I Tried My Imagination, But I Was Disturbed

mccarthyland
Here’s a snapshot of the vaccine-preventable outbreaks since 2008. Those green spots are whooping cough. The red ones are measles. Jenny McCarthy should be proud:

[…] During the period represented by the map’s data, the US was home to thousands of cases of pertussis. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, went largely unreported in the underdeveloped world: 58 cases were noted in Sudan in 2013, while north Afghanistan suffered 350 cases in a cluster outbreak in 2012.

In contrast, the state of Wisconsin alone saw more than 7,000 cases of the disease between 2011 and 2013. In California, the number was over 10,000. At least 10 babies died in the state from the disease in 2010. In 2009, there were no news reports of vaccine-preventable diseases in the state of Washington. In 2012, the state suffered five distinct outbreaks of whooping cough, totaling 7,000 cases of a disease that was once close to eradication. Similar outbreaks have occurred in Australia and the UK — both countries with advanced vaccination programs. This discrepancy could be due to the map’s data source: the Council of Foreign Relations relied on news reports to collate its information, and reliable reporting from the developing world is usually trickier to find than news from inside the US or UK. But the outbreaks also appear to have intrinsic links to the anti-vaccination movements present in these economically advanced countries.

Jenny’s still on the View, in case you were wondering about ABC’s commitment to allowing different, though equally valid, points of view.

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78 replies
  1. 1
    Cermet says:

    So many rug rats in my girlfriend’s daughter’s class have whooping cough (and while her daughter IS vaccinated, she can still carry the illness without getting sick) I decided to get a booster; many of you reading this should consider doing that as well.

  2. 2
    Wag says:

    In my practice I’ve been vaccinating with Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) right and left. Of you can’t tell me your last vaccination date or if it’s been more than 5 years, you got a shot.

  3. 3
    Wag says:

    And awesome title!

  4. 4
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Jenny McCarthy should be proud

    And for those who missed the recent announcement, Ms. McCarthy just admitted that her child never has/had autism to begin with. So she was advocating in really, really bad faith.

  5. 5
    ThresherK says:

    @Wag: Yep. I guess that’s the test of an earworm: Tip a line from the middle of the second verse, and see what your brain remembers.

    PS Even without Jenny McCarthy’s perennial nomination for the award of “Worst Spokesperson Ever”, I wanted to say it surprised me to find out she’s cousins with Melissa McCarthy. In this writer’s opinion, Melissa has the funny, the sassy, and the looks in that family.

  6. 6
    Face says:

    The ability of so many parents to accept Jenny’s witchdoctory and ignore ironclad, mainstream science has a strong social Darwinism feel to it. It just sucks that the ones being negatively selected (kids) aren’t the same ones actually making these choices (adults).

  7. 7
    Ash Can says:

    Over the years since Bottle Rocket was born, there’s never been any question, from his doctors or from us, about whether he’d get vaccinations or not, and I thank goodness for that. I can understand parents worrying about their kids’ well-being, but when the overwhelming majority of the scientific evidence is coming down on the side of vaccinations, you’re in climate-denial/tobacco-denial/Benghazi territory if you ignore it.I weep for the kids whose parents have gone the woo-woo route, and for the kids they come in contact with.

  8. 8
    BD of MN says:

    What’s up with the lack of outbreaks in the southeast? Five confederate states (ok, four plus KY) with no outbreaks?

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    And of course McCarthy is still on The View. Although it’s by no means alone in this designation, ABC is a garbage dump.

  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    @BD of MN: The article said the picture was based on news reports, not medical records.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @BD of MN: No health insurance = no doctor = no reporting?

  12. 12
    TAPX486 says:

    While not to defend the witchdoctor approach of Ms. McCarthy, it turns out that the situation for whooping cough is a bit more complicated. There is a long article in a recent Scientific American ( or maybe it was Discovery Mag), that the new version(as in last 20 years or so) of the vaccine doesn’t seem to confer as much protection as the old version. Doctors, while examining the outbreaks discovered that many of the patients had been vaccinated. Now Jenny’s advise still isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss, but it might pay to talk to your doctor or your kids doctor and see if a booster shot is in order

  13. 13
    Princess says:

    Part of the issue with whooping cough is that they discovered the childhood vaccine wears off eventually, so a lot of people who had been vaccinated and thought they were immune, weren’t. So, get those booster shots, people!

