Autism Risk: Reality vs. Media Perception

Neuroscientist Saw Wang, writing for the New York Times, tries to make some sense out the the science surrounding autism spectrum disorders. He's particularly interested in the risk factors that are linked to rises in autism. Along the way he compared the risks discovered in scientific studies to the risks reported by the media:(click twice to embiggen. Or go to the original article)That last entry is pretty striking. There is no evidence currently that vaccines increase the risk … [Read more...]

Getting to Know Whooping Cough Up Close

Journalist Julia Ioffe is having a close encounter with Bordetella pertussis, the bacterium that causes whooping cough. It doesn't sound like she's enjoying the experience:At this writing, I have been coughing for 72 days. Not on and off coughing, but continuously, every day and every night, for two and a half months. And not just coughing, but whooping: doubled over, body clenched, sucking violently for air, my face reddening and my eyes watering. Sometimes, I cough so hard, I vomit. Other … [Read more...]

Jenny McCarthy on The View

We can argue about whether Virginia Heffernan's anti-science creationism is important or not, but I don't think we're going to argue that Jenny McCarthy's anti-science anti-vaccination stance isn't dangerous. After all, the woman has a body count.Which raises the question of why she's slated to replace Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a co-host on The View. What exactly is America's most prominent anti-vaccine activist doing on a popular news discussion show?Part of the problem seems to be … [Read more...]

Get Jabbed

The Genepool Productions documentary Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines will be airing tomorrow on Australia's SBS at 8:30pm. Our friendly neighborhood Token Skeptic Kylie Sturgess is hoping to live blog it for those of us unlucky enough to be stranded on another continent.Here's the trailer. Looks ... well, quite frightening, actually:[vimeo][/vimeo]To vaccinate, or not? What would you do to protect the ones you love?Diseases that were largely … [Read more...]

What’s the Matter with Portland?

Water Flouridation has been the policy of the US Dept. of Health since 1951. The benefits of small amounts of fluoride in public drinking water has been well studied. The low concentrations of fluoride used have been deemed harmless by numerous studies.So why did citizens in Portland, Oregon just strike down a proposal to fluoridate their water:Fluoride supporters, it appeared, had everything going for them.Five Portland city commissioners had voted to add fluoride to the city … [Read more...]