Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2020


Happy Lincoln-Darwin Day!
 
Today is the birthday of two people considered enemies by the American slavery belt – Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. The slavery belt was so afraid of Lincoln that most of the slave states seceded before Lincoln took office as president.

Charles Darwin wrote a book that exposed the slavery of human beings as immoral. The slaves were just as human as every slave owner. Bible quotations in defense of slavery were regularly provided by slave owners to justify their immorality, but it was not working as well as it used to. To be fair, many of the Founding Fathers opposed slavery, but this was a compromise that will always stain the Constitution. There was even an agreement in the Constitution to allow the importation of slaves at least until 1808.
 

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.[1]

 

There was enough opposition to the importation of slaves that a law prohibiting importation went into effect the first day possible – January 1, 1808.

Opponents of Lincoln continue to make excuses for the treason of the slave states that seceded and made war on the United States of America.

Opponents of Darwin continue to make excuses for rejection of biology, even though genetics and evolution are essential for the understanding of biology. Denial of science has become a tenet of Creationist sects.

Currently the most popular method of denying science is the one made notorious by the exposure of private documents of the cigarette industry. Create the appearance of scientific doubt and scientific controversy, even though the only doubt and controversy is about minor details, rather than the broad conclusions.
 

The most important type of story is that which casts doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines should strongly call out the point[2]

 

 

Doubt is our product next hit since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy. Within the business we recognize that a controversy exists. However, with the general public the consensus is that cigarettes are in some way harmful to the health. If we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, then there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health. previous hit Doubt is also the limit of our ” product.” Unfortunately, we cannot take a position directly opposing the anti-cigarette forces and say that cigarettes are a contributor to good health. No information that we have supports such a claim .

Truth is our message because of its power to withstand a conflict and sustain a controversy. If in our pro-cigarette efforts we stick to well documented fact , we can dominate a controversy and operate with the confidence of justifiable self-interest [italic emphasis added]. {2111.01, pp. 4, 5}[3]

 

The point was to create the appearance of honesty, without the substance. This method is used by a lot of other science denialists – anti-vaxers, climate change deniers (both those who deny that climate change is real and those who claim that human activity is not responsible for the dramatic acceleration of global warming), flat earthers, alternative medicine promoters, anti-GMO activists, anti-abortion activists, anti-equality activists, geocentrists, et cetera.

Reality is their enemy.

Reality will always be their enemy.

Footnotes:

[1] Article 1 Section 9
U.S. Constitution
Link to Article 1 Section 9 at constitution.net

[2] Tobacco Explained – The truth about the tobacco industry …in its own words
World Health Organization
Page 11/79 on the pdf counter, but marked as page 7 on the page
Free Full Text in PDF format from WHO
 

Carl Thompson from Hill and Knowlton writes a letter on the best angles for the
industry magazine, Tobacco and Health Research:
“The most important type of story is that which casts
doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and
smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines were needed and
“should strongly call out the point – Controversy! Contradiction! Other Factors! Unknowns!” 31 (Hill and
Knowlton, 1968)

 

[3] Using Cigarette Ads to Counter Health Information
The Cigarette Papers
Chapter 5 Public Relations in the “Safe” Cigarette Era
Resisting Government Regulation: Advertising Campaigns
Pages 190-191
University of California Press
Link to book with search for “Doubt is our product”

.

How Effective Is Epinephrine for Improving Survival Among Patients in Cardiac Arrest?

   

There have been two studies comparing epinephrine with placebo to treat out of hospital cardiac arrest. The Jacobs study was stopped early, because of interference by those who do not want to know if their medicine actually works.[1] The purpose of research is to determine, as objectively as possible, if a treatment is better than placebo nothing.  

Click on the image to make it larger.  

Even the small sample size shows a impressive p values of <0.001 for both ROSC (Return Of Spontaneous Circulation) and being admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, that does not lead to outcomes that are better than placebo.

The Perkins study (PARAMEDIC2) did not find a significant difference between adrenaline (epinephrine in non-Commonwealth countries) and placebo.[2] The Jacobs study also did not find a difference, but the numbers were small, due to the interference by the less than knowledgeable. Following the Jacobs study, some intervention proponents have suggested that the problem is not a lack of evidence of benefit, but need to look at the evidence from the right perspective. The inadequate evidence is not “inadequate”, but really just misunderstood. All we need to do is use a method of analysis that compensates for the tiny sample size. A Bayesian approach will produce the positive outcome that is not justified by so few patients.[3]

What happens when the numbers are combined, so that the sample size is large enough to eliminate the need for statistical chicanery to come up with something positive?

The outcomes do not improve.  

Neither standard dose adrenaline, high-dose adrenaline,vasopressin nor a combination of adrenaline and vasopressin improved survival with a favourable neurological outcome.[4]
 

If the Bayesian approach were appropriate, then the much larger sample size would have provided more than enough patients to confirm the optimism of the epinephrine advocates. The result is still not statistically significant. Maybe a much, much larger study will show a statistically significant, but tiny, improvement in outcomes with epinephrine, but don’t hold your breath for that. It took half a century to produce the first study, then seven more years for the second. With the cost of research and the problems coordinating such a large study, it is more likely that the guidelines will continue to recommend spending a lot of time and money giving a drug that diverts attention from the interventions that do improve outcomes.

There is still no evidence that adrenaline provides better outcomes than placebo in human cardiac arrest patients.

  –  

Footnotes:

  –  

[1] Effect of adrenaline on survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial Jacobs IG, Finn JC, Jelinek GA, Oxer HF, Thompson PL. Resuscitation. 2011 Sep;82(9):1138-43. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2011.06.029. Epub 2011 Jul 2. PMID: 21745533

Free Full Text PDF Download from semanticscholar.org  

This study was designed as a multicentre trial involving five ambulance services in Australia and New Zealand and was accordingly powered to detect clinically important treatment effects. Despite having obtained approvals for the study from Institutional Ethics Committees, Crown Law and Guardianship Boards, the concerns of being involved in a trial in which the unproven “standard of care” was being withheld prevented four of the five ambulance services from participating.

In addition adverse press reports questioning the ethics of conducting this trial, which subsequently led to the involvement of politicians, further heightened these concerns. Despite the clearly demonstrated existence of clinical equipoise for adrenaline in cardiac arrest it remained impossible to change the decision not to participate.

  –  

[2] A Randomized Trial of Epinephrine in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. Perkins GD, Ji C, Deakin CD, Quinn T, Nolan JP, Scomparin C, Regan S, Long J, Slowther A, Pocock H, Black JJM, Moore F, Fothergill RT, Rees N, O’Shea L, Docherty M, Gunson I, Han K, Charlton K, Finn J, Petrou S, Stallard N, Gates S, Lall R; PARAMEDIC2 Collaborators. N Engl J Med. 2018 Aug 23;379(8):711-721. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1806842. Epub 2018 Jul 18. PMID: 30021076

Free Full Text from N Engl J Med.

  –  

[3] Regarding “Effect of adrenaline on survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial”. Youngquist ST, Niemann JT. Resuscitation. 2012 Apr;83(4):e105; author reply e107. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2011.09.035. Epub 2012 Jan 18. No abstract available. PMID: 22266068

Free Full Text from Resuscitation.

  –  

[4] Adrenaline and vasopressin for cardiac arrest. Finn J, Jacobs I, Williams TA, Gates S, Perkins GD. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Jan 17;1:CD003179. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003179.pub2. PMID: 30653257    

.

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available, so why do anti-vaxers lie about them

 

Why does anyone lie?

Anti-vaxers lie for the same reason as other people – for personal benefit.

Many anti-vaxers claim that there is an international conspiracy of doctors and researchers, as if all of the doctors and researchers, or even the pediatric doctors and researchers, in the world could agree on much of anything. When you realize how ridiculously large this conspiracy would be, how much a doctor or researcher would gain from providing valid information to expose such a conspiracy, and how aggressively law enforcement would punish those behind such a conspiracy, you understand the use of ridiculous is appropriate as a description of the conspiracy theory.

This is just another example of some people thinking they know more than everyone else, based on a lack of understanding. This feeds the over-inflated egos of anti-vaxers.

The smallpox vaccine has saved hundreds of millions of lives. Anti-vaxers opposed the smallpox vaccine and delayed the eradication of smallpox. Anti-vaxers helped smallpox kill people..

Our children are no longer vaccinated against smallpox, because smallpox has been wiped out by vaccines. Millions of children’s lives, and adult lives, are saved every year by the smallpox vaccine, without even giving it to children, because enough people rejected the lies of anti-vaxers.

Vaccines continue to save millions of lives every year, in spite of opposition by anti-vaxers.

There is plenty of research showing that vaccines are effective and safe, but to give the single clearest example of the benefit of vaccines, look at the following paper from JAMA. The Journal of the American Medical Association is one of the most respected medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find a list of the most respected medical journals and you will find JAMA near the top.

Look at the decrease in the rates of illness and the rates of death for each vaccine-preventable illness after the introduction of the vaccine for that illness. Click on the image for a larger, easier to read version.
 


 

Table 1. Historical Comparison of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases With Vaccines Licensed or Recommended Before 1980: Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Rubella, Smallpox, Tetanusa [1]

 

This information has been simplified for those not comfortable with scientific research (I do not know the source of the image, it was not part of the paper in JAMA):
 


 

As you can see, these diseases are almost never a problem in America, where vaccination rates are still pretty high, although anti-vaxers are causing more and more outbreaks of diseases we had not seen in decades.

Some anti-vaxers will claim that the vaccines didn’t get rid of these diseases. These anti-vaxers claim that improved sanitation, improved hygiene, and improved diet got rid of these diseases. While these improvements are helpful, here is why that is just another anti-vax lie.

We have outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses in America, when the rate of vaccination drops, even though sanitation, hygiene, and diet did not deteriorate. Yes, many of our diets are getting worse, but that is not what is causing outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The rates of illness and death only have a dramatic change for each of the vaccine-preventable illnesses after the introduction of each vaccine. If sanitation, hygiene, and diet were the reasons, the illnesses would all start to go away at the same time, although not necessarily at the same rate. If that were the case, the decreases in these diseases could easily be shown to be due to improvements in sanitation, hygiene, and diet, but that is not the case.

Anti-vaxers cannot explain that, but anti-vaxers are not reasonable.
 

Why has the polio vaccine been so effective in India, when India has widespread problems with sanitation, hygiene, and diet?

Here is what the authors wrote:
 

India, a vastly diverse country with a 27 million birth cohort, undertook the largest vaccination drive against WPV (Wild Polio Virus) in the world. With high population density, poor civic infrastructure, poor sanitation, an almost nonexistent public health system, rampant malnutrition and diarrhea, difficult-to-reach locales, high population mobility, and extremely high force of WPV transmission in few states,3 the interruption of WPV transmission was extremely difficult and demanding. The interplay of these challenging factors provided a perfect milieu for the WPV to circulate, and the prospect of achieving zero-polio status seemed insurmountable.[2]

 

India completed a full 5 years as a “polio-free nation” on January 13, 2016.1 It was a remarkable feat considering the odds against achieving this status. [2]

Anti-vaxers will make excuses, but this clearly exposes the anti-vax lie that disease elimination being due to improved sanitation, hygiene, and diet, rather than due to vaccines.
 

The reason smallpox vaccine is no longer given to children, is the worldwide eradication of smallpox by vaccination.

Anti-vaers delayed the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

Anti-vaxers have prevented the worldwide eradication of polio.

Anti-vaxers continue to try to protect polio from eradication.

Children would no longer need polio vaccination, if it weren’t for anti-vaxers.

If you don’t like giving the polio vaccine to your child, blame the anti-vaxers.

Footnotes:

[1] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

You can also read the full text of the article for free at JAMA at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand.

Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States

[2] Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned.
Thacker N, Vashishtha VM, Thacker D.
Pediatrics. 2016 Oct;138(4). pii: e20160461. Epub 2016 Sep 2. Review. No abstract available.
PMID: 27590898

You can also read the full text of the article for free at Pediatrics at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand. Pediatrics is one of the most respected pediatric medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find what pediatric medical journals are the most respected and you will find Pediatrics near the top.

Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned

.

Anti-Vaccine Means Pro-Corruption

 

Can you be opposed to vaccines and not be supporting corruption? What does it mean to oppose vaccines?

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available. Anti-vaxers oppose that.

Vaccines save millions of lives every year. Anti-vaxers oppose that.

If you disagree, provide valid evidence that anything else is as safe as vaccines and provide valid evidence that anything else is as effective as vaccines. There is the small possibility that I am wrong and that vaccines are only second, or maybe even third, among the safest and most effective medical interventions available.

But aren’t the anti-vaxers trying to protect children from unnecessary risk?

That is one of many anti-vaccine claims, but it is just another anti-vax lie.

Look at these heroes of the anti-vaccine propaganda industry. Mark and David Geier.

David Geier pretends to be a doctor, even though he never has been a doctor, or even been enrolled in a medical school.
 

As explained above, the Board concludes that David Geier practiced medicine in Maryland without being licensed by the Board to practice in violation of section 14-601 of the Health Occupations Article.[1]

 

Mark Geier did become a doctor, but the corruption of the anti-vax propaganda and treatment business led him to violate his responsibility to protect his patients. If you see Mark Geier working as a doctor, call the police.
 

Since 2011, Geier’s medical license has been suspended or revoked in every state in which he was licensed over concerns about his autism treatments and his misrepresentation of his credentials to the Maryland Board of Health, where he falsely claimed to be a board-certified geneticist and epidemiologist.[4] [2]

 

What is so bad about the Geiers and why do anti-vaxers continue to worship the Geiers?

Mark and David Geier castrate children with a chemical that has been approved for some medical uses, but definitely not to treat autism. The chemical has never been shown to be safe or even slightly effective for that purpose. If you think that autism is the worst thing ever – worse than smallpox, measles, polio, pertussis, et cetera, you may think that it is morally acceptable to torture children and to have faith in these quacks.
 


 

The fake doctor (David) is on the left and the revoked license doctor (Mark) is on the right.

But isn’t it an exaggeration to call this chemical castration.
 

Speaking about one teen he put on the drug, Mark Geier said: “I wasn’t worried about whether he would have children when he is 25 years old. If you want to call it a nasty name, call it chemical castration. If you want to call it something nice, say you are lowering testosterone.”[3]

 

For those who claim that this would be a short-term treatment, and the side effects would be minimized, that’s not the way quacks work – especially with paying customers. These are not reasonable people. Quacks will be expected to keep giving the magic treatment, possibly increasing the dose several times, until that treatment works, because they think that they know believe that it works. Reasonable people would be expected to stop never start this unapproved and dangerous treatment to begin with. Since the treatment does not work, and is expected to make the patients’ conditions worse, these people would not be expected to stop. As with other alternative medicine, treatment failures are blamed on the patient, or on the family. Quacks do not take responsibility for the incompetence of using chemicals that are dangerous and ineffective.

But what if it really does work?

Almost every proposed treatment, regardless of what it is, will be found to be more harmful than beneficial. Most are discarded long before they get to the point of being tested on actual humans. Poisoning patients, based on What if it works? is dangerous, unethical, and irresponsible.

If you have an autistic child, do not let the Geiers chemically castrate your child for fun and profit.

How do the same anti-vaxers, who claim that they are protecting their children from what is probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available, support this dangerous, unethical, and irresponsible treatment?

That is the way anti-vaxers think. Anti-vccine claims are arrogant rejections of competence, science, and reality. Protect your children from anti-vaxers.

Footnotes:

[1] In the matter of David A. Geier before the Maryland State Board of Physicians
Case Nos. 2008-0022 & 2009-0318
Maryland Department of Health
Final Decision and Order in PDF format.

[2] Mark Geier
Wikipedia
Article

[3] ‘Miracle drug’ called junk science
Trine Tsouderos
Tribune reporter
May 21, 2009
Article

.

Anti-Vax Doctors Lack Competence and Ethics

 
 

Effective July 27, 2018, the latest anti-vax doctor to have his license revoked will be Dr. Bob Sears. Yes, he promotes his image as Dr. Bob.

Who are the dangerous doctors Bob Sears will be joining?

Andrew Wakefield‘s fraudulent research, unnecessarily painful research on children, lack of ethical approval for research, and other corruption, convinced the British General Medical Council to revoke his license. Wakefield was also trying to sell a vaccine of his own, to compete with the MMR (polyvalent Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Wakefield’s attempts to discredit the MMR vaccine would have helped him to sell his own competing vaccine.
 

the lawyers responsible for the MMR lawsuit had paid Wakefield personally more than £400,000, which he had not previously disclosed.[67] [1]

 

Andrew Wakefield claims that he is not a fraud and sues a lot of people.

All of the cases have been thrown out by the courts or have been withdrawn by Wakefield.[2]

Do those who claim to be trying to protect their children, by avoiding vaccines, based on a trust of this fraudulent doctor, know what Wakefield has done?

The kiddie castrators – David Geier and Mark Geier.

David Geier was never a doctor, but has been caught faking it.[3] In the make believe world of anti-vaxers, why let reality get in the way of pretending to have credibility?

Mark Geier was a doctor, but had his license revoked in every state where he had a license (Maryland, Washington, Virginia, California, Missouri, Illinois, and Hawaii). Why do the Geiers castrate children? Chemical castration is an approved treatment for some rare conditions. Mastectomy is an approved treatment for some breast cancers, but that does not mean that it is at all ethical, or competent, to recommend mastectomy as treatment for other medical conditions. The Geiers claim to believe that castration cures autism. There is no valid evidence to support their hunch.

Consider this. You have an autistic child and someone tells you there is a cure. The person says that they know their expensive chemicals work. The person may even say, I’ve seen it work.[4] All you have to do is give permission for this doctor (before his license was revoked), and his son the fake doctor, to use chemicals to castrate your child.

Do you ask for evidence?

Their is no valid evidence. You just have to trust the castrators and their excuses for the absence of evidence.

