Shooting the Messenger: the heroism of Andrew Wakefield

There he was on Valentine’s Day last week, Andrew Wakefield, appearing back in the UK for the first time in a decade, to present the European premiere of his movie VAXXED, which concerns all the statistical jiggery-pokery employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government body invested with protecting the nation against infectious diseases, to conceal any link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. 
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Changing the world, one person at a time

Last week I participated in a panel in London, chaired by Daniel Pinchbeck, author of  Breaking Open the Head and other bestselling books, to launch his new book How Soon is Now? The panel focused on what failing systems in our society need to change (the economic model, globalization, energy, the media, you name it), and why we are in a unique moment in our modern history, with Donald Trump a kind of wrecking ball whose job essentially is to hurry the entire process along.
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Weak at the knees

At any moment, up to a third of us are struggling with pain in our knees. In a major US National Health Interview Survey in 2006, nearly a third of adults reported experiencing some type of joint pain, with more than a sixth reporting pain in the knee. The situation is even worse in the UK, where major surveys in Bristol and Nottingham both estimated that up to a quarter of all adults suffer with chronic knee pain, while a Greater Manchester survey brought that figure up to nearly one-third of all men and women over the age of 45.
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Fighting off the lady killer

Medicine, we’re told, is feeling victorious about beating breast cancer, now that the incidence of heart disease has overtaken it as the number-one lady killer. This victory celebration may be premature. While deaths may have decreased by 35 per cent since the early 1970s, the incidence of this form of cancer is going up—by a projected 2 per cent. Breast cancer still accounts for a third of all cancers reported in women; it affects one in eight women and kills about one in six of women diagnosed with the disease every year.
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After the marches: on becoming a conscious objector

I’ve had my eye trained on the newly elected US President, but am watching with even more interest how the people who didn’t vote for Trump, are reacting to his first days in office. As has been widely reported, there was Madonna’s speech at the Women’s March, in Washington, where she famously said ‘Yes, I’m angry, yes, I am outraged, yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House,’ and ‘to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, ‘fuck you.’ FUCK YOU!’
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Donald Trump, vaccine whistleblower?

Like many people, I approach the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the US with extreme trepidation, save for one fact: his public stance on vaccination. Among the parade of people who have been heading in and out of Trump Tower in the last months were Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield, you may recall, was the much maligned British gastroenterologist, whose research had first uncovered a possible link between the triple vaccine and the development of autism and gastrointestinal disorders. Wakefield sacrificed his career to publicize the MMR–autism connection; after a complete vilification by the press,
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My New Year’s resolutions for 2017

Now that we’ve moved past one of the more tumultuous years in my lifetime, but are about to welcome the most controversial of American administrations, I’ve decided that the ride may continue to be bumpy for a while, but that I can do my part to smooth things over by adopting a few resolutions. Here’s my own New Year’s resolution for 2017: Read many sources of news and many points of view. I used to avoid daily newspapers because I didn’t want to allow the catalog of bad news and calamity to poison my system. I could also count on
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Healing us vs them

After all the continuing hate and vitriol over the elections in the US and the UK, is there a way to bring both sides together? We can take inspiration from the work of Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at University of California at Berkeley, who has made it his life work to counter the prevailing view that human beings are hardwired to be selfish largely because of one simple truism: we’re healthier and happier in every way when we’re not motivated by self interest.
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An instant way to heal us vs them

After all the continuing hate and vitriol over the elections in the US and the UK, all of us are left wondering how on earth we will ever bring both sides back together. Recently, I discovered an ingeniously rapid way to heal divisions between people in the work of Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at University of California at Berkeley.
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