Infection Super-Spreaders: Whose Department?

September, 7, 2020 | 20 Comments


  1. Michael Hengartner responded to the post with the following email

    Hi David
    That‘s absolutely fine with me. Just one note: Frontiers has a rather peculiar way of editing articles. As soons as two reviewers have recommended acceptance, as editor I have no choice but accepting the article. Unless there is a serious flaw, which you might argue is there, as no-one has access to the raw data. However, on this ground I cannot recommend rejection, as this would mean to reject about 90% of clinical research and call into question everything EBM has achieved, including the Cochrane collaboration.

    Best wishes,

    And was happy to have the comment posted as part of an effort to get a conversation going


    • why not publish together with an article that there was a disagreement about acceptance with an explanation as to the reason?

      • S

        The point is there is no one at home in Frontiers to make a sensible decision like this – and there is also the point that this scenario calls the entire modus operandi of Cochrane and NICE and others into question. It also applies as much to vaccines as to drugs


  2. The Giant Anteater…on the previous ‘Meta’ Ruckus..

    Anatomy of a Confidence Trick

    Auntie Psychiatry June 21, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    “Kate Adlington, suggests that much of the media coverage of The Lancet’s antidepressant network meta-analysis was insufficiently nuanced…”

    This makes me so angry! There can be no doubt that all media coverage was very carefully orchestrated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists via the Science Media Centre. Professor Sir Simon Wessely is conveniently on the Board of Trustees of this shady “charity”.

    In fact, the journalists in the mainstream media did a pretty good job of accurately reporting what was fed to them by the lead authors of the study and other high-profile, media savvy psychiatrists. They were out in force and all dutifully on message with the line “antidepressants work, and more people would benefit from treatment for depression…”

    Here it is again…

    1. Lead researcher Dr Andrea Cipriani, from the University of Oxford, told the BBC: “This study is the final answer to a long-standing controversy about whether anti-depressants work for depression… I think this is very good news for patients and clinicians.”
    2. Andrea Cipriani in The Metro: “Under-treated depression is a huge problem and we need to be aware of that. We tend to focus on over-treatment but we need to focus on this.”
    3. Carmine Pariante was another one on our screens:
    “This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression.”
    4. “Good news… antidepressants do work and, for most people, the side-effects are worth it.” Allan Young
    5. “It puts to bed the idea that antidepressants don’t work – all 21 antidepressants were more effective than placebo at treating depression”. Prof Anthony Cleare
    Then there was the “million more” claim:
    6. John Geddes, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at Oxford University, who worked on the study, told The Guardian: ‘It is likely that at least one million more people per year should have access to effective treatment for depression, either drugs or psychotherapy.’
    This was accurately reported via the Press Association as…
    “It has been suggested a million more people per year in the UK should be given access to treatment for depression, through either drugs or talking therapies, with scientists saying the study proves drugs do work.”
    7. The Raconteur:
    John Geddes: Only one in six people with depression receive effective treatment with GPs “squeamish” to prescribe medication for mental health conditions.
    Pariante: We have a wealth of evidence that antidepressants do a good job for some people, and there are a lot of people who could benefit from them and now will.

    “Such broad-brush headlines and content do not accurately reflect the study’s scope and results, Adlington contends…”

    But this was NOT media spin – it was deliberately put out there by Psychiatry’s PR machine.

  3. Head To Head
    Covid-19: Should doctors recommend treatments and vaccines when full data are not publicly available?
    BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 24 August 2020)
    Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3260

    Raymond M Johnson, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases)1, Peter Doshi, associate professor2, David Healy, professor3
    This week’s poll

    Covid-19: Should doctors recommend treatments and vaccines when full data are not publicly available?

    No 79.67% (1,489 votes)

    Yes 20.33% (380 votes)

    So now dear doctors put your votes into practice – even take the trouble to put a response in your name in reply to the article in thebmj so that those who consult you will be reassured ou have their best interests in mind , especially when payments for this years’ vaccines are in the pipeline. You might also start some action yourselves to put the message of the article in the public domain ie We won’t start jabbing any one without the evidence we can give people in writing and with evidence of their informed consent

  4. “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” – Carl Jung

    Cipriani is just doubling down, it’s more of a middle finger to the resistors than actual evidential science. He’s not the only one, others have done it before him, although  they were highly paid by the drug companies, Keller, Nemeroff, Biederman spring to mind. 

    This is what we all face as we become part of the resistance ~ the propaganda machine (Science Media Centre, paid KOLs and mainstream media) continually churn out the same outcomes.

    Look at history.

    In the 1960’s the KGB ran a series of psychological experiments. They learned that if you bombarded human subjects with fear messages non-stop, by the end of two months most of the subjects became brainwashed and believed the false message, to the point that no amount of clear (truthful) information they were shown would change their minds.

    The chemical imbalance is a classic example of this. It’s still touted today by some celebrities, general practitioners and the field of psychiatry, the latter, despite their protestations, being responsible for its dissemination.

    Most mainstream headlines are duplicated in Google searches. Whereas years ago one newspaper would have an exclusive story, today is different as we see numerous media outlets copying and pasting from one another – this doubles-down the message and relates to what the KGB did back in the sixties.

    All drug company driven, of course.

  5. I think the last part of your comment re:- ‘jabbing consent’ will show us very clearly where we stand here in the UK and possibly elsewhere too. Generally, people think that anything offered as a vaccination is truly for their benefit. However, I’m not sure that that rings so true as far as this epidemic is concerned. I’m afraid that we are slowly separating into ‘old’ and ‘young’ in all aspects of dealing with the virus. The ‘old’ have suffered the loss of so many friends in the last few months that they, I feel, will quite willingly take up the offer of being vaccinated. The young, on the other hand, are now, quite suddenly, having the finger pointed at them as being the ones who are “not keeping to the rules” and I think that it will be found that they will not be as compliant when it comes to the jab. They are quite astounded that they are now in the blame game’s frontline and will show their discontent by walking away from the vaccination.
    As for ‘informed consent’, who are we to believe? Trust in the government is very low – so many u-turns have killed whatever trust there was six months ago. Can we trust the scientists? Many probably would prefer to give them their trust but will feel the ‘rush for a vaccine’ and trust will wane there too.
    Will there be a choice at all or are we talking compulsory vaccination here? My fear is that the reality may well be that either it will be compulsory for all or that for the ‘young’ it will be compulsory for fear that, otherwise, they’ll infect the ‘old’. Whichever way the cookie crumbles I fear that we’re in for a “winter of discontent” the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The young will rebel whichever way things go and THAT will create scenes that will shock us all.
    Hasn’t all of this happened at a convenient time though? Brexit is now on no one’s lips; even young children are now playing ” hunt the virus” on their return to school. Covid has got us all under its spell!

  6. Michael P. Hengartner, PhD

    Replying to


    Pfizer, the manufacturer of sertraline, even dared to misattribute suicidal events during the lead-in phase as placebo-events, thus biasing the risk against placebo

    Wendy Burn 

    Antidepressants in Children and Adolescents: Meta-Review of Efficacy, Tolerability and Suicidality in Acute Treatment. For suicidality venlafaxine was associated with risk in people with depression and sertraline with risk in those with anxiety.

    Wendy Burn 

    Agree. I don’t really understand why one antidepressant should be more likely than another to increase suicidality. Good to see a review though.

    Michael P. Hengartner, PhD

    Replying to

    Yeah, but that‘s just half the story.

    When the whole class of SSRIs have varying degrees of propensity to cause Suicidality and each SSRI has been examined at length, here there and everywhere, and the entire UK Seroxat Class Action was based on Paroxetine being ‘worst in class’ isn’t it a wonder how then each psychiatrist and general practitioner makes a decision every day as to which SSRI to prescribe to their patient…

    Spread it – to all Departments…

  7. Weelll … it’s at least possible that Prozac is *somewhat* less detrimental to troubled kids than Paxil or Effexor. But that’s a lot like saying prescription Adderall is less dangerous than the crystal meth your neighbor cooks up in his bathroom sink. Should you rush to put more patients on Adderall, then? Or should you think about the fact that they are both amphetamines, and check to see whether some of the damage suffered by meth addicts is also being visited on your Adderall patients?

    You might also remember that both drugs are “efficacious” in a way: Meth might even help you lose weight and cram for your school exams, thus increasing your scores on a self-esteem scale! At least in the short term. Just like Adderall. But a year or two on meth, of course, will lay waste to your schoolwork, your looks AND your outlook on life. So if you find after a year or two on Adderall that your kid’s “improved grades” have long since disappeared, and his mood and behavior are as dysfunctional as ever if not more so? Don’t be surprised.

    This is one reason why clinical trials concentrate heavily on the short-term. And why so many “long-term” trials are confined to the people from the short-term trial who really liked the drug … and are nonetheless riddled with drop-outs. And why they almost always measure “success” with a rating scale rather than a concrete result (such as going back to school or work).

  8. Michael H is described as a guest associate editor but In the massively detailed document I can’t spot the imperative to publish if two reviewers recommend Have I missed it?

    Publishing Model
    Frontiers was founded by scientists to make peer-review constructive, to bring the best technology to the service of the authors and editors, and to ensure that the active researchers within the field shape the direction of science, not publishers.

    In Frontiers, decisions on publication are decided by an external Editorial Board that is not financially incentivized to accept articles. This ensures an independence between the publisher’s responsibility to grow and promote the Frontiers journals and the responsibility of the external editors to shape the direction of research.

    Frontiers distributes editorial responsibility to the entire Editorial Board. Review Editors are empowered by directly interacting with the authors in the Collaborative Review Forum; Associate Editors are empowered to accept articles; Chief Editors are empowered to enhance the integrity of peer review………………….for umpteen pages

    A history of Frontieron Wikipedia shows some pretty unpleasant shenanigans

  9. Joanna Moncrieff

    Replying to

    not meaning to blame any individuals, Michael, much less you – its a culture which all academics have to sign up to to some degree

    Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
    Replying to

    I am not oblivious of this (I was the editor), but denying acceptance of such an article would mean to deny the most part of clinical research and calling into question the whole foundation of evidence-based medicine, including NICE, Cochrane and so on. So what choice did I have?

    ‘Sign up’ to ‘Cochrane’?

    Rewarding the Companies That Cheated the Most in Antidepressant Trials

    — is that the companies have deliberately concealed many cases of suicide and suicide attempts in their trials and in their reports to the drug regulators. In many cases, this has amounted to fraud.

    The Review on Antidepressant Withdrawal That Cochrane Won’t Publish

    Peter Gøtzsche and Anders Sørensen on trying to get a review of methods for safe antidepressant withdrawal published in Cochrane: “They sent us on a mission that was impossible to accomplish” to “protect the psychiatric guild.”

    19 September. Tom Jefferson: The Crucifixion of Brother Peter.

    ‘Sign up’ to a ‘Culture’?
    NICE Guidelines are Junk.

    ‘calling into question the whole foundation of evidence-based medicine, including NICE, Cochrane and so on. So what choice did I have?

  10. He made the bomb then couldn’t prevent what he knew was going to happen =and blew innocent Japanese to a hideous death and maimed lives . Those who know they are promoting publications with lack of scientific evidence (as Michael H and Joanna M seem to admit) are as guilty as hell of causing uncountable numbers of deaths and ruined lives. What could they do? Not work for such as Frontiers , Cochrane or NICE for a start. and Stop claiming to be critical psychiatrists .There are 184 Associate Editors of Frontiers of Public mental Health – they all have other jobs. Is the tainted kudos worth it?
    Many of them are involved in carrying out research and teaching of the next generation of health workers – -who will sacrifice lives for lies
    Storyville On channel4 TV
    The Trials of Oppenheimer
    J Robert Oppenheimer was one of the most celebrated scientists of his generation. Shy, arrogant and brilliant, he is best known as the man that led the Manhattan Project to spectacular success.

    As the years progressed he also grew into a scientific statesman, leading a government agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, which was trying to develop ways to avoid a nuclear arms race. His attempts at politics, though, were a lot less successful than his scientific endeavours. As he grew more powerful, he started to make serious enemies amongst the establishment, particularly a friend of President Truman’s – Lewis Strauss.

    it is a film that, ….. tells us a lot about the perils of mixing science and government.

    Duration89 minsFirst shown9pm 15 Jul 2009

  11. Thom Lehrer’s memorable: ‘Poisoning Pigeons in The Park’ – also seems relevant to the widespread promotion of those psychotropic drugs that induced AKATHISIA; and which have so terribly injured, and/or destroyed our beautiful children.

    “We’ll murder them all between laughter and merriment, except for the few we take home to experiment. My pulse will be quickening with each drop of strychnine – it just takes a smidgeon – to poison a pigeon in the park”.

    Great tune, brilliant piano accompaniment, better science?

  12. The ‘Troubles’…

    Juan Gérvas

    The Spanish one is the best, including the title. “Harms are not reported in the published literature and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and form the basis of decisions about licensing.”

    “The strategy aims to dispel the myths around suicide, including the suggestion that most happen suddenly and without warning.”

    Suicides: Plan revealed to reduce number of deaths

    Spotlight on the Suicides: The Politicians

    This Continues the Spotlight on the Suicides series. 

    Astonished by the conclusion of Stephen O’Neill’s inquest, I wrote to Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, copied to the Ministers of Health in Ireland, Simon Harris, in Wales Vaughan Gething, and in England Matt Hancock, along with the Danish MEP, Margrete Auken, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly and Martina Anderson, a Northern Irish MEP.

    Joanna Moncrieff
    I hear its a great read!

    Co-operative Inc.

  13. There was a long documentary today – also a vimeo if anyone can bring it up?

    PBS America
    18.8K subscribers
    Documentary OPIOIDS, INC. tells the story of Insys Therapeutics – a drug company that bribed doctors and committed insurance fraud as its Wall Street investors looked the other way.

    Insys Therapeutics profited from Subsys, a fentanyl-based painkiller up to 100 times stronger than morphine, by targeting high-prescribing doctors and nurse practitioners known within the company as “whales,” misleading insurers, and holding contests for the sales team.

    However, the scheme fell apart as federal prosecutors used the same anti-racketeering laws designed to fight organised crime, with Insys Therapeutics becoming the first pharmaceutical company to have its top executives sentenced to prison. A year in the making, discover the inside story of how big drug companies have fuelled America’s opioid addiction endemic.

  14. Alan Cassels

    Fabulous review of some stellar scholarship on the perniciousness of Ghost Managed medicine

    Ghost-managed medicine: Big Pharma’s invisible hands,

    Review by Jonathan Jureidini

    It is hard to understand the failure of intelligent well-educated doctors to recognise that if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. KOLs manage to turn a blind eye to the way in which they are being exploited. As the late Mickey Nardo (See: wrote: “It’s always funny when small children try to play hide-and-go-seek by covering their eyes, but when grown-ups do it, it loses its charm.” 
    Ghost-managed medicine is an antidote to such childish behaviour.


    Sooner or later, this whole tawdy saga is going to find its way out of the blogs and courtrooms and into the full light of day. And the question that’s going to be asked is why didn’t Medicine itself deal with the problem? Why didn’t the Journal itself retract the misinformation once they knew about it? Why didn’t the industry sponsor itself call for the retraction as part of their settlement with the DOJ? What possible reasonable reason could there be for leaving a paper that is a lie in their journal without even an expression of concern, much less a retraction? And there aren’t going to be any believable answers.

    S – this film is unavailable, just a wee trailer …

  15. The Surgisphere Scandal: What Went Wrong?
    HomeArchiveOctober 2020Features
    The Surgisphere Scandal: What Went Wrong?
    The high-profile retractions of two COVID-19 studies stunned the scientific community earlier this year and prompted calls for reviews of how science is conducted, published, and acted upon. The warning signs had been there all along.
    Catherine Offord

    Oct 1, 2020
    It sounds absurd that an obscure US company with a hastily constructed website could have driven international health policy and brought major clinical trials to a halt within the span of a few weeks. Yet that’s what happened earlier this year, when Illinois-based Surgisphere Corporation began a publishing spree that would trigger one of the largest scientific scandals of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.

    At the heart of the deception was a paper published in The Lancet on May 22 that suggested hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug prom

  16. 329 Lullaby, Stevie Lewis… Bloody brilliant, some astute, clever lyrics, also a plug for Children of the Cure, Bravo Stevie,… Bravo all brave dissenters,….. X

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