Category: Public Health

National Health Interview Survey 2007 – CAM Use by Adults

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducts an ongoing telephone survey of medical problems and health care utilization – called the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). They recently released their data from 2007. This is the first year for which they specifically broke out questions assessing the use of so-called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is a political/ideological entity, not a...

/ September 10, 2008

The worst of times for antivaccine believers: Yet another study fails to show any link between the MMR vaccine and autism

THE BEST OF TIMES It was the best of times (for antivaccinationists). It was the worst of times (for antivaccinationists). It was the age of wisdom (definitely not for antivaccinationists). It was the age of foolishness (definitely for antivaccinationists). It was the epoch of belief (for antivaccinationists). Such is the time we live in, my apologies to Charles Dickens, even though he...

/ September 8, 2008

Attitudes and Public Health

Increasingly there is a cultural trend toward health care freedom and empowerment. This trend is partly a reaction to the paternalism of the past, and reflects an overall change in attitude by the public toward all institutions and authority. Within medicine there has also been a move toward the partnership model of practice – where patients are well-informed full partners in the...

/ August 27, 2008

Thanks, Jenny McCarthy! Thanks for the measles!

Thanks for bringing back a once-vanquished disease, Jenny!

/ August 24, 2008

Amanda Peet is My Hero(1)

“The graveyards are full of (unvaccinated) men.” Charles de Gaulle, modified by the author. We live longer than anytime in history. Our long lives are due in large part to good nutrition, sanitation, and vaccines. There have been numerous posts here and elsewhere about the vaccine deniers, primarily focused around the modern myth that vaccines cause autism. That is not the topic...

/ August 14, 2008

Medscape quietly pulls a bad news article

Three days ago, I published a disapproving commentary about a disappointingly credulous and misinformation-laden article published on Medscape about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. The article was clearly biased, and, worse, it quoted Oprah’s favorite woo-loving gynecologist Dr. Christiane Northrup parroting germ theory denialism and the myth that Louis Pasteur “recanted” on his deathbed. All in all, it was a terrible...

/ August 7, 2008

Calories In – Calories Out

There is general agreement that the US, and the West in general, is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Even if you think this is alarmist or overstating the situation, the data clearly shows a steady expansion of the American waistline. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry and is an active area of research, and yet all the self-help books,...

/ August 6, 2008

HPV vaccination misinformation and bias in Medscape

Like many physicians, I often peruse Medscape. It’s generally been a convenient and quick way to catch up on what’s going on in my field not directly related to my research, for which I tend to rely on pre-configured RSS feeds for PubMed searches to highlight any articles related to my areas of interest. Since these searches routinely flag hundreds of articles...

/ August 4, 2008

HIV Treatment Extends Life Expectancy

People with HIV are living longer on the latest anti-retroviral therapy. This is something any infectious disease specialist knows from their own clinical experience – but it’s reassuring (I would even argue necessary) to have objective data to support experience. A study published in the latest issue of Lancet provides this objective data. (Lancet. 2008 Jul 26;372(9635):293-9.) The press release from Bristol...

/ July 30, 2008

Cell phones and cancer again, or: Oh, no! My cell phone’s going to give me cancer!

Before I start into the meat of this post, I feel the need to emphasize, as strongly as I can, four things: I do not receive any funding from the telecommunications industry in general, or wireless phone companies in particular. None at all. In other words, I’m not in the pocket of “big mobile” any more than I am in the pocket...

/ July 28, 2008