Sunday, January 24, 2021

Assessing Lockdowns

 The COVID-19 pandemic antimaskers like to try to cite scientific sources that support their position.  Of course they ignore all the other data (cherry picking) and even more often don't even bother to read the actual study and check it out.

One such study being spread around is: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/eci.13484

OK, so it appears to be peer-reviewed, but I'm having trouble finding the actual peer review of it.  It could be because I simply can't access that part.  I am not sure.  Regardless I'll still check some things myself.  

So let's look at the journal itself.  European Journal of Clinical Investigation.  The impact factor for this journal is under 3 which is rated barely as good.  Above 10 is rated as excellent.  It is ranked 3792.  Not great, but not bad.

Ok, so let's look at the study

That study doesn't even make sense. They contradict themselves continuously with wrong information/conclusions.

For one example they state "Empirical data for the characteristics of fatalities in the later wave before mrNPIs were adopted as compared with the first wave (when mrNPIs had been used) shows that the proportion of COVID-19 deaths that occurred in nursing homes was often higher under mrNPIs rather than under less restrictive measures. This further suggest that restrictive measures do not clearly achieve protection of vulnerable populations." They cite another study as proof.

Well looking at that study ( https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.28.20240366v1 ) they cite it states: "COVID-19 deaths that were accounted by nursing home residents decreased in the second wave, and the decrease was significant and substantial (relative risk estimates: 0.28 to 0.78) in 7/9 countries...the contribution of COVID-19 deaths in nursing home residents to total fatalities has decreased in most countries in the second wave." 

They also fail in many other areas including taking in consideration things like population densities being a factor (Sweden 25/km2, England 275/km2). Also differences in elderly care are a factor. Home health care is popular in Sweden, which can be a factor compared to large LTC homes which can become problematic once an infection enters the "closes" system. One also should consider the general make-up of households in Sweden where a large proportion are single person dwelling homes which then means transmission within a bubble is reduced and contact tracing/quarantining is more efficient. Of course Sweden compared to Norway and Finland shows an very much higher spread and death rate of COVID-19. 

Overall, if one does not cherry-pick, the scientific consensus is that lockdowns do help slow down the spread. It doesn't mean that they are a good idea (that's a political/economical/subjective analysis), it just means that they are effective in reducing the spread of an infectious disease.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Why I Dislike Motivational Posters

 


It's no secret I dislike motivational posters.  I like many motivational speakers even less.   The reason is that many motivational speakers are quite often the get-rich-quick gurus selling scammy stuff (from useless wealth 'programs' to pyramid schemes).  They spout nonsense like "The Secret", and create a culture of narcissism, greed and lack of empathy.  

I saw the above pic posted on a business network social media page.  It annoyed me very much. I have some issues with it.

 It makes the assumption that anyone employed somehow gave up.  This is wrong on so many levels and I sure hope no customer or client sees that you posted this offensive crap.  You are literally crapping on 97% of people.  Not a good business plan.

Are only business owners people who never gave up? There are tonnes of people who are employed who never gave up.  They did a lot of work to reach this particular goal.  Are you saying people who are nurses, accountants, mechanic, tool & die worker, teacher, etc all gave up?  

Are you assuming what their goals even were? Some people are perfectly happy working a job and providing for their family.  That is a perfectly fine goal.  It's not for everyone of course, but to shun those who don't hold the same goals as you is asinine.  Maybe they are retired and just want to be a Walmart greeter for some little extra cash and something to do.  They like helping people.  Again, how can you say they gave up?

Some people are doing the "employed thing" on their way to other things.  It's just a stepping stone.  Maybe they are building up some capital.  Maybe they are learning real world experiences from an already established business.  That is not giving up.  

Maybe you are a business owner and you have employees.  Are you suggesting that all your employees are quitters?  Well that's motivating isn't it? (note: sarcasm).  This would kind of make you the asshole boss.  Are you wanting them to quit and leave you with no employees?

Are you suggesting that monetary riches are the definition of success?  The 3% who own the biggest businesses never gave up so if you aren't in that bracket, you must've given up?  The reality is that there are many different types of success, and is defined on an individual personal basis.

You know what?  Sometimes it's OK to quit something.  Maybe it wasn't the right fit.  Maybe luck wasn't on your side (it's been shown that luck has a significant role in success).  Being realistic can be a great resource.  As Henry Jones Sr. said to his son Indiana in the film "The Last Crusade":  "Let it go".  You can be perfectly happy quitting.  Maybe someone is just pausing.  Again, don't assume just because they are being employed that they have given up. 

There are much better ways to motivate people.  Instead of selling them false hope "programs" and crappy motivational advice, why not actually support them in the choices they make.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Hi-Ho Silver Away!

 Oh the rabbit holes I go down sometimes...

A person sent me a friend request on Facebook.  I checked out his wall.  It was filled with a lot of those guru inspirational quotes.  Definitely not my thing as I find them problematic (that's a topic of discussion for another day).  I then saw he had multiple posts about a holistic dental service.  I was aware of this dental service before.  

The person running the service is not a dentist.  She is a dental hygienist.  While she gives some good advice on her FB business page wall (I actually really like her idea of recycling plastic products and acknowledges that sometimes, those are the best options for her patients), there is also a lot of nonsense and misinformation as well.  Take for example this:



So there is a lot to unpack here.  I'm going to focus just on the liquid product.

