In Defense of Dr. Neides

Recently we have seen health professionals and other people villifying the doctor who wrote this controversial (and now removed) article:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lVMRp4wMZ-QJ:www.cleveland.com/lyndhurst-south-euclid/index.ssf/2017/01/make_2017_the_year_to_avoid_to.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

While I am not going to address every claim by this doctor, I am going to defend him for bringing attention to this important issue—vaccine safety.

The backlash is to be expected from people who have not critically evaluated all of the existing scientific literature. They continue to believe what they are told by the WHO, FDA, and CDC regardless of what science exists that contradicts studies and statements put forth by these (and many other) organizations. Many are saying what this doctor has published is “dangerous” because it can lead people to (God forbid) question vaccine safety. Scientists, doctors, and laymen have rightfully questioned  vaccine safety because there are valid concerns. Clinical observation has time and time again shown the connection but the scientific data itself has proven the mechanisms behind vaccine-induced injury and the evidence is there for those willing to research laboriously.

Now, back to this article I am referencing. There is a plethora of ignorant comments in the comment section but I have chosen to write a reply to the comment made by Kevin Folta. I won’t go into his background as I am sure many of you already know who he is, but if you wish to look further you can make a quick Google search.
Here are snapshots of his comment:

 

 

Here is my reply:

I won’t reply to every part of your comment, Kevin, but I will point out the specific parts that are erroneous. First, let’s start with your comment that “It is well known that ethyl mercury has limited toxicokinetic properties and is eliminated from the body and poses little risk.” This assumption is false and based on pseudoscience that is pushed by the vaccine industry and many other health organizations. Ethylmercury is a mitochondrial toxin and especially injurious for those who have mild mitochondrial defects and are susceptible to its exposure. Thimerosal might be the pathogenesis of autism in this subset of children. (Sharpe et al., 2013; Sharpe et al., 2012). Disorders of the mitochondria are also not rare in the autism community and individuals can acquire mitochondrial dysfunction through environmental toxins lacking a familial link. (Frye et al., 2013). 

 

Small amounts of thimerosal even induce changes in gene expression in the cerebellum. In the conclusion of Minami et al. (2010): “The present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.” It has also been long confirmed in animal studies that ethylmercury in doses from the vaccine schedule (or lower) causes damage neurologically. (Rodriques et al., 2010; Olczak et al., 2009; Qvarnstro et al., 2003; Burbacher et al., 2005; Magos et al., 1985). 

Furthermore, glutathione is the most powerful anti-oxidant in the body and has been shown to be depleted in children with autism (Rose et al., 2012). Thimerosal is shown to cause glutathione depletion, which may demonstrate exacerbation of neurotoxicity (James et al., 2005).


There is a 2014 study (Rooney, J., 2014) that documented the half-life of inorganic mercury in the human brain, which can last “several years to several decades.” It was thought before that vaccines containing ethylmercury (which is in flu vaccines as a preservative) couldn’t be compared to inorganic mercury. Inorganic Mercury is extremely neurotoxic and we now know that thimerosal containing vaccines do uptake in the brain as inorganic mercury where it can accumulate and remain for the individual’s life (Burbacher et al., 2005). The inorganic mercury concentration in the brains of ethylmercury exposed monkeys in the Burbacher study is up to 4.6 times higher than in the blood at 2 days after the last injection. The ratio increased as sacrifices were performed at a longer duration from the last dose. Furthermore, the thimerosal exposed monkeys had higher levels of mercury in the kidneys when compared to the methyl mercury monkeys. Something that vaccine advocates are quick to point out is that the ethyl mercury clears the blood at a higher rate, which is true, but both mercury compounds uptake in tissues about the same (~4-7ng/g and ~10ng/g respectively). But the total inorganic mercury concentration is much higher in the brains of thimerosal exposed monkeys. Thimerosal is still (despite evidence that warrants caution) being used in flu vaccines which are recommended to children and pregnant women. I will provide further references at the end of this comment.

When it comes to the topic of vaccine safety, there are many logical errors people use and I am going to point out a few of them (albeit there are many others). One of the first ones is an appeal to scientific democracy which involves “the contention that if the majority of scientists believe something to be true, regardless of epistemological merit, then it must be assumed as true” (The Ethical Skeptic, n.d.). Then we have an appeal to scientists fallacy which is “an argument that is misrepresented to be the premise held true on the part of the prevailing group of scientists; or concludes a hypothesis (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to a more successful career in science” (The Ethical Skeptic, n.d.). Another commonly used argument and pseudo-skeptic tactic involves the use of a consensus appeal to authority. “Insofar as scientists speak in one voice and dissent is not really allowed, then appeal to scientific consensus is the same as an appeal to authority” (The Ethical Skeptic, n.d.). Consensus that is shaped by scientific obfuscation, conflicts of interest, and shoddy scientific studies that use poor methodology is consensus that is in error. If the “consensus” on such a topic is not in line with scientific facts or the proper usage of the scientific method, it ceases to be a consensus based on actual reliable science and thus poses major issues.

The precautionary principle is of utmost importance especially when dealing with a sub-population that is at an increased risk of an adverse reaction from specific exposures. Also, I agree with the statement “First, do no harm.” But you are making this statement from a position of ignorance on the topic of thimerosal. It turns out it is you that needs a lesson in biochemistry and an understanding of how to critically evaluate the literature (including many important studies of which you have never put an eye on, considered, or weighed the evidence for).

Further reading recommendations:

Rose et al. (2014). Increased susceptibility to ethylmercury-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in a subset of autism lymphoblastoid cell lines. Journal of Toxicology. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jt/2015/573701/

“These findings suggest that the epidemiological link between environmental mercury exposure and an increased risk of developing autism may be mediated through mitochondrial dysfunction and support the notion that a subset of individuals with autism may be vulnerable to environmental influences with detrimental effects on development through mitochondrial dysfunction.”

 

Sharpe et al. (2013). B-lymphocytes from a population of children with autism spectrum disorder and their unaffected siblings exhibit hypersensitivity to thimerosal. J Toxicol. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23843785

 

“Cells hypersensitive to thimerosal also had higher levels of oxidative stress markers, protein carbonyls, and oxidant generation. This suggests certain individuals with a mild mitochondrial defect may be highly susceptible to mitochondrial specific toxins like the vaccine preservative thimerosal.”

 

Dorea JG. (2013). Low-dose Mercury Exposure in Early Life: Relevance of Thimerosal to Fetuses, Newborns and Infants. Curr Med Chem.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23992327

“Major databases were searched for human and experimental studies that addressed issues related to early life exposure to TCV. It can be concluded that: a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants; b) etHg metabolism related to neurodevelopmental delays has been demonstrated experimentally and observed in population studies; c) unlike chronic Hg exposure during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental effects caused by acute (repeated/cumulative) early life exposure to TCV-etHg remain unrecognized; and d) the uncertainty surrounding low-dose toxicity of etHg is challenging but recent evidence indicates that avoiding cumulative insults by alkyl-mercury forms (which include Thimerosal) is warranted.”

 

Duszczyk-Budhathoki et al. (2012). Administration of thimerosal to infant rats increased overflow of glutamate and aspartate in the prefrontal cortex: protective role of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Neurochem Res. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22015977

“Since excessive accumulation of extracellular glutamate is linked with excitotoxicity, our data imply that neonatal exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines might induce excitotoxic brain injuries, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders.”

 

Sulkowski et al. (2012). Maternal thimerosal exposure results in aberrant cerebellar stress, thyroid hormone metabolism, and motor behavior in rat pups; sex- and strain-dependent effects. Cerebellum. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22015705

Our data thus demonstrate a negative neurodevelopmental impact of perinatal TM exposure which appears to be both strain – and sex-dependent

 

Sharpe et al. (2012). Thimerosal-Derived Ethylmercury is a mitochondrial toxin in human astrocytes:  possible role of fenton chemistry in the oxidation and breakage of mtDNA. J Toxicol. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3395253/

“These mitochondria appear to have undergone a permeability transition, an observation supported by the five-fold increase in Caspase-3 activity observed after Thimerosal treatment.”

 

Dorea, JG. (2011). Integrating experimental (in vitro and in vivo) neurotoxicity studies of low-dose thimerosal relevant to vaccines. Neurochem Res. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21350943

“Thimerosal at concentrations relevant for infants’ exposure (in vaccines) is toxic to cultured human-brain cells and to laboratory animals.”

Hooker et al. (2014). Methodological issues and evidence of malfeasance in research purporting to show thimerosal in vaccines is safe. BioMed Research International. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/247218/

There are over 165 studies that have focused on Thimerosal, an organic-mercury (Hg) based compound, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, and found it to be harmful. Of these, 16 were conducted to specifically examine the effects of Thimerosal on human infants or children with reported outcomes of death; acrodynia; poisoning; allergic reaction; malformations; auto-immune reaction; Well’s syndrome; developmental delay; and neurodevelopmental disorders, including tics, speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder, and autism. In contrast, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that Thimerosal is safe and there is “no relationship between [T]himerosal[-]containing vaccines and autism rates in children.” This is puzzling because, in a study conducted directly by CDC epidemiologists, a 7.6-fold increased risk of autism from exposure to Thimerosal during infancy was found. The CDC’s current stance that Thimerosal is safe and that there is no relationship between Thimerosal and autism is based on six specific published epidemiological studies coauthored and sponsored by the CDC. The purpose of this review is to examine these six publications and analyze possible reasons why their published outcomes are so different from the results of investigations by multiple independent research groups over the past 75+ years.

Adams et al. (2013). Toxicological status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children and the association with autism severity. Biol Trace Elem Res. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23192845

Overall, children with autism have higher average levels of several toxic metals, and levels of several toxic metals are strongly associated with variations in the severity of autism for all three of the autism severity scales investigated.

Rooney, J. (2013). The retention time of inorganic mercury in the brain – A systematic review of the evidence. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X13005644

Evidence from such studies point to a half-life of inorganic mercury in human brains of several years to several decades. This finding carries important implications for pharmcokinetic modelling of mercury and potentially for the regulatory toxicology of mercury.

Chen et al. (2013). Effect of thimerosal on the neurodevelopment of premature rats. World J Pediatr. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24235069

The negative adverse consequences on neurodevelopment observed in the present study are consistent with previous studies; this study raised serious concerns about adverse neurodevelopmental disorder such as autism in humans following the ongoing worldwide routine administration of thimerosalcontaining vaccines to infants.

Olczak et al. (2011). Persistent behavioral impairments and alterations of brain dopamine system after early postnatal administration of thimerosal in rats. Behav Brain Res. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21549155

These data document that early postnatal THIM administration causes lasting neurobehavioral impairments and neurochemical alterations in the brain, dependent on dose and sex. If similar changes occur in THIM/mercurial-exposed children, they could contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders

Olczak et al. (2010). Lasting neuropathological changes in rat brain after intermittent neonatal administration of thimerosal. Folia Neuropathol. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21225508

These finding document neurotoxic effects of thimerosal, at doses equivalent to those used in infant vaccines or higher, in developing rat brain, suggesting likely involvement of this mercurial in neurodevelopmental disorders

DeSoto, C. (2007). Blood Levels of Mercury Are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set. J Child Neurol. Retrieved from http://jcn.sagepub.com/content/22/11/1308.abstract

We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004 and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood

James et al. (2005). Thimerosal neurotoxicity is associated with glutathione depletion: protection with glutathione precursors. Neurotoxicology. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15527868

Although Thimerosal has been recently removed from most children’s vaccines, it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly, and to children in developing countries. The potential protective effect of GSH or NAC against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccinations

Waly et al. (2004). Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor-1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal. Mol Psychiatry. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745455

The potent inhibition of this pathway by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum and thimerosal suggests that it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins 

Citations of peer-reviewed studies from the book “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism,” written by James Lyons-Weiler (AKA the Twitter troll slayer).

https://envgencauses.com

Fake Science: When is Medical “Science” Not Science?

Excellently written! This definitely pertains to the differences between ethical and social skepticism and how scientific manipulation has been used to hinder the knowledge development process.

lifebiomedguru

WE HAVE BEEN WARNED by our government and by specific social media outlets that much of the “news” we read online falls into a category of “Fake News”.  This warning has been identified as a very real threat to the freedom of expression and a move toward censorship.  I have witnessed first-hand how facts have been obliterated by government officials at press conferences, in testimony fake-newsto Congress, and in conference calls to the scientific community.

Throughout my scientific career, I have championed objectivity, first-hand, with hands-on data, data analysis plans, study designs, reporting, writing papers, publishing, participating on NIH grant review panels, conducting peer review on studies submitted to dozens of different journals.  I served as founding Editor-in-Chief on a journal that was my brain child, and led a dozen or so of the Editorial Board in a threat of mass resignation against the publisher if they weakened the peer-review system…

View original post 3,085 more words

A Reply to the User and Neurodiversity advocate”autistinquisitor”

“First off, Autism Speaks is an anti-autistic hate group. Don’t use them for a source. In fact, if you paid any attention AT ALL to neurodiversity proponents, they DO advocate pathologizing and treating the co-morbid conditions. That doesn’t mean we want to change the way we think. Autism is part of who we are. We shouldn’t “treat” autism, but we should treat Autistics for the same things we treat non-autistic people, such as diseases like epilepsy. “

The “Autism Speaks” link I used was merely for the economic statistics, which still stand on their own regardless of who reports them. I am not claiming to agree with everything this organization does nor was that my point. Now, moving on to your other claims—I am specifically addressing those within the neurodiversity who do trivialize and downplay the co-morbidities. I did not claim that every single person within this movement was wrong or that all of their viewpoints were incorrect; I outlined the signature arguments and assumptions that were flawed. I myself have debated those who deny that their is an association between autism and co-occurring morbidities, which is another reason I have pointed this out. In fact, I said “To be clear, I am not claiming that autistic people shouldn’t be accepted or looked at equally; they should be loved, appreciated, and dealt with through compassion, empathy, and guidance. The problem arises when there is ignorance of the negative effects of the autism epidemic and what a statistically significant portion of autistic people go through. I am also not claiming that every idea the neurodiversity movement has put forth is wrong; I am only showing the part of it that is demonstrably false and entirely ignorant of reality. Mainly, looking away from these valid findings and data on autism is both asinine and counterproductive.” To reiterate my point once more, autism is biological. Specific subgroups within autism have the behavioral abnormalities they do due to underlying disease and occurrences such as brain inflammation, oxidative stress, immune abnormalities, and mitochondrial dysfunction. These are medically treatable in specific cases and they are related to the behavioral phenotype. You say you don’t want to change the way “we” think, but you need to realize you do not speak for every single person with autism. I myself am on the spectrum and I do not imply this either; I talk in specifics because I am addressing a specific subset. When you say “we” you are speaking of yourself and the others within the ND movement, but this does not include all of us; I find this is important to note when discussing differences in ideas and perceptions.

“Autism is also not an epidemic. We have always existed. And most of the evidence claiming environmental causes is questionable at best.”

The contention that “autism is not an epidemic” is false. The statistics and science say otherwise:

Nevison, C. (2014). a comparison of temporal trends in United States autism prevalence to trends in suspected environmental factors. Environ Health, 13(73). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177682/

“The quantitative comparison of IDEA snapshot and constant-age tracking trend slopes suggests that ~75-80% of the tracked increase in autism since 1988 is due to an actual increase in the disorder rather than to changing diagnostic criteria.”

Dave, D., Fernandez, J. (2014). Rising autism prevalence: Real or displacing other mental disorders?  Evidence from demand for auxiliary healthcare workers in California. Economic Inquiry. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecin.12137/abstract;jsessionid=EDA31CC40A2BC6358D480853F07EC7BC.f01t01

These estimates suggest that at least part of the increase in autism diagnoses, about 50–65%, reflects an increase in the true prevalence of the disorder. (JEL L11, J2, J3)

DeSoto et al. (2013). Professional opinion on the question of changes in autism incidence. Open Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=30182

Results suggest that among professional psychologists with a terminal degree (n=88), the majority believe that diagnostic changes can not fully account for the observed increase; 72% reported wither the true rate may have, or definitely has, increased

Hertz-Picciotto et al. (2009).UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute study shows California’s autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis. UCDavis Health System. Retrieved from http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090218_autism_environment/

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California’s children.

I am also not claiming that autistic people have not always been around; they have, but the prevalence and rates were not as high. We now know that a specific percentage of the observed increase is due to actual increases in autism and not just diagnostic changes.

Your statement that the evidence of environmental causes is “questionable at best” is also an assumption and an opinion, albeit not a scientific one. There are known environmental contributions to autism and there are potential causes which are continuing to be studied. Here are some (a small number out of the many existing) scientific citations:

Sandin et al. (2014). The familial risk of autism. JAMA. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24794370

We estimated how much of the probability of developing ASD can be related to genetic (additive and dominant) and environmental (shared and nonshared) factors…  Heritability of ASD and autistic disorder were estimated to be approximately 50%. These findings may inform the counseling of families with affected children.

Shelton et al. (2014). Neurodevelopmental disorders and prenatal residential proximity to agricultural pesticides: The CHARGE study. Environmental Health Perspectives. Retrieved from http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1307044/

Children of mothers who live near agricultural areas, or who are otherwise exposed to organophosphate, pyrethroid, or carbamate pesticides during gestation may be at increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Further research on gene-by-environment interactions may reveal vulnerable sub-populations.

Braun et al. (2014). Gestational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and reciprocal social, repetitive, and stereotypic behaviors in 4- and 5-year-old children: the HOME study. National Institute of Environmental health Sciences (NIH). Retrieved from http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/advpub/2014/3/ehp.1307261.pdf

This work builds upon the theory that ASDs are a spectrum of disorders with prenatal origins, where both genetic and environmental factors contribute to atypical neurodevelopment, resulting in more autistic behaviors, and, at the extreme end, clinical diagnosis. EDCs deserve consideration as candidate risk factors for ASDs because of their potential to alter hormonal axis functions that play an important role in neurodevelopment. Building on this, we employed a statistically rigorous design to screen 52 different candidate EDCs and identify those worth additional study

Rzhetsky et al. (2014). Environmental and state-level regulatory factors affect the incidence of autism and intellectual disability. PLOSone. Retrieved from http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1003518

Disease clusters are defined as geographically compact areas where a particular disease, such as a cancer, shows a significantly increased rate. It is presently unclear how common such clusters are for neurodevelopmental maladies, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). In this study, examining data for one third of the whole US population, the authors show that (1) ASD and ID display strong clustering across US counties; (2) counties with high ASD rates also appear to have high ID rates, and (3) the spatial variation of both phenotypes appears to be driven by environmental, and, to a lesser extent, economic incentives at the state level.

Commentary:  Study shows autism clusters are caused by environmental factors, urbanization, increased economic status, and impacts males the most.  Some environmental factors noted are: pesticides, lead, sex hormone analogs, medication, plasticizers, among others.

Rossignol et al. (2014). Environmental toxicants and autism spectrum disorders a systematic review. Translational Psychiatry. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v4/n2/full/tp20144a.html#bib13

This was a great review of all the current literature regarding neurodevelopmental disorders.
1.  The dose of environmental toxicants are highly variable regarding negative adverse events, especially in children with ASD because they have polymorphisms in genes that detoxify..
2.  ASD is presenting as a systemic abnormality creating immune dysregulation/inflammation, impaired detoxification, redox regulation/oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction.  Caused by toxicant exposures with genetic interplay.

The findings of this review suggest that the etiology of ASD may involve, at least in a subset of children, complex interactions between genetic factors and certain environmental toxicants that may act synergistically or in parallel during critical periods of neurodevelopment, in a manner that increases the likelihood of developing ASD. Because of the limitations of many of the reviewed studies, additional high-quality epidemiological studies concerning environmental toxicants and ASD are warranted to confirm and clarify many of these findings.

Gayle, D. (2014). Number of chemicals linked to problems such as autism DOUBLES in just seven years. MailOnline. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2560068/Young-risk-silent-epidemic-brain-disorders-Study-finds-growing-number-chemicals-linked-problems-like-autism.html

The researchers warn that chemical safety checks need to be tightened up around the world to protect our vulnerable youngsters from a ‘silent epidemic’ of brain disorders.

Yasuda, H., & Tsutsui, T. (2013). Assessment of infantile mineral imbalances in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Int J environ Res Public Health, 10(11). doi:  10.3390/ijerph10116027

These findings suggest that infantile zinc- and magnesium-deficiency and/or toxic metal burdens may be critical and induce epigenetic alterations in the genes and genetic regulation mechanisms of neurodevelopment in the autistic children, and demonstrate that a time factor “infantile window” is also critical for neurodevelopment and probably for therapy. Thus, early metallomics analysis may lead to early screening/estimation and treatment/prevention for the autistic neurodevelopment disorders.

Essa et al. (2013). Excitotoxicity in the pathogenesis of autism. Neurotox Res. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23065398

It is a multifactorial disorder resulting from interactions between genetic, environmental and immunological factors. Excitotoxicity and oxidative stress are potential mechanisms, which are likely to serve as a converging point to these risk factors. Substantial evidence suggests that excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and impaired mitochondrial function are the leading cause of neuronal dysfunction in autistic patients. Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter produced in the CNS, and overactivity of glutamate and its receptors leads to excitotoxicity. The over excitatory action of glutamate, and the glutamatergic receptors NMDA and AMPA, leads to activation of enzymes that damage cellular structure, membrane permeability and electrochemical gradients. The role of excitotoxicity and the mechanism behind its action in autistic subjects is delineated in this review.

Naviaux et al. (2013). Antipurinergic therapy corrects the autism-life features in the poly(IC) mouse model. PLOSone. Retrieved from http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057380

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Mitochondria act to connect genes and environment by regulating gene-encoded metabolic networks according to changes in the chemistry of the cell and its environment. Mitochondrial ATP and other metabolites are mitokines—signaling molecules made in mitochondria—that undergo regulated release from cells to communicate cellular health and danger to neighboring cells via purinergic signaling

This is only a modicum of the existing literature but I included the citations as examples of the evidence surrounding autism and the environment. It is multi-factorial and all of the biological underpinnings must be considered. If someone is open to looking at more of the science and research initiatives that there currently are, I am willing to have an open discussion.

Next, moving on to your other claims:

“Also, your “raw data” site is an anti-vaccine conspiracy site, containing anti-vaccine pages, so that’s utter bullshit as well.”

Here we see more suppositions. You assume that the website is “anti-vaccine” or conspiratorial which are terms commonly framed as pejoratives. Making these claims does not improve your argument and it actually shows your inability to look beyond pigeonholes. It is also part of the celeber cavilla fallacy. The author of the “autismrawdata” website is currently receiving her PhD in Health Science and the website uses peer-reviewed science and logical rebuttals. This would not constitute “bullshit” but it is apparent you’ve either not read the science and content because of your preconceived notions or you deny it altogether (and I assume it would be both).

“Also, fuck “functioning labels”. Functioning labels are a false dichotomy, they are arbitrary, and dehumanizing. They don’t accurately depict an Autistic’s skills; more just how well they can pass for neurotypical. It may surprise you to know that a LOT of non-speaking people, despite challenges and possible co-morbidities, do NOT want to change who they are. Some of these people have self-injured before as well. (Note the double standard: when a neurotypical self-injures, we help them without changing who they are. Let’s do the same for us? This is coming from an occasional self-injurer.) Look up Amy Sequenzia, her blog can be found here: http://nonspeakingautisticspeaking.blogspot.com and know there are many like her. In fact, most Autistics I met, speaking or not, while they wish they could rid themselves of certain impairments, do not want to change who they are.”

Functioning labels are not “arbitrary”in the sense they define specific characteristics that are part of known and studied cognitive phenotypes in ASD. You are assuming that it is dehumanizing and using an appeal to emotion. I study these cognitive phenotypes (as do other researchers) and all of these researchers do not use these classifications to deny the individuality and brilliance of autistic people. They are studied for the particular purpose of scientific and psychological inquiry. There are many skills/abilities certain autistic people hold and they are truly awe-inspiring; the fact that they may not fit in with “neurotypical” skills does not diminish their significance nonetheless. I do not agree with those (if there are any) who claim that there are no autistic people that hold amazing skills, abilities, and perceptions. I also do not agree with those who mistreat those with disabilities or dehumanize them. This is important to note when explaining my views so another straw man can’t be created.

Regarding what you are saying about the non-speaking autistic people who have co-morbidities and do not want to change who they are, I am not claiming that they should be changed. I have said in my blog posts before “I will add that yes, there are important and valid points brought up from people in this movement. I agree that we should accept those that are already permanently autistic as well as acknowledge the brilliance and unique abilities of many of those with autism, but I also believe we should prevent the cases of autism that are induced by deleterious triggers in the environment.” I will add for further clarification, “Those who are non-speaking (but have the ability to communicate in other ways) that do not want to change should not be changed against their will as this would be a direct violation of consent and personal liberty.” I specifically addressed that the neurodiversity movement does not speak for the autistic people that are outside of the movement (either through disagreement or complete lack of comprehension/communication ability) and have behavioral aberrations due to underlying disease pathology. Again, this is a statistically significant subset that I discuss and I am not claiming that it is exactly the same in every single case. Autism is behaviorally and psychologically defined but we know there is a high prevalence of miscellaneous medical co-morbid conditions and they are not mere coincidence (Banaschewski et al., 2011; Geier et al., 2012; Ozsivadjian et al., 2014).  Treatment progress has been hindered because of antiquated misconceptions about autism etiology and the dismissal of evidence that the disorder is linked to brain inflammation. Evidence shows that many children with autism have brain pathology signifying ongoing neuroinflammation. (Enstrom et al., 2005; Pardo et al., 2005; Vargas et al., 2005; Zimmerman et al., 2005; Chez et al., 2007; Morgan et al., 2010, 2012; Tetreault et al., 2012). I won’t go over all of the complex medical science on immunoexcitotoxicity but I will provide links to the science that shows immune activation can cause autistic behaviors. It is also known that infections during pregnancy can increase the risk of the offspring having schizophrenia or autism. This association is continuing to be studied and confirmed in research.
Also, thank you for the blog link; I like to read opinions from both sides and better understand those within the movement, whether “high-functioning” or non-speaking. 

“Lastly, to hell with the talk of how much we “cost”. That is basically implying that we are burdens. Also, you know who else used that rhetoric? The Nazis. Back in the day they put up posters that explained how much disabled people cost and used that as an excuse for Aktion T4. When people talk about how much we cost, they reduce us to nothing more than financial burdens. So you’re basically saying we don’t deserve to exist/our lives aren’t worth living just because we’re an inconvenience. And that is utterly disgusting.”


Here you are attacking a straw man, using false equivalence, avoiding the issue, and using an appeal to emotion. The cost to to the economy is a fact and it is not implying that we are “burdens.” It is looking at the reality of financial costs for autistic people and their families and how this affects the economy along with overall life. 

“In 2011, Autism Speaks awarded Dr. Leigh’s a research grant to develop clear and reliable methods to update autism’s economic costs to society on an annual basis. Such information is crucial when advocating for support services that reduce overall costs to society while improving daily function and quality of life.

In his work, Dr. Leigh included analysis of both direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs include special education, adult care programs, physician and therapist visits, hospitalizations, medications and paid caregivers.

Indirect costs include lost productivity – particularly in terms of wages and benefits – for both those who have autism and their family caregivers.

Information for the analysis came from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and published research estimates of per-person costs.

“Public, research and government policy attention to autism ought to be at least as great as it is for other major health conditions such as diabetes,” concludes Dr. Leigh.”

The data and information is being used to assess the reality of costs and also improve the lives of those with autism, not to “reduce us to nothing more than financial burdens.”

As for your statement about nazis and Aktion T4, I am not advocating for euthanasia nor is any of this related to the arguments I put forth about autism. I am not “basically saying that we don’t deserve to exist/our lives aren’t worth living just because we’re an inconvenience.” The logical fallacy your using is a straw man.

Your nescience seemingly undermines your ability to understand how brain inflammation affects cognitive function and how this translates into specific autistic phenotypes. Although I am interested in open dialogue about autism, science, and the implications of our current state of knowledge, I highly doubt (with you) that this will blossom into a productive, open, and interesting philosophical debate.

An Allegory of Empathy

One of the ultimate educators is empathy, but many people only have a fraction of it for others, depending on their ties to the certain individual or their ability to look further into another perspective. 

Imagine a house, filled with an infinite amount of rooms. In each room there is a different person and a background—a background that contains both different factors and occurrences. Each person within each room is confined to their own viewpoint, and they only see within the scope which pertains to themselves. 

Let’s imagine one of these rooms contains a person going through psychosis, hearing voices, seeing the strangest of the strange, as they weep to their own delusional aberrations—this is all they have ever known, seen, felt, or heard. They know nothing of happiness, nothing of the effulgence of the morning sun, nothing of anything but mental anguish, every waking moment. 

Now the room next to them, which they have no clue exists—contains something much different. The person in the room has only ever known feelings of great felicity, and no facet of any other emotion. They see only beauty, the divine, and the positive. They do not know the great pains that plague other humans, because they do not know that humans of other experience even exist. 

There is a great dichotomy between these two rooms and those who inhabit it—the dichotomy of happiness and suffering. Neither of these people know anything that goes beyond their own point of view; other existences to them are both foreign and unknowable. 

Now, let’s imagine that each of the other infinite numbers of rooms are also symbols of every aspect and possibility of human emotion and experience—dismay, disgust, fear, vexation, sickness, rage, ecstasy, pleasure, and more. They only feel but a specific set of these at all times and they will never know any others. Their perspective stops past the room in which they reside. 

Moreover, imagine that above all of these rooms there is a god-like being, one that sees every room and every infinite possibility within the house of theoretical experience. This entity is able to feel every emotion of each individual in each room and experience the stimuli from each individual environment. They are omnipresent, all knowing, and at the apogee, the ultimate bearer of empathy. Also picture that this being is able to feel and see the entire process of neurotransmission within the brain, along with understanding cognitive interpretations of the environment—two important aspects of human emotion and behavior. This level of empathy would even be molecular. 

This, however, is not humanly possible. There is only a specific range of what we are able to experience and feel within the confinement of our own personal experiences and abilities; but, there is a way, an ultimate philosophy, which seeks to understand as many perspectives as possible and use this knowledge to better understand ourselves, others, the past, present, and the future. Working towards this is to see every single gradation of all gradations, and to use this information to its fullest potential.

Humans are naturally prone to bias and many people refuse to look past their own sets of beliefs and conclusions. Other people simply do not have the intelligence to imagine another set of experiences happening to them—since it goes beyond what they know personally. There are also people (for example, social skeptics) who pretend that they understand other people’s experiences; they use feigned superiority and understanding to mock or deny what someone else goes through. It is pseudo-intellect being used merely as a tool to dismiss, misinterpret, and deny the pain that other people experience, especially when these observations and experiences get in the way of social skeptics’ preconceived notions. What they are taking part in is the antithesis of emotional and cognitive empathy. This is not what ethical and empathetic skeptics wish to do—it is the opposite of what our being and objectives are made of. We must strive to understand other outlooks, and  use our knowledge to abate suffering—which is ultimately the most profound goal. 

The term “Anti-vaxx” and the Celeber Cavilla Fallacy

The Celeber Cavilla Fallacy is defined as this: 

“A fad condemnation phrase of assumed immediate definition and gravitas. Also known as the ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ fallacy.
/philosophy : fallacy : fad phrases and weapon words : latin (‘celebrated jeer’ or ‘famous quip’)/ : a form of Truzzi Fallacy. A wink wink nudge nudge categorization or condemnation. A counter-claim which is specious in its assertion and usually ad hominem in its implication. However the counter-claim issuer employs it because they are under the false impression that since the accusation phrase is in such popular use, therefore the claim comes incumbent with immediate credibility in the offing, along with an assumed definition, evidence and acceptance.” (Courtesy of The Ethical Skeptic). 

I started off with this definition so that you will understand the meaning of this fallacy and how it applies to the term “anti-vaxx.” Firstly, when someone pigeonholes you as this they are assuming they understand the depth of your position. Secondly, not everyone within the movement of questioning vaccine safety labels themselves as this or holds the view that vaccines have never prevented disease or are useful. We first have to define the meaning of “anti-vaxx”, which is notably variable and the definition changes depending on the subject’s  interpretation (arbitrary). One may define it as simply questioning the efficacy and safety of vaccines, while another may claim that it is someone who thinks vaccines should be banned altogether. There are people who label themselves as “anti-vaxx” proudly and those of us who question vaccines without holding ourselves to that title. I understand the detriment that title poses and the assumptions it will lead outsiders to, but I also understand that many psuedo-skeptics will label me as this regardless of their understanding of my stance or whether we have had a significant amount of dialogue or time to exchange views. Being on the “pro-vaxx” side does not automatically make one correct and being on the “anti-vaxx” side doesn’t either. We must push games of semantics aside and look at the underlying science and philosophy surrounding this paramount issue. 

An Open Letter to the Neurodiversity Movement 

I am going to ask several important questions, all directed to advocates of the neurodiversity movement.  Keep in mind, I am someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) so I am asking these questions from the perspective of someone who understands what it’s like to live with this disorder. I am also going to expound upon what I have previously written on this topic; you can view my previous post on the neurodiversity movement here.

When it comes to ASD, the neurodiversity movement premises some of their viewpoints on false information. This includes the notion that autism is only genetic and “inborn.” This has been proven wrong by scientific research that actually proves autism is a neuroimmune disease that involves epigenetic changes/modifications.1 This involves a specific portion of statistically significant subgroups that have been studied and are continuing to be studied. I must also point out that every individual with ASD does not display the same exact symptomatology. There are various environmental and genetic causes of autism, and one cannot accurately say that only one factor causes all cases.2

These different autism subgroups and their causes need to be understood properly so that from there we can discuss treatment options as well as acceptance of those who have no way of changing their condition. I will add that yes, there are important and valid points brought up from people in this movement. I agree that we should accept those that are already permanently autistic as well as acknowledge the brilliance and unique abilities of many of those with autism, but I also believe that we should prevent the cases of autism that are induced by deleterious triggers in the environment. In other words, we should not allow the innocent child’s brain and body to be damaged  by factors outside of their control (what in reality is forced upon them by corrupt outside entities, entities involved in a genetocide).

Neurodiversity advocates want us to accept these neurological differences regardless of the cause, but what if they somehow (hypothetically) did admit that there were subgroups that had autism induced by the environment? Would a lack of autism mean that these children are any less special? Should we allow the environment to induce these changes, or should we prevent them given we have the knowledge to do so? How would they view this if they changed the entire foundation of their “genetically determined” stance? Say that there is a child who is normally developing and then regresses (regressive autism) how does his autism improve them, from a neurodiversity perspective? Does it improve them at all or does it actually lower their quality of life? Would these advocates prefer the before or after? We have to draw a line between autism that is only genetic (albeit a very small percentage) and the large percentage of autism that involves epigenetic changes, environmental factors, genetic predispositions and co-morbidities. The neurodiversity arguments would make sense for the “only genetic” subgroup, but it can’t apply to the other subgroups that have environmentally-induced disease. The etiology for each is not exactly the same.

Now, the proponents of this movement can believe as they want to, but overall they are downplaying the reality of autism and its consequences—this is what I take the most issue with. The people that buy into this truly believe that there is no autism epidemic and that the numbers only look the way they do due to diagnostic changes, which is another argument that has also been refuted.3 As they mislead the public, they are taking away from the needs of suffering parents and children. In addition to this, they make the mistake of assuming they speak for all of those with autism. They do not speak for me or for the others who are physically sick and need help.

We also must ask, what about the lower-functioning/severely autistic people who have no way of communicating? They cannot give their opinion because they lack certain comprehension skills and/or are non-verbal. ND proponents cannot speak for these autistics either.

What I also find to be most perturbing is that this movement is conditioning the public into normalizing and even trivializing the autism epidemic. If people accept the epidemic and assume that autism is only a “normal variation in human behavior” people become passive and sit idly by while innocent lives are damaged through causes that are completely preventable. The repercussions (economic and societal) of the autism epidemic will be far more deleterious than the general public can even imagine.

All in all, the assumptions made by these advocates are leading to false conclusions, and these false conclusions are being used to both deny and ignore the treatment needs of those with autism. We need funding to go towards biomedical research for autism therapies (especially for the painful co-morbidities). Biomedical interventions can have profound effects when specific biomarkers are identified and treated accordingly. This can improve the lives of those suffering, and this is of utmost importance. The longer that the public and health authorities wait as they drown in their presuppositions, the more time is wasted and the longer people suffer. We need to be pragmatic, conduct proper research, and use the scientific knowledge we do have in clinical practice so that as many lives can be improved as possible.

References:

1. http://autismrawdata.net/blog/autism-is-epigenetic-environmental-trigger-genetic

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3799534/

2.http://autismrawdata.net/blog/autism-is-epigenetic-environmental-trigger-genetic

3.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177682/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecin.12137/abstract;jsessionid=EDA31CC40A2BC6358D480853F07EC7BC.f01t01

http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=30182

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090218_autism_environment/

http://autismrawdata.net/1/post/2014/01/how-does-one-diagnose-autism.html

Side note:

When I discuss prevention I am referencing neurodevelopmental disorders that are indeed preventable by avoiding certain exposures, and not disorders which are only genetic/untreatable. You can learn more about this subject from a publication in Environmental Health Perspectives. Here is a summary:

“Children in America today are at an unacceptably high risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the brain and nervous system including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, and other learning and behavioral disabilities. These are complex disorders with multiple causes—genetic, social, and environmental. The contribution of toxic chemicals to these disorders can be prevented.”

Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks. The TENDR Consensus Statement

Definitions: 

Geneticide – genocide by means of genetic exploitation or introduction of environmental influences which produce a sustained dysgenic effect on target populations. The exploitation of the specific genetics of a lineage of people to craft impacts seeking to ultimately and eventually eliminate them from a population. Employment of food, mandatory medicines, product and environmental toxins, social policy, laws, pesticides, and allele manipulation as a means to effect in specific genetic lineages – developmental problems, protein malnutrition, cognitive impairment, encephalopathy, birth defects, attention and comprehension difficulties, growth inhibition, mental disorders, drug and alcohol susceptibility, auto-immune disorders, endocrine collapse, disease, low rates of reproductivity, premature death – and otherwise disrupt the general health and welfare of a target population.

Retrieved from:

Glossary


Recommended articles: 
https://www.google.com/amp/s/aydansrecovery.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/how-dangerous-is-it-to-find-an-autism-cure/amp/?client=safari

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/01/autism_neurodiversity_does_facilitated_communication_work_and_who_speaks.html

The Inverse Problem and False Claims to ‘Settled Science’

Excellent work! I am never dissapointed by what The Ethical Skeptic brings to the table of philosophy and epistemology. Where can we grant TES the internet “winner’s award” for the most current revolutionary writings within the realm of philosophy that there is?

The Ethical Skeptic

Science achieves its strongest theoretical basis when both the forward problem and the inverse problem agree, as to the outcomes attributed to a set of input variables inside a proposed solution. To simply craft models, parameters, constraints, arrival distributions, relationships – all of which impart risk to the model – and then presume that our current understanding of such will then guarantee a valid field result or outcome – is unfinished science at best, and pseudoscience or oligarch arrogance at worst.

Claims to consensus are invalid and claims to fished science are inaccurate, in a circumstance where the forward problem and the inverse problem of science – do not meet in agreement first. This is the circumstance we observe inside many of today’s most popular and vociferously contested scientific controversies. The public or outcome stakeholder observes one thing, and those observations stand in direct conflict with the forward model theoretical…

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Dear American Press: Enough with the Rhetoric. Tell the Full Autism/Vaccine Safety Research Story

lifebiomedguru

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS on the GOP ticket touched a bit of a third rail in the debates on Wednesday night.JLW1

The ANTI-VACCINE SAFETY PRESS (how do you like it?) ran into overdrive to perform damage control on their favorite, most-run story on vaccines and autism: that, again, for (sigh, when will people ever understand, I suffer so!) the BILLIONTH time, “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism”. They are no doubt trying to save countless lives by teaching people that vaccines save lives.

In support of their positions, each story used well-worn tactics of argumentation. They cited “dozens” of studies that have been published.

Where is the Fourth Estate?

The Washington Post went back in time to 1998 to the Wakefield affair.

