Popular culture

Category archives for Popular culture

Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop is continuing to sell snake oil promoted as the “empowerment” of women. Yes, that even includes a psychic vampire repellent, reiki charged.

Many are the PR firms and astroturf groups out there trying to influence the public. One favored technique is to publish an op-ed by an expert or “thought leader” in a major media outlet. Not infrequently, these op-eds are ghostwritten. Unfortunately, to its sorrow, STATNews found that out this week.

Yesterday, I wrote about how right-to-try and an unethical offshore vaccine trial are part of free market fundamentalists’ attack on the FDA. Here’s another example, the “right to choose medicine.”

On July 3, an antivaxer named Kent Heckenlively posted a WhiteHouse.gov petition demanding a five year moratorium on childhood vaccines. It failed. Did that stop Mr. Heckenlively? Of course not, and this time he has help from über-crank Mike Adams, who is whining about being “censored” by Facebook over it. The hilarity continues to ensue

Many are the stories of those who have embraced quackery to treat their cancer. Few are followup stories when such a person realizes she’s made a mistake and returns to conventional therapy. This is one such story, but you’re unlikely ever to see the media outlets that touted Carissa Gleeson’s choice of quackery to treat her cancer run the story of her having changed her mind and saved her life with real medicine.

Ten years ago, I liked to make fun of a pudgy, middle-aged guy named Bill Nelson, not because he was pudgy and middle-aged (which is increasingly describing me), but rather because he used to sell some serious quantum energy quackery known as the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface. Little did I know then that Nelson was ahead of his time and all that he really needed was a celebrity endorsement and a company selling his products using beautiful scantily clad models using his products.

The Court of Justice of the European Union just issued a muddled ruling being proclaimed by clickbait headlines as allowing courts to blame any disease on vaccines without evidence. It does nothing of the sort, but it is concerning nonetheless, as it is confusing and does appear to lower the bar of evidence for vaccine injury claims. That’s plenty bad enough.

Antivaxers often complain that they are judged harshly. It turns out that they are probably correct. But is this a bad thing? More importantly, what about the children, who didn’t choose not to be vaccinated?

Antivaxers are planning on publishing the personal information of employees of the Boston Herald because the paper published an editorial saying that promoting antivaccine misinformation among a vulnerable population should be a “hanging offense.” Meanwhile, overblown allusions to the Holocaust are going into overdrive. Same as it ever was.

Antivaxers targeted a. vulnerable community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota. The result: A large (and growing) measles outbreak. Thanks, Andy.

It’s been a bad week for the Gray Lady in the science department. Hot off the heels of hiring a climate science denier for its op-ed section, it’s published a credulous article that uncritically touts a book full of dubious alternative medicine testimonials.

Thanks for the measles yet again, Andy

Yet another population is learning why you shouldn’t trust Andrew Wakefield. There is a large Somali immigrant population in Minnesota, and unfortunately they’ve been targeted by antivaxers. As a result, their MMR uptake has plummeted, and now they’re in the midst of another measles outbreak. Andrew Wakefield screws yet another group.

Last month, the Texas Medical Board fined Houston cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and placed his practice under supervision. It did not strip him of his medical license, as he deserves. The result is that families of children with terminal cancer are once again raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to follow his siren song of false hope.

Cancer huckster Belle Gibson was recently fined for deceiving the public by claiming that she had brain cancer, a story that she used to sell all manner of dubious treatments. Was she delusional or a run-of-the-mill con artist? Does it matter?

Orac is attacked by Capt. Kirk using fake news over the course of several days. Truly, it is a strange world.

The depths of stupidity to which the Michigan state legislature will stoop never cease to amaze me. This time, legislators are doing their damnedest to make measles great again.

A few dozen antivaccine activists descended upon Washington, DC to protest and lobby their legislators. The protest itself was not impressive, but pro-science advocates shouldn’t let this pathetic march lead them to be complacent. Antivaxers are meeting with legislators, and President Trump is sympathetic to their aims.

Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, wants you to know she is a doctor. She also wants you to know that you can “reset” your hormones and genes with food and saunas. In the case of the saunas, she’s put the preclinical cart before the clinical horse and extrapolated animal and early molecular epidemiological data off of a cliff.

I’ve been writing a long time about a phenomenon that I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine,” defined as the infiltration into academic medical centers and medical school of unscientific and pseudoscientific treatment modalities that are unproven or disproven. Few seem to listen. That’s why it’s reassuring to see a mainstream news publication get it (mostly) right about this phenomenon.

Antiabortion antivaccine activists like to claim that “aborted fetal cells” in vaccines mean that vaccines are contaminated products of evil. In reality, there are no “aborted fetal cells” in vaccines. A cell line derived from an aborted fetus in 1962 did, however, lead to huge advances in vaccine technology and the prevention of many millions of deaths worldwide.

I’ve been blogging fairly regularly about Houston cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski since 2011, and now the story is over…sort of. Unfortunately, as you will see, the ending is far from ideal. It is, however, somewhat better than I had feared it might be. What I’m referring to, of course, is the final ruling of…

Antivaxers think they have a friend in the White House, and they might very well be right.

Vaccine mandates for school used to be about as nonpartisan an issue as we had in the US. There was broad bipartisan support for policies to assure that children are vaccinated before they attend school, and it was a policy that worked for decades. Unfortunately, increasing politicization of vaccine policy threatens to destroy that consensus and undermine public health.

Will 2017 be the antivaccine year?

With the election of one of their own to the White House, antivaxers feel emboldened. They think that Donald Trump is sympathetic to their cause, and they have reasons to belief that. Will 2017 be the “tipping point,” the year the antivaccine movement clearly becomes ascendant?

Fake news has become an enormous problem. Here, Orac takes a look at a rather fascinating tidbit of fake news aimed at the antivaccine movement. Did the FBI really raid the CDC with the “CDC whistleblower” showing them what to find? Of course not. But a story like this is nearly irresistible to true believers that vaccines cause autism.