The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dr. Frank Lipman at HuffPo = Fail

*sigh* Once again, the Huffington Post (no, I'm not linking directly and all subsequent links to their silly drivel will be "no follow") comes through as the bastion of woo-friendly bullshit. Meet Dr. Frank Lipman and his Misconception and Misinformation Traveling Salvation Road Show!

Because he's been an infection to rational thought already, the great PalMD at WhiteCoatUnderground has already pounded Lipman over this older piece, but the new bit on Swine Flu is just painful. As though there were not already enough fear-mongering assholery being bandied about....

I know, I know...coming from the Huffington Post, it's not surprising. "What? Pseudoscientific horseshit coming from HuffPo? I won't believe it!" Oh, believe it, brother. Get a load of this woo woo garbage:
My patients are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated and the simple answer I give most of the time is ..NO!
Then he goes right into the standard canard of all anti-vaccination assholes:
From the outset, let me say, I am not anti all vaccinations, rather I am pro vaccine safety and freedom of choice.
Riiiiiight. You and Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey and Andrew Wakefield. Couldn't be a smarter group of cabbages.

Then, after saying that, "We don't know if the vaccine will be effective", he says:
Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.
Yes, it mutates quickly. We all know that. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine, because it is manufactured specifically for the pandemic virus, should impart immunity to about 95% of patients after one dose.

Now, there are questions about mutation, the odds of getting the flu and so on. I will quote here from one of the ScienceBlogs, Effect Measure, and show Revere's potential outcomes for the seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu and why he got both vaccines:
i. Pandemic swine flu A/H1N1 2009 almost completely replaces both subtypes of seasonal flu (seasonal H1N1 and seasonal H3N2) and there's hardly any of it around. Then I get no or little benefit from getting vaccinated (except for the flu B part, which is significant). Since last week 2% of the isolates were seasonal flu, it's hard to say what will happen. We don't usually see much seasonal flu virus this early in the year anyway. Will the future be different?

ii. Pandemic flu and seasonal flu co-circulate. We don't know if that can or will happen. But since I'm in the age group that dies from seasonal flu, I've done the right thing.

iii. Pandemic flu and seasonal flu are out of phase. For example pandemic flu has a sharp but short history and by virtue of using up susceptibles and vaccination it's essentially gone by January, leaving an opening for the seasonal viruses to return and act as they usually do. Again, I've done the right thing.

iv. Pandemic flu changes character and starts to infect my age group, crowds out seasonal flu or something else. Depending on the nature of the changes (maybe it reassorts with something the vaccine works for) I might or might not have come out ahead and everyone else, of all age groups, might or might not come out ahead if they are vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine.
So, yes, 2009 H1N1 could recombine with the seasonal Influenza A H1N1 or A H3N2 to create something entirely new. But that's one potential outcome from many and to scare people into not getting a potentially life-saving and safe vaccine because of that is irresponsible...not that that slows Lipman or HuffPo.

Lipman says that, We don't know if the vaccine is safe, and then says:
Since it's never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.
Ummm...really? Let's get a quote from that link, shall we?
As for safety, 70% of the Novartis trial volunteers reported pain at the injection site and 42% had muscle aches, the report says. Two of the vaccinees had a fever after the first dose...By 21 days after vaccination, an immune response (an antibody titer of 1:40 or more) was observed in 116 of 120 volunteers (97%) who received 15 mcg and in 112 of 120 (93%) who received 30 mcg.

The report says 46% of the volunteers reported injection-site tenderness or pain, while 45% had systemic symptoms such as headache. Nearly all the problems were described as mild to moderate, and there were no serious adverse events.
Still want to stick by that, "human guinea pig" comment, Lipman? Of course you do. Why change your mind with, you know, evidence?

Finally, because it's too good, Lipman includes in his, "Top 10 Recommendations" - of which this is number 14 to a brief addendum, because a Top 10 list is just so much sexier than a Top 14 - to keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum close at hand and to use it, "at the earliest sign of cold or flu."

Right. There is no such thing as an "oscillococcinum" bacteria. Fucking guy who "discovered" it likely just saw Brownian motion (nice applet description and visual) and didn't realize it. Then he decided that a duck was the way to go to prepare his stupid, useless homeopathic elixir (diluted to 200C! Are you kidding me?!) and, voila, we still see this shit pushed by unqualified, unscientific, uncritical morons like Dr. Lipman. No, you know what? "Dr." Lipman.

Yeah yeah, he got his MD, but when you're that stupid, your qualifications are suspect regardless of where and when he got them.

Way to go, HuffPo. Another stellar performance from your Health-tarded team of Assheads.The Stupid, It Burns
(Edit Addition: PalMD has added his smackdown over at WhiteCoatUnderground. Go read him too, because he's WAY better than my blatherings.)

(edit note: PalMD now blogs at Scientopia and can be found here.)

4 Barbaric Yawps:

At 28/9/09 3:52 pm, Anonymous Leon said...

Well said! Phil Plait is right to call these people "pro-disease".

At 6/2/10 3:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you like being controlled by the greedy, money-hungry Pharmaceutical companies.

At 6/2/10 9:47 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

As opposed to the unregulated, ineffective, greedy (I'd put "money-hungry" here, but it means the same thing as "greedy") "alternative" herbal medicine companies? Right.

At 8/7/11 8:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh ya, anybody with that attitude I certainly would trust. Rant is a good term for mike. Free speech, it's still BS.


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