That about sums up the last week really. Meanwhile, Brian Deer shafts the parents in the 1998 Lancet study calling them worse words than being “nuts”; Dr Paul Offit calls Wakefield a fanatic; vaccine defending bloggers infer that Jenny McArthy is a slut, and the sun shines out of Dr Offit’s little pet Amanda Peet’s long legs... and Gregory Poland considers anyone who is anti vaccine has, "low cognitive complexity in thinking patterns, reasoning flaws, and a habit of substituting emotional anecdotes for data”. And we think Parliament is childish?
The current medical and media parrotage on Deer-gate is worse than in the past, but even so, history is very instructive. Medical systems have for centuries, made dog-piling, and character assassination into versatile art forms with all the spontaneity of well practiced professional wrestling.
The only issue at question is what form it will take. In the past, some dissenting thinkers were pretty much destroyed in private, like Louis Pillemer and Major Bryon L. Bennett. No, you didn’t know about them, did you. Didn’t think so. I won’t elaborate. You might find a bit about the first on Google but the latter is still a skeleton locked under a sign called “No fishing”. Watching each Deer-gate screen play being acted out (particularly by him) while his circus tries to lasso Dr Andrew Wakefield is very instructive.
But by way of an educative introduction, let’s take a minor side-path and read a column in the Telegraph, written by Dr James Le Fanu called ‘Statins for all’ – and billions for drug firms”, which was reprinted in today’s New Zealand Herald. Le Fanu puts it in a nutshell:
Back in 1975, Henry Gadsden, the chief executive of the drug company Merck, expressed his frustration that the market for his company's products was limited to those with some treatable illness. Ideally, he said, he would like to "sell to everyone".
Three decades later, his dream would seem to have come true – epitomised by the most profitable class of drugs ever discovered, the cholesterol-lowering statins that are taken by an estimated seven million people in Britain, and tens of millions worldwide.
Statins are frequently portrayed as the wonder drugs of our age, whose role in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes prevents tens of thousands of deaths per year. But not according to the most recent review of the many trials investigating their effectiveness, published yesterday. It suggests that for three quarters of those taking them, they offer little or no value, while exposing millions to the hazard of undesirable side-effects.
Could we please substitute the word “Vaccines” for statins? (Quelle horreur - une vache sacrée !)
Everyone thinks that statins being bad is a unique finding,... but have they forgotten Vioxx, Bextra, Thalidomide, DES and the lists of drugs still being withdrawn just about daily... or even the new revelations on Paracetamol, which I predicted many years ago?
There will be more nasty surprises in the days and months to come, of that you can be sure. In general, the one thing Big Pharma can count on, is that the average person on the street, has no idea they are ignorant. Which is the definition of ignorant. Most people on the street think that doctors have always had a cure for everything and always will.
A book which should be compulsory reading for all medical doctors is called “Bacillary and Rickettsial infections” by William H. Holmes published in 1940. My copy is a toss out from Harvard Medical School and possible reasons for that were discussed in a BMJ e-response last week. Dr Holmes was incredibly well educated, writing in a fascinating, captivating and easy-to-read manner. He was more than happy to discuss in detail the fact that all the standard treatments for infectious diseases up to 1940, were far more likely to kill the patient, than cure the disease. Not something the average medical school wants to infiltrate the into the minds of the people then expected to follow practice guidelines, most of which are opinion, not fact. Perhaps that's also the reason why the editor inserted a disclaimer into his discussion of the study. Someone must be a bit pissy about having more dirty little secrets revealed to the world.
Dr Holmes’ book goes neatly alongside Dr J. R. Paul’s “History of Poliomyelitis” which amongst other things details the cruel, inhumane and useless treatments for polio from 1800 right up to the 1950’s. Ironically it was a nurse called Sister Kenny who pointed out that standard practice actually caused the strictures that the experts attributed to the virus itself. Which is why Sister Kenny was treated so abominably. It’s bad enough another doctor upbraiding a peer, but how dare she have the audacity to tell all the experts off and then proceed to prove to them that their treatment was causing the problems, not curing them?! The few medical experts who encouraged and supported her, became paraiahs in their own right. Kenny was not the first to find that the medical system will eliminate the truth at every opportunity.
Question. Is the Sister Kenny successful polio treatment being used throughout Africa where vaccinated children are getting polio hand over fist? Of course not. Rather, it’s the old, inhumane and cruel treatments being used, as you can see from photographs at Getty Images. Once Sister Kenny died, her treatments were put right back in the rubbish tin where they wanted her when she was alive and kicking. Even in this country a few years ago, when a young woman got polio from her vaccinated daughter, not only did the hospital not use the Kenny treatment, but they waited several weeks before telling the mother she had polio.
There is a long litany of crucified medical scientists just begging to be written about. A few of the really special ones with regard to vaccines are Bernice Eddy, John Anthony Morris. In immunology Louis Pillemer heads the list for me.
Oh yes. Let’s not forget the “real” discoverer of the SALK vaccine Major Byron L. Bennett. Not too many people know the real story about Bennett, but those who do say nothing. Medical history is littered with people, once “reputable” who didn’t like what they saw and within a matter of years of speaking out, had either become “disreputable”, or left medicine in disgust. Some uber greats who spoke out against the smallpox vaccine, were also “Wakefielded”? USA’s most famous son, Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes left medicine in disgust, because he peers treated him like the Europeans treated Semmelweis. He at least, didn’t die insane in a mental asylum. To the shame of American doctors he cleared off and wrote poetry and novels, while his contemporaries continued their wholesale massacre of women and children, by puerperal fever because they wouldn’t wash their hands.
What is going on with Andrew Wakefield is par for the course, except for one aspect. Modern media methods. The internet has given platform to a freelance journalist, who doesn’t do much for a living, and is being funded by “big pharma” to do their dirty work for them, with BMJ rubber stamping the allegations. He and some of his “mates” like “Rebecca” want answers to the allegation that Deer’s arguments are flawed.
What is preventing those allegations from being scrutinised? For one, Brian Deer is asserting confidentiality and copyright on the material he says he has so painstakingly accumulated. Bollocks. All that information is actually the property of the parents, doctors and hospitals. Not one scrap of the material he purloined from the GMC or before, is copyright to him.
Here is a simple solution which I proposed to "Rebecca" at BMJ as an e-response. But I’ve added a new twist here.
Deer should put up for public scrutiny, all the data upon which he is accusing Wakefield of fraud. Since BMJ supposedly “peer-reviewed” the documents, BMJ should open a webpage, uploading the pdfs of all the documents sent to the reviewers for them to peer review. GMC should put up on a webpage, all the transcripts to be viewed free of charge, and which presumably contain mention of documents used in that forum.
Then Deer’s website should be catalogued and LOCKED so that he can’t add anything else in retrospect. BMJ’s webpage should be catalogued so that nothing can be added in retrospect.
After that is done the parents and Royal Free, should put up for all to see, (especially the GMC), the children’s complete medical records, and all relevant documents/scans/x-rays.
Then in a separate forum – say – using an interactive v-bulletin, Deer can explain to the world’s parents and media, linking to his own documents, why he is right. He can’t complain he has no time. After all, Big Pharma pays his bills. Dr Wakefield can link to his own documents, to show that he is right.
After all, if a free-lance journalist called Brian Deer is considered intelligent enough by BMJ to be commissioned to write a three part character assassination, Deer should have no worries about making all that data public, should he?
Let some of his peers – other journalists – go through the documentation and see if he is right. After all, their brains are as good as his.
When all written arguments are complete, if there is still disagreement over who is right, let’s have a live televised debate with a moderator.