Tag Archives: vaccines and autism

We live in a chemical soup, leading to autism and to extinction of honeybees

An article on TruthOut.org describes the chemical contaminants we live with (100 times more chemical exposures than 50 years ago) and points to two results: the autism epidemic and the imminent extinction of the honeybee. Are they linked?

The article is written by Dr. Brian Moench, president of  Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

First of all, we all know about the autism epidemic, now 1 in 88 (but far higher in Utah, where Dr. Moench lives). This is alarming enough. What about the humble honeybee? Actually, our food supply depends on the humble honeybee for pollination. Studies are showing that new insecticides are likely to blame for the fact that colonies are collapsing right and left (see Dr. Moench’s footnotes for details).

Dr. Moench uses the same logic arguments I have been using to point out that the autism epidemic cannot possibly have solely genetic causes, simply because genetics don’t change that quickly. And in fact, studies show our exposures to toxins, particularly in utero, have increased 100 fold in the past 50 years. Those with an underlying genetic susceptibility are apparently the ones whose kids become autistic.

And what is the genetic susceptibility? Dr. Moench identifies it in the detoxification pathway for the body. Studies show “mothers of autistic children and autistic children themselves have a high rate of a genetic deficiency in the production of glutathione, an antioxidant and the body’s primary means of detoxifying heavy metals. High levels of toxic metals in children are strongly correlated with the severity of autism.” Perhaps the reason for the highest autism rate in the nation in Utah is the high mercury content of Great Salt Lake, he suggests.

Where does all this lead us? Advisors like Dr. Mercola suggest we avoid this food and that exposure, don’t have vinyl flooring, don’t use beverage or or food cans containing BPA, space out the vaccinations (many of which contain toxic aluminum), and so on and so forth. Put the autistic kids on a gluten-free, casein-free diet and give them precisely tailored supplements that help their bodies detoxify.

But what about the people who aren’t educated and informed? I am very concerned about the average American. I think we need to address the regulatory bodies that are allowing companies to pollute our world with chemicals, many of these bodies filled with conflicts of interest, and also operating on outdated scientific principles of toxicology rather than  microbiology.  Specifically, Congress is in charge of the FDA and the EPA. We need to ask Congress to reformulate these bodies so that they protect the average citizen, not the average company.

I am particularly interested in proper investigation of the vaccine hypothesis, and I created a petition at Change.org: “Vaccines and Autism: Investivate!”  Please sign it, and tell your friends.   Did you know that Trayvon Martin’s case came to prominence through a Change.org petition?

https://www.change.org/petitions/vaccines-and-autism-investigate

Sources:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8586-the-autism-epidemic-and-disappearing-bees-a-common-denominator

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/17/keeping-children-safe-from-everyday-toxins/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/17/aps-on-epidemic-autism-spectrum-diseases.aspx

The Amish don’t get autism, and they aren’t vaccinated

Bloggers are talking about the autism-vaccine link these days, and some of them have brought up a little investigation done in 2005 by United Press International reporter Dan Olmsted. Olmsted wanted to know whether the Amish, who largely don’t vaccinate their children, suffer autism at the same rates as everybody else.

Olmstead took a trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and embarked on looking for people with autism. If the prevailing theory that autism is genetic was correct, there should have been 1 in 166 people in that population with autism, he figured. (One in 166 was the accepted figure at the time. Now it’s more like 1 in 100.)

He figured there would be about 130 people in the Amish community there with autism, based on 1 in 166.  About half of those would have easily identifiable classic autism, he said. So, upwards of 50 with classic autism. And he started asking around to find them.

He found only three.

Coincidentally or not, at least two of the three had been vaccinated. One had been adopted from China and had received all her vaccinations on the same day.

Now, there are other variables too.  Amish eat a far-different diet from most Americans. They’re mostly from the same gene pool. And so on. So this isn’t conclusive evidence. What’s needed is a study matching vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and comparing autism rates. No one with any money is willing to do this, at least so far. Since it would settle the question, I do wonder why not.

And what about the headlines a while back about a polio outbreak in an Amish community? According to the HealthWyze blog, it turns out that was a strain of polio that came from a five-year-old vaccine. It didn’t sicken the children, but was found in their stools only. Odd that this made headlines, isn’t it?

UPI report: http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/e.4.pdf

Health Wyze: http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/295-the-amish-dont-get-autism-but-they-do-get-bio-terrorism.html

Andrew Wakefield, autism/MMR study renounced

The Wall Street Journal today ran a story on the U.K.’s decision to renounce Andrew Wakefield, a doctor who raised questions about vaccination possibly causing autism.

Wakefield’s study has been the subject of a three-year hearing in front of Britain’s General Medical Council. The council found Wakefield guilty of “serious professional misconduct” and struck his name from the U.K.’s medical register.

At issue was a small study, published in 1998 in The Lancet, describing 12 “previously normal” children with serious gastroentestinal problems. Some were autistic as well. According to the Journal, the paper concluded in this way:

“In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps and rubella immunization. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.”

Now, I think these guys in the U.K. are reacting pretty strongly to such a mildly worded suggestion at the end of Wakefield’s paper. (As it happens, I believe, further research has found no link between the measles virus in the MMR vaccine and autism.)

Goes to show how political this vaccination question is.

Autism and vaccines: “The Vaccine War” on PBS tonight!

A PBS documentary on “The Vaccine War,” featuring Jenny McCarthy and others, will be shown tonight. Times will vary depending on where you are, of course. Here in St. Louis, it’s at 9 p.m.  Check your local PBS station website for the time where you are, and let’s tune in to see what PBS thinks the scoop is!

A study of autism outcome in vaccinated vs unvaccinated: found?

A frequent commenter on this blog, Mike, is a skeptic on Yasko and the possible autism-vaccine connection.

On a recent post of mine, “News media accepting illogic on autism and vaccines again,” I said, “Research has NOT INVESTIGATED these further possibilities (of a link between autism and multiple vaccines). Here are the ones that come to mind:

“1. The immature immune system (first day of life and following) cannot deal with the vaccines, at least in some cases.

“2. Taking multiple vaccines at the same time may overwhelm the young immune system.

“3. A vaccine ingredient, currently unidentified, is toxic to some children.

“These have NOT been tested. … As I have said before, a simple study could settle this question: comparing autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.  Are the medical people AFRAID to do it?”

Mike in response posted links to reports on a study that did compare autism outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, done by the Danish Epidemiological Center, published in 2003. It found no correlation between vaccination and autism. Here are the links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12421889

And the follow up

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12523209

Thank you, Mike! I am interested to see this.

Unfortunately, at closer inspection, it isn’t the comparison that I am calling for. I would like to see a comparison of the full set of vaccinations that are currently required for kids in the US, against no vaccinations at all. There are enough conscientious objectors now that this is possible.

The kids in Denmark aren’t in the same situation as the kids in the U.S. Here’s why: the kids in the U.S. get three times as many vaccine shots as the ones in Denmark, according to a study by Generation Rescue in April, 2009.  That shows 36 required shots in the U.S., compared to 12 in Denmark.

This study Mike linked to simply asked the question whether and when the child received the MMR vaccine, and symptoms related only to that vaccine.  It is one of the studies that apparently proves that the MMR vaccine, as used in Denmark at the time, by itself does not cause autism. This was a large study, looking at more than 500,000 children, the kind of study that should uncover correlations if there are any.

So, now I am asking again for a study investigating the effect of multiple vaccines on American children. This study doesn’t answer that question.

By the way, the Generation Rescue study looked at published statistics from 34 developed countries. The US has the most required shots, or doses, of any of them, and also the worst mortality rate for children under 5 of any of them. The average number of doses is 13, for these 34 countries, compared to our 36.

News media accepting illogic on autism and vaccines again

There was an article in the Los Angeles Times March 13 (and widely distributed by the Associated Press) in which yet another reporter reported an unbalanced story–failing to report the “other side of the question” –perpetuating the autism-vaccine logical fallacy yet again.

Thomas H. Maugh reported that the government vaccine court has declared that thimerosal, a mercury additive largely discontinued from vaccines, does not cause autism.  This is not surprising and is in fact a logical conclusion. The reason is that while thimerosal is not an ingredient in most vaccines since 2001, autism rates continue to climb.

Maugh’s fallacy is faulty generalizing.  He takes the thimerosal assertion and combines it with another: that the measles vaccine in the MMR shot does not cause autism, at least in most cases. I’ll grant that to be apparently true as well–research supports it.

Therefore, says Maugh, parents should accept that vaccines do not cause autism. There is the fallacy, generalizing from insufficient evidence.  Vaccines could be causing autism by any number of other ways.

Meanwhile, it’s obvious that autism rates have gone up at the same rate and time that the number of childhood vaccines has gone up. There could well be a correlation. The medical establishment should look into it, disregarding their vested interest in the vaccine system.

Research has NOT INVESTIGATED these further possibilities. Here are the ones that come to mind:

1. The immature immune system (first day of life and following) cannot deal with the vaccines, at least in some cases.

2. Taking multiple vaccines at the same time may overwhelm the young immune system.

3. A vaccine ingredient, currently unidentified, is toxic to some children.

These have NOT been tested. Mr. Maugh and colleagues, quit swallowing the line of the vaccine proponents and get on the ball!! You are not doing a service to your country. Please investigate and report the other side.

As I have said before, a simple study could settle this question: comparing autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.  Are the medical people AFRAID to do it?

Autism and vaccines: Associated Press, Time Mag. got it wrong

agulha_int

There was an article in today’s paper by the Associated Press that declared that the autism-vaccine question has been settled. Funny, that’s news to me.

The reporter, Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, wrote, “…much has been written about research that has failed to find a link between vaccines and autism.”  Just a single study raised the question, she said, and it has been retracted. Case closed:  “Fear of a vaccine-autism connection stems from a flawed and speculative 1998 study that recently was retracted by a British medical journal. The retraction came after a council that regulates Britain’s doctors ruled the study’s author acted dishonestly and unethically.”

Whether that particular study was retracted because of politics is a matter of debate. This was the study that suggested that the measles vaccine in the MMR shot causes autism.  The sample size was tiny, and results were debatable.

Time Magazine on Feb. 25 made a similar claim: “And yet research conclusively shows that vaccines are safe for children; just last month, the U.K. scientist who had published a study linking the MMR shot to autism was found by a British medical panel to have acted unethically.”

I would like to tell these under-informed and surely well-meaning news reporters that there are manifold reasons why and how vaccines could cause autism, and this retracted study addressed only one possibility, that of the measles virus in the MMR somehow running amok.

Another possible vaccine-autism link that seems discredited is the theory that thimerosal, a mercury additive in pre-2001 shots, causes autism. Here’s why it’s discredited–despite the fact that there’s no thimerosal in the shots, autism rates continue to rise.

Therefore, if there is an autism-vaccine link, it probably has to do with something besides those two possible causes. For example, the “too many, too soon” theory which says that the many many sticks that kids get these days, at a very young age, could be a cause. There are other possibilities that we don’t know about yet.

What we do know is:

* that the autism epidemic has risen alongside the number of required shots

* that the anecdotal evidence, including before-and-after videos on Youtube, is overwhelming from families reporting regression soon after taking shots

* that the autism epidemic surely has at least partly an environmental cause, because an epidemic cannot have a solely genetic cause

* that vaccines under development are tested alone, not in combination with others, and

* that the medical establishment has a huge vested interest in creating and marketing vaccines.

What we need is a definitive study that compares vaccinated populations and unvaccinated.  THAT study would prove it one way or another, not the tiny measles vaccine study that appeared to be flawed.  The Associated Press article I am discussing reports on a University of Michigan phone survey a year ago of 1,552 parents inquiring about whether they were vaccinating their children.  It’s a shame surveyors didn’t also inquire about whether their children are autistic, permitting correlation of the two pieces of data.

Photo by M. Bartosch at freedigitalphotos.net

Mainstream medicine continues to debunk autism-vaccine link

Medical news sources continue to debunk any link between autism and vaccines, saying there is good research that has closed the issue.

For example, a recent issue of the Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, reported in ScienceDaily.com, reviews existing research on vaccine safety in regard to autism. It looks only at the two most-published causation theories, mercury and MMR. It concludes that “there is not convincing scientific evidence supporting a relationship between vaccines and autism.” Therefore, the headline trumpets that there is “no scientific link” between autism and vaccines.

The logic of this conclusion is obviously faulty.

1. There are many other variables about the way vaccines are made and the schedules that are used. Only two variables have been eliminated: thimerosal mercury and measles virus found in the MMR.

2. Since research to date hasn’t identified a link, there isn’t any link.  Research to date is very narrow in scope. No one has dared to do a simple epidemiological study that compares autism rates in kids who have been vaccinated with autism rates in kids who haven’t been.

Meanwhile, the anecdotal evidence mounts.

Can we trust our doctors on vaccines?

Do childhood vaccines cause autism? If you listen to a variety of critics, the answer is possibly yes; the research hasn’t been done, so we can’t say definitely yes or no.  The anecdotal evidence from parents is overwhelming. But if you listen to your doctor and the CDC and vaccine makers he or she listens to, the answer is no.

So, do H1N1 vaccines cause miscarriages?  The anecdotal evidence is piling up.  Again, the studies haven’t been done; no one really knows whether they do or not.  (Actually, we are the guinea pigs for this shot.) But the doctors, CDC, and vaccine makers say pregnant women should take the vaccine.

Dr. Joseph Mercola’s research on the safety of the H1N1 vaccine has led him to “Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese health officials who have also reported a number of serious side effects, including deaths of people who received the H1N1 vaccine.”  Do we hear of U.S. health officials reporting a number of serious side effects? No. The serious side effects in the U.S. aren’t being logged or taken seriously because maybe something else caused them. In fact, the cases of H1N1 flu aren’t being logged either. A  number of months ago, health officials decided to stop testing for and counting H1N1 flu cases because, after all, there is a pandemic on.

Mercola calls the medical system’s approach to vaccines “Russian roulette.”  It’s true.  Doctors expect a certain percentage of people to react badly to any vaccine. But as the “herd immunity” is protected, it’s supposed to be worth the risk.  We need to ask ourselves: is it worth the risk?  After all, we are the ones carrying the risk. We parents sign waivers when our children are vaccinated.  The system depends on this.

It’s not a good system. Perhaps we don’t want our kids and ourselves to be guinea pigs. Herd immunity might be important for a major disease like smallpox, but for minor diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella, and H1N1 influenza,  perhaps we would prefer the risk of the disease to the risk of bad effects from the vaccine.  To make these decisions, we need to be informed. And it would help if the laws were changed to make it easier for conscientious objection to vaccines, as an autism parents group is seeking to do with a ballot initiative in Oregon.

Can we trust our doctors on vaccines? No.

Sources:

Organic Health Adviser on H1N1 vaccine-related miscarriages:

http://organichealthadviser.com/archives/shocking-h1n1-swine-flu-vaccine-miscarriage-stores-from-pregnant-women-tell-your-doctors-that-vaccines-and-pregnancy-do-not-mix

Joseph Mercola:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/05/Swine-Flu-Shot-Side-Effects-Beginning-to-Take-Their-Toll.aspx

Oregon ballot initiative:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/11/autism-a-simple-plan.html

Parents seek ballot initiative on autism-vaccine link

hypodermic

The battle lines have been drawn for at least five years now, and not much is happening. Many parents of autistics are convinced that vaccines may be to blame. The trend of more and more autism, after all, tracks with the trend of more and more childhood vaccines.  Now it’s 1 in 100 kids in America that have autism, according to some measures, compared to 1 in 10,000 40 years ago.

And the medical establishment, convinced that vaccines are safe, looked into a couple of sub-theories about vaccines and autism (that the measles virus in the MMR causes autism, and that mercury in vaccines causes autsim), declared them invalid, and apparently isn’t planning to do anything else.

In particular, the medical establishment isn’t doing the obvious study: comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations and checking autism rates. Why would they? They’re convinced vaccines are safe. And the mainstream media is parroting the CDC and others. Why wouldn’t they? They’re convinced doctors know what they are talking about.

But many, many parents of autistics are convinced that the doctors and vaccine-makers don’t know what they are talking about, and that vaccines caused their child’s autism. (After all, no tests have been done of the safety of multiple vaccines, just individual ones.) In many of these families, subsequent children have remained unvaccinated–and are not autistic.

So how many of these families are there? Nobody knows. The study looking for autism cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations has to be done, and some autism parent groups are teaming up to try to get it done. They’re also hoping to get a viable national dialogue going.

Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and Talk About Curing Autism, three of these autism advocacy groups, are teaming up to gather donations to put the issue into the public square.  According to Age of Autism’s Kent Heckenlively, liability concerns limit how much exposure a talk show host wants to give here-say items like parent reports on vaccinations. But once the item becomes a political issue, as with a ballot initiative, it becomes fair game.

Organizers hope the vehicle will be a ballot initiative in Oregon, a plan announced November 16. Exactly what would be on the ballot isn’t determined yet. There is a long list of possibilities in Heckenlively’s article. One of the major ones, though, is requiring the government of Oregon to fund a study that compares autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Another is permitting waiver of vaccine requirements because of individual philosophy. A third is requiring that the MMR vaccine be made available as three separate vaccines, to be taken at least a week apart.

Why Oregon? The organizers favored California but decided that a campaign in Oregon would cost a lot less–“just” $2 million to $5 million.  So they’re asking for donations from people like you and me to get the issue into the public arena.

Why is this initiative a good idea? The other venue, the vaccine court, isn’t proving a good place to air the issue. The vaccine court was set up by Congress as it created a liability shield for vaccine makers. The court controls a liability fund. In a Feb. 12 decision, the vaccine court ruled that lawyers for three cases, representing 5,000 autism vaccine claims, had not proven that autism was caused in these cases by MMR or thimerosal. (These are the two sub-issues that have been examined and rebutted by studies.) But the court had required that the lawyers come up with a specific causation theory. It couldn’t handle the case that vaccines could be causing autism, but no one knows exactly why at this time. This is where we stand. One hypothesis is that there appear to be “too many, too soon”–too many shots (35), too soon in a child’s life (starting on day 1). But that’s not specific enough for the vaccine court.

The autism parents are trying to get the whole issue out into the public square. They’re not the richest folks in the world–most of them are strapped, trying to pay for supplements, gluten-free diets, and so on. Can you help?

You can donate at Generation Rescue’s website. When you get to the donation page, click that you want to make the donation in honor of somebody, then during Step 2 place the word “Ballot” in the personal note section so your donation can be directed to this cause.

Photo credit: