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Vaccine rejectionism and empowerment

April 14th, 2008 · 52 Comments · Critical thinking, Narrative

What motivates and sustains the anti-vaccine movement? Science rejects a link between vaccines and autism, and the persistence in illogical beliefs doesn’t advance the cause of austic people one iota.

Dr. Amy Tuteur, MD, says “vaccines rejectionism” is about how parents see themselves, and that it has little to do with children or vaccines. She recently shared her devastating critique of organized opposition to vaccines in the comments on a New York Times site, which I am publishing with Dr. Tuteur’s permission.

Vaccine rejectionism has been around for more than 200 years, almost as long as vaccines themselves. Over those two hundred years not one of the myriad claims of vaccine rejectionists have turned out to be true. Despite the fact that vaccine rejectionists have been 100% wrong in their understanding of vaccines, statistics, risks and claims of specific dangers, they still have a following. In large measure that is because the cultural claims of vaccine rejectionists resonate with prevailing cultural assumptions. Vaccine rejection is based on social constructs that have little if anything to do with objective reality or science.These constructs are explored in a fascinating article, ‘Trusting blindly can be the biggest risk of all’: organised resistance to childhood vaccination in the UK (Hobson-West, Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. 29 No. 2 2007, pp. 198–215).

The fact that vaccine rejectionism is based on false premises is sidestepped by ignoring the scientific data and focusing instead on whether parents agree with health professionals. Agreement with doctors is constructed as a negative and refusal to trust is constructed as a positive cultural attribute:

… Non-vaccinators or those who question aspects of vaccination policy are ‘free thinkers’ who have escaped from the disempowerment that is seen to characterise vaccination…

… [vaccine rejectionists] construct trust in others as passive and the easy option. Rather than trust in experts, the alternative scenario is of a parent who becomes the expert themselves, through a difficult process of personal education and empowerment…”

The ultimate goal is to become “empowered”:

“… the moral imperative to become informed is part of a broader shift, evident in the new public health, for which some kind of empowerment, personal responsibility and participation are expressed in highly positive terms.”

Vaccine rejectionism is about the parents and how they would like to see themselves, not about vaccines and not about children. In the socially constructed world of vaccine rejectionists, risks can never be quantified and are always “unknown”. Parents are divided into those (inferior) people who are passive and blindly trust authority figures and (superior) rejectionists who are “educated” and “empowered” by taking “personal responsibility”.

This view depends on a deliberate re-definition of all the relevant terms, however, and that re-definition is unjustified and self aggrandizing. The risks of vaccines are not unknown. Believing that vaccines save millions of lives is not a matter of “trust”, it is reality. Questioning authority is not the same as being “educated”; indeed, it isn’t even related. Lacking even basic knowledge of immunology and rejecting medical facts is not a sign of education, independent thinking or taking personal responsibility. It is a sign of lack of education and understanding.

— Posted by Amy Tuteur, MD

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52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melody // Apr 15, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I think this explains a lot of the people’s motivations who are heavily involved in the anti-vaccination movement, though I think a lot of the concerns of the general public are from people who see media reports that present the anti-vaccination fears as having equal weight to scientific evidence.

    Something interesting I’ve noticed is that when I level a criticism of anti-vaccination, I’m told I am in the thrall of Big Pharma, whereas when I criticise psychiatry I am told I’m a Scientologist (I am neither of these, just a critical thinker).

  • 2 Ms. Clark // Apr 15, 2008 at 2:48 am

    “This view depends on a deliberate re-definition of all the relevant terms, however, and that re-definition is unjustified and self aggrandizing.”

    If you want to see megalomania all you have to do is read the words of people like JB Handley and Lenny Schafer and the majority of their sycophantic followers. These people know next to nothing but they feel overqualified to tell the experts how it is. They are dime-store immunologists and vaccinologists. They have it all figured out. Get rid of all the vaccines (their true goal) and we’ll deal with the dead bodies as they pile up. They’ll pile up for sure, but at least their deaths will be “natural”.

    Push come to shove, some of these people know what will happen if you get rid of vaccines – death dealing epidemics will return. They just see these future dead as those who should die anyway, and not as anyone they’d be related to, and not as themselves.

    I want to hear about how they plan to have diphtheria parties, tetanus, pertussis and polio parties. Surely they have some kind of plan since they’ve already decided how to manage measles, mups and rubella with “parties” apparently. Never mind the meningitis and the SSPE. Those only happen to other people.

    Then we can have rabies parties for our puppies.

  • 3 dkmnow // Apr 15, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Looks like the entire EoH and AoA fan-clubs combined turned out for that adorable little feeding frenzy.

    I wonder how many of them, in twenty years or so, will be wondering if maybe they should have paid a little more attention to fighting the pervasive social prejudice that will, by then, be unnecessarily suffocating their adult Autistic children under the chilling blanket of marginalization and dis-empowerment.

    Despite the insularity of the cozy little echo-chamber they’ve created for themselves, the fact remains: they have been warned.

  • 4 isles // Apr 15, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Thank you, Dr. Tuteur!

    It really is “all about me” with these anti-vaccine parents. Look how smart I am, smarter than all those doctors, those patsies of the government-pharmaceutical conspiracy…oh, you didn’t know about the conspiracy?…I’m on Larry King, I’m a more careful mom than you, I’m a maverick, yay me!

  • 5 Tracy S // Apr 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    How does Dr. Tuteur explain parents who fully vaccinated and trusted the vaccination policy and then became disenchanted with it only after seeing their children seriously injured? If you knew anything about the medical aspects of adverse vaccine reactions, including autism, you’d know that they are linked to abnormal immune systems. Why don’t you ask the ISO for a draft of their safety studies report? If they are taking this seriously to try to prevent adverse reactions, who are you geniuses to question…..talk about dime store.

  • 6 Joseph // Apr 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I contend vaccine rejectionism has little to do with the rare vaccine injuries that do occur. As an example, about 40,000 people are killed every year in car accidents in the US. Do you see motor vehicle rejectionism as a result? It doesn’t exist.

    The difference is in the emotional aspect of anti-vaccination: the ability to point the finger of blame away from oneself and onto a nebulous entity; and in the potential compensations that might result, which can be used to help care for the disabled person purportedly injured by vaccines.

  • 7 Amy Tuteur, MD // Apr 15, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    “How does Dr. Tuteur explain parents who fully vaccinated and trusted the vaccination policy and then became disenchanted with it only after seeing their children seriously injured?”

    Disenchantment is not the standard. The scientific evidence is the standard. It is not as though this hasn’t been studied. The purported link between vaccines and autism has been studied extensively and repeatedly. The scientific evidence indicates no difference in the incidence of autism between those who are vaccinated and those who are not. There is also no difference in the incidence of autism between those who received vaccines containing thimerosal and those who did not.

    We’ve looked and the link simply isn’t there. That’s not surprising when you consider that the classic descriptions of the onset of autism, elucidated long before the use of multiple vaccines, is exactly the same as the onset of autism today. Vaccines do not increase the incidence of autism. Thimerosal does not increase the incidence of autism. The natural history of autism has not changed since the introduction of vaccines. It cannot be any clearer than that.

    The conspiracy theories are a bunch of baloney. In order for there to be a conspiracy, someone must be hiding information. Doctors are vaccinating their children. Vaccine manufacturers are vaccinating their children. Immunologists are vaccinating their children. Who, precisely, is conspiring to keep information from the public and are we really supposed to believe that they would sacrifice their own children just to preserve the conspiracy?

    Moreover, it isn’t as though doctors, immunologist and vaccine manufacturers are denying that vaccines have risks. It is well known that vaccines can and will cause small numbers of deaths and cases of brain damage. We have set up a compensation system precisely because we know about and acknowledge these risks. If doctors, immunologists and vaccine manufacturers are forthcoming about the risk of DEATH, isn’t it a bit absurd to suggest that they would hide the risk of autism?

    One thing is certain, vaccine rejectionists do not understand immunology. Immunology is extremely complicated, so it’s not surprising that many people don’t understand it. However, the fact that they don’t understand it tells us nothing about immunology or vaccines, just like the fact that most people do not understand Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity tell us nothing about whether they are true.

    Autism is a very serious problem. To the extent that we waste time, money, attention and effort on something that is not causing autism, we are diverting time, money, attention and effort from finding the real cause for autism. That is the saddest aspect of this incredibly sad situation.

  • 8 HCN // Apr 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Tracy S: How do you explain what caused the seizures in my son? They happened when he was two days old, before he was ever vaccinated (over 19 years ago, so no HepB at birth vaccine).

    I’ve asked that question to folks who are too quick to blame vaccines. They cannot wrap their head around that sometimes bad things happen, and have happened since the dawn of mammals to newborns, infants and children. I’ve had them hem, hum and start blaming things like milk, bread, to the relative placement of the planets in our solar system.

    Sometimes bad things happen. We try to minimize the bad things, but everything has a risk. Yes, there is a small risk with getting a vaccine, but the risk of getting the actual disease is actually much higher.

    Also, sometimes the vaccines are blamed when something else much more obvious caused the problem. I read an analysis of some VAERS reports, http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/153/12/1279.pdf ..and it turned out some of the babies had other health issues, and then there was this one: “hospitalized 18 d after birth, discharge weight 2100 g; co-slept with mother on couch, found on back on floor beside couch”.

    If you have verifiable evidence that any vaccine in the present pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the actual disease. Please present it. I would really really like to know how much more dangerous the MMR is compared to measles, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome.

  • 9 autblog // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    We’re getting reports today of a rubella case in Milwaukee. More to come.

  • 10 Bad mommy // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:38 am

    Excellent, excellent point. Having a child that is not what they expected is deeply disempowering to some parents: they seek to regain their control by finding a mission, and conveniently something to blame that has nothing to do with themselves.

  • 11 TheProbe // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Dr. Amy said: “To the extent that we waste time, money, attention and effort on something that is not causing autism, we are diverting time, money, attention and effort from finding the real cause for autism. ”

    Just add one more thing and you will reach perfection…diverting funding from finding better interventions and family support.

    There is just not enough help for families out there.

  • 12 passionlessDrone // Apr 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Removed by administrator

  • 13 liquid zeolite // Apr 16, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    A train wreak occurs. A child’s head is injured. The likely culprit is mercury. Vaccines contain over 2000% more mercury than our own government advises as a safe level. Mercury is also in our environment, our food, etc. Mercury also causes Mito Dysfunction as well as a host of other injuries.

    Should a parent be upset if their child was wantonly injured by something that was 100% preventable? Of course. The Homeland Security Act gave immunity to Eli Lilly and the other vaccine makers. Why did they need immunity if their products were safe? Did the fact GH Bush sat on their BOD’s in the 70′s or current Bush admin members sat on their board (one even a ceo of eli lilly) have anything to do with this immunity or the fact that the amount of vaccines given to infants went from 3 to over 12 since Bush-1? I understand the desire to make money and save money with the cheap preservative mercury, but to do so when you know mercury is toxic and cause mental retardation is wanton disregard for children and should be punishable with prison time as well as financial ruination.

  • 14 HCN // Apr 16, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    liquid zeolite: Who ever said vaccines were 100% safe?

    And where is the research that shows that the tiny amount of thimerosal that used to be in vaccines (and is no longer in pediatric vaccines, even flu vaccines are available thimerosal free!)?

    Show us that anything is 100% safe, and you might have an argument. Telling us that some OTHER pharmaceutical product has issues does nothing to support the premise that vaccines are dangerous or unnecessary.

    In the mean time, please, please, please tell me which vaccine in the present pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the actual disease. If you say that it is the DTaP, then show how it has caused more injury than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis!

  • 15 liquid zeolite // Apr 17, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Show me where any vaccine can guarantee protection from disease. On the contrary, I believe mostly all vaccines are unnecessary and harmful in nature. As for being safe, let me quote some folks who know a thing or two more than I on the subject:

    “No batch of vaccine can be proved safe before it is given to children.” Surgeon General of the United States Leonard Scheele, addressing an AMA convention in 1955

    “The only safe vaccine is a vaccine that is never used” Dr. James A. Shannon, National Institutes of Health

    “When you inoculate children with a polio vaccine you don’t sleep well for two or three weeks.”–Jonas Salk (Oct 1954)

    “I am hugely grateful to Vivienne Parry, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on the controversial MMR injection, for finally explaining the true attitude of the authorities: ‘There’s a small risk with all vaccines,’ she says. ‘No one has ever said that any vaccine is completely without side-effects.”

    As to which vaccine is more dangerous than the actual disease, I’d say all of them! My children are smart, they eat good food, and they’ve never been (and never will be) vaccinated. I don’t believe in the health model of causing harm to try and prevent a larger harm. If the larger harm were likely, then maybe, but tell me which disease that is covered with immunizations is likely to return? Most of the diseases were on the decline anyway before vaccinations and certainly before Bush (GHB) started us on this highway to hell in the 80′s with this wanton shot schedule that is GUARANTEED to cause disease in children. I wonder if the fact GH Bush sat on the BOD of Eli Lilly (largest vaccine maker) has anything to do with his desire to ran these shots down our kids throats. I wonder why his sob kid gave Eli Lilly immunity from litigation for making harmful vaccines which goes against a free market where companies who poison people are cause wide spread harm are litigated out of business. Would the world be a better place if kids were not vaccinated? I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water but I would throw out the brown bathwater, the toxins that are not needed and are only used to help the bottom line of the greedy drug companies. Period.

