Respectful Insolence

I figured it was coming, although I didn’t think it would come this far before David Kirby’s impending visit to the U.K., but I guess that’s the fruit of his being invited by a woo-loving Lord to give a briefing at Parliament. This time it comes in the form of an article in the Daily Telegraph entitled MMR: The Debate That Won’t Go Away.

David Kirby’s there in full force, making up numbers about mitochondrial disorders as he’s been doing all along. There are also credulous references to Jenny McCarthy and the “Green Our Vaccines”/”too many too soon” toxin gambit, to the horrible monkey study by Laura Hewitson complete with quotes from an interview, and other vaccination canards. All in all, it’s horrible journalism. Fortunately (probably for my readers as well) that has become depressingly common. On the science front, antivaccinationists keep losing again and again; on the P.R. front right now they’re doing very well indeed right now.

Comments

  1. #1 Woobegone
    May 26, 2008

    The Daily Telegraph, not content to produce its own crap science articles, are also borrowing crap from elsewhere now –

    “In 2006, The Lancet put it at one in 86 and, last year, Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre estimated that some 210,000 children – one in 58 – suffer from an autistic spectrum disorder.”

    This is a reference to the notorious cover story in the Observer newspaper of July 2007, which badly misreported on unpublished (leaked) research from Cambridge University, an misquoted the researchers involved. The “1 in 58″ figure is essentially meaningless out of context, and the Observer later partially apologized for the article.
    http://www.badscience.net/?p=457

  2. #2 DLC
    May 26, 2008

    I sometimes find myself wishing people like Kirby would simply fall off the face of the earth, or better yet, suddenly find themselves facing the realization that they are, in fact, wrong. Of course, neither of these happy occurrences are likely to happen, but then sometimes I’m an optimist.

  3. #3 Kev
    May 26, 2008
  4. #4 Kev
    May 26, 2008

    How to contact a Lord.

  5. #5 maxi
    May 26, 2008

    Thanks for the links Kev.

    I’ve emailed my local MP and Lord Darzi of Denham who seems to have his head screwed on properly. I hope this works!

  6. #6 Paul Schofield
    May 26, 2008

    I have sent an E-mail to my local MP. My housemate does some work with the local Labour party and is a biology student, so I might try that route as well.

    Sadly this falls two days before my last exam of the year. Two days after and I could have justified a trip to London after burning all of my remaining printer credit on anti-anti-vax documentation to hand out.

  7. #7 colmcq
    May 26, 2008

    I fear the worst, I really do. I think the antivaxers are winning.

  8. #8 Nic
    May 26, 2008

    Time has done a piece on vaccines this week, focusing on the Wakefield paper.

  9. #9 Dr Aust
    May 26, 2008

    *sigh*

    ..plus ca change…

    Cassandra Jardine, the journalist credited with the Telegraph story, is not a science or medical correspondent. She writes mainly about parenting and parent issues, and occasionally about other womens’ / lifestyle things (“does my *** look big in this?”).

    Note that at the end of the article it says “Additional reporting by Sally Beck”. This is, I think, more significant than Jardine’s byline.

    Sally Beck has written about the MMR / autism story many times before, as a quick Google of:

    “Sally Beck” autism MMR

    – will reveal. Among the hits are some posts where various of her articles were flayed by bloggers from the genetic and/or neurodiversity camps (e.g. here).

    An interesting comment by Sally Beck from last Summer appears on Left Brain Right Brain in the comments thread here, and seems to give an insight into her thinking:

    Sally Beck on July 18th, 2007 23:03:03

    Just to throw this into the mix. As a journalist checking this shambles since 1998. It’s interesting that the first two facts thrown at me by government didn’t stand up. The first was that MMR has eradicated measles. Check the ONS figures back to 1890 and you’ll see that the measles problem was solving itself nicely without intervention. The graph had virtually flatlined before any medical intervention, meaning that the single measles jab and the MMR had very little to do with the reduction in deaths. Plot a graph logarithmically and you’ll see that deaths from measles would have ceased quite naturally this year. To put deaths from measles into perspective, the year the MMR was introduced there were 16 deaths. Deaths from asthma currently stand at around 1500 annually…

    When the medical profession disected Wakefield’s peer reviewed 1998 study, in a newsletter titled ‘problems in pharmacology’ (monthly newsletter to GPs, interestingly titled) they concluded that they could neither prove nor refute the findings. They felt this was enough to recommend continued use of the MMR. I wonder why they didn’t recommend further research so that they could conclusively prove or refute?

    In the chronology of the affair I’ve been noticing that newspapers have continually forgotten to list that the MMR jab was withdrawn here – as it was in Canada and Japan – because the cheap version they introduced was causing encephalitis and meningitis. All the children in Wakefield’s study had received this jab with the Urabe strain of mumps.

    The children who’ve allegedly died from measles: So far we have no names, only newspaper reports. What do we really know about these kids? Do we know whether they actually existed – if so, someone put me in touch with a parent so I can interview them. Do we know whether their immune systems were compromised in some way? Do we know whether they were taking immunosuppresant drugs? We know very little about them. What we know after centuries of catching measles is that healthy children do not die of measles. I suspect most of the authors here over 40 have all had measles. I know I certainly have and I don’t seem to be impaired in any way – even at this late hour.

    What we can conclude is that we are not being given the full picture. Nothing here is transparent and until the facts from both sides are laid out on the table, we really won’t know. I’m looking forward to following the GMC hearing.

    (italics mine)

    So basically, Sally Beck is from the “there must be a conspiracy here somewhere” school of journalism that has done so much to sustain the MMR-autism mass delusion.

    I have a suggested alternative title for the Telegraph article:

    “MMR – the “debate” that won’t go away – because journalists don’t understand science, but instinctively see column-inch generating conspiracies everywhere”

  10. #10 MBA
    May 26, 2008

    colmcq says: “I fear the worst, I really do. I think the antivaxers are winning.”

    I agree. I think in many respects, they have already won. If I could find the time, I would really like to put together some data about the history of vaccination. Vaccinations mark the pinnacle of what medicine has to offer mankind. Many diseases which used to plague mankind from the very beginning of history are now controlled or eradicated through a simple, relatively inexpensive often single treatment. These are diseases which have horrible, crippling, even fatal consequences. The fact that they can be entirely prevented by a simple shot is amazing and should be celebrated by all of humanity. Instead we get these uninformed attacks which are gaining in popularity even while they lose the science debate. What are the consequences already? The problem is, you can never know what you have never experienced.

    It is possible that if many of the companies that make vaccines had not been driven out of America by lawsuits and conspiracy mongers, there would be even more to celebrate from vaccines. Perhaps by this time, most sexually transmitted diseases would already have become a thing of past generations. Perhaps children could go through their childhood without ever even having a cold. Many of the diseases which even now plague mankind could possibly be eradicated by a vaccine. But because of the type of superstitious idiocy that seems to keep growing, we will never know, because the bottom has already dropped out of much of the research into new vaccines. This is the real tragedy of the Jenny McCarthy’s of the world and this will be their legacy. At a time in history when it would have been technologically possible to mount an all out attack on human disease, we retreat and leave it to future, hopefully more sane generations. Perhaps one day mankind will have the sense to finally tackle the diseases that plague it. But unfortunately, not today.

  11. #11 sailor
    May 26, 2008

    If the anti-vaxers win, it will be a short-lived victory. Right now so many kids are vaccinated the rest are protected by the herd effect. This is so effective that in some cases one or two kids may be safer not being vaccinated, if everyone else is, just because of the very small risks vaccination poses. If the anti-vaxers ever succeed to a point where only 70% or so of kids are vaccinated, there is going to be a big surge in the illnesses vaccinated against, and people will be crying out for vaccinations again.

  12. #12 MBA
    May 26, 2008

    sailor,

    I have heard (from talking with a scientist), that the heard effect diminishes at a much higher percentage than 70%. In some places of the country (Kansas, California), there are probably already enough people who are not getting vaccinated that the heard effect is nonexistent. I would like to see some studies on the heard effect which relate to the percentage of the population for which it becomes ineffective. I suspect that people sometimes put too much faith into this effect (and not vaccinating your kids in the hope of saving them from the minuscule risks of vaccination is probably putting too much faith in the heard effect). I reserve final judgment, however, until I have seen the data.

