Friday, November 17, 2006

Ben on Breasts

Today, the FDA reapproved the use of silicone-gel breast implants, after 14 years of the stupidest prohibition of all time. I say stupidest because all non-quack scientists have known, for some time now, that there is no link -- none -- between a leaking implant and poor health.

What happened was this: thousands of women obtained silicone implants. Many of these same women had implants that leaked. Many of these same women also got sick. Ergo, these women concluded the leaking implants were the source of their illnesses.

This, of course, is a classical logical fallacy. When actual scientists studied the problem -- from Harvard, the Mayo clinic, etc. -- they found no causal connection between a leaky implant and any form of disease or health malady. But this didn't stop the trial lawyers, or the FDA, or the general public, from attacking the safety of silicone-gel implants and virtually ending their use in the U.S.

All that has now ended. Amazingly, however, the Associated Press story today makes every effort to make it sound as if the FDA had just licensed mandatory masectomys for all women over age 15. Here are some of the more egregious quotes:

Mentor [a breast implant manufacturer] called the decision a ''historic moment.'' Allergan [ditto] said it created new options for women.

However, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a longtime opponent, called the implants ''the most defective medical device FDA has ever approved.''

Of course, Dr. Wolfe is completely outside the mainstream scientific community on this subject, but the AP doesn't bother to mention this.

Some researchers also worry that the platinum used to manufacture the implants can seep into the body and cause harm. The FDA says there is no evidence of that.

Who are these "some researchers?" What evidence do they have to support their claim? The AP doesn't say, but does this compare-and-contrast sound fair and unbiased to you? If you had to guess, do you think the AP writer believes "some researchers" or the FDA?

Women whose silicone implants ruptured have reported years of pain, swelling, numbness and other symptoms that they blame on the devices. Leaked silicone gel can migrate throughout the body, forming lumps. Implants also can cause infection and form hard, painful scar tissue that can distort the shape of a breast.

Yes, the women blame the implants. But the problem is, the implants are not the cause. This is why the FDA is lifting the ban. The AP seems willfully oblivious to this basic fact.


Anonymous Nic said...

Did you Google ‘breasts’ and stumble upon this story?

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Nic said...

FYI - there is a HUGE difference between Googling the word 'breast' and the word 'breasts'. For best results try Googling 'fake tits'.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a person who has one silicon and one saline, I am in an interesting place to observe. My latest MRI of the chest does show probably leakage from the silicon side. Is it problematic? I doubt it, but anything articial in the body is suspect. The docs are probably going to test further. fake tits, yes, well, hmmm, OK, I guess. Yes, fake. mammasie

6:05 PM  

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