The feathered dinosaur is not a Big Pharma Shill – please help

feathered dinosaur

It’s been a calm Thanksgiving week. Compared to the last few wild weeks where this website was overwhelmed with hits after being accused of being Dr. Paul Offit, being David Gorski, and working for Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. The feathered dinosaur is confused.

That’s interspersed with the daily claims that the feathery dinosaur is being paid by Big Pharma for doing their bidding. If only it were true, this posting wouldn’t be required.

Your generosity so far has provided approximately 30% of what is necessary to keep this website running. But it’s an expensive endeavor, and the Skeptical Raptor could use a little bit more of a push so that the survival of this website is guaranteed over the next year or so.

So, if you have the ability, please donate to this website Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.

 
 
  You can also support this website by making your Amazon purchases – just click on the link below. A small portion of each purchase goes to the Skeptical Raptor, without any additional cost to you.  

(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

HPV infection of male virgins – reason for cancer preventing vaccine

hpv infection

The many myths about the HPV cancer preventing vaccine, known as Gardasil, have been critical in keeping uptake of the vaccine low. For example, many parents believe that their children will never engage in risky sexual behavior, so why do they need to give them the HPV vaccine? Of course, this ignores the facts that sexual assault and the sexual history of future partners can lead to HPV infection.

A newly published article also may show that male virgins (and presumably female virgins) can contract an HPV infection. HPV is so infectious that it can be transmitted even without sexual intercourse.

Let’s examine this new study which is more conclusive evidence that parents should seriously consider getting the vaccine for their children. Continue reading “HPV infection of male virgins – reason for cancer preventing vaccine”

The Medical Medium – junk medicine with psychic reading

Every time I think I’ve read it all, apparently I haven’t. I was pointed in the direction of someone – the Medical Medium – who pushes pseudoscience online. Worse yet, he mashes together alternative medicine and psychic readings.

Yes, you read that right. Using psychic readings, he then recommends alternative medicine.

Anthony William, who calls himself the Medical Medium, not because he’s right in the middle of medicine, but because he believes he’s a medium, that is, someone who can speak with spirits. I’m sure he has a Ouija Board.

I should just ignore every quack in medicine, but this one allows me to write some criticism about a pseudoscience – psychic readings – that I thought were long ago debunked. Besides, maybe I can bring a chuckle to some of you.  Continue reading “The Medical Medium – junk medicine with psychic reading”

Enormous economic value of vaccination – the case is clear

economic value of vaccination

The enormous economic value of vaccination – that is, the economic benefits of a vaccine far outweighs the costs – is often overlooked, especially by those who invent some massive conspiracy by “Big Pharma” to push vaccines.

The standard anti-vaccine trope is that vaccines are a gargantuan profit center for pharmaceutical companies. That would be false. In fact, if we are going to endow Big Pharma with immorality and evil motives, they would stop making vaccines and profiting off of the massive illnesses that would ensue. But that’s not what happens.

The facts are that pharmaceutical companies manufacture and market vaccines at a moderate profit, forsaking the much larger profits in a world with rampant vaccine-preventable diseases. I’m not one of those naïve individuals who think that Big Pharma is filled with 100% altruistic and moral individuals. However, it mostly is.

Moving away from the economic benefits and profits for the pharmaceutical industry, there is a tremendous economic value of vaccination for society at large. And it’s important to make this clear to anyone who is willing to listen.

Continue reading “Enormous economic value of vaccination – the case is clear”

Help the feathery dinosaur for Thanksgiving – please

Help the feathery dinosaur

We are coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, where we all fall asleep watching football and consuming turkey.  And we still have to ask readers out there to help the feathery dinosaur keep the website running for the next few months.

Admittedly, the feathery dinosaur is someone offended that one of his relatives, the distinguished turkey, is a part of this meal.

Right now, we’ve gotten about 60% of necessary funds from all of your generous donations. We’ve removed many of the ads that drag down performance of this website (we hope someone has noticed). We will going to leave a couple up because they don’t appear to have much of an effect on loading time. But we will monitor it.

There probably won’t be many posts for the next few days, because we’ve got a project on this website that’s caused by the vexatious (not really) Orac, who was forced to move his website to a new domain.  Actually, Orac gets better control over his website doing this, so that’s great for him, but an inside source said it took some work to get it done.

Unfortunately, we have literally 100s of links to his old domain. And we need to fix each of them – everyone hates broken links. As we review these links and articles, we might repost old favorites for your reading pleasure.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please help the feathery dinosaur. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but we know many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.

 
 
  You can also support this website by making your Amazon purchases – just click on the link below. A small portion of each purchase goes to the Skeptical Raptor, without any additional cost to you.  

(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

We regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts we’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing only around $1900 more.

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

The turkey tryptophan myth – Uncle George keeps repeating it

turkey tryptophan myth

Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, the United States celebrates a holiday called Thanksgiving. Part of the tradition, along with watching football (the American version), is eating mountains of food, including a roasted turkey. And this is where Uncle George regales the guests with the turkey tryptophan myth – that is, eating a mountain of turkey, which he claims is high in tryptophan, makes you sleepy.

Because I know the average reader of this blog is pro-science and snarky, I post this article for you to embarrass Uncle George. Well, he’s probably a Trump supporter who wouldn’t know any science because it isn’t a pedophile in Alabama. Oh sorry, I did go there.

Back to Thanksgiving and the turkey tryptophan myth. Only a few countries celebrate Thanksgiving, and just a handful of countries eat turkey in any amount, other than the USA and Canada. Surprisingly, 87% of English holiday dinners will include turkey, a bird that is native to North America. So, I guess when gobby Uncle George (loyal Chelsea football fan) starts with the turkey tryptophan tosh, you can tell him to bugger off with this article.

Just in case you want to impress friends and family, the other places that celebrate Thanksgiving, similar to the USA and Canada, are Liberia (which is populated by descendants of freed slaves who returned to Africa from the US), Grenada (a small English-speaking island in the Caribbean), Puerto Rico (a Spanish-speaking territory of the USA), and Norfolk Island, an Australian territory of like 1500 people. The only thing I thought that was on Norfolk Island was the Norfolk Island pine. And now I wonder if they import turkeys for the dinner.

For Americans, the holiday celebrates white English settlers arriving in North America. The tales usually include some peaceful sharing of food between the white settlers and native Americans (a nice myth without much actual historical support) prior to the first winter. Canada’s backstory on Thanksgiving is much more complicated, including ships getting stuck in ice and other legends – it is very Canadian.

In both Canada and the USA, the celebration includes tonnes of food (per person) usually including a roast turkey. Other foods may include mashed potatoes, yams (sweet potatoes), other meats, pies, corn, stuffing, and more food. It is a high calorie meal of epic portions!

Generally, everyone, after finishing this dinner, would want to take a long nap. Thus, we find the origin stories of the turkey tryptophan math. However, the science of eating, sleeping, turkey and tryptophan doesn’t support this myth. Not even close.

Continue reading “The turkey tryptophan myth – Uncle George keeps repeating it”

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – an index of contributions to this website

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA) – is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines (generally, but sometimes moving to other areas of medicine), social policy and the law. Her articles usually unwind the complexities of legal issues with vaccinations and legal policies, such as mandatory vaccination and exemptions, with facts and citations. I know a lot of writers out there will link to one of her articles here as a sort of primary source to tear down a bogus antivaccine message.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination–she really is a well-published expert in this area of vaccine policy, and doesn’t stand on the pulpit with a veneer of Argument from Authority, but is actually an authority. Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

Below is a list of articles that Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has written for this blog, organized into some arbitrary and somewhat broad categories for easy reference. This article will be updated as new articles from Professor Reiss are added here.

Continue reading “Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – an index of contributions to this website”

Syracuse University mumps outbreak – bad anti-vaccine math

Syracuse University mumps outbreak

Partially because I’m an alumnus, and partially because I watch new reports about infectious disease outbreaks all over the world, I’ve been following the recent Syracuse University mumps outbreak. As of 13 November 2017, Syracuse University (SU) Health Services has reported 41 confirmed cases and 78 probable cases of the mumps on the SU campus.

