July 2015 in review: Part 3

We’ve seen the cover stories, pages 1-10 and pages 11-21.  Thus far, most of the content has been adverts, followed by things doctors do tell you and falsehoods from previous issues of  WDDTY. A bit of a swindle, the first quarter, and not even much of the lunatic nonsense for which WDDTY is famed. All that is about to change.

An advertising feature (as opposed to the undeclared advertorial that makes up most of the magazine) pimps the “MEND” Programme for Alzheimer’s disease. If there’s one thing guaranteed to get the vultures circling it’s a dreaded and incurable disease, and these vultures don’t mind sitting at the bedside during the death watch. Promising “a positive breakthrough in the possibility of reversing the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease” they reckon that “recent research has proven that through certain diet and lifestyle changes and by following the ‘MEND’ programme, Alzheimer’s is a potentially preventable disease.” As if doctors would keep quiet if this were actually true. Because, you know the reason doctors go through ten years of training is just so they can torture people, right? They do show at least some awareness of the problem of making blatantly false commercial claims when they state that “[u]nfortunately it is impossible for us to elaborate on each specific component of the ‘MEND’ programme here but this is something we will be looking to do in the coming months on our blog page.” Bad news: your blog is still covered by the ASA.

Page 23 is an excellent argument in support of the Cancer Act 1939, in the form of a diatribe against it by vitamin peddler Rob Verkerk.

The Cancer Act of 1939 stands in the way of tens of thousands of British cancer sufferers getting meaningful and potentially life-saving information from non medically qualified healthcare practitioners.

Let that sink in. The Cancer Act apparently needs to be scrapped because it stops people with no medical qualifications from claiming to treat or cure a disease with which even the brightest scientific and medical minds struggle.

In other words, it stands in the way of desperate and vulnerable people being misled and scammed by medically unqualified charlatans. In other words, it works precisely as designed.

But lets look deeper. Rob says:

It all seems reasonable, as the Act prevents charlatans from misleading the public with bogus cancer treatments. The trouble is, it throws baby out with the bathwater.

In early May on England’s South Coast, a group of alternative practitioners decided to hold a one day conference to discuss various topics in healthcare […]

In an article in The Telegraph online on 25 May 2015 entitled ‘The fake cancer cure conference the ‘healers’ tried to keep secret’, the organizers and speakers were lambasted.

Funny that they missed the fact that this was the work of the Good Thinking Society, under the inestimable Marsh.

The “baby” that Verkerk claims to have been thrown out with the “bathwater” here was promotion of Miracle Mineral SupplementW], aka industrial bleach, as a “miracle” cure for cancer, autism and more, by an Australian lunatic who wibbled on at great length about the “Freeman on the Land” pseudolegal bullshit. And of bleaching your cancer away isn’t caustic enough, they pimped black salve too.

If Rob Verkerk thinks this is a valid reason for repealing the Cancer Act then he is not just a charlatan, but positively unhinged.

Page 24 is the start of “Don’t sweat the gym stuff”, a two page explanation (albeit mainly stock images with graphic overlays) of that stuff your doctor has been telling you for years: walking, cycling, gardening, are all good for you. Who knew?

Pages 26-30 and 33 have a full-length feature misrepresenting the evidence on the HPV vaccine.  As always, risks are rounded up to 100% and benefits rounded down to 0%. Long refuted antivax tropes such as the deaths purportedly “caused” by HPV vaccine are of course repeated without acknowledging that they are refuted.

Many thousands of girls have suffered long-term, debilitating health issues almost immediately after having an HPV jab. Some have died, but most have been ignored or ridiculed, and told they are attention-seeking or hysterical.

This is, bluntly, a despicable lie. Every single serious adverse event is investigated. Not one death has been shown to have been caused by the HPV vaccine:

Has anyone died after receiving an HPV vaccine?

Some deaths among people who received an HPV vaccine have been reported to VAERS. This does not mean that the vaccine caused the death, only that the death occurred after the person got the vaccine. CDC and FDA review all available information on reports of death following all vaccines, including HPV vaccines.

Between June 2006 and March 2014, when about 67 million doses of HPV vaccine had been given out in the U.S., VAERS received 96 reports of death after people received the Gardasil vaccine. Among the 96 reports of death, many could not be further studied because there was not enough information included in the report to verify that a person had died.  In 47 of the reports, CDC verified that the person had died through review of medical records, autopsy reports, and death certificates. After careful review of every known case of death that has happened after Gardasil vaccination, CDC concluded:

  • There is no diagnosis that would suggest Gardasil caused the death
    • There is no pattern of death occurring with respect to time after vaccination
    • There is no consistent vaccine dose number or combination of vaccines given among the reports

CD FAQ on HPV vaccine

 

That is the truth, and WDDTY have consistently misrepresented the deaths reported to VAERS – an example of the inherently cautious approach of the medical community towards vaccines, one of the few treatments routinely applied to healthy people – as having been caused by the vaccine. That is straight from the anti-vaccine playbook. It is despicable, misleading and lies at the heart of the reason why, with its change to glossy paper, WDDTY removed its one legitimate use: wiping your arse.

The anti-vax tropes are entirely predictable:

  • The vaccine causes harm and even death;
  • The vaccine doesn’t work;
  • The vaccine includes icky ingredients (in this case insect DNA);
  • The disease is in decline anyway;
  • You should use “natural” alternatives (usually with an advert alongside);
  • The Truth™ is ruthlessly suppressed in the pursuit of profit, the most bizarre claim of all since vaccines make remarkably little money and actually prevent presumably lucrative disease: antivaxers want to have their cake and eat it, and stop you having yours or eating it.

At the tail end is the story of Katie Couric, an American TV presenter who, after an antivax piece on the HPV vaccine, was “attacked for being unscientific and for overemphasizing adverse reactions without talking about the vaccine’s benefits.” Which would be harsh if it weren’t for the fact that the piece was unscientific and overemphasised adverse reactions without talking
about the vaccine’s benefits.

TV presenter engages in false balance: gets called on it. How evil is that?

Antivaxers are as consistent in their playbook as the tobacco industry, climate change denialists, creationists and every other peddler of anti-science cult ideas.

In stories like this, WDDTY applies ideology to real people’s lives, reinforcing beliefs that are contradicted by science, inflicting guilt on parents and anger against a system that is portrayed as not caring when in fact it does care, deeply, but its conclusions are simply does not support anti-vaccine ideology.

Vaccines save lives. The HPV vaccine prevents cancer. Anti-vaccine activists like the WDDTY editors literally have blood on their hands.

Page 31 is a full-page advert for Evolution Organics, selling supplement brands including Mercola. No claims are made at all, funnily enough…

Page 32 is yet another full-page advert, this time for Eidon Ionic minerals, “A new paradigm in Mineral Supplementation”. Oh good, just what we need.

The claims here are quite bizarre:

  • Angstrom-sized minerals
  • Rapidly and fully absorbable
  • No digestion required
  • Made from natural sources
  • No fillers, additives or preservatives
  • Purity you can see, taste and feel

As opposed to what, exactly? Do other companies produce minerals made from extra-large molecules or something?

The claim of “no fillers, additives or preservatives” is a bit worrying though. Pure selenium, for example, is not especially nice. With no additives or fillers you’ll need a balance accurate to about ten microgrammes to be safe when dosing. I suspect this claim is carelessly worded.

Pages 34-36 and 38-39 are the advertorial for yoga promoted on the cover. Most of it is the usual line-art drawings of yoga poses and the claims of near-miraculous health benefits are brief.

Page 37 is yet another full-page advert for supplements, this time offering “Immune System Support & Heavy Metal Detox”. I suspect that if challenged the advertisers would be unable to provide robust evidence for the latter despite the claim to offer “evidence based well-being solutions”.

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