For all of us this is an important discussion.
I have had family members crippled with polio in Pullman, Washington; a cousin who died at age 10; 8 hours after the initial symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis in Corvallis, Oregon; I have held babies dying of diphtheria in Thailand and have watched young children in our under vaccinated community develop ventilator dependent pertussis in north Idaho. On the other hand, I have also watched more than one child following an MMR at 18 months (Medford, Oregon) develop severe fever and started tumbling down the autism spectrum disorder abyss.
It is exactly because these two extremes have been lived through by me that I feel this is where the balance of this conversation needs to be had. Right smack dab in the middle of these opposing realities: to have vaccines or not to have vaccines in our clinic practice is not the answer.
Polio is nearly gone, small pox is nearly gone, is it only because of vaccines? Do vaccines have nothing to do with it? Where does the conversation take place that allows the individual patient with their uniqueness to be addressed? What are the risks or benefits of vaccinations? How do we consider parental protection—fear of causing harm vs fear of neglecting protection when herd immunity is low? This gray hair has experienced all of the above and is always seeking to determine the best approach, including biomarkers, genetics, mitochondrial dysfunction, etc. that I can use to understand vaccine risk.
Let’s bring this discussion forward.
It is 18 million deaths from influenza that drives investigators to seek possible interventions. It is the rampant infectious disease that causes all of us to seek efficacious interventions. Platitudes on either side of this argument suggest a certain surety whether you are abjectly against or for herd immunity. True surety when looking across the stethoscope during an epidemic is what I as a physician seek, as do you.
Michael Stone MD, MS, IFM-CP has been involved in the nutrition evaluation of patients his whole career in remote hospitals at the headwaters of the river Kwae, frontier medicine locations or in the ICU or teaching residents and medical students. He teaches workshops and lectures internationally on the nutrition oriented physical exam to help clinicians see more during their ABCD of nutrition evaluation. He is a clinician, author, and educator.
He received his MD at University of Washington Seattle and His Graduate Degree in Nutrition at Washington State University. He completed Residency and Fellowship at UCLA Ventura in Family Medicine. Additional Certification in Functional Medicine.
He is the director of Ashland Comprehensive Family Medicine –Stone Medical. He continues as faculty for the Institute for Functional Medicine and is involved in their nutrition education curriculum and N-sight projects. Current projects include working with Metagenics and IFM to develop a nutrition evaluation app, growbabyhealth.com on bringing a functional nutrition approach to transgenerational health during pregnancy, and working with Florida State University to implement a cardiometabolic health coaching and group medical visit model.