My column this week on six bad ideas that triggered the autism epidemic (and how to fix them) led to some thoughtful responses, as well as the usual defense of all things vaccine, this time led by Vincent Iannelli, MD and Eindeker, useful foils of whom I will speak no more (but our commenters will!).
Here are a few of the best "bad ideas" you proposed, with more to come:
Reader: Stoopid idea number 7: Pretending that autism is a good thing as in "Neurotribes." Yeah it's just great that 30% of people with autism communicate not at all or minimally, 82% unemployment for adult autists, high number wandering and drowning deaths relatively, high murder suicide rates. High numbers with sensory and pain issues. It's just f'g great.
Kapoore: It's a bad idea to say the "science is in," the science can never be in and be science. Scientific thinking began in the Renaissance with the idea of measuring the known but with a clear understanding that precision was impossible. Modern scientists forget about the unknowable part and so they claim that they have a precise science, a precise vaccine...and when it turns out that they were wrong--like big time wrong--they shove it under the rug and repeat "the science is in."
Every day I read an article on some aspect of the real science, that is the science that is ongoing and based not on hubris but respect for the evidence--so how could the "science be in" if scientific research is ongoing. However, the worst idea goes to science as dictatorship... now that the science is in we have a new religion and if you don't follow what we say you don't get an education... so taxpaying parents have their children banned from school for some flawed idea such as "vaccine acquired immunity" when in reality what we have is "leaky vaccine acquired immunity" with so much breakthrough disease they have to find someone to blame, and those are the unvaccinated. Put them in jail shout the so-called "scientists" So the worst idea is scientists as inquisitors.
Betty Bona: Dr. Iannelli,
The problem with your "no worries" position about the new vaccines in the pipeline is that money is more powerful than the best interests of the American citizens. The lack of liability of industry and doctors for harms caused by their vaccine products creates a situation where the safety and efficacy of these products no longer carries as much weight as it should.
In fact, it sets up a situation where products that are truly cancer treatments (or treatments for some other non-infectious condition) will be called vaccines so that the product will enjoy the lack of liability. We're no longer just talking about infectious diseases. Aside from the lack of liability, safety and efficacy standards can be so easily manipulated in the vaccine arena.
Just look at the HPV vaccine. Everyone knows that we won't know if it is efficacious until the recipients reach the age when they might be expected to contract cervical cancer. Really, is that a vaccine against an infectious disease, or is it a cancer prevention strategy? Didn't we already have a cancer prevention strategy that worked quite well - the pap smear?
As for safety, you need look no further than the newly approved, fast-tracked flu shot for the elderly. I don't know if you are 65 yet, but if you are, do you plan on being one of the guinea pigs for this new flu shot for the elderly? I say guinea pigs because it is fast-tracked and not fully tested. The last shot for the elderly included a larger amount of virus per shot. That was unsuccessful, so they are approaching the problem from the adjuvant side, adding squalene and polysorbate 80 to the shot in hopes that it will work better in the elderly.
That adjuvant does not have a great safety profile given the incidence of narcolepsy in children receiving the H1N1 squalene/polysorbate 80 adjuvanted vaccine in Europe in 2009. The young and the elderly are vulnerable. Does it make sense to fast-track this vaccine? After the failure of last year's high antigen flu shot for the elderly, I think loss of sales that might have occurred in flu shots for the elderly this year prompted the fast-tracking.
In other words, I think they abandoned safety considerations for profit. What do you think? Have you received your MF59 adjuvanted flu shot this year? If you feel so comfortable with the ever increasing creep of vaccines, maybe you should get that shot even if you are not 65 just to show your complete trust in the vaccine program. I won't touch it with a ten-foot pole, and I sincerely hope I am never mandated to act as a guinea pig like the elderly are doing this year. At least they can still refuse (though that right is somewhat meaningless in some of the elderly).
Linda1: One of the first things that I noticed years ago about allopathic medicine is what is called cascading intervention. The patient presents with a problem, oftentimes caused by a medical misstep, a drug taken or a natural biological rhythm or balance disturbed that needs restoring.
To solve the problem, the physician doesn't recognize the cause of the problem, but orders one or more interventions that causes other problems which lead to other interventions which do not solve anything but that cause other problems which lead to other interventions which lead to...and on and on and on until the patient is worse than ever and is tethered to and hooked on a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs.