Monday, October 26, 2009

Haven't had a flu shot in a decade; none the worse for it...

Is It Really A “National Emergency,” Mr. President? | Free The Animal:
"...suppose we were able to make the epidemiology better. How would one do that? Well, the easiest and surest way would be to not vaccinate at all for a year, and then compare the death rates to the years when many were vaccinated.

THE HISTORY OF FLU VACCINATION suggests other reasons to doubt claims that it dramatically reduces mortality. In 2004, for example, vaccine production fell behind, causing a 40 percent drop in immunization rates. [...]

And how did that work out? It wasn't a total moratorium on vaccination, but maybe it'll lend a clue. But let's wait. Maybe we can get even more data.

[...] In addition, vaccine “mismatches” occurred in 1968 and 1997: in both years, the vaccine that had been produced in the summer protected against one set of viruses, but come winter, a different set was circulating. In effect, nobody was vaccinated. [...]

There we go...and, the punchline:

[...] Yet death rates from all causes, including flu and the various illnesses it can exacerbate, did not budge. Sumit Majumdar, a physician and researcher at the University of Alberta, in Canada, offers another historical observation: rising rates of vaccination of the elderly over the past two decades have not coincided with a lower overall mortality rate. In 1989, only 15 percent of people over age 65 in the U.S. and Canada were vaccinated against flu. Today, more than 65 percent are immunized. Yet death rates among the elderly during flu season have increased rather than decreased."

Yet both "National Emergencies" and associated corporate profits persist...

Had enough? Well, much of the remainder of the piece is about resistance over controlled trials, which, if you read regularly: observational epidemiology only gets you to the hypothesis stage. You need to control variables to tease out real causes. So, let's explore.

The annals of medicine are littered with treatments and tests that became medical doctrine on the slimmest of evidence, and were then declared sacrosanct and beyond scientific investigation. In the 1980s and ’90s, for example, cancer specialists were convinced that high-dose chemotherapy followed by a bone-marrow transplant was the best hope for women with advanced breast cancer, and many refused to enroll their patients in randomized clinical trials that were designed to test transplants against the standard—and far less toxic—therapy. The trials, they said, were unethical, because they knew transplants worked. When the studies were concluded, in 1999 and 2000, it turned out that bone-marrow transplants were killing patients. Another recent example involves drugs related to the analgesic lidocaine...

Don't have a short memory and don't be dumb. Realize that those who are in power are in power because they like to be in power (Duh!); they don't really give a damn about you or your family, and You. Are. On. Your. Own.

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