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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Boeing is doing crisis management all wrong - here's what a company needs to do to restore the public's trust

 

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Boeing is doing crisis management all wrong – here's what a company needs to do to restore the public's trust

Courtesy of Kelli Matthews, University of Oregon

In a crisis, time is not on your side.

A crisis creates a vacuum, an informational void that gets filled one way or another. The longer a company or other organization at the center of the crisis waits to communicate, the more likely that void will be filled by critics.

That’s exactly what&...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Connect Series Webinar March 2018

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We cover dominating patterns in major global Indices, sectors, commodities and the metals markets.  We produce chart pattern analysis and empower people to improve entry and exit points.

To become a member of Kimble Charting Solutions, click here.

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Zero Hedge

US Home Price Growth Slowest Since 2012

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following disastrous starts and permits data, Case Shiller's home price index was expected to show growth continuing to slow. and it did, considerably worse than expected.

Case-Shiller's 20-City Composite grew at just 3.58% YoY in January (well below the 3.8% YoY expectation and December's 4.14% YoY print). This is the weakest annual growth since September 2012, decelerating for a 10th month in January as buyers held out for more affordable properties.

...



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Insider Scoop

Analyst: Apple's New Credit Card Bodes Well For Green Dot

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced Monday it will launch its own branded credit card called Apple Card and this should be viewed as a positive for Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT), according t...



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ValueWalk

Tesla's Massive Increase In Delivery Volume In Europe And China

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing a few good posts on Tesla on the VIC message board about the massive increase in delivery volume in Europe and China.

41 – jcoviedo – 3 days 2 hrs ago

Re: Re: Re: Several bullish points

40

Q4 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Elon leaked...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Mar 24, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

It was looking like another week of Federal Reserve Kool Aid and crushing bears .. until Friday.  On the back of bad economic news out Europe, the yield curve inverted on the 3 month vs 10 year bond – before you fall asleep to that news, it is a quite important indicator for the economy (not necessarily the stock market… yet).   More on that in a bit.  As you can see the action in the bond market Friday was quite severe so it will be interesting to see the move in the coming few days.

As for the Federal Reserve:

The Federal Reserve signaled no more increase in interest rates this year and just one in 2020, according to its new ‘dot plot,’ and the bank said it would...



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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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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"

 

 

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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.

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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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