Confused by the Latest Kid Health Issue? Start with the Storytellers

Last week I kicked off an impromptu summer series for parents who want to be better researchers. In the first part of that series, I suggested that all research--the good, the bad, the breakthrough, the sham--is about storytelling. 

This week, I want to share a story about a storyteller. 

In a recent piece for, I looked at how the vaccine-autism debate is a product of bad research. The storyteller at the center of that debate, Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license in 2010 after his paper linking vaccines and autism was found to be not just incorrect, but fraudulent. Given that he wasn't practicing medicine in 2010, where Wakefield then? Speaking to Somali immigrants in Minneapolis about the dangers of vaccination.

Now that the children of those immigrants are school-age, it's perhaps unsurprising that Minnesota's measles outbreak led to more cases this year than the entire United States saw last year. You can read more about Wakefield's role in this outbreak, as well as research tips for parents studying health-related issues, here.

Storyteller extraordinaire John Oliver covered vaccines just weeks after I wrote about Wakefield for If Last Week Tonight isn't already appointment television, watching a few episodes is your first summer homework assignment.