    Otherwise, yeah. There is no reason for anyone to get mumps or measles in this day.

  14. 14
    cleek says:

    @BD of MN:
    spotty research, is my guess.

    googling “Lousiana whooping cough” turns up tons of articles.

    ex. http://www.foxnews.com/sports/.....es-in-ark/

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Wag: 2 Questions: Adults too? 2nd, do all tetanus shots come combined with diphtheria/pertussis? (just had a tetanus)

  16. 16
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @TAPX486: Vaccination is not a 100% guaranteed shield against someone catching a particular disease. Whooping cough vaccines are known to be less effective than, say, measles/rubella vaccines. The problem is a larger pool of unvaccinated subjects increases the probability that someone contracts the disease as there are more full-blown cases in the population at large, more throws of the dice.

  17. 17
    Brian R. says:

    Fox News has conditioned so many people to accept whatever the pretty blonde lady on TV says.

  18. 18
    TAPX486 says:

    @Robert Sneddon: I agree and I understand the ‘herd’ immunity concept also. The lead into the article was that the doctors were surprised by the number of cases of vaccinated people who still got sick. They expected to see mostly unvaccinated patients and that wasn’t the case. The newer vaccine has fewer side effects apparently but isn’t as long lasting as was thought. That was a surprise to the researchers. At the moment there are no new vaccines on the horizon so booster shots are the order of the day

  19. 19
    RaflW says:

    Our extended family is caught up in the anti-vaccine thing. It sucks. My partner’s mom just got into a fight with her daughter over the frickin’ flu vaccine.

    We worry a lot about our 7 year old niece. They’re in WI and the herd immunity is pretty obviously failing, at least in clusters.

    I think parents who want to opt out should have to sit in a hospital and watch an infant whoop for 30 minutes before they’re allowed to sign.

    More realistically, I did hear on the radio recently that some states are considering making parents renew their opt-out annually. I’m sure Scotty F.U. Walker would never go for such a thing. But perhaps Wisconsinites will – someday – come to their senses and boot the bastard out.

  20. 20
    C.V. Danes says:

    Isn’t nano-technology supposed to put an end to this?

  21. 21

    Science doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just another equally valid opinion to be heard right alongside Bullshit.

    We’re all going to die from our own species’ stupidity and greed.

  22. 22
    Woodrowfan says:

    the anti-vax idiots are like any other tinfoil head, they keep repeating the same debunked crap, over and over.

  23. 23
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I actually had whooping cough, measles, and mumps. Whooping cough put me, an active 14-year-old, in bed for a month. I lost about 25 pounds. It really could do in people with no reserves, the very young and the old. Bad stuff.

    Measles does kill people, although at a low rate.

  24. 24
    Keith G says:

    Yup Jenny McCarthy is a soulless POS. Still, parents who feed their native ignorance-driven paranoia by listening to a former Playboy model turned MTV game host are beyond abusive. Hell, they might as well lock their children in a car on random summer days and hope there enough cloud cover to prevent brain boil.

  25. 25
    Steve M. says:

    Jenny also has a new book coming out, just in time, appallingly, for Mother’s Day.

  26. 26
    Cermet says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Even vaccinated (via a booster) does not mean you will not get it; many people do get the disease BUT you’ll never know it because the vaccine allows the bodies defenses to keep the illness in check; if your immune system isn’t up to speed or the vaccination is old, you may come down with various levels of illness. So, you and your teen’s should get boosters if not sure. As I understand it, the booster is just for whooping cough, not the others. However, who’d care if not? We can all use an update on our tetanus shot.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @Steve M.: I clicked over. From the book description:

    With two cups of her signature wit and a generous dollop of hard-won wisdom, Jenny McCarthy shares candid personal stories of her own successes and failures,

    Hmmm…do you suppose she’ll talk about how wrong she was on vaccines? Ha ha ha! I crack myself up.

  28. 28
    gene108 says:

    The issue, I think, with anti-vax logic is a matter of trust in the system as a whole.

    They system allows GMO’s, as an example, to exist and be treated like any other crop. The seemingly same authorities that assure us all the chemicals in our food are O.K. for us are telling us to get vaccinated.

    There is a disconnect in people’s minds about who to trust and why.

    Do you trust the scientist-y looking guy in the white lab coat telling you GMO’s are just like the tomatoes grandma grows in her back yard or do you trust the scientist-y looking guy in the white lab coat telling you to get vaccinated?

    I think this is one of the sources of confusion and doubt that has led to the anti-vax movement.

    Also, too I’ve seen folks on Facebook now start talk about how fluoride in our water supplies is bad for you and to look for non-fluoridated water and some are looking for non-fluoridated toothpaste.

  29. 29
    TAPX486 says:

    @Violet: ‘dollop of hard won wisdom’? Barf bag (extra large) please

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    Anti-vaxers are one of the few groups that I think it should be no crime to punch in the face.

    Their poisonous ignorance has caused and continues to cause tangible harm the weakest among us: children, the elderly, the infirm.

    ETA: I got Rubella as an adult.

  31. 31
    negative 1 says:

    Unpopular opinion alert (be warned) — I don’t think that picking on Jenny McCarthy is helping anymore. The anti-vax nuts have gobs of pseudoscience behind them. If you want to know how much, google it. I guarantee Jenny McCarthy is not anywhere on the top 15 search results. The people to start publicly shunning and shaming are the “doctors” and “clinics” who are profiting on this BS. Start calling them out. I believe if you collect the scalp of one of these unqualified quacks you will hurt the anti-vax movement a ton more.

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gene108: And they will be lining up at the non-fluoridated dentist to get their non-fluoridated teeth pulled.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cermet:

    many of you reading this should consider doing that as well.

    I don’t have much choice. My employer is a hospital, so they’re quite insistent on everyone having their vaccinations up to date, even those of us who work in research and don’t have patient contact.

  34. 34
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    You can, in large measure, thank broadcast news for the likes of Jenny McCarthy. It became apparent some years ago that the Republican party was slipping into la-la land. Broadcast news had two choices: either it could give the Republicans’ crazy ideas the criticism they deserved or it could pretend that all ideas were equivalent in worth. The former would have seriously harmed the news’ horse race model of politics, not to mention the costs of actual reporting and fact-checking, so broadcast news chose the latter. What began in political reporting metastasized and spread to every other aspect of the news. Any loony with a shred of name recognition will be treated with the same (Or more) deference as someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

  35. 35
    Wag says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I only see adults. And the CDC has updated recommendations so that everyone should have Tdap. Previous recommendations suggested that adults over age 65 should receive Td, which vaccinates against tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis.

  36. 36
    Peter VE says:

    My late mother was a pediatrician. She began her career before the wide adoption of pertussis vaccine. She worried that her younger colleagues had not seen a child die of whooping cough, and so would vacillate on the need for vaccination. The next generation of doctors is sadly seeing the results, and presumedly will have stronger opinions on vaccination.

  37. 37
    Peter VE says:

    My late mother was a pediatrician. She began her career before the wide adoption of pertussis vaccine. She worried that her younger colleagues had not seen a child die of whooping cough, and so would vacillate on the need for vaccination. The next generation of doctors is sadly seeing the results, and presumedly will have stronger opinions on vaccination.

  38. 38
    Napoleon says:

    @gene108:

    Do you trust the scientist-y looking guy in the white lab coat telling you GMO’s are just like the tomatoes grandma grows in her back yard or do you trust the scientist-y looking guy in the white lab coat telling you to get vaccinated?

    What is the confusion. The whole GMO scare is just as moronic, but it least it doesn’t have the same ill effects as the anti-vax thing. I think it was the NY Times had a great piece, where they actually managed to avoid “He said-she said” reporting about a GMO dispute in Hawaii and made it pretty clear how the anti-GMO crowd has no factual basis to their position.

  39. 39
    catclub says:

    @BD of MN: I saw that too. Possibilities: a)No outbreaks due to better vaccination coverage b) bad reporting, non-reporting of actual outbreaks

  40. 40
    blueskies says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Actually, there is some real controversy over what constitutes safe levels of fluoride. The levels in drinking water – probably OK. The levels in home- or dentist-based kits? Not so sure. Generally speaking, dental research significantly lags other types of medical research. There’s many fewer grant dollars supporting it.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    Interestingly, my dentist told me that fluoridated toothpaste is not strictly necessary as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day (more flossing is actually better than more brushing — less potential damage to tooth enamel). It’s the physical actions of brushing and flossing that do the most good in combating plaque, not the fluoride.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @Peter VE: My grandfather was a small town rural doctor. Far, far right. I mean if he was alive today he’d make Rush look liberal. But he took his profession seriously and didn’t seem to let politics enter into it. I recall back in the 70s when I was a kid he’d rant on two things:

    1. The price of drugs. As fate would have it my uncle owned the only drug store in town. They would NEVER fill a script with a brand name drug if there was a generic version. Never. At the time folks were not so sure about generic drugs and he’d explain they are the EXACT same thing.

    2. He never could understand folks that were against vaccines in any way. He would belittle them into getting them for their kids.

    We live in a pretty amazing times. I mean heck my former boss had Polio. The pain he is in each day is hard to put to words. It wasn’t that long ago, I mean in his lifetime, that people got all kinds of things they no longer get that killed them in the tens of thousands.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, that map is making me glad I gashed my thumb open with a vegetable peeler a few years ago and got a TDAP shot at urgent care. I’m right where those two giant green bubbles of pertussis overlap in Southern California.

  44. 44
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Can I ask a stupid question? I don’t have any kids and never looked into it, but in the 70s when I was a kid we got our vaccines right at school (a public school). I don’t recall my parents ever having to sign any forms, it was just a public health issue. We stood in a line, some nurse gave us a shot, and it was done.

    Does that still happen (my stupid question)?

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tommy:

    Honestly, I have no idea, because I don’t have kids. I don’t think it does, because schools got paranoid about insurance issues and a lot of schools don’t have nurses on-site anymore, but I could be wrong.

    The last time I got a shot at “school” was when there was a measles outbreak during college (1989) and we all got measles shots. IIRC, several players on the football team, including Rodney Peete, got the measles that year.

  46. 46
    VOR says:

    The HPV vaccine is a bugaboo on the right. A friend of mine posted on Facebook a link to a conservative site which takes some quotes from 2009 by a doctor working on the vaccine out of context. The claim is that Merck knew, knew I tell you, that the vaccine was worthless and it is all just a scam. The 2009 quotes are presented without dates as if this was something brand new and that the mainstream media is hiding the truth from all of us.

    I always thought the objection was that the HPV vaccine would encourage sexual activity. Anti-vax hype is a new tact.

  47. 47
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah I asked cause I don’t know. I at some level feel like I am getting old or something, cause things that were just a given when I was a kid (like sex ed and vaccines to name two) now seem to be “problems.”

  48. 48
    catclub says:

    @RaflW: “I think parents who want to opt out should have to sit in a hospital and watch an infant whoop for 30 minutes before they’re allowed to sign.”

    Yeah, sure. It works so well in the anti-abortion world to force an unwilling person to do somthing unpleasant.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @Tommy:

    my uncle owned the only drug store in town. They would NEVER fill a script with a brand name drug if there was a generic version. Never. At the time folks were not so sure about generic drugs and he’d explain they are the EXACT same thing.

    This is not true and people can get hurt if they believe it. For some medications it’s fine to take generics. For others, it can be dangerous.

    I take thyroid medication–my Endocrinologist insists on brand name because the thyroid levels in the generics vary too much and it’s difficult to manage. The drug stores and mail order phar macies change suppliers without notice and the patient just gets the new pill without warning. They’re told it’s the same. It might be. It might not be. If it’s not, it can take awhile to sort out the problem, meanwhile the patient has negative health effects.

    In my case, I took one thyroid medication that I had an allergic reaction to. It turns out there is a compound in it–not the drug part but the compounding part–that I am allergic to. I had to dig and dig and dig to find out what the problem was, even though both the doctor and phar macy knew about my allergy. I finally discovered it but not before I wanted to crawl out of my skin from itching so badly. This was a brand name medication, but the generics use the same compounding formula.

    If I were taking generics and the phar macy switched it on me, I’d not be sure if the new generic was okay. How do you know as the patient? Your grandfather’s single-ownership phar macy was probably wonderful and he knew his patients well. That doesn’t happen at Wal-Mart or chain drugstores today. You get what you get. Even less with mail order.

    Generics can be a lifesaver and I’m all for them, but they are not the answer for everyone in every situation. The doctor should be able to make that call and it’s getting increasingly harder for them to be able to do so.

