Archive | October 2015

How to scientifically dismantle the four main anti – vaccine arguments

One of the most recent posts in the “Health is Global” blog, written by Adelaida Sarukhan tries to dismantle some misleading believes that create some doubts on people about whether or not to vaccinate their children.

9, vacunes

As Sarukhan says, “The anti-vaccine movement gained momentum more than a decade ago with the publication of a study (with 12 children) showing an association between the MMR vaccine and autism. Since then, the paper has been retracted (and its senior author discredited) because of data manipulation, and a dozen of large-scale studies (a recent one included more than 90.000 children) have conclusively shown that there is no link between the vaccine and autism. Nevertheless, the anti-vaxxers persist with a series of arguments for which there is no scientific evidence but that generate hesitancy among a worrying increase in the number of affluent and educated people who, due to the success of vaccination itself, have forgotten that not so long ago children were dying from diseases such as diphtheria, polio or measles.”

She then goes on to give some scientific evidence against some of those ill-advised arguments:

1. “Vaccines contain toxic substances such as aluminium and mercury”

2. “Too many vaccines can overload the child’s immune system”

3. “Natural immunity is better”

4. “Vaccines cause autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies”

In the full post here you can read her convincing arguments to make your case in favour of vaccines. You can also find more about vaccines in the “Science uncovered” sections of Ellipse #82 here and #87 here (in both cases, go to page 6!).

“Health is Global” is the blog of The Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal, an alliance between academic, government, and philanthropic institutions – including the CREAL at the PRBB – which tries to address the challenges in global health.

8th edition of the PRBB Open Day

Have you ever been in a research center? Would you like to get to know one from within? Take some minutes to read this blog, and explore what happens when a research center opens its doors to the general public. The Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) does this once a year.

The PRBB Open Day is an event that 
aims at getting to know what scientists do, how their day-to-day activity is, and where they work. It is planned to make everyone enjoy, and make all of us understand, maybe even love, science. In the event everyone is invited to play with science, to participate in workshops, to listen and talk about appealing subjects. You can also visit the labs, look at the equipment used, and walk around the building looking for a wide range of activities. But the most interesting is that you will not be alone: the scientists and professionals that work in the PRBB will be there to interact with those participating.

Jornada de portes obertes 2015

This year, there were 296 of them, volunteering on a Saturday to show us all how much fun science is. Some of the highlights of the event included a children’s space, where little girls and boys aged 3 to 8 could become real scientists for a day and learn whether fly larvae have a good sense of smell (the surprising answer -for the little ones- is yes!).

Jornada de portes obertes 2015Jornada de portes obertes 2015

Another very interactive activity were the experiments, including growing your own microbes. Did you think your skin is clean? Well, think twice. More than 500 people used a cotton bud to take a sample of the army of microbes living in their skin and grew them in a Petri dish. Half of the dish was then sprayed with a deodorant. The result? You can check all 500 plaques here – look for yours if you were there!

 Resultats plaques franja horària de 12.00 a 14.00h

Other activities included scientific talks aimed at the general public and the most successful one, with more than 2,300 people participating: the guided visits within the building. There were 11 paral·lel routes, distinguished by colours, and each passed through two laboratories where the scientists explained their work.

Jornada de portes obertes 2015

The day finished with a scientific cafè with three experts on vaccines, which  was recorded and you can watch full here (in Spanish).

cafe cientific vacunes

he success of the event was echoed in several mentions in the media, for example this article in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, this announcement in the Catalunya Radio or a couple of TV appearances you can see here and here.

Also, some of the visitors were real fans and tweeted during the event using the #openprbb. You will soon be able to check all tweets and photos in a Storify we are getting ready  for you!

For the time being, we leave you here with an interview Jonas Krebs did to some of the visitors, who were repeating after their good experience last year.


And with Roser’s testimony, who was there last Saturday, and has this to say about her first-hand experience:

“I was at the PRBB last Saturday for the #openPRBB. As part of my Intervals course “Make your research viral”,  I interviewed someone working at the volunteers room and they explained us how the volunteers organize the guided visits, with as many as eleven different coloured routes. My family actually took the pink route at 10:30 – which went through the microscopy unit at the CRG and the Multicell genome lab at the IBE- and they really enjoyed it. Most of the people booked their entry in advance, as we did, so we didn´t have to be in the cue for long. It was very well organized.”

If you missed the PRBB Open Day this year, have a look at this introductory video and make sure you note down the date for next year – October 1st, 2016!


This article has been written by Silvia Moriana, Jonas Krebs, Roser Busquets and Carlos Company, students attending the #viralPRBB Intervals course at the PRBB.


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