It may appear that scientific skeptics are always criticizing any newly published scientific article that doesn’t fit some imaginary point of view. Personally, I evaluate and critique a lot of “scientific” articles that make the rounds on the pseudoscience websites, such as the recent “canola oil causes Alzheimer’s disease” nonsense. Now, a new article has been published that claims that non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage in a respected journal.
Of course, based on this one article, many news organization and legitimate websites have jumped all over it – “Miscarriage rates triple for women with top radiation exposures” is a typical headline. When I see a new science article get that much play in the press, my skeptical radar goes on full sensitivity mode. I just know there’s something wrong with the original science.
On the other hand, maybe the new science article is of high quality and may be indicating to us that there’s an issue. Let’s take a look at whether non-ionizing radiation causes marriage – or not. Continue reading “Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage? New paper gets it wrong”
I am hoping that someday this vaccines-autism myth will disappear into the ether, but here we go again with the 159th peer-reviewed, published, and scientific article that says there is no link between vaccines and autism. OK, there’s probably more than 159, but that’s how many I’ve counted.
Why do I keep posting articles about vaccines and autism? Many of us, and I include me in that “us,” think that there’s no convincing the anti-vaccine zealots using real science, so why bother. It’s true that the pseudoscience-pushing anti-vaxxers are going to cover their eyes and just believe what they want to believe.
However, I’ve always felt that our job on the internet is to contradict the misinformation from the anti-vaxxers not to convince them, but to convince those who are on the fence – those parents who keep reading good and bad things about vaccines, trying to decide if they want to protect their kids.
Recently, I received a message on Facebook from a young mother that said she had decided to give her teen daughter the HPV vaccine just because of my relentless support of that cancer-preventing vaccine. It makes this worth the effort.
So, here I am talking about the (at least) 159th article that debunks the vaccines and autism trope. Maybe all of these articles will help calm the fears of a new parent wonder if they should vaccinate their child. Continue reading “Vaccines and autism – the 159th scientific study that says not related”
I know that many people, even healthcare professionals, make lame excuses about a maternal flu vaccine. We have heard everything from “the vaccine gives me the flu” to “I never get the flu” to “the flu isn’t dangerous.” These anti-vaccine beliefs betray the overwhelming facts about the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine, especially for pregnant mothers.
A new study published in a real high-quality biomedical journal supports the claims that the maternal flu vaccine protects the health of the mother, the developing fetus, and the newborn child. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Maternal flu vaccine – it protects the health of both mother and baby”
A few days ago, I wrote about a terrible, laughable anti-HPV vaccine article by Gayle DeLong, a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance in the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College/City University of New York. She has zero background, experience, knowledge, education, or credibility in vaccine science.
Her appalling article tried to convince the reader that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine caused a decrease in their fertility. If this were a real article, I’d be appalled that it got published, but it was clearly a bad article with bad science, bad methodologies, and bad conclusions.
It failed basic scientific statistical analysis like accounting for confounding data. Furthermore, Gayle DeLong provided no convincing biologically plausible mechanism describing how the HPV vaccine could affect pregnancy rates. And her references were ridiculous – she cited Mark and David Geier, who can charitably be called charlatans who attempted to “treat” autistic children with a horrific and unethical procedure. And she actually mentioned Mark Geier in her acknowledgments.
Furthermore, she ignored the vast body of evidence, published by real scientists, not an expert in international finance, in real journals that the HPV vaccine is demonstrably safe. And in those huge studies, some with millions of patients, there was no detectable difference in fertility rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. This issue only exists in the mind of Gayle DeLong and other anti-vaccine activists.
I’ve read a bunch of anti-vaccine papers in my time, but this one may be one of the worst. All anti-vaccine papers are bad, that’s why they are rarely if ever, published in respected journals. Continue reading “Anti-vaccine Gayle DeLong tries to correct her HPV vaccine article by blogging”
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m not exactly a fan of vitamin supplements. They are expensive, and they don’t do what people want to believe they do. They do not reduce the risk of any cancer. They do not improve bone health. But I always forget to mention an important exception – prenatal vitamins and supplements that are well known to improve pregnancy outcomes.
And now it’s time for me correct this egregious oversight on the part of the feathered dinosaur’s body of work on supplements. Just to be clear, I always state an important caveat on my dismissing the usefulness of vitamins and supplements – those individuals with chronic disease or malnutrition may require supplements. For example, if you never touch a fruit or vegetable, you will probably need vitamin C to prevent scurvy. No, I didn’t say that vitamin C will prevent cancer, but it will prevent one disease.
Recently, a top peer-reviewed journal has published an article where the researchers showed that there was a lower risk of autism spectrum disorders in children of mothers who took prenatal vitamins. And I can write about one area of healthcare where some vitamins and supplements do have some value. This is more evidence that there are numerous issues that may lead to autism spectrum disorders – and it’s not vaccines. Continue reading “Prenatal vitamins during pregnancy reduce the risk of autism spectrum disorders”
During the 2016-17 flu season, over 100 children died from the virus. Yet, only 60% of children were vaccinated, despite the fact influenza kills.
Not only do children die of the flu, but between 12,000 – 56,000 adults die every year from the flu in the USA. Some of those people are healthy young adults. In some years, the flu kills more people than many other things that we consider dangerous, like firearms and cars.
It’s difficult to understand why parents seem to ignore the flu vaccine for themselves or for their children. Many people just don’t think the flu is that dangerous. Or they think the vaccine doesn’t work. Or they believe in some other myth that simply isn’t true.
Whatever the reason for avoiding the vaccine for children or adults, it’s important that people know what the flu can do, even for a healthy child or adult. It’s not a disease you can ignore, despite the claims of the anti-vaccine corps. And the flu cannot be treated or prevented by supplements or vitamins. Continue reading “Influenza kills – the flu vaccine saves lives, it’s fairly simple”
The Washington Post dropped this provocative headline on its readers recently, “Researchers find a hint of a link between flu vaccine and miscarriages.” And you know what will happen next –every anti-vaccine website will claim that the flu vaccine causes miscarriages.
Of course, the evidence-based facts fail to support the future trope that the flu vaccine causes miscarriages. A careful reading of the Washington Post article is filled with nuance and hedging because the underlying published article does not actually provide robust evidence that any flu vaccine increases the risk of miscarriages.
The Washington Post made several points that are important to consider, and we’ll examine the underlying research in more depth. But the most important point they made is that,
The findings suggest an association, not a causal link, and the research is too weak and preliminary, experts said, to change the advice, which is based on a multitude of previous studies, that pregnant women should get a flu vaccine to protect them from influenza, a deadly disease that may cause serious birth defects and miscarriage.
I wonder how many anti-vaccine radicals will fail to make that point, instead, screaming that “vaccines are dangerous and the worthless flu vaccine causes miscarriages.”
Well, of course. Del Bigtree isn’t known for his scientific knowledge.
Well, we don’t cherry-pick our evidence here, so we’re going to look at the broad body of evidence with respect to the flu, flu vaccines, and pregnancy. Because that’s how we roll here. And because we think pregnant women deserve the best information possible to protect themselves and their developing babies. Because that’s also how we roll here. Continue reading “Flu vaccine does not cause miscarriages – the real evidence”
This is Part 5 of a series of six articles discussing various medical uses for cannabis or marijuana. In this article, I review and summarize some of the evidence that marijuana supporters have used to claim that smoking weed during pregnancy is safe. And I look at data from high quality reviews that shows it isn’t. So let’s assess the science regarding marijuana and pregnancy.
As I have written previously, consumption of and growing marijuana should be completely decriminalized. And the laws need to be rewritten, not in the haphazard way it is now, but with protection and respect of rights of people to consume or grow (for personal use) cannabis. The criminal prosecution of marijuana use and distribution is a ridiculous waste of public resources.
There are numerous health claims made about marijuana, including its use for cancer, neurological disorders, and other medical uses. There’s even a whole area of belief that claims smoking cannabis is perfectly safe during pregnancy. Let’s look at this. Continue reading “Part 5. Marijuana and pregnancy – assessing the science”
There has been a general misconception that flu vaccine during pregnancy was not safe. Whether this was based on the general concerns about vaccines or something specific is difficult to determine. One of the worries was that getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy may cause a higher risk of autism in the baby.
We have tons of data that show us that vaccines are not related to autism spectrum disorder. Now we have another robust, large scale research study that establishes that autism is not link to flu vaccine during pregnancy.
Continue reading “Flu vaccine during pregnancy – unrelated to autism”
Every year I, and a lot of other pro-science bloggers, write article after article about getting the seasonal flu vaccine, which, of course, prevents most types of flu. I even have a very popular article that calls health care workers who don’t get their flu vaccines “dumbasses.”
The seasonal flu vaccine saves lives. There is almost no evidence contrary to that fact.
And this week, California public health officials confirmed the first flu-related death of the 2015-16 flu season. The flu victim was under 65 years old and lived in Santa Clara County. Yes, the flu can be most dangerous to the elderly, but it’s also dangerous for those with chronic diseases, the very young, and, frankly, everyone else.
And just as frightening, a baby, less than 1 year old, died of the flu this week in Stanislaus County, CA. If the baby was less than six months old, then she wasn’t eligible for the vaccine, so she was at risk of contracting the disease. I cannot think of anything more painful than imagining what these parents are feeling.
Continue reading “The flu can kill – get the seasonal flu vaccine”