Posts Tagged ‘flu’

Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic’s View

Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic’s View

By Eben Harrell, courtesy of TIME  

photo via TIME, vaccines In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a public health campaign in the U.S. encouraging vulnerable patients — particularly the elderly — to "protect yourself and the ones you love against flu: GET VACCINATED!" At least one flu-vaccine researcher disagreed with the message: Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration, which has headquarters in Britain.

Jefferson and colleagues have published several systematic reviews of existing studies on the efficacy of influenza vaccines. Weighing the data, they conclude that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that flu vaccines reduce infection rates or mortality, even in the elderly. Jefferson, a former British army doctor now based in Rome, spoke with TIME about his quest to spur further research into flu vaccines.

On Feb. 16, the Cochrane Library published your updated review of all major studies on the efficacy of flu vaccines for the elderly, some of the results of which you believe to be preposterous. Can you explain?

We looked at studies on vaccines in the elderly and in health care workers who work with the elderly, and we found an implausible sequence of results. We have studies that claim up to 90% effectiveness against death from all causes [in inoculated patients compared with the nonvaccinated]. If you were to believe that evidence, you would believe that flu vaccine is effective against death not only from influenza, but also from heart attack, stroke, hypothermia, accidents and all other common causes of death among the elderly. That is quite clearly nonsense.

This is not to say that these and other studies, taken together, suggest that vaccines don’t work for the elderly. The answer is a question mark. We don’t know what protection, if any, vaccines offer. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Uncertainty is the motor of science. We need large studies to find out.

Why do you think such studies have not been done?

I don’t know. We’ve known for years that we needed proof one way or the other, and governments have not taken any notice of this. It’s an extraordinary situation. 

One argument I’ve heard is that it would be unethical to compare vaccines against a placebo because you would be withholding crucial treatment from patients. Do you agree? 

No. We don’t know these vaccines work, so you can’t…
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Flu News: What is the significance of D225G?

Swine Flu News: What is the significance of D225G?

By Ilene

Dr. Henry L. NimanWith the current rush of news about the swine flu virus morphing into more aggressive lung-shredding and tamiflu-resistant mutants, there is some confusion as to why these changes are being seen in people in "hotspots" around the world, with no clear connection to each other. Officials at the WHO and CDC suggest that the same mutations are arising spontaneously in multiple locations but this doesn’t quite make sense.  To better understand how changes in the swine flu virus may be occurring, I contacted Dr. Henry L. Niman, founder and president of Recombinomics.  Dr. Niman has been an active researcher in the evolution of flu virus.  His latest thoughts on the ongoing progression of the flu pandemic may be found at his website, Recombinomics.   

For a little background, the D222G mutation or D225G mutation (same mutation, different numbering system) was found in three cases in Norway ("Norway" mutation), and in other countries, including Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine, the United States, and more recently Hong Kong. The change in a single nucleotide results in an amino acid change in the virus’s receptor binding protein. This has the effect of allowing the virus to bind receptors in the lung tissue, rather than the more usual binding to cells in the upper airways. Theoretically, this may confer greater virulence to the virus, potentially leading to more severe disease as the infection invades deeper in the respiratory tract. This change was also seen in the 1918 flu pandemic, in some (but not all) cases. 

Recombinomics

The name of Dr. Niman’s company "Recombinomics" is taken from the word "recombine" or "recombination" – the driver of rapid molecular evolution and the emergence of infectious agents. Recombination* is a mechanism whereby small bits of genetic information pass between viruses so that a virus may quickly acquire a genetic change that evolved previously over the years in other viruses. Recombination is similar to reassortment, but with less genetic material being exchanged. 

Sporadic mutations do not usually lead to successful adaptive changes – often they have no effect or prove to be non-adaptive, with the mutation failing to be further replicated.  In contrast, recombination allows viruses to quickly alter their characteristics by acquiring genetic material that already exists in the viral reservoir (i.e., the pool of viruses circulating in a population). This…
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Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

Vaccines: where does science end and profit motive begin? Maia Szalavitz argues, and I agree, that these are scientific questions and we need to conduct scientific research – not rely on preconceived views—to answer the questions. – Ilene

Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

vaccines, autism, flu, mercuryBy Maia Szalavitz, Courtesy of TIME

Just in time for the national roll-out of the new H1N1 flu vaccine, Wired Magazine and the Atlantic have weighed in on the ongoing vaccine war: Wired has a profile of Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician who has consistently spoken out in favor of vaccination and pointed to the lack of evidence linking vaccines and autism; the Atlantic checks in with a piece questioning the science suggesting that flu vaccines and antiviral drugs prevent people from dying.

Both articles have elicited heated debate all over the Web: Amy Wallace, who wrote Wired’s piece, excerpted below, has received vitriolic criticism and attacks from vaccine opponents, setting records for page views.

Describing death threats and attacks on Offit, Wallace writes:

So what has this award-winning 58-year-old scientist done to elicit such venom? He boldly states — in speeches, in journal articles, and in his 2008 book Autism’s False Prophets — that vaccines do not cause autism or autoimmune disease or any of the other chronic conditions that have been blamed on them. He supports this assertion with meticulous evidence. And he calls to account those who promote bogus treatments for autism — treatments that he says not only don’t work but often cause harm.

While the Wired article has been attacked by advocates, the Atlantic’s article has been slammed by several blogs written by scientists. The authors, Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, reply to their critics here (scroll down). The scientists take issue with their argument that the scientific evidence does not support the use of the flu vaccine and antiviral medications like Tamiflu, detailed below

Brownlee and Lenzer ask:

… what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce


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The R Word

 

The R Word

Courtesy of 

You better hope interest rates didn’t just peak for the cycle with the 10-year failing at 3.05%. So says Ari Wald (technician at OpCo), whose chart this weekend looks at 10-year treasury yield breakdowns as a leading (or coincident) indicator for major turning points in the S&P 500 / economy.

Here’s Ari:

Looking back at the last economic cycle, the 10-year US Treasury yield peaked coincidentally with an inversion in the yield curve in 2006. However, it was a definitive breakdown in rates that occurred while the equity market topped in 2000 and 2007—we’re still missing this breakdown, in our view. In other...



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Digital Currencies

How low will Bitcoin now go? The history of price bubbles provides some clues

 

How low will Bitcoin now go? The history of price bubbles provides some clues

The Bitcoin bubble is perhaps the most extreme speculative bubble since the late 19th century. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Lee Smales, University of Western Australia

Nearly 170 years before the invention of Bitcoin, the journalist Charles Mackay noted the way whole communities could “fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit”. Millions of people, he wrote, “become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first”.

His book ...



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Zero Hedge

This is What The "Trade" War With China Is Really All About

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Forget soybeans, auto imports, iPhones, crude oil, and cheap Chinese gadgets. Also forget tariffs, duties, and subsidies. Even forget weapons.

The real reason behind the US-China "trade" war has little to do with actual trade, and everything to do with what China's president, Xi Jinping, said when he visited a memory chip plant in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. In a white lab coat, he made an unexpectedly sentimental remark, comparing a computer chip to a human heart: “No matter how big a person is, he or she can never be strong without a sound and strong heart”.

What is really at the basis of the ongoing civilizational conflict between the US and China, a feud which many say has gradually devolved into a new cold war if few top politicians are willing to cal...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

NYSE facing critical 20-year support test!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

This chart looks at the NYSE index over the past 20-years. During this time frame, this broad index has spent the majority of the past quarter-century, inside of rising channel (1).

It broke above the top of the channel in 2016 and it experienced a very strong 12-month rally. Since the first of this year, it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows. Weakness this year has it nearing a test of support, which is the top of this 20-year rising channel. While nearing this key support test, it is also nearing another test of a rising support line at (2).

Support is support until...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Dec 09, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

Bears are certainly showing the type of strength we haven’t seen in a long time.   A week ago at this time futures were surging on news of a “truce” for 90 days between China and the U.S. in their trade spat.  But the charts were still not saying lovely things despite a major rally the week prior.   And by Tuesday, darkness had descended back on the indexes, with another gut punch Friday.    A lot of emphasis was put on a long term Treasury yield dropping below a shorter term Treasury.

On Monday, the yield on five year government debt slid below the yield on three year debt, a phenomenon which has p...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Monday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • The Labor Department's JOLTS report for October is schedule for release at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.
  • The TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index for November will be released at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Economic DataNews Economics Pre-Market Outlook Markets

...

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Members' Corner

What should the House do? Part 1: Veto-proof actions... then aim for a thousand vetoes

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author, and one of the “World’s Best Futurists” — explores a myriad of topics on his lively and always interesting blog: politics, science, history, science fiction, etc. For more posts by David, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog...



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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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Biotech

World's first gene-edited babies? Premature, dangerous and irresponsible

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

World's first gene-edited babies? Premature, dangerous and irresponsible

Vchal/Shutterstock

By Joyce Harper, UCL

A scientist in China claims to have produced the world’s first genome-edited babies by altering their DNA to increase their resistance to HIV. Aside from the lack of verifiable evidence for this non peer-revie...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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