Health


Conspiracy Theorists want to kill your children!!!!

Just framing this as a conspiracy theory nut might.

Exposure to conspiracy theories about vaccinations causing autism can sway parents’ decisions about vaccinating their children- putting their kids, and all their friends/schoolmates, at risk from diseases which had been all but eradicated.

The development of vaccines is one of the most important advances in the history of medicine. Indeed, a recent Parliament Postnote discussed how governments should further stimulate vaccine research (Post, 2008). However, even with increased efforts of policy makers, in recent year’s vaccination rates have declined. In many regions of the UK rates lie well below the recommended 95% uptake (Health Protection Service, 2013). One obstacle may be the influence of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Rather, current psychological research has shown exposure to anti-vaccine conspiracy information reduces pro-vaccination intentions (Jolley & Douglas, accepted*). Thus, whilst the decrease uptake of vaccines could be for several reasons, it highlights the contributing potential detrimental effect of conspiracy theories.

Maybe the conspiracy theorists are in the pay of Big Measles. Or perhaps they’re so wrapped up in their fantasy worlds that they’re blind not just to reality but to the potential harm of the lies they’re propagating.

Should conspiracy theory research inform public policy? | The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories.


Take the sugar pill, Neo

This is a reply I made to a reply to something I said on Facebook. I thought it was worth sharing, with an added link for more information.

I have nothing but respect for the placebo effect. Give me a sugar pill and explain that it’s a drug that’s been clinically tested and tell me a bit about how it will work and the chances are that my body will respond and alleviate the problem at least a little. Feed me the pill and tell me it’s going to work because of water’s memory and I’ll know there’s nothing there so it won’t work.

Obviously, I’d rather have the drug itself to go with the pep talk and explanation.

I don’t know just how much the placebo effect is understood, but I have read (in this Wired article from 2009) about trials where they tested the difference between just being handed the drug (or sugar pill) and having a doctor talk about what it would do. The subjects who were kept informed responded better than those who just taking the same pills. Homeopathy is about convincing you to cure yourself. If you could team the psychology with drugs that have been proven to work,then you’d be able to work wonders.


The placebo effect is destroying the pharmaceutical industry

As drug companies strive to treat ever less well defined problems they’re finding that sugar pills are often as effective as their wonder drugs. Scientists are investigating the placebo effectand learning more about how state of mind affects health. Obviously you can’t just give someone an inert tablet and hope you can convince them to get better- that’s called homeopathy- but it seems that improved communication and a good bedside manner can make a pescription more effective.


There is no health care system in the world that could cure this level of stupidity

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

From something called Investors’ Business Daily, which has now removed the line after so many people pointed out how stupid it was.

via Dispatches From The Culture Wars


Self diagnosis

Whenever I’m unwell I have particularly vivid dreams.  So the fact that I woke from one last night wanting to cry and not sure quite why says something about my health.  (The pillow drenched in sweat was another sign.)

I only remember snippets of the dream, from which I’ve ascertained that my subconcious is a manipulative bugger.  This was heart-tugging movie of the week material.  There was the poor little crippled kid who obviously wasn’t going to make it and a troubled blonde who was either a teacher in  the style of Michelle Pfeifer in Dangerous Minds or a doctor like Doctor Susan from the first few series of ER.  Add melodrama and other stuff and stir to see Ian wake up all confused and upset.

I’ve got tomorrow off.  Watch me come down with something and be incapable of doing the stuff I need to do.