(Another) Study Debunks Vaccine-Autism Link
It’s been nearly two decades since British researcher Andrew Wakefield’s study falsely linked the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine with autism, and the medical community is still trying to undo the damage. Immunization rates fell significantly in some countries after Wakefield’s now-debunked report appeared in The Lancet. While things have improved since then, in many places they still fall short of the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 95 percent. Although science has since dispelled the myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism, recent measles outbreaks in California and elsewhere suggest immunizations levels are still too low. A recent study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association should put any remaining vaccine-autism doubts to rest. Researchers studied nearly 96,000 children born between 2001 and 2007 who had an older sibling. In a finding that is entirely consistent with previous studies, the researchers found the children, who were selected from a U.S. health insurance claims database, were no more likely to develop autism after receiving the MMR vaccine than those who weren’t vaccinated. Researchers even found the same result for children who had an autistic sibling and therefore were at greater risk of developing the disorder themselves.
Take Off the Hair Shirt, Chile
Chileans are talking about corruption. The right-wing UDI party is under fire for illicit campaign finance, and Socialist President Michele Bachelet’s son allegedly made big bucks off a sweetheart real estate loan. Tax evasion, long ignored, turns out to be widespread. The scandals have given Chileans a bad attitude about their country. Local bankers worry this may tarnish the country’s image of transparency and encourage investors to abandon the Andean nation, according to a recent note by Credit Suisse analyst Alonso Cervera. His advice: Don’t worry so much. With Chile’s strong institutions, the scandals will be investigated, improper deeds punished, and better laws implemented. The bigger cloud is related to global markets: given lower commodity prices, Chile now expects only $65.4 billion in private investment between 2014 and 2018, down from previous projections of $91.3 billion in late 2013.
Articles first published in The Financialist in 2015.
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.