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« Age of Autism Awards 2008 People of the Year Honorees | Main | Holiday Autism Supplement Contest from Lee Silsby! »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Person of the Year: Dr. Bernadine Healy

Healy By Dan Olmsted

It was the shot -- or, rather, the words about the shots -- heard 'round the world. In a U.S. News column in April and then a brave interview on CBS in May, one person yanked the vaccine-autism debate back into the mainstream of medicine where it has always belonged.

For that, and more, it is a pleasure to name Bernadine Healy Age of Autism's Person of the Year.

This was not a hard decision. Just listen:

 "I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the [vaccine-autism] hypothesis as 'irrational,' without sufficient studies of causation... without studying the population that got sick," Dr. Healy told CBS's Sharyl Attkisson. "I have not seen major studies that focus on 300 kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of the vaccines."

 Holy moley.



David Kirby put it this way: "As someone who has come under, shall we say, 'sniper fire' for refusing to concede that there is no link between vaccines and autism, I now have a semi tongue-in-cheek response to my once and future critics: 'Go tell it to Dr. Healy.'"

Go tell it to Dr. Healy, Paul Offit. Go tell it to Dr. Healy, Dr. Tayloe. Go tell it to Dr. Healy, all you condescending public health officials who cite your eight or nine or however many studies that "prove" vaccines don't cause autism.

But be prepared to argue with someone your own size -- in fact, someone much more imposing in terms of credentials and credibility. Member of the Institute of Medicine. Former head of the Red Cross. And, most importantly, former head of the National Institutes of Health.

We're so used to hearing the folks at the CDC opine on their studies that show vaccines are safe (actually, they don't) that we've come to think the CDC is responsible for figuring out what's causing autism (actually, they're not).

The nation's premier medical entity is the one Bernadine Healy headed. They are the ones who spend the money to do the research to find the answers to what cause particular diseases. And then they figure out how to treat and, ultimately, cure them.

The NIH went wobbly on us this year. Dr. Tom Insel, who occasionally shows flashes of recognition that autism is an epidemic, and thus an environmental disorder that could be triggered by vaccines, turned around and made the IACC -- charged with figuring out how to spend the billion dollars Congress appropriated -- into a toothless agent of the status quo.

In contrast, Dr. Healy stood up and spoke out for thousands of parents -- you know, the ones whose first-hand observations are supposedly just anecdotal evidence, the weakest kind of scientific data.

Well then, says Dr. Healy, why don't we go study them like actual  scientists instead of shills for the vaccine-development complex? Take 300 children whose parents believe they developed autism soon after vaccination and study the heck out of them.

 "We do have the opportunity to understand whether or not there are susceptible children -- perhaps medically, perhaps they have a metabolic issue, mitochondrial disorder, medical issue -- that makes them more susceptible to vaccines, plural, or to one particular vaccine, or to a component of vaccines, like mercury."

Oh, and you have to love her comment on mercury in that U.S. News article:
 "Pediatricians were concerned enough about mercury, which is known to cause neurological damage in developing infant and fetal brains, that they mobilized to have thimerosal removed from childhood vaccines by 2002. Their concern was not autism but the lunacy of injecting mercury into little kids through mandated vaccines that together exceeded mercury safety guidelines designed for adults."

Lunacy! And mercury is in the flu shot pregnant women and infants get, and in vaccines distributed around the world for the sole reason that the lunatics who run the show in the United States say it's A-OK.

There's another kind of shot Bernadine Healy has given all of us, one that won't wear off or cause adverse events: She gave us a shot of Adrenalin just when we needed it most.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

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What else is she - Pete???

What did she get out of declaring that vaccines were causing harm????

Did she become the head of a pharm corp for that???

Did important people with loads of money and power, put her on their shoulders and rush her throught the streets claiming her queen????

Or did they try to assissanate her character by such the likes as you???

Healy is a corporate shill.. She was the reason James Watson (DNA Discoverer) left the human genome project.. She was a driving force behind putting patents on certain genes and sequences..

Shame on her and shame on the author of this article for not doing his research..

thank you dr. healy! you have made me feel a little less crazy. on a day to day basis people would like to say we are all crazy for thinking these thoughts about the beloved vaccines. but you have stood up and said we have every right to feel this way. thank you

Thank you Dr. Healy! Your bravery to speak the truth is greatly appreciated by us all. Congratulations, you deserve it!

"Considering all the worry and talk of paid shills for "Big Pharma" has anyone here taken the time to find out that Healy was a paid shill for Big Tobacco?"

mayhempix, do you think its possible she "gets" it *because* of her past connection to Big Tobacco? Do you see the similarity between cigarettes and vaccines and the damage both cause to the health of a susceptible segment of the population? Maybe vaccines should come with a warning - injecting vaccines can be hazardous to your health!!

Mayhempix, we posted your comment last night. It's there in plain sight. We removed the link. We do not have to allow links to every site on the Internet. As usual, your sort has to come in with fists held high to challenge us.


Kim

You did not post my comment and link about Healy's connection to Big Tobacco. If you are so confident in your positions, why must you censure facts?

If you do not post this comment, you have no credibility.

Ben Kliber said: ""Has anyone ever gone back to the time when mmr was not given to children at one time what was the % of autism then and now?"

Yes. Similar studies have been performed in the UK and Japan."

Thanks Ben. Please provide citations so we can follow up on these studies.

Mayhempix - What's your point? Is Big Tobacco paying her to speak out on the vaccine-autism connection? Hmmm, doesn't seem likely!

For some info on Dr. Healy's bio, go to www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_145.html and to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadine_Healy

Yes she did serve on an advisory board of a group later shown to be funded by Phillip Morris, but her career is full of many positive accomplishments -- starting with her graduation summa cum laude from Vassar College with a major in chemistry and a minor in philosophy, then graduation cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1970 as one of only ten women out of 120 students in her class.

Per the NIH bio, "While she was at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Healy undertook a number of initiatives. She established an award program to keep talented scientists working within the grant system during funding lapses, oversaw the development of a major intramural genetics laboratory and an Institute for Nursing Research, and launched the $625 million Women's Health Initiative (a long-term health study involving 150,000 women). In the interest of better understanding the different ways disease and treatment affect men and women, she also established a policy whereby the National Institutes of Health would fund only those clinical trials that included both men and women when the condition being studied affected both genders.

"As president of the American Heart Association from 1998 to 1999, she initiated pioneering research into women's heart disease and demonstrated that medical progress depends on the public and medical community's perception that there is a problem to be solved. Healy set out to convince both the lay and medical sectors that heart disease is also a woman's disease, 'not a man's disease in disguise.'" Sounds to me like an extremely bright woman with a mind of her own.

Yes, she is a Republican. But there are both Republicans and Democrats on both sides of autism and vaccine issues.

Mayhempix, what ulterior "motives" are you attributing to Dr. Healy? What role could "party politics" possibly have in her decision to speak out regarding vaccine concerns? I think you are just throwing mud -- irrelevant mud.

Considering all the worry and talk of paid shills for "Big Pharma" has anyone here taken the time to find out that Healy was a paid shill for Big Tobacco? Surely the fact that tobacco is one of the world's biggest preventable killers should give one pause as to Healy's motives. A lifelong Republican, she consistently sided with party politics against science. Hero? Think again.

Amen on Dr. Healy giving us "a shot of Adrenalin just when we needed it most." The winter into spring of '08 was like an Emeril dish -- lots of BAM!

Thanks to Dr. Healy for not giving up nor turning her back on the notion of the susceptible children. My Megan is one of them. Please keep it coming.

'The lunacy of injecting mercury into little kids...' says it all. Calling it "safe mercury" or claiming that it's only "trace" amounts of a known neurotoxin can't change the reality that children are being exposed to poison in their vaccines. History will record that most medical officials saw the damage done and continued to deny it was happening. It will be the voices like Dr. Healy's that will be remembered.

Anne Dachel
Media editor

Dr. Healy- One more shining star to bring light in the dark night. A hero and a true scientist. Just think what that means. So many scientists and so few TRUE scientists. Every Age of Autism person knows that now .And who knows better than the autism parents the meaning of real science. Remember the recovered autistic child who spoke to his mother , "Mom, Im back from the living dead".
What greater irony can there be that the humans with brains clever enough to become scientists persist in playing vaccine roulette with the brains of small children.Surely there must be a great failure in the method of training doctors and scientists. Who among us could have imagined that we lived in such an age of ignorance?and what a terrible price the families and children have paid for that.

"Has anyone ever gone back to the time when mmr was not given to children at one time what was the % of autism then and now?"

Yes. Similar studies have been performed in the UK and Japan.

has anyone ever gone back to the time when mmr was not given to cheldren at one time what was the % of autism then and now? and what about gmo's before and after they became widely used

MEDICINE – THE LOUSY SCIENCE

Thank you for recognizing Dr Healy. Even in churches you hear priests and ministers share times of doubt with their congregations, but in the sanctimonious sound bites issued from our medical science leaders, there is no room to acknowledge the plausible unknown when pushing an agenda. For breaking out of the cult leader mindset indoctrinated by her former position, Dr. Healy deserves a recovery award as well.

If you want to measure the force of gravity, you can design an experiment and repeat it with consistent results down to the most precise decimal places that are within our equipments capability. You can also predict what that measurement will be on the surface of the moon, or any body in our solar system. That is science. In medicine it is impossible to control the innumerable variables because we are not all robotic clones living in lab cages. Medicine is a lousy science that produces miserably inconsistent results with nearly every product that comes out of it. That is not to say that medicine does not produce spectacular results, its just that it remains consistently prone to failure in some percentage of applications.

I don't blame people for defending their life's work, but for blurring or crossing the lines of what has been scientifically established in defending that work and for obfuscating the potential failures of their work, a great deal of professional shame has been earned that no amount of group think will make go away.

