill some obligation to “balance” in the wake of post-Disneyland anti-(anti-vax) statements, who do you put on the air? Not Wolfson.

    “Balance” comes when there’s something already present in the story to be balanced. “False Balance” could be something like the NYT story Orac linked yesterday – which leads with the pro-science, pro-vax sources and position, and then throws in some anti-vaxers at the end (though the actual NYT story is more complicated tan that…). But this is a story about anti-vaxing. And to represent anti-vax, KPNX reporter Tram Mai combed Arizona for the most far-out loon, saying the most blatantly stupid things she could find.

    [I could say the funniest part of the OP’s is Orac’s presumption that identifying anyone as an MD confers any sort of validity on them in the eyes of the audience…}

    Nope, this story is another take-down… But there is an interesting side note:

    Somebody messed with Tram Mai.
    (I’ll make that a separate comment.)

  99. #99 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 30, 2015

    @shay and Emma Crew

    Reminds me of three years ago, when there was a measles outbreak in Indiana during the Super Bowl.

  100. #100 Colonel Tom
    Dazed and Confused
    January 30, 2015

    So in reality with Columbus et al came to the Americas, it was to ensure that the oldblood population would finally have their right to die in catastrophic numbers to MMR and of course “C” is for Cholera that’s good enough for me.

  101. #101 Panacea
    January 30, 2015

    I was arguing about this earlier today with an antivax nut who was claiming that Vitamin C cures Whooping Cough.

    I couldn’t decide if I should scream or cry. I’ve seen Whooping Cough up close. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen.

    The patient was an adult, and unvaccinated. 🙁

  102. #102 Greenwhat
    Australia
    January 30, 2015

    Our governemnt funded national broadcaster used Dr. Jay Gordon on one of their major news progams yesterday. Very disappointing.
    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4171055.htm

  103. #103 sadmar
    Bad Editing
    January 30, 2015

    OK, how do I know “Somebody messed with Tram Mai”?

    Well, first of all, it’s not all necessarily intentional ‘messing’ but there’s something going on between Mai story itself, and the way it’s being framed by some folks at KPNX and azcentral.

    Go to the page containing the video from the link in the OP (The word “link” at the end of the 3rd paragraph.)

    Note how the headline and subhead on the page don’t fit the story.
    Headline: “Valley doctor: Don’t vaccinate your kids”.
    No. The lead of the story as presented by Mai is “Anti-vax doctor wants your kids to get the measles”.
    Subhead: “Dr. Jack Wolfson believes there are lifestyle changes you should make instead of vaccinating.”
    No. The story presents him saying the paleo-diet prevents VPDs.
    Then there’s the chyron in the lower third throughout Mai’s piece: “Doctors disagree on whether to vaccinate”
    No. The piece says Doctors who tell you not to vaccinate are bat-poop insane.

    Now, I’m not going to go conspiracy theory here. There are a number of factors that could result in those apparent contradictions.

    But watch the video again, and pay very close attention to what’s on the screen just before and then during the part where “It’s not highly fatal, thankfully.” comes in. And especially the very end of the prepared package just before it cuts back to Mai in the studio. Did you catch it? (Without professional training/experience, few would…)

    This is intentional messing all the way.

    The audio track has been Mai reading aloud the points flying in Power-Point style to an on-screen graphic, one by one as they appear, she reads the first four, and then a fifth one appears: “It can come back and spread easily.”

    But she doesn’t say that, she segues to the audio cut in from Engenthaler which ends in an extremely awkward quick-fade, indicating it was taken out of content.. And we don’t see Engenthaler on screen. Rather there’s an image of a measles germ, a dissolve to a masked lab technician looking into a microscope — AND a flash frame back to the germ photo at the end! [That’s what I asked if you caught].

    Now, I 100% guarantee you the first edit of this piece did NOT include “It’s not highly fatal, thankfully,” but instead had Mai reading “”It can come back and spread easily” and had more images of the measles germs that were subsequently recorded over by the image of the lab technician, leaving the tell-tale flash-frame at the end as the editor missed the out-point setting (probably in a hurry…)

    And what I make of this is that the KPNX news editor or news director thought the story was too strong, and didn’t want to face accusations of spreading undue panic about measles. That is, TPTB didn’t want to be accused of giving folks the message “You’re kid is GOING TO DIE because of this!!” They were covering their butts.

    I can also 100% guarantee you that a sloppy last-minute CYA re-edit of news package does not spring from “deeply ingrained” journalism conventions of “telling both sides.” Somebody is afraid of getting a phone call from someone who matters, probably because they’ve already gotten a similar phone call at some point in the past. Given the extensive reach of the Gannet organization, and the number of sensitivities that could be in play at a city or state level in Phoenix I would have no clue about who such a someone might be. But it’s very rare to see that kind of evidence of direct manipulation show up in the news.

    Again, It’s no big whoop though. By the time viewers get to the end of the package, they’ve got the idea Wolfson is a dangerous loon and that not-vaxing is crazy…

  104. #104 TBruce
    January 30, 2015

    I’ve got an assignment for our friend Dr. Jay. Since he’s so concerned with “civility”, he should have a word with Wolfson about his loathsome posts. Maybe he would listen if a fellow vaccine “skeptic” told him how he comes across. On the other hand, Dr. Jay, just leave him be. We now know what sort of monster Wolfson really is.

  105. #105 Andrew
    January 30, 2015

    Semi-related. What in the blue heck (apologies if this has been posted here before)…

    http://www.amazon.com/Melanies-Marvelous-Measles-Stephanie-Messenger/dp/1466938897/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1

    It’s a book called “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles”. Here’s the summary from the publisher:

    The author/publisher writes: “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles was written to educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body. Having raised three children vaccine-free and childhood disease-free, I have experienced many times when my children’s vaccinated peers succumb to the childhood diseases they were vaccinated against. Surprisingly, there were times when my unvaccinated children were blamed for their peers’ sickness. Something which is just not possible when they didn’t have the diseases at all. Stephanie Messenger lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and devotes her life to educating people about vaccine dangers and supporting families in their natural health choices. She has the support of many natural therapists and natural-minded doctors.”

    —-

    At least Amazon has this in bold type over that summary:

    Please note that the following description is provided by the publisher/author of this title and presents the subjective opinions of the publisher/author, which may not be substantiated. The description does not express the views of Amazon.

  106. #107 Emma Crew
    Seattle-ish
    January 30, 2015

    BBBlue – Wow. And here I thought I thought I had already reached maximum possible dumbfoundedness at this assclown. Flames! From the side of my face!

  107. #108 Michael
    January 30, 2015

    @BBBlue- to quote Monroe from Grimm “Nothing in life is pure. It’s not supposed to be. You can’t stop life from being messy. It’s supposed to be, so get over it!”

  108. #109 sadmar
    Reality
    January 30, 2015

    @ Greenwhat #102

    The piece on The World Today that quotes Gordon is no cause for disappointment. It’s softer than the CBS piece, but it’s a state-funded network, so that’s always the case. They’re especially subject to political pressure if they don’t pay some lip-service to “balance.” But again, the story isn’t balanced at all.
    1) The lead sets up non-vaxing as wrong by opening:
    ‘USA Today calls for non-vaccinating parents to be sent to jail (DING)
    LA Times debates how to punish negligent parents (DING, DING)
    Bioethicist implores parents to vaccinate their children. (DING, DING DING)’
    This is not a ‘science’ story. It’s a legal/ethics story.
    2) Dr. Jay comes on to say stupid sh!t. He’s being set-up.
    ‘Measles is not a risk to any healthy child.
    Measles is not Ebola (A) it’s benign (B)
    [Dr. Jay loves to sign exemptions] (C)
    Individual parents are not the ones bringing back measles'(D)
    3) The entire remainder of the story drops the hammer on Jay’s weak schtick.
    ‘Head of Medical ETHICS at NYU:
    Measles control is costing us way than Ebola control (DING-A)
    Parents get false beliefs from Internet and there’s no valid reason for exemptions (DING-C)
    Health care lawyer says there’s “pretty strong case” for non-vaxing parents to be sued for negligence. (DING-D, DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING)
    Cedars-Sinai Expert says having measles is hideous (DING-B) [and setting up…]
    Bioethicist says its a shame people will have to sue over what should have been simple public health policy (DING-D, DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING) ‘
    Story concludes:

    In a poll run by one television network, a majority of respondents said people should be able to sue parents who don’t vaccinate their children. This is Jane Cowan reporting for The World Today.

    Now,
    1) if you read this as anything but a direct attempt to scare the bejeebers out of non-vaxers by the threat of litigation enough that they run to the clinic first thing tomorrow, and
    2) if you read the subtext as anything other than a call for a class-action against Dr. Jay Gordon,
    you simply have no clue how to read the news.

    The tone is much softer. The message is much tougher.
    CBS is saying “This guy is an irresponsible Bozo.”
    The World Today is saying “Sue the figjam yobbos, dammit!”

    Thanks, Australia Broadcasting! That’s a bloody ace suggestion, mate!

  109. #110 TBruce
    January 30, 2015

    @BBBlue:

    What a horrible human being Wolfson is. He doesn’t even seem aware (or doesn’t give a damn) as to how he appears to anyone with a conscience. I’m glad he’s getting this exposure and I hope it bites him right in the ass.

  110. #111 Emma Crew
    January 31, 2015

    @sadmar – I think your deconstruction is spot-on.

    The problem is, the average person has no clue how to read the news. My BFF went to an exclusive high school in Houston where they were very aware they were teaching potential future leaders. They had actual training in “reading a source for bias” and “rhetoric for public discourse.” Most other people don’t get that sort of education (some of us humanities dorks excepted, as well as some folks in politics and marketing).

  111. #112 Annie
    January 31, 2015

    Sorry if this has already been posted, but it does talk about our friend Jay Gordon in it.

    “Anti-Vaccine Doctors Should Lose Their Licenses”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlipson/2015/01/30/anti-vaccine-doctors-should-lose-their-licenses/

  112. #113 DarkScholar82
    Philadelphia
    January 31, 2015

    Wolfson’s insult of a grieving mother goes beyond what can be dealt with by usual Insolence. He requires…the Dan Savage Treatment.

    Some of you may be familiar with the Savage Treatment. Savage has directed it against Republican politicians such as Rick Santorum. It involves taking the target’s last name and giving it a new, less desirable meaning. For Jack, I propose this:

    Wolfson-noun: the serious illness or death of a child due to a vaccine preventable disease.

    Example:

    Nurse: Doctor! This child is going blind from measles!

    Doctor: (sighing) Another case of Wolfson…

  113. #114 Emma Crew
    January 31, 2015

    Dr. Wolfson looks to be of an age to have been vaccinated against measles rather than having them as a kid. My worse nature kind of hopes he gets them (his kids are innocent of this asshattery, so I don’t wish a bad measles reaction on them although it would serve him right).

    I can only hope these quotes are CNN’s attempt to show the public the “heartless asshole” side of the anti-vax movement.

  114. #115 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    @DarkScholar82:

    That requires a Web site to be the payload of the PageRank component of the search results.

    At least the first* G—le page of results includes a Deadspin entry at this point.

    * YMMV.

  115. #116 sadmar
    about to hit the hay
    January 31, 2015

    @ Emma Crow
    Thanks for #111.
    Re #114 I’d guess CNN is playing Wolfson for an asshat, Their med reporter Elizabeth Cohen is definitely out to smack the anti-vax. But CNN’s a big castle, and Nancy Grace is the reigning queen, so a lot of the producers are just in it for the sensationalism. I haven’t followed all the subsequent Wolfson stuff beyond the OP.

    BUT, in the end, it’s not what they’re attempting to do, but what they do – what comes on the screen and over the speaker. Forget intent. ‘Reading the news’ is trying to figure out what the typical viewer will make of it. If I’m right – that what we’re seeing is the wounded carcass of anti-vax being ravaged by a descending pack of media hyenas – time will tell soon enough.

    I don’t know what poll the Aussies were referencing as “majority of respondents said people should be able to sue parents who don’t vaccinate their children”, but I’d guess it was done post-Disneyland. if that doesn’t show you the way the wind is blowing, read the Deadspin piece Narad linked and the comments below. I think they’ll warm y’alls hearts.

    And click this link, really!
    http://howdovaccinescauseautism.com/

    Deadspin comment with 104 stars:

    Humanity has spent five thousand years gathering the collective knowledge to get us this far only to say “Fuck those people, I am gonna listen to Jenny McCarthy and Glenn Beck”. We kind of deserve to die.

    This is a sports website with a demo of mostly 20-40 year old guys who watch pro-football and send poop jokes to Drew Magary. When this crowd knows your name for…

    Willfully and publicly disseminating public-health-imperiling pseudo-scientific quackery, behind the imprimatur of doctorly credentials… as unambiguous a violation of the promise to abstain from doing harm as if this toxic insane person were going around hocking flu-mucous onto grade-school cafeteria lunches.

    …your public profile is not doing well.

    What totally stinks is that it took this outbreak to wake people up, and we still don’t know how far this will spread and how much damage it will cause. But it happened, and people are seriously po-ed, and the anti-vaxers are even getting ripped in Forbes – not to mention NYT, WaPo, USA Today, CNN, CBS, NBC, Gawker… is anybody NOT ripping them?

    I feel a little bad about my reaction, what with real people getting sick and all, but seeing the anti-vaxers get their comeuppance in the press is really making me happy, and I just wish the minions could see it and share the schadenfreude.

  116. #117 Renate
    January 31, 2015

    @BBBlue
    This really made my head hurt:

    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.

    So what should they do if their child needs care? Just let it die? Or should they order a mobile clinic with no other patiënts?

    And if we are talking about despicable doctors, in The Netherlands we have one who defends people who are accused of child abuse it the child suffers from Shaken Baby Syndrome, which he blames on vaccines. This guy is still asked to share his view in the media.

  117. #118 sadmar
    Erratum
    January 31, 2015

    Nancy Grace is on HLN, which is owned by CNN which is a unit of Turner Broadcasting which is a division of Time Warner. It’s late. I got them mixed up. HLN is the raw-meat division, CNN the more ‘legit’, but still a wee on the sensationalist side. They were a lot better, back in the day, when Turner himself was still in charge. By ‘big castle’ I meant there are lots of different divisions and shows with their own producers who will have different takes on things. But it sounds like they’re using Wolfson in a kind of Nancy-Grace-ish way, just a little maybe. I dunno. G’night.

  118. #119 Helianthus
    January 31, 2015

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

    “Newflash: cardiologist says only healthy people should go to hospital.”

  119. #120 Charlotte
    January 31, 2015

    That message to the mother whose child died… I’ve literally just finished drying my eyes after reading the story of a local vet surgeon I know whose daughter died at 18months of a mitochondrial disorder. Presumably this POS would stand in front of her and tell her that she was somehow to blame too. What a steaming, towering pile of shit he is.

  120. #121 Orac
    January 31, 2015

    Our governemnt funded national broadcaster used Dr. Jay Gordon on one of their major news progams yesterday. Very disappointing.
    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4171055.htm

    Wow. That one was pretty bad. “But not all doctors see it that way”? Then Dr. Jay spouts the same bullshit he spouted about it being “just the measles” and how “healthy children” are not at danger. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/01/29/false-balance-about-vaccines/

  121. #122 Orac
    January 31, 2015

    Of course, we’ve been down this road before with various flavors of pseudoscience, such as creationism.The difference here is that antivaccine pseudoscience has very real public health consequences that can endanger lives.

    In any case, any time there is an impression given that there is a scientific debate, pseudoscientists win. Indeed, they know this. They count on it. That’s why they love to see one of their own like Dr. Jay or Wolfson go head-to-head with mainstream doctors. They know that viewers won’t remember much, if any, of the specifics. All they’ll remember is that there was a “debate” (as in the particularly bad CNN segment, where Dr. Dorian was clearly not well-prepared to counter the bullshit Wolfson was laying down).

    Such “debates” and interviews with antivaxers give the impression that (1) there is an actual scientific debate when there is not, and, if the news producer’s intent is to discredit the antivaccinationist, (2) that there is something sufficiently “threatening” in the minority message that it needs to be crushed by the mainstream media. In the case of #1, the impression left is that there’s far more to the antivaccine view than there actually is, hence my frequently invoked example of how news producers don’t feel obligated to interview geocentrists for stories about astronomy. The reason, of course, is that geocentrism as a scientific viewpoint is so utterly discredited that they don’t see any reason to do so. Ditto flat earthers. Only for health stories (particularly vaccine stories) and anthropogenic global climate change denial stories do news services seem to think it important to include the crank for “balance.” In doing so, even if the crank loses the “debate,” the impression is left that there is an actual scientific “controversy.”

    As for #2, I think it’s underestimated how powerful this message is. The very people who are susceptible to antivaccine messages are the same people susceptible to conspiracy theories. If they see someone espousing a message that fits in with other parts of their world view (e.g., crunchy, “natural,” and anti-pharma) putting a face on the views and then tearing down that face leads more to sympathy and a suspicion that The Man is trying to keep something from them rather than the belief that the antivaxer’s viewpoint has been discredited.

    As I said before, there’s a reason why antivaxers cheer whenever someone like Dr. Gordon, Dr. Wolfson, or “Dr. Bob” Sears shows up on the media to spew antivaccine pseudoscience. They don’t view it as a defeat, even if the antivaccine representative doesn’t come off looking so good, because it isn’t a defeat. Each such appearance is a small victory for them.

  122. #123 JCL
    January 31, 2015

    Way back up the thread I saw some comments about ‘science isn’t philosphy’.

    Indeed it isn’t, but I do wonder if it isn’t actually ‘science’ that needs to be better understood by everyone from the TMR to the particular doctor in question here, and indeed many of the other usual suspects, but the philosphy of science.

    It isn’t that some of these people fail to understand the basic operations procedures and so forth of science, but they fail to understand that yes indeed, it (‘science’) is often (in someways always) wrong, constantly changing, open to abuse, open to just simple error and all that but nonetheless ‘science’ simply means the rational exploration of our world by the best current understanding of what the world is and how it should be explored.

    There isn’t some alternative system of rational thinking – other systems of thinking (about the objective universe) are definitionaly irrational. Though that system itself is always open to change, as are its conclusions – nonethless outside its bounds doesn’t lie some other rationality or some other way of attempting to correctly perceive the (objective) universe- outside lies only chaos.

    Well its philosphy and of course you can disagree – trying to define ‘science’ isn’t easy or ever fully satisfying- but thats the point of philosophy and engaging with these difficulties and appreciating them just might make some of these people question the ease with which they disregard it.

  123. #124 MarkN
    January 31, 2015

    Three jokers moving us closer toward having the feds take police action to get our herd rates compliant. Going to be a suckfest for everyone.

  124. #125 Andrew
    January 31, 2015

    “The Doctors” seem to have deleted my posts on their page and banned me from posting again. I’m sad. 🙁

    (this guy manages to make me more angry than Gordon or Sears. Didn’t know that was possible.)

  125. #126 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    ““Newflash: cardiologist says only healthy people should go to hospital.”

    I avoid them like the plagues, MRSA, TB, Flu, not to mention the four cold virusus. Dangerous places

  126. #127 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    @MarkN Given the political climate, the overwhelm anti-government hostility that has been created, I can not conceive of the events that would need to occur to reverse the recent history of “individual exceptions” to almost all public health requirements.

  127. #128 Denice Walter
    January 31, 2015

    Orac said, ” There’s a reason why anti-vaxxers cheer…”

    You are SO entirely correct, Mister.

    Today Dan ( AoA):

    ” We are winning, and we will prevail, in the marketplace of ideas when the idea we champion is that the current vaccine schedule is the cause of the age of autism and that we can end that, and still prevent the rise or recurrence of deadly diseases. That is not the same as ending all vaccination- though again, that is a view that is held by folks we respect’.

    -btw- he and Mark have a new book out that tells you which ones are merely bad and which are devil’s spawn made injectable. Firs of allt, let’s resurrect AJW’s singled out measles vaccine.

  128. #129 Denice Walter
    January 31, 2015

    Oh Uck, that should be- FIRST OF ALL…

    altho’ it’s ALT as well.

    AND I *was* going to write about why altie/ anti-vax compliance requires a degree of affluence but I feel below par as an editor today so I’d better not.

  129. #130 Candy
    Somewhere in the heartland
    January 31, 2015

    This is an absolutely great article on Wolfson. You’ll dig it.

    http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/hey-get-a-load-of-this-evil-doctor-1682799466/+charliejane

  130. #131 brook
    January 31, 2015
  131. #132 Lurker
    January 31, 2015

    What a complete wanker. If only there was a way to get him into a television studio (with locked doors protected by guards, to keep out terrorists with guns of course).

    Interviewer: Dr. Wolfson, what are we made of?

    Wolfson: Muscles, bones, neurons…

    Interviewer: Yes, and what are those made of?

    Wolfson: Proteins, lipids…

    Interviewer: Which are what, exactly? Chemicals, right?

    Wolfson: Well, yes, but what’s your point?

    Interviewer: Tell us, what is the difference between those chemicals, the ones we’re made of, and the chemicals you don’t believe we should eat, inject ourselves, with, or…

    Wolfson: They aren’t natural. Those horrid chemicals in vaccines and pizzas and laundry products aren’t natural.

    Interviewer: Then what are they? Supernatural?

    Wolfson: I’ve had enough! I’m getting out of here. (gets up and makes for the door) What’s this? Open the door!

    Guard: Sorry sir, but I’m under orders to not let any nutters through this door. Not to put too fine a point on it, but…

    Interviewer: I meant don’t let any nutters get _in_. You may let the good doctor _out_ if that’s his choice.

    Guard: Here you go…. (Wolfson runs away shrieking about chemicals.)

    Interviewer: Right. Now where were we…?

  132. #133 Rob
    January 31, 2015

    I’m not vaccinating my kids because I’m planning my next affair.

  133. #134 Candy
    United States
    January 31, 2015

    I’m not vaxxing ’cause I’m too busy eating chemical pizza. Mmmmmmm.

  134. #135 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    @Rob, thus you validated my culture’s belief system that mothers should have the ultimate say over their children and should have the right to use the bridal knife on a worthless husband.

    Also, since I am assuming that you were going for the laugh, I did chuckle.

  135. #136 Sarah A
    January 31, 2015

    Re: the comments concerning the origin of measles – I remember reading somewhere that human-specific airborne viruses like measles, smallpox, etc., arose after humans started living in cities (which, of course, would have been after the advent of agriculture and thus, not “Paleo.”) In order for a virus to sustain itself in the population, it needs a certain number of people living within 2 weeks’ travel of one another (or whatever the incubation period of the specific disease is) as well as a steady influx of new, susceptible hosts. For most of human history, cities were only kept populated through the constant influx of people from the countryside because of the high death rate due to disease. By the time improved sanitation made cities sustainable, population growth and increased mobility made the number of people living within two weeks’ travel of one another large enough for the viruses to maintain a constant chain of transmission solely through new births, at which point they became “childhood illnesses.”

    I’m not 100% sure where I read this, but I think it might have been Richard Preston’s Demon in the Freezer. Its about the history and eradication of smallpox and the issues surrounding its potential as a bioweapon – definitely worth a read if you’re interested in vaccination, public health, etc.

  136. #137 Sarah A
    January 31, 2015

    @ Colonel Tom – You lost me at “mothers should have the ultimate say over their children” and brought me back with ” the right to use the bridal knife.” Where can I learn more about this wise, noble culture? Googling “bridal knife” just brings up ads for cake servers 😛

  137. #138 Gary Seyyed
    January 31, 2015

    Please, everyone, spend a minute to give Jack Wolfson some feedback on his ‘ideas’. Call his office at:

    Wolfson Integrative Cardiology
    10585 N Tatum Blvd Ste D135
    Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
    (480) 535-6844 (Office)

  138. #139 SkewedDistribution
    January 31, 2015

    Newsflash: Despite my personal anti-Wolfson protest of last evening, involving Tide, Bounce, pizza, television, clothing, and showers, I’m still kickin’.

  139. #140 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 31, 2015

    Sarah, Traditional culture would be that a woman owns all property and has say over the children. Sometimes I confuse people when I say “mother” (biological parent) and Mothers (the women in her extended family).

    I can not find a reference on google for background of bridal knife either. My grandmother gave one to my first beloved one, and she promised to use it appropriately if I ever were to betray. There is always the chance my grandmother just made it up to keep me in line.

  140. #141 shay
    January 31, 2015

    At least one Arizona pediatrician, according to The Washington Post, is already talking about reporting Wolfson to the Arizona Medical Board, and that’s not an empty threat

    Could this be our Dr Chris, then?

  141. #142 shay
    January 31, 2015

    Sorry — the above is a quote from the Time magazine article.

  142. #143 Anne
    January 31, 2015

    According to this article http://time.com/3689645/wolfson-antivaccine-measles/ at least one Arizona Pediatrician is pursuing getting Wolfson’s license revoked. BTW, love the name of the article “Meet the Latest Driver of the Anti-Vaccine Clown Car”.

  143. #144 Milwaukeegirl
    Milwaukee, WI
    January 31, 2015

    Diphtheria. Does Dr. Wolfson include this as a disease children have the right to get? Just look it up if you’ve never heard of it. A horrible, horrible disease that few people have heard of because there’s a vaccine for it!. Again, thank you, scientists and doctors who developed the vaccines that save lives. I’m glad children don’t have to do what I had to do: stay in my yard and wave at my friends down the street because it was polio season. No swimming at the local public pool, no get-togethers with the kids on the block. The instant the polio vaccine was available my parents took us in. Too late for my sister’s friend, who ended up in a wheelchair. Just like George Washington’s soldiers did in the 1700s, I got my smallpox shot as a kid. My aunt was not so lucky, and the scars on her face were a reminder of that disease. I am truly sick of hearing the blather from alternative medicine folks who either have very short memories or don’t do a deep enough google search.

  144. #145 Pareidolius
    January 31, 2015

    I know that our eeeeeevil, pro-vax disapproval only feeds his sense of awesomeness, but disapprove I must. What a shitty, smarmy huckster. The L. Ron Hubbard of cardiology.

  145. #146 BobM
    NZ
    January 31, 2015

    False balance. I’ve posted this before. Worth repeating.

  146. #147 Panacea
    January 31, 2015

    Oh, they know how to do a Google search, Milwaukeegirl.

    The problem is, they jump right past the peer reviewed information to the information that agrees with their preconceptions.

    Google isn’t for doing actual research, and the anti vaxers who cry, “Do your research!” don’t actually want you to do any such thing. Google is for your confirmation bias, to make you feel better about the preconceived notion you’ve already chosen to believe, but need counter arguments for when your shocked friends, family, and acquaintances challenge you on your BS.

    As for Dr. Wolfson, I’ve come to the conclusion he is a sociopath. I can think of no other reason why a trained physician would take on the kind of stance he has.

  147. #148 sadmar
    We got peeps in Arizona
    January 31, 2015

    @ Anne #142, shay #140
    “at least one Arizona Pediatrician is pursuing getting Wolfson’s license revoked”

    See comment #5 above.

  148. #149 Allison
    January 31, 2015

    The link in #37, in which the “good” doctor’s chiroquack wife blames a mother for the death of her child, now brings up a 404 Not Found message. Could it be that the Drs. Wolfson are developing a sense of morals, or are they just afraid that future patients wouldn’t appreciate such a sociopathic belief system in their healthcare providers?

  149. #150 Vicki
    January 31, 2015

    Colonel Tom:

    By “traditional culture,” do you mean the Six Nations? There are a lot of traditional cultures, even within what is now the United States and Canada.

  150. #151 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    January 31, 2015

    Colonel Tom:

    By “traditional culture,” do you mean the Six Nations? There are a lot of traditional cultures, even within what is now the United States and Canada.

    Also, too: Are the Tuscarora now officially a Sixth Nation? They’d been “on the cradleboard of the League” for about 300 years the last I read about it.

  151. #152 brook
    January 31, 2015

    biggest advantage to vax-ing? I’m not nursing sick kids or taking care of VPD injured kids so I have tons of time for affairs and pizza.

  152. #153 TBruce
    January 31, 2015

    The link in #37, in which the “good” doctor’s chiroquack wife blames a mother for the death of her child, now brings up a 404 Not Found message.

    To quote Rick Perry: “Oops.”

    Guess they felt a little heat. I don’t think they had second thoughts before that, since no one with any compassion or even common sense would have done it in the first place. Fortunately,
    the comment will live on as an example of the Wolfsons’ cruelty.

  153. #154 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    Unsurprisingly, Wolfson received the Dachelbot Seal of Approval.

  154. #155 sadmar
    Still in the real world, which is amazingly free of actual anti-vaxers
    January 31, 2015

    Orac wrote #122

    “there’s a reason why antivaxers cheer whenever someone like Dr. Gordon, Dr. Wolfson, or “Dr. Bob” Sears shows up on the media to spew antivaccine pseudoscience. They don’t view it as a defeat, even if the antivaccine representative doesn’t come off looking so good, because it isn’t a defeat. Each such appearance is a small victory for them.

    Right. And irrelevant. ‘They’ are hopeless loons. Each attack of any kind they receive that mentions them by name is a victory for them inside the world of conspiracy-theory ranting lunatics. Including every post on RI and SBM. They’re invulnerable. But it’s all about the fence-sitters, and the attacks in the mainstream media are working to separate them from the loons. Just look at any of the comment threads under the stories, especially the Deadspin piece linked by Narad #11 and Candy #130.

    Re #121. It’s a legal story, not a medical science story, and it’s bloody f-ing brilliant. Read it again. The whole point of the piece is that there’s a “pretty good case” for suing antivaxers for negligence. The attorney cited only mentions parents. So why did the reporter quote Dr. Jay? Because his completely irresponsible and false statements to CBS put him right in the litigation bullseye. Jay gets it… now.

    I don’t like taped shows. CBS and NBC filmed for 45 minutes trying as hard as they could to get a gotcha’ moment. Both reporters asked the same question a half dozen times or more in different ways and finally found a sound bite that framed what I said in the worst possible light… I forget from time to time what a producer or editor can do when they don’t like one’s point of view. I have turned down a half dozen shows since CBS and NBC’s.

    Whine on Jay, I’ve got the world’s smallest violin playing “Hearts and Flowers”. See, CBS put Dr. Jay on TV, eviscerated him in front of 7.1 million people who are not CT wackos, and now Dr. Jay is feeling heat he’s never felt in his life, has clammed up, and if he has half-a-brain (questionable) has lawyered up with the best civil defense attorney his celeb pals can find, cause he’s gonna need the help.

    Honestly, I’m not trying to score some personal points against anybody here. Anything I’ve said is just consensus in mass comm studies, and has been studied extensively for decades. It’s roughly the equivalent of scientific agreement on AGW or the safety of vaccines. If there’s any ‘contest’ here I didn’t ‘win’ anything. Orac can’t even find the playing field. It’s not like I had to try. So why do I bother?

    Because these news stories are showing you how to win over the fence-sitters, and have so badly damaged the public real-world non-vax case there’s a Golden Opportunity here, and y’all seem to be missing it.

    Sure the loons feel as amped up as ever or even more right now. But they’ve never been weaker in the public eye. Now is the time to move in for the kill, before they have a chance to get back up again — which is unlikely, but possible. SfSBM ought to be talking to big-time personal injury attorneys, helping co-ordinate possible parties to legal actions… Could the insurance companies be upset about what they’re now spending on measles treatment and prevention, which is already considerably more $$ than was spent on ebola, and shows now sign of tapering off anytime soon?

    The only question that ought to let to be decided about Dr. Jay is whether the plaintifs attorneys or his defense attorneys wind up with the deed to his house, publishing rights to all his books, the contents of all his bank accounts, or what island in the Caribbean without an extradition treaty he’s going to skip to.

    Don’t just go after Wolfson’s license. Take his money, his house, and all his businesses. He’s all but invited it.

    Don’t look gift horses in the mouth.

  155. #156 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    January 31, 2015

    Sadmar, your analysis of motivation and technique may be correct, but the point you’re missing is that 60 Minutes, while it was influential 40 years ago, is a complete cipher today. It’s the classic tree that fell in the forest with nobody there to hear.

    60 Minutes‘ demographic (or that of television/cable news shows in general) is people over 65, who haven’t moved on to Faux Noise, but still feel the need for talking bobbleheads to read the headlines for them. IOW, vanishingly small. And absolutely none of them are of an age where they have kids to vaccinate or not vaccinate.

  156. #157 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    The link in #37, in which the “good” doctor’s chiroquack wife blames a mother for the death of her child, now brings up a 404 Not Found message.

    Too late.

  157. #158 sadmar
    January 31, 2015

    TVRBoK # 149
    According to Wikipedia, the Tuscarora joined the Iroquois League in 1722.

    Vicki #148
    One point not well observed is the discussions of the McMaster leukemia cases is the New Credit band are Ojibwe who migrated to Ontario from the West, have a very different culture from the Haudenosaunee (“longhouse”), including not just quite different Traditional Medicine practices, but concepts of ‘medicine’, and the Ojibwe and Haudenosaunee have been butting heads with one another over various matters for any number of centuries. In fact, as of the other day anyway, the top item on the Six Nations website was a dispute with the New Credit band over ownership of several square blocks of valuable land. The New Credit reserve is very small, with a population of 850. The Six Nations is the largest reserve in Canada with a population of 12,271. Each band has about the same numbers living off the reserve as on.

    While Ojibwe lived in different places in the Northern U.S. and Canada, the Sault surname would seem to be derived from ‘Saulteaux’ the French name for prairie Objibwe, who had different names for themselves and their language than the more Eastern Ojibwe, back in the day anyway.

    The emphatic point being that Makayla Sault was NOT of longhouse heritage, not that it mattered, as by all indications her parents were Evangelical Christians first and always, and First Nations only second and when it suited them to be so.

  158. […] cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines, Respectful Insolence am 30. Januar […]

  159. #160 lilady
    January 31, 2015

    sadmar, how about you back off from commenting about Orac’s post and what other commenters post here?

    When was the last time you posted a comment directly at Jay Gordon which was germane to his not-based-in-science “opinions” and backed your comment up with with facts and citations?

    Have you ever posted comments on other science blogs at Dr. Jay Gordon or Dr. Bob Sears, as so many of us have done?

    Your analyses of our comments and opinions are provocative…not thought provoking. Frankly, you are acting like a scold and a colossal bore, and I, for one, find your comments utterly lacking in content and tiresome.

  160. #161 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 31, 2015

    Reverend, the Tuscarora were refugees from EuroAmerican aggression. As they spoke a language that has a common root with the Five Nations, as they shared a common culture and government and clan structure they were welcome to join to form the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee). This would have been almost 300 years ago. However, the the thousand year old Constitution reserved the positions on the Grande Council to the members of the Five Nations. This effectively limits their voice in many issues, but as it is a Confederation and since decisions dependent upon the consent of the members, it gets complicated. There is a population that never migrated north, that still consider themselves Tuscarora.

    I was blessed, long with my cousin, to stumble upon a lost Tuscarora woman (it was dark) during my time in Topanga Canyon. She stayed with us until the poison had left her system and we drove her home to the Oklahoma territory.

    A person may be a traditionalist (Longhouse), a follower of Handsome Lake or Christian. I believe that the Christian frown upon using a husband knife.

  161. #162 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    ” We are winning, and we will prevail, in the marketplace of ideas when the idea we champion is that the current vaccine schedule is the cause of the age of autism….

    Leaving aside the atrocious grammar, this isn’t “winning,” Danny boy:

    “Members of the anti-vaccine movement said the public backlash had terrified many parents. ‘People are now afraid they’re going to be jailed,’ said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a clearinghouse for resisters. ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s gotten so out of hand, and it’s gotten so vicious.'”

  162. #163 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    I still watch 60 minutes sometimes, and the daughter of wife is 13. Wife is still unsure about the cervical cancer vaccine, although I do not understand her reasons.
    I miss Andy Rooney.

    Part of the problem, is that people of various insanity and bias need no longer be exposed to mainstream news and thought. My half brother and I were discussing this today, my step brother and his half brother, she is an anti-vax, morbidly obese, untreated gestational diabetes, bizarre diet (some kind of raw vegetables weirdness) and to quote to my half-brother a real wackadoodle. Yet she listens to her quack, listen to her church, reads her websites, her internet friends. Outside of family no one challenges her views, and she cares little for the opinions of heatherns.

    P.S. The family structure is such, a widowed woman with two children and a widowed man with two children remarried. They then had a final child.

  163. #164 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    Second try, My half brother and I were discussing THE WIFE of my step brother and his half brother. Blended families, what are you going to do.

  164. #165 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    She stayed with us until the poison had left her system

    Some further specificity would be helpful here. Euphemism or metaphor?

  165. #166 Orac
    January 31, 2015

    Your analyses of our comments and opinions are provocative…not thought provoking. Frankly, you are acting like a scold and a colossal bore, and I, for one, find your comments utterly lacking in content and tiresome.

    Yep. Quite frankly, from my perspective sadmar’s so completely and utterly full of shit about this issue that I don’t know why I bothered to respond. He’s tedious, tendentious, and clearly does not understand the antivaccine movement and how it works. He’s so long-winded that he bores even me. Worse, he spends more time criticizing those combatting pseudoscience than he does actually, well, combatting pseudoscience.

    You know what they say about people who think they know more than you do…

    In any case, I’ve basically had it with him and will no longer engage him until he demonstrates that he has something worthwhile to say on this issue.

  166. #167 brian
    January 31, 2015

    Well, Doctor Jay got a few more moments of fame today:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-measles-vaccine-is-a-shot-of-common-sense/2015/01/31/bb071ca8-a8a3-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html

    He seems to have reached his goal of becoming the go-to guy to represent willful, selfish ignorance.

  167. #168 Joel Goodman
    Paradise Valley, AZ
    January 31, 2015

    Wolfson is a complete nutcase. Everyone in this area of Arizona knows it, he is a pompous, conceited (don’t know why…), extremist who has NEVER believed anyone else has a correct opinion about anything but himself. He completely dismisses anyone who disagrees with him, which is why he does not have any friends. He believes, and practices with his own children, that mothers should breast feed until age 11-12 and that is what will give the kids the immunizations they need. Really? How do you think they kids are going to feel when they are in junior high and at lunch time, they have to go home to breast feed? Not to mention what that type of upbringing will do to their mental development, self esteem and general outlook about the world. This guy’s license should be revoked, What an ego maniac.

  168. #169 Yaz Dycheman
    Scottsdale, AZ
    January 31, 2015

    This guy has had small penis syndrome for years…..for good reason. He takes out his anger over his, uh “compact package” by trying to ban anything and everything that might be good for you or make you grow. Cannot believe anyone would ever let him treat them for anything.

  169. #170 JP
    January 31, 2015

    He believes, and practices with his own children, that mothers should breast feed until age 11-12 and that is what will give the kids the immunizations they need.

    To quote a good friend: “Is this real? Am I high?”

  170. #171 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 31, 2015

    @Narad.
    “Euphemism or metaphor?”

    Mainly factual, as in detox. I did say I stumbled upon her, although it was more of a kick to her gut. When she spoke, I knew she was not a pile of rubbish. The odds against Yart and I finding such a person so far away from her home and my home. There were likely less than a couple of dozen people in LA county that would have recognized her language.

    She also needed someone listen to her pain, she needed to remember that she was a cherished soul, etc, etc, etc.

    @Joel Goodman. Do not people that breast feed for extended times express milk? Are you saying that physical contact is required for their transfer of immunity.

    I do not with a small note of irony the medical systems current love affair with breast feeding has not always been the case. Certainly in recent past children did suffer from lack of maternal immunity because of the bottle 50’s and 60’s. I offer nor have more than a vague opinion about the allergy/lack of breast feeding relationship. Immunity would seem to be another pox of small.

  171. #172 lilady
    January 31, 2015

    Dr. Roy Benaroch on why non-vaccinating mommies should not depend on breast milk to provide protection against vaccine-preventable-diseases:

    https://pediatricinsider.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/immunity-breastfeeding-and-the-timing-of-measles-vaccine/

    A new confirmed case of measles reported in New York. The confirmed case is a student at Bard College and traveled aboard an Amtrak train when he was infectious. No, or minimal exposures there….right?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ny-measles-patient-boarded-amtrak-train-penn-station/story?id=28619871

  172. #173 ChrisP
    Australia
    January 31, 2015

    To be honest I gave up reading sadmar’s comments by about their 4th comment. I would get to the end of an interminable comment and wonder what it was all about. So there was no real point in reading them.

    I know that Orac has a tendency to go on and on, but at least the signal to noise ratio with Orac makes it worth getting to the end.

    Sounds like I haven’t missed anything.

  173. #174 ChrisP
    January 31, 2015

    A new confirmed case of measles reported in New York. The confirmed case is a student at Bard College and traveled aboard an Amtrak train when he was infectious.

    Sadly it looks like measles cases in 2015 may easily eclipse 2014 as the worst year since the early 1990s.

  174. #175 JP
    January 31, 2015

    @lilady:

    Oh, geez. You’re probably not putting as many people in danger as you would on a Greyhound – which I’ve ridden many, many times, and are popular among the lowest-income-and-oppurtunity-for-medical-care-among-us – but doing that on a Amtrak is still horrendous. Lots of babies on Amtrak.

  175. #176 JP
    January 31, 2015

    *an Amtrak, of course. “An Amtrak train” would probably be more correct.

  176. #177 JP
    January 31, 2015

    P.S. – I meant “you’re” in the non-personal sense.

  177. #178 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    Mainly factual, as in detox.

    I should have been more specific. Is this a reference to psychedelics? I have no idea when you were in Topanga, but the mention elicits a certain time frame.

  178. #179 palindrom
    January 31, 2015

    I’ve basically had it with him and will no longer engage him until he demonstrates that he has something worthwhile to say on this issue.

    It’ll be hard to tell, unless Mr. or Ms. s learns brevity, too, which seems unlikely.

  179. #180 Gray Squirrel
    January 31, 2015

    Panacea @ 147, Google, confirmation bias:

    The problem with Google as a research tool, is that every search is a “personalized search” whether you want that or not. That means they track your usage and feed you more of what you already read, thereby reinforcing what you already “know.” If you click an anti-vax blog or article, Google’s god-box thinks you’re an anti-vaxer and feeds you more anti-vax stuff. It’s pure “positive (reinforcing) feedback” at its most pernicious.

    This is known as the “Google Bubble” or generically as the “filter bubble.” From the Wikipedia article “Filter Bubble”:

    “[Internet activist Eli Pariser] related an example in which one user searched Google for “BP” and got investment news about British Petroleum while another searcher got information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and that the two search results pages were “strikingly different”.”

    Two search engines that don’t do that are Ixquick.com and DuckDuckGo.com. They don’t track your usage, so they can’t feed confirmation bias through positive feedback. I use Ixquick first because it can also do picture searches.

    Google is the embedded default search engine in many browsers and devices, but you can dig into your settings & preferences and change it. Also be aware that the address line in most browsers today is a search line as well, so if you don’t enter a URL correctly, it may be relayed to the default search engine and feed the “bubble.”

    In other news, latest report as of yesterday, is that the Disney outbreak is up to 114 cases. I got an MMR booster a week ago after the public health people were on the radio urging everyone to do that. I was going to ask the pharmacist for “extra thimerosal” but I forgot (probably because of all the “chemicals” I’m eating).

  180. #181 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 31, 2015

    @Narad. I was never sure, and I don’t think she knew either. I’d say opiates, and certainly treated it as such. There were complications that would have made going to a hospital a choice of last resort. I had my medics kit and could monitor her vitals, mainly she ruined a lot of our clothing, towels, couch. Learning that the person you think you love has betrayed you is hard, let alone detoxing. I stitched and glued her wounds, eventually I took her home.

    FYI, this was the 80’s, although I knew several there that had lived through more interesting times. This was near where Old Topanga and Topanga Canyon Road split, near Equus riding stables. Had it been psychedelics or coke I would have made different choices.

  181. #182 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    January 31, 2015

    Thanks for the Iroquois update, Colonel Tom. My brain is a lot like Kelly Bundy’s–you know, add a new fact and an old one falls out. I could honestly never remember seeing the term Six Nations before, and I had read long ago that the Tuscarora were in a subordinate position in the League ever since their inmigration. I got the phrase “On the cradleboard of the League” from Francis Jennings Empires of Fortune…I think.

  182. #183 Vicki
    January 31, 2015

    There are a lot of good reasons to take someone to a hospital, but a bad trip seems like a strong reason not to.

    Fortunately, this is in the past and Colonel Tom and his wife took care of this woman appropriately.

  183. #184 Colonel Tom
    January 31, 2015

    Reverend BattleAxe, had I any say in 1722 I don’t think I would have not argued for the current system, it does strike me as a little unbalanced. I have neither understood why during those days of English and French proxy wars, when many other Native Nations were conquered and incorporated as less partners into the Great Tree, why the Tuscarora were given such special status. I suppose it was a conflict between the sacred aspect of the Great Tree of Peace Constitution and the practical aspects of justice and fairness. I used to think that was an advantage of the U.S. Constitution, but a large portion of EuroAmerican society has taken to worshiping that document.

  184. #185 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    January 31, 2015

    When a teenage girl suggests that she get the mmr vaccine, but her mother says no, that comes across as something pretty close to child abuse. Perhaps a state law that allows teenagers of a certain age to get vaccinated without parental consent would be appropriate. It might not have a huge impact, but it would allow the odd teen who recognizes mom’s eccentricity to follow the road of rationality. The only serious question would be the age of vaccination consent. Maybe 15 for mmr and HPV? The news story also pointed out that the mom even refused to let her son have a tetanus shot. That is bizarre behavior and should have been reported to child protective services.

    I don’t wish to get into arguments over Sadmar’s stylistic quirks (the name actually reminds me of the title character in a Russian opera, Sadko) but I think that the current outbreak is pushing a lot of previously neutral people towards getting vaccinated and getting their children vaccinated. That is what the news stories are telling us. It will be a while until we get some legitimate statistics such as the number of doses used recently (perhaps the number of orders by pharmacies and doctors will provide some estimate).

    I understand full well that the hard core anti-vaccine people will continue to hold their position. The ability to rationalize in opposition to facts and logic is supreme in this group. But their victims are now being forced to determine how strongly they believe the craziness, what with the media scare stories and the increasingly strong message being conveyed by newspapers, television stations, news radio, and parents of vulnerable children.

    I understand that providing either pro or anti-vaccine messages (or both) can have mixed effects, as the experimental psychologists have been telling us, but we should realize that the messages are being combined with increasingly strong social pressure, and the combination may be having a substantial effect.

    We can hope. And we should be seeing some hard numbers regarding increased vaccination levels over the next year.

  185. #186 Narad
    January 31, 2015

    I’d say opiates, and certainly treated it as such.

    Thank you for clarifying. I presume that you realize that this could have gone horribly wrong if you were mistaken.

  186. #187 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    January 31, 2015

    Thank you Vicki, that story is not always greeted with understanding. Several of our actions were obviously illegal and the simple usage of military materials would have been enough to bring me up on charges.

    Given the agony I felt wondering if her shakes and heaves meant a trip to the emergency room, I can not comprehend how a responsible pediatrician would risk far worse for their patients by not following vaccination schedules.

  187. #188 JP
    January 31, 2015

    @Colonel Tom:

    I hadn’t brought it up, but I have some Native ancestry on my dad’s side – the Klickitat tribe. As it turns out, they were basically opportunist ba$tards, at least, since the Europeans turned up. In the end, they mosly intermarried or moved north to join with the Yakima Nation. I will say, proudly, that my dad’s side of the family is to this day staunchly non-racist, and about a third of my current relatives have Mexican ancestry. (The Norwegians, on my mom’s side, took a bit longer to catch on.)

  188. #189 Colonel Tom
    February 1, 2015

    @Narad,

    Yes. Do not think me as insane as the anti-vaxers, that I confused eight hours of military first responder training to match that of an over-worked under-staffed E.R.

  189. #190 lilady
    February 1, 2015

    Bob G. I don’t think you will come across too many instances of children who have anti-vaccine parents requesting MMR vaccine; teens are scared of needles. The most virulent anti-vaccine parents may have already conveyed their distrust about vaccines to their teenage children.

    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.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_OMCL.pdf

    As much as I am pro vaccine, not providing your child with the Recommended Childhood Vaccines, is negligence, not abuse.

  190. #191 Narad
    February 1, 2015

    Do not think me as insane as the anti-vaxers

    I don’t think you’re insane at all, but I do think that rhetorical choices such as “people of the longhouse do not lie, ever” and “she stayed with us until the poison had left her system” verge upon on obfuscatory caricature.

