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Keep calm and carry on, Insolently.

You might have noticed that I’ve been…preoccupied. I posted a “rerun” on Thursday, and yesterday I didn’t even post at all. That doesn’t mean that I don’t check in from time to time to see what you all are doing in my absence. That’s how I saw this comment from Dangerous Bacon (cool ‘nym, BTW—I’ve always wanted to mention that):

Hey, enough of this “I’m working on a grant application” excuse.

Orac needs to get back up to his mom’s attic and crank out some new posts.

Fear not. The grant has been submitted. On the other hand, I’m giving a talk next week in Missouri, and I have to put the slides together this weekend. Of course, that’s not nearly as stressful as a grant deadline; so things should be back to normal on Monday. In the meantime, carry on. Consider this an open weekend thread. Have fun!

Oh, and regular readers know I don’t produce the magical Insolence in my mom’s attic. I usually do it sitting on the couch with my laptop in front of the TV.

One last thing. It’s been brought to my attention that a certain highly annoying troll whom I recently banned has started his own blog. Given how, before I banned him, this guy flooded comment threads with dozens, if not hundreds, of posts of pure blather, I figured that it would be remiss of me not to give him the opportunity to have people who don’t agree with him tell him where he’s gone wrong.

On second thought, it’s probably not worth it. Besides, Keir Liddle has already taken care of defending me while I was distracted by last minute grant submission scrambling. In any case, early next week, there might well be something posted either here or at my other not-so-super-secret blog (or both) that will give our troll something that will really get him annoyed. 🙂

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]

120 replies on “Keep calm and carry on, Insolently.”

I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard at the claim that Orac’s “learned” readership apparently doesn’t provide references and citations to back up their arguments. I fear if I try to read much more of the bridge dweller’s muck, my brain will start haemorrhaging.

Oh, and regular readers know I don’t produce the magical Insolence in my mom’s attic. I usually do it sitting on the couch with my laptop in front of the TV.

Yah, I’ll bet your mom lets you have the upstairs in the fancy remise.*

* There are actually some down here that still have turntables on the first floor so that one never needs to operate the horseless carriage in reverse.

DJT’s new blog is a hoot. Just who is Arthur Burzynski…Stan’s brother, cousin, illegitimate son?

While you were in the attic pretending you were working on a grant Orac, I was the beneficiary of some *awful* personal attacks and someone threatened to notify their lawyer about me.

No, Lilady, it has plural lawyers (who are paid to “argue with idiots”). Given that I’ve done a fairly long term working for one of the largest firms in the country, that must be one hell of a retainer. Maybe it gets into trouble a lot. Or doesn’t understand that it might run into people who do.

lawyers (who are paid to “argue with idiots”).

Bloody oath, here I’ve been doing it for free.

Well, I was right in one thing, that djt would whine and make accusations against posters here.

At least his petulance and overall idiocy will be contained in a single website, where it will pretty much be ignored and/or dismissed as the ravings of a ignorant individual.

@ Narad: Well I have my very own “in house” lawyer who’s in bed now. 🙂

Orac said it is an “open thread”…as if old blinky box could prevent us from going off topic. Why are medical records of murderers sealed? If a victim’s family sues the estate of a dead criminal for monetary damages, wouldn’t medical records be unsealed then? (I’m asking for a *friend* who has a fascination for the criminal mind).

Since this is an open thread, I learned something about Jay Kordich, the juicing fanatic, on an infomercial tonight.

I always thought he was just a harmless, lovable old kook like Jack Lalanne. I even had his book when I was married, and my ex-wife and I bought a second-hand juicer.

It turns out he’s a disciple of Gerson, hence his obsession with juicing. He claims that Max Gerson himself cured him of “incurable cancer” when he was very young and he’s lived his life following Gerson’s principles.

I wonder if he squirts coffee, well, you know where.

I always thought he was just a harmless, lovable old kook like Jack Lalanne.

Jack LaLanne represents an odd prehistory to the Nature Boys. He was apparently inspired by Paul (“The Mucusless Diet Healing System”) Bragg, still well known for “Bragg’s Aminos” and the go-to magic apple cider vinegar. I don’t know whether the Lebensreform crowd and the Ehretites ever intersected in California.

To my amazement, though, NPR actually aired an obit for Gypsy Boots (and yes, I have not just the book but the vinyl). Why on earth they conflated him with Eden Ahbez is anybody’s guess. I think there are Steve Allen clips floating around.

I kind of like the term ‘Oracolytes’ though

I understand that there are lots of them in Brawndo.

lilady: ?Just who is Arthur Burzynski…Stan’s brother, cousin, illegitimate son?”

Perhaps he’s confusing him with Artur Rodzinski, the late symphonic & operatic conductor…

Fear not. The grant has been submitted.

Surely you mean you have moved it into Phase 3? ;D

Re: Gypsy Boots: He was kind of famous around here as a USC football fan, and you could see him at games. I don’t remember him as going over the cliff in terms of alternative weirdness. Just a guy who managed to make a modest living on what was marketed as a healthy life style. I suspect that nowadays, it would also be seen as productive of skin cancer (LA is the same latitude as Casablanca). The LA Times did a story about him not too long ago — it’s officially an obit, but it gives you a feel for the old Los Angeles:

Re: Steve Allen: Most of his early Tonight Show tapes were dumped by the network when they were doing some shelf cleaning. It’s similar to the loss of a lot of early film that got tossed to make space. Allen talks about the show in the Gypsy Boots obit.

Uh oh, wrong move Orac. Suppose a certain someone who is on the outs with crank vaccine blogs, decides to score points with his handlers and pay you a visit in Missouri?

I’ve actually been to St. Joe; flew into K.C. to see the Truman Library then drove to Abilene Kansas to tour the Eisenhower Library.

Just errant thoughts:

when we respond to critics of SBM, I think that it’s important to differentiate leaders from followers and to keep that in mind. ( where to draw the line between may be tricky)

In many cases, the latter have been decieved into accepting a comfortable fiction that simultanously explains the cause of their problems and gives them a convenient whipping boy to turn their pent-up aggression upon ( us). Of course, they may also raise their self-esteem by being ‘in with the in-crowd’ and free themselves from the nagging suspicion that their problems may have something to do with themselves.

The proselytisers- on the other hand- may gain all of the above benefits and a few extras: they are seen as the innovator of a brave, new woo; they are often sought out by needy followers as having the Answer and being a kind, generous and important asset to their clients- and the world at large. They may patiently instruct their charges about their startling new discoveries, inspiring awe and smiling approval, whilst the elitists spurn them. They lead a new movement that will overturn the rampant corruption seething through the establishment: it’s white knight on a white horse time.

A few of the thought leaders live in rather posh circumstances: although I haven’t yet seen any chateaux, some impressive real property can be found on the ‘net – chez Burzynski, chez Wakefield, chez Null, chez Mercola and chez Adams ( past tense for Mike). Earnings per annum are hard to find but a few have surfaced.

Fame, money and love of their followers are quite the reward, especially when it is all wrapped in the velvet cloak of self-aggrandisement: they will show the world and the experts wrong and wanting- and will initiate the oncoming tsunami of paradigm shift, ascending to their rightful position.
All by themselves.

Having followers’ aggression and suspicions conveniently diverted in our general direction protects the leaders from questioning and allows them great freedom from fear of being called ou wrong or found out.

I wonder what the fury of long suffering people who figure out that they’ve been ‘had” will feel like when it’s turned upon its initiator and constant
stoker? In its rightful place. Exactly.

Ooh! I have a sister in St. Joe.

Who is convinced that acupuncture cured her bad back, so I won’t let her know you’re in town. You don’t need that kind of aggravation.

(I kinda like the term “Oracolytes” myself. But I’m not ready to give up being a Pharma Tart quite yet).

Re: Gypsy Boots: He was kind of famous around here as a USC football fan, and you could see him at games.

Indeed, he does a version of “Fight On” on his LP Unpredictable.

I have actually been to St. Joseph. When my dad was stationed in Ft. Leavenworth, KS we lived in Weston, Mo. St. Joseph was the “big town” with an actual downtown with stores for shopping. For some reason my parents did not like driving into Kansas City.

Since we’re talking about attacks, I am honored to have been the subject of an hour-long internet radio rant, along with our esteemed host, Brian Deer, and Seth Mnookin. Of course, I am not anywhere in their respective classes of achievement, so I was honored.

On the advice of my attorney, I had a transcript prepared. Other than the threats of physical violence, it is comedy gold. Copies provided upon request.

Add to my above ( benefits of being a woo-meister or entourage member)

They get to shriek at Liz.

Liz: sorry that you are bearing the brunt of their malice.

I wish people would stop dissing people who live with their moms. My mom and I share an apartment (paid for equally) and are very close. Why is that choosing to live with your parent automatically marks you as a pathetic loser with no life? Maybe I like my mom and the fact she’s willing to share housekeeping and pays her rent on time.
And I went to look at that other guy’s blog and… Wow. Just wow. What a complete mess. If you take that idiot seriously, I’m sorry, but you deserve to have your cancer kill you.

I had someone tell me that a cold is the body “cleansing” itself. Has anyone else heard of this woo? I suspect it is an altie’s way of putting a positive spin on getting sick in spite of boosting their immune system.

I had someone tell me that a cold is the body “cleansing” itself. Has anyone else heard of this woo?

Just another flavor of herxing.

Other methods for the body to cleanse itself:
— Diarrhoea.
— Projectile vomiting.
— Purulent buboes.
— Decomposition.

I know a guy who was convinced his weakness, depression, tiredness and muscle pains were due to Lyme Disease; unfortunately, he had a doctor who encouraged him in this so that he spent money on all kinds of woo treatments. He was also a very angry person who lashed out frequently, usually at his wife; whenever that happened, he would blame it on the “herx”. It wasn’t his fault for losing control, it was because of all the “toxins” coming out.
Afte4r a couple of years he got a new GP, who tested him for Lymes and told him straight that he didn’t have it and should consider getting CBT and/or anti-depressants for his psychological problems. Naturally, he got a second opinion, from a consultant, who told him essentially the same thing. So he got even angrier.
In the end it took an arrest for domestic violence and his wife leaving for good to convince him that he should try chemical help as well as the woo.
Nowadays, he sticks to a regimen of various prescription meds, is a far nicer person, no longer claims to have Lymes and never “herxes”.

@Sophia8 – There are others who have been diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease yet actually had cancer or other treatable diseases and symptoms, which prior physicians failed to diagnose or treat, and which when untreated can progress. It seems that most of the doctors that treat Lyme disease specialize in treating those who have not found effective treatment or even a plausible diagnosis. Those patients turn to other specialists in desperation. Unfortunately, if you pay a Lyme specialist enough money, they’ll diagnose you with chronic Lyme.

Sophia8 & S: No, no,no, you’ve got that all wrong!!! (Not that there aren’t *LLMDs (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) who *specialize* in *treating* “chronic Lyme disease”. We’re talking about a cold virus, here….which you MUST **”flush out” of your body:

*Many of the LLMDs have become DAN! doctors, as well, claiming that “chronic Lyme disease” can manifest itself as psychiatric and/or autistic disorder. They are proficient in wallet-ectomies.

**Drinking liquids during a cold is not a bad idea; fluids tend to keep mucus liquified…not as a *flush*.

*Many of the LLMDs have become DAN! doctors, as well, claiming that “chronic Lyme disease” can manifest itself as psychiatric and/or autistic disorder.

There’s a website listing some of those doctors.,d.dmQ

Thanks, sophia8, for the link defining Herxing! I wasn’t even CLOSE to thinking about Jarisch-Herxheimer– I was thinking it was a feminized version of the word “hex”!

@ S: LLMDs also *specialize* in the treatment of “Morgellons Disease” (delusional parasitosis), as well.

“Where Can I Get Treatment for Morgellons

Physicians and patients are both bewildered about medical management of MD. Thus far, some Family Practitioners have tried to help patients. However, since 97% of MD patients have evidence of coexisting Lyme disease, Lyme Specialists (LLMDs), mainly have taken Morgellons seriously.
Only When research provides answers, will doctors
be able to properly treat MD.”

Now you’ve done it, lilady– you’ve mentioned Morgellons! Cue the angry trolls in 3… 2… 1…

The latest in snake oil seems to be (of all things) “cactus juice”. . . I kid you not. Gran likes to fall asleep with the TV on, and an infomercial for the stuff was on when I stopped in. so-called cactus juice, which its hawkers claim “helps reduce inflammation levels in the body” in a manner that allows one to think “inflammation” is a quantity like blood sugar or iron content.

Oh, and Orac — tell Roj not to enter St Joseph from the South, as they have anti-ship missiles posted covering the southern approaches.

@lilady – My point @35 was that sometimes patients who see mainstream physicians are unable to not only get a plausible diagnosis for clearly and pathologically apparent disabling symptoms, but they can’t even get palliative care, until the root cause is identified. I too often read of those patients being unfairly criticized for seeking effective care.

Medicine does not always have the answer to every condition, but there poses an ethical or moral dilemma as to when and for how long a patient should be refused reasonable palliative care. This would include their being allowed to try off-label treatments which are known to work for the same symptoms when caused by other established disease processes.

HOLY CRAP, lilady! I have heard of (very) long term IV antibiotic infusions for “chronic” Lyme disease, but IV bismuth??? Unfortunately, too many people are deluded by these guys (including a woman I know who swore she got LD from a mosquito while on vacation in the Caribbean, transmitted it sexually to her husband and then her child during childbirth…she complained when insurance cut off her infusions – after 3 years of them!!)

@MI Dawn – The patients are only repeating what licensed medical ‘specialists’ are teaching people.

@ S: Any Infectious Disease specialist, knows how to treat Lyme disease and they DON’T use LUAT (Lyme Urine Antigen Tests) or the PCR serum test developed by Dr. Sin Hang Lee.

@ MI Dawn: How about HBOTs, colloidal silver and “pulse IV therapies” (the IV antibiotics provided through the home infusion companies owned by the Lyme disease diagnosing LLMD)? Did you also read on the link I provided that one of that doctor’s patients was “set” to testify on behalf of the LLMD?

@lilday – My comments are not about Lyme disease necessarily, but about patients too often being refused what seems to be reasonable care. My point is that there is oftentimes a reason that patients seek them out or are led to them, @43

In any case, speaking of Lyme disease and as an experiment, pretend you are an ill patient and try calling the Mayo Clinic in MN. Ask them if they have any specialists who are skilled in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease. As of two weeks ago, their response was ‘No’. Why are they telling that to patients?

“It’s been brought to my attention that a certain highly annoying troll whom I recently banned has started his own blog.”

That’s a blog? It looks like an ad for Haldol.

Glad to know my pseudonym is appreciated. It’s taken from the title of a song by the ’70s progressive rock group Stackridge – which gives me the excuse to link to a couple of songs from their album “The Man In The Bowler Hat”:


@ S: I’m seeing a list of 30 I.D. doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota…try asking the switchboard operator for the I.D. Department, then follow the prompts to reach the appointments person. Your medical insurance may require you to have a referral to to an I.D. specialist (or any other specialist), from your primary care doctor.

@ Dangerous Bacon: Take a bow for your clever ‘nym and your clever comment, Dr. Bacon. (claps hands)

@lilady, Mayo has an ‘intake’ department where patients or their physicians may call to inquire about receiving a second opinion. Other patients in need of a full workup in order to find the cause of an apparent hard to diagnose disease, regardless of the cause, are directed to the Mayo Internal Medicine department. That department accepts the medical complaints from the patient along with medical records from their treating physician. If the subject of current or past Lyme disease or it’s complications is discussed, then Mayo will immediately state that they do not have anyone that deals with Lyme disease, either it’s diagnosis or treatment. By “regardless of the cause”, I mean that Mayo seems to refuse to see patients who have a history of Lyme disease, regardless of their symptoms and regardless of the root cause of their illness. They hear “Lyme disease”, and immediately state “we don’t have any Lyme specialists here”. I would suggest that most patients don’t really care if they have Lyme disease, they just want reasonable, responsible care. Mayo’s statements to me were not reasonable or responsible.

The reaction of miss Groves surprises me a bit, though perhaps it shouldn’t. Victims of quacks are known to keep defending them.

Morning Morgellontown sung to the Tune of Morning Morgantown (with apologies and empathy, but not sympathy, for Joni Mitchell)

When morning comes to Morgellontown
The itching starts on red, raised mounds
The quacks begin their morning rounds
In morning, Morgellontown

They rise up early, with the sun
And pick at fibers while everyone
is doubting
That they’re sick-no fun
In morning, Morgellontown

Morning Morgellontown
Buy quack cures a dollar down
Some say that they’re all insane
They’re in pain just the same

They’ll find a table in the shade
And pick the scabs off sores they’ve made
And watch the doubters on parade
In morning, Morgellontown

Ladies in their bandaged fashions
Colored stop and go lights flashing
Cold looks from total strangers passing in
Morning, Morgellontown

Morning Morgellontown
Buy quack cures a dollar down
Some say that they’re all insane
They’re in pain just the same

I’d like to give you calm and peace
Instead of watching scammers fleece
You of your money for your beliefs
In morning, Morgellontown.

But the only thing I have to offer
To heal your skin, that science can proffer
Is Paxil prescribed by a scoffer
In morning, Morgellontown

Morning, Morgellontown
Buy quack cures a dollar down
Some say that they’re all insane
They’re in pain just the same
Oh, they’re in pain, just the same . . .

S: The guy I was talking about was eventually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in addition to chronic depression. So that idiot doctor, by allowing him to more or less self-diagnose with Lymes, had put him through two years of unnecessary pain.

On one of the fun places on Facebook where rational folk gather, we are talking about the following anti-vax gambit:

1. Contrarian (in this case, an anti-vaxxer) makes inflammatory statement (Example: telling a quadruple amputee meningitis survivor to go jump in a lake and drown herself)
2. Anti-vaxxer is confronted with heinousness of statement
3. Anti-vaxxer responds, “it was just a joke. You must be humor-impaired not to understand that.

Some folk are calling this behavior gaslighting. I like the wikipedia defininition:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

Or is it a more of a Flame Warrior gambit, like the Artful Dodger ?

Or is it best described as a derailing gambit? (For those who don’t know, search for “derailing for dummies” “finallyfeminism101”, for a complete list of derailing strategies in racism or sexism conversations.)

O Orac’s Army, what is the best description of this behavior?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.

Is this a trend? Are there are other forms of abuse named after classic movies?

Thanks Dangerous Bacon, for putting another group on my to get list. Like I don’t own enough CD’s allready.

Good news, everyone! The Doctor of Public Health program at a prestigious university on the east coast (rhymes with the name of the famed British actor who has played Mario and Manuel Noriega) is about to have 100% more Ren.

I’ll see you in five years!

Nah, who am I kidding? I’ll always be around, regardless of projects, presentations, and theses dissertations.

Liz: it’s very easy to qualify. Here’s a hint: within five comments, the entire thread is down the tubes. Don’t you think that is intentional?

Congratulations, Ren! Don’t forget to stock up on O’s and Ravens gear (purely for self-preservation, of course)!


@ Ren:

I’m not sure whether I should say congrats or condolences.
But I’m sure you’ll roll with it better than most.

Well, that sounded less than enthusiastic….
But I don’t want to be saying something that amounts to, “Have fun running the marathon”.
But Ren will triumph as usual.

I, too, would like to offer congratulations to Ren. Your story of pulling off the initial degree in night school has made me think that maybe, just maybe, I’ll take the GRE for a third time.

Congratulations Ren!!! You’re going to love it. And someone is going to hate you for it. Did you have to give warning that you come with a stalker?

Another random musing:

How do you think that the anti-vax contingent will spin the JAMA study that showed that women who took folic acid before and early in pregnancy had a significant reduction in risk of having an autistic child? By 39%.

Wow, it’s like the DSMIV never happened!
That last was a joke. I think.

I was open and honest about my extra curriculars. I even opened the Epi Night School blog to them and told them of you-know-who’s email to my employers at the health department. All the cards were on the table.

They actually kind of liked my use of social media to dispel anti-science inaccuracies. Of course, I’ll have to tone down my angry replies at anti-vaccine people who say and write some very idiotic things… Meaning I have to be diplomatic, academic.

Also, thank you all for your encouragement and support. It was on this blog and others that I cut my teeth about the issues threatening science and public health, a main theme of my application to the program.

@ Denice Walter: That JAMA study is being discussed right now on Orac’s not-so-secret other blog. Some of the *RI Regulars* have commented there.

Any and all studies that even *suggest* that autism is not caused by “teh ebil vaccines”, is (an) anathema to all those crank anti-vaccine bloggers.

Interesting that Judas hides behind a fake name. Obviously a paid shill for Big Burza.

