Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Truth About Immune Boosters

My very loving mother has advised me against writing, let alone publishing, this very innocent column in fear of some kind of retaliation from the local syndicate whose livelihood I'm about to
attack.

I ergo write this under duress, and if it so happens that the gentle reader is reading this from the musky smelling pages of a newspaper, do not forget the great lengths and the many nights of contemplating the risks involved in order to bring you this piece of cut-throat journalism! No fear, no favor. From the time of print, I will be probably watching my back (I need a periscope), and avoiding open drinks (as I should always), so as to live to write another column that might cause me injury. Oh the humanity!
Here we go.

As I sat down to write this, I dreaded the many hours of research I would have to put in in order to bring you this exclusive. Thank God for Google and other smartasses like me, reports of these
quacks have been all over the internet for many years now. Just a few minutes out of your lunch hour to Google "immune booster hoax" will give you more than enough reasons to stop buying these untested concoctions that are made of who-knows-what.

Like the authors of the New Testament, I myself have an agenda in writing a column on this
particular topic. I mean, I could have just written about the president's private parts
of his life (his house), how rich people can make the government look away (Guptagate) or how South Africa has collectively numbed itself against rape and domestic violence. But no! I wanted to write about something that's closeto my heart. I'm a scientist in training and a great enthusiast of the truth. So, when I see the truth being twisted, screwed, spat on, bottled and labeled to look like the truth; I get very angry and go hulk on your ass!

What gets my lymphocytes into a real fit is the blatant untruth presented by these dodgy looking companies who sell these so-called immune boosters. What does that even mean,'boosters'? The truth (which the reader can find on the net) is that the immune system of a healthy person is an evolutionary masterpiece that does not need to be improved, boosted or re-engineered. It is a very complex system that we vaguely understand, and how these concoctions claim to improve it, leaves me scratching my head as I slave over these medical textbooks and reputable websites.

What's the big deal? This stuff can't kill you, right? Well… not directly. For the first time, this column is about to become very opinionated, maybe even subjective, I dare say! Winter's coming, and
this muti is being advertised as protection against the coming flu season. The trouble with this is thats the average consumer, who is not exposed to the possibility of immunization through vaccination, might as well buy the much cheaper immune boosters that promise to prevent diseases I've never heard of and bring your long lost spouse back to you among other benefits.

Now, vaccines do not boost your immune system as such, but what they do is actually give your system a sort of a heads up of what's to come in the coming season. How it actually works is that they inject you with a weakened version of the virus (such as for measles) and the immune system reacts as if it is facing the real deal, and the result of this is that the immune system is ready next time that strain of
the virus attacks.

That's how one is protected. There was a scandal in Europe in 1998 in which a scientist, Andrew Wakefield, claimed to had found a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism in children. Parents, on the authority of this scientist, avoided taking their kids to be vaccinated and this in turn put many lives at great risk.

The results were later rubbished as their instigator was later found to be extremely biased (he was developing an alternative vaccine) and he had altered his results. The consequences of his actions have are still prevalent even today with parents who still will not vaccinate their children based on this blatant untruth. The media was also criticized for its role in the irresponsible reporting and having not covered the rubbishing of the results.

I hope it'll never come to this. But what I have seen are these adverts that use scientific terms and facts in saying why the immune system is important and why pathogens are so dangerous. They then proceed to tell you how this sugar water they call a miracle is going to help you protect yourself from this flu season. So how can a layman stay unconvinced after someone who knows science says it is?

I am simply against the twisting of the truth especially when people's lives are at stake. I don't like what I'm seeing. The remnants of a denialist government who had an uncanny fetish for beet-root.

3 comments:

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    1. Thank you! You're my first ever commenter! Thanks for your time

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    2. Thank you! You're my first ever commenter! Thanks for your time

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