Posts Tagged Public Health

Son of God says the flu vaccine will kill your kids

Last week, the British government announced that it would concentrate on immunising vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and health care professionals, against the H1N1 “swine” flu strain, before considering whether to extend the vaccination program across the wider population.  Westminster is reported to have contracts in place for 132 million doses of the vaccine, enough to immunise the entire UK population. Whether they use it or not remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, the vaccination program has attracted the attention of Internet crackpot and former son-of-god David Icke, who contends that the swine flu vaccine is a conspiracy by the Illuminati to cull vast portions of the human population.

Oh dear.

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Homeopathy 101: Overdoses and Avogadro

Last week, in a forum post on mumsnet.com – a parent’s advice forum – a worried parent left the following concerned question (spelling and grammar as per the original post):

“Just found my labour preparation bottle of caulophyllum 200c Homeopathic remedy open on the floor with several of the little tablets lying next to it. Saw him chewing/sucking a few mins earlier but assumed it was the remains of our sushi. Am not panicking but wondering if anyone can advise if we should expect a level of disturbance/ill effects esp as 200c is such a high dose” – Source: Mumsnet.com

Clearly, the forum user is worried her dear child may be at risk of an overdose on her super-strength, 200c tablets. Of course, an overdose is clearly not possible. Even a homeopath will tell you that! In fact, homeopaths deny the possibility of an overdose because of the fact that homeopathy is ‘non-toxic’ and that ‘if you take fifteen tablets or five tablets (or 100 tablets for that matter) AT ONE TIME it is one dose. You will stimulate your curative response one time‘.

Cool, well that’s put my fears to rest. Except of course, that that’s clearly utter nonsense. Curative response? Non-toxic? One tablet has the same effect as one hundred tablets? Do they really think anyone is going to buy that?!

The real reason why an overdose is impossible is that there’s absolutely, completely and utterly nothing in a homeopathic tablet. It’s just water. The only way to overdose on homeopathy is if you drown.

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Magnet Therapy: Positive or Negative?

I was reminded recently about the claims made for “magnetic therapies”, when I bought a bracelet on holiday. I thought I was just buying an attractive trinket. Being relatively superficial and easily pleased, I was happy enough to have a bracelet that looked good. But this was no ordinary ornament, for it was made of  “Magnetic Hematite”, as it proudly stated on the box:

“The natural properties of magnetic hematite were known to be used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. They produced artefacts and jewellery primarily in the belief that this mineral may relieve pain, aid blood flow, enhance energy, and calm emotions. Wearers of pacemakers and pregnant women should avoid wearing this product. Natural Therapy. Made in China”

I thought this sounded too good to be true!  ‘Enhance energy‘?   Well, the most natural way to aid blood flow and enhance energy would be to just get up and move around a bit.   ‘Calm emotions?’  So, no more mood swings – like kind of a mineral prozac?  I must admit, I was a bit concerned about the warnings for people with pacemakers and pregnant women… should I approach them with care while wearing this magic bracelet?  What was a safe distance and what would happen if I failed to adhere to it?! Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Flu Defence’ Effluence – Where Swine Flu Meets Bullshit

With the swine flu death toll recently exceeding 700 mortalities worldwide according to the WHO (that’s the World Health Organisation by the way – we at the MSS are not in the habit of contacting Roger Daltrey and co for updates on global mortality rates), understandably many people are scared.  Even members of The Who, I dare venture, are scared (OK, that time I was talking about the rock band; the World Health Organisation know no fear).  After all, despite the relatively tame death tolls of recent potential pandemics – SARS topped out at around 770 mortalities worldwide, and Bird Flu at just 250 – the threat of a genuine influenza pandemic is all too real, as the 50 million deaths from Spanish Flu between 1918 and 1920 are testament to.

With good fortune and a prevailing wind, the excellent work of the WHO (again, the health guys not the ‘My Generation’ chaps) will continue to help contain and cope with the spread and treatment of the virus, so their advice is generally not to panic, to avoid unnecessary risks, and to essentially let the WHO do what the WHO do.  So being cautious but un-panicky is what we’ll do, and we’ll soldier on, make the odd joke, while listening to both the WHO and The Who (while potentially also watching Dr Who), and as best as we can try not to spread germs nor fear.

Which would be fine, if homeopaths and the rest of the pseudomedical community weren’t out there treating a pandemic as a cash cow.  Google something along the lines of ‘flu cure‘, ‘swine flu remedy‘ or ‘fuck me those pigs are going to kill us all‘* and you’ll be confronted with all manner of homeopathic, dietary, herbal and generally all-round magical cures.  And it’s to one of these fringe, whack-job, dangerous and completely bullshit quack-remedies my attention was drawn today, namely Flu Defence – a herbal pill with claims so unbelievably nonsense-filled and appallingly-unscientific, they really do need to be taken apart one by one.  And if you’ll indulge me, that’s precisely what I’ll do… Read the rest of this entry »

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The Anti-Vax Movement Turns Anti-Bix: Weetabix and Autism

Jenny McCarthy is an idiot.  Even better than that, she’s an American idiot, being idiotic over there in that America place.  That’s not a good thing for America, fair enough – but at least it’s enough to give us that lovely sense of smug superiority that we English enjoy over our formerly-colonial brethren.  ‘Wheat and dairy make kids high,’ she says.  ‘Paediatricians know nothing‘.  And then there’s:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism“. Source: Time magazine, April 2009.

She even released a video to tell us all about it, replete with demonic smile and crazy crazy eyes – originally hosted on www.generationrescue.org (I’m not hyperlinking to them – call me petty), after a wave of criticism/ridicule it was taken down.  Fortunately, this being the internet and all, nothing is ever lost – you can witness the McCarthy rant on youtube for yourself (part 1, part 2).  Go ahead, I urge you, it’s nothing short of astounding.  Oh that Miss McCarthy, she’s such a crazy yankie loon, we’d never get anything like that over here, not us smart and superior, many-sceptered-isle, green-and-pleasant-lands sorts.

So could somebody please tell that to the Daily Mail?  Because, frankly, they’re letting the side down, and showing us up.  ‘I helped my son cope better with autism by changing his diet,’ the headline claims.  The headline claims.  The article itself actually tells a different story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Electro-hypersensitivity: the so-called allergy to modern life

When Stephenson’s Rocket was first trialled, there had to be large fences erected along the sides of the track to protect passers-by from the sight, due to the popular belief that if a man was to travel at the speed the train would achieve, he would instantly die a horrible horrible death.  I don’t know if this is true in the slightest, or simply one of those urban myths that gets passed-on after the fact, but it’s a quirky little tale that came back to me when I read this article yesterday.  No matter what technological breakthrough is made, there’s always some element of fear that it will cause us harm.  Sitting near the TV will make you go blind. Microwave ovens will give you radiation poisoning.  And now electro-hypersensitivity…

Former TV producer, Sarah Dacre, 53, had a successful career in London, but, in 1994, she suddenly began suffering from a pattern of mysterious symptoms.
When finally diagnosed with electro-hypersensitivity, her illness forced her to leave both her job and her home. Divorced, with a grown-up son at university, she now lives in Kent.

“Former TV producer, Sarah Dacre, 53, had a successful career in London, but, in 1994, she suddenly began suffering from a pattern of mysterious symptoms.

When finally diagnosed with electro-hypersensitivity, her illness forced her to leave both her job and her home. Divorced, with a grown-up son at university, she now lives in Kent” – Source: Mail Online, June 27, 2009

In the article, she explains how as her life became more packed with technology – phones, laptops, you name it – she became more and more ill.  And then someone told her that the phones, laptops and you-name-its were the cause of the illness.

What the article doesn’t mention is ANYTHING SCIENTIFIC AT ALL.  At all.  Have a good look, really, I tried, but all I could find were correlation/causation fallacies – ‘I had lots of electrical stuff and got ill, you do the maths’ essentially.

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