Respectful Insolence

Fellow finalist for a 2006 Weblog Award for Best Medical/Health Issues Blog Flea sure stepped into it the other day. A reader e-mailed him a discussion found on the dreaded Mothering.com discussion boards, you know, the same boards that horrified me with the sheer level of antivaccination wingnuttery and HIV/AIDS denialism routinely supported by the discussants there.

After expressing sympathy for a mother’s loss of a child, he then goes on to show why it was not, as the mother claimed in the discussion boards, the vaccine that caused her child’s death:

What follows is a very sad story of a progressive seizure disorder involving neurological compromise ending in death by status epilepticus.

What makes the story even sadder for Flea is that mom believes with perfect faith that vaccines killed her daughter. She refers to the child she lost as “Marissa (victim of childhood vaccines)”. It’s bad enough to lose a child. It’s worse to remember her with a parenthetical moniker like this one.

Predictably, the antivaxers have descended upon Flea en masse, much as the World Trade Center conpsiracy theorist wingnuts descended on mine over the weekend.

Unfortunately, Flea has found out why it’s so difficult to counter antivaccination woo when it comes from certain quarters. If you’re the least bit blunt in doing it, you’ll be labeled as a bully or being insensitive to a mother’s pain, even if you bend over backwards to acknowledge how tragic the death of a child–any child–is. It is indeed truly sad that the child of the mother who posted on the forums died. However, in her grief, this particular mother is spreading misinformation that could harm others. The child’s mother deserves sympathy for her loss. However, it does not follow from our sympathy as human beings for her that we are obligated to remain silent in the face of the message about vaccines that she is spreading. Flea tried to walk that tightrope, and, as he found out, it’s almost impossible to do.

Comments

  1. #1 HCN
    December 12, 2006

    Well, I did go look at her blog. She does describe that the child had a pediatric neurologist, and that there was lots of the normal work up from EEGs to blood work to MRIs.

    I have an 18 year old son who had seizures BEFORE he ever got any kind of vaccine. So there is absolutley no way his seizures could have been from any reaction to a vaccine. Also he has never been vaccinated for pertussis (this during a time our county was having a pertussis epidemic, and the couple of years when over 120 people died from measles in the USA). He was always given the DT.

    His seizures were controlled by a low dose of phenobarbitol, so he was weaned off of it when he was a year old. Then he got a nasty gastrointestinal bug (possibly a rotavirus type which there is now a vaccine for) and became dehydrated. He had another seizure, which required an ambulance trip to the emergency department. So back to the neurologist, and later to another neurologist who he saw until he was about 10 years old. Other than the dehydration from the illness, there has never been a reason found for his neo-natal seizures. Even with a CATscan, several EEGs and a metabolic screen.

    The thing is… there is often no cause found for seizures. Often there is no rhyme or reason. I found many the answers I needed from http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/ .

    I’m sure the mom has been told all of this… but she has her mind made up, and nothing will change it. She is part of the sMothering fold (I bought my one and only copy of that 15 years ago when my sons were tiny… I thought it lacked credibility. I still do.)

    Also I noticed is that she had a link to the math-challenged homeopath Sheri Nakken. Nakken had no clue that .2% was the same as 1 out of 500:
    http://tinyurl.com/yc94q4

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    December 12, 2006

    Good grief; I just checked out Mothering.com for the first time by following the link. Morbid curiosity, you might say. I’ve never seen a blog post a brief TOS so….prominently. One might even say obtrusively. Nor have I seen one so stridently anti-free-speech, though I admit I haven’t gone to many woo sites. (Those I have tend to *claim* they are open to any topic, but will quietly delete the inconvenient ones.) I find it interesting that they “are not interested, however, in hosting discussions on the merits of crying it out, physical punishment, formula feeding, elective cesarean section, routine infant medical circumcision, or mandatory vaccinations.” I guess if you’re a mother wanting to find a natural way of feeding your child, but have had a double mastectomy, you’re not welcome there. (I’m a huge proponent of breastfeeding, but to ban talk of formula feeding is flat-out absurd.) It’s fairly obvious from their ToS that they want you to say only what they agree with. Anything else is totally unwelcome. (But they ban “any type of discrimination”, supposedly. Except that it’s clear they do discriminate against those who dare to think for themselves.)

    *shudders*

    That was awful. And I haven’t even gotten into “Marissa’s story” yet.

  3. #3 Not My Second Opinion
    December 12, 2006

    I straddled the line between Flea and Barefoot Momma and needless to say, I was criticized by both.

    I felt that Flea focused too much on evidence of overall safety of the DTaP vaccine without talking about the rare side effects of the vaccine (like seizures.) He later clarified about the difference between neurodevelopmental problems and febrile seizures, which was nice… but I think he missed the part of BM’s story where the seizures occurred without a fever a day after the DTwP vaccine and the doctors (I assume) continued with the boosters when they should have considered discontinuing it (to alleviate concerns by the mother and in accordance with the guidelines I found on MedLine.)

    I felt that BM took it one step too far, using her story as a reason why parents in general should avoid vaccines. A neurologist was on the case and the cause of the seizures remained unknown according to BM by the time Marissa passed away at 8 1/2 years of age. No one told her for certain that it was because of the vaccines, but she needs to hold onto something, I guess. It would have been equally or perhaps more regrettable if Marissa passed away from tetanus, diptheria or pertussis… which would have been easily preventable with a few shots.

    It is difficult to balance the good of public health measures with the perceived personal risks by a select few. That’s my opinion.

  4. #4 The Science Pundit
    December 12, 2006

    On a side note, the “Mercury causes Autism” people are at it again.

  5. #5 Ron Law
    December 12, 2006

    Can you please define a statement of fact regarding your statement “A statement of fact cannot be insolent.” in the context of defining what medicines work and what are ‘alternatives?’

    Thanks

  6. #6 HCN
    December 12, 2006

    Calli,

    I picked up a copy of the actual magazine about 15 years ago. I don’t quite remember exactly what made toss it into the recycle bin… but it could have been a combination of the total adherence to breastfeeding (even though all of mine were breastfed, I did know a couple of good moms who physically could NOT), or even the anti-vax stuff (this was about the time of the 1989-1991 measles epidemic that killed real people, including a nurse in our state)… but I think it was the judgemental tone to the whole thing.

    By the way, I once heard someone in the store recommend their forum with a comment that a parent has to look at all sides of the story. I am not quite sure how anyone gets ALL sides of a story with the banning of anyone from their forum who does not follow their narrow parameters. Dissent from their party line is NOT allowed.

  7. #7 HCN
    December 12, 2006

    Ron Law: Read http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/about.php … and http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/12/a_belated_response.php . I believe your comment might be more appropriate there.

  8. #8 Infophile
    December 12, 2006

    It is an unfortunate truism today that victims of catastrophic loss are immunized from criticism. This too, is reason for sadness.

    Flea won my respect with this quote. I may have to do a blog entry of my own on this subject someday.

    Unfortunately, Flea has found out why it’s so difficult to counter antivaccination woo when it comes from certain quarters. If you’re the least bit blunt in doing it, you’ll be labeled as a bully or being insensitive to a mother’s pain, even if you bend over backwards to acknowledge how tragic the death of a child–any child–is. It is indeed truly sad that the child of the mother who posted on the forums died. However, in her grief, this particular mother is spreading misinformation that could harm others. The child’s mother deserves sympathy for her loss. However, it does not follow from our sympathy as human beings for her that we are obligated to remain silent in the face of the message about vaccines that she is spreading. Flea tried to walk that tightrope, and, as he found out, it’s almost impossible to do.

    I’d argue that in some cases it in fact is impossible. In some cases, the area where you’ll be accused of being a bully or kicking someone when they’re down completely covers all possible criticism. If we were to extend the analogy, we’d have a tightrope of zero or negative width.

    It’s in cases like this where it’s most important to make clear the distinction between attacking the opponent’s arguments and attacking the opponent themself. Even when this is done, people will still (almost inevitably) misinterpret your arguments as personal attacks, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. Even so, it seems that Flea’s first version of his post didn’t quite succeed in this matter. He brought up other wooish beliefs of the mother (such as her belief in homeopathy), thus attacking more general aspects of her. In my opinion, it probably would have been better to stick to the vaccination issue in this case.

