Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I live in the New Orleans area where we take food VERY seriously. Analogizing everything to eating is a natural part of the local idiom, and that includes talking about “food for thought.” Here’s a couple of morsels for you to chew on.

First is a new story by Dan Olmsted, the UPI Consumer Health Editor. (You may be familiar with Mr. Olmsted’s much-talked-of series about the low incidence of autism in the Amish community.) He leaves the Amish behind in this new story, instead taking a look at one of the original autistic patients diagnosed by Dr. Leo Kanner in the late 1930’s. Mr. Olmstead also examines the belief that this patient’s autism improved after the administration of gold salts for arthritis. As is true of Mr. Olmsted’s Amish series, this story is not presented as a scientific study; it is merely food for thought.

By the way, I agree that autism undoubtedly existed before Dr. Kanner gave it a name. But isn’t it interesting that the incidence was so rare that it remained unreported and had no name before Dr. Kanner discussed it, (or, as Dr. Kanner described it in 1943, a condition "markedly and uniquely different from anything reported so far")? And isn’t it interesting that its emergence into something that now needed a name came shortly after the introduction of thimerosal into vaccines? Please note that the previous two sentences are phrased as questions. I do not claim that the timing proves anything; it is merely food for thought.

The second link I have for you comes from Dr. Margaret Cook, a British hematologist (or haematologist as they say there) who “retired” to become a critic of the U.K.’s health system. Dr. Cook’s contribution to this discussion is not a scientific study, but is simply an op-ed piece relating her perspective of the possible link between vaccines and the development of autism spectrum disorders. The editorial breaks no new ground, but I think it is well-written, and it is noteworthy for raising an issue that does not get enough attention. Simply stated, is there a combined impact from different kinds of vaccines? Do thimerosal-containing vaccines impair a susceptible child’s immune system to the point that live-virus vaccines (like the MMR) push the child over the edge into autism? Again, I have no answer to those questions; I am merely providing food for thought.

I must point out that I am not opposed to vaccinating children. I thank God for giving us the wisdom to find a way of fighting dreadful illness. I thank God my children will not run the risk of contracting polio or measles. Unfortunately, the wisdom with which we were endued did not adequately prepare us for the exercise of restraint in developing a safe vaccination program.

We (meaning society) vaccinate our children for everything, without regard for weighing the nature of the threat posed by any particular disease against the risk from the vaccine itself. We vaccinate our children before their brains are fully developed – before there is even a blood-brain barrier. (Can someone please tell me why it was necessary to give my son the first of three Hep-B shots when he was just a few hours old? I would have gladly monitored his behavior to ensure he did not engage in unprotected sex or intravenous drug use for the first six months of his life.)

Worst of all, we placed a neurotoxic additive into many of the vaccines, just for the sake of a little economy. And we did it all without taking a little time to study the potential for harm in our actions. Shame on “us.”

Of course, that’s just my opinion: just a little food for thought.

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P.S. If anyone is interested in reading another view on how we should rethink our vaccination program, I recommend reading Dr. Jay Gordon’s thoughts on the subject. I don’t disagree with some things he has to say, but I find Dr. Gordon’s writing to be mentally nutritious food for thought.


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