Saturday, October 31, 2009
Dear Dr. Parikh,
I just read your article and while I do not doubt that Amy Wallace was called inappropriate and vicious names, I find your position disingenuous. I assure you that people in the "anti-vaccine movement" have been called by vicious names as well. The ugliness that you refer to attaches to almost everyone -- governmental agencies, doctors, journalists and parents. Most people I've talked to and read who have concerns about vaccines take pains to state that they are not anti-vaccine but pro-safe vaccines. But I understand. If we are labeled "vaccine rejectionists" who believe in "junk science" and use "fear-mongering rhetoric" it's easier to marginalize, mock and ignore us.
I had two boys become autistic two weeks after routine vaccinations -- one at 13 months, the younger at 17 months. The same professional who told me Jacob was on the spectrum said that I didn't need to worry about William, he was fine. This was less than two months before he regressed into autism. Since that time I've spent thousand of hours reading studies, abstracts, and basically anything I can get my hands on about vaccines. And I am not unique!
We know too much about this topic to be patted on the head and sent away. It's frustrating to read articles written by journalists who clearly know little about their topic, and then they call us fools and parasites. It's unbelievable to read that Paul Offit is considered an expert on the causation of autism. These things are asserted in print as gospel truth and unassailable. And those of us who have delved into the subject call out ... but we are marginalized and mocked.
Are you elevating the discussion?
I was surprised to find myself listed as an "anti-vaccine writer" on a website with a link to this entry. So, I addressed that here.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I talked Marcy about them this morning and she said that when people talk about how hard it must be with Pete she responds that she knows what autism is not. Things like this make me remember how fragile life is.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"With no vaccine available for H1N1 flu, Australia recently ended its 2009 "Flu Season" (their Winter in our Summer), with 186 flu-associated fatalities of 36,991 Aussies confirmed having H1N1.
The Australia 2009 stats for regular 'seasonal flu' are not final yet, but their Health Dept literature cites annual flu-associated mortality historically has been between 2,500 and 3,000 in spite of universal vaccination programs for regular flu long being established."
Well, if only 186 people died from swine flu and over 2,500 people usually die from a regular flu strain. Does that mean that swine flu, so far, is a mild strain of flu? No, of course not! I must be wrong, after all government agencies all over the world have created mass hysteria and a special vaccine. They surely wouldn't have done that without a good reason!
Yesterday’s mishap was all mine. I thought I had my pressure cooker all figured out; well, no, no, I don’t. I wish I had the instruction book (even if it’s written in German). However, I do have a recommendation for other people out there – Don’t use a pressure cooker to make split pea soup! Bad things can happen!
I was minding my own business, secure in the knowledge that I’d made dinner when I heard a sound like an air compressor. Jake asked what it was. I reassured him that his father was just nailing something with his air gun – but he wasn’t. (He was on the roof, with the leaf blower, blowing pine needles off the roof.) When I walked into the kitchen I saw split pea liquid had sprayed out of the pan onto the counter and microwave. I thought that sort of stuff wasn’t suppose to happen with a pressure cooker!
Maybe they have a how to cook with a pressure cooker class though an adult continuing education class. And perhaps I shouldn’t use it again until I take that class.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Really? An old woman’s color! Naturally I said, “Why don’t I repaint it next weekend.”
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thus, I’ve been sleeping on mattress on the floor because while the wallpaper was mostly stripped in my room, it wasn’t entirely and it wasn’t painted. And I didn’t want to set up our bed because that would just get in the way of “working” on the room. (And there’s a slight chance that I didn’t want to admit that I’d given up on finishing the room.) And after a while, I didn’t even notice the half pink wall anymore.
I recently started shopping for bedroom sets but I had a difficult time finding one that fit nicely in the room because it isn’t that large. So, I put off that as well, until Thursday. I found a bedroom set that I thought would be ok, although it’s not my dream set.
At this point I have a deadline so I decided the time had come to finish the room. I cleared everything out; and puttied the first wallpaper crease. I then realized that my self-imposed deadline would be moved back and remembered why I’d put off this task for over a year. That’s right, this sucks!
So, I went to lunch with Marcy, then fortified with sushi I began the laborious process of puttying, sanding, priming and painting the trim. And that’s where I am at on Friday night. Tomorrow I’m sure there won’t be any flaws that show up in daylight and I can move right into the painting phase after which I’ll finish sewing Brianne’s Halloween costume for a costume party Saturday night.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I'll start off by saying that no one knows how dangerous the swine flu will be this season. (I'll be able to say how bad it was around next April with a lot of accuracy -- but that doesn't help now.)
A pandemic, while a very scary word, merely means worldwide. Thus I say with accuracy, chicken pox is a pandemic.
Here is preliminary data from the CDC 2009-2010 Influenza Season Week 40 ending October 10, 2009.
*There were: Eleven influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported. Ten of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and one was associated with an influenza A virus, for which subtype is undetermined.
*Cumulatively since August 30th there have been 43 pediatric deaths nationwide.
*From August 30 – October 10, 2009, 4,958 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated hospitalizations, 292 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated deaths, 15,696 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based hospitalizations, and 2,029 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based deaths, were reported to CDC. (This includes all influenza strains not just H1N1.)
2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation Update
*Since April 2009, there have been 86 confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths; 39 of these have been reported to CDC since August 30, 2009.
*Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine ...
World Health Organization Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 70 Other Updates
*As of 11 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 399232 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 and over 4735 deaths reported to WHO. As many countries have stopped counting individual cases, particularly of milder illness, the case count is significantly lower than the actually number of cases that have occurred. WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of data.
* U S population over 304,059,724 (July 2008)
* World Population 6,706,993,152 (estimated July 2008)
*World Health Organizations Weekly Epidemiological Record on Pandemic H1N1 2009
US Census Bureau: The total number of children under age 5 was 21 million in 2008, or 6.9 percent of the total population, compared with 19.2 million and 6.8 percent in 2000.
86 pediatric deaths from H1N1 in the US out of a population of 21,000,000.
4735 reported deaths worldwide out a population of over 6,700,000,000.
Now, Let's all take a relieved deep breath! While recognizing that it's early in the flu season, H1N1 looks to be a mild influenza strain. I hope it doesn't mutate into a deadly strain, but if it does the vaccine would be useless anyway. (Many people who had the earlier strain of the Spanish flu caught the mutated strain and died even though they had antibodies for the first strain. Read the book, if you have a few hours.)
I'm not getting the vaccine.
But just to play with your mind -- here's a report that the CDC overestimated Swine Flu cases.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Update: New statistics for week 42 (
If you're interested in statistics both worldwide and in the US I spent some time and gathered some from the CDC and WHO. I was interested that CBS reported that the CDC was significantly over estimating people who had swine flu. On one hand, I'm glad it's milder than reported. On the other hand, that's ridiculous! Isn't it the CDC's job to gather statistics? But definitely check out the article in the Atlantic Monthly regarding flu vaccinations and statistics Does the Vaccine Matter?
Australia's flu season is over. N1H1 sounded pretty mild.
Last Saturday night I went to Marcy's synagogue to hear a lecture on Buddhism. The speaker was a little dry and my mind wandered but on the positive side I now have intelligent questions to ask Sean.
After it ended we talked to one of Marcy's friends. There was joy and happiness around while we talked politics even religion, mine and theirs. Then she brought up vaccines. She said (since we seemed so reasonable), "You don't believe vaccines cause autism," as a prefix to her next topic. And my head started nodding up and down like a bobble-head doll. She went on to say that people who didn't get flu shots or other vaccines were basically ridiculous. She was actually pretty well informed of the party line. And she mentioned that her husband worked with vaccines and epidemiology at which point I said, of course, you are correct and I bow to your superior knowledge. (Do I even need to say that was a joke? Didn't think so.)
When I mentioned I had two sons who became autistic two weeks after routine vaccinations she countered with a "wasn't that around 2 years" statement. Which I countered with a 13 and 17 months and the same person who told me my oldest was ASD said "you don't have to worry about William, he's fine;" less than two months before he became autistic. Oh. She had nothing to say to that and moved on to her next attack.
She said studies have proven thimerosal doesn't cause autism. I said no those studies haven't been done yet. I brought up a specific study and mentioned serious flaws. She said she hadn't read the study (I knew that). She mentioned a vaccinated vs, unvaccinated study had been done. I said no. That's the study we want done! The CDC and NIH refuse to do that study!
She went on to talk about how dangerous N1H1 is. I said that the last statistics I read said that 400 people have died from it world wide. During the same time 13,000 people have died from a regular flu strain. She tried to bring up statistics but Marcy crushed her by bringing up the US population and applying it to her statistics making it a wash.
I'm sure she left angry and frustrated, knowing we were wrong but unable to prove it! And probably distressed that we knew more than she did but, of course, safe in the knowledge naturally we knew less than her husband.
Today I found a really interesting article in the Atlantic, Does the Vaccine Matter?
It asks the question, "But what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce the number of people who die or are hospitalized?"
After "comb[ing] through eight years of medical data on more than 72,000 people 65 and older. . . . . Jackson’s findings showed that outside of flu season, the baseline risk of death among people who did not get vaccinated was approximately 60 percent higher than among those who did, lending support to the hypothesis that on average, healthy people chose to get the vaccine, while the “frail elderly” didn’t or couldn’t. In fact, the healthy-user effect explained the entire benefit that other researchers were attributing to flu vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all."
"The history of flu vaccination suggests other reasons to doubt claims that it dramatically reduces mortality. In 2004, for example, vaccine production fell behind, causing a 40 percent drop in immunization rates. Yet mortality did not rise. In addition, vaccine “mismatches” occurred in 1968 and 1997: in both years, the vaccine that had been produced in the summer protected against one set of viruses, but come winter, a different set was circulating. In effect, nobody was vaccinated. Yet death rates from all causes, including flu and the various illnesses it can exacerbate, did not budge. Sumit Majumdar, a physician and researcher at the University of Alberta, in Canada, offers another historical observation: rising rates of vaccination of the elderly over the past two decades have not coincided with a lower overall mortality rate. In 1989, only 15 percent of people over age 65 in the U.S. and Canada were vaccinated against flu. Today, more than 65 percent are immunized. Yet death rates among the elderly during flu season have increased rather than decreased."
It a very good article and poses interesting questions, please read the whole article rather than relying on my excerpts. Also, check out the Atlantic's Facts about Swine Flu page.
Monday, October 19, 2009
So, back to my husband’s mid-life crisis; I’m not sure how long it will last, hopefully not 40 years. I can’t remember how long my dad’s beard lasted. I thought of using that as a gauge, but can’t. I probably brought this on myself by giggling about him being old. I don’t expect him to return the favor next year when I turn 40 because he’s nicer than I am.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
But since I am insane I decided to try again. I popped two bags of popcorn, filled up a bottle with water and tried to prepare William. “Hey, Will guess what? You get to go to the movies!” He ignored me. I tried again. “Will, I’m taking you to see Where the Wild Things Are.” He turned into my wild thing! He started screaming and pinching and kicking! He threw himself on the floor in a furious rage at my colossal nerve; horrified at the punishment he knew was coming! If there had been a boat available to sail away on he would have left. (Unfortunately for him, I keep the front door locked now.) He was so upset he gave himself a bloody nose. At which point I turned into a wild thing only I forced Will onto my boat and drove to the theatre.
