Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder

By Dr. Tony Ebel

Boy behind glassSensory Processing Disorder goes by many names (Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Neurosensory Dysfunction, etc.) but no matter what you call it, the underlying causes of it don’t change. What is more, we strongly feel that sensory issues are one of the most commonly missed diagnoses out there. A properly trained health care provider understands that many common conditions such as ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and many Learning and Behavioral Issues have many sensory-based challenges, and therefore proper care of these challenges must address the sensory processing aspect.

Unfortunately, most of our current health care providers have little to no clue how to recognize and treat sensory challenges, especially in young children. There are many warning signs that sensory challenges are developing, but too often are missed at a young age and dismissed by the child’s doctor with “he’ll grow out of it” or “let’s wait and see what happens.”

Well, waiting and seeing is the same as doing nothing, and too often these children have a difficult time later in life overcoming these challenges. It is our mission to educate the community, and especially parents, how to recognize these challenges and also how to treat them as soon as possible.

In most cases when these sensory challenges are finally realized, therapy is the first option. If done properly this care is usually done by specifically trained occupational and/or physical therapists in a “sensory gym” or setting. While we support this form of therapy whole-heartedly, with Pediatric Chiropractic care we offer a different approach that zeroes in on addressing the root cause of the challenges and imbalances.

So, What Causes It?

Our sensory system is a “read and react” system. What this means is that our body is “preprogrammed” to respond appropriately to environmental stimuli. This programming occurs throughout life and can be thought of as ‘sensory learning’ or processing.

The clearest example of this is a child placing their hand upon a hot stove… once it is done, it is rarely done again. This is because the burning and painful ‘sensation’ of the hot stove becomes ingrained in our sensory memory, and helps prevent us from making this mistake again. All sensory patterns in the body work in this way.
This great quote from Dr. Bruce Lipton really helps explain things further:

“The function of the nervous system is to perceive the environment
and coordinate the behavior of all other cells.”

The key elements to understand here are PERCEPTION and COORDINATION. Without proper perception, there cannot be proper (normal) coordination. Kids who suffer from SPD have an inability to properly perceive their environment, whether that be from vision, hearing and sounds, balance and coordination, touch and tactile sense, or others.

For children with SPD, this system “perception and coordination” system is essentially not “programmed” correctly. For various reasons, it becomes imbalanced and disorganized as the child develops, leading to improper neurological and brain development.

This can be caused by a variety of different things. In our office the most common causes we encounter are traumatic birth injuries to the upper neck and brainstem regions (ie. forceps, vacuum extraction, C-section), childhood falls, and improper development through excessive use of infant car carriers, walkers, and jumpers.

The birth injury aspect is likely the most impactful, and unfortunately most overlooked and unknown. The reason this injury so commonly leads to neurological challenges related to “perception and coordination” or processing/integrating type functions, is that this area of the brain and nervous system is the area most responsible for these functions, specifically the brainstem, cerebellum, and a specific nerve called the Vagus Nerve.

The best way to understand this is to think of the entire nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) as the “Air Traffic Control System” for the entire body. It’s constantly PERCEIVING the environment through it’s millions and millions of sensory receptors and nerve endings, and then “reading and responding” accordingly.

Taking the analogy a step further, it’s important to know that the brainstem and upper neck regions essentially act as the “Air Traffic Control Tower” and are largely responsible for the processing, integrating, organization, and “filtering” of sensory information from all over the body. Another words, it is in charge of letting certain sensory information “in” and moves it on up the ladder to higher brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex… and in turn, it “filters” out all of the sensory information not deemed important enough to reach those higher centers.

Child with booksWhat kids who suffer from things like SPD, ADD/ADHD, and ASD have in common, is that they have an inability to properly process, integrate, coordination, and adapt to their sensory environment. All of these issues are really neurological INPUT and COORDINATION problems, not output and behavior problems.

The most common forms of treatment for these issues today are still focusing on modifying behavior, or output. But if we go back to that quote from Dr. Lipton, and really understand how the brain and nervous system work, it’s easy to understand that the only way to change and improve the output or behavior for these kids, is to change and improve their INPUT and ability to COORDINATE and ADAPT.

Put frankly, it’s not an environmental issue, it’s an adaptation issue. To best help these kids yes we want to help improve their environment wherever possible, but the main thing they need is a better ability to process and adapt to it.

Our doctors are absolute experts in neurological development and function, and can help determine if your child is properly perceiving their sensory environment and adapting to it.

Our examination includes:

  • A thorough case history looking at detailed aspects of the pregnancy and labor/delivery, early motor development, and more.
  • Computerized testing of the NeuroSensory System that gives us a great look at how well the nervous system is functioning and how well it is organized and integrated.
  • Physical examination to check for imbalances in posture, gait, coordination, etc.

If imbalances are found, we will then discuss with you how specific, gentle, neurologically-tuned chiropractic adjustments can help restore proper function to your child’s brain and nervous system. For more information on whether your child could benefit from this, please contact our office today to set up a consultation and examination!

For one last bit of information, below is a list of common case history findings we see in kids diagnosed with things like Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. Each of these issues can also be traced back and connected to injury to that “Air Traffic Control Tower” early in life… often as early as the birth process. In fact, in 7 years of working with these kids in our office we find that over 90% of them who have these diagnoses had some form of injury to the upper neck at birth.

Common Signs and Indicators of Neurological Dysfunction and Incoordination:

  • Use of intervention during the labor and delivery process: C-section, vacuum, forceps, or increased difficulty, pulling, or twisting of the child’s head and neck during delivery.
  • Colic, reflux, and gas pains in infancy.
  • Torticollis and plagiocephaly.
  • Constipation and digestive issues.
  • Frequent ear and sinus infections.
  • Speech delays.
  • Abnormal motor development early in life (i.e. Skipped crawling).
  • Poor balance and coordination, frequent falls and injuries.

ADD & ADHD

ADD & ADHD

By Dr. Tony Ebel


For some reason, ADHD seems to afflict boys more often than girls.

For some reason, ADHD seems to afflict boys more often than girls.

We do not “treat” Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

However, since ADHD appears as a neurological disorder and chiropractic care helps reduce nervous system disturbances, many parents who want a natural, non-drug solution for their child have found chiropractic care helpful, even miraculous.

Common Symptoms

The classic signs that parents and teachers notice:

  • Inattention, hyperactivity and being easily distracted
  • Difficulty concentrating and sitting still
  • Inability to control impulsive thoughts and behaviors
  • Easily distracted by noises and activities
  • Always moving—fingers, hands, arms, feet or legs

First Things First

Begin by making nutritional and lifestyle changes. Rule out environmental factors by reducing your childs exposure to substances that are increasingly common these days:

  • Remove food dyes, preservatives and additives from the diet.
  • Focus on natural, organic foods grown without pesticides or herbicides.
  • Determine if an allergy involved such as dairy or gluten and eliminate.
  • Eliminate all sugars and artificial sweeteners.
  • Reduce the use of cleaning agents, detergents, fabric softeners and other chemicals.

These are wise choices whether your child has the symptoms associated with ADHD or not!

Traditional Treatment

The most common treatment is drugging the child with a Class 2 psychotropic drug.

The most common treatment is drugging the child with a Class 2 psychotropic drug.

The artificial approach to controlling symptoms of ADHD is to administer regular doses of methylphenidate. More commonly known as Ritalin®.

Ritalin® is a schedule II controlled substance related to, and producing similar effects as, amphetamines and cocaine. The side effects, including personality changes and permanent changes to the brain, cause many parents to look for alternatives. More and more are wisely turning to chiropractic.

Chiropractic: Pure and Natural

Hyperactivity is not the result of a Ritalin® shortage! Instead, we look for disturbances to the child’s nervous system. We almost always see problems caused by the spinal distortions in the upper neck.

In fact, this link between the spine, brain stem dysfunction and ADHD is common. A thorough chiropractic examination can reveal noticeable spinal distortion, even a reversal of the normal neck curve. With a schedule of safe and natural chiropractic adjustments, these often resolve, reducing and nervous system tension.

Find Out More

As parents, we want the best for our children. If your child exhibits the symptoms of ADHD, you know it affects virtually everyone your child is in contact with. Before you submit to drug therapy, make an appointment for a chiropractic evaluation. Call our office today!


Autism and Chiropractic

Autism and Chiropractic Care

By Dr. Tony Ebel 

Often times when I am in the community and introduce myself as a Pediatric Chiropractor, I get quite a few puzzled looks as if I’d just made up a new profession.

wellnessThe truth is, pediatric chiropractic is growing by leaps and bounds and the results we are getting are astounding.

One of the areas our practice focuses on is helping children with autism and other spectrum-related disorders. So, in order to better help explain my answer to the question “Well, how can chiropractic help with autism?” I thought I would write out a general summary and make it available on the website! So here goes…

Warning – this is a very lengthy explanation, but if there is one thing I have learned in my years of helping parents whose children suffer with autism, it is that “no amount of information or help is too much” for their children. So hopefully, this helps…

How can Pediatric Chiropractic Care Help with Autism?

Well, as is the case with so many questions, the response to this one is going to be multi-faceted. However, it will also have one recurring theme… and that recurring theme will be our focus on the Central Nervous System.

Anyone who knows anything about autism knows that the nervous system is greatly affected in this disorder and the challenges this brings about are responsible for many of the issues seen in children with autism, such as hyperactivity, attention issues, sleep challenges, behavior problems, social issues, sensory processing issues, and more. In addition, the nervous system is so intimately linked with the digestive and immune systems (the other two systems most commonly affected in autism) that it can also contribute to things such as bowel and bladder problems, autoimmune challenges, and more. From here on out we will look at these systems in a “triangular” sort of approach with the nervous system being the link between them.

Possible ways the Nervous System can be Damaged or Injured

There are numerous ways to discuss, so we will focus on the major one for purpose of this article. The primary mode of injury we see in our office is what we would term Traumatic Birth Injury. For many of these children their nervous systems have been damaged right from the outset due to this birth injury, or even prior to that due to in-utero constraint issues (i.e. breech positioning).

Unfortunately, in the United States we have levels of birth intervention that even the WHO has termed to be at “epidemic” levels, especially the use of Cesarean delivery. The WHO states that C-section rates around 10% are normal and necessary, while anything above 15-20% “likely does more harm than good” – in the US 33-50% C-section rates are the norm for most hospitals.

It must also be realized, that even most vaginal deliveries are now induced or “augmented” as well. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics showed an increase in autism later on in life for induced births, confirming what we’ve been talking about in pediatric chiropractic for a long, long time.

The area that is most commonly injured during the birth process is the upper neck and skull. The risk of injury to these areas, and the resultant issues from it, go up exponentially as intervention levels go up. C-sections, forceps, vacuum extraction, and prolonged pushing all lead to greater risk of traumatic birth injury to the infants head and neck.

Unfortunately, no one in the medical system is really trained to check (or address) these sorts of injuries, so most of the time they go completely unmentioned to the parents… If the injury were addressed by a pediatric chiropractor shortly after it occurred, most of the neurological injuries associated with it could be prevented. If we are truly going to win the battle for autism in this country, we must learn how to prevent it, not cure it. This area would be a vital first step.

Effects of these Injuries

Once that injury occurs, it can put pressure on the brain stem and spinal cord, as well as the spinal nerves in the vicinity. What is more, by creating a misalignment and joint fixation complex (subluxation) in the area, it leads to improper neurological “signaling” or “communication” into and out of the central nervous system. This challenge to the communication system of the body is one of the primary reasons so many children with autism have challenges with sensory processing, social interaction and behavior, and learning.

All of this eventually puts the nervous system into a chronic or permanent state of stress. This is often referred to as the stress response, or fight/flight response. It is a response that is vital for short term reactions, but detrimental when “stuck on” for extended periods of time. Most children with autism have been in fight/flight from their first moments. This is why we see such a high correlation with infantile colic, ear infections, digestive disorders, and autism.

Again, if our health care system were designed to address these challenges immediately, rather than waiting for the symptoms to appear, far fewer children would be suffering with autism and related disorders. One can simply observe a child with autism and see the “stress and fear” in their eyes. It is such a joy to see this look change in their eyes as they progress through care in our office.

Getting back to our triangle example, this chronic state of stress wreaks havoc on the immune and digestive systems as both of them are “down-regulated” during chronic states of stress. Speaking specifically about the digestive system, sustained neurological stress responses can lead to an increase in decreased motility, constriction, cramping, and inflammation. When the digestive system is in this state it does a very poor job of breaking down foods and other substances, leading to even further inflammation and irritation that can spill over into the bloodstream and cause an immune response.

The immune system faces the same challenges… when we are in a constant state of neurological stress the immune system dysfunctions and leaves a child susceptible to allergies, asthma, eczema, and other inflammatory type reactions. All of this leads to more and more inflammation and irritation, and the cycle continues. This is why so many of these reactions and challenges are what we refer to as “viscous cycles” that essentially continue to feed each other and lead to greater and greater challenges. Somewhere, this cycle must be broken, and that is where chiropractic adjustments come into play.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

By addressing the injury and resultant subluxation, a specific chiropractic adjustment restores proper balance and alignment to the neuro-spinal system, and thus can help restore balance and function to the central nervous system. Depending on the severity and duration these injuries have been present, sometimes repeated adjustments can create positive change in a step-by-step process that leads to an improvement in behavior, digestion, immunity, learning, sleep, and more. As I have stated many times before, the sooner we start, the better our chances of having success with such care.

In summary, most every child we see with spectrum disorders has two major challenges at the root of their issues: An overstressed nervous system that is stuck on the “gas pedal” and thus in protection mode right from the beginning of life, or even before. Therefore an amazing quote by Dr. Bruce Lipton summarizes both the cause behind the issue, and if we really understand it, the solution as well. His quote states, “You can’t be in growth and protection at the same time.”

Translated to our analogy here, a child’s nervous system cannot be on the “gas pedal” (stress/protection) at the same time as it’s on the “brake pedal” (growth/development/organization/healing). A subluxation, specifically to the upper neck and brainstem area “locks in” the nervous system to that stress mode. A specifically trained pediatric chiropractor is the only provider on the planet trained to find and locate that subluxation, and if found, correct and resolve it. Doing so is analogous to “pumping the brakes” and getting the growth, relaxation, and healing system working again!

We believe that when a family has a child who is challenged by something like spectrum disorders, the number one thing they need is someone who can support them and help them make the proper decisions. Unfortunately, despite the enormous growth in this disorder, most pediatricians are quite lacking in their understanding of spectrum disorders and how neurology, nutrition, and toxicity play a role in it. Thankfully, Pediatric Chiropractors are experts in this area, and you can be rest assured that you will get the support and care your child needs to overcome these challenges and lead a bright and promising life!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pediatric Chiropractic



I've been told from many people including medical doctors that chiropractors should stick to neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, car accidents and nothing else... Over the years I have had the pleasure of taking care of 1000's of kiddos from breastfeeding and colicy issues to autism and ADHD. From failure to thrive to severe kidney/liver disease in newborns. I have taken care of kiddos on more than 4-5 medications and are now on NONE! Kids DO NOT need to be drugged, find the cause to fix the cause to express health... 

Whats the one thing in common with all of these kiddos regardless of symptoms or conditions, their nervous system is not functioning 100%. My job as a pediatric chiro is to simply improve neurological health and get sick kids health while keeping health kids well! Chiropractic supports the full expression of optimal health and wellness, not just neck, back and shoulder pain....

Kids, just like adults, need to have their spines checked just like we take them to the dentist to have their teeth checked. 

If you have any questions about Pediatric Chiropractic, please give my office a call. 

Thank you
Jon Wise, DC., CACCP
Board Certified Pediatric Chiropractor

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Your Hardware / Your Software

Your Hardware / Your Software

wellness
Regular Chiropractic Care and Nerve System Health
The main components of your nerve system's "hardware" are the neurons, that is, the nerve cells themselves. There are more than 100 billion neurons in the brain and several hundred trillion synapses connecting these nerve cells. It is estimated that you have more neuronal connections in your brain than the number of stars in the sky.

As your body's master system, your nerve system controls the functioning of every cell, tissue, and organ that comprise your body. Thus, the health of your nerve system is critical to your health and well being. Problems arise when spinal misalignments are present. Such biomechanical dysfunction causes spinal nerve irritation and nerve interference. The result of nerve interference is musculoskeletal pain and symptoms of various diseases. Regular chiropractic care helps maintain the health of spinal nerves and your nerve system by removing nerve irritation and nerve interference. Thus, the short- and long-term benefit of regular chiropractic care is enhanced health, wellness, and well being.

The metaphor linking the human brain with computer hardware is now so well known that it features regularly in news media stories. But computers have only been with us since Colossus and ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer) were constructed in the mid-1940s. The metaphor linking the code embedded in human DNA and computer software is less frequently cited. The general public only became aware of the concept of computer software in the early 1980s, with the launch of IBM's Personal Computer in 1981 and Apple's Macintosh computer in 1984. In contrast, our genetic code has been evolving for 2 million years.

We could consider computer hardware the metaphorical analog of the human nerve system, consisting of the brain, spinal and peripheral nerves, and neurons (nerve cells).1,2The nerve system comprises the physical structures that initiate and transmit electrical signals that control the physiological processes of your cells, tissues, and organs. Activities involving your heartbeat, your breath, your digestion, and hormonal function are all regulated and directed by interaction with the nerve system.

Computer software provides encoded instructions for programs that run on the processors, memory banks, buses, and drives of the computer hardware structure. Such programming is analogous to our genetic code, which contains instructions for the growth, development, and functioning of every cell in our bodies. The nerve system carries out its functions based on instructions derived from the DNA contained within its cells.

Computers and the software they run on do not require much maintenance. You certainly don't want to spill coffee on your keyboard and you don't want crumbs to wander into any open ports or drive slots. You do want to backup your files and run security checks periodically. But that's about it. In contrast, the human body requires a fair amount of upkeep in order to ensure optimal performance. Many people are unwilling to do 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 times a week. Many people will not take the time to shop for nutritious food and prepare healthful meals.3 But if you engage in these important activities on a regular basis, you will go far to securing long-term health for yourself and your family.

Most of us put a lot of thought into decisions concerning our computers and the software we're going to run on them. We take good care of these helpers of our personal and business activities. But few of us are similarly conscientious when it comes to taking care of our own health and well-being. It would profit all of us greatly to take such care of our metaphorical hardware and software, that is, the physical and physiological structures that keep us healthy and well.

1Cash SS, Hochberg LR: The emergence of single neurons in clinical neurology. Neuron 86(1):79-91, 2015
2Xu J, et al: What does a neuron learn from multisensory experience? J Neurophysiol 113(3):883-889. 2015
3Asher G, Sassone-Corsi P: Time for Food: The Intimate Interplay between Nutrition, Metabolism, and the Circadian Clock Cell 161(1):84-92, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harvard Trained Immunologist Demolishes California Legislation That Terminates Vaccine Exemptions

Harvard Trained Immunologist Demolishes California Legislation That Terminates Vaccine Exemptions

State of the Nation | April 23, 2015

SOTN Editor’s Note:

The following open letter by a PhD Immunologist completely demolishes the current California legislative initiative to remove all vaccine exemptions. That such a draconian and cynical state statute is under consideration in the ‘Golden State’ is as shocking as it is predictable.  After all, it was mysteriously written and submitted shortly after the manufactured-in-Disneyland measles ‘outbreak’.

The indisputable science that is employed by Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD ought to be read by every CA legislator who is entertaining an affirmative vote for SB277.  Dr. Obukhanych skillfully deconstructs the many false and fabricated arguments that are advanced by Big Pharma and the U.S Federal Government as they attempt to implement a nationwide Super-Vaccination agenda.

When the California Senate refuses to consider authoritative scientific evidence which categorically proves the dangerous vaccine side effects on the schoolchildren, something is very wrong. Such conduct by the Senate constitutes criminal action that endangers the lives and welfare of children. Their official behavior must be acknowledged for what it is — CRIMINAL — and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

An Open Letter to Legislators Currently Considering Vaccine Legislation from Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD in Immunology

Re:  VACCINE LEGISLATION

Dear Legislator:

My name is Tetyana Obukhanych. I hold a PhD in Immunology.  I am writing this letter in the hope that it will correct several common misperceptions about vaccines in order to help you formulate a fair and balanced understanding that is supported by accepted vaccine theory and new scientific findings.

Do unvaccinated children pose a higher threat to the public than the vaccinated?

It is often stated that those who choose not to vaccinate their children for reasons of conscience endanger the rest of the public, and this is the rationale behind most of the legislation to end vaccine exemptions currently being considered by federal and state legislators country-wide. You should be aware that the nature of protection afforded by many modern vaccines – and that includes most of the vaccines recommended by the CDC for children – is not consistent with such a statement. I have outlined below the recommended vaccines that cannot prevent transmission of disease either because they are not designed to prevent the transmission of infection (rather, they are intended to prevent disease symptoms), or because they are for non-communicable diseases. People who have not received the vaccines mentioned below pose no higher threat to the general public than those who have, implying that discrimination against non-immunized children in a public school setting may not be warranted.

  1. IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) cannot prevent transmission of poliovirus (see appendix for the scientific study, Item #1). Wild poliovirus has been non-existent in the USA for at least two decades. Even if wild poliovirus were to be re-imported by travel, vaccinating for polio with IPV cannot affect the safety of public spaces.  Please note that wild poliovirus eradication is attributed to the use of a different vaccine, OPV or oral poliovirus vaccine. Despite being capable of preventing wild poliovirus transmission, use of OPV was phased out long ago in the USA and replaced with IPV due to safety concerns.
  1. Tetanus is not a contagious disease, but rather acquired from deep-puncture wounds contaminated with C. tetani spores. Vaccinating for tetanus (via the DTaP combination vaccine) cannot alter the safety of public spaces; it is intended to render personal protection only.
  1. While intended to prevent the disease-causing effects of the diphtheria toxin, the diphtheria toxoid vaccine (also contained in the DTaP vaccine) is not designed to prevent colonization and transmission of C. diphtheriae. Vaccinating for diphtheria cannot alter the safety of public spaces; it is likewise intended for personal protection only.
  1. The acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine (the final element of the DTaP combined vaccine), now in use in the USA, replaced the whole cell pertussis vaccine in the late 1990s, which was followed by an unprecedented resurgence of whooping cough. An experiment with deliberate pertussis infection in primates revealed that the aP vaccine is not capable of preventing colonization and transmission of B. pertussis (see appendix for the scientific study, Item #2). The FDA has issued a warning regarding this crucial finding.[1]
  • Furthermore, the 2013 meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors at the CDC revealed additional alarming data that pertussis variants (PRN-negative strains) currently circulating in the USA acquired a selective advantage to infect those who are up-to-date for their DTaP boosters (see appendix for the CDC document, Item #3), meaning that people who are up-to-date are more likely to be infected, and thus contagious, than people who are not vaccinated.
  1. Among numerous types of H. influenzae, the Hib vaccine covers only type b. Despite its sole intention to reduce symptomatic and asymptomatic (disease-less) Hib carriage, the introduction of the Hib vaccine has inadvertently shifted strain dominance towards other types of H. influenzae(types a through f).These types have been causing invasive disease of high severity and increasing incidence in adults in the era of Hib vaccination of children (see appendix for the scientific study, Item #4).  The general population is more vulnerable to the invasive disease now than it was prior to the start of the Hib vaccination campaign.  Discriminating against children who are not vaccinated for Hib does not make any scientific sense in the era of non-type b H. influenzae disease.
  1. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus. It does not spread in a community setting, especially among children who are unlikely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as needle sharing or sex. Vaccinating children for hepatitis B cannot significantly alter the safety of public spaces. Further, school admission is not prohibited for children who are chronic hepatitis B carriers. To prohibit school admission for those who are simply unvaccinated – and do not even carry hepatitis B – would constitute unreasonable and illogical discrimination.

In summary, a person who is not vaccinated with IPV, DTaP, HepB, and Hib vaccines due to reasons of conscience poses no extra danger to the public than a person who is.  No discrimination is warranted.

How often do serious vaccine adverse events happen?

It is often stated that vaccination rarely leads to serious adverse events. Unfortunately, this statement is not supported by science. A recent study done in Ontario, Canada, established that vaccination actually leads to an emergency room visit for 1 in 168 children following their 12-month vaccination appointment and for 1 in 730 children following their 18-month vaccination appointment(see appendix for a scientific study, Item #5).

When the risk of an adverse event requiring an ER visit after well-baby vaccinations is demonstrably so high, vaccination must remain a choice for parents, who may understandably be unwilling to assume this immediate risk in order to protect their children from diseases that are generally considered mild or that their children may never be exposed to.

Can discrimination against families who oppose vaccines for reasons of conscience prevent future disease outbreaks of communicable viral diseases, such as measles?

Measles research scientists have for a long time been aware of the “measles paradox.” I quote from the article by Poland & Jacobson (1994) “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination: Apparent Paradox of Measles Infections in Immunized Persons.” Arch Intern Med 154:1815-1820:

“The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.”[2]

Further research determined that behind the “measles paradox” is a fraction of the population called LOW VACCINE RESPONDERS. Low-responders are those who respond poorly to the first dose of the measles vaccine. These individuals then mount a weak immune response to subsequent RE-vaccination and quickly return to the pool of “susceptibles’’ within 2-5 years, despite being fully vaccinated.[3]

Re-vaccination cannot correct low-responsiveness: it appears to be an immuno-genetic trait.[4]  The proportion of low-responders among children was estimated to be 4.7% in the USA.[5]

Studies of measles outbreaks in Quebec, Canada, and China attest that outbreaks of measles still happen, even when vaccination compliance is in the highest bracket (95-97% or even 99%, see appendix for scientific studies, Items #6&7). This is because even in high vaccine responders, vaccine-induced antibodies wane over time.  Vaccine immunity does not equal life-long immunity acquired after natural exposure.

It has been documented that vaccinated persons who develop breakthrough measles are contagious. In fact, two major measles outbreaks in 2011 (in Quebec, Canada, and in New York, NY) were re-imported by previously vaccinated individuals.[6] – [7]

Taken together, these data make it apparent that elimination of vaccine exemptions, currently only utilized by a small percentage of families anyway, will neither solve the problem of disease resurgence nor prevent re-importation and outbreaks of previously eliminated diseases. 

Is discrimination against conscientious vaccine objectors the only practical solution?

The majority of measles cases in recent US outbreaks (including the recent Disneyland outbreak) are adults and very young babies, whereas in the pre-vaccination era, measles occurred mainly between the ages 1 and 15. Natural exposure to measles was followed by lifelong immunity from re-infection, whereas vaccine immunity wanes over time, leaving adults unprotected by their childhood shots. Measles is more dangerous for infants and for adults than for school-aged children.

Despite high chances of exposure in the pre-vaccination era, measles practically never happened in babies much younger than one year of age due to the robust maternal immunity transfer mechanism. The vulnerability of very young babies to measles today is the direct outcome of the prolonged mass vaccination campaign of the past, during which their mothers, themselves vaccinated in their childhood, were not able to experience measles naturally at a safe school age and establish the lifelong immunity that would also be transferred to their babies and protect them from measles for the first year of life.

Luckily, a therapeutic backup exists to mimic now-eroded maternal immunity. Infants as well as other vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals, are eligible to receive immunoglobulin, a potentially life-saving measure that supplies antibodies directed against the virus to prevent or ameliorate disease upon exposure (see appendix, Item #8).

In summary: 1) due to the properties of modern vaccines, non-vaccinated individuals pose no greater risk of transmission of polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and numerous non-type b H. influenzae strains than vaccinated individuals do, non-vaccinated individuals pose virtually no danger of transmission of hepatitis B in a school setting, and tetanus is not transmissible at all; 2) there is a significantly elevated risk of emergency room visits after childhood vaccination appointments attesting that vaccination is  not risk-free; 3) outbreaks of measles cannot be entirely prevented even if we had nearly perfect vaccination compliance; and 4) an effective method of preventing measles and other viral diseases in vaccine-ineligible infants and the immunocompromised, immunoglobulin, is available for those who may be exposed to these diseases. 

Taken together, these four facts make it clear that discrimination in a public school setting against children who are not vaccinated for reasons of conscience is completely unwarranted as the vaccine status of conscientious objectors poses no undue public health risk. 

Sincerely Yours,

Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD

Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD, is the author of the book Vaccine Illusion.  She has studied immunology in some of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions. She earned her PhD in Immunology at the Rockefeller University in New York and did postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA and Stanford University in California.

Dr. Obukhanych offers online classes for those who want to gain deeper understanding of how the immune system works and whether the immunologic benefits of vaccines are worth the risks:  Natural Immunity Fundamentals.

Appendix

Item #1. The Cuba IPV Study collaborative group. (2007) Randomized controlled trial of inactivated poliovirus vaccine in CubaN Engl J Med 356:1536-44

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17429085

The table below from the Cuban IPV study documents that 91% of children receiving no IPV (control group B) were colonized with live attenuated poliovirus upon deliberate experimental inoculation.  Children who were vaccinated with IPV (groups A and C) were similarly colonized at the rate of 94-97%.  High counts of live virus were recovered from the stool of children in all groups.  These results make it clear that IPV cannot be relied upon for the control of polioviruses.

polio chart

Item #2. Warfel et al. (2014) Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:787-92

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24277828

“Baboons vaccinated with aP were protected from severe pertussis-associated symptoms but not from colonization, did not clear the infection faster than na├»ve [unvaccinated] animals, and readily transmitted B. pertussis to unvaccinated contacts. By comparison, previously infected [naturally-immune] animals were not colonized upon secondary infection.”

Item #3. Meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Harkins Global Communication Center, Atlanta, Georgia, December 11-12, 2013

http://www.cdc.gov/maso/facm/pdfs/BSCOID/2013121112_BSCOID_Minutes.pdf

Resurgence of Pertussis (p.6)

“Findings indicated that 85% of the isolates [from six Enhanced Pertussis Surveillance Sites and from epidemics in Washington and Vermont in 2012] were PRN-deficient and vaccinated patients had significantly higher odds than unvaccinated patients of being infected with PRN-deficient strains.  Moreover, when patients with up-to-date DTaP vaccinations were compared to unvaccinated patients, the odds of being infected with PRN-deficient strains increased, suggesting that PRN-bacteria may have a selective advantage in infecting DTaP-vaccinated persons.”

Item #4. Rubach et al. (2011) Increasing incidence of invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease in adults, Utah, USA. Emerg Infect Dis 17:1645-50

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21888789

The chart below from Rubach et al. shows the number of invasive cases of H. influenzae(all types) in Utah in the decade of childhood vaccination for Hib.

Hib chart

Item #5. Wilson et al. (2011) Adverse events following 12 and 18 month vaccinations: a population-based, self-controlled case series analysis. PLoS One 6:e27897

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22174753

“Four to 12 days post 12 month vaccination, children had a 1.33 (1.29-1.38) increased relative incidence of the combined endpoint compared to the control period, or at least one event during the risk interval for every 168 children vaccinated.  Ten to 12 days post 18 month vaccination, the relative incidence was 1.25 (95%, 1.17-1.33) which represented at least one excess event for every 730 children vaccinated.  The primary reason for increased events was statistically significant elevations in emergency room visits following all vaccinations.”

Item #6. De Serres et al. (2013) Largest measles epidemic in North America in a decade–Quebec, Canada, 2011: contribution of susceptibility, serendipity, and superspreading events. J Infect Dis207:990-98

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23264672

“The largest measles epidemic in North America in the last decade occurred in 2011 in Quebec, Canada.”

“A super-spreading event triggered by 1 importation resulted in sustained transmission and 678 cases.”

“The index case patient was a 30-39-year old adult, after returning to Canada from the Caribbean.  The index case patient received measles vaccine in childhood.”

“Provincial [Quebec] vaccine coverage surveys conducted in 2006, 2008, and 2010 consistently showed that by 24 months of age, approximately 96% of children had received 1 dose and approximately 85% had received 2 doses of measles vaccine, increasing to 97% and 90%, respectively, by 28 months of age.  With additional first and second doses administered between 28 and 59 months of age, population measles vaccine coverage is even higher by school entry.”

“Among adolescents, 22% [of measles cases] had received 2 vaccine doses.  Outbreak investigation showed this proportion to have been an underestimate; active case finding identified 130% more cases among 2-dose recipients.”

Item #7. Wang et al. (2014) Difficulties in eliminating measles and controlling rubella and mumps: a cross-sectional study of a first measles and rubella vaccination and a second measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination. PLoS One9:e89361

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24586717

“The reported coverage of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is greater than 99.0% in Zhejiang province.  However, the incidence of measles, mumps, and rubella remains high.”

Item #8. Immunoglobulin Handbook, Health Protection Agency

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140714084352/http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1242198450982

HUMAN NORMAL IMMUNOGLOBULIN (HNIG):

Indications

  1. To prevent or attenuate an attack in immuno-compromised contacts
  2. To prevent or attenuate an attack in pregnant women
  3. To prevent or attenuate an attack in infants under the age of 9 months

[1] http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm

[2] http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=619215

[3] Poland (1998) Am J Hum Genet 62:215-220

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9463343

“ ‘poor responders,’ who were re-immunized and developed poor or low-level antibody responses only to lose detectable antibody and develop measles on exposure 2–5 years later.”

[4] ibid

“Our ongoing studies suggest that seronegativity after vaccination [for measles] clusters among related family members, that genetic polymorphisms within the HLA [genes] significantly influence antibody levels.”

[5] LeBaron et al. (2007) Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 161:294-301

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17339511

“Titers fell significantly over time [after second MMR] for the study population overall and, by the final collection, 4.7% of children were potentially susceptible.”

[6] De Serres et al. (2013) J Infect Dis 207:990-998

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23264672

“The index case patient received measles vaccine in childhood.”

[7] Rosen et al. (2014) Clin Infect Dis 58:1205-1210

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24585562

“The index patient had 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine.”