Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford has a blog. Yay for the C21. However, there’s a limit on how far Holford is prepared to go in embracing new technology. You’re not allowed to comment on it, of course.
For more of Patrick Holford’s nonsense as usual that makes one wonder how Professors Cowen and Smith can bear to be associated with him, see, for example, his familiar schtick on vaccines and the GMC hearings into Wakefield. As ever, one has to wonder just what Alt.Reality (tm respected) these people inhabit. Maybe Professors David Smith and Philip Cowen would care to guest on Jeni Barnett’s show and we can all play Bad Science Bingo.
However, more seriously, it seems as if Patrick Holford is lurching ever deeper into the arms of conspiracy theory and plunging into depths even we had never imagined for him. He looks as if he is accepting the unevidenced ‘SIDS as a mis-diagnosis of vaccine injury’ claims. How does Holford read to you on this point?
This week the General Medical Council’s case against Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professor Simon Murch and Professor Walker-Smith, the doctors who reported a link between MMR vaccination and autistic-like symptoms in some children, starts again. This hearing has now run for around 110 days and is schedule [sic] to run until the middle of this year, in a vain attempt to keep the lid on vaccine damage caused to thousands of children…
[Quoting another author] [The] Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunology (JCVI) have tried to disguise the very real fact of vaccine induced fits and febrile convulsions by claiming that deaths from vaccination are actually the nebulous, sudden infant death syndrome deaths (SIDS).
At least Holford is, for now, refraining from publicly aligning himself with the Shaken-Baby Syndrome as a misdiagnosis for alleged vaccine-induced scurvy obscenity. As for the other point, just to be clear, that would be the JCVI that publishes their minutes and reports, as well as declarations of interest, free of charge and available online?
To continue with this farrago of quintessential Holfordism.
It might be said that the Government, the pharmaceutical companies and the science lobby groups have attempted to manage herd immunity with an argument that says vaccines cause no damage at all, ever, under any circumstances.
It might be said, indeed, but it makes it neither accurate nor true. Very few people are prepared to make absolutist statements about vaccination: the best summary is that a vaccination programme is the outcome of a dialogue between parent and doctor and takes the child, family circumstances, relevant medical history etc. into account. Like many decisions, there is an assessment of risk v. benefit and for vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses, paying due attention to clinical history etc. (as above), the benefits of vaccination are considerable and the relative risks are small.
I have no idea what Holford and the author he quotes think that they are expressing with this next paragraph.
The British vaccine programme and those who guide it, run it and oversee it, presents one of the clearest examples of unaccountable, misguided and possibly criminal decisions made by a group of self-interested medical apparatchiks, in the history of British medical politics. The programme began initially to fall apart under the pressure of adverse damage reports in the 1970s. But instead of opening the doors to accountability and a minimal democracy, the DH, the government and political appointees like Professor David Salisbury, shut the gates of Whitehall and like unhappy totalitarians went on buying shoes and having architects build monuments to their greatness while the nation’s children suffered.
Your mileage may vary but the statistics show a remarkable diminution in the suffering caused by vaccine-preventable illnesses for the nation’s children.
Bear in mind that Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare so, presumably, they believe that he has scientific credibility. In association with Professors David Smith and Philip Cowen, he wants to influence the health of schoolchildren and be allowed to run further studies with them despite the lamentable results to date and the fact that Professor Smith has had to acknowledge that they haven’t done a “proper job” and their work ‘lacked rigour’.
It is difficult to know what the University of Oxford makes of two of their senior academics seeming to be ensorcelled by Patrick Holford’s charisma and so associated with his increasingly outre views. Maybe we’re being unjust – maybe Professors David Smith and Philip Cowen do believe that “deaths from vaccination are actually the nebulous, sudden infant death syndrome deaths” – we await a clarification.
We can’t think of a single monument to Professor Salisbury. HolfordWatch is aware that Patrick Holford constantly refers to having set up the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in a very rose-tinted, revisionist history sort of way – a sort of monument to himself and his ego, if you will. Are totalitarians unhappy? Is this some totalitarian weltsmertz or glimmerings of conscience that the author would otherwise seem to deny that the officials have? Have neither the author nor Holford bought shoes since the 1970s? Answers on a postcard.
Update: 13:00. BBC overview of SIDS reports:
In 1971, when records of SIDS first started, there were 1,600 deaths a year.
Cot deaths fell massively in 1997 after research from New Zealand found that babies were much safer sleeping on their backs.
Other studies have shown links between smoking during pregnancy and in the same room as babies, overheating and keeping the baby’s head uncovered.
According the the Foundation for the Study of SIDS:
The latest figures show that 300 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year in the UK. This marks a reduction of 65% since the advice on reducing the risk of cot death started to be known.
This is still too many and a tragedy for the families who experience this bereavement. However, we thought it useful to quote some numbers.
Update 21 April: some weeks after starting the blog, Patrick Holford decided to allow comments from his paying-subscribers, still not to the general public. However, for one post only, he as decided to open up his comments.