Tag: Andrew Wakefield

About Those Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link

Have you heard about the ever growing list of research papers that ‘support’ a link between vaccines and autism?

Over 1,000 studies support the fact that vaccines do not cause autism.
Over 1,000 studies support the fact that vaccines do not cause autism!

They don’t.

Are you surprised?

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that vaccines do not cause autism.

Research Papers ‘Supporting’ the Vaccine/Autism Link

The list of research papers that supposedly support a link between vaccines and autism has now grown to 131.

That is a lot of research.

“Even though anti-vaccers claim to have lengthy lists of papers supporting their position, most of those papers are irrelevant, used weak designs, and had small sample sizes.”

The Logic of Science

So what’s wrong with the list?

Why doesn’t it really support a link between vaccines and autism?

As pointed out in this review, “Vaccines and autism: A thorough review of the evidence,” the papers on the list include:

  • papers that aren’t about vaccines!
  • papers that aren’t about autism!
  • papers that are about research done on cells or tissues in a petri dish (in vitro trials)
  • animal trials (how do you show that an animal has autism?)
  • papers about elemental mercury or methyl-mercury, even though thimerosal, which was removed from almost all vaccines in 1999, is ethyl-mercury
  • conference abstracts (these haven’t made it into a medical journal yet)
  • case reports (basically a story about a patient)
  • opinion papers
  • non-research papers
  • reviews that “are deceptively only showing the papers that support their position while ignoring all of the papers that refute it”
  • a few that were retracted!

What’s wrong with animal trials and in vitro studies? They are simply among the weakest type of study you can do. The evidence is considered to be much stronger if you can a meta-analysis or systemic review or a randomized control trial.

So they are left with about a dozen studies that are about vaccines and autism, including:

  • SeneffEmpirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure – misuses the VAERS database, so the reports of autism are unconfirmed
  • DeisherImpact of environmental factors on the prevalence of autistic disorder after 1979 – has a ton of problems with the way it analyzed its data
  • NevisonA comparison of temporal trends in United States autism prevalence to trends in suspected environmental factors – tries to correlate autism rates with a list of environmental factors, from maternal obesity, pollution, and glyphosate on foods to aluminum adjuvants in vaccines
  • Tomlejenovic and ShawDo aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? – “yet another association study. It cannot demonstrate causation,” with tons of other problems
  • Gallagher and GoodmanHepatitis B triple series vaccine and developmental disability in US children aged 1–9 years – a small study that used parental surveys, and although the study found higher levels of early intervention or special education services in vaccinated boys than in unvaccinated boys, it found significantly lower levels of early intervention or special education services in vaccinated girls than in unvaccinated girls?!?
  • Gallagher and GoodmanHepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997–2002 – used a “weak experimental design with a tiny sample size,” just 33 autistic kids
  • Singh – Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain autoantibodies in autism – a poorly done paper with so many problems that it has been labeled “fraudulent” and which found “no significant difference in viral levels in the autistic and non-autistic group (which is the opposite of what you would expect if exposure to the virus caused autism)”
  • Singh – Abnormal Measles-Mumps-Rubella Antibodies and CNS Autoimmunity in Children with Autism – discredited by several papers which found No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells From Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Kawashti – Possible immunological disorders in autism: concomitant autoimmunity and immune tolerance – while trying to link autism to the formation of autoantibodies to casein and gluten antibodies and the immune response to the MMR vaccine, they state that “at this stage, we can conclude that M.M.R. vaccine may not be a cause of autism”
  • MumperCan Awareness of Medical Pathophysiology in Autism Lead to Primary Care Autism Prevention Strategies? – a poorly done “retrospective study with no control group” with a very small sample size
  • KawashimaDetection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism – a study that was done with Andy Wakefield
  • DeisherEpidemiologic and molecular relationship between vaccine manufacture and autism spectrum disorder prevalence – the study talks about residual human fetal DNA fragments in vaccines and that somehow “fetal DNA in these vaccines can recombine with infant DNA to cause autism.” It can’t.

What about any new studies they say supports a link between vaccines and autism?

Are they about vaccines?

Are they about autism?

What kind of study was it?

What journal was it published in? A predatory, pay-to-publish journal with a low impact value or a real, peer-reviewed, medical journal like PLos One, Lancet, JAMA, or Pediatrics?

Although 6 or 7 studies were recently added to their list, most get excluded right off the bat using the above criteria (not about vaccines or autism, animal studies, in vitro studies, etc.). The one that gets included (and has already been retracted)?

  • MawsonPilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children – published at Open Access Text (is that really a journal?) after it was retracted at another journal last year, this survey of homeschoolers is being billed as the “First Peer-Reviewed Study of Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated Children,” which is strange, as this study was done in 2011!

What were you expecting?

Do you really think that you will first read about a real study proving a link between vaccines and autism will be found on an anti-vaccine website or list?

What To Know About Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link

There is still no research supporting a link between vaccines and autism.

More About Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link

Updated on May 21, 2017

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Obstetric Tetanus Is Still a Thing in the United States

Yes, even though we have had a tetanus vaccine for over 80 years, obstetric tetanus is still a thing in the United States.

Obstetric Tetanus in Kentucky

According to a report from the CDC, in July 2016, an unvaccinated Amish woman in Kentucky developed “facial numbness and neck pain, which progressed over 24 hours to stiff neck and jaw and difficulty swallowing and breathing” about nine days after “she delivered a child at home, assisted by an unlicensed community childbirth assistant.”

She  was hospitalized for a month, during which time she had seizures and was on a mechanical ventilator to help her breath for a “prolonged” amount of time.

Fortunately, her baby didn’t also develop tetanus, even though the family refused a recommended dose of tetanus immunoglobulin that could prevent neonatal tetanus from developing.

Surprisingly, after this incident, only 12% of community members agreed to be vaccinated with a tetanus vaccine. One pregnant woman even refused to get vaccinated. This is even less than the response to the Ohio measles outbreak in 2014, when up to 28% of unvaccinated Amish members got vaccinated with an MMR vaccine.

Neonatal Tetanus

An 8-day old baby with neonatal tetanus born to an unvaccinated mother.
An 8-day old baby with neonatal tetanus born to an unvaccinated mother. (CC BY 3.0)

In addition to obstetric tetanus, getting tetanus during or right after a pregnancy, neonatal tetanus is a big concern for unvaccinated mothers. Just like if their mothers don’t get a flu or pertussis containing vaccine, without a tetanus vaccine, newborn babies don’t get any passive immunity and protection against tetanus.

In 2015, 34,019 newborns died from neonatal tetanus worldwide. Amazingly, that is down from 787,000 newborns in 1988 “through immunization of children, mothers, other women of reproductive age (WRA) and promotion of more hygienic deliveries and cord care practices.”

It is not all about hygiene though. Tetanus spores are everywhere. For example, in the Kentucky case, the CDC found no evidence of “birth trauma, unsterile conditions, or other complications.”

In Montana, the baby of an unvaccinated mother developed tetanus that was linked to a non-sterile clay that was given to them by a midwife for home umbilical cord care.

Fortunately, these kinds of cases are rare. There have probably been less than 40 cases of neonatal tetanus since the early 1970s, and only two since 1989, but they should still be a reminder of what could happen if we stop getting vaccinated.

Risky Umbilical Cord Practices

Adding to the risk of getting tetanus, the same moms who aren’t getting vaccinated and protected may be following unsafe umbilical cord care practices.

“…tetanus in neonates can result from umbilical cord colonization, particularly in countries with limited resources. This infection results from contamination of the umbilical separation site by Clostridium tetani acquired from a nonsterile device used to separate the umbilical cord during the peripartum period or from application of unhygienic substances to the cord stump.”

AAP – Umbilical Cord Care in the Newborn Infant – 2016

In countries that are still combating neonatal tetanus, we hear of mothers in rural areas  putting herbs, herbal pastes, chalk, powders, clay, oils, and even butter on their baby’s umbilical cord.

These natural substances are certainly not safer than more standard care, as they can be contaminated with something else that is natural – tetanus spores.

What natural things, and risky, things can you see recommended for umbilical cord care in developed countries? How about honey, goldenseal powder, Frankincense and myrrh oil, and Aztec Healing Clay?

You don’t feed honey to infants because of the risk of botulism spores, but you are supposed to put it directly on their umbilical stump?

Some midwifes even recommend ground rosemary or other dried herbs that you are actually supposed to sprinkle directly on your baby’s umbilical stump. The use of dried herbs is especially problematic. It is well known that these products are not sterile.

“Spore forming bacteria (B. cereus, C. perfringens) that are capable of causing foodborne disease when ingested in large numbers are frequently found in spices and herbs, but usually at low levels.”

Food Microbiology. Volume 26, Issue 1, February 2009, Pages 39–43

If dried herbs are also contaminated with tetanus spores (C. tetani), and you place them on an umbilical cord stump of a child whose mother wasn’t vaccinated against tetanus, then you unnecessarily increase the risk for neonatal tetanus.

Not that you would ever hear about this risk from anyone who pushes these practices or tells these moms to avoid getting vaccinated. What happened to informed consent?

And what happens as Andrew Wakefield‘s kids continue to grow up, move beyond getting measles, and begin to have kids? If they still aren’t vaccinated, they and their babies will be at risk for diseases that we thought we had gotten well controlled, like obstetric tetanus, neonatal tetanus, and congenital rubella syndrome.

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Autism and Vaccines

Vaccines don’t cause autism.

Continuing to push the idea that they do is harmful to autistics.

More Information on Autism and Vaccines: