Measles vaccine is no protection, study shows

It wasn’t their intention, but researchers trying to scare people into getting the measles vaccine — this time to protect them from “imported measles” — clearly showed that the vaccine doesn’t work.

VaccinationAccording to the research report, published in the September issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, measles “imported” from countries with lower vaccination rates can readily cause outbreaks in the United States — including measles in vaccinated adults.

What purpose does the vaccine serve, then, if vaccinated adults so readily get measles anyway? The researchers didn’t address that question. Instead, they concluded by saying: “Improving global measles control through expanded vaccination coverage will reduce morbidity and mortality in other countries and also will reduce the burden of measles in the US.”

Morbidity? Mortality? That’s a prime example of the type of over-reaction we hear from the medical establishment as it puts pressure on people to subject themselves and their children to a wide range of vaccines.

In fact, the entire episode explored in the research paper is a classic case of over-reaction. It was like having the SWAT team called out for a jaywalking violation.

It centered on a 2007 measles “outbreak” in Pennsylvania, when a 12-year-old Japanese boy attending an international youth soccer event developed measles. That was on August 15. You would have thought it was a case of bubonic plague. According to the press release distributed by the Journal’s publishing house: “Public health officials responded promptly, launching an investigation that included nearly 500 players, coaches, staff, and others attending the soccer event.”

On August 24, another 12-year-old boy was taken to the emergency department of a hospital because he broke out in a measles rash. Again, public health officials brought out the SWAT team and sent letters to all 109 guests who had been registered at the hotel where the boy was staying, “warning” them they’d been exposed and advising them to contact their physicians and local health departments in the event of illness.

In all, from August 15 to Sept. 10, 2007, a total of SEVEN cases were reported in this “outbreak,” and two of those were in college students who had “documentation of 2 appropriately timed routine childhood doses of MMR vaccine from different health centers.”

In addition, an estimated 40% of all the kids playing on the Japanese and other foreign teams were NOT vaccinated, yet they did not “catch” the disease.

Bottom line: Seven people got measles — including two who had been vaccinated — yet the report notes that they were identified only after “contact tracing of 1250 persons in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas.”

No doubt dozens of public health officials were involved and hundreds of hours were spent tracking down more than a thousand people, who were then subjected to scare tactics and coerced into getting vaccines that wouldn’t have protected them anyway!

Does this make any sense to anyone?

SOURCES: “Measles Outbreak Associated With an International Youth Sporting Event in the United States, 2007,” Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, September 2010. Research report online.

Press Release: “Measles Outbreak Linked to Youth Soccer Event,” Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 9/7/2010

It’s what WE do that counts

The good news: Americans have cut their risk of dying from coronary heart disease in half during the past two decades.

The even better news: We did it ourselves, by smoking less, watching our diet, and lowering our cholesterol levels and blood pressure. All the expensive and risky treatments from the medical and pharmaceutical industries haven’t helped much in achieving this progress in healthy hearts.

That’s not just my opinion — it’s the conclusion of researchers reporting in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

heart disease prevention
The Heart Truth, a national heart disease awareness and prevention campaign.

Using data from 1980 through 2000, they found that the biggest difference in death rates was due to prevention: reducing risk factors among healthy individuals. Drugs or surgery for people with heart disease had only a minor impact (and if you ask me, even that impact was greatly outweighed by the damage done by those medical treatments).

“We were surprised by the small proportion of the mortality fall attributable to primary preventive drug interventions such as statins and blood pressure tablets,” said lead author Fiona Young, at the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University in England.

Why should she have been surprised? Death due to medical treatment — including medical errors, infections, unnecessary surgeries and other factors — is considered one of the, if not the leading cause of death in the United States.

“Knowledge about what has caused these large mortality declines allows us to plan effective measures to reduce disease rates in the future,” Young added.

Good! That should mean less treatment … more healthy living!

To uncover this information, the researchers gathered data on total cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure, and smoking prevalence from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a yearly national survey representing the entire US population. They entered those statistics into a model that estimates changes in heart disease mortality between two points in time.

The results reinforce previous research showing that prevention — NOT TREATMENT — is the key to staying healthy.

SOURCE: “Coronary mortality declines in the U.S. between 1980 and 2000: quantifying the contributions from primary and secondary prevention” American Journal of Preventive Medicine.39(3), 2010.

In praise of farmers markets

Farmer's MarketAlthough I’m no longer a strict vegetarian as I was for many years, I still reside as low as possible on the food chain. In other words, I love my veggies!

I’m also trying to be more of a “locavore” when it comes to produce. In the past, it wasn’t always easy to find locally grown fruits and vegetables, especially when you live in the middle of a fairly large metropolitan area.

Thank goodness for urban farmers’ markets! They’re springing up all over the place and they’re great places to shop for fresh produce as well as homemade specialty products like jams, breads, etc. In fact, they’re becoming popular attractions in some areas.

I read recently about one being held in Maywood, Illinois, by Loyola University Health System and students from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (among other sponsors). Normally, the idea of going to ANY event connected to a medical college wouldn’t appeal, but this one is truly different and I hope it’s the leading edge of a trend.

Since it began, the Annual Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market has been a nutritional lifeline to the people of Maywood, an area that has high levels of chronic illnesses that are partially caused and worsened by poor eating and exercise habits.

“For years, Maywood residents had no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which could help prevent serious, chronic health problems,” said Lena Hatchett, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Stritch. “We’re proud that we were able to provide badly needed produce and we plan to do so for many more years to come.”

Through October, Maywood area residents are able to purchase low-cost ethnic fruit and vegetables, herbs, arts and crafts, flowers and gourmet items produced by local Latino, Asian-American and African-American farmers and gardeners at the market. The number of vendors and the variety of offerings will widen as the growing season progresses.

The market also features entertainment; gardening advice; tips on cooking low-fat, nutritious meals; free samples, methods to lower stress and reduce weight, fun exercises, and information on the link between diet and blood pressure and hidden fat in foods. Medical students will offer free blood pressure checks, blood-sugar level screenings and obesity awareness during the health fair. I’m hoping non-medical health care providers will have a strong presence as well.

Doesn’t that sound better than buying chemical-laden vegetables at Safeway?

To find a farmers market in your area, check Local Harvest (http://www.localharvest.org/)