I'm adding this to my list of required reading for credulous people. The book is accessible and entertaining, and gives instructions for how to fake pI'm adding this to my list of required reading for credulous people. The book is accessible and entertaining, and gives instructions for how to fake paranormal phenomena. I highly recommend it....more
I decided to read this book after hearing several other not-entirely-pro-vaccine moms mention it. It is really easy to read and understand, but it lefI decided to read this book after hearing several other not-entirely-pro-vaccine moms mention it. It is really easy to read and understand, but it left me thinking that perhaps Dr. Sears doesn't understand as much as he thinks he does, and he's giving parents some dangerous misinformation.
My main beef with the book is his obsession with aluminum adjuvants. He presents his case by citing studies about aluminum toxicity from IV nutrition in premature babies and patients with kidney problems. It boggles my mind that he would even use this completely unrelated issue to make his case against using aluminum salts in vaccines (which are not administered intravenously, but intramuscularly, which is a distinction that he fails to make). He clearly didn't look very hard for information specifically about vaccines. If he had bothered to even do a Google Scholar search, he would have come across this article, which addresses concerns about additives in vaccines.
I was also very disappointed to see him cite Andrew Wakefield's retracted 1998 paper on MMR and autism. If I recall correctly, this book was published in 2007, and by that time Wakefield's research was already discredited (in fact, the GMC hearing, which would find him guilty of fraud, had begun), and other studies had been conducted which showed no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. It's really a shame that Dr. Bob chose to continue to propagate this myth.
My third complaint is with his alternate vaccine schedule, which he justifies mostly by reiterating his unsubstantiated concerns about aluminum. This is one issue that I go back and forth on. On the one hand, I like to see babies being protected from diseases. If parents are so worried about the potential risks of vaccines, it's better to see them vaccinate on a delayed schedule than not vaccinate at all. On the other hand, Dr. Bob spends his whole book confirming unfounded worries about vaccine safety, rather than presenting scientific evidence. Had he spent the book reassuring parents that vaccines are safe, and addressing legitimate concerns (like who specifically shouldn't receive vaccines, and how to deal with real adverse reactions), then there would be no need for his alternative schedule.
Even worse than his alternative schedule is his selective vaccine schedule, in which he recommends delaying the Hepatitis B vaccine until 12 years. He explains that Hep B is a "sexually transmitted disease" and so children don't need to be vaccinated. I hear this from parents as well. They say that their kid doesn't need the vaccine because he's not going to be promiscuous or use IV drugs. What they don't seem to realize is that Hep B can be transmitted through casual contact, and most carriers are asymptomatic. That means that your kid could be bitten on the playground or share a toothbrush at a sleepover with another kid who has Hep B and contract the virus, without even knowing it. Hep B is also way more likely to become a chronic infection (leading to liver disease and cancer) in children under 10. So please, if you are going to ignore Dr. Bob on just one point, make it this one. ...more