Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's the Harm? Eliza Jane Scovill


  1. People should be in prison for spreading misinformation that results in babies dying. I know they will rot in Hell.

  2. Such a great video. It just needs to be updated with the fact that Maggiore did have an autopsy performed and the AIDS Denialists hid this fact for a full year. Then compound that with the fact that they refuse to release the original autopsy report and instead they release the Al~Bayati version. That alone speaks volumes!
    Unfortunately the AIDS Denialists are pathologically incapable of seeing fact, logic and reason. Sad. Criminal.

  3. JTD
    You definitely have their number.

    This video is a masterpiece! Devastating! In their own deeds!
    It should have been titled House of Denial. I am working to get it shown at every possible film festival. I bet it gets an Oscar nomination! I can hear the cracks in Denialism widening. Won't be long and the whole Big Vitamin facade will fall!

  4. Is there any information on maggiore's autopsy anywhere? I was sure she never had one. Where can I find the Al Bayati report on her?

  5. Here's the Al Bayati report on Maggiore:
    BTW, can anyone explain how Eliza Jane died of an AIDS-related illness with a raised lymphocyte count of 10,800 (cell/μL) ref range 2000-8000? It doesn't make sense to me.

  6. People with AIDS can have elevated total and even some subset lymphocyte counts. It is the absolute low CD4 count that is specific to HIV/AIDS. The ratios can also be inverted. Loss of CD4 cells causes a cascade of abnormalities in the immune system that cannot be discerned from a total lymphocyte count.

  7. DT
    Maggiore's inner circle claimed she did not have an autopsy and was cremated. Then the Al-Bayti thing surfaced that said they had a private autopsy. I understood why she would not have had an LA autopsy-they were in litigation after all. But why the a private one? And why not use that report rather than a rehashed crank report by Al-Bayati.
    It is sad that the AIDS Deniers continue to exploit this woman. It raises a million questions.

  8. Thanks Seth. Do you have a reference to any study that found an elevated TLC in AIDS patients, particularly in end-stage patients? It has been puzzling me for a while, since a hematologist friend of mine who has worked in an area with a lot of HIV for many years told me he had never seen a patient with AIDS who had a elevated total lymphocyte count. I can't find any account in AIDS literature of someone with a low CD4 count and an elevated TLC. Also, Judith Feinberg, M.D. who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and an AIDS expert, says, "it would be highly unlikely to have a very low CD4 cell count and a normal total lymphocyte count."

    I'm trying to refute someone who claims EJ did not die of AIDS, and this is making it difficult.

  9. PH
    The association between total lymphocyte count (TLC) and CD4 in people with HIV is actually complex. In adults, the correlation is reasonable, like .8, but in children it is much lower, like that means that TLC can only predict like 40% of the variance in CD4 level..Not so good.

    The WHO has suggested that developing countries use TLC for clinical decisions because it much cheaper and easier than CD4.

    For a 2005 meta-analysis see

    Just searching total lymphocyte count cd4 AIDS yields lots of more research research.

    Thanks for commenting..

  10. Take a look at this figure, and focus on the bottom right quadrant:

    You can see there are a lot of people with low CD4 counts and normal TLC, and you'll see the same thing in any paper that compares the two values and shows all the data points. It's also clear visually that a low CD4 count with normal TLC is far more common than a high CD4 count and low TLC; this is because CD8 T cell numbers increase in response to HIV infection because there is ongoing expansion of CD8 T cells specific for HIV and, to a lesser extent, other chronic pathogens like CMV.

    There aren't a lot of data on children's total lymphocyte count during PICU admission with an acute opportunistic infection. There are none that I know of that address the issue in children whose heart has stopped and been restarted, as was the case for Eliza Jane Scovill. The one study that reports data found a higher count was associated with worse outcomes, this is also reported for the WBC in another study. The literature on admission of children with HIV to the PICU is also completely consistent with the tragedy that befell Eliza Jane Scovill; acute respiratory distress due to PCP has always been the most common reason for such admissions and in many cases (particularly in the early years) the child's HIV infection had not been diagnosed.

    Children with human immunodeficiency virus admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit in the United Kingdom over a 10-year period.

    "The most frequent reason for PICU admission was respiratory failure, due either to Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (45% of admissions) or to other respiratory pathogens (32%)."

    Pulmonary manifestations of HIV infection in children.

    "In fifty-two percent of all patients, a pulmonary problem was the first symptom of HIV infection. The most common respiratory illness requiring hospitalization was an episode of respiratory distress...Bacterial pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and pulmonary lymphoid hyperplasia/lymphoid interstitial pneumonia occurred in 30%, 32% and 22% of the patients, respectively. Bacterial pneumonia and PCP were associated with a high mortality rate."

    Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia among US children with perinatally acquired HIV infection.

    "In 183 (64%) of 275 PCP cases reported in the special surveillance study, PCP was the first or only AIDS-defining condition diagnosed, and in 44% of cases, the child had not been evaluated for HIV infection before diagnosis of PCP. "

    HIV-infected children in the pediatric emergency department.

    "Patients with a white blood cell count more than 15,000/mm3 were more likely to be hospitalized (87 vs 62%, P < 0.01), though the white blood cell count was not helpful in identifying patients with bacteremia or serious infections. "

    [Admissions of patients with AIDS to pediatric intensive care units]

    "The most common reason for admission was respiratory failure (six patients)...Two patients died during their stay, one of pneumonia due to Pneumocystis carinii infection and one of septic shock."

    Children with human immunodeficiency virus infection admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit in South Africa.

    "poor PICU outcome was significantly associated with HIV status (p = 0.001). Lower total lymphocyte count (p = 0.004) and higher gamma globulin level (p = 0.04) were paradoxically the only findings significantly associated with survival. Acute respiratory failure (ARF) accounted for 76% of admissions, including Pneumocystis jiroveci in 38%."

  11. NM
    Thanks for your comment. The CD4 relative to TLC issue was left sort of hanging... I am grateful for your comment.
    Thanks again!