A recent spate of articles over the last couple of days report that Elle Macpherson is dating an antivaccine "icon," disgraced antivaccine doctor and scientific fraud Andrew Wakefield. Given her love of "alkaline diet" woo, which she sells through her very Goop-like Wellco website, the attraction shouldn't be surprising. It is, nonetheless, troubling. It wouldn't surprise me if Macpherson is antivaccine herself, given that in "alkaline diet" lingo, vaccines are often viewed as "toxic acid" insults that "alkalinization" can reverse.
Gayle Delong is an economist who thinks she's an epidemiologist. Consistent with that delusion, her latest study of HPV vaccination is all amateurs hour, in which she misses a major potential confounder on her way to "proving" that HPV vaccination could be associated with decreased fertility in young women.
Cancer quacks frequently characterize conventional treatments for cancer as "cutting, poisoning, and burning." Yet, in Australia a woman with ovarian cancer chose black salve, in essence, "cutting, poisoning, and burning" (but mostly burning and without the cutting) to treat her disease. She died a horrible death. How can black salve still be a thing.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the tragic story of Demi Knight, and 11-year-old girl in the UK with medulloblastoma with only a few months to live. I wondered how cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski could still be taking advantage of such patients in 2018. Here, I note the role of the press.
In the 1970s, young polish expat and cancer researcher Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski thought he had found a cure for many incurable cancers. He dubbed it antineoplastons (ANPs_. Unfortunately, he left the path of science and started treating patients before he had evidence that ANPs work. Four decades later, without ever having published compelling evidence for anticancer efficacy of ANPs, he's still luring desperate patients to his clinic. Now he's set to branch out to quack clinics in Mexico. Why can't the law stop him?
Rigvir is a "virotherapy" from Latvia promoted by the International Virotherapy Center and, increasingly, by alternative cancer clinics. There is no convincing scientific evidence for its efficacy. That didn't stop its advocates from presenting a case report. Not surprisingly, the case report isn't convincing either.
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that it is incredibly unlikely that cell phone radiation causes cancer or other health problems. That doesn't stop The Nation from constructing a conspiracy theory inn which cell phone companies are likened to tobacco companies in their campaign of denial designed to hide evidence of harm while disingenuously claiming to be neutral regarding the science and saying that scientists should determine whether radiation from cell phones is hazardous.
Last week, the media were awash with reports of the "interstitium," which was dramatically described as a hitherto undiscovered "organ," a narrative that was definitely a triumph of PR over science that went beyond what even the investigators claimed in their paper. Worse, the investigators themselves even speculated that their discovery could "explain" acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine, thus providing an opening for quacks to run wild with their discovery, something I expect to see very soon.
I've written twice before about German alternative medicine cancer clinics, the quackery they ply, and how they take advantage of desperate cancer patients. Finally, in a disturbing report a journalist has investigated what one of these clinics (Hallwang) does and how such clinics can continue to operate.
It's been a bad week for homeopathy. First, the NHS in the UK has stopped funding homeopathy in London. Then, news stories appeared about research fraud and a retracted clinical trial of homeopathy for cancer in which the investigators had already been arrested. So sad!