Herpes zoster vaccine and dementia — is there a surprising link?

herpes zoster dementia

I generally wouldn’t write about herpes zoster and dementia, which recently appeared in a peer-reviewed article. Such a topic is mostly outside of my interest area. Then a thought hit my reptilian brain — anti-vaxxers might use this information to claim that the shingles vaccine, which prevents herpes zoster (the more formal name for shingles), might increase the risk of dementia.

So, this article is here just in case you run into that pathetic argument. In no way would I advocate not getting the shingles vaccine because of its supposed relationship with dementia.

Let’s take a look at this new article and how we should look at whether the herpes zoster vaccine and dementia might be related.

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COVID vaccines are not responsible for mysterious hepatitis outbreak

photography of people on grass field

An outbreak of hepatitis of unknown etiology in children across the world is not caused by COVID-19 vaccines. Of course, anti-vaxxers are trying to use this hepatitis outbreak as more fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the COVID-19 vaccines, but the evidence doesn’t support it.

As of this time, we don’t know a lot about this hepatitis outbreak, like routes of infection and the causative agent, but it is ringing the alarm bells at various public health agencies across the world.

In this article, I will walk you through the hepatitis outbreak and then some limited data that appear to show that there is no link to either COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines.

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Monkeypox virus — what is it and is there a vaccine?

monkeypox

Massachusetts health authorities confirmed a case of monkeypox on 18 May 2022 after the CDC said it was monitoring the possible spread of the rare but potentially serious viral illness. The virus has spread in several countries and the CDC believes that the actual number of cases is being underreported because few physicians know much about the disease.

When I first heard about the novel coronavirus, I thought that the press was exaggerating and that the disease would disappear in a few weeks. Yes, I was wrong, very wrong.

When I read the first reports of a monkeypox outbreak, I decided to write about it because I was getting questions about the seriousness of the disease and if there was a vaccine for it. It is a serious disease, and as for the vaccine, it’s complicated.

So, let’s talk about monkeypox and potential vaccines.

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Hygiene hypothesis — misunderstood, misused by the anti-vaccine world

hygiene hypothesis

If you spend a lot of time with anti-vaxxers, you’ll notice that they tend to misuse a scientific principle, this time, the hygiene hypothesis, which is a description of how early exposure to microorganisms may assist the immune system to avoid allergic reactions to things in the environment.

Although we’ll discuss the scientific evidence in support of the hypothesis later in this article, anti-vaxxers tend to abuse it. They conflate potentially beneficial organisms, such as the gut biome, with dangerous and deadly pathogens, like measles and polio. The former may be a critical component of the hygiene hypothesis, but the latter is not.

Time to tackle this scientifically controversial topic, and put to rest one of the tropes of the anti-vaccine world that all germs are good. They aren’t.

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Eight polio cases in Israel, seven did not receive the vaccine

polio

It is 2022, and I cannot believe I have to write about polio. But here we are, some parents in Israel did not vaccinate their children against polio, and they ended up catching the disease, which was so close to becoming extinct.

I am ancient, so I remember classmates in high school who were disabled from polio, probably catching the disease before vaccines became widely available. But most of you probably have not met someone in an iron lung or required braces just to walk from class to class.

The disease was so close to being extinct. dropping to around 5 cases of wild-type polio across the world in 2021. So close.

Let’s take a look at these eight cases in Israel while reminding everyone that the polio vaccine is important.

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RSV vaccine candidates are entering phase 3 trials — stopping a dangerous disease

rsv vaccine

A respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine has been a goal for researchers for a long time, given the serious outcomes of an RSV infection. According to the CDC, an RSV vaccine could dramatically reduce hospital and intensive-care admissions, especially for children and seniors.

A series of clinical trials tested a vaccine made from inactivated RSV in children in the 1960s. Unfortunately, the vaccine candidate worsened the disease in children when they were later naturally infected with RSV.

However, these new vaccines have shown good safety and effectiveness results in clinical trials. This article will review what RSV is and the list of vaccine candidates that are entering or are in phase 3 clinical trials.

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Vitamin C for sepsis study may be fraudulent — data was too perfect

photo of orange fruit on plate

As you all know, I am a skeptic of almost all supplements, and I never thought that using vitamin C for sepsis was supported by robust and repeated data. Well, an analysis by an Australian physician, statistician, and Ph.D. student may have found fraudulent data, and it’s becoming a topic of conversation among physicians who have used the protocol to treat sepsis.

Let’s take a peek at this story since it is so amazing because this shows how science really works.

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Epstein-Barr virus — why we need a vaccine for it

The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most ubiquitous viruses that infect humans. Around 95% of humans are infected by the virus, so it is probably the most common virus, at least for humans. However, I bet most people haven’t heard of it and are unaware that they have the virus floating around in their bodies.

How did you catch it? It spreads through the saliva, so it could have been from your mother when she shared some of her food with you. Or it could have been from sharing a milkshake while on a date. Or maybe you got it when you kissed your date. In fact, if you caught the virus in this last scenario — as a teen or young adult — then the Epstein-Barr virus may have triggered mononucleosis, or the “kissing disease,” in which a massive immune response against the pathogen causes weeks of sore throat, fever, and debilitating fatigue.

The Epstein-Barr virus is so pervasive, and the outcomes are so minor, you might be wondering why we need a vaccine. The problem is that the outcomes aren’t all that minor — rare, but very serious, outcomes are frequently observed because so many individuals are infected by the disease.

This article will examine what the Epstein-Barr virus is, and why it is so dangerous. Hopefully, it will be obvious why we need a vaccine.

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A Nobel Prize does not mean Traditional Chinese Medicine works

traditional chinese medicine

In 2015, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the Prize for Medicine to three researchers, one of whom investigated one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This Nobel Prize continues to be used by TCM advocates as “proof” that it works, and is “real” medicine. In fact, the Nobel Prize does not confer special status to TCM.

One of the winners of this prize was Youyou Tu (see note 1), for her novel work in developing a medicine to treat malaria. Dr. Tu was the first Nobel Prize winner in the natural sciences from China, so she is a groundbreaking scientist in many ways.

Dr. Tu found this potential treatment for malaria through her research into Chinese herbs, which led people to proclaim that Traditional Chinese Medicine has now been “proven.” But not so fast.

What is the relevance of the Nobel Prize and Traditional Chinese Medicine – is there any importance at all?

Let’s take a look at Traditional Chinese Medicine, in general, and Dr. Tu’s work itself. The story is quite a bit more complicated, nuanced, and scientific than you might have read.

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Virus treatments quackery – what not to take for flu, colds, or COVID-19

cold comfort cover cute

It’s that time of year when we are bombarded by virus treatments for everything from the flu and colds to COVID-19. The quackery includes things like “immune-boosting” miracle supplements to junk that “cures” every single virus known to medical science.

This article will attempt to debunk the myths of virus treatments such as “boosting the immune system,” magical supplements, and other nonsense involved with the world of flu treatment pseudoscience.

Of course, the best way to prevent the flu or COVID-19 is to get the vaccines. And since these vaccines are free, it’s infinitely cheaper than fake, useless virus treatments.

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