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Is Autism Speaks' Geri Dawson a Blithering Idiot?

Whistle_while_you_workBy J.B. Handley

When Thomas Burbacher released a study in 2005 showing that Thimerosal, when injected into chimps, not only ended up in their brains but at levels much higher than other forms of mercury, it should have been a crippling blow to the medical establishment's claim that Thimerosal was "safe" to be injected into babies.

However, the mainstream press was able to turn Burbacher's findings upside-down and articles were written about the study that provided millions of parents with false reassurances.

Consider this quote from a 2005 article written by a Reuters reporter:

"The mercury contained in some vaccines is processed differently in the body and is possibly less toxic to children than mercury found in pollution and fish, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. Tests in monkeys showed that the ethyl mercury contained in the vaccine preservative thimerosal is cleared quickly by the body, while methyl mercury persists much longer."

If you read Burbacher's entire study (as I just did), you'd realize that the press reports weren't remotely accurate. Yes, thimerosal cleared the blood faster than methylmercury, but that's because it appeared to race more quickly to the brain and kidneys! Consider this comment from the study itself:

"Data from the current study predicts that while little accumulation of Hg in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants will occur. Thus, conclusion regarding the safety of thimerosal drawn from blood Hg clearance data in human infants receiving vaccines may not be valid…"

To belabor the point, Burbacher and the study authors even took it a step further and openly attacked the 2004 IOM study's conclusions regarding thimerosal and autism:

"Results from an initial Institute of Medicine (IOM) review of the safety of vaccines found that there was not sufficient evidence to render an opinion on the relationship between ethylmercury exposure and developmental disorders in children (IOM 2001). The IOM review did, however, note the possibility of such a relationship and recommended further studies be conducted. A recently published second IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal. This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants."

I provide this as background to review what went on last week with the findings being published in the Public Library of Science (is that a medical journal?) regarding the measles virus RNA in bowel tissue of ASD and control kids that was funded by the AAP, CDC, and NIH.

If you have taken the time to read this recent study and compared it to Andrew Wakefield's original study, then you already know what I know: saying with a straight face that this study exonerates the role of MMR in triggering autism is impossible. I'm not doubting that the researchers didn't get accurate results. I'm not doubting that the researchers answered whatever question they asked to conduct this study in the first place. I'm simply stating that no scientist who actually reads this study could ever say that it in any way, shape or form exonerates the MMR's potential role in triggering autism. Here's an explanation from a Dad in the UK that provides a nice summary of why:

A number of important points arise from your article on a new study into an MMR/autism connection (News, September 5). It should be noted that only five children involved in this research met the criteria of the original hypothesis (normal development, MMR vaccination, bowel disease, leading to autism). Too small a sample, one would have thought, particularly in view of the criticism levelled at Dr Andrew Wakefield's team for publishing research in 1998 based on only 12 children. (In fact, an addendum to that original study revealed the assessment of a further 40 patients, 39 of whom had the novel form of bowel disease as described.) Your article also failed to reveal that one of the five children was found to have measles virus in the gut, thereby inadvertently validating the O'Leary findings of 2002 which looked at bowel biopsies of 91 children whose autism and bowel disease followed MMR vaccination.

The fact is, this study does not really address whether MMR causes autism, let alone rule it out, as the authors erroneously claim. It does, however, confirm the presence of distressing and painful bowel disease in many autistic children. One author has specifically pleaded that autistic children be urgently given treatment for the intolerable pain of their bowel disease. A plea that has been made repeatedly by parents over many years only to fall on the deaf ears of a compassionless medical hierarchy. - Bill Welsh, President, Autism Treatment Trust, Edinburgh.

So, it begs the simple question: Why does the press get these studies so wrong? How do you explain a headline like this one that ran last week?

STUDY FINDS NO LINK BETWEEN AUTISM, MMR VACCINE

How does this happen? It happens because the CDC, AAP, and NIH do a hell of a job at PR management and producing experts who will say anything to make vaccines appear safe, even if they have to lie to do so. In fact, it's situations like this one that convince me we are dealing with an extremely corrupt mainstream health establishment who will break every scientific rule to maintain the appearance of a safe vaccination program.

Which leads me to Geri Dawson.

Geri Dawson is the Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks. A relatively new hire, Ms. Dawson's arrival was heralded in January 2008. Ms. Dawson was previously a professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Washington where she "led a multi-disciplinary autism research program focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, diagnosis, and treatment." Autism Speaks' website goes on to explain that "Geri's own research has been in the areas of early detection and treatment of autism, early patterns of brain dysfunction (electrophysiology), and more recently, development of endophenotypes for autism genetic studies."

That's an interesting background.

Of course, if you think anything like I do, it's also a background that makes focusing on the environmental causes of autism a near impossibility. In fact, it's the kind of background that makes many of us nuts. We meet these researchers who think autism is a genetic, psychological disorder and they don't want to hear our stories about regression, recovery, or cause.

Now, this isn't really fair to Geri Dawson. I don't know what she thinks about the causes of autism. I don't know if she sees the world more like I do than I think she does as I sit here speculating. But, what I do know is that Geri Dawson is responsible for a headline on Autism Speaks' homepage this very minute for every parent to read that states:

STUDY SHOWS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTISM AND MMR VIRUS RNA

I also know that when you read the statement from Autism Speaks it goes on to say:

A study published today found that measles virus RNA was no more likely to be present in the bowel tissue of children with autism than that of typically developing children. Furthermore, GI symptom and autism onset were found to be unrelated to MMR vaccine timing. These findings refute an earlier report published in 1998 that indicated autism is associated with the measles virus vaccine…"This was a well-designed study that clearly refutes a connection between autism and the presence of the measles virus RNA," noted Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks.

Yup, I'm certain that I know how Ms. Dawson publicly commented on the MMR-autism study released last week, the one that doesn't remotely address the issue of whether or not MMR may trigger autism.

