More Anti-Vaccine Nonsense from Trump and Kennedy

Feb 16, 2017

By Steven Novella

We have an anti-vaccine president. One of my concerns about Trump the candidate was that one of his most consistent positions over the years was blaming vaccines for the alleged autism epidemic (there isn’t one, by the way). Once elected it did not take long for this to manifest as a policy priority. In January Trump met with RFK Jr. to discuss him heading an Orwellian commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity.

At a recent meeting with educators, Trump continued to express his false belief in a “tremendous increase” in autism:

“Have you seen a big increase in the autism with the children?” Trump asked Jane Quenneville, the principle of a Virginia public school that specializes in special education. Quenneville responded that she had.

Trump continued: “So what’s going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it’s really such an incredible — it’s really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase. Do you have any idea?”

“The autism?” Really?

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9 comments on “More Anti-Vaccine Nonsense from Trump and Kennedy

  • Huh !You ain’t seen nothing yet ! Wait till Trump and/or his advisers pick on that highly reactive chemical dihydrous oxide ! Especially when polluted with coal dust and numerous other bi-products of industry !

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  • There seems to be new progress with diagnosis!

    Brain scans can detect autism long before any symptoms start to emerge, say scientists.

    The earliest that children tend to be diagnosed at present is at the age of two, although it is often later.

    The study, published in the journal Nature, showed the origins of autism are much earlier than that – in the first year of life.

    The findings could lead to an early test and even therapies that work while the brain is more malleable.

    One in every 100 people has autism, which affects behaviour and particularly social interaction.

    The study looked at 148 children including those at high risk of autism because they had older siblings with the disorder.

    All had brain scans at six, 12 and 24 months old.

    The study uncovered early differences in the part of the brain responsible for high level functions like language – the cerebral cortex – in children who went on to be diagnosed with autism.

    Dr Heather Hazlett, one of the researchers at the University of North Carolina, told the BBC News website: “Very early in the first year of life we see surface brain area differences, that precede the symptoms that people traditionally associate with autism.

    “So it gives us a good target for when the brain differences might be happening for children at high risk of autism.”

    The study opens up possibilities for big changes in the way autism is treated and diagnosed.

    Giving children brain scans, particularly those in high-risk families, could lead to children being diagnosed earlier.

    In the long run, it might be possible to do something similar for all infants if DNA testing advances enough to become a useful tool to identify children at high risk.

    If it can be diagnosed early, then behavioural therapies such as those that train parents in new ways of interacting with an autistic child can be introduced earlier when they should be more effective.

    The researchers fed the brain scan images into an artificial intelligence. It was able to predict which children would develop autism with 80% accuracy.

    However, she warned that autism was manifested in many different ways and “no single test is likely to be able to identify potential autism in all children”.

    The study also pours further cold water on the debunked claims that the MMR jab causes autism.

    One of the reasons the link took hold was that autism tends to be diagnosed around the time that the vaccine is given to children.

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  • The only “epidemic” there is regarding autism is the medical community becoming more adept at diagnosing it (which increases identified cases, but not overall number of cases) and the simultaneous extending of the “umbrella” to include conditions like PDD. I can remember when I first started in education and a school psychologist had “FLK” in the margin of her notes regarding a student. When i pressed her for what the acronym stood for she said “funny looking kid”. He had Asperger’s syndrome and was (at the time) NOT included in the autism census numbers. However, by today’s standards, he would be.

    Also, before anyone gets ruffled by “FLK”, please realize that many of our insults to a person’s intelligence (cretin, idiot, moron…) were, at one time, diagnostic terms. The psychologist was not (by the standards of her time) being hurtful at all.

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  • @OP – More Anti-Vaccine Nonsense from Trump and Kennedy

    Meanwhile – as US politicians propagate perverse ignorance and diseases, – others are considering a more scientific approach!

    Unvaccinated children would be banned from childcare centres and preschools under an Australian government plan.

    Some Australian states already have “no jab, no play” laws, but PM Malcolm Turnbull is calling for nationwide legislation.

    Health groups have supported the push, arguing parents and the community have an obligation to protect children.

    An Australian Child Health Poll survey of nearly 2,000 parents showed 5% of children were not fully vaccinated.

    Mr Turnbull said more needed to be done, citing the case of a baby who died from whooping cough.

    “This is not a theoretical exercise – this is life and death,” Mr Turnbull said.

    “If a parent says, ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child,’ they are not simply putting their child at risk, they are putting everybody else’s children at risk too.”

