By Keir Liddle
Skeptics of homeopathy will be well aware of Dana Ullman a vociferous supporter of homeopathy and prolific writer of books and articles in support of the notion that homeopathy is an efficacious system of medicine as opposed to outdated and disproved nonsense. He is the self styled “Mr Homeopathic.com” and can nearly always be guaranteed to respond to questions about his homeopathic belief system with superciliousness and an ill worn air of superiority.
However even some skeptics of homeopathy were surprised by a recent tweet from @homeopathicdana promoting anti-vaccination conpiracy theories.
We screen grabbed the tweet just in case Dana thinks better of it:
The article Ullman links to can be found here. It’s central premise is basically “vaccination bad and evil”:
“Chicken pox vax gives little protection, kills & maims many, and treatment may kill children who’d have lived through the disease. So more children probably die now from vaccines & chicken pox than died of chicken pox before modern medicine. Worse, the vaccine may be triggering a new epidemic of shingles.”
The post is chock full of the usual conspiratorial anti-vaccination canards claiming that vaccinations don’t cure they cause illness and that they are all a Big Pharma conspiracy. Also worthy of note is that the article was produced with “particular thanks to Joseph Mercola2 that other arch quack, whose research on the topic apparently provided the groundwork for this abysmal piece of anti-vaccination scaremongering.
The post makes the dangerous suggestion that people would be healthier if, instead of vaccinating, they simply allowed the symptoms of these diseases to run their natural course. Now while chickenpox is rarely fatal it is believed to be the cause of one third of stroke cases in children and it is also a main cause of Herpes Zoster more commonly known as the shingles. This condition may involve complications that affect several levels of the nervous system and cause many cranial neuropathies, polyneuritis, myelitis, or aseptic meningitis. Other serious effects that may occur in some cases include partial facial paralysis (usually temporary), ear damage, or encephalitis. During pregnancy, first infections with VZV, causing chickenpox, may lead to infection of the fetus and complications in the newborn, but chronic infection or reactivation in shingles are not associated with fetal infection.
There is also thought to be an increased risk of cancer after contracting shingles.
Now while these diseases may not generally be fatal they carry an increased risk of complications and health problems that can all be avoided through the simple action of vaccination. It is neither responsible or rational to suggest that people avoid vaccinating against these, and other more fatal, diseases in favour of unevidenced “natural” treatments.
This is a worldview that could potentially lead to disability or death in individuals who follow it. It is a world view that turns caring parents into little more than misguided child abusers. Anyone spreading such dangerous anti-vaccine propaganda should be ashamed.
Ullman is not renowned for his ability to critically assess or understand scientific research but even this is something of a step too far for him. Dedicating ones life to promoting homeopathy, building ones career on shilling magic water, is one thing. Spreading dangerous anti-vaccination nonsense is quite another.
Shame on Dana.