I'm also certain of something else. I'm certain that I have personally talked to over a thousand parents of children with autism. And, I'm certain that several hundred of them explicitly blame the MMR vaccine for turning their child upside-down. Not all the parents I've talked to, just many of them.

While I'm not certain, I think it's fair to guess that Autism Speaks has also heard from many of these parents who think MMR caused their child's autism. So, they too know that a portion of parents of children with autism blame the MMR vaccine.

I also know that when the parent of a young child who may be developmentally delayed asks me if I think they should get the MMR vaccine for their child I always give them the same one word answer: No.

So, Geri Dawson, the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, signs off on a headline and a statement for the Autism Speaks' website that provides false reassurance to parents about the MMR vaccine and autism.

Because I know, without any shred of doubt, that this new study does not remotely exonerate the MMR vaccine and its possible role in autism. And, because I also know that tens of thousands of parents worldwide including several hundred who I have personally talked to blame MMR for their child's autism, I just have to wonder about Geri Dawson. I have to wonder how she could approve and make the statements that she did about this stupid little study that we will all soon forget about and I can only come up with two possible reasons for why Geri Dawson would do this:

Geri Dawson is either a blithering idiot, or she is a corrupt, partisan hack who so desperately wants the autism-vaccine thing to just die so she can get back to work chasing her genetic-psychological theories on autism that she will happily go along with the mainstream spin on a stupid little study and do her part to exonerate the MMR, even if hundreds if not thousands of parents have called her organization which is supposed to help our kids and told them that the MMR turned their child upside-down including the daughter of the very people who founded the place she now calls home.

Or something like that.

I'm really not sure who Geri Dawson is. I just know that last week she chose to do something the parents I know would never do.

JB Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and Editor at Large for Age of Autism.

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Among health charities there seems to be a very common thread. Initially founded by well-meaning people to help those affected by disease x or y, to find the truth and cures. But then things (in most cases) get de-railed such that they instead serve to suppress the truth and the low-cost (unprofitable) cures. This can be seen in for instance heart disease and epilepsy (which often just need a little cheap epsom salts) or kidney disease (which may be fixed with a bit of choline), or depression which just needs a little B vits (etc ad nauseam).

In respect of autism, there appears to have been a bit of an exception, probably because there are parents who have more interest and determination to ask questions rather than just accept answers. This has then evoked a cover-up damage-limitation attitude from the "experts", fuelling yet more scepticism.

And therefrom has evolved a whole "industry" of "amateur" scientists in this field (yes you know who you are!). I don't 100% agree with the ideas of these alternative schools of thought but at least it helps to undermine the fallacies of where expertise is to be found, and in consequence autism could well be the field that breaks the back of the mindless-medical-orthodoxy camel (in my view).

Autism Speaks may just be a "part-time" job


Geri Dawson is ALSO at UNC and Columbia U.

http://www.med.unc.edu/www/newsarchive/2011/march/unc-researchers-unravel-clues-develop-interventions-for-autism/


" Dawson also holds the positions of Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldine_Dawson


Above all, she is a Rock Star
http://www.rockstarsofscience.org/2010_rockdocs_dawson.htm


By the way, total compensation in 2010 was $196,308.00 for Andy Shih. Is he worth it????

By the way is Geri Dawson worth $456,420.00???

You all decide!!!


The other person at Autism Speaks besides Geri Dawson, Andy Shih $196,308.00 total compensation in 2010.

I have been interested in the other scientist at AS ---- Andy Shih

2012
http://gma.yahoo.com/researchers-gene-mutations-may-key-autism-180440027.html
"This kind of investigation is of tremendous value for understanding the genetic architecture of risk for autism," said Andy Shih, vice president of scientific affairs at Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group.
"We can probably explain genetic risk factors that might lead to autism in less than 30 percent of the population" from previous research, Shih added.

The gene mutations identified in this research "underscores that autism is a complex interplay between genes and the environment," Shih said. For example, CHD8 can control the expression of other genes in response to environmental stimuli.
This research is also a reminder that autism is a group of related disorders involving many genes in different pathways, he added. "Each of the genes [in these studies] seem to confer only a small risk, and are only readily found in a small percentage of individuals with autism," he noted.
However, Shih said, these studies show that with more genetic analyses involving more patients, "there could be some unifying principles revealed that could allow identification of individuals at risk of autism and guide therapeutics."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


2008

http://articles.cnn.com/2008-09-03/health/measles.autism_1_autism-link-andrew-wakefield-measles-vaccine?_s=PM:HEALTH

"This really puts this issue to bed," said Andy Shih, vice president for scientific affairs of "Autism Speaks," an advocacy group.
Dr. William Schaffner, vaccine expert and chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, called the study results "conclusive."
Dr. Neal Halsey, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children's Center who specializes in infectious diseases, told CNN, "They have shown the Wakefield study was incorrect." The new study shows "there's no temporal relationship between the vaccines and the gastrointestinal disorders and autism."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2008
http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=611489
Still, the new research "adds to the body of existing evidence in which there is no causal connection that demonstrates thimerosal is a primary cause" of autism, said Andy Shih, vice president of scientific affairs for Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization.

Shih said the study methods are "robust," adding that the authors appeared to address limitations of earlier studies. However, he said, the research "doesn't address the possibility that there might be a subpopulation who might be particularly vulnerable to a vaccine with thimerosal."
If just 1 percent to 2 percent of children were especially sensitive to the effect of thimerosal, the study wouldn't be able to pick it up, he said.
Schechter agreed, saying it was true that the research didn't address whether thimerosal might cause problems in a small number of cases.
As for a possible link between vaccines and autism, Shih said, "the jury is still out," especially considering that children are exposed to a large number of vaccines before age 2.
And he added, "Some people in the community feel that they might lead to immune problems that could either exacerbate or lead to autism. All this is purely hypothetical, but this is an area where we need to continue to do more research."
====================================================


Hi Robin,

I have deleted my last comment, since it gave offence and I really don't want to offend you. However, I also didn't think we (or JB) needed to apologise particularly hard for this article. I suggest we call it a day.

Best,

John

John, et al. (to make it look suitably academic here...!),

You've now added a lot of info that was not in JB's original post. Which rather accords with my point that he had not already properly made his case in the first place (that Geri D is either idiot or corrupt).

My views of what would be proper research priorities differ profoundly from those of AS and Geri D. In fact she personally sent me an email recently refusing a piddling $1-2000 to cover open access publication fees for a paper of mine (subject to peer-review), on grounds that they supposedly cannot fund such publishing (due presumably to only having a few dimes to spare).

In common with most people at AoA I think there should be less obsession with genetics and drugs and proof the autism world is still flat, and a concentration instead on studying the mercury connection and the many reports of recovery by various means.

But meanwhile the research agenda of AS/GD is one that is very much the same as in most other organisations in the field. It's obvious that profitmaking-prioritised money has much to do with that.

But just because you disagree with something it doesn't follow that the people you disagree with have evil motivations. You point out that GD earns a lot of money. Sure that doesn't impress us, but it doesn't follow that she must go to bed every night smirking about all those tragic families she appears to be betraying so horrendously. Please note well the following counter-example.

Just about ALL peer-reviewed pubmed-indexed papers, and autism websites, start off by going on about children "with" autism etc. Which is absolutely bonkers because the world certainly does not divide into those "with" autism and those "without". The people who write such utter rubbish all have PhDs and many have professorships. I don't infer that they must be either idiots or liars. Just people do commonly hold absurd beliefs in the face of stark contradictory evidence.

On the basis of that, I reiterate the points I made to begin with on this page, and which remain as true as ever:

Quote:

I have no idea whether Geri Dawson is the most evil person on the planet, or alternatively one of autism research's greatest heroes/heroines.

What I do know is that JB Handley here comes to a very serious conclusion ("idiot" or "corrupt") on a basis of entirely unsound evidence. Basically just because he doesn't like the results of a new study he reacts by finding the messenger guilty. And he presumes that just because lots of parents "think" their autism was caused by mmr that ~therefore~ it obviously was (and this supposedly proves the measles results were a lie).

It is very important in science that people are free to state unpopular findings or notions without being subject to such character assassination reactions. This applies to this attack against Geri Dawson exactly the same as it does to the (certainly unwarranted) attacks against Dr Wakefield. Even if people espouse views that are absurdly illogical or counterfactual, we must understand that it does not follow that they are "either idiot or corrupt".


Geri Dawson is in for the money she can make, self-aggrandizement. Nothing more, noting less.

Here is her salary at Autism Speaks that includes bonus, benefits, retirement, etc. in 2010 alone............

Base Compensation: $387,712.00
Bonus and Incentive Compensation: $35,000.00
Other Reportable Compensation: $1,290.00
Retirement and Other Deferred Compensation: $9,800.00
Nontaxable Benefits: $22,618.00


Total: $456,420.00

Her salary and 15 others add up to $3,361,751.00 at Autism Speaks in 2010.

The Link.........

http://207.153.189.83/EINS/202329938/202329938_2010_079a5a43.PDF

From...........


http://www.eri-nonprofit-salaries.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=NPO.Summary&EIN=202329938&Cobrandid=0


The man who is often said to call the shots (as it were) at Autism Speaks is Bernie Marcus. Here he is early last year falling in behind Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee, Harvey Marcovitch, jane Smith - who seem to be journalists and/or possibly medical bureaucrats, not scientists.

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=173580

Of course, his point about the Wakefield "Lancet" paper is not well taken: it was only supposed to be an early report. But clearly if he is dependent on Geri Dawson and colleagues for his views he may not be getting the best advice. The rhetoric of course is that he's in the middle and "the scientists" are only saying one thing, but actually there other scientists saying other things, even though it may not be a wise career move. And, of course, there is:

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/vaccination-causes-autism-%e2%80%93-say-us-government-merck%e2%80%99s-director-of%c2%a0vaccines/

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/italy-court-holds-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism-iv-but-so-has-the-usa-some-autism-history/

"Meanwhile if you give someone a reputation as a crook they may then feel they have nothing to lose by living down to it."

Hugh?! Are you saying that JB Handley's criticism is what keeps Gerri Dawson from doing the right thing?

Whether Gerri Dawson read the paper herself or not as the science director of AS she was and is responsible for statements made by her organization on science matters. The AS headline was clearly meant to say, look we are not supporting the parents who are saying that their kids were injured by the MMR. That was a clear political move on the part of AS and Gerri Dawson to keep the pharma money flowing.

As someone who tried to get money from AS for vaccine related research, I know from experience that they don't want to do the right thing.

Robin said:
"I don't "make concessions" about what parents report - I just say what I think of the distinction between direct factual reports and minimally-informed amateur speculations"

Why Robin a parent can't tell you what they saw because you are waiting for a doctor to tell you what the parent saw?

Even if the parent reports rechallenged episodes!!!!

Factual reports - as what - not the parent holding a catitonic or seizing child right after a vaccine
but rather a report from the local doctors - who will lose their carreers because the NIH tyranical rule!

Robin

Point 1. There is no point in arguing over this - there was nothing in you original comment to indicate you recognised the age of the piece. You assure me you were aware of this (fine).

Points 2 & 3. The position was the same then as it is now. Autism Speaks is an industrial lobby group trying to seize the agenda. It has everything to do with knock-about politics and nothing to do with noblesse oblige (or science for that matter).

Point 4. The Hornig study corroborates that Wakefield and colleagues were justified to investigate persistent measles virus in children (whether or not it caused their autism). But rather than help children with this syndrome (whether they have autism or not) the study recommends (despite having positive results) that the line of research should be abandoned. AND THIS MEANS THAT CHILDREN ARE CRUELLY BEING DENIED HELP.

Point 5. You are being unreal. There is a place for courtesies (for instance if you are writing to someone privately, or addressing them at a conference) but there is also a place for blunt polemics. This was said four years ago and still seems relevant. Is JB responsible for Geri Dawson's stance, then or now? Of course not. We can't engage in a four year fiction that we are all on the same side.

>>1) Your comment seemed to be written as if JB had just said it.

His words are still on this webpage and don't have a disclaimer such as "this is from a while back" on it! Has JB meanwhile retracted it?!

>>2) Geri Dawson should have read the paper before commenting (I must presume that she did).

On the contrary you must not presume but rather confirm before endorsing accusations of corruption.

>>3) Of course Autism Speaks knows what we are saying about them.

That's not the point. The point is was GD aware at that time of that headline and its unacceptability. In absence of which accusations of corruption or idiocy are premature. Would you like to be tried by a jury of this mindset yourself?

>>4) The study corroborates the finding of measles RNA in both autistic and non-autistic groups, and suggests the earlier findings are correct for the groups being investigated.

But surely it showed low levels and no autism assocn. And anyway I don't see why the presence of measles rna is very heavily indicative of autism causation. A person is inoculated with measles, then measles rna found in them, so what?

>>5)

I don't "make concessions" about what parents report - I just say what I think of the distinction between direct factual reports and minimally-informed amateur speculations.

Sure the medical establishment is abysmal in their irresponsibility and unaccountability. Your instance is rather trumped by the secret revelation in my own (backroom) high court case, that the "advice" given by the Chief Denial Officer (that amalgam is perfectly harmless) carries not a whit of legal obligation or duty of care, despite no hint of any disclaimer to that effect being given.

I think you need also to be careful to distinguish between the crrap that goes on in the (mal)administration of "healthcare" and the crrap entering into the scientific debate associated with it. The fact that NHS chief execs lie to me proves nothing about what science is true or not. I share your concern about the agenda of denying honest treatment as a prelude to forcing official profit-quackery on people. And I can see how AS is likely helping with that malign agenda.

Meanwhile if you give someone a reputation as a crook they may then feel they have nothing to lose by living down to it.

Hi Robin

1) Your comment seemed to be written as if JB had just said it.
2) Geri Dawson should have read the paper before commenting (I must presume that she did).
3) Of course Autism Speaks knows what we are saying about them.
4) The study corroborates the finding of measles RNA in both autistic and non-autistic groups, and suggests the earlier findings are correct for the groups being investigated.
5) We are still vaguely in the land of BS when it comes parental reports, although you do make concessions. The point is with vaccination is that the medical profession and health officials walk away if it goes wrong with the refrain "It wasn't me guv'", leaving parents with a legal climb equivalent to north face of the Eiger or K2 - try taking that on with a disabled child needing round the clock care. That's not science, and it is adopting a different standard for vaccines in comparison with other medical products. Geri is in the business of perpetuating this arrogant, self-serving nonsense. Now we not only have to put up with the fall out of vaccination we have to worry about the next generation of psychtopic drugs she is developing, which may be given against our will to our children.

Hello again John,

I just typed that comment below as a brief commentary on JB's original item here, on the case he presented there. You've now come back with a reply that brings up a whole lot of things that weren't in JB's article. (I think we have here a case of a common phenomenon when people of a certain view think they have made their case when they haven't. Anyway....)

>>It looks like it may have escaped your notice that this commentary in JB's characteristic barn-storming style is nearly four years old,

And that makes it out of date? Or what?

What JB overlooked to specify in his above is how that headline (in caps) was out of line with the paper's contents as you quote here. Yes there is indeed something unworthy about that headline. JB says that Geri Dawson was responsible for it. I guess the answer is yes, but I don't actually KNOW that GD wrote or even read that headline. Is it still there? Did anyone contact her to challenge it? Until we have answers to these questions it is premature to find her guilty of idiocy/corruption.

>>So, in fact, buried in the interstices of this study was information that it corroborated the earlier Uhlmann study!!!

Hmm. I didn't see any such corroboration in that info you quoted, just the possibility that both studies could be correct in at least some way.

>>Apart from that it worries me that you don't seem to take the point that when parents date their child's problems to the taking of a vaccine that they should actually be treated with respect and concern.

Of course they should be treated with respect and concern. Should even give some credibility to their statements of *fact*. But that doesn't mean you should assume their theories are correct, or do some clever statistical generalisation therefrom. It stands to reason that you aren't ever going to get any parents saying their children's autism caused them to have a vaccination a few hours later. Anecdotal evidence of becoming autistic is a much weaker than than the "anecdotes" of recoveries (that are supposedly impossible).

>>Not to do so - or to dismiss it all on the basis of epidemiology - is in itself an act of bad faith,

No it isn't. As I just said above, there's huge difference between disbelieving parents' reports of their observations and disbelieving the proto-theories they infer therefrom.

An infinitely clearer case of bad faith is the Hertz-Picciotto et al blood mercury 2010. It is absolutely inconceivable that whoever wrote that paper, carefully hiding its utter irrelevance in a cryptic sentence near the end, could have done so other than with deliberate deceit in mind.

On the other hand I believe that quite a lot of these falsehoods get written in a sort of self-deluding "good faith". For instance I suspect that Paul Offit actually believes he is guiding people to the truth with his outrageously deceiving works.

And yes, Geri has some dubious associations there. But maybe she is just seeking money and support for a (supposedly) good cause from wherever it may come. A good principle is that of J Christ, to judge them by their outputs. Not very hot on that measure either it seems. Unfortunately the notion that putting more money into a field will bring more progress rarely bears any relation to reality, as the professional pseudo-researchers soon home in to it.

I think an important problem with "professional science" [oxymoron] is that the basic obligatory qualification, of successfully persisting with a phd project for several years, virtually guarantees that genuinely talented people will never be allowed in. But there are still some honest people out there and sometimes a truth may get out.

They do go for the old post and sometimes it does skip our notice.

So as years tick by; I will have my say on this matter

daughter
1981-82 high temps with DPT shot
1983 baseball size knot at injection site - 7 weeks later a Kawasakis and a month stay in the hosptial
No damage to the heart - but what about the brain - did notice personality change.
1987 30 minutes after DPT shot passed out, heavy/rapid breathing/105 temp.
Teen age years depression and something wrong with the pituitary gland
2006 Hep B shot series - old stiffness returned but much worse. High SED rates/ immunologist said inflammatory disease unspecified.
Flu shot 2007 immediately began to cycle into high manias and low depressions when on a couple of months of not understandind of what was going on - psychosis from not sleeping found her in her room cutting imaginary bots out of her arms.

Son
1986- July received his first DPT shot/ ran a very high fever/ a week later went to the ped - he had a heart murmur - inflamed heart valve. His left ventricula was swollen - heart was boot shaped in the soft X ray.
1986 Nov Received second DPT shot ran a high fever, rapid breathing passed out
1987 end of Feb- received third DPT shot - six hours later ran a high fever, became unresponsive, pupils dilated, seized. Stopped walking, stopped noises, damaged his speech, ruined his fine motor skilss.
1987 middle of march seven weeks later ran a high fever, had seizures, fever lasted 14 days.
1987 middle of April 8 weeks - seized again ran a high fever that lastest for days.
It took a lot of years as they added up the damage. PDD-NOS, tourettes, epilepsy, speech problems, fine motor skills, and on.

Husband at age 28 after receiving many tetanus shots in the past. Received on at work, drove home, seized and past out in the hallway of our home.
Husband again at age 34 after stepping on a nail - was operated on and cleaned totally out was then assured all would be fine. He took another tetanus shot - three weeks later ever muscle in his body hurt - it took a year to get ot Emory clinic to be dignosed with mitochondrial myopathy like Hannah Poling -- same Complex I and III -- mainly I.

What about myself - think so at age 21 now that I about it - a small reaction that later lead to thyroid dysfunction.
What about my mother- yes- after a flu shot in her 30 yes - thought she had a neverous breakdown.

What about my sister-in-law - yes with aquired mythenis gravis
Her two twins with autism with an IQ 69/70
Her other son with bipolar/HDAD - yes again,
My preacher's wife - flu shot turned her totally red, including her eyes - and her operation to fix her knees a few years later.
My friend at church with another knee replacment
My neighbors- couple with diabeties- thinks so too.
My high school friend - her grandson with autism after a shost.
Our pharmacist's neice
Our vet is sure his two daughter's chrons like disease.
The people we bought our house from up in Michigan son had autism and they were sure it was the vaccines.
Our real state agent - thinks her neice became autistic after her vaccines
The lady I meet in the health department that owns a berry farm as I do - son was damaged by vaccines.
I could go on but you do get the point.
The gig is up!

Hi Robin,

It looks like it may have escaped your notice that this commentary in JB's characteristic barn-storming style is nearly four years old, and of course the primary question that he asked was whether Geraldine Dawson was "a blithering idiot". It is a fairly good question when you consider the following remarks from the paper itself, whch seem at utter variance from its headline conclusion and recommendations:

"Our results differ with reports noting MV RNA in ileal biopsies of 75% of ASD vs. 6% of control children... Discrepancies are unlikely to represent differences in experimental technique because similar primer and probe sequences, cycling conditions and instruments were employed in this and earlier reports; furthermore, one of the three laboratories participating in this study performed the assays described in earlier reports. Other factors to consider include differences in patient age, sex, origin (Europe vs. North America), GI disease, recency of MMR vaccine administration at time of biopsy, and methods for confirming neuropsychiatric status in cases and controls."

So, in fact, buried in the interstices of this study was information that it corroborated the earlier Uhlmann study!!! So, who were they all kidding? Geri Dawson, perhaps?

Apart from that it worries me that you don't seem to take the point that when parents date their child's problems to the taking of a vaccine that they should actually be treated with respect and concern. Not to do so - or to dismiss it all on the basis of epidemiology - is in itself an act of bad faith, which deserves only to lead to the mistrust and contempt that you see underpinning JB's polemic.

John

PS One problem is of course that "science polemics" have descended via Goldacre, Gorski et al to a very low level. I have just noted a BBC science/comedy programme which seems to work on the basis of lampooning any anyone who wanders from othodoxy. Other people are also seen as having conflicts - I don't know that we really need to regard scientist as having inherently more integrity than politicians or estate agents. Geri has some interesting conflicts:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/05/1-in-38-autism-speaks-new-normal-is-the-biggest-business-bonanza-ever.html

And the trouble is that she's talking across people - de-legitimising them on the basis of rank - who know that she's wrong. I would like to see a return to the basic courtesies of science, and the scientists can begin by cleaning up their own act.

I have no idea whether Geri Dawson is the most evil person on the planet, or alternatively one of autism research's greatest heroes/heroines.

What I do know is that JB Handley here comes to a very serious conclusion ("idiot" or "corrupt") on a basis of entirely unsound evidence. Basically just because he doesn't like the results of a new study he reacts by finding the messenger guilty. And he presumes that just because lots of parents "think" their autism was caused by mmr that ~therefore~ it obviously was (and this supposedly proves the measles results were a lie).

It is very important in science that people are free to state unpopular findings or notions without being subject to such character assassination reactions. This applies to this attack against Geri Dawson exactly the same as it does to the (certainly unwarranted) attacks against Dr Wakefield. Even if people espouse views that are absurdly illogical or counterfactual, we must understand that it does not follow that they are "either idiot or corrupt". I could easily say the same about Mr Handley but I won't. People just make mistakes. In any case I think Mr Handley should withdraw his remarks, or produce some sounder evidence, or do both.

