A poll conducted by consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that one-third of Americans use social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to obtain information about health and wellness . Respondents reported using social media resources to self-diagnose, get information about prescription drugs, and check up on doctors’ and hospitals’ reputations.
While the alleged link between vaccines — particularly the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine — and autism has been thoroughly discredited in more than 20 well-conducted studies of vaccine side effects , fears about the side effects of vaccination nevertheless remain a major factor influencing the healthcare decisions some parents make. This has led to an increasing percentage of unvaccinated children in the U.S. in recent years, which in turn has ramifications for public health.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, however, sheds new light on physiological roots — though not causes — of autism , and in so doing rules out the potential for any link between vaccination and development of the disease. In the study, researchers examined the size and number of neurons in the prefrontal cortex of young deceased males with autism, and compared the data to that obtained from young deceased non-autistic males.
In a commentary this month in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Dr. Gregory Poland discusses the dangers associated with vaccine denialism, defined as the continued propagation of anti-vaccination sentiment and misinformation in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary .
The American Academy of Pediatrics released this statement today in response to statements made during the Republican Tea Party debate :
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it had approved the formulation for the 2011-2012 vaccine . This year’s formulation is designed to protect against all three strains included in last years vaccine. Nevertheless, if you received a flu shot last year, you should still get vaccinated again this year: immunity to influenza viruses from vaccination declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after a year.