  9. #9 epador
    December 13, 2006

    Interesting to see many eager to apologize for this poor mother’s delusions and statements in view of her grief.

    Do we also apologize for the suicide bombers, beheaders, kidnappers and terror spreaders of the world for their grief-born hate, actions and words?

    Losing a child sucks. What you do afterwards defines you, not the child or the way they were lost. You either make things suck more, make no change or make things suck less. She is making it suck more. That defines her, in a negative way.

  10. #10 Hyperion
    December 13, 2006

    Ep,

    When someone loses a child, they don’t act rationally. I’ve seen it happen to friends, and it’s not fair to blame them.

    That doesn’t obviate the need to correct dangerous misinformation and woo, but don’t blame the mother, blame the dumbsh!t anti-vaxxers who put these ideas into her head and probably only see her loss as something that makes her a willing foot-soldier. Manipulating a mother’s grief, and trying to use her story to play on the fears of other parents is the real crime here, especially considering the potential harm that such advice would pose for children (and adults) everywhere.

  11. #11 Flea
    December 13, 2006

    Wow!

    Thanks, folks.

    Wish I had this ratio of positive comments at the original post! And thanks to those who understood the point of the deleted two sentences. I took them out because readers were distracted by them and weren’t focusing on the main point of the post.

    Just an aside: was the nomination a curse? FWIW, it didn’t seem to hurt Orac!

    Flea

  12. #12 anonimouse
    December 13, 2006

    On a side note, the “Mercury causes Autism” people are at it again.

    Shock and horror. I’d really like to read the NIH report that Kirby’s trumpeting, because I sense we have another Simpsonwood on our hands. I asked that same question on the Huffington Post, only to have my post disappear into the ether.

  13. #13 Dawn
    December 13, 2006

    I still can’t quite understand how Flea, and now Orac, can be so sure it wasn’t the DTP that caused this child’s seizure disorder. Her own pediatric neurologist, the doctor who examined the girl, said it was possible. The use of DTP was discontinued in the US due to its higher rate of complications. Who then, are the two of you, to come along and insist, without ever seeing the girl or her medical records, that it could not possibly have been the vaccine?

    One could say that this woman’s rare experience should not be used as a reason for all parents to refuse vaccines. That would be logical. Anecdotal evidence of rare adverse events shouldn’t convince parents of anything. However, to flatly refuse the possibility that the DTP vaccine caused the child’s disease is ridiculous, narrowminded and certainly not scientific. The fact is that DTP rarely does cause adverse events such as the one described. How can anyone trust anything you say, when you are so adamant about defending a position that you cannot be bothered with a fair representation of the facts?

  14. #14 sandi
    December 13, 2006

    I think this is the same magazine that had an article about 8 years back, pushing HIV positive women to breastfeed their children. The article stated it was more important to bond with your child than to protect your child from HIV. The women portrayed in the article discarded their doctor’s advice against breastfeeding, refused treatment, and some were brought up on criminal charges by their pediatricians.

    Anyone has a right to not vaccinate their children. Or to not give them medication when they are sick. Or even take them to a doctor or dentist. But they should not blame anyone but themselves if their child were to die of a very preventable disease such as measles, pneumonia, or any childhood disease. They should also be prosecuted for it.

    I have lost count of how many people around me (all health care professionals and scientists) refuse to booster their children for DTP, refuse to get flu shots (it gives you the flu), and will take antibiotics for any condition.

    People will believe what they want to believe, and no amount of scientific evidence will ever change their minds.

  15. #15 HCN
    December 13, 2006

    Dawn said: ” Her own pediatric neurologist, the doctor who examined the girl, said it was possible.”

    That was not what I got from reading her story, and granted you are taking it from her point of view. She also said that the pediatic neurologist never really found a reason for the seizures… just like all three of the neurologists that saw my son. In actuality a pediatric neurologist would say something like the one my son saw for his speech/language disorder that his disorder “may or may not be related to a history of seizures”. Plus he gave my son a diagnosis of “static enchelopathy”, which is neuro speak for “we really don’t know what is wrong, but it is not changing”. What the doctor would be saying is that he/she does NOT know. Unlike the mother.

    Also, the data that claims DTP caused seizures turns out may not to be very strong… PLUS it was a charge that the DTP caused seizures — NOT a seizure disorder. There is a big difference between what were considered seizures attributed to vaccines and seizure disorders. Mmy son had a seizure disorder, and remember they occured BEFORE he was vaccinated.

    Plus, if the child was born after 1996, she would have received the DTaP, which is considered to be safer vaccine. From page 8 to 10 of:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/pink/pert.pdf
    Local reactions such as redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site occurred following up to half of doses of whole-cell DTP vaccines. Fever and other mild systemic events were also common. More severe systemic reactions, such as convulsions and hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes occurred less frequently (one case per 1,750 doses administered). Acute encephalopathy occurred even more rarely (0-10.5 cases per million doses administered). Experts disagreed on whether whole-cell pertussis vaccine caused lasting brain damage, but they agreed that if the vaccine caused such damage, it did so only rarely. Concerns about safety led to the development of more purified (acellular) pertussis vaccines that are associated with a lower frequency of adverse reactions…..

    … and continues for DTaP…
    Point estimates of vaccine efficacy ranged from 80% to 85% for vaccines currently licensed in the United States. Confidence intervals for vaccine efficacy overlap, suggesting that none of the vaccines is significantly more effective than the others. When studied, the acellular pertussis vaccine was significantly more effective than whole-cell DTP. Mild local and systemic adverse reactions and more serious adverse reactions (such as high fever, persistent crying, hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes, and seizures) occurred less frequently among infants vaccinated with acellular pertussis vaccines than among those vaccinated with whole-cell DTP.
    ………………………..

    About the Mothering forums… if I posted the above on their forum I would be banned, and all history of the above information would be wiped from their serviers. They do make heavy use of “Stalin’s Airbrush”.

  16. #16 Dawn
    December 13, 2006

    HCN, the mother explicitly stated that her daughter’s first pertussis vaccine was the DTP, so information on the DTaP is irrelevant. She also explicitly stated that the neurologist said it was possible that the DTP caused the problem. You weren’t paying attention, which seems to be a common problem when people want to lambast someone for their beliefs.

    As far as the mothering boards banning you and erasing your post, clearly you have no idea what the boards are about. Nice way to try to character assassinate an entire group of people, though. If anyone here wants to see what REALLY happens when people post information such as that at Mothering.com, go to the Vaccinations board and look for posts under the userID dymanic (not to be confused with dynamic – spell it wrong and you’ll come up with nothing). Some threads have been locked due to violation of the UA, but posting science isn’t a violation of the UA. You will find at that board numerous threads in which he disagrees quite heartily, even with the resident scientists. He has yet to be banned for it and there certainly hasn’t been any use of “Stalin’s Airbrush” to remove information he posted.

    The fact that you would say something so ignorant (in the literal sense of the word) only proves that you have made a judgement without any of the facts. If you’d bothered to read the board, you’d know that posts in most forums aren’t removed because the poster has a dissenting viewpoint. (The exception to the rule would be posts advocating spanking.) In fact, mothering.com itself takes no official stance on the vaccinations issue, which you would know if you’d ever bothered to read the forum. It’s funny how people constantly accuse “alties” (as flea likes to call them) of being ignorant, but it seems clear that the ones who aren’t in full posession of the facts are people like yourself. You make blatantly false statements concerning an entire group of people about whom you know nothing about. Discrimination in its least subtle form, eh? You should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. #17 HCN
    December 13, 2006

    I will take your misunderstanding of “neuro-speak” as an indication that you have never dealt with a neurologist.

    Are you saying that the Mothering forums have never banned anyone, nor deleted posts?

    Well, that is an interesting bit of Stalin’s airbrush.

    Some history:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=48811

    I watched the thread HopkinsMedicalStudent posted at, not only was he banned, but the whole thread was zapped to some cold archive that is not accessible… But what is intersesting is that it is now all restored, and medstudent25 is no longer banned. Perhaps they are starting to remove the airbrush parts.

    But they may be relaxing… I shall have to tell Eos that their policy has been changed. Especially since at one time no one could look in:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=40425

  18. #18 HCN
    December 13, 2006

    A couple more:

    Here there is a description of how discussions are handled by “Hilary”:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=8019

    Here a member shares her experience:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=23420

  19. #19 HCN
    December 13, 2006

    Well, they have not completely relaxed their stance to “outsiders” looking in. After noticing that medstudent25 was no longer banned… I decided to check on something in Orac’s archive. Mainly this:
    http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/12/mothering-magazine-is-at-it-again.html

    So I clicked on the link to the Mothering discussion:
    http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=347045
    … and got a window telling me to log in. I guess they are not opening up to everything!

  20. #20 Dawn
    December 13, 2006

    I NEVER said no one has ever been banned or that posts were never deleted. You’re setting up a straw man argument, which doesn’t speak well for you. People only do that when they can’t refute what their “opponent” has actually said. What I said was that no one was ever banned for posting a valid opinion or scientific information.

    Sure, people have been banned and threads have been removed. People are banned for insulting other posters repeatedly. People are banned for posting with the intent of humiliating other posters. People are banned for posting in an adversarial manner, over and over again. Basically, if you come to MDC for no other reason than to mock, insult and bait everyone who disagrees with you, then you can expect to lose your posting privileges. That’s pretty standard on the internet. It certainly isn’t an attitude reserved by “altie” boards. And what happens to threads that disintegrate into epithets and insults? Well, if it’s really bad, they get removed. I’ve seen that happen at boards that certainly weren’t alternative lifestyle boards. It’s another common rule on internet message boards that your thread could be removed if it has dissolved into utter chaos. It’s even happened at (gasp!) Babycenter, which is a far, far cry from “altie”.

    As far as the board being closed to public viewing, I really don’t know anything about that. It’s certainly possible that this happened in the past, but right now, anyone can look at it and anyone can post.

    You are absolutely right about one thing only – I have had no need to speak to a neurologist. But guess what? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when someone says something is possible, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can insult my understanding of neuro-speak all day, but the fact remains that saying something is possible still means it’s not impossible. I didn’t say her doctor said the vaccines caused her seizure disorder. I said he said it was possible. And you would do well to remember that the person who actually examined the child said this.

    My problem, however, is the fact that all of you flat-out refuse to accept that this child’s disease may have been caused by the DTP, which she received. We can disagree with her method of trying to convince all parents not to vaccinate. It is always illogical to base any decision on anecdotal evidence, no matter how bad the story may be. BUT, to completely refuse to accept the possibility that this was a vaccine reaction is unprofessional, illogical and certainly not a position a reasonable person should support. The Vaccine Injury Table, which is the table created by the government, after extensive research into vaccine reactions reported, recognizes residual seizure disorders as an adverse reaction to DTP vaccine. They, and the manufacturers, say it’s possible. What more proof do you need? Here’s what it says:

    “DTP; P; DTP/Polio Combination; or Any Other Vaccine Containing Whole Cell Pertussis Bacteria, Extracted or Partial Cell Bacteria, or Specific Pertussis Antigen(s).
    Illness, disability, injury, or condition covered: Time period for first symptom or manifestation of onset or of significant aggravation after vaccine administration:
    A. Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock 24 hours
    B. Encephalopathy (or encephalitis)  3 days
    C. Shock-collapse or hypotonic-hyporesponsive collapse  3 days
    D. Residual seizure disorder in accordance with subsection (b)(2)”

    And here is section (b)(2):
    (2) A petitioner may be considered to have suffered a residual seizure disorder if the petitioner did not suffer a seizure or convulsion unaccompanied by fever or accompanied by a fever of less than 102 degrees Fahrenheit before the first seizure or convulsion after the administration of the vaccine involved and if–”

