I'm glad to see page view numbers are picking up for our group blogging experiment here for Galway Skeptics. It's really important to me in any group I'm part of to get word out about what I/they do and let people know that there's no secrecy or in-group nonsense going on. A blog is a nice way to get the word out and let people know what we're thinking about.
I'm currently involved in looking into something I'm *highly* skeptical about but I haven't got all the details I want to share with you yet. Suffice to say it involves the not-so-hallowed halls of Irish Academia and Homeopathy and other nonsense. Hopefully I'll have more details for you by the time my next posting day rolls around.
Anyway, one of my main worries at the moment is this linkage of a certain brand of Swine Flu vaccine with an onset of Narcolepsy in younger patients. There's a lot of news on it about at the moment, so I won't tire you with details you can easily find on google if it does interest you. It's one of those media storms that has so many facets that you could spend a hundred years unpicking the inferences of all the different takes on it. Luckily, it comes down to 2 straight facts to take away -
1. There are side-effect free H1N1 vaccines from other companies that we can rely on instead.
2. There is no denying that the idea of developing narcolepsy is terrible, especially in the case of children & young adults, but the idea of a flu pandemic killing thousands of that same cohort would be worse, right?
A possible third take away is that if you're a large pharmaceutical company and there's even an outside chance that your vaccine may give people some kind of side effect, don't give it a Sci-Fi/Horror Tabloid-Frenzy-Friendly name like "Pandemrix". Seriously, it sounds like something marketed by the Umbrella Corporation.
Back in two weeks with something more thought out!