Friday, November 17, 2017

Celebrity quack medicine promoter Jenny McCarthy "loves" the "amazing" Lifevac anti-choking device -- is her endorsement a plus?


Yesterday I tweeted photos of actor Jenny McCarthy and her husband Donnie Wahlberg posing with Arthur Lih of Massapeaqua, NY who invented an anti-choking suction device called the LifeVac.

The photos originated from Facebook posts by Lih and his LifeVac company.

In a reply time-stamped 3:19 AM last night, Ms. McCarthy tweeted me this reply.


It's unclear if her endorsement will benefit the LifeVac.

For example, via Jenny McCarthy: anti-vaxxer, public menace, a January 27, 2015 Los Angeles Times article by Pulitzer-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik:
To provide context to the ongoing outbreak of measles linked to visits to Disneyland and the influence of the anti-vaccination movement, science writer Seth Mnookin revisits the saga of one of the most celebrated anti-vaxxers, starlet Jenny McCarthy.

Mnookin's reporting on McCarthy comes from his indispensable 2012 book "The Panic Virus," which examines the myth of a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, its origin in a bogus study by notorious British fraud Andrew Wakefield, and its spread by credulous news and entertainment figures. He posted the chapter on McCarthy on the PLoS blog's website in 2013, when ABC gave her a fresh new platform by naming her to the cast of the talk show "The View."
The measles outbreak is now up to 87 cases, of which 50 are linked to Disneyland visits. Of the 42 patients whose vaccination status is known, 37 were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. Second-order infections are now turning up--patients who were exposed to infected Disneyland visitors but hadn't been to the park itself.

The outbreak is raising questions about how best to combat some parents' doubts about the safety of the MMR vaccine, which has been amply documented by science, and about the role of medical regulators in quashing bad advice from pediatricians. More on that in a moment.

Mnookin's reporting depicts McCarthy, a former Playboy playmate and MTV star, as an easy mark for charlatans. After dabbling in New Age crystal spirituality, she fell in with an anti-vaccination group once her son was diagnosed with autism. She soon became a ubiquitous spokeswoman for a dizzying variety of autism nostrums--special diets, supplements, detox, chelation, hyperbaric chambers, etc., none of which has been shown to have any scientific validity--and for doubts about the MMR vaccine.