Believe it or not, there was once a time when Dr. Mehmet Oz didn’t bother me that much. At least, for all his flirting with woo, I never quite thought that he had completely gone over to the Dark Side. Although I probably knew deep down that I was fooling myself. Maybe it was because Dr. Oz is a surgeon–and not just a surgeon but a cardiac surgeon. After the enthusiastic embrace of pseudoscience by so many surgeons, and in particular Dr. Michael Egnor‘s embrace of “intelligent design” creationism and mind-brain dualism, maybe I didn’t want to believe that yet another surgeon had fallen for a different form of pseudoscience and unreason. It just goes to show that even skeptics and supporters of science-based medicine can be prone to wishful thinking. Then Dr. Oz’s unequivocal public embrace of reiki on his show, as well as his touting of “alternative therapies that really work” (hint: they don’t) removed any remaining cover that allowed me to delude myself into thinking that Dr. Oz wasn’t that bad. Without a doubt he is as bad as Deepak Chopra in many ways, although he probably hasn’t reached Joe Mercola territory yet.
Give him time, though.
After all, the Oprah effect is strong and, remember, reiki is nothing more than faith healing based on Eastern mysticism rather than Judeo-Christian religion. Unfortunately, Dr. Oz has become “America’s doctor.” Fortunately, people are starting to notice his promotion of a range of dubious therapies that range from just questionable to what can only be described as pure quackery (reiki, for instance). While much of what Dr. Oz promotes is actually science-based medicine, it is adulterated with pseudoscience, or, as I can’t resist saying, he “integrates” pseudoscience with science-based medicine, making him an excellent example of a practitioner of “integrative” medicine. Fortunately, journalists are starting to notice and ask some hard questions, journalists like Trine Tsouderos, who last Friday published an article in The Chicago Tribune entitled Questioning Dr. Oz. It’s about time someone publicly questioned Dr. Oz, in particularl how he seasons his mundane science-based recommendations with questionable recommendations and even downright pseudoscience.
Millions turn to him for advice, looking for an authority figure to make sense of the flood of medical information available online and in the media.
Much of the material Oz provides is solid, but some medical experts express reservations about his approach, saying Oz’s ventures also offer advice unsupported by science.
Oz has called the rotavirus vaccine “optional” — a risky view, according to experts. He tells people to examine the shape and sound of their bowel movements closely — a silly idea, specialists say. He invited a doctor to his TV show who has helped spread the idea that cancer can be cured with baking soda. On his Web site, another doctor endorses a group that promotes unproven autism treatments.
The reference to a doctor who has helped spread the idea that cancer can be cured by baking soda is a reference to the time that Dr. Oz invited that hater of science-based medicine, promoter of anti-vaccine beliefs and fawning interviewer of anti-vaccine god Andrew Wakefield, and promoter of Italian cancer quack Tullio Simoncini, the man who thinks that all cancer is caused by fungus and can be cured by baking soda. I’m talking, of course, about Joe Mercola, whose website competes with Mike Adams’ NaturalNews.com for the “distinction” of being the most quackery-infused website on the web aside from Whale.to. Truly, when Dr. Oz invited Mercola on his show, he “crossed the Woobicon,” so to speak, never to be acceptable as a trustworthy physician again, at least in my book.
A huge part of the problem appears to derive from an apparent belief on the part of Dr. Oz’s production team (and, presumably, him) that they must maintain an “open mind” and present “multiple perspectives.” So what we end up with on Dr. Oz’s TV show and website are “multiple perspectives” unfiltered by adequate science and reason, producing, in essence, a medical TV show and empire so open-minded that its collective brains have fallen out:
Oz declined to be interviewed, but his spokespeople say the doctor’s mission is to give his audience information from multiple perspectives. His “Ask Dr. Oz” feature offers answers not only from prestigious medical centers such as the Cleveland Clinic but also from alternative medicine practitioner Deepak Chopra and from Dove, maker of skin care and beauty products.
“The purpose of the site is to provide users with as much information as possible and allow the users to differentiate between what they find helpful and what they do not,” Oz’s spokespeople wrote in response to questions.
But more information is not necessarily better, as not all perspectives are equal in medicine.
Which is precisely the message that I’ve repeated here on this blog until I’m blue in the face–metaphorically speaking, of course, given that a Plexiglass box full of multicolored blinking lights can’t really be blue in the face unless there is a surfeit of blue lights that can be turned on. Here’s another:
Science is not a democracy where people’s votes decide what is right, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Look at the data, look at science and make a decision based on science that has been published,” he said.
Not on Dr. Oz’s TV show and certainly not on his website. On a side note, Kim Stagliano at the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of autism has attacked Tsouderos once again, hilariously claiming that Dr. Offit is going after Dr. Oz because he “questioned” the vaccination schedule and admitted that his children did not get the H1N1 vaccine. And it’s true. Reading between the lines, I think that Dr. Oz has allowed his woo-loving reiki master of a wife dictate that his children not receive all the recommended vaccines. Worse, he seems to buy into some of the claims of the anti-vaccine movement about vaccines.
The amusing antics of Stagliano aside, as Tsouderos’ article describes, articles on Dr. Oz’s website rise and fall in popularity based on rankings by the website’s readers. Popular articles show up at the top of pages on various topics, while those garnering fewer votes don’t. But, as Dr. Offit points out, science is not a democracy. In Dr. Oz’s world, though, it apparently is. Indeed, incredibly, Dr. Oz’s producers describe his website as one that “answers the questions of health with multiple points of view and creates a collective IQ centralized in one place for people to learn and act.”
A “centralized IQ” is only as good as the information and reasoning behind the material that makes it up, and the quality of the information on Dr. Oz’s website is wildly uneven, ranging from scientifically acceptable to promoting quackery. For instance, if you search for the term reiki on Dr. Oz’s website, you’ll find credulous articles by Lisa Oz (Dr. Oz’s wife) saying things like this:
Sadly, modern medicine is still mired in its mechanistic/chemically based paradigm and fails to recognize the body as an energetic entity. But, many ancient healing traditions of the East are built on this principle and have utilized it to treat people for millennia. Healing systems, like acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic touch, and qigong all seek to redirect or facilitate the flow of energy through the body, thereby improving health.
I am a certified reiki master, which sounds like I scratch people with a garden tool at some S & M club, but actually just means that I have learned to focus energy in my own body to facilitate healing in others. I know it sounds wacky. Trust me, coming from a family of medical doctors, I was skeptical at first. But, after I went through the training and began using it on my family and saw the results, I became a believer. Now my kids beg me for it whenever they feel sick.
Maybe her kids simply want their mom’s attention and loving touch. After all, what kid doesn’t want their mom to pay attention to them when they’re sick?
There is also this example of credulous nonsense about reiki from, of all places, The Cleveland Clinic, which touts the benefits of reiki as the “channeling of life force energy to the recipient” in about the truest example of quackademic medicine there is out there. (If you don’t believe me, check out what the Clinic’s website says about reiki.) On a related note, Oz’s website also promotes another form of “energy healing” quackery, therapeutic touch, which is a form of quackery so easily debunked that even a 12-year-old can do it.
Yet there they are, reiki and therapeutic touch, all there on Dr. Oz’s website. But if that’s not enough, check out this bit by Dr. Oz’s coauthor Dr. Michael Roizen about prayer, which justifies quackery:
…we define life at the level of the cell. As long as the membrane maintains an energy gradient between the inside and outside world, our cells are alive. When you aggregate cells into organs and then put these in the right spot to make a human, you have life. That’s why we’re interested in adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture, homeopathy, and hard-to-explain methods like reiki and prayer. After all, everything that matters in life – like love – can’t always be measured with blood, machines, and complex calculations. They’re measured in the way you live.
This, remember, is the man who runs the “Wellness” Institute at The Cleveland Clinic. Of course, I did my residency at the Clinic’s rival less than a mile up Euclid Avenue; so I must admit a bit of satisfaction to see a rival so steeped in woo. Leaving that aside, it pains me to see quackademic medicine so entrenched in the Clinic–or any major academic medical center–precisely because credulous fools like Dr. Oz can hold them up as an authority to support their woo.
