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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vaccine Items

Editorial in The Boston Globe:

The measles outbreak at a Back Bay office building this week is a reminder that the disease is still a threat. Fortunately, a simple immunization can prevent its spread. Now that the only study linking autism and childhood vaccination has been thoroughly discredited, parents can rest easy when protecting their children against a potentially fatal disease.

The Age of Autism reports on reaction to the Bill Gates comment and the Bruesewitz decision:

On Thursday, vaccine safety advocates responded passionately but respectfully to these events. Advocates from the tri-state area gathered in front of Microsoft’s executive offices in New York City for a press conference. The advocates demanded an apology from Gates and decried the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s Bruesewitz v. Wyeth decision. Media filming the event included CNN, local CBS and ABC affiliates, and LNS.

Time has an interview with Dr. Paul Offit:

Because vaccination is required, it's one of these places where medicine and government intersect. How much of the reaction to vaccines is government distrust, and how much is medical distrust?

When you combine the nature of the act, which is violent, and then you add to that the fact that its compulsory, that's what upsets people. The compulsory-vaccination acts in the 1850s and 1860s in England really helped solidify the first antivaccination activity. In fact, the origin of the term conscientious objector comes from refusing vaccine — not from war. When you could conscientiously object to vaccination in England in the 1890s, that's when it became the epicenter of smallpox in the United Kingdom.

At Scientific American, Dr. Valerie Jones reviews a new book:

In his new book, Tabloid Medicine: How The Internet Is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit, Robert Goldberg, PhD, explains why the Internet is a double-edged sword when it comes to health information. On the one hand, the Web can empower people with quality medical information that can help them make informed decisions. On the other hand, the Web is an unfiltered breeding ground for urban legends, fear-mongering and snake oil salesmen.

Goldberg uses case studies to expose the sinister side of health misinformation. Perhaps the most compelling example of a medical "manufactroversy" (defined as a manufactured controversy that is motivated by profit or extreme ideology to intentionally create public confusion about an issue that is not in dispute) is the anti-vaccine movement. Thanks to the efforts of corrupt scientists, personal injury lawyers, self-proclaimed medical experts, and Hollywood starlets, a false link between vaccines and autism has been promoted on a global scale via the Internet. The resulting panic, legal feeding frenzy, money-making alternative medicine sales, and reduction in childhood vaccination rates (causing countless preventable deaths), are sickening and tragic.