Vertigo, vaccines (still), jumping out of planes, and much, much more…

FSM Friends news & articles

Homeopathic VaccinesHere is an interesting wrinkle in the alternative medicine world: homeopathic vaccines. This is a cool way to alleviate your guilt for not vaccinating your children without having to resort to a medical intervention. They contain no “toxic” preservatives and nobody experiences adverse reations. That’s because there’s nothing in them but water.

“The first ‘law’ behind vaccines and homeopathy is the same: like cures like. Vaccines are the only medical validation of the first ‘law’ of homeopathy of which I am aware. It is the second ‘law’ of homeopathy where medicine, and reality, part company with homeopathy, the ‘law’ of dilutions. Where vaccines are given with a well characterized concentration of antigen, homeopathic nostrums are often diluted long past the point where anything remains behind. If a homeopathic nostrum is 20X, then there is no longer even a molecule of the original substance in the mixture.”

There are no shortcuts or easy ways out when it comes to communicable diseases. Just get your vaccinations.

Vertigo Voodoo: A Crazy-Sounding Cure That Actually Works: Vertigo is a kind of dizziness where a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common types of vertigo. It is an inner ear disorder that produces a spinning sensation with certain changes in the position of the head, such as rolling over in bed. The room seems to jerk repeatedly in the same direction. The episode typically lasts less than a minute; it is sometimes accompanied by nausea. It can be brought on by trauma, but a specific cause is usually not found. The incidence increases with age and it is more common in women. It sometimes resolves spontaneously but can recur. The symptoms are attributed to “ear rocks”, or otoliths, tiny crystals that are normally attached to the tips of hair cells where their inertia helps the inner ear sense gravity and movement. They can get dislodged and accumulate in the semicircular canals where they can trigger false signals of movement.

The best-known repositioning treatment is the Epley maneuver, which can be performed by clinicians or by patients themselves. It involves a sequence of positions: sitting with head rotated, lowering to a supine position with neck extended, turning head to the other side, rolling onto the shoulder, and returning to an upright position with head still rotated. It was first described by Epley in 1980; he also applied vibration to stir up the otoliths, but this later proved unnecessary. It is highly successful: it works (stops vertigo and nystagmus) in up to 95% of patients, and sometimes only a single treatment is needed.

The Epley maneuver has been extensively tested. Several systematic reviews have found it effective, including this one from 2006. A 2014 Cochrane review evaluated 11 randomized trials (7 of them blinded) with 745 subjects and determined that it was safe and effective. They thought there was a low risk of bias in the trials. The recurrence rate after treatment was 36%, but the treatment can be repeated. Follow-up measures to limit head movement, including sleeping with head elevated for 1-2 days, are commonly recommended; but a 2005 study found it made no significant difference. After a single Epley maneuver, there was clinical improvement in 96% of those who restricted head movements and 94% of those who didn’t.

Naturopaths cannot call themselves “Medically Trained” in New Brunswick“Just like ‘dentistry’ and ‘nursing’ are clear and unambiguous ways to describe one’s background, so too should ‘naturopathy’ be a sufficient descriptor. The only reason to start throwing the term ‘medical’ around is to deliberately sow confusion about your education.”


New epigenetic cervical cancer test has 100 per cent detection rate: “A new test for cervical cancer was found to detect all of the cancers in a randomised clinical screening trial of 15,744 women, outperforming both the current Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test at a reduced cost, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London.”

Michigan court supports vaccines – finds in favor of child’s health: Parents in a custody battle experienced significant disagreement over vaccinations. The anti-vax community threw in their support for the anti-vax mother, even providing an anti-vax lawyer. Many anti-vax tropes were used in court and not well countered. However, by considering the the child’s best interests and the not focusing on red herrings, the court STILL found that the father should be allowed to vaccinate his child. “The court found Dr. Moss’s testimony on conflicts of interests “compelling”, but the evidence by the mother “did not establish that [the child] will be harmed by any particular vaccination and/or that any particular vaccination is otherwise contrary to [the child’s] best interests.” This follows close on the heels of another case where the anti-vax parent was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to follow any of the courts directions.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – inside a hospital’s trauma unit“In a neighbouring trauma bay, an elderly lady has been brought in after a fall. She is awake but looks uncomfortable lying flat on her back with a hard neck collar immobilising her spine. She slipped and hit her head while playing with her grandchildren. Older people are often in unfamiliar environments on Christmas day, visiting friends and family, where there are more opportunities for injury. Two-thirds of female and one-third of male injury-related deaths occur in those aged over 65. Falls account for 73% of cases of major trauma in patients over 65 years of age.”

Adenomyosis causes pain, heavy periods and infertility but you’ve probably never heard of it: An incredibly painful chronic condition for some women. Adenomyosis is a condition of the uterus (womb), where the tissue that grows on the lining of the uterus (also known as the endometrium) is also present on the inside muscular wall of the uterus. Adenomyosis can cause symptoms such as heavy bleeding during your period, bleeding when you are not due for your period, period pain (dysmenorrhea), pain during or after sex (dyspareunia) and infertility. Although women with adenomyosis often also have endometriosis, they are different conditions. With endometriosis, cells similar to those that line the uterus are found in other parts of the body such as the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis (the peritoneum).

Obligation vaccinale – un an après, un premier bilan positif: France has long been notorious for widespread vaccine fears. Yet despite fears of loss of freedom, compulsory vaccination has resulted in peaceful acceptance and significant improvements in vaccination rates.

***The article is in French, but google translate appears to be on point***

“A year ago, France passed the eleven compulsory vaccines… Before the introduction of the obligation, voices had risen (anti-vaccines especially), judging the approach liberticide. The pediatricians all agree on this point: the vaccination obligation has rather appeased the hesitant parents, and finally strengthened their adhesion. The difference between compulsory and recommended vaccines, which prevailed until then, sowed doubt and encouraged mistrust. Now the message is clearer and the work of the doctors is easier. Sylvie Hubinois, pediatrician in the Paris region, says: “I think that people who doubt are less numerous, so we lose less time arguing, because, logically, we can think that the government does not want to run risks to the children. The percentage of children vaccinated with a hexavalent vaccine increased from 92% in May 2017 to 98% in May 2018. The obligation seems to have had a ripple effect on other non-compulsory vaccines for other age groups. The figures show that vaccine coverage has increased significantly”

Naturopathy is 99.9% bull$hit, but here’s what that 0.1% can teach us: This is the Britt Hermes story. A naturopathic “doctor” who turned her back on her profession to become a scientist. Currently, she is one of the most compelling voices in the fight against pseudo-scientific practices like naturopathy. As a former naturopath, she knows better than anyone the reason people turn to alternative medicine: time. Naturopaths spend one to three hours with their patients as compared to the average medical consultation of fifteen minutes. In other words, the medical profession has done a disservice to the public by seeming uninterested in their patients (when in reality they are pushed for time), thereby causing them to seek out the more “caring” practices of naturopathy or TCM or whatever. The solution? Obviously there isn’t one; doctors cannot very well start spending an hour with each patient. All we can do is spread the word about practices that are nonsense and then leave the choice of practitioner to individuals. We can’t force people to do the right thing.

Thanks to Science

One test to diagnose them all – researchers exploit cancers’ unique DNA signature: We may be able to develop a test to diagnose most cancers. The test exploits signature DNA methylation patterns that tend to accumulate in tumours. While the test is yet to be used in clinical trials, if successful it may be a useful screening assay.

Living drugs: Engineering bacteria to treat genetic diseases: Genetically engineered bacteria may be used as treatments for genetic nutritional disorders. “They decided that rather than meddling directly with the human genome, they would introduce the therapeutic genes directly into the naturally occurring bacteria that reside in the human gut. These genetically modified bacteria would then produce the enzymes that PKU patients lacked and break down the proteins into non-toxic products.

Today’s Abused Health Concepts

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft – randomized controlled trial: To demonstrate ways that participant belief can bias results, “Individuals were screened for inclusion in the ‘PArticipation in RAndomized trials Compromised by widely Held beliefs aboUt lack of Treatment Equipoise’ (PARACHUTE) trial.” Individuals were randomly assigned to a parachute group, or to the control group (empty backpack) and asked to jump from an aircraft. “Parachute use compared with a backpack control did not reduce death or major traumatic injury when used by participants jumping from aircraft in this first randomized evaluation of the intervention. This largely resulted from our ability to only recruit participants jumping from stationary aircraft on the ground. When beliefs regarding the effectiveness of an intervention exist in the community, randomized trials evaluating their effectiveness could selectively enroll individuals with a lower likelihood of benefit, thereby diminishing the applicability of trial results to routine practice. Therefore, although we can confidently recommend that individuals jumping from small stationary aircraft on the ground do not require parachutes, individual judgment should be exercised when applying these findings at higher altitudes.” In short, when someone on the internet finds a study showing poor results for given treatment, it does not mean that the treatment is invalidated unless the context of the wider scientific literature has been addressed.

 Lotus Birth – no benefit, plenty of riskThere are some benefits to delaying the clamping the umbilical after birth, but only for a minute or two. But Lotus birth means not cutting the umbilical cord after birth and allowing it to separate ‘naturally’. “This decision is made because of the influence of medical misinformation and the desire for a special birth experience. Lotus birth involves leaving a baby attached to the placenta via a tube containing blood vessels that allow blood to travel back and forth. This connection also allows the passage of pathogenic bacteria as said placenta begins to rot. It really is just that simple.” Lotus birth is a dangerous practice and anyone promoting it is putting the lives of newborn babies at risk. Cut the cord.

Great moments in Health and Science

The discovery and structure of cells: Integral to our understanding of nearly every bodily process, from urine production to stroke recovery, is the function of the billions of living organisms that comprise our bodies.

Treatment of acute ischemic stroke with clot retrieval device: The reason why identifying strokes early is so important is because of the existence of life-saving interventions like this. Remember FAST: Facial droop, Arms (can they raise both of them?), Speech (is it slurred?) and Time (call for emergency services immediately!)