I may have taken a break yesterday, but that doesn't mean I've abandoned my mission to make this Vaccine Awareness Week (or, more properly, the Anti-vaccine Movement Awareness Week, dedicated to countering the lies of the anti-vaccine movement). Even though it was good to take a day off, the anti-vaccine movement rarely takes a day off, and yesterday was no exception. Indeed, one of the most belligerent anti-vaccinationists of all, the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest anti-vaccine bull of all, decided to show up for the first time in a long time yesterday on his organization's happy home for wandering anti-vaccine loons, Age of Autism. Except that it's rarely so happy when J.B. Handley shows up, except when he's gloating over driving up parental suspicion of vaccines. This time around, J.B. decided to be J.B., which is all J.B. can be. Yesterday, he was unhappy because the American Academy of Pediatrics was doing what actual pediatricians should be doing and actually doing something to try to combat the pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies spread by the anti-vaccine movement.
Before I get into the delightfully unhinged rant so typical of Mr. Handley, let me just take a moment to point out that I hadn't intended to spend this week looking at all the lunacy that AoA delivers on a daily basis. After all, the architects of Vaccine Awareness Week were Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher. While it's true that Joe Mercola has brought home the crazy about vaccines day after day, as Steve Novella has shown so well, for some reason Barbara Loe Fisher has been very, very quiet. In fact, there hasn't been a single new article published on her website, NVIC.org. Some partner she's turned out to be for Joe! I mean, seriously. Would it have hurt her so much to contribute just one delightfully quacktastic post like the one in which she attacked health care institutions for requiring that their employees be vaccinated against the flu? I say thee nay! Yet, as of this writing, there's nothing newer than more than a month old. If I were Joe Mercola, I'd be major league peeved right now. Why should Joe do all the heavy lifting for quackery?
But back to J.B. Yesterday, in his usual inimitable fashion, J.B. decided to attack the American Academy of Pediatrics and its CEO Errol R. Alden, M.D. in a spittle-flecked post entitled AAP's Errol R. Alden, MD: The Worst CEO in America, Looking to Target "Vaccine Opponents" and "Celebrities":
Don't be confused by names like Judith Palfrey, David Tayloe, or Renee Jenkins, there's only one boss at the AAP: Errol R. Alden, M.D.
While folks like Tayloe show up on Larry King Live and get their ass kicked, Dr. Alden has been running the show since 2004. Not sure who's boss? When Tayloe was the AAP's President for a year, they paid him $150,000 for a job poorly done. Dr. Alden? He brought home $525,000, over a half-million "non-profit" bucks.
Dr. Alden does a great job of hiding in the shadows and letting others speak for his organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics. Meanwhile, he appears to be biding his time paying his employees huge salaries and, as the most recent Form 990 HERE from the AAP reveals, losing lots of money.
Now, this is perhaps the first and probably the last time that I ever say that I sort of agree with J.B. that it's a bit disturbing how much money Dr. Alden makes for running the AAP. He makes over a half a million dollars a year, which strikes me as rather high for running a nonprofit institution, particularly given that few pediatricians could ever manage to achieve that level of compensation through clinical practice. In addition, given that the AAP reported a $4 million loss last year, it's hard not to question the financial stewardship of the organization.
Of course, legitimate concerns about the finances of the AAP are not what J.B. is about. Attacking the premiere organization that stands up for vaccine science and child health is what he's about because that organization recognizes Mr. Handley's organization for the dangerous bunch of denialists that it is. So let's just say that I don't exactly like the rather high level of compensation being paid to many of the employees of the AAP when it's losing money, even taking into account that some of them are physicians and could manage to make $200,000 a year in practice, meaning that a certain level of compensation has to be offered to lure physicians to do these jobs. Be that as it may, whether or not the AAP is well run from a financial standpoint has little or no bearing on the scientific validity of its defense of vaccines. Because he can't refute the AAP's stand using science, J.B. Handley wants you to believe that the two are conjoined, much like Chang and Eng Bunker.
So let's get to what's really chapping J.B.'s posterior:
Autism may well be the AAP's swan song, and I think they know it. You simply can't have 1% of your pediatric population being damaged for life and survive for very long, and I hope pediatricians start to desert the AAP in order to save our kids. In the meantime, I'm guessing Dr. Alden will hasten the ship he is charting right into the ground.
The arrogance of ignorance encompassed in that statement is amazing to behold! J.B. simply assumes that, in essence, all autistic children are a result of the AAP's vaccination policies. I say that because the estimate for incidence of autism and autism spectrum disorders is around 1%, and J.B. says that 1% of the pediatric population is being "damaged for life." Mr. Handley's statement shows that, science and clinical trials notwithstanding, he still thinks that vaccines cause nearly all cases of autism out there. In any case, if pediatricians end up deserting the AAP or not, their decision isn't going to be over the issue of autism and vaccines. If the AAP ends up getting into serious financial trouble, it won't be over autism and vaccines. Mr. Handley's thinking is profoundly delusional if he thinks either of these outcomes are likely to be due to his pet issue. Delusional and narcisstic. Come to think of it those two terms describe J.B. perfectly.
Mr. Handley goes on to demonstrate this in listing what he considers to be the AAP's shortcomings:
Alden's organization has:
- Done nothing to alert their membership to biomedical protocols that may improve the symptoms of autism, and shown no interest in understanding the DAN! Movement of physicians, and never acknowledged that biomedical recovery from autism is possible
Why would Dr. Alden alert the AAP membership to the quackery that is "autism biomed" and encourage them to consider it? He shouldn't, because the AAP champions evidence-based medicine. Contrary to what Mr. Handley thinks, the woo that is promoted by the anti-vaccine movement in general and his organization in particular is anything but evidence-based. It's about the purest pseudoscience there is, as I and many others have documented time and time again. If you don't believe me, take a look at Jenny McCarthy's Autism Biomed 101 video. Look at Kent Heckenlively's description of the biomedical woo to which he subjected his daughter. Read Trine Tsouderos' description of how the autism biomed movement hijacks legitimate science and turns it into quackery.
- In 2009 HERE admitted that their membership of pediatricians is unprepared to deal with autism and that many wish complementary alternative medicine training for these patients
You know, I wonder how AoA gets away with hosting copyrighted material on its affiliated websites. In any case, just because the AAP published a survey that found that primary care pediatricians don't feel competent to deal with autism and its associated problems and concludes that better education about autism would help allievate the situation does not mean that the AAP is "admitting" anything. All it means is that the study managed to pass peer review and be published in the AAP's flagship publication. Mr. Handley seems to think that acceptance of a manuscript in its main scientific publication means that the AAP is endorsing the findings of the paper. It doesn't. Obviously, Mr. Handley hasn't learned anything about medical publishing over the years. Either that, or he seems to think that medical publishing works the same way that AoA works. It doesn't--fortunately.
Let's move on to one of J.B.'s other complaints:
- Wasted everyone's time with a predictable public-relations gambit that failed miserably when they tried to guilt ABC into pulling a TV show that discussed the autism-vaccine link HERE threatening that:
"ABC will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents' decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode."
Mr. Handley's referring to ABC's short-lived Eli Stone, which did indeed feature in its pilot a storyline filled with anti-vaccine idiocy. The AAP was absolutely right to criticize ABC for its irresponsibility in airing such pseudoscientific, evidence-free nonsense. That's free speech. Unfortunately, ABC didn't listen and aired the episode anyway. That's its right to be stupid in exercising free speech. In any case, obviously the AAP doesn't wield as much power and influence as Mr. Handley apparently thinks it does.
Particularly hilariously lacking in self-awareness is Mr. Handley's invocation of an exchange on an episode Larry King's show in which he appeared. Yes, Larry King, old fool that he is with no critical thinking skills when it comes to science or medicine, has allowed Mr. Handley on his show on more than one occasion. That alone shows his propensity for woo more than anything else. Well, that and his tendency to give the useful idiot of the anti-vaccine movement (Jenny McCarthy) a forum on a regular basis.
Actually, if there's one thing I'd criticize the AAP about, it's being uttely clueless for such a long period of time about the threat to children's health the anti-vaccine movement as personified by Mr. Handley represents. For years, the AAP stuck its head in the sand. It stuck its finger in its ears and its hands over its eyes, and chanted, "Lalalalalala, I can't hear you." Only in the last two or three years has the AAP figured out that, yes, the anti-vaccine movement is actually having an effect. It's scaring parents based on fairy dust to believe that vaccines are dangerous when they're not. It's finally getting to the point of eroding herd immunity in parts of the country where there are educated, affluent parents with more money than sense, full of the arrogance of ignorance, who believe that their Google University knowledge trumps scientific knowledge and the knowledge and study of scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying vaccines or autism.
What burns Mr. Handley is that the AAP has finally awakened. It appeared to throw off some of its lethargy a couple of years ago, when Jenny McCarthy led her "Green Our Vaccines" anti-vaccine march on Washington. True, it's still rather crude and bumbling in its responses, but at least the AAP has finally awakened to the threat that the anti-vaccine movement represents. Indeed, what's gotten J.B. Handley's undies in such a bunch this time around is the report of an apparent mole he has in the AAP, which sent him a copy of this internal letter:
Dear AAP Staff:
From time to time, the AAP Department of Communications develops print Public Service ads that appear free of charge in national and local magazines. These ads promote a range of pediatric topics such as obesity prevention, disaster preparedness and immunizations. We're currently working on a new ad to ease parental concerns over vaccines - concerns caused by misinformation spread by a small but vocal group of vaccine opponents which includes celebrities.
We're asking for your help to identify local parents who may be interested in joining a focus group that will evaluate several concepts and messages proposed by Springboard, our advertising agency.
A series of 30-minute focus groups will be held on Wednesday, November 17, at the office of Springboard at 15 N. Arlington Heights Road, Ste. 105, Arlington Heights, IL 60004 (downtown Arlington Heights).
AAP staff, their family and relatives may not participate in the focus groups; however, your friends or neighbors with young children below the age of 5 are welcome to participate. Please have anyone who may be interested contact Jill Halco of Springboard to schedule a session. They should e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org with a time preference. Focus group sessions will take place approximately every 30 minutes from 3:30 pm-7:30 pm on November 17.
Please note that childcare is not provided; these sessions are for adult care-givers only.
We're looking for a cross-section of parents from many different backgrounds and communities. Please ask those you think fit this description if they'd like to participate. If so, have them contact Jill Halco directly no later than Friday, November 5. (If they do not have e-mail access, please ask them to call Jill at 847-398-4920, but e-mail is preferred.) Each parent will receive $50 as a thank-you for participating in the research.
Thank you for helping with this important initiative - to help protect children from the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Roger F. Suchyta, MD, FAAP
Associate Executive Director
I say: It's about time that the AAP actually made a serious effort to counter celebrity idiots like Generation Rescue's spokescelebrity Jenny McCarthy. I hope it follows through with the plan described in this letter to go aggressively against the misinformation spread by groups like J.B. Handley's. What I'm worried about is that, given AAP's past history, it'll screw this effort up. On the other hand, look at J.B. Handley's followup post to his first attack Dr. Errol Alden, CEO of the AAP, has a Nephew with Autism. Apparently, Dr. Alden's brother-in-law remonstrated with Mr. Handley for his usual odious nastiness and how Generation Rescue's nastiness might have led to Dr. Alden's backing away from negotiations with TACA. Predictably, any criticism of Generation Rescue's viciousness led to Mr. Handley's responding with even more of his usual odious nastiness, cranked up to 11:
My first reaction to his post? I said to myself, "I'm sorry, is the AAP f-ing North Korea? If we get the Dear Leader's nose bent out of joint he runs for the hills?"
Find your spine or get out of the way.
Paul Robinson, the only victims in this fight are the children. If you don't understand why we're so mad, you're no help to us anyway. Your misdirection of blame is absurd. As Jim Carrey so perfectly said, and I will repeat it in all caps so you don't miss it:
"THE PROBLEM IS THE PROBLEM."
And, if biomed is part of the solution, let's all get moving. Today.
"The problem is the problem"? Mr. Handley's citing Fire Marshall Bill? How Zen, as though repeating it in all caps makes it any less vacuous and faux profound. He also seems rather oblivious to the fact that actions have consequences and people don't like his bull-in-a-China-shop tactices. Personally, I found it rather amusing that Mr. Handley would refer to Dear Leader, given that, by the very story he was responding to (assuming it's true) Dr. Alden was responding to pressure from his constituents. That's hardly running the AAP like a dictator. Besides, Mr. Handley seems so pissed off that Dr. Alden was a co-author on a paper that failed to support Andrew Wakefield's results (big surprise there, given how crappy a scientist Wakefield is) that he lets that color his entire diatribe. He also seems to think that having published a paper refuting Wakefield is far worse than his misogynistic attacks on journalists, Jenny McCarthy's having shouted down actual doctors on TV a while back, or Age of Autism's having represented its enemies as baby-eating cannibals last year.
In any case, Mr. Handley actually says one more thing I agree with, just not in the way he means it:
There is a moral duty that binds those of us in a position to help: we HAVE to help, for the sake of all the kids.
I agree. That's why I do what I do: Do my small part to counter the pseudoscience, misinformation, and utter nonsense spewed by the anti-vaccine movement as represented by Generation Rescue--nonsense that endangers children. I urge skeptical and science-based bloggers to do the same.
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I try to do my part - which is why I proclaimed a "National Political Vaccine Dingbat Awareness Day"* last month (the congressional candidate who was featured lost her election, though not for her foolish views on thimerosal and the flu vaccine).
My contribution today is to help spread the word that Central Bankers are pursuing their insane and evil population reduction plan by promoting flu vaccination. I heard it on Coast To Coast radio this morning (I know, I'm a glutton for punishment). You see, the Rockefellers and Rothschilds** and Federal Reserve bankers (oh my) are behind this scheme, which has already resulted in a DOUBLING of seasonal flu risk due to the H1N1 vaccine.
When I chased down this claim, I found that it relates to an article in PLOS Medicine. They got it backwards actually - the article discusses a finding in Canadian observational studies that suggests that seasonal flu vaccines increased the risk of catching H1N1 flu. None other than Mike Adams is trumpeting this as proof of the horrific Pharma agenda (he's missing out on the Central Banker connection) and praising PLOS Medicine as one of the few honest medical journals left (he gets their name wrong, but so what).
Of course the article actually says considerably less than the conspiracy theorists claim, noting that any link between H1N1 infection and seasonal flu vaccine is "premature" and contradicted by a host of other similarly conducted studies that found either no link or a protective effect of seasonal flu vaccine. For some reason Mikey doesn't see fit to mention this in his rant.
*I may have called it something slightly different at the time.
Is that appropriate, db?
Interestingly, AoA decided to kick off " Vaccine Awareness Week"** Monday by "going dark" ( no posts) to highlight the communication difficulties of people with autism. No posts, sounds good to me. Unfortunately, it was only for a day.
** This is an example of the insidious practice of paradoxically naming anti-vax sites or events. We have Loe Fisher's "National Vaccine *Information* Center", Gary Null's (new) site, " Vaccine *Initiative*", and some others I have seen but can't recall exactly at present. I venture that this lures in the unsuspecting, uninformed person who then reads this misinformation *first* rather than more sound scientific sites. Despite their constant railing against "authorities", these *poseurs* also manage to create the aura of being "official" or "expert". Talk about truth in advertising!
While anti-vaxxers often cite legitimate sources' Enthrallment to BigPharma (or the Almighty** Dollar), we could call out another COI of many anti-vaxxers: they are emotionally invested in blaming ASD's on external sources ( vaccines) because either their children ( or themselves) are so diagnosed. They perhaps suffer the effects of stigma.
** not so almighty recently.
"Is that appropriate, db?"
Huh, you must be one of Them. We're onto you.
The stupid is not just on this side of the Atlantic.
Several UK papers (inc. Daily Mail & Lancashire Telegraph) have articles referring to Dr Sohail Bhatti, director of public health at East Lancashire Primary Care Trust. Dr Bhatti strongly urges that MMR be mandatory for public school entry. The comments against this idea range from misinformed to off the charts insane. Wakefield's miserable effect will take a long time to subside.
I find it surprising that Handley hasn't found some more lucrative cause to go after. Jenny 'boobs not brains' McCarthy has seemingly abandoned his ship. Wakefield draws paltry crowds. The vaccine court has been a BIG disappointment. The tide has turned seemingly, if all too slowly. I would have expected such a smart scammer operator to have latched onto a new woo cash cow by now.
The contrived awareness week seems a desperate act to fan a very small flame.
Flee dt! I've got you covered! Deny everything!
I'm working on the creation of an opinion site modeled after VAERS, except that people will be able to post positive outcomes of their vaccines, like going the whole flu season without getting the flu, or not having to be excluded from school during a chickenpox outbreak.
Who's with me?
Hence his incoherent invective. He will never give it up, he has too much emotionally invested in the vaccine-autism charge. He just shifts the goal-posts that are now out of the stadium.
MikeMa @ 6: you are one twisted person. vaccine court is a joke- the statute of limitations alone makes it practically impossible for parents to claim (ESP if the ped is minimizing par en's concerns). Did it ever occur to you that Wakefield actually doesn't see vaccine damage as a "cash cow?"
I think its a great idea to capture anything positive. Everyone in my house with the exception of me (hangs head) have gotten flu shots. I will commit to get mine before Monday.
That will provide 4 cases, 2 in college, 1 a nanny to 2 school age children. Pleanty of exposure opportunity!
Gee, I thought the vaccine court actually lowered the bar so that almost any evidence was admissible. The evidence had to be credible though.
As to the statute of limitations, how long would be reasonable to blame vaccines? The mommy science seems to show almost instant causation regardless of the science involved.
Wakefield saw everything as a cash cow. He tried to bring down one vaccine to have his own used while making lawyers rich on his lies and incompetence.
Vaccine court is a joke to you because the petitioners didn't win. If they couldn't win there with a low burden of evidence, what venue do you think is any better? This is an obvious disconnect from reality that you and your mates on AoA continue to engage in. If the statute of limitations make it practically impossible to file a claim, then how was it that more than 5,000 did make claims? Now that is what is twisted.
Now why would that occur to any rational person when Wakefield tried to patent a measles treatment/vaccine illegally testing it on an autistic child? Or his post at Thoughtful House which is based upon treating autism as vaccine damage? Or the fact that he wrote a 'oh woe is me' book about how vaccines cause autism?
I'd like to give you credit for posting on a hostile site, but can't in light of the drivel that you continue to post. The cognitive dissonance you exhibit is astounding.
The "going dark" thing was an autism awareness thing that some groups, not just AoA, were promoting. The idea was that those of us who weren't autistic might either learn something by cutting ourselves off from things that make communications easier, or make a little more space for autistic people to speak for themselves. I read a bit about this, including a post by an autistic blogger who, understandably, was angry at a non-autistic person who had told her that she should go silent for the day. She pointed out that the Internet lets her communicate in something like the way that many of us can do face-to-face in real time, and that she knows what autism is like from the inside. She doesn't need a simulation.
I have also found the AAP's response to the anti-vax movement to be disappointing, to say the least. It seems that all the AAP ever does is create more pamphlets to hand out, although I also note I have never seen any such pamphlets at our pediatrician's office. They think that they can do this by calmly explaining the facts, and thinking that people will be persuaded. They are making the same mistake that biologists make when they face creationists. It doesn't do any good to have honest facts on your side when your opponent has no problem blatantly lying. You end up spending your whole time trying to correct the most blatant lies, but it just looks like you are on the defensive.
For a long while, my approach to this was to push for the answer of how the AAP could sit back and allow idiotic, prominent attacks by folks like Mr. Jenny McCarthy go unchallenged. Things like AAP doctors being accused of having the goal of boosting the profits Big Pharma, implying that such things were taking a back seat to their mission of providing the best medical care for young people. The attacks on the AAP were ultimately an attack on the credibility on the MEMBERS of the AAP, yet their only response was more of the same. I really, really, REALLY wanted to hear them come out and make a strong statement and put that nonsense down. Something like, "The CDC's vaccination schedule supported by the AAP was determined by leading experts in the fields of pediatrics, epidemiology, and immunology, relying on the best scientific data available. We look only the top experts to ensure that our practices conform to our mission of providing the best possible health care for young people in America. The AAP does not consider the advice of lame comedians or Playboy models to be a productive means for determining health care practice."
OK, maybe without the last sentence, but then again...
Wait, did the survey actually say that many pediatricians wanted to learn to use CAM to treat autism, or is that merely Handley's spin?
Outside of Vaccine Court they'd try their case before a jury, rather than before a judge. If you presume that the Vaccine Court special judges are biased in favor of vaccines and/or in the pocket of Big Pharma, you'd want to take your case directly to a jury.
@ Matthew Cline
It was a rhetorical question really, at least for most of us here. In a full-tort litigation, there is a much higher standard of proof. And I would suspect that even if claimants could pull on the heartstrings of jurors, they would still have to adhere to the standard of proof, lest the verdict be set aside. I also wonder if their cases could even make it past the pre-trial phase. See Sykes v. Bayer: http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/?q=sykes
Blood on Their Hands: The Worldâs Slickest Con Job and a Stack of Deadly LIES...
Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 04 2010 | 20,902 views
In the early 1950s, the United States administered four vaccines -- diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and smallpox. Children received 13 doses of four vaccines by the time they were two years old and not more than three vaccines in a single visit.
By the mid-1980s, there were seven vaccines -- diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella and polio.
Children received 15 doses of seven vaccines by the time they were two years old and not more than four vaccines in a single visit.
Since the mid-1980s, many vaccines have been added to the schedule.
Today, children may receive as many as 37 doses of 14 vaccines by the age of two, and as many as eight vaccines in a single visit!
The United States recommends more vaccines than any country in world. The CDC recommends 48 doses of 14 vaccines by age six, and 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18.
The CDC also recommends an annual flu shot for all Americans from six months of age through year of death.
What exactly is fueling this dramatic rise in the number of shots recommended to our children and adults?
Outside of an occasional local outbreak, like the recent whooping cough epidemic in California that the media blew completely out of proportion, the diseases included on the vaccination schedule are actually stable in the 21st century United States.
According to Dr. Robert Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, the number of childhood cases of diseases included on the vaccine schedule, in the U.S. in 2007, was:
* Pneumococus -- approx. 10,000 cases a year
* Diphtheria â 5 cases per year, 0 cases some years
* Tetanus â 1 case per year in children under 5
* Pertussis â approx. 10,000 cases a year
* Hepatitus B â 30 cases in 1 year olds, 30 cases in 1-5 year olds
* Rotavirus â 500,000 cases, 50,000 hospitalizations, 20-70 deaths
* Polio â 0 cases since 1985
* Measles â 50-100 cases a year
* Mumps â 250 cases a year
* Rubella â 250 cases a year
* Chickenpox â 50,000 cases a year
* Hepatitis A â 10,000 cases a year, most in children aged 5-14
* Flu â Millions of cases
* Meningococcal Disease â approx. 3000 cases a year
Media stories about an occasional local outbreak of a disease, usually designed to promote as much fear as possible, never seem to balance their accounts with readily available statistics supporting the facts about childhood diseases in the U.S.
Has the incidence of serious infectious childhood disease in the U.S been reduced solely due to widespread use of vaccines (as vaccine proponents always claim), or has improved sanitation, health care and living conditions played a big role both before and after vaccines came on the scene?
Are other first-world nations, which are currently giving fewer vaccines to their children than the U.S., experiencing a similar drop in infectious diseases thanks to improved living conditions?
With some of the highest vaccine rates on earth, does the United States have the world's healthiest children?
To better answer these questions, we have to look at the overall picture of the health of our children in the United States.
Unfortunately in the United States, especially when it comes to anything that has to do with your health, there is a misguided notion that more is always better. You see this time and time again in products on pharmacy shelves marketed as "maximum strength". You could say the U.S has a fascination with believing that if a little is good, a lot must be better.
This is not always the case. Take for instance aspirin, considered by many to be one of the safest drugs. If you take two aspirin, your headache may disappear. If you take ten, you may experience some serious problems. If you take 50, you better hope there's a hospital nearby!
The question must be asked -- has dramatically increasing the number of vaccines given to our children during the past 30 years actually led to healthier or sicker children?
There is accumulating evidence that dramatically increasing the numbers of vaccinations our children get has made vaccine makers richer, while America's children are moving in the opposite direction of health -- statistics show they are actually getting sickerâ¦
During the past 30 years, the number of vaccinations our children receive has tripled, and during that same period of time, the number of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, asthma and diabetes has also more than tripled!
Vaccine makers and proponents will tell you that these statistics are unrelated. But no good scientific evidence currently exists that demonstrates vaccines ARE NOT contributing to the increasing incidence of chronic illness and disability in our children.
More than twice as many children have chronic brain and immune system dysfunction today than they did in the 1970s when half as many vaccines were given to children.
Sadly, today in America:
* 1 in 6 children is diagnosed with a learning disability
* 1 in 9 children suffer from asthma
* 1 in 110 develop autism
* 1 in 450 become diabetic
As the National Vaccine Information Center asks in a bulletin entitled "48 Doses of Vaccines Before Age 6" :
"Is the atypical manipulation of the immune system with more and more vaccines in early life setting some children up for chronic disease and disability?
Clearly, more and more vaccines are not solving the widespread health problems currently affecting our children. The fact is, vaccines could be a major part of the problem.
Today, the most common childhood infection is influenza, and in the past few years federal health officials have directed doctors to give all Americans an annual flu shot, from six months of age onward, until the year of death.
New Jersey has also passed a law requiring all children attending daycare or pre-school to get an annual flu shot, and some health care workers are being fired if they refuse to get an annual flu shot.
This can only be viewed as the prelude to a much larger campaign that, in the future, may end up dictating whether you will be allowed to enter higher education, get a job, or even travelâ¦ Simply put, this trend of mandating annual influenza vaccinations must be resisted and stopped.
Many studies funded by pharmaceutical companies selling vaccines have "proved" that influenza vaccine is safe and effective. But independent reviews of those studies have found the opposite is true.
Studies are now showing what people who refuse to take flu shots have known for a long time: that flu shots simply do not work as advertised.
* Giving young children flu shots appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during two recent flu seasons, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
* The flu vaccine is no more effective for children than a placebo, according to a large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
* NO studies have conclusively proven that flu shots prevent flu-related deaths among the elderly.
* A study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people.
* Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.
In 2009, public health doctors at the World Health Organization (WHO) and in the U.S. declared a H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic when a new bird-swine-human strain of H1N1 influenza was identified in Mexico.
However, the 2009 "swine flu" pandemic turned out to be very mild â one of the mildest influenza seasons in recent years, in fact! -- while the pandemic H1N1 swine flu vaccine turned out to be HIGHLY reactive.
It has been alleged that the 2009 pandemic H1N1 swine flu vaccine is much more deadly than the swine flu itself. In fact, in 2010 Australia temporarily banned use of seasonal influenza vaccine containing the pandemic H1N1 strain for children under the age of five after 99 children were admitted to the hospital with convulsions after receiving the shot!
The U.S. 2010/2011 seasonal influenza vaccine contains the pandemic H1N1 vaccine strain that caused so many convulsions in Australian children.
A federal oversight committee reviewing the 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine used in the U.S. found a possible link between the swine flu vaccine with Guillain-Barrre Syndrome (GBS), idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), a blood clotting disorder, and Bell's Palsy, which causes facial paralysis,
It's astounding how effective drug companies are at manipulating national health policy. They have been able to manipulate and pervert the public health system so they now can sell toxic, ineffective flu shots in pharmacies, airports, college campuses, grocery stores, and countless other outlets, without ANY solid evidence that the flu shots even work, and despite the many questionable ingredients found in the shots, such as:
* Thimerosal, which is known to be very toxic by inhalation, ingestion, and in contact with skin, (still included in multi-dose flu vaccine despite a legitimate public outcry about the known dangers of mercury!)
* Formaldehyde or Formalin
* Chicken kidney cells, aka Chicken DNA
* Monosodium glutamate
* Octoxinol-9 (Triton X-100), also used in spermicidal applications!
* Polysorbate 80 (Tween 80)
Since we don't know whether many of our sick and disabled children are chronically ill because they've already been over-vaccinated, why are we trying to force more vaccines, like the ineffective and risky flu vaccine, on them?
And why are governments constantly trying to mandate even more shots for children?
The vaccine industry seems to view the 308 million people living in the United States as little more than pin cushions for their profitable vaccine products.
Pharmaceutical profits from swine-flu-related drugs alone have soared â with earnings between $10 billion and $15 billion in 2009, according to estimates from investment bank JPMorgan.
A report from 2007 entitled "Pipeline and Commercial Insight: Pediatric and Adolescent Vaccines," written by vaccine analyst Hedwig Kresse, makes some interesting points about the future of vaccine profits.
The report includes an assessment of products and forecast of market size and coverage rates to the year 2016, predicting that due to the "promising commercial potential" of new, high-price vaccines, the pediatric and adolescent vaccine market will quadruple from approximately $4.3 billion in 2006, to over $16 billion by 2016, across the US, the EU-five including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, and Japan.
The crucial factor for success in the pediatric market, the report notes, is the introduction of products into the national vaccination schedules.
As an example, Dr. Kresse cites Wyeth's Prevnar, as the first premium price vaccine launched in the US in 2000 for vaccinating infants against pneumonia and meningitis. Since then, Prevnar has been added to the childhood vaccination schedules in the US and EU-five despite its high price of nearly $320 for the four-dose regimen.
The sad reality could be that the motivation for continually increasing both the number of shots given and the price of the vaccines is nothing more than a desire by big Pharma to improve "market share" and profits.
In the first quarter of 2010 alone, the US federal government representatives received $19 million per day from lobbyists, and over $1 billion in total lobbyist spending, a large chunk of the money coming from the health care sector.
Keep in mind, this is only federal lobbying efforts. This figure doesn't take into account the millions more spent lobbying at the state level, not to mention the cozy lobbying arrangements between the drug reps and individual doctors.
Why this massive lobbying push by the vaccine industry?
One of the reasons (certainly not the only one), is to influence vaccine mandates. The vaccine industry has a vested interest in (and continually spends big money on) trying to make sure that more vaccines and more doses are mandated by the government.
For every mandate they have successfully pushed through, there are some recent ones that have failed due to action taken by parents of vaccine injured children and others to defeat them.
Currently in California, there is a bill under consideration to make pertussis vaccine booster doses mandatory for all children between 7th and 12th grade.
And in New York there has been a battle over a bill to make flu shots mandatory for all health care workers, and those who refuse an annual flu shot stand to lose their job.