But The Post they did not go back to August, 2014 to the news that Dr. William Thompson confessed that the CDC fudged data on vaccine safety, nor did they mention…

View original post 3,231 more words

Ethical Issues within Mandatory Vaccination, an Essay by Heather Rhodes

There are not many public health issues where views are as extremely polarized as those concerning vaccines. Four populations are targeted for vaccine mandates: children who go to public school, healthcare employees, immigrants, and our military. Exemptions to vaccine mandates fall into three basic categories: medical, religious, personal, and/or philosophical. Through the course of this paper I will discuss each of these target populations and the ethical philosophies that drive and oppose these policies.
In 1983, children were required to have 10 total injections of the polio, MMR, and DTP vaccines prior to entering the public school system by age 4 (CDC, 1983). In theory these mandates are to protect the children and the greater good of society from disease, but this very utilitarian approach had some drawbacks. The policy created debilitating injury in some children. Parents of the vaccine injured sued the pharmaceutical industry and won huge claims from these vaccine adverse events. Vaccine manufacturers then went to the U.S. government and threatened to stop production of vaccines in light of the settlements. This ruffled the feathers of the utilitarian policy makers whose only goal is to presumably maintain the health of the greatest majority. This gave way to the legislation of The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. In this Act, the pharmaceutical company gained its freedom from liability if their product causes harm because our government outlined vaccines as “unavoidably unsafe” (HRSA, 1986). Thus began a tax collection from the sale of every vaccine to be placed in a compensation fund for the injured, thereby the product consumers are now liable for product failures.

The U.S. government created a list of “table injuries” where claimants’ had no-fault protection if the suspected injury fell within the timeframe guidelines (HRSA, n.d.). There are some very serious adverse events listed within that table, like death and encephalopathy (swelling of the brain). Another factor we must consider before we try and understand the different mindsets is the surveillance system that is in place for picking up vaccine adverse events. We only have one system, and it is considered a passive reporting system with many methodological limitations. According to a peer-review study on the vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS), “The study of vaccine safety is complicated by underreporting, erroneous reporting, frequent multiple exposures and multiple outcomes” (Singleton, 1999). There are over 400,000 vaccine adverse events that are documented in the VAERS (NVIC, 2012). The utilitarian ideologues claim none of these events can be medically associated with vaccines. Based upon these findings this surveillance system is inadequate, and impossible in determining vaccine risk, but it is the system of choice by our health authority.

With the foundation of the policy framed, I think we can have a clearer understanding of the dueling ethical philosophies. The utilitarian argument is that vaccines are the greatest accomplishment in science and medicine of this century. They prevent infectious disease epidemics, which in the 1900s were the scourge of U.S. citizenry. They claim that vaccines have been thoroughly tested and proven safe and effective. Some argue that if you refuse to vaccinate you are a poor member of society, and a parasite of herd immunity. A utilitarian approach is to maintain the highest vaccine compliance to insure the highest disease protection for the greatest majority even while understanding that some will die because of this policy. There is an extremist faction within this utilitarian group, and unfortunately their goals are infringing on parental rights and informed consent. The utilitarian’s main focus is a policy that protects the greatest good. They will lie, conceal, show no mercy for the populations who are harmed, and ignore violations they create in the process. The only goal is to protect the policy at all cost and force the public into compliance at every turn. On MSNBC Dr. Nancy Snyderman sums up the philosophy well by saying, “Just get your damn vaccine” (Snyderman, 2009). Don’t question the policy; don’t exempt from the procedure; just do it for the greater good of humanity.

There are several ethical philosophies that argue against this policy. There are two exemptions that protect the rights of these populations— religious and philosophical. The religious ethical ideologues oppose the ingredient MRC-5, which are cells from aborted fetuses. The vaccines that contain those ingredients are chickenpox (varicella), rubella (German measles), hepatitis A, and shingles (CDC, personal communication, September 30, 2009). These Christians also quote the Bible, which states parents are entrusted with the care and welfare of the child (1 Timothy 5:8 King James Version). That would remove the power of this policy from our health authority. Many other religious groups oppose other specific ingredients that are injected through vaccines, like cells from cows, monkeys, chickens, and pigs (Evangelista, 2004). Some religious groups like the Amish and the Mennonites forgo all advanced medical care of the 20th Century.

The philosophical ideology that opposes vaccination can encompass many ethical groups. Their argument is vaccines are not proven safe, or effective. They feel the U.S. health authority overemphasizes the benefit, and trivializes the adverse events. These ideologues point to the known corruption of the pharmaceutical industry, and question the legislation that allows manufactures to produce, conduct the safety analysis, market, and promote products they will never have liability for if they fail. Philosophical ethicists disagree with the growing list of mandated vaccines for school-aged children and point out the lack of safety data that exists with these simultaneous injections. Today a child can have 38 injections of 15 vaccines before reaching school age (CDC, 2012.). This “bloat” as they call it is a cause for concern. Dr. Paul Offit an outspoken utilitarian and a defender of vaccines once said, “an infant could handle up to 100,000 vaccines at one time…safely” (Offit, 2006). Philosophical ideologues would say this is a ridiculous statement that is meant to spin the science, and trivialize the topic. A utilitarian routinely points to the pediatric population to prove vaccine safety by outlining how immune they are to infectious disease. A philosophical exempter would argue that this is a one-dimensional approach in establishing public health. They would point to increases in infant mortality, and childhood chronic disease like asthma, IDDM, and autism to name a few (NCHS, 2009). It is also proved through evidence-based medicine that;

“90% of the decline of infectious disease mortality among US children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccines were available” (Guryer et al, 2000).

The philosophical ethicists feel the utilitarians cannot make risk assessments regarding vaccine safety because injuries are not actively tracked by VAERS. And how many times have we heard from these utilitarians that there is only one study that linked vaccines with autism, and it was debunked? This has to be the biggest lie of them all. There are dozens of studies that link vaccines, and their ingredients to a myriad of negative neurological, and immunological outcomes (Validation, 2012). The arguments continue back and forth without end in site because the ethical beliefs are so opposing.

Our public health authority that maintains a utilitarian mindset is trying everything they can to steamroll this policy down the throats of the American public. There are those who are actively trying to pull the legal exemptions, and waivers from religious, and philosophical ideologies. The American Academy of Pediatrics, and Dr. Paul Offit issued a joint news release urging the end of these exemptions stating “the delicate balance between individual freedoms and societal good” (News Release, 2010). Also, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS) stated, “Parents should not be allowed to exempt their children from vaccinations” (Rain, 2011). In Massachusetts they passed a law that children can be removed from their homes and forcibly vaccinated against the parents wishes (FoxNews, 2009). This year California passed a bill AB2109 that allows health care providers to vaccinate 12 year olds without the parent’s knowledge or consent at public school institutions, or medical facilities (AB499, 2012). In West Virginia where they do not allow religious, or philosophical exemptions a policy was implemented to drop students who where not compliant with vaccine booster protocols’ (Horst, 2012). In Maryland the government threatened parents with jail, or bring their children to the courthouse to have them vaccinated with up to 17 vaccines at the same time. This got the attention of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons who immediately issued a press release.

“This campaign of intimidation to brutally enforce blanket vaccine mandates by government agencies and the school district gives no consideration for the rights of the parents or the individual medical condition of the child” (Serkes, 2007).

The utilitarian camp justifies the trampling of civil liberties and parental rights because of their presumed greater good outcomes. The philosophical, and religious groups claim the government does not know what is best for the children of this Country the parents do. With this growing controversy, and incoming science that has damaged the vaccine policy non-medical vaccine exemptions are on the rise (Hawthorne, 2012). I am certain that these utilitarians who care little of personal civil liberties, or parental rights will implement more vaccine roundups in the future if op-outs continue to climb. Already pediatric offices around the Country are firing children from their practices because of vaccine refusals, yet another bulling tactic to force compliance (Patt, 2012).
There has been a growing demand to enforce tougher penalties against healthcare workers who refuse the yearly flu vaccine. Medscape contributor and head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York City Medical Center, Art Caplan PhD sums up the utilitarian philosophy nicely.

“Ethically, your first obligation is to do no harm. If you are there to do no harm and that is your primary obligation, then you cannot put your personal choice or your personal reluctance to get that shot above doing harm. And you are likely to do harm to others if you do not get that shot” (Caplan, 2012).

This pressure from the U.S. health authority has been met with opposition from the opposing philosophical, and religious ideologies. This year healthcare professionals have flooded the comment section of the HHS pleading for their right to choose. Their comments are filled with science, and philosophy that contradicts this encroaching policy vaccinate or be fired (HHS, 2012). The utilitarians are ignoring their opinions, and their jobs are in jeopardy. Colorado has implemented a 100% vaccine compliance rate for all medical staff. If the staff does not comply they “will be suspended and then fired” (Denver CBS4, 2012). This appears to be a growing trend at medical facilities, and is already established in Philadelphia, Washington, and New York. Some healthcare workers are fighting back. In 2009 across the state of New York nurses protested the vaccine mandate. “Frank Mannino, a 50 year old registered nurse, said the state regulation violates his personal freedom and civil rights” (Nurses Forum Staff, 2009). The Washington State Nurses Association filed a lawsuit over the vaccine mandate (KOMO Staff, 2009). I suspect this policy will be fully implemented across the U.S. in the near future. Even though the flu vaccine has little effectiveness, and known serious adverse events the utilitarians are not concerned who is harmed by the policy.

According to the CDC, immigrants who make their way to the U.S. are required to have a medical exam, and be injected with up to 14 vaccines on the same day (CDC, n.d.). However, this requirement can be waived for objections based on religious, and moral convictions. This requires form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, which has a $545.00 application fee, and an affidavit that must be customized for each applicant (U.S. Dpt of Homeland Security, n.d.). There are very few immigrants who can afford, or have the knowledge that can protect their ethical objections against the utilitarian ideology of mandatory vaccination. An immigrant Somali community in Minneapolis is speaking out against this protocol. Dr. Stacene Maroushek a pediatrician is seeing a disproportional increase in autism in this small population. Anne Harrington the special education coordinator for the Minneapolis district had this to say,

“They’re given more [vaccines] then we get, and sometimes they’re doubled up,” Harrington said. “Then their children are given immunizations. In Somalia, their generations have not received these immunizations, and then suddenly they’re getting just a wallop of them in the moms and then in the babies. That’s certainly a concern that’s been expressed to me by the Somali population” (Gorman, 2008).

In a 2010 Congressional hearing regarding autism, and environmental health research, Dr. Linda Birnbaum the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences overseeing autism research made statements that they would appropriate funding that would look into the Somali anomaly, and verify if the autism rates were indeed disproportional than what we see in the rest of the Country (Senate Committee Environment and Public Works, 2010). This important preliminary research has yet to be conducted.

The U.S. Military’s vaccine protocol is equal to the CDC’s civilian recommendations, plus additional vaccines like Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Anthrax (U.S. Army Medical Dept, N.D.). The utilitarian philosophy believes that these service men, and women who live in close quarters, and travel around the world should be fully vaccinated. The traveling families of these servicemen have to be vaccinated in the same manner. They are not offered an exemption. Their only recourse is to find another employer or face military punishment. According to a press release Private First Class Leif Hamre who refused the Anthrax vaccine had this to say,

“The tactics they have used to coerce me into taking the shot are unregulated, unscrupulous and downright un-American…. They tried to turn my platoon against me in various ways. Along with the more common tactics like intimidation and threats (including the possibility of a forceful inoculation). I can only imagine what will come as I continue with this” (Weisberg, 2007).

There is a new population of soldiers that are refusing these vaccines based on their personal, or philosophical ethics. This is creating a challenge for the recruiting offices around the United States (Churchill, 2000).

This essay has barely scratched the surface  regarding vaccines and the polarizing ethical ideologies. Utilitarian ethicists use fear, and intimidation to drive a policy that they know will harm some but in their opinion will benefit most. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently proposed the use of mandates for vaccine clinical trials to compensate for the lack of volunteer participation.

“If progression of promising vaccines from the lab to the clinic is to remain unaffected and financial inducement is an ethically unacceptable solution to the recruitment shortage, other strategies need to be considered. Compulsory involvement in vaccine studies is one alternative solution that is not as outlandish as it might seem on first consideration. Many societies already mandate that citizens undertake activities for the good of society; in several European countries registration for organ-donation has switched from ‘opt-in’ (the current U.S. system) to ‘opt-out’ systems, and most societies expect citizens to undertake jury service when called upon” (AMA, 2012).

Based on the AMA’s statements we could all be mandated to participate in experimental vaccine clinical trials in the future. The United States Constitution protects the personal freedoms of all Americans but those measures seem to be narrowing when it comes to vaccine mandates. These four populations are under immense pressure to submit to the CDC’s recommended vaccination protocol. The utilitarian vaccine policy makers are under pressure by vaccine refusals, and damning scientific evidence that contradicts their policy. In 1984 the Department of Health and Human Services along with the Food and Drug Administration ruled,

“…any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the vaccine cannot be allowed to exist in view of the need to assure that the vaccine will continue to be used to the maximum extent consistent with the nation’s public health objectives” (HHS, 1984).

This statement by our health authority clearly indicates they are biased, and driven by a utilitarian philosophy. Based on my research I have arrived at the inevitable conclusion that vaccination has grown into an organized criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention by means of junk science. I also believe that this medical procedure once stemmed from good intentions, but like the over prescribing of antibiotics, vaccination protocols have overreached their usefulness into the area of harm. After reading all the peer-review that substantiates the pervasive injuries caused by this policy, I am left harboring these terrible opinions toward the U.S. health authority. Margaret Mead a cultural anthropologist, writer, and speaker once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” I am somewhat hopeful that these opposing philosophical groups will one-day balance the acts of these utilitarians. The parents have the right to carefully consider any medical procedure that has the potential to cause harm not a utilitarian government. The system we have established is violating civil liberties, and denying culpability all under the mantra of the betterment of society. There has been a cost to this policy, which strikes a blow to the U.S. government morality. Even the minority has the right to liberty and security of person, regardless of the supposed public good involved.

 Bibliography

AB499. (2012). California Legislature, an act to amend Section 6926 of the Family Code, relating to minors. Retrieved from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0451-0500/ab_499_bill_20110215_introduced.pdf

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