Massachusetts to require flu vaccines?

By Phil Plait | September 17, 2009 10:06 am

My stance on vaccinations is well-documented here: I am not a medical doctor, so I can’t dispense advice, but all the legit doctors I know recommend getting them. My whole family is fully vaccinated, as is The Little Astronomer who has also had her full series of Gardasil injections. Vaccinations are a triumph of medical science and have saved hundreds of millions of lives.

Having said that, I read that Massachusetts is considering mandating them for swine flu, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that. When it comes to personal freedom, I lean heavily toward libertarianism: it’s my body and I get to decide what to do with it.

However, what if what I decide affects others? If I don’t use a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet, then I put an undue burden on others if I get injured. But where do you draw the line? If I smoke, doesn’t that burden others as well? What about eating too much ice cream, or doing my own electrical repairs in the house?

Vaccines are incredibly safe, with minute risk of any illness or side effects. But if you vaccinate enough people, statistically speaking you will see side effects. What happens with those people if vaccinations are mandatory?

And the flip side, of course, is what happens if my kid gets pertussis because you didn’t vaccinate your kid?

In my ideal world, people do the right thing for the right reasons, and that means they would all get vaccinated. Clearly, that world does not exist: when people like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Meryl Dorey can stand up and say bald-faced untruths about vaccinations, it means kids will get sick, and some will die. Those voices, for good or for ill — and it’s for ill, bet on it — have influence, and if states try to require vaccinations, it could give fuel to these antivax, antireality groups.

I don’t have an answer here. I’m not sure there is one, outside of governments and the medical establishments taking the antivax threat seriously, and starting an information and education campaign. But I’m not sure requiring everyone to be vaccinated is the right way to go.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience

Comments (132)

  1. Calin

    How many doses of the H1N1 vaccine are there going to be? I mean, they just got approval, can they possibly vaccinate everyone?

    I’m not getting the vaccine. I’m a code monkey in a small office and see very few people. My wife is getting vaccinated because she’s a nurse in a hospital. She’s been vaccinated for all kinds of things.

    To be honest, I haven’t vaccinated my youngest daughter with Gardasil yet. My eldest got vaccinated when she came to us and said she was thinking about having sex. We also got her on Morena birth control. With HPV, the risk isn’t in communal contact so I don’t feel like I need to be rushed on my 11 year old.

    I’m not sure how I feel about required vaccinations for easily mutatable viruses. Herd immunity can’t apply the same way to diseases that easily alter themselves over short periods of time (like standard influenza).

  2. Tough call on that one. I suppose that you can refuse the vaccine, but then if you get sick, and you end up going out in public visibly displaying the symptoms, you get fined?

    And don’t forget the counters to the bald-faced lies: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html

  3. becky'sthoughts

    How would anyone know you were or were not vaccinated? Government access to your health records? Chilling.

  4. Kirk

    Yeah, I think the main problem with this will be the limiting factor of the number of vaccines available. There’s also a high threshold that has to be reached, with a public health emergency declared. That would be a situation far more serious than experts seem to be predicting at this time.

    Still, it is troubling when this sort of imposition is decreed by public officials, even if it’s unlikely to ever be put into action. There does need to be some hefty thought put toward whether this is really the best thing to do, even in the case of a serious epidemic.

  5. a lurker

    Some people have damn good reason for not getting vaccination. Most flu shots including the swine flu vaccination use eggs in their production. People with egg allergies are usually advised not to get the vaccination and those people should not be treated as second-class citizens. And this year it appear that the swine-flu shots will all be egg-based.

    Of course that only applies to people with egg allergies. For everyone else it is safe and effective. If those who can be vaccinated are vaccinated and if people start washing their hands properly the chances of major problems go down fast.

  6. OK Phil, I’m confused. On one hand, in this article you state that you aren’t sure that people should be required to get a vaccination. However in myriad other articles you blast the anti-vaxxers for convincing enough people not to get vaccinated so that herd immunity goes away and people / children die from diseases that should be erased from the Earth.

    In theory, those people that decide not to get vaccinated are just expressing their right as you say “I lean heavily toward libertarianism: it’s my body and I get to decide what to do with it.” Yes, I think the anti-vaxxers are nuts and their reasons for not getting vaccinated have nothing to do with your reasons. But isn’t the outcome the same? If I use your argument, and another person gets sick and dies after I pass on H1N1, how would I be any different?

    Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here. I think anti-vaxxers are crazy people who refuse to listen to reason and facts. I just feel that you are sending a mixed message with your post.

    Keep up the good work on getting the scientific information out there.

  7. “when people like Jenny McCarthy…”

    It is horrible their claims are convincing people to not have their children vaccinated. Unfortunately, their campaign is all to often successful.

  8. I might be wrong but I think the expression is “Bold-Faced,” as in the style of type setting.

  9. Matt S.

    “Some people have damn good reason for not getting vaccination. Most flu shots including the swine flu vaccination use eggs in their production.”

    I seriously doubt that they would require people allergic to the vaccine to get the vaccine. Government plans are often stupid and inefficient, but not THAT stupid.

  10. MC

    Proponents of mandatory vaccinations forget one thing, your chances of getting sick are still near zero (for a highly effective vaccine) and if vaccinated, your odds of getting ill by someone who is not vaccinated do not change.

  11. Yeah, let’s not impute more stupidity to the government than necessary. It’s fashionable to slag the government, but sometimes it does work. I doubt that an allergic person would be forced to get the vaccine, but damn, it sure does make good scare-mongering to bring it up, doesn’t it?

  12. Phil, the important part is “if a health emergency is declared”. They’re not advocating mandatory swine flu vaccination as a matter of course. What the bill says is that, if the pandemic gets worse to the point of being a health emergency, then the government has the power to mandate vaccination under penalty of fines.

    There was a bit of a freak-out among the Ron Paul crowd over this, so I read the text of the bill under consideration and wrote it up on the Boston Skeptics site: http://bostonskeptics.com/?p=357

  13. Quiet Desperation

    There will be some swine flu vaccines produced with an egg free process called cell-culture. You can also skin test the egg based vaccine to see if you can still use that kind. The amount of egg is usually small enough to not cause allergic reactions except in the rarest of cases.

    A freind of mine who works in a hospital says they are mandating swine flu shots there. Those that refuse have to wear a mask all day at work for the duration of the flu season.

  14. Pushing helmet and seat belt laws because they place an “undue burden on others” makes it very hard for me to believe that you lean at all, much less heavily, towards libertarianism. Once start with “It drives up the cost of medical care for everyone else!” you’ve stepped out on a very slippery slope, as you acknowledge with the talk of eating ice cream. EVERY choice we make affects others in some way, but that doesn’t mean those effects are genuine harm.

    The right to swing my fist stops where your nose begins… it’s immaterial if swinging my fist makes your getting-hit-in-the-nose insurance premiums go up.

  15. BrerScientist

    @Robert: I don’t think this stance is contradictory at all. It is a hard problem. On the one hand, it is clear that vaccination is the correct thing to do for most people. We should be trying to convince as mant people as possible of that truth, and to correct all of the misinformation that is out there. Forcing people to do the right thing is often counter-productive, leading to less compliance than if people were able to decide for themselves. On the other hand, preventing behavior which, if done by enough people, will be detrimental to the entire population is one of the reasons to have a government.
    As a (small l) libertarian, this raises some interesting questions that I haven’t been able to figure out. It may come down to how bad the situtation is, and how much force is needed to make people comply.

  16. Ian Menzies

    @Robert: It’s pretty simple. People should be able to choose to do what they want with their own bodies, whether that decision is “correct” or not. When a person spreads misinformation, whether through simple ignorance or outright malice and lies, to induce others to make a decision, especially one with both personal and communal consequences, that is wrong.

  17. Quiet Desperation

    The right to swing my fist stops where your nose begins…

    A debatable point. Swinging your fist to a millimeter of my nose could be construed as a threat. It’s a gray area where courts have gone both ways.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Yes, it’s a though one. Where does the moral line go between mandating a safety procedure because its kill rate is sufficiently high or because it will save society a lot of bucks (as flu shots do)?

    I recently realized that there is a sufficiently close analogy.

    The mandatory safety belt law in Sweden saved as many people as the initial projected kill rate of the swine flu. [It now seems to be less virulent, at least at this first wave.]

    Bodies that are belted are less likely to damage “third persons”, assuming car speeds and behavior before/after the introduction of the law were roughly the same. (Which is likely.) And the cost saving morality situation was the same.

    Also, the discussion that was between “belt risks” (arguments raised where of the type: ” some people who are thrown clear survives”, “some people becomes trapped by belts and dies from, say, drowning”) and “vaxx risks” are the same.

    So I would actually tentatively go with a “vaxx law”, unless someone makes a sufficiently clear claim why the situations differ qualitatively. QD’s claim of some areas with mandatory vaccination or leaning toward it points to that there isn’t such a difference.

    There will be some swine flu vaccines produce with an egg free process called cell-culture.

    I haven’t had time to follow up on this, but a science show here claimed that cell cultures promises to take half the time, 3 months as opposed to 6-9 months. [They use insect cells, maybe that is why. “Flies against flu.” :-o]

    Cost efficiency was driving development so that cell cultures would be used for flu vaccine in about 2 years time, was the hope.

  19. Miko

    According to the Henry George Theorem, most government spending translates into higher values for unimproved land (with the effect that the rich pay essentially no taxes since they get their money back in the form of higher land values, while the poor pay taxes first to the government and then again in the form of higher rent). (Geo)libertarian economic policy (contra to what a few right-wing idiots who falsely call themselves “libertarian” will tell you) is designed primarily so as to put the costs back on those who accrue the benefits.

    The same analysis applies to vaccines: you shouldn’t require people to get them, but since the benefit of them accrues not only to the individual but to the society, having society fund them (preferably through community collection of rent) is reasonable.

  20. For most of those opposed to vaccinations the problem isn’t mandating vaccinations as much as it is overseeing the safety and security of their loved ones. Once a vaccine becomes mandatory it is beyond reason to expect an average individual to be able to monitor and regulate that safety, henceforth leading to a loss of security. In those that argue against mandatory vaccinations this is usually the underlying objection and the government hasn’t had anything close to a spotless record of doing this.

    It might be best left to the medical establishment to encourage full compliance and the courts to decide if individual’s actions in not getting vaccinated violated anyone’s constitutional right to pursue happiness.

  21. Helen

    Were you at liberty to refuse the small pox vaccine?

    People in this world are crying out for a whole range of vaccines. Remember the iron lungs of days past? There are still outbreaks of polio, particularly in exceptionally poor parts of the world. Liberty? Most folk on this planet would thank their lucky stars!

    I think MA may just be using the same principle our grannies did, when as kids we’d balk at the thought of having a vaccine. It is called being cruel to be kind. What legal rights to full liberty did Typhoid Mary have?

    I swear, there are people who would be upset if they were told fresh air is good for them and they must take it into their bodies!

    You have to prove you’ve had certain vaccines to travel to some countries. You get a card, dated and stamped. The assumption used for that to work is that no one would be so immoral as to lie and then take a disease into another country. There is no need to disclose your medical records to an immigration official. Just prove you have been vaccinated. Just like the US government required from me – proof of vaccination for various diseases.

    I’m sure MA officials will figure out some way of implementing the law without viewing your records, something anyone at your insurance company can view.

  22. Robert E

    @ [the other robert]
    As others have said, his question is not whether to get a vaccine, but whether they should be mandated. Not an inconsistency.

  23. Will. M.

    Thomas (no.8): “bald-faced” is the correct term. Check Webster’s online or any other source for word definitions.

    One might look at how effective the enforcement of some laws has fared when the public sees no reason to obey them: speeding limits – at least in my state of CA – are consistently violated by nearly everyone 24/7; seat belt laws are still violated; we’ve had a “no cell phone use while driving” law in effect for almost a year and it is regularly ignored (at least by my anecdotal accounts of observing while driving); underage drinking laws are ignored; selling cigarettes to minors is ignored (even after the occasional set-up busts using teens employed by the fuzz to entrap merchants), etc. etc. etc. Not to mention (so I will) the prohibitions against murdering your fellow humans (unless you’re the state) and committing suicide.

    I think a law upholding vaccinations is unnecessary; I think this kind of regulation rarely can
    be enforced. Perhaps the best enforcement is the very real danger of getting truly sick or of dying if one fails to be vaccinated. Even after the fact penalties, like jailing parents for causing the death of a child because of a failure to vaccinate aren’t going to be very effective.
    Some laws, like speeding, might be better obeyed if the consequences for ignoring them were more severe: loss of driving privileges, jail time for causing a death due to speeding, etc. But I doubt it. Folks drive in CA now without licenses, without insurance, and knowing full well what will happen to them if they’re caught. And it is very likely that they won’t get caught, given the sheer numbers of violators and the relatively few policemen to monitor the lawbreakers.

    Perhaps this idea that laws will positively effect society to become better citizens only works when nearly all of us agree to the concept. Had we the homogeneous society that Japan has, for example, getting a near-universal consensus would be much easier. But we’re not.

  24. Dan

    I think it is bad news to mandate things like this. It is bound to be abused in many ways, with the most obvious being corruption and the awarding of large contracts (see Merck’s Gardasil in Texas and Perry’s connections with Merck). This could be an even bigger problem with viruses whose strains change yearly, with manufactures creating hysteria and marketing drugs to combat them. I happen to believe firmly in the usefulness of vaccines, but I also am very disappointed with the fear mongering advertisements used by pharmaceutical companies for many of these new vaccines. Unfortunately both sides of the debate rely heavily on fear to promote their agenda.

    On a more general note on vaccines I wonder about the prisoner’s dilemma aspect of it all. If vaccines are not 100% safe (which they never will be), then there has to be a point at which it is advantageous for the individual to not receive particular vaccinations. It seems like in the US we have to be getting near this point, with so few reported cases of the diseases vaccines prevent. Admittedly this would be hard to estimate because these numbers are difficult to come by. Obviously there is no question that doctors and others need to promote vaccines to try to eliminate what disease we can, but it seems difficult for me to fault a parent for taking the least destructive route for their individual child (maybe it is easy to fault them for this, but it is unrealistic to expect this of them, people are naturally selfish, and even more so with their children).

  25. @ all

    I guess I have always read Phil’s articles with the idea that he felt vaccinations should be required. Granted, this is me putting words into his mouth, just the way the articles came across to me. In that vein, I felt that this article was going against that stance.

    However, I do still see problems with blasting people for not getting vaccinated which causes others to be hurt and then saying that it is a person’s right to determine if they get vaccinated. Sure, the base reason between why these people (anti-vaxxers vs. mandatory vaccination) both choose not to be vaccinated are different, but if the results would end up being the same, what is the true difference? I don’t see much difference between someone who refuses to see the facts vs. someone who sees the facts and then decides to put others in danger anyway.

  26. BrerScientist

    I think it comes down to the difference between 1) forbiding someone from doing something stupid (i.e., peeing on the electric fence), and 2) explaining to them why it is a bad idea, laughing at them when they do it anyway, and holding them up in public to scorn and riddicule as an example to others.

  27. OT – I’m rather surprised that the anti-vaxers have not really been commenting here lately. Perhaps our efforts are working? Either that or Phil’s losing his touch.

  28. chris j

    I don’t like the idea of forcing people to get vaccines either. Normally I’m for vax, but when it comes to flu shots, the news around here is always reporting there is not enough. So I usually take the stance of I want to get vaccinated but I’ll give up my spot for an elder or a child.

    If they could have enough on hand for the demand, then I’d go get a shot.

  29. J

    I lean heavily toward libertarianism: it’s my body and I get to decide what to do with it.

    Well, what about everything else? How about “It’s my money and I get to decide what to do with it”?

    How libertarian do you want to be?

  30. @chris j

    Hmm…interesting question. Which is better to do when the resources are limited: refuse the vaccine so that someone who is at greater risk can get it to protect themselves and those around them, or get the vaccine to protect yourself and those around you (including those at high risk)?

  31. J

    For everyone else it is safe and effective.

    That’s a rather absolute statement.

  32. Texas with all its flaws, mandates vaccinations for all kids to enter public school. I don’t know what the state’s stance is on N1H1 this year. Adults make the choices for themselves, but kids don’t have that kind of right.

  33. Lawrence

    24. Dan – The problem is that the level of disease is not consistent across the globe & people travel now, more than ever. If we thought we were at the point where certain diseases were so “unlikely” to occur within the US population & stopped the vaccinations for them, it would only take a small group of people traveling to a “disease-rich” part of the globe and return to cause a huge, huge problem.

    We can’t let our guard down – because when we get complacent, people get sick and people die – of diseases that they shouldn’t have gotten in the first place.

  34. @Robert Post #6:

    I think the big thing that Dr. Plait is really fighting against is the willfull ignorance and making decisions based on bald-faced lies. If someone makes an informed decision based on actual evidence not to get vaccinated or modify the vaccine schedule, that’s much better than believing in opting out because vaccines are manufactured by the iluminati which is secretly controlled by lizard people trying to destroy our race by making us all autistic as a result of anit-freeze…

    People need to come to the right decisions for the right reasons (coming to the right conclusion for the wrong reasons is never good enough). With as complex as the interplay of science and technology is in this world, having a bag full of wrong reasons can ultimately lead you to a disasteous conclusion.

    Just my take on it.

    As for people proclaiming they have a strong immune system… If the behaviour of this virus is as they expect, you may actually be in more danger from your own immune system than the virus itself. Basically your own immune system gets so carried away, it will end up killing you as a result of the virus. You may want to reconsider Chris J. and others.

  35. A couple points about the novel H1N1 strain:

    * We already know that it can spread very easily.
    * Those who are over 65 (IIRC) and were exposed to the older H1N1 strains have some cross-reactivity to protect them, though it’s no guarantee that they will not get a bad case.
    * So far, it appears to have been milder than the seasonal flu.
    * We don’t know how the virus will mutate.

    That last one is the biggie. It is possible that it will stay relatively the same, being slightly milder than the flu. It could mutate to become a non-threat at all. Or, it could mutate to become more virulent, which would be bad…really bad.

    Given that we don’t know exactly how it will change, it seems that the best course is to follow the current recommendations from the CDC. I.e., if you’re in one of the risk groups and do not have allergies that would prevent you, get the shot. If you are a healthcare worker, get the shot. If you come in contact with others (family, friends, you ride the bus/subway) who are at risk, get the shot.

    From what I’ve heard, the U.S. should be pretty well-stocked to vaccinate almost everyone, though I may be recalling that incorrectly. Anyone have a citation about how much is available?

  36. Sili

    You’re allowed to do your own electrical repairs? This side of the pond you can’t do that unless you’re a registered electrician. It’s not just your safety, though, it’s a question of endangering others through faulty wiring – perhaps even after you sell your house.

  37. @Sili

    You are able to do your own electrical repairs/installations, but most places require that the work must be examined by a licensed electrician or town official.

  38. Alexei

    I’m not a fan of mandatory safety laws in general. I know the argument: if people don’t wear seatbelts, et al they’ll just make it more expensive to everyone else when their bills come due. Well, it doesn’t have to. It seems to me that you can get the same effect in another way. Instead of making it illegal to not wear your seatbelt, a motorcycle helmet, or whatnot, make the person who chooses not to do those things face the consequences of his/her actions and pay the price himself That is, forbid insurance payments or other subsidies for medical bills because a person didn’t wear a seatbelt or whatever. All bills must be paid by the dumbass who didn’t do the right thing, even if it means an eternal garnishment of wages and liens on property. A little harsh, you say? I think not. Personal responsibility is a good, and necessary, thing.

    A similar thing could be done with vaccinations. Oh, you chose not to get vaccinated? Well, get ready to pay heavily if you get sick. Someone else’s kid got sick because you didn’t? Get ready to pay even more. Of course, it’d probably be hard to show proof for that….but maybe we just split the bill of treatment of diseases that are preventable with vaccines up amongst all those who choose not to vaccinate? That could work.

    Incentives matter, and they are FAR more effective than any restrictive law, no matter how well intentioned the law may be. Make people face the economic consequences of their actions and watch how quickly their behavior changes.

    Just my $.02

    Cheers,
    Alexei

  39. @Alexei

    For helmets, your idea works fine. However, when it comes to actions which harm not only the foolish individual, fines and penalties after the fact don’t remedy the fact that bystanders were already harmed. In those cases, mandatory compliance could, perhaps, be coupled with what you propose.

  40. All these folks saying “It’s my body, I’ll do what I want, so there, pbltltltltlt!” sound somewhat childish. When you get the flu, what will you do then? when you pass it to your kids and their friends and somebody who is elderly and can’t survive the flu, will you also take responsibility for not getting the flu shot?

    If you would also read the article, it doesn’t say anything about mandating out of the blue. It says in the case of a pandemic. We aren’t in a pandemic yet.

  41. Anthony

    The bill is only if an emergency is declared; which I assume would be in case we get a Spanish flu level of deaths. In which case mandatory vaccinations would be much more reasonable.

  42. Anthony

    Alexei, forbidding people from getting health insurance they paid for, and from ever going into bankruptcy, is not only harsh, it’s downright evil.

  43. Anthony

    “A similar thing could be done with vaccinations. Oh, you chose not to get vaccinated? Well, get ready to pay heavily if you get sick. Someone else’s kid got sick because you didn’t? Get ready to pay even more.”

    Retarded. Parents don’t own their children; they don’t have the right to gamble their lives for a fee. They don’t have the right to gamble other children for a fee. Personal responsibility is stupidity if it’s what you say it is.

  44. Sir Eccles

    The way I see it, I think Phil is railing against the idea that we even have to consider mandatory vaccinations. I think we would all prefer it if the populace was educated to the point that they just demand vaccinations as a matter of course.

    As it is we have the uneducated shouting from the roof tops that vaccines are bad and an increasing number of people are deciding they don’t need them. Ideally we would just educate them to the fact that they really should get vaccinated for their own and everyone elses good. But at what point do we have to give up speaking softly against the loud and uninformed and turn to the bigger stick the law might provide?

  45. shawmutt

    I believe the way the school system does it is spot on. Vaccines are required if you want to attend public schools. Now we just have to get rid of the silly religious exemption so that people who have a legitimate reason for not getting vaccinated will still be protected by herd immunity.

    Here’s hoping the flu virus stays relatively harmless this year.

  46. Radwaste

    “If I don’t use a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet, then I put an undue burden on others if I get injured.”

    Phil, use those heavy math skilz while you think. These change the degree of injury, but are not a panacea because of the demographic affected. For instance, I wear a $500+dollar Arai helmet AND I have been to serious riding school. Bikers, be aware that if you haven’t been to the equivalent of Jason Pridmore’s STAR school, you have a H-U-G-E amount of things to learn; it will embarrass you to think you’ve gone so long and simply not known what you were doing!

    But I digress. More than a helmet law, riding schools beat injury rates. The point is that the best society realizes that stupidity and poor judgment are to be avoided without government mandate; that results in the maximum possible individual liberty.

    Aside: you might notice that no one is interested in either seeing you in advanced driving schools or wearing a helmet in your car, even though head injuries in the car are the biggest killer.

  47. bellaboo

    i’ve never had a flu shot and really don’t think i’ll ever get one, and H1N1 vaccines are just too new for me to trust giving to my kid.

    my son has had all vaccinations outside of flu-related ones. (if he were a she, i would likely not get her the gardasil vac without a LOT of research first, and even then i’d be quite wary – again, too new.)

  48. Sam Nesvoy

    Torbjörn Larsson, OM:

    “So I would actually tentatively go with a “vaxx law”, unless someone makes a sufficiently clear claim why the situations [seatbelts vs. vax] differ qualitatively.”

    The government owns the roads, and so can tell you how to use them. You own your body.

    Alexei:

    “…forbid insurance payments or other subsidies for medical bills because a person didn’t wear a seatbelt or whatever.”

    Does the “whatever” mean you’re opposed to liability insurance in general?

  49. Helen

    #45 shawmutt

    Immunizing the kids won’t give a society the level of herd immunity needed.

    As for road safety. I’d rather keep my seat belt on; not all road accidents involve other road users. Hmm. The law says we must pass a rigorous test in order to drive. No one would say that restricts liberty.

  50. Dawn

    @Radwaste: OT but in response: I also always wear an Arai helmet (only brand that really fits me well and I have tried several). Almost always full gear of jacket, pants, gloves, boots, although I will occasionally ride locally in jeans instead of riding pants. Have done MSF courses but not any of the others, although I would like to when I have the time and money since none are so local that I can daytrip them.

    I will get the flu shot, and H1N1 if recommended by my doctor, along with updating my other vaccines that are due. Too old for Gardisil.

    The state has always had the ability to protect the public health by forced quarantine if treatment/prevention is refused. The individual may be kept in quarantine for the public good. Used to be quite common in the days of measles, mumps, etc (I still have some of my MD grandfather’s signs that he nailed on houses during house calls). And Massachusetts is not requiring vaccination unless a state of emergency is declared. If things get to that point…I wonder if it will be too little, too late?

  51. BlondeReb3

    I work with the public, so I definitely can see getting all the vaccines this year (that being said, I completely forgot last year and got sick to prove it). I also live in Massachusetts, and this is the first I’ve heard of the mandatory vaccine idea. I must now do research!

  52. Gamercow

    You haven’t made too many trips to Massachusetts, have you? :) We’re pretty strict when it comes to health up here. No smoking basically anywhere, some of the highest taxes on tobacco, high taxes on liquor, mandated health insurance, mandated auto insurance, laws for wearing seat belts and helmets, etc.

    On the other hand, Mass is one of the best places in the world to get health care, so it has its positive side as well.

    This bill doesn’t surprise me, not in this state.

  53. Mark Hansen

    Thomas (#8) and Will. M. (#23), it can be either bald-faced (usual) or bold-faced (less common), but bold-faced is not derived from the font style. Instead of retyping the whole article, I direct you to http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bal2.htm complete with citations. An excellent site for other words too.

  54. Wayne

    You lean libertarian? I knew I liked you.

  55. Sir Eccles

    #47 bellaboo

    Just to be clear here, the vaccine for swine flu H1N1 is not a “new vaccine” it is the same style of vaccine used every year for seasonal flu. The only difference is the choice of virus proteins used to manufacture it.

    Why is it separate? In simple terms, it missed the cut last year for the time period when WHO is deciding which strains might be needed in the next years vaccine.