In the end, the story that Tsouderos paints of Oz is of a man who does promote a lot of science-based medicine but has mixed it with so much woo and even outright quackery like reiki that it becomes impossible for most people to identify which is which. Worse, in the search of ratings, Dr. Oz refuses to pass judgment on anything. In doing so, he abdicates one of the most important responsibilities of a physician: Synthesizing the medical data and differentiating for his patients (or viewers) treatments that are supported by science from those that are not. Viewers and readers don’t have the medical or scientific background to do that; that’s why they seek out Dr. Oz. By making the excuse that he is merely putting information out there and allowing his readers to decide what is useful to them, Dr. Oz is lazily and disingenuously divesting himself of any responsibility for the information that is on his website or the guests that he invites on his show. Add to that his promotion of quackery such as reiki and “energy healing” modalities and the dubious information about vaccines on his website and in his books, and “America’s doctor” has taken a flying leap down the rabbit hole of pseudoscience.
144 replies on “Dr. Oz: America’s doctor and the abdication of professional responsibility”
She makes it seem like reiki and therapeutic touch are ancient. Let’s take TT first. Not only is it not ancient, it isn’t even from the East. It’s from the U.S. in the 1970s. Reiki is from Japan, but it also is not ancient. It, too, is from the 20th century.
So, hardly ancient and one not even from “The East”TM.
Didn’t Mary Shelley write a story about this?
Completely off topic, but I just wanted to bring this to your attention Orac, since I know you sometimes take interest in things like this.
This has to do with the Westboro Baptist Church idiots and their protests. Thought you would be intrigued.
Tolerance is facilitation.
How lovely to see the Chicago Tribune take this on.
Yeah, I was at the Cleveland Clinic recently, and in the Miller Family Pavilion, home of the Heart and Vascular Institute, is a store called 360-5 that sells “mind body” books, DVDs and so forth. Some of it is probably harmless. I didn’t look too closely. Here’s their website.
I have been following @ClevelandClinic on Twitter and Facebook and some of the stuff they tweet is wooey or at least questionable. Recently they tweeted about “boosting immunity” by increasing dietary soluble fiber, such as by eating apples, based on a study in mice, which they didn’t even link to. That’s pretty silly. Disappointing, because there are some excellent doctors at the Clinic.
The thing to remember about Dr Oz is that if a patient were to show up on his doorstep with a serious heart condition, HE would be the one who insisted on treating that patient, and not have his wife do it. That is because he knows that, when it comes down to it, medicine works, reiki doesn’t.
Now if Dr Oz would just remember that…
you mean of course.. the WESTBoZo baptist UNChurch of Hate?
good news is… Bill O’Reilly has stepped up to cover the cost of the judge panels tragic ruling.. and paying for the family.
Terrible to see freedom of speech so misused. And to see such tragically impaired citizens out in the world, unsupervised and unmedicated.
I had a woman come into my clinic last week. She was very hostile, but in general one of the “worried well.”
I walked out of the room shaking my head. When I told the doc whose clinic it used to be who she was, he told me she was a naturopath.
Which I suppose explains the hostility, but not why she was in my office in the first place.
While Orac touched on most of the main points of that aricle, he wouldnt touch the XMRV crap with a 10-foot-pole.
“..in the search of ratings, Dr. Oz refuses to pass judgment on anything.”
A technique he learned from is TV mentor/birth mother, Oprah, as she has trotted out more celebrity woo-packers than I can count.
“… As long as the membrane maintains an energy gradient between the inside and outside world, our cells are alive… That’s why we’re interested in adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture, homeopathy, and hard-to-explain methods like reiki and prayer.”
I like to hang out with people who have electric personalities so the lights in my house stay on. It’s important to put kids on top of tall things so they have a lot of potential. It’s hard to explain why I am so attracted to chocolate cake, but its magnetism is undeniable.
Orac, How dare you criticize Dr. Oz. He’s a serious doctor and should not be questioned. Isn’t that obvious? I mean why else would he wear scrubs all the time?
Orac you said it in the beginning, the fact that he is a trained surgeon(a pretty good one for the most part) and now part of the woo crowd is the most distressing part. I used to work in his lab in NYC, and for the most part it was all good science;mostly surgical interventions for CHF. There was the occasional omega-3 fish oil studies but other than that the man knew is stuff. The fact that he can now quickly forget most of his training seems like a good indicator that either money talks or the wife is very persuasive or both.
AARP WEB HEADLINE… “AMERICA”s MOST TRUSTED DOCTOR”
and he gets this shamefully blushing tribute in the latest AARP MAGAZINE… with the result that hundreds of thousands of Americans over age 55, get the subliminal message that he is to be trusted, he is great, he is…” the hardest working doctor in America.” BULLSHIRT!
I would suggest, among the MANY MANY other candidates for HARDEST WORKING DOCTOR… would be ANY Emergency/ Orthopedic/ general /Thoracic surgeon currently deployed in support of our troops… NOT doing a few surgeries between tapings, and making angry calls from his office at 30 ROCK.
what a wandering, non insightful, non objective tribute to a surgeon TV Star and integrative complimentary medicine salesman. I admit I didnt read the entire thing in detail.. the nausea index was too high.
LMFAO! Yeah, rotateq or other rota virus vaccines sure as hell would be optional for kids living in North America,especially when its contaminated with pig and monkey viruses!
Thanks for a nice post.
I’ve been looking for a nice take on Oz to post to my friends on Facebook for a while now. I have several (real world) friends on Facebook that are big fans of Dr. Oz who frequently throw out praise for him on Facebook. I now have some return fire to throw their way. 🙂
“Adjusting energy in the body through such vehicles as acupuncture,,homeopathy…reiki”?Why? Go to Sephora(or some other glitzy beauty products emporium)where,for $15, you can purchase spray-on “Chi”- eliminate the middle-man!(Having tested this product myself,while I can’t say that I feel any more energetic or have noticed any improvements in my tennis game,my hair *looks great*!)
Maybe the integration of alternative viewpoints helps to correct for the massive bias caused by large corporate interests being the only ones who can afford to run studies until they see positive results. If people say that reiki makes them feel better, then isn’t that the point?
Good for Bill. Even though he’s a political idealogue that I often vehemently disagree with, he often shows a degree of internal consistency and decency not shared by others on his network. In other words: Glenn Beck makes Bill O’Reilly look sane by comparison.
As for “WESTBoZo baptist UNChurch of Hate” I think it’s best to use the names organizations and people assign themselves and to let those organizations’ actions define them. To me “republican” brings up more nasty associations than “reTHUGliCAN’T” because that sounds like a schoolyard taunt. You can take any name and change it into an insult with a few clever alterations, but it takes more to turn a name into an insult without changing it.
This is just another type of religion–belief in the unseen–only it’s creeping into clinics instead of schools and courthouses. Most humans seem to be “hard wired” for it. Without massive educational intervention at an early age, nothing is going to change.
JEN at 15…
as usual..it is rather difficult to determine what you seem to be saying…
..but thanks for playing our game, Johnny..what do we have for our consolation prize?
That would be the point of going to a reiki center, yes. I would hope the standards for treatments used in a hospital are a bit higher.
BlueMaxx: “Oz has called the rotavirus vaccine optional–a risky view, according to experts.” Yeah, it sure as hell would be optional for kids living in North America where the ‘runs’ doesn’t kill too many kids. And, now that they’ve (rotashild and rotateq) been found to be contaminated with monkey and pig viruses(by an independent lab), who knows what the hell the effects on kids will be.
So Oz’s wife really is a wicked witch (Sorry–someone had to say it.)
Rotashield is not on the market. It was withdrawn in 1999. Rotarix (a monovalent rotavirus vaccine) is the one that was recently recalled due to contamination with a porcine virus. Rotateq (a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine) has no notices that I could find on the FDA’s site about contamination with simian virus.
Please get your facts straight.
Oh, and one other important fact: GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Rotarix, confirmed the contamination and informed FDA. FDA recommended temporary suspension of its use.
Todd, yes it is Rotarix. I recently saw on NVIC’s website that Rotateq has simian virus elements. In any case it’s rather disturbing that it took an independent lab to notice this and blow the whistle, and, what will the effects be on the babies who have had these vaccines?
Who watches Oz?
“To watch daytime television these days, you first have to get through 1-800 commercials for lawyers looking for personal-injury plaintiffs, commercials for bankruptcy counselors or commercials for low-rung technical schools. Is television saying that daytime viewers are broke, uneducated or basically down on their luck?
In a way, yes, because according to some studies, it’s true. According to data from Frank N. Magid Associates, 40% of the daytime viewers are in households making less than $20,000 a year, and 85% haven’t graduated from a four-year college.”
NVIC is a stupid place to get real information. They have not updated their pertussis page for over a decade, and there has been a change of vaccine!
Perhaps, jen, you too can enjoy the thrills of the constant flow of diarrhea from a rotavirus infection. One that also gets transmitted to the parent.
You should have a grand time. Just make sure you have plenty of diapers (because you will be borrowing the baby’s for yourself), and that your washing machine is in good working order. Because there will be two rooms you and the baby/toddler will be in: the bathroom and the laundry room.
Of course we had the extra bonus of getting a trip by ambulance to the hospital with me holding the toddler in my lap and then getting to see him hooked up to lots of tubes and wires.
Shut about what you know nothing about you stupid witch!
An independent lab using newly developed analytical tools, that is.
Personally, I find the idea that scientists continue to develop new and better analytical methods to help discover problem that couldn’t be detected with other methods, and then sharing that new technology with industry to be very exciting, not disturbing. It makes the world a better place.
Rotarix was found to have a contamination, the makers confirmed it, the governing body for drugs, the FDA, recommended a suspension, which was done.
That worked perfectly.
Now compare to ayervedic and TCM medicines which are regularly found to have arsenic, mercury or lead in them, have no quality control, and remain on the market even after these things were found.
Consider “natural” diet pills found to have actual prescription drugs in them, becuase, you know, the drugs actually work, but they are claimed to be natural so they become unregulated. these too, remain on the market long after these drugs were found.
Consider other therapies, also unregulated, but time and time again shown to provide no efficacy. so people are spending money on literally nothing. Yet, homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki and a boatload of other “therapies” remain onthe market providing no benefit but generating billions of dollars of revenue.
Sorry, your system of unregulated, medicine by wishful thinking is demonstrably harmful, bad for the environment, and represents a 40 billion dollar market.
no thanks, stop quacking.
jen, from the CDC Pink Book chapter on rotavirus:
We were part of the some of those statistics, fortunately not the death part (we were at the doctor’s office the day before). The seizure from the dehydration may have caused my son’s permanent disability.
And before you get all prissy and judgmental, the child was not in any daycare. We had to be careful what children could be around because he only got the DT vaccine due to Barbara Loe Fisher’s idiotic scaremongering on the pertussis vaccine. He had had neonatal seizures, so was denied protection from pertussis at a time when our county was having a pertussis epidemic.
This was also about the time over 120 Americans died from measles.
So get a clue, jen the idiot… you are spouting nonsense and have no idea what you are talking about. I would never wish ill on your poor children, but I do wish you could get a nice bout of rotavirus. You deserve it.
Since I know you will never pick up Paul Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets, I found a bit of the prologue here:
The only I can see for your spiteful bringing up of Dr. Offit every chance you get is because you are a stupid witch, who knows nothing about what happens in the real world. Which is what you get when you rely on Barbara Arthur’s several outdated National Vaccine misInformation Corporation. Do you see anything on that site about her lawsuit against Offit being dismissed? Lies of omission are still lies.
Name one Oprah ‘promotion’ who’s not a complete fraud … Drs. Phil and Oz, Frey, Obama … she knows how to pick ’em.
You’re right, Blue! Cherry-picking examples and distorting facts IS the same as drawing a scientific conclusion.
Now put your finger-paints away, it’s almost naptime.
So Ms. Oz’s argument in favor reiki is that it as effective as “kiss the boo-boo and make it all better”? Well then…
Dude, according to Kathy Kelley, the woman’s a total nutcase.
“good news is… Bill O’Reilly has stepped up to cover the cost of the judge panels tragic ruling.. and paying for the family.”
When the normally-idiotic Billo goes on the offensive against someone who we liberals also hate, you know they’ve got to be totally evil.
I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.
Do I love every policy decision our president has made? No, if I called him a “complete fraud” because of it, I would look like an idiotic ideologue with no connection to reality. Fraud is a real word with a real definition. Learn it.
I believe you’ll find the answer here. http://whatstheharm.net/
Suppose I have a toothache. If getting smashed drunk instead of visiting the dentist makes me feel better, then isn’t that the point? I could be smashed drunk all the time as an alternative to dentistry!
I wouldn’t recommend it, though.
Oops. That website doesn’t have reiki by name. Look under “faith healing.” Reiki is Eastern mysticism faith healing.
It’s so great that I can see a link for a story about some type of dubious medicine – notice that the link goes to the Chicago Tribune – and be almost positive that it’s going to be science-based. Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan (and the editors that keep putting their stories out, despite the criticism that I imagine is coming their way) are doing a terrific job.
Pablo, you are right about the new analytical tools. Of course they are a good thing. Chris, you seriously need anger management. Ranting on about deadly rota virus and completely ignoring the potential implications of the contamination. I still say the vaccine industry has carried things way too far, recommending more and more vaccines and deferring some illnesses that would be better had as a child.
Thanks for blasting Mercola and Oz every now and then. I recently had a couple of people question my advice because “Dr. Mercola said…” and “I’ve been reading about reiki, bla bla bla, which is what Dr. Oz said will…”. My left eye starts twitching every time someone utters those names and I feel like Chief Inspector Dreyfus just before he cracks.
Hmm, let’s see. Rota virus kills 20-60 people every year. 120 die from measles. How many have died from the “potential implications” of contamination? I can’t remember. I think it rhymes with Beer-snow.
Chris is absolutely justified in being angry. You’re being stupid and petulant. Be specific instead: what illnesses WOULD you like to see children get? Seeing as the mechanism of the vaccine replicates what happens in the body when you DO get the disease, in what way is getting a disease rather than a vaccine a GOOD thing? As a character-building exercise?
We know you say the vaccine industry has carried things too far. You never hesitate to remind us. However, just because you say it doesn’t make you any less wrong. When you make assertions without evidence, and then compound that by being an ass, you open yourself up to ridicule.
I don’t think Chris is angry, she is just frustrated by your blinking idiocy and dishonesty. Like many of us. At things like your lying about it being Offit’s vaccine that was the problem, and the nature of the impurity, and your dishonesty about how it was discovered. Which makes me wonder…do ever say anything that is correct?
But go on, you tell us. What are the implications of the contamination that was found. Not “potential, made up problems,” but real problems. I’ll give you a hint: they will be a subset of the actual problems that have been observed for the vaccine itself. Do you even know what they are?
“Hmm, let’s see. Rota virus kills 20-60 people every year. 120 die from measles. How many have died from the “potential implications” of contamination?”
Well, obviously we have no idea how many people may have either died or become sick from taking contaminated vaccines. Having said that … it could absolutely be that no one has become sick from this. Call me crazy but that doesn’t change the fact that people are being exposed to pig and monkey viruses via vaccines. 🙂 Sounds yummy. But, whatever… at least we’re cutting down on the cases of diarrhea!
On a completely different note, who pissed in Chris’ cornflakes?
Yeah, that pesky diarrhea, and imagine, people are still trying to make an efficient cholera vaccine for the same reason.
But this isn’t true! We absolutely DO have an idea of how many died or got sick due to contamination of the vaccines. At least, we have an upper limit to them.
How many people have died due to contamination? We know that is less than or equal to the number who have died from getting the vaccine. Which is, as far as I know, zero.
The numbers who “get sick” are less well known, but are still less than or equal to the number who get sick due to the vaccine. So we have a pretty good idea of what the upper limit is, and, even with contamination, that number is pretty small. So contamination cannot be causing a major problem. Granted, there might be fewer problems without contamination, which is why it is a good idea to get rid of it, but even with, it’s not a big deal.
I’m crazy for questioning the fact that pig and monkey viruses are being found in vaccines? Vaccines which are being injected into babies. That makes me crazy? Ok. I’m crazy… I admit it.
jen @ 41:
I’d rather nobody got those illnesses at all, personally. But I’m funny like that.
Okay, I’m going to try to insert a bit of sanity into this whole contamination issue.
First off, rotavirus is not a benign virus. A vaccine to prevent infection is a good idea because of the problems the virus causes. The discovery of pieces of virus DNA in a vaccine is something to take note of and try to correct. The lab that discovered the contamination did the right thing by notifying the maker, GSK, basically saying, “Umm, we found this stuff in your vaccine. You might want to take a look at it. Here’s how we found it.” GSK then took a look at their lots of vaccine and discovered that the lab was correct. They took the correct step and notified FDA, who also acted responsibly and recommended a temporary suspension of the use of GSK’s vaccine.
So, where do we go from here? We see about how to make this lab’s methods viable for use as a regular screening tool for vaccines to ensure that particles of virus DNA that don’t belong in the vaccine are eliminated before the vaccines reach the market.
The story is similar to the SV40 issue and the polio vaccine. A new method was used to discover the contamination. The maker of the vaccine took the responsible steps to eliminate this source of contamination, leading to safer vaccines.
The antivaxers use these examples to screech “Look! Look! Vaccines are evil, horrible baby-killers!” all the while claiming to be “pro-safe vaccines”. Well, this is an example of making vaccines safer, so why do they not commend the people involved for taking responsible steps? Because, in the end, they really are not pro-safe vaccine; they are anti-vaccine and anti-corporation. Nothing more.
If your concern ISN’T people getting sick or dying from contamination, what exactly is it? As best I can tell, you’re just going “ewww, yucky!” Which is really pretty irrelevant.
Perhaps someone can help me understand, what are “pig and monkey viruses”? As far as I know, pigs and monkeys are not viruses, and while I’m sure there a lot of viruses that are around pigs and monkeys, they generally can be found in other places, and are just “viruses.”
When Dr. OZ suspends any type of critical analysis of treatments he reports on, his degrees become no different than Jenny Mcarthy’s from Google U.
What I find most interesting about the rotavirus vaccine and the porcine virus contamination is that it’s not an example of evil industry covering stuff up. As Todd W noted, “evil” industry checked, discovered the claim to be correct, and voluntarily pulled the vaccine and asked the FDA to issue a statement to halt use of already-distributed vaccine. That’s pretty much the opposite of a cover-up, and exactly what a responsible manufacturer should do.
I’ll go for the kindest hypothesis, which is that you are profoundly ignorant of how many people diarrhea has killed, and how many children it sickens and kills even now. Note: when it’s serious or fatal, it’s often called “dysentery,” but the symptoms don’t change, any more than someone who has a stroke will be more or less severely affected if we call it “apoplexy.”
I would rather believe you are ignorant–ignorance is remediable–than that you are stupid or bigoted. (“Crazy” is almost content-free here.)
From what I can tell reading some of the news stories the virus just affects pigs hence pig virus. Plus they only found parts of the virus not the whole thing, meaning that its even less likely to be harmful to the pigs (who I’m assuming some people were worried about here)
“Well, this is an example of making vaccines safer, so why do they not commend the people involved for taking responsible steps?”
Instead, I focus on how this stuff gets through in the first place. You want to say… Isn’t it so great that it was caught… Yay!
I want to say…
a) How the F*ck does this crap get through in the first place?
b) How much other crap has gone through that hasn’t been caught?
c) Who knows when/if we hear that this is similar to the SV40 virus nightmare with the Polio vaccine.
When will we learn?
jen: “Todd, yes it is Rotarix. I recently saw on NVIC’s website that Rotateq has simian virus elements. In any case it’s rather disturbing”…blah, blah, blah.
C’mon, jen. What does it take to get you to admit that you screwed up and blamed favorite target Paul Offit for something he had no connection with? Is it that you feel no responsibility for getting out the truth? Or that since the antivax movement promulgates so many lies, one more doesn’t make a difference?
No human process is perfect. There will always be problems. Flipping out whenever there is a problem is quite useless; the key is the procedures to detect and correct problems that occur. Procedures which worked just as they should here.
just a ? if i eat tasty bacon have i been exposed to the evil nasty pig virus OH NOZES. i think i should have a tasty beer to kill it 🙂
“I’ll go for the kindest hypothesis, which is that you are profoundly ignorant of how many people diarrhea has killed, and how many children it sickens and kills even now.”
How many children are killed by diarrhea in the United States of America each year? Now, tell me how many children will die down the road from monkey/pig viruses passed on due to their contaminated vaccines? Hint: The second question is a trick question. 🙂
“Procedures which worked just as they should here.”
So, it’s perfectly fine that pig/monkey viruses have been injected into babies for years?
Really? That’s cool with you? Ok….
Shaking my Head
Your concern for the pigs of the world is touching but as they were not exposed to this vaccine (its for treating Homo sapiens). I can assure you that the pigs are fine and if some pigs were exposed, they are unlikely to become ill as only parts of the virus were found. People of the world our bacon supply is safe.
Head of Bacon Supply Watch
@46 and then @49
IAN is RIGHT/CORRECT/ACCURATE.
You, Jen, are in fact, within the context of this debate, Crazy in your presentation, lack of coherent reasoning, and general premise.
The issue with the recent recall of vaccine lots, pending determination of the implications of a newly detected contaminant, is proper medical procedure. NOT some sort of global INDICTMENT of vaccine science and practices. It is actually, evidence of the continuing efforts to ensure ever better, ever purer medicines.
to PABLO @ 53
you are right sir. there are no such things as PIG viruses or MONKEY viruses, unless perhaps it is something on DEXTERS Laboratory, where the PIG virus has a big nose and ears, or the MONKEY virus has a tail and prehensile thumbs?
Get your facts straight Jen/Crazy, or just please step away from the table where the informed adults are conversing.
Once again, it was not whole viruses! It was pieces of virus DNA. Further, it currently does not appear that these pieces have or will cause problems in humans. And finally, the company is taking steps to ensure that future batches do not contain these pieces, to be on the safe side.
Oh, and morphing troll:
It’s called imperfect and incomplete knowledge. We can never know absolutely everything there is possible ever to know. However, we build our knowledge and our tools, and we discover ever more. As we gain that knowledge, we refine our practices. Tell me, how do you know that there isn’t something in a food that you eat or a cosmetic that you use that we haven’t discovered is there yet because the tools for its discovery have not yet been developed?
And really, is fear of the unknown really a valid justification to not use an entire class of products at all?
I’d rather it hadn’t happened, certainly. But I don’t delude myself into believing that there is any way to 100% reliably prevent such. Things will slip through, and I accept that. I’m “perfectly fine” with it the same way I’m “perfectly fine” with the fact that humans don’t live 500 years.
Yes, perfect @ 63:
Forgiving that Rotarix is an oral vaccine (it is drunk rather than being injected), I have seen no evidence that this has happened. A single lot of Rotarix was found to be contaminated with a partial virus which is not known to be infectious in humans, and promptly recalled; this does not translate into pig/monkey viruses being injected into babies for years.
The processes for detecting contamination can always improve, and always *are* improving. This means, logically, that we’ll see more cases like this — where something not previously discoverable was discovered, actions were taken, and the previously unknown contamination was eliminated. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.
Oh, and @62:
You’ve already been told how many children used to die from rotavirus in the US each year – 20 to 60. Tell me, are you deliberately lying or are you just that stupid?
Dear mighty morphin’ power troll,
What exactly, in your mind, is a “pig virus” or a “monkey virus”? Given that most viruses have a zoonotic origin, I am baffled at the apparent distinction that you’re drawing. Are we all to believe that because you (apparently) don’t like pigs and monkeys that makes them somehow gross? If it was a “hamster virus” would that make it better?
This is the problem with talking to people who actually know something. Your half-baked assertions don’t carry you quite as far as they might on your accustomed “VAXINZ KILD ARE BABBYS” forum.
troll, the answer to your question was given up thread, twice. Here it is a third time:
Now, do try to read for comprehension. Also, I hear cries from the mercury militia moms that we don’t have or know what it is like to have autistic children.
I often wonder how many nights they have spent in the hospital with a child.
You and jen have no idea what you are bleating about. Perhaps you think it would be fun to have firefighters responding to your 911 call, and the ride in an ambulance would be exciting. Maybe you would like the attention given in the emergency department. Perhaps it might give you pleasure seeing tubes placed in your unconscious child, and then monitors pasted on their skin. You might find it an adventure to attempt to catch a few winks overnight next to the hospital bed.
If you do, then you are even more stupid and callous than I thought. And I already thought you were stupid and callous.
How does this stuff get through in the first place? By not causing any problems!
