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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Lie: Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine Can Prevent Leukemia │ The Senseless Fuss Over Common Headaches

It seems to me that I only managed to settle into bed last night a few minutes ahead of midnight.

My irritating youngest step-son Pote has now thrice this week been using the bathroom for a late shower when I have had my first break in sleep ─ which is when I avail myself of the bathroom to stroan and have a good drink of water.

Why the infernal young 17-year-old fool feels entitled to shower upstairs late at night like that aggravates me to inexplicable degree.  He never hauled his scrawny behind out of bed today until after 1:00 p.m.

I have to drop discussion of him right here ─ I am only going to descend into deeper invective.

The weather was quite sunny during the morning, but it had clouded over early in the afternoon.  I will probably go out into the backyard anyway, just to sit in a chair facing toward where the Sun approximately is. 

So it's a tad cooler today than it has been in recent previous days ─ this morning, the radio personalities were even claiming there was a chance of a little rain later today.

Ahead of 10:00 a.m., I had finished and published the post I had begun yesterday at my Latin Impressions website:  Motivated Seller II.  As a result, I have found myself with some extra free time on my hands.

It is unfortunate that I still feel rather listless and frankly lacking overall.  My eyes seem exceptionally dry.  I probably spent at least an hour just lying on my bed midday with a covering over them.

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A week ago, the Health Sciences Institute (HSI) published an eye-opening report on the general ignorance of reporters when it comes to medical news; and how pharmaceutical corporations and their paid 'authorities' take unrestrained advantage of that ignorance.

Witness:

Separating fact from fiction
It was splashed all over the web pages of The New York Times, Time magazine, and dozens of other widely-read publications.

Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco claimed they had the smoking-gun proof that a common childhood vaccine can prevent leukemia.

And from there, the pro-vax media ran wild.

But this wasn't some scientific breakthrough -- and the only thing those researchers discovered was how to game the press. Because it looks like they were participating in a dangerous new trend called "Press Release Medicine."

Press Release Medicine is designed to trick the gullible media into reporting unproven, non-existent benefits of billion-dollar vaccines and drugs.

And in this case, it may have been used to hide the truth about a vaccine that's not working and could be leaving countless kids at risk for deadly infections.

There are two rules to what health watchdogs are increasingly calling Press Release Medicine:
  1. Put out a press release making a bold and wildly unsupported claim about a vaccine, drug or surgery.
  2. Wait for lazy and unqualified members of the media to run with the story, no questions asked.
And when UCSF's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center put out a press release last month claiming that the Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) vaccine can reduce a child's risk of leukemia by 20 percent, they executed the Press Release Medicine strategy to perfection.

Lead scientist Dr. Markus Muschen claimed he and his colleagues discovered the exact mechanism by which the Hib vaccine -- which is given to babies and designed to prevent bacterial infections that can cause pneumonia and meningitis -- keeps cells from turning cancerous.

Muschen even doubled down and declared that it's "common knowledge that vaccines protect against cancer and leukemia."

And that was all it took for major outlets like The New York Times and Time magazine to declare the story true and share it with their readers. These reporters didn't look into the science behind Muschen's claims -- and, for the most part, they weren't qualified to.

Before she became an overnight cancer research expert, the Time reporter had been covering Bruce Jenner's gender change and some controversial quotes from an old Seinfeld character.

And, of course, that's why Press Release Medicine works so well. There are plenty of lazy and under-qualified reporters and editors who will cover any health news that sounds like it's coming from a reputable source.

And while many members of the media didn't ask too many questions about the Hib study, I did.

It turns out this research was on mouse enzymes. Muschen and his colleagues didn't study a single child -- nor was there a single case of leukemia prevented.

Tara Haelle, who writes for NPR (there are still some good reporters out there), started digging into Muschen's claim that the Hib vaccine was helping kids ward off leukemia. And she couldn't find a single scientist who agreed.

Haelle interviewed experts from Emory University and the University of California, Berkeley, and they all told her the same thing: "Nothing in this paper proves that the Hib vaccine reduces leukemia risk."

She even tracked down Dr. Paul Offit, head of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and one of America's biggest vaccination supporters. Offit refused to claim there's a connection between the Hib shot and a reduced cancer risk.

So why are pro-vax researchers giving us this deceptive hard sell on the Hib vaccine? Why are they so intent on finding another, different reason for parents to choose it for their kids?

In fact, the number of confirmed Hib infections nearly tripled since 1997. Hib cases have risen just about every year since the mid-1990s, despite that fact that there's more than a 90 percent vaccination rate.

And that's no surprise because kids who get the Hib vaccine are up to five times more likely to get Hib illnesses than children who skip the shot. The Hib vaccine apparently suppresses the immune system, which can leave newly vaccinated kids vulnerable to the most serious type of Hib infection -- bacterial meningitis.

In fact, as far back as 1995 the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System showed a big uptick in young kids coming down with Hib infections within a month after receiving the vaccine.

That's a serious risk that should be communicated to parents who are deciding whether the Hib vaccine is right for their kids. Just don't expect to read about it in some mainstream, pro-vax press release.
This Markus Muschen does not sound at all like someone I could trust ─ not after being quoted issuing such deceptive and blatantly-untrue comments as the sample given in the above HSI report.  

The Health Sciences Institute (HSI) ─ who are a member site of NewMarketHealth.com ─ had a second report issued that same day a week back.  This one dealt with headaches and the rampant unnecessary medical testing being prescribed to research them:

More like a pain in the neck
It's one of the oldest (and most ill-advised) doctor clichés out there: "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning."

But lately it's more like, "See two specialists, have a MRI, CT scan, blood panel and whatever other tests we can think of."

All for your typical, run-of-the-mill headache.

A team of Boston docs took a look at headaches -- and what we do for them -- and came up with some amazing facts and figures. They're also offering some advice about what to do when your head starts throbbing.

And going to see a doctor? Well, that's last on their list.

Unbelievably, headaches are the number one reason we visit our doctors.

And these docs are ordering up tests like there's no tomorrow. I'm talking about a battery of tests like brain scans and other imaging that can cause more pain in your wallet than you're having in your head. And then there's all the worry and anxiety.

Dr. John Mafi of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and his team looked at CT and brain scans in 10,000 patients. And in a 10-year period, those expensive tests doctors order more than doubled. Referrals to specialists practically doubled, too.

And it's not like people are getting more headaches, either. Dr. Mafi linked the uptick in expensive testing to the fact that doctors are simply more likely these days to order test after test -- regardless of whether they're needed or not.

And some of those tests can be incredibly damaging to your health.

Dyes that are used in certain scans can trigger allergies and even kidney problems. And then there's all that radiation. Research has shown that unnecessary radiation exposure causes around 4,000 cancers a year.

But isn't it best to be on the safe side, to make sure that headache isn't a sign of something more serious?

In most cases, no, said Dr. Brian Callaghan of the University of Michigan, who also looked at the billion-dollar headache industry.

"Most headaches are not caused by something bad. Even people with brain tumors rarely have headaches," he said.

The exception to the rule would be a headache that comes with fever, vomiting, loss of coordination, or a change in vision, speech or alertness. That could indicate a stroke or a serious brain condition and is a reason to see a doctor immediately.

But most of the headaches we get are due to tension, the stress of a job, grinding your teeth at night, a lack of sleep or a hundred other big and little things.

Dr. Mafi says that instead of all that expensive and worrisome testing, as well as all those risky OTC and prescription meds, you'd be better off using some tried and true natural remedies. Ones that can even help with migraines as well.

First off, here are some ways to avoid that headache in the first place:
  • Drink more water. Dehydration can come on without warning, especially during the summer and can give you a pounding headache.
  • Steer clear of food additives such as MSG and aspartame. Along with causing a whole host of other medical issues, these are known headache triggers.
  • Try to get more sleep. When you're not sleeping well, a morning headache can follow you around most of the day. Avoid using the computer or your smart phone several hours before bedtime. The kind of light these devices give off can cut your melatonin production short and wreck your sleep.
And to treat that headache, some techniques that are proven to work include applying ice to your forehead, taking a hot shower and massage and acupressure treatments.
I never could fathom hypochondria.

One thing that I get a kick out of are Dr. William Campbell Douglass II's rants against "the Nanny State" ─ and I truly do sympathize with his view.

But before I continue, I have just been struck by how odd that sentence I just made seems to me.  Vizually, how can "one thing" be used to categorize the plural concept "rants?"

I initially wrote "One thing that I get a kick out of is" his rants, and that looked good; but turned around, it was clearly wrong ─ it would be incorrect to say that his rants is one thing that I get a kick out of.  There is no question that are is proper, and is is not.

Still, it seems so odd that rants are "one thing."

Dr. Douglass on "the Nanny State" now:

Nanny State sets its sights on your children's menus
Do you want some dimwitted lawmaker deciding what your kids can and can't have at a restaurant?

Me neither!

But over in the People's Republic of California (yes, them, AGAIN), one city has passed a law snatching the menu right out of your hands. Instead of allowing you to teach them about good and bad choices, they've decided to do it for you. After all, government knows best, right?

Davis -- a city so screwy they once wasted $15,000 on a tunnel to help toads cross a road -- has just passed a law making it illegal for restaurants to offer juice or soda as default drink options with kids' meals.

They can still be REQUESTED, but they can't be offered or suggested. Any restaurant busted for offering a kid a fruit punch with dinner will be fined $500.

Maybe they're still trying to pay for that toad crossing.

You know me. I'm no fan of soda or juice. But believe me, this slippery slope doesn't end with sugary drinks.

It never does, because we've seen this story before.

Around the nation -- around the WORLD -- there's a holier-than-thou Nanny State movement trying to restrict or regulate everything you eat, from the size of a soda to the amount of salt a chef in a restaurant can use.

We've seen taxes, limits and bans on everything from booze to butter. Our unelected Nutrition Queen, Michelle Obama, has even managed to BAN school bake sales!

So, sure, today government toadies are going after the easy targets and taking soda off the kids' menu in dopey towns no one cares about like Davis. But this is part of a much larger battle -- and the next step is taking the steak off your plate and taxing the beer right out of your fridge.

Make no mistake about it... this is an attack on your personal freedoms. That's why you need to nip all these efforts in the bud whenever they rear their ugly Nanny State heads -- and if there's one under discussion in your community, speak up. Speak up now -- because if you wait, it'll be too late.

Speaking out,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.
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I spent over a half-hour sitting in the backyard, facing the direction of the Sun.  Despite the light overcast sky, I could easily have been in a pair of shorts, and maybe even shirtless ─ it was quite comfortable out there.  However, only my feet were bared. 

I need to be living somewhere else, though ─ someplace where I can go for long walks in complete privacy and serenity.  But that will only be possible if I am finally financially well-off.

Even when I have not been in debt prior to getting into a mortgage in conjunction with my brother Mark, and well before becoming involved with Thailand and the woman who is now my wife, I was unable to move away because I was dependent upon my federal government employment.

And now that I am retired these past four years, my debt is insurmountable.

I am a prisoner of this house, and of my location here in the City of Surrey.

I have nowhere to walk for pleasure and contemplation.

I slave almost senselessly at my six hosted websites and this blog in the bleak hope that somehow, a second income will evolve from it all and lead to eventual financial freedom before it becomes too late for me.

As it is, I feel as if my life is simply seeping away.

And with that bit of musing, I close now with a photo of William Shatner ─ I tore the page from some periodical, probably in the very early 1970s.

I was in love with the Star Trek T.V. series that evidently first aired in September 1966 ─ that would have been right around when I was commencing Grade XII at the age of 16 at Princess Margaret Senior Secondary, and a month before I turned 17.

The series opened up my imagination to the possibility of living on other Worlds, and escaping from the clutches of "society" on this one ─ "society" was just an expansive term that my friend Philip David Prince and I would use as an embodying concept of absolutely everything about the developed World around us that we did not like.

I was already a fan for several years of the fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs ─ the John Carter of Mars novels, and also those of John Carson of Venus.  David was a fanatical Tarzan fan, even though we both loved the character.

We so badly longed to get away from here.

But I never got away. 

And poor David only did by dying in his cheap hotel room in Vancouver in October 1984, officially of "acute left heart failure" and "coronary atherosclerosis."

However, I expect that he just drank far too much cheap drink and swallowed too many downers, and succumbed while sprawled upon his bed ─ apparently in room #15 at 204 Carrall Street.  I've seen the hotel identified as the Glory Hotel, but I cannot say that I recall that name associated with any of the places he lived in downtown.

The pursuit of mood-altering pharmaceuticals was his passion for the previous 15 years.  And cheap wine sufficed when there was nothing else.

I frequently wonder how much happier I might be right now if I still had David in my life.

Anyway, here's that photo of William Shatner:

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