One of the age-old tropes of the anti-vaccine statistics world is that kids who have been vaccinated against the mumps (or measles or any disease) are more likely to get mumps (or any disease) than those who are not vaccinated. I squashed this myth before, but you know what happens – the anti-vaccine zombie tropes tend to reappear over and over and over and over again.

Now, the anti-vaccine statistics deniers have jumped into the Syracuse University mumps outbreak with their alternative facts, or should I say alternative math. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. We will take down this trope. Continue reading “Syracuse University mumps outbreak – bad anti-vaccine math”

Children’s book review – “Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor” for vaccine

children's book

Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor” is a recently published children’s book written by Ann D. Koffsky  and illustrated by Talitha Shipman.

It’s not aimed to introduce children to the science of vaccines, or to convince the heistant. It is, however, incredibly useful to parents who intend to vaccinate and want to help young children – maybe around the age of 2-6 – deal with fear of shots. And no, it’s not only for Jewish kids, though the Hanukkah theme may need explaining for others. It’s just a sweet, accessible story.

The story starts with an introduction to Judah and his family. Judah has a little sister called Hannah – a baby. He wants to be friends with her, and the scene describing his less-than-successful efforts to friend her will be relatable to many parents of multiple children. His Bubbe – grandma – helps him deal.

His grandmother also tells him the story of Judah Maccabee, who, along with his four brothers, led a rebellion against the Greek Empire when the Greek Empire occupied biblical Israel. Judah is naturally excited to hear about fighting, and imagines himself in the role. His grandmother gives him a toy shield as a Hannukah present.

The next part of the children’s book revolves around the children’s doctor visit. They are both deemed healthy, and then Judah is told he needs a shot. He – naturally – does not want one. Not even when his father explains a shot is like a shield. Then his father explains little Hannah is too young to get her own shots, and by getting his, Judah will protect her – by being protected himself, he won’t be able to get the sickness and that will keep him healthy, and prevent him from infecting Hannah.

This message helps Judah be brave and gets the shot. The book acknowledges it hurts, but that passes, and Judah is proud of helping to protect Hannah.

It’s a very sweet story. The pictures are fun and clear, the message positive. Children will enjoy the book, should be able to relate to it and it can help them approach being vaccinated in a more positive way. Most parents protect their children and vaccinate – but all of us want to make it easier, and many children understandably don’t like getting a shot. I’m glad this book exists to help.

Disclosure – I received the first copy from the author with a request to review it. After reading the book, I ordered two more copies. I look forward to reading them to my kids.

 
 
  You can also support this website by making your Amazon purchases – just click on the link below. A small portion of each purchase goes to the Skeptical Raptor, without any additional cost to you.  

Vaccines cause diabetes – another myth refuted and debunked

vaccines cause diabetes

If you cruise around the internet, engaging with the antivaccination cult (not recommended), you will pick up on their standard tropes, lies, and other anti-science commentary. One that has always bothered me, not because that it was a lie, but because I had enough evidence floating in my brain that I was wondering if it were true–that vaccines cause diabetes, especially the Type 1 version.

A lot of the vaccine deniers believe that vaccines cause a lot of everything, and several claim that vaccines cause Type 1 diabetes (or here), based on little evidence. As far as I can tell, this myth is based on the “research” from  J. Barthelow Classen, M.D., who has pushed the idea that vaccines causes type 1 diabetes, through some magical process that has never been supported by other independent evidence.

In another example of the antivaccination world’s cherry picking evidence to support their a priori conclusions, they ignore the utter lack of plausibility supporting any link between vaccines and Type 1 diabetes. At best, Classen has cherry-picked statistics to support his predetermined conclusions, “comparing apples to oranges with health data from different countries, and misrepresenting studies to back his claim.”

Moreover, Classen seems to come to his beliefs based on population-wide correlations that rely on post hoc fallacies, rather than actually showing causality between vaccines and diabetes. It’s like finding that a 5% increase in consumption of Big Macs is correlated with Republican wins in elections. They may happen at the same time, but it would take a laughable series events to show any relationship.

Continue reading “Vaccines cause diabetes – another myth refuted and debunked”