Ben Goldacre is indignant about one-sided reporting on medical research, and rightly so. In not reporting the facts but only the hysteria, mainstream media publications are ensuring that children will become ill, and go to hospital, unnecessarily. Sooner or later, some will die. For example: “It’s not what the papers say, it’s what they don’t.”
Amateur physicians have long enjoyed speculating that MMR and other vaccines are somehow “harmful to the immune system” and responsible for the rise in conditions such as asthma and hay fever. Doubtless they must have been waiting some time for evidence to appear.
This month a significant paper was published by Hviid and Melbye in the December 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. They examined 871,234 children in a Danish birth cohort, comparing asthma in those who had MMR against those who didn’t. MMR-vaccinated children were massively and significantly less often hospitalised with an asthma diagnosis, and used fewer courses of anti-asthma medication than unvaccinated children. This “protective” effect of the MMR vaccine was more pronounced for hospitalisations with severe asthma diagnoses.
Those results aren’t just incompatible with an increased risk of asthma following MMR vaccination, they actually support the hypothesis that MMR vaccination is associated with a reduced risk of asthma in young children.
Nearly a million children studied. Conclusion: MMR vaccine protects against asthma. Newspapers? Silence.
Whose good are they serving?