HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Archive for January, 2012

BIG medical blunders

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/01/25

When I first realized that published, peer-reviewed mainstream data clearly show — and have shown all along — that there is no evidence that HIV causes AIDS while there’s convincing evidence that it doesn’t, I thought this was an extraordinary, unique instance of modern medical science and modern medical practice going so drastically wrong with untold damage to untold numbers of individuals.
Over the last few years, however, I’ve seen that what’s wrong with the HIV/AIDS scene is part and parcel of the Big-Pharma-influenced, money-dominated, research-hothouse, cutthroat state of medicine — American medicine in the first place but infecting the rest of the world at an increasing pace.
Last April I noted (“The drug business”, 2011/04/25) that the AZT scandal is actually quite a typical instance of what’s wrong with the drug-centeredness of modern medical theory and practice — albeit AIDS and AZT were responsible for the beginning of one of the worst aspects of drug-centeredness, the practice of “accelerated approval” of drugs by the FDA that has led to the marketing of increasing numbers of drugs so toxic that they are withdrawn just a few months or years after being approved, having in the meantime killed enough people to demonstrate how inadequate the initial Pharma-controlled clinical trials were.
I listed in that blog a number of the solidly documented books that have, for a couple of decades now, pointed to this dangerous and scandalous state of affairs. Among those books is Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Basic Books, 2nd ed., 2010) and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (Crown, 2010) with the astonishing evidence that drug-based treatment of mental illness has actually brought an epidemic of chronic mental illness, with far more Americans permanently disabled than were ever hospitalized in asylums before drug treatment became the standard.
One of the crucial flaws was taking an occasional correlation as proof of causation, creating the “chemical imbalance” theory of mental illness and bringing the avalanche of new drugs launched on the basis of that theory. There was from the beginning no evidence for it, and indeed very soon direct evidence against it, for instance that depression seemed to respond both to reducing serotonin uptake but also to increasing it. Nevertheless, psychiatric practice has continued (though not in Japan) to prescribe for treatment of depression the SSRIs — selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.
Now there has come an extraordinary public acknowledgment by prominent psychiatrists that they knew all along that this was not a valid treatment — together with a perhaps even more extraordinary rationalization for using an invalid treatment because of its “metaphorical” value — see “Psychiatry’s Grand Confession”  and “Science Isn’t Golden — Matters of the mind and heart — Powerful psychiatrists push false theory on unknowing souls — NPR broadcast reveals shockingly demeaning views of patients”.
The NPR story is “When it comes to depression, Serotonin isn’t the whole story”.
Evidently psychiatry has secretly remained all along in the authoritarian paternalist Freudian mode supposedly superseded by “scientific” “medical” psychiatry.

Posted in experts | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Informed Consent and Big Pharma

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/01/23

I am realizing increasingly that the HIV/AIDS blunder/industry is far from unique, indeed that it reflects shockingly but faithfully many other present-day medical practices, for example the fudging of “informed consent” regulations by outsourcing trials to Africa and the profit-greedy peddling of insufficiently tested and all-too-often toxic drugs. See for example the article, “Too many given no right to refuse in medical trials” by Harriet A. Washington in the New Scientist, #2848,  23 January 2012.

Her new book also seems pertinent: Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself–And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future,  Doubleday2011 —
“National Book Critics Circle Award winner Washington (Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, 2007, etc.) begins with the controversial 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed the commercialization of medical inventions based on government-funded patents, including those on living things. As a result, an unprecedented collusion between universities, researchers and private pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies spawned an era in which many vital medicines are too expensive or inaccessible to average consumers, or rushed to market before being adequately tested. Despite the fact that taxpayers largely fund medical research and development, pharma companies include that cost in their purported expenses, therefore using disingenuous figures to justify the skyrocketing costs of patented drugs. The author adeptly details the wide-ranging repercussions of this monopolistic research model and recounts chilling anecdotes that reveal a pattern of shady practices by biotech and pharma companies. These firms often display a lack of respect for patients’ rights in a ruthless pursuit of “blockbuster” drugs without regard for helping those who need it most. As of 2009, only 10 percent of the more than $70 billion spent per year on medical research addresses “diseases that cause 90 percent of the world’s health burden.” In addition, minorities and poor populations are often exploited for their genetic material yet not compensated for their contribution. Thousands of people die from preventable causes simply because it’s not profitable to save them. The author clearly presents data to elucidate these complex issues, and cogently argues that there are opportunities to reinstate transparency, collaboration and altruism in drug development and disbursement” (editorial review on amazon.com).

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS | 1 Comment »

Duesberg publication noted in NATURE, infuriates HIV/AIDS vigilantes

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/01/08

“Evidence-based medicine: No HIV/AIDS epidemic”  drew attention to the article, “AIDS since 1984: No evidence for a new, viral epidemic — not even in Africa”, Italian Journal of Anatomy & Embryology 116 (# 2, 2011) 73-92, by Duesberg, Mandrioli, McCormack, Nicholson, Rasnick , Fiala, Koehnlein, Bauer & Ruggiero. The article summarizes epidemiological evidence, and reiterates points made in the Medical Hypotheses publication that had been withdrawn by Elsevier publishers at the behest of HIV/AIDS vigilantes spearheaded by Nobel-Prize awardee Barré-Sinoussi (“Elsevier-Gate”).
That this material had been published in a peer-reviewed mainstream journal of long and honorable standing, indexed in all the leading professional places including PubMed, was judged noteworthy by Nature: see the article by freelance journalist Zoë Corbyn at Nature.com, 5 January. Corbyn’s news report is quite evenhanded and factual, paying the needed amount of attention to the outraged protests by “leading AIDS researchers and campaigners” — of whom the only one actually named is Nathan Geffen, a South African activist who lacks any of the scientific credentials for whose supposed lack he and his colleagues like to castigate AIDS Rethinkers.
The Comments to this Corbyn piece at Nature.com seem as if designed to warm the cockles of Rethinkers’ hearts. An amusing bit of trivia in those exchanges is that the editorially chosen heading for Corbyn’s piece had been “Paper refuting HIV-AIDS link secures publication — Work by infamous AIDS contrarian passes peer review”. This was soon changed (though not immediately on the Nature home page) to “Paper denying HIV-AIDS link secures publication — Work by infamous AIDS contrarian passes peer review”. As is the wont on Internet discussions, a certain amount of emotional energy was discharged over this terminology and substitution. As I pointed out long ago, in connection with Kalichman’s use of “refute” throughout his book (“HIV/AIDS refuted, according to Kalichman! — Kalichman’s very-Komical Kaper #8”), the Oxford English Dictionary notes that “refute” in the sense of “deny” is an acknowledged but archaic usage. That makes it appropriate to the archaic Dark-Ages mindset of HIV/AIDS vigilantes in which any deviation from authoritative orthodoxy is heretical, and those who commit it should be banished beyond the pale: imprisoned if Mark Wainberg had his way, or at least deprived of employment if he and John Moore had their way. Among the gurus of language usage who had their say about this was a graduate student in economics, who doubtless learned from his mentor, economist Nicoli Nattrass, that economists are qualified to speak with authority on every matter in any discipline.
I was delighted that Clark Baker was able to draw attention of Nature.com readers to the fact that the Office of Medical & Scientific Justice (OMSJ) has already succeeded in 38 cases in defending individuals charged with criminal transmission of “HIV”, because the prosecutors cannot find HIV/AIDS experts willing to be cross-examined under oath in court. Among other things, Baker challenges anyone to find a mainstream expert willing to run that gauntlet.
I was very pleased with the comments from activist Richard Jefferys, because they draw attention to the RA website, to the AIDS TRAP leaflet, to several articles like those showing that the risk of catching “HIV” is negligible even for medical students in South Africa, let alone in Italy, and — by no means least, in my view — to this blog. These citations are highly welcomed. Quite a few hits on my blog yesterday and today came from people who had linked to it from the Nature.com site, evidently people who had not previously known of my blog.
Jefferys illustrates quite a few of the tactics that activists typically engage in, like criticizing matters of procedure instead of addressing central substantive issues; insinuating guilt by association because Duesberg agreed to talk to someone representing as mainstream-sounding an organization as the American Family Association; attempting to make smear charges persist by saying that lack of evidence of guilt does not constitute clearing of charges — what about innocent unless proven guilty?
As Charles Geshekter notes, “The hyperbolic and frenzied comments from Richard Jefferys confirm that the article destabilized and agitated the AIDS orthodoxy, and that’s a good thing”.
Several of the vigilante commentators try to remain anonymous, by contrast to the Rethinkers who all write under their own names. Those familiar with this quite typical state of affairs will already have identified “Ed Daring” as a pseudonym, for example, or “Jack Knight”, who links to his “HIV Innocence Project Truth” which castigates Clark Baker and OMSJ for lack of transparency even while remaining anonymous. Connoisseurs will even have a very good idea which of 2 or 3 candidates those pseudonyms attempt to mask, as Clark Baker noted. Google is also an excellent resource for clues to the people behind pseudonyms.
Rethinkers should enjoy this cornucopia of vigilante fury and incompetence and shameless cherry-picking. For example, “Colin Esperson” links to a graph that does not appear in the sources he cites, Hall et al. (JAMA 300 [2008] 520-9) and MMWR 57 #39 (2008) 1073-76.

 Hall et al. estimate incidence (annual new cases) by an ingenious — not to say ingenuous — “extended back-calculation approach” that exemplifies the stimulus for the well-founded folklore about “lies, damned lies, and statistics” (see Darrell Huff, How to lie with statistics, 1954/93; Joel Best, Damned lies and statistics: untangling numbers from the media, politicians, and activists, 2001, and  More  damned  lies  and  statistics:  how  numbers confuse  public issues, 2004).
MMWR 57(39) estimates the prevalence (total number of cases) for 2006 at 1,106,400 (1,056,400–1,156,400) — an invigorating illustration of the penchant HIV/AIDS gurus have to imply extraordinary accuracy to guesstimates, in this case to 5 significant figures despite an acknowledged range of no less than 5%. Improved data are supposed to allow a correction for the estimates for 2003, from (1,039,000–1,185,000) down to 994,000. It is stated that the method of estimation used in the 1990s cannot be applied in later years owing to purported effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment, but I find no data reported here from those years to give a basis for the graph offered by “Esperson”. On the other hand, uncontested earlier data from official sources, cited on pages 1-2 of my book, are —

1986: 1-1.5 million
(MMWR 36 #49, 18 December 1987, 801-4)
1987, refinement for 1986: 945,000 to 1.41 million
(MMWR 36, suppl. 6, 18 December 1987, 1-20)
Mid–1988: 1.5-2 million
(Kaslow and Francis, The Epidemiology of AIDS: Expression, Occurrence, and Control of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 93)
1989: ~1 million
(MMWR 39 #7, 1989, 110-2, 117-9)
1993: >1 million
(Merson, Science 260 [1993] 1266-8, Fig. 1)
2003: >1 million
(Glynn and Rhodes, JAMA 294 [2005] 3076-80)

“Esperson’s” not-sourced figure for prevalence is reminiscent of, but not exactly the same as, numbers offered in AIDS in the World II, edited by Mann & Tarantola (Oxford University Press, 1996), numbers based entirely on one or more of the several computer models and ignoring the officially published data just cited.

So: I recommend highly reading, for amusement, the ensuing commentaries on the Nature piece by Corbyn, just bearing in mind that where comments from HIV/AIDS enthusiasts are concerned, the watchwords are, CAVEAT   LECTOR.

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, prejudice, uncritical media | Tagged: | 22 Comments »

 
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