(Reblogged with permission from Labcoats Unbuttoned)
I was recently (for a short while) involved in posting on the Facebook page for our favourite magazine, ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’. We’ve talked about this rag before, but since then the ‘war’ between the skeptics and the toilet paper has escalated in spectacular style. Rather than try to document this here, it’s probably best to link to the ‘Master List’ drawn up by Josephine Jones on her blog, which is a comprehensive summary of both the dangerous reporting in the magazine along with responses from consumers and retailers regarding the recent attempts to have their ‘homeopathy for cancer’ issue withdrawn from sale in major supermarkets. It’s a fantastic resource, and worth going through.
Now, I WAS engaged in online debate with some of their fans and readers, but this is sadly past tense. Why so? This is because I, alongside several other skeptics, got banned from the page, with our comments deleted leaving embarrassing threads of people who appear to be talking to themselves. From a magazine that cries ‘FREE SPEECH!’ as soon as anyone does something so pesky as I don’t know, ASKING THEM TO BACK UP THEIR CLAIMS WITH EVIDENCE, this is somewhat hypocritical. Apparently we were deleted for (non-existent) ‘personal attacks’, yet a WDDTY supporter who called me a ‘plebeian wage slave’ remains on the page.
One thing that really struck me when talking to people on the page, was the brainwashed, cult-like mindset of some of their ‘followers’. Homeopaths serving up so-called evidence for their claims: that I expected, but what really saddened me was the hero-worship from the general public, who genuinely seem to believe that Lynne McTaggart and her magazine are spearheading a noble crusade against evil Big Pharma. Never mind the dozens of scientists providing concrete evidence to refute their claims-they must all be being paid to do so. It’s classic conspiracy thinking, and very, very similar to what we saw with the Umlingo juice for HIV. Then, as now, the ludicrous claims are so laughably easy to debunk that it is truly exasperating how some people can be so blind. There is genuine ignorance and there is genuine wickedness, and the irony is that while they dismiss their critics as being in the pay of Big Pharma, they publish articles about vitamin C curing all diseases alongside full-page, paid adverts for vitamins. Hypocrisy? Surely not?.
Sometimes Quacks can be somewhat clever. Ben Goldacre devoted an entire book to the clever and subtle tricks that can be used to mislead when it comes to science and in particular healthcare science. Statistics are tricky, and it’s easy enough to manipulate them so that your average untrained (or even trained) eye glosses over the error. What WDDTY do is on a whole other level. It’s so hilariously botched, so pathetically obvious that you almost have to admire their nerve in keeping a straight face as they spout this crap.
Case in point: the most recent post on their Facebook page (and on Lynne McTaggart’s own social media pages):
OUR ESTIMATES OF HARM FROM HPV VACCINE WAS TOO CONSERVATIVE
We’ve been attacked for reporting that the HPV vaccine has been linked to 68 deaths, but our figures now seem too conservative.
An issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (July 26, 2013 / 62(29);591-595), the weekly report prepared by the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that between June 2006 and March 2013, the US’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has received approximately 1671 reports to be exact – of ‘serious’ adverse events occurring in girls who’d received the HPV4 vaccine.
Reports are classified as ‘serious’ if they include one or more of the following, said the CDC: hospitalization , prolongation of an existing hospitalization , permanent disability, life-threatening illness, or death.
This relates to a previous article Labcoats Unbuttoned did on HPV vaccines and we mostly dealt with the actual vaccine in that post. I’m bringing this up again to illustrate a point about how not only does this magazine cherry pick, mislead and manipulate, they very simply flat-out LIE, and that is the only way of putting it.
They’ve often been criticised for not posting their references, well here they did, and thus the egg met the face. Their ‘source’ is this CDC report. I thought I’d go through what they are claiming and compare it to what is in the report. ‘1671 reports of serious adverse effects’ – true, but neglecting to mention that this is out of 56 MILLION doses given from June 2006 through March 2013. They actually received 21,194 reports of adverse effects, 92.1% of these were classified as non-serious. These can include things like fainting (common in people with a phobia of needles) through to hives, slight fever, localised redness or swelling, etc. These adverse effects are seen across all vaccines. In the ‘serious’ adverse effects, the most common included headaches, fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting. Now, as we addressed previously, serious side effects are an unfortunate part of any vaccination program. They do occur, at rates which are clearly defined (by this exact sort of report on the available data) and there is no ‘cover up’. Actually, 1 serious adverse event in approximately 35,000 doses is in line with or slightly better than what you would expect for most vaccines. No health intervention comes without risk.
What is crucial is that the risk is balanced by the reward, and here WDDTY have been very sneaky indeed. They’ve splashed their ‘evidence’ with a misleading headline and a negative spin, completely neglecting to mention that actually, the report then goes on to discuss that there is no good evidence the vaccine is unsafe, and makes strong, unambiguous recommendations that we need to improve the current vaccination program to ensure better uptake of the HPV vaccine. Far from supporting their agenda, this report directly contradicts them – WDDTY says the vaccine is dangerous while quoting a report that says more people need to have it.
Here is the crucial paragraph in the document which WDDTY seem to have scrolled past:
‘Approximately 79 million persons in the United States are infected with HPV, and approximately 14 million will become newly infected each year. Some HPV types can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer among women; penile cancer among men; and anal and some oropharyngeal cancers among both men and women. Other HPV types can cause genital warts among both sexes. Each year in the United States, an estimated 26,200 new cancers attributable to HPV occur: 17,400 among females (of which 10,300 are cervical cancer) and 8,800 among males (of which 6,700 are oropharyngeal cancers).’
That is what this vaccine is trying to protect people from. WDDTY, rather than addressing these statistics, choose instead to stick their fingers in their ears and LALALA, claiming that only 4000 new cases are reported every year. Unsure where they got that figure from – I assume they are capable of reading the paragraph above as well as I can. But I’ve given up on expecting better from them. I’m sad, however, that I’m now banned from the page and can’t call them out on their misguided claims and hypocrisy. One of their supporters, having read the report and as expected, become very confused as to why their claims didn’t match their reference, concluded that it was a ‘CDC’cover up, as it contradicted what WDDTY was saying. If that isn’t worshipping at the altar of a dangerous cult, I’m not sure what is, but for now I’ll sit here and wait, either for Lynne to get back to me on Twitter or for someone to magically produce whatever evidence WDDTY are privy to that the CDC are not. On both counts, I think I might be here for a while.
‘Safe’ HPV vaccine kills up to 1,700 young girls
Nearly 1,700 young girls in the US have died or suffered permanent disability after being given the HPV vaccine, new official figures reveal. The vaccine, which is designed to prevent cervical cancer, was introduced into the UK last autumn.
A further 19,500 girls have suffered ‘non-serious’ reactions to the vaccine, which has been given to adolescent girls in the US since 2006. The 1,671 girls who suffered a ‘serious reaction’ died, suffered permanent disability, a life-threatening illness or needed emergency hospital care.
Astonishingly, US health regulators say there are “no serious safety concerns” over the HPV vaccine. Instead, their concerns focus on the low uptake of the vaccine. Only around 33 per cent of the target population of girls aged between 11 and 12 years have had all three doses of the vaccine, and they urge doctors to offer the vaccine at every possible “healthcare encounter”.
This report is based on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting SystemW (VAERS) which records every adverse event occurring after vaccination – in some case so far after that one has to speculate on why the event was even recorded.
As the source says:
Three population-based published studies of HPV4 vaccine safety, including one from CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink, have been conducted in the United States (Table 2). Although one postlicensure observational study found an increased risk for syncope, no serious safety concerns have been identified in these large postlicensure observational studies.
So how do you go from a document saying there is no serious safety concern to a claim that thousands have been killed and seriously disabled by this vaccine?
Simple: you lie.
The chart in the paper discusses all VAERS events, stating that a serious event is “hospitalization, prolongation of an existing hospitalization, permanent disability, life-threatening illness, or death”. There are 1,671 such reports and they decline steeply over time, reflecting the act that, as safety is established, doctors become less likely to submit a report for an event that is almost certainly not caused by the vaccine, but is merely chance.
Tens of millions of doses of HPV vaccine have been administered. Analysis published after the first 23 million showed a total of 32 reported deaths. Not one of these was provably caused by the vaccine.
All of this data was freely available and widely discussed in the literature prior to publication of the WDDTY story. Even the source they use contradicts the claims they say are based on it.
The claim that Gardasil has killed up to 1,700 young girls is overstated by… 1,700.
Gardasil reduces cervical cancer risk by approximately 70%. In 2010 11,818 US women were diagnosed and 3,939 died. 2,851 British women were diagnosed.
WDDTY hates surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It also apparently hates one of the few interventions that might make all that unnecessary for a significant number of women. Instead, WDDTY peddles unproven and disproven remedies.
Why don’t doctors tell you that Gardasil is deadly?
Because it is a bald-faced lie.
WDDTY complains that it is unfairly criticised as promoting the claim that the HPV vaccine is a killer, that the HPV vaccine is dangerous and the virus itself unproblematic.
Do these claims stack up?
See for yourself:
- Parents refusing the ‘unsafe’ HPV vaccine for their daughters Parents are holding back, and are not allowing their daughters to have the controversial HPV vaccine, new research has d… more » e-news
- HPV Vaccine: Gardasil may be a killer The HPV vaccine – which is being given to girls aged between 11 and 12 to prevent cervical cancer in later life – may be… more » e-news
- HPV: Teenage vaccine is causing death and injury Gardasil, the vaccine designed to protect against the cervical cancer-causing HPV virus, is responsible for the deaths o… more » e-news
- Parents want HPV vaccine banned after it wrecked health of their daughters A group of American mothers wants the HPV vaccine Gardasil banned after it ruined the health of their teenage daughters…. more » e-news
- Parents refuse Gardasil HPV vaccine for their teenage daughters Parents are turning their back on the new Gardasil HPV vaccine, and are refusing to allow their teenage daughters to hav… more » e-news
- ‘Safe’ HPV vaccine kills up to 1,700 young girls Nearly 1,700 young girls in the US have died or suffered permanent disability after being given the HPV vaccine, new off… more » e-news
- HPV: The higher profits vaccine The latest vaccine has big question marks over its safety, effectiveness—and necessity more » Cover Story
- Cancer & the pill: at least something’s getting clearer Doctors have zoned in on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection as the most likely cause of cervical cancer. But researche… more » e-news
- News * Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in developed co… more » Short Takes
- Cervical cancer Compulsory vaccine funded by the drug company more » Cover Story
- Cervical cancer: – A vaccine that glaxo thinks is great Cervical cancer is invariably caused by the HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. Globally around 470,000 new cases are… more » Family matters
- The cervical cancer killer Problems continue to mount for the vaccine that was widely touted as one that would end cervical cancer. more » Drugs and Side Effects
- Taking the Michael: no, you don’t get throat cancer that way Hollywood film star Michael Douglas’s claims that his throat cancer may have been caused by oral sex isn’t backed up by… more » e-news
- Gardasil The new ‘cervical cancer’ vaccine launched this month in Britain has a scary profile in America more » Cover Story
- Gardasil: Selling out our children The latest vaccine, purported to prevent cervical cancer and ‘sold’ to the public through a highly sophisticated direct-… more » Cover Story
- Genital warts Please find me an urgent cure for the genital wart virus! Every doctor or hospital clinic I have spoken to has told me t… more » Q & A
- Short takes … more » Short Takes
- Cervical Dysplasia This is a scary diagnosis, but it doesn’t mean you have cancer—and there’s plenty you can do to slash your risk of devel… more » Cover Story
- The best alternative treatment for . . . warts Not life-threatening, warts are nevertheless annoying, disfiguring and potentially carcinogenic – and on the increase, p… more » Alternative Treatments
- Warts and all . . . Among the many cures for warts, vitamin A has a long history of evidence of success more » Cover Story
- A mind to heal New research is discovering that our mind is as powerful as prescription drugs in combating disease—but may also play a… more » Cover Story