Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vaccines using logic to disprove both side

It seems like every fall or winter the topic of vaccines becomes a hot topic for news organizations and as a journalist I understand why this is appealing. Not only does it seem somewhat relevant to the time since everyone appears to be getting sick, but there is also a certain amount of fear mongering that goes along with it and this sells papers.

Last week I spoke to a Weston A. Price chapter leader who was deathly against vaccines and was encouraging me to check out some links she had that were supposedly going to be eye-opening. I only had to look at the names of said websites to see that they were the usual sites new-agers attended to support their propaganda. Shit she ignored the fact that her own children were vaccinated before she got into WAPF and turned out perfectly ok– I guess they were the lucky ones.

The other day there was a Facebook link that was acting as a criticism to the other side of the argument titled Vaccination waivers put hundred of Michigan communities at risk of disease outrbeaks. That title is a bit extreme to say the least and as an ignorant monkey or god-fearing parent puts the fear of god into a person. I hate articles like this because it is written by someone who is on a deadline and fails to understand the multitude of variables involved in immunity and health.

This particular article especially evil in my mind because despite it having nothing to do with ebola (the new hot topic) they somehow managed to worm it into the article. My response to the writer of this article fuck you!

Most people have no idea how many parents do not vaccinate. They have no idea that their children, elderly relatives or friends with compromised health go to school or the grocery store in communities where vaccination rates are as low as those in Third World countries.

"The first question people ask me regarding the current outbreak of Enterovirus D-68  is 'Do we have a vaccine?' Same thing with Ebola," Davis said.

"How do we reconcile that question with our failure to use vaccines on a regular basis with our kids?" Davis said. "We have the ability to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable, and we are losing more babies to pertussis?"
I'm going to do my best to use quotes and reputable articles to support opinion here because the topic of vaccines is such a hot topic (although I'll probably sneak Wikipedia in here somewhere.)

To begin with I am neither pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine I am a rationalist and someone who considers themselves a philosopher of health. I use the word philosopher because I read, think and create hypothesis despite formal training in any regard to the field.  My opinion is useless in an argument.

Now, what I mean by rationalist is that despite what your doctor says I don't believe every vaccine is necessary and/or proven to be safe. Gasp, I'm not saying something may be dangerous just there isn't decades to support something. People oftentimes want the new and fancier option this can come in the form of cars, T.V.s, medications and even maybe vaccines for that matter.

When it comes to medicine and vaccines I think the newer the compound the riskier the proposition it is to take. To me it is common sense, but if it isn't for you let me break it down for you. It comes down to data. The older the compound the more data on the effects, side-effects and what bio-chemical and physiological pathways it is affecting. The newer treatments aren't always as well understood.

If you find this difficult to understand and are perhaps brainwashed by the medical industry machine then let us look at the case of Vioxx which is one of the biggest fuck ups by the pharmaceutical companies.

From Wikipedia:

Rofecoxib /ˌrɒfɨˈkɒksɪb/ is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has now been withdrawn over safety concerns. It was marketed by Merck & Co. to treat osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions, and dysmenorrhoea. Rofecoxib was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 20, 1999, and was marketed under the brand names Vioxx, Ceoxx, and Ceeoxx.

Rofecoxib gained widespread acceptance among physicians treating patients with arthritis and other conditions causing chronic or acute pain. Worldwide, over 80 million people were prescribed rofecoxib at some time.[1]

On September 30, 2004, Merck withdrew rofecoxib from the market because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use. Merck withdrew the drug after disclosures that it withheld information about rofecoxib's risks from doctors and patients for over five years, resulting in between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease.[2] Rofecoxib was one of the most widely used drugs ever to be withdrawn from the market. In the year before withdrawal, Merck had sales revenue of US$2.5 billion from Vioxx.[3] Merck reserved $970 million to pay for its Vioxx-related legal expenses through 2007, and have set aside $4.85bn for legal claims from US citizens.

Rofecoxib was available on prescription in both tablet-form and as an oral suspension. It was available by injection for hospital use.
Now to say that vaccines are the same as medications would be ignorant on my part. For one vaccines in my humble opinion probably aren't nearly as profitable as medications. Medication, doesn't cure or prevent anything but helps deal with effects and symptoms. It is something you take to maintain a lifestyle. Vaccines are supposed to basically prevent you from ever getting sick in the first place. So as you can see from this rationale these probably are less likely to have the same significance on profits as medication. Profit is what drives business and if something isn't profitable there is probably less of a need to hide the adverse effects or to get it out to the market.
O.k. here we go back to the issue of vaccines. People die plain and simple I've reiterated this point on Facebook already. It's natural selection and people will die of disease regardless of vaccines. It sucks to think that way but overall infectious disease seems to be a byproduct of societies living too clustered a lifestyle, animal mutations and in general urbanization. Since I don't have a copy of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel to quote handy I'll instead use a research paper I've found that summarizes basically this idea.

Prior to domestication and sedentism in human social system, the primary mode of organization and production was nomadic hunter-gathering. In context of infection dynamics, the low population density of hunter-gathering societies was not conducive to the reproduction of disease at endemic levels (McNeil 1976, P. 53). For disease to adapt to a host population, the rate of transmission is critical. Low-frequency contact, due to low population densities, in host populations reduces the likelihood of transmission of virulent pathogens (Ibid, P. 21). Further, in addition to human-human contact, nomadic hunter-gatherers had low-frequency contact with animal host populations. Therefore, while disease existed in hunter-gathering society, the lack of transmission reduced the adaptability of pathogens to sustain itself in human host populations. Rather large social animal populations served as better hosts for pathogens because they had the requisite population density needed for effective transmission and pathogen reproduction (Diamond 1997). The change from nomadic hunter-gathering to sedentary domestication was the necessary change in human socio-cultural organization for pathogens to adapt to humans as host populations.

The domestication of natural resources has been associated with a variety of factors from changes in climate to changes in population density. Gupta (2004) proposes the emergence of domestication is associated with a change in resource variability caused by climate amelioration in the early Holocene. Favorable climate conditions, according to Gupta (2004), explains the geographic concentration of early domestication, where changes in climate increased the availability of diversified and growth of wild plants, which aided early horticulturalist in domesticating wild plants. Diamond (1997), argues that the emergence of domestication is based on the decline of resource availability; resource depletion; technological change; and an increase in population density. The initial cause of domestication is still under debate, but all explanations converge toward theories oriented around the human-environment relationship, rather than exogenous forces and/or moments of human innovation. The advent of domestication was propelled by the change in the resource-human nexus. Due to the lack of an approximate mechanism for the rise of domestication, the modified HDR model includes domestication as an exogenous variable (no other variable causes change in domestication).

In human evolution, domestication is one of the primary epochal changes in social organization and the human evolution. By 6000 B.C., the domestication of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs was achieved in certain human populations (Crabtree 1993). Prior to the full-scale sedentism, a hybrid of horticultural-forging modes were common, thus, full domestication was not achieved until later in human evolution. The intensification of animal domestication occurred 10,000 to 7,000 ago (calibrated BP years) (Gupta 2004). For example, the domestication of cattle occurred about 7,800 years ago in present-day Turkey (Perkins 1969). However, the introduction of domesticated animals in human societies created on powerful vector for the transmission of zoontic disease (Cockburn 1971; McNeil 1976, Ch.2). Therefore, the mutual development of disease causing pathogens and human social organization is a parallel process in the rise of complex societies and the emergence of deadly, endemic disease is associated with major changes in human civilization and evolution.

You may notice if you examined this paper more closely that it was not written by an immunologist, M.D. or anyone else who is quote a "medical doctor."  However, in my humble and sometimes unwanted opinion it is important to look at other aspects of study when considering what the appropriate model for healthcare should be as well as setting a standard. Anthropology and sociology provide critical insight and look at factors other than the biochemical reactions that are taking place. Essentially, it takes a narrow minded look and broadens it.

Since our societies aren't going to collapse and go all post-apocalyptic where human beings have returned to the land and populations have dwindled we will have to continue to contend with disease.

There is a theory called "Herd Theory" which is basically the idea that with more people being vaccinated then those who aren't remain protected. It is the argument that is commonly used by pro-vaccine people and  the counter to this concept is that whoever is already vaccinated should mind their own business and not give a fuck.

A novel theory and if you examine the following and look at the following map you can sorta see the story played out here. Vaccines haven't really seemed to improve things globally with outbreaks all over the world some with vaccination standards and others without. Africa looks particularly troublesome and would be a great case as to look at why vaccines are needed as-well-as China. Considering populations and size of habitable land is it a surprise? More people, more land, or more  population density equal a higher risk? Maybe, maybe not but you decide.

Yet, this is not saying that standards are lower in these parts of the world either. It is a first world problem for me and even you to argue for and against vaccines. We never see the death from disease in third world parts of the world with a lack of access to clean water and ehem... vaccines. 

A counter to herd theory by the non-vaccine people is that the diseases people were supposedly getting vaccinated against were already on the decline. I am not about to look at statistical data, death rates and etc. surrounding this whole issue. I think that there are others who can argue. However, I can look objectively at the more popular vaccines you receive as a child and see that by-and-large people seem to be getting on ok.

Polio seems to be a thing of the past and the people linking the vaccine to other disease seem to be doing just as much fear mongering as the other side. However, they lack a certain amount of credibility. Also, keep in mind polio is sorta becoming fashionable again. You can interpret that as because people are getting vaccination or because of mutations being made for the necessity to survive. It sorta of seems like things never really die but just change to satisfy a need to survive. It is called evolution and disease does this too. Don't believe me look at recent findings about less aggressive strains of HIV forming. 

The anti-vaccine messiah would have to be Dr. Andrew Wakefield who is the guy that supposedly linked vaccines to autism. However, this guy was disbarred and is seen as a psychopath by the established medical community. I find it troublesome that he is ever brought up in conversation on this topic especially since the fear of autism and a vaccine connection is so prevalent. Inciting, Wakefield's name automatically puts you in the looney bin when it comes to conversations on this topic. Anti-vaccine people need to find a different messiah if they want to be taken seriously. However, I tend to not believe/ think that vaccines in particular are the main cause for Jenny McCarthy's sons "condition." This connection has been explored over and over again and well frankly a lot of things can supposedly contributed to the increase in autism and putting it on one thing is a tad ridiculous.

I hate using WebMD as a resource since it tends to have an obvious bias and plays it safe on a lot of things, but from time to time I do use it to support my arguments. In this case though the argument seems a bit conflicting it reads very pro-vaccine with an added caveat that certain compounds used in vaccines may show some dangers for other things.

From WebMD:
When researchers started looking for a possible link between autism and the MMR, all other childhood vaccines came under scrutiny, too. In 1998, 30 different vaccines with thimerosal in them were given to children. U.S. public health officials realized that the recommended schedule of vaccines could give some children mercury that exceeded the limit considered safe by government standards.

In 1999, the U.S. Public Health Service and the AAP asked vaccine makers to reduce or remove thimerosal in vaccines. By 2001, all routine childhood vaccines were available thimerosal-free.

The 2004 IOM review included five large-scale studies that compared autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. These and other recent studies, including one published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September 2007, have shown that children who received vaccines with thimerosal are not more likely to have been diagnosed with autism than those that weren't vaccinated or received less thimerosal from vaccines.

Recently, basic assumptions about thimerosal have come into question that may further confuse any links to autism.

Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury. The government's assessments of health risks for thimerosal are based on what is known about another chemical form of mercury, called methyl mercury.
The health assessments for methyl mercury are based on exposure by eating or drinking it. Warnings about eating certain kinds of fish, for example, are all about fish contaminated with methyl mercury.

Thimerosal, on the other hand, isn't eaten; When experts called for reducing and removing thimerosal from vaccines in 1999, they assumed that methyl mercury and ethyl mercury were pretty much the same, and the health risks may be the same even though the way children are exposed is different.  A study published in the journal Pediatrics in January 2008 shows that ethyl mercury leaves children's blood faster than methyl mercury does, so the health risks may not be the same.

However, while it left the blood quickly, it doesn't necessarily mean it left the body. While the study did show that the mercury did not damage the kidneys, for instance, it didn't look at other organs.
 So this basically raises a question in my mind as to are vaccines necessarily bad or were vaccines from a certain era bad. I don't want to really research how vaccines were made in the 40s so I am just posing questions here. Were the ways vaccines being manufactured for a time being potentially dangerous?  It seems inconclusive whether thimerosal is dangerous or not? Follow up studies in my mind are likely to not occur because it is being phased out or is off the market. Once again it comes down to my natural selection idea those who were going to be fucked got fucked by the compound and those who weren't are doing fine.

I think there is an epigenetic component that needs to be considered and the article isn't saying vaccines and autism is an open-and-shut case. There are still some studies that are being done to prove whether or not this is true. So there must be something there despite what "mainstream" media would have you believe... right? Well there are questions and apparently they are big enough questions for scientists to continue taking a look at the issue of vaccines. Epigenetics and the microbiome are the two most interesting areas of research for me in the way of health. I feel like this article is addressing epigenetics as a possibility with out coming outright and saying it.

The Childhood Autism Risks From Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study is under way at the University of California, Davis. Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and enrolling more than 600 families with autism, this study is looking at the interplay between genetic and a wide range of environmental factors in autism. Vaccines are one of the many environmental factors being analyzed.
In addition, the CDC's Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology network (CADDRE) is collecting data on environmental risk factors, including vaccines, that might put children at risk of autism.

Using the same environmental-factor checklist as CHARGE and CADDRE, the NIMH is looking at differences between children with regressive autism and children with more classic forms of autism.

"We are looking at differences in environmental exposures, including vaccines but also including things like older brothers who had a cold and mothers who drank a lot of diet soda during pregnancy," Swedo says.

  The CDC and the NIH are also performing epidemiologic studies in Norway and Denmark to expand previous research into whether vaccinated children have any more autism than unvaccinated children.

"Neither [NIMH Director Tom] Insel or I are ready to discard the vaccine hypothesis, but we don't think there is anything in vaccines that causes autism in the vast majority of cases," Swedo tells WebMD. "In earlier cases where vaccines caused rare complications, we figured it out quickly. Since vaccines are given so often, if there was a strong connection between vaccination and autism we would know it by now. What we are not discarding is the one-in-ten-thousand or one-in-a-million cases that might have a link."  
However, I feel like the microbiome component is still not being addressed in modern arguments in regards to vaccines. Are vaccines needed? Well I would say possibly for some and for others not so much. People born on a farm, who played in dirt, ate traditional foods, drank raw milk, ate raw honey and whose family made their own cleaning products (you get the picture) will probably not need antibiotics. Same goes for hunter-gather people. These people of a robust microbiome (one that I envy dearly). They've had exposures and are essentially immune to modern diseases.

It's intelligence people and common sense thinking. Use evolution as a rationale for diet and lifestyle choices that are healthy for you. I could go on and on about the wackadoo woo, woo stuff that affects health that is just now receiving validation in the science communities but lets keep it from becoming more complicated than it already is.

Here we will look at microbes and how they relate to vaccine effectiveness. Could it be that vaccines are more needed by a western population due to are over-abundant use of antibacterials, microbial and etc? Seems plausible.

The Journal of Immunity recently published an interesting article in regards to this.

Taken from SCOPE:

[Researchers] gave the flu vaccine to three different groups: mice genetically engineered to lack the gene for TLR5, germ-free mice with no microorganisms in their bodies, and mice that had spent 4 weeks drinking water laced with antibiotics to obliterate most of their microbiome.

Seven days after vaccination, all three groups showed significantly reduced concentrations of vaccine-specific antibodies in their blood—up to an eightfold reduction compared with vaccinated control mice, the group reports online … in Immunity. The reduction was less marked by day 28, as blood antibody levels appeared to rebound. But when the researchers observed the mice lacking Tlr5 on the 85th day after vaccination, their antibodies seemed to have dipped again, suggesting that without this bacterial signaling, the effects of the flu vaccine wane more quickly.

- See more at:
[Researchers] gave the flu vaccine to three different groups: mice genetically engineered to lack the gene for TLR5, germ-free mice with no microorganisms in their bodies, and mice that had spent 4 weeks drinking water laced with antibiotics to obliterate most of their microbiome.
Seven days after vaccination, all three groups showed significantly reduced concentrations of vaccine-specific antibodies in their blood—up to an eightfold reduction compared with vaccinated control mice, the group reports online … in Immunity. The reduction was less marked by day 28, as blood antibody levels appeared to rebound. But when the researchers observed the mice lacking Tlr5 on the 85th day after vaccination, their antibodies seemed to have dipped again, suggesting that without this bacterial signaling, the effects of the flu vaccine wane more quickly.
- See more at:

So what does this mean? Well if I'm interpreting it right there may actually be more of a need for vaccines or re-vaccinations through the use of a booster in places like the U.S., Europe, China and etc. Places that lack a naturalness too it and have sterilized everything out of fear that various invisible monsters will kill us will not require vaccines as much or at the very least the booster shots.

As you can see this is a complicated issue. There is a lot going here and both sides aren't entirely sure what is correct or not. Flu and influenza vaccines by-in-large seem pretty useless and you can pretty much find stuff all over pub-med and Google/scholar  showing this. I would Google some of Joe Mercola's articles about this. He is a bit controversial and someone I tend to shy away from when getting my information since it throws what little credibility I have under a bus and then runs it over. However, his articles do provide source citations and some of the journals seem credible (going based off of memory).

However, there is lastly another component I think bears considering and that is a person's ability to detox. Your modern M.D. will tell you detoxes are a waste of money... and well in some regards I'd have to agree. It appears a bit woo-woo and there are lots of quack products and health gurus looking to collect your dollars. However, as usual it is always a bit more complicated than that. A bodies ability to detox and certain compounds ability to aide in said detox are well a real thing that your serious M.D. probably knows little about and your woo-woo N.D. probably knows something about.

It becomes this whole discussion about genetic polymorphisms called SNPs that I don't fully understand but will probably be looking into for the near future since it seems fascinating.

From Wikipedia:

Variations in the DNA sequences of humans can affect how humans develop diseases and respond to pathogens, chemicals, drugs, vaccines, and other agents. SNPs are also critical for personalized medicine.[5] However, their greatest importance in biomedical research is for comparing regions of the genome between cohorts (such as with matched cohorts with and without a disease) in genome-wide association studies.
 So, this is something I will definitely be re-visiting out of my own interest in becoming a better me. However, taking SNPS into account perhaps vaccines aren't good for all people. Maybe if there is a connection to something like autism it is because they lack the detox capabilities to eliminate the various compounds used to make the vaccine.

Finally, in conclusion I hope I've showed that there isn't anything definitive about the safety and effectiveness in vaccine. If anything there are just more questions as more data comes forward. I think the need and effectiveness of the vaccine is very much dependent on individuals and all the various factors I've tried to highlight in this.

If anything I think perhaps if there is a need for vaccines it is more for populations with compromised microbial populations and in particular staying up on booster shots. I would use history to determine which vaccines you choose for yourself and your children and possibly consider taking something like NAC, Milk Thistle, or something that helps with the bodies abilities to detox afterwards to possibly hedge your bets.

Its a toss of a coin at this point and there is definitely a need for more individualized medicine and looking at it from a microbial stand point and a need for commercial fecal transplants so we are less reliant on these weird chemicals and inactivated diseases being put into our bodies.

Will I vaccinate my kids? Who knows it is a serious discussion I'll have to plan on having with my future spouse, partner or drunken mistake.  There are lots of conspiracies out there and I'm not sure all are true but I'm not entirely sure all is false. Thinking critically a lack of scientific research doesn't mean something is necessarily wrong it may just mean it is an area of science yet to be researched. Plus, there are a number of scientific, monetary and political bias and that goes for both sides of the argument.

I know it is a cop out but I remain neutral on the issue of vaccines and at the very least I think maybe a staggered vaccination schedule could possibly be beneficial yet it is probably un-scientific. Also, I'm not a doctor, I think that is pretty clear so don't use me as a source of medical advice or credible information. I'm cobbling together resources and I lack the expertise to understand the difference between in-vivo and in-vitro.

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