In this blog, we mostly stay away from politics and religion, a wise choice for medical professionals with a purpose: To improve the success of every family, regardless of philosophy or creed, to weather a true long-term survival scenario. Yet, just as we should be skeptical about the conventional medical wisdom, we should question other theories as well, and not be afraid to give an honest opinion based on our research.
Vaccines and Controversy
I’m going to step out on a limb regarding a controversial topic in the preparedness community, and that’s vaccines. Vaccines are almost universally recommended by conventional physicians (and the Center for Disease Control) but commonly shunned by alternative healers. This put us, as integrative practitioners trying to use the best of both, in a tough spot.
Vaccines have rid the world of smallpox and some other diseases, but some have implicated it in the rise of autism and other conditions. What’s a prepper to do?
Vaccines have been implicated by some as being responsible for:
- · Autism
- · Diabetes
- · Asthma
- · Seizure Disorders
- · Attention Deficit Disorders
- · Multiple Sclerosis
- · And more
Here are 2 articles that describes the controversy regarding vaccinations and additives in vaccines:
This article will discuss the relationship between MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccinations and autism, using events in the United Kingdom to draw some conclusions.
The MMR vaccine was licensed in 1971 and is in widespread use worldwide. Before introduction of the vaccine, epidemics of measles, mumps, and rubella were not uncommon; an epidemic in 1964 affected millions in the U.S. Since that time, however, these illnesses are much less common. Unfortunately, the rate of autism has risen dramatically, beginning around 1990.
Although vaccines are alleged as culprits for the rising rate of autism, we should look for other suspects as well. Other possible causes have been proposed that also coincide well with the timeline of rising autism rates.
For example, widespread use of oral contraceptives coincides well with the timeline of the increase of autism. Those who implicate birth control pills point out that US states with the highest percentage of Catholics (theoretically discouraged from using contraceptives) have the lowest percentage of autism. States with the lowest percentage of Catholics have the highest percentage of autism. Here’s an article about this theory:
How about high-fructose corn syrup? It was introduced widely as a replacement for cane sugar in the 1980’s and coincides better with the autism timeline than the MMR vaccine. High-fructose corn syrup, in large quantities, causes documented medical conditions such as fatty liver, so why can’t it be a contributing factor in autism? Here’s a link:
Just this month, new studies found a connection between stomach and intestinal problems in children and autism, and suggested that the number of types and varieties of bacteria in the gut may be a factor. Overuse of antibiotics in children and food livestock may decrease diversity of the bacteria in the gut. Fewer varieties of bacteria in the gut are associated with a higher rate of autism. Here’s a study just published:
But let’s return to MMR vaccinations and autism. As a physician and, therefore, inclined towards scientific inquiry, I ask the question: What happens to the autism rate when a community no longer vaccinates?
What about “herd immunity”? Herd immunity is the protection you, as part of a minority of unvaccinated individuals, get from most of the rest of the population being vaccinated. Can you hide in the herd?
In Wales, part of the United Kingdom, we might get the answer in an unpleasant way. In 1998, a physician named Andrew Wakefield published a paper in the respected British medical journal “The Lancet”. In it, he described 12 previously normal children who developed developmental disorders, including autism, after receiving the MMR vaccine. A link to the PDF of the study is below:
(Note: The Lancet retracted this article in 2010)
This story was picked up in local newspapers in Southwest Wales, which subsequently became a hotbed of resistance to vaccination. Soon the whole of England dropped its vaccination rate from 92% to 80%. In the UK, you aren’t required to vaccinate in order for children to attend school as you are in the U.S.
After the newspaper publication of the paper 15 years ago, the vaccination rate dropped 15% in the local area. This year, the herd immunity finally broke down, and the first epidemic of childhood measles in years has hit Wales. The outbreak affected mostly 10-18 year old unvaccinated children and, so far, 1220 cases have been reported. Luckily, most have recovered, with only 1 death attributed to the epidemic.
In third-world countries, the death rate is more serious, with 158,000 deaths from measles in 2011. England is not the only western country to experience issues with measles: France almost eradicated the disease but has reported more than 20,000 cases from 2008-2011. The European Center for Disease Control cites opposition to vaccines as the main reason for the resurgence of the disease.
The question I asked is “Did the decrease in vaccinated children lead to a decrease in the rate of autism in the Welsh population?” The answer, to me, may be “no”. At the website “thisissouthwales.com” in 2012, a story reported that the number of autistic children in the area has gone up by more than 50 per cent in the space of four years and the rate of autism syndrome disorder in the county is actually higher than the national average. Here’s a link to the story:
There are strict rules about experimentation with humans, but sometimes the actions of a population can lead to reasonable conclusions about a certain hypothesis. So, I conclude from this accidental experiment the incidental conclusion: Decreasing the MMR vaccination rate in the population does not decrease the rate of autism of the population; in fact, the rate of autism increased despite the decrease in vaccination rate.
I don’t claim this as scientific fact, just the humble opinion of an old country doctor using simple logic. More research by real scientists should be performed regarding this issue. Also, I can’t say that ALL vaccinations are safe, as each vaccine is different and there are documented risks that cannot be denied.
Should you vaccinate your children? The CDC says you should. In survival situations, it would a shame to have your family or group meet their end due to an outbreak of a childhood illness that vaccination could have prevented. However, if certain vaccinations do cause medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, this won’t help you survive either. I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
(Dr. Bones says: A student named Allie Gleason has sent me some excellent resource links for autism spectrum disorders:)
Autism Speaks Resource Guide
Career Assistance for People with Autism
National Center for Autism Resources & Education
AutismNOW Transition Planning
Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism
Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones