Category Archives: Science

BMA to ballot on Work Capability Assessments


Shamelessly stolen from Social Welfare Union on Twitter:

BREAKING !!! BMA to ballot on Work Capability Assessments !!! #WCA #Atos #DWP

103 HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT: That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed
by ATOS Healthcare, believes that the:
(i) inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
(ii) WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause
avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

103a SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCs: That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed
by ATOS Healthcare, believes that:
(i) the inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
(ii) the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not
cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

The GMC will be forced to institute a full investigation and under an obligation to take action to halt the assessments by revoking “Approved Medical Status” to testing centres. The motions were submitted by the Scottish LMC Conference and Hampshire and Isle of Wight LMC. Motions 103 & 103a can be viewed here:

http://www.bma.org.uk/images/lmcconfagenda2012_tcm41-212632.pdf

I wonder if the BBC will report this.

The Social Welfare Union, together with our partners, are very pleased to announce that the United Kingdom Local Medical Committees Conference of the British Medical Association (BMA) has voted today to carry the following motion in relation to Atos Healthcare conducted Work Capability Assessments:

103 HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT & 103a SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCs

That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that the:

(i) inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons

(ii) WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

The motion was carried UNANIMOUSLY.

The Pseudoscience of Melanie Sykes


Yesterday, Melanie Sykes, on the television programme “This Morning“, said that her experience was that vaccinations brought about (or accelerated) her son’s autism, and, in almost the same breath, that she wasn’t claiming a link between vaccinations and autism. If she is so woolly headed about the issue, perhaps she shouldn’t have mentioned vaccinations at all, especially as that supposed link has been thouroughly debunked.

A few people tried to educate Ms Sykes, and these were her considered responses:

Any hint or insinuation that vaccinations are dangerous or harmful can discourage concerned parents from having their children vaccinated. When those insinuations are made by people in the public eye, the effect is magnified. While there vaccination poses a tiny risk for a minority of children, the consequences of not vaccinating are far worse. Not everyone can be vaccinated, but the grounds for that should be purely medical, such as a family history of dangerous allergies. If parents decide against vaccination merely based on rumours, their children are put at greater risk. Others cannot be vaccinated yet, because they’re too young (or haven’t yet been born). That’s where herd immunity comes in. It’s not a difficult concept. Even the most vacuous z-list celebrity should be able to grasp that the greater number of people in a population who are susceptible to a disease, the more risk there is for those who cannot be vaccinated.

So those parents who don’t get their kids vaccinated without a sound medical reason are selfishly putting others at risk, along with their own progeny.

From the WHO website:

Key facts ABOUT MEASLES

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2008, there were 164 000 measles deaths globally – nearly 450 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
  • More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
  • Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2008 worldwide.
  • In 2010, about 85% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.

From the WHO website:

Mumps

Mumps is an acute disease of children and young adults, caused by a paramyxovirus of which there is only a single serotype. Mumps virus produces no symptoms in about one-third of infected people. In those with a clinical response, glandular and nerve tissue are most often affected. The most common signs are fever and swelling of the parotid glands. Other complications, which may appear simultaneously with these signs or in any sequence, are epididymo-orchitis, meningo-encephalitis, cranial nerve involvement (especially eighth cranial nerve damage leading to hearing impairment), pancreatitis, oophoritis, mastitis and myocarditis. Frequent viruria and abnormal renal function suggest that mumps virus may infect the kidneys. In some instances, one or more of the other implications may be present in the absence of parotitis.

From the WHO website:

Rubella

 Rubella is an infection that is usually mild when experienced in childhood, but it can often lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications in the fetus when an unprotected woman acquires the infection early in pregnancy (congenital rubella infection)

That was from a cursory search using Google. There is much, much more, and a great deal more detail, if Melanie Sykes can be bothered to look for the facts.

When Charlatans Attack!


Francine Scrayen, pictured above leaving the inquest of her victim,  Penelope Dingle, is very angry that a blogger, Dan Buzzard, has written about her despicable role in the death of her “patient”. So angry that she engaged a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter (or in layman terms, a threat) to Dan.

There’s nothing new about that tactic of course. When Rhys Morgan blogged about the Burzynski Clinic’s quackery, he too was threatened with legal action. That threat appears to have fizzled out, partly because of the backlash from people around the world who supported Rhys, and partly because the Burzynski Clinic had no case.

Scrayen too is pissing against the wind if she thinks her complaint has merit. The coroner at Penelope Dingle’s inquest was far more scathing than any blogger has been. The report is here in its entirety, but the part relevant to Scrayen begins on page 40.

Anyway, I don’t know why she’s so upset. According to her own homoeopathic principles, wherein water retains the memory of an active ingredient however much it’s diluted, her reputation must be at its peak, so shredded has it been by her, in my opinion, criminal behaviour.

Happy Darwin Day


Charles Darwin was born on February 12th 1809, and 50 years later published what was arguably the most important book of science in history.

wanted to make a picture to celebrate, but all the best ideas had already been done, so instead here’s a link to Darwin’s works. I personally prefer paper books, but an online resource is sometimes useful when arguing with creationists, who often lie about what Darwin actually wrote.

Making Money from Misery


 

Imagine that you are a doctor of medicine, and that you have discovered a cure for a terrible disease, let’s say cancer. You offer people this cure, in return for a lot of money.

Then somebody publicly expresses doubt about your cure, even says it doesn’t work. What should you do?

Well, if I was in that situation, I would provide evidence for the efficacy of my cure. That would silence critics, if I could demonstrate the truthfulness of my claim. I wouldn’t be shy about it either. I’d shout my evidence from the rooftops. After all, it would benefit many people, and make me a lot of money too.

But what if my “cure” didn’t work, and the whole thing was a scam?

If I were so unscrupulous, I think I would attempt to silence those critics, perhaps with threats to take legal action. I needn’t even spend any of my ill-gotten gains on professional legal advice. I could just send intimidating messages, especially when I know my critics don’t have the small fortune it would take to defend themselves, and would in all likelihood be cowered into silence.

Now, I don’t know that the Burzynski Clinic, in Houston, Texas, is indulging in such underhand dealings, and I don’t know, for a fact, that their alleged cancer cure is bogus.

What is one to think, though, when there has been no evidence for this “cure” provided, despite repeated requests, and there have been repeated legal threats, often hysterical and unprofessional in tone.

It’s so puzzling.

Further, essential, reading:

http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic/

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2011/11/the-burzynski-clinic-threatens-my-family.html

http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-questions/what-is-antineoplaston-therapy

http://www.cancer.org/…/antineoplaston-therapy

http://www.faith.altbush.com/tumor/vol24n36.pdf

…or just Google “Burzynski Clinic”

Sound of Science


Absolutely nothing to do with me (unfortunately) but I think it deserves to go viral. If you like it, please click through and tell the guy responsible. (Double click on the video while it’s playing.)

Lying for Doctrine


“They haven’t disputed the order of Creation, set down thousands of years ago in Genesis, these very clever scientists. We got it right!”!

Those were the words of arch celibate and Roman Catholic Ann Widdecombe today in an interview on Sky News.

Is she really that dense? The order of creation is disputed in the bible itself! There are two different accounts in the book of Genesis, and they don’t agree. So much for the bible being the word of a perfect god!

Both those scriptural accounts are, of course, utterly wrong, as any real scientist will tell you. The Earth wasn’t around before there was light. It’s just a childish story, told, and believed, by the ignorant. At least the people who came up with the fairy tale had an excuse. They hadn’t benefited from the Enlightenment. What’s Ann’s excuse?

Perhaps she should concentrate on her forthcoming television appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.