Flu shots and heart attacks

In the category “wishful thinking” I found a study that shows that the flu shot protects against heart disease. I know that the last few years the sale of flu shots has been steadily going down, but this marketing trick is a bit over the top.

The study says that “the flu jab doesn’t just keep the virus away, it can reduce the risk of a heart attack for people over 50.” Considering that the flu shot has never prevented one case of the flu, but often causes it, I think we better be careful with april_150415_flu.ashxthis study. The chances are that also the correlation between flu shots and heart attacks is the other way around.

The flu shot is about as effective in preventing heart attacks as cholesterol and blood pressure lowering drugs. I believe that. These drugs are known to increase the chance of heart attacks and this likely also applies to the flu shot, so the researchers are probably correct here. According to Prof. MacIntyre the flu shot is cheap, effective and safe. Oops, the professor has not done her homework. The shot indeed is cheap, if you only count the price you pay for the shot itself. The flu shot is so unsafe, that the medical costs for chronic diseases caused by the flu shot are very high. But I suppose you can’t expect a professor to know this nowadays. And the flu shot is only effective in raising the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. But the professor probably knows that, as she is likely to be paid by this same industry.
The researchers didn’t do a lab study, but only analysed 16 existing studies. Such a review can surely produce useful results, but only if you review a large number of studies and select those studies randomly. With reviewing only 16 carefully selected studies you can prove that the earth is flat. This kind of research has as little value as a box of wet matches.Flu-Shot
Is there a link between flu and heart attacks? That’s quite well possible. The flu is caused by lack of vitamin C, D, selenium and probably other nutrients. Heart attacks are also caused by lack of these same nutrients. So when someone gets the flu the patient is critically low on these nutrients and then both heart attack and flu can easily happen at the same time. It’s a stretch to say that the flu causes heart attacks.

“Previous research indicates that infections such as the flu might encourage blood to thicken or prompt an inflammatory response in arteries that are already diseased, and trigger a blockage in a partially blocked artery.” This is partially true. Inflammation is the main reason for heart attacks and lack of vitamin C can thicken the blood. But… the flu is a result of those things and not the cause. Oops! The professor has missed a few details here.

And then the conclusion, which shows the professor’s true colours (and employer): “Based on this study’s findings, I would recommend the flu jab for anyone over 50 regardless if they are at risk of heart disease.” showimageThis sounds like the recommendation for statins. Give them to everyone, no matter if you need them or not. And if you drop dead from them there are plenty of statisticians who can produce a graph that says that you lived a lot longer because of the pills. It’s sad that this kind of bought research is presented like it’s real. And it’s sad that people with the title professor are so easy to buy. But unfortunately for this same professor it won’t work. The flu shot is losing popularity, just like all other vaccinations. And no amount of bought research will change that anymore. The professor should best enjoy her well-paid job for as long as she has it, for soon the pharma-based medical system will collapse. And then she will be out of a job.
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