Vaccines and chemicals

Puff the Mutant Dragon has an excellent takedown of Vaccines Have Chemicals alarmism: “Do vaccines contain toxic chemicals?” Puff considers mercury, ammonia, formaldehyde, thimerosol, aluminum, and hydrochloric acid.

In addition, Puff found a cartoon showing Jenner vaccinating people with cowpox. The results look like a humorous jab at vaccination fears.

The original vaccination in the 1800s: The Cow-Pock

But this was a serious editorial effort by the Anti-Vaccine Society, which objected to adding strange cow-derived substances into our precious bodily fluids. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

And yet this was a huge step up from previous inoculation procedures, which used a mild strain of smallpox with only 10% mortality to protect against the wild strains with 30% mortality.

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Autism from genetic damage

Large-scale genetic analysis allows scientists to find abnormal DNA in congenital diseases such as autism. Better diagnosis is helping doctors to detect the signs of autism in babies as young as six months. The current evidence shows that new mutations, mostly in the sperm of fathers 35 and over, are associated with autism. Unfortunately, it’s not just one mutation or genetic marker but almost a different one in every family: “Gene studies begin to unravel autism puzzle” (2012)

Also, it seems to be a genetic weakness or predisposition: autism is almost unknown in Africa but Africans who move to England start to see it. It has been associated with a lack of Vitamin D, which perhaps protects against the brain anomalies that cause autism: “What if Vitamin D deficiency is a cause of autism?” (2009). That children in the developed world are spending more time indoors could contribute to the problem.

Toronto eyes new mandatory vaccinations

It has been 22 years since the city of Toronto specified which vaccinations students must have to attend school. Parents can opt out by getting a notarized statement of conscience or religion and presenting it to the school; but 98% of parents allow their children to get the free immunizations. As a result, polio and diphtheria are things of the past; we are relatively free of the measles and mumps outbreaks seen elsewhere; childhood deafness is almost unknown; congenital defects have dropped; and children don’t die of lockjaw from a scratch with a rusty nail.

However, science has been marching on, and the province now offers free vaccines against chickenpox, meningitis, whooping cough, rotavirus, invasive pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, and human papilloma virus for girls. Yet none of these health benefits are not included in the list of vaccinations needed for school. The city’s medical office of health is asking for an evaluation and recommendations based on facts about disease prevention and dangers.

Is it time for Toronto to provide the push that protects children against those diseases? Any of them can be fatal. I say that they should at least be considered and at least some of them added to the mandatory list.

Whooping cough epidemic in Western Australia

Four babies have already died as whooping cough cases shot up in Western Australia.

A record number of more than 3,500 cases were reported last year, more than double the 2010 total. Four babies have died from the infection in as many years and the Health Department is urging parents to be prepared for more cases.

The department’s Paul Armstrong says whooping cough in the community seems to be rising. “In 2011 we had the highest number of cases reported to us of whooping cough, we know that whooping cough epidemics happen every three to four years, and we’re well overdue in WA for a whooping cough epidemic,” Mr Armstrong said.

Health Minister Kim Hames says parents must take responsibility for the vaccination of their children. “Whatever you hear of the risks of vaccination – of a whole range of different things – are totally outweighed by the risk of the disease itself,” he said. “Measles kills, whooping cough kills. All of those diseases that you can now get a vaccination to stop, can kill children.

Man burns woman to death in elevator

Hello, Richard Dawkins! Let’s hear you be sarcastic about this as you convey that Muslim women have it worse so the problem doesn’t exist. Let’s hear you explain how safe elevators are because a woman can always press the stop button if she wants to get away from someone: Man burns Dolores Gillespie to death in elevator. He waited on her floor and then stepped into the elevator when she tried to get off.

The woman, who had grocery bags in her arms, turned about 180 degrees and then crouched in an attempted to protect herself, he said. But the man sprayed her directly in the face and continued to spray her “sort of methodically” over her head and parts of her body as the bags draped off her arms. She turned around and retreated to the back of the elevator….

Neighbors reported a fire in the building, unaware that the woman, whom police declined to identify, was burning to death in the elevator.

Symphony of Science: DNA and genetics

This video is a hymn to learning about the role of DNA in our lives.

It appears to be a subtle infomercial.

CDC’s Pink Book

The CDC’s Pink Book, like the U.K.’s Green Book, is an excellent resource about vaccine-preventable diseases. The 2011 edition is the twelfth.

From the description:

Typical chapters include a description of the disease, pathogenesis, clinical features, laboratory diagnosis, medical management, epidemiology, risk factors, trends in the United States, vaccine details, vaccination schedule and use, contraindications and precautions to vaccination, adverse reactions following vaccination, vaccine storage and handling, and reference or publications.

The appendices are a wealth of reference materials, including minimum age and interval table, current and discontinued vaccines, ingredients tables, vaccine administration guide, etc.

You can view the chapters online:

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