  50. 50
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: Well first off I am not a doctor. Second, I think most of what I he was talking about was more “basic” drugs and not something for a very specific or serious condition. He’d spend every evening with medical journals and pretty sure he wouldn’t have given somebody anything that was harmful and he’d monitor it.

    But your point is noted and not really something I was aware of to be honest.

  51. 51
    Violet says:

    @Tommy:

    I at some level feel like I am getting old or something, cause things that were just a given when I was a kid (like sex ed and vaccines to name two) now seem to be “problems.”

    If you’re around 40, you probably have or had parents who remembered the dread diseases they were getting you vaccinated against. If they didn’t have polio, diphtheria, measles, whooping cough, etc., they knew someone who did, even if that person was an older person. They might even have heard stories about smallpox from their grandparents or other elders.

    We’re now so removed from those diseases that current parents don’t know what they’re vaccinating against. No one gets measles! No one gets whooping cough! Why vaccinate? That’s stupid! My kid is safe! This is the United States of America!

    The fear of watching their own kid suffer and maybe die from those diseases was enough to get people enthusiastic about preventing them. These days people just don’t know. They have to trust doctors and scientists and, well, we can all see how well that’s working.

  52. 52
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: The thyroid medication I take is considered a “basic medication” these days, although it probably wasn’t around until the later days of your grandfather’s pharmacy, depending when he retired.

    My Endocrinologist insists on brand name medication and the doctors I know (I used to work with doctors and know a lot of them) have similar standards for certain medications. There are some they simply will not allow their patients to go generic on because of the quality control issues.

    I take another medication that is generic. For awhile the phar macy I use has been stable with its supplier. The previous phar macy I used–I had to switch away from it due to insurance changes (that’s also another issue that complicates things)–would switch suppliers fairly regularly. I’d check every time I refilled it and it would frequently change. Then I’d go through an adjustment period where my stomach would be upset and so forth. They are NOT all the same and people have very different reactions to certain compounds.

    Like I said, I still take the generic of that medication and am okay dealing with the occasional change. (Knock on wood, it hasn’t changed in awhile.) And I’m all for generics in general. But people need the option to work with their doctor and go brand name without suffering a HUGE financial hit if there is a reason why generics aren’t working for them or they need to be monitored more carefully.

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    Ugh ended up in moderation. Fixing the offending words:
    @Tommy: The thyroid medi cation I take is considered a “basic medi cation” these days, although it probably wasn’t around until the later days of your grandfather’s phar macy, depending when he retired.

    My Endocrinologist insists on brand name medi cation and the doctors I know (I used to work with doctors and know a lot of them) have similar standards for certain medi cations. There are some they simply will not allow their patients to go generic on because of the quality control issues.

    I take another medi cation that is generic. For awhile the phar macy I use has been stable with its supplier. The previous phar macy I used–I had to switch away from it due to insurance changes (that’s also another issue that complicates things)–would switch suppliers fairly regularly. I’d check every time I refilled it and it would frequently change. Then I’d go through an adjustment period where my stomach would be upset and so forth. They are NOT all the same and people have very different reactions to certain compounds.

    Like I said, I still take the generic of that medi cation and am okay dealing with the occasional change. (Knock on wood, it hasn’t changed in awhile.) And I’m all for generics in general. But people need the option to work with their doctor and go brand name without suffering a HUGE financial hit if there is a reason why generics aren’t working for them or they need to be monitored more carefully.

  54. 54
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: I am 44 and what you said is very true. Folks not that much younger then myself don’t recall (I can’t really) that it wasn’t that long ago you could “catch” gosh knows what. Heck my former boss had Polio, and he isn’t like 100. The fact to a large extent I have NO fear of catching any of the terrible things you mentioned, is a blessing. But the reason is cause like almost 100% of us got vaccinated.

    Now I know I am not saying anything here that folks don’t know, but these things are not really “dead”, they are just not in the US. If we start to have large percentages of Americans not getting vaccinated, well they will come back.

  55. 55
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    that the new version(as in last 20 years or so) of the vaccine doesn’t seem to confer as much protection as the old version.

    If you’re meaning the subunit Pertussis vaccine versus the old killed whole-cell Pertussis vaccine, there was good reason to switch, as there were serious problems with live Pertussis cells making it into the old whole-cell vaccine and causing serious adverse effects (like brain damage). That *was* a justifiable vaccine scare.

  56. 56
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    If I were taking generics and the phar macy switched it on me, I’d not be sure if the new generic was okay.

    I used to have an acquaintance who worked as a consultant on validation of pharmaceutical production processes. He said he’d never use generics, because (I may be garbling what he said here) the different standards for showing stability in the formulation for drugs-on-patent versus generics.

    However, generics are a buttload cheaper. The gross margin on a typical patented branded drug is 90% or higher. Introduction of generics usually drops the prices of a formerly-patented branded by half.

  57. 57
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    If I were taking generics and the phar macy switched it on me, I’d not be sure if the new generic was okay.

    I used to have an acquaintance who worked as a consultant on validation of pharmaceutical production processes. He said he’d never use generics, because (I may be garbling what he said here) the different standards for showing stability in the formulation for drugs-on-patent versus generics.

    However, generics are a buttload cheaper. The gross margin on a typical patented branded drug is 90% or higher. Introduction of generics usually drops the prices of a formerly-patented branded by half.

  58. 58
    Violet says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger: Yep. That’s why I think it’s important to work with your doctor and use generics smartly. Sometimes they’re great. Other times not so much. Maybe when Tommy’s grandfather was running the phar ma cy and generics were newly introduced the quality control was higher than today. I know one of my med i cations is manufactured in Israel. How much oversight does the US have on that? Who knows!

  59. 59
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: Who knows is correct.

    What I notice is that everybody seems to take some drug. I do some healthcare work for clients and a lot of market research comes across my desk. The average household takes 2.7 prescriptions a month.

    I mean somebody might have “restless leg” something or other.

    I think most of the drugs my grandfather gave where taken for a short period of a time. Not like every day for the rest of their lives.

    But I guess I could be wrong ….

  60. 60
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: Yeah, it’s a definite change. I am not sure exactly why. I suspect it’s a bit chicken and egg. There are probably some diseases for which there wasn’t a treatment 50 years ago and people just suffered and died earlier. Things like restless leg can really disrupt your sleep, which in turn causes all sorts of other health problems and people die earlier, in addition to having a crappy quality of life. There didn’t used to be anything people could do; now there’s medi cation that works. Is RLS more prevalent now? Maybe. Maybe some environmental changes mean more people have it. Maybe more people are being diagnosed.

    One thing that has changed is how women interact with their doctors. I can certainly tell you that as a female person I am treated completely differently than men by the exact same doctors. I’ve experienced it personally and it’s also been studied by researchers and shown to be true. I don’t want to go into too much personal detail but I know it has happened to me.

    My point is that as women speak up and are taken more seriously by their doctors, maybe more diseases are being diagnosed. Certainly anti-depressants are more available than 50 years ago. Are we more depressed as a society? Something else the problem (water, diet, air, cellphones, whatever)? Better diagnosed? Dru g-happy doctors? It’s chicken and egg in a lot of ways.

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tommy:

    What I notice is that everybody seems to take some drug.

    I suspect the average conceals a lot of variation. There are a lot of younger people who aren’t taking any regular prescriptions, or are only taking birth control. Then there are people who are on one or two long-term medications, and a smaller number who are on a complex regimen of a whole bunch of stuff, some of which is only there to counteract the bad side effects of other things they’re taking.

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Violet:

    I was never diagnosed with ADHD when I was a kid, because girls didn’t have ADHD. Of course, that turned out to be false, so now that I’ve been properly diagnosed, I take medication for it. But it’s true, 30 years ago I wouldn’t have been taking it, because I wasn’t even tested due to the assumption at that time that ADHD only affects boys.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Only in fiction. Reality is, I’m afraid, a bit more complicated.

  64. 64
    Violet says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yep. And only men have heart attacks. And only women have breast cancer (so not true–a friend of mine’s dad had it). Let alone depression is “all in your head little lady” when something as relatively easy to treat as a thyroid problem is to blame many times. Thyroid issues are more common in women, but happen in men too. Men are underdiagnosed and under-treated for thyroid.

    Women generally suffer the poorer diagnosis and treatment, although they go to the doctor more often and are better about regular checkups. Men are treated better when they do go but are less likely to go and take medications.

  65. 65
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:
    I think better choice of treatments is a big difference. A key thing is that the drug companies have decided that long-term treatment of chronic conditions is where the big profits are. Curing people with a one week course of drugs doesn’t bring in as much money as treating their condition with a once a week or once a month pill that they have to take for the rest of their lives.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    The former would have seriously harmed the news’ horse race model of politics, not to mention the costs of actual reporting and fact-checking, so broadcast news chose the latter.

    More importantly, it would have adversely affected the raison d’etre of American media: the revenue stream. Truth is inconvenient for MBAs and corporate bottom lines, so it’s quietly disposed of. Ratings are all that matter, because the true customers of American media are the advertisers, not the audience. The audience is what the media delivers to its true customers.

  67. 67
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Boulder, Colorado! Represent!

  68. 68
    Trollhattan says:

    As of Friday California has had 45 flu deaths this season, 11 in my county. And I’m the only one in my family who’s had the shot, so my powers of coercion seem illusory.

  69. 69
    estamm says:

    @BD of MN: Kentucky has laws where you cannot attend public school without all vaccinations. It is possible that they allow for ‘conscientious/religious’ exceptions, but my experience is that they are very rigid in their policies.

  70. 70
    Trollhattan says:

    @Napoleon:

    To be fair, and side-stepping the potential for unintended GMO consequences “in the wild,” I believe folks have the right to know what they actually are purchasing with their food dollar, and that the Monsantos should not have legal standing to obfuscate that information. “Free market” fans are surprisingly willing to suspend the flow of information when it complicates their business model.

  71. 71
    Pluky says:

    @Roger Moore: If you’re working in a hospital, you’re in patient contact, albeit indirect.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @estamm:

    California has extremely lax vaccination laws — basically, a parent can opt out of vaccinations by saying, Eh, I don’t feel like it. You can see the results on the map above.

  73. 73
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Keith G: Still, parents who feed their native ignorance-driven paranoia by listening to a former Playboy model turned MTV game host are beyond abusive.

    True that. McCarthy didn’t force anyone to believe her, or do anything to convince people who weren’t already convinced. She didn’t make people any stupider than they were already.

    McCarthy’s whole record of self-serving narcissistic frontier gibberish was already out there. Before deciding that her son had turned autistic overnight (and injections dunnit) she had been promoting him as a Crystal Child — one of the new generation of transcendent intellects who would inherit the earth in the manner of Childhood’s End — and herself as an Indigo Mother, facilitating the great transformation. If people still found her credible, you can’t put all the blame on her.

    Hmmm…do you suppose she’ll talk about how wrong she was on vaccines?

    McCarthy’s current position is that she is not against vaccines and she never was against vaccines.

  74. 74
    helping hand says:

    It’s not just that the new Pertussis vaccine doesn’t confer the same level of immunity (though it doesn’t). The issue is that, according to scientists at the FDA, the new pertussis vaccine may have turned everyone who received it into asymptomatic carriers, and thus may the root cause of these outbreaks:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24277828
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....0.abstract

  75. 75
    Roger Moore says:

    @Pluky:
    I work for a hospital, not in one. I work in research, and patients don’t come into the building where I work. The cafeteria is about the only time I’m even remotely close to a patient. Meanwhile, visitors are allowed into the hospital to visit patients without anything like the degree of scrutiny that non-medical staff get. I’m not saying I object to getting vaccinations- it’s actually nice to be able to get my annual flu shot without having to take time to go to the doctor- but the policy here is guided by a general tendency of the people in charge to ignore everything outside of the medical center.

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    Roger Moore says:

    @sm*t cl*de:

    McCarthy’s current position is that she is not against vaccines and she never was against vaccines.

    We’ve always been at ware with Eastasia!

  77. 77
    Christy W. says:

    @Violet: BINGO. Yet these are the same underinsured fools ranting against Obama, ACA, and anything remotely conceived as “blue”. Bibles and guns ROOL.

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    Original Lee says:

    @Violet: This. I am allergic to a certain food dye. The brand name version of something I have to take does not have that particular food dye in it, but many of the generics do. Every single time I get a refill from the mail-order phar m acy I have to use (i.e., every 90 days), I have to spend about two days calling various people so I can send back what I received in the mail and get a bottle full of brand name. Major league pain in the butt.

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