Feb 6, 2014, National Geographic: Understanding Autism: Baby's Delivery May Be Key
Feb 6, 2014, US News: Many U.S. Adults Not Getting Key Vaccines: CDC
Feb 6, 2014, CNN: Opinion: Blind eye to scientific fraud is dangerous
Feb 6, 2014, Philly.com: Brain Study Explores 'Inner World' of Autism
Feb 6, 2014, USA Today: Drug shows promise in kids with autism, researchers say
In 1998, a British medical journal issued a report suggesting the measles vaccine was linked to autism cases, which led to a sharp decline in vaccinations. Although the report was discredited, and later retracted by the journal, parent and anti-vaccine groups continue to fight against routine immunizations. . . .
Sadly for many, it doesn't end there. For every 1,000 children who are infected with measles, 1-2 die from the disease. In developing countries, the numbers are even more terrifying - as many as one in four people will die from a measles infection, largely because of malnutrition.
"Here we have a safe and effective, inexpensive vaccine that's been available for over 50 years now and it works and we know it can prevent measles," said Goodson. "Efforts are needed to get the vaccine out to reach all children."
I posted comments. It's amazing that NPR Boston still blames the controversy on a 1998 paper in Britain. Sixteen years of denials haven't worked. I wonder why.
Autism is as mysterious a disease as it is tragic. While there is clearly a genetic component to some forms of the illness, it remains unclear how many genes are involved and what role the environment may play in causing the varying degrees of cognitive and social impairment classified as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
New research published February 6 in the journal Science points to another possible player in this complex of causes: the interplay of hormones and chemicals affecting the fetus during birth. (See "One Thing We Know About Autism: Vaccines Aren't to Blame.")
In a study led by Yehezkel Ben-Ari of the Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology in Marseille, France, strains of pregnant mice modeled to give birth to offspring showing autistic behaviors were given a drug to lower their levels of chloride. Their offspring, which would normally have been expected to show signs of the disease, were born with no symptoms of autism.
Autism now affects one in every 88 or one in every 50 U.S. children (depending on which official rate from the CDC you care to believe). The mysterious disorder with no known cause, prevention or cure continues to be the subject of endless research that couldn't possibly explain why a once rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone with an affected child.
And when a baby that was born healthy and is developing normally suddenly gets sick, loses learned skills and regresses into autism following routine vaccination, doctors can't explain it. The one thing they're sure of is that their ever-expanding vaccine schedule isn't to blame and they have lots of studies--all shown to have ties to the drug industry---to prove it.
NOW, we're told that the scientists are working to "identify autism in the uterus." It sounds like another effort to get vaccines off the hook.
Many U.S. adults are skipping recommended vaccinations that could protect them from serious or life-threatening diseases, according to figures released by federal health officials Thursday. . . .
Coverage for most adult vaccines remains "depressingly low," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This is a discussion I have daily with patients, who see vaccination recommendations posted in the examination room."
Patients have a myriad of reasons to refuse the vaccines, Horovitz noted. "Mythology surrounding vaccination is the greatest obstacle," he said. "In spite of all the press about the rise of whooping cough, for instance, patients still may refuse vaccination."
Those "myths" include fears that vaccines might cause autism, a concern that has been widely discredited, or lead to illness or severe reactions. . . .
"Vaccinations are mostly likely low in the healthy adult population who do not regularly seek health care and who do not have underlying diseases," Spicehandler said. "Nationwide campaigns to focus on all adults should be started."
I seriously think that their plans for expanding vaccinations rates are limitless. I guess we're just not sick enough.
The decline in vaccination is in part due to the rise of the anti-vaccine movement, which has found spokespeople in celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and politicians like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. It is a movement that relies on scientific fraud and pseudoscience.
In the not too distant past, one of the scientific community's primary concerns was preventing scientific fraud. Episodes like the 1998 fabrication of data indicating a connection between childhood vaccines and autism risk have clear public health and policy repercussions. Claiming a link between vaccines and autism opens the door for false claims about the dangers of other vaccines, allowing, for example, politicians like Bachmann to inflame the public's doubts about the benefits of vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. . . .
The longer we turn a blind eye to scientific fraud, the more we encourage a pay-to-play system that puts dollars before scientific data, and the more we will erode the public's trust in science and its authority. That way is perilous.
CNN--still blaming Wakefield and ignoring autism. I posted comments.
Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist with the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at University of Massachusetts Medical School, said the study has the potential to point the way toward a diagnostic test for autism.
"The problem with autism is we don't have a signature, a marker that is readily available that will say 'this is autism' or 'that is not autism,' or 'this is a degree of autism,'" Zimmerman said.
Such a test would also allow physicians to track whether treatments for autism are working, he suggested. "We don't have a good way to measure improvement other than people's impressions," Zimmerman said. "We really need to have tests that would distinguish how a person is doing at the level of the brain from one month to the next, from one year to the next."
Read more at Philly.com.
Autism may result from a faulty chemical switch that doesn't get flipped in time to help the brain develop normally, a new research study suggests
Building on what they hope will be an important insight into the cause of autism, French researchers are testing a high blood pressure medication on dozens of European children with autism.
The team, which has a financial stake in the drug, has already tried it on 30 children with autism; now they are testing it in more, hoping to improve some of the core characteristics of autism for the first time.
There are drugs to treat some of autism's symptoms, but none that address the underlying social and communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors, which define the condition. Previous attempts to develop an effective drug against the condition, which affects at least 1 in 88 American school children, have either failed or are also still experimental.
"A faulty chemical switch that doesn't get flipped in time to help the brain develop normally."
How could this claim logically explain why a once rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone with an autistic child?
How could this possibly explain why healthy, normally developing toddlers suddenly get sick, lose learned skills and regress into autism?
How many more years will experts fail our children? Producing a profitable drug does nothing to stop the epidemic.
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism