The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear
WHO DECIDES WHICH FACTS ARE TRUE? In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist with a history of self-promotion, published a paper with a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. The media seized hold of the story and, in the process, helped to launch... show more
WHO DECIDES WHICH FACTS ARE TRUE? In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist with a history of self-promotion, published a paper with a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. The media seized hold of the story and, in the process, helped to launch one of the most devastating health scares ever. In the years to come Wakefield would be revealed as a profiteer in league with class-action lawyers, and he would eventually lose his medical license. Meanwhile one study after another failed to find any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Yet the myth that vaccines somehow cause developmental disorders lives on. Despite the lack of corroborating evidence, it has been popularized by media personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Jenny McCarthy and legitimized by journalists who claim that they are just being fair to “both sides” of an issue about which there is little debate. Meanwhile millions of dollars have been diverted from potential breakthroughs in autism research, families have spent their savings on ineffective “miracle cures,” and declining vaccination rates have led to outbreaks of deadly illnesses like Hib, measles, and whooping cough. Most tragic of all is the increasing number of children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases. In The Panic Virus Seth Mnookin draws on interviews with parents, public-health advocates, scientists, and anti-vaccine activists to tackle a fundamental question: How do we decide what the truth is? The fascinating answer helps explain everything from the persistence of conspiracy theories about 9/11 to the appeal of talk-show hosts who demand that President Obama “prove” he was born in America. The Panic Virus is a riveting and sometimes heart-breaking medical detective story that explores the limits of rational thought. It is the ultimate cautionary tale for our time.
Publish date: January 11th 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages no: 448
Edition language: English
In light of the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, it seemed like a good time to finally pull this off my pile of books that were waiting to be read. I've read one of his other books 'Hard News', which is a look at The New York Times during the Jayson Blair scandal and its fallout. From that boo...
This is a really good reference for those wanting to know about the controversy surrounding vaccines and their alleged but disproved connection to autism. It ends in a court case that lays many doubts to rest.I feel like it's lacking a little bit in treating the questions of the parents involved, t...