Tag Archives: autism

The Pseudoscience of Melanie Sykes


Yesterday, Melanie Sykes, on the television programme “This Morning“, said that her experience was that vaccinations brought about (or accelerated) her son’s autism, and, in almost the same breath, that she wasn’t claiming a link between vaccinations and autism. If she is so woolly headed about the issue, perhaps she shouldn’t have mentioned vaccinations at all, especially as that supposed link has been thouroughly debunked.

A few people tried to educate Ms Sykes, and these were her considered responses:

Any hint or insinuation that vaccinations are dangerous or harmful can discourage concerned parents from having their children vaccinated. When those insinuations are made by people in the public eye, the effect is magnified. While there vaccination poses a tiny risk for a minority of children, the consequences of not vaccinating are far worse. Not everyone can be vaccinated, but the grounds for that should be purely medical, such as a family history of dangerous allergies. If parents decide against vaccination merely based on rumours, their children are put at greater risk. Others cannot be vaccinated yet, because they’re too young (or haven’t yet been born). That’s where herd immunity comes in. It’s not a difficult concept. Even the most vacuous z-list celebrity should be able to grasp that the greater number of people in a population who are susceptible to a disease, the more risk there is for those who cannot be vaccinated.

So those parents who don’t get their kids vaccinated without a sound medical reason are selfishly putting others at risk, along with their own progeny.

From the WHO website:

Key facts ABOUT MEASLES

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2008, there were 164 000 measles deaths globally – nearly 450 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
  • More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
  • Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2008 worldwide.
  • In 2010, about 85% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.

From the WHO website:

Mumps

Mumps is an acute disease of children and young adults, caused by a paramyxovirus of which there is only a single serotype. Mumps virus produces no symptoms in about one-third of infected people. In those with a clinical response, glandular and nerve tissue are most often affected. The most common signs are fever and swelling of the parotid glands. Other complications, which may appear simultaneously with these signs or in any sequence, are epididymo-orchitis, meningo-encephalitis, cranial nerve involvement (especially eighth cranial nerve damage leading to hearing impairment), pancreatitis, oophoritis, mastitis and myocarditis. Frequent viruria and abnormal renal function suggest that mumps virus may infect the kidneys. In some instances, one or more of the other implications may be present in the absence of parotitis.

From the WHO website:

Rubella

 Rubella is an infection that is usually mild when experienced in childhood, but it can often lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications in the fetus when an unprotected woman acquires the infection early in pregnancy (congenital rubella infection)

That was from a cursory search using Google. There is much, much more, and a great deal more detail, if Melanie Sykes can be bothered to look for the facts.