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

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 about each in the corresponding pieces listed above. The less obvious ones to find: more about “Severe reactions to vaccines are rare” in Seven Reasons Why You Really Don’t Want to Have Measles and “When you talk about science, sometimes if feels like no one listens” -science communication meme is found in Injecting kindness into the debate as well as Why it’s so hard to talk about GMOs.

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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