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Books and Interesting Information: Polio and the Polio Vaccine

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Books and Interesting Information:  March 9, 2015

Polio and the Polio Vaccine

Somewhere along my journey of learning about vaccines, I asked myself what vaccines might be worth getting.

Polio topped the list.  Along with tetanus maybe.

The other diseases, I thought, would fare rather well being treated with today’s advanced medical abilities–assuming the infected person did not have significant other problems like being malnourished or having another debilitating disease like cancer.  Later I decided that since tetanus has such specific conditions–a puncture wound that cuts off oxygen and allows the tetanus organism to flourish–I would take my chances.  Surely I would know if I had a deep puncture wound and could get a booster if I thought it necessary.

Polio was the scary disease of my childhood.  At one point in the 1950s, my mother left Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana, and took us home to her little hometown, Reynolds, Georgia.  The feeling at the time was that urban areas were more dangerous than small towns in the rural south.  And I still remember pictures of people in iron lungs.

Since then, I’ve learned that the subject of polio is not as clear cut as we might believe.

DISSOLVING ILLUSIONS:  DISEASE, VACCINES, AND THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY by Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk is reviewed by Martin Michener in the Wise Traditions Fall 2014 issue. Michener has a PhD and teaches biology, ecology, and farming as an adjunct professor.

Dissolving Illusions by Suzanne Humphries & Roman Bystrianyk | Weston A Price.

Reading the review is a really good place to get an idea of what is covered in this important book.

The book covers the history of 14 contagious diseases.  The authors rarely interject opinion:  they just assemble information and let reader’s make up their own minds.  Michener writes that the book is really useful for parents who are trying to educate themselves and for doctors who need to slow down and review the history of vaccines as “cures” for diseases.  Warning:  this book is not an easy read.  For an easier read download Tetyana Obukhanych’s VACCINE ILLUSION.

Michener’s review attempts to highlight the major points he walked away with.  For starters, the describes the incredible intricacy of our immune systems and how little we actually know about how it works.  Or, doesn’t:

It is staggeringly complex, comprising at least fifteen different cell-types that spew dozens of different molecules into the blood to communicate with one another and to do battle. Within each of those cell types sit tens of thousands of genes whose activity can be altered by age, exercise, infection, vaccination status, diet, stress, you name it. . . That’s an awful lot of moving parts. And we don’t know what the vast majority of them do, or should be doing. . . we can’t even be sure how to tell when the immune system’s not working right, let alone why not, because we don’t have good metrics of what a healthy human immune system looks like. Despite billions spent on immune stimulants in super-markets and drugstores last year, we don’t know what—if anything—those really do, or what “immune stimulant” even means.

As for polio–there is a history…one that involves redefining what polio is…which alters statistical data so that the real polio (and pesticide damage) is hidden.  Here’s the Michener section on polio:

Dissolving Illusions next systematically takes us on the long journeys of improving illnesses for polio, whooping cough and measles. Graphs show most of the improving story, as diseases become less infectious and deadly. Approximately 98 percent of this improvement came before the corresponding vaccines were ever available, but that never daunted the enthusiasts from claiming full credit, post hoc, for improved conditions.

The whole polio story takes many particularly devious turns, where much, perhaps most, of the causes for paralysis were initially unrelated to the actual poliomyelitis virus. In 1954, on arrival of the Salk vaccine, the disease was immediately completely re-defined almost out of existence. Early polio medical treatment apparently was far more damaging than the disease, with anesthesia and rigid casts put on children, then allowing the children to scream in pain for up to several days. Through the considerable efforts of Sister Elizabeth Kenny, who administered almost the exact opposite treatments, it was later found and admitted that the early treatment caused the nervous control of their muscles to perish forever. Doctors who employed vitamin C and physical therapy reported zero paralyses.

There are so many causes for “polio” paralysis it would take a page to list them here, but only the virus is now recognized by the redefinition. Figure 12.4 on page 249 was used from Jim West’s article in this journal, “Pesticides and Polio” (http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/pesticides-and-polio-a-critique-of-scientificliterature/). From examining the figure, you may realize that much of the paralysis outbreak in the period between 1940 and 1955 was actually due to acute arsenic or DDT exposure from untested pesticides, mostly on farms. After the redefinition, including much more rigorous criteria for the diagnosis of “polio,” pesticide paralysis has continued, but it no longer had any effect on the records of “the new vaccine-cured polio” cases. Outside the U.S.A., where DDT is widely sold and used, any news of human paralysis simply threatens our precious export markets.

The horrible “iron lung” polio cases, rather than being solved by vaccine, were also cleanly swept under the definition rug. On p. 241 of Dissolving Illusions the authors make a rare summarizing statement: “Does the public have any idea that there are hundreds of cases of something that is now called transverse myelitis that would have historically been called polio and is now leaving children permanently dependent on a modern version of the iron lung?” Polio virus continues to infect today, but like the other illnesses has become almost benign.

So, what about pertussis, or whooping cough and vaccines?

One fascinating problem has been identified, described in connection with the problematic vaccination for pertussis (whooping cough). When a youngster first gets the wild infection, B. pertussis, the bacteria attach to bronchial cells and secrete a compound abbreviated as ACT, which fools the immune system into a false truce. After a few weeks of coughing, the system wakes up to the deception and forms a remembered response, which then completely heals the infection. Any future infection is met by this immunity, which typically lasts about thirty years. Enter the vaccine form of the bacterium, sans ACT. The immune system now develops a different, permanent set of responses, minus the knowledge of ACT. Now, every new infection with wild or vaccine-strain pertussis produces the same prolonged ACT phase, and, contrary to the contention of Mr. Bush, you do get fooled again and again. This is called Original Antigen Sin, or OAS, meaning the first time is all you get, to get it right. So what? Pertussis is now a mostly-undiagnosed adult disease, with adult carriers infecting everybody, endemically, instead of a once-will-do-it childhood disease.

I’ve ordered the book out of sheer curiosity and a desire to understand more of this complicated vaccine subject.  Fortunately, my children “get” the vaccine problem now, so while the older grandchildren did get some vaccines, the younger ones have not.  Fortunately, I don’t have to battle with schools about vaccines like my children do.  If Senators Feinstein and Boxer of California have their way though, I may have to battle for my right as an adult to control what goes into my body.  Feinstein and Boxer are spearheading a national vaccine law mandating that adults get boosters in what will be a government-dictated schedule. And that’s how the market increases its market share.

If you need more information on vaccines, at least read this review.

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