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Wrestling with Pigs at the Bad Astronomy Blog

Wrestling pig By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

Okay, I had to do it. 

When the Bad Astronomy blog at one of my favorite science magazines, Discover, went after Jenny McCarthy I had to respond. I began by pointing out my dismay that the vast majority of articles on the vaccine-autism theory inevitably left the impression that only Jenny McCarthy and we desperate, deluded parents were making these claims.

I thought by pointing out that the former head of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and the former Chief Science Officer for the U. K., Dr. Peter Fletcher shared many of the same concerns and supported an aggressive research program to identify environmental exposures and vulnerable sub-populations the discussion might be moved in a more reasonable direction.

And the attacks began.  I’m a bad parent, society at large should be scared I teach science, and of course, that old-favorite, I should be exposed to people with infectious diseases which I would catch and die.  There were also, surprisingly, a few attacks against Dr. Bernadine Healy, since she was appointed by the first President Bush, which meant, you know, she was a party hack without adequate medical credentials.

I guess it would surprise that commenter to learn Dr. Healy graduated first in her class at Hunter College, went to Vassar where she graduated summa cum laude, earned her M.D. at Harvard Medical School, and completed her training in internal medicine and cardiology at Johns Hopkins.  She hardly qualifies as a “party hack” in anybody's book.

One of the most curious claims was that extensive research had been conducted showing that there was no difference between rates of autism and in vaccinated and non-vaccinated children.  When I asked for those rates I got no answer. 

I then told them that if they did have an answer, it should roughly resemble the study done by Generation Rescue, the results of which I’ve reprinted here.

“All vaccinated boys, compared to unvaccinated boys:
-    Vaccinated boys were 155% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.55)
-    Vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have ADHD (RR 3.24)
-    Vaccinated boys were 61% more likely to have autism (RR 1.61)

Older vaccinated boys, ages 11-17 (about half the boys surveyed), compared to older unvaccinated boys:
-    Vaccinated boys were 158% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.58)
-    Vaccinated boys were 317% more likely to have ADHD (RR 4.17)
-    Vaccinated boys were 112% more likely to have autism (RR 2.12)

(Note: older children may be a more reliable indicator because many children are not diagnosed until they are 6-8 years old, and we captured data beginning at age 4.)

All vaccinated boys, removing one county with unusual results (Multnomah, OR), compared to unvaccinated boys:
-    Vaccinated boys were 185% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.85)
-    Vaccinated boys were 279% more likely to have ADHD (RR 3.79)
-    Vaccinated boys were 146% more likely to have autism (RR 2.46)

All vaccinated boys and girls, compared to unvaccinated boys and girls:
-    Vaccinated boys and girls were 120% more likely to have asthma (RR 2.20)
-    No correlation established for juvenile diabetes

All vaccinated girls, compared to unvaccinated girls:
-    No meaningful differences in prevalence were noted for NDs (which may be due to the smaller sample size of the study because girls represent about 20% of cases.)”

Of course, that didn’t win me any friends, either.  I gave all the necessary caveats, noting that the Generation Rescue study cost less than two hundred thousand dollars and a full study should cost more and involve a greater number than the 17, 674 children surveyed, but to my knowledge it was still the only study looking at vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

It also didn’t help when I pointed out research from U.C. Davis, Harvard University, or Johns Hopkins University supporting many of the planks of the theories of the bio-med community.  Even noting a recent article in Forbes magazine about research published in the Journal of Pediatrics (a journal of the American Medical Association) showing a high level of auto-immune disorders and celiac disease in the mothers of autistic children garnered no respect.  The comment from one person was something along the lines of, “Oh, if it was in Forbes, then it must be true!”

In recounting this story to a friend he said he had finally lost his desire to “wrestle with pigs” as he knew he wasn’t going to change any minds.  Maybe that’s good advice, but the former lawyer in me still relishes the clash of dissenting viewpoints. 

The day after my battle at the Discover blog I got a book I’d long wanted to read.  It was Autism – Current Theories and Evidence edited by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman of Johns Hopkins University.  (Hefty price tag, too - $107 on Amazon)  I’d heard Dr. Jon Poling speak positively of the book, claiming it put together much of the latest research and theories about autism while “avoiding the third-rail” of vaccines.  However, after looking through the book I must respectfully disagree with Dr. Poling.  It doesn’t completely avoid that third-rail.

Part VI of the book is entitled “Environmental Mechanisms and Models” with a great article by Dr. Isaac Pessah of the UC Davis MIND Institute, entitled “What We Need to Know About Gene X Environment Interactions.”  It reads like a litany of what many DAN doctors have told me about the factors involved in autism.  There’s a discussion of problems with neuro-transmission, chemicals that interfere with calcium signaling, and GABA transmission. 

The concluding chapter was written by the always wonderful Dr. Martha Herbert, a neurologist at Harvard University, and entitled “An Expanding Spectrum of Autism Models – From Fixed Developmental Defects to Reversible Functional Impairments.”  In her section “Ongoing Environmental Contributors to Chronic Encephalopathy” she writes, “For example, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, or other neurotoxicants  . . . can penetrate the nervous system.  Once there, it is possible for them, by various mechanisms . . . to promote an oxidative response in these cells to stimulate a cytokine/chemokine inflammatory response within the brain. . . Various metals and persistent organic pollutants also accumulate in a number of body compartments, such as fatty tissue and liver, where they can have chronic metabolic impact such as inhibition of mitochondrial or hepatic enzymes.  Viral infections might also contribute to chronic metabolic alterations.”

In the bio-medical community we talk of autism being the result of some combination of “toxins and infections”, and if you can decipher the above paragraph, it’s essentially saying the same thing.

I think it would surprise the Bad Astronomy blog and many of their commentators to understand how much convergence is taking place between the bio-med community and some of the top people in science. 

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism

Comments

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Mebeverine

To talk to pigs or trolls--- is just too emotional, but the right thing to do. Not only that but you have the TALENT and the BRAINS to do it with! To do anything else with your talent and your knowledge would be wrong and I for one am grateful that there are people like you out there working to save the next years crop of little ones and if not next years then the year after that. Thank You from the bottom of my heart!
ilike this site

Mebeverine

You cannot convert the unwilling. Sorry you had to deal with it. I appreciate your willingness and thorough analysis.
Cha-ching on the price of the book!
Gotta love Martha Herbert. She is a jewel.
ilike this site

Mebeverine

As a commenter here stated: "There is none so blind as he who will not see"
ilke this site

Carolyn

Kent,
You cannot convert the unwilling. Sorry you had to deal with it. I appreciate your willingness and thorough analysis.
Cha-ching on the price of the book!
Gotta love Martha Herbert. She is a jewel.

"pigs" (indeed) - irrational, stubborn, stinky, hostile mammals that have been known to eat their young. Very appropriate.

kathleen

I'm only writing this b/c you stated that your protocal will be mainstream in the future. This is where anecdotal statments have little value. I mean some of these chelation drugs are sold by Big Pharam, don't you think they would want in on it?

J Harris

Of course big pharma would want in, but they would have to say the medicine worked. If it works then our children need chelating...why would they need chelating?...herein lies the problem.

Twyla

KWombles, I certainly am not calling everyone who disagrees with me a pig.

"Wrestling with a pig" is defined at "Wiktionary" as: "(idiomatic) To engage in a pointless task that leaves one worse off for having made an honest attempt."

George Bernard Shaw said, "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

These are old sayings, metaphores related to an actual sport that is popular in some circles, pig-wrestling competitions.

There are many people who disagree with me about topics such as vaccines and autism, but who argue in a way that is not offensive. I certainly respect differences of opinion.

There are other bloggers out there who are very derogatory and/or sophistic, and arguments become quite frustrating. We wonder, "Why am I bothering?" I think that is the experience that Kent is describing.

Cindy Keenan

J Harris,

Re ADHD, are you familiar with the following study?

www.feingold.org/Research/lancet.html

For decades doctors dismissed parental claims that artificial colors and preservatives caused hyperactivity in their children. Why did it take so long to conduct a proper study? And why aren't pediatricians now routinely advising parents to modify their children's diets before prescribing stimulants?

MacGoddess (I'm alright...)

Doodie!

KN

oh and btw Singulair (not a vaccine) has a suicidality warning on the label.

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday it was updating the label of Merck & Co.'s (MRK) Singulair and similar asthma medications to discuss reports of neuropsychiatric events such as agitation, depression, insomnia and suicidal thinking.

The new labeling will apply to Accolate, by AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), and Zyflo, by Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. (CRTX). All three products fall into a drug class known as leukotriene modifiers. Leukotrienes are chemicals the body releases in response to an inflammatory stimulus such as breathing in an allergen.

The FDA said in a posting on its Web site that "patients and healthcare professionals should be aware of the potential for neuropsychiatric events with these medications."

Singulair, first approved in the U.S. in 1998, is Merck's top-selling product and had $4.3 billion in sales in 2008 and is the dominant drug in its class. The product is approved for use in children and adults as an asthma and allergy treatment.

But I am sure all the vaccines are perfectly safe b/c they say so.

Stagmom

Gosh! This post was like "Caddy Day" at Bushwood! Baby Ruth anyone?

KN

J Harris here are the numbers (dont know why you are seeing something way different. From Merck's website http://www.merck.com/newsroom/press_releases/financial/2009_0421.html
WORLDWIDE 2009 SALES

Total Sales* (as recorded by Merck & Co., Inc.)

$23.2 to $23.7 billion
PRODUCT
SINGULAIR (Respiratory) $4.4 to $4.7 billion
COZAAR/HYZAAR (Hypertension) $3.4 to $3.7 billion
JANUVIA/JANUMET (Diabetes) $2.4 to $2.7 billion
GARDASIL (as recorded by Merck & Co., Inc.) $1.1 to $1.3 billion
Other vaccines (as recorded by Merck & Co., Inc.) $2.7 to $3.0 billion
Other reported products** $6.4 to $6.8 billion
so there you have it. total vaccine sales estimated by merck for 2009 = 4.3B or just over 18% of total sales. NOT INSIGNIFICANT and I see you provided no numbers yourself.

From Wyeth's website speaking about their pending merger with Pfizer:
Pfizer to Acquire Wyeth, Creating the World's Premier Biopharmaceutical Company
Diversification, Flexibility and Scale Position New Company for Success in Dynamic Global Health Care Environment

Establishes Leadership in Human, Animal, and Consumer Health, including Primary and Specialty Care; in Vaccines, Biologics and Small Molecules; and Across Developed and Emerging Markets

Unique and Flexible Business Model Features Focus and Agility of Smaller Enterprises Backed by Resources and Scale of Global Company

Combination Strengthens Platform for Improved, Consistent, and Stable Earnings Growth and Sustainable Shareholder Value

New Company Will Promote Health and Wellness and Respond More Effectively to Unmet Needs of Patients, Physicians, and Customers Around the World

It must be difficult defending the indefensible (an industry that more likely than not has seriously injured an entire generation of children)

John Stone

Kent's pigs were of course only quotational pigs - still there is a slippery slope.

I think "ordinary people" have a right to take exception to the aggressive tone of a industrial lobby and its proxies trying to limit their freedom of speech and of action. After all it is our lives and the lives of our children which are at stake: the fact that they can only resort to bullying and coercion speaks volumes against their moral integrity.

Kristin

Big Pharma has taken over the medical profession. Vaccines are the main reason most people see their pedi. If it wasn't a money maker, they wouldn't be coming out with all these vaccines for nondeadly diseases and more on the way. The elderly are in the same boat as our kids. Their complaints are met with more meds. Nobody can look at the ingredients in vaccines and say they honestly belive they are safe. Do neurotoxins suddenly become safe when they are in a vaccine? But we are wrong for demanding real research into safety? It's sickening--literally.

Craig Willoughby

Ah, Josh Harris....so many fallacies and inaccuracies, so little time. I'll start with the glaringly obvious ones.

"Merck themselves did the follow up studies, which resulted in the black box warning. More studies funded by Merck were published and the drug was pulled. Merck was not the only one who found these results. Several other mainstream studies found an overall increase in death from Vioxx. Keep in mind, Vioxx is not a life saver drug, it was for arthritis."

So the following never happened?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/15/business/15cnd-vioxx.html

Merck didn't fake the studies? Really? They didn't hire writers to fake the results of their studies and then line up doctors to pay that would sign off on the drug? This is a classic example of ignoring the evidence that doesn't fit into your little world view (i.e. confirmation bias).

"Then again, every company is corrupt." Ah, so that makes it ok. It's ok that Pharma is corrupt because they make drugs that "save lives." Let's ignore all of the drugs that they faked studies on; the drugs that killed thousands of people. THat never really happened, I guess. Nevermind that one of the leading causes of death in the US is iatrogenic causes.

The shill comment wasn't me calling you a shill. That is my way of saying you are acting like one. I usually don't call someone a shill unless I have a reason to believe they are. But, I'm thinking that perhaps I was wrong to say that and that you may not be acting.

So, let's sum up Josh's position. Vioxx didn't have ghost writers faking the safety of it's studies, so therefore, they couldn't do the same for vaccines. It's ok that drug companies make drugs that kill people because they make drugs that save lives (!)

"Craig, you are hopeless."

The Hypocrisy! It Burns!!!!

Stagmom

J. Harris - I'll agree w/ you on one point -= American ER care is excellent. Our acute care docs are excellent. Chronic care? That's where mainstream medicine loses my confidence. Utterly. They use drugs and then drugs to counteract the drugs.

And I'll also say that we've seen over and over that JAMA and Paediatrics have their own biases as to what they will publish and what they will not publish. I can think of one study right now that is eminently publishable - and journals will not touch it.

My cousin left pediatrics to become an ER doc - it was far more fulfilling to "fix" people on the spot for her.

When my then 5 year old broke her arm (radius and ulna) those ER docs were Gods to me. They eased her pain.

But you won't get far pushing your attitude here - we've heard it too many times. Our kids are VERY sick and receive precious little care from mainstream docs.

Kim

J Harris

Zed,

I agree with you completely.

The comment about chronic conditions, I assume you mean the statins and Type II diabetes drugs. I agree that lifestyle changes would help most (not all) of these cases. However, things like ADD and arthritis; natural cures have proved to be of little value (and in some cases of ADD, so have drugs).

The last comment I will make is this. I have a question for all of you. I'm an MD and I work in the ER (hense my defending ER medicine). Nothing I do can be replaced by "natural" alternatives. I do not know much about autism or its therapies, except for speech therapy. Where are the publications that back up your clames. How hard is it for a couple DAN doctors to get a total of 30 patients. 10 recieve speech therapy alone. 10 get ST and on a wheat/dairy free diet, and 10 get ST, diet, and your biomedical drugs (all of them). Publish who does the best. All I see are books. IF SOMEONE HAS WRITTEN A BOOK ABOUT A CURE THAT HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED IN PEER REVIEW THAN IT IS CRAP. That is a given law. I'm only writing this b/c you stated that your protocal will be mainstream in the future. This is where anecdotal statments have little value. I mean some of these chelation drugs are sold by Big Pharam, don't you think they would want in on it?

I do not always think the worst in people, but I can't help to think why this study has not been done b/c that would mean the DAN doctor would loose money on 20 patients (the 20 that don't get the biomedical treatment). Remember that are many journals out there that would except this type of publication. I read an article in peer review about high pressure O2 treatment that seemed to improve autism.

KWombles

@Twyla,

Because calling anyone who disagrees with you pigs is somehow less offensive?

Benedetta Stilwell

If you get the MMR vaccine then you are immune to the disease, so why is everybody so worried if some one don't get their shots? They(the worried ones) have had their shots, right?

This past year some kids came down with whooping cough, and they gave the whole class antibotics even though they had their shots. My friend (a nurse) whose grandchild was in the class and very vaccine (and I am still her friend) wondered about this one! I think she is beginning to crack.

Twyla

Kent, thanks for continuing to "wrestle with pigs". Although you won't change the minds of 99.9% of the "pigs", you are putting lots of information out there for other readers to see.

Twyla

Olivia, your comment is especially offensive, condescending, mean, and ignorant.

You said, "They won't change your sons or daughters, nor anyone else's offspring." Apparently either you have not read the many accounts of people's children changing when treated for vaccine injury (which would demonstrate your ignorance), or you are assuming that the people writing these accounts are delusional or lying (which would demonstrate your prejudice and condescension).

You say, "Use your energy to teach them to speak, to manage, to interact." The parents who do biomedical also expend so much time and energy on teaching, playing, interacting. It's not an either/or.

"Go ahead, pat yourselves on the back. You've found some numbers that support a theory!" Again, so condescending -- and apparently you are disregarding the many accounts of vaccine injury followed by autism, as well as cases such as Hannah Poling and Bailey Banks.

Regarding measles, everyone came down with measles when I was a kid, and I never knew anyone who died. Death from measles is extremely rare in the U.S. An infectious disease specialist told me that deaths from measles in third world countries are more common because the measles virus suppresses the immune system causing increased susceptibility to secondary infections which are more common in the absence of clean water, plumbing, antibiotics, and good nutrition.

It's not just a choice between death and autism, and in addition to being mean and insulting your comment about prefering death shows a lack of understanding of vaccine safety issues. Yes, there are some who are against all vaccines, but there are others who say we need to weigh the risks of the vaccines and the risks of the diseases. If we cover up the risks of vaccines and exagerate the risks of diseases this weighing cannot be accurately done. We must understand better adverse reactions, susceptibility factors, treatment, longterm effects, and effects of individual and combined ingredients. The current schedule is over-the-top, out of control. 24 vaccines during the first two years of life, and another dozen before school starts, is unprecedented in human history, and we do not understand all the consequences.

Theresa

Josh Harris, you ask "when did I say pharma was not corrupt?" When the other Josh pointed out the corruption involved in Vioxx and other scandals in which pharmaceutical firms manipulated information to obfuscate health risks of their products, you said that he shouldn't point out Vioxx, when there are "thousands of drugs on the market that save lives every day." You didn't say that pharma wasn't corrupt, per se; you just decided to ignore the corruption.

I'll make it clearer for you: I won't deny that pharmaceutical firms have developed life-saving products. However, this does not erase the sometimes corrupt, very often inadequate process that takes place in this country to test and license pharmaceuticals (including vaccines).

As for studies showing the efficacy of homeopathic or natural treatments, it's not exactly a fair question you're asking. The FDA chooses not to regulate these products as drugs, so of course they don't go through the same clinical trials for efficacy that pharmaceutical products do.

Would a reasonable person read an article about the corruption involved in clinical trials (like this one: http://www.bloomberg.com/specialreport/pharma.pdf) and then say, "Well, that can't be true. After all pharmaceutical firms developed the EpiPen!" No, of course he wouldn't. Neither would a reasonable person read about Merck's marketing team ghost-writing articles for Vioxx and think, "Well, the current system for marketing drugs can't be *that* corrupt. After all, I haven't seen any FDA studies of fish oil!" The corruption and inadequacy of our current pharmaceutical testing and marketing are clear. Kent's original point (that more research needs to be done on comparative health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and that parents who believe vaccines harmed their children are not just idiots following a Playboy model's idiot lead) certainly stands up under close scrutiny. To try to obfuscate what is really at stake with remarks about life-saving drugs is childish.

michael framson

I have no time.....and lack the patience to wrestle with pigs. My energy is better spent in other ways. I appreciate those like Kent et al, that have the energy to wade in the mud.

To Josh and Todd,

Vaccinations have destroyed any trust or belief I had in conventional medicine. When I look at what gets passed off as vaccination science, I would be ashamed to be called a scientist.

Yes, trauma care in the ER and emergency care in general are excellent in this country. Drugs that safely stabilize an emergency condition, yeah give me those as indicated.

But chronic conditions like those that are being tackled by parents at AoA do not have a good track record with conventional approaches.

With in the next few years, the bio-medical approaches that are discussed at AoA are going to become the "standard of care" for the multitude of chronic vaccine and environmentally induced illness.

Autism Grandma

As a commenter here stated: "There is none so blind as he who will not see"

Speaking of "Wrestling with PIGS":
"Thou shalt not throw thy pearls before swine"

Zed

To Josh Harris:

Health and longevity are not the same thing. Objective data that measures 'health' is established by the World Health Organization, and when the numbers are plugged in, 31 other countries score better. Drugs can most certainly prolong the span of one's life, but merely being upright and conscious doesn't rise to the level of justifying any claim to technical or medical superiority. And because drugs, at times, save lives doesn't mean they "make people healthy." Even the manufacturers acknowledge that, whether the consumers do or not.

Josh Harris

KN, please provide references. NOt blogs, but forbes or CNN money would do. I see way different numbers.

Teresa Conrick

OK- the no-sleep-autism-mom-thing must be creeping in. I posted this on the Maloney meeting but it was meant to be right here:

Todd W.-

You would lose any debate based on your rebuttal here:

"Bunch of bunk studies by the Geiers and Blaxill, as well as Wakefield's fraudulent study."

Your personal bias seems to be putting the words "bunk" and "fraudulent" here. What studies could you possibly be referring to for each of these people? Stick with methods, facts, data, and conclusions. As much as you do NOT want vaccines or aspects of the environment to be a big player in autism diagnoses, it does not give you the right to insinuate fraud in an attempt to deny and hoodwink real facts and good science.

That would be a serious error and would put a permanent question mark on your ability to be objective, rational and honest.

