New fax number!!!

That fax number that has been serving us well, despite being a little weird with a different area code, is going away tomorrow and a new number is already in place! Please update anyone you know who may fax things to us (pharmacies, hospitals, labs, urgent cares, etc) with the new, current number: 734-864-0018.

Unfortunately, the old number has already been having problems for the past couple days and may not get further faxes in the future, so anyone who is still using the old number, 206-666-2989, should stop immediately and start using the new one (734-864-0018) now! There may be some faxes for medication renewals and labs and records that we didn't get in the past few days, and we have no way of knowing about things we didn't get.

In other news, we solved the problem over the past couple weeks of the contact forms not working, so everything should work fine now. As an added bonus, the web pages should load faster, too!

COVID19 vaccines and the resistance

When these new mRNA vaccines were coming out, I was very hesitant. As a medical practitioner, I was eligible to get them right away, but as of today, I still have not gotten a vaccination for COVID19.
The vaccines are using a new technology and have been rushed out the door to get them to market and who knows what kind of corners were cut to get them out quickly. Every time a new medication comes out, there are all kinds of side effects that didn’t show up in the initial studies because the companies select the participants in the studies to be those at lower risk for the side effects. It isn’t until it’s actually out in the real world and all kinds of people with different genetic and environmental loads are taking it that we see the real spectrum of side effects.
I’m not against vaccines. I am against the inappropriate use of vaccines and on my website you can see a few articles I wrote about the inappropriately broad recommendations for
flu vaccines that are not based on science. Frankly, having a vaccine to get us out of this COVID19 mess would be a nice thing.
So, I waited. Once the vaccines have been out in the real world for a while, we’ll see the reality of what they do.
It’s been a few months and I’ve been seeing data from places like Israel where they’ve already vaccinated a good chunk of the population and they are
seeing a roughly 95% protection against symptoms, pretty close to what Moderna and Pfizer were reporting. Not bad!
One concern is that people who are vaccinated can still acquire the virus and won’t know it (95% reduction in showing symptoms, remember) and become asymptomatic carriers. We finally got some data on it with these mRNA vaccines and it looks like they reduce transmission of the virus by
80%, too.
In terms of allergies, these mRNA vaccines are remarkably clean with only
a few ingredients and none of the adjuvants we see in the other vaccines.
What about those side effects?
What I’ve seen from talking to people who had the vaccines is that a little under half of the people have no side effects from the first shot and a little less than that from the second shot. The side effects that have occurred seem to go mostly away within 48 hours of the vaccination. As we all know, there are a host of people who had COVID19 and continue to have symptoms long after the infection is over (though it seems that vaccinating them will help about 1/3 of the time).
How about some data for the rarer and more severe side effects?
As of yesterday, there are 1,913 reports of death (0.0018%) among the 109 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to people in the US. Any death during the reporting period gets reported and then they look into whether it was vaccine related and so far none in the US have seemed to be related to the vaccine itself. Here’s the article:
Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC.
Even if 100% of those deaths were related to the vaccine, it’s still a much lower death rate than from the virus itself (which seems to have a death rate between 0.1% and 4.1%, and it is 1.8% among confirmed cases in the US).
As far as anaphylaxis goes, in the U.S. – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Jan. 19 there have been 15 cases of anaphylaxis with the Moderna shot and 45 with the Pfizer shot. That translates to 2.1 cases per million doses and 6.2 cases per million doses, respectively. Again, much lower rates than complications from COVID-19.
As far as the autoimmune potential goes, however, there’s little data on it and it’s hard to connect it to a particular event. I think a case can certainly be made that if your own cells are making the spike protein, you could develop autoimmunity. However, it doesn’t seem to actually happen in practice, at least right away. Also the mRNA doesn’t stick around and make you continue making the protein for a long time, so if it doesn’t develop fairly quickly it probably isn’t going to. Of course it’s impossible _prove_ it doesn’t so it’s not wrong to say there’s a possibility. There’s also a possibility that you could win the lottery after getting the vaccine.
We always need to weigh risk versus benefit, or risk of treatment versus risk of no treatment. The risk of treatment doesn’t seem very impressive and the risk of not treating is clearly greater, not only in the risk of death, but also in the risk of long-term consequences.
So, with all the data pouring in showing the safety and efficacy of the mRNA vaccines, I have to say that my resistance to getting it is crumbling. I may actually get vaccinated in the next couple weeks.

Oops! Vitamin C beats hydroxychloroquin for preventing SARS-CoV-2!

In a paper released yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis to Prevent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection”, vitamin C performed better then hydroxychloroquine in preventing exposed people from developing SARS-CoV-2, with about 20% fewer people progressing to COVID-19 disease in the vitamin C group.
The authors intended the vitamin C as a placebo to compare against the medicine, but they did use a dose that was a good start (500mg for 3 days and then 250mg daily) since the body will burn through vitamin C when fighting infections. Their references for the claim that vitamin C is a placebo and ineffective dose for this were based on 2 articles that do not support their contention:
one article on using a multivitamin with only 60mg of C to prevent respiratory infections that didn’t show any benefit, and a second article that gave 1.5g of C IV 4x/day to patients who were already in the ICU with sceptic shock. Clearly the first article used a dose that 1/4 to 1/8 of the “placebo” dose so we could expect a larger effect (which did, after all, show a non-significant 5% reduction in infections, so maybe we could expect a 4x greater benefit from 4x the dose, like the 20% we saw if we assume the medicine had no effect). On the other hand, the second trial had patients that were infinitely sicker (the current trial subjects weren’t sick) with a greater vitamin C requirement and already on death’s doorstep (15% of the patients died in the first week), and also is in contrast to other trials that showed benefit from similar doses.
In any event, the contention that this study shows that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work but actually causes harm may actually just be showing that vitamin C even at modest doses is more beneficial than the medicine. Since they haven’t actually done a trial with a real inactive placebo, the outcome is still not clear, but at a minimum vitamin C isn’t going to hurt and might help. There have been
other case reports showing benefit to large doses of vitamin C in people with active COVID-19 disease, but the response from the medical establishment has largely been silence.

Scary supplements

I just came across an article with the provocative headline “Use of dietary supplements lead to 23,000 emergency visits each year” based on a 2015 NEJM study. This article seems to be suggesting that supplements are hazardous and should be avoided or at least more heavily regulated. Actually, they explicitly quote a physician who talks about the untested-ness and unregulated-ness of dietary supplements.
It also said that of this estimated 23,000 ER visits each year, there are “more then 2,100 hospitalizations”annually from supplements (
average hospital admission from ER visits is 11.9%, a little more frequent than the 9.1% admission rate we see here). That sounds like a lot of visits and hospital stays. Are supplements really that dangerous?
Conveniently, the same page also had links to some other ER statistics:
  • Annual ER visits related to schizophrenia in young adults is 382,000 (over 16 times more common that from supplements), of which about half are hospitalized as a result (nearly 90 times more common than supplement-related admissions)
  • Nearly 100,000 seniors are admitted to the hospital annually because of emergencies caused by adverse drug events. That’s over 47 times the number from supplements and that’s just in seniors.
  • 1.1 million annual ER visits from drug poisoning (once again, over 47 times the number from supplements), of which 24.5% are hospitalized (over 128 times more hospitalizations than from supplements)
  • The are around 24,000 ER visits for treadmill-related injuries annually, making treadmills more dangerous to the country than supplements
  • Apparently, even mirrors are more dangerous than supplements with 24,943 mirror-related injuries in 2014. There are even more injuries from sound recording equipment (44,278) and television sets and monitors (61,136). Interestingly, protection devices (12,829) injuries seem to be a bit safer than supplements, but do remember that ER visits for supplements are often just that someone took a lot or an unknown number of a supplement and are going to be sure it’s safe, so in many of these cases, there is no actual injury - just worry.
So, certainly, it’s worth paying attention to what you are taking and not throwing caution to the wind, but supplements are hardly the public health hazard that articles like this are trying to imply.

Interview in Crazy Wisdom Journal

Last fall, I was interviewed in the Crazy Wisdom Journal (CW is a local bookstore and hub for local healing arts), and the interview was recently published. Like all written materials, things have changed slightly since it was written, but it’s mostly up to date. It’s pretty in-depth and long, but I don’t think it’s too boring to finish.
For people who want to get a better idea of my philosophy of health care, this is a good read.
Also, for people who like to nitpick, there is a small error on page 44 (don’t worry, it starts on page 42: it’s not
that long) where I said “disease sensitivities” instead of “food sensitivities”.
In any event, it is a decent read and the PDF can be found by clicking here (the article starts on page 42):
The Crazy Wisdom Interview with Malcolm Sickels MD, or if you’d like to read it in your browser, click here for the flip book.