Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Drive-by anti-quackery

I don't spend a lot of time here debunking quackery -- I leave that to the crew at Science Based Medicine, which I recommend you visit, and bookmark if you're into it. One of the contributors has his own blog here, which tends toward the ultra-long-winded (where he finds time to do research and patient care I know not), but offers many a righteous rant.

A major frosting of the pumpkin for all these folks, and YT, is the invasion of so-called "Integrative Medicine," which is a propaganda name for irrational BS, into academia. Plenty of medical schools now have centers for "Integrative Medicine" and make room for all sorts of preposterous frauds, which the SBM folks call "quackademic medicine." No, there is no "vital energy," no qi, no meridians, and homeopathy is water. Diet and exercise are not "alternative," they are part of scientific medicine and yes, doctors do talk to their patients about them.

Anyhow . . . I think you can only read the first 150 words of this but I'll give you the 4-1-1. Paul Offit, a Philadelphia pediatrician and a well-known advocate for truth and reason (yeah, it's out of fashion) has tells conference-goers to the American Society for Microbiology that his own hospital has had no luck getting all of its workers to agree to an annual flu vaccine. It's required now - they lose their jobs if they refuse. We can argue about whether that's right or wrong, but 15% of them, it seems, make that choice. Says Offit, on the back of the form they could state why they declined to do so and "it was always things that were not biologically supportable." Meaning, I suppose, that vaccines cause autism or mad cow disease.

The reason the hospital has the policy is because they have many frail and immunocompromised patients whose lives they want to protect. In 2002, says Offit, two little girls got the flu while they were hospitalized, and they died. So Jenny McCarthy kills children. Got that?

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