The fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) campaign, a disinformation tool used by the anti-vaccine religion for propaganda purposes, against the HPV vaccine would laughable if the lies didn’t put our young people at risk for cancer in the future. We already have circumstantial evidence that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer – but now we’re accumulating robust direct evidence that it can stop HPV-related cancers.
Despite the claims of anti-vaccine pseudoscientists, who spend their time trying to invent false claims about vaccine safety, HPV vaccine safety is nearly settled science, based on dozens of high quality clinical and epidemiological studies. Although the anti-vaccine religion would love you to believe that the vaccine kills their children, the scientific evidence decidedly refutes these assertions.
Anti-vaccine zealots illogically reject any circumstantial evidence that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer. That circumstantial evidence is based on powerful data that the vaccine prevents many strains of HPV infections, and we have similarly powerful data that many cancers are directly related to those same HPV infections – thus, if you stop the infection, it’s logical to accept that the vaccine will stop cancer. At least the logic makes sense to scientists, but apparently logic isn’t a top priority of pseudoscientific vaccine deniers.
Because HPV-related cancers can take years to show up – it’s a myth that cancers have some on-off switch that the causal factor instantly makes cancer appear – direct evidence has been difficult to research on whether HPV vaccines prevent cancer. But the HPV vaccine has been on the market for 10-15 years in most areas of the world, so if our hypothesis is correct, that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer, then maybe we can see a direct reduction in these cancers by now.
Guess what? We do have some of that direct evidence. Continue reading “HPV vaccine prevents cancer despite anti-vaccine fear, uncertainty, doubt”
Sometimes, the people who hate the HPV vaccine dismiss the awful consequences of an HPV infection as if they are unimportant. HPV is linked to several deadly and disfiguring cancers. Maybe you heard the story of a man who received a penis transplant. And it has a lot to do with the HPV vaccine.
Setting aside all of the jokes and uncomfortable thoughts, this procedure could be an important medical procedure for men who have lost their penis through injury or disease. For example, veterans of wars are at grave risk to injuries that cause the loss of their penis. Mines and IEDs in war are particularly damaging in ways that can cause permanent trauma to a soldier’s penis. Having a method to replace it, like a transplant, can be a great way to improve the soldier’s mental health and personal self-image.
However, this story is about a 64-year-old Boston man, Thomas Manning, who had to have his penis surgically removed in 2012 because of HPV-related penile cancer, a rare and devastating disease. In 2016, he had an innovative penis transplant to replace his cancer. Continue reading “Penis transplant – the HPV vaccine is a way to avoid it”
I’ve been battling the anti-vaccine religion for over 20 years, both online and in person. I know their pseudoscientific Gish gallops by heart, and I swear I if I could set up an auto-answer bot on Twitter and Facebook, I could save myself hours per day. But, like I’ve said many times, the HPV vaccine is one of the most hated vaccines on the market – every day anti-vax flapdoodle will try to portray these “dangerous” HPV vaccine adverse events that make it deadly or something.
So, what’s new on the Gardasil hatred? The infamous J.B. Handley, whom I’ve thoroughly criticized before and who was kicked off of the Medium website for pushing anti-vaccine gobbledygook, continues his shilling against the cancer-preventing vaccine by overstating HPV vaccine adverse events in a Facebook post.
And you know when someone throws down a pseudoscientific gauntlet about one of the most important vaccines for teens and young adults, it’s time to accept the challenge. Continue reading “HPV vaccine adverse events – anti-vaxxer codswallop lacking evidence”
I have railed against pseudoscientific charlatans who claim that they have the easy way to prevent or cure cancer. Generally, these snake oil salesmen try to convince you that they have some miraculous food, supplement, spiritual energy, and on and on, that can either kill cancer in its tracks or keep them from even growing in your body. Of course, none of their claims are actually supported by robust science. On the other hand, real science has 12 evidence-based methods to actually prevent cancer.
But what about those memes that say that supplements prevent cancer? Nope, they don’t. And that’s been shown in study after study after study after study (yeah, I could go on for awhile).
What about avoiding GMO foods because they cause cancer? Again, studies show that GMO foods have no effect on cancers. Oh, one more thing – bananas don’t have tumor necrosis factor, and the yellow fruit can’t prevent or cure cancer (but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t delicious).
Despite the absolute lack of evidence that supplements, kale, bananas, or drinking the pure waters of a glacial fed stream (which may not be an option with climate change), there are only a few things that can be done to manage your overall risk of cancer.
How to prevent cancer has been codified by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) into 12 steps (no, not that debunked one) that are called the European Code Against Cancer.
Let’s look at cancer and how to prevent cancer.
Continue reading “How to prevent cancer in 12 easy steps – vaccines are critically important”
I’m a couple of months late with this article because of life and reasons, but a bit over 20 years ago, in February 1998, Andrew Wakefield published his infamous article in Lancet, which was eventually retracted in 2010. He stated that “onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination in eight of the 12 children.” Because Wakefield claimed that most of the behavioral problems were autism, that became the rallying cry of the anti-vaccine religion for the past 20 years – the MMR vaccine, if not all vaccines, cause autism.
I actually remember getting that particular issue of Lancet 20 years ago, and I ran across that article. My first thought was, “why in hell would Lancet publish such a troublesome article with just 12 freaking (not the word I used) data points.” Then I wondered who that Wakefield character was – was he an expert on vaccines and childhood behavioral issues? Well, the internet in 1998 didn’t have search engines like we do today, so finding out anything about Andrew Wakefield was difficult at best. I just assumed that if the Lancet, one of the top medical journals in the world, published it, Wakefield must have some level of respect.
Even though the internet was as much a bastion of pseudoscience and conspiracists as it is now, you would never “do your research” on the internet. But our local newspaper had a blurb about the Wakefield study in a Sunday health section, and my wife read the article. She got panicked that our two young daughters, who were having upcoming MMR vaccines, would become autistic. That was my first experience in having to defend vaccines against nonsense (don’t tell my wife I called her worries were nonsense).
My daughters eventually got that vaccine (and received all subsequent vaccines up to and including the HPV vaccine), although even I monitored my children for a few weeks for any behavioral changes. Knowing what I know now, I should have just a fun dad, but I admit to worrying.
Let’s remind everyone about the frauds and lies of Andrew Wakefield because it has led to the return of vaccine-preventable diseases. Continue reading “20th anniversary of the Andrew Wakefield vaccine fraud – no celebrations”
On 27 April 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new statistics on autism incidence in the USA – the CDC estimated that 1 out of every 59 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2014. This is a fairly large increase over the 2002 numbers when the CDC estimated that 1 in 152 children was diagnosed with ASD. Just because the CDC updated autism statistics does not mean that there’s suddenly an autism epidemic, nor that vaccines are to blame.
Predictably, the anti-vaccine mob was resorting to their full-throated screaming mode about these new stats. And of course, even if you are a dispassionate observer of these numbers, you may wonder why the autism diagnosis rate has nearly tripled from 2002 to 2014.
And that’s why we’re here – let’s examine why and how the CDC updated autism statistics. And I’m going to show you why it’s not a sudden epidemic – it’s better scientific research. Continue reading “CDC updated autism statistics – not an epidemic, not caused by vaccines”
Apparently, the “polio vaccine causes cancer” zombie meme has been reanimated by the antivaccination cult. Lacking evidence for their beliefs, retreading old debunked memes is their standard operating procedure. And once again, I’m seeing it.
The interesting thing about social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google, Reddit) is that it’s fairly easy to push pseudoscientific beliefs. The first problem is that many people read the headlines, and never the underlying discussion. If it can be said in 200 characters, or a misleading infographic, many individuals will share that across the internet as a “fact”. So, if you see a claim that “Polio vaccines infected 98 million Americans with a cancer virus,” many people will immediately see that an accept it without much criticism.
Of course, this leads to a second problem. To refute anti-vaccine claims take a lot more than 200 characters. The refutation is often complex, nuanced and highly scientific, and may take 2000 words or more to send that claim into orbit. It’s highly emotional to claim a vaccine can cause cancer. On the other hand, to say it is not isn’t emotional–it’s coldly logical. And takes a lot of words.
And the third problem is that is that social media fallacies have multiple lives, so when someone reads one of these memes a year from now, they think “yeah, this is great information”, and pass it along as if it’s the Truth™. Killing zombie anti-vaccine tropes and memes are just as difficult as killing zombies in real life, or at least, on a TV show. Debunking these anti-vaccine fake facts is a full-time job. Sadly, even after a thorough debunking, someone will call us a paid shill, ignore the evidence, and repeat the trope.
I need to create a bot that automatically refutes every repeated trope. In lieu of that, let’s just discuss the myth. And refute it once again.
Continue reading “Polio vaccine causes cancer – a myth pushed by anti-vaccine religion”
Despite a lack of evidence that HPV vaccines are related to any neurodevelopmental disorder, the tropes and myths about the vaccine endure. To refute those false claims, we now have two new systematic reviews that show that there is no link between the HPV vaccine and multiple sclerosis. Let’s hope that more real scientific evidence will convince parents that the HPV vaccine is very safe.
I’m not naive, I know no matter how many real studies are published, the anti-vaccine religion will cherry-pick awful studies in predatory journals to make their case against the cancer-preventing vaccine. And they will ignore the two studies I will discuss that shows a lack of a link between the HPV vaccine and multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases.
Parents have so few choices to protect their children against cancer in the future – forcing them to drink gluten– and GMO-free blueberry kale smoothies are not one of them. Bringing your kids to a real physician to get them the cancer-preventing Gardasil vaccine is one of your best choices to prevent cancer. Continue reading “HPV vaccine and multiple sclerosis – not linked according to studies”
Well, this isn’t going to be popular with the anti-vaccine religion, since they go all in with the old “too many, too soon” trope which says that our children get way too many vaccines when they’re too young. Ignoring that thoroughly debunked myth, the powerful meningococcal vaccine that trains the immune system to attack the bacteria that can lead to deadly meningitis has now been approved by the FDA for 1-9-year-old children.
Let’s take a look at this vaccine and the disease it prevents, just so parents know that they can protect their children. Continue reading “Meningococcal vaccine to prevent meningitis approved for 1-9 year olds”
Recently, I called the anti-vaccine mob a religion, because it shows many signs of being a religion from faith-based beliefs to a “clergy” that proselytizes about the evils of vaccines. And we can observe the same level of hatred pushed by some extremist religions in the irrational anti-vaccine anger, racism, and physical threats. It can be scary.
Many of us have observed this hatred in person, on social media, and in threatening emails. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who writes frequently on this website about issues regarding vaccine public policy and laws, is a frequent target of vile personal attacks. Many of those attacks are overtly sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic. It is a disgusting display of anti-vaccine anger and hate speech. The anti-vaccine religion should be ashamed, but as far as I can tell, they have no shame.
If you paid any attention whatsoever to the efforts to pass California’s SB277 in 2015, which requires parents to vaccinate children before they can enroll in public or private schools (except for valid medical exemptions), you would know that the law was led by California State Senator, Dr. Richard Pan. During the process, and long after the bill was passed and signed into law, Senator Pan has been subject to physical threats and withering personal attacks, which included reprehensible and immoral racist-tinged attacks on his ethnic heritage. If anything shows off anti-vaccine anger and racism, this does. Continue reading “Irrational anti-vaccine anger – we keep seeing this offensive behavior”