Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

Quoth Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Vaccines are “disease matter”

Every so often, someone will take a great deal of umbrage at my use of the term “antivaccine.” The assumption behind criticism directed at me (and others) when we use such terms is that we throw the term about without a care, using it as a weapon unjustly and incorrectly to smear parents who are in reality “pro-safe vaccine.” Of course, what antivaccine activists and their apologists don’t realize (or conveniently forget) is that I view the term “antivaccine” as having a fairly specific definition, and it’s not simply to describe anyone who questions the efficacy or safety of vaccines. If that were true, then scientists who study vaccine safety could be called “antivaccine.”

As hard as it is to believe, it was only around six or seven years ago that I discovered that there was even such a thing as an antivaccine movement. Before that, I had always thought of vaccines as being, in essence, like mom and apple pie, something that no one in his right mind would question. And, for the most part, they are. They are effective and incredibly safe. Arguably, more lives have been saved by vaccines than by any other medical intervention conceived by the mind of human beings. Yet, there remains a contingent–a very vocal contingent–of doubters whose beliefs range from simply thinking that vaccines don’t work to thinking that they are downright evil, the cause of conditions ranging from autism to sudden infant death syndrome to asthma to all manner of autoimmune diseases. That there is no convincing scientific evidence linking vaccines to any of these conditions.

So when I describe someone like, say, J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, or any of the stable of propagandists over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism as “antivaccine,” I have a pretty specific definition in mind. I’m referring to people who consider vaccines to be dangerous and believe that they do more harm than good. But it’s more than that. It’s people whose belief that vaccines are harmful is so universal and so strong that they cannot under any circumstance admit that any vaccine does any good or, when they are forced to conceded that a vaccine works, find a reason to counter that somehow it still causes more harm than good, that its benefits aren’t worth the risk (which is inevitably exaggerated to make the point), or that somehow “natural immunity” is better than immunity derived from vaccines. In fact, if you want to see the pure antivaccine viewpoint distilled into a brief passage, watch this video below from Suzanne Humphries, MD:

Dr. Humphries begins:

I have been studying vaccines for the last three years of my life when it came up in my professional life, and my current opinion about vaccinations is that they’ve never been safe. Never has there been a safe vaccine. Never will there be a safe vaccine, and it is not possible to have a safe vaccine.

Wow. When I say that, to antivaccine activists, it’s always all about the vaccines. It always has been all about the vaccines. It always will be all about the vaccines. No matter how strongly clinical and scientific evidence say otherwise, antivaccine zealots see vaccines as inherently unsafe and ineffective, just as Dr. Humphries said above. If that’s not “antivaccine,” I don’t know what is. But it’s even worse than that. To antivaccine zealots like Dr. Humphries, it’s not enough to cast doubt upon the efficacy or safety of a single vaccines. Oh, no. She has to find a way to label all vaccines as dangerous. Why are they dangerous to her? Because to her they’re not just dangerous, they’re unnatural:

The reasoning for that is that the actual process of vaccination defies the natural function of the immune system of living beings. It thwarts the immune system into a balance that’s very unnatural and that leaves it susceptible to more things than just what you’ve maybe vaccinated supposedly for. Putting a disease matter into a body and thinking that the manner of which it’s going in (i.e., usually through a muscle through the skin using a very unnatural thing, a needle combined with all the chemicals, antibiotics, and things the manufacturing companies may not even know about it at the time that they’re being injected into a muscle), there’s no possible way that that can be safe. Now when you’re bypassing the normal immune system by putting this disease matter into a muscle, you are stimulating yet another abnormal response at the site of the injection, the pooling of all sort of metals and things that call in the immune cells in a very unnatural way.

Notice how frequently Humphries uses the word “unnatural” and “disease matter.” Anyone who knows anything about vaccines knows that there are two main strategies for generating vaccines. One is to use a weakened version of the disease-causing virus that can induce immunity but does not cause disease. The other is to use proteins or other molecules from the disease-causing organism, sometimes along with “adjuvants” like aluminum salts, which can boost the immune response to these molecules. While it’s true that this latter strategy often relied on the use of whole cell isolates from killed organisms, these days more and more vaccines are manufactured not by growing the whole virus and killing it but through recombinant DNA techniques to generate specific protein subunits or fragments of specific proteins to evoke an immune response that can prevent the disease. Indeed, these days, there are numerous techniques for making vaccines, ranging from live whole attenuated virus vaccines to killed whole virus vaccines to subunit vaccines to recombinant virus vaccines, as well as other techniques.

In any case, it’s clear that Humphries is quite intentionally using language designed to portray vaccines as a mass of “disease” (much as Bill Maher once referred to vaccines as “injecting a disease into your arm”) plus toxic chemicals, all classic antivaccine imagery.

She then moves on to claim that vaccines are designed to do one thing: Provoke an antibody response. This is, of course, a straw man argument. While it is true that antibody response is often examined as a surrogate for vaccine response, that’s a very simplistic description of how antibody response is assessed. For one thing, while antivaccine activists often point out that an antibody response does not necessarily mean immunity, they often fail to point out that lack of an antibody response does not necessarily mean lack of immunity as well. In any case, there are many things other than antibody levels in the blood that vaccinologists use as correlates for vaccine-induced immunity besides antibody response. The bottom line is that what demonstrates that vaccines prevent disease is not antibody response. It’s the results of several converging lines of evidence that include clinical trials, epidemiology, and basic science that demonstrate that vaccines work, in what circumstances, as well as how well each vaccine works.

At one point in the video, Humphries starts ranting about how doctors and scientists apparently think “we’re too stupid to notice” that vaccines are killing and maiming people or that “we’re too stupid to notice” how “miraculous” vaccines are. It’s a muddled argument that simultaneously claims that critics of the antivaccine movement think antivaccinationists are simultaneously “too stupid” to appreciate how “miraculous” vaccines are while at the same time they’re “too stupid” to notice vaccines are supposedly killing people? What is she trying to say? It’s not really clear, but she concludes that, “To protect everybody, they’re just going to give it to us anyway,” after which she asks, “Why must such a wonderful product be forced upon people?” She claims that never in history have people volunteered for vaccines, that they always had to be forced on people.

She obviously doesn’t remember how people lined up for the polio vaccine when it was first developed.

Humphries also goes on and on, without presenting a shred of evidence, that children who received vaccines are the “sickest” children, all the while assuring viewers that “we’ve studied it.” Particularly amusing is the part where she claims that her colleagues think that the “sound bites” they’ve heard about vaccines being safe and effective trump the “book knowledge” that she has about vaccines being dangerous. I couldn’t help but think upon hearing that, “Project much?” After all, it’s antivaccine activists like Humphries who are the epitome of the arrogance of ignorance, who think that testimonials and anecdotes trump knowledge that comes from scientists who, rather than just cherry picking papers to “study” vaccines, do–oh, you know–actual scientific research on vaccines.

Not surprisingly, it’s not too long before Humphries pulls, in essence, a variant of the “pharma shill gambit,” where she portrays physicians as brainwashed automatons who believe in vaccines not because they prevent disease but because of other rewards:

The rewards are not watching people get healthy. The rewards are monetary, and the rewards are power. That’s it. It’s money and it’s power.

If that’s the case, where’s all my money and power? I mean, really. You’d think that if Humphries were right, I’d be swimming in filthy pharma lucre as one of the blogosphere’s foremost defenders of vaccines against the misinformation spread by antivaccinationists. I could retire and spend the rest of my life blogging in my underwear, only going out to deposit my checks from my pharma overlords. Heck, I might not even have to do that. I’m sure our benevolent pharma overlords would be more than happy to arrange direct deposit for me. As for the “power,” I’m really curious about that. Power over what? Power to do what? Physicians don’t make laws that require vaccines before children can attend school. Politicians and legislators do. Doctors can’t order a child tied down and vaccinated. The most a physician can do is to “fire” parents who won’t vaccinated, and most won’t do even that because the ethics are a bit controversial and a lot of physicians don’t feel comfortable doing that.

So, tell me, Dr. Humphries? Where is all this wealth and power I’m supposed to get for defending vaccines. I really want to know. I’m feeling a bit cheated right now.

Watching the rest of this video, I can definitely say that Humphries knows about as much about immunology as she does about how much wealth and power physicians have, thanks to vaccines. In fact, her entire objection to vaccines appears to boil down to the naturalistic fallacy, namely because vaccines to her are “unnatural” they must be bad and because diseases are “natural” they must be good. She keeps repeating over and over and over again how vaccination is injecting “disease matter” and “chemicals” designed to bypass the immune system. She claims that scientists think the immune system was designed poorly and, in their arrogance, are trying to create a human who can fight off disease and grow, as though the two are incompatible. To her, an immune system without vaccines supplemented by mother’s milk works really well. And so it does, as far as it goes, but somehow mother’s milk didn’t stop epidemics of measles, polio, smallpox, haemophilus influenzae type b, or any of a number of other infectious diseases. Vaccines did.

I used to write about how embarrassing I find it when physicians fall for creationist nonsense, physicians like Michael Egnor. I’ve always liked to think that the science background and education necessary to become a physician would inoculate doctors against such idiocies, but I now realize that that’s nothing more than wishful thinking. If there’s anything that drives home just how much wishful thinking that is, it’s seeing physicians like Dr. Humphries spout antivaccine idiocy. After all, it’s somewhat (although not very) understandable that a physician might misunderstand evolution. It’s much less understandable that a physician would fall for pseudoscience related to medicine.

I think I need that paper bag to cover my head in shame.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

172 replies on “Quoth Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Vaccines are “disease matter””

Anyone who knows anything about vaccines knows that there are two main strategies for generating vaccines. One is to use a weakened version of the disease-causing virus that can induce immunity but does not cause disease.

Oh dear. How long before the SFB Troll who will remain nameless shows up?

Isn’t she a homeopath? How natural is homeopathy? Where in nature do carefully-selected substances get serially diluted, with intermittent succussion?

I also notice, in pictures and video, she doesn’t get around in animal skins.

Cobra venom is natural… Why don’t we get bitten by snakes?
Or maybe the black widow spider?

Humans evolved living on the [natural] savannah facing [natural] predators like lions… Why do we live in cities now? We should send our kids out into the [natural] forest. If they survive the [natural] bears and wolves, they will become stronger.

Besides, why is this woman even using a camera and making videos – it is unnatural!!

What a load of BS.

Hmmmm….well, the Black Plague was certainly natural, right? As well as smallpox & heart disease, diabetes, etc – all dieases are inherently “natural” so they should be a-ok, right?

These people are morons.

Putting a disease matter into a body and thinking that the manner of which it’s going in (i.e., usually through a muscle through the skin using a very unnatural thing, a needle….

And she’s talking to an unnatural digital video camera, the video is being broadcast on the totally unnatural internet, people are watching it on unnatural computers and smartphones, when they should be doing the the only true natural way and listening to her in person….
Anybody got a spare facepalm? I’m all out….

Actually, she sounds a lot like our resident insane troll when it comes to the the concept of disease vs. vaccines.

She obviously doesn’t remember how people lined up for the polio vaccine when it was first developed.

As a small child, I certainly remember queuing up in a long line of women and children outside the clinic on vaccination days. My mother, when young, saw two siblings die of “harmless” childhood infections; she didn’t need to be forced to vaccinate me.

Wait, she’s a real medical doctor? She tells people to do unnatural things like eat fruits and veggies all year round, clean cuts and scratches instead of letting them heal the natural way with lots of nice natural dirt, and like that?

Next to Hep B vaccine given to infants at 12 hrs old, the HPV vaccine will go down as the most harmful vaccine ever produced, and it doesn’t even come close to working. French medical Doctors want t delisted and suspended.

People should never forget that real health depends how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry but I agree health insurance is important for every one. Search “Penny Medical” or online for dollar a day insurance plans.

w – Citation seems to be one of the favourite words around here. Nature is your citation, learn about it, and you will have all the answers you need. Do you need to ask bees for a citation as to why they are falling dead from the disturbances of nature?

Dr. Humphries is still licensed as an MD in Bangor Maine (license expiration date 2012), and still listed as a partner in the “Northeast Nephrology” practice…along with three other doctors (Drs. Comeau, Levy and McGoldrick).

I’m willing to bet that she prescribes “traditional” medicine for her patients who have hypertension associated with renal disease, but does she tell her patients that their polycystic kidney disease is caused by early childhood vaccines?

I see “Neil” is back with his advice about “natural” healing…some old “Neil” with the same old b.s.

Nature is your citation, learn about it, and you will have all the answers you need.

How lazy. You made specific claims; it isn’t hard to provide the supporting evidence of those claims.

Dr. Humphries, what an embarrassment indeed. I’m always intrigued by what causes physicians and professional scientists to go off the rails like this (not just vaccines either). A common thread seems to be that they are drawn to disciplines outside of their area of expertise/training.

w @12 was me. I don’t know how I managed to mess up a two-character name.

Neil, you said, “Next to Hep B vaccine given to infants at 12 hrs old, the HPV vaccine will go down as the most harmful vaccine ever produced, and it doesn’t even come close to working. French medical Doctors want t delisted and suspended.”

So you made the statement that HPV and HepB are the two most harmful vaccines ever produced. What is the basis for that statement? What other vaccines were considered? What were the harmful effects and frequency thereof for all of those vaccines? Surely this isn’t a matter of your imagination, right? You must have links to studies or reviews, right?

And HPV doesn’t even come close to working? So you must have studies showing that those who have received the HPV vaccine are precisely as likely to get the disease when exposed as those who haven’t, right?

“French medical Doctors want t delisted and suspended.” Which French doctors? Do they belong to a named organization? Did they publish their concerns somewhere? Did they petition the authorities? Surely you have a basis for this statement, right?

I fail to see how “Nature is your citation” supports your assertions.

I for one will definitely ask the bees for a citation when the bees start claiming they are falling dead from the disturbances of nature

Neil, nature is not all good, like you and many others seem to think. That our life expectancy has risen, has less to do with nature, than with diminishing natural influences that might harm us.

Wrysmile, you may not be smiling when/ if you do some homework. Contact any major beekeeper in the United states. I won’t expect an apology and I don’t want one. Apologise to the bees for us being so stupid.

Take your meds and lie down. Citations are the link to proof of what you are stating. People who have no proof act as you are doing.

I sometimes teach physics to pre-medical college students. Hopefully I’m good at it, supportive of my students, encouraging them to grow intellectually and to understand the way matter and energy work better at the end of the course than at the beginning.

But whatever my hopes for my students, I often have to remind myself of the true social purpose of the course: It’s part of a filter that keeps stupid people from being doctors.

Evidently, that filter sometimes leaks.

Renate.Perhaps you are a processed mutant, these are growing in the USA – this could explain why you don’t value nature.

@ Neil: It is customary to provide citations when you make claims about cancer care (which you didn’t do, when you last posted), breatharians (nary a citation or a name), or vaccines…still citationless, eh?

It’s nice that Neil takes time from his worldwide travels…”performing in front of 100 million people per year”…to post here.

Bees are dropping dead because of human vaccines? Who knew?

Everybody vote for Ron Paul!

How lazy indeed! Why do I know this and you don’t?

Well, let’s see. Maybe you saw it in a dream. Maybe someone told you something they thought they heard on a bus. Maybe you read someone’s ill-informed rant on some conspiracy blog.

My belief is that you know this because of an article in “” which says:

Back in early October 2011, three medical doctors in Paris, France, called upon the National Assembly to delist vaccinations for HPV (human papillomavirus) and to suspend the European approval for the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil® because they doubted the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

One of the physicians, Dr. Philippe de Chazournes, chairs the association MedOcean. The two other physicians are Dr. Joel Pilgrim and Dr. Jean-Pierre Spinosa, a Swiss obstetrician-gynecologist, who co-authored the book, “The Sting too. Why do we vaccinate girls against cancer of the cervix?”

So are you saying that three – count ’em – three French physicians can’t be wrong?

Wrysmile, bees do speak a language, but not one that you will understand, so beekeepers are needed for you to contact, yes.

What exactly will the bees tell us about HPV?
To paraphrase the famous Eccles, “I talk to the bees…that’s why they put me away.”

Neil’s insanity is caused by vaccines of course. Their existence has driven him ’round the bend. The faith of loons.

when you were asked for a citation for you original assertion you remarked that we would not ask bees for a citation and indeed we would not. Now you suggest we should ask the beekeepers who, whether or not I agee with on the cause on bee decline, I would ask for a citation. so your original defence for not providing a citation was quite frankly shit.

@29: “Wrysmile, bees do speak a language, but not one that you will understand, so beekeepers are needed for you to contact, yes.”

Oh, I see. HPV, HepB, and other vaccines also speak a language but not one that we understand. So tell us, oh wiseNeil, whom should we contact to substantiate your claims that HPV and HepB vaccines are the worst vaccines ever and that HPV doesn’t even begin to work?

The French doctors, on the other hand, do speak a language that I understand, so please just tell me which ones to contact.

See how citations work?

I wonk tahw ouy naem. I lliw evah rehtona cinagro ecuij tsuj rof ouy MikeMa ot realc ym daeh.

Well Neil, I value nature. I love to take a walk in the forest for instance. And for your information, I don’t live in the USA. That’s why my English isn’t always as good as it should be.
But though I value nature, I don’t worship it to an extend that nature is all good. I don’t want to be bitten by a viper, although it’s a part of nature and I love snakes. Luckily there aren’t many venomous snakes where I live. Never encountered a snake in it’s natural habitat, just in the zoo.

“Nature is your citation, learn about it, and you will have all the answers you need.”

Nature may be better than Lancet, but for medical issues I tend to have more luck with the NEJM.

One assumes that Neil is referring to Colony Collapse Disorder, which is indeed a distressing phenomenon. Currently, the cause (or causes) are unknown (an outlook that assumes that CCD is a genuine phenomenon and not simply a more notable/severe instance of a fairly common occurence).

Still, there’s less than no link between our use of vaccines to induce an immune response and protect against disease, and human-controlled factors that may or may not be contributing to CCD, such as heavy pollution and pesticide use near affected colonies. I see little reason to believe that the HPV vaccine kills bees.

Neil must have watched Amadeus recently. So cute. And pointless. Organic juice is lovely by the way but are you sure they are all organic?

We don’t need to go back to the Polio days to find people standing in line to get vaccinated. Every year my company offers free flu shots. They aren’t mandatory, yet every year I find myself standing in line with hundreds of other people waiting to get my shot. People who actually want the vaccination.

Yeah, shoving a needle full of chemicals into me IS unnatural. But I’m not letting a dentist fill a cavity without doing it! I’m not letting a doc cut off a mole without local anesthetic, either!

Dr Humphries has been a frequent guest at those loathsome pits of mis-informational iniquity that I frequent (I do this as a public service because I realise that folk educated in the sciences- and other normal people- would suffer profoundly encountering that swill to which I am remarkably immune.)

Funny about that *natural* meme, if you follow the advice of the idiots I survey I would think that you’d live a highly *un*-natural lifestyle: first and foremost you’d be dependent on products created to unnaturally isolate and concentrate phyto-chemicals- packed into capsules or made into powders of which you’d have to swallow mounds daily. You might rely on international products ( food, herbs) that would be difficult to access in an earlier era. If you prefer *raw* and *vegan* I doubt that these qualities would be placed at a premium by our ancestors.-btw- I really doubt that my male ancestors were drinking smoothies. Unless if you count smooth gin.

Thus the picture woo-meisters paint of our ancestors’ life is a crock. If you were to go back in time even to the 1890s-1900 you would find a very different world, even in Western Europe and North America. Family history can teach us interesting lessons: infants died of the flu in 1918, people suffered with TB, malaria affected enlisted men, infections could easily kill before anti-biotics, as did diabetes prior to insulin use. Prior to refridgeration, many foods were dried, tinned/ canned, or preserved chemically in ways natural health gurus wouldn’t like.

They promote a lifestyle that is unnatural, unrealistic,unwieldy, and usually rather un-palatable. The only real thing is the profit margin: they wouldn’t keep this nonsense up if they weren’t making money.


Next to Hep B vaccine given to infants at 12 hrs old, the HPV vaccine will go down as the most harmful vaccine ever produced, and it doesn’t even come close to working.

That’s simply untrue, and anyone who can do even a cursory bit of research can find safety and efficacy studies of both those vaccines. We know from several large studies that what you are claiming is not true – both these vaccines are remarkably effective and safe and both will undoubtedly save many lives.

Why are you spreading these dangerous lies?

HPV vaccine will go down as the most harmful vaccine ever produced, and it doesn’t even come close to working.

Not even close to true. There are several trials out there, showing efficacy and tolerability. One example:

This study demonstrates decreased rates of carcinoma in situ in women and adolescents who were vaccinated with the 16/18 vaccine. It’s most effective when given to adolescents who have never been exposed, but has some efficacy even in women with previous HPV exposure.

Neil, a little clarification may help you understand our position. Science is about observing and understanding nature, not simply making things in a laboratory. The citations we’re asking for are the results of such observations. What you’re doing is stamping your feet and demanding nature act as you wish, and not realizing that it isn’t answering to you.

Neil, would you offer an opinion as to what the next generation microchip architecture should be like?

Or would you like to suggest what fuel to use for the manned mission to Mars or specifics regarding the engine design of the required space-craft?

Or maybe you want to talk specifics about designing an early tornado/cyclone warning weather forecast system?

I don’t think you really would be able to offer much of a useful opinion on any of these topics simply because they are complex issues better left to those who have spent their lives studying and understanding them and have vast experience working on those systems.

So what makes you think that a biological system is so very simple that just about anyone’s opinion should be taken to determine the best course of action?

She obviously doesn’t remember how people lined up for the polio vaccine when it was first developed.

Or more recently, the H1N1 vaccine. We were turning people away, the first few weeks when there wasn’t enough to go around. Lines out the doors and around the building.

(I can’t provide a citation, but we’ve got photographs).

Denise Walter @ 43. Yes, I’ve often puzzled about this business of harking back to what’s natural, in the face of “unnatural” (whatever that means) medical treatments and processes. Early history suggests the most adaptable humans – the ones that figured out smart ways to help their “tribe” avoid early death, who, for example, handed their neighbour a willow stick for their offspring’s fever – surely counted as the “strongest”. Their communities logically must have had more chance of flourishing.

So, who decided exactly when and what human actions became unnatural? I mean, at some point as a species we became self-aware, we fashioned tools, cooked meat, planted a field of corn, shared knowledge, and voila! Adaptation! Was that when it happened? Did some old Cro Magnon wowser point and screech “Eeeeeeeviiiil” (or some version thereof) at the very “unnatural” action of breaking off a willow stick? ( I’m guessing that tribes made up their own minds when they saw whose sick children died after waving the willow branch over the lake and drinking the water, and whose lived after chewing directly on the sucker! You know, like after seeing the evidence.) Today, clever types like scientists continue this, discovering and sharing knowledge – so when and where was the “unnatural” line suddenly drawn?

Ask the bees why they’re dying? Bees not only don’t speak English, they are insects and clearly could not comprehend the question no matter what language it was framed in. And if they knew the cause of CCD, they’d likely be doing something about. They don’t, any more than they realize that smoke sometimes means some asshole in a white suit is about to raid your honey.

(No, bees do not actually live in glorious harmony with beekeepers. The beekeepers just know how to exploit natural behaviors to get colonies of bees to do what they want them to do. They get stung enough to prove they’re not really in any sort of harmony with the hive.)

I see a lot of people talk about the tragedy of CCD (and yes, it is a tragedy) as showing our growing disconnect with Nature, but in fact we were behaving unnaturally to bees (and vice versa) for a very long time before that. Their mere presence in the Americas is evidence of that.

“She obviously doesn’t remember how people lined up for the polio vaccine when it was first developed.” I think Dr. Humphries wouldn’t have “memory”…she is only 49 years old. She obviously is oblivious about more recent influenza vaccine shortages…including the H1N1 vaccine.

I recall a recent (2004) seasonal influenza vaccine shortage, when we distributed limited supplies to physicians for administering flu vaccines only to the elderly, the immune suppressed and to nursing homes. We also ran a mass immunization clinic, when supplies of the vaccine were released by the State. We immunized 7,400 senior citizens during the special clinic held at a college campus.

It’s sad that one looney troll can hijack a thread. And regarding the idea that if you study nature you will have all the answers you need: I’m a biologist (aka ‘evil scientist); I thought that was what I was doing. Who knew?

@ imr90: Loony Troll has not hijacked this thread…we all know what “loony troll” is “all about”. He’s just a citationless troll who inhabits an imaginary world. We are still waiting for citations about “breatharians” and other assorted claims.

@ imr90

It’s all about feeling — for Neil, feeling is knowledge. You, as a scientist, are detached from nature, studying it as something separate from yourself and therefore your conclusions must be wrong. Neil feels that he is connected and gains Truth that way.

He feels that HPV is one of the worst vaccines ever, so that must be right. Any empirical evidence to the contrary must therefore be wrong. The idea that feeling is an unreliable way of gathering knowledge is lost on Neil. You could play Fallacy Bingo with his statements; the naturalistic fallacy that Orac mentioned above permeates Neil’s world view, as does the argument from antiquity. He’s a good candidate to be sucked in by the argument from popularity as well as post hoc.

People like Neil will continue in this way until reality slaps them in the face — then they will rationalize away reality and continue on in the same way.

@ ArtK:

Hilariously, whimsy-based scientists *value* their un-assailable connection to their various projects and “research”: adequate controls illustrate “cold, unfeeling scientism” I guess. Thus we see “research” like that of Dr B, AJW, or the notorious “health support groups” I hear about endlessly. Mike Adams also “experiments” on himself ( *that* sounds wrong in several ways); Jenny McC’s son Evan is her “science”. Dr Jay has his almighty experience to trump studies.

While Drs B and AJW should know better, people not trained in the sciences jump right in hypothesising and trying various woo-ful remedies on themselves or on their children ( see AoA). I truly believe that some ( not all) are not adequately equipped to understand the value of abstracting yourself out of the equation as much as is humanly possible because *you* are interference. Surprisingly, today @ AoA, although she doesn’t actually realise it, Julie Obradovic illustrates exactly why self-administered tests aren’t all the woos think they are.

In the past 6 months I’ve seen several comments now on science sites where people say they don’t need to provide citations and then give some silly or non-sequitur reason (“this isn’t the place” to “ask nature”).

Is this a new trend in response to evidence-based people asking for citations? Cue the line from Treasure of the Sierra Madre (or the Blazing Saddles one) and substitute “citations” for “badges”.

Incidentally, I did go and ask ‘nature’ about bee colonies. 😉

@ jen

Yeah, shoving a needle full of chemicals into me IS unnatural.

Allow me to disagree with the unnatural part, and the slight derailing of this thread is providing me with a perfect example: Honeybee’s sting.
Or any other instance of animals (or plants) having some gadget to inject poisonous molecules into anyone disturbing them: spider bite, wasp sting, snake’s bite, jellyfish’s tendrils, and so on.
Heck, we even have examples of a beneficial injection: according to Bernard Werber, in some species of insects (don’t remember the name, sorry), the male does perforate the female’s shell to inject its gametes.

Nature is your citation, learn about it, and you will have all the answers you need.

I read almost every issue. I wouldn’t say it’s the source of all the answers I need, though. Science, JImmunol, BJP, JExpMed… and I still keep my old grad school copy of Immunobiology on the shelf as a handy refresher now and then.


How lazy indeed! Why do I know this and you don’t?

Because you pulled it out of thin air as it floated out of your fevered brain. And proof of your brain not exactly in working order is when you typed the following “words” in your very unnatural keyboard, attached to your very unnatural computer that is connected to the very unnatural internet:

I wonk tahw ouy naem. I lliw evah rehtona cinagro ecuij tsuj rof ouy MikeMa ot realc ym daeh.


What can cause a real MD to go homeopath? Mercury induced brain injury? Allure of easy money? Being touched by Nyarlathotep?

It also raises questions about her quality as a MD before her face heel turn. Not to mention serious blow to the reputation of whatever medical school she attended.

No need to be ashamed Orac. Humphries is still only a doctor by virtue of some piece of paper, she has abrogated the right to be a doctor in terms of treating people by her beliefs. The shame is on the regulatory bodies who haven’t rescinded her title.

But it is interesting to learn that she has become an homeopath. It’s well known that they just wash away any material that may (but probably not) be active, just hadn’t seen such a clear example of how they do that with their brains as well.

Getting back on topic…
“I have been studying vaccines for the last three years of my life when it came up in my professional life..”

Errrm…. right.

She only “studied” vaccines (ie trolled internet forums, rather than doing any research) whenever she happened to encounter the topic, and only in the last 3 years.

I personally am amazed at her genius. How she can have learnt so much about vaccines in such a short time just browsing the web, and picked up more information and facts than highly intelligent specialist vaccine experts and life-long vaccine researchers is a wonder to behold.

Fantastic woman! All hail to Dr Humphries’ astounding intellect and abilities!
Where next? A Nobel prize or two?

Does this mean that the Salk vaccine on the sugar cube was OK? Isn’t there at least one vaccine taken via the nasal mucous membranes?

I have discussed this with my 78 year old mother. She is appalled that anyone could possibly be against vaccinations. She knew many people who died or were blinded or suffered other life-long disabilities from these ‘harmless’ childhood diseases. I don’t usually like to use anecdotal evidence, but some of her stories can be pretty powerful.

I am old enough to remember relatives and neighbours in wheelchairs from polio. One of my children was extremely ill from a skin infection when he had chicken pox (pre-vaccine days). I’m not sure what his prognosis would have been before moder antibiotics.

The difference between these stories and those of the anti-vaccers is the causal rather than temporal connection. A fact that they refuse to acknowledge.

Hmmm. So part of her objection stems from the method of vaccine administration. Then she should be okay with the way that tetanus vaccine is administered, since one gets tetanus via puncture wounds; live attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist), since the flu is most often contracted via the respiratory tract; and the rotavirus vaccine, since rotavirus is contracted orally.

“Then she should be okay with the way that tetanus vaccine is administered, since one gets tetanus via puncture wounds”

Nonsense, humans have had unbroken skin since the dawn of evolution. No antigenic exposure has ever occurred that way. It’s only since Big Pharma developed vaccines that antigens have unnaturally been introduced into our precious, virgin subcutaneous tissues.


Heck, we even have examples of a beneficial injection: according to Bernard Werber, in some species of insects (don’t remember the name, sorry), the male does perforate the female’s shell to inject its gametes.

This is actually not a unique thing, either. Reproduction is quite terrifying in many species (thus proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Nature has different ideas about “beneficial” than we do). There are squid species which also spear their brides. The male is equipped with a hard lance which it can launch at any female it encounters, with the aim of puncturing her mantle and depositing sperm there. These squid cannot see very well, due to the impossible blackness in which they dwell, and so they shoot blind — they’ll fire these lances at anything that *might* be a female, sometimes tagging other males, fish, research submarines, themselves….

Dragonflies and damselflies — lovely creatures. But mating is always rape with them, and *violent*. The male grips the female by piercing her head with his mandibles. In species which mate more than once, females have been seen with multiple puncture wounds from multiple suitors. And it is not that unusual for the male to accidentally decapitate her.

And then there are aphids. You could write a horror story about them . . . oh wait, except people have, sort of. First off, they are impregnated by rape — and lacking an orifice for this activity, the male must actually puncture the female’s exoskeleton. Once impregnated, she goes about her way . . . until her babies hatch. She has no birth canal, so instead, the babies eat their way out. While she’s alive.

KeithB: Pedant point here — the Sabin vaccine is the one on the sugar cube. The Salk vaccine is injected.

Dr. Humphries appears to be in the lobby of the Great Northern Hotel. It’s like the Log Lady is just out of the shot.

@ peicurmudgeon (and others)

Vaccines are a victim of their own success. There are fewer and fewer people who recall the horror of these diseases before vaccines. The deluded anti-vaxxers use their experience today (with disease greatly reduced by vaccines) and think, “it can’t have been that bad.” Statistics about past diseases are just abstract numbers — they’ve never seen someone in an iron lung, or blinded or rendered deaf. They haven’t been to cemeteries and seen the disproportionate number of child graves. Or seen the “extra” graves with dates like 1918.

It’s ignorance like that that helps produce Humphries, or worse, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles.”

I never had chicken pox or any other childhood disease, which was probably due to growing up in a rural area.

As an adult I got the MMR and varicella vaccines and I am glad I did.

“Despite the fact that adults account for only 5 percent of chickenpox cases per year, they account for a disproportionate number of deaths (55 percent) and hospitalizations (33 percent) compared to children.”

Not even useful idiot:

Someone like Neil posting baseless assertion (i.e. bait) and call other people lazy because they don’t happen to know the citation at hand and, according to Neil, don’t bother observing “nature” (could it get more vague…)

also known as button pusher as evidenced by picking up every small error or fault other people make in their post.

A.L. (observer of human nature)

ArtK@74 — Precisely, exactly right about the irony of vaccines being victims of their own success.

…that helps produce Humphries, or worse, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles.”

“MMM” is shocking, I agree, but I think Humphries is arguably worse because her MD gives her more credibility among the ignorant — she’s not just some lady in Australia.

I feel badly for our MD colleagues who have to share the same degree with her. When I think of the many incredibly smart, learned, impossibly dedicated docs at our local tertiary-care academic medical center, and compare them to Dr. H. — well,the mind simply boggles.

“I was referred for my kidney problems, but all she wanted to talk about was toxins in our environment and vaccines. Short visit.”

-December 13, 2011, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Patient Reviews,

@Phoenix Woman

I… followed… that… link… too… I’m still not sure what the point was. There were at least four unrelated topics in the one video. It was a surreal series of non sequitur.


Good point. I will say that arguing too much over which is worse is a bit like arguing over which 20th century mass-murdering despot is the most evil.


Unsurprising to say the least. Much as I would imagine a well-child visit with our old friend Dr. Jay.

@ palindrom: “MMM” is shocking, I agree, but I think Humphries is arguably worse because her MD gives her more credibility among the ignorant — she’s not just some lady in Australia.”

Actually, they are both pathological liars. Humphries made a statement about the H1N1 vaccine putting patients into renal failure and causing a number of deaths. I checked with the Maine Department of Health and there were no reports of these serious reactions/deaths associated with the H1N1 vaccine.

Unsurprising to say the least. Much as I would imagine a well-child visit with our old friend Dr. Jay.

But she has three other reviews by others who think she’s the bees knees (sorry couldn’t resist). Obviously there’s a niche market for suckers patients seeking an ‘open-minded’ physician.

@ Janerella:

A really stodgy person I once knew used to harp constantly upon “traditional values” and “natural health” whereas I remarked that amongst a great part of my own family it was manifestly traditional to scoff about standard traditions. Similarly, many of them adored *un-natural* things like cars, type writers, planes, life-saving pharmaceutic products, working in offices, going to universities, residing in large cities, and living long lives.

Reading stuff family members- even those who were “modernist” for lack of a better term- wrote 100 years ago makes me wonder if we could ever truly understand each others’ lives- it’s a different world in too many ways.

@ Science Mom: She also is an internal medicine doctor. Perhaps the patients who think of her as “the bees knees” have sought her advice after cruising the internet for a anti-vax doctor.

I wonder why she was videoed in a hotel lobby? Maybe the other three doctors in her practice aren’t too keen about her public stance about vaccines.

I… followed… that… link… too… I’m still not sure what the point was.

Hey! Wax is famous. I had to sit on the floor in the aisle back when it premiered, the place was so crowded.

Anyway, the bees wind up implanting their television crystal in the protagonist’s head. They already have the next generation of microchip architecture.

@lilady: My medical oncologist told me to get the H1N1 vaccine and the influenza vaccine when I was receiving chemo. I’m sure if there was reports of the H1N1 vaccine causing “serious reactions/deaths”, she would not be recomending it to her chemo patients. I never had any kind of reaction to either vaccine and I was immunosurpressed.

IMR90 @53- I see. Control freaks like things to go their way 100%. You seem to be in the right industry.

Blackcat – For many years I was told( and everyone else) by Doctors, nutritionists, TV, Dairy Industry, School teachers and so on that milk was good for me.. until I discovered it was false.


Shills and Minions,

Two things:

1. Stop the treacherous monkey “Humphries” at all costs.

2. The “Neil” thing is terribly cute, don’t you think? Trolls are so irresistible when they’re young; they way they totter about simplistically, engaging in imitating big troll. And that whole “ask the bees” business . . . simply darling! Reminds me of when Vicodia and Loraza were just out of their swarming phase and would play m’vaakt (paralyze) and sqree*k (exsanguinate) with anything that moved. So tiny, so darling, so deadly. Hatchlings grow up so fast . . .

But I digress into sentimentality, where was I? Oh, yes, stop the Hump and “Isn’t the Neil thing cute”. Well, I suppose that’s all for now. If there are any questions about how to accomplish your mission, ask Cadre Leader DW, she’s in charge as I’m hosting a meeting about how to deal with the whole North Korea thing with Egg-Queen Lizz and a couple of Rothchilds in twenty minutes time and my crest is simply a mess.

Stay eeeeeeville and the PharmaLucre™ shall flow!

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L

Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V’tar and Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Recaller of Simpler Times (Class III)

PharmaCOM Orbital HQ

—————————————— MESSAGE ENDS

There are, of course, people for whom milk is bad. They have allergies or are lactose intolerant. For the rest of us, milk has lots of vitamins, protein, and various trace elements useful to good health.
So why is milk bad for you? As best as I can tell, it’s not bad for me if drunk in reasonable quantities.

And, yes, I neglected to mention that milk is a good source of readily absorbed calcium. It is also often fortified with vitamin D, which has significant health benefits all its own.

@ Black-cat: Your medical oncologist was correct about getting flu vaccine…but then she didn’t conjure up bullsh** stories of vaccine injuries as Humphries does.

Lord Draconis: We are all working very hard to stop the “Hump”. I believe the other troll identified himself as “middle-aged” when he was handing out advice to cancer patients. The “expert”, cum nutritionist, cum beekeeper still has not provided us with the research he has done for the “breatharian” diet and lifestyle.

Go back to your preening for your meeting with the international celebs to solve the North Korea problem…we shall communicate through your representative DW.

Oh, Neil. . . not milk. Really? The Dairy Industry? This is a dangerous, dangerous game you’re playing. Have you told anyone else? Well, don’t, or else the plain, black Crown Vics will start showing up everywhere you go. You know, the ones that you just catch a glimpse of out of the corner of your eye as they cruise by just a little too slowly. The ones with the tinted windows and the milk stains on the rocker panels. The ones that ride just a little too low for comfort, like they’re being driven by someone . . . or something heavy. Next will come the phone calls. The ones that wake you up in the middle of the night. Nobody will say anything, just heavy breathing with some indistinct lowing in the background. Stop speaking out now, before it’s too late. My god man, think of the children . . .

Ha, calcium is toxic, which doctors never tell you. Neil is absolutely on top of this one.

“If Doctors and nutritionists new every thing, we would all live forever.”

Read and weep.


Also, milk itself is one of the “four deadly whites”, along with processed flour, sugar and I forget the other one but it’s deadly too. (Spackle? Heroin? It’ll come to me).


If milk was good for you bees would make it.

@ Dangerous Bacon

That “toxic calcium” link was a hoot. I’m very impressed that the writer’s wife was able to grow and then resorb a bone spur in just a few days. It took me years to grow mine. I wonder if cutting back on drinking milk would make them go away — rather than surgery to correct the very high arches and short Achilles tendons that my podiatrist says are causing them.

@ Dangerous Bacon: Four or Five Deadly Whites? white rice, white potatoes, white bread, white milk and uh,***white salt.

***Substituting gray sea salt at $5/oz. is permissible.

While I certainly agree with your thesis, your statement that there is no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autoimmune disorders is a bit stronger than the position expressed by the NIH:

What studies such as this recent one from Kaiser Permanente have shown is that there is no significant difference in the incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome between those receiving the influenza vaccine and those not receiving it:é_Syndrome_–_or_Recurrence_–_Following_Vaccination_of_Any_Kind,_Including_Influenza/

A causal connection between the influenza vaccine and the development of GBS in some individuals would not be inconsistent with this result, because it is reasonable to suppose that persons susceptible to developing GBS from the influenza vaccine could also develop it by exposure to the virus by other means, so the incidence would not be significantly changed.

It is not known what triggers particular cases of GBS, although inferences can be drawn by association to various infections, and it cannot be known in advance whether any individual is susceptible to GBS. In the absence of this knowledge, the risk is the same whether receiving the vaccine or not. That is the important point, along with the known benefits and extremely low risk of the influenza vaccine overall, not whether the vaccine can trigger GBS in some individuals.

I am writing from the point of view of someone afflicted with CIDP, a disorder similar to GBS. I don’t claim any relationship between vaccines and my disorder, as I received no vaccines of any kind for several years before developing CIDP, but I would not rule out entirely the possibility that a vaccine could trigger GBS or CIDP in some individuals.

Gary in Oakland

Neil’s gone. I’m afraid the cows have the poor devil now . . . he didn’t listen. They never do.

Neil and anyone else who advocates nature as the sole answer: Contact the nearest university with an archeology department. Ask a field archeologist about the pre-industrial skeletal finds they have dealt with – I’m specifying pre-industrial since real medicine was not available to those people. Ask especially about the average age when those people died and the number of children amongst the skeletal finds. It should prove pretty illuminating about the efficiency of “natural cures”.

Natural cure for the Black Plague……kill all the cats….did wonders for the actual disease vector (fleas on rats).

Morons. If it could, nature would kill you.

lilady – that review reminds me of my father’s infamous chiropractor visit. He’s had back problems for years and when they got particularly bad a few years back he figured a chiropractor might help, because hey, they’re back doctors. He never actually went into detail about all the weird pseudoscience the chiropractor mentioned, but he was disturbed enough to leave and never return. He later said he’d had enough new age therapy for a lifetime.

*glances over to baking ingredients on counter* Those bastards will pry my white flour out of my cold, dead, hands, capice?

Actually, now I’m wondering what kind of cookies I could make to break as many of their “rules” as possible….Do you think they’d find butter or Crisco more offensive?

I guess all of those tissue-resident macrophages and lymph nodes are a colossal evolutionary waste then… Apparently no pathogen ever gets to the muscle tissue. Humphries is a loon, in the camp of Tenpenny with their “health can never come from a needle” slogan. I’ve wondered what they would say to insulin dependent diabetics, factor VIII dependent hemophiliacs, etc. Completely nutters.


Minion Lilady,

You have to realize that due to the discrepancy in our species’ lifespans, a middle aged homo sapien is a youngster to a Glaxxon. But of course I was referring to his mental age . . .

And if I haven’t said it lately, you are one of the finest of all the Shills and Minions. Your keen mind, clarity of word and rapier wit leave the CAMsters in shreds, and I hear you wield a mean thranzor to boot.

Yours in Overlordly Reptiloid PharmaTruth™,

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L

Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V’tar and Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Haberdasher to the Thrinx

PharmaCOM Orbital HQ

—————————————— MESSAGE ENDS

My dearest darling shills and gorgeous minions,

Since his lordship is away working on earth-shatteringly significant international Terran problems *avec la Reine* et al, I think that we should diligently keep our noses to the grindstone about…
_getting the party started!_
The solstice is nearly upon us and we must begin our yearly chore of reviving the quaint and ancient European customs that got those miserable, freezing, preternaturally white folk through the darkest days of winter. I don’t care if you call it Saturnalia, Yule-tide, whatever…expect lots of over-eating, un-restrained drinking, meaningless arguments, and rolling around beds with people you hardly know or care about- as long as they’re good-looking.( Not that there’s anything wrong with that).

At any rate, there’s no reason that we can’t mix business with pleasure so I have decided to call our festivites “meet and greets”, “networking seminars”,”team building” and “shill-in-training practicums”: I want you all to love your work. Needless to say, PharmaCom is loaded down with luxe gifts for you like a Reptilian Father Christmas.

I will expect nothing but the best carrying-on and fooling- around of which you are capable. Please don’t disappoint me.

Sincerely yours,
DW ( no titles are necessary between friends)

I don’t know, Narad, they pretty much worship soy in over in Wooville. Soy is of the Great Goddess Gaia and therefore full of Naturally Natural Nature. That, and It’s enwrapped in the mists of Ancient Mystical Eastern . . . ness. Not even being made into the gelatinous awfulness that is margarine can suppress the Wholesome Wholeness of the Beautifully Benificent Bean in their eyes.

@ Gary: The study you linked to from Kaiser-Oakland is interesting. Kaiser-Oakland is part of the “Vaccine Safety Datalink” System that provides data from across the country on 9 million patients to monitor vaccine uptake, vaccine safety, and possible serious side effects of a new or existing vaccine.

The many reports that have been generated from this data are available at the Vaccine Safety Datalink website for your perusal.

@ Lord Draconis: I think we have vanquished…for the time being…the chronologically “middle-aged” troll.

I have tried to be an obedient pharma shill, just as I was during my career in public health…when all I got for my efforts were some crappy leaky pens. I look forward to receiving my bountiful filthy lucre from your Lordship.

Send my best wishes to you know who and dear Baron and Baroness Rothschild.

Being non-American, and in fact almost shamefully Australian, I want to know what an MD is. Is it the medical degree with no further expertise gained?

In Australia, ours is called MBBS, just the degree that any stupid mutt can use to say they are a doctor. I would rather eat poo than go to one of these doctors. But the general public think a doctor is a doctor is a doctor.

Is it the same thing?

Ajax — Others can comment more definitively on exactly what’s involved with getting an MD (I’m a mere PhD — those are, as Dave Barry said, as common as air molecules), but here are the basics.

In the US, people go to high school until age 18 or so, then take 4 years of “college” (close to what you’d call university). College is more diversified than the British system — students take a wide variety of courses, but concentrate on one are (a ‘major’), and the terminal degree is a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (even science majors are often awarded BAs. No rhyme or reason).

The MD comes after four further years of study, in a specialized medical school. Admission to these is tightly restricted, largely because of pressure from medical societies who want to keep the doctorin’ exclusive and lucrative — on the flip side, competitive admissions means that med students tend to be pretty smart, with some obvious exceptions such as the present case. Med school involves both book learning and a great deal of clinical practice. Nearly all physicians in the US do further in-service training in a specialty following med school, so that by the time they’re full-fledged doctors they’re nearly 30 years old.

Although all sorts of people may call themselves doctors — chiropractors, naturopaths, and so on — anyone in the US with an MD is, at least in principle, pretty well-trained. And if they’ve proceeded through specialty training (even general primary care medicine is considered a specialty), they’re probably fairly competent. One certainly does hear of exceptions, though.

Virtually all American physicians do postgraduate training after they get their M.D. if they want to set up clinical practice. Furthermore, U.S. hospitals typically require board certification in the M.D.’s area of interest (which means doing several years of training as well as passing an exam) in order to get staff privileges.

By the way, there is nothing “shamefully Australian”, seeing as you are home to the famous

Re the comments about soya: to me, soya is NOT a gift of the gods. I’m actually unable to digest it. I once had miso broth at a Japanese restaurant, and I once had bean curd soup from a Chinese takeaway. Both times, I had an upset stomach the next day. I can’t have it.

@ Julian Frost:

Me too! It was absolutely horrible: I later discovered that a small amount of soy was added to vegetable dumplings at a particular local place- I noticed other restaurants didn’t add this and I was alright at those places- sometimes you have to be a detective. Now I am more careful.
Funny but the woo-meisters are always telling us that milk and wheat are the Evill…

My city’s health department has issued posters for restaurants about how to handle allergies. It’s pretty basic stuff: ask customers if they have any allergies, know what’s in the food you serve (or know who to ask–servers need not memorize everything), and advice on cross-contamination. It also lists eight “common allergens,” including soy.

FWIW: I wouldn’t take the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as the last word on things, but they seem to be good on a number of things.

I have to disagree slightly with our beneficent host — personally, I think dentistry has saved more lives than vaccines (I’d put vaccines at #2), given that I know from my obsessive reading on pre-industrial archaeology how many of those people died of rotten teeth (more or less; it’s not the tooth decay that kills you, per se, it’s the resulting infection). The famous Amesbury Archer, one of the people buried at Stonehenge, died of a septic tooth that ate away part of his jawbone (at around age 40), for instance (OWW!). I doubt he was eating a whole lot of white flour or refined sugar…

Effective antibiotics are right up there on my personal list, too.

My grandson, who has been vaccinated, has a compromised immune system and is now being pulled out of school for his safety because of a child with probable chicken pox. I say probable because the child has the symptoms, he was not vaccinated, and on top of that his parents won’t take him to a doctor for comfirmation. Way to go anti-VAX people. You’ve done it again.

I’ve heard some argue that the invention and popularization of soap was also a major life saver.

@ Bruce Small: I’m so sorry to learn that your grandson has to be taken out of school, due to the anti-vax views of the parents of his schoolmate.

Chicken pox has distinct symptoms and I’m certain that the school nurse could provide the definitive diagnosis for this child.

If your grandson is out of school due to a chicken pox outbreak, make certain that he receives home tutoring paid for by the school district. Perhaps, if the parents of children who cannot be immunized, or who have kids who are immune compromised and are forced out of school programs, request this expensive tutoring, they could effect changes in education law that allows “philosophical exemptions” for complete immunizations, for entry into school.


There we go – the perfect altie-offending recipe. I’ll be sure to serve it with Mountain Dew and Cheetos, just to cover all my bases. 😀

Do you think they’d find butter or Crisco more offensive?

Guys! Lard is your only real option. Remember – pork fat rules!

I don’t know, Narad, they pretty much worship soy in over in Wooville.

Maybe in East Wooville, but in the town proper, soy in its guises offers a bugbear for nearly everyone else: GMO paranoiacs, the fermentoids, the WAPFers, the dietary eliminators, the coconutters, the Ornites, the Latter-Day Budwigeans… the list goes on.

Canola may inpire more depth of loathing, but soy has breadth.

Soy is of the Great Goddess Gaia and therefore full of Naturally Natural Nature. That, and It’s enwrapped in the mists of Ancient Mystical Eastern . . . ness.

I so hate that. Can’t I just like soy? It’s proteinacious and takes the flavor of any marinade you stick it in, and it makes a tasty latte..

Don’t shoot the messenger, I live in West Wooville, so I’m soaking in it. But I do love me some edamame and a lovely miso soup makes me simply giddy . . . .

As usual, you are correct, the hatred of Canola runs deep in these parts.

There are actually many in some types of woo who absolutely adore butter because it is “all natural” (especially if they can source it at “all natural/organic” dairies)is Crisco is more likely to be considered offensive in the circles I know. They also will decry many of the oils, even safflower, at this point. The big thing seems to be really good coconut oil now. They recommend it for baking, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I have a wonderful “whole wheat chocolate cake” recipe that I’ve made a few times, and I always end up wondering how in the world something whose only redeeming quality is whole wheat flour can really be all that “good” for me. I also find it sad that you can’t make a cake-like cake (this is more of a Texas sheetcake kind of thing) with whole wheat flour. Cake flour is the only way to go with “real” normal cake.

You should really google “whoopie pies” and make them. Those should be rather offensive, even if they are devil’s food cakes that make the cookies instead of vanilla.

@Bruce Small:

I say probable because the child has the symptoms, he was not vaccinated, and on top of that his parents won’t take him to a doctor for comfirmation.

Can’t the school forbid the infected kid from coming to school?

” Can’t the school forbid the infected kid from coming to school?”

Too late. The child (if chickenpox is the problem) could have been infectious before symptoms showed, or persisted long enough for someone to suspect chickenpox.

In a whole school full of children, there may be one or more whose vaccination wasn’t fully effective. And they may be symptom free, but infectious themselves. Or not show symptoms until after they’ve exposed those around them. So this immunocompromised child risks exposure from them as well as from the original spreader of disease.

I’d keep him home. And go for the tuition paid for by the school route.

Just to reiterate what “adelady” stated…here is a recent article about a chicken pox outbreak in a local school:

MIDDLEBURY, Ind. — Dozens of parents in a northern Indiana school district that has seen an outbreak of chicken pox could be forced to keep their children out of school for weeks because they aren’t vaccinated against the illness.

Officials with the Indiana State Department of Health and Elkhart County Health Department have instructed Middlebury Community Schools that unvaccinated students cannot attend school until 21 days after the last reported case of chicken pox.

The school system has had at least 13 cases of chicken pox since mid-November, which qualifies as an outbreak, The Elkhart Truth reported.

The outbreak prompted schools to offer vaccine clinics, but more than 50 students in the district still lacked vaccinations.

Some parents say they would rather deal with the illness than possible side effects, while others argue the vaccinations violate their religious beliefs…..

Source: “North Indiana Parents Chafe At Vaccines Despite Illness Outbreak” (Associated Press-December 3, 2011)

By all means have an immune compromised receive child receive individual tutoring at home. It is not an “ideal” solution…but your only recourse when your child goes to school with kids whose parents refuse immunizations based on “religious” or “philosophical” exemptions.

I hope that there is a provision in the education law to ONLY provide district-paid-for-tutoring for kids who have medical exemptions. Then too, if all these non-compliant parents get tutoring for their kids…it might “trigger” a movement in the State legislature to “revisit” non-medical exemptions.

My favorite: the claim that environmentalists like me “push” vaccines cuz we wanna depopulate the world! Epitome of You Fail Biology Forever.

A genuine Strawman Radical Environmentalist would be spreading the word about the evil effects of hand-washing on your natural bacterial balance. And selling Jenny McCarthy books.

Wow. I’ve never seen such a huge circle jerk of ignorance and ugliness. Congrats Orac. Your readers are obviously completely duped over the whole polio scam too. Yes the sheeple lined up for that vaccine, but not all of them. Hundreds of thousands of parents pulled their children out of harm’s way back in the 1950’s. If you think I don’t know anything about polio, you are wrong as it is my primary area of study and what has opened my eyes the most. Anyone who thinks that stinking live Salk vaccine prevented anything is just plain duped. Do you know that when the Salk vaccine was “effective” it was paralyzing and spreading the Mahoney strain? Do you know that when it was made safe with the new standards after the “cutter” disaster (which involved massive PSU cover ups and other pharma companies) it became impotent? You all need to go back in history and learn what really happened with polio, who was behind it and what the hell you are talking about. I see you are disturbed by the truth so I don’t imagine you will do it. And YES vaccines ARE disease matter. Look into how a polio vaccine is prepared just to start. Then tell me that it is not disease matter. Then look up SV40 virus. Then do the same for every vaccine manufacture. Why do they have to put antibiotics in vaccines? Hmmm??

Gee, you wouldn’t happen to be the Dr. Suzanne Humphries, would you?

I do so love it when a crank uses the term “sheeple.” Seriously. Whenever I see someone use that word, I know to a pretty high degree of certainty that I’m dealing with a conspiracy-mongering crank. Which you are.

BTW, I am familiar with the Cutter incident. Guess how? Because vaccine defender Dr. Paul Offit wrote a book about it:

Because real scientists (unlike you) examine problems with vaccines, try to find out what went wrong, and then try to fix it.

As for your “vaccines are disease matter,” thanks for the laugh. “Why do they have to put antibiotics in vaccines”? Hilarious! Maybe I’ll explain it to you later when I have a bit more time.

@ THAT Dr. Suzanne Humphries: So, you have finally come to post at RI, eh? I was waiting for you to respond to Orac’s prior blog about you and your statements that associated the seasonal influenza vaccine and the H1N1 vaccines with “fulminant kidney failure”:

“Dr. Suzanne Humphries and the International Medical Council on Vaccination: Antivaccine to the core” Respectful Insolence-February 16, 2011

I’m feeling kinda lazy today, so here is my posting about your licensing and your specious statements about the vaccines causing “fulminant kidney failure”.

Wasn’t Orac’s original blog about the woo medicine practitioner Suzanne Humphries? I did a little research about her specialty (nephrology) and her hospital affiliation. She is licensed in the state of Maine, I found an affiliation at St. Joseph’s Healthcare hospital in Bangor, Maine. At St. Joseph’s Hospital, there isn’t a nephrology department, but Humphries is listed on their “specialty” list. Humphries originally received certification in Internal Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). At the ABIM site, I checked on her certification status, and she no longer is certified in Internal Medicine (her certification lapsed on December 31, 2006). She is certified in nephrology by the ABIM. I invite posters to visit their site for the “strict” criteria they use, including self-examination criteria and open book tests, for certifying a practitioner in nephrology.

I haven’t seen her CV…I wonder if she did any post-doctoral fellowships in nephrology or renal medicine. Anyone here find any PubMed articles written by her in her specialty?

I also checked the Maine Department of Health for any reports of untoward reactions, including kidney failure, associated with the H1N1 vaccine; none found.

Posted by: lilady | February 17, 2011 7:01 PM

If you lied about these vaccines causing “fulminant kidney failure”…why should we believe anything you say about any vaccines?