"The silver supplement can be taken as a vitamin" Well first off, silver is not a vitamin or anything even close to one.  By definition:  A vitamin is an organic molecule that is an essential micronutrient which an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism.  The body doesn't need silver for proper functioning.  Silver has no known purpose in the body. It's not an essential mineral.

"..to support immunity" is a meaningless phrase.  It is too ambiguous to mean anything.  "Support" is what I call a red flag word.  It doesn't clearly define what it means.  It's just like "helps", "assists" and so on.  The question next would be a big "How?"   That of course is rarely answered.

"..added to mouthwash or water pick, and diffused into a room to eliminate viruses."  No, don't do it.  Silver should not be taken orally.  Putting in mouthwash or water pick, a person might accidentally ingest (especially a child).  While colloidal silver does have some antiviral/antimicrobial properties, it is most effective used directly on surfaces.  A diffuser would promote ingestion of the particles which is not a good idea.

When taken by mouth, silver builds up in your body. This can result usually in a permanent blue-gray discoloration of your skin, eyes, internal organs, nails and gums. This is called argyria. Colloidal silver can also interact with some prescription medicines.  Severe side effects from high doses can include organ damage and seizures. 

"Designed to help boost the immune system"  Any product that uses this phrase is almost guaranteed to be making misleading claims.  My friend Harriet Hall has multiple articles as to why this idea is silly.  Here's a recent one that covers it nicely: https://skepticalinquirer.org/2020/06/how-you-can-really-boost-your-immune-system/  

"Safe for children"--again as mentioned above, children are more likely to swallow mouthwash or water from a water pick.  Not a good idea to have an unsafe substance in there.

"All natural"  Irrelevant.   Being natural does not make a substance safe or effective.  It's an appeal to nature which is a common trope used by nonsense pushers.

"Powerful 10 PPM nano silver solution"  Say what????!!!???   OK, this is an odd statement. 10 parts per million is powerful.   This sounds like homeopathic quackery.  I now have to look at the ingredients so I go to the company website. 

Ingredients:  Purified Silver 50 mcg and Deionized Water.  It's definitely homeopathic-like.

I also notice on the bottle that it states "gluten free" and "non-gmo".  It's water and silver.  Of course it's gluten free and non-gmo!  There's no DNA at all!  This is just pandering to the uneducated who seem to think GMOs and gluten are bad.  Gluten is only bad of course to those with celiac. Genetic modification is simply a tool.  Just silly.

Further looking through their website I see this claim "SilverSol particles leave the body within 24 hours."   OK, so that seems to go against the idea of bio-accumulation.  Let's see the proof.  They claim to have "Over 400 independent studies and test reports performed by more than 60 leading laboratories and universities, all using our SilverSol Technology®. 30 safety reports and studies. 3 published and FDA cleared human ingestion studies.20+ peer-reviewed and published scientific and medical journal articles. Thousands of case studies on SilverSol Technology."

A look on their research page shows...

Well that's a far cry from those numbers they boast about.   The wound studies are mostly just single person case studies.  Pretty much useless as far as evidence goes.  Let's look at the safety data as that's the only other stuff they provide.  

The first "Selective Inaction of ASAP on Probiotics" is not even a study.  It provides no information on how they did the "study".  Utterly useless.

The cytotoxicty report is similar as it gives very little info.

The third is "In vivo human time-exposure study of orally dosed commercial silver nanoparticles".  It's interesting that they don't give the pubmed link but just a pdf of printed out paper.  Probably because if you look for it on pubmed you get links to studies that cite this study like
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32235542/ which states "in vivo biodistribution studies have reported Ag accumulation and toxicity to local as well as distant organs."  
So their own study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23811290/  states "In vivo oral exposure to these commercial nanoscale silver particle solutions does not prompt clinically important changes in human metabolic, hematologic, urine, physical findings or imaging morphology."  To me that means it doesn't do anything to help out.  

The fourth study link is a real kicker!  https://a2p2l4daysk2lcyxv62818v6-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ABL_Pubmed_P450-Drug-Interaction-Study.pdf as it states "Oral ingestion of a commercial colloidal silver nanoproduct produces detectable silver in human serum after 14 days of dosing"   So their own link to a study discredits their claim of it leaving the body in 24 hours.

Well I've had enough, I'm not even going to bother with the other two.  It's safe to say this is just nonsense up the wazoo.  I do have a further question though.  Who is the head honcho of this company?

It took some searching but I found it!  "Dr. Keith Moeller is a Managing Director and CEO of American Biotech Labs (ABL).  Prior to his position with ABL, Keith served as Director of Property Development for 3 different mining companies. Keith has almost 30 years of experience working in the silver industry, and holds a B.S. in Business Management, Finance and International Business from Brigham Young University. He is also a Certified Natural Health Practitioner and holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy."   Naturopaths are not doctors.  He has no actual medical credentials.

So would you trust a dental person who is promoting quackery like this?


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Healy Scam


 


I came across this video debunking the Healy device.  The makers of this device make some pretty big unsubstantiated claims

https://youtu.be/9wYBCKCSHcI


Thanks to Sir Sic for making the video :)