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Seth Mnookin psyc 180.docx

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McGill University
PSYC 180
Amir Raz

PSYC 180 February 15, 2012 Seth Mnookin “Autism vs. Vaccines”  When stakes are high, people are more likely to jump to causal conclusions o Public suspicions about chemicals and pollution  How we collectively decide what is truth  People make decisions based on instinct sometimes  Fear that there is a causal link between vaccines and autism  Vaccines are not 100% safe (just like how drinking water is not 100% safe, etc)  Andrew Wakefield – claimed that there was a link between autism and measles vaccines o Lancet article (medical journal)  Can‟t draw a conclusion from a case study  Pragmatic solution to the fact that we don‟t think critically in relation to vaccines: o Prenatal conversation with new parents about vaccines instead of making them make the decision on the spot when they have the child. o Discourse occurs between peers, not health care practitioners and their patients. o Equivalent of office hours – designated vaccine expert – can address problems. o When you find yourself certain about something, find some way to show that you are wrong. (personal solution)  0-3 is when kids are getting their first shots. Also when they are getting diagnosed  Parents think this is causal  People ask why they should get a flu shot every year if vaccines are so effective o Don‟t want to explain to them that viruses mutate, etc.  Fluoride conspiracies  Measles is known; autism is unknown. Fear of known vs. unknown  You can‟t „un-scare‟ someone. This is why even though the Wakefield paper was reclaimed, people are still skeptical about vaccines.  Clarification: o Don`t confuse research with lab research – Seth is looking at a different kind of research Brian Ward: Vaccine – Myths and Realities  Anti-vaccination sentiments are not new – smallpox back then. Vaccine was cow puss and people thought you would get bovine characteristics.  Many new vaccines in the next 5-10 years o Advances in immunology  Target virtually any infection o New uses for vaccines  Cancer, autoimmunity, fertility PSYC 180 February 15, 2012 o Government and philanthropic commitment o Profits  Myth 1: vaccines are not necessary o Childhood diseases were disappearing before vaccines were introduced o Polio eradication – eradication `on track` for 2010  Massive efforts to wrap up last few cases with national vaccination days  Polio is still with us because northern Nigeria decided that polio vaccination was an attempt to sterilize muslim boys so they stopped being vaccinated against polio  Thus polio re-spread 30 countries. o 1975: Japan and Pertussis vaccine o 1990s: UK and MMR causes autism o Childhood illnesses remain serious threats – if you stop vaccinating, the diseases will come back  Myth 2: vaccines are 100% effective o Dr. Jay Gordo
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