Averages


All of these are US numbers only – these are not worldwide cases. No fluff this time, just the actual numbers based on pre vaccination levels of the diseases we vaccinate against today (relative to their time periods).

Poliomyelitis (Polio) affected 58,000 people and killed 3,000 in 1953
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polio_vaccine

Measles averaged 542,000 cases and 450 deaths per year from 1953 – 1963
http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/189/Supplement_1/S1.long

HiB Meningitis affected 12,000 per year leaving 3,000 with permanent brain damage and killing 600 by the mid 1980s
http://www2.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/hib/hib.html

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) killed 10,000 per year pre vaccine
http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/whooping_cough.html

Pertussis is making 10x – 100x comeback in countries that reduced the use of the vaccine
http://www.fcs.uga.edu/cfd/cdl/docs/vaccines_exemptions.pdf

Pneumococcus was cited in 86,700 cases per year pre vaccine
http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/a-look-at-each-vaccine/pneumococcus-vaccine.html

Rubella had a reported 12,500,000 cases from 1964 – 1965 causing 11,000 deaf kids, 3,500 blind kids, 1,800 mentally retarded kids, 2,100 neonatal deaths
http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/rubella

Varicella (ChickenPox) infected 11,000 kids and killed 100 per year prior to the vaccine
http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20110725/sharp-drop-in-chickenpox-deaths-due-to-vaccine

Hepatitis B killed 4,000 per year prior to vaccination
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075.pdf

Diphtheria infected 206,000 while killing 15,520 in 1921 alone
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm

Tetanus averaged 550 cases resulting in 472 deaths per year prior to vaccination becoming available
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=209448

Mumps 212,000 cases per year prior to vaccine
http://www.smartvax.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82

Totals prior to vaccines becoming available

Since we are vaccinating against all of the diseases at the same time, I’m taking liberty to compare all the diseases at the same time.

Cases of preventable disease: 13,638,250
(Adding the above numbers together)

Deaths as a result: 38,642
(Adding the above numbers together)

Totals since vaccines have become available

Some of these diseases have been eradicated, however, in rare cases you can still contract the disease you have been vaccinated against. Below are the percentage reduction of cases reported (these are just reported cases, not deaths)

Poliomyelitis: 100% (eradicated)
Measles: 99%
HiB Meningitis: 99%
Pertussis: 93%
Pneumococcus: 74%
Rubella: 99%
Varicella: 89%
Hepatitis B: 83%
Diphtheria: 100% (eradicated)
Tetanus: 99%
Mumps: 99%

http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/02/19/a-graphic-that-drives-home-how-vaccines-have-changed-our-world/

Now for more math. For this, I will assume that the death rate decreased by the same amount that the reported cases do (see above rate decreases). What, then, would be the delta in death rates pre vaccine availability to post vaccine availability.

Poliomyelitis: 3,000 deaths pre vaccine, 0 deaths post vaccine = 3,000 lives saved per year
Measles: 450 deaths pre vaccine, 5 deaths post vaccine = 445 lives saved per year
HiB Meningitis: 600 deaths pre vaccine, 6 deaths post vaccine = 594 lives saved per year
Pertussis: 10,000 per year pre vaccine, 700 deaths post vaccine = 9,300 lives saved per year
Rubella: 2,100 deaths pre vaccine, 21 deaths post vaccine = 2,079 lives saved per year
Varicella: 100 deaths pre vaccine, 11 deaths post vaccine = 89 lives saved per year
Hepatitis B: 4,000 deaths pre vaccine, 680 deaths post vaccine = 3,320 lives saved per year
Diphtheria: 15,520 deaths pre vaccine, 0 deaths post vaccine = 15,520 lives saved per year
Tetanus: 472 deaths pre vaccine, 5 deaths post vaccine = 467 lives saved per year

Total projected lives saved per year (in the United States only) = 34,814

Injuries resulting from the administration of vaccines

Average vaccinations given per year: 109,000,000
http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/events/immunization_week/2012/further_information/en/index1.html

Injuries resulting from vaccination: 17,500
(350,000 injuries from 1990 – 2010)
http://www.activistpost.com/2013/01/pretty-damning-statistics.html

Deaths resulting from vaccination: 94
(1,881 deaths from 1990 – 2010)
http://www.activistpost.com/2013/01/pretty-damning-statistics.html

Reasonable minds can look at those statistics and understand that if everyone stopped vaccinations tomorrow, we would be trading 94 average deaths per year for 38,642 within one generation. It is not a winning bet.

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An Ode to Marci


“They say behind every great man there’s a woman. While I’m not a great man, there’s a great woman behind me.” – Meryll Frost, 1946

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” – Proverbs 31:10, ESV

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians 5:25, ESV

These are just a few things that came to mind today as I thought about the woman whom I am married to. Over the last ten years with Marci, I have come to appreciate her ability to manage what life throws at her. We’ve had good times and bad times. It sometimes seemed that the bad times would never cease, yet all the while, Marci held fast and helped us get through.

We’ve had four jobs, five cars, and two houses in our time together and each one brought its own challenges. Each one, Marci and I met head on. Marci was the one who basically raised two girls as if she were a single mom while I traveled the world with a previous job. Many times she’d be up all day with the kids and still be up in the dead of night just to chat with me in some far away country.

By far though, the most challenging task we’ve taken on together was the raising of our four children. This has also been our most rewarding (by a vast amount). Make no mistake, however, it hasn’t always been easy peasy.

Elaine, Bella, and Izaiah were all babies with exceptional colic and for a few months with each, we weren’t sure how we’d make it through. David, our third, has been the biggest test of our combined willpower.

For two and one half years, while I lived off a couple hours sleep per night, Marci lived off several minutes. David didn’t sleep, wouldn’t eat, hated touch – but couldn’t be without it.

For two and one half years, Marci dutifully drug David from doctor to doctor to doctor to doctor to doctor in hopes of finding the reason for David’s extreme behavior. All while also running the other kids to their various events.

For two and one half years, Marci had the house clean. Clothes washed. Dishes done. Supper made. No questions, just did it.

In the roughly year and a half since we’ve had a diagnosis of Autism for little David, it’s been mostly Marci who has spent hours one on one each day with him, teaching him how to communicate in a world that does not make sense to him. When people compliment us on how far David has come, they really should be speaking mostly to Marci.

Since our most recent child, Izaiah, was born Marci (in my humble opinion) has reached a status of superwoman that was once reserved for only 7 women in the whole Bible. I believe if the Bible were written today, there would be a book of Marci right next to Ruth.

While balancing an infant, an Autistic, a redhead, and an independent child Marci has managed to start an Autism support group and a non-profit business who make and distribute (for free) life changing weighted blankets. Soon she will begin life as a speaker as she travels around Iowa talking about Autism and her non-profit.

Where will the next ten years take us, I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out with the love of my life, one Marci Elaine Prose.

What’s the Big deal with the Big A?


This is something that has bugged me for a bit. What is the big deal with Autism?

Think about it for a second, when you think of Autism, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? If you do not currently have a child with Autism, I’ll go out on a limb and say it was not a good thought. A screaming child, a zoned out child, a child that might not ever speak, a child whose rage is uncontrollable. Perhaps it was more personal like meals at sit down restaurants are now out, shopping together as a family won’t be happening, forget about sitting together in church, you might lose some of your friends, or family might not invite you to events. All these things are certainly a part of Autism, however, they are not the full story only the “bad half.”

A lot of people, myself included, have tried to find reasons behind what causes Autism, or conversely, what doesn’t cause Autism. To an extent, that is a good use of some resources. I fear though, that we are devoting too much time and energy to this task and not enough to resources to spread awareness or to help those who are directly affected by Autism. What I fear more is what happens when we find a concrete reason, and possibly develop a test to detect it in vitro. Will people decide to abort children who test positive? Will we try to “cure” kids afflicted with the Autism gene? Will we slowly lose the assets to society that these kiddos can grow to be? I, for one, hope not.

I want to take a moment to expound a bit about the “good half” of Autism.

First I’ll take a moment to explain one point of clarification. Autism is a very large spectrum and encompasses many sub-categories, however, most Autistics can be lumped into one of two unofficial groups: High Functioning and Low Functioning. In this piece, I will speak mostly to high functioning Autism as that’s what we are dealing with ourselves, and it’s more common anyway. You’ll also notice that there will be very few links in this article mainly because, this is mostly just my personal opinion (just as written thing should be regarded without proper sources listed).

A world without Autistics or people with Autistic tendencies would be a world without engineers, artists, musicians, computer programmers, mathematicians, and builders. Whole industries would be wiped out.

Autistics often have tremendous visual skills. They may think in pictures and movies, not words like most “normal” people. This gives them a leg up on conceptualizing things large or small. They can look at a set of drawings and spot the technical problems before the project starts because they can visualize it in their heads. Contractors with Autistic tendencies can listen to you describe your dream home and build it in their head on the fly, possibly adding options or changes that you might not have thought about or have the ability to see.

Other Autistics can see patterns in things that most simply can not. This allows for amazing feats of artistry. Some of our most celebrated works of art come from artists who all exhibited Autistic characteristics. Van Gogh and Leonardo are the most famous, but there are literally thousands of Autistic artists living among us today, search Google images for Autistic Artist and enjoy the visual virtuosos collective body of work.

Most music prodigies possess Autistic tendencies. Men and women who can arrange and play songs in any key after only hearing it once are most likely visual thinkers, a trait commonly found in Autistic people.

The theory of relativity (E=MC2) might not have been discovered if not for the unkempt Albert Einstein. His and the contributions of other mathematicians have helped shape our understanding of the way the world works around us. After all, it took Galileo to figure out that the earth revolves around the sun instead of the other way around. Perpetual motion, gravity, our own atmosphere might still be a mystery if not for the contributions of guys and gals who can crunch giant formulas in their heads.

Lastly our life as we enjoy it today, rich with computers and gadgets, would not be possible without the brains behind the keyboards able to see and formulate lines of code that would make “normal” people cry. Bill Gates himself demonstrates many Autistic traits.

I’m going to continue to boil down Autism to the one big thing that separates Autistics from “normal” people – social graces. As in basically what Autistics have in extra smarts, they lack in the ability to say that dress looks nice on you.

It has been widely accepted that if you lose one of your senses, others seem to step up and fill in for the void. Many believe that there is a similar effect with Autistics. Autistics are not deficient per se, they are just wired differently. The cords that link power to all parts of the “normal” person’s brain might just be shifted to send more power to the visual part of the Autistic brain. With that shift, it’s necessary that Autistics would lose power to other parts of the brain – after all, there is only a finite amount of power available.

There are countless commercials, movies, and comedians who poke fun at the computer guy with hygiene issues and complete lack of tact. For the most part, that stereotype is correct. For the most part, those are Autistic people. For the most part, they mentally run circles around the people they have a hard time talking to. Everyone knows that one person who is “book smart” but lacks all common sense. This is the case with people who are Autistic or possess signs of Autism. Einstein didn’t understand why he needed to cut his hair, Steve Jobs couldn’t figure out deodorant, and clothing style was a complete mystery to Temple Grandin.

That’s the basic trade off: incredible brain power / lack of or total loss of social awareness. That’s a trade off that we need in this world. After all, if it weren’t for some Autistic tendencies, we could be could still be cold, hungry, and in a cave because our ancestors of old would have been too obsessed with popularity to figure out things like fire, spears, and construction.

So yes, raising an Autistic child is hard. It was literally hell on earth for the first 2 ½ years of our David’s life. And while we still are basically raising a non-verbal child who mostly repeats words, and has very few spontaneous expressions, I wouldn’t trade David for the world. After all, he’s here to change it.

A Little Different


I am going to do something a little different here, I’m going to agree with my anti-vaccine friends.  Afterall, we all want our children to be safe and vaccines clearly are not safe.  Let me share some data.

Since the inception of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in 1990 and continuing through 2010, a total of 350,000 vaccine caused events have been reported.  Of these reported events, 1,881 deaths occurred (1,623 of which were children).  I have a link to a synopsis of this information, conveniently located on an anti-vaccination website:

http://www.activistpost.com/2013/01/pretty-damning-statistics.html

Of course, the fact that in 2010 alone, there were an estimated 109 million vaccinations given is irrelevant (1), I mean 1,881 deaths over a 20 year span (an average of a little over 94 total deaths per year) is a lot, what can be worse!

Before I get into the what can be worse and how bad, let me first get into what is in a vaccine, prepare to be amazed and appalled!

To boil it all down, a vaccine consists of a pathogen (the virus), and sometimes a stabilizer (if the vaccine is not frozen).  Check out these fun little things to learn that those big pharma crooks are up to here:

http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/how-vaccines-are-made

It’s amazing, to get rid of the thing they’re vaccinating against, they inject us with a weak version of the thing they don’t want us to get – how nuts is that!!

It gets worse, do you know what they use to stabilize these mini plagues in a bottle? (2)  Aluminium! And in the same massive doses as the air we breathe and the water we drink! (3)  Egg proteins make an appearance as well as other Antibiotics (oh no, more medicine!).  Formaldehyde is used to kill germs and is removed before the vaccine is packaged, that’s the same stuff that appears naturally in the food we eat everyday! (4) Lastly, Thimerosal is used.  What’s Thimerosal you ask – it’s mercury!  That’s the stuff that was banned from all vaccines in the US since 1999 (5), and also occurs naturally in some of the food we eat! (6)

So all that bad information coupled with places like the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and a whole host of individual medical professionals and non-medical laypersons with nothing to gain financially telling me I should risk my child’s health with this toxic stuff.

You know what else is toxic, we residents of any 1st world country in the world are constantly being bombarded with unbelievably non-harmful microwave radio signals, microwave satellite signals, microwave television signals, and microwave cellular signals everywhere we go! (7) All at various levels and frequencies!!  I think I want to leave this country.  Who’s with me!

Okay, let’s go!  Let’s head to some uninhabited islands in the middle of the worlds largest ocean – look, the Marshal Islands are open!  Wow there’s several to choose from, goody! (8)

First we have to get out of bed.

216725

Ok, I’ll be careful then

We made it out of bed, now let’s hop in the car.  Wait, can’t do that – there were 34,080 car related deaths (kids and adults) in the US in 2012, that’s a lot more than the 94 average deaths per year for kids and adults….like 362 times more dangerous! (9)

Ok cars are out, clearly no one who cares so much about the welfare of their children would dare let them set foot in an automobile.  Let’s take a plane instead.  Wow, there is an industry record low average of 153 deaths a year over the last 10 years in plane related accidents. (10) Obviously, since 153 is higher than 94, airline travel is almost twice as dangerous as vaccines so I can not in good confidence subject my children to the perils of zipping through the air at subsonic speeds!

Let’s swim there, sorry, can’t do that either drowning kills 3,533 people a year. (11) Couple that with the 36 shark attack deaths in the US each year! (12)

Well, we’ll just take a boat!  Nope, can’t do that either 651 deaths in 2012! (13) As a responsible, caring parent of children, I will never let my kids go near water!  Especially not when it is so much more dangerous than vaccines!

So I can’t get us to the Marshal Islands after all, let’s just dig a hole in the ground and live there.  After all it’s definitely not safe up top!  I think I’ll ponder this over a hot dog.

 

216647

Oh no!

Nope, can’t do that either, seems that 70 people a year die from digging holes (14) and 93 a year in the US from working in mines (or being underground). (15)  Not to mention just trying to get down there would kill us too.

 

216705

Maybe jumping would be safer?

Guess I’ve struck out, not sure where to go from here…

If you’ve read this far, you have probably figured out that I in fact haven’t changed my stance on getting vaccinated (if you didn’t figure that out, there truly is no hope for you).  I’ve already thoroughly debunked the vaccines cause Autism myth:

https://prosehouse.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/do-not-threaten-others-with-our-life

If you haven’t read it yet, please do (it too is filled with the links I love so much) and this piece is meant to deal with the purposed “unsafeness” of vaccines in general.  As any level headed person with even just a smidgen of common sense would understand, vaccines are statistically healthy and anyone who claims they aren’t vaccinating out of concern for their child but still drive their child around are clearly hypocrites at best.

At worst anti-vaccine people would rather put not yet vaccinated or immunocompromised kids in harms way than be responsible and vaccinate their child because it’s clearly their choice your child should die. (16)

With all the rules and regulations guarding the things listed above, why are vaccines not mandatory?  After all, vaccines caused 350,000 cases of polio in 1988 to decrease to 187 cases in 2012 and caused a 99% reduction in Measles cases. (17)

Oh yeah I forgot to mention that those numbers were US only and that vaccines also prevent an additional 2,000,000 deaths worldwide each year. (18) (19)

How many lives has your car saved?  I can bet it’s not 2 million people worldwide per year.

Oh, and that anti-vaccine website I linked to in the beginning…yeah, most of the links in his article point to a false study done by a couple of anti-vaccine advocates – someone else’s dissection of it here:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vaccine-schedules-and-infant-mortality-a-false-relationship-promoted-by-the-anti-vaccine-movement/

Sorry my anti-vaccine friends, you will not be changing my mind.  I have too many facts on my side.

Sources:

(1)http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/events/immunization_week/2012/further_information/en/index1.html

(2)http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

(3)http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf

(4)http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fa_02_09.html

(5)http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fa_02_09.html

(6)http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-containing-mercury-3669.html

(7)http://www.haystack.mit.edu/edu/poa/museum/posters/museum1AR.pdf

(8)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Uninhabited_islands_of_the_Marshall_Islands

(9)http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/05/03/nhtsa-traffic-deaths-shot-up-5-3-percent-to-34080-in-2012/

(10)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/01/airplane-deaths-hit-recor_n_1178456.html

(11)http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

(12)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_attack

(13)http://www.americanboating.org/boating_fatality.asp

(14)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3397780

(15)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining_accident

(16)http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/09/25/226147147/vaccine-refusals-fueled-californias-whooping-cough-epidemic

(17)http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm

(18)http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/events/immunization_week/2012/further_information/en/index1.html

(19)http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/events/immunization_week/2012/further_information/en/

 

Do not threaten others with our life.


Three years ago, Sunday night was a night we’d spend late at church.  Three years ago, we would have sat through Pastor’s service, then been chatting about it and other affairs of the past week.  We would converse with friends at church and often continue those conversations at a local eatery or someone’s house.  Our only concern three years ago was getting our two girls to bed.

Sometimes I wish we only had those concerns again.

Flash forward three years.  It’s Sunday night, and my wife is barely holding an almost three year old who’s too big and too strong for his age as he is trying to slam his head into the floor and is screaming what’s left of it off.  I’m holding an equally upset infant while also keeping two other onlookers away.

What caused this?

We have not reached a definitive answer on this subject yet.  However, we have reached a definite answer as to what doesn’t cause Autism.  Let me first start with a recent example of fear surrounding this subject:

http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/why-all-the-measles-outbreaks/

This post adds conjecture and mostly unlinked sources (an aside, “facts” with unlinked sources, I count as opinion not fact as should anyone).  I will be gentile, but this person will not like my assessment of his work.

He starts out with his assessment of the herd immunity argument adding the assertion that we are at or near the magical 80% mark needed to irradiate a disease.  He must not have read all the information he did not link to but I will link since I like facts and such.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/nis/default.htm#nis

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/nis/default.htm#nisteen

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/nis/default.htm#nisadult

The article he quotes was from December 2012 and was released in September 2013 shows the rates for children are actually much higher than he stated at 94%.  Point to him for underestimating, however, he loses a couple by being loose with the claims of how recent the study was done.

Moving on.  He states with no citation whatsoever that the unvaccinated rate is 2%.  I may be a brainwashed “Big Pharma” guy, but 94+2 does not 100 make.  He understands this point and continues with the quotation of Dr. Russell Blaylock who states that vaccines wear off after 2-10 years.

So which is it? Does the author want us to believe the CDC (he does, it was in his opening argument), or does he want us to believe the contradiction that the good doctor put forth (he does as well).  He goes on to say that there is no herd and that we are not immune, but adds that unvaccinated people are not the problem for spreading disease to other people who’s vaccine wore off.

Let that paragraph sink in for a minute.  Once your brain restarts, you may continue on.

He goes on to expound upon the numbers, how we are in an uproar over 150 some odd causes of confirmed measles and we should be worried about the 1 in 50 kids with Autism (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf).  On this point, I whole heartedly agree.  We should be devoting our resources to finding reasons why.

MMR is the reason, the blogger states.  And now we’re off again.  I will dispel this myth with some good old fashioned (linked to) facts.  I am going to quote, nearly verbatim this  article published in the Oxford Medical Journal (http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.full), researched by two doctors of similar standing as Dr. Blaylock and edited by a third. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Offit –  http://www.chop.edu/doctors/gerber-jeffrey-s.html  –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Plotkin)

MMR:  On 28 February 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, and colleagues [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500320?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9500320] published a paper in The Lancet that described 8 children whose first symptoms of autism appeared within 1 month after receiving an MMR vaccine. All 8 of these children had gastrointestinal symptoms and signs and lymphoid nodular hyperplasia revealed on endoscopy. From these observations, Wakefield postulated that MMR vaccine caused intestinal inflammation that led to translocation of usually nonpermeable peptides to the bloodstream and, subsequently, to the brain, where they affected development.

Several issues undermine the interpretation by Wakefield et al. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500320?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9500320] of this case series. First, the self-referred cohort did not include control subjects, which precluded the authors from determining whether the occurrence of autism following receipt of MMR vaccine was causal or coincidental. Because ∼50,000 British children per month received MMR vaccine between ages 1 and 2 years—at a time when autism typically presents—coincidental associations were inevitable. Indeed, given the prevalence of autism in England in 1998 of 1 in 2000 children [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500313?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9500313], ∼25 children per month would receive a diagnosis of the disorder soon after receiving MMR vaccine by chance alone. Second, endoscopic or neuropsychological assessments were not blind, and data were not collected systematically or completely. Third, gastrointestinal symptoms did not predate autism in several children, which is inconsistent with the notion that intestinal inflammation facilitated bloodstream invasion of encephalopathic peptides. Fourth, measles, mumps, or rubella vaccine viruses have not been found to cause chronic intestinal inflammation or loss of intestinal barrier function. Indeed, a recent study by Hornig et al. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769550?dopt=Abstract?access_num=18769550] found that the measles vaccine virus genome was not detected more commonly in children with or without autism. Fifth, putative encephalopathic peptides traveling from the intestine to the brain have never been identified. In contrast, the genes that have been associated with autism spectrum disorder to date have been found to code for endogenous proteins that influence neuronal synapse function, neuronal cell adhesion, neuronal activity regulation, or endosomal trafficking [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769550?dopt=Abstract?access_num=18769550].

Although no data supporting an association between MMR vaccine and autism existed and a plausible biological mechanism was lacking, several epidemiologic studies were performed to address parental fears created by the publication by Wakefield et al. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500320?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9500320] (http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456/F1.expansion.html). Fortunately, several features of large-scale vaccination programs allowed for excellent descriptive and observational studies—specifically, large numbers of subjects, which generated substantial statistical power; high-quality vaccination records, which provided reliable historical data; multinational use of similar vaccine constituents and schedules; electronic medical records, which facilitated accurate analysis of outcome data; and the relatively recent introduction of MMR vaccine in some countries, which allowed for before and after comparisons.

Ecological studies:  Researchers in several countries performed ecological studies that addressed the question of whether MMR vaccine causes autism. Such analyses employ large databases that compare vaccination rates with autism diagnoses at the population level.

  1. In the United Kingdom, researchers evaluated 498 autistic children born from 1979 through 1992 who were identified by computerized health records from 8 health districts [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10376617?dopt=Abstract?access_num=10376617]. Although a trend toward increasing autism diagnoses by year of birth was confirmed, no change in the rates of autism diagnoses after the 1987 introduction of MMR vaccine was observed. Further, MMR vaccination rates of autistic children were similar to those of the entire study population. Also, investigators did not observe a clustering of autism diagnoses relative to the time that children received MMR vaccine, nor did they observe a difference in age at autism diagnosis between those vaccinated and not vaccinated or between those vaccinated before or after 18 months of age. These authors also found no differences in autism rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated children when they extended their analysis to include a longer time after MMR exposure or a second dose of MMR [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11395196?dopt=Abstract?access_num=11395196].
  2. Also in the United Kingdom, researchers performed a time-trend analysis using the General Practice Research Database—a high-quality, extensively validated electronic medical record with virtually complete vaccination data [http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7284/460?ijkey=f5542f7b21961dcf2ffb5768f95d4f890bcc1e6a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%253flinkType=ABST&journalCode=bmj&resid=322/7284/460]. More than 3 million person-years of observation during 1988–1999 confirmed an increase in autism diagnoses despite stable MMR vaccination rates.
  3. In California, researchers compared year-specific MMR vaccination rates of kindergarten students with the yearly autism case load of the California Department of Developmental Services during 1980–1994 [http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/ijlink?ijkey=7041349f29c14da7ec4713c487d4be2dcb1bcf87&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha]. As was observed in the United Kingdom, the increase in the number of autism diagnoses did not correlate with MMR vaccination rates.
  4. In Canada, researchers estimated the prevalence of pervasive developmental disorder with respect to MMR vaccination in 27,749 children from 55 schools in Quebec [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/e139.abstract?ijkey=4c3b7d6baaa3ffa322e96debb3dbde9e08099195&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=118/1/e139]. Autism rates increased coincident with a decrease in MMR vaccination rates. The results were unchanged when both exposure and outcome definitions varied, including a strict diagnosis of autism.

Additional population-based studies considered the relationship between MMR vaccine and the “new variant” form of autism proposed by Wakefield et al. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9500320?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9500320]—specifically, developmental regression with gastrointestinal symptoms. Although it is difficult to analyze such a phenomenon when it is unclear that one exists (which complicates the formulation of a case definition), conclusions may be gleaned from the data with respect to developmental regression alone (i.e., autism irrespective of coincident bowel problems).

  1. In England, researchers performed a cross-sectional study of 262 autistic children and demonstrated no difference in age of first parental concerns or rate of developmental regression by exposure to MMR vaccine [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/4/e58.abstract?ijkey=9c29c1a787ef3909ea96aeedccfcba67c1050be6&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=108/4/e58]. No association between developmental regression and gastrointestinal symptoms was observed.
  2. In London, an analysis of 473 autistic children used the 1987 introduction of MMR to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts [http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7334/393?ijkey=ed6d942d91247abbbfab1ff621561c2796afd1b4&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%253flinkType=ABST&journalCode=bmj&resid=324/7334/393]. The incidence of developmental regression did not differ between cohorts, and the authors observed no difference in the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms between vaccinated and unvaccinated autistic children.

Two conclusions are evident from these data. First, the explicit consideration of developmental regression among autistic children does not alter the consistent independence of MMR vaccine and autism. Second, these data argue against the existence of a new variant form of autism.

Retrospective, observational studies: Four retrospective, observational studies addressed the relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.

  1. In the United Kingdom, 71 MMR-vaccinated autistic children were compared with 284 MMR-vaccinated matched control children through use of the Doctor’s Independent Network, a general practice database [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11255906?dopt=Abstract?access_num=11255906]. The authors observed no differences between case and control children in practitioner consultation rates—a surrogate for parental concerns about their child’s development—within 6 months after MMR vaccination, which suggests that the diagnosis of autism was not temporally related to MMR vaccination.
  2. In Finland, using national registers, researchers linked hospitalization records to vaccination records in 535,544 children vaccinated during 1982–1986 [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/110/5/957.abstract?ijkey=5389733879e710a1daee95681d3a00f8aee9f30a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=110/5/957]. Of 309 children hospitalized for autistic disorders, no clustering occurred relative to the time of MMR vaccination.
  3. In Denmark, again using a national registry, researchers determined vaccination status and autism diagnosis in 537,303 children born during 1991–1998 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12421889?dopt=Abstract?access_num=12421889]. The authors observed no differences in the relative risk of autism between those who did and those who did not receive MMR vaccine. Among autistic children, no relationship between date of vaccination and development of autism was observed.
  4. In metropolitan Atlanta, using a developmental surveillance program, researchers compared 624 autistic children with 1824 matched control children [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/2/259.abstract?ijkey=f6750f97c979a1134736deae994b4683bda0f25a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=113/2/259]. Vaccination records were obtained from state immunization forms. The authors observed no differences in age at vaccination between autistic and nonautistic children, which suggests that early age of MMR vaccine exposure was not a risk factor for autism.

Prospective observational studies:  Capitalizing on a long-term vaccination project maintained by the National Board of Health, investigators in Finland performed 2 prospective cohort studies. Researchers prospectively recorded adverse events associated with MMR-vaccinated children during 1982–1996 and identified 31 with gastrointestinal symptoms; none of the children developed autism [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9643797?dopt=Abstract?access_num=9643797]. A further analysis of this cohort revealed no vaccine-associated cases of autism among 1.8 million children [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11144371?dopt=Abstract?access_num=11144371]. Although this cohort was analyzed using a passive surveillance system, the complete absence of an association between gastrointestinal disease and autism after MMR vaccination was compelling.

Thimerosal: 50% ethylmercury by weight—is an antibacterial compound that has been used effectively in multidose vaccine preparations for >50 years [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=&as_epq=Mercury%2C%20vaccines%2C%20and%20autism%3A%20one%20controversy%2C%20three%20histories&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=any&as_sauthors=Baker&as_publication=&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=&hl=en&sciui=1&as_sdt=0%2C5] (thimerosal is not contained in live-virus vaccines, such as MMR). In 1997, the US Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act mandated identification and quantification of mercury in all food and drugs; 2 years later, the US Food and Drug Administration found that children might be receiving as much as 187.5 µg of mercury within the first 6 months of life. Despite the absence of data suggesting harm from quantities of ethylmercury contained in vaccines, in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service recommended the immediate removal of mercury from all vaccines given to young infants [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10418806?dopt=Abstract?access_num=10418806]. Widespread and predictable misinterpretation of this conservative, precautionary directive, coupled with a public already concerned by a proposed but unsubstantiated link between vaccination and autism, understandably provoked concern among parents, which led to the birth of several antimercury advocacy groups.  However, because the signs and symptoms of autism are clearly distinct from those of mercury poisoning, concerns about mercury as a cause of autism were—similar to those with MMR vaccine—biologically implausible [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/111/3/674.full?ijkey=f56e966afd60ebc45f611393bcbcc1a61d8928c8&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=FULL&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=111/3/674]; children with mercury poisoning show characteristic motor, speech, sensory, psychiatric, visual, and head circumference changes that are either fundamentally different from those of or absent in children with autism. Consistent with this, a study performed by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention years later showed that mercury in vaccines did not cause even subtle signs or symptoms of mercury poisoning [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17898097?dopt=Abstract?access_num=17898097].

Despite the biological implausibility of the contention that thimerosal in vaccines caused autism, 7 studies—again descriptive or observational—were performed (http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456/F2.expansion.html). Four other studies have been reviewed in detail elsewhere [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/3/793.abstract?ijkey=6979a4bf73ebbbabfc84cdfd80a5bf027fe1a4f2&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=114/3/793] but are not discussed here because their methodology is incomplete and unclear and, thus, cause difficulty in drawing meaningful conclusions.

Ecological studies:  Three ecological studies performed in 3 different countries compared the incidence of autism with thimerosal exposure from vaccines. In each case, the nationwide removal of thimerosal—which occurred in 1992 in Europe and in 2001 in the United States—allowed robust comparisons of vaccination with thimerosal-containing and thimerosal-free products, as follows:

  1. In Sweden and Denmark, researchers found a relatively stable incidence of autism when thimerosal-containing vaccines were in use (1980–1990), including years when children were exposed to as much as 200 µg of ethylmercury (concentrations similar to peak US exposures) [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12880876?dopt=Abstract?access_num=12880876]. However, in 1990, a steady increase in the incidence of autism began in both countries and continued through the end of the study period in 2000, despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines in 1992.
  2. In Denmark, researchers performed a study comparing the incidence of autism in children who had received 200 µg (1961–1970), 125 µg (1970–1992), or 0 µg of thimerosal (1992–2000) and again demonstrated no relationship between thimerosal exposure and autism [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/3/604.abstract?ijkey=64872b227cb588992346e922abf179b50cfd06d0&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=112/3/604].
  3. In Quebec, researchers grouped 27,749 children from 55 schools by date of birth and estimated thimerosal exposure on the basis of the corresponding Ministry of Health vaccine schedules. School records were obtained to determine age-specific rates of pervasive developmental disorder [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/e139.abstract?ijkey=4c3b7d6baaa3ffa322e96debb3dbde9e08099195&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=118/1/e139]. Thimerosal exposure and pervasive developmental disorder diagnosis were found to be independent variables. Similar to previous analyses, the highest rates of pervasive developmental disorder were found in cohorts exposed to thimerosal-free vaccines. The results were unchanged when both exposure and outcome definitions varied.

Cohort studies:  Four cohort studies that examined thimerosal exposure and autism have been performed, as follows:

  1. In Denmark, researchers examined >1200 children with autism that was identified during 1990–1996, which comprised ∼3 million person-years. They found that the risk of autism did not differ between children vaccinated with thimerosal-containing vaccines and those vaccinated with thimerosal-free vaccines or between children who received greater or lower quantities of thimerosal [http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/ijlink?ijkey=7041349f29c14da7ec4713c487d4be2dcb1bcf87&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha]. They also found that the rates of autism increased after the removal of thimerosal from all vaccines.
  2. In the United States, using the Vaccine Safety Data Link, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined 140,887 US children born during 1991–1999, including >200 children with autism [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/5/1039.abstract?ijkey=2a208f78162e9e8b02a4fe3db86f763803586fa4&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=112/5/1039]. The researchers found no relationship between receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
  3. In England, researchers prospectively followed 12,810 children for whom they had complete vaccination records who were born during 1991–1992, and they found no relationship between early thimerosal exposure and deleterious neurological or psychological outcomes [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/3/577.abstract?ijkey=32de15818afbae3d3fbafeee339bd630ee3a3c37&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=114/3/577].
  4. In the United Kingdom, researchers evaluated the vaccination records of 100,572 children born during 1988–1997, using the General Practice Research Database, 104 of whom were affected with autism [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/3/584.abstract?ijkey=7fadb9136edbce14ef71d83af7aa3efd02f8b520&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=114/3/584]. No relationship between thimerosal exposure and autism diagnosis was observed.

Too Many Vaccines: When studies of MMR vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines failed to show an association with autism, alternative theories emerged. The most prominent theory suggests that the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system and creates an interaction with the nervous system that triggers autism in a susceptible host. This theory was recently popularized in the wake of a concession by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program with regard to the case of a 9-year-old girl with a mitochondrial enzyme deficiency whose encephalopathy, which included features of autism spectrum disorder, was judged to have worsened following the receipt of multiple vaccines at age 19 months [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18480200?dopt=Abstract?access_num=18480200]. Despite reassurances by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s action should not be interpreted as scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, many in the lay press and the public have not been reassured.

The notion that children might be receiving too many vaccines too soon and that these vaccines either overwhelm an immature immune system or generate a pathologic, autism-inducing autoimmune response is flawed for several reasons:

  1. Vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system. Although the infant immune system is relatively naive, it is immediately capable of generating a vast array of protective responses; even conservative estimates predict the capacity to respond to thousands of vaccines simultaneously [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/1/124.abstract?ijkey=203cd0706bda38e8c0cbb2b0866583c9e3eeae28&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=109/1/124]. Consistent with this theoretical exercise, combinations of vaccines induce immune responses comparable to those given individually [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8072822?dopt=Abstract?access_num=8072822]. Also, although the number of recommended childhood vaccines has increased during the past 30 years, with advances in protein chemistry and recombinant DNA technology, the immunologic load has actually decreased. The 14 vaccines given today contain <200 bacterial and viral proteins or polysaccharides, compared with >3000 of these immunological components in the 7 vaccines administered in 1980 [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/1/124.abstract?ijkey=203cd0706bda38e8c0cbb2b0866583c9e3eeae28&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=109/1/124]. Further, vaccines represent a minute fraction of what a child’s immune system routinely navigates; the average child is infected with 4–6 viruses per year [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=&as_epq=Illness%20in%20the%20home%3A%20a%20study%20of%2025%2C000%20illnesses%20in%20a%20group%20of%20Cleveland%20families&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=any&as_sauthors=Dingle&as_publication=&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=&hl=en&sciui=1&as_sdt=0%2C5]. The immune response elicited from the vast antigen exposure of unattenuated viral replication supersedes that of even multiple, simultaneous vaccines.
  2. multiple vaccinations do not weaken the immune system. Vaccinated and unvaccinated children do not differ in their susceptibility to infections not prevented by vaccines [http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/ijlink?ijkey=7041349f29c14da7ec4713c487d4be2dcb1bcf87&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha,http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/ijlink?ijkey=7041349f29c14da7ec4713c487d4be2dcb1bcf87&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3050858?dopt=Abstract?access_num=3050858%5D. In other words, vaccination does not suppress the immune system in a clinically relevant manner. However, infections with some vaccine-preventable diseases predispose children to severe, invasive infections with other pathogens [http://m.cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/5/784.abstract?ijkey=f8d979aa3ccf12ab4df127c8c1948dcc9e3a5db0&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3FlinkType%3DABST&journalCode=cid&resid=30%2F5%2F784, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/105/5/e60.abstract?ijkey=7690d7266fe129c4c110727e94828b5b699636a3&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=105/5/e60%5D. Therefore, the available data suggest that vaccines do not weaken the immune system.
  3. Autism is not an immune-mediated disease. Unlike autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, there is no evidence of immune activation or inflammatory lesions in the CNS of people with autism [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=&as_epq=Immunization%20safety%20review%3A%20vaccines%20and%20autism&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=any&as_sauthors=McCormick&as_publication=&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=&hl=en&sciui=1&as_sdt=0%2C5]. In fact, current data suggest that genetic variation in neuronal circuitry that affects synaptic development might in part account for autistic behavior [http://www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5886/218.abstract?ijkey=62121f98d1e136d7c64e4478525398cca34d7994&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha%3flinkType=ABST&journalCode=sci&resid=321/5886/218]. Thus, speculation that an exaggerated or inappropriate immune response to vaccina-tion precipitates autism is at variance with current scientific data that address the pathogenesis of autism.
  4. No studies have compared the incidence of autism in vaccinated, unvaccinated, or alternatively vaccinated children (i.e., schedules that spread out vaccines, avoid combination vaccines, or include only select vaccines). These studies would be difficult to perform because of the likely differences among these 3 groups in health care seeking behavior and the ethics of experimentally studying children who have not received vaccines.

Conclusions: Twenty epidemiologic studies have shown that neither thimerosal nor MMR vaccine causes autism. These studies have been performed in several countries by many different investigators who have employed a multitude of epidemiologic and statistical methods. The large size of the studied populations has afforded a level of statistical power sufficient to detect even rare associations. These studies, in concert with the biological implausibility that vaccines overwhelm a child’s immune system, have effectively dismissed the notion that vaccines cause autism. Further studies on the cause or causes of autism should focus on more-promising leads.

Potential conflicts of interest. P.A.O. is a coinventor and patent coholder of the rotavirus vaccine Rotateq and has served on a scientific advisory board to Merck. J.S.G.: no conflicts.

I know, the conflicts of interest line (which shows they are serous doctors, Wakefield did not disclose his being paid by anti-vaccine companies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield) bothers you and you would love to point out that they were just a mouthpiece of Big Pharma.  Let’s just look at this another way.

We have had vaccines to deal with polio, the plague, small pox, and chicken pox.  These all had the scary mercury in them and as pointed out above, had higher doses.  For some reason, this did not cause Autism rates to spike.  In fact, it’s only been within the last 20 years that we’ve seen a nearly 600% increase in Autism diagnosis (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism-rise-driven-by-environment).

The article points out that only about 1/3 of the rise can be attributed to more awareness.  They go on to state that they are starting to understand that most of the rise is coming from genes being triggered neonatally (ie, before the baby comes out and gets a vaccine).

There you go, moms are to blame.  Actually not so fast.  In the article they list environmental factors as well as the mother’s diet and other intake (smoking, drinking).  Some go so far as to claim vaccines (oh no, vaccines!) the mother took as the problem.  But didn’t the good Dr. Blaylock said that most adults are no longer vaccinated because it wore off.

Let’s get personal again for a while here.  We have four children, all raised the same.  All four had the same neonatal care.  Neither my wife or I drink, smoke, or do drugs.  We do not  get flu shots.  We were both vaccinated at young ages and have only had tetanus boosters since.  All four children’s neonatal was under the same roof (we did move halfway through the fourth’s gestation, but it was from one part of town to another).  Diet was the same, health during pregnancy were the same.  Blood tests, pee tests, all those came back with healthy results.  What happened?  Don’t know, but our third child is Autistic and was diagnosed as such prior to receiving the MMR vaccine.  The only difference of note, our third child was the only one to be breast fed.  By our personal study, we could say that breast feeding was the cause.  After all, our 4 is 1/3 of the total 12 that Andrew Wakefield based his 1998, often quoted, completely discredited study on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield).

So what does it all mean? Vaccines do not cause Autism.  Simply put, end of story.  Let’s all pick up and move on.  The blogger I first referenced 4,700 words ago claimed there were only 14 articles disproving the vaccine to Autism link.  Here, I have linked to more than 39.  39, as in greater than 14.  There are many, many, many more articles on the AMA, OMJ, and BMJ dispelling this ridiculous myth.  This man lied, simple as that.  You can not win a discussion with made up facts and lies.  Common sense should prevail here, but I’m afraid it will not.  Some lack the capacity to let their worthless crusade go.

My personal conclusions, if you are continuing to dole out this myth that Autism is caused by vaccines, you are actively and intentionally misleading people who trust you.  You are going to cause a resurgence of many long dead or nearly dead diseases, and in doing so cause the needless pain, suffering, and death that you claim to try to avoid in your false advocacy.  If you do not want to vaccinate your children, that’s fine with me.  What is not fine with me is when you threaten them with our reality.