  • 16 liquid zeolite // Apr 17, 2008 at 12:26 am

    History proves 1) the diseases that we’re vaccinating against are no longer a threat and 2) vaccines do not protect us from whatever they’re supposed to protect us from. Case an point, if I’m not right on any of this, call me a liar and prove me wrong:

    Cowpox vaccine was believed able to immunize people against smallpox. At the time this vaccine was introduced, there was already a decline in the number of cases of smallpox. Japan introduced compulsory vaccination in 1872. In 1892 there were 165,774 cases of smallpox with 29,979 deaths despite the vaccination program. A stringent compulsory smallpox vaccine program, which prosecuted those refusing the vaccine, was instituted in England in 1867. Within 4 years 97.5 % of persons between 2 and 50 had been vaccinated. The following year England experienced the worst smallpox epidemic[1] in its history with 44,840 deaths. Between 1871 and 1880 the incidence of smallpox escalated from 28 to 46 per 100,000. The smallpox vaccine does not work.

    Much of the success attributed to vaccination programs may actually have been due to improvement in public health related to water quality and sanitation, less crowded living conditions, better nutrition, and higher standards of living. Typically the incidence of a disease was clearly declining before the vaccine for that disease was introduced. In England the incidence of polio had decreased by 82 % before the polio vaccine was introduced in 1956. In the early 1900s an astute Indiana physician, Dr. W.B. Clarke, stated “Cancer was practically unknown until compulsory vaccination with cowpox vaccine began to be introduced. I have had to deal with two hundred cases of cancer, and I never saw a case of cancer in an un-vaccinated [2] person.”

    Measles outbreaks have occurred in schools with vaccination rates over 98 % in all parts of the U.S. including areas that had reported no cases of measles for years. As measles immunization rates rise to high levels measles becomes a disease seen only in vaccinated persons. An outbreak of measles occurred in a school where 100 % of the children had been vaccinated. Measles mortality rates had declined by 97 % in England before measles vaccination was instituted.

    In 1986 there were 1300 cases of pertussis in Kansas and 90 % of these cases occurred in children who had been adequately vaccinated. Similar vaccine failures have been reported from Nova Scotia where pertussis continues to be occurring despite universal vaccination. Pertussis remains endemic[4] in the Netherlands where for more than 20 years 96 % of children have received 3 pertussis shots by age 12 months. After institution of diphtheria vaccination in England and Wales in 1894 the number of deaths SA from diphtheria rose by 20 % in the subsequent 15 years. Germany had compulsory vaccination in 1939. The rate of diphtheria spiraled to 150,000 cases that year whereas, Norway which did not have compulsory vaccination, had only 50 cases of diphtheria the same year. The continued presence of these infectious diseases in children who have received vaccines proves that life long immunity which follows natural infection does not occur in persons receiving vaccines. The injection process places the viral particles into the blood without providing any clear way to eliminate these foreign substances.

  • 17 autblog // Apr 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I won’t call you a liar, LZ, but you are being disingenuous in the way you present your case.

    First of all, vaccines are not 100% effective. For some reason they don’t work in a small percentage of cases. But that is a far cry from your claim that they never work. The reason that more vaccinated than unvaccinated persons are infected in a disease outbreak is because there are typically more of the former than the latter.

    I’m glad your unvaccinated children are healthy. And it sounds like you’re feeding them well. But you can also credit their health to the fact that other people do vaccinate their kids. I won’t lecture you on herd immunity, but if you’re not familiar with the term, please look it up.

  • 18 Joseph // Apr 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Vaccines contain over 2000% more mercury than our own government advises as a safe level.

    That and a whole lot of other stuff liquid zeolite is saying is pure nonsense.

    Vaccines have a mercury concentration 2000% higher than the EPA deems is safe for drinking water, is what you’re trying to say. That’s a completely different statement. Vaccines are not drinking water. You only get a tiny amount of vaccine on occasion throughout your lifetime, whereas you drink liters of water every day. The total amount of mercury consumed is what matters, not the PPB concentration of mercury.

  • 19 HCN // Apr 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Answers from LZ included information from:
    “….., addressing an AMA convention in 1955

    ….Jonas Salk (Oct 1954)

    ……..
    ….in 1872. In 1892 …, was instituted in England in 1867. …. Between 1871 and 1880 ….

    in 1956. In the early 1900s an…n 1986 ….”

    Do you have any information less than 20 years old? Actually, please do not crib off of the Whale.to website (or from who ever takes it from there, yes… I’ve seen them before).

    Do you have the answer to this question (I could not find the answer in your responses): Which vaccine in the present (in case you also are on an alternative calendar, this is the year 2008) pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the actual disease? If it is the MMR (which has been in use in the USA since 1971 and has never contained thimerosal), please show the journal papers that have the actual documentation that it is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella. Not random quotes, but a PubMed indexed paper.

