Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vaccination Disaster.

I typically try to focus on cardiovascular issues in my posts, but when I come across something that I think is worth sharing, well...I'm going to share it. This post is much longer than usual but PLEASE read it all! Far be it from me to try and argue against a celebrity such as Jenny McCarthy, but it's time to get out the real facts about immunization and the LACK of a link between them and autism.

Let's start at the beginning, when a British physician and researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield acted completely unethically putting many children through colonoscopies, MRI's, lumbar punctures (spinal tap) and even paying them to get their blood drawn, without passing any of this through an institutional review board first. (Yes, this is all REAL). Then, this guy (sorry, I can't even call him a disturbs me) publishes an article in Lancet, a very highly acclaimed medical journal, that the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine (MMR) caused gastrointestinal problems and that those GI problems led to autism. more here. PS..his study had like 12 children in it..TWELVE. I really bet 12 children are representative of the entire world....

Here's the best part. Wakefield altered the facts about the patients in the study, and even "picked" the patients that would make it seem as though his study was valid. The study said that 12 children were "normal" before they had the MMR when, after a thorough review of the publication, that number was only really 5. Oh! And 5 of the children's parents were recruited by a law firm that were preparing a law suit against the MMR manufacturers. So, what happened?

In January 2010, the British General Medical Council found three dozen charges proved, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts involving the abuse of developmentally challenged children. The panel ruled that Wakefield had acted both against the interests of his patients, and "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in his published research. The Lancet then immediately and fully retracted the publication on the basis of the GMC’s findings, noting that elements of the manuscript had been falsified. 10 of the 12 co-authors also retracted their support of the article. Wakefield had his medical license revoked in May 2010, with a statement identifying dishonest falsification in the Lancet research, and is barred from practicing medicine in the UK. Luckily for us, Wakefield now lives in Texas. Great.

Here's the worst part. Now, because of this man's blatant lack of empathy and ethic, some children did not get vaccinated (because he scared the crap out of parents) and some children have actually gotten sick and died of measles. And, you have celebrities like Jenny McCarthy jumping on a band wagon without even having the facts...or should I say ALL of the facts.. just because she thought her son may have had autism, so the MMR "must have been why.."..right? WRONG. 

I had a young boy in an urgent care center in Miami with chicken pox, with bleeding scratches from the severe itchiness, accompanied by his mom. His mother had decided not to vaccinate him as a child, because "it causes autism" (It was all I could do to keep my mouth closed). Now, as a single mom, she had to take off work, so she could sit with him at home, while he tried to rip his skin off in-between the oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. I bet that little boy wished that he had been vaccinated. Poor kid was miserable.

So, my point through all of this is the following: Only you can make the best medical decisions about yourself and your family. PLEASE do your research and speak with your doctors thoroughly before making any decisions that could be harmful. We should all be a little weary of celebrities making claims, running around waving their arms in the air, assuming that they know what is best for you..or me. It is easy to give into the hype, but is it what is best for you? Likely no.

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