Integrative medicine Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery

UCHealth: Making pseudoscientific claims about acupuncture

UCHealth just published an article about acupuncture full of pseudoscientific claims. What is wrong with the University of Colorado? It looks like another academic medical center has fallen victim to quackademic medicine.

I’ve frequently written about what I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine”; i.e., the infiltration of quackery into academic medical centers. I’ve been using the term for twelve years now, although I did not coin it. Because I’ve been using it for so long and have gained some notoriety as a blogger and, more recently, on Twitter, people think that I coined the term, but I did not. Dr. Robert Donnell actually coined it. (I really wish I had, though.) When I first started out, I frequently wrote about quackademic medicine in medical schools, academic medical centers, and private hospitals affiliated with academic medical centers. (So far, the Cleveland Clinic probably wins the “prize” for the worst quackademic medicine, but UC-Irvine is definitely up there, given its embrace of homeopathy.) Unfortunately, the problem, if anything, has continued to get worse, particularly given the increasingly more prevalent unholy alliance between corporate medicine and academic medical centers. So I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised by an article I saw published by UCHealth, The many benefits of acupuncture in winter.

UCHealth is, of course, the medical system affiliated with the University of Colorado, and this article was published on the UCHealth website right before Christmas. It liberally quotes one of UCHealth’s acupuncturists, Kelley McDaneld, who practices at the UCHealth Integrative Medicine Clinic in Steamboat Springs. She’s a Chinese herbalist, as well:

Kelley earned her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in 2005 in Boulder, Colorado. Kelley also earned her Diplomate in Oriental Medicine from the NCCAOM in 2005, currently the highest certification that the NCCAOM awards. She is Board Certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in both acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Kelley is also a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Colorado. Kelley earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1997 from Duke University, where she majored in Biology and minored in Spanish.

In-between earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Kelley worked for the US Forest Service, based in Steamboat Springs. She also lived in Seattle, Washington where she met and worked for Dr. Zhaoxu Xing, a Chinese medical doctor who served as the personal physician to the King of Oman for four years. It was this experience with Dr. Xing that motivated Kelley to begin the study of Chinese medicine.

So what are the “benefits” of winter acupuncture? According to McDaneld, they are many, because of course they are. But, first, shame on UCHealth for publishing such a credulous article about acupuncture! Yes, according to UCHealth, acupuncture can “boost the immune system”:

Acupuncture has been shown for some individuals to boost the immune system, which helps prevent colds, the flu and other illnesses that are more common in winter months.

It works for some, in part, because acupuncture may increase white blood cell counts – specifically T-cell counts – which are an important component of the immune system, while also possibly decreasing inflammation throughout the body. “

One hypothesis for why that happens is that when the needles are inserted, you’re creating a little irritation that the immune system responds to,” McDaneld said.

Regular acupuncture may also prevent an illness from taking hold, especially when done 12 to 24 hours after the first sign of sickness.

There is no credible scientific evidence that regular acupuncture can prevent illnesses like colds or the flu or make them less severe when you do get them. It is irresponsible in the extreme for UCHealth to allow such claims to be credulously made by a quack on its website. That bit about a “little irritation” from the needles stimulating the immune system is the most ridiculous explanation for acupuncture’s claimed immune effects that I’ve ever seen.

Rats were tortured so that an acupuncturist at UCHealth could claim that acupuncture "boosts the immune system."
Eek! Needles!

Let’s look at the paper cited by McDaneld to back up that claim, Enhancement of immune cytokines and splenic CD4+ T cells by electroacupuncture at ST36 acupoint of SD rats. First off, it’s a study in rats, which, even if you buy the results (and I, of course, do not) does not mean that its results translate to humans. More likely than not, they don’t, and, again, that’s even if you buy the results. Moreover, it’s a bait-and-switch study of electroacupuncture, not acupuncture. So there was actual current being passed through the animal in addition to needles being stuck into it.

The study basically took Sprague-Dawley rats and divided them into three groups: (a) a control group in which the animals received no treatment and were housed at the animal facilities; (b) a non-acupoint group in which electroacupuncture stimulation was applied to the abdominal muscle as described in a previous study; (c) and a ST36 acupoint group in which electroacupuncture stimulation was applied to the ST36 acupoint. The ST36 acupoint is located in the proximal hindlimb. Of course, it never ceases to amuse me how acupuncturists take maps of their mystical magical imaginary acupuncture meridians and points on humans and then map them onto all manner of animals, even mice, rats, and elephants. Electroacupunture stimulation was repeated each day for 1, 3, 7 or 14 consecutive days on different rats, and the groups compared.

The authors report finding:

Our results showed that successive electroacupuncture at the ST36 acupoint for 3 d significantly enhanced the interferon-γ (IFN-γ) level in he serum of SD rats. The results also showed that the serum and extracts from spleen cells of the ST36 acupoint group contained higher levels of interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-17 compared to those of the other two groups. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that electroacupuncture applied to the ST36 acupoint enhanced the expression level of CD4 in spleen cells.

The authors concluded that their observations “indicated that electroacupuncture stimulation at the ST36 acupoint enhanced the level of immune cytokines and splenic CD4+ T cells through TRPV channels in this system.”

There are, of course, a number of problems with this paper, and PLoS ONE really needs to be taken to task for crappy peer review. First, it’s utterly unclear to me what statistical tests were used to compare the groups. It looks to me as though the authors probably didn’t do the proper statistical test for multiple comparisons (ANOVA with the appropriate post-test controlling for multiple comparisons) but instead probably did multiple t-tests. However, I can’t be sure because nowhere did I find a description of the statistical test(s) used. p-values are listed, but I have no idea how the authors came by them. More importantly, although there was a supposedly statistically significant difference between the “true” acupuncture group and the no treatment and sham acupuncture controls, the differences shown were really unimpressively small. It’s legitimate to question whether the differences observed even have biological, much less clinical relevance, to immune functions. Also, again, none of this validates acupuncture. Even if the results reported aren’t spurious, the most that you could say is that running an electric current through this particular acupoint very modestly increases the levels of the cytokines examined in the blood and spleen, with no evidence that these increases are biologically relevant in terms of immune function.

Then of course, there’s another issue. This is a study out of China, and, as I’ve been discussing lately (and as Edzard Ernst has said for a long time), virtually 100% of acupuncture studies published in China are positive. Why this is seems to be a mixture cultural bias and taboo:

The question why all Chinese acupuncture trials are positive has puzzled me since many years, and I have quizzed numerous Chinese colleagues why this might be so. The answer I received was uniformly that it would be very offensive for Chinese researchers to conceive a study that does not confirm the views held by their peers. In other words, acupuncture research in China is conducted to confirm the prior assumption that this treatment is effective. It seems obvious that this is an abuse of science which must cause confusion.

Again, even if the results of this study were replicated by other investigators, it wouldn’t show that acupuncture “boosts the immune system” or that the results have any bearing on human physiology and immunity.

Next up, on behalf of UCHealth, McDaneld claims that acupuncture can relieve seasonal depression and decrease stress:

Acupuncture has been shown to increase endorphins in the body, and that naturally boosts your mood. It can increase the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which also help,” McDaneld said.

In Chinese medicine, mild cases of depression are attributed to a stagnation of “qi” or “chi,” also called the life-force or energy, and acupuncture may help get that qi moving.

Every individual reacts differently to acupuncture, so benefits may vary. “It depends on the person,” McDaneld said. “Some people really respond, while others don’t as well.”

Yes, placebo effects do vary from person to person. As for depression being due to stagnation of qi, that mystical magical imaginary “life energy” upon which much of traditional Chinese medicine is based, that’s just pseudoscientific (or, more accurately, prescientific) nonsense.

Finally, the official PR organ of UCHealth credulously claims, through one of UCHealth’s acupuncturists, that acupuncture “decreases stress”:

In traditional Chinese medicine, winter months are considered a good time to rest and let the body rejuvenate.

“The winter season in Chinese medicine is the time to slow down, to replenish your energy, to store up for the upcoming spring and summer months,” McDaneld said. “It’s not very often that people take an hour out of their day to mindfully rest. That really calms the nervous system overall.”

Decreasing stress not only helps you feel better, but it also decreases risk of illness.

“Stress depletes qi, or one’s energy stores, but by reducing stress, you’re more resilient and stress is less likely to take a toll,” McDaneld said.

If you decide to try acupuncture and are not dealing with a specific injury or illness, McDaneld recommends scheduling a session once a week for two or three weeks, then spacing sessions out further. It’s ideal to try acupuncture first when you’re well, so you and your practitioner understand how your body reacts to the treatment.

No, it’s better for the acupuncturist if you try acupuncture while you’re well, because you won’t realize that it’s not doing you a damned bit of good, that it’s nothing more than a theatrical placebo, and the acupuncturist still gets paid. Of course, McDaneld is correct that it’s good to take an hour out of the day to rest, but, really, you can do that without having to schedule a session in which someone sticks needles into your body.

Quackademic medicine infiltrates medical academia in many ways, large and small. Large ways include setting up quack functional medicine centers to bilk the worried well willing to spend large sums of money on large numbers of unnecessary tests and unnecessary supplements to correct the random abnormal lab values found whenever batteries of unnecessary tests are performed. Small ways include the corruption of the PR machine of a place like UCHealth so that it publishes bullshit—and, I’m sorry, that’s the nicest way to describe it—like this article.

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]

78 replies on “UCHealth: Making pseudoscientific claims about acupuncture”

“Small ways include the corruption of the PR machine so that it publishes bullshit.”

Uh, what do you think “PR machines” are for? I might phrase it something like “the corruption of academic and medical ethics by typical PR bullshit”, for there is very little difference between the cheery magical promises offered by McDaneld and whatever cheery magical promises PR in virtually every sector has been pushing since the days of Edward Bernays.

I would point out that, aside from our national labs and scientific enterprise, Boulder is a hotbed of wingnut hippie pseudoscience and literal bullshit. About half of this town is post adolescent seekers who are always on the look-out for the next bit of way out woo to believe in (this including far left-wing antivaxxers)… people here were struggling to make Chinese Traditional Medicine and Acupuncture cool before it was the thing to do elsewhere. You don’t have to look further than Southwest Acupuncture College, or the auspices of Naropa ‘University’ to know it. A co-worker of mine had a wonderful name for these people: he called them Naropadopes.

Naropa ‘University’:

Why Boulder

Why Bother!

he called them Naropadopes

And Swift coined Yahoos. Plus ça change.

Oh, I know!
As an Auslander I was both amazed and appalled by the density of woo:- and I’ve been in Marin County and Woodstock, NY. Just walking down – Pearl Street, was it?- adverts and altie providers nearly everywhere. I did find a few interesting things like the Tea House on the creek, Nederland hippie-dom, great food ( Middle Eastern, Mexican) and vendors selling handmade silver on the street. Lots of ‘spiritual’ activities: meditation, yoga, religious..
I recently learned that our old friend, Del, grew up** in Boulder where his father was a minister and family was into alt med supplement woo.
The only problem was that I was there during a drought in July with high heat so it limited activities : 100 F at 9000 ft is not wonderful. I also saw Georgetown and Estes Park as well as Denver.

** as a Bigtree should!

My family is one of Boulder’s Pioneer Families & CU’s designated Legacy Family. (Miles-Garbarino)

My great uncle was one of the 8 students in the University of Colorado’s Medical School’s class of 1901 My grandpa was one of the 50 students in the University of Colorado’s Medical School’s class of 1931.

People with grad degrees in Medical Science who attended late 1980’s-early 2000’s may have had my aunt or uncle as their professor.

Pre-‘woo’, apparently.

Actually; Boulder has been the epitome of woo since the Vietnam War.

My dad hates what Boulder has become.

“The study basically took Sprague-Dawley rats”

Oh yay, more Altie-Approved™ Animal Abuse! Funny we never hear complaints about that.

Cal U was kind enough to upload Dugald Christie’s Thirty Years in Moukden to Perhaps Col U should try downloading it.

Can’t mind who as it was some years ago now, but there was another commenter either here (or was it SBM?) who originally recommended it, so kudos to them.

