the supposed flu-during-pregnancy/autism link - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-17-2012, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a very interesting discussion here;

http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/11/age-of-autism-weekly-wrap-numbers-game.html#more

 

Basically, the chief medical editor, formerly acting director for the CDC, Dr. Richard Besser, says that

1) women who remember having had the flu during pregnancy had twice the risk of having an autistic child

2) a 2% risk of having an autistic child is very, very small.

 

One of the many elephants in the room, of course, is: if having the flu during pregnancy might affect the chances of the baby later developing autism, what about having the flu SHOT during pregnancy?

 

Another, asked by author Dan Olmstead, is: why is a 2% chance of having an autistic child considered "very, very small," when a 1 in 3000 of severe complications from polio in the 1950's was considered an epidemic?

 

I think the comment by Bob Moffitt is absolutely brilliant, and bears repeating:

 

"So .. according to Diane and Besser .. this breathtaking study was based upon interviewing "mothers who remembered having the flu during pregnancy .. the risk of autism doubled".

How is it that a relatively small sample of mothers who remember having the flu during pregnancy are credible subjects to base any conclusions as to the possible "cause" of autism in children .. but .. the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MOTHERS WHO SHARED THE COMMON EXPERIENCE OF WITNESSING FIRST HAND THEIR CHILD'S "REGRESSION" FOLLOWING VACCINATIONS ARE CALLOUSLY DISMISSED AS UNRELIABLE ANECDOTES?

How do these people sleep at night?"

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Old 11-17-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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The new scare tactic that's going to be used on pregnant women, 'Let's tell pregnant women if they don't get the flu shot then their child will have a much higher chance of autism'..that will boost flu vax sales for sure...will it boost miscarriage rates?  One can only wonder, wait, and see the outcome in a few years of this strategy being used on pregnant women. 

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And it will boost autism rates.  

So then the vaccine manufacturers can say, "Look!  We took thimerosal out of the shots and autism rates are STILL going up!  Guess it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with vaccines!"

 

Except it does.

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Old 11-17-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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Or it could be true that there's a link between having had flu (linked to a fever) and autism.

And it might be that autism rates continue to rise after thimerosol was removed because there never was any link.

I hope you can at least be open to these ideas and see how they fit with the data.

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Old 11-17-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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Here is the abstract  - it looks like it costs for the full study.

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/11/06/peds.2012-1107

 

Here was the method of collection:

 

 "We used a population-based cohort consisting of 96 736 children aged 8 to 14 years and born from 1997 to 2003 in Denmark. Information on infection, febrile episodes, and use of antibiotics was self-reported through telephone interviews during pregnancy and early postpartum. Diagnoses of ASD and infantile autism were retrieved from the Danish Psychiatric Central Register; 976 children (1%) from the cohort were diagnosed with ASD."

 

Flu prevalence is listed at 5-20% per year by the CDC.  I have seen much lower numbers, but will use 12.5% (the middle) for the following math purposes.

 

1000 women - 12.5% of whom could have the flu.  125 women who could have the flu.  The flu increases the risk of autism from 1-2%.  So…2% of 125 is 2.5.

 

So, assuming the flu vaccine is 100% effective (yeah right…but it makes the math easy), we are looking a 0 cases of pregnancy/flu induced autism in vaxxed individuals, and 2.5 cases per 1000 women of pregnancy/flu induced autism..

 

We have to keep in mind prevalence rate - a 1% rise in people who had the flu during pregnancy is not a 1% rise over all.

 

__________

 

Math over.  smile.gif

 

A couple of points on this study:

 

1.  Correlation is not causation and all that.  It could be the flu caused the autism, or it could be something else.  More studies needed.

 

2.  The flu has been around for ever (as a commenter on AoA pointed out).  Autism rates continue to grow, and it is not all caused by shifting diagnosis, better diagnosis, more awareness, etc.  My kids can list about 5 kids they know that have autism - I could list none as a child.  Dh - same deal.  Real autism rates have grown and most of us know it.   If flu is causative for autism, we would have seen more autism through the ages.

 

3.  If the link proves to be correct, and if the flu vaccines proves to be safe  in pregnancy, and if my math above is correct - vaccination may be the way to go.  We don't really know yet, though, do we?  There are an awful lot of "ifs" in this sentence.  

 

On a personal note, the evidence for the flu vaccine being safe in pregnancy would have to be very strong for me to consider it.  I think the trend of pregnant women being prescribed drugs is quite dangerous.  I know there can be compelling reasons to use drugs during pregnancy, but it is something I would want to really study before I do - it is not just my life at stake, after all.  


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Old 11-17-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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Or it could be true that there's a link between having had flu (linked to a fever) and autism.

I hope you can at least be open to these ideas and see how they fit with the data.

 

And it could be true that vaccines are linked to autism.  In both cases it comes down to mothers reports. 

 

I hope you can at least be open to the idea.


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Old 11-17-2012, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Or it could be true that there's a link between having had flu (linked to a fever) and autism.
And it might be that autism rates continue to rise after thimerosol was removed because there never was any link.
I hope you can at least be open to these ideas and see how they fit with the data.

I was open to the idea until I saw how the data was purposely manipulated to hide the link.


We were told (and you continue to perpetuate) the myth that that autism rates continued to rise after thimerosal was removed.


The truth is, the data for autism rates for AFTER thimerosal was removed has not yet occurred.


You see, the current autism rate as announced this year by the CDC is based on studies done in 2008; these studies were done on 8-year-olds, who were born in 2000, and who were given more thimerosal-preserved vaccines than any previous generation of children. Those children are now 12 years old.

 

But certain "pro-science," pro-vaccine activists keep twisting the facts to imply that the current autism rates include children who were born later and received less mercury, less aluminum, etc. in their vaccines.

 

And that is obviously not true at all.

 

And, going back to the OP, if pregnant women are given thimerosal-preserved flu shots at any stage of pregnancy, and then their babies are given two doses of thimerosal-preserved flu vaccine starting at 6 months of age, followed by yearly thimerosal-preserved flu shots, those children will have been given a cumulative mercury dose equivalent to that given to the children born in 2000.  Or maybe greater, since they will be exposed to mercury even earlier, in utero.

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Old 11-17-2012, 01:46 PM
 
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Injecting pregnant women with vaccines - which we know so little about  - is a pure insanity. It is interesting though that the study is based on mother's stories, whereas when parents report they started seeing the first signs of autism after a vaccine, it's never taken seriously.


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Old 11-17-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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Additionally, this study points out that only those who had "extended febrile illness," presumably flu, had this risk - hello, can you say Acetomenophen?!  Shut down the liver function, and how polluted does the womb get?!

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Additionally, this study points out that only those who had "extended febrile illness," presumably flu, had this risk - hello, can you say Acetomenophen?!  Shut down the liver function, and how polluted does the womb get?!

Good point. There is speculation of an acetone open/autism connection, too...and several autism parents on the Thinking Moms Revolution website are dealing with autistic children with liver failure.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:43 AM
 
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Yes. How the illnesses were treated is definately a factor not studied.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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I'm not clear about something...and reading the abstract doesn't clarify this for me.  Is influenza alleged to cause the autism?  Or fevers, whether they're caused by influenza or another illness?


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Old 11-18-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not clear about something...and reading the abstract doesn't clarify this for me.  Is influenza alleged to cause the autism?  Or fevers, whether they're caused by influenza or another illness?

Like so many autism-related studies, the abstract does NOT make a conclusion.


The pharmaceutical marketing team does, though, and releases their conclusions to the media.

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Old 11-18-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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Yes. How the illnesses were treated is definately a factor not studied.

Oh, did you find the full text of the study somewhere?
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:57 PM
 
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I'm not a vaxer, but I'm finding it hard to swallow that vaxxing leads to autism.. I know someone with mild HFA (mild aspie and had always been a little different from birth - no regressive autism), who was only partially vaxed (1 hep B shot at birth and nothing else since then - Child is now 9yo). Child has never had antibiotics or any infections since birth either & came from a mother who had not had a vax in over 4 years prior to having the child. What the mother did have though, was the Epstein Barr virus 2 weeks before falling pregnant with said child. The father of the child is also an aspie (mild aswell). 

