When Supplements “Work”. . .or Have You Drink Bleach

FDA warned consumers not to consume or use Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid solution also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health. The product instructs consumers to mix the 28 percent sodium chlorite solution with an acid such as citrus juice. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. High oral doses of this bleach, such as those recommended in the labeling, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.- FDA Medwatch (emphasis added)

Miracle Mineral Solution claims to be a panacea that can treat many, unrelated ailments like HIV and the common cold. This not only puts the individual at risk due to neglect of effective treatments, but also has them drink BLEACH. Continue reading “When Supplements “Work”. . .or Have You Drink Bleach”

When Supplements “Work”. . .Joy Slim Recall

An herbal supplement for weight loss called Joy Slim, is being discontinued and recalled. Why? Because it contains sibutramine, an FDA regulated drug. Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant, is also used to treat obesity. There is no word on whether the FDA will take further disciplinary action against the manufacturer.

Continue reading “When Supplements “Work”. . .Joy Slim Recall”

Just One Baby – Why We Vaccinate

Yesterday, we took The Frogger to get her immunizations brought into like with the UK vaccination schedule. To commemorate the occasion, I thought it would be fitting to revisit a post I wrote on 5 February 2010 in honor of what should have been Dana McCaffery‘s first birthday.

Just One Baby

from Bad Astronomy
Today is the first anniversary of Dana Elizabeth McCaffery‘s birth. Unfortunately, Dana cannot join us in celebrating her birthday. Dana was killed by pertussis, or whooping cough. At under a month of age, Dana could not be vaccinated against pertussis and had to rely on herd immunity. Unfortunately, thanks in large part to the efforts of the anti-vaccination movement, immunity levels in Dana’s region of Australia were far below the herd immunity level necessary to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborn children.

Prominent anti-vaccination advocates consider Dana’s death an acceptable cost for their cause.  According to Meryl Dorey the long-time head of the anti-vaccine Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), Dana was “just one baby.” Anti-vaccination spokeswoman Jenny McCarthy has gone on record welcoming back vaccine preventable killers in order to support her agenda:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some
diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop
vaccines that are safe.

Jenny McCarthy (April 2009)

For the anti-vaccination agenda, an acceptable cost equates to the preventable suffering death of a one month old infant.

People look at the cost-benefit analyses of scientific medicine and claim that scientists and doctors do not care about “just one baby”. Certainly, there is a level of benefit that can outweigh a certain amount of cost, on average. That “on average” is important. There are rare reactions to vaccines, but we often do not know how to identify those individuals ahead of time, and we are trying very hard to figure that out. These events are unfortunate, but extremely rare, chance events.

Dana McCaffery’s death was not a chance event. Sure, that Dana was the victim was a chance event. That, however, is like saying that killing someone by throwing a bowling ball off the Empire State Building is an accident because you did not know exactly who it was going to hit. We know without a shadow of a doubt that, when infectious diseases like measles, mumps, haemophilus influenza B, and pertussis are spreading, people die. These are not extremely rare deaths.

When I give my daughter a vaccination, I know that there is a one in a million chance of a serious negative reaction. I still give her the vaccine because I know that the risk posed by the infectious diseases is far, far greater. But, I am not only protecting her, I’m protecting your child or your elderly parent, by increasing the rate of herd immunity. What I am not doing is selfishly foisting all the risk onto someone else’s child for no benefit other than to sit smugly in the delusional satisfaction of having supported my completely unfounded belief that I am saving the world. 

Cost-benefit analysis in scientific medicine can hurt people, but it does so due to probability and bad luck, not with intent. If only so much could be said for the anti-vaccination movement. Unlike the spokespeople of the anti-vaccination movement, this cold scientist’s hear bleeds every time it hears about that “just one baby”.

Even though Dana is not with us, the world is bringing her gifts. Lancet has fully retracted Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 study purporting to find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The General Medical Council has labeled Wakefield as “irresponsible and dishonest” and is considering further actions. Meryl Dorey’s AVN is under intense pressure in Australia and appears to be rapidly losing support.

Happy Birthday, Dana. Toni and David, my heart goes out to you. There are not words to express my admiration for your courage in speaking out in order that no parents would ever have to needlessly suffer as you have.

*Thanks to Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy for reminding us all that today is Dana McCaffery Day.

When Supplements “Work”. . .Slim-30

We have a “brace” of dietary supplement problems today (well today where you are, it is ever so slightly tomorrow here). Now, batches of an herbal supplement called Slim-30, a purported weight loss supplement, are being recalled. Why? Because they contain sibutramine, an FDA regulated drug. Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant, is also used to treat obesity.

Continue reading “When Supplements “Work”. . .Slim-30”

When Supplements “Work”. . .Vialipro recall

Vialipro, an “all natural” supplement advertised to enhance sexual performance, is undergoing a voluntary recall, because some US FDA testing revealed that several batches contain undeclared sulfoaildenafil, an analog of sildenafil, a drug for the suspiciously similar condition of erectile dysfunction. Continue reading “When Supplements “Work”. . .Vialipro recall”