Public health and behavioral science expert Sarah Gorman was shocked when a highly educated colleague expressed his believe that childhood vaccinations cause autism.
Unfortunately, there are many highly educated people who are similarly misinformed. She teamed up with her father, a physician, to write Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts that Will Save Us, to discuss the neurological basis for how such misguided thinking “narrows” the brain. She recently discussed several of these unfortunate myths with Men’s Health.
The belief in the link between vaccines and autism is one of the most common, and dangerous, of health-related myths. It stems from a 1998 article in The Lancet by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, who claimed a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
However, The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s study in 2010 on the basis of invalid science. Indeed, it was found that Wakefield had perpetrated a fraud by taking payments from vaccine injury lawyers and falsifying data. He ultimately lost his license to practice medicine. The American Academy of Pediatrics has gone on to list a vast body of studies and evidence that vaccines are unrelated to autism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nonmedical exemptions for school-mandated vaccines are rising. A 2015 poll conducted by CNN found that anti-vaccine parents are likely to be wealthier, white and college educated. Those eschewing vaccination cited fears regarding autism more than half the time. Measles is a disease that can be fatal; meanwhile, just a 5 percent decline in the vaccination rate for 2-11-year-olds could triple the number of reported cases.
Another curious myth involves unpasteurized milk. Proponents of raw milk believe that the heat involved in the pasteurization process destroys vital nutrients. They also believe that pasteurized milk can cause allergies and lactose intolerance. The origins of this belief are unclear.
The FDA, however, states that there is no evidence that raw milk offers any benefit over the pasteurized variant. And while a minute 3 percent of the population consumes raw products, these products are responsible for 96% of dairy related illnesses. Raw milk can contain such unwelcome bacteria as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.
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Fake News About Health You Need to Stop Believing | Men’s Health