Press-clips catch-up: Neurotribes, Mom Power, and the History of Vaccines

March 12th, 2011 → 3:40 pm @

As I said in my post detailing some of the events I’ve been involved with over the past week, I haven’t had a lot of time to update my site; as a result, here’s a catch-all post featuring some of the interviews and articles about The Panic Virus that have run recently. (more…)

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Chang and Eng, the Brothers Quay, and a giant human colon

March 3rd, 2011 → 10:45 am @

It’s been a busy couple of days, and as I result I’ve half-started about a dozen posts that now will likely never see the (virtual) light of day. On Tuesday morning, Paul Offit and I were guests on WHYY’s Radio Times, on Tuesday evening, Dr. Offit and I spoke at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, which was sponsored by the College’s History of Vaccines program. (Sometime soon, a video of an interview with the College’s director, Dr. George Wohlreich, will be posted on the medical society’s YouTube channel.)

There’s plenty to report about all of the above, but I feel compelled to at least briefly bow to the genius that is The Mutter Museum, a sort of cabinet of medical/anthropological curiosities housed within the College’s headquarters in downtown Philadelphia. It’s awesome. (more…)

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Chill out, R2: Droids don’t get diseases like whooping cough

February 27th, 2011 → 9:31 am @

I was cleaning out some old files on my computer and I came across this clip of C3P0 reminding “parents of earth” to make sure their children are “fully immunized against childhood diseases.”

Can you imagine what the outcry would be if Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear were in a modern-day vaccine PSA?

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Dept. of corrections: The phantom $10 million measles outbreak

February 23rd, 2011 → 9:26 pm @

Earlier today, I got an email from Randy Dotinga, who writes regularly for Voice of San Diego, an online watchdog news site. One of the site’s regular features is called “Fact Check,” and Randy was factchecking something I said on Anderson Cooper 360 on January 5:

In 2010 alone, 10 infants died of whooping cough in California, which is astounding that that is happening today. There are children that have died of Hib, diseases that I have always assumed were definitely in the past in this country. There was a measles epidemic several years ago in California, in San Diego, that cost $10 million to contain, and resulted in a quarantine of dozens of children. That meant that those parents then had to find some way to take care of those kids, either not go to work or pay for day care. So, even when you have a case like with that measles epidemic, where it’s true that children didn’t die, you had one infant that was hospitalized for a serious amount of time, and dozens of families that had to pay an enormous amount of money because of this.


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“You’d expect better from a Playmate”: Doonesbury issues a Jenny McCarthy smackdown

February 20th, 2011 → 12:13 pm @

In today’s Doonesbury, Boopsie bemoans the bum wrap Jenny McCarthy is giving to all of those former Playmates that don’t write books about bogus health scares…

As a wise man once said, Don’t Ever Change, Boopsie. Don’t ever change.

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Kids are dying — and that’s a fact, not a belief.

February 17th, 2011 → 8:35 am @

Yesterday morning I was a guest on ABC Radio National’s “Late Night Live” program (audio link) in conjunction with the release of the Australian edition of The Panic Virus. (Coincidentally, I also received my copy of the AU edition yesterday afternoon.) It was an interesting program: A little more talk about 9/11 conspiracy theorists than I’m used to, but clearly vaccines were of much interest to the host and the audience.

When I got off the line and checked my email, I saw a message from David McCaffery, whose four-week-old daughter, Dana, died in March 2009 after being infected with pertussis. The McCafferys live in New South Wales, and I got to know them while working on my book (their story is included in the preface to the Australian edition). “Sad news, Seth,” David wrote, before pointing me to a story about a newborn baby in Melbourne who died last week of whooping cough. (More information about vaccine awareness efforts in Australia can be found on Dana McCaffery’s Facebook page.) (more…)

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The Huffington Post’s ‘Medical Review Board’ signs off on vaccine fear-mongering

February 11th, 2011 → 6:49 pm @

I haven’t hid my feelings about The Huffington Post‘s track record when it comes to responsible science reporting, and earlier in the week, I speculated as to what effect AOL’s purchase of the site would have on the combined entity’s future coverage. (As part of the deal, Arianna Huffington will assume editorial control of AOL news operations.)

If today’s HuffPo story by David Kirby is any indication, the site will continue to run misleading and inaccurate stories about vaccines and their supposed connection to autism. Kirby is a more felicitous and intelligent writer than many of the site’s other contributors, but his conclusions are no less irresponsible or off-base. Earlier today, I unpacked a handful of the problems with Kirby’s effort in a Scientific American guest blog. (more…)

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