Ticks, snakes, tetanus, and more…

FSM Friends News and Articles

Chronic Lyme disease: Fake diagnosis, not fake disease. The term “fake diagnosis” or “quack diagnosis”, however, directs the charge of fakery right where it belongs, at the quacks making the bogus diagnosis. The symptoms these patients experience are real. The diagnoses used by quacks to describe these symptoms are not.


How biotechnology could offer hope for snakebite victims“Treatment against snakebite venom is currently limited to antiserum derived from animals. There have been incremental innovations in the manufacture of antivenoms. But most are still produced using methods developed 120 years ago. Current anti-venom production involves immunising animals, like horses or sheep, with venom milked from snakes and then isolating antibodies from the serum. The process is expensive and labour intensive. A combination of these factors and a difficult market environment has some led commercial producers to withdraw. As a result, current stocks of functional anti-venom will soon expire. The situation is so bad that experts and NGOs active in the field refer to the lack of anti-venom – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa – as a neglected health crisis. But there is hope on the horizon. Innovations in biotechnology being used to produce pharmaceuticals for other treatments could also be applied to producing anti-venoms. These would be made in laboratory conditions rather than extracted from animals.”

The cure for pseudoscience? Clear thinking. “Heated political disputes over once widely uncontested facts—evolution and climate change, for example—have resulted in school boards steering classrooms away from teaching such subjects. In turn, high school graduates often enter college—and the real world—ill-informed. One remedy is to teach college students critical thinking skills.”

Unvaccinated 6-year-old in Oregon contracts first case of tetanus in 30 years: “When we hear horror stories about children contracting diseases because of anti-vaccination propaganda and parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids, we don’t often hear much, if anything, about tetanus. Look at the physical price this poor, innocent little boy had to endure because he wasn’t given a simple tetanus shot — it’s unfathomable any parent would choose this for their child.”

Health Check: are you up to date with your vaccinations? Which vaccines do adults need? Catch-up vaccinations are free for young adults under 20 years old, and vary in price after that. Healthy people aged ten and above should make sure they’re up to date with the following vaccinations:

  • diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • hepatitis B
  • polio
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • measles, mumps and rubella
  • meningococcal
  • pneumococcal
  • varicella (chicken pox)
  • zoster (shingles).

As an adult, the number of extra vaccines needed is generally lower than what is listed in the childhood immunisation schedule. This is because young babies need more doses of the same vaccine to develop adequate immunity, and because some vaccines are not required by the time you reach adulthood.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Dietary Supplements – Unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients included in dietary supplements associated with US Food and Drug Administration warnings: For example, a study of FDA warnings over 10 years found 776 supplements (from 146 companies) that contained unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients including were identified in 776 dietary supplements, including “sildenafil for sexual enhancement supplements, sibutramine for weight loss supplements, and synthetic steroids or steroid-like ingredients”. Of particular note is that many of supplements continued to be repeat offenders receiving FDA warnings over more than a 6 month period, and that of those, MOST (69%) went on to add MORE unapproved pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, “dietary supplement use was associated with 23 000 emergency department visits and 2000 hospitalizations in the United States each year. Serious adverse events reported with the use of dietary supplements include stroke, acute liver injury, kidney failure, pulmonary embolisms, and death.” Yet “of adverse event reports received by the FDA, most do not initiate consumer protection actions…”

The simple fact is that supplement manufacturers market themselves like foods to avoid regulations, and to avoid having to back up their claims with evidence. They also claim to be ‘safe and natural’ alternatives to drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Supplement manufacturers should NOT be allowed to make deceptive claims, and they should NOT be able to so easily get away with selling contaminated unsafe products.

Great Moments in Health and Science

History of sanitation and water supply:  Not a single moment per se, but accumulated efforts since early civilisation, sanitation is one of the most important concepts in public health.