TV DOC­TOR NEE­DLED BY TRAGIC AT­TI­TUDES

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

A Bri­tish doc­tor who stars in a tele­vi­sion se­ries aim­ing to put truth back into medicine has taken aim at the an­ti­vac­ci­na­tion move­ment.

While on a re­cent tour of Aus­tralia to pro­mote the new sea­son of the SBS show Trust Me, I’m A Doc­tor, Michael Mosley de­scribed the rise of “anti-rea­son” sur­round­ing vac­ci­na­tions as “tragic”.

“I find it ab­so­lutely fas­ci­nat­ing … the gap be­tween what peo­ple be­lieve and what sci­ence ac­tu­ally says,” Mosley says. “Vac­ci­na­tion is (hun­dreds of) years old. When there’s an out­break of whoop­ing cough or measles, it’s ab­so­lutely tragic.”

The re­spected med­i­cal pre­sen­ter says anti-vac­ci­na­tion move­ments be­gan crop­ping up af­ter the de­vel­op­ment of a small­pox vac­cine in 1796.

“Al­most im­me­di­ately, there were car­toons with an enor­mous great cow burst­ing out of some­one’s arm. Even doc­tors were deeply scep­ti­cal, and small­pox was ar­guably the most hor­rific dis­ease in the world.

“Florence Nightin­gale, who we think of as the queen of clean­li­ness, was ab­so­lutely against vac­ci­na­tions and led a cam­paign against them.”

Mosley says he can un­der­stand the scep­ti­cism about vac­ci­na­tion, par­tic­u­larly as so­ci­ety puts such im­por­tance on “nat­u­ral” liv­ing.

“The idea that maybe you’re over­load­ing your sys­tem and that it’s bet­ter to be nat­u­ral … it vaguely makes sense on some level. But nat­u­ral is get­ting small­pox. I know what I’d pre­fer.”

Trust Me, I’m A Doc­tor sees Mosley and his med­i­cal team tackle a va­ri­ety of health ques­tions, from di­ets to age­ing.

“On some things, the de­bate is on­go­ing. Take sat­u­rated fat — you get quite dif­fer­ent views. Some say it’s bad be­cause it raises bad choles­terol … oth­ers point to re­cent big-scale stud­ies that have con­sis­tently failed to prove that.

“I like that sort of stuff — it’s chal­leng­ing and it keeps you on your toes.”

TRUST ME, I’M A DOC­TOR, SBS, MON­DAY, 7.30PM

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