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Anti-vaxxers are social parasites

Anti-vaxxers preen to themselves and each other that they are educated, empowered protectors of their children’s well being. They’re not; they are social parasites. I’ve written before about the fact that privilege is the sine qua non of the contemporary anti-vax movement. Vaccine preventable diseases have to become rare before it is possible to imagine […]

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Dear laysplainer, spare me your impossible knowledge!

Many years ago I received an urgent gynecology question at 11 PM. I was the OB-GYN Chief Resident on call that night so any outside calls came to me. The middle aged woman on the phone told me she was desperate for help. She needed to know if her son’s girlfriend had come to the […]

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Vaxophobia

What if we’ve been approaching the anti-vaccine phenomenon the wrong way? We’ve been operating under the assumption that anti-vax is fundamentally a misunderstanding, reflecting lack of knowledge of immunology and statistics. But what if it is actually a culturally mediated phobia like triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13? That would explain why fear of vaccines […]

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Mother blame 2019: microbiome edition

It’s always the mother’s fault. There is a long and storied history of mother blame extending back millennia. Women who couldn’t conceive were labeled “barren” even though infertility is caused by male factors 20% of the time. Women who had only daughters and no sons were blamed for the sex of their children, even though […]

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Breastmilk, the microbiome and misogyny

Imagine a study that compared the mouth microbiome of men and women and found that up to 1/3 of the common mouth bacteria differed between men and women. Plausible, right, since male and female hormones are different and might exert some impact on the bacteria that live inside mouths? Now imagine that the researchers concluded […]

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Don’t listen to Dr. Amy! Otherwise you might not torture yourself over breastfeeding.

It’s been nearly 20 years since I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, a meningioma. At the time the Gamma Knife (stereotactic radiosurgery, which is radiation not surgery) was relatively new, but as my brain tumor was deep inside my brain it offered an opportunity to avoid potentially destructive brain surgery. Nonetheless, I sought […]

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Have the Russians weaponized measles?

Biological warfare offers an unparalleled opportunity for enemies of the US to terrorize and kill Americans. According to Wikipedia: Biological warfare (BW) — also known as germ warfare — is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants […]

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Stop laysplaining vaccination to me!

Pro-tip: Don’t bother telling me what doctors do or don’t learn in medical school; I went to medical school and you didn’t. Don’t bother telling me how many “unhindered” vaginal births obstetricians have seen; I’m an obstetrician and you’re not. And for the love of all that is holy, stop laysplaining vaccination to me! What’s […]

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The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is the breastfeeding equivalent of Prohibition

They meant well. It was a social movement to improve the health of children, women and families. Its leaders emphasized the negative effects of making different choices. It promoted intensive education as well as policies restricting access. And it was a resounding failure, causing more harm than good. I’m talking about Prohibition, but I could […]

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Anti-vax is a particularly ugly form of privilege

Surprise! Vaccinations jump 500% in antivax hotspot amid measles outbreak. Demand for measles vaccines leapt 500 percent last month in Clark County, Washington—a hotbed for anti-vaccine sentiment that has now become the epicenter of a ferocious measles outbreak. As of February 6, the county which sits just north of the border from Portland, Oregon—has tallied […]

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