Managing Editor's Note: Who thinks this list is naughty and who thinks it's nice?
By David Kirby
It’s getting harder to keep up with the list of scientists, doctors, public health officials and government leaders who now believe that a vaccine-autism connection is at the least possible, and should be researched further.
Earlier this week, Dr. Peter Fletcher, former Chief Scientific Officer at the UK Department of Health was added. Now, eight more prominent researchers have joined the group. (See list below – they are the last eight names added).
These are the authors of the new study, “Mitochondrial Disease in Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients: A Cohort Analysis,” (HERE) who did chart reviews on Hannah Poling and two dozen other young people with autism and mitochondrial dysfunction.
In my opinion, it could well prove to be one of the most significant autism studies published to date. (My Huffington Post article on this is HERE.
Mito disorders, which might affect 7-to-30 percent of all children with ASD, can predispose kids to developmental regression following a stressful trigger. Such a trigger might come from a febrile infection – or it could conceivably come from a vaccine reaction, the authors wrote.
“There might be no difference between the inflammatory or catabolic (breaking down of tissue) stress of vaccinations and that of common childhood diseases, which are known precipitants of mitochondrial regression,” they said.
And then they wrote this: “Large, population-based studies will be needed to identify a possible relationship of vaccination with autistic regression in persons with mitochondrial cytopathies (cellular disorders).”
And so, they get added to the list.
The list keeps changing in other ways. For example, late last spring it listed, “all three presidential candidates” (Obama, Clinton and McCain). Soon enough, that will be changed to US President, Secretary of State, and a pivotal and potentially filibuster-busting Senator from Arizona.
Another change: Before, the list said, “Autism researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.” Now, those people can be named, along with their colleagues: Investigators at the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital. I have also listed experts from Harvard, UC Davis and Autism Speaks, who were part of the Strategic Planning Workgroup for Autism Spectrum Disorders of the federal Inter-Agency Autism Committee (IACC).
It makes you wonder how long the term “fringe” can seriously be applied to people who believe that this debate is not over.
Finally, keep your eye on the draft National Vaccine Plan at HHS, especially this January - right around the time the nation gets a new HHS Secretary and, reportedly, a new Director of the CDC – both of whom could potentially be added to the list, as well.
In 2008, the following groups and individuals have advocated, or at least considered, further study of a possible vaccine-autism connection:
1) Presidenti-Elect Barack Obama,
2) Sen. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Designee
3) Sen. John McCain, Senior Senator from Arizona and pivotal minority vote
4) Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC
5) Dr. Bernadine Healy, Former Director of the NIH and President of the American Red Cross
6) Rep. Brad Miller, (D-NC), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science and Technology
7) Members of the HHS Vaccine Safety Working Group
8) Officials at the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office who drafted the federal vaccine safety research agenda, the National Vaccine Plan
9) Medical personnel at the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of HHS, who ordered federal compensation to Hannah Poling for her vaccine-associated autism.
10) Members of the CDC’s Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network (CISA)
11) America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national association representing nearly 1,300 companies covering more than 200 million Americans
12) Research grant making officials at Autism Speaks
13) Dr. Douglas Wallace, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, Director of the UCI Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine in Genetics, and member of the Scientific & Medical Advisory Board of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
14) Dr. Peter Fletcher, former Chief Scientific Officer at the UK Department of Health
15) Dr. Jon Poling, prominent neurologist and father to Hannah Poling
16) Dr. Isaac Pessah, Professor and Chair, VM: Molecular Biosciences,
Director, Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California, Davis, and member of the Strategic Planning Workgroup for Autism Spectrum Disorders of the federal Inter-Agency Autism Committee (IACC).
17) Dr. Martha Herbert, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology Director, Transcend Research Program, Harvard Medical School, and member of the Strategic Planning Workgroup for Autism Spectrum Disorders of the federal Inter-Agency Autism Committee (IACC).
18) Dr. Geraldine Dawson, Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks, and member of the Strategic Planning Workgroup for Autism Spectrum Disorders of the federal Inter-Agency Autism Committee (IACC).
19) Dr. Jacqueline R. Weissman, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
20) Dr. Richard I. Kelley, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University Medical Center and Division of Metabolism, Kennedy Krieger Institute
21) Dr. Margaret L. Bauman, Department of Pediatrics and Learning and Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Rehabilitation Services (LADDERS), Massachusetts General Hospital
22) Dr. Bruce H. Cohen, Neurological Institute and Pediatrics Institute, Cleveland Clinic
23) Dr. Katherine F. Murray, Genomic Department of Pediatrics and Learning and Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Rehabilitation Services (LADDERS), Massachusetts General Hospital
24) Dr. Rebecca L. Mitchell, Genomic Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic
25) Dr. Rebecca L. Kern, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University Medical Center and Division of Metabolism, Kennedy Krieger Institute
26) Dr. Marvin R. Natowicz, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
HHS Secretary Designee Tom Daschel, who said in November of 2002: “Mercury-based vaccine preservatives actually have caused autism in children.”
David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a contributor to Age of Autism and blogs for Huffington Post.