On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.
See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).
However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.
In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.
Today, I thought I’d share with you a 15-minute presentation I gave in Mexico City last about two weeks ago. It was on a paper I wrote based off a previous blog post. I talk about what I imagine to be the perfect system for keeping track of the population’s health… That is, if money, technology, laws, and ethical considerations were not in the way of such things.
Yes, I’m giving the podcast a season and names. The first season runs from now until the end of the year and will be season zero, along with previous episodes. Kind of like “the lost season” if you will. Then, starting in 2018, I’ll have a first season of six podcasts with pre-planned topics and a little more preparation. You guys deserve it… And it’s a good way to be just creative enough to be doing something but not too busy to forget about the dissertation (which should be almost done when 2017 ends and 2018 begins).
Yeah, yeah… It’s been a while. I missed you too. Here’s 12 minutes of me catching you up on what happened this summer with dad getting cancer, me picking up cycling and swimming, and taking some exams. Also, there is something about Puerto Rico and Zika in there.
Ah, summer is finally here, and I can relax for just a little bit before I am sent off to a far away land to do some epidemiological stuff. Let me tell you all about it in about five minutes time. As always, you can download the episode here, or subscribe to it on iTunes here.
My wife and I went to talk at the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association a couple of weeks ago. Our talk was about the things that work in autism treatment, and the quackery things that don’t. Mrs. N took care of talking about autism in general and the medications that are prescribed at times to treat some of the manifestations of autism. Then I stepped up and talked about the lack of association between vaccines and autism, and all the crazy, scary “treatments” that people peddle as “cures” for autism.
The talk is about 50 minutes long, with a lot of questions during the talks and at the end. We got a lot of really good feedback from the 30 or so people who were there.
Just a very quick, 5-minute update on my activities and a couple of thoughts on how different epidemiologists see epidemics differently. (Some of us see the big picture — and suffer for it — while others focus in on particular aspect of an epidemic like a laser beam.) As always, you can download the episode by clicking here. You…
I’m jetlagged from the trip to Korea, and I’m feeling a little silly. So I recorded this podcast with a lot of complaints over the craziness going on about Ebola. When an elected US Senator tells us that you can get Ebola at a cocktail party, you have to ask yourself two questions: What kind of cocktail parties does he attend? And exactly what science and virology book he read this from?
I don’t think he read anything about it, personally.
Anyway, listen to my rant. Or don’t. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t.