Whenever I point out that a very common thread of “thought”—if you can call it “thought”—in alternative medicine is nothing more than germ theory denialism, the usual reaction is incredulity. Newbies who haven’t encountered quacks before invariably do a double take when I inform them that germ theory denialism is a thing, particularly among antivaccine activists. (After all, vaccines don’t make sense if microorganisms don’t cause disease.) Yet, time and time again I find examples of quacks who deny that disease is a consequence of infection. In fact, some go so far as to try to argue in the other direction, that microorganisms are good for us. Of course, there is a grain of truth in this. We’ve known for a long time that one of the pernicious effects of antibiotics is that they kill the beneficial bacteria along with the pathogenic bacteria, leading to syndromes like antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C. difficile colitis, just to name an example. The problem is not so much that quacks claim that our microbiome can be beneficial, it’s that they basically deny that there are pathogenic bacteria, their usual spin on this claim being that these viruses and bacteria can’t cause disease if you’re truly healthy and your immune system is intact. Guess how you get that way? Of course. You have to do what they tell you to do to “strengthen your immune system” and make yourself resistant to them, of course!

Of course, many of these same quacks will blame chronic diseases on chronic candida infection. Oh, well, no one said they’re consistent.

Be that as it may, I came across a very silly bit of germ theory denialism that reminds me of a famous book by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton entitled Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, except in this case it’s Measles and Mumps Are Good For You. Who, you might ask, could write something so off base, so full of cherry picked studies to back up utter nonsense? Who else? I’m talking Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo, whom we’ve met many times before. This time around, he’s proclaiming The Healing Power of Germs. Not surprisingly, he starts out with a contemptuous attack on germ theory. After claiming that our fear of microorganisms is unfounded and stoked by the CDC through fears of antibiotic resistance, leading to the requirement for vaccines (which Ji clearly considers unnecessary), Ji launches into a familiar diatribe:

What makes this situation all the more surreal is the relatively recent discovery of the microbiome, namely, the 100 trillion viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, which outnumber our own cells 10-1, and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,” and in many respects, would not be alive without them: e.g. about 8% of our genome is retroviral in origin, 90% of our immune system depends on bacteria in our gut. How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?

The cognitive dissonance generated by these diverging, if not diametrically opposed paradigms — “microbes as deadly” versus “microbes as essential to life” — is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy. But so much is riding on belief in one narrative over another. If germs are not as deadly as we are told, how would we justify the 60+ vaccines in the childhood vaccination schedule, and the 250+ in the developmental pipeline? Clearly, there are biopolitical and economic motivations pushing the germ-centric ideology forward, even in the face of an accumulating body of contrary evidence.

Do you want to tell Ji, or should I? OK, it’s my blog; so I’ll tell him. Just because science is increasingly understanding the importance of the microbiome does not mean that bacteria and viruses are harmless. What it means is that many bacteria and viruses are harmless, able to live in various ecological niches on and in our bodies. Indeed, much about this microbiome is beneficial, assisting us with digesting food, modulating our immune systems, and carrying out functions important for health. However, one more time, that does not mean that pathogenic microbes are not harmful, that microbes are not a major cause of disease in the world. Indeed, one of the reasons why widespread antibiotic resistance is so terrifying is the possibility of a “post-antibiotic era,” where there are strains of bacteria that antibiotics can no longer treat. I worry about this myself, given my advancing age and impending increased susceptibility to infection.

Naturally, as is his wont, Ji cherry picks papers to support his viewpoint:

One such recent academic challenge to the germ theory can be found in a study published this year in Atherosclerosis titled, “Association of measles and mumps with cardiovascular disease: The Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study,” which found that exposure to common infections during childhood could decrease risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Basically, this was a prospective observational study of 103,836 subjects (43,689 men and 60,147 women) aged 40–79 years in Japan, none of whom were vaccinated against the mumps or measles, because the MMR vaccine was not introduced to Japan until 1989. They were asked about their medical history, specifically whether they had ever had the measles or mumps and were were classified into the following four groups for comparison: those without a history of measles or mumps (reference group), those with a history of measles only, those with mumps only, and those with a history of both measles and mumps. The results are described in the charts below:

Measles-Mumps

As you can see, it’s an interesting finding, a provocative finding even. The authors speculate that this effect might be due to the induction of regulatory T cells after an infection, leading to suppression of inflammation in the arterial wall, preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One thing I noticed right away about this study is that the number of actual events was surprisingly small. For example, diving into the actual weeds of the numbers in Table 2, I find that there were only 1,212 deaths from myocardial infarction in the whole population over 20 years. Some of the categories have single digit numbers of subjects, such as only 8 men with mumps only who died of ischemic stroke, two of hemorrhagic stroke, five of myocardial infarction. In other words, as interesting as this study is, it’s by no means conclusive. It’s also hard not to point out (as the authors of this study do) that measles does indeed result in immunosuppression that persists at least two to three years after the infection and that this effect of measles leads children susceptible to a higher risk of death from other infectious diseases. It’s quite possible that, if this decrease in cardiovascular mortality that is associated with measles infection is real, it is part of the same phenomenon that leads measles to leave children immunosuppressed for as long as three years.

Of course, one can’t help but note that Ji only picks studies that appear to show a benefit from infection. I suppose that it’s not so odd then that he neglected to mention an article that appeared in the very same issue of the very same journal that the JACC study was published in, a review article about the association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Yes, it’s been suspected for a long time that periodontal disease is correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and recent studies, although not conclusive, appear to bear out that relationship. Again, it’s not clear if this relationship is causative or not or due to some other confounding factor, but then the same thing can be said of the results of the JACC trial that Ji promotes.

Of course, Ji can’t resist making a certain analogy:

Germ theory has, in certain respects, taken on the characteristics of an infection itself. Not a physical one, but an ideological one, i.e. a meme. Ironically, these memes not only have a life of their own, and replicate like the very infectious entities they conceptualize, but they have physiological effects that can adversely affect immunity. A nebulous fear of “germs” (lethal, invisible, omnipresent), for instance, can contribute to a flight-or-fight/sympathetic dominant state and therefore can result in immune dysregulation, up-regulating cortisol and down-regulating the very cell-mediated immunity needed to prevent opportunistic infections.

Yes, that “fear of disease” can so amp you up that you suppress your own immune system. What rot.

Of course, it’s all about what’s natural:

As our scientific understanding of the microbe-dependent nature of our health continues to expand, and germ theory and its derivative agenda of vaccinology continues to confront evidence that contradicts its basic tenets, we finally can see a way past the increasingly dismal view projected by health authorities like the CDC and the WHO that germs will be the end of us all; that is, unless we employ “live saving” vaccines and drugs, or support global germ eradication campaigns that are not only not working, and by principle never will, but may actually be harming more than they are helping.

Ultimately, when we come to embrace the “germ” not so much as other but self, the endless war against microbes will give way to a type of peace and compassion between self, body, and the natural world that will be essential for true healing to take place.

That last link leads to an article by Ji that is amazing for its woo-fulness, How The Microbiome Destroyed the Ego, Vaccine Policy, and Patriarchy. It’s one of those quack masterpieces that tries to relate disparate bits of science into a unified whole where everything relates to everything else. In this case, Ji makes the amazing claim that “99% of what it means to be human is microbiome-based,” which is nonsense even knowing what we know now about the microbiome, and then goes on to “reason” that, because of mitochondrial DNA being maternally transmitted, plus maternal-fetal transmission of the biome, this must be true:

Moreover, the conditions surrounding gestation (important because of maternal-to-fetal microbiome trafficking in utero), her general health, and the way in which she gives birth (home, birth center, or hospital) now take on vastly greater importance than previously imagined. In other words, being born in a hospital via C-section and vaccination, will produce, genetically and epigenetically, a human that is so different – qualitatively – from one born at home, naturally, that they could almost be classified as different species, despite sharing nearly identical eukaryotic DNA (remember, only 1% of the holobiont’s total).

Yes, that’s how the title came about.

