I spoke with a researcher recently who will be leading a government-sponsored vaccine safety meta-analysis (in other words, looking at other studies and drawing conclusions by looking at the compilation of data). The researcher does not have a medical background, but rather degrees in economics and public policy. That didn’t disturb me. Sometimes a fresh perspective is beneficial.
What bothered me was the stated presumption that the lack of an autism vaccine link has already been firmly established. It seems to me the Principal Investigator (PI)--for a safety study for something nearly every American infant is subjected to—should be unbiased going in. Because this study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health, I suspect it is being done in an effort to say concerned parents’ concerns are being heard and this is the response.
An assumption of no vaccine-autism association prior to even beginning gives a strong indication as to what the findings will be. This type of “science” that is used to assure the public should give people pause. I wonder about the objectivity of the other studies that have been done—none of which compare unvaccinated children’s autism rates to those who have been vaccinated. An analogy of studying vaccinated children against less-vaccinated children might be like comparing 1-pack a day smokers with those who smoke two packs a day. Both got cancer, therefore smoking doesn’t cause cancer.
A lot of people strenuously say there are studies showing vaccines are safe and absolutely do not cause autism—yet I dubiously wonder if they have ever read them for themselves know who conducted them and what their conflicts of interest might be, and the methodologies being used. I seriously doubt it. It's a lot of work to do your own research.
The government says over and over again that vaccines don’t cause autism. They don’t know what causes it, but our vaccine schedule-on-steroids simply cannot be a factor. We know at least 83 families have been compensated by the Vaccine Court when their children developed “autism-like symptoms” following vaccination. How is autism diagnosed if not by symptoms?
I’m not making any claims that vaccines cause autism but I sure believe they cause conditions that can lead to it, and I don’t think the issue has been adequately or properly studied. I don’t believe the right questions are being asked. Neither does the late Dr. Bernadette Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health.
I’ve read dozens of studies that implicate vaccines for a host of issues, such as ischemia (reduced blood flow), vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels), mitochondrial disorders, seizures, autoimmune disorders, and death. A 2012 study cites 13 previous studies in saying, “In recent years it has become increasingly clear that vaccines may be a triggering factor for severe neurological manifestations of autoimmune etiology.” 1
I used to fall firmly into the “Vaccines Good - Diseases Bad” camp. I never applied a moment of critical thought to the debate. After all, don't doctors say vaccines are safe and effective? But then, should we blindly trust our doctors?
And should we trust the FDA when they accept the results vaccine manufacturers provide?
Last year while doing research for a paper, I happened upon some preliminary findings regarding attenuated virus (the weakened strains from vaccines) being found in the intestinal tracts of autistic children. The percentage of autistic kids in the study who were afflicted with bowel disease attributable to vaccines was quite high—not a surprise to many autism parents.
I called the researcher, a PhD molecular biologist from a well-respected university medical research center, and asked where I could find his published results. He told me he hadn’t published because he couldn’t find a large enough control group (children without bowel disease)—who wants to allow their healthy child to submit to an invasive procedure? That made sense.
But then he went on to say something that has stuck with me. He said vaccines are untouchable--that the pharmaceutical companies are like the tobacco companies used to be. They conduct the research on the vaccines they develop and maintain their product is safe. The government accepts this. I admit to being old enough to remember tobacco companies insisting there was no link between lung cancer and cigarettes. We all know how that turned out.
Researchers are afraid to even look for an autism – vaccine link. They know they’ll be labeled fringe lunatics and their funding will dry up. Under those circumstances, who would be brave enough to risk their livelihood to delve deeper? When I do read studies of vaccines, it’s funny to see the way scientists carefully word their findings to make sure the reader knows they believe vaccines are a greater good, even while reporting evidence of harm.
Parents vaccinate because they have been led to believe there are these super-germs everywhere ready to infect. Without a vaccine, your child could--and probably will--die! The argument that these diseases are sure and certain killers is also not particularly compelling to me anymore. We no longer live in unsanitary conditions, we have proper nutrition, clean water and access to health care, and not to be glib, but we know to wash our hands. Looking at government data of disease incidence by year, we can see it was steadily decreasing before vaccines entered the picture. We also see diseases not widely vaccinated against—scarlet fever and typhoid declining.
No one wants their child to die from measles, or from any other cause, preventable or otherwise, but there is a constant implication in the media that all childhood viruses are nearly always fatal—this is simply not the case. Until my father told me most the kids he knew growing up had measles and it really not a big deal, I thought children nearly always died or were left with severe brain damage. Now that I've done some reading, I've learned poor outcomes are in actuality very rare events.
But I would also ask why the life of a child that succumbed to illness is more valuable than the lives of children who are vaccine-injured or succumb after vaccination. Every life is precious.
It is this fear of fatal infection, as unlikely an occurrence as it might be, that keeps parents keen on vaccines believing they are protecting their children from serious harm. However, a 2012 study published by Human & Experimental Toxicology found a clear correlation in the increase in infant mortality rates and the increase in the number of doses given routinely. It also points out that although we spend more per capita than any other nation, 33 countries have lower infant mortality rates.2 The study also looks at a possible relationship between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the increase in infant vaccinations.
This study is available free on-line here: http://het.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/05/04/0960327111407644.full.pdf+html
Are vaccines safe? Are they even highly effective? I could go on and on and will in future blogs. As I learn to use blogger's features more proficiently I will post peer-reviewed literature and if so inclined, you can read and decide for yourself. Vaccines are an elephant, and you have to eat an elephant a bite at a time.
1. Tomljenovic, L. & Shaw, C. A. (2012). Death after Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: Causal or Coincidental? Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs. S12-001.
2. Miller, N. Z. & Goldman, G. S. (2012). Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?” Human Experimental Toxicology published online 4 May 2011. DOI: 10.1177/0960327111407644.