Thursday, October 23, 2014

HPV Jab Not Responsible for Wisconsin Girl's Death

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported yesterday that the medical examiner found Diphenhydramine intoxication caused the death of Meredith Prohaska, not HPV vaccination as her mother alleged.

A much-touted vaccine given to teens and preteens to prevent cancers caused by a sexually transmitted virus did not cause or contribute to the death of a 12-year-old Waukesha girl whose mother found her unresponsive in their home on July 30, the Waukesha County medical examiner said Wednesday.

Diphenhydramine intoxication — ingestion of a lethal level of an antihistamine — caused the death of Meredith Prohaska, though the manner of death is undetermined, Medical Examiner Lynda Biedrzycki said in a prepared statement.
"There is no evidence that any vaccination caused or contributed to her death," Biedrzycki said.

Diphenhydramine is a type of antihistamine found in various allergy and sleep medicines, including Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Nytol and Sominex, according to the National Institutes of Health. Overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of a drug or medication.
Not having this information still caused the usual suspects to behave like slavering dogs with a piece of meat.  In fact one of those sordid stories included quotes by Meredith's parents:
“The only thing different about that day was that shot. I wish I would’ve known more about it before I agreed to it,” Rebecca Prohaska said.

“It has to be that vaccine,” Mark Prohaska said.
As we can see, it wasn't the only thing different that day and it wasn't the vaccine.  This is a tragic death that appears to be most likely preventable.  The Prohaskas have my deepest sympathy because as a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than losing your child. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

sadly - another: Aliana has SSPE

While social media are a-buzz with stories of a CDC whistleblower - let's remind ourselves why everyone should vaccinate their children (and themselves).

Max, Micha and Natalie have already died. Angelina, who turned 9 years last week, is still fighting. We know their names, because the measles vaccine has significantly reduced the incidence of SSPE, the fatal complication, that shrinks a child's brain, many years after infection.
Now, another girl has been diagnosed - learn her name - celebrate her life - vaccinate your kids, so not one more child has to join the exclusive club:

Aliana was born in early 2010 - a "good measles year" in Germany, with "only" 780 cases. Aliana was one of them - she fell ill as a 6 months old infant, it is not clear who infected her. Then she recovered, at least so it appeared. Aliana grew, she was an open, friendly girl. She quickly found friends, because everyone liked to play with her. In retrospect, she maybe fell more than her peers, but then again, she was still little. But suddenly, Aliana started to forget everything, she couldn't speak as well as she used to. Then, motor problems started, she stumbled, and fell. Unfortunately, the original diagnosis of epilepsy was wrong and 4 weeks ago, Aliana was diagnosed with SSPE. Her grandmother describes the indescribable [my translation from the German]:

I am the granny of a girl who loved life, played games, was friendly to all, and so kind. When I sang songs with her, she immediately knew the lyrics by heart. I could tell you so much more about this little girl, but it breaks my heart how slowly, everything gets lost.

This has to stop! Every case of SSPE, a fate like Aliana's and her family's heartache can be avoided. Check your and your children's vaccination records. Everyone should get/have gotten 2x MMR to protect themselves and babies like Aliana from measles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pharma Shill Gambit? You Lose.

Anti-vaxx "activists" seem to be getting more shrill these days as more people are stepping up to the plate to counter anti-vaccine misinformation and register their disgust toward anti-vaxx parents putting others at risk and ushering back diseases such as measles.  The anti-vaccine misinformation groups really detest being called what they are...anti-vaccine and as Dr. Novella eloquently put it:
The anti-vaccine movement cannot win in the arena of science. In fact, they have already lost. So they are desperately trying to change the venue by framing the narrative as one about freedom, choice, and transparency. Ironically they are doing this with misinformation that detracts from transparency and freedom of choice.
Not only have they lost in the arena of science, anti-vaxxers never really understood science nor the scientific method to begin with and as such try to shut down rebuttal by accusing their opponents of being "Pharma Shills".  The Pharma Shill Gambit (coined by Orac many years ago) is an ad hominem tactic used by anti-vaxxers to avoid refuting their opponents' evidence.  Sadly, some notable "professionals" even resort to this tactic.  Hilariously Dr. Bob Sears attempted to to this to Catherina and I years ago when he issued a warning to his (now-defunct) forum readers.
There are rumors that SM and Cath are “secret agents” for vaccine manufacturers, planted here to combat my “anti-vaccine” advice. Although I wouldn’t put it past any company to do just that (makes perfect sense – have a couple of “scientific” parents work the blogs and posts instead of doctors or professionals – some parents would listen more to another parent), I have no evidence that such is the case. SM and Catherina claim they spend hours on this site each week for almost two years now out of the goodness of their hearts. I would love to believe that, but I would also expect such good-hearted people to come across good-heartedly in their posts toward people who question vaccines. That clearly is NOT the case, so that makes me question what type of people they really are.
Dr. Bob Sears even believes, in spite of all evidence against this, that any studies refuting a vaccine autism causation are conducted by pharma shills.  More recently, "journalist" Sharyl Attkisson, an anti-vaccine crusader accused a certain law professor of being a pharma shill via Twitter:
And just within the last couple of days, more shoddy reporting by NBC San Diego unquestioningly allowed notorious anti-vaxx "autism mom" Rebecca Estepp to accuse high school students of being pharma shills because she can't believe that high school students could be intelligent enough to see through anti-vaccine propaganda all on their own.

People accusing their critics of being pharma shills or better yet, pharma magnates do themselves no favours.  Those who do so appear incompetent and deluded enough to believe that this is an effective deflection.  Let's say for the sake of argument that we are pharma shills (granted this requires suspension of disbelief), we criticise or refute a point and are accused of being pharma shills.  How does this, in any way, invalidate our criticism or refutation?  The accuser is admitting that our knowledge is so impressive that we must have received specialised training/education/experience (and we have, just not at the Lord Draconis Zeneca's Académie of Shills and Minions).  The accuser is also admitting that they are out of their depth on the subject matter and are unable to intelligently respond.  Sometimes it is projection; often those who engage in the pharma shill gambit have books, videos and other dubious wares for sale and simply can't imagine people criticising them on their own dime.

So the next time someone accuses you of being a pharma shill, they lose.  Perhaps it's time to honour one of our esteemed "commanders" and call it Orac's Law.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anti-Vaxxer Ginger Taylor Fancies Herself a Film Critic Now

American anti-vaxx loon Ginger Taylor has written a review (for a very limited value of review) of Invisible Threat, a short documentary made by Carlsbad High School students and due to be released 1 August 2014.  Ms. Taylor attended a limited screening event in her hometown and is very very mad.  I can at least credit her with actually watching the film before trashing it, unlike her anti-vaxx "colleagues" who simply attacked it and the student filmmakers because it was about autism, vaccines and had Dr. Paul Offit in it.

Ms. Taylor's "review" can be found in it's incomprehensive rambling entirety on her blog.  I have no intent to go point by point but the parts of her incoherent, spittle-flecked diatribe that I could decipher bear the need for correction.
It was a flier for the new "hit" vaccine propaganda piece, "Invisible Threat."  (Since when to people who are in a film, review the film? Oh wait... HHS owns patents on the vaccines it licenses and recommends... forgot who I was dealing with.)
I'll actually give some credit to Ms. Taylor about that particular review however there are many more which can be found by professionals who had nothing to do with the production of the film.  The HHS (Health and Human Services I presume) does not own patents and licenses for recommended vaccines.  Those are held by the manufacturers.  For example, MMR II is owned and licensed by Merck while the Prevnar 13 license is held by Wyeth.  This is a pretty rookie mistake by an alleged "well-researched" anti-vaxx "activist".
You see I have a beloved friend and advocacy partner named Becky Estepp. You all know Becky, she has been a regular on Fox News Channel, and lots of local San Diego area news pieces for years.  If you want to talk a parent in Southern California who can discuss the problems with the vaccine program, and its relationship to the autism epidemic, Becky is your go to gal.

Four years ago, she got a phone call from a high school boy from CHSTV, an awkward sophomore, who said they were making a documentary, and had some questions.  Becky had a long conversation with him, but could tell some of the things she was trying to teach him were a bit over his head.  Then she never heard from anyone on the film again.

Cut to this year when she sees the trailer for "Invisible Threat," and realized THIS was the project she was interviewed for. A totally biased piece, allegedly done by teenagers, that was a bit difficult to believe was done by teenagers.  Why did they not interview her for the actual film?  Great question... I wondered too!
This never happened so either Becky Estepp and/or Ginger Taylor are flat out lying.  Firstly, the Invisible Threat documentary wasn't even proposed until 2012 yet Ms. Taylor claims that Ms. Estepp spoke to a student in 2010, two years prior to it's proposal to CHSTV Films.  How does that work without a Tardis?  Secondly, no students are allowed to make contact with adults like that; they are minors after all.  The parent volunteers will always initially contact potential interviewees.  No one from CHSTV Films ever spoke with Becky Estepp.
We also wondered, "Kids made this?  Really?"  From my estimation, yes they did.  But it seems pretty obvious that they were lead around by the nose on what what and how to "investigate."  In fact we were told at the outset that one of the kids parents worked for Scholastic and "helped" the kids.  I am sure that Rotary "helped" too.  Also apparently the Gates Foundation, "helped"... so....
How is it obvious that the students were "lead around by the nose"?  Was Ms. Taylor there?  Has she bothered to interview anyone involved with the production of Invisible Threat?  Of course not, then she couldn't just rectally-source her claims.  The fact is, is that the students worked completely independently of the Rotary Club; they made it very clear what they wanted to do and they will do it on their own.
But the young people and their advisors thought the Rotary proposal — to make a 20-minute educational film explaining how the immune system and immunization work — seemed boring, they said. And they bristled when the Rotarians told them how the movie should be made, added Bradley Streicher, one of the students who worked on it.

"We said, if we do this, we have to do this on our terms," he said. "We wanted to explore this from both sides."
I have spoken extensively with one of the parent volunteers who informed me that the students decide on the issue, research it, write it, conduct the interviews, conduct filming and editing.  Parent volunteers such as Douglas Green and Lisa Posard assist with contacting subjects, filming and ask some follow-up questions only after the students have interviewed subjects.  I guess given Ginger Taylor's limited ability to grasp science, she needs to project that onto others.  What is the anti-vaxx mantra?  "Do your own research."  These students did and they just didn't find anti-vaxx claims evidence-based or compelling.
She explained that this was the first time the film had been shown in New England (Really? They picked Portland, Maine?) and later explained that one of the reasons that it has not been widely distributed is because the children received death threats after the movie, just like poor Paul Offit (who we have asked for some documentation on these threats, a police report, anything, because, you know... if that shit is really happening, then NOT OK, and we would shame such people into oblivion for it... cause we are kinda sick of being called "baby killers" and being threatened with Child Protective Services as well.)
If Ms. Taylor was told the students received death threats then she was misinformed.  No one involved with CHSTV Films ever claimed they received death threats.  They have however received numerous threats of harm, harassment and intimidation meant to scare them away from completing the project and it nearly worked except the students you claim were "lead around by the nose" convinced the school to let them stay the course.  The school has records and aren't obliged to share them with other anti-vaxx loons.  Ms. Taylor seems to be justifying death threats to Dr. Offit (and he has received actual death threats) just because she doesn't like him.  Are anti-vaxx loons so morally challenged that they can't just condemn the practice of threats and intimidation no matter who they are directed against?  Seems not.
So the film begins, and it is all the same tropes.  It's all Wakefield's fault.  Your body is crawling with a bazillion creatures out to kill you.  Mothers of children who have died of "vaccine preventable" illnesses are beautiful and worthy of your compassion.  Mothers of children who believe vaccines cause their child's autism are into hippy dippy crap like rubbing oils on their kids and moving their limbs around to heal them.
If Ms. Taylor's "assessment" of the film and those involved wasn't bad enough, she goes on to mock mothers who lost their children to vaccine preventable diseases.  Not much more I can say other than to let Ms. Taylor's callous remark reflect upon her.  It is odd that she would be critical of the "vaccines cause autism" mom who engages in alternative medicine when she is representative of the very crowd that Ms. Taylor circulates in.  Perhaps she would have been more approving if the students interviewed the ditchpig mothers who force industrial bleach enemas, drinks and baths onto their autistic children then gush when the poor child shits out his intestinal mucosa.  Maybe parents forcing useless and dangerous chelation on their autistic children based upon bogus tests would meet with Ms. Taylor's approval.  Better yet, how about the one two punch of the Geiers and Mayer Eisenstein that involves falsely diagnosing precocious puberty, chemical castration with Lupron and then chelating?  Or any of the other abusive "biomed" you subject your children to?  Be careful what you wish for Ms. Taylor, had the students dug a little deeper, how much better does your hippy dippy autism mom look now?
The docs that treat their kids are unattractive quacks.  The docs that say vaccines are totally safe are attractive and established and should have angelic music behind them when they speak.
Actually the pro-science, evidence-based physicians who appeared in Invisible Threat had very ominous music playing in the background and they also never said that vaccines were "totally safe".  But more importantly, I would again caution Ms. Taylor to be careful what she wishes for.  Would the previously mentioned quacks like the Geiers, Keri Rivera or Jeff Bradstreet presented better than Dr. Centers?  What difference should it make what they look like, isn't the information they provide be of utmost import?  Perhaps Ms. Taylor had an epiphany (albeit brief) that anti-vaxxers look bad because their message and information are bad.  Ms. Taylor would no doubt be more approving of "more attractive" quacks like Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon.  They were contacted by CSHTV Films to participate and too bad they both declined to grant them interviews.

Ms. Taylor seems to take a tremendous amount of pride in "unleashing" on the panellists present to answer questions after the Invisible Threat screening.

So this is toward the end of the panel discussion, and I just unloaded on them. And not gracefully either.  The angry, talking 60 miles an hour Ginge burst out of me.  I explained that I was the mother of a vaccine injured child and... blah blah insert my creds here... and watching the movie (that they had all extolled) was hard for me because it contained so much that was false and incomplete and sucky.  (I didn't really say sucky.)

So Dr. Blaisdell addressed me very nicely/handled me, and asked me questions, so I was like.. "Fuck it... I am just going to keep talking as long as they will let me," which was a while. But then she brought it around with a "well what would you recommend for us" giving me a final say... again, good, but totally handling me. 
Of course you were being handled with kidd gloves; that's what sensible people do when confronted with an unhinged, gibbering person in close proximity.  It's quite a lack of self-awareness on Ms. Taylor's part to think that she dazzled them with her facts rather than scared the wits out of them.  Again, this is all I care to try and decipher but for those with more fortitude than I may find the rest of her rant to be an exercise in some kind of psychopathology if that's their interest.

Invisible Threat Just Became Visible

Invisible Threat is a documentary written, produced and directed by student filmakers from Carlsbad High school and their award-winning broadcast journalism program CHSTV Films.  It is an exquisitely done short film about the vaccine-autism manufactroversy.  CHSTV Films was approached by the Rotary Club International to produce a film about the immune system and how vaccines work to support their "Don't Wait, Vaccinate!" program.  However, the student broadcast journalists of CHSTV Films had their own idea:
But the young people and their advisors thought the Rotary proposal — to make a 20-minute educational film explaining how the immune system and immunization work — seemed boring, they said. And they bristled when the Rotarians told them how the movie should be made, added Bradley Streicher, one of the students who worked on it.
"We said, if we do this, we have to do this on our terms," he said. "We wanted to explore this from both sides."
Little did these students know what they were about to embark upon and the vitriol they would have to endure to see this documentary completed and released.  Over a year prior to completing the film, the North County Times of Escondido, CA reported on it and the hate blog Age of Autism wasted no time sliming the students and their project.  Links to the NC Times are dead, I understand the paper folded and fortunately for the Age of Autism denizens their vicious comments railing against the student journalists involved with Invisible Threat can no longer be seen.  However, the school received numerous threatening and harassing phone calls and their Facebook page continues to get nasty ad hominem comments (which are deleted).

The adult volunteers involved with Invisible Threat were rightfully concerned for the students' safety and wanted to terminate the project.  The students were not deterred however and it was then that they became the teachers and convinced the parent/teacher volunteers to forge ahead.
It was outrageous to me that the adults would cave to the intimidation. My passion for not backing down was as a student broadcast journalist and the lessons I’d learned making our first film, We Must Remember. In response to that film, it was white supremacists who were angry and contacting us, but we didn’t drop the project. The documentary was about American teens who discover the horrors of the Holocaust first hand by interviewing survivors, traveling to several concentration camps in Europe, and interviewing German teens with Nazi grandparents. The Academy Award winning producer for Schindler’s List, Branko Lustig, took our team to Croatia for the international premiere. There the filmmakers had the opportunity to speak to Serbian, Muslim, and Croatian teens about the lesson we learned. We Must Remember was made to promote tolerance and alert people to the dangers of bullying, while teaching history from a peer-to-peer approach. How could we back down from a topic because of bullying after what we learned and experienced with We Must Remember? The adults weren’t budging until I asked them to “Remember what happens when good people do nothing!
The documentary was completed and select screenings were arranged.  Apparently one that took place on Capitol Hill provoked a new round of vapid criticisms, oddly by those who hadn't even seen the film.
Focus Autism and AutismOne organizations complained about the movie's Rotary Club backing and about the involvement of Dr. Paul Offit, a University of Pennsylvania pediatrician and immunization proponent. They argued that "Invisible Threat" was "scripted with industry talking points" and that the movie seemed to be the work of adults operating under false pretenses, not students.
It is important to note that AutismOne is a notorious anti-vaxx organisation who gives a platform to fraudulent researcher Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, showcases horrible and abusive "autism treatments" such as bleach enemas, DIY faecal transplants, chemical castration and chelation and off-label prescription drug use.  Until this year, anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy sponsored Autism One conferences and still owns Generation Rescue an alleged autism charity that promotes unproven and dangerous "autism treatments" along with funding anti-vaxx "studies".  Focus Autism is another faux "autism resource" whose members and founders disseminate the discredited vaccine autism causation idea.  They attack perceived enemies as well as allies who don't toe their party line.

These are the groups and individuals with a clear axe to grind because they are the very types Invisible Threat features in their documentary.  But these are not particularly rational nor ethical people to begin with given what they advocate for.

The film has been completed, distributed to academic and public health institutions and has received glowing reviews and endorsements.  Invisible Threat has been scheduled to be released in conjunction with the 2014 National Immunization Awareness Month.  If you are a public health official, school administrator, healthcare provider or member of an academic institution, please visit Every Child By Two or contact to arrange for a screening and/or get a copy of Invisible Threat.  Please support these amazing students and their broadcast journalism program while educating the public about the threat to our health and well-being due to falling vaccination rates.  A student involved with the production of Invisible Threat made an amazingly eloquent statement about what she learned during the making of the film:
"My personal conclusion is that vaccinations causing autism is a social controversy, not a scientific one."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

RIP Charlie Haden

The world renowned jazz double bass player Charlie Haden passed away yesterday. How is that relevant for this blog?

Charlie Haden was a gifted singer, performing from the age of 2 years in his family's radio show, until he caught a form of bulbar polio as a teenager - this left him with weak vocal cords and unable to control his pitch. He picked up his brother's double bass and turned out to be one of jazz' greatest double bass players, pairing with Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, Paul Motian, Carla Bley, Dewey Redman, Bill Frisell and others.

In 2010, Haden got struck by post-polio syndrome, leaving him extremely ill, and, cruelly, nearly unable to swallow. His wish was to play the bass again. Charlie Haden passed away after his long illness with his wife and four children at his side. Our thoughts go out to them.

image credit: Bassist Charlie Haden at radio station KJAZ in Alameda CA, 1981. Photo by Brian McMillen / contact:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A year's worth of measles cases in a week - calling it!

The CDC has just reported the measles cases for 2014 to date: 402 (that is four hundred and two) and 65 cases more than last week. The entire year 2010 only saw 63 cases and in fact, the median number between 2000 and 2010 was 60 per year. How can that be?! Very simple: Every year, measles are imported into the US from abroad. If they are imported into communities with low vaccination coverage, they will spread - usually not very far. Just that this time, measles got imported into a much larger pocket of low vaccination coverage - the Ohio population of Amish. And although these are now vaccinating, there are enough non-immune people around to sustain the outbreak, sustain it big time (I am sure we'll hear a luke warm "that's not an outbreak" from Bob Sears at some point though).

image credit nbcnews

In any case - with 402 cases, the time has come to call it - the last really big outbreak of measles in the US was in 1989 to 1991. Around 55000 people got sick, at least 123 died acutely for a mortality rate of 1 reported death in 451 reported cases. We know that there have been at least 11 SSPE cases due to that outbreak, so the death rate is more like 1 reported death in 414 reported cases. We will reach at least one of these numbers next week. That doesn't mean that someone is going to die next week, statistics don't quite work that way. However, it is, at this point, more likely than not that we'll see a death before the end this year.

I am going to call something else: one someone dies, the anti-vax are going to find something "defective" about the victim, and if it isn't something obvious (like the measles victim in Wales, who reportedly was an underweight adult with a past alcohol problem, so "clearly" not like the vaccine refusers' little snowflakes), they are going to make something up (wrong diet, blabla). No number of deaths will be "enough" for them - sad!

Now is as good a time as ever to check your children's and your own immunization records - 2xMMR is extremely effective in preventing measles and saving lives! Just do it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

KISS 11 June 2014: Vaccination protects from severe pertussis

An ongoing outbreak of pertussis in Oregon, spanning from 2010 to 2012 and 624 cases, offered the exceptional opportunity to analyse disease severity. Vaccination history, treatment, demographic, and outcome information was available for almost all (98.7%) of the patients, of which 45% were up to date with currently recommended vaccinations. The paper finds:
Ever-vaccinated cases were significantly less likely to be hospitalized or develop severe illness (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], .1-.8 and aOR, 0.4; 95% CI, .2-.9, respectively). ACIP up-to-date patients stopped coughing significantly more rapidly than unvaccinated patients (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.2). [my bold]
 Read more here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Routine vaccination leaves man quadriplegic? Open Letter to Channel Nine

Like several other outlets, Channel Nine News reported the story of Ben Hammond, a Western Australian father of five, who came down with a debilitating episode of what is purported to be ADEM after a whooping cough booster. Now the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters have written an Open Letter to Channel Nine, which I am reposting here with kind permission, since it is, in contrast to Channel Nine's piece, evidence based and factual and important.


A news story that aired nationally on 2nd and 3rd June, 2014 on the Channel Nine News network and the Today Show was inaccurate and grossly irresponsible.

The story featured Perth father Ben Hammond, who received a Diptheria/Tetanus/Pertussis booster, and became seriously ill eleven days afterwards. Ben’s condition was said to be ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis), a rare auto immune condition. This disease lead to Ben becoming quadriplegic for several months.

First of all, we wish to express our sorrow and sympathy for everything this man and his family have been through. By all accounts they have suffered a great deal physically, emotionally, and financially.
We are not writing to challenge or diminish what has happened to the Hammonds. This family deserves the support and generosity of the public to help them get back on their feet. We support a full investigation into the cause of his illness, so there is transparency on the facts of whether the vaccine caused it and the risks.
However the story breaches the Australian Communications and Media Authority Code of Practice (1):

• Section 4.3.1: The article was not factual or accurate and did not represent
  viewpoints fairly. It did not state:
    o How rarely, if ever, it has been shown that ADEM can be
       caused by vaccination
    o Any evidence to support this allegation
    o Why adults require the Whooping Cough (pertussis)
    o The relative risk to babies of whooping cough, versus
        the risk of the alleged vaccine reaction
• Section 4.3.2: It could cause public panic about vaccines and place
  newborn babies at risk

Why adults require Whooping cough boosters:
The Hammonds were offered a free booster during the time that Australia was experiencing the world’s largest Whooping Cough epidemic. This peaked at 38,500 cases in 2011. In response to thousands of babies being hospitalised and tragically over ten babies dying nationally, State governments have distributed millions of doses of the vaccine for free to new parents since 2009. Without the program, the number of grieving families would have been significantly higher.
Our group includes families whose babies have died from Whooping Cough, and who have worked hard to raise awareness of the need for adult boosters. This has saved lives, particularly of vulnerable premature babies.

Adults need a booster because of waning immunity, this happens both after the vaccine, and following ‘natural’ infection. Recent research has shown that this can occur as quickly as after four years(2). Unfortunately, nationally, less that 12% of adults have had a Whooping Cough booster (3). This means if there is an outbreak, an adult is susceptible to catching the disease, and passing it on to others. For most adults, this causes an irritating coughing illness that can last for months and lead to rib fractures and pneumonia; in young infants it can be deadly. Babies cannot have their first dose of protective vaccine until they are 6 weeks to 2 months old, so these very young babies must rely on adults being up-to-date with their boosters to be protected (4).

Risk of whooping cough to babies:
The story did not state the relative risk of acquiring ADEM after a vaccination, when compared to the risk of a baby catching whooping cough.

   • Nearly all babies that catch whooping cough require care in hospital.
   • It tragically proves fatal in 1 in 200 who catch it (5).
   • There is no cure for whooping cough. Babies face months of disease, and once it takes hold, the only treatment is supportive, with oxygen, and for critical cases, ventilation and ECMO (life support that, at best, also carries a very high mortality) (6).

Thankfully new research has shown that if a woman gets vaccinated when pregnant, this may halve the risk of the baby catching whooping cough (7). However, we are concerned your program will negatively impact on the uptake of this vital public health measure.

The facts about ADEM:
The news story should have featured a medical expert, to provide some facts about ADEM. Without the context of how rarely ADEM occurs after a vaccination, this omission could greatly damage public confidence in the vaccination program.

The alarmist headlines used such as “Routine vaccination almost fatal” “Vaccine danger” “Man becomes quadriplegic following routine vaccination” “One shot left him crippled” “Destroyed his life” and “Vaccination nightmare” were not counterbalanced with any information portraying the real-life risk of developing ADEM. Instead, we were solely given the Hammonds' own assertion of it’s cause.

ADEM may or may not be associated with some vaccines. We know that it occurs at such an extremely low rate it is impossible to determine causality with any scientific accuracy.
Indeed it is so rare the risk is something like 8 out of 1 million risk to the general population. Out of those cases, less than 5% follow immunisation, and it is much more likely to follow infection by one of the vaccine preventable diseases (8). There are many common and not-so-common bacteria and viruses that induce ADEM at much higher rates than those associated with vaccination.
The only vaccine proven to induce ADEM is the Semple form of the rabies vaccine. Other vaccines have all been implicated, most commonly the MMR vaccine, but the majority of the studies that correlate vaccination with ADEM onset use small samples or case studies (because there are so few cases to begin with). Large scale epidemiological studies have not shown an increased risk of ADEM following vaccination.

Also misleading was the implication Mr Hammond had “no immune system" and “no kidney or liver function” from the vaccine. ADEM should not cause organ dysfunction or immune suppression (although medication used to treat it can), and the paralysis it causes is usually temporary.
We take vaccine safety and transparency about that safety very seriously, and support the Hammond's use of the media to highlight the rare possibility of adverse vaccine reactions. The family deserves respect, and privacy, and we understand their need for financial assistance. We hope Ben’s case highlights the importance of a no-fault vaccine injury compensation program in Australia, for when adverse reactions to vaccines do occur.

However, unnecessarily scaring people away from vaccination programs such as against whooping cough could deter adults from having a booster, and place vulnerable newborns at high risk. News reports regarding vaccination should be clear and balanced. They need to present the relative risks of an adverse reaction to a vaccine when compared with the risks from vaccine preventable diseases. The media’s role in public perception of healthcare, risk of disease, and vaccine safety should not be underestimated, nor the responsibility taken lightly.


2: Wendelboe, A. M., Van Rie, A., Salmaso, S., & Englund, J. A. (2005). Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination. The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 24(5), S58-S61
8: Huynh, W., Cordato, D. J., Kehdi, E., Masters, L. T., & Dedousis, C. (2008). Post-vaccination encephalomyelitis: literature review and illustrative case. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 15(12), 1315-1322.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Measles Vaccine = Cancer Cure?

Several news outlets reported today that a woman with multiple myeloma has been the first to go into full remission after receiving a "high dose" measles vaccine.  The Star Tribune and Washington Post also report that Stacy Erholtz who had been battling multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, for ten years went into full remission after receiving a single intravenous infusion of an engineered measles virus (MV-NIS).  The measles virus concentration was enough to inoculate ten million people.

Ms. Erholtz reported that it was the easiest treatment by far she had received and experienced a "bad headache" and fever which quickly resolved.  The treatment was performed last year on Ms. Erholtz and another multiple myeloma patient, both selected because they were immune-compromised.  Unfortunately, the other patient's cancer returned after nine months.
Two multiple myeloma patients were chosen because they are immune-compromised, and can't fight off the measles before it has time to attack cancer. Both had limited previous exposure to measles, and therefore fewer antibodies to the virus, and essentially had no remaining treatment options. Of the two subjects in the study, Stacy was the only to reach full remission. The other patient's cancer returned after nine months.
I am reminded of a statement that Dr. Paul Offit made regarding the theoretical antigen capacity that could be handled by a child's immune system and that was described as:
"...babies could theoretically respond to about one hundred thousand vaccines at one time."
Of course that was used by anti-vaxxers as proof that Dr. Offit was evil if he wanted to jab babies with 100,000 vaccines at one time.  But reading comprehension and honesty aren't exactly strong suits of the anti-vaxx disinformation groups.  And now, here we have an immune-compromised woman with multiple myeloma who was given enough measles vaccine that equalled ten million doses intravenously (that's "directly into the bloodstream")...

And it cured her cancer.

In all honesty, it's too soon to predict the success of this new treatment which is entering clinical trials with multiple viruses and types of cancers but for now, one woman is celebrating life cancer-free and there may be new hope for cancer treatments in the near future.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wakefraud One More Time and Anti-Vaxx Myth-Busting Dr. Iannelli

Since Andrew Jeremy Wakefield aka Wakefraud made another warped bid for attention in the form of threatening a maybe-perhaps-in-the-future-if-he-gets-around-to-it lawsuit against Emily Willingham and Forbes Magazine, it's just as good a time as any to give him the attention he so desperately craves.  C0c0rdance released an educational video which contains Wakefraud's raw real-time PCR data and how it was intentionally altered to achieve measles-positive results entitled "Wakefield's Smoking Gun".  C0nc0rdance's evidence and plain-language explanation leaves no doubt of Wakefraud's intentional fixing of the data to provide his own foregone conclusion.

Next, Vincent Iannelli, M.D. posted an excellent "Vaxopedia" entry "Anti-Vaccine Myths and Misinformation" which will be a handy reference for a quick refutation for the annoying anti-vaxxer you may be arguing with as they will undoubtedly invoke several of the canards debunked by Dr. Iannelli.
"I did my research."
Parents often say that when they are ready to delay or skip vaccines.
Because the idea that vaccines are dangerous is easy to disprove, the anti-vaccine movement surrounds that idea with many myths and much misinformation to confuse parents who are trying to "do their research" on vaccines and how best to keep their children safe and healthy.
This guide to the most common anti-vaccine myths and misinformation will help you understand that vaccines are safe, are necessary, and that getting your kids vaccinated and fully protected against each and every vaccine-preventable disease is the right decision to make.
Please read on for an entertaining rebuttal of 40 anti-vaccine tropes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wakefraud: A New Internet Meme is Born

Last week, Andrew Jeremy Wakefield did not like a blogpost on Forbes by Emily Willingham and penned a whiny threat of legal action against her.  His threat appeared on the autism crank blog Age of Autism whose readership consists mainly of rabid anti-vaxx parents of autistic children who hate Emily Willingham with a white-hot passion.  It was a most calculated move by Wakefield as Penumbrage opines:
So why is he doing it? My best guess is that he has issued this threat and published it on Age of Autism to rally the troops and revitalize his flagging support. And why is he doing it to Ms Willingham? Perhaps he thinks she is more vulnerable than CNN or Time Magazine. Maybe he hoped that Forbes would take the corporate view and silence her to fend off a potential troublesome lawsuit. Not for the first time he has been proven wrong. Ms Willingham is an eminent scientist, an educator and an accomplished journalist. Forbes recognize her talent and show no signs of surrendering to Wakefield’s bluster.
Today, Harpocrates Speaks published a hilarious post describing the "Wakefraud".
The sun set long ago, and outside, the world sleeps. Only the occasional passing car breaks the tranquility of the night. Inside, a lone figure sits before a laptop. The lamp on the desk sheds a soft, if weak, light, nearly drowned out itself by the cold illumination of the monitor. The figure's fingers tap out a few final strokes, then move to the mouse. She drags the cursor across the screen and clicks "Publish". A sudden flash of lightning and thunder, then the room goes dark.

A low, quiet chuckle filters out of the laptop as the screen fitfully flickers back to life. On the screen, four words shed an ominous, baleful glow:

The Wakefraud had struck.
Read both Penumbrage and Harpocrates Speaks for more excellent commentary about the Wakefraud.  Wakefield wanted some publicity and attention, well he's got it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Wakefield Attempts (yet again) to Silence a Critic

Andrew Jeremy Wakefield has issued a letter to blogger Emily Willingham of Forbes accusing her of "malicious defamation" in an article she posted, “Blame Wakefield For Missed Autism-Gut Connection.”
This Pediatrics review of autism and gut disorders found higher rates of constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain among autistic people. But the authors do not once mention anxiety.
That in spite of the fact that anxiety is a key feature of autism and that research suggests that autism and anxiety are indeed linked.  And that gut conditions like diarrhea and constipation and gut pain are often related to anxiety.
When children aren’t autistic and they have stomach pain or constipation or diarrhea, the frequent conclusion is that stress and anxiety are the cause and predictive of anxiety in adulthood. Indeed, with that little nervous system parked there in our gut, it’s no wonder that things get a little seized up and out of rhythm when the rest of us does.
Pressure Pressure (Photo credit: kevin dooley)
So why is it that no one attends to this clear (to me) link when it come to autistic children? Well, the Pediatrics review by McElhanon et al. happens to cite that reason several times:  Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud left over any research examining autism and the gut. So we don’t know anything about the real underlying causes of these digestive problems among autistic children. The Pediatrics authors state it unequivocally:
It is clear that greater clinical and research scrutiny is needed to increase awareness on this topic and thus support development of the best standards of care. Previous controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine and proposed causal link between ASD and infection of the GI tract probably deterred investigators from dedicating resources to examine GI functioning in this population while fostering uncertainty in the ASD community regarding the validity of this line of inquiry.
Another thing for which to thank Andrew Wakefield, a self-described “academic gastroenterologist.” Someone with that specialization would have been the perfect person to make this connection between anxiety in autistic people and gut discomfort. One more among so many opportunities for understanding and intervention missed, even as public health in general and the health of autistic children specifically continue to suffer.
Perhaps now, with this Pediatrics review disconnecting Wakefield from the picture altogether and encouraging genuine investigation, researchers will feel more justified in pursuing this question with valid, testable hypotheses and studies that might lead to effective interventions for GI distress among autistic people.
Wakefield is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Brian Deer, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Fiona Godlee for defamation. Given how TIME magazine has dubbed Andrew Jeremy Wakefield one of the "Great Science Frauds",  or how CNN has called Andrew Jeremy Wakefield's Lancet study "an elaborate fraud" or how the New York Times has called Andrew Jeremy Wakefield "one of the most reviled doctors of his generation" and other journalists and numerous bloggers have "blamed" Andrew Jeremy Wakefield for derailing autism research and reduced uptake of vaccines, it seems rather odd that Wakefield would now single out Emily Willingham and Forbes.

His sad little letter to Dr. Willingham and Forbes has been published on none other than Age of Autism, the revolting den of autistic-haters and Wakefield devotees. Curiously, he penned the threatening letter himself rather than have an attorney draft and send it.
Ms. Emily Willingham
Forbes Magazine
60 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10011.
Re:       Malicious defamation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
Without prejudice
Dear Emily Willingham,
            It has been brought to my attention that on or about April 30, 2014, Forbes ran an online article authored by you entitled, “Blame Wakefield For Missed Autism-Gut Connection.” The article can be found online at:
In this letter you made demonstrably false and misleading claims that have the effect of defaming me. Your false and defamatory statements are reckless, stated without due regard to the available evidence, and malicious. Accordingly, pending review by my lawyers, you will be sued for defamation.
            Specifically, your article states, as a matter of fact that:
Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud left over any research examining autism and the gut.
            In making this false and malicious allegation of fraud, you erroneously ascribe the above statement to a “cite” from the authors of an article published in the medical journal Pediatrics when you write:
Well, the Pediatrics review by McElhanon et al. happens to cite that reason several times: Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud… The Pediatrics authors state it unequivocally:
            On any ordinary reading, the intent of your statement is clear: to imply that the authors of the Pediatrics paper cite fraud on my part.  What McElhanon et al actually say is substantially different from your false and defamatory allegation i.e.,
It is clear that greater clinical and research scrutiny is needed to increase awareness on this topic and thus support development of the best standards of care. Previous controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine and proposed causal link between ASD and infection of the GI tract probably deterred investigators from dedicating resources to examine GI functioning in this population while fostering uncertainty in the ASD community regarding the validity of this line of inquiry.[1]
            There has been a substantial amount of inaccurate and misleading reporting regarding me and my work in multiple publications.  Some of the most egregious statements that have been made about me appeared in the British Medical Journal and in publications by Mr. Brian Deer.  As you should be aware, I am suing the British Medical Journal, its editor Dr. Fiona Godlee, and Brian Deer for defamation in state District Court in Travis County, Texas.  The case is Cause No. D-1-GN-12-000003, Dr. Andrew J Wakefield v. The British Medical Journal,  The case is currently on jurisdictional appeal, a matter that is irrelevant to either the factual merits of the case or to the prosecution of defendants such as you, based, as you are, in the United States.
            The pleadings and other papers on file in that case set forth my position regarding numerous statements made by Brian Deer, Dr. Godlee and the BMJ. I have filed affidavits in that case which support my claim that false and defamatory statements have been made about me.  The documents on file are public records to which you and Forbes have had access for some considerable time. These documents demonstrate that the scientific research conducted by me and published in the Lancet Paper was not fraudulent. It appears that you have failed in the most basic process of due diligence by not availing yourself of this information before making your defamatory statements. Your actions show a reckless disregard for the truth and are clear evidence of malice on your part; pending legal advice, you will be prosecuted accordingly.
            Further, you are advised that there is, in fact, a substantial body of peer reviewed and published work that corroborates the presence of gastrointestinal pathology in a substantial proportion of children with autism. The Lancet Paper was the stimulus for this compelling and important. I suggest that you avail yourself of this body of work in anticipation of legal proceedings against you. The microscopic, cellular, molecular, microbial, and pathophysiological changes that have been reported by independent researchers may prove to be somewhat challenging to your flimsy notion of “anxiety.”
      You are also advised that I live and work in Austin, Texas where my business is headquartered, and that my work is conducted throughout the US. Your defamatory statements about me will undoubtedly cause me to suffer significant personal and financial damage.
            My lawyers are currently dealing with Deer and his co-defendants. They will be turning their attention to you well within the statute of limitations for filing a case against you and Forbes.
Yours faithfully,
Dr. Andrew J Wakefield MB.BS
Bill Parrish
James Moody Esq.
Dawn Loughborough DAIR
This is undoubtedly yet another pathetic attempt by Andrew Jeremy Wakefield to silence critics and whip up support amongst his devoted followers.  Dr. Willingham has my support and hope that Forbes will do the right thing by standing behind their bloggers and not caving to such vexatious and frivolous threats.

ETA (5.2.14): Dr. Willingham has posted this addendum in light of Andrew Jeremy Wakefield's threatening letter:
Following publication of this post, Forbes received a letter from Andrew Wakefield claiming that the post contained “demonstrably false and misleading claims” about him. Specifically, Wakefield writes that the post implies “that the authors of the Pediatrics paper cite fraud on my part” and that “what Mcelhanon et al actually say is substantially different from your false and defamatory allegation”. He claims that “there has been a substantial amount of inaccurate and misleading reporting” about him including the report issued by the British Medical Journal, which he is currently suing. Despite dismissal of that suit on jurisdictional grounds, Wakefield insists that documents in that case will show that “the scientific research conducted by [him] and published in the Lancet paper was not fraudulent”. Wakefield provided a full copy of his letter to Age of Autism, which has published it here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The FDA Takes Action Against Quack Autism "Cure" Peddlers

The FDA announced on Friday 25 April 2014 that they have issued warnings to "companies" who have been making false, misleading and dangerous claims regarding some of the more heinous "autism cures".
April is National Autism Awareness Month, a fitting time to think about the growing need for concern and awareness about autism.
One thing that is important to know up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism. Some may carry significant health risks.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning these companies against making false or misleading claims.
Some of the "cures" that the FDA has warned about are:
  • “Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under medical supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.
Chelation has quite a fan base over at the autism-hating pit also known as Age of Autism. Unfortunately for their children who have been subjected to this dangerous "treatment", the need for chelation is based upon bogus tests that use a chelator administered to the child, urine collected and then "tested".  These provoked challenge tests are not recognised as valid by any regulatory authority any where in the world. 

Research suggests that chelating in the absence of heavy metals can actually cause permanent neurological damage in children because the chelators will scavenge essential nutrients necessary for growth and development.  None of those peddling chelation for autism have any safety or efficacy data to support their claims.  Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue peddles chelation along with off-label prescription drug use to "recover" your autistic child.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. It has not been cleared for autism, among other conditions.
TACA via autism crank Kenneth Stoller make very specific claims regarding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and "treating" autism. Forcing special needs children into HBOT chambers is not only cruel but has already resulted in the death of at least one child and his grandmother for another unapproved use of HBOT.  There are no valid data to support HBOT as an effective autism treatment although that doesn't stop the quacks from taking advantage of desperate parents.
  • Miracle Mineral Solution. Also known as Miracle Mineral Supplement and MMS, this product becomes a potent chemical that‘s used as bleach when mixed according to package directions. FDA has received reports of consumers who say they experienced nausea, severe vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure after drinking the MMS and citrus juice mixture.
This is perhaps one of the most horrifying and ludicrous autism "cures" and Kerri Rivera is at the forefront of this disgusting and abusive snake oil peddling.  Ms. Rivera has presented MMS/Chlorine Dioxide (CD) as an autism cure at the premier crankfest AutismOne since 2010 and will be there again this year claiming 128 children "recovered" by bleaching them. Ms. Rivera would have her followers believe that since chlorine dioxide isn't sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) that it isn't a bleach.  She is either too stupid, too evil or both to make this claim as "bleach" is a classification of chemical compounds, not a single one as Emily Willingham so aptly demonstrated.  

Users abusers of MMS/CD report nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhoea but Ms. Rivera blithely exclaims that "it's working".  Parents who force this on their autistic children also report and proudly supply pictures of their children's intestinal mucosa which is sloughing off to which Ms. Rivera claims that it's "parasites".  Ms. Rivera lives hides in Mexico but peddles her snake oil globally so is not immune from FDA action.
  • Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body, falsely offering “dramatic improvement” for autism symptoms.
A completely useless and potentially dangerous "autism treatment".  Clay baths are not regulated and can contain harmful contaminants, the very things that peddlers claim they are purging from the body.
  • CocoKefir probiotics products. Product claims include being a “major key” to recovery from autism, but they are not proven safe and effective for this advertised use.
CocoKefir is a sponsor of AutismOne this year and although they have received at least one FDA warning letter, are still making claims that their products treat autism. Again, these products are considered supplements and are not regulated so may contain contaminants and other ingredients which are not listed.

I applaud this action by the FDA as special needs children are being subjected to dangerous, harmful and downright abusive "treatments" by dubious quacks and cranks.  Now if only the AMA and AAP will recognise these abusive "treatments" for what they are and disciplining their own physicians, perhaps autistic children may be spared from harms perpetrated by the very people who should be protecting them.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Find a "vaccine friendly" doctor

that is, one who is friendly and vaccinated. In honour of National Infant Immunization Week, which starts today, the CDC has announced their 2014 Childhood Immunization Champion Awards. Check them out - maybe you are lucky enough to live near one - there is one per state :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Welcome on the blo(g)ck Vaxplanations

There is a new blog on the block - Vaxplanation sets out to explain the myths around vaccination (we can never have enough of those). Their first post takes down a sad denialist piece which trivialised the dangers of measles and propagated loads of old anti-vaccine lies, well, myths. The piece is not only eloquent, but also spiked with the right amount of information, snark and some lovely memes, driving home the essentials - vaccination is safe, not vaccinating is the wrong choice.

Welcome Vaxplanations - looking forward to your next!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

KISS 3/18/14 - measles then

Anti-vaccine propagandist like to point out "historic" accounts of measles and co. where the diseases totally were no big deal. Well, I see your Brady Bunch and I raise you poor Captain Hamilton:

He "was not vouchsafed a hero's death upon the field of glory, he was none the less a hero, dying of pneumonia, following an attack of measles."

I am sure his mom did everything wrong and gave him tylenol or something...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken pox? Chicken pox!

There are still parents who, although generally vaccinating, question the need for a chicken pox vaccine. They do think of chicken pox as a harmful rite of passage, a handful of pox, crusted over in a few days - about as "dramatic" as in this child:


the benefit is assumed to be life long immunity (which it is, for about 90% of patients). Problem is - these are chicken pox, too:


Hundreds of lesions, the entire back covered, incredibly painful, the infection so severe that the child had to be committed to the hospital, like 2000 of her peers in pre-vaccine Germany per year, on average for 5 days, 77% without pre-existing conditions. Chicken pox cases neurological complications (25.4% of hospitalisations), skin infections (23.2%) and gastrointestinal complications (15%), indeed, pox can be internal as well. About 20 per year died.

There is nothing to predict whether your child will be in the top group - "chicken pox? What's the fuss about?", or in the bottom group "chicken pox?! Looks like small pox to me!".  

That is why vaccination is worth it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


the third anniversary of Angelina's diagnosis. Just before, she had been a completely healthy six year old:

then SSPE, the late and invariably fatal measles complication became overt. This video by the German Association of Pediatricians explains the stages - watch it, you'll get the gist - at first, she is "only" clumsy and falls, then the seizures start, and very few months later Angelina was incapable to doing anything. This is the condition she has been in for the past 2.5 years:

Angelina's mother wonders at the end of this video, why parents do not vaccinate their children, while they are all buckling them up in the car. She does support mandatory vaccination (no shots, no school does not exist in Germany).

I agree with the doctor in this video:

Parents - go get your children vaccinated, especially against measles, mumps and rubella. If you are not immune, talk to your doctor and get yourself up to date.
If you are afraid to vaccinate, talk to your doctor and work with him/her on "unscaring" yourself. Then vaccinate your child/yourself. Thank you.

You are an anti-vaccine activist? Have a careful look at that film clip. It shows the results of not vaccinating. Measles could have long been eradicated, where it not for pro-disease activists like you. Please realise that the risk of infecting a baby with measles is something you cannot control.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Measles Madness

no really - absolutely madness. Do parents in the US not realise how good they have it with measles not circulating and their babies protected? We are 10 weeks into the year, not quite 20% and the CDC reports 71 cases of measles. SEVENTYONE! In 10 weeks! That is as many as in the entire year 2009 and more than in 2010 and 2012.

7 cases in Orange County. 19 in New York - 5 of those hospitalised - that is a quarter. Honestly? What is this? The Middle Ages? The potential for further spread and infection of vulnerable, young, old, sick, immuno-suppressed is horrendous - look at this from the Orange County outbreak:

SEVEN possible exposures in 5 different hospitals/doctors' practises, TWO different schools exposed, with 1 (only - luckily) and 13 kids with philosophical exemptions respectively. What will it take for people to sober up? For uneducated C-rated starlets to shut up and get their child appropriate medical care? Will a child have to die?

It is time for vaccinating parents to speak up. Stop being tolerant of your friends' and neighbours' vaccine denial. Tell them that what they are doing is unacceptable and dangerous. Start asking questions at your daycare centers, schools, doctors' offices - how many of their pupils/patients are unvaccinated out of personal choice. Tell them it is not acceptable and dangerous to be complacent. Speak up.

Friday, March 7, 2014

75 studies that show no link between vaccines and autism UPDATED to 107

Edited to fix links and to add more studies for a new total of 107 on 11 March 2014

Guest blog, compiled by Allison Hagood, Luci Baldwin, Kathy McGrath and Nathan Boonstra and originally published on the "Your Baby's Best Shot" Facebook page. I am grateful for the permission to repost!

If anyone still tries to pull the "vaccines cause autism" card on you, provide them with a link to this note!

Albizzati, A., Moré, L., Di Candia, D., Saccani, M., Lenti, C.  Normal concentrations of heavy metals in autistic spectrum disorders.  Minerva Pediatrica.  2012. Feb;64(1):27-31

Afzal, MA., Ozoemena, LC., O’Hare, A., Kidger, KA., Bentley, ML., Minor, PD. Absence of detectable measles virus genome sequence in blood of autistic children who have had their MMR vaccination during the routine childhood immunization schedule of UK.   Journal Medical Virology.  2006 May;78(5):623-30.

Ahearn WH. What Every Behavior Analyst Should Know About the "MMR Causes Autism" HypothesisArchive of Behavior Analysis in Practice.  2010.   Spring;3(1):46-50.

Allan, GM., Ivers, N.  The autism-vaccine story: fiction and deception?  Canadian Family Physician.  Oct 2010; 56(10): 1013.

Andrews, N., Miller, E., Grant, A., Stowe, J., Osborn, V., & Taylor, B. (2004).  Thimerosal exposure in infants and developmental disorders: a retrospective cohort study in the United Kingdom does not support a causal association.  Pediatrics, 114, 584-591. 

Andrews, N., Miller, E., Taylor, B., Lingam, R., Simmons, A., Stowe, J., Waight, P.  Recall bias, MMR and autism.  Archives of Disease in Childhood.  Dec 2002; 87(6): 493–494.

Baird, G., Pickles, A., Simonoff, E., Charman, T., Sullivan, P., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., Afzal, M., Thomas, B., Jin, L., Brown, D.  Measles vaccination and antibody response in autism spectrum disorders.  Archives of Disease in Childhood.  2008 Oct;93(10):832-7. doi: 10.1136/adc.2007.122937. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Berger, BE., Navar-Boggan, AM., Omer, SB.  Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination--United States, 2001-2010.   BMC Public Health.  2011 May 19;11:340. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-340.

Black, C., Kaye, JA.  Relation of childhood gastrointestinal disorders to autism:  nested case-control study using data from the UK General Practice Research Database.  British Medical Journal.  2002; 325(7361):419-21.

Bower, H.  New research demolishes link between MMR vaccine and autism.  British Medical Journal.  1999.  Jun 19;318(7199):1643.

Chen, W., Landau, S., Sham, P., & Fombonne, E. (2004).  No evidence for links between autism, MMR and measles virus.  Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 543-553.

Christie, B.  Scottish expert group finds no link between MMR and autism.  British Medical Journal,  2002. May 11;324(7346):1118.

Clements, CJ., McIntyre, PB.  When science is not enough – a risk/benefit profile of thiomersal-containing vaccines.   Expert Drug Opinion Safety.  2006. Jan;5(1):17-29.    

Dales, L., Hammer, S. J., & Smith, N. J. (2001). Time trends in autism and in MMR immunization coverage in California.   JAMA, 285(9), 1183-1185.

De Los Reyes, EC.  Autism and immunizations: separating fact from fiction.  JAMA Neurology.   2010;67(4):490-492. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.57.

DeWilde, S., Carey, IM., Richards, N., Hilton, SR., Cook, DG.  Do children who become autistic consult more often after MMR vaccination?  British Journal of General Practice.  2001 Mar;51(464):226-7.

Demicheli, V., Jefferson, T., Rivetti, A., & Price, D. (2005).  Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 4. (a review of 31 studies)

DeStefano, F.  MMR vaccine and autism: a review of the evidence for a causal association.   Molecular Psychiatry.  2002;7 Suppl 2:S51-2.

DeStefano, F., Chen, RT.  Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: No epidemiological evidence for a causal association.  The Journal of Pediatrics.  2000 Jan;136(1):125.    

DeStefano, F., Bhasin, T. K., Thompson, W. W., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., & Boyle, C. (2004).  Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan AtlantaPediatrics, 113(2), 259-266.

DeStefano F., Price CS., Weintraub, ES.  Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism.   Journal of Pediatrics.  2013 Aug;163(2):561-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

DeStefano F., Thompson, WW.  MMR vaccine and autism: an update of the scientific evidence. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2004 Feb;3(1):19-22.

DeStefano F., Thompson, WW.  MMR vaccination and autism: is there a link?  Expert Opinion on Drug Safety.  2002 Jul;1(2):115-20.

DeStefano, F.  Chen, RT.  Negative association between MMR and autism.  Lancet. 1999 Jun 12;353(9169):1987-8.

DeStefano, F., Chen, RT.  Autism and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination:  controversy laid to rest?  CNS Drugs.  2001. 2001;15(11):831-7.

D’Souza J., Todd T.  Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and the development of autism or inflammatory bowel disease: the controversy should end.  Journal of Pedatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics.   2003 Jul;8(3):187-99. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-8.3.187.

D’Souza, Y., Fombonne, E., Ward, BJ.  No evidence of persisting measles virus in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from children with autism spectrum disorder.  Pediatrics.  2006 Oct;118(4):1664-75.

Doja, A., & Roberts, W. (2006).  Immunizations and autism: A review of the literature.  The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 33(4), 341-346.

Elliman, D., Bedford, H.   MMR: where are we now?  Archives of Disease in Childhood.   2007 Dec;92(12):1055-7. Epub 2007 Jul 11. 

Farrington, C., Miller, E., & Taylor, B. (2001).  MMR and autism: further evidence against a causal association.  Vaccine, 19(27), 3632-3635.

Fitzpatrick, M.  The end of the road for the campaign against MMR.  British Journal of General Practice.  2007 Aug;57(541):679.

Fombonne, E., & Chakrabarti, S. (2001).  No evidence for a new variant of measles-mumps-rubella–induced autism.  Pediatrics, 108(4), e58-e58.

Fombonne, E., Zakarian, R., Bennett, A., Meng, L., & McLean-Heywood, D. (2006).  Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and links with immunizations.  Pediatrics 118(1) e139-e150; doi:10.1542/peds.2005-2993.

García-Fernández, L., Hernández, AV., Suárez Moreno, V., Fiestas, F.  Addressing the controversy regarding the association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.  Revista Peruana de Medicine Experimental Salud Publica. 2013 Apr;30(2):268-74.

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Pichichero, ME., Cernichiari, E., Lopreiato, J., Treanor, J.  Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: a descriptive study.  Lancet. 2002 Nov 30;360(9347):1737-41.

Peltola, H., Patja, A., Leinikki, P., Valle, M., Davidkin, I., & Paunio, M.  No evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine-associated inflammatory bowel disease or autism in a 14-year prospective study.  1998.  Lancet, 351(9112), 1327.

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Rumke, HC., Visser, HK.  Childhood vaccinations anno 2004. II. The real and presumed side effects of vaccination.  Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde.  2004 Feb 21;148(8):364-71.  

Schechter, R., Grether, JK.  Continuing increases in autism reported to California's developmental services system: mercury in retrograde.  Archives of General Psychiatry.  2008 Jan;65(1):19-24. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2007.1.

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Smith, M. J., & Woods, C. R.  On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.  Pediatrics.  2010. 125(6), 1134-1141.

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Singh, VK. Rivas, WH.  Detection of antinuclear and antilaminin antibodies in autistic children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines  - mercury as in thimerosal-containing vaccines is likely not related to autoimmune phenomenon in autism.   Journal of Biomedical Science.  2004 Sep-Oct;11(5):607-10.   

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Stehr-Green, P., Tull, P., Stellfeld, M., Mortenson, PB., Simpson, D.  Autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines: lack of consistent evidence for an association.   American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  2003 Aug;25(2):101-6.

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Taylor, B., Miller, E., Lingam, R., Andrews, N., Simmons, A., & Stowe, J.  Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and bowel problems or developmental regression in children with autism: population study.  2002.  British Medical Journal, 324(7334), 393-396.

Taylor, B., Lingam, R., Simmons, A., Stowe, J., Miller, E., Andrews, N.  Autism and MMR vaccination in North London: no causal relationship.   2002.  Molecular Psychiatry.                   7 Suppl2:S7-8.

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Thompson, WW., Price, C., Goodson, B., Shay, DK., Benson, P., Hinrichsen, BL., Lewis, E., Eriksen, E., Ray, P., Marcy, SM., Dunn, J., Jackson, LA., Lieu, TA., Black, S., Stewart, G., Weintraub, ES., Davis, RL., DeStefano, F.,  Vaccine Data Link Safety Team.  Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years.  New England Journal of Medicine.  2007 Sep 27;357(13):1281-92.

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