As fascinating as I find new research about the microbiome, it no more proves that the microbiome is more important to our biology than our own cells than epigenetics “proves” that we can “will” our own gene expression to change to whatever we want it to be. But quacks like Sayer Ji are all about the naturalistic fallacy. They also seem to forget that, microbiome or no microbiome, pathogenic organisms are pathogenic because they are able to over come everything standing in their way to causing infection—including the microbiome.

Ji’s posts are good teaching opportunities, though, particularly about alt-med germ theory denialism.

Comments

  1. #1 Helianthus
    December 17, 2015

    “99% of what it means to be human is microbiome-based,”

    Since most of these 99% of bacteria, etc. are in our digestive tract, that’s pushing a bit too far the whole “you are what you eat”, “thinking with our guts”, etc.

    Ji’s thesis is annoying, both for a physiologist and a philosopher (disclaimer: I don’t even play either one on TV; I’m just a microbiologist).
    Even if we literally were a human brain on top of nothing but micro-organisms, as long as the brain is the decision center, it would still have a major role in defining “being human”. Maybe not 99%, since I will grant our brain is influenced by all the inputs it receives from all around the body, but far more than the puny 1% Ji is leaving.

  2. #2 Narad
    December 17, 2015

    about 8% of our genome is retroviral in origin

    I take it that Ji didn’t bother to actually read the underlying work. That’s the LTR-delimited bits, not all the retroelements.

  3. #3 Narad
    December 17, 2015

    ^ Of course, he’s welcome to try turning some of those HERVs back on:

    How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?

    *koff*ALS*koff*

  4. #4 LouV
    France
    December 17, 2015

    I am always baffled when someone said that the medical consensus is “ALL germs are BAD”.
    Because despite my lack of medical training, I know about beneficial bacteria since I was 10, maybe less. How ? Thanks to a famous edutainment cartoon which aired in France in 1987 (re-aired multiple times and sold videotapes and now DVDs), “Il était une fois… la vie” (“Once upon a time… life” ;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time…_Life ).
    In the “Digestion” episode, we were introduced to “friendly bacteria” : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_%C3%A9pisodes_de_Il_%C3%A9tait_une_fois…_la_Vie#La_digestion
    (which I now know are Escherichia coli ; I did a double take when I read that, but as I read further, apparently only some strains of E. Coli are bad, proving my point further).
    So there you have it ; it’s pretty clear that the existence of good bacteria was already part of the consensus if they could talk about it in a vulgarisation show for kids.

  5. #5 Quark
    December 17, 2015

    “and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,””

    God, what if I tell you that we are human, and that there is bacteria on us ? Does he know that guts are not the body, but a membrane between exterior and our body.

    Then maybe we are just air, because, y’know, there a lot of air around us.

  6. #6 Helianthus
    December 17, 2015

    @ LouV

    OT

    “Il était une fois… la vie”

    Oh yes. Good show, good times. It was actually a spin-off of a sci-fi cartoon, itself a spin-off of an edutainment cartoon about history (both good ones, too).
    The sci-fi cartoon also had as one of the main heroes a brown-skinned action girl. For the French 80’s, both the gender and the skin color were slightly daring choices…

    For a kid’s show, the biology cartoon was going quite deep into complicated concepts.
    As an example, it was describing repeatedly the whole DNA/RNA/protein synthesis chain of events. It’s not something kids are introduced to before Lycée (Highschool? 15-y-old).

    End OT
    Although, closer to topic, I would say that today, we are lacking quality family-oriented edutainment cartoons or movies. Or rather, they are easily drown in the sea of stupid.
    It doesn’t help when confronted to the magical thinking à la Sayer Ji.

  7. #7 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    December 17, 2015

    Once upon a time…Life.
    I remember watching that series in South Africa. It was dubbed into english.

  8. #8 Lighthorse
    December 17, 2015

    That’s right. Long before the advent of vaccines and antibiotics, exposure of indigenous peoples of the Americas to the microbiome of Europeans naturally reduced the death rate of later generations from all causes of disease. Five years after the arrival of the Spanish microbiome to the area of Mexico, the indigenous population shrank from an estimated 25 million inhabitants to around 3 million, so there were far less to contract disease. Ain’t nature grand!?

  9. #9 Chris Preston
    December 17, 2015

    God, what if I tell you that we are human, and that there is bacteria on us ? Does he know that guts are not the body, but a membrane between exterior and our body.

    Then maybe we are just air, because, y’know, there a lot of air around us.

    Once upon a time, I used to tell students that we were best described as water with impurities.

  10. #10 Krebiozen
    December 17, 2015

    Couldn’t the increased survival in those who have had measles and/or mumps be because those diseases killed off the weakest potential subjects in childhood? Could those susceptible to CVD be more likely to die of measles in childhood? Just a thought….

  11. #11 Yvette
    December 17, 2015

    He also forgot to mention this article (as described by Tara Haelle:

    “If there were ever any doubt that measles is a dangerous disease, a study published in the journal Science yesterday blows that misconception away by finally explaining how large-scale measles vaccination caused such a plummet in childhood deaths – even from infections that seemed unrelated to measles.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/05/08/measles-vaccine-reduces-death-from-other-infections-too-by-preventing-immune-amnesia/

  12. #12 Jazzlet
    December 17, 2015

    I wonder how many of those Japanese men had mumps at just the wrong time and are sterile.

  13. #13 Orac
    December 17, 2015

    He also forgot to mention this article (as described by Tara Haelle:

    No, I mentioned the very same study that Tara Haelle wrote about, with a link to my blog post about it when it came out: Here’s the relevant passage from my post:

    It’s also hard not to point out (as the authors of this study do) that measles does indeed result in immunosuppression that persists at least two to three years after the infection and that this effect of measles leads children susceptible to a higher risk of death from other infectious diseases. It’s quite possible that, if this decrease in cardiovascular mortality that is associated with measles infection is real, it is part of the same phenomenon that leads measles to leave children immunosuppressed for as long as three years.

    And here’s my post on the study:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/05/15/the-benefits-of-the-measles-vaccine-go-beyond-measles/

  14. #14 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 17, 2015

    “How can there be criminals, when we all have loving mothers who are responsible for us being alive?”

    That’s the thought that popped into my head when I read Ji’s black-and-white description of microbes.

  15. #15 Chris Hickie
    December 17, 2015

    Vile scumbag “paleo cardiologist” Jack Wolfson also JAQs off all the time on that “measles is good fer yer heart” conclusion on that paper from Japan (it’s somewhere on that ignorantly spiteful facebook page for the “Drs. Wolfson”)–which is why Wolfson continues to spew that all kids should get measles and mumps and every vaccine-preventable disease known.

    Also, there’s a similar thing happening in astronomy as these newer telescopes find more and more planets outside our solar system. Basically, the conspiracy nuts for alien abductions and Area 51 have concluded that NASA et al must be hiding soooo much more from we the people than they are telling us in these new discoveries (which to some of these freaks “proves” we didn’t land on the moon, too and that the earth is not round).

    That frame of mind for concluding that new discoveries must always ablate all prior discoveries is just bizarre. Just because we now have general relativity doesn’t mean that Newtonian mechanics is invalid (though levitating swamis and probably deepak chopra would say otherwise). The airplane does not negate the car and the car does not disprove the bicycle and the bicycle does not debunk the horse and the horse doesn’t mean you can’t still just get up and walk somewhere. Computers are great. So are handheld calculators. So are slide rules. So are abacuses. So is pencil and paper or a stick writing numbers in the dirt. It’s not as though Van Leeuwenhoek could deduce all known animacules when he first invented his microscope.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste: Sayer Ji should be the poster boy for this. He doesn’t have a correctly synapted neuron anywhere in his noggin.

  16. #16 MarkN
    December 17, 2015

    Somewhat humored by the CDC posting describing “Chronic Lyme” without patho to supoort it, and then they lump it into the same workup as other somatoform disorders anyway.

  17. #17 Chris Hickie
    December 17, 2015

    “What makes this situation all the more surreal is the relatively recent discovery of the microbiome, namely, the 100 trillion viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, which outnumber our own cells 10-1, and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,” and in many respects, would not be alive without them: e.g. about 8% of our genome is retroviral in origin, 90% of our immune system depends on bacteria in our gut. How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?”

