It's really nice to have a fact checker at your disposal. But, most of us don't have such a luxury. Fortunately, scientists and medical professionals have a "fact eliminator" on call 24/7, and he can come in quite handy, should you be interested in at least eliminating wrong answers.
His name is Mike Adams, aka "The Health Ranger," and he runs the "Natural News" site, where whatever he names, regardless of its effectiveness, it's bad for you. Vaccines, drugs, vegetable oil, anything genetically modified, C-sections.
So, it should come as no surprise that he has an online store, where you can buy any number of remedies that will help you live forever. Specifically featured now is the "Healing Alchemy Bundle" for only $75.19 (reduced from $104.85). Apparently, the irony of the product name is lost on him. Adams sure loves his conspiracy theories (See Note 1, below) and the latest is a beauty: Zika has nothing to do with birth defects! He writes:
"Yet the linkage between Zika and microcephaly is nothing but an unproven, unscientific, mythological narrative dreamed up by the vaccine pushers."
"All the signs are there, folks. This is the Bill Gates human depopulation agenda in full swing, disguised as a mosquito virus outbreak. It's no mistake that the larvicide chemicals are being sprayed in the poorest areas of Brazil, targeting those very same populations that are now being told, 'Don't have any more babies!"'
Yep. Bill Gates is trying to depopulate the world, and Zika is just a coverup for this heinous plot.
Or, you can choose to believe a CDC report in last week's MMWR, in which 18 doctors and scientists from five research centers provide evidence that Zika is, in fact, linked to fetal malformations. The paper is rough going, so I have summarized the findings in a way that is (hopefully) readable.
- There is an assay (test) for Zika that the CDC has been working on since late 2015.
- In December 2015, four samples were collected from four mothers and then analyzed.
- Two were from infants who were born with microcephaly, and died shortly after birth.
- Two were from miscarriages.
- All four mothers had clinical signs of Zika infection during the first trimester, but none at the time of delivery or miscarriage.
- The mothers were not tested for antibodies to Zika, so the diagnoses were based on symptoms rather than actual tests.
- A very sensitive, specific technique called RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) was used to look for Zika proteins and genetic material from brains or placentas of the infants and miscarriages, respectively.
- The RT-PCR test, and another test that measures antibodies both confirmed the presence of Zika-specific proteins and genetic material in the samples.
- RT-PCR was also used to rule out dengue.
- Other tests ruled out other contagions that could cause fetal abnormalities: rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, toxoplasmosis, and HIV.
- Histopathologic changes (observed using a microscope) showed evidence of several types of brain damage, but no damage elsewhere.
- None of this is evidence that Zika caused the abnormalities, but strongly suggests it.
There are some limitations to the study, most notably, the lack of an antibody test for the infected mothers. But, this is good, solid science, and it is likely that the causation will be established sooner rather than later.
Who do you believe? Eighteen researchers who used state of the art detection methods, or crackpots who think that Bill Gates is trying to kill poor infants? Tough call.
(1) Speaking of conspiracies, this is a small sample of those featured on Adams' home page under the "Preparedness News" feature:
I wonder why the tune for that candy commercial is stuck in my head??