    Has it been rushed? No, it merely skipped the three months of selecting which strains need to be in the vaccine.

  56. coolstar

    You lean libertarian? That explains a lot.

  57. bellaboo

    @55 Sir Eccles

    have there been H1N1 virus protein strains available before now in a vaccine form and have people been given this vaccine in the past?

    if not, it’s new. if so, why the outbreak?

    i’ve read a bit about the politics and bureaucratic goings on when it comes to the WHO and various countries’ overall health plans.

    politics and bureaucracy are the words that i see when it comes to infectious disease prevention and control.

    and i am not an anti-vaxxer.

    :)

  58. bellaboo

    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm182399.htm

    does that news release mean that the FDA only just approved the H1N1 vaccine on 9/15?

    i’m also wondering why, after how many months now and with the “epidemic” threat looming since way back then, does it still take so long to get a confirmation on whether something is H1N1 or not?

  59. Hi I’m writing from New Zealand where I looked into Gardasil for our daughter. What I uncovered shocked me into setting up a website http://www.offtheradar.co.nz so please check it out before making your decision.
    Moving on to the swine flu vaccine are many of you aware that in February of this year, Baxter International, a major contractor for the “Swine Flu” vaccine, CONTAMINATED 72 kg of the seasonal flu vaccine with LIVE BIRD FLU VIRUS. They then distributed the contaminated vaccine material to 16 countries. It was about to be released to the general public when alert laboratory staff in the Czech Republic discovered the problem, and averted what could have become a lethal pandemic. Baxter admitted the contamination, but claimed that it was an “accident” But was it an accident? For an “accident” like this to happen would have required a serious breach of its Level 3 Biosafety Containment protocals. Criminal charges have now been brought against Baxter, the UN and WHO – for terrorism likely to lead to genocide.

    Obviously we are not hearing about this in the mainstream media, however people should be very wary about allowing themselves and their children to be vaccinated with any vaccine manufactered by Baxter International.
    INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU VACCINATE I suggest

    Cheers
    Julie Smith
    http://www.offtheradar.co.nz
    New Zealand

  60. Phil, your libertarianism is getting the better of you. Remember, when there is a conflict between science and libertarianism, science is right.

    The biggest problem of intellectuals in the U.S. is their embrace of libertarianism. Probably it stems from not wanting to be associated with either of the two big parties. A classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Consider this: What country regularly tops the polls as the best in the world: quality of life, absence of corruption, low infant mortality, high standard of living, freedom of the press—as determined by the UN, Transparency International, Reporters Without Borders, Doctors Without Borders etc? Norway. There (as in a few other countries), every citizen has his earnings, tax paid and personal wealth available on the internet, for anyone to look (before the internet, there was a book in city hall with the information). OF COURSE people are required to have ID cards, the government knows who is vaccinated and who is not etc.

    The fact of the matter is that libertarians think that libertarianism is the path to a good society, yet all (by the libertarians’ own criteria) good societies usually have a social-democratic type government.

  61. RichardX

    The biggest problem of intellectuals in the U.S. is their embrace of libertarianism.

    Cite? Or is this in one of those parallel universes on Fringe? U.S. “intellectuals” lean strongly to the left, and consider anyone else to be, and I quote directly, “libertards”, thus acting like children and belittling the mentally handicapped in one go.

    Go over to ScienceBlogs (or “RabidIdeologyBlogs” as many call it these days) and make even a slightest criticism of the current health care bill. You will be vilified as a redneck racist troglodyte, sight unseen by strangers who have no idea of your race, gender or even basic physical dimensionality. Ideology is the *death* of science and reason.

    yet all (by the libertarians’ own criteria) good societies usually have a social-democratic type government.

    Is there a truly libertarian society to even make a comparison? There’s also so many other factors that the USA has to deal with that simply don’t exist on the same scale elsewhere.

  62. The Misery Man

    Well, a nut had to come along eventually. Cheers to #60 for being that nut!

  63. Lawrence

    What I can’t wrap my head around, is how people think the government would deal with a true outbreak of a major infectious disease – one that started killing large numbers of people – without some restraints on individual liberties (such as involuntary quarantines and mandatory vaccinations – if available).

    I can just imagine, with the kind of hysteria that right-wing (and to be fair) left-wing organizations have created in the current political climate, that you might just have a full-on uprising against any government activities that tried to halt the spread of a disease that infringed upon a persons’ rights.

    To be fair, I would hope that people in general would understand that drastic action is necessary, but I fear that a major subset would reject any government attempts to help, out of hand, and cause major, major disruptions. We seem to have such a knee-jerk reaction today (which is ironic, since right-wing conservatives seem to have no problem with the anti-terrorism & survelliance laws that restrict privacy rights enacted under Bush, but now they have a problem with those same laws under Obama?).

    Not to get off-topic, but in any type of disaster or major outbreak situation, some decisions are going to be made for the common good, that will definitely have a negative impact on the rights of the individual.

    I hope it never gets to that point – but I think it is only a matter of time before we are faced with that type of situation – maybe not this year or next, but in the next 10 – 20 you can only guarantee some kind of situation with arise that requires global coordination to deal with.

  64. @Julie Smith

    Umm…the stuff that Baxter sent was not for human use. It was for lab use. It sent it to its contracted labs in Europe, and one of the labs discovered the contamination. The material would never have reached the population.

    But then, conspiracy theories are so much more fun.

  65. Alexei

    Sam (#48):

    No, by the whatever I mean any of the myriad safety features out there that you could ignore and then hurt YOURSELF.

    I have no problem at all with holding someone liable for hurting someone else.

    Anthony (#42):

    Obviously, my idea would have to become a part of insurance contracts, and the laws and regulations governing them. I agree that simply not honoring contracts out of the blue would be wrong.

    But evil? Really?

    Let’s think this one through, shall we?

    If the dumbass who doesn’t wear his seatbelt, gets into a wreck, and winds up badly injured doesn’t pay for his bills, who’s going to? You and me, that’s who, whether from higher insurance rates, higher taxes, or a mixture of the two. In that case you have a situation where this person is claiming the right to our wealth without offering us any service in return. Since we won’t be allowed to say no (especially in the case of higher taxes), this amounts to theft, plain and simple.

    Taking something from another person that you have no right to is evil, my friend. Requiring someone to pay for services that they received is a moral necessity (and an economic one too).

  66. How, if your kid had the shot, could someone’s kid that did not have the shot put your kid at risk? Thought the shot protects us?

    doublethink….

  67. Radwaste

    “On the other hand, Mass is one of the best places in the world to get health care, so it has its positive side as well.”

    And Mass. health care plan is in deep trouble.

    “If the dumbass who doesn’t wear his seatbelt, gets into a wreck, and winds up badly injured doesn’t pay for his bills, who’s going to? You and me, that’s who, whether from higher insurance rates, higher taxes, or a mixture of the two. In that case you have a situation where this person is claiming the right to our wealth without offering us any service in return. Since we won’t be allowed to say no (especially in the case of higher taxes), this amounts to theft, plain and simple.”

    The solution to both problems is right here.

  68. @SomeDude

    How, if your kid had the shot, could someone’s kid that did not have the shot put your kid at risk? Thought the shot protects us?

    Because no medicine is 100% effective. That includes vaccines. However, getting immunized cuts the odds of being infected by quite a bit.

  69. @Phillip Helbig (#61)

    Libertarianism is not always about making a better society. At a basic level, it’s about personal rights. If one could push a button and rid someone of all diseases, maladies, etc, with no side effects, that would be grand. But you would have absolutely no right to do that to someone against their wishes, for better or for worse. I realize that the article is talking about emergency situations, which is admittedly not the same as day to day business, and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but the issue of personal rights is still present regardless. You can’t just ignore someone’s right to live unmolested simply because it’s convenient for society. The final decision may or may not side with personal rights, but you can’t just flat out ignore them because you want to make a better or safer country.

  70. @Phil Plait (#0)

    I’m afraid I have to side with many other commentors and point out that seat belt and helmet laws are decidedly not libertarian in any way, shape, or form. If I choose not to wear a seatbelt, that is my decision, and I’ll make that dumb decision on my own. (For the record, I always wear my seatbelt, even if I’m just driving across a parking lot.) If my passengers don’t want to wear one, I am responsible for that, and can choose to either drive as is, make them put it on, or refuse to drive. But it’s my choice. It doesn’t affect anyone else to any appreciable degree, and should not be subject to legislation. And all that aside, back to the original point: it’s not libertarian. You may or may not lean that way, and may or may not wear your seat belt, but please don’t confuse libertarianism with forcing people to be safe.

    That aside, I live in Longmont, and my wife and I would be honored to treat you to drinks and/or dinner some time, if you find yourself with some free time. I promise to make you wear your seatbelt. ;)

    – Bill

  71. ND

    Julie Smith,

    Is there any direct evidence that Baxter deliberately mixed up live flu vaccine? What you’ve presented in your post is an assumption. The way conspiracy theories are built.

    Can you point us to some sources talking about the criminal charges against Baxter?

  72. @ND

    Can you point us to some sources talking about the criminal charges against Baxter?

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. Someone by the handle “General J.D. Ripper” has been going on about that for a long time in the “Australian Antivax Movement Takes Its Toll” thread. He still hasn’t produced any evidence to support the claim.

  73. John

    Sticking things in other people without their consent is very naughty crime.

    Why are we even debating this?

  74. J

    #49-

    There are indeed large numbers of people that say that you have a right to travel, period. And, that registrations, licenses, etc. are all infringements upon true liberty.

    You can bring up all sorts of arguments for and against and it will never end, but to counter your point, there are people who say that requiring driving licenses does restrict liberty.

  75. J

    #75 – Taking people’s money without their consent is also very naughty.

    Taking people’s property and giving it to someone else is also very naughty.

    The list can go on and on. The government does many many things that would be considered criminal if an individual did it.

  76. Sir Eccles

    @57. bellaboo

    have there been H1N1 virus protein strains available before now in a vaccine form and have people been given this vaccine in the past?

    As I understand it, a different strain of H1N1 is also in this years seasonal flu shot, and has been in previous years too.

    if not, it’s new. if so, why the outbreak?

    Let me put this in simple terms. The swine flu H1N1 strain first cropped up outside of the normal flu season. People dying of flu outside of normal flu season is a big red flag. It was only identified after WHO had selected the strains for this years seasonal shot and manufacture was underway. I understand it takes quite a while to properly identify strains. Given the fact that very few people have antibodies to this strain and that it is killing people outside of normal flu season, they decided it would be prudent to produce a second shot just with swine flu H1N1. Luckily, all the factories had pretty much done making the seasonal flu shot so were up and ready to go, hence months of time saved.

    The flu shot is “new” every year, but they make it the same way. Think of it this way, the seasonal flu shot is a chocolate milkshake, the swine flu H1N1 shot is a strawberry milkshake. They are both milkshakes, made the same way, just different sugar syrup added.

    and i am not an anti-vaxxer.

    Are you sure?

  77. ND

    Todd W.

    Sounds like the same old game.

  78. bellaboo

    @ Sir Eccles — thank you for the explanation and simple is definitely best when it comes to explaining something to me.

    fwiw, my child is 12 and has had every shot he’s supposed to have had so i’m pretty sure that qualifies me as NOT an anti-vaxxer. i’m not really sure how choosing to not get flu shots based on my and my family’s individual medical history qualifies me as an anti-vaxxer, but i could be wrong. happens all the time.

  79. I think it should depend on how big a threat to the population the specific disease causing agent is.

  80. John

    #77

    I make a not very subtle reference to rape and you retort with property laws. Either you completely missed the point or your moral compass is broken.

  81. Annie

    WOW! How many of you pro-vaccine individuals eat commercial food sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, miticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers and a host of other big-pharm chemicals before it gets to your mouth? How many of you feed your kids Frootloops, Pop Tarts & Kraft macaroni and cheese while slathering on chemical sunscreens and chemical bug sprays? Please do not compare the level of intellegence between you, myself and others like myself…. not to mention what it means to make educated, responsible choices for ourselves and our children. And please, NEVER asume anything about us anti-vaxx. I am not anti-anything. The truth of anything lies only within our own understanding and our instincts. No one has the right to deny any individual the rigt to their own body. And you want me to be vaccinated to protect someone else? WHAT??? Beam me up Scotti.

    And right! There is no conspiracy. Are you kidding me? Just like there are no known cures for antibiotic reistant staph (or any other no-cure disease). None found in big-pharm for sure. Should you go to jail because your child dies from staph when there are herbs and essentil oils (along wih good nutrition etc.) that could have helped save their life? (Personal experience on that one) Maybe you simply don’t believe they work. Right or wrong, it is your choice not governments. Please reflect and try to leave judgement behind.

    Annie

  82. Ralph Warren Siegler

    “Vaccines are incredibly safe, with minute risk of any illness or side effects. ” A surprising statement for a supposed scientist to make, as while many vaccines indeed have been beneficial to mankind yet others (new flu vaccines made for significantly different strains in particular) have at times maimed and killed people. And you were foolish to jump so early on the Gardasil bandwagon as reports now are coming out of terrible side effects in significant number of recipients, you may indeed have risked making your child a victim of Big Pharmy and their fat cat minions that rule (or feed as does a parasite on) our land.

    Why has the fraction of children with allergies drastically increased in the last couple of decades, could it be a result of the massive assault on their immune systems due to excessive numbers of vaccinations?

    I have a right to be secure in my person, and that means no one can tell me what to ingest and no one can shoot a foreign substance into my veins or my children’s veins without my consent. I choose to participate in vaccinations that have stood the test of time, but not rush to be an early adopter.

    See, there was a time when I would get influenza vaccinations in the years past, they work until about April when their efficacy wears off and I caught the flu anyway! I therefore believe my getting them pointless.

    The oft-hyped Spanish Flu deaths were mainly due to secondary infections in an era with no antibiotics, and yet we have this media and WHO and government hysteria over the mildest influenza strain to come along in years, with the least deaths! And yet here you are, supposed scientist, thinking that this very, very mild flu somehow justifies government intrusion into people’s veins.

  83. April

    1. Don’t compare the flu to small pox or polio. Most people who get the flu feel crappy for about a week and then are fine. Only a small, at-risk population need worry about it and that includes the “swine flu”, just a name for a particular strand of flu that has been hyped up. The statistics that cite the number of people sickened or killed by swine flu are no different than the numbers that come out for the flu every year.

    2. If you choose to vaccinate your child, how is your child put at risk by an un-vaccinated child? Isn’t that why you vaccinated them in the first place?

    3. This issue is not a gray area. Liberty is always the right answer.

  84. @Ralph Warren Siegler

    And you were foolish to jump so early on the Gardasil bandwagon as reports now are coming out of terrible side effects in significant number of recipients

    Citation, please.

    Why has the fraction of children with allergies drastically increased in the last couple of decades, could it be a result of the massive assault on their immune systems due to excessive numbers of vaccinations?

    What else has happened in the last couple decades? Increased concern over “germs” leading to more disinfectants and less exposure to antigens. Less outdoor activity. Computer use has gone up, so that may be a connection. There are more cars and other sources of pollution. Lots of things to look at as possible connections. Now, with scientific inquiry, we can narrow those things down. So, do you have some science to support your guess?

    I choose to participate in vaccinations that have stood the test of time, but not rush to be an early adopter.

    That’s your choice, and you’re welcome to it. Just bear in mind the consequences of your actions.

    yet we have this media and WHO and government hysteria over the mildest influenza strain to come along in years

    It’s been relatively mild thus far. However, there is no way to know for certain what it will be like when it comes around this flu season. It may mutate to be even milder. It could stay relatively the same. Or, it could mutate to become extremely virulent and deadly.

    Also, the H1N1 vaccine is not any newer than the annual seasonal flu vaccine. The only thing that’s different is the strain being used. The manufacturing process is the same. The testing process it the same. Dr. Joe Albietz, among others, wrote a very good article on this at Science-Based Medicine (which is having host server issues at the moment, so is unavailable, but when it’s back up, I highly recommend reading it).

  85. @April

    Don’t compare the flu to small pox or polio. Most people who get the flu feel crappy for about a week and then are fine. Only a small, at-risk population need worry about it and that includes the “swine flu”, just a name for a particular strand of flu that has been hyped up. The statistics that cite the number of people sickened or killed by swine flu are no different than the numbers that come out for the flu every year.

    1. See some of my comments above to Ralph regarding virulence of the H1N1 strain. Additionally, yeah, most people feel crappy for a few days to a week, then get better. That’s a week out of work, so their employers are affected as well. If it is a child, then their parent/guardian misses work to care for them, so, again, employers are affected. Some will be hospitalized for a few hours to days, using up medical resources. And some will die. Further, each person that is infected is contagious from about a couple days before they show symptoms to a couple days after symptoms subside, so they can spread the infection to others, including people who may be at risk. A vaccine can cut the risk and impact of all of that.

    If you choose to vaccinate your child, how is your child put at risk by an un-vaccinated child? Isn’t that why you vaccinated them in the first place?

    2. Because while vaccines are relatively effective, they are not 100% effective. We vaccinate to reduce the overall risk, not only to the individual, but to everyone with whom the individual comes in contact, as well. Remember, there are people who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical reasons (e.g., egg allergies).

    This issue is not a gray area. Liberty is always the right answer.

    3. Whose liberty? Your liberty to not get stuck vs. someone else’s liberty to not be infected by you?

  86. Annie

    When the word liberty is tossed around, so few agree on what that means. The real defnition is: the freedom to think and act without necessity or force.

    Forced vaccination, according to defintion, is a loss of liberty.
    3 words: FREEDOM and WITHOUT FORCE

    End of debte.

    Is arguing about liberty really the issue? Because if it is, then we are in for a bumpy,bumpy ride. Seat belts on? Just look at his/herstory. No one likes to be forced to do things especially with their bodies. What you get in return is very ugly indeed.

    If you have the liberty to spray chemicals on your lawn, or use chemical medicine, especially chemotherapy, and buy foods sprayed with all sorts of chemicals (not to mention the chemicals to treat the soil), use bleach, commercial laundry detergents, perfumes, soaps, antibiotic sprays & lotions, weed kiler and so on …….(I’m sure you get my point)All these things affect ME. All of these toxic chemicals end up in MY air, MY soil, MY drinking water etc. ALL of these chimicals end up back into the environment and is killing people and causing disease. And there are so many of these disturbing little creations of “science” in our environment that chemical dumps exist because there is no where to put all the waste (and this does not include the stuff going directly into the air,oceans, down drains and toilets through human waste and directly into the ground.)

    And funny…… no one wants one of these chemical incinerators in their town. Gee, why not?

    Countless people are effeted by these “choices” individuals are making to use these insideous chemicals. Who has the liberty? When I choose not to use these things (not even chemical medicine) I am still being exposed to these poisons as well as my children. Now MY children are exposed to chemicals that have been seriously linked to cancers, auto-immune disease, neurological damage, asthma, and numerous other diseases.

    Repeat! WHO’S LIBERTY?

    AND when you choose to take any chemical into your body,you excrete a good portion of it out through your sweat, breath, urine and feces. ALL….once again, end up in MY world. So please get over yourself.

    No one is completely immune to anything people do & no one has the right to force us to “stick” chemicals/viruses etc.directly into our bodies without our consent. I agree it is a crime.

    Hopefully the bigger picture will eventually emerge & those who are blind will finally see. We will never be able to “have it all our way”. It is just a fact.

    I think the best defense to it all is a good attitude,a good life, lots of laughs, lots of love, good nutrition, good environment, good friends, good job….. you get it. I hear it goes a LONG way!

    Annie

  87. Annie

    Sorry, sometimes I can’t spell:-)

  88. One of those "crazy" Ron Paulians

    For those of you who jest and mock the importance of a free society, and by free I mean free, you or your children will reap what you sow.  Many people simply do not learn the lessons of history.  Liberty is not some ancient failed idea, it is a blink in the history of society.  Communism, fascism, feudalism, socialism, and all the forms of government based around collectivist tribalism are nothing new. The great libertarian experiment established by our constitution has slowly eroded thanks to untold numbers of arrogant “intellectuals” who believe they know what’s is best for everyone.  While claiming they have “science” on their side, they ignore the most basic laws of nature.  Fish swim in schools that disorient predators not because central planners coerce and direct them where to swim, but because they are doing what is in their best interest on the individual level. For those of you who would sterilize our society into uniformity for the “greater” or “common” good, join the many failures throughout history.  Society is made up of individuals, and what is good for the individual is good for society (since society is merely a name for a number of individuals, for those of you who are slow).  With that aside, the very idea that we should entrust the government with the arbitrary power to force questionable substances into our bodies is assinine, insane, and ignorant at best.  And to clear up the grey area argument of freedoms, I would point out that our freedoms are documented quite clearly in the constitution, and it does not include freedom from fear, hurt feelings, or from people having any effect on eachother. It simply guarantees freedom from AGRESSION by others (for example, placing a needle in one’s arm against their will).  In fact, the only role intended by most of the founders for the government was to protect the citizens’ right to be free from aggression.  It’s too bad we weren’t taught that in public school ;}

  89. Annie

    Ok…. I must have typed in some no-no’s. I had no swears, no foul language in any way…… I hit submit and presto….. nothing. Completely gone. Coincidence?

    Guess my comments made the computer nervous and uneasy!

  90. Annie

    Ok…. are there key words that flag this site? I’m a little irritated now.

  91. Annie

    Ok I will try again…… My first draft was “lost”.

    glitches in my keyboard, I apologize for errors-

    Double, Triple kudos to you “crazy” Ron Paul supporter- You rock!

    although there is an article (11 I think) in the constitution that gives gov’t (I think it is the president to be exact) the absolute power to create laws without any consent if deemed necessary (FOR WHAT?) and the absolute power to enforce them. SCARY! Maybe the people who were against the constitution & warned that it could be a threat to freedom knew what they were talking about.

    Also, on the vaccine issue…

    Why do people keep saying that vaccines are safe and effective and save millions of lives? Do we just ignore the babies and children in third world countries who die or are seriously injured during the “testing” of our safe and effective vaccines (and other drugs)? I wonder if the small amount of money their parents received for allowing their children to be “experiments” think it is worth it. And how many have to die before they finally “get it right” so we here in the USA can have our safe and effective vaccines while we eat food filled with pesticides, fungicides, miticides, chemical fetilizers, GMO’s,artificil everything, radiaton, etc.? Oh right, authorties really care deely about our well being. Are you brain damaged? Do you need to hear this again?

    Bricks please…..

    When the head of the American Pediatric Association (It makes me cringe to capitilize this as to infer such importance) admits….. REPEAT: ADMITS
    that some babies die (how many?) or are damaged permanently because of vaccines, it is worth it for the greater good. Still no light on yet? When expert virologists and immunologists admit that vaccines are still an inexact science(Ya think?)and really hve no idea how they effect the human body -and many have gone on to openly testify about their dangers….
    Oh right. But this cannot be “proven”. “PROOF”! Dead children and injured people are not good “scientific” studies with rigorous criteria. So, if it is your child dead in their crib 12 hours after a vaccine, that is too bad. No investigation, no nothing! (Yes, I get the Tylenol thing too… most likely a nasty player as well. Tylenol has bee linked to serious issues especially in children)

    To say there is no evidence that vaccine damage occurs more than on rare occasion is like saying the earth is flat. It is absolute ignorance. You are just plain wrong. When doctors, researchers, virologists, immunologists etc. come out and start speaking about the dangers, they are ousted faster than you can blink. Threatend and bullied. Yet, they all hold degrees in their field, some have even held high recognition awards for their achievements. But again, all this ignored because it questions the medical dogma. Are you followig here?

    Pro-vacciners, you are in way over your head. We are well equippd to toss you off your high horses. Please don’t state that your opinion is a scientific fact. Do your homework. You obviously have not even looked at the wealth of information out there. Yes, some of it is flawed no doubt, but certainly there is enough disturbing informatin to make anyone with a functioning brain question vaccination. You are on a slippery slope when you advocate for forcing anything into someone elses body. Those of us who take our liberties seriously are not stupid, ignorant, uneducated people.

    Seperating the wheat from the chaff for sure.

  92. Annie

    more glitches than I thought, sorry….
    It leaves letters out- I tried to catch them all but missed a few. Plus sometimes I can’t spell.

  93. Annie

    Ok….. Sorry for all the posts. I haven’t read all the other posts and am trying to catch up.

    Ok….. those of you worried about the “swine” mutating to be “deadly” in one season & are willing to believe this balony-sp?(oh, what is the word that the pro-vaxxers like to use… “propaganda”) from “authorities” really makes me question your ability to reason. It is hard to have a discussion on such issues if basic science is not understood. Other than you Phil, does anyone else have any background in science (especially of the human body)because then, this could get really fun! (I think you and I Phil have just begun!) Let’s keep this light hearted.

    Does anyone remember about how viruses transfer their genetic code to human cells? And under what conditions? And at what point they begin to mutate & through what adaptive process? Any takers????????

    Because then we can clear up this whole mess. Amazing how all basic scientific observations are thrown out the window when people are fed tons of ooops, “propaganda”.

    Reality check……….
    When people first started flying in planes, almost everyone threw up. Now, no one does -hardly. Has flying changed?

    In “scientific” experiments, people were burned with a short touch of an ice cube because they were blindfolded and told it was hot coal. WHY?

  94. @Annie

    Leaving the political issues aside, let’s talk about the science. You stated that adverse reactions to vaccines occurred on more than just a rare occurrence. Please provide a citation showing that this is so.

    You also claimed that children in third world countries die or are seriously injured by testing vaccines for use in the U.S. Again, please provide a citation showing that this is so.

    When people first started flying in planes, almost everyone threw up.

    Citation, please.

    Now, no one does -hardly. Has flying changed?

    Well, flying hasn’t changed that much, but the aircraft have. Lots of environmental controls to keep people comfortable. Assuming that your first claim was correct, perhaps the development of pressurized cabins had an effect.

    However, what aviation has to do with vaccines, I have no clue. Likewise the ice cube thing (again, citation, please). What relevance does it have to vaccines? Or is it just a “science is evil” gambit?

  95. Annie

    Well, it has been years since my dive into the research. Sorry, I did not save a folder. You want a citation? Who would please you? A citation from whom or from what organization would you deem credible? I am not the one trying to convince you. I do not care at all what you choose to believe. This is simply your way of defending your postion. So be it.

    Ok, on your comment about flying…. exactly! Many factors most likely have an effect. And one more added… human adaptation. Adaptation of every living organism to adapt to its environment.

    When we try to outdo nature, we usually end up in a heap of trouble. And, would you need a citation to believe that antibiotics have caused many forms of bacteria to mutate at a far more rapid pace and are now anti-biotic resistant and have no effect except to cause further mutation & serious damage to human health? How do most people respond? Use antibacterial soaps and gels and cleansers and such. Thats logical! Bacteria and viruses are smarter than people. This is obvious. Oh right, sorry, no citation.

    I don’t need a “citation” or “research” to know that aloe, honey or lavender is excellent for burns -even 3rd degree burns (even though it does exist). I also don’t need research to tell me that pesticides are harmful. I do not need a citation to convince me that Raid kills bugs. I don’t need research to tell me that injecting viruses with mercury and a host of other toxic chemicals along with animal DNA & aborted fetus remnants is not a good thing.

    And no, the ice cube experiment just suggests how people can be brainwashed to “create” what they believe. Oh, the power of suggestion.

    No comment on the viruses?

    And who, I repeat, WHO do you think they test their vaccines and drugs on? Just those little lab rats & chimps locked away in cages? Boy, you are sadly unwilling to open your eyes. You live in a bubble. Stay if it makes you feel good. I personally don’t like being a pawn in someone elses game.
    The same chemical companies “saving” our lives are also the same ones who made napalm (sp?) and other horrific chemicals made exclusively for biological warfare. Bless them. They are saints. Yes, you can trust them. But I will decline.

    Though shall do NO harm is the oath doctors take. NO is the key word here. Not “a little bit” or “only to animals” or “harm a few to save the many”. This conversation isn’t even worth having anymoe. You obviously live on different planet than I.

  96. Annie

    No, I do not think all science is evil…(I will use the word “evil” loosely to denote selfishness, greed, power, corruption… individuals who are morally deficient)

    There are good people who truly believe they are doing good
    There are good people who simply tow the line (good or bad)
    There are good people participating in “evil” without realizing
    There are people who are asleep and just tow the line (good or bad)
    There are people who are asleep and particpte in evil
    There are people who know they are participating in evil but feel helpless to change it &so they try to justify it
    There are people who are disturbed and immoral and do evil because they have no compassion for others, get satisfaction from it or have something to gain (usually all 3).
    And, most likely there are evil people that end up somehow doing good

    I personally think vaccines fall under every category.

  97. Annie

    To clarify: “made napalm” should read “manufactured napalm”. I know the wonderful good hearted Harvard professor created it.

    And also to clarify (I know you like “scientific” facts) Most, if not all chemical and pharmaceutical companies are cozy, cozy bedfellows if not outright owned by the same corporations (albeit under different names).

  98. Frank

    You are sadly misinformed. You are a sheep that blindly follows what they tell you and have not done your research on the toxic effects of this vaccine. I can tell you this.. NO vaccine will make it to my arms, OR my kids arms, THAT i can promise you. And as far as MY kid “Giving” YOUR kid something.. I will take care of the quarantine. NOT THEM. I can promise you that too.

  99. Annie

    Frank, Who is your post aimed at? It follows my post. (???????)

  100. @Annie

    A citation from whom or from what organization would you deem credible?

    Respected, peer-reviewed medical journals would be a good place to start. Like JAMA, NEJM, Lancet, etc. Note, though, that journals that purport to be peer-reviewed, but are merely crank, pseudoscience journals like Medical Hypotheses and Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons are not sources of reliable information.

    Regarding human adaptation to flying. You might be right. You might be wrong. This is where citations help. Otherwise, all you have is personal speculation.

    And who, I repeat, WHO do you think they test their vaccines and drugs on? Just those little lab rats & chimps locked away in cages?

    I’m quite aware that they do not only test products on non-human animals (at least one rodent species and one non-rodent species, as required by law). They also test it in humans. There are Phase I-III clinical trials which use volunteers. They are required by law, as well, and include certain ethical requirements. Reference the Declaration of Helsinki to what those requirements are. In fact, there are quite a large number of regulations that must be followed, unless the company wishes to face the legal repercussions. See chapter 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, accessible from the FDA web site, for the litany of regulations medical product manufacturers must follow.

    But, I’m not questioning whether they are tested in humans or not. I’m questioning whether the products, meant for use in the U.S., are tested in people in third world countries, as you claim. And, even were they tested in such populations, that is not inherently bad or wrong, so long as they are following appropriate ethical guidelines.

    I don’t need research to tell me that injecting viruses with mercury and a host of other toxic chemicals along with animal DNA & aborted fetus remnants is not a good thing.

    Perhaps you don’t need research, but you do need a proper education in how immunology works. You should also try getting your information from reputable sites and not places like whale.to, Age of Autism or similar sources of misinformation. I recommend visiting the library and looking at a book on immunology or similar topics, reading some of the info online at Science-Based Medicine or heck, even a good encyclopedia article on vaccines and how they work. Further, antiantivax.flurf.net has information addressing some common myths about vaccines.

    Just a quick note on why I ask for citations. It not only helps to bolster your argument (depending on the quality of the source), but it also allows other readers to know where you are getting your information from and understand the reasoning behind your arguments.

  101. Annie

    Todd, I do not mean to antagonize you. I cannot quite discern your tone.

    I have very little time but just for the record -I do have a mainstream, conventional science background in human health.

    I do not get my information from any of those sites you mentioned and am not affiliated with any group.

    I will try to reply again to adress your remarks.

  102. Terry

    I haven’t had a flu shot in many years and have not had the flu during that time. If you have a weak immune system then consider the shot. I prefer to use natural immune boosting herbs. As far as claiming vaccines are incredibly safe, do some more research.

  103. Annie

    “Peer review” journals are pretty obvious as to their agenda. Why is it that over the past 20 years (that is my scope), hardly ever does there appear research that goes against accepted medical ideas? Do none exist? Are they ALL flawed? It is a big boys club and it is too bad that so many people are bind to this fact. Every 5-20 years, we discover grave seriousness with many, many drugs that had been “proven” safe. Look at all the drugs over recent past years that have been taken out of circulation due to their “obvious” dangers. Are you implying that there was never any good “research” showing these dangers because they never ended up in your beloved journals? Because you would be incredibly wrong on this note. This is a disturbing pattern to conventional medical legacy. I have no faith in them.

    Back in the 70’s there were many “warners” of the dangers of microwave ovens. No one listened.

    Lot’s of warnings of the dangers of the early birth control pill -no one listend.

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of Thalidimide (sp?) No one listened.

    Lot’s of warnings on the anti-nausea pills women took while pregnant. No one listened.

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of smoking. No one listened.

    Lot’s of warnings on Lipador (or Lipator?) and a host of other drugs. Hmmmm.

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of chemotherapy… Some are listening now.

    Lot’s of warnings on Gardasil (sp?)……..Who is listening!

    No thank you, I pass. Don’t need research, it’s painfully obvious.

    The methods of my reasoning behind my position are not intended to persuade others. It is not my intention to gain support for my views. I do not need to have people understand my choices. I was just addng my “anti-vax” position because I noticed there weren’t too many. But then again, I guess I forgot what site I was on.

    The way I make decisions comes from my intuitive and instinctual source. I will at times, go for the mind stuff but if information appears conflicting and completely antagonistic, then I go with my gut. It has never been wrong. I like to see both sides. I hash it around, ponder it, hold it up against my light, then usually my gut leads me to the place I need to be.

    And thank goodness…..my husband had a serious staph infection in his arm after a burn at work. Within 24 hours his arm was the size of a football & in severe pain. Pretty scary. We knew of several people who had staph and were treated with massive antibiotcs (which makes no sense considering most strains are mutating faster than antibiotics can keep up and are now anti-biotic resistant) and their stories were not good ones. So, my faith and trust in natural medicine would most likely be our best choice. My husband wasn’t convinced -but was very uneasy about taking massive amounts of antibiotics. With herbs and essential oils, the swelling was almost gone within 24 hours…even to my surprise! This is only one of the many stories I have of personal experience. We have healed (or helped others heal) broken bones, 3rd degree burns, hematomas, severe lacerations, hernia, ovarian cysts,pneumonia, etc. All without conventional medicine. I am not opposed to it completely, I just have never needed it in 20 years. It probably helps that I have 20 years of education and experience in natural healing (after my mind-numbing “real” education of course) and usally know what to use but sometimes I have to go with intuition. Again, never fails. And even had my kids without doctors. Boy, I’m really crazy now!

    Why do I share my story……. because you will find no “peer reviewed” research showing that any natural remedies work (funny considering that many drugs are created based on plant chemistry but man has not yet been able to master this without ugly side effects) Germany has many well-researched documents relating to their safety and effectiveness. Medical authorties claim there is no cure for MERSA (sp?) WRONG! or poionous mushroom. Wrong again. (actually the powers know the remedy) So, people are dying because why? Right, no “peer reviewed” research -so out you go. Well, if you happen to be in the woods and get bit by something poisonous and you failed to notice the (non “peer reviewed”)remedy near by -which could save you life, then you are the sorry one, aren’t you?

    I know some will claim that big-pharm makes medicines safer than nature but I will just not even waste my time on this one. Ummm. Sure! I think they are the same people who think organic food can be dangerous. After all, all those “creepy” organisms.

    You can have your actions driven by what others think, if it makes you comfortable but I have personal experience & the experience of those who have gone before me & common sense. Don’t care at all what doctors think!

    Another note -Regulations for big-pharm or the enforcement of them doesn’t apply outside the US. Lucky them!

    FYI: The first vaccines were created by a homeopath -called nosodes. This is well documented but surely you won’t find it in any of your reading. Effective without side effects. Then enter Pasteur and conventional doctors. New and improved vaccines which did kill many people (well known) in those early days & were far less effective (clearly). Then, they villified all homeopaths and the rest is our ugly history. (Did I mention I am a health history buff?)

    Sad we don’t follow anything our “father of modern medicine” taught. We have ignored his wisdom & have bastardized his name with the phony “Hippocratic Oath”. Such a shame.

  104. @Annie

    Again, you provide no citations to any sources for your information, and you appear to be ignorant on several health points:

    Back in the 70’s there were many “warners” of the dangers of microwave ovens. No one listened.

    What are these dangers, and what evidence do you have to support those dangers?

    Lot’s of warnings of the dangers of the early birth control pill -no one listend.

    What exaclty did no one listen to? You mean the list of adverse events in the labeling?

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of Thalidimide (sp?) No one listened.

    Wrong. There was considerable concern about the use of thalidomide in pregnant women. An pharmacologist at the FDA (Frances Oldham Kelsey), in fact, raised the red flags and refused its approval. People did listen. They called for more studies, and prevented the devastating effects that occurred in Europe.

    Lot’s of warnings on the anti-nausea pills women took while pregnant. No one listened.

    Which ones? When? Back before the ’60s, testing drugs in pregnant women wasn’t all that common, because it was generally thought that they weren’t significantly different from non-pregnant women. Science has advanced significantly since then, and we know to test things in not only pregnant women, to determine the effects on both the woman and the fetus, but also in women of child-bearing age, among many other populations recognized as having different physiology.

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of smoking. No one listened.

    Bollocks. The people who didn’t listen and tried to spin smoking as safe were the tobacco companies. Independent scientists, for a very long time, recognized that smoking was not safe.

    Lot’s of warnings on Lipador (or Lipator?) and a host of other drugs. Hmmmm.

    You mean warnings that came out of clinical trials and post-market surveillance and are clearly listed in the packaging?

    Lot’s of warnings on the dangers of chemotherapy… Some are listening now.

    Chemotherapy is dangerous. That is well known. When it comes to chemo, or any drug for that matter, the potential benefits must be weighed against the risks. Take pancreatic cancer, for example. Without treatment, stage IV pancreatic cancer has an average survival time of around 4 months. With chemo, a patient with stage IV pancreatic cancer can survive (and actually have a relatively good quality life) for up to 1-2 years.

    Lot’s of warnings on Gardasil (sp?)……..Who is listening!

    What warnings? You mean the reported deaths? Upon investigation into the deaths reported as being connected to Gardasil, it was found that there was no causal link between the vaccine and the deaths. In fact, a good portion of them appear to have been due to other medical conditions. For more on this and other adverse events, see http://tinyurl.com/knkrfa

    Don’t need research, it’s painfully obvious.

    Clearly you should be reading the research, because your lack of accurate info on theses issues is frightening.

    I was just addng my “anti-vax” position because I noticed there weren’t too many. But then again, I guess I forgot what site I was on.

    Yep, a site dedicated to science and rational thought. Most people that read here understand how science works and why we do it. If you’re willing to put in the effort to learning and keeping your mind open to evidence, then there’s a lot you can learn here and at other science sites.

    Regulations for big-pharm or the enforcement of them doesn’t apply outside the US. Lucky them!

    Not quite right. U.S. regulations do not apply to drugs produced and sold outside of the U.S., however, local regulations do apply. Most developed countries, and even a good number of less developed countries, have pretty robust regulations. There is even a large effort to unify the regulations across countries. These are the International Conference on Harmonization (for drugs) and the Global Harmonization Task Force (for medical devices).

    The first vaccines were created by a homeopath -called nosodes.

    Where’s your source for this claim? From what I could find, Edward Jenner, a scientist (not a homeopath), created the first vaccine in 1798. The vaccine certainly was not homeopathic, considering there was actually quite a bit of active ingredient in the vaccine.

    [homeopathic vaccines are] Effective without side effects.

    Show me the evidence that they are effective. As to no side effects, of course there aren’t any because homeopathic preparations have zero active ingredients in them and are no physiologically active.

    You claim that you rely on your own gut feelings, your own common sense, yet seem to fail to understand how fallible humans are, and how open we are to many sources of bias and error: confirmation bias, post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies, etc. The reason I ask for scientific citations is because the methods of science try to reduce these kinds of errors. Humans can fool each other, and they’re even better at fooling themselves. You, me, Nobel prize-winning scientists, a country farmer – we all fool ourselves; we all make mistakes.

    Some of the things you do might be right. Other stuff might be wrong. Through science, we can discover which is which, and, for the stuff that works, how well it works. Does it have a meaningful benefit? Is it only marginally better than placebo? Does it work, but not as well as other options?

    As to studies, NCCAM has undertaken to study quite a number of so-called “alternative” medicine. Sen. Tom Harkin, proud supporter of CAM, was instrumental in its formation. It is headed by someone with a background in CAM. Yet all of the studies coming out of NCCAM turn out to show no significant effect or benefit from a number of these CAM treatments. So studies are being done. They are being published. Certainly, if there is anything to any of those things, then there should be some well-designed studies published in quality journals. Typically, the studies that do show some benefit are so shoddy and full of errors that they cannot be published in quality journals. But, I’m willing to be shown that I am wrong. All it takes is evidence (not unverifiable stories).

    At any rate, back on topic, if you think that the flu vaccine is bad or that people should avoid it, then put up your evidence that supports your claim. Not vague statements about “medical authorities” (who? where?) or personal experience stories (are they real? made up? There’s no way to tell or evaluate). Science. Evidence.

    If you can’t provide that, then just stop speaking on the subject, as all you have is misinformation and fairy tales.

  105. darn…messed up the blockquote

  106. Annie

    Not trying to convince anyone to avoid the shot. Didn’t I say that?
    And I totally agree…. Humans are easly duped so therefore I don’t trust other humans (scientist or not) to tell me what the “truth” may or may not be. They change their minds every so many years.

    I will try to be brief,

    Drug warnings on labels appear to the average reader “rare” when in fact they are more common than rare and many side effects do not show up during trials and most likely have far reaching consequences that “fallible” humans miss due to human fallibility and all. Some take 2,5,10,20 years to show up.

    And yes, independant scientists knew that smoking was dangerous but this info never became public knowledge (that is my point, not that scientists are evil)

    Are you implying that many of these poor countries enforce these regulations? Where is your evidence?

    I wasn’t clear enough on the vaccine….the first usable, effective vaccine without killing & injuring people….. my mistake. No citation… sorry. Most likely in my crawl space packed with all my older books I haven’t used in a while.

    My only point, that science changes its mind and it’s position on things. Clearly history proves this. Science is fallable, has been fallible in the past and will be fallible in the future. After all, we are ALL humans. You make science seem immune to this statement. But I can already hear your response to this.

    This is just a man is better/smarter than nature site… that man can do everything better than what nature has provided and we have the science to prove it.

    One more thing…. you say you have an open mind-
    Interesting book by a Japanese scientist on “water”. I haven’t read it in a long time but I think his name is “Emoto” something. I read it at the bookstore and don’t have it so I can’t give you the name. You could easily find it (you could google it or look the next time your at the bookstore). I do not necessarily endorse it all but some of the “observations” are mind-blowing. Again, so there is no confusion, I am not saying all his conclusions are completely accurate, but very, very interesting observations. Maybe it could shed some light on the “idea” behind homeopathy.

    If you were in the woods bitten by a rattlesnake, cotton mouth or black widow miles & miles from anywhere and I happened to be hiking by…. I promise I wouldn’t leave you to die. I would go pick the herb and give it to you. But if you refused, that would be your choice. This is my point. However, you are right, I don’t “belong” on this site. I stumbled upon it when I was looking up the proposed vaccine law.

    I guess I won’t waste your time with my frightening ignorance anymore. My appologies… I will go back to my fairytale magical land. It is so much nicer than this one.

  107. Annie

    Sorry…. kids, life, a malfunctioning keyboard and my 2 year old keeps wiping out my post.

    Last post for me-

    To clarify… I hope I caught them all-

    I am aware that thalidomide wasn’t used here. Just showing some of the mishaps of science. (They had warnings….we as people, scientists, doctors in general…the bigger picture) Yes, it was too obvious to ignore here.

    Anti-nausea pill. You would be wrong. There were people who were very concerned about medicating pregnant women even back then.

    Chemo -yes it is well known it is dangerous but are people really fully informed? And are the full effects of chemo known? No. Side effects are oftened softened to make it look more appealing. It is used as a matter of course without much thought. Hey, chemo destroys the immune system & can kill even healthy people but we’re hoping you make it!. Again, unknown long term effects…..

    Gardisil… a classic vaccine defense. Expected. Same response for all dead children or adults after vaccination… not the vaccines fault. And never will be.

    Nosodes are not called vaccines. Doctors were (and some still are) hostile to homeopathy so I am not surprised this information is not found.

    Birth control pills -again, do they know the long term effects of messing with hormones? NO! Science admits they don’t totally understand the role of hormones but they mess with them anyway? Smart. This warning about unknown, possible serious, long term side effects has been around for a long time…. Yes, many side effects in the insert but again, made to look “rare”. Are they made clearly aware they are risking their life to not become prenant?

    And sorry to even try to have a conversation with the science elite. You put yoursef above the common person and this will be your downfall.

    Ps… the next time you are with your wife or girlfried, ask her about a womans intuition or instinct (especially if she has children). Good luck with that!

  108. Annie

    Correction: sorry, mishaps of science should read mishaps of medicine (4th line).

  109. @Annie

    Apologies ahead of time for the length.

    Drug warnings on labels appear to the average reader “rare” when in fact they are more common than rare and many side effects do not show up during trials and most likely have far reaching consequences that “fallible” humans miss due to human fallibility and all. Some take 2,5,10,20 years to show up.

    Effects that take 2-5 years to come out are typically discovered during clinical trials, since those tend to go on for several years. Effects that take 10-20 years to pop up appear in post-market surveillance. It is unreasonable to expect a drug to be in clinical trials for 20 years before it is released to the public. First, it is not feasible. Second, the number of individuals involved in clinical trials is limited, so some of those rare AEs might never be seen, even if the trial goes on for over 20 years. Now, you claim that the rare side-effects are not rare, but are rather common. Please provide your source for that info.

    And yes, independant scientists knew that smoking was dangerous but this info never became public knowledge

    Well, first off, yes, it did become public knowledge. But even if it hadn’t, who would be to blame for that? The scientists got it. So the media and tobacco producers would be at fault, no? How does that relate to vaccines? The scientists, again, get it.

    Are you implying that many of these poor countries enforce these regulations?

    No. But many are trying to get regulations in place. I was, however, questioning your assertion that products are tested in those countries unethically, and are then shipped for use in the U.S.

    science changes its mind and it’s position on things

    Other than that science has no mind to change, your meaning is correct in that scientists and scientific theories change as new information becomes available. If new facts appear that show some scientific idea is wrong, then that idea is discarded or changed to fit the new data. This is where science and the majority of alt-med differ. I’ve yet to see any alt-med claim dropped or changed in the face of new, contrary evidence. Sometimes, scientists make mistakes, true, but through the process of science, those mistakes are revealed and corrected.

    Interesting book by a Japanese scientist on “water”. I haven’t read it in a long time but I think his name is “Emoto” something.

    Ahhh…Masaru Emoto and his “water memory” and “intent” studies. Yeah. Well, couple problems there. His studies were flawed. He put labels on bottles of water on which were written different words (e.g., “love” or “hate”), began to freeze them and then looked at the resulting crystal structure, with people unaware of the words that were used rating the crystals for aesthetic beauty. Where he went wrong: he instructed the photographers to select the most pleasing photographs (selection bias), used a subjective system for rating the photos, and lacked proper controls. Further, his idea has nothing to do with homeopathy.

    Homeopathy, as I understand it, operates on the idea that by diluting a substance in water and shaking it in a particular manner, then diluting, shaking, etc., repeated again and again, the molecular structure of water is altered to “remember” the original substance. A couple problems: 1) while the molecular structure of water can change due to the introduction of substances for dilution, it loses those changes within fifty millionths of a nanosecond (Cowan ML, Bruner BD, Huse N, et al. (2005). “Ultrafast memory loss and energy redistribution in the hydrogen bond network of liquid H2O”. Nature 434 (7030): 199–202.) and 2) the dilutions used in homeopathy, particularly those thought to be the most potent (e.g., 30C) are so dilute that the likelihood of finding a single molecule of the active substance in the final solution is nearly zero. (look up Avogadro’s number)

    If you were in the woods bitten by a rattlesnake, cotton mouth or black widow miles & miles from anywhere and I happened to be hiking by…. I promise I wouldn’t leave you to die. I would go pick the herb and give it to you.

    If that were to happen, I’d hope you had the antivenom, personally. I might eat the herb, but I sincerely doubt that it would help at all. Feel free to provide me with evidence, though, that it would work.

    However, you are right, I don’t “belong” on this site.

    Actually, I’d recommend you stick around. You may learn a bit about science and how to examine extraordinary claims. I’d also recommend Science-Based Medicine and Respectful Insolence.

    Chemo -yes it is well known it is dangerous but are people really fully informed? And are the full effects of chemo known? No. Side effects are oftened softened to make it look more appealing. It is used as a matter of course without much thought. Hey, chemo destroys the immune system & can kill even healthy people but we’re hoping you make it!. Again, unknown long term effects

    I would be very surprised if patients were not informed by their doctors of the side effects of chemo and what to expect. If they aren’t, then the doctor is at fault. However, I’d recommend you ask this question of Orac over at Respectful Insolence. He is a surgical oncologist, so he knows the subject rather well.

    Gardisil… a classic vaccine defense. Expected. Same response for all dead children or adults after vaccination… not the vaccines fault. And never will be.

    Did you read the info at the FDA or CDC sites? If the vaccine were at fault, then the evidence would show it. At any rate, the evidence thus far is that Gardasil is relatively safe and effective. We’ll see what turns up as use continues and we have more years of data to examine (e.g., to make sure that it is still effective more than 5 years out). If the data show that it is either horribly unsafe (e.g., death or other SAE in 1 out of 1,000 or even 1 per 10,000) or that it is not effective after 5 years out, then it should definitely be pulled and its use reevaluated.

    Birth control pills -again, do they know the long term effects of messing with hormones? NO!

    Bzzt. They know a good deal. There may be some things that they don’t know, but we have, now, several decades of data available. We are aware that it can affect blood clotting and blood pressure, which is why women on birth control pills are recommended to pay regular visits to their doctor to make sure their heart and circulation are doing okay, among other potential side effects.

    Are they made clearly aware they are risking their life to not become prenant?

    Whether or not the doctor informs them fully, I’m not sure. It probably varies. However, they are given the package insert, which has the full information about the drug as far as we know it. Even possible side effects that have been reported but may not be related to the drug in any way are listed, as required by law.

    And sorry to even try to have a conversation with the science elite.

    Ha! I wish I were part of the science elite. I’m actually just a regular ol’ person with a decent understanding of how science works and how human perception is imperfect.

    Ps… the next time you are with your wife or girlfried, ask her about a womans intuition or instinct (especially if she has children).

    Sure thing. And the next time you take your car to the mechanic or to anyone who needs specialized training, ask them to use their gut, rather than their training.

  110. Annie

    My whole post just got deleted again. Gosh, I think this is cauing me too much stress….

    It is hard to resist answering……. but right now I am ready to throw my computer out the window. I responded to all of your comments & poof, gone. Very, very frustrating.

    Try again:

    Emoto- didn’t I say it wasn’t perfect? But it presents some pretty interesting possibilities. Doesn’t directly relate to homeopathy, just opens the door to the interesting possibilities of “energy”. Can we at least agree the universe is made up of energy? and maybe we don’t understand as much as we think we do? Like why we only use a tiny fraction of our DNA? Or why we only use 7-10% of our brain?

    Can we agree that in the time it takes for science & medicine to realize an error, “remove” this mistakes from the “system”, people are being harmed in the process?

    How much of the human body would you say science & medicine understand? Even if it were 98% (which is extremely unlikely), what if that other 2% had huge implications that no-one realized? Far-reaching problems? And how effectively do all the “systems” of medicine & science communicate with each other to ensure greater understanding? (I am not saying they don’t try)

    Can we agree that there are other big issues relating to our medical system like where to put all the medical waste, chemical dumps, stuff in our oceans, chemo endng up in our water & soil? Maybe, just maybe, some unexpected, unrealized environmental & health impacts that may come back to bite us in the butt?

    The snake bite…. I would prefer the anti-venom as well however the Native Americans were known for this “snake medicine” (and you would poltice it, to draw out venom, not eat it, although there were internal remedies as well…both were mentioned by early settlers (diaries) who befriended them…. they were clearly surprised!) Again, anectdotal but I would use it if ever in that situation. And if it wasn’t true, pray for the “placebo effect”.

    Glad to know you are just a regular dude!

    Can we agree that many patients (reading the insert) and doctors (fully informing) both drop the ball when it comes to responsibility? Not sciences fault. Never said it was. I am all for fully informed consent.

    And yes, some things require specialized training. I’m not talking about fixing a car or doing brain surgery…. just intuition guiding us to make a good decision. Like trusting our “gut” if choosing between 2 equally qualified brain surgeons.

  111. @Annie

    Emoto- didn’t I say it wasn’t perfect? But it presents some pretty interesting possibilities. Doesn’t directly relate to homeopathy, just opens the door to the interesting possibilities of “energy”. Can we at least agree the universe is made up of energy? and maybe we don’t understand as much as we think we do?

    Interesting? Yes, if he actually showed anything reliable. He didn’t. Plus, if he were right, it would have major implications for numerous fields of study (chemistry, physics, biology, etc.). For the idea to pan out, he’d actually need to do better research and have that research replicated by others, several times, to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke.

    Can we agree that in the time it takes for science & medicine to realize an error, “remove” this mistakes from the “system”, people are being harmed in the process?

    Some people can be harmed, yes.

    How much of the human body would you say science & medicine understand? Even if it were 98% (which is extremely unlikely), what if that other 2% had huge implications that no-one realized? Far-reaching problems? And how effectively do all the “systems” of medicine & science communicate with each other to ensure greater understanding? (I am not saying they don’t try)

    I’d say not even close to 98%. There are most certainly things that we don’t know about. However, our decisions should be based upon the best current knowledge available, rather than vague speculations about what might be. If we rely on the latter, we descend into an endless spiral of “what ifs…” and can make no decision at all. Then, “what if herb X causes ALS by some mechanism we don’t know yet?” is just as valid as “what if vaccines cause condition Y by some mechanism we don’t know yet?”

    Can we agree that there are other big issues relating to our medical system like where to put all the medical waste, chemical dumps, stuff in our oceans, chemo endng up in our water & soil? Maybe, just maybe, some unexpected, unrealized environmental & health impacts that may come back to bite us in the butt?

    Agreed. Proper disposal of biohazards is important. However, this doesn’t really relate to whether vaccines work or not or whether they are safe or not.

    The snake bite…. I would prefer the anti-venom as well however the Native Americans were known for this “snake medicine” (and you would poltice it, to draw out venom, not eat it, although there were internal remedies as well…both were mentioned by early settlers (diaries) who befriended them…. they were clearly surprised!) Again, anectdotal but I would use it if ever in that situation. And if it wasn’t true, pray for the “placebo effect”.

    Sucking and using poultices to draw out poisons can work, depending on timing. If the poison has not circulated away from the wound yet, then what you recommend is a valid medical treatment and is not “alt-med” in any way. If it has already spread beyond the wound, then only anti-venom would be beneficial. As to praying for the placebo effect, well, if that were the only effect that the herbs had, the biggest placebo effect in the world wouldn’t help me to not die (assuming the venom was death-inducing).

    Can we agree that many patients (reading the insert) and doctors (fully informing) both drop the ball when it comes to responsibility? Not sciences fault. Never said it was. I am all for fully informed consent.

    If they fail to read the insert or stay informed/pass on that information, yes, they have dropped the ball. Can we agree that dropping the ball on being informed and passing along that information has no effect on whether or not a product is safe and effective when used as directed? (Any product which has a physiological effect will have side effects, by the way.)

    Like trusting our “gut” if choosing between 2 equally qualified brain surgeons.

    There are times when you have to make a decision, and you go with what, to you, feels best. My hope is that people would be able to adequately evaluate the info available and choose the one supported by the best quality evidence. In the vaccine vs. anti-vaccine issue, the best quality evidence is for vaccines.

  112. Annie

    Sorry…

    3rd comment above- correction
    Far reaching problems by altering the body through powerful drugs…..

    And by vaccines working….. Just implying that long term effects on the human body aren’t well undertood…. and the bigger picture is important because we are effecting entire generations by our choices. So, what may be good for us in the moment may have geater implications than anticipated.

    I do not believe we would spiral endlessly into “what if’s”…. this is pure speculation.

  113. Annie

    Emoto may have “dropped” the ball but water molecules do change into diferent shapes. Regardless of why…. he is not the only one to show this.
    And this alone opens doors considering we are made up of lots of water. And let’s face it, water plays a significant role in our bodies.

  114. @Annie

    Just as a side topic to consider: every single drug (defined by regulation in 21 CFR) that is sold in the U.S. must, by law, go through clinical trials. By contrast, the law exempts from safety and efficacy testing “alternative” products, like homeopathy, herbal and dietary supplements and so on. That means that the makers of these products do not need to make sure that the product actually has any effect, let alone a meaningful one. They do not need to show that they are safe, either alone or in combination with other herbs, supplements, homeopathic solutions or even when used with drugs. They do not need to provide evidence of purity, meaning that between manufacturers and even within the same manufacturer, the amount of active ingredient can vary wildly. They also do not need to provide any evidence of stability; they needn’t demonstrate that the potency at, say, 10 months out has not decreased significantly (less effective, chemically changed, potentially less safe, etc.).

    So we have drug companies looking at thousands of potential sources (many pulled from plants and animals), screening them to see what appears to have the most powerful effect on some marker of the disease under investigation. They might get a dozen that show promise. Those are then tested in animals for possible safety issues and efficacy, narrowing it down to maybe three prospects. Then those go into clinical trials and ultimately one approved product. Thousands of prospects to get one. Millions of dollars spent on research and development. Years (and sometimes decades) to get just one product out because of the regulations in place to protect the consumer. If the company is fortunate, they can make a reasonable profit to recoup their expenditures and engage in more research and development.

    On the other hand, we have herbal supplement providers. No need to spend years researching what herbs would fit a particular disease. No clinical trials with all of their time and costs to see if they are effective or safe. The do not spend millions developing their product. The total cost to produce an herbal supplement, therefore, is miniscule compared to a drug, and the profits, accordingly, are much larger. Alt-med is little improved over the snake-oil days before drug regulation. About the only thing that has changed is that they are governed by Good Manufacturing Practices regulations.

    So, while you criticize how drugs are made and tested, ask yourself how alt-med products are made and tested.

  115. @Annie

    Emoto may have “dropped” the ball but water molecules do change into diferent shapes.

    Yes, but only for less than 50 millionths of a nanosecond, as I mentioned before. Then, it’s back to normal. Oh, and that’s only when substances are introduced into the water. Emoto didn’t even do that.

  116. Annie

    Saying that drugs are safe and effective when used as directed… are you including known side effects of many, many drugs in this statement? This also implies there is no “unkown” or seemingly unrelated effects that could possibly be detrimenal to one’s health. And because it seems unrelated, it goes unchecked. If human bodies often respond differently to all sorts of “things”, there is always the element of “unpredictability” for all things -especially chemicals that effect the body so powerfully.

    If a drug has side effects, aren’t those effected systems also being powerfully influenced by those drugs? And what ramifications does that have?

    I guess all I am really saying is that health through chemistry
    ie: vaccines, is not black and white.

  117. Annie

    But they do change….. and what if that 5o millonths of a nonsecond had an efect on our DNA? Are you implying this is impossible?

    On herbal medicine or aromatherapy (these are the things I know best)….
    I use them. Have used them for years (over 20). They have worked over and over again. Don’t need billions of dollars of money & resources spent to say hey Annie, we can prove to you this works, now it is OK to use this herb. If they have side effects they can’t possibly be worse than drugs considering many of these plants are edible and come with years of history of use. (I am not saying some of the uses weren’t silly but consider the times… it doesn’t ivalidate all of it.)

    Interesting that similar plants with similar chemistry are found all over the world and are used for the same purposes. This is pretty odd considering some of these places don’t have phone, TV or internet to share information.
    Not to mention that science likes to isolate “active” chemicals but this is where the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. Alone a substance may seem “inactive” because it doesn’t offer a psysiological effect but combined with others, it works synergistically in ways our scientists are not trained to see. If you don’t know what you are looking at (or for) than how do they know??????

    And, the whole basis of (natural) healing is different. It is not about managing symptoms but restoring balance to the body (do we agree disase is imbalance). The idea is that a healthy body is fully equiped to heal itself in many circumstances. The remedy may not exhibit a “pharmacological” effect but a more subtle “balancing” effect to assist the body toward health…. not necessarily simply “remove” a symptom. It is a different vision…..it is not allopathic (although some times it can be)

    If you attempt to fix up a a broken down house, there is a lot of work to be done. Sometimes the things needing repair are far more extensive than originally thought. (This is why the end price is always far higher than the estimate.) Once you begin, it generally tends to get ugly before better. Then slowly you make improvements… but if you were to send someone in who didn’t know what was going on, they may think the house is a mess. But really it is in the process of becoming nice again.

    Maybe a silly analogy but the only the I could think of at this moment. I apologoze if it is a bad one.

  118. Annie

    “And the beautiful mother earth and all her gifts shall be offered graciousy to the 2 legged if one has the heart to feel (I believe this is an interpretaton of a native saying) It never said “to only the scientists & medical doctors of our time”. It is from nature, it belongs to eveyone.

    -and thoroughly warned about the impeding human/environmental crisis if we worshiped our minds over our hearts.

    Not very sientific. I already know your reply….. Sentimental nonsense.

  119. @Annie

    Saying that drugs are safe and effective when used as directed… are you including known side effects of many, many drugs in this statement?

    Yes, I am. Bear in mind that when using the term “safe” about drugs, it is understood that nothing is 100% free of risk. “Safe” means that the potential side effects (and the risks associated with not taking the drug, if any) are significantly outweighed by the benefits of taking the drug. For example, for a person who does not have cancer, chemo drugs would be unsafe. But, for someone with certain types of cancer, chemo is safe. The benefits outweigh the risks.

    But they do change….. and what if that 5o millonths of a nonsecond had an efect on our DNA? Are you implying this is impossible?

    Yes, it is impossible. Suppose you created a solution of some substance in water, a la homeopathy. How fast do you need to move to get that solution into your mouth before the structure of the water reverts to normal? See where the problem lies? Now, if there were some way to maintain whatever the structural change was, could it have an effect? I don’t know. Probably not, but it would depend on how exactly the molecule would then interact with proteins and binding sites in the body. Most likely, it would not have any effect on DNA, as it would probably never penetrate a cell.

    On herbal medicine or aromatherapy (these are the things I know best)….
    I use them. Have used them for years (over 20). They have worked over and over again. Don’t need billions of dollars of money & resources spent to say hey Annie, we can prove to you this works, now it is OK to use this herb. If they have side effects they can’t possibly be worse than drugs considering many of these plants are edible and come with years of history of use. (I am not saying some of the uses weren’t silly but consider the times… it doesn’t ivalidate all of it.)

    Correction. The appear to have worked over and over again. Are the conditions you used them for self-limiting? Are they subjective in nature (i.e., is there merely a placebo effect going on)? Are the patients concurrently using medical treatment? Without a properly controlled study, you cannot know with certainty that it is working or that it is safe.

    It is not about managing symptoms but restoring balance to the body (do we agree disase is imbalance). The idea is that a healthy body is fully equiped to heal itself in many circumstances. The remedy may not exhibit a “pharmacological” effect but a more subtle “balancing” effect to assist the body toward health…. not necessarily simply “remove” a symptom. It is a different vision…..it is not allopathic (although some times it can be)

    First off, define “balance”. Sounds like kind of a fuzzy term without specificity. How does one determine what is balanced and what is not? Diseases are physical processes. They are caused by physical things (bacteria, viruses, genes) and have physical results (symptoms). Second, medicine is not simply about addressing symptoms, either. It all depends on the problem. E.g., in cancer, treatment is for the cause (the cancer) not for the symptoms (weakness, fatigue, organ failure, etc.). For others cases, treating the symptom allows the body to repair the damage (e.g., cough suppressants allow you to sleep, fever reducers prevent damage to your brain, etc.).

    And on that last note, alt-med is not all about fixing the cause, all the time, either. For example, homeopathy focuses on the symptoms. Even “natural” cures, like willow bark, for fever address the symptom, not what is causing it.

    And that brings me to the active ingredient part. Willow bark is an effective fever reducer all by itself. However, through refinement and extraction, identifying the active component, we can make it more effective and minimize the adverse reactions caused by other chemicals also present in willow bark. With drugs approved by FDA, we know exactly what is in the finished product. With herbal supplements, we don’t. Many use extracts. Is everything from the natural plant in there, or are some things lost? And again, there’s no guarantee as to purity of the product.

    You like herbal medicine. You are predisposed to see beneficial effects from it, while ignoring instances where it doesn’t work. But here’s the thing: if an herb is ingested (orally, nasally) and makes it past the stomach (the acids are very likely to destroy many of the active compounds in the herb, unless it is protected in some way), inhaled or injected, then it will have a physiological effect. In other words, it will physically interact with chemicals in the body. Anything that has a physical effect in the body will have side effects.

    For example, red rice yeast contains statins, just like prescription drugs like Lovastatin. As such, it carries the same risks, yet because the makers do not make any health claims and slap the “herbal supplement” label on it, it can be sold without a prescription and without warnings to consult a physician. Another example: St. John’s Wort can have the following effects: insomnia, vivid dreams, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, stomach upset, fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, skin rash, diarrhea, tingling and make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. It can also adversely interact with certain drugs.

    These are things that we know about because people actually studied them scientifically. Until the studies were done, people thought they were perfectly safe because they were “natural”.

    Quick breakdown of some alt-med topics:
    * Aromatherapy – can help a person relax and lift their mood, which is good. Can it cure a disease? Probably not.
    * Herbal Supplements – mixed bag. Some herbs do have real positive effects. Some have no effect. Some have negative effects. When these things are studied, they become medicine (e.g., aspirin) and are no longer “alternative”. The danger is in not knowing what you’re getting. Even if you use the plant in its natural state, the purity and potency can vary greatly from leaf to leaf or between different parts of the plant.
    * Vitamins – great if you are diagnosed as being deficient in certain vitamins. However, once you have the amount that your body needs, adding more won’t do anything. Kinda like filling your car’s gas tank – once it’s full, adding more won’t make it run longer.
    * Homeopathy – it’s water (or alcohol, depending on the base used). That’s it. Granted, in the U.S., there are some products that use “homeopathy” on the label, but they cheat and actually add in an active ingredient in non-homeopathic amounts.
    * Ear candling – hogwash that not only does not draw anything out of the ear, but is dangerous! Wax can drip down into the ear, burning the tissues and even puncturing the ear drum.
    * Acupuncture – so far, properly done studies have shown that it is no better than a placebo effect. Prodding the skin with toothpicks in random locations works just as well. And, the effects are only positive for subjective conditions (e.g., pain), but not for other problems.
    * Chiropractic – when it sticks to musculoskeletal problems, it’s basically the same as physical therapy. When it gets into claims to cure or treat non-musculoskeletal diseases, like ear infections, then it’s all bent out of shape and empty. It also carries certain very real risks, such as stroke with neck manipulation.

    Sorry to go on long. Lots of thoughts.

  120. Annie

    Ps….plant chemistry changes with its environment and we are part of this environment. (the whole “everything” is connected idea) So truthfully, changing chemistry is a good thing but stinks for “scientists”.

  121. Annie

    what caused the cancer in the first place? Is chemo curing the primal cause? Why does it reoccur so often after treatment if it fully addresses the cause? Did cancer cause the cancer? I am confused about what you are saying here. Is cancer the result of something else????

    And what if that 50th millionth of a nanosecond effected the molecule in a way science hasn’t yet discovered? Or effects it in a way that hasn’t been discovered yet? (remember when no one knew about atoms…. just saying maybe we aren’t that sophisticated yet.)

    By supressing fevers (not saying not to do it) you are also knocking out one of the primary ways in which the body attempts to destroy vruses and bacteria by stimulating a cascade of biological responses. Not sure that ALL fevers are dangerous…. maybe if the body is dehydrated or nutrient deficient this could have detrimental effects….. which is why herbal teas are recommended over dried. There are just so many variables in the human body.

    And Todd, are you suggesting that when I put yarrow on my hubands profusely bleeding laceration on his hand – and it stopped immediately, that it is all in my head? (He was shocked, I was surprised) Not to mention I have known people to experience the same thing then I am not sure we can continue to chat -even though I find this highly interesting. If you have just written me off as a quack then I do think maybe this should end.

    And no, I do not have all the scientific explanations for everything but I know that more and more people are having good luck with natural healing, placebo effect or not. Maybe it doesn’t matter….. if it works for you, it works, whether it is in the mind or not. And if the mind is that powerful, shouldn’t we maybe try to tap into that more? That is free!

  122. Annie

    and free of side effects.

    And you are hugely misinformed about essential oils.

    Yes, some remedies relieve suffering (allopathic) and some work at a deeper level and essential oils have been clearly demonstrated to have powerful effects on organisms. (They even used petri dishes and all!)

    There have been many scientific studies in Germany, Australia and France about the efectiveness of essential oils.

    and …. chiropractic care is also about the nervous system & cerebrospinal fluid…. not just musculoskeletal.

  123. Annie

    Ok…. sorry, my miss. You did admit some herbs worked (my yarrow story)

    But again, many herbs do not work like drugs in any way……..

    There are numerous accounts of herbal medicine uses, safety, etc….. again, different people, different places (before technology) who were using herbs in the same way for the same thing with the same results. Many were excellent at noting side effects… usually due to using too much. (like injesting too much of anything is bad) If you follow all the similarities, it is beyond remarkable. Many similar plants in China with a simiar “twin” or “cousin” here were and still are being used for similar things. Side effects and effects duly noted. This again, goes way back before communications. When you study the old texts or diaries, it defies logic. There is a long history here and many have no desire to consider it at all.

    You can scoff at anectdotal evidence but when it shows up time and time again from totally unrelated sources, thousands of miles away, years & years before the internet, something is here. Why have you made your mind up that none of this is valid? orat least a way of gathering information which would save millions of dollars in time & energy.

  124. Annie

    and yes, without adequate natural bacteria & enzymes in the gut and body I can see why the red yeast thing could be a problem…. antibiotics kill bacteria, healthy or not & other things come into play as well, of course. Like poor nutrition & stress which are so common play a major role in health and our bodies ability to maintain eqilibrium.

  125. Annie

    Thinking herbs are perfectly safe & benign is again, a result of uneducated individuals & years of many doctors & others claiming they were useless (so therefore how can they be dangerous?). No decent herbalist would imply such things. Side effects of St. John’s Wort are duly noted in the old (&new) herbal literature …. Did anyone even look? The very same ones your “scientific” studies showed at the cost of how much in research? They were of course often assocoiated with using too much. A warning that more is not a good thing. Built into everything in nature to warn that to much of aything, even something good, is bad.

    And then again…. One man’s poison is anothers medicine……
    just too many variables.

    Take peanuts for example… People have eaten peanuts for a long time. Everywhere we go with other kids, it has to be peanut free because of the crazy amount of kids who are now allergic. We must know a least 10 kids who are deathly allergic to them. Not just allergic but deathly. Should peanuts be banned because so many people today are allergic to them?

    There are just too many issues here to consider and I guess we are way off the subject of vaccines…. and could endlessly question each other…. which could be fun but definately not appropriate here. Maybe fate will toss me into a bar next to you some day (although I never go to them, but hey, who knows?) -and that conversation could get wild.

    So, I will say goodbye to you Todd. This has been an interesting firey conversation between you and I. I will not go away wthout being impacted in some way by your ideas and words. Take care, Annie

  126. Annie

    Ok, my apologies for the last time….

    I truly try to read your posts thoroughly….

    I am not real familiar with the red yeast thing….. I read that part hastily and thought you were talkng about the yeast being a problem… knowing that natural yeast poses problems for some. So my comment had nothing to do with your statement. Ugh! Cyberpace can be crazy!

    Tough with a 2 year old always cimbing all over me…. little buggar!

  127. @Annie

    My response was eaten by the interweb spider, so I’ll try again:

    what caused the cancer in the first place? Is chemo curing the primal cause? Why does it reoccur so often after treatment if it fully addresses the cause? Did cancer cause the cancer? I am confused about what you are saying here.

    Different cancers have different causes: viruses, genetic mutations (from birth, UV exposure, etc.) For some, we can get rid of the cancer through chemo, radiation, surgery or some combination thereof, and it will never return. For others, the treatments may not get rid of the cancer for good, but they can buy the person time. If you’re interested in this, Orac at Respectful Insolence can give you lots more info.

    And what if that 50th millionth of a nanosecond effected the molecule in a way science hasn’t yet discovered? Or effects it in a way that hasn’t been discovered yet? (remember when no one knew about atoms…. just saying maybe we aren’t that sophisticated yet.)

    Possible, but unlikely. It might be an interesting avenue of research, but should not form the basis of treating people. If we do not know whether it has effects or not, whether it is beneficial or not, we also don’t know what risks it poses. From an ethical standpoint, therefore, we should not be using it to treat people, since we cannot adequately inform them of the risks or benefits.

    By supressing fevers (not saying not to do it) you are also knocking out one of the primary ways in which the body attempts to destroy vruses and bacteria by stimulating a cascade of biological responses. Not sure that ALL fevers are dangerous…. maybe if the body is dehydrated or nutrient deficient this could have detrimental effects….. which is why herbal teas are recommended over dried.

    I never said that all fevers are bad, but keeping temps down is very important. If a fever gets too high, then it can damage the brain, leading to seizures, permanent brain damage, etc. Not all immune responses are in the body’s best interests. E.g., for people born with autoimmune disorders, the immune system can be a pretty major enemy. Again, not saying it’s always bad, but it can be.

    are you suggesting that when I put yarrow on my hubands profusely bleeding laceration on his hand – and it stopped immediately, that it is all in my head?

    Not by any means. Certain plants that act as styptics or astringents, used topically, have easily observable effects. Aloe for burns is another example. When the condition being treated is not quite so obvious (e.g., self-limiting conditions like headaches, colds, etc., episodic conditions like asthma, tumors, etc.), a bit more scientific control is called for to determine what effects are actually due to the treatment, and what ones are due to human errors of perception and interpretation.

    And no, I do not have all the scientific explanations for everything but I know that more and more people are having good luck with natural healing, placebo effect or not. Maybe it doesn’t matter….. if it works for you, it works, whether it is in the mind or not. And if the mind is that powerful, shouldn’t we maybe try to tap into that more?

    While I’m not saying this is the case, it is possible that you are taking note of the apparent successes while forgetting, ignoring or explaining away the misses. In any event, I’d recommend taking a visit to the web site whatstheharm.net.

    chiropractic care is also about the nervous system & cerebrospinal fluid…. not just musculoskeletal.

    Only in a very limited sense. The claim is often made that a pinched nerve causes all kinds of illnesses, and that chiropractic manipulation can cure the illness. Unfortunately, that’s not how human biology operates. Again, they should stick to what can, in reality, be affected and leave the rest to proper medicine.

    You can scoff at anectdotal evidence but when it shows up time and time again from totally unrelated sources, thousands of miles away, years & years before the internet, something is here. Why have you made your mind up that none of this is valid? orat least a way of gathering information which would save millions of dollars in time & energy.

    Some herbs work, yes. A lot of those have become part of the medical arsenal of science-based medicine. The problem with anecdotes, however, is that they are unreliable. They can definitely point to a new avenue of research or inquiry, but there is great potential for them to be wrong. Two examples: blood-letting was used for hundreds of years to treat all manner of ailments. Fever? Bleed ‘em. Headache? Bleed ‘em. Yellowish, wan skin? Bleed ‘em. Coughing up blood? Bleed ‘em. Some people got better, despite the blood-letting, because their condition was self-limiting and they were healthy enough to survive being drained. Others did not fare so well. Those misses were simply ignored or explained away. Next, from New England, it was once thought that eating the cooked heart (and sometimes other organs) of a person who died from consumption (aka TB) would cure the eater of the disease. Turns out, it didn’t work, either, despite reports that it was a good and proper way to deal with it. So, anecdotes can suggest where to look, but as solid evidence, they are sorely lacking. More rigorous scientific study allows us to hone in on what is really happening.

    Thinking herbs are perfectly safe & benign is again, a result of uneducated individuals & years of many doctors & others claiming they were useless (so therefore how can they be dangerous?). No decent herbalist would imply such things.

    Go into a health food store that sells herbal supplements. How many actually list the side effects? How many list contraindications? There are a lot of herbal products out there that fail to mention anything about possible negative effects or interactions. That is very important information, particularly if the person is using other products (drugs, herbs, etc.). The herbal industry as a whole is responsible for the image that they are perfectly safe. Part of that is also due to using the terms “natural” and “organic” to imply they are better for you than all those “nasty” pharmaceuticals. Most people don’t stop to think that nightshade and arsenic are natural, too, but they aren’t all that friendly.

    The very same ones your “scientific” studies showed at the cost of how much in research?

    That research allows us to show, with a very high degree of certainty, what the effects actually are, including how the substance under investigation interacts with other substances. The money spent is a small price to pay for the knowledge imparted.

    I agree. We have gone way off-topic, but I think it’s been a good discussion. I’ll leave with this. Science is a process, a method, a way of looking at the world that helps to minimize the impact of human error. Anecdotes can direct science to where we should look, but they are too unreliable to form the basis of ethical treatment. Science may not always be perfect, but it represents our best attempts to arrive at the truth of what is happening and to correct for our own imperfect perceptions and interpretations.

    Finally, I’ll just reiterate some of the web sites I mentioned. In addition to sticking around Bad Astronomy (lots to learn here), take a read of these:

    * Science-Based Medicine – medical topics viewed from a science-based perspective
    * Respectful Insolence – variety of topics covered, can get a little snarky at times
    * What’s the Harm – you like anecdotes, so here are a bunch
    * Antiantivax – addresses some of the more common myths about vaccines

  128. I noticed your blog site whilst searching for some thing different on The search engines about topics related to movies, although I got the possibility to go through this posting and I found it extremely helpful certainly.

  129. “Interesting place of duty and thanks for sharing. A little clothes in here I have not inspiration about before.Thanks used for making such a cool post which is especially self-same anyway written.will be present referring a lot of friends about this.:)

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »