Autism Mythmaker Banned In Britain

In January the United Kingdom's General Medical Council ruled that physician Andrew Wakefield's 1998 research allegedly linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) was conducted "dishonestly and irresponsibly." In February, The Lancet medical journal retracted the article based on that unethical research. So those who have following this sorry saga have been waiting to see what sanctions might be levied against Wakefield. Now we know. According to the AP:

Britain's top medical group banned a doctor who was the first to publish peer-reviewed research suggesting a connection between a common vaccine and autism from practicing in the country, finding him guilty Monday of serious professional misconduct.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield's research led to millions of parents worldwide abandoning the shot for measles, mumps and rubella, even though the study was later widely discredited...

The ruling in Britain only applies to his right to practice medicine in the U.K., not in other countries...

At least a dozen British medical associations including the Royal College of Physicians, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust have issued statements verifying the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

"I hope this ruling will finally persuade the public and some misguided journalists that Dr. Wakefield behaved irresponsibly," said Dr. Jennifer Best, a virologist at King's College University in London. "(The measles) vaccine is a safe vaccine."

So parents the medical message is clear: Get your kids vaccinated. Or you may be responsible for the kind of outbreak that occurred in San Diego in 2008. That outbreak was sparked by an unvaccinated kid who brought back measles from Switzerland and infected 11 other kids, including a baby who was hospitalized for three days with a 106 degree fever.

Go here to view the excellent Reason TV video "Do Vaccines Cause Autism?" Read the whole AP story here.

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  • d||

    ...infected 11 other kids, including a baby who was hospitalized for three days with a 106 degree fever

    Hang on. I thought that the other kids' vaccinations were supposed to make them immune. (?) And, fyi, a fever of 106F isn't really that bad. Par for the course, actually, as childhood fevers go.

  • Steff||

    Yeah, people hate that one. I get the herd immunity concept, but frankly, I still have a major problem with compulsory government ANYTHING. Not even touching the autism stuff.

    I'm for vaccination, but not at the ages they currently are given.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    Then you're an idiot. Vaccines only work if they're given to someone before they get the disease in question. Which means early in life, before they have a chance to be exposed. And the reason why EVERYONE has to get one is because it's not always effective.

    I don't believe in government coercion for lots of things, but public health concerns trump fears about jack-booted thugs every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  • Steff||

    Kiss my ass. My kids are my concern, not yours. You might consider your lifestyle risky enough. I don't. Strangely, my kids are healthy and hearty in ways most youth aren't today, and they'll get their vaccines WHEN (and only when, you little pissant) I, as their mother, decides.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Sorry, Steff, but if your little fuzzy disease-balls get friggin' smallpox and spread it about, you just violated my right to bodily integrity through your piss-poor parenting.

  • ||

    Get your kid immunized then, and he won't get the disease, according to your faith.
    Its the non-immunized kids that are at risk.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Anyone who calls immunizations "faith" is a full-bore retard.

  • Joe_D||

    Some kids can't get immunized and immunization doesn't offer 100% protection. So, yes, non-immunized people (especially in larger numbers) seriously threaten immunized people (and children prior to immunizations).

    And TAO, are you teaching a course in how to radicalize people's opinions?

  • d||

    But if only a handful of wacko-hippies are withholding vaccines (as your snarky response would suggest), then how could *anyone* catch *anything* that is being vaccinated for.

    (Except in the odd case where, oh, someone with Rublavirus runs across the US-Mexico border and starts licking young children.)

    If you want to study "herd immunity", you should look to the rabies vaccine drops in (e.g.) northeastern Ohio, where, even though many, many animals go unvaccinated, the "herd immunity" still exists. No outbreaks of raccoon rabies in the Columbus area, last I checked.

    Why should children (who are much more closely watched than baby raccoons), be "in danger" if a mom or dad wants to wait a few months to a year to have a controversial, industry-backed, aluminum-packed, triple-live-virus shot?

  • d||

    Need to learn to use question marks?

