Vaccines and Health

I am very interested in understanding the intricacies of how our minds and bodies work, which is probably why I chose to study biology and psychology. Here you can find the resources I’ve collected and the pieces I’ve written on how to review the evidence on health, medicine, and vaccines in particular.

I am Iida Ruishalme, Finnish/Swedish expat in Switzerland, and I have Masters degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology. I am a co-author of four scientific papers in the fields of insulin cell signalling and immunology, but at the moment I’m also a busy mum of two toddlers, and pursuing my passion for writing in my free time, weekends, and evenings, both in the fields of science and fiction.

How to approach health topics and research

  • Why Science? – How can we know something? What constitutes a good source?
  • Injecting Kindness into the Debate – We’re all just people. What is it that actually shapes our views? What is a good way to communicate to each other?
  • Following the Money – Can the research and pharmaceutical companies be trusted? What about alternative health companies? How do vaccines fare in the light of conflicts of interest?
  • Can Glyphosate Research Be Trusted? – How do we stop biased studies from influencing the state of scientific understanding?

Medicine, alternative medicine, nutrition

Vaccine facts and vaccine myths

A look at vaccine ingredients

Many people want to emphasise the importance of personal choice in the matter of health issues such as vaccines. They don’t feel comfortable simply accepting the conclusion handed down by an authority they don’t trust. What makes this difficult is that medicine is a matter of science. So, why should they trust science? What makes science different from an authority? And how can laypeople differentiate a good source from a bad one?

You can read the long answer to that in my post Why Science? For the short version I quote Richard Feynman:

“Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

My vaccine and health infographics

Please read more in each corresponding piece: Myth: no studies compare health of vaccinated vs unvaccinated people, Reasons to Love the Rotavirus VaccineHas alternative medicine been studied enough?The great myth of vaccines and autismFollowing the moneyAluminum in perspectiveMercury in retrogade, (risk perception piece connected to the severe allergic reactions infographic still in the pipeline), Should you worry about formaldehyde in vaccines?The simple math of herd immunity and lastly, Injecting kindness into the debate as well as Why it’s so hard to talk about GMOs for the science communication meme.

A word on alternative medicine

Alternative medicine is often viewed as benign or at the very least harmless. Some consideration should be given however when evaluating the claims of alternative medicine proponents.

Where science finds complexity, alternative medicine imagines simplicity. This can be risky even it may feel reassuring, the concept is discussed in more depth here. It is good to remember that many herbs also include active ingredients, or drugs, and should be treated with the same caution. A look at herbal medicine here:

“In reality, herbs often contain multiple active ingredients that potentially have drug-like activity in the body. These drugs are often poorly understood, may not even be identified, and exist in highly variable doses within herbal products (Wurglics et al. 2001). Herbs have drug-drug interactions and the same potential for side effects and toxicity as any drug, mitigated only by the fact that herbal products generally contain low doses of active ingredients.”

“Despite this string of negative studies, the herbal remedy industry continues to rake in billions of dollars every year. Large, rigorous, and negative studies seem to have little impact on the sales of herbal products overall (although they may affect the relative popularity of specific herbs to some extent).”

“How are the “traditional” uses of herbal products derived in the first place? The impression that is often given is that centuries of successful traditional use is behind many herbal product claims, but this is often a modern marketing fiction.

As with many things, the marketing of herbal products is largely based on ideology and a compelling narrative rather than evidence.”

2 Responses to Vaccines and Health

  1. Pingback: Myth: no studies compare the health of unvaccinated and vaccinated people | Thoughtscapism

  2. Jan says:

    Iida, tack för all bra information. Vill tipsa om en annan bra sida som avlivar vaccinmyter:

    Hälsningar, Jan i Vasa.

    Liked by 1 person

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