Sunday, March 31, 2013

Autism risk is not related to more vaccines under 2 years old

A new study published on 3/29/13 is the latest of more than 20 studies showing no connection between autism and vaccines.

What is noteworthy about this study is that it is the first to prove that neither the total number of early vaccines nor the total number of vaccine antigens (the proteins in vaccines that trigger an immune response) lead to an increased risk of autism.

This is an important study because it should help address the fear that pediatricians frequently hear from parents (and grandparents) that the modern multiple vaccine schedule will "overwhelm" their (grand)child's immune system.
This study concludes that children who receive the full schedule of vaccinations in the first two years of life have no increased risk of autism. "Splitting them up" is not going to lower the risk of autism and it delays protection against life-threatening infections in vulnerable infants and young children.

Also of note, in order to fully vaccinate a 2 year old the 2012 CDC vaccine schedule uses 315 total antigens, whereas in the late 1990s it took several thousand antigens to do the same job. This is because modern vaccines need fewer antigens to stimulate adequate immune responses.
To state it plainly, while we don't know why there had been an increase in autism prevalence over the last two decades, we do know that it is not due to a increased antigen load overwhelming the immune system. On the contrary, we have been able to add protection against more bacteria and viruses over the last 20 years while at the same time decreasing the antigen load.

Here is the NPR blog post about the Journal of Pediatrics paper:

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vaccines during pregnancy

As all of my patient families know, I strongly agree with the AAP and CDC recommended vaccine schedule for children.
In addition to these recommendations for the direct protection of our pediatric patients, pediatricians also support specific vaccinations for household and other close contacts of our pediatric patients.

I really like this recent blog entry written by Rachel Cunningham, MPH, a vaccine expert at Texas Children's Hospital Immunization Project.  In addition to her professional expertise, the article includes her parental perspective as a mother of two young children:

The CDC's webpage on this topic also has specific and useful information:

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

AAP Drowning Prevention tips

With the weather getting nicer and many of my patients having access to swimming pools, I thought I should post some info on pediatric drowning prevention and overall water safety.

In May 2010, the American Acedemy of Pediatrics revised the minimum age that pediatricians recommend swim/water safety lessons down from 4yo to 1yo, in developmentally appropriate children.

Take a look at following summary of the May 2010 updated recs: