Coupon Deals: The Latest Marketing Avenue for Woo

Marketing Ignorance

Group-purchasing websites and applications like Groupon and Scoopon have been very  popular over the last year and it’s no surprise that the likes of Chiropractors, “alternative” health retailers, or even other retail outlets are jumping at the opportunity to sell consumers products and services that don’t work, for conditions they don’t have.

For most consumer products and services, the repercussions are small – maybe a bit of egg on your face. However, when it comes to advertisements making medical claims, this invokes a couple of laws put in place to prevent people from being hurt, or indeed being scammed.

Today’s Scoopon “Side-Deal” was for a Colon Cleansing – sometimes called colonics, or colonic hydrotherapy. Now, I’m not going to spend this post going over why it’s a load of shit, there are many well-written pieces that look at evidence-base of Colon Cleansing. There’s the Harm from Colon Cleansing, or the fact that The US’s National Council Against Health Fraud position paper concludes that a colonic has no real health benefits. You can look how the concept that digestive waste is infecting other parts of the body is bunk, and if you’re interested, you could even find out “how clean your colon should be“.

Face of Man, the company making the claims seen in the Advertisement, note on their website “Recommended in a course of one per week for 6 weeks for best results.” I’m just going to skip over the fact the listed value is $139 but it’s listed as $99 on their website. At $99 for the each of the recommended subsequent visits, they stand to make a steady income out of consumers; with that kind of time and financial commitment,cognitive dissonance can take care of the rest. Soon, people are regularly reporting how vibrant they feel in an attempt to justify having someone throw water up their arse while claiming it helps their health.

But then, this is what we’ve come to expect from “Alt Med” retailers.

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.