Sunday, February 05, 2006

If you have the science, show me. If you don't, shut up!

What a weekend! Another I’ll long remember.

A surprise fortieth birthday party, organized in Vancouver from Seattle…my sister is amazing! My friends – many of whom I’ve had in my life for twenty years, some of whom have “only” been walking along my life path for a couple of years – are the most supportive and loving gang of people ever brought into one life.

I am truly blessed.

In addition to a party with so many old friends, I also met with someone for the first time this weekend. The professor who founded the Neural Dynamics Research Lab at the Vancouver General Hospital: Dr. Chris Shaw. And our meeting, I predict, was one of those transformative events that happens so rarely in life: Prof. Shaw walked into my house this weekend (with potted flowers in honour of my that nice or what?) and offered the missing third leg of the stool that I have been trying to make stand for nine years.

Background: Nine years ago I looked into the whole childhood vaccine issue. Being a naturally skeptical person, I was not able to provide consent to vaccinate my newborn son until I knew more about the danger of the diseases and the safety of the vaccines than what my doctor could tell me. As I’ve mentioned (perhaps too many times!), that research lead me to the position that, as parents, we do not receive enough information to make an informed decision about childhood vaccinations.

The first leg of my stool is the knowledge and experience that I have about how social marketing and communications is used to influence public beliefs and behaviour – such as accepting that every healthy infant/child needs 40 shots of 12 different diseases in his first five years of life, if he is to remain healthy.

The second leg of my stool is Alan Cassels, whom I met and started to work with six years ago. Alan is a well-known and respected health policy researcher at the University of Victoria, a journalist and author. His knowledge and expertise about how health policy is made adds critical context to the social marketing aspect of the vaccination issue.

Missing for the past six years, however, has been the science leg of the stool. Until now (or very soon from now, once his research has been peer reviewed and published), there has been no way to assert that vaccines could be causing harm to our children (and our soldiers, and our elderly populations and well, anyone who accepts the shots, really). Without the science to prove that vaccines are not as safe as government health agencies, doctors, and the public have been lead to believe they are, the marketing and policy legs simply did not stand.

The science that Dr. Chris Shaw oversaw in his research lab, undertaken by grad student Mike Petrik, proves that the adjuvant aluminum that is used in some vaccines causes neurological damage in mice. Significant damage. Statistically significant neurological damage – in mice.

Interestingly, Shaw and Petrick did not set out to study vaccines at all – they were looking for clues about the possible causes of Gulf War Syndrome. Their research lead them to look at the anthrax vaccine, which lead them to the aluminum adjuvant – an adjuvant that is used in several different vaccines, including many given to infants and children.

Petrik’s research is the first ever to be done (since one very inadequate study done in the 1940s) to even look at the impact of aluminum adjuvants in/on a brain. Despite the fact that aluminum has long been known to be a neuro-toxin. Aluminum has been added to vaccines for 80 years and this is the very first time a researcher has made the effort to see if aluminum could have any impact on neurological functions. Does this make sense?

Despite research never having been done to prove it, for a century we’ve been assured that vaccines are safe. This begs the question of how such an assertion could have been made in the first place, and then why that unproven assertion was accepted by the establishment, and finally, how an unproven assertion has not only survived for 100 years but has become so entrenched in popular belief that to challenge it is akin to blasphemy?

The answer: social marketing and public policy. Three legs of a stool that, if the stars continue to align as they have been, will make 2006 the year that Vaccine Nation is produced and published. 2006, the year I turned 40; the year that starts the slow process of replacing a belief we "know" to be true (that vaccines are safe) with the oppositional knowledge that will bring that belief to its knees.

The sacred cow may fall in my lifetime. And with it, perhaps, a medical paradigm that never should have been accepted in the first place.


Blogger yoker said...

You say that Shaw and Petrick were testing anthrax vaccine to find cause of GWS. Good. But about 70% of veterans' spouses had same problems - and they got no vaccines! So it is impossible that anthrax vaccines cause GWS. GWS is caused by contagious disease. Shaw and Petrick were just wasting money.

Doctors need patients and the best way to have them is to create them. Do you know something like this:

But I am quite sure there are more dirty things.

February 09, 2006  

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