"One Conversation" was originally planned to be a panel discussion between pro- and anti-vaccine advocates. However, as pro-vaccine scientists learned just how disreputable the antivaccine cranks on the panel are, they've canceled, leaving an antivaccine crankfest. Yesterday, I learned that this antivaccine confab has added two more cranks, one of whom is a real blast from the past.
One of the most popular forms of quackery sold by alternative medicine practitioners such as naturopaths is intravenous vitamin therapy, sometimes also called “intravenous micronutrient therapy” (IVMT). Most are variants of a concoction known as “Myers cocktail,” and there is no good evidence that IVMT is efficacious for any of the indications for which quacks use it. Last week, the FTC issued a proposed consent agreement based on a complaint against the company selling iV Bars for false advertising. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of something good.
One Conversation was originally sold as a public debate or discussion about vaccine that would represent "both sides." When the real scientists who had been enticed by Britney Valas and Shannon Kroner's seeming sincerity found out about the antivaxers on the panel and just what they do and believe, things fell apart. Now what's left is an antivaccine crankiest.
Barbara Loe Fisher, Joe Mercola, and other antivaxers frequently deny that the flu is dangerous and that all the promotion of flu vaccines every year is a plot by big pharma to make money based on fear. The CDC argues otherwise, reporting that influenza mortality last season was higher than iit's been in decades. Roughly 80,000 people are estimated to have died last season from influenza or complications from the flu.
Here we go again. Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher make up a fake "Vaccine Injury Awareness Week" as an excuse to fundraise and spread antivax pseudoscience hither, thither, and yon. Same as it ever was. At least this year, they avoided the gratuitous Nazi references. It must have taken enormous restraint on their parts.
Hillary Simpson created the Facebook group #crazymothers to co-opt the perception that the science-based world has of her and her fellow antivax mothers. Now, she's cooked up a hashtag and social media campaign called #DearDoctor to encourage mothers to harass their child's former pediatricians by writing letters blaming them for vaccinating and supposedly causing their children's autism. Oh, and she does freestyle rap, too. Badly.
In May JAMA published a negative study of acupucnture and in vitro fertilization. Dr. Carlo Giovanardi, a physician and leader in acupuncture in Italy, was not pleased. As acupuncturists frequently do, he is now making excuses.
Aromatase inhibitors are antiestrogen drugs frequently used to treat breast cancer. Unfortunately, they can cause significant joint pain. A recent study of acupuncture for joint pain caused by these drugs was basically negative, but the authors did their best to spin it as positive. Same as it ever was for acupuncture studies.
Two prominent advocates of "integrative medicine" bemoan the "practice drift" they see in their specialty, in which doctors drift farther and farther away from their training. What this means is (although it would never be admitted) is that these "integrative medicine" doctors are drifting further and further into quackery. Too bad this is a feature, not a bug.
I was invited to discuss vaccines with antivaxers for a panel called One Conversation. Recognizing an antivaccine trap, I politely declined. Unfortunately, other legitimate medical authorities did not, thus enabling the illusion of legitimization of antivaccine views.