Friday, March 11, 2011

In Response to a post on FB...

...about vaccinations causing autism in children.  This is really long...not quite rant.  It's not really angry, so you can't really call it a rant.  But it seriously irks me that so much misinformation has led so many people to believe that autism is caused by vaccinations or that vaccinating children is a bad idea.  That was a mini rant.  If you're willing to be here a while, read on.

The original post included a link to this Yahoo Associated Content article.

Thimersal: (aka Thimerosal) is no longer included as an ingredient in vaccines administered to young people/babies, etc.  So that is not an issue anymore.  If that's the only thing you're worried about, stop worrying.  Vaccinate your children.

MMR: in the event anyone believed the (retracted) paper from Andrew Wakefield, a few things.  A sample size of 12 is NOT enough to judge anything.  The sample size needs to be at least 100 before anything can be said of the research.  While he stated that all the children had autism after receiving the MMR vaccine, that was a lie.  A few of the children had it prior to and the rest didn't even have autism.  In addition to all that, regressive autism (what he was focusing on) presents itself at 15-20 mos of age.  MMR is given at 12mos.  You do the math.  The correlation of onset and vaccination does not prove causality.  Not to mention the huge conflict of interest.

If you think a polyvalent (multiple vaccines administered as one, as with the MMR) vaccine is the cause, look at Japan.  The stopped administering the polyvalent MMR in 1993 and, instead, administer three separate shots.  Their autism rates continue to rise.

With regards to 'passing on autism.'  Whoever it was who said there was a genetic component is right about that.  Another factor is that the rate of autism increases with the increasing age of a woman giving birth.  The later in life you get pregnant, the more chance you have of giving birth to an autistic child.  This is because you are born with all of your eggs and don't make new ones.  Consequently, the ones lasting longest have a higher chance of oxidative/mutagenic DNA damage (gene deletions, duplications, translocations and inversions), causing more autism, Downs Syndrome, etc.  (other things increased with increasing age at birth: breast, endometriod and ovarian cancers).  So have kids early. Proof:

It is a trend in the United States that more and more women are having children later in life.  This certainly accounts for an increase in autism rates.

With regards to the paper you cited in this thread:

It is not a scientific study.  It's a review.  A review on Yahoo.  And not even Yahoo.  On ASSOCIATED CONTENT Yahoo, which is NOT journalistic.  This article was not even written by an accredited journalist.  And it's reviewing another thing that is not a scientific study.  Taking numbers of people through phone survey is not a valid way to collect this data.  Without any medical records, I find that incredibly hard to believe.

It is inadvisable to rely on a second hand account of something in the first place. 

With regards to the 'phone' study, I wonder why they only surveyed California and Oregon.  That seems a bit strange, doesn't it?  Why not just randomly all over the country?

Also, they complain that there have been no studies until their investigating autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.  Well, they are wrong.  In 1999, a study was conducted in the UK finding 498 (good sample size) children born between 1979 and 1992 diagnosed with autism.  They found the rate of autism after the release of the MMR did not increase.  They also found there was no difference in rates of autism between children that had and hadn't been vaccinated.

The other 'proof' against vaccines that group "Generation Rescue" has on their site is all just one sentence blurbs from papers.  There is no context but what they have paraphrased.  And you know, if you take the bible out of context, you can prove abortion is totally cool and that we should be stoning homosexuals and people who sex outside of marriage.

Rates of autism increase correlated with vaccine increase and the DSM-IV.  Autism wasn't in the DSM (the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, what is used to diagnose) until 1980.  Before that, people with autistic behavior were diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Even though it was listed, it was only for infants and they had to display all of six symptoms to be diagnosed with autism.  When the DSM-IV came out in 1994, autism was upgraded to having 16 possible symptoms of which a diagnosis only required 6.  And hey!  What do you know!  Autism rates went up the most significantly right around 1995!  How coincidental!  Or is it?

It is more likely that autism, by the definition that is currently held, has always been around but has instead been misdiagnosed up until the DSM-IV came out.  This suggests that, had we been diagnosing with the same standards, the rates of autism would be higher before the introduction of the MMR, and even the increase in number of vaccines administered.

Okay, drug makers profit from making the vaccines.  However, the people who promote the controversy of vaccines profit as well.  Lawyers, for instance, make tons bringing people to court who think they deserve a settlement due to what they think the vaccines have done to their children.  Witnesses get paid to testify in these cases.  "Alternative medicine" practitioners get paid if people think that will keep them from getting sick.

The drug companies actually make more money off of other drugs than vaccines. 

If you think the increase in the number of vaccines is a conspiracy in and of itself, you're wrong.  The way medicine works is by treating the thing that is most prevalently killing people.  It started with Smallpox.  Once smallpox was essentially gotten rid of, something else took its place as primary killer, or threat to life.  So as the bigger things (measles, pertussis, mumps, the flu, rubella, tetanus) are taken care of, smaller things become more prominent.  The same is true of cause of death.  We have gotten rid of a lot of the things that were causing humans to die early on (diseases are included here) and now cancer is what is killing us.  We live long enough because we have gotten rid of the other treats, so now our cells get mutated enough with age that cancer results.  It only makes sense that there are more vaccinations.

In addition to more vaccinations, vaccines are actually getting more efficient.  So while there used to be fewer vaccines, those previous vaccines had a lot more pathogen in them.  The vaccines today contain 10% of the immune triggering contents than those that used to be administered.  This is in response to those who think that more vaccines overloads the immune system.  The immune system is quite robust.  How do you think you're still here?  A childhood ear infection challenges the immune system many times more than vaccines.

Also, autism is not related to the immune system, so there is no sense saying the 'overworking' of the immune system with vaccines is a cause of autism.

Reasons to vaccinate:

Protect others (it's not just about you/kids getting vaccinated) who are medically unable to get vaccines from the pathogens.

Pregnant women exposed to the flu have a higher rate of schizophrenic children.  Infants exposed to rubella have greater chances of schizophrenia.

Measles is SEVERELY contagious.

Exposure to rubella while pregnant leads to still births.

Because of lack of vaccinations against pertussis, 10 children died in California last year.

People without immunity to measles have a 90% chance of getting it if exposed.  It is highly contagious.  Not too big a deal for healthy people, but babies are at a greater risk of lowered survival.  In 2008, 164,000 people died from measles.

If I've convinced you, great.  If not, I hope, for the rest of our sakes, someone else does.

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