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This was a really cynical attempt to drum up some more worry about the (non-existent) link between MMR and autism. It doesn't take a scientist to understand that this article is bringing no new information to the table, no support for the idea that MMR causes autism: when you read the article you can see them making the big claims in the headlines and then backing off in the detail. It's weasely and awful, and it preys on a pet worry of Observer readers, I should think. Normally that wouldn't really worry me - judging by their front page, Observer readers have narrowed their focus to house prices and the tiny, tiny effects their lifestyles (all the adults in the house working outside the house, maybe had a caesarian section, wouldn't mind enjoying the odd glass of wine or two during pregnancy) have on their children. But the MMR thing is serious: measles and mumps have serious consequences: before vaccinations started, measles killed a higher proportion of kids than currently get diagnosed with autism, so even if MMR caused autism, even if it caused all cases of autism, it would still be better than not immunising. (Of course if most kids are immunised then you can rely on herd immunity and not immunise your child and rely on there not being a lot of measles etc going about for your kid to catch, but it seems a bit nasty to rely on everyone else's kid going and getting stuck with a vaccine. Also, is there a chance that in that case, the opt-in parents will mostly be the working class people who tend to put more trust in the doctor?)

Anyway... then the Guardian published
this today. Which makes them my new favourite newspaper again. It was incredibly brave of them to publish it given that the Observer is a sister paper, but they would have had no credibility if they didn't - and I notice that it took them till Wednesday to publish it, when Ben Goldacre usually writes for the Saturday Guardian. Still, well done to the Grauniad. Not that anyone will read it.

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sehnsucht

March 2016

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