EmpowHer blogs the autism vaccine story…and fails

12 Oct

Empowher is a blogging network that bills itself as “Improving Health. Changing Lives”. EmpowHER.com “facts” include this statement:

EmpowHER.com provides credible, evidence-based health content from over 400 world-class health care professionals, experts and providers.

Unfortunately, their recent autism coverage has not been credible nor evidence-based. It is not “improving health”. I am referring to a number of articles by Joanna Karpasea-Jones. Here is a list of some recent articles. Even from the titles you can probably guess the slant these stories have taken:

An Introduction to Autism and its Prevalence
Autism’s Theoretical Causes: Diet and Dietary Deficiency: An Editorial
Autism’s Theoretical Causes: Mercury Amalgam Fillings and Anti-D Injections: An Editorial
Autism’s Theoretical Causes: Diet and Dietary Deficiency: An Editorial
Autism’s Theoretical Causes: Genetics and Metabolism–An Editorial
Autism’s Theoretical Causes, Ultrasound Scans: An Editorial

A short example of the problems that plague Ms. Jones’ analysis can be found on her website, Vaccine Awareness Network, where the top article listed on the main page is “Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent.”

This was a study by Maddy Hornig, Ian Lipkin and D. Chian from 2004. It was dubbed the “rain mouse” study at the time and was touted as an demonstration that thimerosal might cause autism. A few years later, researchers at the MIND Institute tried to replicate the study. They tried hard. They used 10 times as much thimerosal as Prof. Hornig’s group. They couldn’t recreate the results. They concluded, “Considered together the present results do not indicate pervasive developmental neurotoxicity following vaccine-level thimerosal injections in SJL mice, and provide little if any support for the hypothesis that thimerosal exposure contributes to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. ”

In other words, “Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent” is a study which has been superseded by a more recent study.

When people give you the Hornig study and don’t mention the MIND Institute study, it’s time to be suspicious.

The articles by Joanna Karpasea-Jones are full of examples like this. Old studies which support her idea are presented. Other studies, old and new, which clearly don’t support the idea of vaccine causation are just not mentioned.

There is another recent article on EmpowHer by Dr. Daemon Jones “Vaccinations: Do They Support or Harm the Health of Our Children?” Dr. Jones is a naturopath, so you likely won’t be surprised that her article is very non-specific and presents statements like “This debate will continue in the medical community until there is more concrete data for one side than the other.”

I have news for Dr. Jones: this isn’t a debate in the medical community. This is a debate amongst bloggers like those on EmpowHER who don’t keep up with current research.

On EmpowHer you can vote for each article. You are given three choices: this article (1) Improved my health (2) changed my life and (3) saved my life. You can’t vote, say, “this article is tired old ideas which were discarded years ago” or, “Doesn’t anyone at EmpowHER check the facts of the articles?”

97 Responses to “EmpowHer blogs the autism vaccine story…and fails”

  1. sharon October 13, 2011 at 00:44 #

    Sigh!

  2. Liz Ditz October 13, 2011 at 01:06 #

    I complained to EmpowHer about the first couple of stories — riddled with inaccuracies and outright misrepresentations of face.

    Surprise! No response.

    Advice to readers: Stay away from EmpowHer as a source of medical information.

  3. MikeMa October 13, 2011 at 15:39 #

    Yet another medical misinformation. Too bad. We really have quite enough of these bogus sites.

  4. Rachael October 13, 2011 at 15:53 #

    In Finland, they are at least acknowledging, that even though there is a genetic predisposition to develop narcolepsy, most do not, an outside external factor (the flu vaccine) is triggering the illness. The same will hold true for autism one day.
    ********************
    The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic predisposition, but very few ever actually get the disease. When the disease unexpectedly increases so much, it is logical to think that the external factor in these cases was the vaccine.

    Source: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Narcolepsy+link+to+swine+flu+vaccine+established+-+victims+to+get+compensation+/1135269054227

  5. MikeMa October 13, 2011 at 16:08 #

    @Rachel,
    Hope never dies, eh? Study after study says no link between vaccines and autism but you will risk vaccine preventable disease for your family and unprotected neighbors on basically smoke? How sad, ignorant and selfish you are.

  6. Rachael October 13, 2011 at 16:16 #

    The genes to develop an autoimmune disease and an environmental trigger, in some cases vaccine induced. Certain genes, together with one or more new environmental exposures which act as triggers, account for the increases in autism and other chronic diseases in childhood. The pool of genetically susceptible children has not changed, but the environmental triggers have increased. The childhood vaccine schedule has increased dramatically. With each dose of vaccine or simultaneous injection of multiple vaccines, there is a cumulative increased risk for vaccine-induced immune and brain dysfunction in genetically vulnerable children. One size does not fit all!

  7. Chris October 13, 2011 at 16:48 #

    Rachael, please include cites for your assertions. Something like this:

    Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
    DeStefano F, Mullooly JP, Okoro CA, Chen RT, Marcy SM, Ward JI, Vadheim CM, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Davis RL, Bohlke K; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team.
    Pediatrics. 2001 Dec;108(6):E112.

    On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.
    Smith MJ, Woods CR.
    Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41. Epub 2010 May 24.

    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
    Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Mar;160(3):302-9. Review.

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

  8. Rachael October 13, 2011 at 17:01 #

    V.K. Singh has studied autism as an autoimmune disorder for over fifteen years. He believes that up to eighty percent (and possibly all) cases of autism are caused by an abnormal immune reaction, commonly known as autoimmunity. The autoimmune process in autism results from a complex interaction between the immune system and the nervous system. The linkage of vaccines to neurological disorders comes through the promotion of an auto-immune process, triggered by the virus present in the vaccine together with the adjuvant used to sensitize the body to this virus.

