By now, you all should have read that there is no link between the MMR and autism - indeed, a group of Americans have lost a lawsuit claiming a link. All the available evidence (including meta studies) shows no evidence, and indeed disproves any causal link. On the other hand, there is a clear link between a decline in uptake of the MMR and incidents of measles (in particular) and deaths from measles. The MMR, is for the vast, vast majority of children (not to mention society at large) a very good thing.
On 9 January, Jeni Barnett did a show on LBC doubting the wisdom of using the MMR combined vaccine. Indeed, she advocated letting children get measles, and only dealing with those who will die from it (and you know how, exactly). Let me quote the woman herself:
Jeni Barnett wrote:...back in the day, children got measles, children got mumps. I'm not suggesting - I am not suggesting - that we got backwards where some children, where we have one in fifteen children die of it. And that one person in fifteen is the one we have to be looking at and wondering why and dealing with it. But if, as a human being, you decide you do not want to give your child a vaccination, you should, in a democracy, have that right to day no.
(Links to the transcript are available here - also on the link below, where there are various links including to the original audio.
Dr Ben Goldacre, on his wonderful, wonderful blog www.badscience.net, objected. He did so in a slightly amusing, yet reasoned, educated way, and posted a link of the 30 or 40 minutes of Ms Barnett's programme that discussed the MMR. The transcript is worth reading in full. LBC, rather than admitting that Ms Barnett was misguided at best, and wrong and dangerous at worst (remember, MMR take up rates in London have dropped below 50%), have threatened legal action against Dr Goldacre, for including the broadcast in his blog.
A full account of what happened can be found here - and the url bears repeating in full:
http://www.badscience.net/2009/02/lbc-m ... ephen-fry/
There is a support group on Facebook, but I'd urge everyone to send an email to Global Radio (who owns LBC) to tell them they're being numbwits (in politer terms, of course). [/rant]
Right, you can return to your regularly scheduled programme.