Red Tent Book picks for 2010

  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout- discussion March 4
  • 19th Wife- David Ebershoff – discussion April 14
  • The Photograph-Penelope Lively – on May 6
  • The White Tiger-Aravind Adiga – on June 3
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel – on July 1
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo-Stieg Larsson on August 5
  • You Remind Me of Me -Dan Chaon for discussion after the mad return to school on September 9

-and we shall gather in the home of a friend, and eat, drink and be merry.

Autism Vaccine Link a Fake by Childgrower A. Woz.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html?hpw

What parent hasn’t considered the possibility of postponing or rejecting routine vaccinations out of fear of a link between vaccines and autism?

Over a year ago, and with little fanfare, Dr. Wakefield’s 1998 study indicating a link between the Measels, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism was exposed as a fake.  At that time, medical personnel worried that calling attention to the inaccuracy of the study could lead to a resurgence of vaccination avoidance and stir up the debate again.

The false link is being widely publicized this week, now that Britain retracted the research results after it surfaced the study’s author had published deceptive results.  According to the New York Times report, “Part of the costs of Dr. Wakefield’s research were paid by lawyers for parents seeking to sue vaccine makers for damages. Dr. Wakefield was also found to have patented in 1997 a measles vaccine that would succeed if the combined vaccine were withdrawn or discredited.”

Since the rate of autism diagnoses are increasing- and even though a majority of parents affected by this original study have children far beyond vaccination age-  more information is always better than less.

As a new mother in 1998, I recall hesitating, researching the web, polling my family and friends and seriously weighing my parental responsibility to do what I had to do to keep my child healthy. Do I vaccinate or not?

Usually, when parents are presented with solid information an choices, we are able to make decisions on behalf of our children that work best for our family.  I vaccinated. I worried, but I asked questions, and I forged ahead trusting our family doctor and my own judgement.

Some families in my circle of mother-friends decided not to vaccinate their children against MMR primarily because Wakefield’s research suggested the bundling of the three was unsafe.

Some parents of toddlers in our playgroup decided the onset of autism indicators and the scheduled vaccinations seemed too coincidental to ignore and not only did they refuse MMR vaccines, but refused all vaccinations, in an effort to eliminate the risk of autism claiming another toddler.

I know moms who went to great lengths to avoid vaccines, repeatedly filing out the necessary paperwork at school, rejecting the vaccinations for personal reasons, even when their hesitancy was met with looks of skepticism or a solid dose of patronizing head patting.

Then came the public push to promote what was thought to be Wakefield’s honest research. Movie stars began trumpeting an anti-vaccine message and Internet chat rooms filled with debates and arguments for and against vaccinations, against thimerasol, additives, preservatives, etc.

Sadly, those vaccine-avoiders neither hurt nor helped their children prevent the onset of autism and Wakefield’s cautions and the debate that followed, actually had little affect on the rate of Autism, a diagnosis showing steady increases for children today.

According to the Autism Society, autism now affects one in every 111 children and each year 1 % of children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum disorder.

Wakefield’s study did affect children’s well-being, but in a different way than expected; over the last 12 years, thousands of toddlers were not given routine vaccinations for old childhood illnesses like measles and mumps. The very serious illnesses that our grandparents prayed would spare their own children, our now-ageing parents, have returned, and are affecting today’s school-age children.

In just one generation’s time, some parts of the United States are now seeing a resurgence in these diseases and the serious complications associated with them.

The only thing worse than learning the Wakefield study was faked in 1998 for the researchers personal gain, is the shameful fact that 12 years have been wasted investigating false leads and distracting medical researchers from identifying the true causes or triggers of autism.

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