Wednesday, February 25, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's Los Angeles-based non-profit autism organization, today announced that the United States Government has once again conceded that vaccines cause autism. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently unsealed court case of Bailey Banks vs. HHS. The ruling states, "The Court found that Bailey would not have suffered this delay but for the administration of the MMR vaccine...a proximate sequence of cause and effect leading inexorably from vaccination to PDD [Autism]."
In a curious and hypocritical method of operation, the mysterious Vaccine Court not only protects vaccine makers from liability but supports a policy that has tripled the number of vaccines given to U.S. children - all after being made aware of the fact that these vaccines do, in fact, cause autism and repeatedly ruling in favor of families with children hurt by their vaccines.
"It was heartbreaking to hear about Bailey's story, but through this ruling we are gaining the proof we need to open the eyes of the world to the fact that vaccines do, in fact, cause autism," said Jenny McCarthy, Hollywood actress, autism activist, best-selling author and Generation Rescue board member. "Bailey Banks' regression into autism after vaccination is the same story I went through with my own son and the same story I have heard from thousands of mothers and fathers around the country. Our hope is that this ruling will influence decision and policy-makers to help the hundreds of thousands of children and families affected by this terrible condition."
Banks vs. HHS is the second known case where the Vaccine Court could not deny the overwhelming evidence showing vaccines caused a child's autism. The first was the case of Hannah Poling in March of 2008, where the court found in her favor and awarded her family compensation.
Jim Carrey, Hollywood legend and Generation Rescue board member, reacted to the news, "It seems the U.S. government is sending mixed messages by telling the world that vaccines don't cause autism, while, at the same time, they are quietly managing a separate 'vaccine court' that is ruling in favor of affected families and finding that vaccines, in fact, were the cause. For most of the autism community the question is no longer whether vaccines caused of their child's autism. The question is why is their government only promoting the rulings that are in favor of the vaccine companies."
Why is a secret court, which no one knows about or understands, quietly paying these families for vaccine injuries and autism? Deirdre Imus, Generation Rescue board member and founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology says, "Over the past 20 years, the vaccine court has dispensed close to $2 billion in compensation to families whose children were injured or killed by a vaccine. I am not against vaccines and my own child has been vaccinated. But, I share the growing concerns of many parents questioning the number of vaccines given to children today, some of the toxic ingredients in vaccines, and whether we know enough about the combination risks associated with the multiple vaccines given to children during critical developmental windows."
To help spread the word of the Banks ruling, Generation Rescue also bought a full-page ad that will run in the USA Today on 02/25/2009, which has a daily circulation of 2,272,815.
Generation Rescue seeks to answer these questions and many more on a daily basis as they fight for the truth and to recover children with autism around the world. To learn more please visit www.generationrescue.org, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Generation Rescue
Generation Rescue is an international movement of scientists, physicians and parent-volunteers researching the causes and treatments for autism and helping thousands of children begin biomedical treatment.
Posted February 25, 2009
NIH Agency Head: Vaccine-Autism Research is "Legitimate"
A major health official within the United States Government today endorsed more research into possible links between vaccination and autism, saying that such studies are "legitimate."
The official, Dr. Duane Alexander, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), an NIH agency, said scientists must investigate susceptible subpopulations of children, including kids with mitochondrial disorders and those who have trouble metabolizing mercury.
Even as the mainstream media, most pediatricians, and vaccine inventors like Dr. Paul Offit try to shut down the vaccine-autism discussion (and its attendant research), thoughtful scientists who are actually in real positions of power are speaking up to support the important work that still remains to be done.
"One question (is) whether there is a subgroup in the population that, on a genetic basis, is more susceptible to some vaccine characteristic or component than most of the population, and may develop an ASD in response to something about vaccination. We know that genetic variations exist that cause adverse reactions to specific foods, medications, or anesthetic agents. It is legitimate to ask whether a similar situation may exist for vaccines," Dr. Alexander said in a remarkable Q&A with Autism Speaks Scientific Director, Geraldine Dawson, PhD, posted today at the group's website.
"No clear evidence yet exists to implicate a specific relationship, but questions persist about whether there may be subpopulations unable to remove mercury from the body as fast as others, some adverse or cross-reacting response to a vaccine component, a mitochondrial disorder increasing the adverse response to vaccine-associated fever, or other as-yet-unknown responses," he added.
The point about mitochondrial disorders and vaccine-associated fever was a clear reference to Hannah Poling, the little girl with full-blown autism who won her Vaccine Court case last year when HHS conceded that a "vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves" had triggered her descent into autism.
At a January meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a staff representative from NICHD was the only federal panel member to abstain from removing previously approved vaccine-related studies from the Strategic Plan for Autism Research.
As it turns out, research into environmental triggers of developmental disorders like autism "is a major component of our research program," Dr. Alexander said of the NICHD. This includes studying "gene-environment factor interactions," he added.
And, he suggested that epidemiological studies conducted to date (and showing no link to vaccines) may have missed small, vulnerable subgroups of children. "These are difficult to detect," he said, "especially if only a few people have this genetic variant that makes them susceptible. [Instead], large numbers of individuals need to be studied to find enough people with the rare variant."
Fortunately, the Federal government has embarked on the massive National Children's Study (NCS), which is currently recruiting some 100,000 children. Alexander said that researchers expect to find that 600 to 700 of these kids will be diagnosed with ASD by age three.
"We will be able to study the genetic constitution of the children with autism in relation to many environmental exposures (illness, home chemicals, medications, vaccines, and many others)," he said, "and compare them to a control group in the sample without ASD on this whole range of exposures. If there are genetic variations linked to autism related to any of these exposures, this study should identify them if they are not too rare."
Dr. Alexander's words are sure to be warmly received within many quarters of the autism community. He said that vaccine and environmental studies into autism may help science break down subgroups of ASD children into categories that are, "based on cause or response to different treatment approaches." Diagnosis, therefore, could become a wonderful tool in determining "different prevention/intervention/ treatment approaches that could personalize care and markedly improve outcomes."
Dr. Alexander also seems quite determined that conflicts of interest and barriers to full transparency in the research process should not be tolerated, (as they are today, in my opinion), but instead be eliminated. He said that parents, (and pesky, inquisitive journalists) play a critical role as autism research watchdogs.
"The research process at its best is open and constantly questioning. It even reevaluates things that have been accepted for a long time, and is honest enough to be self-correcting when new information develops," Dr. Alexander said. "What is important is that the scientific inquiry moves ahead unfettered but free of conflict of interest so that the public can have confidence in the results. When there is evidence that research may not be free of bias, it is the role of the research community and the public to raise questions and concerns, assure that corrective measures are taken to be sure that results are valid and untainted, and provide assurance to the public that their trust is earned and deserved."
"It is important that there be agreement on the message that no clear causative link has yet been established (between vaccines and autism), although research continues on the question, just as it does for other questions related to vaccines," Dr. Alexander concluded. "There are still legitimate questions to ask about possible vaccine-associated events, and such questions need to be pursued in the interest of both public safety and maintaining public trust."
It all sounds reasonable to me.
But I still predict we will hear howls of protests from people who think they know better than the chief of an NIH agency.
Thoughtful House Center for Children on Court Ruling: MMR Causes Autistic Disorder
Thoughtful house 2 Court Rules MMR Vaccine Causes Autistic Disorder
Decision Contradicts Findings in Controversial Cedillo Case
To read the article at Age of Autism, click here
(Austin, Texas) – The controversial Feb. 12 decision by the US vaccine court that there was no link between MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccines and autism contradicts a ruling issued by the same court in June of 2007. In addition, just days after its announcement denying the vaccine-autism link in the Cedillo case, the court awarded an estimated $3 million dollars to the family of 10 year-old Bailey Banks on Friday, February 20, 2009, and confirmed that the child’s acute brain damage was a result of the MMR vaccine, which led to his autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Although the US vaccine court continues official denials to the public of any connection between the MMR shots and autism, it quietly settled the case with the Banks family. Special Master Richard Abell wrote that the family had successfully demonstrated “the MMR vaccine at issue actually caused the conditions from which Bailey suffered and continues to suffer.”
Awards have been granted to three families because the vaccine court has decided there was in fact a causative connection between the MMR 3-in-1 shot and brain damage in these children. That damage resulted in an autism spectrum disorder. Vaccines have also been found to be causally related to autism spectrum disorders in seven other known cases by the same court. In the Banks decision, the court relied on a report based on a complete neurological investigation, including an MRI scan sixteen days after his MMR shot. He was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which is known to follow immunization.
“I am personally aware of many, many parents who report these exact symptoms in their children following MMR immunization,” said Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House, an autism treatment center in Austin, Texas. “Very few children with autistic regression receive the proper work-up that Bailey had during the early stage of the disease, so a possible ADEM diagnosis may well have been missed in the other children. The MRI findings often disappear after the damage has been done.”
Signs of ADEM usually appear within a few days or a few weeks after immunization or infection, often beginning with gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms. The disease progresses to neurological deterioration including loss of eye contact, ataxia (poor coordination), changes in mental status, delirium, lethargy, and seizures.
“The contradictory rulings from the vaccine court regarding vaccines and autism demonstrate that we still don’t have a definitive answer,” said Dr. Bryan Jepson, an autism specialist at Thoughtful House. “We need to realize that the question of the MMR’s possible contribution to autism remains a matter of scientific debate. Ultimately, the correct answer will come through honest, transparent, and rigorous scientific study, not from a court bench.”
