Thursday, January 6, 2011

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Bubbe goes head-to-head with CNN

Hey y'all! During a phone call with Bubbe, we started talking about the "Dr. Wakefield fraud" all over CNN, facebook, email, the twitter, and the Internet as a whole. She has some strong views, some personal experiences, and a lot of knowledge.  I am playing Switzerland because this is Bubbe's post. She requested that I let everyone know this is lengthy.  And now: here's Bubbe!! Welcome back!
Bubbelehs, I need to talk to you all about something important. And that is how to read what has NOT been written.

Why? Because CNN didn't write a lot today. And in their video that they offer up as proof that there's no link between autism and vaccinations, they offer no proof at all.

Yet they do it with such finesse and passion that a lot of people out there are tweeting about the story and expressing anger that they've been had by Dr. Wakefield.

They haven't.

Many, many years ago, long before Andrew Wakefield was Dr. Wakefield, a study was conducted on measles, and they discovered that measles, when combined with mercury, goes through a change and can cause, in some people, a variant of measles, one that is essentially internal measles on the stomach lining. But no accusations were made by the researcher, and so there was no threat to the pharmaceutical company.
Dr. Wakefield, much later, conducted research and discovered that in some children, autism symptoms appeared or dramatically increased within a short period of time following their mercury-filled MMR vaccination, oftentimes within days.

I, myself, believe this 100%. Why? Well, because:
(a) if you have measles on your stomach lining, logic tells me that you'll probably have tiny fissures, which are the defining feature of Leaky Gut Syndrome which, for people who can't digest certain peptides properly, is a major problem because you've now got a way for these nasties to leave the stomach and get into the bloodstream causing an opiate effect,
(b) I know of at least one person whose son was actually tested for this internal variant of measles by his local GP and had them, so I don't have to wonder if it's a real risk or not; I know it's real,
(c) I have worked with many families with children with autism, some of whom have the familiar story of "he was progressing totally typically, hitting every milestone until his vaccination". Some tell me that he was sick for days immediately after the vaccination and then recovered but gradually lost skills and gradually added stims. Others tell me that within days, he lost all his emergent speech skills. NB: not every child regressed following their vaccination, not by any means. But enough have to make it a familiar story.

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching story was the one where a young boy had been hitting his milestones on time or early, was developing speech, was happy and healthy in all regards. He had his MMR right on schedule, and within days, he was screaming, spitting, spinning, squealing, and rocking ALL THE TIME, and he was no longer talking or making eye contact. It took several years to understand that he had developed autism (this was long enough ago -- about the time Dr. Wakefield was conducting his research, in fact -- that autism diagnoses were slow to come and treatment approaches were hard to find). Finally, at about age 4, he was diagnosed and started an ABA program. He made great progress, but never regained the speech he had lost.

About a year into his program, it was time for his younger brother to be vaccinated. His mother pondered… should she? Shouldn't she? Her medical background weighed heavily on the "should" side and so she did it. And within days, her happy, healthy toddler had lost eye contact, speech sounds, and was rocking, spinning, squealing, screaming, and spitting. Déjà vu.

Britain's medical community would like to convince you that she and so many parents with stories similar to hers simply had bad luck.

They believe in the theory that if you say it loud enough, convincingly enough, with confidence, disdain for non-believers, and repeat yourself frequently enough, then what you say will somehow become true. (I like to refer to this technique as the "Baffle them with Bull****" technique.)

So what are the latest accusations? Not every child in the Wakefield study developed their symptoms immediately following the vaccine. GASP! Wait -- we already knew that some kids who react to the vaccination decline gradually.

What proof do they offer that this is "falsified data"? 6,000,000 words. Mind, no one actually points out any of those words as being the ones that prove falsification. They just imply that if this body of medical experts believe so strongly in it that they're willing to commit the time and money it takes to put down 6 million words, then it must be true.

Oh. Here's some more "proof". All of the other authors of the research have removed themselves from the study. Hmm… does that tell you that the research is flawed? Or does it tell you that they couldn't afford to be kicked out of the medical association the way Dr. Wakefield was? It might imply they're a bit wimpy, but I don't think so. I think it simply implies that they were afraid. They were afraid that if they stand up to the British Medical Association, they, too, will be forced out of medicine, and they don't have the courage, ability, desire, and/or network of friends to move to a new country and continue practicing the medicine they love there. So they cut their losses and stepped out of the firing range.

So proof that Dr. Wakefield falsified his study is that he believes in his work so much that he's willing to risk losing his medical license, but others on the study aren't. Does that make sense?

Does any of this make sense?

In a word: No.

Now, here's the thing. For a dozen years, now, the British medical powers-that-be have been trying to discredit this study. And they're still trying. And yet they're still failing. So jot down in your calendar, this autumn you can expect YET ANOTHER attempt. And that one will fail, too.

One last bone of contention I need to bring up with you. Well, it's really two, but they're connected. CNN asks the question, "And what has happened as a result of vaccinations going down?" Ready for it? "Kids got sick!" Hm. Well, yeah. But they also got better. Who here hasn't gotten sick in their life? Anyone? That's what I thought.

Nearly five years ago, my then-four year old got the mumps. We self-diagnosed (the big lumpy neck was a big clue) and called our doctor. He said, "Yup. Sounds like mumps. Give her Tylenol and be prepared for her to be home this month." So we called a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. He threw a bit of this and a bit of that together, told us how to make it into a *ahem* tasty tea for her, and wished us well. "Wait!", Bubbe cries. "When will she be able to return to school??" He looks at the calendar, says, "Well, today's Wednesday…. She'll be ready for school by Monday." AND SHE WAS. And now, she will never, ever get mumps again because she has a natural, God-given immunity.

We did tell her school that she was sick, and the school did send a warning out to the other students. But really, why? I mean, if vaccinations are so gosh-darn effective, please explain to me how one unvaccinated child who gets sick is going to infect all the other vaccinated children who are protected from catching it? And if they're not protected by the vaccination, then why bother vaccinating?

So go and listen to the CNN video clip. Read their article. Make sure, though, that you read it to the very end. Don't miss the part they hope you won't stick around to read. The part that says that someone who knows autism very, very well and who knows Dr. Wakefield very, very well as a result, cannot believe that the allegations (and that's all they are) can be true.

Because they're not.

And make sure you read what's NOT there.

Okay, Bubbe's done ranting now. Stay healthy, bubbelehs.


Anonymous said...


Judy Converse MPH RD LD said...

Thank you for skewering the cognitive dissonance that holds the whole crazy fear-of-routine-childhood-infection machine together. My sibs, cousins, classmates, and neighborhood pals shared chickenpox, mumps, measles (late 1950s-60s - and interestingly, we didn't get much flu). More rites of passage than terrors, moms didn't fret over this stuff. Neither did the pediatrician. In fact, kids who didn't get these were more worrisome. Now look at our children: More sick and disabled than any generation in US history, literally. It can't be said that vaccines have made our children healthier.

Dani G said...

Bubbe is awesome! Great post. Thanks for taking the time to put this all out there!!

Bubbe said...

@Judy: When my daughter was 6, my friend announced that his toddler had a raging case of chicken pox and asked if anyone wanted to send their kids over for a playdate. I jumped at the chance and made sure to tell my daughter that the poor little girl felt awful, so she should bestow lovin' upon her with plenty of hugs. Three weeks later, my daughter became naturally immune to chicken pox :-)
@all - thanks!

Gina @ Special Happens said...

Bubbe~ Wonderfully written I'm just clearing the fog from my head to know that there are *still* being given hard and fast attempts to knock down Dr. Wakefield and his paper. Thanks for writing this!

JennieB said...

I have to respectfully disagree with you on many counts. These arguments may sound good, but they are based on logic and intuition rather than science, and that is dangerous.

To your question: "please explain to me how one unvaccinated child who gets sick is going to infect all the other vaccinated children who are protected from catching it? And if they're not protected by the vaccination, then why bother vaccinating?"

This is not how vaccines work. Vaccinations are highly, but not 100%, effective in preventing a disease in any individual. They slow down the spread of disease such that fewer and fewer people will come in contact with it, eventually eradicating it from the group. But you need to have a large percent of the population vaccinated (usually 80-90% depending on the disease) to keep it from spreading.

You say that the medical community believes "in the theory that if you say it loud enough, convincingly enough, with confidence, disdain for non-believers, and repeat yourself frequently enough, then what you say will somehow become true." Isn't this what you are doing here? Even if you don't believe that the scientific & medical communities have enough evidence of anything, frankly, neither do you.

We're not talking about kids just getting sick and getting over it. We're talking about death and about a public health responsibility. I don't know anyone with Polio, but my parents sure did. Thanks, vaccines!

Anonymous said...

I taught special education for years. I had students with autism that were vaccinated, had sibling with autism and no vaccinations and saw families that clearly had a genetic connection. This article based on opinion and "stories" is dangerous. Totally agree with JennieB. Where is the science?

SM said...

I'm with JennieB on this - and by quoting the original post, "They believe in the theory that if you say it loud enough, convincingly enough, with confidence, disdain for non-believers, and repeat yourself frequently enough, then what you say will somehow become true." -- I'd argue that the same is true for the "anti-vax" people.

I've worked closely with individuals affected by MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) - ones that were NOT vaccinated. Ones who contracted rubella while pregnant and their children are now deafblind. That's deaf AND blind, just FYI. That's in addition to so many other problems.

So, if you asked me (and I know you didn't) if I knew (for a scientific 100% fact)* that the MMR vaccination would cause my son's Autism?....I would STILL do it. Because autism is hard, but there are things FAR worse that are preventable by these "demon vaccinations" that (some) people are so afraid of now.

I think one of the biggest issues here is that families affected by autism are desperate for someone/something to blame. Some preventable thing - a place to point and say "You did this to my child."

I know so many families with autistic children who had symptoms BEFORE vaccinations. One of the unfortunate parts of autism is that it's typical to see regression/symptoms at around the time of the MMR vaccination. It doesn't mean it caused it though.

*I don't believe it DID cause his Autism though, since he had sensory issues since birth.

Dani G said...

I completely agree with JennieB- the vaccine programs work. That's why we don't have Polio anymore!! Amazing! However, since there haven't been new cases of Polio, I don't feel the need to vaccinate my already fragile child against it. I do NOT believe in chicken pox vaccines and have asked my pediatrician to call me when someone comes in with the pox so Little Bird can be exposed and get the immunities the old fashioned way without the vaccine's additives. I spent the money to draw titres on my bird so I know that the one dose she received of the MMR vaccine gave her the proper amount of antibodies to protect her should she come in contact with the viruses; this is how I made my decision NOT to give her the booster- because her blood told me she did not need it. Of course, not everyone can or is willing to spend the dough to draw titres which is way more expensive that vaccines.
Still, I do believe that some vaccines are important. Others, I don't feel are as important. I feel blessed to live in an area with clean water and access to good medical care, rendering the diptheria vaccine unnecessary for us. Whooping cough, though, that's a good one.
There's no right answer for any one person or family. I do, however, believe that we ALL need to have the choice to do what we feel is right.

I say all this as a mommy of a kid whose Autism was not caused by vaccines, but I'd NEVER question another mom's experience. Ever.

I hope the two sides can come together to do whatever it takes to help our kids get better and NOT let this keep happening to other families.

Tam said...

From the paper the BBC based their article on:
"That put the first symptom two months earlier than reported in the Lancet, and a month before the boy received the MMR vaccination. And this was not the only anomaly to catch the father’s eye. What the paper reported as a “behavioural symptom” was noted in the records as a chest infection."

Now you tell me, how is that not proof of falsification? And that's just one concrete example of proof the study data was altered by Wakefield, why do you say there's no evidence?

It DOES NOT MATTER if you like Wakefield, or even think his CONCLUSIONS could be right. THIS STUDY WAS FALSIFIED. And that is the point. If you really think you're right you should be pissed at WAKEFIELD for muddying the field. No one's going to touch these kinds of studies for a long time, because he screwed the pooch.

Megs said...

While I think there could be a connection, it seems there are a lot of things that COULD be a connection. My own son was behind on vac because we didn't have insurance for about a year when he was 9 months till almost 2 and the doctor assured me that it was better to just catch him up before he hit school age rather than take on added expense we couldn't afford. So he had not had the MMR vaccine that is supposed to cause issues, yet he still regressed at about that age. That leads me to believe that its more an age issue rather than a vaccine issue. Also I would point out that Japan spread out the vaccines so it was not all in one and it has done nothing to lower their autism diagnosis rates.

That being said I too wonder about some of these vaccines and what they do to our immune systems? My sisters both had measles and mumps and are much less sick (in general) than I am. I was not going to vax but then my MIL told me the horror story about my husband and him getting the measles and mumps at the same time (she took him to the doctor for one and he caught the other in the waiting room). He almost died and she ended up having to sleep in a recliner (so she did not sleep too deeply and not wake up if he had issues) with him on her chest so she would know he was breathing. Thats a little different than a "minor" disease like chicken pox.

I think we tend to loose track of the fact that these diseases did kill, thats why they vaccinated against them originally.

frazzledmomma said...

Thanks to all commenters for being respectful, and using your vocabulary instead of being profane. Although there are differing opinions, everyone voiced them responsibly. I appreciate that greatly. I have visited some sites today that were not as fortunate. Our followers ROCK!!!

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