Category: Vaccines

Torturing mice, data, and figures in the name of antivaccine pseudoscience

In September, antivaccine "researchers" Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic published a study claiming to link aluminum adjuvants in vaccines to neuroinflammation and autism. Naturally, the antivaccine movement pointed to it as slam dunk evidence that vaccines cause autism. It's not. In fact, not only is it bad science, but it might well be fraudulent.

/ October 30, 2017

The Pathological Optimist: More hagiography than documentary about Andrew Wakefield

The Pathological Optimist is a recently released documentary by Miranda Bailey about Andrew Wakefield that I got a chance to see. In interviews and in the film's promotional materials, Bailey takes great pains to emphasize that she "doesn't take a side" about Wakefield. Unfortunately, her film demonstrates that, when it comes to pseudoscience, "not taking a side" is taking a side, and...

/ October 9, 2017

Flu Shots: Here We Go Again!

The many myths about flu shots continue to circulate and persuade some people not to get a flu shot. Flu shots are excellent insurance, safe and reasonably effective. Immunization protects not only the recipient but also vulnerable groups in the community.

/ September 19, 2017

The influenza vaccine and miscarriages: Much ado about nothing

A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly...

/ September 15, 2017

No, a Vaccine Court ruling does not show that vaccines cause SIDS

There was a rumbling in the antivaccine underground over the weekend about a recent ruling by the Vaccine Court compensating parents of a child who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In a confused and scientifically highly flawed decision, the Special Master Thomas Gowen didn't rule that vaccines cause SIDS, but did rule that they contributed to SIDS in this one...

/ August 21, 2017

Trump’s new CDC Director is very pro-vaccine, but was she also at one time a quack?

On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price announced the appointment of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald to head the CDC. Reassuringly, her record as Georgia Public Health Commissioner was pro-vaccine and relatively non-ideological. Not so reassuringly, a news report yesterday found that before entering public service she was peddling anti-aging quackery at her private practice. Where will her balance fall now...

/ July 10, 2017

Fun with Spanish Flu Myths

There are many myths about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Some of them are pretty funny.

/ June 20, 2017

Does society try to shame and shun vaccine refusers and the vaccine-averse?

Antivaxers often complain that they are judged harshly, even shunned. A recent study suggests that, to some extent, they might well be. But are judging, shaming, and shunning parents who refuse to vaccinate their children wrong? More importantly, what about the children, who didn’t choose not to be vaccinated, and how likely is such stigmatization to change behavior?

/ June 12, 2017

Minnesota Measles

There is currently an outbreak of measles in the Somali population of Minnesota – an outbreak that can be directly linked to antivaccine propaganda.

/ June 7, 2017

Corrigendum. The Week in Review for 05/28/2017.

More measles in Minnesota. Yet another form of acupuncture: Snafu. CAM cancer studies are of poor quality. The future of CAM is LSD.

/ May 28, 2017