    Vaccinating children is not a legal requirement in Australia, but failing to do so makes parents ineligible for childcare rebates.

    Three Australian states – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – already require children to be immunised, or be on an approved catch-up programme, to enrol in childcare centres.

    Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said children were more susceptible to infections.

    “If you, as a parent, expect the community to support you by either welfare payments or access to care, then you need to do your bit to contribute to that community by protecting other children,” he told Fairfax Media.

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  • It seems that Trump can’t take the Republicans in Congress for granted!

    US healthcare bill: Blow for Trump as House vote delayed

    A vote on President Donald Trump’s new health care bill in the House of Representatives has been delayed.

    The postponement is a setback for the president who had insisted he would win the numbers to pass it through the lower chamber of Congress on Thursday.

    The American Healthcare Act is intended to replace parts of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

    Repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare was a major plank of Mr Trump’s election campaign.

    Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Republicans would still be meeting on Thursday evening but that the plan now was for a House vote on Friday, following a debate.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Mr Trump had made a “rookie’s error for bringing this up on a day when clearly you’re not ready”.

    Delay better than defeat – Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

    After a tumultuous day on Capitol Hill, it has become apparent that there simply aren’t enough votes to pass the healthcare reform law. At the moment, it may not even be close.

    Minutes before the announced delay, the president himself was insisting that a vote would happen on Thursday night, so this turn of events signifies an embarrassing setback.

    If success was just a vote or two away, the evening would probably have proceeded as planned, with Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump offering whatever threats or entreaties were necessary to edge past the finish line. Instead, the bill remains on the edge of an abyss.

    For Republicans, a delay is better than outright defeat, of course, a scenario which would have undermined both the president’s claims to be a dealmaking supremo and Mr Ryan’s ability to control his party’s hardliners.

    The White House now has more time to negotiate with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who represent the best, possible last, chance to salvage the bill. Such support will come with a high price, however, with any move to the right making the legislation all the harder to pass in the more moderate-minded Senate.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has all week insisted the administration would get the numbers and that the bill would pass, saying there was “no plan B”.

    Shortly before the delay was announced, he was still talking of “very positive steps” and that the number of supporters for the bill was continuing to rise.

    The bill needs 215 votes to pass but ran into opposition mainly from conservative Republicans who believed it did not roll back enough of Mr Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    The Republicans could only afford to lose 21 votes from their own ranks, but US media were projecting between 24 and 30 “no votes” on Thursday morning.

    The conservative House Freedom Caucus met Mr Trump on Thursday and afterwards said there was “no deal”.

    With some moderate Republicans also defecting – and all Democrats opposed – it appeared Speaker Paul Ryan could not see the numbers adding up.

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  • @#6 – Key elements of the new bill:
    Cuts the Medicaid programme for low earners
    Provides tax credits to help people pay medical bills, but reduced compared to Obamacare
    Ends penalties on those who do not buy health coverage
    Allows insurers to raise premiums for older people
    Blocks federal payments to women’s healthcare provider Planned Parenthood for a year

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  • @OP – In January Trump met with RFK Jr. to discuss him heading an Orwellian commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity.

    While the clown duo discuss their personal ignorance, researchers are making real progress in producing affordable remedies for prevalent diseases!

    Africa health: Rotavirus vaccine could save 500,000 children a year

    Hopes are growing for a new, inexpensive, heat-proof vaccine to protect against a disease which kills 1,300 children a day following a successful trial in Niger.

    The vaccine was found to be almost 67% effective in preventing gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrheal disease in the world.

    The two existing vaccines require refrigeration and can be costly.

    The new drug would be half the price.

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  • Meanwhile- science is working to try to solve worldwide problems!

    The world’s first vaccine against malaria will be introduced in three countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – starting in 2018.

    The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) said the jab had the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

    But it is not yet clear if it will be feasible to use in the poorest parts of the world.

    The vaccine needs to be given four times – once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.

    This has been achieved in tightly controlled and well-funded clinical trials, but it is not yet clear if it can be done in the “real-world” where access to health care is limited.

    It is why the WHO is running pilots in three countries to see if a full malaria vaccine programme could be started. It will also continue to assess the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination.

    Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said: “The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news.

    “Information gathered in the pilot programme will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine.

    “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa.”

    The pilot will involve more than 750,000 children aged between five and 17 months. Around half will get the vaccine in order to compare the jab’s real-world effectiveness.

    In this age group, the four doses have been shown to prevent nearly four in ten cases of malaria.

    This is much lower than approved vaccines for other conditions.

    This is a step in the right direction, but not yet a complete solution!

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