Friday, 8 January 2016

Another antivaxxer

WARNING: THIS POST IS LONG BECAUSE IT DEALS WITH THE ZENITH OF IGNORANCE

It happened again.

I had planned on posting a second update this week, something about a stupid patient or something.  I had the update all proofread, edited, and ready to go, but I unfortunately ran into someone on Twitter who inspired* me to change my mind.  This person** is so utterly deluded, so hopelessly brainwashed that I felt the need to sit right down at my computer*** and type a brand-spanking new post and leave the other one for later.
*"Inspire" in this case means she was so violently wrong that I couldn't help myself
** "Person" in this case means a spectacularly and fiendishly ignorant antivaxxer
*** Who the hell uses a computer these days?  It's 2016 for god's sake!  I wrote this on my iPhone with some assistance from my computer.  Thanks, Apple!
The person in question is Charisse Burchett, otherwise known as @Charbrevolution on Twitter.  She is a self-described "bitchcakes" and "fuckzilla", though I can't really say too much about those monikers considering I call myself a bastard.

It's never a good sign when someone's Twitter header is a picture that says "Wake up People // Vaccines = Death Adhd Autism Sids (sic)".  But after Charisse engaged me on a tweet I made on January 4th, I felt obliged to engage her.  My original tweet was a list of things I still can't believe people believe in 2016:
Astronomer Phil Plait tweeted a similar list a day before I did, which must have unconsciously inspired my own list.  There were several dozen things I could have added to my list if Twitter allowed a few thousand more characters, but I felt that list summed it up fairly well.  Charisse out of the blue replied with this:
I wasn't completely sure what she meant, though I did appreciate being called a toad (her insults would get far more hilariously ludicrous in the following days).  A click on her profile told me three very scary things: 1) She was a home vaccine researcher (aka a googler), not a doctor, 2) she was rabidly antivaccine, and 3) she has three children.  This woman needed educating, and quickly.

I clearly had work to do.

After Charisse declared that vaccines cause autism, I corrected her by showing her the study of over 1.2 million children showing no link between vaccines/mercury/thimerosal and autism.  She of course rejected that very compelling data because it failed to support her pre-determined conclusion, so she immediately threw out the Simpsonwood meeting.  This was held by the CDC in 2000 to discuss any potential link between the mercury in thiomersal (aka thimerosal) and autism (none was found, of course).  Bringing up this conspiracy theory is a classic manoeuver by antivaxxers whenever they need one to cover up supposed evidence of a link between vaccines and autism (which doesn't exist).  The issue has been extensively studied both before and since that meeting, and no link has been found.  She then threw out the infamous "list of 122 papers showing a link".  I've seen that list numerous times when antivaxxers perform that particularly predictable Gish Gallop, and it was soundly debunked several years ago (see this paper-by-paper refutation compiled by Liz Ditz).

Evidence, right?  Data, right?  Oh no, Charisse would not be deterred.  She then decided to switch tactics by moving the goalposts, claiming that there are no studies comparing vaccinated versus unvaccinated people.  Wrong again:

Look at that, evidence!  Glorious evidence!  Not just one paper, but 5, including a meta-analysis!  Surely she'll learn something, right?  Her response was classic head-in-the-sand denialism:
What?  I know it?  Was she really denying that those studies actually exist?  Not satisfied with denying, she decided to move the goalposts again:
I have no idea why she would think Americans' immune systems would be any different than any other human's on Earth.  Her response was curious:
Wait, wait, wait, I just showed you that the studies have been done, and they do not show that at all.  Is she illiterate or just ignoring me?  She then asked me to post a link to each study, which I did, expecting her to read exactly -0- of them.  Her response was to move the goalposts YET AGAIN:
That has nothing to do with anything I had said, but I let it go because she seemed to stop replying.  I thought, Maybe I've gotten through to her!  Maybe she's learned something!  Maybe she's taking all this time to read all those wonderfully educational links I've sent her!  Then I remembered that I'm a realist, not an idiot.  Her answer was to move the goalposts again:
Good grief.  I explained that polysorbate 80 has been known to be perfectly safe since the 1950s, which is why it is used in so many products.  The dose of polysorbate 80 in a vaccine is about 25 micrograms (that's 0.000025g), and rats fed a diet high in polysorbate 80 (the equivalent of a human eating 140g daily, the same as getting 5,600,000 flu shots) showed no ill effects (though if this was increased to an equivalent of a ludicrous 1.2kg (48,000,000 flu shots) daily, it decreased birth weight of offspring).  Regarding animal DNA, anyone who eats meat has animal DNA floating around in their serum.  So what.

She then moved the goalpost yet again, claiming that the flu vaccine causes narcolepsy.  This is where I stepped into it, because I hadn't heard of that and asked her to prove it, which I then did myself with a Pubmed search.  Indeed I learned that the Pandemrix vaccine used against the H1N1 strain of influenza in 2009 was found to cause around 1300 cases of narcolepsy around Europe, possibly due to a cross-reaction to an adjuvant used.  That particular vaccine was only used that one year, and no other flu vaccine has been associated with narcolepsy.

I admitted my mistake to Charisse, but apparently my acknowledgement that I don't know everything shattered any credibility (not that I had any with her to begin with).  Apparently Charisse thought that mistake reversed my opinion on everything else I had said:
Ah, no.  I had said none of those things.  But she seemed to think narcolepsy was a death sentence even though it is quite treatable, and that statement apparently made me evil and inspired one of the most fascinating insults I've ever received:
All I can say in response to that is YES.  Because what else can you say to "hulking banana turd"?  Her next tactic was to move the goalposts yet again and claim that Gulf War Syndrome is caused by vaccines.  She claimed she was going to show me up by proving it and I was too easy and fun (that may be true, I am a lot of fun) but I preemptively showed her evidence to the contrary:
Shockingly (not really) she hasn't brought it back up since.  I then decided to change tack and find out if she thinks vaccines are just bad or if they are bad and don't work as advertised.  I mentioned the fact that vaccines eradicated smallpox, which killed half a billion people in the 20th century, and that vaccines have prevented about 17 million deaths from measles alone since 2000.  Her response was entirely predictable:
And she revealed her stunning ignorance on anything having to do with biology, immunology, or science in general:
Yes, despite the fact that we know exactly how vaccines work, why they work, and that they work, she believes this is not causation.  Continuing her spectacular ignorance, she then started with the "Vaccines didn't save us" bit, which Dr. David Gorski (aka Orac) has firmly debunked.  I then showed her this graphic, which very nicely demonstrates how the measles infection rate, shown since 1912, plummeted to near zero after the vaccine was released:
Antivaxxers like the green line because it shows that mortality was already dropping precipitously when the vaccine came out, which is completely 100% true.  But medicine was advancing dramatically in the early 20th century - antisepsis, supportive care, ventilators, antibiotics . . . of course people would survive diseases better since doctors actually knew how to treat them.  But the red line simply can not be dismissed, as seasonal variations are seen until the very time the vaccine was introduced and measles all but vanished.  I then asked her about this one:
For those antivaxxers who think clean water and improved sanitation eliminated these diseases, isn't it funny how that clean water started eliminating polio in 1952 (right when the vaccine was introduced)?  But that same sly clean water waited to start improving measles rates until 1963 (when the vaccine was introduced).  And that sneaky clean water waited to drop mumps rates until a few years later in 1967 (when the vaccine was introduced).  And that water was still so wily that it waited 2 more years until 1969 to start dropping rubella rates (when the vaccine was introduced).

After all this education over a period of several days, I was beginning to think she was a lost cause, when finally Charisse showed her hand:
BINGO.  And there you have it.  Charisse openly admitted that no matter what evidence I showed her, no matter how strong the data, she would never change her mind.  Most believers in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories don't admit this outright, so I confess I was a bit shocked (even more so than after the "hulking banana turd" line).  Despite decades of tireless research by thousands of dedicated scientists and doctors, she (and many others like her) believe her "research" is somehow valid.

So there it is, my latest "conversation" with an antivaxxer.  I think it went pretty well, all things considered (not really).  Did I change any minds?  Not Charisse's, to be sure.  But perhaps someone else reading this (either here or on Twitter) will be swayed, though I seriously doubt anyone will actually read this entire stupid article.  I barely could, and I wrote the damned thing.

But what I do know is that I will not stop educating (read: fighting with) these people, because ultimately the people who lose are children like Charisse's who are left unprotected and susceptible to several painful, debilitating, and potentially-fatal diseases because their parents are either woefully misinformed or willfully ignorant.

129 comments:

  1. That's the nut test. Someone who will not change their mind in the face of new evidence or admit that they could be wrong, that's a nut.

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  2. As a board certified Aspie I believe that Auties and Aspies should have a say about this misinformation.

    I've researched this topic multiple times and found NO evidence that vaccines causes autism.

    And being on the spectrum is really not that bad Charisse. It's not worse than death.

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    1. I thought she was saying narcolepsy was worse than death.

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    2. She did, but anti-vaxxers usually think there is a link between vaccines and ASD. They avoid vaccines that prevent fatal illnesses to avoid disorders(except not really) like ASD, which as op said, are certainly not worse than death.

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    3. I have a friend who has narcolepsy, and he is perfectly functional as long as his sticks to a rigid nightly sleep routine. As in, holding down a job, caring for his children, and driving. Even though anecdote does not equal data, not quite the death sentence that the self-proclaimed fuckzilla thinks it is.

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    4. I have a cat with narcolepsy. I think. It could just be a cat.

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  3. I hate people who don't even try to see other's sides. In my opinion (correct me if I am in correct with any information) the only situation where you should not vaccinate your child is when they have a condition where their immune system cannot handle a vaccine (I have heard a few exist but are very rare)

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    1. and on that note, the bigger victims are the people who are, for one LEGITIMATE reason or another, unable to accept vaccines.

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    1. You can always repel teenagers with a high frequency sound wave device. I bet you have one. Sigh.

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    2. No, you repel teenagers by playing elevator music in your home. Softly.

      Wednesday

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  5. The people who lose are also other people's children who are either to young to be vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated due to some type of illness or condition. Anti-vaxers risk exposing these high risk populations to terrible diseases. Of course you knew that - I just had to comment because the anti-vaccine movement drives me crazy. And I have a child with Austism (which was not caused by his vaccines)!

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    1. Of course you are absolutely right.

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    2. I agree. I have a 5 month old daughter, and I had a hard time bringing her out of the house because so many people are on this anti-vaccine band wagon. I made sure my friends had immunized their children before I would let them meet her. I had my daughter called a bubble baby by people because I had concerns about bringing her around people who had not been immunized. It drove me nuts. My thought on the matter is that if my daughter, who was not old enough to get the vaccines, caught something and died, the anti-vaxer parent should be charged with murder. Even if vaccines did cause autism, I would still vaccinate my child because I would rather my child have autism than contract a potentially deadly disease.

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    3. Before the chickenpox vaccine was available, I had a close friend whose three year old son had leukemia and was finishing/just finished chemo. The family rarely had their son in public. Everyone in our circle of friends knew the seriousness of the situation and kept their children away from him if there was a tiniest hint of illness. After calling around to let everyone know the boy would like to attend a private party, if the other children attending were healthy, the lad got to attend his first outing in a long time. One mother, knowing the boy's condition and restrictions, brought her daughter with active chickenpox, saying all children have to get CP, even a child with leukemia, so no worries. This is a smart woman, with a college degree, so no excuses for not understanding the implications of her actions. Thankfully, my friends son did not die but spent days in the hospital on the bring of death. It was so bad the mom asked if she could have my son's grey suit to bury her son in. To this day the woman who knowingly infected this boy, doesn't think she did anything wrong. I was mad she exposed my healthy children, but to expose a child with a compromised immune system is unforgivable to me. These people must have their brains wired differently than most to believe and act the way they do. I believe the woman Doc is writing about loves her children and wants the best for them, just as I don't believe the horrible woman from my story wanted to kill a child... what's up??

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    4. I wouldn't say that she's wired differently. She's an idiot but not on the spectrum disorder. We don't attend parties.

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    5. Oh my gosh, Paula! That woman who willingly infected the boy should have been charged for that!

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  6. "My opinion stands. Don't try to confuse me with your facts." (Every anti vaxxer ever. And my mum. Though I did get all vaccines as a kid. Except small pox. Which was already eliminated when I was born in the early 80ies)

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  7. I have been following this on Twitter. I admire you for engaging this idiot for this long. People talk about the vaccination complications and deaths but defer when asked for specifics.

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  8. The only saving grace against anti-vaxxers, is the fact they will eventually die out simply because the rest of us will not get sick like they do. I have a son with autism, not caused by vaccines, and wouldn't trade anything for him to be normal(normal, still not sure what that is by the way). My son is who he is because he looks and responds to things differently. I challenge anyone to raise a child with autism. Let me know how you feel after a month.

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    1. Alas, it's usually not the anti-vaxxers who get the diseases.

      It's their kids. Who had no choice.

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    2. My son has autism. I would rather that than polio or measles which could definitely kill my son.

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  9. Just a heads up, it's not .025g polysorbate 80, it's .000025g :P

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    1. that name sounds familiar. is it used in other products?

      never mind, I googled it. it is commonly used in ice cream. so ice cream must cause autism.

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    2. I need a like button for your comment ken!

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    3. Polysorbate 80, which is used in ice cream, causes autism? Why didn't my doctors say I have autism, as I eat more than my share of ice cream? I guess it must be because it doesn't cause autism.

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    4. It's also used as a surfactant in soaps, detergents, and such. If all of us who washed ourselves and our clothes were at risk, *most* of the population of all the "developed" countries of the world would suffer from ASDs.

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  10. Charisse is a die hard follower of Dr. Boyd Haley. Remember him? The one that called autism a 'mad child disease.' First it was mercury then he changed his story to thimerosal and now polysorbate. But then again I think Charisse believes that immunization can be provided from her breast milk.

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  11. The narcolepsy link to Pandemrix is probably the most fascinating bit of your latest posting. You knew the outcome of the rest of this exchange before you even set out on it. The harder you try to show a conspiracy theorist that they're wrong the more they believe you're part of the conspiracy after all.

    I do wonder if Pandemrix will give us better insight into what causes narcolepsy which would significantly advance sleep medicine. That would be something good that comes from that unfortunate episode.

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  12. I feel like we need to compile some type of "dealing with idiots" care package for individuals like this, a massive booklet (with digital version available), just filled with reality to counter their complete asinine "beliefs".

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    1. Never argue with idiots. They will pull you down to their level and beat you there with experience.

      I'm all for beating some sense into them with a good old clue bat. Or that booklet of yours. Sounds about the right thing to do with it.

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  13. We practice in a era where one must (begrudgingly) follow the Onion, Natural News, and Wikipedia to know what our patients and their families are learning from the "articles" in their google searches.

    It would be much more time-efficient and effective (not to mention far more emotionally fulfilling than throwing out phrases like "hulking banana turd") to visit a PICU on any given day and see the infants on ECMO from Pertussis or immunocompromised children with a myriad of vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Water getting dirty again or herd immunity waning? I've gotten myself into trouble using the term "herd immunity" before, but I just don't give a banana turd and am secure in my opinions, experience-, and most importantly, evidence-based medical knowledge.

    I wonder if Ms/Dr. Burchette has temporarily taken her social media rampage to Mark Zuckerburg...

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    1. I wonder how many people realize what a new technology (in comparison to the history of human civilization) evidence based medicine actually is.

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    2. I read an item, possible in the New Scientist, only a few years ago pointing out that even today logical thought and reasoning is not the norm for most people in the world. Most people's experiences are dominated by rumour and superstition rather than logic and evidence. This applies particularly in the developing world but evidently not exclusively so.

      Ugi

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    3. My previous comment is still awaiting the Doc's ban-hammer but this is the start of the article that I was thinking of:
      https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827862-300-how-weird-are-you-oddball-minds-of-the-western-world/

      You need a sub' to get past the first page but you get the idea - people are not really wired for rational, logical thinking in the way some of us instinctively assume they should be.

      Ugi

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  14. Don't countries in the EU have more stringent clinical trial regulations? Many studies in the US have to go above and beyond our government's regulations so the product can be marketed in these countries.

    I'd be interested to see a study of whether antivax parents are more likely to have mental illness than the rest of the population, but I fear the results would just lead to a greater persecution complex...

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  15. I was born in the mid 60s on an Army Base. Getting all vaccinations available was never questioned, it was just done. I can remember lining up in school because the Health Department was set up in the library and vaccinations were given. My maternal grandmother had a huge scar on her thigh from her smallpox vaccine. She was proud of it, saying that she was doing her part to eradicate it. I am likewise just as proud as the smallpox vaccine scar on my arm. It was given that day in the library, along with mmr and polio vaccines.

    I now have autoimmune disorders. My mom traced my family tree as far as possible on her side, and was able to show that my autoimmune disorders were very common in my ancestry, and that they were not caused by vaccines. The disorders simply have names now, and science hasn't yet figured out how to cure/prevent them.

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  16. What she said about autism causing people to have "no jobs, no passing driving test, no looking after kids" is absolute bullshit.

    Granted, I can't think of any of my autistic friends that have kids (but then again, being 21, I only have a couple of friends who are either really stupid or really secure in their lives having kids right now, or they're just way outside my age group), but I can speak for myself when I say that I do have a motorbike license at least (before you say anything about it, Doc, I've had my learner license for a car for 4 years, not one member of my family, nor a single friend, has stepped up to give me the hours I need, and as a result, I'm 31.5 hours into the 120 total that I need, 30 of which I had to pay for at a driving school, which are ridiculously expensive, and I can't keep up with it anymore. I also got sick of being turned down for jobs because I could only use my city's ridiculously useless public transport system), and I'd say what stopped me more from getting a job than my autism was breaking my leg 3 days before I was offered an interview (how's that for bad luck?)

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    1. She was referring to narcolepsy being a life-ender, not autism. Obviously it is not, just as autism is not.

      I would be very curious to do a sort of interview with some autistic folks. I'll have to think about that.

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    2. Ah. I must have misread. The dangers of commenting on anything first thing of a morning, I guess!

      That could be very interesting, but it would be so hard to do, as a presentation on what it is to live with autism. There's just so much variety on it: severity, attitudes growing up (for them and everyone around), treatments... It'd be so hard to provide a balanced interview.

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  17. Doc, I argued with anti-vaxxers for a solid day and was never once called a "hulking banana turd." That's just not fair.

    Anyway my favorite anti-vax argument was that doctors either don't diagnose illnesses in people who have been vaccinated or will change the name of what they're diagnosing someone with so that the vaccines will look effective. According to this particular anti-vaxxer the medical community has been doing this since at least the 19th century.

    Bet you didn't know you were part of a historical conspiracy, did you?

    (Don't worry. I'm apparently an employee of Big Pharma.)

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    1. have your paychecks been getting misplaced, too?

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    2. I know. They're so unreliable, right?

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  18. I wonder what vaccinations she had as a child?

    I then wonder who she will sue if her children get any interesting diseases for which there is a vaccine?

    I then wonder if she has vaccinations for when (if) she goes on trips abroad where there are all sort of interesting and exotic gifts from the locals to bring home, malaria and the like :)

    What would she say if someone else unvaccinated child gets an interesting disease from one of her children or even herself and is left disabled or dead?

    In the meantime you could wave a loaded syringe of vaccine at her, it will keep her away teehee

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  19. Hi Doc! I have a question for you about homeopathy. Now I completely agree with you that homeopathy is bullshit, but why at my grandparents house with some other extended family, I found a bottle of homeopathic teething medicine. This led to a discussion with my aunt. My question for you is, aren't vaccines based off of homeopathy? Why do they work and other homeopathic medicines don't?

    How are Mrs. B and the kids? How are you? (:

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    1. Ellie - No, homeopathy and vaccines are entirely different. With vaccines, either a dead virus, attenuated virus, or antigen from a virus or bacteria is injected which stimulates the immune system to create antibodies. These antibodies stay in the body, ready to be activated if the body ever sees the virus or bacteria again.

      Homeopathy is based on a number of false observations. First, they believe that if a substance causes symptoms in healthy person, it will take away those symptoms in a sick person. That phenomenon doesn't exist. Second, they believe that diluting that remedy more makes it more potent. Most of the remedies are diluted 30C, meaning it has been diluted 1:100 a total of 30 times. Statistically there is a 0% chance that a single molecule of the original substance will still be in the solution at that level of dilution. That phenomenon does not exist.

      In essence, vaccines are based on a solid understanding of immunology. Homeopathy is based on several erroneous 18th century observations by a well-meaning, but utterly incorrect, doctor. The fact that it has persisted to this day is bewildering.

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    2. Let me rephrase, my aunt told me that vaccines are based off of homeopathy, is that incorrect? They are both reduced forms of what you are trying to prevent/fix.

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    3. No, they are not. Vaccines contain a small amount of the organism you're trying to prevent. Homeopathy contains nothing, but it is made from small amounts of something that supposedly causes certain symptoms.

      These symptoms are derived from "provings", where healthy people take the remedy and record any and all feelings they perceive. So if they take a diluted form of a certain weed, for example, and they feel nervous, sweaty, and itchy, the remedy will supposedly cure those symptoms in sick people.

      Hopefully now you can see how the two are not related.

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    4. to place it in even more direct terms:

      vaccine is like studying math in case you have to count money some day.

      homeopathy is like taking a lottery ticket and soaking it in a truckload of water, and then drinking a glass of the water, and thinking that will enable you to count money.

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    5. Thank you so much(:

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  20. You may be pleased to hear that in Australia, people who don't vaccinate their kids, lose part of their Centrelink (welfare) benefits.
    "No Jab, No Pay"
    http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/subjects/immunising-your-children?gclid=CJXLyLqKnsoCFZSUvQodBLkEKg

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    1. I'm quite familiar with, and just as pleased with, that regulation. Other countries should follow.

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    2. I'm all for vaccinating children in Australia but is this policy constitutional?

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    3. Again, Australia's No Jab No Pay policy really bothers me. Don't get me wrong but can the government withhold benefits to families in the case of non-compliance by coercive pressure. That's exactly what it is.

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    4. Apparently they can, because they do.

      There is even talk of barring them from Pre-School / day care without their jabs, I'm not sure how 'serious' those talks are however.

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    5. What about the rich folks in Australia? Do they require them to get vaccinated too? If not then this policy is seriously misguided.

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    6. Unfortunately, not that I've seen so far. Although it would be a much better way to go. Put some kind of tax on it, see the rich people jump on it, or get millions out of them. Ultimately can be called a win-win, I'd say.

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  21. Each to his-her own, but I wouldn't engage in any serious discussion with a self-touted bitchcakes fuckzilla.

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    1. I'm not one to back down from an argument with anyone. I still haven't decided if that is a character trait or a character flaw.

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    2. When I do it, it's tenacity. When you do it, it's pig-headedness.

      Your wife will explain the difference. ;-)

      Wednesday

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  22. Remember the woman in Canada who was strongly anti-vaccination until all 7 of her children came down with whooping cough at the same time? Naturally, both she and her husband had been vaccinated as children so they had little to nothing to fear.

    http://thescientificparent.org/learning-the-hard-way-my-journey-from-antivaxx-to-science/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/04/14/anti-vax-mom-changes-her-tune-when-all-7-of-her-children-come-down-with-whooping-cough/

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  23. What if the child has a pre-existing condition such as mitochondrial disorder? Is it safe to vaccinate? Do we have to evaluate for this condition before vaccination? Do people know about this?

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    1. Children are not routinely tested for mitochondrial diseases. This includes children with autism and other developmental delays.

      Testing is not easy and may involve getting multiple samples of blood, and often samples of muscle. Doctors decide whether testing for mitochondrial diseases should be done based on a child's signs and symptoms.

      As of now, there are no scientific studies that say vaccines cause or worsen mitochondrial diseases. We do know that certain illnesses that can be prevented by vaccines, such as the flu, can trigger the regression that is related to a mitochondrial disease. More research is needed to determine if there are rare cases where underlying mitochondrial disorders are triggered by anything related to vaccines. However, we know that for most children, vaccines are a safe and important way to prevent them from getting life-threatening diseases.

      From the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation site: Each year, 1,000 to 4,000 children in the United States are born with a mitochondrial disease.

      The data shows that 3,932,181 babies were born in the US in 2013.

      So while (4000/3932181) x 100 = 0.102% (someone, please check my math) and they DESERVE to be identified and not harmed, that isn't very many people. It's also appears that it's not easy to identify people with mitochondrial disorders right away.

      So it shouldn't stop people from getting their children vaccinated who are otherwise healthy.

      Wednesday

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    2. Those came from CDC's website word for word but what about Hannah Poling's case? Didn't the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their investigation concluded that Hannah Poling's autistic like symptoms were due to the MMR vaccines she received? Don't get me wrong. I'm all for vaccinating children. But when you have a child undiagnosed for mitochondrial disorders and they get vaccinated they may end up like Hannah Poling. Agreed? This might be one of the reasons why the anti-vaxxers believe that vaccination causes autism. It's perfectly understandable in my book.

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    3. No, not agreed. There is a summary of Hannah Poling's cause written in the NEJM, including this: "Hannah Poling clearly had difficulties with language, speech, and communication. But those features of her condition considered autistic were part of a global encephalopathy caused by a mitochondrial enzyme deficit."

      You can read the full text (written by vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offitt) here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904

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    4. You forgot to mention that Dr.Offit, the author of the full text, the co-inventor and co-holder of a patent of the rotavirus vaccine Rota Tea, receives royalties, and serves on a scientific advisory board for Merck Pharmaceutical. Conflict of interest anyone?

      Delete
    5. I did not forget anything. A) the vaccine on which he holds a patent is called RotaTeq, B) this fact is very clearly stated at the bottom of the article I referenced, and C) the fact that he co-owns a patent on a vaccine does not in any way take away from the fact that he is an expert on vaccines (much more so than you or I) as well as the Chief of Infectious Disease at Children's Hospital Philadelphia, one of the finest paediatric hospitals in the world.

      Funny, I knew someone would bring that up in a desperate and obvious attempt to discredit a world-renowned expert in the field. Pathetic.

      Delete
    6. There was no attempt to discredit Dr. Offit. He discreited himself by posting his financial connection with Merck which is clarly stated at the bottom of the article.


      There's no doubt that Dr. Offit is an expert in pediatrics with some training in immunology but I don't believe he's an expert in mitochondrial disorders. He is not an expert in neurology.

      I posted the link from Johns Hopkins University case report on the association of mitochondrial 'disease and autism. Dr. Jon Poling, Hannah's father is a neurologist, and also one of the researchers.


      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2536523/









      Delete
    7. Anon, THAT is a conflict of interest. Thank you for elucidating it so clearly.

      Delete
    8. No. It's not. He did not get any financial rewards from Merck when he participated in the research. And the only reason why he participated is because of Hannah. His daughter. You would probably do the same thing if it was your daughter.

      Delete
    9. No I wouldn't, because it would be a conflict of interest. That defines "conflict of interest".

      Working for a pharmaceutical company does not cause you to lose your credibility on vaccines. Having a vested interest, like a daughter with the disease in question, does.

      You obviously need to learn what a conflict of interest is. Hopefully you just did.

      Delete
    10. It's really not up to you or myself to decide whether both cases are examples of 'conflict of interest.' Let the readers share their input. Agreed?

      Delete
    11. No, I do not agree. Offitt's situation is slightly less well-defined (though to me not COI), but a father doing research into his own daughter's condition is a conflict of interest. That isn't an opinion, it's a fact.

      Delete
    12. You wanna the truth Doc?

      Fact: Offit will not be able to represent himself as a vaccine expert in any court litigation due to the fact that he's on the gravy wagon with Merck.

      Here's more from the California Bar Rule/Rules of Professional Conduct.

      A) A member shall not accept or continue representation of a client without providing written disclosure to the client where:

      (1) The member has a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party or witness in the same matter; or
      (2) The member knows or reasonably should know that:
      (a) the member previously had a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party or witness in the same matter; and
      (b) the previous relationship would substantially affect the member's representation; or
      (3) The member has or had a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with another person or entity the member knows or reasonably should know would be affected substantially by resolution of the matter; or
      (4) The member has or had a legal, business, financial, or professional interest in the subject matter of the representation.

      The judge aka (readers on this blog) will disqualify him. End of story.

      Delete
    13. Oh, it's the end of the story because you say it is, John? You think you speak for the other readers, do you John? You can cut-and-paste regulations *for lawyers* and claim a Dana Ullman-esque "SLAM DUNK" all you like, but you have STILL failed to realise two things:
      1) You do not know anything about medicine, and
      2) This is my blog, not yours.

      There is no regulation in medicine whatsoever about patenting a medicine and then consequently not being considered an expert in that field. Quite the opposite, in fact. Offitt's research into vaccines and his subsequent creation of a new vaccine is EXACTLY what qualifies him as an expert in the field of vaccines, as long as he disclosed his financial ties, which he has.

      THAT is the end of the story.

      Delete
    14. John is not an expert in ANY field including trolling.

      the judge (reader) has spoken and cornboy is disqualified.

      Delete
    15. This Judge (Reader) has come to a final verdict: John loses.

      Delete
  24. I was reading in the comment section of an article about Mark Z taking his daughter to get vaccinated. One woman said she would have been more impressed if Mark had taken his child to a free clinic where she would get the same vaccine as the regular children instead of the vaccines reserved for rich people. That is so bizarre. I would not want to live inside this woman's mind. I wonder how rich you have to be to get the good vaccinations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear at $1000 you get a gold plated needle.

      Delete
    2. You can't please negative-minded people. Had he taken the baby to a free clinic, she would have objected to that too, on the grounds that billionaires shouldn't be misusing resources intended to serve the poor.

      Delete
  25. I often wonder if the fact that there are relatively few people still alive who have witnessed the devastation of these diseases first-hand is a big contributing factor in the rise of anti-vaxxers. My grandmother has horror stories about these diseases, especially polio. Every time a new vaccine was developed, she couldn't wait to get her kids vaccinated. She was relieved that medicine had advanced to a point where these diseases could be prevented in the first place rather than just treated after the fact. The willful ignorance of anti-vaxxers is not only terrifying, but also astounding. Their stupidity knows no bounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. I was thankful when the chickenpox vaccine came out, knowing my children would not have to suffer with the disease the way I did. I had a relatively mild case of it, and it was still awful. I still wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

      Delete
    2. I don't remember the mumps or the chicken pox, but I remember that I was miserable.

      Delete
    3. I managed to come out with chicken-pox on the first day of the school summer holiday. Now that's the very definition of miserable!

      Ugi

      Delete
    4. What's miserable, IMHO, is the number of anti-vax parents who are participating in "chicken pox parties" to *deliberately* infect their children.

      Delete
    5. To be fair, my mother did let me play with kids when I had chicken pox, but she also got me all the vaccines I needed. At the time there was really not a good chicken pox vaccine; that was relatively new by the time I was in Elementary school and by then I'd already had the disease once. At the time, there was not as much openly known about the damage chicken pox could cause; the layman didn't know it could cause problems like shingles further down the line. My mom certainly didn't.

      Delete
  26. "Should we do what's effective, or heed the invective of a Playboy bunny and a pet detective?" - check out the irresistible Vaccine Song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xw0Ob5bqs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing this! Makes me recall a favorite quote from Maya Angelou:

      "Do the best you can, until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

      Delete
    2. Maya Angelou was referring to Australia's White Only Policy when she wrote that quote. :-)

      Delete
    3. Still applies to lots of situations...when we have better information and resources, or more experience, there's no reason *not* to utilize this.

      Delete
  27. I don't know how many people know this, but a smallpox patient has a distinctive smell. I first learned this in a book about a country doctor that was published in the early 20th century - then I asked my grandparents and my parents.

    Parvo (dogs) also has a very distinctive smell. I sometimes wonder if anti-vaxxers refuse to protect their pets from rabies and other diseases or if they at least obey the law re: licensing & rabies.

    Or do they eschew owning pets entirely?

    Wednesday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wednesday, you are so right about parvo. My husband is a vet, and I can walk in the front door of his clinic and tell if there is a parvo dog being treated. This is even with two separate exhaust systems so the air in the reception and office areas are separate from the treatment and surgery areas. Alos, there is an isolation room for parvo dogs. It is distinctive and really nasty. I was around chickenpox many times in the past and do not remember a smell, but maybe it was because I was focusing on the dripping scabs hanging off the poor patient's (or me) body. All three of my children had it along with my four sibs and all my childhood friends; it was not fun. FYI - parvo is at the top of the list for nasty dog ailments, just below anti-freeze poisoning. :(

      Delete
    2. I remember the first parvo dog that I ever had to handle and that poor puppy was a miserable mess. The vet I worked for at the time had his clinic in his house and no, no separate entrances or airflow (mid 1980's). Thankfully, we were able to convince the owner of the dog that he was too far gone to treat (he really was) and he was euthanized the next day. It was so sad and oh, the smell...

      Parvo is wicked nasty and I've told that story often to friends and acquaintances who pooh-pooh some of the vaccines recommended for their pets. They come around.

      So, has he had to deal with any inconvenient births yet this year? Can't be a vet without at least one story per year of the goat/sheep/cow/pig/horse/dog who just had to wreck a weekend, holiday or anniversary!

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so you admit you made that all up; yet you expect us to take it seriously?

      Delete
    2. Anon, you may not invent a disease for discussion here.

      Delete
  29. I don't believe that vaccines can cause autism. However, vaccines are antigens and introducing them in the human body will trigger the body's immune response. Now I don't know if everyone's immune system responds in the same way but I believe and I theorize that the body's overzealous immune response maybe responsible for Autism.

    For example, the microglial cells act as the main form of active immune defense in the CNS or central nervous system. Their main job is to activate inflammatory response against antigens, foreign bodies, enzymes, etc., etc in the CNS to protect the brain. This inflammatory process may cause neuronal death and this is the reason why I believe that an overzealous immune response may cause autism rather than the vaccines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't say "I don't believe vaccines cause autism" and then relate your theory in which vaccines DO cause autism. The facts demonstrate quite clearly that vaccines are in no way associated with autism.

      I considered not publishing this comment, but I decided against censoring the opposing view. I mean medical fascism. I mean...ah, fuck it.

      Delete
    2. That's why I questioned the human body's immune response. Do they all behave in the same manner in recognizing and defending the human body against antigens? If the answer is yes then I'll agree that the vaccines could not have been responsible for the human body's overzealous immune response against antigens. If the answer is NO then it's a different story.

      Delete
    3. Saying that vaccines could cause an immune response that causes autism is the same as saying that vaccines cause autism. That's like claiming "I'm not saying that eating at McDonald's every day causes obesity, I'm saying that eating at McDonald's every day might cause you to gain weight which would cause obesity."

      What you are doing is ignoring the evidence. Research shows that vaccines are not linked to autism. It doesn't show that it is not linked to autism only-in-people-with-certain-types-of-immune-responses. If you don't believe me, read this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24814559.
      The title is extremely unambiguous: "Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies."

      Delete
    4. They mentioned thimerosal, mercury, and MMR and I agree that vaccines are not directly responsible for autism. They maybe indirectly responsible for triggering the microglial cells' inflammatory response that killed some of the neural cells in the brain which could be defined as an environmental factor that led to autism.

      Delete
    5. NO THEY ARE NOT. I don't know how else to put this to you. Thimerosal, MMR, and vaccination were all independent variables, and there was NO association. That means they were not directly, indirectly, or in any other way responsible for autism. I CAN NOT make that any clearer.

      You may claim not to be anti-vaccine, but what you are doing is exactly what they do - continually try to mangle the issue until it fits into the little hole they want it to. It does not fit. Stop trying to make it.

      Are we clear?

      Delete
    6. besides which, if it is a defective immune system overreacting to the DNA fragment in the vaccine, it will also overreact to real exposure - probably fatally. so the vaccine is still the safer option.

      Delete
    7. While it's my understanding that the immune system may indeed play a role in the development of autism, the interaction between the immune system and the neurological system that may affect brain development takes place *before* birth. So, if a pregnant mom suffers an illness, or is exposed to something toxic in her environment, that can have an impact on the developing brain of the fetus. But I've not yet seen any information that suggests a child could "acquire" autism once s/he is born. If others have, please share.

      Delete
    8. What about the non-genetic cause of autism?

      Delete
    9. What non-genetic cause would that be, Anon? Please enlighten us, because no one else on the planet seems to have figured it out.

      Delete
    10. Can we blame the genes alone for the increased rates of autism? I don't we can.

      Delete
    11. You didn't answer the question. But I'll answer yours:

      No, of course not. We can also blame increased awareness and expanded diagnostic criteria as has been shown by actual research.

      Delete
    12. But someone mentioned that the body's immune system plays a role in the development of autism. Would you call that genetic or non-genetic? Would that person be wrong in making such a ridiculous statement?

      Delete
    13. Yes, that person would be wrong. It is a hypothesis that Anon tried to put forth but has been disproven.

      Delete
  30. Meh. If a disease wipes them out, more job and school openings for my kid. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, but some people's immune systems are compromised through no fault of their own and by maintaining their children as plague rats, antivaxxers are putting them at further risk.

      Delete
    2. And, they're putting their *own* kids at risk too. The anti-vax parents seem to think that the diseases that can be prevented by vaccines are "harmless childhood illnesses," but that's not *always* the case. There *can* be some serious complications. In some parts of the world, people are still *dying* from measles and whooping cough. Those are the *real* statistics they need to learn about.

      Delete
  31. I too have played this game with anti-vaxxers, even with people who should know better. One of the assistant head nurses on my unit was talking about the HPV vaccine a few years ago and saying she would never let her son have it. After all, he's a boy and he doesn't need it. Right? The look on her face when I gave her some statistics on oral cancers related to HPV infection was rather priceless. But I don't think I convinced her.

    Recently I entered into a similar discussion on the value of drug testing welfare recipients. The available data is revealing: jurisdictions with mandatory drug testing are spending millions annually to save hundreds. Now, of course there are those who successfully scam the system, but to me, the implication that those dependent on state benevolence are drug-addicted and somehow less deserving is just plain wrong. I asked Buffy (not her real name ©)to provide examples of how the very few welfare recipients who were drug users were "ruining it for others" and she was unable to even define that phrase. She insisted she knew of several cases in her own community where drug users had caused others to lose benefits, but naturally had no direct proof, only hearsay. She then challenged me to provide HER with examples, so I linked her up to several credible analyses of cost:benefit ratios to drug-testing and stated I knew she wouldn't read them because her mind was already made up. (To be brutally honest, I don't think she would have understood them anyway.) To people like Charisse and Buffy, proof is only proof if it supports their viewpoint.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Such a heavy content, blog and comments. People are going to believe what they want. Me as well, we stick on a point and can't let go. Juicers, embrace your diarrhea.

    See Ep. 2 Magna Cum Measels/ZdoggMD

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-sW_wZoAFk&feature=youtu.be&list=PLqBLoScSYEGeSOkOo7M-is1oRrQwat7vw

    ReplyDelete
  33. http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/how-plumbing-not-vaccines-eradicated-disease

    I got a kick out of this article, and could only groan at yet another anti-vax view.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The freedom loving libertarian in me HATES the idea of a government forcing any injection upon me or my family. Vaccines today - - - mind control tomorrow? It's not like there's never been nefarious governments who seek to do harm to certain populations of their citizenry (Tuskegee ring a bell?). Our human history is chock full of evil regimes who've dreamt up much more creative ways to decimate their own people.
    But then the liver that was transplanted in me 6 years ago screams that all those asshole antivaxers are deliberately and literally taking my life and the lives of all other immunocompromised people, including the youngest and most innocent amongst us, into their own ill educated hands and it makes me irate.
    When my "friends" bring their walking incubators, I mean kids, over with crusty shit in their eyes or green snot dripping from their nose and I'm knocked on my ass for weeks because they never got sick so they assumed adults "couldn't get" what ever it was their kid was brewing, it always reminds me how much worse off I would've been had it been anything more virulent.
    And then, to me at least, science trumps conspiracy and I want to personally knee-cap anyone who intentionally puts their child, society AND ME at risk. F*ck those jerks.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Trust Government. Trust Big Pharma. That's retarded.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) Don't use the word "retarded" here. It doesn't particularly bother me, but it others a lot of others.
      2) Which "Government" and "Big Pharma" are you referring to exactly?

      I don't expect an answer for several reasons, not the least of which is that antivaxxers never seem to have any.

      Delete
  36. Paula, from back in January; "I was reading in the comment section of an article about Mark Z taking his daughter to get vaccinated. One woman said she would have been more impressed if Mark had taken his child to a free clinic where she would get the same vaccine as the regular children instead of the vaccines reserved for rich people"

    Ooooh that seems to be a new anti-vaccine myth, that there's a difference between the vaccines given via the Vaccines For Children program, subsidized by the US government, and vaccines given in private pay practices. I saw it a lot after the photo of Zuck and his daughter getting her 2 months' vaccines. So I wrote a post, "How Anti-Vaccine Myths Start and Spread: VFC edition -- "Private Stock Vaccines" Available to Elites; Junky Vaccines Given to the Hoi Polloi Pt I"

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2016/03/anti-vaccine-myth-294056.html

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh, also, thanks for the shout-out! Updating Ginger's tiresome list is in my to-do queue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please make sure you do so. The antivaxxers love citing it despite the obvious fact that they have either A) not read any of the studies, B) not understood any of them, or C) both.

      Delete
  38. My brother spent 25 years working for Big Pharma(phd in pharmacology). All of his kids were vaccinated. On schedule.
    If the people with the most education, understanding, and real world experience vaccinate, that is more than enough for me.
    I lived in the UK for many years. They had a couple measles outbreaks and had to open mobile vax clinics. They couldn't cope with the demand of parents who chose not to vax-- until their precious darlings were actually at risk of getting it. They were too dim to realise people like them caused the outbreak.

    ReplyDelete
  39. My brother spent 25 years working for Big Pharma(phd in pharmacology). All of his kids were vaccinated. On schedule.
    If the people with the most education, understanding, and real world experience vaccinate, that is more than enough for me.
    I lived in the UK for many years. They had a couple measles outbreaks and had to open mobile vax clinics. They couldn't cope with the demand of parents who chose not to vax-- until their precious darlings were actually at risk of getting it. They were too dim to realise people like them caused the outbreak.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have to let you know if you even read this, how badly I needed to read this today. I work in a LHD immunization clinic in a region w/ high exemption rates. I started the first regional Coalition in my state and I consider myself to be a true advocate. I was even awarded the Samuel Katz MD Excellence in Immunization Award for my effort. I say this just to make the point that today, I was really to throw up my hands. I am worn so thin in patients and effort, I am so tired of selling science. I'm a nurse but at times I feel like a used car salesperson. This Carleese chick has been f%$#ing with me the past couple of days but I was not near as virtuous and informative. I was so utterly baffled by her intentional ignorance, that my ability to conduct myself as an adult became questionable. I stopped engaging and today had been wallowing in the idea that, inevitably the hulking banana turds are going to bring these diseases back. I was becoming complacent to the idea of the heard being thinned, planning what country I could go get a DTP. This chick just really pushed me past that point of being able to show empathy to those so profoundly ill informed. Then I read this. Wow. You are my hero. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is why you can't debate these idiots. They are the same as the fervently religious among us. Evidence and facts will not sway them, because they don't 'believe' in those things. Nothing will change their mind. This is what they think science-minded, rational thinkers are like, but they are wrong. If evidence flies in the face of what we thought was true,, then we will change to adapt to the new evidence. Not deny it out of hand

    ReplyDelete
  42. Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next..Assura Health |

    ReplyDelete
  43. This witch just crossed my bows on Twitter after I linked Victorian (Australia) Health Minister Jill Hennessy to my Anti Vax Name Check. Didn't engage her beyond one tweet before blocking her (and she's going ON THE LIST on the next update).

    ReplyDelete

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