Anti-Vaccine Parents Cause Measles Outbreak

I wanted to share this video from the NewsHour. We will be hosting a panel discussion about vaccines on Tuesday, April 29th, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Library Lounge.

Measles outbreak sparks fear of resurgent diseases
Description from the NewsHour: “Recent outbreaks of measles on both the East and West Coasts highlight a larger story about how infectious diseases that had all but disappeared in the U.S. are now reappearing. Why are some of these diseases showing back up? Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, about the reasons for these outbreaks.”

Are We a Nation of Medical Conspiracy Nuts?

Evidently, the answer is yes.

I came across this Salon article that talks about a new study of medical conspiracies (see We’re a nation of medical conspiracy nuts by Mary Elizabeth Williams). The study found that 49% of Americans believed in one medical conspiracy, and 18% believed in three or more.

These are the top medical conspiracies (and NONE of them are true!!).

–“The CIA deliberately infected large numbers of African Americans with HIV under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program”

–“Doctors and government still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders”

–“The FDA is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other disorders because of pressure from drug companies”

–“Health officials know that cell phones cause cancer but are doing nothing to stop it because large corporations won’t let them”

–“Public water fluoridation is really just a secret way for chemical companies to dump the dangerous byproducts of phosphate mines into the environment”

–“The global dissemination of genetically modified foods by Monsanto is part of a secret program launched by the Rockefeller and Ford foundation to shrink the world’s population.”

You can find info about the original study here: Oliver & Wood, Medical Conspiracy Theories and Health Behaviors in the United States 

The Year of Debunking!

BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel has declaried 2014 as the year of the “Viral Debunk” (see his article, 2014 Is The Year Of The Viral Debunk (The “Hoax Economy” gives way to a new breed of fact checking)).

He has declared (and we agree) that it is time to end the silly, crazy, and untrue hoaxes regularly spread online. Yes, we know we can’t stop them all, but we can work to counter them. This is a lesson in Information Literacy.

Alex Goldman & PJ Vogt discuss this on a recent episode of the TLDR podcast. I wanted to share in an effort to spread the word.

TLDR Podcast: Hey, Guess What? I Found Truth for Us

Description from the site: “Last fall, TLDR covered a bunch of hoaxes. Some we liked, most we didn’t. On this episode, we talk to Paulo Ordoveza and Adrienne LaFrance, a couple of people who have devoted themselves to trying to debunk the innumerable falsehoods flying around the internet.”