Categories
Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Quackery

Even when it’s not all about vaccines, it’s all about vaccines

As supporters of science-based medicine know, in the woo-sphere, there is only One True Cause of Autism, and that is vaccines. At least, so it would seem. The idea that vaccines cause autism is based largely on anecdotes tinged with confirmation bias and selective memory mixed with a massive confusing of correlation with causation whereby the increase in autism prevalence over the last twenty years appears to correlate with an expansion of the vaccine schedule. Of course, as skeptics know, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, and I’ve often asked the question why it has to be the vaccines, pointing out that there are other things that correlate as well or better with the rise in autism prevalence. Perhaps my favorite example is Internet usage, which really took off in 1994 with the introduction of the graphical browser to the masses (Netscape Navigator), correlating very well with the “autism epidemic.” Another fine example are cell phones. After all, few people had cell phones in the early to mid-1990s, but their usage took off until today, when nearly everyone has one, a very nice correlation with autism prevalence. Of course, amusingly, Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing posted a hilariously apt graph correlating organic food sales with autism diagnoses and found a near-perfect correlation coefficient and a very low p-value.

So why isn’t it organic food causing the “autism epidemic”? The answer, of course, is obvious. It’s about the vaccines. It’s always been about the vaccines. It always will be about the vaccines. Vaccines are the one fixed point in the antivaccine universe that always have caused autism, cause autism, and will cause autism, always and forever, amen.

I should be careful what I ask for when I wonder about quacks finding other correlations and other “One True Causes” of autism. In fact, I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that someone actually did come up with a “One True Cause” of autism that wasn’t vaccines and does confuse correlation with causation. It also uses some grade-A primo woo to justify the author’s “theory” of what causes autism. And you, my readers, pointed it out to me, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog. It’s a website (www.thecausesofautism.com) that leads to something called The Fullerton Informer. Basically, the “hypothesis,” such as it is, is as follows:

There are two points of discussion on the blog:

  1. WiFi in the schools is dangerous to young children
  2. A hypothesis that Microwave Electro-Magnetic Frequency Emissions acting upon metals in the child’s brain in and out of the womb is the cause of autism.

Oh, goody. EMF woo. Very tasty. I’m not going to deal with the claim that wifi in schools is dangerous, at least not now. I’ve dealt with it before, after all, and the guy who runs it, Joe Imbriano, parrots the usual pseudoscience, quackery, and tropes. There’s nothing interesting there, no no spin or twist on the idea to pique my interest enough to blog about it. On the other hand, this idea about EMF acting on the metals in a child’s brain in the womb and after birth. This is some fine, tasty woo that I haven’t heard before. Moreover, the sheer crankery in Imbriano’s explanation of this “hypothesis” of his will amuse and delight true connoisseurs of woo such as myself. He titles it Carbonyl Iron and Orange County – The Autism Capital of the State, describing it thusly, “What originally began as a quest to get the WiFi systems out of my children’s Fullerton School District classrooms has led to a miraculous hope- that is to prevent newborn and infant children from becoming Autistic and a remarkable hypothesis-the possible connection of microwave EMF emissions’ interactions with metals in Autism, and the role a certain form of iron plays in all of this.”

One wonders how this “hope” came about, one does. So let’s delve in, shall we? Imbriano describes the genesis of his idea (I refuse to dignify it anymore by calling it a “hypothesis,” even with scare quotes) thusly:

In the summer of 1983, I was working in a fast food restaurant while I was in high school. It was my lunch time and I wanted to reheat my burger from earlier that I didn’t have time to finish. Foolishly, I put it in the microwave in its shiny foil wrapper. I pushed the power button and what happened next, I will never forget. The dielectric breakdown of air, as a result of tremendous voltage spikes (roughly equal to 3,000,000 volts per meter) and the resulting high concentrations of electric charge on the metal wrapper, generated by the magnetron, was happening right in front of my very eyes. 30 years later, I bring this up to demonstrate what we all know TO BE TRUE, that microwaving certain metals is dangerous. I believe, that a particular metal, depending on the particular frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum of the EMF emissions, such as BASF_Carbonyl_Iron_Powder_CIP_DS_USL_sfs.pdf can actually absorb the microwave radiation and stop the fireworks show. Simply coat the fork in a resin containing carbonly iron, microwave it, and the fork will get hot but will not create an electrical discharge. I remember that it looked like the 4th of July inside that microwave oven. I believe that the basic physics involved in that simple event lends tremendous insight into what is going on inside the brains, intestines and the rest of the bodies of the EMF sensitive, vulnerable sub-populations such as the unborn, newborns, infants and school children, and what I believe to be, the role these microwave emissions play in Autism. The brain contains about 100 billion neurons and the intestine contains roughly 100 million. Both the gut and the brain are where Autistic children show abnormalities. I firmly believe that both the gut and the brain are being affected by the microwave EMF emissions that have become increasingly prevalent in our lives.

Yes, indeed. Apparently babies’ bodies are just like a cold burger in a shiny foil wrapper, and the EMF radiation from wifi and cell phones cause their cells to light up like a Christmas tree, just like foil placed in a microwave oven. I’m not exaggerating, either. Later in the post, Imbriano describes EMF microwave emissions “creating electrical discharges and voltage spikes on certain metals,” allowing “metals and toxins to get in the brain by opening the BBB [blood-brain barrier] channels” and producing a “fireworks show at the cellular level” that he believes is “destroying the myelin sheathing” of neurons in the brain. He likens it to a overloading a wire with too much current. Never mind, of course, that autism is not a condition associated with demyelination, which is not generally thought to be a mechanism by which autism occurs. It is, actually, the mechanism by which multiple sclerosis develops. It helps to understand the basic science. While it is true that demyelination has on occasion been proposed as a mechanism of autism, the evidence for it as a pathophysiological factor isn’t really particularly strong.

How Imbriano comes to the remarkable conclusion that somehow EMF causes demyelination that in turn causes autism is a brilliant example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which diverse observations are made that he relates without understanding the context of those observations or even the basic science that makes his conclusions from them incredibly implausible (to put it kindly). It’s the sort of thing that Kent Heckenlively and some of the other bloggers at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism do when they string together all sorts of scientific studies willy nilly into a narrative that sounds compelling to a non-scientist but that scientists laugh at because they have a deep understanding of the actual science. It reminds me of what I used to do with a friend of mine when I was 13 or 14. We’d take our junior high understanding of science (well, junior high plus; we were both big science geeks, as you might imagine) and wildly speculate about multiple universes, faster-than-light travel, medical breakthroughs, and the like, all completely ridiculous in retrospect, knowing what I know about science, but completely compelling to us. I can only imagine what my friend and I would have come up with in those conversations had the Internet and PubMed existed back in the 1970s. It would probably have been something like what Mr. Imbriano came up with. We, however, outgrew such faux scientific flights of fancy. They served us well in that they actually reflected and encouraged our love of science, but as we learned more actual science we realized how off-base they were. Unfortunately, Mr. Imbriano seems stuck at that stage, as do so many cranks, who free associate various bits of science they find and come up with hypotheses that are simple, compelling (to them and their fellow cranks, at least), and completely wrong.

So what does carbonyl iron have to do with any of this? You’ll like this:

I have been doing extensive research on the effects of microwave EMF emissions on various metals as related to my need to clearly understand the interactions of the classroom WiFi networks’ emissions with items in the classroom and the children present. What I discovered was rather remarkable. When carbonyl iron was added to an asphalt mix during the manufacturing process, it increased the microwave absorption by 15X as opposed to plain asphalt. I remembered that carbonyl iron is commonly taken as an iron supplement. I could not believe my eyes.

Citing this paper on carbonyl iron to back up his view, Imbriano then claims that anemia “shows up in almost all autistic children,” after which he speculates wildly:

So there must be something going on with iron levels or something is happening to the iron such as bone marrow incorporation as a result of EMF exposure. There are some simple explanations as to why the iron and ferritin levels are not where they should be in the newborn and infants besides heredity. The first cause comes from the lack of available iron or folate in the womb where the mother’s diet is deficient in folates as well as elemental iron. Consequently, so becomes the developing child. The important link between folates and anemia is that when folates are present, it aids the production of healthy red blood cells which help transport oxygen throughout the body. Anemia develops with the lack iron and of folates in the body due to the lack of production of healthy red blood cells. Folate levels and anemia could very well be connected if an individual has a hard time absorbing this B vitamin through regular dietary intake and has a greater need for this vitamin. Pernicious anemia results from eating poorly nutritious foods, microwaved foods, and alcohol consumption, especially during pregnancy as these upset this balance. It can be noted that iron levels can rise quite easily through the supplementation of folates and iron. It is very simple to remedy.

It’s science word salad. It sounds impressive, but says absolutely nothing that makes any sense. And Imbriano doesn’t stop there. He moves on to blame cord clamping for causing anemia that leads to…well, it’s not exactly clear what. But Imbriano knows that Pitocin induction is a confounder. How? Don’t ask. He cites a dubious article linking Pitocin induction of labor with autism, only to dismiss this link as a confounder that is associated with immediate cord clamping. It’s kind of amusing that Imbriano knows the language of epidemiology, including confounders, but has no idea how to actually identify them. In any case, he then goes on to list a bunch of other things that cause anemia, from pesticides to obesity in expecting mothers to air pollution and more. From there, Imbriano “fits the pieces together” by saying that carbonyl iron is a common form of iron in supplements and that taking iron supplements before and during pregnancy has apparently been correlated with a lower risk of autism, declaring:

n summation, we believe that the WSJ article anectdotally confirms the implication of microwave emissions in having a causative effect on Autism. It is my belief that microwave EMF emissions acting on metals are the elusive missing link. We also believe that if all of the iron supplementation of the women was with carbonyl iron, instead of ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate, and, in term deliveries, cord clamping was delayed until pulsation ceases, or C sections were avoided when if at all possible, we could quite possibly, see virtually no autism if my assumptions are correct. If we removed EMF exposure entirely, we may just see the same results as well. The study didn’t specify which form of iron was taken. I would venture to say that carbonyl iron and ferrous sulfate are about 40%/50% ratio in terms of use by pregnant women and the other 10% being ferrous gluconate and other plant based forms which all differ in terms of their EMF absorption and permittivity.

You know, had PubMed and Google existed in the 1970s, I do believe that my friend and I could have come up with a far more scientifically plausible explanation for the “autism epidemic. I really do. At the very least, our science word salad was far more entertaining and served the purpose of sparking our imaginations in a way that led us both to become doctors and scientists later in life. Imbriano’s science word salad is all he seems able to come up with. Then he marvels that this “hypothesis has never been proposed.” Hilariously, it never occurs to him that maybe—just maybe—the reason the hypothesis has never been proposed is because there isn’t any evidence to lead scientists to think that such a hypothesis might have sufficient validity to be worth investigating seriously. In fact, given how low the energy from EMF is, to the point where it is unable to break chemical bonds. Energy unable to do anything more than very minimal heating is incredibly unlikely to be able to induce demyelination, much less autism or anything else.

I was going give Imbriano a bit of credit, though. At first he seemed to be the first person to come up with a crank idea about how autism is caused and how to treat it that has absolutely nothing to do with vaccines. He even included a passage about how total pollution is going down, as is total mercury exposure, dismissing the as potential causes of autism. Then he disappointed me halfway through the article. He starts pointing out that the “battery of immunizations are simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back of the already anemic, microwave EMF damaged, electrosensitive, immunocompromised infant.”

Damn. It really is always about vaccines. Even when it seems, for once, that it actually won’t be.

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]

206 replies on “Even when it’s not all about vaccines, it’s all about vaccines”

There is a veterinarian in Baltimore who keeps showing up in news reports in print and online because of her activism against “smart meters” (instead of regular electricity meters). She keeps stating that the smart meters give off “electromagnetic radiation” (i.e. radio waves) that have not been tested for their effects on human health. She has stated:

“Non-industry funded health organizations world-wide have issued warnings on continued proliferation of wireless infrastructure. These include, but are not limited to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Karolinska Institute (Leading European medical university that selects Nobel Prize Winners), and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.”

And,

“Smart meters are interfering and causing malfunctioning of a wide range of household and medical devices including other WiFi devices, Netlfix, garage door openers, security systems, pacemakers, defibrillators, etc.”

Oh, no, it interferes with Netflix!

I am convinced that these folks were not taught about confounding at any point in their lives. There was a study in the early 80’s that claimed that there was a statistically significant association between coffee and pancreatic cancer. There was. But that correlation went up in smoke, so to speak, when the results were controlled for smoking. Coffee drinkers who didn’t smoke had no greater risk of pancreatic cancer than non-coffee drinkers who didn’t smoke. Throw smoking into the equation, and the risks of pancreatic cancer increased. In that case, coffee drinking was a confounder.

Of course, it takes critical thinking skills to figure these things out. The moment I read the microwave example, I got to thinking about how much iron is in our blood at any given time. Even people with hemochromatosis don’t have enough iron to make a blip on an electromagnetometer (metal detector). Heck, they’re not even radio opaque. So how in the world would their iron, any iron, be influenced by radio waves?

But we’re not dealing with critical thinkers, are we?

What?!? Why didn’t he put some mercury in a microwave?

Fear not, this is why youtube exists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mARTSw8gp7c

And, of course, there’s a reason why we don’t see mercury lamps looking like this when they are off and not inside a running microwave–namely the density of microwave energy outside of a microwave oven is much lower. As noted in the wikipedia article on microwave ovens:

The specific heating effect of a beam of high-power microwaves was discovered accidentally in 1945, shortly after high-powered microwave radar transmitters were developed and widely disseminated by the Allies of World War II, using the British magnetron technology that was shared with the United States company Raytheon in order to secure production facilities to produce the magnetron. Percy Spencer, an American self-taught engineer from Howland, Maine, worked at the time with Raytheon. He was working on an active radar set when he noticed that a Mr. Goodbar he had in his pocket started to melt – the radar had melted his chocolate bar with microwaves. The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer’s microwave was popcorn, and the second was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters.[3][4] To verify his finding, Spencer created a high density electromagnetic field by feeding microwave power from a magnetron into a metal box from which it had no way to escape. When food was placed in the box with the microwave energy, the temperature of the food rose rapidly.

The key phrase here is “high power”. Wifi is nowhere near that power seen inside a home microwave oven. Although microwave oven frequencies overlap with wifi frequencies in the gigahertz range, it is a wonderful testimony to the science behind a Faraday cage.

@Ren

Re Smart meters

In Wisconsin, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (the guy who is trying to ban employers from requiring flu vaccination) is also against smart meters, but his whole angle on both issues is one of individual rights over, well, pretty much anything else. His smart meter opt out bill, so he tries to frame it, is a Fourth Amendment bill. He keeps trying to hammer private, corporate actions into Bill of Rights issues, when the Bill of Rights applies to the government, not private individuals or companies.

Let me get this straight. People who are autistic exhibit symptoms as toddlers, right? (At least, these days most autism cases are diagnosed when the patient is a toddler.) Children generally don’t go to school until age 5, right? And this guy wants us to believe that the WiFi in schools contributes to autism? I have two questions for this dude: (1) What are you smoking? (2) Where do I get some?

That was both painful and amusing to read. Imbriano’s “science by association” reminds me of the pieces of scientific evidence some people put together to support their claims about vaccines and autism: some studies have found unusual cytokine levels in autism, vaccines can increase cytokine levels, therefore vaccines cause autism.

Oh my lord, that was even funnier than the voltage craziness. I mean . . . so very very *wrong* and, in some cases, not even wrong in that piece. Let me just try to sum up the reasoning here:

Microwaving aluminum foil is bad.
Aluminum is a metal.
Iron is a metal.
You have iron atoms in your blood.
Lots of these wind up in your brain and intestines.
Microwaves are radio wave.
WiFi is transmitted via radio waves.
Autism involves brain differences, and some autistic kids have damage to their guts.
Many austistic kids have been vaccinated.
Vaccines sometimes contain thimerosal, which contains mercury atoms.
Mercury is a metal.

That’s all the science we need! WIFI CAUSES AUTISM BY MICROWAVING THE IRON ATOMS IN THE BODY AND THE MERCURY THAT IS SOMEHOW STILL IN VACCINES EVEN THOUGH ITS NOT!!!!!!!!

So I guess you shouldn’t wrap your kid in aluminum foil and pop her in the microwave or let her go to a school with WiFi.

“The dielectric breakdown of air, as a result of tremendous voltage spikes (roughly equal to 3,000,000 volts per meter) and the resulting high concentrations of electric charge on the metal wrapper, generated by the magnetron, was happening right in front of my very eyes.”

Aka sparks. Cranks like to dress things up, no?

BUT but but..
for his theory to even contain a shred of sense wouldn’t the kids/ mothers *themselves* have to be microwaved?

Doesn’t the power of miicrowaves drop off precipitously within a few feet?

More *incroyable* autism speculation:
@ AoA, courtesy of Dan Burns and chemical engineer/ nutritionisto, Wm Walsh.
and
@ TMR, via the Prof** on Jennifer Margolis’ book, The Business of Baby.

The key phrase here is “high power”. Wifi is nowhere near that power seen inside a home microwave oven. Although microwave oven frequencies overlap with wifi frequencies in the gigahertz range, it is a wonderful testimony to the science behind a Faraday cage.

Semi-related: IIRC, one of the things that lead to a price drop in early microwave ovens was the revelation that they didn’t need radar-quality microwaves to heat food. I suspect that was more about signal quality or something, rather than power, though, since you aren’t trying to discern anything by echo, just fill a small chamber with a certain frequency.

Something I think is noteworthy about microwaves: As I understand it, they’re generally better for reheating food, rather than cooking precisely because the radiation is too weak to cause the chemical reactions conventional ovens do via convection and more powerful thermal infrared radiation.

@ TMR, via the Prof** on Jennifer Margolis’ book, The Business of Baby.</blockquote. Oh, I took the linkbait and now I am grinding my teeth and muttering about the all "magical mommy wisdom" and conspiracy BS contained therein. I read the NYT book review she sneers about too and it appears Margulis did not bother to research OB standards of care for countries with government-funded health care systems. Why would the provincial government agree to pay for the pitocin and epidural I was given at the hospital if they're really so "unnecessary?" And I was able to "bond" just fine with my newborn son, even though he needed a 3-week stay in the NICU before I could bring him home. What a load of drivel.

Sorry for the off-topic rant, but childbirth woo makes me ranty. Back to the EMF nuttery…

@ TMR, via the Prof** on Jennifer Margolis’ book, The Business of Baby.. Oh, I took the linkbait and now I am grinding my teeth and muttering about the all “magical mommy wisdom” and conspiracy BS contained therein. I read the NYT book review she sneers about too and it appears Margulis did not bother to research OB standards of care for countries with government-funded health care systems. Why would the provincial government agree to pay for the pitocin and epidural I was given at the hospital if they’re really so “unnecessary?” And I was able to “bond” just fine with my newborn son, even though he needed a 3-week stay in the NICU before I could bring him home. What a load of drivel.

Sorry for the off-topic rant, but childbirth woo makes me ranty. Back to the EMF nuttery…

As I understand it, [microwave ovens are] generally better for reheating food, rather than cooking precisely because the radiation is too weak to cause the chemical reactions conventional ovens do via convection and more powerful thermal infrared radiation.

It’s mainly the thermal infrared radiation in conventional ovens, but this is basically correct. My understanding is that certain molecules have rotational bands which are excited by photons in this frequency range, and in solid food this tends to result in hot spots because the effective heating is limited to only a portion of the food (depending on the standing wave pattern set up in the oven). Food products tend to not be good thermal conductors. Thus, the hot and cold parts of your microwaved frozen burrito. Metals are much better heat conductors, which is one of the reasons putting metal objects in the microwave is not a good idea.

In a conventional oven, you have heating elements which heat the air inside the oven to a temperature typically well above the boiling point of water, and the air in the oven convects to spread that heat more or less evenly about the interior of the oven. You also tend to use longer cooking times, so that the heat has a chance to conduct to the center of the food product you are cooking despite the poor heat conductivity of food. Metals just heat up faster, so it’s fine to put them in, whereas many plastics melt (unlike in a microwave), so they should be kept out. Some oils start to burn as well, so if you are cooking pizza you should grease the pan with something other than olive oil (don’t ask me how I know this).

You also tend to use longer cooking times, so that the heat has a chance to conduct to the center of the food product you are cooking despite the poor heat conductivity of food.

Hence why it takes so long to cook a frozen turkey, why uniform bread dough develops a crust, and why my favorite frozen bread rolls get blackened on their bottoms in the aluminum tray if I accidentally overcook them.

Reminded of a quote from Fullmetal Alchemist: “Alchemy began in the kitchen.” And from some kids’ show: “Cooking is a chemistry experiment you can eat.”

Some oils start to burn as well, so if you are cooking pizza you should grease the pan with something other than olive oil (don’t ask me how I know this).

I’m guessing you had a cooking experiment that ended with the use of a fire extinguisher.

@Denice – second try. Silly interface.

You’re right on the energy drop off. RF energy drops off with square of the distance. The power level for a WiFi system is orders of magnitude lower than what a microwave oven puts out. Most of the “WiFi is dangerous!” arguments get facepalms from pretty much anyone in RF Engineering.

The “dose makes the poison” applies to RF too more or less.

Actually, putting metal in the microwave isn’t as bad an idea as folks have been led to believe. In fact, most folks *have* put metal in the microwave, with no ill effects, without ever knowing it.

Hot Pockets have metallic linings in the cardboard sleeves that you’re meant to heat them up in. This is deliberate; the metal is a great thermal conductor, and it gets wonderfully warm in response to the microwaves. This helps the food to cook evenly, and also to get the outside pleasantly crispy. Microwave popcorn bags use the same princple, and then there are browning trays. Browning trays have a sheet of metal embedded in them, usually surrounded by ceramic. You put bacon or whatever on there, nuke it, and instead of getting disgusting floppy lukewarm pork, you get nice crispy strips of piping hot bacon.

I’ve also read of a rather interesting way of making microwaved ice cream sundaes, where the ice cream is shielded with aluminum foil so it doesn’t heat up, but the chocolate is left exposed. I’m not sure of the mechanics of that, but I’m told it’s delicious (but somewhat messy).

Microwaving metal isn’t really bad. It’s just that you’ll induce a current, and if there are gaps, you’ll get sparks. A crumpled ball of aluminum foil or a CD-ROM are great things for demonstrating this. Otherwise, it really just makes the metal hot.

Oh, and to afeman, your quoting of this line made me notice something else:
“The dielectric breakdown of air, as a result of tremendous voltage spikes (roughly equal to 3,000,000 volts per meter) and the resulting high concentrations of electric charge on the metal wrapper, generated by the magnetron, was happening right in front of my very eyes.”

Gosh, three million volts? That really sounds like a hell of a lot to be inside my microwave! Even if it’s not enough to get a Norwegian Blue to stop kippin’ on its perch! Except . . . it’s not three million volts. It’s three million volts per meter, and if your microwave oven can accommodate a meter-long spark, you have one hell of an oven. The *millimeter* size sparks she actually saw would probably have been in the range of 1,000-10,000 volts. 10,000 volts sounds like a hell of a lot, but you get shocked worse by touching door handles in the winter. Even the three million volt discharge she uses to scare us is only mildly painful. The thing is, these are not sustained voltages. It’s the amps that kill you, not the volts (more or less). Not that you’d want to test that by sticking your hand in there, since never mind the electrical discharges, you’re microwaving your hand, silly!

The reason you get such uneven heating in a microwave is that for most materials, the hotter the material the easier it absorbs microwaves. So as soon as you start getting the first hot spots you’re reinforcing them by selectively heating them better.

The wavelength is a factor too, but all that is why microwaves usually have a turntable in them. And why most recipes recommend periodically stopping to stir or rearrange. And really, even with a conventional oven or stovetop, you’ll want to do that too or you’ll get uneven heating there as well.

One time I had a small fire break out in the office microwave because of a tiny amount of metal in a Chinese food container. Every other time I’ve reheated one of those containers, no problem.

I think it has something to do with GMOs..

OT but are natural health entreprenuers having their own charities EVER truly OT – I ask you?
( Plus, I’m not working today)

Today @ Mercola.com, we are informed about charities bilking people of their hard earned money- some of the worst are named as are some who advocate SBM ( Susan Komen, ADA).

Then, the CEO/ DO discusses his own efforts ‘partnering’ with 5 fine charities ( including NVIC) to form “Health Liberty” AND mentioning a few others he finds hunky dory ( including the ANH, an anti fluoride group and two who promote vitamin D).

Only recently, MIke Adams discussed horrible charities whilst bolstering his own “Consumer Wellness Center” ( see health ranger.com/ philanthropy) which gives grants to schools/ students who educate children about natural health.

AoA has a “DONATE” button as well. TMR sells merchandise- it was supposedly starting a charity with funds from sales of its book. ( NN, AoA and TMR appear to sell advertisement)

Last, and certainly not least ( except perhaps in humility), PRN has a DONATE button which supports its non-profit** broadcasting efforts ( as well as a STORE, to support its chief broadcaster). It sometimes vaguely hints at raising money for “the station” whilst also being part of fund drives for non-profit radio stations ( Pacifica).

From what I can ascertain, hosts create shows without pay and donate them to prn. Null used to have his own charity, the Nutrition Institute or suchlike ( see Quackwatch).

** which are “commercial free” despite being essentially,
commercials for GN.

Shouldn’t we be more concerned about microwaving infant formulas or milk in the microwave…rather than worrying if the microwaves are going to affect an infant’s development? (Nasty burns and all that).

There is an international group, located in Pretoria South Africa, which disseminates information about “Geopathic Stress, Electro-Stress and Electro-Sensitivity”. They (supposedly) have investigated teh ebil governments and *Big Micro*, *Big Cellphones* which are making out kids autistic. BTW, Orange County Joe Imbriano is published here…

http://geopathology-za.wikidot.com/autism

Microwave ovens: great for warming up my morning coffee and my evening decafs which I stash in the refrigerator. Good for warming leftovers, but nuked baked potatoes taste “quite sweet” to me.

I guess that microwave didn’t have the honking great warning from the manufacturer about metallic objects and microwaves.

I suppose it makes more sense if you remember this season’s Doctor Who episode, “The Bells of Saint John”, where the Wifi was used to take over people’s minds.

Well, no, it doesn’t make more sense. But at least it has a time machine, which the 21st-century wifi would need to cause autism in the 1950s.

But Ken, autism didn’t exist in the 1950’s! Ann Dachel says so! /sarcasm

Wow. I had to head-bang my bed rail after reading that. I was trying to erase the sheer neuron-scrambling nonsense because it was making me feel stupider by the millisecond.

Sadly I did not manage to give myself the gift of concussion. Fortunately the high level of actual scientific fact in these comments went a long way toward nudging my IQ back up! Now I just have to knock the dents out of my rail. I might follow Edith’s lead and pop over to TMR, I could head-bang the rail straight again.

“Shouldn’t we be more concerned about microwaving infant…….s”

Shame on you, lilady.

Iron is present in the 10’s of micromolar levels in serum and blood cells.

Sodium is present at ~ 100 millimolar levels in serum (and a lot less in cells)–so about 1000 times higher concentration then iron.

Sodium, being a metal, is also a very good electrical conductor and will spark in a microwave (feel free to check youtube to see what sodium vapor lamps do in a microwave oven).

So shouldn’t we all be much, much more worried about sodium and Wifi?

(please take this with a grain of salt, literally, as you already know: (1) even the most heavily salted foods don’t get all sparky in your microwave, nor would you get all sparky in a microwave either, even if you were hypernatremic, and (2) microwave ovens are well shielded and, (3) wifi is so much more low power than a microwave)

Hmm. Maybe that’s why sparks shoot from my eyes when I’m phone-internetting through our WiFi connection.

You’re a doctor Chris, are those bright blue eye sparks not normal? Maybe I need foil mittens.

“Even when it’s not all about vaccines”
it’s all about MERCURY..

AoA’s chief biopsychophysioimmuno- theoretician, Teresa Conrick, today ‘schools” Simon Baron-Cohen about investigating ASDs and eating disorders.
“After seventy years, these children deserve so much more than Psychiatry has offered”, saith she.

In other news and balderdash:

Mikey A. announces another aspect of his newest internet enterprise, BLOGS.naturalnews, a venue for free speech. Interested parties may submit their blogs, etc.. You can earn MONEY from ADS!

Do I hear any takers?
I’ve always imagined that someone could sokal him extremely well ( PRN is currently also recruiting show hosts) – imagine what some of RI’s talented minions could do at either outlet. NOt that I’m telling anyone to do that- it would be SO wrong. Heh.

@ elburto-
Wanna part time job as a writer?

Thank you for providing the link to Mr. Imbriano’s piece, Mr. Orac. It is excellent. My daughter has autism and the information on the umbilical cord makes a lot of sense. (I labored for 3 days and nights at a midwifery farm, before having an emergency C-section where the umbilical cord was immediately clamped. I wrote about the link between EMF and autism here http://www.scribd.com/doc/87560084/It-Just-Makes-Sense-2012. –

Haha can you imagine the fun I’d have if I took my foil mitts off long enough to write for Mikey?

First blogpost titles:

“Hydroxyls – the hidden chemical compounds in your home”

“Is there nitrogen in the air your innocent children are breathing?”

Hmm… what if teh wiffy signals worsen my existing headmentals? P’raps I should add a jaunty foil beret to my ensemble.

Ooh Other Mrs elburto has offered to make me a foil onesie with a hood! That means my existing brainwrongs won’t be worsened by the evil signals.

I’d go with a take on George Carlin’s classic: “Scientists have discovered that human saliva can cause autism, but only when swallowed in small amounts for a preiod of time greater than 6 months.”

Sodium, being a metal, is also a very good electrical conductor and will spark in a microwave (feel free to check youtube to see what sodium vapor lamps do in a microwave oven).

If you want to see some real fireworks, take a half kilogram ingot of sodium to any convenient bridge and drop it in the river. That ought to scare anybody prone to falling for sodium-related woo. There is a reason bulk metallic sodium is usually stored in oil.

I think it has something to do with GMOs..

I generally like LightLife products, and our local supermarket has started carrying LightLife Vegetarian Chik’n Masala pot pies, which, despite the name, are utterly delicious (as long as you get the Masala ones – the plain ones are as tasteless as a regular microwave chicken pot pie). I particularly like that they are one of the few markers of frozen vegetarian entrees in our store that don’t plaster NON-GMO!!! comments all over their boxes.

Eating GMOs cooked in a microwave makes me feel a litle better about being part of the crunchy progressive woo-friendly fringe…

May I ask, could you post some links to studies which have been conducted concerning the number of children who have Autism and have not been vaccinated, and the number of children who have Autism and have been vaccinated?

That should help this discussion, I believe.

As the mom of a 21-month old, the whole bottle in the microwave thing is more geared toward the fact that (as many have pointed out) microwaves heat unevenly. You certainly don’t want to scald your infant by feeding them formula that is very hot in the middle. If you microwave, shake thoroughly and test on your own skin. We received as a gift a little electric bottle warmer that used steam to heat them. Still required shaking but worked great and heated a bit more evenly. My husband is a physicist so I have to get him to read this post. On second thought, better not, his head might explode.

Ah, yes, I clicked on his little reaction. The ALL CAPS comment is hilarious:

THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN AMERICA TODAY IS STILL INSIDE OF A MOTHER’S WOMB. YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD KNOW BETTER OR AT LEAST WANT TO HELP.

So does he want to wrap every pregnant woman with aluminum foil? Or perhaps find a way to grow a fetus in a vat?

By the way, our family bought our first microwave oven in the early 1970s. I wonder if Mr. Imbriano knows that. Or that there have been radio waves wafting through us for a good century or so.

I’ve been in an hospital since yesterday getting a surgery for a ruptured appendix which turned into an abcess. More news later when I get a computer.

Alain

Nasty, Alain. I hope everything clears up quickly and relatively painlessly (or that at least the drugs work).

@ Dangerous Bacon: Good one ! 🙂

“Someone” is miffed that he hasn’t got any feedback…too bad. That’ll learn ’em not to post on Orac’s super secret other blog. I hope Imbriano is convinced that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

@ Alain: Whoa…that’s serious. Hope you feel better soon.

Alain, j’espere que les medicins a Montreal son competent et que tu quitte l’hopital aussi tot que possible.
Paix.

Heh. It looks as though Mr. Imbriano is…displeased…with my post. Perhaps some comments are in order.

A couple comments have an oddly familiar ring to them. But then again, the tin-foil brigade eventually sound alike.

Alain, mais non! Get well soon. At least you have science on your side and not naturopathy or Rife.

Re microwave ovens and microwave popcorn. I have set a popcorn bag on fire in an earlier microwave I had. I have also exploded eggs and jacket potatoes. It’s all one big learning curve 🙂 I have learned to use the darn thing to reheat only, and I do that with caution.
@ Alain, hope your recovery in without incident and you get better soon.

It must be depressing writing for the same twenty people everyday. I admire your sticktoitiveness.

@sid

Considering that you can’t draw flies to your own blog, I find your ignorance very amusing.

Also, it doesn’t change the fact that you are trying an appeal to popularity, which says nothing about how most all of your views have no support in actual reality.

But then again, reason and logic have never been your strong suit in the first place.

Offal:

“It must be depressing writing for the same twenty people everyday. I admire your sticktoitiveness.”

It must be fun playing with glue pot and posting links to anti-vaccine anti-science sites on your Facebook page.

I admire your Offalness.

The key phrase here is “high power”.

A second key phrase might be “wavelength”. Ants are happy wandering around inside an active microwave, because they are small compared to the wavelength… meaning that at any instant there is little difference between the electric field at one part of the ant and the electric field at another part… so no current flow.

Imbriano evidently thinks that because microwaves induce current flows within aluminium foil (with the spectacular consequences of overheating and sparking), therefore they will also induce current flows within individual atoms. I am gobsmacked.

I admire your sticktoitiveness.

Sid, do try to style your name consistently. I don’t have time to work on speeding up the killfile script at the moment.

So far so good, this was a surgery with complications but it was done very effectively. I have anti-abiotic, a nasogastric tube and a morphine pump to manage side-effects.

Spelling errors courtesy of my fone

@ Mark McAndrew:

It’s called “the Vaccine Machine” but actually, it’s the eponymous facebook page that’s active. Take a look.

Now that I have my computer, I can report my incident.

Basically, I noticed a small pain last week in the right upper quadrant (out of 4 quadrant) and the pain increased tuesday to the point I needed an ambulance ride wednesday morning. No fever, No nausea or anything left me thinking it was this serious. And the triage nurse coded me for a stomach pain but I had to wait in a weelchair about 3 hours in various places between the ambulance ride and seeing a doctor after which I was admitted to a bed.

Alain

Sid-Robert Schecter should be one to talk.

He actually told a woman whose child had died from the flu that the flu was “a minor illness.”

Screen caps here:

h_ttp://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/the-callousness-of-some-people/

He’s got a lot of balls. I’ll give him that, and only that.

Dayum, every time I think Sid hits bottom, he finds a new way to sink bit deeper. He just can’t get any worse than this, can he?

@Reuben and Johnny – I too did not think it possible that the disgusting pile of Offal could sink any lower in my opinion, but he just dug a new level. What an @sshole.

@Edith

I don’t know if sid’s comment’s on his blog/facebook will ever top the one in which he called a African infant with smallpox “cute”.

That was rather repulsive.

Dayum, every time I think Sid hits bottom, he finds a new way to sink bit deeper. He just can’t get any worse than this, can he?

Yes. Yes, he can. And he will.

@ Reuben Gaines: Poor Offal… The only human to survive brain herniation, where his entire brain sank below his waist.

Yeah, he’s got bigger [email protected] that a brass monkey.

It must be depressing writing for the same twenty people everyday.

Since an average of 1 out of every 200 readers leaves a comment on most blogs, I estimate that around 1,500 people have read this blog post so far.

Does anyone know of the numbers of the comments refer to RI or Science Blogs in general? Schechter’s comment was comment number 272,729.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: