Monday, June 22, 2015

Ok, so I'm not doing so well with the blogging thing. What else is new? But here I am again. Writing is my thing. It has been since I was young. So I am back. Despite the fact that no one reads my stuff. Despite the fact that I don't know if I will be able to keep it up. I'm back because I need to write. For me. It may be a hodge podge for awhile while I explore different topics of interest. Hopefully I will narrow down and settle on a niche at some point. My interests are varied and so many things flit through my head.

My current and latest obsession has been Andrew Wakefield. Why? And who is he, you ask? Well, the why is easy. He is fascinating, and I have an insatiable desire to find the truth. The truth about anything. I want it. I want to know what the truth is. Always. And he is an intriguing person. People either love him or they hate him. If they even know who he is at all. He's the man at the center of the vaccination debate. He authored or co-authored (can't remember which) a paper back in the late 90's that supposedly found a correlation between the MMR vaccination and gut problems in 12 children that may have been linked to autism. First of all, twelve children? Hardly a convincing study. Such a tiny sample.  But Wakefield used the study to call a press conference where he basically made a big deal about the findings and madness ensued. This seemed to be the first real evidence that the MMR vaccine might be linked to autism, and it was huge.

Of course, the paper was later retracted, and eventually Wakefield lost his medical license. A few years later another man, Brian Deer, did an investigation on Wakefield and turned up a lot of damning evidence against him. However, Wakefield's supporters have always maintained that he does what he does for the children and most still support him. They claim that the big industry that is pharmaceuticals and government have made an example out of him for challenging the status quo and the huge profit machine of vaccinations. The other side calls him a quack, a liar, a fraud and much worse. They claim that he is responsible for the comeback of measles and other diseases because many parents stopped vaccinating after Wakefield's study. 

And the vaccine debate rages on still. But Wakefield is not solely responsible for those who question vaccines. People will always question things. And they should. I don't have a problem with questioning. I have a problem with those on the pro-vaccine side who demonize and mock those who question. I also have a problem with those who, in the face of strong evidence, refuse to question their own strongly held beliefs. Some of the so-called "anti-vaxxers" do this, in my opinion, when presented with unsavory evidence against Wakefield. 

Regardless of where one stands on vaccines, Wakefield is intriguing. He is to me anyway. So where am I going with this? I don't really know. Just trying to find answers. And this is my first step.

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