Also Christie was himself an evangelical Christian missionary as well as a medic, so it’s not like he was there out of pure altruism either. Still, the constant mass of suffering he describes (and the work he did in trying to lessen it) should be forced reading for every quack and wannabe who buys into all this “Eastern Wisdom” crap… ’cos, Jesus.

I distinctly recall from decades ago an illustration of an elephant with a red circled cross near the anus that was supposed to be the acupuncture instant-death point. In the meantime, Etsy will have to do.

I can believe that attempting to stick a needle into that part of an pachyderm’s anatomy would be fatal.

Narad, thanks for the etsy link – I was curious as to why the chart was in Hindi rather than a Chinese script, and it turns out that Ayurvedic medicine has its own version called Marma points, no needles though, and I get the impression that it’s come to prominence at least partly as a response to acupuncture, my (very brief) google search seemed to indicate they were integrated very firmly into the Ayurvedic worldview – would be interesting to know which came first.

Why on earth do those rat-zapping researchers seem to think it’s a good thing to go around having your cytokines increase in the absence of an infection? Like, they’re not harmless, you only want them elevated if there is an infection to fight. Otherwise that sounds like an auto-immune reaction (bad).

As for the “use acupuncture to de-stress in winter”, why not a nice trip to the spa and sauna? It’s warm, it’s quiet, there’s no Twitter, it’s all carefully designed to be relaxing. Frankly, if I’m going to spend $100 for a “de-stressing” appointment I’d much rather go to the spa for a sit, a soak and a scrub than have someone stab me full of needles, no matter how tiny those needles are.
Or I could go home and have a cup of tea and a hot bath. No money, no stabbing, no pseudo-science. But the spa is an “indulgence” and a “frippery”, as is a bath. But acupuncture, that’s something “serious” and not fun at all. Because heaven forfend that any American ever do anything just because it was pleasant. Nope, gotta multi-task all the time.

I was going to suggest a daily hour seated comfortably, while distracted from daily stressors by professionally-produced theatrical entertainment, but a cup of tea and a hot bath sounds pretty effective too!

@ JustaTech,

Like, they’re not harmless, you only want them elevated if there is an infection to fight. Otherwise that sounds like an auto-immune reaction (bad)

well. yeah.

Bull shit is useful as a soil enricher, acupuncture is slug slime, useless and it it is the devil to clean off.

I hope you have been paying attention to the popularity of snail slime in Alt Med.

If it’s about rest, why not a massage or spa treatment? Something that’s also fun?

One thing for sure, UC Health’s corporate communications department is convinced it’s real.

Doubt it. I’ve worked with enough corporate communications people. Far more likely is that they are simply doing their jobs. However I bet the eye rolling going on in their office could recharge a Tesla.

So trauma boosts immune system. Any disease has exactly same effect, this is how immune system works. However, if immune system faces two challenges, second one would be blunted. This is to avoid overreaction.

My “winter acupuncture” involved only one 23 ga needle in my right deltoid. *

accompanied by the intramuscular injection of 0.5 ml of quadrivalent flu vaccine**.

** for which there is clinical data to support safety and efficacy.

They are not the only major institution to fall prey to Quackademic medicine. Apparently doTerra Essential Oils is bankrolling an ‘Integrative Oncology’ department in Cincinnati…

Edgewood KY is a few miles south of the Ohio River in the greater Cincinnati area. While the distinctions between Cincinnati, Edgewood, Norwood, Blue Ash, Ludlow, and so on are important in that area, they tend to be lost on people from other cities.

I’ll keep dropping in to say the same thing: This problem is not limited or specific to medicine, it’s a culture change. It can be better termed “The Corruption of the Institutions”, which is a child of some obscured and greater demon.

It feels like we’re getting a Long March phenomenon, but instead of a march to socialism, it’s a march to narcissism with socialist tendencies. The latter can be a means to achieve the former.
People in responsible positions increasingly look out only for Me and Us, with ‘Us’ meaning those within the corruptocracy focused on the elevation of themselves via that club, that thing of theirs, not building wealth first before getting a slice of it. Then, Carnegie. Now, Clinton.

Hey….anybody watching New Jersey? Thousands of very vocal citizens have shown up to protest S2173! Stay strong NEW JERSEY!

@ Natalie White

“Thousands of very vocal citizens have shown up to protest S2173!”

Resistance is futile.

And where did all those protesters come from?
Just New Jersey, or were they flying in from all over the US?
Thousands is hardly a large number. Yes, they might have been very vocal, just like the so-called moral majority.

It is a multi-state effort because this is a national concern. We are citizens of America no matter which state we are from.

So are trying to hamper public health nationally, even though you a teeny tiny bunch of pro-disease promoters. And need I say, wasters of taxpayer money:


Two million taxpayer dollars in just one corner of the USA. Now include the expense of the other outbreaks you guys cause. All because you just do not understand the science and economics, nor do you care to learn. Because you do not care how many children you make suffer, and how much public expense you create.

@ Chris

“You a teeny tiny bunch of pro-disease promoters”

Pssst!…. They do not know it, that they are pro-disease promoters… Completely unassuming…

There are real and completely assuming pro-disease people out there! And I must say, on behalf of them, that I find the equation “anti-vaxx = pro-disease” deeply derogatory and defamatory towards real pro-disease folks!

I mean: we do not mind doubling, tripling, or multiplying vaccination dosages tenfold!

@Chris says, “So are trying to hamper public health nationally,” No Chris. I am anti government overreach. People need to make their own choices about their personal medical care and the care of their children, WHO THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR UNTIL 18.

I know you believe health comes in a syringe, the unvaccinated are walking disease bags, and ALL bats have rabies. You can believe what you want, that is your choice.

Have you made an appointment with your healthscare provider? Probably a good idea to get your O2 sats checked. Your perfusion may not be so good. Have you been practicing the focused breathing I mentioned in an older reply? Another tip: At the end of your exhale, push a little more to really empty your lungs. This will also strengthen your diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

Good day Chris.

@ Natalie White

“People need to make their own choices about their personal medical care and the care of their children, WHO THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR UNTIL 18.”

You’ll have to argue that last part in capital letters… I’ll be waiting for your argument with both feet firmly entrenched in the ground…

Kids are not your slaves!

I am perfectly healthy, and it is not just because I vaccinate. At least I have an open mind to actual science, something you have failed to provide. Sorry, but a string of insults is not a valid substitute for PubMed indexed studies that show any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease. Also, autism is not a vaccine injury, though it can be caused by congenital rubella syndrome.

Again, why should have Oregon and Washington taxpayers have to pay two million dollars to keep kids healthy when their parents refuse to protect them from measles and tetanus? Why do you hate both children and responsible taxpayers of any state?

That’s terrible. One in the north and one in the south.
I’ll bet that RFK jr , Del, Holland, Wright and Kim/ AoA won’t report that though. They’re too busy declaring victory in NJ from their homes in CA, NY and CT

@ Chris

Sorry, that’s anecdotal evidence…

I have to uphold the same standards of rigour I have been subject to my whole life.

Nothing personal. Simply rigour.

@ Chris

“By the way those “anecdotes” are medically verified bits of data that are reported to an American public health agency. Then it is complied with statistics, which are reported weekly:

Thank you! That’s much more interesting!

Again: nothing personal…

More glee for you pro-disease folks, now a child is blind:

It was encephalopathy, which happens with lots of vaccine preventable diseases. It is also a something you pro-disease folks claim is caused by vaccines. You really need to come up with those PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more encephalopathy/encephalitis than the diseases.

@ Chris

Thanks for the medical pornography. I enjoy it very much. It reminds me fondly of the medical literature and graphic depictions of diseases I had easy access to as a toddler. It’s my little “madeleine de Proust” as we would say in French.

I had a look at the paper referenced in the link you gave:

“The incidence is hard to establish since different definitions exist, but has been estimated at 0.21 per million population per year (Hjalmarsson et al., 2009).”

The incidence of Munchausen by proxy ranges, admittedly, between 5 and 27 per million per year.

Given these figures, and given the assertions made Christophe Lançon (a professor in Marseille’s hospital) in a certain documentary, I must only conclude that this specific complication is a “coquetry”, in Christophe Lançon’s terms (by which he means “irrelevant”). If figures mean anything in science…

I love figures. Always had a talent with them.

No one ever said the science and mathematics required for infectious bug hunting is easy. There is a whole body of literature dedicated to learning how to diagnose and how to count diseases/disorders. Here is a very short list that spans what I have read over the past decade:

Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif

Mosquitoes, Malaria, and Man: A History of the Hostilities Since 1880 by Gordon A Harrison

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service by Mark Pendergrast

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Now, I need to go out and shovel snow.

@ Chris

Not sure you got the full gist of my comment, but thanks for the pointers to that literature.

Unvaccinated people do spread disease. Samoa measles epidemic ended when vaccination rate hit 95 % And parents are responsible for givng health care to their children. This does not mean one coming from Google university

@F68.10 – ” I mean: we do not mind doubling, tripling, or multiplying vaccination dosages tenfold!”

Are you part of the “we”? You see, healthy people are not good consumers. Healthscare needs people to be chronically ill.

The WHO had their annual Vaccine Safety Summit in December. There is footage showing the top eggheads expressing concern over safety…too late in the game for me. This needed to be figured out back in the 80’s before the major expansion of the childhood vaccination schedule from ACIP.

I think around a year or so ago, footage from an ACIP meeting revealed concern over a new adjuvant and how the adjuvant would react with the rest of the schedule. When asked about testing, one of them nervously responded, “It hadn’t been tested in combination with the others but go ahead. We will watch in post marketing surveillance.” Then, another offers up to “just give the shot in a separate appendage.” Really? As if the body is comprised of separate parts and not one unit. This disconnect is scary.

They now have a real mess. So many vaccinations can be given in one visit, it makes teasing out a reaction to one or more virtually impossible…in addition to the denial from the healthscare providers. Obfuscation is an art form and the CDC are masters. My confidence in eggheads? Less than zero. I withdrew from the experiment years ago and I actively encourage others to do the same.

Good day and good health to you.

N no it vaccinating does not make you more healthy. In fact, the main thing it does is leave you at risk of preventable diseases, which by definition get you sick.

There is a lot of data about the schedule. You’re right that that specific vaccine was not studied in combination. But childhood vaccines have to go through concomitant studies – in combination.

You’re an adult. You don’t have to protect your health. When you mislead other adults into not doing it, you’re wringing them. When you mislead people into not protecting their children, you are doing a much deeper wrong. Whatever your intent, you actively work to put children at risk.

@ Dorit – Please stop. The $cience is biased, just like you, Prof. REI$$.

Your comment suggests you have not clicked the link or looked at the studies, and simply dismissed them out of hand because they did not fit what you want to believe. You certainly haven’t pointed to a problem with them.

What do you think that shows, in terms of bias? (And note that calling studies you haven’t looked at “biased” isn’t particularly convincing).

Of course those studies are biased. They don’t say wat miss White wants to hear, so they are biased. They are either carried out by pharmaceutical companies, universities, or government institutions, so they are biased, because they all get money from the pharmaceutical industry. Only studies, that are done by miss White and her kind, are not biased.

Next antivax highearner: Del Bigtree 146000, from 990 form of Informed Consent Action Network at Charity Navigator. I do not know were his heart is, but his head is certainly in the right place.. Not bad for so and so document film maker.
I notice that you do not even mention the name of the new adjuvant, so I presume that you are lying.

@ Nathalie White

“Are you part of the “we”?”

Yes, I’m part of the real pro-disease folks. Not wannabee amateurs, like you.

Next time, please be friendly and wish me awful health.

Best regards to you.

” The $cience is biased, just like you, Prof. REI$$.”

That is rich coming from someone who is a drain on the taxpayers.

So why should the state of Oregon pay a million dollars to keep a little boy alive because his parents refused to vaccinate him?

@ Renate – “they are biased. They are either carried out by pharmaceutical companies, universities, or government institutions, so they are biased, because they all get money from the pharmaceutical industry.” <<< Yes! You get it! $CIENCE IS BIASED!

Prove it. Provide the verifiable economic study that shows we would all save money by letting kids get measles, mumps, pertussis, diphtheria, etc. Show us that it is cheaper to treat kids in the hospital with a study equivalent to this:
Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):577-85.
Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.

Here are some real life economics:

Del Bigtree earns lots from his antivaxxing. De£ Bigtree, perhaps ? So why he is not biased, too ? Actually, jobs for document film makers are scarce. He has a very real reason to be an antivaxxer A man would not admit his mistake if his income depends on it.

Wow, you are so afraid to learn that you posted an article you did not even understand. That says nothing about money, but more on things researchers need to think about when designing studies.

Here is the part you and your fellow science/public health deniers have issues with: sampling bias. This one is why telephone/internet surveys make for very bad studies. Like these examples of bad math science:

Mawson’s internet survey:

JB Handley’s phone survey:

Then there are so many very bad studies chronicled on this blog like the dumpster diving by Gary Goldman, Neil MIller and the Geiers. And then there was the very bad strangling of statistics by Brian Hooker, when in the end just proved that it is better to get the MMR vaccine on time since the one group he found issues with were all vaccinated much later than the recommended schedule (because they were from poor families and only got vaccinated after they were identified with autism).

Have you ever thought about trying to learn? To Make up for the fact that you took only the easy classes in high school, and did not bother to learn even basic algebra or high school biology? If you tried you would not embarrass yourself by mucking up the economics of public health so badly.

@ Chris:

Your last paragraph echoes my sentiments exactly although there are exceptions of course.
Anti-vaxxers seem to have real problems in those areas making them easy targets for pseudoscientific hacks who rely upon bad or misinterpretted research.( see PRN, AoA, RFK jr, Del)
And then there’s the whole personality dimension: the need to be a maverick/ contrarian/ beyond the common herd
Yeah right, they’re beyond alright, but not in the direction they imagine..

That last part was quite apparent when the Science Based Medicine blog was visited by Mary Tocco. She said lots of obvious falsehoods, and made ridiculous claims about her idea of “science”, but she as an easily findable LinkedIn page:

She has no education past high school, yet she feels she knows more than actual scientists and bio-statisticians.

And as for those who should know better like Bob Sears, the term for that is “motivated reasoning.” Though for him the dollar signs are appropriate.

Chris declares, “Wow, you are so afraid to learn that you posted an article you did not even understand. That says nothing about money, but more on things researchers need to think about when designing studies.”

Your extrapolations may have worked in your professional life, but they don’t apply here. I’ll lay it our for you: IN ADDITION TO FINANCIAL BIAS there is also all the other bias mentioned in the article I attached in the previous post. Did that clear it up? Good Lord Chris!

Your opinion of me doesn’t match your actions as you comment on practically everything I post. If what I post is so insignificant and wrong, it seems you as a rational-minded person would just ignore me but you don’t.

There really was no financial bias mentioned. You just do not understand what you read. Really, try to open and expand your mind.

It is my rationality that compels me to make sure others know how horribly wrong you are, and that you just do not care. You do not care about the drain that your disregard to public health has on taxpayers, and the real pain and suffering it causes children.

Plus I have seen was now vaccine preventable diseases can do. I am not fond of those who think it is okay for a six month baby to suffer with chicken pox, and I despise those who dismiss the deadly havoc measles has had in DR Congo and Samoa. Especially when they, like you, just lie.

@ Chris

“Especially when they, like you, just lie.”

Which is not my case.

Does that mean that I may expect a modicum of leniency when it comes to your spite?

(Somehow I feel that that would be too simplistic… Dunno why, really…)

Also, Ms. White, your idiotic argument that vaccines are bad because they provide income to pharmaceutical companies is the epitome of massive irrationality. Especially since you ignore the very large cost in both real dollars and real pain/suffering from the actual diseases. Something that cost two states in one corner of this country two million dollars.

If you do not like my responses, then stop posting idiotic lies.

@ Chris @ Nathalie White

“Also, Ms. White, your idiotic argument that vaccines are bad because they provide income to pharmaceutical companies is the epitome of massive irrationality.”


Money! It’s a gas…

@ Chris;

I struggle with whether to respond or not to anti-vax/ woo ( endless) BS but :
– sometimes weDO have to respond to clean up their nonsense because newbies or the ill-informed may think that they have said something of value if we just let it be. To the less-educated, when someone tosses arcane terminology around and mentions “peer reviewed studies” or “research”:as. a woo-meister might construct a cargo cult edifice of important sounding words from physio or psych and the uninitiated may take them seriously when it is merely an assemblage or collage illustrating their ignorance.
— when they perseverate intensely though I’ll let it go or leave it to others.

Some believe that answering crap encourages more crap because its creation is reinforced: that may be true but leaving crap unanswered may also lead to greater elaboration an accumulation of said crap and who wants that?

It is just that the brain dead “vaccines bad because companies make a profit” argument is so foolish. It totally ignores the financial/personal pain of the actual diseases. For some reason she thinks ignoring any kind of disease side effect, including forcing parents to skip work to take care of kids even though they do not have sick leave, is okay dokay. Apparently she is not aware there are people who will not get paid if they cannot show up for work (and may even lose their job/jobs).

And then there are the costs that come from the public coffers. Apparently she is not aware that mopping up the outbreaks and even keeping a kid alive is paid by taxes.

It is bizarre she is now whining at how I am treating her. Even though she feel frees to lob insults, and put in random dollar signs in the names of people who oppose her. All while her and her fellow anti-science Bigtree/Wakefield sycophants are a drain on the taxpayers’ wallet, and are parasites on the community immunity provided by her responsible neighbors who vaccinate.

F68.10, just remain amusing and all is well. By the way, while the 1926 book Microbe Hunters had an extensive section on Pasteur, the book Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus Reprint Edition by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy has more biographical information. Another good book in the same vein is Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. His more recent book, The Tangled Tree is on my to read later list.

Sorry they are very American/English, but that is what is in my library. Though I have read Malevil by Robert Merle. One of the best post nuclear apocalyptic tomes I have read. But I do not read fiction anymore, they now seem too mundane.

She also seems confused that while I will not respond to Christine Kincaid, I respond to her. There is the difference between those two, pity she can’t figure it out.

@ Natalie White

“No thank you. I’m done with extrapolations and estimates from eggheads.”

I do not understand. Are you done with extrapolations, or done with estimates, or done with eggheads?

If you’re merely done with eggheads and not extrapolations or estimates themselves, who will you trust with doing the extrapolations or the estimates?

@ F68.10 – Idiocracy! Big fan of Mike Judge. Office Space is funny and telling as well.

@ Natalie White

Idiocracy really is amazing… I’ll have to check Office Space which I hadn’t heard of yet. But I’ll have to go through the Star Trek Voyager series first: I’m having a crush on 7of9 for the moment…

Nevertheless, my comment, no matter how ironic, does ask a real question that I believe you’ll have to answer to yourself at some point: how do you know who to trust on matters that are indeed complex and of some real-world consequence? You may go with your gut feelings or your understanding of evidence, no matter how selective, but it’s quite likely that society as a whole has to find a way to answer that question that may not fit with your views. How do you reconcile that with your position?

Good luck. She is trying her best to be a trickster, but flailing. Kind of like Loki with his hands tied behind his back or the Raven with its wings clipped.

I assume there is trickster in French lore, but the googles failed me… I just found a bunch of tabletop games and other amusements. Just like what a trickster would do.

@ Chris

The trickster figure is quite absent in French folklore as far as I can tell. There are no traces of pagan gods such as Loki. In a sense, France has been too heavily christianized since Wala of Corbie and a group of buddies set up in the 9th century the basis of the symbiosis the Catholic Church would enjoy with the Carolingian empire by forging the pseudo-isodoriana false decretals (that ended up being the basis of the Pope’s legislative power in canon law).

So, instead, what have as a trickster (“fripon” in French) is the archetype of the fox.

It doesn’t rise up to Higher Deity Standards, however, contrarily to Loki.

P.S.: Glad to see that you understood that there was humour in my comments (though I, unfortunately, simultaneously tend to be dead serious). I’m nonetheless trying to keep the irony low-key in order not to melt all the irony meters of the readers of this blog into corium.

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