The “evidence” has been retracted, because the research is junk science. All human research has to be approved by an independent IRB (Institutional Review Board) to make sure that there are not any conflicts of interest or unnecessary risks to the children participating in the research. The members of the independent IRB were the Geiers, the Geier’s employees, and the Geier’s lawyer. That is not independent.

If chemical castration doesn’t work, the Geiers can sell you other expensive and dangerous treatments that do not work, such as chelation. Chelation is the use of chemicals to remove heavy metals from the body, based on the assumption that mercury causes autism. Chelation is harmful, so it is only indicated, when there is a good reason to believe the benefit will be greater than the harm. There is no valid evidence to support this hunch of the Geiers.

The motto of the company run by the Geiers is First do no harm. Are they completely unaware of the harm they cause, or so dishonest that they tell the boldest lies? Does it matter why they harm children?

What did Bob Sears do to get his license revoked? He claimed to assess patients, but did not keep records of what he claimed to do. His incompetence/negligence endangered patients.[5] ,[6]

For example, a mother frequently brought J.G., a 2 year old, to see Dr. Bob. One visit was for a head ache a couple of weeks after the child’s father hit the child on the head with a hammer. The only apparent concern of the mother and Dr. Bob was to prevent the child from receiving vaccines. There is no record of any neurological assessment, or referral to a competent doctor for a neurological assessment.

J.G. had visited Dr. Bob the previous month for constipation. Assessment and treatment plans were documented. Constipation can be very serious, but so can hitting a child on the head with a hammer. The reason for the difference in approaches was determined to be gross negligence. Another visit, following apparent resolution of otitis media following treatment with Omnicef (cefdinir), there was a diagnosis of a sudden onset of flu, with a prescription for Tamiflu (oseltamivir), so there is no apparent hesitation to use ineffective, or minimally effective, treatments. Is J.G.’s last name Munchausen, or is he just unlucky in his choice of parents?

Bob Sears does not appear to be hesitant to prescribe drugs based on hunches, but he does appear to recognize that being anti-vax can be very profitable. Sears has written 4 books, but still fails to document assessments.

Bob Sears will have to be monitored by another physician for 35 months, following this revocation, to be able to get his license reinstated. He must follow all laws, not be negligent, and not deviate from the standard of medical care. He cannot just take the 3 years off and write books, because he has to be monitored while working to get his license back.

It looks like Bob Sears will be vaccinating children, just as real doctors do.

Vaccines save millions of lives every year.

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention we have, and anti-vaxers hate that.

If some of us do not see the need for vaccines, it is because of the success of vaccines. Vaccines are an important part of the reason that the average life expectancy has doubled in a little over 100 years.

For a great review of the effect of vaccines on vaccine-preventable illnesses, there is a study in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), which shows how the rate of each illness, and deaths from each illness, declined after the introduction of each vaccine. There are anti-vaxers who claim that it wasn’t the vaccines, but sanitation that stopped these illnesses. Don’t fall for that.[7]

Sanitation is important at preventing the spread of illnesses, but sanitation does not wait for each different vaccine to be introduced for each different vaccine-preventable illness to change the illness and fatality rates.

Look at the evidence.

Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

Free Full Text Article from JAMA.

Footnotes:

[1] Aftermath of initial controversy
Andrew Wakefield
Wikipedia
Article

The referenced article by Brian Deer is:

Huge sums paid to Andrew Wakefield
The Sunday Times
December 31 2006
Brian Deer
Article

Andrew Wakefield has repeatedly sued Brian Deer and lost or run away every time.

[2] Deer counter-response
Andrew Wakefield
Wikipedia
Article

[3] Medical licenses revoked
Mark Geier
Wikipedia
Article
 

In 2011, his son David Geier was charged by the Maryland State Board of Physicians with practicing as if a licensed physician when he only has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology,[42] and was fined $10,000 in July 2012.[40]

 

Charges by the Maryland Medical Board
In the Matter of David A. Geier before the Maryland State Board of Physicians
Practicing without a license
PDF document of charges
 

The Respondent is not and never has been licensed to practice medicine or any other health profession in the State of Maryland or any other State.

 

[4] I’ve Seen It Work and Other Lies
Tue, 21 Jun 2011
Rogue Medic
Article

[5] Antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears finally faces discipline from the Medical Board of California
Respectful Insolence
Orac
June 29, 2018
Article

[6] Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order
Decision of the Medical Board of California
Department of Consumer Affairs
State of California
Case No. 800-2015-012268
OAH No. 2017100889
PDF of Decision

[7] “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”): Intellectual dishonesty at its most naked
Science-Based Medicine
David Gorski
March 29, 2010
Article

.

Have a Slow, Quiet Friday the Thirteenth

Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.
 

 

Superstitious appears to be common among medical people, so this may be seen as offensive. If you doubt me, comment that it is slow or quiet and see how many respond negatively, while they do not receive any criticism for their superstition-based complaints. Rather, people will make excuses for coddling the superstitions of those who are entrusted with the lives of patients.

The evidence does not support their superstitions.

One study did appear to show that women die in motor vehicle collisions more often on Friday the 13th, but that appears to be due to a lack of understanding of statistics by many who cite the article.
 

An additional factor is anxiolytic medication, used by significantly more women than men in Finland (7), which has been reported to reduce attention span and worsen driving performance (8). . . . Why this phenomenon exists in women but not in men remains unknown, but perhaps the twice-as-high prevalence of neurotic disorders and anxiety symptoms in women (7) makes them more susceptible to superstition and worsening of driving performance.[1]

 

The author suspects that those people with conditions that could be diagnosed as neuroses or anxiety disorders may be disproportionately affected by superstition.

In other words, superstition is not an external force affecting you. You are doing it to yourself.

The sample size was national, but still small, and was not able to adjust for many possible confounding variables, so the study would need to be replicated using a much larger data base to be useful.

In other superstition news – the next apocalypse, in a long line of predicted apocalypses, is going to be this Sunday – the 15 of October, 2017, according to David Meade. Meade twice previously predicted that a magical planet would hit the Earth and kill us all. This time he claims that his calculations are accurate, because that was the problem with his previous calculations – inaccuracy, not that they were a superstition deserving of derision.

If you are superstitious, and feel that your neuroses/anxieties will cause you to harm others, or yourself, you may want to stay home today and Sunday – perhaps even until you are capable of grasping reality.

Of course, we would never base treatment on superstition in medicine.

Amiodarone is the go to antiarrhythmic drug for cardiac arrest and ventricular tachycardia, but there are much safer much more effective drugs available. We have our own prophets misrepresenting research results to make it seem that using amiodarone for these is a good idea. The research says these preachers are wrong. The next guidelines will probably promote the superstition and reject the science.[2],[3]

Ventilation during cardiac arrest has been shown to be a good idea only for patients who arrested for respiratory reasons. We do a great job of identifying these patients. We have our own prophets misrepresenting research results to make it seem that providing ventilations for these is a good idea. The research says these preachers are wrong. The next guidelines will probably promote the superstition and reject the science.[4]

Medicine is full of superstition and superstitious people.

Why?

Too many of us believe the lie that, I’ve seen it work.

I have also written about the superstition of Friday the 13th here –

Acute coronary syndrome on Friday the 13th: a case for re-organising services? – Fri, 13 Jan 2017

The Magical Nonsense of Friday the 13th – Fri, 13 May 2016

Happy Friday the 13th – New and Improved with Space Debris – Fri, 13 Nov 2015

Friday the 13th and full-moon – the ‘worst case scenario’ or only superstition? – Fri, 13 Jun 2014

Blue Moon 2012 – Except parts of Oceanea – Fri, 31 Aug 2012

2009’s Top Threat To Science In Medicine – Fri, 01 Jan 2010

T G I Friday the 13th – Fri, 13 Nov 2009

Happy Equinox! – Thu, 20 Mar 2008

Footnotes:

[1] Traffic deaths and superstition on Friday the 13th.
Näyhä S.
Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;159(12):2110-1.
PMID: 12450968

Free Full Text from Am J Psychiatry.

[2] The PROCAMIO Trial – IV Procainamide vs IV Amiodarone for the Acute Treatment of Stable Wide Complex Tachycardia
Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

There are a dozen links to the research in the footnotes to that article. There are also links to other articles on the failure of amiodarone to live up to its hype.

[3] Dr. Kudenchuk is Misrepresenting ALPS as ‘Significant’
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[4] Cardiac Arrest Management is an EMT-Basic Skill – The Hands Only Evidence
Fri, 09 Dec 2011
Rogue Medic
Article

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I helped a Naturopath kill my son, because I believe in Quackery

tamara-ryan-lovett1

 
Would you kill this kid?

Like clapping for Tinkerbell, killing children for superstition is part of keeping reality at bay.

Am I too harsh?

7 year old Ryan Lovett died of strep, meningitis, and pneumonia. His slow death, over 10 days, is reported to have been extremely painful. His death was also preventable with real medicine, so I am not even remotely harsh.

Ryan Lovett’s mother is a true believer in magic. Defending her irrational beliefs means avoiding everything that has valid evidence of benefit. Oddly, she did call 911, after her son started seizing. Ryan Lovett could not be resuscitated by EMS.

Ryan Lovett’s mother took him to a Naturopathic clinic for an echinacea mixture. Meanwhile, her neighbor, not trained in the deadly art of Naturopathy, was trying to convince Ryan Lovett’s mother to take Ryan to a real hospital.
 

La Pointe (Barbara La Pointe, a former friend of Lovett’s who used to take Ryan to her home on weekends) testified she visited Ryan and his mother the day before he died. She described Ryan as being “in a state of supreme suffering” and offered to take the mother and son to a hospital or doctor, but Lovett refused.[1]

 

Naturopaths claim that they will tell patients to go to a real doctor if the patient has a serious illness, which requires real medicine, not the usual self-limiting illness that patients recover from in spite of the Naturopath’s prescriptions.

Ryan Lovett will tell you that doesn’t work. No, Ryan Lovett can’t tell you, because nobody at Naturopathic clinic did what Naturopaths claim their extensive training in quackery prepares them to do – send the patient to a real doctor.

The neighbor was much smarter than everyone at the Naturopathic clinic, since she does not appear to have been indoctrinated in the death before medicine quackery of Naturopathy.
 

Ryan did not have a birth certificate and had never seen a doctor because his mother “did not believe in conventional medicine,”[1]

 

Evil conventional medicine? Pediatricians use evidence based medicine on their own kids and on themselves. They will even give you copies of research articles that show that their treatments do work. Medicine works even when the manufacturer is not able to influence the results of the research.
 


 

“The court specifically found that Tamara Lovett actually knew how sick he was and simply refused to do something and therefore gambled with his life,” he (Prosecutor Jonathan Hak) told reporters.[1]

 

That is a misunderstanding of medicine and gambling. Medicine is probabilistic. No treatment is 100% successful, so it depends on being prescribed for the right condition, in the right dose, having the fewest side effects, or having side effects that are least likely to make the patient worse, . . . , in order to make it more likely that the patient has a good outcome. That is gambling (putting the odds in the favor of the patient). Medical education is what helps the doctor, PA, NP, nurse, paramedic, EMT to assess the patient in a way that identifies the actual medical condition, to understand the risks and benefits of the available treatments, and to decide what is best for that individual patient.

Evidence-based medical education is better at putting the odds in favor of a good outcome than anything else.

Ryan Lovett’s mother wasn’t gambling, she was praying that her superstition had real magic powers. Maybe Ryan Lovett’s mother was praying that Ryan had a self-limiting illness, which would get better as long as the Naturopathic chemicals did not poison Ryan. Why take Ryan to the Naturopathic clinic at all, if the Naturopathic clinic just sells chemicals that are merely supposed to distract people and make the Naturopath money?
 

Doctors testified the infection would have been treatable had the boy, who also had meningitis and pneumonia, been taken to a doctor and given antibiotics.[1]

 

But this is just one rare case, so it is not fair to criticize Naturopaths for scamming the gullible. The Quack didn’t know the kid would die.
 

Canadians across the country have kept a close eye on the case. It is one of several in southern Alberta involving parents who were charged criminally after their children died of conditions that could have been treated with conventional medicine.[1]

 

Some people just can’t deal with reality.

Reality will eventually kill us, regardless of what we do. In the mean time, we can increase the odds of living a long healthy life by avoiding unnecessary treatment and limiting the treatments we do use to stuff that has valid evidence that it really works.

Footnotes:

[1] Tamara Lovett found guilty of negligence, failure to provide necessaries of life in death of 7-year-old son
By Meghan Grant, Drew Anderson,
CBC News
Posted: Jan 23, 2017 5:00 AM MT
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:33 PM MT
Article

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Do Anti-Vaccinationists Have Any Clue About Science? – Part I

 

Early anti-vaccine propaganda. The claims have not become more sensible. Click on image to make it larger.
 

Do vaccines work?

The anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists claim that vaccines do not work.

Vaccines are all part of some conspiracy among all of the governments which have studied vaccines, or part of some conspiracy among all of the universities which have studied vaccines, or part of some conspiracy among all of the drug companies which have studied vaccines, or part of some conspiracy among all of the doctors who have studied vaccines, or . . . .

I am kidding, of course. The anti-vax conspiracy theorists claim that this conspiracy includes all of the above. They believe in a conspiracy that makes the JFK assassination conspiracy, the moon landing conspiracy, and the 911 inside job conspiracy seem tiny and insignificant.

There must be some kind of science that supports their fanaticism. Right?

There is no science to support these conspiracy theories.

Some people with children think that it is dangerous to inject non-infectious material into their children in order to provoke the immune system to produce immunity.

The language of Penn & Teller may not be appropriate for children, but their message is.
 


 

Here is some evidence from various countries.

Are these studies, and many more, all just part of some massive conspiracy?
 

From America –
 

Results A greater than 92% decline in cases and a 99% or greater decline in deaths due to diseases prevented by vaccines recommended before 1980 were shown for diphtheria, mumps, pertussis, and tetanus. Endemic transmission of poliovirus and measles and rubella viruses has been eliminated in the United States; smallpox has been eradicated worldwide. Declines were 80% or greater for cases and deaths of most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980 including hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, Hib, and varicella. Declines in cases and deaths of invasive S pneumoniae were 34% and 25%, respectively.[1]

 

From Australia –
 

Since the introduction of childhood vaccination for diphtheria in 1932 and the widespread use of vaccines to prevent tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis in the 1950s, deaths in Australia from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) have declined by more than 99%. It is important, however, that the downward trend in morbidity and mortality from VPDs is maintained and carefully monitored, and that changes are interpreted in relation to vaccination coverage.[2]

 

From Germany –
 

The incidence rate in the eastern federal states is lower than in the western federal states owing to a smaller portion of endangered risk groups in the population. The trend on the whole is declining.[3]

 

From Switzerland –
 

Since the mid-1970s, the widespread establishment and implementation of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has led to remarkable achievements in controlling vaccine preventable diseases worldwide. Today, more children than ever are being reached with immunization; interruption of poliomyelitis transmission has occurred in most countries; mortality due to measles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis has been reduced to record low levels.[4]

 

From Mexico –
 

Rotavirus is the leading recognized cause of diarrhea-related illness and death among infants and young children.1-5 Every year, rotavirus is associated with 25 million clinic visits, 2 million hospitalizations, and more than 600,000 deaths worldwide among children younger than five years of age.6,7 [5]

 

The efficacy of the vaccine against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis and against rotavirus-associated hospitalization was 85 percent (P<0.001 for the comparison with placebo) and reached 100 percent against more severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. Hospitalization for diarrhea of any cause was reduced by 42 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 29 to 53 percent; P<0.001).[5]

 

Is any other medicine as effective as a vaccine?

Is any other medicine as safe as a vaccine?

This last paper is a placebo controlled comparison that makes it abundantly clear that vaccines do work, even though vaccines are not 100% effective.

Nothing is 100% effective or 100% safe, but that is what anti-vaxers claim to want.

Anti-vaxers appear to believe the lie that doing nothing is 100% safe.

The anti-vax conspiracy theorists would suggest that there is something wrong in giving our children a treatment that will safely and dramatically decrease our children’s risk for severe illness.

Complications were greater in the placebo group (the children who did not get the vaccine).

Avoiding vaccination is not safe.
 

Opposition to vaccination does not depend on science.

Opposition to vaccination depends on the country you are in, because the opposition is not scientific.

The opposition is emotional and political, which is expected with a conspiracy theory.

Science does not follow political boundaries, but conspiracy theories change with the politics.

Footnotes:

[1] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from JAMA.

[2] Vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination coverage in Australia, 1993-1998.
McIntyre P, Amin J, Gidding H, Hull B, Torvaldsen S, Tucker A, Turnbull F, Burgess M.
Commun Dis Intell. 2000 Jun;Suppl:v-83. Review.
PMID: 12049363 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[3] [The status of vaccine preventable diseases in Germany].
Oppermann H.
Gesundheitswesen. 2001 Feb;63(2):102-6. German.
PMID: 11285747 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[4] The expanded programme on immunization: a lasting legacy of smallpox eradication.
Okwo-Bele JM, Cherian T.
Vaccine. 2011 Dec 30;29 Suppl 4:D74-9. Review.
PMID: 22486980 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[5] Safety and efficacy of an attenuated vaccine against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis.
Ruiz-Palacios GM, Pérez-Schael I, Velázquez FR, Abate H, Breuer T, Clemens SC, Cheuvart B, Espinoza F, Gillard P, Innis BL, Cervantes Y, Linhares AC, López P, Macías-Parra M, Ortega-Barría E, Richardson V, Rivera-Medina DM, Rivera L, Salinas B, Pavía-Ruz N, Salmerón J, Rüttimann R, Tinoco JC, Rubio P, Nuñez E, Guerrero ML, Yarzábal JP, Damaso S, Tornieporth N, Sáez-Llorens X, Vergara RF, Vesikari T, Bouckenooghe A, Clemens R, De Vos B, O’Ryan M; Human Rotavirus Vaccine Study Group.
N Engl J Med. 2006 Jan 5;354(1):11-22.
PMID: 16394298 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from NEJM.

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