Vaccine myths, diet myths, preventing Listeria, and more …

FSM Friends news & articles

Yet more evidence that the antivaccine trope of “too many too soon” is nonsense: “When you compare the number of antigens in the vaccine schedule (a few hundred at most) to the many thousands of antigens they encounter just by living, the ridiculousness of the “too many too soon” talking point becomes obvious. In 2013 a study was published showing no association between total antigen exposure and the risk of autism or maximum antigen exposure at one visit (number of shots given in a single visit) and autism risk. It was about as resoundingly negative a study as I’ve ever seen. Basically, the current vaccine schedule is safe and effective and evidence-based.”



It’s time to renew our vows with evidence-based medicine: “Here is the key problem: With so many respected institutions incorporating “give-the-people-what-they-want” treatments devoid of evidence alongside data-driven cancer practices that are painstakingly defined as a standard of care, they are devaluing the efforts of their practitioners who actually pursue high-quality, evidence-based care while simultaneously legitimizing practices that are borne only of plausible preclinical premises or mysticism in the form of vague but grandiose claims and, occasionally, anecdotal successes. By mixing evidence-based medicine and hype-driven care, it is as if we are grading two PhD candidates as a team, despite the fact that one arrived with a thoughtful, meticulously researched thesis, and the other candidate presented a printout of their Facebook news feed bound by a slick cover.

Regardless of who is promoting an idea, we cannot lower our standards to accept biased presumptions over empirically tested evidence—and it doesn’t matter whether the hype is hucksterism featured on the “Dr Oz” show or overstatements about the miracles of personalized medicine delivered from an ASCO podium.”

The exploitation of cancer patients is wicked. Carrot juice for lunch, then die destitute: The time when I lose patience with quacks is when they make unjustified claims about serious diseases. Giving false hope to the desperate (often at a high price) is plain wicked. If the patient stops more effective treatment, it’s homicide. Homeopaths have been jailed for that. Sometimes it’s a result of wishful thinking. Sometimes it’s to make money. The latter is morally more despicable. Both are culpable.


Health promotion and disease prevention

How can you prevent listeriosis? What is listeria and how does it spread in rockmelons?

Here are some practical things you can do to prevent the spread of listeria:

  • thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, lamb, pork and poultry
  • wash raw vegetables and fruit thoroughly before eating
  • use separate cutting boards for raw meat and foods that are ready to eat
  • wash your hands with soapy water before and after preparing food
  • wash knives and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods
  • wash your hands after handling animals.

If you are at greater risk for listeriosis, consider avoiding:

  • pre-cut melons such as rockmelon or watermelon
  • pre-packed cold salads including coleslaw and fresh fruit salad
  • pre-cooked cold chicken, cold delicatessen meats, pâté, raw and uncooked smoked seafood (such as smoked salmon)
  • unpasteurised milk or milk products, soft cheeses (such as brie, camembert, ricotta or blue-vein)
  • sprouted seeds
  • raw mushrooms.


Great Moments in Health and Science

Why back to sleep is the safest position for your baby The public health campaigns combating Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) such as “Back to Sleep” in conjunction with ongoing research on this important area have helped to reduce SIDS and are a great example of effective science communication.


Today’s abused medical concept is…

Antidepressant denialism  – The debate is over: antidepressants DO work better than placebo: A widely used factoid is that antidepressants are less effective than placebo. It is true that countering publication bias has shown a reduced effectiveness compared to initial reporting, but antidepressants remain more effective that either placebo or psychotherapy. Only the most perversely recalcitrant antidepressant denialists will continue to say that the drugs are no more effective than placebo. The debate is over. Questions remain about effect size and prescription guidelines, but it has been satisfactorily established that antidepressants (all of them) work better than placebo. Depression kills; antidepressants can help prevent suicides, relieve suffering, and improve quality of life and functioning.


Did you know?

Questions and answers about the Gerson Therapy: A long-time mainstay of alternative medicine is Gerson Therapy, also known as the Gerson Diet. Gerson Therapy involves drinking copious amounts of juice coupled with a diet of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. Now there is nothing wrong with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, but unfortunately the Gerson regime also employs frequent coffee or chamomile enemas.

Gerson Therapy is normally associated with cancer but Max Gerson originally applied his therapy to migraine sufferers and then to tuberculosis patients. The application to cancer only came later. Which brings the rationale for the therapy into question. As a cancer therapy, Gerson theorised that cancer overworked and damaged the liver. His diet helped the liver to recover and strengthened the immune system. The enemas opened the bile ducts to allow the release of toxins from the liver. All of which is completely wrong.

Gerson Therapy would probably be a footnote in the history of alternative therapies if it weren’t for Gerson’s daughter who founded the Gerson Institute following her father’s death. So even to this day, people employ juices, diet and a collection of supplements to combat one of the most treatment refractory diseases in humans: cancer.