Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vaccine-Autism Question Divides Parents, Scientists

We get a lot of Autism email, newsletters, etc. as I'm sure many of you do. I received this newsletter today, subtitled: A critical look at the public deception perpetuated by hidden personal agendas. The article:

13-year old Michelle Cedillo is at the center of a court case pitting thousands of families of children with autism against the medical establishment. While a number of prestigious medical institutions say there is no link between vaccines and autism, the families believe vaccines caused their children's autism, and have taken their case to court.

Theresa and Mike Cedillo, Michelle's parents, believe the MMR vaccine, which at the time contained a mercury-based preservative, drastically altered the course of their daughter's development. Within days of receiving the injection, Michelle suffered from a high fever, persistent vomiting and problems with her digestion -- and also stopped speaking and no longer responded to her name.

Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, claims the apparent connection between vaccines and autism is “nothing more than a sad coincidence.”

But families who believe vaccines can trigger autism point to the case of 9-year-old Hannah Poling; the U.S. government conceded that vaccines "significantly aggravated" her underlying illness, predisposing her to symptoms of autism.

The court heard testimony in the Cedillo claim in June of 2007. Testimony in other test cases is scheduled for 2008.

Sources:
CNN.com April 2, 2008

(The newsletter commenters response)

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The debate over whether or not vaccines contribute to the onset of autism is heating up.
I commented on another vaccine-autism article just a few days ago. If you missed it, please review it now to find out more about common sense prevention strategies, and how you can treat autism if your child has it.

But today, I’d like to talk about misinformation, deception, and personal agendas.

Who is Dr. Paul Offit?

Some of you may recognize the name of Dr. Paul Offit, as he is a fairly frequent commentator for the pro-vaccination camp. But what do you know about Dr. Offit?

Dr. Offit, a.k.a. Paul “For Profit” Offit, by some vaccination opponents, is not just a doctor who believes that vaccinations save lives.

Dr. Offit is also one of the patent holders of the rotavirus vaccine (Patent Application number 353547), and the recipient of a $350,000 grant from Merck for its development. Additionally, he is a consultant to Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Talk about conflict of interest. Jeesh! But that's not all.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a 15 member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Secretary for Health the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases.

As a member of the ACIP, starting in 1998, Dr. Offit voted “yes” three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, including, voting for his own vaccine to be included in the immunization schedule.

He is also the doctor whose incomprehensible statement, “an infant can safely receive up to 10,000 vaccines at once,” will live on in infamy.

So the question is: if YOU held a patent for a product of enormous income potential, would you even consider the possibility that your cash-cow might be doing more harm than good? Would you admit that a similar product might be the cause of needless suffering?

And if you WERE able to consider it, would you admit there might indeed be a problem?

Here’s the deal, folks. It’s not enough to look at the obvious credentials of your spokesmen, whether they’re pro- or anti- an issue. Today, you also have to consider the hidden motivations behind their recommendations. Where is their loyalty? How do they feed themselves? And by that I don’t mean, “what’s their nutritional type?” I mean, who pays for their lifestyle? Where is the money coming from?

Do you believe Dr. Offit is an independent, neutral expert on the vaccination issue? Do you believe he’s looked at both sides and made an educated and honest judgment call?

I guess that depends on just how independent and honest you believe a man can be when there’s pharmaceutical patent money at stake.

Hilleman’s Confidential Memo

To give you another glimpse of the reality behind the Big Pharma curtain, Maurice R. Hilleman, Ph.D. is another leading expert on immunization, in the sense that he developed more than 40 vaccines and published close to 500 articles on virology, infectious diseases, epidemiology and immunology.

In 2005, a confidential memo was discovered that was written in 1991 by then senior Merck Vice-President, Maurice Hilleman, to Dr. Gordon Douglas, then head of Merck's vaccine division. (Douglas is now a consultant for the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.)

In the memo, Dr. Hilleman wrote:

“The regulatory control agencies in some countries, particularly Scandinavia (especially Sweden) but also UK, Japan, and Switzerland have expressed concern for thimerosal, a mercury preservative, in vaccines. Some countries require absence of thimerosal from single-dose package. This trend will probably spread… Sweden is requiring thimerosal free single-dose packaging of all products as soon as can be reasonably achieved. The deadline for DT is January, 1992… “

The focal point for present concern is in Scandinavia… The immediate Merck concern is to be able to qualify for sale of single-dose products in Sweden and in Norway and Denmark…

The public awareness has been raised by the sequential wave of experiences in Sweden including mercury exposure from additives, fish, contaminated air, bird death from eating mercury-treated seed grains, dental amalgam leakage, mercury allergy, etc… In some instances, public immunization programs may be endangered by public refusal to accept vaccines with thimerosal.”

Dr. Hilleman went on:

“For babies: The 25 µg of mercury in a single 0.5 ml dose and extrapolated to a 6 lb baby would be 25X the adjusted Swedish daily allowance of 1.0 µg for a baby of that size…

If 8 doses of thimerosal-containing vaccine were given in the first 6 months of life (3 DPT, 2 HIB and 3 Hepatitis B) the 200 µg of mercury given, say an average size of 12 lbs would be about 87X the Swedish daily allowance of 2.3 µg of mercury for a baby of that size.”

And finished off the memo with the statement:

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... does not have this concern for thimerosal."

So, in 1991, the premier U.S. vaccine expert told the chief of the largest U.S. vaccine manufacturer that they had to immediately produce mercury-free vaccines for Scandinavian children because the Scandinavians refused to expose their children to these unacceptable levels of mercury, which would eliminate Merck’s Scandinavian market share.

(It should also be noted that the Swedish maximum daily allowance of mercury from fish is roughly the same guideline used by the U.S. FDA.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. continued to produce and administer mercury-containing vaccines to American children throughout the 90’s. It wasn’t until 1999 that U.S. federal health officials admitted that infants were in fact being exposed to mercury through their vaccinations.

Are ALL Vaccines Now Mercury-Free?

NO! They’re NOT!

That’s another cry you hear over and over again: that “we’ve now removed mercury from all vaccines.”

But a more accurate statement would be that mercury has been removed from MOST vaccines – not all – and several still contain traces of mercury, at a level so low the actual amount doesn’t have to be stated.

Here is the most current schedule (updated January 28, 2008) disclosing the amount of thimerosal and mercury contained in U.S. vaccines. It’s also available as a printable PDF.

The following vaccines still contain 25 mcg of mercury per 0.5 ml:
DTwP
DT (diphtheria and tetanus) multi-dose vial
Tetanus
Several brands of the 2006/2007 influenza formulas
Meningococcal multi-dose vial

Interestingly, as they’ve removed mercury from most childhood vaccinations, the flu shots still have plenty of it – courtesy of a 2007 Presidential veto against its removal. And guess what? Now the standard recommendation is to vaccinate your child against the flu EVERY YEAR. Come on!

Why the persistent insistence on injecting mercury into our children?

How Much Does Conventional Medicine Know?

That’s actually a great question, and it was originally posed, not by me, but by the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.

They found that of about 2,500 treatments offered in conventional medicine:

13 percent are beneficial to the patient
23 percent are likely to be beneficial
8 percent is a trade-off between benefits and harm
6 percent are unlikely to be beneficial
4 percent are likely to be ineffective or harmful
46 percent have unknown effectiveness

States BMJ: “…the figures above suggest that the research community has a large task ahead and that most decisions about treatments still rest on the individual judgments of clinicians and patients.”

So, in conclusion: if you believe conventional medicine is based on scientific, cold hard facts, think again. It’s a crap shoot -- a 64 percent chance that the treatment will be either harmful, ineffective, or “gee, we have no idea what might happen.”

There’s no more scientific proof of the safety and effectiveness of drugs and vaccinations than there is for natural treatment methods against the same ailments. The only real question is: how high is your risk tolerance? --End of article

A VERY enlightening article. Makes me wish we lived in Sweden in the 90's! Here is the link to the original. Until next time...

Dad

8 comments:

Sean W said...

Thanks for the terrific blog entry. I don't know if you have heard about the Green Our Vaccines rally in DC on June 4th, but there are going to be thousands of families affected by vaccines marching on the capitol to clean up the vaccines. If you want I can send you a link to the information to pass on to your readers. Luckily I live only a couple of hours from DC, but my wife, daughter and I are going to be there.

Keep up the terrific work you do being the awesome dad that you are for your kids. Also keep up the great information that you pass on about your family and Autism.

Round Belly said...

Thank you for your information on the mercury levels still in shots. I love it when I can back up my reasons for skipping vaccinations (for me and our kids)- especially the flu shot!

Shanna Grimes said...

Wow! That is some sobering evidence. I have been on the fence about this issue, but that was a very enlightening post.

Thanks for the information.

Shantel said...

I have five children with Autism. None of my children were vaccinated. So for my family, vaccinations had nothing to do with it. There is alot of emotion surrounding this issue. So many parents what to know "why."
I am LDS, and because of my faith, I have reason to believe there is a greater answer to this question. I have no proof, just the things I feel in my heart, and I think these kids are here for a great purpose. They are incredibly perceptive and close to the spirit,(or awareness or stillness-whatever you call it) and that will be needed for things to come. I think they will be put to use for the plans that will yet unfold. It is not ramdom. Every child with Autism is purposeful and has a great mission. I think greater than we can ever know right now.

*Jess* said...

Even though my son has autism and was selectively (and delayed) vaccinated, I do not believe that vaccines today are as safe as they can be. I believe in absolutely everything you just posted. Even if autism is found to be caused by genetics, I do believe that environmental factors come into play.

SanJosemomof5 said...

First off, congratulations on the Figure 8 show. :-) Maybe it will spin off into regular deal, much like Jon & Kate + 8.

I'm the parent/stepparent of 5 kids, four of whom have autistic spectrum disorders. My kids did receive their vaccinations, but neither my husband nor I believe that they caused their autism. We feel very strongly, especially because their are 2 kids from each marriage with ASD, that autism has a strong genetic component. We also believe that autism has always been more prevalent in society than previously acknowledged.

That being said, we also don't disagree that environmental factors potentially play a part in autism developing in people who are susceptible. But what factor per se is it? Look at our world today and how much we've polluted it. Whose to say that there's one particular environmental agent at work here? Maybe I ate too much McDonald's when I was pregnant? Maybe it's the fecal matter in hamburgers, growth hormones, radiation from microwaves, cell phones, insert your theory here?

One thing I have learned about Autism is that it knows no socio-economic barriers or international borders. And it's effects on families are overwhelming at times, no matter how positive your outlook.

It's not that I don't think it isn't important to research the causes of autism. We participate in as much research as we can. But it's important to make sure that, in our rush to find an answer and a "cure" (that's a whole other post) we don't divert funds that need to be spent on education and intervention services to help our kids be all that God desires them to be.

SanJosemomof5 said...

First off, congratulations on the Figure 8 show. :-) Maybe it will spin off into regular deal, much like Jon & Kate + 8.

I'm the parent/stepparent of 5 kids, four of whom have autistic spectrum disorders. My kids did receive their vaccinations, but neither my husband nor I believe that they caused their autism. We feel very strongly, especially because their are 2 kids from each marriage with ASD, that autism has a strong genetic component. We also believe that autism has always been more prevalent in society than previously acknowledged.

That being said, we also don't disagree that environmental factors potentially play a part in autism developing in people who are susceptible. But what factor per se is it? Look at our world today and how much we've polluted it. Whose to say that there's one particular environmental agent at work here? Maybe I ate too much McDonald's when I was pregnant? Maybe it's the fecal matter in hamburgers, growth hormones, radiation from microwaves, cell phones, insert your theory here?

One thing I have learned about Autism is that it knows no socio-economic barriers or international borders. And it's effects on families are overwhelming at times, no matter how positive your outlook.

It's not that I don't think it isn't important to research the causes of autism. We participate in as much research as we can. But it's important to make sure that, in our rush to find an answer and a "cure" (that's a whole other post) we don't divert funds that need to be spent on education and intervention services to help our kids be all that God desires them to be.

SanJosemomof5 said...

Sorry, I must have hit the button twice. Sorry for two of the same posting.