Respectful Insolence

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s paper in Pediatrics showing that vaccine refusal elevates the risk of pertussis in a child by nearly 23-fold, a commentary in PLoS Biology asks what can be done to combat anti-vaccine misinformation. Entitled A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars, it’s an interview with a professor of medical anthropology at UCSF named Sharon Kaufman, who took a 26 month hiatus from her usual work on aging and longevity to study the anti-vaccine movement from an anthropological perspective. Her observations in some way echo observations I’ve been making as a commentator and blogger, but she also makes at least one suggestion that strikes me as rather implausible, if not wildly so.

The article treads on ground that I’ve covered many times on this blog before in that it gives a good, concise history of the latest incarnation of the anti-vaccine movement since the late 1990s, when a confluence of two events, one in the U.K. and one in the U.S., worked to plant the seeds of antivaccine lunacy that continue to germinate now, over a decade later. The U.K. incident was, of course, the publication of the infamous Lancet paper by scientific fraudster Andrew Wakefield, who was also in the pocket of trial lawyers who were suing vaccine manufacturers. That was 1998. The second, which occurred in the U.S. in 1999, was the sudden decision, bulldozed through merican Academy of Pediatrics’ vaccine advisory committee and the CDC mostly due to Dr. Neal Halsey, to recommend the removal of mercury from all childhood vaccines by the end of 2001. As described in the PLoS Biology article:

Given the uncertainty about ethylmercury’s toxicity, Neal Halsey, director of the InstituteIn 1997, a US congressman from New Jersey inserted into a funding bill a provision that gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) two years to measure levels of mercury in all products under its jurisdiction, and release its findings to Congress and the public. The FDA’s analysis revealed that because several new vaccines were added to the immunization schedule after 1988, some infants could be exposed to as much as 187.5 micrograms of ethylmercury by the time they were 6 months old–if every dose of Hib, hepatitis B, and DTaP contained thimerosal [11].

[…]

Given the uncertainty about ethylmercury’s toxicity, Neal Halsey, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, urged vaccine policymakers at the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to remove thimerosal from vaccines as a precautionary measure and to maintain public confidence in their safety. The agencies agreed, and vaccine manufacturers responded quickly; by March 2001, no children’s vaccines contained thimerosal.

Anticipating the FDA’s release of its findings, the AAP issued a statement explaining its decision as an effort to minimize children’s exposure to mercury, asserting that “current levels of thimerosal will not hurt children, but reducing those levels will make safe vaccines even safer” [12]. Unfortunately, Kaufman says, “rather than reassuring parents, the statement fueled public fears and prompted all sorts of questions.”

To this day, this is one of the most spectacular examples of the law of unintended consequences that I’ve ever seen, and I can’t believe that anyone would think that a line like “the current levels of thimerosal will not hurt children, but reducing those levels will make safe vaccines even safer” would do anything other than what it did: spark a panic. Talk about your classic case of mixed messages! On the one hand, the government was saying that thimerosal was safe, but on the other hand it was removing thimerosal from vaccines. The discordant messages fed the worst aspects of the conspiracy-minded (and if there’s anyone who’s conspiracy-minded, it’s members of the anti-vaccine movement). One observation in the article intrigued me:

Had the discovery about thimerosal come at a different time, it might have gone unnoticed, suggests Jeffrey Baker, a pediatrician and the director of the Program in the History of Medicine at Duke University. He argues that rising autism rates, an expanded vaccine schedule, and contemporary attitudes toward environmental risk combined to create what he terms “a perfect storm” [15].

Certainly, it’s an interesting concept, but I’m not sure that it’s a good explanation, for the simple reason that the U.K. antivaccinationists had already shown the way, latching on to Andrew Wakefield’s horrifically bad science to confuse correlation with causation and blame the MMR for autism. The myth of the “autism epidemic” had already begun. All parents who were already suspicious of vaccines needed was something to blame, and a conspiracy theory was born. Unfortunately it’s still going strong, fueled by a toxic brew of pseudoscience, quackery, and celebrity know-nothings like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey dancing on their strings according to the will of their puppetmasters in the antivaccine movement. But the real question is why? Why is this myth so resistant to science, data, and reason?

Here’s one possibility:

Kaufman thinks the problem is more immediate than bridging the gap between lay and expert understanding of risk. Parents treated theoretical risk as fact even as scientists tested, and ultimately rejected, the possibility that thimerosal might harm children. Thinking the institutions that were supposed to protect them from risk failed, Kaufman says, people now do their own research. But instead of leading to more certainty, she explains, “collecting more information actually increases doubt.”

With the explosion of “contrary” expertise online, Kaufman says, “many parents see even the most respected vaccine experts’ perspective on the issue as just one more opinion.” The bulk of antivaccination Web sites present themselves as legitimate sources of scientific information, using pseudoscientific claims and emotional appeals, according to a 2002 study in Archives of Disease in Childhood [19]. Making matters worse, the study found, nearly all sites adopted an “us versus them” approach, casting doctors and scientists as either “willing conspirators cashing in on the vaccine ‘fraud’ or pawns of a shadowy vaccine combine.” Parents’ intuitive views about vaccines were elevated above “cold, analytical science.” Accounts of children “maimed or killed by vaccines” were common–a finding that may help explain why those who advocate immunization receive death threats.

I’ve touched on this before many times. One problem is that vaccines have been so successful that parents rarely see the full, ugly consequences of the diseases against which vaccines defend anymore. The other problem is that normal people can’t adequately judge risk. They cannot understand that they do many, many things with their children that pose far more risk to them than vaccination ever could for a lesser benefit. For example, the risk of dying in an auto collision is several orders of magnitude higher than of a serious adverse event from a vaccine. The risk of death from playing baseball (hardball) is also several orders of magnitude higher than injury from a vaccine. Indeed, as I pointed out before, between four and five children per year die of injuries suffered while playing baseball, and well over 100,000 children a year are taken to the emergency room for injuries. Indeed, baseball has the highest child fatality rate of any sport, and there are nearly 3 million sports injuries a year in the U.S. So what do antivaccinationists fear more? Vaccines, of course! Why? Because they misunderstand science and expect scientists to prove that vaccines don’t cause autism. Unfortunately, conclusively proving a negative is not possible in science. We can assign probability based on data, and numerous studies tell us that the chances that vaccines contribute significantly to autism is vanishingly small, but non-scientists think that it’s possible to prove that vaccines don’t cause autism and become suspicious when scientists qualify their statements. What to scientists is normal caution comes across to the public as waffling or weaseling.

Another aspect that gives the antivaccine movement the edge, even more so than other anti-science denialist groups, is the power of the story. They routinely present such compelling testimonials of children regressing after a vaccine. It doesn’t matter that epidemiology has shown repeatedly that correlation does not equal causation; the story is what matters because we are storytelling animals. As Paul Offit put it:

“There’s a lot of good autism research out there,” says Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and head of the hospital’s Vaccine Education Center. . . “But you never hear about it because the anti-vaccine movement has taken this issue hostage.” Offit has turned down requests to appear on any show with McCarthy. “Every story has a hero, victim, and villain,” he explains. “McCarthy is the hero, her child is the victim–and that leaves one role for you.”

Or any scientist who faces women like McCarthy. It’s almost a no-win situation. The question is: Is there any way to overcome the power of the anti-vaccine “regression” story, which is often subject to confirmation bias or lack of knowledge of what to look for that leads parents to discount abnormal or “strange” behavior before vaccination that experts, when viewing videotapes, can immediately recognize as early autism symptoms. That’s exactly what happened in the Michelle Cedillo test case for the Autism Omnibus. Her parents submitted videotapes to the court as evidence that Michelle was “perfectly normal” before she received her MMR vaccine. Experts who looked at these videotapes saw clear signs of autism. The problem isn’t just the story; it’s the story that doesn’t mean what parents think it means. It’s the misremembered story that becomes infused with myth and groupthink. Compared to that, what is suggested seems tame indeed:

McCarthy emerged as a hero for some parents by telling her story. Personal stories resonate most with those who see trust in experts as a risk in itself–a possibility whenever people must grapple with science-based decisions that affect them, whether they’re asked to make sacrifices to help curb global warming or vaccinate their kids for public health. Researchers might consider taking a page out of the hero’s handbook by embracing the power of stories–that is, adding a bit of drama–to show that even though scientists can’t say just what causes autism or how to prevent it, the evidence tells us not to blame vaccines. As news of epidemics spreads along with newly unfettered infectious diseases, those clinging to doubt about vaccines may come to realize that several potentially deadly diseases are just a plane ride, or playground, away–and that vaccines really do save lives.

The problem, of course, is that it’s very hard to come up with stories that don’t somehow distort the science. I also don’t like the attitude behind this article that regular people can’t understand science. What this simplistic narrative as told by Liza Gross is missing something huge: Scientists did try to counter the antivaccine movement. They are trying to counter it now. They’ve tried every step of the way. It is true that they may have waited too long. I’ve frequently lamented that efforts to counter the antivaccine movement were few and haphazard until last year, when scientists and authorities seemed finally to wake up to the danger. The damage had been done, and anti-vaccine zealots had infiltrated the national zeitgeist to such an extent that parents were starting to believe the lies (or at least wonder if they were true or whether authorities were telling the whole story). I do not in any way mean to trivialize such tragedies, but few stories of parents with children who suffered complications from vaccine-preventable diseases will not change things. Just look at the comments I pointed out yesterday, specifically the mother who did trivialize the suffering of her children with pertussis, who were severely ill for a week with horrible coughing and continued to cough for ten weeks. She dismissed their suffering as “not real serious.”

It is possible that coming up with more compelling stories may make a difference, but if it does it won’t be among the hard core anti-vaccine believers. Antivaccine activists don’t care; they’ve drunk so deeply of the Kool Aid. They believe. They believe so much that often they will invest huge sums of money into quackery designed to reverse “vaccine injury.” Against that, I have a hard time envisioning how counter-stories could combat the narrative of the anti-vaccine movement without risking serious distortions. I would, of course, like to be shown to be wrong about that–as wrong a the anti-vaccine movement is about vaccines. I wouldn’t mind it at all. But I’d settle for swaying the undecided.

REFERENCE:

Gross, L. (2009). A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars PLoS Biology, 7 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000114

Comments

  1. #1 XD
    May 27, 2009

    Off topic, but I just saw this:

    Patients with persistent low back pain should be offered acupuncture, massages or exercises on the NHS, says guidance.

    It is the first time the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has explicitly backed the use of complementary therapies.

    It’s not a very clear article, but it seems that chiropractic therapy will be offered, too.

  2. #2 Matthew Cline
    May 27, 2009

    I agree with something that others have said, that what’s needed are parents who’ve had children die from vaccine preventable disease to go on TV and radio shows. Unfortunately, even that idea has a few problems:

    1) It would probably be at least as easy for the anti-vaxxers to find anti-vax parents who had a child die from a vaccine preventable disease, yet the parents still blame Big Pharma for their child’s death.

    2) It’s almost inevitable that the parents would be harassed by the lunatic-fringe of the anti-vax movement, and how many of them would be willing to put up with that? Any parents that gave up on being anti-anti-vax spokespeople due to harassment would have the fact that they gave up twisted into proof of them having been mere shills.

  3. #3 AndyD
    May 27, 2009

    Fight fire with fire. The scientific/skeptical community need a link campaign targeting a few pro-vac websites around the world. Properly co-ordinated with good linking strategy (keywords, etc), we might get those sites up the top of Google searches.

    But which sites? Not RI or Goldacre or StopJenny – they are sites for skeptics – we need sites that look like the “anti-vac” sites dedicated solely to providing information on vaccination and nothing more.

    It will never be easy to fight fear with information. Much easier to fuel that fear, especially with Oprah on your side.

  4. #4 Alan Kellogg
    May 27, 2009

    I was born in 1954, and with a few exceptions I had the illnesses instead of the vaccines. Yet, according to at least two people with experience with Aspergers, I have the syndrome. My father was a lot like me.

    From what I’ve heard, the ASDs are the result of miswiring of the brain during fetal development. Be this the case, heavy metal poisoning cannot be the cause, since the damage was done before the child was even born. As a matter of fact, very young infants show many of the same behaviors as older autists. It could be that autism is something a child grows out of as he matures, and not something he develops.

    Just stray thoughts and stray observations.

  5. #5 Comstock
    May 27, 2009

    Something that seems to be missing in this discussion, something I’ve seen in two communities in which I’ve lived, is an attitude towards science among affluent, educated people that seems ready-made to support anti-vax sentiments. I’m consistently surprised by how some of my friends with college and grad degrees are afraid of vaccines. I see it as a part of a mindset in which “toxins” are feared and “natural” remedies are embraced. I feel like there is a sort of yuppie new-ageism rampant in the US now, and a big part of it is focused on parenting. It involves some benign habits (carrying babies in slings, Waldorf education for the tots) combined with a lot of unproven health practices (homeopathic teething tablets, keeping kids away from gluten, and, of course, delaying or skipping vaccinations). Perhaps this culture doesn’t drive the bulk of the anti-vax movement, but in my admittedly limited experience, the anti-vax position is part of a broader anti-science worldview that values touchy-feely intuition over data.

  6. #6 Magnus
    May 27, 2009

    They’ve already tried this in Australia. We could wait and see how it goes over there. I think it will do much to convince the fence-sitters at the cost of doing accurate science reporting. Those who had already bought into the idea that vaccines are dangerous were obviously not swayed and a small group of them were still pushing ludicrous arguments on the panel discussion. Maybe we will see some backlash, but once you distrust the medical establishment no information coming from them is useful as evidence.

  7. #7 zooey
    May 27, 2009

    Comstock mentioned waldorf eductation in the above comment. Indeed, there is a huge “scepticism” towards science, and in particular scientific medicine, among people who choose waldorf. Many of these parents aren’t very aware of the spiritual underpinnings of waldorf itself. They know they don’t want “big pharma” or whatever, but they don’t really know why the waldorf environment embraces the same “values.” They’re just happy they don’t “have to” vaccinate their kids, and that they aren’t looked down upon for not wanting to. And that “all natural” blah blah is just normal there, and they like that.

    However, waldorf is based upon anthroposophy. Waldorf teachers and some waldorf parents are anthroposophists. Their reason for not vaccinating their children is totally different from the Jenny McCarthy stupidity and modern anti-vaccine idiocy. To anthroposophists, it doesn’t matter whether the vaccines are safe or not. That is beside the point to them (although, naturally, they were happy to jump aboard *that* train when it appeared).

    In anthroposophy, there are spiritual gains coming from enduring illnesses. It’s a question of karma. If you die, really, that is karma too (although, I don’t want to be extreme: many anthroposophists do vaccinate against the worst diseases, while some choose to opt out from all vaccines).

    To them, illness isn’t something bad. They want their children to be ill. They arrange so that their children get the diseases when they hear about others who have them. In Norway, for example, some moron even advertised to find measles cases. So that the children could be blessed and get it. Swedish anthroposophical doctors (who are certified MDs but also anthroposophically trained) have explicitly stated that they recommend people to avoid vaccines, and that the diseases are good because the children mature through them (spiritually).

    These people will never vaccinate the children, even if the rest of the anti-vaccine movement died out, because their motivations are entirely different. Here’s one example of their guru, Steiner, speaking about karma and illnesses (measles, e g):
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19100520p01.html

  8. #8 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    Fight fire with fire.

    Personally, I don’t think we’re ever going to get anywhere with the hardcore anti-vaccers. They’re gone.

    I think we have a much better chance to fix our image as a profession with those who haven’t made up their minds. We need to target those people, the people amenable to Jenny’s Woo, but undecided.

    That’s the potential growing base for the anti vaccers, it’s also where we can educate rather than fight with people who won’t accept reason.

    Realistically, we can’t rely on the journalists to help us out. They have too much to gain from presenting these issues as black and white, “two reasonable alternatives.” It’s up to us to chip away at the apparent “reasonableness” of the anti-vaccers, and rehabilitate our own image as doctors/health professionals.

    /steps off of soapbox

  9. #9 Burgerboy
    May 27, 2009

    We need to clean up our image by vigorously distancing ourselves from pharma influence. We need to move to a voucher only sample system, eliminate drug rep visits to doctors completely and figure out a way to fund research that can’t be impugned by showing pharma paid or influenced it in any way. The problem with the anti-science crowd is that their claims of pharma influence are very easy to substantiate, even if they are over applied to all physicians. I am still amazed at how many ‘well known academics’ are paid by pharma to do talks. The IOM recs are a good start but do not go far enough and many physicians still don’t get the point – they love the money and feel they are not influenced by it. Its reflects very poorly on the profession.

  10. #10 Burgerboy
    May 27, 2009

    We need to clean up our image by vigorously distancing ourselves from pharma influence. We need to move to a voucher only sample system, eliminate drug rep visits to doctors completely and figure out a way to fund research that can’t be impugned by showing pharma paid or influenced it in any way. The problem with the anti-science crowd is that their claims of pharma influence are very easy to substantiate, even if they are over applied to all physicians. I am still amazed at how many ‘well known academics’ are paid by pharma to do talks. The IOM recs are a good start but do not go far enough and many physicians still don’t get the point – they love the money and feel they are not influenced by it. Its reflects very poorly on the profession.

  11. #11 colmcq
    May 27, 2009

    Given the fact that thiomersal has now been exonerated as a possible factor in autism, is actually a rather good preservative, that no studies have demonstrated that it loads the brain abnormally of mercury above normal levels and is excreted relatively quickly by the kidneys and liver (pichichero) isn’t it about time it was reinstated back into the various vaccines?

  12. #12 desiree
    May 27, 2009

    honestly, as a mom of 2 little ones (almost 4 and almost 1), i sometimes feel like i’m living in the trenches of the vaccine war. i know moms that do selective/delayed vaccination, moms that don’t vaccinate at all, and a few that do the full schedule. i’ve spent a long time “researching” vaccines (i didn’t find your blog, orac, until i had spent a year (or more?) “researching” vaccines, and one of the reasons i liked it so much is that you were writing about so many of the things i had found myself.)

    i think a huge part of the problem is that most people understand that you need to look at the science as a whole. each individual study or piece of research WILL have flaws, but that doesn’t invalidate the research. that just means you can’t let it stand on its own, but rather evaluate it in the context of the rest of the literature. but most people can’t do that–waaaay to much literature out there, way too complicated. so, take the study you blogged about yesterday: i will take away that the study found a 23-fold increase in pertussis among the unvaccinated. i understand, however, that the 23-fold is not a sure thing. the study had its limitations, and is just one small piece of a very large study.

    the moms on mothering.com are taking away that the study didn’t address (or quantify) how pertussis among vaccinated kids might be underreported. so they’re dismissing it. unfortunately, no one piece of research addresses any one question fully, so you can always convince yourself that you’re the one being savvy and intellectually honest when you disregard it. they’re criticizing every bit piece by piece, instead of acknowledging the flaws in a work but still taking something from its strengths. (ohhh i think i just advocated taking a holistic view of the research! haha!)

    add to that, the moms in my area generally describe themselves as natural or holistic (we even have our own chapter of the holistic moms network). vaccines are not natural (but homeopathy and chiropractic are? i don’t get it either).

    also, vaccination is a victim of its own success. the diseases are just too rare to register on anyone’s radar.

    finally, there’s just fear. the websites and anecdotes really can be frightening. i’m pro-vaccine, but i still get nervous when i take my baby in for her shots. if someone like me, who rationally understands vaccines and science better than most, can still pause from fear, it’s not hard to understand why other moms can end up to afraid to go through with the shots.

    so, that’s my 2 cents.

  13. #13 desiree
    May 27, 2009

    honestly, as a mom of 2 little ones (almost 4 and almost 1), i sometimes feel like i’m living in the trenches of the vaccine war. i know moms that do selective/delayed vaccination, moms that don’t vaccinate at all, and a few that do the full schedule. i’ve spent a long time “researching” vaccines (i didn’t find your blog, orac, until i had spent a year (or more?) “researching” vaccines, and one of the reasons i liked it so much is that you were writing about so many of the things i had found myself.)

    i think a huge part of the problem is that most people don’t understand that you need to look at the science as a whole. each individual study or piece of research WILL have flaws, but that doesn’t invalidate the research. that just means you can’t let it stand on its own, but rather evaluate it in the context of the rest of the literature. but most people can’t do that–waaaay to much literature out there, way too complicated. so, take the study you blogged about yesterday: i will take away that the study found a 23-fold increase in pertussis among the unvaccinated. i understand, however, that the 23-fold is not a sure thing. the study had its limitations, and is just one small piece of a very large issue.

    the moms on mothering.com are taking away that the study didn’t address (or quantify) how pertussis among vaccinated kids might be underreported. so they’re dismissing it. unfortunately, no one piece of research addresses any one question fully, so you can always convince yourself that you’re the one being savvy and intellectually honest when you disregard it. they’re criticizing every bit piece by piece, instead of acknowledging the flaws in a work but still taking something from its strengths. (ohhh i think i just advocated taking a holistic view of the research! haha!)

    add to that, the moms in my area generally describe themselves as natural or holistic (we even have our own chapter of the holistic moms network). vaccines are not natural (but homeopathy and chiropractic are? i don’t get it either).

    also, vaccination is a victim of its own success. the diseases are just too rare to register on anyone’s radar.

    finally, there’s just fear. the websites and anecdotes really can be frightening. i’m pro-vaccine, but i still get nervous when i take my baby in for her shots. if someone like me, who rationally understands vaccines and science better than most, can still pause from fear, it’s not hard to understand why other moms can end up to afraid to go through with the shots.

    so, that’s my 2 cents.

  14. #14 marygarth
    May 27, 2009

    I’ve come to believe that the only thing will change many of the pro-disease parents’ decision is lawsuits filed by the parents of children who will die or be permanently disabled as a result of exposure to the unvaccinated. The pro-disease parents’ preconceived notions prevent them from truly understanding the science, and they really don’t care if other people’s children die as a result of their choices–Jenny McCarthy (Jenny from the Crock?) admits as much. But I’m willing to bet a threat to their wallets will make them take notice. How sad is that?

  15. #15 Paul Browne
    May 27, 2009

    AndyD, I have to agree that neither public statements by scientists nor skeptic blogs, useful though they are, will solve this problem.

    As you say what is needed is for ordinary parents to get involved. The problem is that the kind of parents needed for the campaign are also the kind of sensible folk who are unlikely to want to front an activist campaign where they are likely to recieve a lot of abuse and no doubt a few threats. So you’re unfortunately right that seems likely that they will be parents who have either lost their child to a vaccine preventable illness because they could not vaccinate their child and were relying on herd immunity or because they believed the anti-vaxers and refused to have their child vaccinated.

    It would be great if we could persuade some of the more intelligent celebrities to back a pro-vaccine campaign, but I suspect that many who might support a campaign will want to avoid getting into a fight with other more nutty, but still well connected, celebrities. Hollywood is sadly infested with anti-vaccine/PCRM/PeTA supporters. I do think that you should ideally have an A-lister or two on board, since they have access to the media that most scientists can only dream of.

    By the way there is a campaign that might be just what you are looking for, it’s “Voices for Vaccines” and was founded last year.

    http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/

  16. #16 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    For permanent change, what needs to happen is for not vaxing to become really uncool. I don’t know exactly how to make that happen… but it needs to be kind of like, “Oh, you’re a smoker? Gross!” Except, “Oh, you don’t vaccinate? Gross!”

  17. #17 Jud
    May 27, 2009

    The anti-vaxxers have a lot going for them, including:

    – Someone (other than themselves or their genes) for parents to blame, in the midst of the maelstrom of conflicting emotions that a child’s mental illness will cause

    – A possibility of “cure.” Hey, Jenny did it, so you can, too.

    Something that occurs to me (I wonder if it already exists?) is a nice, relatively brief and simple FAQ pamphlet on vaccines (risks of vaccination/non-vaccination, vaccination schedules, etc.) for obstetricians and pediatricians to hand out to (or preferably, discuss in the office with) their patients.

  18. #18 Katkinkate
    May 27, 2009

    Is there any way the vaccination schedule could be spread out a bit so kids aren’t getting a lot of vaccinations all at once? Also if they could incorporate some basic screening for autism before the bulk of the vaccinations to pick up at least some of the cases so those parents can’t blame the vaccines?

    I think though this won’t die until some kids suffer, die and/or are disabled from the diseases. When this happens the opportunity should be taken to point out publicly why the kid died including his/her lack of vaccination or of those in their community. Somewhere along the line the number of unvaccinated kids dying will become high enough for the parents in the community to see vaccination as good again and the anti-vacc people will be relegated to the lunatic fringe. It’s a pity that its the kids who will pay for the parents’ ignorance though.

  19. #19 Clare
    May 27, 2009

    While I’d like to think that appeals to social responsibility (e.g. the risks posed to the immuno-compromised of these wonderful, “natural” diseases if people don’t vaccinate) would work on people who I’m sure imagine they are the epitome of a public conscience speaking truth to power (ha ha), this is really going to be about combating selfishness and fear. I think #14 is right about the financial disincentives to public figures spreading nonsense about vaccines. I’d personally back stricter enforcement of vaccination requirements to enter school, and less tolerance among the parents of the vaccinated to hang around the willfully unvaccinated for starters (assuming we know who they are). Also, since I read that southern Oregon is a hotbed of anti-vaxxers, I’ve resolved not to stick around and spend my money there when taking trips to and from CA from my Pacific Northwest fastness. I have to say, I’m also beginning to wonder about the wisdom of trumpeting to university students that they are truly capable of critical thinking when we end up producing morons who think anyone can do “research.”

  20. #20 LovleAnjel
    May 27, 2009

    @zooey

    You have a good point, but I think the Puritan-like ‘trial by fire’ attitude is a bit more prevalent than we think…i.e. anti-vax parents saying that ‘natural’ immunization through contracting a disease works better than ‘unnatural’ vaccination. It honestly reminds me of those “when I was your age” stories we used to make fun of our Dad for telling. Many of us have been told that bad things ‘build character’ all of our lives…so is there a weird application of that philosophy in the anti-vaxxer reasoning?

  21. #21 JLT
    May 27, 2009

    “After hearing several parents explain why they don’t vaccinate, Baker pointed out that parents who claim nonmedical exemptions seem to become so focused on their own children that they “lose the bigger picture,” not accepting responsibility for the impacts their actions may have on the health of the community. […]

    Sadly, studies suggest that the burden of lowered immunization rates will likely fall disproportionately on poor people living in crowded conditions, hotbeds of disease transmission, and exacerbate existing health disparities among minority populations—where kids go unvaccinated not by choice but because of limited access to health services. Exemptions also pose a threat to children who can’t be vaccinated because of a medical condition or who didn’t mount an immune response to the vaccine, as well as to hundreds of thousands of people on chemotherapy, recovering from organ transplants, or struggling with compromised immunity.”

    When I read this I was reminded of another article I’d read today (Sympathy and similarity: The evolutionary dynamics of cooperation. in PNAS May 26, 2009 vol. 106 no. 21 8405-8406):

    “The advantage of mutual help is threatened by defectors, who exploit the benefits provided by others without providing benefits in return. Cooperation can only be sustained if it is preferentially channeled toward cooperators and away from defectors. But how? A deceptively simple idea is to distinguish cooperators from defectors by tagging them. It clearly is in the interest of cooperators to use some distinctive cue to assort with their like. Such an assortment, however, conflicts with the interests of the cheaters, who have every incentive to also acquire that tag.”

    Of course, we can’t “tag” people who are vaccinated and we can’t channel benefits only towards vaccinated people. Herd immunity protects all. But I think we could label people that refuse vaccination more obviously as what they are: cheaters and defectors “who exploit the benefits provided by others without providing benefits in return.”

  22. #22 Liz
    May 27, 2009

    Well, folks, I think we’re going to have to fight fire with… boobs.

    Unfortunately, real science from the mouths of buttoned-up professionals is not doing the trick. Amanda Peet packed more of a controversial wallop when she came out in Cookie magazine and said she was pro-vaccination and that people who didn’t vac their kids were selfish & endangering us all.

    So what we need here is a hot celebrity (sad, I know) like an Angelina Jolie to come out in a skin tight top, with her sweet little rainbow brood gathered around her and say it in simple terms. Perhaps her children can be seen behind her, speaking French & snacking on something raw and organic, so she looks “trustworthy.” You know, not like one of “them” from “Big Pharma” who just want to kill your kids.

    It has to be someone with more clout than Jenny, so that means pretty much anyone except for Denise Richards would qualify.

  23. #23 daedalus2u
    May 27, 2009

    I think that JLT has a point, and there is a way to “tag” them in a way that will make them pay attention, that is with health care costs. If you don’t vaccinate without a medical reason, allow health insurance companies to disallow claims for vaccine preventable diseases.

    I think there is a hard core of anti-vax individuals out there who can never be reached. The anti-vax delusion has become such an integral part of their world view that it can’t be changed. They didn’t arrive at their world view via facts and logic, facts and logic will be ineffective at changing it.

    Delusion is not too strong a word. A delusion is defined as a belief which is inconsistent with overwhelming evidence.

    The problem is how to prevent them from damaging public health.

    The problem with main stream media is that the purpose of MSM is to make money which they do by selling ads, which means selling entertainment. Simplistic Good vs. Evil is good theater and can sell a lot of ads, even when it is pure fiction. That is what block buster movies are all about.

  24. #24 Connie
    May 27, 2009

    I’m not sure I agree with a previous commenter that there’s no help to be found in the media. In fact, I’ve been seeing some encouraging signs (Chicago Tribune, Discover Magazine, even Reader’s Digest) that the media is beginning to treat the anti-vax arguments with less respect than before.

    Certainly, the hardcore believers will never change their minds. But most folks aren’t hardcore believers. They’re just scared. More articles and news stories and editorials that pointedly decline to present “both sides” as equal, I think, could be extremely helpful — particularly in local publications, as people likely tend to trust their “hometown reporters” more than the “elites” on the coasts.

    So how about it, reporters and editors? You know in your hearts that the anti-vax arguments don’t hold water. Why not tell your readers so?

  25. #25 DebinOz
    May 27, 2009

    As a scientist, epidemiologist, mother of an ASD kid, pro-vaccine person, we really need to listen to the concerns of people such as desiree above.

    I love her; but how can we make more mothers reach the same conclusion?

  26. #26 LC
    May 27, 2009

    @JT

    Actually it is entirely possible. Permit insurance companies to raise premiums if they can not display a _legitimate_ reason for not vaccinating. If they wish to put everyone else at risk – they can compensate those who do the right thing. Counterwise, premiums can be lowered for those who do vacinnate. With the leeches taking up the slack.

    In places with social health care, a similar method can be used. No legitimate reason not to vaccinate? No problem – society wont pay for any treatment/medications later on when you need it. If they dont like it I would just use a phrase my old man used – “If you wish take a gamble go right ahead. But dont go complaining if you lose”.

  27. #27 Interrobang
    May 27, 2009

    A larger, more systemic version of the problem which Kaufman touches on slightly in her study — are my Aspie tendencies showing yet? — is that various political factions in the popular culture, particularly in the US and the UK (I don’t see this so much in Canada) have spent a lot of time and effort delegitimising experts. On the political right, the delegitimising is born of the Reaganite anti-statism (remember his disgusting joke about “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help?”) along with pushing the relentless frame that “personal responsibility” is the only genuine way to run a society (never mind that societies are collective endeavours by their nature). On the political left, this attitude comes from the systemic distrust of large institutions (oppressive governments, large corporations) and a general antiauthoritarian mindset. It might also be the single biggest unintended consequense of the “DIY” movement, as well.

    We’ve now as a culture had 40 years or so of people being told from all sides that they can and should do everything possible for themselves, without expert guidance, because they too can be their own experts; and further, that being your own expert equals “taking personal responsibility” (I notice Kaufman explicitly uses that odious phrase!) and is therefore an unalloyed good. And if that isn’t enough, doing so also frees you from the pernicious influence of large, probably malevolent entities (like corporations).

    I personally would like to see a little less harping on “personal responsibility” and more on “social responsibility,” thank you very much. The increasing (I think) anomie and refusal of collective responsibility in favour of ever more extreme individualism is becoming ultimately detrimental in many sectors, including vaccination compliance. On the other hand, I think it may still be possible (more so in some cultures than others, perhaps) to craft narratives promoting and creating social responsibility.

    (Before everyone jumps all over me for saying this, I’m not inherently anti-individualistic, I’m just firmly of the opinion — which I think is borne out by facts — that some things are better left to large-scale, societal-level endeavours rather than granularly individual effort. To put it in Econ 101 terms, I believe in using economies of scale to the advantage of as many members as possible of the larger group.)

  28. #28 Anthro
    May 27, 2009

    My eldest (of four) child will soon turn 40. They were all vaccinated on schedule although there were some long gaps for one of them who always seemed to have a bad cold when it was time for shots. However, I remember going through a long period of “vax doubt” about the chicken pox vax when it came out long before the autism/Jenny crowd came along. I was to the point of resisting vaccination for my youngest child; but because I have science training, went through with it in the end.

    My reasoning was that I had measles (twice), mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough and Asian flu (1958?) and felt that there was nothing wrong with children having these diseases and getting their immunity the “natural” way. I had vaccinated them anyway, but chicken pox seemed to be the limit for me. My three older children all had chicken pox and I think one had mumps before MMR. I disagree with Orac that the children with whooping cough cited in the article “suffered” horribly and that he is equally wrong to write the mother off as an unfeeling nutter. This is a more nuanced situation than Orac (not a parent I understand) gives credit to. When chicken pox vaccine came along I didn’t get my youngest vaccinated for it as my other kids all had it and I didn’t see it as that important. Nor do I think that I “suffered” unduly when I had chicken pox or that I was a cold or unfeeling mother when my own children had it. I DID vaccinate him for everything else after thinking it through and realizing that it was the best and right thing to do for him and for everyone else. I talked with my doc and read up from legitimate sources. I did eventually get him the chicken pox as well, and the one for hepatitis.

    My point is that even I (with a science background) had some misgivings about the need for preventing childhood diseases. I was easily persuaded by the reasoning of my doc who pointed out that the death rates from such diseases were higher than I thought and other arguments for the greater public good, but one of the posters who mentioned the large number of affluent, well-educated parents who tend to New Age and other “spiritual” ideas is on the right track. These people are relatively mainstream in general, but are increasingly taking on ideas such as the anti-vaxxers promote and making them mainstream. This includes the widespread belief in and use of supplements, yoga practice, alt. med. being offered at clinics and discussed at mainstram sites such as the American Cancer Soc., and so on. It’s the new “religion” that supplements or replaces the “organized” religion many of these people have spurned. That basic need so many have is still there, I think. They are well educated, in general, but have limited science-based education and are easily swayed by a plethora of pseudo-scientific books (many written by MD’s) which are widely promoted and are often NY Times “best sellers”. Until you all tackle this problem at the source (why are all these MD’s writing these books?), it will only get worse.

  29. #29 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    I think that the medical community has done a very poor job of fighting the anti-vax movement. There approach has been “education” and “talk to your doctor.” While pediatricians are certainly good to have as advocates, this approach is far too passive. What good is it to talk to your doctor, when the propaganda is saying that your doctor doesn’t care about children’s health. I don’t know what it is, but the medical community is so afraid to come out and stand up for themselves. The article notes how people dismiss medical expertise because they consider pediatricians to be part of some Big Pharma conspiracy. Are you kidding me? How in the world can the AAP sit back and allow these kinds of attacks on their membership go unchallenged?!

    The reason people can’t tell the difference between real experts and the idiots is because the real experts are unwilling to step up and say, “Damn it, we know more about children’s medicine than some Playboy model or two-bit comedic actor does!”

    Doctors are great in their humility. They always have to protect themselves by saying, “We don’t know everything.” But this can only go so far. The medical community needs to stand up and exert its expertise on these matters. They need to establish that themselves as authoritative. No, they don’t know everything, but they know more than what you will find on the internet.

    They need to assert that authority.

  30. #30 Rational Jen
    May 27, 2009

    Is there any way the vaccination schedule could be spread out a bit so kids aren’t getting a lot of vaccinations all at once? Also if they could incorporate some basic screening for autism before the bulk of the vaccinations to pick up at least some of the cases so those parents can’t blame the vaccines?

    There’s nothing wrong with the current vaccination schedule. They don’t get too many at once – kids are exposed to more antigens from one case of strep throat than they are in all of their vaccines combined. All you accomplish from spreading them out is increase the likelihood that the kid will contract a vaccine-preventable illness.

    As for autism screening, pediatricians screen for developmental delays during every well-baby checkup. These won’t necessarily tell you whether your kid has ASD or not, but they will allow you to address any delays promptly. The “formal” screening for ASD usually occurs sometime between 16 and 30 months, which is when a lot of the specific behaviors associated with ASD will become apparent.

    One resource that I think could help parents and children immensely is the ASD Video Glossary available at First Signs. Some friends of ours were stunned when their young son was diagnosed with ASD a couple of years ago. They were unaware that his toe-walking, hand flapping, and speech delay might be warning signs for ASD. If, instead of just reading a list of symptoms, they had seen these videos of other children exhibiting the same behaviors, they might have connected the dots sooner. The good news is that they got their son the early intervention he needed.

  31. #31 anthro
    May 27, 2009

    I went back and read the article more thoroughly and found this very succinct quote that Orac didn’t include in his post:

    “Now, more than ten years after unfounded doubts about vaccine safety first emerged, scientists and public health officials are still struggling to set the record straight. But as climate scientists know all too well, simply relating the facts of science isn’t enough. No matter that the overwhelming weight of evidence shows that climate change is real, or that vaccines don’t cause autism. When scientists find themselves just one more voice in a sea of “opinions” about a complex scientific issue, misinformation takes on a life of its own.”

    I think this supports my point in my previous post. It also speaks to the problem of showing “tolerance” and “respect” for divergent views. There has to be a limit. I for one am tired of politely listening and saying nothing for fear of “offending”. I have recently lost two long time “friends” over all this and that is hurtful, but it has to be done–science is not just another “opinion”. It is the media that need to get this message and drop the charade of “balance”.

  32. #32 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Rational Jen: Saying “there is no reason” to space out the vaccines is unfortunately not good enough. My wife wants to do a delayed schedule for reasons she basically admits are fear-based. However, since the odds of our son contracting one of these diseases in the intervening time — especially since he doesn’t go to day care — are so incredibly low, it is hard for me to make a convincing case for her to suck it up and go along with the CDC schedule.

    It’s unfortunate it has come to this, but what might really help is some data supporting the specific CDC schedule. Not vindicating that it is safe, but showing why it is necessary. I know, common sense and all, but can any of your put a number on what my son’s relative risk factor is by getting the MMR a year late? Or quantize the effect on herd immunity? We can put pretty good numbers on the relative risks and effect on herd immunity if he doesn’t get vaxed at all — but I don’t know as we really have that much solid info for a delayed schedule.

    (Note that I am not trying to say, “We don’t know the precise risks, zomg, they are gambling with our children’s lives! etc.” For me, it is enough to know that a) the CDC schedule is safe, and b) delaying vaccinations clearly creates a non-zero increase in relative risk and impact to herd immunity. But unfortunately that’s not enough for everyone, especially with Sears’ book pitching “alternative” schedules… :/ )

  33. #33 Ryan Biggs
    May 27, 2009

    Sometime in the 60s, education in America started putting a greater emphasis on skepticism. For the first time, kids were encouraged to question what they were told. This is a good thing, or course. But I wonder – have we been encouraging people to distrust and challenge authoritative voices without properly equipping them to properly judge authoritative voices?

    Orac speaks authoritatively and quotes research papers as his sources. The anti-vax movement also has authoritative-sounding voices who are able to quote research papers: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

    How are people from outside the medical and scientific community supposed to parse this? At what point in High School were we supposed to have been taught how to properly evaluate the findings in research papers? I don’t recall that chapter. I was made to memorize the periodic table, but I don’t recall that anyone ever taught me how to tell the difference between good science and bad science.

    Unable to properly evaluate claims to determine what is true, people instead end up making emotional decisions about who they want to trust – bubbly and beautiful Jenny McCarthy who wrote that funny book about being a Mom, or cranky intellectual snobs from the “scientific community” who talk over our heads and expect us to take their word for it.

  34. #34 Ryan Biggs
    May 27, 2009

    Sometime in the 60s, education in America started putting a greater emphasis on skepticism. For the first time, kids were encouraged to question what they were told. This is a good thing, or course. But I wonder – have we been encouraging people to distrust and challenge authoritative voices without properly equipping them to properly judge authoritative voices?

    Orac speaks authoritatively and quotes research papers as his sources. The anti-vax movement also has authoritative-sounding voices who are able to quote research papers: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

    How are people from outside the medical and scientific community supposed to parse this? At what point in High School were we supposed to have been taught how to properly evaluate the findings in research papers? I don’t recall that chapter. I was made to memorize the periodic table, but I don’t recall that anyone ever taught me how to tell the difference between good science and bad science.

    Unable to properly evaluate claims to determine what is true, people instead end up making emotional decisions about who they want to trust – bubbly and beautiful Jenny McCarthy who wrote that funny book about being a Mom, or cranky intellectual snobs from the “scientific community” who talk over our heads and expect us to take their word for it.

  35. #35 Connie
    May 27, 2009

    Ryan Biggs, you are completely right. People increasingly lack the tools for distinguishing credible and noncredible sources of information. “The media” is bad — people on both the left and the right say this. The result is that we have a culture in which whatever you want to be true, can BE true. You can find a newspaper, or website, or magazine that tells you it’s true.

    When’s the last time most of us have changed our minds about something really important, based on what we’ve read in the paper? For most, I’ll bet it’s been a while. So maybe I’m too optimistic in thinking that the media can help turn this anti-vax thing around.

  36. #36 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    James Sweet

    1) Have you contacted the CDC to find out how they developed their vaccination schedule?

    2) Re: Sears
    I think it is incombent on Dr. Sears to demonstrate that his vaccination schedule is safer than that provided by the CDC. It is obviously less protective (delaying vaccinations leaves kids exposed longer). If there is no indication that it is safer, then there is no reason to do it.

  37. #37 Catherina
    May 27, 2009

    The US American vaccine combos suck – babies get stung far too many times compared to Europe where babies can get the hexavalent (DTaP/IPV/hib/hepB) vaccine. My daughter got 5 shots on her 12 month visit (DTaP, hib, hepB, IPV, and MMR) and that was painful to watch for the most pro-vaccine minded.

    On top of that, there are a number of general vaccine recommendations that are not very well supported by clinical evidence. I think it was wrong to push flu vaccination for 6 months olds, when the schedule is already so full with essential and efficient vaccines and cocooning strategies (targeting mom, dad and older siblings) would probably have much better efficiency. HepA could probably be given much later in most states. Varicella works better (in year 1 post vaccination) when given at 15 months or later.

    The AAP schedule could be much improved and it is the rigidity of the system and in particular stupid State regulations that frustrate “average” parents and drive them into the arms of Dr Bob an Co.

  38. #38 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo: Regarding your #2, no offense, but I don’t think you actually read my post :)

    If there are no hard numbers giving us an idea of the relative risk of Sears’ “alternative” schedules as compared to the CDC schedule, then even though what you say is true from a scientific perspective, it is not true at all from a practical PR perspective. The CDC schedule is “scary”, and the Sears’ “alternative” schedules attempt to be less scary. It doesn’t matter what rationality tells us about this; now that the CDC schedule has become “scary”, it is incumbent on those who would like to see the CDC schedule followed to prove that it is safer than the alternatives.

    You can tell me all day why this is fallacious, but I already know that. Problem is, we’re talking PR, not science, and fallacies don’t matter a whit in PR.

  39. #39 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo: Heh, to amplify my point, I just want to point out that the title Orac gave to this post is “Is it too late for scientists to bridge the gap between evidence and fear?”. He did not title it “Is it too late for scientists to bridge the gap between evidence and evidence?” ;p

    Regarding your point #1, I have not tried to contact the CDC directly, no, but I have asked around and searched far and wide… and while I’ve found plenty of information to debunk pretty much everything the anti-vaxers say, and I have found a pretty reasonable argument for why spacing out vaccines has no appreciable effect, I have so far failed to locate any epidemiological studies regarding the spacing of vaccines, nor have I found any info explaining how the CDC schedule was derived. This is doubly problematic since other countries have different (less aggressive) schedules.

    I just want to reiterate again that I am not looking for this information because I think there needs to be more evidence to go with the CDC schedule. Again, this post is about “bridging the gap between evidence and fear”, not about discussing what evidence would be necessary to convince a scientist.

  40. #40 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    James Sweet

    It is amazing to me that “fear” equates to shots, but not to getting disease. As I already mentioned, Sears’ protocol is obviously not as protective as the CDC schedule. Why doesn’t this worry people? My comments are completely in line with the title.

    Second, in terms of “looking around,” where have you been looking? In the Epidemiology literature? In the library? Again, why haven’t you asked the CDC? Or are you just hoping that you can find it in a Google search, like how Catherina gets her information?

  41. #41 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    Sorry, I keep thinking of more to say :)

    In a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter that there are no epidemiological studies showing that spacing out vaccines has no positive health effects, and attempting to quantize the increased relative risk. In a perfect world, it would be the other way around, i.e. we’d expect those advocating the spacing out of vaccines to come up with data supporting their position, and there would be no reason to listen to them at all until they had this data.

    But we are not living in a perfect world, and unfortunately the “too many, too soon” meme has taken hold. If you think shrugging at the meme is going to make it go away, you are sadly mistaken.

    When we are talking about public health, particularly in regards to the management of contagious diseases, expediency trumps idealism. Ideally, a meme needs data to support it, or else it is refuted by default. But expediency tells us that when a meme is strong enough, you need data to refute it, or else it is confirmed by default.

    Sorry, but them’s the breaks.

  42. #42 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    @James Sweet

    I know, common sense and all, but can any of your put a number on what my son’s relative risk factor is by getting the MMR a year late? Or quantize the effect on herd immunity? We can put pretty good numbers on the relative risks and effect on herd immunity if he doesn’t get vaxed at all — but I don’t know as we really have that much solid info for a delayed schedule.

    Let’s be realistic. Multivariate analysis is complicated at best, impossible at worst. We can’t set up a randomized control trial for every possible vaccination schedule. The reality is, that there isn’t a significant risk to the current schedule.
    There is explicitly evidence that delaying the vaccine schedule does not change your risk of complications from vaccines. Even the theorhetical idea that it would is based on the debunked “vaccine overload” hypothesis.

  43. #43 Phoenix Woman
    May 27, 2009

    Fight fire with fire. The scientific/skeptical community need a link campaign targeting a few pro-vac websites around the world. Properly co-ordinated with good linking strategy (keywords, etc), we might get those sites up the top of Google searches.

    DING DING DING! This is what I’ve been telling Orac, off and on, for over a frickin’ year now.

    This is the 21st century. What do young parents do when looking for information? They Google it. If even half the ScienceBlogs bloggers made sure to cite and link to the July 2006 WHO statement on thiomersal when discussing vaccines and autism, or mercury and autism, that would help advance it in the Google rankings.

    Oh, and Orac: Zooey’s comment rates a post in itself. Might be time to take the Waldorfers head-on.

  44. #44 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Whitecoat Tales: “There is explicit evidence that delaying the vaccine schedule does not change your risk of complications from vaccines.”

    Really? Can you point me to this?

    I’m not trying to challenge you here, either, I’m actually really excited because I’ve been looking for explicit evidence of this and not finding it.

    The closest I’ve found is the argument that since the number of pathogens a child gets exposed to by vaccines is trivial compared to the number of pathogens he/she is exposed to in the course of everyday life, that the “vaccine overload” thing is preposterous. I’ll buy that — but when you are trying to convince someone who is making decisions based on fear, then having explicit evidence is way better!

  45. #45 passionlessDrone
    May 27, 2009

    Hi James Sweet –

    I have so far failed to locate any epidemiological studies regarding the spacing of vaccines, nor have I found any info explaining how the CDC schedule was derived.

    Well, I’d bet that one thing that drove it was a well meaning effort to continue decreasing the number of sicknesses and deaths. If you start vaccinating earlier, you wind up with fewer children getting the diseases during the previous dead space (i.e. what used to be a six month vaccine is now a four and two month vaccine). Likewise, if you give more vaccines, you achieve marginal increases in how many children achieve immunity for a particular pathogen.

    But that is a far cry from the kind of information that (I think) you are looking for.

    – pD

  46. #46 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    When we are talking about public health, particularly in regards to the management of contagious diseases, expediency trumps idealism. Ideally, a meme needs data to support it, or else it is refuted by default. But expediency tells us that when a meme is strong enough, you need data to refute it, or else it is confirmed by default.

    Sorry, but them’s the breaks.

    This is gibberish
    Thems not the breaks.
    The number of hypotheses that would be confirmed by this logic is infinite. And make no mistake, infinite such memes are being generated.

    In reality, what will happen is either people will learn that the burden of proof is on them, or they’ll do what they want, and people will die.

    Then, when people die, the general population will have second thoughts about the safety of these memes. The hardcore *specific memers* will never change their minds, but the general population will.

    Hell, thats what Jenny McCarthy actually called for in her Time’s interview. Even she knows thats the way the cookie crumbles.

    The difference is, the pro vac people here are trying to avoid that scenario, the antivaccers are trying to force that scenario.

    That’s not idealism by the way, that’s realism, with perhaps a touch of cyncism.

  47. #47 grenouille
    May 27, 2009

    It seems that my generation of parents has particular trouble discerning relative levels of danger.

    I was in a waiting room recently and a three year old boy bit off a large chunk of his toy truck and according to him, swallowed it. His mother looked alarmed and said, “You never, never do that! That’s very, very dangerous. Plastic has all kinds of toxins in it and you could get very sick. That’s why we got rid of all of our plastic cups and bowls.”

    What the hell happened to “You could choke”?

    It’s the same with vaccines. Why worry about something as pedestrian as measles when you can worry about exotic reactions related to toxins?

  48. #48 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    I don’t know what you’re counting as explicit, I think the numbers in that Offit article I suspect you are referencing at explicit data. At any rate, I can only point you in the direction of what I’ve seen/written on the subject.
    http://beyondtheshortcoat.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/hard-conversations-vaccines-and-autism-part-3/

    The Offit article

    Evidence against “overload” after MMR and MMR+MCC
    The outcome they measure in this article is other infections after vaccination. The idea being that if vaccines cause an “immune overload” or immunosupression, you’d be more likely to get an infection.

    Similar articles

    S.B. Black, J.D. Cherry, H.R. Shinefield, B. Fireman, P. Christenson and D. Lampert, Apparent decreased risk of invasive bacterial disease after heterologous childhood immunization, Am J Dis Child 145 (July (7)) (1991), pp. 746–749.

    M.R. Griffin, J.A. Taylor, J.R. Daugherty and W.A. Ray, No increased risk for invasive bacterial infection found following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization, Pediatrics 89 (April (4 Pt 1)) (1992), pp. 640–642.

    S. Otto, B. Mahner, I. Kadow, J.F. Beck, S.K. Wiersbitzky and R. Bruns, General non-specific morbidity is reduced after vaccination within the third month of life—the Greifswald study, J Infect 41 (September (2)) (2000), pp. 172–175.

  49. #49 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo:

    “It is amazing to me that “fear” equates to shots, but not to getting disease.”

    Well, duh, this is easy to answer… people in the US don’t see these diseases any more, so there is no visceral fear — only abstract concern. Side effects from vaccines, or even just your kid crying from a shot, is something you can see with your own eyes, so there is a visceral response.

    How is that amazing? We are, after all, a bunch of hairless apes with brains that evolved mostly for dealing with Stone Age problems. If you keep that in mind, it’s not amazing at all that people would be more afraid of something they’ve seen with their own eyes than something they haven’t..

    “Sears’ protocol is obviously not as protective as the CDC schedule. Why doesn’t this worry people?”

    Because depending on the delay, the difference in risk is (probably) very small, especially for kids that are not in day care.

    Don’t get me wrong, it worries me anyway to be incurring risk with no benefit. But the problem is that the Sears’ protocol has a *perceived* benefit for many people. If we for a moment accept this perceived benefit as valid, then you could even make the argument that the delayed-vaxers are making a rational risk-benefit tradeoff.

    So what do you do to convince someone who is thinking this way? You either have to a) quantify the risk to show that it is non-trivial, or b) invalidate the perceived benefit. Arguing that the perceived benefit was never based in evidence to begin with is a futile endeavor — the meme has taken hold, so now the only way to eliminate the perception is with evidence against it.

    As far as where have I been looking… yeah, sorry, mostly University of Google :) Hey man, I can Google while I’m at work, but I can’t go to the library while I’m at work. Seriously.

    Don’t knock me for it completely, though. If you are able to tell bullshitters from non-bullshitters, and have at least half a clue as to how to interpret raw data, you can debunk pretty much everything the anti-vaxers say with a teensy bit of Googling.

    Do not underestimate how valuable this is! For example, my wife’s yoga instructor sends an e-mail saying (among other things) how recent Hib outbreaks have mostly been in vaccinated kids because it supposedly weakens their immune system or something, and I’m able to pull up data showing that the opposite is true, that most kids who have gotten Hib have been unvaxed — during my lunch hour, and have a reply back within a couple hours.

    If the information I am asking about is available, but just not readily available, well, guess what folks, that’s a problem. Remember, you’re not trying to convince scientists here. You are trying to convince terrified Oprah-watching mothers. Unfortunately, because of the events of the last decade or so, the information refuting anti-vax and delayed-vax needs to be easily available. This is the world we live in.

    Anyway, so contacting the CDC is an idea. How would you suggest I contact them? Letter? Phone? etc.?

  50. #50 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    Hey Orac,

    I posted a response to Jame’s request @43, but it has been caught in the spam filter. Please free it. Thanks,

    @James, until if/when that post gets free, just pubmed “vaccine overload”, and you’ll get evidence… against vaccine overload.

  51. #51 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Whitecoat Tales:

    “The number of hypotheses that would be confirmed by this logic is infinite. And make no mistake, infinite such memes are being generated.”

    Infinite memes are being generated, sure (well not infinite, but I get your point). But it is not true that an infinite number of memes are taking hold as powerfully as the MMR-autism meme, or the “too many, too soon” meme.

    If there is no expediency that justifies scientific studies for the sole purpose of debunking a meme, then how come I can go on PubMed and find a shitload of studies stating that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, yet I can’t find a single study stating that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and schizophrenia? I mean, before any of those studies were conducted, the amount of evidence linking the MMR vaccine with autism and the amount of evidence linking the MMR vaccine with schizophrenia was approximately equal (hint: it’s shaped like a donut).

    And if you don’t think all of those studies debunking the MMR-autism link have any value… well fuck, I don’t know what to tell you then :( Them’s are the breaks. While science is independent of public perception, scientists do not operate independently of public perception — nor can they afford to.

  52. #52 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    I did not say there is no expediency to debunking ANY link. I said there is no expediency in debunking EVERY link.
    We cannot run a study for the effectiveness of EVERY alternate vaccine schedule.
    If you suggest one, we run a trial, say that one is not superior, and then the new meme is “well how about THIS alternate schedule!” you are in an infinite loop of constantly disproving the next schedule of choice. In that case you aren’t even debunking a whole meme

    Your example with schizophrenia is exactly my point. I said we don’t debunk EVERY meme. There is not infinite money, resources, and researchers to do so. As each “primary” meme is debunked, they come up with a new one.

  53. #53 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    Thanks Whitecoat Tales, for whatever reason I never thought to use the phraseology “vaccine overload” in a PubMed search. I was searching for things like “CDC schedule” and “delayed vaccine”, and didn’t find much.

    So uh… yeah, good call. Anyway, all of the things I said about the necessity to perform research for the purposes of debunking public perception, and the need to make this information readily available and easy to digest, all of that still stands, though.

    And I’m saying this as someone who has been right down there in the trenches arguing with an individual anti-vaxer. And as someone who was successful at pulling my wife back from the brink of anti-vax lunacy. She’d heard a lot of scary things, and doesn’t have the scientific acumen(*) to sort through it all. Luckily, a couple of lunch breaks spent at the University of Google (I said, don’t knock it completely!) was enough to get the real truth about almost all of the scary stuff she’d been told.

    (*) I barely have the required scientific acumen myself.. I’m an engineer, not a scientist, which means I can’t really fully interpret the outcomes of a lot of the stuff in PubMed, particularly epidemiological studies.. but it gives me enough background to at least be able to call shennanigans on the tripe that Generation Rescue refers to as a “study”. Blech!

  54. #54 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    Arguing that the perceived benefit was never based in evidence to begin with is a futile endeavor — the meme has taken hold, so now the only way to eliminate the perception is with evidence against it.

    Sears himself wrote a friggin book! Do you think if he had any evidence it was safer, he would have touted it from the rooftops?

    The fact that “there is no evidence” despite Sears’s book tells you he’s got nothing.

  55. #55 Kristie McNealy
    May 27, 2009

    I’ve only been reading here for a week or so, but I have to thank you all for pulling me back from the “dark side”. Due to a few seemingly random circumstances, we’ve found ourselves with a growing circle of friends who are anti-vax, among other things. Being from Colorado, I found the Kaiser pertussis study interesting and blog worthy. Less than 24 hours later, after publishing the link to my post, I’ve already been called Hitler for mentioning on Twitter that genetic isolation is one of the potential problems with the (false) “Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t have autism” argument. Of course, the same person who said that also sent me a vaccination schedule courtesy of Generation Rescue and was apparently offended when I asked for some data supporting their statement that this proposed schedule was “the best”.

    I’ll definitely be back. Thanks for this resource.

    -Kristie

  56. #56 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Whitecoat Tales: I’m sorry, I think I gave a mistaken impression. I am not looking for data comparing the CDC schedule to any specific “alternative” schedule. I am looking for data that makes an attempt at gauging the relative risk of delaying vaccination in general (this could take the form of comparing the CDC schedule to an arbitrarily chosen “alternative” schedule, but there may be other ways to do it).

    Heh, I went to a play group with my wife one time, so I was around like five other new moms, all white affluent moms and all but one was stay-at-home — i.e. the perfect prey for McCarthy and her ilk. Lots of vax fear there. I almost got in trouble for being too honest, heh :) Anyway, with the exception of one of the moms who is like woo-central and is not going to vax no matter what, the rest all pretty much had a minor fear of zomg-teh-toxins, but recognized that vaxxing was important… and most were leaning towards a delayed or spread-out schedule.

    Maybe my experience was a fluke, but that’s not the impression I get… the “too many, too soon” meme is so pervasive. I think now that even quacks like GR are being forced to drop the mercury thing, that’s going to be the next big battleground. And that’s why I think there is expediency in debunking it.

  57. #57 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo: “The fact that “there is no evidence” despite Sears’s book tells you he’s got nothing.” Tells me, sure. But does that make it convincing for the average person?

    @Kristie: Thank you so much for sharing your experience. My wife went through much the same thing. It is experiences like these that, to me, prove the necessity of having all of this information easily accessible — not through the library or through writing a letter, but accessible to anybody with an internet connection. The average mother can be convinced even after having been indoctrinated with anti-vax woo — so we should never give up on that.

  58. #58 Rational Jen
    May 27, 2009

    @James Sweet:

    My wife wants to do a delayed schedule for reasons she basically admits are fear-based.

    Hey, this is an honest answer. The anti-vaxxers are heavily invested in feeding this fear – the PR thing is all they have, ’cause the science sure isn’t on their side.

    The best way to combat fear is education. Is your wife most concerned about autism or about “overloading” your child’s immune system, or something else? Pinpointing exactly what her concerns are might help to understand the information she needs to reassure her that there are clear benefits to vaccinating on schedule.

    One thing you mentioned was this:

    We can put pretty good numbers on the relative risks … if he doesn’t get vaxed at all — but I don’t know as we really have that much solid info for a delayed schedule.

    I just want to point out that in the case of MMR, delayed vs. unvaxed is not really the issue. He’s unvaxed until he gets the shot. An unvaxed child who’s exposed to someone with measles has about a 90% chance of developing measles. That you intend to vaccinate in 3 months or 6 months or a year will not protect your child from measles. (I know you know this, but these are just some things your wife may need to consider.)

    If you want to know the specifics of how the CDC’s immunization schedule was developed, look up the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on the CDC’s website. It provides details on the considerations that went into developing the schedule. This information might help you alleviate some of your wife’s fears.

  59. #59 artsgraduate
    May 27, 2009

    I wonder if a greater sacrifice might be called for. Has the promise of the internet been undermined by the equal prominence and platform it gives to anyone who can lash together a website? What if all legitimate researchers and journals just stopped using the internet? Then the undecided and the scared could know that anyone who continued to publish online was way outside the mainstream. Not to say that ideas outside the mainstream can’t be good… at which point, they would come off the internet and become part of the legitimate publishing streams.

    As Albert Brooks said in Broadcast News – Hey, I’m semi-serious here…

  60. #60 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    How much harder do they need to be hit over the head?

    Seriously, how much more is needed? My comment is, in fact, totally a PR thing. It is actually not a legitimate objection (I haven’t even READ Sears’s book, but then neither have most of the folks who think “he has a point.” And even if he didn’t include evidence, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist)

    So I am playing your game, James.

    But I have to say, there is a logical flaw in your approach. You keep asking for “evidence” that it isn’t better, in terms of scientific studies. Yet you admit that people aren’t convinced by evidence. You dismiss the explanations as “oh that is fine for scientists, but for the average person?” Meanwhile, you are looking for details of the epidemiology, so you can…do what exactly?

    You think the average person can’t understand “If Sears had any substance, he’d bring it out” but is going to be convinced by an epidemiological study? Dude, the “average person” doesn’t know what an “epidemiologist” is, or have any clue what they do. (Seriously, how many people will associate epidemiologists with “epidemic”? Far fewer than you would hope). You mention epidemiology, and the “average person”‘s eyes will glaze over. And that is your solution to the problem?

  61. #61 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo: “You keep asking for “evidence” that it isn’t better, in terms of scientific studies. Yet you admit that people aren’t convinced by evidence.”

    No no, you misunderstand. The only evidence right now against an “alternative” or delayed schedule is negative evidence, i.e. there is no evidence to support it. For the average person, affirmative evidence is much more convincing, i.e. if there is direct evidence that contraindicates it.

    As I pointed out before, there are a bazillion-and-one studies showing there is no link between MMR and autism, even though from a purely scientific perspective those studies were entirely unnecessary. If you don’t know why those studies were performed anyway, then I can’t help you.

    Now, there is numerical evidence that is suggestive that those studies have done some good. MMR rates in the UK have been going back up since an overwhelming amount of affirmative evidence was presented to the public. I can’t prove those are correlated, but from my very limited anecdotal experience, it seems to be making a difference.

    I dunno, whatever, if you want to insist I am “playing games” because I am talking about public perception, then really, I don’t think this conversation can be productive from here on out. There are more interesting people to talk to (e.g. Rational Jen, whose post I am looking at next…)

  62. #62 Prometheus
    May 27, 2009

    Katkinkate asks:

    “Is there any way the vaccination schedule could be spread out a bit so kids aren’t getting a lot of vaccinations all at once? Also if they could incorporate some basic screening for autism before the bulk of the vaccinations to pick up at least some of the cases so those parents can’t blame the vaccines?”

    These are good questions to ask your pediatrician. What they’ll tell you is that the vaccine schedule is trying to optimise the immunity of your child and that they do screen for signs of autism at all visits, but that the early signs are vague and non-specific.

    Pediatricians may not (probably should not) tell parents when they think that a young child might be showing signs of autism until they’ve had a chance to confirm the signs on subsequent visits. Think of the trauma they would inflict on parents by saying:

    “Your child shows one of the early signs of autism. It’s probably nothing and there’s nothing to be done about it at this point, but I wanted you to go home and worry about it until out next visit in two months.”

    Most of the time, they just make a note to check again at the next visit – and most of the time that worrying “sign” is gone by then.

    So, what about the vaccination schedule? Why don’t doctors (apart from Jay Gordon and “Dr. Sears”) just “space them out a bit”? Despite what some people may be saying, the current vaccination schedule didn’t simply appear out of nowhere. And again – despite what some people are saying – doctors don’t mindlessly vaccinate according to a rigid schedule. All pediatricians I know of adjust the schedule as needed according to the child’s medical condition.

    While there haven’t been formal studies of this schedule versus that schedule, there have been “informal” or ecological studies. When a country changes from one schedule to another, there is the opportunity to compare results. Fortunately for us, the countries of the so-call Western World have changed their vaccine schedules at different times, so we can see the effects of different schedules.

    One of the reasons vaccines are given at the same time is the need to provide immunity at an early age. Now that most of us have vaccine-induced immunity against the major childhood infectious diseases, infants don’t get as much passive immunity from their mothers and so become susceptible to these diseases at an earlier age.

    Right now, we are pushing the vaccination age right up to the point at which infants are able to mount an immune response to vaccines. This wouldn’t be such a worry if it weren’t for the fear-mongers who are breaking down the population immunity and exposing very young infants to diseases that ought to be gone from our shores.

    Another reason is legal. Our FDA has to approve all new formulations of vaccines, so the hexa- and hepta-valent vaccines used in Europe can’t be used here. From what I can tell, the vaccine manufacturers aren’t interested in spending the money to have these combination vaccines approved for use in the US because the FDA’s requirements are more strict (and therefore expensive) and because of the current anti-vaccine hysteria in the US.

    Finally, there is the convenience factor. As our pediatrician told us years ago, part of the schedule is trying to get the “shots” into as few office visits as possible, for the convenience of the parent.

    And “convenience” isn’t a slap at parents – it’s recognition that parents of small children have a lot of things to do. Convenience, pediatricians have found, translates into compliance. If they make the vaccine schedule more convenient, their patients are more likely to get their vaccines.

    For those who still like to think about “all those vaccines” and how they “overwhelm” the immune system, think on this:

    The degree to which your – or your children’s – immune system is stimulated is pretty well mirrored in the degree of symptoms you (or they) get. A moderate fever for a day or two, muscle aches, local inflammation, maybe even a rash are all pretty common reactions to vaccines – even vaccines against things like rubella, measles, mumps, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus.

    Now, get out an old medical text and compare those symptoms to the symptoms of even one of those illnesses.

    The entire MMR vaccine doesn’t cause even a small fraction of the misery that those three diseases can cause. So, is the MMR “overwhelming” the immune system? No.

    Well, what about the DTP (now the DTaP) – that “bad actor” of vaccines? How do its symptoms compare to, say, diptheria? Let’s see….high fever, suffocating nasopharyngeal membrane, cardiomyopathy…nope, the DTaP can’t compare – doesn’t even register.

    OK, maybe that was a bad example. What about tetanus? Let’s see… uncontrolled muscle spasms, suffocation due to inability to breathe, no long-lasting immunity if the patient survives….nope, the DTaP still looks like a much better – and safer – option.

    Maybe pertussis would be a better choice. After all, there are a lot of places in the US where pertussis is endemic. Let’s see… coughing to the point of vomiting, broken ribs, retinal hemorrhages, respiratory failure in infants, two to three months of coughing…the DTaP vaccine still has far fewer symptoms.

    So, don’t give me the “overwhelm the immune system” story. Or the “too many, too soon” canard.

    It doesn’t even take serious research to figure that out, just a bit of applied common sense.

    Prometheus

  63. #63 Kristie McNealy
    May 27, 2009

    @Matthew Cline – I saw this video called Vaccinate your Children that goes right along with your comment that pro-vax parents would be harassed.

    This is the second part of a series from Australia that featured the story of a baby girl who contracted pertussis and passed away. I’m blanking on her age, but I think it was 4wks old. Apparently, after part 1 where the parents shared her story, they received enough hate mail that they didn’t want to come back for part 2. The reference to hate mail comes around 7 minutes into the video.

    Very sad state of affairs.

    -Kristie

    It’s a response

  64. #64 James Sweet
    May 27, 2009

    @Rational Jen: First off, thank you for a respectful reply! :)

    Bah! I accidentally closed the tab and erased a bunch of stuff I have written. Maybe I’ll reply tomorrow. Anyway, it’s tough because my wife’s fears are really just that: pure fear. She is afraid that if our son is diagnosed with autism or an immune problem shortly after getting vaccinated, she’ll feel incredibly guilty. And, can you really blame her? It’s one thing to understand that causation != correlation, it’s another thing entirely to apply that understanding in that hypothetical situation.

    The other half of it is that our son’s risk of contracting and/or being harmed by a contagious disease is probably much lower than your average American, since he doesn’t go to day care, we have good health care, etc. My wife insists that the CDC schedule is calibrated for kids going to day care… and she probably has a point, although I don’t think there’s any benefit in delaying the vaccine for our son. She insists there is no appreciable benefit in doing it on time. This is probably mostly true, as long as he gets vaxed before he starts spending a lot of time around other kids. It would be great if I could debunk that last bit… but I don’t think it’s going to happen. :/

    Regarding your comment about how delayed-vax and no-vax are the same until he is vaccinated… true, but I wonder about the effect on herd immunity over the course of his lifetime? In other words, what would be the impact to herd immunity if everyone got vaccinated according to the CDC schedule vs. if everyone got vaccinated according to a delayed schedule? Or maybe another way of saying it is this: We know that for measles, for example, when vaccination levels fall below ~90%, herd immunity is compromised because that 10% is enough for the virus to get a foothold. Okay, but now let’s say we fix compliance at 95% — at what average age of vaccination does herd immunity become compromised?

    To be clear, I’m not saying that it is expedient that somebody go out and get this data, I think it is too abstract to provide the kind of leverage needed to stimy the anti-vax movement. I’m just sort of curious about that…

    I already poked around ACIP a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t find anything specifically about the rationale behind the CDC schedule. I’ll look again…

  65. #65 Kristie McNealy
    May 27, 2009

    @James Sweet – I think the data you’re looking for on the vaccine schedule is hard for the average person to find because it is fragmented across numerous studies. One set of studies might show that response to vaccine A is better when given with B, or perhaps a certain number of weeks or months after B, etc. Then there is some other study showing optimal timing between vaccine B and C, along with immunologic reasons why B can’t be given until a certain age.

    Putting all of that information together, along with what we know works for maximizing compliance, makes the CDC schedule as a whole work. That said, it does not make it easy for people to sort out the exact evidence.

    I wish you luck in working through the vaccine issue with your wife!

  66. #66 Pablo
    May 27, 2009

    James, it doesn’t make any sense what you are asking for, though. You want some study that compares, for example, the CDC schedule with that of Sears? I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t find one. Why not? Because there is no one even hinting, scientifically, that the Sears protocol is safer. Autism vs MMR makes sense because you had Wakefield’s initial paper claiming a relationship. But no one has put forth the hypothesis that Sears’s schedule is safer, so why should anyone test it?

    That’s why I said it initially: it is up to Sears to provide evidence that his approach is safer (and worth the compromise in protection).

    Yes, that is a PRable position, and I would have no problem with the CDC/AAP coming out strongly against it. And, in this regard, they have been better than overall. I have heard the president of the AAP on the radio addressing this issue.

    In calling it a “game” I am referring to your insistance that it is a PR issue and not a scientific one.

  67. #67 Chris
    May 27, 2009

    James Sweet:

    already poked around ACIP a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t find anything specifically about the rationale behind the CDC schedule. I’ll look again…

    You might this a good overview on the subject of scheduling issues: CDC Pink Book, General Recommendations on Immunization. At the end of the chapter there is a list of references.

    One thing is to browse on PubMed where many of the studies used to determine the schedule are indexed. I put the words “pertussis vaccine schedule” in the search box and got several papers on studies of vaccine effectiveness, and compliance, from the USA and other countries. Here is one that should be of interest to you, Potential impact of acceleration of the pertussis vaccine primary series for infants.

    There is lots of information out there, the trouble is trying to gather it all together.

    From my experience there is some historical reasons why a schedule will change. For instance, when the MMR vaccine came out in 1971 the original schedule was just for one dose. Then in the late 1980s measles came back, and was realized that at second dose was required, so it was added for children entering 6th grade (this was the schedule my two oldest were on). Then in 1998 that recommendation was revised to make sure all children got their second dose by the time they entered kindergarten. I did a bit of poking around on PubMed and found a very long CDC document on the MMR recommendations, with with over 200 references, because it is, well, complicated. Since I am at my two URL limit I will post it so you can cut and paste it into a window:
    w w w “dot” cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00053391.htm

  68. #68 Agnes Dettai
    May 27, 2009

    I have one suggestion: education.
    Aim for the high school childrens, the brothers and sisters of this generation (and futur parents of the next one). In France, there is a part of the high school course that details immunity and how vaccination work, and why they are important (sorry, I don’t remember in which year). But as (fortunately) the antivax are not yet as present here as in the UK and the US, many teachers are not aware that this is an important course, and might go fast over it because they consider everybody agrees on the subject (which is unfortunate, as the rates of vaccinations are beginning to fall).
    I have taught a course aimed at high school teachers for one year now (meaning something like five distinct groups between 15 and 30 teachers), debunking creationist claims through explaining to the teachers what science is and how it works in the facts (peer-review, competition, etc: sociology of science is a real eye opener against any claim of global conspiracy of scientists), how to determine whether a publication is peer-reviewed, how to do Pubmed searches… Part of the course is making a parallel with two other “pseudo-controversies” the “link” between vaccination and autism and the HIV deniers, as there are many common points between the way these three attack science and its results. This also shows the teachers that understanding science is a tool for debunking a wide range of such manufactroversies. I am convinced that a part of this could be passed on to the students themselves, at least the older ones, giving them the means to judge by themselves the reliability of some claims, and weed out the most outrageous ones at least.
    It works really very well with the teachers, at least, and I am pretty sure that most of them are now extra-careful around these three areas of the curriculum at least…

  69. #69 Stella
    May 27, 2009

    I was having a casual conversation with someone who was concerned about the vaccine/autism connection. When I told her, “That was debunked,” I got a very satisfying reaction. ‘Debunked’ is a powerful word, it seems. No one wants to be caught believing in something that’s been debunked. They will, in fact, scramble to change their story so as to avoid looking like a fool. This may not apply to anyone with a vested interest in the anti-vax agenda, but it will certainly sway many concerned moms who are confused about the issue.

    And isn’t the vaccine/autism connection legitimately a myth that has been debunked? Researchers have studied the purported link extensively and come up with nothing. (I’d like a list of links to a decent number of these studies someday. It seems like I can frequently find the anti-vax literature in one place, but not the research countering it.) If that’s not a classic case of debunking, I don’t know what is.

    I think the scientists, activists and realists trying to shout down the anti-vaxxers need a couple of attention-getting tools such as the word ‘debunk’. Now I’m starting to wonder why I’ve never seen it used in this context before. Is it less accurate than I imagine?

  70. #70 Rogue Epidemiologist
    May 27, 2009

    @Pablo
    You’re right. No one has a bloody clue what it is I do for a living. If they think they know, it invariably involves them showing me a suspicious blemish. For most part, I just tell people I’m an infectious disease researcher.

    Honestly, I fear for the cohort effect to ensue. It will take at least another 5 years for the resurgences of vaccine preventable diseases to come in full swing. we’re seeing them re-emerge now. But by the time Jenny McC’s kid is old enough to enter middle school, the damage will have been done, and we will have seen casualties/fatalities at that point. It would take another 2 or 3 years at least to scare the next cohort of parents into vaccinating.

    I think there’s a particuarly sick irony in that the wealthiest people are the ones most likely to reject vaccination AND take trips to exotic locales. The San Diego measles outbreak stemmed from a rich kid whose family went to Switzerland!!!

    The hubris and the stupid go hand in hand.

  71. #72 isles
    May 27, 2009

    Stella, I agree that “debunk” is a highly appropriate word. I’m sure I’ve seen it used in this context, although groups like CDC and AAP probably think it’s derogatory to people who believe the debunked idea.

    I think it is also effective to call this belief what it is: an urban legend.

  72. #73 Whitecoat Tales
    May 27, 2009

    @Stella

    I’m under the impression Orac has used the term debunk here, I know I have, and when we talked to parents about that on peds, the attending explicitly used the term debunked, and myth. Kindly and gentle, but firmly.

  73. #74 Chris
    May 27, 2009

    Um, RJ, did you actually read what Orac wrote? That paper is actually linked to in the first paragraph, because it is the subject of this blog post!

  74. #75 JMG
    May 27, 2009

    While slightly OT, I think there’s a bigger picture problem here. Anti-vaccination (I think) would not be as big an issue if better science education were in place. The reason people have such an emotional response to “Don’t let THEM stab your precious little child with God-Knows-What!!11″ is because they don’t really understand fully what’s going on. If people had better education in basic immunology, health care and even some economic reasoning (A small cost now to prevent large costs later), suggestions made by anti-vaxers would be laughed out of any room. I think this holds true with a lot of other topics (global warming and evolution immediately come to mind), but this one has some obviously awful consequences. But to those in power, science education doesn’t “pay” enough in the short-run. Maybe this is evidence of that coming though.

  75. #76 LH
    May 27, 2009

    FYI regarding taking a financial stick/carrot approach to immunisation: in Australia, the Federal Government offers a rebate to parents to offset the cost of childcare. This rebate is ONLY available to parents whose children’s immunisation schedule is up-to-date.
    I learned the hard way after one of my foster children’s schedule got behind (there was confusion between the last carer and me about whether he’d had his 6 month shots) and I had to pay full-whack child care fees until I could get them done, and then there was a further week waiting for the paperwork to come through. Let me tell you, it hurt!
    From memory the only way a parent can get around this is if they can provide documented evidence that their child can’t be immunised for medical reasons. It’s not enough to be a “conscientious objector” – you compromise our herd immunity and you pay for it, seems to be the attitude of our government. And a bloody good thing, too!
    I’m not sure of our vaccination rate here, but I suspect it is pretty high. You don’t see or hear a lot of anti-vaxers at all, let alone the serious, whack-job wingnuts seen elsewhere. Although I will admit that the recent publicity surrounding the Sunday Night story seems to have brought some out of the woodwork…

  76. #77 Cat
    May 27, 2009

    I just wanted to comment on the trend of pseudoscience rising among groups of otherwise well-educated people.

    When I was in high school, I was selected for an intensive educational program that would contain just 60 kids out of thousands of “gifted and talented” applicants. Many of my classmates were typical high-achievers. They not only did well in school, they did well outside of school and were multi-talented polymaths.

    One thing that was consistently emphasized was to use our own minds to make decisions. We didn’t read one American History textbook that year: we read three. We debated the differences between them. We ferreted out the biases of the authors. We were trained to become skeptical about everything. Our classes frequently focused on debate and interpretation instead of “this is the truth and you will memorize it”. Even in science classes, we were taught only “this is the truth as it stands now”. We were well aware that science frequently overturns itself.

    I was briefly seduced by woo. I was interested in these crazy colon cleanses and liver flushes. It was hard to find a skeptic’s point of view, but eventually I did. That was when I became aware of how my method of education combined with the internet was leading me astray. I had been looking for many sources of information so that I could combine them into a big picture view of what was likely to be “true”. I found many testimonials, but they were all “pro”. The “con” views had been methodically buried by link farms, search engine tweaking, and other nefarious practices.

    Recently, a brilliant girl who had been in my classes admitted she was not vaccinating her children. She encounraged me to research it for myself and I would see how unsafe vaccines were. She had decided to proceed in a “holistic” way regarding preventable disease. She thought Jenny was a hero for speaking up for all the ignored parents of the world — for campaigning to make vaccines “safer”. I linked her to some of my own research, but I fear it will not make much difference in her viewpoint. She did her “research”. She came to the answer using her own brain. It’s hard to convince a person that what they thought long and hard about is totally wrong.

    We were taught to be skeptical about everything, including experts. The internet is full of information of dubious value posted by self-labeled “experts”. This only increases our sense of skepticism regarding expert points of view. How do you tell who is a real expert? Those of us who like to do our own research can be easily misled by all the crap that’s out there.

    What if we were to create a scientific search engine? One that indexed only rigorously scientific sites and actual experts?

  77. #78 t_p_hamilton
    May 27, 2009

    Cat said:”How do you tell who is a real expert? Those of us who like to do our own research can be easily misled by all the crap that’s out there.”

    That is what education should be about – fix that and a lot of these issues will diminish tremendously. Contrast that with Madison Avenue’s relentless flattery of their victims, I mean audience – you are so smart because you wear Bossy HilEagle clothing!

  78. #79 D.P.
    May 28, 2009

    Like Cat, I am friends with several highly educated (PhD in hard sciences) women who have decided, based on their own ‘research’ to follow Dr. Sears or other alternative vaccine schedules. Since I do not have children, I hadn’t researched it myself, but after (skeptically) listening to what they were saying, I did so (fwiw, I also have a PhD in the hard sciences). After seeing the evidence myself, I’m coming to the opposite conclusion and will be sure to vaccinate my own children on the CDC schedule. However, it is extremely scary (and disheartening) to see this happening. It’s pretty clear that the ‘fear’ of the diseases themselves has been forgotten by many women (and men) of childbearing age now. After all, if they’re anything like me, the only childhood disease they ever experienced was likely the (somewhat mild) chicken pox.

  79. #80 Monado
    May 28, 2009

    James and Catherina, there’s a reason for the way vaccines are given. If the shots are given together, there’s less chance of the child reacting to the medium that carries them. If the shots are given in different parts of the body, immunization is more effective because the different vaccines or their formulations don’t interfere with each other.

    It does seem harsh to give a child five needles. But you can count down and then go out and get a treat. It’s also harsh to have to give cool baths to a tot who has a dangerous, raging fever, when they’re too small to understand why you’re being so mean and making them cold. I’ve had to do the latter. Be thankful that you can get away with the former.

    For facts, there’s a nice 2002 paper by Paul Offit and others: “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System?”

    I’ve graphed the exposure to foreign substances in vaccines listed in the paper. It is less now than any time since before 1900, and has dropped 96% since 1980.

    You can see the graph and find a link to the paper in this blog post: “Vaccines and ‘immune system overload’.”

    I also suggest getting the chickenpox vaccine even if it only prevents a couple of days of itchy frustration at a young age. It’s more serious if caught later. But once you have chickenpox, the virus never leaves your nerves. In about 20% of cases, it causes shingles in later life. Shingles is notorious for being itchy and painful and for recurring ever after. It can be recognized because it occurs in distinct patches or bands corresponding to which spinal nerves are infected.

    I had whooping cough as a child. People do die of it. Sometimes when coughing I half wished to just die and get it over with. Lest you think this is suggestion, nobody had told me it could be fatal.

    Also, look up diseases and mortality statistics. One source is the UK’s Green Book, which has a different PDF chapter for each disease. You can see the diseases (and for diptheria, death rates) drop after vaccines are introduced.

    To get the stories that we need, why not go back to history and find out what happened to the children or siblings of famous people?

  80. #81 Monado
    May 28, 2009

    Orac, comment caught in spam filter. If you’re up, please check. –thanks.

  81. #82 Kathryn
    May 28, 2009

    @77 Cat:

    Have you tried Google Scholar, which is a search engine for scholarly publications and university/institute websites (http://scholar.google.com)? I don’t know if it excludes junk journals, but it certainly excludes manufactroversy/conspiracy websites.

  82. #83 Monado
    May 28, 2009

    “Mere” chickenpox or varicella:

    Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a DNA virus of the herpesvirus family. VZV causes a primary illness (varicella or chickenpox) and establishes latency in the sensory nerve ganglia, which may be reactivated later as herpes zoster (shingles). VZV is spread by the airborne route as well as by direct contact with the virus shed from skin lesions. The incubation period is from 10 to 21 days, usually in the range of 14 to 16 days.

    Infectiousness begins 1 to 2 days before onset of the rash and lasts until the last lesion has crusted. The attack rate among susceptible contacts in household settings is estimated at 65%-87%.

    Varicella is mainly a disease of childhood, developing in 50% of children by the age of 5 years and 90% by the age of 12 years. People from the tropics are less likely to acquire immunity in childhood and therefore have higher rates of susceptibility as adults.

    Varicella has been considered to be a benign disease in otherwise healthy children aged up to 12 years. However, this group accounts for 80% to 85% of varicella-associated physician visits, 85% to 90% of hospitalizations and nearly 50% of fatal cases. The complications of chickenpox include secondary bacterial skin and soft tissue infections, otitis media, bacteremia, pneumonia, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, necrotizing fasciitis, toxic shock-like syndrome, hepatitis, thrombocytopenia, cerebellar ataxia, stroke and encephalitis. Varicella increases the risk of severe invasive group A streptococcal infection in previously healthy children by 40- to 60-fold. Complications are more common in adolescents, adults and immunocompromised people, who have higher rates of pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

    Varicella case fatality rates are highest among adults (30 deaths/100,000 cases), followed by infants under 1 year of age (7 deaths/100,000 cases) and then those aged 1 to 19 years (1-1.5 deaths/100,000 cases). Since 2000, a total of six pediatric deaths due to varicella were reported by the the Immunization Monitoring Program ACTive (IMPACT) system, with a range of 0-3 deaths per year. In the pre-vaccine era in the United States, adults accounted for only 5% of cases but 55% of the approximately 100 chickenpox deaths each year. In Canada, 70% of the 59 chickenpox-related deaths in the pre-vaccine years (1987 to 1997) occurred in those over 15 years of age.

    Congenital varicella syndrome is rare when infection occurs before the 13th or after the 20th week of gestation. The risk is approximately 2% when infection occurs at 13-19 weeks of gestation. Congenital infection results in a wide clinical spectrum, which may include low birth weight, ophthalmic abnormalities, skin scarring, limb atrophy, cerebral atrophy and a variety of other anomalies. Almost one-third of affected infants die by early in the second year of life. Maternal varicella occurring in the 5 days before to 2 days after birth is associated with severe neonatal varicella in 17% to 30% of infants, with high case fatality for the newborn.

    Before varicella vaccine became available, approximately 350,000 varicella cases were estimated to occur each year in Canada. However, assessing the effect of varicella immunization programs on the incidence of varicella and zoster disease is difficult because varicella infections are significantly under-reported, less than 10% of the expected cases being reported through the national Notifiable Diseases Reporting System (NDRS) annually. Furthermore, zoster is not a nationally notifiable disease. Given that the risk of having at least one reactivation to herpes zoster is 15% to 20%, there are likely a significant number of zoster cases occurring each year in Canada. Post-herpetic neuralgia lasting longer than 6 months is more frequent at older ages, occurring in 35% of those aged ≥ 50 years.

    A review of data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information for 1994 to 2000 showed that over 1,550 varicella hospitalizations occur annually for all age groups. Information on pediatric hospitalized cases and deaths are available from the IMPACT system for the periods 1990 to 1996 and 1999 to 2004. These data indicate that the majority of hospitalizations occur in previously healthy children. For the most recent period, 1999 to 2004, a total of 2,058 pediatric hospitalizations due to varicella or herpes zoster were reported from 12 sites across Canada, averaging 343 hospitalizations annually. Of these cases, just over half were males, and the most affected age groups were children 1 to 4 years old (accounting for 45% of hospitalizations) and those 5-9 years old (30% of hospitalizations).

    The total medical and societal costs of varicella in Canada were estimated in a multicentre study to be $122.4 million yearly or $353.00 per individual case. Eighty-one percent of this amount went toward personal expenses and productivity costs, 9% toward the cost of ambulatory medical care and 10% toward hospital-based medical care.

    Benefits from varicella immunization have been seen in the United States after varicella vaccine was licensed in 1995. From 1995 to 2005, the United States recommended that children 12-18 months of age receive a single dose of varicella vaccine, with catch-up vaccination of older, susceptible children and adults. Varicella disease incidence in children 19-35 months old declined by 70%-85% in three U.S. communities that had achieved vaccine coverage levels of 75%-85%. Varicella-related hospitalizations in the United States decreased from 2.3-5 per 100,000 population in the pre-vaccine era (1993-1995) to 0.3-1.3 per 100,000 population in 2001-02. Ambulatory care visits for varicella also declined, by 59%. In 2000, the number of varicella-related deaths in the United States had declined by 78% in the < 20 year age group and by 63% in the 20-49 year age group, as compared with the pre-vaccine years, 1990-94.

    Source: Canadian Immunization Guide, 7th edition, 2006

    Copyright Public Health Agency of Canada, 2007

  83. #84 Isabella Thomas
    May 28, 2009

    I would be very careful about calling Dr.Andrew Wakefield a fraudster just on the word of a journalist who seems to be obsessed especially with attacking the parents. Show me the evidence that you can publish such a statement? The parents in the Lancet study are NOT anti-vaccine. Their children had all their vaccines but had a bad reaction to the MMR vaccine. The Lancet paper was about their children’s bowel disease and that paper still stands as right about the findings. The only thing that Dr. Wakefield said was that the single vaccines should be brought in until a full investigation is done. How is that anti-vaccine for God sake.

  84. #85 notmercury
    May 28, 2009

    @Isabella: Did Wakefield claim he found measles virus in bowel tissue from autistic children? Does he stand by that claim to this day? The measles PCR data were fraudulent, therefore Wakefield is a fraudster.

    Wakefield may or may not fit your definition of anti-vaccine but he sure as hell turned more people away from MMR than any other individual in history.

  85. #86 Matthew Cline
    May 28, 2009

    @Kristie:

    Less than 24 hours later, after publishing the link to my post, I’ve already been called Hitler for mentioning on Twitter that genetic isolation is one of the potential problems with the (false) “Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t have autism” argument.

    Woah, what’s the twisted reasoning behind that? That you were in favor of eugenics in order to eliminate autism? That you were in favor of committing genocide against the Amish?

  86. #87 cbe
    May 28, 2009

    @isabella:
    This recent paper was authored by Wakefield: http://www.medicalveritas.com/manWakefield.pdf

    The whole paper is full of anti-vaccine myths and half truths.

    I am so sick of reading about how Wakefield is simply trying to make vaccines safer…it’s the same stuff Jenny tries to get away with.

  87. #88 Catherina
    May 28, 2009

    Monado: I think you are putting me into the wrong basket here. I am not arguing against the number of antigens given on one day, I was perfectly fine with D, T, aP, IPV, hib, hepB, M, M and R to be given in one day. However, I was not happy with them being given in 5 syringes when the same is possible in 2 (although technically it wasn’t at the time since the hexavalents were not available until 2000). Also, I would challenge you to provide any evidence for your statement:

    If the shots are given in different parts of the body, immunization is more effective because the different vaccines or their formulations don’t interfere with each other.

    As far as I am aware, this has only been shown for the ProQuad brand of MMRV vs MMR and Var separately.

    I do not argue against chicken pox vaccine. My daughter is vaccinated (my son had chicken pox twice, he was too young to be vaccinated the first time). However, the vaccine seems to more effective when given at age 15 months*, so why not give it then rather than at the 12 months visit? Also, vaccinated people will get shingles too. This is not an argument against the vaccine for me personally, but you should make sure you are not trying to use shingles as an argument for the vaccine. It is important to be precise when arguing for vaccines (actually for any medicine).

    * http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14970064

    I would never (and did not in my post) argue against pertussis vaccination. I caught pertussis at age 15 babysitting an unvaccinated toddler. I coughed and whooped for 8 weeks straight, lost 8 kilos, my pediatrician had me checked for tuberculosis, before the whooping started. I got the adult booster as soon as it came out and my children will be boosted as well (even though we will have to do that in private practise, since the NHS only boosts for dT). We are also paying out of pocket for our flu shots, since we all happen to be in the “effective” range for flu vaccination, but, per Cochrane Collaboration*, flu vaccine for under two year olds is not more beneficial than placebo, so why should it clutter an already full vaccination schedule (especially since the flu shot must be given 2x in the first year).

    * http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2009/05/cochrane-collaboration-on-influenza.html

    What I was trying to stress in my post were some of the reasons parents are upset by the AAP schedule and where there is IMO room for improvement. You can rationalise all you want that 4 shots in one visit are ok, but when you see your healthy child being subjected to them it is still shocking. More importantly, not all parents are equally able to rationalize (I have seen a couple of moms faint when their child got one shot or anaesthesia, not rational, but very human). It is a lot easier to sell the “too many too soon” to a parent who had to hold a child through four shots in a visit than through one or two.

    We (communal “we” of the people who rationalise and are interested in good vaccination coverage) need to think about these things and make sure everything we advocate is well supported and really needed in this fashion, otherwise, we will not be taken seriously.

  88. #89 Catherina
    May 28, 2009

    grumble, links put response in hold queue – let’s try without…

    Monado: I think you are putting me into the wrong basket here. I am not arguing against the number of antigens given on one day, I was perfectly fine with D, T, aP, IPV, hib, hepB, M, M and R to be given in one day. However, I was not happy with them being given in 5 syringes when the same is possible in 2 (although technically it wasn’t at the time since the hexavalents were not available until 2000). Also, I would challenge you to provide any evidence for your statement:

    If the shots are given in different parts of the body, immunization is more effective because the different vaccines or their formulations don’t interfere with each other.

    As far as I am aware, this has only been shown for the ProQuad brand of MMRV vs MMR and Var separately.

    I do not argue against chicken pox vaccine. My daughter is vaccinated (my son had chicken pox twice, he was too young to be vaccinated the first time). However, the vaccine seems to more effective when given at age 15 months, so why not give it then rather than at the 12 months visit? Also, vaccinated people will get shingles too. This is not an argument against the vaccine for me personally, but you should make sure you are not trying to use shingles as an argument for the vaccine. It is important to be precise when arguing for vaccines (actually for any medicine).

    I would never (and did not in my post) argue against pertussis vaccination. I caught pertussis at age 15 babysitting an unvaccinated toddler. I coughed and whooped for 8 weeks straight, lost 8 kilos, my pediatrician had me checked for tuberculosis, before the whooping started. I got the adult booster as soon as it came out and my children will be boosted as well (even though we will have to do that in private practise, since the NHS only boosts for dT). We are also paying out of pocket for our flu shots, since we all happen to be in the “effective” range for flu vaccination, but, per Cochrane Collaboration, flu vaccine for under two year olds is not more beneficial than placebo, so why should it clutter an already full vaccination schedule (especially since the flu shot must be given 2x in the first year).

    What I was trying to stress in my post were some of the reasons parents are upset by the AAP schedule and where there is IMO room for improvement. You can rationalise all you want that 4 shots in one visit are ok, but when you see your healthy child being subjected to them it is still shocking. More importantly, not all parents are equally able to rationalize (I have seen a couple of moms faint when their child got one shot or anaesthesia, not rational, but very human). It is a lot easier to sell the “too many too soon” to a parent who had to hold a child through four shots in a visit than through one or two.

    We (communal “we” of the people who rationalise and are interested in good vaccination coverage) need to think about these things and make sure everything we advocate is well supported and really needed in this fashion, otherwise, we will not be taken seriously.

  89. #90 Pablo
    May 28, 2009

    You’re right. No one has a bloody clue what it is I do for a living. If they think they know, it invariably involves them showing me a suspicious blemish. For most part, I just tell people I’m an infectious disease researcher.

    I recently had an exchange with the folks at StopJenny.com, and among the things I suggested was that they provide information about epidemiology, what it is, and what epidemiologists do. In the same vein as my comments here, I recommended to them that they explain the difference between real experts and non-experts, and, in that regard, why epidemiologists are experts in this matter while Playboy models are not (ok, the latter should be obvious).

  90. #91 Joanna Holland
    May 28, 2009

    Agree with everything Prometheus said above-very well said.

    In addition, my concern about making changes to our currently safe immunization schedule is that it would send the same mixed message as occurred when thimerosal was removed from vaccines and “prove” to the anti-vaxers that they were right all along about vaccine overload.

  91. #92 Pablo
    May 28, 2009

    Well, to be fair it’s not right to stick with the current schedule if there is something better just to avoid a mixed message. I’d view it a strength of our medical community that they are constantly working to do things better (although I realize those who would use it against them).

    But do it because there is actually a good reason to, and not just “to be on the safe side.” That would be the difference with thimerasol in MMR.

  92. #93 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    Pablo “That would be the difference with thimerasol in MMR.”

    I don’t understand what you are saying there.

    1) There has never been thimerosal in the MMR.

    2) The only change in the MMR schedule came from observations of measles outbreaks.

    3) It is only give after the child is over a year old (in some countries like India it is given younger, but that is because measles is still endemic there).

  93. #94 Catherina
    May 28, 2009

    Joanna,

    I very strongly disagree with you. There is such a thing as “best practise”. What some vaxaloon may think about a change in the vaccination schedule really should not affect any reasonable, evidence based decision.

    Thimerosal is not needed in single dose vaccines. It was consequential to take it out of vaccines (European countries did so before the US).

    If research shows that a certain vaccine had no benefit (like the Cochrane meta analysis shows for flu vaccination in healthy under 2 year olds) should we leave it on the vaccination schedule not to stir up the pro-disease brigade? That seems rather odd.

  94. #95 Dawn
    May 28, 2009

    @Pablo…not sure what you were getting at in comment 91 when you said “But do it because there is actually a good reason to, and not just “to be on the safe side.” That would be the difference with thimerasol in MMR.”

    As I am sure you know, the MMR, as a live virus vaccine, never had thimerasol in it. So, can you clarify what you meant?

  95. #96 MIDawn
    May 28, 2009

    Oops..the above Dawn comment is from me. I know Orac has probably blocked crazy Dawn from commenting again, but I really don’t want anyone to think I am her (she?).

  96. #97 Parental Choice
    May 28, 2009

    “In addition, my concern about making changes to our currently safe immunization schedule is that it would send the same mixed message as occurred when thimerosal was removed from vaccines and “prove” to the anti-vaxers that they were right all along about vaccine overload”.

    Wow. Just Wow. That’s one of the most frightening statements that I have ever heard…. Not surprising AT ALL but frightening.

  97. #98 Kristie McNealy
    May 28, 2009

    @Matthew Cline

    Woah, what’s the twisted reasoning behind that? That you were in favor of eugenics in order to eliminate autism? That you were in favor of committing genocide against the Amish?

    I honestly can’t say. I don’t know if they were insinuating that I was against the Amish, or against American children by being pro-vaccine. I think it might have been the latter.

    All I know is the conversation went from the Amish, to a vax schedule from Generation Rescue, to some random statements made about the vaccines/vaccination schedule used in Japan. By pointing out that there were numerous genetic, social and environmental differences that could play out in the Amish and Japanese examples, I was suddenly a modern day Hitler. Gah!

  98. #99 Pablo
    May 28, 2009

    Sorry, let me restate:

    “But do it because there is actually a good reason to, and not just “to be on the safe side.” That would be the difference with when they took thimerasol out of vaccines.”

  99. #100 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    Parasitic Choice said “Wow. Just Wow. That’s one of the most frightening statements that I have ever heard…. Not surprising AT ALL but frightening.”

    No more frightening than an idiot taking her measles infectious son to a doctor’s room where several babies too young to get the MMR got infected. When interviewed she showed no remorse for the effect it had on other families (including the ones that had to be quarantined).

    Or the singular lack of evidence presented that shows that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps or rubella and that the DTaP is worse than diptheria, tetanus and pertussis.

    Or the blatant lies that are posted by the parasites about vaccines.

  100. #101 desiree
    May 28, 2009

    “Wow. Just Wow. That’s one of the most frightening statements that I have ever heard…. Not surprising AT ALL but frightening.”

    really that frightening? we’re discussing a situation in which parents are already frightened away from vaccinating. while i don’t agree that we should shy away from changes in the vaccine schedule to “keep up appearances,” you have to agree that one should at least consider the affect on public trust that any change would have. further erosion of public trust in vaccines could mean that children die. that, to me, is one of the most frightening things i can think of. silly me, all hung up on kids dying!

  101. #102 Sunlight is the best antiseptic
    May 28, 2009

    (I posted this to another thread but it seems more appropriate here).

    As I’m sure most of us would agree, the internet at this point is useless, only people who are interested in vaccine or autism information tune in. Unfortunately they are frequently transported via air-Google to the shiny anti-vax land of make-believe. There, up is down, left is right, vaccines are bad and disease is good.

    The non-interested, silent majority of people are resonable, but in a state of blissful ignorance to the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement. They get their vaccine information filtered through some friend, who heard about someone’s cousin’s schoolmate that “caught autism from a vaccine”, or they read the title of some “scientific article” posted at their local gym purporting “vaccine injury equivalent to mercury poisoning”. “Hmmm”… they think, “there really is something to this, there it is, all sciency and everything”; and they tell someone… and so on… and so on….

    The time is now to bring a prime time slapdown of this misinformation.

    Any format for the “debate” would be great except face to face.

    Real time face to face plays to the anti-vax “strength” of baffleing with bullshit, moving goalposts, interuptions, shout-overs, swearing, pseudoscience magical thinkng talking points, “I’m a Mom”, etc…. the list is endless. This forum also allows the appearance of being qualified.

    Some reputable souce (NOVA, NBC dateline etc.) must be interested in clearly documenting what is going on here. The format suggested by Pablo sounds like a possible outline.

    There must be some producer, somewhere, who can see that compliance with public health policies is being influenced/hijacked by fanatics with no consistent stance, basis of thought or real accountability. Their reason: there is a grand conspiracy theory hatched by pharma and government for money over children. How do they know? Well…they just do. Enough with this nonsense.

    In prime time, on numbers grabbing major network television, someone who knows the topic, (my vote is at least for Orac), needs to shine a powerful light on this belief based, science-be-damned, anti-vax movement that threatens not only our public health, but ultimately our economy.

    First amendment rights do not allow you to shout “Fire!” indiscriminately. Isn’t the antivax movement essentially doing the same thing – causing unfounded panic?

    Let’s get on with improved public awareness and then get on with putting measures in place to hold these people accoutable for what, when viewed in it’s extreme, really amounts to domestic terrorism.

    Where is the anti-vaccine court anyway?

  102. #103 Tsu Dho Nimh
    May 28, 2009

    JAMES SWEET “I have so far failed to locate any epidemiological studies regarding the spacing of vaccines, nor have I found any info explaining how the CDC schedule was derived.

    Many of the studies are decades old and not on the internet, buried in journals that are about immunology but not directly about infectious diseases, or not in English. The hot pertussis researchers in the 1970s-80s were all in Japan.

    The schedule for any vaccination program is partly biologically driven – infants can respond to protein-based vaccines nicely (HepB, for example, is a vaccine with a single protein from the virus that is often given at birth and that has a high protective % with just one shot) and don’t respond to the polysaccharide-based vaccines until they are a few weeks to a few months old. Pertussis is a polysaccharide-based vaccine.

    The schedule is partly based on the need to balance developmental differences with risk factors. Pertussis is extremely dangerous for infants, so getting them effectively vaccinated as early as possible is high priority. But see the previous paragraph … their immune systems aren’t responsive to polysaccharides for a while.

    Pertussis has 3 shots because only a portion of the infants will respond effectively to the first one at two months, another portion will respond to the one at four months, and the one at six months catches the stragglers.

    Why not wait until 6 months and get all the babies at once? Because you don’t want to leave those who could be helped at risk any longer than necessary. Delaying the shots would put 100% of the babies at risk for the first 6 months instead of protecting some of them at 2 months, another batch at 4 months and catching the final 20% or so at 6 months.

    Why not run “titers” after the first/second shot and only vaccinate babies who didn’t respond? Because it doubles the # of office visits (one for the blood draw, one for the vaccine), doubles the number of jabs (and getting blood means more than a pinprick), and increases the cost (titers aren’t cheap).

  103. #104 Parental Choice
    May 28, 2009

    “No more frightening than an idiot taking her measles infectious son to a doctor’s room where several babies too young to get the MMR got infected”.

    This struck me as rather hilarious considering I brought my son to the pediatricians office with a very bad rash covering his entire body from head to toe within a few days after his MMR shot. I’m horrible, aren’t I?

    LOL!

  104. #105 Catherina
    May 28, 2009

    PC – MMR is not contagious.

  105. #106 ababa
    May 28, 2009

    Parental Choice, I thought you said: Sorry, Moron… I choose to keep my child safe from your toxic sludge.

    and: I think that you should be able to show that injecting babies with toxic sludge is safe before I should have to show you anything :)

    in reference to vaccines on the One more time: Vaccine refusal endangers children thread?

    Oops, looks like you just outed yourself as a troll.

  106. #107 Parental Choice
    May 28, 2009

    “Parental Choice, I thought you said: Sorry, Moron… I choose to keep my child safe from your toxic sludge”.

    Hey, newsflash for the dumbass…

    I have more than 1 child. Sadly, the older two were exposed to all the toxic sludge out there because I was a good stupid sheep who didn’t know any better. With the 3rd, I finally woke up to the nonsense… Guess which one of my kids is BY FAR the healthiest?

  107. #108 Parental Choice
    May 28, 2009

    “PC – MMR is not contagious”.

    Oh really? You mean it was only my own child whose immune system was screwed up due to the toxic sludge (ie mmr vaccine)? You mean it was only my son who could have been adversely affected by the constant diarrhea issues which came about due to the toxic sludge injected into him? You mean I didn’t infect all the other babies in the waiting room when I entered with his horrific “viral rash” from the mmr vaccine? Oh good, I feel so much better now…. I was really worried…

  108. #109 Shay
    May 28, 2009

    “I’m horrible, aren’t I?”

    No argument there.

  109. #110 ababa
    May 28, 2009

    Parental Choice: When Measles comes a’ knocking, it’ll be the vaccinated one.

    Oh and ever think that maybe the vaccines made them more healthy? Maybe they were more prone to illness and those vaccinations have prevented them from contracting serious illness? You do know that sometimes children get sick without it being vaccine related, right? Or is that just a convenient thing to blame?

    Oh noes, it must have been teh evil vaxes that made them sick!

  110. #111 Parental Choice
    May 28, 2009

    “Oh and ever think that maybe the vaccines made them more healthy”?

    The vaccines made them more healthy? LOL! Yeah, right…….

    The stupidity, it burns….

  111. #112 ababa
    May 28, 2009

    Whatever helps you sleep at night, Parental Choice …

    It’s always the vaxes isn’t it? Too bad you can’t blame them for anything that happens to your youngest. You might actually have to own up to your genetics or your “Parental Choice” with that one.

    There are a whole bunch of parents that choose to not vaccinate and are finding out the hard way that the only thing it buys them is vulnerability to disease. They still get autism at the same rate and all the other fun things they love to blame on vaccines. You just don’t hear from them as much since they are less willing to shout from the rooftops about how gullible they were. That’s OK though, maybe you won’t have to face that and then look yourself in the mirror every morning.

  112. #113 tariqata
    May 28, 2009

    You do know that sometimes children get sick without it being vaccine related, right? Or is that just a convenient thing to blame?

    After a woman in the Environment and Health class I took this year insisted that vaccines “put children on the path of sickness” it became apparent to me that some people really do believe that the main cause of illness is vaccination. And medicine in general, I assume.

    Oh, and microwaves and cellphone towers.

    It was tough to dissent from that view in a civil way.

  113. #114 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    Tsu Dho Minh said “Many of the studies are decades old and not on the internet, buried in journals that are about immunology but not directly about infectious diseases, or not in English. The hot pertussis researchers in the 1970s-80s were all in Japan.”

    In a bizarre note, many alt-med folks claim that “Western” medicine is bad. Which I guess means “Eastern” should be good. The chicken pox vaccine, and the newer DTaP vaccine were both developed in Japan. So by their thinking both of those should be good things because they are not from the “West.”

    One of the popular lies used by the parasitic anti-vaxers is that Japan stopped vaccinating for pertussis, and then the rate of SIDS went down. What they fail to clarify is that what really happened is that the rate of SIDS stayed the same, the DTP vaccine could no longer be blamed.

    Plus the number of babies that died from pertussis went up.

    Unlike the Parasitic Choice, I can actually back up my statements…

    Safety and efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccine in Japan, evaluated by 23 years of its use for routine immunization:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15660862

    and
    Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15889991

    Full abstract of the latter:
    “An antivaccine movement developed in Japan as a consequence of increasing numbers of adverse reactions to whole-cell pertussis vaccines in the mid-1970s. After two infants died within 24 h of the vaccination from 1974 to 1975, the Japanese government temporarily suspended vaccinations. Subsequently, the public and the government witnessed the re-emergence of whooping cough, with 41 deaths in 1979. This series of unfortunate events revealed to the public that the vaccine had, in fact, been beneficial. Furthermore, researchers and the Japanese government proceeded to develop safer pertussis vaccines. Japan now has the most experience worldwide with acellular pertussis vaccines, being the first country to have approved their use. This review describes the major events associated with the Japanese vaccination program. The Japanese experience should be valuable to other countries that are considering the development and use of such vaccines.”

    Now, Parasitic Choice, please provide real actual factual evidence that the MMR vaccine (which has been used in the USA since 1971, and has never contained thimerosal nor aluminum) is worse than measles, mumps and rubella.

    Plus provide real actual factual evidence that the DTaP, which was developed in Japan so it is not really “Western Medicine”, is worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

    Remember the evidence must be a paper that I can find in my local medical school library, but must not include the journal “Medical Hypothesis” (if you want to know why, look up the word “hypothesis”).

  114. #115 RJ
    May 28, 2009

    For Chris, for diligently pointing out my posting error…

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/199679

  115. #116 RJ
    May 28, 2009

    “You mean it was only my son who could have been adversely affected by the constant diarrhea issues which came about due to the toxic sludge injected into him?”

    If you cook like you rationalize, I can think of a likely cause. Toxic sludge, yes, but not from the injections.

  116. #117 Mu
    May 28, 2009

    I love the toxic sludge gambit. If I look what my one and two year old chew, lick, swallow, poke themselves on or otherwise get exposed to, very little contained in a small syringe worries me. Oh, anyone got a two-year old proof dog food container?

  117. #118 dean
    May 28, 2009

    “I’m horrible, aren’t I?”

    Parental Choice, very few people are truly horrible. Pol Pot? Yes. Jenny McCarthy, Deidre Imus, for the lies they continually push, lies that endanger children all around the country – they’re close to horrible. Even with your misplaced ideas about “toxic sludge”, I haven’t seen evidence you’re horrible.

    You’re probably just not very bright.

  118. #119 ababa
    May 28, 2009

    Mu said: Oh, anyone got a two-year old proof dog food container?

    It doesn’t exist. You could lock it up in a titanium, 3 inch thick safe with dual locks and a chain wrapped around it and suspended from the ceiling and I guarantee the next time you go by they would be into it.

  119. #120 kibitzer
    May 28, 2009

    I have hesitated to make any comment on this thread, because I see that the ‘vaxers’ have drunk as much of the kool-aid as they accuse the ‘anti-vaxers’ of having done – so there doesn’t seem to be much room for constructive dialogue here. But still I want to ask, Orac:

    On the Cedillo case, eg: what does it prove, really, if the child already demonstrated on video some symptomatic traits of ASD before a shot or shots? For the sake of such a dialogue, let’s say that Michelle’s mum, when pregnant, burdened the foetus with heavy metals, like mercury, from the (now-recommended-to-pregnant-women) flu vax, and say from a rho-Gam, and from fish or her amalgam fillings or other environmental source; and then the baby was born through the incarnational screen of an at-birth HepB shot with thimerosal (or not; say, just the inflammatory shock to its immature system in & by itself) – to say, was set up to have its immune system already compromised; and then the MMR shot, say, comes along, with its 3 live viruses (and its glutamic acid; thus lowering glutathione levels that may already be low, from either a genetic polymorphism or by trying to deal with the heavy metal load already involved) – and wham: overload.

    I’m basically saying that if some children have a genetic predisposition to be low in glutathione, or have one or more of the genes that have been discovered to be associated with ASD, which code for glutamate, and thus make that substance (an excitotoxin in its own right, even without this added predispositional feature) particularly dangerous for those kids – shouldn’t we be screening children for these inherited ‘weaknesses’ (read: warning flags), and spare them the vax regimen set up for kids who don’t have such predispositions to be damaged by vaccines? Or would you only accept one-size-fits-all, and the devil take the hindmost??

  120. #121 kibitzer
    May 28, 2009

    I have hesitated to make any comment on this thread, because I see that the ‘vaxers’ have drunk as much of the kool-aid as they accuse the ‘anti-vaxers’ of having done – so there doesn’t seem to be much room for constructive dialogue here. But still I want to ask, Orac:

    On the Cedillo case, eg: what does it prove, really, if the child already demonstrated on video some symptomatic traits of ASD before a shot or shots? For the sake of such a dialogue, let’s say that Michelle’s mum, when pregnant, burdened the foetus with heavy metals, like mercury, from the (now-recommended-to-pregnant-women) flu vax, and say from a rho-Gam, and from fish or her amalgam fillings or other environmental source; and then the baby was born through the incarnational screen of an at-birth HepB shot with thimerosal (or not; say, just the inflammatory shock to its immature system in & by itself) – to say, was set up to have its immune system already compromised; and then the MMR shot, say, comes along, with its 3 live viruses (and its glutamic acid; thus lowering glutathione levels that may already be low, from either a genetic polymorphism or by trying to deal with the heavy metal load already involved) – and wham: overload.

    I’m basically saying that if some children have a genetic predisposition to be low in glutathione, or have one or more of the genes that have been discovered to be associated with ASD, which code for glutamate, and thus make that substance (an excitotoxin in its own right, even without this added predispositional feature) particularly dangerous for those kids – shouldn’t we be screening children for these inherited ‘weaknesses’ (read: warning flags), and spare them the vax regimen set up for kids who don’t have such predispositions to be damaged by vaccines? Or would you only accept one-size-fits-all, and the devil take the hindmost??

  121. #122 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    kibitzer, I would say you are spouting lots of nonsense and speculation. Could you at least try to support your argument with something? Anything?

    (oh, and do try to read the error message when you post)

  122. #123 RJ
    May 28, 2009

    I’m sure Orac will respond, but I cannot help myself.

    Kibitzer, re-read what you wrote. All these circumstances (plausible and implausible) and WHAM! There it is, Autism. you are creating a mechanism for the onset of this disorder. What you have described IS NOT the basis for the disorder. I have as much validity in my description if I were to say, “What if the pregnant mother drove her car to the doctor and was surrounded by cell phones on the road, then gets out of the car right near a fully-functional cell phone tower. Then, while waiting, she get 6, maybe 7 phone calls all back-to-back. Then, the susceptible foetus is bombarded with radiation from all these cell phone, causing inflammatory responses, some of which hyperactive the immune system and cause more inflammation….”. Yada yada yada.

    Yeah, what if. This mechanism and the one you describe are completely hypothetical and have no basis, whatsoever, for the genesis of autism in a child. And that’s the point. Even the best education, most experienced in this field will not claim to know all the details that contribute to the wide-range of behaviors that are classified as ASDs (although they have a pretty good idea with a very developed theory). How is it you have become so convinced you’ve got it all figured out?

    Personally, I think it is aliens, but hey, that’s just me. But I wouldn’t be foolish enough to claim I know and certainly not to regurgitate the discredited potential issues that have been thoroughly examined already.

  123. #124 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    Most of kibitzer’s nonsense is here: “For the sake of such a dialogue, let’s say that Michelle’s mum, when pregnant, burdened the foetus with heavy metals, like mercury, from the (now-recommended-to-pregnant-women) flu vax, and say from a rho-Gam, and from fish or her amalgam fillings or other environmental source; and then the baby was born through the incarnational screen of an at-birth HepB shot with thimerosal (or not; say, just the inflammatory shock to its immature system in & by itself) – to say, was set up to have its immune system already compromised; and then the MMR shot, say, comes along, with its 3 live viruses”

    What evidence do you have that the Rho-Gam or influenza have enough thimerosal to cause anything?

    Plus Michelle was showing signs of autism in the films before she got the MMR.

  124. #125 Tsu Dho Nimh
    May 28, 2009

    JAMES SWEET “I have so far failed to locate any epidemiological studies regarding the spacing of vaccines, nor have I found any info explaining how the CDC schedule was derived.

    The schedule for any vaccination program is partly biologically driven – infants can respond to protein-based vaccines nicely (HepB, for example, is a vaccine with a single protein from the virus that is often given at birth and that has a high protective % with just one shot) and don’t respond to the polysaccharide-based vaccines until they are a few weeks to a few months old. Pertussis is a polysaccharide-based vaccine.

    The schedule is partly based on the need to balance developmental differences with risk factors. Pertussis is extremely dangerous for infants, so getting them effectively vaccinated as early as possible is high priority. But see the previous paragraph … their immune systems aren’t responsive to polysaccharides for a while.

    Pertussis has 3 shots because only a portion of the infants will respond effectively to the first one at two months, another portion will respond to the one at four months, and the one at six months catches the stragglers.

    Why not wait until 6 months and get all the babies at once? Because you don’t want to leave those who could be helped at risk any longer than necessary. Delaying the shots would put 100% of the babies at risk for the first 6 months instead of protecting some of them at 2 months, another batch at 4 months and catching the final 20% or so at 6 months.

    Why not run “titers” after the first/second shot and only vaccinate babies who didn’t respond? Because it doubles the # of office visits (one for the blood draw, one for the vaccine), doubles the number of jabs (and getting blood means more than a pinprick), and increases the cost (titers aren’t cheap).

  125. #126 RJ
    May 28, 2009

    Why is it that it always has to be “toxicity” when talking about environmental factors? Why can’t it be psychological stresses. There are countless examples of “normal” individuals in their teens/20’s who suddenly become schizophrenic following some sort of trauma (and no, it’s not because they went and got their thimerosal-laden booster shots that overwhellmed their immune system). Why not psychological stress?

  126. #127 Azkyroth
    May 28, 2009

    Perhaps we should start by referring to children’s cemetaries as “McCarthy Gardens.”

    (Then again, I would also advocate experiments with framing prospective laws prohibiting abortion as “corporate welfare for the coat hanger industry.”)

  127. #128 Joseph
    May 28, 2009

    Why not psychological stress?

    In part because it’s taboo (in the autism world) and in part because it’s a paradigm that’s fallen out of favor in general.

    That said, when parents of children who have had developmental regression are asked about what they think might have triggered the regression, psychological stress (notably, birth of sibling) is at the top of the list. This was the case even a few years after Wakefield. I wrote about that once here.

  128. #129 RJ
    May 28, 2009

    Thanks Joseph!

    Still, I doubt it is never mentioned or considered because of anything of a scientific nature. I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that someone else has ‘damaged’ their children. I mentioned this here to play the devil’s advocate because after reading some reports of traumatic occurrences at the onset of schizophrenia, I ran across this paper (Brosnan et al. Absence of a normal Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) in adolescent males with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.02.011 ) and and thought that the similarity was interesting, particularly since both are candidates for de novo CNV-driven disorders. I also thought it might be interesting to examine this hypothetical contributor since there are some examples where an identical twin does not exhibit the same behaviors of ASD as the other (indicating something external driving onset for that example). Anyway, just conjecturing.

    Thanks again for the link.

  129. #130 D. C. Sessions
    May 28, 2009

    The difference is, the pro vac people here are trying to avoid that scenario, the antivaccers are trying to force that scenario.

    Yup — and the sad reality is that I’d give them the odds. The measles outbreaks last spring were a pretty good indicator of how they see things: all of the antivaxxers are telling the world that the outbreaks are proof that measles is nothing to bother about.

    I mentioned that to some co-workers who grew up in India. It wasn’t pretty. My mother knows better, too — but she hasn’t had small kids since the early 60s (and measles still scares her.)

    Experience is a dear teacher, but some will learn from no other.

  130. #131 Matthew Cline
    May 28, 2009

    The measles outbreaks last spring were a pretty good indicator of how they see things: all of the antivaxxers are telling the world that the outbreaks are proof that measles is nothing to bother about.

    I mentioned that to some co-workers who grew up in India. It wasn’t pretty.

    Ah, but the antivaxers would probably claim that was due to the poor in India having poor nutrition and/or poor living conditions, and thus measles is completely harmless to the children of the middle class and upper class in America.

  131. #132 HCN
    May 28, 2009

    The anti-vax folks also claim that the only children who suffer dearly from measles are unhealthy. Since I have a child with multiple health issues I will ask them why my child is less valuable than their child.

    They usually react by saying “I did not say that”, yet I can cut and paste their exact quote. Then they hem and haw saying they meant that kids who are raised on a healthy diet and without “toxins” are the ones who are healthy will survive measles just fine.

    So I ask them why these boys deserved their newly acquired disabilities from measles:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1055533.ece …. Usually they have no answer to that.

  132. #133 Step it up
    May 28, 2009

    Who… exactly… is the charismatic, national, mass media spokesman for reason?

    With all due respect, internet arguments are circular and tiresome.

    On the national level, against the Winfreys and the McCarthy/Carey’s….

    Who vs. woo?

    Who?

  133. #134 Step it up
    May 28, 2009

    Oops…spokesperson.

    You know what I mean.

    Let me rephrase…

    Who vs. woo?

  134. #135 Sid Offit
    May 28, 2009

    @Matt

    Ah, but the antivaxers would probably claim that was due to the poor in India having poor nutrition and/or poor living conditions, and thus measles is completely harmless to the children of the middle class and upper class in America.

    Yeah that’s about right

  135. #136 Catherina
    May 29, 2009

    PC, take a cold shower, you seem to be hysterical.

    there – all better.

    And yes, I would hope that you feel good about your child not being infectious. Measles kills children, you know.

  136. #137 Militant Agnostic
    May 29, 2009

    I think this battle needs to be fought on the ground using tactics tailored to the individual situation.

    If the reachable antivaxer is a tree hugger show the analogies between antivax arguments and global warming denialism.

    If the antivaxer is on the political right, I am not sure what arguments would be best – maybe point out the similarities between the antivaxers and rabid environmentalists.

    Guerrilla tactics could include slipping pictures of wards full of children in iron lungs etc into copies of Jenny McKnownothing’s book in bookstores.

    The pro-vax message needs to be slipped in wherever possible into science and health oriented programs.

    Nova needs to do something like the CBC Radio 1’s Ideas series did with “Remembering Polio”. They mentioned the anti-vax movement and the danger of polio making a comeback.

    I like the idea of a program “showing both sides” in the following manner – a clip of an antivaxer claim (the more hysterical the better – especially from Jenny McKnownothing) followed by a rebuttal. Depending on the audience, throwing in a few clips of Jenny eating boogers etc wouldn’t hurt.

  137. #138 Monado
    May 29, 2009

    There are stories of consequences on the CDC site, e.g. “Fatal respiratory diphtheria in a U.S. traveller to Haiti—Pennsylvania, 2003.

    For people who want info, this doctor wrote a 16-page handout:

    “This year, we certainly have had parents asking more questions,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, physician who is a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics….Brown said she wrote a 16-page, single-spaced document for parents that explains childhood vaccinations and why doctors do not believe they cause autism. She began handing it out this spring, and thinks it’s been a help to parents and a time-saver for her.

    “People want that level of information,” she said.

    Maybe it’s available through the AAP.

  138. #139 David Pollard
    May 29, 2009

    “But the real question is why? Why is this myth so resistant to science, data, and reason?”

    Given that fever reduces autistic spectrum symptoms and vaccination can cause fever, some parents may well have observed a connection between vaccination and autism. In a proportion of cases, symptoms may not have been noticed until their relatively rapid return as a vaccination-induced fever abates.

    Whether or not this is correlation rather than causation, parents in such situations will refuse to accept that there is no connection, because they have observed one with their own eyes. In part it is because orthodox authority holds that there is no association whatsoever between vaccination and symptoms that the myth remains strong, for it portrays those who note the ‘fever effect’ as liars.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071208144002.htm
    https://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/24865,opinion,mmr-parents-deserve-an-answer
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401145312.htm

  139. #140 kibitzer
    May 29, 2009

    @HCN:
    “Could you at least try to support your argument with something? Anything?”
    @RJ:
    “Yeah, what if. This mechanism and the one you describe are completely hypothetical and have no basis, whatsoever, for the genesis of autism in a child.”
    But mine is a plausible biological mechanism. For the autism gene discovery & its link to glutamate:
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/Autism/tb/5082
    (This peer-reviewed article states: “The candidate genes are involved in the trans-synaptic transportation of glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter.”)
    So it is a particularly hazardous substance to kids with these genes; let alone to the rest of us.
    On the dangers of glutamate/glutamic acid, and its being in live-virus vaccines:
    msgtruth.org
    So there it’s in the presence of an inflammatory situation already (the body’s immune reaction to the vaccine). Not an intelligent ingredient in a vax in the best of times (& creating an allergic response to it thereby to boot). Plus it lowers glutathione levels. Which brings me to:
    @HCN:
    “What evidence do you have that the Rho-Gam or influenza have enough thimerosal to cause anything?”
    The flu vax given to an adult (incl. a pregnant woman) contains a dose of Hg meant only for an adult weight to be able to process ‘safely’ (EPA regs). And if the foetus already has a genetic predisposition to be low in glutathione (the body’s basic chelator)…(Sorry i can’t quote you a particular reference on that; I’ve come across that info from at least a couple of sources. One was a study that Prof Boyd Haley was involved in; but I gather from the tenor of this blog that he’s ‘one of the enemy’, so that reference might not cut any ice here anyway. The point is, either it’s true or it isn’t. If it is, it deserves a hazard flag: such kids can’t process heavy metals as well as other kids can. A mature society would cut them some slack in this regard.)
    “Plus Michelle was showing signs of autism in the films before she got the MMR.”
    If true, it goes to my point of overload: the stress on her system of the MMR – and with its glutamic acid, thus lowering her glutathione levels, perhaps already compromised by the circumstances I outlined – could reasonably have tipped her over the edge. In any event, the MMR has been accepted – legally, after a hearing on the medical aspects of the issue – as causal to a PDD (ADEM); that puts it in the ASD ballpark.
    As to that spectrum:
    @RJ:
    “Even the best education, most experienced in this field will not claim to know all the details that contribute to the wide-range of behaviors that are classified as ASDs…”
    True. Which is why we need to be more careful, and aware, than we have been, of what all could be causing this terrible neurological spectrum of conditions. For example: Tylenol (that class of drugs) can affect glutathione levels; an essential antioxidant detoxifier, as I’ve indicated here. And ASD has as one of its symptom descriptions ‘oxidative stress’. GPs should have been aware and alerted a long time ago to the danger of prescribing this class of drugs for kids stressed by their vaccines.

    But perhaps they don’t want to go there, because that might well implicate the role of heavy metals in at least some of the cases of ASD, and that might well point a finger at the likes of mercury and aluminum, and that might well…

    You get my drift.

  140. #141 Jen
    May 29, 2009

    “Plus Michelle was showing signs of autism in the films before she got the MMR.”
    If true, it goes to my point of overload: the stress on her system of the MMR – and with its glutamic acid, thus lowering her glutathione levels, perhaps already compromised by the circumstances I outlined – could reasonably have tipped her over the edge.”

    I have no doubt that she was probably showing some mild signs of autism before the MMR. Reading through the transcripts, though, it didn’t escape my attention that this child ran a temp upwards of 105 degrees for FIVE days, with multiple doses of Tylenol administered. Worse, she continued to receive Tylenol with subsequent illnesses, and for pain after she fell and broke her leg. IIRC, her mother has allergies, also linked to Tylenol, so she was likely stressed from birth.

    ” For example: Tylenol (that class of drugs) can affect glutathione levels; an essential antioxidant detoxifier, as I’ve indicated here. And ASD has as one of its symptom descriptions ‘oxidative stress’. GPs should have been aware and alerted a long time ago to the danger of prescribing this class of drugs for kids stressed by their vaccines.

    But perhaps they don’t want to go there, because that might well implicate the role of heavy metals in at least some of the cases of ASD, and that might well point a finger at the likes of mercury and aluminum, and that might well…

    You get my drift.”

    Exactly.

    And unfortunately, as long as Jane Johnson (a member of the Johnson and Johnson family, as in the makers of Tylenol) is running the show at DAN!, it’s doubtful that there will be any research linking Tylenol to autism from that arena any time soon, either.

  141. #142 Parental Choice
    May 29, 2009

    “And yes, I would hope that you feel good about your child not being infectious. Measles kills children, you know”.

    Yeah, I’m so happy that my child who got a viral rash which covered his body from head to toe and was quite sick for a long time after that … didn’t infect the other children… LOL! You guys are crazy!

  142. #143 Mu
    May 29, 2009

    The feeling is mutual.

  143. #144 RJ
    May 29, 2009

    “www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/Autism/tb/5082
    (This peer-reviewed article states: “The candidate genes are involved in the trans-synaptic transportation of glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter.”)
    So it is a particularly hazardous substance to kids with these genes; let alone to the rest of us.”

    OMG! You have NO idea what you’re talking about! Hazardous substance?!?!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotransmitters

    Keep in mind glutamate and glutamic acid are amino acids, required by all living things. They are in every living thing!

    Again, you are making shit up…filling in the massive blanks of what you do not know with whatever you find that sounds good.

  144. #145 sophia8
    May 29, 2009

    Jen, for the non-US readers of this blog, could you please explain what Tylenol is? Has it got a generic name?

  145. #146 Mu
    May 29, 2009

    They probably add MSG to baby formula for flavor.

  146. #147 Jen
    May 29, 2009

    Jen, for the non-US readers of this blog, could you please explain what Tylenol is? Has it got a generic name?

    Paracetamol.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_paracetamol_brand_names

  147. #148 RJ
    May 29, 2009

    The abstract from your paper:

    Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are common, heritable neurodevelopmental conditions. The genetic architecture of ASDs is complex, requiring large samples to overcome heterogeneity. Here we broaden coverage and sample size relative to other studies of ASDs by using Affymetrix 10K SNP arrays and 1,181 families with at least two affected individuals, performing the largest linkage scan to date while also analyzing copy number variation in these families. Linkage and copy number variation analyses implicate chromosome 11p12–p13 and neurexins, respectively, among other candidate loci. Neurexins team with previously implicated neuroligins for glutamatergic synaptogenesis, highlighting glutamate-related genes as promising candidates for contributing to ASDs.

    I cannot paste the study, but if you were to actually read it, instead of a slashed up news report on from a secondary source, it has to do with absence of some genes and extra copies of others. It makes no mention, whatsoever, to any of the other BS conjecture and speculation that you’ve obviously convinced yourself with, thinking you’ve got it figured out.

    You want to do yourself a favor…go back to google university and self-teach yourself about stage-specific gene expression. Then, look at the rest of the literature and see how copy number variants play into the onset of various phenotypes, such as brain function in the amygdala and behavioral changes (that are described and classified as ASDs). Just a suggestion.

  148. #149 daedalus2u
    May 29, 2009

    David Pollard, I think the effect of fever on ASD symptoms is quite real.

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/01/resolution-of-asd-symptoms-with-fever.html

    Fever (or the increased NO that sometimes accompanies it) can’t be the “cause” of autism because the characteristic neuroanatomy occurs during the first trimester. That is when the number of minicolumns is set and one of the most robust findings in autism is an increased number of minicolumns.

  149. #150 WotWot
    May 30, 2009

    One problem is that vaccines have been so successful that parents rarely see the full, ugly consequences of the diseases against which vaccines defend anymore.

    That will change soon, if the anti-vax pack get their way. Sadly, that may be what it takes to really kill off this nonsense.

  150. #151 Nashville
    May 30, 2009

    I love the people who use the term “drink the kool-aid”. Jonestown wasn’t a community where people were encouraged to respect science or reason. Jonestown’s paranoid leadership is seriously more akin to the anti vaccination movement than it is to the science/medical movement. If anyone is “drinking the kool-aid” it is the people who reject validated science and believe everything related to science/medicine is some vast conspiracy between government, “big Pharma”, hospitals, doctors, universities, researchers and of course us “mindless sheep”. It is really the vaccination “truthers” who are the only ones who get it. It must be a painful and paranoid world to live in.

  151. #152 kibitzer
    May 30, 2009

    @RJ, 144 & 148:
    Ok, fair enough: let’s take a look at glutamate. Besides the msgtruth.org link (run by a former food process engineer, Carol Hoernlein), I would appreciate it if you would Google Russell L. Blaylock, MD (retired neurosurgeon & now nutritionist), and look into his take on this, and comment. I have an article or 2 of his (the most comprehensive one: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/pages/the-danger-of-excessive-vaccination-during-brain-development.aspx), but probably the best source to go to would be his book, ‘Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills’. I’m very open to a constructive dialogue on this matter. You may not believe it, but I do care about the truth of matters; not just ‘facts’ that fit a preconceived position.

    @HCN:
    I appreciate that you like links (supporting my arguments with “something. Anything”). For the case linking the MMR with a case of PDD-ADEM-ASD: the name of the child was Bailey Banks. A good summary of that case is at: childhealthsafety.wordpress.com, link to: ‘MMR/Autism Cases Win in US Vaccine Court’. It quotes the Special Master considerably; who at one point says: “It is well-understood that the vaccine at issue can cause ADEM…”
    (This is a link with damage to the myelin sheathing of the nerve system. This is a built-in hazard with the MMR because the measles component of it is cultured on chick embryo cells, which can be contaminated with MBP (Myelin Basic Protein), which can cause the body, in mounting an immune reaction to the vax, to do the same thing to its OWN MBP (= autoimmune disease). And this is not just theoretical: studies have shown the measles vaccine virus associated with antibodies to MBP. More on this factor in the next reference.)
    For the dangers of the MMR in general: same website, link to: ‘Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation’. This link contains an article entitled ‘MMR Links to Autism’, which contains a good assortment of references to studies in this regard. A key name therein is V.K. Singh, who has been involved in a number of studies linking the MMR measles virus to antibodies to MBP in the damaged guts of kids diagnosed with ASD.

    There’s more, but that’s enough for now. – Enough, hopefully, to begin opening a few minds here, to allow in the possibility – just the possibility – that ‘unquestioning vaxers’ may be wrong in this matter; or at least, not totally right. And then we could get to the REAL issue; which is the balance between the risks vs the benefits of various vaccines. The TRUE balance. Not the one stubbornly clung to by people who don’t want to admit to the real and total facts of the matter – that vaccines have far more of a downside to them than is dreamt of in the philosophy of this camp. And then we can go from there.

  152. #153 HCN
    May 30, 2009

    kibitzer, are you aware that the childsafety website is not in a journal available in my local medical school library? It is a website, and one with a very biased point of view.

    I specifically asked for real actual factual SCIENTIFIC evidence that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella. Proceedings in a court of law do not count.

    And neither do articles in newspapers.

    Now please find the real actual factual scientific evidence that the MMR, which has been in use in the USA since 1971 and has never contained thimerosal or aluminum, is worse than the at least one in a thousand chance of real neurological impact than measles, mumps and rubella (which would have also injured young masters Banks).

    For another website with a better view on the Bailey Banks case try: http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/Abell.BANKS.02-0738V.pdf … where is specifically says:
    “Non-autistic developmental delay; Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis; Expert Credibility; Evidentiary Reliability; Scientific Validity; Burden of Proof; Causation in Fact; Proximate Causation”

    and in it says “Despite their accord on certain factual predicates contained in Bailey’s medical records, there
    is, unsurprisingly, a pronounced conflict between the parties as to the following issues: whether a biologically plausible link exists between ADEM and pervasive developmental delay (PDD) in a direct chain of causation, whether Bailey did in fact suffer from ADEM, and ultimately whether the administration of the MMR vaccine to Bailey actually caused ADEM which would then cause PDD that currently besets Bailey today. Considering these disputes and the Court’s commission to resolve them, it behooves the Court to explain the legal standard by which factual findings are made.”
    and
    “Bailey then experienced a seizure 16 days later, on 30 March 2000, during which Bailey’s mother witnessed his eyes rolling back and him choking, and he was taken to the Emergency Room.”
    and
    “The following day, on 31 March 2007, an MRI scan was taken of Bailey’s brain, which was interpreted by the treating radiologist, Bret Sleight, M.D., as “most consistent with a demyelinating process of immune etiology such as may be seen with ADEM or perhaps post-vaccination.” Pet. Ex. 4 at 36-37.”
    and
    ““[w]e reviewed the patient’s MRI and felt that moderate hypomyelination was more likely than a demyelinating process like ADEM, but cannot rule out the latter with certainty.” Id.”

    Which really does not matter, because it would be a case report, or a very elaborate anecdote (and remember the seizure was more than two weeks after the vaccine). But in any case, the plural of anecdote is not data, which something you were asked to provide, and you failed.

  153. #154 HCN
    May 30, 2009

    Looking back, I actually asked kibitzer: “What evidence do you have that the Rho-Gam or influenza have enough thimerosal to cause anything?”

    And while I did not specify the type of evidence, which I clarified in my last post, I am not quite sure how responding with the Bailey Banks case is supposed to answer about Rho-Gam and thimerosal.

  154. #155 Jen
    May 30, 2009

    (and remember the seizure was more than two weeks after the vaccine). >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Reactions to the MMR vaccine often happen anywhere from 10-14 days post-vaccination.

    Just FYI.

  155. #156 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    Jen, the reaction was 16 days, which is more than 14 days.

  156. #157 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    Oh, and just in case you did not read the whole thing; I had asked about Rho-Gam and the influenza vaccine, plus I noted that it was only one case study, which is an anecdote (which is what Dr. Schultz used in his study, that he turned into a wee little but very pricey book).

    Once again: the plural of anecdote is not data!

    (if you listen to Dr. Mark Crislip’s Quackcast podcast, you will hear that statement over and over and over again — by the way it is here, very entertaining and eduational: http://www.quackcast.com/page2/page2.html )

  157. #158 Jen
    May 31, 2009

    Jen, the reaction was 16 days, which is more than 14 days.>>>

    Aren’t you being a bit nitpicky? ;)

  158. #159 kibitzer
    May 31, 2009

    @HCN 154

    (1) “I am not quite sure how responding with the Bailey Banks case is supposed to answer about Rho-Gam and thimerosal.” It wasn’t in response to that part of your post; it was in response to your reference to the Michelle/MMR case. I was positing an hypothesis of how she could have been set up prior to birth for ‘oxidative stress’, from mercury from various sources, and the stress of the MMR was just the last straw on her immune system. (And as Jen has indicated, she was as well given “multiple does of Tylenol”…)
    As to the Banks case: No matter how it is read, it was a conclusion, based on the science, that the MMR pushed him over into a PDD, which is by definition (not mine; the authorities) an ASD. The MMR can cause myelin damage; so it is. I can’t tell you how much. It’s not my fault that the authorities haven’t run the studies you would like to look at. It’s a near miracle to get such conclusions as this one through the Vax Court anyway, with its heavy establishmentarian emphasis on ‘circling the wagons’ against any threat to the vax schedule. Read the conclusion by the Special Master (on any website that you prefer): He was being very fair, in summarizing the whole case. A brave man. (He must be close to retiring…)

    (2) “Looking back, I actually asked kibitzer: ‘What evidence do you have that the Rho-Gam or influenza have enough thimerosal to cause anything?'” I cited the fact that the amount of Hg in the flu vax given to a pregnant woman can only be ‘safely’ processed by an adult (& a heavy one at that), according to EPA standards. I’m sorry I don’t have a reference for that; it’s in the literature on this subject. What I CAN refer you to is a paper on a key factor in all this: the role of glutathione in protecting anyone from damage by heavy metals/toxins. It can be depleted by thimerosal exposure (besides by a genetic polymorphism in some kids; also by Tylenol; also by glutamate):
    ‘Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors’, journal of NeuroToxicology 26 (2005), S.J. James et al. Excellent material on the science of all this. The conclusion: “Since cytotoxicity with both ethyl- and methyl-mercury have been shown to be mediated by glutathione depletion, dietary supplements that increase intracellular glutathione could be envisioned as an effective intervention to reduce previous or anticipated exposure to mercury. This approach would be especially valuable in the elderly and in pregnant women before receiving flu vaccinations, in pregnant women receiving the Rho D immunoglobulin shots, and individuals who regularly consume mercury-containing fish.”

    Another good paper (not a study per se, but citing many studies within it) is by a pediatric neurologist named Marcel Kinsbourne, M.D.: ‘Report on General Causation: Thimerosal Exposure, Neuroinflammation, and the Symptoms of Regressive Autism’, part of Autism Omnibus Proceedings (you could Google his name, and this title). Not only does it deal with the Hg question, but the relation of mitochondrial dysfunction to all this (eg the Poling case). And as well, the major role of the potentially excitotoxic substance glutamate in exacerbating the issue (are you listening, RJ??):

    “The mitochondria have a neuroprotective role, in that they moderate the accumulation of glutamate (Castilho et al, 1998 PMRL # 0575). Mercury compounds…also generate reactive oxygen species, and the resulting oxidative stress can impair the functioning of mitochondria, which lose control of glutamate flow…

    “In summary, micromolecular (trace) amounts of mercury derived from the breakdown of several different mercury compounds can damage astrocytes, releasing glutamate flow from control, damage the glutamate transporters on neurons, with similar consequences, compromise the function of mitochondria in the energy metabolism of cells, and lead not only to ‘an unimpeded cytotoxic cycle’ (Aschner et al, 2007 PMRL # 0570, pg 286), but also an overactivated brain state…

    “Glutamate is the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. The chief inhibitory neurotransmitter is GABA. The balance between the levels of these two neurotransmitters is the main factor in determining the level of the excitation/inhibition balance in the brain…” etc.

    In short, we have been playing with fire, in not being aware of all these factors. We need to put all the information together that is coming out, and act accordingly. And that will require many to be willing to release their entrenched positions – on both sides of this issue – and work together in common cause, for the best outcomes possible. Our children deserve no less from us.

    And that’s what I meant by wanting a constructive dialogue to take place. It’s not who is right, but what.

  159. #160 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    You seem to have a reading comprehension problem: legal testimony is not peer reviewed scientific evidence.

    Stick to actual factual scientific evidence that I can find in a medical school library. You have yet to provide anything that shows that any vaccine is worse than the disease, nor that they are associated with autism.

    Kinsbourne has some publications listed in PubMed, but they are not very compelling. He has exactly one paper in PubMed found under the search words “Kinsbourne vaccine”, it is:
    Neuropediatrics. 1990 Nov;21(4):171-6.
    Workshop on neurologic complications of pertussis and pertussis vaccination.Menkes JH, Kinsbourne M…

    The paper you cited was not indexed on PubMed.

    You want me to “Google” Kinsbourne, wow… you really are floundering. Here you go, a page with lots of info on him, which basically says is that his theories are not supported by evidence, and that he has not been in clinical practice for 17 years (he has mostly been teaching at the New School Univ, and worked, from his direct testimony “My involvement medical/legally is very largely with the program at the U.S. Court of Claims. I do consult in some civil litigation.”):
    ftp://autism.uscfc.uscourts.gov/autism/vaccine/Hastings-Cedillo.pdf

    Selected quotes: “Accordingly, I find that the testimony of Dr. Kinsbourne, like that of Dr. Byers, offered no support to the petitioners’ assertion that thimerosal-containing vaccines can damage human immune systems.47″

    and “But Dr. Kinsbourne has supplied no evidence for such a possibility, beyond his own unsubstantiated speculation.108 And as to the issue of whether I should adopt Dr. Kinsbourne’s unsubstantiated speculation on this point, concerning what effect a persisting measles virus might cause in a human brain, I find the evidence to weigh heavily in respondent’s favor.”

    and “In addition, Dr. Kinsbourne himself testified that the question of whether infections can cause autism “is being looked at,” and that there had been “rare” cases in which “encephalitis” had been said to cause autism. However, he cited no evidence for those statements. (Tr. 1052A-53A.)”

    Ack… there is a whole section titled “5. Other problems with Dr. Kinsbourne’s theory”

    Then there is this part “The testimony of respondent’s experts, however, refuted this aspect of Dr. Kinsbourne’s
    reasoning. First, they demonstrated, as will be discussed below (pp. 127-30), that in Michelle’s particular case, her first signs of autism actually preceded her MMR vaccination.”

    and there is more “That is, even assuming the sincerity of Dr. Kinsbourne’s opinion, I have simply found his theory to be very unpersuasive, for all the reasons set forth in this
    Section VII of this Decision.130″

    and “Concerning this general causation issue, the petitioners rely, in contrast, on only two medical doctors, Drs. Kinsbourne and Corbier, who have expressed the opinion that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. Dr. Kinsbourne does have impressive credentials in the field of pediatric neurology, and Dr. Corbier also is a qualified pediatric neurologist. However, Drs. Kinsbourne and Corbier clearly have far less expertise concerning the measles virus than Drs. Griffin or Ward. And, while Dr. Kinsbourne has authored a medical textbook chapter on autism (Tr. 1168A-69), he also clearly has far less experience in treating autistic patients, especially in recent years, than either Dr. Wiznitzer, Dr. Rust, or Dr. Fombonne. (Compare Tr. 1163A with Tr. 1253A-54A, 1576A-77A,and Hazlehurst Tr. 452A-53A.) Indeed, Dr. Kinsbourne acknowledged that he has not had an active clinical pediatric practice, treating autistic children or any other children, for the past 17 years. (Tr. 1163A.)”

    There is a summary of the finding here:
    http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/183/

  160. #161 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    First to help you with your issues on finding what is real and not real evidence, I suggest you head over to your local library and check this book out:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Damned-Science-Scientific-Controversies/dp/0137155220/

    Especially since the paper you cited “Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion..” is a classic case of cherry picking, especially when the first sentence of the abstract is factually wrong: “Thimerosol is an antiseptic containing 49.5% ethyl mercury.” This is looking for evidence that the forest is burning by checking to see if some acorns are starting to ignite, when there is no evidence of a fire.

    Looking at teeny tiny things, when there is no real evidence that thimerosal in the teeny tiny amounts causes anything. Especially when the removal did nothing. And in total opposition to the several large studies in several countries covering hundreds of thousands of children show no causal role of vaccines in autism.

    Now perusing the Kinsbourne’s testimony in the transcript (see ftp://autism.uscfc.uscourts.gov/autism/cedillo/transcripts/day05.pdf ), I found some interesting stuff starting on page 1188 (Q = lawyer, A = Kinsbourne):

    Q So this is based on your litigation work?

    A Well, it’s based on my precious clinical experience which I gathered over four arduous years while involved in litigation. Yes.

    Q So it was involved in your litigation work not based on your —

    A Yeah. It really tingled my interest.

    Q Okay. Not based on your research into autism?

    A Yes. I understand. I am not aware of any article which in fact documents challenge-rechallenge in this context.

    Q This is your theory?

    A No. It’s my observation.

    Q It’s an observation.

    A It’s my clinical experience in a sense if you can regard reviewing charts as clinical experience. I’m aware of such children, but I’m not aware of a scientific publication which has assembled, done and presented the case.

    Q So it’s based on clinical experience if one considers working on litigation clinical experience?

    A No. If one considers reviewing medical records. If I review medical records the quality of my review is not impaired by the fact that lawyers are interested in my doing it. I’m reviewing a chart. I’m drawing my conclusions.

    Q And those charts are given to you for a reason, correct?

    A Definitely.

    Q And that’s to make a case. Is that right?

    A Yes.

    And there is more! I am not going to transcribe it, since it was done here:
    http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2007/06/omnibus-hearing-kinsbourne.html … “Marcel Kinsbourne is an older gentleman. He seemed to have given up his pediatric practice about 17 years ago, and has been an expert witness for a few years now. Dr. Kinsbourne made quite a killing as an expert witness in the MMR/autism case in the UK. He brought in close to a million dollars, apparently, and was second only to Wakefield in a listing of the top winners of the legal-aid measles-sweepstakes cash prizes.”

  161. #162 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    kibitzer cited this: “‘Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors’, journal of NeuroToxicology 26 (2005), S.J. James et al.”

    Word of advice: Do not look for scientific evidence at the Generation Rescue website.

    Now, finding the author’s faculty website at:
    http://achri.archildrens.org/researchers/JamesJ.htm … we find that her latest research says “Recent evidence from Dr. James’ laboratory suggests that autism may involve inherited metabolic aberrations that secondarily affect neurologic and immunologic function during prenatal and postnatal development.”

    Did you notice the word “inherited”?

  162. #163 notmercury
    May 31, 2009

    ‘Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors’, journal of NeuroToxicology 26 (2005), S.J. James et al. Excellent material on the science of all this. “

    Completely irrelevant to autism and pretty much meaningless to mercury exposure in humans in general.

    Acute high dose exposures to Thimerosal (mmol/L) in cultured cells were used to study mechanistic aspects of Thimerosal toxicity and not intended to mimic exposures of developing brain cells in vivo to Thimerosal in vaccines (nmol/kg).

  163. #164 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    Oh, crud… I should have scrolled down to the bottom of Dr. James page earlier. Check it out:

    Research Support
    The National Institutes of Health: Metabolic Biomarkers of Autism: Genetic Predisposition and Nutritional Intervention

    Environmental Protection Agency: Fallon Project

    CDC: Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress in Children

    Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation

    Safeminds, Inc.

    ………………………….

    Oh, my word! It is Safeminds, Inc!!!! That explains the tenuous focus of her research!

  164. #165 Jen
    May 31, 2009

    “Oh, my word! It is Safeminds, Inc!!!! That explains the tenuous focus of her research!”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Now who’s cherry-picking? ;)

  165. #166 HCN
    May 31, 2009

    Not me.

    It is all in the book I referenced:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Damned-Science-Scientific-Controversies/dp/0137155220/

    Next time read with comprehension.

  166. #167 Jen
    June 1, 2009

    “Not me.”

    Yes you, HCN. You dismiss Dr. James’ research because (gasp!) SafeMinds happened to lend support to it. (horrors!) (Nevermind that the CDC and NIH are also listed- you don’t seem to have a problem with that.)

    Here’s a perfect example of your cherry-picking…From HCN: “Recent evidence from Dr. James’ laboratory suggests that autism may involve inherited metabolic aberrations that secondarily affect neurologic and immunologic function during prenatal and postnatal development.”

    Did you notice the word “inherited”?”

    YOU seem to have missed the word “may” in the above quote. Furthermore, you missed (or ignored) the quote that directly preceded it, which reads: “It is generally accepted that both genetic and environmental factors interact to negatively affect neurologic and immunologic function during prenatal and postnatal development in autistic children.”

    Notice it says “both genetic AND environmental factors.”

    Classic cherry-picking.

    Thanks for playing though. ;)

  167. #168 dedicated lurker
    June 1, 2009

    Jen, you do know that Bailey Banks was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Delay, not a ASD, right? All ASDs fit in that category, but not all things in that category are ASDs.

  168. #169 HCN
    June 1, 2009

    That is so precious from Jen, who offered up as proof a $93 publish on demand book of a dentist’s doctoral thesis.

    Jen, it is all about where the information comes from and who has a stake in it. Though even without the funds from an anti-vaccine group like SafeMinds, Dr. James research does not show that vaccines cause autism.

    As of yet, there are lots of good large epidemiological studies done in lots of countries, covering hundreds and thousands of children that do NOT show a relationship between vaccines and autism. These should take precedence over the fraud perpetuated by Wakefield on the MMR vaccine, and the removal of thimerosal from pediatric vaccines (which had no effect on levels of autism diagnosis).

  169. #170 Jen
    June 1, 2009

    “Though even without the funds from an anti-vaccine group like SafeMinds, Dr. James research does not show that vaccines cause autism.”

    One more time, for the deliberately dense, I don’t believe that vaccines *cause* autism.

    “As of yet, there are lots of good large epidemiological studies done in lots of countries, covering hundreds and thousands of children that do NOT show a relationship between vaccines and autism.”

    Would you kindly direct me to the epidemiological study that factors in the use of antipyretics?

  170. #171 Jen
    June 1, 2009

    “These should take precedence over the fraud perpetuated by Wakefield on the MMR vaccine”

    BTW, speaking of Wakefield, check out page 11. http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/annual-report-2007.pdf

    How many members of the Johnson and Johnson (as in the makers of Tylenol) family do you see contributing tens of thousands of dollars to fund Wakefield’s work at Thoughtful House?

    How very generous of them!

  171. #172 kibitzer
    June 1, 2009

    HCN & RJ:
    I dug a little more into my files (read: my piles) after citing the paper by Dr Russell L. Blaylock – which incidentally is subtitled ‘The Case for a Link to Autism Spectrum Disorders’, so he addresses that specific question therein – and came up with another of his wherein he addresses the question you raised, HCN, about levels of mercury in eg the flu vax. There’s one section of it that is particularly germane to our discussion here (the paper footnoted w/references; and remember, he is a neurosurgeon, now retired from that profession into an active, up-to-date role as a nutritionist):

    “Let’s say you see your doctor and he talks you into getting the flu vaccine, the pneumococcal and meningiococcal vaccine all during the same office visit. That way, he can save you extra office visits. What your doctor ignores is that he is giving you three doses of powerful immune adjuvant all in one sitting, which means that your body and brain are assaulted by a massive dose of powerful immune activators, which have been proven to activate the brain’s immune system to dangerous levels, even when given as a single dose.
    “Proof of this mechanism exists not only in animal studies, but in humans as well.
    MERCURY AND ALUMINUM
    “There are other ways that vaccines can cause havoc in the brain. Most vaccines contain aluminum compounds. A multitude of studies have shown that aluminum, especially if combined with fluoride, is a powerful brain toxin and that it accumulates in the brain. With each vaccine injection, a dose of aluminum is given. These yearly aluminum inoculations accumulate not only at the side of the injection, but travel to the brain, where it enters neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and microglia).
    “A number of studies have shown that aluminum can activate microglia and do so for long periods. This means that the aluminum in your vaccination is priming your microglia to overreact. The next vaccine acts to trigger the enhanced inflammatory reaction and release of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid.
    “You must also appreciate that any infection, stroke, head injury or other toxin exposure will also magnify this inflammatory brain reaction INITIALLY TRIGGERED BY YOUR VACCINES [my emphasis]. Studies have now indicated that the more one’s immune system is activated, the more like [sic] he or she will suffer from one of the neurodegenerative diseases.
    “Mercury is also a powerful activator of brain microglia AND CAN DO SO IN EXTREMELY LOW CONCENTRATIONS – IN NANOMOLAR AMOUNTS [my emphasis]. Because of its numerous reactions with sulfhydral compounds in the body (which are ubiquitous), mercury can poison a number of enzymes, both systemically and in the brain. Of special concern is the ability of mercury, especially ethylmercury (the kind found in vaccines called thimerosal) to inhibit the regulation of brain glutamate levels. (It does this by inhibiting the glutamate transfer proteins that control the removal of glutamate from outside the neuron, where it does its harm.)
    “In essence, mercury, IN THE CONCENTRATIONS BEING INJECTED WITH VACCINES [my emphasis], triggers excitotoxicity, increases brain free radicals and lipid peroxidation products, inhibits critical brain enzymes, inhibits antioxidant enzymes and impairs DNA repair ability. THE FLU VACCINE CONTAINS ENOUGH MERCURY TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS [my emphasis]. You must keep in mind that each flu vaccine adds to the mercury supplied by your last vaccine – that is, it is progressively accumulating in your brain.
    “In addition, the aluminum in the vaccines also primes microglia, and when conbined with mercury is infinitively more toxic to the brain. Now, if this is not enough, we also have to consider the contamination of vaccines with foreign viruses and viral components. Studies have shown that this is not a rare occurrence, with up to 60% of vaccines being contaminated in one study of several major manufactured vaccines…” etc etc.
    (A couple of the footnotes, especially addressing autism, are to papers by him: ‘Interaction of cytokines, excitotoxins, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species in autism spectrum disorders, JANA 2003, 6: 21-35′; and ‘Central role of excitotoxicity in autism, JANA 2003, 6: 7-19′.)

    I’m not sure what clout a neurosurgeon has in the estimation of information on this subject of you folks. But a couple of neurosurgeons weigh in on their understanding of how the brain and its biochemistry works, and you think they don’t know what they’re talking about? How likely is that?? Just as Carol Hoernlein – having been a food process engineer – knows whereof she speaks in regards to glutamate/glutamic acid.

    Yes, it appears as well in foodstuffs. But in vaccines it comes packaged in an inflammation-inducing environment even to START with. And in addition, due to that packaging, it will tend to set up an allergic response to it, in every subsequent exposure…

    This factor, about the nature of glutamate when not controlled (because of the likes of the effect of mercury on astrocytes, which regulate levels of glutamate at the synapse, where it’s safe), is why the GF/CF diet is so valuable to many kids on the spectrum: wheat & dairy contain a lot of glutamate.

    Kids’ systems are being overwhelmed with it, these days, with such as MSG, and aspartame, and soy products, and…

    And so forth. But I’m beginning to think that it doesn’t work to bring these sorts of things up here. There seems to be a lot of shooting the messenger going on here. This information is important, to an understanding of what’s going on with our children. Of whom too many are appearing on the spectrum. We should be leaving no stone unturned in investigating this tragedy.

    ‘But the childhood diseases will reappear if parents spook about their kids’ vaccines’? Let me point something out to you, HCN: the incidences of ASD are now such that they outnumber the relative life-threatening cases of a return of measles, in the western world. And I can’t cite you the studies on that, because there are none.

    Why?

    Good question. Want to have a go at it?

  172. #173 kibitzer
    June 1, 2009

    Sorry – i forgot to reference the paper I was just quoting from:

    ‘Vaccines, Depression and Neurodegeneration After Age 50′
    Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., CCN

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/pages/vaccines-depression-and-neurodegeneration-after-age-50.aspx

  173. #174 HCN
    June 1, 2009

    Jen, Thoughtful House is not considered a reliable source of information.

    Also, both Blaylock and Mercola are not reliable sources of information (for some fun, do a google of “HCN Blaylock”, you will find I have no respect for this retired doctor who sells supplements and for a while claimed an association with a medical school, but got its name wrong).

    Again, I will only accept evidence that I can find in my local medical school library, and excludes anything written in “Medical Hypothesis.” If you have any real evidence that there is a greater risk from the MMR than measles, mumps and rubella (which combined have over a one in a thousand risk of neurological damage from deafness to death), or that the DTaP has a greater risk than diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis (which kills over a dozen American babies per year), please present it. But remember the rules, it must be peer reviewed and real science: no websites, no news stories, no legal cases, no personal anecdotes and no substandard journals like Medical Hypothesis, Medical Veritas and the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (which is really a political group).

    Examples below of acceptable papers:

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Authors: Baird G, Pickles A, Simonoff E, Charman T
    Source: Arch Dis Child, October 2008, Vol. 93(10):832-7

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study
    Authors: Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T, et al.
    Source: PLoS ONE, September 4, 2008, Vol. 3(9):e3140

    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Authors: Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Association between Microdeletion and Microduplication at 16p11.2 and Autism
    Authors: Weiss LA, Shen Y, Korn JM, et al
    Source: N Engl J Med, January 9, 2008 [

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Authors: Schechter R, Grether JK
    Source: Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008, Vol. 65(1):19-24

    Lack of Association between Rh Status, Rh Immune Globulin in Pregnancy and Autism
    Authors: Miles JH, Takahashi TN
    Source: Am J Med Genet, May 16, 2007

    Strong Association of De Novo Copy Number Mutations with Autism
    Authors: Sebat J, Lakshmi B, Malhotra D, et al
    Source: Science, March 15, 2007

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
    Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
    Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217

    Diphtheria, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae Type b Vaccinations and Risk of Eczema and Recurrent Wheeze in the First Year of Life
    Authors: Kummeling I, Thijs C, Stelma F, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, February 2007; 119:367-373

    Mutations in the Gene Encoding the Synaptic Scaffolding Protein SHANK3 are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Authors: Durand CM, Betancur C, Boeckers TM, et al
    Source: Nat Genet, January 2007; 39(1):25-27

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Authors: D’Souza Y, Fombonne E, Ward BJ
    Source: Pediatrics, October 2006, Vol. 118(4):1664-1675

    Mutations in the Ribosomal Protein Gene RPL10 Suggest a Novel Modulating Disease Mechanism for Autism
    Authors: Klauck SM, Felder B, Kolb-Kokocinski A, et al
    Source: Mol Psychiatry, August 29, 2006

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Authors: Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Source: Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

    Autism and Family Home Movies: A Comprehensive Review
    Authors: Palomo R, Belinchon M, Ozonoff S
    Source: J Dev Behav Pediatr, April 2006, Vol. 27(2 Suppl):S59-S68

    Risk Factors for Autism: Perinatal Factors, Parental Psychiatric History, and Socioeconomic Status
    Authors: Larsson HJ, Easton WW, Madsen KM, et al.
    Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, May 15, 2005, Vol. 161(10):916-925

    The Incidence of Autism in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1976-1997
    Authors: Barbaresi WJ, Katusic SK, Colligan RC, Weaver AL, Jacobsen SJ
    Source: Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, January 2005, Vol. 159(1):37-44

    No Effect of MMR Withdrawal on the Incidence of Autism: A Total Population Study
    Authors: Honda H, Shimizu Y, Rutter M
    Source: Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, Online Early Release

    MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study
    Authors: Smeeth L, Cook C, Fombonne E, Heavey L, Rodrigues LC, Smith PG, Hall AJ
    Source: Lancet, September 11, 2004, Vol. 364(9438):963-9

    Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism
    Authors: Klein KC, Diehl EB
    Source: The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, July-August 2004, Vol. 38(7-8):1297-1300

    Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
    Authors: Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
    Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

    Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
    Authors: Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

    Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population
    Authors: Lingam R, Simmons A, Andrews N, et al
    Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood, August 2003, Vol. 88(8):666-670

    Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
    Authors: Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
    Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

    Evidence of Brain Overgrowth in the First Year of Autism
    Authors: Courchesne E, Carper R, Akshoomoff N
    Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, July 16, 2003, Vol. 290(3):337-344

    Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
    Authors: Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
    Source: The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism
    Authors: Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, et al
    Source: New England Journal of Medicine, November 7, 2002, Vol. 347(19):1477-1482

    Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case-Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database
    Authors: Black C, Kaye JA, Jick H
    Source: British Medical Journal, August 2002, Vol. 325:419-421

    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study
    Authors: Taylor B, Miller E, Lingam R, Andrews N, Simmons A, Stowe J
    Source: British Medical Journal, February 16, 2002, Vol. 324(7334):393-6

    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism
    Authors: Fombonne E, Chakrabarti S
    Source: Pediatrics, October 2001, Vol. 108(4):E58

    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis
    Authors: Kaye JA, Melero-Montes M, Jick H
    Source: British Medical Journal, February 24, 2001, Vol. 322:460-463

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study
    Source: The Lancet, May 2, 1998, Vol. 351:1327-8

  174. #175 Jen
    June 2, 2009

    “Jen, Thoughtful House is not considered a reliable source of information.”

    Oh, I think in this case, it is most definitely a reliable source of information.

    “Examples below of acceptable papers:”

    Which one factors in the use of antipyretics? Sorry, I don’t have time to go through each one individually. I’m sure that since you’re so well read, HCN, that you’ll be able to point it out for me.

  175. #176 Jen
    June 2, 2009

    “do a google of “HCN Blaylock”

    LMAO…I did just that, and the first link was from the whale.to site, which has you pegged as a “pharma troll.” That’s quite an accomplishment! Congratulations!

  176. #177 HCN
    June 2, 2009

    I consider the tribute page from Scudamore to be an honor because I annoyed him so much reminding people that a satanic ley line burned his bum (which was beautifully illustrated here: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=998 ).

    It was also after looking for a Blaylock listing on several of Ole Miss’s websites (including their Medical Center) and finding none, I wrote that he was inflating his claim (see http://groups.google.com/group/misc.health.alternative/msg/352765c24a980483?hl=en ). Someone emailed me a couple of years later saying that Old Miss asked him to remove any claim of affiliation from his website, which he did (he claimed a friend asked him to, except I was told by email they “checked his website and followed-up with him. I got the very distinct impression that they had a very unpleasant history with him, although they never mentioned specifics.”…direct quote from the 2006 email).

    It is not my responsibility to find proof or non-proof of your claims to any medication relationship to autism, that is yours. If you think there is a real connection, then contact a researcher and propose a study.

    I personally don’t give a flying frak about your pet theory. What I do care about is that you have no clue as to what constitutes real scientific evidence, or a proper study. Even if something is published in a decent journal, does not mean it is good science. A classic example is the Lancet article (now retracted) of only a dozen kids where the data was fabricated. Which is why you should really read Sherry Seethaler’s book “Lies, Damned Lies and Science”, and Barker’s “Snake Oil Science”.

    As far as those who donate to Thoughtful House, the people who donate to them is no indication of their validity, just their salesmanship (people also donate to PETA, Operation Rescue and other stupid places). The disturbing thing is that they imply Wakefield does clinical work, when he is not licensed by any medical board in the USA, and was never qualified to work in patients directly even in the UK.

    Also, both Jill James and Mady Hornig (and Burbacher) have had their research funded by SafeMinds. It does show that they did do their science when James’ and Hornig’s both showed no relationship between vaccines and autism in their most recent papers. Burbacher’s paper only showed that ethylmercury is not equivalent to methylmercury, and is actually safer (the methylmercury you get from a fish dinner is worse than any ethylmercury that was ever in any vaccine!).

  177. #178 carykoh
    June 2, 2009

    I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears, but let me point out few things to Jen. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect you supported the notion of mercury toxicity in autism, and the fact that vaccines ‘trigger’ autism. However, when that proved false, you moved to the acetaminophen + vaccines equals autism. The problem you have is taking a hypothesis and then trying to fit studies into it. You take studies not connected in anyway and piece them together to fit your hypothesis. While good in a conspiracy theory, this is not good science. You can’t take a study, that may have some insight into autism, point out that it shows a connection with glutamate and autism, then find a drug that also has a connection to glutamate and draw a conclusion. Tylenol was first used in 1894, but only started triggering autism in 1981, according to your theory? Now I realize that a study hasn’t been done that looks at Tylenol AND vaccines, but you can’t test for every ingestion. I suspect that if a study was done that showed no connection, you’d come back and say that it was Motrin and vaccines that triggered autism. I can even predict the connection, Motrin inhibits the complement immune response, thus allowing the ‘toxins’ in vaccines to trigger damage. You can’t continue to shift the supposed trigger to autism. Not sure what you expect, but all the large epidemiological studies show no connection between vaccines and autism. If Tylenol and vaccines were somehow a trigger, it would show up there, this is what an epidemiological study does best, shows some connection, you then go back and try to see what the connection was and if there is actual correlation. As you point out, this is how Reye’s syndrome was discovered. You frankly don’t need a study to ‘control’ for antipyretic use. If vaccines + Tylenol triggered autism, it’d show up as an increase in the vaccinated group, this is just not the case, esp if your theory is vaccine leads to fever, leads to Tylenol use, leads to autism, this would be very apparent in these studies if true. Do you see your similarity to other conspiracy theorist, such as UFOligist or 9/11 truthers? Again, you take a theory, find studies that have similar words or ideas as your theory and put them together as a narrative that ‘proves’ your theory, this is not a sound premise.

  178. #179 HCN
    June 2, 2009

    carykoh said “Tylenol was first used in 1894, ”

    I did not know that, but checking wiki I see it is true!

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tylenol … “The active substance of Tylenol, acetaminophen, was first used in medicine in 1894. Acetaminophen only gained widespread use after 1948, when scientists concluded that another popular drug, acetanilide, was toxic and that the same therapeutic effect could be safely achieved with acetaminophen, which was already known to be a metabolite of acetanilide.” and
    “In 1955 McNeil Laboratories introduced Tylenol Elixir for children, which contained paracetamol as its sole active ingredient. It was originally marketed mainly towards children, but soon came to dominate the North American pain-killer market.”

    Thanks!

  179. #180 Jen
    June 2, 2009

    “I don’t know for sure, but I suspect you supported the notion of mercury toxicity in autism, and the fact that vaccines ‘trigger’ autism.”

    There was a time that I was suspicious enough that I withheld vaccines for my younger son. Of course, once my younger son started displaying some signs of autism, I had no choice but to admit that vaccines had nothing to do with it. (See, I can be swayed by evidence! I’m not *that* stubborn!) ;)

    “Tylenol was first used in 1894, but only started triggering autism in 1981, according to your theory?”

    I have addressed this in another thread…Tylenol was not widely used in children until 1980’s, when it was shown that aspirin was being linked to Reye’s Syndrome.

    “Now I realize that a study hasn’t been done that looks at Tylenol AND vaccines, but you can’t test for every ingestion.”

    Of course not. But considering that there is so much anecdotal evidence of parents reporting regressions after vaccinations, it makes sense to look at other things that are going on at the time of vaccination.

    “Not sure what you expect, but all the large epidemiological studies show no connection between vaccines and autism.”

    Well, I agree with this. I think Tylenol can probably cause autism with or without vaccines. Go and look at the multiple studies that are linking acetaminophen with asthma and allergies. You’ll find that a lot of them are looking at prenatal use, and finding significant associations. I believe that the same thing is probably happening wrt autism, but so far, no one seems to be asking the question but me. (and Dr. Schultz)

  180. #181 Jen
    June 2, 2009

    “I personally don’t give a flying frak about your pet theory.”

    Maybe you should. Because until an explanation for the explosion in autism is found, vaccination rates will continue to plummet, and infectious disease outbreaks will return. There’s a whole lot of parents out there that would rather take their chances with measles or pertussis than a lifelong disability such as autism, and they will only keep growing.

    Is that what you want?

  181. #182 kibitzer
    June 2, 2009

    @HCN 174:

    An impressive listing. But as for studies (“acceptable papers…a proper study”):

    I was going to take the time to track down the references to a couple of papers that have analyzed the Denmark epid study (Madsen) and the Canadian epid study (Fombonne) – which still keep getting referred to by the ‘woo detector crowd’ as ‘proof’ of the lack of a link between thimerosal and autism – and detailed their methodological flaws (as Mark Blaxill has found the analytical-error flaws in some incidence studies on ASD), but I realized that they weren‘t going to cut any ice with you, because they were undoubtedly referenced on sites that you don’t approve of, and so would simply reject them out of hand (“not considered a valid source of information”). Never mind the factuality; look at the ideology.

    And why such slavish regard for mainstream/establishmentarian publications anyway? They’re not going to let contrarian points of view in (even in the Letters section, as has been reported by such analyzers as Dr Yazbak: vaproject.org). They’re bankrolled by, or have other links to, the pharmaceutical industry. And when I find out things like the Verstraeten study and the Danish study and the Canadian study having been slanted – by deliberate, obvious ‘errors’ – I have no faith in their accuracy; any more than the tobacco industry’s epid studies could be counted on.

    I mean, really, HCN: What is this business of discounting studies just because, say, SafeMinds helped fund it? Are you not so ready to believe that any study funded by the CDC or the pharma industry is tainted? Interesting double standard, HCN.

    So Prof. Thomas Burbacher’s studies on primates are to be dismissed out of hand because they have been cited on ‘suspect’ sites…? Or the excellent research work by Prof. Richard Deth?… Or……….and incidentally, Burbacher’s studies, esp. his latest, did nothing of the sort that you characterized it with. (Environ. Health Perspect. 2005 Aug 113(8): 1015-21: “…although little accumulation of Hg in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulations of Hg in the brain of infants will occur…There was a much higher proportion of inorganic Hg in the brain of thimerosal monkeys than in the brains of MeHg monkeys (up to 71% vs. 10%)” (p. 1021). ) Or, speaking of the differences between methyl and ethyl Hg: for you to trust Pichichero’s study – just because it was printed up in an “acceptable” journal – when further analysis of it shows that he made an assumption about where all the Hg went, when it cleared the blood, without checking the brain, liver, and kidney increase, is, well, partisan…

    I’m feeling a brick wall here. If I thought you were really interested in the truth of things, rather than just the ideology of things – defense of the current vax schedule at all costs – I would engage with you more. But I don’t get that you are. To deny any link between autism and vaccines is outrageously anti-scientific. I’m not going to engage with that sort of true-believer mindset. It would be a waste of my time. I’m going to continue to look for the truth of matters, wherever that quest leads. It may lead back here, to the Orac website. It may not. Time will tell. As in all things.

    It’s a pity, though, especially in this instance. Children are hurting. They need answers, now; not in some put-off future, whereby the truth of the ASD matter has been stonewalled for as long as possible – like the tobacco industry scandal – because of extremely strong vested interests. Not because of ‘science’. Because of ideology. And money. And accountability issues.

    A pity, that. Almost as big a pity as what is and has been happening to our children; for far too long already.

    They deserve better from us all. Which business I will now get back to.

    And incidentally, as to the Kinsbourne citing: His paper is an excellent one, regardless of whether he was accused of expertly opining more in general terms than in specific ones to the particular case. He has an invaluable insight, from a lifetime of research and clinical experience, into this whole matter, of brain damage, and its kaleidescope of causes.

    Yes, I accept that there is more than one cause involved here. Though it’s a bit silly to split hairs anyway, whether a particular case of ‘PDD-NOS’ is assigned to an ASD definition or not. BRAIN DAMAGE is going on, and we need to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. Some of it will be due to the toxicity of pesticides, and PCBs (“Among environmental factors that could ampllfy glutamate-based potentiation are chemicals in the PCB family, which have been demonstrated to generate up to five-fold increases in induced LTP amplitudes in cortical slice preparations..” Kinsbourne cited paper, p 19). And some of it wll be due to vaccines, playing into various genetic susceptibilities. And perhaps even creating some of them, since we’re talking abut DNA damage inducement as well.

    This is getting to the subject of vaccines in general. Which leads me to ask: Can I summarize what may be going on here? That your basic, fallback position – for the sake of making a point – is that even IF vaccines can cause ASD, their benefits ‘far outweigh their risks’? And if that is in fact the argument, then let’s look at that, move on to that. And I would say, in immediate response: Wait a minute. Not so fast.

    ASD is – could be? – the tip of an iceberg. To say: What ALL are vaccines doing to our children, and society, if they can wreak this sort of damage; regardless of their benefits in keeping the childhood diseases at bay.

    And now we enter the realm of a whole host of illness and disease conditions – including autoimmune and neurological – generated as side effects of vaccines (& their adjuvants). Arthritis/arthralgia. Allergies/asthma/anaphylaxis. ADD & ADHD & dyslexia & dyspraxia & yes, ASD. CFS/ME. Convulsions/seizures/epilepsy. Type 1 diabetes (“Type 1 diabetes cases among children surge,” the UK Guardian, May 29, this year). Guillain-Barre syndrome. Lupus; MS, and other autoimmune conditions…

    All of this downside to this medical procedure needs to be considered, when we look at the TRUE balance between their benefits and their risks.

    It may well be that some can weather that honest critique. It may well be that some need to fall by the wayside. It wouldn’t be the first time, for either vaccines or other pharmaceutical products. They are not intrinsically safe. But nothing – nothing – is more important than the truth of matters. The WHOLE truth.

    I hope we can both agree on that.

  182. #183 dt
    June 2, 2009

    I get it. No matter the good vaccines do in preventing infectious disease, they cause greater harm because they cause dyslexia, dyspraxia, CFS, ME, ADHD, GBS, epilepsy, anaphylaxis, diabetes, dwarfism, ingrowing toe nails, etc etc etc na naah, nahhh.
    You are wrong. Those are all caused by Lyme borreliosis. Or was it mycoplasma (damn, where is cooler when you need him?) The evidence for it knocks your “evidence” into the shade.

  183. #184 HCN
    June 2, 2009

    Jen and kibitzer = reading comprehension fail.

  184. #185 Nashville
    June 2, 2009

    Once again I see the anti vaccination clan referencing how the children are really “suffering”. Two points:

    1) Is it really the child or the parent who is suffering? If the anti vax crowd spent half the time improving the current quality of life for their children as they do trying to blame someone/something or continuing the epic search for some cure/elixir, we would not see these children suffer nearly as much. Children with disabilities don’t spend a great deal of time comparing their lives to “normal” children. Children with disabilities suffer more when their parents look at them as if they are not anything more than their disability. To quote Jenny McCarthy after her son manifested ASD symptoms, ”boom, soul gone from his [her son Evan] eyes.” This really is a crass and unfeeling statement. I do believe children with disabilities have a soul in their eyes, I see it, even if their selfish parents can’t take their blame blinders down long enough to see it.

    2) Why is it so bad that the child “suffer” under the vaccination effects but it’s no big deal for the child to “suffer” under the disease and sickness he/she gets from not being vaccinated. If these children were affected by the MMR vax because of compromised immune systems, why wouldn’t they be especially susceptible to the most severe instances of childhood diseases? Once again it seems like it is easier for the parent to handle the child’s agony/sterility/damage caused by childhood disease than it is for the parents to deal with a child who is disconnected from them.

    I don’t need everyone to rush with the responses of individual anecdotes. I have seen and heard quite a bit when it comes to children with disabilities and your personalized sob story won’t sway me. You cannot provide me with any proof the child would not be “suffering” under an alternative/parallel world where they never received a vaccination. I just want everyone to remember wallowing only makes things worse, blaming doesn’t solve anything, trying to persuade everyone to agree with you will inevitably fail and all of this rarely benefits the children. To quote Helen Lovejoy wife of the Rev. Timothy Lovejoy “Won’t someone please think of the children!”

  185. #186 kibitzer
    June 3, 2009

    @HCN 184:
    Ciao.

    @Nashville 185:
    Fair enough points. And I would like to engage with you on them a little more. But I’m outta here. Gotta go do things like check out the latest, on childhealthsafety.com, about an analysis of a study out of Japan – by Honda/Rutter – on the MMR, where their conclusion was effectively turned around, and confirmed a dose-response relationship between the MMR and autism. “This is conclusive evidence of a causal relationship…”

    But as you say: could such kids “be especially susceptible to the most severe instances of childhood diseases?” Good point. We should check all these sorts of things out. We should have BEEN checking all these sorts of things out, long ago. But there has been a stonewall in place…

    Oh, and btw, dt@183: I wouldn’t be surprised if Lyme disease DID have something to do with at least some of such conditions. (Just as pesticides and PCBs can aggravate inflammatory conditions.) But inasmuch as MS, for example, has been directly linked to the HepB shot, and type 1 diabetes with the Hib, and so forth and so on and on: vaccines are still not off the hook. Have to agree to disagree.

    May we all persevere in the search for truth, and understanding.

  186. #187 kibitzer
    June 3, 2009

    PS.
    Sorry; that’s childhealthsafety.wordpress.com. As in:
    [ http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/japvaxautism/ ]

  187. #188 HCN
    June 3, 2009

    kibitzer = reading comprehension fail (as noted earlier, Clifford Miller’s website is full of the loony tunes, for more reading on him and his cronies like John “satanic ley lines burned my buns” Scudamore and the now suspended doctor Cybertiger see http://jabsloonies.blogspot.com/ )

  188. #189 Cate
    June 29, 2009

    Sometimes I wonder what the education level and field of study are like for the anti-vaccination crowd.

  189. #190 Jen
    July 1, 2009

    http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/annual-report-2007.pdf

    How many members of the Johnson and Johnson (as in the makers of Tylenol) family do you see contributing tens of thousands of dollars to fund Wakefield’s work at Thoughtful House?

    How very generous of them!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Hmmm…that page has now mysteriously disappeared.

    Darn.

  190. #191 Bruce Robbins
    July 2, 2009

    There was a recent “Law and Order” about a woman who didn’t have her child vaccinated against measles. He caught a mild case of it, and passed it to another child, who hadn’t been vaccinated because of age. That child died. The woman was acquitted.

    “People believe what they want to believe” “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.” These are the almost impenetrable walls people build around themselves sometimes.

    The internet has surely played a large part in the anti-vaccination frenzy. People think they can self-diagnose and are competent to make their own medical decisions. Usually, they accept the opinions that already agree with their own. Their lack of critical thinking skills makes them dangerous as parents.

    Also, the us vs. them, evil conspiracy folks are having a ball. They get some kind of sick thrill from countering accepted thought. If you read the books (and reviews) on alternative medicine on “AMAZON”, you get an idea how many nuts there are out there.

  191. #192 C. Robbins
    July 28, 2009

    I’m not pro-vac. I’m not anti-vac. I am the type of person that most of you would like to convince. I’ve read the blog. I’ve read the comments. I see both sides, frankly. Let me tell you-as I read and research both sides of this story, I cannot, for the life of me, decide which way to sway because both sides are so far left or so far right. Even you people think that delaying vaccines is terrible. You know, like maybe until the child’s immune system has had a day or two? The truth is, I’ve not seen any of the diseases that are “vaccine-preventable” except chicken pox and flu. I have seen Autism. I realize this is probably due to my age (30). I was vaccinated and I am a healthy female. I go around and around with myself about this. Both sides put up good arguements, but it’s basically ‘he said-she said’ and a person such as myself has to pick and choose exactly what it is I want to believe. NO ONE has hard evidence! I’ve got 3 very young children and now the Autism rate is down to 1 in 150?! You can understand why I am in the position I’m in, right? I hate that anti-vac people are sooo negative, but look where it’s gotten them. As a daughter of someone in the medical profession, they’ve even got their hooks in me. Please realize there are those of us out there that do want the truth, but the problem is that when you or the anti-vac side finds it, the undecided will be so sick of trying to figure out who to believe that we won’t accept the truth as that. It’ll be just another story, news article, or blog. I do, however, appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this.

  192. #193 Doug
    September 5, 2009

    The only real danger is not having a choice on how to care for your children’s health or your own.

    Here is a short list of research showing Vaccine Dangers:

    Vaccines and Immunization References and Research Citations Vaccines Have Been Linked to Leukemias and Lymphomas:
    Bichel, “Post-vaccinial Lymphadenitis Developing into Hodgkin’s Disease”, Acta Med Scand, 1976, Vol 199, p523-525.
    Stewart, AM, et al, “Aetiology of Childhood Leukaemia”, Lancet, 16 Oct, 1965, 2:789-790. [Listed under Vaccine Adverse Reactions.]
    Glathe, H et al, “Evidence of Tumorigenic Activity of Candidate Cell Substrate in Vaccine Production by the Use of Anti-Lymphocyte Serum”, Development Biol Std, 1977, 34:145-148.
    Bolognesi, DP, “Potential Leukemia Virus Subunit Vaccines: Discussion”, Can Research, Feb 1976, 36(2 pt 2):655-656.
    Colon, VF, et al, “Vaccinia Necrosum as a Clue to Lymphatic Lymphoma”, Geriatrics, Dec 1968, 23:81-82.
    Park-Dincsoy, H et al, “Lymphoid Depletion in a case of Vaccinia Gangrenosa”, Laval Med, Jan 1968, 39:24-26.
    Hugoson, G et al, “The Occurrence of Bovine Leukosis Following the Introduction of Babesiosis Vaccination”, Bibl Haemat, 1968, 30:157-161.
    Hartstock, , “”Post-vaccinial Lymphadenitis: Hyperplasia of Lymphoid Tissue That Simulates Malignant Lymphomas”, Apr 1968, Cancer, 21(4):632-649.
    Allerberger, F, “An Outbreak of Suppurative Lymphadenitis Connected with BCG Vaccination in Austria- 1990/1991,” Am Rev Respir Disorder, Aug 1991, 144(2) 469.
    Omokoku B, Castells S, “Post-DPT inoculation cervical lymphadenitis in children.” N Y State J Med 1981 Oct;81(11):1667-1668. Vaccines and Chromosome Changes Leading to Mutations:
    Knuutila, S et al, “An Increased Frequency of Chromosomal Changes and SCE’s in Cultured Lymphocytes of 12 Subjects Vaccinated Against Smallpox,” Hum Genet, 1978 Feb 23; 41(1):89-96.
    Cherkeziia, SE, et al, “Disorders in the Murine Chromosome Apparatus Induced By Immunization with a Complex of Anti-viral Vaccines,” Vopr Virusol, 1979 Sept Oct, (5):547-550.
    [Note: SCE means sister chromatid exchange and is an indication that genetic mutations are occurring, which could possibly lead to cancer-causing mutations. Vaccines and Auto-immunity Citations:
    Romanov, V A, et al, “Role of Auto-immune Processes in the Pathogenesis of Post-Vaccinal Lesions of the Nervous System”, Oct 1977, Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol, 10:80-83.
    Grachev, V P, et al, “Formation of Auto-antibodies in Laboratory Animals After Inoculation of Viruses With Different Virulence. I. Results of Studies …, July 1973, Acta Virol (Praha), 17:319-326.
    Movsesiants, AA, et al, “Experimental Study of the Ability of Different Strains of Vaccinia Virus to Induce Auto-Antibody Formation”, Vopr Virusol, May-Jun 1975; (3):297-302.
    Negina, IuP, “Comparative Study of Auto-antibody Formation Following Immunization With Different Types of Typhoid Vaccines”, Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol, May 1980; (5):69-72. Vaccinations and Diabetes Citations:
    Sinaniotis, et al, “Diabetes Mellitus after Mumps Vaccination”, Arc Dis Child, 1975, 50:749.66
    Polster, H, “Diabetes insipidus after Smallpox vaccination”, Z Aerztl Fortbild (Jena), 1 Apr 1966, 60:429-432.
    Patan, “Postvaccinal Severe Diabetes Mellitus”, Ter Arkh, Jul 1968, 40:117-118.
    Classen, JB, MD, “The Timing of Immunization Affects The Development of Diabetes in Rodents”, Autoimmunity, 1996, 24:137-145.
    Classen JB, “The diabetes epidemic and the hepatitis B vaccines,” N Z Med J, 109(1030):366 1996 Sep 27. [letter]
    Classen JB, “Childhood immunisation and diabetes mellitus,” N Z Med J, 109(1022):195 1996 May 24 [letter]
    Poutasi K, ” Immunisation and diabetes,” N Z Med J 1996 Jul 26;109(1026):283. [letter; comment] Other Articles Linking Diabetes to Vaccines:
    Dokheel, T M, “An Epidemic of Childhood Diabetes in the United States? Evidence from ….”, Diabetes Care, 1993, 16:1606-1611.
    Parent ME, et al, “Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccination and incidence of IDDM in Montreal, Canada,” Diabetes Care 1997 May; 20(5):767-772.
    House DV, Winter WE, “Autoimmune diabetes. The role of auto-antibody markers in the prediction and prevention of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus,” Clin Lab Med 1997 Sep; 17(3):499-545.
    Zeigler, M et al , “[Autoantibodies in type 1 diabetes mellitus]” Z Arztl Fortbild (Jena). 1994 Aug; 88(7-8):561-5 Vaccines and Nervous System Changes:
    Bondarev, VN et al, “The Changes of the Nervous System in Children After Vaccination”, Pediatria, Jun 1969; 48:20-24.
    Ehrengut W, “Central nervous sequelae of vaccinations,” Lancet 1986 May 31;1(8492):1275-1276.
    Provvidenza, G et al, [On a Case of Benign Acute Cerebellar Ataxia in Childhood], Arch Ital Sci Med Trop, 43:189-194, Apr 1962.
    Katsilambros, L, “[The Phenomenom of Apathy in Man and Animals After the Injection of Viruses in Very High Doses. Clinical Data]“, Rev Med Moyen Orient, 20:539-546, Nov – Dec 1963. Vaccinations and Autism Citations:
    Eggers, C, “Autistic Syndrome (Kanner) And Vaccinations against Smallpox”, Klin Paediatr, Mar 1976, 188(2):172-180.
    Kiln MR, “Autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and MMR vaccine.” Lancet 1998 May 2;351(9112):1358.
    Selway, “MMR vaccination and autism 1998. Medical practitioners need to give more than reassurance.” BMJ 1998 Jun 13;316(7147):1824.
    Nicoll A, Elliman D, Ross E, “MMR vaccination and autism 1998,” MJ 1998 Mar 7;316(7133):715-716.
    Lindley K J, Milla PJ, “Autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and MMR vaccine.”Lancet 1998 Mar 21;351(9106):907-908.
    Bedford H, et al, “Autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and MMR vaccine.” Lancet 1998 Mar 21;351(9106):907.
    Vijendra K. Singh, Sheren X. Lin, and Victor C. Yang, “Serological Association of Measles Virus and Human Herpesvirus-6 with Brain Autoantibodies in Autism,” Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology, Oct 1998, Vol. 89, No. 1, p 105-108. [“None of the autistic children in the study had measles in the past, but all had the MMR” stated David Whalgren. Vaccines and Demyelination Citations:
    Herroelen, L et al, “Central-Nervous-System Demyelination After Immunization with Recombinant Hepatitis B Vaccine”, Lancet, Nov 9, 1991, 338(8776):1174-1175.
    Kaplanski G, Retornaz F, Durand J, Soubeyrand J, “Central nervous system demyelination after vaccination against hepatitis B and HLA haplotype.” J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1995 Jun; 58(6):758-759.
    Matyszak MK, Perry VH, “Demyelination in the central nervous system following a delayed-type hypersensitivity response to bacillus Calmette-Guerin.” Neuroscience 1995 Feb;64(4):967-977.
    Tornatore CS, Richert JR, “CNS demyelination associated with diploid cell rabies vaccine.” Lancet 1990 Jun 2;335(8701):1346-1347.
    Adams, JM et al, “Neuromyelitis Optica: Severe Demyelination Occurring Years After Primary Smallpox Vaccinations”, Rev Roum Neurol, 1973, 10:227-231.
    In 1988, Dietrich used MRI to show that developmentally delayed children had alterations in their myelin. Coulter described that central nervous system damage can be exhibited as abnormal behavior of the child. In 1935, Thomas Rivers, experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE) can be the result of a viral or bacterial infection of the nervous system. “The fact of the matter is that it is a matter of record that it was known that vaccination produced encephalitis since 1926.” The authors stated, “In regions in which there is no organized vaccination of the population, general paralysis is rare. … It is impossible to deny a connection between vaccinations and the encephalitis (brain damage) which follows it.” Vaccines have been linked to seizures, convulsions and epilepsy. Vaccinations and Seizures:
    Hirtz DG, Nelson KB, Ellenberg J H, “Seizures following childhood immunizations”, Pediatr 1983 Jan; 102(1):14-18.
    Cherry JD, Holtzman AE, Shields WD, Buch D, Nielsen, “Pertussis immunization and characteristics related to first seizures in infants and children,”J Pediatr 1993 Jun;122(6):900-903.
    Coplan J, “Seizures following immunizations,” J Pediatr 1983 Sep;103(3):496.
    Barkin RM, Jabhour JT, Samuelson J S, “Immunizations, seizures, and subsequent evaluation,” JAMA 1987 Jul 10;258(2):201.
    Griffin MR, et al, “Risk of seizures after measles-mumps-rubella immunization,” Pediatrics 1991 Nov;88(5):881-885.
    Griffin MR, et al, “Risk of seizures and encephalopathy after immunization with the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine,” JAMA 1990 Mar 23-30;263(12):1641-1645.
    Cizewska S, Huber Z, Sluzewski W, “[Prophylactic inoculations and seizure activity in the EEG],” Neurol Neurochir Pol 1981 Sep-Dec;15(5-6):553-557. [Article in Polish]
    Huttenlocher PR, Hapke RJ, “A follow-up study of intractable seizures in childhood.” Ann Neurol 1990 Nov; 28(5):699-705.
    Blumberg DA, “Severe reactions associated with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine: detailed study of children with seizures, hypotonic-hypo-responsive episodes, high fevers, and persistent crying.”Pediatrics 1993 Jun; 91(6):1158-1165. Vaccinations and Convulsions Citations:
    Prensky AL, et al, “History of convulsions and use of pertussis vaccine,” J Pediatr 1985 Aug; 107(2):244-255.
    Baraff LJ, “Infants and children with convulsions and hypotonic-hypo-responsive episodes following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization: follow-up evaluation,” Pediatrics 1988 Jun; 81(6):789-794.
    Jacobson V, “Relationship of pertussis immunization to the onset of epilepsy, febrile convulsions and central nervous system infections: a retrospective epidemiologic study,” Tokai J Exp Clin Med 1988;13 Suppl: 137-142.
    Cupic V,et al, “[Role of DTP vaccine in the convulsive syndromes in children],” Lijec Vjesn 1978 Jun; 100(6):345-348. [Article in Serbo-Croatian (Roman)]
    Pokrovskaia NIa, “[Convulsive syndrome in DPT vaccination (a clinico-experimental study)],” Pediatriia 1983 May;(5):37-39. [Article in Russian] Vaccinations and Epilepsy Citations:
    Ballerini, Ricci, B, et al, “On Neurological Complications of Vaccination, With Special Reference to Epileptic Syndromes,” Riv Neurol, Jul-Aug 1973, 43:254-258.
    Wolf SM, Forsythe A, “Epilepsy and mental retardation following febrile seizures in childhood,” Acta Paediatr Scand 1989 Mar;78(2):291-295. ________________________________________ Vaccines and Brain Swelling:
    Iwasa, S et al, “Swelling of the Brain in Mice Caused by Pertussis … Quantitative Determination and the Responsibility of the Vaccine”, Jpn J Med Sci Biol, 1985 , 38(2):53-65.
    Mathur R, Kumari S, “Bulging fontanel following triple vaccine.” Indian Pediatr 1981 Jun;18(6):417-418.
    Barry W, Lenney W, Hatcher G, “Bulging fontanelles in infants without meningitis.” Arch Dis Child 1989 Apr;64(4):635-636.
    Shendurnikar N, “Bulging fontanel following DPT” Indian Pediatr 1986 Nov;23(11):960.
    Gross TP, Milstien JB, Kuritsky JN, “Bulging fontanelle after immunization with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus vaccine.” J Pediatr 1989 Mar;114(3):423-425.
    Jacob J, Mannino F, “Increased intracranial pressure after diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunization.” Am J Dis Child 1979 Feb;133(2):217-218.
    Dugmore, WN, “Bilateral Oedema at the Posterior Pole. Hypersensitivity Reaction to Alavac P injection.” Br J Ophthalmol, Dec 1972, 55:848-849. Vaccines and Neurological Damage
    Nedar P R, and Warren, R J, “Reported Neurological Disorders Following Live Measles Vaccine”, 1968, Ped, 41:997-1001.
    Paradiso, G et al, “Multifocal Demyelinating Neuropathy after Tetanus Vaccine”, Medicina (B Aires), 1990, 50(1):52-54.
    Landrigan, PJ, Whitte, J, “Neurologic Disorders Following Live Measles-virus Vaccination”, JAMA, Mar 26, 1973, v223(13):1459-1462.
    Turnbull, H M, “Encephalomyelitis Following Vaccination”, Brit Jour Exper Path, 7:181, 1926.
    Kulenkampff, M et al, “Neurological Complications of Pertussis Inoculation”, Arch Dis Child, 1974, 49:46.
    Strom, J, “Further Experience of Reactions, Especially of a Cerebral Nature in Conjunction with Triple Vaccination”, Brit Med Jour, 1967, 4:320-323.
    Berg, J M, “Neurological Complications of Pertussis Immunization,” Brit Med Jour, July 5,1958; p 24.
    Bondarev, VN et al, “The Changes of the Nervous System in Children After Vaccination”, Pediatria, Jun 1969; 48:20-24.
    Badalian, LO, “Vaccinal Lesions of the Nervous System in Children,” Vop Okhr Materin Dets, Dec 1959, 13:54-59
    Lorentz, IT, et al, “Post-Vaccinal Sensory Polyneuropathy with Myoclonus”, Proc Aust Ass Neurol, 1969, 6:81-86.
    Trump, R C, White, T R, “Cerebellar Ataxia Presumed Due To Live Attenuated Measles Virus Vaccine,” JAMA, 1967, 199:165-166.
    Allerdist, H, “Neurological Complications Following Measles Vaccination”, Inter Symp, Brussels, 1978, Development Biol Std, Vol 43, 259-264.
    Finley, K H, “Pathogenesis of Encephalitis Occurring With Vaccination, Variola and Measles, Arch Neur and Psychologist, 1938; 39:1047-1054.
    Froissart, M et al, “Acute Meningoencephalitis Immediately after an Influenza Vaccination”, Lille Med, Oct 1978, 23(8):548-551.
    Pokrovskaia, Nia, et al, “Neurological Complications in Children From Smallpox Vaccination”, Pediatriia, Dec 1978, (12):45-49.
    Allerdist, H, “Neurological Complications Following Measles Virus Vaccination. Evaluation of the Cases seen Between 1971-1977″, Monatsschr Kinderheilkd, Jan 1979, 127(1): 23-28.
    Ehrengut, W et al, “On Convulsive Reactions Following Oral vaccination Against Polio”, Klin Paediatr, May 1979, 191(3):261-270.
    Naumova, R P, et al, “Encephalitis Developing After Vaccination without a Local Skin Reaction”, Vrach Delo, Jul 1979, (7):114-115.
    Goswamy, BM, “Neurological Complications After Smallpox Vaccination”, J Ass Phys India, Jan 1969, 17:41-43.
    Schchelkunov, SN et al, “The Role of Viruses in the Induction of Allergic Encephalomyelitis,” Dokl Akad Nauk SSSR, 1990,315(1):252-255. [Vaccines contain viruses, too]
    Walker AM, “Neurologic events following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization,” Pediatrics 1988 Mar;81(3):345-349.
    Shields WD, et al, “Relationship of pertussis immunization to the onset of neurologic disorders: a retrospective epidemiologic study,” J Pediatr 1988 Nov; 113(5):801-805.
    Wilson J, “Proceedings: Neurological complications of DPT inoculation in infancy,” Arch Dis Child 1973 Oct; 48(10):829-830.
    Iakunin IuA, “[Nervous system complications in children after preventive vaccinations],” Pediatriia 1968 Nov; 47(11):19-26. [Article in Russian]
    Greco D, et al, “Case-control study on encephalopathy associated with diphtheria-tetanus immunization in Campania, Italy,” Bull World Health Organ 1985;63(5):919-925.
    Ehrengut W at Institute of Vaccinology and Virology, Hamburg, Germany states, “Bias in the evaluation of CNS complications following pertussis immunization are the following: 1) Notifications of post-immunization adverse events, 2) Publications by vaccine producers on the frequency of adverse reactions, 3) Comparison of permanent brain damage after DPT and DT immunization, 4) Pro-immunization, 5) Immunization associated viral encephalitis, 6) Accuracy of statistics, 7) Personal. A review of these points indicates an underestimation of CNS complications after pertussis immunization.”
    Reference: Ehrengut W, “Bias in evaluating CNS complications following pertussis immunization.” Acta Paediatr Jpn, 1991 Aug; 33(4):421-427. Vaccinations and Unexplained Diseases:
    Hiner, E E, Frasch, C E, “Spectrum of Disease Due to Haemophilus Influenza Type B Occurring in Vaccinated Children”, J Infect Disorder, 1988 Aug; 158(2): 343-348.
    Olin P, Romanus, V, Storsaeter, J, “Invasive Bacterial Infections During an Efficiacy Trial of Acellular Pertussis Vaccines — Implications For Future Surveilance In Pertussis Vaccine Programmes”, Tokai J Exp Clin Med, 1988; 13 Suppl: 143-144.
    Storsaeter, J, et al, “Mortality and Morbidity From Invasive Bacterial Infections During a Clinical Trial of Acellular Pertussis Vaccines in Sweden”, Pediatr Infect Disorder J, 1988 Sept; 7(9):637-645.
    Vadheim, CM, et al, “Effectiveness and Safety of an Haemophilus Influenzae type b Conjugate Vaccine (PRP-T) in Young Infants. Kaiser-UCLA Vaccine Study Group,” Pediartics, 1993 Aug; 92(2):272-279. [The vaccines caused fevers, irritability, crying, and seizures, but were declared to be “safe and … effective … “.]
    Stickl, H, “Estimation of Vaccination Damage”, Med Welt, Oct 14, 1972, 23:1495-1497.
    Waters, VV, et al, “Risk Factors for Measles in a Vaccinated Population”, JAMA, Mar 27, 1991, 265(12): 1527.
    Stickl, H, “Iatrogenic Immuno-suppression as a Result of Vaccination”, Fortschr Med, Mar 5, 1981, 99(9);289-292. Vaccine Citations Linking the Vaccine to the “prevented” Disease:
    Nkowane, et al, “Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis, US 1973 through 1984, JAMA, 1987, Vol 257:1335-1340.
    Quast, et al, “Vaccine Induced Mumps-like Diseases”, nd, Int Symp on Immun, Development Bio Stand, Vol 43, p269-272.
    Green, C et al, “A Case of Hepatitis Related to Etretinate Therapy and Hepatitis B Vaccine”, Dermatologica, 1991, 182(2):119-120.
    Shasby, DM, et al, “Epidemic Measles in Highly Vaccinated Population”, NEJM, Mar 1977, 296(11): 585-589.
    Tesovic, G et al, “Aseptic Meningitis after Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine”, Lancet, Jun 12, 1993, 341(8859):1541.
    Johnson, RH, et al, “Nosocomial Vaccinia Infection”, West J Med, Oct 1976, 125(4):266-270.
    Malengreau, M, “Reappearance of Post-Vaccination Infection of Measles, Rubella, and Mumps. Should Adolescents be re-vaccinated?” Pedaitric, 1992;47(9):597-601 (25 ref)
    Basa, SN, “Paralytic Poliomyelitis Following Inoculation With Combined DTP Prophylactic. A review of Sixteen cases with Special Reference to Immunization Schedules in Infancy”, J Indian Med Assoc, Feb 1, 1973, 60:97-99.
    Landrigan, PJ et al, “Measles in Previously Vaccinated Children in Illinois”, Ill Med J, Arp 1974, 141:367-372.
    NA, “Vaccine-Associated Poliomyelitis”, Med J Aust, Oct 1973, 2:795-796. Vaccine Failures Citations:
    Hardy, GE, Jr, et al, “The Failure of a School Immunization Campaign to Terminate an Urban Epidemic of Measles,” Amer J Epidem, Mar 1970; 91:286-293.
    Cherry, JD, et al, “A Clinical and Serologic Study of 103 Children With Measles Vaccine Failure”, J Pediatr, May 1973; 82:801-808.
    Jilg, W, et al, “Inoculation Failure Following Hepatitis B Vaccination”, Dtsch Med wochenschr, 1990 Oct 12; 115(41):1514-1548.
    Plotkin, SA, “Failures of Protection by Measles Vaccine,” J Pediatr, May 1973; 82:798-801.
    Bolotovskii, V, et al, “Measles Incidence Among Children Properly Vaccinated Against This Infection”, ZH Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol, 1974; 00(5):32-35.
    Landrigan, PJ, et al, “Measles in Previously Vaccinated Children in Illinois”, Ill Med J, Apr 1974; 141:367-372.
    Strebel, P et al, “An Outbreak of Whooping Cough in a Highly Vaccinated Urban Community”, J Trop Pediatr, Mar 1991, 37(2): 71-76.
    Forrest, JM, et al, “Failure of Rubella Vaccination to Prevent Congenital Rubella,”Med J Aust, 1977 Jan 15; 1(3): 77.
    Jilg, W, “Unsuccessful Vaccination against Hepatitis B”, Dtsch Med Wochenschr, Nov 16, 1990, 115(46):1773.
    Coles, FB, et al, “An Outbreak of Influenza A (H3N2) in a Well-Immunized Nursing home Population,” J Am ger Sociologist, Jun 1992, 40(6):589-592.
    Jilg, W, et al, “Inoculation Failure following Hepatitis B Vaccination,” Dtsch Med Wochenschr, Oct 12, 1990, 115(41):1545-1548.
    Hartmann, G et al, “Unsuccessful Inoculation against Hepatitis B,” Dtsch Med Wochenschr, May 17, 1991, 116(20): 797.
    Buddle, BM et al, “Contagious Ecthyma Virus-Vaccination Failures”, Am J Vet Research, Feb 1984, 45(2):263-266.
    Mathias, R G, “Whooping Cough In Spite of Immunization”, Can J Pub Health, 1978 Mar/Apr; 69(2):130-132.
    Osterholm, MT, et al, “Lack of Efficacy of Haemophilus b Polysacharide Vaccine in Minnesota”, JAMA, 1988 Sept 9; 260(10:1423-1428.
    Johnson, RH, et al, “Nosocomial Vaccinia Infection”, West J Med, Oct 1976, 125(4):266-270. Vaccines Causing Another Vaccinal Disease:
    Basa, SN, “Paralytic Poliomyelitis Following Inoculation With Combined DTP Prophylactic. A review of Sixteen cases with Special Reference to Immunization Schedules in Infancy”, J Indian Med Assoc, Feb 1, 1973, 60:97-99.
    Pathel, JC, et al, “Tetanus Following Vaccination Against Small-pox”, J Pediatr, Jul 1960; 27:251-263.
    Favez, G, “Tuberculous Superinfection Following a Smallpox Re-Vaccination”, Praxis, July 21, 1960; 49:698-699.
    Quast, Ute, and Hennessen, “Vaccine-Induced Mumps-like Diseases”, Intern Symp on Immunizations , Development Bio Stand, Vol 43, p 269-272.
    Forrest, J M, et al, “Clinical Rubella Eleven months after Vaccination,” Lancet, Aug 26, 1972, 2:399-400.
    Dittman, S, “Atypical Measles after Vaccination”, Beitr Hyg Epidemiol, 19891, 25:1-274 (939 ref)
    Sen S, et al, “Poliomyelitis in Vaccinated Children”, Indian Pediatr, May 1989, 26(5): 423-429.
    Arya, SC, “Putative Failure of Recombinant DNA Hepatitis B Vaccines”, Vaccine, Apr 1989, 7(2): 164-165.
    Lawrence, R et al, “The Risk of Zoster after Varicella Vaccination in Children with Leukemia”, NEJM, Mar 3, 1988, 318(9): 543-548. Vaccination Citations and Death
    Na, “DPT Vaccination and Sudden Infant Death – Tennessee, US Dept HEW, MMWR Report, Mar 23, 1979, vol 28(11): 132.
    Arevalo, “Vaccinia Necrosum. Report on a Fatal Case”, Bol Ofoc Sanit Panamer, Aug 1967, 63:106-110.
    Connolly, J H, Dick, G W, Field, CM, “A Case of Fatal Progressive Vaccinia”, Brit Med Jour, 12 May 1962; 5288:1315-1317.
    Aragona, F, “Fatal Acute Adrenal Insufficiency Caused by Bilateral Apoplexy of the Adrenal Glands (WFS) following Anti-poliomyelitis Vaccination”, Minerva Medicolegale, Aug 1960; 80:167-173.
    Moblus, G et al, “Pathological-Anatomical Findings in Cases of Death Following Poliomyelitis and DPT Vaccination”, Dtsch Gesundheitsw, Jul 20, 1972, 27:1382-1386.
    NA, “Immunizations and Cot Deaths”, Lancet, Sept 25, 1982, np.
    Goetzeler, A, “Fatal Encephalitis after Poliomyelitis Vaccination”, 22 Jun 1961, Muenchen Med Wschr, 102:1419-1422.
    Fulginiti, V, “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoid-Pertussis Vaccination and Visits to the Doctor: Chance Association or Cause and Effect?”, Pediatr Infect Disorder, Jan-Feb 1983, 2(1): 7-11.
    Baraff, LJ, et al, “Possible Temporal Association Between Diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-Pertussis Vaccination and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”, Pediatr Infect Disorder, Jan-Feb 1983, 2(1): 5-6.
    Reynolds, E, “Fatal Outcome of a Case of Eczema Vaccinatum”, Lancet, 24 Sept 1960, 2:684-686.
    Apostolov. et al, “Death of an Infant in Hyperthermia After Vaccination”, J Clin Path, Mar 1961, 14:196-197.
    Bouvier-Colle, MH, “Sex-Specific Differences in Mortality After High-Titre Measles Vaccination”, Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique, 1995; 43(1): 97.
    Stewart GT, “Deaths of infants after triple vaccine.”, Lancet 1979 Aug 18;2(8138):354-355.
    Flahault A, “Sudden infant death syndrome and diphtheria/tetanus toxoid/pertussis/poliomyelitis immunisation.”, Lancet 1988 Mar 12;1(8585):582-583.
    Larbre, F et al, “Fatal Acute Myocarditis After Smallpox Vaccination”, Pediatrie, Apr-May 1966, 21:345-350.
    Mortimer EA Jr, “DTP and SIDS: when data differ”, Am J Public Health 1987 Aug; 77(8):925-926. Vaccines and Metabolism Citations:
    Deutsch J, ” [Temperature changes after triple-immunization in infant age],” Padiatr Grenzgeb 1976;15(1):3-6. [Article in German]
    NA, “[Temperature changes after triple immunization in childhood],” Padiatr Grenzgeb 1976;15(1):7-10. [Article in German]
    [Considering that the thyroid controls our Basal Metabolism, it would appear that vaccines altered (depressed) thyroid activity.] Vaccines Altering Resistance to Disease:
    Burmistrova AL, “[Change in the non-specific resistance of the body to influenza and acute respiratory diseases following immunization diphtheria-tetanus vaccine],” Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1976; (3):89-91. [Article in Russian] Vaccinations and Deafness Citations: So I did a background check to see if there was any scientific evidence linking vaccines to deafness and hearing loss. Here are some of the articles I found:
    Kaga, “Unilateral Total Loss of Auditory and Vestibular Function as a Complication of Mumps Vaccination”, Int J Ped Oto, Feb 1998, 43(1):73-73
    Nabe-Nielsen, Walter, “Unilateral Total Deafness as a Complication of the Measles- Mumps- Rubella Vaccination”, Scan Audio Suppl, 1988, 30:69-70
    Hulbert, et al, “Bilateral Hearing Loss after Measles and Rubella Vaccination in an Adult”, NEJM, 1991 July, 11;325(2):134
    Healy, “Mumps Vaccine and Nerve Deafness”, Am J Disorder Child, 1972 Jun; 123(6):612
    Jayarajan, Sedler, “Hearing Loss Following Measles Vaccination”, J Infect, 1995 Mar; 30(2):184-185
    Pialoux, P et al, “Vaccinations and Deafness”, Ann Otolaryng (Paris), Dec 1963, 80:1012-1013.
    Angerstein, W, et al, “Solitary Hearing and Equilibrium Damage After Vaccinations”, Gesundheitswesen, May 1995, 57(5): 264-268.
    Brodsky, Stanievich, “Sensorineural Hearing Loss Following Live Measles Virus Vaccination”, Int J Ped Oto, 1985 Nov; 10(2):159-163
    Koga, et al, “Bilateral Acute Profound Deafness After MMR Vaccination- Report of a Case”, Nippon Jibiin Gakkai Kai, 1991 Aug;94(8):1142-5
    Seiferth, LB, “Deafness after Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccination – a Case Report and Review”, HNO, 1977 Aug; 25(8): 297-300
    Pantazopoulos, PE, “Perceptive Deafness Following Prophylactic use of Tetanus anittoxin”, Laryngoscope, Dec 1965, 75:1832-1836.
    Zimmerman, W, “Observation of a case of Acute Bilateral Hearing Impairment Following Preventive Poliomyelitis Vaccination (type 3)”, Arch Ohr Nas Kehlkopfheilk, 1965, 185:723-725. Vaccinations and Kidney Disorders Citations:
    Jacquot, C et al, “Renal Risk in Vaccination”, Nouv Presse Med, Nov 6, 1982, 11(44):3237-3238.
    Giudicelli, et al, “Renal Risk in Vaccination”, Presse Med, Jun 11, 1982, 12(25):1587-1590.
    Tan, SY, et al, “Vaccine Related Glomerulonephritis”, BMJ, Jan 23, 1993, 306(6872):248.
    Pillai, JJ, et al, “Renal Involvement in Association with Post-vaccination Varicella”, Clin Infect Disorder, Dec 1993, 17(6): 1079-1080.
    Eisinger, AJ et al, “Acute Renal Failure after TAB and Cholera Vaccination”, B Med J, Feb 10, 1979, 1(6160):381-382.
    Silina, ZM, et al, “Causes of Postvaccinal Complications in the Kidneys in Young Infants”, Pediatria, Dec 1978, (12):59-61.
    Na, “Albuminurias”, Concours Med, Mar 1964, 85:5095-5098. [vaccination adverse reactions]
    Oyrl, A, et al, “Can Vaccinations Harm the Kidney?”, Clin Nephrol, 1975, 3(5):204-205.
    Mel’man Nia, “[Renal lesions after use of vaccines and sera].” Vrach Delo 1978 Oct;(10):67-9, [Article in Russian]
    Silina ZM, Galaktionova TIa, Shabunina NR, “[Causes of postvaccinal complications in the kidneys in young infants].” Pediatriia 1978 Dec;(12):59-61, [Article in Russian]
    Silina EM, et al, “[Some diseases of the kidneys in children during the 1st year of life, following primary smallpox vaccination and administration of pertusis-diphtheria-tetanus vaccine].” Vopr Okhr Materin Det 1968 Mar; 13(3):79-80, [Article in Russian] Vaccines and Skin Disorders Citations:
    Illingsworth R, Skin rashes after triple vaccine,” Arch Dis Child 1987 Sep; 62(9):979.
    Lupton GP, “Discoid lupus erythematosus occurring in a smallpox vaccination scar,” J Am Acad Dermatol, 1987 Oct; 17(4):688-690.
    Kompier, A J, “Some Skin Diseases caused by Vaccinia Virus [Smallpox],” Ned Milt Geneesk T, 15:149-157, May 1962.
    Weber, G et al, “Skin Lesions Following Vaccinations,” Deutsch Med Wschr, 88:1878-1886, S7 Sept 1963.
    Copeman, P W, “Skin Complications of Smallpox Vaccination,” Practitioner, 197:793-800, Dec 1966.
    Denning, DW, et al, “Skin Rashes After Triple Vaccine,” Arch Disorder Child, May 1987, 62(5): 510-511. Vaccinations and Abcesses:
    Sterler, HC, et al, “Outbreaks of Group A Steptococcal Abcesses Following DTP Vaccination”, Pediatrics, Feb 1985, 75(2):299-303.
    DiPiramo, D, et al, “Abcess Formation at the Site of Inoculation of Calmette-Guerin Bacillus (BCG),” Riv Med Aeronaut Spaz, Jul-Dec 1981, 46(3-4):190-199. Vaccinations and Shock:
    Caileba, A et al, “Shock associated with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Syndrome following Injection of DT.TAB Vaccine, Prese Med, Sept 15, 1984, 13(3):1900. Vaccines: The Weird, The Wild and The Hilarious Citations: Sometimes there are articles published about the strangest facts related to vaccines that defies our imagination and ability to understand them. They were written seriously by well-meaning scientific persons, but their titles can be seen differently. Some are funny, some are sad and some are purely scientific folly. See if you can figure these out:
    Pathel, JC, et al, “Tetanus Following Vaccination Against Small-pox”, J Pediatr, Jul 1960; 27:251-263. [Now you need a tetanus vaccination!]
    Favez, G, “Tuberculous Superinfection Following a Smallpox Re-Vaccination”, Praxis, July 21, 1960; 49:698-699. [Super means large/big/great!]
    Bonifacio, A et al, “Traffic Accidents as an expression of “Iatrogenic damage”, Minerva Med, Feb 24, 1971, 62:735-740. [But officer I was just vaccinated!]
    Baker, J et al, “Accidental Vaccinia: Primary Inoculation of a Scrotum”, Clin Pediatr (Phila), Apr 1972, 11:244-245. [Ooops, the needle slipped.]
    Edwards, K, “Danger of Sunburn Following Vaccination”, Papua New Guinea Med J, Dec 1977, 20(4):203. [Are vaccines phototoxic?]
    Stroder, J, “Incorrect Therapy in Children”, Folia Clin Int (Barc), Feb 1966, 16:82-90. [Agreed.]
    Wehrle PF, “Injury associated with the use of vaccines,” Clin Ther 1985;7(3):282-284. [Dah!]
    Alberts ME, “When and where will it stop”, Iowa Med 1986 Sep; 76(9):424. [When!]
    Breiman RF, Zanca JA, “Of floors and ceilings — defining, assuring, and communicating vaccine safety”, Am J Public Health 1997 Dec;87(12):1919-1920. [What is in between floors and ceilings?]
    Stewart, AM, et al, “Aetiology of Childhood Leukaemia”, Lancet, 16 Oct, 1965, 2:789-790.
    Nelson, ST, “John Hutchinson On Vaccination Syphilis (Hutchinson, J)”, Arch Derm, (Chic), May 1969, 99:529-535. [Vaccinations and STDs!]
    Mather, C, “Cotton Mather Anguishes Over the Consequences of His Son’s Inoculation Against Smallpox”, Pediatrics, May 1974; 53:756. [Is it for or against?]
    Thoman M, “The Toxic Shot Syndrome”, Vet Hum Toxicol, Apr 1986, 28(2):163-166. [Animals are not exempt from vaccination damage either!]
    Johnson, RH, et al, “Nosocomial Vaccinia Infection”, West J Med, Oct 1976, 125(4):266-270. [Nosocomial means a disease acquired in a doctor’s office or hospital.]
    Heed, JR, “Human Immunization With Rabies Vaccine in Suckling Mice Brain,” Salud Publica, May-Jun 1974, 16(3): 469-480. [Have you had your suckling mice brains today?]
    Tesovic, G et al, “Aseptic Meningitis after Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine”, Lancet, Jun 12, 1993, 341(8859):1541. [AM has same symptoms as poliomyelitis!]
    Buddle, BM et al, “Contagious Ecthyma Virus-Vaccination Failures”, Am J Vet Research, Feb 1984, 45(2):263-266.
    Freter, R et al, “Oral Immunization And Production of Coproantibody in Human Volunteers”, J Immunol, Dec 1963, 91:724-729. [Guess what copro- means …. Feces.]
    NA, “Vaccination, For and Against”, 1964, Belg T Geneesk, 20:125-130. [Is it for or against?]
    Sahadevan, MG et al, “Post-vaccinal Myelitis”, J Indian Med Ass, Feb 16, 1966, 46:205-206. [Did I mention myelitis?]
    Castan, P et al, “Coma Revealing an acute Leukosis in a child, 15 days after an Oral Anti-poliomyelitis Vaccination,” Acta Neurol Bekg, May 1965, 65:349-367. [Coma from vaccines!]
    Stickl, H, et al, “Purulent [pus] meningitides Following Smallpox Vaccination. On the Problem of Post- Vaccinal Decrease of Resistance”, Deutsch Med Wschr, Jul 22, 1966, 91:1307-1310. [Vaccines are the injection of viruses cultured from pus … ]
    Haas, R

  193. #194 Maria
    September 16, 2009

    interesting discussion…..hope it continues, even if I dont have much to add to it cause of lack of knowledge in the subject.

  194. #195 Chris
    September 16, 2009

    While I was out of town, Doug posted a “Gish Gallop.” I looked at it, and then cut and paste it to a text editor. I deleted the front part to the date, but only to a point due to lack of time. I noticed all of the stuff was from the last century (one paper was from 1926!), and that they were not all anti-vax, or what they were claimed to be.

    Also many (lots!) of the papers were on smallpox, plus one or two on typhoid vaccines. Neither of those have been on the pediatric vaccine schedule for decades.

    This includes a paper that I checked by putting “pediatrics 92 (2) 272-279″ in the search window. The title did not match, nor did the description. Anyway the conclusion was “CONCLUSIONS. The PRP-T vaccine is safe and appears to be effective in preventing invasive disease caused by H influenzae type b”

    Then another random paper checked was found on PubMed using the terms “Pediatrics 1988 Mar;81(3):345-349″… Which turned out to be a paper called “Neurologic events following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization.”, with the abstract being:

    The frequency of serious neurologic events following the administration of 106,000 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound was determined using a population-based case-control study with disease ascertainment through pharmacy and hospitalization records. There were no cases of acute unexplained encephalopathies in close temporal relation to vaccination. There was the new onset of one serious seizure disorder in the three days following immunization, with 1.13 expected on the basis of chance alone.

    I also tried to check on some 1998 papers on autism and MMR published in the Lancet. They were letters to the editor and did not even include abstracts. I suspect they were reactions to Wakefield’s now discredited paper, but were listed in part of the Gish Gallop.

    With a little checking, I found that Doug cut and paste this list from at least one anti-vax site. He never bothered to check what those papers actually say!

    Anyway, here is as far as I got on editing for the dates:
    1976, Vol 199, p523-525.
    1965, 2:789-790
    1977, 34:145-148.
    1976, 36(2 pt 2):655-656.
    1968, 23:81-82.
    1968, 39:24-26.
    1968, 30:157-161.
    1968, Cancer, 21(4):632-649.
    1991, 144(2) 469.
    1981 Oct;81(11):1667-1668.
    1978 Feb 23; 41(1):89-96.
    1979 Sept Oct, (5):547-550.
    1977, Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol, 10:80-83.
    1973, Acta Virol (Praha), 17:319-326.
    1975; (3):297-302.
    1980; (5):69-72. Vaccinations and Diabetes Citations:
    1975, 50:749.66
    1966, 60:429-432.
    1968, 40:117-118.
    1996, 24:137-145.
    1996 Sep 27. [letter]
    1996 May 24 [letter]
    1996 Jul 26;109(1026):283. [letter; comment] Other Articles Linking Diabetes to Vaccines:
    1993, 16:1606-1611.
    1997 May; 20(5):767-772.
    1997 Sep; 17(3):499-545.
    1994 Aug; 88(7-8):561-5 Vaccines and Nervous System Changes:
    1969; 48:20-24.
    1986 May 31;1(8492):1275-1276.
    1962.
    1963. Vaccinations and Autism Citations:
    1976, 188(2):172-180.
    1998 May 2;351(9112):1358.
    1998 Jun 13;316(7147):1824.
    1998 Mar 7;316(7133):715-716.
    1998 Mar 21;351(9106):907-908.
    1998 Mar 21;351(9106):907.
    1998, Vol. 89, No. 1, p 105-108. [“None of the autistic children in the study had measles in the past, but all had the MMR” stated David Whalgren. Vaccines and Demyelination Citations:
    1991, 338(8776):1174-1175.
    1995 Jun; 58(6):758-759.
    1995 Feb;64(4):967-977.
    1990 Jun 2;335(8701):1346-1347.
    1973, 10:227-231.
    1983 Jan; 102(1):14-18.
    1993 Jun;122(6):900-903.
    1983 Sep;103(3):496.
    1987 Jul 10;258(2):201.
    1991 Nov;88(5):881-885.
    1990 Mar 23-30;263(12):1641-1645.
    1981 Sep-Dec;15(5-6):553-557. [Article in Polish]
    1990 Nov; 28(5):699-705.
    1993 Jun; 91(6):1158-1165. Vaccinations and Convulsions Citations:
    1985 Aug; 107(2):244-255.
    1988 Jun; 81(6):789-794.
    1988;13 Suppl: 137-142.
    1978 Jun; 100(6):345-348. [Article in Serbo-Croatian (Roman)]
    1983 May;(5):37-39. [Article in Russian] Vaccinations and Epilepsy Citations:
    1973, 43:254-258.
    1989 Mar;78(2):291-295. ___ Vaccines and Brain Swelling:
    1985 , 38(2):53-65.
    1981 Jun;18(6):417-418.
    1989 Apr;64(4):635-636.
    1986 Nov;23(11):960.
    1989 Mar;114(3):423-425.
    1979 Feb;133(2):217-218.
    1972, 55:848-849. Vaccines and Neurological Damage
    1968, Ped, 41:997-1001.
    1990, 50(1):52-54.
    1973, v223(13):1459-1462.
    1926.
    1974, 49:46.
    1967, 4:320-323.
    1958; p 24.
    1969; 48:20-24.
    1959, 13:54-59
    1969, 6:81-86.
    1967, 199:165-166.
    1978, Development Biol Std, Vol 43, 259-264.
    1938; 39:1047-1054.
    1978, 23(8):548-551.
    1978, (12):45-49.
    1979, 127(1): 23-28.
    1979, 191(3):261-270.
    1979, (7):114-115.
    1969, 17:41-43.
    1990,315(1):252-255. [Vaccines contain viruses, too]
    1988 Mar;81(3):345-349.
    1988 Nov; 113(5):801-805.
    1973 Oct; 48(10):829-830.
    1968 Nov; 47(11):19-26. [Article in Russian]
    1985;63(5):919-925.
    1991 Aug; 33(4):421-427. Vaccinations and Unexplained Diseases:
    1988 Aug; 158(2): 343-348.
    1988; 13 Suppl: 143-144.
    1988 Sept; 7(9):637-645.
    1993 Aug; 92(2):272-279.
    1972, 23:1495-1497.
    1991, 265(12): 1527.
    1981, 99(9);289-292. Vaccine Citations Linking the Vaccine to the “prevented” Disease:
    1987, Vol 257:1335-1340.
    1991, 182(2):119-120.
    1977, 296(11): 585-589.
    1993, 341(8859):1541.
    1976, 125(4):266-270.
    1992;47(9):597-601 (25 ref)
    1973, 60:97-99.
    1974, 141:367-372

  195. #196 Maria
    September 16, 2009

    Just a question….this conversation here is regarding the vaccineschedule in the USA only?

    I am not american, and so far have no formed opinion or enough knowledge regarding vaccines, but I when talking about vaccineschedules with doctors or reading them in debates and forums overseas, I have noticed that often the american vaccineschedule is described as “very exagerrated”, when trying to justify our european (swedish mostly) vaccinschedule.

    I don’t know why, but even when I spoke to a specialist in Sweden regarding my childs vaccinations (since we travel a lot and live overseas), he mentioned it being strange and unnessecary children being vaccinated against hep B during such a young age, since (acc to him and later confirmed by a doctor (pediatric) in Brazil), hep b transmit via blood (ex transfusions, but even in south america where we are most of the time, all blood is screened), unprotected sex and dirty needles, or mother to child if mother has hep b.

    Since my child won’t inject drugs, at least not yet, and is not sexually active, (neither will go to any dirty nail saloon) they said its not necessary taking the hep b vaccine at such a young age, since it also only lasts up to 12 years…..and the swedish specialist found it strange the hep b vaccination was given in america at such a young age. The brazilian pediatric say they also give hep B in Brazil, but it is not actually necessary UNLESS the mother is a carrier of Hep B.

    When asking “Smittskyddsinstitutet” (The “Swedish CDC”), they sent me out a long document regarding the safety of all vaccines, where it stated on the hepBvaccine (which is not used in Sweden) that some studies point to a connection between hep B vaccine and multiple sclerosis, and that further studies need to be done.

    I don’t know, but I think MAYBE it can be good to question the vaccine schedule, or question certain vaccines in it, without going “for or against”. Do you think I’m wasting my time doing just that?
    I think if I only lived in Sweden I would just have gotten the vaccines without much reflection, but since I travel so much we were forced to look into it, since the schedules varies over the world.

    For me personally, it feels dificult to completely trust studies done both in favour or against vaccines, due to that most scientific studies done are so often sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.

  196. #197 Chris
    September 16, 2009

    1) You should probably ask on a more recent blog posting.

    2) Hepatitis B is transmitted in other ways, some children have gotten it just by being kids.

    3) Hepatitis B is endemic in certain parts of the world, especially Asia. If you travel there you should make sure you have both the Hep B and Hep A vaccines.

    4) Many of the recent vaccine safety studies have been done by public health agencies in several countries. Yes, pharmaceutical companies must pay for the testing if they want their vaccine approved, but then they need to be reviewed by each country who approves it for their schedule. It gets more complicated in places like Denmark where the government is the vaccine manufacturer.

    You can get more information at the national health service’s vaccine program for your own country (for instance the information on each disease and vaccine for the USA is at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/pink-chapters.htm , there is an equivalent for the UK, Japan, Canada and there must be one for Sweden), and http://sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/vaccines-and-autism/ (go near the end of that page and note how many of the noted studies were done by pharma companies)

  197. #198 Maria
    September 17, 2009

    Thanks for your answer, will check the links you gave.

  198. #199 Maria
    September 17, 2009

    just by looking over it quickly it seems like the rise in autism is caused partly by a broader diagnose, meaning people who would not been labeled autistic in the seventies get the label today. I can understand how this make it looks like autism has increased more than it has. Does anyone know if the way they diagnosed polio before and after starting vaccinating was the same? Or did the criteria for having polio changed after introduction of the vaccine (since this can mess with the statistics)??

    I will later ask my questions on a more recent blogposting, I promise.

  199. #200 Chris
    September 17, 2009

    A quicky answer: There was no change immediately after the vaccine was introduced. It is a virus, and a three subtypes were identified in 1931 (see http://www.polioeradication.org/history.asp ).

    About the only thing that has changed since the 1950s is that the equipment has gotten much better. They now do DNA sequences to see what kind of strain (they can identify if a oral polio virus as mutated to a nasty strain).

    Instead of here, I would really suggest you ask your question at a blog of professor who studies the polio virus: http://www.virology.ws/ (he also has a very interesting podcast, twiv.tv)

    Also, there many excellent books on polio, and perhaps some have been translated to Swedish. One would be Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky. I know of others, but it has been so long ago I forgot the titles. I believe one was a biography of Jonas Salk and another one was about a problem with a poorly done batch of vaccine, The Cutter Incident by Paul Offit. Then there is this silly but informative cartoon done by students at a Canadian university (there is a two URL link limit here, so you will have to cut and paste): scq.ubc.ca/polio.pdf

  200. #201 Maria
    September 19, 2009

    Thank you. I will check the material.

  201. #202 Eli
    September 11, 2010

    I just want to say that JM nor Wakefield had anything to do with my decision not to vax. My doc in fact doesn’t recommend it. I have plenty of studies from CDC’s site that did the convincing for me. Maybe ya’ll should read it too, you may be surprised at what you actually find. I’d love to see the groups seperate if that’s what it has to come down to. If you vaxed folks start saying things like “Ew you’re not vaccinated, gross.” Then hey- you and your toxic children– who are shedding the viruses and causing new outbreaks–can go and live together in a bubble for all we un-vaxed healthy folks care. Then we can get a real study going on and see where the outbreaks truly occur and why.

  202. #203 Chris
    September 11, 2010

    Eli, have you been sitting at your computer for an entire year thinking of that less than snappy reply to this article?

    Wow.

    Oh, and get another doctor.

  203. #204 Chris
    September 12, 2010

    Eli:

    hen hey- you and your toxic children– who are shedding the viruses and causing new outbreaks–

    Do tell us how that happens, with real scientific references!

    And especially how it happens with the DTaP, Hib, meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. That would be fascinating.

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