February 5, 2010


US swine flu epidemic shows signs of being over (MIKE STOBBE, 2/05/10, AP)

Is the U.S. swine flu epidemic over? Federal health officials won't go so far as to say that, but on Friday they reported for the fourth week in a row that no states had widespread flu activity.

Is it possible that scientists are the least responsible group in modern society?

'The Lancet' Pricks Itself (Henry I. Miller, 02.05.10, Forbes)

Another egregious and exceedingly harmful example of a failure of peer review and editorial judgment at The Lancet was a 1998 paper by Scottish scientist Arpad Pusztai, which described feeding studies of genetically engineered and non-engineered potatoes to laboratory rats. Pusztai claimed to show that feeding potatoes genetically engineered to express a protein known to be toxic to certain insects caused damage to the immune system and stimulated abnormal cell division in the digestive tract of the rats.

However, many research groups--including some of Pusztai's own collaborators--concluded that his research methodology was fundamentally flawed, that he misinterpreted his own data and that no conclusions about the safety of genetically engineered foods can be drawn from his data--or, indeed, from his experimental design. The experiments have been criticized for the small number of animals, the use of inappropriate statistical procedures and the fact that a diet of raw potatoes is an inadequate and even harmful diet. [...]

After an extensive review by experts in several pertinent fields, the British Royal Society issued a statement in 1999 that detailed the ways in which the Pusztai experiment was fatally flawed. It concluded, "On the basis of this paper, it is wrong to conclude that there are human health concerns with the process of [genetic engineering] itself, or even with the particular genes inserted into these [genetically engineered] potatoes.

Similar to their response to the scientific community's outrage over the Wakefield vaccine-autism paper, the editors of The Lancet demonstrated that in spite of the article's admittedly deficient methodology--and over the strenuous objections of the paper's reviewers--they published it to "make constructive progress in the debate between scientists, the media and the general public" about a very politically charged issue.

Why The WHO Faked A Pandemic (Michael Fumento, 02.05.10, Forbes)
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a human rights watchdog, is publicly investigating the WHO's motives in declaring a pandemic. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, epidemiologist Wolfgang Wodarg, has declared that the "false pandemic" is "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."

Even within the agency, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology in Munster, Germany, Dr. Ulrich Kiel, has essentially labeled the pandemic a hoax. "We are witnessing a gigantic misallocation of resources [$18 billion so far] in terms of public health," he said.

They're right. This wasn't merely overcautiousness or simple misjudgment. The pandemic declaration and all the Klaxon-ringing since reflect sheer dishonesty motivated not by medical concerns but political ones.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 5, 2010 5:10 PM
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