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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 11:13 am
better late than never?

The Lancet medical journal retracts the 1998 paper that falsely linked vaccines to autism.

This is good, but you have to wonder whether the anti-vaccine movement and the paranoia it's engendered have achieved a self-sustaining inertia at this point.

41CommentReply

idunn
idunn
A world tree and the last of three
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)

Oh, gosh, yes. It may be too late at this point, but at least they're trying.


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evilnel
evilnel
Evilnel
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)

I think so. Judging by the comments on the article I read, the people who are die-hard anti-vaccine are now crying suppression of research, or saying that the research that doesn't support the autism-vaccine hypothesis is fudged because it's financed by vaccine companies. No matter how stupid and untrue these statements are, I think people will believe them because they want to. People like conspiracy theories, unfortunately. Hopefully it won't take too many dead kids (or babies born with deficits because of pre-natal exposure to Rubella) for the vaccine to come back into "style."


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adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)

I'm sure that it has. In my personal experience, these things all orbit one another: pregnancy, childbirth, raising children, health, medicine, parenting techniques . . . and the internet!

The mamas that are very pro-attachment parenting and natural birth are often (not always) the same who are anti-vaccine. The idea is that all natural is better and that the medical field has gotten things wrong so very many times that we really can't trust them with vaccines.

Things are easily tied up in one another - we know that the medicines and techniques used for birth in the 20th century turned out, very often, to be severely damaging to women and especially children. It's always a couple decades after something is introduced that we realize that painkiller is what gave my kid flippers. So it's understandable that the same logic would get used in these communities - we don't know what the real effects of these vaccines will be for a while now, and in the meantime I'm seeing correlation between certain really disturbing things.

I really don't know what to believe. Do I believe the western medical establishment who has gotten things VERY wrong, all while telling us that we were stupid to doubt them (and ridiculing those who cried foul)? Or do I believe those who are crying foul today?

Which will harm my kid more in the end - the vaccine or the sickness? I see both sides to the story and don't think it's fair to paint the anti-vaccine movement as simply being paranoid. Just as there is a history of great strides in treatment and health in the last 100 years, there are also great failures that didn't get discovered until it was too late. It's scary to not know what the best option is for the people you care most about and are supposed to protect. And I'm saying that as a parent who is pretty laidback and not too worried about things like this, generally.


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adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)

also i realize i just threw grammar & tense out the window on that comment. Sorry. ;)


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varro
varro
Aaron, Lawyer Pepper
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
I do think it's fair...

...to paint the anti-vax people as paranoid.

The vaccine-autism link has been totally discredited, with the withdrawal of the flawed paper being the final discrediting of their theory.

Not vaccinating a child endangers their health by keeping them vulnerable to the disease, and endangers public health by disrupting herd immunity; even though vaccines aren't 100% effective and immunity can wear off, general immunity among the population keeps disease in check.


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bernmarx
bernmarx
Paul
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)

I don't think it's paranoid to be skeptical of the medical community. After all, yes, some Very Bad Things have come from recklessness in the medical community (most infamously, Thalidomide). However, what moves this particular case (MMR leading to autism) into the realm of paranoia is the amount of relevant research.

Let's compare it to Thalidomide. According to Wikipedia, Thalidomide was first sold in 1957, only three years after its patent and at most 13 years after its initial development. It was only on the market for five years. In other words, the time elapsed between its patent and its removal from the market is less than the time between the original Lancet publication of the MMR/autism article and Lancet's retraction.

Also, Thalidomide didn't serve nearly as medically necessary a purpose as MMR. It alleviated morning sickness. In some cases, sure, pregnant women can truly suffer from that, but compare that to the fatality rate of measles, especially in infants.

Further, Congress passed laws directly because of the situation with Thalidomide. The medical community, in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry, failed to met a reasonable level of responsibility, so the level was raised.

If there were such a clear link between MMR and autism, it would have shown up in the data by now. Lancet's retraction is pretty much their definitive statement on the matter: A retraction is not something taken lightly by an academic journal.

Another consideration: It's not just your children you're putting at risk by skipping the MMR vaccine. Because measles are contagious (and fatal in a very small portion of cases), you're potentially endangering any child your child-with-measles comes in contact with who hasn't had MMR (most specifically, infants too young to get it).


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circumambulate
circumambulate
Circumambulate
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)

I think that the rhetoric on both sides is too intractable for anything to move either side very far.

We're late/reduced vacc'ers, and I've found it nearly impossible to have a reasonable conversation with either side about the whole thing.


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fozz47
fozz47
needs better respect for your superiors
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

I actually had a conversation w/ a naturopath that degraded so much that she denied the benefits of the smallpox vaccine. Then I realized there was no use in talking about it.


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thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)

Many naturopaths are rabidly anti-vaccine. To the extent that I honestly have to question the credibility of their "doctoral" credentials. I welcome everyone's right to their opinion, but the Pharmacology text books I'm reading currently in nursing school are based on facts, not opinions, and leave me little room to question the importance of vaccines. This is why when I hear naturopaths THREATEN their friends with bodily harm if they get a flu shot, that I have to wonder "who the hell are these people, and where did they get their education?"


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peculia
peculia
bête noire
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)

I've often wondered how he established the link in the first place—or even conceived the idea. I mean, most people are vaccinated, right? So where would he get a cross-comparison sample?


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adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)

When I was considering not vaccinating my youngest, I looked into a medical practice that is super-duper "natural". They pride themselves on their non-vax record and no-autism-in-our-kid-patients rate.

Maybe he got data from places like this?


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adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)

Fun discussion, Tim (and the other folks, even Aaron! ha). Now I'm off to class (i.e. off to miss LOST) . . .

This post reminded me that I totally spaced on scheduling Rian's checkup. Which includes DUN DUN DUNNNNN vaccines.


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dryad271
dryad271
nitemare hippie girl
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)

Better late than never, yes. But there are still plenty of reasons to think twice about vaccinating, or at least to think carefully about which vaccines to use and when/how many at one time.

The next time I see my awesome naturopath/biochemist lady I will have her re-iterate her vaccine ideas so I can pass them along. She has some very interesting and well-informed theories. :)


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thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)

I am VERY interested to hear these.


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pynk_gyrl
pynk_gyrl
pynk_gyrl
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)

"Anti-vax" is not limited to those who limit or avoid vaccines only because of the autism scare. Most of the parents that are in my social and yes sassy, medical circles that avoid or limit vaccines have other reasons as well.


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