Anecdotal Amish-don’t-vaccinate claims disproved by fact-based study

The various vaccine manufactroversies that have spread in the wake of the Andrew Wakefield’s bogus claims that the measles component of the MMR vaccine might be linked to autism are too numerous to unpack in one brief blog post. One of the most persistent has been the Amish fallacy: Most Amish don’t vaccinate; there’s almost no record of autism in Amish communities; ergo, vaccines cause autism. (This argument has also been used, time and time and time again, to illustrate the efficacy of a proposed vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated study.)

Not surprisingly, no part of the Amish fallacy — which has been kicking around for over a decade and gained new prominence and attention with this, purely anecdotal 2005 dispatch* — is true. Over the years, Ken Reibel at Autism News Beat has documented the problems with the Amish report, although the myth still persists.

Yesterday, Reuters Health reported on a recent study in Pediatrics titled “Underimmunization in Ohio’s Amish: Parental Fears Are a Greater Obstacle Than Access to Care.” The study found that majority of Amish parents do, in fact, vaccinate their children…and among the minority that don’t, the most common reasons cited were the same anti-vaccine fueled fears that have infected people around the country.

Unlike the theories propagated by anti-vaccine activists, this study was definitely not anecdotal: It was based on surveys sent to hundreds of families in Holmes County, which has a large number of Amish families. As Reuters reports, “Of 359 households that responded to the survey, 85 percent said that at least some of their children had received at least one vaccine. Forty-nine families refused all vaccines for their children, mostly because they worried the vaccines could cause harm and were not worth the risk.”

The study’s conclusions summarize the issue quite succinctly:

The reasons that Amish parents resist immunizations mirror reasons that non-Amish parents resist immunizations. Even in America’s closed religious communities, the major barrier to vaccination is concern over adverse effects of vaccinations. If 85% of Amish parents surveyed accept some immunizations, they are a dynamic group that may be influenced to accept preventative care. Underimmunization in the Amish population must be approached with emphasis on changing parental perceptions of vaccines in addition to ensuring access to vaccines.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the days to come…and what objections will be raised to invalidate this latest piece of evidence.

* Correction: In the first iteration of this post, I attributed the Amish-don’t-vaccinate myth to the 2005 UPI dispatch linked to above; as was pointed out in the comments, it has been kicking around since at least 2000.

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187 Responses to Anecdotal Amish-don’t-vaccinate claims disproved by fact-based study

  1. brian says:

    Yes, Olmsted was wrong–the Amish do vaccinate.

    It would be interesting if Olmsted’s other point–that there is no autism among the Amish–was not also wrong. However, a group from the University of Miami and Vanderbilt University reported at the 2010 International Meeting for Autism Research that door-to-door ascertainment in two of the country’s largest Amish communities (including Holmes County, which was included in the study that you cited) produced a preliminary estimate of the the prevalence of autism of 1 in 271 children in those communities. While that is lower than the reported prevalence in the general population, it is clear that Olmsted’s idea that research consists simply of collecting anecdotes is wrong again.

    • Luna says:

      The reported incidence of autism amongst the Amish is also not likely the true incidence. The Amish run their own hospitals for children with problems, and tend not to access state services. Many families quite deliberately avoid involving formal diagnoses. This is not evidence that the children do not exist (actually, because of problems with inbreeding, many Amish communities have a very high incidence of children with certain inherited cognitive disabilities, and no this is not hearsay, this is based on my having sorted through 10+ years of Amish birth announcements and community notices for a thesis project) — but they do not make these children particularly visible, either. And in the case of “mild” or “high-functioning” autism, where the children do not need intensive services in a hospital, they are often quietly integrated into the community without any label whatsoever.

      Nutshell version: reported incidence likely much too low because of lack of formal identification.

      http://amishamerica.com/clinic-for-special-children-benefit-auction/
      http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-visit-doctors/

  2. Cathy says:

    Do the Amish vaccinate according to the CDC schedule? For many of us, the question isn’t whether vaccines in general are beneficial. For a lot of us parents who look to balance the benefits and risks, the question is whether the current schedule is bloated and if so many vaccines given at the same time cause problems. Additionally, do the Amish vaccinate with HepB on the day of birth? For me, this is the most insane and unnecessary assault on infants. Unless the mother is a carrier, since the risk of contracting HepB in infancy is very small, why not wait until the child’s immune system is a bit more mature? My child has received all the vaccines according to the CDC’s schedule and has PDD. If I could do it again, I’d vaccinate, but on a very different schedule, more closely resembling the schedule my parents followed when I was an infant in the 60′s. Surely there has to be a middle ground that will protect children from both infectious diseases and possible harm to their developing immune systems. It seems to be that only the most rabid defenders on each side of this issue have a problem with a slower but still thorough approach to vaccination.

    • René Najera says:

      So I took all these courses in immunology and cell biology, and I can’t, for the life of me, remember anything about a mature/immature immune system. Do you mean by “mature” an immune system that has been exposed to more antigens? Or just age-wise?

      Just curious. Thanks.

      • Matt Carey says:

        Rene,

        if you find out the difference between “immature” and “mature” immune systems, would you be so kind as to let us know how an “immature” immune system responds to an infection of something like measles?

        It strikes me that if an immune system were somehow “immature” it would be at greater risk of not being able to manage an infection. This would suggest that the protection offered by vaccines would be *more* important to infants.

        Like you, just curious.

        • Timothy says:

          I would like to reply to this. If you were to search for more in-depth biological responses to toxins, you would find the answer. The human body has it’s own capability to detoxify substances (Super-Oxide Dismutase, Catalase) and an infant might not have that portion of it’s body as fully developed as an older child due to toxicity being BODY WEIGHT DEPENDENT. Bigger bodies can take more toxins. The toxins and other possible infectious agents inside of a vaccine might be too much for a small baby to handle and may cause untold damage to development withing the nervous system and brain.

          So, please, STOP using your education to bully people who’s concerns you don’t agree with. You just might be wrong or have incomplete knowledge on the subject.

          • Matt Carey says:

            We can go around in circles forever with people proposing vague hypotheses about how toxins cause autism.

            But we have data that shows clearly that, for example, thimerosal does not increase the risk of autism. Hypotheses that go against data are not a valuable use of time.

            It isn’t a matter of whether I agree or disagree with people’s concerns. It’s a matter of the facts not fitting the concerns.

            I’d be interested in what in my comment above you interpret as “bullying”.

          • Ken says:

            bullying = anytime a strong argument is used to counter a weak argument.

        • Jon says:

          For those of you that do not research and just want to believe what ever you are told and buy into the vaccine myth, I have hard evidence that thimerosal and vaccination does cause autism. lets take a look at what the creator of thimerosal, Eli Lilly and co. states in their Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on Thimerosal and than a Tripedia insert.

          The following are excerpts from the Material Safety Data Sheet for thimerosal, published by Eli Lilly and Company. Effective date is 22 Dec 1999. Seasonal flu vaccines are being recommended for use in pregnant women, despite the following warnings taken directly from the Material Safety Data Sheet.
          Primary Physical and Health Hazards: Skin Permeable. Toxic Mutagen (causes genetic mutation). Eye Irritant. Allergen. Nervous system and reproductive effects.
          Caution Statement: Thimerosal may enter the body through the skin, is toxic, alters genetic material. Effects of exposure may include numbness of extremities fetal changes, decreased offspring survival and lung tissue changes.
          Exposure to mercury in utero may cause mild to severe mental retardation and mild to severe motor coordination impairment.
          Reference: http://www.vaccine-tlc.org/docs/Thimerosal%20Material%20Safety%20Data%20Sheet.pdf

          Below is the original Tripedia – Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoid, and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP)Vaccine Insert from Sanofi-Pasteur. Tripedia was discontinued in 2011 and the Sanofi Pasteur will continue to distribute the vaccine until supplies are depleted in the 2nd quarter of 2011. Certain information that was originally included in the insert was later deleted before it was taken off the market. Encephalopathy a term for any diffuse disease of the brain that alters brain function or structure. Encephalopathy may be caused by infectious agent (bacteria, virus, or prion), metabolic or mitochondrial dysfunction, brain tumor or increased pressure in the skull, prolonged exposure to toxic elements (including solvents, drugs, radiation, paints, industrial chemicals, and certain metals), chronic progressive trauma, poor nutrition, or lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. The hallmark of encephalopathy is an altered mental state. Depending on the type and severity of encephalopathy, common neurological symptoms are progressive loss of memory and cognitive ability, subtle personality changes, inability to concentrate, lethargy, and progressive loss of consciousness. Other neurological symptoms may include myoclonus (involuntary twitching of a muscle or group of muscles), nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movement), tremor, muscle atrophy and weakness, dementia, seizures, and loss of ability to swallow or speak. Blood tests, spinal fluid examination, imaging studies, electroencephalograms, and similar diagnostic studies may be used to differentiate the various causes of encephalopathy.
          Reference: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalopathy/encephalopathy.htm

          In the German case-control study and US open-label safety study in which 14, 971 infants received Tripedia (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) vaccine, 13 deaths in Tripedia (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) vaccine recipients were reported. Causes of deaths included seven SIDS, and one of each of the following: enteritis, Leigh Syndrome, adrenogenital syndrome, cardiac arrest, motor vehicle accident, and accidental drowning. All of these events occurred more than two weeks past immunization.2 The rate of SIDS observed in the German case-control study was 0.4/1, 000 vaccinated infants. The rate of SIDS observed in the US open-label safety study was 0.8/1, 000 vaccinated infants and the reported rate of SIDS in the US from 1985-1991 was 1.5/1, 000 live births.34 By chance alone, some cases of SIDS can be expected to follow receipt of whole-cell pertussis DTP35 or DTaP vaccines. An OURAGEOUS STATEMENT!! But yet they finally took it off the market without giving a reason why.
          Another example of how the people you trust just dismisses that Tripedia causes SIDS, Autism and encephalopathy. You should be outraged as I am. When your child is injured the government is not responsible, your physician is not responsible and the pharmaceuticals are not responsible. Who did you look up to, too protect you when you were a child? Your parents!

          Additional Adverse Reactions:
          As with other aluminum-containing vaccines, a nodule may be palpable at the injection sites for several weeks. Sterile abscess formation at the site of injection has been reported.3,36
          Rarely, an anaphylactic reaction (ie, hives, swelling of the mouth, difficulty breathing, hypotension, or shock) has been reported after receiving preparations containing diphtheria, tetanus, and/or pertussis antigens.3
          Arthus-type hypersensitivity reactions, characterized by severe local reactions (generally starting 2-8 hours after an injection), may follow receipt of tetanus toxoid.
          A few cases of peripheral mononeuropathy and of cranial mononeuropathy have been reported following tetanus toxoid administration, although available evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation.37
          A review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found evidence for a causal relationship between tetanus toxoid and both brachial neuritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.37
          A few cases of demyelinating diseases of the CNS have been reported following some tetanus toxoid-containing vaccines or tetanus and diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccines, although the IOM concluded that the evidence was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship.37

          Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, SIDS, anaphylactic reaction, cellulitis, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence and apnea. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) vaccine.2b

          Reference: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM101580.pdf on page 11 of 13
          https://www.vaccineshoppe.com/assets/pdf/tripedia.pdf on page 11of 13 and
          http://www.rxlist.com/tripedia-drug/side-effects-interactions.htm toward the bottom

          • Chris says:

            “I have hard evidence that thimerosal and vaccination does cause autism.”

            Which vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is only available with thimerosal. Do not include influenza, because half of the influenza vaccines are vaccine free. Also, there are two other DTaP vaccines without thimerosal.

            Please be reminded that lawyer written vaccine inserts are not scientific evidence because they leave out one very important bit of data: relative risk.

            ” The rate of SIDS observed in the US open-label safety study was 0.8/1, 000 vaccinated infants and the reported rate of SIDS in the US from 1985-1991 was 1.5/1, 000 live births.3″

            Old research, especially since there have been changes in pertussis vaccines. Here is more recent science, which if you did real research you would not ignore:

            Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
            Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

            Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
            Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

            Pediatrics. 2010 Oct;126(4):656-64. Epub 2010 Sep 13.
            Prenatal and infant exposure to thimerosal from vaccines and immunoglobulins and risk of autism

            Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82
            Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

            Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214
            Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

            Vaccine. 2007 Jun 21;25(26):4875-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
            Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis.

            Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
            Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

        • Josiah says:

          This is actually for your comment on Feb 8 2013 at 9:38pm, but the site wouldn’t let me directly reply to that post.

          Why did you change the topic? Rene brought up the issue of whether immature immune systems exist. You seemed to support this skepticism, and then Timothy brought up a valid point to what people could be referring to when they mention immature immune systems. You then completely changed the topic to the general topic of toxins, thimerosal, and autism.

          Argument fail at its best.

      • Twyla says:

        Rene & Matt, do you think it is OK that modern medicine is apparently pretty ignorant about the newborn immune system? And we’re just piling on more and more vaccines but, according to you, in your basic classes in the immune system there was nothing on the maturing of an infant’s immune system? Are you assuming that, unlike for example the GI and nervous and muscular systems, the baby is born with a fully mature immune system with no changes to occcur other than developing a memory of various microbes?

        I can’t believe you’re making fun of Cathy for suggesting that an infant’s immune systems may be immature.

        Here’s an interesting article about how little we really know about “Early Life Immune Challenges”:
        http://passionlessdrone.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/a-brief-overview-on-early-life-immune-challenges-and-why-they-might-matter/

        Here’s and interesting article about how inadequate are the studies on the Hep B vaccine:
        http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/07/hilary-butler-on-unanswered-questions-about-hep-b-vaccine.html

        • Mara says:

          They’re making fun because yes, the immune system works immediately, otherwise babies would all die from nothing more than all the viruses and bacteria in our vagina.

          We’re covered in infectious material and breathe it in and touch it and eat it all day. Babies are constantly exposed to all kinds of things just by being picked up and snuggled. That’s why evolution created the immune system, for all its imperfections.

          I took a look at the passionless drone post and my medical background is not good enough to comment on those pieces of research. My first question would be “Is the immune response created by injecting something that causes septic shock (LPS or gram-negative bacteria) equivalent to a vaccine?” I don’t know the answer.

          I hope that someone with a medical background can address that issue for you. I know my limits.

          As for Age of Autism…that article approvingly quotes Wakefield. ::shakes head:: Not touching that with a 10-foot pole.

          • Josiah says:

            Argument fail.

            The discussion is about mature vs immature immune systems and whether this distinction exists, not whether the immune systems works or not at the time of birth:

            “They’re making fun because yes, the immune system works immediately, otherwise babies would all die from nothing more than all the viruses and bacteria in our vagina.”

            To make this clearer, babies have immature brains at birth, yet they still survive. So immature systems do not cause death or total system failuire.

        • Matt Carey says:

          “Rene & Matt, do you think it is OK that modern medicine is apparently pretty ignorant about the newborn immune system? ”

          I think that modern medicine is far more educated about the immune system that people who spend a lot of time talking about the “immature immune system” as a talking point about vaccines.

          I stopped reading the Age of Autism blog. After years and hundreds of posts, I found it to be a frustrating waste of time. They substitute hatred for understanding. And that is on a good day. They are one of the major sources of misinformation on autism on the net. They have a stated mission to create fear of vaccines.

          I believe this statement made it quite clear–

          With less than a half-dozen full-time activists, annual budgets of six figures or less, and umpteen thousand courageous, undaunted, and selfless volunteer parents, our community, held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees.

          Would you be so good as to point out where I was “making fun” of anyone? I asked a serious question. Perhaps you might take the question seriously rather than dismissing it and my motives. That would help to insure a discussion rather than the sort of nonsense that is the mainstay of your source, the age of autism blog.

        • Matt Carey says:

          Just to be clear–

          would you be so kind as to explain how a newborn’s immune system would differ from an adult’s in the response to a measles infection?

          It is a serious question. Part of the answer, I suspect, is that the infant is less likely to survive, or to get through the infection without permanent injury.

          Here is a quote from the Zepp article that pD mentioned–

          Immunogenicity of vaccines can also be lower than normal in certain population groups, particularly those with less developed, poor or weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and people who are immunocompromised. The immune systems of infants, particularly those born prematurely, do not have suf-ficient maturity, especially with regard to antigen-processing and presentation by APCs. Consequently, newborns in general demon-strate weaker, slower and less specific immune responses than older children

          The argument about “immature” immune systems is generally that they are “overwhelmed” by vaccines. How, exactly, does that happen if their responses are “weaker, slower and less specific”?

          Another argument is “why are infants given the same dose in a vaccine as an adult”. Given the “weaker, slower and less specific” nature of their immune system, how exactly is the dose question a problem? Shouldn’t they be exploring higher doses for this population, if anything?

      • Airi says:

        Well, T cell development in the thymus is very robust until puberty. We are not sure how T cell population is maintained after puberty, when the intrathymic T cell lymphopoiesis drops to a tiny fraction of what it was before. Maybe we should look into the literature that studies the T cell repertoire heterogeneity of infants vs someone post-puberty and see if that impacts the generation of immunological memory?

    • Twyla says:

      Amen, Cathy!

      • Matt Carey says:

        Could I ask you to clarify, Amen to what exactly?

        As Rene points out, the idea of the “immature” immune system isn’t supported. For another example, children are not given the MMR vaccine until 12 months. This delay is not because their immune systems are “immature” quite the contrary. The infant’s immune system is working well, and is producing antibodies based on the mother’s transfer. The Measles vaccine doesn’t work in these young infants because their immune systems are working.

        She also said “I’d vaccinate, but on a very different schedule, more closely resembling the schedule my parents followed when I was an infant in the 60′s.”

        Depending on when in the 1960′s, there was no schedule. Infants were given as few as one vaccine: polio. Possibly DTP. The measles vaccine wasn’t licensed. MMR didn’t exist. There were outbreaks of rubella that were causing large numbers of miscarriages and birth defects, and no protection. Meningitis was a relatively common childhood disease (the vaccine didn’t come out until the 1990′s, if I recall correctly).

        In the 1960′s, a child might get the whole cell pertussis vaccine. Not the more modern acellular vaccine. Preserved with thimerosal.

        Somehow I would have thought you wouldn’t be comfortable with whole cell pertussis and thimerosal. What about allowing measles, mumps and rubella back? Hib meningitis?

        I’m not going to amen that.

        • Maurine meleck says:

          Most of you know nothing about living through the 60;s(and 50′s) and actually having the diseases. Your comments are made with no understanding or education of those times. Well–hello-I lived through the 50′s and 60′s and was in school then. I grew up in in large metropolitan city -had 1800 in my high school and never knew one person in my school or neighborhood who went to the hosptial for any of the diseases you talk about–and certainly nobody who died or got autism. I had all the diseases as did my sisters and friends etc etc. It was no big deal and I got immunity for life from them You all write as if half the population walked around with the plague and then died. You all sound so ridiculous.

          • Chris says:

            This is exactly why anecdotes are not the plural of data.

            I was born in the late 1950s, and I knew people who were affected by the diseases. Even when the standard of the time was to keep bad things away from children.

            When I was in first grade we were living in California because my father was serving in Vietnam. One time I entered the kitchen where my mother was talking to a neighbor. I only caught part of the conversation, they stopped when they saw me. It was about another child who had measles and needed to go to a different school because he became deaf.

            Do you think Roald Dahl made up the story about his oldest child, Olivia? Do you think your parents would have told you about friends they knew who had a child with Congenital Rubella Syndrome, and then had to be sent to an institution like Willowbrook?

            Did you even know or care that somewhere in your state were schools specifically for the deaf, the blind and the mentally disabled? Like the one Arthur Miller, the playwright, sent his son with Down Syndrome to as an infant. At least that has a happy ending, not like what happened to the epileptic daughter of Henrietta Lacks (there is a book with her name in the title, read it).

            Do you think the numbers from the CDC Pink Book Appendix G are fictional? Do you think the following papers are fictional:

            Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Mar;160(3):302-9.
            Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
            Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.

            J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S210-5.
            Measles hospitalizations, United States, 1985-2002.
            Lee B, Ying M, Papania MJ, Stevenson J, Seward JF, Hutchins SS.
            Epidemiology Program Office, and National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.

            J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
            Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.
            Gindler J, Tinker S, Markowitz L, Atkinson W, Dales L, Papania MJ.
            National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

          • Maurine meleck says:

            yes, I think the CDC numbers are fictional since you are asking. come on 36,000 people have died from the flu for the last 20 years.
            Downs syndrome is genetic.
            Every person who is blind, deaf and mentally challenged didn’t get that way just from rubella, measles and the mumps. Come on—another ridiculous point of yours. This is exactly why biased information is trouble for some. Do you even care that the numbers of autism are 1 in every 58 boys in this country? Do you even care that in the next few years there will be almost a million children on the spectrum about to become adults-most who will never live independently, and most who will have no services at all, and most that we will all be supporting with our taxes? Do you even care how much these children suffer ?

          • Maurine, do you even care that you have been making the same ridiculous claims for years and still don’t have any real science on your side?

          • Chris says:

            The point I made about Arthur Miller’s child is that he was warehoused in an institution. Which is also where children who were disabled from measles, polio, rubella, meningitis ended up.

            That is why they were not in your high school.

            Are you really trying to go back to the days where one out of a thousand kids are permanently disabled or killed by disease?

          • Chris says:

            Do you really want the return of places like Willowbrook?

          • Maurine meleck says:

            Chris-No, I don’t want to return to Willowbrook but I fear what will happen to all those children on the spectrum who will soon be adults and what will happen to them, especially when their main caregivers die. The numbers will be anything beyond anything you have ever imagined.

          • There you go again, Maurine, assuming an increase in incidence when no such data exist.

          • Chris says:

            Maureen, then why are you campaigning so hard for those diseases to return?

            First, your experience in high school doesn’t matter because the kids who had autism, Down Syndrome, were deaf and/or blind, and had a variety of other disabilities due to genetics and diseases were in institutions like Willowbrook. Disabled children were not even allowed in most public schools until after 1975!

            What part of that do you not understand?

            Second, you need use real data of what the real risks are. Not your silly anecdotes, especially since you are oblivious to what it was like fifty years ago.

            My son is permanently disabled by seizures he from an actual disease. I know all too painfully about the lack of resources for disabled adults. This wild goose chase against vaccines is both a waste of money, and a guaranteed way to cause more harm… and more adults permanently disabled due to measles, pertussis, Hib, meningitis, etx.

          • Matt Carey says:

            Chris-No, I don’t want to return to Willowbrook but I fear what will happen to all those children on the spectrum who will soon be adults and what will happen to them, especially when their main caregivers die

            Would you be so kind as to point me to where your advocacy has placed an emphasis on a better life for autistic adults? Given years of effort, there should be a great body of work you can point to.

            Unfortunately, most of what I see is an effort to point some sort of blame on vaccines as a causative agent. Besides being on the wrong side of history and science, this effort has done nothing towards a

            In fact, by denying the existence of a great population of autistic adults (as has been necessary to promote the “epidemic”), one could make a good argument that your efforts have actually been counterproductive towards improving the status of autistic adults.

        • Hi Matt Carey –

          Regarding the measles vaccine and the appropriate functioning of the infants immune system, I think that all we need to do is look elsewhere on this blog to find that many of the infants who got the measles in the “outbreaks” were listed as “too young to be vaccinated”. Yet, our children receive vaccines within a day or week of birth, at two months, at four months, and again at six months; long before we give the MMR.

          Why? Why not just give the MMR at birth? Or at the two month appointment? Why is there any age at which any infant is unprotected if the infants immune system can generate an appropriate response to a vaccination from the day they are born?

          There have been attempts to vaccinate younger infants in the past with high titer measle vaccines; unfortunately several populations experienced increased mortality rates and/or persistent immunological changes from these experiments.

          Divergent mortality for male and female recipients of low-titer and high-titer measles vaccines in rural Senegal

          In the 4-year period, the female/male mortality ratio was 1.33 for recipients of high-titer Edmonston-Zagreb or Schwarz vaccines, compared with 0.67 for recipients of the Schwarz standard vaccine (p = 0.013). The Schwarz standard and high-titer measles vaccines had divergent sex-specific effects on mortality throughout childhood to be taken into consideration in future studies of measles vaccination.

          (snipped for space purposes)

          The measles vaccine is somewhat of a special case, I think this is likely the result of an attenuated but still alive measles virus and associated immunosuppresive features of measles. Maybe some others out there know more.

          Regarding maternal transfer, I believe that what is happening is that the mother transfers antibodies to the infant, as opposed to the infant generating its own antibodies; this is functionally different than the infants immune system working the way it works once they are older. If the infant was creating their own antibodies, there would be no reason for a vaccine at all; they’d already have the capacity to do what we want the vaccine to do.

          In any case, I think that we should tread very carefully in proclaiming that the immune function of a neonate or infant is equivalent to that of a child or adult. I have another post with links in moderation that speaks towards recent research to this effect.

          - pD

          • Venna says:

            If you have read any studies regarding infant immune systems, you will know that there is a certain amount of maternal antibody transfer that occurs, pre-natally, which continues to protect the child for months after birth. An infant’s immune system is ready and able from birth to create its own antibodies, but the maternal antibodies add extra protection. Not because the immune system is immature or faulty, but a serious infection can affect other systems that aren’t yet mature. Digestion, circulatory and respiratory systems for example.

            Another factor to consider, if a mother is breastfeeding her child, there will continue to be a maternal antibody transfer for about four of five months after birth. The measles antibodies in particular seem to be resilient in the maternal transfer to the infant and that is why the measles vaccine isn’t administered earlier, the maternal antibodies left over from maternal transfer cancel out a natural immune response in the infant. Research studies have shown maternal antibodies from measles don’t disappear from an infant until they are 12 to 15 months of age. That is why the measles vaccine is postponed until that time because giving a child a vaccine that will be ineffective, is just pointless.

          • Matt Carey says:

            “Yet, our children receive vaccines within a day or week of birth, at two months, at four months, and again at six months; long before we give the MMR. ”

            Too young to be vaccinated against measles

            That’s different than a blanket “too young to be vaccinated”.

            “Why? Why not just give the MMR at birth? Or at the two month appointment? ”

            I believe you touch on the very reasons in your comment:

            The reason for the delay with the MMR is that it doesn’t give immunity if given so early. The explanation I have heard is that this is due to the transference of immunity from the mother–an immunity which attacks the weakened measles virus before it can provide the lasting immunity intended.

        • That was Jenny’s amen choir.

          • Venna says:

            Did you know that Jenny McCarthy is selling ‘The Rescue Bullet” now with a portion of each sale (she doesn’t say how big a portion, or how small for that matter) going to Generation Rescue? It’s essentially the Magic Bullet blender but blue. Even though blue is my favorite color, I still won’t come anywhere close to buying this. She’s advertising on HomelandHousewares channel on YouTube. Is it just me or is that completely tacky?

    • Mara says:

      I’ll counter your anecdote with two of mine: Both of my children were vaccinated according to the CDC’s schedule and they don’t have PDD. In fact, they’re both quite intelligent and advanced for their ages. Hey, vaccines make kids smarter!

      Oh well, maybe not. Too bad. That would be pretty awesome, though.

      There are a few problems with the slower approach. First and foremost is that there’s no good medical reason for it. As Rene notes, there’s no such thing as a “mature” immune system. The reason vaccines work in little babies is because they’re ready to go from the start. In fact, they get a head start from mom, via those cool antibodies that last for six months or so.

      Another problem is that the vaccine schedule has been worked out with some care to give the vaccines as early as possible in order to try and reach kids before they’re exposed to the diseases. The longer you wait, the more chance that kids will get the disease first, and that’s kind of what we’re trying to avoid.

      A third (minor) problem is one of simple administration: Pediatricians have to keep track of a lot of data and if you screw with the schedule, vaccinations might get missed because the doctor assumes your kid has already had it. It’ll get caught eventually, thanks to the state’s requirements for school, but it’s still a risk.

      (One more anecdote: I’m glad I didn’t delay my 2-year-old son’s varicella vaccine, because he caught a very minor case of chicken pox recently. Thanks to the vaccine, it was so minor I almost didn’t learn what it was!)

      In my copious free time, I’m reading up on the HepB vaccine, because I’m not sure of the logic behind the very early administration of it. I don’t want to comment on that until I’ve learned a bit more.

      • Not all hepB positive mothers know they are infected, or want to confide to their doctors/nurses. And the test for HepB is not 100% effective. The virus can be passed to the infant during birth, and the vaccine can prevent infection in a newborn who is exposed while passing through the birth canal.

        You cannot catch HepB from the HepB b vaccine, since it is made with recombinant technology. Since it became available 30 years ago, over 100 million people have received the vaccine in theUS and no serious side effects have been reported in the medical literature.

        • Mara says:

          Thank you! I gave both my kids the HepB vaccine gladly, but I didn’t know what the specific logic was behind the early administration.

    • Cathy,

      That vaccine schedule from the 60s contained more antigens, and more thimerosal, than today’s schedule. Did you know that?

      I’d also like to know what an “immature” immune system is.

    • Paul Shapiro says:

      one other thought that comes to mind is modulating the amonut of vaccine in the jab proportionate to the body weight of the child.

      • Mara says:

        Why would we do that?

        Researchers have already reduced the number antigens far below what it used to be. Simply halving the amount of liquid in the shot isn’t going to improve anything.

        Heck, what kids get in the shots is a lot less material than they’re exposed to walking down the street or playing on a playground.

      • Matt Carey says:

        “one other thought that comes to mind is modulating the amonut of vaccine in the jab proportionate to the body weight of the child.”

        The MMR vaccine, if I recall correctly, has 1 measles virus particle. How, exactly, would you reduce the dose?

        Recall that the immunity transferred from the mother is enough to overcome the measles virus in the vaccine before it gives immunity. So, this is not an overwhelming challenge, is it?

    • René Najera says:

      Alright, so I did some research and read some books on immunology. I then reviewed the published information on vaccines. Oh, and I even dug up some notes from my professors. Guess what? The immune system is good and ready to go at birth, and here’s why: http://blog.epiren.com/2011/06/does-your-immune-system-tell-fart-jokes.html

    • Matthew says:

      Cathy says:

      “do the Amish vaccinate with HepB on the day of birth? For me, this is the most insane and unnecessary assault on infants. Unless the mother is a carrier, since the risk of contracting HepB in infancy is very small, why not wait until the child’s immune system is a bit more mature?”

      The reasons for the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine are stated in the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations:

      “Hepatitis B vaccine can be administered soon after birth with only minimal decrease in immunogenicity, compared with administration at older ages, and no decrease in protective efficacy”

      “[A]dministering a birth dose to infants even without [hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG)] serves as a “safety net” to prevent perinatal infection among infants born to HBsAg-positive mothers who are not identified because of errors in maternal HBsAg testing or failures in reporting of test results. The birth dose also provides early protection to infants at risk for infection after the perinatal period. Administration of a birth dose has been associated with higher rates of on-time completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series. In certain populations, the birth dose has been associated with improved completion rates for all other infant vaccines, although findings have not been consistent.”

      A Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States
      http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5416a1.htm?s_cid=rr5416a1_e

  3. Twyla says:

    This study abstract states that, “Holmes County, Ohio, one of the largest Amish communities in the world, has persistently low immunization rates. Studies of other Amish communities have revealed that parents do not immunize their children because of lack of access to immunizations.”

    Of 1000 surveyed, only 359 responded. It’s quite possible that those who don’t vaccinate feared reporting that they don’t vaccinate. Of those who did respond, “68% stated that all of their children had received at least 1 immunization, and 17% reported that some of their children had received at least 1 immunization. ” There is no indication as to whether any of these children received the full CDC recommended schedule, and at what age they started vaccinating. Hepatitis B on day of birth? Two dozen vaccines by age two? It does not appear that this study says whether that was the case for any of these children. In the 1980′s we gave far fewer vaccines than now, and had much lower autism rates. As the vaccine schedule increased, so did the rate of autism. One vaccine IMO is unlikely to cause autism. A series of multiple vaccines over a the first two years of life is not the same as a much smaller number of vaccines, maybe just one vaccine, maybe received at a later age.

    Nothing in this study contradicts Dan Olmsted’s articles. This study focussed on asking why people don’t vaccinate. It did not look at autism rates. Based on the abstract it did not look at how many vaccines were received at what age. It stated that the rate of vaccination is generally much lower among the Amish.

    • Matt Carey says:

      From Mr. Olmsted’s original series on autism (May 20, 2005)

      So I turned to the 22,000 Amish in Lancaster County, Pa. I didn’t expect to find many, if any, vaccinated Amish: they have a religious exemption from the otherwise mandatory U.S. vaccination schedule

      Mr. Olmsted didn’t even do the simple work to find out that (a) there is no religious stance by the Amish on vaccines and (b) that there was a clinic in Lancaster County which was working hard on increasing the vaccination rates amongst the Amish.

      The reasons why the Amish are not vaccinating are now fear. 10 years ago, the reasons were different.

      Who cares exactly how Olmsted has been wrong over the years. The fact of the matter is that he not only has caused harm to the autism communities, he has caused harm to the Amish.

      To paraphrase JB Handley, Dan Olmsted can “take a bow”. Too bad his life’s work has been not just a waste, but a cause of harm.

    • brian says:

      Twyla wrote: “Nothing in this study contradicts Dan Olmsted’s articles. This study focussed on asking why people don’t vaccinate. It did not look at autism rates.”

      Apparently you neglected to read my comment, the first response in this thread, which was posted nearly an hour before you wrote. If you read it now, you’ll learn that a research effort by scientists at reputable universities (Vanderbilt University and the University of Miami School of Medicine), which included door-to-door ascertainment in communities dominated by Old Order Amish, resulted in a preliminary estimate of autism prevalence which showed, in quite direct contradiction to Olmsted’s nonsensical articles, that autism is indeed common among the old order Amish. These results were disclosed over a year ago.

      There’s just no way that you can spin this. Olmsted is wrong—yet again.

      http://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper7336.html

      • Mr. Olmsted is a paid publicist for an anti-vaccine interest group. He has already made up his mind what he wants to be true, then fabricates evidence to support his claim. That is the opposite of how science works.

    • Venna says:

      The most important part of your post was the IMO. Your opinion doesn’t really matter much in the greater scheme of things. Opinion is just that, what you think, your personal take on a situation. And opinions can be wrong, particularly when fact and science are there to prove it is wrong. Perception can become skewed (for example, a paranoid individual walks into a room and everyone stops talking and looks around at them. Was everyone really talking about that individual or is that individual just being paranoid?) and that is why anecdotes can never prove a scientific theory.

      I could tell my story too about my children and my own experience growing up unvaccinated, but I’ve told it before. And in the greater scheme of things, my story doesn’t mean squat either. What does matter is the scientific evidence that has shown vaccines don’t cause autism, they never have. While it appears that autism is on the rise, much of that is due to better diagnostic methods and screening tools. That will account for a good majority of the increase today. How many people did you go to school with that were just a little bit off, not quite normal, did weird things and were not quite right? What are the odds that those people had an ASD as is defined today in the DSM-IV? Back then, autism was limited to the severely and profoundly autistic, not to those who today have Asperger’s or even PDD-NOS. These people weren’t put in schools where we would have seen them, most of them were institutionalized and kept away from society.

      I mentioned something the other day to my partner just as a humorous thought, because I had read that there is significant evidence that shows advanced parental age can create a significant increase in the risk of having a child with ASD. So, when we were children, our parents were younger then we are now and having children. The generation before was even younger. It isn’t uncommon for a woman now to build her career first and put off starting her family until she is in her 30′s or even 40′s. What caused this trend to occur? Well, the feminist movement of course. The Equal rights movement fought to give women greater power and freedom in the community and in business. That being the case, the women took that freedom and made it in the business world and postponed their child baring until later. One could almost take that information and say the feminist movement caused autism.

      As ridiculous as that may sound, that is exactly how the vaccine causes autism theory sounds to everyone else. It’s all coincidence and nothing more. It isn’t that hard to figure it out, it just takes reading the information and applying common sense. Of course, it’s possible that those who follow this line of thinking are only doing it because they feel the need to make themselves special and feel like a victim and who better to be a victim of them government and big pharma.

      Nobody can convince me that vaccines caused autism in my son, or in anyone else. This debate is over and needs to be set aside because research studies are coming closer to finding the real cause and it has NOTHING to do with vaccines and everything to do with pre-natal development and even going back to conception. Eventually, the key will be located and the door will be unlocked. What will you do then? Will you still cling to this old and tired routine? Good luck with that.

  4. Margaret says:

    Thanks for sharing this Seth. I just downloaded and read the paper. I noticed that only 356 out of 1000 surveys were returned. Of these 68% had given their child at least one shot. Does this mean only 242 of the 1000 families had at least one vaccine? The paper also states that 47% of this group of 242 know someone who had an adverse reaction to a vaccine. With only one or more vaccines administerd (most likely the Tetanus shot at an older age) this adverse reaction event might raise some eyebrows. It seems if you get all 70 some vaccine doses now reccomended for kids safety might be a concern for some. Thanks for the information Seth. Were you able to read the entire paper?

  5. Brandt Levitt says:

    This blog post surprised me because anecdotally, vaccination rates among fringe religious minority groups like the Amish are lower than for the general population. To this point, I remember reading an article in the Journal of Infectious Disease from the early 90′s about measles outbreaks in unvaccinated children in the Amish community. Investigators at the CDC examine an Amish community in Pennsylvania to observe the relative severity of Measles in primary infections as compared to secondary infections. This topic would have implications for herd immunity and population vaccination rates.

    Sutter RW, Markowitz LE, Bennetch JM, Morris W, Zell ER, Preblud SR. Measles among the Amish: a comparative study of measles severity in primary and secondary cases in households. J Infect Dis. 1991 Jan;163(1):12-6.

  6. Matt Carey says:

    I still see the Amish story pop up in internet discussions. Carolyn Maloney (representative from NY) is still pushing the idea:

    However, Dan Olmsted of UPI recently wrote a series of articles about the autism epidemic that identified a number of populations suitable for study, including the Amish…

    She has proposed legislation built around this (the link for the latest version, still citing the Amish, is on the page linked above).

    I would point out that both you (Seth) and representative Maloney are incorrect. The idea that the Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t have autism can be found in documents going back to around the year 2000. I recall reading old SafeMinds literature pushing the idea. Olmsted may have taken the idea and popularized it, but he didn’t originate it.

    That said, someone needs to remind representative Maloney that the idea holds no water. Again.

    It is worth pointing out that the idea that the Amish do, indeed, vaccinate is old.

    2006: Vaccination usage among an old-order Amish community in Illinois

    Even in 2001, long before Dan Olmsted took the story and ran with it: Haemophilus influenzae Type b Disease Among Amish Children in Pennsylvania: Reasons for Persistent Disease. The Amish were vaccinating then.

    The Hib study gave a survey to parents who didn’t vaccinate their kids. The reasons were not based on fear. If the change between the Hib study and the recent pediatrics study you discuss are real, it paints a very disturbing picture. Fear of immunization had been injected into the Amish communities. This is the sort of damage that JB Handley of Generation Rescue seemed proud of when he told his readers to “Take a bow” for similar reports of increased fear.

    The study of autism prevalence amongst the Amish was almost ready to submit when I contacted the lead author last fall. The sad thing about this saga is that the IMFAR abstract was available (and I believe Mr. Olmsted was aware of it) before the book “the Age of Autism” went to press. And, yet, Mr. Olmsted went forward with the story that “there are only a few of them [autistic Amish] in the United States”.

    At best Mr. Olmsted started out sloppy. But to continue to push the idea beyond the point when the facts are in is not just sloppy.

  7. Matt Carey says:

    If you check page 112 of Evidence of Harm, you will see that Lyn Redwood presented the idea that the Amish might be a pool of unvaccinated subjects in the year 2000. Mr. Olmsted didn’t even originate the idea.

    He did manage to travel to Lancaster county and not stop at the cryptically named “clinic for special children”. The CSC could have informed Mr. Olmsted that (a) the Amish communities there do, in fact, vaccinate and (b) there are autistic Amish. If I recall correctly, Mark Blaxill wrote a few pieces trying to exonerate Mr. Olmsted’s poor journalistic efforts. As far as the CSC went, there was some blame-shifting involved where the CSC didn’t return Mr. Olmsted’s phone calls. I don’t recall a reason for why Mr. Olmsted didn’t just walk in the front door of the Clinic, or why Ken Reibel had no difficulty speaking with people at the clinic. (in a bit of irony, Dan Olmsted uses Ken Reibel’s blog as his source for information about the Clinic in the chapter on the Amish in the book “The Age of Autism”)

    • The Amish supposedly have syndromic autism, which doesn’t count as autism, except when Hannah Poling has it, then it’s indistinguishable from real autism. Hope that clears everything up.

  8. Matt Carey says:

    When he set out to find if there were autistic Amish in 2005, Mr. Olmsted was of this mindset:

    I didn’t expect to find many, if any, vaccinated Amish: they have a religious exemption from the otherwise mandatory U.S. vaccination schedule

    Apparently he didn’t bother to question his premise. This would have been simple had he but knocked on the door of the Clinic for Special Children, which had been running vaccine clinics for about 15 years by that time.

    It took me a day or so when I first heard about this hypothesis to track down scholars on the Amish and pose the question of vaccination to them. I was told at the time that the Amish do not have a religious prohibition against vaccination. Each community makes decisions on vaccine policy, and early on this was confused by health officials referring to vaccines as “insurance” against disease. The Amish do not appear to take to the idea of insurance.

    Mr. Olmsted might have opened some books and done some research. One might consider that he would open: Amish Society by John Andrew Hostetler (1993) :

    “Some are more reluctant than others to accept immunization, but it is rare that an Amish person will cite a biblical text to object to a demonstrated medical need…” ….”"If the Amish are slow to accept preventive measures, it doesn’t mean they religiously opposed to them…”

    He can probably be forgiven for missing “Microbial diseases: notes, reports, summaries, trends” by Carl W. May, as the title is not obvious that it would be pertinent. But this statement seems clearly contradictory to Mr. Olmsted’s presumption:

    Immunization campaigns for the Amish (who have a total US population of approximately 75000) are continuing. Of the 23 states now known to have Amish residents, 18 have achieved immunization levels of >50% and 5 of these have achieved …

    Mr. Olmsted might have questioned how Polio was eradicated if the Amish were shunning vaccines. A picture from a book by the March of Dimes shows a vaccine clinic serving the Amish in 1959. The fact that there was a polio outbreak in that community might have been a tip to a news man doing background work.

    When one does research now, it is clear that the “Amish Anomaly” myth has propagated. Many books can be found quoting the idea that “the Amish don’t have autism and they don’t vaccinate”.

    It is unfortunate that rather than correct the misinformation, Mr. Olmsted has continued to play on his own poor journalism. He’s done harm and he continues to do harm. Now would be the time to start correcting the damage.

    • Matt Carey says:

      Sorry for the formatting error in the previous message. The last three paragraphs are my writing.

      Mr. Olmsted might have questioned how Polio was eradicated if the Amish were shunning vaccines. A picture from a book by the March of Dimes shows a vaccine clinic serving the Amish in 1959. The fact that there was a polio outbreak in that community might have been a tip to a news man doing background work.

      When one does research now, it is clear that the “Amish Anomaly” myth has propagated. Many books can be found quoting the idea that “the Amish don’t have autism and they don’t vaccinate”.

      It is unfortunate that rather than correct the misinformation, Mr. Olmsted has continued to play on his own poor journalism. He’s done harm and he continues to do harm. Now would be the time to start correcting the damage.

  9. Anne McElroy Dachel says:

    Seth Mnookin tried to dismiss the argument about unvaccinated Amish not having autism. What does it prove anyway? It was hardly science in the first place. Since Mnookin is so convinced that there is no link between vaccines and autism, then why isn’t he out there publicly demanding a carefully conducted, independent study comparing the health of never-vaccinated children with fully-vaccinated ones. If never-vaccinated kids also have the same health problems, including a one percent autism rate, that would finally settle the issue. With so many parents now too afraid to vaccinate, the study group is out there.

    Quibbling about whether the Amish really vaccinate proves nothing.

    Anne Dachel
    Media editor: Age of Autism

    • Chris says:

      Then why do folks at AoA keep bringing it up? Even to the point of Olmsted referencing it in his book?

      carefully conducted, independent study comparing the health of never-vaccinated children with fully-vaccinated ones.

      Um, did you miss this study? And if you don’t like that, there is nothing stopping AoA, SafeMinds and Generation Rescue from funding their own studies. I’m sure between Handley, Blaxill, Redwood and others enough funds can be pulled together.

      • Matt Carey says:

        Chris,

        GR tried to get money from a class action suit against Airborne (makers of a OTC supplement) to fund a vaccinated/unvaccinated study. They wanted to use the Homefirst clinic (with Mayer Eisenstein as an investigator, I believe) and homeschooled children. I don’t recall if they felt they could work with the Amish.

        Again, if memory serves correctly, a principle investigator for the proposed study was the same guy who used to run “pauloffit.com” as basically a fan site for JB Handley. I wouldn’t be surprised if that idea is still floating around, or even being pursued to some extent.

        An abstract presented at IMFAR showed precisely one of the potential problems with such a study. Many unvaccinated children are siblings of autistic children and siblings have a higher autism prevalence.

        Let’s say we wanted to find a population with lower vaccination rates. A population with, say, the vaccine schedule of the 1960′s or the 1970′s. How would we obtain such a population? The answer is obvious: look to adults. Groups like Generation Rescue have claimed that if we went back to the vaccine schedule of the early 1980′s, we would see autism rates drop to 1 in 10,000. Seems to me like adults, aged about 25 years old, received that schedule. How about doing an adult prevalence study?

        I bring this up often when Ms. Dachel posts her comments on the net. I point out that the organizations she represents refuse to support such a study. She will not support such a study. Such a study would be difficult to do accurately. But accurate enough to say that the autism rate for those adults is not 1 in 10,000. That should be feasible.

        At the same time, a study of autistic adults would open the doors to valuable information for parents such as myself. Parents who need to know what has and has not worked for that generation. Parents who need to know what does and does not work for adults–something that would be good to learn now rather than leaving it to guesswork for us in 10, 15, 20 years.

        I can’t fathom why autism organizations would not support these studies. Then again, the organizations Ms. Dachel represents aren’t really autism organizations, are they.

        • Chris says:

          Since SafeMinds has funded researchers (like Mady Hornig), I don’t see why they cannot combine their resources with AoA and Generation Rescue to fund the study they want.

          Perhaps, because it is exactly the reason you give: they are not really autism organization.

    • brian says:

      Dachel and her ill-informed fellow travelers seem to think that the only way to find if vaccines are associated with autism is to compare the prevalence of autism in unvaccinated children and vaccinated children. This is quite clearly untrue; moreover, while it is not the ONLY way, it is just as clearly not even the BEST way to answer the question. I can’t presume to speak for Seth Mnookin, but that is why those who actually have a grip on epidemiology and scientific methodology are not “out there publicly demanding” the study that Dachel seems to think will settle the issue.

      It’s interesting that Dachel now dismisses the importance of the absolute refutation of Olmsted’s nonsensical twin premises. Olmsted claimed that (1) the Amish don’t vaccinate, and (2) that autism is rare among the Amish. Although he was yet again shown to be wrong, that poorly-“researched” drivel provided much of the impetus for the “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study stillborn from his keyboard. Dachel is just shifting the goal posts again.

      However, the real problem is that vaccine-phobic activists have already repeatedly rejected the overwhelming evidence that both of their previous premises (that thimerosal or MMR is responsible for an “epidemic” of autism; Dachel et al. wouldn’t believe the results from any study which adds to the mountain of evidence that already resoundingly refutes her anti-science world view.

    • Pro-Child=Pro-Vaccine says:

      Way to throw Dan Olmstead under the bus! He put in a lot of work to make up something that sounded like it was science, carefully invented all sorts of evidence that supported the idea, and diligently closed his eyes whenever he got near real evidence, and now you say all his efforts don’t matter, simply because it was all false. Where’s the loyalty that antivaxxers traditionally show to people who are willing to make up stuff? Next thing you know you’ll abandon Andrew Wakefield, just because he got caught altering data. For shame!

  10. Pingback: Autism Blog - Underimmunization in Ohio’s Amish: Parental Fears Are a Greater Obstacle Than Access to Care « Left Brain/Right Brain

  11. Paul Shapiro says:

    Seems to me the purpose of this blog is to jump on OLMSTED.
    His idea of doing a comparative study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated cohorts is a good. So get off his case.
    If the Amish do indeed vaccinate, then WE should all be trying to find another cohort that does not vaccinate so that we can get the study done.
    Why hasn’t the FDA jumped on the idea of studying vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts? We would have had the answer 10 years ago!

    I believe the FDA does not want to find the cause of this epidemic because they screwed up. They failed to test these vaccines to a standard of “DO NO HARM” before approving various vaccines for mass vaccination.

    They failed to study the possible interaction of the vaccines in the mandatory schedule. They failed to call for jab size modulated for body weight. They failed to put a long term tracking system in place. Now I am basically a layman but I’m positive their are many other omissions that others more knowledgeable than I can add to the list of the FDA failure to insure no harm

    • René Najera says:

      Doesn’t matter. Anti-vaccine people and groups will just move the goalposts. Either the researchers will be declared as having a conflict of interest, the groups studied will not be satisfactory, or the definition of what “autism” is and isn’t will not be to their liking. There’s no reasoning with a vast number of anti-vaccine people, no matter what science/studies/reasoning you use.

    • Chris says:

      See my earlier reply.

      Those are not the kind of studies funded by the FDA. And the CDC has spent plenty of our tax dollars, and even bent over backwards trying to satisfy Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds, but she had a hissy fit when the results were not to her liking. So, I say again: if you all want that study, then lobby the folks at SafeMinds (which has funded researchers like Hornig and Burbacher), AoA, and Generation Rescue to pay for it.

  12. Hello friends –

    Regarding a ‘mature’ or ‘immature’ immune response, I believe it is critical to acknowledge that there are very real differences between the immune function in infancy, childhood, and adulthood that we are only now beginning to detangle. While this is not evidence that vaccines can ‘overwhelm’ an infants immune system, it is reason to believe that we treat all things as being equal between an infant and a child at great risk to reaching valid conclusions.

    By way of example, Ontogeny of Toll-like receptor mediated cytokine responses of human blood mononuclear cells followed 35 infants longintudinally and measured the immune response in vitro over several timeframes.

    Newborns and young infants suffer increased infectious morbidity and mortality as compared to older children and adults. Morbidity and mortality due to infection are highest during the first weeks of life, decreasing over several years. Furthermore, most vaccines are not administered around birth, but over the first few years of life. A more complete understanding of the ontogeny of the immune system over the first years of life is thus urgently needed. Here, we applied the most comprehensive analysis focused on the innate immune response following TLR stimulation over the first 2 years of life in the largest such longitudinal cohort studied to-date (35 subjects). We found that innate TLR responses (i) known to support Th17 adaptive immune responses (IL-23, IL-6) peaked around birth and declined over the following 2 years only to increase again by adulthood; (ii) potentially supporting antiviral defense (IFN-α) reached adult level function by 1 year of age; (iii) known to support Th1 type immunity (IL-12p70, IFN-γ) slowly rose from a low at birth but remained far below adult responses even at 2 years of age; (iv) inducing IL-10 production steadily declined from a high around birth to adult levels by 1 or 2 years of age, and; (v) leading to production of TNF-α or IL-1β varied by stimuli. Our data contradict the notion of a linear progression from an ‘immature’ neonatal to a ‘mature’ adult pattern, but instead indicate the existence of qualitative and quantitative age-specific changes in innate immune reactivity in response to TLR stimulation. (my emphasis)

    This paper was published in 2010 and should be telling us that broadstroke descriptions of something as complicated as the development of the immune system serve little utility, except, perhaps, as bullet point tweets.

    - pD

  13. Brandt Levitt says:

    passionlessdrone, I want to thank you for your insightful inclusion of the article by Corbett et al; indeed there are age specific developments that inform the biology of vaccination. One point that I thought I should make about the article you mentioned- vaccine efficacy is assessed principally by neutralizing antibody titer whereas acute safety is measured in innate immune responses. The cytokines and TLR activation detected in this article are measures of the innate immune system and would not be indicative of how efficacious the vaccine would be as this is a function of the adaptive immune system. Safety of vaccination is very important, but it really doesn’t matter how safe a vaccine is if the adaptive immune system is not ready to mount a response. Obviously we know when the adaptive immune system is ready to handle vaccines based on the outcomes.

    • Hi Brandt Levitt –

      I want to thank you for your insightful inclusion of the article by Corbett et al; indeed there are age specific developments that inform the biology of vaccination.

      Considering that we are only now gaining the insights from papers like Corbett, some two decades after dramatically increasing the number of vaccines given, it looks to me more like we are starting to learn about these nuances largely after the fact.

      One point that I thought I should make about the article you mentioned- vaccine efficacy is assessed principally by neutralizing antibody titer whereas acute safety is measured in innate immune responses. The cytokines and TLR activation detected in this article are measures of the innate immune system and would not be indicative of how efficacious the vaccine would be as this is a function of the adaptive immune system.

      Indeed, there is a very robust set of literature regarding generation of antibodies in regards to efficacy. That infants can mount an immune response following vaccination isn’t a question that I think needs to be answered; though some others might feel differently. (?)

      Regarding your statement that “acute safety is measured in innate immune responses” however, I think you might be surprised at how little data there seems to be regarding the innate immune response following vaccination; especially in the infant population. In any case, I’ve found very little touching on this; perhaps you could point me to some research regarding the innate immune response following vaccination in an infant population? I’d think that some comparisons between infants, children, and adulths might be benificial in understanding more deeply the subtleties of the ‘mature’/'immature’ immune system discussion.

      - pD

      • Brandt Levitt says:

        passionlessdrone,

        We are only now learning about the subtleties of the pediatric immune system because of the dramatic shift in technology. Think of the myriad of things we can do now that weren’t possible in the 80′s- cloning genes, deep sequencing, high throughput genotyping etc. If we waited until we fully understood everything before using a drug or medical device, we would never treat anyone with anything. We recently learned the mechanisms of action of many drugs that have been in existence for centuries. Would you advocate that humans never should have used aspirin until they understood the biology of neurotransmitters and such?

        I respectfully disagree with you about the efficacy point. I feel that this is a central component of when we choose to vaccinate. Again, if the vaccine isn’t as effective and some portion of the population gets pertussis, this informs the overall safety of the intervention.

        A cursory search in pubmed reveals hundreds of hits for “vaccine infant innate” but to be more specific- there is a review that I especially like (Zepp F. Principles of vaccine design-Lessons from nature. Vaccine. 2010 Aug 31;28 Suppl 3:C14-24) You will find an overview of the innate immune response to vaccination in subsection 2:Understanding how the Immune System Works. Further, the central text in Immunology is by Janeway called Immunobiology and is available freely on pubmed. I suggest looking at chapter 14 which touches on immunization, vaccine history, natural infections, vaccine design, humoral/cellular immunity. Specifically, 14-16 spells out the safety requirements for a vaccine and 14-17 illustrates the impact this has had on pertussis. At the end of the chapter, is a terrific references section with seminal articles about vaccine safety in children.

        All the best,

  14. Hi Brandt Levitt –

    Would you advocate that humans never should have used aspirin until they understood the biology of neurotransmitters and such?

    Of course not. I do, however, believe that we should be attempting to integrate these newer findings into how we perform our reseach and craft our policies. In much the same way that we are rethinking the administration of paracetamol to infants after several studies show associations with asthma and atopy, but only long, long after we understood the basic mechanisms by which palliative ends were achieved. I don’t see much agreement that such analysis is necessary in the vaccination realm except in the vaguest terms.

    Regarding efficacy and safety, I think we are in general agreement, my concerns aren’t so much in the area of safety, and more in terms of the possibility of unintended consequences of vaccination. In an acute sense, when administered within guidelines, paracetamol is safe. That does not mean the only thing it does is provide pain relief.

    A cursory search in pubmed reveals hundreds of hits for ‘vaccine infant innate’ but to be more specific- there is a review that I especially like (Zepp F. Principles of vaccine design-Lessons from nature. Vaccine. 2010 Aug 31;28 Suppl 3:C14-24)

    I don’t have access to the Zepp paper, but have asked the author for a copy. That being said, the mechanisms by which an innate immune response is marshalled and interacts with an adaptive response isnt’ really my concern, and doesn’t really speak towards a distinct lack of clinical data regarding what happens to the innate immune response as a result of vaccination; espeically considering the very real, very recently discovered differences in neonatal immune response and/or impacts of an innate immune response during critical developmental timeframes. Do you know of any studies that provides measurements of the innate immune response post vaccination, as opposed to reviews of how the immune response works? This isn’t really a question of ‘does the immune system generate a response four months after vaccination question’; those are the types of questions I think have largely been answered.

    By way of example, one paper that does have something to do with the effect on immune function outside of antibody generation as a response to vaccination is: Modulation of the infant immune responses by the first pertussis vaccine administrations.

    Many efforts are currently made to prepare combined vaccines against most infectious pathogens, that may be administered early in life to protect infants against infectious diseases as early as possible. However, little is known about the general immune modulation induced by early vaccination. Here, we have analyzed the cytokine secretion profiles of two groups of 6-month-old infants having received as primary immunization either a whole-cell (Pw) or an acellular (Pa) pertussis vaccine in a tetravalent formulation of pertussis-tetanus-diphtheria-poliomyelitis vaccines. Both groups of infants secreted IFN-gamma in response to the Bordetella pertussis antigens filamentous haemagglutinin and pertussis toxin, and this response was correlated with antigen-specific IL-12p70 secretion, indicating that both pertussis vaccines induced Th1 cytokines. However, Pa recipients also developed a strong Th2-type cytokine response to the B. pertussis antigens, as noted previously. In addition, they induced Th2-type cytokines to the co-administrated antigen tetanus toxoïd, as well as to the food antigen beta-lactoglobulin. Furthermore, the general cytokine profile of the Pa recipients was strongly Th2-skewed at 6 months, as indicated by the cytokines induced by the mitogen phytohaemagglutinin. These data demonstrate that the cytokine profile of 6-month-old infants is influenced by the type of formulation of the pertussis vaccine they received at 2, 3 and 4 months of life. Large prospective studies would be warranted to evaluate the possible long-term consequences of this early modulation of the cytokine responses in infants.

    This was published in Vaccine in 2007. How do you reconcile the idea that the editors and peer reviewers of Vaccine and the paper authors were all unaware of existing studies on the effect on the innate immune system from vaccination is such research is well quantified? Why would they write, However, little is known about the general immune modulation induced by early vaccination., if, in fact, much is known about such interactions? This paper, it turns out, does not show up in a cursory search of ‘vaccine infant innate’, for which, I show less than 150 papers.

    There were some recent papers similar to Corbett that include the refrain that gaining a better understanding of the development of the infant immune response is critical because there is still considerable difficulty vaccinating at the earliest ages because the children do not appropriately respond very early in life. Has it occurred to you that, perhaps, this delayed responsiveness and impaired function is an artifact of selection as opposed to something to be overcome? As to why this might be important, you might take a look at some work by Pittman or Bilbo in particular (there are others) concerning difficult to predict consequences of early life immune challenges. Food for thought.

    Your tone is very much appreciated.

    - pD

  15. Jenny says:

    Let us not forget, newborns do not immediately produce bile. That’s a no brainer. Excretion of toxins!!!

  16. Jenny says:

    I know lots of unvaccinated kids. I know lots of kids with autism. Ever meet an unvaccinated kid with autism? Me neither.

    • René Najera says:

      Yes, I have. Next question.

    • Chris says:

      I take it you have not met Kim Stagliano’s youngest daughter, who is not vaccinated and still has autism. Nor have you read any of Venna’s comments.

    • Venna says:

      Aside from myself, I know a lot of parents who have children with autism who were unvaccinated. Unlike me, they fell into the clap trap of the anti-vaccine propaganda (my reasons were financial in nature, not a lack of desire to vaccinate) but after these parents’ children developed autism without the vaccines anyway, they went ahead and got their children vaccinated. So now they are vaccinated, even though they weren’t prior to the onset of autistic symptoms. Don’t just assume everything you think in your small circle of experience is correct. I can bet you there are at least three other people out there whose experience is completely different.

  17. Maple says:

    So I came across this “article” while reading the blog for the “Panic Virus”, some how I ended up at:

    A POSITIVE ASSOCIATION FOUND BETWEEN AUTISM PREVALENCE AND CHILDHOOD VACCINATION UPTAKE ACROSS THE U.S. POPULATION
    by Gayle DeLong

    Link: http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vaccines/Vaccine%20and%20Autism%20correlation%20US%202011%20J%20Tox%20Env%20Health.pdf

    Anyone actually take this apart yet — like the above Amish studies?

    Off hand I would be suspicious because:
    1. The author is an economist, or at least works in the Department of Economics and Finance, Baruch College/City University of New York, New York, New York, USA.
    2. The author is an executive of SafeMinds, a potentially biased source.
    3. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, appears to be vanity press, it cost $41 to view this paper on their site, but is posted freely elsewhere on the net.

    But I’d like to know more about the “article” itself, the sources, the science etc. I’m going to sit down and read thru it, but I suspect someone has already “critiqued” this paper who is an expert on this topic.

    Thanks.

    • Chris says:

      While children with autism can have Speech or Language Impairment services, not all children with Speech or Language Impairments are autistic:
      http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/06/speech-impairment-and-autism-inseparable/

    • Liz Ditz says:

      And don’t forget Prometheus’s usual masterly review at Photon in the Darkness: http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=222

      The “bottom line” is that DeLong (2011) is poor science – if it is science at all. Dr. DeLong made a serious error in confusing “speech or language impairment” (IDEA category) with “specific language impairment”. She also failed to notice (or acknowledge) the fact that autism prevalence has increased steadily even after the vaccine uptake had reached a plateau.

      Since this topic is far outside of Dr. DeLong’s area of expertise, I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and not accuse her of publishing bad science in an attempt to influence future lawsuits. This article, however, puts the editorial staff of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A in a bad light. They should have seen the errors and had them corrected before publication

      Readers interested in actual autism science would do well to read through the archives at Photon in the Darkness, especially Autism Science.

    • Liz Ditz says:

      Also see Neuroskeptic Vaccines cause autism, until you look at the data.

      My conclusion is that this dataset shows no evidence of any association. The author nonetheless found one. How? By doing some statistical wizardry.

      You might also want to take time to read the comments — quite interesting.

    • Matt Carey says:

      As noted above, the paper has been analyzed in multiple places on the web and been found lacking.

      A few comments on the paper:

      1) they define “autism” as “autism+speech or language impairment”. SLI is not the same as autism.

      2) the author defines “vaccination rate” as completely adhering to the 1995 vaccine schedule. Since the author chose to start the study period at this time, of course the vaccination rate (as defined) increased as states and pediatricians and parents adopted the new schedule. The vaccination rates were never really as low as the author presents.

      3) Most important: the data are not consistent with the author’s conclusions. One can look state-by-state and see the “vaccination” rate increase substantially during the first couple of years considered. However, autism, as strangely defined by the author, does not increase as predicted.

      One can take the 1.7% prevalence increase (calculated by the author). This means that if the “vaccination rate” were to increase from none to fully vaccinated population, the “autism rate” would increase from whatever baseline, say 0.5%, to baseline+1.7% (2.2% of the population in this example) It doesn’t happen.

      The paper should never have been published. It is that obviously wrong. It isn’t even a matter of interpretation or of statistical methods. It is just simply and obviously wrong.

  18. Venna says:

    *THIS IS ME RAMBLING*

    There are actually quite a number of children with autism that developed it prior to vaccination, mostly because their parents bought into the anti-vax hype. So, they decided against vaccines, around the age of two or three their child is diagnosed with autism anyway, so they go and get the vaccines for their child current because at that point, they figure what have we got to lose, other then our child to a deadly disease.

    My thoughts are, these parents of children with autism who developed it without vaccines don’t really care about this debate. Their primary focus is on caring for their child and getting the therapies needed for progress to be made. The point has already been proved negative in their minds so the debate is over for them.

    While I understand their position completely, I find this a bit unfortunate, because it’s people who have these experiences who might be able to counter act the damage being done by the anti-vaccine people and their push for additional studies, even though every study that has been done they fail to accept, and the rerouting of precious funding away from areas that really need it. Someone said it before (I don’ remember who, sorry) that the anti-vaccine people aren’t in it to help their children overcome autism, not really. They want to sue someone, they are in it for the money and the only way they can get money from someone is if there is an external cause. Their child, in essence, has become a pay day, but unfortunately, given what we know about science and vaccines, that pay day will never come.

    It’s unfortunate also that these poor children must suffer brutal ‘treatments’ at the hands of these doctors and their parents allow it to happen without any thought to the ultimate price they might have to pay. Let’s just say, in another universe, there was a legitimate study done and was able to find there was a link between vaccines and autism. So these parents get their pay day, then what happens to their children? Perhaps that is the question we need to be asking them. If you won your case, what would happen to your child? It doesn’t change the fact that their child has autism. Maybe it will just put them at ease because it gives them someone to blame besides themselves. I say, what I’ve said before regarding these people; they haven’t really come to terms with their child’s diagnosis and the lifetime impact that it will mean for them (the child). After all, it isn’t the parents who have autism, it’s the child and would that child really want to be used and abused the way they are if they had the ability to say something about it?

    I look at my son and see the same little boy he was prior to hearing the words, “Your son has autism.” Nothing has changed for me really, nothing has changed for him either. He still can’t talk other then simply one word requests and repeating things he hears, he gets lost in lining up his toys and watching things spin, he get overwhelmed when there’s too much going on and he stims regularly. He did all these things before the diagnosis, what changes is now I know why and I have a path to follow which will allow me to do something about it. When I heard autism, I wasn’t shocked or in denial or angry or even sad. It wasn’t something I wanted, but I did suspect it for about a year and a half before I figured out where to take him for evaluation. I hoped I was wrong, but when I finally heard it, I was relieved because it can be treated and there are a number of people that respond well enough to treatment that they lose the autism diagnosis.

    Autism isn’t a dead end. For me it is the light at the end of the tunnel and it gives me a guide on where I need to go. To me, it doesn’t really matter what caused it, although finding the cause may lead to finding a cure and also prevention, but I do know it wasn’t caused by vaccines. Sure my story is anecdotal, but unlike the anti-vax crowd, science backs my anecdote up.

    • Matt Carey says:

      “My thoughts are, these parents of children with autism who developed it without vaccines don’t really care about this debate.”

      Unfortunately, there is one notable exception. One of the most vocal proponents of the vaccine-causation idea has a child who was not vaccinated.

      • Venna says:

        Yes, she believes somehow that vaccines still damaged her daughter even though there were no vaccines that could have. Funny how even common sense gets lost when a person is caught up in greed, anger and self righteous indignation. There isn’t anything that will convince these people and I feel so bad for their children because they will never get the treatments that really will help them.

  19. Alison MacNeil once shared her unique theory of how vaccines can cause autism in vaccinated children:

    “I have a dear friend who vaccinated her first son, he regressed into her autism.She didn’t vaccinate her second son, born when her first son was around 2.5, he regressed into autism.Is it possible that her 1st son’s vaccines shed horizontal virus to her second child? Second question…my daughter was 4 and was and remains nt and received her boosters just as my son was born. He fell apart accumulatively as we completed all his vaccines by 15 months with the final blow then the mmr. Could he have been affected by her shots?Alison M”

    • Venna says:

      Maybe I was thinking of someone else who had a daughter diagnosed with autism who was unvaccinated. I think the story I heard was that she believed the vaccines she received herself (when she was a child) is what infected her daughter inutero. Vaccines can now travel through time to perform their mayhem.

  20. Matthew says:

    See also:

    Yoder, J. S. & Dworkin, M. S. (2006). Vaccination usage among and old-order Amish community in Illinois. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 25(12), 1182-1193.

    “A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and 8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations.”

    “Among the 36 respondents who had unvaccinated children, 16 (44%) cited concerns about vaccine safety as the reason their children were unvaccinated; 3 (8%) attributed their children’s unvaccinated status to religious objections. Not having received vaccinations as a child (OR, 4.2; 95% CI, 1.1–16.3) and seeking nonemergency medical care [less than or equal to] 2 times during the preceding year (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.1– 6.0) were statistically associated with having unvaccinated children.”

    “Among all respondents who knew their own vaccination status, 281/313 (90%) reported that they had received vaccinations as children. Stratified analysis revealed that younger respondents were statistically significantly more likely to have been vaccinated as children; 194/202 (96%) respondents aged <45 years had received vaccinations, whereas 87/111 (78%) respondents aged [45 years or older] had been vaccinated (OR, 6.7; 95% CI, 2.7–16.9; P < 0.0001).”

  21. john Longo says:

    Vaccines are simply not safe for everyone. In addition to the number of doses,(36 before age 2), vaccine ingredients can be problematic, especially for susceptible subgroups. First are adjuvants, substances added to boost effectiveness and allow smaller doses of vaccine antigen to be used. The most common adjuvant is aluminum, which is found in vaccines for hepatitis and diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus.Third are ingredients to which some people have severe allergies: stabilizers such as gelatin, and eggs or other proteins that are used to prepare vaccines for flu, MMR, and other immunizations.
    Second are preservatives — such as thimerosal, which is 49.6 percent mercury. Thimerosal is still contained in many flu shots, although it was, except for trace amounts, removed from other child vaccines a decade ago. Many child vaccines (including those for diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus, HIB, and hepatitis) contain formaldehyde, which was just added to the government’s list of known human carcinogens. Carcinogen yes, but also OK to be injected into the develping brain of your baby as well. No problem there according to The Government.
    Boost your immune system with diet, excerciese and high quality supplementation. Vaccines are deadly. We administer more vaccines than any other country on the planet, and are second form the bottom in infant mortality. We are 32nd ranking behind Slovenia according to WHO.
    Think twice before injecting these chemicals repeatedly into your child’s developing brain. Follow the money trail, and understand what it truly happening here in the US.

    • Thomas says:

      “Follow the money trail, and understand what it truly happening here in the US.”

      I followed the money trail – it led to Andrew Wakefield, being paid off to lie about the MMR.

      • Jackie says:

        And yet there are studies before Wakefield that show the correlation as well as court cases all over the globe financially compensating families that proved in court that vaccines triggered their child’s autism.

        When will you people learn? smdh

        • Lara Lohne says:

          Please provide the links to these studies so that we may all be educated. And I have read the records of a few of the court cases that parents are claiming proves the government is compensating for vaccination causing autism, yet the records don’t actually say anything about autism. And encephalitis is NOT the same thing as autism. Now does encephalitis cause autism. Autism isn’t brain damage, disease or anything that people like you try to claim that it is. It is a normal neurological divergence that has been part of the human experience since consciousness.

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  23. Using the Amish as a test group is problematic on so many fronts. Their diet is significantly different from the general population. Their level of involvement with formal healthcare is quite atypical. Finally, it is a spurious argument to conclude that because the Amish administer some vaccines this lumps them in with the general population.

    In my state children are required to receive more than 20 different vaccines before entering Kindergarten. From my reading, Amish children receive less than 10 at most. Thus I would conclude that it is impossible to cite this as conclusive proof that vaccines are not related to autism rates.

    That said, since their food is largely organic and local, their level of physical activity is generally greater, and their consumption of drugs (both prescription and elicit) is significantly lower than the general US population, there could be any number of environmental/lifestyle reasons for the disparity.

    A huge concern of mine is the agenda of those who attack Wakefield. Certainly Wakefield should be able to provide more conclusive evidence, but many of his critics sem to have a pro-vaccine agenda. Listening to a radio interview with a public health official in 2005, there was a shocking admission. She stated that even if there were a link between MMR and autism, the vaccine should continue to be required because the public health benefits outweigh the risks.

    As a parent of an autistic child I was offended and threatened. I realized with certainty that my government was not necessarily on my side. I don’t expect we will ever get an honest investigation into why autism rates continue to skyrocket. Breast cancer rates have gone from 1 in 11 to 1 in 6 just in my lifetime, yet no one even wonders why. Sure there theories and claims from those selling organic foods, water filters, and exercise equipment, but where are the scientific studies?

    If the truth were known about the source of cancer and or autism, likely there is nothing that can be done about it and frankly, to paraphrase a movie quote, Americans couldn’t handle that.

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  27. michelle says:

    Why don’t they do a study, where they wait till the child is 5 before vaccines to see if there is an actual change to the child, that can be factual evidence. Vaccines while there so young, you cannot tell the difference in there behavior, therefore you dont know if they were affected by the vaccines or not. The true concern is why are we having so many children with learning disabilities ( autism, ADD,ADHD) if its not vaccines then what?

    • Chris says:

      During that study, Michelle, how would you protect a child like that from pertussis, Hib, rotavirus, measles, tetanus, etc? Would you take responsibility if any of those test subjects were harmed by an actual disease? What would you tell the parents?

      • Billy says:

        There you go again Chris, worrying about trivial issues like children’s lives. Michelle’s desire for knowledge is worth far more than the lives of children; how dare you restrict her with outmoded ethical rules?

  28. michelle says:

    Chris, limit the study to kids who stay at home, do not go to daycare and do not have older siblings. ( more of a clean controlled environment). Do we even know where these vaccines are being manufactured and who over sees the inspections of them? The idea of blindly injecting our babies with foriegn
    susbstances that can cause harm to their brain developement makes me feel like I’m gambling as a parent that my child will not be another statistic to the increased numbers of autism, ADD, and ADHD. To me as a parent it feels wrong, wish there were other options.

    • Ren says:

      “Do we even know where these vaccines are being manufactured and who over sees the inspections of them?”

      You would think that the anti-vacccine people who “do their own research” would know the answers to these things. Michelle, what do you feed your children? Do you know who oversees the manufacture and inspection of your food, your water? Who makes sure your car works well? Homeopathic drugs, who makes sure those “work”?

      You’re placing an impossible standard to vaccines and, as they say, “poisoning the well” when it comes to discussing them. Now it’s a gamble. So what would it take to convince you otherwise? Someone overseeing their manufacture? Okay, let’s hire someone. Who should we hire to do the job, and how can we make sure they’re not corrupted into allowing a bad batch to go out? Can we hire you, Michelle? Are you above reproach? I wouldn’t hire you. You’d probably let a bad batch go through so that all vaccines are recalled.

      See, that’s why we can’t have good discussions with anti-vaccine types. They want perfection. They want not a sliver of doubt. Not even the legal system works like that, Michelle.

    • Chris says:

      “Chris, limit the study to kids who stay at home, do not go to daycare and do not have older siblings. ( more of a clean controlled environment).”

      So no contact with any adults like the father (who may go to work and get pertussis from a coworker), grandparents, a doctor, or anyone. And no friends at all. But just to live in isolation. Where the mother and child live in a couple of rooms with food/clothing/etc. supplied through a lock chamber, and removed the same way. That means no walks in the park, no playdates, no trips to the zoo, and definitely no contact with other family. Just the new mom and baby all by themselves for five years in their own little prison.

      I think you just set up a scenario for another kind of study on childhood development in a deprived environment. Would you like to be new mom stuck in the same room not being able to walk outside for five years, only able to communicate with others by a video feed? Did you really think this through?

      By the way, just in case you think I was blowing smoke about the protection of young children from diseases, just look at Japan. They are mentioned in a couple of studies.

      First we have this summary of the varying levels of pertussis in neighboring countries, Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story. Not only is it interesting to compare pertussis level between Norway and Sweden, it tell what happened when Japan decided to not vaccinate against pertussis until age two. Over forty babies died from pertussis.

      Then there is Japan’s knee jerk reaction to their MMR vaccine (which had the Urabe mumps strain). They decided to get rid of it, and them just make measles vaccination voluntary as explained in Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan. Here is the money quote from that paper:

      According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months.

      Now explain again how you would conduct that study without harming children, both physically and psychologically. You might want to actually pick up a few courses in science and history before you start telling us how science should be done. (hint: look up the Belmont Report)

  29. michelle says:

    Thank you all for your feed back, this is a hard choice every informed parent has to make in todays society where information is so easily obtainable. One in which you accept and pray your child is not going to be a statistic because thats all we can do.

    • Chris says:

      My son is a statistic!

      As a toddler he came down with an illness before the vaccine was available. And he did not go to daycare, and was still an only child.

      Because of that illness he had full blown seizures, which meant a call to 911, and then lots of EMTs in our little house and a trip by ambulance to the hospital. This was followed by referrals to a couple of neurologist, especially when he could not speak by the time he was two and a half years old. That was over twenty years ago and he is still disabled, this week I need to call about setting up a trust.

      That is why I ask you if you are going to tell others how to do science to actually think about what you are asking.

      Yes, “information” is easily available, but most of the stuff is pure dreck. You have folks who claim the vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases without one shred of evidence. I would suggest you get off the internet, go to a library read about how science is done, and a wee bit of history. Though, unfortunately really dumb books do get published. Here are some suggestions with the Dewey Decimal System code to find them in your local library (one tends to read lots in medical and speech therapy waiting rooms):

      353.99709 H569P 2003 Protecting America’s health
      500 P625N 2010 Nonsense on stilts
      500 Se36L 2009 Lies, damned lies, and science
      500.22 GOL Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
      610 Si646T 200 Trick or treatment
      614.4 C3332P 2010 Inside the outbreaks
      614.43 M8338B 2007 The blue death
      614.47 M6999P 2011 The panic virus
      614.47083 Of29D 2010 Deadly choices
      614.47097 AL531V Vaccine
      614.49 M233P Plagues and peoples
      614.541 C8837A 2006 The American Plague
      614.514 J6375G The ghost map
      614.51809 B2797G 2004 The great influenza
      614.51809 KOLATA 1999 Flu
      614.521 F684H 2011 House on fire
      614.52109 W6851P 201 Pox : an American history/
      614.532 H246M Mosquitoes, malaria, and man
      614.54909 Of29C 2005 The Cutter incident .
      614.54909 Os45P 2005 Polio : an American story
      614.57 OL19V 2010 Viruses, plagues, and history
      615.10724 G5639B 2013 Bad pharma
      615.5 B3286S 2007 Snake oil science
      615.5 Of29D 2013 Do you believe in magic?
      616.85882 G885U 2007 Unstrange minds
      618.92858 Of29A 2008  Autism’s false prophets
      618.928588 COL Not even wrong : adventures in autism

    • Lara Lohne says:

      I suppose it all depends on how you view your child/ren. I have six children, ranging in age from 23 to 6. My older five received all their childhood vaccines on schedule (granted for the older 3 there was no varicella vaccine yet available and my forth contracted varicella from my oldest son before he was old enough to get the varicella vaccine. So my older four children had natural chicken pox, which was NOT fun.)

      My youngest child was not vaccinated on schedule due to financial reasons and time gone without medical/health coverage for him. He didn’t get the birth hep b vaccine due to being jaundiced at the time. But he got that along with the normal two month vaccines at his two month well baby, he got his four month vaccines and his six month vaccines and then nothing until just before he turned 3. Before his two month vaccines though I already could see differences in him from my older five children. He was more challenging then any of them every were, it seemed the very air around him caused him pain and he never slept, he still has sleep issues now.

      He was hitting developmental milestones early by a month or more until the age of 14 months when he lost his speech, began walking on his toes, started to isolate himself and was often found to be rocking on his hands and knees or lining up or spinning anything and everything he could find. He began having what appeared to be severe, violent tantrums (what I now recognize as sensory meltdowns) where he would bang his head against the wall, kick and thrash and all I could do is place him in his room and wait for them to end. I was at a loss as to what to do. It wasn’t until he was just over two and a half that all the pieces came together and we realized what most likely it was.

      He was accepted into the Early Intervention program at just over two and a half with significant developmental delay and we took the next four months before he turned three and began Special Ed pre-school to get his vaccines up to date. At the age of three they evaluated him for autism and he received an educational label of ASD, a year later he received a medical diagnosis of autistic disorder with other, co-morbid, developmental issues. He is fully vaccinated now, but was showing characteristics of autism from birth, before receiving any vaccines. I probably wouldn’t have known them as such if I hadn’t had five other children before him.

      Vaccines protect our children from deadly dangerous diseases (I have suffered, and seem my siblings suffer, through some of these myself, having grow up in an anti-vaccine household) which can maim and kill. Nobody has ever died of autism and autism really isn’t anything to be afraid of. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. If a child is going to be autistic, they will be with or without vaccines, that was all decided at the time of conception at the earliest and at least way before birth (de novo mutations can happen during fetal development). We don’t yet know what causes autism, but we do know it is mostly genetic influences and many times a child will receive an autism diagnosis and then later a parent will also. That happened in our case, his father has autism too and I myself have autistic characteristics, even if I don’t fall on the spectrum, I’m borderline. Our genetics combined to create our son and he is the sweetest, cutest, most loving, adorable and funny child anyone could ever hope to have. I wouldn’t change him for anything. His speech came back even if he still has delays, he has friends who adore him, he can read, has difficulty writing but he can do it, struggles with math but only because they’ve not found a way yet to motivate him to do it. He starts first grade in a couple of week and we are official out of diapers! My son does struggle, but his biggest struggle is going to be advocating for himself when he needs accommodation. It’s my job to advocate for him and teach him how to advocate for himself as he gets older. My son is happy and he is loved and he is thriving and that is all any parent can ask for a child. Everything beyond that is just vanity of the parent.

      • Jackie says:

        I would take a natural illness any day over the known side effects of vaccines. Everyone in my entire family has had everything (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Flu, chicken pox) and even been in close proximity to Hep B, Polio, etc. I also have family members that have been damaged by vaccines (reaction left seizures, blindness, autism). But since YOU saw a different 2 month old than your other children and YOU are still alive speaking bad about those of us that would take the natural illness over a severe reaction (which are listed in the inserts, VAERS, and thousands of court cases all over the globe for decades) which prove such damage. All hands down to the troll all over this thread crying about having the chicken pox. PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE Hope you are at least smart enough to be on Merck’s payroll. Good lord. *Mother of 4 that couldn’t tell the difference in any of her children at 2 months they all just eat, sleep, poop and LAY THERE

        • Lara Lohne says:

          Would you take loss of hearing from meningitis? How about SSPE from measles or infertility from mumps? Congential rbella syndrome in an infant that happens to be born to a mother who had an infection with rubella while she was pregnant happens quite often without vaccinations to prevent rubella, the 31 cases of it in Japan in 2013 attest to that. (And something else to keep in mind with that, since autism is a side effect of congenital rubella syndrome, one could argue that vaccines prevent autism, which studies have shown is correct.) What about life long lung damage from pertussis? Brain damage from encephalitis is a good one, which can occur with any fever. Then of course there is the amputations required in many cases of pneumonococcal virus, is that preferable to the MINUTE risk associated with vaccinations? I feel you need to rethink you priorities. These diseases aren’t harmless, which is why vaccinations were created to protect against and prevent them to begin with. Children died, were left with life long and debilitating disabilities after them, parents lives in fear of not whether or not their child would get a disease but WHEN then would, if they would be fortunate enough to live to see the age of 5, or 10, or become an adult. And yeah, many parents would purposely expose their children to the diseases to get them out of the way early, not because it was good and healthy to do so, but because they wanted to get it out of the way for them and not have to worry about it later. There wasn’t any way back then to prevent the diseases, now there is and you are going this way about it? Seriously?

  30. Ren says:

    “One in which you accept and pray your child is not going to be a statistic because thats all we can do.”

    Nope. You accept because the overwhelming wealth of evidence tells you that everything is going to be okay. You accept because study after well-designed study alleviates your fears, and, armed with that knowledge, you are not frightened by the fear and misinformation from the anti-vaccine organizations and their members. You accept because you look around and not see crippled children, scarred children, or missing (dead) children in the numbers seen in other countries or in this country as early as the 60′s because vaccines have been developed to deal with these scourges.

    In other words, you accept because you live in reality. It was not a “hard choice” for my parents. It will not be a hard choice for me.

  31. michelle says:

    20 years ago when I had my children, I was very young and didnt think to question anything the doctor said I should do. Today, with all the publicity of Autism, ADD,ADHD./vaccines. My daughter who recently had a baby was aking me how I fell about vaccines. So, ofcourse here I am reaching out for advice. My brother’s son is autistic, he is 14, struggling in school. My brother said, “I think I might have to take care of him forever”. Not that he minds, he loves him dearly. Then you have the GMO conspiracy. So much is going on in the world today and with health reform, you dont know who gains to profit and at what cost, most vaccines are not made in the US, which is worrism.
    Anyhow, again thank you for your replys, did not mean to offend anyone. “The older I get the more I question everything.”

    • Chris says:

      Please be rest assured that vaccines are not a cause of autism. The diseases cause far more disability than the vaccines. Measles alone causes encephalopathy in one out of thousand cases, which can then cause severe neurological damage and even death. For some data:
      Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence. Then there is the list of books I provided.

      I find it interesting that you are “reaching out for advice” when you first statement was “Why don’t they do a study, where they wait till the child is 5 before vaccines to see if there is an actual change to the child, that can be factual evidence.”

      That sounds like you are proposing a scientific study that has several ethical concerns.

      You say: “So much is going on in the world today and with health reform, you dont know who gains to profit and at what cost, most vaccines are not made in the US, which is worrism.”

      That actually sounds like the “health newsletters” that my dad had in his house. They were by so-called doctors who also had a list of supplements for sale. One even had a graph claiming autism was increasing, with 100% boys first, then ALL kids second, and finally 100% of girls after all kids were autistic (mathematically silly). Needless to say, they are all dreck and were sent to the recycle bin. They are not “information” they are sales brochures, and should be ignored. The same goes for their webpages.

      We were very fortunate that because of “Obama-Care” our twenty three year old son was covered under his father’s health insurance through his employment. It was his genetic heart condition where I found out that it costs over $700 for the two mile trip to the closest hospital. The hospital costs, surgery and medical over the next nine months was almost a hundred thousand dollars.

      Now, translate that into injuries caused by pertussis, measles, Hib, etc. Wales had over a thousand cases of measles, with almost one in ten requiring hospital care and one death (with a costly investigation that determine the young man died of measles large cell pneumonia). You need to come up with some good numbers to tell me that preventing measles, pertussis, polio, etc is more costly than treating the diseases. Especially since over twenty years ago my kid did require hospital care and several years of therapy due to seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease.

      Please answer one more question. Open up the following pdf, got to the first Appendix (page 30/31), and look at the table. Tell us what number is to the left of the word “Vaccines” and explain what it means:
      http://www.imshealth.com/imshealth/Global/Content/IMS%20Institute/Documents/IHII_UseOfMed_report%20.pdf

  32. michelle says:

    Ren, thank you for that last reply.

  33. William Derberg says:

    What I find interesting is the fact that the author of this article cites one study as undeniable proof that the Amish DO vaccinate their children. What he conveniently leaves out is that survey based study’s are fraught with weaknesses (people taking the surveys tend to lie or at least stretch the truth). When you are dealing with a subgroup of society that tends to be very distrustful of the government, as well as other establismentarian systems, it is easy to assume that they would be less than honest when asked to fill out a survey about vaccination compliance. Vaccine technologies are real and do work, but to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do not cause autism is, in my humble opinion, to commit scientific heresy. Especially when you consider that there IS a positive correlation between increased vaccination delivery, and rates of autism. Now this correlation may not be directly related, but until the body of scientific data says otherwise, it should not be ruled out entirely.

    • Chris says:

      Actually there is plenty of literature on the Amish and vaccination. It is not that they distrust government, it is that they spend their time elsewhere.

      Still there is plenty of literature on the Amish, especially on several of the genetic diseases that plague their limited genome. You can start by looking at https://clinicforspecialchildren.org/research/ .

      And then you make this statement: “Especially when you consider that there IS a positive correlation between increased vaccination delivery, and rates of autism.”

      To which, the only response is “Provide the relevant citations.”

      Because as far as I can tell, the rates of autism really went up with the increase of Internet use. Or organic food sales. Or the rise of reality TV. Perhaps even global warming and pirates.

  34. Eric says:

    As I read the article, you are saying the Amish don’t vaccinate as much as the rest of the population, and they don’t have as much autism either.

    What you have published seems to me like support for the vaccination-autism connection by firming up the confidence they actually under-vaccinate and have less autism.

    The dose makes the poison, no?

  35. deal with reality says:

    vaccines are crap. wash you hands. SOAP is the real reason many diseases have been wiped out. simple as that.

    • Chris says:

      So soap is effective for airborne viruses like measles, mumps and diphtheria?

      The following is census data on measles incidence in the USA during the 20th century. Please tell us what super duper change occurred to make the rate of measles incidence plummet by 90% between 1960 and 1970. Do not mention measles deaths (mortality), do not mention any other decade, nor any other country. Just tell us why measles cases dropped so much, verifiable scientific documentation to support your answer.

      From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
      Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
      1912 . . . 310.0
      1920 . . . 480.5
      1925 . . . 194.3
      1930 . . . 340.8
      1935 . . . 584.6
      1940 . . . 220.7
      1945 . . . 110.2
      1950 . . . 210.1
      1955 . . . 337.9
      1960 . . . 245.4
      1965 . . . 135.1
      1970 . . . . 23.2
      1975 . . . . 11.3
      1980 . . . . . 5.9
      1985 . . . . . 1.2
      1990 . . . . .11.2
      1991 . . . . . .3.8
      1992 . . . . . .0.9
      1993 . . . . . .0.1
      1994 . . . . . .0.4
      1995 . . . . . .0.1
      1996 . . . . . .0.2
      1997 . . . . . . 0.1

      • tsavo says:

        Don’t mention any other decade? Why is it because we see the same statistical drop in cases from 1935 – 1945 even though the vaccine was not invented yet? Yup, limiting data really proves your point.

        • Chris says:

          535 to 110 is not a 90% drop (do the math). Plus the incidence rate went up again to make it much less than 90%. When did it become less than 110 again? When did the incidence rate rise higher than that of 1970?

          Here is a history question: what was happening in the 1930s that might have been detrimental to child health?

          And another: What big thing ended in 1945?

      • tsavo says:

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Measles_US_1944-2007_inset.png

        Look at all the pretty little drops. Now please explain those without mentioning any other data. LOL

        • lilady says:

          Look at the graph you provided to see the dramatic drop in reported measles, once the measles vaccine was licensed.

        • Chris says:

          Measles epidemics come in cycles. It is so infectious that pretty much every kid gets it before they are fifteen years old. So the disease cannot spread due to the increased community immunity of the survivors (measles at that time killed at one in a thousand).

          Then more babies are born, and the number of vulnerable kids goes up. And then you have another epidemic cycle. This is well known.

          So do tell us when measles incidence in the USA got close to even half of the level it was in 1970. Tell us why those epidemic cycles stopped.

          Some reading to help you find those answers:

          Mass measles immunization in Los Angeles County (this explains the expected epidemic and how the vaccine modified it)

          The Benefits From 10 Years of Measles Immunization in the United States

        • Matt Carey says:

          “Look at all the pretty little drops.”

          Actually, you are supposed to look at the peaks. Peaks are outbreaks. Epidemics. Increases in incidence over the baseline.

          After each outbreak there is a drop. There is a seasonality to measles. Also, once an outbreak has passed through a community, it typically takes a few years before the pool of unexposed children grows large enough to support another outbreak.

          Very simple stuff, actually. Are you aware that you have clearly demonstrated your ignorance with your question?

  36. tsavo says:

    Amish responded to a survey? That alone should make everything else in the article suspect. I am not saying that I agree with the ice cream/drowning correlation (opps, I mean autism/vaccine) but we have a very large population of Amish in my area (In fact the third largest in the nation.) And I work with the Amish and frequent their businesses. They are a very closed society and I find it EXTREAMLY hard to believe that they would report anything to the “English”. And to the person that quoted the “door to door” survey. REALLY, I would like to see video of that. Most Amish do not want you on their land, nor will they speak English to you on their land, no will they answer questions by the population they consider heathens. Ask any police officer that deals with the Amish and you will see how easy it is to get any useful info. Are you sure you are talking to Amish and not Mennonites?
    Can you say propaganda?
    Lies from both sides help no one.

    • lilady says:

      I suggest that you take your comments about access to the Amish, to Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted at Age of Autism.

      They were the “researchers” who did a “drive-by” study of the Amish and who actually published their dreadful research.

    • Chris says:

      The Clinic for Special Children mentioned in the previous link has a satellite clinic in Indiana:
      http://www.indianachc.org/wp/about/

      You should contact them about how they do surveys and their genetic research.

    • Matt Carey says:

      “Amish responded to a survey? ”

      Yes, they did. And the study authors compiled the data into a paper. Do you have substantive concerns about the study? Or are you just raising the noise level.

      The Amish vaccinate. The urban myth that they don’t is at best a myth and at worst a lie.

    • Matt Carey says:

      “Ask any police officer that deals with the Amish and you will see how easy it is to get any useful info.”

      The researchers got a response rate of 37%. You did know that, right? You actually clicked the link and read the abstract to the study, right? You didn’t just start typing without having done the smallest amount of effort you could reasonably do to educate yourself on the topic, did you?

      I communicated with someone at the Clinic for Special Children. That clinician/researcher has spent much of the past 20 years increasing the vaccination rates in the communities near the Clinic.

      Why? Because it makes sense in general. Because the Amish have a greater incidence of metabolic diseases which put them at great risk of harm from vaccine preventable diseases.

      I also communicated with someone who studies the Amish educational approach. Including special education.

      “Can you say propaganda?”

      Yes. And I can spot it when I see it. People who claim that vaccines don’t work, such as the implications you are making, are spreading propoganda. Or lies. Take your pick, either word fits.

    • Jackie says:

      Thank you! I was thinking the same thing and know a few dozen families in a larger community of Amish in Ohio that don’t vaccinate, yet I didn’t ask them specifics on ‘did you get 1 yourself, or allow 1 to be given to your child’, etc. etc.

  37. finch says:

    I did my “research” as to whether vaccines were killers or not in old graveyards. It was very obvious when vaccines and penicillin were introduced. Before: lots of children’s graves from vaccine preventable diseases. After: very few children’s graves at all.
    Autism has been around for far longer than vaccines and claims of a link ignore facts like far more boys are autistic than girls though the vaccine rates are the same and that a woman who is gluten intolerant is far more likely to have an autistic child. But there are none so blind as those who will not see

    • Lara Lohne says:

      Finch,

      While your statement that vaccines are not linked to autism, because autism has been around far longer than vaccines (as in it has always been a normal variant in the neurology of humans) the claim that it is more prevalent in boys than in girls is simply not correct. New research is being found that girls are missed much more often than boys, because girls manifest their autism differently than boys, and/or are better able to copy cat ‘normal’ social behavior, or hide their autistic tendencies than boys. The diagnostic criteria were developed using male models of autism, and because of that, more boys are found to be autistic because that is how boys present. The diagnostic criteria then became a self fulfilling prophecy that boys are autistic more often than girls. Only the more severely affected girls are found as children using the current diagnostic criteria, and more girls are found later, as in teen age years or adulthood, to be autistic because they were missed as children. Typically they seek their own diagnosis when they have a child with autism and begin to recognize similar characteristics in themselves, or they have a mid-life regression (common among autistic adults, particularly when they are missed as children) and seek reasons behind this loss in ability to function/cope with normal living.

      I’ve not heard this claim that mothers with a gluten intolerance are more likely to have children with autism either. There really isn’t any one thing that can be linked directly, and only, to autism, because autism is still missed in many cases, the diagnostic criteria are constantly shifting and being redefined, which catches more and more people who are autistic and were missed under the previous definitions.

      Bottom line, autism has always been with us, we don’t know what causes it, and we probably won’t ever, because it can be any number of things, but even if we do pin point a cause, we won’t be able to prevent it and shouldn’t prevent it, because most of our more brilliant minds, talented painters, writers, outside-the-box thinkers, have always been, are currently and will be autistics. What needs to change is the conversation surrounding autism. Acceptance that it is a normal part of a very diverse population, there are strengths that need to be encouraged and limitations that need to be respected and supported. We definitely know though, vaccines have nothing to do with it.

  38. John says:

    I remember when we had mountains of data and studies witch proved that cigarettes were safe.
    I remember when 4 out of 5 doctors recommended camel cigarettes.
    Why is it that both sides of this debate have data to back them up?
    Because one side is falsifying data.
    If i had to take a guess as to who that might be… I’d probably say it was whoever stood to gain the most from lying. Follow the money.

    It is also important to note that if vaccines were found to be harmful, it would result in a reformulation to make them safer, not an end to vaccination in general, so you guys who keep arguing that vaccines help people really aren’t understanding whats truly at stake here.

    Vaccines are not the problem its the other crap that they put in there that’s the problem. Vaccines are not on the chopping block here, just their current formulation!

    With the GMO situation nobody is saying to stop eating, were saying: STOP FUCKING WITH OUR FOOD WE NEED THAT!

    • Matt Carey says:

      I remember when we had mountains of data and studies witch proved that cigarettes were safe.

      You must be pretty darned old. I’m getting up there and I don’t remember this. Heck, the surgeon general’s report came out in, what, the ’60′s? And there was good data against tobacco way before that.

      You want tobacco science? take a look at the junk that people who promote the vaccine/autism link have put out. I have, and it’s junk. Actually, the tobacco companies put out more convincing work.

      I notice that when people don’t have facts to back up their attacks on vaccines they fall back on “remember tobacco?” Seriously, there isn’t a single fact in your comment. No real arguments. Just “I think vaccines are like tobacco”. Great. People like you caused a lot of damage to my community.

    • Chris says:

      “I remember when 4 out of 5 doctors recommended camel cigarettes.”

      What you remember are tobacco ads, which were not science. They even manipulated certain doctors:
      The price paid: Manipulation of otolaryngologists by the tobacco industry to obfuscate the emerging truth that smoking causes cancer

      Also, look up the landmark epidemiological study done in the UK after WWII:
      J Am Med Assoc. 1950 May 27;143(4):329-36.
      Tobacco smoking as a possible etiologic factor in bronchiogenic carcinoma; a study of 684 proved cases.
      WYNDER EL, GRAHAM EA.

    • Chris says:

      Apparently this is the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report on smoking, which came after a decade of research:
      http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/jan/05/smoking-report-changed-us-history/

  39. Jackie says:

    It amazes me how there are dozens upon dozens of scientific studies showing the correlation, how vaccines causes autism in animals (monkeys), neurological damage in dogs, harm the immune system, the ingredients, etc. from trustworthy sites .gov, pediatrics, etc. The manufacturers even state how vaccines can cause encephalitis (merck manual is one) and autism is a neurological illness/disease (whichever term you prefer) yet there is noooo way vaccines cause autism. Big Pharma is ruthless with their other products but suddenly angels that can do no harm. Dr Julie Gerberding, previous head of CDC now working for Merck, was even forced to admit that vaccine could trigger autism.
    Point to Wakefield, point to McCarthy, etc. etc. Yet courts all over the globe were handing out money to damaged children before we even knew who those 2 were.
    God gave you a brain, use it.

    • Lara Lohne says:

      Please provide links to these dozens of studies showing a link between vaccines and autism. Please keep in mind, neurological damage is not the same at autism. Encephalitis is not autism, nor is autism caused by it.

      Autism is not an illness or disease, there is no way to cure or prevent it, (with the exception of autism caused by congenital rubella syndrome which can be prevented with MMR vaccines). Autism is a normal neurological divergence that has always been around.

      As for having, and using a brain, that requires reading and understanding ALL facts, not just cherry picking data you find that suits your already established point of view. True open mindedness requires skepticism, not blind acceptance or jumping to conclusions, which you are doing. You clearly don’t know anything about autism, otherwise you couldn’t spout off the nonsense that you are spouting off. And yeah, it’s nonsense, my brain tells me that, and also the mounds of evidence that has been found to date showing no connection, no even possible mechanism, where vaccinations can lead to autism, because autism is there from conception. And there is nothing wrong with being autistic!

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  44. Magellan35 says:

    Although I would not single out vaccines as the singular cause for any particular disorder, they are unique in that they engage the immune system in a manner distinct from other environmental toxins. Unlike wild pathogens and environmental toxins encountered by means of air, skin contact, or ingestion, vaccines (except for those in nasal or oral form) bypass mucosal barriers and the Immunoglobulin A (IgA) response, a response which under normal encounters with pathogens sets off a cascade of protein formation which either informs Immunoglobulin B cells to mature and produce antigen-specific antibodies – and T lymphocytes to mobilize – or informs the immune system that the pathogen is familiar and can be dealt with easily.

    Because a vaccine interacts directly and most immediately with T-lymphocytes and Immunoglobulins other than IgA, there is no mucosal “buffer”, which slows and modulates the immune response, contributing to longer-lasting CD8+ and CD4+ antigen-specific memory (which partially explains why many vaccines require multiple boosters, while naturally acquired immunity generally lasts much longer).

    The response of some people to injected antigens (by vaccine) is underwhelming in terms of antibody production, so vaccine developers often adjust the formulation through the use of adjuvants (immune system irritants such as aluminum salts) in order to create a dramatic “red flag” response in T lymphocytes, particularly CD4+ cells. T lymphocytes then release millions of T-cytokines (microbiologists refer to this as a cytokine storm) to inform the immune system that a large number of antigens are suddenly present and a profound response – particularly in the form of high numbers of antibodies – is required. Bear in mind that this is desirable from the perspective of an immunologist, as it suggests that the immune system will be prepared to deal with the wild antigen, should it be encountered after vaccination.

    The problem with such a direct and large-scale activation of the immune system, however, is that it can and often does result in two things:

    -Widespread inflammation that may include the brain, which is why encephalitis is commonly listed as a vaccine adverse reaction (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17643770 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21945263)

    -Molecular mimicry and resultant autoimmunity, in which some of the antigens specific to the vaccine are similar to – or directly attach themselves to – healthy tissues within the vaccinee.

    In the latter case, because so many antibodies are created without a wild pathogen to address, there is strong evidence linking vaccination to autoimmunity, in which antibodies attack one’s own tissues or organs (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10648110and http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008382), Although there are other mechanisms besides vaccination that can create trauma leading to antibodies which target one’s own tissues (autoimmunity), vaccines are more common triggers of dramatic immune response than anything else I can think of. It is, after all, what they are designed to do.

    It becomes particularly disconcerting when one notes that maternal cytokines produced in response to antigens – whether from natural pathogens or vaccine antigens – readily bypass the placental barrier, and that high maternal cytokine counts have been implicated in a number of birth defects including autism, cerebral palsy, neonatal heart disease, and many others — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3086802/and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23428339. One can only conclude that deliberately inducing a cytokine storm in a pregnant mother is a rather poor idea unless the goal is a miscarriage or damaged child.

    Just why are some people harmed more than others by vaccines and other environmental toxins?

    Please give careful attention to the following studies and references:

    http://www.landesbioscience.com/special/Ahmad_Neuro_9781587066450.pdf#page=124

    Institute of Medicine (as pro-vaccine as they come) report comparing various types of mercury exposure: http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/ImmunizationSafety/Lucier.ashx. Note the “conclusions” section, in which it is recommended that ethylmercury (also know as thimerosal preservative, used in many vaccines, although less so than in the past) exposure be considered equivalent to methylmercury in neurotoxicity.

    When rats were administered ethylmercury by injection, after 3 to 10 days brain concentrations of inorganic mercury were higher than in those injected with methylmercury, with diffuse concentrations in multiple organs, particularly damaging the kidneys. With a 20% increase in ethylmercury dose, ganglion damage and coordination disorders exceeded those of the methylmercury-treated rats (this accords with the IOM conclusion noted above) – See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4091651. Also see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264864/, which suggests the exitotoxicity pathway by which injected ethylmercury may cause such brain damage. More research is needed to establish the chemistry and altered protein synthesis involved, but much is already known. – http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/1/79.full

    The results are similar with infant monkeys -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16079072, with dramatic results for motor coordination and root, snout, and suck reflexes -http://fedgeno.com/documents/delayed-neonatal-reflexes-in-primates-receiving-thimerosal.pdf

    Then there’s this to make sense of the above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiT7Y233404

    The aforementioned studies and video are more than sufficient to convince an open-minded researcher of the neurotoxic potential of thimerosal, particularly when administered in multiple doses. Again, I will never assert that thimerosal is the singular cause of autism, but I do assert that lab research confirms its neurotoxicity and supports the FDA position that thimerosal should be removed from a number of products, including pediatric vaccines. For a fact, it should be removed from all vaccines, as this is “public health protective”, as the IOM report puts it.

    Some fetuses, infants, children, and even adults are more prone to an inflammatory response or to the types of epigenetic miscue that lead to dysfunction for a number of reasons, not limited to:

    - Timing in relation to fetal/neural/organ development;

    - Genetic predispositions including poor methylation of key genes (see http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-role-of-methylation-in-gene-expression-1070);

    - Inability to effectively detoxify metals through feces, urine and skin.

    Unfortunately, elimination of toxins and other epigenetic triggers before damage takes place is impossible for some of the compounds in vaccines. An observer may not see or otherwise detect the damage; perhaps it is too diffuse to critically affect one organ or system, or the individual in question has more of a vital amino acid, protein, or enzyme necessary to bond with and neutralize a particular contaminant. But that does not mean that damage – in the form of persistant inflammation and/or autoimmunity that will vary for every person – has not occured.

    One major problem with epidemiological studies of toxicological exposures is that they simply do not examine tissues in the lab, and no one – doctor, scientist, or parent – can predict which organ, system, or tissue will be most affected when an inflammatory or autoimmune response is induced, whether by vaccine or environmental toxin. Nevertheless, because of the prevalence of such toxins, we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic of neurological damage and other serious health problems that affect nearly everyone in highly vaccinated populations, and the diverse nature of many of the diseases and syndromes related to such toxic exposures has often prevented direct implication of vaccines as a causative factor.

    • Ren says:

      So, in your world, no one gets scrapes and cuts, dirt into those scrapes and cuts, and, thus, exposed to antigens and immunogens other than by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact? Got it.

      • Magellan35 says:

        That’s too bad, I was hoping for an intelligent rebuttal.

        Unlike so many people around here, I would change my mind in the face of good evidence, but an arrogant, nonsensical, or ad hominem attack is just going to convince me (and others) that I must be fundamentally correct.

        As a nature lover and tinkerer, I have cut myself deeply countless times. In fact, (according to advocates for the vaccine) I should be dead a thousand times over from tetanus, but here I am.

        When I cut myself, a number of things happen that don’t happen when I’m vaccinated. First, the number of antigens present in the wound are orders of magnitude fewer than those present in any vaccine, and the “dirt” that enters with them is not alum, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, or any other vaccine component, and will not elicit the same cytokine storm that those substances do. Second, I wash the wound thoroughly and apply a topical anti-microbial ointment, further reducing the number of antigens presented to my immune system. Third, my immune system recognizes the vast majority of antigens that are present; it’s seen them before. Fourth, for those antigens which are new to leukocytes that arrive first at the injury, cytokines produced by macrophages, dendritic cells, and others will create local swelling and signal (by means of MHC and CD1 molecules) for appropriate response from my adaptive immune system, but that response will be targeted on antigens presented and will not be an overreaction. IgB cells will mature and memory for the new antigens will remain for many years.

        This is how the immune system has worked for eons, and how it works today for pathogens for which we have no vaccines, but cutting or stabbing yourself and bypassing mucosal barriers is still generally considered a bad idea, unless you’re into that sort of thing…

        I’ll assume you already knew all the foregoing and just wanted to be cute, though.

        • Matt Carey says:

          ” but an arrogant, nonsensical, or ad hominem attack is just going to convince me (and others) that I must be fundamentally correct”

          Right. If you feel people are insulting you, you must be correct. That’s basing your results on data and logic and facts?

          I’ve seen this over and over in these discussions: people posing as open minded and searching for the facts when, if fact, they are looking for a fight so they can ignore evidence.

          “First, the number of antigens present in the wound are orders of magnitude fewer than those present in any vaccine”

          You mean “orders of magnitude greater than those present in any vaccine”. At least you mean that if you wish to be accurate.

          “and the “dirt” that enters with them is not alum, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate”

          Aluminum is common in soils. It represents something like 7% of the earth’s crust. Including aluminum phosphate, from what I recall. Maybe I’ll check on the soil of “Alum Rock” near San Jose and see if there’s, well, alum in the rocks…

          “I’ll assume you already knew all the foregoing and just wanted to be cute, though.”

          Of course you will. Because you aren’t interested in a discussion of facts. You came to sharpen your debate skills and then claim that others aren’t playing nice, so they must be wrong. It’s the typical approach I’ve seen over and over and over and over again in internet discussions.

          Perhaps if you approached these discussions with an open mind (I realize that your model of yourself is that you are the one who is open minded, but that’s fairly clearly incorrect) you might come away with something more than the ability to pat yourself on the back as having engaged in another debate.

          You have made some very simple factual errors. The number of antigens in a cut is vastly greater than that in a vaccine. Soil does contain aluminum compounds. You have a choice, use that information so you don’t trip up again in your next debate, or realize you are wrong and do some self-investigation.

          • magellan35 says:

            Yes, Matt, you’ve seen it all, you’re above it all and you’re here to mentor me about mineral concentrations in the earth’s crust and show me the error of my ways. I’m very, duly impressed.

            If you think Ren’s comment was not dismissive and condescending, fine, I won’t try to teach you about conveying tone by means of the written word.

            As for your comments, where do I begin?

            When I started researching vaccination, I was pro-vaccine – at least in principle. It required the reading of scores of lab studies to convince me that there was a real problem on an intra-cellular level when people with certain genetic predispositions are vaccinated.

            If you disagree with that, I would like to hear why.

            As for the rest of your comments, I would love to see answers from the lab on antigen concentration in what we might call an “average puncture wound” with “average attendant soil contamination” if we could ever quantify such things in a mutually agreed-upon manner.

            I’m going to stand by my logic that the average sharp edge on an auto part underneath a car at a wrecking yard has fewer types and a lower concentration of antigens than does a vaccine, which is deliberately formulated to have a high concentration of antigens. I’m further going to speculate that there is going to be less soil/dirt/mineral in p.p.m. remaining in the wound after bleeding and my efforts to clean it. If you disagree, again, please provide a basis.

            Then we can discuss bioavailability of the minerals that remain in the wound and their ability to produce an aggressive immune response. I know that adjuvants are designed to create a large immune response, but I know no such thing about soil. Again, please provide a basis for your disagreement.

            Sure, I would love to hone my debate skills, because I think this topic is incredibly important to public health and to the decision-making of parents regarding vaccination. But I’m not here to pat myself on the back for my awesomeness nor to confirm my own bias; I’m here because people – here and elsewhere – claim loudly, constantly, and often with tremendous condescension that vaccines cannot be implicated in autism/autoimmune disorders/contagious disease, which is either a deliberate lie or an incredibly poor reading of the abundant available evidence.

            Perhaps, on the topic of self-investigation, you might consider your own motives. You seem to be on a righteous campaign against anti-scientific ignorance on the part of those who question immunization policy and the science that is claimed to support it. While that is just as dogmatically religious of you (if true) as many of the anti-vax right-wingnuts that pollute this debate, it has nothing to do with empirical data, sound hypotheses, and repeatable research upon which to form a logical opinion.

            If you choose to respond, please keep the focus on data, or at least a good hypothesis, instead of on my motives and how much you’ve witnessed in your impressive career as internet commentator.

          • Matt Carey says:

            Yep, and now you drop the façade and we see that you are just here for some debates.

            Yes, you are obvious. Yes, you are typical of so many on the internet. No apologies if that doesn’t sit well with you.

            As for the rest of your comments, I would love to see answers from the lab on antigen concentration in what we might call an “average puncture wound” with “average attendant soil contamination” if we could ever quantify such things in a mutually agreed-upon manner

            Nice backpeddaling. Rather than admit your mistake, you now ask for data. You were the one who made the statement “the number of antigens present in the wound are orders of magnitude fewer than those present in any vaccine”. That was wrong. A vaccine will have one virus particle or part of a bacterium. It’s obvious to the most casual observer that a cut will have more than one. You even assume that, otherwise there is no point in washing and/or using antibiotic ointments as you suggested.

            You are, sir, a poser. You tried to hide behind sciency language but you were clearly wrong. And you are gutless. You don’t have the courage to admit your mistakes.

            Typical.

            You will “stand by your logic” because you came here with no intention of learning. You came here to pontificate. Sure, you will learn not to make the same mistakes, but that’s basically a silly game.

            The problem is you can get better at hiding the fact that you don’t know what you are talking about, but that’s a pale shadow to erasing your ignorance.

            Which, is, typical.

            Yes. I’ve been at this for years. I’ve seen your type come and go many times in those years. Far from being “open minded” and “knowledgeable” you are ignorant and closed minded. You being plural.

          • Matt Carey says:

            ” you might consider your own motives. You seem to be on a righteous campaign against anti-scientific ignorance on the part of those who question immunization policy and the science that is claimed to support it.”

            My motives are very simple. Anti-vaccine activists use my community as their tool. They latch on to the autism/vaccine myth and don’t give a damned about the harm they leave. They don’t care that they ruin lives by making parents feel incalculable guilt. They don’t care that they give charlatan doctors a clientele of disabled children upon which to perform their experiments.

            So, sir, should you wonder why I hold you in such low esteem, it has nothing to do with the fact that you are an ignorant science poser. You are causing harm.

  45. Matt Carey says:

    Another factual mistake:

    “… for appropriate response from my adaptive immune system, but that response will be targeted on antigens presented and will not be an overreaction.”

    Really? How do you know that? In most cases it will be true, but the immune system does over-react to some antigens, even when “naturally” presented.

    Also, you restrict yourself to discussion of the adaptive immune system. Are you ignoring the innate immune system, or do you somehow think it plays no role? Or, more likely, you feel that saying “adaptive immune system” sounds like you know what you are talking about? Sorry if this seems overly critical, but your pattern is typical.

    The problem is you seem to feel as though if you bury your statements in a lot of technical terminology, people won’t find your errors. But the are there.

    • magellan35 says:

      Fair enough…I don’t know for sure that my adaptive immune system won’t over-react. It might, if I have a genetic susceptibility to over-reaction, especially to a particular antigen. But it is unlikely unless I come across something particularly virulent, and although I often cut and scrape myself, I don’t particularly recommend it as a public health policy.

      You want to distinguish between the innate and adaptive immune system? Why? Vaccines are primarily, historically, designed to interact with the adaptive immune system, which is why you so many immunologists are making an effort to “improve” the way vaccines interface with the innate immune system.

      Again with the “typical pattern” BS instead of pointing out how you think I’m wrong.

      Typical.

      Hahahahaha…

      • Matt Carey says:

        “Again with the “typical pattern” BS instead of pointing out how you think I’m wrong.”

        No. I’m pointing out that you are following a typical pattern *and* showing that you are incorrect.

        But it is unlikely unless I come across something particularly virulent, and although I often cut and scrape myself, I don’t particularly recommend it as a public health policy.

        Tetanus. Present in soil pretty much world wide. Death rate something like 1 in 10. That counts as “virulent” by the general definition.

        • Matt Carey says:

          Want to show you aren’t a typical internet vaccine-debater? Admit you made mistakes. Admit that the number of antigens in an open wound are greater than that of a vaccine. I.e. admit the obvious.

          Instead you dodge and weave and attack.

      • Matt Carey says:

        “It might, if I have a genetic susceptibility to over-reaction, especially to a particular antigen. ”

        Again, you throw in too many words in an attempt to appear educated.

        Why limit yourself to genetic susceptibilities? Perhaps you have a nongenetic susceptibility. Perhaps you’ve been sensitized by over exposure in the past.

        But throwing in the word “genetic” makes it appear to the casual reader like you know what you are talking about.

        Yes, you are typical. I could write your comments, having seen them all before. I could do better than you, knowing the mistakes you make.

        • magellan35 says:

          I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

          Wrong for believing that you care about facts, research, or science. Wrong for believing that you might stop making this a question of my character. Wrong for bothering to respond to someone of such low intellect that he thinks I meant number of *types* of antigen rather than total number of individual antigens and antigen fragments.

          How you failed to grasp that, I cannot fathom. You’ll probably claim now that there are still more antigens and antigen fragments in a cut than in a vaccine dose.

          Sensitization through overexposure is certainly a concern for autoimmune response. Vaccine developers should think about that when they inject infants and children with many of the same toxins 69 (or more) times between birth and age 18. Thanks for reminding me of that important fact.

          You, sir, are so disapointingly illogical that I make the following offer: If there is an adult on this forum who would like to take up the claims of Matt Carey regarding my previous statements, or any he failed to address, I will be happy to respond with tact and clarity.

          As for you, Matt, I don’t believe you care about children as much as you care about your scientifically insupportable opinions. The real irony is that you likely have more scientific training than I do and still manage to be dead wrong. Nevertheless, I will resist attacking your character further and simply withdraw from engaging with you on a fruitless exchange.

          If anyone is willing to take up Matt’s baton, I’m happy to continue the discussion and to admit when I’m wrong. It’s usually then that I learn something useful.

          • LynneB says:

            Actually, you are just wrong about the amount of antigens (simple AMOUNT is still greater in any cut or scrape than in a vaccine!), in the presence of “toxins”, and in your assertions both about vaccines and your insistence that you are in any way interested in facts.

            If you were interested in facts, and if you were genuinely capable of admitting you were wrong, then you would surely have been able to learn something real about vaccine vs. infection by now and would not still be repeating myths.

          • magellan35 says:

            Lynne, can you cite a reference I can look up that gives some indication of antigen numbers for cuts? I’d also like to know the number of antigens/antigenic molecules in a number of vaccines. I’m happy to research this further, and any resource you can provide is appreciated. I’ll admit it if I’m wrong.

            By the way, specifically which myths do feel I’m perpetuating?

            I’m well aware that in toxicokinetics dose determines toxicity, and an epigenetic trigger may not be considered a “toxin” and yet still have a deleterious effect on cell/tissue/organ function, so again, please elaborate on what you feel is outlandish about my conclusions. Citations are always appreciated.

  46. magellan35 says:

    I’m curious what the general consensus is here regarding the following. These questions seem pretty relevant to where people land on the vaccine debate…

    1. What are the intended effects of vaccines within the immune system? What is a vaccine supposed to do? (meant to be rhetorical)

    2. Are they effective enough in creating real immunity? Why are so many booster shots necessary to bring antibody titers up to serologically acceptable levels? Does this not indicate that our current science does not yet allow us to formulate an injection that mimics naturally acquired immunity? (It is worth noting that those who survive a disease often have low antibody titers, while those who die may have high antibody titers. Microbiologists are missing something, which is a significant problem when we count on immunization to keep us safe. “Public health” is, after all, the primary justification for mass vaccination programs.)

    3. What unintended effects might there be from injecting – directly into the bloodstream or muscle, and thereby bypassing mucosal/passive immune barriers – antigens, preservatives, and adjuvants, many of which are so dangerous when taken alone that they are used purposefully to induce birth defects and auto-immune disorders in laboratory animals?

    4. How are various vaccines formulated, and what are their ingredients exactly? Do you know?

    5. What do NIH, CDC, and WHO documents say about vaccine safety and efficacy? What are the design parameters of studies commissioned by those agencies, who pays for them, and do they follow the same rules as they would for other drugs? Are there instances of conflict of interest and poor study design? Please see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/cdc-vaccine-study-used-fl_b_108462.html

    6. Why would the FDA ever allow fast-tracking of the license for a new vaccine, with too few study participants tracked for too little time, for a disease which kills hardly anyone, and then allow that vaccine to be injected into millions and millions of people? (Such irresponsibility most often occurs when those making decisions regarding public safety have their thinking clouded by greed.)

    Philosophical Questions

    7. Do you feel any reservations about a corporation funding pre-licensure trials for products they sell?

    8. Does corruption ever happen in big business?

    9. Are scientific findings sometimes skewed to support corporate interests?

    10. At what point do the side effects of a drug justify a recall?

    11. Could the recall of a drug indicate that there may have been a problem with the study design of pre-license trials?

    12. Would the recall of a drug indicate that at times there are unintended consequences that must be acknowledged by even the finest scientists?

    13. What constitutes a placebo?

    14. What constitutes a control group?

    15. In regard to toxicology studies, is epidemiology as reliable as laboratory analysis of tissue samples?

    16. Is there any merit in eating organic food or using herbal remedies to address ill health, or do pharmaceuticals, processed foods, GMO products, and monocultural farming practices that utilize chemical pesticides provide precisely what the human body requires for good health?

    • Chris says:

      “I’m curious what the general consensus is here regarding the following.”

      Then get a graduate degree in public health or immunology.

      There is no reason to engage in discussion with someone who has an agenda, which from my reading just letting kids get tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis instead of the DTaP and Tdap vaccines.

      • magellan35 says:

        Hi Chris,

        If you want to know my agenda, why not just ask?

        I believe that vaccines work. I mean that. Some vaccines on the schedule produce meaningful numbers of antibodies in a meaningful enough percentage of vaccinees to confer immunity upon exposure to the wild pathogen. Because vaccine uptake falls off among adults, I think herd immunity is at best a hypothesis and not a theory, but whatever.

        If that was the end of the story, I wouldn’t be posting.

        As it stands, I wonder about a few things:

        I wonder what you (and Seth, and others) would change about the vaccination schedule as it stands.

        I want to know how many kids who receive DTaP and Tdap vaccines develop antibody titers that are sufficient for efficacy, then I want to know if that equates to real immunity upon exposure. I’d hate to assume my child was safe and be wrong.

        I want to know if adverse reaction rates are higher than the CDC and pharma claim for those vaccines – regardless of their reasons – before having my child injected, especially if I find that the actual likelihood of immunity for my child will not be as great as marketing materials and my pediatrician say. I remain concerned about autoimmune disease(s) as a consequence of vaccination, too.

        I want to know if there are other realistic ways to keep my kids safe from the most debilitating results of disease, such as limiting exposure, giving them the best possible diet, regular exercise, and a clean home.

        I want to know that there are options like immunoglobulin injections if my child might have been exposed to a pathogen because, as a consumer, I like options.

        I want to know which diseases it is actually better to contract naturally, because I believe a good case can be made that some diseases are most likely to create mild illness in a healthy child and then leave lasting immunity as a result. Not to mention that there can be potentially serious results from contracting mumps in adolescence or chicken pox in adulthood (there are likely other similar consequences of mass vaccination campaigns that have not been studied well).

        I don’t think science has fully answered some of these questions, but I hope it will in my lifetime. As for those for which we have answers, you and I may disagree about decisions we make in light of the data. But so what?

        As for the “just letting kids get tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis” claim, I would make a risk/reward assessment for each pathogen and its vaccine, examine outcomes for healthy kids given the best treatment and nutrition while suffering symptoms (if they develop them; some never do), and then I would decide whether the risk of vaccine outweighs the risk of disability/mortality from the disease, in which case I might vaccinate if it seems best. There is nothing more you can expect me to do.

        But let’s not pretend that most parents take the time to do that research or that the public health system/pediatrics encourages them to do so. I don’t care much how you respond to me, Chris, but I do care about how you address these questions and issues for yourself, especially since you advise others who might not think as critically.

        • Chris says:

          ” want to know how many kids who receive DTaP and Tdap vaccines develop antibody titers that are sufficient for efficacy, then I want to know if that equates to real immunity upon exposure. I’d hate to assume my child was safe and be wrong.”

          So why should we care what you want? If you want to learn about it, then get the required education. Do the actual research, not the inane Just Asking Questions routine.

          Then come back when you have sufficient evidence that shows the DTaP and Tdap are more dangerous than diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. Until then, you are just another annoying threat to public health.

          • magellan35 says:

            I don’t expect you to care what I – or any other parent – want, Chris.

            Nor do I expect you to value questions, since you seem to feel that questions are inane, inappropriate considerations for a scientist.

            Yeah, that makes sense.

          • Chris says:

            I’m a parent of a child with many medical issues, not a scientist. But I do know this statement from you in reference to tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis was particularly inane:
            “I would make a risk/reward assessment for each pathogen and its vaccine, examine outcomes for healthy kids given the best treatment and nutrition while suffering symptoms (if they develop them; some never do),”

            It shows that you don’t know a thing about those bacterial infections and the toxins they produce. Antibiotics only slow down the infection, but do nothing for tetanospasmin, diphtheria toxin and pertussis toxin. The first two kill at least 10% of those who get it, and the third is deadly to those to young to get vaccinated .

            So come back when you have actual scientific evidence that the DTaP and Tdap vaccines are more dangerous than diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. I would guess you would first have to study the actual diseases and their toxins, if you think they can be easily treated. You might also want to find out how much it costs to keep someone alive when those toxins paralyze muscles required to breathe.

          • magellan35 says:

            Inane? As in using scare tactics ceaselessly to sell dangerous products? That kind of inane?

            I’m not going to bother with a long outline of my own research. Instead, please read the linked article below. I don’t have an opinion about the author btw, but the article perfectly matches the results of my own research: http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2012/04/04/risk-benefit-analysis-diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis/#

            She only gives casual mention (or none) to such things as diphtheria anti-toxin and tetanus immunoglobulin, which are viable treatment options from mainstream medicine. My own approach, in case of symptoms in my child, would be to use a combination of natural products (to clear diphtheria membrane from the throat, for example) and medication to deal with symptoms, pathogen and toxins.

            Because there are viable alternatives, and because of the very small risk of my child developing symptoms from exposure to these particular pathogens, I would decline DTaP (and variants) for my family, but again, please note that I *would* use medicine as needed.

            As fundamental preparation for encounters with pathogens, good wound care and strong, well-nourished kids come well before vaccines for me. I respect your right to choose differently for your family.

          • Chris says:

            Try again when you can just provide the PubMed Identification Number.

    • Ken says:

      The number of antigens particles in any vaccine is far fewer than a scraped knee is exposed to. Mark Crislip does an excellent job of explaining this.

      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-infection-schedule-vrs-the-vaccination-schedule/

      • magellan35 says:

        I just finished reading the article. Thought-provoking.

        I was wrong to say that the number of antigens in a cut is orders of magnitude fewer than the number in a vaccine. Period. I was wrong.

        I was thinking of the cuts I receive on an almost daily basis (I restore, design, and maintain automobiles as a passion). I may have a fairly robust immune system, because I never have prolonged swelling or infection, and I’m not dead.

        If I’m being honest, I rarely do much to clean a wound other than to let it bleed. Frankly, I’m not very afraid of microbes, and it appears that I’ve had one DTaP shot in my life (at age 21) as the sum total of vaccines received ever.

        I’ve always assumed I was fully vaccinated as a young child until two days ago, when I asked my parents about my history. Apparently my father and mother were mildly averse to vaccines and the family doctor did not balk at their refusal.

        I’ve spent most of my life outdoors, and as the article at sciencebasedmedicine.org says, I have been exposed to countless pathogens. I am mostly microbes, after all, and I’ve had mumps, measles, and chicken pox as a young child — mumps was the only one that was really miserable. I received good care from my mother and G.P. and life went on.

        Such things were simply never considered to be big deals in my home, and again, I never gave thought to whether or not I was vaccinated. I was in fact raised pro-science and pro-logic (chess-master father). I’ll have to ask them what they had against vaccines.

        So, to the point. Most of the bacteria and viruses in an outdoor scrape will not be pathogenic, so my theory (now upended) was that antigens (particularly new ones to my immune system) from pathogenic microbes would be fewer than in a vaccine, especially after bleeding, washing, and disinfecting.

        A vaccine, according to the linked article (it does not specify *which* vaccine; some no doubt contain fewer, others more), contains 1000 antigens/epitopes per dose. Long story short: I failed to realize just how few antigens modern vaccines manage to implement. So I was wrong.

        I’d still love to quantify the number of antigens presented to the immune system in an “average” cut or scrape, but who can define “average”, especially when microbial concentrations vary greatly in the environment.

        As for me, I’m still not very afraid of microbes.

        • magellan35 says:

          I should also mention that if 5-7 vaccines are received in a single office visit, that’s likely in the vicinity of (conservatively, if some of them are single-antigen vaccines) 2,000 to 7,000 antigens presented to the immune system. Not a trivial number -we know that ideally that number provokes vigorous antibody production in most vaccinees – and we make to attempt to wash them out or “disinfect”.

          As for why we don’t rush to the hospital for every cut or scrape, the answer is obvious: Even though a parent intuits that a number of antigens will make it past passive immune barriers, those that do are extremely unlikely to kill or maim. We also know that exposure builds immunity.

          The argument has been made here that vaccines are a drop in the ocean that is the microbial soup that is in us, and *is* us. I agree – when we’re talking about antigens. – and I feel the same about scrapes and cuts.

          Reading back through the comments, there is so profound terror of microbes cited as justification for widespread vaccination, and maybe that’s what gets under my skin (forgive the bad joke) most. We are a microbial ocean, yet people (even here) remain terrified of microbes.

          Sure, some pathogens are incredibly capable of producing toxic effects if allowed to proliferate in the body, but most fail to thrive in healthy tissue and require an environment that is in some manner (genetic/epigenetic defect, mineral/vitamin deficiency, incorrect pH, oxidative stress, lacking sufficient blood flow, etc.) incapable of fighting off invasion.

          That is precisely the reason that the current focus of microbiology should move away from fear of microbes and study factors that contribute to healthiest microbiome possible for each genotype. Looking at the way genetic expression is influenced (or not) by inheritance, toxins, pathogens/antigens, malnutrition, injected proteins, genes, and gene fragments, and the manner in which altered genetic expression manifests as dysfunction — this is the direction microbiology needs to take, not development of 200, 500, or 1000 new vaccines.

          Look at mortality for infectious diseases. Who dies most often? Not always, but most often? The very young, the very old, the malnourished, and the genetically damaged, as evolution requires. Instead of focusing on how to vaccinate and medicate to protect the weak and susceptible, why not focus entirely on factors that might strengthen most of the population most of the time (yes, including the weak and susceptible)? It is precisely *this question* that causes those who believe in natural remedies and nutritional therapies to believe that prevailing opinions in mainstream medicine and on forums such as this are unacceptable and even insane.

          So why not shift focus?

  47. Seth Mnookin says:

    Guys, you two should do whatever feels right to you, but I’m going to suggest that maybe we end this conversation. I think both of you have made your points; I also think neither of you are likely to convince the other that you’re right/he’s wrong.

    • magellan35 says:

      I didn’t come here to fight. I came to express a concern among lovers of science, with the hope that we could talk about laboratory observations and about a system rife with human error and misplaced incentives/objectives (that goes for anti-vax people too).

      I’m not optimistic, not really. I think one thing we can agree on is that evolution will have to play out. But the forces at work today are more complex than natural selection has been in past ages, and I wish I could glimpse the world in 200 years to see what survives the choices we make as an industrialized society. Don’t you?

      • Ken says:

        Hope this helps:

        “The number of bacteria that is your own ecosystem, of course, pales into insignificance compared to the bacteria in the soil, at about a million species per gram of soil, plus those in the water, on your pets, in the air etc etc. Millions upon millions of bacterial species everywhere you can look. Estimates as high as a billion different bacterial species in the world. And then there are the viruses, the yeasts, the moulds, the parasites, the mites. Perhaps millions more.”

        http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-infection-schedule-vrs-the-vaccination-schedule/

        • magellan35 says:

          Hi Ken, thank you for the civil reply and the resources. I’m reading through them now.

          Please don’t take this as a defensive can’t-be-wrong posture, but my initial response is that much has been made about the issue of antigen concentration in a cut vrs. antigen concentration in a vaccine, which I consider to be a pretty peripheral subject to the response of the immune system to a vaccines or multiple vaccines in a day. Vaccines are potent catalysts for immune system activity, or we wouldn’t bother, right?

          It is a relevant topic, though (cut vs vaccine), no doubt. The fact is that a toddler is practically a scrape and puncture magnet, but we don’t panic as soon as a child gets a cut. I’d like to discuss why and put forth a few ideas, but I’m writing from my phone and it’s not ideal.

          I’ll complete this post at home. Thanks again for being civil.

  48. magellan35 says:

    My last two comments have been held up for several days for moderation. Does it really take that long?

    No, it doesn’t take that long if I’m constantly monitoring posts that are almost three years old — but I’m not.

    I was also hoping that people would take my suggestion and wind this debate down, as I’m not sure what’s been accomplished save for people insisting that they’re right and whomever it is they disagree with is wrong. But I’ll go in and mod them now.

    – Seth

    • Magellan35 says:

      Understood. I’ve said everything I wanted to say. Thank you all for your time and thought-provoking responses. Cheers!

  49. Dan the man says:

    I found it interesting that this blog quotes a study in “Holmes County, which has a large number of Amish families. As Reuters reports, “Of 359 households that responded to the survey, 85 percent said that at least some of their children had received at least one vaccine. Forty-nine families refused all vaccines for their children, mostly because they worried the vaccines could cause harm and were not worth the risk.””

    But the study the Anecdotal myth it is trying dispel is from Lancaster county. The kicker is if you actual read the actual publication (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/1/79.full), not just the abstract, you will see that ” Among the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, investigators found that only 16% of children aged 6 months to 5 years were fully immunized.” now that paints a completely different picture.

    This is really what I hate about the immunization debate everyone is using their own studies that make their point. Now I don’t know what causes autism and I don’t know what the long term result of vaccines are, but as a parent there is some doubt there. It would be really helpful if someone could do an actual scientific study on a group of people that don’t vaccinate and compare it to the vaccinated public. Why hasn’t it been done yet?

  50. Sharka Todd says:

    If someone can point me to some double-blind studies of the effectiveness of various vaccines compared with placebos, I would be grateful. Of course, the studies would have to be undertaken by independent bodies with no financial links to government, pharmaceutical companies or pro- or anti-vaccination groups.

    I am not interested in the findings of any group with a vaccination agenda (pro- or anti-) or who are financially dependent on vaccines in any way, including public & NGO officials who are lobbied by various groups.

    Anyone with an agenda does not have the true objectivity to conduct quality science.

    Thanks.

    • Chris says:

      If you are unhappy with the dozens of studies done by various entities from private to government done around the world, including all of the ones in Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence, then do it yourself. Because it is obvious you have better training and knowledge on how to do it properly than anyone else on this planet.

      Design the study, make sure it complies with the rules for human studies in the Belmont Report, get it approved by an Independent Review Board and then write a grant to get funding. Then submit that grant to a foundation for funding. It could be the one that paid for Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story, or SafeMinds, Autism Speaks, or who ever you deem worthy. Then go do the study the way you want.

      • Matt Carey says:

        “Design the study, make sure it complies with the rules for human studies in the Belmont Report, get it approved by an Independent Review Board and then write a grant to get funding. ”

        The commenter would first have to show that said commenter is free from any and all bias towards vaccines. Which I sincerely doubt.

        Said commenter is invited to inform us of the sources said commenter is using to make a very important health decision. Sources absolutely free from any bias.

        Said commenter is clearly working in a fallacy world.

    • Chris says:

      By the way, be sure to contact the authors of this latest review of studies and tell them how they got it all wrong.

    • Matt Carey says:

      So, you want a study that costs hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, performed by people who paid for the study themselves, but they are totally disinterested in the subject.

      If you can’t see the flaw in your argument, you have no right to accuse anyone else of being unable to do quality research.

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