Tag: correlation

Who is Stephanie Seneff?

Stephanie Seneff is the MIT doctor who claims that autism will “afflict 50% of American children by 2025.”

That’s right. In just eight more years, she claims, half of the kids in the United States will be autistic.

Is this about vaccines?

Indirectly.

“Is there a toxic substance that is currently in our environment on the rise in step with increasing rates of Autism that could explain this?… The answer is yes, I’m quite sure that I’m right, and the answer is glyphosate.”

Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, with a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, believes that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is causing kids to become autistic.

How does she know?

Seneff has graphs that show a “Near exact match of tons of glyphosate applied to corn/soy versus number of children with autism as served under IDEA.”

Her critics, of which there are many, are quick to point that these types of correlations do not mean much without other evidence to help prove causation. They have graphs too, including one that correlates organic food sales with rates of autism.

Correlation does not imply causation.
Correlation does not imply causation.

She also published a widely discredited study claiming that glyphosate can be found in breastmilk.

“You wake up someday with something like Crohn’s disease, or Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis. All these things you don’t want that you’re going to get if  you keep on chronically exposing yourself to glyphosate.”

Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D.

But it isn’t just autism.

Seneff also claims that glyphosate exposure causes arthritis, concussions, Celiac disease, food allergies, Parkinsons, and Alzheimers.

What else?

“I believe that glyphosate may be a contributor to all the – this epidemic that we have in school shootings and the thing that just happened in Boston (the Boston Bombing).”

Jeffrey Smith interview with Stephanie Seneff

Yes. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, the Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, thinks that school shootings and terrorism attacks are caused by the herbicide Roundup.

Stephanie Seneff has found a new way to blame vaccines for making kids autistic - she claims that they are contaminated with glyphosate.
Stephanie Seneff has found a new way to blame vaccines for making kids autistic – she claims that they are contaminated with glyphosate.

What’s the connection with vaccines? Another researcher claims to have found glyphosate in vaccines

The other connection to vaccines? Dr. Seneff is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute.

“First of all, I want to remind you that I am not an M.D. My doctorate from MIT is in electrical engineering. However, my PhD thesis concerned an auditory model for human speech processing, and thus required extensive reading on neural mechanisms in the brain. My Bachelor’s degree from MIT is in biology, with a minor in food and nutrition.”

Stephanie Seneff on Is ADHD Caused by Insufficient Dietary Fat?

Dr. Stephanie Seneff has also put her degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to work in coming up with theories that ADHD is caused by eating too many low fat foods, that autism is caused by a cholesterol/vitamin D deficiency syndrome because mothers eat too many low fat foods and use too much sunscreen (read her 2008 essay Sunscreen and Low-fat Diet: A Recipe for Disaster), sulfur deficiency causes obesity, and that a low fat diet and statin drugs (for high cholesterol) can cause Alzheimer’s.

Why have you never heard about sulfur deficiency before?

Because it doesn’t happen.

“In living organisms, sulfur is found mainly in organic molecules. Humans obtain it by absorbing the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine, cysteine, and cystine. Thus it is automatically obtained by consuming adequate amounts of protein foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and legumes) and requires no separate consideration. ”

Kerry L. Lang, MS, RD for QuackWatch

Mother cows also don’t load “up the milk she feeds to her newborn calf with fats and vitamin D” as she claims. Well maybe fats, but like breast milk, cow milk is low in vitamin D. That’s why cow milk is fortified with vitamin D and another reason why drinking raw milk isn’t a good idea.

It should also be obvious that it isn’t a good idea to listen to anything that Stephanie Seneff has to say.

What To Know About Stephanie Seneff

Stephanie Seneff is a computer scientist from MIT who thinks that exposure to glyphosphate is causing everything from autism and Alzheimer’s to peanut allergies and Celiac disease. Interestingly, she had another theory that all of these things were caused by low fat diets and vitamin D deficiency before she got obsessed with glyphosate.

More About Stephanie Seneff

Vaccines and SIDS

Rates of most causes of sudden infant death, including SIDS, have dropped since the mid-1990s.
Rates of most causes of sudden infant death, including SIDS, have dropped since the mid-1990s.

Long before Andy Wakefield scared parents with the idea that vaccines could be linked to autism, we had the myth that vaccines caused SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

SIDS

SIDS is the “cause assigned to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a thorough case investigation, including a scene investigation, autopsy, and review of the clinical history.”

Like other types of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), including sleep related deaths, the incidence of SIDS decreased dramatically in the mid-1990s after the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced their safe sleep recommendations.

These recommendations have evolved over the years, which is now called Safe to Sleep, and now include advice about room sharing instead of bedsharing, the protective role of breastfeeding and getting immunized, avoiding overheating, using pacifiers, and getting regular prenatal care, etc.

Vaccines and SIDS

The fact that getting immunized is thought to have a protective role against SIDS should help folks understand that vaccines do not cause SIDS.

“There is no evidence that there is a causal relationship between immunizations and SIDS. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that vaccination may have a protective effect against SIDS.”

AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

It is very easy to see why some would think they could be linked though. The highest risk of SIDS coincides with the ages of the two and four month well child checks, when infants are vaccinated. But as many of us understand, correlation does not imply causation. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other.

It also didn’t help that in 1999, ABC’s 20/20 did a misleading episode, “Who’s Calling the Shots?,” which claimed that the hepatitis B vaccine could cause SIDS.

But it is easy to see that they were wrong.

For one thing, even as we are giving infants more vaccines and protecting them from more diseases, fewer infants are dying of SIDS. How can that be if vaccines are linked to SIDS?

And why is the infant mortality rate in the United States continuing to go down, recently reaching a record low?

Also, many studies, such as this one, “Probability of Coincident Vaccination in the 24 or 48 Hours Preceding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Death in Australia,” showed that coincident vaccination and SIDS can be expected to occur by chance alone. In fact, for the infants in this study, they showed that “if a child experienced an illness at the age of 8 weeks, then there is a 7% chance (or probability of 0.07) that the child would have been vaccinated in the preceding 24 hours.”

“…when a number of well-controlled studies were conducted during the 1980s, the investigators found, nearly unanimously, that the number of SIDS deaths temporally associated with DTP vaccination was within the range expected to occur by chance. In other words, the SIDS deaths would have occurred even if no vaccinations had been given.”

WHO Six Common Misconceptions About Immunization

And other studies actually showed that getting vaccinated reduced an infant’s risk of dying of SIDS.

What To Know About Vaccines and SIDS

Vaccines do not cause SIDS.

In fact, getting vaccinated is now thought to have a protective effect against SIDS!

For More Information on Vaccines and SIDS

Vaccines and Seizures

A newborn baby getting an EEG.
A newborn baby getting an EEG.

Can vaccines cause seizures?

Unfortunately, they sometimes can.

Vaccines and Febrile Seizures

The CDC reports that “There is a small increased risk for febrile seizures after MMR and MMRV vaccines.”

We also know that:

  • there is a small increased risk for febrile seizures when the influenza vaccine is given at the same time as either the Prevnar13 vaccine or the DTaP vaccine, although “the risk of febrile seizure with any combination of these vaccines is small and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) does not recommend getting any of these vaccines on separate days.”
  • there is a small increased risk for febrile seizures if the combined MMR and chicken pox vaccine (ProQuad) is given to infants between the ages of 12 to 23 months vs their getting the shots separately.

But remember that febrile seizures, while scary for parents and other caregivers, are rarely dangerous.

It is also important to note that while febrile seizures are common, they are not commonly triggered by vaccines. A 2016 report in Pediatrics, “Vaccines and Febrile Seizures: Quantifying the Risk,” states that “The risk is 1 febrile seizure per pediatric practice every 5 to 10 years.”

Not surprisingly though, vaccines can likely prevent many febrile seizures, as chicken pox, flu, Hib, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal infections and other vaccine-preventable diseases often cause fever and can trigger febrile seizures themselves.

Also, a study recently found that children who got sick with pertussis could be at increased risk for developing epilepsy, or recurrent seizures. That’s just another good reason to get vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines and Other Types of Seizures

While vaccines can sometimes trigger febrile seizures, they do not typically cause other types of seizures.

It was once thought that seizures were a common side effect of the DPT vaccine, but many studies have found that to not be true and seizures following DPT was even removed as a table injury from the NVICP. In fact, many of these children were instead found to have Dravet syndrome, which put them at increased risk for febrile seizures.

Long-term non-febrile seizures are still listed as side effects for the DTaP and MMR vaccine, but they “are so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine.”

A 2010 study in Pediatrics, “Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood,” did not find any “increased risk for seizures after
DTaP vaccination among children who were aged 6 weeks to 23 months.”

Do report any reaction to VAERS if you think it was caused by a vaccine though.

Seizures After Getting Vaccines

If vaccines don’t usually cause seizures, then how do you explain a healthy infant developing seizures a few days, weeks, or months after getting his vaccines?

We’re always looking for reasons why something happened. The example I use is from my wife, who is a pediatrician. She was about to vaccinate a four-month-old baby, and while she was drawing the vaccine from the syringe, the baby had a seizure — and went onto have a permanent seizure disorder. Now, my wife hadn’t given the vaccine yet. But if she had given that vaccine five minutes earlier, there would have been no amount of statistical data in the world that would have convinced that mother that the vaccine hadn’t caused the baby’s seizure. You can do studies that show no increased risk with vaccines and seizure disorders, but that mother might still say “well, that’s true for the population but it’s not true for my child.”

Temporal associations are powerful, and they’re hard to defeat with statistics or studies.

Paul Offit, MD interview for The Thinking Persons Guide to Autism

There are many seizure disorders that begin in infancy.

Some even start in the newborn period, before a baby is a month old.

They are not triggered by vaccines though.

They include:

  • Infantile Spasms (first described in 1841) – typically begin when infants are about 4 months old, just when they get their second set of vaccines, which weren’t available when Dr. West described his own son’s repeated spasms
  • Benign Familial Neonatal Seizures – often genetic, seizures may begin on a baby’s third day of life
  • Benign Neonatal Convulsions – begin on the fifth day of life – the “fifth day fits,” and the seizures stop in about a month

If your child got her first hepatitis B vaccine when she was five days old and began having seizures, would you accept a diagnosis of Benign Neonatal Convulsions or would you blame the shot?

Would you remember the saying about correlation and causation?

For More Information on Vaccines and Seizures: