Glen Otero
On May 24th it was reported by several news agencies that Andrew Wakefield had been stripped of his UK medical license as a result of 30 professional misconduct charges. One of Wakefield's collaborators also lost his license while another was found not guilty.

Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper is the dubious publication that suggested that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism in children and sparked a global public health controversy. Despite being thoroughly refuted by several subsequent epidemiological studies, Wakefield's research created a very vocal anti-vaccine (anti-vaxers) movement and has resulted in higher rates of childhood diseases like measles for the first time in decades. Even though Wakefield's paper was retracted from Lancet several months ago and copious studies demonstrating no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the anti-vaxers still revere Wakefield.

Two important issues were made evident by the controversy. One was the inability for the biomedical research community to be clearly heard on this controversial issue without being drowned out by celebrities and anti-pharma groups that sided with the anti-vaxers. The second is that the scientific research community needs a better PR approach in order to actually be heard on important issues facing our planet, like anthropocentric global warming, infectious diseases and pseudoscience in general.

Improving scientists' PR approach is the subject of Randy Olson's excellent book "Don't Be Such A Scientist--Talking Substance in an Age of Style." Dr. Olson explains how he is using video and movie making to communicate scientific matters. Highly recommended for those scientists who would like to start videoblogging or otherwise communicating their research via video.