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Picture of William Heisel

A good friend of mine read my recent posts about Andrew Wakefield and the controversy over whether vaccines have any role in causing autism and asked me whether I was concerned for my safety.

Picture of William Heisel

For a field rooted in fact and reason, science sure loves witchcraft.

One of the most common responses to the decade-long effort to hold Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues accountable for creating one of the biggest public health scares in modern history – linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine – is to call the effort a “witch hunt.”

Picture of William Heisel

One of the main groups involved in Andrew Wakefield’s vaccines-cause-autism scare was .

The letters stood for Justice Awareness and Basic Support. It billed itself as the “support group for vaccine-damaged children.” A jab, in British parlance, is the same as a shot in the US. And the group was focused on jabs from vaccines as the cause of autism and other disorders.

Picture of William Heisel

Anyone who has written about a topic as emotional as autism knows that patients and their families can be both invaluable and unreliable.

Picture of William Heisel

Andrew Wakefield — creator of one of the greatest scares in medical history — had many accomplices in misleading the world about a link between vaccines and autism. Many in the media helped him spread his intellectual poison. Celebrities rallied behind his fake cause. And the scientific community helped keep the hoax alive by citing his work as if it were legitimate.

Picture of Amy Wallace
Like writing about abortion or animal rights, writing about vaccines inevitably raises the ire of certain readers. It is not for the timid. Journalist Amy Wallace writes about being sued by an anti-vaccine activist and offers tips for covering this controversial and emotionally-charged topic.
Picture of William Heisel

The June 8 edition of Newsweek has a must-read about the world's most influential celebrity.

and meticulously detail how Oprah Winfrey uses her show, her magazine and her Web site as a platform for some completely loony health advice, including needle-and-thread facelifts, avoiding vaccines, daily hormone injections into the vagina to stop aging and thinking positively as an alternative to surgery.

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