Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
As we count down to the release of Paul Offit's latest book, I thought it would be a good time to briefly examine one of his pet theories regarding autism.
Offit, who will embrace any hypothesis that deflects attention away from a possible link between vaccines and the disorder, has come up with the "autistics are really geeks" theory.
ABC news reports him as saying:
People that we once called quirky or geeky or nerdy are now called autisticand the evidence he presents to support this assertion?
because when you give that label of say, autistic spectrum disorder, you allow that child then to qualify for services which otherwise they wouldn't be qualified to get."That's it? The government services did it. I'm not even sure what government services would be of value to geeks and nerds.
In addition to an absence of evidence supporting his hypothesis, Offit's revelation seems to conflict with his belief that autism is a condition with a strong genetic component. On page 218 of Autism's False Prophets he states:
The first clue to the cause of autism is that it's genetic.Since those traits thought of as "geeky" would be present in both child and parent, his genetic theory would seem to conflict with his geek theory since so many non-geeky parents have autistic children.
After all when I attend autism conferences, there’s nary a geek in the house. While parents of autistic children such as Dan Marino, Jenny McCarthy, John Travolta, Holly Robinson-Peete and Sylvester Stallone hardly seem like nerds.
Additionally Geeks and nerds had geek and nerd friends and interacted with one another. Yet difficulty with social interaction is a key diagnostic feature of any autism spectrum disorder
Finally, anyone with even a cursory understanding of autism realizes there’s noting in the DSM that would cause one to conflate the two conditions
Diagnostic Criteria for Autistic Disorder
A. A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3)
(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction(2) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
(b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)(3) restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
(c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
(a) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(b) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(c) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(d) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play
C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.Since there seems to be nothing remotely similar between an autism diagnosis and what we would think of as a geek or nerd, perhaps Offit, by "autism" means PDD NOS - which is a diagnosis falling under the autistic spectrum. Let's look at the diagnostic guidelines for PDD NOS then
This category should be used when there is a severe and pervasive impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction or verbal and nonverbal communication skills or when stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities are present but the criteria are not met for a specific pervasive developmental disorder,
Admittedly, the above criteria is somewhat cryptic, but it's far from certain - or even plausible - that "severe and pervasive impairment" is today's version of nerdiness.
Of course if autism was always present at current levels, todays expanded vaccine schedule could not have caused an increase that, in actuality, never occurred
So there we have it. The man who believes that vitamins are more dangerous than vaccines, that children can get 100,000 vaccinations on one day and that vaccines aren't very profitable; is trying to sell the idea that autism is really nothing new based on a self-contradictory theory apparently woven out of whole cloth.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
In 1991, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers recorded this song about what would have to be done with all the unwanted flu vaccine circulating throughout present-day America. The only question is how did they, almost 20 years ago, know what the Wall Street Journal is reporting just today.
According to the Journal:
Drugstores, supermarkets and some doctors' offices are slashing prices or offering other kinds of deals on flu vaccine this year amid weaker-than-expected demand.
Rite Aid Corp., for example, is offering coupon booklets for household and beauty items to customers who get the shots.
CVS Caremark Corp., which has already promoted its shots with in-store discounts, plans a wave of advertisements after the holiday season.
Walgreen Co., the nation's largest pharmacy by store count, had set a target of delivering 15 million flu shots this fall and winter. But through November, it had administered only 5.6 million shots.And finally, Thomas Haugh, the practice administrator at Accent Urgent Care is quoted as saying:
We can't give them away
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Apparently prompted, or perhaps exploited, by the do-gooders at The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a one Ms. Monet Parham, not surprisingly, a government employee, is suing McDonald’s because as a consequence of their Happy Meal ads, she has been subjected to the unbearable fate of receiving from her children “constant requests for McDonald's Happy Meals.”
Exacerbating the problem is the apparent fact that either her TV has no off switch or her children overpower her when she attempts to use it. Or perhaps while she’s sleeping the Hamburglar sneaks into her home, puts the TV on to the McDonald’s commercial network and forces her children to watch.
Unbeknownst to Ms. Parham, some child psychologists and early childhood development experts recommend saying the word "no" when a child makes an inappropriate request (Perhaps the state should fund parenting lessons to make her and those like her aware of these and other parenting secrets.)
Further details were sketchy. For example news reports did not specify which of Ms. Parham’s two children, the two or the six year old drives when it’s time to procure the latest toy. Additionally, the media failed to go into details regarding the professions from which the youngsters obtain the funds with which they purchase their delicious treats.
One final oddity surrounding this story is that listening to this woman and her handlers, you’d think the child had to eat the meal to get the toy. I doubt the store manger sits at the Parham table exhorting her children to clean their plates before he dispenses the toy of the week. Ms. Parham, if you too weak to resist your children - and if the toy and not the food is the object of your children's desire - buy the meal, keep the toy and give the food to the needy
McDonald’s is not the villain in this case. The villains are those who, unable to care for themselves, look to the government care for them by controlling the actions of others
It would be a travesty if the court disregarded the concept of individual and parental responsibility and decided in favor of these misguided plaintiffs
Disclosure: I am a McDonald's shareholder and sometimes customer. I go for the food not the toys.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
As we barrel headlong into the teeth of another killer flu season, public health officials have assumed their usual role of fear-mongering vaccine salesmen and women.
And, as usual, their exhortations to line up for their life-saving potions are falling on largely disinterested ears.
My home-town paper, The Daily News, reports
More than half of adults most at risk of complications or death from the flu don't plan to get vaccinatedthe paper states, “aggressively” pushing the vaccine
It’s an American thing. Yeah, that’s it. The reckless cowboy mentality. Surely across the pond (where shots are jabs) the situation is radically different; yet the UK’s Daily Telegraph finds much the same thing, its headlines declaring:
People shunning influenza vaccineAnd what would this tepid “demand” be like without the constant hype and harassment emanating from the government and its public health apparatus? After all the CDC – itself part of the vaccine industry – spends millions of tax dollars marketing these vaccines through “Influenza Vaccine Week,” the website flu.gov, and videos and quizzes exposing so-called vaccine “misconceptions”
One misconception preventing us from rending each other limb from limb in order to secure their live-preserving elixirs is that the flu shot causes the flu. Nothing could be further from the truth claim the experts.
On The Huffington Post, Dr. Glenn Braunstein while urging readers to “Roll Up Your Sleeves for Flu Season” sets the record straight.
It cannot be said enough: The flu shot does not cause the flu. The viruses used in the making of the vaccine are killed in the process. Randomized, blinded studies confirmed that the only symptom those who received the flu shot rather than salt water were more likely to develop was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site.
Soreness the only symptom? Not according to vaccine package inserts. For example Fluvirin, produced by Novartis states:
The most frequently reported adverse reactions are … influenza-like symptoms.While 14-18% of those vaccinated with Sanofi’s Fluzone were similarly rewarded with flu-like symptoms such as head and muscle aches and malaise.
The flu shot: bypass the flu and just get the symptoms. Brilliant!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I was excited to learn Dr. Paul Offit, America’s number one vaccine evangelist, will soon be releasing yet another book celebrating the miracle of vaccination.
What new absurdities will he invent to defend the elixirs of life upon which his very existence is based?
In his previous works, he has set the bar on the absurdity meter astronomically high. Vitamins are more dangerous than vaccine, children can safely get 100,000 vaccines at one time and today’s autistics are really just the geeks and nerds of the 50s – imagine Ralph Malph and Potsie Weber.
Several Offit sycophants have already weighed in with reviews. One, David Oshinsky, author of an excellent history on polio in America exhibits a bizarre detachment form reality in his gushing appraisal of the book.
“A medical crisis has come to America. Diseases of our grandparents’ generation are making a deadly comeback as more and more parents choose not to vaccinate their children.
Oshinsky imagines waves of parents depriving their children of life-saving vaccine while actual vaccination rates are at all time highs. He envisages benign illness such as the mumps and measles to be demonic killers. He suffers hallucinations of an America in crisis, streets filled with dead and or dying children.
Descending from fantasy into gibberish he asks.
…what can be done to reverse this unconscionable assault upon our nation’s public health?
Nations public health? Does he mean the health of people? People, who if they so desire can excercise, refrain from smoking, eat a healthy diet and access as much vaccine as they desire? No, more likely Oshinsky refers to the public health establishment - an entity whose mission is to intrude into our lives by means of forced vaccination, food policing and soda taxation.
So conditioned to believe in the supremacy of the state over the individual, Oshinsky sees the simple desire of Americans to be left alone as an assault upon the rightful role of our benevolent public health masters
So much fanatical vaccine nonsense in just a few paragraphs. I can’t wait for the entire volume to be released.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The do-gooding politicians of Nannystate are at it again. Believing childhood obesity solvable by government edict, the San Francisco city council recently passed a law banning Satan’s tool of epicurean temptation: the Happy Meal.
The story was a focus of a number of media reports. CNN’s Anderson Copper worried of the enormous pressure applied by 3 and 4 year olds to their fragile parents. Coopper imagined a world in which we’re literally strong-armed into supplying a never-ending supply of crispy golden fries, thick frosty shakes and hot, juicy, cheese-laden burgers.
Sadly, assaults upon the ability of Americans to decide for themselves what they and their children eat are nothing new. New York’s activist mayor Michael Bloomberg has been at the forefront of these efforts, banning transfats, spending scarce city dollars on a crusade against salty soups and proposing restrictions on the purchase of soda. Not surprisingly, our government-happy state is not immune from these interventionist tendencies. In LA, prohibiting the opening of so-called fast food restaurants is seen as the panacea de jour while on the national level, first lady Michelle Obama has embarked upon a messianic quest to transform carrots into childhood’s newest guilty pleasure.
These statists would like nothing more than to have us to believe, absent their “help”, responsible parenting is an impossibility. Turn off a TV selling sugary cereals, unthinkable. Deny an unhealthy request in battleground supermarket, inconceivable. Compete with the influence exerted by a gregarious albeit fictional yellow sponge, unimaginable.
And what has the state been cooking up in it’s own glass house over the past decades? That’s right the school lunch: a grease laden, semi-edible smorgasbord of cholesterol, transfats and chemicals far unhealthier than anything that could have ever been concocted in a McDonald’s test kitchen.
To make matters worse the do-gooders have, this past year, been given a gift to make the realization of their ambitious goals eminently more achievable. The gift of course was and is Obamacare.
How can Obamacare further authorize and invigorate government intervention? As is often the case, one intrusion upon freedom is used to justify another. And with the new health care bill the connection between intrusions is obvious. A health care regime in which the state pays for the result of our “unhealthy” actions is the perfect pretext for allowing that state to control, prohibit or tax, through food and, perhaps someday, exercise policing. Perhaps even a ban on couches, TVs and videogames. How fortuitous that an entity with such an insatiable appetite for growth should receive such a powerful and protean gift.
But isn’t all this intervention really for our own good? Doesn’t the state care for and about us as we would care for and about a pet?
History tells a different tale. A tale in which the government owes its allegiance to, not our children, but the special interests. The corrupt process under which the food pyramid - actually the cheese, grain and beef, pyramid - was constructed is a legendary example demonstrating where state interests really lie.
It’s time we reject out of hand these ridiculous violations of American freedom while they’re still seen and mocked as the absurdities they are. For if we do not, and if we begin to journey slowly down the slippery slope of nanny state incrementalism, we will, before we realize it, end up as did the proverbial frog who, slowly and unknowing, had both his life and freedom cooked out of him.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The N.Y. Times is reporting on a large polio outbreak in vaccinated Congo. Wonder if it has anything to do with the area being one of the most highly polluted places on the face of the earth. That pollution couldn't affect the immune systems of the population affected...could it?
An explosive outbreak of polio is taking place in the Congo Republic, with 201 cases of paralysis found in two weeks and 104 deaths, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
Today we see further evidence that, absent the coercion exerted by the medical establishment and it's government allies, few people are interested in vaccines and vaccination. Businessweek reports:
Few teenage girls and young women are getting the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), and many of those who start the regimen fail to take all three doses, new research reveals.
So if you feel vaccines aren't for you or your family but feel out of the mainstream, remember - as the above story illustrates - the "mainstream" is simply a byproduct of force, misinformation and compulsion.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here's an op-ed I wrote for the Orange County Register in 2007. Since more and more parents are being asked to vaccinate their children with this vaccine, I thought it appropriate to revisit the topic.
In today's America - a country seemingly driven more by its desire for health care than for health itself - an idea has taken hold that every child should receive whatever vaccine that medical science can conjure up. Seemingly unimportant is whether our children are at risk for developing any of the diseases against which the corresponding vaccines promise protection.
The latest of these "necessary" vaccines is Gardasil. Produced by Merck, it is said to prevent HPV, a viral infection spread by sexual contact and the cause each year of approximately 10,500 cervical cancer cases, and 3,500 deaths.
We're told Gardasil, to be effective, must be administered before sexual activity commences - hence the desire to start vaccinating girls at ages 11 and 12.
The millions spent by Merck on marketers and lobbyists convinced the states of Texas and Virginia to require this vaccine as a prerequisite for attending public schools. California, like at least 18 other states, has seen a similar proposal. A bill linking HPV vaccination and public school admittance has been revived by its author and is scheduled for a hearing today in the Assembly Health Committee.
But unlike other mandatory vaccination measures, this one has encountered resistance. Many Americans, particularly Christian social conservatives, are concerned that requiring the vaccination of 11- and 12-year-old girls against a sexually transmitted disease sends the wrong message to our youth.
This rationale I neither endorse nor oppose. My objections are of a different nature. I do, however, believe the religious community's resistance has been helpful to Merck and its government allies. Here's why.
Since, as we'll see, it's difficult to build a logical case for this vaccine because of the preventable nature of cervical cancer, an appeal based on emotion is needed. And how better to stir up more emotion than what could be marketed as a struggle against narrow-minded Christian conservatives whose irrational fears about sex were putting women's lives at risk? Throw in the word cancer, and you have a perfect emotion-based marketing strategy and one that seems to make facts and logic unnecessary.
But facts and logic are always necessary, and, in this case, they speak loudly against the vaccine. Here's what they have to say:
Cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable. Ninety percent of those contracting the disease have not had a pap smear in the previous five years. Smoking increases risk by 200 percent.
Finally, the salvation promised by vaccination does not come without a price. Short-term risks associated with Gardasil include nausea, dizziness, pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The vaccine's long-term health effects remain largely unknown because it has been approved for use for less than a year.
If we mandate this new HPV vaccine - rewarding Merck with a billion-dollar windfall - we'll undoubtedly be subsequently deluged with other new vaccines, each accompanied by a new and unique set of risks to our children in exchange for, as in the case of the HPV vaccine, little to no benefit. We might see a replay of the thimerisol fiasco of the 1990s, when many children were, because of mandatory vaccinations containing that preservative, exposed to levels of mercury exceeding EPA guidelines by 70 to 125 times.
I believe most parents would, based on the aforementioned evidence, choose not to have their children injected with Gardasil. Regrettably, under a statewide mandate, these parents would not be offered a choice.
"But there's an opt-out provision," say the politicians. "No one has to get this vaccine if they don't want it."
Unfortunately, most parents are, based on the number of times I was told "You know, your kid can't get into school without shots," unaware of these provisions, making them meaningless.
Mandatory vaccination with Gardasil is simply a bad idea. Parents must be given real choices, not manipulated into making ones chosen by politicians and drug companies. As for me, the choice is simple. My daughter will be, to paraphrase a certain ad campaign sweeping the state's airwaves, "one less."
One less unnecessary vaccine recipient. And my hope is that California will be one less. One less state swept up in the hysteria of indiscriminate vaccination.