Today’s article is going to be a bit different and drawn from a reemerging topic. Trends are a flyin’ because of a recent celebrity statement from Kristin Cavallari about her concerns that vaccines cause autism. You may or may not remember that this belief was originally championed by the illustrious Jenny McCarthy. But this is not a trash article on Kristin or Jenny; it instead serves to reinforce a point I harp endlessly about.
To get to that point we must ask the question, “Where did this connection between the MMR vaccination and autism come from?”
In 1998, the medical journal The Lancet published a research paper that supported the connection between the MMR vaccine, autism, and colitis. The media, of course, had a field day in promoting this belief far and wide to the point that celebrities like McCarthy picked up on it as well. And really, it’s understandable. My son and I are both high-functioning autistic and it’s easy to see in relatives that came before me. You have this incredibly damaging disorder that isn’t well understood and people need a place to point the finger.
The problem was with the bearer of the report. Science is subject to constant review and rechecking. Some interesting things about Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the primary author of the report, began to come to light. Such as- being connected to a lawsuit linked to the study in which he received payment to “find” a link.
The Lancet retracted the report, a rare action since the foundation of the medical journal in 1823. All of the co-authors of the report withdrew their names from it as they stated Wakefield misrepresented the information they had contributed. Further investigation revealed that Wakefield had other conflicts of interest, misrepresented research and data, and was tied to other breaches of the ethical code.
Wakefield was stripped from the Medical Register by the General Medical Council for gross professional misconduct; removing his ability to practice medicine.
The initial story of the link spread far and wide, quickly by a media looking to drive ratings. In the UK, MMR vaccinations dropped like a rock, autism rates didn’t change, but measles and mumps started to make a pretty significant comeback. Who knows how many families have suffered for this fucker’s greed. And we are still seeing the impact of it today.
So this ties into a couple of points I regularly harp about.
1. The fucking media man. They only care about marketing and selling ad space nowadays. Case in point; who gives two shits about Kristin Cavallari’s point of view on autism? But since she’s a celebrity we’ll give her air time EXACTLY THE SAME WAY we did with Jenny McCarthy about an unsubstantiated, completely discredited report written by a disgraced doctor. But fear keeps us tuning in.
2. Do you trust your Doctor? I don’t. I think my doctor is great but I don’t put blind faith in him. For all I know, he could be doing something similar to Wakefield. How many people do you know at your job (or past jobs) that were actually good at what they did? Even the people that have had in-depth training have opinions on how things should be done. I’ve met more than a couple who were going to do their job how they wanted and the hell with safety procedure.
And there are a lot of similar beliefs out there. “Big Pharma is the enemy!” Why? Because medicine is an inexact science and always has been? Everyone decries the progress on points like trying to find a cure for HIV and cancer while glossing over the fact that people regularly live to a 100 now because of medical science. But no, trot out any doctor like Wakefield to tell us all about what “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know!” and shill their crap.
I’m not suggesting that you need to develop a doctorate of your own. I am suggesting that ignorance is often the difference between life and death. You need to truly understand what is going on with you. You need to stop placing blind faith in anyone. Ask questions, delve deeper, strive to understand why the shit is going down as it is so you can make better decisions for yourself and your loved ones.
Wakefield is an asshole whose bullshit potentially killed children. And here we sit with a reignited debate made by an off-hand comment from a celebrity over some shit that should have never been published in the first place. Good fucking game.
And there are plenty others like him out there.
Subscribe to have blog posts and news delivered straight to your Inbox!