@ Denice Walter….That JAMA study has already been mentioned at AoA…and one of the *brilliant* posters linked to an actual article about Neural Tube Defects and *links* to NTDs (spina bifida), as a co-morbid condition with Latex allergies:

“re: folic acid

Aren’t most U.S. women already taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, in large part to prevent Spina Bifida: a condition also considered to be both genetic and environmental, for which obesity and diabetes seem to be risk factors, as well as high fevers or sauna use in the early weeks of prenancy, and for some reason severe spina bifida is frequently co-morbid with latex allergy?

Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | February 14, 2013 at 10:38 ”

Doh..What Jeannette’s link actually states is that people who have spina bifida and who require “intermittent straight urinary catheterization” because of physiological urinary bladder atony due to their spina bifida, are at risk to develop Latex allergies from exposure to Latex urinary catheters.

@ lilady:

Right. I am speculating how those who believe that vaccines like MMR cause autism will deal with data showing that events prior to or in earliest pregnancy affect whether autism occurs or not. It illustrates nicely some things we know about development.

I expect they’ll rant and rail as they did about other results that show genetic and very early environmental influences.

Perhaps if BMJ is a front for Big Pharma, then JAMA is a shill for Big Supplement. Which is part of Big Pharma. Which rules the world and pays us all.

Liz Ditz (#54) – FWIW, I’ve seen Erwin Alber write things like that. (I rarely get surprised by these things anymore, but one he pulled a few weeks ago was incredibly appalling.)

Denice Walter (#69) – I wish I could invent lots and lots more time so I can write up studies like that on my blog. (I actually saw it when it came out, but didn’t have time to tackle it.)

lillady – must rush over there then…

@ Science Mom:

I have been reading a little about this in my… ahem *travels* in the past month. I wish I could recall where, maybe at the website Tommey’s at. I remember that it would follow day to day life of an autistic person (s).

I seem to notice a trend towards video – see Palumbo’s recent message @ AoA, testimonies by principals there, TMR etc.
It might be easier to bulldoze your audience in belief by film in contradistinction to laying pen to paper ( or computer) where it is easier to re-read and fact check, vs images, brief speeches, emotional manipulation. Of course sceptics know how to deconstruct videos.

It might become the alt media of choice.

Congrats Ren!

Pareidolius – that was hilarious. I just hope lilady’s initial mention of the ‘M’ word won’t trip the google alerts of the Morgie Militia. Not that 300 comments shrieking about “nanodots” “springtails” and CIA mind control aren’t somewhat amusing, but my battery can only last for so long!

It’s like ASEA with a different label. Sometimes I wish Tracy would make her way over here from the SBM blog. She was…something else…

Dingo, LBRB commented on this

Hmph. I don’t know why that’s not showing up on the calendar. It makes perfect sense; a single 30-day extension is quite routine from what I’ve read of Texas appellate practice, and after all, Wakefield’s team got one themselves. Stinks for the spectators, but obviously the goal is for BMJ et al. to prepare a thorough smackdown.

@Pareidolius – I love that! If you keep writing, they will come.

@82 eNOS – Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I’m late to the party but congrat Ren for the Doctor of public health, I wish you the best experience.


After a depressing week last week, this week is turning out much better. One of my mentors, Dr Casanova, agreed to let me do a work internship at his place. That will happen after 2 or 3 years of part-time studies in my courses to improve my grade (I don’t have the needed grades to do an internship right now).


Is it me, or is the Search feature on the new site absolute pants? Anyway, I CANNOT find any thread dealing with the whole chronic Lyme’s disease issue, so since this is an open thread I’ll post it here.

AAARGH, a good friend just told me that he is KINDLY filling in for his boss for two weeks, so that his boss can take his kid to get hyperbaric oxygen treatment for what has been diagnosed by their family physician as “chronic Lyme disease.” Now, knowing that this diagnosis is a quackery minefield, I am wondering if any of you lovelies can point me to resources to show my friend to maybe gently shove under his boss’ nose.

I found the Quackwatch article on it, but I thought it had been discussed here or on SBM at some point in the past… possibly the distant past. Anyone have links?

Hi Melissa G — I use google search in the form of {target words} site:URL. Usually better than any embedded search.

In the next comment I will post a bunch of URLs, but stand by — it will probably be hung up in moderation for a while

From today’s AoA promotion (fund-raising) for the production costs of the “Canary Kids” film for kids “suffering from ALMOST AUTISM”

“Almost Autism

The key lies in helping them to see that their mildly affected children are really “almost autism.”

A child with GERD and projectile vomiting as an infant: almost autism

A child who can’t stand to have her hair brushed, skin touched, or clothes on: almost autism

A child with low muscle tone, apraxia and runny stools: almost autism

A child with eczema over 70% of his body and an inability to sleep at night: almost autism

A child with chronic constipation and behavioral problems: almost autism

We are all (in our own unique way) a part of an epidemic of chronic illness, and our children . . . they are our little Canaries.

And that brings us back to the Canary Kids Film Project, a project sponsored by my nonprofit organization, Epidemic Answers. The Canary Kids Film Project will take 7 children with a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, asthma, chronic Lyme or some other amalgamation of chronic (environmentally-derived) symptoms and provide them with free healing and recovery services for the period of 18 months….”

@ Liz Ditz: I challenge you to come up with a more preposterous link between the two non-entities of “Chronic Lyme Disease” and “Almost Autism”.

Game on…Liz 🙂

@ lilady

The key lies in helping them to see that their mildly affected children are really “almost autism.”

That’s… frightening, I think.

Do you know The Imaginary Invalid (Le Malade Imaginaire), a theater piece from Molière?
I hasten to precise I am not dismissing outright whatever ail these children as imaginary; for all I know, these “canary” children do suffer from something, or more likely, from many different something. Call me simple, but to my logical mind, someone suffering from eczema doesn’t have the same health issue than someone suffering from constipation or whatever. One will have to convince me first these are both symptoms of the same illness.

Rather, this reductio ab autism reminded of the scene in Act 3, where the servant Toinette is pretending to be a doctor. Whatever Argan is complaining about, she answers “it’s the lung”.

In short, this “Canary children” project seems to me to have a very simple basis: your child is feeling poorly? It’s the lung.

With Molière, it was a comedy in three acts. Here, it’s shaping like a tragedy, and there seems to be no end to it.

and this one, Sin Hang Lee’s Gardasil text. And also discussed is his “test” for Lyme disease.

The first appearance of “Mrpink”, who may or may not be the Mr Pink turning up to defend Sin Hang Lee’s reputation in a more recent thread.

If he wants to keep the thread alive and bring it to the attention of search engines so that it is the first link that people read when they search for Sin Hang Lee, then who can complain?

AAARGH, a good friend just told me that he is KINDLY filling in for his boss for two weeks, so that his boss can take his kid to get hyperbaric oxygen treatment for what has been diagnosed by their family physician as “chronic Lyme disease.”

@Melissa – What tests and methods were used to diagnose your friend with “chronic Lyme disease”? Do you know what symptoms are presenting? I’m not a doctor, btw, but I would really like to know. Were they seeing a “Lyme-literate” medical doctor?

S– the doctor is a “specialist in chronic Lyme disease,” hence my trepidation. I can’t recall quite what symptoms are presenting beyond fatigue, but I know they’ve put their son through many rounds of antibiotics and he always “relapses.” I’ll ask my friend for more details.

Dear jumping Jiminy Cricket, lilady– you really hit the jackpot there… they’re making “almost autism” into the ultimate garbage-pail diagnosis. Treatment– anti-anxiety drugs for the PARENTS! Someone should tell them life is a chronic illness. 😉 I have to make jokes, or this would be making me scream in frustration.

Helianthus, I think that’s just what it is like. Now I go look at herr doktor bimmler’s link…

@HDD – Thank you so much for those links. I haven’t seen PCR tests discussed in such easy to understand detail elsewhere. Special thanks to Orac!

Got me thinking, how many kind of specialist do you need to treat “almost autism”?

With autism, it’s (SBM oblige) a psychiatrist or a neurologist. All the other stuff (not autism) belong to other doctors.


How many doctors do you need to treat “almost autism”?

With autism, (SBM oblige) there is either a psychiatrist or a neurologist. all the other stuff does that does not belong to autism are treated by other MDs.


I am a peaceful person. However, after… ten years or more of reading science and medical blogs, I have grown a visceral hatred of the word “healing.” It is so often misused as to have lost almost all meaning except as a merrily-waving red flag for woo.


I challenge you to come up with a more preposterous link between the two non-entities of “Chronic Lyme Disease” and “Almost Autism”.

Simple. At The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, “Mountain Mama” (not sure who is behind the pseudonym):

So . . . how did I give my son autism? I wish I could say it was one thing – one thing that I could take back that would make things neat and easy, but it wasn’t. It was mistake after mistake, assault after assault. The following are the biggest mistakes I made to which I attribute my son’s descent into autism. I’m going to provide links that are easily readable and understandable that contain links to the research rather than providing links to the research itself. A simple Google search about any one of these topics will provide more information than you could ever want. Here goes . . .

And Mountain Mama goes on to list everything from vaccines (of course) to the pitocin and c-section that saved her baby’s life,

The posts at TMR uniformly suggest a loathing for autism and by extension, a loathing of autistic people. This is a new low, even for TMR.

@ Liz:

Right. I left her out yesterdaay as I had bigger fish… you can see why they need to externalise their own self blame.
Today another TM informs us all about pharma reps’ unholy influence.

@ Liz Ditz: Close…but no *cigar*. The challenge was to find a link between “Chronic Lyme Disease and “Almost Autism”. 🙂

On the subject of autism, what do people make of the recent Norwegian study published in JAMA drawing a (tentative) association of a lower rate of autism in mothers who took folic acid supplements during early pregnancy?

@ Grant:

I haven’t seen too many reactions yet although AoA had a few comments to Dachel’s post a few days ago.

I can’t imagine how they’ll twist it because whilst they often go whole hog for supplements as being the golden pathway to health, the study could be used to argue for very early pre-natal causation of autism opposed to much later influences like vaccines.
-btw-. Exactly what I’d expect alongside genetic factors.

@ Grant: The Norwegian study of Folic Acid supplements to decrease the risk of autism was mentioned on Scott Gavura’s SBM blog.

I made the observation that Norway does not fortify food with Folic Acid…which is done in the United States. Indeed, fortifying any food is not permitted in any E.U. country.

I always feel like attributing to my prenatal vitamins combined with whatever genetic factors were at play that made me grow MEGA PLACENTA AND GODZILLA BABY. If I were a woo thinking individual still, I’d say my “body wisdom” knew he’d be my only kid and overachieved to make him count for two or three. 😉 After a while it became a joke and I started blaming prenatal vitamins for everything. Anyway, he’s autistic, which suggests to me folic acid supplementation can’t trump a good ol’ fashioned genetic predisposition from both sides of the family. Though he is astoundingly healthy, so hooray for prenatal nutrition and vaccines and stuff! My unscientific 2 cents.

He is a big-shot fourth-grader now, and is FAR TOO COOL for kisses from Mom anymore. Sometimes I just want to sneak in while he’s sleeping and kiss his whole face! But no, *sniffle*, I remain brave and accept the upgrowing.


It will be interesting to see what they say.


re #114 – thanks for the tip, I’ll look up SBM later.

re #117 – my impression too. This was tabled to parliament here but it didn’t get passed. (I think I wrote something on the blog about it at the time.) Some of the bread manufacturers do voluntarily fortify their breads.

@Melissa G:

“Anyway, he’s autistic, which suggests to me folic acid supplementation can’t trump a good ol’ fashioned genetic predisposition from both sides of the family.”

Down with the anecdote! Down with the anecdote!


Half seriously: perhaps there’s a dosage effect? Dosage in the genetic sense. I haven’t read anything on this work so I’m just throwing around… speculation. Down with the speculation! Down with the speculation! 🙂

Melissa G & Grant: One of my favorite websites is the NIH-ODS (Office of Dietary Supplements) for some good basic information about vitamins and nutrients:

Way (way) back, when I was pregnant, prenatal vitamins were not recommended for women “contemplating” pregnancy, but prescribed by the OB, at your first prenatal visit.

Now the OBs are prescribing prenatal vitamins for moms contemplating pregnancy…as well as Folic Acid supplements.

Down with speculation and anecdote! I’ll dose my genes any way I see fit! Or something. 😀 Seriously, though, my son’s neurologist is involved in genetic research and my son has had blood drawn for genetic tests of various sorts. I’m looking forward to what they find out once the various studies get published! (“I don’t get it– this ine just says GATTACA GATTACA GATTACA GATTACA…”)

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