Monday, February 09, 2015

The cracks in trust continue to grow ...

Healthcare providers and patients have placed great trust in researchers (both private and public) to provide data (information) and solutions to health problems based upon good data. Once trust is broken it is not easily regained. 

Over the last decade there have been seminal articles sounding the alarm that the trust we have placed in those providing us with information and products we use to either protect or repair our health may have some growing cracks. 

In 2005 John Ioannidis published an essay "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" in which he reviews problems with published research that lead to a foundation for skepticism toward much of the results and what to do about it.

In 2009, this quote from Marcia Angell, MD, writing in the NY Times Review of Books, "Drug Companies and Doctors: A Story of Corruption" caught the attention of many: 
"The problems I’ve discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of TheNew England Journal of Medicine."
Even with just a cursory read of Dr. Angell's writing one would recognize she has no love for free-market medicine or market-based solutions in healthcare, and here she and I would disagree, as I think this would provide the best solutions for many problems in healthcare.  The brilliance of the free market is that it reflects the collective expression of individual economic choices, and good ideas, good products do well because people demand more of them - the "mandate" grows from a groundswell of consumers requesting more of, and being willing to pay for a product rather than it being forced upon them in an authoritarian fashion. 

In 2010 a qui tam lawsuit was filed against Merck by 2 of their scientists alleging Merck provided fraudulent proof of efficacy for the mumps portion of the MMR vaccine. A ruling was issued in Sept 2014 allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

In August of 2014, Dr. William Thompson (of the CDC) came forward alleging a major 2004 study reporting no association between vaccines and autism was gerry-rigged to achieve desired results. He is reported to have been granted formal "whistleblower" status, and this story continues to develop.

And today, in 2015, Charles Seife published two articles (concurrently, in lay and professional press) alleging tolerance of fraud at the FDA. 

Not all research is corrupt, but it is prudent to be discerning, and no one should be vilified for asking reasonable questions. Science is seldom settled, and has a long history of reversing itself, whether the domain is medicine or physics or any other aspect science. 

Because science is not settled, and because of disclosures reviewed above, it is reasonable for people to determine for themselves what risk/benefit ratio with which they are comfortable in regards to vaccines (or any other medical intervention). We don't have all the data regarding vaccine safety, nor efficacy - much of this remains undisclosed, guarded by the companies that make a product that is mandated by the same government that has provided a virtually impenetrable liability shield, whose use is determined by professionals who may have undisclosed personal financial conflicts of interest with these same manufacturers! 

It isn't transparent to stategize management of the crisis of a cluster of infant deaths following vaccination by ensuring no large batches of any one lot of a vaccine go to a particular geographic area (Wyeth 1979) and here for Wyeth's internal memo

It is impossible to eliminate all risk of disease, even if there were 100% compliance with all vaccines - and we may well be trading temporary illness for long-term chronic ill health. There are many who would love to have studies looking at that very riddle, and what role, if any, vaccination may play in it. 

None of us is unbiased, and neither is science as it is conducted by humans, who quite clearly, find it difficult to set aside their personal views in pursuing new knowledge. All of us live with the consequences of each others choices ... whether that is smoking, what we eat or whether we exercise, with whom we have sex and how we have sex ... and of course, whether we do or do not choose to be vaccinated (or have our children vaccinated if we are parents). It is wrong to demand people use a product whose safety and efficacy are unknown, in particular when there is so much apparent conflict of interest embedded in the very system making recommendations for said product ... when those who receive the product bear all risk with essentially no recourse when they are injured by the product they were required to use even against their will! 

Friday, February 06, 2015

The ethics of arrogance ...

Arthur Caplan wrote an opinion piece that should send shivers down the spines of us all ... regardless of our views on vaccination. 

It's part of the dangerous encroachment into the relationship between healthcare provider and client - a relationship that necessarily should remain private. We all live with choices that others make - for good or for ill, vaccination is just one of them, it isn't the only one. 

Driving providers and patients into an underground relationship is not good for anyone

It's an absolutely stunning display of arrogance to demand conformity or else. Medical "evidence" and science have an amazing way of changing through the years - and the persistent pursuit of truth by "heretics" has benefited us all. 

Consider Semmelweis, who was hounded by his peers for insisting upon the simple task of hand-washing prior to delivering a baby with a resultant plummeting of childbed fever or sepsis, which saved so many women. 

Or consider stomach ulcers and the lengths to which the researcher who discovered H. pylori went before his theory was considered and incorporated into treatment (he was later awarded a Nobel Prize in 2005). 

Decades before research vindicated them midwives knew overuse of episiotomy was bad for women and generally not necessary. Conventional wisdom held that it prevented pelvic floor damage and protected the baby's brain ... and then we actually did the research, which demonstrated episiotomy increased risk of worse damage than spontaneous perineal tears and gasp! the perineum isn't dangerous to a baby's brain!

The bromide "once a cesarean section, always a cesarean section" was mainstream practice ... and then we actually did the research and "discovered" that VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is a relatively reasonable risk to take for most women with a history of previous cesarean birth. 

For years it was assumed that saturated fat was bad and caused heart disease. Now that is being challenged and it seems inflammation is implicated in heart disease, and well, many other health problems as well ... oh, wait - what happens after vaccination? Inflammation

These are just a few examples of health care providers who were considered "crazy" for not passively accepting the prevailing medical dogma. They held minority positions in the face of unrelenting peer pressure and were ultimately proved right.

It's amazing what we find out when we try to find answers to questions. 

Apparently a significant portion of our population is asking questions about vaccine safety and efficacy - in due time we might all benefit from listening to this minority's concerns ... after all, it's happened before - the precedents are almost too numerous to list, so it would be prudent not to be too arrogant or presumptuous about "settled science".  

Many want more information about a product that has been described as "unavoidably unsafe"  ... a product so "safe" it is legally shielded from any liability - which essentially removes any motivation for a manufacturer or provider of said product to make it any safer ... a product which is incredibly lucrative because its use is mandated by law ... a product which is recommended by experts who have financial conflicts of interest with the manufacturers ... a product embroiled not just in controversy about safety and efficacy, but allegations of fraud (Paul Thorsen, mumps/Merck fraud lawsuit, #CDCwhistleblower). 

Many aspects of medical care are fraught with various degrees of risk vs benefit, and that is no different for vaccines - all should be free to determine which level of risk/benefit with which they are willing to live. Subjecting people to forced medical procedures is something that would make Dr. Mengele proud - he perfected this. Let's not follow his lead. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Abortion and vaccines ... Part 5

Worthwhile reading:

This piece, "Villany, Virtue, and Vaccination" by Todd Erzen (@DeaceOnline) was posted to this morning, and works an angle on vaccination and abortion that I had not considered. Both medical procedures involve coercion, and both involve widely unacknowledged risk (interestingly enough, more to the child than anyone else in both cases, but at least with vaccination the child generally lives, though not always).

As always, do your own research before making a decision to vaccinate. You can always vaccinate. You can never un-vaccinate.

You can always have an abortion (well, until the baby is born), but once you have an abortion you cannot un-do death - only Jesus can do that ... if you have had an abortion, help is available if you are suffering because of it. You can go to for starters. Or contact your local Pregnancy Resource Center, many of them offer post-abortion healing.