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hygiene hypothesis

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

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.

Read More »Hygiene hypothesis — misunderstood, misused by the anti-vaccine world
COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions

CDC proposes possible cause of COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions

After the recent launch of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, some severe COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions were observed in patients who received them. Allergic reactions are observed with all vaccines, with a rate of around 1 in 1 million. As of 19 December 2020, there have been six reported severe allergic reactions in 272,000 people who have received one of the vaccines.

In the Pfizer clinical trial data, the researchers observed that around 0.63% of the vaccinated group in phase II/III trials experienced a significant allergic reaction.

So does this mean that COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions are a major concern about the safety of these vaccines? And do we know why we’re seeing them, even if very rarely? I think we can answer both questions in this article.Read More »CDC proposes possible cause of COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions

gluten sensitivity

You probably don’t have gluten sensitivity – few actually do

Although it may seem like I write only about the lies and ignorance of the antivaccination cult, I truly despise all kinds of pseudoscience. It’s just that refusing vaccines that prevent real diseases, based on antivaccine misinformation (OK, lies), relates directly to the health of real children everywhere. Most (but certainly not all) other pseudosciences are not that dangerous, just terribly annoying. The sudden onset of gluten sensitivity across the world is one of those annoying trends.

With respect to ridiculous health beliefs and fads, I declare 2014 to be the Year of Gluten. I swear that there are more popular discussions of gluten than organic food, though I suppose that organic, GMO-free, gluten-free food would be the next billion dollar idea.

Like avoiding carbohydrates, fats, GMOs, and whatever else, gluten-free diets have some relationship to real science and medicine, but it has exploded into a fad that has far exceeded the real medical issues surrounding gluten sensitivity.

Read More »You probably don’t have gluten sensitivity – few actually do

Antivaccine lies–peanut oil and vaccines

The lying liars who lie, also known as antivaccine websites, have one goal in mind: say anything about anything that makes it appear that vaccines are dangerous, repeat it over and over, and then hope that other websites pick it up. Eventually, some people will think it’s a fact, and when you Google this “fact,” there will be so many websites that repeat the same lie (and some innocently, without really critically analyzing it), even a somewhat impartial observer will think that it’s the TRUTH.

About as close as peanuts will come to vaccines.
About as close as peanuts will come to vaccines.

Now, they can’t make obnoxiously obvious lies, because there are lines that one can’t cross before everyone can see it’s a lie or the product of insanity. If an antivaccine website says that aliens from Klingon manufacture the vaccines so that humans will grow a ridge on their forehead, well that would be ridiculous. Cool, but ridiculous. Yes, I know there would be some small number of people who say, “I knew it!” Read More »Antivaccine lies–peanut oil and vaccines

The anti-vaccination movement and resistance to allergen-immunotherapy

Doesn’t cause autism.

Sometimes, there are consequences to a pseudoscience movement that goes far beyond the immediate goals of that movement.  I have written many times about the anti-vaccination lunacy, but almost always it’s about the immediate consequences of not vaccinating children (and sometimes adults):  infection and the consequences of that disease, up to and including death.  Then I realized that it’s possible that anyone who buys into the anti-vaccination foolishness may also reject other injectables, such as contrast agents used in imaging.Read More »The anti-vaccination movement and resistance to allergen-immunotherapy