Monday, August 17, 2015

Something for discussion

Teen Queen was born in 1995, diagnosed in 1998.
Baby Queen was born in 1997, diagnosed in 1999.
BQ was easier to diagnose quickly because she never hit the verbal markers of neurotypical kids and we'd just gone through it with TQ. TQ went from talking at 18 months to completely silent and withdrawn at 22 months. Like a switch was flipped in her brain. I know from experience how violent the discussion of vaccines and autism can get. On one side is a group of parents wanting answers and on the other side are a group of people who've never lived our lives screaming at us that we're ignorant, negligent, horrible people who just need to shut the fuck up. The more they scream at us, the more we hate them. 

It all hinges on one research project by Andrew Wakefield. Too many years and too many millions of dollars have been spent by the pro-vaccine groups to discredit (repeatedly) this research. Instead of hammering the same nail over and over to protect vaccine interests, why didn't any of them branch out into research on tangents: vaccines and genetic susceptibility, vaccines and Tylenol toxicity, vaccines and a million other environmental factors. Way back when, the tobacco industry did the exact same thing to us that the vaccine industry (and trust me, vaccines are an incredibly lucrative business) is doing. Stonewalling, gaslighting. The same "if vaccines caused Autism, then every child who was vaccinated would be autistic" echoes the tobacco industry's favorite argument, "If smoking caused lung cancer, then every smoker would have lung cancer." What did we later learn? Genetics plays a factor, definitely. Some people who smoke are more genetically predisposed to lung cancer. Some people can smoke 8 packs a day and never get lung cancer. So that argument doesn't float. There are also people genetically predisposed to lung cancer who never smoke and get it anyway. Does that mean tobacco doesn't cause lung cancer? No, no it doesn't. 

The pro-vaccine group will also tell you that the increase in autism diagnoses is due to better testing and broader diagnostic criteria. I will grant probably 50% of the increase is due to better diagnosing, but that leaves 50% as a big old question mark. 

Let's look at Tylenol (acetominophen). How many of you were advised by your pediatricians to administer Tylenol either prior to or immediately after vaccines? Tylenol was not widely used in young infants for this purpose until the early 70s. Now go look at the chart. 1 in 5000 in 1975 to 1 in 2500 in 1985. In that decade, autism was still very rare and not widely understood, the diagnostic criteria was very narrow and specific. There definitely wasn't as wide a diagnosis for Asperger's Syndrome at that time. So why the increase in 10 years? In 2008, a University of California (San Diego) study analyzed data collected through an online survey of 83 children with autism and 80 control children from July 2005 to January 2006. The doctors found an association between the use of acetominophen and the occurrence of autism. Specifically, use of acetominophen after MMR vaccination resulted in a 6.11 fold higher instance of autism in children 5 years or younger, 3.97 fold higher risk in older children with regression in development, and an 8.23 fold higher risk in children who suffered other problems after vaccination (high fever, seizures, etc.). However, ibuprofen used with MMR shots showed no associated incidences of autism. Is this a definitive study? Absolutely not, but it's a place to start. It's a path that isn't spending millions of dollars shaming vaccine questioners. This type of research is what we need. Not negative research picking apart an already clean carcass, but positive research asking, "But what about this?" (full report HERE)

Another jump in diagnoses occurred after Desert Storm and now with the Iraq and Afghan wars. The veterans of those conflicts saw occurrences of 1 in 88 in 2007, while the rest of the country was 1 in 150. 2007, those were the kids of Desert Storm veterans. With the vets of Iraq and Afghan coming home and starting families, it will be interesting (in a sad terrifying way) to see where the numbers are for them in a few years. I know the Cute Chicks' dad underwent a battery of shots and vaccines when he went in and was forward deployed out of Japan (USS Midway). Before they berthed in Africa, more shots. Before deploying to the Gulf of Oman, more shots to battle whatever Saddam was planning on launching. No tests were done on the aftereffects. No studies on the effects on off-spring. The numbers of autistic children born to military personnel grew to the point that in 2010 several military families sued the DOD for enrollment in ECHO (Extended Care Health Option) to be made easier and more comprehensive. (HERE)

So, for all of you dismissive, condescending, asshat pro-vaccers, maybe stop and think before you attack. Those of us struggling with Autism have fought our share of battles to get adequate healthcare, therapy, education, acceptance, and protection (both by and from law enforcement), we really don't need to fight you too. Maybe, instead of attacking us, you could start asking "What if? What if there's something more to it? What if there are factors other than vaccines at work and vaccines are the trigger? What if Big Pharma is pushing the same way the Tobacco Industry pushed? What if I'm creating more problems by stubbornly refusing to examine other possibilities? WHAT FUCKING IF?"

And for my fellow Autism families, hang in there, keep fighting, keep loving your special angels, keep supporting each other, keep on being awesome!


riverrider said...

my army buddy's wife had several late term miscarriages after he returned from desert storm. the incidence of neuro problems of all types skyrocketed in vets of ds. my buddy now has some strange neuro desease himself, suffering excruciating spinal pain as the temperature goes up. can't do anything he enjoys anymore. they gave up trying to have kids which was a real shame. they would have made great parents. the civilian gyno said he's never seen anything like it and concluded it must be related to all the vacs they gave them. it was so bad that a whole air wing commissioned their own study and as a result refused en mass to take the shots. the vacs were later found to be ineffective and hazardous yet rumsfeld insisted on their continued usage. they even found that the sunscreen they were using turned into poison when mixed with the bug repelent they were issued. never trust a study and that goes double for kids. my thing is, okay mrs. x doesn't want her kid to get sick so she vaccinates her's. okay, now what does she have to bitch about if mrs. y doesn't? her kid is protected, so why is it any of her business if someone else isn't?

Brad said...

I'm sorry for all you and your children have had to endure. I also understand your skepticism toward big pharma and the cronyism between big pharma and the responsible govt agencies. You might also consider that the "dismissive, condescending, asshat pro-vaccers" may also have strong feelings about what they see as 'tragedy looking for a reason' that they think puts their own children at risk. Parents on both sides have children's interest at heart.

wirecutter said...

I never really was aware of autism until you came along and for sure I never heard of the theory about vaccinations having anything to do with it. Hey, I'm a military brat - I've filled 3 of those yellow shot records in my life.

And it wasn't really up until a couple years ago that I started paying attention to the pro/anti vaccination arguments. I never had any kids so it didn't affect me one way or t'other.
But I do tend to side with those who want a say in their children's health care by refusing vaccinations. Must be that Freedom thing we keep hearing so much about, huh?

My response to the couple of people that tried to get me involved in that argument was "If your kids are vaccinated, why do you care if theirs aren't? It's not like your kids are going to catch anything from them, right?"

hiswiserangel said...

It's not even so much a question of not vaccinating at all, but a question of is there a better way and/or time to vaccinate. Why does MMR have to be clumped together, can they be separated, accepted a la carte? Maybe, since most autistic cases arise around 20-24 months and the first MMR shot, it can be delayed until 4 or 5. There are more avenues to explore than do or do not.

Brad said...

Riverrider & wirecutter,
"If your kids are vaccinated, why do you care if theirs aren't?"
Because no vaccine is 100% effective. So the more children that are immunized, the lower the chance that vaccinated and unvaccinated children will become infected. Of course none of this addresses whether these health concerns reach the level of FORCING people to get vaccinations. That's different question and I think I am safe in saying that Angel's readers are unlikely to want that, whatever you believe about the efficacy and dangers of vaccinations.

Able said...

Firstly can I state I have no idea (cannot imagine even) how hard it is to have such a diagnosis for your children. Secondly I'm definitely no expert, and agree that more should be being done to find an actual cause.

Just some clarifications on areas I 'do' have some knowledge about.

I worked, as a nurse (trained there even) at The Royal Free when Andrew Wakefield ran his 'study' [there]. It was, and remains, some of the worst medical fraud perpetrated in decades (the reason he was 'struck off' the medical register here – something that occurs so rarely as to be notable, normally for that to occur here they have to have killed hundreds of patients, not exaggerating). He 'cherry-picked' suitable patients that fit his chosen theory, and even with doing that he had to massage and manipulate the data to such an extent he may as well have made it all up. Fact! (and it wasn't 'Big Pharma' or even 'Big Medicine' that caught him, it was the research nurses who saw, and reported, his fraud). It does raise the question (like warble gloaming) if it is so 'obvious' why can no definitive link be shown?

Also smoking and cancer (maybe not the best analogy). The 'real' research (ie. Not funded or produced as a whole cloth by the anti-smoking lobby) shows that rates of all cancers and life expectancy is effectively identical for smokers/non-smokers (eg. the recently published Dutch research showed 'No' link between diet/smoking and cancer/heart disease – 40000 people over >20 years). Anti-smoking has little to do with science and a great deal to do with PC/ideology and new-puritanism (plus it's a convenient template/practice-run to use on all the other things the progressives don't like you doing – salt/sugar/alcohol/guns).

On the other hand, maybe it 'is' a good analogy. It is 'known', unquestionable, that “smoking causes cancer” (and everything from alopecia to zits) … so nobody (dares, because they'll face ridicule and career destruction) performs research to find the real/alternative causes - look at mouth cancer, always 'known' to be caused by smoking (a particularly high incidence in pipe-smokers) until somebody bothered to check. And? They found that pipe-smokers were … er, more likely 'to give oral pleasure to their partners' (oral fixation? ahem!), and were thus more likely to be exposed/colonised with HPV which … causes mouth cancers. Duh!

I 'do' believe (having read a lot) that most incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders are (>90%) caused by a genetic propensity (it is beyond question a predominantly heritable condition). I do believe most of the rise we've seen is due to changes in diagnostic criteria (massively widening them), awareness and better diagnosis (look at the rates in laces such as NJ where they have experts, expertise and support systems as compared to almost identical areas without), but … where is the 'blanket' research (looking at all possible 'triggers')? Most, seems to follow 'it's the vaccine', 'it's the pesticide', 'it's Big Pharma' without bothering with … well, looking.

Me? I suspect that it has (like the concomitant rapid rise in most autoimmune diseases) something to do with the 'parasite free' immune response of the mother whilst the child is in vitro (adjustment for much poorer systems and diagnosis, as well as cultural differences) shows there are considerably lower rates in areas where parasitic infections remain the norm. But no-one yet really knows, which considering the numbers involved is simply unconscionable.

Able said...

(sorry I'm long-winded and verbose – I have a cream for it)

I do feel the MMR issue is a red-herring though, “correlation is not causation”. Diagnosis occurs due to developmental factors at that time, it may just be coincidental (no one knows and there certainly isn't any evidence) whether the vaccines taken roughly at about the same time have any effect. Remember ASD is 'caused' (as if even 'that' is definitively known) by developmental differences in the brain which will have already occurred 'long' before the vaccines were administered (see my comment about autoimmune responses by the mother).

The problem with the 'science' on this (and the other related topics raised) is that rather than “look at everything and find out what is causing it”, it's lots of “we know/believe what is causing it and we're going to look only for something that'll support my idea, and ignore all those inconvenient inconsistencies”. That isn't science! And we need to start pushing/insisting that irrespective of corporate/ideological/PC interests that 'all' the bases are covered on this.

Additionally, and I'm categorically NOT stating 'this is you' but many parents with such conditions blame themselves (entirely unwarranted, often unconsciously for something they did/might have done/not done are/are not). I have a friend who has two children, one with Downs, the other with Turners – both provably genetic disorders that are entirely random 'bad luck' with no other provable (or even hinted at) causation, and yet she searches for something, anything to explain her (the odds are one in a billion) childrens conditions. With ASD I suspect it may eventually turn out to be a common, everyday and entirely/apparently innocuous, not even considered 'something' that is the trigger – and definitely nothing that the parents did/did not do! (deny it if you wish but many parents 'do' feel an entirely unwarranted 'guilt', and probably will until a real cause is found).

Wraith said...

Love ya, Angel.

That's all.

hiswiserangel said...

Able, I went through the self-blame early on, and still occasionally cycle through it if I'm having a rough time. Did I have a glass of wine? Take the right vitamins? Take care of myself? Did I cuddle and love on and bond with the Cute Chicks enough? Too much? Did I breast feed long enough? Did I breast feed too long? Did I ingest something during breastfeeding that I shouldn't have? Did my emergency c-sections cause it (both were in fetal distress, TQ from preeclampsia and BQ from a ruptured uterus during labor)? Was it something else I did?

It's torment to see your child struggle every damn day and wonder if it's your fault.

hiswiserangel said...

Thank you, Wraith. *hugs*

Able said...


Yes, and that's entirely normal and whilst you'll intellectually 'know' that isn't so, it'll always be there (whilst there is no clue as to what is really causing it).

Just remember, this is a global occurrence. What do you think that 'you did/didn't do/did too much/not enough are/are not' (could possibly have) that women, not only, in London, Paris, Tokyo, but in Pyongyang, Timbuktu and 'that little village in a clearing in the middle of the Amazon rainforest' 'did' too?

That's partly why I doubt the 'vaccine' cause, vaccines vary widely around the world (we use different carriers and strains for MMR than you do and yet our rates rise almost identically) and in many areas they're 'rich only'.

It may turn out to be just random chance but I do 'fear' (like Polio) that it 'may' be eventually related to the 'better' westernised lifestyle (those who were better off when they contracted polio almost universally suffered considerably more deaths/disabilities than those of poor, or even uncaring, parents as a consequence of unknown side-effects of their 'better' care). Diet, exposure to something previously seen as innocuous, parasites, … the possibilities remain endless. But whatever it is it's 'common to the whole of human existence around the world' and not something mum, or dad, 'did'!

rickn8or said...

I feel for you Angel, I'm in a similar situation myself; my two oldest grandsons are Aspies. There may be an acetominophen / MMR correlation, but I can't see my older son and his wife (CRNA and RN) giving either child such a combination.

Younger son and his wife's two sons appear to be normal so far.

As another data point, I spent 22 years in the Navy, and got all the shots except for flu shots every year. The boys had all the shots when they were 1 and 3 before we went to live in Spain for three years. Pretty much all of the medical care they got was government-issued until they graduated from high school, then the University of Tennessee Track and Field coach took over.

pigpen51 said...

I struggled before answering this post, given my success at stirring up a hornets nest last time out, but hornets only hurt if you get stung by them, so here goes.

In my opinion, vaccines are probably responsible for enabling humans to live in society the way we do now. I don't think we could have cities with multi millions of people living in them, with out having wiped out many horrific diseases such as small pox, polio, etc.

However, as Brad pointed out, no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Also, if you look at the warning labels that come with the vaccines themselves, they can be enough to scare the feathers off a chicken. You have probably heard some types of warning on tv for some of the new wonder drugs. Like how this drug may have certain side effects, such as cancer, lung irritation, blood loss, confusion, stroke, heart attack, long term paralysis, and even death.

Given the fact that these drugs might cause long term side effects, up to and including death, and secondly, might not even work as expected, should we not therefore allow the parents to make the decision on whether or not to have their child immunized? After all, the government doesn't yet own our children, even though that is their goal, based on the fact that Hillary Clinton has stated that it takes a village to raise a child. I am sorry Grandma, but it takes a parent to raise a child not a village.

As Angel said, it come back to freedom. It is bad enough that the government tells us we have buy a product we may or may not wish to buy, that product being health insurance. Now they are telling us we must also subject our children to a foreign substance being put into their bodies that could possibly, probably not, but possibly, cause Autism, ADD, ADHD, as well as other diseases which we at this time may not even know about.

Just like my for guns, my line has metaphorically been drawn in the sand. If they come for my guns, they will not get them, period, as long as I am alive. End of discussion. Now, if I had children young enough to decide whether or not to vaccinate them, the decision would be made by myself and my wife, and only after careful consideration, not simply because we were told to do so. That line has been drawn in the sand for quite some time now as well, along with a few others, which relate to freedom and keeping the govt. out of my business.

On that note, I believe that it is time for another constitutional amendment. This one would guarantee individual citizens the right to privacy. It would go hand in hand with the 4 and 5 amendments, against incriminating ones self and against illegal searches and secures. I know how tough it is, but given the rate at which the govt. is encroaching on our freedom, if we don't act soon, it will be too late.

Anonymous said...

Angel, I've been pondering what to say since I read this post and the responses. Basically, you're one heck of a fabulous mama, and even though you were given a tough row to hoe with navigating through Autism with your daughters, anyone can see how much you love and cherish your daughters and how you'll do anything for them. You are an admirable and inspiring woman, keep up the good fight.


Anonymous said...

I also agree that some kids exhibiting Autism symptoms at the 2 year vaccine 'cocktail' is more than coincidence. My son is autistic (PDD) and Grandma noticed right away a change in his behavior. He had been verbal with short sentences ("I did that" and "There it goes!"). Then silence - mainly pointing. My wife and I were too close - Grandma sees him on a two week basis so it was much more apparent to her - we just thought it a phase. But we finally had him tested and the results were PDD.

Next week, he will be a Senior in high school. Wife and I are concerned with what he will do with his life - he communicates fairly slowly and his attention span (to me) makes me wonder if he is employable. He is easily distracted and I don't know many jobs that do not need concentration to accomplish. Our largest fear - what will happen to him once we have passed on ? There are agencies that will care for him, but will they do a good job taking care of him ? We have no say in the matter - both of us are in our low 50's.


Anonymous said...

go back to the original stats, 1975 to 2013, allow some for improved diagnosis, and there is still SOMETHING going on that deserves UNBIASED research....Wise Angel One, you deserve a medal, and our prayers.......

vaquero viejo

Phillip said...

I'm not sure if you'll see this, but I had something to add.

My son, born 2005, is high-functioning autistic, what they used to call Asperger's. He's had all his recommended shots, and his mother did all the recommended pre-natal care.

I was born in 1969. I was essentially the same way, although no one bothered to label it at the time. I remember so very many problems stemming from it, to the point I dropped out of public school in the 5th grade. I was always considered a little off, but once I was out of the school system it was just the way I was. I credit my family for their acceptance.

Here's the gotcha. I was never vaccinated, in fact I never saw a doctor after I was born until I was in my twenties. No shots. No pills. Not even really any home remedies. I grew up pretty healthy, except for being what I was.

My wife appreciates me because I eventually learned enough coping skills to get by, and I can relate with what is going on with our son. I can explain why that goulash that may taste wonderful won't get past his lips because of the color. I can explain why we can't eat at that restaurant because of the noise. I can explain... ad infinitum.

My personal theory on autism is that it's nature prepping us for a new step forward in our evolution, and that the human genome is searching for what will be advantageous for the next change. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to fit with what I've observed. Something I've noticed is that you don't realize how much autism is out there until you're dealing with it yourself.

So stop worrying about what you might possibly have done wrong. In my opinion and experience, you could have done everything differently and still ended up with the exact same challenges. Love what you have, and don't blame yourself.

General P. Malaise said...

looking at what is out there (information) it looks to me like the vaccines are a major problem.

if people haven't watched this they i suggest they do.

if vaccines are so good I would like to see them refute (with evidence) Suzanne Humphries arguments.

a question I have is regarding bill gates and his foundation. he is saying that we need to reduce the population of earth and all the while is funding vaccination studies to save the population. that is an awful square peg to hammer into a round hole.

rgranger said...

My child was vaccinated, I was vaccinated. I guess you would have to have suffered though Polio to truly appreciate it. I am grateful.

hiswiserangel said...

rgranger, you're one of the twatwaffles I was referring to. Yes, you're vaccinated, and your child is vaccinated and neither of you had to suffer the horrors of autism. And as much as I hate the way you treat those of us with questions demanding answers, I'm really glad. I wouldn't want to wish autism on my worst enemy. Your attitude is much the same as smokers who don't get cancer telling people suffering with cancer it's all in their heads. It's not helpful and it's extremely hurtful.
As for polio, I agree, the polio vaccine is extremely helpful. Polio was an awful scourge. But polio vaccines aren't what is being discussed. Most of the research and questions are around the MMR vaccine. Measles, mumps and Rubella (German measles) accounted for far fewer serious cases than there are autism cases. So it's a trade off. One child for another, whose child is more at risk? Whose child is more important?
Then there is the toxic cocktail barraging our children before their immune systems even have a chance to kick in. Kids get 27 vaccines before the age of 6, many of them in several doses. And it seems every year, something else is added. Chickenpox, vaccinate. HPV, don't tell them to not have sex, vaccinate. The state of Texas flirted with requiring teen girls to be vaccinated against HPV.
Does anyone remember Chicken pox parties? Measles and Mumps? One kid got it, get the rest of the kids in there and get it over with. You know what happened in the late 60s and early 70s? Women left the home to go to work. It became a serious financial hardship for a woman to miss work to stay home with sick kids. MMR and chickenpox vaccines are as much about convenience and economics as abortions are. Lost wages and lost production are solved by massive mandatory vaccinations. Maybe it's not all about saving a few thousand kids, but saving a few billion dollars.
Most anti-vaccers just want an exploration of better ways, better ideas, and better considerations of the children who ARE negatively impacted by vaccines. We'd like to be able to say, "Polio and diptheria and whooping cough now, MMR and chickenpox when they're older. Our choice, our schedule."
We want to be heard without being shamed and ridiculed by people such as yourself who say, "Hey, me and my son are just fine, what are you and your profoundly handicapped daughters bitching about?"

J Bogan said...

I don't really have a dog in this fight, my kid was vaccinated too. But I have friends with Autistic kids, and one of them told me he FELT his kid change in his arms after one round of the vacs...
Something is going on with our kids, and those of us that claim to be "patriots" should have enough intellectual curiosity to want answers. They may not be the answers we want, or expect, but I don't believe a fucking thing the .gov tells me...What are the chances for 2 autistic kids in one family? I want answers. I want some research done. AIDS is an acquired disease, and there is no end of the PC money for that. This is a much bigger deal. Innocent kids are damaged for a lifetime... What happens when Angel passes on? Ever stop to think about that while you are sitting oh so smugly on your soap box?

pigpen51 said...


I feel like I owe you some sort of an apology. I didn't realize that you were dealing with so much difficulty with kids who had Autism. I know that I said that everyone should have a choice, but I don't think I was as sensitive to how tough things are for you and for that I am truly sorry.

My wife and I adopted two girls, 12 or so years ago. The only thing we didn't want was to worry about what would happen to them when we died, and so we were looking for kids who were not severely handicapped. Several years later, our youngest was diagnosed with what was then called a mild form of Autism, perhaps Aspergers Syndrome. She is now 18 and will probably never live independently. We don't know if she got this from vaccinations or what as we got her after she had gotten most of her shots already,(she is almost 19).

I don't know whether or not we would have had her vaccinated if we had the choice, but I do believe we should have had that choice, and had all the facts, as are known by unbiased researchers, and not by the NIH and other government entities who have budgets to maintain based on how many kids they can push through the system.

Again, I understand just a little of how difficult things are sometimes for you, and so for you to find the time to maintain this blog, as well as your sanity and good humor, is remarkable, and shows that you are clearly a remarkable person, and your children are lucky to have you.

D Ace said...

I have a 6 year old autistic son and a 3 year old that seems to be just fine, except for the red hair and the temper. My wife had an epidural with the oldest and no pain meds for the second. Did you have an epidural with both children? The rise in autism seems to correlate with the use of epidurals but I can find no studies.

hiswiserangel said...

Both were emergency c-sections. No epidural with TQ, but I had one with BQ before my uterus ruptured and all hell broke lose.