26 November 2010

Scientists fear MMR link to autism

New American research shows that there could be a link between the controversial MMR triple vaccine and autism and bowel disease in children. 

The study appears to confirm the findings of British doctor Andrew Wakefield, who caused a storm in 1998 by suggesting a possible link. 

Now a team from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina are examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease - and of the 82 tested so far, 70 prove positive for the measles virus. 

Last night the team's leader, Dr Stephen Walker, said: 'Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles. 

'This research proves that in the gastrointestinal tract of a number of children who have been diagnosed with regressive autism, there is evidence of measles virus. 

'What it means is that the study done earlier by Dr Wakefield and published in 1998 is correct. That study didn’t draw any conclusions about specifically what it means to find measles virus in the gut, but the implication is it may be coming from the MMR vaccine. If that’s the case, and this live virus is residing in the gastrointestinal tract of some children, and then they have GI inflammation and other problems, it may be related to the MMR.' 

The 1998 study by Dr Wakefield, then a reader in gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, and 12 other doctors claimed to have found a new bowel disease, autism enterocolitis. 

At the time, Dr Wakefield said that although they had not proved a link between MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism, there was cause for concern and the Government should offer the option single vaccines - instead of only MMRs - until more research had been done. 

The paper - and the confused interpretation of its findings - caused uproar and led to many parents withdrawing their co-operation for the triple jab. Ten of the paper's authors also signed retractions on the interpretation but stood by the science. 

This is the second independent study to back up Dr Wakefield. In 2001 John O'Leary, Professor of Pathology at St James's Hospital and Trinity College, Dublin, replicated his findings. 

Last night Dr Wakefield said: 'This new study confirms what we found in British children and again with Professor O'Leary. The only exposure these children have had to measles is through the MMR vaccine. 

'They were developing normally until they regressed. They now suffer autism and bowel disease. 

'The Department of Health and some of the media wanted to dismiss our research as insignificant. The excuse was that no one else had the same findings as us. What they didn't say is that no one else had looked.' 

A spokesman for the Department of Health said they had not read the American report, but added: 'MMR remains the best form of protection against measles, mumps and rubella.'

04 November 2010

Is atherosclerosis caused by high cholesterol?

According to the low‐density‐lipoprotein (LDL) receptor hypothesis, development of atherosclerosis is caused by a high concentration of LDL‐cholesterol in the blood, and lowering LDL‐cholesterol reverses, or at least retards, atherosclerosis, thus preventing cardiovascular disease.1 As a scientific hypothesis, it is open to falsification: if the concentration of LDL‐cholesterol or total cholesterol and the degree of atherosclerosis do not correlate, or if there is no exposure‐response, e.g. if there is no association between the cholesterol changes (ΔLDL‐cholesterol or Δtotal cholesterol) and atherosclerosis progression.

The successful statin trials, with their substantial reduction of LDL‐cholesterol seemed to confirm the LDL receptor hypothesis, but their outcome was independent of the initial cholesterol concentration and the degree of its lowering. For instance, the p values for the relationships between the outcome, and the percentage or the absolute change in LDL cholesterol, as calculated in one of the trial reports,2 were 0.76 and 0.97, respectively. The lack of exposure‐response, together with the benefit of the treatment in disorders and age groups where LDL‐cholesterol concentration has little if any predictive value, suggests that statins must have more important effects on cardiovascular disease than a lowering of cholesterol.3 Indeed, there is evidence that the statins have anti‐thrombotic and anti‐inflammatory effects, and also a beneficial influence on endothelial dysfunction, LDL oxidation, re‐vascularization and smooth muscle cell proliferation.
Even if these effects were operating in the trials, the substantial lowering of LDL‐cholesterol should at least have contributed to the improvement if the LDL receptor hypothesis were correct. The lack of exposure‐response also questions whether atherosclerosis is truly caused by high LDL‐cholesterol.
However, the outcome in the clinical trials was cardiovascular disease, not atherosclerotic progression. To answer the question, we need to compare the cholesterol concentration and the degree of atherosclerosis, and in particular, to study the influence of ΔLDL‐cholesterol on atherosclerotic progression, rather than clinical outcome. Read the original article here...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin