Science wins a round in bat­tle over vac­cines

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

In the on­go­ing clash of science and celebrity, score the lat­est round to the nerds.

The most re­cent dust-up hap­pened last month when the Tribeca Film Festival in New York pulled a doc­u­men­tary by a dis­cred­ited ex-doc­tor whose re­search into the con­nec­tion be­tween vac­cines and autism has been de­bunked. Af­ter festival co-founder and sil­ver screen icon Robert De Niro ini­tially de­fended the film’s in­clu­sion, Tribeca— fac­ing an up­roar from doc­tors and ex­perts— pulled it.

The film, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catas­tro­phe,” is di­rected by Andrew Wake­field, a for­mer Bri­tish gas­troen­terol­o­gist who was stripped of his med­i­cal li­cense in 2010. The Bri­tish med­i­cal jour­nal BMJ called Wake­field’s study con­nect­ing autism and vac­cines—which was re­tracted by med­i­cal jour­nal the Lancet—an “elab­o­rate fraud.”

Sci­en­tific re­search has con­sis­tently found the MMR vac­cine (given to chil­dren for measles, mumps and rubella) to be safe and to have no link to autism.

De Niro, who has an autis­tic teenage son, ac­knowl­edged he per­son­ally chose to sched­ule the film at the festival, which be­gins April 13.

It’s just the lat­est in­stance of the med­i­cal com­mu­nity butting heads with a celeb flog­ging du­bi­ous science.

Ques­tions over vac­ci­na­tions have been par­tic­u­larly be­dev­il­ing. Naysay­ers from the A-list (on down to the D-list) have touted their own the­o­ries, most promi­nently with the anti-vac­ci­na­tion ad­vo­cacy of TV per­son­al­ity Jenny McCarthy.

“Celebri­ties have had an out-of-pro­por­tion im­pact on the pub­lic’s un­der­stand­ing of vac­cine risk,” New York Univer­sity med­i­cal ethi­cist Arthur Ca­plan told the As­so­ci­ated Press. “I don’t want to over­play it; most peo­ple vac­ci­nate. It’s not like hordes of peo­ple are lis­ten­ing to Jenny McCarthy and say­ing, ‘For­get the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics, I’m go­ing with the for­mer Play­boy Bunny.’ ”

“It’s part of the general im­pact celebri­ties are hav­ing on health,” Ca­plan said. “Gwyneth Pal­trow is cer­tainly emit­ting an un­ceas­ing stream of hot air about many health prac­tices, from colonics to who knows what. It’s a con­stant bat­tle to try to cor­rect

De Niro started an up­roar when he chose ‘Vaxxed’ for Tribeca.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.