    And LZ continues: “Much of the success attributed to vaccination programs may actually have been due to improvement in public health related to water quality and sanitation, less crowded living conditions, better nutrition, and higher standards of living. ….”

    How does that explain the return of measles to California, Wisconsin, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Australia and Japan?

    Actually, in Japan many schools were closed in 2007 to stem a measles epidemic:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18357755?

    Did the return of measles there have to do with the reduction of sanitation in Japan, or more with their government making measles vaccination voluntary ten years before?

  • 20 HCN // Apr 18, 2008 at 9:03 am

    LZ, I really want to know what real research shows that the DTaP is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Especially after reading this:
    http://ernursey.blogspot.com/2008/04/whooping-cough.html

  • 21 liquid zeolite // Apr 18, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    This comment removed for its spam content – admin.

  • 22 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 12:40 am

    It seems you do not have anything to show that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria.

    I have this:
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5450a3.htm … It says “Among persons of all ages with pertussis, 33 cases of encephalopathy and 56 pertussis-related deaths were reported during 2001–2003.”

    Where is it documented that the DTaP causes that many deaths and encephalopathy in a two year period? Do you have that information from a reputable source?

  • 23 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Oh, and when do you plan on answering my question about the rise of measles in Japan, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, California and Wisconsin? Were they caused by a reduction of sanitation or by a reduction of vaccination? It is an easy thing to find out, why do you refuse to even try to answer!?

  • 24 Dave Seidel // Apr 19, 2008 at 5:44 am

    “Spam.” = *crickets*

  • 25 liquid zeolite // Apr 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Spam? I didn’t post any links, only info. Anyway, whatever, the Internet is a place where truth cannot be suppressed (not even in China, a place the admin here should live) as there are plenty of sites that have the truth.

    Here are the facts about the 2000% stat. It’s from the CDC itself came to that conclusion between vaccines and Mercury. “Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Data Link, concluded that children who receive thimerosal-containing vaccinations are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who do not. That’s a 2,700 percent increase. The numbers just don’t lie.”

    27 times more likely means 2700% increase, not 2,700 times more!(on). I knew the number was 20X plus and I chose to be conservative.

    Anyone here who doesn’t believe Mercury causes Autism is 1) A drug company shill. 2) Misinformed by the drug companies propaganda (remember the tobacco companies studies: smoking does not cause cancer and is not addictive – yeah right, LIARS. Drug companies = same ilk ie, scum bags looking to make a buck even if it kills their customers) Where was I. 3) In denial because they feel responsible for their child’s condition, thinking “I should have known”. Now why would I bet my life and the health of my children on the fact that Mercury causes Autism? 1) Amish don’t get shots and eat healthy, mercury free food and drink mercury free water and breath mercury free air (not near a coal plant, manufacturing site, etc) and guess what, they NEVER develop autism unless they get vaccinated – (adopted, etc) 2) The CDC says those who get shots are 27 times more likely to get Autism. That’s mathematically beyond coincidence. (if you disagree, stand up and be counted as a dolt) 3) Mercury destroys the immune system and causes brain damage, according to Eli Lilly (internal FOIA released docs) 4) People who live near mercury producing power plants also suffer higher than average autism rates.

    So are vaccines the sole cause? Of course not. Environmental factors also play a role. However, we have no control over environmental mercury but we do in regards to Mercury poisoning via Vaccines. Period.

  • 26 autblog // Apr 19, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    The Amish vaccinate, and they are not immune to autism.

    Period.

  • 27 liquid zeolite // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Please show me where the Amish vaccinate. If they did, they wouldn’t be Amish as it’s against their beliefs. If you don’t know what we’re talking about here, google the term: The Age of Autism: The Amish Elephant By Dan Olmsted. Period.

  • 28 liquid zeolite // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    “I have not seen autism with the Amish,” said Dr. Frank Noonan, a family practitioner in Lancaster County, Pa., who has treated thousands of Amish for a quarter-century.

    “You’ll find all the other stuff, but we don’t find the autism. We’re right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none, and that’s just the way it is.”

    In Chicago, Homefirst Medical Services treats thousands of never-vaccinated children whose parents received exemptions through Illinois’ relatively permissive immunization policy. Homefirst’s medical director, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, told us he is not aware of any cases of autism in never-vaccinated children; the national rate is 1 in 175, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “We have a fairly large practice,” Eisenstein told us. “We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we’ve taken care of over the years, and I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines.

  • 29 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    How do you know about their beliefs?

