I humbly concede that I do not have it all figured out by any means, but I do appreciate an article that will look at research articles from both sides while holding to the premise that this is not a black and white issue.


There was big news last week in the heated debate about whether childhood vaccines cause autism. The 1998 study in The Lancet, which largely launched the vaccine-autism imbroglio, has been officially retracted. Its lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, has also been discredited by Britain’s independent regulator of doctors for his “unethical” and “dishonest” actions in conducting the pulled study.

But Wakefield’s deeply flawed paper is not the only study that has fueled the anti-vaccination movement. Led by celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, the movement continues to vehemently oppose mainstream science’s overwhelming consensus that vaccines do not cause developmental disorders.

Some of these papers championed by the anti-vaccination camp have serious problems of their own. Others muddy the waters or hint at conspiratorial efforts by governmental health organizations and vaccine-profiteering pharmaceutical companies to hide the truth about autism’s genesis.

Here’s a look at several of the key studies that the anti-vaccination movement has either embraced or lambasted in furthering its perspective. These studies have already fueled the controversy and will likely remain at the epicenter of future clashes over vaccine safety

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You ever accidentally tell the wrong family their loved one just died?  So last night in the ER, we had two patients come in about the same time, both of the same gender and nationality, but maybe 30 years apart in age.

Patient A, roughly a 70 year old female, was here for cardio-pulmonary arrest (heart and lungs stopped working for some reason).  Patient B, a 40 year old female, was here for low back pain, although she did have some sort of cancer.

Patient A ended up dying despite our best efforts to save her.  The ER doctor went out to the waiting room to break the bad news to the family.  Through a comedy of errors, patient B’s family was accidentally rounded up and prepared for the doctors announcement.  The doctor then double checked by asking “are you Mrs Patient A’s family?”.  They (incorrectly) replied “yes, we are”.  Well, imagine their surprise when they found out their family member died from a severe backache!

After much screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth, and tearing of clothes (literally), it was realized that their family member wasn’t dead, in fact, she was very much alive, although her back was still a little sore.  The doctor  had to then go find the correct family and tell them the bad news (this time he was much more polished from the previous delivery).

Not quite the ol’ amputating of the wrong leg during surgery, but pretty close!

Funny video an ER nurse put together to help recruit new nurses.



Here’s an interesting set of photos this guy put together, then placed on a website for people to rate their attractiveness.  They aren’t pictures of actual people, just digitally altered faces.  The subtle differences don’t seem to drastic, but really make a difference with what our culture thinks is “beautiful”.  Check out his website here.

Attractive Face Scale by manitou2121.

After finding a coupon in a recent mailer, we decided to go ahead and get our ducts, vents, and furnace cleaned.  It seemed like good timing too, our firstborn was only a couple months away and we’d been doing quite a bit of construction around the house.  Thought it would be a good idea to make sure we had clean air blowing around for the new little guy.  We ended up calling Midwest Aircare, who promised 12 vents, 1 main, and 2 return vents cleaned for $69.95.  Thought is was a good deal, so we called them.  They asked several questions on the phone, how old the house was, how many vents and returns we had, ect, then set up the appointment.

The service tech came out on time, then assessed the situation.  We only had 6 vents, but we had 4 returns, and 2 mains.  He said he could do everything, but the second main and additional 2 returns would be another $300 total.  I asked why I would do that when I could just get another coupon which offered that additional service for $69.95 and have them make another trip out tomorrow.  He said he didn’t know, but he’d see if he could work something out, then got to work.

The cleaning process is quite simple and a little archaic.  He cut a hole the size of a dinner plate in our main vent near the furnace, then hooked a large vacuum up to that hole.  Then a small rubbery air hose was forced down the upstairs vents to stir up dust and debris.  The vacuum downstairs then sucked all the debris out.  Two problems, one, large pieces of debris (plaster, chips of wood, ect) are too heavy to be stirred up by the air blowing around, so they don’t move.  And second, the very fine particles of dirt, mold, whatever that are stuck to the sides of the duct-work are often to sticky to get knocked off by a rubbery hose whipping about.  The end result left a lot to be desired.

The service tech “cleaned” my 6 vents and one of the mains, but refused to do any of my return registers.  He said those shouldn’t count as returns since they were near the floor.  I explained this is the common practice with many old houses and since they already knew the age of my house before they came, shouldn’t they have some idea what types of returns I had (also, the coupon had no disclaimer on what types of vents or returns they wouldn’t do).  No answer, but he was kind enough to do a full house inspection.  Offered my a killer deal, “the works” package for $2,900ish.  This included mildicide, insecticides, mildew control, ultraviolet light to kill spores and mold, all the ducts, mains, returns and the furnace cleaned, new filters, and the AC unit cleaned out.  I told him I had $69.95 budgeted and that’s all I was going to spend.  He said he might be able to do it for $2,100, but he’d have to call his boss.  “Don’t bother”, I said, “I’m only going to spend $69.95”.  After 10 minutes on the phone and us haggling back and forth, he finally got the total price down to $950, then finally, $350.  What a deal!  I still said no, told him thank you, but I would like him to finish the job he started.  He still had not cleaned any of my return vents and had two large holes he had cut in my main vent lines downstairs that needed to be patched.  He said he couldn’t do the returns because he had “already spent to much time on this job” (he’d been there for just over 45 minutes).

I then tried to bargain with him.  Since there were only 6 vents, not 12 like the coupon said they would do, how about throw in another main or return for free.   He said “no, that’s how we make our money, when people have less stuff than what the coupon says.”  I said ok, then just do the 2 return vents like your coupon says.  He insisted he was already losing money by being there so long and didn’t feel like he was supposed to do any returns since they were the “older style” (even though his coupon stated “2 returns”).  I balked, he said he would do one return, but that was it.  Figuring this was the best I could do, I said “fine”.  “But”, he said “I will have to charge you $35 each to patch those two holes I cut in your mains to hook the vacuum up”.  I assured him I would not be paying that $35 since he cut the holes, he could fix them (bless his little heart).

Long story short, we got all 6 vents, only one return, and one main cleaned for $69.95 after at least 30 minutes of arguing, haggling, and gnashing of teeth.  None of the vents came very clean, each had a fine layer of dust stuck to the metal.  After asking around, I’m no the only one who’s had a horrible experience with Midwest Aircare.  And I feel bad for the little old lady who calls this company and gets the “$2,900” estimate.  Think of the profit margin if they were willing to do it for $350!  Not saying all duct-cleaning companies operate this way, but in the future I’m just going to change my furnace filter and maybe stick a shop-vac down a vent every once in a while.

 Whether you believe in global warming or not, it seems a little ridiculous that everything from acne to yellow fever is being attributed to global warming.  An interesting list from

A complete list of things caused by global warming

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, Africa devastated,  Africa in conflict, African aid threatenedAfrican summer frost, aggressive weeds, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, Agulhas current movesAlps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream endamphibians breeding earlier (or not)anaphylactic reactions to bee stingsancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk,   anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Arctic warming (not), Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty,   atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increasedBaghdad snow, Bahrain under waterbananas grow, barbarisation, beer shortage, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000,  better beer, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billion homeless, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird loss accelerating, bird visitors drop, birds confused, birds return early, birds driven north, bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop singing, blackbirds threatened, Black Hawk downblood contaminated, blue mussels return, bluetongue, brain eating amoebae, brains shrink, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain Siberianbrothels struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatenedbuilding collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks butterflies move northcamel deathscancer deaths in England, cannibalismcaterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings threatenedchildhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increasecoast beauty spots lost, cockroach migration,  coffee threatened, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), cold wave (India), computer models, conferences, conflict, conflict with Russiaconsumers foot the bill, coral bleaching, coral fish suffer, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , coral reefs twilight cost of trillions, cougar attackscrabgrass menace cradle of civilisation threatened, creatures move uphill, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum changecyclones (Australia),   danger to kid’s health, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plaguedeath rate increase (US), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, depression, desert advancedesert retreatdestruction of the environmentdisappearance of coastal citiesdiseases move north, Dolomites collapse, drought,   ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen seasonEarth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing downEarth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside downearthquakes, earthquakes redux, El Niño intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing,  eutrophication, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation,  logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirdspikas, polar bears,     walrus,   toadsplants, salmon, troutwild flowers, woodlicea million species, half of all animal and plant speciesmountain speciesnot polar bears, barrier reef, leaches, tropical insects) experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, faintingfamine, farmers benefit, farmers go under, farm output boostfashion disaster, fever,figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fish bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize,  fish catches rise, fish deaf, fish get lost, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating disease, flood patterns change, floods,  floods of beaches and cities, flood of migrants, flood preparation for crisis, Florida economic decline, flowers in peril, food poisoningfood prices rise, food prices soar, food security threat (SA)footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frog with extra heads, frostbite, frost damage increasedfrosts, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, giant oysters invade,  giant pythons invade, giant squid migrate, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat,  glacial growth, glacier grows (California), glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing cloudsgolf Masters wrecked, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes dropgreat tits cope, greening of the NorthGrey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome,  harmful algaeharvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, health affected, health of children harmed, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hibernation affected hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, HIV epidemic, homeless 50 million, hornets, high court debates, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health risk, human race oblivion, hurricaneshurricane reduction, hurricanes fewer, hurricanes nothydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice age, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkageillness and death, inclement weather, India drowning, infrastructure failure (Canada)industry threatened, infectious diseases,  inflation in China, insect explosion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of catsinvasion of herons, invasion of jellyfish, invasion of midges island disappears, islands sinking, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, jets fall from sky, jet stream drifts north, Kew Gardens taxed, kidney stones, killer cornflakes, killing us, kitten boom, koalas under threat, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake empties, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, lawsuits increaselawsuit successful,  lawyers’ income increased (surprise surprise!)lives saved, Loch Ness monster dead, lush growth in rain forests,   Malaria,   mammoth dung melt, mango harvest fails, Maple production advanced, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, Meaching (end of the world), Mediterranean rises, megacryometeors, Melanoma, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, methane runaway, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), migratory birds huge losses, microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, minorities hit, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, moose dying, more bad air days,   more research neededmortality increased, mountain (Everest) shrinking,  mountaineers fears,  mountains break up, mountains green and flowering,   mountains taller, mortality lower,  Myanmar cyclone, narwhals at risk, National security implications, native wildlife overwhelmed, natural disasters  quadruple, new islands, next ice age, NFL threatened, Nile delta damaged, noctilucent clouds, no effect in IndiaNorthwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloomoaks dyingoaks move northocean acidification, ocean deserts expand, ocean waves speed up, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened,   ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, penguin chicks frozen, personal carbon rationingpest outbreaks, pests increasephenology shiftsplankton blooms, plankton destabilisedplants march northplants move uphill polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic polar bears drowning,   polar tours scrapped, popcorn rise, porpoise astray, profits collapsepsychiatric illness,   puffin decline radars taken out, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rape wave, refugeesrelease of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash,  rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war,   river flow impacted, rivers raised, roads wear out, robins rampant,   rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, rooftop bars, Ross river diseaseruins ruined,  Russia under pressure, salinity reduction, salinity increaseSalmonella,  satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, sewer bills rise, severe thunderstorms, sex change, sexual promiscuity, shark attacks, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep shrink, shop closures, short-nosed dogs endangeredshrinking ponds, shrinking shrine, ski resorts threatened, skin cancer, slow death, smaller brains, smog, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy soaring food prices, societal collapse, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spectacular orchids, spiders invade Scotland, squid aggressive giants, squid population explosion, squirrels reproduce earlier, stingray invasion, storms wetter, stormwater drains stressed, street crime to increasesubsidence, suicide, swordfish in the Baltic, Tabasco tragedy, taxes, tectonic plate movement, teenage drinking, terrorism, threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tomatoes rot, tornado outbreak, tourism increase, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, traffic jamstransportation threatened, tree foliage increase (UK),   tree growth slowed, trees in trouble, trees less colourfultrees more colourful, trees lush, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, truffle shortageturtles crash, turtles lay earlier, UK coastal impact, UK Katrina, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, volcanic eruptionswalrus pups orphanedwalrus stampede, war, wars over water, wars sparked, wars threaten billions, wasps, water bills double, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, Western aid cancelled outWest Nile fever, whales lose weight, whales move north, whales wiped out, wheat yields crushed in Australiawildfireswind shift, wind reduced,  wine – harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California) wine industry disaster (US) wine – more English, wine –  England too hot, wine -German boon, wine – no more French wine passé (Napa), wine stronger, winters in Britain colder, winter in Britain dead, witchcraft executions, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World at war, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.
and all on 0.006 deg C per year! 

WASHINGTON (AP) — New research further debunks any link between measles vaccine and autism, work that comes as the nation is experiencing a surge in measles cases fueled by children left unvaccinated.

Years of research with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, better known as MMR, have concluded that it doesn’t cause autism. Still, some parents’ fears persist, in part because of one 1998 British study that linked the vaccine with a subgroup of autistic children who also have serious gastrointestinal problems. That study reported that measles virus was lingering in the children’s bowels.

Only now have researchers rigorously retested that finding, taking samples of youngsters’ intestines to hunt for signs of virus with the most modern genetic technology. There is no evidence that MMR plays any role, the international team — which included researchers who first raised the issue — reported Wednesday.

“Although in fact there was evidence that this vaccine was safe in the bulk of the population, it had not been previously assessed with respect to kids with autism and GI complaints,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who led the work published in PLoS One, the online journal of the Public Library of Science.

“We are confident there is no link between MMR and autism,” Lipkin said.

Added co-author Dr. Larry Pickering of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “I feel very certain that it is a safe vaccine.”

Measles, a highly infectious virus best known for its red skin rash, once routinely sickened thousands of children a year and killed hundreds, until childhood vaccinations made it a rarity in this country. But so far this year, the U.S. has counted 131 measles cases, the most in a decade. Most patients were unvaccinated. Some were infants too young for their first MMR shot, but nearly half involved children whose parents rejected vaccination, the CDC reported last month.

No one knows just how many autism patients also suffer gastrointestinal disorders, pain that they may not be able to communicate. But Lipkin said that by some estimates, up to a quarter may be affected.

The MMR fear was that the vaccine’s weakened measles virus somehow lodged in and inflamed intestines, allowing waste products to escape and reach the central nervous system, Lipkin said. So his team had two questions: Does measles virus really persist in children with both disorders and not other youngsters? And did vaccination precede the GI complaints which in turn preceded autism?

Researchers studied 25 children with both autism and GI disorders, and another 13 children with the same GI disorders but no neurologic problems. The youngsters — the average age was 5 — all were undergoing colonoscopies for their GI conditions anyway, allowing tissue samples to be tested for genetic traces of measles virus. All had been vaccinated at younger ages.

The tests uncovered traces of measles genetic material in the bowels of one boy with autism — and one boy without autism. That doesn’t prove virus never temporarily lodged in more children, but it contradicts the earlier study that raised concern.

Nor was there a relationship with vaccine timing: Just five of the 25 autistic children had MMR precede GI complaints that in turn preceded autism symptoms.

Researchers consulted some prominent vaccine critics in designing the study. California advocate Rick Rollens praised the work but said it didn’t eliminate other vaccine concerns that deserve similar study. Meanwhile, he said it should draw much-needed attention to the suffering of patients like his son, who has both autism and GI disorders.

“No longer can mainstream medicine ignore the parents’ claims of significant GI distress,” he said.

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