Monday, 9 February 2009

Echinacea - as likely to be a cause of autism as MMR

Apologies for being away for so long - I've had a load of half baked ideas for blog posts, and then thought "no – no-one would believe them". I've also had a life to live. Still… there have been so many hand grenades tossed into the foaming mass of vipers that is JABS lately that I can't ignore it any longer.

First of all, a kind of follow on from comments on my last post - Thanks to John H and DT:

There's been a discussion on JABS about echinacea, a herbal supplement which is supposed to boost the immune system and help prevent colds and minor ailments. I tried it once - I told my boss I was feeling a bit under the weather and she recommended it. I didn't feel any better, and once it made me throw up. Still - I suspect it works among those who go for the woo approach (and, while I liked my then boss a lot, she did have "woo" tendencies). Nothing really to worry about though.

However, this particular discussion started when a new poster pointed out a study showing that echinacea, in some people, could cause bowel problems. Could this, given that the Wakefield crew believe that MMR causes bowel problems and those bowel problems cause autism, also cause autism?

Now, I suspect this to be a wind up, but the JABS lot went mental. I'll repost DT's comment on my earlier post, as it says it all really…

But instead of countering the hypothesis with a bit of science based critical analysis and common sense, the jabbers have taken the line of:
  1. Echinacea is natural! So it is obviously harmless! (Suba)

  2. North American Indians use echinacea and I haven't heard they have rates of autism of 1:150 (Suba again, Lola and Aasa)
  3. No-one would give kids echinacea (John Stone, ignoring the fact that plenty would, and the OP specifically talked of the transmissability in breast milk)

  4. I never gave my son echinacea, so it cannot have caused his autism (John Stone again)

  5. Remember that it is only vaccines that cause autism, nothing else could possibly do it! (actually that's not in this particular thread, but that's what they think)

  6. But herbs harm people less than conventional treatments which kill millions of people (Truthseeker)

  7. The fallacious and mind-numbingly stupid and predictable arguments they are trotting out has quite put me off my lunch. All we need now is for Cyberpussy to tell us how Roy Meadows is embroiled in all of this.

Another new(ish) poster - "NikkiC" then chimed in, I suspect simply playing "Devil's Advocate", pointing out that if the JABS regulars were prepared to take the leap of faith that Wakefield suggested, from bowel problems caused by measles vaccine to autism, why was it such a problem to make the leap of faith from gut problems caused by echinacea to autism?

Again, the JABS nutters weren't prepared to argue this with science, or with reference to papers showing the safety of their favourite herb. Oh no. John H sums up their responses to that in a comment here:

You could argue that:

  1. so is hemlock but it will kill you. To paraphrase a lady contributor "Suba is a twat"

  2. so there is a causal relationship between taking echinacea and alcoholism is there because there is certainly a correlation in the US Indian population

  3. maybe the kids got homeopathic doses of echinacea - the less they got the more it would affect them (err maybe)

  4. ditto. As that lady constantly says "John Stone is a twat" as well.

  5. words fail me - but you are perfectly right.

  6. ask Truthseeker to name the millions who died from conventional medicine (OK a tough task, just name what they died from then). As a certain lady says "TruthSeeker is a twat"

Lucky for me I could just paste "twat" in otherwise I would have been typing for hours.

Hey - I may not have many readers of this blog, but I like the ones I do have!

What I love about this particular JABS exchange is that if you take the word "echinacea" out, and substitute "MMR", it's exactly the argument that the JABS nuts are trying to push as their whole agenda. There's no real evidence for either being a cause of autistic spectrum disorders, yet they're passionately arguing for one, and getting really nasty arguing against the other.

There's no negotiating with fucking nutters.


John H said...

I got banned again.

I don't think they respond very well to rational comment.

I did manage to get the second most commented on post (under "Wakefield").

I think I should have refrained from the last comment on the last posting. Cybertiger probably sussed me.

John H said...

The JABS site makes Stalin look like a staunch advocate of free speech.

They even airbrush out your comments after they ban you. And they airbrush out the comments of the morons spewing abuse (some sort of equity I suppose !).

If I ran that website I would be appalled that anyone might thing Gus was representative of the jabbophobes. Alas, I feel he is exactly that.

Enough. It is like wading through raw sewage. Crap when you are doing it and you smell of crap for hours afterwards.

Back to the land of the sane.

John H said...

And all I did was make a few valid points, namely;

* Wakefield is/was a crook who doctored childrens medical histories in pursuit of his own agenda. The net result of this was a huge amount of grief and distress for thousand of parents who thought they had done the wrong thing in trying to protect their children from potentially fatal ilnesses (blah blah blah - you can fill in the rest: measlea epidemic etc etc etc).

* Wakefield was only in it for the money and the £400K plus he extracted from Legal Aid was probably the driving force behind his falsification of records.

* The other co-authors probably disassociated themselves from him as soon as they realised he was a crook. That is why they are not up in front of the beak.

* The childrens medical records were probably given to Deer by the parents once they realised he had exploited them medically, financially and ethically.

* News Corp is not going to print a huge splash in the ST if there is even the slightest chance the information is dodgy. Once bitten twice shy (Hitler Diaries anyone ??).

* No jabbophobe has managed to rebut the accusations made by Deer. They mereley reference Wakefields self-serving cant.

What's wrong with that FFS ?

millipede said...

Surely you aren't surprised by your treatment at Jabs?

John H said...

I was a bit surprised to be honest.

I admit my initial foray into the realm of the deluded met with an immediate ban and removal of postings. An assertive response to John Stone did not increase my survival rate. My fault really for spelling everything correctly, using proper English and not writing stream of consciousness drivel (pace Gus The Twat).

I love the way Gus complains that people hide behind an alias and do not use their real names. Do you suppose he was christened Gus The Fuss ? He is a very creepy person as he felt some sort of paternal relationship to me. Most peculiar - but there again that is evident from his postings.

My second foray was far more respectful and polite. I even pointed out (in remarkably placid tones) that the abuse I received was against the rules of the site.

However, there is very clearly one law for the insane jabbophobes and a different law for us paragons of sanity and commonsense.

My first few posts are still there in the "Wakefield" thread. I am very proud that this has the most posts in the news and comment section. I posted under my junk email name of Sandford.

I would like to send a big kiss to NikkiC who seems to be a tenacious woman who will not accept crap from the loons. She will almost certainly get banned.

Obviously Fuckbrain Struthers assumed she was Becky. Some kudos there Beckster. You are obviously his Beck Noir.

Do you think the jabbophobes are aware that he works in a medical practice which regularly vaccinates or has he kept this hidden from them ?

Orac has just posted a good one on Wakefield - complete with video.

Now off to disinfect my hands (well you can get a homeopathic cure down the telephone so you never know if jabbophobia can spread along the internet).

John H said...


I assume the echinacea tablets you took listed vomiting as a possible contra-indication (nice pharma word for side effects !! I am no fan of them either). Didn't they ?

Not strictly anti-jabbophobic but I just saw a great site (some yahoo message thing - I was looking at lovey-dovey comments about Wakefield, or do I mean "dear Andy" - pukes into wastebin) which claimed that Lyme Disease was a US government biological weapon.

Yeah right. Given that it has been around for ever and was first studied in the 19th C.

More proof (if it were ever needed) that if you believe in one manifestation of conspiracy led woo that you will believe any old bollox.

(PS your language is worse than mine on the expletive front. However, it does make me laugh).

John H said...

Brilliant !

My ""Wakefield"" drivel on JABS runs to 5 pages and has 73 entries (it would have been more but the insane jabbophobes deleted half of them - both mine and the lunatic responses).

The ""Support Andrew Wakefield Petition"" has 4 entries.

If only this meant that they realised the game was up and had slunk off in embarrassed silence.

Chance would be a fine thing.

Becky said...

I think I'm getting swearier as time goes on. My friends would tell you that's about par for the course.