Posted by: Teresa Conrick | July 14, 2009 at 03:54 PM

Benedetta Stilwell

The first time I ever heard of Tourettes was on a show called "Quincy" the actor from the "Odd Couple" played on it as a coroner. He always had a message and one of the messages was Congress needed to give funds to drug companies to help produce medicines for orphan disease like Tourettes. I was a teenager then, AND then I grew up had a son that was damaged foolishly by a vaccine. My son had undignosed epilepsy and tried to get help, going from doctor to doctor till I ended up luckily getting in the all so great Louisville Child Clinic. I was expecting them to finally say seizures but instead they said tourettes! I knew this diagnosis was not right, but I had no choice but to go along with this diagnosis for four years. While my son's jerking seizures progressed becoming worse and worse till he finally had grand mals, we struggled along with clonidine (The orphan drug funded by my tax dollars) and --- well just how many of these austistic kids are ending up on it for a time anyway? I've been BILKED in the most worse, cruel way.

KN

1 more thing: net present value of gardasil to MRK = 2-$3 or approx 10% of stock price. If it was pulled from market for safety reasons, the stock would be down 20-25% in my estimation.

Josh Harris

To drugs saving drugs-

Any proof of some alternatives. If your kids have ADD just have him play a sport right, and eat fresh foods- that will help. Sure, might help some ("some" being the key word), but won't eliminate it. Like I said in my previous comment, any real research to show the alternatives? Any alternative treatments for Bipolar that have been extensity studied. Yeah there are, but their success rates are sh#t. Fish oil, might help some people, probably a good first step, but most people it won’t help. Same for arthritis, POM juice and fish oil first, but what after that. In fact, that was found to only help in the initial stages of joint pain, not later. Here’s a thought, all of those people you described on this drug cycle. They have all probably tried alternative therapies and guess what.. they didn’t work. So what are they supposed to do? Just keep spending money on Dr. Wonderful’s all natural homeopathic remedy, only 19.95, after that doesn’t work its Dr. Naturals for 39.95. What am I talking about, these are natural and all the people on the internet say they work. Must work. Damn, now I’m spending $50/ month on natural stuff. That adds up too, not just prescriptions.

KN

Merck revenues 2009 approx 23 billion. Of that 23B about 5B from vaccines. When Pfizer announced its merger with Wyeth, it was for their vaccine and biologics biz. Clearly, they are not in the vaccine biz to lose money (doesn't make them evil but raises a lot of questions about their bias). So when u hear that nobody makes money of the vaxes BS!

Sue M.


"Sue M.

By all means, let me see your evidence. I am willing to be convinced".


Todd W,

From reading some of your comments here, I have to say that I don't get the "I am willing to be convinced" vibe from you ... At all. Now, that's ok... (After all my research, I could never go back to believing that vaccinations were safe and effective for all children, so I can relate). Having said that, there does not seem to be any reason to go over evidence with you. It would be a lost cause and I don't enjoy wasting my time.


Josh Harris

Craig,

You are hopeless. Merck themselves did the follow up studies, which resulted in the black box warning. More studies funded by Merck were published and the drug was pulled. Merck was not the only one who found these results. Several other mainstream studies found an overall increase in death from Vioxx. Keep in mind, Vioxx is not a life saver drug, it was for arthritis. My shill is showing?? No, I'm just not stupid. I've been in a terrible traffic accident and I would never wish to undergo surgery without antibiotics and anesthesia. Also about the shill comment, when did I say that pharma was not corrupt? The comment about the Type II diabetes drug, your right. They come up w/ new drugs once their old drugs are off patent. These new drugs cost more and do less. The penicillin comment, they do not give that IV in the ER. They usually use a broad spectrum antibiotic. Antibiotics for general bacterial infections rarely save lives. Most of these infections go away on their own-however they do protect against rheumatic fever which can be deadly.

Then again, every company is corrupt. We spend over 50 billion on alternative medicine and vitamins and "biomedical" treatments that have NO PROOF. Not a paper, it’s not that hard to publish in the Journal of Naturopathy, Journal of alternative and complementary medicine, etc. You all keep giving me examples of Pharma finding new ways to market their drugs. That’s their job. I do not doubt that Lilly said prozac was good for autism, but when independent studies were done no effect was found-they should be punished for this. This doesn’t change the fact that there are hundreds of drugs that most of you have never heard off used in ER situations that save lives every second- EpiPens (Ephinephrine)- That’s a big nasty pharma creation. Are you saying that there is not corruption in some of these alternative autism treatments that you guys tote? And the vaccine comments-when did I say vaccines were safe, effect, and didn’t cause autism. My comment was simply about gardasil. Vaccines are not like synthetic drugs, vaccines cost a lot of money and man time to make. Regular drugs are dirt cheap to synthesize, it’s figuring out the route to make them that is expensive.

To Zed, we rank 32nd- I love this comment.
Look at life expectancy by country. We are only .9 years behind Germany, 2.5 years behind Switz and France, and we are ahead of Denmark. Were 32nd but not fare behind everyone else. We are also a larger country than everyone ranked before us. Big pharma drugs postpone death in our fat as@es, but there is no doubt that leading a healthier lifestyle is much better.

Zed

So let me get this straight. The only worthwhile evidence (and certainly, proof)arises out of the sacred double-blind-placebo-controlled-studies, right? Why, then, are they not performed during vaccine trials? Instead, the 'product' is tested against yet another equally-toxic 'product'. And while drug makers claim impeccable scientific certainty following their (unscientific, profit-rigged)studies, WHERE are the gold-standard studies for the effects of multiple products consumed simultaneously? Forget about vaccines--just consider the market estimates of seniors who consume, on average, three prescription medications at the same time. (Many take even more.) Is the logic of that practice backed by any double-blind-placebo-controlled-studies? Or should persons unfortunate enough to require multiple meds be seen as expendable as an entire generation of vaccine-injured children?
Anyone who blindly accepts the words of this filthy industry is obviously not aware that America ranks 32nd, worldwide, in overall parameters of health. But we surely do consume the most pharmaceutical products...which are now considered one of the top five leading causes of death in our country.

Drugs saving drugs!

J Harris,

No, I think you said it right the first time: these drugs have saved countless drugs. There's even a name for the phenomenon: polypharmacy, or drugging the side effects of the drug you took before which was to treat side effects of the drug you took before and so forth.

Autism alone has given new life to countless drugs. Because of autism, for instance, Prozac had a much longer patent potential as an orphan drug...until such time that Hollander's hopeful experiments showed that Prozac is as useless for autism as it is for adult depression.

And what would have happened to the old neuroleptics-- with their life-span curtailing record of side effects and dead patents-- if autism hadn't come along and provided a market for atypicals, the newer, patented, not-so-improved shortcuts to diabetes, tardive dyskinesia and sudden death (i.e., up to 41% greater risk of death than the already significant risk of sudden death from certain older antipsychotics).

Not that you need autism to end up on neuroleptics: a little Prozac-induced mania and, voila, there's your Bipolar dx and your Zyprexa scrip. A lot of bereaved survivors of Vioxx victims certainly ended up on whole bucketfuls of antidepressants and worse. Misery saves drugs and drugs save drugs-- all just one beautiful, harmonious cycle.

