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Medicine Science

Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts 668

DavidHumus writes "Some of the longer-term effects of the anti-vaccination movement of past decades are now evident in a dramatic increase in measles. From the article: 'A measles outbreak infected 1,219 people in southwest Wales between November 2012 and early July, compared with 105 cases in all of Wales in 2011. One of the infected was Ms. Jenkins, whose grandmother, her guardian, hadn't vaccinated her as a young child. "I was afraid of the autism," says the grandmother, Margaret Mugford, 63 years old. "It was in all the papers and on TV."'"
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:13AM (#44348985)

    Take a look to see if there are any corresponding changes in rate of autism? Here's a nice chance to run a natural experiment--the non-vaccinated become the test group...

  • by collect0r ( 794706 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:26AM (#44349059) []

    the moral of the story is if you believe the bbc which is run by ATOS and pay for it you deserve what you get

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:47AM (#44349195)

    Ok, I really don't have time for this, but this is an issue that I hold pretty dear to my heart.

    Until I had my son, I knew of the whole lancet article and the study behind it, and made fun of all of the idiots out there that didn't get their kids immunized because it might cause autism.

    But after my wife became pregnant with our son, I started looking into it. There is a link between the fever that kids get as a result of the immunization that can cause autistic spectrum disorder due to an underlying mitochondrial disorder, but this only happens in less than .01% of the time.

    However, even knowing that, every time I have to take my son to the doctor to get immunizations, I literally have to force myself to do it. It's not that I think that it's going to cause it, it's not knowing what will cause it. There have been no significant studies that prove what causes autism, (to my knowledge,) to date.

    (If there is, please point me to them, I would be very interested.)

    Being told, "It's not this" and then when you ask what does cause it, you get "Well, it's complex, it's probably multiple things influencing the outcome, and we haven't figured out all the factors which causes it yet."
    "So you can't really say 100% that this isn't a factor? "
    "No, not 100%, but we're pretty sure..."

    So, in the lack of understanding, is there any wonder why there's all of this suspicion and distrust of the medical establishment?

    I'm just saying that if I, a very rational person with above average IQ, has fears and doubts about getting his kid immunized for things that are a remote possibility of contracting, or are relatively mostly non-fatal, (I contracted mumps when I was a child, even with the MMR,) then how can we expect Joe six-pack with his bible in one hand and the leaflets from his chiropractor in the other to still take his kid in for his shots?

    So try to understand and don't judge to harshly, because this goes back to the middle ages when people didn't know what caused the Black Plague... in the lack of understanding, all sorts of fears/superstitions/irrational behavior will win the day.


  • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Freddybear ( 1805256 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:57AM (#44349305)

    Don't just tell us, call the advertisers of The View and tell them.

  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:18AM (#44349609)
    They probably have the same rates, just that people who have a child who is autistic is probably more likely to not vaccinate subsequent children.
  • by Glothar ( 53068 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:42AM (#44349899)

    I'm just saying that if I, a very rational person with above average IQ, has fears and doubts about getting his kid immunized for things that are a remote possibility of contracting...

    I'm not trying to be insulting or confrontational here, but..

    You're actually not being rational. You're obsessing over a syndrome that science has a hard time even defining. All the research seems to indicate multi-factor causes and multiple-path development toward the syndrome. You'd have more luck trying to avoid cancer. At least we recognize most of the mechanisms behind cancer. Cancer is also far more likely.

    And that's an important point.

    The reason I'm saying that you (and thousands of other parents) and being irrational is that you're worried about protecting your child from a very real risk with possibly severe side effects because of an extremely tiny risk of that treatment being one of the two dozen components which might trigger a syndrome. I could almost understand that tradeoff... if you hadn't driven your car to the clinic -- an action that is probably an order of magnitude more likely to kill your child than the shot is to give them autism.

    I repeat this story often when this subject comes up, and I really need to spend some time to find the original article: There was a story about a school district where a parent had spotted a stranger near the school while students were going to buses after school. The school insisted that staff was keeping a close eye on students and offered to increase its presence in the area. A number of parents let their fears override their rationality, and began driving their kids to school instead of letting them take the bus. The more parents who stopped using the buses, the more that followed suit. After a month, the school sent out notices, begging parents to use the buses. Over the month, two children had been killed in car accidents, and two more injured. The stranger was never seen again, and there was never any evidence to suggest they were anything more than a coincidental passer-by. But in order to "save" their kids from an unsubstantiated, extremely rare threat, the parents willingly subjected them to an even greater threat, which had very real effects.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:44AM (#44349937) Homepage Journal

    This isn't some subjective study where placebos will have an effect. I don't think 2 year olds are going to think "okay, that injection could have just been water, but I'm going to pretend to be Autistic for the rest of my life anyway".

  • by mcneely.mike ( 927221 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:49AM (#44349997)
    Not exactly true; there are other factors.

    Our son was born very premature, 2 lbs 12 oz. You could hold him in one hand. (He is a big strapping 13 year old now)

    They are finding that there is a higher rate of autism in preemies compared to normal births. 'Decades' ago, there is a good chance he would not have survived, thus there is a higher incident of autism simply because preemies are surviving instead of dying.
  • Re:The boring truth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#44350151)

    If you don't believe that the chlorine in salt is the kind that's harmful, I invite you to stick live wires into a tank of concentrated brine and breathe deeply. Mercury in thimerosal is as safe as the chlorine in salt.

  • by johnjaydk ( 584895 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @10:06AM (#44350245)

    The research that linked autism with this vaccination was soundly debunked within a few years of being released. The original paper was fully retracted in 2004, and the researcher found guilty of misconduct and fraud.

    True story: As soon as I was diagnosed with asbergers my parents had instant and perfect recollection of how my behavior changed radically after my MMR shot. A shot which happened more than 35 years before the diagnosis.

    This despite the fact that anybody who have read the blue book instantly diagnoses my my entire family with various autism disorders.

    Scape goat is the word.

  • Re:Trust (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @10:52AM (#44350791) Homepage
    Many people will have switched to Nexium and will not understand what's going on. If they were suggested to go back to Losec, they'd say "Why, it's a new drug that replaced the old one, why would I take the old stuff? The new stuff must be better." or "Those old drugs are generics, I don't trust generics."

    As far as big pharma's concerned, that tactic most likely works very, very well. By the time generics are on the market, few people will want to take it, even if it's superior and cheaper. Remember that people also tie cost into their evaluation of value, such that cheaper drugs are considered "cheap" in the pejorative sense.
  • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by technomom ( 444378 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @11:30AM (#44351231)

    Jenny McCarthy should be paying huge punitive damages into the public health care system now.

  • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:31PM (#44352671)
    Sure, but let's not put this on Walters or even McCarthy. If you're taking advice from the tee vee on your children's medical treatment beyond "Hey, stupid, take your kid to the fucking doctor," then that's on you. It would be nice if someone in the media would slap the microphone out of their hands, sure, but it's the parents that have the responsibility and the blame.

Air is water with holes in it.