Type 1 Diabetes: It’s the Milk, Not the Shots!

I was lis­ten­ing to a self-edu­cat­ed, self-styled health expert who was talk­ing on the radio yes­ter­day. He said some­thing about some vit­a­min ther­a­py for type 1 dia­betes, and then he said some­thing that shocked and upset me. He men­tioned what he believes is the cause of type 1 dia­betes. I expect­ed him to say “cow’s milk.” There’s plen­ty of evi­dence to sup­port the role of cow’s milk in caus­ing type 1 dia­betes. If more par­ents knew about the link between cow’s milk and type 1 dia­betes, it’s like­ly that few­er chil­dren would come down with type 1 dia­betes. Instead, he said, “vac­ci­na­tions.” I’d nev­er before heard of any link between vac­ci­na­tions and type 1 dia­betes, so I quick­ly did a MEDLINE search. I looked for arti­cles on vac­ci­na­tions and the cause of type 1 dia­betes in humans. If you click on this link, you’ll see the same arti­cles I did:


For me, this search yield­ed 60 arti­cles, many of which I could read for free. By the time that you repeat this search, there may be more. Some of them were about the abil­i­ty of vac­cines to pro­vide pro­tec­tive immu­ni­ty in chil­dren who already had type 1 dia­betes. Sev­er­al arti­cles were about the attempts to devel­op a vac­cine to pre­vent type 1 dia­betes.

One arti­cle point­ed out that rubel­la infec­tion was the only infec­tious dis­ease that has been clear­ly impli­cat­ed as a con­tribut­ing cause of any form of type 1 dia­betes. Of course, rubel­la could be com­plete­ly erad­i­cat­ed, along with measles, if all of the world’s coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ed in a com­pre­hen­sive vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many peo­ple are refus­ing to get their chil­dren vac­ci­nat­ed against rubel­la because they are con­vinced that the MMR vac­cine caus­es autism. I remem­ber one woman in par­tic­u­lar telling me that her child’s autism result­ed from mer­cury in the MMR shot. I told her that I was sor­ry that her child has autism, but I can guar­an­tee that mer­cury in the MMR shot had absolute­ly noth­ing to do with it. That’s because the mer­cury-con­tain­ing preser­v­a­tive thiom­er­sal has nev­er been used in the MMR vac­cine. I also explained to her that since con­gen­i­tal rubel­la infec­tion is a pos­si­ble cause of autism-spec­trum dis­or­der, then her efforts to scare peo­ple away from the MMR vac­cine might make the prob­lem worse, not bet­ter. If the world’s pop­u­la­tion worked togeth­er to erad­i­cate measles, mumps, and rubel­la, then the MMR vac­cine would no longer be need­ed.

The stud­ies that looked for evi­dence of a sta­tis­ti­cal rela­tion­ship between var­i­ous vac­ci­na­tions or vac­ci­na­tion sched­ules and type 1 dia­betes kept com­ing up emp­ty-hand­ed. As the biggest and best-designed study con­clud­ed:

These results do not sup­port a causal rela­tion between child­hood vac­ci­na­tion and type 1 dia­betes.

If there real­ly were some sort of cause-and-effect rela­tion­ship, it would leave some evi­dence of its exis­tence. In oth­er words, we don’t have an absence of evi­dence, we have evi­dence of absence! There’s no ratio­nal rea­son to blame vac­ci­na­tions for caus­ing type 1 dia­betes!

So far, vac­ci­na­tion cam­paigns have led to the com­plete erad­i­ca­tion of two infec­tious dis­eases: small­pox and rinder­pest. Small­pox is a human dis­ease that was once a major cause of death and dis­fig­ure­ment. Rinder­pest killed hun­dreds of mil­lions of cat­tle. The next human dis­ease that is about to be erad­i­cat­ed by vac­ci­na­tion is polioGuinea worm dis­ease (dra­cun­cu­lia­sis) is about to be erad­i­cat­ed by a cam­paign of edu­ca­tion about san­i­ta­tion. It is tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate measles, mumps, rubel­la by vac­ci­na­tion and lym­phat­ic filar­i­a­sis (ele­phan­ti­a­sis) and cys­ticer­co­sis (pork tape­worm) by oth­er meth­ods. There is even talk of erad­i­cat­ing malar­ia.

