Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.
“I feel all sleepy, ” she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her.
That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.
On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.
It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness.
Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk.
In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.
Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year.
Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another.
At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections.
About 20 will die.
LET THAT SINK IN.
Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.
So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?
They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.
So what on earth are you worrying about?
It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.
Roald Dahl, 1986
NINETEEN EIGHTY SIX.
roald dahl was calling out the anti-vaccination movement as self indulgent bullshit //thirty god damn years ago//.
And this is only in recent history. I can’t imagine the numbers if we had data all the way back to 1986.
And thanks to anti-vaxxers, measles is back in the United States.
Andrew fucking Wakefield and associated anti vaccine air headed celebrities should really pay for this a thousand times over. So much evil in this world.
circle of life
today we had a live interview of a patient who went through the national problem gambling clinic.
he told his story about his problematic childhood, neglect, abuse and early introduction to gambling by his father ( a lot of patients apparently are introduced to gambling by a close relative out of the good intention of sharing something good with the child)
but what was truly amazing was that after years of gambling away everything he had, shoplifting to feed his habit, living rough on the streets and developing alcohol dependence, he met his father again and this time his father told him about the clinic.
turns out his father introduced him to gambling and then to the problem gambling clinic.
isn’t it amazing how sometimes life comes one full circle?!
nassim taleb and interdisciplinary arrogance
'Studying neurobiology to understand humans is like studying ink to understand literature'
it is really frustrating to read statements like these - by people who think science is unromantic, kills the magic and makes life lose its meaning.
Neurologists have so many amazing stories to share from their patients while neuroscientists have allowed philosophers to adopt new spins on the topic of human condition.
Take, for example, Tommy McHugh (and countless others) - after suffering a stroke, he was suddenly compelled to create paintings and poetry.
or, as mentioned by someone on facebook -
Kelli Williams It can be helpful as a control to mitigate human biases like prejudice though. And example would be Simon le Vay’s work in neurobiology related to sexual orientation. For example LeVay points out that gender variant brain wiring is often described as "masculinization". Variations are more likely to be seen as masculine in an androcentric society. It’s a social prejudice. Sociologists and psychologists dealing with gender and orientation have often been straight and cisgendered people who bring their biases to the topics, sometimes in harmful ways. Though science should not be considered infallible or superior it can at least disrupt social prejudices.