There are also a whopping 145 additional vaccines in the pipeline being developed and tested in clinical trials. Since drug companies are going to want a stable, predictable market in the U.S. for these new vaccines, they're likely to press for mandated use of many of them, both by children and adults.
One of your basic freedoms as a human being is your right to decide what you put into your own body.
Especially when it comes to medical risk-taking, there is a basic human right to be fully informed about all risks and have the ability to refuse to allow substances you consider to be harmful, toxic or poisonous to be forced upon you.
But are those of us who are trying to exercise our right to informed consent to medical risk-taking facing prejudice and discrimination?
When it comes to getting an education, keeping your job, or being allowed to obtain health insurance and medical care, the answer could soon be "yes."
Besides the potential looming threat of job loss for unvaccinated health care workers in New York, students in all 50 US states are required to get dozens of doses of vaccines to enroll in school.
Furthermore, according to WebMD, the new government healthcare reform may include trying to make vaccines mandatory, meaning a real possibility now exists that you will be required to receive mandated vaccines to qualify for health insurance:
"The CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall's 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)."
The partnership between government health agencies and big Pharma, based on ideology, profit-making and bad science, is moving closer and closer to discriminating against those who want to exercise their informed consent rights when it comes to making voluntary vaccination decisions.
Not only do the vaccine manufacturers want to take away your freedom of choice, there is also a new push coming from the vaccine industry to remove the existing non-medical legal exemptions to vaccination, which include:
* Religious Exemption-- All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi and West Virginia.
* Philosophical, Personal or Conscientious Belief Exemption-- The following 18 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
These exemptions are apparently viewed by the vaccine industry as unfair market practices that interfere with their ability to maximize profits. There is nothing the drug companies would like more than to make all their vaccines mandatory, without exception. And unfortunately, through extremely powerfully lobbying, they've managed to manipulate our politicians and public health officials to help them push their wares.
Do you want your right to make informed health and vaccine choices for yourself and your family taken out of your hands?
They do. They are fighting to do just that.
Will you let them?
One of the names you see again and again as a proponent for the safety and efficacy of vaccines is Dr. Paul Offit.
Dr. Paul Offit, also known as "For Profit" Offit, is a fairly well-known and frequent proponent of forced vaccination. He regularly dismisses many of the potential vaccine risks and promotes vaccine mandates. But he is not just a doctor who believes that vaccinations save lives.
Far from it.
If you want to read a fascinating expose of this doctor, read the recent Philadelphia Magazine expose on him.
Offit is a listed inventor on a cluster of patents that protect Merck's RotaTeq vaccine and share the title "Rotavirus Reassortant Vaccine." They include four granted U.S. patents -- US5626851, US5750109, US6113910 and US6290968 -- and two granted European patents -- EP323708 and EP493575.
He is also the recipient of a $350,000 grant from Merck for the vaccine's development, a consultant to Merck Pharmaceuticals and, the icing on the cake, previously served as a member of The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
ACIP is a 15-member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases.
As a member of the ACIP from 1998 to 2003, Offit was involved in CDC recommendations about giving rotavirus vaccine to all babies. He voted "yes" three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP's rotavirus use recommendation.
To clarify, Offit voted for the FIRST Rotashield vaccine manufactured by Wyeth (monkey-human hybrid virus) approved by ACIP in 1998 to be given to all babies. He abstained from the vote in 1999 to recommend that Rotashield be removed from the market.
He did not vote for the Merck RotaTeq vaccine (cow-human hybrid virus) to be recommended for use in all babies because he was prevented under ACIP/government rules from voting to recommend a product he had a personal financial stake in.
As a result of the rotavirus vaccine being added to the CDC's childhood vaccination schedule, the value of Offit's stake in the Merck RotaTeq vaccine he helped to create skyrocketed.
In 2008 CHOP sold its royalty stake in RotaTeq for $182 million, and Offit received an unspecified chunk: his share of the intellectual property, according to him was "in the millions".
Though Offit declines to say exactly how much he has gained personally, Age of Autism reported that Offit earned at least $29 million, and perhaps as much as $55 million from being a co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that was recommended by US public health agencies for universal use by all American babies.
Of course, all of this begs the question -- can someone's vote on an "independent" government vaccine policymaking committee be trusted as being "unbiased" when that person could eventually profit from the committee's vaccine policy recommendation?
Would Offit, or anyone for that matter, truly be an unbiased judge of a vaccine's safety and effectiveness when there is that big of a personal financial stake in the outcome?
It's a rhetorical question, but I think the answer speaks for itself. Especially when you consider that Offit is also the doctor who made the infamous and scientifically irresponsible assertion that "an infant can safely receive up to 10,000 vaccines at once and 100,000 in a lifetime."
Besides the questions of whether vaccines are safe or effective, or whether supposedly independent vaccine advisory panels have been hijacked by doctors with financial conflicts of interest, or whether the questionable ingredients in vaccines have been properly tested for toxicity, there are other questions to consider as well.
No discussion of the business practices of the vaccine industry would be complete without addressing the questionable ethical practices long associated with the pharmaceutical industry.
Numerous times in the past 50 years they have been accused of falsifying drug study results, paying bribes, covering up or omitting side effects and deaths, and denying responsibility when drugs are pulled off the market for killing people.
According to an ABC News story from 2010, drug company reps from Eli Lily were instructed by the company to regularly give lavish gifts to doctors, and push more profitable drugs at higher doses in order to maximize profits, regardless of safety concerns. According to the story:
"To sell their drugs, pharmaceutical companies hire former cheerleaders and ex-models to wine and dine doctors, exaggerate the drug's benefits and underplay their side-effects, a former sales rep told a Congressional committee this morning."
With an ethical track record like this, full of outright lies, cover-ups, denials and bribery, how can you trust anything they say?
It is understandable that most people would like to believe the words of respected leaders in the health field, and companies claiming they are producing products that save lives.
Unfortunately, it is often naÃ¯ve to trust blindly.
It's not enough to look at the obvious credentials of people who give you advice and tell you to trust them, whether they are pro- or anti- an issue or hold a prestigious degree and title. Today, you also have to consider the hidden motivations behind their recommendations.
* What do they believe in?
* Where is their loyalty?
* Where is their money coming from?
* What does a company stand to gain financially from a government mandate?
It's very sad to say, but some of the most trusted voices in defense of vaccine safety and forced vaccination policies are closely tied to paid shills for the pharmaceutical industry.
As CBS News reported in 2008, these include:
* The American Academy of Pediatrics, to whom the vaccine industry gives millions for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even to help build their headquarters.
* Every Child By Two, a group that promotes early immunization for all children and admits they receive money from the vaccine industry -- but won't say how much.
* Paul Offit, who in addition to the monies described above holds in a $1.5-million research chair at Children's Hospital, funded by Merck.
So the next time you come across someone arguing in favor of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and the need for more vaccines and vaccine mandates, take a moment to investigate the source.
Take the time to research the information they are leaving out of the discussion.
I think if you approach the subject of vaccines in this way, most of the time you will be very surprised by the information you will find.
You're right - we don't need more health care, we need less. Less doctors, less drugs - heck, let's just throw out the modern medical establishment entirely. Our forefathers got along just fine with sub-50 year life expectancies - why can't we?
Let's go back to having 10+ kids for each family, because we'd know to expect at least three or four them to die before the age of 5.
This whole push towards less disease is just wrong - I say let's make sure we all get our fair share, just to be equitable about it. While we are at it, why don't we petition the CDC to bring smallpox back? Obviously it was a mistake to eradicate this disease, just because it was responsible for more deaths over the course of human history than any other is no reason to have forced vaccinations on everyone to get rid of it. And since no one is currently immune, it would get right back to what it was doing before man-made intervention got rid of it.
So, just to make sure that everyone got the sarcasm....
I don't see how having more vaccines is a problem. Given that we are seeing more diseases becoming resistant to antibiotics & other treatments, you want to nip as many of them in the bud as you can.
Show us some evidence, not some biased "pick-and choose only certain information to suit my needs" post from Mercola.
Before you blindly cut and paste such screed here, you might consider typing the name of its author (Mercola) into the search box on the left side of the page, near the top. Then try the same exercise, this time with "pharma shill gambit." Then try this: Show, in your own words this time, how any of that renders our understanding of the safety and efficacy of vaccines inaccurate. Finally, learn to embed links in your comments. Large cut/paste jobs like yours are considered quite rude.
Ajna, have you read any of Orac's posts on Mercola?
Why do we think we would give him any credence? And has Mercola ever decided what causes autism? Which on the following list is the real culprit (see link for full explanation):
* Pasteurised milk
* "An excess of grains, sugars, underground vegetables, and any fluid other than water" in the diet
An alternative interpretation would be that Anja just wanted to bring it to Orac's attention as material for a later post. Let's not jump to TOO many conclusions here.
Ajna, it's also plagiarism, and Mercola could go after you for copyright violation if he so chose.
Scott, good point. Though wouldn't just posting a link and some words of her own been more effective.
I'm guessing Anja has no words of her own. Or very few and none to the point.
You're right - we don't need more health care, we need less. Less doctors, less drugs - heck, let's just throw out the modern medical establishment entirely. Our forefathers got along just fine with sub-50 year life expectancies - why can't we?
You joke, but Americans get much more health service than people in other countries. So much of it is either useless or harmful, though, so our outcomes are poorer.
Partly this is our culture. Imagine telling someone he has prostate cancer, and that he should just live with it. That probably strikes you as cruel, yet in many circumstances, this is the most healthy thing to do (not to mention the cheapest).
I don't get the screaming and hollering about how there are more vaccines now than there were X amount of years ago.
100 years ago there were no vaccines. Instead people lived in fear that their child would die from a multitude of diseases that we can now vaccinate against.
As science progresses (or if you are allergic to the word science you can substitute 'our understanding' for the word science), we have been able to figure out more diseases and thus provide a measure of protection from these diseases.
And wtf is this nonsense that makes it sound as if the President holds down your child and forces him/her to have a shot? There are regulations, suggestions and exceptions. Not hardly a 'mandate'.
I will take the shot and make sure my loved ones do the same. Even though needles terrify me. AND I am grateful the whole time, that I will never know what it is like to watch my child suffer with polio.
(I will also gladly risk this mythical vaccinecausedautism, because having a child that is autistic-which I do-is a kazillion times better than having one die)
Orac wordcount 2751, Anja 3712. That must be a record, first time someone out-verbosed Orac on his own board.
Per Ajna's "post,"
I also noticed that the post conflated the concept of the dose makes the poison. Ajna (or Mercola) made the correct statement that large amounts of a drug can cause adverse effects; but then they assumed that the same is true with vaccines, as if all vaccines were considered a single drug. And they did all this without considering what an upper limit of vaccines would be - they just assumed that the current schedule is above the limit.
Dan -- that is unfortunately true. My grandma's knee replacement was a case in point. Today, barely a year later, she's wheelchair-bound and weighs a mere 81 pounds. What was the point? Especially considering how horrific the surgery ended up being? (She has "cortisone skin". While a previous knee replacement went well, this one did not. The flesh tore almost all the way down to the ankle and required extensive repair which severely compromised recovery from the original operation, the knee replacement, by prohibiting any sort of mobilizing exercises for months lest it all burst open again.) "More" is not always "better" and sometimes it is a great deal worse.
Technically not plagiarism, since it was properly attributed rather than claimed as Ajna's own work. Copyright violation, yes. Plagiarism, no.
Waste of space and electronic ink, yes.
so how come my dad's generation born in 1930's have learning diablites just like my generation born 1960's must be the time travaler with the measels vacine i will have to ask my anuts and uncle about that. or i can guese that it is genitic and vacine's have kept all of my cousins and childhood freinds alive so we can die at the early age of 70 from heart attacks and diebities. i think i will take dieing at 70 i had a mighty good time and i have never been to the funeral of a child nor have any of my childhood freinds or cousins. oh by the chicken kidneys are called gizards and are tasty filled with all that chicken dna goodness
The problem with Mercola is that he seems to believe all of medical science consists of two lists. One is of things that are "natural", and therefore good for you, one is of things that are "unnatural", and therefore not good for you.
About gizzard: no, it's not a kidney, it's a secondary stomach (involved in mechanically grinding food, the other stomach using secretions instead).
I had to look it up, I was confusing it with a crop (a pocket in the oesophagus to store food). Birds have a weird anatomy. Well, not really weirder than the anatomy of a walking ape, I suppose.
I love this blog, it forces me to improve my English.
Apart from this, you are quite right. Nothing wrong with some chicken DNA and the meat coming around it :)
Hurray, just got my 2010 flu shot. Double thimerosal with an aluminum/squalene sidecar! I feel immune already.
Why do you waste your time writing articles like this? If you really want to go after the âanti-vaccine movementâ as you call it, how is preaching to the choir and name-calling the Joes, Jennys, and JBs of the world going to accomplish that?
The bulk of this âmovementâ is made up of parents who believe their child was seriously injured by one of their vaccines. And itâs not because any celebrity told them to be afraid, but because of what they think theyâve witnessed with their own eyes. And the only medical explanation offered to these parents is that either theyâre crazy or its just a coincidence.
If you want to destroy the âanti-vaccine movementâ, offer a proper explanation to these parents of what mechanism causes these children to suddenly start moving backwards, offer them evidence that this phenomenon of regression is something that was happening in the same numbers 30 years ago, and offer a plausible explanation for why thereâs a disproportionate number of cases where this regression appears to have been triggered by a vaccine.
Just because thereâs no evidence for a causal link between the mmr and autism does not mean there is conclusive evidence that itâs impossible for someone to suffer irreversible brain damage from a vaccine. Thatâs what parents are afraid of. Are there countless studies and overwhelming evidence to show that global brain damage is not a possible adverse reaction to a vaccine? Obviously you all know from reading your vaccine inserts that global brain damage is a possible side effect. So the question then becomes, what are the odds and how confident are we that those numbers are correct?
The number Iâve heard so far is 1 in 1 Million. However, if itâs a 1 in 1 Million chance from any vaccine, and a typical child receives 20 vaccines by age 5, then weâre looking at a 1 in 50,000 chance that your child will suffer global brain damage as a result of the current vaccine schedule. Please correct me if my statistics above are incorrect.
Perhaps name calling and character assassination are the main reasons for your post. Itâs not my place to judge. But if you are actually concerned about child safety and want to âsaveâ these parents that are worried about fully vaccinating their children, you can start by assuming these parents are reasonable people and end with some data that actually addresses the core of their concerns.
Anja apparently hasn't heard of conservation of leptons. That cut-and-past from Mercola's medical parody 'blog was a tragic waste of electrons.
JB seems upset that the AAP has:
Well, considering that no "biomedical protocols" have ever been shown to "improve the symtoms of autism" (what happened to "cure" - has JB backtracked on "curing" autism?), it only seems logical that the AAP hasn't "alerted" their membership. I can only imagine a paediatrician's response to an "alert" from the AAP saying "There are still no biomedical protocols that improve the symtoms of autism. Further bulletins as the situation develops."
He also seems upset that the AAP has:
I'm not sure that's true, actually. I suspect that the AAP - and its membership - understand the "DAN! movement of physicians" all too well. What I think that JB means to say is that the AAP hasn't thrown over evidence-based medicine in favor of the fantasy-based medicine preferred by DAN! physicians.
JB seems further exercised that the AAP has:
Well, that does seem to be a legitimate grievance. After all, if DAN! physicians or other groups have done the research and shown that "biomedical" treatments produce more "recovery" from autism (however that is defined) than placebo, then it seems ridiculous for the AAP to deny it.
Oh. I forgot. There isn't any data showing that "biomedical" therapies are better than placebo at treating or "recovering" autism.
Well, maybe JB simply wants the AAP to concede that "biomedical recovery" is possible.
That seems simple enough - almost anything that isn't expressly barred by the laws of physics is - at least theoretically - possible. It is - if I remember my quantum physics correctly - possible that I could walk through the concrete wall of my lab, it just happens to be so improbable that it is, for all reasonable purposes, never going to happen.
It is possible that one or more of the "biomedical" therapies currently in vogue for the treatment of autism actually works. However, there is no data showing that any of them do work.
Bring the data and they will acknowledge.
This is pretty much the standard JB Handley rant, isn't it? Lots of invective, a few nasty comments, a good deal of adolescent braggadacio, garnished with arrogance of ignorance and a smug (if misplaced) sense of superiority and drizzled with narcissism.
Lots of words; not much content.
While the first part might be true, I'd say only a small fraction of those parents think they've witnessed it with their own eyes.
In other words, they typically arrive at their beliefs long after the fact, and the alleged injury is more often than not a "late onset" injury.
There's no data on any of this either way, but that's my impression from talking to many anti-vaxers.
It's a little hard to assume that people are reasonable when their concerns are not.
Mike (#39) makes some interesting points:
The "preaching to the choir" claim would be much more convincing if the Internet wasn't an open forum where people could go anywhere they wanted and where search engines can direct people to sources of information they never knew existed. And since Mike doesn't seem to be a member of the "choir", his presence on this 'blog seems to contradict his point better than anything I can say.
Another reason why the "preaching to the choir" claim doesn't fly is that the 'blogs where people congregate to discuss "biomedical" therapies for autism or how vaccines cause autism generally don't allow commenters to dissent from the established dogma (i.e. "Vaccines cause autism and biomed is the cure.") Questioning or dissenting comments are either blocked or deleted. So, who is "preaching to the choir"?
As for name-calling, well, that statement would have been enough to vaporise my irony meter, which is why I always unplug it before going on the Internet. Mike, have you read what JB and Jenny have said about people who disagree with them? If so, you'll know that Orac's "name-calling" returns less than a tithe of their invective. Not that "two wrongs make a right", but you can't expect people to keep turning the other cheek indefinitely.
Mike goes on:
First, let's dispose of the strawman - I challenge Mike to provide documentation that parents are routinely told by their children's doctors that they were "crazy" because they thought their child had been made autistic by vaccines. I'm not saying it couldn't have ever happened, just that it can't be a common response. Granted, a lot of paediatricians probably think that, but I doubt many have said it out loud. If Mike can prove me wrong, I'm willing to be educated.
As for coincidence, what is so offensive about that? In fact, the growing body of data indicate just that - there is no correlation between vaccines and autism beyond coincidence. If that's the truth, if that's what the data say, then why not tell that to the parents?
There are so many fallacies in this paragraph that I sent it to a professor of logic to use in his class. Let's start with the idea that the only legitimate way to convince parents that vaccines don't cause autism is to find out what does. That is simply backwards! It's like insisting that you can't say someone didn't commit a crime until you find out who did.
Second, by insisting on an explanation for why there have been "...a disproportionate number of cases where this regression appears to have been triggered by a vaccine.", he is using the issue in question (i.e. "do vaccines trigger a regression into autism") as a fact.
The explantion could be (and most probably is) that "it is a coincidence that autistic regression occurs at the same time as the MMR vaccine" - an explanation supported by a great deal of data. On a deeper level, the question suggests that the questioner already has an answer and won't accept another.
Another strawman! As Mike notes later, even the package inserts for vaccines say that it is possible - although very, very unlikely, to suffer irreversible brain damage after vaccination. It is also possible - and considerably more likely - to suffer irreversible brain damage after a vaccine-preventable disease (e.g. measles: permanent brain injury rate about 1 -2 per thousand cases).
The other fallacy in this argument is that we already know what global brain damage from measles and measles vaccine (and the MMR) looks like - clinically and radiologically. Autism doesn't look like that.
Finally, Mike offers this:
The mathematics are correct, but the problem was stated incorrectly. Although a child may receive 20 immunisations by age 5 years, the risk of injury with each injection is not independent. If someone does not have a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine on their first exposure, they are very unlikely (i.e. less likely than the overall "1 in a million") to have a serious adverse reaction with subsequent exposures to the same vaccine.
According to the CDC, there are ten (10) vaccines recommended for children five and under, which includes the influenza vaccine. Additionally, if you look only at "global permanent brain damage", as Mike seems to, the risk runs more like 1 in 10 million.
But even if we stick to Mike's original numbers and say - for the sake of argument - that the cumulative risk from vaccination is 1 in 50,000, that's only half of the answer. To really know what "the risk" is, we need to know not only the risk of doing something (e.g. vaccination), but also the risk of not doing something.
Several months ago, I "ran the numbers" for the measles vaccine on my 'blog. What I found was that - even with 95% of the population vaccinated (so you can "hide in the herd") - the risk of not vaccinating was over ten times the risk of vaccinating. And, since the risk of not vaccinating is also cumulative, the overall risk:benefit ratio is strongly tilted in favor of vaccination.
So, welcome to the "choir", Mike. I hope you learn something you can use.
Taking Mike's 1:50,000 number, compared to the claimed 1:100 autism cases, you have just accounted for one in 500 autistic kids based on brain injury via vaccines. I'm looking forward to the 499 other causes.
@ Rene Najera - that's a great idea! Children aren't the only ones to benefit from vaccination; if you have an elderly person in the family, flu vaccination ( for the entire household) can help to prevent serious complications. My father lived for a *really* long time with a very serious heart condition- he had both flu and pneumonia vaccines and *avoided* infection . When I counselled people with compromised immunity, I always vaccinated. I continue flu shots for myself, my SO, who has asthma, and the young adults/ adults I counsel.
Before the 1960s measles was so contagious and so prevalent that every kid was pretty much guaranteed to get it by age fifteen. Measles causes encephalitis with real injury (deafness, blindness, brain damage, and even death) in about one in a thousand cases.
Tell me how your number is worse. That is only measles.
For an explanation of the diseases and their vaccine safety read this or download the podcast version here.
Youâre right that there is no real data on this. And my personal experience as well as with the people Iâve spoken to differs from yours. The only real number I have is the 5000 cases in the omnibus proceedings. Iâm assuming that cases where the parents reach their conclusions long after the initial injury or where the injury itself is a late onset one would not qualify as part of that process, meaning all 5000 cases represent parents who feel they have sufficient proof to show that their child regressed in short proximity to a vaccine. I also believe the parents also only have 3 years from the first recorded symptom (i.e. a pediatrician noting âmotor delayâ during a periodic checkup) to file their claim. So parents who reach their conclusions long after the fact would also not qualify for the proceedings. So if what you say is true, and these 5000 families are only a small fraction of the overall movement, it means the movement is quite large. All the more reason to try to speak directly to these parents instead of trying to attack the Joes and Jennys.
I appreciate you taking the time to address some of my comments. Iâm not interested in âfightingâ with you, so if you can tone down the sarcasm in any follow up comments you want to make, I would appreciate that. Regarding some of your points:
Regarding âpreaching to the choirâ : My assumption is that over 90% of the people who regularly visit this site share your opinions on the subject of vaccines. If that is incorrect, please let me know. As for whatever policies the biomedical blogs have, I donât know cause I donât visit them. I already know what they have to say. Iâm interested in learning what the other side of the debate has to say so I can draw my own conclusions.
Regarding âname callingâ : Iâm not defending anyoneâs right to use name calling.
Regarding âcrazyâ : Allow me to use the word âmistakenâ instead.
Regarding âcoincidenceâ : I believe there has been no link established between any 1 particular vaccine and autism. That is not enough to fully dismiss the notion that many children are experiencing serious vaccine injury.
Regarding my âfallaciousâ paragraph : I will presume you believe that the true prevalence of autism has not changed over the past 100 years. So if this phenomenon of regression has always been there, and we still have no clue as to how/why it happens, shame on the medical industry for letting all the children of yesterday, today, and tomorrow fall through the cracks. If we do know how/why it happens, then shouldnât we be able to sufficiently explain to parents why vaccines could never be a contributing factor in regression?
Regarding âit is a coincidence that autistic regression occurs at the same time as the MMR vaccineâ : Youâre making the assumption that every parent claiming their child regressed is claiming it was due to the MMR. That is not true. Youâre also assuming that every child who regressed, regressed at around the same age. That is also not true. If you have evidence for either of the statements Iâm telling you is untrue, please provide.
Regarding âwe already know what global brain damage from measles and measles vaccine (and the MMR) looks like - clinically and radiologically. Autism doesn't look like thatâ. That is a very interesting point. Can you point me to somewhere that would dig further into this?
Regarding âthe mathâ : I agree that overall based on the data we have today, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. Iâm not trying to argue in favour of globally abandoning vaccines. I just want to see a more rational discussion on the subject, as the current way this issue is blogged about does nothing but drive a bigger wedge between the two sides.
I don't believe anyone in the 'anti-vaccine' movement believes that eliminating vaccinations would eliminate autism.
Oddly enough, those seem to have been pushed by lawyers. Many with websites like "autismfraud" and active recruitment in places like the Autism/Mercury Yahoo group.
This page has a list of documents and resources to the test cases that are to represent those 5000 cases. The petitioners spent years gathering together their best cases, and they all lost. And they even lost in the appeals.
More reading on lawyers and reports of vaccine injury:
How Vaccine Litigation Distorts VAERS
and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
By the way, if you go into the US Court Autism page (you can find in the resources in the link in my previous comment), you can read the histories in the rulings. I remember seeing one where the child was not well shortly after birth. I am sorry I cannot remember which one it is. But sometimes it is something else more obvious, but the parents cannot see that.
Sorry, but that doesn't follow. The 5000 cases were not examined one by one to see if there's close temporal proximity between vaccination and the alleged injury. In fact, the petitioner's steering committee spent a long time trying to find the absolute possible best test cases, and in the ones they found, temporal proximity is non-obvious. This is very telling.
The 5000 parents were essentially recruited by vaccine-injury lawyers. Any parent of an autistic child qualified to be listed among the 5000 parents. (In principle, I could've been listed.)
"The parents cannot see that." Yes.
We have an autistic child in our family and I can assure everyone that the parents and the grandparents _strongly_ resisted the idea that there was anything seriously wrong with the child. (He's just lazy.) Long after it was apparent to even the most casual observer. And he's not one with 'delay' in learning to speak - he's one of the unfortunate cannot speak at age 9 group, and may never do so.
People who claim 'late onset' of less serious instances of autism have likely been telling themselves that the child's behaviours are 'just' individual idiosyncrasies for a very long time.
"I don't believe anyone in the 'anti-vaccine' movement believes that eliminating vaccinations would eliminate autism."
Hi let me introduce you to this idoit Tony Bateson who wanders in here periodically insisting that there are no cases of autism in unvaccinated individuals. He too is impervious to reason.
Mike at #39 said
If you want to destroy the âanti-vaccine movementâ, offer a proper explanation to these parents of what mechanism causes these children to suddenly start moving backwards, offer them evidence that this phenomenon of regression is something that was happening in the same numbers 30 years ago, and offer a plausible explanation for why thereâs a disproportionate number of cases where this regression appears to have been triggered by a vaccine.
I agree.One thing that isn't stressed enough,in the media at large,is how wild infections can trigger autism, regressions,and immune disorders in children,with the right genetic mutations.Mitochondrial disease,yes,but also chromosome 22,and chromosome 16 disorders as well.While most parents have heard of thimerosal,most have no clue what a 22q11.2 deletion/duplication,with thymic hypoplasia is.I know,because I have one of these chromosomal syndromes ,and for decades was thought to be "just autistic" myself, with just as many unexplained medical issues as these kids have.For years I have seen many parallels to my own history,with the stories these parents tell at AoA.
Most doctors will brush aside these syndromes as being very rare,less than 1% of all autism,or something like that.But what if they are not that rare,only underdiagnosed?How many GP doctors are going to test for Phelan-Mcdermid,or Opitz G/BBB,when many may not have even heard of them in the first place?
You really don't know how common a condition is,until you do widespread testing for it.I believe every autistic needs to have a complete genetic profile done,both so we know exactly who has what,and so autistic adults would know what kind of genes they would be passing on to their children. If you truly believe autism is a "genetic difference",and a "natural variation",then you have nothing to be afraid of. This would not be needed,if the antivaxers had not pushed us where we are.
It's high time groups like the APA got their heads out of their collective rear ends,and started fighting these people.I'm glad they are,like you I hope they do it right.A good place to start would be to start running ads,comparing how much money pharmaceutical companies make off vaccines, since this seems to be such a sore point,with how much money DAN! doctors,and the like make off hyperbaric oxygen,and other such treatments.
Big Pharma's profits are chump change compared to Big Biomed.
I am interested in this part of your response to Prometheus:
If many children were experiencing serious vaccine injury, how would we not see it in links with particular vaccines? Are you drawing a distinction between autism and a generic sort of "vaccine injury?"
These two comments (and the posts they are from) hit upon an important theme: not only are the loons hurting the health of society, they are preventing progress by their silly, long-discredited distractions.
How are we supposed to find the "real cause of autism" when we have to spend time and money doing ANOTHER friggin vaccine study?
The vaccinescauseautism movement is seriously impeding progress in autism research, wasting everyone's time and money.
"Regarding âpreaching to the choirâ : My assumption is that over 90% of the people who regularly visit this site share your opinions on the subject of vaccines."
"I just want to see a more rational discussion on the subject, as the current way this issue is blogged about does nothing but drive a bigger wedge between the two sides."
If this blog is preaching to the choir, why does it matter that it is harsh? If most readers are not fence-sitting, but instead looking for more information on a subject that they already agree with the author on, why are we worrying about the fence-sitters? How is this post not "rational"? Does it have logical fallacies? Did you think rational always=nice? What happens when you're rationally talking about not-nice people? Why don't we want the hard-core anti-vaxers to be wedged further away? What's to be gained by acting like they have a reasonable point, when many arguments are lies, damn lies, and sticking fingers in the ears and saying there aren't enough studies to even HAVE statistics? (Which is often a lie.)
"Can you point me to somewhere that would dig further into this?"
Try searching "autism MRI" in the scienceblogs search box. Also, before complaining that this particular post does not answer every statistical or logical question a parent could possibly have about autism and vaccines, search "autism" in the box, spend a couple of hours reading, and then come back and complain if there's a question unanswered. Alternatively, you can search "autism site:scienceblogs.com/insolence" in Google, if you just want to stick to this blog.
"The vaccinescauseautism movement is seriously impeding progress in autism research, wasting everyone's time and money."
And hurting children, too.
This blog *is* harsh. If your posts contain a truckload of logical fallacies the way yours do, you need to expect snark and derision in return.
Somehow, though, I don't expect you're really here for debate or discussion - rather, you just want to mix your anti-vax sympathies with a healthy dose of concern trolling.
I always love seeing information from anti-vax advocates on dangerous or questionable substances in vaccines. Thanks, Ajna and Dr Mercola! It's good to know what scary things to avoid introducing to my body. Especially chicken DNA!! DNA from foreign creatures is frightening and bad.
Hmmmmmm, wait, do these people eat? They must be vegan, at least. Although do we know that plant DNA is any safer? Crap. I guess I'll just have to become a breatharian. They all must be, after all DNA is a questionable substance! Better take any precautions to be safe.
" Orac says: Be that as it may, whether or not the AAP is well run from a financial standpoint has little or no bearing on the scientific validity of its defense of vaccines."
The American Academy of Pediatrics receives millions of dollars in funding from the pharmaceutical industry. No matter what you or I feel about JB, his writing or AoA, that funding is relevant to this discussion.
Why Dr. Gordon?
No it isn't. You can't make two and two five by paying someone enough money, and you can't change the massive body of evidence.
What, Jay - no FAAP after your name on this post?
"The American Academy of Pediatrics receives millions of dollars in funding from the pharmaceutical industry.No matter what you or I feel about JB, his writing or AoA, that funding is relevant to this discussion."
So, absolutely the only source of income for any one of the many companies that collectively make up the pharmaceutical industry is vaccines? Not even one of them would profit more if a child got sick and required medical treatment than if that child got a vaccination? There is no conceivable reason other than promoting vaccines for them to donate to AAP?
Wow, I did not know that. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Interesting you should mention what your feeling about JB is in a way that implies you don't approve. What do you feel about JB?
You chastise me for lacking civility; yet JB outdoes me by orders of magnitude in incivility. The sheer nastiness he is capable of and has delivered time and time again makes me look like Mother Teresa in comparison. Yet, thinking back to all our sparring over the last five years, I don't recall your ever having criticized JB as harshly as you criticize my commenters and me for a lack of "civility." Ditto Jenny McCarthy, who cussed out a bunch of doctors on TV, shouting them down when they tried to respond to questions and answer her charges about vaccines. I wonder why.
It couldn't possibly be because your invocation of "civility" is a one-way demand, could it? Because it's a convenient way to keep the criticism of anti-vaccine pseudoscience from becoming too intense?
It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that JB is the founder and real force behind the organization that Jenny McCarthy fronts, could it, and that you risk pissing off Jenny and jeopardizing your ticket to the Hollywood celebrity world if you criticize JB too harshly--or Jenny herself at all? One wonders, one does. Not all conflicts of interest are financial, after all.
Dr. Jay, I've said it before, but I'll say it again. What disturbs me about you is not so much that you attack vaccine defenders continually for your perception of conflicts of interest, but rather that you are so un-self-aware that you don't recognize or acknowledge your own conflicts of interest, financial or other, or recognize that sometimes non-financial COIs are even more powerful than financial ones.
"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."
Does anyone else think, as I do, that the reason Jay Gordon is so enamored with funding issues is because he knows that HE has no qualms selling out his standards in exchange for a little fame and money, so therefore his colleagues must have equally low ethical standards?
We know that Jay has a tendency to project his (often whackaloon) views on other doctors, creating a nice comfortable false-consensus, so it doesn't seem like it would be a stretch for him to project his own moral failings on them, too.
Here's a little rant, only to fit in with all the others.
If vaccines are not responsible for autism then the vaccine lobby could demonstrate beyond doubt for little cost that autism is found in people who have never been vaccinated. That would largely destroy the claim that vaccination is responsible.
But they don't do it, instead they spend millions with lobbyist hacks who deluge the mainstream press (lamestream I heard it described) with thousands of weird research projects aimed at proving that it is something other than vaccines. Why? There can be only one reason. Autism only exists in the presence of vaccination.
Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.
You're demanding an impossible standard of proof. What evidence would you use to convince a parent that nearby electrical wires didn't cause their child's autism? Is there conclusive proof that television can't cause brain injury?
No, we don't know yet what causes autism. We have some ideas, but it takes time to test these things. If that's the fault of modern medicine, it is also your fault, because you could have spent your time in a lab researching this.
Seriously: finding causes is complicated, especially when something doesn't have a single, straightforward cause. If I ask you "what one thing causes cancer?" you would probably tell me that there isn't just one thing. But by now we know some of the answers, and a lot of it comes down to "people with X gene have a higher risk of this disease." The human brain is subtle and complicated: it's not like identifying the flat tire on a truck.
Pablo you are incorrect. My "fame" is pretty small and the criticisms are large.
Orac, you are in some ways correct: I have a conflict of interest because I really do ally myself with Jenny McCarthy and with other advocates for safer vaccines and more respect for families affected by autism and it may have kept me far too silent at times.
You are also correct in saying that JB's writing is far too polarizing. I cannot control the way he writes or the way he feels. I think I know why he and others are as vociferous as they are but that doesn't make it right. I can only control how I respond. I do not support his ad hominem attacks on you any more than I support yours on him. Or me. I will tell him so.
Why haven't you told JB to tone it down before? I did a quick search of AoA and couldn't find any comments from you telling him to be more civil. Different username, perhaps?
Dr. Jay's COI is clearly bigger than that of your average pediatrician. A typical pediatrician gets what from Big Pharma? Some pens? Anything more blatant and widespread would be impossible to keep under wraps.
Dr. Jay, on the other hand, has a reputation that is inevitably linked to the anti-vax movement. (The DVDs and speaking engagements are financial COIs too, but not nearly as important.)
Don't lie. McCarthy and the rest of your ilk do not advocate for "safer" vaccines, but for NO vaccines.
Funny, I would have said the same thing about you. You apparently have no respect whatsoever for such families, since you don't care whether they get accurate information and are perfectly willing to perpetrate untruths on them; this is not only disrespectful but potentially lethal.
I must have missed the sarcasm - or maybe it's so ingrained in my psyche that I can't see it any more. Nevertheless, I will attempt to keep it at bay in further comments.
That's quite an assumption, Mike. While it might be true about 90% of the people who comment on this 'blog, there is no way of knowing how many people who visit (i.e. read the content) this 'blog share my opinions. Your assumption is without basis.
This statement puzzled me because it seems to say that Mike knows what the "biomed" 'blogs say even though he hasn't visited them. I'd suggest that he not make any assumptions about their positions without spending an equal amount of time on their 'blogs and websites.
An interesting backpedal there, Mike. Calling someone "crazy" is very different from saying that they are "mistaken", just as it is different from saying that they are "lying". Perhaps I'm oversensitive to this, as I'm often accused of calling people "liars" when all I've actually said is that they were wrong.
Again, what is offensive about telling a parent that they are "mistaken" when - according to the vast majority of the available data - they are mistaken? Aren't doctors supposed to tell people the truth? How does it benefit parents to acquiesce to their notions of how autism is caused when the data disagree?
There you go with the assumptions again! My position, if you must know, is that we have no way of knowing whether the "true prevalence" of autism is the same or different because we have no data that can be meaningfully compared.
As for the "autism epidemic", the same data sources that have been used to show it also show that the rise in autism has been paralleled by a corresponding (and almost exactly equal) drop in mental retardation. That should suggest a conclusion.
This is great - you're assuming that I made an assumption. Also note the strawman (emphasised). I make no assumptions about every parent - what I do note is that the majority of parents claiming that vaccines caused their child to "regress into autism" blame the MMR vaccine.
This is supported by the claims made during the Autism Omnibus Proceedings as well as presentations by Dr. Wakefield. After all, it was he who claimed that the MMR was causing autism based on parental reports of regression after the first MMR immunisation. Doubtless, there are some parents who blame other vaccines for regressive autism.
Shuper A. Suspected measles-mumps-rubella vaccine-related encephalitis: Two cases. Scand J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 15.
Reuter D, Schneider-Schaulies J. Measles virus infection of the CNS: human disease, animal models, and approaches to therapy. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2010 Aug;199(3):261-71.
Huynh W, et al. Post-vaccination encephalomyelitis: literature review and illustrative case. J Clin Neurosci. 2008 Dec;15(12):1315-22.
These articles should get you started.
so Joseph, and your buddy Fombonne doesn't make bucks off the vaccine court? Hmmmn, maybe someone should update that easily sourced fact to his Wiki profile...
So? I didn't say Dr. Jay's COI is bigger than Fombonne's. I said it's clearly bigger than that of the average pediatrician.
Besides, nearlly all anti-vax "scientists" that come to mind have been litigation experts.
I refer you to one of Kim Stagliano's children and others. Unvaccinated autistic children exist, even according to the loons at sMothering.
Holy cow. I really appreciate all the comments but thereâs too much for me to respond to. Iâm surprised though that no one responded to Rogerâs post, as I thought he raised some very interesting points.
Prometheus, I will definitely check out those links. Also, if you could point me to the data showing that 50 years ago the incidence of diagnosed mental retardation was an extra 1 in 110 children compared to what it is today, I would want to check that out as well.
With my son, I didnât suspect vaccines until well after we got his official diagnosis (which takes a while). One day I was looking through old home videos of him. We used to take videos at least every 2 weeks. And as I was watching the clips in reverse chronological order, there was one 2-week period around 8 months where he went from being the kid he is now to the kid he was before. He goes from being a calm âtypical lookingâ kid to one where heâs got facial ticks and all sorts of jerky movements. The eye contact and other things were a more gradual disappearance, but the motor issues started suddenly. At the time, we shrugged it off not wanting to believe there was a problem. But looking at the videos in retrospect, thereâs no doubt that comparing the videos leading up to and the videos after that 2 week gap that Iâm not âmistakenâ in claiming that something changed. Itâs alarming when I look back at the initial âafterâ videos, that all the little ânewâ things he had started doing didnât concern us more at the time.
I have the dates on the videos and the dates on his immunization passport, and his 6-month DTap (which we were 2 months late with) was right in the middle of that 2-week gap. So, am I sure âsomething changedâ within that 2 week period? Yes. Do I know it was the DTap? Of course not. I do believe though that Hannah Poling was vaccine injured. And sheâs not the only one getting paid out by the govât. We donât know how many Hannah Polings are out there or which other rare (or seemingly rare) conditions may put people at risk of vaccine injury. If my sonâs journey actually was triggered by his DTap, he would go uncounted in any statistics, which is why I question the notion that Hannah Poling is a 10 in a million or even 1 in 1 million case.
If we had better answers to the questions surrounding autism, the anti-vaccine movement would run out of steam. We have WAY fewer answers than we should for something that affects almost 1% of all children. Especially if you believe itâs been this way for a long long time.
As we get better and better with recognizing different developmental issues, fewer people are being shunted into the lump-sum category of "retarded."
I know that's now a dirty word, and it should be. But before people really began looking into the various aspects of developmental delays and autism, there were thousands of people that received this blanket label and were shuttered away from society in the myraid number of public and private institutions for the mentally challenged.
I, too, would love to see a current breakdown of diagnoses of all of the different conditions vs. what is it was 50 years ago. I'm sure the total numbers will be about the same, but with vastly more individual categories of conditions.
This is the issue that people miss - if someone displayed autistic behaviors 50 or even 100 years ago, they would have been labeled mentally deficient & that would be it. No separate diagnosis, etc - because the knowledge of what was going on just didn't exist at the time.
To say that autism is a new thing is a lie - and if the levels of autism that we see today (because of enhanced knowledge and the wide spectrum that we use) as it was 50 years ago, then you can positively say that vaccines have nothing all to do with it (and this is backed up with all the legitimate research to date) and spend the time to really find out what causes this condition and if it might be treatable.
I liken it to Alzheimers' - no one is exactly sure what causes it and there is currently no cure or preventative measure for this 100% fatal condition - but I wouldn't want millions of dollars to be sent down a rathole because people are pushing junk science.
And I'm very upset that people say that they want "safer" vaccines, but we just elected a majority of people to Congress who are more than happy to gut Federal regulations and regulators in the interest of business - where were your concerns on election day?
I don't know about diagnosed mental retardation, but 1% is basically a low estimate, if you consider the normal distribution of IQs.
95% of IQ scores fall between 70 and 130. This means that 2.5% have an IQ below 70, or technicallly in the MR range. (In reality, some people with IQ below 70 are not labeled mentally retarded, because they get by fine.)
I think we do know. Just one, pretty much. If there were other Hannah Polings out there, we wouldn't hear the end of it from anti-vaxers.
Plus who wouldn't try to collect a million bucks, like the Polings?
Mike, you set yourself a perfect correlation-causation trap. You determined a point where "something changed", that something is temporally related to a vaccination. But you don't seem to recall any adverse effects like heavy fever that is typically claimed to be related to the "sudden onset". If I think of my kids at 8 months, we were introducing lots of new foods at the time. Are you sure it wasn't something like that, just that you didn't keep a list that is easily referenced like a vaccination passport?
50 years ago, did we think mental retardation affected 4 times more boys than girls? That would have been pretty hard to miss. And where are these myriads of public and private institutions for the mentally challenged that are now housing 1% of the 50 year old adult population? What are we doing for all these institutionalized adults that we now realize are not âmentally retardedâ but are rather autistic?
There are at least 9 other cases of children being paid out just like Hannah Poling. As for why sheâs so unique (aside from her mitochondrial issue), its because her father is a neurologist and her mother is a lawyer. She had the right people in her corner to argue her case and bring her story to light. Its also because she had so many shots at once and had such a sudden regression.
Yes, thatâs entirely possible. However, heâs had high fevers before and after that period and had new foods before and after that period, but that 2-week span is the only time he exhibits a dramatic change. Iâm not associating correlation with cause. But Iâm also not able to rule out that possibility as easily as you can.
@Mike: I've been aware of those cases ever since Kathleen Seidel first wrote about them (even though anti-vaxers have subsequently tried to make it look as though they discovered some hidden truth or something.) None of them is like the Hannah Poling case.
Mike do you have those numbers of mental retardation from fifty years ago broken down by sex handy? Can you tell us what they are?
Plus could you break out the children who got brain damage from measles, Hib, rubella, etc. so we can figure out which ones may have been autistic? The rubella epidemic happened about fifty years ago, so those numbers would be significant. It would be really useful if you had those numbers.
And remember one in a thousand cases of measles resulted in encephalitis, so it was a big cause of disability and death.
Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Mar;160(3):302-9. Review.
Also, though nine other children who you mentioned that got compensation, exactly how many had mitochondrial disorder? Also neither Hannah Poling nor Bailey Banks actually have autism, just something that looks similar to autism.
I'm sorry by argument by assertion is kind of worthless. You need to back up what you say.
Well, see, no one said all of those considered mentally retarded got institutionalized. Nor is it the case that autistics are always institutionalized. It depends. Certainly, as the prevalence of autism rises, the proportion of those who end up institutionalized decreases. Furthermore, there's no evidence that the number of institutionalized developmentally disabled individuals is increasing relative to population growth. There simply isn't, despite doom & gloom predictions you might have heard.
I'm one of those 1 in 100 people who are autistic. Currently, I work as a computer programmer for a major refrigeration company. I have several autistic friends who are also employed, albeit at lower income jobs. Please don't assume worst case scenarios for everyone. It's grossly insulting.
First off, it's becoming increasingly evidence that autism affects more girls than was previously recognized. Same with ADD. It just presents differently in girls. Also, I have a sneaky suspicion that learning and social disorders in girls weren't really taken as seriously fifty years ago, when girls weren't expected to pursue a career.
Secondly, what Gray Falcon said -- it's grotesquely inaccurate to assume that if 1% of the population is autistic, that 1% is incapable of caring for itself. Temple Grandin is one of the most famous autistics around, and she's got a prestigious academic career in agricultural science.
Thirdly, what happened to all those institutionalized adults? Well, for the most part, they're still institutionalized. What'd you expect? What's being done for them? Depends. Probably, it depends mostly on whether or not they have family that still cares about them and is willing to push the institutions to have them reevaluated and try new things with them. I'm not a big fan of institutionalization; sometimes there's no alternative, but on the other hand, once a person is in, they tend to kind of stay in one place -- literally and figuratively. There would be little incentive to spend money changing the person's diagnosis. From the institution's perspective, what would be the point? It likely wouldn't change how they care for them. Now, some of these people live in halfway houses that do a very nice job of giving them tasks to keep them feeling needed and important. Some even help them get employed; yes, even the severely autistic and severely retarded can do things for themselves. Mileage varies as much as people do.
"You chastise me for lacking civility; yet JB outdoes me by orders of magnitude in incivility. The sheer nastiness he is capable of and has delivered time and time again makes me look like Mother Teresa in comparison."
Orac: Why bother having kids when you yourself are such an insufferable crybaby? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
I'm sure you'd like that, JB. I'm sure you'd like that a lot. Your intentionally nasty tactics are obviously designed to drive those who have the temerity to criticize the pseudoscience of the anti-vaccine movement from the discussion, leaving it all to you and your crew.
JB, Orac puts himself in the kitchen every day. He allows free comments on his blog. You, on the other hand, aren't even in the kitchen in AoA. Apparently it would hurt the true believers' wittle feelings if their non-sense, non-science was even questioned. Yes, Orac is in the kitchen. At AoA, you are wielding a flamethrower from behind an impervious chain link fence.
@JB Handley: well, you have, once again, confirmed that you are scum. When your actions are condemned, you attack people. I'm surprised you dared leave the echo chamber of AOA where everyone tells you how wonderful you are, and what a good father you are.
At least here, people can talk back to you; Orac doesn't delete things that he doesn't agree with, unlike AOA (no one needs to create a blog called "silenced by respectful insolence", there IS a blog called "silenced by AOA" because of your draconian commenting policies).
Is this the first time Mr. Handley has commented here? I wonder if he appreciates the irony that while he and his ilk are permitted to say whatever dumbass thing comes to mind (and he did a good job of that), many of the blogs and fora run by his pro-disease compatriots ruthlessly censor people who don't toe the party line.
Well, that certainly expressed a coherent argument against what Orac wrote in his 'blog. It also highlighted a common tactic among the arrogantly ignorant: when your claims are challenged, call people names and posture like a pugnacious adolescent boy.
As Queen Gertrude said to Polonius, "More matter, with less art!" [Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2]
Going to the old ad hominem attack again, since noone agrees with you?
Seems like you are the crybaby.
Handley's entire AoA post just one giant vitriolic screed and incessant moaning about how meeeeeaaaaan the AAP is for rejecting evidence-free testimonials of dubious practitioners and deluded parents. And yet is here with puffed up bravado calling Orac a cry-baby. I doubt it would at all productive to point out the obvious here.
"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open." â Frank Zappa
paul5of6, oooh... a student paper! Should we be impressed?
Did Handley really just say that stoopid or is his Tabby cat tap dancing on the keyboard? JB - if you're going to self-administer moles of that magic RNA-perfume-juice I think you should at least put it in the right hole. Put the magic RNA down and step away from the keyboard.
From paul5of6's study:
Interesting that they did not conclude that having mothers with a high school education or higher put children at greater risk of having an autism diagnosis.
@Chris (97): he got some weird results, too. Non-whites were more likely to have an autism diagnosis then white children? And the age range...well, I can't read the whole paper as I don't have access, but I would REALLY question the methodology. Looks a bit off from the data.
@Todd: Now I would REALLY question his methodology, from what you found in the paper too.
Hmm, could it be that the more educated a mother is, the more likely she would be to consider autism and try to get a diagnosis? Also, that sentence is very badly worded.
For the full text of the study, try this link.
@Todd W. Thanks, the link worked.
Gee, reading the article, guess what's also mentioned: that demonic thimerosol! How long till the mercury militia jumps on this one and says, "see, see! We told you so". Unfortunately, one thing the study does NOT do is take into consideration that if an infant got the hepatitis B vaccine at birth, the dose would have been from a single-dose vial, which usually did not contain thimerosol.
Also, they looked at children ages 3-17 born before 1999. Well, before 1991, only children at risk got the vaccine at birth. How did they compare the other risk factors? Or did they ignore them?
I'm still confused by a lot of the data. Sounds like they had a hypothesis and took data to support it rather than trying to disprove it. But, I will admit, my statistical knowledge is poor and I'm not good at evaluating a lot of this kind of literature.
Someone who is better at reviewing studies, please help?
Paper is looking at 3- to 17-year-olds born before 1999, in data from 1997 to 2002. There was no attempt to control for birth year. Since vaccination practices and autism awareness have both changed over time, this should have been controlled for. Seems like a REALLY strange choice of dataset.
You must work for the government,illuminati and satan.For if you are not with Yahuwah the Creator you are against Him.I pray you will be aware of Yahushua died for our sins. The aliens are demons/fallen angels of the ashtar command.vaccines messed my boy up and almost killed him. he was fine before his first immunizations.human guinea pigs is what govt has created.pray for the enemies of the King of the Universe.Wake up white,black and all people.