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Dr. Oz: America’s doctor and the abdication of professional responsibility

Believe it or not, there was once a time when Dr. Mehmet Oz didn’t bother me that much. At least, for all his flirting with woo, I never quite thought that he had completely gone over to the Dark Side. Although I probably knew deep down that I was fooling myself. Maybe it was because Dr. Oz is a surgeon–and not just a surgeon but a cardiac surgeon. After the enthusiastic embrace of pseudoscience by so many surgeons, and in particular Dr. Michael Egnor‘s embrace of “intelligent design” creationism and mind-brain dualism, maybe I didn’t want to believe that yet another surgeon had fallen for a different form of pseudoscience and unreason. It just goes to show that even skeptics and supporters of science-based medicine can be prone to wishful thinking. Then Dr. Oz’s unequivocal public embrace of reiki on his show, as well as his touting of “alternative therapies that really work” (hint: they don’t) removed any remaining cover that allowed me to delude myself into thinking that Dr. Oz wasn’t that bad. Without a doubt he is as bad as Deepak Chopra in many ways, although he probably hasn’t reached Joe Mercola territory yet.

Give him time, though.

After all, the Oprah effect is strong and, remember, reiki is nothing more than faith healing based on Eastern mysticism rather than Judeo-Christian religion. Unfortunately, Dr. Oz has become “America’s doctor.” Fortunately, people are starting to notice his promotion of a range of dubious therapies that range from just questionable to what can only be described as pure quackery (reiki, for instance). While much of what Dr. Oz promotes is actually science-based medicine, it is adulterated with pseudoscience, or, as I can’t resist saying, he “integrates” pseudoscience with science-based medicine, making him an excellent example of a practitioner of “integrative” medicine. Fortunately, journalists are starting to notice and ask some hard questions, journalists like Trine Tsouderos, who last Friday published an article in The Chicago Tribune entitled Questioning Dr. Oz. It’s about time someone publicly questioned Dr. Oz, in particularl how he seasons his mundane science-based recommendations with questionable recommendations and even downright pseudoscience.

For example:

Millions turn to him for advice, looking for an authority figure to make sense of the flood of medical information available online and in the media.

Much of the material Oz provides is solid, but some medical experts express reservations about his approach, saying Oz’s ventures also offer advice unsupported by science.

Oz has called the rotavirus vaccine “optional” — a risky view, according to experts. He tells people to examine the shape and sound of their bowel movements closely — a silly idea, specialists say. He invited a doctor to his TV show who has helped spread the idea that cancer can be cured with baking soda. On his Web site, another doctor endorses a group that promotes unproven autism treatments.

The reference to a doctor who has helped spread the idea that cancer can be cured by baking soda is a reference to the time that Dr. Oz invited that hater of science-based medicine, promoter of anti-vaccine beliefs and fawning interviewer of anti-vaccine god Andrew Wakefield, and promoter of Italian cancer quack Tullio Simoncini, the man who thinks that all cancer is caused by fungus and can be cured by baking soda. I’m talking, of course, about Joe Mercola, whose website competes with Mike Adams’ NaturalNews.com for the “distinction” of being the most quackery-infused website on the web aside from Whale.to. Truly, when Dr. Oz invited Mercola on his show, he “crossed the Woobicon,” so to speak, never to be acceptable as a trustworthy physician again, at least in my book.

A huge part of the problem appears to derive from an apparent belief on the part of Dr. Oz’s production team (and, presumably, him) that they must maintain an “open mind” and present “multiple perspectives.” So what we end up with on Dr. Oz’s TV show and website are “multiple perspectives” unfiltered by adequate science and reason, producing, in essence, a medical TV show and empire so open-minded that its collective brains have fallen out:

Oz declined to be interviewed, but his spokespeople say the doctor’s mission is to give his audience information from multiple perspectives. His “Ask Dr. Oz” feature offers answers not only from prestigious medical centers such as the Cleveland Clinic but also from alternative medicine practitioner Deepak Chopra and from Dove, maker of skin care and beauty products.

“The purpose of the site is to provide users with as much information as possible and allow the users to differentiate between what they find helpful and what they do not,” Oz’s spokespeople wrote in response to questions.

But more information is not necessarily better, as not all perspectives are equal in medicine.

Which is precisely the message that I’ve repeated here on this blog until I’m blue in the face–metaphorically speaking, of course, given that a Plexiglass box full of multicolored blinking lights can’t really be blue in the face unless there is a surfeit of blue lights that can be turned on. Here’s another:

Science is not a democracy where people’s votes decide what is right, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Look at the data, look at science and make a decision based on science that has been published,” he said.

Not on Dr. Oz’s TV show and certainly not on his website. On a side note, Kim Stagliano at the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of autism has attacked Tsouderos once again, hilariously claiming that Dr. Offit is going after Dr. Oz because he “questioned” the vaccination schedule and admitted that his children did not get the H1N1 vaccine. And it’s true. Reading between the lines, I think that Dr. Oz has allowed his woo-loving reiki master of a wife dictate that his children not receive all the recommended vaccines. Worse, he seems to buy into some of the claims of the anti-vaccine movement about vaccines.

The amusing antics of Stagliano aside, as Tsouderos’ article describes, articles on Dr. Oz’s website rise and fall in popularity based on rankings by the website’s readers. Popular articles show up at the top of pages on various topics, while those garnering fewer votes don’t. But, as Dr. Offit points out, science is not a democracy. In Dr. Oz’s world, though, it apparently is. Indeed, incredibly, Dr. Oz’s producers describe his website as one that “answers the questions of health with multiple points of view and creates a collective IQ centralized in one place for people to learn and act.”

A “centralized IQ” is only as good as the information and reasoning behind the material that makes it up, and the quality of the information on Dr. Oz’s website is wildly uneven, ranging from scientifically acceptable to promoting quackery. For instance, if you search for the term reiki on Dr. Oz’s website, you’ll find credulous articles by Lisa Oz (Dr. Oz’s wife) saying things like this:

Sadly, modern medicine is still mired in its mechanistic/chemically based paradigm and fails to recognize the body as an energetic entity. But, many ancient healing traditions of the East are built on this principle and have utilized it to treat people for millennia. Healing systems, like acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic touch, and qigong all seek to redirect or facilitate the flow of energy through the body, thereby improving health.

I am a certified reiki master, which sounds like I scratch people with a garden tool at some S & M club, but actually just means that I have learned to focus energy in my own body to facilitate healing in others. I know it sounds wacky. Trust me, coming from a family of medical doctors, I was skeptical at first. But, after I went through the training and began using it on my family and saw the results, I became a believer. Now my kids beg me for it whenever they feel sick.

Maybe her kids simply want their mom’s attention and loving touch. After all, what kid doesn’t want their mom to pay attention to them when they’re sick?

There is also this example of credulous nonsense about reiki from, of all places, The Cleveland Clinic, which touts the benefits of reiki as the “channeling of life force energy to the recipient” in about the truest example of quackademic medicine there is out there. (If you don’t believe me, check out what the Clinic’s website says about reiki.) On a related note, Oz’s website also promotes another form of “energy healing” quackery, therapeutic touch, which is a form of quackery so easily debunked that even a 12-year-old can do it.

Yet there they are, reiki and therapeutic touch, all there on Dr. Oz’s website. But if that’s not enough, check out this bit by Dr. Oz’s coauthor Dr. Michael Roizen about prayer, which justifies quackery:

…we define life at the level of the cell. As long as the membrane maintains an energy gradient between the inside and outside world, our cells are alive. When you aggregate cells into organs and then put these in the right spot to make a human, you have life. That’s why we’re interested in adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture, homeopathy, and hard-to-explain methods like reiki and prayer. After all, everything that matters in life – like love – can’t always be measured with blood, machines, and complex calculations. They’re measured in the way you live.

This, remember, is the man who runs the “Wellness” Institute at The Cleveland Clinic. Of course, I did my residency at the Clinic’s rival less than a mile up Euclid Avenue; so I must admit a bit of satisfaction to see a rival so steeped in woo. Leaving that aside, it pains me to see quackademic medicine so entrenched in the Clinic–or any major academic medical center–precisely because credulous fools like Dr. Oz can hold them up as an authority to support their woo.

In the end, the story that Tsouderos paints of Oz is of a man who does promote a lot of science-based medicine but has mixed it with so much woo and even outright quackery like reiki that it becomes impossible for most people to identify which is which. Worse, in the search of ratings, Dr. Oz refuses to pass judgment on anything. In doing so, he abdicates one of the most important responsibilities of a physician: Synthesizing the medical data and differentiating for his patients (or viewers) treatments that are supported by science from those that are not. Viewers and readers don’t have the medical or scientific background to do that; that’s why they seek out Dr. Oz. By making the excuse that he is merely putting information out there and allowing his readers to decide what is useful to them, Dr. Oz is lazily and disingenuously divesting himself of any responsibility for the information that is on his website or the guests that he invites on his show. Add to that his promotion of quackery such as reiki and “energy healing” modalities and the dubious information about vaccines on his website and in his books, and “America’s doctor” has taken a flying leap down the rabbit hole of pseudoscience.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

144 replies on “Dr. Oz: America’s doctor and the abdication of professional responsibility”

many ancient healing traditions of the East are built on this principle and have utilized it to treat people for millennia. Healing systems, like acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic touch, and qigong all seek to redirect or facilitate the flow of energy through the body

She makes it seem like reiki and therapeutic touch are ancient. Let’s take TT first. Not only is it not ancient, it isn’t even from the East. It’s from the U.S. in the 1970s. Reiki is from Japan, but it also is not ancient. It, too, is from the 20th century.

So, hardly ancient and one not even from “The East”TM.

When you aggregate cells into organs and then put these in the right spot to make a human, you have life.

Didn’t Mary Shelley write a story about this?

Yeah, I was at the Cleveland Clinic recently, and in the Miller Family Pavilion, home of the Heart and Vascular Institute, is a store called 360-5 that sells “mind body” books, DVDs and so forth. Some of it is probably harmless. I didn’t look too closely. Here’s their website.
http://www.360-5.com/Pages/default.aspx

I have been following @ClevelandClinic on Twitter and Facebook and some of the stuff they tweet is wooey or at least questionable. Recently they tweeted about “boosting immunity” by increasing dietary soluble fiber, such as by eating apples, based on a study in mice, which they didn’t even link to. That’s pretty silly. Disappointing, because there are some excellent doctors at the Clinic.

The thing to remember about Dr Oz is that if a patient were to show up on his doorstep with a serious heart condition, HE would be the one who insisted on treating that patient, and not have his wife do it. That is because he knows that, when it comes down to it, medicine works, reiki doesn’t.

Now if Dr Oz would just remember that…

re #2

you mean of course.. the WESTBoZo baptist UNChurch of Hate?

good news is… Bill O’Reilly has stepped up to cover the cost of the judge panels tragic ruling.. and paying for the family.

Terrible to see freedom of speech so misused. And to see such tragically impaired citizens out in the world, unsupervised and unmedicated.

I had a woman come into my clinic last week. She was very hostile, but in general one of the “worried well.”

I walked out of the room shaking my head. When I told the doc whose clinic it used to be who she was, he told me she was a naturopath.

Which I suppose explains the hostility, but not why she was in my office in the first place.

LOL!

While Orac touched on most of the main points of that aricle, he wouldnt touch the XMRV crap with a 10-foot-pole.

AAAAAAHAHAHA!

“..in the search of ratings, Dr. Oz refuses to pass judgment on anything.”

A technique he learned from is TV mentor/birth mother, Oprah, as she has trotted out more celebrity woo-packers than I can count.

“… As long as the membrane maintains an energy gradient between the inside and outside world, our cells are alive… That’s why we’re interested in adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture, homeopathy, and hard-to-explain methods like reiki and prayer.”

I like to hang out with people who have electric personalities so the lights in my house stay on. It’s important to put kids on top of tall things so they have a lot of potential. It’s hard to explain why I am so attracted to chocolate cake, but its magnetism is undeniable.

Orac, How dare you criticize Dr. Oz. He’s a serious doctor and should not be questioned. Isn’t that obvious? I mean why else would he wear scrubs all the time?

/snark

Orac you said it in the beginning, the fact that he is a trained surgeon(a pretty good one for the most part) and now part of the woo crowd is the most distressing part. I used to work in his lab in NYC, and for the most part it was all good science;mostly surgical interventions for CHF. There was the occasional omega-3 fish oil studies but other than that the man knew is stuff. The fact that he can now quickly forget most of his training seems like a good indicator that either money talks or the wife is very persuasive or both.

AARP WEB HEADLINE… “AMERICA”s MOST TRUSTED DOCTOR”

and he gets this shamefully blushing tribute in the latest AARP MAGAZINE… with the result that hundreds of thousands of Americans over age 55, get the subliminal message that he is to be trusted, he is great, he is…” the hardest working doctor in America.” BULLSHIRT!

I would suggest, among the MANY MANY other candidates for HARDEST WORKING DOCTOR… would be ANY Emergency/ Orthopedic/ general /Thoracic surgeon currently deployed in support of our troops… NOT doing a few surgeries between tapings, and making angry calls from his office at 30 ROCK.

http://www.aarpmagazine.org/health/dr-oz.html

what a wandering, non insightful, non objective tribute to a surgeon TV Star and integrative complimentary medicine salesman. I admit I didnt read the entire thing in detail.. the nausea index was too high.

LMFAO! Yeah, rotateq or other rota virus vaccines sure as hell would be optional for kids living in North America,especially when its contaminated with pig and monkey viruses!

Thanks for a nice post.

I’ve been looking for a nice take on Oz to post to my friends on Facebook for a while now. I have several (real world) friends on Facebook that are big fans of Dr. Oz who frequently throw out praise for him on Facebook. I now have some return fire to throw their way. 🙂

“Adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture,,homeopathy…reiki”?Why? Go to Sephora(or some other glitzy beauty products emporium)where,for $15, you can purchase spray-on “Chi”- eliminate the middle-man!(Having tested this product myself,while I can’t say that I feel any more energetic or have noticed any improvements in my tennis game,my hair *looks great*!)

Maybe the integration of alternative viewpoints helps to correct for the massive bias caused by large corporate interests being the only ones who can afford to run studies until they see positive results. If people say that reiki makes them feel better, then isn’t that the point?

@7

Good for Bill. Even though he’s a political idealogue that I often vehemently disagree with, he often shows a degree of internal consistency and decency not shared by others on his network. In other words: Glenn Beck makes Bill O’Reilly look sane by comparison.

As for “WESTBoZo baptist UNChurch of Hate” I think it’s best to use the names organizations and people assign themselves and to let those organizations’ actions define them. To me “republican” brings up more nasty associations than “reTHUGliCAN’T” because that sounds like a schoolyard taunt. You can take any name and change it into an insult with a few clever alterations, but it takes more to turn a name into an insult without changing it.

This is just another type of religion–belief in the unseen–only it’s creeping into clinics instead of schools and courthouses. Most humans seem to be “hard wired” for it. Without massive educational intervention at an early age, nothing is going to change.

JEN at 15…

as usual..it is rather difficult to determine what you seem to be saying…
..but thanks for playing our game, Johnny..what do we have for our consolation prize?

@18 wag

That would be the point of going to a reiki center, yes. I would hope the standards for treatments used in a hospital are a bit higher.

BlueMaxx: “Oz has called the rotavirus vaccine optional–a risky view, according to experts.” Yeah, it sure as hell would be optional for kids living in North America where the ‘runs’ doesn’t kill too many kids. And, now that they’ve (rotashild and rotateq) been found to be contaminated with monkey and pig viruses(by an independent lab), who knows what the hell the effects on kids will be.

So Oz’s wife really is a wicked witch (Sorry–someone had to say it.)

@jen

Rotashield is not on the market. It was withdrawn in 1999. Rotarix (a monovalent rotavirus vaccine) is the one that was recently recalled due to contamination with a porcine virus. Rotateq (a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine) has no notices that I could find on the FDA’s site about contamination with simian virus.

Please get your facts straight.

@jen

Oh, and one other important fact: GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Rotarix, confirmed the contamination and informed FDA. FDA recommended temporary suspension of its use.

Todd, yes it is Rotarix. I recently saw on NVIC’s website that Rotateq has simian virus elements. In any case it’s rather disturbing that it took an independent lab to notice this and blow the whistle, and, what will the effects be on the babies who have had these vaccines?

Who watches Oz?

“To watch daytime television these days, you first have to get through 1-800 commercials for lawyers looking for personal-injury plaintiffs, commercials for bankruptcy counselors or commercials for low-rung technical schools. Is television saying that daytime viewers are broke, uneducated or basically down on their luck?

In a way, yes, because according to some studies, it’s true. According to data from Frank N. Magid Associates, 40% of the daytime viewers are in households making less than $20,000 a year, and 85% haven’t graduated from a four-year college.”

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/146307-Who_watches_daytime_.php

He panders.

NVIC is a stupid place to get real information. They have not updated their pertussis page for over a decade, and there has been a change of vaccine!

Perhaps, jen, you too can enjoy the thrills of the constant flow of diarrhea from a rotavirus infection. One that also gets transmitted to the parent.

You should have a grand time. Just make sure you have plenty of diapers (because you will be borrowing the baby’s for yourself), and that your washing machine is in good working order. Because there will be two rooms you and the baby/toddler will be in: the bathroom and the laundry room.

Of course we had the extra bonus of getting a trip by ambulance to the hospital with me holding the toddler in my lap and then getting to see him hooked up to lots of tubes and wires.

Shut about what you know nothing about you stupid witch!

In any case it’s rather disturbing that it took an independent lab to notice this

An independent lab using newly developed analytical tools, that is.

Personally, I find the idea that scientists continue to develop new and better analytical methods to help discover problem that couldn’t be detected with other methods, and then sharing that new technology with industry to be very exciting, not disturbing. It makes the world a better place.

@jen

Rotarix was found to have a contamination, the makers confirmed it, the governing body for drugs, the FDA, recommended a suspension, which was done.

That worked perfectly.

Now compare to ayervedic and TCM medicines which are regularly found to have arsenic, mercury or lead in them, have no quality control, and remain on the market even after these things were found.

Consider “natural” diet pills found to have actual prescription drugs in them, becuase, you know, the drugs actually work, but they are claimed to be natural so they become unregulated. these too, remain on the market long after these drugs were found.

Consider other therapies, also unregulated, but time and time again shown to provide no efficacy. so people are spending money on literally nothing. Yet, homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki and a boatload of other “therapies” remain onthe market providing no benefit but generating billions of dollars of revenue.

Sorry, your system of unregulated, medicine by wishful thinking is demonstrably harmful, bad for the environment, and represents a 40 billion dollar market.

no thanks, stop quacking.

jen, from the CDC Pink Book chapter on rotavirus:

In the prevaccine era rotavirus infection was responsible for more than 400,000 physician visits, more than 200,000 emergency department (ED) visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations each year, and 20 to 60 deaths. Annual direct and indirect costs were estimated at approximately $1 billion, primarily due to the cost of time lost from work to care for an ill child.

We were part of the some of those statistics, fortunately not the death part (we were at the doctor’s office the day before). The seizure from the dehydration may have caused my son’s permanent disability.

And before you get all prissy and judgmental, the child was not in any daycare. We had to be careful what children could be around because he only got the DT vaccine due to Barbara Loe Fisher’s idiotic scaremongering on the pertussis vaccine. He had had neonatal seizures, so was denied protection from pertussis at a time when our county was having a pertussis epidemic.

This was also about the time over 120 Americans died from measles.

So get a clue, jen the idiot… you are spouting nonsense and have no idea what you are talking about. I would never wish ill on your poor children, but I do wish you could get a nice bout of rotavirus. You deserve it.

Since I know you will never pick up Paul Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets, I found a bit of the prologue here:

“The patient came in in the early-morning hours, around 2 or 3,” he says. The boy, 9 months old, had a fever and had been vomiting for several hours. A pediatrician has prescribed frequent sips of fluid, but because of the vomiting, the baby couldn’t keep anything down. “By the time he got to us he was severely dehydrated. He had no tears and his veins collapsed.”

The doctors were unable to insert an IV line, even after making an incision in the baby’s neck, so “we did something I’d never seen before, which was clysis, an administration of fluids into the body by means other than veins,” Offit says. Another resident inserted a large-bore needle into the baby’s leg bone and tried to infuse fluids into the bone marrow. But the effort failed, and the baby, who had been perfectly healthy a day earlier, died.

By age 2, almost all children have been infected with rotavirus, the CDC says. Subsequent infections are possible but usually much less severe than the first one.

“If you have a child under 3 who comes into the emergency department in winter with fever and vomiting or diarrhea or both, there’s a 90% chance it’s rotavirus,” Offit says. He says 40 to 60 children in the USA die of the disease each year.

The only I can see for your spiteful bringing up of Dr. Offit every chance you get is because you are a stupid witch, who knows nothing about what happens in the real world. Which is what you get when you rely on Barbara Arthur’s several outdated National Vaccine misInformation Corporation. Do you see anything on that site about her lawsuit against Offit being dismissed? Lies of omission are still lies.

Name one Oprah ‘promotion’ who’s not a complete fraud … Drs. Phil and Oz, Frey, Obama … she knows how to pick ’em.

You’re right, Blue! Cherry-picking examples and distorting facts IS the same as drawing a scientific conclusion.

Now put your finger-paints away, it’s almost naptime.

But, after I went through the training and began using it on my family and saw the results, I became a believer. Now my kids beg me for it whenever they feel sick.

So Ms. Oz’s argument in favor reiki is that it as effective as “kiss the boo-boo and make it all better”? Well then…

“good news is… Bill O’Reilly has stepped up to cover the cost of the judge panels tragic ruling.. and paying for the family.”

When the normally-idiotic Billo goes on the offensive against someone who we liberals also hate, you know they’ve got to be totally evil.

@32

I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.

Do I love every policy decision our president has made? No, if I called him a “complete fraud” because of it, I would look like an idiotic ideologue with no connection to reality. Fraud is a real word with a real definition. Learn it.

@wag #18

If people say that reiki makes them feel better, then isn’t that the point?

I believe you’ll find the answer here. http://whatstheharm.net/

Suppose I have a toothache. If getting smashed drunk instead of visiting the dentist makes me feel better, then isn’t that the point? I could be smashed drunk all the time as an alternative to dentistry!

I wouldn’t recommend it, though.

Oops. That website doesn’t have reiki by name. Look under “faith healing.” Reiki is Eastern mysticism faith healing.

It’s so great that I can see a link for a story about some type of dubious medicine – notice that the link goes to the Chicago Tribune – and be almost positive that it’s going to be science-based. Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan (and the editors that keep putting their stories out, despite the criticism that I imagine is coming their way) are doing a terrific job.

Pablo, you are right about the new analytical tools. Of course they are a good thing. Chris, you seriously need anger management. Ranting on about deadly rota virus and completely ignoring the potential implications of the contamination. I still say the vaccine industry has carried things way too far, recommending more and more vaccines and deferring some illnesses that would be better had as a child.

Thanks for blasting Mercola and Oz every now and then. I recently had a couple of people question my advice because “Dr. Mercola said…” and “I’ve been reading about reiki, bla bla bla, which is what Dr. Oz said will…”. My left eye starts twitching every time someone utters those names and I feel like Chief Inspector Dreyfus just before he cracks.

@jen #41

Hmm, let’s see. Rota virus kills 20-60 people every year. 120 die from measles. How many have died from the “potential implications” of contamination? I can’t remember. I think it rhymes with Beer-snow.

Chris is absolutely justified in being angry. You’re being stupid and petulant. Be specific instead: what illnesses WOULD you like to see children get? Seeing as the mechanism of the vaccine replicates what happens in the body when you DO get the disease, in what way is getting a disease rather than a vaccine a GOOD thing? As a character-building exercise?

We know you say the vaccine industry has carried things too far. You never hesitate to remind us. However, just because you say it doesn’t make you any less wrong. When you make assertions without evidence, and then compound that by being an ass, you open yourself up to ridicule.

Chris, you seriously need anger management. Ranting on about deadly rota virus and completely ignoring the potential implications of the contamination.

I don’t think Chris is angry, she is just frustrated by your blinking idiocy and dishonesty. Like many of us. At things like your lying about it being Offit’s vaccine that was the problem, and the nature of the impurity, and your dishonesty about how it was discovered. Which makes me wonder…do ever say anything that is correct?

But go on, you tell us. What are the implications of the contamination that was found. Not “potential, made up problems,” but real problems. I’ll give you a hint: they will be a subset of the actual problems that have been observed for the vaccine itself. Do you even know what they are?

“Hmm, let’s see. Rota virus kills 20-60 people every year. 120 die from measles. How many have died from the “potential implications” of contamination?”

Well, obviously we have no idea how many people may have either died or become sick from taking contaminated vaccines. Having said that … it could absolutely be that no one has become sick from this. Call me crazy but that doesn’t change the fact that people are being exposed to pig and monkey viruses via vaccines. 🙂 Sounds yummy. But, whatever… at least we’re cutting down on the cases of diarrhea!

On a completely different note, who pissed in Chris’ cornflakes?

@Wow

Call me crazy but that doesn’t change the fact that people are being exposed to pig and monkey viruses via vaccines

You’re crazy.

Yeah, that pesky diarrhea, and imagine, people are still trying to make an efficient cholera vaccine for the same reason.

Well, obviously we have no idea how many people may have either died or become sick from taking contaminated vaccines.

But this isn’t true! We absolutely DO have an idea of how many died or got sick due to contamination of the vaccines. At least, we have an upper limit to them.

How many people have died due to contamination? We know that is less than or equal to the number who have died from getting the vaccine. Which is, as far as I know, zero.

The numbers who “get sick” are less well known, but are still less than or equal to the number who get sick due to the vaccine. So we have a pretty good idea of what the upper limit is, and, even with contamination, that number is pretty small. So contamination cannot be causing a major problem. Granted, there might be fewer problems without contamination, which is why it is a good idea to get rid of it, but even with, it’s not a big deal.

“You’re crazy”.

I’m crazy for questioning the fact that pig and monkey viruses are being found in vaccines? Vaccines which are being injected into babies. That makes me crazy? Ok. I’m crazy… I admit it.

jen @ 41:

I still say the vaccine industry has carried things way too far, recommending more and more vaccines and deferring some illnesses that would be better had as a child.

I’d rather nobody got those illnesses at all, personally. But I’m funny like that.

Okay, I’m going to try to insert a bit of sanity into this whole contamination issue.

First off, rotavirus is not a benign virus. A vaccine to prevent infection is a good idea because of the problems the virus causes. The discovery of pieces of virus DNA in a vaccine is something to take note of and try to correct. The lab that discovered the contamination did the right thing by notifying the maker, GSK, basically saying, “Umm, we found this stuff in your vaccine. You might want to take a look at it. Here’s how we found it.” GSK then took a look at their lots of vaccine and discovered that the lab was correct. They took the correct step and notified FDA, who also acted responsibly and recommended a temporary suspension of the use of GSK’s vaccine.

So, where do we go from here? We see about how to make this lab’s methods viable for use as a regular screening tool for vaccines to ensure that particles of virus DNA that don’t belong in the vaccine are eliminated before the vaccines reach the market.

The story is similar to the SV40 issue and the polio vaccine. A new method was used to discover the contamination. The maker of the vaccine took the responsible steps to eliminate this source of contamination, leading to safer vaccines.

The antivaxers use these examples to screech “Look! Look! Vaccines are evil, horrible baby-killers!” all the while claiming to be “pro-safe vaccines”. Well, this is an example of making vaccines safer, so why do they not commend the people involved for taking responsible steps? Because, in the end, they really are not pro-safe vaccine; they are anti-vaccine and anti-corporation. Nothing more.

If your concern ISN’T people getting sick or dying from contamination, what exactly is it? As best I can tell, you’re just going “ewww, yucky!” Which is really pretty irrelevant.

I’m crazy for questioning the fact that pig and monkey viruses are being found in vaccines?

Perhaps someone can help me understand, what are “pig and monkey viruses”? As far as I know, pigs and monkeys are not viruses, and while I’m sure there a lot of viruses that are around pigs and monkeys, they generally can be found in other places, and are just “viruses.”

When Dr. OZ suspends any type of critical analysis of treatments he reports on, his degrees become no different than Jenny Mcarthy’s from Google U.

What I find most interesting about the rotavirus vaccine and the porcine virus contamination is that it’s not an example of evil industry covering stuff up. As Todd W noted, “evil” industry checked, discovered the claim to be correct, and voluntarily pulled the vaccine and asked the FDA to issue a statement to halt use of already-distributed vaccine. That’s pretty much the opposite of a cover-up, and exactly what a responsible manufacturer should do.

Wow:

I’ll go for the kindest hypothesis, which is that you are profoundly ignorant of how many people diarrhea has killed, and how many children it sickens and kills even now. Note: when it’s serious or fatal, it’s often called “dysentery,” but the symptoms don’t change, any more than someone who has a stroke will be more or less severely affected if we call it “apoplexy.”

I would rather believe you are ignorant–ignorance is remediable–than that you are stupid or bigoted. (“Crazy” is almost content-free here.)

Pablo
From what I can tell reading some of the news stories the virus just affects pigs hence pig virus. Plus they only found parts of the virus not the whole thing, meaning that its even less likely to be harmful to the pigs (who I’m assuming some people were worried about here)

“Well, this is an example of making vaccines safer, so why do they not commend the people involved for taking responsible steps?”

Instead, I focus on how this stuff gets through in the first place. You want to say… Isn’t it so great that it was caught… Yay!

I want to say…

a) How the F*ck does this crap get through in the first place?
b) How much other crap has gone through that hasn’t been caught?
c) Who knows when/if we hear that this is similar to the SV40 virus nightmare with the Polio vaccine.

When will we learn?

jen: “Todd, yes it is Rotarix. I recently saw on NVIC’s website that Rotateq has simian virus elements. In any case it’s rather disturbing”…blah, blah, blah.

C’mon, jen. What does it take to get you to admit that you screwed up and blamed favorite target Paul Offit for something he had no connection with? Is it that you feel no responsibility for getting out the truth? Or that since the antivax movement promulgates so many lies, one more doesn’t make a difference?

No human process is perfect. There will always be problems. Flipping out whenever there is a problem is quite useless; the key is the procedures to detect and correct problems that occur. Procedures which worked just as they should here.

just a ? if i eat tasty bacon have i been exposed to the evil nasty pig virus OH NOZES. i think i should have a tasty beer to kill it 🙂

“I’ll go for the kindest hypothesis, which is that you are profoundly ignorant of how many people diarrhea has killed, and how many children it sickens and kills even now.”

Dear Vicki,

How many children are killed by diarrhea in the United States of America each year? Now, tell me how many children will die down the road from monkey/pig viruses passed on due to their contaminated vaccines? Hint: The second question is a trick question. 🙂

“Procedures which worked just as they should here.”

So, it’s perfectly fine that pig/monkey viruses have been injected into babies for years?

Really? That’s cool with you? Ok….

Shaking my Head
Your concern for the pigs of the world is touching but as they were not exposed to this vaccine (its for treating Homo sapiens). I can assure you that the pigs are fine and if some pigs were exposed, they are unlikely to become ill as only parts of the virus were found. People of the world our bacon supply is safe.

Head of Bacon Supply Watch

@46 and then @49

IAN is RIGHT/CORRECT/ACCURATE.
You, Jen, are in fact, within the context of this debate, Crazy in your presentation, lack of coherent reasoning, and general premise.

The issue with the recent recall of vaccine lots, pending determination of the implications of a newly detected contaminant, is proper medical procedure. NOT some sort of global INDICTMENT of vaccine science and practices. It is actually, evidence of the continuing efforts to ensure ever better, ever purer medicines.

to PABLO @ 53
you are right sir. there are no such things as PIG viruses or MONKEY viruses, unless perhaps it is something on DEXTERS Laboratory, where the PIG virus has a big nose and ears, or the MONKEY virus has a tail and prehensile thumbs?