  13. #13 Woobegone
    May 26, 2008

    “It is possible that if many of the companies that make vaccines had not been driven out of America by lawsuits and conspiracy mongers, there would be even more to celebrate from vaccines.”

    Hey, there’s always Europe – or China. Actually, this is one of the things that makes me confident that antivaccinationism is no more than a passing trend. Even if they win in one country, there’s no way that the rest of the world will buy it (especially not in countries where vaccine-preventable diseases are still an everyday concern). Research and production can move elsewhere if necessary.

  14. #14 Calli Arcale
    May 26, 2008

    Just to throw this into the mix. As a journalist checking this shambles since 1998. It’s interesting that the first two facts thrown at me by government didn’t stand up. The first was that MMR has eradicated measles. Check the ONS figures back to 1890 and you’ll see that the measles problem was solving itself nicely without intervention.

    *sigh* She’s right — thanks to modern medicine (the same thing that brought us vaccines), measles deaths dropped off dramatically prior to the introduction of the vaccine. Kids who were so severely injured by measles that they would otherwise have died, survived. Sure, lots of them were blind, deaf, or had extensive neurological damage (worse than autism), but they were alive. Which is good, but wouldn’t it be even better if they were healthy and could live prosperous lives?

    Today, thanks to the measles vaccine, children can avoid measles entirely. Fact is, immediate death isn’t the only bad thing a disease can bring. It can leave you alive but crippled. For those who believe that vaccines cause autism, I have to wonder why it is they think that the risk of crippling problems is worse than autism. Perhaps they do not understand just what autism really is. They certainly do not understand how much damage these diseases can do without killing a person, which is why they are doing such a poor job of the risk-benefit analysis of vaccines.

  15. #15 has
    May 26, 2008

    I fear the worst, I really do. I think the antivaxers are winning.

    If you define “winning” as “screaming and bullshitting long and loud enough that it drowns out the informed, reasoned arguments of the opposition”, then sure. Because that’s not a battle you can win without sinking to their level too; remember, you can’t reason folk out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

    What you can do is 1. do your best to educate those who can be reached with the tools you’ve got to work with (knowledge and reason), and 2. ensure that those beyond knowledge and reason are held responsible for the harm they do.

    With respect to #2, here’s a couple of things I’d like to see happen:

    – Just as vaccine manufacturers maintain a fund to cover those injured by adverse reactions to vaccination, parents who can’t or won’t vaccinate their kids without genuine medical reason should be required to pay into a fund to help cover increased public healthcare costs due to disease outbreaks and to compensate all those injured by vaccine-preventable diseases. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all. Alternatively, think of it as being like motor insurance for the drivers of stupid.

    – Given the potential of schools to become serious disease reservoirs, public schools should refuse to admit all unvaccinated children, with the exception of those who genuinely can’t be vaccinated for genuine medical reasons. If the antivaxers don’t want to fulfil their side of the social contract then they don’t deserve to freeload on it either, especially when it’s at others’ expense. Private schools should be free to determine their own admissions policies, of course, with those that accept unvaccinated kids being required to pay into the aforementioned insurance fund.

    If people want to be dangerously irresponsible, that’s their choice. They can and should should be held accountable for the consequences of their actions, however.

  16. #16 Orac
    May 26, 2008

    I think it’s important for me to emphasize here that, as evil as war is, sometimes it is necessary. In other words, sometimes war is the lesser of two evils, even with all its horrors. World War II is the example that comes to mind.

  17. #17 Mary
    May 27, 2008

    lots of them were blind, deaf, or had extensive neurological damage (worse than autism), but they were alive. Which is good, but wouldn’t it be even better if they were healthy and could live prosperous lives?

    I’m one of them, one of the ones who became adventitiously deaf as the jargon has it at the ripe age of 2. Apart from that, I am healthy and I do live etc. But, I take your point. Education for children with sensory or other disabilities was a bad joke until comparatively recently, and that is for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in countries that both care about and invest in such matters.

  18. #18 Oatmeal
    May 27, 2008

    Dr Aust, I shall follow our host’s lead and respectfully add to your disagreement with Sally Beck.

