Vaccines, cancer, vitamin vaping, and more


Talking to friends and family who share dodgy stories and health claims on social media: Best to fact-check yourself before you wreck yourself.

How should we handle complementary and alternative medicine? “[…] according to the World Health Organisation nearly 100 million Europeans use TCM. People, it seems, are voting with their feet for the treatment, and the evidence, that suits them. The ethical rub is whether those choices are autonomous, reflecting an understanding of whether the medicine actually works.”

A brief history of vaccination: “Preventative medicine is more important than cures”… “It’s better to prevent the root cause if possible than to treat diseases”… Vaccines do just that, are one of the most important public health interventions of all time and their invention is this week’s ‘Great Moment in Health and Science’.

INTERACTIVE: We mapped cancer rates across Australia – search for your postcode here: The relationship between cancer incidence, cancer death and socioeconomic status is a complex one. People living in disadvantaged areas may have less access to screening programs, be less likely to seek healthcare following symptoms and have patterns of behavior that increase cancer risk. These data help us to identify where we might have problems with healthcare delivery and public health programs which hopefully can be amended through policy change.

Needless procedures: knee arthroscopy is one of the most common but least effective surgeries: “Many studies have now shown the outcomes from arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis and degenerative meniscal tears are no better than the outcomes from placebo (fake) surgery or other treatments (such as exercise therapy). A recent summary of these studies made “a strong recommendation against the use of arthroscopy in nearly all patients with degenerative knee disease” (osteoarthritis and degenerative tears of the menisci) and concluded “further research is unlikely to alter this recommendation”.”

“Changing practice in response to evidence is often slow. The first high-quality trial to demonstrate knee arthroscopy was no better than placebo surgery was published in 2002, yet overuse of knee arthroscopy has persisted. Barring financial and regulatory controls, practice change in medicine is largely a social phenomenon. It requires leaders in the field and informed consumers to change practice.

The rates of knee arthroscopy in Australia are starting to fall, particularly in New South Wales, where the rate of knee arthroscopies in people aged 50 and over has nearly halved since 2011. More action is needed. All surgeons, particularly in high-volume states such as Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, need to take a good hard look at the evidence, question their practice, and take action to reduce this overuse.”

Not just water! This homeopathy is contaminated with bacteria:Homeopathy from King Bio may contain an unlabelled ingredient: Bacterial contamination.

Michigan vaccine regulations – Court decides on religious exemptions: “A malevolent pertussis vaccine given at birth can protect a newborn from a potentially dangerous whooping cough infection until she receives the standard DTaP vaccine at six to eight weeks of age. In addition, the study found no serious adverse events from the vaccine.”

Did you know?

People are vaping vitamins—but is that really good for you? Anyone who has followed our page will know that Friends of Science in Medicine are not sold on vitamin supplementation unless medically indicated (you have a proven deficiency). And if you do have a vitamin deficiency, would you decide vaping is your go to method for getting your dose? This is yet another gimmick. Most of these products aren’t marketed as vitamins, rather they are mood enhancers. One for stress relief, one for energy, one to help you sleep. This is naturopathy in an e-cigarette. An advertising campaign looking for a market. And naturally, it is catching on. Vaping may not be the worst thing on earth, but let’s not pretend it’s good for you because you are sucking on some herbs and vitamins.