    If you took away all the human cells, I bet Ji would drool deliriously at what was left. Me, I’d be getting some gloves, a mask and some biohazard bags.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    December 17, 2015

    ‘Toxic Sludge Is Good For You’

    Don’t tell David L Lewis.

  19. #19 Gray Falcon
    December 17, 2015

    An analogy to consider. In the dead of winter, a small fire contained in one’s house is very much a good thing. So why is setting someone’s house on fire bad?

    Ji has about a five-year-old’s understanding of the world. Things are either “good” or “bad”, no concept of context at all.

  20. #20 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    He must be a Jehovah’s Witness o.0

  21. #21 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    http://hhv-6foundation.org/news/cfs-a-herpesvirus-infection-of-the-vagus-nerve………I seriously just finished reading THAT and popped in here to see if there were any more comments on the Brucella/cow thread and found this article you wrote

  22. #22 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    This is as ludicrous as antivaxxers….they should research the diseases they prevent…I’d rather take my chances with the vaccines thanks. This made me think of a story on the news a while back about a little boy that dies because of the parents religious beliefs..something to this effect…http://childrenshealthcare.org/?page_id=132

  23. #23 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    “Somewhat humored by the CDC posting describing “Chronic Lyme” without patho to supoort it, and then they lump it into the same workup as other somatoform disorders anyway”~It’s similar to post-sepsis…overactive inflammatory response…it needs a lot more research. Oddly I read a report from the NIH that they tested post treatment LD people and insisted that none of the test subjects have a history of depression. The problem with LD is that not everyone mounts and immune response so they test negative on the 2 tier test but test positive on the PCR test. It’s a very strange disease

  24. #24 Quark
    December 17, 2015

    “Once upon a time, I used to tell students that we were best described as water with impurities.”

    -> There is a difference between trying to explain something to people in the easy way and constructing a ‘scientific’ theory onto pure BS.

    But not meaning to be rude, I found your description quite misleading (even for very young student).

  25. #25 Yvette
    December 17, 2015

    Orac- sorry missed that. When I said “he” I meant Sayer Ji- not you- had forgotten that study.

    Also beware that JI likes to threaten to sue any and all critics.

    • #26 Orac
      December 17, 2015

      I’ve been criticizing Sayer Ji’s distortions of science for a long time now, and he hasn’t come after me yet. I doubt that this particular post will change that.

  26. #27 Denice Walter
    December 17, 2015

    If anyone has a perverted appreciation of scientifically non-feasible speculation like I have, there is a wealth of variations upon the microbiome theme by Teresa Conrick at AoA/ contributors. I looked over the past 18 months- 2 years and found a large number of her convoluted, baroque, nigh-unto-rococo, essays presenting her obsessional musings about intestinal contents which are, frankly, of the same order as their subject matter.

    She’s like Gamondes without the paste-up artwork.

  27. #28 capnkrunch
    December 17, 2015

    How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?

    Some things can be good sometimes and bad other times? Impossible!

    On that note, even the cuddly microorganisms of the gut have a nasty tendency to kill you when they get into other areas.

  28. #29 Captian_A
    December 17, 2015

    There is a serious methodology problem with the above Japan study and that is they relied on the patients recall as to whether they had had Measles or Mumps. Prior to routine vaccination, most children would have been infected.

    When you ask them 40 years later if they were infected and they answer “no” it could mean:
    1) they were not infected
    2) they don’t remember they were infected

    It is a big mistake to assume #1. Reporting you were not infected, when in fact you just don’t remember being infected, is likely to be a function of both health literacy, as well as current overall health and particularly current brain health .

    These are serious confounders and if they were not accounted for, then the data is bunk.

    Capt.

  29. #30 Denice Walter
    December 17, 2015

    re those “cuddly microorganisms of the gut”-

    cultivating them by ingesting various pre- and pro-biotics as well as cultured foods like sauerkraut is becoming very Big Business amongst woo-meisters. Look at any of alties’ sites and you’ll see what I mean.

  30. #31 Lauren
    December 17, 2015

    Does this guy think you can just run around outside and eat any old plant you find, too? Because natural.

  31. #32 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    December 17, 2015

    A simple test to see how strong this Ji’s denial of germ theory is really. Inject him with rabies virus and then set the vaccine out for his use.

    Ji will have will have a simple choice continue to believe all germs are good and die or use the vaccine and live.

    Of course he would come up with a third reason of why it isn’t against his belief system to use the vaccine.

  32. #33 capnkrunch
    December 17, 2015

    Denice Walter@30

    Look at any of alties’ sites and you’ll see what I mean.

    IIRC, GreenMedInfo sells probiotics. But Ji writes those articles purely to spread The Truth, not to drive profits. Honestly! There are no COI’s when it comes to Truth.

  33. #34 capnkrunch
    December 17, 2015

    Yup, he sure does. And we are the profit mad shills.

  34. #35 capnkrunch
    December 17, 2015

    Hahaha. The GMI store is hilarious. PurEnema Coffee anyone?

  35. #36 Hank Roberts
    out past Cassandra somewhere
    December 17, 2015

    Aside — Big Pharma researches antibiotics:

    do they do all the testing on humans, then sell the surplus half the product for animal feed? Or

    do they test antibiotics _meant_ for animal feed?

    And would you expect any actual difference if the product lines were separate from the beginning?

  36. #37 LouV
    France
    December 17, 2015

    To elaborate on my comment #4 on “Once upon a time… Life” :
    https://youtu.be/M4e6qf8r8Tk?t=1m51s
    – E. coli are “caterpilars”
    – The round flying crafts are Lymphocites B
    – The blue guys with 4 legs are pathogenic bacteria (salmonella in this episode)

  37. #38 LouV
    France
    December 17, 2015
  38. #39 Denice Walter
    December 17, 2015

    @ capnkrunch:

    No COIs.
    HOWEVER alt media which bills itself as “educational” or “informational” ( prn, NN) is nearly purely a commercial for the owners’ products- even the political and economic speculations which sell products as part of survivalism or a crisis lifestyle.

  39. #40 MarkN
    December 17, 2015

    #29 — Incredibly important point as to recall. Commonplace that a 20-40 year old walks in with shingles complications, but no recollection of being infected or vaccinated regarding VZV as a pediatric. History is important, but interview can’t be relied upon in every case — how many Virgin Mary/unknown pregnancies or STIs occur in reality but are denied upon interview? quite commonplace really.

  40. #41 Helianthus
    December 17, 2015

    @ Captian_A #29

    When you ask them 40 years later if they were infected and they answer “no” it could mean:
    1) they were not infected
    2) they don’t remember they were infected

    Anecdotally, I would have been item 2.
    Recently, I would have sworn I was vaccinated and had to check with my mom (and my medical little book) to learn I caught them all.

  41. #42 Vicki
    December 17, 2015

    I’ve mentioned before that when I went to the NYC Department of Health for a hepatitis B vaccine, they didn’t ask “have you had chicken pox?” They looked at my date of birth (pre-1989), confirmed that I had been born in the United States, and said that based on those facts they would assume that I’d had the infection, whether or not I remembered getting sick from it.

    I was five when my brother and I had chicken pox and vaguely remember it; my brother was two and may not remember it.

  42. #43 Helianthus
    December 17, 2015

    @ Denice

    ingesting various pre- and pro-biotics as well as cultured foods like sauerkraut is becoming very Big Business amongst woo-meisters.

    Ji’s article sure read as he is preaching to a choir of converts.
    I’m thinking of his little snipe at the fluorinated sheeples (emphasis mine):

    The cognitive dissonance generated by these diverging, if not diametrically opposed paradigms — “microbes as deadly” versus “microbes as essential to life” — is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy.

  43. #44 MI Dawn
    December 17, 2015

    @Cheryl: that HH6 website is SCARY! They are touting an article published in Medical Hypotheses? And HH6 is responsible for things as varied as amnesia (??), cancer, kidney disease (I guess all of them), liver disease (ditto)…good grief. I feel sad that people actually read and believe this trash.

  44. #45 herr doktor bimler
    December 17, 2015

    Because despite my lack of medical training, I know about beneficial bacteria since I was 10, maybe less
    Without beneficial bacteria there would be no Lambic beers.

  45. #46 Roger Kulp
    December 17, 2015
  46. #47 Elliott
    nowhere near Cassandra
    December 17, 2015

    #36 Hank
    There is one germ (pun intended) of reality in your speculation–I know of one drug that was recycled from patients in order to be reused.

    The drug was penicillin, and it involved the first person to receive it, during the early 40s in England. However, Big Pharma wasn’t involved (that came later) and it wasn’t done for profit on animals, but in people and out of desperation. There were a lot of infected patients in the hospital, not to mention that there was a war on and the Nazis were bombing them.

    Back then, penicillin was difficult and expensive to purify from the first low-yield mold cultures, and the first gen drug has a fast clearance rate and mostly gets flushed out in the urine. The first patient had failed everything else, and the entire available supply of drug wasn’t enough, so they purified the excess from urine and (allegedly) reused it. Poor guy died anyway because they ran out of drug.

    The next trial was on children (they need smaller doses). I somehow doubt that a clinical trial proposal using recycled drug on kids would be approved today.

  47. #48 herr doktor bimler
    December 17, 2015

    @Cheryl: that HH6 website is SCARY! They are touting an article published in Medical Hypotheses? And HH6 is responsible for things as varied as amnesia (??), cancer, kidney disease (I guess all of them), liver disease (ditto)…good grief.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that the HHV-6 Foundation is basically an affiliate of Quest Diagnostics / Focus Labs.

  48. #49 Roger Kulp
    December 17, 2015

    Re: Measles,mumps,etc being “good for the heart”.I grew up before the MMR,back when there were individual vaccines for each of these diseases.I would probably be dead had I gotten them.I have been diagnosed with two serious genetic diseases.One of which is a primary immune deficiency.I did,however,get chicken pox when I was seven years old.I was acutely ill,for weeks on end,and delirious and semicomatose most of the time.I don’t remember much of this,but I do recall our family doctor actually making a house call.This was unheard of at that time.He advised my mother to take me to the hospital.Long story short,I spent about a week in the hospital,much of that time in the ICU.A little less than a year later,I developed a cardiomyopathy,that has caused me 40+ years of pain and suffering. Cardiomyopathy is a very common complication of many these “beneficial” diseases those “evil” vaccine makers want to deny our children the benefits of.

    But I have also seen where some antivaxers say that these diseases really are good because they cull the gene pool of the weak and inferior,who presumably will not be a drain on society.Which gets us back to the extreme libertarian mindset held by so many antis…

  49. #50 Delphine
    sunshine
    December 17, 2015

    Despite multiple exposures, Mr. Delphine did not contract chicken pox until he was 15. And when he did, he got a terrible case. He had pox everywhere. If you know what I mean. And I think that you do.

    He scratched so badly in his sleep in a certain region that he bled profusely. As he lay there in agony on his bed, his mother (peds nurse) came into the room with a bottle of something and some gauze, saying, “I need to have a-” to which he quite understandably shrieked, “GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!”

  50. #51 Annie
    December 17, 2015

    This study that suggests mumps infection may be protective against ovarian cancer has been linked by anti-vaxers as well as “proof” that these infections are beneficial.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951028/

    What are your thoughts on that one, Orac? (or anyone else!)

  51. #52 Dangerous Bacon
    December 17, 2015

    I find it hard to take seriously anyone who claims there are “60+ vaccines in the childhood vaccination schedule” when the actual number is 13.

    Mr. Ji is a lying sack of biome.

  52. #53 Kristina
    Flouride Land
    December 17, 2015

    Ji writes:

    “The cognitive dissonance… is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy.”

    Well then. If flouride is needed to make people smart enough to understand germ theory, then that’s all the more reason to promote it, isn’t it? Bring on the flouride for my kids! It seems lack thereof makes you more than a wee bit crazy, perceiving cognitive dissonance where there is none.

  53. #54 Denice Walter
    December 17, 2015

    @ Kristina:

    Hilariously, Sayer Ji isn’t the only woo-meister to consider himself intellectually endowed:
    Only today, Mikey critiqued lowly Yale students who don’t have the cognitive abilities that would allow them to emulate his genius.
    Similarly, whip smart** polymath** Null often questions graduate students at elite New York universities who can’t seem to get the correct answers to his searching questions whilst their professors seek him out for their own enlightenment.
    Alison MacNeil thinks that doctors are @sshats and other TMs complain about how physicians can’t comprehend their research.

    ** yeah right

  54. #55 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    My guess is that they’re trying to look into latent viruses as the cause of diseases w/ no know cause? Hard to say..I know HPV and EBV can cause cancer..not sure about the other Herpes viruses. Either way I just read it and it was really freaky and then pop in here to see that there’s someone that thinks disease CAUSING microbes are a good thing? My “take” on probiotics is that they DEAD..that’s why they “boost the immune system” I suppose..if they even manage to survive the stomach acid. Live beneficial bacteria I can see, especially after a round of antibiotics, like homemade Kefir..but the pills? Am I missing something here? Or maybe a bacteria enema..like the coffee(wouldn’t the caffeine CAUSE irritable bowel?) ..people do some strange things. Colonic cleanses? Wiping out the flora colonies..yeah now THAT’S a good idea…don’t get me started 😉

  55. #56 LouV
    France
    December 17, 2015

    I find it hard to take seriously anyone who claims there are “60+ vaccines in the childhood vaccination schedule” when the actual number is 13.

    To be fair, I think they count each dose + if the vaccine is a combined one, they count each vaccine separately (MMR = 3 vaccines) to have this number. So I don’t think it is a lie, just an alternate and bizarre way to count “vaccines”.

  56. #57 Cheryl
    December 17, 2015

    @”Quest Diagnostics / Focus Labs” and IGeneX?? I SWEAR they’re in cahoots with the “Lyme literate” doctors..dunno why…just a gut feeling I guess.

  57. #58 Dangerous Bacon
    December 17, 2015

    “To be fair, I think they count each dose + if the vaccine is a combined one, they count each vaccine separately (MMR = 3 vaccines) to have this number. So I don’t think it is a lie, just an alternate and bizarre way to count “vaccines”.”

    Even if you count every component separately that just gets you to 19 “vaccines”. The only way you could come up with anything remotely like 60 is to count every single dose as a separate vaccine. By that “logic”, someone taking an antibiotic twice a day for two weeks is on 28 antibiotics.

    For antivaxers like Ji, it’s a blatantly dishonest attempt to exaggerate the number of vaccines on the pediatric schedule in order to scare parents.

  58. #59 MI Dawn
    December 17, 2015

    Let’s see if I can do Sayer Ji’s math, with what I recall from my children’s childhood vaccine schedule (year withheld at present..) Hoping I didn’t forget any…
    2 months: 5
    4 months: 5
    6 months: 5
    15 months: 4
    18 months: 4
    5 years: 7
    Hmmmmmm….30 vaccines. Why, that’s horrible! That’s scary! That’s uh..oh wait…. 4. 4 vaccines.
    DTP x 4
    OPV x 3
    HIB x 4
    MMR x 2
    I guess 4 vaccines doesn’t sound as scary….

    That was my 1990 daughter. She’s alive, healthy, but could possibly get shingles due to having had chicken pox at age 3.

  59. #60 Julia
    Az
    December 17, 2015

    When I went through a college-based program for animal health technology to get my degree and eventually my license, microbiology 101 was rumored to be the most difficult course in all of the full-time 2 year program. I dreaded it! Come to find out I was doing so well in the class that half way through I was offered a small scholarship. College admins[?] walked into class and practically stopped the whole class to offer me the scholarship. I turned red (and turned it down for a person less financially privileged than me). After that I was known as the go-to person for other classmates for studying for tests as well as scholastically-inclined [I’m not really that way: I have dyscalculia]. I am so extra thankful that I was never exposed to this kind of thinking i.e. germ theory denialism and pseudoscience in general before I started my classes [or at all really].

