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Best of A of A: Part 2, What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?

Cdcpolitics

Managing Editor's Note: We've re-run this post as a follow up to the resignation of Dr. Julie Gerberding.

Part 2 of 2

By Mark Blaxill

From the start of their activities in the Brick Township New Jersey autism study, the CDC's approach had been nothing short of diligent and competent. They responded rapidly to an expression of community concern and fielded a team that began what seemed to be all the right kind of work on the ground. The team generated a response within weeks of mobilizing. They held a press conference to express their support for community concerns about elevated autism rates. If not a virtuoso performance, it was certainly professional.

Then something changed. After their January 1999 press conference, the CDC team went underground.

After many months of active communication and prompt response, they ceased all communication with Bobbie Gallagher and other member of the Brick POSSE that had first noticed the surprisingly high number of autism cases in 3-4 year olds in Brick. Team members explained that higher-ups were concerned about the way the team had communicated their findings publicly, using the terms "elevated" and "cluster" in describing the autism situation. Vague political rumors circulated as an explanation for the new sensitivity from Washington DC. But whatever the cause, it wasn't until well over a year later, April 2000, that the CDC's Brick study team would resurface. And when they did, all talk of a cluster was gone. All concern expressed in mid 1997 for the surge in 3-4 year old kids (who were 4-6 years old in 1998) was gone as well. Politics and public relations priorities, it seems, had taken precedence.

There was, to be sure, more work to be done after January 1999. The team added more autism cases to its count of "over 40" reported in their first press conference. By the time of their final report in April 2000, the CDC had identified 60 cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a population of just 8,900 children between the ages of three and ten. This rate, 1 in 150 children, was the highest autism rate ever reported anywhere in the world up to that time, and might even have understated the real rate. Bobbie Gallagher believed the CDC's count left out quite a few families that had left Brick and that an approach that accounted for migration would have yielded over 70 cases.

But by early 1999, the CDC team had virtually all the information it would ever get on autism rates in Brick. What did they do with that information?

They had two questions they really needed to address in any final report. The first was the issue of locally elevated environmental toxins: the kind of industrial contamination that might have provoked a Brick autism cluster. The Brick POSSE certainly believed that they had discovered a cluster. Bobbie Gallagher thought that there was something in the water. And so there was great concern over specific chemicals that might be harming their unborn children. Gallagher expressed skepticism that vaccines had anything to do with her own children's autism. "It's possible that vaccines are a factor in some families, but I don't think that's what happened with my two children", she told me. "I brought two autistic babies back from the hospital."

So with the support of local parents, the CDC team focused on water quality. And they had a specific hypothesis about the nature of the contamination. The CDC team member from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) had written a paper just a few years before that linked trihalomethanes (THMs) to a variety of birth defects, including neural tube defects. Frank Bove (who according to Gallagher had two autistic children himself) believed that these neural tube defects could be the key missing piece in the puzzle. Bove consulted with Patricia Rodier, a researcher from Rochester who had worked on toxins that she believed could cause neural tube defects in autism. And the ATSDR report on Brick went on at some length about their concerns over THMs (a pervasive toxin that Bobbi Gallagher knew was elevated in the local water supply) and neural tube defects. But in Bove's particular approach to the analysis of Brick's autism cases and THM exposure, there was no smoking gun. In fact, any way they cut the data, they could find no link between the elevated THM rates in the local water supply and the local autism cases.

In short, ATSDR's quest for a singular environmental toxin that might provide an easy explanation for Brick’s autism problem came up empty. So despite autism rates in Brick that were far higher than anything ever seen before, CDC and ATSDR were unwilling to declare the Brick community an autism cluster. To this day, autism rates in NJ are among the highest in the nation and among the highest reported anywhere in the world (one recent survey reported a rate of 1 in 93 children). But in part because no obvious and easy toxin presented itself for blame and removal, the CDC took no position. And they pursued the issue no further.

The second question on the CDC's plate was the question of the rising trend in autism rates. In Gallagher's support group meeting in 1997, everyone had remarked on the unusually large numbers of 3-4 year old cases. And by January of 1999, the CDC had a great deal of data on ages and birth years of their affected population. Their conclusion on trend? In a classic bit of statistical doublespeak, they declared that there was no support for higher autism rates in younger children. "Age-specific rates were calculated for preschool (3- to 5-year-old) and school-aged (6- to 10-year-old) children...CIs [confidence intervals] for the 2 age groups overlapped, indicating that the prevalence rates for the 2 age-groups were not different."

But how could this be true? It seemed to fly in the face of everything observed by the parents and professionals on the ground, not to mention the hints that the CDC had been hearing for years about rising autism rates all over the country. Unlike the search for environmental toxins in the water, there was nothing all that complicated about the trend. Either there were more cases or there weren't. And if the rates were rising, however hard it might be to pin down the cause, it was important to keep looking, because too many children were sick.

In mid 2002, it occurred to a few of us at SafeMinds that the CDC's conclusion in their Brick Township report was likely to be flawed. Not only was the rising trend apparent in their data, there were also a number of odd elements in their design and write up. For one thing, the age groupings were strange—separating the sample into two groups of unequal size, 3-5 and 6-10 year olds. Why would they not divide the population into equal sizes, putting 3-6 year olds and 7-10 year olds together? For another, as I had learned in examining Lisa Croen's claims of diagnostic substitution in California, autism time trends can be easily misinterpreted if the analysts don't factor in the lag time that the youngest children face in getting recognized (the technical term is "ascertainment bias"). What if the Brick team, as most survey teams had done before them, had simply undercounted three year olds?

So Sallie Bernard sent an email to Frank DeStefano of the CDC, whom she had met at a recent meeting. She asked him what would happen to the Brick rates with 3 year olds removed. And he responded in a May 10, 2002 email, "For overall ASD, the prevaleces (sic) were: 10.2 per 1,000 among children 4-6 years old, 4.4 per 1,000 among those 7-10 years old." Sallie promptly thanked him and, noticing that this rate differential seemed larger than the published study, asked him if these were statistically significant. DeStefano's response was telling.

"The results are based on 35 cases out of an estimated 3442 children 4-6 years of age, and 19 cases out of an estimated 4272 children 7-10 years of age. The difference in prevalences noted below is statistically significant." [emphasis added] 

In other words the published conclusion changed completely if you simply removed a single age group, the three year olds.

Despite providing a stunning admission, DeStefano had still not given us what we really wanted, which was the breakdown by age category. So Sallie asked him again. And a few months later, she received this response from Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp.
 
"Hi Sallie, Happy New Year!  Frank Destefano has asked me to respond to your question about rates of autistic disorder for Brick Township.
They are: (per 1000), rounded

3 yo    2.5
4 yo     6.1
5 yo     7.8
6 yo     7.0
7 yo     6.4
8 yo     2.0
9 yo     ----
10 yo   ----
TOTAL   4.0"

This was even more of a shocker. What Yeargin-Allsopp had revealed was that there was not a single case of full syndrome autism in the entire Brick Township population of nine and ten year olds. This was a different case definition than the one DeStefano had given us, which included PDD NOS and Asperger's cases. But it provided clear statistical support for the parental concern over the unusual number of cases in the younger children. And here it was in black and white -- the CDC had this data all along.

So on the second crucial part of their charge, the evidence was clear. The CDC knew there was an autism epidemic in Brick Township in 1998. And they neither said nor did anything about it. In fact, they did exactly the opposite: they used a clever bit of statistical trickery to cover it up.

How clever was it? Well once you have the real trend data, you can figure out how hard the CDC had to work in order to report a result that said there was no trend. And in the months between January 1999 and April of 2000, the CDC figured out just about the only possible way to claim that autism rates weren't rising. They took the 6-10 year group, one where autism rates rose from just plain zero to 1 in 143 and put them into one bucket. They took the 3-5 year old group, which due to ascertainment bias had a declining rate (from 1 in 128 to 1 in 394) and put them into another bucket. And they compared these two ratios and reported that there was no significance to the rising trend. And if you run the statistics on just this arrangement of the data, they are correct.

But the problem with this approach is that it's too clever by half. Virtually every other reasonable grouping shows a significant increase.

•  DeStefano's analysis comparing ASD rates in 4-6 year olds with 7-10 year olds gave a significant increase with a 99% confidence level (statistical "significance" kicks in at 95% confidence).

•  If you take the full syndrome autism group and divide it into two equally sized buckets, comparing 3-6 year olds and 7-10 year olds, you also get a significant result with 99% confidence.

•  If you take the 5-6 year old group of full syndrome kids and compare it to the 9-10 year old kids, you get an even more significant finding, more than 99.9% confidence.

As the saying goes, there are lies, damned lie and statistics. If this wasn't a cover up, I don't know what else to call it.

For some, myself included, a picture is worth a thousand words. And if the problem in Brick was indeed more than a cluster, if there was a broader national trend towards rising autism rates, then what matters is not just the age of the Brick children, but their birth years. A more consistent national trend would be revealed if we could find similar changes in autism rates in the same birth years. And a clear picture of the increasing trend would help us identify the kinds of environmental causes that weren't just local elevated toxins in the Brick water supply.

The Brick study provided the first data that could paint this picture and show the specific turning point in autism rates. The age groupings in the Brick team's study were based on the "attained age in 1998", so the ages are easily converted to birth years. Every child who attained the age of three in 1998 was born in 1995, the four year olds were born in 1996 and so on, up to the ten year olds, who were born in 1988. The chart below shows the data Yeargin-Allsopp sent to Sallie Bernard and compares it to the data the CDC published. As you can see, the rates exploded in the 1990-94 birth years and then dropped off a bit in the 3 year olds, due to the ascertainment effect. Looking at the numbers year by year (the dotted line), and comparing them to the published rates (the flat solid line), it's easy to see just how deceptive the CDC's reported findings truly were.


Brickjpeg_2

As I said in part 1, there is a moment of truth in the life of any institution. And here was the moment for the CDC, the crucial point "when they proceeded from uncertainty, to confusion, to (perhaps if we're charitable) error and then to a policy commitment.” In this case, attributing the stage after confusion to error is more charitable than the CDC deserves. Faced with the evidence pointing to the worst childhood epidemic in modern memory, the CDC chose to cover it up. When you have the real data, the numbers literally jumped off the page. But the only published finding was "no trend", the only commentary, bland reassurance.

What kind of pressure would make professional people do something like this? After such a diligent and responsive start, such a spirit of openness and candor, what moved the CDC team to put their head in the sand and walk away?

It's worth remembering what was happening in the period between January 1999 and April 2000. Most of Washington DC was consumed with the impeachment proceedings ending in Clinton's acquittal on February 12, 1999. In March 1999, just two months after the CDC press conference, the California Department of Developmental Services issued their own report showing the sharp increases of autism rates in California. A few months after that, in July 1999, the Public Health Service announced its plans to remove thimerosal from childhood vaccines. So as the team completed their work, it's almost certain that the public posture the CDC would take in the Brick report took on added importance. After all, as the chart shows, the real surge in Brick was in line with the expansion in the required immunization program, certainly correlated with thimerosal exposure. So there's little doubt that the CDC was worried about its own role in provoking an autism epidemic. At the same time, as the durable evidence of elevated rates in New Jersey have shown, the local trend was also perhaps part of something more specific to the Brick environment. Speculation aside, however, this was a moment of choice. And in a moment that required continued professionalism, openness and candor, something else happened. It was pretty pathetic.

In April 2000, after many months of silence Bobbie Gallagher got a call from the CDC. They were coming to town to release their study, both the CDC prevalence report and the ATSDR analysis of local toxins. They came to her house, gave her two lengthy documents, asked her to respond in the moment if she had any questions. They confessed that the autism rates in Brick were three times higher than rates they were seeing elsewhere. But they had no plans to do anything more about it.

Then they left the Gallagher's' house to go to the public meeting, where they took the same basic approach. They made no presentations, simply put the two reports on the table and made themselves available for questions. They had two sessions, one for the press and one for the residents.

And at the front of the room, Gallagher reports that there were two groups of people. One was the familiar team, Bove, Mars, Bertrand, who had done the work and been part of the initial outreach. Next to them was another group "we had never seen before." Their job, according to Gallagher, was to watch the original group and "make sure nobody said the wrong thing." At 8:00 PM, the session ended and "you've never seen a group leave a room so fast."

"And we never heard from any of them ever again."

Mark Blaxill is Editor At Large for Age of Autism.

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wow, it brings tears to my eyes. they know what is wrong, i know they know.this is going to be a great lietime movie someday! and thank you ray gallop for those STATS. they too were a harsh reality of what is really going on here!

Hi, thanks for publishing this Mark. My son was part of this study. He was born in NY but we had moved to Brick. I firmly believed at the time and still do that Brick was not a cluster just a reflection of what was happening in the rest of the country. That said I always thought that study was a bit of a sham. I spoke with Drs. Gerhling and Betrand about tue fact that as long as we're examining all the autistic children in the town, isn't it a perfect time to look at the children's medical histories and take blood samples to see if there's something shared by all? Their response was "yes tha would be interesting but we only want to verify that the children are autistic" Which is what they did just by observation and minor skill testing. Such a waste of a study. The ATSDR didn't even do their own water testing but merely looked at the Bricktownship's water department's own studies/sample reports. They were really not interested in finding out if there was a cause, just in verifying the number of autistic children in the population.

A better analogy for me than Tuskegee would be between the leaders of the CDC et.al. and the leaders of the Catholic Church in (mis)managing priestly sexual offenders.

In both cases, leaders made a conscious decision to place concern for the reputation and well being (including, importantly, the financial well-being) of the institution above the safety and well being of children. In both cases, too many people within the institutions who were in a position to know the truth and to blow a whistle were silent. In both cases, individuals whose first priority should have been service to the most vulnerable members of society failed spectacularly.

As a life-long Catholic, I believe the actions of the church leadership were shameful, and the actions of the bureaucrats outlined so well here are no better.

An entire generation of children is in crisis, whether with autism, ADHD, asthma, cancer, etc. It should be front-page news every day. When will someone with the courage of the Boston Globe dare to speak truth to power?


Dr. Yazbak and I did a couple of articles on the figures dealing with autism per.......

When 1 in 150 is really 1 in 67

http://www.whale.to/v/yazbak44.html

and

1 in 88 Autism/ASD among Children of Military Families

http://www.whale.to/vaccine/1_in_88.html

We (Dr. Yazbak and I) don't have a million/billion dollar budget like the CDC and we did it at no expense on our computers. The CDC figures as per the "When 1 in 150 is really 1 in 67" are outdated but yet they are quoted constantly in the US autism community.

Why is that? Are these figures chopped liver and the CDC the "gold standard"?

Ray Gallup


Amy in CO - thanks for the link. Why do so few notice that the very ground upon which today's medical estabishment stands is crumbling beneath their feet?

Thanks Mark – much appreciated. I sometimes wonder if the 1:150 number was struck artificially high nationally so that future regional rises would seem in line, and clusters like Brick more “explainable”.

Autism has been an Alex Trebec like game of precisely asking the right question. If you are not 100% correct in how you phrase a causality statement then you are proven 100% wrong and the game is over. Here a singular focus on a toxin in the water. Since when has the environment been a simple system?

Great breakdown of the numbers by age. The problem and the lie could not be any more obvious, and its especially annoying that local and state voices are silenced as soon as the CDC speaks. If only the CDC were less Centered, maybe there would be a better chance for honest debate and reporting to occur.

Mark, thank you this is beautifully written and I'm forwarding the whole piece on to my dad, he's always been very curious about the Brick cluster.

Thanks for posting this.

I live in Brick Township with 1 child with autism, and 1 without.

But, I moved here in 2004 - I was pregnant with my daughter at the time we moved here and my son was already dx'd (in NY). My husband is from Monmouth county NJ originally....

There are many people here in Brick who moved here afterwards which is why the rates here continue to soar...There was a TV program shown that showcased how great the schools are here and it has a reputation for some of the best programs for Autism classrooms.. other districts model after brick. But, there are still so many many children being born here with autism - more than other areas I believe.

New Jersey is the autism state and also the vaccine state.

Oh rant on Kathy Blanco! Your post,a dn Mark Baxill's article, re-lit the never too diminished flame. It is horrific the denial that continues, the blantant interest in cover-up only. I just don't understand how this continues. Re-googling this afternoon, I came across a study recorded for Jan 9, 2009. The study is from 2005, but such obvious problems. The study is for..."the purpose of the study is to evaluate the safety of administering a combination vaccine (DTaP-HepB-IPV; Pediarix™) to infants at birth,2 and 6 months."
The problem, becides the obvious, is that this study is of 5 infants! And what they are looking for is a large list of problems. What could they possibly hope to ascertain from such a small study? Nothing. Only the ability to say a study was performed and the vaccine combo is safe.

Thanks for Parts 1& 2..really great!

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00133445

I thought some of you might find this article interesting.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22237

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption

Kent wrote:

"I think later generations will look upon this entire incident the way we now look upon the Tuskegee experiments in which African-American men with syphillis were not treated, but allowed to die so scientists could observe the progress of the disease."

Unfortuntely, no one was held responsible for the "Tuskegee experments" that I know of...and....each passing day provides the likelihood the same "delay, deny and hope they die" stragegy used then...will succeed today.

After all, the only difference between Tuskegee and today's generation of damaged children are the numbers....and..as Stalin said:

"one death is a tragedy...a million deaths are a statistic."

I was reading the other day, that they take the placenta and actually test it for levels of toxins/infections if children are very sick when born...no surprise, lots of mercury, lots of pollutants from pesticides, fluoride, ASPARTAME/MGS you name it. *(should we start keeping our own placentas with home births? Answer yes, in the refridgerator). That way, we can sue someone....later, if we have to.

They also suggested that INFECTIOUS ORGANISMS were present, cause premature births, cerebal palsy and the like...and the like? What like? How about autism? So, is it fair to say, that mercury was the total affect toxin/perturber for autism? I don't think so (not to deminish it at all)? We know that these toxins skew the immune response to pathogenic bacteria (wording used by Mind Institute that autism is an epidemic), and toxins. So, if we know the cause of this rise, where are the studies implicating them full on? WHERE?? POINT BY POINT, LINE BY LINE? Let's put that on top of the fact that there are multiple generations of autism like syndromes in one family (with high variations of autoimmune diseases/neurological features), where they may have equal toxic burden (families live in the same area and soup of toxins), equal infectious pathologies, and equal inability to detox or to handle infections? IS autism then, genetic? Or is it inheritable, by virtue of these triggers/toxins/infections in CERTAIN HLA types? I don't mention viruses here, not on purpose, but just to point out, that MIND stated bacteria, over viruses???? Bacteria, DEPEND on toxicity in the body???? So do viruses, but why do they say BACTERIA? Anyone one to venture to guess? My guess is one of their studies featured that mothers havef antibodies to certain weighted proteins, attacking fetal brain tissue. I looked up what weighted proteins KDA they were taling about...sure enough, ONE of them, is a lyme specific outer protein band from a pathogenic bacteria, called lyme borrelia. Are they saying, this pathogenic bacteria is lyme? My bet is yes.

Interestingly, I have been studying the line of thought that mothers maternal T3 thyroid function is one of the biggest inheritable organ dysfunctions in their children, and that those children have a higher likelehood of having ADHD/Autism, or other IQ disorders? So, we have to ask, what is the cause of thyroid epidemics now in the US? Answer, total body burdens of toxic elements, as well as infectious microorganisms, and viruses. EVEN, the MMR vaccine is implicated which has no mercury, but the MUMPS virus can cause thyroiditis? Why do all our kids have thyroid problems? Thyroid drives metabolic function, even at the cellular mitochondrial level, as well as the neurotransmitters in the hippocampus-a known organ in the brain that is causal to the speech and movement problems in autism?

In the lyme community, where I sit on the fence of autism and lyme, we see that lyme is also increasing....would it be obvious for me to draw the parallels? For, lyme people also have mercury toxicity, gut problems with celiac, neurological borreliosis which sometimes causes/mimics autism/adhd and other neuro disorders (some of them deadly)? NJ is and many east coast cities have high rates of lyme, and autism. The autism states with the highest percentages, also have the highest lyme cases. If I lived on the east cosat proper, or west coast, this would be the first rule out or in infection in my child. Co incidence? No..and they are equally the most toxic states...co incidence? No. Do they also have high rates of vaccination? Yes...are these working in consortium with one another? Probably yes.

Point is, we need to study ALL pathogenic bacteria, including lyme, vector diseases of all types (sorry DAN doctors to burst your bubble, but lyme should be treated in these kids too), which can be spreading in parents by STD styles, through the placenta, and breastmilk, blood supply and possibly food supply (not just a tick bite). Note the language of MIND institute, NEW, pathogenic bacteria? I think we really need to hone in on these infections, and how in cooperation of a toxic body burden with triggers happening during neurodevelopment and pruning and maturation IS causing this epidemic. Though I focus on this bacteria, I don't rule out the numerous co infections, which are often HERPES VIRUSES.

I don't think CDC read their statement of function? They are to investigate infectious diseases, and PREVENT them. Does that mean by vaccination? I really don't think so...I think these infectious diseases KNOW the populations they are attacking, or the host. If the host if highly acidic, toxic, the level of cleanlines/hygeine is poor, or there is sexual misbehavior in the population, then, we have the recipe for epidemics. IMHO, CDC forgot their mission statement and in consequence of that, are making situations bad to worse. Instead of doing the RIGHT thing, they are doing the bandaid approaches to how to have a healthy (or should I say infectious disease free) body (note, that health doesn't mean we are free from infectious diseases, just that we deal with them better and they are innocuous and rites of passage). They have NEVER cured diseases, discovered their TRUE origins (idiopathic or ioatragenic), and they wil never have MY best interest at heart. They have abandoned my family, and they have abandoned each american citizen who falls to the modern day ills as canary birds. They have not addressed autism, AIDS, PArkinsons, MS, Lyme, and all these so called rising mysterious diseases, BECAUSE THEY KNOW what is causing them, they KNOW. And it's not a long shot to say, that this knowledge is so secret and defendable by their high interest in pharmaprofits, that they will never disclose the harms they have done, for fear of "national security interests". More like, the gross national product industries intersts and stock margins...

How many guesses that Dr Julie will end in one of those famous vaccination companies as a consultant? My bet is she already has an offer. Do the whole VACCINE NATION on you tube, part ten particularly, to see why I say so..

Sorry for this seemingly off topic rant, but I have to say, I am in horror, that my worse thoughts are probably right...

This makes me sad -- and very angry. These people need to be held accountable.

Good to be reminded of all of this. These are key words "no obvious and easy toxin."

I think the answers TODAY are that we do have obvious toxins. But it will not be easy to change the special interests of the world around. Not easy but it can be done.

I remember when I first heard about Brick Township. I rejoiced that they were finally getting to the bottom of something. Then it went flat. That sounded very suspicious then. It still does.

Thank you Mark

Sad.
What an age we live in eh'
I'm speechless.

Did the township residents seek legal counsel?

Mark,

You've done a masterful job here! This is unbelievable yet you have presented it in a very believable and honest way. Any employment opportunities at CDC must include deviousness in the description. Always a pleasure to see the data exposed in black and white.

Thank you!
Teresa

Two comments.

The very first thing my statisics professor told me in my first day in statistics class was that you could use statistics to prove anything, and then use the same figures to disprove anything... The figures lie. He went on to say that an athiest could prove God did not exist statistically. Then an agnostic would say that the majority may be right, but that there was a margin of error. Then a disciple would say that the majority is wrong, and that faith and religion is not based on democracy, and that the trend had changed in the last 50 years, and may swing back in the next 50 years or so.

This shaded my entire experience in Statistics 101. Now whenever I hear anyone state that something has been proven statistically, I just lose all confidence it that person or what they are trying to say. But this has been the cornerstone of the CDC case for years.

Last thought.

One of the presidential candidates dropped this sound byte one afternoon on FOX... He stated; "Figures lie, and liars figure..."

Seems he took the same Statistics 101 class I did...

As the number of intra-body toxins increases, pathologies associated with those toxins increase. Toxic molecules impair in additive, cumulative, or hormetic ways. Furthermore, having many intra-body toxins causes utilization and gradual depletion of nutrients needed for detoxification, thereby enhancing the likelihood of toxin-induced adverse effects. From the point of view of industries and their allies in regulatory agencies, the strategy of looking for single toxins as an epidemic's cause turns attention away from the multiplicity of pollutants. We ought not be surprised that the CDC's investigative team's CDC overseers chose to invoke a no-single-toxin rationale - not valid scientifically but very correct politically. The epidemic of autism and autism-spectrum disorders is not as mysterious as we are led to believe.

Mark, you’ve shared this information with us in such a moving way. Instead of “Rage against the Machine”, I’m feeling “Rage against the CDC”. When I was a student I used to envision the CDC as a world-class group of scientists saving the world and I aspired to work there. Now I loathe them and consider them akin to criminals. One of my unsupportive relatives said “I’ve taken a statistics class, and statistics don’t lie” (disputing the vaccine-autism link with the 2004 IOM report). I just want to shove this report in his face and say “You know what, I’ve taken a statistics class and 5 quarters of calculus, guess what, statistic can and do lie.” Rage

Thank you, Mark, as always for piecing together what has been hidden from view for far too long.

The desire to protect the vaccination program at any cost also occurred when it was first discovered that polio vaccine was contaminated with a known hamster cancer oncogene. Rather than undermine confidence in the vaccine, all remaining doses were allowed to be distributed. Nicholas Wade wrote about it in the excellent article "The Boat That Never Rocked" (Science, Division of Biologics Standards: The Boat That Never Rocked, vol. 175, pp.1225-1230, 1972). We are now seeing the possible ramifications of that in rising rates of cancer among children, particularly certain brain cancers. Rather than originally study the question, they assumed that animal diseases cannot be transmitted to humans. In my understanding this formed the basis of using animal cell cultures to produce vaccines in the first place. (Among the known contaminants of cell cultures are bovine diseases; another is mycoplasma.) For more on these issues you can go to Scandals: On "mad cows" and sick monkeys: From the people who brought you SV40 in vaccines.... (http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/2004/Jan_2/Scandal69.htm), and Scandals:Are vaccines involved in Gulf War Syndrome, autism and other chronic diseases? (http://www.vaccinationnews.com/scandals/2006/Apr_5/scandal77.htm.

This is the information that is available to us all. Thanks to Mark - its clear, concise and very real. Parents and friends: GET IT OUT THERE. Share it with everyone you know.

On a side note - after they read Part I and II of this article ask the reader "how much longer can this issue be ignored?"

Mark,
Thanks for a great analysis. I have four autistic children, all born in Monmouth County NJ in the 1990's. Violence done to the Truth cannot purchase peace. Peace and comity in society can't be bought by murdering the Truth about our human nature.

This is all the more reason that parents who believe that thimerosal played a role in the condition/regression of their child should be focusing on pressing the American Medical Association to amend the diagnostic code when it comes to these kids. Labeling these kids as "autistic" and painting these children with a broad brush stroke diagnosis of "PDD-NOS" or even "on the spectrum" limits the treatment resources available and inhibits potential gains in treatment and in the lifestyle of our children. Aren't these children worth getting the diagnosis correct so that new treatment modalities can be explored and existing treatment modalities modified to treat the child, not the broad, ill-defined diagnoses we we as parents have been given.

Safe-Minds has been around for so long and the message they try to get out is still the best I've seen. My belief is that my child is suffering from a learning disability which resulted from mercury exposure in childhood vaccinations he received. I have been to a multitude of conferences and I think it is safe to say other parents feel this way. I have posted on this before and developed a Blog that begs for the medical community , the CDC and all of the other alphabet agencies to recognize the existence of a condition, syndrome or disease process known as "MERCURY INDUCED NEUROLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTAL SYNDROME". Etiology, signs and symptoms, tests and an epidemiological study need to be implemented immediately before these kids slip away. No one seems to know what the long term prognosis is and we better well find out now while there is a chance to do something. If you don't like the acronym "MIND" then come up with something less politically charged. I'm not good at labels and in fact do not like them. But at least acknowledge that what these kids suffer from is a different condition than "Kanner's Autism" which was reported in the 1940's. None of Kanner's kids according to any literature I have ever read was developing normally and suddenly regressed as a result of some trigger.

Kanner's observastions of the kids he studied and his case reports are markedly different from what we are seeing today, and it's too bad Kanner isn't around to point this out to the powers that be. No one who is in a position to do anything to change the diagnostic criteria or classification is listening to the physicians out there now who recognize the difference in the two conditions. Or is it that they are listening and are too worried, scared or afraid to come out from under the rock of ignorance they have been hiding and step up to help these kids. Too much money, too many conflicts of interest and too many overinflated egomaniacs should not stand in the way of helping to better the lives of these kids. "First do no harm" has been forgotten and replaced with "First cover your ass". Hippocrates did not incorporate this in the oath that physicians take. Maybe when the oath was developed health and welfare were more important than money, power and securing one's own future.

The previous poster Kent is on the Mark with his analogy to the Tuskegee experiments. This is significant because it show that out government and medical community are capable of the atrocities that have gone on in the past and will continue into the future unless they are called on the carpet.

Stop rocking the boat in Washington. I say "Jettison the naysayers, sink the whole damn ship of fools and hire a new crew."

Russel V. Mancino
Father of Russel John Mancino who struggles everyday yet comes out swinging the next day. You, my son, are my hero. I'll never stop fighting for you amd all of the other heroes like you!

Mark,

Wow. I’m simply amazed.

Thanks for the lesson in “Understanding Prevalence Rates and How You Can Manipulate Them 101”….

Your expertise on pointing out these types of inconsistencies and deceptions will eventually be the downfall for those who would attempt to manipulate and cover-up the truth!

You and Sallie are brilliant and I’m so thankful for you both.

Kelli

PS…the Touché moment for me:

“Either there were more cases or there weren't.”

I agree with Kent that your article reads like a horror novel. My heart is racing, the way it would as I anticipated reading the next page of some thriller. But this is real. A real tragedy. A real cover-up. A real choice by the CDC to abandon our children. Thank you for putting it all out there, Mark. As always, you have written an incredible article.

Mark:

I read your article as if reading a horror novel. I think later generations will look upon this entire incident the way we now look upon the Tuskegee experiments in which African-American men with syphillis were not treated, but allowed to die so scientists could observe the progress of the disease.

Kent.

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