University professor counters Bachmann’s HPV vaccine claim

Cali Owings

A University of Minnesota bioethicist challenged Michele Bachmann’s claim that the human papillomavirus vaccine causes mental illness, according to the Star Tribune.

During the Monday GOP debate, Bachmann attacked Gov. Rick Perry of Texas about his executive vaccination order. She claimed a woman came up to her and said the HPV vaccine had caused her daughter’s mental retardation.

Steven Miles, a professor in the University’s Medical School, is offering $1,000 for the medical records of the woman’s daughter to be examined by medical professionals.

“She has to verify the validity of the claim because these claims have enormous impact and people make medical decisions based on statements like these …,” Miles said, according to the United Press International.

Art Caplan, former University employee and current director at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics, raised the bar, offering $10,000 for proof.

HPV is a virus that can cause cervical cancer. About 12,000 women get cervical cancer each year, almost all of which are associated with HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  There are currently two vaccines available for girls and one for boys.