Dr. Bob Sears, Author of "The Vaccine Book": If A Vaccine/Autism Link is Proven, Will Vaccine Policy Change?
Managing Editor's Note: You can purchase a copy of The Vaccine Book by Dr. Bob Sears HERE. Thanks to Dr. Sears for sharing this discussion with our Age of Autism readers. KS
By Dr. Bob Sears
This may sound like a rhetorical question, but I submit that the answer isn’t going to be as clear cut as one might believe. Before I dive into my opinion on this, allow me to introduce myself (for those of you who don’t know me). I’m a pediatrician, a DAN doctor, and a writer. I’ve been researching vaccines for about 15 years now. While I’m not anti-vaccine, I do acknowledge there are problems with our current vaccine system, there are potential very serious side effects, and I view the decision that some parents make to not vaccinate their babies as an understandable choice. I have always openly accepted such patients into my practice and have never come down on such parents. I believe parents should be well informed about vaccine risks versus benefits before they vaccinate. You are probably wondering, “Why the preface?” Is it because there’s going to be some sort of “But” that I’m going to write about and I feel I have to soften the blow or butter you up a bit before I say something you aren’t going to like? Maybe. I’ll let you decide.
As the autism epidemic continues to rage on, everyone is searching for a cause or causes. Many parents and some medical professionals believe there is already enough evidence to show a link between vaccines and autism, and they are calling for a change, even a halt, in vaccine protocol. They hope and pray that someday mainstream research will give them vindication and make a clear declaration that “vaccines cause autism.” Not that this would help any children who have already been affected (except for easing the financial burden these families have to endure), but it would bring peace and closure to families who have been trying to find why their child regressed into autism. And it would help protect future children. For many parents, such a ruling would also create renewed anger and a demand for accountability. Is such a day ever going to come? It may or may not. That’s not the purpose of my discussion here. The question that I want to address is this: If a link is proven, will the routine use of vaccinations change dramatically? I actually don’t think it will. Now, should it change? Yes. But will it? I’m not so sure. And before you get angry at me for making sure an outrageous suggestion, allow me to explain my reasoning. If you still doubt my prediction at the end, I look forward to your responses.
Most doctors believe that the disease-preventing (and therefore life-saving) value of vaccines is so all-encompassing, that they are willing to accept some drawbacks, such as the very occasional severe, life-threatening, or even fatal, reaction (and some still live in denial that such reactions are even possible). Some doctors would even be willing to accept the occasional case of autism (if such a connection were proven) in the interest of disease prevention for the nation’s children. This mindset would make any parent whose child suffered such a reaction very angry. But let’s explore what most doctors believe could happen if we stopped vaccinating all babies. Right now there are five childhood diseases that kill infants: Pertussis (whooping cough) kills about 20 babies each year, Rotavirus (vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration) about 50, HIB meningitis kills around 10, Pneumococcal disease approximately several hundred (precise numbers aren’t known), and the flu kills around 100 infants and young kids each year. Those are just the most serious diseases. And these numbers are probably this low because most parents vaccinate. What would these numbers look like if we didn’t?
There are also some diseases that are usually harmless for most people, or extremely rare. Measles almost never kills anyone, but that’s because there are only about 150 cases each year in the U.S. How many would die if measles ran rampant? Chickenpox used to kill about 50 people each year, and now it only kills around 5 because the disease is disappearing. Mumps and Rubella don’t kill and are very rare, but they can cause the occasional complication. Hepatitis A (food poisoning) doesn’t kill. Hepatitis B (an STD) isn’t an infant or childhood diseases, but does kill many adults each year. And finally, Polio hasn’t existed in the U.S. for almost 30 years now, but we’d sure like to keep it that way. Meningococcal disease (a type of meningitis that we vaccinate teens for) kills about 300 kids and teens and HPV disease causes thousands of cervical cancer deaths each year, but these are teenage vaccines and not something parents would consider for a young baby or child. The medical community is so afraid of regressing to the days when these diseases were an everyday part of American life (and death), that halting the vaccine system just wouldn’t be viewed as an option (although I hope and pray that individual parents will continue to have the option to choose for their own children).
Vaccines and disease prevention is so ingrained into our nation’s healthcare policy that I really don’t think the government’s answer is going to be to stop vaccinating, or even alter the schedule to any significant degree, if a definite link to autism is found. The very thought of stopping routine vaccines in all children would give most doctors a heart attack. Infectious disease specialists and public health officials would probably have a stroke right before their coronary. And the stockholders of the pharmaceutical companies? Well, they can probably afford to have their bodies cryo-preserved right before their own attacks, so they’ll be alright. Although I poke fun, this is a fairly accurate assessment of how the medical community would react if anyone tried to put a halt to vaccinations.
(Allow me to pause briefly to remind you that this isn’t what I’m saying should be done, I’m just predicting what will be done. So don’t shoot the messenger. I would also mention that while I am writing statements such as “if” and “when” medical research concludes that vaccines do cause autism, many of you who are reading this are of the opinion that research has already proven exactly that, and you may be annoyed with me for suggesting otherwise. I would ask you to remember that the mainstream medical community doesn’t see it that way. I know there is some research that shows there is a connection, but the majority of research that is being published, read by mainstream doctors, and trusted by our nation’s healthcare policymakers, shows there is no connection. And lastly, I know that some people believe vaccines don’t even work and don’t buy into the idea that the disease numbers I quote are so low because of vaccines, but again, I am just presenting the mainstream medical viewpoint here. If you are still angry with me, read the preface again, then come on back and read some more.)
So, how will the government and medical community react if a link between vaccines and autism is proven? I predict that what they will conclude in their research is that yes, vaccines can cause autism, but they will find that it seems to only happen to a small percentage of children with some sort of genetic and autoimmune susceptibility to vaccine chemicals and germ ingredients. The focus will then become (and somewhat already is) to determine how to screen every newborn baby to figure out which ones have such susceptibility. We would then vaccinate such babies more carefully (or perhaps not at all, at the parent’s discretion). I also think that vaccine manufacturers would also begin studying other ways to make vaccines that limit or remove such risks, even for susceptible individuals, so that even they can get vaccinated (because, after all, everyone must get their shots, right?). But research like that takes decades. And there’s no way the medical community is going to stop vaccinating in the meantime.
The U.S. Vaccine court has already determined that such a rare susceptibility to autism is possible. Although the court said “no” to the 5000 Omnibus families who claimed thimerosal and/or the MMR vaccine caused their childrens’ autism, two cases have come to light in the past two years in which the vaccine court did find that vaccines caused “autism” in two children. In the case of Hannah Poling, it ruled that vaccines caused her to become very ill and develop autistic-like symptoms due to an underlying and previously unapparent mitochondrial disorder. Everyone then tried to discount the autism-vaccine connection by saying “autistic-like” is completely different than actual autism. The court also ruled last year that Bailey Bank’s Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (latin for brain inflammation and nerve degeneration/dysfunction) and decline into PDD-NOS was also caused by vaccines. But that’s not autism either (insert sarcastic tone of voice here). So, while the court is saying no to autism and vaccines in general, they are allowing for the possibility that, in some susceptible individuals, vaccines could trigger a child to develop autistic symptoms.
But many parents, and some researchers, believe that vaccine susceptibility isn’t a rare condition. However, those who are trying to prove a link between vaccines and autism are fighting an uphill battle. Here is why: Most medical research is supposed to begin on neutral ground, then study a subject to determine a yes, no, or we-don’t-know answer to a hypothesis. Well, when the autism/vaccine debate first came to light in the 90s, virtually every doctor and health care official said, “No way! Impossible. There is no way vaccines could possibly cause autism.” I’ve actually been to medical meetings where doctors sit around and laugh, literally laugh, at the very idea. Seeing that made me embarrassed to be a doctor. I always took the position, “Well, how do we really know until we study it?” But the medical community doesn’t think that way. Standard operating procedure is to assume vaccines are safe, unless someone finds and proves a problem with one. And vaccine safety research is designed to look for noticeable immediate side effects that cause significant harm. Long-term safety research isn’t nearly as thorough. As long as initial safety studies don’t yield any immediate problems, the vaccine is released to the public. And it stays there unless a major problem is then proven. In essence, vaccines are assumed safe unless proven otherwise. I don’t mean to bash the vaccine safety research system, because they do try to be as thorough as possible. But it isn’t a perfect system, and it could be better.
So, the burden of proof is put on trying to find that vaccines do cause autism. Researchers and the vaccine manufacturers don’t have to try to prove that they don’t, because it is already assumed that they don’t. Plus, virtually all doctors already passed judgment on this idea back in the 90s before any research began. So, in order to convince the medical community, research would have to shift the thinking of an entire nation of doctors from a “No way” mindset to at least a neutral mindset of “We don’t know – we better research it,” and then eventually to a “Yes, vaccines can cause autism” belief. This task is much more difficult than if everyone had started off neutral on the whole idea in the first place. Now, about 15 years after the debate began, the vast majority of research has failed to prove a link. Yes, there is some research that has found otherwise, but that’s in the minority. I know that many parents feel that there is already enough proof, but when you line up all the research side by side, the “nays” have it for now according to the mainstream medical establishment.
Meanwhile, as this battle rages on, 5 million babies are born each year in the U.S., and 33,000 of them are destined for autism (1 in 150). Since we don’t yet have valid screening tests, should parents just accept that risk without at least thinking about it? If there is a connection to vaccines, is that simply an unavoidable risk that every parent has to take? Or is there a way to lower the theoretical vaccine-autism risk? What can parents do today in light of all the uncertainty and debate? Well, not vaccinating is certainly an option, although a parent would have to feel comfortable with the disease risk. And if too many parents make that decision, we could see many diseases increase. Another way to approach vaccines would be to only vaccinate against diseases that are potentially fatal to infants and young children, like HIB and PC meningitis, whooping cough, rotavirus, and the flu, but delay vaccines for diseases that don’t pose much risk to babies. Hepatitis B (a sexually-transmitted disease) could easily be delayed until a child is at least a few years old. Polio, although very serious, doesn’t exist in the U.S., so a baby could go for a year or two without it. The MMR? Parents could delay it at least until their child is a few years old and past the age of regressive autism. Hepatitis A vaccine could easily be put off for a few years, since it’s a harmless disease for young kids. Chickenpox could be delayed until school age, if you don’t mind your child catching it (some parents actually want their kids to catch it while young).
That’s what I do in my office, and what I promote in my vaccine writing and speaking. I offer parents a way to vaccinate that spreads the shots out, limits vaccines to two-at-a-time instead of the usual 6, concentrates on the more important ones first, and delays some less important vaccines until a baby is a little older. I believe this approach reduces the risks of a vaccine reaction, but if a reaction does occur, it’s easy to determine which vaccine was the culprit (which is impossible to do if you’ve given a baby 6 shots at once). I also watch very carefully for mild to moderate reactions and take them seriously. I don’t like to repeat any shots that a baby doesn’t seem to handle well. Parents who are concerned about autism, but want to vaccinate, can consider using an approach such as mine. It’s not easy to find a doctor who will work with you to do this, but if it’s important to you, keep looking. The AAP doesn’t like doctors offering alternative vaccine schedules, so most doctors are hesitant to do so. But in my opinion, us doctors are here to serve parents (not the other way around, although I’ve heard in the old days it used to be that way). I think parents have the right to vaccinate in any way they choose, and it’s up to the doctor to work with them to find a vaccine approach they are comfortable with. I have over 100 doctors nationwide registered on my Vaccine Friendly Doctor’s List who feel the way I do about vaccines and are willing to offer options, or are willing to happily provide healthcare for families who choose not to vaccinate (HERE). There may be one on the list near you, so check it out.
Here is what I think every new parent with a new baby needs to think about:
1. If you have a family history of autism or severe autoimmune disease, you need to approach vaccines very carefully.
2. Realize that severe reactions CAN happen. They may not be common, and there hasn’t been enough research to determine just how common they are, but they can occur.
3. Understand that there is disease risk as well. Several hundred infants die each year of what should be vaccine-preventable diseases.
4. If you do vaccinate, consider doing so using an alternative vaccine schedule that spreads the shots out. I’ve provided a couple of suggested schedules in my writing. Also consider delaying vaccines if you feel comfortable with disease risk.
5. Although some doctors are studying ways to pre-screen newborns for genetic or immune susceptibilities to vaccine reactions, no one really yet knows how to accurately screen out all such babies or exactly what types of screening tests are a useful predictor of vaccine susceptibility. Hopefully this technology will become available soon.
6. Do I think that all parents should stop vaccinating, or delay all shots for a couple years, until more research is done? Parents certainly have the right to do so. I don’t take a position on what parents should or shouldn’t do, except that I insist they educate themselves first.
The vaccine/autism debate isn’t over (despite the U.S. Omnibus Vaccine court ruling), and research will continue. We need to find the cause (or causes) of autism, and we need to find a way to screen babies for genetic and immune susceptibilities. What types of changes in vaccine policy might occur if a link is proven, only time will tell. But I don’t think the government will ever bring the vaccine system to a halt. Changes in the schedule may occur, possibly similar to what I propose can be done now, and this may help limit vaccine risk. But if any parents are hoping for the day when the government admits that vaccines do cause autism and decides to stop recommending them altogether, I don’t think that day will ever come.
Dr. Bob Sears, Pediatrician and author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, The Vaccine Book.
Here in Connecticut, you can't register your kids for pre-school or kindergarten if their vaccines are not current or up-to-date.
I also read somewhere that for parents who use a "religious exception", the danger of criminal prosecution exists, should their unvaccinated child become infected with one of the diseases the vaccines were intended to prevent.
We have a 5 year old daughter, who, around the 13th month, had FOUR vaccine shots administered in one doctor visit. Our daughter stopped talking within two weeks of that visit, and her speech development has been delayed. She is now attending a special preschool program for developmentally-delayed children and has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Prior to those shots, she was showing signs of becoming a prodigal genius. Now the chances of her having even a normal life are in question.
Maybe my wife was right: we should have moved back to the Philippines and raised our child in a more medically-free environment where she could have reached her full potential.
Posted by: Mark Weiss | June 18, 2009 at 04:34 AM
One more tobacco-related post -- in case anyone's interested -- which may be unlikely...
A few years ago there was an article on the front page of the 7/26/05 L.A. Times that caught my attention about Richard Dole, a renowned British epidemiologist who was born in 1912 and had died shortly before the article was written. His research had extended to many areas, "But his name is most indelibly linked to the studies of smoking that he began shortly after World War II. Postwar Britain was in the throes of a massive lung cancer epidemic and no one seemed to know why. Many researchers attributed it to air pollution ... Others thought it might be linked to the tar used on hundreds of miles of British roads." Years later, Doll said his first thought was that perhaps it had to do with cars.
The Medical Research Council, Britain's equivalent of the National Institutes of Health, recruited a medical economist Austin Bradford Hill to study the causes of the epidemic, and Doll, then a young scientist at the council, was enlisted by Hill. The two devised a questionnaire about lifestyle, environmental exposures, etc., which was distributed to patients at London hospitals who had a possible diagnosis of lung cancer.
"At first, the data did not show much. But when Doll went back and checked the patients' final diagnosis, the results were startlingly clear. Virtually all of those patients whose diagnosis was changed from lung cancer to some other, less serious disease were nonsmokers. However, 647 of the 649 who ended up with a final diagnosis of cancer were smokers.
"Doll and Hill prepared a report for publication in 1949, but disbelieving bureaucrats held it up, arguing that perhaps the situation was unique to London. Doll and Hill expanded their survey to more than 5,000 patients in hospitals throughout the country.
"When results from those hospitals began to support their initial findings, the scientists got their report published in late 1950. By then, Americans Ernst Wynder and Morton L. Levin had published similar conclusions in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., albeit on smaller study groups...
"Altogether, five papers establishing the link were published that year, but they fell largely on deaf ears. 'It didn't create any impression at all, really,' Doll recalled later. "Tobacco companies rejected the findings out of hand and government officials ignored them, arguing that publicizing the results would unduly scare the nearly 80% of men who smoked."
Further research was done, and "By 1957, the evidence was overwhelming, and the Ministry of Health called a major press conference to release the findings. Ironically, Doll noted, 'the minister who announced it was smoking a cigarette at the same time.'"
In 1964, 15 years after Hill and Doll's initial findings, the U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking was issued. Even though smoking is purely recreational and not alleged to provide any health benefits such as protection from communicable diseases, and was never mandated by government officials or programs, it took 15 years for this research to result in government action. Why? Vested interests, political influence, close mindedness, inertia, and tobacco science. Even after the surgeon general’s report, obfuscation continued (see prior comments below).
In the case of vaccines, where government agencies have so much invested, there is even more reason for the government to resist admitting causation of serious health problems including autism.
Interesting that Doll’s initial data was not significant, until the inclusion criteria were changed to include only those whose final diagnosis was in fact lung cancer. So many factors can impact the results of an epidemiological study. In the case of autism, we do not have a way to identify subtypes. Autism is a broad spectrum which is defined by behaviors rather than etiology, and may have multiple causes. Is it any wonder that, as Dr. Bernadine Healy said, it is difficult for large epidemiological studies to “tease out” information on subgroups? Especially, of course, when deliberately designed to not tease out that info, but even when that is not the case, if you have a heterogeneous group with multiple causes statistics may be hard to read.
Posted by: Twyla | June 09, 2009 at 01:57 AM
Good point about pesticides. But when I started Googling because my curiosity was peaked by Josh's question, I was again amazed at the parallels with tobacco. I don't know if it's necessary to determine which parallel is "best". Both are interesting.
Posted by: Twyla | June 08, 2009 at 11:26 AM
There is a better parallel cover-up than tobacco. Pesticides. Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring back in the early 1960s. She was viciously attacked.
The cover-up of pesticide hazards, especially to agricultural workers and the general environment has continued to this day.
Although some pesticides were banned in the U.S. they have continued to be used in other countries and are sometimes manufactured here and then exported, just like thimerosal containing vaccines.
Chemical farming has been government supported and promoted from the very beginning. It is even justified as life-saving: people would be starving without the heavy use of pesticides.
I think this is really the best parallel, especially as the cover-up of problems has been largely successful over a period of close to 50 years.
Posted by: MinorityView | June 08, 2009 at 08:55 AM
Interesting history of the tobacco industry's efforts to fund research that would cast doubt on the link between smoking and lung cancer...
"In the early 1950s, the first scientific studies documenting tobacco's role in cancer and other fatal illnesses began to appear... These reports put the tobacco industry in a panic. Internal memos from the industry-funded Tobacco Institute refer to the public relations fallout from this scientific discovery as the '1954 emergency.' Fighting desperately for its economic life, the tobacco industry launched what must be considered the costliest, longest-running and most successful PR 'crisis management' campaign in history. The Council for Tobacco Research 'was set up as an industry shield in 1954,' wrote an unnamed Philip Morris executive in a memo. 'It is extremely important to show that the industry continue to spend their dollars on research to show that we don't agree that the case against smoking is closed.'"
Some L.A. Times articles:
According to this 3/11/1964 memo from the Council for Tobacco Research, as of March 11, 1964 "over 300 published reports have resulted from this program of aid to research".
Most of the research funded by this group was in what we might call the "ABT" category -- anything but tobacco as causation for lung cancer.
Regarding some studies on second-hand smoke:
The British Medical Journal published a study in its May 2003 issue entitled, “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-1998,” by Dr. James E. Enstrom and Dr. Geoffrey C. Kabat. The study claimed that no causal relationship was found between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related mortality. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057
See analysis at http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/327/7418/E237 "The article by Enstrom and Kabat (p 369) is the latest in a long series of publications funded by the tobacco industry that report little or no relationship between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and disease..."
Sorry, Josh, I haven't provided direct links to 30 studies as you requested.
Posted by: Twyla | June 08, 2009 at 02:57 AM
Josh Harris -
Per the N.Y. Times "Corporate financing can have subtle effects on research and lead to unconscious bias. Studies have shown that sponsored research tends to reach conclusions that favor the sponsor, which is why disclosure is encouraged. The tobacco industry has a long history of underwriting research — sometimes through independent-sounding foundations — to make cigarettes seem less dangerous."
(Gardiner Harris wrote that story. Funny, he doesn't seem to have a problem with those with vested interests doing vaccine studies.)
Also see http://www.healthline.com/blogs/smoking_cessation/2008/03/lung-cancer-spiral-ct-and-tobacco.html
"Within the medical research community there is wide acceptance of pharmaceutical company funding for research and educational purposes. While we are all aware of cases of unethical behavior by pharmaceutical companies, their overall mission is to improve health and is entirely consistent with that of academic medical researchers. The tobacco industry, on the other hand, has a long history of trying to misuse research to sell more cigarettes: virtually the only legal consumer product that is lethal to the user when used as intended."
Also see http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0114-04.htm
"Even after tobacco companies had pledged to become more responsible about the public health effects of cigarettes, industry executives were attempting to undermine a landmark 1996 scientific study showing a direct genetic link between smoking and lung cancer, a new report concludes.
"The report by UCSF researchers found that tobacco companies funded research designed to cast doubt on the study -- and then used their ties with the editor of a peer-reviewed scientific journal to have the articles published, without disclosing the authors' or editor's connections to the tobacco industry.
"Both studies were published in the journal Mutagenesis, owned by Oxford University Press. Its then-editor in chief, James Parry, received tobacco industry funding from 1986 until at least 2001, including 600 British pounds in 1993 for consulting work from British American Tobacco, the UCSF report says...
"The UCSF report is based on once-secret tobacco industry documents that were preserved as a result of a 1998 federal court tobacco lawsuit settlement and archived by anti-smoking activist Stanton Glantz, a UCSF professor of medicine. Glantz is the lead author of the report being published today in The Lancet, a British medical journal.
"'The tobacco companies have been running corporate responsibility campaigns. They claim they have repudiated their past,' Glantz said in an interview. 'This shows that's just a lie. It's exactly the same kind of thing they did in the past, and it's happening now.'
"The UCSF researchers looked at the tobacco industry's response to a landmark 1996 study that demonstrated a direct genetic link between smoking and lung cancer.
"Scientists at the Beckman Research Institute in Duarte (Los Angeles County) found in lab experiments that a component of tobacco smoke, called benzoapyrene, causes mutations in a gene known as p53. The damage to the p53 gene precisely mirrored the damage seen in the genetic tissue of smokers who had died from lung cancer.
"P53 is a so-called tumor suppressor gene that helps prevent cancerous growths. When the p53 gene is damaged, it can lead to uncontrolled cell growth. Mutations in the p53 gene are implicated in more than 50 percent of all human cancers and 60 percent of lung cancers.
"Even before the study was published, tobacco company executives had taken a keen interest in p53. For years, the companies had argued in product liability lawsuits and elsewhere that the link between smoking and lung cancer was just a statistical association that had never been proven directly.
"The 1996 study was the first to prove the actual molecular mechanism by which cigarette smoke caused cells to grow into tumors. The finding offered a powerful tool that could be used in litigation and regulation of tobacco use, to connect a patient's disease to its specific cause. The industry would be left with little defense...
"tobacco industry executives tried to downplay the significance of the 1996 study on smoking and p53, the UCSF report found, and also launched studies designed to contradict its findings. The UCSF report focuses on two studies whose results were published and their author's ties to industry not disclosed.
"In one, David Cooper, a geneticist at the University of Wales medical school, published a critique of the 1996 paper arguing that the California researchers lacked sufficient comparisons to nonsmokers with lung cancer. He charged that their conclusions were nothing more than unsubstantiated conjecture.
"Cooper had received research funding from the British American Tobacco company as early as 1993, the UCSF researchers found. His industry ties were not disclosed as part of his critique, published in the July 1998 issue of Mutagenesis.
"Another study was conducted by Thilo Paschke, an employee of a private institute managed by the German Association of Cigarette Manufacturers. He argued that among smokers and nonsmokers who had died of lung cancer, there was no statistically significant difference in the types of p53 mutations.
"His article was published in the November 2000 issue of Mutagenesis, which did not disclose his employment by the German tobacco industry.
"Perhaps the most serious finding in the UCSF report was the tobacco industry ties of James Parry, Mutagenesis' founding editor, the journal's principal gatekeeper. In addition to hiding his industry ties from the journal's readers, the UCSF researchers found that Parry had suggested strategies to the tobacco industry for discrediting the p53 study."
There are a whole lot of parallels between the above story and the influence of pharma companies on journals, academic institutions, gov't agencies, and funding research.
I'm sure there are more articles out there as well as the studies themselves, but I'm out of time right now.
"Tobacco science" is real; we're not making it up.
Posted by: Twyla | June 07, 2009 at 09:59 PM
I totally agree with what you've said about the government's treatment of smoking. What I meant to say to Josh is that the government hasn't *explicitly endorsed* smoking, so a government-funded study showing cigarettes to be safe wouldn't make sense (whereas the government mandates vaccination, so of course the government is paying scientists to run studies whose goal is "proving" vaccines to be safe).
Josh has been asking to see citations of government research showing cigarettes to be safe, and I was just trying to explain why the parallel isn't an exact one. The common link is biased research.
Posted by: Theresa | June 07, 2009 at 09:31 PM
"I don't think anyone on this site has said that the government promoted smoking."
Actually Theresa, one of the dirty little secrets of government policy towards smoking is that governments profit from it and has done far less to reduce smoking than it could have. If governments really want to stop smoking, the main policy response would be to ban smoking (or to restrict consumption). Although smoking restrictions have increased with time, for years the main government "anti-smoking" policy has been taxation. The effect on consumption is modest (smoking demand is price inelastic); the effect on the tobacco companies is generally positive (they get to raise prices); and the government gets a huge revenue boost (which is a net profit over the remaining health care costs, since lung cancer is not a big health insurance problem; victims die fast).
It's pretty clear, the government has been a financial partner of the tobacco business for a long time.
Posted by: Mark Blaxill | June 07, 2009 at 09:07 PM
I think the comparison between "tobacco science" and vaccine science is based on the fact that doctors paid by cigarette manufacturers used to endorse smoking, and scientists on the payroll of pharmaceutical firms say that vaccines are safe. One wouldn't expect the government to have endorsed cigarette smoking or called it safe, because the government had no stake in the tobacco industry, whereas the government stands to lose tons of money to VICP plaintiffs, and of course the government doesn't want public confidence in its immunization program to be undermined. I don't think anyone on this site has said that the government promoted smoking (although I am pretty sure that the government sent cigarettes to GIs in WWII in care packages); rather, the people on this site have pointed out that when research is funded by someone with a vested interest in its conclusion, you should be wary of that research.
As for calling this comparison a "scare tactic," I think the parents who comment on this site have plenty of horror stories! but maybe you think comparing vaccine studies to "tobacco science" is scarier than saying "My kid had the MMR and had seizures within an hour."
To one of your other points, I don't think the number of unvaccinated children is increasing. In fact, Reuters reported last year that the percentage of vaccinated children reached record levels (here: http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL47185220080904). The real scare tactics are those used by the media in reporting measles outbreaks (none of which were fatal in any of the reports I read over the past six months).
Posted by: Theresa | June 07, 2009 at 08:48 PM
"I’ve heard conspiracy theories that it’s the government covering up the real numbers"
Josh, Nobody is saying the government is covering up numbers. The Government (CDC) is just using data on autism prevalence from the start of the decade and has not updated it. That's not technically a coverup, although it acheives the same goal. If you actually believe that the autism rate is still 1 in 150 you need to get in line for that Beooklyn Bridge sale.
The rest of you post is besed on the CDC playbook. Hey, if it works for you to think diganostic substitution or the combining of Asperger's and autism cases accounts for the majority of the increase in overall autism cases, well, good for you. The MIND institute in California may diasagree with you though. It may be a good idea to check out some of their work instead of just challenging people to read papers and summarize them for you.
Posted by: Doodle | June 07, 2009 at 06:55 PM
So basically comparing vaccine science to tobacco science is just a scare tactic to get parents attention. The sciences are really nothing alike.
Are you stating that autism is a side affect of vaccines? That hasn’t been proven. I understand that as more and more vaccines were added to the schedule, the autism rate increased, probably due to the broadening of the definition-undoubtedly, some is probably due to environmental factors –maybe vaccines. However, the number of partially vaccinate and fully Un-vaccinated has increased, but yet autism still increases. Shouldn’t the number of autistic kids go down? I’ve heard conspiracy theories that it’s the government covering up the real numbers; however, that is why they call it a conspiracy. What is your take on it Dr. Sears? My take is that if vaccines due cause autism, it is only a very small percentage of the total autism population. However, there is not a single study to confirm or deny this.
Posted by: josh harris | June 07, 2009 at 05:36 PM
Did a bit of research on tobacco's history; only secondary and tertiary sources sadly.However it appears that when tobacco first appeared doctors promoted its health giving properties. In 1944 the American Cancer Association first warned against smoking, but said that no definitve proof existed linking lung cancer to smoking..
WHO only came into being at a time when public opinion on smoking was already changing.
Everyone has known that vaccines carried the risk of side effects. However people comforted themselves with the idea that they were vanishingly rare, and that they were helping protect all children against horrible diseases.
And then the side effects rate started to climb.Hard to acknowledge that you are damaging the people you are trying to protect.
So much easier for those who have promoted vaccines to ignore the damaged children, or try and say that neurological damage is an okay side effect.Or to pretend that really autism isn't that bad.
And for some high functioning aspergers kids, life may be fine.
Others, non verbal, self mutilating, are trapped in a living hell.
For those who acknowledge and care about theses forgotten children, we read the studies. You see the truth matters more than anything else, more than some intellectual exercise, more than needing to be right.
Because the only way we can fix things is by working out what went wrong.Who is at risk. What others things as well as vaccines put them at risk.
As the numbers continue to climb and large amounts of autistic adults needing services are coming onto the horizon, it is going to being harder and harder for those in autism denial to remain that way.
Posted by: hera | June 07, 2009 at 01:02 PM
There are more and more cases of childhood diseases showing up in vaccinated individuals. Sometimes all the cases are in vaccinated children because the rate of vaccination has never been higher.
Waiting for medical science to find the voice of reason to tell you what to do is unwise. Parents have to act on their own. Vaccine manufacturers will go away, only when enough individuals walk away.
I do not buy that we would be overcome with disease if we stopped vaccinating. If this were true, there should be 16 epidemics somewhere in the world at all times, because they don't all vaccinate for everything.
Keep vaccinating or ELSE. Or else those epidemics will come back. Really?
Posted by: Cynthia Cournoyer | June 07, 2009 at 02:14 AM
You're heading real fast for the spam file if you start accusing this group of not reading the studies. To Kim's point, we have all kinds here, including varying degrees of hostility to the current vaccine policy. As for me, I'm pro-childhood health and looking at the sickest generation of children in a long time. There's a big fat problem here and lots of people making excuses. Very often, it's the people writing text in studies that report results that reveal different findings if you actually look at the DATA.
Posted by: Mark Blaxill | June 07, 2009 at 01:11 AM
Josh, being a smart ass will not extend your Golden Ticket here.
Posted by: Stagmom | June 06, 2009 at 08:44 PM
Sorry for jumping the gun and labeling you.
Posted by: josh harris | June 06, 2009 at 08:39 PM
Josh - we are not "anti-vaxxers" any more than pro-choice voters are "anti-life" - I think that's pretty clear by our having posted Dr. Sears here. We do have readers who are indeed against all vaccinations at all times - but that simply shows our diversity.
If you want to post comments will you please refrain fromn branding us with the name given by the pro-vaccine movement? Thank you.
Posted by: Managing Editor for Josh Harris | June 06, 2009 at 05:43 PM
@ Charles Dalton
You shouldn't rely on websites like that to give you reliable info. All the references I checked out from that cite and the ones you quoted either don’t exist (they cited them wrong) or the quotes are completely taken out of context (proper way to cite people: Journal Title, Year, Volume, page. What the hell Lancet 21/9/91 means?) Did you actually READ these articles, or are you taking that websites word for it? I love it when anti-vax people come to a conclusion on an article that the author does not! All of those references are also outdated-over 15 years ago or more and were published by mainstream medicine and the vaccines in questione have changed. Now, even though were getting more vaccines, were getting LESS antigens-way less than we were 15 years ago.
The anti-vax movement does make some good correlations between autism and vaccines; however, you guys often cherry pick articles and CITE THEM WORNG!! God, read a damn journal before you post stuff about it. Of course, DO NOT TAKE MY WORD, everyone can read the abstracts of almost every medical journal. Just go to pudmed to find an article, and then go the Journal’s website. The abstract often includes the background, experimental, results, and conclusion.
Still waiting for the Big Tobacco science (see my last post) papers. Anybody? Dr. Sears, maybe you can set the record straight. Dr.’s might have came out and promoted smoking, but the WHO, AMA, AHA, IOM, Surgeon General never supported it like they do vaccines.
Posted by: josh harris | June 06, 2009 at 04:14 PM
Angela - good questions. we can't predict if vaccines will trigger autoimmunity in a child from a family with no autoimmune problems YET, and many such problems don't show up in a family until the adults are older. I guess I start with a baby's GRANDparents. If autoimmune problems are going to be in a family, they will almost (but not always) have already started in a grandparent. You won't yet know about the mom though.
I guess my MAIN idea here is that if you KNOW a grandparent or a parent has autoimmune disease already, then that may be a red flag for vaccinating.
You are right, in your family you didn't know. But you now know for YOUR grandkids.
StarStar - I mean not to vax the kid with autism or any more babies they have. As for older kids (who are probably already somewhat vaxed), I don't necessarily tell them no. We talk about it, and I ask them to educated themselves about each disease that they can vax their older child against, then we make a decision.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 04, 2009 at 04:00 PM
Your folks are friends with my one of my midwifery mentors, Barbara. I have to comment on this...
"I am very careful in families with autoimmune histories and discuss that risk to some extent in the book (although I will expand on that section in the next edition)."
Herein lies the problem. You could have a situation like my own family. My mom has many indicators of auto-immune issues, but this was not known until she was in her 40's, and my kids were already born and vaccinated. Now, years later, my husband and I both have autoimmune disorders. Fortunate for us... we didn't vaccinate ANY of our four kids according to the schedule at the time. Our youngest is completely unvaccinated and the healthiest of them all.
As I've already said too many times; we have a perfect case study here in the Warner home :)
So my question is - what do you do in this situation? I don't think you can leave it to that... there may not be a history until the child has already been vaccinated.
All the genetic studies they're doing??? I pray to God they're looking at that particular piece, because if not and they're not able to come up with a screening after birth for that; we're going to vaccinate humanity into extinction.
We're talking epigenetics here, and what's to say that all this autoimmune set-up was not caused by vaccination in the first place?
I'm not trying to be a smart alec or be in your face Dr. Sears, but these are questions I believe the community would like some answers to, and no one seems able to answer. It's incredibly frustrating for us, and at times honestly, angering.
Thanks again AoA for the opportunity to comment.
Thank you Dr. Bob for any thoughts or insight you may be able to provide.
Posted by: Angela Warner | June 03, 2009 at 07:39 PM
Thank you for the correction. Laura Hewitson is married to Andrew Wakefield’s IT director but she and her husband are complainants in the Autism Omnibus proceedings. That is a conflict of interest. I do find her study interesting, but small. It was also never published, just presented as a poster. Most things that are present are later published, however that was some time ago and yet no paper has emerged. Thank you for the correction though.
P.S-I like to be honest, the info about Laura Hewitson i retrieved from a blog. Not really scientific, however I believe it to be true.
Posted by: josh harris | June 03, 2009 at 07:18 PM
Using epidemiology to prove an unsafe product is safe. Sounds familiar?
Posted by: Smoking 1st trimester does not harm | June 03, 2009 at 07:11 PM
@ Josh Harris,
The monkey study was done by Laura Hewitson at Pitt. I don't think she's related in any way to Andrew Wakefield.
Posted by: Theresa | June 03, 2009 at 07:02 PM
Dr. Sears, when you say . . .
"I tell every single one of my patients with autism NOT to vaccinate their next kids"
. . . do you mean any children who are born later, or do you mean siblings who already exist? That is, if you have a five year old with autism and a neurotypical ten year old, you would advise that the neurotypical child NOT get any further vaccines?
Posted by: starstar | June 03, 2009 at 05:35 PM
Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Robert W. Sears are the same person. They're me - Dr. Sears Junior. Dr. Sears Senior is Dr. BILL Sears. He doesn't really have anything to do with vaccine issues.
I hear what you're saying, and there are many more issues I could discuss other than what is in this post. I wanted to comment really quickly so you have the right impression on me (at least, what I think of me). As a DAN doctor, I tell every single one of my patients with autism NOT to vaccinate their next kids. A few still choose to anyway, and if they do I go very slowly and carefully. So in that respect I think I fit the profile of most DAN doctors.
Now for my neurotypical patients (which make up probably 90% of my pediatric practice), I don't go around telling them NOT to vaccinate. I happily don't vax them if they don't want to. Those that want to vax, I only offer my alternative schedule. I don't even offer the AAP schedule. In that respect I'm probably very different than most DAN doctors because most don't have a regular general practice as well. I ask all my patients to get educated about the dangers of vaccines.
I am very careful in families with autoimmune histories and discuss that risk to some extent in the book (although I will expand on that section in the next edition).
As for the purpose of this post, you raise a very interesting point. I like my posts to be useful - give parents something to do or act on or be educated about. But this post doesn't really do that. I think that the main purpose of this post was to give parents a glimpse into where I think the situation now stands and where it is going from the viewpoint of the political machine of mainstream medicine. It was really just designed to inform. By understanding how the "man" thinks about this issue, it should help everyone who is trying to go against "the man" be more effective in their efforts. I intended it to be helpful to those who are fighting for change in the vaccine system.
I hope that helps.
Charles Dalton (your name made me look TWICE - thought it said DARWIN at first) -
Good points here. You are definately right - there are well documented situations in which vaccines have not done what we thought they'd do. However, there are far more articles in the same journals that document how vaccines have helped prevent outbreaks and reduced diseases. I agree with you that vaccines may not always work, and safely is definately a big concern. But at first glance at the articles you cited, one would think, "Why do people them vaccinate?" It's because of all the other studies (that doctors are more inclined to believe) that show vaccines DO prevent disease.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 03, 2009 at 04:29 PM
@ Anne Dachel
And all who state that vaccine science is like Tabacco science-Please show me one case in a major peer reviewed journal that said smoking was NOT harmful. Everyone keeps saying that this happened, yet I cannot find one reference. I did not find one epidemiological comparing smoker to non-smokers. In fact, the AMA has always spoke out against smoking along w/ the surgeon general. Doctors appearing in adds saying " I smoke, its good for you" does not translate to smoking was healthy. Go ahead AofA readers, find me a journal that said it was not harmful. I mean you all keep saying the sciences are the same. There are over 30 papers not linking vaccines to autism (and there are some papers that do link it, but whether vaccines cause autism right now in my opinion is not proven nor disproven-there are many factors). Can you find me 30 papers that used to say smoking was not harmful? If you can't actually show any papers (full references please), then you all should quit saying vaccines science=tabacco science.
again-no references to blogs, just actualy studies please. Thanks.
Oh, and Dan, your monkey study was run by Andrew Wakefields wife was it not, talk about conflict of interest. tsk tsk
Posted by: Josh Harris | June 03, 2009 at 11:58 AM
In the article 'Historical Information About The "Effectiveness of Vaccines"'
there are significant examples that indicate
vaccines do not appear to be effective and that at least one on the list was known by the vaccine maker to have a risk of brain damage and death.
A few extracts from the historic list:
'In Oman between 1988 and 1989, a polio outbreak occurred amongst thousands of fully vaccinated children. The region with the highest attack rate had the highest vaccine coverage. The region with the lowest attack rate had the lowest vaccine coverage. (The Lancet, 21/9/91)'
'In 1990, the Journal of the American Medical Association had an article on measles which stated " Although more than 95% of school-aged children in the US are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur in schools and most cases in this setting occur among previously vaccinated children."(JAMA, 21/11/90)'
'In the New England Journal of Medicine July 1994 issue a study found that over 80% of children under 5 years of age who had contracted whooping cough had been fully vaccinated.'
'In the USA, the cost of a single DPT shot had risen from 11 cents in 1982 to $11.40 in 1987. The manufacturers of the vaccine were putting aside $8 per shot to cover legal costs and damages they were paying out to parents of brain damaged children and children who died after vaccination. (The Vine, Issue 7, January 1994, Nambour, Qld),
Posted by: Charles Dalton | June 03, 2009 at 09:47 AM
interestingly, the commenter on the flat feet and hypoxia...very interesting...I think this is the result of an in utero infection like lyme, which could cause low muscle tone and flat feet. Many kids with autism also are harboring the lyme pathogen, as well as their family members (aka, it is a placental exchange bacteria too)...
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | June 02, 2009 at 11:12 PM
Dr. Bob Sears, Senior?
Where is Dr. Robert W. Sears????? That's the guy I want to hear from. The guy who wrote "Is Aluminum the new thimerosal? Jan 08 Mothering Magazine.
How do you feel about aluminum Dr. Bob Sr.?
I have a vaccine injured 6 yr old, and an unvaccinated 11 month old who hasn't seen the Pediatrician since he was born, the difference in their development is painful. The Pediatrician missed every red flag.
Mother of an UNCOUNTED vaccine injured child.
Posted by: Renee Tag | June 02, 2009 at 07:02 PM
In response to Unknown Parent you replied:
Unknown Parent - hmmmm. Baby formula. I haven't delved into that aspect yet. I'm not sure anyone has demonstrated higher rates of autism in formula-fed infants vs. breastfed? Have they? Yes, there are some ingredients in formula, but I don't know that we can conclude anything on that yet."
I had some deep thoughts on this typed up in a comment yesterday and then got busy doing other things. The issue goes much deeper than just autism in breast fed versus formula fed babies. And partly has to do with my thoughts on rotavirus as well.
When my younger son was diagnosed back in 2005 I was applying to midwifery school. I had to withdrawl my application because the life of a midwife is not a good match with autism. My point is this...
You've got a formula fed baby receiving vaccines and they are not truly being nourished (their guts especially) as mother nature intended.
Flip the coin... you've got breast fed babies being injected with vaccines that the baby is most likely receiving anti-bodies from the mom. Double whammy and competitors, if you will.
How can either of these be efficient?
No I presume you were in medical training at the height of formula feeding, and when you say you saw so many cases of rotavirus. The gut is not being properly nourished, and on top of that I think that doctors have come to see so much chronic diarrhea that anytime a parent states their child has diarrhea no one really pays attention. Diarrhea is not a normal condition and is a serious indication that something is wrong. Most likely the reason so many of those babies ended up in the hospital partly relates to this thought, and the parents were in essence brushed off... Just a thought, and I doubt anyone has a solid answer.
We need a system in this country like that in Europe where employed mothers are given extended and PAID leave. We need our babies to be breastfed for at least a year, and we need to not be vaccinating until breastfeeding has ended and then only after titers are checked. If this were all the case and in full practice I know without a doubt we would see a dramatic decrease in the number of children who develop autism within a short period of time.
I've not read your book, I can't afford to buy any more books. I recommend Dr. Cave's supplementation protocol to ALL parents considering vaccination. I'd be happy to read yours if someone sends me a copy. I've read alot of your parents books for obvious reasons.
Last, no child (in my opinion) should receive ANY vaccine until they are a minimum of four months old. It's quite stupid. An infants immune system is not fully capable of generating a response until around that time. Thus the need for breastmilk and mothers immunities.
Thank you for being open to frank dialouge. While I completely disagree with you about the rotavirus vx, it is refreshing to have not only a doctor willing to talk with the "common parent", but one who will also reflect on opposing views.
Posted by: Angela Warner | June 02, 2009 at 04:52 PM
Well and good to say that medical professionals / pharma companies / government officials all just want to help people, maybe they are just misguided or defending their bad consciences.
But aren't some of these circumstances suspicious? Mercury may or may not cause autism, but it is certainly neurotoxic and lowers IQ. Big Pharma resisted taking mercury out of the vaccines for years, knowing this all the while; then they said they took it out but this is not really true, they just reduced it; they increased the aluminum at the same time they reduced the mercury, and aluminum greatly increases the toxicity of mercury. Note aluminum is not claimed as a preservative, so this was not to compensate the lack of mercury! What is going on here?
And mercury is often replaced by phenoxyethanol, a known carcinogen along with formaldehyde. Aren't there any non-toxic preservatives? What is going on?
Another example: It is acknowledged by mainstream medicine that wild measles and wild mumps, if contracted at the same time, can produce inflammatory bowel disease; live measles and live mumps are given in a single vaccine; then Big Pharma phases out single shots. !?
You would expect the profit motive to lead in directions at right angles to health and safety--but why do we repeatedly find ourselves lead directly to disease and danger? This is an important question and must be explained away, if possible, before this system can be allowed to continue.
The above examples and many many others (not all vaccine-related) make me unable to trust anything remotely pharmaceutical in nature. I am not yet ready to say I am anti-vaccine (although Dr. Moulden's new information may change this, let's all read up on him)--however I am very definitely anti- the present vaccines and I cannot imagine accepting anything from the people producing vaccines, now or ever. The trust is long gone.
Posted by: Eric | June 02, 2009 at 04:46 PM
It's amazing how much intensity was drawn to the 2 Dr. Sears posts in this last year. I know it's drawn more of my energy and triggered my only postings although I read and enjoy A of A and the comments of my community on a daily basis.
It seems some chose to focus on the fact that Dr. Sears is a pediatrician and compare him to his peers and comment accordingly, and others (myself included) that mostly compared him to DAN! doctors and judged accordingly. Although I would love to have Dr. Sears as my injured son's pediatrician, I can't help but wonder, again, what is the motivation of this post? With all of the deeply challenging struggles we encounter on a daily basis, Dr. Sears felt the need to save us from any hopes of triggering a vaccine schedule change?
It concerns me that we have a DAN! doctor who seems to be presenting a delayed schedule as a compromising response to parent demand with some acknowledgement of potential risks (possibly not even autism), when every other DAN! doctor who offers a delayed schedule seems to be responding to the parents who insist on vaxing despite the known possible risks and only supporting it's use if parents insist. Most DAN! docs focus on educating others on the risks of vaxing and Dr. Sears is focusing on drumming up fear of the vaccine-targeted diseases to the parents who have already been burned and repeatedly express that we would risk all of these to have a day without autism.
Yes, it's wonderful that there is a member of the AAP acknowledging the benefits of delaying and spacing vaccines, but has there been an acknowledgement that there is a connection with autism and other autoimmune disorders? Is that listed in the possible side effects discussion? I really don't think we as a community should be so concerned about being too opinionated on this topic with Dr. Sears as he is most likely not advocating for a revised schedule because he wants to be nice to the community that has suffered the most. For if he was, we wouldn't have our time wasted with irrelevant monologues about the doom of returning vaccine-targeted childhood diseases and the futility in hoping for a vaccine schedule change. And certainly, if we can't convince a DAN! doctor to grasp the comparative damage that vaccines has done and is doing, then we don't have much to lose.
Posted by: millie | June 02, 2009 at 03:27 PM
To borrow a phrase from Rumsfield there are enough "unknown unknowns" about the human immune system and vaccines that I'm inclined to agree with Kathy Blanco that there can be no completely safe vaccine for all people.
But, nothing you do in life (say like driving a car) is completely safe. Risk-Benefit and freedom of choice are the conversations that need to take place. And in light of that, doing things to reduce risk by ending some absolutely stupid vaccination practices (like multiple vaccines in one day, vaccinating while sick, vaccinating 1 day to 2 month olds, the use of aluminum and mercury in vaccines) are important. Will these change makes vaccination completely safe? But these changes would change the lives of many many future children and to throw the good out because it isn't perfect won't help anyone.
Posted by: Jack | June 02, 2009 at 02:39 PM
"genetic and autoimmune susceptibility to vaccine chemicals and germ ingredients" - I totally think you're on to something here.
I do have a son with PKU (The Unknown Parent - I don't think you are that far off). His disorder makes me firmly believe in the immune system vs. outside forces causing autism, etc. There's just so much that goes on between the brain and ingestion.
PKU is genetic, so just a roll of the dice there, but my first son does have borderline asthma, lots of allergies (environment as well as peanut, whey, egg whites). He was sick from day one, RSV at 2 months old, ear infection after ear infection. I didn't even know that flat feet might be an issue, but sure enough, he has those as well. Even at 6, he's currently taking an antibiotic for a lingering respiratory infection (tubes and adenoids out last year). Breathing treatments, allergy meds, waiting it out, just doesn't work.
He's quirky in his own ways. His newest thing is having to have his fingers curled in a ball. My husband thinks it's anxiety related, but that mother instinct is just nagging at me. He has no issues in schools, handles social situations just fine, etc. But in my heart I know that we just dodged a bullet. Will something down the road push him over the edge? Who knows. But it spurred me to put PKU son on a delayed shot schedule, which my ped enthusiastically embraced. Thank the Lord.
The immune system is so delicate and mysterious (my husband has R.A. - an autoimmune disorder as well), how can professionals NOT think that there is a link to bombarding a newborn's system and autism?
Posted by: Em | June 02, 2009 at 01:00 PM
Janeen, Terri - very good points. I also discuss this problem in the book. There is little to no research done in human infants to demonstrate the safety of many of the vaccine ingredients. It's a mindset now of "assuming vaccines and their ingredients are safe because we've been using them so long." We should step back and do more research on ingredients.
Unknown Parent - hmmmm. Baby formula. I haven't delved into that aspect yet. I'm not sure anyone has demonstrated higher rates of autism in formula-fed infants vs. breastfed? Have they? Yes, there are some ingredients in formula, but I don't know that we can conclude anything on that yet.
Josh Day - yes I see toe walking. I pay close attention to those kids, but if development is completely normal I don't do anything about it unless to tendon is tight. If tight, we do stretches. Interesting thing you bring up though - could it be a neurologic reaction to shots? The old DTP was well known for that.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 02, 2009 at 12:47 PM
Although I feel that your vaccination schedule is still a little bit too aggressive I want to express my profound admiration for what you have done to help parents learn and get to know the “two sides of the coin”.
Going against the mainstream medical field must not be easy for you and yet you are standing there, strong and all, for us parents.
History will have a very special place for you.
I must add that I felt hopeless when I finish reading your article but you presented a very realistic point. I think it’s going to take a whole new generation to learn to undo what we sadly have done up to now.
In the past Autism One conference in Chicago, my husband and I attended to Fourteen Studies presentation that the wonderful Julie Obradovic did. It was a sad but wonderful experience to be able to see and fully understand to the best of our ability what those so-called studies are really about. After the presentation, there was an animated conversation among some of the attendees and somebody asked, “What is it going to take for people to understand what we are doing here?” “Who is going to change this in the medical field?” and Julie Obradovic responded something that made a deep impact on me. She said: “We do not know… but maybe the siblings of the affected kids. Some of them might become doctors and say ‘we need to change this because I got to experience what really vaccine injury is all about’ ”.
I think she is so right!
We parents are planting the seeds but our kids might very well be the ones that will take the torch and say, “enough is enough!”
To sad that it might take a generation for this to happen, but the thought of our kids literally changing the world of medicine is really empowering.
We, as parents, will make sure to let our kids know that you, Dr. Sears, were a pioneer in the fight they will be fighting.
Posted by: Erika | June 02, 2009 at 12:14 PM
Well your readers just do not understand what things were back in the 40s and 50s. My father had tb when bed rest was the only treatment. I got xrayed and floroscoped to about 8 rads. (I am an engineer, and I figured it out as closely as I could.)
Luckily I did not show lesions.
Vaccines knocked me out. I got tetanus and the vaccine reaction was worse than the minor cut that percipatated the vaccination.
If the treatment did not cause more pain than the illness, the Dr was considered as treating too lightly.
Medicines had to taste bad or they weren't worth trying.
I guess medicine has improved. It's the germs that have gotten smarter.
Posted by: Marvin Lewis | June 02, 2009 at 11:56 AM
Terri, exactly!!!! Dr. Sears and all peds/doctors should go to the schools to get a real read on what is happening out there. In their clinical setting they EXPECT to see many children with autism, aspergers, ADHD, and learning disabilities (not to mention asthma and seizure disorders). BUT, if they would (and they SHOULD) visit the schools they would see a frightening picture and they would maybe then understand why parents are so alarmed. Are vaccines the only cause? Probably not but they sure as heck are the most likely to be causing most of the problems.
Posted by: jen | June 02, 2009 at 11:24 AM
What I don't understand is why the medical professionals are not willing to go back to where they were in the 50's & 60's when my 6 children got their vaccinations. Start over, without the preservatives, introduce the newer vacines one at a time over a spaced period and see what happens. I don't remember ever knowing about an autistic child when my children were growing up. I now have 1 grandchild and 1 great-grand child with autism, one severe, the other a milder form. Another of my grandchildren had seizures after he received the measles vaccine. It breaks my heart to hear about doctors who are so tremendously set in their ways and who refuse to even open their minds to the possibility that vaccinations can be the cause of several problems. Instead of blaming, blaming, blaming, why can't there be a surge of dedicated research into finding out just what kind of make-up is in the bodies of each child and determine which vaccines will react unfavorably to that child. One of my great-grandchild's mother was told by her doctor that if she insisted on picking and choosing which vaccine that was to be given to her child, and if that vaccine was given singularly as opposed to the very disturbing amount of the various shots put into one, then she would have to pay $600 per shot. Is this a caring physician? I don't think so. Get together doctors and medical researchers. Instead of fighting about who is right or wrong, find out what causes what and quit experimenting on our children.
Posted by: Janeen Rennard | June 02, 2009 at 11:04 AM
"I just wonder if our (former, may i add) ped would have taken our concerns to heart, and said "hey maybe there is some connection here, lets step back and look at all the info as whole". I wonder if.."
My experience with pediatricians as a whole is that they are not critical thinkers, certainly not when it comes to this issue. They do what the AAP and the CDC recommend and that's that. They are trained and paid to do, not think, and busy they are with all of the chronically sick children these days.
Posted by: Lynn | June 02, 2009 at 10:37 AM
One of out 60?
I mentioned this in another post, but at my kids' primary school, it's more like 1 out of 33 in the current first grade class. . .
And we know it's higher than that, because I personally know people who want to avoid the "label," or have a child with autism, but a label of PDD-NOS, Asperger's, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) or something else.
In the second grade class, out of maybe another 100 kids, there's a girl with a seizure disorder, one with type 1 diabetes (possibly several--these are just the kids I know personally), another 4 kids with some kind of delay, "sensory processing disorder," asthma (my younger daughter and I don't know how many else).
So there are *at least* 10 kids (out of about 100) with some kind of serious developmental delay, a life-threatening disorder, or both. . .
Dr. Sears--most of it has been said, but--how can I put this nicely? I think that doctors (on the whole) have lost their moral compass. Completely. Totally.
"First do no harm" has been replaced by a cold calculation of hurting "a few" to save "the many." Except, when you really study it--we're hurting many and saving few.
Doctors laughing at the idea that vaccines can cause autism?
Yeah, we know that.
And it ought to make your blood run cold. I know mine does.
Doctors "in denial" over the fact that vaccines can hurt? And kill? Do ya think?
Read some of the other posts here, and in other articles at Age of Autism.
Your statistics about hundreds of kids dying from diseases that are preventable. . .how many hundreds (or is it thousands) die of SIDS, or vaccine-induced asthma, or life-threatening food allergies? (The figure I read for food allergies is somewhere around 100 each year. So that was pretty much dismissed as "no big deal.")
It's no big deal to anyone until it's their child.
And there are parents here today who will get the shot tomorrow that sends their child over the edge. . .you are not quite "on the side of the angels" yet. . .you could be. . .
I hope you'll continue to study vaccines, both individually and in combination. I hope you'll start to keep your own statistics on how many kids get sick, comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated. I don't think you've found all the answers yet.
And no, I don't think vaccines are 100% responsible for all of the chronic sickness in kids today--but vaccines are implicated in much (if not most) of it.
Posted by: Terri Lewis | June 02, 2009 at 09:30 AM
To Josh Day- My son reacted to the DPT shot, stopped walking for a couple of months even. A few years later the peditrician commented that he was flat footed. I visited autism meetings in the 90's and they all commented on their children's flat feet. My son also walks with a very wide gait, and has hypoxia (very loose muscle tone).The day the peditrician laughed and said he was flat footed I was surprised because my son also walked fast on his tip toes.
To Ann Dachel all that you said is right, and gives me some hope,but by the time it happens there may not be any civilization left! Look at Britain it is 1 out of 60 --or 1 out of 58 and still ------
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | June 02, 2009 at 08:07 AM
Thought of this one Dr Sears? are they asking the moms, were you sick during pregnancy, or EVEN TESTINHERE for an infection, answer to that, NO.
The first hit, second hit, toxins, third hit, the way we birth our kids, and fourth and final last straw ANY VACCINE, I mean ANY.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | June 02, 2009 at 03:19 AM
I appreciate your willingness to give parents a choice. I have several friends that are using your alt. schedule with their babies. Their peds give them an extremely hard time, one even said "if you trust Dr. Sears more than me, why don't you take your baby to HIM" I told her to run in the other direction. Anyone who thinks they have all the answers- well, they are not on my team anymore.
My husband is a ped in training and we get all of the AAP communications/journals etc. It disgusts me. Reading what Dr. Tayloe and others have said about autism has caused me to completely lose faith in the medical community. My child is SICK. He is SICK. Why pediatricians are not completely freaking out about autism (and related disorders) is beyond me. WHERE are you AAP?!! They are so busy protecting their precious vaccines *sponsors* that they seemed to have missed the fact that the kids in this country are sicker than they have ever been before.
Keep up the good work. Treatment=hope
Posted by: Tracey | June 02, 2009 at 01:56 AM
Has anyone in the medical field even considered finding cures for these dreaded diseases we are all supposedly running from? Is there no scientist out there actively researching a treatment for polio or diptheria, for instance? Did all scientific minds simply throw up their hands in defeat, once these precious vaccines were developed? Is it not possible for medical science to attempt to come up with rapid, accurate screening and effective treatment for many of these diseases?
What if we take all the funding currently being used to search for the gene/genes that supposedly cause autism, or the funding that goes toward many of these other ultimately useless autism studies, and put the money instead toward developing effective treatments for measles, mumps, polio, tetanus...Heck, let Big Pharma do the research and develop (and sell) the treatments. Then vaccines could be chosen, not mandated, and we anti-vaccine folks would no longer be considered a threat to public health. And our children would know true health, as their birthright.
Posted by: Donna L. | June 02, 2009 at 12:53 AM
I find this article really stupid because its predicated on the fact that the only "medicine" available to man is mainstream medicine, and the only way to prevent disease is through vaccines. What is this - the Dark Ages?
Posted by: Whatever happened to freedom of choice, land of the free? | June 02, 2009 at 12:31 AM
thanks dr. sears.
i think your schedule is great. i put my daughter on your alternative schedule after reading your book and my son was diagnosed with autism. i was lucky enough to have a doctor near me that is on your list and my daughter is doing great. i am so glad i slowed down and spread out her vaccines. especialy when this year she has gotten A LOT of ear infections and her immune system is taking a bit of a beating. (my son was sick and on antibiotics all the while getting his vaccines) and i decided to hold off on the MMR and varicella until age 4 with her. they stopped making the individual MMR around the time she was going to get hers. and since i think that shot was the main culprit with my son, it was a no brainer to wait for me. thanks again for the guidence i reference your book often. and it is my #1 baby gift for my friends who are first time moms. i wish i had it for myself back when my son was born.
Posted by: jill r | June 01, 2009 at 11:57 PM
Emotions are high on this one 61 comments and climbing!
Dr. Sears attitude would have saved my son. Never underestimate having people like him on our side.
If my son had Dr. Sears our lives could have been so different so much better.
I took my son in to his peditrician's office-not to get his shot but to talk to his peditrician about his reaction to his last DPT shot. The peditrician was in a hurry and hardly gave me a second to get a word in edge wise. I told him my son had passed out with a very high fever, and seemed to have a hard time breathing. The peditrician hardly listen to me but instead said my son was behind in his shots and needed to get them done TODAY. I said no, wait, listen - but the ped out talked me and started to explain to me that the goverment subsidized these vaccines and that their office was getting a pretty good finacial return on these shots. After his speech (which I had heard three times -once from his partner) He stood back smuggly waiting for me to say, okay. I said no. It made him mad and he as he started to leave said. "Well it has to be done today get it done here or at the health department. I don't care which". He had his hand on the door knob and I yelled out "Can we separate those shots, because his temperature is just too high?" He glanced over his shouder as he opened the door and said, "No, they only come together in one shot. Get that shot done today." He left, I went home, prayed, gave my son a highest dose of Tylenol that was allowed and like a fool I went to the health department - I should have sought a second opinion, but I was a fool and did not. That was in 1987.
I remember the older mothers of autistic children telling me how lucky I was - I was not accused of being a Refrigerator Mom. I heard Babarba Fischer head of NVIC recently tell young mothers they are so lucky they can communicate by the computer immediately. You are not lucky, nor was I, nor was the refrigerator moms of the past.
Dr Sears is a precious gem, and let us hope we can add more doctors like him to our ranks.
Dr. Sears says that "---- such a ruling would renew anger and demand accountilbility" No it won't renew anger because the anger does not go away to be renewed. As for accountibility, yeah I would love to see these educators in medicine, who writes so coldly about herd immunity, the heads of the CDC, NHI, or what ever else - higher up in the medical field, even the low ranks of peditircians to have to account for their uncaring stupidity. BUT like Dr. Sears said --- It is not going to happen.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | June 01, 2009 at 11:25 PM
Dr. Sears, you said, "They hope and pray that someday mainstream research will give them vindication and make a clear declaration that 'vaccines cause autism.' Not that this would help any children who have already been affected (except for easing the financial burden these families have to endure)..."
Actually, there could be tremendous help for affected people and their families if the real causes of autism were better understood and, based on this understanding, better medical treatments were developed. Even Dr. Jerry Kartzinel -- from what I hear, one of the very best DAN! doctors in the world -- says that the same treatment can affect two kids with autism very differently. I feel so uncertain about what would help our son. Parents are using trial and error to try to help their kids -- and often spending a lot of money in the process -- sometimes with great results and sometimes not.
We are being terribly let down by our medical agencies and most doctors and scientists. The situation appears to be even worse in England, where doctors are afraid to treat gastrointestinal symptoms and end up prosecuted like Dr. Wakefield.
This is not just an academic discussion. We are talking about preventing autism and about treating autism. (I know you know that!)
Thank you so much for posting at this site and responding to a lot of comments. Thank you so much for listening to your patients' parents and offering flexibility on whether to vaccinate and, if so, which vaccines to give and when. Thank you so much, also, for your article on aluminum in vaccines, and of course for your book on vaccines.
There have been quite a few interesting comments, and I think everything else I might have said has already been said.
Posted by: Twyla | June 01, 2009 at 11:11 PM
Dear Dr. Sears,
Thank you for taking this heroic stand. I know it can't be easy to be in such a controversial position on vaccinations.
I can only say, hang in there--times are changing.
Unlike most of mainstream medicine, you call autism an epidemic. That's an undeniable reality that most of the doctors
out there pretend isn't happening. Like faithful little minions, MD's in news stories love to tell us about how they used to
miss all the kids with autism and call them something else. Today finally, they're all to be congratulated for their wonderful
"better diagnosing" that's responsible for the explosion in autism.
You describe the "uphill battle" for those trying to prove that vaccines cause autism. The mantra of the medical community is "vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives" and nothing is going to change that. Doctors have collectively closed their eyes to the damage all around them.
The one thing I do disagree with you on is the statement: "If any parents are hoping for the day when the government admits that vaccines do cause autism...I don't think it'll ever come."
You further said , even if a link were proven to an "occasional case of autism," doctors would be willing to accept it because of the greater good vaccines do.
What isn't a factor here is the cost of autism.
We simply cannot continue to survive as a nation with hundreds of thousands of children in ever-increasing numbers disabled and dependent for life. I taught history for enough years to know that we're not prepared for this disaster. Epidemics have come and gone for the thousands of years of human existence. There have been countless millions of victims of plagues over the generations, but they either survived or they died. The polio epidemic of recent memory is a good example. One in 3,000 Americans came down with polio at the height of the epidemic in the 1950s. An aunt of mine and a cousin were ones who got polio. They both recovered and went on to lead productive lives. They had jobs, married, and had children.
The victims of autism won't be doing that. They will cost us millions each for the rest of their long lives. I can't imagine where the money will come from. I can't imagine how the public will react when they realize autism really is an epidemic and that all these disabled Americans are looking to them to cover the cost of their care and support.
When this happens, everyone will want to know what went wrong. They'll be asking where these people came from and how are we going to pay for them. California recently announced that they've had a 1200 percent increase in autism over the last 20 years. Those are real numbers. How long can that state continue with a population of disabled people like this?
All the denials over autism and vaccine reminds me so much of the charade over smoking and lung cancer. For at least a decade studies showing the damaging effects of smoking were published in obscure medical journals and ignored. The tobacco industry funded research that showed no harmful side effects from smoking. Doctors appeared in ads promoting cigarettes that claimed, "More doctors smoke Camels." What exposed the truth was the toll smoking was taking. Finally, when smoking related deaths in the U.S. reached 400,000 a year, it was undeniable. Likewise, when tens of thousands of eighteen year olds in the U.S. aren't going on to school, getting jobs, or going in the military, but instead are going on Social Security Disability for life with autism, we'll all take notice.
The public will be outraged if the medical community is still oblivious to this nightmare, still in denial that it's happening and still claiming that there's no known cause.
Posted by: Anne Dachel | June 01, 2009 at 10:42 PM
The common time-line for autism regression only implicates two things. Vaccines, and baby formula. (as far as I can see anyway)
Yes, I read up on baby formula. I found out that baby formula contains an ingredient that is 50% of what makes up aspartame.
One thing I found out about baby formula is that there is a little known variety for children with phenylketonuria.(PKU)
Standard baby formula has synthetic phenylalanine in it. A child with PKU cannot handle this.
Folks keep talking about this magical toxic cocktail that lurks in the shadows, causing autism.
Do you think standard baby formula is at all related to ASD? If a vaccine has already damaged the child's ability to process phenylalanine correctly, could baby formula then come in and exacerbate the situation, causing severe developmental delays, and autism? What about all the other sources of aspartame out there, that we unwittingly give to children after baby formula? (even Flintstones vitamins has it!)
Anyone notice aspartame is on the way out? http://www.prlog.org/10070694-uk-supermarket-chain-bans-aspartame-from-own-label-products-japanese-manufacturer-ajinomoto-sues.html
Here's a product that has saturated the food business, and now everyone wants to toss it out? How many problems has this stuff caused?
Is it possible that many modern day cases of autism originated as an undetected variation of PKU?
It would certainly explain quite a few of the symptoms we're all treating.
Don't laugh, I'm just an IT guy who probably reads the wrong things.
Thanks in advance!
Posted by: TheUnknownParent | June 01, 2009 at 09:54 PM
I don't understand why docs don't want to regonize the connection and at least slow down the vacs. We fought with our ped for 6 months because the practice would not acknowledge that a 18 month old with lost speech is a problem or a sign of a delay. They didn't hesitate to pump our child up with vacs and flu shots in the meantime. Almost a year later our child is diagnosed with PDD. IF they even took time to review the medical records it may have been apparent what was going on.. breaking out in hives 9 days after vacs/flu shot, fevers in a child whom had never been sick and a bad rash that was linked to developing allergies that the child did not have prior to initial outbreak, and then only gaining 4 oz in the year following the outbreak. I hate to even think it or say it but I just don't feel that many docs care about the children they see come through their office. You would think that your love and concern for children might be the reason for a person to enter the field of med and specify in pediatrics but i guess it all come down to the almighty $$$$. Get the kids in and out, don't listen to the parents or address our concerns and move on to the victim.
Okay I know that not all docs feel this way (i have worked with a few great, loving, caring and highly knowledgable docs..God bless them, we need more of you) and any reading this should be insulted but any more it seem like so many docs follow the fast track policy with patients.
I just wonder if our (former, may i add) ped would have taken our concerns to heart, and said "hey maybe there is some connection here, lets step back and look at all the info as whole". I wonder if..
Posted by: Kim | June 01, 2009 at 09:49 PM
Do you see toe-walking in your practice?
In the mid eighties my mom did everything to "cure" me of this. X-rays, specialized foot exercises, seeing many specialists, even casts for 6 months just below the knee. Also had to wear Forrest Gump-like braced boots for almost a decade during the night.
None of the "treatments" did anything and I still toe-walk to this day.
At the time this was very rare and I remember the doctors not understanding it or simply thinking my mom was crazy or I was doing it for attention. But now a simple search on google will bring up a plethora of info on the toe walking condition.
Both my brother and I had extreme reactions to the DPT shot and we each were medically exempted after the initial shot or first booster. All of us born in the 1980s and up on my mother's side of the family have asthma, allergies, and eczema. The asthma and allergies range from moderate to life threatening -- food allergies being coconut, peanut, eggs, corn, and soy.
Anyway, I'm just curious about your professional experience with toe-walking.
And thanks for your article and opening up a dialogue... I'd also like to additionally thank you for writing this line: "and I view the decision that some parents make to not vaccinate their babies as an understandable choice."
We no longer see a pediatrician due to her warehouse-like practice as well as a decision of protest in regard to how parents and children are now largely treated by their pediatricians. Unfortunately, we liked the doctor and felt she respected and understood our decisions about medical care, but we did not like feeling threatened when we sought medical care for our now two-year old.
The medical neglect form they tried to make us sign every time was reprehensible -- the very last time we were there the copy they gave us was so bad that it was barely legible; we could have been signing anything.
Instead we see a GP who was very understanding and actually wanted to take family history and spent more than an hour with us on our son's first visit.
It's nice to see a pediatrician with a pragmatic view like yours.
Posted by: Josh Day | June 01, 2009 at 09:44 PM
As to the children who get autism without vaccines, very possible. A couple of scenarios. Amalgams in mothers, viruses, fungi and bacterial infection in utero (lyme, syphlis, HHV6, EBV, Chylamida P, even the freaking flu virus (especially with antipyretics www.rollingdigital.com/autism ). A child injured by Immediate Cord clamping (www.cordclamping.com and or www.lotusbirth.com ), and or a child with HIGH IRON (hemachromatosis genetics), or HIGH COPPER, or LOW ZINC, HIGH GLUTAMATE diet again...these may be very overt, or underreported and underappreciated as lead ups to autism. In those kids with the underappreciated problems, then when vaccinated, whala, autism. But of course, ANY INFECTION, ANY METABOLIC CRISIS, AND TOXIN, is perfectly able to cause autism. So, if there are many triggers, including what our kids are subjected to in utero and out, then, we have to ask, what is triggering the NUMBER of children with autism now? To me, that speaks loudly of vaccines. But it also speaks of our toxic world, which has been increasingly more toxic in the span of five decades-aka THE PERFECT STORM, situations which arise when all things come to a center with concecular power. Submit children to this schedule, or any vaccine, then we are going to have a genetic epidemic...in other words, if you have some blip on your immune function, then yes, let's say, no, to vaccines. Some infection while mom was carrying baby, no vaccines again. Autoimmunity in the family no vaccines (notice I say, NO VACCINE, not some). Therein lies the difference between my view of Dr Sears protocol, and common sense...one more straw is not what our kids need, and I mean, ONE MORE STRAW, minutia that could tip it over..
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | June 01, 2009 at 08:31 PM
Today's medical training is based upon pronouncement and opinion rather than on investigation and scientific experience. In medical schools students are bombarded with information but denied the time or the opportunity to question the ex-cathedra statements which are made from an archaic medical culture. Time and again new treatments and new techniques are introduced on a massive scale without there being any scientific support for them. Basically, that's what I feel about medicine, believe it or not, in general, but mostly our vaccine hyperreligion. I am sorry, but, Dr Sears, I have seen kids get autism with ONE, spaced out vaccine. I don't buy it....
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | June 01, 2009 at 08:07 PM
Thank you Dr. Sears for taking the time for writing this post as well as answering so many of the questions asked in the comment section. If every Doctor was this respectful of the parents and their rights we would all be better off.
The lost art in mainstream medicine seems to rest entirely on the lack of respect for parental or patient observations and symptoms. I'm not quite sure how every patient or parent was put into the category of uneducated and unable to record relavant symptoms. In fact a large number of these parents are very well educated and even many in the medical field, but most parents, no matter their education, are far better at recording their own children's ills than any onlooker with a pediatric medical degree seeing the child for 15 minutes a year.
Fear over the ending or altering of the vaccination schedule has caused discrimination toward the parent of the patient. Discrimination that is causing devistating numbers of children with autism to amass without looking for any answers to stop it. Until the discrimination is dealt with and the fear changed to reason, no progress will be made. We are fortunate to have access to DAN doctors and scientists like yourself who have not lost the art of listening and believing in your patient. We can only hope more will follow but unfortuantely it will take much time and be at the cost too many children falling to the fate of autism and other neurological disorders. Time is very costly for these kids, it's criminal so much of it is wasted in fear and discrimination.
Posted by: Allison Chapman | June 01, 2009 at 07:43 PM
Dan - good comments. You are right, it won't be up to doctors, BUT the policymakers pretty much rely on the research doctors for these decisions. Yes, parents will likely panic away from vaccines, then there'll be a REAL fight between parents and doctors.
Kim - yes, that's my bro - he's pretty mainstream on vaccines.
Apple Genes - you are right - anytime we start a vaccine battle against a multistrain germ, we begin a very long war with unpredictable consequences.
Gin - you bet I would. I would make it very very very clear (instead of just very clear) what the side effects might be.
PJ Carrol - I get this question alot - I have not been able to conduct a study on this. I do wish someone would though - we need a VERY VERY large study on vaxed versus unvaxed kids. In my own practice I've seen kids develop autism who've never been vaxed at all, some partially on my schedule, and most who had been fully vaxed somewhere else.
I would say that based on my experience with my schedule over the past 10 years I don't see any evidence yet that it is protective against autism.
I will say, however, that it seems extremely protective against other reactions - I virtually never see fussiness, fevers, highpitched screaming, lethargy - that kind of stuff.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 07:40 PM
I read this at 5:30 this morning and could not post as I did not have all of my thoughts together. I did walk away feeling -- not good. I couldn't put my finger on why but in reading the comments I see that I am not the only one.
It is with appreciation that I tell you that I am glad that you are aware of the adverse effects of vaccines, as a doctor and as a man of science. What I did not appreciate was the message(S) that this seemed to imply.
First, as a parent to a child with severe autism -- severe health issues and in need of 24/7 care, your message had no hope for any of us. Your message further, at least for me, took me down a road where my child's health and the true question of causation and future treatments (they are related - ie -- mercury - mitochondria -
l-carnitine ) were insignificant, and even laughed at by doctors who have lost touch with humanity...
Knowing science or avoiding science in this autism epidemic is a huge issue. You have shown that you "get it" but others may not, or willingly choose not. Both are riding a fence that envelopes moral disregard. To endorse their ignorant thoughts AND feelings should be questioned and not supported.
To say that even if vaccines are found to cause autism,that children will contine to be harmed as it is *impolite* to research and stop the harm as it steps on the toes of Offit and Pharma is giving power to a dark and sinister ideal.
That doctors, because they are so unable to understand the science, or choose not to understand, cling to the mantra that "vacines are safe"-- will then switch to "OK vaccines may harm a few but they are too important to stop or change or investigate". So children will be injured some more and our children are left without care, legal recourse, or fundamentally: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Laughing doctors, financial gain, and injustice in a court, which is a sole island in the land of questionable legal and ethical decisions will win over lives?
I, like Stealing sheep, will keep my "eye on the unwatered-down goal and maintaining that fire in the gut."
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | June 01, 2009 at 07:39 PM
Thanks to Dr Bob for his help on this topic. It takes a brave doctor to initiate discussion on this topic that in somewhat contrary to the AAP regimented goals. I appreciate him opening a dialog.
I greatly appreciate Dr Bob as my son is in his practice. I only wish he was my sons pediatrician from birth.
Not only does he listen to parents, he offer alternatives to many thinks including ear infections, common colds, etc. He is always looking to natural ways to support the immune system and let the body do what it is meant to do. It is a much bigger picture than the all important vaccine talk.
Posted by: Lisa @ TACA | June 01, 2009 at 07:20 PM
Dr. Bob -
I would like to know how long you have been using your alternative schedule with your patients, and what the rate of autism is among those patients who have chosen to follow it?
I'm guessing the autism rate is lower than the general population - and that the rate directly corresponds to the number of vaccines the child recieved, and at what age they were administered.
If you really want the truth to be known about the dangers of our current vaccine schedule, rally your mainstream doctor friends to support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children. If they aren't hiding the truth, they will support such a study - even if it's for no other reason than to shut us up!
Posted by: PJ Carroll | June 01, 2009 at 07:12 PM
Would you modify your informed consent talk with parents on vaccines, if you were no longer shielded from professional liability?
Licensed psychologists face fines, jail time, loss of license, and lawsuits if they fail to report suspected child abuse to child protective services. Yet, I would be deemed crazy if I labeled destroying a toddler's brain and body with a vaccine as abuse because it's administered by a medical doctor? Abuse doesn't have to be calculated with full knowlege and intent to be labeled abuse. If you broke a child's arm, you broke a child's arm, the actual injury constitutes the term. And of course to say that the AAP and CDC isn't fully aware of the possible consequences of their behavior is being very generous or naive.
Posted by: gin | June 01, 2009 at 06:23 PM
There's an even better example than sickle cell anemia. Carriage of pneumococcus prevents colonization, infection and disease by Staphylococcus aureus. Children who are vaccinated against pneumococcus have increased rates of Staph infection.
That's why when efficacy claims are made about Prevnar, they talk only in terms of disease burden by the serotypes included in the vaccine. Sure it decreases carriage and sometimes disease by those seven serotypes. But there are more than a hundred serotypes out there. They want you to not worry your pretty little minds about the more virulent serotypes that are filling the niche vacated by the vaccine strains. And they definitely don't want you to consider total disease burden and the replacement of pneumococcal infections with Staphylococcus infections.
Same with HPV... all you ever hear about is the efficacy of the vaccine against the four serotypes included in the vaccine. What about the other HPV serotypes? The clinical data cited as proof of effectiveness in the package insert shows that the highest grade cervical lesions caused by the other HPV types increased in the vaccinated group (compared to the "placebo" group). And in most trials, the rate of high grade lesions by non-vaccine HPV types more than cancelled out the small benefit against the vaccine HPV types. Total disease burden went up. Oops, you're not supposed to think about that.
Viruses co-evolve with their hosts and evolution favors milder virulence (milder pathogens leave their hosts less incapacitated and more capable of spreading disease; they outcompete the more virulent strains which have a super tough time spreading when they've killed their host). It's simply a by-product of evolution: the most common serotypes are most often less virulent. The CDC will spout that a certain serotype causes most of the disease, but that's usually only because it's the most common. Go ahead and eliminate that serotype with vaccination and watch disease rates climb as the more virulent strains become the common strains. It's already happened with Prevnar (which is why they're adding more serotypes to the vaccine), and has shown some ugly potential in the HPV licensing data.
Wow, that was longer than I intended. Sorry.
Posted by: apple bottom genes | June 01, 2009 at 06:03 PM
"1. If you have a family history of autism or severe autoimmune disease, you need to approach vaccines very carefully."
Dr. Sears -- I wish a doctor had said those words to my husband and I. My husband has MS (chronic progressive) and our younger son eventually developed autism. There is also a case of severe systemic lupus in the family tree. We had all this info (in caps)on our children's forms. Not one doctor or nurse ever indicated that we should slow roll our vaccine schedule or eliminate certain vaccines. Our little guy got loaded up more than his older brother (including the dual stage flu shot). After watching him fall into autism, and the slow recovery process, we are convinced, that most of this (if not all) was completely avoidable.
Posted by: PhillyMom | June 01, 2009 at 06:02 PM
Dr. Bob, is that your brother that is on The Doctors? Strange for him to have such a different perspective. I guess my sister has a different perspective than me, too, tho.
I bet that is frustrating.
Posted by: kim | June 01, 2009 at 05:46 PM
Dr. Sears, thank you for posting such a great article. I hope some parents' hash criticism does not prevent you from continuing contribution on this important issue. Even the "on the fence" doctors are rare to be seen these days. I am just hoping one day every pediatrician in this country can have the same understanding towards to parent concerns and the same knowledge on vaccines.
Posted by: Jay | June 01, 2009 at 05:35 PM
Dr Sears, Thank you for posting this with us and responding to the many comments. I do think I disagree with your fundamental premise -- that if vaccines are shown to cause autism, the vaccine schedule would still not change much. The medical profession might PREFER that even if vaccines demonstrably cause autism, the vaccine schedule not change much, but fortunately doctors, as you point out, are not the "deciders." Let's remember that if vaccines do cause lots of autism (they do, and I sense you well know it and are tipping your hand as far as you can without getting yourself tossed out of the mainstream), they very probably are also behind the 10 percent rate of ashthma in kids, the far-spectrum cousins of autism like ADD and ADHD, the juvenile diabetes rise, many cases of SIDS -- that is, death -- and the fortyfold increase in bipolar disorder, which may just be another name for the problems with emotional regulation that beset children with autism. Do we really think that if the current schedule is deleterious enough to render 1 in 150 children so neurologically damaged that they are what we have decided to call "autistic," that is the extent of it? More likely, that is just the start. Given the momentum already under way to adapt the CDC schedule -- a role in which you, commendably, have a played a part -- it's hard for me to believe that conclusive evidence of a vaccine-autism link would not create a virtual panic away from vaccination. If the current vaccine schedule is destroying a generation of children, why would we confine ourselves to a discussion of autism-vs.-infectious disease once the autism link has been stipulated? Of course, panic is not good, but the failure to be honest and open as the evidence has mounted is the kind of thing that creates panic when the truth finally emerges. At that point, we would need to start over, vaccinating as late as possible for as few illnesses as possible, with as many exceptions as necesssary, while the research that should have been done to fix the vaccine safety issue is frantically carried out -- hopefully without the involvement of the CDC, the Culpable Disorder Causers. Also, I think the Hewitt study out of Pittsburgh on vaccinated/unvaccinated monkeys is about as close to proof as I could imagine that the total vaccine load, never tested, is dangerous and triggers autism, or whatever we want to call it. again, thank you for posting this and you are always welcome at AOA. I know this may sound extreme, but simply taking a "middle ground" in an extreme situation is not particularly suited to the task. Best, Dan
Posted by: dan olmsted | June 01, 2009 at 05:34 PM
Dr. Sears, thank you so much for answering so many of the comments here. We appreciate the back and forth.
Posted by: Kim Stagliano | June 01, 2009 at 05:21 PM
I really appreciate your candor and I'm very glad that you so thoughtfully took the points that many have offered. I do understand your points in turn. My uncle, before he died, gave my husband and I "Art of War".
Some of us in the movement are straddling a kind of fence on the issue of vaccines-- and not just as a pose for the opposition. While I don't totally believe in herd immunity, I don't think that the concept of vaccination is without any value to the individual. And I'm really angry that my kids can never again get any benefit from vaccines-- even if they're cleaned up-- because they were injured by hypervaccination.
Here's a really euphemized analogy for it which you're free to share with the "other side of the fence" if it helps: it's as if someone jammed peanut butter sandwiches (Skippy on Wonderbread no less) down the throats of my day old twins. Now and for the rest of their lives, my kids face risks of anaphylaxis from re-exposure, not to mention the fact that they'll never be able to eat a peanut butter sandwich, have peanut butter icecream, etc. Bummer.
Had the peanut butter incident been put off until an appropriate age, had the stuff been organic, maybe a smaller portion-- and not followed by a chaser of vodka, skittles and arsenic lollypops (just to expand the junkfood analogy of vaccine "quality"), the outcome might have been different. But as it is, even if-- in a better world with greener vaccines-- we'd have liked to be able to get our kids a HiB booster for when their excessive immune response wears off-- we could never again risk it. If there was any value at all to the idea of herd immunity, vaccine industry greed just blew it, at least concerning our kids and thousands of already injured kids. And if other families don't "love" our pain and don't want to join our ranks, they'll be cautious.
Where's the spirit of the "free market" when it comes to vaccines? Why must parents who choose vaccines be limited to the vaccine equivalents of McDonalds or Burger King brand vaxes? What's with the monopoly? Why aren't independent green biotech companies trying to find something safer? I think that's a fence that a lot of families on both sides of the argument could at least come to together, even if they won't agree on every point.
Let the dinosaur pediatricians laugh all they want. It's gallows humor and, secretly, their neckties are feeling a little too tight lately.
Posted by: Stealing sheep | June 01, 2009 at 05:10 PM
Hi Dr. Bob-
I agree, the government won't independently change the vaccine program even with a proven link to autism. But I think that once there is proof, the number of parents who refuse vaccination will increase so dramatically that the govt will be forced to make changes. Mass refusal is the only thing that will produce change.
Posted by: Mary | June 01, 2009 at 05:09 PM
I think one of the major problems is that people don't understand the true cost of autism. The quirky HFA child they see at school is only there because Mom & Dad spent tens of thousands of dollars on therapies and supplements. They don't know he's actually not fully potty trained yet, and he's got serious painful medical problems. They don't see the severely autistic children at home rolling on the carpet and pooping and throwing up all day. They don't see the child who is so out of control his Mom hasn't left the house in a week and hasn't slept either. They don't see the hours, and hours, and hours, spent tolling the internet looking for the next magic answer. I think that to them, the parent of that 1 in 150 quirky kid should just be grateful he didn't die of a childhood illness. They don't get that he could have been saved of that childhood illness AND not had autism, would they only have listened to us 15 years ago and took the poisons out of the vaccines. . . .
Posted by: CarolynKylesMom | June 01, 2009 at 05:05 PM
A quick follow-up about sickle cell.
Last year there was an article in ESPN regarding an All Star NBA player and played for coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University, helping the team win the 2001 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. (yes I'm a huge Duke fan)
The article is about how stem cells from the Boozers' new born twins healed their baby boy of sickle cell.
More and more of these cases make me wonder if there isn't something that can be done like that immediately upon the onset of the regressive autism cases.
Kent Heckenlively did an article on this a while back, http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/07/stem-cells-the.html and I wonder if there has been a follow up.
I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that research will someday help some of us with our child's brain injury.
Posted by: bensmyson | June 01, 2009 at 04:51 PM
Cindy - good question. I have wondered and agonized over this too. It does bother me. As a doctor, I do try to take steps to prevent these issues by avoiding (or limiting) antibiotics, using natural treatments whenever possible, focusing on nutrition and allergy prevention, limiting and spreading out vaccines (or not doing any at all according to the parent's decision). I don't know how to get to the bottom of it. I like Kenneth Bock's book on this issue.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 04:49 PM
I can't understand the seeming lack of intellectual curiosity I observe from so many in mainstream medicine. The numbers of children with allergies, asthma, autism, and Type I diabetes have exploded in the last 20 years. Allergies, asthma, and diabetes are clearly auto-immune diseases and there are lots of hints that autism (at least for some) falls into that same classification. What's the single greatest influence on the immune system shared by children born in the last two decades? The bloated vaccination schedule. Why is it so strange for parents to see a connection? Why don't mainstream pediatricians wonder about this at all? As a layperson, it seems so obvious to me that we should be focusing with laser-like intensity on anything and everything that affects a child's immune system. Yet vaccines are routinely given a free pass. Maybe I'm missing something, but to what do mainstream peds attribute the huge increases in these diseases? If they don't know, then why aren't they doggedly trying to find out? Why do they seem so willing to just accept without questioning? And how can they be so sure that it's not vaccines that they feel entitled to badger and belittle parents? Do they forget that all these numbers and statistics are our CHILDREN and not some figures on a spreadsheet? Since you have an insider's view, maybe you can enlighten me. That said, I appreciate your willingness to jump into the fray.
Posted by: Cindy Keenan | June 01, 2009 at 04:37 PM
Kathy - the funny thing here is that I AGREE with you for the most part. Every parent should have a choice. If you don't feel safe about vaccinating, you shouldn't do it. You point out many of the problems and concerns about vaccines - concerns that should be more thoroughly researched. No one should assume these are completely safe.
Where you and I would part ways is that because there is SOME disease risk, some parents would choose to vaccinate to avoid that risk. For those parents, I show them how to spread the vaccines out, how to be careful, how to avoid or at least limit aluminum, and which vaccines to delay because your child doesn't need them.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 04:11 PM
Dr. Sears brings up an excellent point in his recent post here when he said, "- maybe our kids are SUPPOSED to catch these (vaccine preventable) diseases during childhood, and we shouldn't have eliminated them. "
Hopefully the following adds to that argument.
Because of natural selection, different alleles are more likely to confer a survival advantage in different environments. Cycles of infectious disease prevalence and virulence often reflect natural selection.
If natural selection eliminates individuals with detrimental phenotypes from a population, then why do harmful mutant alleles persist in a gene pool? A disease can remain prevalent when heterozygotes have some other advantage over individuals who have two copies of the wild type allele. When carriers have advantages that allow a detrimental allele to persist in a population, balanced polymorphism is at work. This form of polymorphism often entails heterozygosity for an inherited illness that protects against an infectious illness. Examples are fascinating.
Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle Cell disease is an autosomal recessive disorder that causes anemia, joint pain, a swollen spleen, and frequent, severe infections. It illustrates balanced polymorphism because carriers are resistant to malaria, an infection by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum that causes cycles of chills and fever. The parasite spends the first stage of its life cycle in the salivary glands of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. When an infected mosquito bites a human, the malaria parasite enters the red blood cells, which transport it to the liver. The red blood cells burst, releasing the parasite throughout the body.
In 1949, British geneticist Anthony Allison found that the frequency of sickle cell carriers in tropical Africa was higher in regions where malaria raged all year long. Blood tests from children hospitalized with malaria found that nearly all were homozygous for the wild type of sickle cell allele. The few sickle cell carriers among them had the mildest cases of malaria. Was the presence of malaria somehow selecting for the sickle cell allele by felling people who did not inherit it? The fact that sickle cell disease is far less common in the United States, where malaria is rare, supports the idea that sickle cell heterozygosity provides a protective effect.
Further evidence of a sickle cell carrier's advantage in a malaria-ridden environment is the fact that the rise of sickle cell disease parallels the cultivation of crops that provide breeding grounds for Anopheles mosquitoes. About 1,000 B.C., Malayo-Polynesian sailors from southeast Asia traveled in canoes to East Africa, bringing new crops of bananas, yams, taros, and coconuts. When the jungle was cleared to grow these crops, the open space provided breeding ground for mosquitoes. The insects, in turn, offered a habitat for part of the life cycle of the malaria parasite.
The sickle cell gene may have been brought to Africa by people migrating from Southern Arabia and India, or it may have arisen by mutation directly in East Africa. However it happened, people who inherited one copy of the sickle cell allele had red blood cell membranes that did not admit the parasite. Carriers had more children and passed the protective allele to approximately half of them. Gradually, the frequency of the sickle cell allele in East Africa rose from 0.1 percent to a spectacular 45 percent in thirty-five generations. Carriers paid the price for this genetic protection, whenever two produced a child with sickle cell disease.
A cycle set in. Settlements with large numbers of sickle cell carriers escaped debilitating malaria. They were therefore strong enough to clear even more land to grow food- and support the disease-bearing mosquitoes. Even today, sickle cell disease is more prevalent in agricultural societies than among people who hunt and gather their food.
J Natl Med Assoc. 1986 November; 78(11): 1053–1056.
Anti-Sickling Effect of Dietary Thiocyanate in Prophylactic Control of Sickle Cell Anemia
As a clinical entity, sickle cell anemia (SCA) is known to be relatively rarer in Africans than in the African-American population of the United States. Paradoxically, sickle cell trait (SCT), the non-anemic, heterozygous condition, is about three times more common among indigenous Africans than in African-Americans. The ratio of SCA to SCT is 1:50 for African-Americans, and less than 1:1,000 for tropical Africans. This etiological disparity is attributed to an anti-sickling agent, thiocyanate, (SCN-) found abundantly in staple African foods, such as the African yam (Dioscorea sp) and cassava (Manihot utilissima). Staple American foods have negligible SCN-concentrations. Nonstaple foods in the American diet, such as carrots, cabbage, and radishes, have SCN- levels far below the African yam and cassava. This finding explains the high incidence of SCA among African-Americans and its rarity in Africans.
The author concludes that SCA is a congenital deficiency anemia, ameliorable by prophylactic diets of foods with high SCN- contents. Thus, “thiocyanate deficiency anemia” is nutritionally a more correct clinical status for those born with the homozygous sickle hemoglobin genome. Just as any iron undernourished person can suffer from iron deficiency anemia, sickle hemoglobin homozygotes suffer from “thiocyanate deficiency anemia” when they subsist on SCN-deficient foods. This article reviews the role of dietary SCN- in SCA control.
Posted by: bensmyson | June 01, 2009 at 04:08 PM
Bob Moffit - good point - scarlet fever is much less common (it's kind of an allergic reaction to strep throat) now due to antibiotic treatment of strep throat. BUt actually the disease that leads to scarlet fever (strep) isn't any lower now than before. In the old days many people who had strep went on to have scarlet fever, but it's really the same disease.
Mark Blaxil - ya, Tuberculosis. You are right - that's decreased due to better awareness, screening, and prevention, NOT due to any vaccine. But I wouldn't say it's decreased to "irrelevance". There were about 2500 reported cases in 2007.
Bubonic Plague? What's that?
Mark - I do like your comment on distinguishing between SERIOUS diseases that cause fatalities and pose a big risk to a child's health versus diseases (like Chickenpox) that it doesn't seem like we should be trying to prevent - maybe those are just money makers for manufacturers. A particular vaccine that I really DO think that applies to is Hepatitis B - but don't get me started!!!!
Good point about Mumps too.
As for Rotavirus, this disease has been around forever, and my own experience in my hospital training (where the hallways were overflowing with rota babies) makes it seem to me like it really is a serious as the vaccine manufacturers make it out to be. I think that over the past few decades the public didn't really know the name Rotavirus, but the disease has been there. It sounds like you are just as much as fan as Dr. Offit as I am (which means, just to be clear in case someone didn't notice the humor, NOT a fan at all). I classify Rotavirus as risky because it does cause so many hospitalizations and some yearly fatalities. BUT any parent should have to right to not get that, or any other vaccine, if they choose to.
Ack, I hate being politically accomodating. Nice of you to point that out to me. Makes me want to tell my self to stop.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 04:05 PM
Kathy, not every family is starting from your position of knowledge. It's important to have a cadre of mainstream peds who understand the dangers and are open minded. Who will listen and respect our concerns. I've yet to have a ped for my girls who said,"You're exactly right Kim. These vaccines are the kiss of death" although I've always had exemptions without controversy.
And it wouldn't kill you to call Dr. Sears "Dr." - calling him "Sears" is intentionally rude and pugilistic. There's no need for it.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 04:01 PM
Any DAN doctor seeing this holocaust everyday, and is still "I am not anti vaccine", is fired from me. Maybe that is why I don't go to any doctors. I can do all the research myself and do biomeds on my own, thanks for that...and thanks to that, my kids are getting better, far better than any doctor did for me.
I do believe that vaccine have no worth, nor value. I think they CAUSE diseases. Dr Mouldin believes that ALL PARTS of the vaccine are unsafe...the bodies reaction to them by sludging blood and fibrin, especially in the brain causing microvscular strokes is RIGHT ON. In autism families with so much predisposition to injury, from low Metallothionein, Immune Paramaters are off (C4B anulle, autoimmunity, high cytokines, already dealing with infections in utero etc), Mitochondrial problems, Tendency to Gut problems, G Alpha Protein problems, etc, a vaccine represents an assault on the system. Therfore, the russian rouleete game, the "green vaccine" game, and "mercury is the cause" game, is not something I am willing to play with for my children. My grandchildren are totally unvaccinated (ALL BOYS) and have no signs of autism, NOTHING, NADA. If autism is SOOO genetic...???
Sears, your commercial interests in writing books are very heartwarming...but I am not heartwarmed by your position. Polio vaccines have caused polio, and some polio cases were actually documented to be poisonings (see WHALE TO) and or the victim, mostly in the summers mind you were infected by tick lyme disease. Ticks can cause paralysis...their active season....
This, I am wanting a slow approach, still introduces contaminants in the body, retroviruses, and toxins, that heretofore, have never been studied, the combinations never studied, and the unvaccinated and vaccinated studies have never proven points of safety or not. In that environment, I don't drive around on Firestone Tires to appease the economy. Or the politically correct message. I would rather die, than to vaccinate with these poisons. My life is full of examples that doing things the ALL NATURAL way, works. A kid who gets the measles with mega doses of CLO, will sail through it. High D, And Selenium also. So give me a freaking break...your white coaters are scared shitless that parents are on to you.
VACCA, COW, HERD. I am not a herd, I am an individual, and our individual healing capitals are not taken into account, per the ethics or use of biomedical interventions. The chattle, the cattle, and the sheeples, believe in Dr Sears and the like who are too afraid to be politically incorrect. I however, am brave enough, in the face of my children's injuries which ruined their chances of normality for life, will never cower to easy solutions. The only solution is to BAN vaccines, (By your own desicions or exemptions), and give people CHOICE. Choice to refuse or partake, That's your right. Let the damaged chidlren accumulate on slower schedules, and see how incest parents will really become...then slowly, every so slowly, their will be an anti vaccine movement, finally, in the autism population, as it should be.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | June 01, 2009 at 03:28 PM
"Anyway, in general I don't think that any (or virtually any) diseases would have gone away or declined to acceptable low levels without a vaccine. Does anyone know of any examples of that happening?"
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | June 01, 2009 at 03:24 PM
I think there are quite a few diseases that have faded into irrelevance without much current help from vaccines, you just need to take a longer perspective: bubonic plague and tuberculosis come to mind.
Also, one criticism I would offer of your schedule is its uncritical acceptance of some interventions that actually make diseases more dangerous rather than less. Your numbers on varicella deaths look higher than others I've seen, which were generally vanishingly low. But the introduction of varicella vaccination program is fueling a resurgence of shingles, a much more dangerous form of the same infection, in adults. A close friend of mine died from shingles, so I take this one quite personally. There is a similar situation in mumps, where the adult form of the illness is coming back and is far more dangerous than the benign childhood form.
It's important to parse those vaccination programs that are necessary for prevention of truly deadly disease and those that exist to offer financial opportunities for the manufacturers. Both MMR II and Varivax have been highly profitable products for Merck, and very expensive vaccines for society, yet their net benefits are likely negative with all unintended consequences factored in.
The financial motivation is on most prominent display in the case of the rotavirus vaccine, which you also support. This infection was barely even recognized before the vaccine for it was developed. Diarhhea should kill no child in advanced country who is treated with reasonable care, yet Merck, CHOP and Paul Offit have made millions from its acceptance on the standard schedule.
I must say I appreciate your attempts to find a more rational policy position here. However, your approach to this effort, one of "building bridges", necessarily forces you into a position of political accomodation. Because of that, I submit that you are less critical of several of these programs than a strictly apolitical analyst would be.
Posted by: Mark Blaxill | June 01, 2009 at 03:22 PM
Thank you Dr. Sears! I believe you CAN make a difference taking a "middle" of the road, ie: balanced stance, in this argument. The medical community has certainly not listened to us and probably never will now, maybe they'll listen to you. In that sense, we need you.
Having said that, my children will never have any more shots, and if I had to do it all again, would not get any, at all. I agree with Kim, I'd take ANY one of those "preventable" diseases (with the RISK of death) over autism, any day of the week. Oh, had I only known that autism was a side effect of vaccines...
Posted by: Amber | June 01, 2009 at 03:19 PM
bensmyson said...looking at three needles and THINKING/ASSUMING it's three vaccines instead of eight is not protection. It's negligence.
Yes, this is what happened to my son. I was looking at 3 needles thinking that it was 3 shots. I found out later that my son had 11. Yes, 11. MMR, Verivax and Prevnar 7. All at one time, all within 3 minutes. When I called the doctor later that evening I was told....#1 It's normal for a child to have a fever after "a" vaccine and to give him Tylenol. I tried to explain, "No, doctor he's not acting right." To which I was told bring him into the office on Monday and I'll take a look at him. By Monday Riley is covered from head to toe in a rash. Later determined by the doctor to be measles and YELLED at me for exposing the other children in his office to measles. #2 While at the office I precided to tell the doctor that Riley was "spacing out" and getting stiff. He looked at me and said..."And? What do you want a neuro consult?" I wasn't even sure what I was seeing and if the doctor didn't think it was a big deal then I guess neither did I. I later found out some info on this same doctor that makes me leary of every other doctor. Not just MD's but our own DAN. I don't trust doctors, I don't trust vaccines in any shape, form or slow down schedule. I trust those primal instincts of being a mother. When my youngest started bleeding from her bowels everytime she was vaccinated by this same doctor...mommy instinct kicked in and we haven't vaccinated since. That was 3 yrs ago.
I realize you have a very hard job. I don't envy you at all. I appreciate that you write and try to explain things better but I still don't understand how you could possibly give any child a vaccine then play the wait and see game. It's not worth it doc because once it's IN it can't be taken OUT. Then it is too late.
Posted by: rileysmom | June 01, 2009 at 03:18 PM
Good points here. Jeffry asked a question about diseases declining before its corresponding vaccines ever came out.
I agree that many diseases had been declining prior to its vaccine, but I've never seen a trend in which a disease looked like it was going to go away without the vaccine.
The classic example used in this argument is polio. There was an interesting and significant decline in polio right before the vaccine came out. So, would polio have disappeared without the vaccine? There's no way to know. Just because it was in a sharp decline doesn't mean it would have gone away, and doesn't mean it couldn't have risen again, if we didn't come out with the vaccine. I would say that polio wouldn't have gone away, and it would have continued to cause at least SOME degree of problems and would even still plague us today if we hadn't come out with the vaccine.
Of course, once we'd eliminated the disease, THEN the oral live vaccine was CAUSING about 8 kids to become paralyzed each year. We should have STOPPED the oral vaccine MANY years before we did, but the government accepted those cases as a necessary evil. It's an interesting parallel to autism today.
Anyway, in general I don't think that any (or virtually any) diseases would have gone away or declined to acceptable low levels without a vaccine. Does anyone know of any examples of that happening? It's possible there are and I just haven't thought of any. It didn't happen with chickenpox (until the vaccine), diphtheria (until the vaccine), measles, mumps, rubella, HIB meningitis, and polio. All of those diseases were remaining fairly high until the vaccine.
IF our better living conditions and "better" health care could have rid us of those diseases WITHOUT the vaccines, then chickenpox should have declined by the 70s or 80s. But it didn't. HIB meningitis should have gone away but it didn't.
That brings up an interesting argument - maybe our kids are SUPPOSED to catch these diseases during childhood, and we shouldn't have eliminated them. THat may be true for some illnesses like C. Pox, but I wouldn't say it's true for meningitis or polio.
It also brings up the argument that at what point do the vaccines cause more harm than the disease that it's virtually eliminated?
Anyway, good question Jeffry, and you could go back and forth all day about this.
There's probably a lot more I could say on this, and that others could say.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 02:18 PM
Your comments are very well taken. You are right, in my writing I tend to be a "concerned outsider one step removed."
Now PERSONALLY, if you were to have a one-on-one conversation with me, you would probably get a whole different picture.
I do have some very strong personal feelings about vaccines, and I openly discuss those with patients and friends.
What does that say about me, if I'm holding back on some of my personal feelings on this in my writing? Maybe I should just come right out and write what is really on my mind? Am I not brave enough to do that?
I guess it ultimately comes down to wanted to remain influential on BOTH sides of this issue. Most people take sides on this, and when they do, they are no longer influential or effective in reaching the other side. I see myself as more of a moderator - someone who is trying to openly educate BOTH sides.
I like your comments about my misinterpretation of those families in the anti-vaccine autism movement. In reality, though, I don't think you (they) are a bunch of crazies. I think that in reality and on a personal level I view parents in the way that you think I should. But I know it just doesn't come across that way in my writing. But talk to me in person? You'll get the right impression. I appreciate you pointing this out though.
Posted by: Dr. Bob Sears | June 01, 2009 at 02:13 PM
My heart really breaks for the new parents that are faced with the decision of whether to vaccinate or not. I have a fully vaccinated 4 yr. old Grandson with Autism. He is pretty much non-verbal. I also have a fully vaccinated 3 yr. old Grandson with...MAJOR eating issues, sensory issues,eczema,ear tubes,ADHD, and has also just recently undergone a sleep study for Apnea. We have alot of Autoimmune disorders in our family also.
My youngest daughter just had baby boy in April and will be going in for his 2 month check up next week. She refused the hep shot at birth and you could tell that the nurses thought she was nuts. She has told her pediatrician that she wants to delay the vaccines and use the alternative schedule. His reaction was that he does not use the alternative schedule and that they would discuss it at the next visit. So....we all know what that means don't we? She will probably have to find a new Dr. for her son.
Dr. Sears, Thank you for your continued support on behalf of all of us that have been affected by this issue.
Posted by: Isaac's Grandma | June 01, 2009 at 02:09 PM
Doctors are uninformed if they assume that the benefits of vaccines at this point in time outweigh the risks. Generational mass vaccination is a big experiment. We have to honest about how much we don't know, such as changes in immune gene expressions from vaccines. Even without autism, ADHD, allergies, and asthma in the admitted mix of vaccine reactions, there are plenty of documented serious consequences of vaccines.
Here's what one mom found out when she did her research. She was swayed by...guess what--the statistics!:
"No matter how many books I read they just always left me with the feeling of "this is just the other side of the story", the truth must be in the middle, both sides are going to the extreme.
Then I started taking each vaccine one by one and I started with the DTap because that's the one I thought was the most important. So I went on the manufacterer's webiste (several of them) and printed out the list of ingredients and briefly read throught the side effects. Then I started reading online about each one of the ingredients, not necessarilly in a anti-vax context, but from a chemical and biological perspective...
But in the end, I think what convinced me not to vaccinate at all was the statistics. I went on the Vaers website (which we all know is not exhaustive) and created my own calculations in excel using pivot tables, then I went on the US morbidity website and calculated the number of deaths from each disease in the same period. I showed the results to my husband, we were both amazed and that is the day I decided I will stop reading about all this because it has consumed ten months of my energy and I was about to drive myself crazy at some points.
Yes, the risks of not vaccinating might change if some of the diseases come back, but let's take measles for example--even when it was epidemic in the US, there were very few deaths from it.
We can't keep sacrificing the minds of tens of thousands of our children for a never-substantiated and highly unresearched vaccine program.
Posted by: wakeupcall | June 01, 2009 at 02:08 PM
I agree with Dr. Stoller, "they" know and "they" don't care. It's about the almighty buck to "them", even though in the long run, the tiny miniscuole amount they save by giving us poor quality vaccines ends up costing us gravely much more.
Quite frankly, I don't see how the world can take the same increases in diseaes the last 20 years gave us. If the next 20 years has the same increases as the last 20 years, well, we won't have to worry about war threats. We'll all either be sick or taking care of people who are.
Posted by: Heidi N | June 01, 2009 at 02:06 PM
I didn't mean for this comment to be longer than the article you wrote, but it's a response to more than one post that you've made in a similar vein and I hope you'll hear the points that many of us are making here.
I appreciate the carefully thought out "roadmap for success" in trying to bring concerns of vaccine injury risks into public acceptance and your overall great commitment to the side of truth-- but here's my own "but".
What's a little unsettling about what you write are some assumptions about your "insider" audience that you've sometimes seemed to make. First off, the vast majority of parents in the movement are demanding that vaccines be cleaned up and cut down to necessity. Like a town whose water supply was tainted with borax by some nasty gunslingers and whose citizens have turned to drinking cactus juice, we're being accused of being "anti-water" when we're really just anti-poisoned-water. And those who feel that vaccines are never safe or necessary should have the right to decide for themselves. We all know these issues.
I urge you to get to know your insider audience a little better and to make a better study of the prevailing mentality in the movement instead of reading back the perceptions forged-- often very disingenuously and with the help of PR machines-- by financially driven "vaccine injury deniers". The perceptions being that of wild, angry, unreasonable parents suffering from-- for lack of a better expression-- some sort of adult anal retentiveness, wherein expressions of our precious inner feelings and the need to, ahem, "smear them around" so to speak have become more important than the facts, the science and the truth. But though this may describe a few in the movement, it's just not the truth of the movement, doesn't even come close to representing the majority. Pretending that anyone "out there" whose really in the know isn't aware of this is to buy into the PR b.s.
I do think that you mean to consider strategic stance, but what's blurred in your message is the difference between the "face" the movement must present to the public (call it "personality") to make us tephlon/bulletproof in putting forth our arguments and to win hearts and minds, and what we actually *think, perceive and feel* (call it the "character" of the movement) deep down and how we communicate the problem amongst ourselves. And there's just a huge divide between personality and character; one might grease the rails but means nothing on its own, is not indicative of endurance or ethics, the other sustains, has meaning, is the core truth to an individual and what keeps them going.
You've told us what we might seem like to "them". So please consider that, to many parents, your understanding seems (again, it may not actually be so but it seems so) to be that of a one-step-removed but not totally unsympathetic outsider-- like the many uneffected parents that vaccine-injury parents often encounter who do not necessarily have a bone-deep personal stake in the matter, who might also have a somewhat deeper sympathy for those they know in the status quo, who often request that effected parents "tone it down" a bit. They don't mean "tone it down" in terms of just the slightly wild-eyed look that some of us get in private while talking about the injustice done to our children or the way hands start gesticulating when discussing the junk journalism and crap science we're having to endure in the mainstream press. They mean tone down the goals of the movement, tone down the facts, let some sleeping dogs and corrupt paradigms lie. And the bystanders don't mean this purely as a helpful suggestion of strategy-- they're asking that this luke-warming of aspirations and perceptions be internalized *regardless of whether this compromises the success of the movement or not*. They're asking that we not make them uncomfortable, as if comfort were a moral value-- which it sort of is to the uninitiated.
In your turn, I don't think that the outrage in the movement and the overall goal of demanding accountability for vaccines necessarily makes you uncomfortable personally-- but that you're more easily able to put yourself into the shoes of those whom this *does* make uncomfortable. This perspective has value, certainly, in playing the role of devil's advocate and, again, forming strategy, but I think that if you're going to touch the issue of advising an activist stance or goals that you be quite clear that you mean strategy, not actual mindset. Because here's how it works "on the inside" of this, at least for some of us (not all): when it was your kids who were injured (or it was your father lynched by a racist mob, or your brother tied to a fence by homophobes, etc., etc.) there's only a few ways to proceed towards justice because you're caught between two almost equal forces.
It's a balancing act. You can understand the nature of the forces all you want, but like someone strapped to a gurney with an anesthesia IV in their arm, that doesn't mean the forces won't overtake you. You face a wave of discouragement, meaninglessness, actual obstruction and despair on one side and the burning need for justice on the other. The need for justice is just physics: every action has an equal and opposite, but real justice seeks to make the return action as pervasively positive as possible. We as humans can't defy the basic principle though.
That "fire in the belly" of the need for justice has to be whipped up sufficiently to overcome the wet-blanketing effect of actual obstruction as well as emotional risks-- which includes the tendency to internalize the perceptions of the uninitiated. Whip the flames too high and you risk stampeding the rights and concerns of other fellow human beings-- not high enough and you're doused like a spluttering little campfire.
What uncomfortable-but-not-totally-unsympathetic bystanders fail to understand is that the movement will go on as it has or it will not go on at all. We can adapt, be strategic, put on the proper face to make the important presentation-- but we will do so on the advice of those with experience at keeping their eye on the unwatered-down goal and maintaining that fire in the gut. And when we almost reach that goal and the typical disappointing concessions are made, we'll go on still maintaining the big picture of what real justice should have been and what it looks like, all the better to get just that much closer to it with each pass.
When Bernadine Healy first made her public argument that the question of vaccine safety has not been "asked and answered", she took a very strategic, call it "centrist" stance on the matter, making concessions to each side-- and the movement applauded her. We all understood precisely what she was doing. Unlike Dr. Stork on "The Doctors", she was not admonishing parents of injured children to make concessions or tone it down as a way to "get through" to people like him who didn't want to be gotten through to-- she was *modeling* how to do this without taking the bite or the higher goals out of the argument.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Healy is not a virgin to bloody, frought activist battles. This may not have characterized her entire career, but it seems to have characterized *her*. In her incomplete term as head of the NIH, she faced a brutal environment of institutionalized sexism within the agency so extreme that one head of a division proudly displayed a poster on his wall of a medic holding a giant syringe while a half-clad nurse bent over performing a curious sexual act on him. Only a woman who's worked in an arena like this knows how much such an open display of a certain mindset is emblematic of the kind of career and aspiration flaying she's going to encounter personally, and worse-- what this means as far as the policies the agency will generate concerning the lives of women citizens. Only the uninitiated would have said, "It's just a silly poster. Just talk to the guy"-- as if someone like this could actually be reached on equal grounds.
So Dr. Healy did something effective about it, changing the shape of how things were done. I'm sure poster-boy didn't love her for it. Aw well. She didn't have time to fix it completely but she did what she could. The politic-ing in her approach was where it belonged-- on the surface. But from her actions within the agency, it was quite clear that she was properly, pragmatically outraged. This history shows in her approach to the issue of vaccine safety and it's one reason why so many parents in the movement don't find her presumptive-- and why she scares the crap out of the other side while simultaneously rendering them unable to stop her. That's some trick-- but that's the balance I'm trying to describe. I don't mind that someone demonstrates to me how to be pragmatic or to arrange things for presentation to hostile onlookers: I mind if they ask me to lie on the inside in order to do it.
You also oversimplify and underestimate the outcome of seeing justice done regarding the eventual concession of vaccine causation and again, this sounds/seems like the view of a once-removed outsider. Some children are going to die without justice. Think of Heather Edward's Auschwitz-thin son with the colostomy bag hanging from his stomach. Think of the children suffering near-fatal grand mals on a regular basis and how research into the issue of toxically-induced seizures has been effectively stymied within the field of neurology because those studies would threaten industry. And then think of the huge advances in lung cancer research once cigarettes were shown to be causal. And that's the crux. This doesn't even get into the issue of basic compensation to recover those children who have a slim chance and to care for those children who, despite all efforts, will never be independent.
I know that you know all this and I know that you're on the right side in your heart. But try to understand that we know all of what you're saying as well. I just don't think it needs to be said or it needs to be said from a somewhat different vantage point than you're offering. There's just something beyond pragmatic in what you're proposing here, verging on ideological fence straddling. I've seen it before, but won't try to figure out what it is. I will point out that the movement is beyond ideology. It's about science. The studies declaring vaccines as "not causal" in autism are just not good studies. Evidence based science is now nothing more than a brand and a trademark-- not an actual rigorous standard, if it ever was. Double blind studies have many loopholes for cheating, epidemiology has too much elbow room to massage the numbers. It's just not all that. What we need-- and the larger and very worthy goal that the movement is aspiring to-- is reality based science and medicine.
And lastly, there's the issue of "cui bono". The market for antipsychotics and other psychotropes has had an unprecedented boom since the onset of the epidemic. To pretend that the discussion can be done reasonably on both sides is to ignore that the epidemic has made the industry as powerful as the arms industry in some ways. But then, if you see the success of another pretty uncompromising parellel movement has had-- the reform psychiatry movement-- in exposing drug research corruption, leading to Grassley's investigations, this seems like a sound model to follow. Those criticizing the drugs stuck to the guns of their "minority" science, which is gradually becoming less "minority". The industry will not concede quietly and, in some senses, we might as well stick to our own guns and be hung as sheep. Those who stole lambs have gotten nothing back so far but dead lambs.
And the people who are made uncomfortable by this will just have to pardon us as we ensure more safety for their future generations. We can make concessions though-- I guess we can try to look breezy and reasonable as we do it.
Posted by: Stealing sheep | June 01, 2009 at 01:34 PM
"I don’t mean to bash the vaccine safety research system, because they do try to be as thorough as possible"
Please do us a favor and get off the fence Dr. Sears. You can't be both politically correct and an agent of change at the same time.
Posted by: Steve | June 01, 2009 at 01:28 PM
Dr. Sears, I think things have a way of balancing themselves out. I do believe that people are starting to and will continue to selectively vaccinate (even opting out of Pediatric care, if necessary). Common sense would tell anyone that giving 6 vaccines at one visit is ridiculous. Many will simply opt out of the bogus vaccinations such as hep b for babies or chicken pox (I still haven't given hep b and will never to my 11 year old and 15 year old. I have done the research and feel its not worth the risks. My dad-he's 80, was given the 3 shots for a trip abroad and has been tired ever since. Why would his Dr. have done this is beyond me). Anyways, anyone who has ever been inside a school will tell you that something is SERIOUSLY wrong with what is happening for our children. It may be quite a different thing for a Dr. in a clinic setting to see so many children with autism etc. but they can always dismiss the high numbers in the sense that they are in a "clinical" setting. Go out to the schools!!!!! There you will truly see a scary prevalence of ADHD, aspergers, autism, learning disabilities in the broader community. Most countries vaccinate far more minimally than the U.S. with less attendant problems. The medical community will eventually be forced to addressed the issues in a more honest, scientific way.
Posted by: jen | June 01, 2009 at 12:46 PM
This middle of the road stance is no better than a full schedule. Half a schedule with toxins and foreign genetic material is fine with you ? Really ? Would you accept to have this stuff spread on your breakfast or added to your OJ ? Well, if so, your book will never have a place on my shelves.
Its time to stop these evil eugenicists, since they are preparing another toxic brew for next autumn all based on fear and f___ lies, with the drumbeat of mandatory madness for everyone. We have to stand tall and stop the BS and propaganda with no science behind it. Pasteur was a fraud, the germ theory is no more valid today than it was in the beginning of Creation. These franken docs playing phony gods with the sanctity of the human body are a disgrace.
Reading from anyone that vaccines are important from any source makes me sick.
Thanks to Dr Stoller for shaking our memories about some not so distant dirty meetings !! Are people suffering from selective memory to justify their beliefs ?
And hats off to another courageous MD by the name of Andrew Moulden who is bringing the urgent knowledge to expose the conspirators ! He is on the waves tonight:
>> ''The question "Do vaccines cause brain damage?" finally answered''
Our world will know what peace and health really is when the damn and wicked CDC is abolished. There are 300 alternative ways to help the body recover from ''disease'' and 1000 from ever catching any. Lets start talking about it, and screw the Rockefeller backed medical system.
Posted by: Sick_of_this | June 01, 2009 at 12:34 PM
33,000 cases of autism to save how many lives???? Makes me sick. Who can trust the CDC or AAP again? My son is part of this collateral damage and greed and it pisses me off I was so trusting and ignorant and his life is altered forever ... I cringe talking to new moms who are as trusting with their babies lives as I was ... it's like it takes autism to slam you before belief and logic set in. Remember, 33K is just autism, what about asthma, allergies, diabetes ... we have a never had more sick children ever in America ...
Posted by: Kathy | June 01, 2009 at 12:13 PM
Thanks Dr. Sears, sincerely. However, you failed to address numerous other issues in your discussion. First, autism is not the only collateral damage from the US vaccine schedule, so you need to add the yearly number of cases of ADD, asthma, diabetes-2, food allergies, SID and others to your numbers. Second, the deaths due to meningitis, pertussis etc. in Europe have been controlled by vacines as well, but there are only 14 shots on the schedule over there compared to the +30 we have here and there is no reason for that difference. Autism in Spain, for example, has increased only slightly for the past few decades and is listed by expert over there at 3 cases in every 1000 born children. The 66 autism cases per 1000 born children we have in the US can be easily dropped to 3 in 1000 if a rational vaccine schedule is put in place without compromising the overall health of our children. The infant mortality rates in most European countries are lower than those of the US, which proves that they are doing something right. Universal health care for all also helps, of course.
In conclusion, there is a whole lot the AAP, the CDC and governmentla agencies in general can do right now to stop this madness.
Posted by: WE SHALL OVERCOME | June 01, 2009 at 11:59 AM
And kids die at the hands of their providers. We'll see more of this as the onslaught of children become adults and have to enter institutions wholly unprepared for them. And they'll die in jail as they are incarcerated for their behavior - like Sky Walker, who allegedy beat his mother to death (another damn good reason to find a cure and prevent more autism) and sat in a county jail for 2 months. Non verbal. Alone. At the mercy of the system, which fortunately in Ohio, treated him quite well. Others will not be so lucky. An unruly autistic man is not cute or cuddly and will be severely punished for his behaviors. The mere thought inspires terror.
I'd rather my girls get chicken pox, measles, mumps, and every other formerly accepted childhood disease than face rape and abuse as adults with autism. End of my story.
Posted by: Stagmom | June 01, 2009 at 11:42 AM
Ditto what Dr. Stoller said.
Posted by: maggie | June 01, 2009 at 11:38 AM
Kids die from autism, too.
Seizures, drowning, running into streets, wandering away from home/family, compromised immune systems causing their own suscepability to life-threatening illnesses.
Has anyone compared the death from seizures/accidents against death from measles/mumps/chicken pox/flu etc?
Posted by: Deb in IL | June 01, 2009 at 11:27 AM
Unfortunately, I agree with Dr. Sears. I'm afraid more money will be spent on genetic screening. Amnio's will become routine. Abortion will be an option.
I'm also afraid that when they do find that vaccines are doing harm that they will have to make it mandatory (no exemptions) because mothers will be too scared to vaccinate. Vaccines only work with herd immunity. We are really messing things up! The medical establishment will change their oath to "harm to all because we have a drug for it"
Posted by: Diane Farr | June 01, 2009 at 11:07 AM
Dr. Sears asks rhetorically, "If there is a connection to vaccines, is that simply an unavoidable risk that every parent has to take?"
"Safe" means "without risk" -- so here, risk implies a gamble. Currently parents are being asked to take the vaccine gamble, and then chided when we phrase it that way.
And we're vilified when we refuse to again take that gamble with our children's health -- which is logical, especially after one has witnessed regressions firsthand. And caution is sensible when parents have family histories of Parkinson's, clinical depression, MS, or other similar disease clusters.
Why isn't the CDC investigating these genetic susceptibilities? The effect of such professional and moral abrogation is unscientific crazymaking as institutionalized public policy, rather than primum non nocere.
Tragically the vaccine/autism theory can't gain traction because too many doctors and public health administrators have already made peace with themselves regarding iatrogenic damage. No incentive, no desire to improve the vaccination odds for all. That's inhumane, and it's horrifying. But why are public health officials perpetually surprised by that reasonable consumer response?
The doctor's office is where one should cease being part of the CDC's herd and be treated as an individual, with a unique physiology and biochemical makeup. It is utterly demoralizing to find doctors resistant to medical possibilities, indeed realities, such as vaccine injury. It's so stressful for families to change primary care clinics, and hard on the children, but essential when a one-size-fits-all treatment frame is being forced.
After reading studies and FOIA documents you quickly find that some CDC "research" is designed to provide conclusions convenient to vaccine promoters. Welll, "research" may not have proved a vaccine/autism link yet, but reality has. (Though you won't soon see honest investigations from financially-strapped and mismanaged newspapers.)
Good intentions are no excuse for letting the public health juggernaut run amok. All that remains to reduce the human toll is for healthcare professionals to place value on all human life, and not deify statistical tallies that fit their ethical paradigm.
Posted by: nhokkanen | June 01, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Autism as collateral damage is clearly acceptable to mainstream medicine but I think the AAP and CDC are gradually realizing that the related collateral damage of vaccine-injury is creating an increasing number of people who are questioning the very efficacy of mainstream medicine. Once you take the time to do your own research (as Fed up so perfectly addressed the motivation to do this independent research) you realize there are more safe and effective alternatives and why go to another 15 minute appt with a smug doctor for another presciption that suppresses symptoms instead of addressing the underlying problem, that have serious side effects, and that is likely to be recalled a few years later after innumerable people have been injured or killed? No matter how much emotional control you display when expressing these views, you will be labeled crazy until the numbers continue to shift and a new mainstream is created.
Posted by: Millie | June 01, 2009 at 10:33 AM
I too am a "DAN" doctor, a pediatrician, but I will come right out and say I am anti-vaccine and will continue to be so, because vaccines are developed for greed, the policy that promotes them does not take safety issues into account and there is an unholy alliance between the CDC and vaccine manufacturers.
The so called "proof" was discussed at the Simpsonwood meeting - an illegally held secret meeting between the CDC and private vaccine manufacturers http://www.autismhelpforyou.com/HG%20IN%20VACCINES%20-%20Simpsonwood%20-%20Internet%20File.pdf
So... everything else has been subterfuge to hide the truth from the public and the world.
There is so much wrong with vaccine... all egg based vaccine are contaminated with retrovirus and reverse transcriptase. The FDA knows this and they don't care... this is why I am antivaccine.
Posted by: K Paul Stoller, MD, FACHM | June 01, 2009 at 10:18 AM