Public health officials urged to hold national discussion on vaccine risks, benefits

Children's Health, Parenting
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Michael Willrich, an associate professor of history at Brandeis University, writes , “Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism—a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare.” (more…)
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Investigator Planned to Make Vast Profit From Autism/MMR Vaccine Scare

Bioethics, Children's Health, Medical Economics, Parenting
Andrew Wakefield, the lead author on the 1998 study that reported a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and a new condition of regressive autism and bowel disease called autistic enterocolitis (AE), was planning to market a prestudy diagnostic testing kit with expected yearly sales of 28 million pounds (43 million US dollars), a new paper published online in the BMJ reports. (more…)
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“Vaccines cause autism” theory now suspected to be fraud

Bioethics, Children's Health, Medical Economics, Parenting
In a recent blogs I've told you, "Autism and Childhood Vaccinations: The Myth is Finally Debunked" and "U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine." But, even I was shocked when, while watching ABC World News last night, I saw a report suggesting, that the vaccine-autism link now appears to have been a deliberate fraud. Not only have untold children have been harmed because of this alleged fraud -- but autism research has actually been set back. My hope is that criminal charges will soon follow. Here are the details: ABC World News reported reported that many parents "know that vaccines protection their children from serious illness. But many still fear that the vaccines might cause autism because of all of the reports through the years." Now, there is…
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Autism and Childhood Vaccinations: The Myth is Finally Debunked

Children's Health, Parenting
In a number of previous blogs, I've discussed vaccine myths, in an attempt to bring you information about vaccines that is reliable, trustworthy, and medically accurate. I recently found this review of the myth that vaccines cause autism and wanted to share it with you. It's a discussion between Robert Dachs, MD, FAAFP (Ellis Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Schenectady, New York), Andrea Darby-Stewart, MD (Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, Arizona), and Mark Graber, MD, FACEP (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa) and was published in the American Family Physician (2010 Sep 15;82(6):586-592). Are childhood vaccinations associated with subsequent development of autism? Bob: In 1998, a British gastroenterologist, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published a report in the Lancet on eight children who developed symptoms of autism within one month of receiving the…
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U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
In past blogs, I've exposed what I consider to be the unethical and unscrupulous actions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his so-called autism research. Here are just a few: Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux. Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism Wakefield's now disproven 1998 study supposedly linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism. Unfortunately, this led to a dramatic drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world -- causing who knows how many unnecessary childhood deaths. Since then, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism. And now, not only have the scientific methods of Wakefield been shown to…
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Study indicates separate MMR, chickenpox shots may be safer

Children's Health, Parenting
I hope you're not getting too tired of all the vaccine-related blogs of today and Monday. Not to worry, on Friday I'll post several blogs for adults and parents about sunscreens. Anyway, the Los Angeles Times is reporting, "Children who receive a single vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox appear to have an increased risk of fever-related seizures in the days after the shot than do children who receive two separate vaccinations." The Times notes that "a combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (commonly known as chicken pox) was approved for use in 2005, providing an option for parents who wanted to stick one fewer needle in their small children." But, "a new analysis from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center ... hows…
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Unvaccinated Children at Center of Measles Outbreak

Children's Health, Parenting
Many parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, don't realize the potential harm of this decision on both their children and the children in their community. The reason? Children whose parents refuse vaccinations for them provide fertile ground for the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. Here's another case proving that point. This one is an investigation of a 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego. As one of the researchers reminds us, "It's very important for parents to understand that the disease itself is always more serious than a true reaction to the vaccine." Action Points Explain to interested patients that all 12 of the measles cases identified in this study were unvaccinated children, most of whose parents had refused the vaccine. Here are the details, from a MedPage report: Although…
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Survey Shows Parents Still Worry Unnecessarily About Vaccines

Children's Health, Parenting
Most parents believe vaccination is a good way to protect their children from potentially deadly diseases, but a study shows more than half still worry about the possibility of vaccine side effects. The study concludes: Although parents overwhelmingly share the belief that vaccines are a good way to protect their children from disease, these same parents express concerns regarding the potential adverse effects and especially seem to question the safety of newer vaccines. Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching many parents in an effective or convincing manner. Here's an article on the survey from WebMD: The study shows 88% of parents follow the child immunization schedule recommended by their doctor, but 54% are concerned about serious vaccine side effects. Researcher Gary…
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Parents continue to have unwarranted fears and delusions about pediatric vaccines.

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Children's Health, General Health, Men's Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Infants and children get a lot of shots (vaccinations) to prevent against many different potentially fatal diseases. For this reason, parents or caregivers sometimes ask us as healthcare professionals to space apart, separate, or even not give some vaccines. Parents are worried that their child cannot handle so many shots at the same time. This is one of many concerns that parents may have about vaccinations. This blog entry provides you and your friends the facts about vaccines, to help you make an informed and wise decision about what's best for your child. Please share this information with as many parents as you can. More Information: (more…)
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Special court rules against families who claim vaccines caused autism

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
According to an AP report today, a special court has ruled rather dramatically against three sets of parents with autistic children, saying that vaccines are absolutely not to blame for their children's neurological disorder (autism). The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent's claims — and their ruling backs years of science and mountains of evidence from around the world that found no risk for either the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, having any role in autism or ASD. More Information: (more…)
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Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
From 1958 to 1962, over a half a million cases of measles are reported each year. 432 measles-related deaths occur on average each year. But in 1963, the measles vaccine was licensed. By 2000, only 81 cases of measles are reported in all of the U.S.! And, most of those in the children of parents who chose not to immunize their kids. In fact, it has just been announced that measles cases in England and Wales have risen by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children. More Information: (more…)
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Doctor Is Rallying Resistance to the Antivaccine Crazies

Bioethics, Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
A new book defending vaccines, written by a doctor infuriated at the claim that they cause autism, is galvanizing a backlash against the antivaccine movement in the United States. But, according to the New York Times, there will be no book tour for the doctor, Paul A. Offit, author of Autism’s False Prophets. He has had too many death threats. More Information: (more…)
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Vaccines: Separating fact from fiction

Children's Health, Parenting
When it comes to the arguments about the safety of vaccines, what's a worried mom to do? Between the scary claims about shots themselves and the scary news about what can happen without them, you might feel like you need a Ph.D. in immunology, toxicology, and biostatistics to make sense of it all. Never fear, Dr. Walt is here. The bottom line: No medical intervention is 100 percent risk-free, and no one but you can choose what's right for your child. My job is to help that decision come a little easier, so here goes: More Information: (more…)
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Child vaccination rates hit record levels

General Health
Even though there were many parents who, in the past, did not have their children vaccinated for the now disproven theory that vaccines cause autism, Reuters is reporting that U.S. toddlers got the recommended vaccinations against childhood diseases at record levels in 2007. My Take? (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism

Children's Health
Tuesday, in my weekly interview with Mark Elfstrand on WMBI in Chicago, a woman called to inquire about the risk of autism from vaccinations. It reminded me of a chapter from my book, God's Design for the Highly Healthy Child, in which I discuss a number of myths about vaccinations. This week, I'll start a multipart series on a dozen or more of these common myths and misperceptions. (more…)
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