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Medicine Movies

Tribeca Film Festival, Robert De Niro Pull Anti-Vaccination Film 279

theodp writes: USA Today reports that one day after defending the scheduled screening of a controversial documentary linking vaccinations to autism, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro announced that the film is being pulled from the event. The film, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, was scheduled to debut April 24. It is directed by Andrew Wakefield, known to many as the father of the anti-vaccine movement. Wakefield authored a 1998 report on vaccinations and autism that was later retracted, He also had his medical license revoked. The decision to include the film in the festival resulted in outrage from many who are upset that the film's inclusion could offer legitimacy to a study debunked by leading scientists. "My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family," said De Niro, who has a child with autism. "But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for."
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Tribeca Film Festival, Robert De Niro Pull Anti-Vaccination Film

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what's the take away here. Do I take health care advice from movie actors or not. If the answer is yes then what about clowns and mimes?

    • Clowns and mimes are free to take health care advice from whoever they want either way.

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Sunday March 27, 2016 @08:50AM (#51786361) Homepage Journal

    Locating by-State prevalence of autism stats over a decade ago, I started collecting by-State stats on hundreds of variables including vaccinations, mercury, diseases, econometerics, demographics, etc.

    Three things stood out: 1) The best single-variable ecological correlation was mother's age at first live birth. 2) The best two-variable ecological correlation was Finnish ancestry and immigration from India. 3) Of all the variables, autism averaged the least powerful correlations with the wide range of by-State variables I had collected.

    The mother's age at first live birth was a lower level of correlation than the 2-variable one, but it was more "robust" -- meaning that the scatter of points followed what you would expect from a "normal" distribution.

    That was clear back in 2004.

    I'm no pro, was not funded and didn't even have a relative with autism spectrum at that time (I do now). The fact that the CDC hasn't conducted an all-out statistical assault of like this at the county level given all the time, money and "big data" available is damning. They just don't care -- or don't want to know.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      More recent studies point to older fathers (those who have a kid after age 50) as a contributor to risk of ASD. This is not a new theory, but still not completely validated as many factors complicate things. But, it sounds plausible and can also explain the statistical rise in ASD as more and more children are born to older parents.
      • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) *

        Yes, the original correlation I found in 2004 indicated it would be appropriate to, at the very least, add to the State-level database the age of father at first live birth to see if it was any better than age of mother at first live birth. Of course, the cost of that would be a few hours of some intern's time, which is why it would be the first thing to do. The second thing to do would be to add to the county-level database both the age of the mother and the age of the father at first live birth. This i

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @09:04AM (#51786407)

      Because doing a wide-ranging statistical analysis on something as wide-ranging as "Autism," which is a diagnosis and not a particular disorder, usually results in findings like this:

      http://tylervigen.com/spurious... [tylervigen.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Baldrson ( 78598 ) *

        JBMcB writes: "Because doing a wide-ranging statistical analysis on something as wide-ranging as "Autism," which is a diagnosis and not a particular disorder, usually results ..." spurious correlations.

        It is the job of epidemiologists to do wide-ranging ecological correlations and use standard statistical techniques to discount spurious correlations.

        If an "epidemiologist" says they aren't going to so such ecological correlations because they give rise to spurious correlations (aka "ecological fallacy", "cor

      • Attributing autism to something outside of the parents' sphere of influence makes it a very attractive conclusion to arrive at...

        Whew, thank goodness it was nothing we did!

      • .... usually results in findings like this:

        http://tylervigen.com/spurious [tylervigen.com]... [tylervigen.com]

        After viewing the link I must say that, while I understand the point you're trying to make, I think that there probably IS more than just a passing correlation between the number of people who drowned after falling out of fishing boats, and the marriage rate in Kentucky.

      • To be honest, detrending gets rid of most of the correlations there.
    • "Finnish ancestry and immigration from India"
      Wait, how many Americans have a Finish ancestry, but also lived in India before immigrating here?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @10:32AM (#51786645)

      That was clear back in 2004.

      I'm no pro, was not funded and didn't even have a relative with autism spectrum at that time (I do now). The fact that the CDC hasn't conducted an all-out statistical assault of like this at the county level given all the time, money and "big data" available is damning. They just don't care -- or don't want to know.

      Your post was great until you got to the CDC. I work with them; your post assumes that they're job is to find the answers to all related health problems in the US. While that is partially true, it also doesn't change the fact that they are a government organization subject to the whims of politics. Case in point: it's extremely hard to get anything out of them over the past 6 months because half of the organization has been told to drop everything and focus on Zika. Years of research is now stalled because of the flaring up of a disease that is not even fatal, but it's huge in the news because it has been correlated to young moms and babies being born that have issues. There's been like 20 cases of this issue with Zika and none in the US, yet massive resources have been diverted this way ignoring the fact that 4,000 people die from TB every day, that TB and Measles and syphillis, diseases though eradicated from the US, are returning due to illegal immigration and poor vaccination efforts amongst the poorer immigrant neighborhoods, that autism is a major issue, etc.

      The CDC is still a government organization and is still subject to the whims of politicians, who are influenced by their voters who are influenced by a scare-mongering media.

      • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) *

        You're correct that government agencies are, due to political pressures, often ineffective in, if not destructive of, their stated missions. So perhaps "they" is a bad choice of words when "it" may have been more appropriate since the people in CDC -- at least the rank and file -- often go to work there because they _do_ care.

        Here's my point though:

        If there were neglect, or even active suppression, of the stated mission at the CDC due to political motives, the central role of ecological study in epidemiol [wikipedia.org]

    • Three things stood out: 1) The best single-variable ...

      Note that in this setting, failure to find a correlation tells you little about causation. Some factor X could vary greatly across states and correlate significantly with effect Y, yet at the state level (or at the level of other divisions), you would see no significant correlation.

      The fact that the CDC hasn't conducted an all-out statistical assault of like this at the county level [...] They just don't care -- or don't want to know.

      How exactly is

      • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) *

        Epidemiologists often _start_ their work with ecological studies [wikipedia.org] despite their lack of statistical power for a simple reasan:

        They're cheap.

        The cheaper they are, the lower resolution and statistical power -- so you get what you pay for. Ecological studies generally start at the State level (or at the national level) -- despite their lack of statistical power -- and are followed up at the finer-grained ecologies.

        This is not to exclude conclusions, let alone to draw conclusions. It is simply practical to hav

        • Time to do some cheap statistical screening of competing hypotheses, however weak, and get on with the hard problem of gaining information about the real world in all its perplexity

          Again, you are making the false assumption that people haven't done the "cheap statistical screening"; of course they have.

          I've seen no evidence that CDC has bothered to establish such a general purpose ecological databases

          Federal agencies don't have unlimited authority to create registries of the mental states of citizens, a

    • Somehow I don't think another study debunking the association of autism with vaccination is going to make any difference, so I think it's fine the CDC wouldn't waste money on it. And you don't even appear to be able to state your conclusion correctly, since autism's correlation with autism is pretty meaningless, I assume you meant autism's correlation with vaccination rate. I'm pretty sure it is well known that risk of autism increases with the mother's age.
  • Streisand Effect? of course. Nobody would have pressured for the removal of the film if it was about the Flat Earth Society.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @09:14AM (#51786435)

      Streisand Effect? of course. Nobody would have pressured for the removal of the film if it was about the Flat Earth Society.

      Because thinking the earth is flat does not kill you, your children or your neighbours children.

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @09:23AM (#51786461)
    They have a fall back position. They'll show films about the faked moon landing, and chemtrails.
  • could offer legitimacy to a study debunked

    See, this is your problem right here. While I might think that the great space goat created heaven and earth, there is no evidence to support this and therefore I cannot claim it is legitimate or a "fact".

  • Wait... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    First there's Becky, then we get Rebecca, now there's a TRIbecca? What's next, Quadbecca?

  • Anti-vaxxers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @12:20PM (#51787101)

    At least the anti-vaxxers can take credit for resurrecting diseases we thought had been eradicated [time.com].

    That's right, thanks to the anti-vaxxer idiots, Measles, Mumps, Whooping Cough, and Chicken Pox are showing up once again.

    Thanks, anti-vaxxer fuckheads, thanks a lot for your stupid anti-science delusions which now put everyone's children at risk.

  • by DRMShill ( 1157993 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @01:13PM (#51787361)

    It's all part of a government conspiracy. Follow the money it's all there. Big Pharma doesn't make anything off preventing a disease in the first place let alone curing it. It's all a cabal of 435 powerful individuals in Washington. They funded it, they're pushing it! And their shadow agenda? A healthier populace that can work and pay more in taxes!

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @07:29PM (#51789229)
    http://howdovaccinescauseautis... [howdovacci...autism.com]

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

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