Arnold Kling  

Behavioral Vaccine

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Presenting Health Statistics... Offshore Tutoring...

This article interested me, on many levels.


the new vaccines employ the body's natural immune system in an innovative way. Instead of building antibodies to destroy germs as traditional vaccines do, they construct antibodies that lock onto nicotine and cocaine molecules, preventing them from reaching the brain.

...In the case of the obesity vaccine, antibodies attach to the hunger protein called ghrelin, preventing it from reaching the brain and stimulating appetite.

... In experiments with mice, the animals given the vaccine reduced their weight gain by 15 percent to 20 percent even though they ate as much as other mice that became obese. Researchers also found they burned off more fat, making them leaner.

Cytos also is in advanced stages of testing a nicotine vaccine. Earlier studies showed that 42 percent of smokers receiving the vaccine remained abstinent after a year, compared with 21 percent who got a placebo shot.


Lots of potential paternalistic uses for these vaccines. In fact, I wonder if there is a hormone that is associated with impulses toward paternalistic government. If we could just inject people with a vaccine against that hormone...

Anyway, thanks to Ron Bailey for the pointer, and to Jane Galt for the pointer to Bailey.

UPDATE: see this related post by David Friedman.


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Ryan writes:

Has anyone taken the time to think of the repurcusions of such vaccines. If you start creating pills that will reduce hunger pains then the fastfood industry will fall on its ear. Further, these pills will start being passed out by the gov't, considering the majority of user would most likely qualify for such handouts. Now all the money they were pumping into mcdonalds and bk is now rotting in their pockets while they get their free fat pills.

Mark Horn writes:

Is there some reason that I should be offended by the presence of these vaccines even though they have lots of paternalistic uses for them? There are lots of evil uses of a toolset (e.g. building a car bomb) but that doesn't make toolsets evil. Shouldn't I be reserving my condemnation for paternalistic uses and not for the vaccines themselves?

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