    I acknowledge that I’m not always as plain-spoken as I might be and that I’m often more plain-spoken than I ought to be, but I’m not rolling girl mystification expert.

  191. #192 Christine (the former public servant)
    February 1, 2015

    As a historian I get really, really ANGRY when paleo nuts bang on about how healthy our ancestors were. I invite Wolfson to come and look at my collection of books about dead people (cemetery archaeology reports) to find information about how long lived they were. Or rather, weren’t. From many we can see they had quite good paleo diets and the life expectancy was very poor.

    Incidentally, if you ever want to see a good woo fight, stick a raw food vegan in the same room as a paleo. It’s fun to watch.

  192. #193 JP
    February 1, 2015

    Hey, Narad, did you ever have spiritual experiences without psychedelic drugs? I’m just asking out of curiosity. Mine started when I was a teenager, years before I ever did a bit of dabbling in consciousness-altering substances. (That actually wasn’t until well into grad school, actually. I was always sort of afraid of going crazy, given that my mental health isn’t the best, but I had a sort of delayed adolesence a few years into grad school or something.) I’m just curious – I’ve noticed you quoting some Zen types, too, Seung Sahn, I think. I did Soto Zen meditation for a long time, though I’ve been lax as of late.

  193. #194 Iqbal
    Delhi
    February 1, 2015

    Orac

    Why have you singled out Dr. Wolfson?

    There are many more doctors and scientists against vaccines.

    http://www.greatergoodmovie.org/news-views/doctors-and-scientists-with-concerns-about-vaccines/

  194. #195 Lawrence
    February 1, 2015

    Because Wolfson (I refuse to call him a doctor) has proven himself to be extremely vitriolic and vile…..he put himself in this position & deserves the public shaming that comes with it.

  195. #196 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde and the Superbowl!
    February 1, 2015

    @lqbal

    Because Wolfson is a vile and pathetic excuse for a human being, who has been vocal about blaming the mother for the death of her child.

    Orac has also gutted most of the idiots in the Greater Good Movie already.

  196. #197 Scottynuke
    February 1, 2015

    A thought…

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

    I wonder which AZ hospital has made the mistake of adding Wolfson to their rolls, but more importantly, what does that hospital require in the way of vaccinations for their admitting physicians? That would provide a very interesting look at whether Wolfson practices what he rants.

  197. #198 palindrom
    February 1, 2015

    A short musing for a Sunday morning:

    Think of the Apple slogan, “Think Different”, and the cultural resonance that it has. It is indeed a wonderful thing to encourage people to think for themselves, be creative, and imagine a better world.

    But a sizable number of folks miss the flip side of this, which is that when a large community of talented people have thought deeply on a subject for many years, it’s extremely unlikely that a random person who “thinks different” is going to discover something that they don’t already understand in detail.

    Of course you should “Think Different”. But that doesn’t mean that your random different thought is right. And of course you should “Question Authority”. But that doesn’t mean that authority is necessarily wrong.

  198. #199 Colonel Tom
    February 1, 2015

    @Narad What you might be thinking is an attempt at “wood mysticism” is likely more fact that not all of me made it off the operating table after they rerouted my right and central coronary arteries. I did lose most of ability to speak and I think it still affects my writing style.

    As far as poison line, she had to get over alcohol, what ever they had given her and the anger she had for the boy that said he loved her. So I used shorthand,

  199. #200 Sarah A
    February 1, 2015

    @Palindrom – Yes, exactly. I think slogans like “think different” should always be immediately followed by that other t-shirt quote: “don’t believe everything you think.”

  200. #201 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?

  201. #202 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?

  202. #203 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…

  203. #204 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.

  204. #205 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.)

  205. #206 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.

  206. #207 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!!!

  207. #208 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.

  208. #209 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.

  209. #210 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!

  210. #211 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.

  211. #212 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?

  212. #213 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.

  213. #214 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.

  214. #215 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.

  215. #216 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.

  216. #217 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.

  217. #218 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.

  218. #219 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.

  219. #220 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.

  220. #221 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.

  221. #222 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.

  222. #223 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?

  223. #224 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.

  224. #225 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!

  225. #226 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.

  226. #227 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

  227. #228 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.

  228. #229 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’.

  229. #230 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.

  230. #231 shay
    February 1, 2015

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

  231. #232 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.

  232. #233 palindrom
    February 1, 2015

    Denice @232 —

    feverish antivax activity

    Now that’s an apt metaphor.

    Or whatever figure of speech it actually is.

  233. #234 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.

  234. #235 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……..

  235. #236 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?

  236. #237 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.

  237. #238 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/

  238. #239 brook
    February 2, 2015

    lilady – you are much more charitable than I.

  239. #240 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?

  240. #241 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.

  241. #242 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.

  242. #243 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!

  243. #244 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… 🙁

  244. #245 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.

  245. #246 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!”

  246. #247 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.

  247. #248 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.

  248. #249 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.

  249. #250 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. 🙂

  250. #251 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. 😉

  251. #252 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

  252. #253 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?

  253. #254 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.

  254. #255 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!).

  255. #256 Orac
    February 2, 2015
  256. #257 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.

  257. #258 TBruce
    February 2, 2015

    @brook:

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

  258. #259 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.”

  259. #260 brook
    February 2, 2015

    Mea culpa. thanks for setting me straight.

  260. #261 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’).

  261. #262 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. 🙂

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

  263. #264 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.”

  264. #265 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.

  265. #266 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.

  266. #267 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.

  267. #268 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)

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

  269. #270 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.

  270. #271 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.

  271. #272 Narad
    February 3, 2015

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

    Please don’t leave everyone with bated breath.

  272. #273 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.

  273. #274 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.

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

  275. […] 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 […]

  276. #277 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.

  277. #278 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.

  278. #279 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.

  279. #280 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.

  280. #281 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.

  281. #282 Chris
    February 3, 2015

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

  282. #283 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.

  283. #284 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.

  284. #285 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.

  285. #286 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.

  286. #287 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.

  287. #288 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.

  288. #289 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.

  289. #290 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.

  290. #291 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.

  291. #292 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.

  292. #293 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?

  293. #294 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.

  294. #295 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.

  295. #296 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.

  296. #297 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.

  297. #298 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.

  298. #299 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.

  299. #300 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”).

  300. #301 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/

  301. #302 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.

  302. #303 Chris
    February 4, 2015

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

  303. #304 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.

  304. #305 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.

  305. #306 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.

  306. #307 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.

  307. #308 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

  308. #309 David Morgan
    Northwest North America
    February 5, 2015
  309. #310 Andrew
    February 5, 2015

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

  310. #311 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.

  311. #312 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/

  312. […] 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 […]

  313. #314 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.

  314. #315 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.

  315. #316 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.

  316. […] 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 […]

  317. #318 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.

  318. […] 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 […]

  319. #320 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.

  320. #321 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.

  321. #322 Lawrence
    March 1, 2015

    Caveats, always caveats…..

  322. #323 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.

  323. #324 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.

  324. #325 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.)

  325. #326 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.

  326. #327 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.

  327. #328 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

  328. #329 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.

  329. #330 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.”

  330. #331 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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