Respectful Insolence

Oprah Winfrey supports quackery.

That has been richly demonstrated over the last few years, particularly with her gauzy, praise-filled segments featuring such pro-woo luminaries as Jenny McCarthy, her frequently having physicians boosters of “alternative medicine” like Mehmet Oz and Christiane Northrup on her show, and her tight embrace of New Age “spirituality.”

Alarmed at the antivaccination nonsense being pushed on Oprah’s show, Every Child By Two has been circulating an e-mail:

Please Take The Time To Contact The Oprah Winfrey Show

It has been quite some time since Every Child By Two (ECBT) has asked you to take action on an issue related to immunizations. I write to you today with an urgent request for your assistance in reaching out to the Oprah Winfrey Show to urge that she dedicate a show to the science behind the question of whether vaccines cause autism.

More than fourteen credible studies have been conducted worldwide exonerating vaccines and yet the media and entertainment industry continue to frame this as a debate. ECBT and our public health partners have reached out to Oprah’s producers countless times without success. However, I recently had a lengthy conversation with one of the producers who recommended that we initiate a letter writing campaign by commenting within the Oprah.com feedback section of the website. This information is tabulated to determine whether there is enough interest to conduct follow up shows.

I urge you to take five minutes to fill out the Oprah Winfrey Show online form by following the link below. In your comments, please request that Oprah invite credible scientists and/or physicians to explain the science of vaccines to her viewers. We also would like her to invite parents who have suffered the loss of a child from a vaccine-preventable disease, and a parent of an autistic child who can speak on behalf of the many families that are frustrated over the continued focus on vaccines and their supposed link to autism and the therapies that focus on “repairing vaccine damage”. Please relate any personal experiences you may have with vaccine-preventable diseases or autism. In addition, please refer the Oprah Winfrey Show to Amy Pisani, Executive Director of Every Child By Two, for any follow-up questions. My phone number is (860) 443-1166.

And finally, please forward this to your family and friends and request that they also reach out to the Oprah Winfrey Show.

https://www.oprah.com/ord/plugform.jsp?plugId=215

Amy Pisani
Executive Director
Every Child By Two
(860) 443-1166
www.ecbt.org
www.vaccinateyourbaby.org

A number of readers have been asking for my reaction to this. Before I try once again to end yet another streak of posts about vaccines, I thought I’d give it to them and you. My reaction may surprise you. Or not.

I think this is a very, very bad idea and a waste of time. I’m sorry, but I do. ECBT should put its efforts into other P.R. campaigns than this, because it’s far more likely to blow up in its face.

I realize I’m probably in the minority in this viewpoint. Indeed, Kevin Leitch, whom I greatly respect, for instance, is strongly supportive of this move, and several other blogs have also weighed in supporting this effort. Also, I hate to criticize ECBT because it’s doing good work. Even so, trying to get a pro-vaccine advocate on Oprah’s show is far more likely to backfire than it is to do any good.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the infamous account published on James Randi’s website about what happened when one skeptic appeared on the show. Because she had no real media experience, she was completely blindsided by woo-friendly producers and Oprah’s disparaging attitude towards skeptics. Consider that Oprah is clearly a believer in The Secret, that horrible mish-mash of New Age mumbo-jumbo that tells people that they can have anything if they just want it badly enough. Then there’s also her friendliness towards dubious “alternative medicine” as demonstrated by her frequent invitations to Drs. Christiane Northrup and Mehmet Oz.

Let’s not forget, too, that Oprah’s had anti-vaccine bubble brain Jenny McCarthy on her show (twice!) spewing nonsense about vaccines and autism, as well as pushing biomedical quackery for autistic children. Now that Jenny has claimed magical religious healing powers over autism, it wouldn’t surprise me to see her on Oprah’s show again, perhaps teamed with the same woo-meisters who brought us The Secret.

No, I really do think that trying to get a pro-vaccine celebrity and/or group on The Oprah Winfrey Show is almost certainly a complete waste of time and effort. Even if ECBT succeeded, very likely the pro-vaccine contingent would be paired with Jenny McCarthy or even Dr. Jay Gordon, and if they didn’t like it, well…they could just take a hike. After all, science-based medical advice is not what Oprah’s audience wants, and Oprah always caters to her audience.

I understand the desire to want to believe that Oprah is not beyond hope when it comes to turning away from woo and anti-vaccine fringe celebrities like Jenny McCarthy. I understand the potential positive outcome in the unlikely event that Oprah could be pulled back from the brink of antivaccine pseudoscience. It’s a beautifully optimistic viewpoint, all full of wanting to think only the best of people. In the real world, though, things rarely work out that way. Oprah has demonstrated time and time again that she is not science-based and most definitely not a critical thinker. Worse, at least when it comes to “alternative medicine” and New Age gibberish, she shows no signs of even wanting to hear a science-based viewpoint. Given that, the audience she’s attracted is about as science-based as she is (in other words, not science-based at all). It’s highly unlikely that, even if Oprah did give a platform to ECBT, it would end up promoting vaccination in the way that ECBT desires.

ADDENDUM: If you want to see what a “very special” episode of Oprah’s show about vaccines would look like, look at these two posts by antivaccine bloggers, who are salivating at the prospect of a “debate” with provaccine scientists moderated by Oprah:

I urge Ms. Pisani to let this misguided attempt to get on Oprah to drop. It’s exactly what the antivaccinationists want. They know Oprah won’t be able to resist bringing David Kirby or other spokespersons from the antivaccine side, and they know that in any such “debate” the deck will be stacked. They’ll get to rant at whatever poor sacrificial lamb (I mean pro-vaccine scientist) agrees to appear, and they’ll be able to give the impression that there is a real scientific debate when there is not. It’ll be the Gish gallop applied to vaccines.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    October 21, 2008

    Oh noes! An em tag has escaped into the wild! Someone stop it before it runs amok in the woo!

  2. #2 dean
    October 21, 2008

    I’ve always considered Oprah’s show to be little more than Jerry Springer with better-dressed audiences and guests who were more well-spoken but not more intelligent than Springer’s, so I second your opinion that she is beyond hope, both intellectually and in terms of integrity.
    I do have a question about others: I’ll buy that Jenny McCarthy isn’t very bright, and that her initial feelings at having an autistic child may very well have influenced her later foolish decisions. But what about the big movers and shakers in the anti-science movement – take Deidre Imus, for instance. I go back and forth, trying to decide whether she’s just not very bright, or whether she is simply an evil person, knowingly spreading lies to move her agenda along. Her belief in crystal power and other crap leads me, some days, to believe she’s just really stupid, but her comments about how cancer studies have been designed to “miss the real causes of cancer” lead me to the latter.

  3. #3 Skeptico
    October 21, 2008

    I agree 100% and for the reasons you gave. An appearance on Oprah, rigged against them by Oprah and her producers, would do more harm than good.

  4. #4 Lucas McCarty
    October 21, 2008

    In hilarious Oprah-related news, a prankster successfully trolled Oprah’s messageboard pretending to be a pedophile. The post contained several well-known internet memes associated with Anonymous, eBaumsworld and 4chan and Oprah actually read part of it out live on her show.

    Now either her staff are really old, internet-ignorant or deliberately passed it onto her out of resentment. Quote: “I am part of a well-known pedophile organisation. We do not forgive, we do not forget. We have over 9000 penises and they are all raping children”

    What sounds like a sick pedo is actually someone deliberately trying to provoke a reaction from Oprah and they got one. After she read it out, it became an instant YouTube hit and so did the many versions of the remix it spawned. Basically, she is an utter tool.

  5. #5 Liz Ditz
    October 21, 2008

    Orac, you may be correct in your assessment that Winfrey would torpedo any effort to present the pro-vaccine viewpoint as reasonable. As Kristina Chew observes,

    I kind of suspect that a TV show like Oprah might try to frame the purported (not-supported-by-the-science) vaccine-autism link as a “debate”—between, for instance, scientists vs. parents—when there is no debate about the science.

    That “framing” is exactly what Ginger Taylor, anti-vaccinationist advocate, proposed in her blog post.

    All that said, I still think it is worth the effort for people to write into the Oprah program, to show the flag, so to speak: that there are many, many parents

    of an autistic child who can speak on behalf of the many families that are frustrated over the continued focus on vaccines and their supposed link to autism and the therapies that focus on “repairing vaccine damage”.

    If such parents don’t speak up, only the mercury militia will be heard.

    That was phrased badly. Of course, there are many such parents who do speak up — go read the Autism Hub for examples.

    What I meant to say, this campaign is both a prompt and opportunity for parents to let the Winfrey organization know that there are differing points of view out there.

  6. #6 MC
    October 21, 2008

    Oprah has close ties to Jenny McCarthy–Jenny has helped Oprah promote the “in the moment” philosophy on special videos on Oprah’s site. The idea of a fair show seems remote.

    The ratings for a “Battle of the Celebrities” would be a great draw and, yes, very Jerry Springer like.

    I think there are other shows that would have a better chance of doing right by this subject. The Good Morning America show on autism did a very good job, I thought (no, I am not thinking of the shows where Jenny McCarthy plugged her book, but this one:
    http://autismlibrary.org/blog/good-morning-america-does-autism/

    As shown by the Amanda Peet press conference by ECBT, the idea of “vaccinate your baby” alone doesn’t gather much press interest. Yes, we are still in a country that thinks vaccination is a good idea. But, for the ratings hungry, does it makes sense to do a story of a family losing a child to a vaccine preventable disease and someone talking about how no, his/her autistic child was not a result of vaccines?

  7. #7 Andreas Schaefer
    October 21, 2008

    off-topic
    http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/081021.html
    re acupuncture

    with no TV and living outside America I am spared Oprah – though not all idiocies of woo.

  8. #8 Karl Withakay
    October 21, 2008

    + infinity on your post.

    That’s just asking someone to go into a lion’s den with the deck stacked against them. (sorry for the mixed metaphors)

    It’s like going on the Howard Stern show to promote decency in broadcasting or the Rush Limbaugh show to promote a liberal agenda: you can not come out a winner.

    Ask Richard Saunders how well his experience as the skeptic on the TV show “The One: The Search for Australia’s Most Gifted Psychic” went.

  9. #9 Lora
    October 21, 2008

    I can see the idea of having parents of children who died of preventable diseases talk to Oprah. I don’t see how she could manage to make them look bad without at the same time appearing horribly insensitive. It’s one thing to make an expert sound like Pure Evil, quite another to vilify grieving parents.

  10. #10 Michael
    October 21, 2008

    I find Oprah to be extremely intelligent and she does have some great shows. Just today she had on a brain scientist from Harvard who gave a brilliant talk about strokes and had personally had one.

  11. #11 Orac
    October 21, 2008

    I find Oprah to be extremely intelligent and she does have some great shows.

    None of those shows happen to be shows about medicine or vaccines, however. She’s also seriously into woo, namely The Secret, perhaps the greatest scam I’ve seen in a long time.

  12. #12 stupid burns
    October 21, 2008

    I could’t agree more with Orac. Oprah is in the tank for everything Hollywood and woo. The audience would be filled with woo-parents of autistic children…Can’t you just get a flavor of that “Be On the Show” description? They’d be lining up weeks before to get a seat and a free shot at the pro-science guests.

  13. #13 llewelly
    October 21, 2008

    I find Oprah to be extremely intelligent and she does have some great shows.

    Sadly that doesn’t stop her from believing in all sorts of ridiculous ‘alternative medicine’, The Secret, and other garbage.
    She definitely belongs in the ‘why intelligent people believe weird things’ case study files.

  14. #14 sophia8
    October 21, 2008

    In hilarious Oprah-related news, a prankster successfully trolled Oprah’s messageboard pretending to be a pedophile. The post contained several well-known internet memes associated with Anonymous, eBaumsworld and 4chan and Oprah actually read part of it out live on her show.
    Sounds like she would have made a great guest on Chris Morris’ Brass Eye Paedophile Special.

  15. #15 TexDoc
    October 21, 2008

    I’m with Orac on this. Why piss into the wind in a circus forum?

  16. #16 Bronze Dog
    October 22, 2008

    Can’t agree more, Orac.

  17. #17 Jay Gordon
    October 22, 2008

    I’ll see what I can do to promote a fair balance of panelists favoring the current vaccine schedule and those opposing that schedule.

    Pairing a family who have suffered fatal illness “versus” a family who believe their child developed autism because of vaccination might make good television, but representing only those two ends of the curve does not promote good communication and information.

    And, of all people, I can promote the “pro-vaccine” point of view as reasonable. I like my modifications and flexible schedules far better, though. I tell parents in my practice (and whenever I speak or write) that 99% of experts and physicians disagree with me and disagree strongly. This should give them pause before they listen to my ideas and experience without serious thought to the “other side.”

    Best,

    Jay

  18. #18 colmcq
    October 22, 2008

    It may be hard to win a debate with the cards stacked against you, but certainly not impossible! Do you think that with enough briefing a pro-vax advocate could pull off a spectacular victory? Am I being too ideoligical?

  19. #19 Orac
    October 22, 2008

    I like my modifications and flexible schedules far better,
    though.

    That’s nice.

    Based on what science?

  20. #20 mike stanton
    October 22, 2008

    “99% of experts and physicians disagree with me.”

    I think you will find it is rather more thsn that. How many doctors are actually using your schedule?

  21. #21 TheProbe
    October 22, 2008

    I differ somewhat. based on discussions I have had with several old friends who are practising medicine in Dr. Jay’s locale, I feel it safe to say that Dr. Jay does not practice in the *real world*. I would suspect that, like my friends tell me, many of the patients are into some form of alternative treatment and/or woo. One friend relates a story of where a patient who had an ORIF due to distal leg fractures, is convinced her healing was due to plants and herbs she had taken during the surgical recovery period.

    I suspect that if a patient of Dr. Jay’s wants the tried, true and scientifically proven vaccine schedule, he will not refuse their request. If they reject that, and agree to a modified schedule, then that is better than doing nothing.

    Where I take exception, however, is any promotion by any practitioner of an alternative schedule. I see no justification in that, and I consider that to be wrong.

  22. #22 TheProbe
    October 22, 2008

    As for the question of getting a clearly pro-vaccine advocate or three on Oprah…

    It depends on who the experts are, and whether they are ready to be ambushed. Ambushing the ambushers would be the best tactic.

  23. #23 Shawn Shelton
    October 22, 2008

    Dammit, Orac, you’d be perfect for this job!

  24. #24 Orac
    October 22, 2008

    No, really I wouldn’t. I’m not particularly telegenic, and my writing is definitely way, way better than what I can do live giving a talk or in a debate. As Dirty Harry said in Magnum Force, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know mine. I’m a serviceable speaker but not outstanding, and I’m not that great a debater (except in writing and on blogs, where I’m very good indeed).

    If my “real life” schedule weren’t so hairy, I’d consider joining Toastmasters or doing some other public speaking course, because if I’m ever to take this whole skepticism thing to the next level beyond pseudonymous blogging (as Steve Novella, for example, has), I really, really need to improve my public speaking and debate skills.

  25. #25 Joe
    October 22, 2008

    Scientists are all over the place on such questions. It comes up regularly in the creation/evolution troubles (The Gish Gallop referred-to is named for a creationist). I tend to oppose debating, for a couple reasons.

    First, debating gives the false impression that there is a controversy. If there were a controversy, it would be decided by accumulation of more facts. Scientific arguments serve to home-in on which new experiments are needed.

    Second, I don’t believe the general public can weigh technical matters and come to the right conclusions.

    For those reasons, in the summer of 2005 no scientist showed up to argue against the creationists in a “hearing” for the state board of education in Kansas.

    There is also a problem that is specific to Oprah. Which Michael Shermer learned when he appeared on the show with a budding psychic. After the psychic gave a spot-on reading for a woman in the audience, Shermer pointed-out that the woman was an invited guest of the psychic. That statement never aired.

  26. #26 anonimouse
    October 22, 2008

    Oprah has promoted vaccines in the past – so she’s clearly not beyond hope:

    http://www.i-cmg.com/index.php/pg-taps-oprah-and-salma-heyek-for-pampers-vaccine-promotion/

    While I certainly agree that Oprah’s far more likely to promote woo than not, I wonder how ECBT plans to reach that audience otherwise? Let’s face it – daytime talkers reach a wide audience (mainly female) that is prone to believing this crap.

  27. #27 Clare
    October 22, 2008

    Having read the Randi piece that Orac linked to, I have to agree that it would be a mistake to try to go on the show. To an anthropologist, the shows sound very much like ritual events that are more important for staging contests between the believers and their opponents, and enjoying the inevitable “victory,” than giving issues a serious airing. Disrupting the ritual of Oprah is about as likely as being able to disrupt the rituals of any other religion one can think of….

  28. #28 Patrick
    October 22, 2008

    Perhaps they could afford to have their public service announcements run during that show? If it weren’t prohibitively expensive?

    I’m just thinking about reaching that same target audience without invoking the emotional responses the main show might try to.

  29. #29 Prometheus
    October 22, 2008

    A quote from Dr. Jay:

    “…99% of experts and physicians disagree with me and disagree strongly.”

    As someone mentioned above, I think that number should be more like 99.9% – I doubt that one physician or scientist in a thousand agrees with Dr. Jay. Not even the other “alternative practitioners” (who all have their own “special” schedules which are based on their vast personal experience).

    But the point I really want to make is that Dr. Jay’s “experience” is – by his own admission – built on a practice consisting of parents who didn’t snatch up their child and run out of his office when he told them that.

    Think about it – would you take your car to be fixed by a mechanic who said “99% of all mechanics disagree with the way I repair cars.”? Would you want to take the advice of a lawyer, engineer or arborist who bragged that their professional judgment was condemned by 99% of their colleagues?

    Yet, here we have Dr. Jay Gordon telling us to follow the “experience” he has gained from listening to the “personal narratives” of parents who apparently can’t see a problem with that. Clearly, Dr. Jay’s “experience” isn’t applicable to the general population – at least, I sincerely hope that most parents have more sense than that.

    The more Dr. Jay expounds on his experience, the more I realize how skewed, atypical and useless it is.

    Prometheus

  30. #30 HCN
    October 22, 2008

    Prometheus said “But the point I really want to make is that Dr. Jay’s “experience” is – by his own admission – built on a practice consisting of parents who didn’t snatch up their child and run out of his office when he told them that.”

    Dr. Jay had the temerity to ask if the kid I had with a seizure disorder who was denied protection from pertussis was ever vaccinated. Excuse me, but what kind of pediatrician does not know of the existence of either the DT or Td vaccines?

    Okay, perhaps the kind who gets stuck on an escalator.

    Or more accurately one who does not keep up with the medical literature, and does not deal in the same kind of world most of us do. One of the reasons his patients don’t run screaming out of his office when he tells them the vast majority of the medical world does not agree with him is that he practice is a demographic of the undereducated wealthy glitterati.

  31. #31 Laser Potato
    October 22, 2008

    “…99% of experts and physicians disagree with me and disagree strongly.”



    nope, too easy.

  32. #32 James Randi
    October 22, 2008

    I regret to say that I cannot see any hope for fair treatment on the Oprah show. My own experiences there speak for themselves; the producers are ONLY interested in controversy, and in perpetuating Ms. Winfrey’s delusions.

  33. #33 grenouille
    October 22, 2008

    I also wonder how Dr. Gordon continues to accept anecdote and belief as fact. It seems that he got in serious trouble awhile back by believing a mother whose views disagreed with 99.9% of the experts.

    Did that tragic experience teach him nothing? Doesn’t he ever wonder if hitching his wagon to Jenny might turn out just as horribly?

  34. #34 Ms. Clark
    October 22, 2008

    I got the impression from something that Dr. Jay wrote that he figured that since the California medical board didn’t think he deserved to have his license revoked related to the death of Maggiore’s daughter, then he was just ok.

    I mean, just pull a cutesy face, stick your bottom lip out, say “ooops” and “gosh oh golly, I’m sorry,” and it’s all cool, even the needless death of Eliza Jane from AIDS.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Maggiore

    That way you never have to learn from your mistakes… you can keep making them, and planning to say, “sorry” afterwards… lather, rinse, repeat.

  35. #35 george
    October 22, 2008

    If Oprah isn’t going to be fair, why not roll your own parody video onto YouTube?

    Call it “Noprah” and have it hosted by someone who channels OW.

    All you need is a couple of graduate film students with imagination, some Claymation figures (well, maybe animation software – Wikipedia says it takes 1 day to shoot 1 second of a W&G film), one or two gifted mimics, and a well written script that uses a bit of irony and a load of humor to highlight the logic wrecks…

    Think Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers

    Hmm, let’s see…where to find a gifted scriptwriter who can lay out lapsed logic?…

  36. #36 Dawn
    October 23, 2008

    Actually Orac, my hearing loss that stemmed from a Rubella Vaccine in Feb 07 has been CURED. For 20 months I suffered from partial hearing loss and an auditory processing disorder, but now it is completely GONE. How? I treated the vaccine-induced virus with an anti-viral herb. Only took 2 weeks. I am so excited to begin treatment with my 2 vaccine-injured children now. All things are possible. Vaccines do a lot of damage, cause a lot of unnecessary pain, and cost the parents a lot of money to reverse the damage.

  37. #37 HCN
    October 23, 2008

    Why would be given a rubella vaccine after the birth of your kid?

    And why wouldn’t you suspect the high blood pressure from the preeclampsia for the hearing loss. Rubella causes deafness during fetal development. High blood pressure would seem a more likely cause of hearing loss. Your hearing coming back would be the blood pressure finally coming under control and your system getting back to normal.

    I once had a hearing loss. It was from untreated infections that completely blocked my eustation tubes, and was resolved when my tonsils were removed. It took a while for things to clear, and there was the almost bleeding to death that required going back to the hospital (I was six years old).

  38. #38 rolls eyes
    October 23, 2008

    Good. I hope Dawn “cures” her baby with the Olive Leaf whatever in 2 weeks so she won’t go chasing down DAN! quacks to do IV EDTA chelation on him.

    Dawn needs to blame vaccine otherwise she isn’t the heroine of a her own book featuring all her family who are all vaccine injured. Riiiight.

  39. #39 KM
    October 23, 2008

    Perhaps Dawn was discovered to be rubella non-immune during her prenatal care. That is probably why she got vaccinated post-partum.

    I’m surprised she did that, feeling as she does about vaccines. A little inconsistent, isn’t it? Why get vaccinated if vaccines are damaging? Pointless, wasn’t it? Let the vitamins and herbs prevent the congenital rubella syndrome; I just can’t imagine why Dawn allowed herself to be vaccinated if she is so opposed to and doesn’t believe in the effectiveness of vaccines. Please explain.

    Anyway, I have never heard of post-partum rubella vaccination causing hearing loss or an auditory processing disorder. Is that common?
    I wonder if she knows what has caused her thought process disorder and her inability to follow logical reasoning?

  40. #40 HCN
    October 23, 2008

    But how does getting a rubella vaccine AFTER the child is born prevent CRS? I now know you can’t get the vaccine while pregnant, but it does make one wonder why she would get a vaccine that would not help the already born child and she is has preeclampsia, not to mention all of the wild hormone stuff that happens to a mother’s body after giving birth.

    And really, why wouldn’t the blood pressure be a cause of temporary hearing loss?

    Also, why would the vaccines be blamed for her baby’s condition and not the fact that he was born very premature and while she had preeclampsia? Wouldn’t those be more serious medical conditions than any vaccine?

  41. #41 rolls eyes
    October 23, 2008

    Dawn wasn’t always antivax. But she got caught up in the outworkings of a giant conspiracy to harm the hearing of people. Something like that. Now she’s probably made a deal with god to tell the world of the wonders of her favorite herbal patent medicine in exchange for receiving her hearing back. She sees herself as the next Jenny McCarthy, with a book and everything. We don’t know what caused Dawn to lose touch with reality, but I suspect that many of us fear for the safety of her baby because Dawn has discussed the possibility of chelating the poor thing.

  42. #42 Diane
    October 23, 2008

    Well, just to be fair here, I also received a rubella shot right after the birth of my second kid. My titres (or whatever they’re called) were discovered to be low during that pregnancy, and the thought was to get me up-to-date in case I decided to have another child. I’m completely fine, of course, and glad to be current on measles and mumps vaccinations to boot.

  43. #43 Skepacabra
    October 24, 2008

    antivaxxer Rashid Butter is inviting people to ask him a question. Any thoughts?

    http://www.drbuttar.com/askdrbuttar.php

  44. #44 Laser Potato
    October 24, 2008

    Skepacabra: there IS one thing I’ve been wanting to ask him, aside from confronting him about his quackery…
    “Seriously, a striped goatee? What were you THINKING?!”

  45. #45 MI Dawn
    October 24, 2008

    Damn. That other Dawn is back. Just when I was hoping to not see her and her weirdness again. :(

    Hearing loss is not a listed known side effect of the MMR. If Dawn had hearing loss related to the MMR, she should have reported it to the VAERS database so they can track similar problems.

    However….speaking as a person who had severe pre-eclampsia with my second pregnancy (yes,it’s usually first pregnancy but healthcare workers love to drive their OBs nuts), hearing disruption, especially tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can occur due to the hypertension associated with pre-eclampsia. It can take a long time to clear, especially if the blood pressure doesn’t return to normal.

    I was lucky; my BP was normal in a few days although the tinnitus took several weeks to resolve. I have known patients who had tinnitus for months to years.

  46. #46 anonimouse
    October 24, 2008

    If I had to apply Occam’s razor, the most logical answer is that Dawn is lying. Whether it be about getting the MMR, having hearing loss, or having it cured by some natural herbal crap. Considering her track record, that seems the most plausible answer.

  47. #47 Bronze Dog
    October 24, 2008

    In addition to the blood pressure stuff previously mentioned, I think it might be worthwhile to point out that, well, isn’t permanent deafness one of the big risks involved in getting measles, something MMR is designed to prevent?

  48. #48 HCN
    October 24, 2008

    MI Dawn said “I was lucky; my BP was normal in a few days although the tinnitus took several weeks to resolve. I have known patients who had tinnitus for months to years.”

    I hate the tinnitus. Even though I was only five/six years old I remember the noises in my ear more than the gradual hearing loss. It was particularly acute when I was supposed to go down for my nap. My hearing loss was not detected because we moved a couple of weeks before Christmas (my parents packed up all the gifts) from South Carolina to California, and my dad shipped off to Vietnam. It was only noticed by my 1st grade teacher. My hearing slowly returned after my tonsils were removed and a couple more rounds of antibiotics. I had to repeat 1st grade (I was young anyway due to an October birthday), I made up by getting out of high school a year early (so I did start college a month before my 18th birthday).

    Even 45 years later I still get short bouts of tinnitus. I hate it, and sometimes I wonder if it going to come back and stay.

    Bronze Dog, rubella in a pregnant woman causes deafness, other disabilities and even death to babies before they are born.

  49. #49 Pamewla
    October 24, 2008

    You reference my blog Educated Parent, The under the “Addendum” section of your post…thank you.

    For the record, I am not sure how it is that you deem a parent who fully vaccinated their first child as “anti-vaccine”. I want a safer vaccine program; I want to understand exactly what mechanism in my child caused her to become ill after several of her vaccines so that I can know whether my second child has the same susceptibility and how to safely vaccinate him. I want the aluminum out and I want the thimerosal out and I want all children vaccinated against truly dangerous diseases.

  50. #50 MI Dawn
    October 24, 2008

    Pamewla:

    There is almost NO thimerosal in ANY vaccine given to young children any more. Hasn’t been for many years now. They are all given individual dose units, so none is required although very small amounts may possibly be used during creation of the vaccine to help keep it sterile (thimerosal was used to prevent bacterial contamination in multidose units). Aluminum helps the vaccine work better so that much lessor amounts of viral toxins (what causes your body to create antibodies are the viral toxins) are required than the amount of toxins you acquire with the actual disease.

    Did you discuss your first child’s reactions with the pediatrician? Were they severe reactions or normal immune response reactions? If they were severe reactions, I can’t imagine your pediatrician giving your second child the same immunizations on the same schedule. Is your first child still getting the immunizations on schedule or did your pediatrician adjust the schedule for her? Saying she “became ill” is not enough information. How ill? What were the symptoms? When did the symptoms occur in relation to the immunizations? Which immunizations were they? (no, I haven’t gone to your blog yet. I will when I get home from work so if you have answered these specific questions there, I apologize)

    What do you consider “truly dangerous diseases”? ANY disease can be dangerous, depending on who gets it and when. My uncle has severe, life altering sequelae from his measles. Another family member died from mumps. I saw an adult, previously healthy pregnant woman DIE from chicken pox; her baby was delivered but died a few days later, also from chicken pox.

    HCN: you are right. Tinnitus sucks. I still get bouts of it now and again. Usually when I’m under a lot of stress and my BP jumps up.

  51. #51 vivien sapsed
    November 8, 2008

    Alternatine medicine works. We all know of people who have been not been cured by allopathic means but have then sought natural alternatives and been cured. Drug companies hide the truth about alternative medicine. When the two fields recognise each others qualities and stop their fear based reasoning then we will make great progress.

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