DNA in vaccines and GMOs – they’re not going to turn you into Sasquatch

DNA in vaccines

One of the more pernicious tropes in the world of pseudoscience is that DNA in vaccines GMOs are going to magically incorporate into your cells changing you from a human into a sasquatch with ears of corn growing out of your head. Now that would be fun to see, but unless there’s a mad scientist out there trying to grow ears of corn out of a hirsute humane that looks like Sasquatch, it will probably never happen.

And most certainly consuming DNA in vaccines or eating GMOs with a new gene are not going to cause anything at all to any human I know.

But of course, science rarely gets in the way of good pseudoscience for anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO zealots. That’s why this old feathered skeptic in the dinosaur clade is here, to make sure the science is clear and to mock the pseudoscience. Continue reading “DNA in vaccines and GMOs – they’re not going to turn you into Sasquatch”

Corvelva vaccine research – here we go again with pseudoscience

Corvelva vaccine research

And here we go with one more attempt by the vaccine deniers to prove their worthless claims – more Corvelva vaccine research that is pure, unfettered pseudoscience. And to make sure that they can claim their research is peer-reviewed, they take the well-worn science denier’s method of publishing their garbage wherever they can. 

Although Corvelva vaccine research consists of producing data that is laughably bad, I have to keep picking it apart, because we all know anti-vaxxers everywhere will use it as if it is worthy of a Nobel Prize. To be fair, it might be as valuable as a Nobel Prize, since the article can be used as toilet paper, and we know how important that is these days

So, time to take down more Corvelva vaccine research. And it’s as bad as it always is. Continue reading “Corvelva vaccine research – here we go again with pseudoscience”

Genes and autism – more evidence that it has nothing to do with vaccines

genes and autism

We have discussed genes and autism before – an article, along with an accompanying editorial, was published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Psychiatry in 2019 examined the genetics of autism. They found that approximately 80% of the cause of autism was genes from the mother and father (since that’s the only way genes get to a child).

Once again, there is no evidence that vaccines were linked to autism spectrum disorder. What’s more important are genes and autism, not vaccines.

Let’s take a brief look at a new paper just published that discusses genes and autism. Spoiler alert, it’s all about genes. Continue reading “Genes and autism – more evidence that it has nothing to do with vaccines”

Human DNA in vaccines – another anti-vaxxer trope debunked

human DNA in vaccines

If you spend time debunking anti-vaxxer nonsense, you’ll run across some meme that claims that someone has found human DNA in vaccines. Since vaccine safety and effectiveness is settled science, the anti-vaccine religion must rely upon memes, misinformation, and lies. Like trying to tell you that human DNA in vaccines is dangerous!

This goes back to something that continues to aggravate me about the science deniers – they make wild claims without completely understanding fields of science like cell biology. If they had even a basic understanding of cell biology they would also laugh at claims about human DNA in vaccines. 

Let’s take a look at this trope – I promise to not laugh too hard.
Continue reading “Human DNA in vaccines – another anti-vaxxer trope debunked”

GMO DNA transfers to humans – debunking a pernicious myth

GMO DNA

I keep reading of an annoying claim that GMO DNA transfers to humans easily, so that’s why we should be scared of it. Some of this belief is based on a poorly designed study that may, or really may not, indicate that plant GMO genes transfer to humans. These “researchers” claim that DNA may survive intact in the digestive tract and show up in the bloodstream.

Someone flunked basic human physiology and cell biology when they made this claim since it’s nearly biologically implausible to consider this to be real. Many of us have actually passed these courses so we are very skeptical.

In case you’ve ignored this area of false controversy, genetically modified crops are foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Of course, all types of agricultural breeding induces genetic modification, but in general, GMO usually implies actual manipulation of the genes.

Based on some of the worst science available, the anti-GMO activists have condemned GMO foods as being dangerous. Unfortunately for the anti-science side, there is actually no science supporting these anti-GMO claims, and the vast scientific consensus says that GMO foods are safe to humans, animals, and the environment.

Let’s take a look at this paper that claims that GMO DNA gets into the human bloodstream. 

Continue reading “GMO DNA transfers to humans – debunking a pernicious myth”

Corvelva promotes fake HPV vaccine “research” – anti-vaxxers dance in the streets

Here we go again – the Italian anti-vaccine Corvelva, the anti-vaccine group which produced laughable pseudoscientific research about vaccines. Their first salvo that missed tried to show that the Infarix Hexa vaccine, which protects infants against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib), didn’t contain antigens to those toxins, viruses, and bacteria. 

Of course, that research was pure unmitigated equine excrement since Corvelva provided no scientific transparency, no peer-review, no data, and no substance that real science uses. As far as I can tell, not a single major national drug review agency spent more than a nanosecond reviewing their bogus claims since they were not in the form of real scientific research.

But like zombies that keep coming because of another failed plan from Rick Grimes, they keep coming back, so a good scientist like this ancient dinosaur must continue to put a claw into their brains. This time, the Corvelva zombies are back with more pseudoscience “research” about the HPV vaccine, one of the handful of ways to actually prevent cancer in this world. 

So, as one of the anti-vaccine zombie fighters on the internet, let’s get to the action. Continue reading “Corvelva promotes fake HPV vaccine “research” – anti-vaxxers dance in the streets”

Ten thousand years of GMO foods – making inedible edible

Ten thousand years of GMO foods

One of the tropes of the anti-GMO movement is that nature does it better for food, a logical fallacy. In other words, they believe that our ancestors’ foods are somehow better than our GMO foods. Of course, this belies the fact that there are over ten thousand years of GMO foods – it’s really not something that showed up during the last century or so.

People seem to endow “nature” with a special status that is ridiculous. Evolution proceeds along a random process where environmental changes select for certain mutations over time (and yes, I’m oversimplifying the process), which is called natural selection. Moreover, there are random mutations that just occur that provide no benefit to the organism, although they might in the future because of some environmental change.

Nature has no goal. It has no guidance. It has no underlying value of good or evil. Unless you believe that some higher being controls it, and at that point, you’re a creationist, claiming that “nature” is better than the alternative is basically ridiculous.

So, we’re going to talk about how genetic modification has moved from the early days of waiting for a random, beneficial mutation to the modern world of genetic modification.

Continue reading “Ten thousand years of GMO foods – making inedible edible”

NVICP Mini-Omnibus Autism decision – vaccines still do not cause autism

Mini-Omnibus Autism

On 7 February 2018, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) handed down a decision in a mini-omnibus autism proceeding asking whether petitioners established “by preponderant evidence, a medical theory connecting a vaccine and [the test case child]’s injury.”

The decision is important in two ways. First, it reminds us that NVICP has consistently and repeatedly rejected claims that vaccines cause autism. Second, it explains in detail why a theory (please see Note 1 at the end of the article) claiming human DNA fragments in vaccines cause autism – a claim whose main proponent is Dr. Theresa Deisher – is unconvincing and not supported by the evidence.

The detailed, thorough decision shows that the main study from Dr. Deisher to support the theory – a study attempting to draw a temporal connection between change points where vaccines containing such DNA were introduced and rise in rates of autism – is fundamentally flawed. It then also shows that the petitioners’ proposed mechanisms of causation – how the DNA fragments are supposed to cause autism – are untenable.

The Mini-Omnibus Autism decision is 94-pages, and this summary will just touch on the main points. I urge readers to wade into the full decision if they want to understand more.  Continue reading “NVICP Mini-Omnibus Autism decision – vaccines still do not cause autism”

Human foreskin in vaccines – another anti-vaccine zombie myth

human foreskin

Many of us who write about vaccines point out the zombie myths of the anti-vaccine world. These are myths about vaccines that we successfully debunk, then a few months, even years later, they reappear on the scene. And numerous websites breathlessly report these myths as if they’re new news. The new old zombie myth is that somehow human foreskin ends up in your vaccine.

We will discuss how human foreskin is related to vaccines, and it is fairly interesting. But you can guess that the only reason this is a thing is because there is a huge intersection between the intactivists, those who oppose circumcision, and the anti-vaccine world.

We’re going to ignore the whole circumcision argument, even though there is a lot of scientific evidence supporting it as a medical procedure, as this article is solely about vaccines, or at least the use of human foreskin in developing and producing vaccines. And why human foreskin in vaccines is another zombie myth.

Continue reading “Human foreskin in vaccines – another anti-vaccine zombie myth”

DNA kits by mail order – accuracy of determining your ancestry?

DNA kits

You’ve seen these advertisements on TV. Get one of these DNA kits, give them a sample of your DNA along with a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and mail it to one of the DNA testing companies. Wait some time, and they send back information about your ancestry, potential diseases, and other information.

There seems to be a strange belief that if these DNA kits say you’re 28% German, or 37% Italian, or 13% Japanese, it speaks the truth. Anecdotally, I’ve had boatloads of friends get this test done, and they take pride in their new or confirmed ethnicity. And I won’t even go into the scares some have had from the presumptive medical diagnoses made from some genetic marker found in the result.

We’re going to focus on the ethnic testing aspect of these DNA kits. But without a doubt, there’s a lot of concern out there about those tests leading to inaccurate medical diagnoses. Many genetic diseases, like diabetes, don’t have a purely genetic cause, but generally there’s a combination of genetic and environmental basis.

23andMe, one of the leading companies in mail order DNA kits, has had a roller-coaster relationship with US FDA. After all of the back and forth, the FDA has stated that 23andMe can market their tests for genetic testing, but cannot market them as diagnostic tests. I’m not sure the public will see the difference in that.

However, I’m going to focus on what bothers me about these tests – they are becoming the basis of some kind of scientific racism. We are highlighting, and sometimes misrepresenting, patterns of differences in human species by a sampling of genes.

Let’s take a look at these DNA kits – how they do the testing. How they determine these racial/ethnical characterization. And how one should interpret the results. Continue reading “DNA kits by mail order – accuracy of determining your ancestry?”