Category Archives: Children’s Health

Bill Maher’s Illogical Thoughts on Vaccinations

I’m visiting my mother-in-law and so Friday night we watched Real Time with Bill Maher and I enjoyed watching satire of the news from the left side.  I recently visited my Dad and endured Fox Network’s Justice w/Judge Jeanine so Maher seemed like a Rhode’s Scholar in comparison to Ms. Pirro.  Much of what Mr. Maher had to say was funny and right on target. I just cannot figure how a seemingly bright and open-minded guy like him can have such uninformed and downright odd theories about our immune system.  He seems to propose that immunizations against some specific infections may somehow weaken our ability to respond to other ailments. Watch his You-Tube starting at about the 6-minute marker.

Maher tries to make an analogy between the observation that there seems to be a correlation between super-clean environments and asthma and allergies with getting immunizations.  As I see it he does not have a clue here.  It appears to be true that children raised in very clean dust and germ redued environments do to have more allergies and asthma.  The theory behind this is that lack of early childhood exposure to a wide variety of antigenic stimuli may leave us recognizing antigens later in life as foreign therefore inducing allergic reactions.  Vaccinations expose our immune system to antigens that induce an immune response that makes us immune to certain illnesses.  This is exposing our children to more antigenic material not less. How Maher in his mind relates these two phenomenon alludes me.

There is no evidence that having immunity to one type of organism reduces our ability to mount a strong immune response to other organisms.  I know of no evidence that having immunity induced by vaccines leads to more allergies or asthma. Neither is there evidence that getting vaccinations leads to lowered immunity to other organisms.  Mr. Maher seems to be drawing on his innate skepticism here with an analogy that just doesn’t hold up,

I agree with the premise that it is good to be skeptical.  I just feel strongly that when the evidence shows that immunizations are safe and effective people in a position of influence like Mr. Maher need to take care not to give credibility to skeptics that rely on hunches (like his hunch that flu shots are not beneficial) rather than data.

Pneumonia Vaccination Is More Complex but Better Than Ever

In my 30+ years as a family physician I’ve seen first hand the effects of a relatively new type of vaccines called conjugate polysaccharide vaccinations. In the 1980’s nearly every year I had one or more young children in the hospital with meningitis due to either Hemophyllus influenza B or Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Now there are… Continue Reading

Bendectin resururected as Diclegis

Finally a Canadian pharmaceutical company has received FDA approval to market Diclegis, a medication for treatment of morning sickness that has been commonly used in the U.S. for over 40 years.  This is only newsworthy because finally a company has chosen to take on the risk of lawsuits that led to the removal of Bendectin… Continue Reading

Honest Label for Vaccine Exemptions

Some parents choose to not vaccinate their children.  Some experts argue that this should not be a parent’s choice, and that this is akin to not offering all children equal protection as a constitutional right.  Interesting arguement, and one that has actually been used in two states to not accept “personal choice” as an acceptable… Continue Reading

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is Only Supposed to Happen to Old People

Last weekend I got a call from daughter  while I was enjoying dinner on the deck at home.  The young man sitting next to her had collapsed during dinner.  “What should we do?” was the question.   Being an astute family physician I immediately told her to call 911. Fortunately that call to 911 had… Continue Reading

Doctors Die Too, but Maybe Differently

I stumbled across this terrific article titled: How Doctors Die by Ken Murray a FP at USC.   It is largely anecdotal, but is a really an interesting perspective on how at least some physicians choose to forgo futile end-of-life treatments because they know the limits of modern medicine first hand. Also Enjoy: Octogenerian’s Letter to… Continue Reading