 

What caused the HFA in this child? I strongly believe in genetics. The father and child are so alike, it's crazy. The father only had his regular DTP shot as an infant some 40 years ago. This is probably the wrong thread for it, so mods please move my post accordingly.. But I was just curious as to why some of you had such a strong belief that vaxxing caused autism, when there are so many parents/children who both have HFA or are both aspies?


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Old 11-19-2012, 06:26 AM
 
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Lovemybabies…...
 
I started to answer, and then reconsidered.  Answering your question will surely take us way off topic (autism discussion are so controversial).
 
Here is a blog I liked with lots of links to scientific studies:
 
Doing a search in Mothering on autism (thread titles only) will surely yield some results as well.  Good luck!
 
Kathy 

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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It's a scare tactic to scare more moms into flu shots. Vaccination during pregnancy has not been studied long term, nor have all factors been considered. I am particularly worried about cytokine reactions, the very reactions that with the real flu are linked to schizophrenia in children later. There's a lot of interesting papers out there about the topic, here's one:

 

Effect of influenza vaccine on markers of inflammation and lipid profile
Tsai MY et al.
J Lab Clin Med. 2005 Jun;145(6):323-7.
Laboratory of Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota

Despite wide use of the influenza vaccine, relatively little is known about its effect on the measurement of inflammatory markers. Because inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) are increasingly being used in conjunction with lipids for the clinical assessment of cardiovascular disease and in epidemiologic studies, we evaluated the effect of influenza vaccination on markers of inflammation and plasma lipid concentrations. We drew blood from 22 healthy individuals 1 to 6 hours before they were given an influenza vaccination and 1, 3, and 7 days after the vaccination. Plasma CRP, interleukin (IL)-6, monocyte chemotactic protein 1, tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-2 soluble receptor alpha, and serum amyloid A were measured, and differences in mean concentrations of absolute and normalized values on days 1, 3, and 7 were compared with mean baseline values. There was a significant increase in mean IL-6 (P < .01 absolute values, P < .001 normalized values) on day 1 after receiving the influenza vaccine. The mean increases in normalized high sensitivity CRP values were significant on day 1 (P < .01) and day 3 (P = .05), whereas the mean increase in normalized serum amyloid A was significant only on day 1 (P < .05). No significant changes were seen in mean concentrations of IL-2 soluble receptor alpha, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, or tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Of the lipids, significant decreases in mean concentrations of normalized triglyceride values were seen on days 1 (P < .05), 3 (P < .001), and 7 (P < .05) after vaccination. Our findings show that the influenza vaccination causes transient changes in select markers of inflammation and lipids. Consequently, clinical and epidemiologic interpretation of the biomarkers affected should take into account the possible effects of influenza vaccination.

 

I'm glad I stood my ground and refused all vaccines in pregnancy, we don't do the flu shot anyways, but unless I was faced with a deadly massive epidemic of let's say ebola and there was an ebola vaccine, I wouldn't get vaccinated while pregnant.
 

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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Thank you Kathy! I'll have a read through.

 

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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I found this article, which gives a few more details. It seems that certain antibiotics were also linked, but were not named in the article. Another thing is the flu was not confirmed by checking medical records. It was anecdotal only.

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/12/15056697-flu-fever-linked-with-autism-in-pregnancy-study?lit
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not a vaxer, but I'm finding it hard to swallow that vaxxing leads to autism.. I know someone with mild HFA (mild aspie and had always been a little different from birth - no regressive autism), who was only partially vaxed (1 hep B shot at birth and nothing else since then - Child is now 9yo). Child has never had antibiotics or any infections since birth either & came from a mother who had not had a vax in over 4 years prior to having the child. What the mother did have though, was the Epstein Barr virus 2 weeks before falling pregnant with said child. The father of the child is also an aspie (mild aswell). 

 

What caused the HFA in this child? I strongly believe in genetics. The father and child are so alike, it's crazy. The father only had his regular DTP shot as an infant some 40 years ago. This is probably the wrong thread for it, so mods please move my post accordingly.. But I was just curious as to why some of you had such a strong belief that vaxxing caused autism, when there are so many parents/children who both have HFA or are both aspies?

Well, first of all, just because vaxxing leads to autism in some doesn't mean that it leads to autism in everyone.  The important point is, it does lead to autism in some.  The US Department of Health and Human Services has admitted and compensated cases of vaccine-induced brain damage, most including official autism diagnoses.  The most recent and highly publicized US case was that of Hannah Poling. Recently, the Italian government admitted that a child's autism was caused by the MMR vaccine.

 

As far as partially vaxed children, there was a recent study that concluded that infant boys who were given the hep B vax during the first month of life had a THREE-FOLD increase of autism diagnosis. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/new-study-hepatitis-b-vac_b_289288.html

 

As far as genetics are concerned, there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic.  The rate of autism has increased by roughly 10% per year, even though diagnostic criteria has not changed in the last 14 years, so it's obviously not "better diagnosis."

 

There may very well be a genetic predisposition--most likely, a genetic predisposition to vaccine reaction, or a genetic susceptibility or sensitivity to some of the ingredients in vaccines.

 

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmstead offer a very convincing hypothesis on autism being undiagnosed heavy metal poisoning in their book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Age-Autism-Medicine-Man-Made/dp/0312545622.  The earliest officially diagnosed autistic children all were in a position to have had excessive mercury exposure, some from vaccines, some from other sources.  Although mercury has been phased out of most children's vaccines in the US, the current official rate of autism is based on studies from 2008,on 8-year-olds, who were vaccinated before mercury was phased out.


In addition, as mercury was phased out of US vaccines, nearly twice as many vaccines were added to the pediatric vaccine schedule; nearly all contain aluminum, which seems to have very similar neurological effects.  In addition, pregnant women and children as young as 6 months are now routinely being given thimerosal(mercury)-preserved flu shots, as mercury was not phased out of flu shots. So they are essentially getting an even earlier mercury hit, when they are even more vulnerable


By the way, thimerosal-preserved pediatric vaccines are still manufactured in the US--and they are sent to developing countries, where autism is now skyrocketing.

 

Autism is likely to be the result of a "perfect storm" of factors.  Vaccines are perhaps the easiest to identify.  Another major factor appears to be vitamin deficiency.  Most autistic children are severely vitamin deficient, particularly in vitamin D.

 

Without sufficient vitamin D, you don't produce glutathione.  Glutathione is used by the body to eliminate heavy metals, but without glutathione, those heavy metals stay in the body--and cross the blood/brain barrier. They also cause autoimmune disorders--which are very common in autistic children, and there are even studies indicating that autistic children tend to have a strong family history of autoimmune disorder. So someone with vitamin D deficiency would be at risk for reacting badly to the heavy metals in vaccines.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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Does anybody know which antibiotics? Is there anywhere a link to the original paper? I'm just curious. I refused antibiotics 6 times with DD (6 sinus infections) because I knew I could heal without them, it was just uncomfy. I'd like to check out which antibiotics are anecdotally linked to autism.

I also find it interesting that this study is basically anecdotal, but the media concludes get your flu shot while pregnant or else... Ahem just sayin'...

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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It's kind of hard to forget having the flu.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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It's kind of hard to forget having the flu.

If you had the real flu - yes.  I have had the flu once and I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck.

 

OTOH,  I have heard lots of people use the flu word interchangeably for a bad virus or cold.


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Old 11-19-2012, 03:42 PM
 
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OK, since none of us have the full study in our hot little hands, I'd say we're as guilty as news media of speculating on and spinning its contents.

Here's what I SUSPECT, but I'm going to track down the full article to confirm this. The researchers determined that getting a fever during pregnancy was correlated with the child becoming autistic. Spin doctors got a hold of it and said that since influenza often causes fevers, and since the flu shot covers some strains of influenza, pregnant women should all rush out and get vaccinated to prevent having autistic children. It's a stretch, yes, but so goes media PR.

It may take me awhile for me to get the article, so if anyone can beat me to the punch, be my guest.

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:52 PM
 
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I'm not sure how much of a spin machine is really at work. The news accounts I see are not touting this as reason to run out and get a flu shot.

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE8AB04P20121112?irpc=932
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Simply read the insert, "Category C Vaccine: has not been tested for safety or efficacy in pregnant women.  May cause fetal damage and/or reproduction issues." 

