Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Stories: Measles, Calories and Suicide


The Wall Street Journal talks about the surprising demographics of the next measles outbreak.

The NYT's Mark Bittman talks calories.

Siri's not the greatest suicide counselor.

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4 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:51 pm

    I'll be honest. I'm terrified of vaccines, and I'm terrified of disease. I've delayed in my son (5 years now) and I'm unable to make a decision.

    I understand that scientists are saying that the link between Autism and Vaccines has been disproved, but I can't help but remember all the articles that disproved the link between smoking and cancer, or DDT and birth defects.

    Also, I worry about the theory that "there's no money in cures, just treatments" and I think about things like Aspartame being labelled "harmless" by the same agencies that also approve of the ingredients in vaccines.

    How can I safely make a decision without 14 years of science and medical training?

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  2. You should chat with your doctor and utilize evidence based resources. Ultimately you need to decide for yourself who to trust. For what it's worth, I think you're putting your son's life at unnecessary risk in the name of fearing the unknown. The known, vaccine preventable diseases, to me at least, orders of magnitude more scary.

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  3. Simba2:45 am

    I was reading on the history of polio, and it's amazing how many times there was nearly a shortage of vaccine simply because no-one wanted to make it. The profit margins are very low, price has to be kept artificially low, the demand is unpredictable, and most vaccines you only get once or twice (up to about 6 times for Hep B, I think it is).

    Compare that to something like viagra- good profit margins, people want it, you can predict the demand in advance, and your customers will take it every day. Antibiotics you take a course of, over a few days, and they can be very very expensive. Measles treatment is much more profitable than measles prevention by vaccine. $$$ for the drug companies.

    That's one of the reasons why governments traditionally provide money for vaccination- it's because there have been so many times when the companies gave them up in favor of something less life-saving, but more profitable.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02987.pdf- here. It's still happening, those vaccine shortages because of difficulty of manufacture and the undesireability of it for pharma companies. http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452

    I was actually unsure about this issue until I read the original paper itself (the autism-vaccines one), and I was surprised anyone could take it so seriously.
    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-paper.htm

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  4. 2 Question:
    As a child I got immunized against measles, diphtheria etc, but do adults need to be immunized against measles, diphtheria, etc or are these more of childhood disease?
    I thought chicken pox was childhood disease, but I got them at 48 yrs old, even though as a child my brothers and childhood friends had them; two years later I got shingles.
    My mother tells of a story (early 60's) of a doctor that used to live beside us and if someone got the chickenpox in the neighbourhood he would send his kids over to play, so they would get them while they were young.
    Also since I have had the chicken pox and also spinal meningitis, am I immuned to ever getting these diseases again? Thanks!

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