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Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Dr. Plait Blog Entries

With my reduced availability, I am again posting two quick things from Dr. Plait.

Antivax smackdown, Albietz edition
I’ve written about my friend Dr. Joe Albietz before: he’s a pediatrician who saves lives for a living. He’s also a skeptic and a really good one; he was the brains and brawn behind the very successful vaccine drive we held at TAM 7 that will help prevent 500 kids in Las Vegas from contracting dangerous diseases.
Joe now writes at Science Based Medicine, and for his first article he tears to tiny little shreds a claim that the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine is dangerous, a very wrong statement being spread by Dr. Joseph Mercola, an alt-med promoter who sells "natural" remedies as an alternative to vaccinations. With all this antivax nonsense going around, I wonder how sales are doing for him?
Anyway, Joe’s article is lengthy, and worth every word of it. He takes Mercola’s claims and shows just where he’s wrong. In some cases, Mercola’s errors are so flagrant it makes me honestly wonder how anyone could make them. Mercola’s article is, apparently, just another in a long line of fact-optional antivax claims, and yet will still gain traction with those who don’t understand what medical science has done for them and continues to do. As Joe said in the article (emphasis mine):
I’ll take the opportunity to point out that pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and hospitals stand to make a lot more money from an uncontrolled pandemic than from its prevention. The money spent on antivirals, antibiotics, sedation and pain medications, physician and hospital billing for the 200,000 people hospitalized in the US during a normal flu season would compensate them far better than profits from vaccine sales. It’s almost as though, against our financial interest, all of our efforts are designed to keep people from getting sick…

Imagine that! People trying to cure the sick, instead of bilking them for money. That sounds more like the doctors I know.

Outfoxing H1N1
Man, it must be easy to work at Fox news.
Well, not at first. I imagine when they remove most of your brain it might be painful at first, but after that it’s easy enough. After all, how much energy did it take to create this poll?

The current results aren’t surprising: Fox news readers think taking the vaccine is a higher risk by a margin of almost 2 to 1 (out of 18,000+ votes). And I thought most antivaxxers were on the left side of the political spectrum! It sure is nice to know that Fox can agree with left-wingers on something. And of course they’re both wrong.
… and I can’t help but notice the disclaimer on the bottom: "This is not a scientific poll". Are they bragging?
Tip o’ the needle to Cristiani Senni.

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