Why I Eat Saturated Fats

Because they taste good, and they have essentially no relationship with coronary risk:

Overall, the literature does not offer much support for the idea that long term saturated fat intake has a significant effect on the concentration of blood cholesterol. If it’s a factor at all, it must be rather weak, which is consistent with what has been observed in multiple non-human species (13). I think it’s likely that the diet-heart hypothesis rests in part on an over-interpretation of short-term controlled feeding studies. I’d like to see a more open discussion of this in the scientific literature. In any case, these controlled studies have typically shown that saturated fat increases both LDL and HDL, so even if saturated fat did have a small long-term effect on blood cholesterol, as hinted at by some of the observational studies, its effect on heart attack risk would still be difficult to predict.

Actually, I have a simpler explanation — it’s simply an appealing theory, from a common-sense standpoint. You are what you eat, right?

Of course, it’s always dangerous to rely on “common sense” when it comes to complex topics like biochemistry. And yet the FDA builds such murderous concepts as the food pyramid on such shoddy research and thinking. Not to mention agri-industry lobbying, of course.

31 thoughts on “Why I Eat Saturated Fats

  1. Arizona CJ

    Want to know what really increases heart attack risk? stress, and government nannyisim is a leading culprit! Especially in cases like this, where their nannying is also wrong on the facts.

    I used to read with amusement the claims, back in the heyday of the Atkins diet, that dieters could eat all that fat and lower their cholesterol. I thought it was preposterous.

    I was wrong.

    I was diagnosed as a diabetic a few years ago, and chose low-carb as the best way to lower my blood sugars. (The standard advice to diabetics of low fat, high carb, is great, assuming you are suicidal).

    It worked great, and I was assuming it was a reasonable trade; higher cholesterol in return for low blood sugar levels.

    To my astonishment, my cholesterol dropped, to “Excellent” levels! I’ve since met with many low-carbers who report the same thing.

    And looking at another angle: statin drugs. Doctors prescribe the things like candy these days, as the first response to even a tiny blip on cholesterol. The thing is, there are side effects, especially in older patients. Statins are rather good at crossing the blood-brain barrier, and in quite a few of my friends and relatives, evoked symptoms eerily similar to the early stages of senility or alzhiemers; forgetfulness, mental foggyness, inability to concentrate, etc. Another side effect was muscle wasting. The mental symptoms vanished within a week of ceasing taking statins in every case I’ve seen. I’m well aware that anecdote is not the singular form of the word “data”, but I can count eleven such cases that I’ve personally witnessed. This is enough to convince me that if a doctor ever wants to put me on statins, my reply will be “hell no!”

    Now, we’re seeing that the supposed basis for the high cholesterol theory is shaky? Ugh… to err is human, but to truly screw up requires the government.

  2. Brock

    The lipid hypothesis was built on the seven-nations study by Ancel Keys. He selectively ignored the other 20 nations he had data on that contradicted the theory.

    You know how power lines cause cancer and vaccines cause autism? Yeah, just like that.

    In fact it’s the industrially produced polyunsaturated fats in corn, canola, soy and vegetable oil that cause health problems. Dr. Guyenet (the author of the blog Rand linked to) goes into this at length in other posts. Avoid these at all costs.

  3. Brock

    Arizona CJ,

    You don’t have to go “low carb” to get those health benefits. In fact, going low carb for too long has detrimental effects on your endocrine system (Dr. Atkins freely admitted this in his book). You just have to avoid the processed carbs – white flour, corn starch, and all sources of fructose other than the occasional fresh fruit.

    I know. I’ve been down that road. I did low carb and it helped for a while, but then the price had to be paid. Don’t wait as long as I did. Start introducing whole, unprocessed carbs back into your diet, like fresh-cooked potatoes, steel cut oats, quinoa, brown rice, and the like. Add butter and salt to taste. You’ll be glad you did.

    Check out Matt Stone’s free e-book on speeding up your metabolism as a solution to your inability to handle carbs well. I thought I was going to have to be “off carbs” for the rest of my natural life, but I can enjoy them again now in abundance, and I’ve never been healthier.

  4. Al

    The weird thing is how strongly the advised food regimen contrasts with our evolutionary history.

    Fruit seasons: Miniscule. Grain: Scarce without actively clearing ground. (Which points me towards “Not much before Babylon”)
    We’ve (mostly) dropped cartilage, bone marrow, and bone meal from our cuisine as well….

  5. Carl Pham

    You are what you eat, right?

    Well, this is why I cut out and eat the heart of the most courageous of my defeated enemies.

  6. Arizona CJ

    Brock,

    Thanks for the link to the book, I’ll give it a look.

    I’m rather doubtful about that book; it’s aimed at people who want to lose weight, which isn’t my situation; my weight is fine. The only reason I’m low carb is to keep my blood sugar levels down.

    I’m a MODY diabetic; Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young. It’s similar to type-2, and like type 2, usually treatable with oral the same oral meds.

    Essentially, my pancreas lacks a phase one fast response. So, if I eat potatoes, rice, oats, etc, I get one hell of a spike in blood sugar. I have tried (I use a blood glucose meter a great deal) and it is not possible for me.

    It is also inadvisable for any type 2 diabetic to eat significant amounts of starch, and most on your list are quite high in it. The reason is that starch is sugar. A starch molecule is a string of glucose molecules, and when eaten, it is broken apart within minutes. This can be countered with pancreatic-booster medications, and that’s the standard way of doing it. It’s also nearly suicidal; whipping an already-weakened pancreas into high gear takes its toll, and over time the pancreas becomes weaker, to the point where oral meds no longer work. At that point, the diabetic becomes insulin-dependent. They are also likely insulin-resistant, and thus injecting doses many times what a type 1 would need. (often up to ten times the dose).

    I do eat more carbs than an Atkins dieter would, but I can only have very low glycemic ones, such as certain dark grains, non-starchy vegetables, etc. I also have things like true whole grain bread (hard to find, most has white flour, which I have to avoid) in small doses, same as fruit (something I can only have in very small amounts, as a between-meal snack).

    Eating as you advise is simply not possible for me, or for a high percentage of other type 2 diabetics. I’ve tried it experimentally in the past, and not only do I get large spikes, but my HB1AC (a long term measure of blood glucose, and a critical measure for any diabetic) goes up, and so too does my insulin resistance (causing a higher spike from the same number of carbs).

    One of my favorite foods was whole wheat pasta (which I sure miss!), so I wish I could handle eating it, but unfortunately for me, I can’t.. :)

    CJ

  7. Don

    My current client has bought into the “healthy eating” midset in a big way. They dropped their cafeteria vendor and brought in a new one that is very heavily into the healthy foods craze. The result is that the food served is totally bland and unappealing. This extends to when there is a meeting where a lunch is provided. As a contract employee, I am not allowed to have a meal provided, so I can bring in whatever I want. I have a few slices of greasy, fatty pizza bought off site, and the looks of envy from the directs are worth the cost. The directs are REQUIRED to have the food provided instead of bringing in their own lunches.
    A new policy enacted this week requires that outside vendor reps coming onsite must be given the same meals as the directs. Fortunately this doesn’t apply to me. And from now on, directs going offsite for meetings will only be reimbursed for healthy foods. They must provide receipts with each food item listed. Only approved foods and beverages will be reimbursed. No french fries, no Pepsi. Diet Pepsi yes. The finance office just hired a nutritionist to go thru the receipts to determine what is allowed and what is not.
    There is a specific exemption for employees over a certain grade that allows them to buy whatever they want. One rule for the peasants, and another for the lords…

  8. Rob Smith

    You know how power lines cause cancer and vaccines cause autism? Yeah, just like that.

    Something to think about, the same people that “developed such murderous concepts as the food pyramid on such shoddy research and thinking” are the same one’s telling us vaccines are safe.

  9. Brock

    Arizona CJ,

    Type 2 diabetes is completely curable. It’s not something you have to live with for life. Avoiding carbs is a way of “medicating” your condition, but it does not fix it.

    Matt Stone (who I linked to before) writes about this a lot. Dr. Guyenet (who Rand linked to) writes about this. You can also look up a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig on YouTube (Sugar: The Bitter Truth), who cures Type 2 diabetes in his pediatric endocrinology practice. Or check out the website by Dr. Joel Fuhrman; he cures people of Type 2 with dietary changes too.

    Dr. Fuhrman recommends a vegetarian diet, but none of the others do. It’s not necessary. But his system works for reversing diabetes in short order.

    I’ve seen this cure work in real life too. My Mom used to be diabetic. Not any more. Totally fixed, and she enjoys potatoes, pancakes, and other tasty, carby foods all the time now. For realz.

  10. Brock

    Rob,

    There can be no reasonable argument that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they cure. I know someone who’s daughter died at 18 months from a bad vaccine reaction, so I am not downplaying their imperfections. But that doesn’t mean an outbreak of smallpox is preferable.

  11. Fletcher Christian

    Brock, you chose a bad example. Smallpox was (emphasis; was) a disease with only one host (us) for which vaccination was effective and permanently so, and the disease itself had very high mortality and morbidity rates. To take one example, none of these is anything like as true for measles.

    In a related issue, there are very strong arguments against the MMR cocktail. If only because one of the components (rubella) is only a serious issue for 50% of the population. The disease itself is very mild indeed; the rationale for the jab is the catastrophic effects of rubella on fetuses. Which leaves the small issue of why the heck boys need that jab.

  12. roystgnr

    FC, the issue you’re interested in is “herd immunity”. If a vaccine works on 95% of recipients and you give it to just the people who will need it, you reduce the disease incidence by 95%. If you instead give it to everyone, you can leave the disease with too few carriers to spread, reducing the incidence by 100%.

  13. Curt Thomson

    And yet the FDA builds such murderous concepts as the food pyramid on such shoddy research and thinking. Not to mention agri-industry lobbying, of course.

    I think it actually goes a little deeper. “You are what you eat”, from a health standpoint, is less that 50% true. But it feels good. And it neatly redirects away from the big one: “You are what your parents and grandparents were”. Which brings race into the picture. And we absolutely CANNOT have any of that.

  14. Carl Pham

    Fletch, I think you may be misinformed. Measles killed 160,000 children worldwide in 2008; it’s one of the leading causes of childhood death in places that lack vaccines. Additionally, when any of these disease are caught in older children, they can have quite serious consequences even if you survive, e.g. sterility in males. Rubella in pregnant women causes birth defects in the developing child. These diseases are not AIDS nor even polio, but laughing them off is madness.

  15. Rob Smith

    There can be no reasonable argument that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they cure.

    Brock, we vaccinate against a lot of diseases that are relatively innocuous (like chicken pox and rotavirus) and against diseases where it makes sense in only very specific cases (vaccinating a newborn with Hep-B when the mother doesn’t have it). There have also been no studies on the effects of children receiving multiple vaccines in one sitting or the cumulative effects of 36 vaccinations by the age of 5 (up from roughly 10 in 1980), and there has never been a study comparing rates of autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    Measles killed 160,000 children worldwide in 2008; it’s one of the leading causes of childhood death in places that lack vaccines.

    Carl, places that lack vaccines, don’t just lack vaccines. They also lack proper sanitation, food, doctors, nurses, medicine, etc.

    Additionally, when any of these disease are caught in older children, they can have quite serious consequences even if you survive, e.g. sterility in males.

    Then give the measles vaccine at 10 years instead of 10 months.

    Rubella in pregnant women causes birth defects in the developing child.

    Then give the rubella vaccination separately to girls at 10 years rather than universally at 10 months.

    These diseases are not AIDS nor even polio, but laughing them off is madness.

    I don’t know of anybody laughing them off, but autism rates rising from 1 in 5000 to 1 in 100 (1 in 54 boys) since 1980 is nothing to laugh off either. There’s a million kids out there that are going to need a lifetime of services, that’s nothing to laugh off either.

  16. Rand Simberg Post author

    autism rates rising from 1 in 5000 to 1 in 100 (1 in 54 boys) since 1980 is nothing to laugh off either.

    It wouldn’t be if it was a believable statistic. I don’t believe it. I am willing to believe that autism diagnoses have increased that much, but not rates.

  17. Carl Pham

    Carl, places that lack vaccines, don’t just lack vaccines. They also lack proper sanitation, food, doctors, nurses, medicine, etc.

    Between 2000 and 2008 the World Health Organization conducted a targeted measles vaccination campaign. In that time period measles deaths decreased 78%.

    What are the odds that your “proper sanitation, food” et cetera changed so much in those 8 years, enough to reduce this disease rate — and only this disease rate, the rate of malaria didn’t change — by 80%?

    These are harsh facts, Rob. If people followed your advice more than 100,000 children a year would die needlessly. That would be a hell of a lot of blood on your hands, if people took you seriously, which fortunately they don’t, and won’t.

    And once again: if you took all the effort you spent on vaccines and looked elsewhere, somewhere where there’s a shred of scientific plausibility, you might actually help the kids with autism. As it is, you are wasting your time and effort as surely as if you were blaming witchcraft and wanted everyone to go on a big witch hunt.

  18. Rob Smith

    It wouldn’t be if it was a believable statistic. I don’t believe it. I am willing to believe that autism diagnoses have increased that much, but not rates.

    Those are the CDC’s numbers. If you have better one’s please post them. Also check out the UC-Davis MIND Institute. They are pretty much the premiere research institute for neuro-developmental disorders and their research backs up the increase. A lot of people claim there’s been no real increase, but if that’s the case, where are all the autistic adults?

    Between 2000 and 2008 the World Health Organization conducted a targeted measles vaccination campaign. In that time period measles deaths decreased 78%.

    Truthfully, I’m skeptical of WHO numbers. In addition to lack of proper sanitation, etc, the countries where measles deaths are prevalent lack the infrastructure for accurate reporting of medical statistics.

    These are harsh facts, Rob. If people followed your advice more than 100,000 children a year would die needlessly.

    Well, I could echo Carl in previous posts and say, in essence, screw them, I care about me and mine, but I won’t. But in any case, I don’t accept the premise that moving the measles vaccine from 12 mos to 5 years or later would result in 100,000 deaths. Nothing you’ve presented supports that conclusion.

  19. Carl Pham

    Nothing you’ve presented supports that conclusion.

    Well, except for the statistics and records compiled by the World Health Organization, to which contribute (for example) the CDC, which apparently you do trust on statistics — for autism. Do you not find it challenging to keep track of which government agency you trust for statistcs, and which you do not? Maybe not, if the rule is “trust them if they support my hypothesis, doubt them if they don’t.” There’s a word for that kind of thinking, and it’s not “scientific” or even “honest.”

    But anyway you have a peculiar definition of “nothing,” Rob. I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  20. Rob Smith

    Do you not find it challenging to keep track of which government agency you trust for statistcs, and which you do not?

    Not really…for example I don’t believe Cuba’s infant mortality rates are better than ours, do you? I really don’t believe that US has the worst health care system of all the first world nations, do you? According to WHO, we do. CDC may not be perfect, but I trust their reliability as compared with any country where death from measles is a concern.

    There’s a word for that kind of thinking, and it’s not “scientific” or even “honest.”

    There’s also a word for people who accept without question the medical statistics from your typical third world basket case regime. Any thoughts on what it might be?

  21. Carl Pham

    According to WHO, we do.

    Don’t be dense. There’s an enormous difference between a judgment of health access and quality, which everyone agrees has some measure of subjectivity, and cold, hard statistics of death and disease. So far as I know, no one has ever accused the WHO of faking death and disease statistics.

    You are comparing apples to oranges. You might as well say because Soviet Five Year Plan predictions for potato production were bogus, Soviet estimates of their thermonuclear bomb yields were bogus. They’re wholly different things: one you can lie about, the other you cannot, because it can be easily checked. If the WHO wholly made up numbers of world mortality, it could — and would — be easily fact-checked by many different agencies.

    CDC may not be perfect, but I trust their reliability as compared with any country where death from measles is a concern.

    Really? OK then, here are a few quotes from the CDC, in whom you have just declared your trust:

    “During 2008, more measles cases were reported than in any other year since 1997. More than 90% of those infected had not been vaccinated, or their vaccination status was unknown. These cases remind us that it is very important to vaccinate children and adults to protect them against measles.”

    “About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. About one out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die….While measles is almost gone from the United States, it still kills nearly 200,000 people each year around the world. Measles can also make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.”

    Just for good measure, here’s a quote from Bill Gates in his capacity as co-chairman of the Gates Foundation, which is pushing research into more life-saving vaccines, from a recent interview:

    [Gupta]: “There has been a lot of scrutiny of vaccines recently — specifically childhood vaccines. There has been a lot of news about is there a connection with autism, for example. What do you make of all that? Dr. [Andrew] Wakefield wrote a paper about this [in The Lancet in 1998] saying he thought there was a connection. And there were lower vaccination rates over a period of time as a result in Britain, then the United States. What are your thoughts?”

    [Gates]: “Well, Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.”

    I can add a personal note, too, Rob. My partner is a pediatric ER RN. She has seen little children die of these diseases — wholly preventable diseases — because mom ‘n’ pop bought into your vaccine/autism like. As I said, you folks have blood on your hands, no less than the folks who approved thalidomide or the fools at Chernobyl who let the reactor blow its top.

  22. MfK

    “It wouldn’t be if it was a believable statistic. I don’t believe it. I am willing to believe that autism diagnoses have increased that much, but not rates.”

    The biggest contributor to the incidence of autism is the fact that the definition has been greatly broadened over the past 20 years. It no longer refers just to rain men, but to loads of people who one would consider just a little odd. “High functioning” autistic people abound. In fact, I would say it is probably a little over-diagnosed, since the “autism spectrum” is very, very broad.

  23. Rob Smith

    The biggest contributor to the incidence of autism is the The biggest contributor to the incidence of autism is the fact that the definition has been greatly broadened over the past 20 years.

    It would be nice if that were true, unfortunately it’s not. A 2009 study on autism rates in California from the UC-Davis MIND Institute indicates “that no more than 56 percent of the estimated 600-to-700 percent increase, that is, less than one-tenth of the increased number of reported autism cases, could be attributed to the inclusion of milder cases of autism. Only 24 percent of the increase could be attributed to earlier age at diagnosis”. The study is published in the Jan 2009 issue of the journal “Epidemiology”, and is unfortuately behind a pay wall. Here is a link to an article from UC-Davis interviewing the authors.

    Carl, I’m not sure if your being disingenous, if you’re dense on this particular subject, or if you just like setting up strawmen and knocking them down. No where have I said that we should stop vaccinating against measles (or polio, for that matter). All I have said regarding measles is we should break up the MMR vaccine into 3 shots given at separate intervals and that we look at giving it later. The US vaccinates it’s children far more than any other first world country, Sweden and Denmark, for example give less than half the number of vaccines to children ages 0-5 with no measurable impacts to children’s health. You seem to operate under the impression that the US vaccine schedule is sacred writ and may be the only thing preventing us from living in a dystopia where corpse filled wagons roam the streets to accompanying cries of “Bring out your dead”. There’s no reason to vaccinate newborns against Hep-B unless the mother falls into a specific risk group, and no reason to vaccinate all children in the US against varicela (Chicken Pox) or rotavirus.

    Speaking of the CDC, here’s what Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC under Clinton and current head of Merck’s vaccine department said on vaccines and autism in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Gupta:

    “Well, you know, I don’t have all the facts because I still haven’t been able to review the case files myself. But my understanding is that the child has a — what we think is a rare mitochondrial disorder. And children that have this disease, anything that stresses them creates a situation where their cells just can’t make enough energy to keep their brains functioning normally. Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism”

    Now, a couple things about Dr. Gerberding’s statement, first when you talk about “symptoms that have charactaristics of autism”, what you’re talking about is autism. Austism is diagnosed by observing the patients symptoms, there is no blood test for autism. Regarding this “rare mitochondrial disorder” she refers to, the reality is nobody knows how rare it is becuase we don’t routinely test for it, even in kids that have autism. It could be rare, or fairly common.

    Regarding Gates’ comments, Gates appears to suffer from, what I like to call “Bloomberg Syndrome” (after the mayor of New York). It’s the belief that great success in one field of endeavor necessarily translates into success in unrelated fields. Other sufferers include Washinton Redskin owner Dan Snyder, and Warren Buffett.

  24. Rob Smith

    I can add a personal note, too, Rob. My partner is a pediatric ER RN. She has seen little children die of these diseases — wholly preventable diseases — because mom ‘n’ pop bought into your vaccine/autism like.

    I can add a personal note too, Carl. My wife, mother, and sister in-law are all RNs with 50+ years of combined experience in pediatrics, oncology, and intensive care. They’ve bought into the possibilty of a vaccine/autism link. Here’s an idea, ask your “partner” if she sees more autistic kids now than she did 20-30 years ago. In the 1980s, doctors training to be perdiatricians were told that they’d be unlikely to ever see a child with autism, that’s certainly not the case now.

  25. Carl Pham

    My wife, mother, and sister in-law are all RNs with 50+ years of combined experience in pediatrics, oncology, and intensive care. They’ve bought into the possibilty of a vaccine/autism link.

    So what? Not everyone in the medical profession has his head screwed on straight. I didn’t offer the personal note as any kind of argument from authority: I don’t consider my partner, or any RN, as an expert on biochemistry, immunology, or epidemiology. (Neither does she.) You need a PhD in the appropriate field and gobs of practical experience for that. Dressing wounds in the ER doesn’t make you an expert on vaccines or autism.

    My personal note was just to point out that your fantasies that things like measles death in children happens only in far-off Third World pestholes is wrong. Children have died this year in a major American city (Los Angeles), because they didn’t get vaccines in time, because the parents bought into your lie. I know that for a fact, because I could tell you the names of the children, and I know someone who watched them die.

    Here’s an idea, ask your “partner” if she sees more autistic kids now than she did 20-30 years ago.

    First of all, no one knows for sure. The definition of autism has changed significantly over that period. You might as well point out that rates of autism in the 18th century were zero. Secondly, even if it were the case, there is about a million miles between that and any argument about vaccines.

    Rates of obesity and the typical mother’s and father’s age at conception have also significantly climbed over the past 20 years. How come you don’t suspect that might impact autism? Because no fool on the Internet told you to? Because it doesn’t appeal to your wish that it be something simple, something rooted in technology — rather than something “natural” that doesn’t work out well? Because you’ve made up your mind and your energy will now be devoted to creatively denying contradictory data rather than exploring alternate hypotheses?

    Listen, Rob, your intransigence is a clue, man. No scientist acts that way. Doubt is always in order, every honest investigator always checks and rechecks his hypothesis against the data, always considers alternates. (I didn’t even write a word to you without double-checking my sources, doing more investigating, cross-checking.)

    The fact that you are so passionately invested in this one hypothesis is a strong clue that you are suffering from religious delusion, no less than a half-psychotic monk of the Middle Ages wanting to burn witches at the stake, no less than a crazy Egyptian thinking flying planes into buildings will bring about peace on Earth.

    And religious delusion is not going to serve anyone well, certainly not the kids about whom you are supposedly concerned. You’re just going to gum up the works, make it harder for anything useful to be done. No one’s asking you to give up skepticism — to look hard at anyone else’s theory and proposed solution. But you are doing yourself, and those kids, no favors at all by seizing on a fashionable (well, 10 years ago fashionable) explanation and holding on like grim death. You’re an addict, thinking your daily crack pipe is good because everything seems so clear and simple after you’ve taken a good strong hit.

  26. Carl Pham

    Missed your earlier post. I guess I’ll have to go a few more rounds with you, on the off chance that something will penetrate that thick layer of religious idolatory, and benefit some kid somewhere:

    All I have said regarding measles is we should break up the MMR vaccine into 3 shots given at separate intervals and that we look at giving it later.

    So do it. Get all your friends to do it, too. Then you can have the best of all worlds: you won’t put anyone at risk for childhood disease and in 10 years, when your cohort has fantastically lower rates of autism, you get to say I told you so. Given how unfortunate autism is, I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.

    You seem to operate under the impression that the US vaccine schedule is sacred writ

    Hardly. Childhood vaccination is indeed sacred, one of those things that prevents the appalling child mortality rates of previous centuries. Screw with that and I’ll come help the mob hang you. But if you personally want to vaccinate on some different schedule, split it up, or draw pentacles on the ground before the needle goes in — be my guest. The when and exactly how doesn’t concern me at all, as long as you get it done.

    I have nothing to say to Gerberding’s statement. She is speculating on possible mechanisms if a link had been established epidemiologically, which it has not. I, too, can speculate on possible mechanisms, but there is no point until there is an epidemiological link: until you’ve proved that vaccines cause autism, there’s no point in wondering how they might. It’s a sterile exercise. Or rather, it’s worse than sterile, because it takes time and effort away from productive research.

    I notice, however, that you have sidestepped my point, which is that the CDC, which you claim to trust, says the same things about worldwide measles mortality as the WHO, which you said you didn’t trust. I also pointed out that the CDC repeats my earlier statements about the serious health risks associated with forgoing vaccination. I could also point out that the CDC, which you trust, continues to strongly recommend childhood vaccination, and says there is no evidence of a connection between vaccines in general and autism, or between the MMR vaccine and autism. For example they link to an article in the Lancet in June of 1999. I’ll quote from the abstract:

    “We undertook an epidemiological study to investigate whether measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may be causally associated with autism….There was no difference in age at diagnosis between the cases vaccinated before or after 18 months of age and those never vaccinated. There was no temporal association between onset of autism within 1 or 2 years after vaccination with MMR….Developmental regression was not clustered in the months after vaccination….No significant temporal clustering for age at onset of parental concern was seen for cases of core autism or atypical autism with the exception of a single interval within 6 months of MMR vaccination. This appeared to be an artifact related to the difficulty of defining precisely the onset of symptoms in this disorder….Our analyses do not support a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism. If such an association occurs, it is so rare that it could not be identified in this large regional sample.”

    There are many, many more such papers. So what do you think, Rob? They didn’t do their research right, because they’re idiots? They’re lying? Oh, I know! It’s something else, some other subtlety related to the vaccine. They didn’t check whether the doctor was standing to the right or to the left of the child when the vaccine was given! Whether the syringe was colored blue or white!

    Me, I wonder where you get off saying no one in the medical field is paying sufficient attention to your concerns, when we get study after study being done not because anyone with training and a brain thinks there’s any merit to your arguments — but just because you’re making them, and because a good scientist (vide supra) leaves no stone unturned, even though it looks silly. What a shame you don’t have the same habits of intellectual honest, square-dealing, and humility.

    I also wonder what else these folks could have been doing with their time and energy, if they weren’t chasing down your wild geese. What kinds of productive research into autism could they have been doing? By how many months or years has your community delayed the eventual discovery of help?

  27. Rob Smith

    Carl, you haven’t addressed any of my points. Where did I say we shouldn’t vaccinate against measles (or polio, or any of the other bogeyman you’re fond of bringing up)? Why don’t you actually read what I wrote and try and address those points, rather than setting up a bunch of strawmen?

  28. Rob Smith

    Childhood vaccination is indeed sacred, one of those things that prevents the appalling child mortality rates of previous centuries.

    So, what you’re saying is every vaccination is, in effect a holy sacrament? None of them could be done without or given on a slightly different schedule or we’ll go back to the appalling child mortality rates of previous centuries? Really? There’s absolutely no room for modification? The current US vaccine schedule is like Mary Poppins, absolutely perfect in every way?

    I notice, however, that you have sidestepped my point, which is that the CDC, which you claim to trust, says the same things about worldwide measles mortality as the WHO, which you said you didn’t trust.

    I don’t think I did. First it’s largely irrelevant, with respect to this debate which is about autism in the US, not “measles deaths” in sub-Saharan Africa. And, I really don’t think it unreasonable to believe that medical data coming out of the US is more reliable than that coming out of the Sudan or Cuba, for example.

  29. Rob Smith

    I have nothing to say to Gerberding’s statement. She is speculating on possible mechanisms if a link had been established epidemiologically, which it has not.

    No she’s not, she’s actually referring to a specific case the went before the vaccine court, the Hannah Poling case. The court ruled that vaccines caused her autism by aggravating an undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder. The ruling asserts the disorder is rare, but since it’s not routinely tested for its impossible to say how rare or common it is.

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