Antivaxers are mean girls

 

 

I have noticed that antivaxers have a tendency to attack provaxers with what I would call immature vitriol. Vitriol is a term from chemistry meaning caustic but it fits their behavior perfectly. We see it often when they make nasty memes about Dr. Richard Pan or Dr. Paul Offit or my very kind and sweet friend Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a legal scholar with expertise in vaccine law.  Here is an example of the kind of immature and vitriolic posts and memes they make, this one about California Senator, Dr. Richard Pan.

 

panran copy

 

This week, some of the ladies from Informed Choice Washington, the antivax group in my fair state, chose to aim their vitriol at me. This came after I watched two of them, Susie Corgan and Jaclyn Gallion, testify at the latest ACIP meeting.  Jaclyn apparently took offense and posted about it on her Facebook wall.  [Sidenote: I find it funny that she has me blocked but I still get sent screenshots. Nothing is private online!]

 

mean-girls-show-detail

Let’s go through her thread.

46091086_323452818236490_4480855494910541824_n

 

So, in this post, Jaclyn posted a link to my last blog post. She thinks I took the photos from her but I actually gathered from friends who found them around the internet. Webster defines “Gaslight” as “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”  I am not sure what she thinks is gaslighting about my comment.  I did not call her sanity into question at all.

 

45949459_323452988236473_1833308465334845440_n.jpg

 

Next up we have Sandy who used to bug me on Twitter about debating Del Bigtree. I always said I would be fine with doing it if he could promise to not record audio or video.  Given what he does with clips, how nasty he can be, why would I trust him not to manipulate my words?  She never did set that up. I am not worried about how I look so her comment is very strange. I could make a comment about Del’s looks right now but I am going to rise above.

I did leave a lot out of my post about their ACIP commentary, that is true. I did not feel the need to comment on every single woman’s thoughts.

 

45906066_323452948236477_8951483770746175488_n

 

This made me laugh. I won an award from the CDC, as you can see in my about page, but I had to prove no ties to pharma to qualify. I love how they blindly believe each other without verifying a thing.

45838340_323452834903155_7257321529858326528_n

 

I am not sure what Jaclyn means about trolling. I don’t know anything about her children and I never post on other people’s pages unless we are FB friends. I have never posted on Jaclyn’s FB page.  As for Chris, she posted more than once about her son and so I made a few comments about him. He and my daughter have the same diagnosis so I figured we could chat. She took great offense and blocked me. I found that confusing since she opened the door by labeling him as autistic. [shrug]

Oh, an I am not a member of the Antivax Wall of Shame. I actually find that group too negative and have never been a member. Go ahead and check their membership.

45814960_323453018236470_4114001395898646528_n.jpg

 

I am not sure what Drella is talking about. I had several friends help me edit my blog post about them.  I did find one more typo today.  I would be more than happy to entertain Drella’s edits if she wanted to send them to me.  It certainly seems remarkably petty, to me, to make the comment she did with no specifics.

Hi Jack! Always like to see you on my blog. I miss bantering with you, now that you blocked me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

45801766_323452864903152_7780395611039203328_n.jpg

 

I am not sure who the Housers are. I will have to look. As for hairy actually, I am quite not hairy. LOL  It is telling that Michele, whom I don’t know at all, called me those names. is that really what matters to her? Not the science, just the way someone looks to her?  And is she really THAT perfect that she is above criticism?

 

45798329_323452911569814_3548537400550490112_n

 

I don’t appreciate negativity so I have Craig Egan and all his iterations on block. But, hey, thanks for thinking we are that organized that we are one and the same! What a funny comment!

 

45780276_323452981569807_4083926110746705920_n

 

I am not sure how they think I can be a troll if I don’t troll antivax pages.  A troll is a person whose seeks out the opposition and posts to argue. For example, when these ladies post on the Spokane Regional Health District Facebook page or the Washington State Department of Health Facebook page, they are being trolls because they always argue with page admin’s points. I am the supporter as I always post a positive, supportive comment.  I consider immunization very important but I never go to antivax pages and post. Never. I support the provax, pro-science message, which is the opposite of trolling.

As for my children, what an incredibly low blow for Ms Humphries to make that comment. My children are amazing and beautiful and smart and respectful and amazing. I am incredibly blessed to have a teenager and a tweenager who still enjoy my company and both get all As and Bs in school. One qualifies as gifted and the other is a gifted artist. One plays musical instruments, volleyball, and dances jazz. The older one is on the autism spectrum and her path has not been smooth but she is one of the most incredible people I have ever known in my life and every single speedbump in our lives has led to her being the person she is and I would not change a thing. Not one single thing. She is incredible.

I had a moderate reaction to the MMR in graduate school. My arm swelled up like a tennis ball was in it and it was very painful for about a week. That is not severe but did report it to VAERS and I was told the next MMR might cause a worse reaction.  Luckily, 27 years later, I had my titers run and I am still immune!

Erin’s comment is the worst.  What kind of person thinks this of people they don’t even know? It’s astounding. I will pray for her soul.

45776047_323452941569811_3961647073274626048_n.jpg

 

So, now they make fun of my wardrobe from 2015 when I testified in front of the Washington State House Committee on Healthcare at my state capital, Olympia. I wore a brand new abstract floral blouse and navy slacks. Apparently, that was not good enough for them. They didn’t recall a thing that I said but my wardrobe stood out.  [snort – you just have to laugh at this level of immaturity]

As for my weight, I am not obese. I wear a size 16 and am tall with broad shoulders. I am not as thin as a rail but my own doctor says I am fine. Why does it matter to them if I am skinny or not?  Several well known antivax advocates are quite overweight but that is not why we disagree with them.  Their weight is not the issue. Their belief that vaccines cause autism is the issue!  Focus ladies! Focus on the issues! Being pretty or not doesn’t matter!  

45770970_323452908236481_7548731242666000384_n.jpg

Apparently, Laira does not realize her boyfriend is really just a chiropractor. He is not a medical doctor. He is not a “functional medicine doctor” because he is only licensed as a chiropractor.  I love my chiro for helping my extra straight back and neck but I am very glad he does not deviate from straightening joints and backs.  Why on earth should I consider a chiropractor knows anything at all about immunology? They are not trained in immunology. They are good for nothing except putting joints back into place.

And, again, I did not listen to all the comments from the ACIP meeting. Feel free to link me to any you want to consider.

Jaclyn, your comment is about as vile as Suzanne’s.  Seriously, in what world do you think it is acceptable to say that kind of thing?  I see beautiful children daily and help them succeed. None of them are “vaccine injured” and I certainly would never look at one of them and ever think “you are damaged.”

 

45728337_323452878236484_1220400358564560896_n

 

I call a spade a spade. Antivaxers are those opposed to vaccines for reasons not based on sound science. I certainly don’t call all people on the fence about vaccines “anti” because that would not reflect their thinking. And where do I harass people? I never troll antivax pages. Ever. Also, as I pointed out earlier in this post, Chris brought up her son and I then commented. If she had not mentioned him and his issues, I would never have said a thing.

Moral: If you don’t want people to comment on your family, never mention your family.

 

I am a glass half full kinda gal and it always surprises me when people get so negative and irrational in vaccine discussions.  To me, the issues are science and safety studies and efficacy data, not personal issues like looks, what one wore, or one’s weight. If we wanted to make it personal, we could bring up a lot of well-known antivaxers who are obese, smoke, heavily tattooed, ugly, and/or look very ill. But that is beside the point. When we talk about public health, our looks are not the point. The point is what does the science tells us. If you have to deviate from the science and mock a person’s looks and comments, you have lost the debate. You are being a “mean girl.” You are being vitriolic and immature. You are showing the world you have no valid argument on your side and you are so immature that acting like a catty 14-year-old gossiping behind the backs of others is the only choice you have left.  What kind of person are you inside?

I am going to always stick to the science. There are no studies which show vaccines to have greater risks than benefits. Vaccines do not cause autism.

Seriously, these ladies are ridiculous.

 

Have a great day

 

Kathy

Advertisements

Mrs Antivaxer goes to Atlanta!

Some of you may already know that for antivaxers the center of the vaccine universe is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  The mothership of the pro-vaccine movement is ACIP or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Led by Dr Amanda Cohn, of the CDC, this committee makes the official recommendations on vaccine practices to the US Government.

This week, antivaxers descended on the ACIP meeting, as part of a coordinated effort called Inundate the CDC ACIP meetings. Apparently, they believe if they attend these meetings and wake up the ACIP “sheeple,” then all will be well in the world. A lot of very active antivax mums (and one guy) attended.

 

ETA: Here is one of the videos I watched of their testimony.

 

43615020_2288360294727320_68246497757495296_n

 

In this picture, you can see Denise Marie, who thinks her daughter’s teenage depression is a side effect of HPV vaccine. You can see Hillary Simpson, the #crazymothers who thinks her son’s tummy troubles are a vaccine reaction. There is Jamie Juarez who thinks her son’s autism is a vaccine reaction. Susie Corgan who also thinks her son’s autism is a vaccine reaction. Jaclyn Gallion, who seemingly has no reason to be in attendance. And so on. This is a gallery of women and one man who is a chiropractor, who decided that they needed to tell the committee their vaccine injury stories. Only, none of their stories are actually vaccine injuries. So, it is highly likely the ACIP committee members half listened politely, knowing these are #crazymothers.

SIGH

So, what did they want? They wanted to tell their stories and ask questions, only ACIP members don’t answer questions during public comment periods. So, what did they say? Well, I watched the video on the Inundate Facebook page and here is what they said:

Susie Corgan, in the sleeveless black dress in back, who is on the board of Informed Choice Washington, spoke about how her son is autistic because of vaccines. Except vaccines don’t cause autism. She asked if the ACIP members are listening to their stories?  My question is why would they listen to something irrational?

Tia Severina also has a son with autism and a daughter on the autism spectrum. She does not believe the rise in autism is due to better diagnosis. She is the mom in the red jacket in front. She believes the bad science in books saying that vaccines cause autism.  She believes genetics cause 1% of autism and the rest is environmental. She believes the vaccine safety studies are missing. She believes the cherry picking.

Next up was Teresa Berg from Michigan. She claims that we, as a society, accept ADHD, autism, ASD, speech delays, cancer, and or as normal. I am not sure where she got this idea. She believes vaccines cause all these childhood issues and doctors ignore vaccine reactions. She believes because there are no safety studies on the entire schedule then vaccines cannot possibly be safe. But there are many safety studies.

LeeAnne Johnson has two “severely autistic little boys.”  One of her children has seizures and the other has GI spasms. Of course, these can be comorbid with autism but they are not symptoms of autism. However, she believes these symptoms  are all vaccine injuries and it is “very unfair.”  She believes her children’s case is exactly like Hanna Poling‘s case and should have been compensated by Vaccine Court.

Jaclyn Gallion, of Washington State, spoke about how suicides are related to unvaccinated children who are excluded from outbreaks due to being unvaccinated. She claims that when children are quarantined they become depressed and attempt suicide.  This is really a stretch.  When you turn in a vaccine exemption form, you read that your child will be excluded during an outbreak. So, it is your responsibility, as a parent, to make sure your excluded child is cared for during the quarantine at home.  Really, her point is completely irrational. She wants us to expose unvaccinated children to outbreaks because it might help their self-esteem to not have to stay home? Good lord.

Erin Marie RN (Erin Olszewski) came from Florida feels ACIP should protect our country as their number one priority.  She was very teary when explaining that she was speaking for vaccine injured who have parents who could not attend this meeting. Her son, at 12 months, regressed into autism after MMR.  She believes ACIP is not helping people, that vaccines are not helping people.

I wonder what we can do, as a society, to help these women understand regression can happen with genetic disorders. I believe these moms need support and we need to advocate for families who are suffering while trying to help a disabled child.  If we truly supported them, perhaps they would not be so angry and blaming vaccines?

Jamie Lynn Juarez testified that her son has severe autism which she believes is really viral encephalopathy and vaccine injury. She claims to have two unvaxed healthy children and another daughter she claims is vaccine injured and recovered. She believes vaccines do injure and she claims to have testified in thousands of legal cases for vaccine injured, as a counselor.  She believes there is fraud in CDC, as per JB Handley’s book. She thinks CDC should do more studies and should prescreen babies for potential vaccine injury.

Lori Ciminelli, a retired medical assistant, spoke about how, in her time, children only got 6 vaccines and now her grandchildren get 72. (Sidebar: I am forever unsure why antivaxers think protecting children from more serious diseases is a bad thing. Also, they are very bad at math as children do not get 72 shots.) She also made some appalling statements about adults with severe needs. She asked why were there no adults in diapers in the malls when she was a child?  Well, Lori, there were few malls when you were a child and the special needs adults were in institutions. Nobody took them on day trips. They were warehoused like cattle. She also asked why there was no special education in her childhood. Well, Lori, special education laws were first enacted in the USA in 1975, that is why.  Before then, no one with any special needs was afforded any rights. Your child who had reading trouble, was failing math, was fitchety and getting sent to the Principal’s office a lot?  None of them were treated with any consideration. Your child who could not keep up with the class?  He repeated the grade or was kicked out of school. Prior to 1975, the schools did not have to teach anyone who could not keep up with their peers.

loric copy.jpg

Elijah Bunch, who’s son Christopher Bunch died recently and he blames HPV vaccine, spoke about his son and Brandy Vaughn, of Learn the Risk, spoke for him. She claims that HPV vaccine is linked to ADEM and paralysis. She claims she has 50 studies that verify her claims. She claims there are serious issues following HPV vaccination, all over the world. She claims there are 432 deaths related to HPV vaccine. She believes that any other pharmaceutical drug would have been removed from the market by now if those many deaths were related to it. She claims that pharmaceutical companies are not studying reports of adverse events and are not studying vaccine safety. She claims that HPV vaccine has caused thousands of deaths. She is a master cherry picker who does not understand chemistry one iota, so I have no doubt there is not much to her “evidence.”

Hillary Simpson, the #crazymothers, believes vaccine injury can be healed without pharmaceuticals. Note that she believes her son was injured by rotavirus vaccine. She asked a few questions. 1. Who thinks it is okay to recommend 72 doses of vaccines without doing a single cumulative study? 2. Who thinks it is okay to not do a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study so they can assess risk? 3. Who thinks it is okay that 54% of our children are suffering from a chronic illness? And 1 in 36 is autistic. 4. What are you, ACIP, doing to protect the children and the vaccine-induced autism epidemic? (note:  Hillary is a former actress and remarkably dramatic) 5. When is ACIP going to start working towards resolution of this massive problem? (big sigh from her) 6. And when are they going to stop hiding behind “we don’t know why?”  Because the #crazymothers know and they are healing their babies.

LeeAnne Anita spoke last, in my viewing. She started off with a quote from Dr Paul Offit about how one cannot really say that MMR causes autism (my take: because that is not the way science speaks) but you should get used to saying that MMR does not cause autism because otherwise, people hear a door being left open when there should not be a door left open. What Dr Offit means by this is telling people the evidence does not support vaccines as causing evidence is confusing to the average person. So, instead of say vaccines do not cause autism.  It is more simple and gets to the point. But, she believes the door has been busted open because only thimerosal has been studied in relation to autism and only MMR has been studied. So, she believes vaccines could still cause autism. She does not understand why aluminum adjuvants are used as a placebo, why hep b is given to babies, why inserts say no safety studies have been done on pregnant women, and why recommendations for vaccines are only based on pharma studies. (of course, that is completely false). She wants an immediate change to the vaccine schedule and believes that Robert Kennedy Jr is correct, as quoted in the JB Handley book, that there is fraud at the CDC.

Another thing that happened this week, in conjunction with this meeting,  is this group approached Dr Paul Offit and somehow convinced him to have lunch with them, off the record. I am shocked he did this but proud of him for making an attempt to hear their concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, they could not resist mocking him afterward and being nasty. They really don’t have any self-control.  During LeeAnn’s testimony, when she was quoting Dr Offit, he was caught on video a “shoot me now” gesture towards his head. #crazymother Hillary, and the others took offense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating reading all their comments to each other, all over Facebook. They eventually recognized that it is likely their testimony did nothing at all to sway the committee but they hope parents will hear them and stop vaccinating. They believe the science is on their side and all provaxers are bought by pharma. It is really quite fascinating to observe them from afar. I am quite glad I was not there in person.

 

 

UPDATE: You can find all the videos to watch here.

 

Remember to think for yourself! Vaccines do not cause autism.

 

 

Kathy

 

Provax autism mom reads JB Handley’s “Autism Epidemic” book

Yes, indeed, this pro-vaccine mom of one spectacular autistic teenage girl spent the last few days reading JB Handley’s new book, How to End the Autism Epidemic.  Please be aware this blog post is going to be very long because I want to cover everything.

 

41bY+cfjpuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

I hemmed and hawed about whether I should read it or not but, in the end, I decided it was worth the $10 for the Kindle version to have something to say when antivaxers post a link to it, which they are doing often lately.  The Kindle version did not have page numbers so please note that all quotes are referenced to book section but not to exact page.

Note: please excuse the wonky spacing. I originally wrote this as a Facebook file and the formatting did not copy and paste well to Word Press. I chose not to spend an excess of time figuring out how to space every paragraph identically.

Introduction

The book dives right into the story of JB’s son,  Jamison’s, 2-month well baby visit, after which his health apparently “deteriorated” and developed eczema and insomnia. He had frequent ear infections and digestive pain. By 18 months of age, Jamison apparently was more sick, not talking much, and had what they thought were odd behaviors. JB and his wife had an “excruciating” time getting him screened for autism. (apparently a long wait list is excruciating). The diagnosis of severe autism was a nightmare for JB and his wife. They “wallowed in misery” for a long time, according to the introduction to the book. Of course, thanks to my friend, The Real Truther, we know that JB’s story has actually changed a lot over the years and JB doesn’t actually have a firm timeline for Jamison’s health issues nor is JB sure what was the cause of these issues.
One thing I note about the introduction is it is mostly about JB’s personal experiences and less about anyone else’s. As we have seen with antivax autism warriors, they really do enjoy getting attention for their troubles. And, there is no comparison to what other parent’s who have disabled children feel nor to what the children feel. This is all about JB.
The introduction ends with JB and his wife taking Jamison to an integrative doctor named Lynne Mielke. At the time, she was a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) doctor. Dr Mielke convinced them vaccines definitely cause autism because she said she had seen hundreds of patients with the same story as Jamison and she had seen many of them improve with her DAN! protocol. They claim that starting Jamison on this protocol helped return some of his health, including eye contact. At this point, Jamison was two years old and JB and his wife had spent a lot of time on the internet “researching” and wondering why the doctors at Universities didn’t believe in DAN! protocols. JB describes how, at this time in their lives, he was very angry and spent most of his free time “researching.” This is the point, in May 2005, where he and his wife founded Generation Rescue.
It is good to note that JB at least is not completely antivaccine. He says, in the introduction, that “While I acknowledge that vaccines provide some benefit to society in reducing cases of certain acute illnesses, they also cause brain damage in some of the vulnerable kids who receive them.” Note that he is calling autism “brain damage.”

Part one: The lies about vaccines and autism

Chapter 1: there is no autism epidemic

This chapter begins by discussing Steve Silberman’s book,  Neurotribes, which JB found very annoying. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book and own it.  At the time it was published, we were just getting our oldest formally diagnosed with autism. She had always exhibited behaviors and social skills and deficits outside the norm but it was not until she was ten years old that her doctors started talking about autism. She has what we would have once called Aspergers, but today is diagnosed Autism Spectrum Diagnosis.  Thus, I am an autism mom but I will agree that my child’s path has not been easy  but I have been blessed to not have a severely disabled child.
JB counters Silberman’s arguments with data from a book called Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children and he claims that since he never knew anyone with autism when he was a child and the rate has grown so much then Silberman must be completely wrong.
JB asks the question: “Where are all the adults with autism?”  I find this point of view annoying. I did know people who were “mentally retarded” when I was growing up. Why does JB deny they existed just because he did not personally know one?  People who ask this question are ignoring the changing diagnosis categories (read my “there is no autism epidemic” blog post here) Worse still, when autism rate was 1:45, Robert Kennedy Jr asked “Why isn’t one in forty-five older people you see walking around the mall, why isn’t one in forty-five wearing diapers and wearing a football helmet, and having seizures, head banging and stimming?” This is an offensive description since most all people with autism are not in diapers or having seizures and being in diapers and having seizures are both symptoms NOT of autism alone but a co-morbid condition.
In other words, JB and RFKjr are offensive and ignorant. It is also highly offensive that they assume that everyone with autism is severely disabled and requiring massive assistance to exist.
JB claims that there must be close to 5 million adults with autism, if the data is correct; however, he thinks they don’t exist. Apparently, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill also published a book recently on this topic, called Denial, and JB believes that because he cannot find cases of autism like his son’s in history then they did not exist. Again, this point of view ignores the history of institutionalizing people with mental retardation, Down Syndrome, schizophrenia and other health issues, some of which we now diagnose as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Basically, JB denies these people exist.
This quote really sums up JB’s feelings: “Unfortunately, the Good Doctor is like a guy with a small limp and a cane representing paraplegics to the world. His story is fascinating and compelling but bears little resemblance to the autism most parents, myself included, actually deal with every single day.” Because JB lives with an autistic person, he believes his son’s version of autism is the sole version. He believes Silberman fans are “romanticizing” autism while we Silberman fans understand that JB has an extremely limited view of autism. What is confusing is that his idea that autism includes seizures and diapers is not backed up by his own definition of autism: “Despite what you may have read, the definition of autism has remained remarkably consistent over time. Because autism can’t be diagnosed with a blood test, it’s diagnosed through observation, and anyone possessing enough qualities of autism has autism. The hallmarks of an autism diagnosis include early onset of symptoms (typically before thirty months), an inability to relate to others (called “social-emotional reciprocity”), “gross deficits” in language development, peculiar speech patterns, and unusual relationships with the environment.” My own child did not exhibit “gross deficits” but she definitely had peculiar speech patterns and unusual relationships with her environment and social-emotional reciprocity issues, from toddlerhood.
JB is correct that there is research showing autistics have greater incidence of epilepsy and anxiety. My own child suffers extreme anxiety.
JB concludes this chapter with some quotes from RFKjr wherein they believe that denial of an autism epidemic is the government’s way to not accepting responsibility. Strangely, he claims Brian Hooker as a source, calling him a “Simpson University epidemiologist” but Dr Hooker is, in fact, a chemical engineer who now works as a biology professor.  To remind you, Brian Hooker appeared in the film, Vaxxed, to claim his child’s autism was caused by vaccines but saw his vaccine court case dismissed because the evidence proved otherwise. 
In sum, JB and RFKjr believe that pharmaceutical company profits are at risk of collapsing if autism is proven to be caused by vaccines and the government is colluding with pharma companies to cover up this “epidemic.” “The dollar signs associated with the epidemic are so large that it’s worth billions for the prime suspects to evade accountability.” They claim Dr Paul Offit is at the top of the “denial food chain” and that repeat the oft-debunked trope that he makes millions off the rotavirus vaccine and that is why he promotes vaccine in general. (Dr Offit does not own currently any vaccine patents). Because Dr Offit is the Maurice R Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, which is a chair endowed by Merck, JB and RFKjr see conspiracies everywhere. These two also claim Dr Peter Hotez, Dr Eric Frombonne, and Dr Paul Shattuck are “industry mouthpieces with deep ties to the vaccine industry.”
So, they see conspiracies everywhere but provide no proof to back them up.
hand-of-conspiracy2
JB makes another claim I find offensive: “Denying the autism epidemic is to deny the suffering of millions of children and their families and also to deny the exploration into the true cause so the epidemic might end.” This is so bad. Provaxers never deny anyone is experiencing health issues or suffering. We want to find the actual causes so we can treat people effectively.
JB defines his “three main arguments by deniers:
1. The diagnosis has improved. JB does not believe this is fact. He cites the 2012 Autism Congressional Hearing conversation between Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and CDC’s Dr Coleen Boyle as evidence, which is silly. That conversation has been taken out of context so many times by antivaxers I would be rich if I had ever bet on it. Dr Boyle tries to answer the questions about what the CDC studies and is interrupted by Congresswoman Maloney and then told to send her the studies. That conversation doesn’t prove anything.
2. Autism is mental retardation reclassified. JB believes the “autism epidemic” started in the 1980s.  I debunked this here, as did Emily Willingham here.
3. The definition of autism has expanded. This is scientific fact so I am unclear as to why JB has issue with it.
JB concludes this chapter with a look at James Lyons-Weiler’s opinions on the issue of whether autism is genetic or not. (Skeptical Raptor echoes my thoughts on this guy)
JB ends this chapter with the following: “Pouring cold water on the severity of the autism epidemic inhibits the call to action we all need to find causation. It gives scientists on the fence an “out” where they can describe the autism epidemic as “up for debate.” It denies the suffering of so many impacted children, and it’s prevented a redirection of research dollars to find environmental causes. In the end, saying the autism epidemic isn’t real is simply a lie, and it’s a lie that extends the suffering of so many children.”
I am sorry but I had to roll my eyes big time here. As far as I have seen, no one denies how some people on the autism spectrum have severe issues. There is a massive amount of research going on to find causes and supports. Just because biomedical ideas are discounted doesn’t mean autism is not taken seriously. Many of us want to support and love autistics, not refer to them as damaged and try to change them.

Chapter 2: Vaccines are safe and effective.

This chapter attempts to make the point that vaccines are not safe and effective. The argument is made that since mortality (death) rates dropped after clean water and refrigeration were introduced then vaccines did not save us. But, no mention is made of morbidity or disease incidence rates. Here is an example of measles mortality overlayed with morbidity, so you can see the difference. The study from which this graph originates clearly points out how the vaccine made a huge difference in USA.
189-Supplement_1-S17-fig001
The Leicester example for smallpox is used to make the argument that vaccines did not stop smallpox. The Leicester example of quarantine is but one case but does not conclude the vaccines had no value nor that quarantine alone in all cases effectively works to eradicate the disease.   I am not sure why antivaxers persist in using this as an example. My friend at Vaxopedia explains.
A few more claims from JB:
JB then goes on to state how he is a herd immunity denier.  Herd immunity is fact, like gravity.
JB believes NCVIA indemnifies vaccine makers from responsibility. The reality is that vaccine court is easier to navigate than claims court.
Other countries give fewer vaccines, JB argues but he is not correct. I blogged about this point a while ago.
JB argues that there will always be outbreaks but the reduction in the rate of measles and other VPDs, post vaccination, counters this claim. The Pink Book is the best source on American disease rates pre and post vaccination.
JB claims that because the majority of mumps patients in a Harvard University outbreak, a few years ago, were vaccinated then vaccines must not work. But, there were 41 cases out of tens of thousands of students, nearly 100% of whom are vaccinated. So, that is a vaccine win. More students would have been sickened if not for vaccines.
JB believes vaccine safety testing is inadequate. He does not make a valid case here. Vaccines are tested much more strictly than other drugs. He further claims that adverse event rate is closer to 1:50 and bases that on a Harvard Pilgrim study but that is one health center and we know that nearly all adverse event reports are for mild reactions, none of which are a reason to avoid future vaccines. He then claims adverse events are not studied well and multiple doses of vaccines are not studies, neither of which are true. (link studies here). He goes on to cite a very old study of the DTP vaccine from Guinea-Bissau which was only published recently. This is classic cherry picking. There is absolutely no reason to consider this one study more valuable than the huge body of immunization science literature. He further cites a Dengue vaccine issue that is unique. Again, this is not a reason to avoid vaccines. And, he writes about a Canadian flu vaccine study that seemed to indicate more flu vaccines might lead to less efficacy.
Then, we have a section of this chapter devoted to Gardasil. JB pays no attention whatsoever to any studies which prove this vaccine safe and efficacious.
Finally, we have some links from JB to studies showing vaccines might be linked to autoimmune disease. He cites the oft-cited trope about the “textbook” that is actually used in not one medical school on earth, called Vaccines and Autoimmunity, as proof that vaccines cause autoimmune disease. This is not a valid source!
JB is a cherry picker. He posts only studies that make his point and does not care if they are valid or replicated. In my opinion, this is a form of lying. He is lying by omission in that he fails to report the vast plethora of studies which prove his points wrong.
At this point, I am getting very annoyed at JB’s cherry picking. He even has a section devoted to doctors who are questioning vaccines, as if that tiny group of shysters is a reason to avoid vaccines.
cherry-picking

Chapter three: the science is settled

JB claims that because only thimerosal has been studied, with regards to autism, that vaccines cannot be ruled out as causing autism.  He cites some opinion statements from antivax persons as proof the studies looking at thimerosal and vaccines are faulty. But, he does not prove we have any reason to validate these opinions. Again, he has cherry picked points that confirm his own biases. He then goes on to bring up the “whistleblower” Dr William Thompson, which is so ridiculous I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. (read the facts of this story here ). And the Thorson trope! Read more on that here. Goodness, JB is grasping at thin straws.
JB devotes the last part of this chapter to a study from Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman at SUNY Stony Brook which looked at rates of Hepatitis B vaccine and special education rates.  This study correlated hep b vaccine rates with rates of special education in American boys. They did not, however, analyze how special education services expanded during the time period. Correlation does not equal causation.
JB then discusses the twice retracted Mawson study as if it is valid. (OMG!) This study has been retracted twice for shoddy methods and not validating data.
At this point, I am seriously wondering how JB looks himself in the mirror daily and takes himself seriously. But, I digress….

Chapter 4: The reward is never financial

This chapter begins by discussing the custody battle between Michigan mother Lori Matheson and her ex-husband, which centers on vaccination issues. JB claims that Dr Stanley Plotkin was supposed to be a witness but then recused himself and, in the meantime, the lawyer for the mother presented a great deal of proof that her son should not be vaccinated. Having followed this case, I think JB is living in LA LA land. I did not see the attorney expose “more truth about vaccines and the vaccine industry in one document than I’ve ever seen.” JB spends a great deal of this chapter on the Plotkin deposition, even claiming the mother’s attorney decimated Dr Plotkin. No proof is given for this point. The attorney, Mr Siri, asked Dr Plotkin about payments received from pharmaceutical conpanies over the years but he never proved this in any way makes vaccines ineffective or dangerous. It was a very strange line of questioning, based solely on conspiracy theories. Much ado is made of the clinical trials for vaccines not using a saline placebo in all trials, but no scientific explanation is offered as to why this is an issue. Dr Plotkin is asked many questions about clinical trials but none about post-licensure safety studies. A great deal is made about the limitations of the pertussis vaccine, but no explanation is given as to why this is a reason to avoid vaccines. Human diploid cells are discussed at great length but no comparison is made between child and infant death rates before vaccines as compared to the legal abortions of the fetuses which cells are now used to make vaccines and save billions of lives. Dr Plotkin is asked some questions about human experimentation as if vaccines are some nefarious plot to experiment illegally on humans.
The whole thing is disgusting. No wonder Plotkin pulled out. The questions have no bearing whatsoever on the father’s right, in this case, to have his child vaccinated.
Then, JB compares tobacco to vaccines. At this point, my eyes rolled so hard I got dizzy and needed to take a break.  Good grief.
peanuts-coaster-charlie-brown-good-grief-a
At this point, we get to his thesis: “If all parents believed they had a one in thirty-six chance of their child developing autism from vaccines, the vaccination rates would plummet. And if the pharmaceutical industry were proven to have created an epidemic of autism of several million children worldwide, the economic liability would be astronomical. Just doing some basic math, the average cost of lifetime care for a person with autism is estimated to be $2.4 million dollars.”
JB then spends some time trying to prove Andrew Wakefield is innocent and correct about MMR and again my eyes rolled so hard my BPPV was resurrected. Kidding/not kidding.

End part one

Part II – The truth about vaccines and autism

Chapter 5- Emerging Science and Vaccine-Induced Autism

Chapter 5 begins boldly: “Since 2004 there have been eleven groundbreaking discoveries in separate but related scientific fields that, taken together, reveal the cause of autism. Because of this science, we now know that autism is created by immune activation events in the brain during critical phases of brain development, typically by the time a child is thirty-six months old and that these immune activation events in the brain can be triggered by the aluminum adjuvant in vaccines.”

 

Let us go over the discoveries, but please note that I could probably write a post on each of these discoveries. I will endeavor to link you to information about each but there is no way I can produce a complete list for each.  I am but a humble special education teacher and mom. Please link in comments to more information, if you have it, and I will update this post. 
1. JB believes that Dr Carlos Pardo-Villamizar discovered “autism brains are permanently inflamed.” However, it appears that JB has cherry-picked parts of this study that suit his whims without regard to what it is really stating. The myth that this study supports the idea that vaccines cause autism reached the study author who issued a statement in 2008. “Another issue that is important to clarify is the notion that neuroinflammatory responses mediated by innate responses and neuroglial activation are directly associated with injury. At present, we are not able to conclude that these neuroglial reactions are deleterious for the central nervous system.” This study does not conclude vaccines cause autism, according to one of the main authors.
2. Dr Paul Patterson discovered that immune activation events lead to autism. They found that, in mice, immune activation led to mice with autism-like behaviors. However, they noted that mice models cannot be extrapolated to humans. And, they focused on the relationship between mothers who have infections during pregnancy being at higher risk for having an autistic child. He wrote several papers on how infections during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of having an autistic child or a schizophrenic child. Note there is nothing about vaccines here. Again, this is not showing vaccines cause autism.
3. The cytokine interleuken-6 is the key biomarker for immune activation. This is again about Patterson but, again, Patterson was not studying vaccines. He was studying infections. Here is a good read about Patterson’s work.
4. Immune activation can take place after birth. This appears to be a theory by someone who hides behind the online moniker “Vaccines Papers” and nothing more. No data, no studies published, just a thought, which is not valid in and of itself.
5. Aluminum in vaccines can produce behavior and motor function deficits. Here, JB brings up the work of Christopher Shaw. Shaw is a Canadian scientist who’s work is funded by the Dwoskin Foundation. Dr Shaw primarily works with Dr Lucija Tomljevnovic at the University of British Columbia. Their interest in aluminum adjuvants coincides with getting grants from the Dwoskin Foundation, aka the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute. These two have had a few studies retracted for being badly done. Also, the World Health Organization published a page about them, pointing out the flaws in their methods. In sum, their work does not lead us to conclude vaccines cause autism
6. Aluminum adjuvants can be carried to the brain by macrophages. This study is well explained by Scientist Abe over at the Blood Brain Barrier Scientist. Abe is an actual scientist in neurobiology who teaches at an American university. In his post, he also discusses several of the previous “discoveries.” It is a good read. In sum, Gherardi may have stumbled upon something genetic in the French that makes them more susceptible to immune issues after vaccines. It is only, thus far, something seen in France. Or, it could be a correlation. Not enough data to leap to the idea that vaccines cause autism.
7. Aluminum adjuvants stay in the brain longer than anyone realized. This is again about Gherardi and his ideas that aluminum adjuvants can travel to the brain. But, there are serious flaws and bias issues in his work. First of all, like Shaw, he has funding from CMSRI, a group clearly devoted to finding a link between aluminum and autism. That is their goal which makes any research they fund completely tainted by bias. This is also a very poorly done study. Read here to learn about the flaws and questions. Again, this is not a reason to think vaccines cause autism.
8. Small doses of aluminum adjuvants are dangerous. This is apparently about something Vaccine Papers noticed. I am really quite shocked that JB would think that citing the opinion of a person who hides behind a pretend name is valid. We have some ideas who might run Vaccine Papers website but we don’t have confirmation. All we know is he likes to read studies in his own wonky way and then argue a lot about it online. I cannot fathom why we should consider his opinion on this autism matter. But, this is again a mouse study from the Gherardi group in France and we have already discussed their limitations. There is no reason to give this study any validity. Here is an excellent explanation as to why antivaxers have turned their sights on aluminum as the cause of autism and why the theory is bogus.
Side note to the discovery list is the interest JB takes in the opinion of Vaccine Papers. Many times I have debated VP and noted that nobody cares if he does not like the Dr Rober J Mitkus, who wrote the paper “Updated Aluminum and Pharmacokinetics Following Infant Exposures Through Diet and Vaccination.” (link here). VP feels this paper is flawed and gets upset that Mitkus ignores the aluminum studies by Shaw, Exley, Gherardi, etc. In sum, JB and VP both are upset that the poorly done studies they like are not given attention by Mitkus.
9. Aluminum causes immune activation in the brain. This is a rat study where aluminum may have increased inflammation. Again, not related to vaccines, not about humans.
10. Hepatitis B vaccine causes immune activation in mice. This is a study from China. I remember when JB blogged about this study. This is yet another study on rodents that proves nothing. What is interesting is how the ideas in this study connected to misunderstandings about the work of Patterson and Pardo. And, this study overdosed rats, so it cannot compare to humans and vaccines.
11. High levels of aluminum found in autistic brains. This study is by Christopher Exley and it is twice affected by conflicts of interest. Exley is not only on the board of the journal which published it but he is also on the board of CMSRI, the group which funded it! And the study is terrible. Basically, Exley got some precious brain samples from deceased persons with autism. We don’t know how they were exposed to aluminum but he analyzed brain samples for it. His data was all over the map so he averaged it and came up with his idea that autistic brains are smothered in aluminum. Hardly! This study has been discussed here and here and here and does not show any link between vaccines and autism.
JB goes on to pronounce these eleven discoveries “light a clear path to autism.” I feel sad for JB. Or I might if he was not such an angry man who is incredibly rude to anyone who gets in his path. However, I do feel sad for people who will read this book and take him at his word and not read what the studies really say. They certainly do not indicate vaccines cause autism. And I am actually quite shocked JB used Vaccine Papers as a source throughout this book. Really bad, JB. That is not a valid source.

Chapter 6: The Clear and Legal Basis that Vaccine Cause Autism

Chapter 6 is about what JB thinks if the legal basis for vaccines as the cause of autism. He writes “In late 2016 two scientists, in legal depositions, affirmed everything I could have hoped for, and more. And not just any scientists, but Drs. Andrew Zimmerman and Richard Kelley, arguably the two leading mainstream autism scientists in the world. Their intimate relationship with the “vaccine court” almost ended the autism epidemic in 2009, and their ongoing willingness, to tell the truth, will likely contribute to the ending, I hope very soon.” This relates to the case of Yates Hazelhurst, an autistic young man whose parents have instigated three lawsuits to prove vaccines caused his autism. They have lost the first two. The first was in “vaccine court,” where Yates’ case was one of the Autism Omnibus cases. You can read his case here https://www.autism-watch.org/omnibus/hazlehurst.pdf and you can learn more about the Autism Omnibus here. http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4029.pdf In a nutshell, in 2007, three special masters in the US Court of Federal Claims, heard three test cases selected by a group of petitioners who all believed their children were made autistic by vaccines. The Hazelhurst case was one of them. In each of these cases, the special masters rejected the causation theory. In other words, the evidence did not convince them vaccines cause autism.
In this chapter, JB outlines how he believes something Dr Andrew Zimmerman stated on record during another vaccine injury case, that of Hannah Poling, lends credibility to the argument that vaccines cause autism. It does not. The Poling case was unique. The special masters have written, “In Poling v. HHS, the presiding special master clarified that the family was compensated because the Respondent conceded that the Poling child had suffered a Table Injury–not because the Respondent or the special master had concluded that any vaccination had contributed to causing or aggravating the child’s ASD.”
An excellent explanation of the concerns about the Poling case and the facts can be found here.
JB also brings up, in this chapter, the idea that there are more cases where children with autism have won vaccine injury claims. This is partly false. There are children with autism who have had their vaccine injury claim approved but not because of autism. They have won a claim of vaccines causing something else, something on the vaccine injury table. It is obvious JB wants very badly for vaccines to be a cause of autism, but no vaccine causes autism claims have even been won in “vaccine court.” Here is a good explanation. Also, here.
The rest of chapter 6 is quotes from dialogues between attorneys and two doctors, Dr Andrew Zimmerman and Dr Richard Kelley. Thanks to my friend, Dorit, I was able to read the deposition of Dr Zimmerman myself.  Apparently, JB has copies of the depositions these doctors gave as part of the lawsuit the family of Yates Hazelhurst has filed against his then pediatrician for not being aware that vaccines could cause autism. According to JB’s account, these two doctors can confirm that Yates had a mitochondrial disorder and, thus, vaccines caused his autism. In fact, JB states that “these depositions confirm their opinions that Yates Hazlehurst—remember, one of the original test case children in the OAP—had the same mitochondrial deficit that Hannah Poling had, and that vaccines caused his autism.” JB believes that, had this evidence been presented during the Autism Omnibus hearings, “the current state of the autism epidemic would be very different.”
Who are Drs Zimmerman and Kelley? Dr Zimmerman is a pediatric neurologist practicing at UMass Memorial Medical Center and he is also a faculty member at University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is the scientific advisor at N of One. Dr Kelley is the Director of the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the Division of Metabolism at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I am not sure if they are “two of the most respected autism scientists in the world,” as JB believes, but they are definitely involved in autism research, albeit on the biomedical side. Both have had their research summarized by Dr Vincent Ianelli, here.
The dialogue at the end of chapter 6 summarizes the depositions of both doctors, wherein they lay out how they believe Yates Hazelhurst suffers from mitochondrial disorder and vaccines caused his autism. Key points, according to JB, are that Dr Kelley believes upwards of 40% of autistics have mitochondrial disorder and that Dr Zimmerman believes many physicians hold the opinion that vaccines cause inflammatory response that leads to autism. Zimmerman is quoted as stating “People who work in the field of autism see, commonly see a relationship between infection, inflammation, and onset of regression.” Further, he believes that vaccines cause an inflammatory response which then leads to regressive autism, particularly in children with mitochondrial disorders. Dr Zimmerman concludes that the research is still on-going but he foresees that, in the future, our understanding of metabolic disorders will enable us to prevent regressive autism. In Dr Kelley’s deposition, he agrees that there is research showing vaccines can cause autism but is not accepted by the “very authoritative groups who say there is no proven association in large cohort studies.” Dr Kelley goes on to add that he believes the “cdc whistleblower” is real because the CDC is “clever in how they publish data to avoid public attention that there is an association.” And, he believes that because vaccines cause inflammation, multiple vaccines at once can cause deterioration.
Having read the deposition of Dr Zimmerman, I am appalled at how JB cherry picks only the parts he likes.  Dr Zimmerman is pro vaccine and even vaccinates his patients.
JB does note that neither Dr Kelley nor Dr Zimmerman conclude that all vaccines cause autism. Furthermore, if you read the actual deposition, Dr Zimmerman explains how he continues to vaccinate, even in children with mitochondrial disorders, as he understands the benefits outweigh the risks. JB cherry-picked only the parts of the deposition that suit his argument.
Dr Zimmerman also believes autism is primarily a genetic disorder. He goes further and states he does not agree with the parents of his patients when those parents believe vaccines caused autistic regression. He further explains how he the Yates Hazelhurst medical records show no signs of regression, as he reads them, and encephalopathy is a separate condition from autism and “mitochondrial autism” is not a term recognized as valid. To me, these points Dr Zimmerman makes are important as they contradict JB’s cherry-picked deposition comments.
Continuing with the deposition, Dr Zimmerman is prompted to testify that Yates was never diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder until recently.

Chapter 7 The Critical Mass of Parents all saying the same thing

This chapter is primarily about JB’s frustration that parents are not taken at their word when they describe what they perceive as “vaccine injuries.” He cites a study called “Validation of the Phenomenon of Autistic Regression Using Home Videotapes,” as proof that early regression exists and parents should be taken at their word. But, the study actually made a very important conclusion which JB ignores: “While we cannot be certain from these data that children with autistic regression were developing entirely normally before the regression occurred, the results of the present study suggest that at least some children with autism do not display prototypical impairments in joint attention, such as a lack of declarative pointing, nor do they display obvious delays in their use of language at the end of their first year of life. Although these core autism symptoms were not observed at age 12 months in the present study, it is possible that the infants with regression did have other types of unusual behavior before the regression occurred.” No one disputes that children can regress. The issue is “do vaccines cause the regression?” This study does not lend to JB’s argument.

Part Three: A reckoning to end the epidemic

Chapter 8: They would have told us

In this chapter, JB tells us about how Robert F Kennedy, Jr got involved in vaccine politics and how immunization advocacy groups are basically all shills for big pharma. He compares vaccines to lead paint and cigarettes. JB’s point is that the truth, in his opinion, is being hidden by corporate interests.  JB believes the NCVIA indemnifies vaccine makers from liability and safety testing of vaccines is inadequate. Readers know, from reading my blog and others, that these points are false.  JB also believes that more and more parents begin to report regression after vaccine appointments in the mid- to late 1990s, the CDC responded by publishing studies to quash concern. This is an unproven conspiracy theory.  Further, he thinks that when British doctor Andrew Wakefield raised concerns about the MMR vaccine in 1998, a kangaroo court strips him of his medical license, and the ensuing media frenzy morphs into a defense of the entire vaccine schedule and an attack on anyone who reasonably questions it. This is false.

JB further goes over, again, the points he has made in the previous chapters.

Chapter 9: Next Steps: a twelve-point proposal

In chapter 9, JB outlines how he thinks vaccines cause all the problems in our children, from ADHD to learning disabilities, anxiety, allergies, and more. To JB, vaccines are the reason 13% of American children have special education plans. His plan, to solve this issue, is to follow the advice of his family’s pediatrician, Dr Paul Thomas. These two believe children should be vaccinated much less and, if we do that, we will see much less autism, better-behaved children, and fewer children with special education needs.
This is their plan:
  1. Immediately reduce the number of vaccines given to children. He believes children should get only DTaP, HIB, polio and MMR and they should get no vaccines until 12 months of age.
  2. Children should only be vaccinated if healthy.
  3. Separate MMR into three single shots
  4. Substitute titer tests for booster shots
  5. Screen vulnerable children for genetic vulnerabilities.
  6. Scrap the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, as they are too mainstream.
  7. Remove vaccine safety from the CDC.
  8. Scientists who know vaccines cause autism should speak as one.
  9. A congressional hearing should be held on the 83 autism cases supposedly linked to vaccines, as described in a paper by Mary Holland.
  10. Dr William Thompson should be compelled to testify.
  11. The drug suramin should be accelerated through the approval process.
  12. The AAP needs to pay more attention to the biomedical doctors.

At this point, I am tired of reading debunked antivax and autism warrior tropes.  None of these ideas are valid nor do JB’s ideas give us any reason to even consider them valid.

Chapter ten: Treatment and Recovery

 

In this chapter, JB outlines how biomedical treatments can recover children from autism and recommends various treatments and books, including the drug suramin, drinking silica mineral water to detox aluminum from the brain, eating a ketogenic diet, healing the microbiome, and taking nutritional supplements.
Sigh
Epilogue: wherein JB details how he feels guilty for depriving his son a normal life.
I am not tired. This book was exhausting to read if only because it is ableist and unscientific and repeats all the tropes JB has written about at Age of Autism and his own multiple blogs. I really feel sad for parents who take him seriously. There is no good science here. We know some children regress because of age, not vaccines. Autism is not the only developmental issue that causes regression. It is offensive and ignorant of JB to ignore the other developmental issues, like Prader-Willi and Krabbe and Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, all of which cause children to change late in infancy to early childhood.
Sometimes, I feel sorry for parents who have children needier than my own.   Then, I get upset at them and think about M and D and C and D and K and Chris and my other friends who have autistic children far needier than my own but THESE LADIES DO NOT BLAME VACCINES AND THEY DO NOT WALLOW IN SELF PITY.   They don’t feel they got dealt a bum hand and act sorry for themselves. They raise their spirits, advocate for their children, use sound medicine and science to care for them, and pretty much metaphorically flip antivaxers the finger for being selfish drama queens and kings.
To you, C and M and D and D and K, I send you big fat internet hugs. And especially to Chris.  Screw JB.
d2fc0857693f196ec9d38caea57f6cc2

Remember to always think for yourself,

 

Hugs from Kathy!

Antivaxers bring up Hannah Poling and vaccine safety, AGAIN

Yet again, antivaxers are bringing up the Hannah Poling vaccine injury case as proof vaccines cause autism. This time, it is because JB Handley has published a new book and he has decided that the attorneys for the government admitted that vaccines cause autism and, therefore, all the Autism Omnibus cases are wrong and every child who has autism deserves compensation for a vaccine injury.

Except he is wrong.

 

del and jb

It all started with JB Handley’s appearance on Del Bigtree’s show last week to promote his new book. I watched this 90 minute episode so you don’t have to. Guests included JB Handley, Jenny McCarthy, Rolf Hazelhurst, Robert Kennedy Jr, with Del Bigtree hosting. I will post some links at the bottom in case you want to learn more about these people. 

Here’s my summary:

JB – my book is revolutionary, blah blah
Jenny – I love JB
Rolf Hazelhurst and RFKjr discuss Poling case.
Del uses paper people to illustrate how Autism Omnibus hearings work.
Rolf says that dept of justice attorneys on his case lied about link between mercury and autism and MMR and that is the fraud. 

The end.

 

This is what they are excited about. This is a screenshot from the video. Mr. Matanoski and Ms. Ricciardella are attorneys who were involved in the Autism Omnibus hearings on the government’s side. Wiki actually has a really good explanation of these hearings, if this is new to you.

42177548_305460896702349_1790414322007015424_n

Del and JB, et al, think Matanoski and Ricciardella were lying when they made the above statement because Hannah Poling’s family was awarded compensation for vaccines injuring her and she is autistic. But, she was not awarded compensation for autism, a fact which Del and JB, et al, clearly refuse to understand. Here is the footnote from a more recent vaccine injury case, that of Brian Hooker:

I am well aware, of course, that during the years since the “test cases” were decided, in two cases involving vaccinees suffering from ASDs, Vaccine Act compensation was granted.
But in neither of those cases did the Respondent concede, nor did a special master find, that there was any “causation-in-fact” connection between a vaccination and the vaccinee’s ASD. Instead, in both cases it was conceded or found that the vaccinee displayed the symptoms of a Table Injury within the Table time frame after vaccination. (See Section I above).

In Poling v. HHS, the presiding special master clarified that the family was compensated because the Respondent conceded that the Poling child had suffered a Table Injury–not because the Respondent or the special master had concluded that any vaccination had contributed to causing or aggravating the child’s ASD. See Poling v. HHS, No. 02-1466V, 2011 WL 678559, at *1 (Fed. Cir Spec. Mstr. Jan. 28, 2011) (a fees decision, but noting specifically that the case was compensated as a Table Injury).

Second, in Wright v. HHS, No. 12-423, 2015 WL 6665600 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Sept. 21, 2015), Special Master Vowell concluded that a child, later diagnosed with ASD, suffered a
“Table Injury” after a vaccination. However, she stressed that she was not finding that the vaccinee’s ASD in that case was “caused-in-fact” by the vaccination–to the contrary, she
specifically found that the evidence in that case did notsupport a “causation-in-fact” claim, going so far as to remark that the petitioners’ “causation-in-fact” theory in that case was “absurd.” Wright v. HHS, No. 12-423, 2015 WL 6665600, at *2 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Sept. 21, 2015).

The compensation of these two cases, thus does not afford any support to the notion that vaccinations can contribute to the causation of autism. In setting up the Vaccine Act
compensation system, Congress forthrightly acknowledged that the Table Injury presumptions would result in compensation for some injuries that were not, in fact, truly vaccine-caused. H.R. Rept. No. 99-908, 18, 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6344, 6359. (“The Committee recognizes that there is public debate over the incidence of illnesses that coincidentally occur within a short time of vaccination. The Committee further recognizes that the deeming of a vaccine-relatedness adopted here may provide compensation to some children whose illness is not, in fact, vaccine related.”

 

As you can clearly read, the Poling case does not lead to the conclusion that vaccines cause autism.  Therefore, there is no fraud. Vaccines do not cause autism. There is no autism epidemic. There have been many, many vaccine safety studies done in the USA in the last 30 years. There are many vaccine safety studies done with saline placebo.  

 

Remember: Del Bigtree lies. His friends lie. Everything they try to say about vaccines is a lie.

 

The characters

Who is JB Handley? He’s this guy who thinks his son’s autism was caused by vaccines and he never met a bad study he didn’t love. He ignores everything contrary to his view.  Here are a few blog posts about him.

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/j-b-handley-versus-vaccine-science-again-not-surprisingly-j-b-loses/

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2018/04/06/old-guard-antivaccine-activist-j-b-handley-loses-best-platform/

My friend, the real truther, put together a video on JB

Rolf Hazelhurst is another guy who thinks his son is autistic because of vaccines. He has gone thru vaccine court, and lost, and tried to sue the pharmaceutical company and also lost. Last I heard, he was trying to sue the doctor who gave his son the vaccine and Robert Kennedy Jr was one of his attorneys.

Link to his vaccine court case: https://www.autism-watch.org/omnibus/hazlehurst.pdf

Robert F Kennedy Jr has lately taken up a very distorted view of vaccines and has lumped them together with his environmental causes.  Good read about him here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-robert-f-kennedy-jr-distorted-vaccine-science1/

Jenny McCarthy is a former actress/playmate who founded Generation Rescue with JB. She claimed her son was autistic but healed but many think she is not telling the truth about his health.

Del Bigtree is, well, Del. I have written about him often. You can read here and here and here.

Remember to always think for yourself. Always verify claims. Never take youtube videos as fact.

 

Kathy

Yes, HHS has safety studies

duckeric

 

I found this great meme and feel the need to share. If you need to know more, here are two posts for background info. My friend, Eric Chow, took the picture while at Toronto Zoo. I am not sure what kind of fowl this is.

 

http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2018/07/alternative-facts-from-court-the-anti-vaccine-edition.html

 

https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/anti-vaccine-ican-settles-hhs-meaning/

There are no vaccine studies with saline placebo?

Are there really no vaccine studies done with a saline placebo? This is a common comment from antivaxers. They think vaccines cannot possibly be safe unless they are tested against an inert substance, aka the saline placebo, and there are none in existence. Therefore, vaccines are BAD.

 

saline-di-trapani

What is a placebo and what is a saline placebo?  A placebo is a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect. Saline is something impregnated with salt. A saline placebo is basically a dose of salty water in lieu of a drug. So, the idea is that one group of study participants should get the vaccine while the other groups has a shot of salty water and neither group knows who got which. This is what is meant by double-blind, saline-placebo.

The World Health Organization has a great document explaining how placebos work and why certain substances are chosen for vaccine trials.

“Randomisation and the use of placebo interventions are designed to control for confounding effects, such that significant differences in disease incidence or adverse effects between the vaccine and control groups can likely be attributed to the vaccine. However, randomised, placebo-controlled trial designs often raise ethical concerns when participants in the control arm are deprived of an existing vaccine. Furthermore, testing a new vaccine against placebo is scientifically and ethically fraught when the hypothesis being tested is whether an experimental vaccine is more efficacious than one already in use in the same or in other settings.”

WHO goes on to detail how it may be unethical to deprive a study participant of a vaccine when an efficacious one exists. Meaning, if they are testing a new vaccine it would be unethical to test it against saline when an older, proven safe version exists. So, they can use the older version as the placebo and, therefore, not deprive the study participant of the protection. It is also considered ethical to use an adjuvant in lieu of a vaccine when the vaccine being studied has that adjuvant in it. So, you can use an aluminum adjuvant as a placebo if the adjuvant has been around enough to have been studied for safety. This is a controversial topic, with some feeling that aluminum adjuvants don’t have a proven safety record to use as a placebo.  That is a topic for another blog post. This one is focused solely on saline placebo.

“Between these two poles, the use of placebo controls in vaccine trials may be justified even when an efficacious vaccine exists, provided the risk-benefit profile of the trial is acceptable. “

The rest of the document sets out a “framework sets out the conditions under which placebo use is clearly acceptable and clearly unacceptable in vaccine trials.”

That being said, this does not mean there are no vaccine studies which use a saline placebo. Many clinical trials use a saline placebo. Read inserts to learn more. And, PubMed, the online database of scientific studies organized by the USA’s National Institutes of Health, has many listings for vaccine studies which use a saline placebo.

Here are some vaccine studies which used saline placebo:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25371534
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29443825
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29239682
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29217375
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28720281
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28522338
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28498853
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28376743
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27895921
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26411885
I could go on. This was from only the first two pages of my PubMed search.

 

So, as you can see, there are very important reasons why a scientist might not use a saline placebo in a vaccine study but there are also many vaccine studies which do use a saline placebo. As usual, antivaxers are conveying misinformation. In fact, my online friend, Mike, came up with this and I turned it into a meme. This is exactly what they do, goal shifting!

no true scotsman

 

Remember to always verify claims!

 

Kathy

This post is dedicated to Bernadette for always giving me great ideas for blog posts

Racist keeps harassing Dr Pan

This racist, who actually is from Australia, keeps harassing California Senator Dr Richard Pan. Why? I have no idea. But, screenshots of this post, from about a year ago, were sent to her then employer, Rodan and Field, a skincare and makeup company, and they fired her. She no longer has this cover photo and goes so far as to deny she was ever employed by them. A friend saved this post because the internet remembers forever.

 

38541360_266601540819029_445648344958631936_n

And here is Rodan and Field’s response

38502520_215208872500620_3258546504419246080_n

 

You would think that losing her job for racist posts would have taught her a lesson but she still pops up on Dr. Pan’s Facebook page, from time to time.  Usually, I just do my thing, posting evidence to counter her misinformation.  Today, however, she contacted me by Facebook private message and so the gloves came off a bit.  At first, she posted some misinformation and I sent her links to prove her wrong. Then, this happened.

Here are her messages to me on Facebook where she denies this is her. But, it is the same profile!!

 

harvey1 copy

 

harvey2 copy

harvey7

I never lie. Ever. In my world, lying is the biggest sin of them all. I don’t normally get petty in my blogging but this horrible human had the gall to tell me my autistic child cannot possibly be healthy and then she sent me a slew of horrible private messages on Facebook. She is a liar and deserves to be outed. Here is the rest of her post to Dr. Pan, as of today. Dr. Pan’s page admin hides troll posts so it will likely be gone by morning.

Here is the original thread from Dr. Pan’s page, which was subsequently hidden from view by his page admin.

Screen shots live forever.

harvey3 copy.jpgharvey4 copy.jpgharvey6 copy

 

And, yes, my fully vaccinated autistic daughter is super healthy. Bite me if you disagree.

 

Why do people act this way? I honestly do not get this level of hatred for other people.  I am not a petty person. I don’t like ad hominem attacks. But, this woman keeps showing up on Dr. Pan’s facebook page, spewing the same racist and ableist and antivax nonsense, and I decided to make a lesson her. This type of person is not doing any group any favors. If this is representative of antivaxers, then you all are your own worst enemies. And, yes, I have seen many other racist, hate-filled posts from her. I only have a few screenshots.

 

Oh well, just shows what kind of people run in antivax circles.

 

Kathy

THE ADULT (ANTI) VACCINE PLEDGE

This is the latest viral list coming from antivaxers. It has gone viral on Facebook this week.  Let’s dissect these claims, shall we?  My comments are in blue.  Original comments are in black. 

2015 Adult Combined Immunization Schedule - United States

I Pledge to Follow the CDC’s Recommended Adult Vaccine Schedule and believe the following:

Belief is defined as trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something or an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. Science, on the other hand, is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Do you see the difference? Science is not about belief. IT is about concrete data collected from the systematic study. 

1. I believe that vaccines are safe and effective, and I am fully aware that vaccinating can cause: Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Insomnia, Eczema, Allergies, Influenza, Vertigo, Arthritis, Earaches, Anaphylactic Shock, Bronchospasms, Multiple Neurological Issues, Vasculitis, Seizures, Myalgia, Fainting, Encephalitis, Thrombocytopenia, Hair Loss, Meningitis, Measles, Anemia, Agitation, Apathy, Hemorrhaging, Deafness, Tumors, Chickenpox, Tremors, Dermatitis, Alzheimer’s, SIDS, Herpes, Thrush, Pneumonia, Death and Many other Diseases.

I have not seen any evidence vaccines cause most of the things on that list. Certainly, anything can cause anaphylaxis but hair loss? Apathy? Deafness? Thrush? Are they kidding?  Here is the list of what vaccines actually cause. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm

2. I believe that vaccines are safe and effective. However, in the case of injury or death, I am aware that I can NOT sue the vaccine manufacturer if the vaccine falls under a category of vaccines recommended by the CDC to children or pregnant women. I believe NOT being able to sue the manufacturer is justifiable and that any claim I may have will go before the Vaccine Injury Court which has already awarded $3.7 Billion to vaccine injured individuals.

Actually, according to the USA’s NCVIA (vaccine injury act), you can sue pharma companies for certain issues. But, why should vaccine makers be responsible for rare reactions? It is not their fault someone has a rare reaction. I didn’t get to sue anyone when Sulfa drugs caused me anaphylaxis or when Cipro caused me major GI upset.  Nope. I am just noted as allergic to both these antibiotics in my medical chart. The no-fault vaccine court process has compensated 6000 claims of injury, in USA, since 1986, during which time we have given out more than 5 billion doses of vaccines. That makes risk of vaccine injury literally 0.000011%.  

https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/data/index.html

3. I believe vaccines do not cause autism, despite a 2015 CDC-commissioned White Paper in which Subject Matter Expert Stanley Plotkin acknowledged that autism spectrum disorders, developmental disorders, learning disorders, and 41 other serious outcomes are BIOLOGICALLY PLAUSIBLE outcomes from exposure to the CDC schedule. I acknowledge the multiple vaccine-induced autism cases already awarded in court and the thousands of cases in line.

Not sure which paper they are referring to but Plotkin wrote a paper in 2009 wherein he specifically stated vaccines do not cause autism. “

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.”

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/48/4/456/284219

4. I believe that vaccinated people don’t spread disease even though manufacturers, CDC, and FDA studies all show that most vaccines are not designed to prevent colonization and transmission, and live vaccines can shed, and protection wanes, and there are non-responders, and infections like mumps and whooping cough are being spread in and by fully vaccinated populations. I am aware that over 90% of people involved in “outbreaks” are vaccinated.

Again, I am not sure where they are getting these ideas. According to CDC, 80% of measles patients in USA are unvaccinated or no history of vaccine, since 2000.

   https://www.cdc.gov/measles/pubs-mmwr.html

As for vaccines shedding, that happens very very rarely and has never happened with MM or R. 

https://vaxopedia.org/2016/09/17/shedding-and-vaccines/

5. I believe that vaccines are so safe and effective that injecting aborted fetal DNA fragments into my body is totally acceptable, even though in other areas of science where human DNA is used insertional mutagenesis is recognized as a major problem. I believe this practice trumps other religious beliefs and it is our constitutional right to choose.

The constitution does not give them a right to chose not to vaccinate.  As the six lawsuits against California’s vaccine bill, SB277, have all lost their cases, clearly vaccine mandates which disallow religious exemptions are not unconstitutional. 

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/california-sb277-vaccination-law-litigation-update-1/

The DNA argument is silly. It comes from a single, self-published study from Theresa Deisher, of Seattle, WA. Deisher is a pro-life activist whose work has not been replicated and was self-published in a very low-brow journal.  There is no reason to believe there is human DNA in vaccine nor that this causes any concerns. We eat, breathe, drink and are injected with foreign DNA all day, every day, for our entire lives. Having sex with men means you are injected with foreign DNA.  This argument is irrational. 

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2015/08/24/more-horrible-antivaccine-science-from-theresa-deisher/

6. I believe vaccines are safe and effective, even though they’re not tested for Cancer, DNA mutation, or infertility.

This comes from reading vaccine inserts, which are records of what was noted during clinical trials. There is a great deal of other research done on vaccines and ingredients. The studies on these topics can be found at the EPA IRIS database. 

https://www.epa.gov/iris

All vaccines go through preclinical (in vitro) testing for mutagenic, carcinogenic, and fertility impairment potential. If a potential is shown then they have to go through clinical animal testing to figure out the specifics and see if it can be avoided or the risk reduced. The part of the insert that says they have not been through testing is for clinical animal testing and it is actually a good thing that nothing is ever there.

7. I believe that injecting Weed Killer, Formaldehyde, Aluminum, Mercury, Monkey Kidney Cells, Salt, Glucose, Fungus, Acetone, Alcohol, Antibiotics, Disinfectant, Castor oil, E.coli, Guinea Pig Cells, Urine, Pig Protein, Canine Cells, MSG, Germicide, Yeast, Shark Liver oil, Human and Cow Blood, Tar, Methanol, Antacid, Chloroform, Acids, Vitamins and Aborted Fetus DNA into my body is completely safe.

This made me laugh. There is no weedkiller in vaccines. There is NO elemental aluminum nor elemental mercury. The person who made this list has chemophobia. They need to learn about dose toxicity. 

https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients

8. I believe we should trust the CDC, an independent company that owns several vaccine patents even though they have been caught lying and falsifying documents.

This one is hilarious. The CDC is a non-profit, governmental agency that does research and holds patents on technologies it develops. They lease those patents out which generates more research revenue for them. They do not own patents for whole vaccines, because vaccines are made up of many technologies, and they have never been caught lying or falsifying documents. 

https://www.cdc.gov/od/science/technology/techtransfer/index.htm

9. I believe that vaccines are safe and effective, even though the Department of Health and Human Services has been sued (and lost) because they have not filed any vaccine-safety-improvement reports to Congress in the last 32 years –as they are required by law to do.

This one is a very ignorant statement. A group called ICAN filed a lawsuit with the Health and Human Services Department of USA when they had failed to reply to a FOIA (freedom of information act) request for records relating to vaccine safety reports. HHS agreed to a stipulation, meaning they did not lose the lawsuit, that there are not reports submitted to Congress. That does not mean there are not vaccine safety studies. Details here. 

https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/anti-vaccine-ican-settles-hhs-meaning/

10. I believe the (maybe) two hours of vaccine education doctors receive in medical school is sufficient. I believe doctors lie and bully parents into vaccinating because deep down inside they really care. I believe that the $40,000 bonus their clinic receives for vaccinating patients is not a factor for them.

I have dealt with these claims before. Doctors learn a great deal about vaccines.  And the $40,000 bonus is bogus. 

11. I believe and trust our government is honest and transparent. I also believe that the media is never manipulating, and we can trust in those whom we can NOT hold liable, because pharmaceutical companies are the most honest, reliable, and benevolent companies on the planet, working only for the greater good, and never, ever put profits before health.

No vaccine advocate takes the government at their word. We read vast amounts of scientific literature to ascertain whether vaccines are safe and effective or not. This is not about zealotry, as the above statement implies, but concrete evidence. We agree that profits should not be put before health. Insurance companies like vaccines very much because they are much less expensive than outbreaks. Same with universal healthcare. Vaccines work at keeping infectious disease rates low. 

12. I believe that the vaccines my children receive “Save Lives,” so, therefore, I agree to do my part and get the 88 or more vaccines recommended for Adults by the CDC (in order to “catch up”).

Not sure where she is getting 88 vaccines. The CDC adult immunization schedule certainly does not recommend that many. 

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/adult.html

I acknowledge the 2011 U.S Supreme Court’s opinion declaring vaccines “Unavoidably Unsafe.”

Vaccines are an unavoidably unsafe product, but they are not unsafe. And, the Supreme Court never ruled vaccines unavoidably unsafe. These two links explain. 

https://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/what-is-an-unavoidably-unsafe-product.html

http://momswhovax.blogspot.com/2013/11/vaccines-and-unavoidably-unsafe-products.html

 

As you can see, this list is silly and irrational and not backed by sound science.  Typical of antivaxers. 

 

Remember to always verify your claims,

 

Kathy

Why I am not antivax

I could be antivax. Why am I not? Why do some people become antivax and others do not?

I have all the markers.  I have been hurt by medical professionals. I have had issues with medical professionals that could have led me to mistrust them all completely. I was a vegetarian for a while. I was very crunchy, in my early parenting years.  I shopped only at the organic food coop for years!

I have been harmed by doctors and had my health compromised by their actions.

I had a bad reaction to the MMR.

I had an anaphylactic reaction to an antibiotic once.

My second child was birthed out of the hospital, at a free-standing birth center, with a midwife. I have used naturopaths for healthcare. I once questioned whether aluminum adjuvants were safe. I once thought chicken pox vaccine was not necessary. I once thought flu vaccine lowered our resistance to infection and led to more illness in flu season. I have been, in the past, prescribed too much medication and that led to immune dysfunction. A naturopath helped me heal my gut.

Why am I not antivax?

It is because of this guy.

220px-Frans_Hals_-_Portret_van_René_Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) was a creative mathematician of the first order, an important scientific thinker, and an original metaphysician. I am not being pretentious. I was a math major in college, for a while, and then got a BA in sociology because I love the way math, rational thinking, statistics, and the study of humans intertwine. I minored in French. I am extremely rational, to the point of often not getting jokes or sarcasm. I read numerous of Descartes’ writings as an undergrad and as a graduate student in education.  Descartes is considered the “father of rational thinking” for a reason.

And by that, I mean that regardless of what I went through I kept thinking rationally about it and that is why I never became antivax or anti-medicine, despite my negative experiences.

Let’s visit the back story.

First of all, I was a really healthy kid.

29790569_214243605824079_8024306855318650880_n

Yep, that is me with pooka shell necklace in 3rd grade. Look at that tan.  In the 70s, we didn’t realize tanning was dangerous.

I was a healthy California beach kid. I spent most of my time, other than at school, outdoors, mostly barefoot. We roamed the hills, we played with gourds and thistles and we were gone from home as much as possible. Mom fed us mostly whole grains and fresh food. Occasionally, she would buy us Oreos or Ding Dongs but that was rare. We were eating bulgur wheat and brown rice and whole grain bread as soon as we had teeth. Mom never bought us soda or sugary cereal except on rare occasions when camping in summer. And I was a healthy kid. I had chicken pox twice, as a kid, but never broke any bones. I was in the ER for stitches a bunch as a toddler (I was incorrigible) but was never hospitalized nor had anything serious happen to me, ever, as a child. I had a few ear infections or cases of bronchitis, in elementary school, but nothing very serious. And, I had been fully vaccinated more than the standard schedule because I lived in Central America as a young child. So, unlike most California 70s kids, I had smallpox and other travel vaccines on top of regular vaccines.

But, I was a healthy kid!

As a teen, I was also healthy. I ate healthily, was slim, played sports, got a few sinus infections, but was mostly healthy. Rarely missed school.

kathyhighschool

By age 18, I was accepted to University of California Irvine, I was done with varsity tennis, I had passed the AP English and Biology exams, and I had a job as a Lancome counter girl at the local department store. I was working out almost daily. I was an advanced skier. I was very fit and healthy. I worked out daily, either running or ballet or a the gym for aerobics. I was an almost vegetarian and rarely ate junk food.

In early August 1984, I got infectious mononucleosis (EBV) and I was very sick. I ended up bedridden for 6 weeks, I had hepatitis, I had to quit my job, I had to go to the MD weekly for blood work, I was inches away from being hospitalized, according to my family MD.  I was in so much pain from hepatitis I could not stand up straight. I had so little energy that I needed help getting out of bed and getting downstairs.

It took about six weeks but I  recovered from EBV and started my freshman year of college and thrived except that I started having allergy issues. By mid-year 1985, I was referred to an allergist and started allergy shots and meds. I developed a few sinus infections and, once, had an anaphylactic reaction to the medication ( sulfa drugs).  I lost trust (long story) in the first allergist but I trusted our family doc and he sent me to another allergist.

The new allergist handled every bad cold the same way. I would get an x-ray, he would confirm sinus infection, and he would prescribe antibiotics and steroid nasal spray and prednisone.  The two years I spent with him, I went through this routine an average of 7 times each year. So, in two years, I went through 14 sinus x-rays, 14 rounds of antibiotics, 14 rounds of steroid nasal spray, and 14 rounds of prednisone. It is a wonder I was still able to work and be a full-time student and even live in France as an exchange student, but I did all of that and maintained a GPA of 3.8 and I graduated cum laude.

By 1987, I was immune compromised, had systemic yeast infections, had chronic thrush, and was sicker than well. I managed to get through graduate school, while working full time but was still suffering from chronic infections.

In 1991, there was a measles outbreak on my university’s campus and I had to get another MMR. I had a bad reaction to it and ended up with my arm in a sling for a week and on pain meds.  My arm swelled up like there was a tennis ball in it, at the injection site. It took a week to go away.

By 1992, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

At this point, I could have become anti-modern medicine. They certainly were not doing anything to help me get better! They never had answers for me, just pills for my symptoms.

In 1994, I got married. My husband and I wanted to have children but he worried I was on too many medications. So, I decided to give something new a try – a naturopath. At the time, we lived in Seattle which was then home to the Bastyr University clinic.  Growing up in California, I had never heard of a naturopath. Believe it or not, Washington state is much more liberal about licensing alternative healthcare practitioners than California. Being literally desperate, I gave the Bastyr clinic a try. I ended up with Nooshin Darvish, who was amazing and helpful and very respectful of me putting limits on the scope of her practice. To this date, I credit her with helping me be alive today and have two children. She was wonderful.

Okay, okay, you are wondering how the hell I could speak positively about a naturopathy. They are so wooey! They practice pseudoscience!  Well, Nooshin did two things with me that solved pretty much everything. She sent me for bloodwork and she had me get a sample of my poop and tested it. I had been to multiple medical doctors, over the years, and no one had ever done either of those things.  I even had a camera put down my throat and a barium enema xray and no one ever analyzed my stools for anything. With the bloodwork, Nooshin discovered I was anemic and had very low thyroid. With the stool sample, she discovered that I had yeast overgrowth in my digestive system.  Given the fact that I still occasionally got thrush in my throat, this was not a surprise. She put me on iron supplements, probiotics, Synthroid, and had me go on an elimination diet.  I discovered that corn and wheat products made my digestive system ache so I avoided them, as well as alcohol and sugar not related to a few servings of fruit a day. I ate this way for about two years. I probably didn’t need to go that long on this diet but I was afraid to stop because, within six months, I was feeling well again! She also introduced me to the neti pot and sinus lavage.  By 1996, I was healthy enough to start thinking about having children! We bought our first house and, instead of having kids right away, we spent 5 years fixing up a major fixer, but I was healthy again and that was the point. Also, nothing Nooshin did with me was super wooey (at my request).  I purposely avoided homeopathy and acupuncture and anything I felt was not well supported by published studies.

But, again, at this point, I could have gone into the deep end and become anti-medicine and anti-vaccine. It is really only through my insistence on paying attention to evidence that I stayed the course. I always asked her to give me evidence for whatever she wanted to do and we would discuss it. After she graduated and I switched to a private practice ND, Dr Paris Preston in Seattle, I stayed the same course – evidence first. There really are some good naturopaths, you see, ones that base their ideas on scientific evidence.  (some can be found at NDs for Vaccines). I no longer live in Seattle and my children and I see a family doctor for our healthcare now, but I do credit naturopathy for where I am today.

So, my question is, why do some people stay rational and others stop?   Why do some people become antivax and others do not? What can we do to stop this or help them?

Discuss!

 

 

Remember to think for yourself!

Kathy