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Dr. Dirt: Vaccinations February 3, 2014

“Dr. Dirt” is a licensed practitioner and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He studied at Michigan State University’s program for Osteopathic Medicine.

Vaccinations, and their subsequent refusal by parents, have skyrocketed to the forefront of healthcare issues.
It seems that more and more parents are denying their children vaccination with the presumption that these treatments induce conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders. As a practitioner, this relatively new phenomenon is rather troubling, particularly when such presumptions appear to be misguided.
Let me make it clear, though, that I do not oppose a patient employing their autonomy by any means. However, I feel as though it is my job to educate patients with the facts at hand, from which we can establish a reasonable treatment plan together.
I understand there are parents who will absolutely not be convinced otherwise when it comes to vaccinations and their presumed harmful side effects. They will likely have anecdotal stories about how they heard about a friend who had issues with a vaccination, or knew a child who had received a vaccination and just ‘wasn’t the same’ afterwards. Unfortunately these tales infiltrate through the media, creating a generational epidemic of children not receiving vaccinations. Make no mistake, these medical breakthroughs have, nearly single handedly, wiped out diseases such as polio, pertussis, or mumps, measles and rubella.
Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy promote the anti-vaccination movement, irresponsibly claiming their causation to Autism as fact. But don’t take my word for it.

Here is a journal article debunking such a claim, one of many which can be easily found with a simple medical journal search:

http://www.jpeds.com/webfiles/images/journals/ympd/JPEDSDeStefano.pdf.

It should also be noted that the original study done by Andrew Wakefield claiming the relationship between MMR vaccination with autism had been found to not only be inaccurate, but fraudulent. The case went so far as to have Dr. Wakefield’s medical license revoked. Also noted, a study was done and showed that the incidence of autism did not decrease despite the cessation of vaccination (Honda 2005).
Now, these conditions are making a comeback, which is particularly disheartening knowing how easily they can be prevented. Measles was considered to be completely eliminated from the United States in 2000, only to be making a recent comeback http://www.cdc.gov/measles/outbreaks.html.
Evidence of increased cases of mumps, thought to be secondary to the decreased number of vaccinations, can be seen here http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/04/rise-mumps-waning-immunity-mmr-vaccine.
Lastly, if nothing else, turn to Penn Jillete. He is one of the most well-read and well-spoken people I’ve listened to.
Anyway, here is his take. I would have every patient of mine watch this video if I could: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhk7-5eBCrs

Honda, H., Y. Shimizu, and M. Rutter. 2005. No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 46(6):572–79.

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