  • marlok||

    A key point is that refusal to vaccinate a child endangers not only that child but everyone in that kids home and school who may have weakened immune systems. For example, the chicken pox vaccine is given not out of fear that the kid will get deathly ill, but that one kid will bring chicken pox home from school and give it to his pregnant mom who goes on to have major birth defects.

  • Steff||

    There's always a risk v. benefit issue. My children are exceptionally low risk. DELAYING (not completely forgoing) vaccination is a choice I make, due to my careful weighing of both the risks and benefits.

    It's called thinking and responsibility, both of which I don't require the CDC to do for me.

  • kinnath||

    It means you are a gullible twat.

  • ||

    So many phony libertarians for a so-called libertarian forum.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So, if someone had a deadly airborne disease, then it would somehow be a violation of the infected's liberty to quarantine him?

    I don't buy it.

  • kinnath||

    Turning down available vaccines is stupid unless you child has a specific risk factor for a given vaccine.

    That is a totally seperate issue from whether or not the state has the authority to mandate vaccination against communicable diseases.

  • Coeus||

    No shit. This seems to be a major blind spot for most of them.

  • Coeus||

    That's to Kent's 1:25pm post

  • Mo||

    There's always a risk v. benefit issue.

    Risk: Your kid dies
    Benefit: You get to be a self-righteous twit

    There's something wrong with that math.

  • kinnath||

    Vaccines are given on a schedule. There are alot of vaccines that cannot be given to an infant.

    A three-year-old kid that should have been vaccinated, but wasn't, represents a serious threat to infants.

  • Mo||

    Vaccines, like everything else in the world, aren't 100% effective. In addition, there are kids that can't have vaccines due to autoimmune disorders or allergic reactions. Generally, herd immunity will protect the kids where the vaccines don't take and who can't be vaccinated.

  • d||

    Oh, and, I'm first, bitches!!!

  • ||

    Calling first is so fucking gauche, dude.

  • ||

    It's like going to someone's house for dinner and shitting in the kitchen trashcan.

    Except not hilarious.

  • d||

    OK redouble your efforts and try again.

    Except not hilarious.

    You mean...like your post?

  • d||

    Using the words "gauche" (which you need to research, by the bye) and "dude" is so fucking lame, bra.

  • His Eminency||

    So parents the medical message is clear:

    "I hope this ruling will finally persuade the public and some misguided journalists that Dr. Wakefield behaved irresponsibly,"

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and admit I got a slightly different message.

  • Abdul||

    While I have no respect for the "vaccines are teh autism!!1" crowd, it's a little disturbing that a country will ban visits frome someone just because they are misguided and wrong about an idea. Sooner or later the same rule could be applied to flat-earthers, climate skeptics, etc.

  • Max||

    How about market fundamentalists? Nah, they're too goofy and marginal to worry about.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    He isn't banned from going to the UK, he's banned from practicing medicine there. Because his research was so flawed it led directly to an outbreak of measles in the 21st century in a developed nation. This is akin to banning a flat earther from being an official in charge of maps.

  • Brian E||

    He's been banned from practicing medicine, not visiting. The headline is not entirely clear.

  • ||

    ... it's a little disturbing that a country will ban visits frome someone just because they are misguided and wrong about an idea.
    The ruling in Britain only applies to his right to practice medicine in the U.K.,

    You're OK with chiropractors treating cancer patients by readjusting their spines, homeopathic practitioners treating AIDS patients with water imbued with memories of substances?

    If were going to have government granted licensing of physicians,* I'd prefer the quacks lose theirs.

    * I'd prefer that physician professional licensing went away entirely but that battle was lost long ago. I've no problem with third party (not the friggin' governement) certification.

  • Abdul||

    Jeez, Captain smartass was nicer about the fact that i didn't RTFA than you. When you lose a civility contest to captain smartass, you've gone too far.

  • Joe_D||

    He wasn't just wrong, he was a fraud. Falsifying data in order to reach a conclusion you want to reach should certainly get you banned from practicing medicine, and maybe sent to prison.

  • ||

    That outbreak was sparked by an unvaccinated kid who brought back measles from Switzerland and infected 11 other kids, including a baby who was hospitalized for three days with a 106 degree fever.

    Its my understanding that a 106 degree fever can cause permanent damage. If any docs drop by, could you confirm/deny?

    I don't know why the parents of the kid who made him sick shouldn't bear financial responsibility. Its foreseeable that, if your kid isn't vaccinated, he/she/it could get sick, and could spread the disease. Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent this strikes me as negligence.

  • ||

    According to Dr. d, upthread, 106 is par for the course. That seems like seizure territory to me, though. I'll defer to Dr. Groov on this one, maybe he'll chime in with an answer.

  • Astrid||

    WebMD says 106 in children under 3 is just below brain cooking level.

  • ||

    Lunch time, and what do I see? Another vaccine/austism debate. Reason sure does love these.

    Its my understanding that a 106 degree fever can cause permanent damage. If any docs drop by, could you confirm/deny?

    The short answer: yes, the risk of permanent brain trauma goes up significantly both the higher the fever (part of the body's immune response to infection AKA inflammatory response/immune response). The magic number here is 104 F. I don't recommend going to the ER or Urgent Care if the temp is below 104 F less than 48 hrs. If greater than 48 hrs, a low grade fever can be indicative of an underlying primary disease requiring more intensive care, particularly if APAP [Tylenol, an excellent anti-pyretic (fever reducer)] fails to prove effective. Elevated temperatures in neonates and toddlers are dangerous due to the developing brain and an insult resultant from elevated fever can result in permanent disabilities depending on where the insult occurs. In the very old, elevated temperature can either cause or exacerbate an already present neurological condition, in addition to the havoc that already is in the depressed immune system of the elderly when infection is present. I mention both the very old and young because, from an immunological POV, the very young have an immature immune system (excepting humoral and innate immunity, particularly if the child is breast fed, which I wholeheartedly recommend barring contraindication in the mother) and the elderly overall have "pooped out" immune systems.

    A temperature of 106 F in a neonate can be lethal. In a toddler, mortality is less like but the danger of permanent brain injury is definitely a risk. Both case require immediate medical attention, and is most definitely not "par for the course".

    About childhood immunizations: the problem I have with them is when the state mandates them against the wishes of the parent. When it comes to schools, I do believe through contract, i.e. "you want your child to attend school here, part of that agreement is they vaccinate" this is permissable and passes Libertarian muster. Private and Charter schools require records of vaccinations as well, as there is the school's liability on the line. You can always home school your children if you disagree with their policy. Case in point: in my state, there was recently an outbreak of bacterial meningitis , with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in children. Three children died and one has had and extensive amputational (all four limbs) and currently excisional surgery for parts of his face. However, all these children were below the recommended age of bac meng immunization (11-12 starting) and such cases are rare.

  • ||

    Addendum: The outbreak mentioned was isolated to one elementary school, and as soon as the cause of the outbreak was identified, the infected children (11 in all) were quarantined and parents were encouraged to monitor their children for possible S/S of bacterial meningitis.

  • ||

    Also, the first sentence should have read "..the higher the fever and...the duration of the fever"

    Sorry, my mind is all over the place today.

  • ||

    Thanks, Groov. Its a shame, you could have been a great doctor. If not for your hatred of the poor and your racism.

    I was going to post something similar inre; vaccinations as a condition to enter public schools. They shouldn't be mandatory for home-schoolers, or if you can find a private school that does not require them, though.

  • ||

    If not for your hatred of the poor and your racism.

    Perhaps I should run for a Senate seat. Tom Coburn did. Kidding, nobody would vote for me and if I was on Rachel Maddow's show, I would promptly throttle her the first loaded question she asked.

  • ||

    Maddow: I understand that you refused to treat the poor when you were practicing medicine. It is a known fact that Hitler did the same thing. So, let me ask you; Why do you advocate National Socialism?
    Also, isn't it true that you think African-Americans should be held as property?

    Groovus: What the fuck...*turns red, head explodes*

    Maddow:Please answer the question, you are being evasive.

  • ||

    I don't know why the parents of the kid who made him sick shouldn't bear financial responsibility.

    Because they (the vector's parents) don't owe them (the sick kid) that duty of care.

  • Mo||

    Yeah, but their negligence led to the kid getting sick.

  • ||

    No matter. There's no breach of duty and therefore no liability. No matter how cute the sick kid is or how deep the other party's pockets.

  • Mo||

    If your negligence (failing to immunize your kid) lead's to my kid's harm (presuming that my kid is properly immunized) you'd better believe there's liability. Just like if you drive blindfolded and run into my garage, you pay.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    Not a doctor, but I use to be an EMT. If I remember right, it's 108 when your brain starts to cook & you will most likely have brain damage. If you ever have a fever of 104 or above you are suppose to go to the hospital immediately.

  • ||

    108 is well into serious damage terriory. 106 may be tolerated, depending on the PT, but the possibility of brain damage is there, especially if it's prolonged.
    But you're right that 104 is the point at which one needs to get to the ER quick fast in a hurry.

  • d||

    *Prolonged* fevers of 107 are "brain-cooking", but only if they're *prolonged*. As with all things medical, however, we're not generally given all the facts and told to pump our kids full of ibuprofen, because some kid somewhere has (perhaps) died or suffered brain damage from it.

  • Suzzie||

    But, this is just more evidence of how pervasive the conspiracy is. Vaccines cause autism. I know it in my heart.

  • ||

    As a licensed physician, I back this up.

  • ||

    I just finished reading a study by Dr. Jenny "Plastic Tits" McCarthy, of the Mayo clinic, that confirms what you say.

  • ||

    Wow! Your astute, well reasoned and supebly articulated stance has me convinced.

    Please sign me up for your newsletter.

  • Zeb||

    I am not sure "cause" means the same thing when you use it as when I use it. As I understand the idea of cause and effect, if A causes B, then whenever A happens, B also happens. I was vaccinated for all the usual things, and so were nearly all of the people I know. Very few of those people are autistic. So one cannot say, strictly speaking, that vaccines cause autism.
    Perhaps when you say "cause", you mean "happened at close to the same time". If that is the case, feel it in your heart all you want, but recognize that "cause" means something else to most people with functioning brains and a basic knowledge of English.

  • ||

    ITZ FOR TEH CHIRREN!!!!11

  • ||

    I know correlation does not prove cause and effect, but until science explains the significant upturn in autism, I would, if I had children, definitely delay and stretch out the vaccine shots.

  • ||

    Better screening and understanding of what autism is, and a more expanded definition?

    When I was 5, I was just a shy kid. When I was 30, I was told I have asperger syndrome. No difference in my personality, but there's a difference in the diagnosis.

    I've seen studies (can't remember enough for a cite, sorry) that say that the adult autism rate is substantially similar to the child autism rate.

  • ||

    And that the expanded definition of autism makes a historical analysis of rates impossible. 40 years ago a severely autistic child presented to a physician would be merely labeled retarded and institutionally placed. The rest of the autistic children were "slow" all the way to "shy."

  • Sean Healy||

    You have asperger's and you can't remember the cite? Uh huh.

  • Skid Marx||

    "but until science explains the significant upturn in autism"

    Chemtrails.

    Here's your hat.

  • kinnath||

    A couple of economists did an indepth statistical analysis that showed that autism has risen with the roll-out of cable TV. This study has spawned some speculation that excessive exposure to 2-D images hurts brain development.

    So in summary, burn the Baby Einstein DVDs and vaccinate the kids.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    I'd be very grateful if you could point me in a direction for a link. That one sounds very interesting. Cable TV as a forcing function...

  • Five Words||

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc

    (in other words: I'm pretty sure that stat is to show how ridiculous the vaccine --> autism correlation is, not showing television as a causative factor)

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Right, I wouldn't expect a couple of economists to be trying to prove anything. It is just that whenever you have young kids, you get dragged into these discussions whether or not you want to be. Anything which throws doubt on the "Vaccines did it!" theory is something I would be interested in.

  • ||

    "Vaccines did it!" theory really should be called "It must have been something that's not my fault!" theory.

    Another thing that the rise in autism rates correlates nicely to is the rising average of mother's age at birth.

  • ||

    The rise in people giving their kids dumbshit names correlates with the increase as well.

    Personally, I blame dumb white people, as they pretty much screw everything up.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    You guys bring up some excellent points. I wonder what the correlation is between autism and the national debt.

  • Zeb||

    "Vaccines did it!" theory really should be called "It must have been something that's not my fault!" theory.

    Exactly. These people have no evidence other than needing to blame it on something convenient. They "feel it in their heart" because they just can't accept that anyone as awesome as they are could possibly have a fucked up kid.

  • Suzzie||

    Our therapist agrees completely that vaccines are at fault.

    Why are libertarians suck cold-hearted pricks anyway?

  • ||

    Having a sick child, while horrible, is not a free pass to utter inanities without fear of ridicule.

    If you are real, of course...

  • Anonymous||

    And having the cause be the product of deep-pocketed corporations doesn't hurt either...

  • Suzzie||

    The deeper the trick's pocekts, the better it is for all parties involved.

  • kinnath||

    http://www.slate.com/id/2151538

    Today, Cornell University researchers are reporting what appears to be a statistically significant relationship between autism rates and television watching by children under the age of 3. The researchers studied autism incidence in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington state. They found that as cable television became common in California and Pennsylvania beginning around 1980, childhood autism rose more in the counties that had cable than in the counties that did not. They further found that in all the Western states, the more time toddlers spent in front of the television, the more likely they were to exhibit symptoms of autism disorders.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    But the fact that rising household access to cable television seems to associate with rising autism does not reveal anything about how viewing hours might link to the disorder. The Cornell team searched for some independent measure of increased television viewing. In recent years, leading behavioral economists such as Caroline Hoxby and Steven Levitt* have used weather or geography to test assumptions about behavior. Bureau of Labor Statistics studies have found that when it rains or snows, television viewing by young children rises. So Waldman studied precipitation records for California, Oregon, and Washington state, which, because of climate and geography, experience big swings in precipitation levels both year-by-year and county-by-county. He found what appears to be a dramatic relationship between television viewing and autism onset. In counties or years when rain and snow were unusually high, and hence it is assumed children spent a lot of time watching television, autism rates shot up; in places or years of low precipitation, autism rates were low. Waldman and Nicholson conclude that "just under 40 percent of autism diagnoses in the three states studied is the result of television watching." Thus the study has two separate findings: that having cable television in the home increased autism rates in California and Pennsylvania somewhat, and that more hours of actually watching television increased autism in California, Oregon, and Washington by a lot.

    The medical community has been less than excited about non-doctors doing research on "medical" topics.

  • kinnath||

    The payoff ;-)

    Researchers might also turn new attention to study of the Amish. Autism is rare in Amish society, and the standing assumption has been that this is because most Amish refuse to vaccinate children. The Amish also do not watch television.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Awesome. Much thanks.

  • ||

    Fuck you, kinnath. The logical conclusion of your so-called argument is that people don't let their kids watch TV before the age of three. How would the kids be distracted? Are you really suggesting that people pay attention to and spend time with their children?!? Are you really suggesting that people not going on living their lives exact as they did before they had children?!?

    Come on, smartass. Answer me.

  • kinnath||

    Play pens, noisy toys, and lots and lots of benign neglect.

  • ||

    Utopian nonsense. Without the numbing effect of 12 hours of TV a day, no one could possibly raise a toddler.

  • kinnath||

    I think I had a 11-inch black & white portable TV that would get 4 channles with the rabbit ears when I had two toddlers at home in Iowa in winter. Not exactly what I would call "utopia".

  • ||

    Next you'll come up with some claptrap about "reading to your kids" or "taking them to a park to play."

    TV. Is. The. Only. Way.

    Or government daycare. You can never get too much of a headstart.

  • kinnath||

    When my kids were in grade school, we used to go to a lot of birthday parties. I would go to Barnes and Noble and pick out a really nice hardcover book as a gift. I actually had one parent chew my ass out for not giving a real gift to her kid.

  • ||

    I hope you kicked her ovaries to mush.

    I didn't have many birthday parties. My birthday is the statistically hottest day of the year in Western Kentucky. And god-forbid children be let into my mother's dead museum of a house.

  • kinnath||

    The kid seemed to like the book, so I just ignored the cunt.

  • ||

    Man, TV was my babysitter when I was a kid. No siblings and a single mom = hours of quality time man's best friend. I never suffered any ill effects from it, other than a large reservoir of trivial knowledge of 1960's television programming.

    BTW, there are 1,820 characters in kinnath's post, 2,152 if you count the spaces too.

  • kinnath||

    +1

  • ||

    I dare say that I consume more TV than anyone else on the board. My parents restricted me to 1-2 hours a night until I was 10. Backfire.

  • kinnath||

    Critcal development of the brain is concluded by 3. If you choose to trash your brain after that, then that is your right ;-)

  • ||

    Duh? Wha?

  • marlok||

    These sorts of correlation studies really piss me off. If that quote accurately summarizes it, then these full-grown economists can't distinguish correlation from causation.
    Maybe parents of kids with autism are more likely to buy cable to keep the hard-to-handle kids occupied. Maybe parents who have the resources to get their kids diagnosed also have the extra money to buy cable.

    All of the "studies" supposedly linking cancer to aspartame were the same way. Weak correlations between one trend and another.

    Hmm Autism rates started rising in the 80's. Therefor, Prince music causes autism.

  • kinnath||

    So Waldman studied precipitation records for California, Oregon, and Washington state, which, because of climate and geography, experience big swings in precipitation levels both year-by-year and county-by-county. He found what appears to be a dramatic relationship between television viewing and autism onset. In counties or years when rain and snow were unusually high, and hence it is assumed children spent a lot of time watching television, autism rates shot up; in places or years of low precipitation, autism rates were low.

    Viewing hours go up, rate of onset of autism goes up.

    Viewing hours go down, rate of onset of autism goes down.

    Yes it's just a correlation, but it's still interesting.

  • kinnath||

    By the way, the quote above is a journelist's summary of report. You have to read the real report to see what the reasearcher actually claimed as correlation and/or causation ;-)

  • Mo||

    Hmm Autism rates started rising in the 80's. Therefor, Prince music causes autism.

    Blasphemy

  • ||

    Can't wait for Ann Dachel (of the anti-vaccine site "Age of Autism") to find this post. She's so irrational when she trolls any pro-science and pro-vaccine posts on the internet, she makes Max look like an excellent part of the community.

  • ||

    "I hope this ruling will finally persuade the public and some misguided journalists that Dr. Wakefield behaved irresponsibly," said Dr. Jennifer Best,...

    My experience with the kind of people who inhabit the anti-immunization set (which has a disturbingly large intersection with the libertarian set) is that they will consider this to be suppression which affirms their beliefs about an "establishment" that will go to any lengths to impose its agenda.

  • Sam Grove||

    The overarching issue here is that the government/science/business combine involved in vaccine research has inspired a certain level of (possibly deserved) paranoia.

    What is needed is to find a way to make related research above board so as to inspire greater trust in the process.

    Something along the lines of a Consumers Union in public health research.

  • ||

    I keep it simple, if your kid gives my kid Whopping Cough because you're a hippie, I'm going to whump you one.

  • ||

    Is the pathology of Whopping Cough cause by The Burger King himself, or just exposure to the Kiddie Whopper meal?

    Or is it the Kiddie Toy that is the fomite here?

  • ||

    GAAAAHHHHHH!

    Why do things have to be either sacrosanct or verboten?!

    What is it about the mechanisms of government and popular opnion that requires people to either believe Wakefield is a persecuted genius, or a dishonest hack? Can't he just be some guy who did some shoddy research in good faith, and got some mistaken results. Can't people just weigh the evidence in an even handed fashion?

    Do people not realize that science is not neatly divisible into "factually proven" and "fraudulent"? That there is a larger, vast category that could called merely "suggestive" or "kind-sorta supports theory x", or "should be taken with a grain of salt", and we don't have to condemn all the authors of such to long dungeon terms.

  • ||

    Generally, yes. However, "Dr." Wakefield is one case where "fraudulent" is a completely apt description. Hes not just some guy who did shoddy research in good faith, since that would require him to have conducted his research in good faith.

  • Brad Warbiany||

    The problem with this debate, for most people, is that they don't have the training to actually view the real research and make an informed decision. They're trying to decide whether to listen to their usual source of information, an emotionally-charged celebrity (Jenny McCarthy) or to trust the authorities, who just naturally have that stink of "they must be hiding something" about them. Add a dash of humanity's propensity to swallow conspiracy theories, and nobody knows what to believe.

    As a parent, I decided it was my job to educate myself and make the decision for my kids, regardless of what the CDC said.

    Some anti-vaccine folks in the extended family supplied me with the crackpot books they read (i.e. books where the author was denouncing the entire germ theory of disease as bogus), and it was clear reading them that the authors had an axe to grind.

    I ended up on a book published by my kid's pediatrition. I chose it because it seemed to honestly discuss the relative diseases guarded against, the ingredients of the vaccines in question, and the safety record of the vaccine.

    I ended up choosing the vaccine schedule that I put my kids through based on that information -- i.e. a cost/benefit analysis of the likelihood my child might contract the disease in question, the severity of the disease if he did catch it, and the relative risks of the vaccine in relation to the above.

    I chose to get the polio vaccine, because while it's a rare disease, it's a particularly nasty disease and the vaccine is one of the safest available.

    I chose against MMR, because while measles, mumps, and rubella are more common, they're also typically mild diseases, the vaccine has a higher prevalence of adverse reactions, and there is a worry that some of the vaccines for "mild" diseases can lead to complications later in life, with a more virulent and dangerous form of a disease affecting the individual in adulthood. (Same for chickenpox).

    I also opted for a more spread-out vaccine regimen (i.e. not necessarily later in life, but more visits and less shots per visit), because I think the likelihood of an adverse reaction may be increased when you subject a body to the stress of several vaccines at once.

    This, of course, is done with the unique attributes of my family taken into account. It's a low-risk household, with the kids breast-fed until 12 months, no day care, and not a huge amount of interaction with hordes of other youth. Further, they're well-nourished and healthy kids, so I feel they'd be far better than "average" at weathering the storm of a disease like measles or chickenpox.

    The problem will come when the kids need to go to school. Most public schools will allow you to let your unvaccinated child attend if you claim a philosophical objection to vaccinations. It's a major hassle, but they do allow it. The problem for me is that I don't have a philosophical objection to vaccination (especially as an atheist -- no religious reasons for me).

    I have a philosophical objection to bureaucratic one-size fits all government mandates, though, and thus I don't accept that the government should be the one demanding that I follow their cost-benefit analysis for "most" kids when it doesn't fit my family's particular situation. My philosophical objection is to taking risks with my children that the CDC wants me to take if I've done the research and I disagree. That objection, though, is less well accepted in California than Scientology.

  • d||

    The problem for me is that I don't have a philosophical objection to vaccination (especially as an atheist -- no religious reasons for me).

    Do you have an insurmountable "philosophical objection" to just fucking lying about whether you have one?

    I mean, c'mon! They're not going to interview your family and friends to see whether you really attend some church and have religious objections to vaccines, are they?

    If so, you should avoid that school district anyway.

  • ||

    Wakefield's study was flawed... it wasn't the MMR vaccine that causes autism, it is ALL vaccines cause autism. That has been the problem with all the vaccine/autism studies they have singled out one vaccine.

    The fat woman who eats chocolates, ice cream, and cookies all day long has proven over and over again that her diet does not cause her obesity. Every six weeks she gives up a different food and her weight stays the same. This last six weeks she gave up blueberry ice cream and she didn't lose an ounce. - It's the same with the vaccine studies.

    The so-called peer-reviewed scientific studies are a form of brainwashing. First, by insisting that ONLY peer-reviewed studies be given credence, you eliminate all of the studies that have not been financed directly or indirectly by Big Pharma. There are many articles on the web about the sad state of published research. The studies that are done that show the dangers of drugs are either never published or twisted to imply the opposite.

    The autism rate climbed substantially when the pharmaceutical firms got freedom from any liability, created the combination vaccines, lowered the ages of children getting vaccinated, and increased the number of recommended vaccines for children from 10 to almost 60 now.

    As the number of recommended vaccines climbed, our children became sicker and sicker. Food allergies are now potentially fatal. Highly refined peanut oil is GRAS and can be used by pharmaceutical firms without being listed on the package insert. There is a trace amount of peanut protein in the oil and when injected with an adjuvant = fatal food allergy. There is a new book on the topic "The History of the Peanut Allergy Epidemic" by Heather Fraser. Luckily, Heather is a historian so the Medical Mafia can't take away her credentials. http://barbfeick.com/vaccinations

  • ||

    The Wakefield thing seems to be rather more a persecution of a man with an idea that does not fit the current convention.
    His ethics may or may not have been a little shaky, but certainly no worse than those of the average big Pharma outfit. The ethics do not seem to invalidate some interesting biochemical /pathological observations, and I don't believe these were falsified, any more than I believe that certain genetically engineered potatoes are entirely toxin-free, or that mercury miraculously becomes less toxic once there is laying-on-of hands by a dentist or a vaccine-manufacturer. Frankly, I don't really trust other labs who have failed to find similar results, many of whom have interests too bound up in the vaccination industry. It's amazing what you can't find by not looking very hard.

    Whether there is causal link, a triggering relationship, or just a toxic overload, the jury must still be out.
    The demographic of sales for the use of a certain widely-used sweetener, compared to the start of increased autism-spectrum diagnoses, seem to point at very different (parental, pre-natal) possible culprit.
    What is certainly true is that the overall health benefits of ongoing vaccination programs are very much in doubt, compared to natural life-cycles of strains of diseases, unwanted effects (asthmas etc.) & sequelae, and the strange tendency for vaccines to make relative innocuous diseases more virulent (that would be Darwin, then). This seems especially true of diseases commonly suffered around puberty, many of which confer wider immunities themselves.
    There's plenty of evidence for this to be found, but the vaccine true believers (& the common herd) won't be looking, of course.

    Yep, it's belief system, complete with high priests, sacrifices, & miracles. And the Inquisition (nobody ever expects that).

    For me, two particular things muddy the waters in examining any putative MMR/autism connection:

    One is that, 'anecdotally', parents report onset of autism about three weeks after injection, follwed with a slow decline, but even the best medical studies only admit to strong effects that happen almost immediately, like fits on the day or next day. This is to deliberately ignore a whole set of evidence. It is fundamentally dishonest.

    The strangest one, though, is that MMR is obstinately given at an age when diagnoses of onset of autistic spectrum are considered more likely. This, apparently for administrative convenience (school start dates, etc.), just as separate M, M, R vaccines are very much discouraged, and individual choice be-damned. So, vaccinology protagonists can hide behind this smoke-screen; "Oh, well, it often happens naturally at this age" (and nuffin to do wiv me, guv'nor).

    The health risk of shifting the vaccination age by a few months for, say, some region of the country would highlight a differential with minimal health risks. Which, I suppose, is why that hasn't been tried. Of course, there might be a substantial risk that an interested party might start an epidemic in those months, just to prove a (false) point. That's modern Science for you. Which is more 'ethical', to do the experiment and find an answer, or rely on blind faith and dogma for the entire population?

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