Archive for January, 2011

Fraudulent autism-vaccine link

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

There’s no simpler way of summarizing the purported link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism than to say it the way the British Medical Journal said it this past week – the research is a fraud. The study that scared the world about this potentially life-saving vaccine was first published in 1998. Since that time, the methods used have been the subject of tremendous criticism, and all attempts to reproduce the results have failed. Still, the media hype about the “dangers” of the vaccine persisted. However, this past week’s article in the British Medical Journal puts the final nail in the coffin of this horrible research – the data that the investigators used to impugn the MMR vaccine was falsified.

The sad part of this story, of course, is the effect that the fraudulent research has had over the past 12 years, raising fears about MMR vaccine safety and, even wors,  raising hopes among the parents of autism that a “cause” had been identified. Vocal opponents of the vaccine have published books and appeared repeatedly in the media nationally and internationally, creating celebrity for themselves while putting kids’ health at risk by frightening their parents about this vaccine.

It’s over. MMR vaccine does not cause autism, never did. All of us have written this for years (for a review of all the data, see Chapter 7, Germ Proof Your Kids – The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections (ASM Press, 2008), but now that we know precisely the extent of those researchers’ fraud, we can put this unfortunate public health “crisis” to rest.

Vaccinate your kids.

Resolutions for a Germ Proof 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

January 1 of every year brings more than good wishes and high hopes for the New Year – it also brings the winter cold and respiratory flu seasons, and the winter stomach flu season. These illnesses can be more than nuisances – they cause kids to miss school, adults to miss work, and, in thousands of cases every year, complications that can result in hospitalizations or worse. Although colds, flu, and stomach flu are caused by hundreds of different viruses (and a few bacteria), the strategies for prevention are very simple and work for all of the germy causes of these illnesses. So, without further ado:

Here are my top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Germ Proofing your family, keyed to Chapters in Germ Proof Your Kids – The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections (ASM Press, Washington, D.C, 2008):

1. Teach yourself and your family effective hand washing, including when to use hand santizers (Chapter 9)

2. Teach yourself and your family proper “cough and sneeze” etiquette (Chapter 9)

3. Make sure you and your family are up to date on all of your vaccines, especially flu (Chapter 7)

4. Understand the appropriate and inappropriate uses of antibiotics (Chapter 5)

5. Recognize the places in your home where dangerous germs lurk (Chapter 9)

6. Institute an effective home disinfecting program to minimize the risks of catching germs from household members and the surfaces they have contacted (Chapter 9)

7. Learn what measures your kids’ schools and/or day care centers are using to protect your kids and others (Chapter 9)

8. Feed your family a heatlhy diet that boosts their immunity (Chapter 10)

9. Recognize the difference between prudence and paranoia in protecting your family; remember, overprotecting can be as harmful as underprotecting (Chapter 12)

10. Understand the benefits and the risks of over-the-counter treatments for common infections (Chapter 8 )

My best wishes to you and your family for a happy and HEALTHY New Year!