Anti vaccine conspiracies – the Skeptical Raptor is Paul Offit delusion

anti-vaccine conspiracies

Here we go with another set of anti-vaccine conspiracies from crackpots running a vaccine denier website. Once again, the old feathered dinosaur (modern or Cretaceous) is part of a broad conspiracy that includes Paul Offit, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, UC Hastings College of Law, and Kaiser Permanente. Because anti-vaccine conspiracies are only more hilarious when they get more complicated.

Because I am amused by all of this, I must, according to the rule of scientific skepticism, snarkily debunk it. Now, science isn’t good at “proving the negative,” like trying to “prove” that I am not, nor have ever been, Paul Offit. On the other hand, I cannot prove that I am not Barack Obama. Or Tom Brady. Or Elvis. You just never know. Continue reading “Anti vaccine conspiracies – the Skeptical Raptor is Paul Offit delusion”

Primary ovarian insufficiency unrelated to HPV vaccine – anti-vaxxers will move goalposts

primary ovarian insufficiency

Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), previously known as premature ovarian failure, is one of those tropes pushed by the anti-vaccine religion – HPV vaccines cause POF. Although there is no robust epidemiological or clinical evidence of a link between the vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency, the myth persists.

The overall safety of the HPV vaccine has been shown over and over again in multiple huge epidemiological studies published in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals. And in those studies, which include millions of patients, there have been no safety signals regarding primary ovarian insufficiency. Yet, the myth persists.

We’ve got a new large study, published in a top-ranked journal, that, once again, refutes this myth. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Primary ovarian insufficiency unrelated to HPV vaccine – anti-vaxxers will move goalposts”

Gardasil safety supported by a large study of 200 thousand young women

Gardasil safety

I regularly write about Gardasil safety and effectiveness, because I consider the HPV vaccine one of top 100 greatest medical inventions over the past century or so. We have so few ways to prevent cancer, despite the nonsense pushed by pseudoscientists like the brainless Food Babe. And one of the best ways to prevent cancer is getting the HPV vaccine to prevent HPV related cancers.

I originally wrote this article around 5 years ago, but it needed updating on several issues since things have changed on this website. But why do I care about maintaining a 5-year-old article about Gardasil safety? Because this is one of the seminal articles about Gardasil safety, one that is important to anyone’s understanding of the subject.

Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Gardasil safety supported by a large study of 200 thousand young women”

Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage? New paper gets it wrong

Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage

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”

Flu vaccine during pregnancy – unrelated to autism

flu vaccine during pregnancy

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”

Hey vaccine deniers–a huge study says measles vaccines are safe

vaccine-MMR

Unless you’re a serious science denier, who thinks that the measles vaccine is more dangerous than measles, we have ample evidence that the measles vaccines have just about eliminated measles, although an uptick in measles this year probably can be tied to the antivaccine crowd. We have boatloads of evidence that vaccines have prevented morbidity and mortality from measles. We don’t have to look back 100 years, we can look back 20 years–measles cases dropped from 55,000 in 1991 to 189 in 2013This sudden drop happened because of the Vaccines for Children Program.

The measles vaccine, usually a part of the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella) or the MMRV vaccine (MMR plus varicella, also known as chickenpox), successfully prevents measles, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, similar to common cold. However, the initial symptoms are followed by a rash that spreads all over the body.

Many people think that measles is a minor disease, that’s because they weren’t around 30 years ago, when measles epidemics hit children in school. The CDC estimates that approximately 3 out of 10 adults or children who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. The myth that measles is “nothing” is just that–a myth, lie and bad science. Continue reading “Hey vaccine deniers–a huge study says measles vaccines are safe”

Delaying measles vaccination may increase risk of seizures

keep-calm-get-shots-bigThere is an unscientific myth, pushed by some parts of the vaccine deniers (more accurate, vaccine delayers), that parents should delay vaccinations based on the unsupported belief that “too many vaccines” could overwhelm the child’s immune system. This belief is utterly unscientific and thoroughly debunked

That belief is unfounded, as Paul Offit summarized in Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System?:

Current studies do not support the hypothesis that multiple vaccines overwhelm, weaken, or “use up” the immune system. On the contrary, young infants have an enormous capacity to respond to multiple vaccines, as well as to the many other challenges present in the environment. By providing protection against a number of bacterial and viral pathogens, vaccines prevent the “weakening” of the immune system and consequent secondary bacterial infections occasionally caused by natural infection.

Continue reading “Delaying measles vaccination may increase risk of seizures”

New 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine is safe

pneumonia_355pxA recent study, published in the journal Vaccine, provided evidence that the new 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is as safe as the previous version, the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). The newer version of the vaccine, introduced in 2010 after clinical trials, protects against a broader range of pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniaea significant human pathogenic bacterium) subtypes. These studies show that the new version did not increase  the risk for any serious adverse events related to the vaccine.

Pneumococcal disease is a serious health care issue, especially for children and adults with certain risk factors. Pneumococcal disease can lead to various serious diseases like pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, or less serious ones like otitis media. Unfortunately, pneumococcal disease can be fatal. In some cases, it can result in long-term problems, like brain damage, hearing loss, and limb loss. Continue reading “New 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine is safe”

Flu during pregnancy is associated with bipolar disorder in children

pregnant-flu-vaccineA recent article published in a leading psychiatry journal, JAMA Psychiatry, has shown that pregnant mothers’ exposure to the influenza (flu) was associated with a nearly 4X increase in risk to their child eventually developing bipolar disorder in adulthood. These findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza. Bipolar disorder, historically called manic depressive disorder, is a mood disorder where the sufferer can experience episodes of a frenzied state known as mania (or hypomania), typically alternating with episodes of depression. It can be treated with medications and psychotherapy (especially cognitive therapy), but more difficult cases require the individual to be voluntarily or involuntarily institutionalized until the mood changes can be reduced or eliminated.

Continue reading “Flu during pregnancy is associated with bipolar disorder in children”

No link between vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome

© CBS Atlanta, 2013
© CBS Atlanta, 2013

One of the arguments made by vaccine denialists is that vaccines cause significant increases in nervous disorders, and they point to the vaccine’s Package Insert (PI) as “proof”. Setting aside the misuse of the information in a PI, there seemed to be some evidence that there was a slight increase in the rates of  Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) following vaccinations, although the risk was far outweighed by the benefit of preventing deadly diseases. Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder of the peripheral nervous system, where the immune system appears to attack nerves involved in movement, although sometimes it attacks respiration and other functions. Guillain-Barré syndrome is usually preceded by a viral or bacterial infection, such as the flu. It is a serious condition, which often takes several months for full recovery. About 80% of those who contract the disorder recover fully with treatment. Continue reading “No link between vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome”