Category: Vaccines

Using attacks on science by the anti-vaccine movement as a “teachable moment”

Last week, I wrote one of my usual ridiculously detailed posts analyzing a recent study (Price et al) that, if science and reason ruled, would be the last nail in the coffin of the hypothesis connecting autism with the mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, which used to be in many childhood vaccines but was phased out beginning in 1999 and disappearing in infant vaccines...

/ September 20, 2010
Vaccine

The final nail in the mercury-autism hypothesis?

Another study. Another failure to link thimerosal to a higher risk of autism. Can we just bury the claim that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism, already?

/ September 13, 2010

A pox on your bank account: failure to vaccinate and its legal consequences

Here’s a question anti-vaxers may want to consider: Can the parents of an unvaccinated child be held liable if their child becomes infected with a vaccine-preventable disease which then spreads from their child to another child or children? Yes, they can. In fact, for over 125 years, courts in this country have recognized a cause of action for negligent transmission of an...

/ August 27, 2010

How to make a difference – Responsible vaccine advocacy

I lost a patient this season, an infant, to pertussis.  After falling ill he lived for nearly a month in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, three weeks of which was spent on a heart/lung bypass machine (ECMO) due to the extent of the damage to his lungs, but all our efforts were in vain.  The most aggressive and advanced care...

/ August 20, 2010

Pertussis Epidemic 2010

Bordetella pertussis is the bacterium that causes whooping cough – the main clinical feature of which is a severe lingering cough that can last for weeks or even months. Right now we are in the midst of an epidemic of pertussis cropping up in pockets throughout the US, most notable California. According to the CDC: During January 1– June 30, 2010, a...

/ August 18, 2010

Germ theory denialism: A major strain in “alt-med” thought

The longer I’m in this whole science-based medicine thing, not to mention the whole skepticism thing, the more I realize that no form of science is immune to woo. To move away from medicine just for a moment, even though I lament just how many people do not accept evolution, for example, I can somewhat understand it. Although the basics of the...

/ August 9, 2010

Open Letter to Dr. Josephine Briggs

Josephine P. Briggs, M.D. Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Dear Dr. Briggs, As you know, we’ve met twice. The first time was at the Yale “Integrative Medicine” Symposium in March. The second was in April, when Drs. Novella, Gorski and I met with you for an hour at the NCCAM in Bethesda. At the time I concluded that you...

/ July 23, 2010

Terrible Anti-Vaccine Study, Terrible Reporting

One of my goals in writing for this blog is to educate the general public about how to evaluate a scientific study, specifically medical studies. New studies are being reported in the press all the time, and the analysis provided by your average journalist leaves much to be desired. Generally, they fail to put the study into context, often get the bottom...

/ July 16, 2010

Shingles Vaccine (Zostavax) Confirmed Safe

Shingles (herpes zoster) is no fun. It usually begins with a couple of days of pain, then a painful rash breaks out and lasts a couple of weeks. The rash consists of blisters that eventually break open, crust over, and consolidate into an ugly plaque. It is localized to one side of the body and to a stripe of skin corresponding to...

/ July 6, 2010
Elton John, "I'm Still Standing"

The price of opposing medical pseudoscience

When quacks can’t answer with science (which is most commonly), they fall back on their favorite ad hominem attack. They call their critics “pharma shills.” Then they try to silence them by almost any means they view as necessary. Those means can include attempts to get critics fired by going to their bosses and falsely accusing them of serious misdeeds. Dr. Gorski...

/ June 28, 2010