Nowa­days, it’s no longer nec­es­sary to vac­ci­nate peo­ple against small­pox. Soon, it will no longer be nec­es­sary to vac­ci­nate peo­ple against polio. I look for­ward to the day when measles, mumps, and rubel­la are erad­i­cat­ed and the MMR vac­cine will no longer be need­ed. In the mean­time, there’s no need to wor­ry that the cur­rent­ly used vac­ci­na­tions pose any risk of type 1 dia­betes.

no-more-measles-coverNote: Most of the peo­ple who build anti­vac­cine Web sites and pro­duce anti­vac­cine doc­u­men­taries have a prof­it motive. Some of them are faith heal­ers who want you to put mon­ey in their col­lec­tion plate. Oth­ers are sell­ing over­priced vit­a­mins and unproven herbal reme­dies over the Inter­net. Still oth­ers are pro­vid­ing some sort of ser­vice that has nev­er been proven to be safe and effec­tive. A few of them run non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions that give them a salary. To get you to sup­port them finan­cial­ly, they need to under­mine your trust in your fam­i­ly doc­tor. For that rea­son, they attack the sin­gle most impor­tant ser­vice that con­ven­tion­al med­i­cine can pro­vide: immu­niza­tion against seri­ous dis­eases that do not respond well to any avail­able treat­ment. I explain the his­to­ry and moti­va­tions of the anti­vac­ci­na­tion move­ment in detail in my book No More Measles! The Truth About Vac­cines and Your Health.


2 thoughts on “Type 1 Diabetes: It’s the Milk, Not the Shots!”

  1. You said:
    “I also explained to her that since con­gen­i­tal rubel­la infec­tion is a pos­si­ble cause of autism-spec­trum dis­or­der, then her efforts to scare peo­ple away from the MMR vac­cine might make the prob­lem worse, not bet­ter.”

    It made me think that, even if it wasn’t the mer­cury in the vac­ci­na­tion that caused her son’s autism, per­haps it was the fact that he was giv­en a small dose of an con­gen­i­tal dis­ease that is known to be a pos­si­ble cause of autism. I have heard numer­ous sto­ries of chil­dren behav­ing rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent­ly after receiv­ing vac­ci­na­tions and I know there has to be a rela­tion of some kind.

  2. When a woman gets rubel­la infec­tion dur­ing her first trimester of preg­nan­cy, there is a sub­stan­tial risk that her baby will be born with severe birth defects, includ­ing deaf­ness, blind­ness, and men­tal retar­da­tion. Autism spec­trum dis­or­ders are among the prob­lems that have been shown to occur in chil­dren who were exposed to rubel­la infec­tion before birth. On the oth­er hand, there is no sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence to sup­port the idea that rubel­la vac­ci­na­tion of chil­dren con­tributes to autism spec­trum dis­or­ders. In fact, there’s strong evi­dence that it DOESN’T. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134

    Here’s an arti­cle in which epi­demi­ol­o­gists from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty esti­mate how many cas­es of autism spec­trum dis­or­ders have been pre­vent­ed by rubel­la immu­niza­tion in the years 2001 through 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21592401
    That’s why I think that efforts to scare peo­ple away from the MMR vac­ci­na­tion are increas­ing, rather than decreas­ing, the num­ber of cas­es of autism spec­trum dis­or­der.

    I would like to see rubel­la erad­i­cat­ed. Then there would be no fur­ther need for rubel­la vac­ci­na­tions.

    Be very care­ful about assum­ing that tim­ing is proof of a cause-and-effect rela­tion­ship. Chil­dren may start get­ting acne when they’re in junior high school, but it would be sil­ly to blame their school for the acne.

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