Yes, Northern Beaches – we have our misinformed too.

It’s of no surprise to see the comments that have been posted over on The Manly Daily’s article on an outbreak of Pertussis on the Northern Beaches. (http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/comments/parents-lashed-over-whooping-cough-outbreak/)

Unfortunately for this anonymous person with an “open mind”, the statistics they quoted are incorrect. Firstly, the correct % for Australian Children is around 90% overall – not 97%, as reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in their publication “A Picture of Australian Children”. While a minimum of around 88% should be reached, the recommended rate of vaccination by the NHMRC is greater than 90%.

“When a person is vaccinated, their body produces an immune response in the same way their body would after exposure to a disease, but without the person suffering symptoms of the disease. When a person comes in contact with that disease in the future, their immune system will respond fast enough to prevent the person developing the disease.”  – http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/faq

Furthermore, Some parents often wonder why their children are contracting pertussis (Whooping Cough / WC) even when they’re immunized / vaccinated. This is, unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding of the way vaccination, and the subsequent immunisation of people occurs.

What is important here is the term “Herd Immunity”. Herd Immunity is a mathematical phenomena that exists because of immunisation rates. I found a wonderfully satirical video about it, and explains the mathematics that explain it’s effect, and demonstrates the effects visually. The video’s start is quite slow and goes on a bit about US politics and Lobby Groups, however Herd Immunity is VERY well explained and demonstrated later in the piece.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cKzzPkz2o

Back to the comments at The Manly Daily: The problem with guessing is that it’s not supported by evidence. Even off the bat however, the child in question contracted his Whooping Cough from a child who WAS NOT VACCINATED. — So much for guessing.

"KNOWING", in the Maternal Instinct sense is NOT evidence.

Annette’s maternal “knowing” is not supported by evidence; there are hereditary mitochondrial defects that may be affected by a vaccine SCHEDULE (an overwhelming on an already diminished system) because of a pre-existing immunodeficiency. These are rare cases, and since their understanding is only relatively recent, people who are unaware of their own mitochondrial status would not be inclined to test their children before vaccination.

I point out schedule because the schedule is based on an average, healthy, immune system. The schedule can be changed to suit those who have mitochondrial defects so they CAN be effectively vaccinated, and subsequently immunised against disease like all others.

I actually laughed when I decided to check in to Dr Scheibner’s credentials. Viera doesn’t disclose what field she is a Doctor in; rather she leaves it up to the reader to take it that she is “in the know” through suggestion.

As it turns out, she is a Geologist.

Now, I’m NOT saying she is wrong BECAUSE she is Geologist, I am pointing out the red flag. This is an Appeal to Dubious Authority – her own! She’s so renowned she has her own Wikipedia page! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viera_Scheibner)

“Since retiring from the Department of Mineral Resources, Scheibner has been active as an anti-vaccination campaigner, making numerous statements linking vaccinations to various conditions, injuries and deaths. Her claims have been widely criticised and refuted by medical professionals.”

Viera lays claims that Polio, Measles, Whooping Cough and Rubella are beneficial to children; injuries and death attributed to Shaken Baby Syndrome, including retinal bleeding, broken bones, fractured skulls and detached retinas are actually caused by vaccination, and she believes there is a deliberate cover-up by the medical professional (Nurses, Medical Doctors, Immunologist, Infectious Disease Researchers, Medical researchers, etc, etc) to protect the Vaccination Program.

I was unable to find the evidence she cited.

Bronwyn Hancock, Vaccination Information Service -- Another AntiVaccination Group.

Bronwyn Hancock’s statements are not statistically supported by an official data, nor demonstrated through any rigorous trials. It should be noted that the Vaccination Information Service is NOT a government group, rather it is well-known to be anti-vaccination; Brownyn Hancock, along with others who run the organisation, purport to be “pro-informed choice”, unfortunately, the information presented on their website is fear-driven, and lacking in credible supporting documentation, and uses very little in the way of facts.

It’s been a while since then, and Paolo Just thought to reply to a previous post in the comments thread regarding the aforementioned video, and to others, laying claim that the documentation used is wrong BECAUSE it was (in his mind) financed by “Big Pharma” as it were.

I found It interesting he would quote Frank Lloyd Wrights’ “never let the facts get in the way of the truth”, after he continually denied evidence through cynicism. There was never any substantiated rebuttal of any of the evidence provided other than slander.

I too can quote!

“In my experience, the most staunchly held views are based on ignorance or accepted dogma, not carefully considered accumulations of facts. The more you expose the intricacies and realities of the situation, the less clear-cut things become.”
— Mary Roach

I made it clear it was my opinion that he was the epitome of some who could not be reasoned with; not because of his beliefs, but rather because he lacked the intellectual ability to understand how his logic was fallacious.

If Paolo were serious and genuine about making a point, he really should grow up and put forward arguments that are logical and without fallacy, and make claims that are supported by the body of evidence. At the end of the day, when someone is vehemently defending claims and denying empirical evidence, there really is only two options for them to believe.

For conspiracy theorists, they think they’re right and everyone is wrong. The alternative is there is a massive worldwide cover-up that everyone is in on.

However, for reasonable and the science literate, and those willing to investigate the facts and accept they may not already know the answer, they know better; it’s neither  –  The evidence shows vaccinations work.

Manly Daily: Parents lashed over whooping cough outbreak

Walking out of my apartment this morning I noticed on the front page of The Manly Daily, my local paper, a young child with his mother gently looking after him while he lay on his bed. I already had an idea of what it may be; “Thanks for Nothing” the headline read.

There it was in the first paragraph “Vaccination”.

An only version of the article can be found here: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/parents-lashed-over-whooping-cough-outbreak/ – Currently, you can still make comment as the article is new; I encourage it.

Of course, we get the usual bandwagon of anti-vaxxers spreading false information, such as Viera Scheibner, and The Millenium Project at http://www,ratbags.com covers her quite well.

A whooping cough outbreak at a northern beaches school has prompted one concerned father to take aim at parents for not ensuring their children are vaccinated against the contagious disease.

Newport’s Zac Newbold, 6, has missed two weeks’ school after contracting whooping cough, leaving him bedridden and constantly coughing and vomiting.

Zac’s father, Justin, says his son was vaccinated prior to contracting the disease. The NSW health department advises that immunisation reduces the risk of infection but immunity fades over time.

But Mr Newbold is concerned his son became infected because many other parents aren’t ensuring their children are vaccinated.

A newsletter sent out by the school on Monday states that seven classes – in addition to Zac’s – had students who are infected with the disease.

“Parents are definitely not being vigilant enough with this,” Mr Newbold said.

“People seem to have this attitude around the northern beaches that they think everybody here is fit and healthy so nothing can go wrong. It’s total rubbish.”

Mr Newbold said some parents on the northern beaches need to “pull their head out” and stop acting like they’re living in “a separate world”.

Mr Newbold said the school had done its best in sending out warnings about the disease.

Zac’s mother, Cathy Moore, fears other youngsters could be worse off than her son if they catch the disease without being vaccinated.

“All kids should be vaccinated. It could have been a lot worse for Zac … one night we thought we would have to rush him to the hospital because he was going very blue in the face and had a lot of thick phlegm,’’ she said.

Dr Nick Wood, a paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and senior lecturer in paediatrics and child health at The University of Sydney, said a vaccine (and subsequent booster follow-ups) were usually effective but never a guarantee in preventing infection.

Dr Wood said people on the northern beaches were just as vulnerable to whooping cough here as anywhere else in Sydney.

“Even if they’re living the beach lifestyle they’re just as vulnerable as anywhere else because it’s an airborne disease, you can’t really escape it,” Dr Wood said.

Mr Wood recommends parents immediately see a doctor if their child shows signs of an annoying cough.

Interesting, was the first comment was from someone still purporting their child had specifically had their autism induced by a vaccine (yet there is never any evidence of this), and as such, this article made her “boil”.

I decided I would leave a comment, and I may decide to pass it in for the Opinion Page.

It must be difficult for parents who read comments like Annette’s to stop and wonder “what if” — Thankfully, they don’t need to as there is a body of evidence that suggests that Vaccines do not cause Autism. (That wonderful piece of wisdom was spread by the fraudulent Andrew Wakefield).
Post hoc ergo propter hoc – “After this, therefore because of this” is the attribution of an event to an earlier incident based on nothing more than speculation, not information. It is a fallacy born out of ignorance and a denial exacerbated by those who deny the evidence.
While there is certainly varying opinions, no one has access to their own personal set of facts. There is not a “debate” about vaccines, rather, there is a body of evidence that shows vaccines to be a overwhelmingly effective, and safe method of preventing serious infection, and mitigating the effects of an infection.
Vaccination SHOULD be compulsory, however, I will not advocate that everyone “MUST” be vaccinated; there are certainly those with hereditary genetic conditions causing immuno-response suppression; vaccinations, at least following a normal schedule, is not appropriate for those people.

Vaccines work; and the body of evidence demonstrates no correlation with vaccinations and autism.

That’s the facts.

PulsePharmacy Follow-up

While admittedly quite late, I finally got around to writing up and sending off my response to the reply from PulsePharmacy’s Senior Buyer regarding Eken PowerBands, and packaged it up along with other nonsense products they are selling through a recent news article featuring CHOICE

My initial E-Mail sent to PulsePharmacy, and their reply can be found here.

Thanks for your response regarding Pulse Pharmacy’s continued support for Eken PowerBands.

Eken PowerBands are not TGA R (Registered), rather they are TGA L (Listed) and as such Eken does not need to meet any kind of Standard to be listed by the TGA that would lend ANY kind of credence to their product — Unfortunately, they must only *claim* they have evidence. There is NO requirement to present the evidence to scrutiny by the TGA.

Interesting though that you said they meet the TGA requirements; perhaps they have supplied you with the scientific evidence they will provide to the TGA when they are investigated?

There is no good supporting evidence for the claimed mechanism of Eken’s PowerBands, and the continued sale of them, as is endorsed by Pulse Pharmacy, poses serious questions regarding Pulse Pharmacy’s ethical commitment to it’s consumers; even more so when some of the “tests” used in videos to support their claims require deliberate fraud to occur.

Refer: http://revision3.com/scamschool/placebobands

Surely, you understand that as you operate under the prestige of the title “Pharmacy”, consumers — and more to the point, the sick, look to Pharmacies for evidence based treatments for whatever their ailement may be.

To say this is a once-off lapse in product research would be disingenuous, as in the same store there were magnetic bracelets being sold as “Wellness Bracelets” — again, no evidence to support the implication that the bracelet would encourage this vague “Wellness”. But, for consumers, perhaps those that are ignorant, gullible, or desperate; they will buy those products in the sincere belief that their lives may be improved.

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent article:

Pharmacies selling ‘quack’ health products, CHOICE investigation reveals
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/pharmacies-selling-quack-health-products-choice-investigation-reveals/story-e6frfku0-1226018381502#ixzz1GQRnn4Hb

I strongly encourage Pulse Pharmacy to discontinue the sale of, and distance itself from the advocacy of Eken’s PowerBands and fraudulent claims. Pharmacies should get back to being places that only sell evidenced-based medicine; not a gift shop selling people “what they want to buy”.

I would suggest that a serious look your entire range of products would be prudent; perhaps it would provide shelf-space for actual health products and may prevent legal action under the newly released Australian Consumer Laws. (ACL).

Regards,
Bayani Mills

Mostly Fine with Daleks and a Chance of Rain

The last five days have been busy; packing, unpacking, driving, theme parks, and a wedding.

Primarily, Mandy, Maxine and I took a flight up to Brisbane for Rahnee and Brett’s wedding (congrats) – and took advantage of the extra time up there to hit the theme parks.

Before we left, the weather wasn’t looking great; forecasts of showers and thunderstorms – not the best to be going to an outdoor wedding, speeding around on Roller-coasters, and enjoying a Water Theme Park in board shorts.

Looking for Doctor Who

Daleks were oddly seen in the Streets of Brisbane’s CBD.

Thankfully the weather picked up a bit, offering bursts of Sunshine and holding out enough for Rahnee and Brett to tie the knot out on Brett’s Wharf.

We traveled to the wedding with Warren, Mandy and Maxine’s brother, and his boyfriend Matt. The function was great; the wedding was beautiful with Brett tearing up, and Rahnee so nervous we could barely hear her. With about 80 guests, the reception was held in the restaurant at the same location and as fussy as a eater as I am, I even ate it!

We hit Warner Brothers Movie World the next day, going on the Superman ride, Lethal Weapon, and the new Journey to the Center of the Earth 4D show. I was however, pretty disappointed in the Batwing Space-shot; I was really expecting something more. View was pleasant though. The evening was spent over at Infinity on the Gold Coast for a short while before heading to TimeZone for a bit of laser tag; winner of course. 🙂

Even though the next day we attempted to leave early, we got off to a later than expect start, but, having gone to Sea World last year during the CRX Australia Nationals meant our day was a little more organized – even if it wasn’t planned.

We skipped all the shows, visited the awesome – and HUGE Penguins in their new enclosure, our friend the Polar Bear, and went on all the rides we could; The Viper? Sea python? Whatever it was called, along with the Bermuda Triangle rides were closed. Annoyingly enough, the Cable Cars and the Paddle boats were also closed.

I did however get to go on the Monorail, a service that was close last time.

On the day of our departure, an early start to an iffy weather day saw us take a quick trip down the Wet’n’Wild, going on most of the rides at least once, and the Tornado twice. Our 6pm flight saw us leaving at 2:30pm, just in case of problems on the way home.

The on-and-off weather didn’t stop Mandy and Maxine from being sunburned, however. — They’re looking rather red.

After all of that, for me, it’s a tie between the Tornado and SeaWorld’s Jet Rescue.

Three Degrees of Seperation: Agrohomeopathy to Anti-Vaxers – From one nutter to the next

So, after receiving a goading Tweet from a London-based homeopath called Vaikunthanath Kaviraj (Author of an Agrohomeopathy book) to take him to court over his Homeopathy claims, I decided to take a look at just what his claims were. — They were nothing spectacular; more unsubstantiated tripe – of which he is selling a book about.

The first link I came across was an Australian Website called “Homeopathy Plus!” – The article (Found at http://homeopathyplus.com.au/from-hippy-to-homeopath-the-story-of-vaikunthanath-das-kaviraj/) explained that in 1990 he moved to Western Australia where he developed and tested several new agrohomeopathic remedies and established a business selling them. It also explains how his business failed.

The website itself sells a plethora of 30c vials, and makes representations that Homeopathy can treat AIDS and Cancer without “toxic side effects”; and overall, the website’s claims simply piss me off, that people can either be such blatant liars, willfully ignorant, or really *that* stupid and arrogant.

The websites also specifically links to a website that advocates Homeopathy as a Treatment for Autism, and for your convenience lists Homeopaths Worldwide that will treat Autism; and according to their rules to be listed, must do so EXCLUSIVELY.

As it turns out, Vaikunthanath Kaviraj is their “resident expert” on using homeopathy for plants, soils and pests.

So, where is the 4 degrees of separation from him to Anti-Vaccination Meryl Dorey?

HomeopathyPlus! is owned by Trevor Sheffield (LinkedIn)

Apparently, Trevor has been in the “Health, Wellness and Fitness industry” since January 2002 with HomeopathyPlus!

According to his bio at LinkedIn he studied at Southern Cross University doing Criminal Law for two years; even did a stint at TAFE doing Town Planning and Valuation.

Trevor’s (what I assume is, wife, if not sister) – Fran Sheffield (LinkedIn) – is the co-registrant of the HomeopathyPlus! business and website, and self-proclaimed Director of HomeopathyPlus!

The WHOIS Search for the Website Demonstrates who the two in charge of publishing the absurd claims are:

Domain Name homeopathyplus.com.au
Last Modified 12-Feb-2009 01:40:20 UTC
Registrar ID DDNS
Registrar Name Discount Domain Name Services
Status ok
Registrant F.M SHEFFIELD & T.M Sheffield
Registrant ID ABN 49 438 690 569
Eligibility Type Registered Business
Eligibility Name HOMEOPATHY PLUS!
Eligibility ID NSW BN 98137761
Registrant Contact ID TS3739DDNS
Registrant Contact Name Trevor Sheffield
Registrant Contact Email Visit whois.ausregistry.com.au for Web based WhoIs
Tech Contact ID CM0000DDNS
Tech Contact Name Registra Technical Support
Tech Contact Email Visit whois.ausregistry.com.au for Web based WhoIs
Name Server ns1.qnetau.com
ns2.qnetau.com
ns3.qnetau.com

And an ABN Search shows they run a Family Partnership.

ABN: 49 438 690 569

View ABN history
Last modified: 24 Jul 2003
ABN status: Active from 24 Jul 2003
Entity name: F.M SHEFFIELD & T.M Sheffield
Entity type: Family Partnership
GST registration status: Effective from 24 Jul 2003

It was Fran that is friends with, and invited Meryl Dorey (Homeopathy World Community) (Yes, President of the Anti-Vaccine “Australian Vaccination Network” Meryl Dorey) to the “By Invitation Only” community.

So there ya go – From London AgroHomeopath to Australian Anti-Vaccination Loon with 3 degrees of separation.

Perhaps someone in London might want to educate Vaikunthanath Kaviraj; informing him the rules have changed – you can’t continue making your Bullshit claims anymore and think you can get away with it.