If the viral DNA contaminant was actually causing a vaccine problem in any way, it would have been detected much earlier. However, any effect it was causing was so small that it didn’t show up as a contra-indication of the vaccine, so it was not detected.
This is the most important thing to remember about this “impurity.” There is a limit to how many problems it can be causing, which, as a describe above, is a subset of all the problems caused by the vaccines. Given that the number of issues with the vaccines is already pretty minimal, that means that the problems caused by the impurities are, by definition, less than that.
We know it is causing any deaths, that is for sure.
Assuming that “pig virus” means “viruses that reside in porcine hosts,” I have to say, I think that while that doesn’t sound nice, it is far more appealing than viruses that are known to propagate in HUMAN hosts, i.e. “human viruses.”
Seriously, what would you rather have as a contaminant? A virus that is known to infect humans? Or a virus that infects pigs and monkeys but is not known to cause disease in people?
I realize that “neither” is a better option, but if one is actually present, I’ll take the one that doesn’t cause disease in humans, thank you.
Of course, the troll asked about diarrhea in general. It is a good guess that for all deaths due to diarrhea before the rotavirus vaccine would have been a bigger number.
Other causes of diarrhea are bacteria, and recently a child in our state died from an E-coli infection. There is also other viruses like salmonella, and many many more.
But the troll does not really care. As I said, she is stupid and callous.
I have a friend who is a “Course in Miracles” minister who also uses her status as a former nurse to give talks which apparently endorse some form of what-looks-to-me like German New Medicine: diseases like cancer and health problems like fibromyalgia are caused by “holding on to resentment,” and other negative responses to personal mental traumas. When I have tried to point out that the science is simply against this, I get several responses:
Science is only one way; there are other ways of doing things, and different perspectives.
Anything is possible. If you close your mind, then you won’t grow.
Spiritual reality has different laws than material reality.
She doesn’t claim to know anything, and doesn’t ever tell anyone that they’re wrong.
She’s just telling people her personal story, that’s all. She’s not claiming to be an expert.
She’s not forcing her truth on anyone: if you have a different truth, then that’s right for you. It’s about finding what works for every individual.
That’s the kind of language we might use when talking about decorating, or deciding what path to follow in life. It’s also the kind of passive-aggressive defense that’s designed to make the critic look like a bully. For crying out loud, people are paying to attend a seminar given by her at a medical hospital: the ‘aw shucks it’s just little me and my story’ routine is crap.
But, I must go gently and with tact, lest I lose all ability to provide this sheltered snowflake with a different perspective, one completely outside her frame of reference. Such as — “you’re wrong.” She’s only used to hearing “here is how I think differently … now isn’t diversity wonderful!”
“If the viral DNA contaminant was actually causing a vaccine problem in any way, it would have been detected much earlier”.
Sure… Similar to how SV40 didn’t cause any problems in the Polio vaccine, right?
Science is not a democracy where people’s votes decide what is right.
On TV, they are not pounding on University doors and protesting the science, they are merely making all information available to people who don’t necessarily give a flying shit about pharmaceutical medicines, so they can go do whatever the hell they want to do.
That’s why we live in America, the land of the free. No fascism, just exposure to whatever the hell we want with no government telling us what we should eat, drink, stick in our arms with needles, and what drugs to take.
It appears for anti-vaccine groups, evidence is divided into true or false based on the following: If this suggests that vaccines are bad, it MUST be true, otherwise, it has to be false. This is actually a common, and dangerous way to think. Such people end up using arguments so nonsensical as to be insane, such as suggesting diarrhea is harmless (anyone who’s had a small child with this can say otherwise, death by dehydration is just one complication), and tend be extremely credulous, which is required to believe in someone like Mercola.
John #77 wrote:
It’s not freedom, if you’re misinformed. They are providing inaccurate information.
Tell me, should the restrictions on pharmaceutical medicines be removed so that they match the looser standards given to things like reiki? Let the buyer beware, and everything can duke it out on the field of glossy advertising, celebrity endorsements, glowing testimonials, and popular appeal. No longer having to test their drugs should give the pharma companies an even bigger ad budget..
Incidentally, if ‘pig virus contaminants’ had been found in an alternative medicine product, it would simply have been touted as a benefit. The secret ingredient, in fact, scorned by materialist scientists who don’t understand the inter-connectivity of all of nature. And then they’d come up with testimonials.
Hey – no picking on Oprah! She brought us James Arthur Ray, and for that I’m sure she deserves a medal 😉
It didn’t cause any problems. What is your point?
I don’t know, you tell me. How many problems were caused by SV40 in polio vaccine?
I’m with you T. Bruce McNeely. I’m itching to see what kind of made-up problems our resident troll is going to attribute to the SV-40 virus.
@Enkidu – I can recommend a decent steroid cream that should take care of that…
OT, but does somebody have any idea WTF is going on over here on HuffPo?
Cosmic Symphony: A Deeper Look at Quantum Consciousness, by Ervin Laszlo, Systems philosopher, integral theorist, concert pianist
Being neither a philosopher nor a quantum- or -theorist anything, I feel I’m left scratching my head.
“It didn’t cause any problems. What is your point?”
Sure… right… SV40 has no association with the Polio Vaccine which in turn has not association with cancer. Got it. Wink, wink…
You guys are the best!
didn’t you know that SV-40 is responsible for almost everything? 🙂
“Thanks Dr H for all the positive SV-40 in our family, just love the autism, seizures, MS and Cancer. MWAH! Love it, NOT!!!!!” –Kathy Blanco on AoA’s Autism Cancer and Aids article from June 2009 (linked on my blogpost, through my name).
Followed by some statements for and against.
If you have evidence to support your claims please present them. But knowing you, there will either be links to pseudo-science websites or just silence, followed by random and pointless insults.
I ask again. How many problems were caused by SV40 in polio vaccine?
Come on, jen, I’m giving you a chance to shut us all up. All you have to do is to tell me what problems SV40 in polio vaccine caused. Of course, as I did say, I want to know about ACTUAL problems, and not “potential problems” that people envision could occur. Given that polio vaccine containing SV40 was given out all to a large extent, and it has been given extensively without it, it should be pretty easy to show the difference it caused. I mean, it’s almost like one of those studies where one group is given the vaccine with the contaminant, and the other is given the vaccine without the contaminant that anti-vaxxers always clamor on about.
The more monkey/pig viruses in vaccines… the better. Bring it on!
The dirtier the vaccines the better… In fact, I want mouse droppings and beaver viruses in the hangnail vaccine. They had better make that one mandatory for school too or I’ll be fired up. You DO NOT want to see me fired up. 🙂
Ah, natural ingredients, working in harmony with nature, instead of against it. This sounds like the ancient wisdom of TCM. I believe you can pick up this vaccine from the local health food store, or perhaps you should get it from your naturopath.
Good luck! Namaste.
I think it needs to be clarified – DNA fragments of the porcine circovirus 1 (PVC1) have been identified in the Rotarix vaccine, and in the materials from which it is manufactured. As yet, DNA fragments ONLY have been identified – not the intact virus. It has been present in the vaccine from the start, including the doses given in very large clinical trials. Around 0.2% of claims made for vaccine injury to the VICP are for rotavirus vaccine – this is for all rotavirus vaccinations combined – and Rotarix is not the primary vaccine given for rotavirus in the US. At this point, it doesn’t appear that there is any reason to think any harm has come from these DNA fragments. Vaccines could be “contaminated” with a lot of things, like this, that we may not have the technology available to find – while of course it is better that they aren’t, and we should take steps to ensure that they aren’t, it does not follow that if some sort of contamination is found, it is necessarily harmful.
New technology gives us methods to find things like this that previously could not be found – there is really no good in decrying GSK’s failure to find it sooner – there was no method by which they could have done so. GSK did the right thing this time, and is working to correct the problem – it would have been easy enough for them not to. The FDA is looking into it, and there will be investigation into whether any harm may have come from this. Of course, no matter what is found, there will be those who choose to ignore the science, because they have already decided what they believe (there are those in science who can be criticized for the same).
Just like squalene is fine if you buy at the natural food store, but not elsewhere. Even in your own liver.
Just as I predicted the resident troll provides nothing but random and pointless insults. Time to ignore.
Jen (#28) comments:
Someone else (#91) said:
As was mentioned above, Rotateq and Rotarix are oral vaccines. To amplify, they are not injected, so you are as likely to get porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1) from a pork chop as from Rotarix.
In fact, if PCV1 worries you, you’d do more to reduce your chances of exposure if you stopped eating pork, ham and bacon.
The concern about SV40 and the “simian virus elements” in vaccines appears to have been overblown – there is no discernible association between SV40 infection in humans and any disease. Not even cancer. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since the human polyoma viruses JCV and BKV are almost indistinguishable from SV40 and only cause symptomatic disease in significantly immunosuppressed patients.
I also wouldn’t put too much credence behind anything the NVIC puts out. If there are “simian virus elements” in any vaccine, part of the reason could be that many commmercial and “home-grown” plasmids use promoters and other “elements” similar to those in SV40. For that matter, finding a BLAST alignment for a stretch of SV40 genome is a statistical liklihood, if you have enough sequence to work with, just like finding “hidden messages” in the Bible by rearranging the letters.
So far, the doom-sayers and fear-mongers preaching their anti-vaccine Jeremiads of how vaccines are “contaminated with pig and monkey viruses” have precious little data (if any) to support their claims. Despite decades of predicting how SV40 is going to lead to an “epidemic of cancer”, it just hasn’t worked out that way.
I doubt that PCV1 is going to be their “turning point”, either.
So, you can either listen to the people who have demonstrated that they know little or nothing about biology, medicine, vaccines and viruses OR you can listen to the people who put in the time and effort to get the necessary education and experience to evaluate the data and form rational opinions.
It’s your choice.
Go jen! Babies deserve to die of diarrhea and be blinded and crippled by measles. You’re my hero! Keep up the good work and always complain when a vaccine is improved. The only good vaccine is an imaginary one and the only good child is a dead one.
Trollmorph, you haven’t got anything except “clever” sarcastic remarks. I think I would like to see you fired up – say, on a rocket, headed straight for the Sun.
(Before you get all butthurt, that’s a joke, okay?)
Now tonight I think I’ll have a pig virus contaminated sandwich for dinner, with cheese of course, and lots of gluten in the roll. Yum!
As a history nerd, I think crossing of the “Woobicon” is fantastic! That literally made my day. In my opinion though, he crossed over a long time ago. It makes me sad that some physicians can be such poor critical thinkers. Did they just pretend to understand all those years of science courses?
Regardless, I call his approach political medicine. If you do not take a stand on anything, then people won’t get upset and will continue to watch the show.
I did a blog post a few months back about his claims of prayer being beneficial to patients. Thoroughly debunked in Orac fashion:
It never fails to stun me when I hear doctors (who should understand how to read studies)deny evidence. I once thought that Roizen and Oz were great in that they came on TV to show the average person the effects of atherosclerotic disease in true to life detail.
How could these guys speak good sound medicine one minute, then speak about things like mysterious energy fields and through and through quackery like homeopathy.
I don’t get it. Either that or I am the dupe for trying to earn a living by being honest with people about the results of studies. Maybe I could earn millions on TV by peddling (sorry…”integrating”) nonsense to patients.
Don’t know if this was mentioned above (didn’t have time to read all the comments). But Rotovirus vaccines are oral, aren’t they. At least they were when my baby got it.
Oh, no…Like historygeek said some of us are poisoned by teh pork.
I don’t think this point was covered earlier, so I guess I’ll cover it. As a toxicologist, one of the things commonly done in my profession is testing drinking water for contaminants. The major challenge with this task is, “what do we test for?” Of course, there’s the common toxins: specific heavy metals (such as arsenic or mercury), specific pesticides (depending on the pesticides used in the local farming industry), perhaps some common contaminants from other industry.
The issue is that we do not always know what to test for, or even if we have the current technology to test for something. One of the primary leads for testing an uncommon toxin in drinking water is complaints and symptoms from the local population. Until a toxin starts causing a problem, we don’t know that it’s there, or even that we should be testing for it.
The same can be said for testing for “other crap [that] has gone through that hasn’t been caught” in a vaccine. What specific substance would you like to test for? The manufactures and scientists who work on the vaccines do test for what they know to test, and most likely test for other suspected substances that may cause a problem.
However, they must know about the problem, or suspect the problem, before they can test for it; and to top it off, the technology must be advanced enough to be able to test for it.
Sorry, just noticed that my point had been made (much more elequently then I could ever Have managed).
Oh My. This explains a lot. My 15 month old was given the Rotateq virus. We call him “cheeky monkey” *all the time*. So, you tell me: Coincidence? Or contamination?
@59 b) How much other crap has gone through that hasn’t been caught?
Caught by what methods?
We are now able to detect all kinds of things at levels that were not possible in the 20th Century. The more sensitive the testing, the more “crap” will be detected. And “crap” is what it is … stuff of no importance clinically because it’s a DNA fragment, or a near-undetectable trace of something.
@jen and all the morphing trolls
You are far more likely to get E. coli 0157 off your “organic” spinach and have serious, possibly fatal diarrhea and other complications than you are to have some sort of reaction to a vaccine. Did you realize that arsenic is natural and occurs naturally in many aquifers? It’s natural, it must be good! Drink your natural arsenic water, for health! Three cheers for being bad at math AND science.
If you want to worry about something, worry about Ebola monkeys. Now that’s scary! Ebola Monkeez!!!!
Funny story. Davy Jones and Mike Dolenz were going to call the band the Ebola Monkeez at first, but the networks decided it was too scary. All of the promotional material for the old name was sealed forever in Davy Jones’ locker. True story!
Someone needs to compare the morphing trolls and jen’s IP address. They are clearly one and the same person.
James Sweet had the same reaction I did, that Mrs. Oz was basically putting reiki in the same category of evidence for effectiveness as a mother’s kiss on an ouchie. Though, there’s probably a whole lot more anecdata in support of those. Most everyone has personal experience with being “cured” by Mommy putting a kiss on the boo-boo, would be trivially easy to find thousands of people who believe that is what cured them of their most recent injury. The truth is being suppressed!
“I also wouldn’t put too much credence behind anything the NVIC puts out.”
I don’t know if that’s warranted. From casual examination, the NVIC site strikes me as at least generally accurate on points of fact. Compared to AoA and GR, it’s downright stellar! Not, of course, that it takes much…
David, NVIC commits lies of omission. She tends to cherry pick studies, and does not update the information when new studies come out. Which is why I point out that the most recent reference on the pertussis page (which is called “whooping cough”) is more than thirty years old. How is that an accurate way to describe the DTaP?
Also, if you look at Barbara Loe Arthur’s writings (under the name “Fisher”) she looks at personalities, and not the data. She praises Wakefield, yet demonizes Offit.
My oldest cousin died of a rotavirus infection. His doctor sent him home with my aunt and the admonition that “No one dies from diarrhea”. In the pediatric hospital where I am a nurse, we get a LOT of admissions of very ill young children under 3 who are ill with the rotavirus and cannot keep up with the fluid intake required to replace the fluid lost with the explosive diarrhea. I contracted rotavirus from a patient at work and I was absolutely miserable on the floor of the bathroom to keep from crapping my pants for a week. I can also remember having two children die when their parents didn’t realize how dehydrated the child had become (and it can happen very quickly). Rotavirus is NOT just a simple diarrhea and 40 to 60 deaths do not begin to reflect the number of days of hospitalization caused by the virus.
Okay, a vaccine is made from a dead or weak virus, right?
So if there’s a bit of a virus that wasn’t meant to be in the original vaccine (contamination by pig or monkey virus!), it’s probably going to be also weakened/dead, too, right?
So, wouldn’t the recipient end up not only being immunized against the rotavirus, but also gain some resistance to whatever pig (or monkey) virus was inadvertently included?
Orac: the rotavirus vaccine is not in the NHS schedule in the UK. In my country (India) it is optional and may be given “after discussion with parents”. In several other countries, too, I believe it is not administered routinely. Either the rest of the world is in the dark ages and the USA is the shining city on the hill that should guide the rest of us — or there’s something else to consider.
It’s not just the rotavirus vaccine. The USA has by far the largest immunisation schedule of any country, developed or developing, that I have looked at. Why?