    References and studies provided at bottom of linked article:
    http://www.healing-arts.org/children/vaccines/vaccines-auto-immunity.htm

  9. Chris October 13, 2011 at 19:38 #

    Rachael, that is not a cite. Plus the most recent Singh cite is for “unpublished” data in 1992. I gave you examples to show what a cite is, and here is a hint: it is not a website.

    By the way, the last time I looked Singh was no longer associated with a research university. So I suggest you also make sure the cite is from reputable researchers and less than ten years old.

  10. Rachael October 13, 2011 at 21:14 #

    A new study, published in Pediatric Neurology, Vol. 28, No. 4, is expected to show that MMR and autism are linked, despite the denials of the UK Department of Health and the recent court judgement that ordered two girls to receive the controversial MMR vaccine. World-renowned autism researcher Dr. Vijendra Singh, at the Utah State University, and fellow-researcher Ryan Jensen have announced that their latest study,”Elevated Levels of Measles Antibodies in Children with Autism”, points
    directly to an MMR/autism link.

    Singh and Jensen have concluded that the antibody results show that many autistic children have suffered an abnormal response to the measles element of the MMR vaccine, causing them to develop “inappropriate” antibodies. Singh and Jensen were testing a hypothesis that, as viruses are common trigger agents for autoimmune diseases, where the human body attacks itself, then autism could involve a virus-induced autoimmune response, in turn leading to autism.

    http://www.autismautoimmunityproject.org/Singh.htm

    Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism.
    Singh VK, Jensen RL. 2003 Apr;28(4):292-4.
    Source Department of Biology and Biotechnology Center, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849883

  11. Chris October 13, 2011 at 21:54 #

    Rachael:

    A new study, published in Pediatric Neurology, Vol. 28, No. 4,

    Where is the title and date? Are you trying to make it difficult to check? Please cite correctly. Volume 28, No. 4, of Pediatric Neurology is April 2003. That is not a new study. It is obvious you are cutting and pasting from a webpage that was written almost a decade ago.

    As to Singh’s 2003 paper, it has a comment, emphasis added:
    Pediatr Neurol. 2004 Jan;30(1):78; author reply 78.
    A potential link between measles virus and autism: age-matched control groups are essential.
    Sweeten TL, Fujinami RS.

    Also there are these observations on that paper:

    To the best of our knowledge, this study has not been replicated, and the findings refuted by several other studies, such as Baird G, Pickles A, Simonoff E, Charman T, Sullivan P, Chandler S, Loucas T, Meldrum D, Afzal M, Thomas B, Jin L, Brown D. Measles vaccination and antibody response in autism spectrum disorders. Arch Dis Child. 2008 Oct;93(10):832-7.

    Singh is no longer associated with Utah State University, and has also left Brain State Technologies. According to his Facebook page he provides technical support to 4Life Research, a Multi-Level Marketing supplement company that has received warning letters from the FDA for its “transfer factor” stuff. He is not a reliable researcher, and definitely not “world renowned.”

  12. Rachael October 13, 2011 at 22:35 #

    Here are some other studies linking immune activation and autism. Coicidently, vaccines are designed to cause an immune response.

    Elevated immune response in the brain of autistic patients
    http://www­.sciencedi­rect.com/s­cience/art­icle/pii/S­0165572808­004906

    Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15546155

    Proinflammatory and regulatory cytokine production associated with innate and adaptive immune responses in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental regression
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165572801004210

    Activation of the Inflammatory Response System in Autism
    http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowAbstract&ProduktNr=224082&Ausgabe=227590&ArtikelNr=48665

  13. Sullivan October 13, 2011 at 22:58 #

    Rachel,

    Is there a reason why you didn’t respond to the questions posed by the fact that Prof. Singh’s work is not replicated and your portrayal of him as “world renowned” is far from accurate?

    Whether some subset of autistics have different immune responses is very much separate from whether MMR causes autism. Your first link, for example, doesn’t mention “measles” at all.

    Your second citation is the Vargas paper, from Johns Hopkins. Would you be so good as to tell us how this fits in to either the model of vaccine causation or autism as an autoimmune disorder? “Coincidentally, vaccines are designed to cause an immune response” is not really a discussion, nor does it demonstrate any depth of knowledge on your part. Perhaps you have looked into this more thoroughly. If so please share it. If not, please stop with the “coincidentally…” type argument.

  14. Chris October 14, 2011 at 01:43 #

    First article response: “Sorry, your request could not be processed because the qualifier of the URL (/s­cience) is incorrect. Please contact the Help Desk if the problem persists.”

    Second one: has nothing to do with vaccines (cytokine reactions also occur with actual diseases)

    Third one: again, nothing to do with vaccines, actual diseases also cause “proinflammatory/counter-regulatory cytokines”

    Fourth one: again, nothing to do with vaccines, actual diseases also cause “proinflammatory cytokines”

    Basically, Rachael, you have just shown us that the diseases are actually more dangerous for children with autism. They really need to be protected against measles, mumps, pertussis, Hib, etc, because those diseases could cause more harm.

  15. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 02:11 #

    These are the scientific studies that replicate, duplicate, or support Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues 1998 Lancet study findings. Now retracted by the powers be, which have to much to lose, the truth be known. This is a major media scandle as well, and they too have been mislead by the misinformation they are fed by those who pay their advertising money, that nationally and even worldwide amounts to millions of dollars.

    These studies alone in any rational mind would clearly lead to the conclusion that vaccines do cause autism.

    These studies do not include the listing of the many endless known scientific studies that show the neurological harm and specific health damaging effect of vaccines.

    http://www.vacfacts.info/Supporting_Studies.html

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 02:21 #

      The “here is a list of studies which replicate Wakefield’s findings” comes up a lot. Did you check the references? Those people who have checked find that the claim is false. Is there an example of autistic enterocolitis? A condition which has never been shown to really exist? What study replicates Mr. Wakefield’s finding of measles virus in the guts of all or almost all of the kids he tested?

      Answer: none.

      Show me, and describe in detail, how these studies show that vaccines do cause autism, as you say. Please, show us that you understand what you are proposing. So far, all you are doing is providing links. Demonstrate that you are a “rational mind” as you put it, rather than the followers whom you decry. So far, you appear to be squarely in the follower camp.

  16. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 02:25 #

    And back to my original post, the post that started all this back and forth, one of many articles that they don’t make it to print in MSM newspapers:

    In Finland, they are at least acknowledging, that even though there is a genetic predisposition to develop narcolepsy, (most do not) an outside external factor (the flu vaccine) is triggering the illness. The same will hold true for autism one day.
    ********************
    The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic predisposition, but very few ever actually get the disease. When the disease unexpectedly increases so much, it is logical to think that the external factor in these cases was the vaccine.

    Source: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Narcolepsy+link+to+swine+flu+vaccine+established+-+victims+to+get+compensation+/1135269054227

  17. Chris October 14, 2011 at 02:32 #

    These are the scientific studies that replicate, duplicate, or support Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues 1998 Lancet study findings.

    Not really. Now if we missed one, then please the studies that independently replicate Wakefield’s study, and do include the effect of the same UK MMR vaccines on the gastrointestinal issues on at least a dozen autistic children.

    Now, by independent, we mean that it does not include Wakefield or any of his friends. That means nothing by Wakefield, Krigsman, Walker-Smith, Murch, Singh (who we have now established is working with the transfer factor supplement from Wakefield and Fudenberg) and anyone who was listed as an author of now withdrawn Lancet paper.

    The paper has to include use of the MMR, preferably on of the many used in the UK before 1992, and perhaps the one they used after 1992 (which is very similar to the MMR vaccine that has been used in the USA since 1971) and the finding of measles virus. Also, it must be a case study of at least equal of the number of children in the Lancet study. No single case studies of adults.

    Do you understand? For example, “Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W. Childhood autism and eosinophilic colitis. Digestion. 2010;81:127-9.” is not a replication. There is no mention of the MMR vaccine, and it is a case study of two children. Two is less then twelve. Also, Horvath K et al. Gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autistic disorder. J Pediatr. 1999;135:559-63.” is also not a replication, there is no mention of measles nor the MMR.

    And this is not independent:
    Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Apr;45(4):723-9.
    Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism.
    Kawashima H, Mori T, Kashiwagi Y, Takekuma K, Hoshika A, Wakefield A.

    Do you see why it is not independent?

    Here is one that did try to replicate Wakefield, you should look it up. It is available for free online:

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

  18. Chris October 14, 2011 at 02:36 #

    And the last link to the Scandinavians getting narcolepsy is really reaching, Rachael. Did you even read the link? It has to do with genetics.

    I screwed up the link in my last comment. It is much of the list of “independent replications”, with explanations of why they are not:
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2010/02/independent-wakefield-way-really.html

  19. stanley seigler October 14, 2011 at 02:48 #

    [MikeMa say] Study after study says no link between vaccines and autism but you will risk vaccine preventable disease for your family and unprotected neighbors on basically smoke? How sad, ignorant and selfish you are.

    COMMENT
    speaking of smoke…study after study said no link to tobacco and cancer.

    full disclosure: i do not believe VAXes cause autism…but believe they could trigger in some cases…and have difficulty with promotional, tobacco, science…just an opine…

    stanley seigler

  20. Chris October 14, 2011 at 03:08 #

    speaking of smoke…study after study said no link to tobacco and cancer.

    Citation, please? The connection between tobacco and cancer was being made at a hundred years ago for chewing tobacco. Also, epidemiological studies showing smoking causing cancer were coming out after WWII. The problem was that the tobacco companies used fake doctors in their advertisements. Read The Emperor of All Maladies.

    The tobacco and cancer studies fallacy is right up there with the everyone used to think the world is flat fallacy.

  21. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 03:28 #

    “Did you even read the link? It has to do with genetics.”
    *************************
    Yes, I did. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic, but very few ever actually get the disease (narcolepsy). Each of those who came down with narcolepsy after getting the Pandemrix vaccine were found to have an inherited trait that increased the risk of narcolepsy. This risk actually strengthens the overall grounds for compensation. The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy.
    *************************
    So, you need the genes to develop narcolepsy and for some an environmental trigger. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic, but very few ever actually get the disease.

    The same will hold true with autism – the genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger (vaccine induced autism). Think about the tremendous increase in cases of autism since 1983, from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 110 in the US. What has changed since then? It’s the vaccine schedule. The person who has a susceptibility gene to develop autism is now being exposed more often to vaccines. The environmental trigger, in a genetically vulnerable individual has increased dramatically.

  22. Chris October 14, 2011 at 03:58 #

    And it was found that the vaccine was worth the risk. See:
    http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/swineflu/news/sep0111narcolepsy.html

    Despite the limited number of unexpected and unfortunate narcolepsy cases, Finnish officials said the overall benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks.

    Rachael, have you actually tried thinking for yourself? You have pulled out arguments from anti-vax sites, some over a decade old. You say:

    Think about the tremendous increase in cases of autism since 1983, from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 110 in the US. What has changed since then?

    My son is 23 years old. He was diagnosed with a communication disorder that may or may not be associated with a history of seizures. But not autism. The reason was he was diagnosed in 1991. If he had been born three years later he would have been diagnosed with the DSM-IV which came out in 1994.

    His last seizure when he was a bit over a year old is what we (his parents, not the neurologist) caused the neurological damage that he still has. It was from a now vaccine preventable disease.

    Rachael, you seem to have forgotten that the diseases can cause neurological damage. Even pertussis if the child does not get sufficient oxygen. I even gave you a paper on the effect of certain medical interventions on mental retardation, have you looked it up?

    Really, Rachael, go to PubMed and find actual real papers that the MMR that has been used in the USA since 1971 has:

    1: causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella… remember that measles causes actual damage about one in a thousand cases from deafness, blindness, paralysis and even death.

    2: that the numbers for autism started to increase with the introduction of MMR in 1971, be specific on which DSM was used for the diagnoses

    Please post the journal, title and date of each paper that supports your findings, just like I did above. Be sure the paper is indexed on PubMed (this means you actually have to find the paper and read at least the abstract). Do not post even one webpage link.

    Oh, and from this:

    The person who has a susceptibility gene to develop autism is now being exposed more often to vaccines. The environmental trigger, in a genetically vulnerable individual has increased dramatically.

    A third thing for you to find supporting evidence:

    Explain why they are more affected by the vaccine and not the actual disease. How would a person who is susceptible to the MMR going to fair better by actually getting measles?

  23. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 04:28 #

    “Explain why they are more affected by the vaccine and not the actual disease.”
    **************
    Did you ever think that some of children who are being injected over and over again are already immune to measles, mumps or rubella and don’t require further vaccination? One size does not fit all. We are not all immune-compromised carbon copies of one another.

    No vaccine guarantees immunity to everyone who’s vaccinated. Some people who are vaccinated don’t become immune and remain susceptible to the disease. Some people lose their immunity over time if they don’t receive the recommended booster shots. (And then there are those who have a lifetime of immunity after just one shot, or after natural exposure.) Explain, please!

    We should be testing blood titers to see in an individual is immune to a disease instead of vaccinating all people over and over again. Treat people like individuals with individual immune systems; what a novel idea that would be!

    What harm are we doing to children who didn’t require additional vaccination because they were already immune? What harm are we causing children, who don’t have a poor-functioning immune systems, when we inject them with repeat vaccinations, that weren’t necessary because they were already immune?

  24. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 04:31 #

    Vets treat animals better than we treat children.

    Veterinarians acknowledge that vaccines can cause serious adverse reactions, including well-documented cancers in cats: feline leukemia and feline sarcomas.

    Veterinarians consider pets as individuals. Vaccines are customized to their needs and lifestyles. For example, dogs that have allergies are often vaccinated less, given smaller doses or not vaccinated at all. If any adverse reaction was experienced from a vaccine, vets are cautious about future vaccines.

    Most veterinarians seem to understand that a one-size-fits-all vaccine policy is not appropriate.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sherri-tenpenny/vaccines-veterinarians-ar_b_533505.html

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 14:42 #

      “Vets treat animals better than we treat children.”

      Ever heard of a pediatrician being asked to “put down” a child?

  25. stanley seigler October 14, 2011 at 05:31 #

    [chris say] Citation, please?

    said it was just an opine

    [chris say] The connection between tobacco and cancer was being made at a hundred years ago for chewing tobacco.

    chewing tobacco citation, pls…will be an interesting read

    [chris say] Also, epidemiological studies showing smoking causing cancer were coming out after WWII.

    actually before wwii…but didn’t stop tobacco industry’s promotional science…promoting ignorance.

    [chris say] The problem was that the tobacco companies used fake doctors in their advertisements.

    not talking mad ave science (advertisements)…oh/and the fake docs and tobacco industry promotional scientists did an excellent (tho immoral, reprehensible) job of selling cancer causing tobacco well into the 20th century…and are still selling it in the 21st…

    and big pharma (BP) has its share of promotional science…

    [chris say] The tobacco and cancer studies fallacy is right up there with the everyone used to think the world is flat fallacy.

    despite science “Most ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth”…corporations (maybe even BP) do use promotional science…tobacco/cancer and flat earth is not a good analogy.

    all said: my opine is VAXes could trigger autism…just as tobacco industry promulgated ignorance…BP may not be as forthright as many free marketeers believe corporations are…

    it not about real science…it about the perception promotional science (aka bs) creates…

    stanley seigler

  26. Julian Frost October 14, 2011 at 08:35 #

    @Rachael:

    Veterinarians acknowledge that vaccines can cause serious adverse reactions, including well-documented cancers in cats: feline leukemia and feline sarcomas.

    Citation needed, preferably not from an anti-vaxx website.

  27. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 15:03 #

    Vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma in a cat
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC340241/
    *************************************************************
    Vaccine-associated feline sarcomas
    Wallace B. Morrison, DVM, MS, DACVIM; Robin M. Starr, DVM, MEd;
    and the Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force

    http://www.avma.org/VAFSTF/vafstf01.asp
    **************************************************************
    Vaccines for Cats: We Need to Stop Overvaccinating
    Lisa A. Pierson, DVMleukemia

    Side Effects: Sarcomas, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Allergic/Anaphylactic reactions etc

    http://catinfo.org/?link=vaccines
    *************************************************************

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 15:15 #

      Where’s the “cat made autistic by vaccines” link?

      Answer: there is none.

      Why are we being taken down this path, Rachael? Is your interest in autism or in using autism to discuss vaccines? If it is the “I’m using vaccines as a hammer against vaccines”, please leave. It isn’t my job to help you make your arguments better. You’ve already demonstrated a propensity to make statements which you don’t understand, and ignore requests to actually demonstrate the knowledge of what you are talking about.

      • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 15:22 #

        I just checked my kid again–neither a can cat nor a dog. Perhaps I shouldn’t be making such diagnoses, but I don’t think any of the other kids at school are cats or dogs either.

        I.e. let’s stay at least somewhere close to being on topic.

        edit to correct: wrote “can” instead of “cat” originally

  28. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 15:11 #

    Adverse events diagnosed within three days of vaccine administration in dogs

    http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.2005.227.1102?journalCode=javma

  29. Chris October 14, 2011 at 15:38 #

    Rachael, none of posturing has answered my questions with real evidence. You do not have any evidence that the pediatric (and that means human children) vaccines cause more harm than the diseases. Yes, we know vaccines are not 100% effective, which is why there is a need for herd immunity.

    Testing “blood titers” is one of the most stupid things I have seen floating around. It blows the “vaccine costs money!” argument out of the water, since lab tests are more expensive, and have a high chance of error. It also strikes as unnecessarily cruel, since the needle to draw blood is much bigger than a vaccine needle.

    It is completely useless against the diseases covered by the DTaP, since even if one does get actual pertussis disease the immunity can where off as soon as five years. And one first has to be one of the only four out of five that survive tetanus, and even then there no real immunity to tetanus. The same goes for diphtheria.

    And as for measles, that is incredibly stupid. You only get measles titers two ways: the vaccine or the disease. Do you really think we need to risk a one in a thousand chance of bad things happening with real measles.

    As a parent of a child harmed by a real disease (and trust me riding in an ambulance with him is not fun), I think you are a heartless hypocrite. You want kids to suffer through real diseases and have useless blood tests.

  30. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 16:02 #

    When the name-calling starts, I know the people tossing the insults have run out of a valid argument. The truth is vaccines cause injuries, for some the threat of being harmed by repeat vaccinations is greater, than for others.

    We are not all immune-compromised as they would like to have us believe and they shouldn’t be treating us all like we are. The basis of all autoimmune disease is a hyper-reactive immune system. Vaccines are designed to cause an immune response, which might not be such a good thing in all people. An immune system in overdrive can be just as horrible as one that is suppressed.

    Who says I need, such and such number of vaccines to acquire immunity? Who’s to say my immune system can’t defeat an invader without the vaccine telling my body to recognize the virus? What are you doing to my child’s immune system if they didn’t need further vaccination because they were already immune? One size does not fit all and it never will!

    One day they will find out that they shouldn’t have been treating all vaccination recipients the same way because we are not all the same and are all subject to different conditions and illnesses. Believe it or not, not all illnesses are caused by an immune system that can’t defeat an invader.

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:14 #

      “When the name-calling starts, I know the people tossing the insults have run out of a valid argument”

      Rachael,

      you didn’t start with a valid argument. Time and again you’ve been asked to support claims. Time and again you have dodged the questions.

      Here’s a question for you: if you are one of the people who has acquired immunity from a single dose of vaccine, are you at risk of injury from the second dose? Naively, one would say that your body is prepared for the challenge posed by the antigen (more than naively, this is the essentially the definition of immunity).

      “One day they will find out that they shouldn’t have been treating all vaccination recipients the same way”

      This is a classic strawman argument. People are not all treated the same way. Many can not receive vaccines. The vaccine schedule is “recommended” or “suggested”. There is no penalty (other than risk) for deviating from the schedule. Schools do not say, “sorry, ma’am, you child got the MMR at 2 years, not 1 year, he can’t attend kindergarten”. Doctors don’t kick people out of their clinics for showing up months late for a vaccination.

      “who’s to say my immune system can’t defeat an invader without the vaccine telling my body to recognize the virus?”

      Odds are, your immune system can. The risk of permanent injury from infectious disease is much greater than that of vaccination. But, are you factoring in to your risk/benefit calculation the fact that families like mine are protecting you? If the risk of vaccination is as great as you imply, we are taking a huge risk and you are benefiting from it.

      Who’s to say that when you are sick, you don’t pass the contagion on to someone who is highly likely to suffer permanent harm from the infection? Will you accept responsibility? Will you pay damages to those you infect for pain, suffering, permanent injury? Or do you want to have your cake and eat it too? The right to avoid vaccination without any responsibility? All rights come with responsibility.

      “Vaccines are designed to cause an immune response, which might not be such a good thing in all people.”

      Again, explain how a vaccine induced immune response is worse than an infection induced response. Take a person who is vulnerable to injury from infection. Which is worse, the vaccine or the infection?

  31. Chris October 14, 2011 at 16:54 #

    The truth is vaccines cause injuries, for some the threat of being harmed by repeat vaccinations is greater, than for others.

    Which you have failed to prove. All you have to do is show that the vaccines cause more harm than the diseases. You have ignored the harm from the diseases.

    Grow a backbone and learn to provide the evidence to support your contentions. Learn to find it independently, and do not rely on certain websites.

  32. Chris October 14, 2011 at 17:08 #

    Seriously, Rachael, did you actually think having the kids actually get the diseases and subjecting them to needless blood tests was a better idea than preventing the diseases?

    And in case you think otherwise: respiratory diseases like measles, mumps, Hib, petussis, etc are not prevented through better sanitation. You need to do some reading in a library on basic history, or just pick up the Oregon Trail game, or read Roald Dahl’s autobiography, Boy.

  33. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 17:19 #

    “The community immunity club being used today to take away civil liberties in the name of the greater good, conveniently fails to make a distinction between diseases. Hepatitis B is not polio and chicken pox is not small pox. But vaccine laws requiring mass use of dozens of doses of vaccine, treat all infectious diseases and vaccines the same. The large gaps in the knowledge about the damage that repeated vaccination from day of birth throughout life could be doing to our brains and immune systems, have turned current vaccine laws into a forced, uncontrolled scientific experiment on the American population. . . . “
    Barbara Loe Fisher

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:27 #

      A quote from Barbara Loe Fisher. Is she some sort of expert? Not from what I’ve seen. I recall her putting out a fear-mongering video about “deadly pig viruses” (or some such phrase) vaccines. She failed to mention that the viruses don’t infect humans (or that there were only fragments of the viruses found). When I emailed her organization for an explanation, I got silence.

      Can you tell us, is it ethical to label a vaccine as having “deadly” viruses inside, when those viruses are only fatal to infant pigs?

  34. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 17:21 #

    And back to my original post, the post that started all this back and forth, one of many articles that don’t make it to print in MSM newspapers:

    In Finland, they are at least acknowledging, that even though there is a genetic predisposition to develop narcolepsy, (most do not) an outside external factor (the flu vaccine) is triggering the illness. The same will hold true for autism one day.

    ********************
    The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy. Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic predisposition, but very few ever actually get the disease. When the disease unexpectedly increases so much, it is logical to think that the external factor in these cases was the vaccine.

    Source: http://www.hs.fi/english/artic…..5269054227

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:23 #

      Racheal,

      tell us, what does narcolepsy have to do with the autism-vaccine discussion?

      I didn’t let you divert the discussion before. Why do you think I’ll take the bait this time?

  35. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 17:30 #

    “The genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.”

    Autistic children genetically unique

    But genes can’t tell the whole story said Dr. Derrick MacFabe, director of the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group at the University of Western Ontario.

    He was not involved in the groundbreaking study funded by Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He says its results are important but other risk factors also need to be explored.

    “It’s an excellent study,” MacFabe said.

    “But we have to account for the relationship between environmental factors as well as genetics. This is not an either/ or.”

    The study also found overlap between the autism susceptibility genes and those believed to be involved in mental health disorders and developmental disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, suggesting a possible link.

    http://www.kidsmentalhealth.ca/news_and_events/view_html_article.php?id=1216

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:33 #

      “Autistic children genetically unique”

      Everyone is genetically unique. You do see that, don’t you?

      Vaccines are not all of environmental factors. You do see that, don’t you? When someone says, “there are environmental factors at play” it is not the same thing as saying “vaccines cause autism”. The vaccine question took up a lot of researcher time and money from looking for actual environmental causes.

      • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:35 #

        Following on the comment above–

        vaccines aren’t even mentioned in the story you linked to. What is your point?

      • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:38 #

        Barbara Loe Fisher is from the NVIC.

        A board member of NVIC has stated: “No disease can match this record of human devastation. Vaccines are a holocaust of poison on our children’s brains and immune systems. ”

        Seems a rather biased source of information to me. (to put it mildly)

  36. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 17:39 #

    Since 1983 the vaccination schedule has more than tripled without a single study on the cumulative effect of so many vaccines, so soon on the health of a child.
    ***************************
    “Instead of epidemics of measles and polio, we have epidemics of chronic autoimmune and neurological disease: In the last 20 years rates of asthma and attention-deficit disorder have doubled, diabetes and learning disabilities have tripled, chronic arthritis now affects nearly one in five Americans and autism has increased by 300 percent or more in many states.”—-Barbara Loe Fisher
    Vaccine Schedule 1983 vs 2011

    Click to access 1428.pdf

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:47 #

      Ah, another quote from the “Holocaust of Poison” NVIC. Once again, I don’t take her as an authority.

      Your content level has gone down, Rachael. You are now appealing to authority, and choosing poorly which authorities to appeal to.

  37. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 17:43 #

    What deadly epidemics since 1983 have occurred that required the CDC to more than triple the vaccine schedule?

    http://www.drmomma.org/2011/01/cdc-mandatory-vaccine-schedule-1983-vs.html

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 17:45 #

      “What deadly epidemics since 1983 have occurred that required the CDC to more than triple the vaccine schedule?”

      Hib meningitis? Is that something that should be allowed to continue? Hepatitis B is pretty nasty, especially when the young are infected. Should that be allowed to continue? Children suffer, are hospitalized and some die from rotavirus. Should that be allowed to continue?

  38. MikeMa October 14, 2011 at 17:53 #

    The US public seems to have a VERY limited memory of what vaccine preventable disease is like. Vaccination has been so effective that the only way to reach inside the pin heads seems to be to allow a resurgence of preventable disease. I do certainly hope that does not happen but without it, arguments with the current dim-bulb Rachael, and others like her just run in circles.

    Made up or invalid science hacking away at vaccines while study after study vindicates their use. That vindication is ignored or discredited by ignorance. Tally-ho! We’re off to the 17th century. Enjoy the pathogens.

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 18:12 #

      “We’re off to the 17th century. Enjoy the pathogens.”

      Have fun storming the castle!

  39. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 19:28 #

    “The US public seems to have a VERY limited memory of what vaccine preventable disease is like.”

    You mean like the deadly chicken pox?

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 19:31 #

      CNN: Deaths from chickenpox down

      “Every kid did get chickenpox and, in the pre-vaccine era, there were 3-4 million cases a year,” Seward said. “What people may not have realized, every year, about 105 people died of chickenpox. About half of those were children and about 11,000-12,000 were hospitalized with severe complications. We started preventing the disease to really prevent those very serious complications.”

  40. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 19:40 #

    Cochrane researcher T. Jefferson observed “vaccines are a business, like any other. The only difference is that governments are co-sponsors with industry … overestimation of the threat by the target diseases, suppression of data on adverse events, and exaggeration of effectiveness are frequent. In the case of population vaccination programs, both governments and industry have conflicts of interest. Beware!”

    Dr. shiv Chopra points out that vaccination unquestionably eradicated small pox. Only a few vials of it still exist in biological warfare and World Health Organization laboratories. The possibility of eradicating polio in the same way is reasonably open to scientific debate, he adds. However, all the usual childhood diseases, he observes, have been unsuccessfully fought with vaccination campaigns involving millions of children every year. Worst of all, these diseases appear with increasing frequency in those very populations that have been vaccinated for several generations. Clearly, something is wrong with these programs, the vaccines themselves, and he finds it alarming that “the list of vaccines which are being administered to young children has been enlarged to include many more viral and bacterial infections with little or no scientific rationale.”

    http://www.kospublishing.com/html/speaking.html

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 19:58 #

      Tom Jefferson also refused to attend an awards ceremony held by NVIC after he learned that Andrew Wakefield would be getting an award as well.

      “However, all the usual childhood diseases, he observes, have been unsuccessfully fought with vaccination campaigns involving millions of children every year. Worst of all, these diseases appear with increasing frequency in those very populations that have been vaccinated for several generations.”

      Vaccine preventable diseases are at a HUGELY lower rate than before the vaccines were introduced. There are cases of increases–from very low levels to low levels. For example, the measles outbreak in Minnesota last year. Imported from abroad, and it was extremely clear that being vaccinated was very protective.

      Dr. Shiv Chopra. I recognize that name. He was one of the lucky winners of a free trip to a posh resort in Jamaica. The self-styled “vaccine safety” conference which included Andrew Wakefield. Chopra’s talk was “Vaccination programs: prevention or corruption?”

  41. Chris October 14, 2011 at 19:41 #

    Rachael, now you are downplaying chicken pox. You have absolutely no clue on the pain and suffering caused by varicella. My kids all got it a year before the vaccine became available, including the six month baby who was still only on breast milk.

    Are you really so heartless to wish chicken pox on children? It is a disease that causes hundreds of open itchy sores on their bodies. It is painful, and too many kids end up with secondary bacterial infections.

    What real evidence do you have that the vaccines are more dangerous than the actual diseases?

    Please, no more websites. Just post the journal, title and date of the paper that is indexed on PubMed. Just make sure than none of the authors have had their medical licenses suspended or revoked, and it is not in “Medical Hypotheses” (just look up “hypothesis” in a dictionary to figure out why).

  42. Chris October 14, 2011 at 19:43 #

    Rachael, do you know when the DSM IV came out and what it implies in regards to autism diagnoses?

  43. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 20:20 #

    Why aren’t children in the UK vaccinated against chickenpox?

    The chickenpox vaccine is not part of the UK childhood vaccination programme, because experts think that introducing a chickenpox vaccination for children could increase the risk of shingles in older people. It is used to protect people who are most at risk of a serious chickenpox infection.

    Chickenpox is usually a mild illness, particularly in children. The condition is so common in childhood that 90% of adults who grow up in the UK are immune to the chickenpox virus because they have had it before.

    http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1032.aspx?CategoryID=62&SubCategoryID=63

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 20:25 #

      UK story from 10 years ago: Chickenpox, usually thought of as a minor childhood disease, kills significantly more adults now than it did in the late 1960s.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1644663.stm

      Chickenpox, usually thought of as a minor childhood disease, kills significantly more adults now than it did in the late 1960s.

      “Chickenpox is usually a mild illness”

      Agreed. I would add emphasis to “usually”. Strong emphasis. 39 deaths in a single year, for adults, in the UK. “Usually” mild. The families of those 39 people would disagree. The families of children hospitalized or killed in the U.S. would disagree.

      What does this have to do with autism or the bad blogging at EmpowHER?

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 20:28 #

      2009 story from the UK Chickenpox killed our son: How a little boy died just three weeks after the first spots appeared

      ‘Like most parents, we thought it was a good idea for him to have chickenpox young and get it over with. We both knew it could be a lot more serious for an adult. We kept him off school and waited for more spots to appear.

      Experts have calculated that complications may result in 6,700 children’s hospital admissions a year in the UK. Indeed, there were 28 deaths from chickenpox in England and Wales in 2007, the latest figure available, including nine children.

      I don’t know why they don’t have that vaccine in the UK. Seems like a good idea to me.

  44. Rachael October 14, 2011 at 20:26 #

    “Dr. Shiv Chopra. I recognize that name. He was one of the lucky winners of a free trip to a posh resort in Jamaica.”

    Dr. Shiv Chopra, scientist and vaccine and drug regulator for “Health Canada” (equivalent of FDA in US) for four decades, speaks about vaccines and food and drug safety.

    http://www.kospublishing.com/html/speaking.html

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 20:30 #

      Once again, reliance on authority. Poor authority at that. Based solely on what he said. I see you skipped responding to that part of my comment.

  45. Chris October 14, 2011 at 20:27 #

    Because they are a separate country from the USA.

    Doesn’t it seem kind of cruel to make children endure hundreds of itchy painful open sores on their bodies to prevent shingles? Wouldn’t it be easier to have the adults get a shingles vaccine?

    Now, what part of not using websites in lieu of posting the journal, title and date of the scientific evidence that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases do you not understand?

  46. Chris October 14, 2011 at 20:37 #

    From Should the UK introduce varicella vaccine?:

    Some studies have shown an increase in shingles since vaccination began,22–24 although rates of shingles were thought to be increasing before varicella vaccination commenced3 25 and one large recent study did not demonstrate a rise.26 Either way, zoster is also preventable by immunisation: a vaccine containing higher titres of vaccine virus than the childhood vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia27 and has been recommended for universal use in persons 60 years of age or older since 2006 in the USA.2

    Again, I ask: Isn’t cruel to make children endure a disease that causes dozens to hundreds of open itchy painful sores to prevent shingles in older people? Wouldn’t it be easier to just vaccinate for shingles?

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 20:39 #

      As long as we are quoting from the UK’s NHS website:

      Infectious encephalitis
      Research carried out in 2010 found that the most commonly identified causes of infectious encephalitis in England are:
      the herpes simplex virus – the virus that causes cold sores and the sexually transmitted infection (STI), genital herpes
      the varicella zoster virus, which is responsible for chickenpox in children and shingles in adults
      However, many studies have discovered that no cause can be identified in over half of all cases of infectious encephalitis. This is thought to be due to the difficulties in diagnosing some types of infection in certain people, rather than the actual absence of an infection.

      So, they don’t protect against one of the primary causes of infectious encephalitis? Does that strike you as a good choice?

  47. stanley seigler October 14, 2011 at 20:41 #

    [Rachael say] The truth is vaccines cause injuries, for some the threat of being harmed by repeat vaccinations is greater, than for others.

    [chris say] Which you have failed to prove. All you have to do is show that the vaccines cause more harm than the diseases. You have ignored the harm from the diseases…provide the evidence to support your contentions…and do not rely on certain websites.

    COMMENT

    not sure just what and how much evidence is needed. dont most accept: 1) vaccines cause injuries; 2) diseases are more harmful than vaccines…

    at least accepted, based on today’s science…and general laymen’s opine…see clips:

    not sure what the disagreement is…if there were no lawyers perhaps there would be no disagreement.

    stanley seigler

    [CLIP] One of the “clever” little moral loopholes that pharmaceutical companies are hiding behind is the truthful fact that vaccines have absolutely no link to autism. What they aren’t telling you is that autism is the false diagnoses given to patients who have been brain damaged due to vaccinations. The condition is blamed on autism for liability reasons. http://www.onepagenews.com/2011/10/10/technically-speaking-vaccines-cause-brain-damage-not-autism/

    [CLIP] Vaccines have saved untold millions of lives, and the vast majority of people who get them suffer no major problems.

    But there’s a trade-off: occasionally, vaccines cause injury or death…The great majority of medical opinion holds that vaccines don’t cause autism.

    However, many of the same experts don’t dispute that vaccines can, in rare instances, cause brain damage.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20016356-10391695.html

  48. Chris October 14, 2011 at 20:51 #

    Mr. Seigler, about that report. Please stick to real scientific literature and do not quote clueless reporters.

  49. McD October 16, 2011 at 12:07 #

    Rachel, my nephew got chickenpox a few months ago, shortly before his second birthday. He barely survived, and was in critical care for a week. He had an awful experience, and was lucky he got to hospital in time. Here in NZ we don’t have chickenpox on the schedule – the govt takes a strictly economical approach and parents have to pay for it.

    I had my boys (1 x mild aspergers, 1 x severe autism) vaccinated at a cost of $70 each. Two different waves of C-Pox have swept our community since. It would be unthinkable to me to put my boys through a preventable illness, and at risk of long term complications or death.

    I am particularly careful to keep on top of vaccinations for my autistic son – he is not very capable to communicating symptoms before they become blindingly obvious. We are going through both a measles epidemic here (with a focus on affluent suburbs – reflecting pockets of unvaccinated children) and another meningitis wave. A family friend contracted meningitis and has lost great swathes of flesh and skin on her legs up to her knees. I initially thought she had been badly burnt, before learning she had succumbed to a vaccine preventable illness during the last wave a few years ago (I had my boys vaccinated for that one). We are booking vaccinations for meningitis again (the immunity does not last very long), as it has resurged. If my son were stricken, he would have difficulty telling us about his symptoms, so we don’t take chances. Same thing with our annual flu shots. In the meantime, my son has made huge gains with ABA, with absolutely no evidence of regression after any vaccination (the opposite in fact)

    I spent some time working in the third world before I was a mum – in Bougainville, every older mother I spoke to had lost at least one child to a vaccine preventable illness (I spoke to mums a lot. I can’t recall any mum not reporting at least one lost kid). It was just a fact of life – kids died or were maimed with horrifying regularity.

    Pampered westerners have no idea of the devastation these diseases cause in unvaccinated communities. Vaccination has protected us for so long that the true impact is forgotten.

    When my son was diagnosed, I went through a brief “what if it was the vaccinations?” phase – due to the prevailing media hype at the time. I then did some research at the university library – without having an opinion beforehand. I followed it up by going through our huge collection of photos and videos, and it was quite clear that signs of autism were present well before his vaccinations at 18 months (which correlated with my initial concerns about his behaviour and his later diagnosis at 22 months). Casting a wider net, with more knowledge of the symptoms, it became apparent that one branch of our family displayed obvious autistic traits going back three generations from my son.

    I came to my opinion by doing the research, and reading many of the papers which have been recommended to you by other posters above. However, I have discovered that what sticks most seems to be personal stories, which is why I have given mine here. In the hope that seeing contradictory personal narratives about autism triggers will highlight the importance of peer-reviewed, replicated, empirical evidence. Most of the posters here have a personal story as well, and due to the variety of them, they know that objective research is the only way to sort fact from fiction (and ‘research’ is not quoting ‘some guy on the internet’).

    The ‘core’ posters here downplay personal stories in favor of citing papers, for very good reason. But they all have personal stories – most are ASD parents too. Until very recently, I thought that citing evidence and logical proofs were sure to convince someone of the error of their ways. But not so, the backfire effect and confirmation bias pretty much ensure that that is a good way to entrench someone in their original views. The scientific method is the only one which has proved robust against psychological bias. But bias against the scientific method is a stumbling block for many.

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

  50. Rachael October 17, 2011 at 18:02 #

    McD: Sorry to hear about your nephew, but what happened to him is very rare and usually only happens in individuals who are immune- compromised. Chicken pox is highly infectious, but usually a very mild illness.

    Natural infection from chicken pox has a better than 99.99% complete recovery rate followed by life-time immunity. The antibody level following natural infection is more than twenty-five times as high as that found in vaccinated individuals when measured fourteen months after exposure.

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