Respectful Insolence

Yesterday was annoying.

It started out hearing about the vaccine injury case conceded by the government in a story on NPR on during my drive into work. As I walked through the clinic waiting area on the way to my lab, the TVs in the waiting rooms were all on CNN, where–you guessed it!–there was more ignorant blather about how the government supposedly had “conceded” that “vaccines cause autism.” I’ll give the Polings and the antivaccinationists who are trying to use their case (with, apparently, them as willing accomplices) as a propaganda tool, they’re good propagandists. Try as I might, I had a hard time escaping the story.

Try as I might, I also can’t resist pointing out that bloggers, including yours truly, were way ahead of the mainstream media on this story. Indeed, we were posting on it days before the propaganda blitz hit on Thursday. Because I’ve been getting a bunch of e-mails from readers asking me if I was aware of this story, I can only conclude that they haven’t been reading in the last four days or so. No criticism; even my family doesn’t necessarily read me every day. Don’t get me wrong, either. I appreciate tips, and often my readers are way ahead of me. It’s just this time I was way ahead of them for once (well, a couple of days ahead, anyway), which is why this is just a little tweak to suggest that, whenever something like this comes up, it’s not a bad idea to peruse my posts of the last few days to check if I’ve already blogged on it before sending me e-mails. To make it easy (and to provide a handy-dandy, ready-made resource for readers, journalists, or whomever, I’ve collated links to my posts on the subject and to those of other bloggers. Enjoy!

My posts:

  1. David Kirby and the government “concession that vaccines cause autism”: The incredible shrinking causation claim
  2. The new strategy of the antivaccination movement: Autism is a “misdiagnosis” for mitochondrial disease

Posts and articles by others:

  1. Has the Government Conceded Vaccines Cause Autism? by Steve Novella
  2. Autism payout reignites vaccine controversy (New Scientist article)
  3. Vaccines, Autism and the Concession
  4. This Whole Mito Thing (My Final Vent…Hopefully!)
  5. Something is beginning to smell…
  6. Recent Vaccine-Autism Award Not the First by Arthur Allen

I don’t have time to do a detailed article this weekend, but, depending on what I read and see over the weekend, I may do another post for Monday, even at the risk of being a bit repetitive. I realize that I said I was going to give it a rest for a while on antivaccinationists and autism. Little did I know that I said that before the single largest propaganda offensive by antivaccinationists that I’ve seen since I took an interest in this issue, proving once again that I can sometimes be the master of bad timing.

One other thing. A couple of antivaccinationists have infested the comments of this post. One of them is very upset at being lumped into the same category as antivaccinationists, vehemently denying that she is “antivaccine” and castigating me and others for supposedly claiming that the parents in these cases are antivaccine.

Rubbish.

That’s a huge straw man argument. Nowhere have I called all or even most parents who think their children may have been injured by vaccines “antivaccine.” There are lots of parents out there who wonder that but reject the idea based on the evidence. There are others who are reachable with the evidence. Unfortunately, however, there clearly is also a vocal contingent of parents who are antivaccine, their protestations otherwise notwithstanding. I base my conclusion on my observation that they keep repeating the same pseudoscientific antivaccination canards of the sort that show up on antivaccinationist websites, despite repeated corrections and demonstrations that they are incorrect on both the science and reasoning. I also base it on my observation of how, no matter how strong the science comes down against them, they seem able to pivot instantly to another pseudoscientific idea, just as they pivoted from mercury in the thimerosal preservatives in vaccines to a cornucopia of other “toxins” in a big way beginning about a year ago. This is very much like creationism, in which, no matter how many times scientists slap down its pseudoscience, they either repeat the same canards or find new ones. Indeed, it’s a major aspect of any pseudoscience.

And this is what the leaders of the antivaccination movement do: people like J. B. Handley, Barbara Loe Fisher, and the newest celebrity recruit to the antivaccinationist cause, Jenny McCarthy. They are encouraged and given a pseudoscientific veneer of respectability by antivaccinationist physicians and scientists who have joined the dark side of pseudoscience I wouldn’t call them antivaccinationist if I thought there were a prayer of ever convincing them with evidence that they are incorrect. Unfortunately, they’ve demonstrated time and time again that no amount of evidence would sway them. They’ve demonstrated time and time again that to them it really and truly is all about the vaccines. Everything else, including the mercury, the claims of mitochondrial disorders, and the rants against “toxins,” is all window dressing to cover up their implacable opposition to vaccines in general and especially the concept of mandatory vaccination. Worse, some of them have deep pockets and a fair amount of media savvy, which result in what we’ve seen over the last couple of days: the carpet-bombing of the mainstream media with a message, a “framing” if you will, of a story that the government has finally “admitted” that vaccines cause autism.

Sadly, there will definitely be more of this in the days to come.

Comments

  1. #1 Treat Cancer
    March 8, 2008

    Treat Cancer with Flavonoids:

    http://www.treat-cancer.nl

  2. #2 John Best
    March 8, 2008

    Here is a story of disgraced propagandists.
    http://tinyurl.com/3bbbqp

  3. #3 Jeb, FCD
    March 8, 2008

    Yeah, I almost shot coffee through my nose Friday morning when I heard on the Today Show that the next story was going to be about “the heated debate going on in the scientific community about vaccines causing autism.”

    Sigh.

  4. #4 DRJ
    March 8, 2008

    I’ll get the disclaimers out of the way so I can make my point:

    I am the parent of a child who became autistic shortly after being vaccinated. Respected doctors from Bethesda to Los Angeles have told me that my son’s autism may well be related to his vaccines. (He had a pre-existing undiagnosed immunological condition, and vaccines were contraindicated for his condition.) Nevertheless, I believe vaccines do great good and we need them. Further, we do not understand what causes autism but what we do know suggests it is a complicated immunological and/or genetic problem.

    Concerning Hannah’s case:

    It’s possible vaccines caused Hannah’s mitochondrial defect but I assumed she had a pre-existing defect that was aggravated by vaccines. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter to me which is the case. Clearly, the first option is more troubling but the second is also cause for concern because it illustrates that pediatricians don’t know who can safely be vaccinated and who can’t. If it does anything, I hope Hannah’s case helps pediatricians and others in the medical community do more to identify children who should receive a second look before they are vaccinated.

    I’m not typically an in-your-face internet commenter and I’m sure this comment will add to your irritation, but I don’t really care. You’re not the only reasonable person in the world.

  5. #5 HCN
    March 8, 2008

    In short, for a child with Hannah’s disorder there will be a problem if you do or don’t vaccinate. She could have been isabled from a randome strep infection. She may encounter a future non-vaccine preventable infection that could cause even further damage.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Parents like DRJ have children who must depend on herd immunity, so they dare not join the anti-vaccine crowd.

  6. #6 DRJ
    March 9, 2008

    I’m confused by your comment, HCN. I have not joined the anti-vaccine crowd because I realize that vaccines protect people. I’m not so selfish that I want thousands or millions of people to suffer without vaccines, just so my children won’t be harmed.

    My point is that the medical community has not previously had the ability to identify those who might be harmed by vaccines. We do now, using blood tests like immune panels and antibody titers. I wish we would put some resources into doing that in order to vaccinate those who can be safely vaccinated, and not vaccinating those who may be more at risk.

    In other words, I think there is a middle ground.

  7. #7 HCN
    March 9, 2008

    Mr. DRJ… there is progress in identifying kids who have immune disorders (they usually have a failure to thrive, and many infections early in life: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20031115/2001.html ). I noticed this in a paper I saw on immune disorders (the disorders are still rare, only about one out of five hundred or so). If your child had been identified earlier, you would not have had your child vaccinated with live virus vaccines.

    BUT… due to immune disorders your child would still be affected by the actual disease. Therefore, your child would depend very much on the protection of herd immunity.

    To put into perspective… Due to the misguided efforts of Barbara Fisher, it was thought that kids who were predetermined with seizures should not get vaccinated against pertussis. So, my son who had neonatal seizures did not get the DTP, but just the DT… which provided no protection against pertussis.

    This occurred at a time when there was a pertussis epidemic in our county (probably also because of the misguided efforts of Ms. Fisher). So we had to be very careful who our baby had contact with, since pertussis of often fatal to infants (about a dozen die each year in the USA from pertussis).

    Here is a story about the real victims of MMR that should better explain the scenario:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1055533.ece

    If your child had been identified earlier with this immune disorder, you would not have had him vaccinated. But… the child would still be affected from the actual disease, and would therefore depend on herd immunity.

    This means, that for those children who have real medical reasons to not be vaccinated they MUST depend on herd immunity. You as a parent of such a child would make sure that herd immunity is not compromised and would be sure that everyone around your child is NOT a carrier of vaccine preventable diseases.

    This is very true for Miss Poling. She has a genetic disorder, mitochondrial disorder. So if she got a live virus vaccine she would have an adverse reaction… BUT she would still have an adverse reaction if she got an actual disease that caused a fever. So she would have problems with BOTH the vaccine, and a disease. Hence, she would be best protected from herd immunity.

    So this means that parents of such children should be encouraging other parents to vaccinate their healthy children to prevent the spread of microbes that would damage their own children.

    Is that so difficult to understand?

  8. #8 Catherina
    March 9, 2008

    to illustrate HCN’s point: in the 2006 measles outbreak in Germany, a young boy, who could not be vaccinated due to an immune defect, contracted measles and developed MIBE (measles inclusion body encephalitis). He died in 2007.

    http://www.kinderaerzteimnetz.de/bvkj/aktuelles1/show.php3?id=2334&nodeid=26

  9. #9 DRJ
    March 9, 2008

    HCN,

    I appreciate your response and understood your point. That’s why I said that “I have not joined the anti-vaccine crowd because I realize that vaccines protect people.” If it makes you feel better, I will change that to read: “I have not joined the anti-vaccine crowd because I realize that vaccines protect people and my children.”

    However, I wonder if you understood my point: Pediatricians have problems identifying children with immune disorders and other conditions that may place them at greater risk from vaccinations. Well-qualified and experienced pediatricians did not detect abnormalities in my son. They apparently didn’t detect it in Hannah Poling (if it was pre-existing), and it may be that the same is true with many other afflicted children.

    I’ve never encouraged other parents to vaccinate or not to vaccinate their children. My goal is to help doctors, and especially pediatricians, learn more about immune issues so they can provide better information to their patients.

    Is that so difficult to understand?

  10. #10 DRJ
    March 9, 2008

    By the way, I appreciate your efforts to educate me about immune-compromised disorders. I’ve learned a lot over the years and there is always something new to learn. However, you are wrong when you say that all immune-compromised children are at greater risk for developing vaccine diseases. My child has a very rare form of immune dysfunction that makes him highly susceptible to bacterial infections but not viral infections. As you know, many of the diseases that vaccines address are viral in nature.

    In addition, for those diseases where it can be tested, my child’s titers are quite high even though he has not been fully vaccinated and the vaccines he received were given almost 20 years ago. It’s actually quite interesting. Maybe someday you will read about it in the journals.

  11. #11 HCN
    March 9, 2008

    DRJ said “However, you are wrong when you say that all immune-compromised children are at greater risk for developing vaccine diseases.”

    I cannot fathom why a child who would have a reaction to a vaccine with a weakened virus or bacteria, would not react even worse to the actual disease. You are claiming that your child would do better getting measles, mumps or polio than the MMR or IPV. You really need to provide real evidence for that, because your claim is extraordinary.

    I am not clear if you think that the bacterial vaccines of DTaP or Hib would be worse for your child than the diseases.

    Also, if your child has a very unusual and rare condition, then it does not apply to the general population. You would still want to insure that herd immunity is kept high.

    I can assume that since he is very vulnerable to bacterial infections, then you must hope that the spread of pertussis and Hib are kept low due to high compliance with DTaP and Hib vaccines. Herd immunity does not work for tetanus, because it lives in soil and the only protection from lock-jaw is through vaccination (adults can now get Tdap).

    Unfortunately, as of yet there is no vaccine for strep. You are just going to hope your child stays away from those who have. Like one of my kids who had it, but absolutely no symptoms. He kept re-infecting his sibling until a full strep screen was done on the whole family. After he was put on antibiotics (along with his sister and brother who also had strep), the cycle of strep infections stopped (it started when I was infected on an airplane by being seated next to a person with a runny nose and cough).

  12. #12 HCN
    March 9, 2008

    Oops, just noticed your child is over 20 years old. Much too old to be vaccinated for Hib, HepB, or varicella, and would have had OPV instead of IPV.

    Though he may still need to be protected from tetanus.

    Also, if he is that old, then the paper should have been published already. Dr. Poling already wrote a paper on his daughter. So somewhere on http://www.pubmed.gov would be papers on his unique condition… so the evidence that the vaccines are more dangerous than the actual diseases should be available. I assume since you have the name of this mystery condition, it would be very easy for you to find them. Could you post those please?

  13. #13 Jim Hu
    March 9, 2008

    It’s probably a side issue, but mtDNA allele reported in the court docs has been seen before as a polymorphism in normal Europeans. Given maternal inheritance, it seems likely that Hannah’s mother carries the same allele; I wonder if she’s been tested.

    Since I’m not a med doc, I don’t know what else presents with the other tests. I’d be curious to hear from those with some expertise.

  14. #14 Joseph
    March 9, 2008

    Given maternal inheritance, it seems likely that Hannah’s mother carries the same allele; I wonder if she’s been tested.

    She does.

  15. #15 daedalus2u
    March 9, 2008

    As I remember the diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder was done on the basis of excess lactate and deficits in respiratory chain complex activity in muscle biopsy, and muscle cell degeneration characteristic of mitochondria depletion. With the polymorphism, it made sense. But if the polymorphism is a normal varient it doesn’t.

    Those things could be caused solely by mitochondrial depletion, a specific mitochondrial defect is not necessary. Mitochondrial depletion can become self-sustaining because the fewer mitochondria that remain are pushed to a higher potential where they make more superoxide which depletes NO. NO is what triggers mitochondrial biogenesis, so if you have too few mitochondria you can get into a state where you don’t make enough. That is what chronic fatigue is. Not enough mitochondria.

  16. #16 Jim Hu
    March 9, 2008

    Thanks Joseph. Your comment led me to find a link so I could update my post.

  17. #17 Mermama
    March 9, 2008

    Some vaccines do not contribute to herd immunity, because they don’t prevent transmission. Pertussis being one of them.

    Also, if there is going to be reliable testing to find which children shouldn’t be vaccinated, has anyone thought of the scenario that the numbers of the unvaccinated would increase to the point that herd immunity would be impossible?

    Be careful what you wish for, and all…

  18. #18 HCN
    March 10, 2008

    Mermama said “Some vaccines do not contribute to herd immunity, because they don’t prevent transmission. Pertussis being one of them.”

    Surely you meant tetanus, not pertussis. Pertussis is transmitted human to human, tetanus is not.

    If you really meant pertussis, then give us your reasons why.

  19. #19 Prometheus
    March 10, 2008

    HCN,

    It is possible that Mermama is confusing the low efficacy of the pertussis vaccine with it not being able to prevent transmission. Pertussis – because of its low efficacy – needs herd immunity to work. Even if the entire population is vaccinated, there are going to be a relatively large number of people who are not immune.

    Another issue that doesn’t seem to be getting much air time is that people who are so sensitive that a vaccine strain virus (or a dead virus or bacteria) could “tip them over the edge” would also be extra-sensitive to the “real thing”.

    If a vaccine strain (attenuated) virus could have injured poor Hannah, the real virus (e.g. measles, rubella, chicken pox) would have caused even more damage, possibly killing her.

    Prometheus

  20. #20 Monica
    March 10, 2008

    Again, I must state, I am not antivaccine, because, as DRJ’s child must rely on herd immunity, so does mine.

    I do take offense to being labeled anti-vaccine simply because I think we CAN take measures to ensure that children with immune deficiencies that are contraindicated for vaccination are not vaccinated.

    There IS a middle ground, and people need to find it so we can move forward from this ridiculous debate.

  21. #21 HCN
    March 10, 2008

    No, Monica, you are not “anti-vaccine”… you just can’t make up your mind if it was the MMR or the varicella THREE WEEKS before your daughter got sick again and had seizures… instead of considering a number of other infections that could have occured.

    http://www.aspiesforfreedom.com/showthread.php?tid=9686

    Give it a rest. Work towards better educational resources.

  22. #22 Monica
    March 10, 2008

    HCN, the VCIP pays out for damages occuring long after 3 weeks. I do not know why you find it so hard to believe.

    http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/table.htm
    In fact, the measles can cause an outbreak in an immunodeficient individual up to 6 mos post vaccination.

    I don’t recall while posting on AFF that I felt it was the MMR, so what is your point, or do you continue want to argue with me?

    Besides, the lack of antibodies to the varicella vaccine does further my daughter’s pediatrician’s theory that it WAS in fact Varicella related.

    It is poeple like you who insist that a vaccine could NEVER harm a child that are delaying the very science that could help children like my daughter.

    If I were so “anti-vaccine”, as you claim, why then do I make no mention of this on my website, http://www.aware4autism.org, or my youtube channel- aware4autism?

    I only come to these sites to counter what many of you consider as fact, that vaccines cannot affect a child adversely. How would encephalitis affect a child with Asperger’s? Do we know that a high fever cannot cause a worsening of symptoms? We do not know these things because they have never been studied.

    It IS fact that the DTaP can cause a worsening of neurological symptoms in some children. Why is that acceptable, but other viruses/ vaccines cannot?

    Go find someone else to fight with, because I have enough to fight about, like getting therapies for my daughter, getting poop INTO the potty (not mine, my daughter’s), getting the only dentist who accepts our insurance to allow me into the treatment room with my daughter, as it is against ADA to not allow me, getting her school to stop leaving handprints on her, getting FL senate to approve bills like SB 116 http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&Year=2008&billnum=116
    and Senate Bill 2028 http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&BillNum=2028

    And above all else, fighting the images that Autism Speaks portrays and giving parents with a new dx hope.

    So please, while your battle is menial in the scheme of things, it does prove rather annoying, and does not accomplish anything positive.

  23. #23 Monica
    March 10, 2008

    Wow HCN, now I see why you want to argue so very much. Seems this is all you know how to do. I truly feel for you.

    A quick search shows 2,750 results for hcn + autism + vaccine. I skimmed through the 1st 100 or so, and they are all dozens of messages posted by you on various blogs and articles. So I would feel safe in saying that over half are yours.

    For having a disabled child, I find it absolutely amazing that you have so much free time to sit in front of your computer scouring the internet for more parents to tear apart. Perhaps you can share what works with your child that allows you so much free time? I know Jade takes up an immense amount of my time, and I wish I had the time you obviously do.

    Why hide behind the initials, anyway? Karma delivers its own paybacks, and it doesn’t need your full name.

  24. #24 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    I’ve been attempting to get back on to respond, but the blog was wonky today.

    Yes, I really meant pertussis.

    Studies show that despite full vaccination, pertussis is widely circulating. It is underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed often. In addition, vaccines may alter the clinical course to make the manifestation of the disease atypical (whooping cough without the ‘whoop’), however, it is still contagious.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5503a1.htm
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7560/174

    From the CDC:
    “Pertussis, an acute, infectious cough illness, remains endemic in the United States despite routine childhood pertussis vaccination for more than half a century and high coverage levels in children for more than a decade (1–4). A primary reason for the continued circulation of Bordetella pertussis is that immunity to pertussis wanes approximately 5–10 years after completion of childhood pertussis vaccination, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to pertussis (5–10). Among the diseases for which universal childhood vaccination has been recommended, pertussis is the least well-controlled reportable bacterial vaccine-preventable disease in the United States. ”

    Since immunity to pertussis (whether vaccine induced or from natural infection) wanes over time, I ask any adult posting to this forum when the last time they either 1) received a vaccine booster or b) had a cough that lingered for a few weeks?

    With the low efficacy of the vaccine+high incidence of the disease of pertussis, isn’t herd immunity a mathematical and epidemiological impossibility?

  25. #25 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    “It is possible that Mermama is confusing the low efficacy of the pertussis vaccine with it not being able to prevent transmission. Pertussis – because of its low efficacy – needs herd immunity to work. Even if the entire population is vaccinated, there are going to be a relatively large number of people who are not immune.”

    Isn’t that just a roundabout way of saying:
    “The vaccine doesn’t work, but everyone should vaccinate anyway.”

  26. #26 HCN
    March 11, 2008

    Yes, it does not work as well, that does not mean it does not work at all. So all of my teenagers have been given Tdap, I will probably be getting the next time my tetanus shot is due.

  27. #27 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    Great! You did your risk benefit analysis and came to the conclusion that vaccinating is still the way to go for yourself and your family.

    I do the same risk benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that the high reactivity coupled with low efficacy of the vaccine (plus a family history of atopy) is just not worth it.

    Curious as to what the criteria for effective is for you? I suppose we all have different ideas about that as well, thus the different decisions.

    I suppose that according to the description here I am an “anti-vaccinationist” (although I certainly wasn’t when I started my journey in researching this topic), and I see that this term is akin to epithet here. However, please note that I would never ever try to take the choice of vaccinating away from you. Nor would I ever tell you that your choice was wrong. It’s pretty telling from the posts here that pro-vax people want to take that choice away from people like me.

  28. #28 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    Great! You did your risk benefit analysis and came to the conclusion that vaccinating is still the way to go for yourself and your family.

    I do the same risk benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that the high reactivity coupled with low efficacy of the vaccine (plus a family history of atopy) is just not worth it.

    Curious as to what the criteria for effective is for you? I suppose we all have different ideas about that as well, thus the different decisions.

    I suppose that according to the description here I am an “anti-vaccinationist” (although I certainly wasn’t when I started my journey in researching this topic), and I see that this term is akin to epithet here. However, please note that I would never ever try to take the choice of vaccinating away from you. Nor would I ever tell you that your choice was wrong. It’s pretty telling from the posts here that pro-vax people want to take that choice away from people like me.

  29. #29 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    Great! You did your risk benefit analysis and came to the conclusion that vaccinating is still the way to go for yourself and your family.

    I do the same risk benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that the high reactivity coupled with low efficacy of the vaccine (plus a family history of atopy) is just not worth it.

    Curious as to what the criteria for effective is for you? I suppose we all have different ideas about that as well, thus the different decisions.

    I suppose that according to the description here I am an “anti-vaccinationist” (although I certainly wasn’t when I started my journey in researching this topic), and I see that this term is akin to epithet here. However, please note that I would never ever try to take the choice of vaccinating away from you. Nor would I ever tell you that your choice was wrong. It’s pretty telling from the posts here that pro-vax people want to take that choice away from people like me.

  30. #30 Mermama
    March 11, 2008

    Apologies for the serial posts, kept getting a server error message for some reason.

  31. #31 Monica
    March 12, 2008

    to address this topic of anti-vaccination…

    Last night, I spent a sleepless night listening to my daughter coughing away. It was a terrifying night, and day today, as she was hacking away all day as well.

    Why is it so terrifying? Because she has no antibodies to pertussis, even though she had every DTaP on schedule. I spent last night looking at the MMWR, and pertussis info.

    I, more than most of you, am frightened by lowered vaccination rates. I am frightened that reactions like my daughters will never be fully investigated, as people like you seem to lump people like me into a “category”, because I feel my daughter was injured by a vaccine, and I don’t have a PhD behind my name.

    I am also frightened that reactions like my daughter’s will continue. I am frightened that because of this, people will be fearful of vaccination and herd immunity will decline.

    Unless cases like my daughter’s are investigated, we have answers, and we have a schedule that protects children like my daughter, we will see vaccine preventable diseases increase.

    That is a scary future for my daughter.

  32. #32 Mermama
    March 13, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s illness. Pertussis can be scary for sure.

    However, the DTaP vaccines does not prevent transmission, thus there is no such thing as herd immunity for pertussis. And according to the CDC website, pertussis was and still is endemic.

    So, what is a parent to do when their child is sick? The answer is the same whether whether there is a vaccine available for it or not. There are many resources on what to do (or sometimes…what NOT to do). Whether you lean towards the allopathic, or tend towards the alternative, there are things you can do. Some of the stuff is common sense. Our grandmas and great-grandmas knew what to do, and they sure as heck didn’t need any double blind studies to figure it out.

    Science is great, and serves it’s purpose to some extent. But there is some wisdom or some may call it “folk remedies” that just work, regardless of whether if someone in a white coat has figured it out or some corporation has patented it.

    Pertussis responds very well to vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate. Cut out dairy in your daughter’s diet (or in your own if you are still nursing), as dairy has been found to increase mucus production. Cut out sugar and refined starches in your daughter’s diet since both are immune system suppressants. Rest and hydration are both really important, too. Stay away from fever reducers and cough suppressants. If your child is having trouble sleeping at night, raise up the head of their bed or have them sleep on some extra pillows. The thing with pertussis is that since the cilia in the respiratory tract have been inactivated due to the b. pertussis endotoxin, there is a likelihood of secondary infection, so keep your eye out for that (the mucus that she hacks up may be tinged with streaks of yellow/green).

    Speedy healing to your little one!

  33. #33 Mermama
    March 13, 2008

    I forgot to add above, after all I said, that I am very appreciative of having allopathic medical options as well, as they definitely have a time, place and application in certain circumstances.

  34. #34 DT
    March 13, 2008

    Don’t you just love it when any ignoramus with a PC can pluck out medical information out the ether that seems to confirm their preconceptions? The thing is, without context, and without any appreciation of how appropriate their source is, the results are usually garbage.

    So here we have Mermama, deciding that pertussis does not confer herd immunity because there is low level endemicity and vaccine-induced immunity wanes in adolescence….

    Herd immunity depends upon several things, not least the characteristics of the infection that relate to its reproductive number such as contact rate, the duration of infectiousness and the transmissability of the infection. The R0 will change as the population develops immunity, either through vaccination or infection. The vaccination level required to achieve clinically relevant herd immunity can be calculated quite accurately. The levels of vaccination required for pertussis herd immunity are in the order of 92-94%.

    Here is a useful introduction to the principles involved:
    http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/lecture/lec1181/018.htm

    Oh, and by the way Mermama, Pertussis produces several toxins. As a gram negative organism, it’s cell wall does contain endotoxin (ie lipopolysaccharide) but it is very doubtful this has any role in pertussis pathogenesis or virulence. The primary toxins are exotoxins, either proteins or peptidoglycans. These can indeed impair ciliary function.

    Also, why do you jump to the conclusion that Monica’s daughter has pertussis? Well, I guess that’s where bias and preconceptions lead you I suppose…

    I hope your daughter gets better, Monica. I suggest avoiding advice from anonymous unqualified internet poster like Mermama though – his recommendations of a plethora of unproven advice which is not in any way evidence-based may be well meaning, but is rather misguided. If you have concerns, see someone qualified whom you can trust with your child’s health.

  35. #35 ozzy
    March 13, 2008

    “Our grandmas and great-grandmas knew what to do”

    That’s why childhood mortality was so low back then…