I found the article to be rather scary, not from the Dr Oz. perspective but from the authors slant. My first reaction is to wonder why the author is so afraid of alternatives. Really, it is fear that comes across the ranting not intelligent research. I am in the alternative health care field, a science based massage therapist with two years of training and a Reiki practitioner who has experienced healing herself. Why would someone close themselves off to the possibility of healing on all levels in all ways? No one thing works for all and there is room for everything. Please do your science and biology reading, Dr Oz is right about his science.
Dr. Oz provides us information on both sides of issues and allows us to use our birthright ability to make the decision for ourselves as to what choices we need to make. He has taken vital information that we have a right to know that has been hidden by millions of others including our own health care industry because they can not make money on this knowledge. Drug companies lose money if people really knew that they could cure themselves of some things without drugs.
Some may not agree but he is upholding the foundation of freedom of choice which this country was founded on.
Prayer works for millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims. Buddhists, Hindus and I really don’t think that they see it as “quackery”.
Call it what you will, fear is fear, but a fearful ranting provides all of us a chance to question our own beliefs on medicine and our own powers to heal self. While I do not agree with the author, I am thankful that the opinions were expressed.
Please provide quotations indicating fear, as opposed to a rational weighing of the evidence that emphatically demonstrates such “healing” to be at best a placebo.
Please provide the actual evidence for said healing, being sure to control for REAL medical attention, placebo effect, and the natural course of the condition in question.
When a type of “healing” is demonstrated to be complete hokum, anyone with any ounce of rational thought will reject it.
So we should start dousing everyone with cancer in pudding, because who knows, it might help?
Ah, so lying to you is beneficial now, because it’s ‘information’? Not all issues actually have two sides.
Freedom of choice is impaired, not promoted, by lies and misinformation.
Nice bit of nothing, moron.
True choice can ony be made with accurate information. Propping “alternative” treatment on the same level as science-based information is not an example of true information. Orac’s post points out that things like reiki are no more effective than kiss it and make it better, even according to Mrs Oz! That is the kind of treal information that people need to make an informed chooice, and not fall for the lies of charletons.
True choice can ony be made with accurate information. Propping “alternative” treatment on the same level as science-based information is not an example of true information. Orac’s post points out that things like reiki are no more effective than kiss it and make it better, even according to Mrs Oz! That is the kind of treal information that people need to make an informed chooice, and not fall for the lies of charletons.
“So, wouldn’t the recipient end up not only being immunized against the rotavirus, but also gain some resistance to whatever pig (or monkey) virus was inadvertently included?”
Oh my… it’s comments like this that make we realize that the world really is full of freaks. Do you consider it a good thing that people may gain some resistance to some unknown pig (or monkey) virus…? Please, please, please tell me that you wouldn’t consider this on the ‘pro’ side of the contamination issue. I can just see Dr. PrOffit using this type of thinking. Monkey/Pig virus (DNA) is perfectly safe for children. In fact, it may provide them some protection against Swine Flu. The idiot public may actually fall for that… 🙂
the body is a very conplex machine and if u can’t pray to fix a flat tier then u can’t pray dislexia away obviously reality is a bitch and it is best to work with it and not denie it and yes i was told i could pray dislixia away or my favorite woo is that it really didn’t exsit at all and i was hampered by my understanding of the word impoisble as in it is impoisple for me to learn a forgiane langue and that is what is keeping me form learning the the langue not dislxia. thankfully i had enough self controll not to punch siad person in the face. i have better resualts dealing with it as a real problem and except i can only go so far but that is ok. engray healing isn’t going to fix a damn freeking thing outside of what could be fix by doing nothing
however by lieing to people like me with a real problem and telling me it is all my fault cause i don’t have a rigth attitude hurts alot and that is the pain of dislxia is other people and there idiot notions and stupid fake cures.
@120 morphing critic
“Do you consider it a good thing that people may gain some resistance to some unknown pig (or monkey) virus…?”
The point was more about – Is it a bad thing that people get some dead pig (or monkey) virus?
Please note that the opposite of “bad” is not “good”, but “not bad”.
If the virus is dead, it isn’t going to infect anyone. How could it be a bad thing?
On the resistance topic, I doubt there will be enough contaminating virus material to provide immunization. It’s a contamination, not the main ingredient. But again, what’s the harm at being exposed to a dead virus? It cannot do anything to you, it’s dead. (cue Monty Pythons Parrot sketch)
“Monkey/Pig virus (DNA) is perfectly safe for children”
Well, DNA is indeed perfectly safe for children and everybody else. it’s inactive outside of a cell.
Even more so if you swallow it, like the rota vaccine. Your guts will do their job and destroy it.
Wow is right. As in “wow, you are amazingly ignorant.”
I think this bears repeating. Alternative medicine that has been proven to work is called…medicine. If reiki worked, you’d be able to prove it with solid research. You can’t, of course.
Each country’s immunization schedule has a lot of factors that go into it. Without evidence, it is wrong to imply that the rotavirus vaccine isn’t on the schedule in these other countries due to problems with the vaccine itself.
I would just like to apologize on behalf of the school I attend for inventing TT. Many of us in the sciences are embarrassed that such woo came out of our institution. Why the hell are hospitals using it though?
You’d think the Cleveland Clinic would know better… but from my talks with nurses, this brand of woo is often taught as fact in their curriculum.
I watch Oz, not regularly but frequently (once or twice every week or two). Not for a whole hour, but for a segment or two.
I’ve not really seen the crazy stuff out of him. I saw him use some Himalayan salts or something once, but I don’t remember anything that made me think “quack.” I haven’t seen anything like baking soda cures cancer lol and I saw his kid once when they had animals from seaworld on the show. Haven’t seen the wife, but she sounds questionable at best. lol
I do have a college degree (in biology) and no I’m not really employed. I did buy his book “You on a diet” and found it to be a pretty good explanation of the hunger and satiety mechanisms.
Dr. Oz is a quack. Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t make you an expert on every system in the body. I saw him on Oprah last year with Montel Williams talking about MS. I watched out of interest because I have MS. A lot of the stuff he pulled out of his a** to talk about was so very wrong. I’m not sure how being a cardiac surgeion makes him qualified to talk about a complex neurological disease on national television. If you’re being paid to open your yap, do some research first. Shame on him. Shame on Oprah for promoting that garbage. If you’re going to talk about MS, get a neurologist on, get someone from an MS organization on. Shame on Montel for being an MSer who sat there and listened to that drivel. He should be well-informed enough about his own disease to know that what a good portion of what Dr. Oz was saying was junk.
So, should we present both sides of these issues:
The earth is round (mostly) and travels around the sun.
Washington DC is northeast of Dallas Texas.
Pure water at standard pressure freezes at 0 C (32 deg F).
Montel is, I would say, an avid supporter of woo. Just look at his unquestioning support and promotion of the fraud Sylvia Brown.
More specifically…alternative medicines that have been proven to work are called drugs.
[Scource “Pharmacology” by Rang, Dale, Ritter and Flower. Reflects practices of the TGA and its equivalents around the world e.g. FDA in the US]
Umm…prayer is working?
Considering that the most religious countries are also those developing countries with the highest levels of sickness and disease. I mean why don’t they just pray for….
Oh and for the snake oil customers who don’t quite get it…a placebo is classed as a medicine.
A flood has come in and a man has taken refuge on top of his home. He prays to God to save him.
The water is up to the edges of his roof. A boat full of escapees comes by and they offer him a place. “No, God will save me,” he says.
The water is to the base of his chimney when another boat comes by. They try to get him to come with them. “No, God will save me,” he says.
The water is now up to the top of the chimney where he is standing. A helicopter overhead lowers a ladder but he waves it off. “God will save me!” he shouts back up.
The waters rise more and the man dies. He goes to the afterlife and meets God.
“I prayed and prayed for You to save me!” he shouts. “Why didn’t You do anything?”
God responds, “Hey, I sent two boats and a helicopter.”
To continue on the Rotarix-related tangent:
Before getting too worried about the presence of a “pig virus” as a contaminant in the Rotarix vaccine, it might be useful to ask what the contaminant might do. Of course FDA has already noted that porcine circovirus type 1 has not been known to cause any problems in people; in addition, though, it’s noteworthy that attempts to grow the virus in various human cell lines (sparked by interest in using cells, tissues, or organs from pigs for xenotransplantation) have not resulted in productive infection. So PCV1 seems to be much less of a concern than, say, rotavirus–which causes significant morbidity and mortality.
My irony meter just gagged and died.
Rahul @ 115:
First off, the flip side is also true — there are vaccines which other countries give but the US does not. For instance, the US has not approved squalene as an adjuvant, but it is widely used in Europe. (This was a large part of why Europeans got vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 before Americans were — squalene stretches the vaccines stocks, allowing faster production.) Because one country does use a vaccine and another does not isn’t meaningful, in and of itself. You need to look at why, and the answers vary.
Secondly, as far as I know, the rotavirus is recommended by the CDC in the US, but I’m not aware of it being obligatory for school admission. Actual requirements for schools and accredited child care centers are set by states (not the feds), and although they do make them compatible with the CDC’s recommendations, they are not as extensive. For instance, in MInnesota you are only obliged to get DTP, polio, MMR, chickenpox, pneumococcal, and Hib. Everything else is optional.
Amanda @ 116:
And there are people on this Earth who think that eating a potion made from the blood of an albino human will cure their ailments. Your point?
Nobody calls something quackery if they think it works. That doesn’t mean it really does work, nor does it mean it should be called “medicine”. Prayer should be called what it is — religion. That goes for reiki as well. I’m sure you’ve seen someone improve after reiki therapy. I have no doubt whatsoever. What I doubt is that the reiki was responsible. I don’t know it wasn’t; I’m open to being convinced otherwise.
I’m glad you are thankful that Orac expressed his opinions, and that you have a healthy attitude towards questioning our own beliefs. It is through questioning, ever questioning, that we grow closer to the truth.
Wow @ 120:
I believe they were pointing out a silver lining, rather than condoning the contamination. It’s possible that the vaccine would indeed induce an immune response to the porcine virus fragments, and it might even be one which would help protect against the virus. But since the virus isn’t known to be infectious in humans, it’s fairly pointless.
That said, I find it odd that you have a problem with the idea of people being inadvertently protected against something. Woudln’t it make more sense to criticize a cavalier attitude towards contamination, rather than criticizing the idea of being immune to more viruses?
Beware! The Oincogenes are nigh!
*ducks and runs away*
That doesn’t surprise me about Montel. He is a twit. I don’t recall any advice given on how to “treat” MS, the problem was with the information given about the disease. Perhaps as “America’s Doctor”, Dr. Oz has access to special information that I, as a layperson, do not. Ahem.
@116 – Amanda,
Horrors. Somebody pointed out a flaw in your approach to life, therefore that person must be accused of something.
The author is not demonstrating fear of alternatives, but displeasure with the harm that is caused by these quacks.
If everything treated with alternative medicine is treated by a medicine that is inert and the condition being treated is self-limiting, episodic, or so minor that it is not a real health threat, then there would be no physical danger to patients’ health from alternative medicine.
Unfortunately, some people use alternative medicine treatments that have active ingredients, just as real medications have active ingredients, but there is little, or no, oversight of the manufacture of these treatments.
Is there any kind of limit on the amount of pig or monkey virus DNA that may be included in these alternative treatments?
Is there any examination of these alternative treatments that would be capable of detecting any amount of contamination with anything?
Is any examination limited to just looking for great big globs of poop in the treatment?
Would the manufacturer notify anyone of the contamination, or just rebrand the treatment as enhanced with great big globs of whatever they decide to use as a euphemism for poop?
Is there any kind of requirement to demonstrate efficacy before exposing patients to these risks? All real medicines have risks. Those risks are balanced by benefits. When the benefits outweigh the risks, then it is appropriate to use the real medicine.
Alternative medicine has plenty of real risks, but the greatest of these risks may be the avoidance of real medicine. When is there any consideration of the risks of alternative medicine by the alternative medicine pushers?
The people who try homeopathy, or reiki, or some other fraudulent treatment for cancer, rather than real medicine are harmed by alternative medicine. While real medicine – chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or some combination – is not alway going to work, alternative treatments are not going to work. Alternative medicine is not even as good as a placebo.
Why would you use the word Really, when describing something that has nothing to do with reality? Maybe because it is all about the sales pitch, not about reality. The Big Lie – say it often enough and loudly enough and some people will believe that it is true.
You mention intelligent research, but never give any references to this intelligent research. Since the valid research shows that alternative treatments are not as good as placebo, it is understandable that you do not include any real references.
Massage is not really alternative medicine. Reiki is complete nonsense. Essentially, you are stating that you do not understand science, you enjoy your gullibility, and you make money off of your patients’ gullibility.
Without evidence of efficacy you are just selling placebos (or treatments that are not even as effective as placebos). These treatments may discourage patients from receiving real treatments for real medical conditions.
It is possible that there are other forms of healing. There just is not any good reason to believe that any of these work.
Provide some valid evidence and you will find that we are very open minded.
Provide an illogical appeal to What if . . .? and you will find that we are going to demand evidence.
This is as it should be.
You have your own reasons for believing in these frauds. As you state, it means money in your pocket to push Big Placebo. Reality doesn’t make you any money.
It is true that no one thing works for everything. Only alternative medicine people make claims of miracle treatments that work for everything. The ironic things is that they make these claims for treatments that don’t work for anything.
There is room for everything only when you decide that you do not care about providing real treatment, or about telling lies to patients, or about taking advantage of the vulnerability of patients.
Orac does plenty of science and biology reading. He demonstrates that clearly in his posts. You could learn a lot, if you were not so closed-minded. Of course, your increase knowledge is based on the assumption that you do not already realize that what you are selling is fraud. Do you understand science enough to understand the difference between valid research and making unsupported claims?
Apparently you overestimate your ability. You do not understand that ability is not a birthright. How does a person, who lacks the capacity to make informed decisions, make informed decisions?
What vital information?
What information has been hidden?
Where did they hide it?
How did you find it?
Hidden by millions of others? Who are these millions? Where is this vast conspiracy?
Do you mean the conspiracy of medicine to improve the health of patients and increase the life expectancy by decades? That evil conspiracy?
At the same time, what has alternative medicine done for patients? Only made them poorer and killed off those who avoided real medicine. The choice between real medicine and the fraud of alternative medicine is not exactly rocket science.
Information that has been openly available for decades cannot be said to be hidden. If it is incorrect, it should be pointed out that this vital information is incorrect.
Orac points out that this information is incorrect.
You try to get people to ignore that this information is incorrect. You are the one engaging in a cover up.
Please provide some examples of some alternative treatments that work better than what is promoted by real doctors, which is not the same thing as what is promoted by drug companies.
Exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and many other things are recommended by real doctors. These are not alternative medicine. Provide some examples of some research that supports the quackery that you sell.
Remember, that alternative medicine companies lose money if people really knew that they could cure themselves of some things with real medicine.
He is doing the same thing that Bernie Madoff and other hucksters have done for centuries. He is engaging in fraud. If you think that is is freedom of choice, you do not understand making an informed decision to consent to a treatment.
So why is it that so many of the very religious countries have so much illness killing so many of their Christians, Jews, and Muslims? Why aren’t they healthier than the nations that rely on medicine to deal with illness?
a fearful ranting provides all of us a chance to question our own beliefs?
Did you use Mad Libs to compose that?
There is no connection from one to the other.
Are you going to start offering fearful ranting as part of your magic?
There is not even a fearful ranting in Orac’s post to begin with.
This gives you the opportunity to repackage a bunch of lies, claim that you are not a fraud, cloak yourself in the flag, and pretend that your lies are somehow patriotic.
You are no patriot.
You are just a fraud.
You endanger patients when they are at their most vulnerable.
Why does Oz embrace woo? The almighty dollar.
Woo sells. Just ask Oprah.
TRINE TSOUDEROS, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE “WRITER”, OBVIOUSLY HATES DR OZ BECAUSE SHE IS GREEK AND HE IS TURKISH!
No matter what I think we can all agree his advice you should have sex at LEAST once a week, and more is better, is spot on!
According to the linked article, the debunker of therapeutic touch was nine.
Dr Oz is definitely woo-a-dash-ish. But yeh, it definitely gets on my nerves too.
please get oz off the air
To watch daytime television these days, you first have to get through 1-800 commercials for lawyers looking for personal-injury plaintiffs, commercials for bankruptcy counselors or commercials for low-rung technical schools. Is television saying that daytime viewers are broke, uneducated or basically down on their luck?