When purchasing a car, we do the research. Check the statistics: mileage for gas purposes, comfort, reliability, crash tests etc. When buying fish, we look for a busy market which has a great turnover and demonstrates clean and fresh cuts of the “fish of the day”. We even check out our child’s teacher rating, every September.
Why then, is medical research repeatedly trashed? Why are we failing to see the forest through the trees and denying our children the very vaccines that save lives.
There is something about data that makes a difference for this writer and mother of an autistic child. I need facts. I need hard numbers.
Perhaps our time has come. The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented reported by Steve Lohr in the NY Times gives insight into the new statistics availability. Preventable deaths are the panacea for this study. While our concern is about the downside, and I certainly have concerns about experimental treatment, I also have great worry about diseases like polio, re-entering our world.
The Times reports: The research, led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of public health, analyzed public health reports going back to the 19th century. The reports covered 56 diseases, but the article in the journal focused on seven: polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.
Researchers analyzed disease reports before and after the times when vaccines became commercially available. Put simply, the estimates for prevented cases came from the falloff in disease reports after vaccines were licensed and widely available. The researchers projected the number of cases that would have occurred had the pre-vaccination patterns continued as the nation’s population increased.
When I was a child I saw The Five Pennies, a movie starring Danny Kaye. He was a musician who had a daughter who contracted polio. The girl was placed in an iron lung and hot wet wool blankets were placed on her extremities. How that image seared into my brain. This was polio to me. And now we may be seeing new cases.
This is not about autism. We need to find answers without skewering progress.