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  • This is Sam Homola's latest book. What a relief to find a book that is an honest appraisal of how to treat the aches and pains of everyday living. If you are high on chiropractic, then this book should be on your shelf. Dr. Homola practiced for years as a chiropractor and his knowledge is based on those years of practice. Order it today

    The Naked Chiropractor exposes everything you need to know about back pain and the facts Chiropractors and Alternative Medical Practitioners prefer that you did not know. The inside story of the wars between unscrupulous practitioners and insurance companies. Behind the scenes stories about what's really going on at State chiropractic boards across the nation.


    Healing Hype or Harm

    This is a collection of essays on the topic of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) written by specialists from a wide range of backgrounds. The editor has given the contributors free rein to express their views. Since they come from a wide variety of angles from extremely anti-CAM to moderately supportive, the book contains widely different perspectives ranging from virulent attacks to thoughtful analyses. At first sight this may seem strange but in practice this book represents the very best of contemporary albeit on the whole skeptical scholarship. It is highly refreshing to find a collection that does not toe a line but instead gives a wide range of pros and cons and includes some new and stimulating ideas.

    Autism's False Profits: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Hardcover)

    Dr. Paul Offit's amazing new book about the history of the anti-vaccine movement and the international brigade of corrupt researchers, ambulance chasing lawyers, politicians and advocacy groups who helped manipulate the parents of those children who were autistic. The anti-vaccine movement has caused significant harm to public health efforts around the world. The publication of this book may signal the beginning of the end to their position. Time will tell whether or not this will stop their insanity and manipulation of science.

    Rogers boots Colin Elkin, D.C.

    "I make no claim to be an expert in vaccination and public health statistics."
    So why was he booted off of Rogers-20?

    The following stories are from the Brantford Expositor. We offer these editorials and letters to the editor to stimulate a debate. Would you believe a chiropractor who likes to read books written by an anti-vaccine fanatic, or would you believe a victim of a serious infectious disease, like polio, or your public health leaders?

    Colin Elkin, the former host of Rogers-20 Healthline Show was fired in his second year as host. He has often tried to bring unqualified guests on his show, some who have fake credentials, and he has often used this platform to advance wacko treatments, anti-vaccine rhetoric and more. Public health officials and many others have complained about Elkin for over a year about his program. When he attempted to include Catherine Diodati on his show, earlier this year, Rogers finally said enough was enough.

    Dr. Doug Sider, moved to Brantford in 1999 to head their health department. Dr. Sider was the former assistant Medical Officer of Health for Waterloo, and it was under his leadership that we survived the meningitis outbreak of 1997-98 that killed two young teenage girls, and permanently damaged many others. During that month, one of Elkin's chiropractic colleagues had the nerve to stand in front of Bluevale Collegiate with a big sign that told kids that they didn't need to have their shots. Official complaints were launched and the chief doctor in Ontario intervened to shut him up, for the public's good. The chiropractic community in Waterloo remained silent for over a year before a number of them spoke out publicly.

    We covered the episode on our web site: Winchester's Cathedral of Vaccine Knowledge - or the House that Never Was

    Doug Sider is very pleased that Rogers made the right decision to silence Elkin from the airwaves. He stands by the citizens of Brant Region as a fine example of what public health is all about. Elkin admits he's no expert. Case closed?

    Immunization: the best information

    EDITORIAL PRINTED MARCH 4, 2000 in The Brantford Expositor

    Today's Insight page features a report on the issue of immunization, brought to the fore by the recent public address given by Catherine Diodati, a Windsor author who has published a book entitled Immunization: History, Ethics, Law and Health.

    The title of the lecture at the Branlyn Community Centre was "Vaccines: Are they safe and effective?" and the purpose of the lecture was to help the audience to learn more about immunization issues in order to make an informed choice.

    But to those who attend her lectures or read her book, it is quite clear which side of the issue Diodati comes down on. She recently summed it up for a Windsor Star reporter: "Vaccines are not necessary and their known dangers have been hidden from the public for far too long."

    While it's difficult to object to any call for more openness in medical matters, it is unfortunate that that legitimate ideal has been used in the cause of undermining the practice of immunization.

    For immunization has been one of the great boons of modern science, virtually eliminating many of the worst scourges, cutting infant mortality rates and helping adults to live longer and healthier lives. Yes, medical science is imperfect, and yes, some people suffer adverse reactions. But in almost all cases, the likelihood of suffering a serious and permanent reaction is far, far less than the damage done by contracting the actual disease.

    Of course, Diodati questions that and builds her case by citing recognized publications and documents. However, it is instructive to see exactly how she presents her evidence.

    Consider two brief excerpts from her book. Diodati states that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine inflicts "some measure of pain and risk of adverse events, e.g. arthritis, autism and etc." She also writes that "a number of studies have linked both the rubella virus and the MMR vaccine with autism."

    For support, she refers to an article reporting on the cases of 12 autistic children, published in the February 1998 edition of the respected British medical journal, The Lancet.

    Diodati notes that the "issue is still under investigation." But, curiously, she does not report the results of the investigation.

    First, she fails to point out that in the very same issue of The Lancet there was a second article questioning the initial study. Second, she does not mention the results of several subsequent studies which discovered no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    One study, in Finland, involved the examination of medical records of millions of children vaccinated between 1982 and 1996. The researchers found "no data" supporting any connection. Another study done in Britain, involving 498 autistic children, found "no causal association between MMR vaccine and autism."

    The Finnish study was mentioned in The Lancet in the spring of 1998, the British one in June 1999. Both appeared before the September 1999 publishing date for the second edition of Diodati's book.

    Why wasn't this information, which so clearly contradicts Diodati's statements, included in the book or mentioned in her lecture?

    At the very least, the absence of the material raises a question about her command of the research in a field where she claims expertise. Diodati is right on one point: parents should be as well-informed as they possibly can be about all matters relating to the health of their children. They should ask questions about the risks and benefits of immunization and consider the answers carefully. They should get their information from trusted, reliable and impartial sources. And they should also assess the motives of those providing advice.That, though, cuts both ways.

    Some of those who dislike or oppose immunization are quick to point out that drug companies sponsor pro-immunization publicity and booklets. But, by the same token, many of those who question immunization also have products or services to sell, whether it's a book or an alternative medical system.

    What biases do they bring to the debate? Thankfully, in this information age, there are a plethora of sources within government, universities and the medical community providing fair, objective and unbiased information on immunization risks and benefits. And it is available for free. There's no need to pay admission to get the latest, reliable reports.

    Health Canada, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and the Canadian Immunization Awareness Program (which is supported by Canada's doctors, nurses and public health officials), all have web sites and offer information on vaccination issues.

    Public health agencies, such as the Brant County Health Unit, can provide information, too.

    But, most of all, parents concerned about immunization should talk it over with their trusted family physician. They have the training and experience, as well as the knowledge of a family's medical history, which allows them to provide the best informed opinion.

    Our prescription is this: get your medical advice in a doctor's office, not in a community centre.


    The rest of the vaccine story

    EDITORIAL PRINTED MARCH 28, 2000 in The Brantford Expositor

    In the Our Forum section of this page today is a letter to the editor from Colin Elkin, a Brantford chiropractor who has become involved lately in the debate over vaccination.

    Normally, we would not use the editorial space to comment on a letter to the editor. Our philosophy is that the letters space is reserved for our readers, and there should be a free flow of information among them, with no comment from us.

    However, Dr. Elkin writes on a matter of public health and makes comments that could have an impact on the decisions taken by parents, thus affecting the future health of their children. It is better to provide an immediate comment on Dr. Elkin's letter now, rather than wait and hope that a reader provides one later.

    Dr. Elkin writes in response to another reader who had high praise for the polio vaccine. In his rebuttal, Dr. Elkin makes two essential points:

    1) Deaths caused by polio were decreasing even before the introduction of the Salk vaccine in 1955; and
    2) All cases of polio in Canada since 1980 have been caused by the vaccine itself.

    For his source, Dr. Elkin cites the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which is an offshoot of Health Canada's Laboratory Centre for Disease Control. On both points he provides a kernel of truth.

    However, a reading of Health Canada's "National Report on Immunization, 1996," shows there is much more to the story.

    It is true that deaths due to polio were decreasing in the 30 years before the Salk vaccine was introduced in 1955. Generally speaking, better medical care meant that deaths caused by most diseases dropped during the same time period.

    However, the total number of cases of paralytic polio was definitely not declining and and epidemics were common; there were, on average, 2,200 cases a year between 1949 and 1954. In fact, an outbreak in 1953 resulted in about 5,000 cases and 480 deaths.

    The Salk vaccine was introduced in 1955, and the Sabine oral vaccine in 1962. By the mid-1960s, the number of paralytic polio cases in Canada was two or three a year, compared to six or seven a day in the pre-vaccine era.

    The National Report on Immunization says that between 1965 and 1995, a 30-year span, there were just 56 paralytic polio cases in all of Canada. Many of those cases were imported from countries where the disease was still common, or cropped up in closed communities where vaccination was not practiced, mainly for religious reasons.

    There has not been a case of polio in Canada caused by a domestic "wild virus" since 1977.Which leads to Dr. Elkin's second point: all cases of polio in Canada since 1980 have been caused by the vaccine itself. Again, that is true; but again, it is not even close to being the entire story.

    For starters, Dr. Elkin does not distinguish between the injected Salk vaccine and the oral Sabin vaccine. The risk rate associated with the Salk vaccine is one case in 11.7 million doses; for the Sabin vaccine, the risk rate is higher, at one case in 3.1 million. (Compare that to the number of cases of polio in 1953 when it struck one person in every 3,500.)

    All cases of vaccine-related polio in Canada have been linked to the Sabin vaccine - a total of 21 cases in all of Canada since 1965. Ontario and seven other provinces stopped using the Sabin oral vaccine by 1996, and switched back to the injected vaccine.

    There has not been one case of paralytic polio in Canada since then. Not one. From any source.

    Do the math: 5,000 cases in 1953, zero cases today. Worldwide the numbers are equally dramatic: 400,000 cases in 1980 and only 5,000 cases in 1995.

    No other advancement in medical science can explain that near-miraculous decline in polio cases. No improvement in living standards or basic health care can explain that dramatic a drop in Canada, let alone some of the darkest and poorest corners of the Third World.

    The facts are clear: Parents can now be at ease and confident that their families will be safe from polio because of the use of the polio vaccines. Those facts come from Dr. Elkin's own source, Health Canada.

    It would be our hope that when the new Brantford Vaccine Risk Awareness group that Dr. Elkin is promoting is up and running, that all of the facts from this and other Health Canada reports will be made available to those attending. Not just bits and pieces selected to support one point of view.


    Concerns about polio vaccine

    LETTER FROM DR. COLIN ELKIN PRINTED MARCH 28, 2000 in The Brantford Expositor

    As evidence has shown in The Expositor, the inflamed nature of the vaccine debate has not yet subsided. It has been very obvious that this is a very controversial issue worthy of a great deal of attention. The recent letter to the editor by Don Parkhill on March 23 is just another symptom of the gross public misconception about the effectiveness of vaccines.

    Mr. Parkhill explains of his misfortune of being stricken by polio and how this devastating disease has changed his life. No doubt that poliomyelitis is a dreadful disease and those carriers who do become symptomatic may experience long-term problems or even death.

    Mr. Parkhill then makes the assumption that parents can now be at ease and confident that their families will be safe from polio because of the use of the polio vaccines. However, what Mr. Parkhill fails to recognize is that mortality rates due to poliomyelitis were well on the decline for approximately 30 years before the introduction of the polio vaccine in Canada in 1955.

    He also fails to recognize that the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization states that all cases of polio in Canada have been vaccine-related since 1980. In other words, the vaccine is causing the disease. The smallpox vaccine was abandoned after smallpox vaccination remained as the only source of smallpox related death for three decades after the disease had been eradicated. Still the general public believes that smallpox is gone thanks to mass immunization.

    Mr. Parkhill ends his letters with the hopes that someday researchers will come up with a way to immunize against cancer.

    Some of the vaccines currently being used contain substances like formaldehyde, thimerosal, aluminum phosphates, antibiotics and phenol red. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent). Some of the other vaccine ingredients are poisonous and will accumulate in the body over time because of the body's inability to rid itself of these chemicals. There has also been tremendous speculation over the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease.

    It is facts like these that the public needs to be aware of. Every parent ultimately has the choice whether or not to vaccinate their children. If parents decide not to vaccinate, children are still allowed to enter school providing that the proper forms are filed with the Public Health Unit.

    This is the religious or conscientious legal exemption that every individual in Ontario has the right to make. Unfortunately, the public is not being fully informed of the risks of vaccines, nor about their rights to refuse vaccines. This is the main reason why the Vaccine Risk Awareness support group has been established. This non-profit organization provides free information and support for any individual wanting to know more about the risks of vaccinations so they can make a decision that is truly unbiased, and supported by scientific evidence.

    The phone number for this support group is 758-4885.

    Dr. Colin Elkin


    Statistical manipulation, not vaccine, may explain polio decline

    LETTER FROM DR. COLIN ELKIN PRINTED MARCH 30, 2000 in The Brantford Expositor

    It would be inappropriate for me not to respond to the editorial regarding my last letter on March 28 especially after The Expositor went to such great lengths to take up normal editorial space to state their opinions on this subject. I find it disappointing that I cannot respond to the writer, since no one person took credit for these opinions so I will assume that your opinions represent those of The Expositor in general.

    Even though you show obvious bias in your editorial to support a highly unproven vaccination process, you have helped to accomplish something much more important. You have raised further awareness that there are risks to the vaccination process and that this process is largely unscientific and unproven.

    It is important for us not to dwell on just the polio vaccines, but you have raised such interesting facts, that we must examine them a little closer. I will first commend you in your thorough research of the statistics, however you neglected to add a few very pertinent points, which may ultimately affect your readers decisions and therefore the health of their children.

    After the live Sabin virus introduction in 1962, paralytic poliomyelitis was redefined. Previously, the diagnosis could be made if the symptoms of the disease were present for 24 hours, but after introduction of the vaccine, paralytic symptoms had to persist for at least 60 days. This diagnostic change drastically reduced the numbers of poliomyelitis cases reported. Although this is a U.S. statistic it portrays the clouded reports of disease prevalence.

    You failed to note that the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control altered the figures for poliomyelitis cases at the time the vaccines were introduced. All non-paralytic cases of the disease were classified as viral meningitis after 1959. As the poliomyelitis figures dropped subsequent to this time, viral meningitis figures were in the hundreds, peaking every three to five years. Due to the alterations of the poliomyelitis figures, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether it was the vaccine or the manipulation of the statistics that was most responsible for the apparent decline in poliomyelitis during the mid-1950's. If you want to tell the public the entire story then you should do just that.

    You have encouraged your readers to do the math. It seems somewhat difficult to do the math when the figures are suspect. I make no claim to be an expert in vaccination and public health statistics, and I make no apology to those readers who I have offended by stating my views.

    Again, I will state that my intentions are not to encourage parents or individuals not to vaccinate their children, but I am encouraging people to look into all of the information and then make your choice. Please don't be led like a herd of sheep into the immunization line without first realizing that you do have the choice to say "No".

    Be reminded that there are children locally who have had severe vaccine reactions that have left them with long term disabilities as a result. Even recent letters to the editor have shown this. In many cases the risks of vaccinations may far outweigh the risks of getting the disease, nor does the vaccine guarantee that someone will never develop the disease vaccinated against. Medical science is far from scientific and mistakes are made.

    As your editorial stated, the oral polio vaccine is no longer used because of its dangers. What vaccines and other medications will we look back upon 30 years from now that were discontinued because they proved to be more of a risk than a benefit.

    SIGNED:

    Dr. Colin Elkin

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