Stuffing himself with two bags of casein free popcorn Will was appeased for a time. And once he realized that I wouldn’t let him out of his seat to run around he distracted himself from the torture of the movie by sitting on my lap, reciting the ABCs with accompanying word, turning around in the seat to talk in the direction of the people behind us and ….
I don’t think he has any idea about what happened in the movie and that’s probably just the way he wants it!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Because we’d purposely left our children behind in Massachusetts we were able to cram our weekend full of art. We went to the of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. It was wonderful! I feel the need to say that again. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!
I love modern art and I saw some lovely Monets and Mondrians. I saw so many artists I love and wonderful paintings and sculpture. I love to see the brush strokes and to see the painting from different angles and distances. It makes me happy just thinking about it. (And, seriously, after I die I am going to track down some artists and beg them to paint something for me!) Art is good.
Because we are connected – well, Marcy’s friend’s brother knows someone who invested in the traveling show Wicked – we were able to score producer house seats for Wicked; which was fabulous! I really liked it and recommend that you see it and spurge for good seats! The next night we saw Shrek. Shrek … hum, well I still regret that we didn’t see Hair instead.
The only thing we didn’t do in NY that we wanted was walk through
But we went to the Carnegie Deli and had the full tourist experience minus the celebrity sighting. I tried an egg cream but I didn’t like it. I apologist to purists everywhere for this comment in advance but I thought it was the equivalent of mixing Hershey Syrup with milk.
Naturally, we both left things in the hotel room after we checked out, that we had to retrieve and we both brought far too many clothes and shoes but it was a great trip! The only thing that would have made our NYC trip perfect would be an early showing of SNL, a piece of chocolate cake and dinner with Jon Stewart.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Unfortunately, I know Tom has blackmail pictures.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Once my husband told me this story, Saturday night made more sense. I took Will downstairs to watch TV before he fell asleep. Jacob was watching a show on Scientific America on
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
School board meeting …. Sigh …. Long and boring and we pissed of the new superintendent. So, it all worked out pretty much the way we expected.
This morning I sent Will off to school then headed to the Y to teach my preschool enrichment class (Bri babysitting again). On the way home I got a message from a college roommate that she was in state but “carless.” I offered to pick her up and drive her back to where she was staying. So, I left the parent meeting at Will’s school early, drove almost 40 minutes away to Acton to pick up my friend and returned home before Will therapy was scheduled to start. So, although Bri’s friend slept over I only was home for part of it and most of that time was spent cooking for them.
Ronit and I spent five and a half hours talking and only skimmed the surface of the last twelve years.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Our food supply, all the toxins in our environment, the effects of diet on a person, epigenetics, processed foods, pesticides, the changes in our DNA -- all this things are floating around in my brain as I try to make sense of this all and my family's health. What am I feeding my kids? I see it especially with William. Before starting him on the gluten and casein free diet he was unhealthy, too skinny, in a cognitive haze and completely unreachable. Now he is reachable but unable to moderate his own food intake.
How badly have we damaged our earth, our children and ourselves? I read Lerner's essay on the environmental health movement. While I don't agree with everything he wrote I do believe that the human story is connected to the story of the birds, frogs and fish; and that children have to right to grow up in an healthy environment.
The Age of Extinction and The Emerging Environmental Health Movement by Michael Lerner.
How stable is our world? I haven't finished looking at this website but here is a UN Report: Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment
Our children start out being poisoned. Read Body Burden — The Pollution in Newborns: A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood.
What does all this environmental damage, pollution, and toxins mean to me? Well, I think everything is combining together to create a perfect storm of health problems. And those of us more genetically susceptible are going down in a sea of autism, asthma, learning disabilities, ADD, lupus, allergies .... One of my children has already figuratively "drowned," I'd prefer that my grandchildren be spared.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I remembered this year, I informed him. I even made him a cake that contained 24 ounces of chocolate. My dad was worried because I forgot two years ago and my husband got a s’more for his birthday cake.
Now if he'd only call and remind me when it's my siblings' birthdays ... Dad, program that in!