Last week, editors of the medical journal BMJ declared Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper linking autism to the MMR vaccine to be not just incorrect, but actively fraudulent.
The research that led many parents to avoid MMR vaccination for their children (and, subsequently, led to the resurgence of measles, mumps, and rubella outbreaks, including several deaths) turned out to include information falsified to support a result chosen before the study began, by a researcher who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get that desired result. The scam was exposed by journalist Brian Deer, and now, you can read the full text of Deer's expose online in BMJ. This story has been covered extensively—including here at BoingBoing, in a great post by Andrea—but it's really worth reading Deer's original work, which is deeply researched, well sourced, and horrifying in its revelations.
The BMJ editors' opinion came after Deer's work was put through the same peer-review process usually reserved for scientific research, and after Britain's General Medical Council published the full report that led them to ban Wakefield from practicing medicine in the UK last year.
It's worth noting that, despite all of this, Wakefield continues to push the idea that MMR vaccine causes autism. His latest targets: Minnesota's community of Somali immigrants. This group has higher diagnosed autism rates than the general population and, because they come from a country with little or no health care system, there's no way to compare this to Somalis living in Somalia. (In fact, many Somalis believe there is no autism in Somalia at all, although researchers call that conclusion unlikely and unfounded.) This is clearly a community that needs help and needs research. (In fact, the CDC and NIH are already studying the situation). But Wakefield is not the guy who should be doing it. Unfortunately, as long as there are parents looking for answers, it seems that Wakefield will be there, spreading misinformation.
Artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown explore cymatics, the study of wave phenomena and how they are represented visually. Using black-colored water, a laptop computer, and a modified guitar amp, they captured “portraits” of the 12 notes in the chromatic scale. From my sister-in-law Heather Sparks’s profile of their project in Nautilus: In each (“portrait”), […]
Yesterday’s science-by-press-release announcement that a research team had made a “breakthrough” in treating ALS thanks to funds raised in last year’s viral ice-bucket challenge turns out to be vaporware: the gene identified was already known to be implicated in ALS, but only affects 3% of cases, and the new refinement in the research suggests some […]
New research on trends in adult human height over the last century confirm that, no surprise, humans are getting taller overall due to better nutrition and disease control. However according to the health science group Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), the gain in adult height varies dramatically by country. From their paper, published in […]
Looks like all of your potential employers are hiring candidates with programming skills (which you don’t have). With all of the languages out there today, it’s tough to know where to start.With the Complete Front-End to Back-End Coding Bundle, you can beef your resume up in all the right places, no confusion necessary. This package of […]
Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound […]
It’s one thing to enjoy dinner at home and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your best friend, Netflix, but it’s another thing entirely to make that meal from scratch and get that wine delivered right to your doorstep.But what if we told you there’s a way to make this possible? To keep your social life, […]