Health priorities

I made a mistake. First, I got a little worked up during last night’s debate because, when discussing health problems, both candidates gave shout-outs to relatively rare conditions rather than to the big killers. My second mistake was more grievous. I read something in HuffPo written by Deirdre Imus.

No one brings the stupid quite like Deirdre. When she talks about health, it’s like a 12th century peasant talking about quantum mechanics—-most of the time, she’s not even wrong.

Deirdre’s upset. She’s upset that the candidates haven’t addressed children’s healt issues. That’s reasonable.

Anticipating the lack of attention always given to children, last April I sent a questionnaire to both Senators McCain and Obama in order to elicit their positions and strategies “to address children’s health issues.”

Despite numerous calls to both campaign offices, neither has had the courtesy to respond to a few specific questions that are critically important to millions of parents and could garner millions of votes.

Perhaps the candidates don’t care about kids. Or perhaps the candidates strategically feel that these issues won’t get them the votes.

Or maybe they just think Imus is a crackpot.

She was upset about not hearing back from the candidates, so she posted her questionnaire online. After reading it, I’m pretty sure I understand why it was ignored.

Question 1: What have you done as a senator and what do you intend to do as President to control untested and unregulated industrial chemicals that are contributing to childhood cancer? And what would you do in regard to re-directing more resources into investigating environmental exposures?

Question 1 is “begging the question”. Is this actually a real children’s health issue? Are unregulated industrial chemicals contributing significantly to childhood cancers?

The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database records less than 10 percent of childhood cancers. The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) only keeps data on patients who follow their protocol.

Question 5: What steps would you take to make a centralized national database more reliable in monitoring childhood cancers?

Does such a database already exist? If not, do we need one? Making cancer a reportable disease is an interesting thought—how would it help sick kids? We keep track of certain infectious diseases because, well, they’re infectious, and we need to track them. Cancer? I mean, surveys track childhood cancers regularly, but I’m not clear on why a comprehensive database should be a national priority.

Question 9: Given the potential short and long-term adverse effects of conventional therapies, do you support the evidence-based use of CAM (complementary and alternative therapies) for childhood cancer?

What a horrid idea. There is no such thing as evidence-based CAM. Something is either proved effective or not. Once it’s proved effective, it’s no longer “alternative”. And WTF is she talking about, anyway? We’ve made huge strides against childhood cancers:

Although the incidence of invasive cancer in children has increased slightly over the past 30 years, mortality has declined dramatically for many childhood cancers.1 The combined 5-year survival rate for all childhood cancers has improved from less than 50 percent before the 1970s to nearly 80 percent today, and the 10-year survival rate is over 75 percent.

Yes, some treatments have side effects, and some side effects are bad. We have two choices: effective, proven therapies that may or may not have significant side effects, or unproved, ineffective therapies that don’t cause side effects.

Of course, Deirdre saves the best for last:

Question 14: Because vaccine injuries can result in serious lifelong debilitation for the most innocent of victims, would you agree that in close decisions, the benefit of the doubt in resolving the claim should be given to the victim, the standard for military veterans? As president, would you support, and encourage, VICA reforms that would include an extension of the statute of limitations for a minimum of eight years, and allow for a two-year look back so parents or guardians can file in the VICP? Would you also agree to maintain the “opt-out” provision as written, so that parents could pursue a civil claim, as is the right guaranteed to every other U.S. citizen? As president, would you fight for these provisions?

So, in order to satisfy Deirdre Imus, a presidential candidate must buy into the “vaccines are dangerous” bullshit, and must promise to make certain changes that are wanted by the lunatic fringe of antivaccinationists.

Deirdre, I think I know why the candidates, in the midst of a contentious and terribly important campaign, ignored your questionnaire.

It’s complete, total, utter, unmitigated, starkravingmad bullshititude. The candidates have better things to talk about than some nut who can’t even get it wrong.