Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why We Should Trust Our Vaccinators

Jenny McCarthy,
            On, Allen Arthur quotes a celebrity Playboy model, Jenny McCarthy in his article, “Say it Ain’t So, O” (6 May 2009), “They're making a product that's shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.” Science cannot stress how faulty Jenny McCarthy’s argument is. This misinformed celebrity believes that vaccines either do not work, or cause autism, or both. However, scientific evidence backed by many experiments says otherwise. Researchers have shown multiple times that vaccines work very well and definitely do not cause autism. Parents should listen to knowledgeable professionals, not uninformed popular figures, and thus should continue to vaccinate their children for the safety of their communities.

            In order to disprove McCarthy, scientific evidence must be called upon. First, the argument that vaccines cause autism must be disputed. There have been over twenty massive trend and case studies that find a positive correlation between increasing autism levels and vaccination levels, but absolutely no causation. Correlation is not causation. For example, rising global temperatures correlates with rising population, but rising temperatures is not the cause of population increase. One study by H. Honda in 2005, which was published in Bandolier as a collection of studies titled “Autism in the Absence of MMR Vaccine,” revealed that retracting of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine from the Yokohama, Japan did nothing to quench the increasing levels of autism diagnosed in children. Gerber and Offit’s “Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses,” published in Oxford Journals in 2009, reveals the same result in many other experiments around the world, including countries like the United Kingdom and Canada. It is, therefore, legitimate to claim that vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine which has been accused of causing autism, does not actually cause developmental disorders despite having correlation with rising autism levels.
Smallpox was eradicated in 1980
Meanwhile, vaccines have been proven to work on many accounts. For example, after its discovery in 1721, the smallpox vaccine had been developed and applied to the world, bringing forth the disease’s eradication, according to the World Health Organization’s 2013 article, “Smallpox.” If one vaccine can, and has, wiped a disease permanently away from Earth, why not trust vaccines to do it again? One cannot argue about the statistics gathered by the many health workers, scientists, and lawyers regarding the safety of vaccines either. Calculated by the Center for Disease Control and Protection in the article, “Possible Side-Effects from Vaccines” published on 20 April 2009, for the single MMR vaccine, there is approximately 0.0001% chance of causing a serious, possibly fatal allergic reaction. The other side effects are mild, like a short-term fever or slight rash. The Center for Disease Control and Protection also published on 3 November 2014 in the article, “Measles Vaccination,” that the death rate for measles, mumps, or rubella, exceeds 0.073%, or 7300 times the death rate for vaccination! There is essentially no risk for vaccination. Rather, patients leave with immunity to three nuisance diseases. No, vaccines do not cause autism, and yes, vaccines are totally safe and do work. Parents should consider the facts about vaccines before believing a celebrity’s ill-informed thoughts in the field of medicine.

            The best way to increase vaccination rates is to inform the population about the truths of vaccines and to prevent public figures like Jenny McCarthy from spewing misinformation. If everyone could trust science and vaccinate their children, diseases will no longer be a threat to humanity. All immunizable diseases will be eradicated eventually and the world will be a healthier place to live.
Justin Nguyen
UMass Lowell

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Delving into Khmer Cultre

            On the fourth of April, University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Cambodian American Student Association, CASA, set up a celebration for Khmer New Year at Lowell. This celebration consisted of many different performances from many local sources, ranging from the Angkor dance group to Lowell High School’s step team. The MCs for the event were two members of CASA’s eboard:
Random Angkor Dance group found on Google
Sokreth and Lucky. The duo guided a packed audience of many local Cambodians and people of other cultures through a night of cultural celebration. In addition to the Cambodian community, students from UNH, UMass, UMB, and UConn also arrived for the fun. Furthermore, State Representative Rady Mom and Mayor Rodney Elliot also showed their faces to bring on the fun. Throughout the night, many traditional and modern performances linked together the older and younger generations of Cambodian Americans. Meanwhile, the event also immersed the non-Cambodian portion of the audience into Cambodian culture. Overall, the celebration of Khmer New Year successfully integrated an eager audience into the diverse Cambodian culture through various traditional and modern performances.
Random Coconut Dance group found on Google
            One of the strangest occurrences during the celebration was the fact that the least culturally-oriented performance was cheered on the most by the audience. Lowell High School’s step team seized the crowd’s attention by performing their routine dance that involves clapping, stomping, tapping, and snapping. Although the night was technically dedicated to celebrate Cambodian culture, this group which had nothing to do with Cambodian culture managed to successfully outperform every other performer on stage. However, that is not to say that the other traditional performances, such as the Angkor dance, coconut dance, or the playing of the khhim, a traditional instrument, were not good. Because this step team was allowed to perform at the Khmer New Year celebration, the goal of the event was probably not just to celebrate Cambodian traditions. Rather, the overarching goal was probably to integrate not only Cambodian culture into an American society, but also to integrate more modern American culture into Cambodian society. Thus, CASA’s event combines the different cultures of a single community into one melting pot that brings everyone closer.

Khhim - a traditional instrument
            CASA’s Khmer New Year celebration integrated a whole local and distant community into a night of celebrating Khmer New Year. The traditional performers such as the Angkor dance group and the khhim player
introduced culture brought from the motherland to America, demonstrating a different dance style and an interesting instrument. The modern performers such as the Lowell High School step team and the UML Urban Choreography Club showed the older, more traditional audience new forms of dance which Cambodian Americans and the rest of the community have picked up from their years in America. Both sides were largely successful in capturing the audience’s attention as cheers exploded in the hall after every performance. One of the problems with the event, however, was that the food was free for all, but the entrance fee was $3. Three dollars is very cheap, especially since food always costs more than that. For that reason, a portion of the audience was probably there just to steal a great dinner deal and not to watch the actual show. In addition, there was not enough food for everyone, so some volunteers and performers didn’t get to eat. Nevertheless, the Khmer New Year celebration was very successful in integrating cultures and teaching its audience of many Cambodian traditions. I would definitely recommend everyone who has time to attend the event next year.