    Please, you believe Dan Olmsted? He claimed to research the Amish, but never knew about the Clinic for Special Children until AFTER his first article came out.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00050435.htm … ” The programmatic efforts to reach and vaccinate Amish populations were coordinated through the Division of Immunization and state immunization programs, and used the efforts of many CDC public health advisors. Vaccination efforts involved extensive contacts with Amish groups in the 21 states and ultimately resulted in vaccination of approximately one half of Amish persons in the United States. ”

    Oh, and you said this: ” Now why would I bet my life and the health of my children on the fact that Mercury causes Autism? 1) Amish don’t get shots and eat healthy, mercury free food and drink mercury free water and breath mercury free air (not near a coal plant, manufacturing site, etc)…”

    Um… yeah… Where in this country is there not a coal plant or manufacturing plant? Pennsylvania? Illinois?

    Also, since mercury is ubiquitous, where do you find mercury-free anything? Does this also mean that the Amish do not eat fish?

    Can you please tell us what documentation shows that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria?

  • 30 autblog // Apr 19, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    “Please show me where the Amish vaccinate. If they did, they wouldn’t be Amish as it’s against their beliefs. ”

    LZ, you’ve been warned to stick to facts. There is nothing in Amish doctrine that proscribes vaccination. The Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA (the clinic Olmsted didn’t know about) has a weekly vaccination clinic that is very busy. You can read about it on this blog.

    Dr. Eisenstein has no proof for his claims. He has admitted as much.

  • 31 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    LZ: You claim to know about the Amish from reading Dan Olmsted. Why did he neglect to go to the Clinic for Special Children and interview people who work with the Amish, and actually study the very serious genetic diseases that occur in that population?

    This is a list of the papers here:
    http://www.clinicforspecialchildren.org/Research.html

  • 32 autblog // Apr 20, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Olmsted says the Amish children have the wrong kind of autism. They only show “autistic features”. I’ve heard that phrase one other time, but can’t quite remember where. Can you help me out here, LZ? Who else has autistic features but not autism?

  • 33 Joseph // Apr 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    “Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Data Link, concluded that children who receive thimerosal-containing vaccinations are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who do not. That’s a 2,700 percent increase. The numbers just don’t lie.”

    LZ: Please cite. This cannot be substantiated. In fact, I’ve seen where this comes from, and I also know for a fact that the original source of this cannot be found and has not been produced upon request. Give us the confidence interval too.

  • 34 Joseph // Apr 21, 2008 at 8:01 am

    LZ, you there? Were you able to come up with an original source of the 27 risk ratio?

    It’s clearly a fabrication. I’ve looked at all the Verstraeten et al. early drafts and data even before the drafts. There’s no such risk ratio.

    Those numbers do lie it seems. It would be interesting to know who’s responsible for making that up.

  • 35 Joseph // Apr 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    LZ?

    *crickets*

  • 36 Con Trail // Apr 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    You guys are expecting a reasonable, science-based conversation with someone who sells zeolite?

    Apparantly, you all have been too greatly affected by fluoride and nasty chemicals from contrails…

  • 37 liquid zeolite // Apr 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    To answer your question on the “27 times” press release, I have a link to a copy of the PR on my website. Just in case my earlier post which has been “awaiting moderation” for over 1 hr now is not allowed.

    ___________

    Dude, you threatened violence in your last post, so this is it for you.
    -Admin

  • 38 Joseph // Apr 23, 2008 at 8:07 am

    A press release is not an original source. I can see that claim posted everywhere. Where does it come from? Apparently the NAS. Someone there irresponsibly fabricated it, or the NAS is being attributed a false press release. I think the NAS should be contacted for clarification.

  • 39 Mike // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:58 am

    A group like the National Autism Association wouldn’t “make up” information in a press release without paying a price (litigation) What’s the saying, “I don’t have a black eye so I must not have said anything bad”. Lori McIlwain, National Autism Association, (919) 272-8192 has never posted a retraction of that press release. I’m sure she was as surprised as everyone else that the original data she quoted was manipulated and ultimately changed.

    If this were to get tried in court, we would have plenty of circumstantial evidence that the original stats were manipulated and changed. The fact the CDC changed the numbers over the years is one damming fact. Then there are the private e-mails released via the FOIA that show the author of the data, Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, sent e-mails to other doctors and visa versa that suggest the numbers didn’t match the charts and that something had to be done to make the numbers acceptable. Here is a historical perspective on how the numbers changed from 1% from 4% from 11% and ultimately from 27% according to this PR.

    http://www.a-champ.org/science.html

  • 40 Joseph // Apr 23, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I’m aware of the data and have analyzed it. In fact, what is claimed about it is all a bunch of bullsh*t. The two early drafts by Verstraeten do not find a statistically significant risk factor for autism at any exposure. It’s all within the confidence interval. The sample sizes are small too, so the confidence intervals are pretty big. I wrote about that here:

    http://autismnaturalvariation.blogspot.com/2006/11/verstraeten-et-al-gambit.html

    Then there are a couple tables that came before there were any drafts (which were not easy to locate actually). In one there’s a risk factor of 7 and the next one, a risk factor of 11. But it’s interesting to look at the actual tables as opposed to the claims about the tables. There are many measures taken for autism (for different exposures) and there’s only one with a risk factor with a confidence interval outside 1.0. There are actually hundreds of measures taken, so it’s natural to expect that some will be outside the confidence interval, not to mention that Verstraeten et al. was not impervious to confounds.

    What’s most interesting is to look at the sample size that goes with those risk ratios. The latter table, where they find a risk ratio of 11, indicates n=2. That is, there were only 2 autistic children found at that exposure. That’s the number of children they used to calculate the risk ratio, which would’ve been silly to publish, wouldn’t it? The earlier table, which finds a risk ratio of 7, doesn’t indicate the value of n, but clearly it must have been 1 or 2. The confidence intervals are huge, obviously.

    It’s not surprising that as they added more children, the risk ratio moved in the direction of 1.0.

    If they were trying to cover up data, why did the risk ratio go higher in the second table?

    Still, I am not aware of any table with a risk ratio of 27. I think the NAS should be called on it to see if they can produce it.

  • 41 HCN // Apr 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Liquid Zeolite, aka Mike: Press releases are not real evidence. Answer Joseph’s question with actual evidence. Links to anti-vax websites do not count.

    (at least until ANB kicks you off again)

    ____________

    Mike left a rambling post which alleged that certain industries generate fluoride as a waste by-product, which is why fluoride is added to some municipal water supplies. That is so over-the-top paranoid and asinine that I marked it as spam.
    – Admin

  • 42 HCN // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I kind of figured he was a “our precious fluids” kind of loony from what he was posting on AutismVox.

    I wonder what he would have done in a couple of places I have been where sulfer occurs natually in the groundwater. The ice cubes in Central Texas tasted kind of funky, but my teenage skin cleared up!

  • 43 Measles Outbreak Illustrates Hidden Costs Of Trusting “People Like Us” | Envisioning 2.0 // May 2, 2008 at 10:42 am

    [...] on a New York Times story about the vaccination debate, Amy Tuteur, MD discussed why she believes the anti-vaccination argument is so powerful.  She [...]

  • 44 Roger // Jun 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    “Dr” Amy Tuteur is NOT a real doctor. She does NOT have a medical license. Her calling herself an MD is an act of fraud. Call the Massacheusetts medical Board, they will tell you that she has not been licensed since 2003.

    Get an opinion from a REAL doctor.

  • 45 HCN // Jun 28, 2008 at 10:30 am

    That is a stupid argument that is used when you do not have facts to counter with.

    That does not matter… I know of other real doctors who have not kept up the the very expensive board certification when they have retired or gone on to other jobs. The important thing is that she has gone to medical school, and that cannot be taken away from her.

  • 46 Robyne Rohde // Aug 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Here is some ‘evidenced based journalism’ for you:
    Why Some Parents Question Vaccines

    “Measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, health officials reported.”–Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press.

    By Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune.
    tinyurl.com/6jeszp

    From a public health standpoint, a drop in vaccination rates is considered a crisis because it increases the chances of a mass disease outbreak.
    But the real crisis is not that some parents skip or delay vaccination because they believe vaccines might pose health risks or are linked to autism. It’s that they’re losing confidence in public health officials and policy, partly because vaccines are being forced on them, regardless of their personal desires or beliefs.
    The mistrust began in 1997 when Congress asked the Food and Drug Administration to measure the levels of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal found in vaccines. At the same time, the Internet was dramatically changing how the public accessed medical information.
    Safety standards for thimerosal did not exist, but the finding that six-month-old children could be exposed to 187.7 micrograms of mercury (more than 80 micrograms above the recommended limit for methylmercury, a related compound) prompted safety concerns. Thimerosal was removed from many (but not all) vaccines as a precaution.
    Meanwhile, the number of new and required vaccines kept rising. Immunization against diseases that were once a childhood rite of passage and that conferred lifelong immunity, such as chickenpox, was now mandated for public school.
    In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control recommended 23 doses of 7 vaccines for children up to age 6.
    Today, children are supposed to receive 48 doses of 12 vaccines by age six. (Toss in the flu shot, which may or may not be effective, and it boosts the number to 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18.)
    Even if the vaccines do not have thimerosal, parents are wondering, “Why do I have to give my child a Hepatitis B shot at birth?” And “Why have more than two dozen states tried to mandate the vaccine for humanpapilloma virus (HPV) when we still lack evidence that it’s effective against cervical cancer, something Dr. Charlotte Haug pointed out in the New England Journal of Medicine?”
    Other developments that have undermined the public’s faith in health officials:
    * Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fudged data to prove that Hurricane Katrina survivors were not getting sick from their FEMA trailers, Democratic lawmakers charged. In fact, residents were breathing in formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
    * Last year, a week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced that the influenza vaccine was effective against only 40 percent of the season’s flu viruses, it recommended that all children over the age of 6 months get a flu shot.
    * In February, health officials announced that the combination vaccine Pro Quad, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, may pose some health risks.
    * Research suggests that America might be over-vaccinating its kids and that we might want to re-evaluate and adjust the immunization schedule. But not because of health concerns; the vaccines might just be unnecessary and waste a lot of money according to the study by researchers with Oregon Health & Science University published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
    * The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended issuing cholesterol drugs to ward off heart disease for some children as young as 8, even though there’s a lack of evidence that the use of statins in children would prevent heart attacks later in life. * A study in the journal Pediatrics found that 33 percent of pediatricians would strongly recommend the rotavirus vaccine, if it were up to the doctor’s discretion. But if it becomes an “official” recommendation by the AAP, that number goes up to 50 percent. Likewise 20 percent of pediatricians would recommend against it, but that number goes down to 11 percent if it is officially recommended for routine use. “This basically indicates that some pediatricians are willing to disregard their honest feelings about what is best for their patients and are unwilling to “buck the system,” my pediatrician told me. “Instead, they will blindly follow the dictates of the AAP.”
    * The AAP issued a sample letter to pediatricians suggesting that physicians tell parents who refuse to vaccinate that they have a “self-centered and unacceptable attitude” since their child is getting protection from others who have chosen to vaccinate. Parents who absolutely refuse to vaccinate could be booted from your pediatrician’s practice.
    * In Maryland, parents who didn’t vaccinate their children against chickenpox and Hepatitis B were threatened with jail time and fines.
    Vaccines represent social health without regard to individuals. That’s how they work. But threatening parents–especially American parents who pride themselves on rugged individualism–will not inspire them to vaccinate their children.
    We don’t know what causes autism or the other chronic childhood disorders that are increasing, including asthma, allergy and attention deficit disorder. Until we do, parents should have the right to ask as many questions as they need to. We routinely question the safety of most things we put in our children’s bodies, whether it’s food, herbs, over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs. Vaccines should not be an exception.

  • 47 HCN // Aug 27, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    More on Deardorff:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1223

  • 48 Robyne Rohde // Aug 27, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Okay, so this Sullivan guy who is a self proclaimed ‘knower of everything’ is gay (this is obviously good for our children and the people of this blog to look up too when it comes to listening to someone telling what is good for your children), he supports Obama who covorts with known terrorists and whose wife has never been proud to be an American until, oh yes, until her husband had the chance to become the president (like that is going to happen)….he believes in legalizing pot….shall I go on? Okay folks, if this is the kind of person you look to for answers regarding your ‘evidenced based jouralism’….I’m wasting my time with stark raving liberals……who are simply out for self gratification at anyone’s expense.

    Admin: Ms. Rhode assumes that the commenter “Sullivan” is Andrew Sullivan. That is an incorrect assumption.

  • 49 AutismNewsBeat // Aug 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    What does Andrew Sullivan have to do with this post? Did you wander into the wrong blog by mistake?

  • 50 HCN // Aug 27, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    i think she is reacting to the post I listed. I don’t think she realized that there is more than one “Sullivan”.

    Is there something you have against Disney/Pixar movies? See:
    http://www.animationusa.com/wd02/wd202n.html

  • 51 AutismNewsBeat // Aug 28, 2008 at 3:36 am

    I thought that was Ed Sullivan?

  • 52 Regan // Sep 2, 2008 at 1:53 am

    Robyne said,
    “Okay, so this Sullivan guy who is a self proclaimed ‘knower of everything’ is gay (this is obviously good for our children and the people of this blog to look up too when it comes to listening to someone telling what is good for your children)…”
    ———————
    Yes, ANDREW Sullivan is, and has never made any bones about it. David Kirby is also, for that matter, and ditto.
    And your particular point is…?

    What does anyone being gay or not, (or a liberal or not, for that matter) have to do with Amy Tuteur’s article or (the other) Sullivan’s review and critique of Julie Deardorff’s articles?

    Or was that just a gratuitous and seemingly desperate attempt at homophobic ad hominem?
    Offensive.

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