Editor's note

Vaccines are widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements of the scientific age, yet people are increasingly shunning this safe, cheap, life-saving treatment. In fact, the World Health Organisation recently stripped the UK, Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece of their “measles-free” status as too few people in those countries are now immunised against the disease. And while the US is yet to suffer such ignominy, it is experiencing its biggest measles outbreak for 27 years.

This doesn’t surprise global public health expert, Jonathan Kennedy. He sees it as a direct outcome of the rise in right-wing populist movements. After all, populist leaders use the same playbook as anti-vaxxers: they tell lies, spread fear, sow discord, and use social media to do so. Unfortunately, it’s working.

Bizarrely, recent events even show Jacob Rees-Mogg comparing Dr David Nicholl to anti-vaxxer extraordinaire, Andrew Wakefield. The reason? Dr Nicholl, a consultant neurologist, dared to warn the public about deaths that are likely to arise as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

There is certainly a lot of confusion and discord around these days, but if you want a clear-eyed view of the latest Brexit happenings, stay tuned. Today, we show how Brexit uncertainty is harming the British economy, and we look at when and how a UK general election might happen. Tomorrow, who knows?

Clint Witchalls

Health + Medicine Editor

Top stories


Measles outbreaks and political crises go hand in hand

Jonathan Kennedy, Queen Mary University of London

If you want to know where measles is a problem, look for countries with rising populist parties.

Britain is still split over Brexit. EPA-EFE / Neil Hall

How Brexit uncertainty is hurting the UK economy – in four charts

Costas Milas, University of Liverpool

It's time to break the deadlock with a referendum on no-deal Brexit or Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

Aaron Chown/PA

UK general election: when and how could it happen?

Chris Stafford, University of Nottingham

MPs blocked the prime minister's motion to hold an election – but that doesn't mean they don't want one.

Politics + Society


Arts + Culture

Health + Medicine

  • One skill that doesn’t deteriorate with age

    Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

    As we get older, our eyesight may dim and our recall may falter. But our linguistic abilities don't seem to erode.

  • How poor diet can lead to blindness

    Denize Atan, University of Bristol

    Most people know that a poor diet can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Few are aware that it can also cause blindness.

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy


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