Anti-vaccine Gayle DeLong tries to correct her HPV vaccine article by blogging

Gayle DeLong

A few days ago, I wrote about a terrible, laughable anti-HPV vaccine article by Gayle DeLong, a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance in the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College/City University of New York. She has zero background, experience, knowledge, education, or credibility in vaccine science.

Her appalling article tried to convince the reader that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine caused a decrease in their fertility. If this were a real article, I’d be appalled that it got published, but it was clearly a bad article with bad science, bad methodologies, and bad conclusions.

It failed basic scientific statistical analysis like accounting for confounding data. Furthermore, Gayle DeLong provided no convincing biologically plausible mechanism describing how the HPV vaccine could affect pregnancy rates. And her references were ridiculous – she cited Mark and David Geier, who can charitably be called charlatans who attempted to “treat” autistic children with a horrific and unethical procedure. And she actually mentioned Mark Geier in her acknowledgments.

Furthermore, she ignored the vast body of evidence, published by real scientists, not an expert in international finance, in real journals that the HPV vaccine is demonstrably safe. And in those huge studies, some with millions of patients, there was no detectable difference in fertility rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. This issue only exists in the mind of Gayle DeLong and other anti-vaccine activists.

I’ve read a bunch of anti-vaccine papers in my time, but this one may be one of the worst. All anti-vaccine papers are bad, that’s why they are rarely if ever, published in respected journals.

Continue reading “Anti-vaccine Gayle DeLong tries to correct her HPV vaccine article by blogging”

Flu vaccine does not cause miscarriages – the real evidence

Flu vaccine causes miscarriages

The Washington Post dropped this provocative headline on its readers recently, “Researchers find a hint of a link between flu vaccine and miscarriages.” And you know what will happen next –every anti-vaccine website will claim that the flu vaccine causes miscarriages.

Of course, the evidence-based facts fail to support the future trope that the flu vaccine causes miscarriages. A careful reading of the Washington Post article is filled with nuance and hedging because the underlying published article does not actually provide robust evidence that any flu vaccine increases the risk of miscarriages.

The Washington Post made several points that are important to consider, and we’ll examine the underlying research in more depth. But the most important point they made is that,

The findings suggest an association, not a causal link, and the research is too weak and preliminary, experts said, to change the advice, which is based on a multitude of previous studies, that pregnant women should get a flu vaccine to protect them from influenza, a deadly disease that may cause serious birth defects and miscarriage.

I wonder how many anti-vaccine radicals will fail to make that point, instead, screaming that “vaccines are dangerous and the worthless flu vaccine causes miscarriages.”

Well, of course. Del Bigtree isn’t known for his scientific knowledge.

Well, we don’t cherry-pick our evidence here, so we’re going to look at the broad body of evidence with respect to the flu, flu vaccines, and pregnancy. Because that’s how we roll here. And because we think pregnant women deserve the best information possible to protect themselves and their developing babies. Because that’s also how we roll here.

Continue reading “Flu vaccine does not cause miscarriages – the real evidence”

Vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk–is there anything to it?

vitamin-DOne of my favorite topics to debunk is the use of supplements to prevent (or worse yet, cure) cancer. As I have discussed in the past, supplements are, with just a couple of exceptions, worthless in preventing cancer

Potential causes for cancer are numerous. InfectionsRadon gasCigarette smokingSun exposure. Obesity. With over 200 types of cancer, each with a different pathophysiology, there may be an equal (and probably greater) number of causes for “cancer.” Although many causes of cancer can be easily avoided, such as stopping smoking, testing your house for radon, getting an HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus infections, and wearing sunblock to reduce the risk of melanomas, the sheer complexity and number of types of cancer means that there is probably not going to be any simple panacea to preventing (or even curing) cancer. 

But because cancer is so frightening, and treating it is risky, debilitating and, in some cases, fruitless, we look for the easy solution, the easy prevention with a pill. But the evidence science has found indicates that this doesn’t really work. Of course, according to 2012 cancer statistics, 577,000 people died of various cancers in 2012, and about 160,000 died directly as a result of smoking (or second hand smoking). So, you can easily drop your risk dying of cancer by more than 25% just by quitting smoking. Otherwise, it’s just not that simple. Continue reading “Vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk–is there anything to it?”