ABC to air fictional show about vaccines and autism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by obeygiant, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #1
    Reuters

    Both my kids are immunized and they're fine.

    The responsible thing for ABC to do would be to air a documentary immediately following the show concerning the fear they just raised. But I guess fear=ratings.
     
  2. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #2
    OOOOOOF. This is a big problem. Those vaccine-related autism studies have been totally discredited--this is a myth of the highest order, and a dangerous one at that.

    While I'm a big believer in free speech and I think ABC should be able to air whatever it damn well pleases, I think that peddling this nonsense is totally irresponsible. All we're going to do is dredge up old, unsubstantiated fears.
     
  3. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    #3
    As a physician-in-training, this is disgusting. There is already enough misinformation out there, there need not be any more. I am regularly brought to my knees by the sheer lunacy of many of the disinformation campaigns, especially when I realize that for everyone one of me screaming about how idiotic it is, there are probably seven of them making YouTube crap and posting websites.

    The public is impressionable. Period. Do not give people excuses to make poor mistakes, regardless of one's view on personal accountability. Basic premises of epidemiology indicate that it is very risk to the POPULATION to have large numbers of people not vaccinated for certain diseases. Their idiocy endangers us all.

    That sounds melodramatic, but it wouldn't take me long to list many latter-day examples.

    Bad idea. Bad form, ABC.
     
  4. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    #4
    All people will remember from this episode is that some vaccines cause autism. Respectable people will criticize the show for making this false impression, which will probably sound like drug companies are trying to bury the evidence for some of the audience. In any case, this is what the new parents remember a few months later: "Yeah, I remember, some months ago there were a series of TV programs that discussed how vaccines cause autism."
     
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #5
    This is sufficiently irresponsible I think it justifies boycotting of ABC and of any advertiser who books time during this series, which I suppose I hope doesn't include Apple. Free speech only means the government can't shut them up legally. For this, I'm more than happy to hit them where it hurts to the extent I am able.

    Besides, what would we be missing? LOST? Darn show hasn't been watchable in over a year anyway. Possibly the most disgusting thing about this move is how much it smacks of desperation and stirring up artificial controversy for the sake of ratings.

    Really, though, what this demands is a spin-off series wherein a trial lawyer for big corporations decides to fight for the little guy by bringing a class action against a large television network for airing a misleading fictional show that some viewers mistook for docudrama and thus made ill-advised medical decisions which led directly to the deaths of their children. Man, that'd be great TV.
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    They should post a disclaimer at the beginning of the show that says,

    "There is belief in the medical community that high doses of ABC television programming may be responsible for mis-education and unwarranted fear."
     
  7. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #7
    Sorry, this is not true. As much as doctors would like to believe that all vaccines are safe, it cannot be proven that they are. I'm appalled that you all are such sheep, willing to believe something blindly just because your doctor tells you it is so. People have the right to know that there are potential risks to having their children immunized and they should be able to look at both sides of the issue and make an informed decision.

    As far as spreading fear and sensationalism, the AAP is doing their fair share of it as well:
     
  8. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #8
    This is a legal drama, right? Which means that the standard fiction disclaimer about "any similarities to persons living or dead or actual events is purely coincidental" applies, correct?

    If that's the case, then isn't it up to the viewer to recognize that this is fictional and that they shouldn't be basing how their lives are lived around the cases of one fictional Eli Stone? It sounds to me that the show is just a third-rate rip-off of Shark, which is just a third-rate rip-off of House M.D. (only with law in place of medicine) anyways, and is destined for the dust bin.
     
  9. Evangelion macrumors 68040

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    #9
    I was quite shocked to learn that not immunizing children is quite common (well, maybe not common, but not unheard of either) in USA, because their parents have some crackpot-theories about vaccines...
     
  10. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    ^^^ ABD. It's ABD, stoopid. Didn't you like never go to school to learn stuff or something?
     
  12. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #12
    Sorry but I would say the reverse is true. It is more sheep like to believe unsubstantiated rumour that has been blown out of proportion by the media than it is to believe scientific studies.

    It is absolutely disgusting that the media is able to continue doing things like this without proving any scientific link between their claims. The worst thing is that if parents did not immunise their children the chance of a life threatening illness is much more than the chance of getting autism if they did get them vaccinated. Failure to vaccinate your child against measels is irresponsible and a knee jerk reaction without any basis in fact.
     
  13. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    #13
    A well-reasoned review of the most recent autism reviews in the literature will reveal that the current rhetoric pins most of the blame on genetic factors, although some environmental factors may be at play.

    Mercurial adjuvants used in vaccines being implicated in the cause of autism is weak sauce from a variety of different scientific standpoints, but in order to save my breath, suffice it to say that the literature (and the scientists that contribute to it) have largely abandoned that hypothesis. Especially since you have a much greater chance of getting mercury poisoning from fish these days.

    If you want to blame something for autism, how about diethylstilbesterols and the cornucopia of other chemicals that are now ubiquitous in our environment.
     
  14. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    The really sad thing is - I bet that the majority of the parents who are complaining about vaccines and the possible health effects of them which a) has not been shown to exist and b) even if it did exist would only effect an extremely small number of children (1 in a few hundred thousand maybe) let their kids eat fast food which IS proven to be determental to their health, will cause them to be obese if taken to excess and will cause them to suffer from life threatening illnesses if eaten over a prolonged period of time. Meh, worry about the things that we know will cause harm to your children, not the things that have no scientific basis in fact.
     
  15. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

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    #15
    America is the land of the 'extremes'. Studies are often completed and conclude one thing and following that is another that disproves it - it is an endless cycle. I do not know one way or the other if the vaccines cause issues, but if they did then shouldn't everyone be autistic who is immunized with the same vaccines? There has to be other contributing factors outside of the vaccines themselves - perhaps they are just one component or perhaps it is a wild goose chase.

    As far as putting something on TV that is erroneous - bah - isn't that what TV is? Even the news pumps up the facts to make people tune in...Television causes more problems than it can solve...
     
  16. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #16
    This very same issue was aired as a reoccurring subplot theme in The Shield.
     
  17. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #17
    I hate the use of the word "prove" in science...As for evidence:

    B Taylor et al. Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association. Lancet. 1999.

    A Hviid et al. Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism. JAMA. 2003.

    JA Kaye et al. Mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism recorded by general practitioners: a time trend analysis. BMJ. 2001.

    CP Farrington et al. MMR and autism: further evidence against a causal association. Vaccine. 2001.

    E Fombonne and S Chakrabarti. No Evidence for A New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism. Pediatrics. 2001.

    I recognize that there are some studies that appeared to show a link. But I believe that the strong, strong consensus in medicine now is that MMR poses no threat, or at worst, a very marginal threat, of increasing risk of autism.

    This has nothing to do with extremes. There was a scientific debate, and for the most part, the issue seems to be resolved. If there are further studies that show something different, those would be worthy of consideration.

    But if the vaccines did cause issues in some people, it is a fallacy to expect them to cause autism in everyone. The human biological response is highly complex and differences in genotype, environmentally-induced protein expression, and incidental prevalence of various cell types, can all influence the body's response to any given insult. Moreover, there are "chance" events, like the local distribution of a drug or a particular set of cells' level of sensitivity at any given time. There are so many factors here that it would be folly to assume complete penetrance of any given effect. The ability to cause illness in everyone exposed is really only the province of the most devastating diseases and insults. In fact, as a comparison, note that even HIV infection spares some people from ever developing symptoms. There are individuals who are chronically infected but have never experienced an exceptionally high viral load or an exceptionally low CD4 count. This is just one of the complexities of medicine.
     
  18. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #18
    Yea ABD that's it.....Or is it E? Hmm :confused:

    :)
     
  19. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Well said, themadchemist.

    I don't have my literatures handy, since my EndNote is on my computer at home...

    But well said. I talked with my adviser this morning (world-renowned epidemiologist), he says the matter is closed.
     
  20. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #20
    It took me so long to get this joke. I kept thinking, "All But Dissertation," hmm...What's he getting at? :eek:
     
  21. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Actually most of the parents I've encountered that are against vaccines are of the hippy-crunchy variety. Therefore they abhor fast food places.

    My wife purchased an interesting book by Doctor Robert Sears, The Vaccine Book and he seems to be mostly concerned about the levels of aluminum in modern vaccines. Our pediatrician said the biggest reason the MMR vac is anecdotally tied to autism is due to it being administered around the same time the child is developing language skills. This is typically when autism is first noticed as a possible diagnosis.
     
  22. DanBUK macrumors regular

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    #22
    Exactly, this is the nub of the issue.

    Madchemist- Great to see referencing of medical/scientific literature in the forum.

    You (and others) may enjoy visiting Badscience.net a great UK based blog by a doctor/journalist who writes weekly in The Guardian newspaper (the best we have over here). He draws attention to the most irresponsible and ludicrous reporting of science/medicine in the media. It is a great weekly read. (I have no affiliation btw). He used to sell t-shirts with "MMR is safe, tell your friends" on the front.

    Oh, yeah, almost forgot- Isn't big Stevo the largest shareholder of Disney who in turn own ABD (or something)- can't we club together and ask him to wade in on our behalf?:rolleyes:
     
  23. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #23
    In that case I bet they are into detox diets and the like which are also damaging to your health and other unsubstantiated rubbish that the media seem to bandy about.
     
  24. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #24
    Well, when their kids get measles and spread it around, I guess they'll be so glad they dodged the bullet. :mad:
     
  25. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #25
    Yes, in principle, but it isn't that simple.

    Take CSI. The show is science fiction, but it's close enough to real that it shapes people's ideas of how crimes are investigated and solved. This has made prosecutors' jobs much more difficult because they now face juries who expect a standard of forensic evidence that practically never occurs in a real courtroom. These aren't nutso people who cannot tell fantasy from reality. They're normal people who have been told a good story.

    The show in question here is especially bad. If you simply tell people it's fiction, forget it. That just tells people the specific events didn't happen. You'll get as many people coming away with the idea vaccines are unsafe as you would without any disclaimer at all.

    If you put up notices specifically regarding the safety and advisability of vaccination, then you'd be posting the same sorts of statements the show's protagonist will be attempting to discredit as part of a horrible conspiracy to give kids autism. And still, given a five-second viewing of a disclaimer followed by a good story, it's human nature to remember the story.

    If you positively bombard the audience with the overwhelming evidence for the importance of vaccination, then you're revealing the protagonist is on a fool's errand. A properly informed audience would be rooting against the hero, and that's no good for ratings. ABC would have to scuttle their own show to do the right thing here.

    To the extent they do not do so, it will ultimately be possible to use ratings figures to determine the precise dollar value ABC executives assign to the life of a child.

    Frankly, I think if ABC's lawyers are advising them that crying "fiction" is going to completely protect them from liability here, they need a second opinion quick.
     

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