Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Nuttines squared-Homeopathic thimerosal

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 18, 2010

Forget that thimerosal has not been shown to cause any diseases (read autism). Forget that homeopathy has never been shown to work under properly controlled scientific conditions and it’s getting its butt kicked in the UK. Nope, none of that matters because, of course, if you dilute it enough something good is bound to come out of it, no? Enter,homeopathic thimersoal, in 30C dilution selling for only $9.95 or $19.95 per bottle! What does it cure? Well, nothing specific apparently (except for the subtle implication that it may help with autism, obviously).

Thimerosal can be used to treat a wide range of diseases, all of which have a unique general pattern of effects upon an individual. Homeopathic medicine seeks to treat the whole person and not just a symptom or two because we are whole beings and not collections of unrelated symptoms.

Well that’s nice isn’t it? A “wide range of diseases” followed by the usual, make-em-feel-precious , standard holistic CAM “treat the whole” nonsense! Wouldn’t you expect the description to be a little more specific though as to what exactly this wide range of disease is comprised of? I mean, will this help with diarrhea, ’cause I smell a lot of BS!

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U.S. court rules again against vaccine-autism claims

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 15, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vaccines that contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal cannot cause autism on their own, a special U.S. court ruled on Friday, dealing one more blow to parents seeking to blame vaccines for their children’s illness.

The special U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that vaccines could not have caused the autism of an Oregon boy, William Mead, ending his family’s quest for reimbursement.

“The Meads believe that thimerosal-containing vaccines caused William’s regressive autism. As explained below, the undersigned finds that the Meads have not presented a scientifically sound theory,” Special Master George Hastings, a former tax claims expert at the Department of Justice, wrote in his ruling.

In February 2009, the court ruled against three families who claimed vaccines caused their children’s autism, saying they had been “misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment”.

The families sought payment under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system that has a $2.5 billion fund built up from a 75-cent-per-dose tax on vaccines.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

Physician team’s crusade shows cracks

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 21, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”

Dr. Mark Geier has, he says, solved the riddle of autism. He says he has identified its cause and, in the powerful drug Lupron, found an effective treatment — what he calls a “major discovery.”

But behind Geier’s bold assertion is a troubling paper trail that undercuts his portrayal of himself as a pioneer tilting against a medical establishment that refuses to embrace his novel ideas.

Time and again, reputable scientists have dismissed autism research by Geier and his son, David, as seriously flawed. Judges who have heard Mark Geier testify about vaccines’ harmful effects have repeatedly called him unqualified, with one describing his statements as “intellectually dishonest.”

“Dr. Geier may be clever,” another wrote, “but he is not credible.”A physician and genetic counselor by training, Geier, 61, presents himself as the scientist who has unraveled autism’s mystery, a claim that has won him a devoted following. He and his son tie the neurodevelopmental disorder to a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, which has been removed from childhood vaccines except for some flu shots.

The Geiers have won support from the parents of autistic children who share their suspicion of the medical community, even though mainline scientists criticize their views. Parents who have used the Lupron treatment also praise the Geiers, and Mark Geier said scores of severely autistic children are improving steadily.

But the Geiers have been widely criticized for both their methods and their treatment. In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that a Geier study finding a link between vaccines and autism was marred by “numerous conceptual and scientific flaws, omissions of fact, inaccuracies, and misstatements.”

The following year, the Institute of Medicine concluded in a report that the purported connection between mercury in vaccines and autism did not exist. The government-sanctioned committee of scientists reserved harsh words for the Geiers’ work, saying their research was “uninterpretable” and marred by “serious methodological problems.”

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”

Yet More Evidence Against a Link Between Thimerosal and Autism

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on January 27, 2009

A new study published yesterday (Monday) in the journal Pediatrics provides more evidence against any link between thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative in some vaccines) and autism or other neurological disorders. This study adds to the large and growing body of scientific evidence for the safety of vaccines, and contradicting the claims of the anti-vaccine movement that vaccines cause autism.

The study is a bit fortuitous in that it was not originally designed to probe this question. Rather, this was a safety and efficacy study of the acellular pertussis vaccine conducted in Italy between 1992 and 1993. But it created a cohort of children who were carefully screened and monitored, and randomized to different exposures to thimerosal. This allowed the researchers to go back 10 years later to survey and examine the children for neurological disorders.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT NEUROLOGICA.

What is the Problem of the Anti-vaccination Lunatics?

Posted in Uncategorized by Skepdude on January 20, 2009

Brent council (among many other councils in England) had to start an awareness campaign to motivate parents to start vaccinating their children again! Thanks to some idiots who *still* promote the idea that vaccines cause autism (despite the mountains of evidence collected in recent years), measles have been on the rise again and people are now facing the consequences.

The anti-vaccination crowd is constantly moving the goalposts in order to cling to their favorite idea that somehow vaccines cause autism and other neurological disorders. In the beginning it was the mercury in vaccines (in the form of the preservative thimerosal). Then, when it became evident that this was not the case (partly because of the scientific studies showing not even a correlation, secondly because thimerosal had been removed from most vaccines yet autism still continued to rise), they switched to aluminium; the too many toxins in vaccines; and the overwhelming number of vaccines that overloads the “underdeveloped” immune system of infants. Of course they always fail to provide evidence for aluminium and metal-poisoning from vaccines; they never mention which toxins and why would they affect the immune system in such minute quantities; and they just conveniently bypass the studies showing the huge capacity of the “underdeveloped” immune system to tolerate and fight millions of pathogens of all kinds.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “JOURNEY THROUG A BURNING MIND”

Peruvian Hamsters and Autism: Cui Bono?

Posted in Science Based Medicine by Skepdude on August 19, 2008

Some people are very invested in the idea that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. They have looked and looked, but have been unable to find enough credible evidence to convince the scientific community. Thimerosal was removed from US vaccines several years ago, and you might have thought that would end the debate. It didn’t. The spotlight has shifted to other countries that still use thimerosal-preserved vaccines, such as Peru.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE”.

How Anecdotal Evidence Can Undermine Scientific Results

Posted in General Science, Medicine by Skepdude on August 2, 2008

The recent medical controversy over whether vaccinations cause autism reveals a habit of human cognition—thinking anecdotally comes naturally, whereas thinking scientifically does not.

On the one side are scientists who have been unable to find any causal link between the symptoms of autism and the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which in the body breaks down into ethylmercury, the culprit du jour for autism’s cause. On the other side are parents who noticed that shortly after having their children vaccinated autistic symptoms began to appear. These anecdotal associations are so powerful that they cause people to ignore contrary evidence: ethylmercury is expelled from the body quickly (unlike its chemical cousin methylmercury) and therefore cannot accumulate in the brain long enough to cause damage. And in any case, autism continues to be diagnosed in children born after thimerosal was removed from most vaccines in 1999; today trace amounts exist in only a few.

Read the rest of Michael Shermer’s article at Scientific American.