Dr. Carolyn,

I do not mean to be snipe, but I agree with John. JB is not in the habit of making fillets out of people, only in calling out the truth. And that is exactly what Age of Autism is all about.

It is we, the parents, who have led researchers for over 40 if not 50 years, to the answers regarding causation research, and treatment methodology of autism spectrum disorders. BUT it is those such as Geri Dawson, and I might include yourself as well at this point, who are locked in a lab, and not speaking out.

The UK has 1 in 60 with autism. The US Dept. of Ed shows 1 in 67, and last count 1 in 88 (outdated) in the US military with autism. And it goes up every year.

Why haven't you spoken out previously in Geri's defense? Why now? Studies are many times bad across the board, yet no one but the autism community seems to speak up and say anything about these. We certainly don't see any retractions of badly done studies being published, with regard to autism, in ANY of the journals.

QUite simply, we have found the "real" culprits, the problem is this: you all have been locked in a lab too long and not living real life. You've not lived autism. We HAVE. And we HAVE found the culprits. You just can't figure it out. But We HAVE!

So again, not to be snipe, but shall I put my yellow sticky notes, any plastic, cable TV, (oh and of course my cell phone), in the recycling bin and everyone else does the same, and that will make autism disappear??? Sorry, I think NOT.

I am so glad to hear that sound research is being done by Autism Speaks the gene-environment interactions. I think I may have a few ideas for them. Outside the box of autism. Neurological in origin - again outside autism.

Have Autism Speaks ring Autism Salutes won't you???

Oh, again not to be a snipe (or snark), but as a parent I've got Geri beat in years of research, firing doctors, and getting my kids treated for neurological disorders, including autism. You game? I am. autismrr at gmail dot com

Lovely. I'll look to hear from you. I do believe the Managing Editor just might have my number, if you'd rather.

One last thing, you said it is not fair for "you to attack her personally because you disagree with her position..." Nor is it fair for GOVERNMENT and INSURANCE to "attack" AKA "discriminate" against our children with autism. And that is what happens hourly.

I'll look to hear from you.

Dr Schanen

You may be very offended on behalf of Dr Dawson (and not doing her many favours since this post is nearly a year old) but you are pretty offensive on your own behalf, and not very well informed. We have a lot of badly done studies which cover up the possible correlation between vaccines and autism, and a lot of parents who have witnessed the adverse effects of vaccine, only to be swept aside and ignored by arrogant, patronising and uninquisitive professionals like yourself. People are very fed up with being treated like this.

The evidence of the Japanese data on CHS is pretty striking.

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/japvaxautism/

I have known Geri Dawson for over 15 years and am absolutely horrified to see her fileted in this manner. She has committed her entire career to understanding the causes of autism- genetic, psychological and gene environment interactions. She is a solid scientist who cares deeply for children with autism and their families and has worked tirelessly on their behalf for her entire career. You can disagree with her but name calling and these unfounded, accusatory statements about her ethics are completely out of line. One of the major programs that she is supporting is trying to figure out what it is in the environment that is the risk because the sound scientific data are not supporting thimerosal as the environmental hit. Badly done studies that are widely cited that show a correlation between the increase in rate of autism and the vaccine rate have been detrimental to progress (you could get the same result if you looked at the rate of autism and the use of cable TV, yellow sticky notes, bottled water and the phthalates that emanate from all those plastics - anything that as become widely used in the past 30 years). The real culprits are still out there and she is trying very hard to help find them and through Autism Speaks, sound research is being done to investigate gene-environment interactions. It is not fair for you to attack her personally because you disagree with her position, especially when she has worked so hard for YOUR kids.

Carolyn Schanen, MD PhD
Nemours


Geraldine Dawson is a psychologist with no training in medicine or the biologicval sciences. This seemingly limits her ability to understand vaccine-autism work, other tahn echo others findings. Her research for decades has been largely uninventive and phenomenological; that is, describing symptoms and signs rather than causes. Despite many publications, her work has not advanced the care of patients with autism one iota, mainly because she lacks the basic science background to investigate and understand autism. Such a person should not have the title of "Chief Scientific Officer" of a nonprofit foundation.

The publication is a goldmine of innuendo and illusion, an excellent example of the use of limited fact sprinkled with scientific jargon describing procedures that pay lip service to previous studies it is supposed to invalidate, thence creating extensive suggestion, before inducing a conclusion that bears little relationship to the intention explicit in its original objective. No wonder it fools so many journalists, some of who parade scientific qualifications that belie their apparent dogmatic acceptance of illusion created by scientists. Why have they failed to ask the right questions?

Any journalist/investigator has an obligation not only to repeat the publication accurately but also to play devil's advocate otherwise all they do is repeat publication. That's not journalism, when there are dissenting views, it's advertising.

Look at the possible points for which a reasoning individual might require clarification..

For example, they state they used 48% “cases” v 23% “controls” who had MMR pre GI and that only 20% of “subjects” had "MMR pre GI" "and had GI pre AUT". I am always suspicious of statisticians who deliberately mix up titles; why not make it clear how many of each group (Case/Control) there were exactly and leave "Subjects" out of it in that case - the maths is easy enough?

For example, they discovered "only 2" children were positive for MV infection in the gut, but they do not clarify for the reader if either had "MMR before GI and GI before AUT", or not. If 2 kids have MV in their gut, even though the information would not alter their statistical deduction, in a cohort of only 47 of which there were 7 'opt outs' with only 13 controls even ONE boy with positive MV and a history of "MMR then GI then AUT" is clinically, if not statistically (and face it, they opine out of statistical jiggery pokery not absolute fact), significant.

For example, if Wakefields' families' autistic children "had MMR then GI then AUT" (if those parents sensibly presupposed the importance of "AUT coming after GI after MMR" for suspected MMR causation) it might have been a more useful, and more equitable, to have selected a cohort purely having kids who "had MMR then GI then AUT", as per Wakefield's families; thence investigate possible mechanism using DNA / RNA / PCR techniques, without clouding the issue through lots of ASD kids with or without GI problems who did not have MMR beforehand. OK it does not give the statistical appreciation Hornig et al produced but it offers an opportunity for scientific evaluation of clinically more appropriate children. One concludes that either this study was designed to cloud the issue, it being easy to show from a mixed but small cohort of AUT kids there are many without the "MMR to GI to AUT status" but it cannot say 100% for that cohort that the single child with AUT did not suffer GI and AUT due to MMR without specifying that the boy developed his GI and/or AUT before he had his MMR, so why not mention it?

For example, Controls had more vaccines than Cases yet that information is not investigated - confounding the issue - obviously parents that suspect MMR (and any other vaccine used before MMR was offered) are likely to avoid repeat doses, and possibly other vaccines, and therefore be “missing” from any sampling process no matter how large or small that sampling process is.

For example, MV was found in the 2 kids at different gut locations, in the Case more widespread than in the Control but, as the authors chose statistical wizardry over clinical deduction, this aspect was thrown out with the bathwater.

For example, different types of IBD may suggest different familial (genetic) predispositions; familial/genetic predispositions are ignored in this small study.

For example, they ignored the potential for temporary MV presentation – another layer of investigation – unacceptable when one considers their statement in conclusion.

Dawson spent her years in WA state robbing the media and ensuring that any biological or metabolic findings or biomedical interventions never hit the news.I've said for years, she owned the biggest jug of bleach in Seattle- enough to white wash everything.

Under her "center of excellence", children were drugged to submission rather than allow staff to reccommend diet changes- because to do so would be promoting "anecdotal" remedies. She sucks then, she still sucks now.

Fascinating to see that this week's issue of British Medical Journal has come out without a report of the Hornig study. They have gone for a news blackout in the UK, as this demonstrates.

http://www.bmj.com/content/vol337/issue7670/

"On the topic of MMR, can anyone out there tell me if there are cases in which the child only had MMR and no mercury vaccines at the same time?"
This is an important point, Cherry, which I would hope the DAN practitioners would help answer, and look at. The MMR doesn't have thimerosal; but it has MSG/glutamic acid, which can deplete glutathione, and thus make it more difficult for the child's body to excrete Hg (and Al) from other vaccines given at the same time or close to. The MSG in vaccines is a key player in this controversy. Go to msgtruth.org and see what Carol Hornlein has to say about this excitotoxin. And aspartame. And...and...
We've got a real convoluted ball of twine on our hands, needing - desperately - to be teased apart. The autism community will apparently have to finance their own studies, looking into the interactions between various vaccines. And damn it all, time's a'wasting...no thanks to the PTB, who are so wedded to their vaunted medical modality of vaccines that nothing must stand in the way of their application, not even the truth - the whole truth - about their side effects.
This debate should not be about being either anti-vax or pro-vax. It should be about being pro-truth. That's true science. What we've got now, unfortunately, is ideology. With a lot of hubris attached. Disgusting stuff.
No, vaccines are not the whole cause of ASD etc. (And an area that also needs further study is prenatal ultrasound. This is not the benign practice that it is made out to be.) But they are involved. And it is a crime knowingly to cover that lead up.

Thanks JB for your excellent article. It is now clear that the public health/pharma players are onto a delaying game and its not going to end soon. We desperately need some new counter tactics and perhaps we need some unity and organisation to carry those out.
Are we not also sometimes lured into the swamp of delay? I may be wrong as I was not part of it, but what was all that puzzle piece of autism thing? Did that not purvey the idea that pharma most loves- Autism its so so so mysterious- Its going to take us a hundred years to figure it out.
Right now I can picture some Dickensian characters raising their glasses and toasting their new gift of mitochondrial disorder. Since mitochondrial disorders have been so little studied- at least 10 to 20 years could get prolonged in that alone.I truly hope that we can find a way out of this.
On the topic of MMR, can anyone out there tell me if there are cases in which the child only had MMR and no mercury vaccines at the same time? We now have plenty of autistic kids in India but we dont seem to hear about this gut problem. There is probably a difference in vaccine schedules to account for this. Our kids get plenty of mercury vaccines- perhaps more than most US kids ever did, but I think the mmr may be given later and alone.I have met two families here who noticed immediate change after the mmr, but the kids dont seem to have the long term bowel problems, tho it is possible that those problems existed before I saw the kids. I also feel that the importance of fish as a source of mercury may have been underestimated in the U.S.. We are most likely to see autism in India among families that eat a lot of fish and in the children who have been vaccinated at govt clinics and hospitals as those clinics use Serum Institute of India vaccines that have the highest level of mercury (25 mcg mercury per pediatric dose)

one wonders what will happen to the former philosophy student Brian after the "trial". With autism, bowel problems and MMR taboo subjects in the uk lets hope he's not waisting his time writing a book he will be unable to promote or sell.
Poor Brian !

While we are on the subject of journalists, spare a thought for Brian Deer who originally brought the allegations against Andrew Wakefield. Deer - who has not been seen in the Sunday Times for more than a year - has placed the Hornig study on his website:

http://briandeer.com/mmr/hornig-lipkin.pdf

This is despite the fact that Hornig undermines his case fatally in two respects, repudiating both the claim that Wakefield's results were false positives, and that the three Royal Free Hospital doctors now standing trial at General Medical Council were acting unethically.

This is on top of the fact that the other part of his story, that Lancet editor Richard Horton, did not know of Wakefield's involvement in the MMR litigation has also collapsed:

http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vaccines/JABS%20Briefing%20Note,%209%20April%202008.pdf

So it looks, despite the silence of the British media, as if the entire story was garbage.

Poor Brian!

All I did was google "Geraldine Dawson Risperdal" last January on hearing of her appointment and came up with a lot of what you'd want to know about Dr. Dawson's views of autism (one sample among many): http://tinyurl.com/6zf25j

If mechanical engineering functionally based itself on the kind of science being touted by the mainstream press for autism, jumbo jets would drop from the sky like felled ducks, subways would launch through sidewalks and the axels in family sedans would jettison like rockets on ignition while their engines blasted shrapnel through the grill.

But when it comes to toxicology and neuroscience, "experts" like Geraldine Dawson can spout drivel and it's taken as gospel because the public can't actually "see" what goes on in the brain-- despite the fact that application of this thinking results in equivalent effects on our children as on the aforementioned planes, trains and automobiles.

So, in answer to the question- yes, probably.


Diane

I have no doubt some of the patterns are different in the US from the UK, but the media used to report on these matters and now with a few noble exceptions (and almost none in the UK) they do not. A great deal of the immense stonewall that has been constructed is corrupt, but a lot of it is intimidation. Journalists are disinclined to stick their necks out but in the UK, at least, it is the editors that have shut down on reporting our side entirely. Last year, as an example, the editor of Observer newspaper lost his job over a mildly flawed report concerning MMR, and he is now on his very best behaviour as editor of the Independent. How the pharma must have salivated as his head rolled.

By the way, one of the things to be said in favour of the Hornig study is that it is mostly written in perfectly intelligible English. But you are right, mostly even specialist science or health journalists seldom bother to look.

This study broke my heart. It is such a slap in the face to all the kids suffering so horribly with gut disease. The sweeping public statments by the authors about how this 38 person study (of which on 5 had regressive autism)definitively proves Wakefield "wrong" were positively jubliant. It is bizarre to see people patting themselves on the back after concluding that yes, severe physical GI pain exists among ASD children. The MMR horribly compromised my son's immune sytem and destroyed his bowels, forever. Sorry Mady, Ian and the CDC, I am not joining your celebration.

JB,

I think this about sums up what I think of the "recent MMR study".

http://forum.autisticliving.com/showthread.php?t=309

I was so excited when I saw that this "study" was taking place, even though I had no details. 38 kids? That's two classrooms, in a SMALL school.

We're putting the health of the world's children in the hands of two classrooms?

The question "Are you **ittin me?" came to mind when I read the results.

My advice is to gather 38 children for the next event you do. Line them up on stage, or better yet, cluster them together in the crowd. Then say "This is the amount of children we're basing decisions for the world on. We ask for major research studies, and they take a hard look at a boy scout troop"

...and yes, "corrupt hack" about sums it up too.

-AL

As one who is trained in journalism - I can tell you the problem. Most journalists never even read a study - they read the press release from the agency or study sponsor and create a story from that (sometimes the story is 100% news release)

Since most jounralists have no formal training in science, biology or medicine they likely wouldn't understand it anyways. Thus the spin from a study (likely pharma sponsored - either directly or indirectly) hits the news.

In defense, I have a vested interest in the studies (a kiddo with ASD) and I honestly half the time don't understand what I'm reading - so it wouldn't do many of them any good to try to deipher it on their own.

Any good investigative reporter (like our own DK and DO) relies on experts to help them decipher the information. (The question then becomes who is an expert). After weighing this infomration they may come to a conclusion or present both sides and let the readers decide.

Case in point, the FDA (with scientists) has been duped for years by research studies; journalists - easy pickens!

I emailed Peter Bell at Autism Speaks asking him to include a link to Thoughtful House's statement in their blurb on the MMR study.
http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/pr/040908.htm

No response, and no action taken to date.

You say, "Geri Dawson is either a blithering idiot, or she is a corrupt, partisan hack...."

One can be both.

This just proves the point that we need "practice based evidence" rather than "evidence based practices".

Find out whats working in practice and study that appropriately. It will help people immediately and also provide "evidence" of what the potential causes are.

The evidence based science is a slow moving bureaucracy cash cow for researchers who often spend all that money to conclude "needs more study" (translates to "we need more funding"). Autism Speaks is a corporate charity based on milking this paradigm.

I am certainly not against science or study - that's what I do. But our kids need help now. Our kids deserve the funding that furthers improvements now rather than researchers endlessly looking at brain scans to see how they react to pictures of Cartoon characters smiling (think Monty Python "do you have the machine that goes "BING"?) hoping that will somehow one day detect and prevent. Hey, what about those dealing with autism now? How about funding finding the cause(s) rather than funding the detection equipment and specialists? Then we won't need to waste money that parents with little money raise walking on endless genetic and brain scan studies, 6 figure incomes, corporate jets (just ask Diddy how expense that gets), or high rent offices.

Thank you JB. I remember when Burbacher's study first came out and the media tried to spin the results into proof that ethyl mercury cleared the body faster than methyl mercury.

The media selectively misrepresents or ignores anything that would shake confidence in the claim that "studies show no link."

Anne Dachel
Media editor

Let's be clear, the Hornig study states:

"Our results differ with reports noting MV RNA in ileal biopsies of 75% of ASD vs. 6% of control children [10], [41]. Discrepancies are unlikely to represent differences in experimental technique because similar primer and probe sequences, cycling conditions and instruments were employed in this and earlier reports; furthermore, one of the three laboratories participating in this study performed the assays described in earlier reports. Other factors to consider include differences in patient age, sex, origin (Europe vs. North America), GI disease, recency of MMR vaccine administration at time of biopsy, and methods for confirming neuropsychiatric status in cases and controls."

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0003140

So, if they had replicated the Uhlmann study they are saying that they would most probably have got the same results.

I have just had a very interesting email exchange with a leading British science journalist. His response was:

1) He had reported what authors said (it has to be said somewhat selectively).

2) The authors had not complained.

3) He would only report criticisms if they appeared in a peer review journal.

There was a British civil servant, Lord Armstrong, who attempted on behalf of the government in the mid 1980s to stop the memoirs of a former British spy being published in Australia. Under pressure in the Australian court he admitted to being "economical with the truth". I am afraid that that is where we are now with the serious players in this tragedy.

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