Autism News Beat

An evidence-based resource for journalists

Autism News Beat header image 4

Entries from November 2007

D-listed science

November 20th, 2007 · 12 Comments · Useful idiots

Tweet Vaccines are arguably the greatest medical achievement of the modern age. Each year they prevent 14 million infections, tens of billions in medical costs, and over 30,000 deaths. But vaccines have been so successful at wiping out scourges such as polio and whooping cough that today’s parents are unfamiliar with the diseases they prevent. […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

Straight from the source’s mouth

November 17th, 2007 · 26 Comments · Junk science, Useful idiots

Tweet “Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream,” sing two disenchanted characters in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. Things are rarely as they seem in the autism wars, where agenda-driven groups with strong, anti-science biases spin unproven claims for credulous ears. Anyone reporting from the front lines needs to be familiar […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

Taking Tips, Chasing Leads, Solving Problems

November 15th, 2007 · 6 Comments · anecdotes, Careless sourcing, Junk science

Tweet When I was a mere lad growing up in Michigan, I started my early morning Detroit Free Press paper route reading “Action Line”, a page-long column found daily on the left side of the front page. Readers mailed or phoned in complaints, mostly consumer related, and the noble and wise Action Line staff righted […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

Why is peer review important?

November 12th, 2007 · 10 Comments · Research

Tweet A belated response to ANB reader Joanna who asks about peer review. Hat tip to ANB reader Ms. Clark, who points us to senseaboutscience.org . SUMMARY Science has a system for assessing the quality of research before it is published. This system is called peer review. Peer review means that other scientific experts in […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

More Jennymania

November 11th, 2007 · 2 Comments · Careless sourcing, Useful idiots

Tweet Some journalists have difficulty digesting keynote speeches at autism conferences, especially when Hollywood celebrities are involved. I believe this phenomenon can be explained by the “The Leaky Gut Theory” of autism reporting. It has to do with the way reporters swallow what they hear. Neurotypical reporters have what are called “critical thinking filters” that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

Vaccine Warning!

November 8th, 2007 · 12 Comments · Critical thinking, Kudos

Tweet In TV Newsland, the words “Vaccine Warning” are ordinarily followed by images of disabled children, grieving parents, and “alternative” health providers spouting junk science. But WTMJ, Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate, went against stereotype last night with a report that unvaccinated kids are at risk for preventable diseases. Not exactly dog-bites-man news, but by TV Newsland […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

What science writing sounds,
and doesn’t sound like

November 5th, 2007 · 5 Comments · Careless sourcing, Critical thinking

Tweet Mark Henderson exposes medical quackery for the Times of London. It’s really not that hard. Stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis is a prime example. While stem cells do have great promise for this incurable condition, there is no evidence that they work yet. Improperly supervised injections of foreign tissue also endanger patients: they […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

Science writing and stenography

November 1st, 2007 · 5 Comments · Urban legend

Tweet A recent article in The Oklahoman by Heather Warlick shows what happens when a credulous reporter lets an “alternative medicine” practitioner pass off speculation as scientific fact. Dr. Bryan Jepson is a medical doctor, and the father of an autistic boy. He also wrote a book called Changing the Course of Autism: A Scientific […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags: