If what I’m saying is so worthless, then why did the CDC publish an article naming HUB as one of the main indicators of faulty research? In fact, HUB is the first one they listed as being problematic. Why do medical school textbooks talk about the problems that it causes if it’s easy to work around?

“Published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the paper outlines five examples of the most common study biases in order to leave readers with a sense of how to avoid being duped by bad studies.

Some key problems they looked at include:

Healthy user bias: when studies compare healthier users of a medical intervention with less-healthy people who didn’t get the intervention. This can make medical treatments seem more effective than they really are. For example, people who seek out and receive a flu shot might be healthier overall than those who don’t. If you compare the two groups in a study, “healthy user bias” could give the false picture that it’s the vaccine that made the difference. As they explain, “Healthy user bias is a type of selection bias that occurs when investigators fail to account for the fact that individuals who are more health conscious and actively seek treatment are generally destined to be healthier than those who do not.”

“What medical school textbooks say is this: “Specifically, individuals who do not receive vaccine (e.g., because of a chronic or transient medical contraindication or low socioeconomic group) may have a different risk for an adverse event than vaccinated individuals.” –Vaccines, 5th ed, 2008, page 1631

In other words, risks that have not been accounted for and taken seriously may be present and masked by current studies that have healthy user bias.

CDC researchers Dr. Paul Fine and Dr. Robert Chen have concluded “That studies are not “useful” unless HUB is controlled.” And because researchers have felt morally constrained from doing pure double blind studies in the past when studying vaccines, they have not known how to control for HUB, but still want public health to be served. However, it’s an ethical dilemma that hasn’t worked out well for some people.

Far from being against vaccination and far from tossing around terms I don’t understand, I am in a much greater command of the pertinent facts than you are. And because I understand the true picture that is beyond the rah rah dogma of perfect vaccine efficacy and safety, I want to encourage others to demand studies done with proper scientific methodology so that we can provide better, safer, public health.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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