By Michael Fitzpatrick

"Speculation that MMR - the mixed vaccine opposed to measles, mumps and rubella - could be a reason behind autism in youngsters has provoked fierce controversy and common anxiety." "Though clinical opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of MMR, the crusade opposed to the vaccine has made many fogeys anxious and harassed. either pros and fogeys fight to deal with the ensuing anxieties and fears and locate it Read more...


The MMR controversy has been characterised by means of one-sided discourses. within the clinical global, the load of opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of MMR. within the public international, the anti-MMR crusade has Read more...

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Example text

Yet these have been casually listed, together with ‘pollution’, as ‘insults’ to the human body, in a document published by a prestigious firm of London solicitors. Although we may be horrified to read such absurdities in what purports to be an ‘information pack’ for parents, we can no longer be shocked, because such statements have become commonplace. The addition of ‘junk food’ to the litany of environmental ‘insults’ indicates the range of threats against which modern consumers must protect themselves and their children.

This culture was responsive to health scares of any sort; it was particularly vulnerable to scares that affected children. The impact of these scares was heavily influenced by the new modes of family life that emerged in the late twentieth century. Falling rates of marriage and rising rates of divorce have reduced the stability of the family in modern Britain. The statistics of family breakdown are familiar (National Statistics 2003: 41–52). The proportion of men who are married declined from 71 per cent in 1971 to 54 per cent in 2001; for women the rates declined from 65 per cent to 52 per cent.

The addition of ‘junk food’ to the litany of environmental ‘insults’ indicates the range of threats against which modern consumers must protect themselves and their children. Whereas early environmental campaigners expressed concern about the impact of human intervention on nature, contemporary anxieties focus on perceived 34 AGE OF ANXIETY environmental threats to humanity. The fact that even beneficial products of modern society, such as anti-biotics and vaccines, are now regarded as potential causes of serious diseases reflects the degree of alienation experienced by many and the feelings of vulnerability that result.

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