Monday, March 13, 2023

#2626: Roman Bystrianyk

We’ve already – long ago – covered quack, antivaccine activist, and fake news and pseudoscience (including homeopathy) promoter Suzanne Humphries, but we’ll get another opportunity to mention her shit here by covering her sometimes coauthor Roman Bystrianyk. Together, Humphries and Bystrianyk have written the book Dissolving Illusions, an antivaccine screed brimful of alternative facts about polio, a topic of major significance to publice health, and where lies and mischaracterizations like the ones Humphries and Bystrianyk are pushing may have real-life disastrous consequences. There is a review of the book here, and more details here. In essence, the book is an attempt to use falsehoods to minimize the significance of polio – an “insignificant” disease, according to H&B – in order to push an antivaccine agenda; after all, if vaccines contributed nothing to public health by eradicating polio, what good are they? The main reason polio wasn’t a big deal is, according to H&B, apparently that it was relatively uncommon, and that some of the paralytic cases attributed to polio in the 1950s were probably misdiagnosed (almost no one reasonable would consider the 3,145 deaths from polio, mainly children, in 1953 – which was certainly not misdiagnosed –  to be particularly significant, would they?) H&B’s nonsense has apparently had some impact in antivaxx circles.


It’s not Bystrianyk’s first foray into this kind of antivaccine gambits. In a rant about measles vaccines, he tried to pull a similar claim about measles, claiming that measles deaths had “almost” been eradicated prior to the introduction of the vaccine. There is a graph about measles and the vaccine. It is here. Bystrianyk doesn’t show it. Instead, he points out that in 1963, the whole of New England had only 5 deaths attributed to measles. And who cares about five dead kids? Measles is “not dangerous in well-nourished people,” says Bystrianyk. That’s a lie. (He’s got other lies about the vaccine to share, too, but we don’t feel the need to repeat them.)


Bystrianyk’s background is in software development, not medicine. But he’s done his own research on vaccines!


Diagnosis: Garbage, at absolutely every conceivable level.


Hat-tip: Joel Harrison & sciencebasedmedicine


  1. This guy obviously is not what his name says: Bystrianyk = a clever or saged man. ( Or "bistar" = very clever dude, in one of my native languages).

  2. About the spreading of the polio virus in Israel from one American Orthodox Jewish (religtrads) Website -

    Of course, in this article, you will not find the answer to who is responsible for "over 150,000 unvaccinated children against the virus". Are they waiting for their "God" to cure their children with some "miracle"? Or do they wait until their own "messiah" comes, i.e. never?

    1. (I can hardly suppress the anger every time I read such a cold article like this)

  3. Any chance his last name rhymes with "histrionic?"

  4. This is my go-to visual for vaccine efficacy,