Shots! Shots! Shots! Shot-Shot-Shots! Everybody!

This week I am sharing the blog-stage with my lovely friend and fellow blogger, Chelle, whose hilarious mom-rage is in blue ink. When you’re finished reading our rant about vaccines, please visit her fabulous and funny site 

I wonder how many children have died from baby formula. Or how many miscarriages have occurred from a single glass of wine? Or how many kids become serial killers because they are allowed too much “screen time”?

But how many times have we heard of parents being harassed for these transgressions?

First of all, if a person can become a serial killer simply based on the fact that they watch television then we might as well rename ourselves the “Manson Family” cause we loooove us some Netflix. Secondly, If you have ever had to endure any sort of Mommy/Baby event where the dreaded “circle time” (AKA circle of judgment) arises then you already know the answer to this question …a SHIT TONNE!


Now let’s think about how many children die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Actually, we don’t have to wonder (3 cheers for stats!) According to the WHO, 7.6 million children under the age of 5 die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Not just in developing nations, either. Since June 2007 (the birth of the modern Anti-Vaccine movement), there have been approximately 139 199 preventable illnesses and 6265 preventable deaths in the United States (for the record, cases of autism linked to vaccines? Big ol’ 0). The movement is making its way here, as evidenced by outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, and I believe it is time to address it. So, because no one seems to have any issues shaming parents for harmless decisions (see: screen time and wine, above), how about we start holding people accountable for choices that are actually harmful.

You wanna know what else needs to be addressed? Stupidity; Good Ole fashioned, down home, granola eating, research impaired, uninformed, ignorant stupid folk. There needs to be a foundation created dedicated to the victims affected by stupid people.


These poor kids being born to stupid A and stupid B who think their new found enlightenment on the subject after watching a celebrity share their one sided narrow viewpoint on The View or on Oprah, gives them the right to not only a) endanger the lives and well-being of their own poor little bastards but also b) Put at risk the health and well-being of everyone else’s children who have not yet reached the age where they are ready to be vaccinated.


 The Autism argument is so ridiculous I cannot even comment without really risking a heart attack from the rage – a – thon I might embark upon if I get going on it.  So I shall take a deep breath and encourage you to watch the following link. My sentiments exactly Penn and Teller.

Penn and Teller on Vaccinations

I’m a scientist. I’ve been taught and trained to approach complex issues armed only with the facts. Keep your emotions out of my medicine. And so, I will try to keep my rage at bay and explain the situation calmly…

…Not that any of those ignorant-as-shit, daytime TV watching, Jenny McCarthy-following lemmings would ever bother to read anything that wasn’t about how to choose a “cake smash” photographer, get cheap cloth diapers online or how to cut Precious’ sandwiches into a sunflower. How can you dismiss the greatest medical development in human history and then call yourself “informed”? Parents in other countries would literally KILL to have the access to vaccines that you do. If you are stupid enough to listen to a playboy model who “doesn’t need science-Evan [her son] is my science”, then you are too stupid to be making medical decisions for other people. But I digress…

I really don’t understand why there is not more public outrage over this. Seriously…

Agreed. Why are we respecting this “opinion”. Here’s an opinion- you’re an idiot.



Great! Now look what you people have done. Santa is NOT coming…THANKS ASSHOLES!

The Immune System: A Brief (and very general) Overview

Our Immune system has 2 primary branches:

  • The Non-specific branch which includes the skin, sweat, mast cells and compliment system and works like an electric fence or heat seeking missile: The don’t know who they’re attacking or keeping out, they just work against anything that isn’t from the body.
  • The Specific Immune system, including B-cells (from the bone marrow) and T-cells (from the thymus) work like hired goons or assassins. They’re smart, they’re fast, but they have to have a clear target in mind. This is where vaccination comes in.

Vaccines: How they work (again, very generalized-for more information, visit your local library!)

  • Without being immunized, it takes about 3 days for the body to mount a cellular IgM response. So, 3 days for the B/T cell assassins to learn their target, make a plan, and recruit some help. During this time, we get sick. Then once our immune response has formed, the target has been acquired and killed, we get better.
  • However, what happens if in those 3 days, this illness does irreparable damage to our lung tissue (Whooping cough), causes brain damage from acute encephalitis (Measles), or infects the spinal fluid (Meningitis). Well in those cases, 3 days is too long, isn’t it?

Vaccines give your B/T cell assassins pictures  of their targets (usually in the form of dead virus/ bacterial pieces) ahead of time so that they can prepare, work out and get super jacked and be ready to mount a 1-day response when exposed to the real deal. This prevents the illness from infecting our body at all. The illness does not occur. Pretty cool, right?


Final thoughts from a Scientist:

  • Vaccines are 100% safe for anyone who is immune competent and not allergic to any of the adjuvant or manufacturing ingredients (ingredients like eggs, and aluminum, which is also found in your drinking water and the air that you breathe, fyi). They do not cause Autism. They do not cause the illness they claim to prevent. They cause immunity. That is all.
  • Herd immunity, the phenomenon where a vaccinated community protects its non-vaccinated members, works down to 85%. We, as a society, cannot afford for that 15% to be taken up by children of ill-informed Mommy n’ Me groupies. Those spots are reserved for children in chemotherapy, children with immune deficiencies and children who cannot respond to vaccination. Every time a healthy child is not vaccinated, a sick child is put more at risk.

Final thoughts from a Protective Parent:

  • People are 100% capable of doing a little bit of research from credible sources and/or talking to a few doctors who actually know what the fuck they are talking about so that they can make an educated. Informed decision about vaccinations. In no way am I saying not to question something if you think there are reasons to feel unsure but once you have been given clear, supported answers from scientifically sound experimentation done by educated, credible people…TAKE THE GODDAMN ADVICE OF THE PROFESSIONALS AND VACCINATE YOUR KIDS!
  • Just remember….if you don’t get your kids vaccinated…


Are you really willing to take that risk?

Kerry is a Laboratory Scientist who writes a blog about books (and whatever else she feels like writing about) called She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband J, and ill-tempered cat Sophie, who is also fully vaccinated.

Chelle is a high school teacher and mother of 2 beautiful boys. She writes a hilarious blog about motherhood, teacherhood and everything else. She lives in an over priced house in the middle of suburbia in Guelph and owns a dog that incessantly shits all over said expensive house….the dog is also vaccinated.  If she wasn’t I guess she would likely have autism….*Her spouse has made it clear that in no way does she condone the writings of her slightly unstable wife*

The Chatterbox Gene

“Kerry is a delight to have in class, but she is a bit of a chatterbox”

“Kerry enjoys socializing with the other children a bit too much”

“Kerry gets all of her work done and then distracts the other children”

-Actual excerpts from report cards and teachers notes my parents have received.

Good news for all of us who are blessed with the “Gift of Gab”, or more accurately, whose big mouths tend to get us into trouble regularly. It may not be our fault*! Researchers at the University of Bristol have linked a single nucleotide polymorphism near the ROBO2 gene to early expressive language acquisition in infants. It has been assumed until recently by many that language development was almost entirely attributable to the involvement of parents and caregivers. However, this set of studies show that although sociological factors and learned behaviors do impact the development and use of language, some children advance from the “one-word” and “two-word” phases of language acquisition to the “expressive” phase more easily and earlier than others. By using twin studies, it was determined that this early “chatterbox-ism” was not due to differential educational opportunities. This early acquisition has now been linked to a novel gene locus near the ROBO2 gene on chromosome 3. Babies who possess this sequence develop verbiage and expression through speech at a much higher rate than their non-gene counterparts. The ROBO2 gene is known to play a role in speech and learning and the deletion or alteration of this gene is linked to issues with reading, language acquisition and storage of speech sounds. So it is no surprise that this nearby gene sequence (rs7642482) may very well be responsible for those chatterbox babies (and the loudmouths that they become)!

*The excessive swearing however, is not likely to be genetically linked.

Source: Pourcain et. al. (2014). Common variation near ROBO is associated with expressive vocabulary in infancy. Nature Communications 5:4831.

Running while Reading: an Experiment in 3 Parts. Part 1


There’s just something about running. Perhaps it is because it is an accomplishment so easily put into number-based goals (5 miles! Finish Line! 1 hour 15!). Or that it is the one time of day that I spend totally alone, where no one can get a hold of me and ask me a question (I get asked A LOT of questions these days…).

More specifically, I love distance running (not because I can run a long way, but because I run slowly. You need to run fast or you need to run far). This Fall, I’ll be training for my second half marathon, which I feel gives me the right to call myself “A Runner“. Which is awesome, because it comes with a community, and I LOVE being a part of a group (teams playing sports I’m no good at, Clubs fundraising for a cause I know little about, Herd Immunity, etc.) Part of being “A Runner“, is that you get to weigh in on “Runners’ Issues”. Thats right, runners have issues, fractions within the group, and it can get a little heated. For example:

  • The Barefoot running debate: Some suggest that running barefoot, like our ancestors, is better for form, posture, and prevents injuries. Apparently,it will make you a better runner. Kerry says: The only thing that running barefoot will make you is an unwilling participant in a game I like to call “HIV or HEP? A needle-based guessing game”.
  • The GPS watch debate: wearing a watch that tracks your whereabouts, sweat production, pace, calories burned and heart rate will make you go faster. If you don’t know where you are, turn around and go back where you came from. And unless you’re training for the olympics, you do not need to know that your last mile was a smidge over 9 minutes, you put out 3 oz of sweat, burned 96 calories and your heart rate was about 102% of the ideal for maximum cardio efficiency. Get over yourself and just go run. Spend your money on funny t-shirts.
  • Running nutrition: Blocks? Bars? Gel? Juice? Candy? It doesn’t matter. If you’re running over an hour, get some sugar in you. J ran the half marathon last year with a pocket full of sugar cubes, like a thoroughbred. I like Cliff chocolate gels, because it reminds me of eating an envelope full of frosting…not that I’ve ever done that.
  • Entertainment while running?

This one, I thought  had all figured out. I thought that my options were music or no music. I find that on short runs music is great. But on the long runs it messes with my pace, and I get frustrated, So I go with nothing but the sound of my own thoughts and belaboured breathing. This still isn’t fool-proof, because on those really challenging days, sometimes you get tired of your own monologue, and you can’t think of anything besides “I wish I was at home…I wish I brought more water…I’m going to eat so many hot dogs when I get home…Man, this proactive blemish treatment stings when it runs into your eyes!” 

Recently, a third option was brought to my attention: Audio books! Finally, a way to combine two things I love! But would this lead to the same non-productive distraction as music? Are audio books really as entertaining as paper/e-books? This calls for:

A (half-assed) Scientific Experiment!




1. Ask a Question/ Define the bounds of your experiment:

Question: Are audio books a good way to entertain myself on those long runs? Will it matter if the book is familiar to me or a previously unread book?

2. Do some background research:


3. Construct a Hypothesis

Honestly, I have the attention span of a gnat, especially while I am running. I would say I listen to about a third of any given song, and then I’m ready something new. I don’t think that the audiobooks are going to hold my attention. I think there is going to be a lot of “Wait..what? What did I miss?” *rewind*, which will be worse with an unfamiliar book. So, assuming 3 conditions (Current (no sound), New audiobook and Familiar audiobook), my hypothesis is this:

No Sound> Familiar Audiobook> New Audiobook

4. Design an experiment

3 conditions, 3 weeks of running. The following will be held as constant as possible:

  • Length of runs (12-16 km)
  • Time of day
  • Weather
  • Pre and during-run nutrition

The conditions:

0- No sound

A-Familiar. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey (a must read, if you have yet to do so!)

B- New. a New Release Audiobook, TBD.


Unfortunately, all measurement must be self-reported. Measures will include perceived levels of enjoyment, number of times frustration was experienced, perceived length of run and attention draw (positive and negative) as well as pace.

5. Results:

…To be continued!