Social media, measles, hand-washing and more…

Friends’ News and Articles

Antivaxxers on Facebook: “Increasingly the struggle within the marketplace of ideas between science and pseudoscience is taking place online. All sides have reaped the benefits of online communities and social media, and it is difficult to quantify the exact effect. We are all still trying to figure out this new world order that has emerged out of our technology. But it is certainly true that it is easier to spread misinformation than ever before.”

How measles causes the body to ‘forget’ past infections by other microbes: New research in a little-known journal called Science has shown conclusive evidence of something virologists have suspected for decades – that the measles virus suppresses the immune system and makes it ‘forget’ other diseases you may have had immunity to. Importantly, the MMR vaccine did not have this effect. Researchers found that, in an unvaccinated population, measles infection reduced their antibody diversity (ie. the number of different microbes their antibodies protect against) and also reduced the amount of antibodies in the blood. This was linked to reduced numbers of memory B cells – the cells responsible for maintaining healthy antibody levels. This finding is very important in today’s climate where measles is undergoing a resurgence and some people are choosing not to vaccinate.

Measles damages the immune system – more reasons for MMR vaccine: Measles damages the immune system – more reasons for MMR vaccine.

Fertility miracle or fake news? Understanding which IVF ‘add-ons’ really work: “When discussing your treatment with your fertility specialist, you should ask them if all the technologies they are suggesting are supported by the highest quality scientific evidence. If you have learned about add-on technologies in your own searches, you should ask your doctor to explain the current state of evidence with that particular technology, for a patient in your situation (age, fertility status, and so on).”


Opioid dependence treatment saves lives. So why don’t more people use it? In Australia last year, 1,123 people died from opioids – illicit drugs such as heroin, and pain relievers such as codeine, oxycodone and morphine. If used regularly, physical and psychological dependence can develop.

Great Moments in Health and Science

Sterile Surgery. The idea of surgeons washing their hands is only 151 years old: A large part of what makes surgery possible without causing dangerous infections (aside from the more modern use of antibiotics) is the concept of creating a sterile operating environment.