And look at the sales for diabetes drugs, drugs for vaccine-induced GERD, sleep meds for sleep-disordered vaccine injury victims, antidyskinetics for neuroleptic-induced twitches, etc. The market's on fire.

chrissy

"You'd rather have them die of measles then have them as they are."

Because autism or death are the only choices? Riiiight.

John Stone

Some growth forcasts for the vaccine market:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-report-forecasts-more-than-doubling-of-vaccine-sales-by-2013

http://www.drugresearcher.com/Research-management/Kids-vaccine-market-set-to-quadruple

http://www.pwc.com/extweb/pwcpublications.nsf/docid/91BF330647FFA402852572F2005ECC22


The PriceWaterhouseCooper's model for the expansion of the pharmaceutical industry lists as the top priority:

"Health care will shift in focus from treatment to prevention."

You ain't seen nothing yet.

ElizaCassandra

From "across the pond":- to J Harris. You state that antibiotics have saved lives. After several severe reactions, my doctor told me never, ever to have penicillin again at the risk of an anaphylactic reaction killing me. The last time my ASD daughter had penicillin she came out in an all-over red rash so we all presume she's allergic too. My uncle and his grandson were/are also penicillin-allergic.

Why aren't we allowed to react differently (even adversely) to different drugs or vaccines?

Craig Willoughby

J Harris,

Vioxx was pulled by Merck? I beg to differ. It was pulled by the FDA after the families of victims of Vioxx (my father included) voiced major concerns. Then, it was discovered that Merck had LIED about the safety of their studies on Vioxx and hired ghost writers and doctors to sign off on it, giving it the go-ahead for production and sales. But, of course, that was only the first time the Pharma companies had ever done something like that (well, other than the Bayer HIV tainted drugs incident, Phen Phen, Zyprexa, etc. etc., ad nauseum, ad tedium...but those actually never happened in the world of the Oraccolytes). But, it is absolutely impossible to believe that they could have lied about vaccines.

Oh, and I love the vaccines aren't profitable argument. I guess 3 billion dollars a year from vaccines alone isn't that profitable, is it?

No, J Harris....that is not a good example at ALL of the drug companies helping us out. I mean, we all know they are out to make money...er...right. I mean "save lives."

J Harris? Your shill is showing.

John Stone

There is let us face it underneath it all the fundamental issue of bad faith. The system does not monitor adverse reactions - you get remarkable cases like Hannah Poling and Bailey Banks where vaccine injuries and their consequences are meticulously recorded. But if you really want to be popular with your doctor don't ring them up when your baby's temperature reaches 104!

It is case of not monitoring, not recording and not investigating. And if anything goes wrong, your child will be denied medical attention. If you suggest anything untoward has happened you will be met with derision hostility and denial (the pigs, as it were, know best). The response is not one of care and concern, but one of social repression. We seem to accept this idea now - almost without thinking - that if this happens it will be your job to prove it.

Apart from anything else we operate from the position of the complete inversion of medical ethics: fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Stagmom on Vaccine Boom

J. Harris, I suggest to you that vaccines are the new blockbuster drugs, and their profitability is of paramount importance. Please see: http://www.blogcatalog.com/search.frame.php?term=prevnar+7&id=1a19d3ca40467a11af96ca5a4a1ddbd6

Here's a snip: "Long being regarded as an unattractive market, vaccines have re-emerged as successful growth driver for Big Pharma. The launch and rapid uptake of novel, high-price products such as Wyeth's Prevnar or Merck & Co's Gardasil, along with the emergence of novel vaccine technologies and favourable legislation have brought vaccines back into the main focus of pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Following the example set by Merck & Co. last month, Sanofi Aventis has become the latest leading pharmaceutical company to report a boost in vaccine franchise sales for 2007. The French group achieved overall vaccine sales of E2.78 billion, up 14.5% over 2006. These results illustrate the increasing importance of vaccines as growth drivers for Big Pharma players."

And don't forget this cherry: Merck to fund vaccine experts at AAFP: http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/03/merck-to-fund-fellowship-to-groom-vaccine-experts-at-american-academy-of-family-practitioners.html

From the WSJ: http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/02/behind-the-vaccine-court-zero-accountability.html

And my all time fav: "Is the vaccine boom over in the Obama admin?" http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/vaccines-is-the-boom-sustainable-in-the-obama-era.html

nhokkanen

My, Olivia's "apology" unraveled rather quickly....

Olivia fails to realize that many of our ASD children ARE dying of measles. Biopsies reveal the virus is inside them, anchored in painful lesions lining their gastrointestinal tracts. The comcomitant nutritional malaborption causes slow starving. Who would choose that? And why hasn't the CDC come to the rescue -- instead obsessively following a lesser number of swine flu deaths? Aren't all lives of equal value?

Olivia also fails to realize that parents are their kids' loudest cheerleaders, in many arenas of life. Especially when those parents ARE using their energy, leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to bring pain relief, emotional comfort and (hopefully) happiness to their children's every waking moment.

Then there's the persistent Todd W., asking Kent: "Why not simply produce the blinded, randomized, well-controlled and well-designed studies that support your claims?" Todd W. is shielding himself behind the illusion provided by safe, sanitized theory rather than facing the inconvenient discomfort of everyday reality caused by vaccine injury. The people who say that a non-vaccinated study in theory puts children at risk for disease don't want to believe that the current CDC recommendations are doing far worse damage in real life. How many more "autistic" mice and monkeys must be created before parents' stories are finally investigated by the bureaucracy that continues to damage so many children in the name of public health?

The notorious Danish studies have been described as "well-designed" by biased individuals. Good studies and good intentions are no guarantee of good results, especially when human failings contaminate the process. And there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Here's an anecdote for you. Minnesota's new 35W bridge is "well-designed," but I was told by a construction worker that shortly before its reopening an untold number of the solid concrete pilings had hollow spots, which had to be found, drilled and filled with epoxy at the last minute.

Important truths are learned from people who have first-hand experience. The CDC's practice of excluding parents' vaccine injury observations from post-marketing surveillance is as dangerously foolish as allowing a bridge to be built without input from the workers who've walked on it from planning to pouring to finish. Where's the science in restricting data analysis to only that which supports a positive and profitable outcome?

J Harris

sorry, I meant to say-

These drugs have saved countless LIVES, not countless drugs.

J Harris

I'll name one drug that has saved countless lives..Antibiotics. Not for sinus infections or ear infections but in the ER. How many compound fractures happen/year. Antibiotics are given to almost every case b/c of infection. 100 years ago an open wound like that could have serious consequences. Now we treat those kinds of wounds as if they were scrapes. Anesthesia is another, imagine a kidney transplant (12h operation) using ether!!. Also immunosuppressant drugs and chemotherapy in blood cancers. What about type 1 diabetes, you mentioned type II, can type I be reversed. I’m not arguing w/ the lifestyle change comment at all, I totally agree w/ you. The drugs I mention above have saved countless drugs have they not?
Big pharma does the big research, once the patent is up, little pharma makes the drugs above for a much cheaper price...big pharma gets screwed. B/c of this, Bioxx things happen, the companies think that the money they make from these will offset legal actions. Note – Gardasil is NOT a blockbuster drug, it flopped. Vaccines are not blockbuster drugs. Every single vaccine could be destroyed and Merck and GSK would not lose much money.

Theresa

Just a couple of thoughts:

J Harris, Vioxx is *not* proof that the system works. A painkiller gets licensed, then passive post-marketing surveillance uncovers the fact that it *doubles* the risk of heart attacks and strokes (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-vioxx21-2008may21,1,2955945.story). Should we really congratulate Merck for pulling it from the market? No; we should ask ourselves why the FDA trials were insufficient to uncover how lethal the drug was.

Todd, perhaps your faith in NIH-sponsored and drug company-sponsored trials would be a little less sure if you read this recent article in The Scientist (http://www.the-scientist.com/templates/trackable/display/blog.jsp?type=blog&o_url=blog/display/55823&id=55823) about two researchers who spent $23 MILLION in NIH grant money on experiments for a kidney anti-rejection drug, but falsified their data and didn't actually complete the animal experiments they claimed they did. Is it any wonder that parents who have seen their children regress after receiving a vaccine, then recover with biomedical interventions, choose to believe their own eyes, rather than the CDC's and drug companies' claims that vaccines are safe?

It's pretty clear that the "science" behind drug and vaccine research is skewed in favor of pushing drugs forward, and worrying about the risks later.

I also find it almost funny that J Harris et al refer to the "drugs that save lives every day" in the abstract while naming none of them. Big Pharma's big money doesn't come from life-saving drugs. It comes from lifestyle drugs: drugs for erectile dysfunction, insulin for diabetes (largely Type II, brought on by poor lifestyle choices), cholesterol reduction drugs (a substitute for better lifestyle choices), HPV vaccines (instead of parents teaching their daughters better lifestyle choices)...

Lin

Todd W.-
There are plenty of people already not vaccinated to study so you don't have to worry that any of the subjects will get the dreaded and deadly chicken pox.

Jake Crosby

The guy who writes the "Bad Astronomy" Blog is Phil Plait, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation. The foundation director, James Randi, runs a segment called "Randi Speaks," on the weekly podcast, "Skeptics Guide to the Universe," hosted by Steven Novella. Novella is an advisor to the pharma front group, ACSH.

Kent Heckenlively

Todd W.,

You'll forgive me if I disagree with some of your characterizations of the studies I've provided.

The UC Davis study on the autism increase in California was important because it showed the increase in autism wasn't due to changed diagnostic criteria. If there is an increase, then the disease can't be solely genetic as there can be no such thing as a genetic epidemic. Their recommendation was that environmental contributions be studied, more than genetic contributions. This is vitally important as many people, like Dr. Paul Offit, claim that there is no autism increase and continue to advance the opinion that the answer will be found SOLELY in genetics.

The Columbia study is important because it shows that a chemical introduced to an organism with a specific genetic variant produces something akin to autism in mice. The bio-med community has long held that our families do have a higher rate of auto-immune disorders BUT something else happens as well. I don't think it's too big of a leap to say that if such a dramatic result was obtained by gene manipulation in mice the papers would be trumpeting it as proof that autism is purely genetic.

Similarly, if this research had been done and showed pesticides were causing autism in lab animals I'm sure there'd be a rush to do more research, or stop using the chemicals until more study had been done. Since vaccines are considered to be SO important it seems the emphasis has been reassuring people they're safe without first conducting the necessary biological research.

The Harvard study is important because it points to autism being the result of some type of brain inflammation, rather than a wiring problem. Auto-immune problems often result in inflammation, as well as toxic exposures.

The attack on Wakefield is puzzling as the Press Complaints Office is still telling the Times to pull down their articles, but the paper is defying them. I don't see how that supports your case. I'm also troubled by the fact that none of the supposed victims of his crime are appearing against him, and in fact the majority have signed a letter in his support. The fact that the case has already taken two years and may not be resolved until 2010 also strikes me as exceedingly strange.

Finally, I continue to be confused how when people like Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institute of Health, or Dr. Peter Fletcher express the same concerns and suggest the same research as our community, it's as if they don't exist. Personally, I think their opinions carry more weight than yours, mine, or any of ours.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively

Lost and Found


Olivia and Todd,

Neurodiverse self advocate Ari Ne'eman-- when he's not hopping onto the tail end of an autism advocacy effort and then taking full public credit for any successes-- trolls around on vaccine injury blogs. His tact tends to be this imperurbable "I'm just trying to help" stance. He issues "advice" that our movement would do much better to rely on "peer reviewed" and "evidence based" science. He speaks of "science" as if it were one solid, reliable source and entity. He thinks he's clever and I suppose he is...for 23 or 24, but he's not the only one who's read "Art of War". His small band of followers are adopting the same strategic tact around the web. You can almost hear the coalition pep talks; "So, go in and poke holes in the vaccine injury arguments and science, and then back down with utmost politeness saying you're just trying to help. Be sure to reward if anyone's response to you remains civil and then offer suggestions that they try to stick to "evidence based" medicine-- otherwise you'll get kicked off".

So, you know, there's something very familiar about your approaches here, though they're not so sophisticated or obscure that random people couldn't have fallen upon it indepedently. I'm sure it will buy you some air time in comments and it's useful as a launching board for others to say their piece until everyone gets bored with the circular arguments. The majority of readers here have read "the science" and are fully aware that there are several almost unreconcilable "schools" of science opining on the causes of autism. One school is funded by an industry with billions at stake in the continuation of the epidemic-- in liability, in future psychopharmaceutical drug marketing for autism, in further vaccines. That's the school that marketed Vioxx and other deadly drugs, that covered up the damage, that threatened drug critics, that sends out droves of viral marketers to leave lock-step comments on blogs, that ensures that Ari Ne'eman or some other ND ideologue appears in Newsweek or Wired and not anyone who's views might threaten the whole profit-and-cover-up machine that autism's become.

If that's your science, you go ahead and wait for it. The rest of us will pursue the science that's actually helping our kids.

Todd W.

At any rate, Kent, I just wanted to post a comment or two explaining why you received the responses you did. I'm not a regular poster/reader here, but I'll keep my eye open for your coverage.

I also appreciate that you were civil in your response, unlike some of the other posters here.

J Harris

TO Josh,

I love your comment..Vioxx and Gardasil (which is still on the market in the US and in Europe and Asia - and no country has pulled it from the market;Spain has pulled a batch, but they still offer the vaccine). Next time your at the dentist, refuse novacaine, that's a "big pharma" lie. Ever in a car accident, you'll be injected full of big pharma lies. It's funny - out of thousands of drugs on the market that save lives every day, that Vioxx keeps getting brought up. In fact, Vioxx and every other drug that has been pulled was done so by the drug manufactorer itself. Merck themselves published follow up results in the New England Journal of Medicine stating the death rate was higher than placebo and other arthritis drugs. If anything, Vioxx proves the sytem works. The gardasil comment, can you show me some deaths? Of course you can, from blogs. Hardly evidence. People die all the time. You should back up your actions w/ proof. Not that your next door neighbors daughter's friend was injured by the HPV vaccine.

Craig Willoughby

I hate it when someone says "You'd rather them die of measles."

What a strawman!

Look, the reason why many of our kids are the way that they are is BECAUSE they got the sacred and Holy Vaccine. So, they ARE protected (allegedly).

