Two new studies, this time finding immune amnesia due to measles, show why measles is serious and you should vaccinate your children. That’s right, contrary to antivax claims, “natural infection” with measles doesn’t “boost the immune system.” Quite the contrary!
Another study appears to link chronic inflammation of the brain to autism. Antivaxers, as always, conclude that vaccines done it. This is a continuation of yesterday’s discussion.
Professor Fabrizio Benedetti is the most famous and almost certainly also the most influential researcher investigating the physiology of placebo effects. In a recent commentary, he asks whether placebo research is fueling quackery, as quacks co-opt its results. The answer to that question is certainly yes. A better question is: How do supporters of science counter the placebo narrative promoted by quacks, in which placebos represent the “power of the mind to heal the body”?
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that it is incredibly unlikely that cell phone radiation causes cancer or other health problems. That doesn’t stop The Nation from constructing a conspiracy theory inn which cell phone companies are likened to tobacco companies in their campaign of denial designed to hide evidence of harm while disingenuously claiming to be neutral regarding the science and saying that scientists should determine whether radiation from cell phones is hazardous.
Last week, the media were awash with reports of the “interstitium,” which was dramatically described as a hitherto undiscovered “organ,” a narrative that was definitely a triumph of PR over science that went beyond what even the investigators claimed in their paper. Worse, the investigators themselves even speculated that their discovery could “explain” acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine, thus providing an opening for quacks to run wild with their discovery, something I expect to see very soon.