Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

FDA Warns Web Sites against Marketing Fraudulent H1N1 Flu Virus Claims

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “FDA.GOV”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is enforcing the laws that protect consumers from illegal products marketed through the Internet that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

On May 1, 2009, the FDA warned consumers regarding products related to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus offered on the Internet. The products involved are those that are promoted and marketed to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure the 2009 H1N1 flu virus but are not approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA. The agency advised operators of offending Web sites that they must take immediate action to ensure that they are not marketing products intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure the 2009 H1N1 flu virus that have not been cleared, approved, or authorized by the FDA.

Since then, the FDA has issued more than 50 warning letters to offending Web sites and as a result, more than 66 percent of these Web sites have removed the offending claims and/or products.

“We are committed to aggressively pursuing those who attempt to take advantage of a public health emergency by promoting and marketing unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “We have achieved some success and will remain vigilant in our efforts to protect consumers from these fraudulent, potentially dangerous products.”

Examples of unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products targeted by the FDA include:
–A shampoo that claimed to protect against the H1N1 flu virus;
–A dietary supplement that claimed to protect infants and young children from contracting the H1N1 flu virus;
–A “new” supplement that claimed to cure H1N1 flu infection within four to eight hours;
–A spray that claimed to leave a layer of ionic silver on one’s hands that killed the virus;
–Several tests that have not been approved to detect the H1N1 flu virus; and
–An electronic instrument costing thousands of dollars that claimed to utilize “photobiotic energy” and “deeply penetrating mega-frequency life-force energy waves” to strengthen the immune system and prevent symptoms associated with H1N1 viral infection.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “FDA.GOV”

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Parents of two autistic sons vaccinated one but not the other

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “THE EXAMINER”

Punch drunk as I am, required to read every alert regarding vaccine injury, I was struck by the facts issued on WKRG.com News 5. Reported by Kesshia Peyton, who interviewed Dr. Paul Offit, there is a surge of parents who are very angry at the diversion that anti-vaccine activists have created.

Tina Brown, mother of 2 boys with autism, decided not to vaccinate son Dylan because his brother Dalton had  been inoculated and was subsequently diagnosed with autism. Sadly, even in the absence of vaccines Dylan demonstrated symptoms of autism at 4 months of age.  (video interview is below).

Mrs. Brown believes that there is great need for research in environmental, genetic, and DNA reasons for the onset of autism. She is part of a growing number of parents who want answers, other than the constant mention of vaccine injury.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “THE EXAMINER”

Skepdude says – Since the quacks are so fond of testimonials, I thought you’d enjoy one on the other side, which just goes to prove that you can always find a testimonial to support any side, which is why we should not base our judgements on anectodes but real scientific data.

Forced chemotherapy helping boy, friend says

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “MSNBC.COM”

X-rays show 13-year-old’s tumor is smaller, but Minn. boy is miserable

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. – A family friend says X-rays show the tumor in the chest of a 13-year-old Minnesota boy who resisted treatment has shrunk significantly after court-ordered chemotherapy.

However, family friend and spokesman Daniel Zwakman said the side effects of the treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma have made Daniel Hauser weak and miserable.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “MSNBC.COM”

Ore. pretrial hearing begins in ill girl’s death

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “SEATTLE TIMES”

OREGON CITY, Ore. —

A judge on Monday denied a defense motion to exclude photographs of the body of a 15-month-old child who died after her parents prayed rather than seeking medical attention for her.

Clackamas County Circuit Judge Steven Maurer told defense attorneys for Carl and Raylene Worthington that it would be up to a jury to decide the value of the photographs.

The Oregon City couple, who belong to the Followers of Christ Church, faces manslaughter charges in the death of their daughter, Ava. Members of the church have a history of treating gravely ill children only with prayer.

Ava died of pneumonia in March 2008. A state medical examiner has said she could have been treated with antibiotics.

Defense attorneys argued that the photos of Ava’s body were so disturbing that they could prejudice the jury.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “SEATTLE TIMES”

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Homeopathy Awareness Week

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “NEUROLOGICA”

According to the British Homeopathic Association (does that mean the fewer members they have the more powerful the group?) June 14-21 is Homeopathy Awareness Week. I would like to do my part to increase awareness of homeopathy.

I would like people to be aware of the fact that homeopathy is a pre-scientific philosophy, that it is based entirely on magical thinking and is out of step with the last 200 years of science. People should know that typical homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point that no active ingredient remains, and that homeopaths invoke mysterious vibrations or implausible and highly fanciful water chemistry.  I would further like people to know that clinical research with homeopathic remedies, when taken as a whole, show no effect for any such remedy.

In short, homeopathy is bunk. But here is a somewhat longer description of its history.

Homeopathy was founded by Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician who had become dissatisfied with the medicine of his day. Hahnemann lived in a time before the rudiments of modern medicine had been developed, before the germ theory of infectious disease, before the first antibiotic, before systematic testing of drugs for safety and efficacy, before surgical procedures were performed with anesthesia or sterile technique. In his century, it is fairly safe to say, conventional medicine was more likely to do harm than good, and hospitals were a place people went to die, rather than get well. It is no surprise, therefore, that Hahnemann sought for an alternative to the classical approach of his day.

For many years Hahnemann’s search was unsuccessful, until he stumbled upon what he thought was an amazing observation. He took a small amount of cinchona bark, which contains quinine, the drug used to treat malaria, and developed the symptoms of malaria. From this observation he developed homeopathy’s first law, similia similibus curentur, or let likes be cured by likes. In other words, drugs which cause specific symptoms can be used to cure diseases which cause the same symptoms.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “NEUROLOGICA”