There are so Many Parts to the Whole Picture to Consider Carol A Teasdale,
17 February 2002

How do researchers determine any trends of significance with 81 children over 20 years, with an average of just 4.05 a year?

I urge anyone who reads this study to also read Dr Wakefield's, et al, research and make comparisons of quality, regardless of your thoughts on its findings (1). The former study is largely qualitative, because of its dependence on the researchers interpretation of medical records, whilst the latter study concludes its findings on laboratory studies.

I am the mother of a child who 'regressed' into hypothyroidism over 13 years. I know from experience that health care professionals do not document this kind of regression, which is similar in many ways to autism, any more than they the have time, or interest, to document the lead up to other chronic conditions. Each visit to a GP is documented as a single event, perhaps in as few words as possible. Behavioural worries are often dismissed, maybe in a well-intended attempt to reassure, and I suspect in many cases are put down to overbearing and anxious parents.

Even if there is a connection that something is clearly going wrong with a child, it doesn't take a fool to realise that a researchers interpretation of events is purely subjective and the findings would very much depend on what they wanted to relate to the reader.

Any GP who is reading this, and is honest enough to admit that they may be a little puzzled as to how someone might have managed to interpret their notes into any study of significance, should say so.

As interesting as such studies are, people need constructive help and hope for their future, otherwise they sink into despair and begin to lose faith in those around them, especially in their health care providers. So I thought that I might mention to parents who feel that there is a definite correlation between the MMR and their child's illness that they should never give up on their search as long as there is always an answer to be found. Even if you are at the end of your tether there is someone who can empathise with your situation and will not give up on you, seek him or her out. It took me years to find just a little light at the end of my daughter’s long dark tunnel, life isn’t perfect now but it’s been turned around for us.

If you have an autistic child you might consider that one of the components of the MMR is Neomycin. This is an antibacterial drug that is used to suppress gastrointestinal bacteria before surgery to avoid infection. It is also used in a variety of preparations, too numerous to mention here. This antibiotic interferes with the absorption of Vitamin B6 (2). An error in the uptake of Vitamin B6 can cause a rare form of epilepsy and children become mentally retarded (3). Vitamin B6 is the major vitamin for processing amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins and a few hormones. There are studies around which support the theory of treating autistic children with Vitamin B6 (4&5)

I am not suggesting for one moment that G A Khakoo, and G Lack made a connection between the MMR, Neomycin and vitamin B6 in their article of April 1st 2000, nor that it was written to make a connection, but they did make a very good point "Only a few of the reports have looked for other potential allergens, such as neomycin and gelatin, which are present in larger quantities in the MMR vaccine and are known to cause serious reactions during measles vaccination." (6)

I am surprised at how comfortable GP’s seem to be sitting with any vaccination that has so little research on its components, especially in light of CJD. For example, both the FDA and Medicines Control Agency are reviewing the use of gelatin in pharmaceutical products in an attempt to minimise the risk, with the FDA actually banning its use in intravenous products. (7,8&9) However, they clearly think that there is a risk worth some consideration, so why are our GP’s being so dismissive?

Measles is an awful childhood illness for a few children, but it can never be totally eradicated by vaccine, because too many parents exercise their right to religious and human freedoms. Because of this, a vaccine can only create dependence within populations who choose this route to immunity, leaving them unwisely vulnerable at times of supply shortages.

Research is already indicating that artificial methods of vaccinating children are disadvantageous to babies, especially those born in poverty, because vaccinated mothers cannot pass on this immunity through the placenta (10). Also that in America there has been a relentless incline in measles cases (11). I estimate that on its present course by 2006 the number of adults contracting measles could be well over 50% putting adults at a much greater risk of complications than children have ever had.

It is OK to accept that children will get sick from childhood diseases, some may even die too or become disabled, and that sometimes nature has known best all along. However, it’s not OK to throw away the precautionary principle when dealing with children’s futures collectively, in terms of dealing with generations rather than individuals. We have enough knowledge, and I hope wisdom, to review policies of many years ago in light of new information and act accordingly. This isn’t ‘scare mongering’ it’s common sense. ‘Scare mongering’ is what we see in adverts designed to sell a product that is disturbing a mother’s natural instinct.

I am not a professional. I do not work for anyone associated with any pharmaceutical company. I do question the motives of the DoH in refusing to allow separate vaccinations, even though essentially I believe the need for the measles vaccine has been created by its very use. I have wondered if a parent’s lack of choice over individual vaccinations might have connections to plans to introduce a chicken pox vaccine to the MMR in the near future, and if this were so would others also consider disempowering parents to these ends unethical?

1. V Uhlmann, C M Martin, O Sheils, L Pilkington, I Silva, A Killalea, S B Murch, A J Wakefield, JJ O'Leary Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease. Molecular Pathology  

2. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interactions. Chicago, Precept Press, 1998, 183–4.

3. Nabbout R, Soufflet C, Plouin P, Dulac O. Pyridoxine dependent epilepsy: a suggestive electroclinical pattern. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 1999;81:F125–9.

4. Autism Research Review International, Vol. 1 (4), 1987. The Autism Research Review International is a quarterly newsletter published by the Autism Research Institute (4182 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116, U.S.A.). 

5. Rimland B, Callaway E, Dreyfus P. The effect of high doses of vitamin B6 on autistic children: a double-blind crossover study. American Journal of Psychiatry 1978;135:472-5." For Abstract  

6. G A Khakoo, consultant paediatrician, G Lack, consultant. Recommendations for using MMR vaccine in children allergic to eggs BMJ 2000;320:929-932 (1 April )  

7. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA [Federal Register: March 8, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 44)] List of Drug Products That Have Been Withdrawn or Removed From the Market for Reasons of Safety or Effectiveness  

8. The Sourcing and Processing of Gelatin to Reduce the Potential Risk Posed by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in FDA-Regulated Products for Human Use September1977  

9. Summary of the Meeting of the Committee on Safety of Medicines Sub -committee on Chemistry, Pharmacy and Standards. 3/6/1999  

10. Measles. Measles resurgence in 1989-1991 (page 8)  

11. Measles . Secular Trends in the United States (page 7).