Vaccines Still Don’t Cause Autism
Update: The evidence continues to show no link between vaccines and autism.
Prove the scientific consensus and win a prize: A time-dishonored PR ploy used by cranks, quacks, and pseudoscientists (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition)
Last week, antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. teamed up with Robert De Niro to issue a challenge to provide one scientific study that proves thimerosal in vaccines is safe, with a cash prize of $100,000. They thus joined a long line of antivaxers, creationists, and climate science denialists offering money to "prove" the scientific consensus. Science doesn't work that way.
The Medical Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute spewed antivaccine misinformation last week. Why is anyone surprised?
A social media firestorm erupted over the weekend after Dr. Daniel Neides, Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, posted an article full of antivaccine misinformation. The Cleveland Clinic promptly disavowed it, but shouldn't have been surprised that one of its "integrative medicine" leaders is antivaccine. If you "integrate" medicine that teaches that "toxins" cause disease and "detoxification" is the cure, antivaccine...
Antivaccine activists fund a study to show vaccines cause autism. It backfires spectacularly.
Having written about pseudoscience and quackery continuously for over a decade and having engaged in conversations about it online for over 15 years, I’ve come to recognize a number of traits that are virtually the sine qua non of quacks and pseudoscientists and their believers. Obviously, one of them is a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a tendency of those with...
Vaccine Wars: the NCCAM Drops the Ball
If you go to the website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), you’ll find that one of its self-identified roles is to “provide information about CAM.” NCCAM Director Josephine Briggs is proud to assert that the website fulfills this expectation. As many readers will recall, three of your bloggers visited the NCCAM last April, after having received an...
Journal Club Debunks Anti-Vaccine Myths
American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has a feature called AFP Journal Club, where physicians analyze a journal article that either involves a hot topic affecting family physicians or busts a commonly held medical myth. In the September 15, 2010 issue they discussed “Vaccines and autism: a tale of shifting hypotheses,” by Gerber and Offit, published...
Using attacks on science by the anti-vaccine movement as a “teachable moment”
A new study on the connection between vaccines and autism demonstrates two things: there is no connection, and those who think there is are not interested in science unless it supports what they already believe.
The final nail in the mercury-autism hypothesis?
Another study. Another failure to link thimerosal to a higher risk of autism. Can we just bury the claim that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism, already?
A temporary reprieve from legislative madness
While doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses seem to be trending downward again, and “swine flu” is becoming old news, I’d like to draw attention to an H1N1 story that has received very little coverage by the mainstream media. Doctors in several states can now protect their most vulnerable patients from the H1N1 virus without worrying about breaking the law. In order to save lives, several states...
Monkey business in autism research, part II
Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed something about the anti-vaccine movement. Specifically, I’ve noticed that the mavens of pseudoscience that make up the movement seem to have turned their sights with a vengeance on the Hepatitis B vaccine. The reason for this new tactic, I believe, is fairly obvious. The fact that the Hep B vaccine is administered shortly after...