Jeni Barnett, LBC, the MMR, and general stupidity

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Jeni Barnett, LBC, the MMR, and general stupidity

Postby mattygroves » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:14 pm

[Warning - rant]

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.
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:27 pm

This really winds me up. I'm going to get right on it.

As someone who used to do lab testing, including tests for measles, I can only imagine that parents have no idea what this virus would do to their child. People with absolutely no background knowledge who peddle their own superstitious nonsense to a vulnerable audience, need to be taken to task for it. :evil:
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:42 pm

I can remember all the children I grew up with who got deaf fom these illnesses. It makes no sense to me at all not to get children vaccinated. :x
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Postby chris.ph » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:01 pm

my sister reckons one of my nephews got childhood arthritis thru the mmr jab, obviously not proven :evil:
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Postby cols » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:15 pm

I'd agree with your sister Chris .Well not that it can give you arthritis but ..
My daughter has had juvenille arthritis since she was four and initially became ill after her MMR booster. Am sure it'll never be proven but I personally think the vacination 'activated' the condition. Whether it would have remained dormant otherwise I doubt it .
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Postby mattygroves » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:16 pm

chris.ph wrote:my sister reckons one of my nephews got childhood arthritis thru the mmr jab, obviously not proven :evil:


And she 'reckons' this on what basis?

Thing is, many childhood conditions manifest at around the same time as the jabs are given. This does not make the link causal.

I had JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). I didn't have the MMR, I'm 41 years old, the jabs were separate then. I did have a favourite blanket though, which was taken away at age 5. And gosh, that's when I started to suffer from stiff necks. Wow! That must be it! I'd better sue blanket manufacturers.

Sorry to be flippant, but do you see my point? I have every sympathy for parents who watch their children suffer with autism or arthritis or any other childhood condition, but a jab that actually and demonstrably prevents three serious conditions is not to blame, and it's frankly irresponsible to suggest it is.
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Postby chris.ph » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:19 pm

james was lucky to get over it but his neck still hurts after excercise. bloody good prop now as well just been selected for llanelli district(thatll impress silverstreak) :lol:
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Postby cols » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:24 pm

Glad to hear he's doing so well Chris :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:03 pm

I'm not a parent or a scientist so I have no axe to grind either way but these kinds of wrangles are seriously beginning to get on my nerves - like the Cholesterol Myths thread in the Terry forum.

When I was a kid the medical profession was respected and trusted and injections (like BCG) were given in schools or clinics so that everyone could easily get them and their benefits. A girl I was friendly with at grammar school was virtually blind as a result of her mother getting Rubella (I think) early in pregnancy before it was generally known to be a problem and obviously before there was a national programme for immunisation for our parents...

Had I had kids I would probably have let them be immunised like the majority of children without a qualm. I do know that one of my friends (who had had a fit not long after giving birth to her eldest child) was given information (as in inform not scare you half to death) by her GP about the miniscule chance of her son getting something nasty with the usual infant immunisations and she happily let him have the lot.

Of course choice is nice, but it's really come to something in this 'know all' nanny state that we've somehow acquired, where the Prime Minister (Blair) apparently does the opposite having publicly supported the NHS on this issue and the 'media' jump on the bandwagon (aka in my house as shit-stirring) screaming conspiracy and publishing horror stories of the unforunates who might have become autistic anyway - no wonder people are confused and worried.

I had all the big 4 childhood diseases (in fact I gave most of my class mumps as my mum made me go in with a fever) and no they're not pleasant at all just with the 'normal' symptoms let alone the more serious risks, and if I'd had a choice I'd have jumped at being immunised. Let the medical profession do their job - tell the people who might be at risk, slight or otherwise exactly what they need to know from the right source and let's get rid of this blame culture and witch hunts where we get a huge wrangle before any evidence is shown either way and leaves ordinary people upset and fearful, often for no good reason...
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby The_Discworldaholic » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:19 pm

One thing she said made sence, you should have to right to say yes or no to any jabs, rightly or wrongly, i wont go there and difference in opinions can be so varied, but one thing think of the poor americans theyve got to have, its concidered thats what part of your citizenship dictates, and im talkin americans not imigrants, well thats what i heard on the radio, but christ how can they say that if it is true, just shows and ive always thought it the american gov politics is just another word for communism, but in a sneaky way :)
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