I do so love it when a crank uses the term “sheeple.” Seriously. Whenever I see someone use that word, I know to a pretty high degree of certainty that I’m dealing with a conspiracy-mongering crank.

You’re just unable to respond to the Word of Power, the ultimate rhetorical jiu-jitsu that can only be deployed when one’s opponent has been reduced to nothing, the Queen Dance, the asamasama mantra, the great signifier of Jericho. Behold your defeat, for you have heard THE HORN THAT GOES “HMMM”!!!!


Then look up SV40 virus.

I did look it up, and here is what I found:

1. Dr. Maurice Hilleman noticed the contamination, and started the research on it over fifty years ago.

2. Once discovered efforts were made to remove the SV40 contamination starting fifty years ago.

3. American polio vaccines have been SV40 free since 1963, that is forty-nine years ago.

Oh, and research in cancer and SV40 is not conclusive, some of which may be due to contamination (much like the XMRV studies).

Wow, and thought pulling the the thimerosal canard ten years after that was removed from pediatric vaccines was bad. But pulling up something that is five times as old is really grasping at straws!

SV40 was in seed cultures use up into the 1990’s. Again you are just demonstrating the fact that you have not done due diligence. Do you know who Dr Michele Carbone is??

And why don’t you keep you actual name in my post? What are YOU hiding from? I’m leaving now. It was fun.

And why don’t you keep you actual name in my post? What are YOU hiding from? I’m leaving now. It was fun.

SV40 may be gone, but there’s always VAT69.

SV40 was in seed cultures use up into the 1990’s. Again you are just demonstrating the fact that you have not done due diligence. Do you know who Dr Michele Carbone is??

No it wasn’t Dr. Humphries and I do know who Dr. Michele Carbone is and he isn’t honoured by being co-opted by you lunatic anti-vaxxers. While you are here “defending” yourself, could you please expound upon your so-called findings of kidney disorders caused by vaccines? I always love a new crank hypothesis to point and laugh at.

Dr. Humphries:

SV40 was in seed cultures use up into the 1990’s.

[citation needed]

What is even funnier than the SV40 and thimerosal canards is the lack of knowing the worst kept secret on the Internet. It does not take long to figure out that many of the articles on this blog are also posted somewhere else, with a real name attached.


You all need to go back in history and learn what really happened with polio, who was behind it

Someone was behind polio? That’s a new one to me.

Latest Carbone paper abstract:

Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a DNA virus isolated in 1960 from contaminated polio vaccines, that induces mesotheliomas, lymphomas, brain and bone tumors, and sarcomas, including osteosarcomas, in hamsters. These same tumor types have been found to contain SV40 DNA and proteins in humans. Mesotheliomas and brain tumors are the two tumor types that have been most consistently associated with SV40, and the range of positivity has varied about from 6 to 60%, although a few reported 100% of positivity and a few reported 0%. It appears unlikely that SV40 infection alone is sufficient to cause human malignancy, as we did not observe an epidemic of cancers following the administration of SV40-contaminated vaccines. However, it seems possible that SV40 may act as a cofactor in the pathogenesis of some tumors. In vitro and animal experiments showing cocarcinogenicity between SV40 and asbestos support this hypothesis.

Seriously, it is not that convincing.

Here’s a nice Christmas present for you, Dr. Humphries:

“Divulges misinformation with misleading interpretations of evidence

View rating details
Dec 20, 2011”



Dr Humphries seems to have abandoned her medical training in favour of woo. I don’t want to see a nephrologist who is a conspiracy theorist and wants to blame things on my childhood vaccines.

View rating details”

( Ratings)

Jeez, I can scarcely keep up with Dr. Humphries “specialties”…first a “specialist in influenza vaccines causing fulminant kidney failure”…now a “specialist in polio”.

Those interested in hearing Dr Humphries discuss vaccines in depth should go to the Archives; ProgressiveCommentaryHour, 12/26/11. (Although the show is labelled as being about “Race”, I can assure you that it is about *vaccines* with “experts” Drs Humphries, Tenpenny, and Banks).

Oh…I just couldn’t resist. Not that I could ever convince any of the septics on this site, because you are hellbent on being ignorant. What separates you from me, is that I deepened my education. You have blind faith. See if you can decode the message in this
SV40 was not adequately tested for in recent years it seems.

@ Dr. Suzanne: Now you are a “cancer expert”, eh…

Really doctor, did you read the date of your linked article…it was published in 1999 and the vials of polio vaccine that were tested were manufactured in 1955.

“What separates you from me, is that I deepened my education. You have blind faith.”

“What separates you from me, is that I deepened my DESCENT INTO WOO”. You HAVEN’T”.

-FYFY, Dr. Suzanne

I’m still waiting for you to back up your statement about influenza and H1N1 vaccines causing “fulminant kidney failure”.

Yes, Suzanne, that must be it. Everybody else is wrong. It’s just you knowing everything.

Oh…I just couldn’t resist.

Perhaps you could diagnose the sort of poor impulse control that leads to storming out and showing right back up while you’re at it.


You might want to read papers that you cite: “Twelve current vials of poliovaccines tested uniformly negative for SV40, suggesting that the precaution of preparing poliovaccines from kidneys obtained from monkeys bred in isolated colonies prevented SV40 contamination”

So not only is Dr. Humphries dragging on about something that happened fifty years ago, she tries to justify by bringing up tests on vaccines made well over fifty years ago!

It is rather amazing for me to contemplate that Humphries somehow made it through medical school. In any case, the Cancer Research article she cites basically states that investigators found a different type of SV40 in a couple of vials of polio vaccine from the 1950s and didn’t find evidence of it in vaccines manufactured in the 1990s. The rest is a bunch of handwaving that current tests might miss this strain, without evidence that this strain is actually likely to be a problem. Moreover, there is no clear cut evidence of human cancers caused by SV40:

Oh, come on, Orac! You’re just hell-bent on being ignorant. What separates Suzanne from stupid, stupid people like you and me is that she has deepened her education.

I think that’s how it goes. How am I doing?

It seems as though Dr. Humphries is loading up the website patient reviews, since I posted real patient reviews:

“Jan 1, 2012

Don’t believe the negative comments written about this amazing doctor. She is going against the grain to get people off their drugs and the pharm shills are angry. Those reviews are not from patients. Dr Humphries is compassionate brilliant and really cares more about her patients than about going with the herd.”

Nice going Dr. Humphries…which patients are you removing drugs from…your patients in various stages of renal failure or your “new” clientele associated with your “new specialty”?

Why haven’t you provided proof of your allegation that the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines caused “fulminant kidney failure”? I’m still waiting, Dr. Suzanne.

P.S. I am not a “pharma shill” and you are still a pathological liar.

whoever wrote this blog is one of the most ignorant reviewers I have ever encountered….

Apparently now pushing Vitamin C has a way to prevent pertussis.

It’s usually advanced as a treatment. This goes Otani (1936) -> Ormerod & Unkauf (1937; PMID 20320700) -> Gairdner (1938; PMID 20781792) and basically drops dead aside from seven entries in foreign-language journals that pop up in the 1950s in PubMed.

She says:

And no I’d rather use vit C and then get comprehensive immunity and not become a carriere and fomite like you will after you’ve been vaccinated.

Apparently it imparts “comprehensive immunity.”

@ Chris:

I’ve heard her on Null’s PRN several times- once with anti-vaxxer-HIV/AIDS denialist, Dr Nancy Banks- and she’s been featured @ Natural News.
The megadose vitamin C fits right in with the rampant Linus Pauling worship @ PRN. I’m rather surprised that she isn’t listed at AutismOne 2012.

@ lilady:

Keep on keeping on!

It is odd that she doesn’t seem to know what a fomite is, unless that was supposed to be some sort of witticism.

Okay, fomite I get. We are nothing but inanimate objects (with cooties, yet!) But carriere? That, usually capitalized to be sure, is a town in Mississippi.

I must say, Humphries’ performance on the earlier SOP comment thread that was linked to in the present one is even less coherent. Vitamin C “neutralizes the toxins,” but it has to keep doing this long after the infection is gone. As in, it’s imperative to keep taking it for, oh, just about 100 days. Oddly enough, the cause of the cough doesn’t seem to be understood in the first place.

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