Posted by: Chris Maloney | October 7, 2011

South Park Mocks Aspergers and Vaccine Fears.

A child receives oral polio vaccine during a 2...

Image via Wikipedia

How marvelous.  Now that South Park has weighed in I think we can all put our concerns to rest.  After all, having a cartoonist mock a possible disease link is enough to make me move on to other things.

Well, not quite.  It turns out that the most celebrated case of vaccine linkage happens to be the child of a John Hopkins neurologist, who documented every step of her illness with multiple brain scans.  He was so convincing that the U.S. government paid him settlement money and asked for his silence.  But he went public.  I’ve given multiple links to the whole story at under autism and vaccines.

But the larger  studies are all negative, right?  Well, yes, we haven’t  found any direct link to a specific vaccine.  But we’re still seeing the controversy play itself out in the medical literature.  We’ve got people calling the MMR vaccine study done by Dr. Wakefield the biggest hoax of the last 100 years, when other researchers continue to find vaccine/autism links (see abstract).

So is there a link?  Not directly, and not nationally statistically.  But there are clearly individual cases that can be linked to vaccination.  Dr. Wakefield wasn’t alone in finding a possible link to mercury in vaccines and autism, of which Aspergers is one type.

What is clear is that there is a growing “vaccine confidence gap.”  Even as MDs shout that there is no proven link, half of mothers have reservations about vaccinating their infants.  In truth, requiring the Hep B vaccination at birth really has no strong preventive effect for the newborn.  We simply haven’t been able to successfully vaccinate our high risk population.  So we’ve resorted to vaccinating everyone.  Public policy plays as much a part as hard science.  We’ve also chosen not to vaccinate for tuberculosis because we’d rather monitor that disease’s progression in our immigrant populations.  So when individual parents have concerns about side effects, it doesn’t work to “just say no.”

The picture above shows a chid receiving the oral polio vaccine.  That child will excrete polio virus for the next few weeks in his stool.  He will infect any child who has not received the vaccine.  It is estimated that all polio cases in the U.S. after 1970 were due to infection from other vaccinated children.  Now we don’t use oral polio vaccine in this country.  Where do polio outbreaks still occur?  India.  Where was this picture taken?  India.  Hmmm.

It is both reasonable and necessary to maintain a healthy skepticism about everything a large government organization does and why it does it.  Why should vaccination be exempt from this rule?  How can the CDC be perfect when it is run like the IRS?  Let’s reverse the common thinking.  Oh, the tax code is perfect, but I can’t stand those vaccine guidelines?  Really?

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2011 Jan;74(14):903-16.

A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population.


Department of Economics and Finance, Baruch College/City University of New York, New York, New York, USA.


The reason for the rapid rise of autism in the United States that began in the 1990s is a mystery. Although individuals probably have a genetic predisposition to develop autism, researchers suspect that one or more environmental triggers are also needed. One of those triggers might be the battery of vaccinations that young children receive. Using regression analysis and controlling for family income and ethnicity, the relationship between the proportion of children who received the recommended vaccines by age 2 years and the prevalence of autism (AUT) or speech or language impairment (SLI) in each U.S. state from 2001 and 2007 was determined. A positive and statistically significant relationship was found: The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT or SLI. A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having AUT or SLI. Neither parental behavior nor access to care affected the results, since vaccination proportions were not significantly related (statistically) to any other disability or to the number of pediatricians in a U.S. state. The results suggest that although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, other culprits may link vaccines to autism. Further study into the relationship between vaccines and autism is warranted.

Med Sci Monit. 2004 Mar;10(3):PI33-9. Epub  2004 Mar 1.

A comparative evaluation of the effects of MMR immunization and mercury doses from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the population prevalence of autism.


President, MedCon, Inc, Silver Spring, MD, USA.



The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of MMR immunization and mercury from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the prevalence of autism.


Evaluations of the Biological Surveillance Summaries of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education datasets, and the CDC’s yearly live birth estimates were undertaken


It was determined that there was a close correlation between mercury doses from thimerosal–containing childhood vaccines and the prevalence of autism from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. In contrast, there was a potential correlation between the number of primary pediatric measles-containing vaccines administered and the prevalence of autism during the 1980s. In addition, it was found that there were statistically significant odds ratios for the development of autism following increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines (birth cohorts: 1985 and 1990-1995) in comparison to a baseline measurement (birth cohort: 1984). The contribution of thimerosal from childhood vaccines (>50% effect) was greater than MMR vaccine on the prevalence of autism observed in this study.


The results of this study agree with a number of previously published studies. These studies have shown that there is biological plausibility and epidemiological evidence showing a direct relationship between increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, and measles-containing vaccines and serious neurological disorders. It is recommended that thimerosal be removed from all vaccines, and additional research be undertaken to produce a MMR vaccine with an improved safety profile.

Lancet. 2011 Aug 6;378(9790):526-35. Epub  2011 Jun 12.

Addressing the vaccine confidence gap.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Vaccines–often lauded as one of the greatest public health interventions–are losing public confidence. Some vaccine experts have referred to this decline in confidence as a crisis. We discuss some of the characteristics of the changing global environment that are contributing to increased public questioning of vaccines, and outline some of the specific determinants of public trust. Public decision making related to vaccine acceptance is neither driven by scientific nor economic evidence alone, but is also driven by a mix of psychological, sociocultural, and political factors, all of which need to be understood and taken into account by policy and other decision makers. Public trust in vaccines is highly variable and building trust depends on understanding perceptions of vaccines and vaccine risks, historical experiences, religious or political affiliations, and socioeconomic status. Although provision of accurate, scientifically based evidence on the risk-benefit ratios of vaccines is crucial, it is not enough to redress the gap between current levels of public confidence in vaccines and levels of trust needed to ensure adequate and sustained vaccine coverage. We call for more research not just on individual determinants of public trust, but on what mix of factors are most likely to sustain public trust. The vaccine community demands rigorous evidence on vaccine efficacy and safety and technical and operational feasibility when introducing a new vaccine, but has been negligent in demanding equally rigorous research to understand the psychological, social, and political factors that affect public trust in vaccines.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






    The Finnish government and major insurance companies announced Wednesday they will pay for lifetime medical care for children diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving the swine flu vaccine.

    “The compensation will provide much-needed financial assistance for the families, although it cannot take away the emotional distress caused by this condition,” Social Services and Health Minister Paula Risikko said in a statement.

    Finnish and international researchers recently found a conclusive link between the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine and new cases of narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder which causes people to often uncontrollably fall asleep.

Tell me what you think!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: