Vaccines (again), omega-3, milk, and more…

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Blackmores vitamin chief says $10m for naturopathic centre at university will not influence research: “Blackmores is a company that’s made a fortune capitalising on the poor health of Australians and convincing them they need a whole lot of supplements and vitamins they don’t need… This will only downgrade the level of tertiary academic standards at the university, not improve them”.

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The revenge of chicken pox: This is similar to what has happened after the introduction of every major vaccination program – the incidence of the targeted disease plummeted. Antivaxxers argue, implausibly, that this is just a coincidence. The incidence was dropping anyway. Sometimes they improperly use death rates rather than incidence rates, the former reflecting the overall quality of health care and not just the spread of the disease. But this claim is simply absurd. The correlation between the introduction of vaccines and the precipitous decline in disease incidence is overwhelming. Chickenpox is just the latest example. Further – when you take the vaccine away, the disease comes back. We are increasingly seeing infectious disease outbreaks in areas with high vaccine refusal. Unvaccinated children tend to cluster in schools that are permissive about vaccine avoidance. They then create an environment in which an outbreak can occur. This, then, threatens the broader community, and frustrates efforts at elimination.

The end of homeopathy at the Medical School, University of ViennaSeveral students filed complaints with their dean about Frass’ lectures. This prompted the dean, Prof Mueller, to look into the matter and take drastic action. He is quoted stating that “the medical faculty rejects unscientific methods and quackery”.


Infant formula companies are behind the guidelines on milk allergy, and their sales are soaring:  “Research has found the perception of an allergic response to cow’s milk protein in children is ten times greater than what actual diagnosis would indicate. This means guidelines on allergy for doctors are really important. In some cases, doctors … said the guidelines were so vague that virtually every single infant could potentially be diagnosed using these symptoms.”

Despite new findings, the jury is still out on whether omega-3 supplements reduce heart attacks: Fortunately (and as far as we know) some “truths” remain. Eating fish is still good for you. The origin of the fish is important, not only to avoid contaminants but also because the omega-3 content and relative amounts of EPA and DHA varies. Cold water, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and tuna contain the most. If you cannot eat fish, there are plant sources of omega-3s found in some nuts and vegetable oils such as canola, chia, flaxseed, and soy. These have not been studied as extensively as those of marine origin.

Omega-3s including over the counter capsules have definite biological effects. They reduce triglycerides (the type of fat that contributes to hardening of the arteries) and the risk of blood clots, and are anti-inflammatory. These changes are mostly seen at higher doses. The evidence will evolve further but, in the meantime, and based on a recent evidence review, the National Heart Foundation recommendations don’t advise health professionals to routinely recommend omega-3 supplements for heart health. It does advise health professionals consider the use of omega-3 supplements for those with high triglyceride levels and as an additional treatment for heart failure.

Abused Health Concept

Anti-vax claim that MEASLES is a safe disease – Measles vaccine coverage stagnant – increased measles cases in 2017: Vaccine coverage is holding at 85%, far below the 95% needed for herd immunity, and measles cases went up by 31%, resulting 110,000 deaths in 2017. And while 1-2 children in 1000 will be killed by measles, another 1 in 1000 will contract encephalitis, often resulting in brain damage. Ironically, encephalitis is one of the things anti-vaxxer fear about vaccines. But apparently the higher risk is fine if it’s from a wild disease.

Great moments in Health and Science

History of EEG: The non-invasive method of measuring the brain’s electrical activity continues to be used for important research on sleep, seizures and even whether free will exists.