And questioning studies is part of the scientific method. But, the studies that the Oraccolytes pray and sacrifice babies to should not be questioned! Because it is settled. Scientific concensus says it is so.

It is known that the MMR has been the cause of an encephalitic reaction in some children. This is on the MMR datasheet, and the CDC says it is rare. One in a million. But the data they used to get this one in a million? It came from VAERS! Yes, the same VAERS that the Oraccolytes laugh and scoff at for being a joke. So how do we know the 1 in a million number is accurate? Especially since only 10% of doctors even report vaccine reactions to the VAERS.

New law: Anyone who refuses to acknowledge that vaccines could be a cause of autism because the Scientific Concensus says so is both a liar and a hypocrite and should be laughed out of the conversation.

Todd W.

Sue M.

By all means, let me see your evidence. I am willing to be convinced.

Todd W.

Oh, and one other thing, the large study that looks at vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations that you are calling for was addressed in the comments. The person who responded went through the numbers that would be required (to achieve statistical significance, you would need more people than are available in the U.S.), as well as the ethical implications (knowingly exposing children to the risks of infectious diseases that can otherwise be prevented).

Todd W.

Mr. Heckenlively,

Here's a breakdown of the studies you provided:

Bunch of bunk studies by the Geiers and Blaxill, as well as Wakefield's fraudulent study.

The U.C. Davis study was only looking at whether changes in diagnostic criteria explained the increase in autism cases; it did not examine whether vaccines were related or not. For what it's worth, I addressed one flaw with this study, in that their selection methodology introduced a bias.

The Columbia Univ. study found that neurotoxicity from thimerosal was mouse-strain dependent, meaning that toxicity is linked to a specific genetic variation. However, whether this finding could translate to humans was not discussed. Further, if thimerosal did play a role, then by now we should have seen a significant drop in autism cases. We haven't. In fact, from the time that thimerosal was removed from U.S. vaccines, we haven't even seen any blip of a decrease. This pretty clearly suggests that thimerosal is not to blame.

Johns Hopkins: one study showing that autism rates are increasing, but makes no significant conclusion as to the cause. Another looks at celiac disease and autism, but does not say anything about vaccines. Yet another suggests that inflammatory processes may be involved in autism, but again, it does not make any mention of vaccines, and is inconclusive about just what portion of patients with autism to whom this idea would apply.

The Harvard study also makes no mention of vaccines.

The Journal of Pediatrics study looked at mercury levels, but did not address autism. It did not even look at whether or not there was any harm between the pre- and post-vaccine levels.

You were asked to provide studies that support your stance that vaccines are responsible for autism. You provided none. Instead, you gave us studies that were not related, that were inconclusive, quotes from people without any reason why their opinions should be given any weight other than that they hold a "distinguished" position, and magazine articles. That is why you received the response you did. If you had simply provided studies that show a causal connection between vaccines and autism, the response would have been quite different.

Stagmom

To whoever sent us a comment with a link over to an ND site - we don't send our readers to those sites. They need us so they have something to write about far more than we need any of their info. In fact, if we charged a nickel for every ND writer/blogger/reader who came into AoA to gather info we could send out SILK t-shirts sewn with golden thread.

Kim

Sue M.


"I find it interesting that when asked for scientific evidence to support any of your claims, Mr. Heckenlively, you failed to produce any quality evidence".

If I were to hazard a guess, I would bet that Todd W. considers the Danish epi autism studies to be accurate "scientific evidence". Or, how about Fombonne's studies - they are good "scientific evidence" too, right Todd? Fombonne who is such an expert that apparently he couldn't he correctly identify Quebec City and Montreal. What a genius... Let's trust him with more studies.... This is the nonsense that we have to deal with... Todd, your "scientific evidence" has been proven over and over again to be a fraud... Stop standing in the way of the real scientific evidence that is coming from "our side" of the debate.


Odysseus

Kent, I applaud you for all the hard work you put in. Thank you so much. the much-needed double blind study showing that vaccines cause autism will be conducted some day. I know the study will show higher rates of autism in vaccinated v. unvaccinated children. But it will not change the minds of the pro-vaccine community. To them, heard immunity is more important than eliminating or reducing autism. Our children are just collateral damage. Wrestling with Pigs will only get you dirty. People like Todd W. just have a different set of priorities. I have been to their propaganda conferences and listened to them slam "celebrities" and "irresponsible parents". No matter what you put in front of them, they will not be convinced. The hypocrisy in these scientists who ignore the evidence is astonishing. they accuse of us only seeing what we want to see, but they are guilty of what they accuse us of.

But please don't stop. All of you who act for the benefit of the Community. Please don't stop. You are our champions. The study is tremendously important for winning the minds of those who matter. talking with and making a case against the current vaccine schedule with expecting parents, grand parents, college kids---people with a vested interest in the health of their children and the future of this world--will have an impact. Educating expecting parents about the horrors of autism and the connection with vaccines, is the only way to stop the epidemic. We can never convince the Pigs (government officials, big pharma, AAP, CDC) but we can reach those that matter most---the parents who make the decisions of whether and how to vaccinate. That's why they are scared of you.

samaxtics

“I am not saying anyone's a bad parent. I see what it's like every day. I am on the winning team, (your team!) here. I am teaching your sons and daughters to show their love to you to give you just the smallest bit of respite.....”

Olivia, when anyone with your mindset tries to join “our” team they get the boot pretty fast. Rule #1: NEVER be so arrogant to think that you are more invested in our child’s well-being than we are. Rule #2: Never think that your one contribution is greater than the sum of what we as parents have done and continue to do for our child.

Now we have met some incredible professionals along our journey and we will be forever indebted to them, but the fact remains: Not even if we combined all the help we have received from “professionals” will it be greater than our contribution.

Please do something to address your over- inflated sense of worth.

Josh

Whoa, the trolls are out in force today.

SCIENCE! SCIENCE! SCIENCE! SCIENCE! (eeeek, owwiie... oh no, another nosebleed!)

"Die of measles..." I don't want to see another skeptic drone get off on logical fallacies after that beautiful little gem of a logic skewering.

Your holy grail of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD (cue the Imperial March) when it comes to double "blinded, randomized, well-controlled and well-designed studies" has been proven quite fallible (see Vioxx, Gardasil trials) and open to corruption and tampering.

Man, listening to you guys is just as bad as hearing a creationist rail about the inerrancy and infallibility of the literal Bible.

Good call on Olivia, Kim. She's just trying to help "our cause," after all.

"Your dismissal and sarcasm at my post is the reason people dismiss vaccinations as a cause of autism. Numbers are not proof."

And your condescending and arrogant tone as well as the underlying "I'm sorry, but you're wrong and stupid and dangerous" message in your two posts are the kind of crap parents hear every day from doctors and "experts" when they're looking for help and answers.

Theodore Van Oosbree

I believe that it was Mark Twain who wrote that no man could ever be convinced of the truth of anything if that truth would cost him money.

Lost and Found

Olivia,

You don't teach my son and daughter; I don't allow people like you near my kids. My husband and I made a decision a while back that, until our children were well on their way to recovery, no one who didn't understand their injuries and *how* they became injured to begin with was going to supply any services to them. We as adults may have to wrestle with pigs on occasion but we didn't think our children should have to, especially while ill.

We have no respect whatsoever for autism disaster capitalists who make their living off an epidemic without doing *everything* in their power to put themselves out of a job, including pursuing information on every potential cause. That would automatically preclude someone like you. Despite our strong disgust at the opportunism rising around the tragedy of autism, our decision to avoid the uninformed was actually pragmatic. Therapists and teachers who didn't get that our children were physiologically ill and that they have the chance for recovery would inadvertantly mistreat them and it was making the kids worse. We couldn't go on watching it, so we poured all our energy and resources into physical recovery and homeschooling.

So when my son, who lost all speech at one and descended into his own world by three, turned to me and said, "I love you, Mama" in an expressive voice and while looking me in the eye, it wasn't you who taught him to do it. When he began spontaneously bear hugging all of us and began sitting next to his sister while she read a book, gently patting her hair, or ran to a baby on the playground who'd fallen down and said, "Awww, it's okay little baby"-- that wasn't you. That was him. And when he up and completely potty trained himself in the space of two weeks, that was him and it happened because, after two years of treatment for vaccine-induced IBD, he'd finally recovered from chronic diarrhea. And if our daughter can control her temper and calmly ask for what she needs at last, it's because she's far less irritable now that shocking amounts of mercury, lead and cadmium are out of her body and she's no longer anemic.

All no thanks to anyone like you. You're not on our team. You could be, but you'd probably have to go through years of some kind of intellectual recovery yourself.

Kent Heckenlively

Todd W.,

In my comments I produced numerous research articles from Johns Hopkins, Harvard University, Columbia University, U.C. Davis, and even the Journal of Pediatrics which support many planks of the bio-medical community's assertions about the disease which is autism. In addition, in this article I give the most recent medical thinking from Dr. Andrew Zimmerman (professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University) and some of the top minds in autism and contained in his fine book, "Autism: Current Theories and Evidence."

As for the question of large, well-controlled, double-blind studies, our community has been calling for such studies for years, and recently we have been making great headway at the National Institute of Health. Even back in 2004, CDC head Dr. Julie Gerberding called for such research, but as of this date in 2009 it has not been done. The cost of this research will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-10 million dollars, and many of us have been going broke trying to help our kids. It will also probably need to be government funded for a number of reasons, first, because of the complexity and cost of such research, and second, because of the need to establish independence from both the autism community and pharmaceutical influence.

I suggest you watch the coverage here in the next week of a Congressional meeting with members of our community briefing Congressional members on the latest science and research findings.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively

Catherine

Kent, You probably feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall, but I want to let you know how much I appreciate your getting the word out. Even if one, just one, person reads your blog comments, maybe another child can be saved. A blog reader may NOT respond to your comments (positively or negatively), but I have got to believe that we are all planting seeds and cultivating ideas among the masses. Keep up the work that you are doing! Thank you for a great article!

And Olivia, I am sorry that you are a teacher. That is very sad.

Big "D"

Olivia - My kid received everyone of those forsaken vaccines and lo and behold the MMR did not take neither did the polio nor Chicken pox. Don't give us the BS line that we would rather have them die of measles - for my family it is the vaccines that pushed my child into the spectrum. One day child was happy and talking, pointing ---- and then, one week after vaccines --- could not even lift up a lousy sippy cup. We don't need your type of help of trashing parents and making them out to be so callous that theey would want a child to die. We need medical answers and continued vaccine research.

Todd W.

I find it interesting that when asked for scientific evidence to support any of your claims, Mr. Heckenlively, you failed to produce any quality evidence. You were full of magazine articles, appeals to authority, studies that did not address the vaccine-autism claims and quotes from uncontrolled phone surveys.

Instead, you come here to bemoan your reception and the reactions you got. Why not simply produce the blinded, randomized, well-controlled and well-designed studies that support your claims?

Donna L.

"You'd rather have them die of measles than have them as they are." Olivia, I think we would "rather have them as they WERE", would be the the more accurate statement. I am quite sure my son would much rather be how he was prior to vaccine damage. A happy, affectionate, incredibly interactive little bundle of joy, who was so attuned to others, that he would bring me a kleenex if I was sniffling. Fast forward to the weeks, months and years following his MMR vaccination, and we have a very sick, miserable 10 yr old who struggles to communicate, and is in physical pain most of his waking hours. All this, despite using all my energy 24/7 to try to teach him "to speak, to manage, to interact."

The numbers we are using to support a theory will not change our sons and daughters, but I assure you, they will change someone else's offspring. I have been thanked countless times for warning other new parents of the potential dangerous (and often deadly) effects of vaccines, and even though I am filled with bitter envy when I see how happy and healthy their un-vaxed or delayed-vaxed children are, I know in my heart I have spared another child from descending into my son's medically-induced hell.

Olivia

I apologize for my last sentence. I can see where it was found offensive. I have also seen the truth of it in my kids, however, sensitivity in this subject is of utmost importance.

As for the rest:
Your answers lie in science.

The scientific community is unsure what the causes are. If you want to speak rationally with them, understand their point of view and the scientific method. As a scientist, educator and supporter of Autism awareness and cures/therapies, I see the attitudes supported by your article doing your cause more harm than help. Please understand my tone was neither flippant nor against you.

Your dismissal and sarcasm at my post is the reason people dismiss vaccinations as a cause of autism. Numbers are not proof.

Ever reindeer I've ever seen hasn't been flying. This does not prove reindeer can't fly.

Please, please understand I am only trying to help your cause. If vaccinations are the reason, then there are ways to help. However, there is NO consensus - and that is not for lack of trying.

Anyone can be pigheaded. Let's none of us be.

Stagmom

"You'd rather have them die of measles..." Olivia, consider yourself fortunate that comment got through. I sometimes allow folks like you in just to reinforce what we do what we do here. Thanks for helping me out.

Your flippant tone speaks volumes. We will never stop looking for answers for our children, whether they are 2 or 52. It's who we are.

Ciao.

KIM

Olivia

Go ahead, pat yourselves on the back. You've found some numbers that support a theory! They won't change your sons or daughters, nor anyone else's offspring. One day, if you're proven right, some smaller number of people will be on the spectrum, but not until then. Autism will still exist, since some cases (if not all) are genetic.

So, why are you wasting your energy yelling at walls? They will not budge for you. Instead, support your DoE and DPH so that those unfortunate enough to be born with (or to acquire) an ASD don't have to feel so disparate and confused. Use your energy to teach them to speak, to manage, to interact.

I am not saying anyone's a bad parent. I see what it's like every day. I am on the winning team, (your team!) here. I am teaching your sons and daughters to show their love to you to give you just the smallest bit of respite. I do this for you.

BUT ---

They are people too, and especially those with milder cases hear you loud and clear:

You'd rather have them die of measles then have them as they are.

bensmyson

I love bacon.

Benedetta Stilwell

To talk to pigs or trolls--- is just too emotional, but the right thing to do. Not only that but you have the TALENT and the BRAINS to do it with! To do anything else with your talent and your knowledge would be wrong and I for one am grateful that there are people like you out there working to save the next years crop of little ones and if not next years then the year after that. Thank You from the bottom of my heart!

Theresa Cedillo

Excellent as always Kent! You made my day.

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