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Belly-Up for a Tall Cold One and Some Myth Busting:

COS Professor offers Science on Tap presentation in northern Idaho, Oct. 11

Research conducted by universities, foundations and public health agencies across the globe have found that childhood vaccines do not cause autism. Yet many parents remain fearful about vaccinating their children. 

Michelle Wiest, University of Idaho assistant professor of statistics and an epidemiologist, will dispel persistent myths and factual errors with a Science on Tap presentation titled, “Autism, Vaccines, and Pigs,” Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Fort Ground Grill, 705 River Ave., in Coeur d'Alene.

Science on Tap programs are presentedto promote public engagement with science and to make science accessible. Wiest's presentation in Coeur d'Alene addresses potentially lethal misinformation, and offers myth-busting scientific insights.

“Lower than optimal vaccination rates in communities can be deadly,” said Wiest. “For instance, in 2010, the number of cases of whooping cough in California rose to levels not seen since the 1940s and resulted in 10 infant deaths. Northwest communities that have low vaccination coverage are tempting the same fate. It is imperative that parents understand that vaccinations are safe, do not cause autism, and can prevent terrible diseases that could result hospitalizations and deaths in their community.”

Wiest will discuss how scientists determine the causes of disease, and shed some light on why it is so difficult to accept conclusions based on vast scientific data over the false statements of a single individual.

She also will address the errors, impacts and implications of information put forth by  controversial scientist Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield claimed a connection between childhood vaccines and autism, resulting in scores of families, worldwide, choosing not to vaccinate their children against preventable and often fatal diseases. 

This 2011-12 season of Science on Tap Coeur d’Alene is sponsored by the University of Idaho, Idaho INBRE, Idaho Tech Connect and the Fort Ground Grill. 

For more information on this and upcoming Science on Tap Coeur d’Alene presentations, contact Laurie Hassell, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, at lhassell@nwabr.org.