    Not the ONS figures, but I have taken a look at the records of HPA mortality figures for measles 1940-2006 (pink line is notifications, black line is deaths; PHA tabulated figures for some period). When we look at the figures we can follow the trends for the introduction of measles vaccination in the UK and the introduction of the MMR in 1988. Note the downward drift from:
    *high six figure notifications down to low four figure numbers
    *mortality rates in 3 figures to 2 and then single digits.
    We can see the loss of the cycling pattern that the disease seemed to follow.

  19. #19 Woobegone
    May 27, 2008

    “If people want to be dangerously irresponsible, that’s their choice.”

    I’m not sure it is, actually. Remember that people aren’t making the decision about whether they themselves should be vaccinated – they’re deciding on behalf of someone else (their child), so it’s not a case of making an informed choice and accepting the consequences. To not vaccinate your child is to put them, and millions of other people, at risk of injury or death. It’s not a personal lifestyle choice!

    I fear that there’s no way to make vaccination compulsory in practice, the backlash would be too great, but in theory, I think it probably should be.

  20. #20 Andrew Dodds
    May 27, 2008

    Woobegone –

    Hate to say this, but it was in Nigeria where the anti-vacination loonies managed to stop Polio from being eradicated.

  21. #21 Daniel Rendall
    May 27, 2008

    Congratulations, you have motivated me to write my *second ever* letter to a politician :-). In it, I draw Lord Hodgson’s attention to the use of celebrity PR campaigns by the anti-vaccinationist lobby and ask him what he proposes to do to ensure that both sides of the issue are fairly and proportionately represented.

    I feel almost good about myself…

  22. #22 Calli Arcale
    May 27, 2008

    “Education for children with sensory or other disabilities was a bad joke until comparatively recently, and that is for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in countries that both care about and invest in such matters.”

    I hope I did not cause any offense, Mary. I certainly did not mean to suggest that it is worse to be deaf than autistic. I’m not sure which would be worse. They’re *different*. What I was thinking of as “worse” would be the kids who had really serious central nervous system damage, resulting in profound mental retardation. A condition similar to autism, ironically enough, but potentially much more severe. (Those being the children who narrowly escaped death.)

    I have a friend who is legally blind, and it’s frustrating enough to see how few services he can receive, in part because he sees well enough that people don’t realize he’s blind. (He can navigate a room, assuming it’s well lit, and can read as long as the lighting is good, the print is large, and his nose is within a few inches of the paper. He’s also a musician, which means he memorizes everything he plays and typically learns by ear.) Insurance providers will not cover the surgery that could give him useful vision, because it is considered elective. Even though things have improved recently, with schools in the past few years being required to provide accommodations to students with disabilities, treatment of sensory disabilities is considered a luxury. Which is ridiculous, of course.

    I’m glad you were able to succeed. You must have a strong character. ;-)

  23. #23 Mary
    May 27, 2008

    I hope I did not cause any offense, Mary.

    Not in the least. It’s just been on my mind lately because there is a melt-down in progress of a well-known UK company that offered a ‘cure’ for dyslexia, dyspraxia, ASD etc..I keep reading desperate comments from parents of children with various learning disabilities etc. who seem to have bought into the publicity that it is not possible for a child to make progress, benefit from an education etc. Yet, there are so many people with learning disabilities who have gone on to acquire scads of academic qualifications and hold very responsible positions. It reminds me of a lot of the knowledge and beliefs that people used to have about what children with sensory or physical disabilities could achieve: although, there, the problem may have been more with the enforced limitations of the restricted educational opportunities that were available than the children themselves.

    Insurance providers will not cover the surgery that could give him useful vision, because it is considered elective.

    Good grief. I can’t begin to fathom the reasoning involved in that decision.

    And yes, not to under-cut my own point, I do think that people like the lifestyle journalist who blithely dismiss the seriousness of acquiring deafness, loss of vision, serious 2ndary bacterial infections etc. as a consequence of vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses, have no idea what they are talking about and are abusing the power of their very public platform.

  24. #24 has
    May 27, 2008

    “If people want to be dangerously irresponsible, that’s their choice.”

    I’m not sure it is, actually.

    I didn’t say it was a good choice to make. It’s no different to driving dangerously on public roads, or running with scissors. Hopefully, the folks who choose to act that way only hurt themselves when it all goes wrong, but where their actions cause injury to others then their victims should be compensated appropriately.

    I fear that there’s no way to make vaccination compulsory in practice, the backlash would be too great, but in theory, I think it probably should be.

    Theory is all well and good, but in practice you can’t legislate for good public behaviour any more than you can legislate for common sense. That’s just not the way the world works, and the more you try to force it on people the more they rebel against it. Anti-vaxers, like religious fundamentalists and other ego-driven manipulators, love to feel under attack as it feeds their victim/martyr complexes and provides an excuse for their own aggression, making them even stronger.

    You can, however, hold badly behaved individuals fully accountable for the harm they cause to their fellow citizens. It may not change their behaviour, but neither would legislation. It will teach them something about cause and effect, however, and their position in it.

  25. #25 Prometheus
    May 27, 2008

    One of the advantages to getting the measles (or MMR) vaccine is that you don’t have to worry about Subacute Sclerosing Pan-Encephalitis (SSPE).

    This is a rare complication of “wild-type” measles (not seen in the live-virus measles vaccine) and – in the “good old days” before an effective measles vaccine – happened to about one child in 10,000 to 30,000 who came down with measles. SSPE is still with us – there were eight (8) cases of SSPE in Argentina following the 1998 measles outbreak there and two (2) documented SSPE cases in Croatia in 2002.

    One of the things that makes SSPE so horrifying is that it takes a long time to develop. The cases in Argentina showed up four years after the children had measles (they had it when they were less than a year old) and the Croatian cases developed four and seven years afterwards.

    In all of these cases, the children suffering from SSPE (which is incurable, progressive and devastating) had measles before the age when the vaccine is recommended – when they were six to ten months of age.

    The only protection children of this age have is the “herd immunity”. If that fails, expect to see more cases of SSPE. I wonder what the people who say “Measles is no big deal – it’s a benign disease of childhood!” would say to the children whose brains are being slowly destroyed by SSPE?

    Of course, someone will inevitably say something like, “Well, SSPE affects one in 10,000 children – autism affects one in 150!” Ah, but while we know that SSPE is caused by the (wild type) measles virus, the data linking autism and the measles vaccine is not very good. In fact, the data linking the MMR vaccine and autism is somewhere between poor and non-existent.

    So, will people be more worried about the known chance that measles will kill or disable someone they care about (assuming that they are indifferent to the suffering of people they don’t know) or will they be more concerned about the unknown (and unsupported) fear that the vaccine will cause autism?

    Only time will tell.

    Prometheus

  26. #26 FlammableFlower
    May 29, 2008

    To add to Prometheus’s comments – my wife recalls looking after a child with SSPE who had had measles aged two and seemed to have no ill effects until some six years later, she then suffered gradual mental deterioration over several years and was diagnosed with SSPE. She was eventually hospitalised unable to walk or feed herself unaided, she then died after a year in hospital.

  27. #27 Catherina
    May 29, 2008

    and there is the case of the unvaccinated preteen who infected 9 babies with measles in a doctor’s office in Germany in 2000, two of whom have come down with SSPE since (a boy, Micha, in 2005 and a girl in 2007).

  28. #28 Mary Parsons
    May 29, 2008

    Catherina, what a shocking case, do you have a reference/link please? It might be useful to have it to counter the upcoming media nonsense in the UK.

  29. #29 DT
    May 29, 2008

    Catherina posted some links about Micha on Leftbrainrightbrain.
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=751#comment-47752

    Its in German – dunno what it says.

  30. #30 Sarah Slade
    June 1, 2008

    Over the past couple of months, some nine Southwark schools have reported outbreaks of measles. Add to this the fact that only 63% of Southwark two-year olds have the MMR vaccine, and that’s all the proof I need (my kid’s all jabbed up, btw)

  31. #31 Jim Witte
    June 21, 2008

    “One of the advantages to getting the measles (or MMR) vaccine is that you don’t have to worry about Subacute Sclerosing Pan-Encephalitis (SSPE) [..] The only protection children of this [6-10 mos] have is the “herd immunity”. If that fails, expect to see more cases of SSPE. I wonder what the people”

    What about getting immunity from your mother either in utero or through breastmilk?

    That of course assumes the mother has permanent immunity, which I’m not sure is provided by MMR. InsideVaccines (“Measles: The Grim Reality” [1]) states that the death rate from measles between 1953 and 1963 averaged 450 per year, courtesy of the CDC’s own information:

    “Before measles immunization was available, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles. An average of 450 measles-associated deaths were reported each year between 1953 and 1963.”
    -source, CDC [2])

    As for the current serious effect stats, it also states:

    “In the U.S., up to 20 percent of persons with measles are hospitalized [..] some persons with measles develop encephalitis resulting in brain damage. (2)”

    It does not state what time period this is talking about, but it may be safe to assume it was not pre-MMR. From the CDC’s “Pink Book”:

    “Before 1963 [..] the actual number of cases was estimated at 3-4 million annually. (3)”

    If 20% of these children were being hospitalized, I think we would have heard about it, even back before 1963. Meanwhile, the CDC Pink Book also states about the current death rate for unvaccinated children:

    “In addition, measles susceptibility of infants younger than
    1 year of age may have increased. During the 1989-1991
    measles resurgence, incidence rates for infants were more
    than twice as high as those in any other age group. (3)”

    So does this mean that measles has actually gotten more deadly now than it was before MMR? It goes on to say:

    “The mothers of many infants who developed measles were
    young, and their measles immunity was most often due to
    vaccination rather than infection with wild virus. As a
    result, a smaller amount of antibody was transferred across
    the placenta to the fetus, compared with antibody transfer
    from mothers who had higher antibody titers resulting from
    wild-virus infection. (3)”

    So, measles antibody is transferred from mother to child, assuming that the mother is immune, and the virus has not mutated much or at all. I am not an immunologist, so I don’t know how much cross-strain protection is provided by the immunity generated as a result of wild-virus infection.

    Furthermore, the Pink Book goes on to state that: “The increase in measles in 1989-1991 was not limited to
    the United States. (3)”

    Does this mean that measles is getting more virulent (and perhaps more deadly) everywhere, not just in the United States? I doesn’t say.

    “Since the antibody responses in these children who had previously been stimulated by measles antigen were modest and transient, it is suggested that booster immunization may not be effective in preventing future secondary vaccine failures. (4)”

    So MMR-induced immunity is not permanent. Are all adults immune? I don’t know. If they are not immune anymore, they are not passing immunity on to their children – either wild-virus induced immunity, or MMR-based immunity, which may or may not be of the same quality. As I said, I am not an immunologist, but it seems likely to me that the quality of immunity of a aluminum-induced immune response to the virus in MMR, and to a live virus is not the same. I don’t know which is better though. I don’t think we should be *so* arrogant to consider that MMR-based immunity is automatically better, as it was only this in the past year that we finally figured out how aluminum in vaccines works as an adjuvunct by inducing hyperuricemia and thus activating inflammatory dendritic cells :

    “The enhancing effects of alum on both cellular and humoral immunity were completely abolished when CD11c+ monocytes and DCs were conditionally depleted during immunization. DC-driven responses were abolished after uric immunologist uricase treatment implying the induction of uric acid. These findings suggest that alum adjuvant in immunogenic by exploiting ‘nature’s adjuvant,’ the inflammatory DC through induction of the endogenous danger signal uric acid. (5)”

    So, leaving that aside (and evidence that hyperuricemia, at least in rats, can induce mitochondrial dysfunction and cerebral oxidative stress [6]), I conclude with the question: Are we perhaps doing more harm than good with the MMR vaccine by inducing only transient immunity in children, thus potentially creating a population of non-immune or incompletely-immune adults which may or may not be capable of transferring natural immunity to their children as has been going on for generations before the introduction of MMR?

    Does this have implications for other vaccines, especially for usually benign infections such as chickenpox? I had chicken-pox. I’m sure it itched like hell, but I don’t remember it, and now I (more or less, I think) permanent immunity. There is evidence that re-exposure to CP virus by adults who are already immune to it boosts immunity to re-activation of the VZV virus and therefore increases protection from shingles emergence (7, 8).

    To come back again to measles and MMR, or more specifically the first ‘M’ of MMR, it appears that we may have made what was once a common infection that *sometimes* caused death. But remember, lots of people die in car accidents too. As Kirk of Star Trek might have said about life, it’s a risky business..

    Given the (possibly questionable) increases in actual autism rates, the (less questionable) increases in special education rates, a drastic increase in the incidence of life-threatening allergies in children, most notably allergies to the peanut (9), asthma rates, possible rises in rates of childhood autoimmune disorders (10, 11), and perhaps even childhood cancer rates.

    It is worth remembering that even though the CDC recently recommends simultanous vaccination in it’s 2008 draft recommendations (12), it admits in *the same report* that they are such practice is usually “incompletely studied at time of licensure” (13).

    Are we perhaps being just a *bit* arrogant about what we do, and don’t know about the immune system (14)?

    (1) “Measles: The Grim Reality”, http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/?p=65

    (2) CDC “What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccines” – measles section, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm#measles

    (3) CDC “Pink Book”, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/meas.pdf

    (4) “Measles Revaccination: Persistence and degree of antibody titer by type of immune response”, http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/132/3/287

    (5) “Alum adjuvant boosts adaptive immunity by inducing uric acid and activating Inflammatory dendritic cells.” Kool, Mirjam et al. April 14, 2008 J. Exp. Med. 205(4): 869 (PDF available upon request)

    (6) “Cerebral oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in oxonate-induced hyperuricemic mice.” Watanabe, Sastoshe et al. 2006 J. Health Science. 52(6): 730 (PDF available upon request)

    (7) “Immunization to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes zoster and its complications.” Oxman MN. 1995 Neurology. 45(12 Supp 8):S41

    “Hope-Simpson proposed that host immunity controls reactivation of latent VZV and limits the spread of reactivated virus [.. and] suggested that this immunity may be boosted periodically by exogenous exposure to children with varicella”

    citing Hope-Simpson in (8),

    “Each time that a person who has had varicella again encounters an infectious case of varicella [..] he may again come into effective contact with the virus, and the result may be a ‘boost’ to his immunity, reversing the decline in his antibody and so postponing the liability to zoster until
    immunity again wanes.”

    (8) “The Nature of Herpes Zoster: A Long-term Study and a New Hypothesis.” Hope-Simpson RE. 1965 Proc R Soc Med. 58(1):9

    (9) “Progress in peanut allergy research: Are we closer to a cure?” Leung, Donald and Bock, Allan. 2003 J Allergy and Clin Immunol 112(1):12

    “Thirty years ago, the allergy literature contained very few articles on peanut allergy [..] With more than a million Americans [in 2003] with peanut allergy, this subject has become an important public health issue.”

    (10) Testimony of Dr. Phillip Incao to Rep. Dal Van Vyven of Ohio, 1999. http://www.whale.to/m/incao.html, accessed May 28, 2008

    “31% of U.S. children today suffer from a chronic condition and that the rate of disability from such chronic conditions in children has seen nearly a fourfold increase since 1960 ought to seriously challenge our medical research establishment.”

    (11) ibid; “Since vaccinations have a lasting effect on the immune system, and since it is known that many vaccines shift the balance of the immune system away from its acutely-reacting “Th1″ side and toward its chronically-reacting “Th2″ side, it is a very plausible scenario that vaccines are contributing greatly to the large-scale and unprecedented increase in chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, diabetes and a wide range of neurological dysfunctions including learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, seizures and autism in U.S. children today.”

    (12) http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/00_pdf/draft_agenda_recommendations_080404.pdf, accessed May 28, 2008

    [in table] “Multiple vaccinations” .. “ACIP recommends simultaneous vaccination, unless contraindications are present (CDC, ACIP General Recommendations, 2006)”

    (13) ibid; [in table] “Multiple vaccinations” .. “Usually simultaneous vaccination is incompletely studied at time of licensure”

    (14) http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/howms.html, accessed May 28, 2008. (author unknown) “The immune system is an incredibly complicated “organ” with many strands to its bow and is very poorly understood. Much of what is known derives from recent work done in the last 10 years or so.

    A friend of mine who is an immunologist working in the field said, ‘We are all very proud of ourselves because we have mapped out a metaphorical area the size of my back garden but that has only made us realise that the whole metaphorical immune system is the size of London’.”

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