Dr. Healy stepped up in a big way and continues to ask the questions that need to be asked with the money entrusted to find the roots of autism and other childhood conditions on the rise such as allergies, asthma and diabetes. Whether these lines off inquiry result in safer vaccines or not, a government mandated program as intrusive and potentially catastrophic as vaccination requires vigilance and continuous efforts to answer remaining questions of efficacy, safety, and quality to market.

Here some recent questions by Healy:

http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/childrens-health/2008/12/11/a-government-call-for-vaccine-research.html

i love dr. healy for this...and i may be an ungrateful glutton...but where is she now? we need ACTION! is there anything she can do to further our fantastic need for forward movement?

Great choice!!! Healy's CBS News interview exposing the medical bureaucracy's intentional avoidance of studying those who became sick following vaccinations is a devastating affirmation that our Federal Government has thrown countless children under the bus.

Her interview was so full of truth that it quickly became my favorite link of 2008:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/12/cbsnews_investigates/main4086809.shtml

Let's hope that Dr. Bernadine Healy is willing to stand by the utterances she made a few months ago! The vaccinated versus non-vaccinated studies truly need to be done!

Aasa

Excellent choice. It was brave of Dr. Healy to speak up about this. Consider the case of Hannah Polling who had a "mitochondrial disorder". Then consider what happens in the mitochondria:

“There is a low-affinity glutamate transporter that acts as a 1:1 cystine-glutamate exchanger and carries cystine to the interior of the cell in exchange for intracellular glutamate. The released glutamate undergoes rapid uptake via the Na+/K+ glutamate transporter. Accumulation of extra-cellular glutamate inhibits the cystine-glutamate exchanger, resulting in depletion of cell stores of cystine. This predisposes to oxidative stress, because cysteine, a derivative of cystine, is required for synthesis of the anti-oxidant glutathione."

Pg 296 Basic Neurosciences with Clinical Applications by Eduardo E. Benarroch, M.D.

It makes perfect sense that vaccines containing high amounts of glutamate from hydrolyzed gelatin, WOULD affect a child with a "mitochondrial" disorder if it was this one. Before someone says that Hannah's case was rare, consider that one of the genes involved in ASD is RNF8 - which helps the body MAKE glutathione.

And so here is the basic recipe for ASD:
Child with RNF8 mutation + excess extracellular glutamate (from hydrolyzed gelatin in vaccine) = mitochondrial cystine depletion = intra-cellular cysteine depletion = glutathione depletion = neuronal cell death + heavy metal toxicity + ASD

Since we KNOW which genes will have that effect, ANY child with the RNF8 gene should be identified AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to protect that child from one size fits all vaccine schedule they have been subjecting these children to.

Hannah was not a rare case. Heavy metal toxicity as well as low levels of glutathione and taurine (also made from cysteine) should be the very good clue as to who should be immediately put on a low glutamic acid (GF-CF) diet. Immediately.

Hero is definitely the word for Dr. Healy.

Her sense of personal integrity is evidently much stronger than her innumerable colleagues, many of whom continue to unquestioningly take the path of least resistance.

Here's to integrity over opportunism!

Excellent choice - and I also must add that Dr. Healy is truly a woman of great courage way above and beyond the autism community - woman of the year, anyone?

A very good choice.

I commend Dr. Healy for speaking honestly on these difficult subjects despite enormous pressure to remain silent.

I hope that those who frequent this page respect what Dr Healy has done and said, not by overstating her comments, but by supporting the call for more research on all aspects of autism cause and cure.

An excellent choice - truly a hero. Her words make so much sense. She is not afraid to go out on a limb. Thank you so so much, Dr. Bernadine Healy.

Yes, great choice. Dr. Healy has the credibility as both a top public health official and as a third party without a vested interest in either side of the debate.

For her statements, Dr. Healy has also taken quite a bit flack from Paul Offit and his minions. See Dr. Catherine Lord's editorial about his 'False Prophet's' book in the Dec issue of Science Magazine (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/322/5908/1635.

Dr. Lord characterizes Dr. Healy as a villian in this story, even though this NON-SCIENTIFIC slanderous rambling rant has no mention of Dr. Healy. As an autism parent, CHOP and U Michigan are now at the top of my list of places never to take our children for help.

Sorry Dr. Lord, there is NO science that closes the debate on autism and vaccines--just your wishful thinking and poor understanding of both biology and epidemiology.

Healy deserves the award, hands down, for her thoughtful discourse on the 'Open Scientific Question' and for her more recent US News WR article(s) on how to improve vaccine safety.

Great post! Dr. Healy is a hero and so are all of you at Age of Autism. Dan, you gave me a shot of adrenalin this AM, and I truly needed it. Thank you.

Brilliant and uplifting choice - now how to spread word of this beyond those directly impacted by autism. Try issuing formal press releases, perhaps starting with independent media, such as http://www.democracynow.org/
for the general public,
and, for the medical community, include every medical school in the country, targeting faculty and students alike, plus professional associations.

Enough is enough. (By the way, shouldn't OB/GYNs, family practitioners, internists, and medical ethicists be invited to join every discussion on autism, too?)

Dr. Healy deserves accolades and a wide platform for her leadership and other contributions. Thank you for bringing her to the attention of the public at large with this award.

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