Why I'm pro-vax

By Phil Plait | October 8, 2009 8:00 am

Regular readers know that Dr. Joe Albietz sits in very rare company — among people I call heroes. He is smart, wise, funny, a great doctor, and he cares passionately about not just saving lives, but saving those of little kids: he’s a pediatrician who works at a pediatric intensive care unit in Denver.

I don’t use arguments from authority, but Joe walks the walk. He has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with children and their illnesses. And that’s why when he talks about why vaccines are so important, everyone should listen.

If you think vaccines are an evil conspiracy, are designed to make us sick, are filled with toxins, are a bad thing, then spend 6 minutes and 53 seconds educating yourself.

Because you’re wrong.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Science

Comments (60)

  1. Patrick

    Man, he looks as young as Doogie Howser

  2. Gary Ansorge

    If it was up to me, I’d sit Jenny and her supporters down in a locked room and inundate them 24/7 with pictures of children dying around the globe from these preventable diseases and the data that shows how many COULD have been saved if Jenny had only kept her big mouth shut.

    Unfortunately, that would be a violation of her civil rights. I wonder why her rights are more important than the rights of the children who are dead because of her incompetent brain. Oh, wait, it’s ok, since most of those dead children are black, yellow or brown,,,

    Gary 7

  3. Gary,

    The way many people currently look at rights, they are more about appearances than reality. Rights are only respected among those, who scream loudest – and Jenny probably has that part mastered.

    This is a great video.

    Other EMS people wonder why I blog so much about vaccines. I might save a lot of lives on the job, but the number of lives that I might save by persuading people to vaccinate their children is much larger. Children are also the people most likely to have long healthy lives because of vaccination.

    Vaccinating a child does not just help to protect that child, but helps to protect all of those around that child – including the children of Jenny’s insanity squad.

  4. Dr. Albietz is great. We need more voices out there combating the anti-vax nonsense. I just got an e-mail recently thanking me for my site after the sender saw posters and fliers around his town filled with misinformation and lies about the H1N1 vaccine. I recommended he take a look at one of Dr. Albietz’s articles at Science-Based Medicine (“An Influenza Primer”).

    So, if anyone reading this has doubts about flu vaccine, definitely give his article a read, not to mention the others by the other docs at SBM.

  5. Joe J.

    I applaud people like Dr. Albietz who through speeches like this are truly doing something to combat suffering and make the world a better place. This anti-vax nonsense is deadly and impacts our society and species as a whole. To scoff at something that has saved hundreds upon hundreds of millions of lives (most-likely more) is beyond my ability to comprehend. What next? Antibiotics? I nearly died from a severe reaction to the DPT booster when I was a baby, yet my parents continued to have my immunized. I still to this day keep up with my immunizations.

  6. This will make the news at Facts, Not Fantasy as well. :)

    http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html

    Yes, I know, Todd W. has added a lot of great stuff that I need to update. Please allow me time to unpack my belongings first. :)

  7. I don’t need to see it. I am old enough to remember seeing kids a few years older than I who were crippled in the last polio outbreak before the Salk and Sabin vaccines.

    I remember when the grade schools had large sick-outs from measles, mumps, chicken pox and the German measles, and when those were labeled as “the childhood diseases” because it was assumed that every child would get them at one time or another.

    If the anti-vaccine clowns gain prominence, I am going to invest in iron lung futures.

  8. stephen

    I really don’t understand all the anti-vax fuss. people automatically become highly potent of fantasizing about things “that might happen” without even validating factors which made them all freak out.
    It’s much easier to “attach” to certain negative emotion and “lose oneself” in mass hypnosis than it is to read few lines from history and medicine books and try to eludicate something for yourself. We are rational beings, aren’t we?
    or to go and visit your local doctor or a nurse and ask them if vaccines are really deadly.

  9. Bill

    @stephen

    Ironically, the anti-vax crowd vaccinates itself against the advice of the medical mainstream by lumping anyone who supports vaccination into their ‘Big Pharma’ conspiracy. They therefore become immune to rationality by blindly ignoring, dismissing and marginalizing most of medical science.

  10. John

    pro-vax, anti-vax, two different kinds of absolute thinking.

    Two different kinds of ignorance.

  11. Quantum Mechanic

    Pro-earth orbits sun, anti-earth orbits sun, two different kinds of absolute thinking.

    Two different kinds of ignorance.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  12. G

    Another argument I’ve heard against vaccines–though in animals, not people–is that requiring vaccines is some kind of state + vet conspiracy to line their pockets. Such bizarre concepts people concoct.

  13. Cesar in LA

    I don’t know much about the issue but if you are not taking care of an autistic child in your own home than your opinion weighs less in my book. It is easy to judge others from the comfort of your happy place of non participation. But if you had a child who was fine and after they had a certain vaccine they developed certain symptoms then you can have an opinion that matters.

    The real question is why don’t the pharmaceutical companies improve the vaccine and continue helping children fight disease AND also not give them Autism???

    The same reason the Catholic Church for decades denied having Sexual Molesters among their priests, that is they would rather sacrifice their lambs than loose face/loose class action suits.

    So folks please tell me I am wrong but only if you have a child at home that you are taking care of and have personal experience on the matter.

    Best,

    Cesar

  14. How is it ignorant to say “the chance of me or my child dying from X disease is higher than the chance of an adverse reaction, therefore I’ll vaccinate.”

    Yellow Fever is probably the most dangerous vaccine out there, you have to sign a consent form to get it. When I was going to Sierra Leone for a month, I still signed on the line.

  15. Cesar (#15): why should having an autistic child make any difference at all on whether I can look at the scientific evidence showing vaccines have nothing to do with autism? I have written on this very topic in the past, more than once. My heart goes out to parents with autistic children; as a parent myself I can only imagine what parents with autistic children go through.

    But it has nothing at all to do with the actual evidence. And that evidence is completely conclusive: vaccines don’t cause autism.

  16. mariana

    John…you sound like a troll. Provax is based on evidence, not ignorance.

  17. Ric

    “But it has nothing at all to do with the actual evidence. And that evidence is completely conclusive: vaccines don’t cause autism.”

    It always amazes me that skeptics and “scientists” make such broad statements based on bias and their own belief systems. The real facts are these: The evidence is NOT completely conclusive. The studies ARE biased on both sides. There is a WHOLE lot of money involved and there for “conspiricies” will undoubtedly occur. There are GOOD immunizations and there are QUESTIONABLE immunizations and there are BAD immunizations and there are specific circumstances where questionable vax are worth the risk and other times when they are not. And anyone who thinks otherwise, PRO-ALL VAX and ANTI-ALL VAX, is a “troll” as mariana puts it. By the Way, mindless belief in current popular science does not make you a modern thinker, no more so than does mindless disbelief in it. It does, however, remove the stress of individual decision making, which most of us are avoiding at all cost.

  18. Ric

    Quantum Mechanics – your straw man argument of earth-sun orbits equating pro/anti vax is dismally insulting. Ridiculous black and white statements only evoke emotional side taking and do not disprove the gray areas of the original argument.

  19. Cesar (#15): Oddly, the vaccine companies are actually improving vaccines and production methodology constantly. Only last year Novartis applied for a patent for an improved method of splitting viruses (most flu vaccines are split-virus vaccines) that improves safety and manufacturing consistency. Granted, people who don’t know how to read patents like Mike “Health Deranger” Adams think this is actually evidence that the H1N1 flu was manufactured by Big Pharma to make money…

    The medical world is constantly working to improve safety and effectiveness in every element of treatment of prevention. To claim they are willfully giving children autism (without supporting evidence) is to impugn an entire profession; a profession full of caring people who want to heal.

  20. ungruntled

    Cesar: Your heartbreaking and as-yet-inexplicable personal situation has unfortunately given rise to a self-blinding ignorance that if left unchecked will cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Stop it.

  21. Chris

    Cesar in LA Says:

    I don’t know much about the issue but if you are not taking care of an autistic child in your own home than your opinion weighs less in my book.

    Okay, then you can listen to me. My son is an adult and has a disability, he may never become independent. First starting from seizures without a known cause as an infant, and then more and worse seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease.

    Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines are much safer than the diseases. This is what the data show, if you have evidence to prove otherwise, then present it.

  22. J

    You are generalizing. Sure most vaccines are good and fine, but that doesn’t mean that all vaccines are safe and effective.

  23. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Cesar in LA:

    But if you had a child who was fine and after they had a certain vaccine they developed certain symptoms then you can have an opinion that matters.

    Are you absolutely sure about that?

    Extract from Vaccines and Autism:

    Autism symptoms are present before 4 months of age.
    Other investigators extended the home-movie studies of 1-year-old children to include videotapes of children taken at 2-3 months of age. Using a sophisticated movement analysis, videos from children eventually diagnosed with autism or not diagnosed with autism were coded and evaluated for their capacity to predict autism. Children who were eventually diagnosed with autism were predicted from movies taken in early infancy. [Citation.]

    This study supported the hypothesis that very subtle symptoms of autism are present in early infancy and argue strongly against vaccines as a cause of autism.


  24. Chris

    J says:

    You are generalizing…..but that doesn’t mean that all vaccines are safe and effective.

    This is what you call “data” or “evidence”? Okay, I agree the cholera and TB vaccines are not effective. Are they part of the standard pediatric schedule in the USA? Is the typhus and typhoid vaccines also included? Is the influenza vaccine required for school entry?

    Okay, I shall now be specific: What data do you have that the DTaP is not effective, and is less safe than pertussis? (oh, I know that the pertussis portion is only 80% effective, and wears off… that is why herd immunity is important). Do the same for Hib, IPV and MMR.

  25. Steve in Dublin

    Autism symptoms are present before 4 months of age

    Well, Ivan, on the face of it that appears to be a stunning revelation that, if it panned out, would pretty much stop the anti-vax movement in its tracks. The problem is, that citation was from 1998. Any developments on that front since then?

    I’m on your side, mate. Pretty much convinced that the autism spectrum disorders are genetic in origin. Possibly influenced by environmental factors (other than vaccines, for which there is no evidence). But alas, the scientific community has no way to prove that as yet :-(

    In very simplistic terms, that would make Jenny McCarthy a ‘bad mommy’. And we can’t be having any of that, can we? So something (or someone) else must take the blame. Vaccines are just a soft target. I feel your pain, Jenny. I have a niece with Down Syndrome that I am very close to. But it’s not the vaccines.

  26. Donutman_64

    (EDIT: I agree with Steve.)
    Vaccines can’t CAUSE Autism, but that doesn’t mean that there are people with certain genes that, when exposed to the vaccines, in part or in whole, produce a harmful protein or proteins that AGGRAVATE or ENABLE autism or autistic behavior. This makes it a POSSIBLE side effect of the vaccine, that is, the production of the protein(s) as a result of the vaccine or a chemical in that vaccine. After all, it might just be an “allergy” to some chemical in that vaccine, with a untypical reaction. The results may be inconclusive, but we should not be arguing about this subject. I believe the argument over “whether our guarenteed rights given to us in our constitution are being trampled on by the government or not” is much more important and relevant to our daily lives than whether we vaccinated our children or not. That is all I have to say on the matter at the moment, but I plan on later posting a logical look at this issue, since so many people seem to argue over it now.
    -Donutman_64

  27. Steve in Dublin

    Doh. And please don’t take that to infer that vaccines could possibly cause Down Syndrome! Just a bit of (perhaps misplaced) empathy creeping in there at the end.

  28. Chris

    Donutman_64 says:

    Vaccines can’t CAUSE Autism, but that doesn’t mean that there are people with certain genes that, when exposed to the vaccines, in part or in whole, produce a harmful protein or proteins that AGGRAVATE or ENABLE autism or autistic behavior.

    Okay, why wouldn’t the diseases themselves cause more of a problem?

    The larger epidemiological studies show no casual association between vaccines and autism, so what evidence to you have to support your supposition?

  29. Donutman_64

    @Chris
    Whoops, good eye. I meant MAY produce and MAY aggravate or enable. Darn, I’m always forgetting important words! Good thing I’m taking a writing class in the spring…
    -Donutman_64

  30. Chris

    Still, you need evidence for that hypothesis. Where is it in light of the several large epidemiological studies that show no real association between vaccines and autism?

  31. Anonymous

    As much as I’m pro-vax, I’m tired of the browbeating message of “You need to get vaccinated for the H1N1 virus! Oh no! End of the world!”

    First, I haven’t had a flu shot – ANY flu shot – in over 15 years. I can’t even remember the last time I got a flu shot. In all that time, I’ve NEVER gotten the flu. Why? I wash my hands regularly, wash my office desk equipment regularly & I don’t loiter in open places with a lot of people (ex. I go to a store, I buy what I was looking for & then I leave – No browsing).

    Second, even if I do get H1N1, it appears to have gone embarrassingly mild for something that was being hyped up to wipe out humanity. Yes, it killed a number of Mexicans & Americans but it seems to have mutated out of it’s more deadly strains.

    For the elderly, the children & the infirm, getting a flu shot makes sense. If you want a flu shot, get a flu shot. I’m not stopping you. I’d just like the government to stop wasting my tax dollars on the hype of H1N1.

    P.S. Weren’t we all supposed to die from H5N1 some time ago? When is THAT going to wipe out humanity?

  32. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Steve in Dublin (#27):

    The problem is, that citation was from 1998. Any developments on that front since then?

    That’s the latest citation that I could find; however, all that anti-vaxxers have is Jenny McCarthy pouting on Oprah’s show! :roll:

  33. Gary Ansorge

    I don’t know how many times we have to reference the largest epidemiological study done on this subject but comparing 400,000 vaccinated children vs 100,000 UNvaccinated children, adjusted for age and life style, in Denmark showed NO CONNECTION AT ALL between vaccinations and autism. Let me state that again:ZIP, NADA, NOTHING. There is no link between those two.

    When Jenny gets on stage, she has ONLY her “gut feeling” that there is a link. Everything else she says in attempting to justify that feeling is pure horse pucky.

    Now, if any of you conspiratorialists have any EVIDENCE we can look at and replicate, SHOW US!

    Gary 7
    PS: The evidence I’m talking about is autism vs vaccines. NOT “vaccines have side effects,yada,yada”. We already know about those. Just stick to THIS discussion.

  34. The 1998 study also extended previous studies where researchers using home movies were able to separate autistic from non-autistic kids at 1 year of age to a high degree of accuracy.

    Adrien, J., et al. Blind ratings of early symptoms of autism based upon family
    home movies. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 32:617-626, 1993.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7684363&dopt=Abstract

    Adrien, J., et al. Early symptoms in autism from family home movies: evaluation
    and comparison between 1st and 2nd year of life using I.B.S.E. scale. Acta
    Paedopsychiatrica 55:71-75, 1992.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1374996&dopt=Abstract

    Adrien, J., et al. Autism and family home movies: preliminary findings. J
    Autism Devel Disorders 21:43-49,1991.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2037548&dopt=Abstract

    Osterling, J., et al. Early recognition of children with autism: a study of first
    birthday home videotapes.J Autism Devel Disorders 24:247-257, 1994.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8050980&dopt=Abstract

    Mars, A.E., et al. Symptoms of pervasive developmental disorders as observed
    in prediagnostic home videos of infants and toddlers. J Pediatr 132:500-504, 1998.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9544908&dopt=Abstract

  35. Ric,

    There is a WHOLE lot of money involved and there for “conspiricies” will undoubtedly occur.

    Really?

    What about the conspiracy of ignorance in the anti-vax movement? Over a quarter of a million dollars a year to Andrew Wakefield to encourage parents to endanger their children, by not vaccinating them against vaccine preventable diseases.

    Read the science. Learn about the vaccines. Stop making generalizations about things you do not understand.

    Your postmodernist nonsense may be nice for you to believe in, but you are wrong. There is no individual reality for each of us, based on what we feel is right. This kind of silliness is behind The Secret and other fairy tales.

  36. The 1998 study also extended previous studies where researchers using home movies were able to separate autistic from non-autistic kids at 1 year of age to a high degree of accuracy.

    *an earlier post with a bunch of links to articles is in moderation*

  37. Chimera K

    Anonymous Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    “First, I haven’t had a flu shot – ANY flu shot – in over 15 years. I can’t even remember the last time I got a flu shot. In all that time, I’ve NEVER gotten the flu. Why? I wash my hands regularly, wash my office desk equipment regularly & I don’t loiter in open places with a lot of people (ex. I go to a store, I buy what I was looking for & then I leave – No browsing).”

    Good for you – Not everyone can adhere to those practices

    “Second, even if I do get H1N1, it appears to have gone embarrassingly mild for something that was being hyped up to wipe out humanity. Yes, it killed a number of Mexicans & Americans but it seems to have mutated out of it’s more deadly strains.

    For the elderly, the children & the infirm, getting a flu shot makes sense. If you want a flu shot, get a flu shot. I’m not stopping you. I’d just like the government to stop wasting my tax dollars on the hype of H1N1.”

    As I understand it the challenge of H1N1 is that otherwise healthy individuals who react to the virus are as much as risk as the usual (elderly, children, infirm) vaccinated population.

    Also, since the virus jumped species do humans have any natural immunities to the virus?

    I’m happy to have my tax dollars support a healthcare program that has such efficacy.

  38. DeltaK

    That is amazing. I didn’t know there was a vaccine for Lyme Disease. I will have to get that sometime before I move to New England.

    I did a search for it. It looks like it is no longer being made due to poor sales. :(

    “The development of a vaccine for Lyme disease was intensely pursued in the 1990s. However, citing a lack of demand, the first human Lyme disease vaccine was withdrawn from the market less than 5 years after its approval. The public’s concerns about the vaccine’s safety also likely contributed to the withdrawal of the vaccine. Nearly a decade later, no vaccine for human Lyme disease exists”

    http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/fmb.09.17

    Why can’t we have non profit manufacturers for these type of things? If another company will no longer make a vaccine they should sell their IP or license it out to an NPO.

  39. fred edison

    If you want to get sick with sweats, chills, and deep fatigue, then have fun and get sick. People trying to talk some common sense into you apparently doesn’t work. Your ears are plugged with rumored chatter and your minds are stuffed with fearful nonsense. Forget that getting a flu shot can cut your risk of catching a virus by upwards of 70%. Forget that it gives you an improved chance of evading the virus than someone who hasn’t had a shot. Forget you take risks every day that have better odds of killing you than an occasional flu shot. Forget that even if the flu doesn’t kill you the complications from it can. Remember that you’re invincible and can stop an invisible, airborne infectious virus you have no natural immunity to with your wishful thinking and backpack carried gallon dispenser of Purell. Remember that if you find yourself not as invincible as you thought, to have the decency to quarantine yourself for at least a week to not infect other people. And above all, please remember that we tried to warn you and took the time to tell you why. Because we cared.

  40. Mike Mullen

    The most recent study published in the UK Compared rates of Autism in adults who grew up before MMR was deployed and current children. There was no difference in the rates found in the two groups, reinforcing the point that the ‘rise’ in autism is largely down to better diagnosis and greater awareness.

  41. Donutman_64

    DISCLAIMER: This is NOT the logical post I was talking about. But, please read on anyway.
    2.4 mcg a day of Colloidal Silver, concentration 12 ppm, seems pretty effective, and 10 times that is the recomended daily dose. It doesn’t have any side effects, and no drug interactions. It says in the bottle to spray it under your tounge, but I find it’s alot more effective sprayed into your nose. It worked for me, vaccine-free!
    Also, to supplement it, try some raw garlic. That stuff will clear out your sinus, lungs and stomache of all bacteria, so you should be sure to take a pro-biotic after you get well again.
    You should also take extra Vitamin C. This seems to have worked perfectly.
    So, if you have faith in the vaccine, take it (the vaccine)!
    If you don’t, then do what I did. I’m going off of personal experience. More than you think.

  42. JT

    Taken from Wikipedia:

    Chronic intake of silver products, especially colloidal silver, can result in silver or silver sulfide particles in the skin, a condition known as argyria, one symptom of which is blue or gray discoloration of the skin; similarly, it can lead to silver in the eye (argyrosis) and in other organs. The discoloration occurs when silver is deposited in the skin and then darkened by sunlight, just as silver particles in photographic film darken when exposed to sunlight. Localized argyria can occur as a result of topical use of silver-containing remedies, while generalized argyria results from the ingestion of colloidal silver. Argyria is usually permanent, and there is no known effective treatment; the only practical method of minimizing its cosmetic disfigurement is avoiding the sun. While argyria is usually benign and limited to skin discoloration, there are isolated reports of more serious neurologic, renal, or hepatic complications. A death has been reported in the medical literature as a result of colloidal silver use; in that case, a 71-year-old man developed status epilepticus which the authors felt was due to silver toxicity.

    A number of case reports describe argyria after ingestion of colloidal silver marketed as an alternative-medicine treatment. Colloidal silver may theoretically reduce the absorption of some medications, including tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics and penicillamine, thereby reducing the effectiveness of those medications.

  43. Lawrence

    Obviously Donutman_64 has locked himself in a room & has avoided any direct sunlight since his “regime” to claim no side-effects….lol.

    I’ve had Lyme Disease three times over the last 15 years – definitely not a fun experience. Wish I could have gotten the vaccine when it was available. I know too many people that progressed from Stage 2 to 3 Lyme & have suffered major debilitating issues from it.

  44. Donutman_64

    I also take ionic foot-baths to clean out toxins and metals, so I don’t have that problem with toxicity. Plus, I absorb hot and cold air, as well as 30% of the natural sunlight. I am not invincible, but my last bout with flu/cold/whatever-the-heck-it-was lasted only three days (it just ended this morning). Besides, my skin was already light grey-bluish LONG before I started taking silver. I should really start washing new clothes before wearing them for the first time.

  45. Lawrence

    The Aqua Detox Scam
    Stephen Barrett, M.D.

    One way to scam people is to diagnose and correct a nonexistent problem. Aqua Detox practitioners do this by claiming to remove toxins and balance cellular energy. During treatment sessions, the customer’s feet are bathed for 30 minutes in salt water that is subjected to a low-voltage current transmitted through an electrode assembly called an “array” (the dark cylindrical object to which the wire is attached). Aqua Detox International claims that the apparatus “produces a frequency of positive and negative ions, which gently resonates through the body and stimulates all the cells within it. . . . rebalancing the cellular energy, enabling the cells to perform efficiently and . . . release any toxins that may have built up.” [1] During the process, the water typically turns reddish brown. Some marketers refer to the process as “ionic cleansing” or an “ionic foot bath.”

    Another marketer (Mobile Beauty) further explains that “the system draws toxins out through the soles of the feet” and that the “water changes color due to the release of toxic substances through the 2000 pores of the soles of the feet.” It’s treatment sessions typically cost £15 to £30. The company’s Web site states that “You’ll see the excreted toxins in the water. The water will change color and consistency—from orange, brown through to black.” Yellow is said to come from the kidneys and bladder; orange/brown from the joints; green/dark brown to black from the liver, gall bladder and/or bowel; and white from the lymphatic system. Grease or fat particles may float on top of the water. According to the company, the process can be used to improve liver and kidney function; circulation; general metabolism; arthritis and joint pain; headaches; fatigue; irritability; menstrual pain; skin problems; mercury and heavy metal toxicity; food allergies, and poor digestion [2].

    The above claims are nonsensical. Most of the listed conditions do not have a toxic basis. Positive and negative ions cannot “resonate” throughout the body in response to any such device. And the skin has no ability to excrete toxins. Real detoxification of foreign substances takes place in the liver, which modifies their chemical structure so they can be excreted by the kidneys which filter them from the blood into the urine.

    The Aqua Detox is said to have been developed by “Dr.” Mary Staggs based on “research” by Royal Rife [3]. Staggs, who is British, obtained two naturopathy degrees from a nonaccredited American correspondence school and appears to do most of her work in Spain [4]. Rife was an American inventor who, during the 1920s, claimed to have developed a powerful microscope that could detect living microbes by the color of auras emitted by their vibratory rates [5]. A survey by science journalist Ray Girvan has identified at least 19 other devices that are similar to the Aqua Detox [6]. Most of the devices sell for about £1,000.

    Many skeptics suspected that the color change produced by the Aqua Detox was caused by rust (oxidized iron), rather than toxins. Ben Goldacre, who writes the “bad science” column for Guardian Unlimited (an online British newspaper), investigated by using a car battery to send current through two metal nails that he placed into a bowl of salt water. The water turned brown and developed some sludge on top. Then he sent a colleague to get “detoxed” and collect before-and-after water samples. Laboratory testing showed that in both cases, the change of water color was due to greatly increased iron content [7]. Thus it appears that (a) the color change is due mainly to the precipitation of rust created by corrosion of the electrodes, and (b) the water would change color regardless of whether or not a foot was placed in it.

    The Guardian Unlimited article has had some impact on how the Aqua Detox and its imitators are marketed. Some marketers admit that the colors are due entirely to electrode conversion, and there is less emphasis on toxin removal and more emphasis on the “balancing” of “energy” that is not measurable with scientific instruments (and is therefore untestable.) But the bottom line is very simple. All such devices should be considered medically worthless.

    References
    Research for Aqua Detox. Aqua Detox International Web site, accessed Dec 27, 2004.
    Miracle Beauty home page, accessed Dec 27, 2004.
    American Cancer Society. Questionable methods of cancer management: Electronic devices. CA—A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 44:115-127, 1994.
    Harris G. A detox to make your toes curl. Daily Telegraph, June 6, 2003.
    Mary Staggs. Biographical information on Contact Reflex Analysis and Nutritional research Foundation Web site, accessed Dec 27, 2004.
    Girvan R. Dodgy detox. Apothecary’s Drawer Weblog, May 28, 2004.
    Goldacre B. Rusty results. Guardian Unlimited, Sept 2, 2004.

  46. Rick

    Sounds like Donutman may be benefiting from the placebo effect.

  47. Ric. L

    Not sure if it has ever been brought up before, but vaccinate young children in day care against influenza has the added benefit of decreasing the likelihood of influenza-related death in the family. So, yes, vaccinate your kids to save grandpa and grandma!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11015798?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

  48. Donutman_64

    Hey, what DOES this have to do with BAD ASTRONOMY anyway?

    The Stupid, It Burns by *Plognark on deviantART

  49. Chris

    Donutman_64 = troll

  50. CrankyPants

    If there is no link between autism and vaccine(s), why is the USA gov’t paying an undisclosed plaintiff an undisclosed sum of $$ in a recent autism vs. vaccine case? Because the plaintiff proved the link and won the case.
    This is the thin end of the wedge , friends, as there are approx. 4,000 cases of autism vs vaccine waiting to come before the courts.
    Get yourselves enlightened. When you get your swine flu jab, ask your doc if he (or she) has gotten his. His kids as well?

  51. Chris

    CrankyPants:

    If there is no link between autism and vaccine(s), why is the USA gov’t paying an undisclosed plaintiff an undisclosed sum of $$ in a recent autism vs. vaccine case? Because the plaintiff proved the link and won the case.

    Actually, in neither case was that completely true. Mitochondrial disorder is not autism, and neither was the condition young master Banks has is also not autism — and both conditions could have been triggered by actual infection. So if they had not had the vaccine, but had caught measles (and as far as the Poling girl, almost any infection).

    As far as the 5000 cases, they were represented by three test cases: all of which failed to prove that the vaccines caused autism. The appeals have been dismissed. (I would post links to the neurodiversity.com/weblog where these are discussed in excruciating detail, but it seems to be down).

    Anyway, science is not proved in the courtroom. And we should note that random websites are not acceptable forms of evidence. Come up with some papers like the following:

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    *Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Baird G et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
    Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
    Uchiyama T et al.
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    *Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
    (Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    D’Souza Y et al.
    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    *Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

    Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
    Doja A, Roberts W.
    Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
    *Literature review

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
    *Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

    Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
    Klein KC, Diehl EB.
    Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
    *Literature review of 10 studies

    Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
    The National Academies Press: 2004
    (w w w . nap.edu/books/030909237X/html) *Literature review

    MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
    Smeeth L et al.
    Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
    *Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
    DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    *Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

    Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
    Lingam R et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
    *Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
    Makela A et al.
    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    *Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
    Madsen KM et al.
    N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
    *Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

    Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
    Black C et al.
    BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
    *Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
    Taylor B et al.
    BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
    *Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
    *Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
    Davis RL et al.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
    *Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
    Dales L et al.
    JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
    *Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
    Kaye JA et al.
    BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
    *Subjects: 305 children with autism

    Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
    Afzal MA, et al.
    J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
    *Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

    Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
    Taylor B et al.
    Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
    *Subjects: 498 children with autism

    Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
    Afzal MA et al.
    J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
    *Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
    Peltola H et al.
    Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
    *Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

    Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
    Nielsen LL et al.
    BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
    *Subjects: 472 women with measles

    Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
    Liu Y et al.
    Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
    *Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
    Baker JP
    American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Schechter R, Grether JK
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

    Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
    Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
    N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

    Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
    Goodman MJ, Nordin J
    Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
    Bigham M, Copes R
    Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

    Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
    Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

    Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
    Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

    The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
    Clements CJ
    Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

    Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
    Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
    Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

    The Toxicology of Mercury–Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
    Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
    New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

    Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
    Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
    Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

    Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
    Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
    Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

    Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
    Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
    American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

    Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
    Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
    Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

    Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
    Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
    Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

    Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
    Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
    The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

    An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
    Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
    Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

    Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001
    Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, Yusuf HR, Shefer A, Chu SY, Rodewald L, Harpaz R.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144.

    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
    Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.

    Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.
    Zhou F, Bisgard KM, Yusuf HR, Deuson RR, Bath SK, Murphy TV.
    Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.

    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
    Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309.

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

  52. Chris

    Crankypants said:

    Check this out!</blockquote.

    Sure, the result was:

    Page not found

  53. Matt

    Quote – Cesar in LA: So folks please tell me I am wrong but only if you have a child at home that you are taking care of and have personal experience on the matter.

    Using your logic: Unless you have seen a child suffering or dying from a vaccine preventable illness, you can’t tell me I’m wrong.

    As a med student, I once saw a child come into the ER in severe respiratory distress. Turns out Mom was afraid to get a pertussis vaccine for the kid. Well the child’s airway was nearly completely closed off at this point due to inflammation. We managed to save the child (barely) and he recovered over 3 weeks in the ICU. This isn’t the only case and I’ve seen children die from Hib (haemophilus influenza) or suffer permanent heart damage from measles. So maybe these diseases that vaccines prevent are actually dangerous.

    And about your child developing autism “after a vaccination” considering autism can develop anytime before three, a fine example of inductive reasoning. My niece said her first word about 3 weeks after one of her vaccines; I can only assume these are also related and vaccines have some sort of brain boosting power .

    To all the anti-vaccination supporters, I can’t do anything to stop you, but blood is on your hands.

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