Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts on the "Parents, You've Been Lied To" Articles.

My thoughts on the back-and-forth
A pro-vaccine article has been circulating lately; you may have seen it, entitled "Dear Parents, You Are Being Lied To."  Hosted on the Illustrious "I F-ing Love Science" page, authored by "Anonymous," you can tell it's a real winner... a friend asked for my thoughts on it, so here are a few thoughts as well as some links you can check out to do your own research.  [An excellent, well-supported (full of links!!) rebuttal can be found here:  "Dear Parents, you are being lied to."]

- The article title begs the question-- who, exactly, is doing the lying?  The article never says... because makes no sense. There is no organized "they" who is financially or otherwise served by sending out lies... People who are cautious about vaccines or doubtful that they are worth their inherent risk (all drugs have risk & side effects) have either seen negative effects of vaccines first-hand or they've been researchers who changed their minds as they read for themselves. People who don't view vaccines as the modern savior are generally challenged at every turn & very much in the minority. On the flipside, there is a very strong bias-pressure to love vaccines, with our own CDC almost completely composed of men & women employed by vaccine manufacturing companies. There is a definite group of people who stand to gain by encouraging vaccines. Parents who choose not to face many obstacles, and health professionals who speak out face even more.  Here is a great article comparing the vaccine-SIDS question to the x-ray-cancer question a generation ago.

- The "measles outbreak" that caused such a hubbub was at the time of the outbreak, 8 kids... none of whom died. The totals for measles the entire year for the entire US last year was under 200... hardly the panic-worthy epidemic the media implies. Measles IS very mild in healthy kids; comparing it to measles in malnourished kids is totally unfair. It's documented that a Vitamin A deficiency (a fat-soluble vitamin, so one lacking in any starvation, carb-heavy, diet) makes measles far more serious. In normal kids it's usually about as "serious" as a cold...
"Several recent investigations have indicated that vitamin A treatment of children with measles in developing countries has been associated with reductions in morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) issued a joint statement recommending that vitamin A be administered to all children diagnosed with measles in communities where vitamin A deficiency is a recognized problem and where mortality related to measles is ≥1%. [...] Vitamin A is a necessary substrate for preserving epithelial cell integrity and in addition plays a role in immune modulation." (Study: "Vitamin A Treatment of Measles")
"Vitamin A deficiency is a recognized risk factor for severe measles infections." (Study: "Vitamin A for Treating Measles in Children") 

- As far as safety tests go, there are NO-- literally zero-- vaccine studies where there is a vaccine-free control group. All required shots are tested against another shot, never against a placebo (with the exception of the flu shot). So these tests can only say that a shot is more or less safe or effective than another shot... a true double-blind study with a control group is the "gold standard" of science. Also, vaccines have never been tested in conjunction with one another; they are tested one at a time, though they are administered 5 at a time (or more), and in quick succession (within a few short months of each other-- we'd expect someone who had a cold and then got the flu and then got strep to react to each differently than a person who just got strep). There is no safety data at all on the type of administration that is the recommended norm here in the US.  Two recent studies have found correlations in infant death and vaccine numbers:

"The US childhood immunization schedule requires 26 vaccine doses for infants aged less than 1 year, the most in the world, yet 33 nations have better infant mortality rates (IMRs). Using linear regression, the immunization schedules of these 34 nations were examined and a correlation coefficient of 0.70 (p < 0.0001) was found between IMRs and the number of vaccine doses routinely given to infants. [...] These findings demonstrate a counter-intuitive relationship: nations that require more vaccine doses tend to have higher infant mortality rates." (Source-- this study examined infant deaths relative to number of total vaccines recommended) 

"Our findings show a positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered and the percentage of hospitalizations and deaths reported to VAERS. In addition, younger infants were significantly more likely than older infants to be hospitalized or die after receiving vaccines. Since vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, it is imperative that health authorities have scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive; universal vaccine recommendations must be supported by such studies."  (Source-- this study examined infant hospitalizations & death relative to number of simultaneous vaccines received)
- As to WHY there are no studies comparing vaccinated & unvaccinated kids,vaccines are considered so essential to safety that to withhold them -- even on tests intended to ascertain whether they are indeed essential to safety-- is seen as "unethical." Talk about the cart before the horse! However, many parental groups have offered up their members as volunteers, because they already intend to not vaccinate.  Populations who refuse to vaccinate for religious reasons, such as the Amish, would be valid control groups, or for a new vaccine, even children otherwise vaccinated but receiving a placebo for that new shot (which is clearly not proven to be effective or safe!) would be acceptable. Or, start with a retrospective survey of matched groups of children, controlled for other variables, with the variable being full vaccination or no vaccination... so long as the study participation was in no way tied to the government (due to fear of punitive action over differing medical opinion being viewed as "parental neglect"-- Justina Pelletier, anyone?), most parents who have foregone vaccines would jump at the chance to participate!!  If I can imagine three scenarios for true placebo-controlled studies, why can't professional researchers who make scientific investigation their full-time jobs come up with even one?

-  Funding for studies coming from a vaccine manufacturer tends to bias results.  As an example, a recent Cochrane review of all the data on flu shots found that studies sponsored by vaccine companies tended to be more favorable than those done by independent parties. Third-party-researchers do exist-- or teams made up of both "special interest" (vaccine-cautionary) and pharmaceutical (pro-vaccine) representatives could do it. There are a hundred feasible ways that fair testing could be done.  While all researchers SHOULD be trying to disprove their hypothesis, in reality most are likely to attempt to affirm their own beliefs. However anything that comes up with a vaccine-cautionary bent will face much more scrutiny than anything done in "support" of the majority opinion.

"This review includes trials funded by industry. An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry-funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favourable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in the light of this finding." (Source-- Cochrane Review on Vaccines for Preventing the Flu in Healthy Children")

- Speaking of funding... does it not strike you as odd that drug companies only agreed to make vaccines (drugs) if they were financially shielded from any safety-related lawsuits?  If an automobile maker would only sell a type of car under the condition that they didn't have to pay any damages if it malfunctioned, we'd probably assume there was something wrong with the car!  This piece makes the excellent case that, in the words of pharmaceutical companies themselves, vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe."

- A final word regarding specifically the investigation of a link between autism and vaccines.  It is lunacy to say there is "no found link."  Just read a few of the studies amassed here (a fairly exhaustive list of research done on vaccines & their long-term effects, specifically ASD).  There is research on many aspects of this issue, and none show "no link."

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