I've had several very interesting conversations over the last few days regarding autism and vaccines. First, at work yesterday, I was talking to a pediatric nurse practitioner about some of the changes they're making to the vaccine schedule and how we seem to be seeing an increased incidence of pertussis and meningitis in our community. Last night, we had dinner with some friends and the topic came up again. Thanks, Cheryl, for inspiring this post!
I AM NOT AN EXPERT. AND I AM NOT A MOMMY. But I do feel a huge responsibility, perhaps even a calling to help educate our community about pediatric health issues, so that's what I'll do now. Please understand that the following information is here to help you educate yourself. I'd be happy to share my own opinion, but this is not the place. In the meantime, if you're at all interested in this topic, grab a Diet Coke, wait, don't! my next soapbox might just be on the dangers of artificial sweetener, and a comfy chair, put your laptop in your lap and READ!
My friend asked me last night where she could go to research this topic. I will list reputable sources here. Please, please, stay away from Google because you will find tons and tons and tons of opinions. This is a very hot topic right now -- everyone and their mamma has an opinion. But look first at real evidence. Look at unbiased data, not the soapbox blog of some celebrity who thinks she's got it all figured out. And after you've exhausted the evidence, make an informed choice about whether or not to vaccinate.
And pray. To the moms and dads out there, pray that God will give you wisdom and understanding and conviction about your decisions to vaccinate.
First, search the CDCs website. They're a really great source of information and have done an excellent job of providing information that the public can actually use.
I found this chart - it's a great overview of the studies that the CDC has supported regarding this topic. It's a quick way to see the results of multiple studies. A quick explanation - Thiomersal is an organomercury compound used as a preservative in things like immunoglobulin compounds, eye products, nasal sprays, tattoo inks, and vaccines. It is probably what the public is calling "mercury" in vaccines, and it's caused much hype. Many of the studies listed in this chart refer to Thiomersal, so you'll need to know what it is. With a few exceptions, Thiomersal is no longer used in the U.S. to preserve vaccines, but was used up until 2001 in routine infancy vaccines.
The following is copied from the CDCs website, and I find it very informative:
What are other Federal Agencies doing related to vaccines and ASDs?
In 2000, CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to put together an independent expert committee (the Immunization Safety Review Committee) to review evidence about whether vaccines cause certain health problems and to report their findings and recommendations. The committee studied evidence about 1) the theory that MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine causes autism and 2) the theory that vaccines with the preservative thimerosal cause neurodevelopment disorders, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and speech or language delay. To read the IOM report, click here.
NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)NICHD has a website about autism and vaccines, which includes research being done by NIH. You can get more information about autism and autism research related to vaccines by calling the NICHD clearinghouse at 1-800-370-2943.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)NIAID funds thimerosal research to better understand what happens to thimerosal once it enters the body and how this compares with current knowledge of methyl mercury pathways.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)FDA’s website provides a thorough discussion of thimerosal in vaccines, along with frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you find the information you need quickly.
And if you're interested in reading a full research report, try this one:
Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study
I like this article, too. It looks like the transcript of an interview. The MD really explains things in an easy-to-understand manner, including what will happen if we do stop vaccinating.
Patricia Stinchfield, CPNP, puts it this way, "when you care for the sickest of the sick, the bias is strong in favor of vaccination," but "parents and many providers today have never seen these diseases so the benefit of vaccines is invisible." You can read her full report here. I empathize with her opinion because I do take care of some pretty sick kiddos, and preventable disease is heartwrenching. Just ask the little baby in my unit right now with pertussis who coughs and coughs and coughs...
I would love opinions, stories, sources, information, comments! So feel free to post! But remember that the decision to vaccinate is personal and what works for one mom and baby might not work for another. As always, thanks for reading!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
So I'm still getting used to my little "video camera" on my new camera. Sorry that it's a little whacky. I forgot that you can't tilt the camera unless you're okay with the view being sideways. Anyway, this is video I shot today from our house. We move in SiXTEEN DaYs!
Posted by Jennifer at 12:20 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Housework is progressing so nicely! I will say that this is the craziest thing we've ever done, and there have been so many trying moments! But to see the house come together like it has is so much fun. This week we got cabinets and trim. Oh yea, and the pool is looking so much better!
This is a picture of the backyard when we bought the house. The pool was a big black hole.
And here is the pool today! Keep in mind that the previous owners told us it would cost upwards of $10,000 to get the pool back in working condition. We've spent under $1000 so far on chemicals and tools. We did all the work ourselves (with the help of Tex Sun's pool school, of course!) and we are making remarkable improvements! We can actually see the skimmer on the bottom now! So exciting!
Paint is next ... and I love paint!
Posted by Jennifer at 9:00 PM
Sunday, April 12, 2009
What a wonderful Easter. It was a whirlwind weekend but so precious! We went to Louisiana to visit Paw-Paw and Jean, headed to the country for a picture-perfect family reunion and crawfish boil, and then rushed home so Adam and I could get back to work on Monday. I wish Paw-Paw had the internet so he could read this, but it was so wonderful to see him.
In the midst of all things crazy, house and work and other house and school and work, it was difficult for both of us to give up this weekend to go see family. And the minute I laid eyes on Paw-Paw, I knew we had -- beyond a shadow of doubt -- done the right thing.
So my Easter was a precious reminder of the value of family and the importance of priority, the importance of love, and the importance of people. How much more valuable was this weekend with my grandfather than it would have been at home, crossing off my to do list? Such simple truth, and yet, so powerful on this beautiful weekend.
Posted by Jennifer at 11:00 PM
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I am so excited and honored and proud to announce that I have a new sister-in-law! Meet Jennifer (she has the coolest name ever)! My brother flew home from Washington on Sunday with his new WIFE! And she is terrific! She is beautiful and wonderful and so fun! Today, Marlow took us to have our toes done. It was the most relaxing hour of my whole week! I can't wait to get to spend more time with our new Jennifer, and get to know her like family!
Now ... my brother just has to convince her to move to Texas! :)
Posted by Jennifer at 7:01 PM
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Today we started sheetrocking, so our new house has walls! Aren't they beautiful! Adam and I worked really hard all morning at the house and then we got dressed and hit The Woodlands Art Festival and had a yummy dinner together. It was such a nice date, we haven't spend a whole day together like this since we bought the house and our lives got nuts. Anyway, after our date we went to Water Elm, as we like to call it, to see how far the guys had come with sheetrocking. They almost finished! It is so neat to walk through it now and get a feel for the layout when you can't see straight through the studs.
Speaking of studs .... :)
Posted by Jennifer at 11:45 PM