MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS: CONFUSION
By JON RAPPOPORT
NOVEMBER 23, 2010. These days, doctors often run antibody tests on patients to see if they have a particular disease.
What is an antibody test?
In the simplest terms, it is aimed at detecting a person's immune system responding to the presence of a specific germ.
A doctor suspects you have disease X, which is caused by virus Y. He takes a blood sample, and that sample is examined for the presence of antibodies which are specific to virus Y.
If you test positive for the presence of those antibodies, he says you have disease X.
However, there is a vaccine that is supposed to protect a person from disease X, and this vaccine does what?
IT PRODUCES ANTIBODIES SPECIFIC TO VIRUS Y.
In that case, you are said to be immune from virus Y.
This is what is called a contradiction.
In the first instance, when your body naturally produces antibodies to virus Y, the doctor tells you you have disease X.
But if the vaccine produces those same antibodies, you're said to be immune to disease X.
In purely practical terms, this contradiction is good for business. Medical business. On the one hand, they diagnose more cases of a disease. On the other hand, using the same logic to obtain an opposite conclusion, they sell more vaccines.
Have fun with the contradiction. Chew it over. Maybe you'll decide we've humans have evolved to the point where we don't have to pay any attention to logic. Maybe not.