Alternative Medicine and Children – Part 6 – Vaccination and Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Infectious Disease, Parenting
The anti-vaccination movement has no better friends than in the alternative medicine world. In the Massachusetts study mentioned in my last blog, less than one-third of the homeopaths recommended immunization, and almost 10 percent actively opposed immunization. In England, the most common reason given for not having children immunized is the recommendation parents receive from a homeopath. (more…)
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Unbelievable: Nearly half of Americans still suspect disproven vaccine-autism link

Children's Health, Parenting
Despite overwhelming evidence that there is NO association between any vaccine in particular, or vaccines in general, and autism, just a slim majority of Americans – 52 percent – think vaccines don't cause autism, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found. Conversely, 18 percent are convinced that vaccines, like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, can cause the disorder, and another 30 percent aren't sure. (more…)
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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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More Evidence That Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism

Children's Health, Parenting
Children exposed to high, low levels of thimerosal had similar odds for the disorder as children with no exposure to thimerosal, a new study has found. This should be absolutely no surprise for two reasons: (1) since thimerosal has been removed from virtually all vaccines, there has been an INCREASE (not a decrease) in autism, and (2) no study has found any evidence of an association between thimerosal and autism. Here are the details from this newest study from HealthDay News: Infants exposed to the highest levels of thimerosal, a mercury-laden preservative that used to be found in many vaccines, were no more likely to develop autism than infants exposed to only a little thimerosal, new research finds. The study offers more reassurance to parents who worry that vaccination raises their…
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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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Delaying childhood vaccinations offer no benefit to children, and may be harmful

Children's Health, Parenting
I’ve written in the past about the debate between doctors about delaying vaccines. This debate is based upon the fears among some parents that the current regimen of infant vaccinations involves too many vaccines too soon. Then, to add to these fears came Dr. Robert Sears, a pediatrician in Capistrano Beach, Calif., who in October 2007, published “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child.” Included in Sears’ book was an alternative vaccine schedule that would allow parents to delay – and in some cases completely avoid – many vaccines for their children. In 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its updated childhood vaccination schedule, along with an article that deconstructs Sears’ popular and very controversial “delayed vaccine” schedule. Now to add to the AAP’s recommendations is…
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Several vaccines at once absolutely OK for kids’ brains: Study

Children's Health, Parenting
Reuters Health has a report saying, "Parents can rest assured that getting kids their vaccine shots on time will not hurt their mental skills later on." Here are more details from Reuters: "A lot of parents are concerned that children receive too many vaccines too soon," said Dr. Michael J. Smith, of the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. Some parents skip recommended vaccines out of fear of autism, for instance, and some choose to space out shots Although there is no evidence that would be safer, Smith said, he wanted to study the issue to address parents' concerns. So he and a colleague tapped into data from more than 1,000 preteen kids who had undergone extensive psychological tests of IQ, memory, attention, and language. Then they divided the…
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Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of Illness

Children's Health, Parenting
Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of IllnessAbout one-third of U.S. parents surveyed had delayed or refused early childhood immunizations. As I've told you in previous blogs, this is a decision that can potentially harm your child and his or her friends. Here's a report from HealthFinder that confirms my beliefs: Physicians report that children who don't receive recommended vaccine doses by the time they're 2 years old are at risk of developing a variety of diseases. But some anti-vaccine activists contend that the shots can cause side effects, including autism, although health officials say repeated studies have failed to uncover such a link. For this study, researchers analyzed the results of a 2008 national survey of parents and health-care providers and…
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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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Court once again rejects theory that vaccines cause autism

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A federal court has determined that the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism is "scientifically unsupportable," and that the families of children diagnosed with the condition are not entitled to compensation. Three special masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined that the three families represented in the suit didn't prove a link between the vaccines and autism. The three released more than 600 pages of findings after reviewing these test cases. Hopefully, this court ruling will put to rest the persisting delusion that some have that vaccines are associated with autism. Whether it's the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thiomersol, there is no compelling reason to believe that either are causing the increasing numbers of kids with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The New York Times reported, "In…
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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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Vaccine Myth #2: Vaccines Don’t Work

Children's Health
This is the second entry in a series from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child. Probably the best recent example of the positive impact of vaccines is the Hib vaccine, which prevents meningitis, ear infections, and other serious infections caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). When the current Hib vaccine was introduced to this country in 1990, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis. For decades, Hib had caused approximately 15,000 cases of meningitis and 400 to 500 deaths every year. After the current Hib vaccine was introduced, the incidence of Hib meningitis declined to fewer than fifty cases per year—typical of all widely used vaccines. (more…)
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Researchers say non-vaccinated children face dramatically increased whooping cough risk

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A new study reports, "Children who aren't vaccinated against whooping cough are 23 times more likely to develop the disease than children who get all of their shots on time." The study, "of 751 children enrolled in Kaiser Permanente of Colorado," revealed that "one in 20 children who skipped the vaccine developed whooping cough, compared with one in 500 vaccinated children.” More information: (more…)
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More on the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A past blog, that has been very popular, was on the topic of the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children (Friday, 6 February 2009). In response to that blog, Kelly wrote, "Hello, I was just wondering if you could answer a question for me. I run a day care out of my home. I was recently inquired about watching a girl who is 2 and has never been vaccinated or seen a doctor. I was wondering if this was any risk to myself or the other children in my day care? Thank you for your time." I thought you might be interested in my response to her. More Information: (more…)
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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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Radio Listeners ‘Angry as Hornets’ About Dr. Walt’s Comments on Childhood Vaccination

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
I was being interviewed about childhood vaccination on the KTIS radio station that broadcasts in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. During the interview I stated, “In my opinion, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are committing a form of child abuse.” According to the station, my comments “stirred up a hornet’s nest.” 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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Doctors Debate Delayed Vaccine Schedule

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Parenting
There are fears among some parents that the current regimen of infant vaccinations involves too many vaccines too soon. Adding to these fears is Dr. Robert Sears, a pediatrician in Capistrano Beach, Calif., who in October 2007, published "The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child." Included in Sears' book was an alternative vaccine schedule that would allow parents to delay – and in some cases completely avoid – many vaccines for their children. Last Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its updated childhood vaccination schedule, along with an article that deconstructs Sears' popular and very controversial "delayed vaccine" schedule. 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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Vaccine Myth #13: Vaccinations are made from aborted babies

Bioethics, Children's Health, Health Headlines, Parenting
This is the end of my 13-week series on Vaccine Myths. I hope the series has been helpful to you. Today, I'd like to address the fact that some people have questioned whether the use of fetal cells in the production of vaccines is moral and ethical. This question is timely due to a news story just out: Doctors and Families Asked to "Just Say no to New Aborted Fetal Vaccine!" (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #12: The Polio Virus Vaccine Is Contaminated with a Virus That Causes Cancer

Children's Health, Parenting
Early batches of poliovirus vaccine used in the late 1950s and early 1960s were contaminated with a monkey virus called Simian Virus 40, or SV40. Recently an investigator found proteins made by SV40 virus in unusual tumors in adults. The studies were suggestive enough that the National Institutes of Health continued to research the association. (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #10: Vaccines, If Administered during the First Two Years of Life, Can Cause Diabetes

Children's Health, Parenting
One researcher claimed that infants immunized with one dose of Hib vaccine at twenty-four months of age were less likely to get diabetes than if they received four doses of the Hib vaccine (at three, four, six, and eighteen months of age). He concluded that the risk of diabetes could be reduced if children did not receive vaccines at a young age. After carefully reviewing the data, researchers discovered that analytic methods used in the study were incorrect. (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #8: A Preservative Contained in Many Vaccines Harms Children

Children's Health, Parenting
In 1999, a study revealed that the preservative thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound present in many vaccines, caused several infants to have levels of mercury in their blood that exceeded guidelines recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Preservatives are used in vaccines to reduce the risk of contamination by bacteria once the vial is opened. Exposure to high levels of mercury, especially in the developing child before birth, is associated with neurological disturbances. Therefore, parents began to fear that thimerosal may cause neurological difficulties, like autism. When this study was first described, physicians, scientists, and public health officials quickly assessed the situation and found that: (more…)
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