MMR AND THE SIMPLE TRUTH ABOUT AUTISM
Does the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine cause autism? I vote yes.
Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion – but one who’s spent the last three years listening to parents and enlightened pediatricians and combing through adverse events reports and just generally trying to think for himself.
Right below this post is yet another study seeming to exonerate the MMR. That sure sounds familiar – the CDCAAPFDAIOMETC have already given it multiple clean bills of health. And manufacturer Merck says no studies show any link to autistic regression.
When Merck decided to toss the chickenpox virus into the MMR mix, kids started developing autism in clinical trials; that wasn’t reported to the FDA before the drug was approved because, Merck said, the parents never got around to mentioning that their kids had regressed into autism. A few months after the Pox series appeared, Merck suspended production of that four-in-one vaccine, claiming they’d run low on chickenpox vaccine even as they launched a new shot for shingles that contains gobs of it.
The cluelessly credulous mainstream media did its usual thing – they essentially reprinted the press release about the “vaccine shortage.” Now they have a new study to “report,” reaffirming the MMR’s safety and reassuring parents.
Never mind that Merck and the pharmaceutical industry are starting to show a pattern and practice that ought to make anyone stop and think before they become stenographers for the drug companies: There’s Vioxx with its $5 billion settlement and suppressed data about the heart attacks that fell just outside the study window, causing the New England Journal of Medicine to complain; and Zetia with its delayed results that showed no protection against heart attacks even as the company convinced millions of doctors and patients to switch from cholesterol-lowering drugs that actually did work; and Eli Lilly with its Zyprexa side effects and the looming possibility of a $1 billion fine and a criminal misdemeanor plea because they tried to get doctors to prescribe it for conditions for which it was not approved. Not very nice. Not very nice at all.
And never mind that the FDA has all but admitted it's so overwhelmed and underfunded it can't reasonably be expected to do its job (the one about making sure drugs, including vaccines, are safe and effective).
The tragedy is that if the people who are supposed to protect our kids had relied less on dubious data produced by “experts” with blatant conflicts of interest, and more on common sense and the evidence of their own senses, the whole autism debacle of the 1990s through today might have been averted.
In an article titled “Adverse Events,” I wrote about some of the early warnings on file with the federal government’s VAERS database.
Here’s a report from 1992, listing Feb. 21 as both "vaccination date" and "adverse event date" for a 1-year-old boy: "Patient received MMR vaccination and experienced fever, autistic behaviors, encephalitic condition, began to tune out; sound sensitivity, hand-flapping, wheel-spinning, nighttime sweats, appetite increase."
The child's diagnoses included autism, encephalopathy (brain swelling), mental retardation, personality disorder and speech disorder.
Another report: Two days after being vaccinated in August 1994 a 1-year-old girl experienced "low fever, much discomfort. Patient lay in bed and cried and moaned; three-four days post-vaccination, rash traveled over patient's body and lasted at least one week. Within six weeks of vaccination patient was observed as losing previously gained language and social skills; diagnosed autistic."
Soon after the article was published I heard from the mother who filed that report, and I wrote a follow-up story (“Case Number 88924”): “The patient so clinically summarized in that report, Mary Jo Silva realized with a start, was her 1-year-old daughter Carmen, who fell ill the same day she got the MMR -- measles-mumps-rubella -- and Hepatitis B vaccinations at age 1.”
That’s bad. But here's the killer: A
1994 report filed by a California physician
citing 10 -- yes, 10 -- children "who
received vaccination and (were) diagnosed
with autism and encephalopathy." That doctor
reported "there are currently 10 cases of
autism in children who received DPT/OPV/MMR
at 15-18 months."
The real tragedy here is the dates – 1992 to 1994, just as the big wave of new mercury vaccines was crashing into America’s kids. These were but a few of the many, many missed opportunities to do what medical professionals are supposed to do – be alert and suspicious, notice something new and grab hold of it till the truth yells Uncle.
Instead, the person who took that report about 10 kids with autism who shared a specific vaccination pattern took a dismissive tone: "Dr. ... is not treating physician and does not possess any original records; unclear whether reporter [the doctor, who was identified and could have been contacted] is suggesting possible causal association."
Well, it’s pretty clear to me – doctor is suggesting causal association.
And so am I. Lest the CDC miss the point again, let's repeat it: Yes, the MMR causes autism.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism