Does Vaccination Play a Role in the Incidence and Apparent Rise of Epilepsy? by Sandy Gottstein
A recent headline blared, One
in 26 Americans Will Develop Epilepsy. Seems
are we to really make
of this claim?
Dr. Trevathan, interviewed for the article,
the difference between current CDC estimates of epilepsy incidence of 2
and the 26 million is due “to an almost absent epilepsy
infrastructure in the United States.”
whopping big difference. Might
it not also be due to an actual increase?
And, if so, what might be the cause(s)?
important clue may be found in
a new US
ruling, reported on at Age
of Autism, which deemed that the DPT
vaccine caused a child’s epilepsy and death.
In fact, one of the reasons for the switch to the acellular
the hope that it would result in “a decrease
in hospitalization rates for seizures and
reports of hypotonic-hyporesponsive
temporally related to pertussis vaccination.”
the child who won the award had received the acellular vaccine.
So is the acellular vaccine safer but not
necessarily safe, at least insofar as seizures are concerned?
That would appear to be the case, given the
article, the following point
was made: “Preliminary design, data
collection, and analytic capability of the Vaccine Safety Datalink
been validated by replication of previous known associations between
and DTP and MMR vaccines.”
repeat that: “replication
of previous known
associations between seizures
and DTP and MMR vaccines”.
other words, there are two universally recommended and widely used
that are understood to be associated with seizures, and a child’s
just awarded payment for seizures and death caused by one of them.
what is the risk? In my 1993 testimony
to the IOM I spoke of the risk of seizures
cough as compared to the whooping cough vaccine: “An insidious
which the risks of vaccination can be incorrectly estimated is by using
of doses of vaccine which appear to result in injury, rather than the
children that are administered however many doses it takes to injure
them. Since nearly all vaccines are currently being recommended
administered in multiple doses, using doses rather than children can
gross underestimation of actual risk. We also cannot ignore
which occurs when high-risk children are eliminated, either by not
the vaccine in question at all, or by receiving only one dose.
Take as an example convulsions resulting from either whooping cough
whooping cough. The CDC says that 1/1750 vaccinations result in
convulsions but that 2/100 children who get whooping cough have
convulsions. If we divide the 1750 vaccinations by the between 4
doses children are required to get, the result is 1/350 to 1/438
getting convulsions after whooping cough, not nearly as dramatic a
If we further try to factor in the impact of underreporting of adverse
reactions, the actual incidence of which is unknown but presumed to be
significant, it becomes clear that there may be no difference, and in
that it is possible convulsions are more likely to result after
than after disease.
The fact is, however, that we do not know the true incidence of vaccine
reactions, of whooping cough itself, of convulsions after whooping
many other relevant and critical factors, including the actual number
children receiving a vaccine once high-risk children have been
We should simply admit it and set about trying to learn what we
should not, however, be issuing reassuring assessments of vaccine
has changed since I testified to that almost 20 years ago.
We do not know the true incidence of vaccine
adverse reactions, including known ones like seizures.
There appears to be an increase, but we don’t
know how much to attribute it to improved diagnosis and how much is
always, and at the risk of beating a very alive horse, there is one
compelling way to begin ferreting out the truth. Compare
single vaccines and their many combos) to the never-vaccinated.
See if there are differences.
And, if so, set out trying to understand what
they are and why.
vaccines partially or even largely responsible for an apparent increase
seizures? Evidently they are responsible
for some cases. Isn’t it time we knew
more than that?
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” –
Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing John Philpot Curran