Get your facts straight Jen/Crazy, or just please step away from the table where the informed adults are conversing.

Once again, it was not whole viruses! It was pieces of virus DNA. Further, it currently does not appear that these pieces have or will cause problems in humans. And finally, the company is taking steps to ensure that future batches do not contain these pieces, to be on the safe side.

Oh, and morphing troll:

Instead, I focus on how this stuff gets through in the first place.

It’s called imperfect and incomplete knowledge. We can never know absolutely everything there is possible ever to know. However, we build our knowledge and our tools, and we discover ever more. As we gain that knowledge, we refine our practices. Tell me, how do you know that there isn’t something in a food that you eat or a cosmetic that you use that we haven’t discovered is there yet because the tools for its discovery have not yet been developed?

And really, is fear of the unknown really a valid justification to not use an entire class of products at all?

@60:

I’d rather it hadn’t happened, certainly. But I don’t delude myself into believing that there is any way to 100% reliably prevent such. Things will slip through, and I accept that. I’m “perfectly fine” with it the same way I’m “perfectly fine” with the fact that humans don’t live 500 years.

Yes, perfect @ 63:

So, it’s perfectly fine that pig/monkey viruses have been injected into babies for years?

Forgiving that Rotarix is an oral vaccine (it is drunk rather than being injected), I have seen no evidence that this has happened. A single lot of Rotarix was found to be contaminated with a partial virus which is not known to be infectious in humans, and promptly recalled; this does not translate into pig/monkey viruses being injected into babies for years.

The processes for detecting contamination can always improve, and always *are* improving. This means, logically, that we’ll see more cases like this — where something not previously discoverable was discovered, actions were taken, and the previously unknown contamination was eliminated. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.

Oh, and @62:

You’ve already been told how many children used to die from rotavirus in the US each year – 20 to 60. Tell me, are you deliberately lying or are you just that stupid?

Dear mighty morphin’ power troll,

What exactly, in your mind, is a “pig virus” or a “monkey virus”? Given that most viruses have a zoonotic origin, I am baffled at the apparent distinction that you’re drawing. Are we all to believe that because you (apparently) don’t like pigs and monkeys that makes them somehow gross? If it was a “hamster virus” would that make it better?

This is the problem with talking to people who actually know something. Your half-baked assertions don’t carry you quite as far as they might on your accustomed “VAXINZ KILD ARE BABBYS” forum.

troll, the answer to your question was given up thread, twice. Here it is a third time:

In the prevaccine era rotavirus infection was responsible for more than 400,000 physician visits, more than 200,000 emergency department (ED) visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations each year, and 20 to 60 deaths. Annual direct and indirect costs were estimated at approximately $1 billion, primarily due to the cost of time lost from work to care for an ill child.

Now, do try to read for comprehension. Also, I hear cries from the mercury militia moms that we don’t have or know what it is like to have autistic children.

I often wonder how many nights they have spent in the hospital with a child.

You and jen have no idea what you are bleating about. Perhaps you think it would be fun to have firefighters responding to your 911 call, and the ride in an ambulance would be exciting. Maybe you would like the attention given in the emergency department. Perhaps it might give you pleasure seeing tubes placed in your unconscious child, and then monitors pasted on their skin. You might find it an adventure to attempt to catch a few winks overnight next to the hospital bed.

If you do, then you are even more stupid and callous than I thought. And I already thought you were stupid and callous.

How does this stuff get through in the first place? By not causing any problems!

If the viral DNA contaminant was actually causing a vaccine problem in any way, it would have been detected much earlier. However, any effect it was causing was so small that it didn’t show up as a contra-indication of the vaccine, so it was not detected.

This is the most important thing to remember about this “impurity.” There is a limit to how many problems it can be causing, which, as a describe above, is a subset of all the problems caused by the vaccines. Given that the number of issues with the vaccines is already pretty minimal, that means that the problems caused by the impurities are, by definition, less than that.

We know it is causing any deaths, that is for sure.

Are we all to believe that because you (apparently) don’t like pigs and monkeys that makes them somehow gross?

Assuming that “pig virus” means “viruses that reside in porcine hosts,” I have to say, I think that while that doesn’t sound nice, it is far more appealing than viruses that are known to propagate in HUMAN hosts, i.e. “human viruses.”

Seriously, what would you rather have as a contaminant? A virus that is known to infect humans? Or a virus that infects pigs and monkeys but is not known to cause disease in people?

I realize that “neither” is a better option, but if one is actually present, I’ll take the one that doesn’t cause disease in humans, thank you.

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