    I see so many kids nowadays as some of the most stubborn pseudoscience followers [they they simply can’t ever admit they are wrong!] around. Other people have never learned how to fight their cognitive biases and live to a ripe old age with a “pathologically”-closed-mind as a messed-up psychological coping strategy.

    I was an undiagnosed autistic girl that took everything either at face value or simply literally because no one taught me the value of critical thinking –thus I took TV and pop-media at face value like so many kids do.

    If autism and the BAP [broad autism phenotype] is as common as we are learning, there are so many other people out there that are vulnerable to purposeful and inadvertent deception. Some jerk-faces/extremist libertarians just see this as a “st-pidity-tax”– this is simply not fair nor ethical in a country that has no real critical-thinking taught in our education system [especially the primary grades]. It was a dark-day for the public when the practice of both editorial “balance” and quack fighting by the government was either not funded or not given the power to regulate or restricted from enforcing regulations by either unethical and/or ignorant politicians.

    Germ-denialist ideology is one of the most infuriating pseudoscience tendencies I’ve ever come across, especially for a person that grew to *love* microbiology. I can’t wait until the people blocking the teaching of critical thinking and common misconceptions no longer has significant political influence! They are like a lead-weight tied to our nation and world where many of their citizens and attempts at companies are already in deep water.

  60. #61 Narad
    Where I explain that vinegar doesn't need to be refrigerated
    December 17, 2015

    I did,however,get chicken pox when I was seven years old.I was acutely ill,for weeks on end,and delirious and semicomatose most of the time.

    I was in college and wound up staying nearly alone in the noble Salisbury House over winter break. I think I heard side 4 of Traffic’s On the Road for at least 24 solid hours before I was able to struggle the 10 feet to make it stop.

    Then again, I think I’ve related that anecdote before. It’s one of the few things I remember of the two weeks.

  61. #62 Narad
    Where I have to argue about turning off the AC and opening the windows
    December 17, 2015

    What are your thoughts on that one, Orac? (or anyone else!)

    MUC1 is a Cynthia Parker fave. I may be able to start using my “real” machine* tomorrow, but if you scout around, there’s at least one PMC entry that also reports susceptibility to other cancers as a result of mumps infection.

    I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that she only started this trip after being sorely mocked for completely misunderstanding the Mayo multiple myeloma result.

    * For values of “real” that include “laptop with dead screen.” Donations are welcome.

  62. #63 Bob
    December 17, 2015

    @Annie #51

    I find the paper underwhelming, but sufficiently provocative to warrant further study.

    The actual original research presented in that article is on the correlation between mumps and ovarian-cancer-associated biomarkers, not cancer itself. So in principle they didn’t even look for a correlation between mumps and cancer protection.

    The paper also presents a meta analysis of papers that did look at the correlation between mumps (or childhood infections in general) and ovarian cancer. The authors claim statistics show an effect, but looking at the graph they made, I am not personally convinced. Looked like it could just be noise.

    This article is coming from a group that has been insisting for years that baby powder causes cancer. Not a ridiculous hypothesis, but the way they always state it as a fact, despite being unproven, sort of turns me off to them.

  63. #64 Spectator
    December 17, 2015

    Soooo, if the theorist claims that his essence is 99% bacteria, let me make a modest proposal: Let us increase his bio-diversity, exercise his immune cells empower that 99% to express itself as follows: Feed him to my dog.

    His bacteria will not only still be around, they’ll be introduced to interesting new friends, and his essence will get to hang out at the fire hydrant and, erm, a very expensive natural facility. That place has an amazing biome!
    From the bacteria’s point of view, there’s no downside to this proposal.

  64. #65 Narad
    Where I also need to address this
    December 17, 2015

    That was my 1990 daughter. She’s alive, healthy, but could possibly get shingles due to having had chicken pox at age 3.

    My dad disturbingly reported yesterday that “they say you shouldn’t get it” when queried after reporting that his brother-in-law’s wife,* who just recovered from CLL came down with shingles as a door prize.

    Now, he says that he doesn’t know whether he’s had chickenpox, which is fair enough, but I could use some solid epidemiological data before trying to put my foot down in one way or another.

    * Is there a name for this?

  65. #66 Militant Agnostic
    December 18, 2015

    It pleases me to anthropomorphize my microbiome. I like to believe that they worship me as a god, especially after I gave them the Yaweh treatment during my colonoscopy prep.

  66. #67 Annie
    December 18, 2015

    Thanks Bob and Narad! 🙂

  67. #68 Narad
    December 18, 2015

    I like to believe that they worship me as a god, especially after I gave them the Yaweh treatment during my colonoscopy prep.

    Should’ve gone for the Ya Ho Wha 13 treatment; that GoLytely nonsense only earned me two grades of “fair” last year.

  68. #69 LW
    December 18, 2015

    The cognitive dissonance generated by these diverging, if not diametrically opposed paradigms — “microbes as deadly” versus “microbes as essential to life” — is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy.

    Cattle are domesticated herbivores. Sheep are domesticated herbivores. Bunny rabbits are domesticated herbivores. Therefore mammals are domesticated herbivores. 

    What’s that you say? Siberian tigers are carnivorous mammals that will eat you?  That’s just your weird sciency way of thinking. 

    The cognitive dissonance generated by these diverging, if not diametrically opposed paradigms — “mammals as lethal predators” versus “mammals as domesticated herbivores” — is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy.

  69. #70 LW
    December 18, 2015

    the 100 trillion viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, which outnumber our own cells 10-1, and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,”

    By weight and by volume, human cells are orders of magnitude larger than bacterial cells, and even more vastly larger than viruses, so by weight and by volume we are vastly more human than “germ”. Does he imagine that when doing a paternity test, one must carefully sift through the sample, picking out the one in ten cells that is actually human?

  70. #71 LW
    December 18, 2015

    In other words, being born in a hospital via C-section and vaccination, will produce, genetically and epigenetically, a human that is so different – qualitatively – from one born at home, naturally, that they could almost be classified as different species, despite sharing nearly identical eukaryotic DNA (remember, only 1% of the holobiont’s total).

    And you can change species! Well, “almost” change species, by taking a course of antibiotics and getting recolonized. Also people born in other countries who grew up eating different foods — well, they aren’t really human like you. Not quite the same species at all.

  71. #72 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 18, 2015

    @LW

    Cattle are domesticated herbivores. Sheep are domesticated herbivores. Bunny rabbits are domesticated herbivores. Therefore mammals are domesticated herbivores.

    Ponies are also domesticated herbivores, yet any reader of Popehat should be aware of the pony menace.

  72. #73 janet
    where the governor is a bobble-head
    December 18, 2015

    Spectator @#64
    Why would you ever do that to your dog?
    MoB @#72
    I don’t need Popehat to tell me about pony menace–I’m a veterinarian.

  73. #74 Cate K
    December 18, 2015

    I’d just like to show one of these “all bacteria are the same” peeps one of those trees of life in which the bacterial and archaea groups are vast branched systems with all animal diversity making a much smaller shrub. I guess that would at least in part be based on DNA though, and at some point they’ll get round to denying everything except their concept of epigenetics.

  74. #75 Denice Walter
    December 18, 2015

    @ Cate K:

    Oh come on! I’ll bet that you’re just a shill for Big Microbe.

    At any rate, yeah, they pick up a concept from science that sounds radically new and sexy – and unknown to most of their audience( like most of reality I should add) – and then they fiddle around confabulating links to their older cherished ideas. Beside quantum this-n-that they might add entanglement. I haven’t heard much about strings though. Surprising.

    Microbiome is the new epigenetics.

    In psychology, they like talk about cognition and archetypes.
    Funny how they seem to skip over vast areas of physiology to think up ways to show that various substances ‘poison’ neurons, creating autism. Schizophrenia is caused by a B vitamin defiency it seems to some.

  75. #76 Helianthus
    December 18, 2015

    from one born at home, naturally

    One can also nitpick and points out that practically all of human homes are totally non-natural things (the exceptions being in the mud-and-wood corner, and only because insects like ants and termites do it, too).
    The cushions, heaters, clean tap water are not natural, no matter what.

    Being born naturally means landing in a mix of dirt and your moither’s bodily fluids, under the open sky, and having your mother or some close relative (or seagulls) eating your placenta to avoid attracting predators.
    I’m ready to bet the microbiome of someone really born naturally will be very different* from those sissies born in the comfort of a modern human house. So the latter are no more entitled to “being human” as the ones born in hospital.

    * to start with, dirt and Clostridium tetanii go well together. And if a seagull was not involved in your birth, unlike Nature meant it to be, think of all the fungi and bacteria you are missing because you weren’t exposed to bird poo.

  76. #77 Lenny
    UK
    December 18, 2015

    But.. But.. The antivaxxers tell us that improved hygiene and hand washing removing the bugs caused the drop in cases.. Surely this would be worse for us if we listen to Sayer Ji’s reasoning? Or perhaps we’re washing away TOXINS..

    Another day, another fruitcake..

  77. #78 herr doktor bimler
    December 18, 2015

    I gave them the Yaweh treatment during my colonoscopy prep

    Four pints of ESB and a Rogan Josh, and it’s all Destruction of the Cities of the Plain.

  78. #79 MI Dawn
    December 18, 2015

    @ DW :@ Cate K:

    Oh come on! I’ll bet that you’re just a shill for Big Microbe
    If Cate K works here, she must have a lot of fun: http://www.giantmicrobes.com/

  79. #80 Narad
    December 18, 2015

    And if a seagull was not involved in your birth, unlike Nature meant it to be

    As fond as I am of the possibility of leading people to believe that France has idiosyncratic versions of such things, cigognes are “storks.”

  80. #81 Kiiri
    December 18, 2015

    I for one am glad for the hospital, baby number two would not have made it otherwise. I also highly recommend the shingles vaccine. I had shingles. It was awful. I have been in labor twice and shingles was in some ways worse. I didn’t get an epidural with the shingles. I also got them at the ripe old age of 32 so I say the sooner you can get the vaccine the better.

  81. #82 LaurenC
    Sydney, Australia
    December 19, 2015

    I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant and recently found out that I tested positive for Strep B. For those who aren’t familiar with Strep B (which I wasn’t until my OB told me about it):

    “Group B streptococcal bacteria can cause a wide range of illnesses in susceptible people including newborns, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer. Out of every 1,000 newborns, one to four will contract group B streptococcal infection (GBS) from their mothers during birth.

    In most cases, the pregnant woman shows no symptoms; they are usually not even aware that they are carrying the bacteria. Of those babies infected, between 10 and 20 per cent will become ill. Some of the life-threatening complications of GBS infection in newborns include bacterial infection of the bloodstream (septicaemia), pneumonia and meningitis.”

    I was asymptomatic so I was quite shocked to learn that I tested positive. I now have to have intravenous antibiotics during my labour to protect my baby from the risks mentioned above and feel very lucky my doctor tested me as I would never have known I had this bacteria.

    Yet according to Sawyer Ji’s logic, because Strep B isn’t harmful for me I’m guessing I should be having a natural birth without medical intervention and just let my baby take the risk? This is why this blog is so important, these people are not harmless idiots but are dangerous to those who don’t know any better and might trust their advice. Thanks Orac for your tireless work in fighting pseudoscience with real science 🙂

  82. #83 Chemmomo
    Enjoying holiday lights and music
    December 19, 2015

    Lauren

    I was asymptomatic so I was quite shocked to learn that I tested positive

    It’s actually fairly common – about a quarter of healthy women carry the bacteria (multiple sources, including this one http://www.medicinenet.com/group_b_strep/article.htm ).
    It’s also not that big of deal getting the antibiotics, unless you’re dead set against having a IV during labor. In my own risk-benefit analysis, the possible consequences of skipping them were much, much worse.

  83. #84 THEO
    December 20, 2015
  84. #85 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 20, 2015

    THEO – the truth never hurts.

  85. #86 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 20, 2015

    Unless the truth is that you’ve been stabbed, in which case it hurts quite a lot.

  86. #87 Gray Squirrel
    December 21, 2015

    Krebiozen @ 10: I thought so too. Selection effect: some of what would have been future cases of CVD probably died of complications of measles etc. as children.

    That’s testable: take the known prevalence of deaths from complications of measles & mumps, factor into the reported numbers, and see if the apparent decrease in CVD goes away.

    Chris Hickle @ 15: Great rhetoric.

    Newtonian mechanics also lets us point a rocket at the sky and predict when our probe will get to Jupiter years later, to an accuracy of within 1/2 hour. The sheer beauty of that is deeply inspiring.

    What I don’t get is this: FDA went after Wilhelm Reich (“I got an Orgone Accumulator / and it makes me feel greater…” extra credit for naming the band that wrote the song;-) and took his flaming BS out of circulation. So why can’t they go after the Big Bad Wolfson and Soothsayer Ji? Promoting quackery is medical fraud, plain and simple, and no free speech claims for fraud.

    —-

    Re. probiotics: there are weak findings to the effect that they may help prevent recurrence of C.Diff. Having had the latter, I’ve been taking the former, until I can get whatever test it takes to determine whether I’m at risk for a recurrence. At worst I’m wasting @ $20 / month, which is a small price to pay if it’s been doing any good. Though all factors equal I’d sooner not be popping pills (or capsules as the case may be) that aren’t needed or aren’t doing anything.

    Needless to say I’m terrified of the prospect of a post-AB world, and with the most recent findings from China, I figure we should start living as if we’re already there. That means wash hands every single time after using the toilet, before preparing food, before eating. Also wash every cut thoroughly and put a bandage on it to prevent random dirt getting in and causing an infection. As I read on a decently-credible news site, clean clothes, clean sheets, and clean bath towels & hand towels are also helpful. Though, I’m not about to become a germophobe who nukes my kitchen with bleach daily (unless there are decent peer reviewed findings saying otherwise).

  87. #88 Denice Walter
    December 21, 2015

    re “Big Bad Wolfson” / “Soothsayer Ji”
    That’s hilarious

  88. #89 herr doktor bimler
    December 21, 2015

    I got an Orgone Accumulator

    Do you also have a Silver Machine?

  89. #90 Gray Squirrel
    December 21, 2015

    Denice @ 88: Thanks:-)

    Herr Doktor Bimler @ 89: That was an attempt at humor, so either you missed it or it wasn’t a particularly good attempt.

    That’s from a song lyric by a band that was known for its “psychedelic” sound: syncopated rhythms, contrasting foreground & background melodies, odd instrumental fills, etc., and lyrics that often embody the “loose association” style of songwriting that suggests an LSD trip (or to a psychiatrist, a key diagnostic sign of schizophrenia).

    Here’s another hint from a spoken-word piece they did as an intro to a different song:

    “….You may notice small objects, like ornaments, oscillating…”

    C’mon now y’all, someone here has to have heard this band at least once, on a college FM station back when those existed.

    Anyway my point was, if FDA could shut down Reich, why can’t they shut down some of these modern quacks who are if anything a heck of a lot more harmful?

    In other news: Colistin-resistant bacteria discovered on three pig farms in the UK:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35153795

    Uh-f***ing-oh, here we go…

  90. #91 laikaphonehome
    SLC Utah
    December 22, 2015

    None of this is as bad as the claims of meridian-based acupuncturists. At least Ji admits that bacteria/viruses exist. Most traditional acupuncturists actually claim that germs do not exist. Like, at all. As in, germs are in the same league as unicorns. Of course, the lines of magical energy running through the body, those are totaly real.

  91. #92 herr doktor bimler
    December 22, 2015

    C’mon now y’all, someone here has to have heard this band at least once

    They have been known to play “Silver Machine” also too.

  92. #93 Rich Scopie
    UK
    December 22, 2015

    Tsk. I put it down to the spirit of the age.

  93. #94 herr doktor bimler
    December 22, 2015

    Possibly I was under the influence of a brainstorm.

  94. #95 Krebiozen
    December 22, 2015

    I watched almost the whole of Hawkwind’s set at the Milky Way in Amsterdam 30-something years ago while believing they were the support band – my consciousness may have been slightly impaired. It was Silver Machine that gave it away, of course.

  95. #96 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 24, 2016

    Great to see Orac The Sterile™ even approaching information about the microbiome, without mere mention of protective microbes reduced or absent as mechanism behind vaccine injury. Completely disregarded is microbial regulation of immune response to vaccination. At least he’s a fan of David Bowie.

    New article:
    Parents question vaccines as epilepsy rates rise to 1 in 20 children under five
    http://www.examiner.com/article/parents-question-vaccines-as-epilepsy-rates-rise-to-1-20-children-under-five

    1 in 20!!!!! Really?!!!

  96. #97 Lawrence
    January 24, 2016

    Show your work, Keith, because nowhere in the cited source does it say “1 in 20.”

  97. #98 Lawrence
    January 24, 2016

    So no, not really.

  98. #99 Krebiozen
    January 24, 2016

    Epilepsy incidence has always been high in infants, with most ‘growing out of it’ as they get older. Since epilepsy incidence in children has been steadily decreasing, with one study finding a 40% reduction over the course of a decade, I don’t think vaccination is causing it.

  99. #100 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 24, 2016

    Lawrence, this is the page cited in the article:
    http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/brain-nervous-system-mental-conditions/epilepsy/
    “About 5% of children younger than 5 years old have epilepsy. That is about one in every 20 children under 5.”

  100. #101 Vicki
    some miles east of Seattle
    January 24, 2016

    Seattle Children’s is a reputable institution, but that’s a general information page, not anything resembling a peer-reviewed paper. Crucially, it doesn’t discuss changes in how many children have epilepsy, meaning it doesn’t disagree with Krebiozen’s point that the incidence is decreasing. Based only on that web page, the incidence could be increasing, decreasing, constant, or varying with the sunspot cycle.

    Consider the flat statement that “there were more than 30,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2013.” That’s alarming. But it’s also true that both the absolute number of deaths from car crashes in the United States, and the number of deaths per million miles traveled, have been decreasing for years. To say “your chances of dying in a car crash are lower than they have been in decades, therefore we must be doing something wrong” would be absurd.

  101. #102 herr doktor bimler
    January 24, 2016

    But if epilepsy rates are not “skyrocketing”, that would mean that Alicia Bayer (“Mankato Attachment Parenting Examiner”) is an ill-informed shouty histrionic person, who could be equally inventive about the link between epilepsy and vaccines!
    That would be shocking.

  102. #103 Dangerous Bacon
    January 24, 2016

    One possible reason for falling epilepsy rates in children is vaccination, as mentioned in this 2013 article.

    “It found both the number of children with epilepsy by five years of age, and the annual rate of identification of new cases fell over time.”

    “Overall, the number of children born between 2003 and 2005 who were treated for epilepsy by the age of five was a third less than children born around a decade earlier (specifically born between 1994 and 1996).”

    “One theory to explain this drop in cases is that clinicians have got better at diagnosing epilepsy, so less children are being misdiagnosed with the condition.”

    “Another theory is that the introduction of the meningitis C vaccine in 1999 may also be partially responsible – serious brain infections are a significant risk factor for childhood epilepsy.”

    “Whatever the reasons for the change, this well-conducted study suggests the welcome news that the incidence childhood epilepsy in the UK is receding. ”

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/02February/Pages/Sharp-decline-in-UK-child-epilepsy-rates.aspx

    In the U.S., H. flu meningitis (and the resultant risk in developing a seizure disorder) has been greatly reduced by the H. flu vaccine.

    I suspect that the number of antivaxers able to recognize cause and effect in these situations is way less than 1 in 20.

  103. #104 keith Bell
    United States
    January 25, 2016

    It’s well accepted that vaccines cause seizures and that those seizures can in significant percentages (some say over 10%) lead to chronic seizure disorders (epilepsy).

    The question is if the mechanism behind the seizures, febrile and otherwise, is a matter of microbial predisposition.

    Throw genes out the window for a moment considering the rarity of things like Dravet syndrome accounting for only 2.5% of seizures post vaccination. What about the other 97.5%?!
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0065758

    Media and science overplay genes when the focus should be flora.

  104. #105 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 26, 2016

    Microbial predisposition also explains biological plausibility for African American boys found at greater risk of autism by MMR.

    But will Orac The Sterile™ talk about it? No, he will not.

    Today’s Ben Swann’s film release:
    “Truth in Media: CDC, Vaccines and Autism”
    http://truthinmedia.com/cdc-vaccines-autism-coverup/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=nl/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=nl

    This Mayo Clinic video only begins to reveal the excruciating flaws of our one-size-fits-all, barbaric vaccine protocol beginning within hours of birth:
    “Mayo Clinic Discovers African-Americans Respond Better to Rubella Vaccine”
    http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-discovers-african-americans-respond-better-to-rubella-vaccine/

    Have you seen the latest news, even covered by Time magazine?
    “Babies in the Womb Aren’t So Sterile After All”
    http://time.com/4159249/baby-microbiome-womb/

    C’mon, Orac, try to dig just a little bit deeper.

  105. #106 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 26, 2016

    Microbial predisposition also explains biological plausibility for African American boys found at greater risk of autism by MMR.

    But will Orac The Sterile™ talk about it? No, he will not.

    Today’s Ben Swann’s film release:
    “Truth in Media: CDC, Vaccines and Autism”
    http://truthinmedia.com/cdc-vaccines-autism-coverup/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=nl/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=nl

    This Mayo Clinic video only begins to reveal the excruciating flaws of our one-size-fits-all, barbaric vaccine protocol beginning within hours of birth:
    “Mayo Clinic Discovers African-Americans Respond Better to Rubella Vaccine”
    http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-discovers-african-americans-respond-better-to-rubella-vaccine/

  106. #107 Keith Bell
    January 26, 2016

    Have you seen the latest news, even covered by Time magazine?
    “Babies in the Womb Aren’t So Sterile After All”
    http://time.com/4159249/baby-microbiome-womb/

    C’mon, Orac, try to dig just a little bit deeper.

  107. #108 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 27, 2016

    Apologies for the double post above. Hope everyone is having a beautiful day, walking compost heaps prone to spontaneous combustion that you are . . .

    Here are the new series of papers, including:
    “Microbial programming of health and disease starts during fetal life”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1542-9768

    We have the nerve to vaccinate within hours of birth under the mythological assumption that babies are sterile in the womb and in complete disregard of microbial regulation of immune response to vaccination including adverse events.

    How can we improve vaccine safety based on these new realizations?

  108. #109 Gilbert
    January 27, 2016

    In human bodies, there are a wide variety of bacteria that naturally inhabit the gut, mouth, and other areas. These bacteria, known as commensal microorganisms, find an inviting environment within the human body and can provide the body with some benefit.

    Some commensal organisms have the ability to protect their host from infection by another microorganism, either by inhibiting the intruder’s growth or by activating the host’s immune system. Communities of commensal microbes can also influence infection rates, sometimes providing even a more robust protective effect…
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/01/its-time-to-rethink-how-we-identify-disease-causing-microbes/
    ======================

    herr doktor bimler, I’ll use this forum as a surrogate to observe that:

    Nutkin did not look so ‘shambled up and down like a dead thing’ moreso than he looked like Ralph Macchio’s ‘coming out’ moment after Ron Thomas swept his knee.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087538/

  109. #110 Gilbert
    January 27, 2016

    Ohh! hdb, I did not mean to imply ^^ that Ralph Macchio always assumes the role of a ‘furry’, or anything.

  110. #111 herr doktor bimler
    January 27, 2016

    Nutkin did not look so ‘shambled up and down like a dead thing’ moreso than he looked like Ralph Macchio’s ‘coming out’ moment after Ron Thomas swept his knee.

    Apologising in advance to anyone wondering what Gilbert and I are on about — but he’s right, Beatrix Potter squirrels do display a martial-arts appearance at times.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mBkClK9qOME/Tzdz0-huJeI/AAAAAAAADa8/Jv2XfzYNs5E/s1600/skwirl.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yNIVRdCQzz4/Tzd2y0cmu6I/AAAAAAAADbI/Yn6hphGJedM/s1600/skwirl2.jpg

  111. #112 Keith Bell
    United States
    January 28, 2016

    New paper:
    “Transkingdom control of viral infection and immunity in the mammalian intestine.”
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6270/aad5872

    Why are there still no papers about how measles interacts with bacteria? There are for polio and HIV. Meanwhile, 95% of all polio cases are asymptomatic . . . and measles is considered a mild childhood disease in most cases. Do bacteria make the difference?!

    Vaccine injury is apparently a matter of microbial predisposition, disregarded by Orac.

    Click on the photo of the new paper:
    “Intestinal microbiota promote enteric virus replication. Enteric viruses can interact with bacteria before initiating replication in the mammalian intestine. This illustration shows norovirus interacting with bacteria. Through these interactions, and/or through microbiota-mediated alteration of host immune responses, intestinal microbiota facilitate enteric virus replication in the gut.”

  112. #113 Keith Bell
    United States
    February 1, 2016

    Good morning to all the folks here in Sterile Oracland™, including The Big Sterile himself.

    Several new papers already in 2016 about NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). Probiotics are known to reduce NEC mortality. This new paper is especially interesting:
    “A necrotizing enterocolitis-associated gut microbiota is already present in the meconium: results of a prospective study”
    http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/01/19/cid.ciw016.short

    HOW CAN WE HAVE THE NERVE TO VACCINATE PRETERM INFANTS WEIGHING ONLY 2.2 LBS AS FULL TERM PER CURRENT CDC PROTOCOL? Preterm infants have reduced or absent protective bacteria making them more vulnerable to vaccine injury. This also applies to full term newborns, a matter of microbial predisposition based on race, gender and maternal health.

  113. #114 MI Dawn
    February 1, 2016

    OK, Keith. I read the abstract, as I don’t have access to the journal. It says infants at higher risk for NEC have higher amounts of the bacteria that causes NEC in their stool. NOTHING about vaccines, NOTHING about probiotics (which, as far as I know aren’t increasing staphlococci in the gut) except : Contrariwise, in post-meconium, increased numbers of staphylococci were negatively associated with NEC. These findings suggest causality but this should be verified in induced infection trials in animals, targeted antibiotics and/or probiotics trials. Making clear more studies are needed.

  114. #115 MI Dawn
    February 1, 2016

    By the way, Keith. it’s also well known that breastfeeding/breast milk decreases the risk of NEC, and that infants who receive IV antibiotics may be at higher risk. I’ve been out of MFM for nearly 17 years, and I knew that back then.

  115. #116 JustaTech
    February 1, 2016

    Mr Keith Bell, this is the internet fire department. We’ve had a lot of complaints about smoke coming from your posts, so we’re going to have to ask you to stop setting fire to strawmen.

  116. #117 Gray Falcon
    February 1, 2016

    Allow me to explain this succinctly: A small fire in the fireplace warming you up is good. A house on fire is bad.

  117. #118 Keith Bell
    United States
    February 2, 2016

    Decades-old myth that colonization begins at birth is finally obsolete. It begins in utero.

    What’s next is accepting vaccine response is regulated by microbes including adverse events such as autism and epilepsy.
    “Maternal group B Streptococcus and the infant gut microbiota”
    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10076008&fileId=S2040174415001361

  118. #119 Gilbert
    February 2, 2016

    Exposure of newborns to the maternal vaginal microbiota is interrupted with cesarean birthing. Babies delivered by cesarean section (C-section) acquire a microbiota that differs from that of vaginally delivered infants, and C-section delivery has been associated with increased risk for immune and metabolic disorders.

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.4039.html

    To reverse the potential ill-fate of C-section babies, researchers smeared surgically delivered babies with the vaginal fluids from their mothers in the moments just after birth. After tracking the babies and their microbiomes for a month, the researchers report Monday in Nature Medicine that the quick slather partly restored normal microbiome development.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/02/birth-of-a-microbiome-researchers-smear-babies-with-vaginal-fluid/

  119. #120 Gray Falcon
    February 2, 2016

    Keith, do you know what a non sequitur is? You may as well have said ‘What’s next is accepting witches cause autism by cursing people.”

  120. #121 herr doktor bimler
    February 2, 2016

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/02/birth-of-a-microbiome-researchers-smear-babies-with-vaginal-fluid/

    A sad aspect of that Ars Technica link was the admission that in modern science, every meaningless tiny-number study requires a clickbait press release for the churnalists:

    It’s important to publish this proof-of-principle and make it public now, first author Maria Dominguez-Bello of New York University said, because “it gives credibility,” to the idea. The credibility is sorely needed as she and colleagues compete for grants to do the larger, next-step studies, she said.

  121. #122 Roadstergal
    February 2, 2016

    Yes, that Nature Med was a meaningless tiny-number study. 7 VB, 7 C/S, 4 ‘smeared’ C/S. Baseline imbalances – EBF and lack of maternal treatment with antibiotics was over-represented in the VB babies (all but one of the C-section babies were combo-fed). An overwhelming buttload of comparisons, and it isn’t clear how many, if any, were pre-specified. Massive overlapping error bars. Measurements where sometimes regular C/S looks like VB, and sometimes smeared C/S looks like VB. It’s a fishing expedition.

    And this is starting with a postulate that is far from proven, or even terribly well demonstrated – that the different microbiomes in VB vs C/S a: exist and b: have any long-term consequence. People love to take the observation that mom/baby pairs who have easy VBs generally tend to be healthier, and try to make it all about VBs being healthier, when the easy birth is just a symptom of nothing going particularly wrong with either of them.

  122. #123 herr doktor bimler
    February 2, 2016

    The researcher herself admits that her study was worthless junk-science and blames the funding circus for forcing her to pimp it out.

  123. #124 Keith Bell
    February 3, 2016

    It’s high time to take the vaccine industry to task regarding the fetal microbiome.

    “Obesity, Diabetes in Mom Increases Risk of Autism in Child
    NEW STUDY OFFERS NEW EVIDENCE THAT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER RISKS MAY BEGIN IN UTERO”
    http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2016/obesity-diabetes-in-mom-increases-risk-of-autism-in-child.html

    “Those children with mothers who were both diabetic and obese were more than four times as likely to develop autism compared to children born to normal weight mothers without diabetes, they found.”

    New study per above:
    “The Association of Maternal Obesity and Diabetes With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities”
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/01/27/peds.2015-2206

  124. #125 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 3, 2016

    If Comment 124 was a clue on “Jeopardy”, the ‘answer’ is “What is a non sequitur?”

  125. #126 Gilbert
    February 3, 2016

    “Those children with mothers who were both diabetic and obese were more than four times as likely to develop autism compared to children born to normal weight mothers without diabetes, they found.”

    People seem to develop obesity, blood lipid, and sugar problems after abandoning the cannabinoid, CBC, and reaching for the Resperidone class of atypical antipsycotics–

    This drug is well-known to cause significant weight-gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic problems in people. Kirby and colleagues had a hunch that the hefty side-effects were linked to changes in the gut microbiome, but they were unsure of the exact mechanism.

    In the study, the risperidone-drinking mice also gained weight—an average of 10 percent of their normal body mass in just two months. And when researchers sequenced the microbes in the mice’s poop, they found that the microbial communities in the animals’ intestinal tracts were dramatically altered…

    …To fatten the link between the microbial changes and the metabolic changes, the researchers transplanted microbe-loaded poop from the drug-dosed mice into normal mice that never had risperidone. Those normal mice then gained weight and burned fewer calories, just like the drug-dosed animals.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/12/psychiatric-drug-not-antibiotic-messes-with-gut-microbes-spurs-obesity/

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