Timothy "Tim" Prager, is a British television and film writer.
A graduate of Dartmouth College in the United States and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he was an assistant director at the Old Vic Company under Timothy West. He wrote (with composer Geoff Morrow) and directed Spin of the Wheel, which opened at the Comedy theatre in London in 1987, giving Maria Friedman her West End debut.
Prager has written extensively for television, including episodes of Dalziel and Pascoe , Dangerfield , The Ambassador and Silent Witness . He has created three series for the BBC: Safe and Sound , Two Thousand Acres of Sky and 55 Degrees North (known as The Night Detective in North America).
His 2003 television film Hear the Silence , starring Juliet Stevenson and Hugh Bonneville, covered the MMR vaccine controversy, portraying the efforts of Andrew Wakefield against the vaccine. It received widespread criticism due to its misrepresentation of science evidence, instead favouring the anti-MMR campaign.Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, writing in the British Medical Journal described it as "grossly one sided", later accusing it of "turning junk science into drama". Wakefield's work has since been discredited; and the articles against the MMR vaccine recanted by The Lancet in a highly unusual step.
Prager's writing has received Royal Television Society nominations, and he received the Roald Dahl prize for Two Thousand Acres of Sky.
His feature-length credits include The Maid with Martin Sheen and Jacqueline Bisset; If the Shoe Fits starring Rob Lowe and Jennifer Grey; Haunted with Aidan Quinn, Anthony Andrews, Kate Beckinsale and Sir John Gielgud; Vendetta with Christopher Walken; Partners in Action with Armand Assante.
The MMR vaccine is a vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, abbreviated as MMR. The first dose is generally given to children around 9 months to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 15 months to 6 years of age, with at least four weeks between the doses. After two doses, 97% of people are protected against measles, 88% against mumps, and at least 97% against rubella. The vaccine is also recommended for those who do not have evidence of immunity, those with well-controlled HIV/AIDS, and within 72 hours of exposure to measles among those who are incompletely immunized. It is given by injection.
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world's oldest and best-known general medical journals. It was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, an English surgeon who named it after the surgical instrument called a lancet (scalpel).
Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, author, and public commentator. She began her career writing for The Guardian and New Statesman. During the 1990s, she came to identify with ideas more associated with the right and currently writes for The Times, The Jerusalem Post, and The Jewish Chronicle, covering political and social issues from a social conservative perspective. Phillips, quoting Irving Kristol, defines herself as a liberal who has "been mugged by reality".
The Royal Free Hospital is a major teaching hospital in the Hampstead area of the London Borough of Camden. The hospital is part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs services at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and a number of other sites. The trust is a founder member of the UCLPartners academic health science centre.
Brian Deer is a British investigative reporter, best known for inquiries into the drug industry, medicine and social issues for The Sunday Times. Deer's investigative nonfiction book, The Doctor Who Fooled the World, was published in September 2020 by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Roy Pounder is a British medical doctor and entrepreneur. He was Professor of Medicine at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London and clinical vice president of the Royal College of Physicians of London. He is now a London University Emeritus Professor of Medicine.
Ben Michael Goldacre is a British physician, academic and science writer. He is the first Bennett Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine and director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford. He is a founder of the AllTrials campaign and OpenTrials to require open science practices in clinical trials.
Generation Rescue is a nonprofit organization that advocates the scientifically disproven view that autism and related disorders are primarily caused by environmental factors, particularly vaccines. The organization was established in 2005 by Lisa and J.B. Handley. Today, Generation Rescue is known as a platform for Jenny McCarthy's autism related anti-vaccine advocacy.
False balance, also bothsidesism, is a media bias in which journalists present an issue as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the evidence supports. Journalists may present evidence and arguments out of proportion to the actual evidence for each side, or may omit information that would establish one side's claims as baseless. False balance has been cited as a cause of misinformation.
Arthur Krigsman is a pediatrician and gastroenterologist best known for his controversial research in which he attempted to prove that the MMR vaccine caused diseases, especially autism. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of gastrointestinal pathology in children with autism spectrum disorders, and has written in support of the diagnosis he calls autistic enterocolitis. The original study that tied the MMR vaccine to autism and GI complaints conducted by one of Krigsman's associates has been found to be fraudulent, and the diagnosis of "autistic enterocolitis" has not been accepted by the medical community.
Claims of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism have been extensively investigated and found to be false. The link was first suggested in the early 1990s and came to public notice largely as a result of the 1998 Lancet MMR autism fraud, characterised as "perhaps the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years". The fraudulent research paper authored by Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet claimed to link the vaccine to colitis and autism spectrum disorders. The paper was retracted in 2010 but is still cited by anti-vaccinationists.
Andrew Jeremy Wakefield is a British anti-vaccine activist, former physician, and discredited academic who was struck off the medical register for his involvement in The Lancet MMR autism fraud, a 1998 study that falsely claimed a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. He has subsequently become known for anti-vaccination activism. Publicity around the 1998 study caused a sharp decline in vaccination uptake, leading to a number of outbreaks of measles around the world. He was a surgeon on the liver transplant programme at the Royal Free Hospital in London and became senior lecturer and honorary consultant in experimental gastroenterology at the Royal Free and University College School of Medicine. He resigned from his positions there in 2001, "by mutual agreement", then moved to the United States. In 2004, Wakefield co-founded and began working at the Thoughtful House research center in Austin, Texas, serving as executive director there until February 2010, when he resigned in the wake of findings against him by the British General Medical Council.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) describe a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the DSM-5, used by the American Psychiatric Association. As with many neurodivergent people and conditions, the popular image of autistic people and autism itself is often based on inaccurate media representations. Additionally, media about autism may promote pseudoscience such as vaccine denial or facilitated communication.
Hear the Silence is a 2003 semi-fictional TV drama based around the discredited idea of a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism. By then, a contentious issue, the supposed connection originated in a paper by Andrew Wakefield published in 1998. The film debuted on 15 December 2003 at 9 pm on the British network Five. Produced on a budget of £1 million, it stars Hugh Bonneville as Wakefield and Juliet Stevenson as Christine Shields, a fictional mother who discovers the possible MMR-autism link when her son is diagnosed as autistic.
Michael Fitzpatrick is a libertarian, British general practitioner (GP) and author from London, UK. He was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Fitzpatrick is known for writing several books and newspaper articles about controversies in autism, from his perspective as someone who is both a GP and the parent of a son with autism. His book Defeating Autism: A Dangerous Delusion (2008) describes his views on the rising popularity of "biomedical" treatments for autism, as well as the MMR vaccine controversy.
Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen is a Danish epidemiologist and expert on infectious diseases who, as of 2003, worked at the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at Aarhus University. He is known for leading two studies that found no link between either the MMR vaccine and autism or thimerosal and autism. The first of these studies pertained to MMR and was published in 2002; the second pertained to thimerosal and was published in 2003. Both of these studies received considerable media attention.
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe is a 2016 American pseudoscience propaganda film alleging a cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. According to Variety, the film "purports to investigate the claims of a senior scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who revealed that the CDC had allegedly manipulated and destroyed data on an important study about autism and the MMR vaccine"; critics derided Vaxxed as an anti-vaccine propaganda film.
The Lancet MMR autism fraud centered on the publication in February 1998 of a fraudulent research paper titled "Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children" in The Lancet. The paper, authored by now discredited and deregistered Andrew Wakefield, and listing twelve coauthors, falsely claimed non-existent, causative links between the MMR vaccine, colitis, and autism. The fraud was exposed in a lengthy Sunday Times investigation by reporter Brian Deer, resulting in the paper's retraction in February 2010 and Wakefield being struck off the UK medical register three months later.
Extensive investigation into vaccines and autism has shown that there is no relationship between the two, causal or otherwise, and that vaccine ingredients do not cause autism. Vaccinologist Peter Hotez researched the growth of the false claim and concluded that its spread originated with Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent 1998 paper, with no prior paper supporting a link.
JABS is a British pressure group launched in Wigan in January 1994. Beginning as a support group for the parents of children they claim became ill after the MMR vaccine, the group is currently against all forms of vaccination.