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Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Remember the Vaccine Scare? 
5th-Jan-2011 08:39 pm
Remember the sanctimonious advice to Sarah Palin not to vaccinate young Trig because he might be at risk for Autism? Remember the LA Times weighing in? Remember the cases of Whooping Cough in wealthy suburbs, brought on by lack of vaccinations?

Well, the study behind it all was wrong. Deliberately, fraudulently, deceptively, wrong.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."

Which appears to vindicate the much-disparaged ruling that thimerosal was not responsible for autism, and other vaccines also were not. Thimerosal is a preservative allowing vaccines to be stored in batches, rather than individual doses, and so critical for epidemic vaccines. Several states had decided to make their own laws on the subject, however. which could affect preparedness against epidemics.

The trial lawyers are, of course, outraged that a potential bonanza has been taken away. The parents are determined that science must come out on their side, because they want it to. Something like global warming advocates explaining the growth in global CO2 and the drop in temperatures since 1998.
7th-Jan-2011 11:37 am (UTC)
I heard this on the news yesterday, though I've been following it here for quite a while. All I can say is "Yay!", though I'm dismayed at the degree to which the deception was pursued.

The nutcases will, sadly, be indulging in goalpost-shifting as we speak.
7th-Jan-2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Shifting the goalposts happens a lot when you're afraid that letting the other team play might mean YOU LOSE. In the case of the parents, here, there is the fear that somehow THEY might be responsible, and being able to blame someone else helps.
7th-Jan-2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I was mainly directing my comments at the quacks themselves, rather than at the unfortunate people [they have/who have allowed themselves to be] brainwashed (delete whichever you feel does not apply), but you certainly have a point. Such things used to be written off as "acts of God" or "just plain bad luck", but we live in a blame-centred society these days and "somebody" has to be available to take the fall for every bad outcome. To which I call bullshit.

I would also change your words "might mean" to "would mean" in this case; YMMV.

The people this is going to hit hardest are the ones with autistic kids who have already had their rage misdirected against "the evil vaccine industry".
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