About Thoughtful House: Thoughtful House takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating autism and supports a ‘safety-first’ vaccination policy that gives parents the option of choosing a stand-alone measles vaccine for their children. The research program at Thoughtful House is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders. www.thoughtfulhouse.org
Monday, February 23, 2009
By Bettina Levecke
Feb 23, 2009, 2:08 GMT
To link to the complete article, click here.
Berlin/Marburg - A little prick of a needle provides a lot of protection. Vaccines have greatly reduced outbreaks of dangerous diseases worldwide, but experts warn that an increasing number of children today are inadequately immunized.
The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention, recommends that children be inoculated against 12 diseases - including tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio during the first 24 months of their lives.
On February 15, 2000, the Federal Court of Justice, Germany's highest court in civil and criminal cases, ruled the 12 vaccinations to be the country's medical standard.
However, parents alone decide whether their child receives all 12 vaccines.
'Many parents are wary,' remarked Sigrid Ley-Koellstadt, a physician for the Marburg-based German Green Cross (DGK). They wonder which vaccinations are important and what is good for their child.
'In their search for answers, many parents use the internet and come across a lot of inaccurate information,' Ley-Koellstadt said. She urgently advised parents to consult a paediatrician or at least make sure that the informational pages they consult on the internet are certified.
'Vaccinations save lives,' she pointed out, adding that the need to immunize children should not be a matter of debate anymore. But, as the saying goes, 'Out of sight, out of mind.'
As many diseases have disappeared, a lot of people seemed inclined to think the threat they posed had passed, she noted.
This assumption is false, Ley-Koellstadt stressed. 'If a society isn't systematically immunized, these diseases return,' she said.
Take measles, for instance. To 'wipe out' this viral disease within a population, 95 per cent of the people have to be vaccinated against it. This percentage has not yet been reached in Germany. Consequently, measles epidemics repeatedly break out in various German states.
More than 30 cases of measles have been reported in the city-state of Hamburg since the start of 2009, and the RKI has registered isolated cases this year in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, several schools were temporarily closed after students there came down with measles.
Measles is not an innocuous childhood illness; it carries the risk of serious complications.
'Measles encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) occurs in one in 1,000 cases of measles, and about every third infected child suffers permanent damage,' according to Martina Lenzen-Schulte, an author from the German city of Freiburg who specializes in medical topics.
In fact, the risk of serious or even fatal consequences from a measles infection is many times greater than possible side effects from a vaccination.
'Of course complications arise after vaccinations in certain cases, but they are far outweighed by the risk of not vaccinating,' Lenzen-Schulte said.
Parents should also be aware of their own vaccination status. In a survey by the Quarks and Co. science programme of the Cologne-based West German Broadcasting Corporation, about 25 per cent of adults who responded did not know whether they had been adequately vaccinated against smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella. Only 30 per cent were certain they had been vaccinated against pertussis.
'Especially given these circumstances, an infant's surroundings should be sheltered because the smallest ones are at the highest risk before they can be vaccinated,' Lenzen-Schulte said.
Physicians consequently recommend that parents not only check and update their children's vaccination calendar regularly, but their own as well.
Immunization also lowers the risk of infection in a society as a whole.
© Copyright 2007 by monstersandcritics.com.
This notice cannot be removed without permission.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Published: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 1:02 a.m.
SARASOTA - Dr. Gary is getting heated.
"Dirt bags!" he says, throwing up his arms in a conference room in his office. "It's a cover-up. They're killing kids."
Gary Kompothecras, who likes to be called Dr. Gary, is a chiropractor who acknowledges that, if you cross him, he can be a bulldog. He made himself a multi-millionaire building clinics to treat people hurt in car accidents and by creating the 1-800-ASK-GARY referral network. He is also one of the state's biggest political donors and a close friend of Gov. Charlie Crist.
Two of his children are autistic. Sarah Alice, 11, repeats back what other people say to her and still plays with a jack-in-the-box. Bronson, 12, is so severely delayed he spent years in therapy to learn the name of his favorite plaything, bottles.
Kompothecras (pronounced kom-PAHTH-uh-kras) believes their disorder was caused by an ingredient in vaccines, mercury-based thimerosal, that they received as infants.
"Dirt bags" is one of the nicer names he has for public health officials who disagree.
To read the entire article, click here.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The Huffington Post
Last night, thousands of parents and grandparents of children with autism sat in front of their TVs, mouths agape, as Keith Olbermann declared their national hero, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Tuesday's "Worst Person in the World" on the popular Countdown show on MSNBC.
Quoting from a story in the Sunday Times of London, Olbermann said that Dr. Wakefield had fabricated data in a 1998 Lancet article about 12 children with autism and severe bowel disorders. Wakefield had written that eight of the families noted deterioration in their children within days of them receiving the triple live virus MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, and that vaccine-strain measles virus had been identified in gut biopsies in some of the patients.
The uproar has never really subsided, especially in the United Kingdom, where Wakefield and two other doctors who worked on the Lancet study are on trial at the General Medical Council on several serious charges of misconduct.
The person who brought these issues to the Medical Council was a freelance reporter named Brian Deer - the same Brian Deer who wrote the article on Wakefield in the Sunday Times. In his writing, Deer claimed that Wakefield had made up results about severe MMR reactions in the children just days after receiving the shots, had ignored signs of autism in some kids before they received their MMR vaccine, and changed lab reports on the gut biopsies - among other alleged infractions that have been covered in the two year trial in London of Wakefield et al.
The accusations printed in the Sunday Times are, frankly, outlandish. And they are false. A thorough accounting of the entire blackballing of Andrew Wakefield was published today by journalist Melanie Phillips in The Spectator, (UK): called The Witch-Hunt Against Andrew Wakefield."
It makes for some pretty interesting reading:
What the Sunday Times did not report was that the GMC investigation into Wakefield was triggered by a complaint from... Brian Deer, who furnished the allegations against him four years ago. He has thus been reporting upon the hearing into his own complaint. Since when has a reputable paper published a story by a reporter who is actually part of that story himself -- without saying so - and who uses information arising from the disciplinary hearing which he himself has instigated and which is investigating allegations he himself made in the first place.
The point is an excellent one. Imagine if a US journalist sued a doctor for libel or misconduct, and then went to the NY Times and asked to be hired as a freelancer to cover the trial that they themselves had instigated in the first place. It wouldn't happen.
Ms. Phillips also wrote:
It is remarkable how so many commentators take at face value the claims being made by Wakefield's detractors, and how many recycle the misrepresentions of easily verifiable facts - such as what the Wakefield paper actually said -- which his detractors disseminate.
Which brings us to Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
It does not matter what opinion you have about the vaccine-autism controversy (and you know you do) for you to realize that Dr. Wakefield was unduly maligned by the Sunday Times. The allegations are not true, and Andy Wakefield is not, nor has he ever been, the "worst person in the world."
What made Keith Olbermann's mistake almost deliciously ironic was that, in the same "Worst Persons" segment, he gave the Bronze Award to a Fox News Anchor for reading Republican talking points without doing any independent reporting or verification. The Silver went to Bill O'Reilly (no surprise there), another employee of Fox News -- and Rupert Murdoch.
Mr. Olbermann even got out his trademark pirate voice to imitate right-winger Murdoch, by saying, "We have never been a company that tolerates facts! Rrrrrr!"
So here was Keith Olbermann, in the same segment, slamming Fox News -- owned by a company that does not "tolerate facts" -- for promoting falsehoods and propaganda; and then slamming Dr. Wakefield for something that was reported in The Sunday Times -- owned by that same fact-intolerant company.
Countdown's producers clearly took the Sunday Times story at face value, without doing a little due diligence. After all, Wakefield had denied the allegations in the original article, he issued a formal statement of denial earlier this week, and the autism treatment group he works for in Austin, TX also issued a statement. Olbermann's people should have picked up the phone and called Austin before he blasted Wakefield for faking scientific data.
Which brings us to today's Best Person in the World -- Keith Olbermann, who is issuing an eloquent and fitting correction on tonight's show.
I contacted his office today, as did many, many people, to see if he would address the issue. And address it he will. Here is the email I got back this afternoon:
Here is Keith's script from tonight's show, where Brian Deer will receive (at least) the bronze Worst Person in the World honors... it will air tonight, barring breaking news:
The bronze to Brian Deer.
He wrote the Times of London report that Dr. Andrew Wakefield had allegedly altered key research linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella triple-vaccine to autism in children, which earned Dr. Wakefield a spot on this list yesterday.
The Times of London did not bother to mention that the British investigation into whether or not Wakefield did that was the result of a complaint by... Brian Deer.
The guy who wrote the article about the investigation never mentioned he was the complainant who precipitated the investigation.
The truth about the doctor's research may be in doubt here, but not Deer's vast conflict of interest nor the Times of London's journalistic malfeasance.
The paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and it's my bad for forgetting his new motto: "We have never been a company that tolerates facts."
It might have been your bad, Mr. Olbermann, but you have turned it into a good.
PS - Just to remind everyone that vaccine-autism research is neither fringe, nor a threat to civilization as we know it, I copy again this list below, which I also sent to the good people at Countdown:
I hope you will take just one moment to see that vaccine-autism research continues, because the link has not been disproven. Even the new President agrees with that statement, so Dr. Wakefield is not as far outside the mainstream as you might think. (Please see below)
MAINSTREAM VOICES FOR VACCINE RESEARCH:
President Barack Obama -- Who said last year, that: "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- Who said last year that, " I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines. We don't know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism - but we should find out."
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) -- Who told Congress in 2006 that the Combatting Autism Act should fund "environmental research examining potential links between vaccines, vaccine components and autism. In January, 2008, he called efforts to strip vaccine research from funding, "contrary to the spirit of the (CAA) bill."
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- Who said last year, "It's indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is what's causing it. And we go back and forth and there's strong evidence that indicates that it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines."
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) -- Who told Congress in 2006, "I want to be clear that ... no research avenue should be eliminated, including biomedical research examining potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) -- Who concured on the Senate Floor with Senator Enzi's remarks.
Bob Wright, Co-Founder, Autism Speaks -- Who told the UK Daily Telegraph in 2008 that, "There is no question but that autism is partly genetic and partly environmental. We ought to be able to zero in on some of the environmental factors in early childhood. Vaccines are one of the variables."
CDC's Immunization Safety Office -- As part of its draft research agenda for vaccine safety, this agency last April proposed looking at several clinical outcomes from childhood vaccinations, including "Autoimmune diseases; central nervous system demyelinating disorders; encephalitis/ encephalopathy; and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism."
Former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding -- who told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "If a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines, and if you're predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage (and) symptoms that have characteristics of autism. We have to have an open mind."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- who told US News, "If we can show that individuals of a certain genetic profile have a greater propensity for developing adverse events, we may want to screen everyone prior to vaccination (for) undetectable diseases like a subclinical mitochrondrial disorder."
Drs. Richard I. Kelley, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Margaret L. Bauman, Massachusetts General Hospital, Marvin R. Natowicz, Cleveland Clinic, etc -- "Large, population-based studies will be needed to identify a possible relationship of vaccination with autistic regression in persons with mitochondrial cytopathies."
Scientists at UC San Diego -- They wrote in the journal Autism that children given Tylenol after the MMR shot were several times more likely to develop autism. Tylenol can reduce levels of glutathione - a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. "Tylenol and MMR was significantly associated with autistic disorder," the authors wrote. "More research needs to be completed to confirm the results of this preliminary study."
Former NIH Director and current IOM Member Dr. Bernadine Healy - She told CBS News that, "public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the (vaccine) hypothesis as 'irrational,' without sufficient studies of causation... without studying the population that got sick."
Former Chief Scientific Officer, UK Department of Health, Dr. Peter Fletcher - The former equivalent of the US FDA Adminstrator, said, "This really proves the causal role of vaccines: Somali children who are newly exposed to aggressive vaccine programmes have exceptionally high levels of autism. What more evidence is needed? The refusal by governments to evaluate the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in medical history."
CURRENT VACCINE/MERCURY RELATED STUDIES:
The National CADDRE Study -- This 5-year project of the CDC's Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network will "help identify what might put children at risk for autism," the CDC says. Among those risk factors: "specific mercury exposures, including any vaccine use by the mother during pregnancy and the child's vaccine exposures after birth."
The Kennedy Krieger Institute -- The nation's premiere autism research outfit is sponsor of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN). Its new questionnaire deals with autism and vaccines. Thousands of families are describing their experiences with autistic regression following vaccination. Top scientists will then use this information, "to conduct additional vaccine-focused studies."
The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network -- CISA is a CDC-sponsored group that brings together leading autism research institutions and America's health insurance companies. Last April, the CDC proposed this research question: "Is immunization associated with increased risk for neurological deterioration in children with mitochondrial dysfunction?" To find out, "CISA has formed a working group to study methods related to mitochondrial disorders and immunization," the CDC said.
Autism Speaks -- Autism Speaks recently authorized three studies on thimerosal, vaccines and autism, and the foundation is considering funding a lot more highly significant research into the possible links between vaccines and autism.
The National Children's Study -- This is not a vaccine-autism study. But the HHS-EPA joint effort will investigate "the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the United States," including autism. As part of their work researchers will track medical records, which include vaccinations.
UC Davis MIND Institute -- Authors of a new study say that genetics alone cannot explain the rise in autism in California. "We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," said Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a co-author and professor at UC Davis.
The University of Texas -- Two studies led Ray Palmer, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center show increased risks for autism among kids living closest to mercury-emitting sources, such as coal-fired power plants.
California Department of Health Services/ Kaiser Permanente -- This CDC- funded, NIH-published study showed that kids born in the most polluted tracts of the SF Bay Area (mercury was a significant factor) were more likely to develop autism: "Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations."
MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION AND AUTISM:
The Hannah Poling Case - A year ago, medical personnel at HHS determined that this girl's autism was caused by, "vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves." Hannah had low cellular energy related to her underlying and mild mitochondrial dysfunction. Many children with autism claims in Vaccine Court have almost identical mitochondrial dysfunction.
Mitochondrial disorders are not rare in autism -- Research suggests that dysfunction may affect 10-to-30% of all kids with autism -- perhaps more among "regressive" cases.
Mitochondrial disorders are probably not rare in the general population -- Such disorders were thought to affect 1-in-5,000 people. But new research suggests that genetic mutations that might confer mitochondrial dysfunction might be found in 1-in-400 to 1-in-50. A study by the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) found mitochondrial DNA mutations that might cause disease in up to 1-in-200 people.
Children with mitochondrial disorders are at greater risk of autistic regression -- A new study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic and elsewhere found that a trigger for autistic regression in kids with mito disorders could possibly come from a vaccine reaction. "There might be no difference between the inflammatory or catabolic stress of vaccinations and that of common childhood diseases," they wrote.
Children with mitochondrial disorders are at greater risk of vaccine injury -- This according to Dr. Douglas Wallace, Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine in Genetics at UC Irvine. A member of the UMDF's scientific board, he stated, "We advocate spreading vaccines out as much as possible -- each time you vaccinate, you're creating a challenge for the system, and if a child has an impaired system that could in fact trigger further clinical problems."
Michael Wagnitz — 2/10/2009 5:33 am
With the vaccines available in the U.S. today, parents can avoid vaccines preserved with thimerosal (50% mercury) for their newborns and infants. This is not the case with aluminum, which has been linked to impaired neurological development in children.
Aluminum has not replaced thimerosal as a vaccine preservative; it has always been used in vaccines.
Its purpose is to generate an immune response, thus providing a person the ability to produce adequate levels of antibodies to the vaccine being administered. Unlike thimerosal, if aluminum is removed, the vaccine will not work.
In the recent past, most kids got exposed to both thimerosal and aluminum simultaneously with the hepatitis B, Hib, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and pneumococcal vaccines. Combining mercury with aluminum increases the likelihood that the mercury will damage human tissue.
While aluminum is in the food we eat at much higher levels, it is not absorbed well through the gastrointestinal tract. When this protective gastrointestinal mechanism is bypassed, aluminum toxicity can cause serious problems.
There are currently eight childhood vaccines that contain aluminum ranging from 125 to 850 micrograms (mcg). These vaccines are administered 17 times in the first 18 months of life, an almost six-fold increase compared to the vaccine schedule of the 1980s.
According to the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, based on IV feeding solutions, a child should not exceed a maximum daily dose of 5 mcg of aluminum per kilogram of weight per day. That means if a child weighs 11 pounds, the child should not exceed 25 mcg in a day. This level was determined to be the maximum safety limit based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Aluminum Neurotoxicity in Preterm Infants Receiving Intravenous Feeding Solutions."
The hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth, contains 250 mcg.
In a 1996 policy statement, "Aluminum Toxicity in Infants and Children," the American Academy of Pediatrics states, "Aluminum can cause neurological harm. People with kidney disease who build up bloodstream levels of aluminum greater than 100 mcg per liter are at risk of toxicity. The toxic threshold of aluminum in the bloodstream may be lower than 100 mcg per liter."
So let's say an infant receives 1,250 micrograms at 2 months of age (three vaccines). Assuming a child's body contains a half liter of blood, this would put the blood level 25 times higher than the above mentioned levels.
Now people will argue whether an intramuscular injection (such as vaccines) would introduce aluminum into the bloodstream at the same level as an IV feeding solution. Unfortunately, the purpose of direct intramuscular injection is to provide rapid access to the bloodstream. This provides direct access to all target organs such as the brain.
The real eye-opener is a recently published paper where the authors investigated Gulf War syndrome based on the fact that soldiers were getting sick without deployment to the Persian Gulf region. They eventually focused on aluminum used in the anthrax vaccine. Injecting mice with aluminum at levels equal to what the soldiers received induced motor neuron death. The dose, per body weight, given to children easily exceeds what the soldiers received.
One must question whether exposing newborns to aluminum is worth the risk to protect them against a sexually transmitted disease (hepatitis B). If aluminum can cause injury to an adult, combat-ready soldier, what is it doing to newborns?
Michael Wagnitz of Madison is a chemist.
Last month, Dr. Paul Offit, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the vaccine industry's most outspoken activist, warned Huffington Post readers not to "risk going unvaccinated."
When presented with conflicting information on a critically important health issue I generally follow two simple rules...educate myself on the issue and "follow the money." When it came to Dr. Paul Offit, and the credibility of this advice, this was an easy assignment.
I normally wouldn't waste my time responding to Dr. Offit. After all, he is entitled to his opinion. However, this man's relentless campaign that includes attacking concerned parents and the dissemination of false information needs to be exposed for what it is.
Dr. Offit has been on a very aggressive crusade in defense of vaccines for years. With what appears to be unlimited resources, Offit is routinely granted ample unchallenged opportunities to mount his campaign in newspapers around the country.
In recent years, Offit has become the "go-to guy" on all things related to vaccines. While other physicians, civic leaders and even members of congress are denied the opportunity to share their views on this issue, Offit is frequently provided with generous op-ed space to promote his views on the safety of vaccines, the need to take away vaccine exemptions, and the need to protect vaccine manufacturers from any liability. In short, if the word vaccine or autism appears in the article, so does Dr. Offit.
In his recent Huffington editorial, Offit continues his attack on worried parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, or even just spread them out a little, which the CDC says is okay to do. He blames them for the relatively small outbreaks of childhood diseases. In this case, last year's 135 cases of measles.
...the reason that some parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children is based on the mistaken notion that vaccines cause autism; or that vaccines cause diabetes or multiple sclerosis or asthma or allergies; or that vaccines weaken or overwhelm the immune system; or that vaccines have not been adequately tested. Many studies have addressed these concerns and should have reassured parents. But there appears to be a rift between studies that exonerate vaccines and the public's knowledge of those studies.
First of all, Dr. Offit is quite frankly, "full of it." The reason some parents are choosing alternative vaccine schedules, or to not vaccinate their children, is because they have lost confidence in the safety of vaccines and the people who recommend them, like Dr. Paul Offit. The level of distrust is evident in the nearly 500 comments posted in response to his article.
There are also some children who have serious medical conditions, or have experienced severe life-threatening reactions to previously administered vaccines, which make them vulnerable to subsequent adverse vaccine reactions. In consultation with their physician, some children are given medical exemptions because the risk of vaccination may be greater than the disease. Does Dr. Offit think he knows better than a family's personal physician when it comes to what is best for an individual child and that a child should be vaccinated anyway?
Since we have Dr. Offit's Huffington piece, let's look at the credibility of his professional opinion and see if he is really providing parents with good advice.
According to a 2008 study, it is Dr. Offit who might be "mistaken" when he claims vaccines don't cause diabetes. Vaccine Induced Inflammation Linked to Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, published in the Open Endocrinolgy Journal.
[the study] shows a 50% reduction of type 2 diabetes occurred in Japanese children following the discontinuation of a single vaccine to prevent tuberculosis.
The current data shows that vaccines are much more dangerous than the public is led to believe and adequate testing has never been performed even in healthy subjects to indicate that there is an overall improvement in health from immunization. The current practice of vaccinating diabetics as well as their close family members is a very risky practice," says Dr. J. Barthelow Classen.
Multiple studies suggest Dr. Offit might also be "mistaken" when he says vaccines don't cause asthma or allergies. One by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health published in 2000, examined the effects of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DPT) and tetanus vaccines and found an asthma and allergy association in vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated children.
The odds of having a history of asthma was twice as great among vaccinated subjects than among unvaccinated subjects (adjusted odds ratio, 2.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.59 to 6.74). The odds of having had any allergy-related respiratory symptom in the past 12 months was 63% greater among vaccinated subjects than unvaccinated subjects (adjusted odds ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.05 to 2.54). The associations between vaccination and subsequent allergies and symptoms were greatest among children aged 5 through 10 years. CONCLUSIONS: DTP or tetanus vaccination appears to increase the risk of allergies and related respiratory symptoms in children and adolescents.
In another study published last year, Canadian scientists found childhood asthma could be reduced by 50% if the first dose of DPT is delayed by more than two months.
It is Dr. Offit who is again "mistaken" when he says vaccines don't cause multiple sclerosis (MS). Published in 2004, a prospective study from the Harvard School of Public Health examined the potential link between the hepatistis B vaccine and MS.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS.
Just last month the US government's Court of Federal Claims, also known as "vaccine court," rendered a judgment awarding compensation to a woman who received the hepatitis B vaccine, developed multiple sclerosis and then died. Several more similar cases have been awarded since 2006.
This is just another example of the thousands of claims awarded compensation by the special court set up to review injuries caused by vaccines. It is an indisputable fact that over the past 20 years, the vaccine court has dispensed close to $2 billion in compensation to families whose children were injured or killed by a vaccine.
Dr. Offit is also "mistaken" when he claims vaccines don't "overwhelm the immune system."
Last year, government officials conceded the vaccine injury claim of a young girl with autism named Hannah Poling and agreed that the family is "entitled to compensation" from the federal vaccine injury fund. [Ga. Girl helps link autism to childhood vaccines]
In a second decision for epilepsy, medical officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined Hannah's "autistic encephalopathy" was "caused" by an "underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, exacerbated by vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves."
The problem with Dr. Offit is he apparently sees no problem in misleading confused and concerned parents or his equally concerned colleagues. He routinely insults the intelligence of parents with a condescending attitude about their ability to make an informed decision. In an effort to bolster the safety of vaccines, he repeatedly cites a select group of studies he claims support his opinions and ignores the ones that don't. Each one of the epidemiological studies Offit relies upon has been discredited by experts in epidemiology for their methodological flaws and the conflicts of interest of the authors involved in those studies. None of the studies he points to have ever studied what is called "regressive autism" or examined how multiple vaccines given at the same time may affect sensitive populations.
Former NIH Director, Dr. Bernadine Healy, made this very important point abundantly clear when interviewed by CBS News.
I think the government, or certain public health officials in the government, have been too quick to dismiss the concerns of these families without studying the population that got sick. I haven't seen major studies that focus on three hundred kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of a vaccine. I think that the public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis as irrational without sufficient studies of causation. I think that they often have been too quick to dismiss studies in the animal laboratory, either in mice, in primates, that do show some concerns with regard to certain vaccines and also to the mercury preservative in vaccines.
Just to be clear, I am not against vaccines and my own child has been vaccinated. But I share the growing concerns of many parents that have studied this issue closely and question the number of vaccines given to children under today's recommended schedule, some of the toxic ingredients in vaccines, and whether we know enough about the synergistic effects of multiple vaccines given to immune compromised children and during critical developmental windows.
A vaccine profiteer personified -- he is now a multimillionaire from his partnership with Merck -- Dr. Offit doesn't share these concerns and continually makes intellectually and factually dishonest remarks regarding vaccine safety.
In a 2005 article in Babytalk magazine, Dr. Offit irresponsibly claimed a "healthy infant could safely get up to 100,000 vaccines at once." By anyone's standard this is a sensational and stupid statement that has no basis in fact, and speaks volumes about Dr. Offit's objectivity.
As a consultant to Merck and patent holder on the Rotavirus vaccine, Offit has built a career, and perhaps a fortune, defending vaccines. He is also affiliated with several industry-funded organizations like Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDs) and Every Child by Two (ECBT). In short, a highly visible, very well paid public relations machine for the vaccine industry.
Offit is the embodiment of Upton Sinclair's theorem; "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Whenever I read yet another Offit editorial I am immediately reminded of the massive propaganda campaign waged by the tobacco, asbestos and lead industries. It is called "manufacturing uncertainty," and has been an essential industry marketing strategy for decades.
David Michaels, a former Assistant Secretary of Energy and professor at George Washington University School of Public Health explained this strategy in The Art of 'Manufacturing Uncertainty'.
...By definition, uncertainties abound in our work; there's nothing to be done about that. Our public health and environmental protection programs will not be effective if absolute proof is required before we act. The best available evidence must be sufficient. Otherwise, we'll sit on our hands and do nothing.
Of course, this is often exactly what industry wants. That's why it has mastered the art of manufacturing uncertainty, of demanding often impossible proof over common-sense precaution in the realm of public health.
The tobacco industry led the way. For 50 years, cigarette manufacturers employed a stable of scientists willing to assert (sometimes under oath) that there was no conclusive evidence that cigarettes cause lung cancer, or that nicotine is addictive. An official at Brown & Williamson, a cigarette maker now owned by R.J. Reynolds, once noted in a memo: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public."
Toward that end, the tobacco manufacturers dissected every study, highlighted every question, magnified every flaw, cast every possible doubt every possible time. They also conjured their own studies with questionable data and foregone conclusions. It was all a charade, of course, because the real science was inexorable. But the uncertainty campaign was effective; it delayed public health protections, and compensation for tobacco's victims, for decades.
The tobacco industry, left without a stitch of credibility or public esteem, has finally abandoned that strategy -- but it led the way for others...
Decades from now, this campaign to manufacture uncertainty will surely be viewed with the same dismay and outrage with which we now look back on the deceits perpetrated by the tobacco industry. But will it be too late?
To say Dr. Offit has a stake, professionally, financially and perhaps legally, in dispelling the risks associated with vaccines in general, and refuting any association between vaccines and autism specifically, is a colossal understatement.
We can all learn a great deal by simply looking back on history and remembering how corporations, whose products are linked to serious diseases, employed scientists, physicians and public relation firms to disseminate misinformation and manage the business of "damage control." By doing so, we realize that we have seen Offit's act before.
More than ever, as more vaccines are recommended, parents simply want safer vaccines and a more individualized vaccination schedule.
Dr. Offit does nothing to repair the confidence chasm regarding vaccine safety. In reality, he makes matters worse with his patented brand of hubris so overbearing and uncompromising, that he undermines his own credibility and the credibility of the vaccine program he so desperately seeks to protect.Of course this is just my opinion.