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Hostility Towards Scientists And Jenny McCarthy’s Latest Video

May 30, 2009 - 33 comments
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Autism

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vaccination

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anti-vaccination



I’ve been fairly quiet about Jenny McCarthy’s campaign against childhood vaccinations, partly because Dr. David Gorski has covered the issue so thoroughly already, and partly because of my “do not engage” policy relating to the deeply irrational (i.e. there’s no winning an argument with “crazy.”) But this week I was filled with a renewed sense of urgency regarding the anti-vaccinationist movement for two reasons: 1) I received a personal email from a woman who is being treated with hostility by her peers for her pro-science views on vaccines and 2) a friend forwarded me a video of Jenny McCarthy speaking directly to moms, instructing them to avoid vaccinating their kids or giving them milk or wheat because of their supposed marijuana-like addictive properties.

Anti-Vaccination Views Are A Status Symbol?

I was surprised to discover that some pro-science moms are being mocked by peers who are uninterested in evidence, choosing to believe any dubious source of health information that questions the “medical establishment.” This concerned mom writes:

    "I am the mother of two young children, and I live in the trenches of the anti-vax woo.  In my circle of about 14 mothers, my anecdotal analysis is that the rate of complete vaccination hovers around 60%.  The mothers in this group are all very well educated, middle-class or affluent, predominantly stay-home mothers. One problem is what they consider reliable sources of information.  They rely on anecdotes and dismiss scientific evidence in part because they are very anti-medical establishment.  The group is self-validating and many shared values (and myths) increase in intensity over time.

    Many of the mothers practice “Natural Family Living” which has some appealing aspects, but also harbors elements of a cult.  In this environment, anti-vaccination becomes a very powerful status symbol… I have lost friendships and been partially ousted from this circle because of my views."

This note struck a chord with me, since I experienced similar hostility in the past for voicing my concern about pseudoscience and misleading consumer health information. I was accused of being “paternalistic, narrow-minded, a dinosaur - part of a dying breed, a racist against complementary and alternative medicine, and a Bible school teacher, preaching evidence-based medicine,” insulted for my desire to be accurate about what was known and not known about treatment options, and my expertise, training, and academic credentials were called into question publicly on many occasions. I endured all of this primarily at the hands of someone who supposedly believed in “natural healing” and the “art of kindness” as an integral part of patient care.

I am troubled by the mounting antagonism towards those of us who’d like to use critical thinking and scientific reasoning to learn what we can about medicine and our health. I’m not sure what to do about it except to encourage one another to stand strong for science and reason – to expect all manner of attacks and insults, and to be firmly committed to the objective quest for truth. It shall set us free.

Jenny McCarthy – Inaccurate, Unhelpful And Dangerous Advice

Although I find Jenny McCarthy’s advice and opinions painful to watch, I committed myself to viewing her recent video at my friend’s request. In order to spare you similar discomfort, let me simply summarize what she said so you can get a high level overview of the sort of bizarre and misinformed claims she promotes (feel free to check out the video for yourself at http://www.generationrescue.org/media/Biomedical-101.html).

    "Autism is not primarily a genetic disorder, but caused by vaccine-related toxins (including mercury, aluminum, ether, anti-freeze ,and human aborted fetal tissue) and pesticides."

    * A recent study (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7246/full/nature07953.html) published in Nature links genetic alternations in DNA that codes for neuronal cell adhesion molecules to autism spectrum disorders.
    * A mercury-autism link has been fully debunked (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal.htm).
    * An aluminum-autism link has been disproven (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20040129/aluminum-in-vaccines-poses-no-harm).
    * There is no ether, anti-freeze or human tissue in vaccines (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/11/cries_the_antivaccinationist_why_are_we.php).
    * There is no conclusive evidence of a link between pesticides and autism.

    “Kids get ‘stoned’ by wheat and dairy toxins. Giving them wheat or dairy proteins is like giving children marijuana.”

    * There is currently no evidence (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01519) that any diet improves or worsens the symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.  In fact, whole grains and dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet for most children.

    “Food allergies are like Iran and Iraq. Glial cells (they’re like chef cell) provide food to the neuron kings. Glial cells can turn into Rambo to fight Iran and Iraq. If a child is allergic to everything, the Rambo cells stop feeding the neurons and the neurons starve. That causes the symptoms of autism.”

    * I don’t know what to say about this strange analogy - clearly no science-based information here.

    “To treat autism, you need to give your child supplements to fight off the yeast in their bodies. I recommend Super Nathera, Culturelle, Cod Liver Oil, Caprylic Acid, CoQ10, Calcium, Vitamin C, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B12, B6, and Magnesium.”

    * There is no evidence of efficacy for any of these supplements in the treatment of autism.

    “You need to consult with a DAN! Practitioner.”

    * DAN! Practitioners recommend chelation therapy for the treatment of autism. There is no evidence (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01488) that chelation therapy has any benefit for children with autism, and in fact, can be fatal.

    “Whatever you think becomes your reality. Imagine your child going to his/her prom and he’ll be cured.”

I think it’s pretty clear that Jenny McCarthy’s recommendations range from ineffective (imaginary healing) to harmful (malnutrition related to absent dairy and wheat in the diet, excessive levels of vitamins) to deadly (chelation therapy with DAN! Practitioners). Will mothers watching her new show on Oprah fall for her pseudoscience and poor advice?

I was pleased to see this open letter to Oprah (http://shirleywho.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/an-open-letter-to-oprah/) from one concerned mom. Here’s an excerpt:

    "To me, it is clear that a significant number of people look up to you, and trust your advice and judgment. That is why it is such a huge mistake for you to endorse Jenny McCarthy with her own show on your network.

    Surely you must realize that McCarthy is neither a medical professional nor a scientist. And yet she acts as a spokesperson for the anti-vaccination movement, a movement that directly impacts people’s health. Claims that vaccines are unsafe and cause autism have been refuted time after time, but their allure persists in part because of high-profile champions for ignorance like McCarthy. In fact, ten of the thirteen authors of the paper that sparked the modern anti-vaccination movement retracted the explosive conclusions they made due to insufficient evidence. Furthermore, it is now clear that the study’s main author, Andrew Wakefield, falsified data to support these shaky conclusions.

    We have come close to eradicating life-threatening and crippling illnesses because of vaccines, but are now struggling to prevent outbreaks because of parents’ philosophical beliefs that vaccines are harmful. Realize this: when someone chooses not to vaccinate their child, they aren’t just putting their own child at risk, they are putting everyone else around them at risk. Diseases with vaccines should normally be of little concern even to unprotected individuals due to herd immunity – with the majority of the population immune, unprotected individuals are less likely to come into contact with the pathogen. Unfortunately, herd immunity disintegrates as fewer people are vaccinated, putting everyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated at greater risk for infection. Now, the rates of infection by diseases for which we have safe and effective vaccines are climbing, thanks to anti-vaccination activists like Jenny McCarthy.

    You reach millions of people everyday and your words and endorsements carry an incredible amount of weight. If you say to buy a certain book, people will buy it. If you do a segment on a certain charity, people will contribute. And if you say that what Jenny McCarthy is saying has merit, people will believe you…"

Conclusion

A certain segment of society appears to be emotionally invested in medical beliefs that are not based on science, but rather anecdotes, conspiracy theories, and magical thinking. Those who recommend a more objective method of inquiry may be subject to ridicule and hostility by that segment. Nonetheless, it is important (for public health and safety purposes and the advancement of science) for critical thinking to be promoted and defended. While some celebrities, like Jenny McCarthy, are committed to misinforming the public about their children’s health - parents who recognize the deception are speaking out against it. Perhaps the best way to combat Jenny’s propaganda is to boycott Oprah. Refusing to support the promotion of dangerous pseudoscience may be our best defense.

Comments
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by PlateletGal, May 30, 2009

Hi Dr. Jones,

I'm not sure if you've read Dr. Choi's blog on vaccinations and autism. I think there are very good points on both sides. I know I am a supporter of safer vaccinations and I also believe that informed consent must be instituted for ALL vaccines.

There are problems with vaccinations, including the new Gardasil vaccine. There have been 32 deaths in young women who have received the vaccination and 9,000 other women are now complaining of chronic GBS / CFS symptoms !

http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/63946?personal_page_id=495962

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by wonko, May 30, 2009
I agree that hostility from a patient (or parent of a young patient) towards medical doctors can lead to dangerous outcomes.  However, the first blow can often come from the doctors' end of things.

Patients (and/or their parent) with difficult to diagnose and/or contested diseases often suffer dearly at the hands of doctors who do not take their concerns seriously.  

When I got sick, I fully trusted the many doctors from whom I sought help.  But when my case was not easy to diagnose, the tone and treatment I got from my doctors quickly turned to dismissive.  

When doctors stop listening to sick patients, that is hostile.  My experience is unfortunately far from unique, read on just about any patient forum here on MedHelp:  You'll easily find examples of sick, hurting people who are ignored and/or belittled by medical doctors, the very people they turn to for help.

Improved bedside manner and compassion from care providers may be the best prevention for detrimental, reactionary patient stances.  When you condescendingly refer to a "certain segment" of the population, I question if you'll catch many flies.  

Of course, if you prefer to boycott Oprah, I'm all for that!


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by PlateletGal, May 30, 2009

Well said, wonko (except the part about banning Oprah... lol )  I know I had a similiar situation with my condition (undiagnosed for >15 years!) and I often read horror stories from very ill members here in MedHelp who are also getting the run around. That is why I'm here. ; ^ )

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by ILADVOCATE, May 31, 2009
I would agree but the best way to counteract misinformation is by providing correct information. When Michael Savage stated "autistic children are just badly behaved" I was horrified. But the stance I took in letter writing was rather than suggest removing him from his position (as some people stated) that correct information be broadcast from organizations who help people with autism and that's the action that was taken. I've tried to counteract misinformation on the web by people who were anti-psychiatry but stating that rather than use adverse side effects from medications (that I experience which is advanced tardive dyskinesia and clinical variants of it under study.) be a reason to stop treatment instead they refocus their energy on having new antipsychotics in development be FDA approved that couldn't cause it (such as glycine among the new generation antipsychotics the glutamate antagonists in Phase II FDA study I have been documented as having made a full recovery from (google "Dr. Javitt, glycine). All this is in standard clinical study.
  But as for vaccines I would not see why any rational person would be against the use of vaccines completely. That makes no sense. But even if vaccination is not a proven cause of the increase in autism there is an increase in autism. That needs to be studied regardless. As for mercury there are thimerosol free vaccines. Whether or not they cause autism I would think that since mercury is a toxic substance even at low levels it can't be good for people so why not phase it out. And study titration schedules for vaccines for safety and efficacy. There's a lot within the medical model that could be done, depending on what research determines. And the best thing to do with conspiracy theorists is prove why they are wrong (such as the links you posted) because if they are censored it appears to value their cause. And as for H1N1 influenza strain as soon as a vaccine is available (being at more risk with my physical disability) I do plan on recieving it as I do every year...

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by AireScottie, May 31, 2009
Before becoming too ill to work, I was an analyst at one of the top chemistry labs in the world.  Now, I too dislike doctors.  Why?  Because they're insulting, belittling, incredibly ignorant, many don't understand how to do basic scientific research, and they're so clueless with statistics that they think that a 1 in 100 chance of a reaction means no one is going to have it.  Of course, it doesn't help that I watched so many have to take chemistry and math classes multiple times in college before they got to medical school!  There are a lot of good doctors out there, but the ones with the biggest mouths seem to have the smallest brains.  Jenny McCarthy has not picked the best way to fight back, but in my experience, when a doctor much dumber than you treats you like a mentally incompetent five-year-old, it's hard not to sink down to his level from time to time.  I think the medical profession needs to monitor its own better, get rid of the dumb, incompetent, and abusive, and we would all get along much better.  Oh, and doctors should stop pretending they don't make decisions based on emotions.  I have friends that are doctors, and they openly admit to judging patients and making emotional decisions.

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by VaBreeze, May 31, 2009
Well stated wonko.  Polite, honest and to the point.

I agree with everyone regarding physicians, their attitudes, lack of regard for the chronically ill and that they are to quick to fill us with medications.  The idea of 'faking an illness' is something we all have faced, having had our illness dismissed by writing it off as hysterics (the same was said about Morgellon's Disease...parasitic hysteria).  I've been ill for over 35 yrs., and frankly, I am seeing that I can treat my symptoms better than someone I pay for advice.  Sad right?  

I don't blame Jenny McCarthy...not one bit.  Crazy?  Well, I can imagine that having a child and watching them suffer like that is enough to make one go bonkers.  She has a valid concern, whether we agree with her or not.  Whom wouldn't do every thing in their power to alert others or find answers when it comes to 'their' child?

If one reviews the history of vaccinations it's quite alarming.  Tainted with other viruses, mixed incorrectly, not well tested (as with GWI) and causes deaths or other chronic disease.  After hearing these stories, why should someone who is concerned about their health entrust their lives to others who have proven to be careless?  Smallpox was eradicated, however, not without many deaths (these often are not reported to the public).  I don't doubt that much of this information is covered up in order to prevent panic...it wouldn't be the first time that we weren't told.  There is a lot of politics and money involved in the making and selling of drugs.  They are releasing the new flu shot in October, for the current flu taking lives.  After getting the first swine flu shot in '76 (prior to it being pulled due to deaths and GBS)...I will not be getting a second one.

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by PlateletGal, May 31, 2009

I suppose the way many physicians feel about Jenny McCarthy is how many patients feel about their physicians or physicians they've seen. I know that one of my concerns is that it doesn't seem like physicians are listening to their patients anymore. The etymology of the word "doctor" is teacher. But how many physicians are teaching ? It seems like the patients are trying to teach them and saying, "hey... listen to me ! I would know... I'm the one who is sick !" But often we get a deaf ear. Many patients who have an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, are told to take anti-depressants !! To be honest with you, I'm starting to think that physicians shouldn't be able to prescribe such medications until their patient has had counseling. The pharamaceutical companies are no longer run by physicians and it saddens me a great deal that many physicians rely so much on these companies.

I just feel that there is something very wrong when even celebrities are unable to get a diagnosis and/or proper treatment. I know it took years before Oprah Winfrey was diagnosed with her thyroid problem and it also took years before Fran Drescher was diagnosed with cancer. I also know that singer/actress Cher goes to Germany for her chronic EBV/CFS treatments... probably because there aren't too many treatment options and physicians who care about these patients. I would know, as I have CFS.

People shouldn't be upset with Jenny McCarthy. She is a mother who has a child that she believes was harmed by vaccinations. Her child's physician apparently agrees with her and this man has successfully been treating her child's disease.... so obviously he cares about autism patients and has done plenty of research on this disease.

I don't know why, but there seems to be so much anger towards people who are ill. ILADVOATE listed one example.... Michael Savage's ignorant comments. Remember when Rush Limbaugh had also suggested that Michael J. Fox was "faking" his illness and two talk show hosts had said that Magic Johnson did not have AIDS ? I would think that if physicians were more supportive of their patients, then ignorant statements such as these wouldn't happen.




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by kiddthekatt, May 31, 2009
  I agree Plateletgal, as a Fibro/cfs sufferer, I agree 100% with everything that has been said here. I am so fed up with the shabby treatment that we as patients with unseen diseases receive. It's as tho physicians have less and less time to spend with a patient, therefore leaving us in the unknown as far as what can be done. I wish that there was some possible way to switch lives for 24 hours with a doctor. They would be begging to switch back after walking 24 hours in our shoes. This disease has taken everything it can take from me, yet I still refuse to give in. We deserve better treatment, medication and bedside manner than what any of us have received so far.

   The anger stems from these ignorant people who listen to idiots like Rush Limbaugh thinking that we " the sickly " will be trying to get our hands on their money. And another thing, while I'm ranting here. That ridiculous commercial on television about the lady with Fibromyalgia and Lyrica. That's one reason why people don't understand this disease. They look at her and they make a final dicision, well, look how good she looks." Go take Lyrica and get off your can" That commercial should be pulled because it is an untruth as far as I'm concerned.

Exellent replies you all, we are all on the same line going in the right direction.

Angel


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by BaronMunchausen, May 31, 2009
Hopefully a change in the health care system will lead to a better relationship between American Citizens and Science/ Medicine. As of right now, there is a great deal of distrust because health care in this country is NOT geared towards helping people with medical issues. This hostility is part of the backlash that comes from this.

Doctors have to be aware that they are representatives of the health care system and it's failures reflect poorly on them, making them seem part of the problem and not the solution.

Is it any wonder people are so willing to accept ignorance over science?

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by swampcritter, May 31, 2009
It wasn't very long ago that science was seen as a way to make our lives better, and new application of scientific tools to different situations was seen as a way to improve our understanding.

Now we fight teaching children science facts, and critical thinking that is going to be required for future advances.



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by PlateletGal, May 31, 2009

And the problem is now scientists are fighting among each other. There is so much competition out there to be the best, etc. And there is so much conflicting information out there.... mixed in with politics.

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by Sharon11353, May 31, 2009
I honestly feel for the families of the approximately 24,000 children that will be diagnosed somewhere on the Autism Scale this year as posted by American Autism Society. My 10 year old grandson is considered having high functioning Asperger's Syndrome. We knew before he was vaccinated that he had some form of developmental delay but by accepting his diagnosis and using known techniques he is doing wonderful in school and enjoys his activities as we enjoy him. His father, my son, is 70% deaf after he caught measles at 6 weeks from the unvaccinated children living in our apartment building.

Sadly, according to the WHO 197,000 children a year, 540 an day, 22 children an hour die in the world from measles related illness. I am sure those parents would have been thrilled to have the measles vaccine to give their child. To give them a chance to grow up. There is no proof that vaccines cause Autism. There is proof that 10-15 % of unvaccinated children will die or be left deaf, blind or mentally retarded by contracting measles. Maybe despite all the studies that show these vaccinations are not what is responsible for the sad and agonizing autism affecting todays children parents that do not vaccinate their children can take the time to apologize to the parents of whose children did die or go deaf or blind because they decided not to vaccinate their children.

It just not your child's future at risk it all children at risk.

Sharon

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by Haddock_Entrap_Propulasion , Jun 01, 2009
I think that the kind of anti-intellectualism described here  may be in part the result of all the bad things we've seen science do.  I'm in favor of vaccines, with th caveat that I don't trust any medication that's been on the market for fewer than 10 years.  I also think that people need to learn to differentiate between doctors (who can be idiots) and science...a doctor saying that you should vaccinate your child isn't giving you his personal opinion, he's telling you what a bunch of scientists decided based on research.  

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by PlateletGal, Jun 01, 2009
Hi Sharon11353,

I have never heard Jenny McCarthy tell people not to vaccinate their children. I think she supports spreading out vaccinations and so you aren't giving an infant, whose immune system is still developing, too many vaccinations at once. I support this. I also support what she says on her website:

"Our children are experiencing epidemics of ADD/ADHD, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, and Autism.

We believe these neurological disorders ("NDs") are environmental illnesses caused by an overload of heavy metals, live viruses, and bacteria. Proper treatment of our children, known as "biomedical intervention", is leading to recovery for thousands."

http://www.generationrescue.org/


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by wonko, Jun 01, 2009
I agree with Swampy's concerns.  I do not want children to miss out on learning science and aspects of critical thinking, and clearly some of the counter-culture does head in this unfortunate direction.

I'm a scientist by trade, and do appreciate the need for evidence-based results over pure conjecture.  In my work, I am aware that knowledge passes through stages, and that our current understanding is not the final answer.  Since my own misadventures in misdiagnosis, I've become startled to find medical doctors who are much more rigid in their thinking.  

What struck me about this blog is that it seems here Goliath is complaining about David stepping on his toes.  The MD's hold a great deal of power that certainly carries with it a great deal of responsibility.  The best way to effectively teach and communicate important information with patients is to treat them with respect, not suspicion.
      

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by tutorials, Jun 02, 2009
Dear  Val Jones MD,



You said "There is no conclusive evidence of a link between pesticides and autism. "
Your right... it's a suspicion.  

However there is evidence that pesticides lower IQ, increase the risk of prostate cancer and decrease fertility rates.
Maybe parents are thinking about that too... Don't you think  Doctor ?

Ever heard about Monsanto ? Go search Youtube. How about all the banned pesticides of the past ? They are still in our environment.  Too late to turn back the clock now. Where were you and when we needed someone to fight the toxic Big-Agri and Big-Pharma.  

This isn't crazy talk...  These are concerned parents.  Unlike Doctors, they can't be bought and sold by Drug company sales representatives.  


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by PlateletGal, Jun 02, 2009
Speaking of chemicals and vaccinations:


"Chemical nerve agents, PB and many of the pesticides to which Gulf Warveterans were exposed belong to a class of chemicals called acetylcholinesterase inhib-itors.

These chemicals inactivate the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is essential for breaking down the neurotransmitter chemical acetylcholine, achemical which affects numerous bodily functions, according to the report.

Forsythe believes a mixture of the three items above in combination with vaccines given to Gulf War service members can't be ruled out as a possible cause for Gulf War Syndrome."

http://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/articles/2009/05/28/dod_news/dod2.txt


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by swampcritter, Jun 02, 2009
Vaccines are not made from pesticides.

If you are concerned about pesticides, feed your children healthy foods, and vaccinate them.

"This isn't crazy talk...  These are concerned parents.  Unlike Doctors, they can't be bought and sold by Drug company sales representatives."

Irrationality brought on by fear is not a basis for a decision that could kill your child or your neighbor's child.

As for being "bought and sold by drug company representatives" ... doctors prescribe drugs because people demand the effect they promise. You can always tell your doctor not to prescribe medicine.

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by alagirl, Jun 02, 2009
Dr. Jones -

Thank you for writing this.  To date, all that we know is that autism is being DIAGNOSED more often.  There is, as yet, no conclusive evidence that it is actually occurring more often.  Asperger's and other milder, more high functioning forms of autism are now being included in the autism data numbers.  

Thymerosol is not even being used in vaccines any longer.  The autism genome project has shown a range of genes that seem to be involved in the etiology of autism.

Vaccines save far more people than they injure.  Children have died recently due to being infected by unvaccinated children.

Here is a link to some actual scientific information on autism:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7574433

I have to wonder, if Jenny M said that the world was flat, would folks believe that too?

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by 1st, Jun 02, 2009
Dr. Jones,
I was fascinated to read your comments on this matter.  I am finding it frustrating to sort through all of the negativity surrounding vaccines.  I know, I for one, was terrified about vaccines, because of all of this scary information being thrown out there.  I am, however, as a teacher a fan of vaccinations, and I will explain why.  At my school, many children were not given the new chicken pox vaccine.  There was a big outbreak in my school, and all of the children who had been vaccinated were fine.  The nurse got a horrible case of the chicken pox from one of the unvaccinated students.  I know this is just the chicken pox, but when I think of the measles, or polio, or all the other things it could have been it scares me.  I believe it is unfair that children who are not vaccinated are putting other children at risk to contract these diseases.  I had a student in my class who had leukemia, and he had to stay out of school until this outbreak had cleared up!  I am, like others, weary to do some of the newer vaccinations.  For example, the recent vaccination for the rotovirus was one I was actually advised against by my daughter's pediatrician.  She said that her office felt strongly that with the past results of this vaccine, they wanted to wait ten years before administering the new vaccine.  However, that being said, I cannot imagine what kind of horrific outbreaks we'd be having if everyone just stopped vaccinating completely!  Curious what your feelings are on that rotovirus vaccine!  I enjoyed reading all comments on this matter!  Have a good night everyone!
-1st

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by ILADVOCATE, Jun 02, 2009
I agree with Wonko
"The MD's hold a great deal of power that certainly carries with it a great deal of responsibility.  The best way to effectively teach and communicate important information with patients is to treat them with respect, not suspicion."
But it works the other way around as well. If we learn the long term side effect profile of medications, it should not drive us away from them. You could get panic stricken reading the adverse side effects (statistically rare reactions) of many common medications, including asprin. Also we have to treat doctors with the respect they deserve. When I find out about new treatments I do bring the information to my providers but they are ultimately the one who make the decisions. But since I approach them in a respectful manner as time evolved I was able to work with them on a higher level to understand some (extremely rare and as yet unidentified formally) adverse side effects that had occured in me and also a mental recovery that hadn't been seen before. But I treat all doctors with respect and I follow their specific guidelines and judgment for medications.
   As for vaccines, honestly no one wants to see repeat flare up outbreaks of whooping cough and measles and in other parts of the world due to the irrational politics of various countries polio (which should be eliminated by now and like the other two diseases mentioned can be fatal). If its a matter of finding safer ways of administering vaccines and titration schedules and eliminating additives that might not be neccessary I wouldn't see much of a problem there. But when people start attacking medical science and don't have ideas that promote a safer and effective recovery but just speak about what they are against or natural treatments without researched clinical value (everything being studied in me is from standard clinical studies, including the natural remedies) then they are only promoting hurt not harm. Would anyone want to be responsible for any child avoiding neccessary vaccines and getting preventable childhood diseases? People have forgotten how bad the consequences are of acquiring these life threatening illnesses and if anyone (doesn't seem to apply to anyone here) is completely anti-vaccination you can see some websites with photographic evidence of what happens when people aren't vaccinated such as the resurgent diphtheria epidemic in Russia in the early 90's (due to the crash in the healthcare system) and I would doubt anyone including Jenny McCarthy would want to be behind any child getting a life threatening illness. People have to think of the consequences of the actions they advise if followed through.

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by Val Jones, MDBlank, Jun 03, 2009
To "1st,"

I asked my pediatrician colleague (Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe) about your rotavirus question. Here's her helpful answer:

"There was huge concern with a prior form of Rotavirus vaccine that caused intussusceptions that was taken off the market right away in 1999/2000. But the current form of the vaccine is not only safe but is causing a gigantic public health impact in delaying onset of the rotavirus season and in diminishing the severity of the illness. I can attest to this on the urgent care site – infants and toddlers are not as sick as they used to be.

This CDC link is really helpful: http://www.cdc.gov/Rotavirus/RotaQA.htm Scroll towards the bottom – a nice description of the 2 vaccines that basically echoes what I just wrote."

Thanks for all the other comments - in case you missed it, Newsweek just did a really interesting expose of some of the pseudoscience promoted by Oprah. Check out the article here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/200025 and the Newsweek blog: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2009/06/02/hey-did-you-hear-we-took-on-oprah.aspx

It's really important for patients and physicians to work together as a team to get accurate health information to the public. We both want the same thing: a healthier America. Those who are attempting to thwart our progress (by selling us snake oil, or promoting medical ideas that aren't based in fact) should be held accountable. It takes courage to point out that the Emperor has no clothes - and in the old parable it's a child who actually does it. Maybe Oprah's harmful health content will be exposed by the danger that the anti-vaccine movement has on children?

One can only hope...

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by Dallasfan, Jun 03, 2009
I couldn`t help but to add to DrVal`s note. I seriously doubt that the Jenny McCarthies would be found libel if their advice was followed and subsequest outbreaks of the common chilhood diseases were to reemerge. I myself have some hearing loss due the complicated case of measles I had as a child. If only the vaccine MMR was around at that time. Making an uninformed decision for your child based on emotional reasons is one thing , to influence others with your ideas simply because you can , is another. I am afraid Oprah and Larry King are simply motivated by the attraction of a movie star that promotes this belief, in order to attract more viewers. We all want a healthier America and the world included.

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by tutorials, Jun 03, 2009
@DrVal

"Maybe Oprah's harmful health content will be exposed by the danger that the anti-vaccine movement has on children? "
I hope no one has to get hurt, just to prove a point. I know Oprah sometimes promotes pseudo science.  I am also sure that Jenny McCarthy is not 100% right.  But hey, they are not doctors.  
Doctor's are supposed to be protecting patients. Doctors are supposed to be objective thinkers and  not support pseudoscience nor false science pushed by drug companies.


@swampcritter

No one is saying vaccines are made from pesticides.  In fact I strayed a bit when I mentioned pesticides.  
But consider these website links

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) Web contains a databases of a few alleged deaths and lots adverse reactions to vaccines. View the database here:
http://vaers.hhs.gov/info.htm

Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/business/03medschool.html

Tallying Harvard Medical School’s Drug-Industry Ties
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/03/03/tallying-harvard-medical-schools-drug-industry-ties/

Harvard Medical Students Rebel Against Big Pharma
http://digg.com/politics/Harvard_Medical_Students_Rebel_Against_Big_Pharma
see: http://digg.com/politics/Harvard_Medical_Students_Rebel_Against_Big_Pharma?t=25033209#c25033209

Unfortunately, some doctors trust the drug companies. Drug companies and Big Agri have infiltrated the FDA
http://www.thearticlesense.com/article/GMO-what-you-dont-know-could-Kill-You/

If doctors don't question, investigate and reject the claims made by drug companies, who will ? How come patients have to be guinea pigs for the benefits of Big-Pharma and it's sales reps ?


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by ILADVOCATE, Jun 03, 2009
Yes I believe you are correct but let's not speak about "big pharma" in such a manner. Yes the pharmaceutical industry is too profit driven but every medication that we take is developed through research and put into place by them. My (physical) doctor does have medication advertisements in his office but he prescribes me what he thinks would be the right medication not the most advertised one. I've never seen a psychiatrist who didn't make their own completely informed decisions as well. I've corresponded (for confidentiality reasons, of course would not provide names) with many fine researchers with new antipsychotics in development. They are hard at work trying to help us. I support them. I do see room for ethical reform within the pharmaceutical industry and I've advocated about that as well but again that's confidential. As for being a "guinea pig" hard to say. In being on a medication in Phase II FDA study perhaps I am one but I don't think of it that way. I am working with science and in their understanding of me people will benefit.
  Ultimately, what it comes down to is healthcare and its funding have become too profit driven. And I've spoken with some providers off the record and they agree with that. But please remember there are several entities. The American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association cannot direct medication research. And the FDA has limited regulation over it as long as its within their safety guidelines. All that is public knowledge. And yes sometimes cooperations in general do undervalue people. I'd like to see medication as more than just another product.
  Some classes of medications can have severe long term side effects such as chemotherapy for cancer and protease inhibitors for people with AIDS. But without them the results can be fatal. Newer and safer treatment modalities are in development all the time. That doesn't mean they will all be ultimately approved by the FDA and it takes a long time for research and development. We all are here for some recovery process and when it comes to standard physical medications and vaccinations doctors recieve them as well. The problem is when we read "conspiracy theories" they frighten us and turn us against treatment. When we understand facts about side effects both short term and long term then we can discuss the information with our providers about what treatment is right for us.  


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by 1st, Jun 07, 2009
Dr. Jones,
Thank you for your response, and helpful information, on the new rotavirus vaccine (I'm embarrassed that I spelled it wrong in my last posting!)   When my daughter's pediatrician recommended against us administering the vaccine, I was not sure what to do.  Her opinion was that the dangers of the past vaccine were more serious than the rotavirus itself.  However, I am going to have to make this decison all over again, as I am now due with twins.  The thing about that vaccine is that you have to make up your mind right away, because they will only administer it within the first twelve weeks (I think that's the right time frame) of a child's life.  I don't want to be put on the spot again, where I have to make a decision right away or it will be too late!  Thanks for your input on this matter, as it gives me time to make an informed decision on what to do this time around!  I really just, last time, went with what my daughter's doctor told us to do, because I figured they must have some serious reasons for not wanting to administer the vaccine!  I have since switched doctors for my daughter, and have not asked her new doctor's opinion on the vaccine, but plan to at her next visit!    
Thanks again!
-1st

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by Val Jones, MDBlank, Jun 07, 2009
Hi 1st,

I'm so glad that information helped. How exciting that you're expecting twins! I wish you all the best for a safe and healthy delivery. I also hope your new doctor will be able to help you navigate the CDC information about the rotavirus vaccine and answer any lingering concerns you may have.

All my best,

"Dr. Val"



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by 1st, Jun 07, 2009
Dr. Jones ("Dr. Val"),
Thanks again!  We are so excited!  We have no history of twins in our families, and so this was a wonderful surprise!  The doctors say we will not know until they are born if they are identical or fraternal (they are both boys and are in separate sacks), so that will be fun to find out too!  I will ask my daughter's new doctor for help navigating the CDC information about the rotavirus vaccination.  Anyhow, thanks again for all of your time and input!  
-1st

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by bgordski, Jun 08, 2009
Dr Jones,
     I have complimented you on twitter and wish you were writing there. It is easy to just transfer your responses from this site.
As an Agent Orange cancer victim I am interested in a cancer therapeutic vaccine. I just returned from a PCa trial at NIH in Bethesda, MD. The manufacturer ,Onyvax, went bankrupt before I could get all the vaccine cycles.
Since there is no PCa vaccine preventative or therapeutic I must try the available clinical trials, for myself, my Sons and Grandsons who may carry the defective genes responsible.

The world is so lucky to have two preventative cancer vaccines. Now, there are only 181+ cancers remaining.  

     You could help spread the word that ALL cancer chemotherapy/radiation patients, regardless of age, need to have the PPSV23 vaccine and a booster at 5 years. Ref:http://tinyurl.com/lfal4d. Cytotoxic care can have serious side effects. I have asked too many Doctors about this Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine and they did not know that it should be used on immune suppressed patients under 65.

The referenced I used I learned about from a public health Doctor here in sfo,ca. He used it to reference ALL current vaccine schedules. The CDC is part of the NIH under HHS and has an annual budget of $23.5 billion. It is THE source for vaccines information.

     Since childhood vaccines protect the child, parents who refuse to use them are guilty of child abuse and the authorities should deal with them as they do with those who refuse chemo and blood transfusions for their children.

Vaccines may have been abused by the military during the Gulf War but that was GI's and it was war.

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by VaBreeze, Jun 21, 2009
For anyone concerned about vaccinations, this website will list ages, type of vaccine used, any complications arising from the vaccination and much more.  Most times we don't know that it was a complication caused by the injection, as it's written off as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or some other disorder.  I believe in informed consent and spreading vaccinations of children out so that they are not bombarded with them.  I also feel that the MMR should not be combined if there is any question whatsoever about it's components.  It's just as easy to separate the vaccinations for safety purposes.  

http://medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.html

Vaccines are not only abused during wars, they are all to frequently mixed with other substances that cause problems.  The flu panademic in 1918 was cause by one person becoming ill and then vaccinations being given to all the others...who then fell ill.  It takes years to thoroughly test these products for use by human beings.  When everyone panics and something is released to quickly there will be consequences.  I am one who had the last swine flu shot in 1976, then became ill afterwords.  The pharmaceuticals made billions off that one. Baxter was recently in the news for sending tainted flu vaccinations to a lab in Australia, who then sent it to 13 other labs to be used.  They discovered the matter when ferrets injected with the medication died.  The two viruses would have to be mixed together...one wonders how this mishap took place under controlled circumstances.  

MSN just had a story out on the maker of the first batch of 'swine flu' to be tested.  The very company who made this batch was cited in 2006 and 2008 for violations by the FDA.  

http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/97733?personal_page_id=305460

I am not against safe vaccinations, however, it would seem that someone isn't doing their job and it's effecting innocent people.  Protocols are not being followed so yes, there will be questions, thoughts of conspiracy and those who are hesitant (esp. when it comes to their children).  

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by VaBreeze, Jun 23, 2009
P.S.  This was a great post to read.  Very controversial.

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by isassorrow, Aug 28, 2009
If Doctors know so much why dont they inform patience of probiotics along with their antibiotics and harmful medications that can kill. Biomedical intervension is great it has helped my son. I did not go for the celations as I dont believe in giving my son something that can kill him however all the natural methods are great. Any doctor who believes that what we eat is not conected with out bodies is sadly not a very good one.

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by mum2beagain, Nov 05, 2009
I have an autistic child. It was clear from a young age something was not right. He was vaccinated as per the recommended schedule in the UK and suffered no ill effects, I don't believe his vaccines contributed to his autism. When we moved to Canada I was told by his health worker that he must get "caught up" on all the different vaccines and vaccine schedule here in BC. He was given 12 vaccines in one go, I was told at the clinic this would be fine. It all but destroyed his immune system, he was 2 1/2, he spent the next 12 months fighting illness after illness, he had 13 courses of antibiotics in 12 months and was hospitalized twice with pneumonia. Naturally his development came to a halt/regressed during this time because he was just so sick the whole time.
I have since had another son, he has been vaccinated but I am much more cautious about which vaccines both my boys have and how many they have at one time. They are both now extremely health and haven't been sick in two years. Personally I am more scared of the vaccine than of me or the kids getting the flu.

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