-David Rasnick: A biochemist who studied protease inhibitors in the pharmaceutical industry, Rasnick is the former president of Rethinking AIDS, an activist group that calls for the reappraisal of the 'belief' that HIV causes AIDS. Rasnick was also a member of South African president Thabo Mbeki's AIDS Advisory Panel; as part of the panel, Rasnick argued that AIDS does not exist and suggested that HIV testing be outlawed and antiretroviral drugs no longer used in the country. Although not linking their findings to Rasnick, two studies have independently estimated that more than 330,000 lives were lost in South Africa between 2000 and 2005 because of the delayed use of antiretrovirals (J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr. 49, 410-415, 2008; Afr. Aff. 107, 157-176, 2008).
CORRECTION posted by Nature Medicine (this may be a first. Correcting something crazy with something just as crazy)
In ‘State of Denial’ (Nat. Med. 16, 248 (2010)), we originally stated that David Rasnick denied the existence of AIDS while serving on an advisory panel. Contrary to a report produced by the panel, Rasnick says he did not question the existence of AIDS. Rather, he says that AIDS is not contagious and is not caused by HIV. The text should have read “Rasnick was also a member of South African president Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS Advisory Panel; as part of the panel, Rasnick suggested that HIV testing be outlawed and antiretroviral drugs no longer used in the country.” The error was corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article on 17 March 2010.
-Sandy Szwarc: A food editor and writer, Szwarc has rejected the idea that individuals with obesity face a heightened risk of premature death. Szwarc, a registered nurse, calls government antiobesity efforts "a grossly exaggerated and fabricated scare campaign." On her blog "Junkfood Science," Szwarc presents the 'obesity paradox,' which refers to the alleged health benefits associated with obesity, such as reports that obese individuals may have higher survival rates of coronary artery disease than their normal-weight counterparts. Scientists reviewing this data, however, have suggested that this higher survival rate might be due to more aggressive treatment of people with obesity and other factors.