Doctor speaks out against claims that autism is linked to vaccines

 More Texas parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, but the town of Eagle Lake is bucking that trend. Part of the vaccination success can be linked to a doctor who relies on science and his own personal story.

Dr. Russell Thomas Jr. practices medicine in his hometown of Eagle Lake. When he was a boy, he never received the polio vaccine.
"Unfortunately I wasn't included in the last test group," said Thomas.
Two years later he was diagnosed with polio, a moment that he says changed his life forever. 
"It's not just an idea with me, it's not just a concept," said Thomas. "I've lived the outcome of not getting a vaccine, and it's not where I want to be."

He underwent 14 surgeries growing up, and his legs were significantly weakened. Without braces, it's tough to walk.
Dr. Thomas says all of it  could have been prevented with a vaccine.

"If I had the choice between the risks of the vaccine, even early primitive vaccines, I think I would have taken the chance," said Thomas. "I would have gotten that vaccine of my own choice."

Dr. Thomas was awarded the 2014-2015 Texas Family Physician of the Year. He is outspoken when it comes to defending vaccines and encouraging parents to immunize their children.

"My patients are able to see anytime they walk into my office what happens when you don't get a vaccine sometimes," said Thomas.

Now a Facebook video by Bexar County District Attorney Nico Lahood, coupled with the film "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" is igniting the immunization debate across Texas again.

"We had a very different child after the round of vaccines," said Lahood. "So no one is going to tell my child was born with autism, because he was not."

Thomas says CDC studies clearly show there is no link to vaccines and autism. When families come in with concerns, he points to science and his own personal story.

"Any chance I get, I share that story," said Thomas. "When I have kids concerned about needles or getting the shots, I just tap my brace. I had 14 surgeries. I have to wear a brace. A small shot is a small price to pay to not go through that."

In Eagle Lake, the vaccine exemption rate sits at zero percent. Although the exemption rate is only .62 percent. in Harris County, this number has doubled in the last five years.
Thomas hopes that trend doesn't continue because it may make community more vulnerable to outbreaks.

"That's all we can do, just keep telling the truth, and backing it up with evidence," said Thomas. "And I hope that at the end, that those that are scared realize they're basing their fear on unfounded things.

There are 5.5 million students in schools in Texas, slightly less than 45,000 right now have opted out of vaccinations. This number has continued to rise steadily since 2003. 

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

The Polio Crusade

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Erradicación de La poliomielitis

Polio Tricisilla Adaptada

March Of Dimes Polio History

Dr. Bruno




A 41-year-old man developed an acute illness at the age of 9 months during which, following a viral illness with headache, he developed severe weakness and wasting of the limbs of the left side. After several months he began to recover, such that he was able to walk at the age of 2 years and later was able to run, although he was never very good at sports. He had stable function until the age of 18 when he began to notice greater than usual difficulty lifting heavy objects. By the age of 25 he was noticing progressive difficulty walking due to weakness of both legs, and he noticed that the right calf had become larger. The symptoms became more noticeable over the course of the next 10 years and ultimately both upper as well as both lower limbs had become noticeably weaker.

On examination there was wasting of the muscles of upper and lower limbs on the left, and massively hypertrophied gastrocnemius, soleus and tensor fascia late on the right. The calf circumference on the right exceeded that on the left by 10 cm (figure1). The right shoulder girdle, triceps, thenar eminence and small muscles of the hand were wasted and there was winging of both scapulae. The right quadriceps was also wasted. The wasted muscles were also weak but the hypertrophied right ankle plantar flexors had normal power. The tendon reflexes were absent in the lower limbs and present in the upper limbs, although the right triceps was reduced. The remainder of the examination was normal.

Figure 1

The patient's legs, showing massive enlargement of the right calf and wasting on the left


What is that nature of the acute illness in infancy?
What is the nature of the subsequent deterioration?
What investigations should be performed?
What is the differential diagnosis of the cause of the progressive calf hypertrophy?



An acute paralytic illness which follows symptoms of a viral infection with or without signs of meningitis is typical of poliomyelitis. Usually caused by one of the three polio viruses, it may also occur following vaccination and following infections with other enteroviruses.1 Other disorders which would cause a similar syndrome but with upper motor neurone signs would include acute vascular lesions, meningoencephalitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.


A progressive functional deterioration many years after paralytic poliomyelitis is well known, although its pathogenesis is not fully understood.2 It is a diagnosis of exclusion; a careful search for alternative causes, for example, orthopaedic deformities such as osteoarthritis or worsening scoliosis, superimposed neurological disorders such as entrapment neuropathies or coincidental muscle disease or neuropathy, and general medical causes such as respiratory complications and endocrinopathies.3


Investigations revealed normal blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate and normal biochemistry apart from a raised creatine kinase at 330 IU/l (normal range 60–120 IU/l), which is commonly seen in cases of ongoing denervation. Electromyography showed evidence of denervation in the right APB and FDI with polyphasic motor units and complex repetitive discharges, no spontaneous activity in the left calf and large polyphasic units in the right calf consistent with chronic partial denervation. Motor and sensory conduction velocities were normal. A lumbar myelogram was normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the calves is shown in figure2.

Figure 2

Axial T1 weighted MRI scan (TR 588 ms, TE 15 ms) of the calves, showing gross muscle atrophy and replacement by adipose tissue on the left, and hypertrophy of the muscles on the right, with only minor adipose tissue deposition


The differential diagnosis of the progressive calf hypertrophy is given in the box.

Causes of calf muscle hypertrophy

Chronic partial denervation

  • radiculopathy

  • peripheral neuropathy

  • hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy

  • spinal muscular atrophy

  • following paralytic poliomyelitis

    Neuromyotonia and myokymia

  • Isaac's syndrome

  • generalised myokymia

  • neurotonia

  • continuous muscle fibre activity due to: chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculopathy, Guillain Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, thymoma, thyrotoxicosis, thyroiditis

    Muscular dystrophies



  • tumours

  • amyloidosis

  • cysticercosis

    Link here