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:53 PM
 
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I will never forget being told I was going to die from a flu shot.  Or the 24 days I spent in the hospital, the 4 years with no feeling in my legs, the six-figure medical bills, the year of physical therapy.  The list goes on and on.

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Old 11-20-2012, 05:34 AM
 
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Well, first of all, just because vaxxing leads to autism in some doesn't mean that it leads to autism in everyone.  The important point is, it does lead to autism in some.  The US Department of Health and Human Services has admitted and compensated cases of vaccine-induced brain damage, most including official autism diagnoses.  The most recent and highly publicized US case was that of Hannah Poling. Recently, the Italian government admitted that a child's autism was caused by the MMR vaccine.

 

As far as partially vaxed children, there was a recent study that concluded that infant boys who were given the hep B vax during the first month of life had a THREE-FOLD increase of autism diagnosis. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/new-study-hepatitis-b-vac_b_289288.html

 

As far as genetics are concerned, there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic.  The rate of autism has increased by roughly 10% per year, even though diagnostic criteria has not changed in the last 14 years, so it's obviously not "better diagnosis."

 

There may very well be a genetic predisposition--most likely, a genetic predisposition to vaccine reaction, or a genetic susceptibility or sensitivity to some of the ingredients in vaccines.

 

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmstead offer a very convincing hypothesis on autism being undiagnosed heavy metal poisoning in their book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Age-Autism-Medicine-Man-Made/dp/0312545622.  The earliest officially diagnosed autistic children all were in a position to have had excessive mercury exposure, some from vaccines, some from other sources.  Although mercury has been phased out of most children's vaccines in the US, the current official rate of autism is based on studies from 2008,on 8-year-olds, who were vaccinated before mercury was phased out.


In addition, as mercury was phased out of US vaccines, nearly twice as many vaccines were added to the pediatric vaccine schedule; nearly all contain aluminum, which seems to have very similar neurological effects.  In addition, pregnant women and children as young as 6 months are now routinely being given thimerosal(mercury)-preserved flu shots, as mercury was not phased out of flu shots. So they are essentially getting an even earlier mercury hit, when they are even more vulnerable


By the way, thimerosal-preserved pediatric vaccines are still manufactured in the US--and they are sent to developing countries, where autism is now skyrocketing.

 

Autism is likely to be the result of a "perfect storm" of factors.  Vaccines are perhaps the easiest to identify.  Another major factor appears to be vitamin deficiency.  Most autistic children are severely vitamin deficient, particularly in vitamin D.

 

Without sufficient vitamin D, you don't produce glutathione.  Glutathione is used by the body to eliminate heavy metals, but without glutathione, those heavy metals stay in the body--and cross the blood/brain barrier. They also cause autoimmune disorders--which are very common in autistic children, and there are even studies indicating that autistic children tend to have a strong family history of autoimmune disorder. So someone with vitamin D deficiency would be at risk for reacting badly to the heavy metals in vaccines.

 

Wow, wow, wow!!! Thank you SO MUCH Taximom! It's the kind of answer I was looking for. orngbiggrin.gif I'm glad you bit the bullet and shared your opinion. I definitely believe there is a predisposition to autism and funny you should mention it, Vit D def AND autoimmune disease run in the aforementioned person's family on the mother's side. Very, very interesting. Keep on writing mama, cause you've got some good stuff to share. thumb.gif


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Old 11-20-2012, 05:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by noflushot View Post

Simply read the insert, "Category C Vaccine: has not been tested for safety or efficacy in pregnant women.  May cause fetal damage and/or reproduction issues." 

 

Bolding mine. Not tested is not the same as saying it's dangerous. Testing medicines on pregnant women is considered unethical so is never done. And we all know the last statement is to cover themselves from liability, not a scientific statement of something which is likely. 


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I couldn't get the full text article either, but there's a skeptical review of the study on Discovery News here: http://news.discovery.com/human/flu-fever-pregnancy-autism-121112.html

 

And a quote from it where the authors admit to possible methodological problems: 

 

 

 

Quote:
A week-long fever indicated a tripled risk. But, as the authors themselves point out, "misreporting of influenza is likely to be considerable," and "The results may be due to multiple testing; the few positive findings are potential chance findings."

 

So it certainly seems like we shouldn't be drawing any big conclusions from just this one study. 


Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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