« September 2009 | Main | November 2009 »

October 13, 2009

Communicating Science to the Public: The Autism-Vaccines Controversy

Paul Offit, MD; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Autism has become a front-and-center news topic, not least because of controversy surrounding a possible relationship to infant vaccination. We are pleased to have Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to address this issue.

In 1998 a paper published in the British medical journal, Lancet, claimed that the combination MMR vaccine caused autism. The author claimed that measles vaccine given in combination with mumps and rubella vaccines damaged intestinal epithelial cells, allowed entrance of encephalopathic proteins, and eventually damaged the central nervous system, causing autism. Since that original publication, twelve separate studies have examined the incidence of autism in children who did or did not receive the MMR vaccine—all with the same result; MMR didn’t cause autism. More recently, the use of an increasing number of thimerosal containing vaccines has led to the fear that the mercury containing preservative caused neurodevelopmental damage, including autism. Six separate studies have now examined this relationship, again showing no association between vaccines and autism. Dr. Offit will discuss strategies and challenges for communicating this information to the public.

In addition to his positions at the Children’s Hospital, Dr. Offit is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is the recipient of many awards and has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for which he has received many accolades.

Dr. Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation. He is the author of five books on autism and antibiotics, including the recent Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure.

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: The Cynwyd Club
         332 Trevor Lane, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
         Phone: 610-667-4524
         Cynwyd Club Web site, Directions

Cost: $30 for Dues-paying Club members & their guests
        $25 for Retired Dues-paying Club members & their guests
        $20 for Young Alum Club Members ('00 or later)
        $40 for Non-members and their guests

Reservations: via MIT Infinite Connection (by Friday, Oct. 9):

Club Membership -- Join or Renew on-line:

For Questions: e-mail: mitdvoffit@gmail.com

Posted by webmaster at 06:00 PM