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There really has been a terrible paucity of blogging around here lately. For that I apologise. 5th year medicine really isn’t conducive to blogging…or socializing… or sleeping…

Anyways, I’ve got some juicy posts lined up for the next few weeks. I’ve already started one about my ongoing debate with my vegetarian colleague about the antics of PETA, or as I’ve dubbed them, People for the Endless Taunting of Agriculturalists.

But something else really got up my proverbial goat this weekend. I turned on the Today Show and came across a segment entitled the ‘Immunisation debate.’

I’m sorry, what? There’s no debate.

Debate implies a robust argument between equally informed groups with valid pros and cons on each side. There isn’t. It’s a case of the entirety of peer-reviewed medical research in every respected scientific journal versus a few voodoo conspiracy theorists in a shed somewhere.

But don’t take my word for it.

The whole immunization fuss relates to an article published in the lancet in 1998, an ecological study that suggested a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)1. This article presented 12 cases of developmental delay associated with gastrointestinal symptoms and developmental regression, many of which were reported soon after the MMR vaccine was given. The article has since been widely criticized due to its poor study design and methodological flaws – not to mention allegations of fraudulent results and the authors’ previously undisclosed links to autism litigators – which has lead to allegations of professional misconduct, for which 3 of the authors, Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch are currently under investigation.

There is overwhelming evidence from subsequent studies that do not support the theory of a link between MMR and developmental disorders2,3. The supposed ‘link’ between ASD and MMR arises from nothing more than the fact the MMR vaccine is given at 12 months of age, which is around the time when children are demonstrating more social behaviours – thus it is around this time that deficits in social functioning (such as in ASD) are becoming more apparent.

The real tragedy for Australian children, is when their uninformed parents decide to forgo immunizing their children. The results of such a turnaround have been disastrous. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccinations are on the decline in Australia, and consequently incidence rates have been increasing resulting in 3 deaths in young children this year4. And, there were similar deaths in the UK as a result of the autism-MMR fiasco in the late 1990s. In an immensely affluent country with a free childhood vaccination program, a highly educated populace and easy access to medical services, this is quite simply, a highly preventable tragedy. The naivety of this generation of Australian parents to the effects of vaccine preventable diseases, it seems, has been both a blessing and a curse. Sadly, it may be that until parents see their 6 month old on CPAP in ICU for pertussis-induced respiratory failure, or a moribund child unable to speak, breathe or swallow due to H. Influenzae epiglottitis they won’t understand the tragic consequences of having an unvaccinated child. It’s irresponsible, it’s costly, it’s heartbreaking and utterly preventable. No child in Australia should have to pay for such foolishness.

1. Wakefield AJ, Murch S. et. al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, nonspecific colitis and regressive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 351, 637-641 (1998)

2. Wilson K, Mills E, Association of autistic spectrum disorder and the measles, mumps, and rubella Vaccine: A systematic review of current epidemiological evidence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157:628-634.

3. Briese T, Buie T, et al. Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study. 2008. PLoS ONE 3(9): e3140.

4. Ask me about the time Mad got Pertussis due to the short sighted decision of a misinformed physician, and I’ll show you the effects of a vaccine-preventable disease.

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South Park Me

I discovered a novel website today, http://www.sp-studio.de/, wherein you can design your own characters in South Park style. So I decided to make good use of my precious 5th year time to create a SP ‘Mr. and Mrs. Chisnall’. I reckon they’re pretty good…
Keags SP
Phoeb SP

Perhaps the Mac vs. PC thing was a bit much though.

convo skywalker guy

The eyes have it

I really don’t know why I find this so funny, but it gets me every time.

Brought to you all the way from thisisphotobomb.com

This. Is. Awesome.

carnivore

Caption Obvious

Captioning. It’s the art of adding a commentary to a funny picture (typically of an animal, or someone in an embarrassing or unusual situation) to hilarious effect.

Lately, I’ve discovered a form of captioning that literally polarizes people. Really. People either love it or they hate it. I’ve dubbed this technique, ‘Caption Obvious’ (clever, I know) – where people take funny pictures and add a commentary so weirdly obvious that it’s just really funny.

Personally, I think these pictures are hilarious, but I’ll post some here and let you decide.

dog

dog coffee

10 reasons Keagan annoys me:

1. When I’m about to tell him an awesome story, he tells me ‘you’ve told me that 3 times before.’ Which is completely irrelevant and distracting when I’m trying to tell an awesome story.

2. He gets angry when I hog the blanket and he ends up cold, miserable and doona-less in the early hours of the morning. He should wear warmer pjs.

3. He threatens to give the clothes I leave on the floor for 3 weeks to the op shop and often torments me with ‘missing any clothes lately?’ And, as I only wear around 5% of my wardrobe regularly and find it impossible to keep track of all the clothes I own, I have little hope of discovering the missing items until they’re half way to Hong Kong.

4. He is more awesome than me (Keagan’s words, not mine)

5. He is frustratingly organized and tidy

6. When I get angry he remains annoyingly calm and patiently waits until I calm down.

7. He makes better cities than me on SimCity and will spend 5 minutes on my city to make it productive and industrious after I’ve spent 3 hours building up debt.

8. He has more common sense when it comes to medical matters despite the fact I’ve almost completed 5 years of a medical degree

6. He can count better than me

10. He corrects me on this post about what annoys me.