Weekend Reading

Links, articles, and posts that may be of interest to SBP readers:

Dr.  Yoni Freedhoff asks the question I’ve posed several times:  Why Is Weight Loss Quackery Being Sold By Pharmacists?

Sticky misinformation stays with you until you actively peel it off. More at Doubtful News.

Dr. Mark Crislip has a great post on vaccines: Protect Yourself, where he describes 14 kinds of dumbasses. Here are a few:

1. The vaccine gives me the flu. Dumb Ass. It is a killed vaccine. It cannot give you the influenza. It is impossible to get flu from the influenza vaccine.

4. I can prevent influenza or treat it by taking echinacea, vitamin C, oscillococcinum or Airborne. Gullible Dumb Ass cubed then squared. None of these concoctions has any efficacy what so ever against influenza. And if you think oscillococcinum has any efficacy, I would like you to invest in a perpetual motion machine I have invented. None of the above either prevent or treat influenza. And you can’t “boost” your immune system either. Anyone who suggests otherwise wants you money, not to improve your health.

5. Flu isn’t all that bad of a disease. Underestimating Dumb Ass. Part of the problem with the term flu is that it is used both as a generic term for damn near any viral illness with a fever and is also used for a severe viral pneumonia. Medical people are just as inaccurate about using the term as the general public. The influenza virus directly and indirectly kills 20,000 people (depending on the circulating strain and year) and leads to the hospitalization of 200,000 in the US each year. Influenza is a nasty lung illness. And what is stomach ‘flu’? No such thing.

How much health misinformation can Vitality magazine fit on one cover? A lot.

Review of Ben Goldacre’s new book “Bad Pharma” in The Economist. And the first response I’ve seen, from John LaMattina, former president of Pfizer R&D.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has an ghastly bodycount. Rare rhino dies after poacher cuts off horn. (Warning – graphic image.) World rhino day was this week. Rhino horn is not medicine.

Another tactic in prov-vaccine messaging. I don’t think it’s from the CDC. Warning: Lots of swearing. Really. A lot.  (I understand and want to see it.) What do you think? Rude? Vulgar? Effective?

Bill Gates on polio eradication – an interview with Andre Picard.

See the “GMOs cause cancer!!!!” headlines and Facebook updates? Not so fast. Bad science about GMOs: It reminds me of the antivaccine movement.

“There is nothing safe about the chemicals used in organic agriculture. Period.” Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not.

It was 30 years ago this week: The Tylenol Murders – An Oral History.

And unrelated, but interesting:

Interesting list on Reddit: What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?

Canadian Dance Moves. Extra points for mentioning insulin and medicare.

Photo from flickr user .reid. used under a CC licence.