Total Drek

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breaking News: Shocking new research about vaccine safety!

As part of my longstanding interest in vaccines I recently became aware of a shocking new study that evaluates the link between thimerosol and autism. As you will recall, some organizations have long claimed that thimerosol in vaccines is a causal factor in the development of autism and other nervous disorders. Alas, they have claimed, research examining the effect of thimerosol on brain development has been lacking.

To help correct this, Italian researchers recently analyzed data deriving from thousands of babies who received a whooping cough (i.e. pertussis) vaccine in the 1990's. Unusually, the children received two different versions of the vaccine, one of which had double the amount of thimerosol as the other one. Additionally, the administration of the two versions was randomized such that exogeneous factors such as family background, social class, region, and so forth could not play a role. After allowing ten years, researchers administered 24 measures of brain function to the children and yielded this shocking result:

Ten years later, 1,403 of those children took a battery of brain function tests. Researchers found small differences in only two of 24 measurements and those "might be attributable to chance," they wrote in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, which was released Monday.

Only one case of autism was found, and that was in the group that got the lower level of thimerosal.


"Put together with the evidence of all the other studies, this tells us there is no reason to worry about the effect of thimerosal in vaccines," said the new study's lead author, Dr. Alberto Tozzi of Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.


"It's yet another well done, peer-reviewed research study that has demonstrated there is no risk of any neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with thimerosal in vaccines," said epidemiologist Jennifer Pinto-Martin of the University of Pennsylvania.

"This becomes the fourth study to look for subtle signs of mercury toxicity and show the answer was 'no,'" said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the author of a book on autism research and the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine.

But what about those two indicators out of twenty-four that were different? Is autism hiding in there?


The children received either 62.5 micrograms or 137.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury from all their shots during their first year of life. Thimerosal breaks down as ethyl mercury in the body. Before the reduction of thimerosal in the United States, the maximum exposure for infants was 187.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury.

The researchers found the children in both groups scored, on average, in the normal range on 11 tests of memory, attention, motor skills and other brain functions.

Those 11 tests included 24 measured outcomes. Small, but statistical differences were found for only two of those areas, and only for girls. The girls with higher exposure scored worse on a finger-tapping test with their dominant hands, and on a vocabulary test in which they were asked to name common objects.

There was no difference in boys on those outcomes or others. Researchers also found no difference in tic disorders. And the one autism case found in the lower-intake group was likely a chance finding, Tozzi said. [emphasis added]

And this pattern of results is important because autism is more common among boys yet they didn't show even trivial differences as a result of exposure to thimerosol. This earth-shattering finding is entirely consistent with reams of earlier shocking research demonstrating no link whatsoever between thimerosol in vaccines and brain disorders. This, further, is in agreement with yet more shocking research showing that vaccines themselves don't cause autism whether thimerosol is present or not. This leads us to the completely surprising conclusion that vaccines are, indeed, safe. In a heart-stopping turn it appears that thousands of doctors and multiple national health agencies who have been standing behind vaccines for years know exactly what they're talking about.

Despite these surprising results, however, parents remain cautious, declining to use proven, safe medical treatments to protect their children against known threats because they fear a repeatedly disproven link between those treatments and a different disorder. And, as a result, children are sickening and dying:

A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday.

The five children were infected with a bacterial infection known as Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b.

Three of the affected children had not received any vaccinations, including the 7-month-old who died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The situation is of concern," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease at the CDC. "It could be happening elsewhere, and of course it's tragic that one of the children actually died from a preventable disease."

Hib primarily affects infants and children under 5 years of age. The vaccine prevents pneumonia, epiglottitis (severe throat infection) and meningitis, which is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord, caused by the bacteria.

One in 20 children infected with Hib dies, according to the CDC. And survivors of the disease can become deaf; 10 to 30 percent have permanent brain damage.

Stay tuned to Total Drek for updates on this fast developing story!

Yes, I'm being sarcastic. Yes, it might be interpreted as mean. Yes, it's because I don't know how else to drive the point home that every bit of reputable scientific evidence demonstrates without question that vaccines are safe. Please don't endanger your children and others by not vaccinating your kids. Please don't take medical advice from a nudie model over respected physicians.

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