First World Problems: Vaccines cause Autism—Seriously?

autism

I just read a post on KevinMD’s blog by Matt Anderson, MD which totally resonated with me. It is titled: IF YOU THINK FAKE NEWS IS BAD FOR POLITICS, YOU SHOULD TRY BEING A PHYSICIAN.

fake-news-md

Okay,  I am so sick and tired of this untruth which has been promulgated like wild fire around the world for 2 decades. It has been debunked by multiple other studies and the paper who published the initial study in 1997 has since retracted it because, it turns out the physician who first published it falsified data. The association between MMR vaccines and Autism has since been COMPLETELY DISCREDITED due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations.

Andrew Wakefield, the British surgeon who published and initiate this farce has since been discredited and has lost his medical license. Turns out he is no longer a physician but decades later medical doctors are still undoing the harm that was done to the public health community. Check out this page on  debunked myths about vaccines.

Meanwhile in Africa, 1 in 5 children do not have access to life saving vaccines (WHO). An estimated 3 million children under the age of five will die each year in Africa and most of those deaths could be prevented with vaccine administration.

The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine  is the particular vaccine erroneously linked to causing Autism. Now let’s compare and see what happens if your unvaccinated child gets Measles, Mumps or Rubella.

For some, this is unimaginable. but I grew up with family members who did not receive appropriate vaccines at birth who now have permanent brain damage due to inaccessibility to vaccines. I have seen firsthand what lack of vaccination can lead to and it is not pretty. 

vaccines

Measles: CDC Fact Sheet
-Lifelong brain damage
-Deafness
-Death

Mumps: CDC Fact Sheet

-Meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord)
-Deafness (temporary or permanent)
-Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
-Orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males who have reached puberty
-Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females      who have reached puberty

Rubella: CDC Fact Sheet 

-Brain infections and bleeding problems.                                                                                                  -Rubella is most dangerous for a pregnant woman’s unborn baby. As many as 85 out of 100 babies born to mothers who had rubella in the first 3 months of pregnancy will have a birth defect. Infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, or birth defects like deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and heart defects.

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Child with Measles.

In summary developing countries have 99 problems and fake news about vaccines and autism is not one of them!

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

99-problems-autism

 

Fortune

This quote about fortune provoked an adverse reaction in me. I did not particularly agree with it initially. As I read the quote I recognized that the words somehow seemed familiar but I had attributed that description to “fame”. I must admit I was a little annoyed that fame and fortune were being equated as one. As I pondered that quote at 3 am in the morning on my only bathroom break on night call. I questioned why I was so annoyed by the quote and it was not until hours later that I gained some insight into my initial reaction.

I finally realized that I was irritated because it had been drilled in me that if I worked hard I would reap the results of my hard work later. In other words, I had internalized the idea that hard work guaranteed good fortune but this quote challenged that tenet. Once I had calmed down, I was able to understand that just because I put in the work did not necessarily imply I would be successful. This was a particularly bitter pill of knowledge to swallow because I am a physician in training. Most physicians in training will agree with me that the hardest thing about completing the training process is “delayed gratification”.

Anyone can take a test and will eventually pass it once they get enough time to prepare for it. However, it takes a certain commitment to enter a training process that could last anywhere between 11 – 17 years from the time you leave high school depending on your specialty. When you take into account the rising cost of medical education and decreasing physician salaries. It obviates the idea that most people who go into medicine are doing so to get the proverbial “pot of gold” at the end of the training. What motivated me to pursue Medicine was a desire to improve people’s lives and my love for Science I found that this field allowed me to blend the two.

As I begrudgingly accept the fact that I may sacrifice time with my kids and spouse, my health, my personal time, finances, money and friendships and still not be guaranteed good fortune. I realized that finding or discovering my purpose is the key to a building a successful life. But the caveat with that statement is that your must first have a definition of what you consider a “successful life”. I will leave you with this quote by Louis Pasteur “Fortune favors the prepared mind”.

Enjoy the festivities this season and remember – Jesus is the reason for the season.

fortune

Interview season

Rehearsed lines, perfectly ironed shirts

Lists of strength and weaknesses memorized.

Butterflies fluttering in my stomach.

Artificial smile planted on my face

I prepare myself for the greatest performance of my life.

I must show just the right amount of confidence, the perfect dose of humility, the right amount of ration.

Be well read in most topics, be comfortable for 8 hours in a suit and uncomfortable heels.

Show interest on research I can barely remember.

And some how in a couple of interviews convince everyone that I am fit to be a doctor.

Surely Shakespeare must have felt this way before his first play was performed.

Moliere must have experienced this sick feeling before his first performance.

A matador must have his heart pounding in his chest this hard before going in the ring.

“Hush now” I tell the still voice inside, “I was born to do this!”

Berthina Coleman