Reputations, Facebook fakes, flu (still), and more…

FSM News and Articles

Shops full of vitamins, miracle pills “trashing pharmacists’ reputation“; “The transformation of pharmacies into shopfronts for homoeopathy, vitamins and non-evidence-based remedies is trashing the profession’s reputation, doctors, experts and even some pharmacists fear.”


Rising rates of bowel cancer in young Australians: “If something is not normal such as abdominal pain, a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in your poo or rectal bleeding, or unexplained tiredness or weight loss for around two weeks or more you should see your GP ASAP,” he told Hack. Diet and lifestyle choices can influence your bowel cancer risk, so it’s important to:

• Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes;
• Eat whole grains and naturally high fibre foods;
• Participate in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk;
• Avoid processed meat and limit red meat consumption to <500g cooked per week;
• If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount;
• Avoid weight gain and increases in waist circumference;
• Quit smoking.

A shockingly large majority of health news shared on Facebook is fake or misleadingIt shouldn’t be a surprise to most of us that a lot of health claims made online are misinterpreted, exaggerated, twisted or just plain false. This actually seems to be the majority of popular articles shared on Facebook (it might be interesting to compare that with all articles on Facebook, not just the most popular).

Eight reasons you may be planning to skip your child’s flu vaccine this year (and why you probably shouldn’t)It’s shaping up to be bad year for influenza cases in Australia and it’s a good idea to get vaccinated, especially children and older people. This article covers the most common objections to vaccination and explains why they should not be a concern. If you still have concerns, it is best to speak with your GP because there is really no reason to be afraid of the flu vaccine.

The cell discovery that could stop allergies: A new type of cell has been discovered that appears to have strong implication for the understanding and potential prevention of allergic reactions. Every now and then, science finds a new tool or a discovery with great potential to improve health and the way we treat or diagnose. A new discovery like this is not guaranteed, nor does it instantly translate to new treatments, but it is exciting to see the new knowledge start to flow in. By comparison, the natural health modalities often claim to have the answers to the difficult questions of modern health challenges. But rather than investigating, learning and developing, natural and alternative modalities tend to be restricted to dogmatic thinking and outdated processes. Contrary to their claims they rarely, if ever, add to the pool of knowledge of how to help people, or how to prevent disease.

Great Moments in Health and Science

A brief history of the spirometer: The spirometer measures lung capacity and function and is used to diagnose and monitor a range of respiratory conditions.

Thanks to Science

We can use new technologies to treat burn victims – Adelaide doctor grows skin in a lab to treat severe burns victim in world-first treatment: Recent advancements like Biodegrading Temporal Matrix (BTM) and composite cultured skin have enabled better graft acceptance and return of function for burn victims. When severe burns occur, it can be difficult to find enough healthy skin to make a skin graft and the grafts have little healthy tissue to grow on. BTM is a new technique that allows healthy tissue to grow under a protective layer, while new skin can be cultured in the lab and applied to the burn.

Abused Concepts

Vaccine Injury Settlements: Did the DOJ Admit the Flu Shot Is the “Most Dangerous” Vaccine in America? Among the most abused sources of data in the anti-vaccine blogosphere (outside of perhaps, retracted papers) are records regularly released by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), a federal claims court that settles cases of alleged vaccine injury… Almost 75 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of negotiated settlements in which [it] HAS NOT concluded, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury. Still, anti-vaccine websites regularly and frequently highlight cases from the VICP… A common example of this phenomenon is “Health Impact News” a website that is at least five years out of date but continues to be shared as if it were a breaking news story: “Flu Vaccine is the most Dangerous Vaccine in the U. S. based on Settled Cases for Injuries.”

• Why did they only use data from a single quarter 5 years ago?
• Why didn’t they do any mathematical analysis or give context?
• Why didn’t they care that the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) from contracting the flu is SIGNIFICANTLY greater than the small risk associated with the flu shot?

Perhaps because anti-vaxxers don’t actually care about the risk. What they seem to value most is the cheap ‘gotcha’ moment they get when something, anything, appears to support their biases.