Last week, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center issued a press releast touting its integrative oncology program. It's a perfect example to demonstrate the formulaic nature of such press releases and the distortions behind them used to sell the "integration" of quackery into medicine.
Antivaxers have become politically active and, unfortunately, quite influential in several states. As you go out to the polls today, remember that, and vote as if our children's health depends on it, particularly if you live in Texas and Oklahoma.
A week ago, The Toronto Sun published a syndicated column by a pseudonymous Canadian doctor, Dr. W. Gifford-Jones. The column was packed with antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience. Apparently due to complaints, the article was taken down after an uproar, but is still available on the website of at least one other Canadian newspaper. How is it that a physician who writes such twaddle can be syndicated in over 70 newspapers?
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Earlier this week, a new survey from the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that belief in alternative cancer cures is common, with roughly four out of ten Americans believing that "natural" alternative treatments alone can cure cancer, without any conventional oncologic therapies, like chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. This survey points to just how ingrained misinformation about cancer is in our society and how much work advocates of science-based oncology have ahead of them to combat it.
in 2015, SB 277 was passed in California, eliminating personal belief exemptions (PBEs) to its school vaccine mandate beginning in 2016. Two years on, health officials express frustration with shortcomings of the law, the two most glaring of which involve their lack of authority to deny scientifically bogus medical exemptions sold by antivaccine doctors and their lack of authority and resources to track medical exemptions.
“Integrative oncology” involves “integrating” pseudoscience, mysticism, and quackery with science-based oncology and co-opting science-based lifestyle modalities as “alternative” in order to provide cover for the quackery. Unfortunately, my alma mater, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is running a course to indoctrinate 100 health care professionals in the ways of “integrative oncology.” The Trojan horse of “lifestyle interventions” and “nonpharmacologic treatments for pain” is at the gates. The quackery will leap out as soon as it’s in the fortress.
Functional medicine (FM) is "make it up as you go along" quackery that combines the "worst of both worlds," namely the overtesting and overtreatment that can plague conventional medicine plus the quackery "integrated" into "integrative medicine." It's rare to see a mainstream outlet get it right about FM, but an Irish journalist pulls it off.
Contrary to the stereotype of antivaccinationists as hippy-dippy left wing granola crunchers, in actuality antivaccine pseudoscience is the pseudoscience is the pseudoscience that knows no political boundaries. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that both parties are equivalent. Unfortunately, thanks to the co-opting of conservative activism by antivaxers, the Republican Party in 2018 has become the antivaccine party.
Arizona piloted a vaccine education program to increase vaccination rates by decreasing personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It wasn't even a mandatory program. Yet, antivaxers complained, and Arizona caved, shutting the program down. It looks as though Arizona is up to make measles great again.