Recent published research shows that there may be lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of memory decline in seniors.
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.Read More »A Nobel Prize does not mean Traditional Chinese Medicine works
Since I can only write so much about coronavirus vaccines without going mad, let’s talk about COVID-19 conspiracies. There are so many, but I wanted to focus on the six that are most frequently circulating around the internet.
I wonder what conspiracists before the existence of the internet. It’s possible that they were limited to those awful trash papers you could buy at the grocery story line checkout. Back when we actually stood in grocery store lines.
Today, we can’t have any science without someone inventing some conspiracy to go around it. You know, like vaccines contain nanobots or something. Actually, medical research is studying the use of nanotechnology for treating diseases – can’t wait for the ridiculous myths to surround that when it appears.
I know that 99.9% of the readers of this blog probably reject all conspiracies as pure, unfettered nonsense. But we need to have a little snark and fun during these dystopian times.
One little housekeeping note – I’m not going to link to any conspiracy website or anything. Why give them the clicks?
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard many novel coronavirus myths over the past few days as everyone is breathlessly watching the news about the disease. Well, this article is here to mock the conspiracy theories, just because.
This does not mean that we should ignore the new coronavirus, but we should be aware of the pseudoscience and fake news that’s out there these days. I’m sure that in 1750, people blamed smallpox on the devil. Or on Ben Franklin’s electricity experiments. Or on a solar eclipse.
This article will take on some of the weirder or scary novel coronavirus myths. But if you run across something that makes your eyes roll and makes you wonder about science education, please comment. Maybe I’ll incorporate it into part II.Read More »Novel coronavirus myths – crazy conspiracy theories including vaccines
Predictably, the second that the story about this coronavirus hit the clickbait headlines across the world, the anti-vaccine conspiracists started pushing all kinds of ignorant nonsense.
You know those conspiracies like the military (unknown which one) created the virus to kill people. Or China is trying to destroy ‘Murica. Or Bill Gates invented the virus (well, if he did, it’s because of Windows 7). Or Big Pharma created the virus because they have a secret vaccine that they can sell for billions of gold bars.
Of course, there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that any of those conspiracies are true. However, if the coronavirus does become a worldwide epidemic (and it hasn’t so far), then the CDC, WHO, and Big Pharma will work feverishly to find a vaccine to prevent it.
This article isn’t going to spend time refuting such nonsense, but we will focus on the science and the facts since this is a serious concern to people.Read More »Coronavirus facts – crackpot conspiracists claim it exists to push vaccines
A recent study provides more evidence that the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is linked to a variety of cancers – that’s not surprising to most of us. We also know that the HBV vaccine can prevent the infection, thereby preventing a wide range of cancers.
Despite the facts supporting the dangers of the hepatitis B virus, the anti-vaccine zealots absolutely despise the vaccine, especially since it’s usually given to newborns (with a second dose recommended at 1-2 months along with a third dose at about 12-18 months) to prevent HBV infections passed from the mother.
Let’s take a look at the hepatitis B virus and this new peer-reviewed paper that discusses the link between HBV and a number of cancers.Read More »Hepatitis B virus causes cancer – yes, the vaccine can prevent it
Recently, a Chinese vaccine scandal has been reported in many news sources. According to these reports, a Chinese vaccine manufacturer produced and marketed “low-quality” vaccines for infants. Moreover, they falsified production and inspection data on a rabies vaccine – as I’ve written before, rabies is a deadly disease, with almost 100% mortality after symptoms appear, and the vaccine is the only choice to save lives.
This is an appalling story on so many levels. Authorities in the country had lax enforcement and regulation of their vaccine industry – the government was attacked on social media about the situation, a rarity in a communist country where free speech is strictly limited. As a result, the Chinese government will begin regulating their vaccine manufacturers more closely, although it may be too little and too late.
On the other hand, Hong Kong utilizes mostly “Western” manufactured vaccines, which has led to many Chinese citizens going to that autonomous region to get their children vaccinated. There are websites devoted to showing how parents can avoid Chinese vaccines and get the “good stuff.”
These kinds of outrageous ethical lapses generally do not happen in the USA, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. Falsifying data can lead to severe criminal prosecution and civil penalties, something that is far beyond the response from Chinese authorities to this scandal.
Of course, this has led to one of the most ridiculous myths of the anti-vaccine world – our vaccines are dangerous because they were manufactured in China. Under most circumstances, this would be a laughable myth, but with this Chinese vaccine scandal, it’s important that we know where our vaccines are manufactured – spoiler alert, they are made in the USA, Europe, Canada, and Japan, all of which have strict regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.Read More »Chinese vaccine scandal – not a concern for USA and many other countries
One of the most ridiculous myths of the anti-vaccine world is that vaccines made in China dominate the US market. I took a look at every vaccine licensed for use in America to determine where they are manufactured. Spoiler alert – none are made in China.
I didn’t even know this was an anti-vaccine myth until recently. But once I looked into the topic, it was clearly prevalent in the anti-vaccine world. Many vaccines are manufactured in the USA, but the remainder are made in Canada, Japan and Europe.
Here’s a list of the most important vaccines licensed in the United States with their location of manufacture.Read More »Vaccines made in China – another ridiculous anti-vax myth
Since the enactment of California’s SB277, which prevents parents from using religious or personal beliefs to excuse their children from vaccinations, has lead to much higher vaccine uptake rates in California schools. The law still allows medical exemptions, which are medically-related reasons for not vaccinating, such as allergies to ingredients in the vaccine. Unfortunately, this had led to medical exemption abuse in many schools in California.
In California, medical exemptions require a form signed by their doctor stating a valid medical reason for any child to not receive vaccines. Generally, less than 2-3% of children would have medical reasons to not be vaccinated. Moreover, most of these children would only be exempt from a few vaccines, not all of them.Read More »Medical exemption abuse – hurting California’s vaccine uptake
I am not a fan of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Very few of its medical claims ever amount to anything. Most of it isn’t very traditional and doesn’t work, like acupuncture. Worse yet, TCM is involved in the destruction of rare animals like the African rhino and other endangered animals. Now, we find that Traditional Chinese Medicine kills dolphins – just to push a “medicine” that has no evidence supporting its use.
Let’s look at this recent story where purveyors of TCM have indirectly lead to the collapse and near extinction of a beautiful ocean going mammal. Per usual with TCM, it’s a tale of greed and junk medicine. Read More »Traditional Chinese medicine kills dolphins