    “(B) in the case of any other vaccine, the first seizure or convulsion occurred within 3 days after administration of the vaccine and 2 or more seizures or convulsions occurred within 1 year after the administration of the vaccine which were unaccompanied by fever or accompanied by a fever of less than 102 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    So, the gov’t says that any residual seizure disorder (non-febrile seizures only) that starts within 3 days after administration of DTP and that causes 2 or more non-febrile seizures within 1 year of adminstration of DTP, in a child who never had a non-febrile seizure before the administration of the vaccine. Let’s see. Marissa’s first seizure occurred within 3 days of the vaccine. It was not a febrile seizure. She continued to have more than 2 seizures over the next 12 months, which were also not febrile seizures. AND, she had never had a seizure before the administration of the vaccine. Hmmm. Looks like the government would consider this child’s case an adverse reaction to DTP. Your continuing denial of the facts in this case does nothing to bolster your opinion. It just leaves you with egg on your face, refusing to admit that, very rarely, vaccines cause serious, sometimes even fatal, adverse reactions. Admitting the possibility won’t scare parents into not vaccinating their children, but denying it in the face of all logic will certainly leave them with a lack of trust in the medical establishment.

  21. #21 HCN
    December 13, 2006

    Dawn said: “Sure, people have been banned and threads have been removed. People are banned for insulting other posters repeatedly. People are banned for posting with the intent of humiliating other posters. People are banned for posting in an adversarial manner, over and over again. Basically, if you come to MDC for no other reason than to mock, insult and bait everyone who disagrees with you, then you can expect to lose your posting privileges. ”

    Please show which of medstudent25 27 posts fit that criteria to be banned in the first place. The link to the Mothering.com discussion is in the first JREF link. Perhaps there has been a change in policy, so that he was re-instated.

    Plus, I am not totally disbelieving the DTP caused problems. The problem I have is the quality of data that we are supposed to make a decision with.

    1) She claims it was the DTP, yet the DTaP was the recommended vaccine since 1996. If the child was actually born 10 years ago, then perhaps that could be the case.

    2) She claims the neurologist has agreed that maybe the vaccine caused the seizure disorder. Again, we only have her word for it… and for all we know she may have beat upon the subject so much, that his only recourse would have been to kind of agree.

    3) I cannot verify the words you used for the “Vaccine Injury Table” because you did not link to it. If you could just provide where that is so that we can see it could be seen in context.

    4) If the child actually died two or more years ago, then the lawsuit should be well on its way. Those are usually public record, so a link to that could also be helpful. It would include information like the detailed circumstances, which brand and batch of vaccine, and detailed reports by the neurologist.

    5) If the child was indeed born after 1996, then perhaps the lawsuit that the parents are persuing would include the note that the DTaP should have been used, NOT the DTP.

    Unfortunately though, folks who are involved in active lawsuits cannot usually talk about it until after it is over. So I have doubts that there really is sufficient evidence to hire a lawyer (one has to have a great deal of confidence, since it can be quite costly). But they do occur, and are successful. Recently there was a judgement and a payment to a family whose child did die from a rare reaction to the MMR (the reason I am not providing a link is because I am at the 2 link maximum).

    Now here is the information I am working off of (I can only provide a link to the abstract, to read the whole paper go to your local library to see if they have a subscription)…
    http://tinyurl.com/wvcfu :
    Begin Quote..
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    (list of authors)
    BACKGROUND: Whole-cell pertussis (wP) and measles vaccines are effective in preventing disease but have also been suspected of increasing the risk of encephalopathy or encephalitis. Although many countries now use acellular pertussis vaccines, wP vaccine is still widely used in the developing world. It is therefore important to evaluate whether wP vaccine increases the risk of neurologic disorders. METHODS: A retrospective case-control study was performed at 4 health maintenance organizations. Records from January 1, 1981, through December 31, 1995, were examined to identify children aged 0 to 6 years old hospitalized with encephalopathy or related conditions. The cause of the encephalopathy was categorized as known, unknown or suspected but unconfirmed. Up to 3 controls were matched to each case. Conditional logistic regression was used to analyze the relative risk of encephalopathy after vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines in the 90 days before disease onset as defined by chart review compared with an equivalent period among controls indexed by matching on case onset date. RESULTS: Four-hundred fifty-two cases were identified. Cases were no more likely than controls to have received either vaccine during the 90 days before disease onset. When encephalopathies of known etiology were excluded, the odds ratio for case children having received DTP within 7 days before onset of disease was 1.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.45-3.31, P = 0.693) compared with control children. For MMR in the 90 days before onset of encephalopathy, the odds ratio was 1.23 (95% confidence interval = 0.51-2.98, P = 0.647). CONCLUSIONS: In this study of more than 2 million children, DTP and MMR vaccines were not associated with an increased risk of encephalopathy after vaccination.

    ………………..

    Okay, now I will list the information I listed before, but highlighting only the notes on the whole-cell vaccine…
    http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/pink/pert.pdf :
    More severe systemic reactions, such as convulsions
    and hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes occurred less
    frequently (one case per 1,750 doses administered). Acute
    encephalopathy occurred even more rarely (0-10.5 cases per
    million doses administered).

    ….. Let me translate….
    Seizures (convulsions) and staring (hyptonic hyporesponsive) episodes did happen once in less than 2000 vaccines. These are often one time occurances, and did not happen again.

    Acute encephalopathy, which is something like permanent brain damage, perhaps even the epilepsy, occurs less than 11 times per MILLION. Very small chance.

    Now from my experience, seizures can happen for NO reason! It may have been a coincidence that the first one happened a few days after the DTP (or DTaP, still don’t have real evidence WHICH vaccine it was).

    My son’s last seizure was just a week after his first MMR.
    Did that vaccine cause the seizure, or was it because he was dehydrated from the gastrointestinal bug he had?

  22. #22 Dawn
    December 14, 2006

    Okay, HCN, exactly WHAT are you claiming has happened? Are you saying the entire story was made up and this mother didn’t actually lose a child? Are you saying that she has lied about some of the details? Are you saying that she’s mistaken about which pertussis vaccine her daughter received? When you start questioning every aspect of the story, one has to wonder if you are accusing the mother of making the whole thing up. You question whether the child actually got the DTP. You question whether the neurologist said the vaccine could possibly be to blame for the seizure disorder.

    Let’s clear something up for those people who happen to think that the big question is whether or not it was the DTP or the DTaP. First of all, DTaP has been the recommended vaccine for several years, but the gov’t did not outlaw and recall all of the DTP vaccine supply in America. You can be certain that some doctors were administering DTP after the recommendation changed to DTaP. Second, it isn’t really all that relevant, because even the DTaP could cause such a reaction, according to the Vaccine Injury Table, which you can read here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000300–aa014-.html The residual seizure disorder listed in my last post applies to both the DTP and the DTaP, so we’re quibbling about nothing here. Whichever vaccine she was given, it could have caused the seizure disorder.

    HCN, I wonder why you are so upset that this mother is giving her anecdotal evidence, but your response to her seems to be to give your own anecdotal evidence. You keep referring to how your own child’s seizure disorder began before any vaccines were administered. I am sorry you and your child must deal with this, but I have to wonder, how does this relate to the story at hand? Do you believe that one anecdote cancels out another, so that by sharing your own, you negate hers? Using one anecdote in an attempt to disprove another certainly isn’t the most scholarly approach one could take. If you had merely mentioned that you happen to be well-versed on the subject due to your own child’s seizure disorder, I would understand. But you have referred numerous times to the fact that your child’s seizures were not caused by vaccines, as if this proves something about the other child. It does not.

    To address the lawsuit issue. You know, or should know, if you’ve been following along, that this child did not die two years ago. Furthermore, there is a statute of limitations for filing claims in vaccine court. This family passed it a few years ago. If their doctors had been better informed, Marissa’s family would have been compensated. When an injury or condition is on the table, there is a presumption of causation, meaning the family doesn’t have to prove anything, because the gov’t already decided it’s likely that X injury occuring within X time frame after X vaccine was caused by the vaccine. When a child dies, the claim must be filed within 24 months of the death and 48 months of the original injury. Marissa’s injury was more than 48 months before she died.

    And this quote from your comment:

    “Seizures (convulsions) and staring (hyptonic hyporesponsive) episodes did happen once in less than 2000 vaccines. These are often one time occurances, and did not happen again.

    Acute encephalopathy, which is something like permanent brain damage, perhaps even the epilepsy, occurs less than 11 times per MILLION. Very small chance.”

    Is utterly irrelevant. Explain to me exactly how the fact that encephalopathy is rare means that this particular child did not experience it. Please, I would like to hear it.

    You say that you aren’t insisting the child didn’t have a vaccine injury. You say that you aren’t denying its possibility. Yet at every turn you attempt to refute the possibility. You use anecdote. You acuse the mother of either lying or being confused. You resort to the rarity of the event when you run out of other options. The fact of the matter is that you are unwilling to accept that this child possibly developed encephalopathy because of her vaccines. And you are so unwilling to accept it, in the face of all the evidence of its possibility (note that I say possibility, not certainty) that you will use any method necessary, even down to showing contempt for the mother of a dead child, to convince others that you are right.

    And as far as defending Mothering.com, that’s not my concern. Anyone who wants to can search for posts by dymanic. They can see where he’s disagreed and is still posting. There are others, too. No need to follow your one link that asks for a password. This happens when a thread has been pulled for the reasons I already stated. I don’t really care what anyone thinks about the Mothering boards. It’s no concern of mine. What I do care about is providing the facts to people. Don’t lie and say that all dissenting views are erased because they are dissenting. The only reputation hurt when you misrepresent the facts is your own. Anyone can see reality for themselves by going to mothering.com and looking around. They don’t need you to send them to specific threads that you believe verify your strange opinion.

  23. #23 kellyb
    December 14, 2006

    HCN said: “Plus, I am not totally disbelieving the DTP caused problems. The problem I have is the quality of data that we are supposed to make a decision with.

    1) She claims it was the DTP, yet the DTaP was the recommended vaccine since 1996. If the child was actually born 10 years ago, then perhaps that could be the case.

    2) She claims the neurologist has agreed that maybe the vaccine caused the seizure disorder. Again, we only have her word for it… and for all we know she may have beat upon the subject so much, that his only recourse would have been to kind of agree.”

    Well, I can’t argue with that, but if we’re going to go there, then for all we know the whole story could be a complete fabrication.

    Where we started out at was Flea taking the mother’s story as being factually correct, but psychoanalyzing her interpretation.

    Have you read the NCES 10 year follow up? They found every possible neurological outcome imaginable. Everything from complete recovery downward.

    The fact of the matter is that, taking Marissa’s mom on her word regarding the *factual* accuracy of the account, Marissa’s death could absolutely have been caused by the DTwP according to science. Bad stuff happened. They made the vaccine safer.

    “My son’s last seizure was just a week after his first MMR. Did that vaccine cause the seizure, or was it because he was dehydrated from the gastrointestinal bug he had?”

    Since your son was prone to seizures from birth, it was quite possibly, IMO, all three things happening at once.
    Or it could have been just one of those factors. Or just two. Who knows? There’s no way of knowing what would have happened if one or two of those factors hadn’t been there that week.
    Hi, by the way. I’ve talked with you about epilepsy elsewhere before, I think. :)

  24. #24 shot_info
    December 14, 2006

    Ack…so much commenting in a blog….

  25. #25 Bazooka Joe
    December 14, 2006

    Oooh, an angry extremist upset at HCN for rightly criticizing an anti-vax extremist. HCN made the mistake of using his/her own experiences in trying to understand the thought process behind the anti-vax extremist in question. Shame on you, HCN; just stick to fact: the woman is bat-shiat crazy and no 10 page-long, empassioned blog comment is going to change that.

    Another fact: mothering.com is for morons. Enjoy the carpal tunnel syndrome kiddos!

  26. #26 Catherina
    December 14, 2006

    There are also cases were the vaccination triggers the first episode of a developmental epilepsy like Dravet Syndrome. So while the epilepsy might be due to a genetic defect and would have developed no matter what, the vaccine (often the first event in a child’s life that causes fever), triggers the first epileptic fit and therefore is thought to be the “cause” of the entire illness.

  27. #27 tonyl
    December 15, 2006

    Dawn queried:Okay, HCN, exactly WHAT are you claiming has happened? Are you saying the entire story was made up and this mother didn’t actually lose a child? Are you saying that she has lied about some of the details? Are you saying that she’s mistaken about which pertussis vaccine her daughter received?

    Dawn, I think you need to work on your reading comprehension skills. The answers to all of your questions are contained in HCN’s posts.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.